The One with the Muscles on Fire

I hurt. 
I’ve realized I need to incorporate my Jillian workouts with my weekly exercise routine. 
You see, being out at camp, I’ve been doing the running thing. 
Which is fun. 
And totally different from the last few years of my life. 
I started thinking, “Hmmm, doing the same exact workout every. single. day. is probably not the best way to keep in the best shape I can.” 
So I’ve been using one of the camp’s meeting rooms the past couple mornings–
most likely before anyone else is even awake. :)
(And no worries, I got the director’s permission. 
I’m a goody two shoes like that.)
It’s been nice–this rotating of my routine. 
The only problem? 
I can barely move. 
Taking the one step down out of our camper is crazy painful.
My quads are burning like crazy!  
I guess it was a “good” thing I decided to switch up my workouts. 
Otherwise, my muscles would just be contentedly falling into atrophy.
And we don’t want that, now, do we?? 

The One with the Lovely Monday

Monday was great.
(slash: really not good, but that’ll come later.)
First of all, I soaked in Psalm 34.
Have you read this Psalm?
I mean really read it?
Every word moves me to praise, to thank, to pursue righteousness, and to commune with my God.
It’s overflowing with wisdom for every aspect of life.
Go, read it now.
Donning my brand spanking new SpiritFire youth group tshirt,
I ventured down to breakfast
and enjoyed a leisurely morning of reading–
currently I’m reading another Karen Kingsbury book: Take One.
I spend an hour with the amazing Christina while she and four campers participated in “crafts class.”
It was fun.
I learned to do some leather working.
I made myself a personalized bookmark.
It’s awesome.
After more reading and enjoying the breeze and warmth of the day,
I helped stock the new drinks in the Trading Post.
Starbucks Frappuccino. Double shots. Sobes. Lipton teas. 
Talk about good merchandise. 
In the afternoon, I ran into Kevin (no, not literally) who was about to take the camp van on a field trip. 
Well, specifically, he needed to make a 30 minute trip to the shop that supplies and repairs our RC cars for youth camp classes. 
Kevin’s boss (who happens to be our friend too), said I could tag along. 
So I figured “why not?!”
At this point, I’m relishing the time together, 
and quickly realizing my husband is not well.
He wasn’t himself. 
He was complaining of a headache. 
(Which he never has.)
And willingly taking medicine.
(Which he never does.)
He hadn’t eaten much all day and had downed 4 large water bottles in the morning alone. 
I knew he wasn’t fit for driving a 15 passenger van very defensively in the state of mind he was (or wasn’t) in. 
He immediately agreed that it was a good idea to have me drive to our next stop. 
As we headed back to camp, I told him to relax and close his eyes.
He fell asleep instantly. 
Later that evening, after supper, Kevin still said he wasn’t feeling well. 
I encouraged him to rest up before vespers. 
On our way up to the camper, 
we stopped to have the nurse check his temperature. 
I had seen goosebumps on his arms numerous times all day long. 
And it was 85 degrees out! 
I knew he had the flu. 
Sure enough, his temp was 101.5. 
Uber high for an adult–especially high for Mr. I’m Never Sick. 
That was that. 
No more fun and games for my boy. 
No more work, either. 
He laid on the couch and slept for 2 hours. 
When he opened his eyes and started talking, 
he proved again how sick he was. 
He was delirious–talking about strange things, in a quiet subdued way. 
We went to bed early-ish. 
(That is, we went to bed “on time” which is early for camp.) 
His skin almost felt on fire to the touch. 
I was concerned.
He slept through the night for nearly 12 hours. 
He’s still got a temp today.
And he’s still on the couch–
not at all happy about having to miss camp. 
But I’m thankful for his fever–
fighting off the sickness
and forcing him to rest. 
Now, I realize all of that does not sound like a good day at all. 
But even though my circumstances weren’t all that perfect for some of the day, 
I was thankful. 
I was in tune with Jesus. 
And I felt the truth of Psalm 34

