May 31, 2011

spring where were you?

We skipped Spring this year.

It went straight from 60 degrees and pleasant to almost 100 degrees with the humidity today. You know how there are heat advisories and huge warnings that tell you to "stay out of the sun in the afternoon. seek air conditioning during the hottest part of the day?" Well that didn't really work for us today.

We (our full time staff plus one) spent the entire ridiculously hot day, outside strapped into harnesses and seeking shade for any second we could. It was high ropes training day. It always manages to fall on one of the hottest days of the entire year. Why, oh why?

Anyway, I got to do the zip line, leap of faith, caterpillar and the giant swing. And I sweat off half of my body weight. And try not to pass out because it was so freakin' hot. All the while thinking about how my dear little brother just posted this yesterday.

I thought about taking some photos, but then I realized my hands were so sweaty that I couldn't hold the camera without my fingers sliding off the top. Plus, they would have been all foggy because of how humid it was.

So, here's a photo of the flowers that the varmints didn't get the other night. They are much more bright and cheery than a sweaty, frizzy ponytailed Cottage Girl.

You're welcome.

May 30, 2011

I hate deer and rabbits

Yesterday, I spent over 2 hours planting all my flowers in around the Cottage. They had been sitting on my porch for about 2 weeks waiting to be planted, but I hadn't had the time. It looked so nice when I was finished. There were happy colors surrounding the Cottage. Bright and pretty.

This morning, I woke up to see this....

Gone. All gone. Eaten down to the very stalks....

I...was...FURIOUS. Those darn deer (or maybe it was rabbits) get my flowers every year. But this year, they weren't even in the ground for 12 hours before they met their demise.

I drowned my sorrows at the pool all day today.

We had a hot, hot, sunny perfect memorial day. Lots of yummy potluck picnic food. Lots of friends. It was lovely.

But gosh darn it....those stupid deer. Grrrr....

May 29, 2011

hair talk

Dress: H&M Cardigan thingy: Target Shoes: Target
Ring: it found me in the depths of an antique store

Nail polish: Orly

Goody Spin Pin
. It's pretty much the bestest hair accessory since....I don't know what.

My hair has finally reached that length that I can whip it up into a bun in 5 seconds flat, and it will stay that way all day. Love that.

Another thing I love? Not washing my hair more than 2 times a week. It's been about a year since I started this little experiment. My hair has never been more healthy or happy. It loves day 3 and 4 the best.

Tomorrow is pool party and BBQ day. Friends, fun, sunshine. It's been a while since we haven't had a group here on Memorial Day, which means we are working. This year, I'm going to enjoy every moment. Who knows when it will come again?!

May 28, 2011

Saturday, i ♥ you

Shirt: gift from my brother who worked for Tribeca last year
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Rocket Dog (an old pair that I adore. RD makes the most comfy shoes)
Necklaces: Hip Mom Jewelry (a gift) and a Sundance '11 souvenir

It smells like heaven in my backyard right now. Honeysuckle....sigh. Happy sigh. I love it so much.

And while we're on the subject, I'm so happy that it's summer skirt season again. Have I ever told you that I wore skirts for 85% of my years in school, including college? I know. Winter was horrific. As were the early 90's when short skirts were in and all mine had to be to the middle of my knee. I longed for uniforms because shopping was a nightmare.

I remember getting to in Liberty and not really caring that we had to wear dresses everyday because I had already been doing it for years and years. Of course, now the rules have gone out the window and those kids can wear anything they please. Punks. I had to were dresses when it was snowing. Uggg.

After college, I went through several years of the "I don't want to wear skirts" phase. I just couldn't bear them. Thankfully, that phase is long over, and I've embraced my love of dresses again. I would much rather wear a skirt than shorts. And I'm kinda over capris.

So, there you go. A random Cottage Girl fact.

I'm off to watch some Veronica Mars because I can, and because I miss Logan. And if you like sassy, snarky blondes that solve crimes and have bad boy, sarcastic boyfriends, you should watch it too. It's a gem.

May 27, 2011

The three day weekend is finally here.

I'm starting it off with some quiet time on the porch.

The breeze is perfect.

The temperature warm.

The air smells like fresh honeysuckle, so wonderful I wish I could bottle it up.

The Word is open, and the stress is melting off my shoulders.

