Greetings to you all, near and far!
Here I sit, once again, wondering if it is at all possible to sum up a whole year of our life on one page – in a format that will interest you and maybe even make you smile. It seems more impossible every year.
Camps, once again, went well this summer – maybe you get our camp newsletter and have read more details from Roger’s perspective. One of our middle school camps overflowed us with 98 campers. (Our cabins hold 72 campers comfortably.) We’re happy that the kids want to be here, but we’re also making some changes to try to keep our camps more manageable. We had such awesome staff this summer. On top of great staff members who spent one or two weeks of their summer here, we had quite a few people who were here for the entire seven weeks of camp – Bill, our camp cook; Mark and Mary Driskill, our camp pastors; 5 full-time counselors, and Dean & Brenda Pool.
We have enjoyed Dean and Brenda so much. They moved here in March from Pennsylvania to give of themselves for a year at camp. Dean has used his building skills on Sunbeam Hall – which is now ready for guests. (We’ve actually used it quite a bit this summer.) And they’ve done so much more than that – but those are details for their own Christmas letter. Their kids, Emily, Daniel and Annie (all a little older than our kids) have been so much fun for our children to play with. I’ve been giving Emily piano lessons on Tuesdays, and Brenda pays me by keeping my children for an hour. (Definitely one of the highlights of my week!) As much as we will all miss them when they go back to PA in March, I think that Malin may miss Brenda even more. She trusts her like a second mommy. Just recently, at two different times, Malin took a walk down to Miller Hall all by herself to visit Brenda. Both times I had left her playing on the back porch, and then suddenly wondered why she had been SO quiet for SO long. J (She was quickly returned both times!)
One thing that has really struck me this year is how our children’s personalities are developing. Judah – our little 5-year-old man… He’s so stable. Very sensitive, sensible, caring. I started homeschooling him in September and we’ve really been having a lot of fun with that. Last night, after I had put the boys to bed, I was in my room reading a book and I was listening to the boys’ conversations as they settled down. Wesley was complaining about the dark and saying he wanted to come sleep with me, when Judah said, “Wesley, God will take care of you wherever you are.” Wesley said, “God is in heaven!” Judah replied, “Let me tell you something, Wesley. God is also in your heart.” Wesley thought about that a minute, then simply said, “Oh.” I didn’t hear any more complaining. Judah can be a third parent at times. J He’s not always kind to Wesley, but I love to watch him with other younger children, especially his cousins – he’s so gentle and sweet.
Wesley is the spice in our life, the hot sauce in our chili, the oddball in our family. We never know quite what to expect out of him, or what he will do next to make us laugh. Most mornings, when he wakes up, he tells me very joyfully, “Mom, the sun waked up!” (And once, when he was riding in the front seat of the van with Roger, it was “Dad, my moon waked up!”) Judah was explaining to Wesley that when he gets a little older, he’ll start getting hair on his legs. So, they started pulling up Wesley’s jeans, and lo and behold, there was already some hair there! Judah was excited about that. But Wesley knows the true sign of becoming a man. He said to Judah, “When we grow up, we’ll get pokies on our face!” (He won’t give his daddy a goodnight kiss if he needs to shave. J)
And then there’s Malin, our resident sweetie. Obedient, affectionate, with more of her own uniqueness that I remember seeing in our boys at her age. When she was several months old, she became a two-finger sucker. We would rarely see her without her two middle fingers in her mouth. And now… she doesn’t suck her two middle fingers at all, but few things make her happier that walking around, sucking on her pointer finger and holding on to her little bellybutton. (And if she’s wearing overalls and can’t find her bellybutton, she’ll come looking for mine!) She has her own room now, and sleeps in a twin-sized bed. I love to hear her little feet patter down the hall when she wakes up. (Those same little pattering feet drive me crazy when she’s supposed to be going to sleep!) But no matter how many times she gets out of bed before she falls asleep, as soon as I pick her up and feel her weight in my arms, and her little head getting comfy on my shoulder, my heart melts and she is forgiven. J
Last winter, Roger decided to play around with making maple syrup – he ended up with a gallon and a half. Also, last year his guitar was stolen. Well, thanks to our dear friends at the Asheville Mennonite Church, (the Jr. MYF in particular) his guitar has been replaced. But those days without a guitar served to get him hooked on the violin – he plays it most Sundays at church. (Recently, I was listening to some beautiful violin music on a CD and I said to Judah, “Isn’t that beautiful?” Judah said, “Yeah, but daddy plays a lot better.”) And these days, Roger is on to an even higher calling; making a violin for Judah. (Some dads build their kids a playhouse – Roger gets it in his head to make a violin!) He’s using some wood that was sawed down and planed here at camp. At the same time, he’s also taken apart his mom’s old violin and is carefully putting it back together, trying to fix it up as he goes. His job hasn’t been as stressful or crazy this year, with some other full-time staff here.
And what do I do? Clean house, wash clothes, raise children… what higher calling is there for a mom? J I get all the entertainment I need out of seeing Wesley do my laundry to earn back a video that ended up in my closet because he didn’t rewind it or put it away. I get my warm fuzzies from seeing Malin’s face light up when she sees her daddy, or begs to go along when she hears that he’s going somewhere. I get my candlelight dinners when Judah helps set the table – he loves to pick out a candle for each person’s place. I get my “I’m a good mom” feelings when I give my boys fruits of the spirit (runts) for displaying love, peace, patience, kindness, etc. But then I have to wonder what kind of good mom will hear the words, “Mom, I think my fruit of the spirit is stuck in my nose!” (You figure out who said that!) 🙂
I didn’t sum up our year at all, but maybe I made you smile.! We love you,
Roger, Ruthie, Judah, Wesley & Malin