Sunday, August 23, 2015

Camping 2015 - Trip #3 - the North Shore

Last weekend we went on our third camping trip of the summer. It was our second annual camping weekend on the North Shore with friends from church. we camped at Burlington Bay Campground in Two Harbors. We love the campground because we can have camping spots overlooking Lake Superior. Last year we went in June, and here are some comparisons regarding camping in each month:


  • The weather was more unpredictable - cooler, and wetter
  • No bugs
  • Campground not as crowded
  • Nice summer weather
  • Black biting flies always around
  • Campground was packed - many sites had more than one vehicle, and more than one tent. This made the roads in the campground less safe, and the bathrooms more dirty. The campground was still very quiet at night.
We enjoyed our weekend so much. Both my husband and our friends have motorcycles, so we trailered them and brought them with us. One day the four of us jumped on the two motorcycles and enjoyed a ride up Hwy 61, stopping in Beaver Bay for lunch.
Another day we packed a lunch and the 4 of us plus our dogs piled in the pickup and drove up to Grand Marais for the day. It was beautiful!
Each night we had a campfire and roasted marshmallows and made smores. Each morning we had our coffee while looking out at Lake Superior. We walked along the shore, and threw stones in the lake. We simply enjoyed the beauty around us, the company of our friends, and the relaxation that comes with being on vacation.
Here are some pictures from our weekend.
Here is our camper on the right, and our friend's camper on the left. 

This was the view from our camper:

Our "motos" - as my grandson would say -

Craig really liked this old logging truck we saw...

We stopped to check out this marina on our way up to Grand Marais.

The rest of these pictures are from Grand Marias. It was a hazy day so the pictures are not as bright as if it had been sunny.

We had such a good time that we made reservations to go back next summer - we're going to try June again.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Being Transplanted

My daughter moved back to her home state after living abroad for 6 years, and since the move we've had several conversations about how hard it is to make the change. She feels that she's left part of herself, part of her heart in the country she left. Even though she lived here for 18+ years, it doesn't feel like home anymore. After being here for 10 months she thought that she'd be farther along in this journey of change. She doesn't want to move back abroad, but grieves the loss of that place none the less.

Our conversations have made me think. After reading this blog about living abroad I knew that I wanted to write a blog of my own. So here are a few of my thoughts:

1. You don't need to move abroad to have these feelings. We've moved 3 times in 37 years, the farthest was 125 miles. Each time I felt lost and alone. I needed to make new friends, find a new doctor, join a new church. I didn't have roots in the new place.

2. You don't even have to move to feel uprooted, lonely, unsure. When my husband decided that we needed to attend a different church, I went through a time, a long time, of feeling uprooted. It wasn't easy making friends in the new church, finding a place of ministry where I could belong. It didn't feel comfortable, and I had no history with the people in the new church.

3. Whether you change churches, move to a new neighborhood, move to a new city, or move to a new country, it takes time to feel settled again. Sometimes it takes a lot of time.

4. Moving is like transplanting a tree.

My husband loves trees. He's transplanted hundreds of trees in the 37 years we've been married. Most of the trees he's transplanted have become beautiful mature trees. BUT - they didn't become mature overnight.

When a tree is first transplanted, it doesn't look like much. It's small, immature. Sometimes the tree will even look dry, droopy, wilted. It may look like it's not going to make it. The tree is in shock.

My husband takes good care of his trees. He starts by digging a good sized hole, and adds good black dirt. After he plants the tree he regularly waters it. He checks on it often. He clears the area around it so that it the wind blows through the branches. He talks to it (yes, he really does!) and he even has been known to touch the tree. He gives the new tree a lot of care and attention.

The first year the tree doesn't grow much. Sometimes there isn't even much growth the second year. Then all of a sudden it seems almost like we can watch the tree grow. 

When you move abroad or around the block you are like that tree. It's been a shock- you're uprooted. 
Here are some of my suggestions for putting down roots, experiencing growth after a move.

1. It actually starts before the move. Prepare yourself. Do your homework on the place you're moving to, pack some of your favorite things (don't get rid of all your stuff), and most importantly - pray about the move.

