Just routine…

Not too much going on around here….just routine, I suppose.  This week we have 14 campers (I know, a very small number), ages 11-12 boys.  I think Paul and I are very spoiled that this is our first year of camp and we have such small numbers.  Last year they had anywhere from 50-55 campers each week, plus lots of guest groups.  This year our guest group numbers are way down and our camper numbers are smaller, too.  We are spoiled…but I think God is blessing us and taking care of us, seeing as it is our first year.  Thank you, God, for providing us with a slower summer for getting our feet wet in this new camping experience.

Speaking of feet, mine are tired.  It’s hard standing on your feet most of the day, working 12 hour days in the kitchen.  That’s right…I’m doing all 3 meals now…there was another cook that worked here, but let’s just say she no longer works here…so it’s all me!  I’m doing OK…I get some breaks in between meals, so that’s nice.  Right now I’m on break…I would watching The Bachelorette from last night, but I’m in the office, waiting on a phone call.

Paul is doing OK.  I think he is wearing himself down (he was sick on Friday and Saturday with almost 101 degree fever).  We went to the doctor on Sunday morning but the doctor said it was only a virus and there was really nothing she could do for him.  But, of course, it cost a pretty penny b/c they did a strep test…Paul seems to be doing better, but his voice is slowly fading, which should make his chapel message interesting tonight.

Two dates I am looking forward to:  July 26th and August 23rd.  Starting July 26th I get 7 days off!!  I think my parents are coming to visit us…too bad Paul will be gone for 4 days while they are here (he really is sad…wink, wink)…and, then, on August 23rd we are going to Colorado for 7 days for vacation!  I can’t wait…

But, until then, I will continue to press on…”I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14


This week the Teen Girls dressed up the boys counselors as Superheroes!  This included Paul as well….Some of them were a little questionable, but the girls had fun!

Turtle Boy

Fish Boy-the Winner!

Barbi Boy

Nature Boy

Mole Man-able to dig really fast

The winner had to eat this sandwich-you don't want to know what's on it!


Happy Birthday, Paul

Today is Paul’s birthday!  In the craziness and the busyness of life while at camp, I’m not sure if we are going to get to celebrate as much as I would like.  We went out to eat last Saturday for lunch and I think we are going to have a cake this Friday, but not much today, on his actual birthday.  So, this is my tribute to my husband.

I cannot imagine my life without Paul.  He is my best friend, my rock, the glue that keeps me together.  He is amazing and always knows how to bring me down to another level if I’ve gotten upset or discouraged about something.  Paul has a servant’s heart and always wants to help people (I know he gets that from his dad).  He is very patient and very easy going (which proves difficult at times for me b/c I’m not very patient, but I think we make a good team).

Paul has the ability to always make me a laugh, even when I am in tears over something.  He is a hard worker but knows how to balance time as well, which is a good rub off on me, as well.

Thank you, God, for my wonderful husband.  I could not imagine where I would be if he had not asked me to marry him 3 1/2 years ago.  I still remember the day so clearly and I hope it is always etched in my mind of the day I said yes to become Mrs. Paul Tanner.

Here are some pictures of us through the years that we have known each other.  If you don’t know our story, here’s a recap…

We met in August of 2005

Started dating in September of 2005

Bought a ring in October of 2005

Got engaged in November of 2005

Got married in May of 2006

Just Passing Through…

Oh, the joys of Facebook!

Last Monday (a week ago) I saw on FB where my friend, Brooke, said she and her family were driving to Wisconsin.  Well, in order to get to Wisconsin you have to go through Illinois (unless you go a really roundabout way)…I commented on her status and asked her if she was passing through the Peoria area (we are only 30 minutes north of Peoria).  And, to our luck, they were coming our direction…

So we had a wonderful visit from our friends from Texas.  It was so good to see familiar faces and share our life here with people from home. 

The Sweet Kalnbach family

The Sweet Kalnbach family

We’re Back…

We’ve been without internet since Friday…but we’re back…

Isn’t it funny to think how much we rely on internet/e-mail for information, news, weather, insight, conversations, etc…

We (everyone at camp) wanted to know what the weather was going to be today…we also said, “Well, I don’t know…we don’t have internet, so we can’t check it.”

I thought to myself…I really want to talk to Kara, my close and dear friend but I don’t have e-mail or Facebook…DUH!!  We do have telephones…(sorry, Kara, I did think about you, but I didn’t call…)  I’ll e-mail you tomorrow, though.  🙂

My mom e-mails me a couple of times and doesn’t get a response, so then she calls…she worries when she doesn’t get an e-mail from me…

It’s funny how our world revolves around the computer…

Anyway, we’re back…

We started Week Two today…20 teenage girls; this should be fun!  Paul and I enjoyed our day off on Saturday, complete with going out to lunch at Old Chicago for his birthday (his birthday is this coming Tuesday, the 23rd).  The service was slow but the company was good.  But, you will not believe what I saw at the restaurant.  At the table next to us, there was what looked to be a grandma, a mom, and a little girl having lunch together.  The little girl had a portable DVD player at the table and was watching a Disney movie while sitting at the table!   I couldn’t believe it…now our families can’t even go out to eat anymore without watching T.V….what has the world come to?!!

Anyway, think of us this week!!

Week One

It’s been a long week and it’s only Wednesday…

I can’t really show you any pictures, so I’ll just tell you about it…

Our first week of campers arrived on Sunday afternoon (we have 19 teenage boys) and will be here through Friday morning.  They are typical teenage boys…picking on each other, talking back, roughhousing with each other, etc…boys will be boys, I suppose….

