(Happy photos shot by the amazing DrewB.)

Life doesn't equip you for life.
It certainly doesn't prepare you for parenting.
Nor does it prepare you for how quickly time passes.
I didn't listen to those who told me to cherish every moment when I was wearing a path through our house, walking seemingly endless miles through the halls, trying to soothe and survive a colicky newborn.
I barely remember surviving the next colicky/ refluxy/ angry newborn, while trying to also care for her not quite two year old sister. 
I thought that was the epitome of how hard parenting could be.
Oh how wrong I was.
I had the nerve to blink and am now realizing that although those small years were tough, the years ahead of us are a different type of hard.
Newborns and infants need love and their basic needs met.  Get that figured out, and although you are bone tired, poured out, and exhausted, you are basically winning at this parenting gig.
Bigger kids need those basics plus ten million other things, while ten million other things are fighting for their time and attention.
My baby girl will be starting sixth grade next week.
We are so similar it is ridiculous.
            This squirrel loving dynamo is going to be a fourth grader. 
Her passion and determination is infectious.
This golden ray of sunshine will be a first grader.
I am pretty sure she was a bald newborn just five minutes ago. 

Our family has been through so much change in the past year, and these girls have walked along side us as we planned, prepped, and planted Encounter Church, with so much grace and flexibility.
They are used to sharing our home with people most days of the week, they come to church early, they stay late, the make new people feel at home.
They have been patient and loving as their parents were often overwhelmed.
They pitch in to help with happy hearts.
They are pretty much the best thing ever.

We recently returned from week at Forest Home Family Camp, and it was the very best thing we have ever done together as a family  (And we have done some really amazing things before.)
It bonded us and healed us in ways we never expected, and we left changed for eternity.
I will share so much about our time there (I cannot wait!) but today I have such HAPPY HAPPY NEWS!

Forest Home has so generously offered to give away a weekend at their Mother & Daughter retreat.
I KNOW!

I will be there with my three girls, and I cannot wait to see how God is going to move and work in our lives and hearts.  I feel like so much of this last year they have been given a mom who is stretched thin (and I think that is a common thread amongst us moms), and I have hopes that this retreat we will be free from all the distractions at home and be able to stretch and grow and celebrate what we have as a family.

If you live or can get yourself to Southern California the weekend of September 11th-13th I invite you to join us at Forest Home.  I am praying that God has the specific family in mind that needs this weekend, and I cannot wait to pick a winner on Friday.

There are still a few spots available, and if you feel like this retreat is something you and your daughter(s) need, I encourage you to find a way to attend.  If you have been to Forest Home, you know what a special place it is.  If you have yet to visit, I wish I could come up with sufficient words to emphasise what a worthwhile investment it is.
You can read more about the weekend and register by clicking here.


Mother & Daughter Retreat
DATES:
September 11 – 13, 2015
SPEAKER:
Kara Powell
LODGING:
Forest Center
RATES:
Starting from $182* for daughters and $277* for mothers
INCLUDES:
6 prepared meals, lodging, programming, recreation and downloadable media

* Prices vary widely according to accommodations.
EXPERIENCE:
After they start crawling, it’s only a few short steps to college. And yet, with all the responsibilities of each day—demands of work, cooking and cleaning, picking up and dropping off—it can be difficult to slow down and spend time together. Let us cook your meals and clean your dishes as you take time to explore and adventure together, rediscovering the wonder of your child, of creation and of the Creator.


You and your daughter(s), ages 5 to 18, will have opportunities to nurture your relationship with Christ as a pair and as individuals through uplifting messages and age specific programming.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

One reader will win the opportunity to attend the Mother/Daughter Retreat as a mother with her daughters; includes set retreat meals and accommodations, activities, etc.   
(Travel expenses and additional expenses during free time are not included.)

- To enter, leave a comment answering the following question:  Have you every been to Forest Home?  If yes, what is your favorite Forest Home memory?  If no, what would you be most excited to experience at the Mother/Daughter Retreat with your daughter?

