Majesty in Maine

These were some of our first glimpses of Acadia National Park upon arriving and driving down the park loop road. It was Robert’s fourth, my third, and Kory’s second time to be there, and we wanted to share it with Cooper and Kayla this summer ~ all of us together before saying goodbye to Kory in a week.
We also got to enjoy the beauty of Maine with long-time, dear friends!  We camped in the park for 3 nights with my friend Izckra, her kiddos, and her grandmother.  We even camped halfway there in Freeport, ME.  I do enjoy camping, but four nights is PLENTY.
Camp food is one of the best parts of camping: bacon for breakfast tacos (see the bacon chefs below), bacon to go with pancakes, bacon grease in foil packets to cook meats and veggies over the campfire.  Somehow I was able to gain five pounds on this HIGHLY active vacation, and I don’t think it was the bacon that did it.  Pretty sure it was the s’mores, the tortillas filled with marshmallows, bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate chips and then roasted over hot coals, and the ice cream outings. Oh, well.  It was fun while it lasted!

There was lots of climbing around on the rocky shore and watching the lobster boats pull in their haul.

There were beautiful (and treacherous!) hikes, bike rides on carriage trails, and swims in lakes and the ocean.

When we reached the peak of “Beehive”, we sat down to eat our packed lunches, and Robert read all of Psalm 8 to us…

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes 
You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

…and we all shared the ways the name of the Lord was made majestic in the creation around us, and what it means to be a “ruler” or “steward” of that creation.  Then, Kayla thanked God for all that we were seeing and experiencing.
The beach below is also the beach you can see behind the group in the above photo ~ Sand Beach.  We spent one afternoon there enjoying the sunshine.  The boys played Spike Ball and drew lots of attention to this new game ~ even met a friend of the co-founder of the company, and the girls soaked up the sun and ate a picnic lunch!

On our last morning in Acadia, we got up at 4am in order to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain and watch the sunrise. Cadillac Mountain is the “highest point along the North Atlantic Seaboard and is the first place to view the sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6” according to acadiamagic.com .  The other “first places” during other months of the year are also all in Maine.  Majestic, I tell you! (<—For you,  Izckra!)
It was very cold and windy, and I’m not sure Kayla or Mary ever really fully woke up for the special event, but they did their best.  The boys (even the one, KLK, who said he would) could not be aroused from their tent for the adventure.  Shocking, I know.  They certainly missed out!

We were between layers of clouds on the mountain ~ seeing them high above us and down below, and then just as the sun was peeking up from behind the earth, a huge cloud engulfed us and all we could see was this hazy glow.  We were sort of disappointed, and there was a collective groan from the hundred or so others who had also made the dawn journey.  But then, on the way back down, the clouds cleared and we could see the beautiful colors.  People were pulled off to the side of the road taking photos of what they had missed at the peak.

A group photo upon departure from our campsite, and not too shabby looking for only having had one eight quarter, four minute shower at the facility down the road!
After the three beautiful days in Acadia, our family drove about three hours south to Ogunquit, ME where we have vacationed almost every year for the 14 years we’ve been in MA, staying in a little studio cabin that is a ministry to ministers. Overlooking a famous cove, and minutes from one of the most popular beaches in Maine, it has been such a huge blessing to us to go there every year.
I don’t know if you can tell from the photos, but the water was ~ always is ~ extremely COLD.  56 degrees to be exact. At first it just plain hurts your bones to stand ankle deep in it, but then your legs go numb, and somehow you can make your way out for an frigid swim. I didn’t get that far, but Robert and two kids did.  “Very refreshing,” the hubby said.

Kory did his usual sand castle building, and Cooper just covered himself in as much sand as possible as fast as possible.  No kidding.  This kid just wallows and burrows in sand the whole time he is at the beach, and then he wants to eat food from the cooler. SANDwich, anyone? This photo must have been either before the wallowing or after the icy swim, because he appears to be sand free, sort of.
Felt so good to be beach bums for a day!
Now, I don’t really know if this truly qualifies as a place in Maine where the Lord’s name is majestic, but I’m afraid I may have been worshiping there on Sunday morning.  The Crate and Barrel Outlet in Kittery is one of my most favorite places to visit in Maine with its shelves of uniform, crisp white dishes, crystal clear glassware, wooden bins of kitchen gadgets, brightly colored cup towels, and sale prices.  My heart even delights in watching the cashier wrap each piece in several layers of newsprint before packing them in beautiful brown, handled bags.  And loading them in my dishwasher at home to prepare them for future use makes me all giddy.  Sigh…Maine just has so many marvelous (maybe not majestic) places to go!
Kayla just came in the room and brought me an original poem that she has been pecking out on her new typewriter.  It’s the perfect way to end this majestic-Maine-vacation-post, and sums up our experience fairly perfectly:
Oceans, sand, and salty spray
A starry night to lead the way
Fishing, lobster, and surfing waves
Underneath the ocean lays
A happy clam and a tiny pearl
A giant snail wrapped in a curl
This place is where I’m meant to be
A tiny cabin by the sea
With pictures hanging on the wall
Upon the roof the acorns fall
A pitter-patter above your head
Telling you to go to bed
A puzzle and a cup of tea
This place is where I’m meant to be.

The Maine Thing

Tomorrow we head to Maine for a little bit of the above picture life, and I can’t wait!  We’ll be camping in Acadia National Park for three nights and then staying near the beach in Ogunquit for three nights.  This trip has become the highlight of our summer.  Really, it’s the highlight of our whole year.  And this year it feels especially sacred, as just nine days after we return, we’ll be taking Kory 2000 miles away for college.  I’m praying for lots of great laughs, talks, meals, hikes, bike trips, and swims as a family before he leaves the nest ~ and good weather, too!

While we are away, we’ve rented our home to a family from Sweden who is bringing their daughter nearly 4000 miles away to college at UMass. (And people think we’re crazy for letting Kory go to Texas!) I’ve had wonderful correspondence with them, and deeply regret that we will not meet them while they are here.  We leave a few hours before they arrive.  It certainly adds a lot of work into the equation of packing for a camping/beach trip to prepare your house bed-and-breakfast style for international guests, but I’ve really enjoyed thinking through things that would make their stay comfortable, and the house is now in tip top shape!

I also had a lot of fun this week (small reprieve in the midst of chaos!?) thinking about what meals we will make over the campfire, and have already pre-made some of the essential components and frozen them to add to the cooler on our trip north.  When we get back, I’ll try to post photos and recipes, but for now think bubbly, garlicky cheese dips for appetizers, marinated teriyaki chicken for kebobs, and marshmallows, chocolate chips, cream cheese, and fruit to dip for dessert.  Yum!

If you’ve never been to Maine, I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list.  Truly an amazingly beautiful place!  See ya in a week or so!

P.S.  Our college-bound kid is determined to eat lobster for the first time on this trip!  I’m thinking we will indulge him in this small fantasy!