Ah, camping. The time of year where we pay a small fortune to live like a homeless person. (I read that on a t-shirt!) Everyone smells like bug spray and has a slight sunburn. We trade in alarm clocks for bird song and happily equate a swim in the lake with the kids' bath time. We fished, swam, played games, and watched the stars come out over our crackling fire. When things started to go sideways fast, God stepped in and showed us that prayer is so much better than worry. Read on to hear what happened!
The past two weeks I have been away from my normal routine and usual conveniences such as indoor plumbing, soft couches, and refrigeration. To be honest, the thing I missed most was having a closet! Weird I know. I am a pretty tidy person and I nearly drove myself crazy attempting to put some order into six peoples' varied possessions that spilled over the table, the tent, and the campsite in general.
Of course, a little chaos is expected when tenting with four children. Chaos for the adults that is. Kids seem designed for camping! They slid into camp life with ease, happily toting water from the pump down the road, hauling firewood, and trotting through the moonlight to the bathrooms. My daughter loved doing the dishes outside—and her brothers were happy to let her!
So where were we camping? We visited Danielson Provincial Park in Saskatchewan. The huge Diefenbaker lake is man-made from a dam, and so it is long and comparably narrow. The wind whips down the river-like lake and it can get pretty choppy. We brought our new-to-us boat and went both fishing and tubing.
We've camped at Lake Diefenbaker before, but in a different Provincial Park. (If you plan on going, I can tell you which park is better!)
We hiked to the dunes and admired photogenic little cactus, wildflowers, birds, and bugs. During all our hiking expeditions, my daughter got (ahem) suddenly and overwhelmingly homesick (only curable by piggyback ride), so I definitely got in a workout toting her down the trails!
During our holiday, I was happy to check off a few boxes from my want-to-try list: geocaching and disc golf. The park offered the necessary supplies free of charge! Both activities are great with kids, and I highly recommend them both. We hope to try geocaching again, and this time we will come prepared with little treasures to leave in the caches!
To me, no holiday is complete without some sort of museum. We visited this cute little museum in Elbow and the accompanying “soddy” house. If you aren't familiar with the history, when the pioneers were first settling the area, there wasn't a tree to be found. So instead, they plowed up “bricks” of sod from the prairie fields and stacked them into a house that is both pleasantly cool in the summer and insulating in the winter! Talk about a fully organic house, right?! The soddy smelled rather earthy, and I'm sure bugs and critters were a constant problem, but after living in a little tent for a week, the soddy seemed spacious and homey to me, haha!
Camping is a bit of a "roughing it" holiday, but there are some definite perks. I managed to squeeze in three books, two Christian fiction novels and a devotional. Being away from home and living at a slower pace, I felt like I had time to dig into some thoughts that have been teasing the corners of my mind. I gained some new spiritual perspectives and feel mentally refreshed. (You can take a peek at what I was reading on my Instagram page!)
After we finished our ten days at lake, we continued our journey into southern Saskatchewan to spend a few days with my youngest sister and her family. Then we drove north again to visit another younger sister's family at her farm, and then we cut west and made a quick stop to see the house my parents just bought. It was nice to combine our holiday with visiting my family!
By the time we were home, we were all a little tired of being in the truck. It was starting to feel a little too lived in. (You know that moment you step out at a gas station and a water bottle, a toy, a box of tissue, and a few empty Tim Horton's cups tumble around your feet like confetti? No? Just me then?)
Our holiday was great. But it almost ended early.
Twice, we had unexpected troubles that threatened to derail our holiday. The battery on the truck was being sketchy, needing to be boosted twice. When we took the truck for a longer drive, it was clear that the battery was pooched, as the transmission wouldn't shift properly. We couldn't get up to highway speed. We were worried, wondering what we were going to do as we couldn't keep driving it like this. We were hours from the city, and you never know what amenities you'll find in a rural Saskatchewan town.
However, God had a plan. The VERY first thing we saw when we drove into a small town was a van delivering batteries to a small gas station/repair shop! If we had been just one day earlier, they would have been out of stock. God's timing is incredible!
Then, even worse, we had a wheel bearing break on the boat trailer. I'm talking smoke billowing and pieces flying off into the ditch. That'll get your pulse flying!
We were stranded on the side of the highway. My husband was understandably stressed, looking over at his family stuck hours from home and seeing our vacation evaporating before his eyes as he envisioned towing costs and repair bills. Once again, however, prayers were answered! After a few calls and a short wait, a service man drove up with his tools and got us fixed up on the side of the road and back on our way. (Turns out, this repair man grew up on the neighboring farm of my mother-in-law!) Sometimes we think that if God was really watching us, bad things would never happen. However, this hiccup to our road trip gave us a chance to respond in faith, to pray, and to lean on God's presence in the everyday moments.
Now that we're home, I'm eager to get back into research, blogging, and writing. I had thought I would rush straight to my computer when I got home, but the past few days I have been busy getting unpacked, cleaning the truck, house, and garage, and finishing up some organizing projects I started before our holiday. I'm grateful that I have a few more days off from my day job so I can knock out more to-dos before September rolls around. I love summer, and I'm not eager for the cooler temperatures, but mentally, I'm ready for consistency and routine. I'm also excited to finish up the devotional featuring my Bible short stories for you this fall!
So how about you? Did you go anywhere during your summer holidays? Do anything cool? If you blogged about it, drop a link in the comments and I will come and check our your summer fun!