Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It is hard to adequately explain my thoughts right now so I will keep it simple with a list of things I am thankful for this year:

  1. My husband, Don, who keeps my laughing and gives me great hugs. I am so fortunate!

  2. My cat, Yoda. I love cuddling with him - takes all the stresses away. I am so fortunate!

  3. My family - parents, brothers and sisters... each one has a special place in my heart for how they have influenced me. I am so fortunate to have a loving family who supports my endeavours.

  4. Friends who take time for me. Isn't that what friends are for? I am so fortunate!

  5. A home and a bed - a warm, safe place to lay my head. I am so fortunate!

  6. Clean water. I am so fortunate!

  7. Grocery stores with an abundance of food to choose from. I am so fortunate!

  8. A country that allows me the opportunities to worship God in the way I want, to have an education, travel freely and to have choices and make my own decisions. I am so fortunate!

  9. A rewarding job in which I can influence young lives through teaching. I am so fortunate!

  10. God who has allowed all of the above to happen - my creator, my hope, my saviour. Each day I begin my day by saying words of thanks to God for the coming events of my day, whether positive or negative. Life is never perfect, but no matter what comes my way, I know that God will be there to help guide me in my understanding to shape me into a better person.

This is such a beautiful time of year and I trust that all my family and friends will embrace the spirit of thankfulness and be content with who they are, their circumstances and their future endeavours.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Yurt Experience

I spent a few days this past week enjoying my first yurt experience in Bon Echo Provincial Park. Before I went I heard over and over again, "What is a yurt?" For those who do not now... a yurt: According to Wikapedia, a yurt is a portable, felt covered, lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in central Asia.

Since it was a cold, damp week I was thrilled that the yurt came with a great heater and electricity. All cooking and eating was done outside either on the bbq (which also came with the yurt) or on the stove in the shelter, so it still felt like camping.

Bon Echo is known for its rock cliff which juts straight out of the lake. The lake is the deepest lake in Ontario after the Great Lakes. The native peoples many years ago would come to the rock to contimplate and leave paintings. Sheryl and I rented canoe so we could get up and personal with the rock and go on the rock cliff trail. The views from the top are spectacular.

The pictographs.
The view from the cliff top.

Our sitting spot from across the lake on the top of the rock.

The autumn colours became more brillant as the week went on. The rock cliff changed throughout the day - from when the sun come up and the sun set on the lake.

The best part of camping at this time of year: the park was so quiet and we did not have to wait for the use of the showers.

Wildlife seen: chipmunks, squirrels, robins (shouldn't they have flown south by now?), blue jays, raccoons, deer.

The weather: Cold, wet, damp, sunny - we had it all.

Activities: canoeing, hiking, reading, thinking, relaxing, more hiking, more canoeing, more reading, more thinking, and checking out the visitor centre.

Best meal: steak done over the fire. There's no better way to eat steak!

Most embrassing moment: tripping over a rock (or was it my own feet) and ended up with some bruises.

Enjoy different views of the "sitting rock spot" - a great place just to contemplate, meditate, think and pray.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Family Time

At Radium Hot Springs

Resting at Dog Lake after a hike in.

In a previous post I mentioned how much I love the mountains and never got tired of watching them. While the views were spectacular, the best part was family. It was the first time in many, many years that Stephen and I have spent more one-on-one time together. Usually we are so busy between children and our professions that we have not really been relaxed to just enjoy each other's company. We often did not need a lot of words - it was just great to be around each other, something I hope can happen again.

I have always admired Stephen's passion for helping others so it did not surprise me that I saw this side of him camping as he took on the camp host role. He never was quick in doing his rounds in which he was suppose to count how many registered visitors there were are remind those who have not registered to do so. Stephen took his time to talk to the campers and get to know something about them. He also helped them with their difficulties. One was a motorcylclist who had hit a deer. He and his bike were quit banged up and Stephen spent time mending both.
"The Criminal"
Fort Steele

I also enjoy watching Stephen with his children - laughing with them, singing with them, playing with them, and talking with them. We all remember Stephen in his childhood, getting into all kinds of interesting situations all due to his curiosity and wreckless abandon. As an adult, it is good to see that he has not really lost that side of him. He is a true child at heart and I hope thia isnever lost. Stephen is a sensitive and understanding caregiver and I'm sure that his children will be fine, caring adults due to his influence.

Playing in the Kootney River
I loved spending quality time, whether it be just sitting around the campsite or playing a game, with Nathan and Kathryn. It's wonderful to see how Nathan is growing up to be a a fun-loving, friendly person who is smart and has a strong sense of self and of right and wrong. Kathryn is a risk taker who has a zest for learning, loves asking questions, and wants to be as grown up and do the same things as the rest of her siblings. This time with them is time well cherished.

The Mountains Shall Bring You Peace

Okay, I have been home now for two weeks and it is about time I let everyone know how much I enjoyed camping in the mountains. I had the best campsite - right on the river with the mountains as the backdrop. It rained on and off for our first three days. It was also on the cool side, although at night it was cold. It was so cold that I had to go into town and buy fuzzy, warm socks to keep me warm. I know - something Cathy hardly ever has to do!

Anyway, all the cold had its benefits. When we arrived the mountains were devoid of snow except the odd patch. When it rained on us it snowed on the mountains and after three days there was snow on the peaks. By the time we left, two weeks later, there was no snow again.
I loved seeing the changes over the two weeks I was there and watched the sky constantly. The darkness of an approaching storm was great to see.
Just as the title said, peace. There is more to this than just the view. It's the wildness of God's handiwork - the animals, the isolation, the majesty. Stunning!

The Kooteny Heart

*Most of these photos are taken from the campsite, or close to the site. Others were taken around Radium and one was taken at Fort Steele (the one with the buildings).

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Family Picnic

My favourite thing to do is spend time with family. Life can't get better than hanging with family - immediate family and extended family. Today, thirty-two of us got together for a picnic at Belfountain Conservation Area. It is a small, but very pretty park with a suspension bridge, man-made cave, hiking trail that is part of the Bruce Trail, water fall created from a dam, a fountain (although today the water was only a trickle), and a river. It also help that it is in the town of Belfountain in the Caledon Hills so even the drive to get there is picturesque.

It is so nice getting together and catch up on family happenings and keeping in touch with cousins I don't see very often. The older you get the more precious these times have become. I also enjoy seeing the family and grow as people get married and have their own families. It is then that you realize how fast time really does fly.

I have included many pictures - enjoy the show!

A caterpillar created quick the exciting moments when it fell on Jessica's sweater. They were fine with it crawling on their hands, but when it fell on Carol's foot it created quite the fun!

Caleb stole the show with his wonderful temperament. He sure loves the camera - and the camera loves him! I love this picture of Caleb with his great nana (Aunt Eva)

Our matriarch, Aunt Ivy.
What an incredible lady!

Barbara, in one of her famous poses - slouched in a chair, with her sunglasses on,
and a drink or a magazine in her hands. This time Carol joined her in creating the pose.
On our way home some of us stopped by the Caledon Badlands for more photo moments.
Awwww.... I finally get a good photo with my hubby!
The older they get the more you can tell they are brother and sister. I see so much of nana in them.