Stone Mountain Park
Daddy took the day off and we headed to Stone Mountain Park! Our number one goal: climb to the summit of The Great Granite Rock! It's a tough 1.3 mile hike up to the top, but the sense of accomplishment and the beautiful scenery and view makes the burning in the ol' calves, thighs and uh-hum, buttocks well worth it!
We all had a good sweat going on when we reached the top, but we weren't miserable by any means. Once at the top, we all enjoyed a nice over-priced bottled water and the kids shared an equally expensive box of popcorn. But when you're on the top of a granite desert, an over-priced tiny cafe is greatly appreciated.
Then, the kids made their way to the Ranger's Station for their "I Climbed to the Top" certificate - signed and dated by Mr. Ranger himself.
As Caraline and I were making our way down, hand in sweet hand, she looked up at me and said, "Mommy, climbing this mountain is a lot like being a Christian. Making your way up is tough, like how choosing to follow God or doing the right thing can be hard. But boy, when you make it to the top and you are surrounded by the amazing view and all that beauty - nothing beats that. And going down is so easy, just like doing the wrong thing and following Satan is often the easiest. And once you're down the mountain, there's not much of a view. It's just a parking lot."
The wisdom she has at nine years old astounds me.
We took the kids to the children's playground (no pictures) where new friends were made, and then we headed over to the covered bridge area. There's nothing like driving your car over a wooden bridge. My husband remembers his school bus used to cross over an uncovered wooden bridge...yikes.
Jonathan found a live brown cicada, and the boys enjoyed exploring the trails around the lake. Ryan is always so good about watching out for little brother, big sister, and even Mommy too.
We did find a way to add in a little formal education.
And let me share this one last story with you. This was the first hike up that Jonathan (five years old) didn't ask to be carried. In fact, the whole way up (and down) reminded me of a little rabbit zig-zagging and hopping from rock to rock. Many hikers commented on his energy and skill. He even got a few claps on a portion when most folks use a hand rail, he darted his way up just outside the handrail path like a pro. The folks sitting at the top of the rail were amazed. So were a couple of the hikers using the same path as Jonathan. I couldn't help but think how richly God has blessed us. You see, Jonathan was born with a heart murmur, but thank you Jesus it doesn't slow him down one bit!
So, today was a wonderful day spent with family. A day that we also got to spend with my dad! He stopped by this morning before we left, and we were able to have birthday cake, blow out candles, give birthday cards, and sing to him. It was nice.
And today was full of admiring God's beautiful creation, of reflective conversations, of being thankful that we are all healthy enough climb to the top of Stone Mountain, of love for one another, and lots of undivided time with each other...can't get much better than that.