Monday, July 29, 2013

summer debriefing project. week eight.

this past week was a retreat week, so it would be a bit silly for me to go day-by-day. most of the days were spent in the kitchen.
however, i will do a little overview sort of thing. this week was all about releasing the tension and stress of having campers. lots of trips to cookeville and to various coffee shops happened. lots of time was spent snuggle-bussing and laughing at the most ridiculous things. and lots of time was spent alone with just my thoughts and God's Word and a journal. it was an excellent week. it ended with quite a crazy GNO and dyeing my hair purple again. by the weekend, i felt rested and happy and content. except one thing.

that "one thing" creates a bit of a lengthy tangent that involves the fact i've been long-distance with david for almost 12 weeks now. instead of sharing the long story, i'm going to take the short route and just say that discontentedness has been a huge temptation/distraction for me this summer. that discontentedness kind of hit a climax saturday night and i didn't know what to do.  so i prayed for some wisdom and went to sleep.
yesterday i woke up with the same kind of frustrated sadness, but i wanted to be focused for church, so i prayed again. i often don't feel like prayers actually have power. of course, that is not true. but it's so easy to feel like i am just talking out loud to the air, instead of actually speaking to someone great and wonderful. the sermon at church was all about true repentance and what that looks like. it was such a eureka moment for me. i realized that i had been holding onto my discontent so tightly that it had become a sin that consumed my thoughts and pained my heart. the times i had confessed to God and asked for patience, my motives were all wrong. i often wanted to be forgiven or move on because i didn't want to be distracted from my campers or hurt my friends or affect david or anything like that. my reasons for turning to God were not correct. they were people/self-centered and not at all God-centered. this being said, i realized how much my discontent offends and hurts God and for THAT reason, turned to Him and confessed. the transformation of my weary heart into a joyful one was almost instant. it became so apparent that long-distance has been a blessing and i should rest in the knowledge that God is sovereign and loves me dearly.

anyway, that's basically what i learned all week. it just kind of came to the surface yesterday. and i praise God for that! it's been a marvelous couple days and i cannot wait to finish out my time here at camp strong and happy and content and rejoicing.

i hope your heart is as full of thankfulness and joy as mine is.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


your love's like a cool breeze
i'm staring at the fish swimming above me
mud clings to my knees
i'm painted silver by the moon

you laugh at my nonsense
and kiss me on the mouth
light ripples behind Notius
as she swiftly swims south

i'm growing out my gills
so i can join my friends
i sigh as you look up
we watch them glisten

i hear you breathe as i dream
that i'm swimming with the stars
i'd try to reach that ocean
but i know it's much too far

Boreus soars northward
but you stay close to me
there's a cord that binds them
with Kullat Nunu shimmering

you're growing out your gills
so you can join your friends
you sigh as i look up
we watch them glisten

Sunday, July 21, 2013

summer debriefing project. week seven.

hello all.
it's crazy for me to think that it's really been seven weeks since i've started this whole "weekly blogging" thing. it's been a labor of love for me and i've really benefitted from it. so much so that i might continue a form of it some way or another this fall. we'll see.

anyway, let's start:

sunday: sunday was a bit weird. we had church at camp and jonathan taught on ecclesiastes. it was really beneficial and different from most of the lessons that had been shared in the past. i really enjoyed it. i was really excited about the week because i had youngest girls with jenny. i knew that one of our campers was going to be a handful, but everyone else was kind of new to me. sunday went by really quickly. mostly jenny and i just laughed at the little girls. they decided to call us their momma bird. let me tell you, there is nothing creepier than being in the middle of a field and having a little girl (that you barely know) walk up to you and say "mommyyyy." the day past as sundays usually do. it was weird to think "this is my last sunday as a counselor". my mind moved past that pretty quickly, though. the night game was a little different than usual. from the get-go, ryan (our camp director) was acting kind of loopy. so when he met us in the basement and said "i've been brainstorming", we new something was going to be different about the week.

