Monday, August 26, 2013

MOVING!!

 THE SOLMEN'S are MOVING!!
 

Well... This blog is to update everyone on the next turn in our journey... Mike and I moved out to Nebraska on a two year term in July of 2011. We weren't sure of where our next location would be after  wards; but was willing to trust in God when the time came. I have to admit when we first moved, I really believed we would only stay two years and move on! Remember I had to pull a map out to see where Nebraska even was!! But, as time moved by we settled in and started building relationships quickly.
At times it even seemed as if our path was changing, but truth be told the Path was just being revealed a little more each time a situation was put before us.  When God called us into camp ministry our little minds couldn't wrap around how big that was to look like. God knows this, which is why I feel he only reveals little baby steps at a time, even though we want to see the whole picture! He KNOWS we couldn't handle it.   This two years truly as been a whirlwind looking back. 
Knowing our two years would be up, Mike and I began seeking direction and where the Lord wanted to lead us. Two years of getting hands on experience and obtaining knowledge seems to be a fair enough time to prepare me for what lies ahead...... I THOUGHT!! Mike and I had a job interview on the boarder of South Dakota and Nebraska late fall of this year, for an executive directors position. We prayed that if the door was to stay open we could walk through it, but if not we wanted to door to be closed.  Truthfully, up until then I hadn't  thought about relocating yet; but knew that the process took some last time and knew that it would take time this time as well.  The door closed for us on that experience but with every step of this journey we learn something.  God open my eyes once again and revealed that two years was just not enough time to learn, but was an easier time frame for me to understand and be more willing to obey when he asked us to move 900 miles away from friends and family.

Summer came and went.... Highlights of this Summer camp was that we had:
-1008 Campers for the summer
-165 different church was represented by campers
-152 campers came to know the Lord for the first time!!
-221 campers rededicated their life to the Lord!!

The end of the summer came; I was feeling really broken.  I was weak and had nothing left to give.  The long hours was effecting our marriage; we began to start going through the motions of daily living.  Many times I had thought that this was too difficult.  I can think of a few times where I wanted to quit!!  Just when I thought I had enough I lost my Mother due to a cerebral hemorrhage. Even though there have been times where I am not sure what or why we are doing what we are doing, God will gently remind us of his faithfulness, mercy and grace.   Regardless of the emotional roller coaster, both Mike and I have felt our hearts were still here in Nebraska. ( I get so excited and passionate to talk about Family Camp!!)

With that said we had a meeting with the Executive Director last week. The time has come for the next step to be revealed. As it turns out we ARE staying here in NEBRASKA FOR ANOTHER YEAR.... (at least)
Our family will be moving out to he HOUSE that is located on the neighbors camp's property (which is where we originally were going to move, but it fell through at the time)  The house has sat now for two years and is need of some TLC.... But, I know a really cute, talented carpenter!!!  Thinking back, we laugh at that of the beauty of Gods timing.  Two years ago, I would have felt isolated, and alone due to it being in the country. (not that I don't love living in the country)   Our first priority, which we didn't know at the time, was to build relationships.  IT was easier to do that in town.
We will start the work process TODAY to get it ready to move in.  The boys will start installing windows, while we start cleaning!!
We will move the last weekend of September!!  I will take pictures to keep everyone up to date.

                                     ***Prayer REQUEST**

Please pray for this transition!!!!           

A BREATH of FRESH AIR!!!

On this beautiful August day, a scorching 96 degrees earlier today and now a nice soft breeze on the back of my neck.....  I sit on the porch and reflect on this past season we have been in; the soft breeze reminds me of the words of Natalie Grant......

In humble adoration
I kneel before Your throne
In brokenness I seek
Your face alone
Above You there's no other
Who's able to restore my soul
Come and make me whole

Breathe on me
Power of God come in and change me
You are all I need
Holy Spirit breathe on me

I'm ready to surrender
To give You all my life
No matter what the cost or sacrifice
Reveal to me Your calling
Cleanse me from my prideful ways
Use me now I pray

 I will say of the Lord
He is my strong tower
My rock and my fortress in whom I trust
In times of the storm and in tribulation
He is my help and my salvation


These relaxing moments is much needed and is served as a reminder that in any season of my life there is a breath of fresh air!!! 








 
 
 



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Set your mind on the things above.....



