camp at sunset


The stillness and the sunsets and the birds singing– it felt good to be home. I tried to soak up each moment. 20170623_20223020170624_20213520170625_200912


mid June

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dusty county roads / the most creative misspelling of my name yet / crazy amounts of fun with kids at camp and vbs / mishaps and bad news and hard things, all mixed in / calm, lazy nights / lightening shows / good conversations / family and extra family / the sky

a few camp favorites

In an alliterative list form, because it just Worked out that Way.
Waiting for my campers to arrive. (Not the RV campers you see in the background, I mean the small children, who come to the camp, so we call them campers.) 
Walks & practicing my Bible memory verses.
Wranglers who are so encouraging & help my girls be brave and try new things!
Wacky quiz practices. One of the ladies helping in the kitchen kept watching us from afar, shaking her head sympathetically. But I realized that I love a good ole chaotic environment where we are silly but still get a lot done. The noise does not bother me and I’d rather the students be interacting and having fun than sitting there silent and bored. I mean, not to boast or anything but my team went absolutely undefeated so I must have been doing something right! Right? (Or my team was stacked with good quizzers. I’ve heard it both ways.)
Wishing I was as eager a learner as our youngest campers. The way they soaked up my dad’s Bible stories, listened and remembered and asked questions, was amazing.
Wearing red staff shirts along with a truly fine, funny, humble & caring group of people.
Whiling away the hours in the Tradin’ Post. It’s a tough job I’ll tell you that much.
Wondering why we didn’t start doing Bible drills with the young, squirmy, hyper ones years ago. It’s kinda an old-fashioned deal but man.. it holds their attention and they have a blast. We started this after noticing that probably 90% of the students coming to camp (this is including lots of church kids and even AWANA kids) struggle to find Genesis much less Psalms in their Bibles. It was cool to see their confidence build as they learned their way around the Bible.
Wildly cheering on my quiz team. I love the competition! So fun. All types of students enjoy quizzing, but my most favorite is when a kid who is maybe a bit of an outsider, not so athletic, not popular, very smart but with very little confidence– when they catch on and realize they can be awesome at it.
“Wow” Dad. The older campers this year played a ton of basketball, and my father was right in there with them! Pretty awesome. And loud. 🙂
Well, well, well. I have nothing to end with except this normal average sunset picture. But I enjoyed all the days I got to spend back at camp this summer, even the normal average ones!

Abandoned Farm Adventures, Part III

What’s that? You want to see more pictures of old barns and assorted farm junk? Ok!
Cleverly braced with barbed wire.
O this lovely barn.

One of my favorite parts of exploring the old farms was seeing the plants and wondering who put them there. Overgrown mint, asparagus, and this sort of flowering evergreen bush. At one of the places, a huge owl was perched in a dead tree. Later I found a feather.
Our speaker one week at camp, Jack, came on an evening farm tour. Obviously the farm adventure was a very “in” thing to do this summer… next year probably everyone will be doing it!

Part I
Part II

at camp on flag day

2014-06-14_17-39-40_298The oldest parts of camp are my favorite.

Someone took down the small mirror held up with leather straps, on the wall of the prayer room, where the office/staff room used to be. It is fine, nobody needs a mirror there anymore, but I miss it. Us office girls literally slept in a bunk bed in that tiny room, covered it with a sheet in the day, and worked from the desk right next to it. BK built us a shelf to hold our stuff and decorated the with picket fence leftovers, and hung the little mirror.

Now we have a large, air conditioned office and and actual staff housing. It’s much nicer and more functional. But I’m glad I was there for the humble beginning.
Since the start, this holds true: the kitchen light is the last one on, and inside there are popsicles, stories to swap and people to laugh with.

Throwback Thursday Stories: A Nicely Aged Blueberry Pie

This is from the early days, the wild days, the scary days of camp. When we shot feral cats in the basement, tracked bloodthirsty raccoons, avoided tetanus at every step, and just in general worked long hours to transform it from junky farm to usable camp.

Only a brave person would open the overwintered fridge for the first time. I found leftover pop, salad dressing, and half a blueberry pie. Yum? What should scare you is that it looked good. No mold, nothing visibly wrong with it, except that it was six months old. So we took this goofy picture of me pretending to pour animal medicine over it.fridgetimeBETTER

Side notes: 1) The original picket fence is visible, we made it from scrap wood. 2) This room is now clean looking, drywalled, nice door and floors. At the time I wouldn’t have envisioned that outcome because there was so much else to be done! 3) We didn’t eat the pie, but I know for a fact we did eat many other questionable leftovers in those days. 4) The staff went through that stash of pop all summer, slowly becoming accustomed to flat Dr. Pepper. Then one day Autumn and I went to a baseball game and got Dr. Pepper there.. and were shocked at the carbonation! It was amazing.

from the mouths of campers

Just two moments from this summer that made me smile:

1- We were gathered around the flagpole for prayer & the pledge. I was undoubtedly clutching a cup of coffee and wondering “Did I turn off the light? Did we check under the beds?” (for cabin inspection). One of the boys volunteered to close in prayer, and proceeded to thank God for “another day on planet earth” Duck Dynasty style. It was so great.

