Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Labor Day Weekend at the Lake ~ Plus a Few Thoughts on Leisure & the Glorification of Busy

Happy Tuesday Wednesday, Friends!

How was your Labor Day weekend?? Did you do anything special?

We went to the lake to be lazy for a couple of days, and therefore I'm a day {and three-quarters} behind. Long weekends are dangerous like that!

In fact, the little bits of rest and relaxation that I was able to snag, in between zipping up life jackets and doling out snacks, felt so wonderful that I am convinced that we need more R & R in our lives. Not necessarily in the form of trips, but simply in minutes or hours that are not spent working, doing, planning, focusing, practicing, or preparing for the next goal or task.

We just need time to BE.

Those moments are so difficult to find, aren't they?
Last summer I saw a boy wearing a shirt that said, "If you're 15 minutes early to practice, you're late.{I don't know who in the world made that rule, but he obviously never had his mother drive him to practice.}

This may be the work harder philosophy, the one that has turned two hour practices into three and rolled them on into the weekend, that makes winners out of our kids, but I'm not sure it's a philosophy that I want to subscribe to.  It sound a lot like burn-out to me.

It's not just the philosophy of the sporting world, though, it's become the philosophy of everything - we put in longer hours at work, at school, at organization meetings, at church, and every single one of those things seems dependent upon our ability to sell trash bags or cookie dough in order to keep good going, which is another HUGE time suck.

I think, for myself anyway, it's becoming more and more important to discern what is the highest and worthwhile value of my time, of our family's time, because there is so very little of it here on this earth.

At the lake I was reminded of the truth that when all of my thoughts and energy are focused on the work I have to do, (or think I have to do) there is little time left over to pay attention to, to be mindful of, to appreciate all of the beauty and goodness that is right in front of me.

Removed from the demands of labor, suddenly the simplest things become so wonderfully fulfilling - the glow of sunshine dancing on a child's hair, sparkling dew on a spider web, leaves beginning to give way to autumn, the exact sound of each and every one of my childs' laughs....

One of the best books I read during my college years was Joseph Pieper's Leisure Basis of Culture. My experience of the weekend away reminded me of a quote from the book:

“Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves. We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence.”  

I can't stop chewing on those words.  

How much of our work is done simply to justify our existence, to feel productive, to feel useful, to show others what we're capable of doing, to convince ourselves, through our successes, that our lives have value and worth?

Am I passing this along to our kids? It's not WHO you are, but what you're capable of DOING that matters??  

I think I need to pull that book out again and give it a little re-read.  In the mean time, how about we just set the philosophy aside for a bit and just chill with some lake pics?

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While at Beaver Lake, we stayed at an amazing cabin nestled up on a hill just a few strides from the shoreline.  VRBO is an awesome accommodation resource for big families (all 14 of us!).  It's a sucker-punch to those teenie-weenie overpriced hotel rooms.
One of the best features of the home we rented, besides the spectacular view of the lake and beautifully spacious interior, was that we had access to our own dock.

This was super convenient for Sir Joseph, who very muchly needed his afternoon siesta, because being captain of the boat is hard work, y'all.
El Capiton himself (who was pretty sure that he was the right man to steer our ship)!
I've totally got this, guys. Let's see, just a little to the left.  Awww, yeah.
Ladies, please.  I'm trying to focus here.
Last year Joey was just a wee-little newborn who slept away the hours in the boat.  Not this year!

I like playing resident photographer whenever our family travels, but I was kind of lazy over the weekend and only took photos one day out on the lake.

*We* did a lot of swimming. The adult version of this activity would be floating...

Charlie was so comfortable in the water this year! He loved zipping on his "angel wings" and jumping off the boat into the water all by his big self.
And 27,000 dives later he still asks me to "watch this one!" Margaritas anyone?
And also there was some proving of manhood....
Pardon me, ladies, but if you don't mind, I'm gonna go ahead and jump of this cliff while you stand around and chat about whose tattoo is purdiest.
I'm not sure which was worse for my nerves, watching my children jump off a fifty foot cliff, or worrying about the stranger danger up there on the edge.
George was the first one to run to the top, which surprised exactly none of us.
 The cool, casual high-schooler, just takin' his time, thinkin' it over.
Riding the boat across the lake was one of the high points for me.  I discovered that it really is possible for my children to sit down and be quiet, for more than thirty seconds.  Glorious! 
At least one muscle flexing pic is mandatory.
Geesh. All this doin' nuthin' stuff is exhausting.
In case you were wondering, that smile says FUN!!

Papa taking a break from Lyme disease to show off for Mama. 
Let's play Name That Movie. 
Jack and Rose on the Titanic? C'mon you guys!

And the highlight of lake life? Tubing!...
Our resident suckers.
I'm only gonna say this one more time: lean left!
Monday morning, as we peeled ourselves away from the shore and piled up in the car for the journey home, Joseph felt it was an appropriate time to begin cutting his molars.
Captain Joe-Joe did the snooze thing for about 30 minutes, and then proceeded to cry every single second of the remaining four hour trip home.  Sigh.

Thanks for "easing" me back into reality, Lord! *wink*


  1. Looks like a great long weekend! And yes, rest is necessary. It feels like everyone is always trying to out-do the next person.

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! Poor Joseph (and Momma).
    We had a stay-cation with a pitched tent in the back yard.


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