The One with His First Sermon

Yesterday was Sunday. 
Which means church. 
Which, for us, means our “work day.”
This is normal. 
No biggie. 
Except that the two of us were totally in charge of the entire service. 
We had another adult helping leading the hymn sing, 
but other than that the fate of the morning worship service lay in our hands. 
I was nervous.
Were we really capable? 
What would the people think?
Would we totally ruin everything?
What if we forgot something really important?
What if 
What if
What if. 
Kevin was asked a few weeks ago to preach. 
He accepted whole heartedly. 
I knew he would do a great job. 
I had full confidence. 
But I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
It was his first sermon. ever. 
And it was in front of a congregation who has seen many pastors and heard many sermons in their day. 
I was just really not sure.
And besides that I was imagining the Media Shout program breaking down. 
Or him not being able to get through all his prepared material.
He FAR exceeded my expectations. 
I heard nothing but glowing remarks from the parishoners. 
And I really believe they were genuine. 
Kevin spoke articulately. 
He was thought-provoking. 
And precise. 
And somehow managed to get through 19 slides in 20 minutes 
and never once did I feel like he was rushing. 
He threw in a few jokes. 
And I heard the audience respond. 
And I saw many heads nodding. 
I was thankful. 
The only sad part about the whole thing? 
I had decided not to video tape it because it was going to be audio recorded on cd. 
I thought that was perfect. 
But as the sound tech hit “finish” ont he cd recording it said “error” 
and he discovered the recording had been lost. 
Kevin’s first sermon will never be heard again. 
I was really hoping I could have it for posterity. 
And for our parents to hear. 
But God works for the good of those who love him.
And I know he has a purpose in all things.
My heart was in prayer throughout the service. 
From the announcements.
To the music. 
To the offering. 
And through the sermon. 
And Praise be to God for his guidance and his hand on that morning. 
I wonder if it was a glimpse into the rest of our lives. :)

The One with a Kindred Spirit

Have you ever met a kindred spirit?
A person with whom you seemed to connect fully. 
One who is so much like you, 
yet different enough to strengthen you by their friendship. 
Someone you can’t believe you haven’t known your whole life? 
This has happened to me once or twice. 
And what a blessing it is. 
It’s like finding the friend you were meant to share life with. 
I found one of my kindred spirit friends a few weeks ago. 
She’s a youth pastor’s wife. 
So right off the bat, we have common ground.
Youth ministry is a unique life, 
one which only those living it can fully understand.
Her husband is awesome. 
He and Kevin get along swimmingly–
which is an amazingly exciting occurrence in and of itself. 
They have similar passions, 
and deep thought processes. 
I might even say they’re both nerdy without being dorks about it. 
Make sense? 
What I mean is they love to think and learn and process. 
And to share these thoughts with others who understand. 
But they manage to do all of that without living the life of a dork.
They’re like ninja nerds. 
Ok, maybe that’s taking it a bit far. 
But the point I’m trying to make is, these two guys could really be great friends. 
After the initial introductory, superficial encounters, my new friend and I learned so much about each other.
We both prefer deep conversations and intimate friendships, 
to having lots and lots of people around and constantly making small talk. 
We are scrapbookers. 
And bloggers. 
And runners. 
(Well…like I said the other day, I’m not really a runner. 
But I run. Sort of.) 
She’s inspiring to me. 
She didn’t start running until college and now she runs lots of competitive races and averages a 6 minute mile.
I’ll attribute that speed to her long legs and her stereotypical runner figure. 
I have neither. 
But I do have the will to keep fit. 
And she’s really made me realize you can do that no matter what stage of life you’re in. 
She had a baby 10 months ago, 
and you’d never know it. 
She said she ran every day of her pregnancy,
up to and including the day she gave birth. 
I think that’s totally awesome. 
And speaking of her little boy, Isaac just about captivates me.
I’ve never seen a happier baby. 
I held him and played with him for a bit, and we had the greatest time together. 
After spending an hour sharing our hearts with one another, 
my new friend and I both expressed our desires to be next door neighbors. 
We both knew this wasn’t just a passing friendship.
And it’s too bad we live an hour and a half from each other. 
But we exchanged numbers. 
And promises to get together. 
And sure enough just 2 days later, she had invited Kevin and I to dinner. 
I can’t wait to get together with them again!
True friends revive the spirit. 