2- It’s after lights out. Somehow we’ve all got our pj’s on and brushed our teeth (probably). We’ve had silly moments, giggling fits and prayer time (not necessarily in that order), we’ve adjusted the night light situation to please everyone, we’ve killed bugs, we’ve addressed many far-ranging questions, we’ve had that last drink of water, we’ve said a ridiculous amount of good nights (campers) and be-quiet-now-I-really-do-mean-it’s (counselor).

The tossing and turning slowly fades away. I start to think, “yesss! They are falling asleep!” when one of my little gals begins to sing in the darkness… “Frances you light up my world like nobody else, the way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed, But when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell, you don’t know, Oh oh, you don’t know you’re beautiful.”

Ah hah ha, I couldn’t hate this. Too cute.


july is


watching the sun slowly set.

staring at as much of the night sky as your eyes can manage, watching for the next shooting star.

a pheasant walking through the sprinkler in the yard.


dusty, golden, busy wheat harvest.

saying hello, saying goodbye.

sticky nights when the house is still hot.

mosquito bites.

reading & resting.


praying and saying the pledge right here many a morning.

driving in the car for hours.

prayers before lights out.


sitting on the front steps watching the empty street, maybe picking your nose a little if you’re a baby.

hamburgers made by Dad using Skold beef. 🙂

games of cards, mission impossible, counselor hunt, capture the flag, carpet ball, & Kubb. (No I did not know what that last one was either until this summer.)

going on walks with old friends.


monday gifts


Thankful for…

another great week at Camp Machasay, where the light is so beautiful and the campers are so fun and we get to learn more about Jesus together.

still being in that post-camp mode where I just want to stare at the wall for like, minutes or hours at a time. That’s all I want to do really.


what was maybe The Best Night of Summer 2013. Canyon, brothers, perfect weather, crazy sunset, fire, the smell of cedar, stars, wild lightening show off in the distance, funny moments, serious conversations, no ticks, no snakes, no sibling grumpiness (which is not allllways the case!). I mean it was just a very good night. Oh and we got ice cream after, so, yeah.


brotherly company for the drive back to Omaha. (Delivered Val’s brother to her for a visit.) I believe last summer after the same trip with the same brother I said I’d had my first and final doritos locos taco. I was wrong. 🙂 Actually it was pretty yummy.

the part where I allowed a 14 yr old boy to have both a mountain dew and a frappucino. I must like to live life on the edge! “I’m having a sugar party in my neck!” -direct quote.


having all 3 brothers and myself together for a few days. We managed to come up with a few ridiculous things to do together as you can see! Ha! I’m sure I’ll share more about this one later.

the after-camp shower and the after-camp nap. I feel pretty confident in saying that no fancy spa treatment can compare to how awesome these feel. Cause at a spa you pay for it but as a camp counselor, you earn it. Plus you really need it. Believe me.

there is a lot more to be thankful for but for now I need to get back to wall-staring!

Morning routine

May 27, 2008

Turn on the lights in the fellowship hall. Kill a few flies. Clean out the coffee pot. Fill it up and turn it on. Put away the dishes I did last night. Turn on some music. Turn on the heater cause it’s cold today.

Here in a bit I’ll put on a “Cookin with the Z-Bros” apron (donated by Mr. Craig! He’s the BEST BBQ cook in Texas, or in the world for that matter) and help Autumn rustle up BISCUITS AND GRAVY for Shane’s group. They always stay the night on the way back from their missions trip to Wyoming every year. Last year, they got 2 flat tires, and so were really late getting in… I remember Autumn and I drinking coffee trying to stay awake till they got here. I read about 20 old Bowhunter magazines that night while she did work on the computer.

Anyway- this is my favorite kind of morning at camp.

(Changes since I wrote this: I am not as enthusiastic so I don’t use all caps, no more camp times w/ my good buddy Autumn, and most mornings the coffee conveniently is already made.)

(Things that haven’t changed: my love for biscuits n gravy, my love for a good dusty Bowhunter mag, me using the Z-Bros apron.)