Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thank You

A huge shoutout to all those who have sent me mail while I've been here at camp. It has brightened my day every time!! Little touches from the "outside world" have been so fun. And to those who I don't know personally who have sent me something - thank YOU!!

Feel free to say hello by mail any time again! I'll only have wifi access again on Friday.

Claire Patty
Gull Lake Ministries
1988 Midlake Dr.
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Friday, June 27, 2014

First week

We finished our cleaning assignments this afternoon and headed to our staff meeting before being released for off time. As soon as they told us we could go, I think I hit the "off switch" because that's when I started feeling the tiredness kicking in. All week the Lord has sustained me with strength and energy that I know was not my own. He is good.

It's hard to believe that I'm already half way through my time here at Gull Lake. With a week of orientation and staff training, a week of Ladies' Days, and one week of camp behind me, I only have three more weeks left here in Michigan. Time is flying by!

This week of family camp was precious. I have loved working here! I had the privilege of being in the 2-3 year old classroom and hung out with five adorable kids mornings and evenings. The things that made me smile this week were hugs from little arms and their adorable voices telling stories and making things up as they played. These kids were awesome and I'm going to miss them.

I feel like at this point my thoughts are a little jumbled because I'm still processing everything that has happened so far. No kidding, my dreams have been the wildest since I got here! They keep us going all day with a packed (and wonderful!) schedule, so there isn't much time for reflection or anything of the sort. Apparently, my subconscious has kicked into high gear instead, and I process every day in my dreams. At least it's entertaining every morning when I wake up and realize what I had been dreaming about!

Here's a view into a walk I make every day up to the main building.

And here's where I'm staying for these weeks! It's in the upstairs of a house and it's almost dorm-style. There's limited space, but us girl staff have grown close quickly, so we don't mind the close quarters. It works!

God has been providing, working and showing His love to everyone here. The families this past week were great, I couldn't be serving with a better staff, and I'm looking forward to another week of camp, which starts tomorrow at 3:00 sharp with everyone arriving! Here we go!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Name

Hello from Gull Lake!

I'm on off time for the evening and thought I'd add a quick update as I go to dinner. The most important piece of news is...I have a new name!! 

My camp name for Gull Lake this Summer is "Czecholate Chip"! Call me Czecholate. That's what everyone will be calling me for the next 5 weeks. And I love it! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Off to Gull Lake (Almost)

Oh, this week has been restful. It's like the calm before the storm... and of course, I love storms! But this time of calm has been so good.

Tyler and Lara have hosted me in their apartment this week. We've cooked, watched Sherlock, explored Chicago a bit (Aquarium and Planetarium!), and drank many cups of coffee and tea. I've also had some quiet time while Tyler and Lara have been at work, which is good since tomorrow I leave for a place that will hold many new people, which will be overwhelming, but exciting too!

I can't say how thankful I am for my brothers and sisters-in-law.

Tomorrow I leave for Michigan to start the "good-kind-of-storm", that is, Gull Lake Ministries. Since cell phone and Internet usage aren't allowed during the week, I may disappear for a bit. However, if you'd like to mail me letters, that would make my day!

For the next six weeks, you could send something to...

Claire Patty
Gull Lake Ministries
1988 Midlake Dr.
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

We shall see what things are in store for these next months! It will be stretching, fun, exhausting, and delightful, I'm pretty sure. I'm ready!

Wedding Week: Back to Chicago

Fast-forward to Monday morning.

6:07 AM. This isn't what time we woke up. This is what time we went to bed.

Though none of us wanted to leave the magic of post-wedding in Ft. Collins, our crew had to get back to Chicago on Sunday. Tyler, Lara and Pavel had work to get back to, and they were my ride back to the city (not just my ride - Tyler and Lara are letting me stay with them this week!). So we packed up the car, stopped to get coffee and were on our way back to the midwest.

We all felt sad leaving Colorado - that place is dear to our hearts. There is something about Colorado that feels like a second home, not to mention, it's just stunning wherever you go.

Tyler and Lara traded off driving the 19 hours back to the city. Through sun, rain, lightning, and dark, they did great. I am extremely impressed by their driving stamina! It doesn't always take 19 hours from Ft. Collins to Chicago, but because of the rain and some road construction, it took that long.

Rolling into Chicago at sunrise was a strange thing - beautiful, in a much different way from the mountains. I still miss the mountains, but Chicago feels familiar too now.

We dropped Pavel, a friend and the wedding photographer, off at Moody (where he's working for the Summer) before heading back to Tyler and Lara's apartment.

