Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sleep-Away College

"Mom, I'm just letting you know...I'm not going to any 'sleep-away' college."

"Asher, you know you get to eat breakfast there," says Lucy.

"Mom, is that true?"


"Like cereal?"


"like...sugar cereal?!"


"Even marshmallow cereal? And pebble cereal? And fruit loops?"

"Yes Asher. You get to eat pretty much whatever you like at college."

"Sold! I'm going mom! I'll see you in four years!"

" doesn't quite work like that..."

(he stops paying attention while he dreams of ALL the cereal he will eat while I pay for that right.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Daily Dose of Truth

“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.” 
― Henri J.M. NouwenThe Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

Welcome Back

Asher started the 2nd grade today.

He was so excited. He got the teacher he wanted. He has an awesome lunch box. All his school supplies. He was fired up.

Then as we approached his classroom he started yammering, "You know what? Summer was awesome. Let's do the summer over again. Let's leave. Let's get out of here and just keep on doing summer. Seriously mom. No to school. Let's just have more summer." 

Sorry bud. 
2nd grade is here to stay. 

Can't wait to see you at the end of the day!

Lucy starts school tomorrow. 

Stay tuned for this nut case: 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From the Grave

I just read this and I swear, my late grandmother Mimi could have written it:
Letters of Note: Regarding your dam complaint

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Week 2 in Review

Week 2 blew right on past us and we are now nearly done with Week 3!
I am going to try to catch you up as best I can.

We started off on Saturday night when campers left.
Our friend Patrick missed his high school graduation to come on work crew. We felt like it was only right, when all of his friends were walking across the stage to graduate back home; to throw a graduation at camp.

Camp Speaker James Rockwell helping adjust the tassel.
Thankfully, the camp director agreed and printed a "diploma", grabbed a cap and gown from the prop closet and after campers left...the speaker (James Rockwell) said a few words about how so many of us have given up things to come to camp, but Patrick gave up a major life event that was taking place back home at that very minute and we wanted to honor that. Patrick walked across the stage to receive his diploma and the entire club room filled with assigned team, summer staff and work crew erupted in applause and started a chant, "Shelow, Shelow, Shelow" (his last name).
They then rushed the stage and went crazy on him.
It was one of the best moments I've ever experienced. Goosebumps all over.
It was WAY better than any high school graduation that I've ever been to.
And it was on the heels of hearing over 70 kids stand up and say they accepted Jesus.

So then going into the week, we had a BLAST!
Lucy and I grabbed tons of swag from the Volleyball Tournament.

Asher and Lucy looked adorable on Western Night.

Matt and the guys were hilarious all week. 

We took the kids on the All-Camp Hike and it was great! 

We have been loving it here!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Week 1 in Review

We have had an amazing week here at Crooked Creek Ranch. We have had so much fun that we have taken tons of pictures, eaten a half-ton of nachos and been swimming like fish. The weather has improved like crazy and  we all have sunburns because we are so much closer to the sun (9k feet in elevation). 

Check it out:

Jessica and Knox Odom

(L-R) Asher, Brandon Beller, Lucy, Jackson Patchell

Patrick Shelow (on Work Crew from TC Roberson, Asheville)

(L-R) Lucy, Rebecca Long, Hallie Hancock

Clayton Nettles (on Work Crew from TC Roberson, Asheville)

Colton Gibson (on Work Crew from TC Roberson, Asheville)

Asher and Jackson Patchell

Lucy and her beau Cruz Rockwell

Saturday, May 26, 2012

We've Made It!

Hi friends!
We are here at Crooked Creek and I am not going to lie, it is absolutely amazing.

The morning of our arrival, it snowed 4-5 inches. So I was hesitant to be excited, but once you see those Rocky Mountains, you can't help yourself. Your spirit soars!

But the weather has turned itself around, I am actually sporting a sunburn right now!

We have all arrived and campers get here tomorrow. We couldn't be more excited to see their faces when they get off those buses.

It is our tremendous pleasure to let you know that our friend from Asheville did raise enough money to get his plane ticket to join our Work Crew and he is HERE! It is crazy to see his face around camp working like a dog. It is truly a miracle. There were so many barriers to his coming and all of them have fallen away. It has been amazing to watch.

We are so grateful to all of you who contributed financially and prayerfully. It is so exciting to think about how his life will be forever changed by this experience. 

If you want to follow along with what is going on day to day here at Crooked Creek, I have started a tumblr blog for our assigned team and am adding posts all day as I prayerfully observe the workings of the Lord. Please join us as we go before the Father during this Holy Month!

Thanks for loving us and caring for our friends so well! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

I am an unbeliever

I have to recognize that I am not a person that naturally believes in God's provision.
It does not come easily to me.
It is a true discipline.

This year, I have been reading Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest" and two days ago he said this about "The Habit of Recognizing God's Provision"

2 Peter 1:4 "...You may be partakers of the divine nature..."

"We are made 'partakers of God's nature,' receiving and sharing God's own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the recognition of God's provision for us. We say, however, "Oh, I can't afford it." One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is true humility to say at the end of the day, "Well I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle." And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn't they be? If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery,we remove God's riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges-always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said "All my springs are in you"(Psalm 87:7). If the majesty, grace,  and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you...may have an abundance..." (2 Corinthians 9:8)-then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God's nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time."

