No Place Like Home...:)

Between camp, catching up from camp, and just all-around busy-ness this week, Billy and I haven't had much time to sit in the yard with our "critters" since before camp.  Finally spent a few minutes out back tonight...as long as we could stand of the heat and the bugs...ick!  Here's a sampling of what we saw...

This video is somewhat out of focus...I was shooting straight up with the camera strap around my neck and my long lens...and I was afraid he was going to run away any minute!  But I LOVE watching these little guys eat.  It just makes me laugh. :)  And I love the sounds of the birds singing in the background. <3

Snapshots Around the World...Barn

I'm participating today in this week's "Snapshots Around the World" blog carnival.  This week's theme is "barns", which reminds me of  a friend who has an amazing collection of barn photos she has taken over the years.  My "barn photo collection" consists of a very few photos at this point, but they are photos that remind me of a fun outing to the country with another friend.  These barns are on her family's property, and I hope to take more pictures of them soon...


Family Camp 2011

I've already made several mentions of camp, and gotten a bit behind (overall) and ahead of myself (out of order) in posting.  Now I'm going to attempt to start at the beginning and (maybe) do the rest of the camp "series" (I use that word very loosely!) in some semblance of order.  We'll see how that goes. :)

Heads Up!!  That was this year's camp theme.  The camp theme and t-shirt design are always a closely guarded secret until we arrive at camp...only those who truly "need to know" for preparation purposes are let in on the info, and they are charged with utmost secrecy.  So the announcement of the theme and unveiling of the camp t-shirt are always a Monday afternoon highlight.  The Heads Up!! theme was taken from the Colossians 3:1-17 passage that we studied in-depth this week, particularly the 2nd verse:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

We dug, deeply, into Colossians 3:1-17 this week.  The first four verses were our main focus, and what Andy preached on in evening chapel, one verse per night.  However, the children and youth studied all 17 verses in our class times, and Bro. Kent's adult class actually made it through the entire book of Colossians in 8 class sessions (and for those who are familiar with how long it took us to get through the book of John, that is quite impressive!!)

I love the fact that our camp is truly a family camp.  There is something for everyone from the oldest to the youngest, and there is wonderful fellowship among the entire group.  We had children in all three groups this year...2 in the youth (how did THAT happen??), 1 in children's, and 1 in the TIMOTHYs (the youngest group, 2nd grade and below.  That is an acrostic for something I can't remember at the moment, and was adopted several years ago to solve the problem of the overlap between the preschool and younger children in that group)...and I love the fact that *all* of us were learning the same truths during the week, on different levels, and then coming together for morning and evening chapel sessions where we studied them even more.

I also love the fact that our camp is "meaty".   This is not a few games, a few crafts, a few songs around a campfire with a devotional or two thrown in.  We dig into the Word, hard, the whole time we are there.  There were times I found my head swimming with all the things I was learning and trying to assimilate...I'm spending this week going back through my notes slowly and soaking in all that we learned....or began to learn...last week.  It was such a treat this week to watch our children and young people rise to the challenge that was put before them.  They dug deep!  Much was expected of them...and they rose to the challenge.  I love that.  (And there's a lesson there, I think, for those who would "water things down" for children and youth...)

However, don't misunderstand...there is much meaty study at camp, but there is also much fun to be had!  Every year, Bro. Lyndel says that NO ONE will have as much fun as he has at camp...and then we all spend the week proving him wrong. :)  It was a bit harder this year, though, to have more fun than Bro. Lyndel, as the TIMOTHYs presented him with a pair of their very special glow-in-the-dark glasses.  He had lots of fun with those!

We're all used to Bro. Lyndel having lots of fun at camp...but Bro. Kent is usually a bit of a different story.  We're not quite sure what happened this year, but Bro. Kent may have actually outdone Bro. Lyndel on the fun scale.  Watching Bro. Kent's fun this year was one of the highlights of camp for many of us.   More about that later in a later post...don't miss it! :)

There is much more to tell, but I am out of time for now.  Much more to come soon!


"This is God's Word...Memorize It!!"

Already behind on my chicken-scratched "schedule" of blog posts on camp...and now ditching the schedule altogether and starting right smack in the middle...all because of this post by Ann Voskamp today...

