Thursday, July 30, 2009

When Pigs Fly...

I dream of being able to be at home to clean and decorate. I've been wanting very much to work with my hands more. My mind is full of sewing projects that I'd love to be working on. A few days ago I found some cute flannel at a Walmart that still had a fabric department and had to buy some. Who knows when I'll have time to use it, but the pieces were so cute and less than $3 a yard!
I just love this "piggy-pattern"!

I want to make a light, double-sided crib blanket/ recieving blanket with these two. I plan on embroidering "Coakley" (our last name) on the pink plaid side and binding the edges in pink satin.

I'm not sure yet what my plan will be for these. So many ideas, so little time! One has pink butterflies and pink ribbons for breast cancer. My cousin just had a bi-lateral masectomy only two months after the birth of her first child- a beautiful little girl! Pretty sure I'll come up with an appropriate project.

I found this pencil case for $1.50. Isn't it cute? Paul tore his belt loop the other day and I hadn't brought any sewing supplies with us this trip, so I picked up a little kit to get the job done and tucked it in the case. Perfect!

I'm sure I'll get around to all my sewing projects eventually- hopefully before pigs fly!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beaver Lake

Sunday. July 26th. Feast of St. Anne

Last night, we went down to the lake at dusk. The lake was so still. The outline of the hills was dark and hazy. It was so beautiful!

Later, as we were roasting marshmallows, someone set off a lot of fireworks over the lake and we could see them glittering through the trees. A racoon made his way in to our camp as we sat around the fire. The dogs scared him off pretty quickly.

I made breakfast over the campfire this morning. We enjoyed tomato, green pepper and cheddar omlettes with texas toast and hot apple cider. There are few things as wonderful as meals cooked over a fire.

We packed up camp and went down to the lake for some snorkeling and kayaking. Paul helped perfect the dogs swimming skills. Bella's always been afraid of water, but she wasn't about to let Snoopy get her tennis ball when Paul threw it into the lake.

The lake was the best lake I've found for snorkeling, so far. The lake has been flooded since spring so some of the campsite are under water. Technically, they don't want people hanging out in that area, but the stone barrier surrounding the former campsites is under water and has become a home for lots of fish. I spent over an hour swimming and taking pictures of fish.

We paddled around for an hour or two. There were some great cliffs and overhangs. All and all it was a lot of fun.

Sadly, I failed to apply the proper amount of sunscreen and ended up so burnt that I was in tears as I went to bed (more on that later).
There was a 4pm Life Teen Mass in Rodgers that we went to. I literally cried several times during Mass because of how amazing God can be and because I was homesick for Franciscan.

We parked for the night at Walmart. It was directly across the street from the spot were Sam Walton opened the very first Walmart (La-di-da!). I was in so much pain from the sunburn that we googled ways of taking the sting away and discovered that vinegar is supposed to do the trick. Paul went and bought Aleve, white vinegar and aloe.

The directions said to soak strips of cloth with vinegar and leave it on the skin for 20 minutes. I looked like a mummy and smelled like a pickle/salt and vinegar chips. Yuck! It didn't seem to help much, but that could be because I had shaved my legs that day AFTER swimming (I know-STUPID!).
What did help a little was Paul going across the street and bought me a Key Lime Concrete. They put a whole slice of Key Lime Pie in a blender with vanilla ice cream. YUM!
In the words of that song that came out around the time I graduated high school- "Don't forget the sunscreen!"

Leave it to Beaver!

Saturday. July 25th.

I am typing to you from the shores of Beaver Lake Arkansas. The sun is dappling the trees and through those same trees I can see the sparkle of the lake. Paul’s …

Sorry, I was just interrupted to go chase Bella who broke her collar and went chasing after a tiny poodle!

As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, umm, I don’t remember what exactly I was saying. Anyway, we are staying at Rocky Branch Camp and Marina run by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The couple that oversee together during the summer are in their late 60’s or 70’s. They were telling us how they trucked together for 45 years! I’m having fun traveling and being paid to see the country, but 45 years! Yeah… no. Don’t think that’s going to happen. Trucking is perfect for now, but someday I want to live at home and travel just for fun.

