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.


birthday cake waffles and thankful memories.

this week we (echo ranch) are having a fundraiser for our scholarship program.  a local waffle/coffee shop owner allows us to hang out at her shop, help with dishes and serving food, play camp videos, do drawings for different giveaways, and is making a special waffle just for us.  this year it is a birthday cake waffle to celebrate echo ranch's 50th birthday and all of the proceeds from this will go to our scholarship fund.  
i love our scholarship fund.
i love that kids who otherwise wouldn't be able to go to camp have a chance.  
there are all kinds of obstacles that can stand in a kid's way to get to camp, but the scholarship fund can help these kids get there.  i'm really excited for the next few days for a few reasons..

1. what a great place to hang out with the rest of the staff

2. birthday cake waffle. i shouldn't need to explain…

3. what an awesome opportunity to raise money for kids to be able to afford camp!

4. the juneau schools are on spring break this week, which means i'll get to spend a LOT of time hanging out with campers!  i've gotten to see quite a few since being back in town, but there are a ton i still can't wait to see and catch up with… especially over a cup of coffee or a birthday waffle  

if you're in juneau, you should come out to waffle co in the next few days and have a birthday cake waffle!  

it's so crazy to me that 20 years ago i had already been to echo ranch for the first time.  it was a fun trip that i'm glad i got to go on with my family, but i really never thought i would go back after that.     

Baby me hanging out at Echo Ranch for the very first time.  
i'm so thankful that the Lord took me back to camp in 2001 with my family, and then again when i was in college.  since then i've been so overwhelmed and blessed by the people i've met through working at echo ranch -- especially the campers.  

margarette, hannah and i. 2008. 
i met marge in 2007 when her and her sister abby were in one of my junior high cabins. in case you aren't sure -- that was 7 years ago…. seems like a lifetime.  since then we have kept in touch the best we can with letters, cards, phone calls, facebook, and a few rare visits.  

hannah and alisha in juneau for a track meet

visiting sweet abby at school when i went to haines for easter

last summer i got to chaperone a camper on the ferry up to haines and got to spend
the afternoon with marge, hannah and alisha. <3 

who would think three junior high girls and their camp counselor would be friends a million years later? i'm so blessed by these girls. 

2012 senior high cabin… plus kalino

this group (minus kalino…) shared an amazing week at echo ranch. late nights sharing life stories and crying and praying together… memories i won't soon forget. 

my nat nat. <3 

tutu tuesday with myriah, mikala and torah in 2013
torah and mikala were senior high campers of mine in 2012 and they were back at camp in 2013, also.  i'm so excited for them to come back as junior counselors this summer.

2013 senior high cabin
these girls are all fantastic and they are doing such amazing things with their lives.  mission trips to africa and south america, star athletes in dance, swimming, soccer and basketball, junior counselors at echo ranch… loving Jesus and people in so many different ways.

this post is a lot of pictures (oops) and a lot of feelings. i'm really pretty blessed.  i'm thankful for the years i've gotten to serve at echo ranch and for these incredible senior high girls.  i've met so many amazing campers and these are just a few of the ones who stand out to me when i think back.  in a way i feel a little bit like each one of these girls is a sister to me.  i'm so excited about their lives, the way they love Jesus, and the fact that i get to be in at least a little season of their lives.  





i've been sick and doing a lot of sleeping this week.  nothing crazy, just a bad cold/sinus/sore throat type of thing.  catching up on sleep has been great, but also so very frustrating because there is so much i want to be doing and so many people that i still want to see.

yesterday i was feeling about a million times better by lunchtime so i got up and started running errands, etc.  in the evening i was out running errands with allyson, when i got a surprising text from one of my very favorite campers who lives out of town.  'you're in juneau now, right? i'm in the airport, but only for 20 more minutes. come now!'  we detoured to the airport, i ran inside, natalie ran out of security and i got to sit there for ten minutes hearing about her life.  ten minutes goes really fast at an airport, with the super long security line moving beside you, but i can't express how thankful i am for those ten minutes to actually see natalie, give her a hug and get to talk.  such a surprising blessing.

today was another day of errands and office work.  next week echo ranch is having a fundraiser for our scholarship fund (juneau friends--it's next thursday-saturday at waffle co. be there) and along with it we will have some giveaways from our camp store.  well, everything is out at camp in the store, so we had to go out and pick things up.  i had never been out to camp in the winter, so i was more than happy to go on this little adventure with allyson and kyler.  we headed out the road after kyler got home from school where randy met us on one of the ATV's to head back into camp.  we grabbed stuff from the store, chatted with the winter caretakers, Frank and Rose, enjoyed a delicious dinner (halibut? check.) and headed back around the cove while the tide was still open. short, but sweet.    

view from one of the staff houses at camp across the bay to lions head mountain 

view from the other side of that staff house

the horses were super hungry and tried to mob kyler and i at the trading post.
this picture may not prove that point, but it was a thing. 

as we were driving around the cove on the way out.
best work driveway ever?

