Sunday, November 6, 2016

Mammoth Cave Kentucky- Sukkot 2016

One of the yearly vacation times we take is for the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall.  Every year it looks differently for us, whether we've had a new baby or what time of year it falls on to know whether we want to go south.  :)  We usually camp and hopefully with friends.

This year we planned to go to Nolin Lake State Park which is not far from Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.  It was such beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, and such a relaxed and restful time.  There are a lot of pictures mostly for my children to look back on, but the memories of these trips will forever be in our minds.  It's my prayer that our Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) trips will be a time that my children grow and want to share with their own children.  

Continue to read to see how we made it special for our family this year.

Day 1

 We are so thankful for happy travelers.  

 Our abode for a week.

 We took lots of hikes.

One thing we enjoy doing for all those who camp with us is to provide the veggies from our garden to go with meat that the others bring to cook over the fire like a hobo dinner.  It's always so delicious with all the helping hands cutting and preparing the meal for everyone.

 The game Mafia was played by the children often.
 Also, on this day we sent the children on a nature Scavenger Hunt.  They had to find all sorts of items and place in a brown paper bag.  We talked first about David and how he fought Goliath with stones.  As we let God tabernacle with us, we can fight our battles with whatever He gives us.  We talked about how life is a battle.  We need to trust that God will give us what we need to fight each battle we face.

After they collected their nature items they had to use those items to create a soldier with all the pieces of armor talked about in Ephesians.  It was really fun for them and they came up with some create soldiers.

Day 2
Day 2 was packed with so much fun and enjoyment for all.   From relaxation by the water to 4 Square with all the children and Brian, to obstacle course and jump rope fun, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

 Teaching double dutch sure brought back my childhood energy.  :)

 Lots of card games with the children.

 The lake was so beautiful to just sit and watch.  The water splashing on the shore, the birds, the view.  It was so delightful!

 It's hard to tell what it is, but there is an eagle right in the center of the picture that we watched swoop down the catch fish in the water.  Sadie and I were both so excited to see it while we sat there enjoying the moment.  It definitely added to our time of relaxation.  
 The children explored so much and had a ball.

 There were a lot of stone skipping contests.

 And a special treat right above our heads was this juvenile eagle.  

 The highlight of 4 square was when Brian would play.  :)  The children loved it!!

 Later in the afternoon after everyone played around and went on their own adventures, we set up an obstacle course for the children.  Continueing our lessons of fighting battles as one of God's soldiers, we wanted to encourage them that their parents were given to them to help them through their battles too.
So, we had the children go through the course by themselves while we times them, then we had a parent go through it with them to see if their time changed.  Every one of the children's times increased by a great deal, which helped them see that their parents can help the trials and battles be easier to go through.  They can get through the battles faster and much easier in some cases if they just listen to their parents instruction along the way.  Some parents actually physically helped the children go faster while others simply gave encouragin words while running along with them.  Either case, the time was always faster and proved to be helpful.

 The tunnel crawl

 Climb over the boulder.

 Get through the web.

 Cross the balance tipsy balance beam.

 Swing over the mud.

 Go across the balance beam.

 And the wood stepping pieces.

Day 3

Jonathon got up and took the 3 older girls horse back riding, while some of our other friends went  geocaching and took Benaiah with them.  Josiah, Hadassah, and I stayed at camp and sat around and took the dog down to the water to play.  It was such a relaxing time, but we were glad when everyone was back to play with. 
 From our campsite we could see through the trees to where the children played 4 square.  It was just far enough for them to bike to and feel out of camp, but not so far that we couldn't see them or get them quickly when meals were ready.
 And ya leave the dad in charge of watching the baby and she falls out of the stroller and gets a goose egg on her head.  Yep, it happens....especially when that dad decides to play 4 square while he's on baby duty.  :D
 The horse riders

Day 4
We couldn't enjoy and soak in the scenes by the water enough.  

 The dog loved being off leash and running around the shore and in the water.  He loved fetching for sticks in the water and of course shaking all his wetness all over everyone.

 Day 5

Mammoth Cave Tour day.  This was the only day that it rained and it rained during our tour, then it rained in the evening.  We were so thankful for the wonderful weather!
 Our whole group decided to do a tour at Mammoth Caves.  It was a great school day for the children and was truly amazing getting to share the sights of the caves with the children and friends.

 Our children's first bus ride.  :)

 Of course the pictures don't do the caves justice.  It is spectacular what is under the ground it that area and how much has been discovered, but how much hasn't been explored yet.  Truly incredible!

 The children had a fun time doing the Junior Ranger program at the park.  They started it before our tour, then when we finished our tour we went and had our picnic lunch while the children finished up their books.  They all went back and turned their books in together, which was a fun memory for them all.  Some of my children said that the favorite part of the trip was doing the program.

 The all had to spell their name to the ranger at the station.  Then she had them all say a pledge together of how they would take care of the parks and the earth and eat their veggies and listen to their parents.  ;)

 Family pics by the sign.
 Our family left the park and headed for another area near the campground that has a water dam.  We met up with the rest of our group their surprisingly.  We walked around there for a bit, exploring the area, then headed back to camp for supper.

Day 6
There were a few hiking/biking trails at the State Park where we camped, so we decided to check those out and see more beautiful scenery along the lake.  Boy was it a gorgeous hike!

Day 7

We decided to head back to Mammoth Cave Park to do some  hiking there.  We wanted to see the orginal cave entrance, which wasn't a very long hike then we headed to another area and hiked some more to see some springs and other natural wonders.  

To get to the park we had to cross this ferry that took our vehicle over the river to the other side.  We had never done this before, so it was a fun experience for all of us.  Titus was a little nervous about it though.  

 The original cave entrance.

We ended out the week with not so many pictures as we were just having fun around the campground.  Some of our group left early, so we really didn't do much....oh, wait a minute.  We did play capture the flag.  The chilren played at night, then we played children against adults during the day, then the children and a couple adults played at night again.  I talked with the children about when we go through battles we have to be strong enough to stand firm in what we believe and help our friends who need rescued too.  Sometimes it's hard when you're trying to rescue a friend in Capture the Flag to not get caught yourself, so we talked about how it's important to not let the enemy draw them into temptations to where they are also captured.  And we talked about what kinds of things can they do to help their friends without getting in the middle of the battle.  Prayer is talked about at the end of the portion in the Bible that covers all of the armor of God.  For some reason it never seems to get mentioned as part of the armor, though I believe that it is a very important part of the armor and what helps us get through our battles.

Too bad there are no pictures of the game because it was a memory to go down in history!  Children running all over.  Adults running all over.  Good thing that happened on Sunday when most of the other campers were gone, because we were loud and rowdy that day.  :)

We bless the Lord for giving us His feasts to observe.  They always cause us to reflect on Him and cause special memories with our children that promote growth in their faith.  As some of our children are getting older we see that what we teach them is changing and becoming more on life's choices and situations.  We pray that we are leading and guiding them in a way that will help life be easier for them to get through with a record of not getting captured and being able to help those who are in need of being rescued.  That's our goal in teaching and bringing up these children in faith.  That they may reach the lost and help those without hope.  And as we all allow God to tabernacle with us, we'll be able to answer that call and live out a way that will be a light to others.