The past seven days? I dare you to come up with a busier, more pell-mell, yet rewarding 168 hours. Here's everything that's been keeping us from textbooks this week...
Last Monday, Emily, Rachel, and Sarah came over for a fun girls day, with Emily and Rachel getting to stay through Tuesday. Of course, Starbucks was the first stop after a 7 AM rendezvous. A walk around the park, picnic in the woods, hairstyling, photo shoot, and...oh, yeah, Susanna inexplicably fainting in Rachel's arms made for a very exciting time!
So you can believe that this sinking wreckage is made out of cardboard...
But would you believe that this one is as well? We cheered and clapped and laughed all the way through the Cardboard Boat Regatta as over 50 boats competed.
We enjoyed a barbecue at our house with two other families on the Fourth before heading to the center of town. The fireworks display at our park inspire, amaze, and overwhelm. We knew we were not to be disappointed when the first song to accompany the sonic blasts was from the gorgeous "How to Train Your Dragon" soundtrack.
Thursday was full of lessons to teach (no slacking off through the summer!), before heading out on Friday to the beautiful Washington peninsula for a girls' conference. There, we met up with friends and spent the weekend together. That's Melanie, Mrs. M, Lauren, Mrs. D, Florence, Susanna, Mikaela, and Julie.
Melanie, Mama, Lauren, Susanna, and Mikaela
Lauren and Mikaela
Saturday was the culmination of many months of preparation on the part of Johanna (center) and Ruth, and many weeks of preparation for us and other dedicated volunteers. (In that upper left picture, you can catch me modeling a very unflattering "what-not-to-wear" outfit and Lauren looking beautiful and glowing in her "what-to-wear" outfit as the girls learned about true beauty and dressing tips.)
Manning the registration table wasn't hard on this beautiful 80 degree day (one of the first this summer)! Mrs. R, Melanie, Lauren, Susanna, and Mikaela, left to right.
Ruth and her husband Chris blessed us with a session on "Success in Singleness."
It was so precious to see moms and daughters learning to love each other and God even more!
Lauren and I were honored to share a session on "Don't Just Live with Your Siblings: Love them!" We challenged the girls to realize just what an important calling and responsibility we have to love our siblings and family and gave practical tips and ideas from our own experiences.
Susanna, Julie, and Florence--lovely young ladies!
In the afternoon, the moms attended a session on "Spiritually Strong Moms" (top picture), while the girls attended skill classes. Susanna chose the gift wrap and candy bouquet class (bottom picture), while Lauren and I taught an hour-long class: "Writing and Blogging: Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?" (Throughout the class, we had various challenges and exercises for the girls, and one of them was to reinvent an overused simile. Lauren gets the credit for this post title, which she revised from the typical "busy as a bee" expression.)
Melanie, Lauren, and I played "Come, Christians Join to Sing."
Afterwards, we debriefed over carbs at Panera.
Ruth and her adorable daughter, Jacqueline.
A whole bunch of us, exhausted, but grateful to God for bringing everything together and allowing so many girls and moms to attend and learn with us.
This was the view out of our window!
What better way to unwind than to play Dutch Blitz? Despite the fact that Lauren and I had gotten four hours of sleep for several nights in a row, we couldn't resist the noisy, addictive game.
After arriving home Sunday night, we celebrated Melanie's 19th birthday on Monday with Sandi and Ron (Grandma and Grandpa also arrived later than night to spend the week at our house). I'm so proud of the beautiful young lady Mel is becoming, as she seeks God and is diligently learning and taking full advantage of the opportunities around her. It's such a joy to see my younger siblings growing up to become my best friends!
This coming week does not promise to let up at all, but I look forward to new experiences and opportunities to glorify God. I may fall into bed exhausted each night, but it is with a smile on my face and praise in my heart. What has been keeping you busy lately?
All photos thanks to Mama and Melanie!