Have you ever met a friend in a TOTALLY unlikely place?
Some of my friends and I decided to head to the mountains for a small retreat. Little did we knew that the cabin we were going to was "over the river and through the woods"...literally. We had to drive through a creek and up a tiny loose, gravel road that was very steep. We drove for a long time. We NEVER expected to find anyone else at the top of that mountain. But there was another car.
The cabin had a small basement apartment rental that had not been rented when we left home. But by the time we arrived there was a renter.
My friend Cindy could only take it so long before she went and met the "lady downstairs." She went down and knocked. She was invited in and we would have been very worried except that we started hearing lots of laughing. By the end of the night we were all gathering on the front porch, making a friend in the most unlikely of places.
Danielle Austin was that friend we met on the front porch perched on the top of a mountain. I will always be grateful God interrupted her personal retreat and our small retreat to intersect our lives.
Danielle is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and owns Shine Counseling Services and is a Greenville, South Carolina native. She blesses people daily as she helps them heal.
I love summer time. A time to get together with family, and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, the grass beneath my feet, or if I’m lucky enough, the sand between my toes!! I live in the northern part of S.C. and we are very blessed with mountains, rivers, waterfalls, lakes , and the coast only a few hours away.
When summer is approaching, and I turn to the calendar to start to plan for refreshing getaways.
My mind turns to my mama. She gave me a love for the outdoors and the simplicity of fun. We grew up poor, but I didn’t realize that until I got older. She always made me feel like we were royalty. We didn’t have much, but it always seemed that we had more than enough.
The weekend would come. And mom would say, "Get dressed. Grab your bathing suits. We are going on an adventure." She would make bologna sandwiches, or peanut butter and jelly. Throw in a bag of chips and multi colored chek drinks in the cooler and we would be off.
“Mama, where are we going?” “It’s a surprise, Baby!”
We would drive and just pull over on the side of the road. At first, I was thinking is she crazy. What are we doing? She would say having a picnic? Me and my brothers would wonder if we were going to be having a picnic on the side of the road? She would grab everything and say, "Come on."
Through the woods me and my brothers would go following along. We could hear the roar of a river up ahead. The trees would give way to a fresh flowing river. Hopping along some rocks, mom would say “We are having a picnic here."
We spread everything out on top of the largest rock in the middle of the river, and would have a feast. (At least I thought it was anyway). We would spend the day swimming, laying out in the sun, and just enjoying the beauty of nature. Summer was always a time to get outside.
The next free weekend would roll around, and once again, Mama would say, "Let’s go." A few hours later we would arrive at the beach. One room hotel. Sleeping bags every where. Bologna sandwiches, cheetos, and chek drinks once again. Spend the day on the beach, riding ocean waves, laying out in the sun getting a tan. Listening to the radio and singing along. Laughing till the sun set. The simplicity of nature, the love of family, being together by the sea. Those were the days. We didn’t have much, but it always seemed to be a lot.
Thank you for the gift Mama. Even though you went to be with Jesus over a decade ago, your legacy lives on. My brothers and I still call each other and say, "Let’s go on an adventure." Doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, we know the simplicity of enjoying nature and each other.
Whether it’s a day by the pool, a picnic on a huge rock in the middle of a river, or a road trip to the beach, we were raised to enjoy God’s gift. And enjoy it we do!!!
Summer is here. It’s time to get outside! We don’t need much. A cooler, some sandwiches, a bag of chips, the smiles of summer continue!
There is so much that can be done to enjoy summer that doesn't cost a lot. Check out Brooke Perkins' post Chasing Bubbles. It is full of ideas!
Also, if you want to add some spontaneity into your summer check out Dig a Hole to China and A Spontaneous Summer Surprise. You will begin to let your wild side come out as you pass out shovels and run out in the rain.