A glass of sun tea to sip. (My third this afternoon)

Thank you loving, Father for no weekend groups and no Memorial groups. We definitely need this little break before the madness begins next week.

I pray you all have a wonderful weekend too.

Your faithful blogging friend,

Cottage Girl

May 26, 2011

just my day

I spent the day crabbing, water snake hunting, river otter hunting, sun baking with 40 kindergarten and first graders. We caught a bunch of crabs, which were all thrown back into the water because they were too small.

When putting on my sunscreen this morning, I missed one small patch on my neck, which means I have one bright red spot on one side of my neck. It's really attractive.

I went to the marina for the first time this year to gas up the boats. I forgot how much I truly hate smelling like gas after the boat spits gas all over me. I also forgot how much I love staring the at the beautiful homes that line the creek side on the way to the gas dock.

I had dinner club with friends on the back deck in the perfectly cool evening after baking in the sun all day. I love these Thursday evenings and will dearly miss them this summer when we are all scattered across camp in our various jobs. I love talking and laughing with my camp friends. LOVE.

I watched (super excitedly) watched Vampire Diaries tonight. Thank you CW for airing season 2 from the beginning. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I'm now going to bed at 9:25. More boater training bright and early in the am. Some time in 1 Peter and then sleepy time....

Good night, Neverland.

May 25, 2011

i ♥ you, FNL

Cried my way through the last 4 minutes of the last Friday Night Lights episode tonight. No better way to end another incredibly stressful day (is there any other type anymore?). I could gush on and on about it, but I'll just say that this final episode pretty much sealed the deal for it being my favorite show of all time. And that's a bold statement. Not ready to believe that it's really over, so I'm living in denial for a few days.

I'm also longing for those days that I don't finish my work day feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Ministry is hard, friends. It's the hardest thing I have ever done. It's self-denial to the core.

But, hey, I'm still breathing. I'm still plugging along. I haven't dropped from a heart attack yet. And God's grace is still new every morning. That's where I'm finding my strength.

May 24, 2011

Let's just call it the Scotland photo parade

I'm running out of mental capacity lately. My world is consumed with water snakes, crabs, boat training, Bible study binding, T-shirt folding, staff T-shirt ordering, vacuuming, phone answering, meetings, email replies, hoards of ants and their demise, talking with children and 1,000 other little things. By the time I get home at the end of the day all my creativity and awake-ness is spent.

So, I'm resigned that my blogging will be light and not filled with much of substance in these moments. That's ok. One day when I look back on post #1705 (wow) I'll remember what I was going through.

I'm writing to remember how I was covered in ants 2 separate times today. Found their hiding place and they weren't happy. Yes, it was gross. Twice.

I'm writing to remember the Indiana Jones pile of snakes (Raiders of the Lost Ark when he's put in the pit of snakes, anyone?) that I saw in the wetlands. It took everything in me not to run away and front of all the children who were leaning in closer to see them better. Crazy kids. Those snakes are in my river, where I will spend the next 10 weeks. Gaaaaa.

I'm writing to remember that it was the first hot day of the year. I had to wear sunscreen all day. It was sweaty and perfect. Shorts, flip flops, sleeves rolled up over my shoulders. It. Was. Amazing.

I'm writing to remember that I came home a the end of a long day and was ready for bed at 8:30. I didn't even plant any of the 35 plants on my porch that are still in their plastic planters. Instead, I watched a little bit of I Am Number Four (it's worse than the book) and was sad for Hollywood. And then popped in one of the last episodes of FNL and instantly felt better about Hollywood . Only 3 more episodes left. Noooooo!

And I'll remember that Winnie went home tonight and I got to see my parents for 20 minutes.

And with that, post #1705, I bid you good night.

It's 9:45pm and I'm freaking tired.

May 23, 2011

He = joy

(from my trip to Scotland in 2005. just found my old CD of photos)

I decided it's time to go back through all my old photos from my trip to England/Scotland/Paris in 2005. That trip was a big reason I started this blog way back then. Almost 6 years ago. Quite a lot of rambling.

On a completely different topic, church was incredible yesterday. It's always those times when I don't want to go or am completely exhausted from a long weekend at camp that I get the most out of it. It's like God is showing Himself when I remain faithful in the small things.

