Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First day of School

New lunch boxes, new backpacks, new clothes, new sneakers,
new school, new friends, a new start!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Harmless Fun

We are in the camp kitchen as I type. I know this because the keyboard is crusted in grease and has food particles between the keys. Such are the joys of having your "office" in the corner of a busy commercial kitchen! Hubby is teaching the girls a valuable to entertain yourself with a latex glove. Currently everyone is running about with their glove on their hand, inflated with air and pinched off at the wrist. They are all loudly telling stories of smacking their hands with hammers and having said hands "puff up". Oh, now the story has changed to wasp stings. I can't wait until he shows then how to put the thing on your head like a rooster comb (blown up of course)...that'll do wonders on their hair.

I have to admit that life at camp can be amazing at times. Last week was a rough week. I was grumpy (translate to unbearable) and hardly wanted to come to meals and be forced to make nice-nice with anyone who happened to plunk their plate down across from me. Plus the group was challenging as well. I won't say that it isn't a joy to serve, but some folk really tend to bring the joy out more than others. This week we have an amazing group in, with quite a few familiar faces since they've been with us before. They are mostly immigrant Khmer people, who have such incredible suffering in their heritage, yet they are so kind, friendly, and full of joy. Their speaker is a Jamaican man, and he and his wife and son have made friends with our family quickly. He pointed out to us the amazing position that we are in here at camp. How we get to meet, and see in action the variety in Christ's church. And it's true. As we serve, and talk with, and even worship together, we realize that we have far more in common than we ever imagined. Frequently the groups range not only in style of worship or denomination, but also in skin color, culture, and even language. I remember attending a Ukrainian service, all in Russian, and having a teen boy feverishly translating for us and explaining the humor of the skits. I can't remember anything of the service, but only his fervor to share it with us.

So in the midst of all my grumpiness, I am grateful for new friends, who point out the beauty around me. Beauty that I sometimes cease to see, as the landscape becomes so very familiar. And I am thankful for small latex gloves. Otherwise known as cheap toys.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Wanna Run Away

Boy, do I need a big dose of fantasy these days! This time last year I was preparing for our big Disney camping trip to meet the girls. Oh what a difference a year makes! I love Disney. It's so very reliable. Plus it's very clean and tidy. And they play cheery music all the time. It's nice. I wish I could go live there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Other Things

As always, even when your family is in the midst of a hard time, life does inevitably go on. It does seem shocking at times, as I am so caught in our own little loop of the world. The weather has been fabulous! Not too hot, mostly sunny. We got bikes up and rolling for four of the children, and they stay outside, building structures in the woods and riding their bikes, ALL DAY LONG. Believe me when I say that they eat and sleep well. They are constantly attended by a black goat and an orange cat. It is fun to look out the window and see those two critters curled up in the sunshine together...laying only a couple of feet apart on the lawn.

Camp is still in full swing, and will be until after Labor Day, when we will switch to a busy weekend schedule. School is less than two weeks away, for the two scholars who plan to go out to school. The three who will be at home, are not planning to start until a little later. This will give us some down time to tackle some projects and much needed home maintenance. Things tend to suffer in the summer here, and with all the added stress of the last year, we are dreadfully behind in even the most basic things.

Hubby is speaking seriously of putting our house on the market (oh, my heart) so I guess I had better think about how to empty the place out. Maybe a dumpster? I hate to see it go. I tend to let my roots creep into the old houses we have owned, but I just don't see us settling down here to stay forever. I really think that if we ever leave camp, we'll leave the area. And right now the house is not an asset, but simply one more thing that is bleeding our resources and energies dry.

And maybe I'll find time to sew a bit. I have a half finished quilt for the newlyweds, place mats and napkins for Mom, and an idea for a birthday gift for Boo. My machines have been behind padlocks in the bathroom cupboards, because Soapy is so destructive and she was fixating on them. I hadn't dared to take them out and leave them set up. Needless to say, they have only come out to hem a few pairs of pants, and then back in the cupboard again. Hardly enough to get any creative juices flowing.

It still feels like summer, but fall must be in the air. I am having my urges to empty closets and scrub everything in sight. I want to get the shed cleaned out, and throw away, throw away. Of course I never really throw away, but try and find new homes for stuff that's still good. Probably has something to do with knowing that I'll soon have to condense two houses into one very little one. Oh well, less stuff is less work. Less work is good.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Beautiful Day

Mama and the Girls

"My first snow cone's SO GOOD!"

Bubble Boy

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day, full of family fun. The wedding of our dear friends went off without a far as we could tell. Congratulations B&B! Thanks for having us as part of your special day!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Dear friends have been visiting from the many corners of our little world. Family came, and sat around the campfire tonight. We "talked of poems, prayers and promises, and things that we believe in..." and it was sweet. Gifts have been pressed into our hands by dear ones. Why? Because we love you, of course. Tomorrow we attend the wedding of more dear friends. It promises to be a beautiful day after the rain of today. The children will all be fresh and clean, buffed and puffed. I will be a bit frazzled by the time we arrive. It takes all the organization of a small military maneuver to get this family out the door on time and looking presentable. And it's a morning wedding. And they want us there early as dear hubby is to do a reading. And we have to slip down to the campground to wish friends and family farewell before we leave for the ceremony.

