These are friends that have history together - supporting each other in very hard life struggles and exciting victories as we seek to have our lives point to God's glory in it all. It's amazing all the stories wrapped up in these 5 families (missing a few for sure that couldn't make it) - and it's such a blessing to be apart of these stories, walking through life and praying for each other through it all as we go. In these pictures hides life stories like supporting a husband as he finishes his doctorate, enduring the deep grief of losing one's first born at full-term, dealing with a son that might have Asperger's Syndrom (autism), almost losing a 4 year old daughter to Ecoli, adopting a beautiful little girl from India, just returning from a mission trip in China, working through 2 years of major family health issues, moving home after 10 years of living 1000 miles away, grieving together as we lost one of "our own" in Jeanne Hazelton's 3 year battle with Breast Cancer on her 48th b-day, supporting each other as our pastor of 3 young kids nearly died with a sudden brain aneuryism and having the joy more than 10 years later of his miraculous recovery, and working through and becoming stronger in the Lord because of the difficulties that ultimately closed our church down and so much more. The deep sadnesses of life and the triumphs, all shared together, even now as we are spread out across this Oregon land.
2 families at the last minute weren't able to come, and many more families that make up this rich circle of friendship were also not there but the entire Labor Day campout passed in a fast whir of non-stop talking, catching up, religious and political conversations, and tons of laughter.
All Beavers (except for one couple!) from the land of Corvallis, OR, we have similar world views, God views, and political views making conversations rich in depth and infinitely encouraging.
The Girls. All friends since before kids arrived on the scene. Just as happy doing a Victorian Tea party together as we are mountain biking, backpacking, camping, swapping latest book reads or crafting (quilting and scrapbooking being our favorites!) together. It's possible that I am a bit happier camping then a couple of these hardy gals, but they all do it with smiles! I am continuously amazed at the balance these friends seek in their lives between God, personal fitness, professional careers, creative parenting, continuous collegiate education, gardening, and home cooking!
The Guys (mine is the one on the far left). Guys that can talk about God 'till 2 in the morning around a campfire, give each other a good night hug (to say, "even though we don't totally see eye to eye on everything, I love you bro!") , and then get up the next day and rip out a killer mountain bike ride together.
And this final picture, sums up the sentiments of our Labor Day annual camping trip.