Last year at this time we were midway through our #marathonmonthofministry. We’d just found out about Dwayne’s milk allergy and my sister in law and I were about to load up my car with a 2.5 month old and an 11 month old to go on a 12 hour journey to Northern Pines.
I haven’t shared much about our current #marathonmonthofministry but we are again midway through. We had 6 days between camps this year. 3 of those days were spent celebrating the life of Mike’s grandpa in Minnesota (unexpectedly) and the last two days have been madness trying to wrap up work and life and pack and prep. We’re not quite ready for the weeks ahead and I feel very emotionally spent.
Mike and I have already spent 18 hours in the car this week. Tomorrow we will add another 12 to that number. Thankfully, Dwayne was able to stay with my parents while we went to Minnesota.
I’m breaking my unplanned blogging break with a request for prayers. Please pray for safe travels tomorrow and a happy baby. Please continue to pray for Mike’s family. Please pray for rest and little stress.
We are excited for Northern Pines this year. We know God has big things planned. We’re going into camp very emotionally exhausted but we’re trusting that God will use us anyway.
I’ll keep you posted on how things are going either here or on my Instagram. Thanks for continuing to keep up with us even when I’m real bad at sharing.
So over the last few weeks I was a consistent instagram poster! You can find all of the photos and captions there, but I also wanted to share here for my own personal record. It was a long and challenging 20 days but it was so good sharing our ministry and prayer requests. I look forward to doing something like this again in the future.
Day One: Today starts a 20 day stretch of church camps and ministry for Mike and I. #marathonmonthofministry As these three weeks approached the more and more stress I started to feel. How can we spend 3 weeks away from home? How can we do 3 weeks of camp in a row? Umm energy? Umm we have a newborn? I found myself wishing for time to slow down (or stop altogether) so that planning and packing could happen with more care. But here we are on day one. Mike’s middle school youth group has arrived at the woods and there is no going back! I am planning on posting once a day here and maybe on the blog through these twenty days to give updates and to ask for prayers.
Prayer request: I get weepy thinking about how much time, energy, and thoughtfulness Mike put into this retreat. He wants this week to be the best week EVER for the kids. Pray that the Lord would move in big ways this week and that He would use Mike and his leaders to help guide these kids closer to Him.
Day Two: The theme this week is “Great than Gold” so we are playing our own Olympic Games. Each kid was randomly put into a country and they are fighting for medals all week. Today was Wet Games. Javelin (pool noodle) toss and canoe tug of war were the two I was able to see before the little man needed some food. Everything is going very smoothly (as far as I know) and the kids are having a blast!
Prayer request: We have over 40 high school students volunteering this week as counselors. Most of them spent last week out here as campers. Pray for energy and endurance for them. We couldn’t do it without them and they couldn’t do it without energy.
Pictured: Lunch at the lake before the Olympic Games began.
Day Three:Today Dwayne and I said goodbye to Mike until Saturday. I’ve gotta work and do some more serious packing for our big trip to Wisconsin on Friday. I will be at the woods in spirit though for the rest of the week.
Prayer requests: We had a counselor go home from sickness and exhaustion yesterday and a camper headed home today. It’s sad seeing these kids miss out because of illness. Pray for protection over the campers and counselors in safety and in sickness. We don’t want anyone else going home!!
Im off to go make a verrrrry long packing list 😜
Day Four: Well day one of being away from Mike has been harder than expected. We found out last week that Dwayne is most likely allergic to cows milk so I completely dropped dairy out of my diet. Apparently not fast enough because he is now dealing with what seems to be very painful reflux 😔 It could be so much worse but I’m pretty worried as we prepare to leave town for two weeks. My list keeps getting longer and longer and my babe needs me even more than normal. BUT he did go to work with me today and slept very peacefully in the ergo for two hours! I got so much done! I spoke to Mike briefly earlier and he said the retreat is going well. Yay!