If anyone is ever thinking about camping at Bear Lake (between Rogers and Eureka Springs), I will share this with you: the campground is right on the lake and they have a nice marina and little beach area for families, there is some great fishing (we have a catfish head left by the last camper for us to prove it!) and pretty little camp spots, but I have yet to find any running water. The bath houses are glorified jonny-on-the-spots (yuck!) and there is supposedly one shower bath house, but I haven’t found it yet. Some might say its better than nothing, but I might feel more inclined to dig a hole than to brave the smell without a clothespin for my nose! It is a lovely place to camp, just be sure to bring bottled water, baby wipes and hand sanitizer.

Hubby pitched the tent while I gathered firewood. He also repaired the holes in our air mattress (Before I was married I would’ve scoffed at anyone who needed an air mattress and called them a “mambsy-pambsy” as my father says. Guess the laughs are on me now!), inflated it and put up the hammock. Then he ran the extension cord out across the campsite and hooked up the computer for me. Not sure what else I was doing…oh, yeah, I “TESTED” the hammock. Ya know- had to make sure it was safe and all that good stuff. God love husbands! I never go camping without one! Oh, and he removed the before mentioned catfish head. The man is a saint, I tell you!

The sun has gotten lower and the sky is turning pink and peach with a purple haze. Everything feels perfectly mellow. Paul took the dogs down to the lake and worked with them on their swimming skills and then by the playground where they were big celebrities with all the kids. By the time they got back here they passed out from exhaustion. There’s nothing better than sleeping outside on a summer evening, especially when the heavenly aroma of a cedar campfire is on the breeze.

I wonder who the patron saint of camping is? You’d think I’d know! Guess I’ll have to look into it. Thank you, Lord, for nature and the opportunities you give us to enjoy it.

Hubby must have read my mind because he just started the fire! I’m going to go enjoy it and him (and marshmallows)! Au Revior!

Rogers, Arkansas

Paul and I spent Saturday exploring Rogers, AR, a very quaint little town. At the farmers market by the train station, an ancient cowboy sold us peaches out of the back of his pick up truck. We wandered down streets painted with drawings by locals. I snapped pictures of butterflies in the town park while Paul found geocaches.

My dear husband, who is not a museum fan, took me to a fun little "hands-on" museum. And he even enjoyed it! He then made the ultimate sacrafice and went with me on a tour of an old victorian era home. He did warn me not to get too used to this. Luckily, I know he's a sucker for making me happy.

We enjoyed lunch at Las Palmas. Best. White. Cheese. Sauce. EVER! Cold beers. Las Palmas was decorated with a beautiful cross and a huge carved friar. Our friend, the Friar, allowed for a perfect photo op since Paul felt similiar to how our Friar looked!

We found a B.B. gun museum and a Vespa store before driving out to Beaver Lake for a weekend of camping.

Life is Good.

Monday, July 27, 2009

29 Years- I've Earned 'Em!

Today I turned 29. There are so many wonderful memories to look back on and events to look forward to. I've had to work hard to earn those 29 years. I've lived 29 years loving my God, my family and my friends. I lost loved ones, I've rejoiced at new lives, I've been touched by so many and, God willing, I've touched the lives of many. I've been stupid, stubborn and sinful. I've also used the gifts God has given me, been joyful and been filled with love and happiness. I've had dreams come true and I look forward to seeing my present dreams come true.

One of my best friend's celebrated her birthday last Monday by going to Mass and confession and then visiting people in a retirement home. I think this is just one of the most beautiful ways of celebrating life! She shared herself with others and spent quiet time with our Lord. She was telling me how a friend of hers had spent her birthday by serving others. What a beautiful, beautiful thing!

