Sunday, August 1, 2010
My family and I took a weekend vacation to a nearby campground on the shores of Lake Michigan with some of my nieces and nephews and their children. After putting up with an entire Friday night and Saturday morning of rain, the clouds cleared and we began making more memories than simply those of huddling together under a tarp while waiting for better weather. Now that we are home, unpacked and cleaned up, I reflect upon the wonders of nature and the joys of family time together that highlighted our time away.
I thank God for...
Queen Anne's Lace and Black-eyed Susan's that grow wildly and profusely along the roadways of the campground,
toads that hop across the road in the dark night and aren't even aware that they have been named "Fruit Punch" by my daughter,
sunny afternoons spent frolicking at the beach and for the fact that Lake Michigan was warm enough to swim in,
sighting the Big Dipper, making s'mores and pudgy-pies and the sight of sticky faced children reveling in late night treats,
breathing fresh and fragrant air and tent-sleeping on an air mattress instead of the rocky ground,
waking up in a dome tent without the cover, but only a screen between me and the outdoors and enjoying the sight of trees and blue sky above me while the sound of birds punctuates the silence with their early morning prayer,
visiting a quaint country church for Sunday Mass and realizing that there is no place as wonderful as your own home parish,
and most of all, for my wonderful children who bring joy to their little cousins who look up to their older relatives.
Here's a little reflection I wrote about a camping trip we took last summer...
Sitting around the campfire, watching the bright orange embers give way to blue, green, yellow and red flames can hypnotize me. The warmth that the fire produces draws me into a trance. Listening to the quiet voices around me share scary campfire stories brings me gratitude for my family members who have the gift of storytelling. The wide-eyed children huddle in closer to the fire in an effort to allay their fears.
As I hold my overtired and fearful daughter, Mary, on my lap, I lean back in my chair and look to the sky. What I see there is even more beautiful than the hypnotic fire.
The trees surrounding our campsite create a circle silhouette in the dark night sky. In the middle of the circle of tree branches, the dark sky glimmers with millions of stars shining so brightly that it is almost heartbreaking. I feel as if I am sitting under a microscope and God is peering down from the sky, through the trees, to watch my family. The stars are the specks of pride in his eyes for all of his creation with whom he is so madly in love. God is so generous to share these natural gifts with his lowly, human creatures. How blessed we are to receive his gifts, and how happy he is to see our gratitude.