Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sleeping Bear Dunes

This is a picture of my son and his family at the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

In my July E-newsletter, the A Little Think article was about the Sleeping Bear Dunes. If you missed that article, you can find it here.

After reading my article, my daughter-in-law, Katie wrote to say; "The wait was worth it! Much better in the daylight! What an incredible expanse of natural beauty at your finger tips. After the drive through the National Forest we had to climb to the top of Sleeping Bear or at least to the second hill from the parking lot. God has created an enormous sand box and I loved playing in it with my family on a sunny Michigan afternoon."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Don't Know...

Spontaneity can be either my curse or my blessing. A friend gave me a little kitchen sign that reads, “I am subject to bursts of enthusiasm.” I know being everybody’s cheerleader can be annoying, but it’s in my DNA, so I’ll probably stick with it!

I figure YOU DON’T KNOW... "unless." Like this week, when our grass needed mowing, my husband was really busy at the office and I saw the lawn mowing service in the neighborhood. I thought about it, really pondered it and decided it was a little odd, but I walked across the street and watched the guy standing on the big mower going up and down my neighbor’s hill. He had to see me, I was right there-- but no acknowledgement. Should I leave and pretend I just wanted a close up of his mower? Finally he turned down his engine, stepped off his mower, politely irritated to have broken his momentum.

I broke into a song and dance about would he be willing to simply mow one little section of our front yard so my husband could see what it looked like in case he ever needed help? I’d pay for it. Ok, he’d swing by when he finished the neighbor’s.

By the time he got over to our place I’d grabbed some Queen Anne cherries picked two days earlier! Yep…I walked over with the box to thank the guy and tell him he’d done enough. But wait….he wanted to do the whole side yard. He really did. No money. I held out the cherries, “Washed, from Michigan. “Where in Michigan?” Arcadia. “I grew up in Manistee!” And we were off and running. In fact it was so much fun to talk about Michigan, that we both forgot we were standing in Collinsville, IL “The horseradish Capitol of the World.”

By the time we compared Light House and fishing village stories, his two buddies had joined us for cherries and conversation. The whole thing took about 10 minutes, plus 15 to mow the yard. But out of it came a good feeling of helping out on their part and a grateful feeling of being helped on mine. A connection was established for... who knows what. They really enjoyed the cherries and I really appreciated them. We connected on a kindness level.

The side yard looked great; mowed, blown off, trimmed. They left their business card and I hoped my husband would call. He noticed, but actually mowed it over next day and said he needs the exercise. So my surprise was not for him at all. It was for me and a few young men who probably needed some Queen Anne’s to feel a bit like royalty for a few minutes in my front yard as I raved over their work. I‘ll see them again. I’ll refer them to other yard owners. Who knows where else that spontaneity on my part and theirs will lead? God has these little appointments waiting for us. They do pass if you let them. What good does it do? YOU DON’T KNOW... unless.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What's Up with That?

It’s a pretty sure bet that kids and teens constantly using cell phones put themselves at risk from the side effects of radio frequency radiation. Good luck getting your under eight kids to only use a cell phone for emergencies, and teenagers to cut down their calls to less than 10 minutes. Logic does not always prevail. Along that line, today I saw about 20 kids playing dodge ball on a tennis court with their camp counselors. Fun! Then I saw their footwear. Flip flops… on concrete courts. What about foot support and tripping on the court? I file it under “I don’t get it!”

It’s like women, us, wearing flip flops all day as a fashion statement. I think, “stupid.” But I proudly pranced in spike heels the last time they were “in,” to work in downtown Chicago. I strutted from the Chicago and Northwestern commute to 1 North Wacker Drive in those things thinking I was so “hot!”. Did I mention Crocs, which are a totally fun look, but why, for any length of time (like all day)…would one stuff their feet into plastic? This is when I feel really old…when I just don’t “get it!”

What do you think... what’s up with that?

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Olympic Event

My summer Olympic Event is going on right now! 17 of our family are in The Cottage, welcoming its 4th generation in Michigan. Getting here is both exhilarating and exhausting. Fuel prices aside, 4 come from the UK, minus luggage, which every year ends up in limbo upon arrival or departure. Fun with 4 and 2 year olds! 4 different States are represented as well. And 17 different personalities, needs, expectations and contributions!

We enjoy traditions passed down through the years. Like who can spot the church steeple first while driving into town on M-22 or making footprints of each child's first summer in wet concrete along the driveway. My kids finally confess their youthful antics, now that they have kids. I'm glad I didn't know! We challenge each other's "elephants" in the living room! Good times. Growing times.

I no longer try for the perfect vacation here, like the perfect Christmas. I get my clue from the Bible verse, "Times of refreshing come from the Lord!" It can be anywhere anytime. I simply want this cottage to be a haven of safety and peace. I want weary travelers through life to pause here and be free to be who they are without apology. Maybe even for them to be smoothed like the rocks in Lake Michigan get smooth by bumping against each other in the waves. The calm always follows the storm. My heart is gladdened by the love and respect our four adult children show one another. I delight in seeing their children interact, most of the time! All of them visit other parts of the world, but The Cottage beckons with wondrous awe.

Is it because it's the land of their beginnings? Is it the awesomeness of living right on Lake Michigan's unpredictable shoreline, seagulls swooping, fish eluding, sunset setting, night star covered location? Yes, partly. But even more it's roots...being rooted in family, the parts that work and those that don't...yet! It's using my mom's rolling pin and Fiestaware and remembering our my conversations with my folks sitting by the water's edge, floating, fishing and skiing on it.

When our kids were little, my sister and I shared the cottage. When we're expanded to 12 people our parents announced, "We're going to build next door and you guys can come over for pancakes on Saturdays!" Which we did...with lots of daily visits thrown in! My sister and I, with 7 children between us, marked cans and cereals with our initials and had fun sharing the old cottage. We gave each other space and helped each other out. One time I was dashing off to play tennis and noticed my sister's laundry in the washing machine. I thoughtfully tossed it in the dryer. Later she told me the laundry load had only paused after the pre-rinse cycle! Big help that was!

Send me your Olympic summer event! Let me know if I can share it on this page. I know there are plenty of stories going on out there. Send pictures, too! Whether your "event" is organized chaos like ours with the feeding of the 17 three times a day plus snacks while soaking up a few moments of Great Lakes glory...or something else....enjoy the "event." It will soon be a memory, part of the heritage you pass on. It's your opportunity to take home a medal on this one. There are no losers in seasonal celebrations like summertime!