Wings As Eagles: July 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blast Off for Operation Space!

It's time to BLAST OFF!!!

Our week of VBS at church went wonderfully well! I have to admit, it was a busy week and after two weeks of camp plus this week of VBS, I was exhausted. But every night was fun and exciting! There were lots of people who put in countless hours and it was fun to see all the hours of work come together for the final event!

We had around 40 kids every night, which I was very happy with considering this is the first VBS in quite a while there. The first night we had 23 kindergartners trying to put together the Robo Robot craft in only 20 minutes. Just imagine 23 little hands trying to cover cereal boxes bodies, cardboard roll arms and index card feet with foil! Then add foam eyes, colored paper squares and silver chenille antennas. Yes, it was quite the evening Monday night!

Thankfully there were three of us working with crafts that night starting with the first group of the oldest kids. Our little group of four turned into about 18 by the time our last group, all 23 kindergartners, came trooping through. As I saw how much time these robots were taking to put together, I started recruiting more help, knowing that this last group would require the most attention. Anyone who passed by the craft tent was pressed into service! I mean anyone - even Pastor Kirk was in there helping wrap foil onto cereal boxes.

But with all the combined help of everyone, we made it successfully!! The kids had a marvelous time and it was fun to watch them play with their robots for the remainder of the evening. Worth every moment of panic! ;)

And then Tuesday night, one of the guys from church had this mischievous smile and told me that our group of kindergartners would be doubling tonight! To which I responded that if that happened I was putting him in charge of crafts that night! I admit, Monday night I was a little frazzled, but the other nights went very smoothly. And no, we did not have 50 kindergartners. :)

Here's a few pics from our week of VBS and you can see the full details here:

It was so fun watching the little ones singing!

Bible reading clipboard!

Be sure to use lots of glue!

Making space rockets!

Enter into the spaceship tunnel...

...and out into space!

Counting pennies!

Our craft space turned out so neat, created with yards and yards of tulle!

Blast Off Into Space!

Return to Earth!

All ready for Monday night!

Isn't that spaceship just the coolest thing?! Our decorating team did such a great job!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

CEF Camp 2009 Week 2

Week 2...what can I say? It should be fairly the same as week 1, but it is always so different! Different kids, different staff, totally different camp! I got home Friday evening and spent Saturday catching up on email, snail mail, orders and anything and everything else I had on my list and then headed back Sunday afternoon.

Much to my dismay I woke up Sunday morning with a sore throat and cold. I was hoping this wouldn't happen until a week later as I knew I had another week of camp plus a week of VBS after that. So I downed just about any kind of pill that would keep my rose from running, suppress my cough, allow me to breath and keep me standing and still able to think. Just don't ask me how much I took of everything, because you honestly wouldn't want to know. Monday and Tuesday I was taking stuff every time I went upstairs to my room.

But I can really praise the Lord because I did make it through the week. I was able to do everything I needed to do, teach each morning, take photos during the day, do memory verse work with the kids, sing during singtime, etc. Wednesday morning I started losing my voice and by Thursday I was squeaking, but I tried (I'm not sure I succeeded, but I did try) saving my voice for Bible lesson and sing time. Do you know how difficult that is? Even when we said I Timothy 4:4-5; I lip synced the words. Perhaps a little deceitful?? But I didn't want to set a bad example for the kids by NOT saying it. :)

This week I again taught 1st-3rd grade and could have taken several of those kids home with me. One of the little girls, Gabbie, was just so cute with her little pigtails and a little homesick during the week. I tried spending some time with her and one of our take-your-mind-off-missing-mom-conversations was about switching siblings. You see, she had brothers and I have sisters, so we decided to make a switch, except we couldn't quite come to a conclusion on which ONES to switch. And then on Friday, Gabbie gave me hug before she left and said, "I think I want to keep ALL my brothers." So adorable!

And then another one of our get-your-mind-off-being-homesick-conversations was that I thought Gabbie was just tooo sweet! Every day I gave away a piece of candy in Bible class and I told Gabbie that she was just soooo sweet that she didn't need any more candy. So she continued to tell me all week that she was sweet, but that she wasn't too sweet yet! Too cute!

This week proved to be much hotter than week 1, but we were so thankful for cooler weather Thursday and Friday. There were several staff members (including Brian and Sharon) who unfortunately caught what I had, but we all did manage to make it through the week. I know there were several who were just exhausted after the week was over.

It was amazing to see God work in the lives of several kids this week. There were 3 kids in my Bible class who trusted Christ as Savior this week and so neat to see. That's always exciting and gives us as staff encouragement during the week.

I have to admit I missed my sister, Jena this week (just a little!) to take photos! Thankfully Bethanne (another one of the teachers) was able to take pics for me during the week (and a few others as well), but I did miss not being able to shove a camera into Jena's hand several times a day. I honestly considered not doing a slideshow this week (getting a couple more naps in and getting to bed earlier), but knew the kids would miss it. It's always such fun to hear their response on Friday to the pics that come up on the screen! I wouldn't want to miss that for the world!

By the end of the week I had over 700 photos and can only get in about 150 in the slideshow, so it's always a challenge trying to select which ones to put in. Here's a few and there's more here.

