North Carolina!

IMG_0929A little over a month ago, at around 5:00 AM, all twelve of us hopped into our mini-bus, which was hitched up to our camping trailer, and started driving to North Carolina. We were on an adventure!! Everyone was excited and ready! But then, somebody informed Mom and Dad that they had left their shoes at home… thankfully, we were still in our neighborhood, and only about a minute’s run away from our house. The ‘somebody’ ran back and got the shoes… and then we started again, on our adventure.

We drove for a while, uneventfully. When we got to West Virginia the mountains were so beautiful. Every now and then one or two people would exclaim and point out the window, then everyone would look out and the bus would fill with yells of; ‘Look over there!’ ‘Where’s my camera?’ ‘Wow, Mom, look at the mountains!’ ‘Cotton, we’re driving through a cloud!’ and other such comments, the view was awesome, once we passed over and beside a valley that the sun hadn’t reached yet, so we looked down at the clouds filling it, God is so amazing!

 

But having to go up and down the mountains made the bus start heating up, so Dad turned off the air conditioning to let it get cooler. It didn’t seem like too much of a problem then, so we continued driving slowly until we got to Charleston, WV, where we stopped at a ‘Days Inn’ for the night. It had a nice little pool, (which we were all very thankful for!) and we all jumped in as soon as possible because of the super humid heat. Then we enjoyed a nutritious meal of french fries and chicken nuggets.

After that, we all packed into a single hotel  room to change back into our sweaty clothes, floss and brush our teeth, and go to bed.

The room had two double beds, so my mom and dad slept in one, two of my younger siblings, Tucker and Snowy, slept in the other bed, and I slept between the beds on a bunch of pillows arranged on the floor. Dad had the brilliant idea of putting Cotton in a dresser drawer, but we never ended up leaving her like that! Everyone else slept on the floor as well, one in a play-pen, three together on a blanket, one in a sleeping bag made out of a blanket, me on pillows, another in a sleeping bag, and the last rolled in a sheet! I personally, found it quite impressive that our whole family could fit into one room. (though it was a little scary imagining waking up to find someone jumping off the bed and onto me!)

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Cotton in the dresser drawer! (looks pretty cozy!)

I woke up the next day, to the sound of giggling younger children, mixed with the occasional yell. I lay in my ‘bed’, realizing that the pillows had all moved so that I was basically sleeping on a sheet on the floor! I lay there until I felt little Nova crawl onto me, thus giving me no excuse to sleep, so I got up.

I was expecting it to be 8:00 AM or so, but instead it was around 5:30 AM. We all put away our makeshift beds, and ate an early breakfast at the inn’s breakfast buffet.

Then we all jumped in our bus again and started off.

We started climbing up the mountains again, and our bus started getting hot. The more we climbed the hotter and hotter our bus got, and we couldn’t do anything about it! Dad kept driving, but he had to turn off the air conditioning again, because it made the engine heat up faster. So all us kids were in the back, reading, writing, lying down, and sweating like crazy!

Up and down we went, with every mountain we got slower, until we were just creeping up each rise. Finally we turned off the highway and came to an old Exxon gas station and a tiny, old, rusty campground, that looked like it hadn’t been used in fifty years!

We had a snack and bathroom-break, while Dad walked up to the gas station. Mom and Dad had been talking in the bus, and they both knew that we couldn’t keep going, but we couldn’t turn back either, so they had decided that we needed to leave the camper trailer somewhere, and that was why Dad was going to the gas station, to ask the owner if we could leave our trailer there for a week or so!

The man said it would be fine, but that he was going somewhere and could only watch our trailer for a certain amount of time. Dad thanked him for his kindness, and parked the trailer, then we unpacked all the things we thought we’d need, and you wouldn’t believe how much stuff was packed in there we had to cram it all into the bus. Though we did forget a couple of things!

Then we left, and we truly didn’t know if we would ever see that trailer again. We got on our way again, with a slightly more cool bus, and a considerably more cool crew!

Finally we made it to North Carolina. We all felt relieved that we had actually made it all the way there. But we didn’t have our camping trailer, so we needed to find a place to stay for the night, and by that time, we were so desperate we would have stayed anywhere! So we decided, to go check out the the camp that my older brothers Duke and Dorian were going to (the reason we went to North Carolina) and to ask them if they had any ideas.

The people who ran the camp were really excited to meet us all, and it turned out that they had a friend who worked at a resort-like place nearby, so they called him and he had two rooms that were available for one night. We drove over and got situated in our rooms, then we went out for a delicious pizza and salad supper, and a visit to a playground nearby, where we all tried out some moves from a TV show we had seen at the restaurant called American Ninja, which was basically different men and women going through very challenging obstacle courses. It was actually quite fun!

When we got back to our rooms, everyone had showers or baths (although it was nice to freshen up, I was a little disappointed because the shampoo and conditioner were two of the thing left in the camper, which was in West Virginia! So I washed my hair with body-wash/bubble-bath stuff!). This time I got my own double bed, and it was quite comfy!

