Monday, August 26, 2013

My Favorite Place

Reading by the lake.  Highly recommend this book!
This past week I spent out at the cottage and truly there is nothing like it. 

Not only is it a place to retreat to and get away from the busyness of life, but since I've been going there for as far back as I can remember it's also a spot that is chock-full of memories.

Like the time my two cousins and I camped out in a tent outside and stayed up all night laughing and having a blast while our parents were in the cottage unaware of what was going on until we were caught on our bikes at six in the morning.

Or the time when someone got spilled on by a glass of water and it turned into the biggest water fight I'd ever seen with everyone from kids to seniors taking part.

Or the year when I invited the college and careers group I was leading out for a day of Olympic Games that started with sparklers and an opening ceremony and included a canoe race to the island where you had to get out and do five jumping jacks before racing back in the canoe. It was such a hit that the following year I invited everyone back for a whole weekend and it was a memory making weekend of our own little retreat there and it's something that the people are still talking about to this day.

Or the weeks when I was younger and we'd go out with our grandparents and they would insist on doing all of our chores because "kids should have fun" and then they'd act like kids themselves with us: going for bike rides, having intense Scrabble tournaments, even playing touch football with us!

At the cottage every room has a story, every inch a memory, and to this day it's still my favorite place to be. It's also the place where I feel most inspired.

I love sitting around the campfire telling stories and sharing memories while the fire crackles and pops.

I love racing down the road that circles the lake on my bike and even though my injury prevented me from doing so this year, I loved walking and yes sometimes limping down that path.

I love pulling on my favorite sweater when the sun goes down and the temperature with it and walking through the leaves in the fall.

I love bringing friends out to experience this part of my world and seeing them come embrace it as well. 

And I love that all of these things happen at a place that isn't technically my own but feels like it is. My very generous aunt had a dream for a place that was simple and peaceful and would always be accessible and available to others and I have benefited from it time and time again. 

I once heard it said that those who are blessed enough to be at the lake are blessed enough; I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Giving Up The Balancing Act

Many times it's seemed to me that life is a balancing act. There are so many things vying for my time and attention and if I balance them just right then I can pull it all off and all is well in my world.  But what I've been learning is that the whole concept of a balancing act in many cases is nothing more than an illusion.  Let me explain.

Many of the urgent things that shout for my time and fill up my calendar at least aren't things that need to be on my plate in the first place.  Society, false messages and just ourselves can have us believe that unless we are balancing a and b and c and d, and don't forget about e, then we are somehow cheating ourselves and the people around us.  What I've been learning is that I often when I'm cheating myself, God or others it doesn't come down to my balancing skills, it comes down to filling my plate with things that should have never been there to begin with.

As a result I'm learning to define my life, and thus my time, by a very strict list of priorities, constantly reminding myself that urgent doesn't mean essential and that one day God is going to ask me what I did with what He placed in front of me and I'm going to be accountable for that; not for what I placed myself in front of or in the middle of.