We spent the past two weeks getting away to an area that Cleve is very passionate about - the Monongahlia National Forest and Pendleton County, WV, where Cleve’s father’s family is from.
We got a great deal on vrbo.com on a cabin (two weeks for the price of one). It was a simple one bedroom/one bath with a loft for the kids to sleep in. Quaint. And all we needed.
The family has an old house, but it’s not really in the right shape for three kids under five years old to stay in for two weeks (Or one 29-year-old woman, for that matter.)
This wasn’t a vacation. While we did have a lot of fun and spent a lot of quality time together as a family exploring the area, Cleve and I both worked. We have amazing flexibility in life right now to be able to work from anywhere. (Thank you, Chapel, and clients.)
We spent time literally watching the clouds roll by. Nothing makes you slow down more than stopping to watch the clouds. I wish we had made more time for that on this trip.
Lots of dirt roads, hiking, baking, telling jokes, gun-shooting, fishing, deer, bugs, homemade meals, waterfalls, more stars than I’ve seen in years, a train ride… We took the kids to their first drive-in movie. There would have been more bonfires if the snakes hadn’t spooked us.
We spent time in solitude with God. What better way to spend some quiet time than in the middle of a national forest with rivers and mountain peaks and the most beautiful valleys!
I believe there were a few days when we had more interactions with the wildlife than we did with people.
Life in Pendleton County is different. It’s a different perspective of the world. On the surface, it seems a bit post-apocolyptic/Hunger Games-like with all the hundred-year-old abandon homes and no-redlight towns of a couple hundred people.
But when you take a closer look, a look that can only come from becoming part of the community and taking a few extra backroads, you start to see the people. People who are just like you and me.
We all need community. We all have or need joy and a sense of humor. We all have layers and layers of history and heritage wether we know what it is or not. We all need to know the Gospel.
A Valuable Lesson
A mild winter equals more snakes and rodents in the summer. I’ll never forget this after our two rare run-ins with rattlesnakes.