Today's post by Ann is actually a repost...I'm not sure how I missed it the first time, but today it caught my eye due to her photos of stacks of little books...Scripture memory books...familiar little books from Bible Memory Association, a program that had a huge impact on my life and my family as I was growing up.  

I spent all last week thinking about those books, and how I needed to dig them out of their dark, dusty storage soon...book upon book of verses I learned throughout childhood and my young adult years.  I also have a few of my dad's books...the adult books pictured in Ann's post...while still more of those books, both my mom's and my dad's, sit in my mom's bookshelves.  I also thought about Heber and Steve McKissack and the tremendous impact they had on my life through the BMA program and the relationship that we developed through it.  

I thought of those books, and the verses contained in them, last week as we memorized and meditated upon and just all around dug into Colossians 3:1-17.  I thought about the many verses I'd learned through BMA over the years...the many verses the kids and I have learned more recently during our "Mega Memory" work in school...and wondered at how difficult memory work has become for me in recent years.  

I thought about how many verses I've forgotten over the years...and yet how many I still remember in the translation in which they were originally learned...many from the old faithful KJV, and many more from our translation of choice for many years, the NIV.  The kids and I have in more recent years begun memorizing from the ESV...unless it is something I remember too well from an older translation to teach/re-learn it in the new.  

Colossians 3: 1-2 say 

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  

Verse 10 says that we "have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator."

And then verse 16 says

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing songs and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

I love the way that God brings things together to get His point across to us about certain things.  Before we left for camp I had been convicted that I needed to not only be more consistent in our family "Mega Memory" time during school (and when we aren't having school), but that I also need to make a priority out of personal Scripture memory.  Even when we were very consistent with our Mega Memory work as a family, I tended to be more the "coach" than a fellow memorizer.  I struggle these days with remembering what I had for breakfast, and I excused myself with the fact that brain fog brought on by physical issues makes memory work more than a challenge right now.

So...God had already begun to "prick" me about that before camp, and during camp He made it even more plain that this needs to be a priority in my life right now.  Here are some of my notes...(a mix from Lyndel's youth Heads Up! class and Andy's evening chapel sermons):

* Meditation is not only for insight, but for intimacy (with God).
* Re-memorizing is as good as review...enjoy it again!
* Koinonia is fellowship based on the Word.
* Seeking and setting our minds...Col. 3:1-2...we not only need to seek Him (actions), but we need to enjoy Him with our minds.  
* We are to use our minds to glorify God...THINK to glorify God. (We forget how awesome our brains are.)
* We need to stretch our brain muscles...through memorizing and meditating.
* "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength"...often we only use the other three, but not our brains/minds. 
* We are to think DEEPLY about Scripture.
* Col. 2:8 ~ If what we think doesn't match up with Scripture, then we need to throw what we think out!
* Deut. 6:4 ~ God is God. 
                     Love God with your whole being.
                     God's Word in your heart.
                     Teach it to your children diligently
                           -at home
                           -out and about
                           -when you lie down
                           -when you rise up 
                           (actually means "and every time in between")
                     God's Word is the curriculum for your life!
* Col. 3:16 ~ Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.  What does richly mean?  With all your senses, deeply, greatly, extravagantly, elaborately, lavishly..."Go crazy with it!"
*"This is God's Word...Memorize it!!"

I've been pondering memorizing, with the children, a complete book of the Bible between now and the end of the year.  This week at camp, during our Colossians 3 study, I began to think perhaps we should memorize the book of Colossians.  Then I opened Ann V's post this morning, and she has a printable memory guide for the book of Colossians!   I think that sealed the decision.  Check back here for updates (and if I don't post any, send me an email and bug me about it! :))

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. ~Jeremiah 15:16


In-Between Week Daybook...

June 20, 2011

Outside my window...Sunny and quite warm, but with a periodic breeze that feels wonderful :)  

I am thinking...about all that we learned at camp last week (and fun memories we made), about the excitement of VBS coming next week, and all the work that has to be done during this "in between" week!

I am thankful...that Billy has located an affordable tire for the Taurus...the donut went flat last night...but he should have it fixed this afternoon.   Yay!

From the learning rooms...We won't get back to official "school" until after VBS next week, but we do plan to review some of what we learned at camp from Colossians 3:1-7 this week, as well as doing some missionary bio read-alouds.