And all the while there is this pot pushed to the back burner. We try not to open the lid right now. Just ignore the pot. But the pot will have to be reckoned with, probably early this coming week. It cannot just sit there and bubble forever.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Stuff I've Been Reading/Thinking About

It's funny how you can be moving through your days and activities, while your mind seems to be churning along on its own accord. All sorts of things feed the thought process coming from here and there, and eventually make up a whole thought. A few days ago I got an email newsletter from a missionary friend that we support. It had some interesting news...things to think on and pray about, but also it had this verse. It seemed like she was claiming this verse in relation to something going on in her life, and it really struck me as a verse that spoke truth to me where I am right now. But I hate to just latch onto some lone little verse and claim it, without reading the story around it, so I looked it up and got caught up in several chapters. It was the story of David and Absalom, and it was a great verse that seemed to speak truth about who God is, although I questioned its application to the situation in the text. This is one of those stories in the Bible that just makes you think, this has got to be true, because who in their right mind would make this stuff up!? But I'll get to that.

Later on, I was reading a book called Velvet Elvis that my sister gave me a long time ago, and she keeps asking me if I've read it yet, because I think she wants to talk to me about what I thought about it. Well, I'm not all that far into the book yet, so I haven't got a fully formed opinion, but I did really chew on something he said near the beginning. It goes something like this. We believe that the Bible is alive, because we don't just believe that it happened, but that it is happening. Like the story of Adam and Eve and the fruit. It isn't just a story about something that happened in the past, but it is our story too. It happens to us, because we do and feel the same things. The story is very real, and human, and we can relate to it. Like taking control when we shouldn't, and totally screwing up, and then kicking ourselves for our stupidity, and having to live with the consequences of our bad choice. Sometimes for the rest of our lives.

Well, thinking about that took me back to the verse, and the story of David and Absalom, and I think I can see why these crazy stories made it in. The verse that grabbed me read like this:
"Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him."
2 Samuel 14:14b
If it is possible to say so about the man after God's own heart, and not be disrespectful, King David had the mother of all dysfunctional families. I mean really, the verse is given during a discourse trying to convince David of the "rightness" of letting his son Absalom come out of his self imposed banishment because he had killed his own brother. For raping their sister. And David agrees, on the condition that Absalom comes home, but he does not have to see him. So this goes OK for about two years, but Absalom decides he wants to see his Dad. And since he can't get an audience the conventional way, he sets fire to his influential neighbor's (aka the commander of David's armies) fields, just to get his attention and stress how serious he is about wanting to see dear old Dad. The predictable thing is that this spoiled child behavior gets him just what he wants, and David sees him and forgives him.

Now here's a shocker. This newly forgiven son, then goes and uses his freedom and position (and apparently his hair) to totally undermine his father the king, and begins amassing an army to try and overthrow him. It's not like he was rash and impulsive about it either. He took forty years to "steal the hearts" of the men of Israel, rise up and put the king, his father, on the run for his life. The story is long and has a lot of twists and turns, but eventually David prevails in an enormous and bloody battle, and Absalom is hung up in a tree by his glorious hair, and killed by David's army commander. (You know, the one with the burnt out fields.)

And here's another weird twist. You'd think after all the water under the bridge, David would be relieved to get the news, but instead he breaks down and begins wailing about how he wishes it had been him instead of his beloved son. The part I so feel as real, is the reaction of the commander, who basically tells him to snap out of it. He says something like, "I can't believe you are behaving like this. I think you'd be happy if all of us were dead, if only your precious bad boy son was still alive. Your people went into BATTLE for you, in case that escaped you, and if you don't get a grip, they will give you more trouble than Prince Fabio ever did in his whole life!"

And of course David did snap out of it enough to show appreciation for what the people had done, but he still grieved for his son Absalom. Now the thing I think is so alive about this story, is not just that it DID happen, but that it IS happening. Dysfunctional families abound in all times and places. Sometimes they are made by the bad choices of the family members, and sometimes they just are...the results of events out of our control. But children become damaged, and violent. And some parents confront the situation head on...and some of them succeed, and some fail. Some parents bury their heads in the sand, and they reap a sad harvest. But no matter how it goes down, it always seems to end with a parent weeping over their child. If it ends badly, they weep a lot. So much that the world looking on scratches its head and wonders why all the tears. Because all they see is the violence, and vanity, and manipulations. They think that they would have been relieved over the break with the child. They would have been happy over the deliverance from the misery this child has heaped onto this home. It is a horrible thing to be caught in the circle of grief, then relief, then guilt...then back to grief. You can never really fully plumb the depths of how you feel. No one will let you. You won't let yourself.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tarry Ye...

"He works where He sends us to wait.

'Tarry ye . . . until . . .' Wait on God and He will work, but don't wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told."

Oswald Chambers--My Utmost For His Highest