Books and Movies, Camp, Musings, Poet Among Other Things

Filling Journals

I’ve had journals since– I don’t remember not having journals. Sure, the entries were about 20 words long and illustrated because I couldn’t read for so long, but I had things to say, even when I couldn’t articulate, let alone spell them. I look back on some of those rudimentary scribblings and laugh. If they weren’t so old they’d be embarrassing. e678b832b693eac8bcb557b690cce3d8But even though I couldn’t write down how I really felt, and often didn’t actually know, I wrote enough to trigger memories. There’s one journal that Dad gave me around the time he was deployed overseas. It’s just about the ugliest shade of green, that one that is evidently the only dye color the military has, so I quickly took my crayons to it and made it mine. Our basement flooded a few years ago and it was barely saved. But on one of the pages, that has been threatening to fall out for years now, are a few words about how my day was ruined because Wendy’s messed up my baked potato, complete with a picture of how the spud should have looked. I remember that day. We had just been visiting one of mom’s friends and I was overwhelmed with the cares of being 9. It was the last straw. Either mom was pregnant with Adam or Dad had just left, but I was an emotional wreck and I couldn’t show it, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t draw, and now my lunch was a travesty.

I have another journal that my then best friend’s mom gave me. It has a picture of us in the front. Little, tiny, 7 year old us. This one is blue with vines, a picture window on the cover and a ribbon bookmark with a heart lock charm on the end. The one that I simply cannot remember not having is my Winnie the Pooh locking diary.

I used those two off and on the most, since the military surplus one was ruined, but I’ve yet to fill a journal. I’ve filled plenty of random notebooks with sketches of rooms and beginnings of stories, but I’ve never written my soul from cover to cover. That’s what a journal is. The soul on paper. Whether it means what it says or is just a symptom of the true condition is for the reader, usually your older self, to decide.

But that trend is about to change. 4980f05fdb74af85e118941df03bd15f

I have six pages left. I really don’t know what to do with myself. It feels as if my filling of that last page will end something in my life. I got this journal 2 years ago when I was a finalist in the library’s poetry contest. It was the year that Meg was also a finalist and Claire was the Honorable Mention. I didn’t win anything, but it was my last year of eligibility. I graduated high school right after that, and then started writing in the little book at Camp that summer. Only first few pages actually bare the thoughts of a baby counselor, as I quickly got too busy to write. Instead, it chronicles the heartache of a life turned rightside up. Learning to accept my PCOS, giving myself permission to live, embracing my gifts. It’s all in there. It hurts to go back and read who I thought I had to be. But the closer I get to the end, the less it hurts and the more it is beautiful. Most of my “poems” are actually journal entries, written as I’m falling asleep. They are raw Annie. What she sees with her eyes, but also with her heart. Moonshadows. Will-o-the-wisps. Dew laden blades of grass.

The closing of my little book coincides with the closing of my first semester of college. I never thought I’d go to school past what was required. I had no need to. I began the journal feeling broken and purposeless. I close it happier, more full of life, and whole. You don’t come through a chapter like that without scars. But scars fade. They remind you who you are.

Camp

Return of the Fire Breathing Pidgezilla, Part II

Seeing girls grow is one of the greatest things I have ever been a part of. One of my cabin girls started the week with red beads on her swimsuit,warning the lifeguards that she was a weak swimmer. She worked hard all week in swimming lessons. On Friday she ran into the cabin at the end of second activity and told me she had passed the swim test. I just about burst, I was so proud of her.

DSCF2112I taught nature to the Pathfinders by myself for the first time this year. I’ve assisted this class twice now, and it’s kind of included in my CILT majors. To be honest though, Grackle, the activities director, had more confidence in me than I did.

Pathfinders are seriously awesome. They are bouncy, fun-loving, and if you can win them over, you have a best friend. They also have had somewhere between 7 and 9 years to build up a huge capacity of energy. Sometimes we don’t have enough girls or enough classes for them to choose their activities. Sometimes nature is not an optional class. Most of the girls were fine with this, and probably would have taken nature anyway. Then in one of my classes, I DSCF2041only had one girl out of the four who didn’t scream bloody murder at some point.