Prayer Requests: Prayers for Dwayne to feel better would be much appreciated and for me as I “single parent” the next couple days. Continued prayers for the retreat and for safety over the staff and campers would also be great. Thanks!
Day Five: Wow. Thank you guys for all the love regarding yesterday’s post. Dwayne had an ok evening, a great sleep 🙌🏼, and an even better day hanging out with my mom. It is so heartbreaking seeing your baby hurt, but I’m so relieved he seems to be on the mend. Today has been wild as well. Last minute preparations, packing, work, getting my car serviced, and sneaking in a pedicure 🤗 have kept me so so busy. Now it’s just finishing packing, loading up the car, and hitting the road left on the list!
Prayer request: Safe and happy travels. My sister in law and I are leaving this evening with Dwayne and her 11 month old Pierce. We’re expecting the worst and hoping for the best! But prayers for safety and happy babies would be great!
Day Six: We made it to Green Lake!!! We survived on pacifiers, bubble guppies, and your prayers. Seriously. The babies were amazing in the car – better than we could have even dreamed. And we know it was the Lord looking out for us because this was unimaginable. So thank you thank you for your prayers for safe travels and happy babies. Now we have two very tired mommas but we are here.
Prayer Requests: Our husbands are on their way to join us and they have a long night ahead of them. Prayers for safe travels and some rest! And for @bets24 and I? We’re exhausted. Prayers for a goodnight sleep for us and the children. We need it.
Pictured: The boys last night being perfect angels in the car.
Cannot say thank you enough for the prayers people. You are warriors and we know that your prayers are what carried us here safely (and sanely) 😜 #thejaderstonstravel #marathonmonthofministry
Day Seven: I can’t believe we’re already at day 7! The boys arrived safely around 1:00 and we’ve had staff meetings fill up our afternoons. It is so great being reunited with Mike. Not having him around has made me even more grateful for his company/help/support in life. The baby cousins are just about the cutest ever and I love when they’re both on the stroller just staring at each other. Heart melt. Having them close in age is so FUN.
Prayer Requests: Mike is sick 😔 he has a sore throat and occasionally has said he had the chills… He NEVER complains about not feeling well so when he says something you know it’s serious business. Pray for another good nights rest tonight so that he can be on the mend when the campers arrive tomorrow. He’s functioning and doing a great job but it’d be nice if he felt better. Also prayers for the campers/families as they travel tomorrow to come to Pines. You guys are the best!!
Day Eight: The campers arrived today!! We can’t believe it has already begun! Dwayne has been so sought after but I’m kinda mean and won’t let the kids touch him 😳 they all mean well but their hands are covered in dirt all.the.time. Sooo all that to say, we’re still working on enforcing the rule and D had a bath in the sink just now. 🛁 There is nothing better than a clean babe. Anyways, the evening is going really well so far and the campers are so fun.
Prayer Requests: We have a lot of food allergies and medication this week. Pray that allergens would be avoided and that our “nurse” isn’t overwhelmed with the many campers’ needs. Also pray for NO HOMESICKNESS. The first night is always the hardest.
Pictured: D napping earlier today. I could just eat him up. #thejaderstonstravel #marathonmonthofministry
Day Nine: Our first full day in the Wilderness! It was a great day. I am still figuring out how to be a mom and be present with the campers but each hour gets a little easier and I am starting to find the right balance. Dwayne finally met both his great grandparents on Mike’s side of the family. Those moments were so precious!
Prayer Requests: Pray for our cabin leaders! We have 9 high schoolers serving this week and they have such a fun but exhausting job. They’re with the children almost 24/7! And then a kinda silly one… We’ve been waiting for our stroller since April 😑 and we’re having it shipped here because it’s finally available! So far we don’t know when or even if it will arrive. It would be so much easier getting around if we had it.
