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.

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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!”

Books and Movies, Musings

Frozen Heart

Last week after reading my post about Frozen a friend sent me a message on Facebook asking what my gift was that I had hidden.

It’s kind of funny, I said I lived “conceal, don’t feel,” and that is exactly what I was doing. For once, I wasn’t using a metaphor. This is quite literally what I did, and I didn’t even know that I was doing it.

When I was little I had night terrors. They eventually faded to simple nightmares. Simple. Ha. I would wake up, hyperventilating, heart pounding, and run to my parents bedroom to spend the rest of the night at the foot of their bed. When I was about 9 years old I began feeling unwelcome. And so, since feeling like a burden hurt more than my pain, I turned the off pain. I put my heart in cryostasis. Ice is strong. I had to be strong.

In the past couple of years, my frozen heart has gradually begun to beat. My counselors at camp were the first ones to start chipping away the frost. That is why I came back to camp. Even though I didn’t like that they were so touchy-feely, I couldn’t help but crave feeling.

A while back my Fairy GodMother gave me the title of storyteller. At first I didn’t really think that much of it, but I soon realized that it is true. A storyteller isn’t just someone who tells bedtime stories. I am a storyteller. Without feelings, a story just falls flat.

So, what is my magic? I see meaning where others see chaos. I can read people like a book. I know things I should have no way of knowing. Why couldn’t I do these things before? Well, I could. But since I couldn’t feel, they never developed past the point of infancy. I’m just now learning to crawl. Feelings aren’t my weakness. They are what give me strength.

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.

Actions in Activities, Camp, Musings

I Think She’s Trying to Speak To Me

You may not know this about me, or maybe it’s so ingrained in my being that I do it here too, but I’m kind of known for my strange metaphors and correlations, and very creative and abstract imagery. I find links in things that, I’m told, make people’s heads hurt. 

One night at camp we were having Divisional Campfire. Banty was telling the story of Joseph. She asked the girls what kept him going. What gave him strength? Several girls piped up with answers that were good, but not quite what she was looking for. Banty was about to move on, but I noticed one of the girls was kind of sitting behind her and still had her hand up. I said “Faith has an answer!”

Banty has this face she makes when I say something weird. It’s like she can tell I’m serious, but she’s not sure what planet I’m from. I could tell it wasn’t registering, so I repeated myself and pointed. She finally translated my alien dialect and got the answer she was thinking of. The next day we were talking about it. Banty was one of my CILT instructors, so she’s seen me in a Bible study. She said “I know Annie says things that make me think sometimes, but I wasn’t getting this.” That is a good illustration of what I mean about strange phrasing. “Faith has an answer” would be something I would say! 

I did this again at Bible Quiz practice last week. We were having a time of sharing about things we’ve learned from our chapters. Several people shared about James 1. This wasn’t a surprise, it’s a great chapter and pretty much everyone has it memorized. They were all saying pretty much the same thing. If you have faith God will give you wisdom, or that we should be doers of the word and not just hearers. And then raised my hand.

The main thing I see in this chapter is the focus on our actions and reactions.

In the first half it is talking about testing and temptation. It is about exercising your faith muscle. Under trial you strengthen that muscle and it shows up as perseverance , and that strength helps you through temptation.

The second half is about not just looking at the plaque on the wall for it’s beauty, but actually doing what it says. Instead of just studying it and saying “My, what a beautiful piece of work. I wonder where the bathroom is?” actually following the directions on the sign and finding the restroom. 

This really made me think about how our actions and words affect everything. It made me think about being intentional in our words and deeds. Not being absentminded or careless. If we don’t do things on purpose we are just hearing the word. We are letting things just happen, we aren’t doing them. 

I shared this, in a slightly more rambling way and not in as many words. Everyone in the room got that same look. That “You’re really cute, but I don’t know what you’re saying!” look. I like to think I just dig, not necessarily deeper, but at a different angle, than most of the world. 

Last week Dad showed me something in his sermon notes that made me make the same face. He was using Greek letters and other symbols to make some sort of pictograph. I had no idea what he was doing, but at least I know I come by it honestly.

Camp, Pictures

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part Five: the Weekend and the Week to Come

As it is written; If you have not clicked the link and read the posts you shall never understand the things to come.

Part One: Poisoned by Sol

Part Two: Return of the Ninjas

Part Three: Brand Spanking New

Part Four: The Very First Week

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Now, I know this is getting kind of long, so I’m going to try to sum up as best I can. It was such a superb fortnight! It’s hard to do it justice with so few words! I have so much to write about once I’m done with this series!DSCF0385

Last year was my first time staying the weekend. It was awesome, but I’ve come to a conclusion. If you are a camper staying both weeks, by all means stay! It’s a lot different and you can make some really great memories that you may not otherwise. Nemo Boy for instance (many will wonder, few will understand). As staff staying both weeks, just go home. It is hard to just rest and relax at camp (at least for me).DSCF0384

After the camp week was officially over, all the first week campers were gone and we had the cabin cleaned up, Mom and Dad came and took us all out to lunch. I had only been to town once before (last year) so I really didn’t understand what a big deal it was. Everybody said it was redneck, but I assumed they would call HV redneck as well. We only went to McDonalds and Walmart, but that was enough. I’m not sure we saw anyone who actually had all their teeth, and there were several people in flowered nighties. Wow. Well then.DSCF0381

We got back to camp and took a very long time saying goodbye. They helped us move our stuff to our new cabins and then left us there. 😦 At this point I pretty much wanted to come home. Oh well. Claire and I took our laundry over to the Taj. I had already had a run in with this washer.  It hates me. I’m usually really good with mechanical stuff and electronics. I can usually get things to do what I want them to do with little trouble. Notice how many “usually”s I just used. Yeah, this thing hates me. I had I think three people show me how to get it going. I still don’t know what they did differently. For what ever reason, it works for everyone else.

