My brother and I were very blessed to have my Grandma Elsie and Grandpa Paul in our lives. My brother, Michal Paul, and I spent a lot of time with them because my parents owned businesses and were working all the time to try and provide a nice life for us.
One of the things we did alot with my grandparents was camping. What great memory-making fun we had! Preparing for the trip, driving to the destination, choosing a private spot, setting up camp, exploring the lay of the land, making camp fires, cool crisp mornings waking up to the smell of bacon and eggs cooked in a cast iron skillet, yum; the best smells and breakfast ever. We hunted for frogs by moonlight, brushed our teeth in the cold creek water, ate golden smores', played cards, and fished everyday! What a perfect classroom for relationship building and lessons of life. Now at the time I didn't realize it but grandma and grandpa were teaching my brother and I "life lessons." They were 100-level courses in patience, respect and tenderness for all living things of the natural world, plant identification and so on. Beginners sessions in the importance of preparation and hard work for the end result of a warm inviting campfire to enjoy at the end of the day, fish to fry for dinner, setting up and taking down camp "shelter" and teamwork; an understanding and commitment to community. And especially for me, the frequent whispers of, "Kelly, hold still, be quiet, and be patient and wait; if you want to the fish to bite!" Yes, these were, and still are, great life lessons; ones that I still work on and remember fondly today.Oh how thankful I am for Grandma Elsie and Grandpa Paul. I wouldn't trade these times for the anything!
So as I am bundled up and stocking the fireplace with wood, looking into the fire here at our farm, I remember those days with warmth and tenderness in my heart.Today I am gathering natural things to display on our rustic mantle. There is fresh greenery, log slices, pine cones, candles, a family photo I bring out each Christmas of a horse drawn slay in the snow in Waterville, Washington and a magical snowman; like the ones we use to make. I think back to my experiences and times with my brother and grandparents and our great camping adventures and of learning, exploring and living. With a grateful heart I can close my eyes and be right back at Foggy Dew Campground once again. As I "dew" there is a warm flood of wonderful memories spent with people I love. I can see and smell the campsite, feel the fire and hear the sounds of nature all around me; doing life together, simple things but things that really matter........I wouldn't trade my growing up years, our camping experiences with my grandparents and brother for anything. As you set up your tree and hand your Christmas decorations I hope you'll pause and take the time to think upon and reflect on some of your childhood memories. Family, Christ, His birth and why He came... these are the things that truly matter.Yes I am blessed and so are you. Now if you'll excuse me----I think, if only in my memories, I'll go fishing for a while.
"Come follow me", Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men". At once they left their nets and followed him.
Mathew 4: 19-20