Friday, July 31, 2009

She Definitely Only Had 4 Bridesmaids

I do not believe it's already Friday again. Camp, and now being home from camp with my hubby home too, has me all discombobulated and confused as to the difference between weekdays and weekends. Oh wait, that's because there isn't one. . .

Anyhow, Friday means it's time again for Kelly's Korner's carnival "Show Us Your Life" (wedding edition). And since I am pretty much obsessed with my wedding, I thought I'd go ahead and jump on board.

This is one of my favorite wedding pictures ever. I love how you can see my dress and veil and the beautiful day, plus my gorgeous sisters arm-in-arm behind me. They were both my maid-of-honors (is that the plural form for realz? It sounds weird . . . ) because I didn't want to face the wrath if I chose one over the other. Oh and because I love them both. A lot.
Here's our wedding program. Of which I hand-made 250. Um, clearly I faced a momentary lack of good judgment.
Our initials on the church doors. I know you just thought I was a cheerleader and wanted exclamations of excitement on the doors (RA! RA! RA!) Alas, you should know me better than that by now. I would never be athletic or graceful enough to be a cheerleader.
Here I am laughing really hard with all my bridesmaids (I only wish I could remember why. From the looks of it, maybe Em had just flashed everyone?) The other day at a wedding, my dad was complaining remarking about the insane number of bridesmaids (there were 6). When my sister pointed out that I had, in fact, had 8 bridesmaids in my wedding, my dad jumped to my defense, insisting that I clearly only had 4. Lets just hope he doesn't read this blog to discover his error. . .
The whole crew in front of our slightly lopsided floral arch. All our flowers were gorgeous (after-all, my parents ARE in the floral industry) but that arch was just so lopsided. It drove my OCD self crazy. Oh wait, I'm not OCD at all and it STILL bothered me. That's how lopsided it was. . . Nevertheless, it was stunning.
Two of our young ringbearers. Or one of them is my groom. Whichever.
Guy's boutonnieres: Ranunculus and some other nameless green flowers.
And finally, here's Adam and I right after the ceremony. We were a little giddy. I like this one because it shows off my pretty bouquet of peonies. Since we got married in early March, peonies are not, in fact, available or in season. However, they are BY FAR my favorite flowers (hint hint nudge nudge adam), and my amazing florist had them flown in from EGYPT for my bouquet. I know, right?
Go on over to Kelly's Korner for more fun wedding pictures! I could look at wedding stuff all day. Too bad you can only do it once. Well technically speaking, you could do it more than once, but that's not in my plans. . .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nutritionally Delicious

The Good News is that I lost 5 pounds at camp this year. Which comes as no shock considering how much less snacking and more walking I do at camp.

Not to mention that the food is slightly less than stellar, and often I found myself saying, "I'll just have some zucchini please, and I'll pass on the grey-ish lemon pepper fish this time . . . "

And then I almost died from the shock that there was no cheese in my meal.

Oh I kid, we had our food catered by Aramark this year and it was not bad at all. It just reminded me of my college cafeteria food (probably because they also cater to college cafeterias). And my palate has become immensely more sophisticated since college. I have graduated to Kraft macaroni and cheese, Chick-fil-a, and large quantities of Mexican food.

As it turns out, however, our resort next week has like seven restaurants. And one of them is a Mexican restaurant. And it's all inclusive. And we all know what that really means: all you can eat chips and cheese dip. and salsa. and enchiladas. and diet coke. and margaritas. . . . I should have those five pounds back in no time.

In the meantime, I figured I should hurry and post a few pictures as photographic evidence of all the weight loss. Oh and of all the fun.

And of all the love. Because these kiddos right here? I am not exaggerating or kidding when I say that I adore them.
Skinny, but apparently incapable of keeping both eyes open for a picture.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Who Doesn't Heart The Beach?

We are officially home from camp. And I may or may not have lots of clothes and boxes strewn about my home. With no intentions of unpacking them anytime in the near future. I'm just too worn out. Plus, Jayci likes crawling on them. And I'm all about accommodating the little one. Except right now, when she is intent on banging on my computer keyboard.

