"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. "
Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Reflections of Family Camp 2009

As I have already mentioned, we had a fabulous week at Pine Cove and we definitely left that place different from when we entered it. (Remember Church camp as a high school student and the way you felt leaving the week? Pine Cove is like that, but in an adult-marriage-family sort of way:) It was filled with many great memories and precious moments for us a a couple and as a family. It is hard to be constantly served by others when you are always the one doing it. (It was wonderful though and we definitely missed it when we stepped back into the real world!) I walked away feeling refueled and refreshed as a mom, wife and pw. We loved just being another family at camp and not having to be the center of anything. We loved being able to focus just on our relationship with the Lord, each other and our kiddos for a full week. We loved no connection with "the outside world" and being able to have important and meaningful conversations without being pulled 10 million different directions at the same time. We were able to focus and create more of a vision for the future of our family and children. AND we did all that and still feel that we got a complete vacation full of fun and energy all at the same time! I think we are definitely better for going and as many people as possible should try and go and experience what a week of Pine Cove will do for your family. It will bless you beyond measure like it did us! We would like you to meet some amazing people we were with during the week:

This is Austin with MoTown. She was the awesome counselor who did our family devo (devotional) time with us each morning and she was also the camp photographer for the week. Love her!! :)

Family devo time! We love that this time has carried over to our home. Every Friday is "Family Fun Friday" b/c it's Daddy's day off, so we plan a fun activity and do a family devo in the morning going through the alphabet. For example, we started with the letter A and the verse we used was "All fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. Then the next week was B and so on... We keep it short and simple and the kiddos love it and so do we!

Here were the fun friends who played with Audrey and Ainsley all week in Cove Kids. What a wonderful place!!

This was Austin's group for the week. Such cuties!

And here are the girls who wrangled in our boy all week. They had their work cut out for them, but they did an awesome job!

This was when we were saying our goodbyes. We loved Match Dot Com and these sweet Graves girls were some of Austin's good buds for the week.

This is Chris Willard and his wife the 'Fabulous Susan' and fam. They were the speakers for the week and we enjoyed them so much! Thank you guys for pouring into us and for encouraging us and making us laugh! Love you!

Okay, so I have to tell this story about what an incredible and unexpected gift the Lord gave us! The first night we were at Family Camp I saw this lady and you know that feeling you get when you KNOW you know someone, but just can't place them? Well, I kept looking at her and wondering how and from where do I know her face? Then after dinner we went to drop our kiddos off and I got a chance to see her name tag. It said Julie Ustruck - and it hit me! Julie and her husband Chris were our across-the-street neighbors way back about 5 years ago in Katy, TX. Why is that significant you might ask? Well, when we lived in Katy, Julie and Chris were NOT Christians and now we were at a Christian camp together! Both Andrew and I remember a specific time when we were house-sitting for this family while they were out of town and it was through that weekend that the Lord burdened us to pray for them. We knew that they were searching and we prayed for them often. So, you can imagine how incredible it was to see them and to hear their story/journey to the Lord! I felt so honored to spend time with them through the week and I truly feel it was such a gift from God that He would bless us by getting to see 2 peoples lives dramatically changed and to know that we possibly had a tiny part in it. Isn't our Lord so amazing in that way?! We love you, Ustruck Family!

This is the Graves family and they were a couple/ pastor and wife that we enjoyed spending time with during the week. It was awesome having conversations and for Cindy to just "get" what I was talking about with both of us being in ministry beside our husbands. Praise God for like-minded people! Another side note is that Steve was actually on staff at First Baptist Woodway (where we used to serve and where I grew up) right before we got there! Such a small world! Again, this couple was another one placed so strategically by the Lord to give us a dose of what we needed during this amazing week of nourishment. Graves family - love you and are praying for you! Hopefully we will go to Family Camp again next summer with you guys!

This is the Jennings family and we connected with them during the week as well. They moved to Waco the same time that we left Waco and moved to Anna. It is always fun to find out that they are friends with people we were friends with in Waco. :) What an awesome family! We want to be with you guys next year too! Love you and praise God for your sweet family!

Thanks for letting me talk so much about this one week of our lives. I guess when something impacts you so much it is worth letting people know that it was worth every dollar and minute we spent! See you next year, Pine Cove!!

Pine Cove Family Camp Wednesday- Friday

Here comes a lot more pictures from our fabulous week at Pine Cove Family Camp!

This was probably one of Austin's favorite moments of camp and one that he still talks about - riding Goldie Locks (or just Goldie for short as our little man has informed me;). Austin loves animals and he was of course the 1st one to go for a ride. Look at his proud face! Adorable!

