crazy hospitality

First of all, let me just say that I love working at camp. I even love my summer schedule of 5:00 am – 3:00 pm. I thoroughly enjoy cleaning camp property, working with Emyle and Ann Marie as our Thrivers, and working with the Leadership Live! crew on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  But there have been some interesting things this past week . . .
 
I wake up every morning at 4:35 to be at work by 5:00. I’m in charge of the Hospitality Van, so it sits outside our house most nights. It’s really old – the driver’s seat is stuck, the front windows don’t roll up, and in the back, all the seats are gone and we built shelving down the side behind the driver’s seat. Thursday morning I went outside to leave for work and decided to check the back to make sure the leaf blower was on and filled with gas. Normally, I just hop in the driver’s seat and drive out to the laundry room to pick up anything that may not have made its way on. . . but that morning I didn’t want to make that trip if it wasn’t necessary. So I walked to the back door and opened it up only to hear all kinds of scrambling and frantic scratching. I closed the door and was thinking in my head, “I hope this is just a really BIG lizard.” As I’m standing there trying to figure out what to do, something darts out the driver’s side window. I couldn’t get a good look since 4:50 is still very dark, but I was thinking it had to be a bobcat or a coyote. [Neither of these options was very exciting in my mind.] I went inside and woke Jon up, and he lovingly came outside and flashed his flashlight around to make sure nothing else was in there. I went to work and at breakfast (3 hours later), Jon told me that based on my description it sounded like a fox to several people who should know these things. The size would’ve been right, and it seemed more “fluffy” than a coyote. So there was a fox in my van on Thursday morning.
 
Friday morning I got up, thinking about the fox being in the van and took a flashlight with me. I walked out in the front yard and walked right back inside to tell Jon there were 3 horses eating in our front yard. I now think maybe I married Dr. Doolittle.
 
Also on Friday, Emyle and I were checking bathrooms like normal after lunch and we discovered the worst bathroom I have ever personally seen in my life. And I will leave it at that. It’s all clean now, though. Hospitality prevails again.

summer.

I have just lived through the most intense summer of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but there were definitely a few learning times. Let’s see if I can quickly recap the past few months of my life.

May 26—29: During my break before summer, I was able to help a friend move to Marina, CA and spent several days touring that area. We ventured to Monterey Bay and San Luis Obispo [sp?]. We went to visit the Winchester Mystery House. We had lots of laughs and enjoyed our extra travel buddy, C. Jack. We took lots of photos with him, as you’ll notice. On the way back to Ironwood, JOn and I were able to stop in Bakersfield and visit Laurie Barnes, one of our favorite horsemanship campers.

May 30—31: I volunteered to help Sam Brock and JOn build a lean-to garage type building. It was a good way to earn a little extra money, and I’m always eager to build things. [No, really. I actually considered carpentry as a major.] We [they found easy things for me to do] built it all from the ground up. I even got to help put on the roof. Nothing like hot desert sun pounding down heat on you and the metal roof you’re attaching. I started the summer already a little sun-kissed. :) Day two we only had to paint and clean up. I really enjoyed the work.

June 2—14 [Staff Training]: For a counselor, this means Stem Winding at 7:00, breakfast at 8:00, other meetings until around 10:00 and then—LIFEGUARD TRAINING [at least during week one]! This was my fourth summer at Ironwood and my third summer counseling. Lifeguard certification lasts for three years, and so my time to re-certify was here. The water was cold, as always, but the weather was awful. We had a ridiculous sand storm the day that the girls had to be in the lake. Fun. Heh. But we made it through, and I’m good for another three years now.

