Sunday, January 20, 2008

Zionsville at Fort

Well, this weekend Zionsville Fellowship is at Fort. Despite the cold, they seem to be having TONS of fun! This afternoon many will even be helping cheer on the Packers since the Colts are no longer in the playoffs. We as a family have been a little less active today due to the cold weather. Little hands and feet, even fully bundled, get cold fast in this weather. Speaking of cold, check out the thermometer this morning:


Even with those temperatures, they are still getting out and playing broomball, had a GPS scavenger hunt this morning, and many more activites. The rest of us are enjoying sitting near the woodburning stove!

Stay warm!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Winter Fun Day at Fort!

Sammie's school had their Winter Fun Day at Fort and it was truly exhausting! I wish I had a camera out for the kids boarding the busses to go back to school. The little ones were wiped!

I took off work today and we also let Kyle come with too so he wasn't left out. We went on a sleigh ride (per Kyle's request), had a snack of peanut butter and crackers, went cross-country skiing and took Bridget with us, had lunch, and then went down the tube hill a million times. Let me tell you, those 54 large steps get steep while carrying up 3 tubes at a time. For tubing, Lizzy, Bridget and Jackson Rich came with us. The girls carry their own tubes, but Jackson and Kyle don't make it too far so this mom gets the job! After that, Sammie and Kyle joined Daddy in the Ski Haus and I took two women that go to Zion Lutheran Church in town around camp and explained camp, showed them the Infirmary and explained the story of Payton and how it got built, showed them cabins, the waterfront and a few other things. Many people in Rhinelander still don't know about Fort Wilderness so we get to share about it only a few miles from home.

Well, have fun seeing a few more pictures of the kids skiing and pray that everyone stays safe this upcoming weekend! Today was 20 degrees, by Saturday we are supposed to have a HIGH of -3 degrees - YIKES and BRRRRRRR!

Kyle on the Sleigh Ride - Sammie in back singing with her friends.

Sammie getting ready to ski.

The kids ready to take off and have fun!

Bridget enjoying the snow!

Kyle wondering where to go next.

The 3 Musketeers coming back.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

RBC Weekend!

Well, the weekend isn't over but it was a great time so far! For those who are wondering how Gary is doing, Chris Varebrook said it best, "Same old crazy, energetic Gary, just a little more grey." I didn't get a picture of Gary, but I think others did. Sammie, Kyle and I sat in on Gary's session this morning and he is doing a great job challenging the kids about living intentionally. I challenge you to ask them when they get home what that means and how they are going to implement that. Todd Kellner gave his testimony to them this morning and Bruce Ziolkowski (Fort Staff) also gave his.

The kids seemed to be enjoying the outdoors with skiing, tubing, horseback riding, sleigh rides, broomball, card cames and Connect Four, the coffee shop and much more! There were a few bumps and bruises along the way (mostly during broomball), but everyone is doing good, including Kira who cracked her clavicle slipping on the ice and falling. She at least got a sleigh ride in today!!! The picture is a little dark but she is smiling!


Kyle and Sammie also enjoyed the sleigh ride though the woods and Jackson Rich, Silas and Amos Brood, and Sammie and Kyle all played on a big hill of snow down at the stables.


We also seemed to have quite a reunion of people who used to travel to Fort together. Bryan Andersen, Nathan Westcomb, Todd Kellner, Chris Varebrook, Chad Andersen, Chad Rich, Steve and myself, Dave Westcomb, Dave Wohlgemuth, Amy (Black)Papillion and I'm sure I've missed someone! Nathan Black was also up visiting the Riches. It was neat to see everyone together a good 15-20 years after their last trip as a highschooler. It is a reminder of how much Fort can have an impact on peoples' lives and build friendships.

We also appreciated the kitchen help from Brian and Sue Walley, Dave and Laura Wohlgemuth and dish crew help from Bryan Andersen and Nathan Westcomb!

Well, tomorrow ends their trip, so we hope they have a safe trip back to Racine and come to visit us all again soon!

P.S. The weather turned out to be practically perfect!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Steve's Turn - A day in the life of a techie...

What's been happening at Fort behind the scenes? Well, we are into the winter session and I'm balancing Ski Haus/Medical duties during the weekend along with all the network projects I have. One of the projects is making two rack mount servers to handle file storage on the network out of some older computers. For some reason, camp management doesn't like it when I ask for a new $10,000 server...something about budgets?

So, I've become a very accomplish scrounger when I need to be. Exactly the reason I'm rebuilding desktop computers into servers. Well, the new cases arrived when we came back after Christmas and I am ready to dig into the project. I look at the first box and get a very sick feeling...this is not good.


The box looked really bad. The inside didn't get much better!


As you can see, the power supply was crushed! Not to mention that someone missed the big "HANDLE WITH CARE" nicely printed on the top of the box.


The good news was only one of the cases was damaged. The bad news was I had to spend 2 hours on the phone to get the power supply replaced.

