I know I haven’t posted anything in a LONG time. Several times during that gap I sat down to write, each time never really completing the thoughts that originally sent me to the keyboard. I decided it was WELL past time to get a few of those posted, so here is the first and hopefully I will get some others posted in the coming days.
Reflections on my family and our time “Up North”
It is not new for me to realize how neat and out-of-the-ordinary my extended family is. Listing the many ways this is true would create quite a document, but for the moment let me just provide a little context. Many years ago (like when my mom was 2!), part of the family began an annual fishing trip “Up North” to the first of 4 lakes we would eventually ‘invade’ in the 60+ years since then. By the time I was born, a couple decades later, we had moved on to lake #2 and had expanded to all the descendants of my Great Grandpa Hoogeveen. My grandfather was the oldest of 5 kids, so we are talking about Great Grandma and Grandpa, my grandfather and his siblings (and their spouses), their kids, and grandkids, and now another generation past that. I don’t know what our total number would be if we were all here, but it has been over 100 for quite a few years and the VAST majority of them still come.
When I was little, we piled into our cars and caravanned over to a small local church which we totally overwhelmed for that one Sunday each year. They knew when we were coming each year, and many years even asked my dad to sing for special music. That little church was more of a ‘church home’ than many in this world will ever know. With moves to different resorts in other areas and how big we have grown, we now generally have our own family-led church service right at the resort. This is what got me thinking . . . How amazing is it, to sit in a circle of people who choose to spend their vacation time like this? How awesome is it to live in a country, where we have the freedom to do this? How blessed am I to have a family like this?
Sometimes I think it is easy for us to focus on our frustrations, disappointments, difficulties, and how our country is falling apart in this way or that way. But the fatalism that results can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are blessed! Even in a country where faith and families are increasingly under attack and even in a society that seems more and more ‘taken’ by the lie that tolerance means we need to agree, we are blessed!
We finally did the math for this week. Over the course of this week, there will be 133 of us up here, and there are another 39 who will not join us this year for a total of 172 if everyone was here – pretty cool, huh?!