The One with the Summer Storms

This has been the craziest summer ever. 
And it’s only been a couple weeks into June. 
I can’t recall a year when I saw so many intense storms back to back. 
In the last two weeks, we’ve had two devastating thunderstorms. 
Thunder like I’ve never heard. 
Lightening that lit the sky for hours. 
Winds that took down trees. and power lines. 
And subsequently left us without electricity or phones.
But with plenty of repairs and cleanup.
Like taking care of the staff trailers that were cut in half by limbs the size of large trees.  
Not to mention the two tornado sirens.
TWO in two weeks. 
I’m not a fan of tornadoes.
But as a child (correction: until 2ish years ago), tornadoes were my biggest fear. 
As soon as I so much as saw a tornado watch scroll on the bottom of the television I was done for. 
Nauseous stomach. 
When I was a camp counselor five years ago, 
I realized I could no longer be afraid. 
Or at least, I couldn’t show my fear. 
I had children all around me needing comfort as the threatening clouds rolled in. 
But even in this situation, God had his hand. 
Because without my previous fear of storms, 
I wouldn’t have been able to empathize with them as fully as I did. 
Last night was the fourth time we’ve seen frightening storms.
But this one seemed worse the rest. 
I saw ominous clouds and wasn’t too worried. 
Then the tornado watch siren sounded.
I wasn’t too worried, because it just meant conditions were right.
So we went about our business. 
My mom and I started a camp fire.
[Insert side story here:
The two of us girls went to the firewood bin to pick up a few logs. 
After I grabbed the second piece of wood, 
my mom screamed and I looked and screamed and dropped the wood instantly. 
There was a snake under that log. 
And I almost touched it. 
I hate snakes. 
Even if it was just a little garter snake.] 
We had just finished our s’mores as the rain began to fall.
I snatched our belongings and headed for the camper. 
Along the way, I burnt my leg with the roasting fork.
It had been sitting in the fire for approximately 10 minutes. 
It was HOT. 
I think I’m going to have some pretty crazy scars. 
After making our way to shelter, we looked out the window
and things seemed worse. 
I didn’t feel like dealing with the uncertainty of checking the skies every 25 seconds. 
So I made the call. 
And the three of us made our way up to the ground keeper’s home. 
Ahhh, yes. 
A firm foundation under our feet. 
A basement to hide in. 
Not to mention 34 fellow camp staff
And fresh chocolate chip cookies. 
And homemade buttery popcorn. 
It was a relief. 
Sure, my heart was still racing, my hands still quivering, but I was ok. 
After a couple hours of hiding out,
watching the lightening, 
hearing the thunder, 
and watching the radar,
we decided to head back “home”–
with Debbie’s promise of calling me the moment something became scary. 
We slept through the night. 
We’re still alive. 
Our cat probably thinks we’re torturing him. 
But it’s really not our fault, after all. 
I think God’s just showing off his power or something. 

The One with the “5K”

I feel rather accomplished. 
I successfully ran the 5K path around Somerset this morning. 
The route is mapped out for our annual Somerset Stampede-5K and Marathon in August. 
I have yet to participate in any kind of organized run
though I have been doing the 5K thing regularly since college. 
I never ever in a million trillion years thought I would be a “runner.”
I don’t have an athletic bone in my body.
Or at least I never thought I did. 
But seriously, the mere contemplation of running was almost nauseating to me. 
I couldn’t imagine running. 
For longer than 5 seconds.
For “fun.”
And I still don’t think of myself as a runner. 
But here I am. 
And I’ve even seen improvement over the years.
Well, I didn’t know I had improved until Kevin went running with me this winter.
It had been a couple years since he ran with me.
And he was shocked at how much faster I was running. 
I had no clue I was speeding up.
But it was nice to know.
I’m still only at an 8 minute mile 
(slower out on the hills around camp.)
But I’m proud of myself.
And after last week’s impromptu trip to Walmart, 
I feel rather stylish out there.
I have awesome running/workout clothes. 
And for GREAT prices.
There really is something to be said about feeling good when you’re working out.
It’s motivating. 
All that to say, I ran the official 5K.
Which means I know I can run the race in August. 
Last week I tried to find the path into the woods and around the lake, 
but I totally failed. 
Today I was prepared though. 
I knew what I was looking for.
“In this general area right here.”
I had to jump a fence.
And run lots of hills.
And plow through deep, wet grass. 
And muddy trails.
And spider webs.
And I battled the bugs.
But I made it.
And in three minutes less than I anticipated.
Go, me! :)

The One with the Pros/Cons of Summer*

*subject to be updated at any time. 

Things that are not all that perfect about being at camp this summer:
  1. dirt and sand in my shoes. 
  2. too much good food readily available for my (over)consumption
  3. sitting (literally) at work. (but thankful for time to walk and move after work. :)
  4. driving back and forth. 
  5. not being able to get in on all of the amazing produce sales. 
  6. not getting to try my thumb at gardening. maybe next summer?!
  7. not getting to make loads and loads of salsa from our tomatoes and our neighbor’s jalapeƱos. 
  8. having trouble figuring out how to balance time with my husband. We have very different schedules.
  9. being the lame party pooper once again (that is, having lots of people around who love to stay up late and being the only one wanting to go to bed at a decent hour). I guess it’s my life’s fate.
  10. not being able to bake on a whim.
  11. not getting to line dry my clothes in the summer breezes. 
  12. scooping cat poop and sweeping up litter every single day (because it’s in a conspicuous spot.) 

