Monday, October 19, 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Cheaha! Brrrrrr!!!!

Fall is usually my favorite time of year for camping. After a long, hot, sticky-humid summer, a nice cool weekend in the mountains - low humidity, no biting bugs, and refreshing temperatures just sounds heavenly. The weatherman said the weekend was looking to be cool & pretty, so we loaded up the van and headed to Mount Cheaha State Park in Alabama - the highest point in AL - only 80+/- miles away.
Well, guess what...The weatherman LIED!!!!
Friday started out quite chilly, and drizzling - but that's not enough to stop us. We arrived to find the mountain covered with clouds, windy and cold. We didn't see even a hint of sunshine until sundown Saturday. The daytime temps stayed in the mid-low 40s...not counting 'windchill'. And Sunday was even colder... 32.4 according to our little handy-dandy thermometer! But we're tough and we can handle it. Blake packed extra blankets...thank you dear hubby for your wisdom! And we pretty much wore ALL our clothes for the entire weekend. LAYERS are awesome! Layers are essential! Layers make camping in the cold just another adventure!!! I went to bed at night counting...not sheep, but the layers I was wearing and number of blankets. (FYI- undershirt, T-shirt, long sleeved T-shirt, sweat shirt, sweat pants, undies, longjohns, 2 sets of socks, + sleeping bag, comforter, my fuzzy blue blanket and 2 more blankets.)

Despite the challenges, we had a great time. We saw some deer - always a thrill. And we hiked to "High Falls" in the Talladega National Forest. It was a fairly easy hike, once we found the right trail. (Do Alabama people not mark their trails!?!?! There wasn't a sign saying which way to go, and there were 4 trails leading off in 4 directions!) I'm VERY happy to say I DIDN'T fall into the creek when we crossed it. Very challenging & slippery for me...AKA McTrippin'! WAHOO!(That's always a reason to celebrate!) Above the creek crossing there was a series of 3 waterfalls...very pretty.

Being deep in the forest, surrounded by mountains, trees, wildflowers, rushing waterfalls, and rocks, and listening to birdsongs, wind in the tree tops & gurgling creeks always makes me so grateful and aware of God. I just feel His presence when I see the mighty works of His hands. In the woods, "Be still and know that I am God..." Ps. 46:10 comes alive for me. That's why I love to camp in the mountains. No matter what's going on - it refreshes my soul. It feeds my soul. It makes me aware of no matter how beautiful this world is, Heaven is going to be soooo much better. I can't look at a mountain without thinking how awesome God is. He MADE them! That is sooo cooool!

My short little 'dashund' legs were sore the next day - but hiking aches & pains are always a 'good sore'.

Around camp we tended to huddle around the fire - either the grill or the campfire. Whatever it takes to stay warm!
Ian had his own methods of keeping warm

Riley enjoyed the camping trip too.

He would lay down right next to the fire & just relax in that big dog kind of way that just says 'I'm happy and content with my family'. We have to be careful though. He often walks up to us & stands there wagging his tail... which is waving in the fire! He's had his tail 'feathers' scorched more than once. He also reaped the benefits of the extra pancakes. We've taught him to catch them from off of his nose.

Cole says "We R Cold. Send Heat! Send more 'smores! We're almost out of pretzels. I don't wanna go home...but I'm really cold!"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

His Promise...

Even tho' it's been a rough couple of weeks around here....major flooding in our area - thank the Lord our home was spared,(altho the computer was zapped by the lightning),- but at least 10 people died as a result of this deluge, major traffic woes due to 100s of roads washed away, no drinking water for a week, as well as the boys loosing a week of school, a couple of very unpleasant dental procedures which were NOT fun, and the stomach flu, my camera got dropped = it's in the repair shop, a friend's life is a complete mess & I can't help her, a family member (who's life is a complete mess, too,) is ill & we can't find out his status, Blake's been out of work a full year now, and now this week the tragic loss of a beloved chorus teacher, and the mom of one of Ian's band friends. I feel like there is a little black stormcloud just sitting on top of us bringing constant gloom & doom. But, last night just before the start of the football game I was reminded of God's promise.

He placed a beautiful rainbow above us. So strikingly beautiful in it's colors, placement, and poignant reminder of His presence on our lives. HE is in control. He won't ever forsake us. He has a plan for us! Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. THAT is MY verse. The verse I cling to, rely on & keep close to my heart night & day.
All I can say is that I will continue trust Him in all I do.

The lyrics of this Casting Crowns songs seem to say it whats in my heart:

words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

So what's the point of this blog whine about the problems, cry about the tragedies, be angry about the things we can't control? No. It's a reminder to myself about how blessed we are.
We have our home.
We have our health.
We have our loved ones - some near, some far - but always in our hearts.
We have food, shelter, and have been able - by the Grace of God - to pay all our bills.
God as provided for us in an incredible way. ALL our needs are met.
We have hope for tomorrow. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Upon this Rock...