Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Woodleaf 2008

I finally have time to sit down and write about my amazing week at Woodleaf (a Young Life camp). Since our days started before 8 a.m. and ended after midnight each night, I didn’t have time to write in my journal while at camp. I decided I’d better get it down on "paper" before I forget.
First of all, I love Woodleaf! I love everything about the camp! What really blessed me was that everything that happens at Woodleaf is intentional. From the muddy games to the evening speaker, it all has a purpose: to introduce teen-agers to Jesus Christ. I have so many stories to tell, but I will focus on a few really neat things that happened.

My favorite part of Woodleaf was seeing one teen girl in my cabin literally transform in one week’s time! She was already a believer, but almost every word that came out of her mouth prior to camp was full of sarcasm. She would rarely let her guard down long enough to be real with her leaders or her peers. Day by day she became more real, starting with cabin time--a time when our eight girls and three leaders gathered to share thoughts regarding what was said by the speaker. She was quiet at first, but she found–as all the girls did–a safe place in cabin time to share her struggles. By the end of the week, when I met with her for one-on-one time, she was open and honest, with not even a hint of sarcasm in her speech! She asked me to be her mentor (which blew me away!) and so we will meet together this summer. God showed me–once again–that He can move mountains.

We took a group of eight girls to camp (there were also five guys). Six of the girls were Christians. One of them was challenged to "step up" her role in Young Life and be a leader. Another girl said she wanted to be a missionary some day, but she wanted to start right now by inviting her friends in Ojai to Young Life. By the end of the week, the other two girls who were not believers placed their faith in Jesus Christ and one of them was baptized in the Lake the last morning of camp. This baptism was not planned and is not part of the program at Woodleaf, but this girl really wanted to be baptized and so we got up early on the last day of camp and she was baptized in the lake, surrounded only by her cabin-mates. I wish I would have been there to see it, but I was on my way to the Sacramento Airport to pick up Pastor Ryan C. Now that’s another wild and crazy story.

Our head leader for the teen guys and our bus driver, Pastor Ryan, left behind his very-pregnant wife, Rachel, to drive the shuttle bus to camp, with the stipulation that he would drive or fly home at the first sign of Rachel’s labor. Late Wednesday morning, during our leader meeting, Ryan received a call from Rachel and a flurry of activity took place, from purchasing a plane ticket to deciding how he would get to the airport. Since Woodleaf was very under-staffed that week and I was one of the only "approved Young Life drivers" from Ojai, I volunteered to drive Pastor Ryan to the airport in one of the camp trucks. We arrived just in time for Pastor Ryan to board his flight. He arrived in Ojai that evening and Rachel had their baby boy the following morning (Eli Allen, 7 #s, 7 oz.). Ryan turned around the next morning and boarded another plane back to Sacramento so he could drive us home (he was the only leader with a Class B licence to drive the bus). So, Friday morning I once again drove 90 minutes to pick up Pastor Ryan. It was another fun adventure to add to my awesome week.

While I’m on the subject of fun, every day of the week our cabin participated in a faith-building, team-strengthening adventure. We ran through a muddy obstacle course, rock-climbed, completed a ropes course, went mountain biking, rode on this high-altitude swing and–my favorite–drove a Ridgerunner (sand-rail) by ourselves around a muddy track. We also got to dress up in a different costume every day (Woodleaf is the camp of themes). We were ‘70s workout buffs, super heroes, football players and–my favorite–‘80s rockers. Danielle and I were members of the band, KISS. Oh, and there was this one night when the girls had to make their leaders look crazy with makeup and hairstyles. The most fun evening for me was the ‘80s rocker night. It included dinner, an "opera" and an old-fashioned carnival where the girls earned tickets and "bought" me a seat in the dunk tank. It was a cold night for me, but in the end everyone got wet as the conga line ended up in the swimming pool! Imagine a hundred teen-agers dressed as ‘80 rockers jumping in a swimming pool at midnight. Yeah, it doesn’t get any more fun than that!

Danielle and I as KISS band members!


The muddy obstacle course

The Ropes Course

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Back!

Hi everyone! I'm back from camp, however I do not have the time to blog about it right now. I'll just give you a teaser: God did some AMAZING things at camp last week. I can't wait to share them with you. Hopefully I will get a break soon from house-cleaning and loads of laundry! But for now, I wanted to share two cute things that happened today...

Autumn, my 2 1/2-year-old, came up to me with her palm open and said, "Mommy, look what I have! It's a bug!" I looked in her palm to see a rather big, black spider, alive and well! I flipped the spider out of her palm and said, "It's a SPIDER!" (I HATE spiders, btw) When Autumn heard this, she ran over to the recliner and crawled into it and said, "I don't like spiders!" I turned to Amber and said, "Get a Kleenex!" Amber said to me, "We need daddy!" In the end, I got the spider, killed it and explained to Autumn that we shouldn't touch spiders or bugs.

