Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jungle Journey

I'm not sure my heart could be any happier on days like these...

As a little girl, I always wanted to be around more nature.  Some of my happiest memories were of our log home deep in the country woods.  I loved going on walks through the woods.  

Last Friday, my husband went on a trip to perform; and since the kids were out of school for the day, I decided to take my children on a hike through the "jungles" of Florida.

We were warned of possible giant snakes and alligators.  The park official said it's a great hike, and that there have only been reports of attacks on small dogs.   (I kept the children who were the size of small dogs close by. :-))  I was a bit freaked out to say the least.  Holding Jayden on my back, I led the children through the trail warning them to watch every step. 

After passing this spiny spider just above our heads,

I looked back and saw that the children were braving the jungles crouched real low... there was a very large lake just to their right, and they were listening to every creak in the branches.

Their intensity couldn't be matched by any preparation for any roller coaster ride they had ever been on.  They were ready to fight anything that could come their way. 

After braving the first trail, we entered the next one... called "Bear Island Trail."  I stopped them in their tracks several times to listen... we continued on.... still no bears... but we were ready!  It was getting darker, and the children were getting braver.

As we neared the end of our trail, it became quite dark.  Jackson discovered a giant walking stick along the way with a baby on its back... how appropriate that sweet Jackson would find the walking stick with the baby on the back.  Just like the walking stick, Jackson carried his baby sister through the scariest parts of the hike because he didn't want her to be bitten by a snake.  
 We all climbed into the van, and the children burst into song.  "We love you Mommy!  Oh yes we do!!"  (They had secretly planned to sing to me in gratitude for their hike.)

I thanked them for their sweet song.  I really did feel so much joy in my heart.

One child said, "You're the best mom!  Do you see any other moms taking 6 kids on a hike here?"  

Another one said, "Do you see another mom taking 1 child here?"

Then a third one said, "Do you see ANYONE ELSE here?"

Hmmm... there wasn't anyone else around.  Did the locals know something I didn't????  I thanked God for our safety!!

I also thanked God for our adventure knowing the children loved every second of their hike.  I was grateful the Lord helped us to find something that brought so much true joy to their souls on a budget we could handle.

God's almighty hand is in all living things, and I feel HIS presence when I am surrounded by HIS beautiful creations.

The next morning, this is how I found my little 9-year old Tyson in our backyard...  truly in his happy place... surrounded by God's beautiful creations once again.