Paul and I spent the day in the truck, but it was wonderful just being able to spend time with eachother. He bought me a beautiful rose arrangement and let me pick out a very crazy and fun birthday cake. Cherries were a dollar a pounds so hubby bought two big bags and spent half the day lying in the bed (I have HORRIBLE sunburn on my legs!), eating cherries and watching season 2 of Gilmore Girls.

Sunday was the feast of my patron saint, Saint Anne. St. Anne is my role model. The patron of Grandmothers, Mothers and Housewives. I hope to live up to the honor of being named after such a wonderful saint. She already helped me find my man, now we're working on the mom part : )

Thank you, Lord, for my wonderful life!

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age. - Robert Frost

Dog Days of Summer

Living with two dogs that weigh about 50-60 pounds in a space the size of a broom closet is always an adventure. Good or bad…well, like I said, it’s always an adventure!

Last night, as we were driving through Oklahoma and I was surfing the net, our dogs, Bella and Snoopy, became a little stir crazy. We’d let them out about an hour earlier, but we’ve had two long weeks of long hauling back and forth from TX to NC, NC back to TX, TX to MO and so forth. Paul and I have been getting pretty stir crazy, so I know the poor dogs had had it.

They started bouncing all over each other, tugging at ears, barking and rolling around all over the floor of the truck. Hyper crazy dogs!!! Then they decided to try to play with Paul but he yelled at them to get back, so before I knew it they were on top off me and the computer. Snoopy was on top of my lap attempting to give me great big slobbery kisses! I yelled at her and shooed her off me, but we were a tangle of arms, legs, wires and drool.

As soon as she was on the floor I looked down at my laptop and there were two key missing. I flipped! My mom bought this computer for us this spring and we just paid her back this past month for it. Boy, did I yell at those “bad dogs!” I was able to pop the key back on after a few minutes, but I was pretty irritated until I noticed that Paul was silently laughing. I did NOT find this to be funny!

Paul motioned with his eyes for me to look down at the dogs. They both were lying on the floor with their heads on their paws. Their eyes were both watching my every move with that “We’re really sorry- we didn’t mean it!” look. How can anyone not forgive puppy dog eyes? They looked so sad!

My favorite dog in the truck story was the time we were cooking with a little propane single burner on the floor of the truck (yes, the windows were all wide open!). We had put the dogs on the front seats while we were cooking, but Snoopy decided she had to jump down and check out what was going on. She kept turning around, not sure what to do as she was excitedly trying to see what the stove was and as Paul was telling her to turn and get back in the seat. Next thing we knew, her excitedly wagging tail was lit up like a candle! She didn’t even know what was going and thought Paul was trying to play a game as he stomped the flame out! Yeah, CRAZY dog!

Bella had ten puppies while Paul and I were on our honeymoon and at one point we had ten puppies living in the truck with us! Fun times. They were so rolly-poley and cute. Paul would let them out at rest areas and run back and forth with them chasing after him like he was the Pied Piper! They were so cute, but got big so quickly. One by one they found new homes, but we could never give up Snoopy. She was “daddy’s girl.” Even though I had a strict rule of “NO DOGS on the BED!,” I would find her tiny little body curled up asleep next to Paul on his pillow. What could I do? Yeah, you know what I did. I grabbed the camera and snapped pictures until I woke them both up.

Aaaahhhh, [big sigh] Dogs. Ya can’t live with ’em (okay, maybe you can, but honestly, what fun would that be?), ya can’t live without ’em!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Summer Reading Indulgence

Last summer, my youngest sister, Maria, introduced me to the wonderful world of Regency Romance as penned by Georgette Heyer. I was very skeptical since these stories were termed as "Romance" and the old paperback copies my sister loaned me looked very much like the stacks of thrashy romance novels that I believe would be perfect for helping me to light our woodstove on frosty mornings. But I know my sister well enough to know she would never recommend such junk.

I was becoming somewhat desperate for good reading material since I can devour at least one book a day while we are trucking. These books have become the balm for my travel weary soul. Once I begin reading I can't put a book down. It's honestly the next best thing to our dear Miss Jane Austen!

