And, now I plan to return to the blog world, sharing the ups and downs of parenting 7 awesome children, 4 of whom are 10 and under. I hope the posts will once again be more regular, that I can share all that God is doing, while keeping it real.
We were on spring break two weeks ago. The kids and I did LOTS of long-overdue cleaning, AND we managed to have some fun.
On one of the those days, I was blessed with an invitation. Caleb, who had only been home from his recent submarine underway a few weeks asked me if Josie-Tatum and I would like to join him and Casie canoeing at the Okefenokee Swamp. My heart sang, remembering when he was younger, how he and I went canoeing on 2 different trips and took a small motor boat on another.
I guess his memories of those days are as fond as mine, if he invited us to go now when he is an adult.
The weather was beautiful, albeit cloudy. That, however, kept us from getting too warm.
We paddled along the trail recommended by the lady who took our money at the visitors' center. We saw a few alligators and turtles. Then we came up on a dock. While resting a bit, we took a photo:
While we were here, a group of tourists speaking more than one language asked if I would take their photo. I agreed, of course, and learned they were from France! Wow! They were from France, visiting Florida, choosing to canoe the Okefenokee. Remember them, they will play another part soon.
Exit stage left: Robbie, Caleb, Casie, and Josie-Tatum. We left...intentionally ahead of the French group because they were kinda slow......
As we paddled back to the dock, 1 1/2 hours away, the breeze shifted, and the clouds rolled in. Ahead of us, we saw a father and his son tip their canoe over. Not....comforting. The father did not use language I was afraid we might hear. He used it as an opportunity to teach his family how to empty a canoe of water....Glad, we did NOT need that lesson.
We paddled past them when we learned they were all going to be okay. No alligators were chasing them. The dad was standing is waist deep water and the remainder of his family was in the other canoe while he continued with his lesson.
The wind began to blow stronger and often Josie-Tatum and I found ourselves pushed into the bushes...not paddling down the creek. She began to freak out occasionally. Then it began to sprinkle.
I'm okay, I can handle sprinkling....until it began to rain...yeah, nice steady rain where the creek ran back into the river. I took off my glasses since they are not equipped with wipers and enjoyed the view through my own lenses which provide a good solid 20/250 vision. I was tempted to grumble when I thought about how I really wanted Josie-Tatum to leave the swamp with good memories....so....
We began to praise the LORD. We sang and we sang. The wind blew and we found our way into the bushes...um....often. Caleb and Casie were growing further ahead of us....you tend to go much faster in a straight line, rather than the zigzag path from one side of the river to the other. I continued to sing. Josie-Tatum's song was growing weak.
Then, somehow, as we headed into the bushes again...and I tried to correct our direction, the wind blew and we got turned around. There we were facing one of the French men we had taken a picture of earlier. He was not one of the men who spoke English. He kept waving his hands at us and making a a turn around gesture with his index finger.
I was so frustrated I began to laugh hysterically.
Then, somehow we were turned so that we were perpendicular to the flow, when another canoe full of French tourists ran into us. Good thing, though. They grabbed our boat and turned us around.
Just in time for me to see......
Another tour boat full of people watching the show.
I greeted these tourists like I did those earlier and once again let them know we were NOT part of the show.
Somehow, Josie-Tatum and I finally made it back to the dock. Caleb and Casie were standing at the water's edge, in the rain, waiting on us.
Look back at the photo of JT and me earlier.
Now look at this one:
Life is like that, you know. The unexpected. The detours. Sometimes we even get turned around. There may be an angel or a Frenchman directing you to the path. Total strangers may push you in the right direction. We don't get to choose the obstacles we face, but we will face them. Our choice is how we handle the adversity. We can whine and complain...or we can praise Him in the rain.
I'm always good at giving too many details, so let me share this one with you. I had a sweater in the van, so I took of that pink tank top and bra and wore only the sweater home. I had not intention of getting out. I even took off my wet shorts, and wrapped myself in a towel. I drove home half-dressed. Josie-Tatum thought I was crazy.....
Crazy thing is: I'd go back for a canoe ride with my son, his wife, and JT again, anytime, even if there was a chance of rain.