Wings As Eagles: August 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our love story; watching God's plan unfold! Part 3

Part 3 - The end, but really just the beginning!

February came and that was the first weekend that Luke came out here to visit me. Keep in mind that at this time, Luke was just a friend to me. A friend who was at this point, was more than just Joanna's brother. A really good friend, but still nothing more than that. I was thinking and praying about him being more than just that, but my thoughts hadn't gone further...yet.

I really hadn't put much thought into the fact that Luke would be coming to church with us on Sunday morning until Saturday night when I went to bed. Then it hit me full force--no one at church knew Luke and having him sitting with Dad and myself in church that next morning would for sure cause quite a stir! Why did I end up being so concerned over that? I don't know. I shouldn't have been because, yes, it did create a few questions, but I recall that morning going so smoothly that it reminded me once again, God is aware and in control of everything.

Later that evening, Luke and I took our cameras and went to the circus! What a fun time we had trying to get the best shots of flying trapeze people, show elephants, dogs and horses, and other performers. That weekend was spent with Luke and I talking quite a bit in addition to Dad as well, getting to know each other more and more. Monday came and Luke left that afternoon to head back to Colorado.

In the next couple of days Dad and I talked about Luke quite a bit and I slowly began to see that this just might work. This was really the first chance Dad had been given to spend some time visiting with Luke and getting to know him...his spiritual views, goals in life, views on various issues, etc. Dad's opinion means so much to me that when he approved of him, that made a huge difference in my mind and outlook on our relationship! A huge, exciting difference!

In fact, after that first visit, I really did begin to think this was a possibility and started getting a little excited about Luke. I saw excellent qualities and spiritual maturity and knowledge that were important to me. Just like what I had seen a year ago that sparked my interest in him on my last trip to Colorado Springs.

I was still uncertain, but began to think more and more that this just might work. It just might. One of the significant things that stood out to me that weekend was how smoothly things went while Luke was here. I had enough apprehension built up in me being concerned about that weekend and then to realize after the fact that it went smoothly?! I knew that was an answer to prayer and one that proved even more to me that God was in control and perhaps something deeper would develop with Luke.

After that first trip Luke made out here, our emails between each other continued, but started to be much more frequent. And longer. And more detailed. Instead of just several in a two week period, it was several times a week or every other day. Which eventually led up to daily emails back and forth. As Luke would tell me later, he is just not that much of a writer! I never would have guessed! Especially considering the number of emails and length of those emails in my inbox with his return address!

Luke started coming out every month for a weekend. I looked forward to those visits, being with him and learning more and more about him, his goals in life and his relationship with the Lord. As April arrived, I began to realize that this was becoming serious. Not that I didn't take it seriously from the beginning, I did. My only purpose in agreeing to a relationship with Luke was for marriage. But I guess it finally dawned on me that this was a very real possibility and I needed to make a decision.

I could tell Luke's emails were changing and if I was still uncertain, then it was best for both of us not to continue. Was I ready to tell myself yes, this is someone who I can see spending the rest of my life with and continue to get to know him even more? Or no, I still just don't see any future relationship between us? If I wasn't sure, then I needed to decide that soon and inform Luke of that before things went any further.

I loved our email conversations back and forth because as I was pondering, debating and praying about our relationship, I could look back on our emails and reread and evaluate the things we shared several times. How well do you absorb something when you hear it? Or how better do you absorb it and remember it when you not only read it once, but several times? And I could reread our emails as many times as I needed to. And as one of my dear friends told me, "You will have a well documented relationship." :)

Through the contents of the next multiple sets of long emails, I could see that God has been working in both of us over the last two years. That this really was the one person with whom I could spend the rest of my life. That this was that special person who I had been praying for years. That this was the Godly man that I could trust, support and confidently call my husband.

Once I had made that decision in my mind, that unrest and uncertainty dropped and I had such a sense of peace. And the fact that Dad agreed with me and approved of Luke made my decision final. Yes, I knew Luke would be the one at some point in the future. But I didn't know how that future would be much sooner than I expected....

The month of May arrived and since my birthday was on a Sunday, Luke was determined to come out that weekend. He arrived Saturday evening after work just like he had with all his previous trips; his fourth visit out here to Kansas to see me. Also, Jena surprised me and arrived home that evening as well for my birthday!

