Our Forest Home Christian Camps Family Vacation Was So Much More Than Just Fun!

Have you ever been a part of something that far exceeded your expectations? That was exactly what happened for our family last week at Forest Home Christian Camps. It wasn’t just a vacation. It was a vacation filled with purpose. Not only did we have the time of our lives, but my two middle sons made a deeply moving decision regarding their personal walks with God and both Guy and I are still meditating on the enormous blessing of what The Lord spoke to our hearts during the speakers’ messages during the week. A BIG THANK YOU to Forest Home for hosting our family for this life-changing experience!

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Let me tell you all about it in pictures--and urge you to join us when we return next summer! I really would force you if I could--because I want every family to have the amazing experience we did! 
 

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What would Family Camp be without EPIC SMORES? Forest Home provides ALL the food for the entire week and it's not boring. We roasted marshmallows and then sandwiched them between Oreo cookies. Because we can. 

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Every morning after breakfast all the kids go to their own groups divided by age for awesome spiritual time together and amazing activities like miniature golf, ropes course, lazer tag, relay games, creek explorations, and pool time. Meanwhile, the adults get to listen to truly fantastic speakers on the topic of marriage. In the evening, the adults get more time apart from kids to listen to another top speaker for encouragement in our faith journey! 

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On our first full day, we chose to head to the ropes course where we did zip lines, gigantic swings with stunning views over the valley, and all kinds of nature fun! And guess what? The camp provides amazing babysitters for a few hours during the day so you can have one on one kid time or do things a little more adventurous than our little Quade could handle. So incredible! He took a nap and we were off on an adventure!

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Quinn, Oliver, and Oakley were so brave, climbing an intricate ropes course! I stayed on the ground for this one but Guy joined them!

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This exercise was so good for the boys. There were some fears but they were courageous and went for it. As a mom raising sons, I want them to be challenged to do things that stretch them. Character building moments!

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Guy and I really needed this time away from the everyday grind back home. The beautiful mountain air and balance of time with kids..and without them...was just perfect. Forest Home truly thinks of everything that would make a family camp experience the best it can be. It was truly inspiring. Spiritually, we were both encouraged to strengthen our marriage and our commitment to the Gospel being lived out in our everyday lives. We left stronger--how many vacations do that?! 

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It was an incredible joy to see my boys make friends in such sincere ways. These two fellow campers became sweet friends of Oliver's and as a mom, it was a huge blessing to see them having so much fun together. Every week at Family Camp there is a "Lake Day" full of family competition games, kayaking, paddle boarding, water slides, and lounging by the stunning lake! 

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This cutie braved the massive water slides but his favorite activity was kayaking! We spent three of our afternoons at the lake and we had to drag ourselves away!

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Quinn joined pals on a large group paddle board. As you can see, it was a barrel of laughs!

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Oliver shot out the end of the giant water slides! I braved them myself and had a blast!

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This idyllic picture sums up the beauty and enjoyment we all had at the lake! No wonder we went back so many times!

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This spot shown here is where Billy Graham famously confirmed his commitment to spreading the Gospel all over the world. There, where the cross stands, is a lovely plaque commemorating this historical event that would change multitudes of lives. From this spot, he preached and eventually went on to begin his famous crusades in Los Angeles when he was a young man. I had my own incredible "God moment" in that same spot as I sat and prayed in the cool of the shade. I'll share about it someday--but it was one of the most incredible encounters with The Lord I have ever experienced! I'm still shaking my head in wonder of it!

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This picture! It was taken just moments before Quinn (8) and Oakley (nearly 7), were baptized! It was one of the most special moments for us as parents. It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL celebration with hundreds of onlookers cheering them on and celebrating with us! What joy they both had to say publicly that they love the Lord and will follow Him!

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One of the most incredible parts about Forest Home is that they provide CCA's for the week. These incredible Child care Assistants come to your cabin every evening to take care of your kids and put them to bed so you can go to your evening speaker sessions, hang out and play cards with other couples, or grab a delicious coffee or snack and fellowship. The options are endless. When you return to your cabin, your kiddos are all asleep and happy as clams! How amazing is that?! And these young ladies are super sweet! They even came to lake day with us to help with the littles so we could do things with the big kids some of the time! Quade was a very happy camper with all that attention!

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My beautiful friend, Kristi Clover, and her family were there the same week we were! I have been a guest on her podcast several times and my family heads to San Diego to have dinner with them at their house every year. It's an annual tradition! And now, so is Forest Home with the Clover Crew! 

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Every morning before kids and parents split up, we have family devotions time all together with songs, funny family games, and Biblical encouragement. It was a great time to bond with the kids and have a little time to talk and hear their hearts! 

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Making friends and enjoying time together! Quade was pretty popular with all the teen girls. He loves people!

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Song time! The littler kids loved getting up on stage to lead us with hand motions! Forest Home has groups for kids of all ages. Including high school aged kids. We often joined them for late after hours activities like glow zumba, star gazing hikes, and a spectacular show with an animal illusionist! 

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Oliver made some sweet friends and they decided to splurge on an avalanche of ice cream and cookies! They didn't come even close to finishing it all--thank goodness! 

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Campers of all ages enjoying milkshakes and french fries while playing games and hanging out in the evenings! So much fun! 

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Quinn and I had some good mother and son time while crafting in the fantastic crafting rooms at Forest Home. You can choose from tons of items to paint etc. Oliver made a super cute leather bracelet where he stained the leather himself and even Quade made a cute little mask! 

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Oh my heart! He was just darling as he proudly painted away the afternoon!

And All around camp, there are stones with Bible verses imprinted on them. It's a tangible reminder to acknowledge the God of creation while actually in creation! We totally could have taken a trip to Hawaii or some other great place, but our top priority will be Forest Home Family Camp. It's not just vacation. It's vacation with purpose. A perfect balance of time with kids and time as a couple. So many activities where we had a total blast, and yet lots of deeply encouraging spiritual influences that will stay with us long after the vacation pictures fade. 

There are still spots open for vacation weeks this summer but you can also begin to register for 2019! We already registered our family and I'd love to have you join us next summer! Forest Home even sets up easy payments for you so it's not a burden. AND, if you call Ginger 909-389-4468, and mention my name--you will get a discount!! I hope we see you there! (Find me on Instagram, Amber Lia or Mother Of Knights, for even more pics and videos!) 

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Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (www.motherofknights.com).