- Additional entries:

*Follow Forest Home on Facebook
Leave a comment here letting me know you followed Forest Home on Facebook
*Follow Forest Home on Instagram  
Leave a comment here letting me know you followed Forest Home on Instagram
*Follow Forest Home on Twitter 
Leave a comment here letting me know you followed Forest Home on Twitter
Winner will be announced on Friday 8/28.
Come back this week for some fun camp and mountain themed printables, and to hear more about our time at Family Camp.
I truly hope to see you and your daughters together at Forest Home in September.


84 Comments

  1. I didn't grow up in a Christian home, but my aunt brought me to California for the summer (I lived in WA) and I was a CCA for her when I was 14. I didn't really understand the gospel and how I personally needed a savior until I heard it from a counselor at Forest Home! I've actually never been back to Forest Home and would love to take my girls. It's been a crazy ride for us over the last four years - three adoptions (including the two girls!), homeschooling, and now preparing to move our family to Malawi next summer. To say a weekend away to focus on the girls would be a blessing is an understatement.

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  2. I have never been to the camp but I think a mother daughter retreat would be amazing. I would love to connect with my daughters without all the outside distractions of life for a few days. That would be so refreshing.

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  3. This is so exciting! I went to Forest Home a bunch as a kid but haven't been in a long time. I always loved doing crafts in the craft house and going on the ropes course. I would love to go with Mackenzie!

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  6. I have never been to Forest Home before but recently started following on both Facebook and Instagram thanks to your recent IG posts (both accounts under Jillian Knutson). I would love the one on one time with my daughter. She just started 1st grade and its a big new school and lots of changes, including switching to public school after preschool and kinder in Christian school. I'd love to experience the beauty of the great outdoors being adventurous together and worshipping together in a real yet different way than the norm of our routines at home. I think such a memorable time would draw us closer to Jesus and create memories we will cherish forever. Plus I'm a born and raised SoCal girl living in HOT Phoenix AZ and I'd be more than happy to have an excuse to get us to cooler temps for the weekend. Thank you for the opportunity! ps sorry for any double posting, my last name didnt show with my first post :)

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  7. What a fantastic giveaway, Julie! I would love to take my Lucy to this! I went to Forest Home several times as a kid (at least 2 summer camps and 3 winter camps). I think The Blob ranks high on my memory list. :)

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  8. I followed Forest Home on Instagram using my oils.food.health account. :)

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  9. Wow! How generous! Thank you Julie, and forest home for such an awesome opportunity! I was blessed enough to be able to attend adventure mountain at forest home when I was 10. This was a particularly difficult summer for me because my parents were divorcing. It was the first time I had to gather stuff from both my mom's house and my dad's house. I packed my toothbrush, sleeping bag, and a bar of lever soap from my dad's house and my mom brought me to church where the big white church vans would be driving us up. Jesus' love was poured into my hurting heart that week by my sweet counselor Lara and the other staff members there. On the second day when it was shower time I opened up my soap container and to my surprise the lever that I had packed had been replaced by fancy bath and body works soap! My sweet mom had snuck it in before I left! I felt so special in that moment. I want to carry on that legacy with my daughters too! This mother daughter retreat would be a particularly great one because it falls on my daughter's birthday weekend. I would love nothing more to share in a special weekend with her at forest home!

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  10. I have followed forest home on ig. :)

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  11. I followed Forest Home on Facebook.

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  12. I have liked forest home on Facebook! I'm looking forward to your printables too!

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  13. Tutulindsay is now a follower of forest home in Twitter. :)

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  14. I followed Forest Home on Instagram.

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  15. I followed Forest Home on Twitter.

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  16. I have never been to Forest Home, but my mom used to tell me fun stories of going as a kid. I would be most excited about "unplugging" with Lily and celebrating her 9th birthday by bonding and being changed together.

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  17. I have never been to Forest Home. We actually tried going in the end of May as a family but they were completely booked. Sad face. I would love to be able to go with my daughters. I have a 7 year old Abigail...and I also have an 11 yr old step-daughter. Her and I are constantly struggling with our relationship. There is a lot of hurt and mistrust there on both our ends..mostly mine. But she needs me and I need to be there for her. Obviously God entrusted me with her and I've let her down. I would love a chance to start to rebuild our relationship and I think a weekend with my girls would be a great start.

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  18. I am following Forest home on FB, Instagram and Twitter!