monday: monday started with an early morning and sun. jenny and i checked cabins and took naps during our free periods. it was nice to just have some time to hang out with her. she's pretty fun to be around and such. the last twenty minutes of rest hour was really fun. we had a stretching circle and wrote a pretty crazy story. monday afternoon we played a game that i can't for the life of me remember. i bet it involved running and being in the sun. but i really can't remember. monday night campfire was a sweet one for me. i sat quietly and wrote while ryan spoke. i feel like this marked the beginning of the de-loading process of week five. as the week went on, i became more and more focused on emptying my mind so i could stay focused. i don't know if that makes sense to you, but it makes so much sense to me. cabin devotions were absolutely crazy. if i learned anything this week, it's that nine-year-old girls are crazy. and they (for the most part) cannot listen that long. hahaha i think we were asked four separate times how old God was this night. jen and i explained it the first few times we were asked...and then we were just like "what did we JUST say" after that.

tuesday: ah this day was so nice. the morning started early (per usual) and  we all found out that we had the most campers this summer than ever before. ryan had said at the beginning of the summer that if we broke the record, he would shave his head into a mohawk. so obviously we got excited for the mohawk to come. this morning, jenny and i checked cabins and took showers and then went to the coffeeshop in livingston with jacob. it was nice to get away from camp for an hour and sit in quiet. i wrote letters and we all talked very little. tuesday afternoon we went on the mountain hike. it was really fun. i love the mountain hike a lot, but this one just sticks out in my mind. me and two of my girls (micah and sarah) sat on the rocks at the top and looked. we looked at things we liked and pointed them out to each other. micah liked the brightness of the sun on the leaves. sarah liked how water sparkled on the rocks. we all liked the color of the moss. it was a beautiful time and inspired me greatly. camp always reminds me at how good it is to live in a constant state of wonder. tuesday night was the forty-yard dash. it was a crazy time that was full of funny stretches and todd wearing my dress and me just laughing a lot.
campfire went well. i absolutely love singing with anna. she has a lovely voice and our voices meld really well together. so worship this week was really fun. the night game was night-octaball. mostly it was spent trying to keep the campers from freaking out. devotions was short and sweet. we all started porch talks this night. it definitely was an eye-opening experience for me. it s so humbling to be a counselor and talk to girls who are vastly more wise and spiritually sound than you are. it's even more humbling to talk to a littler girl who really doesn't have much of a clue about what God's grace and love really is. i had to go back to the basics and it was a really good lesson for me.

wednesday: the summer has been a really long one. and it definitely began wearing on my health this day. i started getting a bad cold/flu. i really loved polar-bearing this morning. i don't exactly know why. i think it was because the girls and jenny got so into it. activities went well. there were some really sweet return-campers in jacob's and i's photography class. it was also fun to just hang out with jacob all morning. he's such a cool cat. wednesday rest hour was pretty much crazy. i threatened bank time and gave out bank time a lot. during snack shack, jenny and i checked cabins. no one knew we were coming then so the cabins were pretty messy. the funnest thing about being cabin inspector is feeling like you get to go behind the scenes and see how the boys cabins are. mostly they're gross and occupied by shirtless boy counselors. our girls did the zip line this afternoon. they had enough people working it, so i worked the climbing tower with a jr. counselor named hunter. hunter's so cool and we became pretty close friends this summer. i kind of treasure the nice talk we had. by this time, i was getting pretty attached to a couple of our girls. isabelle is a cute little freckled girl with read hair and the hugest brown eyes ever. her demeanor is really sweet and obedient. micah was another girl that i just loved to pieces. she has wild blonde hair and was so so spunky. we took hose showers and got ready for banquet. the little girls are really fun with banquet because they like to dress up, but they're not trying to impress any boys or anything. so they don't have to look perfect. i liked this banquet night a lot. it was a little crazy because it was the last one, but it was also nice. campfire was beautiful. i usually am not super emotional, but i was this night. i don't know if it was a combination of being tired and seeing ryan struggle to get the message out or what, but by the time he was done delivering the gospel, i was in tears. some of our campers stayed behind at the campfire afterwards. one of them accepted Christ! it was a little magical to sit with jenny and pray for ryan and listen to him answer the kids' questions. after this sweet evening came chaos. when jen and i got back to the cabin, some of the girls that stayed back at the campfire began trying to baptize each other in the bathroom. it was a mixture of frustrating and hilarious. i had a very rough porch talk this night that ended in hysterical tears from my camper and sympathetic ones from jenny and i. it's so hard to be a child. especially if your home life is less than perfect. my camper didn't know what she could do to change it, but she did know she adored her family and couldn't ever leave them. it was kind of ridiculously heartbreaking.

