Monday, July 30, 2012

The Non-photographer

Hey friends - I feel as if I start every post saying 'it's been way too long' but really, it has! I apologize for my absence, I haven't been feeling inspired at all. My life has mainly consisted of cleaning up my room and going through closets, drawers, etc. I've decided to change this! As some of you may have noticed, I don't post very many pictures. To be honest, I hate taking pictures. So much. But, in order to try and get out of my lack-of-creativity ditch, I've decided to participate in a photo-a-day challenge starting in August!! You can find the list I'm using here. I'm going to try to post my pictures everyday, but if that doesn't happen... you can expect them a day or two late! Here's the list... feel free to join in!

- Jessica

Monday, July 16, 2012

Aaahhh Summer!!!

So here's my problem with summer........my memory of the summers of my youth!  Do you remember when summer was a full 3 months??  When days belonged to you, your group of friends, and your imagination.  Now it seems we get maybe 2 months.  I've been feeling for a few years that I don't even have a summer.  I think part of that is because summer days are like the rest of my days, in that since I homeschool, I am with my kids 365 days of the year.....there's no change and I love that, don't get me wrong.  But it does something to your summer. 

The other problem, or issue is that right at the end of June we have that big group camping trip to CreationFest, we've been doing that since 2005!!  That requires at least a week to regroup and reorient, then we hit Vacation Bible School!!!  That's a huge, amazing, exhausting week!  Then, after that, I do crafts for a week at a summer camp, Delanco Camp, to be exact!  So there are three huge events; one for each month of "summer"!

In April, I think that I begin looking ahead to the summer and only see these three big events!  I end up feeling like there is no summer and frankly, that's sad.  I've been seeing tons of bucket list ideas on Pinterest and thought that maybe if I came up with one, I'd appreciate all of the inbetween days and would come to honor summer in a way that is fit and proper.  I haven't done it (which I'm not surprised) but what I have done is become more intentional with those inbetween days and at noticing what fun summer things we are doing!

So, here is my unconventional bucket list of sorts!!  Things that we've already accomplished this summer!

1.  The Gardens......exploding with gorgeous color, texture and fragrance!!

2.  Bonfire......our first of the summer!!!

3.  Service.....we brought these beautiful hydrangeas and a meal to a family in our church who needed some love <3 

4.  Summer Photo Shoot
I love taking pictures, I love taking pictures of my kids.  Sadly, I cannot usually get them to comply.
This day however......I had me a taker!!!!!!!

5.  Blanket/Pillow Forts in the living room!!!

6.  A welcome home party for Jessica when she returned from her trip to Michigan!! 
It was supposed to be a party in a box, which was a plan set in place to soothe the broken heart of Julia (but she bailed on me) So this is what she got instead!!!

7.  The largest camping trip everrrrrr.......with 60 - 80,000 of our closest friends!!! 

8.  Drive-In Movies!!!!! 
We saw Brave and The Amazing Spiderman with some of our great friends!!

9.  Crafts!!!!  I made these cute summer bracelets!!!

10.  Planning a summer birthday party!!!!
My baby turns 8 this friday!!!!!

11.  Vacation Bible School!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We had upwards of 300 kids each night!!  It's an incredible week, full of chaos, excitiment and lots of activity!!!

12.  Jessica's monthly Disney Themed Movie Nights!!!
{In honor of her Senior Class Trip Junior Year} Complete with fish food, crab and fish cakes, sand dollars, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo and night swimming

13.  Lazy Days by the pool!!!!!!
Our pool is officially open and we've been out there two days in a row - it feels like summer to me now!!

14.  Freeze Pops!!!!!!!
I haven't bought these in years, I kid you not, years!!!!!!

I am so thrilled that I compiled this list!!!  I just got tired of looking at my summer in a negative light!!  An actual bucket list scared me because I have committment issues.....not to people, but things, plans and events.  So I knew there would be a good chance that I'd make the list and not do any of them.....how embarrassing would THAT be!!!!  I like this much better!!!  We do so many great things that, unless we put a spot light on them, go completely unnoticed!!!

How is your summer shaping up friends??

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Love/Hate Relationship Part 2

Hey gatherers, I'm back!!!  I want to just say that I believe that the Lord used my post last week on my Love/Hate Relationship with CreationFest in a big way!!  He didn't remove the relationship, but He did take way this large nasty emotion that had attached itself to this camping/worship experience.  I learned a new word/trait about myself that is pretty ugly, entitlement.  Dictionary.com explains it as this: 


verb (used with object), en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling. 
1. to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim: His executive position entitled him to certain courtesies rarely accorded others.
I'm going with the "claim to something" part of the definition.  It typically would have popped up in numerous ways throughout the planning and execution of this trip, as well as many times throughout the week.  I learned that in past years, entitlement poured itself over way too many areas of this trip.  Friends, it didn't exist last week at ALL!!!!!  I recognized places where it had been, but I didn't feel it.  I am truly amazed!  Have you ever gotten to the point where you realized that you had overcome something?  It's pretty cool!
Now I will say that I still have a love/hate relationship with this trip.  It is sooooo stinkin' hot, you can't get clean, you can't drink enough water and unless you want to fry like an egg on a buttered up pan, you really have no choice but to sit at the campsite in whatever shade you can find and do alot of nothing.  That's what I did......I knew I didn't want to fry (even though I had sunblock on -although I'm pretty sure that we sweated it off as fast as we put it on)  So I sat around the camp site and did nothing.  I talked to some others who joined me in the sitting and shading. So I guess "nothing" wouldn't be the right word to use here because I built relationships!
Someone from our group gave his life to the Lord on Wednesday night~that's the first night of the festival friends!!!  God snatched him up right quick!!!  That experience led to so many amazing conversations about God, Jesus, faith, walking it out, etc.  That was my highlight of the week - that's the one thing that made all of the heat and sweat and dirt worth it!  I had brought one of my extra bibles with me last week and felt the urge to give it to this new brother in Christ!  Our group proceded to mark it up with all of their favorite verses and points to remember.....it was the best gift that you can give to someone!  He was blown away at his experience last week and I hope that he never forgets it!  Something like that can impact the rest of your life!
I've also realized that what keeps me coming back to CreationFest year after year, is not the festival itself, but the people that I spend the week with.  Although the group changes from year to year, there's something about the community that is created within the confines of a week like that.  So now I'm on a mission to create the same type of community in a cooler month of the year :)  I don't know how that's gonna go, but I'm gonna try anyway!  I'm sure that I'll find out that the unique qualities of CreationFest impact the overall week in more ways than I'm willing to admit right now!
Well that's the kick off to a very fast and busy summer!  We go into Vacation Bible School next week.  Our youth group is sending a group of people off to Haiti the week after that.  Our summer camp is coming up in August (I'm the craft lady for the week)  We have Julia's birthday in between there somewhere, sunday school lessons to read and teach and a slew of other activities.  This leads me to my next life lesson.......how to change the childhood version of summer into one of adult-like service.  I don't have carefree summers, they are busy and full and packed.  And although it is all very good stuff, those crazy, negative, little emotions like to come along for the ride - I will be working on keeping them out so that I can serve to my fullest with a grateful heart and open arms.
It seems that I am learning every day, in new ways, what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus!  It's exhilerating and exhausting!!

Until next time <3 Lorraine