Blessings this Week: 08.29.2015

A visit from my sister and sitting out on the dock

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Thriving in Survival Mode


Relaxing, sitting in the sunshine, spending time with family and friends.

Well, that's what the campers are doing, anyway. We don't really have time for that.

Summertime is our busy season- Trevor's busy with repairs and preparations and landscaping and improvements, and I'm busy with payments and registrations. We have over a thousand people come through our ministry in the summer. It's busy.

For most people, summer isn't a a super-busy season- just the opposite. A lot of folks find themselves in survival mode right about.... now. Back-to-school, beginning fall work schedules... you might be gearing up for your busy season!

This was our third summer of 'summer survival mode,' and I've learned a couple of things that have really helped us to get through the summer and thrive, not just survive.



Well! Now that we're homeowners, we're discovering the absolute joy that is remodeling our house.

Besides a couple really quick pictures and the big announcement, I haven't said a whole lot about the house or our home projects, I realize. So, here's the skinny.

Back in June, we purchased a 1934 farmhouse in rural Iowa, and also around 20 acres of land (some pasture, some farmland, and a little pond), along with a barn, two machine sheds, and some other buildings.

For the past few years, we've lived right at the Camp where we work, (the commute has been awesome), but we've really wanted to get our own place and have been looking for a while. This lovely acreage came available, and all the pieces fell into place, and now it's ours.

We're incredibly, undeservedly blessed.

The house is in pretty darn good condition, but we decided to take advantage of the fact that we don't need to move in right away and do a few updates and remodel-y things to make it "ours."

Here's what we've been working on for the past few weeks/months...


Blessings These Weeks: 08.14.2015 and 08.21.2015

Yep, we're going whole-hog and putting up two weeks of blessings this time! It's a big one!

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IHOP breakfast and fun with our cousin

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Rainy day camper lunches... so "romamper." (Or camper-mantic.)


Keeping Work at Work

Summer is our busy time at work, and when things are so busy, it's easy to feel like spending time in the office is really going to help me get ahead. Maybe your busy season is tax season (I don't envy you accountants!), or September and back-to-school.

No matter when it is, I'm pretty sure you have a season that's especially busy for you. It's easy to push aside my family, my household tasks, and my own personal care to get more done during that super busy time in my life.

Our very busiest time at work is also the time when we need to set boundaries in place. It's so easy to allow work to push into our personal time, especially when we love our jobs. But too much work and not enough time to rest burns us out, makes us less pleasant, and actually makes us less productive.

In the Bible, we're commanded to take a time of rest. We can even see the importance of a time away from work in the way God designed the day- with light in the day to allow us to work and dark in the evening to allow us to rest.

Of course, it's easier to talk about taking rest than it is to actually do it- especially when work is really busy. Here are some tips that have really helped me.


Always In Season: Finding the Fruit of the Spirit, Right Where We Are

We've spent the past nine weeks (nine!) working through the Fruit of the Spirit, as described in Galatians. It is so inspiring, so hope-giving, to know that even when I don't necessarily feel like it, God is bringing about fruit in my life- through the life-giving Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.

It's been an incredible summer for me- and I hope it has been for you as well.

First and foremost, I would like to thank all the guest posters for pouring their time, thoughts, prayers, and insights into the posts they wrote for this series. Your wonderful words and perspectives made this series far richer than I could ever have done had I written the posts myself. Thank you for sharing with my readers and with me this summer!

(If you haven't seen all the posts, or if you'd like to review them, I've created a page just for our In Season series-- you can see that here.)


How to Be a Good Motorcycle Passenger

I like to ride motorcycles. 

It took me a while to feel... comfortable? with the term, but after several thousand miles on the bike, I think I can say it- I am, at times, a biker chick.

I love the motorcycle so much that we used it as our "get away" vehicle after the wedding.

I don't drive a motorcycle, myself. With my extreme lack of coordination and my fear of machinery and going fast, it wouldn't work for me.

I haven't always been a motorcycle fan. In fact, I'm kinda a big chicken. I like plans, expectations, itineraries... I'm not usually much of a "wind-through-my-hair" kind of gal.

Which is why, when Trevor and I were planning our first (super-long, like 8 hours) motorcycle trip, I frantically searched online for anything about being a passenger on a bike.

There wasn't much, really. A lot of awesome blogs about motorcycle trips, lots of tips for women riders, stuff about mechanics... but not much about being a passenger.

So, now, six (seven?) years later, I want to share my experience- in hopes that it will give some other anxious girl the confidence to get on the back of that bike and learn to love the open road.


In Season: Self Control

I’ll be honest, self-control is my least favorite of the fruit of the Spirit.

Maybe it’s because I’m so bad at it, or because it reminds me too much of harsh, OCD minded people who always seem to be nagging you to do better and control yourself.

But contrary to what my mind thinks, God is not an authoritarian task-master who can’t wait to drill-sergeant the sin out of us through rigid discipline and self-control.

This is the God who said “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. (Matt. 11:30) Even when the Bible speaks of God disciplining us, it still reminds us that, “Whom the Lord loves he reproves, even as a Father, the son in whom he delights.” (Pro. 3:12)

What do you think of when you think about self-control?


Blessings this Week: 08.07.2015

Another week full of blessings-- counting them reminds me of hope, of joy, of peace... and of the good God who provides it all. 

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My Camp had our quilt auction this past week- how we love those gorgeous quilts! 

The donations of time and money and talent that keep the doors open, the lights on, and thousands of people meeting Christ through us


Favorite Motorcycle Gear: The Extras

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It somehow happened that I went from a total whimpy scaredy cat to an actually pretty competent motorcycle passenger. I'm not entirely sure how.

Of course, I have put on over 5000 miles on the back of a motorcycle now, over the course of six or so years of little trips and much, much bigger trips. And I love it. Love, love, love it.

I've learned some stuff along the way, too. About me, about Trevor, about God, about riding through high-speed winds and rain... and about the gear that makes riding easier or more convenient or just plain better.

Note: I didn't include the "basics" in this list.
Here are some of the things that are super important for being a biker chick: 
A trustworthy/responsible/EXPERIENCED/licensed driver (if you're a passenger)
DOT-certified helmet
Leather or armored  jacket
Eye protection
Rain gear
Sense of adventure


In Season: Gentleness

I'm not going to sugar-coat this- I am not gentle.

My version of gentleness comes with blunt communication, loudness, and a hint of bossy. I would love to be the poster-child for "a quiet and gentle spirit", but that doesn't come so naturally. I pride myself in communicating well, being willing to talk about the hard stuff, loving on people decently well, and being awkwardly funny.

But I am not fooling anyone with the fact that my domineering tendencies can hinder the trait of gentleness.