thursday: it rained a lot this day. i kind loved it. we had extended rest hour because of the rain and planned the BEST skit ever. jenny was the mastermind behind the whole thing. after the nice rest, we checked cabins. isabelle, micah, and i went on a "mud run" with a small group this day. it was super fun and muddy and exhausting. mostly it was fun to just do something so different from the usual afternoon activity. thursday night skit night was one of the best ones yet. jenny and i didn't know where to have unit campfire, so we had it at the burn barrel. it was so fun and super adorable to see all the little girls around the fire. we roasted marshmallows like proper little hobos. although the girls weren't particularly focused, it was really nice to minister to them next to jenny. i feel like this week was really good for me because it showed me a whole new side of jen. we are so different in a lot of things, but we work really well together. porch talks ran pretty short this evening and i got to go to sleep early. it was relieving to know that i didn't have to teach another devotion for a while. that sounds bad, but camp leaves you so exhausted spiritually. you give and give and give and are rarely filled yourself. it's good to know that i have a time ahead of me where i can be on the other end of the whole discipling thing.

friday: this day went by the fastest out of all the days this summer. i felt like i got out of bed, blinked, and then got back into bed. photography ended well. rest hour was hilarious. jen and i had "snugglebus" time. this is where we say "snuggle bussss" and everybody gets on jenny's bed and snuggles. jenny and i were pretty delirious at this point, so everything was funny. water day went well. it was the first water day in a while that it was actually really hot. so the pool felt super nice. i almost had a meltdown friday evening before awards. the girls were crazy and super disobedient (excluding three or so of our campers who actually listened) and they were wearing on my nerves. i also was just SO tired. so i went into the freezer and screamed. the freezer's soundproof so it was super satisfying. i got to talk to erin (a really cool jr. counselor) and that was a sweet time. ryan's mohawk was cut and everybody went crazy! worship this night was probably the most moving because i knew it was the last time that i would be apart of bonfire worship on the island. i watched as the sun set and the moon rose. as we sang "how he loves", a cool breeze stirred the leaves around us. it was truly marvelous. it also got me thinking of how much God's love is like a cool breeze on a hot summer evening. it comforts and refreshes and revives. testimonies went well. i (like usual) wasn't planning on sharing. but then i realized that this was my last night ever. so i did. i used the fact that i had been thinking on how to carry camp with me this fall to my advantage and challenged the campers to do the same. it was so incredible to feel like none of the words i was speaking were my own. i felt  that they were all the Holy Spirit speaking through me. the "friday night party" that usually happens didn't really happen this night. our girls were being so rambunctious that both jenny and i put on our momma voices and scolded them into submission. after that it was fun. we took webcam photos and had one last snugglebus time. then jen and sarah and i stayed up until two making the slideshow. that was kind of a perfect way to end the week. it was quiet and fun and full of lots of laughter.

saturday: was so nice. the campers left and it was sad. some of them i will legitimately miss a LOT. jenny and i cleaned the cabin with our jr. counselor (peyton) and then we popped bubble wrap to celebrate. we slept in the pine forest and took showers and such. last night we had a little banquet for the staff. it was a really sweet time. we laughed and danced to sinatra and had "goobie" awards. the most impacting part of the night was hearing ryan share his thoughts on the summer. he teared up within seconds of starting his testimony. i instantly knew i was going to cry. out of everyone at camp, i will miss ryan the most. he talked about what a blessing we were to him and he encouraged us (with such zeal) that our work was not in vain this summer. ah. it was so wonderful and so influencing and so inspiring. i cried pretty openly. afterwards, we all did dishes and laughed and danced some more. anna, julie, hannah, jenny, and i went to sonic and looked at the lightning. the night ended with anna and i giggling in my bunk and agreeing that this was the best summer of camp yet.