One day near the end of week two, as we were walking through the woods I had an idea, and it was kind of the theme for my whole time at camp. One of the girls said “I’m not going any further. This is outside of my comfort zone. I have boundaries.” At the beginning of camp I felt exactly the same way. But then I realised, ” Comfort zones are like muscles. When you exercise a muscle, the fibers break, but they grow back. The new tissue takes up more room, and your muscles get bigger. Comfort zones are like that too. You break them a little bit, and they grow back bigger.” This was mostly over their heads, and I’m not sure how scientifically accurate it is, but a couple of them were begging me to go “just a little” further down the trail, so I didn’t have a chance to explain further. They still screamed every now and again, but even the squealers were much deeper in the woods than they had ever been before. Sometimes I still employed trick I figured out. Start belting ‘Love is an Open Door’ and they will stop whatever they are doing and join you. Dance along with it? You’ve got full on celebrity status and a herd of very short groupies. By the end of the week, this was mostly just for fun.

The campers weren’t the only girls stretching their comfort zones. You know what though? The more room you have, the more fun you can have. You know what else? I’m done telling God “I’m not going any further. This is outside of my comfort zone. I have boundaries.” In fact– take me deeper into the woods.

Camp

Return of the Fire Breathing Pidgezilla, Part I

I’ll be honest, I’ve not had an easy time putting together this post. I’m not sure what it is, but camp was hard this year. Everything about it. I’ve started and restarted writing about it half a dozen times. By the facts everything went DSCF1975swimmingly. But for some reason, I’m having a really hard time putting together a coherent post about it.

First I wouldn’t miss camp for the world, then I was ok with missing a week, then I wasn’t planning on going at all. Then my plans fell through, a date was wrong, and I didn’t get the job. I was confused. How did I go from adamant about going to not even planning to go to camp? Maybe I’ve grown? I don’t know, really. I think perhaps camp had been a kind of crutch. I’m really not sure how to describe it. I’m learning that I am incredibly loyal, to the point of blindness. Don’t get me wrong, camp is a great thing, but I think I had become so loyal to NeKaMo that I was potentially missing other opportunities. When I opened myself up to other ideas, it kind of threw me off. Funny how that works.

When it came time to pack, I was such an emotional wreck that once I got my stuff together I just laid on my bed and cried for a couple of hours before finally falling asleep. The drive down to Truman Lake with a friend was fun, and relaxed me quite a bit, but I was still tense. Actually, I spent a lot of time over the two weeks in some state of stressed. But it was a really beautiful time too. One night, after doing something that some would consider– eh-hem– rule bendy, I came back to the cabin, where my girls had been asleep for hours, and wrote.

A night of the starsDSCF1917
Full of laughter and joy
 
A night when they burbled
And spilled over
And rained down
 
A night when the moon hid her face
When she turned a blind eye
And let the small ones have their fun
And they danced with joy
And had their frolic
 
Their joy drifted down
Falling on heads uplifted
Watching their dance
Drinking their joy
Words were made for nights like these

DSCF2062One afternoon I sat with Robin during free time while she worked on something in the rec hall. She asked “How ya doin’ Pidge?” in her usual perky, but incredibly sincere, Robinish way and I thought about it for a moment before simply answering, “Happy.” Yes, I was stressed a lot of the time, but I wasn’t just thinking of at camp. In general, I’m happier than I was last time I talked to her.
Robin and I seem to have a way of surprising each other every time we talk. This time it was her turn.  “I can tell. You aren’t as mopy as you were last year.” I thought I was going to be the one shocking her. I didn’t feel mopy last year, and I did this year. I also didn’t think she would remember much about me from last year. I’ve been finding out that people actually do remember me a lot more often than I thought they did.

How did I get yet another nickname? What happens when you throw Pigeon and a handful of squeally, panicky, Pathfinders on a nature trail? Who is worse about staying on task, Pigeon, or a camper? These questions an more answered in the next addition of  “Return of the Fire Breathing Pidgezilla!”

