Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crabtree Falls

This week most families across America dealt with school starting. Frantic efforts to get back on schedule and dig into bookwork was the norm, I expect.

Not so with our family.

Nope. While the rest of the world stressed out, we've taken a vacation. Yesterday and today, my dad had two days off work, and we've squeezed as much memory-packing into two days as we could.

Yesterday was spent around the house, with a busy morning and afternoon of canning in the kitchen for me, but oh such a fun evening! We intended to camp that night at a campsite, but we ladies were exhausted from our day in the kitchen, so our menfolk generously settled for a relaxing evening at home. Dad grilled some delicious burgers on his new (to us) grill for supper - which was yummy. Then everyone got out their instruments and filled the house with music.

That's always fun. ...Even if we are playing three different songs at the same time! Mom pleasantly surprised me by doing supper dishes for me (it was my turn) while all the commotion was going on. That alone made for a great evening for me!

Then Dad and I made some popcorn that, though I say it myself, was fabulous. Dad popped the corn in a big pot on the stove, while I melted butter and cheese to pour on when it was done. We lounged in the living room and watched some good old-fashioned black and white tv shows while we ate it.

Then we headed out to the backyard and roasted marshmallows over glowing coals and sang songs 'til late. Is there anything quite like the crispy sweetness of a 'mallow roasted to perfection? Is there anything like family voices blending together under the stars with a sweetness that makes you want to cry? Is there anything like watching firelight bounce and play with shadows on the faces of the seven people you hold most dear? Is there anything like strolling away from the fire, holding hands, looking up at the stars, and singing to the Lord together...alone? Is there anything like that?

It was a lovely evening. Even though it was so late when I hit the sack that I woke up tired today. It was worth it!!!!

Today we ate a quick breakfast (remind me to share that amazing blueberry-banana muffin recipe on here sometime!) before heading out. Dad and Mom were taking us hiking at Crabtree falls - the longest falls on the east coast.

It was worth the long drive. The beauty there took my breath away! And of course just being with my family all day long was great. I had some special heart-to-heart talks with several siblings as we hiked.

But by now I'm sure you're weary of my chatter, so I'll let the pictures some talking for me: (aren't you proud of me for including so many photos in one post? :):):)

These aren't in any particular order. This pic. was taken on the way down from the falls (we hiked from the bottom up). Justin thought it was fun to hide ahead on the trail, and jump out and scare me, who happened to be last in line. :):):) It worked, too!

This was on the way up. You can't see it, but the falls are really close to this stairway. Crabtree falls isn't one big "fall," but a loooooong trail of little ones. We were within sound, if not sight, of it during the whole hike (about 3 hours). I kept saying I want stairways like this in my house someday!!!! I love twisting stairways...and with a waterfall next to it? LOVELY!

Oh yes - pictures of the fall. I ought to include that, huh? *giggle* These are my lovely parents at one of the more level spots on the trail. (I'm not doing too good at cutting out the chatter, am I?)

We finally made it to the top! It was a very steep climb, and we were all glad to sit at the top in the cool breeze and feast our eyes on the beauty up there. Some nearby rocks presented the perfect spot for some pictures....

...I love my siblings!
(LtoR: Justin, Lezley, Tiffany, Heather, me, Curtis)

And because we like to be goofy once in awhile....

This picture of my older sis and me gives you a better look at the view:

And on the way back down we stopped at a few more places for pictures:

Hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into my day. I'm going to bed tired tonight, but happy.

I'm wistful, too. I can't help thinking what a lovely thing family is, but also how temporary it is. I can't hold on to my family forever - someday we will all have families of our own, Lord willing. We will always love one another, but things won't stay the same as they are now. My little siblings won't stay little. We won't always live in one house.

Sometimes it's hard to love so much. Sometimes it's hard to be so close. ...But somehow it's worth it. I wouldn't want to lose the pleasures of today because of fear of tomorrow. Sometimes I am afraid to love, because I am afraid to lose. But that's no way to live.

I've chosen to love with all of myself, and leave the future to the Lord. He is more than able to take care of it. He is more than able to give me the grace to grow with changing circumstances and not only adapt, but thrive. Isn't He good?

