July 21, 2011

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.  Psalm 19:1

I recently read in Family Circle about two family camps in our national parks that sound great—College of the Atlantic’s Family Nature Camp in Maine, and Camp Denali in Alaska.

Family Nature Camp takes advantage of its location near Acadia National Park to introduce parents and children to the wonders of nature found on the northern Eastern Seaboard, while Denali, as you might guess, tackles the majesty of Denali National Park’s rugged mountains. Each offers a chance to get up close and personal with God’s creative handiwork, yet from different perspectives.

One of Acadia’s most notable mountains is Cadillac, the tallest on the East Coast, and in the fall and winter, the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise (sunsets aren’t too shabby either). Acadia’s peaks, though, can’t hold a candle to Denali’s, where 20,320-foot Mount McKinley—the largest mountain in North America—towers over other lesser but equally impressive peaks in the 600-mile long Alaska Range.

Camp Denali’s September sessions present an opportunity to observe another of the sky’s incredible features: the aurora borealis (also known as northern lights in our hemisphere), a magnificent natural light show caused by the interaction of charged particles with atoms at high altitude (my physics- and astronomy-minded daughter could probably do a better description…). The first time I saw them was as a teenager who had just moved from Florida to Michigan. I pointed at the white streaks in the sky and gasped to my mother, “What’s that??!!” It was only after she laughingly explained, that I could enjoy them and not think the world was ending.

Anyway, at Camp Denali, if the atmospheric conditions cooperate, you can ask to be woken up when the aurora appears so you can not just learn about the phenomenon, you can actually experience it. And just like my mother and me, you’ll enjoy family bonding time!

The earth is full of wonders. I hope you take time to revel in them and share them with others, especially children. We all need a reminder in a world that sometimes seems like it’s run amok that, as one of my favorite hymns so beautifully puts it:

This is my Father’s world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees of skies and seas;

His hand the wonders wrought.


This is my Father’s world.

O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:

Why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!

God reigns; let the earth be glad!





  1. Amy Schlaf says:

    Beautiful presentation! I remember clearly your 1st encounter with the Northern Lights, one of my fond memories. Now I want to go back to all these parks again! And, don’t forget, I have the senior pass!!!! MOM

  2. Peggy Parker says:

    Love that hymn! And Acadia is one of the parks we have visited. So inspiring. Just remind everyone who is going there to take lots of water. Attila claims I tried to do him in by dehydration when I drank the last of the water on our hike. The awesome views were worth the brief thirst, though.

  3. Penny Musco says:

    Peggy loves that hymn because she sang it as many times as I did, since we grew up in the same church! And I know she’d never try to do Attila in…

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