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As the sun set gently over the mountain to the west, I looked out over the tranquil vista. Gathered with my family, my husband relaxing in his chair, my children playing around our campsite, our Labor Day weekend was perfect. There we were, experiencing the togetherness that camping in the great outdoors brings.

 

If only our next-door neighbor’s house wasn’t blocking the view.

 

So we don’t camp. I mean, we never have. Flash is definately a “if it doesn’t have room service and cable it’s not a vacation” kind of  guy. I camped as a kid, but you know, I’ve been happy to go with the flow for 20 years or so. But as scripture says, “See, I’m making all things new.” This is new. We are about to spend a month driving cross-country.  We’ll only have what we can take in our van, and camping is on the agenda. So, trying to be practical, I insisted that we practice.

Our view of Ken's house

The good news is, everything worked. The tent, purchased over 10 years ago on a whim and never out of the box before, was great. The air mattress stayed inflated. Of course, we did run an extension cord from the house, but the new battery powered inflater/charger thingy was working. The camp chairs–complete with umbrellas–were a hit. iPods, iPads and various electronica were all pre-charged. Geek family goes camping. It only took us an hour and a couple of verbal ripostes to get the tent itself set up. Our housemate Vivian, an experienced SCA camper, supervised and managed to not help us too much, even when we couldn’t quite get the tent stakes into the cement-hard earth. Taking pity on our bruised fingers she said, “You don’t really have to stake down the rain fly unless it rains.”

Our new camping stove was great. We got it out of the box, checked out all the necessary kitchen items I had packed carefully in the bin, and then drove to pick up McDonald’s for dinner. Who has energy to cook after all that tent stuff? But on our trip we won’t have excess funds for that much eating out, so some cooking is going to have to occur. I’ll remember to buy fuel before then. It’s on my list.

Backyard camping at it's best.

 

Ahem. Three am and the drumming of the drops woke me up. As the only adult in our family capable of functioning when suddenly awoken, I staggered around in the dark with a flashlight in my teeth and staked the rain fly, only getting somewhat drenched in the process. The good news was that the rain made the ground a lot softer… the stakes slipped right in, when I could see them to hit them.

All in all, it was a good experience. The rooster next door only started crowing about 4am, and I was too exhausted from my rain-soaked excursion to care. The boys were up with the sun, and Flash and I dozed late on our air mattress. Practice makes perfect. With that in mind, we still haven’t taken the tent down. Kinesis and Entropy have slept our there on their own two nights running. Flash and I however, are happily ensconced in our king sized bed with laptops, my 37th level worgen on WoW, and blessed blessed silence.  Our move is in less than a month now.  Maybe they’ll sleep out there every night?

I knew I’d like camping.

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I wanted to change the world.
But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. 
–Aldous Huxley
 
I’ve always been the stable one.  The level-headed, reliable, succesful doer.  I kept on going despite the odds, despite grief, despite tragedy, despite a full-time job and two needy kids and a career that demands perfection while paying lip service to forgiveness.  And this past February it all came crashing down on me.  All it took were a few emotional kicks from some angry people, and I dropped to my knees and broke.  Suddenly I couldn’t face the responsibilities of life that I’d been plugging through for the past 20 years.  My shell cracked and inside I found an overwhelming sadness that almost led me to take my life.
 
But I didn’t.  I reached out to my wonderful husband (we’ll call him Flash), and I was quickly in a treatment program, sitting in a room with people who had life stories that were far beyond my experience.  But I listened, and I learned, and it soon became clear that most of my problem was centered in the barrel of “should”s I carried around each day.  I should own a house by now.  I should spend more time with my family; no, more time on my career; no, family! 
 
Three months later, I’m on a new road.  Or soon will be.  I’ve taken a leave of absence from my job, and Flash and I and our two young sons–we’ll call them Entropy and Kinesis–are selling out or packing up everything in our four bedroom house to drive cross-country and focus on relationship with each other and reconnecting with grandparents and others.  And so I chose my blog title:  Ad Meliora.  To better things.  That’s where I hope I’m headed.
 
I’m RevMommy.  After almost 2o years as a pastor I’m changing direction.  It may bring me right back where I started.  But I suspect the journey is going to be interesting.
 

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