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Snow and I were co-counselors for the second week. This was super cool because she was in my CILT class! Over the weekend we spent most of our time working on laundry and prettying up the cabin. We took our theme from The Music Man and decorated it like a library. I wish I had gotten some pictures, all I have is a screen shot from one of the  videos we took. MPlibrarylibrary  That Madison Public Library sign took me so, stinkin’ long to paint. I got completely done and it was dry, and then I stood there, admiring my work, when I realized how I spelled Library. Libarary. Noooo!!! How to fix it. Cut and paste! I cut “Madison Public” and pasted it to a freshly painted Library. I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but we made a bookshelf and made little books with the girls names on them. I t turned out to be really awesome! All our girls had really literary names! Some of them were actually the titles of books! They were great Heroines. 🙂 I really love how the door turned out, I just wish we had more time to make it look more clean cut.DSCF0386

After all the girls got there it was time to sign up for activities. When we got there the girls had a big surprise. They had opened canoeing up to the Trailblazers. This doesn’t happen often. Canoeing is usually only for the older girls I think mainly because of the swim test. You have to tread water for 5 minutes in jeans and a t-shirt, take them off (swimsuit underneath of course) and then tread for 5 more minutes. Two girls in my cabin took the test, one of them ended up doing crafts instead of canoeing. I really admire her for trying, but then knowing her limits. It’s so hard sometimes. I know I’m not good at this. DSCF0387

It was a really awesome week. At the beginning of the week I was really nervous. There was no way week 2 could be as good as week 1.  It had to get worse. God was so good! IT was different, of course, but it was still amazing! I’m finally rested up, over a month later, but I’m so excited for next year! Meg will be a CILT I!! Oh! Something really cool! Snow and I (same class) have younger sisters who will both be in the same class! I’m seriously stoked about this upcoming CILT class. You guys are going to rock. 🙂

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A note about the pictures in this post: I know they have nothing at all to do with anything mentioned, they are just too cute to miss. Everyone got Mexican S’mores and enjoyed them so much I had to preserve the moment (good thing too as we didn’t get a cabin picture with Snow and me included 😦 I love the one we did get, it is such a great representation of the personalities!)

DSCF0335 Well, like everything here on this earth, this series must end. So I wish you farewell, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Camp, Pictures

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part Four: The Very First Week

Today’s post will be a general summary of my first week as a counselor. If you haven’t read my previous posts, I would recommend doing so before proceeding.

Part One: Poisoned by Sol

Part Two:Return of the Ninjas

Part Three: Brand Spanking New

In part two I started telling about week one, but I just barely got through the girls arriving! Recap time!

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For week one I was Co-Counselor with Polly (mentioned before). We had 5 awesome girls who despite all oods 😉 meshed and congealed fabulously!

Back before camp started I signed up to do Vespers. I didn’t fully realize what that meant until I got to camp and no one else had signed up. I freaked out a little. I was so thankful when Flicker and Pippet  came along side and helped me! We also recruited some others to  help us out with various parts of the program.

Hang on though, what is Vespers? Vespers is sort of our “get-to-know-you” program. It often involves dressing your counselor up, a skit, a game of some sort, and/or a song. There is always a songfest and then a message. It is basically a fun kick off to the week.

Our theme for the week was “Time Machine”, so we worked around that. We had the girls dress their counselors up as a time traveler and her time machine. They were then to give a presentation and everyone else could guess when and where they were/just got back from. It was all kind of up in the air and disorganized, but it left room for a lot of creativity and the potential for tons of fun.

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One thing we forgot to plan was who was going to emcee… So that fell to me.

Part of CILT I is planning and leading vespers, so I should have been fine. But then there is the size of my class. There were 11 or 12 of us. There is a big difference between standing in a group of 11 and leading, and standing by yourself and leading.

The fantastic females of four wrapped me in gray wrapping paper and stuck buttons on me. We were running out of time, so we just taped the paper to my shirt. This was all fine and dandy for standing in, but when it came to walking, climbing stairs, sitting, and just moving in general, it was another matter. I was a robot without hinges. Oh! Can’t forget my marvelous antenna. I basically looked like a space age unicorn. This was fine with me. It was really fun to dress up and be goofy. I’m sure it was great fun to watch! 😀DSCF0206

We decorated the Trailblazer cabin with a space theme. This was an uncoordinated thing. We just both got there and started setting up and realized we both did the same thing! This picture is of the door to our cabin. You can’t really tell in the picture, but the buttons have our names on them. We did glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and planets for bed markers. The other Trailblazer cabin did a bunch of star charts and things from Doctor Who and Star Wars. It was basically, their cabin was the star-ship, then you open our door and get sucked out into outer space.

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For my activity I assisted Rufous in Outdoor Cooking again. It was awesome. I really love working with her. I lead the fire building team and Rufous headed up the cooking department. This was great for me, I’m not all that wonderful at the actual cooking part of Outdoor Cooking.

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Claire was in my activity! It was really nice to get to see her! Even though we were all three at camp that week, I don’t feel like I saw Meg at all. Most of what I heard about her was second hand. It was amazing to talk with Flicker (my counselor last year first week, Meg’s counselor this year first week! Such a cool/awesome/weird thing to have happened. She just can’t get away from us! 😉 ) and hear how she was doing in the cabin. Then at another time Robin, the Explorer DD, came up and told me about Meg. I just about burst my buttons, and did actually cry, hearing about how my baby sister was growing up. It was even better coming from people I look up to so much.