Going to bed at sunrise is not one of my favorite things to do, but what a relief to finally get to really sleep, especially for Tyler and Lara who had driven the whole way. Many thanks to you two!!

I still can't believe that just last Saturday, Caleb and Haley got married! I'm so incredibly happy for them. Mr. and Mrs. Patty are going to have some amazing adventures together in the years to come!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wedding Week: Moments Before

In the last minutes before the wedding, all of the ladies gathered in a back room of the church where we (Haley and the bridesmaids) had all gotten ready that morning. There were snacks and light lunch things to eat to sustain us all for the rest of the afternoon. Haley carefully held a platter so as not to get anything on her dress, and I played music in her ears really loudly, so she couldn't hear the orchestra practicing the piece Haley's dad wrote for her processional.

I'll never forget the frantic running around when we realized that we could hear the orchestra playing in the sanctuary from the room we were in. Haley knew that her dad was writing the processional music, but how it sounded was a complete surprise. As Coldplay drowned out any orchestra sounds, Haley sat there in anticipation of what was to come. There was so much excitement and emotion.

At last, minutes before Haley was to walk down the aisle, all the women gathered around her and prayed. Many happy tears.

We took a couple last photos to distract us all from butterflies in our stomachs, but this is the last one I got. Kyrie, my cousin and also one of the photographers, snapped a few, and then it was time to line up outside the doors.

It was such an honor to be with Haley all of those hours preceding the ceremony. Her love for Caleb and anticipation of marriage was beautiful. True joy, the kind that brings smiles and tears, shone from that room. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wedding Week: Rehearsal Dinner

Caleb and Haley's rehearsal dinner in three words: Friends, Stories, Blessings.


Friends from Poland, Czech, Oregon, Chicago, Indiana, Denver, and all over came to celebrate with Caleb and Haley. A handful of people helped decorate before the dinner, and all pitched in by doing what they were good at. Hayley and I made Rice Krispie treats, some cut photos, others arranged flowers, while a few worked on tying bows around mason jars. As Mom said, "it takes a 'village'"!


Dad invited everyone at the dinner to share a part of Caleb and Haley's story from their own perspectives. Many people shared their specific memories from both sides of the story of how they got together. We laughed, we sighed, and all loved remembering how Caleb and Haley got to this point. What an amazing story they have! I enjoyed hearing some details that I didn't know before, as well as reminiscing on old times. How God brought these two together still amazes me, because everything fits together so perfectly.

(Side note: Dad sawed the centerpieces from Grandpa's wood, Nana provided the canning jars, and Mom printed out pictures of Caleb and Haley with everyone at the rehearsal dinner) 


After sharing stories and memories, it was time to bless Caleb and Haley as they begin this new journey together. "Continue to study each other as you change and grow," was the advice one gave. "Hold each other in your weaknesses. Live a sincere adventure, bringing the best out of each other," said another.

The parents blessed their children as well, praying for them, ushering them into the day that was ahead. It was surreal realizing that by the next day, these two would be husband and wife. Yet, it is so right and Caleb and Haley could not be better for each other. The Lord was present as prayers and praises rung out and amens echoed throughout the room.

The sweetest part of the night was how Christ-centered everything was. He truly is the center of their relationship, and relationships with all these dear people in the room. What a blessing getting to get such a picture into the body of Christ! And what a celebration of Caleb and Haley. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wedding Week: Birthday Celebration

I don't know how my Mom managed to keep up with writing and pictures last week, but she did. I, on the other hand, am going to go back to the beginning. There are photos to share and stories to tell that I don't want to miss. Last week filled us all up with precious memories.

On Wednesday, we had a last leisurely afternoon before Caleb and Haley's wedding together as the Patty and Chase family. Haley's birthday was not to be missed in the thrill of wedding week! Cupcakes, Italian sodas, a lovely day in the park and a walk with the siblings made for a surprisingly relaxing time, even with the wedding coming up soon.

The wind didn't stop Caleb from making sure Haley got to blow out a birthday candle!

Caleb and his new brothers...

Haley is perfect for Caleb in so many ways. One of them is that she completely allows him to go on adventures. Of course she's concerned for his safety, but she doesn't try to hold him back from fun. Many times, she'll even join him in those adventures! He kept asking her, "Should I climb out onto the branch?" and she looked on saying, "if you want to, go ahead!"

(He ended up saying that for her sake, he wouldn't go all the way out.)

I'm pretty excited to call Haley my sister!!