Television.  Facebook.  News. Pinterest. To-Do Lists.  My Own Head.  Anywhere, Everywhere.  You will not typically hear this message quite so clear, but I can almost guarantee you’re feeling it.  I certainly am.  It’s freeing to embrace it friends, and to settle into what God has for you in each moment - no more, no less.  Rest in Him, Rest in Him.  We were made to come to the end of ourselves, because that’s exactly what leads us to Him.  I’m talking to myself especially tonight. 

Sara Groves hits the nail on the head with this one - you won’t regret listening:

Posted By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/08 - Permalink

Fulness of Grace

We spent the morning with the Stolhammer boys a couple weeks ago!  (Truman loves to don that bow-tie)

Painting rocks was a novelty, and somehow by the 5th and 6th rocks the novelty hadn’t worn off.

The pillows make great mountains for jumping, rolling, and smashing oneself on, (it’s a compromise…no jumping on furniture, but you know, put the pillows on the floor and I’m fine.)

A just-because-picture…because she’s so cute!  (The hat was made using my friend April’s hat pattern, check out her shop - great patterns and fabulous options in decorative decals)

Totally love each other.  We’re working on the other sibling combinations:)

The little porker is all about feeding herself, which has significantly increased my hands-free time.  Jeepers…how did I do all of that spoon-feeding-only stuff before?  Thankfully she’s on to bigger (and better!) food.  Currently some of Lucy’s faves are cottage cheese, bread, hummus, bananas (rolled in crushed cheerios..mmmm), lasagna and potoates.  Bring on the world she says.

As I post the pics of smiling cherubs and the makings of wonderful memories this week, I’m also remembering the mess, wandering, failures, and shortcomings of the past several days too…on everyone’s part.  But following that up close behind is a great well of joy found in knowing the fulness of God’s grace. 

The kids and I were reading earlier this week the story of King David out of The Jesus Storybook Bible (if you have children and do not have this book, make that a lie now and go buy it… is not like any other children’s Bible book I have ever laid my eyes on.).  I was reminded again of the mess that David had made of his life, and yet how the Bible still refers to him as “a man after God’s own heart”.  That in humility he came before God in all of his sin and asked God to give him a new heart, and that’s just what God did for him.  And my goodness….that is my hope…your hope…that God has done that for those who have called upon Him as Savior, and will continue to work His new-heart-project until the day we are re-united with Him. 

A few weeks ago I heard a Christian woman (whom I respect and know loves the Lord!), mention in frustration, that frankly she is so tired of people bringing up David and the example of his sin as a way to excuse their own sin and falling away.

I hear her heart of frustration with a complacent faith.  I just don’t think I could ever tire of hearing of God’s unending, unconditional grace given over and over and over and over to those deep in sin.  We are deeper than we know.  Deeper than we’ll admit.  Because even in our complacency God’s grace is given and breaks through to levels we didn’t even know needed to be reached.

I want to hear about that everyday, because I need it everyday and by God’s grace I am learning to be thankful for it everyday. 

Posted By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/08 - Permalink

Preparing for the Summer

The month of May was packed full with tons of work and preparations going on at camp for a busy summer of ministry.  Sam has had his plate full with remodeling a staff house (“Hillside”), as well as helping as needed with the remodel project of another building that will now become staff housing (previously a guest house).  Both projects have been much needed and the time has been now to complete them!  The latter project (girl’s guest house) will now open up more cabins to be used for campers (previously the girls were using up a 4-unit cabin.  This will be especially helpful during Family Camps…allowing more of those on the waiting lists to come!), and the first project mentioned will now allow more staff men to be housed in one building.  What a blessing!  It means however, that every single staff member that has been involved in these projects have been working their tails off to complete the details because staff began trickling in last week, with the rest to descend upon camp this coming week! 

I’m not super great about capturing every project and detail that Sam is working on…in fact sometimes it’s just difficult to capture it in pictures (grouting those tiles….plumbing that line….fixing that toilet….laying that floor….installing that window…you get the idea!).  But I’ve grabbed a couple….

Roofing one of our main buildings during Work Weekend

This is at the guys’  staff house.  It doesn’t really show Sam’s work, but this was a day we visited to see what he was up to.  Truman is really into goofy posing these days…..

Pouring concrete at the girl’s staff house basement.