Yesterday it was the reminder that He is where I need to find my joy. My contentment. My peace. In Him alone and nothing else. Not even in the answers to prayer He may give or the blessing He may bestow. But only in Him. (Luke 10:20)

It's a great reminder as I head into camp (next week!) and pour myself out in ministry 24/7. I need to be filled by Him and Him alone to survive. He must be the most important thing for any of this to work. And I must be completely out of the way so He can shine through brightly.

And with that, goodnight to you all!

May 22, 2011

Photo mail

My dear, little (well, she is to me at least) sister is so kind to send me picture mail constantly. It's one of the best inventions in the world after skype and texting. We both hate, HATE talking on the phone. But texting and photos...we're pretty good at that. We can go a week...or two...without talking on the phone, but we text just about every single day.

I love that. Same with my brother. We are all non-phone talkers, so texting is heaven sent. And getting photos of my niece and nephew is like the best thing ever. It helps our separation immensely.

I haven't seen them since Christmas and won't get to see them until after camp is over. That's like 9 months. Gulp. Sob. And I won't get to see baby number three until he/she is a few months old. That's a tough one to swallow at the moment...

So, I'm thankful for a sister who takes the time to snap a photo almost every day and send it to me. I'm thankful for a family who is comfortable and okay with our non-phone loving status. And I'm will be extra thankful if Southwest decides to put plane tickets on sale this summer, so I can zip on over to MI for a quick weekend. Hear that Southwest....

May 21, 2011

delightful drink

Come summer/warm(er) weather, I'm itching to start making sun tea. It's my favorite drink in the whole entire world of worlds. I'm on my 3rd gallon this week.

My favorite way to make it is not too strong, with a tiny hint of sweetener (agave=favorite, but honey and regular sugar are okay if that's all that's available), and a few mint leaves thrown in too every once in a while.

Passion tea is another favorite. Ooo, and Earl Grey. Or Lady Grey. And this post looks positively yummy with all its delightful ideas. I love, love, love tea, but hot drinks just aren't my thing. So when I can make my favorite teas and drink them cold, well, I'm one happy girl.

May 20, 2011

Lookie what showed up in my mailbox today...and thoughts on the end of the world

Equally scared (that the movie makers will mess it up) and super excited (it's going to be a movie!) over this one. I, for one, am super excited for Jennifer Lawrence. It think she'll be fantastic.

In other news...if tomorrow is the end of the world (has anyone else been having this silly discussion/joke for the last month?), I must admit that I won't be sad about it.

Take me home, Jesus.

I'd like a house between my brother and my sister. We'd be right across the street from my parents. All my dear friends would live in the houses on the rest of the street. All the kids would play together. And we'd just meet up a Jesus' throne every day. I'd also have rooms in my house for Janie and Shannan because I can't imagine heaven without them with me. Teresia and her family would live on our street. And Florence and her family would too.

Why would I ever think that would be a bad thing? All these thoughts of heaven have gotten me so excited to see Jesus. To spend eternity being loved by Him. To finally understand what that would mean. To finally understand with complete clarity, the Bible. To see face to face, not through the glass dimly.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

May 19, 2011

Eee gads

I'm in love with this adorable dress. The colors. The style. That pattern.

And then there's this one. I have an addiction to stripes. And while we're on the topic...I heard Tim Burton say once that life started making sense to him when he started wearing striped socks. Now, he wears them every day. (and uses them constantly in his movies). That has nothing to do with this post except for the fact that I think of Tim Burton when I wear striped clothing now.

Loving ModCloth dresses today. If only I had the money to actually purchase one of those beauties....

May 18, 2011

The Winnie-dog and I walked tonight

Granted it was just through my back yard because I was plum tuckered out when I finally crawled home at 6pm this evening.

It was yet another long day. Much of it spent outside in the rain.

You can't tell from theses photos, of course, but it poured buckets all morning, which was the exact time we had 80 middle schoolers here on a field trip. Poor dears. They were soaked to the skin by the time they got on their buses this afternoon. But they had fun. Yes, the did.

And we were all happy to serve them. Then it was back to the office for filing of important papers and copying of many more papers. And answering of many phone calls.

I think we deserved and nice short walk through the back yard and down the pier (where I spend the rain soaked morning). Plus, lying on the end of the pier in the sunshine is still one of my very favorite things in the entire world. It is the definition of p-e-a-c-e.