Paul is enjoying his time as Program Director.  He’s had some LONG days and SHORT nights, but overall, it’s going well.  I’ll have to ask him to post one of these days to give you his perspective.   The first week is almost like a “trial week” (tweeking schedules, learning how to do things, remembering something we might’ve forgotten)…by the end of Week Seven, we’ll be pros (or completely exhausted and dead on our feet)!  Tyler says Paul is very lucky…his week has gone smoothly so far…I think Tyler is jealous (Tyler used to be the Program Director a few years ago). 

I’ve had some long days on my feet.  Yesterday (through Friday) I worked (will work) 13 1/2 hour days in the kitchen.  I have to work all 3 meals, which means I’m in the kitchen at 6:00AM and out of the kitchen by 7:30PM…long days on my feet.  Yesterday I walked 5.61 miles, just walking in the kitchen and today I walked 7.01 miles…that’s just in the kitchen, dining hall, walk-in cooler, etc…by the end of the summer my calf muscles are going to be huge!

I wish I could say how the boys are doing, other than seeing them at meals, but because I’m in the kitchen so much, I hardly see them outside of mealtimes.  Here’s a rough “schedule” of what they doing during the day…

7:00-up and shower (in the dining hall bathroom, which means for the last 3 mornings I’ve found underwear and toothbrushes on the table…they get embarrassed when I hold the underwear up and someone has to claim it)…


8:30-clean cabins

9:00-9:40-bible study

9:40-12:30-different activities (b-ball, archery, field games, volleyball, etc)



3:00-4:00-rest/back in cabin

4:00-5:30-different activities



7:00-8:30-field games


9:30-get ready for bed

That’s just a rough estimate of what they do…but as you can see, they are busy, which is good b/c it keeps them out of trouble (or at least I like to think it does).  All of our campers will roughly follow that same schedule each week.  In bible study and chapel time they are studying “The Jesus Chronicles” and watching clips out of the movie, “The Gospel of John.”  Some of the kids have asked some interesting questions (and referenced to other stories they know, which is cool).  Just continue to pray for their hearts…that they will be touched by our love and commitment to them, despite our fatigue and short tempers at times…

Some of my favorite quotes so far:

“Dear Lord Jesus…please let this food taste good and not be nasty…”

“Dear Heavenly Father…we pray for this food; that’s there’s no bugs in it…”

“Where are the biscuits?” (I point to the biscuits) He says, “Oh, those look like flimsy waffles.”  Another kid thought the egg patties were the biscuits…strange, strange…

“Hey, we need some glow UP in the dark balls…”

The Lunch Lady

That is what I was called the other day…”The Lunch Lady”…I feel like I should have my hair in a bun and a dirty, stained apron on (instead of my cute cherry one my mom made me)…that’s what I have resorted to be is…”The Lunch Lady”


I have a new found respect for people who work in food service…anywhere…I apologize now to anyone who ever worked in the cafeteria of any school I went to or camp I attended.  I am sure, sometime in my life, I threw a napkin on the floor, dropped crumbs on the floor and didn’t pick them up, spilled something and didn’t clean it up, or took something from another table that was not mine…so, now, 20,10,5 years later, I am saying I’m sorry…

Kids do strange things in the dining hall…

I say, “_________(insert group name) there are 5 tables reserved for you, the rest are for our staff.”  They still spread out over 6-7 tables, even though I told them they could only have 5.

I put out a pitcher of lemonade on every table…I walk away and come back…one table’s pitcher is now completely empty.  I ask a Jr. High boy (that should be your first indication that something went wrong) where the lemonade in that pitcher went.  He looks at me like I’m speaking a different language.  I restated my question, “This pitcher was full; now it is empty.  Do you know what happened to it?”  He replies, “Yes, I switched it with ours b/c ours was all gone.”  So…instead of asking for more lemonade for his table (which I had extra made), he took it off of someone else’s table, so when they sat down, they wouldn’t have any…brilliant thinking by a 13 year old boy!

Vaccuums do not pick up large pieces of food or shredded up napkin pieces, so guess how many times I’ve crawled under the tables to pick up trash.

We have certain sanitation codes we have to follow (which I am grateful for).  For example, we have a serving line, which people walk through to get their food.  I put out a pair of tongs that they can use to pick up cookies (so they don’t touch every cookie on the tray).  They purposefully pick up the tongs, put them to the side of the tray and then use their fingers…(don’t worry, those tongs were just there for decoration)!

Well, I’m sure there will be more insights from “The Lunch Lady” as the summer goes on, but until then…

Please pray!  Camp starts tomorrow and I am a complete train wreck…so worried, so stressed, so scared…

Counselor Training

Last Friday, June 5th, 8 counselors showed up to work here for the summer!  Eight people, who, for the next 8 weeks, will work together, with Paul, to minister to and love all of our campers.  Please, keep them in your prayers…it’s going to be a long, fun, crazy, stressful, spiritual, rewarding, summer…



Summer has begun…

No pictures today because I can’t find the adaptor to load pictures, but I’ll just tell you what’s been going on…

This past Friday, June 5th, the 8 counselors that are working this summer arrived and we have not stopped going since…

These past few days have been really hard on me…nothing I can really explain, but definitely an adjustment…

Paul has been gone 12-14 hours a day working with the counselors and I have been busy cooking three meals a day.  Now we just see each other at meals (and a few times in between).  It’s definitely hard on me because he’s not around, but I hope that once camp starts (which is this coming Sunday) that my routine will be so “routine” that I won’t miss Paul as much.

Please pray for us and our ministry here at Great Oaks.  It’s going to be a long summer…pray for patience, endurance, and our sanity.  🙂

Mattieson State Park

I totally re-cant my last post…we went to Mattieson State park again today.  We went to a totally different part of Mattieson today and I LOVED it!  It was acutally better than Starved Rock…we took some great pictures…

PICTURE OVERLOAD!  Just a warning!!