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When Pigs Fly

My wife and I both grew up in camping families. Kris' parents converted to cabin life on a lake for many years, while my parents moved from tents to pop-ups to 5th wheel campers. Kris and I have had a number of tents and I counted up campers - we are now on number 6. We have had 2 pop-ups, 4 travel trailers and I don’t recall how many tents. Some of our best vacations have been through traveling with our own beds. We have learned many lessons of life from camping.


Best Trips:

  • Fort Robinson - with side trips to Toadstool Park , Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, PRCA Rodeo in Crawford, NE

  • Grand Canyon - breakdown in York led to thoughts of a new vehicle; friends traveling had similar experiences in North Platte

  • Yellowstone - Do wolves eat toddlers? First time hearing of Moose Drool (beer).

  • Glacier National Park - first 2 week camping trip

  • Texas (my sister’s wedding, boy was that hot)

  • Colorado - camping in a tent at 10,000 feet, eating cold hot dogs for dinner in the tent because the storm is rolling in and separating the frozen tent from the snow covered ground - leads to a camper

  • Minnesota - The land of 10,000 lakes; I’ve taken each one of my 3 sailboats there.

  • Branched Oak Lake (and several others that are closer to home)


Each of these trips has special memories attached to them.


It’s really about living the life that we want to live. If either one of us did not really like camping, we probably would have discontinued living and vacationing this way years ago. Many moons ago, we introduced the camping life to several friends, and many of them joined us for an annual camping trip as school ended for the summer. Then over time, they lost the camping “bug.” This life was not for them, and that’s ok.


We all have to find our best path through life, don’t we?


Early on in camping, even with friends, I don’t think I shared best practices or even simple lessons of the what and why I did some things. For example, I love cooking when camping, so I did much of it. However, as I grew into a better leader, I let others get involved with the process when they wanted to learn and be a part of the preparations. I stopped being so selfish. And the funny thing was I enjoyed it even more.


Reminds me of one of John Maxwell’s leadership principles - “You have to learn to lead yourself before you can lead others.” I did not lead myself well for many years. I had a lot of growing up to do.


When pigs fly

As I write this, we may be on our last camping trip of the year, as grandchild #3 is due in October, and we don’t know if we’ll be able to get out one more time. On this last trip, we invited our twin granddaughters out for the last night of our little trip. This camper is our best camper for two reasons - (1) there is a master bedroom (as opposed to tearing down the dining area into a bed every single night), and (2) there is a bunkhouse - this is an area at the back of the camper that has room for several to sleep including a bunk bed on each side. Mandy is often on our camping trips - she can work from anywhere, and we love to build our family relationships! She had the fortunate opportunity to share the bunkhouse with her nieces, Elena and Allie. The challenge is that Allie is a mover - no matter whether she is awake or sleeping - she moves. I’ve even seen her turn 180 degrees end-to-end to where her feet are on her pillow rather than her head! This particular night, Allie saw Mandy’s bed and wanted to sleep there. Mandy responded with “No that won’t work because that’s my bed.” Allie then said that she wanted to sleep in the bunk ABOVE Mandy. And not to leave Elena out - she is a big girl and slept very well in her bunk on the other side of the bunk house! What a big girl Elena! Both girls have some special stuffed animals - Elena has a stuffed elephant named “Elephant” and Allie has a stuffed pig named, you probably guessed it, “Pig” or “Piggy.” Can you imagine what happens when you combine motion-filled Allie and her friend Piggy in a bunk bed sleeping above Mandy. Yep, I bet you figured this out too, Pigs Fly. Piggy jumped out of bed approximately 6 or 7 times. Sorry Mandy! Not a great sleep experience for you!


Life Lessons:

  • We have the camper due to intentional thinking for family experiences. (Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. John C Maxwell )


  • I don’t know that Elena and Allie will remember this overnight camping experience; but the repeated opportunities of togetherness compounds over time. (Success comes when we add value to ourselves. Significance comes when we add value to others. John C. Maxwell)


  • Mandy, I am really sorry that you did not sleep well; however, I also believe that you wouldn’t trade that for anything. (You never REGAIN lost time, so make the MOST of every moment. John Maxwell)


  • I’ll admit that I didn’t think that I wanted the kids on the camping trip until they were older, and didn’t require much attention. However, it was our camping trip and our Friday morning to watch them. I believe it was even my idea to do this. (God created all people with natural gifts. But he also makes them with two ends, one to sit on and one to think with. Success in life is dependent upon which one is used most, and it’s a toss-up: heads you win, and tails you lose. John Maxwell)


  • Begin as if it were on purpose. Hitch (The Movie)



Today is “spend the night at the camper day.” Why not make every day an adventure?


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