The only problem that I've had is that they are just beinning to reprint these books and ebay shops tend to only sell one of Miss Heyers books in with a lot of 5 or 6 novels that I wouldn't bother with. Lucky for me my cousins and sisters have scoured the internet and thrift store to find old copies (sometime the covers are very decieving and have NOTHING to do with the story) and they have a great collection which I've been bumming off of them. I haven't gotten to read very many yet since I don't get to see the girls very often, but hopefully I'll get my hands on a few more soon. And, as I said, they are beginning to reprint them, so some are available on amazon, etc.

If you are looking for an enjoyable escape from reality as you enjoy the shade of a tree in your yard or travel to visit the family this summer I would recommend popping one of these books in your carry on. It will make your summer just that much sweeter and more relaxing.
I think BBC should make these into movies now that all of the Austen movie have been portrayed on the screen. There are such a limited supply of stories like these with dashing men, evil villans, and lovely ladies of court.

Here's a little something from a site I came across:

"Georgette Heyer (August 16 1902 - July 4 1974, pictured left) was an amazingly prolific writer who created the Regency England genre of romance novels.

Although Jane Austen published during this period (1811 - 1820), she was writing contemporaneously while Heyer was making very well-researched historical fiction, full of all you could ever want: romance, fashion, upper classes, arranged marriages, murder, intrigue, cant language, sarcasm and humour!" -

Bake a batch of scones, make a pot of tea and then find a comfy spot to curl up and escape for a little while. Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thank you Lord for my amazing husband!

I have been thanking the Lord in a special way today for the blessing of having given me such a wonderful husband. He has made some huge sacrafices so that we can have the life that we are blessed to share and I hope that I am able to show him how much I appreciate all he does for us. Lord, bless my husband!

My wonderful, prayerful husband and his groomsmen praying at the grotto to Our Lady the morning of our wedding.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Pray for Us!

Prayer To Our Lady of Mount Carmel"Flos Carmeli" - Prayer of St. Simon Stock

O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, Splendor of Heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a Pure Virgin, assist me in this necessity. O Star of the sea, help and protect me! Show me that Thou art my Mother. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee! Mother and Ornament of Carmel, Pray for us! Virgin, Flower of Carmel, Pray for us!Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us! Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us! St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us! St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, Pray for us! St. Joseph, Our Patron, Pray for us!O sweet Heart of Mary, Be our salvation! Amen.

My favorite July 16th memory was from a few years ago, my friends and I attended the Festival in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in New York City. We went to a Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish that was said in Haitian. It was such an amazing cultural experience to share in the celebration of the Mass and to experience the unique Haitian music. These people were singing their hearts out!!! They were boldly unashamed to give God glory through their voices. It was very different and very unique and I loved it!

I have always had a devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. I have seen so many fun and wonderful ways to celebrate this beautiful feast. I especially like the scapular cake idea! When I was a teacher, my girls and I made four "Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother!" cakes. The girls loved decorating them! Being in a truck, we are limited in what we can do, but we are spending the day praying for the intercession of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. We stopped by the store and bought white cherries to celebrate. They are such a perfect and special summer treat! We have frozen some red cherries and they are so tasty! They are frosty cold and have a great texture. As they say, "Life is just a bowl of cherries!" Enjoy this special feast day. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sweetest Days

"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string." — L.M. MontgomeryItalic

Living in a truck forces me to enjoy quiet thoughts, quiet work and quiet time with my Lord and my husband. Thank you, Lord, for helping me to slow down and declutter my life. Thank you for the time to work with my hands. Blessed Mother, St. Anne be with me now and always.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dearest Diana of the Lake of Shining Waters

Today one of the greatest blessings in my life was born into this world.

We met as young girls on our way to see the play Anne of Green Gables and we knew immediately that we were Kindred Spirits. Together we shared a love for our Catholic Faith, Christian femininity, large families, reading, scrapbooking, tea parties and Anne of Green Gables. This Ann had found her Diana. And my life has never been the same.

