Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Came Home To........

So we went away to CYC for two weeks and came home to some interesting stuff....

An Exploded Garden...

When we left we had one struggling tomato plant with about six mini-tomatos, a few tall sunflowers that showed no sign of budding, some nasturtium plants that were all leaves and a few healthy green bean and herb plants.

Upon our return, our eyes widened. The garden looked like to had exploded. The tomato plant was now HUGE and had about 50 tomatos and many, many flowers. (A week later, the tomatos are starting to ripen.)

The sunflowers had shot up about 1 1/2 feet and there was an open flower. We headed back to OP for a wedding after a few days and we returned the next night from that trip there were six flowers open and several buds.

The nasturtium plants had more than a dozen flowers.
The green beans yielded a big harvest and the spices had gotten bigger.
Jordan wants to plant more and go away for two weeks again. But that isn't all we came home to. There was also

Notice of Jury Duty

The federal government wants me to serve. I have been called for state jury duty before, but never assigned a case. In the federal government's case, I will be "on-call" for 15 days. Since I homeschool, that means moving in with a friend for at least part of the time, so that Jordan will have supervision and education if I am unavailable.  But, hey, I like New Bedford...

As inconvenient as it may be, I am OK with serving the court system. It might even be interesting to get on a case as long as it isn't too extensive and doesn't deal with a horrible crime. We also came home to, well,

You know, clean showers, a comfortable bed, private time with the family and ........

an intense longing to go back!!

There, that'll do. What did you come home to, after your vacation?

Monday, August 27, 2012


Came across this song at a wedding over the weekend. Hope it touches you as it did me.

In Christ Alone lyricsSongwriters: Getty, Julian Keith; Townend, Stuart Richard;
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

I will stand, I will stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground, all other ground
Is sinking sand, is sinking sand
So I stand

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Bit More Independent..

So now that the laundry from two weeks at camp is pretty much behind me, there is something I am going to do. Teach my son to do laundry.

He already knows a little about it, but I want to make him thoroughly competent with it this year.

Here's why:

At CYC, I spent an afternoon in the laundromat. With a two-week program, it's just something you have to do. Counselors were taking campers to various laundry facilities that day and some of them ended up in the same one as me.

"What cycle should I use?"
"How many minutes should I set this for?"
"Do I need to use a dryer sheet?"

Now, it's not a problem that kids are asking questions, whether of me, their counselors or any other leaders. That's what we are there for. Part of going to camp is learning to be a bit more independent and this is one way to do it.

But, it's also part of my role as a parent to prepare my child for independence and making sure he can do tasks is part of that. This year, it will be laundry because that came on my radar screening. He can already do some cooking and cleaning. I'm going to just try to keep expanding his repetoire.

How are you getting your children ready for independence?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spiritual Matters

Sometimes, God decides to bring you face-to-face with your spiritual deficiencies. Or maybe just make you more alert to them.

Perhaps living in an intense community setting for two weeks makes it almost impossible to not see your weaknesses -- even when you are living with people who prefer to affirm you rather than bring you down.


While working at CYC this year, I came to some internal realizations. Found some things I need to work on. Even decided to do it and made commitments to that effect on Commitment Night.

Now, I just need to follow through -- no procrastinating. Hah. Maybe that's a weakness I should add.

Ah, well. I have the support of an awesome community and God's help, so I can do it.

Just keep me in your prayers. Thanks.

What brings this type of self-awareness out it in you? 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Something Bigger

It's an amazing thing to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

I realized that last Saturday night as I was at an alumni Reunion for School of Methods/NEBYC/CYC. There were people there of all ages -- the jr. staff stopped by and we had alumni from the 1940s present. That in itself was a joy.

At one point, we had a spontaneous Judson (men) -Hasseline (women) sing-off. A song leader from the 70s and a few current ones lead us. People who had never met -who attended Conference decades apart --were singing the same songs in the same way. Some were songs you would never find outside our community (Hasseltine, We Hail Thee), others we have put our own unique twist on. It was fun. It also gave a sense of continuity and tradition.

Our conference has taken a hit because of the economy lately. Numbers have been down, and people have been getting nervous about our viability. But I was reminded that this is hardly the first time. God has been faithful before, He will be faithful again.

One of the songs we sang last Saturday came form the 1970s (and is no longer sung). It  included the lines:

"Oh the buildings fall down around us
But we still can wear a smile
For we all know that Ocean Park
Will be here for a while"

The buildings aren't falling down around us anymore, though they still need some work. (We don't actually own them anymore, we transferred them to another, related organization which lets us rent them.)

Things are actually looking up. We were bigger this year than last. We have made new contacts, opened new doors. We are excited.