While I am still waiting on the replacement I almost have the first server done and ready to bring online. That will free up a lot of space for all of Fort's data.

Now, on to some medical stuff and God's provision:

Last weekend, the Lord protected a young lady at camp. She went out cross-country skiing and decided to go off on her own and separate from her group. She proceeded to go on a trail that wasn't open and thought she was lost. All the while she was on an ungroomed ski trail. The weekend was warm and the lakes had a layer of slush on top of the ice and as she was skiing across the lake, one of the skis started to ice up and stop moving. So, she decided to remove her skis and walk but couldn't get the ski boot off the ski so she took of her boots and proceeded to walk the last mile and a half in her socks. Needless to say, she ended up with some frostbite on her toes but God protected her from a lot worse!

Not too often a boring time here up north...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

AWANA and other things...

Well, tonight we started back with AWANA after 4 whole weeks off! It seemed like forever. Kyle is in his first year of Cubbies this year and Sammie is in her second year of Sparks, her fourth year of AWANA. Sammie is currently working on her book review. I am a Sparks leader for the fourth consecutive year at Pine Grove, and have lost count of my total years in AWANA. The K-2nd group is a fun group to deal with. They are generally eager to learn and still dependent on adults in a sense.

This weekend RBC will be up at Fort! If you are part of our "current life" and not our "Racine life", check the links in the right column. RBC is Racine Bible Church, our home church in Racine. Please pray for safe travels for them and for our weather to get colder and snow again. It was BEAUTIFUL up until this past weekend then it got warm and we have slush, mud, ice...YUK! Not fun for driving, not good for winter fun!

Also, the speaker for RBC's youth is Pastor Gary Barrett, Senior Pastor of Newfolden Evangelical Free Church in MN. He is the former youth pastor of RBC, having left about 13-14 years ago. I have talked to him over the years but haven't seen him in all that time! It will be great to see him and introduce him to the kids. Hmm, wonder if he can still handle broomball. (Also wondering if I still can!!!).

Well, it is late here in the northwoods and we need sleep so have a wonderful week and keep Fort in your prayers for the weekend!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back to the routine...

Well, yesterday was a day off of Fort for Steve, but for the rest of us, it was back to routine. Sammie off to school, Kyle off to a sitter, and me off to work. Back to the bundling up in the cold in the morning, picking up the Brood boys to take to school with Sammie, and off we go...

Sammie was definitely enjoying Christmas vacation but seemed happy and content to be back in school again. Kyle's big adventure of the day was taking a 100 piece puzzle to the sitter. I found out when I picked him up he did the entire thing without help! He is in love with puzzles lately.

I went back to the routine of work with plenty of things to do...servers to get going, conveyors to check on, E-bay stuff to list, never an end to variety luckily. However, after a long day of work, everyone is tired. Our routine isn't over though. When I pick up the kids, Kyle is barely buckled before he says, "Mom, can you please turn on la-la songs?" What are la-la songs you ask? La-la songs is a tape called "Shout to the Lord Kids" that I got him a little over 1 year ago. It is not allowed to leave the cassette player in my van. He listens to it EVERY time he is in the van over and over and over again. I'm still trying to figure out what is going to wear out first...the cassette player in the van, or the cassette tape itself.

This particular afternoon, the song that came on first was "Let Everything that Has Breath". It's fun to listen to the kids singing "everything that", "everything that". By now, both kids know almost every word.

This song has quite a great message today though, the verse goes:

Praise you in the morning
Praise you in the evening
Praise you when I'm young and when I'm old
Praise you when I'm laughing
Praise you when I'm grieving
Praise you every season of the soul

If you could see how much you're worth
Your power, you're might, your endless love
Then surely we would never cease to praise you!

Try to imagine that? Never ceasing to praise...we're already commanded to pray without ceasing. We should also love God so much and be thankful for all He has done that we never cease to praise either. Have a headache yet? I know I do. God has set eternity in the hearts of man, but our finite minds are not yet capable of fully grasping eternity and how large and vast that is and how we can fully pray and praise God continually. Yet, He commands us to do it. We need to learn to work in continual prayer and praise in our daily lives. We need to pray and praise in every season of our soul. Easy to do when life is great, huh? Now try to remember that when live comes crashing down on you sometime. A little harder, but it will make those bad times just a little better. God doesn't promise us a perfect life as Christians, in fact, it is worse because we do not think as the world thinks and have just surrounded ourselves with those contradicting mindsets. But eternity is worth it!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

With a new year comes many joys and many trials. May God bless your new year and may it be one of joy and opportunity!

I think the following is fitting to describe a new year:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-17 - A Time for Everything
(New International Version)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed."

May God grant you the wisdom this year to know what time and season you are in each moment of each day and to react accordingly and be content to learn in the trials He will give you and rejoice and give Him praise for the blessings He shows you!