Sunday morning came and Luke gave me one birthday gift to open before church. I opened a set of Christian fiction books which I would be excited about reading later, but as for that morning, my mind flew back to the Kid's Klub program I had planned in church, finishing last minute details on that and praying that all the kids would arrive that morning.

Sunday school, church and the Kid's Klub program came and perfectly. As with every Sunday when Luke was there, I always received more comments, questions and hugs. This Sunday was no different except for the fact that it was my birthday. We went out to eat after church and came home and that's when Luke gave me my second birthday gift--a matching necklace and bracelet wrapped in glittery paper, which I opened and then we continued on with the rest of our day.

Luke and I headed downstairs to work with Photoshop and some photos on my computer. And Jena informed us that there was nothing to do in Kansas and she was bored, so she decided to make cupcakes. Partly because she had given me a cupcake recipe book for my birthday and mostly because after living in Oklahoma City for a year, she had now decided Kansas or rather where we were at in Kansas was rather uneventful. Didn't she know that she lived here for 20+ some years of her life?? Anyway, back to the story...

We finished working downstairs, Dad went to bed, Jena started frosting cupcakes and Luke and I started our late night talks. Usually when Luke comes out, we end up staying up late, talking. This night was no different. Sure, Jena was in the kitchen working on her cupcakes, washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, but that wasn't bothering either one of us. Well, let me rephrase that--it wasn't bothering me. Unknown to me, Luke was waiting for Jena to go to bed and she took FOREVER, according to him, to finish those cupcakes! Finally she said goodnight and headed to bed.

It seemed like an ordinary end to the day as usual when Luke was here. We continued talking for a little bit longer and as it was getting late, I made the comment that I really should go to bed. Then Luke informed me that he had one last birthday gift for me and asked me even though it was late, if I still wanted it now? Surprised, I said yes and waited for him to get up and go get it. Except he didn't. He still sat across from me and started talking and that's when I finally realized what he was saying and asking me to marry him! He totally surprised me!

I had already come to the conclusion that he was the one I was going to marry, but I really hadn't considered him proposing until months in the future. I was still absorbing the fact that God had brought someone into my life--I hadn't reached beyond that point yet. But of course, I said, "Yes!" to his very important and best birthday gift of the day! :) It was the best birthday I've ever had and the best gift Luke could have ever given me!

The next day we went shopping for an engagement ring, which was very fun and thrilling to be able to shop for a ring together. I was still trying to absorb the fact that Luke really did propose the night before and I really was engaged. But in the days and weeks since that day, I've fully come to realize that I really am getting married to a wonderful, Godly man! And how thrilled I am that God has blessed me so much in bringing Luke into my life. There's nothing quite as exciting as waiting until God's perfect timing in bringing that perfect person and seeing how He provides in every single little detail. As I look back in how Joanna and I met each other which later led to meeting Luke, I can see God working and preparing me for him even when I was totally unaware of it!

Yes, God had me wait for a while when it would have been my choice and my plan to be married years ago, but even through that, I can see God at work. Through those years of waiting, God taught me so much and there's nothing quite as fulfilling to see how God had a purpose in everything. Even through something as unexpected and tragic as Mom's death, I can see God teaching me to learn to be content right where He had placed me. And once I bended enough to obey His will and learn contentment there, He blesses me with one of my greatest desires! And not just in one way, but many ways! There's nothing quite as wonderful and joyful as waiting for God's best and being fully at peace knowing He is in control of everything!

May 21, 2011--yes, I can't wait for that very important day!! I love Luke so much and am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him! Right now, I am very much looking to the future months of wedding planning and organizing in preparation for next May, but I still enjoy looking back over the last year. Remember our "well documented relationship?" Well, that statement is so very true.

Much of our relationship over the last twelve months is in those emails to each other and as of now, that email count is 1709! I love it! Every single email that consisted of one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page or ten pages truly does tell our love story and in reading through those archives, we really have been watching God's plan unfold! What can be more wonderful than that?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our love story; watching God's plan unfold! Part 2

Part 2 - Luke & I? Yes? Maybe? Nope, it just wouldn't work!

The year 2009 rolled around and Joanna and I still managed to work in times to visit each other in and amongst our email and phone conversations. We drove to Houston Quilt Market together, flew out to Seattle to a sewing convention and still continued enjoying our visits sharing with each other in so many areas of our lives.

