Sunday, June 30, 2013

Teen Boys Week at Camp Grace (aka my favorite week of the summer)

I dont even know why (besides the fact that I adore my boys and think they're hilarious), but teen boys week is my favorite week at camp every summer. The boys are always hilarious, there's no drama, and they do crazy things like sing and do cheers all night by the light of glow-sticks when the electricity goes off for the whole afternoon/night at Camp. The only downside? They smell after playing basketball and capture the flag all day.

Anyways, I'm currently in Vegas for a work event before flying back home on Tuesday so I can go to teen girls week at camp. So I'm just popping in to share a few pictures from our time at camp last week. Love yall - how are your summers going? I feel out of the loop since I've been at camp and things have been so crazy. . .
Oh and also, if you havent already, be sure to follow the Stanley Clan in your new favorite reader, since Google Reader is going bye-bye. Rage Against the Minivan has a great post on different ways you can keep up with all your favorite blogs.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Camp Week 2 in (mostly) Pictures

I'm just not sure it's possible for me to do a completely word-less post. Sorry.

I have been thinking about and mulling over and wrestling through lots of things these days, things I want to write about, but I can't quite find the words yet. Just know that someday, hopefully, I'll write something more eloquent and thought-out here. Today, however, is not that day. Which is funny, because I kind of thought it might be, seeing as I had an entire afternoon kid-and-husband-and-kiddo-free. It was so quiet, in fact, that I fell immediately asleep and accomplished none of the things I was hoping for. Oops.

Instead, I give you: a semi-short photo montage of our second week at camp . . .


Also, big thanks to everyone who already entered the giveaway for BooMama's book and Rolando's CD (ps - that's him performing at camp up there) . . . If you haven't entered yet, there's still time

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Things you should watch, and read, and hear (and a giveaway!)

Here's the story: I lost my computer charger and my computer has been dead for almost a week. Today I finally bit the bullet and bought a new charger, so I could (you know) actually do my work. So that's been fun. Also, only being home for a week amidst weeks of camp means a whole lotta crazy in a short period of time. NOT a break, in other words. Currently, there are approximately 12 teenage boys loudly cheering for the Spurs and/or Heat in the other room. Which doesn't make for a relaxing evening; although the good news is that my kids are sleeping through the crazy like champs.

So far this week I've had 2 root canals and five fillings, tomorrow I have to go to the office and then Adam is taking some boys camping this weekend. In other words, I'm exhausted and all I really want to do is take a pain killer for my terrible swollen and painful teeth, and go to bed. Which, in fact, is what I would be doing if I wasn't wasting time here, and also editing pictures. Sigh.

Anyways, enough complaining. I've been saving up some links and reading material for y'all. And even, if you can stick with me all the way to the end, a giveaway!

*First of all, if you haven't already seen this video of Caden and Jayci and the boys doing one of the camp cheers, you should watch it pronto. Because, I'm not even being biased when I tell you it's the cutest thing ever. 

*This next clip is the trailer for a film put together by some friends of mine called After the End. It's powerful stuff y'all, and I cannot even wait to see the whole thing.

After the End : Trailer from Untold Creative on Vimeo.

A few more of my favorite posts from around the web the last couple weeks:
*The Rhythm of Grace from SheLoves
*Want to Change the World? Sponsor a Child from Christianity Today
*Thinking about Robbers from DL Mayfield
I just finished reading The Kitchen House (loved it) and Personal Papers, and I'm currently reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. Next up is Gone Girl.

I also just finished reading A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet (by my sweet friend Sophie, aka BooMama).  And I completely loved her words (I knew I would), they are such a beautiful and funny reminder of the importance of family, and the ways our stories intersect in such poignant God-orchestrated ways. Best of all, she included some delicious-sounding recipes at the end, which I cant wait to whip up have Adam make me.
Finally, my good friend Rolando just put out his first EP. You guys know how much I love some good Christian rap, and Ro is the real deal. You can check out his website at Love is my Religion, and be sure to download his music too (ps - I took that picture. You know, it's whatever).

