|The view from our dining room. Ivan Lake.|
On Sunday I packed up and the ol' Taurus and drove nearly eight hours up to Park Rapids, MN to stay at a cabin that some friends from Fargo rent each year. I really only knew three others when I got there but the hospitality and generosity offered my way by the entire group completely knocked my socks off. The group dynamic was pretty fabulous, also. Present were three married couples, four single adults (myself included, and the youngest) and four children--one three year old, one sixteen-month-old and two three-month-olds. So definitely my kind of group, in case there was any question.
Aside from an amazing group of people, the setting was perfect: a cabin out on Island Air Drive (sounds magical, does it not?) in the middle-of-nowhere, Minnesota which certainly delights me. There was plenty of food and drink, a pontoon and a small fishing boat, plenty of space to sleep and a lake entirely at our disposal. Between the trees in the picture you can see the dock that kept our boats, and of course made for a great place to read and simply gaze at the lake. Mmmmm. I always forget how much I enjoy being on and/or near the water until I am actually put in its vicinity and then I just eat it UP (not literally, gross). My true inner child holds nothing back and totally comes out when I jump into any body of water, especially a lake; and having the freedom to do that for three days was a much-needed break.
I must admit that the idea of a vacation really does make me laugh because I cannot help but think of one of Fr. Michael Keating's insightful classes at NST this year. He was talking about the Church's position in the post-modern world and he ventured onto the topic of vacations. "Our lives have become so unlivable that we need to take a break from them," he stated with a smug grin. We all responded with a chuckle but it was more of an, Oh my gosh you're right, I already have one or even two vacations planned with my family when I get home! And it's true! We work so hard and give 100% of ourselves constantly so that it becomes essential to our well-being to take a break from our lives and go on vacations. Vacations would have seemed pretty silly to people from the 1500's, or even dare I say, from only 100 years ago. And it even sounds a little silly just writing about it now. Boy have things changed.
A few highlights of my vacation at "the cabin" included:
- Playing Ticket to Ride-European style for what seemed like forever. I might like that game even more than Settlers of Catan, although I should probably give these games more than one play before making big life decisions.
- Going to St. Mary's Catholic Church out in Two Inlets for Mass on Tuesday morning. Such a cute little country church, and I think without us and one other young girl the average age was 65, to err on the younger side.
- Seeing for the first time in my life an entire refrigerator full of different kinds of beer (no Bud Light, Miller or Beast, either!) and drinking a total of three of them.
- Making dinner with Marissa and watching everyone devour it. I could do that for a living! I just love watching people enjoy something I make for them. What a treat.
- Being around non-FOCUS missionaries for a solid three days. I love 'em dearly, but sometimes ya just need a break, you know?
- Going out on the Pontoon and diving with Marissa and Jeff.
- Reading The Hobbit.
- Going for a jog down Happy Hollow Road and seeing a fox 100 feet in front of me stare at me hungrily and return to his business.
- Giving my Northern friends an authentic taste of Wisconsin, not only with my mere presence, but by sharing Carr Valley Cheese and select Wollersheim wines with them as well.
- Spending time with Marissa and playing Nertz with her, Mallory and Kayla. Wonderful women, they are.
- Having plenty of time to make much-needed phone calls both on the way to and from the cabin!
SPOILER ALERT: For those of you who attend Mass at St. Aloysius expect a FOCUS missionary guest speaker at this weekend's masses. But keep it on the DL, I love surprising people.