Give me Liberty...

Retreat Center in Gleason, TN.  Basically, in the middle of nowhere.  Well, actually, it's near Paris...Tennessee.  Yeah, that's about it.

Anyway, Mark and I have been discussing mission trips to take with the family.  There are several organizations that offer mission trips for families but at the cost of around $500 per person.  Yeah, you do the math.  Oh, I wouldn't have to pay for nursing babes though...that's $500 less.

So, we were brainstorming and remembered that we knew a family that ran a Christian retreat center.  Mark contacted them and he said there were a few things we could do around the place to help spruce it up before their summer season started. 

And off we went, (keep in mind that we had not been home since the homeschool conference).  It just so happens that we scheduled this trip after the big storms in April.  Thankfully, Liberty did not get hit with any tornadoes but they did have over twenty trees down just on the road to get to the driveway.  And on the driveway a big oak (I think) fell taking two more trees with it.  There was a ton of branches and such that needed to be picked up. 

There was also a trail and a challenge course all covered with large branches from all the storms.  All needing to be cleared so campers could use their facilities this summer.

So, we cleared.  And cleared.  And when the kids and I couldn't take the heat and needed rest time, Mark cleared some more.

 The bunkhouse on the left and the conference center on the right.  These places were really nice.

 A view from the semi cleared trail.

 Josiah worked hard.  Ceili Rain did too.  At whining.  Ceili Rain didn't seem to enjoy the sweat and branch picking up job so much.  She mostly just followed us around begging to be held.

 Ahhh, rest time.  And satellite tv.  No internet but we could watch PBS so all was right with the world.

 We didn't just work, we also got to play.  Well, we got to watch others play.  The directors sons were playing baseball so we got to see the two oldests' last game of the season.  This was the first baseball game we've taken the kids to.  They were more impressed with the clean up crew between games than the actual game.  I don't think baseball is in their future.

 Liam tried to climb the 10 foot wall...

 And quickly found the ladder instead.

 Zoe really enjoyed this.
 I kept my balance briefly, ever so briefly.

 Liam decided he wanted down after climbing the ladder to the wall.  We just threw him over the side and let him drop.  Not really.  I helped him down the rope and Mark caught him at the bottom.

 The big oak that fell on the road (like that needed a description).  They already had some people come and clear out to drive around it.  But all the brush was left out and needed to be moved.

 Do you see the cross in the shadow.  Pretty!

 Yes, we all slept good at night.

 More clearing...
 Ace likes a challenge.
 Zoe too.
 If you can't pull it, might as well just climb on it.  The tree was struck by lightening right near the base of it, so we used that as a little science lesson and looked at the black left from it.

 This is where we moved all the brush.  Big ol' bonfire is acomin'!

And as we worked, Ace's keen eyes spotted this sitting on one of the logs...
 We took the kids in shortly after this.  Mark didn't have a snake disarming tool at the time and when he did, it had slithered somewhere else.  We still haven't looked it up, but we're guessing it's a baby copperhead.

 After all our hardwork and leaving...all the brush is cleared away.  Firewood is just waiting to be moved.

And Zoe and Ace enjoyed the three story tree house!

And we actually managed a great group shot all on our own.

Ya know, I worry every time we go somewhere that the kids might get bored if there's nothing to do.  But, we had very little "entertainment" in a one bedroom cabin and they had a blast!  Lots of games inside and out that they made up and all.  Having beautiful weather so they could go out and climb and play was a big bonus too.

Oh, and our tick count was at four.  One on Josiah, one on Zoe, and two on Mark.  He won.  Not something to be proud of.  I'm still itching and checking!

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