The dawn of summer. I think I’m ready now.

So we went camping in the rain anyway (no plan B, remember?), and it turned out fine. The weather was dry when we left town, and it only ended up raining one afternoon. Luckily I’d packed a lot of “in case it rains” items, so we spent the time reading, playing games, having coloring contests, etc. (Only slightly-snarky side note: Matt spent the time napping.) Otherwise, we hiked, played, toured, and canoed on the river. I will not go into the canoe experience because I have an unnatural fear of rivers and lakes and all of the unseen dangers and probably creepy things lurking in the water that is not transparent. and nightmares of my children being swept away in the current while I pathetically paddle in the wrong direction trying to save them. My stint in the canoe was a tiny bit shorter than the rest of the family. I tried, but I probably should have been medicated first.

I’m headed out today to teach at EFY, which always makes me excited and a little bit on-the-edge-of-throwing-up nervous. (Last year, I actually did.)   I’ve taught two of my talks/classes before, and two are new material, and I’m just hoping no one throws tomatoes at me.

I am now getting a grip on my summer master plan and, when I get back from EFY, I’ll share more of the details with you. (Since I know you’re just sitting on the edge of your seats wondering “Whatever in the world could Stephanie be doing with her days this summer?” I know. The suspense is unbearable.)  It’s an attempt to find a happy balance between scheduled and flexible.

Anyway, in the meantime, I started reading a book by Camille Fronk Olson called Mary, Martha and Me. I’m not too far into it, so I can’t give a full recommendation yet, but I wanted to share a quote I really liked:

“Jesus Christ is the one needful thing.  What does that mean amid chaotic daily agendas and anxious uncertainty for the future?  The world urges us to strictly follow step-by-step formulas to achieve success.  In striking contrast the Savior taught, ‘Come unto me.’  In my life of never-ending responsibilities, I do not need another checklist (derived from scripture or anywhere else) to define the Lord’s role for me.  I need Him.  I do not need competition that scrutinizes my productivity versus another’s efforts to make me a valuable employee; I need His strength., His wisdom, His grace to perform work that will make a difference.

… The message of Mary and Martha is not a generic, black-and-white answer to align me with one or the other of them.  On the contrary, they give me confidence to ask God directly what He wants me –specifically me– to do.”

And, p.s., the summer gods are smiling on me today because it is 7:45 a.m. and my children are still asleep. Yep, you heard right, we passed the threshold of 6 am. Praise be. I just heard beds squeaking upstairs. Party’s over.

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The Vacation Diaries: Love and Hate

We just did our third camping trip of the summer– this one was five days long, which is the longest we’ve ever attempted.  I’ve complained before about how much work camping is.  I spent two hours at the store at midnight the night before our trip trying to buy all the ingredients I needed to cook camp meals for five days.  Then I try to shove them all into a cooler and bins that aren’t too heavy to carry.  I give the kids packing lists and let them pack their own bags; luckily, the margin of error has so far not caused any major disasters.  Planning for weather, possible outings and activities, how to keep them quiet during camp “quiet hours,” and stocking the car for the road trip portion is no small task.  Five days, five people. Bruises, body odor, and mosquito bites galore.  This much laundry:

DSCF0065But what’s not to love about this?

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and this?

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and this?

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and this?

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and especially this?

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So for all its hard work and exhaustion, I believe camping is here to stay among our family traditions.  I could sleep for three days straight, but the kids want to start planning our final trip.

“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”