We both talked about our families and knew about them, but I noticed that Joanna talked more about Luke. I didn't give it much thought, since I knew they were close and I still saw him as nothing more than part of Joanna's family. But as I look back, the things she told me about him would prove to be helpful to me as I would be getting to know him in the months to come.

During one of our long phone conversations, Joanna was talking about several things she was sewing and how she was trying to work in stitching several of Luke's shirts. Because of Luke's height, finding shirts was difficult at times, so Joanna would make them for him. And at that time, Joanna commented to me that she didn't mind sewing his shirts, but that she couldn't be doing it forever. And whoever he did end up marrying definitely needed to know how to sew! At the time, I fully agreed with her, but didn't consider me being that someone!

Unknown to me, Joanna had already been talking to Luke about me since we had met, trying to convince him that he really should consider me as a future spouse. Joanna knew both Luke and I and thought we would be perfect together. As I was to find out later, when I would travel out to Colorado, Joanna and Luke would deliberately plan things to do while I was there to see how I reacted and responded to it. Little did I know that as we went hiking at Glen Erie, played games together and attended an Easter play called The Thorn, they were planning much of it! I honestly didn't have a clue; to which I can see now was a great benefit! If I would have known, I'm sure I wouldn't have been quite so at ease while I was there.

Then in April 2009, I took one of my Siamese kittens out to Colorado to give to Joanna. It was on this trip that Luke stood out to me in a different way than I'd seen him before. I've tried to recall just what it was and can't name anything specific, but I began to see things in him that were characteristics I was looking for and desired in a spouse. I knew Joanna well enough to know that our Biblical values, conservative ideas and outlook and goals in life were very much the same. And I knew enough about Luke through Joanna to know that his would very much mirror hers.

Still, even through some excellent Godly qualities I saw, I still saw a difference in our interests and abilities where I just didn't think we would be compatible. On the way home from that trip to Colorado, I remember thinking and praying about the idea of a future relationship with Luke. By the end of that 6 hour trip, I'd made up my mind. Nope, it just wouldn't work; there were too many differences between us.

Plus I never saw any interest from Luke and Joanna never said one word to me that ever put Luke and I together. And surely Joanna of all people would mention something to me if she saw the possibility of Luke and I in a relationship. I did continue to pray about it for a week or two, but with all those thoughts in mind, I moved on with my summer activities of camp and VBS and forgot about Luke.

July came and camp arrived. That year at camp something happened that hadn't had happen in quite a while there. I had three different people suggest someone they knew that might just be a perfect spouse for me. Although I didn't personally know any of these people, I wasn't opposed to considering them, but I wasn't sure that anything would really develop. And my thought at the time was, "Why did God bring this about this year? This hasn't happened in quite a while, why now? And three people?"

When I returned home and told Dad the events of the two weeks of camp in addition to these three guys that had been suggested to me, I told him one other thing. I said, "There's only person who I've met that's met some of my qualifications in what I'm looking for in a spouse." Which surprised Dad and he immediately wondered who? I told him that he didn't know him, but it was Luke, Joanna's brother. But as I was telling him about Luke, I also told him that I had decided it just wouldn't work, so that was the end of that. I had already made up my mind.

August arrived and a facebook friend request from Joanna appeared in my inbox shortly followed by one from Luke. This was a huge shock as I never expected to see Joanna on facebook. So when Luke sent me a friend request, he informed me that I was the one who convinced Joanna to join!

Yeah, well, I certainly couldn't let that comment go unanswered. So of course, I responded to that and that was the start of our written communication with each other. I know--this seems like another insignificant detail and at this point in my story, it is. But you see, all those typed facebook chats and emails would add up to a significant amount and play an important role in the months to come.

It was also the first part of August when Joanna moved from Colorado to Iowa. On their way to Iowa to help break up the trip, Joanna, Luke and their mom spent the night at our house. To me it was a stop along the way of a long drive, but to Luke (as he told me later), it was a reason to stop and get to know me a little bit better. I didn't know it at the time, but Luke had already been interested in me and been praying about me.

After Luke and his family had been here, I asked Dad for his opinion of Luke, especially since I had told Dad about him in July. Dad didn't really know him, but he was uncertain whether anything would develop between the two of us. That made my decision even more final. I had already come to that conclusion in the past and Dad just confirmed it. And because I highly value my Dad's advice and opinion, I put Luke and any future relationship out of my mind. Except for the fact that Luke himself made that a bit difficult.