This is all besides the point. The point is that I am going to the beach, sans baby, in less than a week! Adam and I, along with some of our best friends, are headed to the Dominican Republic. Lets all just agree that we need a little vacation after 7 weeks of camp. Amen.

Now that I think about it, however, my upcoming beach trip is NOT the point of this post. Clearly, I have trouble maintaining a singular focus. This week's contest at I Heart Faces IS the point, and the theme is "beach." I took some pictures of Jayci when we went to the beach before camp, but I wasn't all that happy at how they turned out. This shot, however, was my favorite of the bunch. I realize it's not extraordinarily "beachy" so it probably won't win, but I like to play along anyways. My competitive nature just cringed a little bit when I wrote that but whatever.
*Visit I Heart Faces for lots of beautiful beach pictures!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Show Me The Dress!

So Kelly's Korner is hosting a Show Us Your Life: Wedding Dress today, so I thought I'd jump in. Sorry these aren't the best pictures, I'm still at camp so these were the only ones I had.

I loved my dress, it was super simple but made from this gorgeous silk taffeta.

I really wish I had something more witty and fun to say, but today's the last day of camp, and I'm feeling the whole 6 weeks of craziness starting to catch up with me. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

This is pretty much classic Adam and Becca. Classic.
Look! We got married when we were 15 years old! Not really, but doesn't Adam look like a little baby?

Visit Kelly's Korner for more wedding dress fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Made You . . .

As I have already mentioned, this is the last week of camp. Mixed emotions run through me at the thought of camp drawing to a close for the year. I am tired and ready for camp to be over on one hand; on the other hand, however, I wish I could just stay at camp all year and hang out with these kids all the time. And only adding to the inner-turmoil is the fact that this is the most interesting week of kids I have ever experienced at camp. Normally we have a lot of behavior problems. We see kids who are just flat-MAD: at life, at everyone, and everything (usually with good reason). They shut down when confronted, cry and scream when they get in trouble, and generally lack the emotional and social resources that kids growing up in a stable environment would possess.

This week, however, we have an unusually high number of special needs kids. Kids who come from the same background that most of our kiddos come from, but who have been physically affected by their environment. One little boy has brain damage because he was so severely abused as a child. Another set of brothers suffer from seizures and other medical issues as a result of their mother’s drug use. Several of our kids come from a homeless shelter, and spent the entire night last night worrying and crying that they needed to go “home.” And we have several more kids who are obviously mentally handicapped in some way. The truth is that even if their handicap is not a direct result of their environment, most of them are not receiving the medical support and intervention their need demands.

Honestly, my heart seems softer to the “bad” kids than to these kids. They are hard to deal with, difficult to reach, impossible to reason with, and they make me feel as though the situation is hopeless. Drugs, violence, poverty, welfare, lack of healthcare . . . The cycle never stops, and these kids are the victims of a tragedy that is neither acknowledged nor fought against.

When I find myself praying to God, asking “why don’t You do something?” I hear a gentle whisper respond, “I did do something. I made you.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some Cute Little Camp Toes

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is feet. As a general rule, I don't love feet. I don't DISLIKE them per say, I'm just no Tanner from the Bachelorette (and I think we're all glad, because he is slightly very creepy). Despite not loving feet, I really do ADORE feet pictures (for the most part). There's just something so symbolic and cool about feet isn't there? They take you places, if you know what I mean.

I thought about taking some pictures of MY feet at camp. Because the levels of dust and dirt and general nastiness? Is not to be believed. But then I realized I was too embarrassed, lest the internet conclude that I do not believe in personal hygiene (and, my friends, I DO).

So then I thought I should show y'all Adam's kickin' Chacos tan. When he's barefoot, he looks like he's still wearing some sweet white Chacos. He should be on a commercial or something, for realz.

But then I have been watching Jayci the past few days, and realized that this picture sums up her camp experience. She has spent most of camp lounging in her "skroller" and propping her feet up, taking it all in . . .
Check out more feet pictures over at I Heart Faces!
One more thing: Can I just tell you how BORED Jayci is going to be when we go home next week? She has become so accustomed to everyone fawning over her, to watching kids run around buck-wild, to riding around on golf-carts and such . . . life at home with mom is surely going to be quite the let-down for her.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Beginning of the End

I honestly cannot believe that this is our last week of camp. I mean, my body can believe it, seeing as it's straight exhausted. But my heart? It wishes we had at least a few more weeks of kids coming to camp.

Last week (the week that my metro kidz were here) was exhausting (I know, I like using the same word over and over ok? Have I mentioned I'm exhausted?) Since they are MY kiddos, I felt totally responsible for all the misbehavior. I also had to remind myself repeatedly that the reason they are so bad is that their homes and circumstances are also so bad. Seriously, it's true.

Anyways, here's a few pictures from last week. There's a possibility that once I'm back from camp and my brain isn't in constant 7-11 year old mode, I MIGHT or might not start actually writing more in my posts. But for now, pictures are all I got (see? did you even read that last sentence? atrocious)

My girls. Love them, even though they might have given their counselors permanent headaches.
She loves camp. For realz.

With my boys. Love them just as much as my girls.


Body Rock aka Jamaican Dancing. Don't worry, I don't do it. No one wants to see me dance. Plus, if I dont try, then my kiddos assume I DO have rhythm. Ha.
Quite possibly the two cutest kids ever (besides Jayci obviously), and they are MY kiddos :-) Please try to refrain from melting at all the cute-ness.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Kids Call it 'Falling Out'

Speaking of loving each other, I think the kiddos have the whole “loving Jayci” part DOWN PAT. For realz. Because every time they see her, it’s like bees on honey. And they’re all: “oh hey little mama, you’re just the cutest little thing, you’re so pretty, I love you so much, you’re the cutest baby in the world, you’re so smart, I love you itsy bitsy, hey pretty” (and so on and so forth)
But I’m a little worried at the fawning is going straight to her head. She may be getting a little too big for her britches these days. And now she throws mini-temper tantrums (full-on arched back and screaming) about EVERYTHING that doesn’t go her way. Annoying right? I have no idea where she gets that whole unrealistic expectation thing from.

As an aside, anyone have any advice on what to do when your 9 month old throws royal temper tantrums/hissy fits? I can only hope that she’s doing this now INSTEAD of when she’s two, rather than as a WARM UP for when she’s two.

Oh and Adam had a counselor cut him a new hair and beard style the other day. When he walked out with it, I was torn between laughing hysterically and feeling embarrassed. But then blog-fodder won out and I took a picture instead. I know, hot right? I’m not sure if he was going for Wolverine or what, but I just don’t know that it’s working for him.

Henceforth I shall refer to him as “weird beard,” as one of this week’s kiddos so aptly dubbed him. There is nothing I love more than watching Adam make these kids laugh. And let me tell you, his new look has been a great success in that area. For realz.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Too Tired to Type

So here are a few pictures from the last two weeks of camp instead. And by "a few," I mean "a lot." Because when I cant ramble in writing, I need to do it in pictures instead.

Look how thrilled and excited this little guy is to be in a picture with me.



Saturday, July 11, 2009

WINNER and Thanks!

I could not be more grateful to all my sweet friends (both old and new) and left comments on the post about our story. We continue to be both humbled and encouraged by the way God is using our story . . .

Anyways, I know you are all anxiously waiting -- the winner of the giveaway (using random.org) is Pam D! I'm so glad she won because she wrote just about the sweetest post ever about the giveaway - it brought tears to my eyes.

To everyone who didn't win, thanks again for watching - I'd love for you to pass our story along, and read Irresistible Revolution and watch Anthem. The End.

Unrealistic Expectations and Excessive Pouting

*First of all, thanks so much to all of you who watched my video and entered the giveaway! I will post the winner later today!

I feel as though some of you think more highly of me than you should. Because let me tell you, my heart has NOT been in the right place this week. I have been selfish and whiny and bratty and annoyingly pouty (hey maybe some of the campers have been rubbing off on me!)

See, I have this problem with UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS and unusually high levels of “hissy fit” when those expectations aren’t met. I think I may have had this problem from an extremely young age, considering one of my earliest memories is of throwing a full-blown tantrum at Disney World because I THOUGHT we were going to start with Space Mountain, but instead we started with the Teacup Ride. I mean can you imagine the gall of my parents to do that to me? Ahem.

Anyhow, back to camp and my unrealistic expectations. See my job title at camp has always been “hang out with the kids” oh and I do a little office work on the side (plus working for my dad part-time – I added that in just in case he reads this and panics that I forgot I am on HIS payroll still . . . ) Basically, that has meant a LOT of time for me to build relationships, swim with kids, talk to them about life, race them down the slide, and lose to them in basketball.

As it turns out, however, this year is a little different. Why? Oh just a little something we like to call JAYCI. Who knew having a child took up so much time? Not me apparently, because in my head this year of camp was going to be just like the last two years. And it’s not. I’ve found myself having a really bad attitude because I’m just not having enough FUN at camp. And that’ s what it’s all about right? Me having fun. Or not.

Tonight, I decided to walk down to the kids who were camping out to roast (and consume) a few or six smores. Because nothing drowns my sorrow like large amounts of sugar. (Speaking of sugar, some nice people from Kellar Williams brought us at least – no exaggerating seriously – 200 cupcakes. I might or might not have eaten four so far today.)

Wow, I am seriously darting down the rabbit trails today aren’t I? Sorry for all the rambling. Where was I? Oh yes, the smores. So I was walking down the VERY DARK path from the “fort” to the campsite, and I looked up at the stars. And y’all? It laid me flat-out. (Literally, I totally tripped) But figuratively too; because it turns out that there are WAY more stars out there than I usually see. And God knows them each by name.

Walking under those stars, with lightening from a receding storm flickering in the distance and a cacophony of frogs and bugs all around me, I was reminded that we serve a God who is both creative and powerful. And He loves me. And He loves Jayci. And He loves each and every one of these kiddos. And He wants us to love each other. And THAT is what this is all about.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Debut and a Giveaway

I seriously don't think I could be more excited about this post. Actually that's not true, i totally could be -- but only if it also involved Mexican food, diet coke, and Chick-fil-a. I am feeling seriously deprived being at camp. If anyone feels like sending me any of the afore-mentioned goodies, well I would not complain.

Anyways, back to the point. Because I DO have one. And it's a big one too. Adam and I have some friends, whom I have introduced you to before. These friends have a ministry called Broken Voices. Their whole aim in their ministry is to "share stories that inspire you to begin dreaming big and acting now with your life." As it turns out, they wanted OUR little ol' lives to be one of those stories.

So they interviewed us, and followed us around downtown, and even came down to camp. And today they release our 'episode' -- I am so excited about it. Oh and a little nervous to see how I look on camera. I never like how my voice sounds on video. I like to believe that every single camera captures it inaccurately.

To celebrate this momentous on-screen debut, Adam and I thought it would be fun to host my very first giveaway EVER.

What, you may ask, can you win? As a matter of fact, you can win TWO things!! I know, you could not be more excited. For realz.

The first thing you can win is a book we talk about in our interview, as the impetus for our movement into inner-city ministry. The book (which I told you a little more about here) is called The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.

Secondly, you will win a copy of Broken Voices' full-length movie, Anthem. Trust me, it will move you and change your view of what it means to serve God with your life.

So basically, if you DO NOT want to be CHANGED -- do NOT enter this giveaway.

Oh and the details: All you have to do to enter is go on over to the Broken Voices website and watch our episode. Then come back here and leave a comment regarding how fantastic it was or what your favorite part was. Or you could talk about my impeccable fashion sense and style and how skinny I look . . . Oh I kid. All you need to do is leave a comment, any comment. You dont even actually have to watch the episode (because honestly I have no idea how to verify said watching . . . )

Also, you can get an extra entry for becoming a follower, and another extra entry for twittering or blogging about the giveaway. Just be sure to leave me an extra comment letting me know.

I'll leave comments open til Friday and pick the winner on Saturday. Oh and just some words of wisdom: even if you don't win, I HIGHLY recommend both reading the book and watching the movie. Totally worth it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Patriotic . . . Sort of

As it turns out, I am not all that patriotic. I didn't take a single picture of my little baby girl in her cute fourth of July outfit. And let's be honest, the only reason she even HAS a cute outfit for the fourth is that her grandma bought it for her. Now it may have something to do with the fact that I am NOT, in fact, American. That's right, I'm Canadian - complete with a green card. But I LIVE in America. So basically, I'm nationality-confused.

Anyhow, since I don't have any pictures to share from the fourth, I was not sure I could participate in this week's I Heart Faces. However, I felt the need to share a little bit more about another side of our country. One which needs much prayer and healing.

These kids are AMERICAN. They were born in raised in America's cities, not in some slum in Africa. Yet, many of them won't be eating three meals today. They celebrated the fourth of July to the tune of gunshots being fired overhead.
Some of them are homeless.
Some of them have fathers in "the j word" who are "very bad men." They have nightmares and wake up screaming in the middle of the night.
Some of them have big toothless grins and killer robot-dance moves, despite abandonment and hurt.
Some of them have sisters with different fathers, all of whom are in prison.
But regardless of who they are and what they suffer, these are America's children. Let's take some time today to think about the country we live in, and the others who live here with us. And pray. Please people, pray.

*Oh and visit I Heart Faces for more patriotic pictures and stories!
*PS - Please check back tomorrow for an EXTRA special post featuring our movie debut . . . oh and a giveaway (my first ever!) :-)

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm on my Spirit High

Our counselors are pretty much all way cooler than me. See exhibit A: They can rap.

Not only that, but God has equipped them and given them stories and histories that are PERFECT for working with these kids. They've been through gangs, violence, drugs, sex, and more. And at the end of it all? They found Jesus to be FAR more satisfying. I cannot think of a better lesson for our kiddos to learn NOW instead of at the end of that path.

Spirit High from Becca Stanley on Vimeo.


Now they use their music, their words, and their lives to bring glory to God -- and I love it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Things I Hope to Never Forget

Wednesdays are my favorite days at camp. Why? Because Wednesday nights we share the gospel story with the kiddos. And let me just remind you, that is what this whole thing is all about. For real.

Seeing lives changed, kids transformed: it never gets old. No matter how many weeks, how many years, I do this – I inevitably find myself with tears pooling in my eyes when I see the light come on in theirs. What? It's not like I'm emotional or anything.

Last night I walked through our "Cross Walk" presentation with Jayci before bed. And I was blown away anew by hearing the message of salvation in such a fresh way.

The walk starts just as dusk falls. It meanders through the woods beside the lake, on a dirt path lit by torches. Along the way the children encounter Pilate, get to hold and feel some of the "tools" of the crucifixion, see Jesus being beaten (or "whooped" as they describe it later)and hung on the cross, and then finally they visit the "empty tomb" and hear Mary Magdalene describe how she felt when she realized her Savior was alive. Not only are the kids moved, but I was moved too. Realizing anew how great his sacrifice was, and recognizing my own first joy in Mary's story . . . it was a powerful way to reconnect with my Savior under the stars.

And let me just tell you, there are going to some more really cool kiddos in heaven one day as a result of last night. There were LOTS of kids who made the decision to accept Christ.

One of my favorite little kiddos this week described his experience to me by saying "it feels like a big weight has been lifted off me." Wow. I dont think I even have anything to add to that. Hallelujah and Amen.

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