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  19. I have never been to Forest Home, nor heard of it before. What an amazing experience for moms and their daughters to enjoy together. My daughter is 12 years old and in the 'middle year' of middle school. This would be such a great adventure for the two of us to get away from all of the distractions of everyday life and spend special time together.

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  20. I have never heard of Forest home or knew of a program like this existed. How amazing that there is a program like this to be God centered and bringing such amazing relationship building with your daughters. If I could afford this right now I would sign up in a heartbeat! I know so many moms and their daughters deserve to go to a forest home experience. I am a mother of three girls. 13, 10 and 8. These girls are a gift from God and individually amazing creatures. But to be very honest...together it is a very different story. Maybe this event will teach USA few things to love together and get along and change us to see each other through Gods eyes. I pray this for my girls ....its a battle everyday....God give us all wisdom and Patience. This would definetly be life changing and amazing...never have we Just girls done something like this together. Thank you for the opportunity to enter Forest Home! God bless your program.

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  21. Followed Forest Home on Facebook.

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  22. Followed Forest Home on Twitter

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  23. Followed Forest Home on Instagram

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  24. I haven't been to Forest Home, but it sounds amazing :) I would be most excited about the opportunity to spend some dedicated time building into my relationship with my oldest daughter. I feel like she sometimes flounders a bit to find her place in our family as the 2nd child, but oldest of 3 girls...would love the opportunity to give her a little extra love and one-on-one time!

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  25. I would love to win this delightful giveaway. I cherish time with my daughter... I followed along on their facebook and Instagram under frolickingfreckles.......Thank you for such a delightful chance to win! Blessings. Mica at Frolicking Freckles

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  26. I forgot to answer...No we have never been to Forest Home, if we had the chance to go...I feel it would be a perfect time to bond together in a wonderful atmosphere and give God the glory, enjoying His creation and gifts of this life. To just enjoy some one on one time together along with other like minded momma's and daughters would be a blessing and a treat! thanks again for the opportunity!!!! I would forever cherish the moment and hold it close to me as a memory, surely a time we would never forget!!!!

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  27. I have been to Forest Home! In the 5th and 6th grade with my school. I loved making crafts, singing songs and being out in nature with my friends!

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  28. I'm following Forest Home on Facebook.

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  29. I'm following Forest Home on Instagram.

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  30. I've never been to Forest Home before but I've heard so many great stories from friends who have. I'd love the opportunity to attend the mother/daughter retreat with Mikah for some much needed time to unplug and take a break from soccer and the busyness of life.

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  31. I've never been to Forest Home, but I followed your visit there via IG & was a tad jealous. I'd love to go on this getaway with my daughters & it's perfect that it's at the start of this school year. We've shaken things up a bit and after spending each and every day together as homeschoolers one of them will be heading to school - and we are already feeling the growing pains. I'd love to have this dedicated time together to laugh, explore a new place and grow closer together in Christ.

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  32. I have never been. But it sounds amazing.

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  33. I have only been to Forest Home on a sixth grade science camp as a teacher and to visit my husband (a pastor) while he was a children's pastor in OC. I would LOVE to take my six year old daughter. We have had two more babies in two years and she is struggling to find her place in the family now and to get any mama time. She loves camping and I don't really. So this would be mama stepping out to do something she loves and to spend quality time with just her. Plus Orange County would be on the way so one baby to one grandma and one baby to the other grandma. That works. 😊

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  34. I follow forest home on Facebook also.

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  35. I follow forest home on IG.

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  36. Can we first talk about how amazing those pictures are?! Love them! This is such an amazing opportunity you have to do this with your girls--and give away!! I have so many memories at Forest Home, countless winter camps, summer camps and retreats. SUCH a special place. Would love to be able to take my girls there!

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  37. I followed Forest Home on IG

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  38. I followed Forest Home on fb

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  39. The first time I went to Forest Home was for College Briefing. I still remember several things Bart Tarman talked about- including that God is good but not necessarily safe, just like Aslan from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe series. I would love for my daughter to experience FOHO!