I love sing time! Camp is becoming technologically updated - sing time is now on powerpoint! lol!! One of these years my Bible lesson will be on powerpoint as well!! :) My computer and projector already make the journey to camp each year anyway!

Some people just had names....

...and others were dressed quite well!

This week we saved just over 200 people, therefore memorized that many verses! Great work by the kids!

I'm sitting at the little kids table with my computer and camera during evening snack time. I had such a fun time watching Luke and one of the campers talk about all kinds of things. And of course I started snapping pics. In this one Luke was talking about the snakes over at the treehouse and that snakes don't shiver (see him shivering??)! Too adorable!!

Nehemiah - such a sweetie!!

Jed had been sticking paper people on my back all week, so with the help of a couple of my campers from Bible class, we were able to get one stuck to his back for about 15 minutes before he knew it! :)

My Bible class of 19 kids!

Janet is so sweet!

CEF Camp 2009 Week 1

What a week of camp! I always love week 1 as it always seems to be cooler and not quite as hectic as week 2. This week we had 106 campers and surprisingly enough, the week went rather well with that many kids. I was amazed at how quickly they were able to get in and out of the dinning room for meals. Sure, it was crowded, but not as bad as I was expecting.

I taught the youngest group of kids - the 1st-3rd graders and they were so sweet! There were several I could have packed up and taken home with me! Jenna (activities director), Ruth (another Bible teacher) and myself roomed together which was loads of fun. Plus we were able to spend time together during the day, telling each other how old we are getting.

Seriously, Jenna and I have been coming to camp since we both started counseling more than 10 years ago. So we've seen so many kids grow up and so forth. And then this year for Ruth it finally dawned on her just how many years she's been coming (she's not quite as old as Jenna and I as we came to this realization several years ago! ;). Needless to say that was our topic of conversation for much of the week. And also saying, "Do you remember when..." or "Remember that year..." Ahhh....too many good memories!!

This was the first year that I've attended camp without one of my sisters. And I can honestly say that I didn't miss them; although don't tell them that! ;) Much to Jena's dismay, camp continued just fine without her in attendance. LOL!!!

All in all I took over 800 photos during the week. While I'm able to take the majority of them, I still had to enlist the help of others (Jenna - thank you soooo much!) for Bible lesson, quiz time, canteen and sing time where I'm involved and can't be snapping pics.

Here's a few from the week and you can see more here.

Here's what our wall looked like
Monday afternoon after we had saved
a few Jews from Haman's decree.

By Friday we had saved 503 Jewish people
(therefore memorized 503 verses)!

Clara and I after Sing Time!
Just look at her cute flipflops she made!

Luke had quite a fun time with ice cream!

Clara, Ruth, me, Luke
What fun we had during the week!

My Bible class in the gym - I had 27 kids!

I love this pic of Jenna doing activities
with the kids - she's having so much fun!

Peter Hall - such a cutie and can you imagine
being the only boy with 7 older sisters?!?!

Clara was sooo sweet and in my Bible class.

Anne was able to come to camp this
year as a camper which she loved!

Hooray, I'm home!

One of the first things I always notice when I step inside the door at home after a week or two weeks of camp is the carpet. I know I'm strange, but one barefooted step on the soft, plush carpet after two weeks of flipflops, hardwood floors and cement floors, it just feels sooo good! And reminds me I'm home. Ahhhhh!!! ;)

And for those of you who don't believe me...tis true! Every year I come home, take off my shoes, feel the carpet and think, "Ahhhh....the wonderful feel of carpet beneath my feet!" You must keep in mind that I work from home and don't ever wear shoes in the house! ;) And yes, I did have carpet in my dorm room at camp, but that little, dirty, smashed down 4 foot piece of something does not count!

In the weeks leading up to camp, I was a little unsure if I wanted to do this two week thing again. Maybe perhaps it was because I was so crazily trying to get things caught up at home, get ready for camp, prepare things for VBS (this week!) or maybe the fact that Jena nor Krissa would be there made me think twice about going, but as I returned home on Friday, I was again reminded at just how much I love teaching, helping and serving at camp.

Sure, it's changed greatly in the last 14 years I've been there, but still I so greatly enjoy the opportunity God has given me every year! It's been so fun to see campers grow up, become counselors and teachers and then watch God bring in new staff to fill each role as needed year after year. But I have to admit seeing campers that I used to counsel or teach, now becoming counselors and moving on to college and marriage outside of camp life is quite a shock.

And then this year, seeing several 7th and 8th grade campers towering over me whom I taught when they were in 2nd and 3rd grade is quite unnerving! I recall getting down on my knees to be on their eye level to talk to them and now I have to look up at them! What happened?!?! And when Lauren beats me in height next year, I'm going to be in total despair...especially considering that she's been coming to camp since she was a baby. ;)

In a quick summary, camp was great! It was amazing to see God work in not only the lives of the campers who attended, but also the staff who were present each week. Here's a little recap of where I'm at right now:

- Two weeks of camp are over - I think I can breath a little now. Just a little.