May 16//Oswald Chambers.

I love that. "Be marked and identified with God's nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time."

But I am not typically a believer in God's provision.
I am a sponge.
A complainer.
Not satisfied. Not lovely or generous.

But in recent weeks my heart has been on the move. And this passage really set it in stone.
Then Matt was talking to a high school kid who we love.
He is a tough spot. Loves Jesus. But need a fresh start.
A work crew spot opened up on our assignment, that we leave for in less than 5 days.
This boy would miss his high school graduation.
The first in his family to walk across the stage to get his diploma.
AND he simply can't afford it.

He has been working like a dog just to raise money from donors to go to camp this summer for a week. Add on top of that Work Crew? No way.

This passage has come to mind. And we just want to see. Can we make it happen? Can we see God's provision at work in the lives of our friends and family?

Maybe. Maybe it will be just our blessing to get to see him at camp.
But maybe it will be yours too.

We created a small fundraising opportunity to help send him to camp. (And maybe a few others if we go over the goal. We believe in a big GOD!) All you have to do is click on this link. And give some money. See what happens!


We can't wait to see OUR friends become partakers in God's nature in the life of a high school student. It will be so cool.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This is my beautiful friend MacKenzie. I had the pleasure of taking her senior portraits last weekend and all I have to say is WOW. She made the camera pop!

She going to Appalachian State next year to play tennis and she is going to set the world on fire. I can't wait to see what she makes of the world.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Favorite Apps

Now that I am the proud owner of many many Apple "i" products, I have to populate these products with Apps from the App Store.

Not just for Productivity. Clearly.
But also for entertainment.

Not just for me. But for those around me.

Today, I will be talking about Kid Apps that I am enjoying letting my kids use in a few spare moments.

I am not a big fan of "Screen Time" for my kids. We have pretty strict rules about television and video games around here. And the ipad and iphone are not different.

But, like a lot of parents there are times when it is simply convenient to hand over the device and let the kids have some downtime playing a game or two. That I have selected for them.

On the ipad we love:

It is a really cool game that literally our whole family LOVES. It is challenging. And it is NOT Angry Birds.

Another one that I like to use is:
My Spelling Test

Asher doesn't "LOVE" this one but I like to let him build his spelling tests of the week in the app. He records his voice saying the word. Then he types in the word. And once the test construction is complete, he takes the test.
I think it really helps him to "get" the concept of spelling on a variety of levels and instead of just rote writing words on a piece of paper in engages him. And he gets to use the iPad. Which he likes. Bribery. Use it wisely my friends.

Spell Free

My final app suggestion today is one called Happly
It is almost a platform for kids and family.
You sign your kids in. And then suggestions are preselected based on their age that are appropriate to link to information all over the internet from YouTube, video games, and informational sites that kids that age would like.
The catch is, your kids can't navigate from looking up something about dinosaurs. To then finding out what adults think dinosaur sized "body parts" are. If you catch my drift. I hate handing over my iPad or iPhone and thinking that my kids are just two clicks away from things that I would NEVER lets them see or know about otherwise.

The app developer came to create the app because his kids learned the f-word after watching some videos on YouTube and kept clicking on the right hand side. Next thing you know...

This site is really fun because you as an adult can navigate it and leave "messages" for your kids on sections that you think they would particularly like. Also, they have fantastic photography from National Geographic throughout.

Here's another review if you don't believe me:
Tech Crunch

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Celebrate the Return to Blogging

My children did what they do best. They danced. 

One Month

Welcome back! I don't know if you ever left or even check this anymore...

But we are one month away from an amazing month in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and I know if I expect anyone to give a whit about what we are doing out there, I ought to catch them up on the last 5 months or so.

Here we go.
This is the truth.

Matt was in a weight loss contest. He lost nearly 50 pounds (47 to be exact). I lost 12. It took a toll on the old "blog energy". In addition, my sweet grandmother died. My work load increased. I decided to become a Young Life leader again and was in charge of Work Crew training in our area. And we have two children. One who is about to go to kindergarten.

It hasn't been a slow Spring.

So, I will catch you up in the best way I know how.

One of my last letters from my Grandmother.

The landscape plan for the property she and my grandfather lived on. 
My whole family wears a "Buckle Ring" that my grandmother wore my entire life. We had copies made when she fell ill. We all wore them at her funeral. I miss her dearly. 

We took the kids to Disney World in January following the All Staff Conference with Matt's sister Buffy and her family. It was a most fantastic trip.

Matt and I got away to Universal Studios.

Our team won the chili cookoff. Again. 

The key to the diet. Breakfast smoothies. 

The other key to the diet.

My sweet wiener dog Slappy had to be put to sleep in late February. 

My last picture with her. 

My kids were Cat in the Hat on my birthday. All Dr. Seuss' birthday. Just a little cute. 

My big gift for my birthday. A Juicer.
I'm one of "those" people now. 

It's true. Lucy is ready for kindergarten. 4 short months away. 

I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run! Super fast I might add. 47 minutes for 6.2 miles.
I was shooting for 45 minutes. But I'll take it.  :)

My sweet girl friends ran it with me.
I love having friends that love being active. It totally keeps you motivated.
Look at these beautiful girls! I love being around high school kids again.

Consider yourself caught up? 
Let's get this thing started again!