In the kitchen...Going to prep a bunch of fruit this afternoon to have for snacks this week. Tonight's supper is going to be an easy one...deli-meat sandwiches and a big salad. 

I am wearing...capris and my "Alleluia Aquatic Academy" musical t-shirt.  I've worn t-shirts more in the last week than I have in the past year combined!  Ready to get the laundry caught up so I can put the t-shirts away for a while. :)

I am creating...plans for VBS and the rest of the summer...and still editing camp photos in preparation for a camp scrapbook we hope to display in a few weeks. 

I am going...to the store when Billy gets home.  I had planned for the kids and I to go earlier today, before we realized we'd only have one car today.  Thankful that we should be back to two vehicles this afternoon!

I am reading..The Story of John G. Paton or Thirty Years Among the South Seas Cannibals.  Andy talked about John Paton during his Wednesday night message at camp (which he also preached Sunday morning at church), and his story really spoke to me.  I was thrilled to find his autobiography free for Kindle on Amazon.  Excellent, excellent read so far...more on that in another post.

I am hoping...that my hands get better FAST.  For some reason, they are spasming badly this week...not good timing with VBS next week!   Seems to always happen before something big when I really need to use my hands...I am trusting that God is going to make them work enough to do what needs to be done this week and next.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness!

I am looking forward to...VBS next week. :)  And hopefully a visit with a friend this week to catch up after my being gone to camp last week. 

I am hearing...A quieter house than usual, since the two older girls are swimming with friends.  Listening to my WMP worship playlist as I type...currently "I Will Still Trust in You" by Reggie and Ladye Love Smith.  Coming up:  Laura Story's "Blessings" and Christy Nockles's "Song of the Beautiful". 

Around the house...Trying to catch up on camp laundry, get some more work done on the dining room this week, and hopefully clean out some kitchen cabinets.  

I am pondering...Being a risk-taker for Christ (I'll be blogging on that later this week....)

One of my favorite things...my Kindle!  It has already paid for itself many times over in free books (many of them things we need for school), and I loved being able to immediately download the biography of John Paton last week without having to wait to get home and get to a bookstore.  I still love "real books", but my Kindle is a wonderful addition to our library!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Prep for VBS,  work on the house, youth events....hopefully a fairly quiet week. :)

Picture to share...
2011 Family Camp ~ Heads Up!

To see what others are doing this week, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.


Then Sings My Soul Saturday...

I have about a million camp posts just waiting to make their way from my swirling mind to my keyboard, but first must finish editing the 1000 + photos I took at camp so I can pass some on for tomorrow night's slideshow. :)  In the meantime, this is just a super-quick post linking up with Amy from Signs, Miracles, and Wonders for Then Sings My Soul Saturday. The youth/adult ensemble sang this song Thursday night at camp, and it has been stuck in my head ever since. Such a beautiful expression of worship...and so appropriate for our camp theme of "Heads Up!", taken from Colossians 3:1-17.

I also have a partial video of the ensemble singing this at camp. I wish I had thought to video all of the special music at camp...Mrs. Sarah did a wonderful job of putting it together, and it was all beautiful. I did get a few videos, which I'll be posting here and there amongst the camp posts. This one cut off right in the middle with the "card full" message...which is really unfortunate, because the last half was the best! Hopefully I'll be able to get someone to video it...with plenty of space on my card...when we repeat it Sunday morning. In the meantime, here is a little preview. :) Please forgive the video quality...I had handed off my camera to my husband, who really doesn't like to even hold the camera, but who was sweet enough to agree to attempt a video for me. :)

(Btw...I just now noticed that Bud has a pair of the "Timothys'" glasses hanging on the back of his head as we're singing...lol!)


Sunday Song...

There were several songs from this morning's worship that spoke greatly to me, but the one that ministered most was one we didn't even sing!  Katie played Steve Green's  "God and God Alone" this morning for the offertory...so beautiful!  Bits and pieces of the words flitted through my head as she played...I hadn't heard it in years, so I had to come home and look up the rest of the lyrics:

God and God Alone
Steve Green

God and God alone,
created all these things we call our own;
from the mighty to the small,
the glory in them all
is God's and God's alone.

God and God alone
reveals the truth of all we call unknown.
And the best and worst of man,
won't change the Master's plan,
it's God's and God's alone.

