the road to Christmas ~ part two ~ advent series ~

where are we going?

Excited we all jumbled into the car. We were going … well, we didn’t know where we were going, just that we were going on a road trip! The trunk was full of … well, we didn’t know what was in the trunk. But, we did know Mum had made several trips and put stuff in the trunk… and Dad had his coffee flask.

Dad put the key in the ignition.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll find out when we get there.”

“What will we do?”

“You’ll see.”

“Daddy, do you have any sweeties in your pocket?”

“Let me check. Hmm, here’s one. Oh! And another… and another! Just enough for you three.”

Countless questions and several sweeties later… “We’re here! We’re here! Daddy, where are we?” We helped unpack and carry some of the trunk’s contents to the sandy beach. A quick change into bathing suits and Fanshawe Lake was our playground. Splashing and ducking got us thoroughly soaked. Then I showed off my expert swimming technique of kicking legs while hand crawling along the squishy lake floor, to Dad and Mum.


After changing back into our clothes, and filling our tummies with a sandy picnic we climbed into the car.

“Daddy, this isn’t the way home.”

“Who said we were going home?”

The excitement level skyrocketed again.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll find out when we get there.”

“What will we do?”

“You’ll see.”

“Daddy, do you have any sweeties … why are we stopping?”

Dad unloaded a few things from the car’s trunk and three sweeties from his pocket. Mum started singing, “I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track and as I go I love to sing, my knapsack on my back…”

“Are we going a-wandering on a mountain track?”

“Not exactly on a mountain, but we are going a-wandering. Come look here at the river, what can you see?”


As we “a-wandered” along the river’s edge, some of us got a little too close to the edge, trying to catch tadpoles, and slipped and slidded until we were as wet as when we played in the lake. Scraped knees required Dad’s gentle cleaning and bandage applying.

“Climb, climb, up sunshine mountain, heavenly breezes blow.

 Climb, climb up sunshine mountain, faces all aglow.

 Turn, turn from sin and doubting, look to God on high.

 Climb, climb up sunshine mountain you and I.” 

We all joined in the singing as we climbed the hills, well, they seemed like hills to us kids. 

“Everyone stop where you are. Be very quiet. Listen. Do you hear the birds?” We stopped and listened. 

“Kookaburra sits in an old gum tree,

Counting all the monkeys he can see.

Stop, Kookaburra, Stop, Kookaburra,

That’s no monkey, that’s me. Ha, ha, ha.” 

Bird listening required an appropriate song. 



We skipped through the woods, discovering beautiful white flowers called Trilliums, which to our disappointment, we couldn’t pick. But, Mum said, we could pick the yellow buttercups. She said if we put them under our chin we would find out if we liked butter. Turns out we all like butter!

“Karen! Stop! Now!” Mum sounded like she meant business. Karen stopped. “Don’t move. Just wait.” Mum picked Karen up and carried her the few feet to the rest of us. “Good girl for waiting for Mummy. You were just about to walk into some plants that will make you very itchy. It’s called Poison Ivy.”

I laughed. 

“Denise! Don’t laugh. It’s a very nasty…”

“Mummy, I wasn’t laughing at Karen. I was laughing at poison Ivy.” By now I could hardly talk I was laughing so hard. Then I noticed the look on Mum’s face. My laughter died. “Mummy, Grandma’s name is Ivy, poison Ivy.”

Mum looked startled. Karen started laughing. My little brother, Merv, didn’t want to be left out so he laughed too. Good old Dad. He really did try to control himself. In the end we all laughed ’til we cried.


“I think here’s a good spot. Don’t you?”

“A good spot for what?” I asked.

“You’ll see. Come on, let’s see if we can find some sticks.”

“Daddy, there’s sticks everywhere!”

We gathered up a lot of sticks and took them back to Mum. Before we knew it a little fire was burning with a metal grate over the fire and aluminum foil packages on top. Mum stayed by the fire. Dad and us three kids were doing important things, like running. “Catch me if you can!”

“It’s ready!” 

“What’s ready?”

 Somehow Mum had made dinner for us! Pork chops, potatoes and carrots! We sat on the ground with our plates and knives and forks. It was the best meal ever! After the eating up and the packing up, Dad told us that he had to go somewhere, but we’d see him again soon.

 “Can I come with you, Daddy?”

 “No, you stay with your Mum. I’ll see you soon.” Dad winked at me. I knew something was up.


The rest of us carried on walking. The woods and hills weren’t quite as exciting now. Mum carried my sleepy little brother, singing softly as she went. 

“Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;

Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;

Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,

Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,

And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;

Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,

All in the love light of Jesus’ face.” (Written by William H. Parker)


Have you ever had a time in your life when you were carefree? A time when you felt safe and secure? This day at Fanshawe Lake was one of those days for me. I knew my Dad and Mum would not lead me into danger. They would keep me safe and sound. If we got hurt, Dad’s gentle hands and words would make us better. Mum’s sense of fun would keep us singing and laughing. And their love of God’s creation would keep us learning about all the nature around us and give us an appreciation for it as well. I knew they had good things planned for us, not bad.

As I look back, I realize the road that day was perfect. I didn’t need to know where we were going or what road to take. I didn’t have to worry about getting lost on a detour, taking a wrong turn or falling into a pothole. My Dad had all that under control. The road was bright and breezy, smooth and easy. Even with the bumps and bruises and the narrow escape from the poison ivy, we weren’t alone, our Dad and Mum were there to guide us and protect us.


And no, Dad didn’t leave us out in the woods with Mum!


“Where are we going? When will we get there?”

“I’m tired. I don’t want to walk anymore. Carry me now, Mummy.”

Mum stopped singing as we walked out of the woods.

“Daddy! You came back!”

Carefully, Mum put sleeping Merv in the middle of the back seat. Karen and I climbed in with our muddy shoes and damp clothes.

“I’m glad you came, Daddy. I’m so tired. All I want to do is go home.”

“That’s too bad.” Daddy winked at me through the front car mirror.

“Well, maybe we’re not that tired…”

We didn’t think the day could get any better until we pulled into Dairy Dell. Scrambling out of the car we raced for the monkey barrel. Yes, it was a barrel with a monkey in it! We all took turns as Daddy lifted us up so we could look in. 

“I can’t see the monkey, Daddy.”

“Keep looking. Sometimes that silly monkey hides.”

Trouble is, no matter how long, how hard or how often I looked, I could never find that mischievous monkey. All I ever saw was just my face looking back at me. 

A few minutes later, ice cream dripping down our chins, we were laughing about the day’s adventures.


That’s the thing, isn’t it?  Most of the time we don’t know what the road will be like. Sometimes the road is so awful we don’t want to keep going. Sometimes it’s so good we don’t think it can get any better. And, sometimes, our Heavenly Father, has a sweet surprise for us… we just have to keep trusting, keep traveling.


Let’s journey together…



  1. Sandra Williams

    Trust in the Heavenly Father and he will lead you down the right road and at the end of the road, he will give you the sweetest gift of all.

  2. Bonnie

    sweet story

    • denise budd rumble

      Thanks, Bonnie.


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