Monday, October 24, 2016

Hiking Horizon

Sunday afternoon, members of our church gathered at Camp Horizon, the United Methodist church camp near by. Katherine had symphony practice, so Rachel and I headed out for the fun.

Horizon is a beautiful place. It's built on a bluff overlooking the Arkansas River and the views are amazing.

We got there early, so Rachel and I hiked around a bit. We found a snake skin, which I found fascinating but Rae refused to come anywhere near it.

Eventually, other people arrived and we started the official activities of the day. About 50 of us, ranging from a 10 week old baby to people in their 80's, ventured out on a 3 mile hike through woods and prairie and rocky ridge. Our student pastor, Daniel, was our guide.
Daniel is much beloved by our church for his compassion and gentle humor and his quiet leadership. During the hike it also became evident that the kids of the church adore him.
Rachel and her friend Madeline spent most of the hike following at Daniel's heels, soaking up his every word.
Daniel, a seasoned hiker, had assured everyone that this hike was easy, nothing too taxing. However, most of us on the jaunt were not used to walking distances on uneven ground or climbing anything, so it was more strenuous that we'd anticipated!

But the scenery around us was beautiful...

...and the comradery was great. People moved forward and back along the trail, chatting as they went. Nearly half the hikers were children and they skipped from spot to spot with infectious enthusiasm.
It was wonderful to be out in nature, observing the details of the world around us, feeling the muscles in our bodies, talking and laughing with friends old and new. I think we all need to take more hikes.
We found our way back to camp just before the sun went down. Other church members had built a fire in the fire pit and we roasted hot dogs and made s'mores and ate together.

We all sat around, full and warm and surrounded by people we loved.  The sense of community and the satisfaction of just being radiated around us as we watched the sun set. And it was glorious.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pumpkin(less) Patch

Rachel and I went to the pumpkin patch with some friends today.
It was 78 degrees out. Not exactly crisp fall weather, but beautiful all the same. The pumpkins you see here were the only pumpkins we actually saw at the pumpkin patch because pumpkin patches are SO much more than picking pumpkins!

 Rachel and Madeline buried each other in the corn box.
They went down the big slides on gunny sacks.

They rode on the tire swing merry-go-round.

They rode the lawn mower pulled barrel train even though they were really too big.
And they jumped on the giant bouncy pillow. 

For two hours.

 Really, that's the reason Rachel wants to go to the pumpkin patch.

 Just to jump and bounce and turn cartwheels and do flips.

Over and over and over.
By the time we left, Rachel was covered in sweat and dirt and corn dust. We came home tired but happy. And without a pumpkin. But it was a great afternoon at the pumpkin patch.

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way