Greetings fellow soldiers! I am so excited to be alive one more day! The blessings of my Lord and Savior are so absolutely mind-boggling and amazing that I cannot find the words to express the change and hope and love that He has brought into my life. Every day I am so amazed that He loves me enough to care about me personally... personally enough to answer my prayers and give me strength in the times when the circumstances make me want to give up. It really isn't that God has always given me times of "springtime and harvest" but that no matter what I have gone through He has been faithful. And I am so blessed!
The past week and a half have been great. As I mentioned in my last post, our plan was to leave from the Fitzgeralds' house to a place near Phoenix where we were going to be camping for a week with some good friends of ours. So, after fixing the problems with the trailer axle we left Tucson on Tuesday afternoon heading toward Tonto National Park -- any of you who know what that word means in Spanish can have a laugh at the name ;) -- and the Apache Lake campground. We pulled into the campground around 6:30pm, just as the sun was going down. We had just enough time to pick our spot and set up the tents before the sun was gone. None of us were up much after that anyway, we all pretty much hit the sack as soon as we had eaten a supper (leftovers ;^) ).
First day of our vacation dawned bright and clear. The sky was beautiful and the lake was brilliant blue (btw, that's just a trick of the light... when your really get close the water is actually quite green). We spent most of the day swimming and playing down by the lake as well as playing card games and Boggle (aka, the best game -- almost -- ever). It was so relaxing to be able to do basically nothing for an entire day. We received an extra special treat in that an elderly couple staying in the campsite across from ours took a liking to our family and offered to take us on a tour of the lake in their boat. That was extremely enjoyable. Apparently Ann and Mike had been coming to the lake since the '60s and they knew a ton about the history of all the different lakes, dams and rock formations... very interesting!
Next day our friends arrived and it seemed like the fun was only beginning. Our friends also brought their boat and a bunch of "water toys". You could just see all of the boys' eyes light up... or course I wasn't excited... at all *winks*. Naturally things don't always go exactly as planned. There was a problem with the boat that day and so all of the next day the guys (my dad and Mr. Schneider) spent fixing it. A bit of a frustration, but it was fixed without too much of an ordeal.
I'll just hit the highlights of the rest of the week...
Caleb turned 16. YEAH!! I am so proud of my lil' bro. Or maybe not so lil' anymore ;) . The camping was kind of half-way sorta part of his birthday present since he had really wanted to do something like this during our trip.
Everyone who wanted to (that means everyone but the moms and Evie) got to have a go at wakeboarding. Neither Andrew nor I were able to get up, but all the rest of our crew did... grrrr... the older sister mentality just totally rebels against the idea of my brothers being able to show me up... "My give up, my give up".
There they go...
Three of the young people (Seth, Jessee, and Madison) got baptized on Sunday afternoon. So exciting to watch them grow in the Lord. It was also a great time of fellowshipping and singing together. We even had a chance to share with some of our neighbors through it. Awesome opportunity!
And here are some random camping photos...
This is a really cool cave that is located on the lake about 4 miles from our campsite. The plan was the achor the boat and jumping out to go exploring, but it wasn't to be. The last day, after a week of perfect weather, we had a pretty amazed rainstorm. We all got very wet and the water got too choppy for us the achor so close to the shore... and the sharp rocks!
The boys had the chance to play airsoft several times... they really looked the part with their camouflage outfits and guns ducking in and out behind the trees. It was fun to watch... but not enough to make me want to join in. Too much pain involved.
The final night before our friends left we played together (drums, guitar, and voice) and had a great time. As we were playing several of our neighbors stopped by to listen. We invited them to sit down by the fire with us. Eventually we had about thirty people in our campsite just listening and enjoying the Christian worship music we were playing. Isn't that amazing?! So neat how God works!
Now we are in Woodland, CA. We won't be here too long, just for a couple of days. I did miss a few days in between, but I'll have to catch you all up later because we are running late for a church event and I gotta go!