Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Camp, Glorious Camp

I just love camp!
And it turns out the my children do too.

 But, why oh why, would this night owl love camp when it means I need to be in the kitchen by 6:30 a.m. cooking breakfast for 150 with two other cooks (one of whom is the head cook; I only assist.)? We work until 7 p.m. with a quick morning break, a lingering meal (after others have been served), and a two-hour break in the afternoon. Who signs up for this and likes it? Me! (And the others I was working with.)

This is not the lodge, nor the camper's lodgings.
To work alongside a group of people who all want to be there is encouraging. To mix up some muffins, cut fruit, bake cookies, and simmer some spaghetti sauce for the cause of Christ.Whatever you do, you can do it all for the glory of God.

In a rare find, I am the youngest and the tallest (I'm in the middle in purple.)
 To be around other believers all day. Coming back each year to see these women who I see once a year at camp is so fun, reminds of my camper/counseling days to have camp friends again. But now, we share bigger issues that we've been through -- job loss, losing the farm, losing a parent and a brother-in-law, children that we desire to see grow, becoming a grandma, watching our parents get older. Different issues. Same God. It is encouraging to see others still growing in Christ. I have seen the other women once a year for this week at camp. But this being the third year, we are talking about what the Lord has been doing in our lives the past three years.
Mixing up the yummy cheese muffins.

 I will also tell you this. There is something about having meaningful work. To work with our hands. These cheese muffins that one of the other chefs made were homemade, from scratch, and were just delicious. She even brought the recipe home.

It really is a gift to have meaningful work to do.

That people appreciate and need -- food!

It is also about seeing the body of Christ in action. It took us all day to fix three meals for all those people. I find it fascinating to learn how to cook in a commercial kitchen and to get big batches ready and hot all the same time for everyone.

We would hear of the maintenance's call to unclog the bathrooms. We would say to them, wow, you have a hard job. And they would shrug their shoulders and say it is not that bad. They enjoyed working shoulder-to-shoulder with their team. They also get to mow, to fill water balloons, and to participate in a Bible study and hang with their friends.

Others would look at us and say, you have a hard job. I would shrug my shoulders and say. "It's not that bad." And certainly not as hard as washing pots and pans!

Each cog in the wheel. In its own place doing their own job made the wheels run around. The directors directing. The teachers teaching. The cabin counselors leading their campers, being mom & dad for a week. Being fun, listening, leading devotions, swimming in the pool and being dunked, leading activities. I look at them and think they have a hard job, especially sleeping in un-air-conditioned buildings for a week at a time. All summer long for some of them.

But each of us loves our job. I loved being a cabin counselor when I was in high-school and college. It would be a bit harder for me now.

And the really cool thing about having high school students and college students leading the kids, is that the kids see that following their faith, and being in love with Jesus isn't just reserved for the adults. It is for anybody. It is for these fun, cool people who lead music and tell lame jokes (and occasionally a good one) People who will play Ga-Ga ball with them, and make them sing for a package. These people who will stay behind and take you to the nurse. Who will listen to you cry when your dad has lost his job and your uncle died a couple months ago. Who will reassure you about your faith in Christ. Who will rejoice with you when you shot the arrow onto the target for the first time today. Who will talk with you about that day's chapel lesson. Who will spray shaving cream on their head and let people throw cheese puffs at them.

These people love the Lord. And the kids can think, "And they're just like me. They're just a little bit older than me. How cool for the Cool People to be loving the Lord."

Each cog in the wheel. Doing their part. Each of us waking up early. Sleeping soundly at night (unless of course a thunderstorm is crashing through your special tenting night.). It is the body of Christ. Encouragaing one another. Working through conflict. Loving the Lord. Having meaningful work.

Did you ever consider this as part of your meaningful work?
I am so glad to be able to be a part of it. Even if it means a very grumpy week this week as we all re-acclimate to home life with each other (or re-entry as my friends & I call it.)

It is worth it!

I just love camp! And it turns out that my kids do, too.
* * *
So that's what we've been doing this July. How about you? Is there some meaningful work in your life that surprises you how much you like it? Even if it means a week of the grumpies -- or some equivalent cost --around your place?

