Monday, January 31, 2011

Myrtle Beach

As you know a few weeks ago our National Lifelines Team met for a week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Now, before you get too jealous let me tell you that it was COLD- truly cold (being from Wisconsin and living in Maine I think I am qualified to make this judgement)! But that was probably okay because we were really there to work. And let's be honest, when you get a team of Lifelines staff together near the beach for a week of meetings maybe it's best if it's cold! It would have been nice (especially for our kids) if the weather had been warm but I'm certain we wouldn't have gotten as much done! And we did get quite a bit done. We talked through and made plans for recruiting and expanding Lifelines. We discussed training and how to get our staff the best training possible. We shared about how God is using Lifelines across the country and about different strategies that are working (and those that aren't too). We talked about our effectiveness in evangelism and the importance of serving. We planned for our time at our staff conference this summer and got serious about raising money for the ministry. And much, much more. But maybe best of all was that we just got to be together with our wonderful Lifelines National Team. I honestly love them- they are some of the best people I know. And if I am going to be stuck inside all day meeting and planning for a week there is just nobody I would rather be with (except for maybe a few of you too)!
We worked hard that week. And while we worked our children played...together. As much as I love being with these friends I almost enjoy watching our kids play together more. They are friends. They only see each other once or twice a year but they honestly love being together. This year we decided to let Lily share a bedroom with her friend Libby (the daughter of our friends John and Kelly in Virginia). It was like one big week long sleepover for her- and it went fantastic really! The girls were so well behaved. At night before they fell asleep and almost every morning when they woke up they would have "talk time" as they called it- just talking and telling each other crazy stories. It was so sweet. Lily thrives when she's around friends in a social environment and so she was totally in her element this week. It was really fun to watch.

Eli had a little bit of a harder time. He also enjoyed being around (mostly watching) the other kids (including two other little ones pretty much the exact same age as him). But he had a really hard time being in childcare for most of the day (even though we were in the same house). It seems to have sparked some somewhat intense separation anxiety. I think it was always there, but this just seemed to put it over the edge. And thus in the last few weeks we have spent a lot of time holding our little man. I try to remind myself to enjoy it (since I know he won't want to be held forever), but it has made some things a little challenging! So this trip was a little hard for him, but thankfully we had the aquarium and the beach to make up a bit for some of those other times. Oh, and my very favorite memory of the trip came the night before we left. Our whole team went to a Japanese Steakhouse for dinner (the kind where they cook the meal right in front of you). In the middle of cooking the chef lit the whole grill on fire and it erupted like a giant ball of fire. Oh my, if you could only have seen Eli's face (and if only I had brought my camera)- he just sat there staring at the fire in total wide eyed wonder (with his mouth in a complete "O")- and he held it like that for what seemed like 30 seconds! It had our entire group cracking up!

And these are my favorite pictures of the year (so far at least)! The day before we left we headed out to the beach for the sunrise (which really was incredible). These are my first ever attempt at outdoor silhouettes and I am really very happy with how they turned out. I took the first two pictures of Joe with the kids and I set the last one up so that my friend Heather could get one of our whole family. I absolutely learned a few things about this and I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be seeing shots similar to these again as I am determined to recreate that family shot (only with Eli looking at the ocean this time)! My family are such good sports.

So there you have it- our week in Myrtle Beach!

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