For the next couple of weeks after Joanna moved, Luke and I did email each other back and forth a few times. Joanna was so busy with moving and work, that any news Luke heard from her, he would pass onto me, knowing that we were best friends. At the time, I didn't think too much of the initial emails back and forth. They were just a few emails between friends, nothing more.

But after a couple weeks, Luke continued to email me. At the time, I wondered why since our connection to each other was Joanna and she had now moved out of state. But with just about every email he sent me, I replied with one of my own. I'm not sure if I would have admitted it at the time to anyone, including myself, or even really was aware of it, but I did really look forward to and enjoy Luke's emails. I still was not considering anything more between us than just ordinary friends, but through those emails, I started to learn more and more about him.

From August to November, those sporadic emails and facebook chats continued. The week before Thanksgiving was a busy week for Dad and myself; we were getting things finished at home in preparation for traveling to Kentucky that next week. So when Dad came downstairs in the middle of the afternoon on Friday, I was surprised as I knew he had been trying to get as much milo cut as he could.

Then he said that Luke called him and asked him about starting a relationship with me. Which took me by total surprise! Again, much to my surprise, Dad was in agreement to it, whereas a few months before, he was wasn't sure. As for me, I had made the decision months before that a relationship between Luke and myself wouldn't work, so I was rather shocked about this new development, but after a couple days of talking and praying about it, both Dad and I agreed and would see what would happen.

After that happened, one of the first things I did was talk with Joanna. One of my initial thoughts among many others was, "Joanna got tired of sewing all of Luke's shirts and she's ready to hand that off to someone else." Which is exactly what I told her! And she said, "Yes, I know I can hand that over to you in complete confidence that you know what you're doing! But that's not the most important reason why I think you and Luke would be perfect together." That was when she told me several things that had happened over the past couple of years that I knew nothing about and how that Luke and Joanna had been talking about me long before I knew a thing about it.

Therefore, Luke and I continued to email back and forth, but this time with a little different purpose in mind. Right after Christmas, Dad and I drove to Colorado to visit with his family. Even through that visit and our continued emails back and forth, I was still very uncertain and couldn't see any future relationship with Luke. And at one point, I really did think Luke agreed with me. January was a very busy month for Luke and I didn't get an email from him in almost three weeks. That was unusual since we usually had two to three emails back and forth each week.

Was I hurt or disappointed by that? No, not at all. At this time, emotionally I was not involved with Luke, my total focus was getting to know him, his goals, his values, his beliefs to see if he was someone I would be interested in marrying. And since I hadn't had an email from him in quite a while, I decided that he had seen something that wouldn't work between us. Which was good! Perfect! That was something for which I was praying.

During the past few weeks, I had been praying for God to bring up issues and show us very clearly if this was something that would or wouldn't work. But low and behold just as I had come to that very conclusion one morning, that very afternoon a long email from Luke appeared in my inbox. No, it was over yet....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our love story; watching God's plan unfold! Part 1

I know some of you have been waiting for the blog post of how Luke and I met and got to know each other for quite a while--well, it's finally here! The first part anyway. I started writing this a couple months ago and it turned into a book which I had to shorten before posting. :)

Part 1 - An Unexpected Best Friend!

When I think back on the last two and half years, it's amazing to see God's handiwork in so many ways in which Luke and I were both totally unaware. Why do I want to share this with you? Because it is a continual reminder of God's sovereignty and proves beyond doubt how He works even in what sometimes seems to us the most undesirable events. The events that transpired weren't just "circumstances". It was God working in the simplest of details in putting a fantastic friend named Joanna in my path and later bringing the one that God has intended for me for the rest of my life - Luke!

As Luke and I were getting to know one another, I found it such an encouragement to look back at the months before that time and see how God planned each and every detail! If I could have told Him what I wanted, could I have even pictured it and given Him an outline to follow? No way! I love looking back, seeing how God orchestrated every intricate detail and allowing that to continually remind me what an awesome God He is! As you'll see, there are a lot of little, what seemed at the time, insignificant details, but I really believe God put all those there for a reason. Looking back I can see how He opened my eyes to some things and completely closed them to others. And now to look back and see all those details make sense is just....incredible! So take a quick (or long!) journey with me back two and half years ago when it all began...