      When you go through a hard season in life it seems like there is no end to it... In order to get through it, life passes you by all the while you go through the motions of doing your daily routine; certain times, activities or people might come along to help ease the situation but definitely does not fix it. Feeling lonely during such times magnifies the problem tremendously. It is so easy to turn the situation to focus the attention on one self.  However, during these times is when it is important to turn our focus on Christ. Easier said than done!! How do I turn my focus on Christ when I am so angry or hurt??   Most of you know I turn to music when I need inspiration.. The words are always just how I feel and what I need to get me through the time!!!  I can't say it any better then "Matthew West and Tenth Avenue North"

Matthew West-Strong Enough

 You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through

Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own
I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us
Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough
 I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough
 Oh, yeah
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
 
 
Tenth Avenue North-Losing

I can't believe what she said
I can't believe what he did
Oh, don't they know it's wrong
Don't they know it's wrong
Well maybe there's something I missed
But how could they treat me like this
It's wearing out my heart
The way they disregard

This is love or this is hate.
We all have a choice to make

Oh, Father won't You forgive them
They don't know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'

Well it's only the dead that can live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that's mine
Seventy times seven times
Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
For me to turn a blind eye
Though I guess it's not that much
When I think of what You've done.

This is love or this is hate.
We gotta a choice to make

Oh Father won't You forgive them
They don't know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'

 Well truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not
Cause freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of Your mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down




So to answer my earlier question on how to turn our focus on Christ when we are angry or hurt??

1) One step at a time... "counteract our anger by obeying Ephesians 4:32"

 "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you"

2) Meditating on Gods word, asking for his guidance and submitting to him in our daily living...

We may not be able to change how we feel during certain times but we can change how we think!!

Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!


Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Colossians 3:2

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Retreat Season....

                                                                   Retreat Season

   Summer camp is over but it doesn't mean our busy time is... We have had a lot of people ask what are schedule looks like so I thought I would share it!

May/June- preparations for summer camp/staff training
June/July- Summer camp/the Heart of Summer
August/September- transition into retreat season

During the summer months we have no time for anything as we invest 13-15 hours daily @ camp.  We have Saturdays off but that day is filled with catching up on sleep, laundry, cleaning, errands.. etc. etc.
Then the transition comes... End of July we end Summer camp on a Friday, clean the camp on Saturday and Group comes in on Sunday (no break) 

What is happening is Youth groups and events are all trying to squeeze their summers camps, or events in before the end of school..so during retreat season, during transition, we have guest groups out during week & weekend.  We do a full two week run with having groups @ camp SOLID for about 2 1/2 weeks..... Talk about transition; The one week we had 7 different retreat groups out @ camp!! (What a wonderful problem to have!!) But talk about the turn over....
Once summer staff leave, those who continue to stay now are responsible for what is need for the camp to welcome & accommodate our guests!!

Then half way through August when school starts the balance starts to tip towards the groups only being @ camp during the weekend with a few here and there guest groups that come for the day... Camp is booked clear through first weekend of November with groups!! During this time work is scheduled "as need basis" and work finally gets slower. Mike continues to work every day; there is always something to do at camp... but then I am able to focus more on the schooling, relationship building, workshops and other things not related to camp necessarily. 

However, this year is a little different because I am covering for our Administrative Assistant who had to have back surgery (she will be out of the office for 6 weeks) So my duties at camp have been extended for about 6-8 weeks.
With that said I really love working in the office.  Hours are not as long during this time.. Office hours are 9-5 typically but because someone in our family is always doing something beyond that we usually do not get home till around 6-7 which is still way better than 9 or 10!! I am starting to be able to breath again.. Slowly but surely!! I have the next challenge in front of me that I have not had much time to prepare for, But I must take one step at a time!!

We truly appreciate all the prayers and support during this time in our lives...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blessings!!



      I woke up this morning and realized I had forgotten to share the blessings we received during our trip back to Ohio...  Life seemed like a hurricane during that moment and it seems as if its taken a few weeks to catch my breath.  At any rate I would like to share a few stories that God definitely had his hand in!!!


