Michigan Adventures

We remarked, on our 14 hour trip home on Saturday, that this friendship truly was an unlikely one...

In college you meet lots of people...and you sort of gravitate towards those that share similarities and those that are "like" you...or perhaps it's shared experiences or, in our case, we believe God just had a plan that was bigger than our scope of imagination...

I didn't ever foresee the type of friendship that we now hold dear with this family...oh sure, Sara and I were in elementary education classes together...and sure we had similarities like both being firstborns, and overachievers, etc...but, we ran in different circles of friends, different dorms all through college.

G had a circle of friends that differed from Anthony and somehow, their paths kept crossing...a friendship was forged that has stood the test of time, distance, and seasons of life.

They are our go-to people...they are the friends with whom we trust their insight, their advice and they keep us accountable. We both know that at a moment's notice, both Sara and G would drop everything and come to us if we needed them. They put their lives on hold when we need them...they've proven that to us and we love them for it...

God somehow saw fit to put our families together...and so He knit us similarly as time went on...we both have 3 daughters at stairstep ages...we've grown into different careers, that although different in "job", they produce similar feelings and questions as time goes by...and so, we've become sounding boards to each other...we listen and talk...we laugh and cry...we are REAL with these people...

I wish everyone could have these types of friends...ones that you share a condo with for a week and never feel like you're intruding on someone else's space...where serious talks last into the wee hours of the morning...where laughter erupts and you can't stop for crying...where cheering for each other's daughters is just common practice...where "fuzzins" (fake cousins) feel like real family and you couldn't imagine life any other way...

And so, 3 years ago, when our older daughters were able to start attending Lake Ann Camp up in Michigan, we decided to start some memory making that we knew would impact our littlest ones the most, but also us!

We rent a condo up in Bellaire, Michigan that is centrally located, less than an hour from major attractions like Mackinac Island, Traverse City, Charlevoix and Petosky.  Everyone stays the first night before we head over to the camp on Monday morning to drop off the older girls.

I'd be remiss if I didn't add that there is MUCH singing and car dancing during that drive, filled with adrenaline filled excitement for what's to come.

Upon disembarking for Camp, my family typically "loses" me on the campus as I run around seeing familiar faces of directors and leadership from my counseling year in '96. After drop off this year, we headed to a high ropes course for the girls to try.

I don't have too much to say about said course, as Sara and I did more walking & talking than actually watching the kiddos & dads on the course...but, I did manage to get some pictures...

Next was my favorite activity...I'm embarrassed to admit that although I spent the first 18 years of my life born & raised in Michigan, I failed to recognize the "state stone", aka, the Petosky. I'm going to blame it on the fact that they are incredibly difficult to find and so it just slipped my mind!

Sara met a retired middle school teacher-turned petosky stone jewelry maker that took us to a remote, secret spot and taught us the ins and outs of stone hunting...and WOW did we find buckets! It was relaxing, beautiful and like a huge treasure hunt for our girls.

Day 2 was met with hotel swimming, relaxing, 4th of July shenanigans and Shorts pretzels & mustard! (you'll have to look that one up yourself, but suffice it to say, it's a favorite spot for the week)

Day 3 was spent on Mackinac Island, where G rode "Rocky" and we were generously given bikes to ride the 8.2 around the coast. G has amazing friends that we are not only grateful for their generosity, but we admire and respect them as individuals.  It's always a joy to see them. We actually took a carriage ride this time around and it was spectacular...(although we did sit in the last seat due to G's aversion to horses...:)

Day 4 was all about the resort's private beach, shuffle board, pickleball, swimming and grilling out.

Day 5 was spent exploring Charlevoix, painting rocks and finishing up our rounds of BallBusters!!!You can get the full scoop on that game by reading HERE from last year's explanation.

I used both my camera and my phone...I wanted to be in the moment as much as possible and at the same time be able to catch some beautiful memories...therefore, I chose whichever device worked best for specific instances...

I'm so grateful for this special week each year...next year, all 6 girls are planning to attend camp, so that leaves the adults with a week of "kid-free" excursions!  This changing of the seasons is difficult, but I wouldn't want to go back or try to stay in the past...I'm learning to embrace the hard, and walk with true friends that love you where you are and walk with you...

Last but not least, I have one more quick story to share...I've always believed that what they've said about Lake Ann Camp being a little piece of heaven is true...it's because it must truly be what it's like...going around laughing, hugging and seeing people you haven't seen in forever but immediately reconnecting and strengthening that bond...

With that said...you need to know that "back in the day", I met a boy that felt a lot like a brother to me. His birthday is just a day after mine...he's the oldest and has 3 siblings, the same age as mine. (but 3 boys and 1 girl compared to our 3 girls and 1 boy) We met at a Leadership Conference as sophomores in high school...the following year we met again at LAC as campers. We didn't realize that we'd both end up at the same Cedarville College as incoming fresh, new 18 year olds. Upon graduation, we realized that we had both signed up to be counselors back at LAC...and then of course, we were put on the same Senior High team to counsel for a week during that summer. The theme happened to be Olympics and our campers chose Jammin' Jamaicans. 

Fast forward 21 years...Chris & his amazing wife are speakers for the Reborne Rangers program and he's up at camp with his entire extended family.  On the outskirts of Fight Night he hears a chant of "Jamaica, Jamaica"...he quickly realizes that his nephew (a sophomore in HS is on that senior high team) AND low and behold, he's become buddies with my sophomore daughter as well...both screaming for their "Jumpin' Jamaican" team!

You can well imagine the pictures and texts went flying as we laughed at the similarities and how things come full circle...and so, so thankful for the impacts that friends have along the way!!!

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