today's been nice. i went to church with a group from camp and said some final goodbyes. i got to spend some time one-on-one with hannah and drive a lot in the rain.
i've had the best summer counseling at camp. but i'm so glad that my time at camp isn't over. i still am working almost two weeks of retreats with some of my most favorite people and that's so exciting to me. i think it will give me a chance to detox and work camp out of my system...instead of quitting it cold turkey.

overview: this week has definitely talk me the importance of being able to deliver the gospel simply. it doesn't always have to be a big, theological presentation. it really just comes down to the fact that God loves us and we can accept that love through Jesus's blood. it's also taught me more about jenny's and i's friendship and how i can better love her.
this summer (counseling wise) has first and foremost taught me that God's power is so much bigger than my own. He is so large and i can simply rest in that. it's taught me that the best times are the hardest. and that He really is the source of every good thing that i can express. whether it be love, or patience, or wisdom, any time i can be those, it's because of the Lord's grace and provision.

it's been a beautiful summer, but it's not over yet!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

summer debriefing project. week six.

i am sipping on a ginger shaker (that's what the artsy corner coffeebar calls flavored iced coffee) and it's so delicious. julie's here reading game of thrones and some bob marley is playing through the speakers. i have purple paint on my fingers and glitter sticking to my arm. that could literally explain the whole week.
this week was a different one. so i guess i'm going to do the whole "day by day" thing to give this post a little structure.

sunday: i actually don't remember much about this day. i was pretty distracted with the fact that i had gotten a letter/sentiment-filled package from david on saturday. it was super sweet and i absolutely loved it, but it made me miss him a lot more than i thought i could. (this matters, i promise. it comes into play later) julie and i co-counseled in cabin one (white fawn) this week with eleven and twelve-year-olds. it was the makings of an awesome week. my favorite age group, a fantastic co, and staying in the old cabins. old cabins meant taking the long walk to the bathhouse and uneven floors and creaky everything and less space. they are my favorite to stay in, though. julie and i decided (as i taped a billion pictures by my bed) that we were going to try for honor cabin this week. we also planned on doing an initiation/cabin unity thing. nikki was our jr. counselor and she was super game for anything. so the kids got here. the first girl that got to our cabin was dropped off by her brother. he didn't speak to anyone and practically through gabby out of his car. she instantly started complaining and had an attitude. julie and i exchanged glances and my confidence in the week's greatness began to fade. sunday went pretty much as usual, the girls were awkward, julie and i were crazy, and we ate spaghetti for dinner. the weirdest thing about our cabin was although we had girls who were relatively the same age group, they were vastly different sizes. we had little tiny girls and girls who looked like they were my age. it was crazy. we went to bed without a cabin devotion this night because all of us were incredibly exhausted.

monday: monday was pretty fun. nikki, julie, and i spent the morning working on feather headdresses for our candlelight vigil/initiation that we had planned. i also started reading kurt vonnegut's "slaughterhouse five". his writing style is delightful and quick. there is nothing i like more than someone who can really write. the cabin of girls continued to be a little disconnected. the biggest problem was that many of the girls came together as friends. so there were little pairs and such instead of one big group of girls who came by themselves. but julie and i had a plan for that. this day was also spent pretty distracted by thoughts of david and school this fall and such. don't hate me for being THAT GIRL. anyway, we let the girls go to sleep a little earlier than usual. at approximately 12:45 a.m., nikki, julie, and i woke up. we donned war paint, grabbed headdresses and candles, and sent jenny and sarah to the pine forest. they were armed with glitter. we snuck into the cabin and one by one woke the girls up. we told them to not panic, grab a candle, and follow us to the pine forest. they were all a little freaked out. we then made our way to the pine forest. some super secret things took place in the pine forest that i can't really talk about. we let the girls go to sleep after those secret things.