We were young girls when we met. Busy being homeschooled and involved with our families and friends. We've shared adventures, roadtrips, picnics, slumber parties, camping trips, summers, "ice cream therapy", microwaved bananas, bad jokes and girlhood secrets. Like our fictional counterparts, we've spent long nights whispering together, sharing dreams, hopes for the future, crying together over life's trials, and dreaming of Gilbert Blythe and Fred Wright coming and sweeping us off our feet.

There is nothing as powerful as a friend who knows what to do and say when you're hurting. Who rejoices in your triumphs as much as, if not more than, you yourself do. That person who is there for you even when they can't physically be by your side. A sister who is always loving you and praying for you. That is my Diana.

A few years ago, Diana found her Fred Wright and I was able to be by her side as she prepared for life by his. Together they are a beautiful example of everything that love and marriage should be. The day that was one of the most wonderful in Diana's life was also one of the most beautiful of mine as well. I was so happy for my best friend who deserves all that is good and beautiful in this world that even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. She was the most beautiful of brides. I was honored to be by her side and there to remind her "if he faints, make sure you catch him!"

Diana has become a mother. She has two of the most beautiful angels I have ever seen. She is a model of womanly virtue and a domestic goddess. : ) I know that her life is not perfect or easy, but it is hers and she lives it to the best of her ability. Always striving to be the best wife, mother, friend, teacher and mentor that she can be.

The only thing that breaks my heart is that we can't be by eachothers side to share the ups and downs of life. I wish I could bring her ice cream when she's sick and feeling down. Drink tea by her side while she shares what's on her heart. Or that we could just sit together on a couch and introduce her daughters to the magic of Anne of Green Gables and Jane Austen. I wish we had the same phone plan so we could talk for hours! : ) I know that God has a plan and someday He will allow us more opportunities to spend time together.

As much as I wish life was as simple as it was when we were girls, I am simply happy to know that God brought my Diana into my life when I needed her the most and allowed her to help shape me into who I am. I am eternally thankful. Of course, "True friends are always together in spirit." — L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), and together in prayer.

Dearest Diana, I love you! I am thankful that God brought you into my life. I have spent today thinking of you, rejoicing in our memories and thanking God and you for all the joy and support you have always given me. I'm praying that you are enjoying this lovely summer day in the company of your amazing and loving husband and daughters. Take a moment to sit by yourself on your porch, surrounded by flowers and blue sky, and remember all the blessings and milestones in your life. Then know that there are so many more wonderful things to come.

Happy Birthday, Diana of the Lake of Shining Waters!!! You are like the sparkle on those waters and in the lives of your loved ones. May your day be filled with joy and the memories of the two giggling girls that we still are! God bless you, Diana! I love you!

Ways of being a Parent (or Trusting in the Lord)

Yesterday Paul and I went to Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes parish somewhere in MO. The church was large and filled with many young families. There were more newborns than I have seen at one mass in a long time!

Before I ever met Paul, I knew that God was calling me to be a mother. I've wanted to take my children to met our Lord in Adoration. To share my love and faith with a new soul that God had given my husband and I the responsibility of helping to lead to heaven. To help someone "to know, love and serve God so [they] could be happy with Him in this world and the next". When I was still single I tried my best to fulfill that aspect of my vocation by teaching all my classes in a way that my students saw Christ in all things (Yes, even Math!). I took my Godddaughter to Mass and Adoration. I even took her to her first Christian concert.

I assumed that once I was married God would send us one baby after another. Sadly, that wasn't part of God's plan for us yet. Paul and I are from wonderfully large families and we never thought that we'd have a hard time having children.

