Friday, June 19

Fort Wilderness/21 weeks

Hailey turned 21 weeks yesterday! I can't believe it...yikes! Where has all the time gone??? She's gonna be 5 months old soon!!
To celebrate we went with my Mom to pick up Phillip from JV Camp at Fort Wilderness. It was so great to go back to the place where I spent a lot of my summers. I seriously can't think of any other thing that I spent more of my summers doing, after 10th grade. I went up to LAB,which is basically 3 weeks spent canoeing, hiking, backpacking, swimming, using a shower without a top and pit toilets, eating in a "mess tent" like structure, doing dishes by hand for 20-30 people, spending oodles of time studying God's Word, enjoying the beautiful creation, and building great relationships, in the summer before 10th grade and that was it for me. I was totally hooked on Fort from then on. I think Fort has been so pivotal in my spiritual walk, that I'm not sure where I'd be today without it. There was one summer that my parent's said I could come up and counsel at LAB and then I had to come home and work to pay for college. But, after LAB I came home for about a week before quitting my lifeguarding job and going back to camp to be a head cook in the kitchen. After that summer, I ended up not going to school in Eau Claire, but staying on at Fort to be the head cook. I learned so much during that time and I'm so thankful to my parent's for letting me do it! I know that both of those times they were mad at me for "copping out" on my responsibilities, but God had better plans for me than what we had planned!

Here is Hailey with her Nani at the main camp, down by the beach. I used to get up early in the morning, before I had to be to work in the kitchen and have my quiet time down by the lake. I so loved those times and I still can't go back to camp without thinking of those early mornings where it was just me, God, and the loons! (everyone else who was smart was sleeping. :))
Hailey with one of my dearest friends and mentors in the LAB kitchen, Becky Chapman. She taught me how to do so much of the cooking that I can now do with ease. She was blessed with an amazing amount of love and patience. I can only pray that God would make me more like her!
You'll notice that it's pretty rustic...but, it definitely serves the purpose of getting you out of your comfort zone and letting God work in your life! I have seen so many lives incredibly transformed- including my own! Plus, Korey and I really "began" our relationship here. There was one summer while I was in college, that I came up here and cooked at LAB for the summer. It was slightly less people than at main camp to cook for(which can serve up to 350), but definitely just as much work!
Here's Phillip hanging out on the beach by the lifeguard stands...I used to spend the evenings helping out as a lifeguard just so I could go waterskiing with them after the beach closed. :)

Hailey getting her first touch of lake water by her Nani.

Hey, Kid! I love you!!
Hailey is so loved by her Uncle Phil! This is one of the beautiful swings that I used to sit on and have my morning times alone with God! I wish more than anything else that I could go back to Fort and have that time again!
walking down to the water
My dear friend, mentor, and boss- Janet Merkel. We had a blast working in the kitchen together and even though we had some rocky times we worked through them and she would still be one of the first people that I would go to if I needed someone to pray or cry with! I spent a lot of time in the back store room with Janet praying, talking, or crying together. She prayed so hard for me to get pregnant with Hailey, but also made me think about the reality of what would happen if God chose not to grant that answer and I love her for that!!Don't you just love the random bottle of shampoo on the rocks behind Hailey?? JV campers will just leave their stuff anywhere....

I love Fort Wilderness and I can't wait for my daughter to have the fun and amazing times there that I did. It was so great to go up there today and show off Hailey. Everyone was so welcoming and excited to see her! (which made it doubly exciting) :) It is fun to go back to a place where you feel loved and no matter how much Fort changes through the years, it will always be home to me! Korey and I are planning on doing family camp there next summer with my best friend from there- Krysta and her family. That excites me more than anything, ,'cause Krysta and I spent more time at Fort together than we did even at home. She even met her husband there and got married there! I can't wait for our daughters to be able to experience Fort together and I can only hope that they get into as many scrapes and have as much fun as we did! Krysta and I used to say, "oh there's just one more thing to write home about" everytime that something bad happened to us (and between all the snakes, falling trees, leeches, horses dying, freezing cold canoe trips, getting lost on hiking trips, and many other misadventures, there was plenty to write home about!!) and I hope I can impart that same carefree attitude about life to Hailey!

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