Psalm 19:1

psalm 19:1 'the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork'

this past weekend i got to out to camp for about 24 hours and could not get this verse out of my head. my roommate and i went out to celebrate an early thanksgiving with our winter caretakers and had an awesome time.  we planned on having a thanksgiving meal with them, playing games, knitting and just visiting and hanging out with frank and rosezella.  we also had exceptionally clear skies last week and a great northern lights forecast.  

we had dinner a few hours after we got there and as we were cleaning up i stepped out onto the back porch to see that the northern lights were already starting.  we went down to the beach, built a fire and stayed out there for the next three hours talking and watching the lights.  it started out very slowly at first, with a green grow settling in behind hogsback and angel (some of our beloved mountains) and over the next three hours stretched out towards lions head while growing brighter and brighter and taller and taller. by 12:30 the lights were taking up half of the sky dancing and moving all over the place. 

it almost seemed like we were watching a concert and God was the conductor -- starting out a light glow.... brighter.... bigger.... brighter... until the sky was full of dancing lights.  

i can't believe i'm so blessed to live somewhere where seeing these beautiful lights is 'normal' and i'm thankful that God uses things like this to show me His glory and His power... that even the skies declare His glory and His handiwork.     


great is thy faithfulness

remember back in february when i started this blog that i was going to so faithfully post on?  summer got so crazy and chaotic and i never got the chance to write -- our camp internet situation was no help either.  i have survived ten weeks of summer camp and a week-long celebration of echo ranch's 50th birthday and have thankfully found myself in a few days of rest before our three week fall retreat season starts.

i don't even know where to start, but i guess a picture is worth 1,000 words so maybe this will save us all some time...

tiffany and I the night before the counselors flew home

campers around the campfire on their last night of camp

kimberly and i getting ready to guard for Mission Impossible -- a night game that we play with junior and senior high

after paint war with haley and elena

allison (a counselor) and i with two of our junior counselors

denali, a colt camper (7-9 year olds) and i on the sports field during relays 

the lifeguard chair on the beach during sunset

kristen, one of the counselors, and i at their thank-you banquet

allison and i at their good-bye bbq

these are a few glimpses of what summer looked like at echo ranch this summer.

 840 campers 
10 weeks of camp
lots and lots of rain

i've been so blessed by the five years of camp that i have served here so far -- i've seen God work in tremendous ways in my life and in the lives of others.  

last week we had a week-long celebration of 50 years of God's faithfulness to the ministry at echo ranch.  most of our past directors and many past staff members, campers and volunteers came to share parts of the week with us.  the week was full of stories of how God has been working here since the beginnings of this ministry.  it was so encouraging to hear all the stories from the past and share what is currently happening in the ministry, as well as our vision for the future.  

tomorrow we start our fall retreat season with a group from the juneau charter school.  the next three weeks we will have groups from the community joining us on retreats before we close up for the winter. 

hopefully now that we are transitioning into less of a chaotic season i'll become a little bit more consistent of a blogger again, but until then...




i'm so incredulous about the things that my job includes.  the last few weeks we have had quite a few retreats -- school groups, family camps, and most recently the BOW retreat (Becoming Outdoor Women).  We have also been visiting a few different communities to do camp rallies.  Three weekends ago a few of our staff flew to Hoonah to do a rally and two weekends ago I was a part of a group of staff who flew to Gustavus to do a rally.

yesterday i flew to angoon, the only community on admiralty island with three of our other staff and our friend carolyn.  none of the staff i traveled with had been there before and we have had a very small representation of campers from there in the past. this is a community that we have been praying to develop some connections to.  it was such an answer to prayer to be able to go there with our friend who has a family cabin there.  she was able to get us connected to the school, introduced us to people around town and even provided a place for us to stay.  

i also got my first float plane experience !  it was such a blessing and answer to prayer to visit this community and share with them about echo ranch!  

earlier today a lot of our counselors flew into town and a few more fly in tonight.  orientation starts tomorrow and after that things are crazy!

please pray for our counselors who are just getting to town, for staff who is already here, for the community of angoon, and our upcoming trip to petersburg!  there is so much going on and the Lord is so good.  



i thought about writing some sort of super meaningful 'lessons i've learned in 27 years' blog.... but i that seemed like a lotttttt of effort on a tired day.

so. instead you're getting a list of things i'm thankful for in this birthday i just experienced.

*sunny and 67 in juneau, ak on may 1.  last year it was a blizzard.

* this week we have had a work team at camp from one of my supporting churches. it's been fun to spend the week with them, and a blessing to have devotions with them this morning.  they sang to me before breakfast and after lunch.

*birthday waffles.... yes. plural.

*donut holes from the breeze-inn from cayla.

*quite the adventurous boat ride.... the seals were cool to see, but when putting your boat in the water double check the trailer is properly hooked to the tractor..... especially if there are people in it.

*dinner and milkshakes at the hot bit with mark, tonya and kyler.  what a blessing to have mark and tonya in town this past week :) yes, even mark.