And we still know that Ocean Park will be here for a while.

Have you been part of an ongoing community?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ridiculous :)

So at CYC, as I told a parent picking up her child, we can be very serious about our silliness.

So I share a video that is fun and crazy. Even a bit weird.

A bit of background:

Every year for many decades the camps have sung to each other at our annual banquet. The songs are a mix of devotional, romantic and funny. Most of the songs sung are traditional ones, used repeatedly. More on that tomorrow.

About a decade ago, each camp started including a "secret song" in the serenade. Generally an upbeat, current song performed with musical effects and crazy choreography.

This year the Men of Camp Judson used Carly Rae Jepsen's song "Call Me, Maybe?" which is ..well, let's just say wildly popular. They had ridiculous dance moves for it and made it look rather fun. In fact, it was so cool, that one of the faculty decided to make a music video of the song featuring each of the boys lip syncing. She played it at the talent show and the kids loved it.

So, here, Christian men having fun. Just to show you that we don't spend ALL of our time in serious pursuits.

As our men's director frequently reminds us:  "Laughter is prayer."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Re -start

I am home from CYC,  off hiatus and back to blogging.

Now, how do I explain the last two weeks? I can't possibly, not in any meaningful way, so over the next few days, I'll just tell a few stories and post a video or two. Someone asked me for stories of victory, so I will start with one of those.

I'll tell you about a camper who arrived anxious and homesick. When I say anxious, I don't mean run of the mill anxious. I mean the "I can't quite function" type anxious.  He was feeling lost and not quite sure what to do in any given situation. He needed some extra support.  He kept asking to go home. His parent said "no".

His counselor worked with him. The camp nurse did all she could. His teachers tried. Some of us put our professional skills into action. We enacted some advice from his family. We all prayed.  But by the middle of camp, some of us felt we should simply send him home. Others were on the fence. First thing second Monday morning, we were ready to make the decision, but decided to ask his counselor first.

His reply: "Yesterday, I would have sent him, but last night he was laughing and joking in the cabin and intereacting with the other campers. Let's keep him."

So we did. It took some extra effort but we kept moving in the right direction. He was so proud of one of his accomplishments, that he sent the original home to his parents.

There was one more major incident that took a ton of effort but, by the end of the conference, he was friendly, occasionally confident, and even laughing regularly. He was talking about coming back. A victory for sure.

His wasn't the only story of transformation. We have several dramatic stories that ended well.

It's what comes of letting God work through our community and it is amazing to be a part of it.

Have you ever witnessed a transformation wrought by God's power?

CYC is a two week conference for teenagers that exists to strengthen the Christian faith of young people. We meet the middle two weeks in August on the beautiful southern coast of Maine and have smaller events in New England throughout the year.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On Hiatus

On the heels of completing a challenge that required me to write 31 posts in 31 days, I am going on hiatus. I will not be writing posts for two weeks.

I will be at the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park. I don't meet any group's definition of "young"these days. I'll be working.

It is work I love. I wouldn't trade it. Not even to keep up my blog. I am just going to be too busy learning, growing and stretching myself.

There is still room if any teens want to join us. Just register on the site, pack up, and come to Maine. We'll have forms for parents to sign when you get there or we can do something with email and fax if you are taking the bus.

Anyway...hopefully those of you who follow me won't forget me in two weeks. :)

God bless!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jesus loves....

I saw a bumper sticker this morning which read:

Remember: Jesus loves all the people you hate. 

Based on the other bumper sticker on the car, I think this was probably aimed at a particular political group, which makes it a bit tinged with irony, but political agendas is not where I am going.

That statement is arresting. Of course, Christians aren't supposed to hate others -- only evil. We're supposed to love.  There is temptation to hate though.

Think about it. That statement means that Jesus loves:

People who disparage our ministry, thwart us at work, dismiss our opinions, or militantly hold political or theological views that are radically different from our own.

It means He loves those who:

Who walked out on us when they shouldn't have or when they had no obligation to stay but we wanted them to, who have lied to us, who have caused us harm

And He calls us to love them, too.

What does that love look like? There is no easy answer to that. It will look different in every case. It will mean forgiveness, and perhaps repentance, on our parts. Sometimes it will mean listening when we know we are right or acting to help someone with whom we disagree.

It does not mean staying in physical danger from flying fists and drunken tirades, but it does mean seeking the best for all the people in our lives even when that is uncomfortable or requires confrontation .

It's challenging. It's downright hard. But it must be done.

I will be exploring this and other themes at the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park beginning on August 5. Still room for teens to join us on the beautiful southern coast of Maine!!