2. After you've moved, make sure you get plenty of exercise. Get fresh air every day, eat foods that are good for you. Feed your spirit too - read God's Word every day, and spend time in prayer. This is like watering a tree.

3. Allow yourself time to adjust. You will need a bit of time to grieve. You may droop a little. There may be days when you wonder why you ever wanted to move. Realize that these emotions are normal. Just don't stay there - don't allow yourself to wallow in this lonely place. Give yourself some "water", some pampering, some "fresh air". Remember that it will take more time then you want it to take. Hang in there. Some people don't give themselves enough time. They move again and again, searching for somewhere that's home. What they don't realize is that they haven't given themselves enough time to put down good roots.

4. Reach for the Son. Just as a tree stretches it's branches to reach the sunshine, so we need to reach for Jesus, God's Son. Allow Him to teach you, comfort you, give you His peace, His hope, His joy.

5. Start to grow. Look for ways you can get connected in the community and in a church. Realize that it will probably take a lot of effort on your part to make friends - since people who've lived there a while have already made connections/friends. Just as trees start to send out little roots, you need to stretch yourself, make connections. Explore your new neighborhood. Start a new hobby. Invite a neighbor to your home. Find somewhere to volunteer. Start to make new memories in your new place.

One day you will realize that it's happened. You feel almost at home in this new place. It may sneak up on you, this feeling like you're finally home. You'll look back and see that you've been growing, and you have new roots. It's time to celebrate!

Friday, July 10, 2015


It's finally summer. We've been waiting and waiting for warm summer days so we can be on the lake, grilling meals on the Weber, and enjoying lots of visits from family and friends. While spring came fairly early this year, summer has been slower to arrive. I'm not complaining - I loved the cooler spring days and nights, when there weren't any mosquitoes or deer flies. But now it's July - time for summer!

I'm reminded of a song from "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" where Snoopy sings

It's suppertime. (click to hear the song on YouTube)
Yeah, it's suppertime.
Oh, it's sup-sup suppertime very best time of day.

Br-r-ing on the dog food, bring on the boneBring on the barrel and roll me home'Cause it's supperSupper, supper, supperSupperSuper, pepper upperSupperSuper duper suppertime

But in my mind I hear these lyrics:
It's summertime,
Yeah, it's summertime.
Oh, it's sum-sum-summertime very best time of year.

Bring on the boating, bring on the sun,
Bring all the grandkids, it's fun, fun, fun!
'Cause it's summer,
Summer, summer, summer,
The best time ever!
Sum - sum Summertime!

Enjoy a few pictures of our summer so far.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Minnesota State Parks - Camping 2015 - Trip #2

For our second camping trip of the summer we headed south to Father Hennepin State Park. This weekend we brought two campers - because we had company this weekend - our daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

We had two campsites that backed up to each other in the Maple Grove campground. The sites were very private and very large. There was a pretty little path that went from one site to the other.

 The park is not big, but very pretty, with nice hiking trails, and a wonderful sandy beach. There were also two boat landings and several fishing piers, but we didn't bring a boat or fishing tackle this trip. we mostly enjoyed being together, and especially watching Micah explore the great outdoors.

Our grandson loved camping. He loves being outside all the time anyways, so campng was almost like heaven to him. He spent lots of time playing in the sand, throwing rocks in the water, playing in the water at the beach, and doing anything else he could find to do. 

This picture shows how he would splash the water, and when it would splash on his face he would say, "Ouch!" then laugh and do it again.

Father Hennepin State Park is a great park for family or group camping. The other campround in the park, called Lakeview Campground  had sites that were more open, perfect for groups. There is also a special group campground. The state park would also be great for people who want to camp and go fishing on Lake Mille Lacs.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Minnesota State Parks - Camping 2015 - First Weekendi

This year we are continuing to check out the wonderful state parks here in Minnesota.
In May we went to Itasca State Park. 

We spent the weekend hiking and biking, exploring the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Itasca is a beautiful park. 