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  40. I went to Forest Home throughout my childhood and teens, as well as a few womens retreats. My foundest memory I would say was when I was in third grade and my mom was my counselor. Carri Hierro
    carrihierro@gmail.com

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  41. I followed Forest Home on Facebook. Carri Hierro carrihierro@gmail.com

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  42. I followed Forest Home on IG. Carri Hierro carrihierro@gmail.com

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  43. I went to forest 2 times and Hume lake 2 times as a teen for winter camps and summer camps, I loved it!! I loved the songs, the messages and the fellowship I experienced with my friends and leaders! This would be a dream weekend with my baby girl she is growing up way to fast! Love your heart Julie thank you for sharing your heart and your beautiful girls with us!!! Megan Jimandmegan@gmail.com

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  44. I liked forest home on fb! Jimandmegan@gmail.com

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  45. I followed forest home on IG!!! Jimandmegan@gmail.com πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»

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  46. I followed Forest Home on FB emilybrink@mail.com

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  47. I followed Forest Home on Twitter

    emilybrink@mail.com

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  48. I followed Forest Home on Instagram emilybrink@mail.com

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  50. We'd love to go!! I want to imprint my daughter's heart and spend the weekend with her young innocent self.

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  51. When I think of Forest Home, a lot comes to mind. Walking through the trees to get to various locations. Bunk decorating contests as a CCA. More Chocolate Chip shakes than I dare to count. Finding the perfect treasure to bring home from the gift shop...perhaps a Supertones cassette tape!! Thinking "I'm totally going to work here when I grow up" upon every departure. Craft Cabin!!!! Special time with my dad at Father Daughter Camp. The list truly could go on and on. I feel really blessed looking back at all the time I was able to spend at Forest Home at various stages growing up as both a camper and a CCA. To be able to introduce my daughter to such a special place would be a dream coming true I didn't even realize I had until this moment. Thank you for the opportunity. emilycecelia@mail.com

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  52. I have never stayed at forest home but I have walked around with my husband there (he worked there one summer) it seemed like an amazing place and just hearing all his stories has always made me want to go there.

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  53. I've never been to Forrest Home. I would love to have some big girl time with my oldest- and discover it together with her. :)

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  54. I followed Forest Home on Instagram :) (username kelleybrooks)

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  55. Forest Home is one of my favorite places on the planet!! It is amazing (& overwhelming in the best way possible) to think of how many lives of been transformed in the decades of God's hand at work through that place!! I had the privilege of spending four glorious summers in college working at Adventure Mountain (the camp specifically created for preteen students)! I met my husband while we were both of staff there...fell in love doing ministry together...still one of our favorite things to do!
    Thanks for shining so brightly...looking forward to using your printables as we color and unwind from school tomorrow afternoon! Thankful your family was able to have a soul-refreshing week together!!

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  56. Entering Stephanie Longcob! Following on fB

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  57. Entering Stephanie Longcob- now following on IG

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  58. Following on Facebook! Angie Taylor

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  59. Following on Instagram! Angie Taylor

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  60. And finally, I would love the chance to go on this retreat with my girls. I have been to Forest Home once in college for a retreat, but our family attends Hume Lake Christian Camp every summer and I know first hand what a huge impact these experiences can have on an individual and/or a family! Thanks for the opportunity and Happy Friday! Angie Taylor

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  61. I have never been to Forest Home but would love to have the special girl. Time with my daughter. She is the only girl in a house full of brothers. It is not often that she gets one on one time with mommy. This would be amazing.

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  62. Oh my word...this place looks unreal! More than anything, I need a place to reconnect with my daughter. Life gets busy and it's hard splitting time between she and her brothers. Thanks for this opportunity!

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  63. I've actually never attended a camp at forest home just had the opportunity to visit while my husband & friends led worship for family sessions. I loved the sense of community that I
    felt there. I have five kiddos. One of which is my daughter. I'm constantly trying to balance my time spent with each little but especially with her. This would be such a great opportunity for us to spend some of that time together.

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  64. My childhood is filled with forest home memories! I went as a child through high school and back as a counselor for Indian village and a CCA! i have to many favorites but if you haven't had a chocolate chip shake from forest home go. Go now!
    Followed on fb Ig and twitterπŸ‘ŠπŸΌ

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  65. I have never been to Forest Home...yet (wink wink). My hubby and I were actually just talking about how powerful "playing together" can be. I get giddy excited at just the idea of being away with my girls. I know it would be a significant building time, a memory to share together that would be just ours. -Alicia Shinners *followed FH on fb and Insta

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