Actions in Activities, Camp, Musings

Staying Home After Highschool

Yes, I’m back from camp, and yes, a post about that is forthcoming. But for now, something is on my mind.

I graduated highschool last spring. Instead of going straight to college as per the popular course, I stayed home. While this isn’t unheard of, it still isn’t common. Most people I knew started at least taking courses at a community college, and a lot of them were moving away. I’ve had a  lot of people tell me it’s a good idea to stay home, or that they wish they had taken a break.

When I was technically “in school” I never really did a ton of book work. I learned from reading and by osmosis for the most part (we call it hippieschool). You would think, being that laid back to begin witfireworksh, it wouldn’t be a big deal to not do school at all. But, I had activities. I did Debate and Bible Quiz. Most of my time was spent in fly-on-the-wall mode, but I saw people and did things. Even though I was never much of a part of the action, this past year has been the loneliest one of my life.

But my loneliness hasn’t been solely because of lack of activities. We also changed churches last summer. I left friends behind there. A few times I tried getting together with them outside of church, but I ran into a problem. I’ve changed. I’m not the same person that they hung out with last year. I’ve tried getting involved with our new church, but I just don’t exactly fit in.

It probably sounds like I’ve had a fairly miserable year. Right and wrong. I probably have cried more in this past year than the rest of my previous years combined. But I learned so much about myself, and about my writing, and about the world, and about God that I wouldn’t trade that year for anything. It was the year I learned to Let It Go. I have figured out what I want to do, at least for the next few years, and it is totally different from what I had planned before (even though, in retrospect, it is something I’ve wanted to do since I was about 9 years old).

I don’t regret staying home, but it wasn’t like I thought it would be. So, if you are considering taking the year off, go for it. But, don’t just not do school. Write. Create. Think. Do things. Learn what you want to learn. It isn’t easy. You won’t  be the same person you were when you graduated. You will be much more of a person though. I’m a lot happier one.

Camp, Poet Among Other Things, Short

Flying the Thread

I am getting ready to head to NeKaMo Camp for 2 weeks, so I haven’t had much chance to write. Since I don’t want to abandon my lovely little blog completely, I present for your reading enjoyment, Flying the Thread.

 

Mists rise from the cool, lapping water

The air is still

Yet the vapors dance among the reeds

Like slender forms

Like the spirits of vessels gone by

They drift ashore and lick my feet

The cold enters through my toes

It trickles up my spine

The wisps dance and twirl around me

The cool moistness overtakes my body

I become like the wisps

Lost in their eddies

Twirling in whiteness

Moving without effort

Never touching

Yet in one mass

Passing through each other

We fly over the grass

Droplets slide down the blades

Movement so fast and fluid

Neither water nor air

Cold but full of life

I leap from drooping flower head to drooping  flower head

Faster and faster

Further and further

Until I don’t need to land

I soar above the trees

I dive down into their green blackness

Weaving between sleeping leaves

Leaving in my wake shimmers of water

I dive faster

Skimming across the surface

Flying with the fireflies

The twinkle like the stars above

We dance and sparkle

I begin to shine

Though the tall, dry grasses

Like a star fallen to earth

I float high

Higher than the flies around me

Towards the darkness above

Joining the stars in their patterns of light

Shining brighter than the fire I left behind

Swimming through clouds of pure color

Twinkling, swirling, shining

We waltz together to soundless music

I look back on everywhere I’ve been

A pattern of water and fire and light

Like a single strand of brilliant thread

Connecting worlds so different

Yet they fit together

Like a puzzle scattered on a table

Some parts similar, many scattered

The thread ties them all together

And a Beautiful painting emerges

Camp, Farm and Family, Pictures

Beautiful, Bald, Baby Sister

Sixteen years ago I my life changed forever. My little Meglet joined the family. My incredibly comfortable life as an only child came to an end. I had no idea what it meant to be a big sister, in fact, I only recently have been learning what it really means.007