Pictured: Tabernacle this evening. Adam (we’re Adam and Eve here) is speaking on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. ☺️ #thejaderstonstravel #marathonmonthofministry
Day Ten: Spent most of my day snuggling this little man and I’m not mad about it. Woke up with a clogged duct which most likely means I’m pushing myself too hard 😕 I need to remember my reality. I just had a baby a short 12 weeks ago and I’m not the same gal I was last year at pines. So I will be trying to take it easier the next few days. Other than that personal hiccup, camp is going so well. Adam is doing such a good job and the kids are having a blast and learning about Jesus which is the point 👍🏼 Prayer Request: homesickness hasn’t been too bad this year, but we’ve had a couple kids struggle today. Pray for them! Thanks for all the prayers, friends. God is good!
Day Eleven: Halfway through week 1! It was family day today which meant Adam and I got a little break together. It’s never enough time, but a family nap made everything a little bit better. My role becomes more and more hands off each day as I adjust to life at camp with a baby. It’s good but it’s hard knowing I’m not getting to know the campers as well as I used to. I find myself getting sad and having to remind myself that being Dwayne’s mom and Adam’s support is my priority. It’s tough, guys. This year is just more of an adjustment than I ever expected. Also the plugged duct has cleared up 🙌🏼🙌🏼 thanks for all the suggestions – they worked!!
Prayer Requests: The baby and I haven’t gotten much sleep the last couple nights. Pray for rest. And pray for protection over the camp tonight and through the rest of the week. You da best. #marathonmonthofministry #thejaderstonstravel #dwaynehenryjaderston
Day Twelve: Happy to report that Dwayne and I slept better last night. Not as good as it once was, but better! Kids are still having a blast and were in the home stretch of week one. We broke down and sent Grandma to target to buy us a stroller. It’s a game changer. Ours is on back order until the end of next week so maybe it will be waiting for us when we get home?
Prayer Requests: Another good night of rest for D and I? And for our counselors as we finish camp, for them to finish strong with the energy they have left. 😊 #thejaderstonstravel #marathonmonthofministry #dwaynehenryjaderston
Day Thirteen: It’s the final night of week one wilderness! 😴 Prayers Requests: At least some amount of rest for our campers and a safe trip home for them tomorrow. Adam and I have a few hours off together tomorrow. Pray that we enjoy that time and can reconnect as a family of three before our next week begins 👍🏼 Pictured: D and I on Tuesday evening supervising the slip n’ slide! 📷: Orpah! #thejaderstonstravel #marathonmonthofministry #imtired
Day Fourteen: Ah! I missed a day! Yesterday was our “day off” and we had a solid seven hours of nap time and recovery. I didn’t nap, but both the boys did and I ate popcorn in bed 😝 Prayer Request: Pray for staff arrival and bonding to go well before week two starts tomorrow (today).
Day Fifteen: Campers are arriving as I type this. I can hear our excellent staff calming their nerves as they say goodbye to their kids for some of their first overnights away from home. We have a smaller group this week and another stellar group of counselors. I have no doubt that It’s going to be a great week.
Prayer Requests: Energy! All but two of our staff were here last week so it will be easy to let exhaustion take over. Pray for the Lord to give us endless amounts of energy and excitement for these kids so their week and welcome can be just a strong and wonderful as last week. Woo!
Pictured: My family had a reunion on Saturday in Kansas that we had to miss. Each family got different colored shirts so we sent my mom this selfie of us in our shirts. I love it.
Day Sixteen: Our hearts were broken last night when we heard news that a Northern Pines family was killed in a tragic accident on their way to missionary training in Colorado. A family of five. Three littles and their parents went to be with Jesus. I can’t put together words tonight but please join us in praying for these families as they mourn.
Day Seventeen: I came down with some sort of cold today 😷 but Mike let me have an uninterrupted nap this afternoon that was 🙌🏼 feeling much better but not 100%.
Prayer Requests: Continued prayers for the families that lost their loved ones and prayers that I would feel better asap.
Pictured: Story time with Orpah during our staff meeting today!
