Monday, December 16, 2013

make it a MERRY Christmas!!

    The Holidays bring a lot of mixed emotions for many of us. Most of us get to spend time with family and friends, while also missing our loved ones who have gone on before us. Some of us have to work, or live far away from our families. While others are worried about our loved ones that may be over seas. What ever the reason, and no matter who you are, we all have stuggles during the holiday season. 

    I love Christmas and everything thing that comes along with it. The busy bustle of the stores, the beautiful Christmas lights that light up the night, the white snow cover that makes everything look perfect, being able to be a kid again out side in the snow sledding and making snowmen, and so much more! 

    But  I am no different, like you I have struggles. And sometimes I think that they seem to creep up on me the most during the holidays. I am surrounded by those that I love on a daily basis, yet I feel alone. And I often wonder why some of the things I want most in life have yet to happen to me. It is really easy to look around and see loving couples, and families that have everything together. And it is easier yet to throw yourself a little pitty party because you want what others have. 

    Sometimes I let myself have the sad little party, as do we all, but then I am reminded of how much I do have. I am reminded that I have the one and only thing that I really need in this life... a relationship with my creator! He knows all my stuggles, and he knows all the answers. I often have to remind myself that EVERY prayer is heard, and EVERY prayer is answered! The answer may not come when we want it, and it may not be the answer we are wanting (which is why I sometimes think He didn't answer it), but it never goes unanswered.  If I spent as much time praying about my problems and hurts as I do talking or complaining about them, my life would be a different story. 

   The other thing that the holiday brings is resolutions! We all want to be a better person than we were last year. Most people keep up with their resolutions for a couple months, if that, and then they forget about it or it becomes to hard. I am doing something different this year! Instead of setting myself up for failure, I am setting myself up for a happier me. 

    I am going to pray that God would show me why he answered my prayers the way he did, and I am going to trust in the blessings that come out of that! I am going to work on listening to Gods voice and not just doing the talking. But most of all... I am going to have HUGE jar that I am going to put my blessings in. Everytime I see a blessing in my life, I am going to write it down on paper and stick it in the jar. That way when I want to have my pitty party, I will see the jar and how quickly the blessings add up when you look at the answer to prayers differently. 

    So I encourage you all to look at life differently during the hard times, and trust that God will send blessings in those times. Make that your new years resolution. I would love to hear of all the creative ways you use to see your many blessings, and I would love to hear about those blessings! 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Animal Blessings!!

Over the last 2 weeks I have had time away from camp Daniel to do some dog sitting.

About 1 year ago I had desided that in order to move to camp as a full time missionary, I would need to give away my 2 dogs in order to be able to put everything I am into it. My dogs were my kids, and anyone who has ever loved an animal in that way will understand that it was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. I had an easier time knowing that I would be leaving everything behind to do God's will, than it was for me to understand that giving my babies to a good home would be better for them.

I cried many, many nights just thinking about not having them around. And while it took me many trys and heartaches trying to find a good home for both of them, God came through in the end, once again! I ended up have one of my dogs staying in Sheboygan, and a couple from Racine took the other one. I knew that they would be taken care of, but I didn't know that I would form a great friendship with them. 

I have the blessing of coming to Racine and dog sitting for Lisa Marie and here furry little family members. Lisa Marie has a loving mom and dad, 6 doggy brothers and sisters, and 1 cat brother (who I'm pretty sure thinks he is a dog!) The past 2 weeks being able to bond with all of them has brough me many smiles. Every time I sit, I have a companion. And sleeping with all 7 of them, believe it or not, is some of the best sleep I have had in a long time. They make me feel snuggly, and loved! 

As much as I am going to miss my days of laying around the house with my furry little friends, time has come for me to head back home. I thought that this would be a very hard thing, leaving Lisa Marie all over again, and I may shed a couple tears, but I knowI have a lots of amazing people and blessings waiting for me back home. I also know that this will not be the last time that I will have the oppurtunity to dog sit all of them again. 

Blessings come in many shapes and sizes... and I want to thank God for all of my furry little blessings he has gave me in the last 2 weeks!! I <3 you Lord!
Old man Bud (in front) and tiny little Tinker snuggeling

Sweet little Sara (I have a soft spot in my <3 for this little cutie!)

Me, Tinker, and Lisa Marie ( I am the human!)