Things I love about being at camp this summer:

  1. the people. seriously, they’re good people out here.  
  2. our cute little trailer
  3. feeling comfortable. 
  4. wearing cute clothes to work.
  5. getting use of the boats and lake.
  6. exploring/hiking/walking the trails. 
  7. the amazing girls I work with. 
  8. not paying for groceries. 
  9. having a nearly endless supply of good food. 
  10. being a part of a great ministry. 
  11. seeing the camp operations from a new perspective. 
  12. staying up too late because we’re talking with friends. 
  13. Kyle and Sara’s amazing little boys. 
  14. slushies. 
  15. corn muffins. seriously. they are the best. 
  16. making new friends and connecting with old friends.
  17. the freedom to walk or run until my heart’s content (believe me, it’s a hot commodity when you live on a busy sidewalk-less road like we do.)
  18. new SBC tshirts. 
  19. little kids everywhere!
  20. the stars. there is nothing like the night sky at Somerset. (Well, I’m sure there is, but not that I get to see very often.)
  21. not feeling like we have to suffer through the heat just to save a few dollars on our electric bill. 
  22. Freddie’s Freeze. I’m not sure if the ice cream is that amazing, or if it’s just the only ice cream place and everyone experiences a dire need for Freddie’s at least once a week. 
  23. working alongside my husband in a mission greater than ourselves. 

The One with the 2nd Year Sentiments

Read in one of our favorite anniversary cards–

They tell us
that LOVE makes
the world go ’round.
but looks like
the two of you
also have found…

It’s not just the love,
but the friendship
and laughter
that keep
two hearts happy
and close ever after.

It’s working things out
when the going
gets tough.
Sharing your dreams
and the chores
and your stuff.

It’s a kind of belonging
that no one can fake.
It’s choices
and changes,
it’s give and it’s take.

It’s part
“leap of faith”
that began with “I do.”
And lasts for a lifetime
for couple like you.


The One that’s Down in the Dumps

Fridays are supposed to be fabulous, right?
I don’t know what my deal is, 
but my Friday has been just plain terrible. 
I’m in a crappy mood. 
I can’t seem to shake it. 
One of those moods where, if anyone so much as looks at me the wrong way, 
I may either errupt 
or break down crying. 
There’s really not any good reason for this mood.
I haven’t been in such a lame emotional state in quite some time.
In fact, I was beginning to think I was a downright happy person. 
(Well, aside from the steamrolling episode of Tuesday.
But let’s not talk about that.)
I’m trying my darndest to climb out of this pit. 
I’m walking–
one of my favorite activities.
I’m memorizing new quote verses–
a very productive activity
and one which should only have positive affects.
I’m doing laundry–
ok, that’s not really all that “helpful.”
I have this morning off–
which is just plain nice, 
except for the fact that I have to work 3-10. 
And I’m not all that functional after 8. 
But I shall survive. 
I have other, much more happy news. 
Like how we went bowling last night. 
Or how I have some sweet new workout clothes. 
Or how my mom’s coming next week. 
Or how I made a really great new friend. 
But I just don’t think those wonderful things should be lumped in with my lousy mood.
Maybe tomorrow.
(Or later tonight. We’ll see.)

The One with Camp Counseling Memories

Watching all of the youth programming staff do their training and bonding this week,
my mind got all reminiscent on me. 
I was instantly transported back in time. 
Five years. 
My first summer after my first year of college. 
I never in a million years would have imagined spending even more time away from home. 
At the beginning of the school year, 
I knew i just had to make it 9 months and then I’d be home. 
But then I got comfortable. 
And I started dating this boy. 
And he told me about this camp where he’d worked before. 
He thought I’d be a great counselor. 
I was totally freaked out by the prospect.
But before I knew it, 
I was applying, 
and interviewing. 
And for 10 weeks I worked with unforgettable staff. 
Friends I still keep in touch with. 
People I wish lived next door. 
And we made a great team as we spend 5 days and 4 nights each week with kids.
K-12th graders (depending on the camp.)
Those kids were our life. 
It was the most challenging, 
most incredible, 
most memorable experience. 
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
::our amazing counseling staff::
11 people in this photo are now married.
We’ve grown up a bit. :)
::three of us girls hanging with staff kids–Brian and Caleb::
They are now 16 and 17.
And one of them is my brother in law. (Brian on the left)
::camp is crazy::
this is what happens when you let seven 13 year old girls have 
free range of your hair with a full can of hairspray.
::Sara and myself::
I heart her. And I love getting to hang out with her again this summer.
And check out my short hair.
NEVER doing that again.
water. flour. shaving cream. birdseed.
::group building training::
::with some of my girls on an evening hayride::
Thanks, Somerset, for teaching me so much
about who I am,
what I am capable of,
how to learn from others, 
how to train and love and lead kids and teens. 
Without this experience I wouldn’t have had near the confidence to step into a youth pastor role. 
It’s incredible how one summer can affect so many lives.