This last weekend, we hung out at "Colin's Camp-Out" - a large group gathering area off of the Umpqua River, right outside of Elkton. It is a beautiful location, Lisa considers it one of the closest places to Heaven on Earth.
We haven't been camping there in a while, and it seemed like it was a bit more of a struggle to get there than it ought to have been this week. I think John and I were just worn out and wondering if camping seemed like a fun idea and worth the effort. Sometimes, in hindsight, I see those emotional stumbling blocks more clearly for what I think they really are, a ploy by the Enemy to keep us from going. This time, we won the battle, we got there to the campout, but not without a family argument before we went to bed, stemming from Mommy leaving the "once we arrive and change into evening clothes duffle bag" and "Brayden's clothes duffle bag". It was a tussle between John and I that I'm so proud of, such mature comments coming out of my mouth...... =(
That was about it of the drama though - all in all it was a fantastic, restful, rejuvinating weekend. I'll list some of my highlights after I caption the pictures:
The view of the fog clearing from the bridge right down the way from the camping area-
This is Tomaselli's - a little morsel in the town of Elkton that many of the campers gather at in the morning for a real breakfast and flush toilet.
Scott, Liz, and their youngest son, Cooper, hanging out on our boat that we brought with us for the purpose to carry camping stuff as well as take Lisa's family out on Cottage Grove Lake on the way home.
Another popular activity - the Saturday afternoon volleyball game. I slept through most of it, but took a few shots once I woke up. Note Dennis' (Lisa's hubby) fine form going towards the ball....
This is another shot of Scott and Liz's son, Cooper. With his big eyes, curly hair, and mischievous grin, he's a photographer's dream come true....
Dinner time is a big deal Saturday night as everyone shares a gourmet dish and meals end up being a hodgepodge of 18 different offerings..... very yummy (also in the pic are Scott and Liz's other two boys)
Sheldon, Randy, and Pete - 3 very cool guys.....
A funny shot of Dave, also known as "Dave the Wave" a great buddy of ours and the program director of Camp Harlow. His family had just gotten up so it looked like no one liked him or wanted to eat with him.... (which in reality is always the opposite).
Alright, a few weekend highlights:
- Catching up with friends I haven't "caught up" with in a long time - and having the notion of "friends for life" ring true, even when the friends rarely ever see each other and spend time with entirely different groups
- Taking time with just Brayden to row the inflatable boat accross the river (which flows more like a lake - the boat did NOT drift at all), and spending time with Brayden as he explored the rocks and tried to catch tadpoles
- Really good s'mores
- Singing the "Go Diego, Go" theme song with Lisa as we took 3 young children on an adventure to feed 4 "teenage" kittens that lived in the barn near the camping meadow. We had seen them, then returned with a pack of hot dogs, ready to do an "animal rescue". I chose to step foot in the barn and tear apart the hot dogs, all the while noticing the bats circling in the rafters, and swooping down - far too close for my comfort
- Having another uncontrollable belly laugh as Lisa and I sailed across the lake in the intertube - with her screaming hysterically. We had one hit that caught more air than I've ever caught in that thing, and shall I say, the landing was not a pretty thing (my neck isn't very happy with that). But, ahhhh, the laughter, it was worth it........
- Successfully, "officially" wakeboarding, and feeling somewhat in control on it. I was having some fun on that thing, and the grin all over my face certainly showed it
- And finally, the most meaningful experience for me was singing as Dave led and played on his guitar at the campfire. As I've told him myself before, Dave is a bit of a hero to me as his leading worship in church can completley move my heart to exactly where it needs to be with the Lord. He sang in our wedding and his voice is just awesome. Mikayla had had me singing to her in my lap around the fire, wanting me to sing "every God song I knew". I was so excited when Dave appeared with his guitar and Mikayla's "God songs" could become so much better. At one point, she asked to go to bed and I told her, "one more song" as it was one of those times I couldn't be torn away from. Sure enough, the very next song he sung is one of my favorites. Mikayla had fallen asleep by that time in my lap and tears rolled down my cheeks as I worshipped at the campfire, family in my lap, friends by my side - the sweet, sweet sounds of accoustic guitar flowing through the air, and a sky full of stars overhead. I couldn't help but cry. I remember 6 years ago, being in a camp chair around that same campfire, with Brayden on my lap, feeling Mikayla's first kick inside my belly while we sang. Amazing, that's about all I can say.
Thank you Colin for opening your family's property up for us to retreat to. I don't think you'll ever know until Heaven the impact that place has made in people's lives.........