Stopping to Smell the Roses

Phoebe smelling a rose at Stanley Park
Phoebe smelling a rose at Stanley Park

We were driving home from a yet another beautiful visit with a family committed to following the call in their lives to serve their God whole-heartily, when a thought hit me.  This family was following their “Canadian Dream” of a stable job, home, and a cottage on a lake.  For some time, they have felt the restlessness that one feels when they know that they are made for something greater than themselves.  We met them at Algonquin Park in Northern Ontario, then drove to their cottage on a lake to spend the night (In case you were wondering, we put on another 600 plus miles or almost 1,000 km).

My mind was on my inbox, which was piling up with e-mails that needed attention going back to June, before we left on our Epic Journey.  And, of course, “When am I going to be able to post on the blog?”   I have to admit, as wonderful as that journey was, I could not take my mind off of all the follow up that I need to do from all those meetings with so many wonderful people.  So, I was a bit frustrated with the fact that we had another week of no internet.  Reflecting back on the summer, we were in more places without internet or mobile phone access than in places where there was “connection.”

The thought that entered my mind, as we were driving home one last time of long distance driving for the summer, was that the Lord had allowed us to “stop and smell the roses” along the way of this busy summer of meetings, speaking, and driving, because we had spotty “connection.”  When we planned our summer, we looked to see what places we “must” stop to enjoy the scenery.  The only two places that we thought of were the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, and Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.  Both were on the “fastest” path to our destinations anyway, so the choices were easy.  Along the way we learned that the following wonders were not too far off our path, if not directly on it, so we were able to see these wonders, too:  The Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Stanley Park and Granville Island in Vancouver, The Canadian Rockies through British Columbia and Alberta, The Badlands of Canada in Drumheller and the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, two of Canada’s 10 Biggest Things (T Rex in Drumheller, Alberta & Moose in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan), and the Prairies of Manitoba.  We were also able to experience camping for the first time as a family in Yellowstone, milk a cow at a dairy farm, pick Saskatoon berries in Saskatoon, and swim in mineral water pool.  As if that was not enough, the Lord allowed us to participated in our staff retreat at a beautiful lake in Muskoka (heart of cottage country in Ontario), and a visit with a family in Algonquin Park and at their cottage, less than two weeks after our Epic Journey.

Although most of our summer days were filled with meetings from dawn to late evening, speaking at various venues, and long drives (longest day of driving = 15 hours), the Lord blessed this time with moments of “smelling the roses.”  So, as our girls were finally breaking down from road weariness and home sickness, Lauren made up a song listing all the amazing thing that we got to do this summer.  I wish I had recorded it, but didn’t think of it until later; the song went on for about 15 minutes.

That’s when it hit me, “I’ll worry about my e-mails some other time.  Right now, it is another one of those moments when I need to ‘stop and smell the roses.'”  So, I injected a few lines into Lauren’s song… and worshiped my God who thought to allow a workaholic to “stop and smell the roses.”


Phoebe the mountain lion of Algonquin Park
Phoebe the mountain lion of Algonquin Park
Sunset at a cottage in Northern Ontario
Sunset at a cottage in Northern Ontario

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