I’m serious. My aunt Sandy has a whole lot of little cute things adorning the grounds and cottage of Willow Loon on the shores of Walloon Lake, including a blue bear. It’s actually a “Shakesbear.” (See photos below for said objects. One favorite pastime here is to see what items will be taken away by the squirrels, what will scare Grendel, and what will be the depository for the decapitated birds that Gus the cat brings home.)

I spent most of today in the float boat with my mom and two aunts touring the lake and visiting “the foot.” Generations of families have lived on this lake—including the famous Ernest Hemingway’s family—and the not so famous but lovable Andrews clan.

I’ve done a decent amount of traveling in my life and have seen some breathtaking sites. I’ve experienced different cultures, eaten great food, been pampered in luxurious resorts, sat on beautiful beaches, hiked magnificent canyons and mountains (in a single bound)—basically have been blessed. But I have to say, as much as I love the beach, if I could hang out here in this cottage on this cobalt colored lake and make a living right here at my computer, I’d be in heaven. The air is so clean here it’s like a sleeping pill.

But since I can’t, I’ll have to enjoy the next week roaming in the garden, falling asleep on the screened-in porch while listening to the lapping waves, and taking some boat rides. And if my cousins show up we can have some of our famous philosophical sessions on the wicker chairs in the corner of the porch. Some of the world’s greatest problems have been debated (heatedly) in those chairs. My cousin fancies himself a great debater because he’s a litigator. In reality, he’s just louder. But he is a good attorney (so he says). 

I guess my point to all this is that we must take time in our life to be with family and to enjoy the beauty that God has created for us. Find some joy and rest and beauty in your life. There are many who are suffering and I will say this—beauty and peace can be found anywhere. Even though I find it especially evident in northern Michigan, we should preserve and protect all the special places we love. Let’s be good stewards of our beautiful earth.

If you’re wondering what to do for your next vacation, consider the lakes of northern Michigan. Come up for skiing in the winter or sailing in the summer. The people are nice, the sunsets are gorgeous, and you may get inspired like I’ve been these last few days.

I took these photos around the cottage today, so enjoy.