Love, Kathleen

Linking up with Jen.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

19 Reasons I Love My Husband on Our 19th Anniversary

Celebrating our 19th anniversary in Pensacola, FL
Five days and nineteen years ago, my husband and I pledged our lives, our love, and honor to one another. In celebration of this momentous occasion, I have penned nineteen reasons that I love him.

 19. His penchant for hats.

Easter Sunday 2012
18. His diligence to look for a job during our Sea of Saturdays (what I termed our season of unemployment because every day felt like a Saturday with Daddy around all of the time). I knew he provided for us faithfully but his perseverance in making cold calls, writing and re-writing his resume,  filling out on-line applications gave me new appreciation for this hat-wearing man.

17. I love his ability to build things. He built a clubhouse for the kids out of a wooden fence that someone had discarded. He bought a box of nails and waa-la we have a clubhouse. He also built a tree house during the Sea of Saturdays.

16. He always wants to sit next to me whether it is at the dinner table, the pew at church, or the couch when we watch a movie. He scoots the kids over to sit next to me. Cherished in the little things I am.

Grizzly Adams with his wife in May 2012 before he shaved.
15. He is a simple man who enjoys simple pleasures. For instance, one of his main hobbies (he says) is growing hair. Look how much fun it can be to grow and shave off. Did you have any idea?

One of the first cuts.
He is just SO Silly!

14. His willing heart (and the kind of jobs he has had)  have allowed him to be available to troubleshoot problems with the kiddos during his work day. This kind of emotional support has been immeasurable to me.

Current Kip.
13. He is generous with his time and money: first with his family (we love vacation daddy!!), his friends, and those in need.

12. He drives 900 miles one way to take all of us to visit my family at least once a year. It's convenient that some of his family now live in the same city but for many years it was a commitment to keep us connected with extended family. It was important to both of us to find someone that fit in well with our family -- we succeeded! We truly enjoy vacationing with family -- what a gift that is.

11. I love how he learned to write cards and notes because it's my love language.

He is not a natural writer. (He is an excellent writer; he just doesn't do it often). When we were dating long-distance back in the day when our long-distance phone bills were costing us an arm and a leg, I would complain of how little he would write, certainly not up to my romantic ideals. He told me then that he had written to me more than anyone else in his life. I had to take it on faith back then but through the years he has written letters and postcards, even on short business trips figuring out how to send letters in advance from our city so that we would have some to open while he was away.

And just the other day -- on a random, ordinary day -- he left a card on the kitchen counter just because! Isn't he wonderful? (Is it getting too sappy yet? Breathe deep we're half-way through the list.)

10. He is an affectionate man, giving hugs and kisses because that's his love language. I have come to love it!

His penchant for hats slipped into his first half-marathon he ran this spring.
9. We love to play games together. The ones we play most often are: Yahtzee, Cribbage and Boggle. (His willingness to play Boggle with me is an act of love.)

8. The secondary love language for both of us is quality time which shows up in game playing, but also in almost daily or should I say --nightly -- talks debriefing about our day. I love it! So often he is ready for the sack but he devotes the time to talk with me. Now that IS true love!

7. I love his musical ability. He sings. He plays guitar. He drums. He breaks out into song often.

6. My planning heart can collide with his sequential "now what's next" ways. The flip side of this is that  he is great at being in this moment, right-now. Good for my soul, that is.

The Us Box in December 2011
5. I love his steady, happy self. He cheers up the household. It has steadied me much to be married to him.

4. I love his love for the Lord. He loves to go to church. He has such a clear idea of principles and just knows the right thing to do.

3. He works the equivalent of two jobs so that I can have the best job ever -- caring for our children and educating them. We have both been committed to that vision from the beginning.

2. He values my opinions, and my decisions. He trusts me. He supports me in so many ways. One of which is symbolized by allowing me to lead a women's Bible study. The kids are older so it doesn't cost quite as much now but he has always allowed me to have a ministry outside of our home.

Can you tell how much we like us by the amount of pix we take together?

1. The best thing that I love about Kip Jaeger is that I have been married to my best friend for 19 years. I have known him for more than half my life. He is the love of my life and my kindred spirit. I am thankful to have had so much time with him. May the Lord give us many more years to share.

How did you spend your Fourth of July? Would you like to count the ways you love your spouse?
Linking with Jen and the SDG sisters.
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