It has been amazing watching Megatron this past year. This practically bald three year old has become such a powerful young lady. She’s always been more of a lady than I am. She liked pink, horses, playing house and girly stuff like that. I liked climbing trees, making mud holes, playing surgeon, hiking, and wrestling. I dragged her along and she learned to like my stuff too, but she’s always added a touch of flowers and sparkle (we seriously were the Powerpuff Girls, even though mom wouldn’t let us watch the show).006

I was quite happy being an only child, and I did my best to get rid of her when we were little (subconsciously of course). As she was learning to walk, I used any opportunity to make her fall on her face. Mom was pretty sure that her 4 year old was going to be a convicted criminal (hasn’t happened yet…). When she was about 4, I covered her in mud from head to toe. And, not just a light coating, I caked her in mud. Oh, by the way, I think it was maybe March or something? It was cold outside. I guess it was when I was around 8 years old that I accepted that she was here for good. That’s when all our best stories are from. When we started working together to create our mischief.

Megara has always learned faster than me. When I was 7 years old and struggling to learn how to ride a bike, she stole my bike and rode away. She is the only one of my siblings that I didn’t teach how to ride a bike. She learned to read pretty much at the same time as I did. She watches me do something and fail, takes notes and then does the thing better than I ever could. That’s how it’s always been. Meg can do pretty much anything extremely well. She gets frustrated if it doesn’t work after 2 tries. This drives me crazy. If I get it within 2 tries, I’m shocked, and it probably was just a fluke.008

This summer at camp I was so proud of my baby sister. Her counselor and DD, both ladies that I love and look up to, would talk about her. They told about how she was helping the other girls in her cabin and how she was so mature. Every single time I heard them talking about her I started crying. My little Meg, blossoming into such a leader. I just can’t help but think of how fantastic she is going to be as a CILT and then on staff at camp.

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I love you my creative sister.

Megan, Megara, Megatron, Meglet, and most of all, Meg.

Actions in Activities, Camp, Musings, Pictures

That Will Suffice

Sunday they had a Summer Missions ice-cream social at church. I didn’t get to share anything, we started going to this church right after camp, but there were several people who spoke about their time at one camp or another.

There was a lot of the normal “what was the highlight of your time there?”, but there was also a good bit of “what did you learn?”. You may remember my five part series, “Re-assimilating“, about my first time as a counselor at Camp NeKaMo. It was really cool to hear all that God did this Summer.

This got me thinking, what did I learn? I mean, I wrote about what happened and about the adjustment of going from camper to counselor, but what did I learn this Summer, not just at camp, but when we got home and got our sleeping bags hung up?

Even before my two weeks as a counselor began, I was feeling overwhelmed. My lifeguard training is a more obvious example of what I was learning in subtle ways the whole time. I am not sufficient on my own.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can’t do anything on my own.

Everyday, up early to go to Bible Study, full steam ahead all day long, and then try to get to sleep before midnight. It was exhausting. By the end of week one I was so tired I couldn’t think straight (and I have enough trouble with that anyway 😉 ). But, it was so rewarding to pour love into those girls and I feel so blessed to have gotten to be a part of their lives. I had to lean on the Lord. I’m not very confident in my teaching abilities, and I have a hard time praying out loud in front of people.  It was a really stretching 2 weeks.

After camp was over I was trying to find a job. I was pretty much broke and there were no babysitting calls. I never did find one, not even at McDonalds or Taco Bell. Quiz came around. We were talking about goals for the season. I really want to go to Nationals this year. It’s my very last year as a quizzer and I’d like to go out with a bang. I started praying that God would get me to Nationals. I didn’t know how He was going to do it, but the best way I could think of was to give me a job.

I was lying on my bed one night after a long day of babysitting and running errands when I realized something. It was only a couple weeks after I started praying to go to Nationals that I got my steady childcare jobs. As I was trying to fall asleep, it struck me. God gave me a job. It was so amazing to see God answer a prayer in such an obvious way, and so quickly. It really gives me chills. God is so powerful. He listens to us. He loves us.

Me and my Squishy! This picture doesn’t really have much to do with the rest of the post, but I love it. Josh is living proof that God does amazing things. 🙂

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do.