Would you just look at the shot my little point and shoot caught? Kinda makes me tear up. Sometimes I get so frustrated with it because I want it to be my SLR. It's not. It can't be. But sometimes it gives me little gems like this one and I forgive it all over again.

Yours truly,

Cottage Girl

May 17, 2011

it's the truth

When a new semester would began in college, I had my freak-outs. I would call home almost every time in tears, panicked, convinced that I would not survive in college and that this semester would be "the one" that ended me. The sight of those syllabi, piled up with projects and tests and papers and videos....even now I can feel a panic attack rising in my chest.

So, to my mommy I would go. Over the phone. In tears about how I couldn't do it. College would be the death of me. To my friends I would go with a panic stricken face begging them to help me take my mind off the insanity that was over taking me.

I'd like to say that I have conquered stress of this kind. I would like to say that I don't end up in tears or have panic attacks. I would like to tell you honestly that I don't have heart palpitations and tense muscles any more.

But all those things would be lies. This is the time of year where I am in full on panic mode. I can't sleep. I'm not really hungry. I end each day a little shaky and unbalanced because I know that it literally won't get better

I would also like to say that I've learned my lesson and have been much better at trusting the Lord to take control and ease the panic/stress. I would like to say that those old, tried and true verses that I always turn to in moments like these are instant balm to my wounds. I would like to tell you truthfully that I have grown in this area and the Lord has taught me more than I ever imagined.

But again, all that is not true. I end most days on my face searching the Word feverishly for some help. I journal 100's of words of stress-filled thoughts that MUST be written down so they don't keep floating around in my head.

So why do I continue to blog? Why not let one thing go? Well, because honestly, this helps. Writing has always been a huge stress relief for me. I feel better when I can either get my thoughts out of my head or when I can think of something else like pretty pictures or fun stories. Ninety-five percent of the time writing is not a chore to me. It's a delight. A sheer delight.

And with that, I will always give you the out to click away when I have these mental breakdown posts. But I can't lie. I can't make it look pretty all the time here. I can't make the camp life seem roses and sunsets all the time because you know what, it isn't. Some days it's 10 more things added to your plate. It's a pile of work that seems to grow instead of lessen. It's a constant battle of forcing myself to see the Lord's hand of guidance in all the madness that is going on.

plus.....I know that He has never failed, not once, in supplying exactly what we need, the moment we need it (and not a moment sooner) and the perfect amount of time to get it all completed.

In that knowledge, I will do my best to rest in Him, to trust Him, to let go of this control that I only think that I have. One of these days, I will conquer stress. It may not be until heaven, but it will be conquered.

So...take that, stress. You're going down.

May 16, 2011

Recently pinned






I ♥ Pinterest.
For reals.
It's THE way to keep
all those pretty things
that I find
all over the internet

You can see all my pins here.

May 15, 2011

I've been playing in Photoshop tonight. A little project that I've been wanting to do for a while now. It's going to take a while, but at least it's now begun.

In other news:

The Smallville was everything a Smallville episode should be.
(I won't admit how many times I've watched parts of it. You'd definitely laugh.)

Cheesy. Silly. Over the top.

Adorable. Sweet. Lots of plot holes.

Moments that made me tear up.

I hate saying goodbye to characters I love. It's like ending a good book. I think about it for days. I get way too caught up in stories. Always have....

May 14, 2011

text only

Things I did not catch on film today....

Walking through the door of my bestie's house to be immediately jumped on and hugged by my two little "nieces" screaming "you're here! You're here!" And melting into a giant puddle of mush.

Reading books with them on the couch.

Listening to their 3 yr and 6yr old voices and loving every moment of it.

A nice long walk with the aforementioned bestie which included a nice long chat as well. The good kind. The kind that sinks deep into your soul. The kind that feels like a happy sigh in the midst of a stressful time. The kind that only comes after years of knowing each other.

This same bestie with her adorable pregnant belly. #3 will be here soon!

Listening to this great podcast from Mark Driscoll while cruising down the highway. I love how he isn't afraid to offend people. I love being pounded on by the Word.

Doing a fancy hair-do for a super adorable girl who works part time here at camp. She's at prom right now. My friend and I did her hair and makeup and then got to see her off with her date. So much fun!

Sweet jr/high schoolers helping me clean up and re-organize the gift shop/snack shop. They finished it in 40 minutes. It would have take me about 1 whole week. Thank you, Jesus. He sent them to me at exactly the right time!