Tinker (the stinker... she loves me!)

Lisa Marie (she still loves her mama... nothing has changed)

Mo (the odd ball out, even though she thinks she is a dog!)

Maggie (the eater in the family)
Tinker.... nap time in my lap

Freddy... one of the best behaved dogs ever!

Bella... who wouldn't stay still for a picture

nap time with Tinker and Bella
So Happy!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Another summer of camp has come to an end, and yet again, my eyes have been opened to the wonders of God. This was my first year of being on staff, and my role was to be the kitchen manager. Through many trails and errors I have come to love being in the kitchen! I thank God for my willingness to do what ever it is that is needed, but knowing I was stepping into this role was both exciting and scary. There is A LOT to screw up in the kitchen, believe me! Most of all I was worried that I would miss out on all the connections that were going on outside of the kitchen. But God has molded me into this strong women and has given me the amazing ability to make connections with others no matter where I am. I made some great new friends with the kitchen help, but most of all, I spent every minute I had out of the kitchen connecting with everyone else. This years theme was love, and the amount of love that flows through everyone at Camp Daniel is unconditional.
    Which brings me to the thoughts ahead...
If Gods love is unconditional, and he has taught us how to love one another, then why is there so much hurt in the world? If God chooses to love each and everyone of us UNCONDITIONALLY, then why cant we choose to love others the same way? The answer is simple.... We choose NOT to! We look around and see the homeless guy on the side of the road and think that he must have really screwed up in life to be where he is at. That if he just made better choices, he would not be homeless. We look at people with drug and alcohol addictions and think, if they stopped drinking or doing drugs all their problems would be gone. We tend to look, judge, stereo-type, assume, and sometimes even think they deserve what they got.  But what if God judged us unfairly, or assumed we would never change, or even held us to the path we choose for ourselves?? God sees the best in us. If we tried even just a little bit harder to see others the way God sees them, maybe we could understand each other a little bit more. We don't have to give a home to the homeless, or change a drug addicts ways to help others. We need to love them, walk in their shoes for a little bit, let them know that there is a happy ending. Tell them that God loves them unconditionally and wants to be their strength when they don't have any of their own.
    When we as Christians turn the other way to those around us who seem "different" than we are, it is only sending them the message that God does not love all. Is it not our job to show others God's love? How are we going to do this if we pick and choose who we think is worthy of it? My hope is that we will all see each other as equals someday. And that God's glory would shine through everything that I do. It is time to start treating others with the only kind of love that God knows... unconditional. Stand up for each other and make a difference in someones life, if not your own.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flowers... Flowers every where!

One of my big jobs here at Camp Daniel is to work on the grounds, which means lots of gardening.  I have to say, it not something I ever thought I would be doing, or be good at, but I am doing ok and keeping very busy with it! And the best part of it all is the beauty behind the work!! Here is a sample of the beautiful flowers around the grounds at Camp Daniel. Come on out and see me and all your family and friends here, and while your at it.... Stop and smell the roses! :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"the church" or "a church"