God and God alone
is here to take the universe's throne.
Let everything that lives,
reserve its truest praise
for God and God alone.

God and God alone
will be the joy of our eternal home.
He will be our one desire,
our hearts will never tire,
of God and God alone.


Whisky Frisky

Whisky, Frisky,
Up he goes
To the treetop!

Whirly, twirly,
Round and round,
Down he scampers
To the ground.

Furly, curly,
What a tail!
Tall as a feather,
Broad as a sail!

Where's his supper?
In the shell,
Snap, cracky,
Out it fell.


Power of the Cross

Another night I didn't at all feel like staying for choir...another night I'm glad I did.  So needed to just immerse myself in these words for a while tonight....

Power of the Cross

Once in darkness now in light 
Once blind now you see 
Once a sinner now a saint 
Once bound now free. 

That's the power of the Cross 
See the chains fall 
That's the power of the Cross 
See the chains fall 

Once a stranger now a child 
Empty now filled 
Once condemned now reconciled 
Broken now healed 

That's the power of the Cross 
See the chains fall 
That's the power of the Cross 

See the chains fall 

Once a prodigal now home 
Once lost now found 
Once and enemy now a friend 
Once poor now crowned 

That's the power of the Cross 
See the chains fall 
That's the power of the Cross 
See the chains fall!
~Shelly E. Johnson

This is not my favorite arrangement of this song, but it is the only one I could find. :)


Sunday Song...Super-Quick version :)

It's been a great, crazy, exhausting day here...more on that tomorrow, I hope.  But before I collapse into bed in preparation for a super-busy (and hopefully super-productive) day tomorrow, I'm going to post a super-quick Sunday Song post. :)  

I love (LOVE) Travis Cottrell's "Jesus Saves".   We've been singing it as a choir piece for about a year now (I think...), and it's a favorite for many of us (as well as many in the congregation.)  I ran across a video of Wes Hampton singing it this morning as I was getting ready for church and thought "I need to post this later..."  Then I dashed into the choir room this morning and discovered we were singing it in church this morning. :)   

As many times as we've sung it, it's one of those songs that always thrills me (and speaks to me) in a slightly different way.  This morning, I was just totally caught up in worship through the whole song...and then we hit this line:  "The redeemed will sing forever, Jesus Saves!"  

I almost couldn't finish the song as emotion (and a few tears) hit hard.  All of the sudden, all I could think of was my dad...and Bro. Roy and Mrs. Jimmie...and dear Lucy...Tom Stuart...Aaron...Andy W...Linda Vaughn...so many who are gone now, but who I associate with singing...in a tremendous choir, singing Jesus Saves, over and over again, like the angels that proclaim "Holy, Holy, Holy".   Wow.  What a thought!   We have assurance of that salvation through a glass darkly, but they have that assurance face to face!  It was one of those times when words you've heard and said and sung over and over just overwhelm you in a whole new way...and they are overwhelming me all over again just thinking about it.  

In all the hubbub, in all the craziness...that's what matters.  That's it.  That's what ALL the rest of it is about...whether we realize it at any given time or not.  Jesus Saves!  

Hear the heart of heaven beating
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
And the hush of mercy breathing
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Hear the host of angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King"
And the sounding joy repeating
Jesus saves!

See the humblest hearts adore Him
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
And the wisest bow before Him
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
See the sky alive with praise
Melting darkness in its blaze
There is light forevermore in
Jesus saves!

He will live, our sorrow sharing
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
He will die our burden bearing
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
"It is done!" will shout the cross
Christ has paid redemption's cost
While the empty tomb's declaring
Jesus saves!

Freedom's calling
Chains are falling
Hope is dawning
Bright and true
Day is breaking
Night is quaking
God is making all things new
Jesus saves!

Oh, to Christ, how great a debtor
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Are the saints who shout together
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Rising up so vast and strong
Lifting up salvation's song
The redeemed will sing forever
Jesus saves!

~ David Moffett and Travis Cottrell


Quick One...

I went out to try to get another {better focused} shot of this...

and instead got these...

Then I looked up and discovered this watching me... :-)

Weekend Wildlife...

Saturday morning backyard wildlife...

We have a whole clan of brown thrashers in our backyard...they live in our fencerow.

Baby Brown Thrasher...