tuesday: i skipped counselor meeting and polar bearing this morning. my body was just like "no" and i had to listen/submit. all the girls were pretty torn on if they loved or hated the candlelight vigil this morning...but it gave them something to talk about. i spent most of this day writing letters, being distracted, and struggling to bond with the girls. they were all a lot of fun, but i kept feeling super tired and not able to join into their fun. julie and i looked at eachother halfway through the day and were just like "this is going to be a weird week." this night i stopped communicating with david because i was so distracted. it's crazy how scattered i can get when someone's on my mind. cabin devotions were a struggle and i felt kind of defeated. my porch talk went really well, though. maggie (the girl i took out) is a super sweetheart who really loves Jesus. she encouraged me greatly. this night my alarm went off at 12:45 (from monday) and i couldn't find my phone to turn it off. julie sat up in bed and yelled WHY IS IT SO LOUD!? i almost started laughing because julie is always loud when she first wakes up.

wednesday: this was an interesting day. it started too early. i woke up to make salt dough and eat fruit with jenny. i taught arts&crafts this week and was hoping for it to be the best. nikki woke up the girls, but barely any of them wanted to polar bear. it was clear to all of us that honor cabin was becoming a dream that could not be realized, so focusing during personal devotion time became impossible. the girls were starting to become friends, though. and that was nice to watch. activities went really well. the kiddos made awesome sculptures. the plan was for me to bake them, them to paint them, and then have a mock gallery opening on friday. lunch was yummy. then came rest hour. rest hour was so needed. i was so sleepy and needed to rest. so i tried to sleep. i kept bugging the girls to keep quiet...but something kept making noise. one girl was putting game together in her bunk. another girl kept coughing. when everything was relatively quiet, there still was noise. i quickly realized it was one of the bunks that one of the littlest girls was in. so did julie. she jumped up and tried to move the bed and was like "WHY IS IT CREAKING!? SHE IS NOT EVEN MOVING!!" i lost it. i laid on the floor and just giggled to myself as i watched the girls trying to pass notes in slow-motion (to make sure no noise was made). rest hour was a complete wash. this afternoon was our turn to go on the mountain hike. i love the mountain hike, but not many people (especially campers) do. we loaded up and began hiking. i taught chad how to put his hair in a bun and we all laughed as we walked. then the storm came. the sky turned dark and it was beautiful. the campers began to get nervous. one of my girls (named grace) began freaking out on me. she told me that i was trying to kill her and begged me not to make her do the hike. grace was obviously really tired/homesick so i tried to talk some sense into her. it didn't work. she was almost in hysterics. finally, ryan decided to turn back and get the bus for us to ride in. chad went to wait for ryan, but he didn't have a walkie. so i volunteered to run it down the trail for him. as i sprinted down the trail in the light rain, grace (quite dramatically) yelled after me "TAKE ME WITH YOUUU." chad and i watched the storm and smelled the rain. it was beautiful. we all rode back in the bus and sprinted to our cabins during the downpour. lightning struck and thunder rolled and everything was washed with rain. i ran to the craft cabin to try to save the salt-dough sculptures (i had so foolishly left them on the porch tables to dry). when i got to the cabin (i was kind of feeling like a hero at this point) i took the soggy sculptures (one by one) into safety. then we all played in huge puddles and stared at the flooding gorge. it was pretty and awe-inspiring and incredibly fun. banquet was approaching, so we got ready. we wore cozy clothes and had a dance party in the cabin. it was probably the most laid-back banquet i've ever been apart of. post banquet we passed frisbee and giggled a lot. campfire was nice, even though i learned i was a jerk right before it. cabin devotions went the same as tuesday night. my porch talk time was really enjoyable this night. i took out jessie. she is a 12 year old girl with a beautiful face and a really quiet demeanor. her hair is also really really beautiful. she is a strong christian who is obviously leading a lot of hear friends. i loved getting to learn from her.

