Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Living and working at a Christian Campground has it's good and bad sides.  Sometimes living here makes you forget that there's a "real world" out there.  Sometimes it can be shocking to walk around in town and hear people cuss at each other or see violence.

Pause for a second.  This doesn't mean that I live in a perfect little world out here.  Sure, we're humans.  We hurt each other with our words sometimes and don't always make the best decisions, but we have Christ as our example of how to love each other through the hard things and it's difficult to leave camp and see that the rest of the world doesn't have that.

Working for a Christian organization has many benefits as well though, not the least of which is getting emails with the best closings and signatures.  For example, my office mate's - "Grace and Peace."  How wonderful is that?

I'm pretty sure I found my all-time favorite a few days ago - "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish."

I think the reason I love it so much is that it is SO contrary to what the world would tell us to do.  I even had a negative reaction when I first saw it.  Who wants to be hungry and foolish?

No, really.  Think about it.


The answer is nobody.  We don't want to be hungry, but . . .

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."  Matthew 5:6
"For HE satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul HE fills with good things."  Psalm 107:9


We don't want to be foolish, but . . .

"The foolishness of GOD is wiser than men, and the weakness of GOD is stronger than men.  For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  But GOD chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; GOD chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; GOD chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of GOD.  And because of HIM you are in CHRIST JESUS, who became to us wisdom from GOD, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'let the one who boasts, boast in the LORD.'"  1 Corinthians 1:25-31

The world tells us to combat things like hunger and foolishness.  If you're hungry, make yourself a healthy meal.
It will satisfy you.
If people see you as foolish, study harder.  Read a textbook to gain knowledge.  Get a college degree.
It will bring you glory.


I'm not advocating not eating or not getting a college degree.  I'm not even saying we shouldn't try to combat hunger and foolishness, but the fact is, even when you do make yourself that healthy meal, you're most likely going to be hungry four or five (or less if you're me) hours later.
The hunger doesn't go away.  It's your reminder that you need to keep meeting your body's needs.
Even when you complete that college degree, you'll still trip down the stairs sometimes or get tongue-tied and forget what you were trying to say in a voicemail for that important client and end up feeling foolish (take it from one who knows).
We human beings weren't made to receive or possess glory, though we strive for it.


I spend a lot of my life trying to meet needs like hunger or wants like approbation because those needs and wants are a familiar and constant nagging at the back of my heart and brain.
But do I feel spiritual hunger and foolishness?  Do I feel a desire, an insistent need for Christ and His Word in my life?
I feel like half the time I'm just reading my Bible because that's what I'm supposed to do.  God can use that in my life, I know, but how much more could He use it if I was hungry for it?  If I knew I was foolish and needed Him to be wise?
I want to be hungry - to need and want the thing I'm reaching for.


So stay hungry, my friends.  Stay foolish.

Monday, August 27, 2012


The gold ring I wear on my right hand and the crown of thorns on my left
My chaco tan-lines
Hazelnut in my coffee
My cream colored dresser
The blue puffy chairs and indoor/outdoor carpet of the Mission - If I close my eyes I see it clear as day
The smell of "Linger" in my Scentsy warmer

Aspartame in my coffee
Purple polish on my toes
The ticking of the clock in my living area
My flowered couch - I think I need to slipcover it
Clothes washed with scented laundry detergent

There's something so comforting about familiarity . . .  and so disconcerting about things you're unfamiliar with.

The other night I had to go home in the pitch darkness and I was not about to walk around camp in the dark, so I took a golf cart.  A golf cart without lights.
The night I'm speaking of didn't have a moon worth mentioning, so I drove the whole way home with hardly any light.  I was struck by the fact that I naturally turned where I should to stay on the road the whole way home.

It was familiar.

