Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Gratitude Project - Week 5

\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

The quality of being thankful:  readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.  

Hi Friends!  Sunday is here and I have a number of photos to show you this week in The Gratitude Project.  This week we spent 3 days at our Camp in central Alberta at a Pastor & Family Retreat.  Every year all the Pastors in our Association are invited with their families to enjoy some time away together.  I’ve talked about it before, but it’s a huge highlight for us.  Our daughter couldn’t come this year because she had two University midterms, but the boys came, and it was a great time.  It’s something I’m very grateful for, not only because of the beauty of camp, but also because of the time with family and the time we get to spend with so many others that we really love from around the Province.  

This photo was just with my iPhone on the way down, so it’s not a super fancy shot.  The camp is in the foothills and the mountains in the distance were so beautiful as the sun was setting.  Being in the mountains is one of my favourite things in the world.  

I just played a little with my Waterlogue app on my phone with one of the pictures.  Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to watercolour this up?  

The Camp is such a beautiful spot.  It’s got a lot of buildings on the property, but one of my favourite is the chapel.  It is absolutely picturesque nestled in the trees beneath the ridge and with the creek running in front of it.  

Here’s another shot of the chapel from the deck of the main camp building.  You can see the little creek running too.  We’ve had such a mild winter it wasn’t frozen over at all.  

A little more of the trees and the sunshine.  I love that bridge over the creek.  I have so many great childhood memories of time at this camp, and my children have loved all the retreats and camps they’ve been able to experience here, they’ve made friends, grown deeper, been challenged, tried tons of new things like zip lining, horseback riding, many many sports, giant swing, high ropes....the list goes on and on.  It is a place I’m very grateful for.  

This beautiful lady is an absolute treasure in my life.  She was one of our students in our youth ministry.  She was in our very first small group we led when she was 15, and from the first time I met her I knew she was someone really rare and special.  I know she still looks like a teenager but that was 11 or so years ago.  We sort of adopted her into our family during those teen years whenever we could, and she became like a sister to our kids.  Now she’s married and at a Christian college with her husband preparing for ministry.  She is incredibly gifted.  Her voice is so beautiful and completely unique and pure.  Right now she’s working on her second recording and I can’t wait to hear the new album.  She is a natural beauty inside and out.  One of the most heartfelt, sincere and encouraging young women I know.  She and I can go heart-to-heart in an instant.  I can’t tell you how many times she has blessed me by caring about me or our family.  Anything I’ve ever given to her, she’s doubly given back.  She’s a difference maker and seeks to live her life so that it points to Jesus, even when she’s had to go through some really difficult things.  I see God’s fingerprints all over her life.   I’m so blessed I got to spend some time with her at the retreat, we don’t get to see each other very often and this was such a reason for gratitude this week!  

Now this guy.... (with my goofy guys)... this is our Youth Pastor.  I don’t know how to describe how thankful we are for him.  He too was a student in the youth ministry way back when we were pastors there.  After he graduated we asked if he’d consider volunteering with the students and over the next 8 years he moved from being a volunteer to a paid intern to a co-pastor with me and then when I sensed God was saying the youth ministry chapter was closing for me, I handed the mantle off to him knowing he was called to take it to the next level. Now he’s the Youth Pastor of our kids and about 70 others.   I’m blown away by what God has done in his life in the last decade.  He is so good with teens!  He’s all the right combination of goofy, fun-loving, loyal, patient, joyful and intentional.  He speaks to them in a way they can understand, he is willing to ask hard questions or just listen when he needs to.   The impact he has on our sons is immeasurable to me.  How can you say thank you enough for that kind of positive influence at such an important time in the life of your kids?  He is like a brother to my husband and I, and I’m always pestering him to eat more vegetables.  Though we work together, we don’t always have time to have those deeper level conversations, but this week we had several and I am really grateful for that...and for him.  

So much to be grateful for.  I hope this week you can see with new eyes and be grateful too.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  


Jaclyn said...

These are officially my favourite of your posts this year! What a blessing that God has filled your lives with such gems! And that your heart is so big to love and encourage us all!

Terri said...

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story. It still amazes me to see so many Christian women who are paper crafters. I do so love it when each one tells about their spiritual journeys and how God has influenced their lives. It is uplifting and brings joy to my heart when I read about each one's individual journey with God. What a great testimony! Continue to share and spread His great message. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with us also. You are an inspiration!


Conniecrafter said...

Looks like you had a great time away and are so blessed to have great people not only in your life but aiding you with the raising of your children which is very important!!

KarinsArtScrap said...

beautiful card Christine and fantastic photo's.
Gr Karin

Marisa said...

Special people in our lives is what it is all about :) Lvoed reading this.