Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Jewel of Gresham Green

Camping was a blast! It was absolutely the best vacation ever. We spent five days without any arguments (other than squabbles among the kids), the weather was glorious, and it was just the most wonderful time. My stepbrother Jeremy and his wife Krissy came up, and it was the first time that we really had the opportunity to get to know them. Mia absolutely adores her "new" aunt and uncle, and they were great with her. Doogie loved them because they are close to his age and treated him like a peer instead of like a kid, and Molly enjoyed how much fun they added to the trip. Mom, Jeff, Jesse, and I spend a lot of time together so throwing in Jeremy and Krissy gave the trip new spirit for fun and games. The nights were super cold. Molly slept with Mia just for the shared body heat, and we all used every single blanket we brought and wished for more.

We are got seriously sunburned, and my ankles are tattooed with mosquito bites. Jeff bought a tube to pull behind his boat which made for more fun. Molly's head bobbed so hard, we could see her ponytail bouncing all the way on the other side of the lake. We could hear Jake's screams all the way as well. There was lots of fishing, if not many fish caught. It was so good to be away from the world for awhile. The only time I used my phone was to text my friend Tammy for the results of So You Think You Can Dance (Joshua won!). No cell phone, no internet, no TV, and I didn't miss it one bit. Not even a little. We took tons of pictures, so I'll be posting them until you all are sick of them!

The Jewel of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell is the most recent book in her Gresham Chronicles series. Jewel Libby has fled Buckinghamshire with her daughter Becky's safety to the comfort of Vicar Phelps' home in Gresham. The Phelps' children are all grown up, but not all happily. Phillip is stuck in a loveless marriage, and Aleda is struggling with her first novel. Jewel's arrival in town brings changes for everyone as she touches them with her faith and kindness. She provides sympathy for the dying squire, a kind ear to Phillip and his wife, and a helping hand to Aleda. Blackwell has a talent for portraying each character as well rounded with flaws and foibles as well as incorporating history so that even readers unfamiliar with the previous books feel comfortable. Jewel is the kind of Christian we all aspire to be: kind to all, helpful, non-judgmental, and loving, and the book demonstrates what even one poor woman can do not through great acts, but small acts of consideration.

Today's pictures are of the girls and guys of camp. Girls: Mom, Molly, me holding Mia, and Krissy in front. Guys: Doogie, Jeff, Jake, Jeremy, and Jesse.