Day Eighteen: Today was family day and while out to lunch we got some very sad news that affects many of the students here this week. It’s not my story to tell, nor do I have the words or understanding to begin to tell it, but I urge you to pray with us for those who are mourning the loss of a teenage boy. Please pray for peace and comfort.
Day Nineteen: I hit a wall today. I’m exhausted. I miss my home. I miss my bed. I miss Dwayne’s crib and his own room. It’s been a great few weeks at camp but it turns out that 20 days is maybe two days too many. 😜 It doesn’t help that D is going through a growth spurt and is more clingy and sad than usual. I’ve been honest in the updates and I don’t know why I’d stop now. Today has been rough. Tomorrow will be better.
Prayer requests: Two more days! Pray for me to be positive and to have patience. I can’t do it on my own. I need God’s help. #owningit Pray for our counselors who are soo tired. And please continue to pray for those mourning.
Pictured: The only place Dwayne will sleep today 😍 but also wish I could take a shower 😝
Day Twenty: Still haven’t showered, but motherhood amirite? Today has been a better day 🙌🏼 and it’s been a little sad wrapping things up here in Wisconsin. We’re so ready to resume our normal routine, but it was a little reassuring when “camp is over” sadness hit. There is a reason we do this. We’re called to it and we love it (even when we don’t love it). People have asked us why we signed up for 20 days of crazy and even I have questioned it myself a handful of times. Truth is, we never really talked about it. We just signed up. And I think that’s the answer. We’re here because God needed us here. And now we go home because God knows that 20 days is enough for now.
Prayer Requests: Driving home tomorrow is a long journey on small amounts of energy 😴 pray for safety. Pray for wide eyes and good conversation. Pray for a happy baby. And pray for all the families leaving camp and driving home.
Pictured: Dwayne napping earlier. I could have showered but I decided to nap with him. I’d rather be dirty than tired 😁
I can’t thank you lovely people enough for following along and mostly for praying for us. We felt all the prayers – through the ups and the downs of ministry and traveling with a newborn. We survived. And it was wild. But so worth it.
Well, I wasn’t able to update the blog like I’d hoped last week, so I am here today with a big recap (mostly photos) of our week at Westminster Woods.
We had approximately 120 students out at camp this week for Mike’s middle school youth group’s summer retreat.That’s a mouthful, but it was a great time. Thank goodness for our 25+ high school leaders who lead our small groups and stay in the cabins with the middle schoolers on retreats.
My brother in law was one of the Student Ministry interns this summer so he had the opportunity to speak on the summer retreat. I loved watching him come to life in front of the students. He definitely has a gift in speaking and I can’t wait to see where the Lord takes that.
Mike also did a lot of the speaking – and leading – and explaining. The top photo is during one of his talks. The bottom photo is him announcing who won the golden duster (cleanest cabin) for the day. It’s so fun to see him work at camps, he’s completely in his element.
By midweek Alfie gets pretty exhausted so we have dedicated nap time for him (and me). He gets so snuggly when he’s tired – I love it.
Just livin’ the Lou life with a midweek family nap | We take FOB very seriously
Walking in peace and quiet | Between the trees
Alfie doesn’t have any fun at camp | No fun at all
Just your typical hose down post game day
At this point he was exhausted, dehydrated, and allowing me to hold him like a baby | What a guy
Socks and sandals | together 4eva
LAST DAY! | We’re not tired…
Within an hour of being home and getting some chipotle in their bellies, I found the men of our house passed out on the couch. I think it’s hilarious that the tallest one is on the smallest couch and the short one is on the biggest couch | Seems logical to me.
While they slept, I unpacked, went grocery shopping, and gave the pup a bath. He doesn’t like bath time but since he was so tired he was very compliant.
And that was our week! Weeks out at camp always go by so quickly but we’ll be back out at the Woods before we know it. Now we’re switching gears and prepping for the Wilderness at Northern Pines. Thankfully we have a few days of turn around!