Saturday, 14 June 2014

One Week to Go!


         










        
     It is late in the day for me to just be starting to write this post but the weather this morning appeared to have finally cleared, following two days of very heavy rains, so I seized the opportunity and have spent more than 5 hours putting the garden to rights and mowing the lawns.
     The Siberian Irises and Bearded Irises, took a bit of a beating in the rain, as did the peonies, but I'm now enjoying some of the cut flowers around the house!

     After also squeezing in the 2 prerequisite walks with Wil and Saturday grocery shopping, it is now close to dinner time, but the sun is still shining, which truly helps to lift one’s spirits

      As usual I am getting head of myself and so must return to the beginning of the week.

     The craziest day was Tuesday, which was a Day Camps day of marathon proportions!!

      Jessica arrived at 930 am and spent until 5pm (albeit with a lunch and “Wil walk” break) assembling the brand new Team Leaders' Binders. As mentioned in a previous post, we had decided that this really had to be the year to replace those binders. I seriously do not think they have been replaced during my twenty years as Day camp Director! They must have been REALLY good quality when first purchased!

     Jessica worked arranging all the many documents (perfectly printed by our neighbourhood copy centre hero, Henry) and I beavered away on the computer, still sending out notices to everyone I can think of looking for both Team Members and 3 more Host Churches.

     At around 1130 am Josiah joined us and worked upstairs in the studio/office, choosing a binder of songs for Evening Worship at the Retreat, as he is going to be our Worship Director this year;but first is heading off on a 2-week belated honeymoon camping trip with his new bride, Alicia!

    After Josiah left and we had our afternoon walk, then Jillian arrived for a round of Retreat Cooking and we made a vat of frozen Strawberry Soup and a big container of White Bean/Pesto Hummus.

    Jessica departed at 5pm and we cooked on until 6pm. Mercifully, early in the day I had set the slowcooker going with dinner in it! -Chicken Gyros filling from this recipe.

    They were SO good, I also made a bowl of tzatziki, and we had little coloured sweet peppers and heritage cherry tomatoes, a pitcher of fresh mint iced tea (from my herb garden) and flourless almond cake for dessert.

   We deserved a small banquet after a VERY full day’s work!!!

   Most days this week have actually looked quite similar with people coming and going in the house, countless text messages flying back and forth, gazillions of emails etc.

    But then it is “One Week to Go”.
    I wish I could report that all is rosy in the world of Day Camps, but must confess that we are still limping along with 11 (or 12??) confirmed Team Members, and 3 empty slots for host churches.

   This Blog is largely intended to be a positive and upbeat look at the Day Camp world as, honestly, I do truly believe that the Lord wants us to live life with so much trust that we “fear nothing, except the loss of Him” and can thus face the daily ups and downs BUT when it gets to major panic time, it is sometimes very very tough to remain sanguine in the face of life’s realities!

   So why  continue directing Day Camps? LOTS of people ask me this question!

 Here are 4 REALLY good reasons, just as a starter-

 1) To see the faces of hundreds of happy Campers! Although now without a vehicle I can no longer visit as many Day Camps as I used to, I do get to see lots of photos and the joy on those faces, a joy which comes from a God-centered week, full of exciting activities and opportunities to meet Jesus, is totally worth all the weeks and months of nail-biting and heartaches!

 2) To hear about the Clergy and other local helpers, somewhat jaded at the end of a long academic year, suddenly rejuvenated and uplifted by the crazy week of a Day Camp, taking over their church building.

3) To see the Team Members returning, tired, sunburnt, but changed. Changed in a good way, changed in a way that can only be by God’s Grace.  Those who went out nervous, shy and even fearful, coming back with stories to share, happy smiles, new confidence and feelings of self-worth. Priceless!

4) To watch each aspect of the Program, as it takes shape over a whole year and then comes to fruition and to wonder at the sheer volume of talent, dedication and above all love of the Lord that motivates these volunteers to spend countless hours building this Program. This is not a shiny program in a shrink-wrapped plastic box. This is not a Program where children are in the jungle or outer space for a week. This is an honest, Bible-centred program that opens up the Scriptures in a fresh, creative way for EVERYONE involved and which serves as a tool...

     “Helping People of All Ages to Become Strong Disciples of Jesus Christ”
 


   A bit tough to segue into this week’s recipe, but, as a new week is about to unfold, I’m expecting Jill, with Emma and Owen for a Coffee visit on Monday morning, to talk about the Emmaus Church Day Camp (along with knitting, quilting and life in general!) So, having lots of carrots on hand (Wil has not had a chance to gobble all of them up yet!) I baked a Carrot Loaf.



                                            Irish Carrot Loaf Cake



12oz.-grated carrots

12oz. unbleached flour

1 tsp. each salt and mace

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

6 oz. sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup chopped Brazil nuts



Line two 9” loaf tins with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325F.

In a large bowl combine the sugar and oil and beat well. Add the eggs and beat until thick and light. Ina medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and mace.

With the mixer on low, beat the dry ingredients into the batter. Stir in the grated carrots, chopped nuts and vanilla.

Pour Batter into loaf pans and smooth evenly. Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans on racks. Frost with cream cheese icing if desired.

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