Last Christmas we lost our first baby very early on. We named our little one Paul Joshua- Little P.J., our angel in heaven. That week we found out that my cousin, who was three months pregnant with her first, had breast cancer. Despite our aching hearts, we knew we must trust in the Will of the Lord and that our P.J. would be a strong intercessor for my cousin and her baby. My cousin safely delivered her daughter in May and is now preparing for a bi-lateral mastectomy. I rejoice that she and the baby are doing better than expected, but I can't help but to still grieve that I will never get to hold my little P.J. in this world.

Seven months have gone by and we still haven't been able to get pregnant again. I know God has a plan and, despite my weakness, I do trust in that plan. We have taken advantage of the special time God has given us to develop our relationship and we always enjoy the adventures that help us to grow closer to eachother and to fall more deeply in love. But, seeing all those families and their children at Mass yesterday, made my heart ache with longing.

After church, Paul and I spoke about how each of us has been feeling the desire for children and how we feel as though we haven't been able to fulfill our vocations fully- almost the way we felt when we were single and felt the anxiousness to move forward in our lives and to begin living out the vocation of marriage. That too was a time of trusting in the Lord and knowing that His timing is perfect in all things. We met and fell in love at a time when God knew we were ready- not when we THOUGHT we were ready. His time IS perfect. And so we continue to walk forward trusting in Him.

While Paul and I waited for God to bring us to each other, we did the work of God in the situations He presented us. We are trying to see the situations in which we can now serve Christ as a married couple. One small way has been by praying together for all the children and people who are alone. Especially children waiting for families to adopt them. We are praying to be able to adopt children ourselves when we are financially able to. This is what marriage is about-praying together through the hard times.

Each day is a journey of trust, putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. Praying that we don't allow our lives to be motivated by selfishness, but by sacrifice. Offering up our hurts and heartaches for those who are hurting with out the faith to see them through their difficult times.

We are especially praying for couples who are able to adopt, to be open to that special calling. Their are so many children in need of love and families. But, it is so easy for us to feel comfort in our routine or to fear not being able to meet the financial or emotional needs of an adopted child. We are all called to adopt these children, wether it is through bringing a child into our home or praying daily for a child in need and trusting that God will send the right people into that childs life. It is all about Trust in the Lord.

Please view the children waiting for families on this link and, as a family, pray for them. Our prayers, joined with yours, will bless these and all children in need. For now, these are the children God has placed in our lives.

Paul and I are the parent of P.J., the Godparents of two beautiful little girls, and we can try to provide for the spiritual needs of many children through our prayers. This spiritual "parenting" seems to be what God is calling us to in this place and this time. It is another step in faith and another means of fulfilling our vocation.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Water Babies

Our family came together during the last week of June and the first week of July for a family reunion at Paul and my house. The first day that family members arrived it was so hot and humid that we drove to the local river were there is a rope swing. We put in the canoe and floated on tubes as others swung themselves out over the river on the rope. We had a marvelous time.

The only sad event of the day was when my camera "drowned". With out thinking, I had left it in the canoe. My brother decided a little game of tip-a-canoe might be fun and he rolled the canoe and the girls in it into the river. None of us realized my camera was in there until someone noticed it bobbing along.

We tried to let it thoroughly dry before turning it on, but it was to late. It had already met its untimely fate.

My dear husband had already begun looking into cameras and had found that Fuji makes a nice little waterproof camera that is very affordable. After we bought two waterproof disposable cameras for our kayaking trips that week, we decided to go ahead and buy the Fuji.

We took it with us in the pool yesterday and had so much fun!!! We took videos underwater of eachother swimming and doing flips. Its my new favorite toy!!! Anyone who knows me knows that I can't live without a camera. I AM a shutterbug! I admit it. Now I can combine photography with my other favorite activities- swimming and kayaking! GREATEST. THING. EVER! : )

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kelleys Island June 14th 2009

Sunday morning. White clapboard church surrounded by flowers. Sunlight on Lake Erie. Summer is here!!!

Paul and I had an extra day to deliver the load we were hauling to New York, so my dear husband decided that we ought to spend the day paddling out on Lake Erie to Kelleys Island. The island was once inhabited by two indian tribe and was later owned by the Irish Kelley brothers who developed small industries and a winery there.

The sun was shining, but the wind was blowing and had just enough of a chill to make me hesitate. Paul tried to convince me how nice the water was by having me dip my toes into the lake's edge. It did NOT convince me. In fact, I became sure that I was not going to enjoy this wet adventure, but there was no way I would tell Paul that when he had that eager and excited look in his eyes. There is nothing more rewarding than making your spouse happy. I believe that 110% of the time I end up happier than Paul when I go along with his seemingly crazy ideas!

I slipped out of my sundress and into several layers of clothes as I prepared for the worst the Lake might throw at me. Paul inflated our kayak and we were off. I don't know what I had been thinking! I've paddled often enough to know how quickly it warms you up, but my brain seemed to have filed that fact away for the winter. It only took a minute and a half to pull that information out and dust it off. Whew.

Sailboats darted across the waves, their sails filled like lungs with air, leaving a mighty wake. We bobbed over one swell after another as we made our way further from from one shore and closer to the other. I felt as though I were a brightly colored rubber duck floating in God's wading pool. Looking out over the water and up at the vast blue sky you recognize how truly tiny you are in the grand scheme of things. Shore seemed so far and out of focus. Then, one by one, objects came into focus. A home, the marina, a golf cart. the sound of a live band performing Jimmy Buffet music at a dockside marina greeted our ears. Five miles of paddling and here we were on one of the cutest islands I'd ever seen. I'm so glad I listen to my husband!

We wandered along the waterfront enjoying the music and looking at all the high speed motor boats painted in shimmering shades of purple, blue, red, yellow and green. Paul was a bit awe struck by all the fun "toys". Most of the boats were from Ohio or Michigan. My question is how did the one from Florida get there? Puddle hopped North for the summer I suppose?

Once again my husband had another ingenious idea and once again I was slow to appreciate it. Paul found a bicycle rental shop that rented out bright yellow bike with large seats. Very beachy. I was a little hesitant after our trek over the water, but I went along with the scheme. It was fabulous! I hadn't been biking since last fall when we rented similar bikes with our friends Hannah and Nathan while camping in Michigan. It felt so good to let my arms rest and use my legs. We rode along the waterfront ohhing and ahhing over stone cottages and victorian homes. Okay, I did all of the ohhing and ahhing, but the houses were so charming!!!

We rode into the center of the Island passing the tiny grocery store, police station, school and a smattering of shops. The center of the Island is a 675 acre state park with waterfront campsites and yurts. We found a picnic area in a little meadow and unpacked the roast chicken that Paul had carried in his backpack on both the kayak and the bike. Thanks to the appetite we had worked up, we enjoyed every bite.

Our last stop on the bikes was to the Glacial Grooves. The historical marker reads "due to their size and ease of accessibility, these are the most famous glacial grooves in the world." I would have liked to have run my hands along them. They were truly amazing to see.

After we returned the bikes, Paul took me for ice cream. The adorablely freckled redheaded college student who worked there had grown up on the island along with her family. Her grandfather owned the shop and they were working there together. A little boy toddled in looking for ice cream cone from "Pop-pop". Seems like an idylic life, but our ice cream serving friend admitted that living on an island with 350 people means that everyone knows everyone and that can have its down falls. Hmmm, guess you'd have plenty of opportunity to perfect your "Love thy neighbor" skills.

The five mile trip back to the Ohio mainland was pretty exhausting. Paul strained his wrist to the point that it ended up needing to be wrapped and rested for several days. It was well worth it though. We enjoyed our Sunday and hope that God sends us back that way soon. If anyone is in the Sandusky/ Cedar Point area (its only hours from Steubenville!) I would highly recommend a trip to the island. If you don't feel like paddling 10 miles you can take the ferry that runs to the island regularly. Hope you can find something fun near you next Sunday!

Kelley's Island

Kelley's Island

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