Sunday, July 01, 2007

The View From Here

Here is the view from the Lodge at Blue Knob State Park, Group Camp 1, where we have held Girl's Camp for approximately the last 12 years. We had some rainy days, but Saturday dawned perfect and beautiful, and this view was the last thing the girls saw, like the ancient hills were blowing us a goodbye kiss and saying, "Till next year, girls!"

It was a good camp, with a new camp director and a new Young Women's president. I think the combination was a good one and everything went smoothly. There were a few of the usual incidents brought on by super-emotional teenage girls mixed with homesickness, ghost stories, bear sightings, too many bugs, and a thunderstorm or two thrown in for good measure. Everyone survived, however, and no one went home early because of anything except a family vacation starting up. The food went well-I got to know a lot of the names of the girls and most seemed happy and well-fed. Sara gave me some good feedback on favorites and not-so's.

I had one frustrating day when a fire started in the oven and I had to make the 30 minute drive to Altoona for groceries twice in one day because I forgot my list the first time. I was pretty hard on myself that day, but driving through the Pennsylvania hills calms me like few other things, and the second drive ended up being a good thing because it got me out of the kitchen. This was the view outside my car window for most of the drive from camp to Altoona:

I pretty much worked from 6 am till 8 pm every single day, but as I said before, I was not alone for a second and in fact, the opportunities that arose for uplifting interaction with the other women there who helped above and beyond what was assigned on the schedule were the best moments of the week. I got to reconnect with some dear friends in other wards, make a few new friends and be touched again by the power of loving people all working together, completely unselfishly, for the good of someone else.

Sara had a great time at camp. I was able to stay out of her way, but see her enjoy herself and she always said hi when she came through the kitchen. It was fun to see her in a different setting.

When I got back, my summer garden greeted me with bold blossoms and beautiful colors. This is the best time for flowers and butterflies. I love my hydrangeas, below, with hostas at their feet. The lilies are at their apex, with some of the more hybrid varieties just coming on. The common tiger lilies are just about done, but there are lemon yellow ones and golden, double-flowered ones, plus the liatris, dianthus and purple coneflowers are going to be beautiful in the coming weeks. I have lots of catch-up weeding to do, but I am inspired by my current reading to get back out into the garden.

Today I've ended up with all the kids gone, thanks to the fact that Johnthan volunteered to take Sam down to EFY and Sara and Evan went to Grandma's for the day. I have a day to myself to unpack, clean, organize and unwind a little. Everyone is coming over this evening to celebrate Evan's birthday, which was Saturday. Grandma Joy (my grandma), Mandi(my youngest sister) and Tim (her husband) are visiting from Arizona, so that will be a treat.


  1. what beautiful pictures! I do love the gorgeous vistas the hills of PA provide. Stunning indeed. It always makes me think what the first settlers must have felt like as they approached and discovered the various little valleys and hollows.

    Your flowers are stunning. Something's been eating my hostas and butterfly bush leaves so they seem a bit sluggish to perform as they have in the past. What can I say, I'm a lazy gardener. Good think my poppies and chrysanthemums can survive without irrigation! We are getting zucchini and cukes though! And even one tiny watermelon popped up. : ) What a perfect weather day for you to enjoy all to yourself!

  2. Blue Knob is just beautiful isn't it!! Love seeing the pics!! I am glad you had a nice time all in all. What lucky girls to eat your cooking all week!! Also, your garden is so lovely!!

  3. Ah, camp. You big wimpies staying in cabins . . . Anyway, so I love your garden shots. I had hydrangeas on my wedding cake that looked just like those. Very beautiful.

  4. I'm so glad camp was a good experience! I was amazed by how nourishing and FUN camp was for me when I went as a leader just before I moved here. I think I enjoyed it more as an adult than I did as a kid. Welcome home!

  5. What a beautiful place(PA and your garden)! The picture of your view on the way to the grocery store reminds me of my daily commute to the small rural state college I attended for several years. Enlivens the soul and gladdens the heart, I'd say.


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