*countless cards, texts and facebook posts wishing me the sweetest blessings.

now i am anxiously awaiting the arrival of zach, bethany and kimberly.

i am so blessed and thankful, today and everyday.


a typical day

people so often ask me what a typical day at camp looks like and i never have a good answer for them.  we've been at camp for a week now, opening up camp and hosting our first retreat of the year, for the montessori school in juneau.  looking back on this week, i'm reminded again of how there's no good answer to that question.

a typical day at camp looks like....

folding shirts, folding shirts, folding shirts

running the dishwasher many, many times

tables up, sweeping, mopping, tables back down.... and repeat a few hours later

a few hours in the camp store.... explaining to a little boy that we don't accept iTunes gift cards, seeing tears in his eyes as he looks up, and giving him ice cream for free.

sharing ice cream and giggles with a two year old

holding hands in a circle on sundays and singing the doxology before dinner

laser tag sign-up

coffee, lots of coffee

watching whales and sea lions play

taco bar and monster cookies

progressive cleaning parties

early morning times with Jesus in the dining hall.... with lots of coffee

friends coming 'home' for the weekend and then singing 'go, tell it on the mountain' when they leave

so that's what a typical day looks like at camp.... at least for this season.


the balance

two weeks from today i'll already be moved out to camp and hopefully things will be getting unpacked and ready for the summer.  i really can't believe that i've been back in juneau for over a month.

it's been full of people and an obscene amount of coffee.
i seriously drink so much more coffee when i'm in juneau.

this is partly because life is so busy and i need to stay awake somehow and partly because i have been meeting up with people and catching up on life, mostly over coffee.  this is definitely one of my favorite things to do while i'm in town.
i love hearing about people's lives, hearts, joys and frustrations.  our lives are so vastly different, yet something deep down inside of us is exactly the same.  

i went on a walk with a friend since being back. we talked about life and transitions back to juneau.  we talked about attempting to balance life. balancing working and people and errands and everything.

it's so hard.

i'm so thankful that my job involves SO much time with people, but something my friend said has stuck with me in the last few weeks.... 'i know i'm not going to get to the end of my life and think 'i wish i would have worked more'.'   she is so right.

there's lots of ordering and office work and emails and phone calls.... and there is literally a pile of to-do lists sitting next to me as I type this, but none of those things are going to last.  they're important and they will get done, but they're not the most important.  

i'm beyond thankful for these senior high girls that i get to pour into and so, so thankful for all those people who pour into me.

here are a few of the blessings i've been experiencing....

this week it's turned to rain, but before that we had weeks and weeks of sunshine. so rare.

i've been so blessed to have time to do things like visit my friends and their kids... and meet some sweet babies that were born while i was gone.

i made this last night to put in my apartment out at camp.  home sweet home. i love how this turned out and it's so restful for me to have a break to do something crafty.   



prayers and camp songs

i can't believe the ridiculous box that i put God in -- that we all put God in.  God is so big and works in so many ways…. and i'm pretty sure i miss it 99% of the time.  i feel like every time i recognize God working, it's some crazy thing that i can't believe--but why?  'oh my word -- God is doing these amazing things in my life!' OF COURSE HE IS. He always is.  He's good.  He's love.  He wants everyone to know His love and grace and that looks so different to everyone and in everyone.

i was just talking to a friend who has been in my life nearly forever.  we come from extremely similar families, the same hometown, are less than two months apart in age, but our lives are so different.  we now live over 3,000 miles apart and she's married and has three sweet little girls (one i have yet to meet…).  today we were sharing prayer requests and she asked me to pray for her sick little girls and rest for their family.  although i know she influences so many people's lives, she has three little lives that she is pouring into constantly.  three little girls she gets to tell about Jesus and show His love to.  that's incredible.  i know lots of people have kids, but i am just so in awe about the opportunity she has every. single. day. to teach them about Jesus and show them what loving Jesus looks like.

i asked her to please pray for me and the coffee dates i have coming up with senior high girls.  they are incredible and i love spending time with them.  we have a lot of laughs and ridiculous conversations, but i want to be real with them, too.  they each have so much going on in their lives and i want to be able to really hear their hearts and be able to pour truth into their lives.  i want to be able to offer them the truth of what God has for them, not whatever random thought happens to pop into my head.  i know God can give me those thoughts, but some of them might be me.  these opportunities i am planning for, but what other opportunities to i experience daily in which i can share God's love, truth, and grace?  how often do i recognize those?  and how often do i 100% miss them?

two of my senior high girls are on a flight right now on their way back from uganda.  over their spring break they chose to fly to uganda with a group from their school where they got to visit different schools and orphanages and i'm sure many other adventures, which i can't wait to hear about. while they were at one of the places, they were asked to sing songs with them.  earlier today i was tagged in a video on instagram of the kids in this school singing and doing motions to one of our camp songs about Jesus.  i'm so proud of these girls for taking the opportunity to go to africa and choosing to take an opportunity to teach these children a song about God.  they could have chosen any song about anything, but they chose one about God.

i am so thankful that God can and does work in everything.
in families.
in coffee date conversations.
in camp songs.