I recently made the transition from one office to another on camp.  In the "Summer Camp Office" where I was all summer, I wore shorts and a t-shirt all day.  There was no point in wearing anything else because you never knew when you might be required to jump into a game or climb up a ladder or run somewhere to solve a problem.
I didn't mind because I knew it was temporary.
To make myself feel pretty, though (because who are we kidding?  I can't feel pretty in shorts and a t-shirt), I made it a point to wear jewelry every day.  But the only necklace I wore was a small chain with a tiny map of my hometown hanging from it because anything larger than that would have been foolishness indeed.
When I moved into the "Retreat Office," I started wearing familiar cute clothes and decided to dig into the rest of my jewelry again after my long break.
The first day I put on anything other than my map necklace, I felt like it was literally weighing me down.
We are not talking about a big chunky necklace here.  (We're talking about the necklace with the purple shirt in this post, which, by the way, makes me incredibly excited about fall being here and having the chance to wear all my office-y clothes again.)
The necklace I put on may not have been heavy, but halfway through the day I had to take it off because it was bothering me so much.

It was unfamiliar.

Eventually, my feet will be familiar in their untanned state, I'll be able to wear other necklaces, and I'll be comforted by the ticking of the clock.
For now, I'm in a state of transition in lots of areas and I'm okay with that.

Don't mind me.  I'm really just playing around with the bare bones of a poem here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two Things

1.  I've always wanted to have the kind of house that people feel comfortable in - that people feel welcome into at any time.
Apparently I have that house.
This morning, I got up and went out onto the porch to have a quiet time.  I spent a good deal of time out there, and then went inside to make a quick smoothie.  The minute I turned off the blender, I heard a knock at the door.  This was odd, but I said "Yes?" and the door opened.
In walked one of my summer staffers.  All of the summer staff have been gone for a week and a half now.
I was definitely startled to see her, but it wasn't that surprising since she just lives in the next town over.  She walked in looking very sad and just joined me in the kitchen and started pouring her heart out.
Sure, I had to be at work in 15 minutes and it might have been an interruption to my morning, but it was so so wonderful to have that reassurance that people feel welcomed and comforted in my home.

2.  Longer even than I've thought about having my own house at all, much less having a house that people feel welcome into, I've wanted to be a runner.
I've never had any desire to actually run.  I just wanted to be a runner.
It just seems so cool, you know, to be a runner.  It just carries this connotation of health and fitness.  Not that being a ballerina doesn't carry that connotation or anything.  I just always wanted to be a runner.
Well guys, tonight I went on my first "real" run.
My old roommate came in for a few days to visit and she's lost a lot of weight and she's running a 5K soon.  She and one of my coworkers decided to run together tonight and I just jumped in to be able to spend time with them.  Best decision ever.
Okay, okay, so maybe we walked a little, ran a little, walked a little, ran a little, etc.  But we ended with lunges and stretches and everything and actually did a "work-out" and ohmygoshyouguys.
I'm hooked.  It was so exhilarating to push my body just a bit past what I thought it could do.
I definitely see more running in my future.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Let's Talk about Food, Shall We?

Guys, for the last few months, I've been without a kitchen.  That was hard.

I've never really been what you would call a "foodie," but I do love making delicious things to eat.  My culinary skills have always been much more focused on baking, though, than on actual cooking.  (I guess this relates to my taste in food?  I have an incessant sweet tooth.)

Baking has always been a stress-reliever to me.  There's something about stirring up a batch of something that will be warm and delicious that can't help but lighten your mood, you know?

In fact, if you walk into my house and find me pulling chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, you can almost be sure something has stressed me out that day.
But you can be just as assured that I'm not feeling stressed anymore.

On a different note, I've been plagued with headaches for years now and, finally, I've faced the reality that these headaches are most likely caused by an over-abundance of sugar in my diet.  You can imagine how upsetting that was to me, seeing that I love sweets in almost any form.

This summer, in order to test this theory, I decided to go completely without sweets for the entire three months.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough self-control to go the whole summer without sugar, but I was even more reassured that sugar is in fact the culprit here.

So, that brings us to the present.  For the first time in months, I have my own kitchen.  I should be baking tons of things, right?
Wrong.  In fact, I've made the decision not to have any sweets in my house.  That doesn't mean I won't be eating dessert at all.  Let's not forget I work at a camp where chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, and chess cake are available to me on a weekly basis.  I'm just helping myself a tad by making this resolution.  If it goes the way of my last resolution, it won't last even a month.  We'll see what happens.

