To call me a Happy Camper might sound like an oxymoron if you knew me growing up. I am proof that people do change. My type A – must have everything prefect self has mellowed a bit with age. Three years ago during the peak of the pandemic after homeschooling second grade while teaching graduate students online for five months I needed a break. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Scott suggested camping. I listed out all the reasons why I could not go- even going as far as saying I was scarred as a child camping. That might have been an exaggeration but not by much. I mean I literally have a scar from tubing the Buffalo River. Camping in the 80s was hot and sticky with chemical toilets and sweaty people in a Coleman Saratoga pop- up camper. Sometimes we had electric hookups and sometimes we did not. It was always summer and hot.
Momma cooking in the background while our friend Warren and I watch. I am guessing Ruth ( Warren’s wife) is taking the picture. I am not sure where everyone else is. I will have to look for more pictures from the 80s.
Fast forward 30 years. We first camped in Virginia in July 2020 as soon as the laws allowed. It was cool, peaceful, and unlike any camping trip I ever experienced. My family and friends were stunned that I went camping. The pandemic changed me indeed. In that moment camping forced me outside to see all of God’s beauty. For a few days I was not glued to maps, death rates, and sad news on tv. In fact, we were in a cell-free zone. It was so freeing. After the first night I woke up to the sun rising threw the mesh top of the tent snuggled in my sleeping bag. Who is this middle-aged woman I had become. Had I traded my beach condo getaways for a blow up mattress in a tent where bears roamed around? Yet in these very moments I felt God reassuring me that everything would be ok. I pulled away from my overly taxed schedule and was able to sit and be still. And that is the point after all. Taking breaks from our normal routine allows us to recharge our batteries.
So here we are three years camping in the same place that allowed me to unplug and focus solely on God and His glorious creation. Now, my mother in disbelief embarked on camping again. She made the prize winning Dutch oven chicken pot pie and blueberry peach cobbler. That part is still true about camping. We alway ate amazing food. We still do.
The latest camping excursion was Fall break. The temperatures were quite cool, the leaves changing, and bear stories around the campfire. Fortunately, no actual bears. Scott shared stories of camping in Virginia as a child. Momma talked about camping at Gunner Pool in Arkansas. Most of my memories are from Blanchard Springs in Fifty-Six, Arkansas. Funny how the memories come flooding back.
I am thankful Shelton loves camping. I am sad my 30+ year camping hiatus kept Braxton from the opportunity. Maybe she will take her family one day or even join us in the Blue Ridge Mountains for something unexpected and wonderful.
So friends do you camp? What are your favorite places and favorite memories? The series below make me smile. Unplugged and UNO over the years.
So friends after months of not blogging I am back. I am refreshed and finding my creative outlet. I’m back in the kitchen, reading for pleasure, and writing. Each Fall reminds me that the end of year is nearing. It reminds me that time waits for no one. It reminds me of my family.
So now to get on with the joy of life! What brings you joy? I’d love to know!