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The little-kids were so lucky, they got to watch the hungry caterpillar while we packed up!

The next day we packed up and headed out, Mom and Dad had found a cottage to rent for the week, so we settled in at sweet little place on the side of a river-like lake (or maybe it was a lake-like river, I never found out!), then we dropped the boys off at their camp.

 

For the next three days, we enjoyed swimming in the slimy water (the mud at the bottom actually stains your toenails a gross reddish-green colour!), having some great family time,

 

And, on one day, going to the NC Zoo!

 

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Looking at the elephants

It was a blisteringly hot day, and we drove for a while until we got to the zoo, when we got there, we were just going to buy a pass for each individual person for one day, but when we found out that a family year-pass was less expensive, that’s what we bought.

We have a couple elephant lovers in our family, Tucker is the original

 

Then after the few days were over, we picked up the boys, packed up the bus, and had our last sleep in North Carolina!

 

The next day we woke up early in the morning and left for an uneventful (truly this time!) trip back. On our way back we stopped to check if our trailer was still there, and it was.

We stopped in Sarnia for Mom to pick up the U-Haul truck Dad had ordered. We also stopped near there and got some pizza and root beer, and started driving again, until we got to out local community center, where we ate and played at the play ground, then we drove home.

We got home late that night, and everyone went to bed, happy to be home at last. But the adventure wasn’t over yet!

Early the next morning, at about 4:00 AM, me and Dad hopped into the U-Haul pick-up truck that Mom had driven home the  night before, and drove all the way back to West Virginia, we stopped in Charleston and had a delicious Mexican lunch, (we also were joking that this was my birthday celebration, as it was was quite near my birthday, Dad thought it was a great idea, but me? mm… not so much! 😉 )  then we picked up our trailer and headed back.

 

We started thinking about supper, but neither of us were hungry, so we bought two juices and continued home.

When we got to Sarnia, we dropped off the U-Haul and Mom came to pick us up. When we finally got home, (again!) it was 2:00 AM, so I got ready for bed as quickly as I could and went to sleep (the next day I think I slept in until 10:00 AM).

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Sweet little Nova

Throughout the whole trip I kept thinking of one verse;

‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

Matthew 6:34

Thank you Jesus for the wonderful, exciting, ridiculously crazy trip! I love you!

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Rainstorms

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Beautiful clouds!

A few days ago, my mom and dad decided that we should go to the beach, and we all thought it was a great idea, because it was a warm day and all of us were sweating! We got into our swimsuits, put my four youngest siblings in two double-strollers, packed up some beach-toys, and started walking.

As we walked, we kept glancing over in the direction of the lake; dark, angry clouds were rolling towards us from over the lake. We walked quickly, hoping either that the storm would pass by us, or that we would at least get a few minutes at the beach, and a dry walk home. We got to the beach entrance, and ran down the sand to the water. Above the lake, dark grey clouds brooded; a long, caterpillar-like cloud seemed to be the leader of them; pulling them towards the shore, and towards us.

As I stood in awe, looking up at the approaching storm clouds, and listening to the thunder, I knew I had a choice between being afraid, or being amazed. I knew I could flee from the storm, or run into it.

I ran into it.

I ran into the water and stood in it; I was not afraid. I knew that God protected me, God protected my family, and nothing could hurt us.

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A storm approaching our old house

Some of my brothers and my dad, ran out until the water reached their waists, and dove under, we were all laughing as me and my mom ran out into the water. As soon as everyone who wanted to get wet was wet, we turned around and started running home, we all started feeling little sprinkles of rain, so we packed the four youngest into the strollers again, threw some towels over them, and continued running. The rain started pounding down, and I ran as fast as I could. The rain stung my face and neck, so I covered my face with my arms and kept running, I smiled and laughed all the way home.

When my whole family got home, we all gathered in the garage; everyone was soaked and laughing. We all got changed and got cozy for a family movie-night, but when we looked outside again, it had stopped raining completely! So, we hung up our wet swimsuits and let them dry on the clothesline.

A few days earlier, my dad took six of my younger siblings for a bike-ride, to our local community center to play at the playground there, and two of my other brothers were out looking for edible wild-plants. That left me, my mom, and my older brother Dorian at home; we thought it would be nice if we could bike down to the park with a picnic lunch, and eat it there. So my mom packed up a delicious lunch, and sent it with Dorian, who unicycled to the park a little before be biked there. After Dorian left, we finished up a few things, strapped on our helmets, got on our bikes, and headed off!

When we got to the park, we found everyone playing happily on the playground, but we had just parked our bikes, when we started feeling little drops of rain. I took my one-year-old sister Nova out of the baby-swing, and ran to the nearby pavilion; it looked like it had only been made a year before, and had a bunch of nice, new, (and perfectly long) picnic-tables. We sat at one of the tables, and started eating lunch. Outside it started raining heavily, it rained the whole time we were eating lunch, but then the rain stopped, and the sun came out, just as we were finishing up!