Week two was able to hit hard. Mr. Sam spoke on acknowledging God, from Proverbs 3:5—6. Talk about getting a rebuke. I had just spent a week in lifeguard training, passed relatively easily, and had yet to acknowledge God for any of it. And I’m counseling. HELLO!?! So that was an awesome thing to focus on for the summer—in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

June 16—July 5 [Horsemanship 1—3]: These weeks are all kinda muddled in my mind. I had a few of the same campers for all three weeks, which is probably why it gets confusing. These weeks came at me fast, and I don’t think I was as prepared for them as I should’ve been. The first week of camp kinda surprised me [which it shouldn’t have]. I had lots of fun, but I don’t feel like I necessarily counseled well. I enjoyed my girls and laughed tons. God worked in my heart big time during weeks two and three. I had to get to the point where I was willing to give up anything for God—realizing that if I wasn’t willing, it had become an idol. There were a few hard times during those weeks, but I really enjoyed having a lot of the same girls. I had the privilege of counseling the four graduating girls—Laurie, Abecca, April, and Olivia—for those weeks as well as Becca and Jessica. I love counseling . . . probably because I love building those relationships. I feel like I left those weeks, not just with campers, but friends.

July 7—12 [Junior High 1]: I don’t think I’ve ever had a cabin entirely full of 12 and 13 year-old girls before. If I have, I didn’t learn a whole lot from the experience. I was able to lead one of my campers to the Lord on the first day of camp. It was pretty cool, actually. We were walking back from taking the swim test, and I asked her about her salvation and she said she was a little confused because she’d heard lots of different things about salvation. I walked her down the Romans Road and explained God’s free gift to her. She said she wanted to accept it, and when we got back to the cabin, I grabbed my Bible and showed her the verses I had mentioned and she asked God to save her. It’s always fun to me to hear the girls that say “I don’t know how to pray” talk to God. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable for them, but their prayers are beautiful and simple.

July 14—19 [Junior High 2]: I was a little more prepared mentally for this week than the last. It was another full cabin, and a completely different dynamic than week one of junior high. I had a great time and most of the girls made some great decisions. We enjoyed our overnight campout without any bees. [The first week of junior high, we battled literally hundreds of bees trying to overtake our water coolers. I courageously carried them to safety with the bees still all over them. Yes, I know. I’m brave.] One of my campers also got a delightful [ha!] song about a moose stuck in my head. It’s very catchy. I’d love to teach you sometime. This cabin was full of fun and crazy girls. Good times.

I believe the weekend after this camp was my breaking point. I had lots of stuff going on personally, and I was at the end of myself. [I found out that’s where God uses you.] I poured myself out to God and decided to trust Him with everything I couldn’t control. We sang a song this summer in Ike’s Roost called Broken and Spilled Out. I think all of the counselors in Ike’s could say we were broken and spilled out before God at some point this summer. Every day for the rest of the summer, I was able to wake up and ask God for help very specifically that day. I believe the summer ended well because of that.

July 21—26 [Horsemanship 4]: I think this was my first small cabin of the summer. You’ll notice there are only five campers here. We had a blast this week. It was the week of TMI [things no one ever needs to be informed of were often announced to the rest of the camp]. My cabin enjoyed the luxury of being small and really got to know each other. The girls camped out on the floor one night and just seemed to get along pretty well. A baby lizard was lost in our cabin . . . she climbed out of her cup. I never did find her, but I didn’t see her again, so maybe she got out somehow. There was only one upper level for week four, and she was my camper. She had plenty of one-on-one time with Stephanie and Ben and was able to pass both 4.1 and 4.2 in one week. This was our smallest week of the summer with only 3 cabins at 5 campers each—under twenty people for our entire camp, including counselors. I fell in love with small camps that week.