Austin and Audrey walking around the cabin in Daddy and Mommy's shoes. (This is one of Audrey's favorite things to do... in fact, my closet at home always has shoes all over the floor thanks to her trying them all on!;)

We were so proud of our sweet little girl. She slept in this "big girl bed" all by herself all week long! Guess it's time to move her out of her crib at home... sniff, sniff.

Here we are riding the fun banana boats on the lake (Ainsley was in the boat being held by another mom). So fun!

Audrey has loved the water this summer!

This is pretty much how the girls traveled all week. Thank goodness for the double stroller and for Daddy!

Austin got a chance to visit the bubble princess during the week like Audrey. I love this sweet pic of him and one of his buds for the week. :)

Austin is always in the middle of the action...

Austin's group performed a couple of songs that they learned during the week and he did such a great job!

So great in fact that he stole the show!

Don't ask... haha!

On Wednesday night, the theme was 'Where in the World', so Austin dressed up as a race car driver. He LOVED wearing this outfit! (Thanks Boring family!)

Andrew and I got to spend the whole day in Tyler where we at yummy Mexican food and went bowling. We had a great day "away"! That night we dressed up as camp counselors and for those of you who have ever been a part of Pine Cove know, every one has funny names that explain you in some way. So, we got creative and named ourselves Pampers and Huggies. :) Pretty much sums up our last 3 years! Love this life stage of diapers galore!

Audrey and Ainsley as Minnie and a Dalmatian puppy. The kids loved dressing up every night!

On Thursday night, the parents had a formal dinner with steak and salmon while the kiddos played with their camp counselors. Sorry - no pics from that night. :)

Friday's theme was '4th of July Apple Pie' and it was our favorite night! We had all-American food and apple pie and then played some fun games outside - like this lovely pic of Andrew and I racing other groups of parents.

We didn't win, but it was a lot of fun!!

Austin is getting ready to race. It was so cute to see how serious he took it (Daddy was funny about it too!;) I think we have a little competitor on our hands!

His favorite part was tackling Skully at the end!

At the end of each night right before we would pick up the girls, there would be a time of family praise and worship. Our boy loves to dance and that is what he would do during this time. (He has some natural rhythm and good moves!) We call him our little king David.

Austin loved this swing. And we loved Pine Cove!

This was one of our only family pics from the week. we are about to load up into the car and drive home - tired from a full week of fun, but restored. Like I have said before, the week we spend at Pine Cove impacted us forever and we are so grateful to the Lord for the incredible experience we had!

Pine Cove Family Camp Sunday- Tuesday

Our family had the privilege of attending Family Camp at Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler, TX a couple of weeks ago. I was such an incredible time of refreshment, renewal, restoration and family time with no distractions. We are still trying to unpack what the week did for us as far as goals we have for our family spiritually and the many ways it impacted us forever. When we got home, we definitely had the "camp blues" doing many of the fun camp cheers and wishing we were still there instead of the "real world". There are so many pictures of our week that I have to do several blogs to get them all in. I do apologize for the large number of pics. Don't feel that you have to look at all of them. :)

Every night of camp there is a "theme" that all the dress, food and activities are based on. (Thanks to all you wonderful people who helped us come up with outfits for the week by letting us borrow your stuff!) Monday night was the Oregon Trail. How cute are my little Cowboy and Indian?!

Mommy and Ainsley all dressed up for a rodeo.

Daddy and our sweet little girl.

Right before dinner - I love this pic b/c they had no idea why they were dressed up or what was in store for them! We looked forward to dinnertime and the fun activities every night! So fun!

I love my cowboys! We went to a real live rodeo that night and Austin had the time of his life! It was such a fun experience! The girls were dropped off in Cove Kids for the evening and the three of us with Aunt ZuZu could enjoy the show.

Austin loved all the animals of course but his favorite was.....

the CLOWNS!!

These two college students were so much fun and Austin informed me that he wanted to be a clown when he grew up. (He already is!!;)

Aunt ZuZu was the whole reason we got to experience this incredible place! This summer was her 9th summer at Pine Cove! We loved getting to see her every day of the week!

Ainsley at Cove Kids: the fun place where all three of the kiddos spent their days. (We even took them there for nap time!!)

This was the bubble princess who the kids visited several times during the week.

She was Audrey's favorite. :)

On Tuesday night we dropped the kids off and the staff had a picnic basket filled and ready for each couple for a romantic dinner. We found a spot overlooking the lake and had a wonderful evening that ended with a sunset boat ride. I am telling you! This place was amazing!! Praise God for Pine Cove! More pics to come...