Instead of giving presents this year, my family decided to give each other the gift of time. For one, I won't be able to squeeze any presents into my suit case as the "to be packed" pile is reaching mountain status. I'm in big trouble there. And for two, it was a great excuse to get together one last time before I leave for PNG!
The day after Christmas, Mom, Dad, Aaron, Ami and Darren, and I all descended on Naples and spent the week exploring southwest Florida. Our rental condo was just a couple of blocks from the beach, allowing for frequent strolls along the sandy coast. We visited Big Cypress National Preserve where a boardwalk lead us into the swamp. We walked past alligators resting in the sun and snowy egrets fishing for their lunch. At Everglades National Park we enjoyed a boat ride back into the mangrove wilderness. One of my favorite adventures was a guided kayak trip from the Isle of Capri and along the coastal estuary. We even paddled along side a family of dolphins playing in the channel! Way cool. The week ended perfectly as we welcomed in the new year watching fireworks from our nearby beach.
So it was a wonderful week. Good to get away from all of the craziness of packing and to do lists and getting ready to leave. Good to relax. Good to laugh and laugh and laugh. Good to enjoy God's beautiful creation. So good to have together time with Mom and Dad and the sibs. Let's do this again in 3 years :).