Today I was talking to Amber about camp and she asked me, "Mommy, did the kids (teens) get any owies?" I explained that they only got little owies, like bruises or scrapes, and asked her why she wanted to know. She said, "I prayed four days, but I forgot to pray two days. I prayed when I was in bed that the kids wouldn't get any owies."
I had left a list of prayer requests for Eric and one of them was that there would be no injuries during camp. God answered our prayers with no major owies!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Off to Camp

Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to camp I go...

Tomorrow at 6 a.m. I board a shuttle bus bound for Woodleaf, a Young Life camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It will be about a nine hour bus ride. Yikes! Once there, I will be a camp counselor for seven high school girls. I return the following Friday night (June 20).

I attended Woodleaf as a high schooler. My Young Life group in Phoenix travelled in a bus for 19 hours to get to Woodleaf! I have fond memories of the zip line, off-roading, being covered in mud and country dancing. Oh yeah, and I remember the cool singing and speakers, too! That was 20 years ago. I've come full circle, I guess.

Eric will be staying home with the girls. Eric and his dad are going to take the girls on an overnight trip to the channel islands during the week. They are looking forward to that!

If you think about it, please pray for me, and for Eric and the girls. I'd appreciate that. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Guess Who Graduated?

As you can see from the photographs, Amber Shea graduated from preschool today. Now before I had children, I thought preschool, kindergarten and even sixth grade graduations were ridiculous! Well–as evidenced from the 50 pictures I took this morning at Amber’s graduation–I guess I changed my mind. I arrived 35 minutes early, got a second-row seat and waited–tissues in one hand and the camera in the other–for the ceremony to begin. Both my girls were in the promotion program, but Amber took the stage as she was awarded her certificate. And–although she didn’t intend to–Amber made quite a scene as she received her diploma. As you will see in the photos below, when Amber got up out of her seat, the back of her dress was caught in her underwear. I was too busy taking pictures to notice, but I couldn’t understand why everyone was laughing (or trying hard not to) as she walked over to her teachers. Eric laughed the hardest, I think. Miss Nancy fixed the problem, but not before the whole audience saw her undies. I managed to get two shots of it without even knowing. When Amber saw the pictures later, she got a kick out of it. It’s good to laugh at your embarrassing moments. Amber has been waiting for this day for weeks. She’s been saying all week, "After I graduate, I am in kindergarten!" She is so excited to start home schooling that we decided we’d do a few lessons this summer. Congratulations, Amber!
Amber hugging Miss Rory (notice the undies?)

Amber hugging Miss Nancy
(who notices the undies and
starts to untuck the dress)

Amber hugging Miss Debra (no undies showing!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Haircuts








Today my sister Deborah did what she does best: gave haircuts. She started with Autumn's first haircut. Autumn sat still and Deborah did a great job. Now Autumn looks a little bit older. Next up to the chair was Amber, who just needed a trim. She wiggled the most! I was watching Gina's girls this morning and when Casse saw Amber getting her hair cut, she wanted one, too. So we played a trick on Gina and said that Deborah cut Casse's hair. Then with Gina's okay, Deborah actually ended up giving Gina's girls each a haircut. It was Keira's second haircut. We know it wasn't Casse's first haircut because Zane cut her hair last year! Casse and Keira sat very still in the chair. The salon closed for lunch and reopened in the afternoon when Cora came over to work out. When we returned from Curves, Stella received her first haircut! I think she sat the stillest and did everything my sister said. Stella lost her baby face with that haircut. She now looks like a little girl. After dinner, Deborah--and her assistant, Amber--cut Eric's hair and trimmed mine. My sister really enjoys cutting hair and she is so good at it. Thanks, sis!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sisters!

My sister, Deborah, is visiting from Centennial, Colorado (near Denver). She arrived yesterday afternoon and will be here for a week! She's going to watch Amber and Autumn for two days (Tues.-Wed.) so Eric and I can go on an overnight trip to Sycamore Hot Springs for our 12th Anniversary (which is today).

The girls have been thoroughly enjoying their auntie. Last night Deborah and I participated in the Great Race/Poker Run at church and Amber cried when we left. I explained to her that Deborah will be here for seven more days.

Here's some pictures. I might not be blogging much this week.

My Girls' New $5 "Toy"

This is the newest addition to the girls' room. It costs $5 at Ojai Surplus. I think it's one of the sample tents you see at Costco, etc. Anyway, it was a lot bigger than I thought, and it didn't really "fit" in the room, but we made it fit. Amber and Autumn really enjoy playing inside it, and you can't beat the price. Ojai Surplus still has them, unless Gina bought the rest. : ) I'm thinking of buying a few for birthday gifts. TTFN