I have lived my life as a youth minister’s kid, a preacher’s kid, and a camp director’s wife.  So, I have pretty much been in full-time ministry my whole life.  I can look back and remember so many people that gave to my family.  Whether it was cooking us a meal, bringing us vegetables from their gardens, keeping my sister and I when my parents had to be away, sending cards with money that allowed us to by school shoes, or any other number of things that you could think of, we were always blessed!

Recently, Grace got to experience this same thing, when a retreat group chose to bless her sweet little soul in a very special way!  Here is the story:

Here at Palomar, we are so blessed to get to have volunteers come up to help out around the camp.  We have several groups that come throughout the year, park their RV’s, and spend a few days to a few weeks being a part of our staff and helping out wherever is needed.  One of the volunteer groups that comes is called S.O.W.E.R.S  We recently had an amazing couple come up to spend  a couple of weeks with us.  This couple was from Spring Valley, CA which is actually right outside of San Diego. (Pretty close to us.)  The wife of the couple, Sherry, is a master quilter and seamstress.  While she was here, she held her own quilting retreat one weekend.  She invited all of the female staff to join her retreat if we were interested, and she would teach us or we could just come to work on any projects we already had going.  Well, I am no seamstress, but Grace was really interested.  Grace has spent many hours with her Gran learning how to sew, and has made several things before, so she REALLY wanted to go to the retreat.  It ended up, that I had to be someplace on Saturday of the retreat, so we allowed Grace to go down to join the “Living Stitches” ladies.

Oh my goodness!!!!!  I cannot tell you how awesome it was when I went to find Grace on Saturday afternoon.  There were sewing machines, material, quilts, and ladies everywhere and Grace was going to town on her own little projects on Sherry’s 1956 Singer sewing machine.  She was the happiest I have seen her in a long time.  So proud to tell me all that she had done, and Sherry was amazing with her.  Teaching her things that I could never have done.  Oh, and the other ladies…LOVELY!!!!!  They were all just pouring into her the entire day.  Wow!  Well, as you can imagine, Grace was up and ready to head back down to the retreat on Sunday morning before my alarm went off at 7:00 am, and because Sherry was still going to be at Palomar for another week volunteering, she allowed Grace to spend every evening working on her very own little quilt.

Well, all of that is a super amazing story, but that is NOT where this ends.  Sherry and her husband had another volunteer engagement at a camp in Arizona, so they left their RV at Palomar and ran to their home in Spring Valley to get ready for their next trip.  Sherry told me they would come by on Tuesday evening before they headed out for Arizona (when they came to get their RV.)  Anyway, on Tuesday evening when the knock on the door came, there was Sherry and her husband with a gift bag and BRAND NEW SEWING MACHINE for Grace!  For real!  Grace’s face lit up, and she was so excited!  Sherry shared that the ladies of the”Living Stitches” retreat wanted to bless Grace after that weekend with her, so they passed a basket and took up money to buy her a sewing machine.  As if that wasn’t enough, many of them went out and bought her all of the other things she would need to go with that…thread, seam ripper, pins, pin cushion, bobbins, bobbin holder, and even a gift card to JoAnn’s!  As I write this, I just pray that those amazing, sweet ladies know how much this meant to Grace!  Really, so amazingly sweet!

I am so thankful to people like Sherry and her husband, John who give their time as retirees to bless  Palomar Christian Conference Center (and so many other camps across the nation) with their gifts.  I am so thankful that they were able to pour into Grace while they were here.  She will forever be changed by their graciousness!  I will forever be changed by their graciousness!  I am so thankful for the ladies (whom I did not even spend time with) that chose to show love to my daughter in a very special way.  I pray that I too, can pour out God’s love to others through the gifts he has given me!

Grace and her sweet new friends for life, Mrs. Sherry and Mr. John!
Her machine!  Wow!  I know!
It also had a case to go over it.
All of her other goodies!
Her first project.  Snap pouches.  (She made the flowered one, and the others were given to her.)
She made this pillowcase!
See the fancy stitching.  She was super excited about this and now her machine has lots of “fancy stitching” options.
Her quilt!

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