It all started with a miniature Krackle candy bar. In late November 2007, I attended a Bernina National Teacher's Retreat in Chicago for three days with one of my quilting friends. For reasons all of my own, it was a retreat I wasn't looking forward to that much. In fact, I almost considered not going, but knew it was a business opportunity I couldn't pass up. So I went, unaware of how God would bless in the upcoming months and years.

The first evening was a get-together-get-to-know everyone type of meeting in which I was introduced to this young lady named Joanna who was close to my age. In fact, that was the precise reason someone introduced her to me; because we WERE the youngest two in attendance there. I must stop at this point and comment that in the sewing/quilting industry, while younger generation sewers are becoming more common, they are still among the minority. So to have two people under twenty-five in a group of older ladies was unusual. That night Joanna and I didn't talk anymore than pretty much saying hi, where are you from, what do you do, etc.

That night as I returned back to the hotel, I was thinking, "Lord, why am I here? I've worked with Bernina machines enough that I'm learning little new in regards to the machines themselves. And I have classes and stuff piling up at home to do. I'm so ready to get back home." I knew that wasn't the right attitude to have, so my prayer was that God would change it because in Chicago was where I was at that moment and there was no changing that.

The next two days were full of classes and sewing/quilting chit chat conversations. I wasn't totally thrilled to be there, but that all changed in a heartbeat Friday night. That last night the group of 40 ladies was broken up into groups to tour the building by simply choosing a miniature Hershey's candy bar. I choose the Krackle variety. Unknown to me, Joanna did to.

We found ourselves in the same group traveling the building and eating dinner that night and talking back and forth discovering that we both loved machine embroidery, taught sewing/quilting classes, knew and loved working with Bernina software, etc. Before the last group meeting of the night, I asked Joanna for her email address since it seemed as though she could prove to be an excellent business contact in the future. That was it. The last meeting came and went. Everyone started to board the buses to head back to the hotel.

I climbed into one bus and crawled back into the very backseat and found Joanna next to me. We started visiting and then our conversation moved to conservative values, learning that we were both homeschooled, both believers and I honestly don't have a clue what else we talked about on that car ride - but I do remember being excited!

When we arrived at the hotel, we stood out in the lobby intending to finish our conversation we started on the bus and ended up standing there, talking for over an hour--an hour of intense conversation. I had just lost Mom the year before and still dealing with that tragedy and Joanna had just been through some hard things that summer and that was exactly what we were sharing with each other.

For those of you who know either one of us, we don't normally share that degree of our personal lives with just anyone--let alone a stranger who we just met! We have both looked back on that conversation and still don't know why we so easily shared those personal things with each other. The only possible reason - it was God working in both of us to bring us together.

We finally quit talking and once I reached my hotel room, I immediately called Dad, thrilled and excited and told him that I met someone incredible and he just wouldn't believe it. Not only did I meet someone my age who was intensely involved in sewing as I was, but also a believer who with very limited conversation, seemed to agree with my values in so many areas of life. Even he could tell how excited I was and it's one of his favorite stories to tell - how I met someone just like me! :) One insignificant detail about this night that stood out to me: both Joanna and I were wearing high heeled boots and she was still quite a bit taller than I was...

In the next several months, Joanna and I emailed each other every week or so, learning more and more about each other. We discovered that we were alike in so many ways! Not only did we share the same Biblical beliefs and values, but we both were heavily involved in the sewing and quilting industry. We both loved machine embroidery, worked in Bernina sewing machine dealerships, taught different sewing and quilting classes. Even in the little, insignificant details, such as we owned Siamese cats and the best way to watch movies is to sew at the same time! Yes, we had our differences, but yet again, I had never met someone who was "just like me" in the best and most wonderful of ways!

In April 2008, I drove out to Colorado Springs to spend a couple days with Joanna. As I met up with Joanna at the quilt store where she worked, I was once again reminded how much taller she was than myself. The first day I was there, Joanna took me to a bell choir practice where her older brother played. While we were there, Joanna asked me if I knew which one was her brother? Sure I did! Even though I had never met him or seen him. He was the tallest one there with the same dark hair that Joanna had! I now knew why Joanna had her height; her brother Luke was tons taller!

During the time I was there, Joanna and I had our sewing/quilting discussions among many other things. In the upcoming months, we traveled back and forth from Kansas to Colorado to spend several days together. While we spent the majority of our time together with our sewing projects and conversations, we did get to know each others families as well. When I would drive out there, we would do things with her family, which did at times include Luke, although to me he was nothing more than just another one of Joanna's brothers.

