Post #15 – Wholesome Recreational Activities

Although this happened a week ago today, I felt it still needed to be remembered.  I had hoped to write about it on Monday or Tuesday, but being sick became my highest priority this week.  Now that I am feeling better, with the help of DoTerra Breathe Respiratory Blend (it is honestly the ONLY thing that has helped control my coughing and actually get the congestion to start to come out of my lungs!  Who knew oil could do such a thing? – Thanks Stephanie!), I would like to FINALLY get last Friday onto the blog.

As I mentioned, I wanted to give the La Paz Waterfalls hike another try, now that my body has had a year to recover from surgery and it has been a year since the last time I hiked it with the kid’s cousin Kyle, June 2016.   I invited the family to join me on the hike instead of saying, “Hey.  WE are going to La Paz today for a field trip.”  The attitudes were COMPLETELY different and surprisingly EVERYONE wanted to come along, even Paul.

So after a conference call for Paul, and our family devotional for homeschool, we packed into the family car and headed for La Paz Waterfall Gardens.  Along the way, we stopped to take some beautiful pictures of the Costa Rican landscape along Poás Volcano.  Paul was sweet to indulge us.  The drive was more beautiful than we normally experience.  We think we went a way that we have never been before.  It was a gorgeous drive!

After a surprisingly delicious lunch buffet inside La Paz, we took a small tour of their gardens.  Curly Cook’s FAVORITE place to play in all of Costa Rica is in their Butterfly Exhibit.  She is the first in and the last out and she sure does make a lot of friends!

Ginger Snap loves to play with new friends too!

After our tour of the butterflies, we found that La Paz has added a sloth to their exhibit!  Two to be exact and they were quite active.  This made me happy for any visitors that may come to Costa Rica because La Paz really is a wonderful place to come see SO MUCH of what Costa Rica has to offer: a breath-taking part of the rain forest with butterflies, humming birds, frogs, monkeys, toucans, Macaw parrots, jungle cats, snakes, orchids, a multitude of rain forest fauna, a 4 star buffet that offers typical Costa Rican foods, a tour of a typical Costa Rican home – complete with oxen that pull a typical Costa Rican ox-cart

and then there are the waterfalls – 5 to be exact.

I opted to see only 3 of the waterfalls but I did succumb to the request to “go down” and see the last waterfall from a much closer view.   All I can say is OUCH!  Am I right mom?  Those stairs were killer but had I known I was about to have a respiratory infection, I think I would have said, “Next time kids.”  Thankfully I didn’t know and I made it to the top without passing out.  My poor heart and lungs, I tested my body more than I had planned but thankfully it survived!

I am so grateful that Paul came along.  Not only were we able to take some fun family pictures, that I will have to post after I figure out how to get them off our camera, but it was awesome to have his moral support and encouragement at a potentially embarrassing moment that day.  As we descended the top of the hike, I felt my lungs closing in and my head begin to spin.

I didn’t yet know that I was sick, so instead I thought maybe I wasn’t as physically healthy as I thought I really was.  Then I stopped and told myself “No, there is a reason for this, you just don’t know what it is.”  Right then, Paul came up and stood behind me.  He placed his hand on my back and asked me if I felt like taking a few more steps.  I supposed he could have just walked off and left me alone, or said some words like, “Come on.  What is taking you so long?” but he didn’t.  He respected the way that I felt and stood beside me, helping me to the end of the hike.

While I rested from the over exertion to my lungs and heart, I stopped with my family to look at some artwork that was on display by a local artist who paints at La Paz each day.  We have looked at his art many times before but I have not seen anything I felt we should purchase, until today.  Today I felt was different.  Today I felt we needed something to capture this moment.

As I looked at the variety of paintings this man had to offer, of many classic scenes of Costa Rican views and vistas, I chose a painting that showed a scene that can only be found inside the rain forest.  It was of a river that had two waterfalls falling into it.  I loved the way the flora and rocks surrounded, almost protecting the waterfalls.  I also loved the shapes of the rocks, constantly changing because of the water that rolled over the tops of them.  The colors in the painting were the perfect shades found in the forest as it protects travelers from the heat of the noon-day sun.

El Gringo helpfully unrolled the canvas and held it up so I could show it to you. Now we have 3 pieces of art that need to be framed.

This painting was just what I felt we needed that day.  In some ways I felt I was purchasing a bon-voyage souvenir, not just a memento from Costa Rica.  Today’s trip to La Paz almost felt like we were saying good-bye, like it would be our last time visiting there?  I don’t know why I felt that way or possibly what we were saying good-bye to, but in time it will be made known.  But for now, the artwork will stand as a reminder of this day, of our time spent seeing La Paz and hiking its steep staircase trail as a family, and that is enough for me.  For the gift of being together as a family, doing something that everyone WANTED to do and actually being able to enjoy it, was a tremendous blessing for us all.

I agree with the words shared in the Family Proclamation, but especially this sentence:

Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

That last part of that sentence is something I have personally been striving for the last few years.  We have always gone and done things but we have not always WANTED to go and do those things.  I would like to have more opportunities where we can all have an enjoyable time together.  Now, this might sound like perfection but I am not going there.  I am talking about days like this one.  This day wasn’t perfect.  We thought we were lost, I could barely breath at the end of the hike, it started to rain as we were leaving, we had to drive in traffic, etc. . . .  but no one focused on those things.  We all just accepted what was given to us and each of us made the most of the moment.  There weren’t any fireworks or bribes, no forcing or manipulation, simply agency being used and respected.  I loved it and I hope we can do it again real soon.

Thanks for listening,

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