Monday, June 29, 2009

Wham!Pire Nation

In case you were wondering what KIND of silliness Loren was up to at camp, here is a video that intros one group of characters that the campers see each week. Loren put this video together and I think it is pretty stinkin' hilarious. Enjoy!

P.S. It's really only 3 1/2 minutes so you can stop watching after that. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's All a Big Set Up

I see God in all the tiny little things here that campers won't notice. Painting the lines on the baseball field twice a week to make sure it looks brand new, raking the sand volleyball court twice a day until it's an even playing field, cloth napkins, real silverware, and glass plates at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, when paper is always easier, rearranging the entire schedule in order to keep campers from being drizzled on. I see him in the students serving behind the scenes where no one will ever see them chopping tomatoes or cleaning toilets, in the yummy desserts at lunch and dinner (oh yeah!), in the Day 6 breakfast in bed, and in my husband who is willing to be a goofball so that the walls that students have put up come tumbling down all over the place.

His extravagant love shines through in all these tiny little ways in which the specifics will likely go unnoticed. But, what won't be missed is the overarching feeling that, "I am worth something," or, "I am something special, " or "I am loved." And that's why it's done the way it is here at camp. Because if a student has ever had doubts about any of these things, being worth something, or special, or loved (and in all likelihood, they have), they won't be confirmed here. Here, the doubts will be challenged, questioned, refuted, and hopefully obliterated as they experience the love of God in a million tiny little ways. These little ways blaze a trail for the camp speaker and reinforce what he will share all week. "You are precious and loved and God has spared no expense to rescue you from death and bring you joyful, abundant life."

See, it's all a big set the best way. If you would, pray for students this week, and the next, and the next, that their eyes will be opened and that the invitation will be clear and irresistible.

Pictures to come soon...I promise.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nature vs. Nurture

Whew! It has been a whirlwind of a few days. Loren left to take kids to Young Life camp last week and the girls and I had a week without him to prepare for our summer assignment. If you don't know what that is, read this. We left on Saturday and headed up to meet Loren at Crooked Creek Ranch in beautiful Fraser, CO where we will be serving students from all over for three weeks. Last year, in California, Loren took on the role of summer staff coordinator. It was awesome to be behind the scenes with all of the students who had come to serve for the month we were there. He loved his role there. This year, his role is a bit fact, quite the opposite in some ways. Loren is doing Program this summer, which means that he is one of those in charge of all things goofy (characters, skits, games, etc) and is up front all the time. It is a totally different role, but one that, as you might assume, fits him to a tee.

Busloads of students arrived yesterday afternoon and packed this camp and the fun began. The first week of an assignment is always the hardest as everyone kind of gets to know each other, the schedule, and their jobs. For program people, that means lots of rehearsing and preparing during every spare moment, of which there are few. But, the next two weeks will be easier as they just tweak things here and there to make them really excellent and beyond funny.

For my part, I am determining, as of right now, not to miss out. The first week of an assignment never fails to remind me that I am pretty uncomfortable in new situations. And so, my immediate desire is to go from event to event with my kids so we can watch Loren do his thing, and then to lock ourselves up in our room in order to keep from having to risk connecting with someone. Why am I like that? Well, I know why, I guess. It seems easier. That way, I don't have to worry that I might not be as interesting as someone else or as dynamic. And, I mean, it's three weeks. Do I really need to try that hard when the risk is that I might be misunderstood, or worse, understood and found wanting? Eww...that's lovely. Some days I think I may be getting the hang of this identity in Christ thing, and then some see.

Even as I know these are my natural tendencies, I also know that the bible tells us over and over to fight against those natural tendencies. Jesus' message so often for the disciples was summed up this way, "Because of me, you have the ability to be act out of what you KNOW to be true about ME, instead of what you THINK is true of you and others." And I can't help but recall that most of the great moments in my life have come at the expense of my natural tendencies.

So, with the Holy Spirit as my guide, instead of my own self-serving intuition, I'll be heading downstairs to the community room more often, scooching on over towards some other mom during mealtimes, and grabbing an unfamiliar hand during prayer times. I can't say that I am, as of yet, looking forward to all of those things, but I AM looking forward to how the Lord will meet me there and what truths he will remind me of. Cause he's so faithful like that. What a blessing it is to be uncomfortable.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Adoption Update

We have had 5, count them, 5, interviews since I last updated you on our adoption process.

1. The interview where we talk about our marriage, conflict within our marriage and how it is handled, what lead us to adoption, etc.

2. The interview where Amanda is alone with the caseworker and is asked about anything potentially physically or emotionally unhealthy that may have occurred to her or any member of her family including parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc and how it has been dealt with. That's right cousins...they ask about you. Be very afraid.

3. The interview where Loren gets asked these same questions about his family.

4. The interview where they come to our house to inspect it and also ask about what we are like as parents. This is also the interview where they talked with Hope and I have to tell you it was the most nerve wracking. She's a loose canon, that one. She was very sweet, though, and when the caseworker asked her why our family was a good one for kids to grow up in she said, "Because of my mom and dad." Come can't get much sweeter than that.

5. And then, last week, the interview where you check yes or no to three full pages, front and back, of what kinds of things you are willing to accept in terms of the health of a child. I stopped reading after a while and just checked yes over and over. Reading all that stuff can make you crazy. Besides, we aren't saying no to anything. God is bringing the baby he has been planning for us forever. Why would I risk saying no to his good plan, even if it looks different than what I might desire?

So, provided that our medical forms, including our lab work (good news...we don't have HIV/AIDS) gets to the agency within the next couple of weeks, we will be waiting only on our final homestudy to be approved. We should be in the pool and waiting for our sweet baby by the middle of July! Hooray! I am getting soooooo excited!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Check It Out!

I have been wanting to try my hand at making this cute dress for a while now. It's a super simple pattern that my friend, Jen, found on-line and it uses a man's cotton, oxford style shirt to make a little girl's dress. So fun! So today, I finally got around to sewing one up. It really was very easy (it has to be for me) and I got it done in about two and half hours. My sewing skills are nothing compared to my moms, but the couple of great lessons I got from her a few years ago were enough to do this project. Here are some pictures of the finished product.

The Front

The Back

And my beautiful model

It was so easy, in fact, that I came home from church tonight and started on one for Bella. I ended up finishing the whole thing in about an hour and half. I love projects like this. I'm all about instant gratification.