Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1000 gifts: sailing and other summer fun

Continuing my list of gifts, blessings that I write down to remember all the wonderful things that God gives me along life's journey (from Ann Voskamp's book and her blog, A Holy Experience).

327.  Not being afraid to switch schools
Much to our surprise, a few weeks after visiting us for the summer, my 16 year old stepdaughter decided to come back and live with us - for her junior year of high school! Switching schools your junior year? I didn't think Stars would actually do it, but school has been in session for a week now and she seems perfectly happy. And we are thrilled. We never thought we'd get to spend this much time with her again!

328. Turning 10 years old
My oldest daughter Blaze turned double-digits on August 5. She had some friends over for a party and horseback-riding and her idea for game, Pin the Horn on the Unicorn. I tried not to make comments like "you aren't allowed to get any older"
Blaze with her friends Tabs, Claire, Kate, and Melia (another good friend, Nicole, couldn't make it)

329. Camping with friends
 Our church organized a camping weekend up in the mountains and we brought four of our horses, a large tent and fortunately lots of blankets - but we still had to "dogpile" to sleep because at 8500 ft, even summer nights can get pretty cold! We had a wonderful time with friends around the campfire and then the next day giving pony rides to the kids, trail riding with older kids and adults, playing in streams, racing around on a four wheeler another family brought, and a SUPER bonus - (see the next item on my list!)

The forest were still beautiful, even though many trees have died from pine bark beetles

330. Sailing with friends
One family from church brought along a sailboat - and I got a chance to sail! I don't think I've been sailing since my college years, and it was a thrill that it all came back to me - like riding a bike, I guess. Blaze and Dreamer got to go out in the sailboat too. This on Rob Roy Reservoir, in Wyoming's Snowy Range. 

331. Church menus
My good friend Heather and I shared a giggle when one of her sons (she has four boys, the youngest are twins and I have four girls, the youngest are twins) came up to us at church and asked where the church menu was. Church menu? We finally got it figured out that he meant the church bulletin.

332. The real reason for earthquakes
Don't often hear of earthquakes on the east coast, but this August there was a significant one centered in Virginia, not far from D.C. A couple days later this showed up on Facebook: "Word has it that it was not an earthquake that we experienced near our nation's Capitol-- It was the Founding Fathers all collectively rolling over in their graves at the same time." (in reference to the political gridlock and rumors of the government having to "shut down")

333. Secretariat
All four of my girls absolutely love the movie Secretariat, about the famous racehorse (we love Seabiscuit and the Horse Whisperer too). Dreamer and the twins started playing "Secretariat" in the backyard - they race in big circle around our bushes and trees and take turns being Secretariat and the great horse's competitor, Sham. 

334. Creative reading props
Blaze and Dreamer were both in a summer reading program, and their teacher came up with some creative ideas to get them excited about reading. One of my favorites was when she gave them "witch fingers" - green plastic warty things they stuck on the end of their pointer finger to make it fun to point at words while reading.

335. Homemade manicure stations
One night Stars set up her own manicure station (my piano bench) and gave me and all four of the girls manicures - including buffing our nails, letting choose our own nail color, and massaging our hands with lotion.
336. Our whole family on horses
Well, technically not the whole family (not B. and I) - but we did get all five of our the girls on horses at the same time. Stars is on Folly, Blaze on Spring, Dreamer on Ally, Serious on Rebel and Starlet on Jewel. 

Stars teaching Blaze some new tricks - sitting backwards on your horse

Starlet on Rebel - both her and Serious are figuring out how to use the reins

337. Plunder
As I am nearing the end of Beth Moore's Breaking Free study, I was amused (but also impressed) by how she applied this lesson from the Exodus. When Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go, the Egyptians were so eager to see them go that they gave the Israelites silver and gold. 

Beth writes "Do you realize you don't have to escape from captivity [in slavery to strongholds] with nothing to show for it? After all the enemy has put you through, take your plunder. Let God bring you forth from your time of slavery with gold, silver and jewels... don't just reclaim surrendered ground. God wants to enlarge your borders and teach you to possess land you never knew existed."

I'm not completely free of my captivity yet.  I'm finally over the depression that lingered even into July, but don't feel like it's gone, only hovering just out of sight, getting ready to pounce on me again. But this study has helped me identify the lies that I fall for, and the truth that sets me free from the trap - how to grab that truth and hang on. It's the hanging on part I'm still struggling with. I let go too easily (which is why I feel like with the slightest stumble I'll fall right back into depression). 

I don't yet have a vision of the plunder that will be mine to claim - but I'm still thrilled with the promise that there are riches in store for me. Not literal riches, of course (I've never wanted to be materially rich). But probably some sort of riches that can't even fully envision right now.