All that to say now that I have a kitchen, I've decided not to bake sweet things, so it's time for me to be a big girl and actually start cooking.
Why does "cooking" sound so much more grown up and intimidating to me than "baking"?

Could it be that I claimed for years and years growing up that I would never handle raw meat?
(I was thoroughly convinced I never would.)
Could it be that, until two Thanksgivings ago, I'd never learned how to peel a potato?
(Unfortunately this is not a joke.  My Dad was shocked when he learned I didn't know what to do with the potato he handed to me.)
Could it be that I am terrified of food-bourne illnesses?
(Seriously.  I may lick the beaters every time, but I also get a phantom stomach ache every time.)

It could be any of these things, but I'm pretty sure it's just lack of constant experience in the kitchen.  I've spent so much of my life baking, that I've neglected the art of cooking.  I've read about it and followed recipes and done what my friends tell me to do in their kitchens and tasted things and made guesses like "maybe a little more pepper" or "some garlic would add a nice touch," but I've never really just branched out and cooked something for myself.

That, my friends, is what makes me so proud to announce to you today that I made lunch - not just a sandwich or a bowl of cereal - actual lunch.
Okay, so maybe it was a salad with some chicken on top, but I cooked chicken!
And you know what?
It was delicious.
So delicious, in fact, that I've decided to share my "recipe" with you.  You should all try it and tell me that I'm a genius in the realm of chicken-cooking.

First, since I'm still somewhat timid about handling raw meat and still definitely scared of undercooking it, I decided to follow the basic idea of one of my Grandmother's recipes, so I sauteed a chicken breast in 4 Tbsp of Tarragon Vinegar and 4 Tbsp Olive Oil. (Yes. I used specific amounts because I was afraid to mess it up.)  Then I put it in a glass baking dish, poured some Italian dressing over the top (That was my own idea!), and baked it for ten minutes at 375.
While it was baking, I pulled out some spinach and arugula for the greens, and sliced up a grapefruit.  Then, when the chicken was done, I cut it up and put it over the greens and grapefruit.
I'm telling you, it was soooooo good.  It didn't even need any dressing because the juice from the grapefruit was enough for the greens.

I just mixed grapefruit, Italian dressing and chicken.  That seems like a crazy idea, but I loved the way it turned out.  I am so excited about mixing up all sorts of flavors now!

This could be a really good thing or a really bad thing.  I guess we'll find out.
Maybe I'll start posting more kitchen adventures on here.
Can you tell I'm a little excited about my new skill?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

While I Was Gone

Man, I've missed this little space.  It feels good to be back.  I have to say, though, leaving for the summer was definitely a wise decision.

The summer.  Wow.  It's funny how, from the time you first learn the word even to the time you're earning a college degree, summer means freedom and escape - hammocks and beaches and picnics, you know?
Then you grow up and find out that the summer holds obligations and responsibilities just like any other time of the year.

Don't get me wrong here.  I loved my summer.  I treasured every day of it.  Well, maybe treasured is a little too strong of a word for every day, but it was a good summer.

Also?  It was a hard summer.  Frankly, the last three months were the hardest of my life - harder than any semester of my college career.  But hard doesn't necessarily mean bad.  This summer alone, I've learned so much about myself, my family, my Jesus, my heart, my friends.  I've been stretched beyond what I thought I could endure, and come through it all standing taller than before.


Remember last spring?  I thought I had grown so much then and now I've grown twice that much in confidence, though maybe not ability - I'm pretty sure all of my summer staffers knew I wasn't very adept at wielding any tool other than a screw driver or staple gun . . . and even those were probably sometimes doubtful.

It's strange to me that I've noticed this, but there's something different about the way I stand and walk and hold my head up, literally and figuratively, that wasn't there before.  It's seems the more responsibility placed on my shoulders, the more they straighten up.  I handled responsibilities on my own that I never knew I could.