thursday: this day was "sleep in" day! this meant i woke up at 6:30 instead of 5. yayyy. haha but seriously, it was a rough morning. i was so tired. i realized i had been at camp for almost five weeks and i have almost three more. wowee. arts&crafts was kind of a wash for the rest of the week. the sculptures were wet and ruined and so i let the kiddos go crazy with glitter and paint and leather cutouts of hearts and crosses. it ended up being pretty fun, even if it wasn't what i had planned. the funnest part of the day was definitely rest hour. thursday night is always skit night, so the girls needed to plan one. in the past, the counselors get more involved, but julie and i did nothing (nikki had left at this point. she is going through some hard stuff at home, so she just needed to not be at camp) to help them prepare. i wrote letters and did my devotion during rest hour and julie slept. when we were done with our respective tasks, we looked up and all the girls were giggling and working on our skit. the skit was (to be completely honest) pretty terrible. it was a poorly organized american idol knock-off. but they had SO MUCH FUN preparing it that i just couldn't interfere. julie and i smiled and agreed our cabin had finally bonded over something. unit campfire was this night. it was pretty fun to roast marshmallows (i ate eight perfectly cooked marshmallows! all of them were made by really willing campers.) and play with fire. when it was time for the lesson, distractions kept arising. i got really frustrated and felt like i couldn't bring it back in. porch talks were a little frustrating this night, too. it's so difficult when i know a camper has a lot of hard stuff going on in their life, but they don't want to talk about it. anna (my girl) was SO closed and did not want to share anything.

friday: julie and i had asked the girls the night before what their least favorite way of being woken up is. they all said yelling and such. SO of course julie and i woke them up by running into the cabin and screaming. it was so fun. i lost my voice within minutes, but it was so worth it. none of my campers polar beared, but julie and i did! the morning was so so so cold. so i wore a long skirt (for the first time since Haiti!) and reveled in the fact that i also was wearing a warm sweater. at lunch, julie and i acted like queens...until i decided to spit water on paige (one of my girls) because she was being her sassy self...but that's really irrelevant. this rest hour was my favorite ever. the sun was shining at this point and the wind was blowing, so we had rest hour outside. julie and i hung our hammocks and the girls took turns in them and sat with us on blankets. we took pictures and laughed a lot. then it was water day! water day is always fun. this one was especially interesting because there was a dunk tank. dunk tanks are TERRIFYING. i got in it and almost started crying. but you know, anything for the campers. the rest of the night was pretty pleasant. bonfire was full of really honest and beautifully articulated testimonies. the kids always surprise me with their depth of understanding of the love and changing grace of Christ. the stars were beautiful and the air was crisp. THEN came the crazy. julie and i had planned to do two things on the last night: 1)chug a huge pixie stick 2) open club GLITTERRAVE in our cabin and have a dance party. both of those things were a wild success. haha, although the girls were super suspicious when we told them to go to the bath-house. i think they were cautious because of our previous late night adventure. we smeared paint on their faces and threw glowsticks everywhere. it was so fun. the evening ended with a great night of sleep. kind of. oh also we found out that chad was the girl's least favorite counselor. in fact, all of them were scared of him.

saturday/today: counselor meeting was sleepy and full of giggles. julie and i asked chad to scream at our girls to wake them up. it was really hilarious and kind of mean. hahaha. but i loved it. also, at breakfast the girls confessed that the candlelight vigil was one of their favorite things. all the campers left and i changed out of my gross staff shirt into a dress and denim. ah. jenny and i are in a cabin together for the first time ever next week! also some of the best campers ever are coming back, which is awesome. it's rainy outside and i'm about to get hot, strong coffee. i'll be home in a few weeks and see david a few after that. life is pretty nice as of now.

okay so overview time: this week taught me a lot of things. it taught me that sometimes it really is okay to step back and just let the campers have fun. i don't always have to be the best friend of every girl with me. also i learned that missing someone is distracting and sometimes it's best to just cut off communication for a couple days to refresh. i learned that God is love, that love is complex, and that it never ends. i also grew to appreciate the staff this year even more than before. i'll miss 'em a lot. the girls in my cabin were sweet and fun and wonderfully different. and julie's great.

i hope you guys are having a smashing summer.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

summer debriefing project, week five.

my mind is pretty much racing right now, so i'm not sure this is the opportune time to blog about my week. my sweet, sweet david and two other friends sent me mail that just blew my mind. so now i'm like "ahh i love these people!"


this week i am just going to kind of overview because it wasn't a normal camp week. we worked a retreat called "all nations" and julie, jenny, and i were in charge of making dinner. it actually ended up being super fun, in spite of being in the kitchen alllll day erryday. all of our meals were  a success, in spite of a few mishaps ("this is a financial disaster!"-julie). mostly the week was spent reading, listening, laughing, watching "monster U" (so adorable), and a lot of thinking. i got to skype david, which of course was great. overall, the week was really about serving. service (like kitchen work) is so satisfying because there are such tangible results after your work is through. with counseling (which is a completely different kind of serving) the results are spiritual and emotional and you can't ever really grasp them. so it was a nice change to see people really enjoying my work. it rained all week too. and I LOVE CAMP WHEN IT RAINS! (i yelled this earlier this week and julie and jenny were kind of at a loss for words). yesterday was spent at ryan and lucy's house (our camp director and his wife) doing laundry. we watched "parent trap" and "gilmore girls" until it was dark and pretty much never moved from the couch. it was a pretty restful week and i'm so glad i got to be a part of it.

that's pretty much it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

summer debriefing project. week four.

i'm laying in my own (super comfy) bed while i write this. this week was so nice, but also very tiring. next week, i am working a retreat, so i don't have to hurry back to camp quite as quickly. so i thought i'd take advantage of this and go home for a day. it's been nice and quiet and sleepy.

sunday: i was pretty excited this day. church was nice and worshipping was nice. my voice was pretty much back, so that was also nice. when the campers started getting here, i got excited. the age group i had was the second-oldest girls and anna (the best jr. counselor ever) was in my cabin with me. the girls were all from very different backgrounds. at night, anna and i talked (a lot) and i think we both were a little apprehensive about the week. at this point, i thought cabin unity was pretty unattainable. however, i already could tell that this week would be entirely different from the last. i was spiritually/mentally/emotionally renewed by spending time with jen and anna.

monday: this day was so nice. i memorized Bible verses with anna on the porch (during my off activity period) and was able to do WTP (white tiger palace) in the morning before counselor meeting. i spent the whole day trying to get to know the girls. three of them were pretty out-going...but the rest were quite quiet. i faced the challenge boldly, and proceeded to ask them ridiculous questions about themselves ALL DAY. oh, i forgot to mention earlier that i was captain this week. our team name was team Ewoks. cool, right? anyway, porch talks started this evening. it was so cool to be able to take out a girl that i had in my camper two years ago. she is such a sweet girl and i really really like her. God definitely confirmed that she was supposed to be in my cabin during our porch talk. it was awesome.

tuesday: this day, i became pretty weary. week three of camp is always a challenging week energy-wise, but the fact i had also left the country this summer increased my misery a little.

(so this is a day later. i fell asleep mid-post because of taking melatonin and also because i was just so exhausted)
anyway, tuesday. it was super fun, in spite of my weariness. i got to hang out with the girls a lot during activity time and still had time to write my prayer partner and read and such. i had adam as my prayer partner this week. that was pretty fun because he's the type of person who seems to really appreciate well thought-out letters. we played spoons a lot in the cabin. the girls became so obsessed that they played "ultimate spoons". i  really don't remember much from this day. we did go on the mountain hike. that was a lot of fun. i got to talk a lot with tim and we kind of bonded by running down part of the trail. he's so great, it's a shame we've lived on the SAME STREET for like, 10 years and not been friends. the day basically ended with me eating a lot, running a 40-yard-dash (quite slowly) and having an incredible porch talk time.