Laughing with kids about silly things. Listening to their conversations. I feel like so many kids today don't get listened to. Really listened to. It's amazing the conversations you can have with them.

Laying on the couch with my roommate watching Jimmy Fallon on DVR after a long, busy day.

Listening to the thunder rumble outside and hoping the rain continues all night because there is no sound I love more than rain on the roof.

What did you not get photos of this weekend?

May 13, 2011

what a week

So, I couldn't post last night 'cause Blogger was down for a few hours. Grrrr....

To be honest, I didn't have much to say anyway. This week was one of those "exhausting" weeks at camp. Very busy. A tad overwhelming. Stressful. But it was also full of much laughter and an impromptu dance party in the camp kitchen today which always makes everything better, right?!

Plus, the Lord answered a massive request of ours this week. We'll have a new full time staff member in just a few weeks. Wow. I can't believe how quickly He answered our prayers.

On the agenda for this weekend...

1. Visit a college bestie, spend some quality time chatting with her and loving on her littles.
2. Send a highschool friend off to her prom with a fun hairdo.
3. Thank the Lord for the high school group that is helping me clean up our camp gift shop. It will feel so good to check that off the list....whew.
4. Watch the Smallville series finale. Sniff-sniff. (this may be repeated several times) side note: I started watching Smallville the year I moved into the Cottage/the year it began. Wow.
5. Pray for these two families for whom my heart is so burdened

And now, I leave you to have a good weekend yourselves. Here's a little clip to send you on your way. If you haven't seen The Young Victoria yet, well, now you have something to put on your "things to watch this weekend list!" It has further cemented itself into my favorites list the more times I've watched it.

May 11, 2011


I want to have a summer evening that looks just like this.

happy sighhhh......

May 10, 2011

California, California, here we coooome....

(Venice Beach, I think, in 2005)
I went to California once.
San Fransisco.
Los Angeles.
Marina Del Ray.
Catalina Island.
San Diego.
All in one trip down the west coat by boat.

It was one of those places that I instantly felt at home.
Ever been to a place like that?
You've never been there,
but it feels like you have.
It feels comfortable and cozy.

Even my first visit to camp.
All were like that too.

I dream about palm trees, surfers, wide beaches, ocean cliffs, west coast style beach homes, sunsets over the ocean, warm breezes. Time to take another trip back, I think. Maybe stay a little longer than last time. Maybe when it's cold and wintery here. Maybe with a journal in hand and a good pen to jot down the flood of thoughts and ideas that come when I'm by the sea.

Yes, it's time to save up for a plane ticket....

May 09, 2011

Just another evening

What's it like to live at camp? Here's a little story to give you a peak inside this crazy life we call ours....

When the evening sun came around tonight and the shadows were growing long, we all ventured outside. It was a lovely evening. A normal Monday evening.

Some of us sat in the cool grass gazing up, up, up at this crazy new thing that had been installed during the last 3 weeks.

Helloooo, up there.

A brand new zip line. Something we have all been dreaming of for years and years. And now, it was finally here. Completed. Ready to be test driven.

So we climbed up that super high telephone pole, stood shakily at the top and got harnessed in for the coolest new ride around.

It was a LONG way down. Friends shouted up with cheers of encouragement and glee. But they looked so tiny from way up high.

And that view, oh that view was incredible. You can see for miles. The water all around. Up high in the tree tops.

We all bravely (well, some of us felt brave) stood on top and then jumped and zoomed down toward the ground.

It's quite a rush. A thrill. Super fun.

It's hard to let go of that pole though. That nice, strong, firm pole that seems so much more stable than a string and some wire.

But once you are zipping along, it's worth the 20 seconds of terror at the top. It's kinda like being Peter Pan for a minute.

And there are friends at the bottom waiting to catch you and bring you back down to safety.

At times, it can be a tough life, this camp life. It can be exhausting and frustrating and draining and disappointing. It comes with its own share of problems.

But more than that, it comes with an even bigger share of joy and love and fulfillment and peace.

And it comes with friends to share it all with on cool, spring evenings. It comes with zip lines on Monday nights and boat rides on Sundays and laughter. So much laughter. And a God who loves us all and joins our little hearts together as one, big, happy family.

And that zip line...holy guacamole, it's super fun: