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      Indian Lake Christian Camp

      This past week was a big week for the Stolpe family. Hannah went to Indian Lake Christian Camp for the whole week. The camp which is located in Darlington, MD is a summer camp sponsored by various Independent Christian churches.

      We dropped Hannah off last Sunday and helped her get setup in the Nazareth cabin where she stayed with two other girls from our church. Honestly, I was a little concerned when we left; but Hannah was more than ready to be on her own. She had an incredible time swimming, playing water games, doing skits, going to chapel, attending classes, eating from the canteen and the dining room, and just plain having fun.

      When we picked her up, she looked about 2 years older and 2 inches taller. One of the things that was really exciting to hear was that she decided on her own to attend a special class on baptism. She hasn’t quite stepped over this line in her faith journey yet, but we can sense that it may be coming.

      Hannah can’t wait to go again next year.
      Until the next post…

      AEX/GCC visitors…

      Yesterday, we had the honor of a visit from the Hackworth family. John “Hack” Hackworth was my roommate for two years at Grove City College and was also the best man in our wedding. I am so grateful for our friendship.

      I’m quite convinced that the reason this friendship has lasted despite the years and miles apart is because of our bond in Christ. We were both part of a men’s Christian housing group known as AEX which stood for Adelphoi En Christo – Brothers in Christ. It was as part of this group that we wrestled with subjects like holiness, stumbling blocks, and unity.

      We also had a blast making up hall games like Plinko, Bathroom Ball, Power Oblate, 17 Ball, and others to be sure. We also had are fair share of on and off campus fun – returning books to the Buhl at 3 AM, playing NBA Jams outside the GeeDunk, going on Kings runs and midnight County Market runs, climbing into dryers at the Grove City laundry mat, and getting in a quick round of frisbee golf around the self-designed GCC frisbee golf course.

      I will hold on to these memories forever.

      Until the next post….

      Stretch Video

      This is my first time trying something like this, so bear with me. I think that I’m putting in a link to our church’s Stretch camp video review. The video provides a small glimpse into how cool the event was. Imagine 250+ kids enjoying this and more.

      Ain’t No Rock

      Yesterday, I planted three of four shrubs/trees at our house. This turned out to be quite a task. For one, it was in the mid 90s and humid. Secondly, it hasn’t rained here for a while, and we have some of the worst soil known to man. The soil is filled with rocks for at least the first two feet. Despite the effort required to tackle this task, I enjoyed my time outside working with my hands. Times like this give me a chance to think and pray about the things going on around me.

      One thing that I was reminded of through all this digging was a passage from Luke 8:1-15 which describes the Parable of the Sower. In this story, Jesus tells about a farmer who sows seeds. Some lands on good soil. Some lands on rocky soil. Some lands on a path. Some lands on ground surrounded by weeds. The seed which fell on the rock grew up but then withered because there was no moisture.

      In reflecting further on this passage, I realized that we cannot always control how our “seed” will be received. But just like a farmer works his soil, removing the rocks, adding key nutrients, providing moisture, and making it fertile, we can be diligent in working the soil. Encouraging one another. Providing instruction and teaching. Correcting and rebuking with great patience. Watering with words of wisdom.

      Just a few thoughts from a few hours of digging.

      Until the next post….

      Ain't No Rock

      Yesterday, I planted three of four shrubs/trees at our house. This turned out to be quite a task. For one, it was in the mid 90s and humid. Secondly, it hasn’t rained here for a while, and we have some of the worst soil known to man. The soil is filled with rocks for at least the first two feet. Despite the effort required to tackle this task, I enjoyed my time outside working with my hands. Times like this give me a chance to think and pray about the things going on around me.

      One thing that I was reminded of through all this digging was a passage from Luke 8:1-15 which describes the Parable of the Sower. In this story, Jesus tells about a farmer who sows seeds. Some lands on good soil. Some lands on rocky soil. Some lands on a path. Some lands on ground surrounded by weeds. The seed which fell on the rock grew up but then withered because there was no moisture.

      In reflecting further on this passage, I realized that we cannot always control how our “seed” will be received. But just like a farmer works his soil, removing the rocks, adding key nutrients, providing moisture, and making it fertile, we can be diligent in working the soil. Encouraging one another. Providing instruction and teaching. Correcting and rebuking with great patience. Watering with words of wisdom.

      Just a few thoughts from a few hours of digging.

      Until the next post….

      Super Nanny Comes to Schwenksville

      Leanne and I are preparing for a “parenting discussion” group that we are hosting this fall. Here’s a clip from the advertisement that we put out to plug our group:

      Super Nanny Comes to Schwenksville!
      Parenting has got to be one of the toughest jobs. Wouldn’t it be great if you had the tools to help you succeed?
      Check out a discussion group designed just for you! Together, we’ll use clips from the ABC series, Super Nanny, to kickoff discussions about a variety of parenting topics.
      You’ll leave each week with practical advice from other parents, insights from the Bible, and a fun activity to try at home with your kids.
      Starting Tues., Sept. 18, 2007 and finishes up Nov., 13, 2007 at the home of Jon and Leanne Stolpe

      We’d love to know what you think. We’re finalizing discussion topics, questions, and take home applications as we speak.

      Until the next post….

      Keeping My Two Bosses Happy

      Our church is doing a three part series titled The Office. On Sunday, Matt Silver spoke about “Keeping My Two Bosses Happy.” The subject matter hit home for me, and I thought I might share my notes.

      First, we are designed to work. See Genesis 2:15, Proverbs 6:9-11, I Thessalonians 3:10, and Colossians 3:23.
      Matt used Philippians 2:3-4 as his main verse for asking the following questions:

      1. Who are you going to cheat?
      Implying that you can cheat your work or you can cheat your wife and your family, Matt used a quote from Andy Stanley’s book Choosing to Cheat that applied very well to this question.

      2. Are you cheating your family?
      How much time are you spending with your family. According to observations, fathers on average spend 37 seconds communicating with their children each day. That’s lousy!

      3. Are you cheating yourself?
      Physically, Spiritually, Emotionally – Lately, I feel like my physically gas tank is on the empty side of the “gas gauge.” I’ve been fighting a cold. My workouts have been few and far between the last three weeks or so do to work demands and involvement with Kids Camp.

      4. Are you sure your busy season will pass?
      It’s easy to convince ourselves that we won’t always be busy at work. Is this really true?

      At the conclusion, I walked away with the following priority list for the roles that I have. First, I’m a Christ follower. Second, I’m a husband. Third, I’m a dad. Fourth, I’m a project manager/engineer.

      Matt, thanks for the great reminders!

      Until the next post….

      Miller Family Reunion

      Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending my first Miller Family Reunion. This was a family reunion for my mother-in-laws family. (Interestingly enough, my mom’s maiden name is also Miller. Don’t worry. They are not related.) We had a wonderful time eating, talking, and playing together. The kids especially enjoyed the huge slide at Mammoth Park.

      I was amused by the business meeting which took place as part of this family gathering. Voting of officers, reading of last year’s meeting minutes, treasurer’s report, and discussion of next year’s time and place for reunion were all items discussed at the meeting. I learned that this reunion had been taking place every year since the 1930s. Amazing!

      The only part of this whole thing that I regret is that we didn’t make it to one of these reunions before Leanne’s grandma, Ruth Miller, passed away. I know she would have enjoyed showing off her granddaughter’s family to the rest of the Miller clan.

      I hope this is an event that becomes more regular for our family.

      Until the next post….

      Idlewild Park

      Yesterday, we went to Idlewild Park and Soak Zone located in Ligonier, PA. This little amusement park has been around for quite a while. In fact, my parents-in-law went there as children. The park boasts some old time rides along with a few new ones.

      Isaac took a couple of rides on his first roller coaster – Rollo Coaster. This is a great introduction to first time roller coaster riders as it is only 27 feet high and 900 feet long. I was encouraged by Isaac’s enthusiasm for the ride as it gives me hope that I may have a riding partner for other bigger coasters.

      Hannah especially enjoyed the water park and the rides that make me dizzy like Scrambler, Howler, and Tilt-A-Whirl. She also enjoyed pampering her cousin Maleah who was enjoying her first visit to Idlewild. Maleah enjoyed everything, but I think she liked the trolley ride through the Land of Make Believe the best.

      As for Leanne, she enjoyed a return visit to her former place of employment. She was especially fond of her surprise performance on the outdoor stage. Refer to Maleah’s blog to see a clip from her performance.

      I wasn’t feeling the best as I have been battling a post Kids Camp/Stretch cold, but I did enjoy the time with family.

      If you’re in western PA, I highly recommend checking out this fun amusement park. As a side note, you can bring your lunch/dinner and leave it under one of the many picnic pavilions. I was absolutely amazed that nobody bothers your stuff.

      Until the next post….

      Travels

      Tonight, I traveled across the state to be with Leanne, the kids, my parents-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my niece. It was a nice quiet trip in the car with Iso (our black lab), and a great reunion with family. I’m looking forward to a couple of days of rest, relaxation, and family fellowship. We return on Saturday night in time for church and for dropping Hannah off for her first over night all week camp.

      Until the next post….