Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Traveling Circus

This year has been the year when we have traveled the most. I went to Oklahoma with my brother in March to shoot the ingredients for good barbecue, then in June we all went down to the beach for two weeks of sand and surf with my Mom, Dad, and big Sis.
Legoland in Schaumburg

Then we took Sara and Ashley up to Timber-Lee Christian Camp in East Troy, WI for a week of spiritual growth and fun in the sun. The rest of us spent the night in Kenosha, went to the Civil War Museum, Villa de Carlo, Tenuta's, and a tour of the Jelly Belly warehouse, capped off with a visit to the Lego store.

After all that, we dropped Karen off at O'Hare for a two week trip to Amman, Jordan to see some dear friends that live there. That night I met my in-laws at the house. They left with the boys for several days at my sister-in-law's new home in southern Illinois and playing with the cousins before heading east to my parents' house for a week of sheep wrangling. I picked the girls up at camp on Saturday the 12th after they had a phenomenal week. Sara got in all the horseback riding and training she wanted, made some good friends, and learned a lot. Ashley got to exercise her flair for all things dramatic at theater camp (Favorite part? Stage combat)and made some key decisions that are paying dividends in her spiritual life, plus had her usual easy time making every member of her cabin a friend. One of my favorite parts of camp is seeing the kids' enthusiasm for worshiping Jesus and experiencing spiritual growth.

Sara with two buddies

Ashley with her counselor and cabinmates

While the girls were gone, I spent my days working at church and my nights replacing the floor in Nathan's room. (And yes, I know you don't see the whole room done yet, but it was a victory to get the furniture back in. There's still a closet yet to do, then the hallway and two more rooms!).

Down to the subfloor
Almost finished!

Karen, tired but full of joy, at the Amman airport
I should also add that this was the first time since Karen and I have been married (18 years!) that she has been off on an adventure and I have stayed home. Plus, for the last 13 years, we have had constant pretty much noise in the house. A week of just me and the dog kickin' it together was quiet and lonely. So getting the girls back home was a huge blessing! I got to talk with them, they got to hang out, catch up on Dr. Who, help me put the house back together, and participate in youth discipleship (which they have been missing a bit). Last Saturday was the day when both the boys and Karen came home. It was a grand reunion, but we are still recovering in some ways. Karen is still jet-lagging pretty hard, and there is still luggage needing put away. We finally got to see all of Karen's photos last night and hear her tell all about what it's like to float in the Dead Sea (which you can do standing up!), wander through miles of Petra's rock carvings, stand on Mt. Nebo and see Israel but not go in (like Moses!), see the place where Jesus was baptized, visit the ancient citadel where Uriah the Hittite died, and spend time with dear friends.

 Everybody is back now. The boys obviously need more exercise (hmmm...wonder if the city will let me keep some sheep?), and this Sunday John takes off for his 1st ever week at Timber-Lee while shortly after that Sara will be going to Washington, D.C. for a few days of sightseeing with a friend and her family. By the time we get everybody home for good, it will be time for school and JFL football to start up again.The circus is still moving, but I am glad I get to play ringmaster.

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