July 28—August 2 [Junior High 3]: Switching schedules back to junior high can throw you for a loop. But it was actually lots of fun. Another smaller week of camp made me very excited. Monday, one of my first campers to show up obviously did not want to be at camp. She came with a scowl on her face and got onto the wagon without a smile. I sat down beside her and just tried to strike up a little conversation. She answered my questions with civility, and I found out she’d never been to camp before, although she had camped out in her backyard. We dropped her stuff in the cabin and started walking back up the hill when another camper ran up and put her arm around Katlyn and basically just welcomed her to camp and told her she was gonna have fun. My little camper, Nina showed up shortly after that, and she hit it off with Katlyn. At the end of the first night, Katlyn and Nina both said, “Miss Audrey, this has been the best day of my life.” My girls made great decisions about consistent devotions and controlling their tongues that week. That was the week I started doing bedtime stories. I found a book at a yard sale or something called The Rumplestiltskin Problem. It’s hilarious. Basically, the lady who wrote it said the story of Rumplestiltskin doesn’t make sense [and it doesn’t!]. There are huge questions left unanswered. So she wrote six alternate stories to try to answer those questions. The girls loved it, and we were in bed early every night. It worked like a charm.

August 4—9 [Horsemanship 5]: At this point in the summer, you’re beginning to smell home. I love horsemanship camp, though, and the atmosphere of it. This week was proof that God’s timing is amazing. On Monday we had a ridiculous storm come straight down the middle of camp. We got an inch-and-a-half of rain in 30 minutes. The wind was the worst I’ve ever seen it. It knocked down part of a tree which took down the power line for all of Broken I and Ike’s Roost camps. For the first time ever, we ate dinner on the Grande Veranda of the Homestead. God’s timing played out because Rivertown didn’t have any campers that week until Thursday, so their cabins were open. Broken I also had a very small camp with only 3 cabins of campers. This meant all those extra counselors not being used were put on crews for the week. They were able to step in and help with clean-up. Those of us counseling ended up moving cabins for the night because we didn’t have power in ours. That was an adventure in itself. But things were completely back to normal [whatever that is] by Tuesday morning. I dealt with several of the girls on assurance of salvation during the week. Other decisions made that week had to do with anger and really living out the Christian life—making God part of every aspect.

August 11—16 [Horsemanship 6]: The last week of summer camp for 2008. What a great week. I apologize for not having a cabin photo to display. It will get put up in time, but my photo CD for that week got misplaced in the venture home somehow. I had five campers during my last week of camp and four of them had been previous campers from the summer. I love how that works. It makes things easier because you already have that relationship with them. You know where they are and you have a general idea of where to point them. The one girl I didn’t know came out on Thursday night to deal with assurance of salvation. We walked our way through the plan of salvation, and she explained it to me. I told her it’s not a set of words you say that saves you—it’s believing and confessing. It was like a huge light bulb flicked on in her mind. Then we went to 2 Peter 1:5—10 which is [in my opinion] one of the best passages to go to for assurance of salvation. We discussed where she wasn’t living as a Christian and came up with a great plan to stick with for devotions. I’m really excited to see where God takes her.

That was my summer as concisely as I could put it. There’s much more I could talk about, but that will have to wait for future posts. God has been good to me this summer. And thankfully, I can say it’s all of Him, through Him, and to Him.

hatching

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Weird title.

Anyways, I’ve decided what to do with my tax refund. [Thank you to the few of you who gave suggestions.] Deep down in my heart I know I should pay off my debt. So about half of my refund will go toward that. I have the opportunity to go to Disneyland at the end of April. Since I’m in California, and since I’ve never been close to anything Disney, and since pretty much all my friends out here will be going, I decided to go too. I’m very excited about it, actually. It will probably cost about $100 with food, gas, etc. So I feel like it’s worth it.

To completely change topics, I’m exhausted. I haven’t felt rested in several weeks. I woke up the other day and thought, Aaah. [That’s a good sounding sigh.] I feel rested. But about an hour later, I didn’t feel so rested anymore. I’m wondering if my mono has returned, but I don’t have any of the other symptoms. I’m that tired, though. Bleh. Part of me thinks it’s my job [because it’s a lot more active than program was] and part of me thinks it’s the sun.