1) Knowing this trip was not budgeted; we struggled with weather or not to go.. We wanted to spend the month of August putting money back so we could go to Ohio in September;  that way we could kill two birds with one stone... Spend time with my mom and celebrate Ryan's birthday and the start of him beginning a new chapter of his life (Kindergarten) As the news came that it is worse than we thought my heart was pulling me to Ohio.. I was desperate to spend final moments with my mom while she was alive, knowing we had a 14.5 hour trip ahead of us time was of the essence. Making the decision to go when we did was a blessing in itself. As I will now cherish those last memories, & moments with her.  Not having much money played on the back of my mind.. but I put it in the Lords hands... WE NEEDED TO GO!
2) We asked if we could borrow a different vehicle to save gas.  We love our suburban but it is a gas guzzler!! The camp allowed us to use their van!!! (it really helped)
3) A generous donor filled the gas tank to FULL our first gas stop!!
4) Another generous donor, while praying for safety over us, felt lead to give us some money.. Not knowing how much it was or anything I was extremely grateful, and appreciative.. We could already feel the blessings pouring over us.. God lavishes is love, grace and mercy upon us even when we don't deserve it!!  The money proved to be enough for the road tolls and amazingly enough our second fill up!!
5) By Thursday night, both Mike and I were pushing 40 hours that we had been awake.  We battled the thoughts of leaving the hospital or not... Because of my back, I was leaning towards leaving to go get some rest.  Where we were staying and where the hospital was where my mom was at was a 50 minute drive.  I was worried that once we left, they would call us back.. With all the driving, and lack of sleep we were running on fumes.  God came through and shown up in a mighty way by working through another generous donor and putting us up in a hotel only a mile away from the hospital!!!
6) AS we were checking in, we explained that our car needed to be in the most convenient location so that we could leave at any given moment. Once hearing the news they graciously gave us a parking pass so that we didn't have to pay the fee!!
7) I had prayed for a second chance to talk with my mom.. Not only did God give me a second, he gave many!!!
8) We were provided for (meals and a place to stay) during the time in Ohio... which this one is no different than any other time we go; but definitely worth mentioning as my sister and brother in law are so generous, selfless, and giving!!!!  ( if I could think of more adjectives I would!!)
9) As we began to depart, we were blessed with again some money to help fill our tanks and the road tolls on the way back!!
10) After being home a week, we received a couple of cards which truly touched my heart!!!
11) In those cards were.... the rest of the money that we had spent from our own pockets for various reasons during that trip!!!!  THE ENTIRE TRIP WAS PAID FOR!!!!!!!!
I was blown away by HIS GOODNESS.. and how he orchestrated it so perfectly to use different people In our lives, that are so very precious and dear to us, to help us when we truly needed it!!!
12) The prayer warriors that he sent us.... You guys may not FEEL as if you did anything but I would like to beg the difference.... There were moments during this whole experience that I literally could FEEL the prayers... The traveling mercies, the safety,  the words that I could share with my mom (which took a lot of prayers- because of how stubborn, and prideful I was) God really had to stripe me of this and it was a process for sure!! Not to mention the wonderful conversations we had with other family members, the protection over Kirk while he stayed back... The list goes on and on!!

To think of how many people God has put in our lives to support us in any way brings a grateful and humble heart.... I am overcome with tears of joy this morning as I sit back and think of the blessings during this season of being broken that God has lavished upon US!!!  Words can not express how THANKFUL we are for everyone who is in our lives right now; who truly believe in us and support us in ANY WAY!!!!!


us in ANY WAY....


Natalie Grant-Hurricane

You're spinning out of control again
Your life feels like a sinking ship
You're wondering how it came to this

Is it too late?
Is it too far?
For Him to reach you
And come to where you are

Step out on the edge
Don't be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He'll find you in the hurricane

You're in the wreckage underneath
Your hope is buried somewhere deep
You're wondering how long it will keep?

It's never too late
Never too far
For you to reach out
And take a hold of love

Step out on the edge
Don't be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He'll find you in the hurricane

Don't back down from the fight
He'll shelter you tonight
Just hold on for the change
Call His name
He'll find you in the hurricane

There's a place, there's a place you can run
When you fall, and it's all come undone
You'll be safe in the raging storm
So just let go
'Cause you are held in His arms

Step out on the edge
Don't be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He'll find you in the hurricane

Ooo ooo...

And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He'll find you in a hurricane

 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

TWO years ALREADY!!!!!



It's hard to believe that two years ago we packed up our family and moved 900 miles away!!!  There were so many unknowns, but we stepped out in faith.  We didn't know the area we were moving too, we didn't know the people we would be surrounded by nor did we know exactly what we would be doing; but knew we were excited and willing to do what we needed. 

I have to say our second year has been by FAR the hardest year!  We have had to endure many challenges, trials and tribulations. 
To be honest, I am trying to over come some because they have brought great pain. While in our staff meeting the other day, Jon used the scripture  Luke 22:31-32: "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." 

I never caught this before but TWO THINGS: One. Satan asked permission to tempt Peter.  TWO. Jesus specifically tells Peter that he has PRAYED for HIM!  As I sat there and listened I started to think how wonderful it is to know the protection we have when we are in JESUS and that he SPECIFICALLY PRAYS for us... I have a great sense of security knowing that boundaries and rules are set forth that Satan must abide by... Even though we know the character of Satan; WE are covered with a hedge of protection. God has a higher purpose in mind for us and that is to strengthened us; even if that means He gives permission for us to be tested!!!! 

I have to say....God really has perfect timing and orchestrates our lives beautifully..  Looking back over my "facebook timeline" It seems as if every time I had something going on in my life; God placed the perfect person in my life, or the perfect activity.....  
I know the battles we face are to help us persevere and endure, but it is hard to remember when you are  in the middle of the season of life!  It seems never ending at times. Again, just when you feel like you are going to drown there seems to be some life support, which I am truly thankful for. 
 
The TRUTH IS God controls everything, including Satan, and that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).