(Note: I haven't taken many pictures at camp this summer, mostly because I haven't needed to. There's someone on staff called Camp Photographer! But I thought to break up this wordy post a bit I'd share some of our camp memories this summer too.)
Have you missed me? I've been missing for a bit. I've got lots of pictures and fun adventures to share, but I just haven't been up to it lately.
(Monochrome night spent at Charlie's Safari in Lacey.)
This blog started out as a journal for me and I loved it for that. Over time it has grown to be more of a place to share our pictures and our family stories. It's a record for me and for our loved ones near and far. And sometimes I feel that with the smiling faces and sweet pictures and tales of adventures you all might get the wrong impression of me and my life. Trust me, it's not always smiling faces.
(Adorable, even blurry. Darin and Daisy praying together at the last day camp rodeo.)
But besides the reality of day-to-day life with two little girls, a job that has its challenges, and an income that can be tough to live on, sometimes there are things that just aren't appropriate to talk about in such a public forum. Things I would share with any one of you face-to-face, but just don't feel right putting here.
(Dancing at the rodeo. Daisy loved this part.)
(Getting a ride home on horseback after the rodeo.)
Despite an unprecedented amount of challenges we faced this summer, this summer was amazing. The Leadership Team Darin pulled together was incredible. The entire staff devoted themselves to one another and to the ministry in ways I've never seen. I can't describe what a blessing it was to me to watch the community form and then love and serve in ways beyond singular human capacity.
I got to mentor three girls weekly; three girls who I respect and admire tremendously. And I also got to lead a (nearly) weekly Bible Study for all the female staff. I prayed for girls and with girls and watched God work in their lives. I encouraged my 3 to new and stronger levels of leadership. To learn from frustrations as we all sought to "count it all joy."
(My leadership gals on our pottery painting excursion. Yup, we actually got away from camp for a whole afternoon.)
And my daughters were blessed in ways I only dreamed of. When Darin and I talked about camping ministry years ago we dreamed of a place where amazing role models would show up and love our kids each summer. This summer my family was surrounded by staff who genuinely loved my kids. They would save them seats at meals, dance ballet dances around the dining hall, hold when cranky so I could do what needed doing, chase around the big field, offer band-aids to scraped knees, hold hands while practicing walking, carry gear, carry kids, babysit, splash in the lake, make silly faces, compliment princess dresses, sing with, cheer for and on and on and on.
(Daisy enjoying a cupcake at the conclusion of the last staff meeting.)
Reflecting on these pieces of my summer I feel like Mary who "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
(Darin, being carried, on the way to the lake. Yup, he "lost" a bet this summer allowing himself to be laked. Happened on the last day of camp.)
Everyone wants to end on a high note, but sometimes that makes the leaving all the much harder. And this, my friends, is where I'm stuck.
Intermingled with sadness and fear is, frankly, a lot of anger. I rarely get angry in life and when I do it's usually due to some injustice that I have felt. And there is so much about our situation that seems unfair. I find myself saying over and over "it didn't have to be this way."
(Pretty impressive when you take 3 guys in with you. The girls on the left "won" the bet. I say that in quotes because they actually tied and the girls had to endure their punishment as well: deep cleaning every toilet at camp.)
There are daily confirmations that this isn't the place we're supposed to be...but it doesn't yet mean that this isn't the place we want to be. There's the rub.
So this is why I don't want to come here and just show you cute pictures of my kids. I'm just not feeling it lately. Thanks for understanding.