- One week of VBS still to come - just keep thinking to myself...the energizer bunny, "It keeps going and going and going........"

- A pile of laundry still to do - on my to-do list for tomorrow!

- An inbox FULL of email to finish answering and filing - I will get to an empty inbox THIS week!

- Over 1600 photos to sort through, file and upload - the over 800 from week 1 are done! Whew!

- And those 3,000 people - Ummm...I have over half left over! Anybody need some 4" cutout paper dolls that look like people?? LOL!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Believe me, THAT is 3,000 people!

Since Esther is our theme for camp this year, I had to come up with something relating to the story for our memory verse theme and goal. Keeping in mind that Esther saved the Jewish people, including herself from Haman's decree of death, I decided that our goal should be to save the Jewish people.

When we start the week, all the Jewish people will be under Haman's Decree of Death. And with each verse the kids memorize, they will be able to write their name on a person and put that person under Esther's Plan for Freedom.

At the time that I came up with this idea, I didn't really take into consideration that it would mean lots and lots of people cutouts. Each of the kids could say up to a total of 42 verses; the majority will probably memorize 12-18. So if you multiply 15 verses times 100 kids times 2 weeks, that equals 3,000. There will be some who memorize more and others who will only do one or two, but to average it all out, I decided I needed 3,000 people.

And 3,000 people I have cut. Stacked. Finished. :)

In addition to saving the Jews, the kids will also be able to earn prizes for the verses they memorize.

And for the one who says the most verses during the week - the grand prize of a silver jeweled box with something extra special inside!

I don't think Dad will starve! ;)

This morning I spent 5 hours cooking/baking/preparing food for the next three weeks. I'm sure I'll have to fill in a couple things when I'm home on Saturday between two weeks of camp and also some during the week of VBS. But at least, this will be done and it will make it that much easier for me as my time will be occupied elsewhere.

Yesterday we made homemade ice cream and German chocolate cake (Dad's favs!!) for Dad's birthday today. And just think - he'll have an entire two weeks to eat it ALL by himself!! :)

bbq meatballs
hash brown casserole
home made bread rolls
cinnamon rolls
caramel frosting
layered lettuce salad
German chocolate cake
cheery cobbler
home made ice cream
chicken casserole

Turning this....

...into this!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Seven Layer Salad

This is a quick and easy summer salad that Mom used to make quite often and everyone in our family loves it! It can also easily be adapted with whatever veggies you have on hand.

Seven Layer Salad

1 pound bacon
1 large head of iceberg lettuce (rinsed, dried, chopped)
1 red or yellow onion, chopped
10 ounce pkg frozen green peas, thawed
10 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
5-6 boiled eggs, sliced
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
2 TBSP white sugar
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon until crisp and then crumble and set aside. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayo, sugar and Parmesan cheese.

In a large flat bowl (use a glass bowl or dish to show off the layers) layer the following:
chopped lettuce
chopped onion
thawed peas
sliced boiled eggs
crumbled bacon
mayo mixture
shredded cheddar cheese

Refrigerate until chilled. Can also use broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or other veggies to add to the layers.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

VBS Craft Work Day

For the last two months I've been planning and organizing crafts for VBS. This last month, I gave up on keeping the schoolroom organized and just left everything as is and worked on it as I had time. But believe it or not, I really DO know where everything is in that room! :)

Then I packed up everything and took it to the church!

Erinn, Denise and I planned a craft day at church to get the crafts finished up and all the supplies bagged and ready for class! We worked for several hours and were able to get everything taped, glued, cut, folded, sorted, organized, bagged and boxed! Whoohoo!!

Here's the plan: (because you know, I can't do ANYTHING without a plan! ;))

Day 1: Robo Robot!

Day 2: Time Warp Capsule & Grow-Up Growth Chart!
Day 3: Flying Rocket!

Day 4: Cadet Clipboard, Cosmic Pen and Space Scene!

Giant Mr. Robot and Baby Mr. Robot - they even made it to the church with no more cuts or bruises! See my photos here for the cut-up robot tummy! ;)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CEF Camp - Esther & 600 people!

In and amongst all the VBS stuff I'm planning and doing, I'm also getting geared up and ready for two weeks of camp! I'm so excited as we actually have two FULL weeks of kids, meaning that we will have 100 kids each week plus staff. It will be a busy two weeks!

Our theme this year is Esther and I'm really excited because I've taught Esther before so that means a little less prep work for me. That also means this will be my 7th year teaching after counseling for 5 years and attending as a camper for 2. That's 14 years of attending camp...whew!!! That's a long time! :)

Shhh....don't tell, but I still have yet to finish all my lesson material. I know it's there and it's all written and done, I just need to sort through it and review it. But hey, it's only Wednesday...that leaves 3 more days! (Of course, that's not the only thing I'm doing over the next three days...)

I'm teaching 1st-3rd graders this year and that's another thrill!! I love teaching those groups of little ones! They are soooo sweet!

Oh, yes...I've been cutting out people for camp. Yes, people. These little 4" paperdolls that are to represent the Jewish people Esther is saving from Hamann's decree. This is my stack of 600 people...only 2400 more to go...before Saturday!