And thank goodness for the time change. Nothing like getting another hour of sleep ripped out from under you. Not like it really matters, though. I’ve been going to bed early [because I’m so tired] and I lay in bed for an hour before I can fall asleep. How aggravating.

On the side of good news, I had another $103 show up this week. God has been so evident in the past months. I definitely don’t deserve His love. He’s provided various random jobs for me to earn a little bit at a time [ok, 3/4 of what I make in a month, actually . . . in less than a week], and also given people a burden to support me out here. Wow. He’s so big.

I could probably ramble on for a while still, but it would get pretty pointless.

one of those days . . .

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Sometimes, in the middle of camp, a kid will say something hilarious. Most of the time, I think to myself, Don’t forget that . . . it’s the perfect camper quote. Most of the time, I end up forgetting it. So here’s one I’ve managed to remember.

As I was belaying at our high ropes course, I asked the little boy helping me out if he was cold. I was in a flannel shirt [and freezing] and he was merely wearing a t-shirt. In response to my question, he looked at me and said, “Oh, no . . . I’m not cold. That’s probably because I’m from Alaska.” Partly to strike up conversation and partly from curiosity, I asked him how long he had lived in Alaska. His response . . . “Um . . . well, I never lived there, but my parents are from Alaska.” “Oh,” I said, “so you have Alaskan blood in you, huh?” “Yep,” he said, as if that was a perfectly normal explanation. Priceless. I love juniors.

Yesterday, I had a bit of an all-star day, myself.

It started with camp prep. I’m not really sure why, but after about 20 minutes of cleaning, my ring finger and pinky on my right hand started to swell up and were itching badly. I still haven’t figured that one out. After lunch, I went to set up our Ginormous Matching Game [one of my favorites to watch]. Unfortunately, it involves 64 buckets. The buckets tend to get stuck together, and I wasn’t in a very patient mood at that point. Sheriff Tom came over to help me, and he found a method that seemed to work. The process was to turn the stuck buckets over and step on the handle of the bottom one. Then, pull the top one up and it would come off. It worked for me once, and the second time, the handle slipped ever so gracefully off my boot and I painfully managed to smash the bucket into my forehead. It still hurts. Sheriff Tom had a good laugh at my expense as I staggered around. [I laughed, too.] But that was only the beginning.

After the game, we had our first split activity time. I took the 5 girls out to shoot wax bullets. I was a little nervous about that part because I had been sent to do wax bullets before [sort of a training time], but ended up doing the .22’s and not the wax bullets. So I didn’t exactly know how to do them. I knew the basic gist of it, but still. Now, wax bullet making consists of taking a piece of wax, putting it in the shell and fitting a primer in the other end of the shell. I didn’t realize that you can’t reuse the primers. The only problem we had was that it wouldn’t fire. About 10 minutes later, I figured out the proper diagnosis. I felt like an idiot, but the girls and I just laughed about it and enjoyed the rest of our time. Then we got ready to leave.

The Broken I truck is a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and I like to think it can go anywhere. The shooting range we were at is out by the new lake. When I went out there the last time, I had been warned not to drive through the big puddle. So I didn’t. But that was a month prior. So the puddle I saw didn’t look very deep, and I decided to drive through. And the truck sunk. I tried to get out, and in doing so, threw mud on the female sponsor in the back of the truck. Heh. Fortunately, she just laughed about it and said, “Oh, you just know how to do things the fun way!” After the girls climbed out of the back, I tried to put the truck in reverse and inch my way out. It was working well for a few seconds, but then it just sunk again. So the girls and I walked back to let someone know the truck was stuck. Well . . . 3 of the girls walked back with me. One girl was feeling awful—too sick to walk—so the sponsor stayed back with her. Yeah.

The day ended a lot better than it started. Our campfire was probably the best one Scott and I have done. The indoor campfire is really the way to go. It’s lots of fun and removes some of the bigger distractions of winter campfires—cold and wind. We did a few songs that were just plain funny and ended in lots of laughter. [Not just with the kids. Scott and I were laughing the hardest a few times.]