it was so, so good to go out to camp.  i can't believe that in 6 weeks i'll be moved out there and that will again be home for 6 months.  i'm so thankful for these little reminders this week of why i do what i do.  i can't even believe the people i get to work with and the location that i get to do it.  i'm so grateful that God allows me to serve here.  He doesn't need my help, but He let's me serve in such a beautiful location, with so many incredible people, meeting so many new friends each year, just to tell people about Him.  i'm so thankful and so undeserving.  





a week ago i was in ohio scrambling to pack up everything i thought i needed in alaska, finish last minute errands and say final good-byes.  now i've been in juneau for almost a week and i think i'm doing a rather decent job at transitioning.  i'm still exhausted and at times seeing so many 'new' people is overwhelming, but life is good.

last week consisted of seeing a few people, trying to get used to this time zone, and finally getting my hair cut !

i also journeyed to some of my favorite spots like….

the glacier !

and auke rec.

saturday morning a friend and i went to one of the local high schools for the high school regional dance team competition.  three dance teams competed, as well as quite a few cheer teams.  they were all in town for the regional basketball tournament and it was so fun to get to see so many campers and friends who were competing or who were also there to support them.
this sweet girl (who's a senior) was in town with her team and i got to watch them perform.  their team received a superior rating!  all of the teams did an awesome job and had worked really hard.

i feel like 'real life' is starting this week as i get more into doing office work and attending meetings.  feel free to say a prayer or two as i continue transitioning into life here.  thanks!




blessings and an iced chai

while traveling to juneau on tuesday i got an iced chai in the seattle airport.  i've had many chais before in my life, but the story behind this one will stick with me for a while.

my trip to alaska started out fairly routine.  my dad and our good friend paula drove me to the airport. we arrived in plenty of time and there was no one in line.

dad and i before i went through security 
 everytime i fly by myself i think it's going to be the most boring time of my life.  i anticipate that my flights are going to seem SO long and that i'll just be so bored. so. i end up packing way too many activities… and that's why this is my life on airplanes :

knitting, new girl and chocolate. to be more specific, a chocolate, peanut butter and banana candy bar. i highly recommend it.

i sat down on my second flight anticipating to spend it the same way.  the plane i was on was stopping in seattle and then continuing to honolulu.  i sat down in my aisle seat next to a couple and they asked me if i was continuing on to hawaii.  i told them no, that i was actually continuing on to juneau, alaska.  the wife exclaimed that she was originally from ketchikan, alaska (also here in southeast).  they started asking me questions about where i was originally from and what i did in alaska.  i told them that i was from ohio, but had moved to alaska to work at echo ranch bible camp, to which the wife said she had grown-up going to echo ranch in the summers.  as our flight went on they asked me several more questions about echo ranch now, how i got involved, and what i do there.  we quieted down for a while until we got closer to seattle.  they leaned over to me and handed me a piece of paper with their names on it asking me to find them on facebook so we could keep in touch.  they wanted to hear how they and their church could be praying for me and for echo ranch.  before we got off the plane they said they wanted to pray with me before i left.  when they got off the plane they first asked if i liked coffee, because they really wanted to buy me some.  they bought me an iced chai and then sat at a table and prayed for me, my travels, and the ministry at echo ranch.  

i can't tell you how blessed and encouraged i felt after this encounter.  the Lord is so good and sometimes it feels like the world is so small. how awesome to be able to meet someone who was blessed by echo ranch years ago, and who desired to bless and encourage me on our flight.  

this isn't the greatest picture, but this is my view this morning as i am writing this.  so thankful for sunny skies and living so close to the water and mountains. <3 


keep moving forward

well. the time is almost here. it's been a weekend of a lot of visits and goodbyes and any day now i'm going to start packing… hopefully tomorrow, because i leave the next morning.  truly my biggest concern right now is that i won't have room to pack my fleece dinosaur blanket and the fact that i've misplaced my iPod.  priorities, right?

saturday we journeyed to toledo and sister had her first red robin experience AND her first onion ring experience.

it seemed like something that needed documented….  we had a great lunch with my aunt, uncle and cousin and then had to say good-bye to them.  why don't people realize that things would be easier if they just moved to ak?? 

this is my cousin casey.  he's pretty much the brother I've never had and sometimes we are way too much alike.  he is a sophomore at the university of toledo and i was very hopeful that he would spend his summer in alaska with me this year, or at least that he would visit.  however, he's off on a new adventure. 

this summer he will be spending 6 weeks in croatia on a college campus telling people about the Lord.  what an awesome way for him to spend part of his summer.  selfishly i really wanted him to be in alaska, but i'm so excited and proud to see him serving the Lord, no matter what that looks like.  in the next few months he will have to raise quite a bit of money in order to be able to go on this trip with campus crusade.  if you'd like to hear more about what he'll be doing there, you can click here to email him. :) 

this guy was not one bit sad to say goodbye to me...
today involved a few more 'good-byes' and soon enough i'll be unpacking in juneau and saying so many 'hellos'.  i'm thankful for this extended ohio time, but for now i'll keep moving forward.