I find it interesting that the first time God made it rain, He perfectly timed it so that we would be under a shelter the whole time it rained, and the rain didn’t hinder us in any way, and the second time, He perfectly timed it that we would be out during the rain, and have shelter after the rain was over!

I love rainstorms, and I love being in them, I love hearing the thunder, and seeing the lightning, and seeing the plants watered. When there is a thunderstorm, the grass and trees always seem more bright, green and alive! Every time I hear thunder, I think of how mighty, and powerful, and strong our God is! So strong that even storms are under His control!

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Clouds!

Sunset

 

 

Last night, me, my brother Dorian, and my dad, went biking around our new neighborhood, (actually Dorian was on his 36″ wheel unicycle, here is his blog post about it). We had been biking for a while, when I noticed the colour of the sky; the horizon, where the sun was about to go down, was a beautiful mixture of bright pink, orange and yellow. I asked my dad if we could bike down to see the sunset, and he thought it was good idea, so we started biking west.

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Since we have been staying at our new house by the beach, we have been able to go to the beach a lot, as our new house is only a ten minute walk from the beach.

When we got to the beach, the sky was amazing; above us, dark clouds rolled, to the west and north the brilliant colours of the sunset shone in a thin line on the horizon, the sun was still behind the dark clouds, but that didn’t hold back its light!_DSC0106

A little while later, we biked back to a pier, that is about one minute from our new house, and met two of my other brothers there. We walked out on the pier and watched the sun sink into the lake. We got some photos, but none of them could even get close to matching the glory and majesty of the view!

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It was amazing to see the sun sinking quickly, and yet slowly, at the same time, I don’t think I could ever get tired of watching the sun set! I’m amazed at how God’s creativeness; how He can make hundreds and thousands of sunsets, and yet not one is the same as another. IMG_3734

Some sunsets are beautiful because of the many colours, others are because of the beautiful clouds, others are because of their beautiful surroundings, and some are beautiful because of a mix of all those. Imagine the sun sinking behind a mountain range, or on a prarie, or a lake, or a forest! _DSC0087

Just think, God could have made just one kind of sunset, God could have made the sun set behind blank, grey clouds every night. But instead he creates each sunset new and unique every night! God is so amazing, and seeing the magic He puts into things that happen every day makes me love Him more and more!

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Funny quote:

My little brothers; Tobin and Tucker, probably about 7 and 5 at the time:
Tucker: “What is the Grand Canyon?”
Tobin: “A place you go to see the sunset!”

Spring is here!

DSCN1940I love Spring, not only because it is getting warmer outside, but also because of all the new life! We may not always see the life springing forth all around us, but just imagine the insides of trees – their sap is running, their blood is flowing again! Little sprouts are shooting up all around us, and soon their colors will come bursting out into the world!

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Beautiful Blue Hyacinth!

Just recently, I saw a robin with a long piece of straw in its beak, it flew from one tree to another, looking for the perfect place to raise its young. Finding the most secure place to let her children hatch.

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Magnolia Blossom

In Spring the color of the world is renewed; after the whites, greys, and blacks of winter, everything is exploding with pinks, purples, blues, greens, reds, yellows, and so many more colors! The sky is a brilliant blue, the grass is a bright green; purple and white crocuses shoot up from the old dried leaves; pink, white, and purple-blue hyacinths grow tall in the protection of their own leaves, and dazzling yellow daffodils smile happily in the sunlight.

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Little Blue Scilla Flowers

Spring is here at last, the world is being refreshed, the birds are singing in the gentle breeze, and everything is bright and happy.

Everything is being created again by Jesus; the creator of all things!

Twilight

Just after sunset
Just after sunset

Twilight might be one of my favorite times of the day; for me, it is a time to snuggle up by the fire and read a book, to linger outside after a beautiful sunset, or sit outside and roast the last marshmallows by the dying fire 🙂

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Campfire

Certain nights, I’ll go out on the deck and listen to the frogs and crickets, while feeling the cool evening breeze on my face, it almost feels magical.  When I come back inside, I am met with a rush of warm air, and good smells, and a gentle yellow glow comes from a lamp in the corner, inviting me to come and read.

I can’t tell which I like more… the crisp, clear air, the sounds of crickets and frogs, and the clean invigorating smell of the outside, or the warm, cozy air, the smell of wood burning in the fireplace, the sound of quiet humming, crackling wood, and hushed conversation.

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Dusk

In the Fall I used to walk along a path that winds through our two forests, many times it would be after the sun had set. The forest on the western side of the path, would be lit softly by the fading light on the horizon, the forest on the eastern side would be dark and mysterious.  Both seemed enchanted in different ways; one seemed cold and dark, and the other seemed warm and inviting, like outside and inside, both made by God, and both perfect in its own way.

Magic, created by Jesus!

Sunset from the roof
Beautiful Alabama sunset!