Let me start off by saying we had an amazing vacation! Because of the way the 4th of July fell, I was able to only take 5 vacation days and still have a 10 day vacation! It was just what we needed.
We were able to visit family and friends, relax, do some sight-seeing, and just breathe. It’s been a very busy spring and summer, and I’m pretty sure our bodies were going to shut down if we didn’t finally take some time to rest. I feel like God knew that we needed this break, and the timing was just perfect.
Over the next few days/weeks (hopefully days…) I’m going to do a vacation recap. We made so many great memories, and I want to be able to share some of them with you all.
As you know, the first night (Thursday) we arrived at Michael’s parents’ house around 11pm. The next day was his birthday, and we had a great day celebrating with his parents!
Which brings me to day 3: a good night.
We were able to sleep in until close to 11–I’m pretty sure I haven’t slept that late since I was in high school–and it was SO nice! It’s obvious that we needed it. Since we got up so late, we had a big brunch (Michael’s mom makes amazing pancakes!) and just relaxed around the house. We played a few games of Blockus and Michael blew out his candles on his birthday cake (we decided to wait on it until Saturday since we’d had such amazing desserts the night before). It was a perfect cake–and it was Michael’s and my favorite kind: funfetti cake with colored chip icing!
I was REALLY looking forward to this night because we were going to get to see one of my Pine Cove families! My first summer (2006), this family was my Devo Family one week. It’d been a pretty tough summer for me because God was teaching me some tough lessons. I was learning that “it’s not about me” and what it meant to truly serve others–even without recognition. But this week, God used this family to really show me what Pine Cove–and Christianity–is all about.
I learned two big lessons through this family. 1) When we give of ourselves and love on others, we are so much more blessed than if we try to find blessings for ourselves. And 2) Even though I thought I was going to come in and minister to all of the families, God used them to minister to me. Because they were my Devo Family, I was able to spend time with them each morning during their Family Devotional Time and then visit for a while afterwards.
I’d been feeling sorry for myself because I wasn’t a “counselor” and I was “stuck in the kitchen and at the pool” instead. But this week, God showed me what a blessing it was that I wasn’t a counselor that week. Because I didn’t have to be with kids right after Family Devos, I was able to hang around and visit with Keith and Tara (the parents) and we had some wonderful conversations. I was blown away by God’s faithfulness as the week went on.
So much of what I learned through this family can’t be put into words, but that week of camp impacted me so much that I framed the picture of me with them and had it hanging in my room for the next few years. I’m so thankful that God allowed me to be a part of this family during my first summer at Pine Cove, and that we were able to keep in touch over the years.
All that to say, I was VERY excited that we were finally going to be able to meet up again (they were only at camp my first two years, so it’d been a long time since I’d seen them). I was also anxious for Michael to meet them since I’d talked to him about them so many times.
It was SO great to see them again! I couldn’t believe how grown up the girls had become since I’d seen them last! Hannah was way taller than me and Sydney was up to my chin! They are both gorgeous girls. I just couldn’t get over how much they’d changed.
We went to the kitchen and talked and talked and talked. Then we ate (Tara made amazing Mexican Pile On–at least, I think that’s what it’s called–and I tried it with pecans and coconut added on, and it was fantastic!) and talked and talked and talked some more. We talked about everything from Pine Cove to church to careers to the girls’ school and so many other things. It was so good.
Tara had also found out that it was Michael’s birthday (yay for technology–you can find all kinds of stuff!) and they’d bought him a cookie cake. It was so sweet of them, and it was very yummy!
When we went for a “tour” of the house–which is gorgeous!–it was neat to see little Pine Cove touches throughout the upstairs. Hannah still had a little fake apple that I’d written all over and sent to her at youth camp one year (I think the people at Wal-Mart were probably worried about me because I’d go buy more fake fruit every week…). Both of the girls had PC pictures up, and they had some of their CQ (character qualities) Certificates hanging in their game room. It was a good reminder of Pine Cove’s ministry and the fact that camp really does mean so much to the families and youth (there are lots of PC camps and only some are family camps) that come.
Before long, it had gotten late and it was time to go. We took a picture before we left:
And had hugs all around. It had been SUCH a great night! I left with a full heart. I’m so thankful that God brought this family into my life, and that He allowed us to spend time together again. They’ll always be so special to me!