And now, the moment you have been waiting for (and y'all know it can take me a minute to get there). . . The Giveaway! I have one copy of BooMama's fabulous book (A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet), and a copy of Rolando's new CD for one of my lucky friends. Consider it a thank-you for sticking around even when I'm MIA and/or incoherent in my ramblings. Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter below, and I'll pick a winner on Monday (ish . . . because y'all know how good I am at staying on top of things).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Cultivating the Soil

I clearly havent been doing a very good job of keeping everything up-to-date in the blog department. So I figured why start now with the new updates? I'll just share an old post instead; after all, it is throwback thursday (also, how cool to re-read this on the other side of the cultivating season. God is so gracious to us!)

originally posted February 2010

For the last few weeks I've been in somewhat of a funk (and by "somewhat" I mean "majorly"). I think it's a result of feeling stuck in our house and unable to move downtown. I was honestly (yikes to writing this down) feeling angry at God. Because why would He give us this vision for serving and living in the city, and then not provide a way for us to get there?

Not to mention that it was frigid-cold and I have been cooped up in the house for days on end with my defiant 17 month old. I felt like my ministry was non-existent. What I was doing didn't matter. I used to go downtown and volunteer and work with the kiddos 3 or 4 days a week at least. Now it's one day on a good week. So why would God be moving me AWAY from what I was certain He had called me towards?

But then this week, the Lord did an amazing thing. No, He didn't sell our house. Or provide us a house downtown. . . He changed my perspective and transformed my heart.

Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by the size and abundance of our vision (or God's blessing) that we forget how much time and work it can take to get there.

Take, for example, the Israelites. In the description of the Promised Land in Numbers 13:23, the Word says: "They cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them." Um hello? A single cluster of grapes that has to be carried on a pole by two people? Those must have been some freakin' huge grapes people. I mean, not even I'm that out of shape that i can't just pick up a cluster of grapes and carry it all by my lonesome.

For the Isrealites, the huge grapes were a promise of an abundance in the land they were going to inherit. But fear, and disobedience, prevented them from immediately laying hold of that abundance. In our lives, we see these ginormous grapes, this vision we've been given for our ministry in the city. And I'm all like: "well great, I love giant grapes, lets do this thing . . . "

However, I learned this week that grapes take a long time to cultivate. Three out of four seasons during the year, the vines aren't producing fruit. In fact, sometimes they look downright dead. Because maybe it's not the right season for fruitfulness. Sometimes you have to cultivate the soil. Or prune the vines. Or wait. . . But just because something looks dead, doesn't mean it IS dead. Because scrape the surface, and you'll the green that's germinating and hiding within.

I realized that even when my life might LOOK dead, and I might not be producing fruit like I want to be, things are happening. God is cultivating the soil and working under the surface to grow my roots. To prune me. To strengthen me. To prepare me.

With that realization, my heart and perspective were transformed. Because this season is just as important as the fruit-producing season. In fact, without this season, there would be no fruit. So I will rest in the work (which sounds like an oxymoron) that Christ is doing to prepare me. And I will anticipate and envision and pray for those big grapes, that promise, the vision I know He's given us.

What about you, what is He cultivating in you during this season of your life? I'm praying that you will remember that it's all important for the harvest. And those people who are in their fruitful season, they might LOOK more exciting and "good" and like they're doing more for the kingdom, but you never know what's happening and what God is doing below the surface to work in those who might LOOK like they're dead.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:5

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Camp 2013: The First Week

As it turns out, we got all our forms for the first week of camp. Some of them mere minutes before we left, but still. All the forms and kids filled every single available seat in our cars. We're half-way through camp now, and I'd forgotten how much I love it here, particularly because my babies sleep so well while we're here. It's shocking how much better they sleep here. I guess I need to run them around outside and let them participate in giant water balloon tosses and food fights daily, and THEN they will sleep for me.

Anyways, if things are a little quiet here over the next couple weeks it's because we're in the midst of our seventh year of camp. SEVEN! I am also exhausted from all the walking and chasing Caden and swimming and such; so for now, just a few quick pictures from our first couple days here with 24 neighborhood kids. Next week, we bring 20 more.
*Despite the fact that I apparently haven't taken a single picture of him, Caden is in fact here at camp with us. He loves it, of course. 


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