It was on one of those trips to Colorado that I did notice something about Luke that stood out to me. I noticed how kind and gentle he was and how he treated his mom and sisters with that same care. I saw that as a very excellent and Godly quality. And at the time, this was my thought, "Whenever Luke does get married, he would be someone who would treat his wife very well."

Yes, believe it or not, that is exactly what I thought, but my thoughts went no further than that...not once did I consider myself to ever be that person. I look back on that now and really believe that God opened my eyes to that fact, but completely closed them to the fact of thinking nothing more of Luke than just Joanna's brother. If my thoughts had branched out further, I probably would have been a little less at ease around him and Joanna's family on those trips to Colorado.

Even when Joanna and I couldn't get together because of our busy schedules, our email conversations continued. Through each and every conversation, we were such a blessing and encouragement to each other. I was amazed beyond belief how God had brought a wonderful person who become my best friend from a Bernina retreat I wasn't thrilled about attending and almost didn't. And even through the past difficult year that Joanna and I had both faced, God was working in allowing those things to happen to bring us closer together. I couldn't ask for more! I was more than content with my friendship with her, my business endeavors and staying at home with Dad. My life was complete; God had blessed in so many ways! Little did I realize that God wasn't finished yet...

Monday, August 16, 2010

August? Wasn't this month supposed to slow down?

Yeah, that's what I thought too! July--craziness! August--nothingness! What was I thinking?!?!? lol!!! Yes, perhaps not as busy as July, but plenty of things to continue to occupy my time.

It seems as though I've spent weeks catching up on email, business, orders, blogging, photos, sisters, cleaning, cooking and just plain life!! But I have to admit--I wouldn't change one thing I did in July!

Ok, so let's see.....I spent the first two weeks this month recovering from the previous events. You know, when you're physically gone for just about 4 weeks, dust tends to build up, cats tend to get lonely, and mail piles really high! ;)

Luke was here for a few days this month and we spent some time discussing wedding plans, talking, going to the rodeo, laughing, scouting out photo spots all over Dodge and just spending time together! Fun times!!! :)

This week? I'm headed to Iowa to spend a week with Joanna! I'm soooo excited! It's been a whole entire year since we've seen each other! Of course, that can't be too horrible considering the fact that we didn't even know each other the first 19 and 24 years of our lives! :)

The end of the month? Luke, Jena, Ryan and Krissa are all coming home for the weekend! All of us home at the same time--yep, it's been about a year since everyone's been home at the same time! I'm looking forward to it!

Maybe September will be normal? You think?! I'm not sure if I should plan on that or not....;)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Set sail for our High Seas Expedition!

Set sail on the high seas at Grace Community Church! This year I had the privilege of directing Vacation Bible School at church! It was an exciting week and I enjoyed every minute and was thrilled to work with so many wonderful people using the talents and abilities God has given them! All the work over the previous weeks and months paid off--we had a great turnout of 70 different kids over all five nights eager to learn about God's Word!

The worker meals! The skits! The decorations! The music! The rotating Bible lesson room each night! The water games! The creative snacks! The unique crafts! The lists upon lists!

It took everyone working together to create a week that the kids enjoyed and learned so much! Thank you to everyone who put in so much of their talent and time into that week and the weeks before it!
Can you believe that ship and sail?!?!

Bible lesson classroom for a ship at sea! I love this one!!

Bible lesson classroom for a shipwrecked island!

Our treasure chest filled with coins and blankets which the kids bought and tied each night!

My endless check-list! ;)

Our float in the Dodge City Days parade--it was sooo neat!!!

Erinn & I!!!

It was such a treat to spend the week working with Erinn! What would I have done without her???--I just don't know!!!

Here's a sneak peek from the week that Andrew put together and there's more pics from the week here....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CEF Camp Week 1 & 2

Simply amazing!

How can I describe those two weeks?? With many, many words! It was great as always! The same usual routine. A few new additions and friendships made. And most thrilling to see God bring in enough kids to fill both weeks!