Over Memorial Day Weekend camp hosted our first Family Camp of the season.  This year I have prepared the class-time lessons for the preschoolers, but have handed off the actual teaching responsibility to others.  I was glad to be a part in this way, but felt that with Sam’s unpredictable needs that arise at camp, I could not commit the time involvement for teaching the actual class.  The rest of our Family Camps will continue in mid-July.  Here’s the theme logo for Family Camps this summer:

Next up??  Our counselors are currently going through their 2-week training before camp begins and the rest of the staff arrive next week! Ahh!  Summer ministry is upon us!  In a lot of ways, I have felt in a fog the past several years. Between having babies….taking care of babies….and well….babies….It has been more difficult for me to stay connected personally out at camp.  I am praying for ways to open my heart and home to the summer staff this summer….in whatever way that looks like.  They are the ones on the front lines, and I want to be an encouragment to them especially in their long days of serving.  However, I also know that even if I still don’t see a strong connection with myself and camp this summer, I can be faithful in who God has already given me to encourage - my kiddos and the hubs.  Embracing and giving thanks for those everyday opportunities is key for me as I enter this season, and holding my time and energy with an open hand is what I’m learning to do.  So thankful for God’s grace…...praying He uses me as a conduit of His grace for others.  That’s all I am….just some empty plastic pipe on my own…..asking He would be merciful in letting His grace flow through me. 

Posted By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 - Permalink

We sow

The sowing has begun this past week in our garden.  The cold tolerant ones are in - onions, potatoes, lettuce, & carrots, and the garlic is popped up at least a foot from last fall’s planting.  We have a well-tilled garden thanks to a gracious neighbor, and the ground not yet sown is warming under black tarps - preparing the way for the heat-needing crops.  We have been hardening off (getting them used to the elements during the day), the needy plants that were sown indoors - tomatoes, jalepeno peppers, cabbage and basil, and the rest of our garden will be planted in the coming weeks as the soil and air continue to warm up.  It’s always just a big job this time of year - getting the soil prepared, mapping out the rows and square foot sections, tending to the little sprouts and transplants, but we know it will be worth it.  And we’re hoping to make a few changes this year so that we can stay on top of the maintenace of it all, and truly get a good return for all of the labor involved! 

Truman is truly excited about the garden work this year - it’s been added as a part of our day’s routine.  I am not forcing the kids to help me, but encouraging them to and explaining that it is work that needs to be done.  So after having some play time with the kids, they are learning that I will be doing a little bit of work in the garden every morning. So far Truman has been ready and thrilled to work alongside me even with simple jobs like picking out rocks and watering the seeds.  He helped Sam plant the onion sets last week and kept referring to them as “my onions”.  I’m hoping this will be a simple, but good way to continue teaching responsiblity in appropriate ways for his age. 

The spiritual parallels are endless with working the ground and expecting a good crop to rise….my goodness.  You have to work hard not to see the lessons when you’re digging, watering, planting, picking rocks, and just getting dirty…. but it’s harder to remember those lessons when you step back into the house and everyday life and get caught off guard by your own selfishness. 

On a side note, I’m reading through a book right now One Thousand Gifts,(given to me from one of my dear sisters), by Ann Voskamp. Her book and blog are amazing.  Amazingly written, amazingly pointing the reader to Christ as being all-sufficient in all things.  It’s rocking my world, rocking my heart and poignantly showing me things I have felt God purging in me over the last couple years.  The premise is giving thanks and experiencing joy right where you are…in the life God has given you (yes, GIVEN you!).  Not believing that He has held out on you, or that He has not given good gifts, but that His grace is all around me….I just need to choose to see it in everything.  Have you heard of it or read it?  What are your thoughts?  Her blog has been such a daily encouragement too.  So thankful for those who articulate well the stirrings of my own heart.  It’s what God is really doing in all of us, but we just each have a different picture of the same story He is working. 

All that to say - if you’re looking for a summer read - for something you can read pieces of here and there, for something that will not let you get stale or take a vacation from growing closer to Him this summer, then take some time to pick this one up or check it out from the library.  But as the inside review says, beware…it will mess with you in ways you may not have anticipated, but you’ll be so glad it did.

Posted By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/22 - Permalink

Work Weekend

Camp just hosted its annual Work Weekend where a couple hundred volunteers come enjoy free food and housing in exchange for a super long day of hard labor!  I’d say that’s a fair trade, would you?:)  We’re extremely thankful for the time, effort, energy and skills given throughout the year to help assist the ministry at Camp Forest Springs, and especially for this weekend where so much is accomplished in such a short amount of time in preparation for the summer ministry just around the corner. 

Check out this four minute video that gives a re-cap of the many of the projects worked on.  (The time-lapse of the roofing project at the end is the one Sam was leading.) A huge thanks to Jesse Schutt, the media specialist at camp for his work in capturing the day and giving both the staff and volunteers a glimpse of what God allowed us to accomplish in that day.

Posted By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/06 - Permalink
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