Looking Back

Every journey has stages.  Everyone starts somewhere and travels to somewhere else and sometimes we look back and wonder where we are and how we got here.  Many of us are somewhere in the middle of the journey, having completed the basic stages of life like going to school, getting married, starting a family, and so on.

We are approaching the next stage of our journey and I’ve been looking back on the last eighteen months to see where we’ve been.  These have not been easy months by any means, but by sticking together and applying huge amounts of gratitude and humility we’re getting on.  I suppose we’re a little bit like the Children of Israel who escaped from Egypt to wander in the wilderness.  We have many lessons to learn, just like they did!

Let me give a little background for those of you who don’t know us yet.  I’ll try to give the short version!

In April of 2010 we put all of our belongings into storage and moved out of our townhouse.  The rent was simply too expensive, as are many things in Marin County, California.  Esbon still had his job, and I still had my eight hours a week at the Scout Shop, but we had nowhere to live.  A friend graciously offered us her pool house for two months and we accepted. 

In June we traveled to Oregon for a family wedding and a bit of much needed vacation.  As summer continued we moved from housesitting gig to housesitting gig.  Part of this time Esbon was in California alone, while the kids and I stayed with my mother in Portland. Much of the time we were all sharing one room, with the boys sleeping on the floor. 

Our normal summer activities continued as planned.  Bo went to summer camp with his Boy Scout troop.  Jonathan went to Day Camp where Bo and I served on the staff.  Before we knew it fall was on it’s way and it was time to start school again, and we still didn’t have a place to live.

A decision had to be made.  It was about the hardest thing we’ve ever done as a family (so far), but we knew we couldn’t continue where we were.  So we moved to Portland.  My mother offered to put us up until we could find work and get our own place.  It was hard to leave our friends, our Scout groups, and our jobs.  (Perhaps the hardest thing to leave behind was the mild California weather!)

That was in September of 2010.  Here we sit, in July of 2011, still in my mother’s apartment, still searching for right employment.  Our efforts have turned towards building our own income, since the numerous companies Esbon interviewed with (and dozens more with whom he didn’t even get that far) weren’t interested.

The last year hasn’t been all bad.  We have seen a lot more of my family (except for my brother who still lives in California, though we’ve seen him, too).  The boys are in Scouts and continue to learn and grow.  We’re still homeschooling.  We can now help my sister once in awhile with her little ones.  The sun peeks out from behind the clouds every so often, though not often enough for some!

And we think, and pray, and pray some more, that this wilderness stage of our journey is nearly over.  The promised land seems to be before us and we can see progress ahead, and actual beds and bedrooms for the boys, and a place to call our own.

That’s where we’ve been.  As our options and plans unfold over the next few weeks I’ll share some of what we learned, and are still learning, in the wilderness and more of what we hope to be doing in the next stage of our journey.

Summer Camp

Sunday morning we drove up to Camp Pioneer to drop off Bo and Esbon for a week of Boy Scout camp.  It’s their second year attending resident camp and I’m sure they’re having a great time.  It’s a little strange to be completely out of contact with them though.  The camp they went to last year had cell phone service so Esbon and I talked a few times while they were gone.  I was also able to send them email that the staff printed out and delivered like regular mail.  This camp has neither cell phone service nor email.  I feel so cut off!

Anyway, I thought I would share some of the pictures I took at camp on Sunday.  Enjoy!

First up – the boys with their gear in the parking lot.  Bo was so excited to get his first real pack a few weeks ago and he couldn’t wait to use it.

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Here’s the group shot of the Troop.  The staff takes this shot of each troop that comes to camp.  Troop 127 has a total of 21 Scouts at camp this week.  That should make for a different experience for Bo and Esbon.  Last year they only had about 6 Scouts in the group!

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Next up – the lake with Mt. Jefferson in the background.  The view is truly breathtaking!  You can sort of see part of the waterfront area on the left, and I think there’s a fishing dock or something on the right.

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Unlike the boys, Esbon and some of the other leaders didn’t have backpacking packs to carry all of their gear.  Fortunately for them there were carts to help get gear to their campsite.

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The boys are camping in the “Big Fir” campsite.  Most of them are using the small pup tents that were already set up for the week, but one patrol wanted to sleep in the same tent so we brought our big tent that sleeps six for them to use.  I think Bo was planning to set up his own blue tent but he didn’t get it set up before I left.

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The first order of business after the boys unloaded their gear was to change into their swim trunks and head down to the waterfront for swim checks. 

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That’s about the last I saw of the boys before I left.  I pretty much said goodbye to Bo before we left the house.  I figured once we got to camp he’d be off with the other Scouts and not want to be seen hugging Mom.  I was right, of course.

Jonathan and I walked around camp a bit more before we left though.  Here’s part of the waterfont.

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And the dining hall (one of the most important buildings in camp!)

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That’s about all Jonathan was good for.  I did make him wait a bit longer while I photographed some of the bear grass that grows all over camp though.  (Flower photography is one of my specialties after all!)

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Even though I know they’re having an awesome time at camp, I can’t wait to see them on Saturday when they get back.  It’s just too strange having only half the family here.  I hope Esbon is taking lots of pictures so we can see what they did all week.

Happy Camping!!

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How long have I been planning to get this blog up and running?  Longer than I care to admit!  I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know us a bit. 

As I write this, I’m watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with Jonathan.  We’re starting our marathon of Harry Potter movies before we go and see the final installment next week.  Bo and Esbon are at Camp Pioneer having a grand old time in the out of doors.  It’s been pretty quiet around here without them.

I enjoy watching the Harry Potter movies in sequence and seeing these young actors grow up in the space of a few hours.  It’s a good reminder of how fast time flies as our kids are growing up, and that we should remember to pause in our busy days to enjoy them as often as we can.  I also look at the characters at each stage and wonder, could Bo have done that when he was 11?  He’s only twelve, so I don’t get too far into the movies on that theme, but it’s fun to think about, all the same.

So this week I’m enjoying some one on one time with Jonathan.  We won’t be going out much, as funds are pretty tight, but we have lots of fun projects planned.  Jonathan is learning how to sew and we’ll be working on that quite a bit.  I’ll post some pictures of his new shorts and other things we’re making after we finish.

Then we have the library summer reading program to keep current with, and our Harry Potter marathon.  We’ll probably go to the park and hang out with the cousins at my sister’s house.  Unfortunately, as I said, time flies and the week will be over far too quickly. 

I’ll get a second week one on one with Jonathan in August when I go to camp with him at Adventure Cove.  I’ll have to find something to do with Bo.  He’s not interested in much other than video games and Scouting at the moment, so I don’t know what that will be.  I’m sure we can come up with something though.

Well, I’d better get back to the movie.  I hope you’re enjoying your summer and thanks for stopping by!


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