I've had fresh proof of His goodness lately. I've been wondering how to share this with y'all....Somehow it didn't want to come out right.

Psalm 20:6 says "Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand." I like that phrase; "Now I KNOW..." There's something about experiencing God's grace for yourself, instead of just "knowing" it's there for when you need it someday.

I've always been afraid of the time when my siblings and I start to grow up and start our separate lives. I knew we'd still love one another, but things would be...different. I wouldn't like it. I knew I wouldn't like it. I was very afraid.

But fear doesn't freeze time.

Things have come.

I've now faced - and begun to conquer - what I feel is the beginning of "growing up and out." To be honest, it's been such a deep, inner, struggle that I haven't written about it here at The Fruit of Her Hands. But now I have tried God's grace and found it true. It has held me. And so I want to tell you: God will come through!


Sarah G. said...

It sounds like your family had a wonderful day together! :) I love days like that - and I treasure them as I also know I will really miss this time in the years ahead when we're not together anymore.

We hiked Crabtree Falls last year, and it was such a beautiful area! It's not too far away from where we live...maybe about 40 min. or so? So y'all were in our neck of the woods! :)

Alethea Jordan said...

Ooohhh, you HAVE to share that recipe!! I want it! But wait until we get internet again (check your email).

hannah said...

Loved the post! Thanks for sharing your heart about your sweet times with your family. It is a blessing to have a close family. I have already experienced a brother getting married, but I know when one of the three of us remaining leaves it will take grace to walk through the changes.

Hey, Crabtree is not too far away from where we live! We hiked it last year. Enjoyed your pics and story.

Adelheide said...

What fun! It IS such a blessing to spend time with family. My family went hiking today also, and it was bittersweet because it is the last time we'll have a family adventure together for a time. The moments are fleeting--praise the LORD for every one we are blessed with!

Anna said...

great pictures! I love the ones of all the siblings on the rock! That place is so beautiful!

Sarah said...

What special times you all had together, Amber! And what a beautiful place! I am sure that you loved being there and spending that time with your family. :) I enjoyed seeing all of the photos and the 'sibling photo' was sweet!

Kaomi said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I have never run across yours before, but you can be sure I will visit from time to time now that I have. Yes, it looks like we do have several things in common. I am the second oldest of ten and like you, I am enjoying every day that we are together, because soon it will change. I thank God for the blessing of family, and I thank God that there are so many other girls (like us) out there who love Him. It is so nice to know we are not alone and to find encouragement in others writings. May God Bless you and yours,

Amanda said...

What a wonderful post! I loved hearing about the times with your family! I got chills on the paragraph about the fire... the time just sounded so special! I, too, have been thinking a lot about the "someday" when things will chane. It makes me appreciate the good times we have NOW, TOGETHER. These are happy years!

Amber said...

Hannah and Sarah; Wow, I love finding out that I have blog readers close enough to meet in person. I would LOVE to meet y'all sometime! Who knows - maybe we could hike the falls together someday. ...And of course we'd have to include some music in the day. :):)

Alethea, I will share that recipe on here sometime in the future, so stay tuned! :) You'll have to let me know how you like it. :)

Adelheide; aren't those bittersweet moments hard sometimes? ..But sweet too. I'm glad you know what I mean. Praise the Lord for those precious times!

Anna - thanks. :) I like the pictures too. Pictures are always so nice for bringing back good memories. :)

Sarah; yes, it was a special time, and yes it was BEAUtiful there!!!! The pictures don't do the place justice. Wish I could take you there and show it to you in person. :):)

Kaomi; Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you did, and hope to hear from you again sometimes. :) I'll be visiting you too. :)

Amanda - it's good to hear from you again! I've enjoyed reading your family's new blog. Here's a hug; ((((((((()))))))

Blessings to all of you!

Leah said...

Amber this is a great post, actually made me cry. Change is in the air here as well. We are in God's hands. When your life is given to the Lord it is always exciting to see what He will do next. Yet, sometimes we wish time would stop for a moment and give us a chance to cherish every moment. How easy it is to forget how precious this time is right now.

My Grandmother, who is now with the Lord, used to say: "Only one life t'will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."

Thank you so much for sharing.