The campsites were nice and the park was very clean. 

 The biking trails were especially nice - paved trails from one end of the park to the other.
We biked 10 miles on Saturday - pretty good for two people who hadn't been on a bike since last summer. 

We also enjoyed visiting the museums in the park, learning more about the history of Minnesota, especially about the Mississippi River.

We visited the headwaters of the Mississippi river twice. The water was too high to walk across, but it was fun to see it.

We enjoyed our stay at Itasca State Park.


We also came back with an idea to make a bench like this one...

 Check back soon and hear about camping trip #2 ....

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Sounds of Springtime Up North

  • The splash from the loons' feet as they dive under water 
  • The croaking of the frogs in the ponds along the road
  • The crunching of the leaves as the squirrels scamper through the woods
  • The quacking of the wood ducks as they swim by the dock
  • The drumming of the woodpecker on a hollow log
  • The gentle crashing of the waves on the rocky shoreline
  • The hoot of the owls calling back and forth in the woods
  • The purr of a 4 wheeler in the distance
  • The gentle whisper of the wind
  • The peaceful, warm silence of the sunset on my face

Monday, April 13, 2015

Family Weekend

At the end of my Spring Break week was the best weekend ever - time spent with our kids and grandkids! We spent Friday afternoon and evening with our daughter,Carrie, and our grandson, Micah. On Saturday we picked them up and went to a robotics competition where my son-in-law (Carrie's husband, Mardo) was a coach. 

The robotics competition was so interesting! Teams of high school students had designed, built and programmed robots to perform the tasks necessary for the competition. Then the teams made alliances with other teams so that both could score more points during competition. Finally, with 3 teams on each side of the "ring" the robots (with the students directing them by remote control) raced against time to score as many points as possible. When the teams weren't competing they were in the "Pit", working on their robot or talking with spectators.  It sure was fun to see it all!

When we left the competition, Carrie took us to the Midtown Global Market for lunch. 
There was quite a bit to see at the market, and it reminded me of Antigua, Guatemala. 

I fell in love with this giraffe...

.....while Craig really liked this gas pump.

But the we both loved the food. After looking at all the food booths, we decided to eat Mexican. Carrie said that Mardo gave this place his "stamp of approval" when they had eaten here a few weeks earlier. He said that the food tasted like authentic Mexican food.

I decided to order the enchilada platter. Craig ordered the torta, a Mexican style sandwich. Everything was delicious!


Later that afternoon we went to our meet our boys and their girlfriends for supper and a MN Wild hockey game on TV. We met them at our son's (Aaron) house and had a super evening.

Sunday was Easter. We started off the day by visiting our oldest son's church.  Brenton and Stephanie met us there. Brenton and his son, Andrew,  were volunteering in the nursery - so Micah stayed in there with them. Stephanie had gone to the earlier service, so after saying hello to us she, Jacob and Isabelle went home to start lunch. After church we all went back to their home - and Aaron, Jeff and their girlfriends met us there. We had a wonderful lunch - but the best part was having the whole family together. It was fun watching Isabelle give Micah an Easter egg hunt. It was great watching Jacob and Andrew play outside. It was so nice to see the "girls" - Stephanie, Carrie, Whitney, and Jamie- talk as they got the food ready, and to see Brenton, Aaron, Jeff and Mardo hanging out together. 

I just love being with my grown up children (and their spouses/girlfriends.) I am so thankful for the adults they've become. I appreciate their advice, enjoy their humor, love the fact that they care about each other, and most of all, I am so happy that they all are believers. They trust God, they pray and they believe in the power of prayer, and they are working at being the men and women that God wants them to be.

I  also love my grandchildren. They are beautiful kids, they are talented, they are loving, and they have great relationships with their parents.  

We ended the afternoon with a walk around Brenton and Stephanie's neighborhood. It was nice to be able to be outside together without needing boots, gloves, snow pants, etc. 

The perfect weekend after a perfect week. I am sorry it's over - but I have great memories because I have a great family! I am already looking forward to our next family gathering.... maybe on the 4th of July?