Monday, August 31, 2015

Stepping Out Into The Unknown

My greatest childhood memories were on the lake.
Every summer we did a lot of water skiing.
A few years back some friends invited us to spend a few days with them on Bass Lake and I immediately was flooded with childhood memories!
The smell of the boat exhaust, lake water, and pine trees - a cocktail of summer!
It was so intoxicating, we've tried to get back up there every summer since!
My greatest highlight of this summer was our trip to the lake!

Tube rides, 2 out of 3 kids up on skies, jumping off the boat, breakfast burritos on the beach, jiffy pop, ice cream, sunsets, Yosemite the list goes on and on!
It was just a fabulous time.
Maybe even our best family vacation ever!

With all the glories of Yosemite and Bass Lake, my favorite part of the trip was an early morning on the beach alone.

Bass Lake holds many memories for me.
Many years ago (20 to be exact!) I came to work as a water ski instructor and boat driver at a Christian Camp by Bass Lake.  I came down on that lake every morning to fuel up the boats and get ready for a day of teaching kids to ski.  I had just graduated from Pepperdine and I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with my life.
On the shore of that lake I prayed and sought direction for my life.
What would I do after camp ended?
Where would I live?
What did God have for my life?
Well, summer camp came to an end and I had no answers.
I was asked to stay on through the Fall for family camps and continue to drive boats.
Great, I bought 2 more months God!  You still have time to reveal your great plan for me!
(because obviously He didn't meet my previous deadline!)
October came and camp was closing up.  My time at the lake was over and I was stepping out into the great unknown without any kind of direction.
I bought a few more days by hanging out with friends I had met; surely God was waiting until the last minute to reveal his grand plan for my life.
Surely I wouldn't drive home with no sense of vision or direction.
But time ran out and in disbelief, I loaded up my car to drive to my parent's house.
As I drove away, I remember pulling off and getting out of my car in the woods.
"You missed it," I yelled as loud as I could.
"What am I supposed to do now?," I yelled even louder into the expanse of pine trees that didn't even tremble at my question.
I just couldn't believe that God hadn't pulled back the curtain even a little bit to show me where to go next.  He was just silent.

20 years later, I'm sitting on the shore of Bass Lake, asking God some of the same questions.
What will I do after Summer ends?
What do you have for my life God?
After 2 years of homeschooling, all 3 of my children started school last week.
As Summer came to a close, I was repeatedly asked,
"What are you going to do now that all your children are in school?"
I spent a few moments feeling lost and panicked that I had no plan, no direction.
But luckily those moments were short.
I've learned my lesson.
Over the past 20 years, I've learned that
God is seldom on my time line, but never late!
I think I need to know the next step just before my foot hits the ground, but sometimes God wants me to keep walking, moving forward, with no apparent direction,
but with a blind faith to trust His timing.
In His time, He will guide me and direct me into the next chapter.
For now, I'm taking one more step forward in faith and I can't wait to see where it takes me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Step Out On Stage

One of our Summer highlights was a theatre production at Camp Grammie & Papa.
Each year I am indulged with a week alone as my folks take the children for an awesome week of camp.
(This year I lost my week alone indulgence to serve as the camp nurse instead -
more on that in a later post!)
On the last day of camp, which happened to be my birthday, we were treated to a wonderful theatre production, 3 productions actually!
Earlier in the week a pile of props were left in the gazebo and the children had the freedom to play dress-up and create their own original plays.
Tickets were sold and we were told, "you must use real money," smart kids!

Concessions were sold as well, again, we had to use "real money"!!

 The stage was set...

The crowd was ready...

And it was showtime!
First up was an original production of Marty Benson

The show was actually really good!  I mean, we've sat through our share of "plays" by the children and after 20 minutes we are shouting, "ok, land the plane!  Bring it on home!" as the plays go on and on and on!  But this one was really thought out and had a nice conclusion!

As they took their bows and everyone applauded wildly!

This morning at breakfast, I told the kiddos that exactly one week from today - next Wednesday - they'd be at their first day of school.
At these words, one of my little ones lost her appetite.
She came and found me in the kitchen to tell me that she was a little bit scared to go to school.
I brushed it aside and said, "oh, you'll be fine, it will be great."  
But that didn't settle her.
We sat down and had a more in depth chat and I realized that she truly is scared to go to school.
"what if my tummy hurts?  what if I cry?  what if I don't like it?"
I gently encouraged her to simply try, take the first step, and then we'd see if she liked it.

Often times, waiting in the wings behind the curtain is much scarier than stepping out on stage!
Our imaginations go to the worst case scenario, we speculate, "what if" begins and we can talk ourselves out of an incredible opportunity.
But there are moments in life when you just need to step out on stage.
Those moments that cause your stomach to twist in knots,
moments when your mouth goes dry,
moments when your eyes dart for the nearest bathroom!
In that moment, we are faced with a decision - escape, or step out on stage!
More often than not, stepping out on stage leads to a brilliant, original performance of who you uniquely are and concludes with wild applause.
Step out!
The world needs the unique gift that is you.

One more week until the curtain goes up!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Watching From the Shore

10 days until school starts!

We started our Summer with a little trip up north to visit our Grandparents.
We had a wonderful time hiking in caverns, learning how to make Granny's fried chicken, playing with their dog, and swimming in rivers!

 From the day we arrived, it was hot.
Down south our temps were still mild, so we assumed it would still be cool up north, be we were wrong.  It was like Summer slapped us in the face.

Except the day we went to the river.

All the kids had been talking about was wanting to swim in the river like Daddy did when he was a kid.  There are awesome rocks to climb on and the water is calm... an ocean swimming kid's dream!
We saved the river for last and wouldn't you know we woke up to pouring rain!
The temps dropped about 30 degrees and the rain didn't stop.
There was a little break in the afternoon, so we headed to the river and the children didn't mind the chilly water, they went right in.

I stood on the shore and watched.

I was warm, content and happy to click away at their joy and freedom to explore on their own.
They were so proud of themselves and I could tell they were empowered to venture out into the water, no parents trailing behind them, and indulge their little hearts with adventure.

Truthfully, I didn't really want to go into the water, it was still cloudy and drizzly outside, the water was freezing, and my spot on the shore was just right.

Their swim back from the rocks got a little rough.  The chill of the water was really getting to them and at one point we wondered if we were going to have to go in after the little guy!
But they made it, and didn't stop talking about their swim in the river all the way home.

 We're embarking on a new adventure this year - school!
We decided not to homeschool this year and the children will go back to school in 10 short days.
I feel much like I did standing on the shore of the river.  I'm content to watch them venture out on their own and explore.  I'll be standing by to snap many pictures and cheer them on, only a few strides away in case they need me to step in and help them when the waters get too cold.

They're excited to to swim in new waters and be empowered by the independence.
I'm happy to watch from the shore this time......
especially if me and my girls are rockin' the messy bun!


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