Friday, July 03, 2009
When I was a young girl, I recall collecting stamps for camp each Sunday I was in Sunday School. At the beginning of summer break it was each child's goal to fill up the coupon book to earn a discount for summer camp.
Ahh... summer camp. For me this was my only understanding of a summer holiday in the classic sense of things. We were not poor, by any means, but we were not the type of family that went to Florida on spring break either.
Summer camp represented many things for me: adventure, independence, new friends, a culturally diverse community, art projects at the craft shack, singing by the campfire and swimming. Oh how I loved swimming!
Then beyond all the bug juice and taco lunches was the time and space to unplug from life at home (once the homesickness wore off) and really listen to God speaking into my life.
There are moments from camp that still seem tangible to me. One summer, the theme was, "I wanna be a hero." - spinning off of the Steve Taylor song by the same name. The pastor talked about people want to be perfect, or at least good at SOMETHING. I remember that summer in particular,feeling very awkward and clumsy. Did I mention that I turned my ankle the first afternoon that I'd arrive and was on crutches the whole time? Yes I was clumsy and awkward, but I recognized through speaker's words and actions that I was loved by God. Crutches and all.
I think if I wrote all the things I loved about Camp, I'd be able to write a book. To be honest some of the best and worst times of my life seem anchored around camp life.
Things like: my first "real" kiss, being at a camp session the few days before my sister passed away (I was sent home to see her in hospital.), my initial exposure to worship music/drama being fluid and spirit led, meeting and making real friends, and learning so much about God wanting to be involved with my life - the every day real and not so easy parts of my life too.
Sometimes I think the reason I work in youth ministry has a great deal to do with summer camp and the people who I met there. Big Ben the lifeguard taught me to swim in the deep end of the pool, stoic but caring Dan Frank directed the camp I grew up, Joy the counselor helped me work through the loss of my sister, and the fun continued when I was finally old enough to volunteer to work a summer camp at the age of fifteen.
Yesterday I went to the office to work out some applications for kids to get to summer camp. It was good to get that accomplished, not just because it's part of my job, but summer camp and how God works through it made a distinct and positive difference in who I am today.
As I walked into the camp office yesterday to deliver the completed forms, I had happy butterflies dancing in my tummy. I smiled as I walked out the office door with my mission complete. I fell in love with summer camp when I was seven years old, and that love has never left me.
Isn't that like God, to wrap up his love in a way we can receive it and to only later understand where the gift came from. For me, summer camp is that venue of God's love that made all the difference in my life.
This difference is one I'm still fighting for others to have too.
If you live in the Chautauqua county area and know of a child/teen who would do well to become connected with a camping ministry, check our LCLC on Lake Chautauqua. Maybe you can help someone else learn to love summer camp, and get to better know God who uses camping programs to express his love to all his children, even the clumsy ones on crutches.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are."
On talking with at youth group tonight, we discussed ways in which God has helped people grow. One person commented on how they were able to better be themselves in relationship to growing closer to God.
I think when we truly begin to understand God's love for us, we realize the person we are is something very unique and worthy of being.
Popeye spoke the truth and Kurt didn't do so bad either. Don't waste who you are, you were designed to be good to the last drop.
Monday, June 29, 2009
In the last week or so, I've become more and more aware for the need to unplug from a hurried pace. As weird as it may sound, my life is getting busier as summer arrived. Sleeping with bread, my Monday examen, gives me the time to take a much needed look at the last week's events in order to see what give and depletes me of life. Before the summer gets away from me, I know there are some priorities that need to be set for the summer weeks ahead.
I suppose some of this feeling of hurry is related to my kids being released from school day schedule and commitments, while I on the other hand, still have my occupational ones plugging along. It will be necessary to have a week or so of setting into the new looser schedule for the kids, while I try to maintain my commitment of work and the recent addition of exercise to my work day. Many a summer before, I would hang-up my work outs in light of the other opportunities that summer brought, but this time around - with my still busy work life - I really feel I need the outlet of exercise all the more! So here I am again in this place of seeking balance in life, work and rest.
Seasonal changes sometimes have this effect on me. These shifts make me feel a little off and wobbly, but I know that the best partner in this adjustment is flexibility. I think it is something kind of like "yogalates" for my heart and mind. After all adjustments to the new, you end up being stronger and more flexible.
In all this flex in work and rest, here are some things that I'd like to accomplish... or simply have the time to "be"in my wish list for this crazy hazy summer:
1>) Take a weeks vacation. For many summers, I've plowed through June, July and August and never taken any of my offered vacation. This summer, I need to find a week and commit to taking a week away from it all.
2>) Read a book a week or at least read for a 1/2 hour a day. I've had a tenancy to spend to much time surfing the web or hanging out at Facebook waiting for status changes. This summer, I'd like to let go a bit on the tech tinkering and open more real books with real pages. I've got tons of them waiting on the shelf to be read!
3>) Allow so unstructured time for whatever I'd like to do: write, draw, play guitar, pray, take a walk...whatever. So often I fill every moment of the day with something, that I find myself getting frustrated by the pace of the clock. I need less jamming the clock with things to just fill it, and do things that help me to become more filled up instead.
4>) I tried a "Spinning" class last week and in spite of the sore tush for a few days, really enjoyed the class - so I'd like to continue to work on this. It is just one way to mix up the physical efforts I've been working on, so I don't get bored.
5>) Go to a beach and watch the water. Just because it's a lovely thing to do.
6>) Have a cook out with my family and a state park. Because every summer needs cook outs and smores to be complete.
7>) Work on some of my songs and flesh out the music for them. There are some neat lyrics sitting in my book.
8>) Finish the painting I started earlier this month. It is shaping up to be a nice piece and a want to get back to it.
9>) Spend a few days (of that vacation) in Pittsburgh visiting some of the places that I always want to get to. The Mattress Factory, Squirrel Hill, Carson Street, the Strip Street Fair, and maybe the science center again for good measure.
10>) Blow bubbles - because they are one of the best parts of Summer!
Go ahead, make a summer wish list. Maybe you will get to all the wishes and maybe you won't, but you never will start to get to them if you don't know what your wishes are.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
She and Him is an indie project of M. Ward and (actress )Zooey Deschanel from their album "Vol.1"
The sound is old school 50's pop, with the wit of today. You may remember hearing Zooey sing in the major motion film "Elf". Its great to hear more of her lovely vocals.
Here is a somewhat wacky video to She and Him's song " Why did you let me stay here?"
What do you think?