"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while,
you could miss it."
Life moves fast doesn't it? Case in point- Noah’s a senior in high school, Emilie a junior, and Josie’s catching up to them as an eighth grader! You know as well as I do we can’t slow life down, but we can heed the words of Ferris, and “stop, look around, so we don’t miss it.” And here’s a bit of how these five Joneses did that in 2015.
We hiked or got outdoors, together, every month- Point Lobos, Moaning Caverns & Columbia State Park, Moonstone Beach, Lewis Creek, Chiquita Pass Trail, Jackass Lakes, Mono Rock, Morro Bay, Bass Lake Flume, Fresno Dome, and Centennial Dome (where we watched the moon set and sunrise over Yosemite valley and Half Dome).
Josie and I took an off the hook field trip to D.C.! We stayed with our great friends the Allen’s, who lived near the Capitol and in walking distance of the National Mall. While we were there D.C. had a shutdown-the- government-sized-snowstorm, but that didn’t keep these Cali girls from taking in ALL the sights. In fact, it made it possible for us to stand ON a frozen Capitol Reflecting Pool, and to make snow angels and a snowman on America’s backyard.
We were treated to Easter break on Newport Beach (Thank you Dean & Barb Russell!) where we thoroughly enjoyed relaxing and playing on the Pacific Ocean, and visiting dear So Cal friends and family.
The Gage, Cannedy, and Kiely families joined us again for Maycation at Bass Lake (which because of the drought we dubbed Bass Puddle). Time spent with old friends is always refreshing.
Michael and Noah took a backpacking trip to Lady and Chittenden Lakes. They began their trip at sunset, and both of my crazy fellas were enthusiastic to hike to their first destination by the light of their head lamps!
Once again the girls enjoyed two weeks at “The Home of the World’s Greatest Campers,” YSSC, where they backpacked, played on Bass Lake, and romped around camp growing in their relationship with Jesus and some of His finest people ever! Emilie turned 16 at camp, and would want you to know that dressing like a pirate, then taking the camp war canoe out on the lake to the Pines Market where she commandeered ice cream booty with her cabin mates, while staying in pirate character was a most memorable way to celebrate her “Sweet” birthday!
Last summer YSSC was not only “Home of the World’s Greatest Campers,” but also of the “World’s Greatest Staff,” as Noah had his first job there working maintenance. YSSC staff are given camp names, and after our mountain boy wrangled a snake, some lizards, and piles of dirty dishes in his first week of training, he was christened with the name “Wrangler.”
In spring Michael celebrated 15 years with West Coast Imaging where he’s now the General Manager. Last year he enjoyed teaming up with photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum and created spectacular mandala art. In August they shared their unique pieces in an art show at the g2 Gallery in Venice Beach!
I want it to go on record again in this Groundhog Day card that I LOVE my kids’ friends (I’m quiet fond of my friends too, but I’d need a whole other letter to express that)! Also, to those of you who are eighth graders (going separate ways after all these years of homeschooling), and to those who are seniors (moving on to here, there, and everywhere), I’ll be the one at your graduations in June CRYING UNCONTROLLABLY!
Our wildest hikes and outdoor adventure of the year took place during Thanksgiving break, when we borrowed a tent trailer and traveled to the Grand Canyon, AZ. and Zion National Park, UT. To say that both places were MAGNIFICENT would be an understatement! We were all in awe of their indescribable beauty. It’s good to be outdoors. It rehabilitates and reconnects us to the Creator. And with life moving so fast, these Joneses need that.
Finally, we rang in 2016 in the most FANTASTIC WAY EVER- watching our girl Emilie ride on the Kiwanis International float “Children… Our Treasure” in the 2016 ROSE PARADE! We excitedly watched her wave and and cheer from our gifted bleacher seats on Colorado Blvd!! That was certainly an experience we’ll all “treasure” for a lifetime!
Some words I savored in 2015 were “Their adventure wasn’t an ocean or a mountain but a family” from Donald Miller. We had some epic adventures last year, but ultimately my favorite adventure, the one I really love living is the everyday. It’s a cup of coffee with Michael in the morning, followed by everyone racing around trying to get out the door. It’s juggling jobs, housework, home school, kids’ activities, taxi service, understanding teenagers (not understanding teenagers), and too much homework. It’s forgetting to pull something out for dinner and having tacos again. It’s conversations around the dinner table, which always include Noah’s wittiness, Emilie’s thoughtfulness, and Josie’s silliness. It’s ending each day with hugs, kisses, and a whole lot of grace, then hearing the Faithful echo “goodnight” down the hall and the Name that holds this family together, “Jesus.” Yes, “life moves pretty fast,” and I’m abundantly grateful I get to share every bit of it with Michael, Noah, Emilie, and Josefine.