Have you ever felt like you were on a perpetual hamster wheel? Spinning ’round and ’round and never really getting anywhere? Busy, but not much is getting accomplished. That’s what I feel like I’ve been doing these last couple of weeks. It’s a busy time of year at work and I have been up at the crack of dawn, travelling around, saving the world (a class at a time) through the wonders of hands-on science. When I get home later, the dishes and laundry have piled up, and even though I try and get the house back in some semblance of order, it’s not really “clean” and all I really want to do is nap. The kids are heading into exams, year end projects and track finals. The oldest is already off preparing colour coded lists and organizing for her summer job. My beloved has been holding down the fort and filling in by playing “domestic goddess” after work. He is such a great help — tidying and getting the kids where they need to be. I guess I will keep him. 🙂 We are all looking forward to the end of June and the beginning of summer holidays.
As a couple, we thought we might have gotten a little break last weekend when the two of us attended the AGC National Conference in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. He was going for work and I got to go as a delegate this year … which really means an excuse to follow him. He has attended such conferences numerous times, so for my hubby, the extrovert he is, this weekend was connecting again with people he knows and shares memories with. For the wallflower, introverted me, it was more smiling and nodding and 3 days of making small talk with people I don’t really know over scheduled, albeit wonderfully catered, coffee breaks. The days were full of business meetings, numbers and a lot of reports. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a weakness for meetings. I actually like taking notes and hearing stories and love to see lists and goal setting trends and charts. It’s the people I need to learn to love. A few of the conference attendees (hubby included) found it difficult to sit for 8 hours straight and look at statistics. Their answer to day long meetings? Spend your free time climbing up and down seven flights of stairs and trekking through the Niagara escarpment along the raging Niagara river to take in the view. Sorry… there are only so many wonders of the world you can see until it all just begins to look like moss covered rocks.
What I did enjoy was one quiet moment of reflection on the porch of our quaint little Bed & Breakfast in the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake area not far from the conference. A quiet retreat nestled in surrounding shade gardens complete with bird feeders and…. free range chickens! (Did I mention I want chickens? You can read about my zoo here.) The inn is even within walking distance to a couple wineries — so we indulged in the luxury of a glass one night after a full day of meetings. Applewood Hollow might be a bit on the higher end of the scale for an average conference attendee, but work was paying, so we booked our two night stay complete with breakfasts in the little breakfast nook just outside our room. Jane, our host, makes a “to die for” rhubarb crisp and she swears her chickens make the freshest egg/asparagus quiche. (It was yummy!) The guest rooms are private and down the hall from the main house, which is kind of nice for a small B&B. The bedrooms are in the loft overlooking the gardens. Tastefully decorated and clean, the guest house is a very nice stay. It would be a charming venue for an artist/writer/speaker looking to get away and work, or even a romantic anniversary getaway. I recommend it. One morning, I took advantage of the views, visited the chickens, snapped some photos, and watched a beautiful, big blue jay eat his breakfast at the feeder. My heart was calmed and peace once again ensued as the hamster wheel slowed for that one brief moment.
Everybody has those times when they are busy. Bogged down by all the “duties” of life and pie charts. Even Jesus. He travelled across the country attending “conferences” on hill tops… and thousands gathered to take in His words or experience His miraculous deeds. He, too, got away from the people once and awhile and reflected on His purposes and re-focused. I wonder if He liked asparagus quiche? He tells us to refresh and renew, to reconnect with God, to find rest when we are weary (Matt. 11). It is so good for our souls.
Are you feeling weary, my friend? Drained by your to-do list and on the never ending treadmill of “catching up?” Take heart. Then take a break. Breathe in the fresh air of reconnecting with God and the beauty of His nature. If you get a chance, go visit Jane and her chickens at Applewood Hollow in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Say hello to my blue jay friend for me — and try the rhubarb crisp!