I wasn't the only one growing this summer, though.  Baby came to work at camp for her first summer and it was a privilege/delight/blessing beyond words to watch her gain confidence in the beautiful young woman that we all know she is.  When I originally graduated from high school, I made the decision to go to college close to home and live with my parents for one reason - Baby.  Even at that young age, I knew she and I were similar.  We handle stress and friendships and life the same way.  I wanted to be around to help her through things that I had gone through.  Not to protect her, necessarily, but to be an example for her to follow - to let her learn from my mistakes because I didn't want her to make the same ones.

There was one thing, though, that was her own personal struggle - the thing between her and Jesus that I couldn't help her through.  She never knew she was beautiful.  Not that she thought she was ugly.  She just never saw the beauty that the rest of us saw in her.

I never struggled with self-confidence growing up.  I never thought I could win a beauty pageant, but I knew I was beautiful inside and out, so it was incredibly hard to watch Baby struggle through years when she probably didn't even fully know she was struggling.

Then this summer came and I watched her bloom under the influence of sunshine and hard work and good teaching and solid friendships.  She still has a long road ahead of her (don't we all?) but her eyes shine with a new light and that makes this far-away sister's heart happy.


I still remember my first (and second and third) summer, and all the growth I went through, so clearly, and it was beyond wonderful this year to watch that growth happening in the hearts of so many of our summer staff.  Baby was really just one of many that I watched bloom this summer.

This summer, my family came through the hardest trial we've ever faced and we're not out of it yet.  If there's one thing I've learned, it's that dark storms will come, but when we walk through them together, we come out stronger on the other side.

This storm rolled in suddenly as we were taking a walk around camp, our whole family together for the first time in eight months.  I didn't think of the beautiful symbol it was until weeks after I took the pictures.

Please forgive the blurriness. I just had to take a "family picture".

I have a new respect for Mom, Daddy, and both of my sisters.  That is all.

The thing, though, is that I know I couldn't stand as tall as I do now, Baby couldn't have her eyes opened to her own worth, and we certainly couldn't have come through our trials and faced our demons, collective and individual, this summer without help from One greater than ourselves.


Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights and all glory goes to my Jesus for the changes and growth that happened in my life this summer.

Whew.  If you lasted to the end of this incredibly heavy post, I have a new respect for you as well.  And tomorrow I'll reward you with something lighter (maybe).

PS:  Are you missing My Life the Movie as much as I am?
Not that I have anything of that caliber coming up.  Sometimes, though, I just go back and read them to entertain myself.
That's all.  Good night!

Friday, August 10, 2012


I'm posting this from my new house.
So excited!
More to come in a few days when I'm really settled.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Didn't I tell you I'd be back?

Well, here I am.

It's strange how something I've always really loved doing is hard after I've gotten out of the habit of it.
I'm not just talking about blogging.  This is about writing in general.  I haven't written any poems or essays lately either.  I've had countless ideas for blog posts or essays or poems, but I always told myself I didn't have the time to devote to actually writing them.
You know, people always tell you that you'll never have more time to do the things you love than you have right now.  I'm beginning to think they're right.
I probably should have just gone ahead and written.  It's hard now, sitting here staring at this old familiar box to think of anything to type into it.  I have a lot of pictures, just of pretty things that touched me this summer, but I don't have a lot of words right now.  Pictures will come in a huge photo-dump soon.

For now, know that the summer is almost over - we only have one more round of camp and then it's back to Retreat Season.  I'm in the process of moving into the retreat office here at camp to settle into my more permanent job.  People around here tell me I'm not going to get a break for a whole year - I was working on the Summer Camp side of things in the spring and summer (busiest times for Summer Camp) and now I am transitioning over to the Retreat side of things for the Fall which is the busiest retreat time.
But you know what?  I'm okay with that.  And not only that, I am happy.  There is no joy in life like that of knowing you're where God wants you to be.  I love my job working here, even if I don't really know what my new job entails yet.
Also?  I'm finally moving into a little apartment of my own.  I've been a nomad for the past 8 months and I cannot begin to tell you the satisfaction I feel at knowing that, in exactly one week, I'll be sleeping in my own little place.  Granted I'll still be a nomad because I'll only have it until next April, but I'm determined to make it a home and enjoy it while I have it.

Pictures to come as soon as I've moved in and gotten settled . . . And don't expect me around here again until then.