After a hard month, I remembered why I’m here.

And I fell in love with camp all over again.

undeserving

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I know that no good thing is withheld from one who walks uprightly. I am also reminded that every good and perfect gift is from above.

I’ve discovered that sometimes living by faith becomes a humbling thing. There are times when I wish I didn’t have to rely on other people to supplement my income. There are times when I let pride get in the way. God has been so good to me this past semester—teaching me to trust in Him, to give others the opportunity to minister to me, to consult Him first about my needs, and to take help when it comes.

Going into Christmas break, I had reached the breaking point. I’ve seen God provide in different ways throughout the past semester (gas money from unexpected sources at unexpected times, money to cover new boots I desperately needed for work—to within the dollar), and I knew and still know that He will continue to provide. The Christmas budget I was thinking of had to drop a little bit, which is frustrating to me because of how much my parents do for me. I know they’ve sacrificed a lot in the past and what they do for me now is more than I would like for them to be doing. [And I say that with a lot of gratitude.]

Anyways, my last resort is my mutual fund which hopes to be used in the future for something a little more exciting. I was planning on getting some money out of that in order to help pay off a credit card bill and just get myself back to where I need to be to start the New Year. I was expecting to get a little bit of money for Christmas, as always, but it turned into a lot more than expected. $450 more than expected, actually. That more than covers the credit card. And tonight, my church surprised me by taking up a love offering for me, which ended up being over $200.

Funny thing is, I was thinking about taking $600 out of my mutual fund.
God always provides more abundantly than I ever imagine.
I don’t give Him enough credit.

Yet one more reason I’m undeserving.

fall semester

A few pictures from the fall semester of Ministry Bound 07.

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Crunchy sand is one of my favorite things about the desert.

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Arbuckle Mine . . . we hiked up to it on our trip to Afton Canyon.

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I loved the color of this chair.

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Scott’s favorite saying is “Camp is best when camp is running.” I agree.
This was one of our first off-season camps; a spiritual emphasis with junior-highers.

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This is my boss, Scott, with his son Micah and daughter Kezia.
This is from the day we went to Afton.

Here are a few pictures from our camp field trip.
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And last of all, the crew from Ministry Bound.
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the chase

I am so frustrated by girls who chase boys.
There is never any logic.
There is always tons of drama.
And it makes me want to vomit.

So much so, that I looked up the definition of chase tonite.
Here’s what I found:

chase
1. to pursue in order to seize, overtake, etc.: The police officer chased the thief.
2. to pursue with intent to capture or kill, as game; hunt: to chase deer.
3. to follow or devote one’s attention to with the hope of attracting, winning, gaining, etc.: He chased her for three years before she consented to marry him.
4. to drive or expel by force, threat, or harassment: She chased the cat out of the room.
–verb (used without object)
5. to follow in pursuit: to chase after someone.
6. to rush or hasten: We spent the weekend chasing around from one store to another.
–noun
7. the act of chasing; pursuit: The chase lasted a day.
8. an object of pursuit; something chased.
9. Chiefly British. a private game preserve; a tract of privately owned land reserved for, and sometimes stocked with, animals and birds to be hunted.
10. British. the right of keeping game or of hunting on the land of others.
11. a steeplechase.
12. the chase, the sport or occupation of hunting.
—Verb phrase
13. give chase, to pursue: The hunt began and the dogs gave chase.
—Idiom
14. cut to the chase, Informal. to get to the main point.
[Origin: 1250–1300; ME chacen < MF chasser to hunt, OF chacier < VL *captiāre; see catch]

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

There may not seem to be any rhyme or reason to the bold items.
But I think those are the accurate definitions of what I see.
This is what I feel like I observe.
Quite a lot, actually.
I’m glad I don’t feel the need to be the pursuer.