This year we taught a new CEF lesson--Beginnings! And I loved it! It was exciting teaching on Creation, Adam & Eve, Cain & Able, Enoch and Noah! Needless to say that Noah, one of my favorite Bible stories to teach, could have lasted two hours instead of the 40 minutes I had. The first week, I had to skip so much of what I had planned, so the second week I ummm...skipped some details so I could get the whole story, memory verse and review game in that time frame! Oh, but I loved it!

And even though most of the youngest group of campers already know the story of Noah, it's still exciting to see their faces just waiting for the next "event" to happen as I'm telling the story. And then to see their interest in the size of the ark, just how many animals were inside and how long they floated on the water was so neat! Ahhhhh--I love teaching! :)

The first week I taught in the gym! Great--that's my favorite place to teach! The second week Sharon told me I was teaching in the chapel--ok, that's fine! (I have to admit; I was just a tad disappointed to not be teaching again in my favorite spot!) What was I thinking?!?!?!?

Oh--am I now ever so spoiled!!! I told Brian that I'd come back and teach year after year if he could guarantee my classroom remained in the air conditioned chapel! He agreed!! Remember that next year! ;) lol!!! But in all my years of teaching, I've never taught there and still taught the youngest group of campers--it was a treat!

This was a new Bible lesson review game I did this year -- dress up someone on your team!!! The kids LOVED it!!! After all, wouldn't you want a red nose, black rimmed glasses, feathers around your neck or blue hair???? ;)

Our memory verse rainbow was soooo fun! The kids loved seeing the rainbow being built every single day in the dinning room the first week and in the chapel the second week. They did an excellent job memorizing verses! And thankfully I had lots of help taping up all those rainbow sections every day! Whew!! That's a job--but worth it!!

Let's see--what else?! Hmmmm, so much happened during those two weeks. It's impossible to sum it up in one blog post! There were some friends I missed seeing this year (yes, Jenna--that's you!! :)) and then some others were there that hadn't been in a few years! Ruth and Josh--I'm sooooo glad we could all be teachers that first week--what a thrilling week it was! It was great to catch up on old camp memories!! Ahhhh--fun!! So many years spent at camp together and so many good times!!! :)

This year I enjoyed every minute of those two weeks I was there. As that second week drew to a close, I kept thinking, "This could be the last time I'm...

....handing out memory verse prizes,

....standing on the porch watching flag raising,

....keeping score, listening to kids competing in quiz time and laughing during counselor quizzing,

....melting in the dinning room grading manners,

....watching kids file into the chapel for singtime,

....shooting pics during talent night,

....sharing secrets about Miss Ruth, Luke & Nehemiah with Clara all week long,

....listening to the laughter and delight during final assembly when such photos such as Luke & his funny faces appear,

....pouncing on photo opportunities just like this one,

....watching Lauren grow up year after year and now attending as a camper,

....climbing that stack of stairs up and down & up and down again and again,

....seeing campers, counselors, teachers and staff come back year after year!

Perhaps this year won't be the last time, but this year especially I enjoyed every minute! Ahhh--the memories! The good times! The wonderful friendships! The kids year after year! The ministry God has allowed me to become apart of for 16 years! Wow! Amazing! How thankful I am to be apart of those two weeks out of the year every summer!

As Josh, Ruth and I were thinking back on the years we've attending camp together and all the things that happened year after year; it was so fun to look back! I began thinking...what was my favorite year? Hmmm....I'm not sure I can put one year in that category.

I remember that first year of counseling and winning best manners! And one hard year where God taught me just as much as I was there to teach the kids! And the first time I taught both weeks--the lesson of Esther! And then seven years after that--teaching Esther again! Then leading singtime with Ruth as my ever-so-helpful partner! And Bible teacher talks, outings and late night swims. Looking forward to seeing Brian and Sharon and their family year after year!

The years and memories--perfect! Never to be forgotten! I can't help but look back on those times and smile!

More photos from the first week of camp...

More photos from the second week of camp...

Monday, August 2, 2010

What a month it's been!

Yes, it's so true! What a month is has been! July proved to be just as exciting, wonderful, full and exhausting as I expected, but what a great month!! In some ways this month has flown by so fast and in others, it seems like it's lasted forever.

Let's all started when I went to Colorado Spring for the 4th of July weekend to spend with Luke. Then a few days after that I left for the first week of camp. Then the second week of camp. Then a week of VBS at church.

And now? Catching up on everything I didn't get done in the last month! Including blogging. And finally able to start making wedding plans, which I'm extremely excited about!!