wednesday: i texted david this day and told him that i basically felt Jesus's arms carrying me. every morning of this week i would be like "i'm not going to make it" and every night i would think "this was the best day ever, praise the Lord." it was such a unique/humbling/empowering/lovely/terrifying thing to be so so so reliant on God's power. He's so good, though, so He always supplies the strength we need. this was the first day of teaching photography with jenny. jenny's awesome, guys. and i really love spending time with her. i got letters from the girls from day camp who called me "Chumbo" and that was so awesome! they drew me pictures and such. so sweet. in the afternoon, three of my campers (elise, grace, and sarah) took hose showers in our bathing suits and sat in the sun. it was probably the most relaxed banquet night ever. it was so nice to just sit and talk with those girls. they are super cute and pretty mature for their age, so the conversation came easily. this night was such a challenging evening. if i wasn't sure of spiritual warfare before, i was definitely sure of it after this evening. camp has been growing and Christ has been so so alive here. because of that, the devil has been hard at work. so much so, that he's attacking camp in terrible ways. the staff has been so unified, but individually, we've all been struggling in different ways. that kind of manifested itself on this night. wednesday night is the night the salvation message is presented, so it was something i kind of expected. the night was so spiritually challenging that anna and i couldn't give porch talks. i knew i needed to do cabin devotions, though. so i takled about "how deep the father's love for us" and how that song correlates with scripture and relates to our lives as Christians. it was so crazy, because halfway through the whole thing, i watched the girl's faces and what i saw surprised me. they were all so engaged and really, truly listening. also, i realized i hadn't been really thinking about what i'd been saying and that it was totally the Holy Spirit speaking through me. then i prayed Ephesians 3:14-21 over them and they went to sleep. then anna and i giggled in the bathroom about our sweet, but clueless camper beth. the late evening started with a lot of tears and pain, but it ended with rejoicing and gladness.

thursday: this day was the day i felt the most tired. i woke up early to process film and the hours seemed  to creep by. the whole day i was super reliant on God. i had learned by this time that He was the only thing i had to get me through the day. i also learned that i could ask Him for energy and enthusiasm, and He would totally give it to me. i got two packages from friends, too! that was so encouraging and gave me a lot of joy. this day we did the zip line in the afternoon, which was pretty fun. mostly i just laughed with the campers at the rock wall and put on harnesses and whatnot. taco salad was for dinner. and my cabin did a skit using mostly all puns. unit campfire went really well. it was awesome to see the girls hanging out and really loving spending time with eachother. our cabin unity was so great by this time. one of my campers really opened up during campfire and gave part of her testimony. anna and i took four girls out for porch talks. it was so great, but also pretty draining. both of the talks were with girls from really difficult backgrounds. but they were both encouraging. one of the girls was just so in love with God, even though her life and circumstances would make most people turn against Him. it was pretty awesome/heartbreaking/encouraging/inspiring. anna and i went to the kitchen and ate someone else's reese's while we talked things over. it was our last late-night talk and it was so so so nice.

friday: this was SUCH a great last day. photography went so well. jenny and i wore matching everything (down to our braided ponies!). the kiddos made some awesome photographs. water day went pretty well. but my favorite part was sitting in the sun with those girls again (post hose shower time) and just talking about the week. all of them agreed it was one of their favorite weeks. i was so humbled/flattered to be apart of that. cookout was nice, but i spent most of it throwing a frisbee with riley (the gluten-free hero) and judging photographs with jenny, erin, and miles (one of my favorite campers). bonfire was really great. there were some awesome testimonies. and in the middle of it, rain just POURED down. it was so cool to be apart of a huge crowd of people that was sprinting to the dining hall. we all sat in the pews, happy and cold and wet, and listened to the rest of the testimonies. God is great and has done GREAT works in the lives of His people. our cabin partied and played mafia and went to sleep entirely too late.

saturday: saying goodbye to my girls (and a lot of other campers) was too hard. i am still missing them. i went home and called david yesterday and that was so awesome. i also got to talk to one of the new girl counselors (i was giving her a ride to red bank) and that was so super nice.

sunday (today!): i want to add today to my list of days to write about, because it was like, SO good. it started with waking up from a whopping ELEVEN hours of sleep. i had a nice chat with my dad and went to church. it was so nice to go to actual church and be so filled. at camp you get so empty (because you're always always pouring out) and it's so reviving to be taught. then cara, jason, and i spent the day together. ah, they are lovely people and i have missed them (and the rest of the haiti team). i felt so refreshed as i drove through the rain back to camp.

sorry that was so incredibly long.
i'm gonna go to sleep now!