Monday, September 9, 2013

I would do it all over again if I could.

The first writing prompt in the Blogtember challenge was to write about where or what I come from.
First, lets just say that my cousin pretty much said it all last week with her Where I come From post.
Also?  I've already written this, and the end of this pretty much sums up what I call home.
If you want to see pictures of one of my many country homes, you can go here.
And these two poems say a lot about growing into who I am today, and what family means to me.

I'm big on being aware of your past, of knowing the building blocks of who you are today, and I think most of my poetry would tell you that.  I write almost exclusively personal poems dealing with my past - the good and the hard.

But sometimes, "where you come from" is not so distant in the past.  If you're like me, who you are today started about 5 years ago, and who you were then is someone that you hardly even know now.

I came to Camp Tejas in the Summer of 2008, hardly having any idea what I was in for.  Yes, I had learned all the facts about my job in my interview, and probably the words "Live, Serve, and Grow" were tossed around in that interview, but I had no idea just how much living, serving, and growing were going to happen in this place.

My first two summers - 2008 and 2009 - were filled to the brim with living and serving.
So much living.
And so much serving.
I was exhausted at the end of both, but so happy.  That living gave me the best friendships I could ever hope to have.
(The highlight of 2009? Meeting this girl, and knowing within the first five minutes that we were going to be friends forever.)

The growing, though, oh the growing.  That part is hard, and not always happy.  I am so glad we grow physically the most when we are tiny children and our memories are not fully developed enough to store that pain.  Growing emotionally is hard.  I can't imagine how hard growing physically is.

2010 was the year of growing - of fighting battles and learning there isn't always a clear winner.  Things aren't always as black and white as you think they are.

I stayed away from camp in 2011.  I realize now it was probably a mistaken effort to avoid more painful growth, but I also realize that it was a needed absence.  Without that absence, I wouldn't have returned after I graduated and become full-time in camping ministry.
Sidenote:  It's still weird to me to say "Oh, I work in camping ministry" like someone would say "Oh, I'm a banker" or something.

And if I thought 2010 was hard, I had no idea what was coming for me in 2012 and 2013.  I have fought more Apollyons than I thought existed in my life, and most of them stemming from unrefined parts of myself that I wish would just hide in dark corners, so I wouldn't have to chase them out.
But that's not the way it works in real life.  We have to fight those dark things out of the corners and into the open, or we will never grow.  We will never come from anything.

So, all that being said, I'm going to go ahead and cover the second writing prompt for Blogtember:

If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

First of all, when someone says three months, regardless of what they're talking about, my first thought is Summer - May to August - three little months in which so much happens.  I can't help it.  That is the 3-month time frame that my mind jumps to.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the thing I would really love, more than anything else in the world is to do Summer 2010 over again - to open up to all that growth that wanted so badly to happen, but had to wait; to more quickly welcome the me who would eventually come from that time.

I've never had a big desire to travel or do something crazy different with my life than what I'm doing now.  Sure, I have dreams, and I've been to some places, and I'll probably go to some more.  As a result of camp, I now have friends in Australia, Thailand, South Korea, South Africa, Kenya, Wales, and Ireland, for goodness' sake.  I feel like I will probably do some traveling in my time, but the thing I would actually spend my 3 months on without regretting a minute of it?
Washing dishes, and fixing bloody noses, and cleaning cabins, and laughing, and crying, and growing.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

She's Alive, and She's Even Guest Posting!

It is now September, and woefully past the time when I should have picked this poor little blog back up out of the dust I left it in for the Summer.  But man, did this Summer require a doozy of a recovery time.
I sat back and looked at my life the other day, and realized that, just about every season since January of 2012 I've been doing new things and learning new aspects of Camping Ministry.  Summer was the same thing again.  This Fall retreat season is the first time that I know what I'm doing because I've done it before.
That's a whole lot of growing and stretching and learning to experience.  I have succeeded at things I never imagined myself capable of.
I've also failed miserably, and received much grace, for which I am so grateful.
For curiosity's sake, I just went back and read last year's coming-back-from-the-summer post.  Friends, I could say most of those things word for word about this year and they would be equally true.  Summer at camp is beautiful and fulfilling in a way that a relaxing vacation could never be, but it sure is hard.

That's all you're going to hear about that.  I'm going to pick this blog back up (sort of) like I never left off, with my first challenge!  I've decided to participate in the Blogtember challenge this month... and since I'm already a week late in hopping on this bandwagon, we'll just have to see how it goes.  First post - about where I come from - to come tomorrow!

Now, as some of you might suspect from the title of this post, I have another first going on as well - my first guest post!  My cousin, Kassie, texted me a little while back and asked if I would be interested in guest posting on her blog even though I hadn't posted on mine in a little while.

Guys, I've seen guest posts on other blogs and thought about how fantastic and exciting it would be if I ever got to do one, but that was always in terms of years and years from now when I actually have time to focus on blogging.  I was blown away and so incredibly honored that Kas would ask me to guest post for her.

Kassie and I have been friends from day one.  So many of my friends talk to me about how they don't really know their cousins or family members, and every time I have that conversation, I am so grateful to have the Kitchen family in my life.

From blowing out each other's birthday candles and wearing each other's clothes when we were tiny to Sushi and cupcake dates today, I wouldn't trade my friendship with Kas for anything.  So to have her admire my writing enough to want it on her blog was so encouraging.

What I would trade?  My entire wardrobe for hers any day...