(Originally emailed on 8/13/2022)

In the midst of our spring and summer seasons here at camp, we have had a lot going on in our family as well. One daughter at a time, one day at a time, I’ll fill you in on what they’ve all been up to and what comes next. No, this isn’t exactly an update about our ministry here at Barakel. But we were called to our family first, and these family happenings have certainly occupied our time, hearts, and minds this summer. Today, I begin with our oldest daughter, Grace.

Toward the beginning of May we enjoyed a weekend down in Hillsdale to attend Grace’s graduation. We enjoyed a beautiful Baccalaureate service as well as the graduation ceremony. Grace graduated with a major in English and a minor in Latin. Her fiancé, Soren, also graduated so we enjoyed time with him and his family that weekend as well. In fact, we all shared a rental house and squeezed in together. Humorously, we made plans quite a long time ago to share a rental, after they had only been dating a short time. We told them that if they were going to break up then they had to wait until after graduation, or that it better be on really good terms or staying together would be really awkward!  Alls well that ends well, it all worked out and we had a great time with soon-to-be in-laws!

Grace then tried out life on the road for a bit. We brought her things home from college, and she went to Maryland to stay with Soren’s family for a couple of weeks in order to do some wedding planning there. Luckily they also bought a car while they were there, which luckily turned out to be a pretty reliable little thing, because they then drove some circles around the eastern US. They attended a wedding in Northern Michigan, dropped Soren off in North Carolina where he would spend the summer working at Camp Deerfoot, then Grace went to South Carolina to register their vehicle, went back to Maryland to finish some wedding tasks, then drove home. A lot of miles logged and we were thankful for her safety along the way, especially being in an entirely untested used car!

Once home, her projects began. There was a fence painting project here at camp on the staff road where we live. There were 60 candlesticks to thrift and spray paint. There were glass goblets to thrift. There were wedding invitations to design, order, and send. There were 20 cheesecakes to make and freeze. Yes, 20. There were two wedding showers, one here at camp and one downstate. Basically, all things wedding. There was square dancing to teach to the next “generation” of summer staff. There were belongings to sort through and pack up. There were two more road trips thrown in for good measure. During this time she also secured a job teaching at the same school where Soren will be teaching. They will both be at a Classical Christian School in Columbia, SC.

All in all it was a very busy time, always with a trail of projects strewn about our house. There was always something to discuss, always something to start, work on, and only occasionally finish. The days were filled with not a small amount of chaos and mess set amidst summer camp, but the days were over all too soon. On July 22, after all of the shenanigans, we loaded up her trusty car with as much as it could carry and she headed out. For four years we’ve gotten used to waving goodbye as she drives away, but this one was different. This time “home” was moving with her. She headed first to North Carolina to spend a little bit of time at Camp Deerfoot where Soren has been. Then when that summer camp was finished, they both headed to South Carolina. 

They have temporary places to stay from now until the wedding on September 10. They begin teaching this coming Monday.  Pray for them as they begin these new jobs, as they look for a place to live after the wedding, and as they go through these last weeks before marrying. It is a happy time for sure, but it is also an overwhelming time as they step fully into adult mode!

One last go around with calling square dancing. As the cart says, camp is fun!