Growing up, the word church only meant one thing to me, church. As in the place that we went to every Sunday morning. It was the same place, at the same time, with the same people, whether we wanted to go or not. Church was a place we went to as a family and sang songs (but not to loud), we gave money to (10% of our income),we sat, we stood, we knelt, we stood, we sat again. We greeting each other with "peace be with you," and we listened to a pastor/priest give a message that, lets face it, most of us tried to stay awake to, or we left there in that building when we walked out the door.
    Now some peoples church's had a different feel. They have upbeat, loud music. They raise their hands when they worship, they don't have communion every Sunday, and they wear their "nicer" clothes without getting to dressy (including the pastor). But no matter what church building you walk into, there is one thing the same, they are all there to worship their God.
    As I become closer to God and the meaning behind everything he has laid out for us in the bible, I am starting to realize that most of us have got this all wrong. Sitting in a staff meeting a couple weeks ago, we were talking about "the church," and to my surprise, they were talking about the church body and not the church as a building. There is "the church" and there is "a church."
    Everything I described above is "a" church. It is a gathering place where we are entertained in a sense. A place that we gather once or twice a week, strengthen our christian faith, and feel like we need to commit to every Sunday in order to be a good Christian. "A" church puts things in our heads like, "if I don't go to church every Sunday I am not a good christian," "I have to talk to a priest to confess my sins," "I have to give the church 10% of my money," "if I cant speak in tongues, I am not filled with the Holy Spirit," and "I have to give up something for lent and not eat meat on those Fridays." It is no wonder why there are so many non-Christians!! There are to many "rules" to follow, and we will always fall short anyway.
    But listening in my staff meeting and reading about the church in the bible gives me a whole new perspective, and one that is WAY easier to live up to! I am not saying that "a" church is not a good thing. I have an amazing church and it is a big part of my walk as a women of God. I am saying that I don't think this is what God intended church to be. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
It states that He will build it His way through us. Not, we should build it our way and hope that it honors Him.
    I am so glad that my eyes have been opened up to what "the" church is, and that it IS God honoring! A little farther in the bible it states in Matthew 18:20 that
 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." 
That means that we belong to "the" church as believers in God no matter where or when we gather. That also means that everyone who gathers in his name, whether believer or non believer. No matter how they are dressed, or how many tattoos they have. What they have done in the past, or what life they may be living currently. If they look different than us, or worship different than us, that God is with them. After all He created each and everyone of us to be individuals, and He loves us all the same! We need to come together as "the" church that God intended us to be and live our lives for Him everyday, with everyone around us. Let God be the judge of others, and let us spread His love through our kind ways, giving, and loving unconditionally!
    I am thankful for the journey, including both good times and the times filled with hurt, that God has brought me through. Each day is a lesson and a trial, but I know that God has His hands on my life. He has brought me here for a reason and it is my job to faithfully show His love to others.
    So for me, I choose to live my life through "THE church!"... what will you choose?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Year Past of Birthday Blessings

    As I look back at the last year, I am very thankful for all the blessings that God has send my way.  After four years of volunteering at Camp Daniel, it was shown to me through the opening of my heart, that this is the purpose that God has for my life.
    Quitting my job at Biolife to work with the disabled was an easy decision for me. Now feeling like I have my life finally in order and moving in the right direction, things once again get stirred up.  I was able to attend Camp for two weeks last summer, and little did I know, it would change my life again. God was laying on my heart that there was more for me in my life, and the purpose he has for me. Not really knowing what this all meant, and praying on it the weeks I had between camp, God was pulling me in the direction of full time ministry at Camp Daniel.  I thank God that he gives me the power of the Holy Spirit, that pulls on my heart and shouts so loud throughout me, that there is no way of ignoring it! Without this, many doors would close that I never even knew had opened.
    Opening my heart and REALLY handing everything over to God has never been easy for me.  There is always that one place in my life that I have never really been able to completely hand over, some part of me has always wanted control. Last summer was the first time that I handed it over, even though I felt bitter about it.  And once I did, I was able to see the blessings that were right in front of me the whole time.  Old doors were closing, but new ones were opening.
    After a very scary conversation with Little Tony about what I was feeling, many prayers were said, and things started moving forward to me answering Gods call.  As excited and willing as I felt, I could not fight off the feeling of being afraid! Did I really know what it was like to leave everything and step out of the boat? What if I sank? What if my feelings of excitement and my human nature of wanting, was stopping me from hearing what God was telling me? It was then that God put on my heart Matthew 4:18-22 that says
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

 It amazed me the when Jesus said "Come follow me" that Peter and Andrew "at once" left their nets to follow him. And James and John "immediately" left their boat and their father to follow him. I long for that kind of trust to not have to worry, and simply obey!!
    As it was getting closer to my moving date, I started to feel the pain and loneliness that came along with giving up everything. Even though it was all material things, it left me feeling empty.  Having to separate myself from my dogs was and is one of the hardest things that I left behind! But I knew that God had so many blessings waiting for me if I would only follow him.
    Here at Camp Daniel I have everything I need. I look around me and see all the beauty of everyday things that I have never noticed before. I still have the love of my family and friends, but now I also have the love and support of the tight knit community that Camp has created. I know that I am never alone and no matter what I may be going through, there is always someone here to help lift me up and remind me to keep my focus up above. God knows the desires of my heart, and no situation comes as a surprise to him.  I truly believe that as long as I lay it all down to the one who created me, and knows me better than I know myself, that I will be blessed beyond what I could ever imagine!