(Pin this picture and I will cut you.  Seriously.  I don't even play.  It was 1996 and I didn't know any better.  Ovals.  Fiskar fancy scissor ovals. Suzy's Zoo.  I DIDN'T KNOW ANY OTHER WAY!)

Once upon a time I was a consultant for Creative Memories.  And by consultant, I mean I used the discount to buy albums/ tape runners/ stickers/ and that circle cutter thing.  There was zero consultant-ing.  Just scrapbooking.  When people thought it was a good idea to crop photos into various heart/ star/ oval/ circle shapes, add some Mrs. Grossman's stickers and marvel at the creativity of it all.  OH MY GOODNESS have things changed.  The thought of tracing a star shape with a grease pencil on a photo and cutting it out nearly makes me barf.

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, the one thing that has stuck with me, even stronger than a wayward tape runner is the theory that if you get behind (scrapbooking, bible study, etc.) start where you are and move forward.  If you think that you can't do anything until you are caught up you will quickly realize that the feeling of catching up is so overwhelming that you will be too paralyzed to make any forward movement at all.

So that brings me to today.  Moving forward.  Catching up when there is time.  Some major things happened in the past few months, launching a church and a European road trip for example.  They will wait.  I am starting with today.

It continually floors me how often God is working behind the scenes, beyond our understanding, as He is writing the story of our lives.  I love how we can look back and make sense of what was so mysterious and confusing while I was living it.

I want to share a bit of my story, one I am still watching unfold.

The summer before sixth grade a friend invited me to go to camp with her.  After seeing The Parent Trap I always wanted to go to camp and somehow my parents let me go.  I found myself in a teepee at Indian Village in Forest Home with a bunch of girls I didn't know.  To this point I had never really gone to church.  I went to VBS when I was really small, and attended a friend's First Communion.  Beyond that I knew nothing about God, about Jesus, I didn't know the songs, I didn't know what prayer was, I had never read the bible.
That week in the midst of games and competitions and hikes and swimming, I was introduced to who Jesus was.  What the bible was.  What prayer was.  It was overwhelming and intimidating, and I felt so behind the curve.  I didn't want to stick out.  I didn't want to admit that I didn't know everything that the "church kids" knew.  So I didn't ask questions.  I just did my best to blend in.  I didn't raise my hand and come down during the altar call.  I pretended I was just like everyone else who had been going to church since they were babies.
Each day during the week there were Bible memory verses, and if you remembered all of them you got a prize.  I don't remember what the prize was, nor do I remember what the first four verses were, but I do remember the last one.  It was the longest one, and it was worth the most points.  I made sure that I knew it, and recited it to my counselor.  She checked off my sheet.  I got the prize.  End of story.  Or was it?

The verse:

For God so loved the world 
that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him 
shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

At the time I just wanted to get the check mark on my sheet.  I didn't want to think about what the words meant that I was memorizing.  I just wanted the prize.

God knew me before I knew him.  He placed those words in my heart knowing that they would not be forgotten.  That there would come a time nearly a decade later when those words would change everything for me.  A day that I would stop pretending.  A day when I would stop chasing earthly rewards.  And it all started in a teepee.

Sunday we head back to Forest Home, this time as a family.  I cannot wait to walk the same trails, jump on the same blob, polar bear in the same creek, and worship the same God that knew me well before I was willing to know him.

It is going to be such a great week.

(P.S. There are still a few family camp spots open if you can rally together and join us for a life changing week.  Get all the info you need here.)


  1. looks like so much fun! have a great week. cant wait to hear more about your new church and trip to europe.

  2. So great!!!

    At the height of scrapbooking, I lived with two other girls. I was quick to print and slip pictures in to albums that very day but never much in to scrapbooking. When we were all invited to a CM party once, one of my roommates said, "Why would I do that? It's all going to burn." She's an incredibly practical accountant. :-) So now I have thousands of pictures on my dang computer! I'm not sure which is worse.

  3. This is so special!!! Also, scrapbooking... been there ;-)

  4. Forest Home has played a BIG part in my spiritual journey, too! As a camper, counselor and staffer. Enjoy the week! I haven't been there in years but I knew the second I saw your teepee photo (before reading the actual post!) that it could be no other place but FH. LOVE.

  5. I love your writing and so look forward to more! You are a wonderful example of God's love...thanks for sharing and enriching my faith too!

  6. I can't wait to hear about your week at Family Camp. It is one of our favorite experiences as a family. Time together, and then time apart that you know is seasoned well. A babysitter every night. What?! Enjoy the week! I cannot wait to hear all about it!

  7. What a beautiful testimony. Funny how God uses small things from our pasts to make a big impact in our future. Family Camp looks super fun. Nice to hear your "voice" again.