Camp Blessing!

So it has officially been forever… better late than never, right?

I was writing a college English essay, the assignment was a profile on a place… Writing about Camp blessing reminded me that I did indeed forget to tell you guys all about it… so this is basically the essay I wrote with pictures and more stuff added in.

I usually don’t write blogs this long, but Camp Blessing is such a worth while program that I think it’s worth it! Here goes nothing:

Deep in the piney woods of East Texas there is a magical place. It isn’t the kind of magic you would find in Narnia or at Hogwarts, but it is magic just the same. Every summer hundreds of special needs children and volunteers travel from all over Texas to Camp Blessing. It is place where wheelchairs and impairments can’t stop anyone from getting the experience of a lifetime, in a safe and accepting environment. Camp Blessing Texas allows these kids to do things they’d never imagine possible and experience God in a whole new light. It is truly a magical place.

Camp Blessing is one of few summer camps in Texas that caters exclusively to children and young adults with special needs.  Siblings who do not have special needs are also allowed to be a camper for a week to give them some time away from caring for their brother or sister.  The children have different disabilities, ranging from Down Syndrome or Autism to Cerebral Palsy, to other disabling conditions. No one at this camp feels left out, each and every child is loved and accepted… and for kids who tend to spend their whole lives on the outside looking in, acceptance and inclusion is a wonderful feeling.

Safety is a big concern at Camp Blessing. With so many possible medical complications and physical activities, safety is a number one priority. Several nurses and nearly a dozen medical students joined us the week I volunteered. They were the camp saviors; they were never found sitting still. Someone always needed medicine, an inhaler or a Band-Aid.  They weren’t the only ones keeping kids safe though. The kitchen staff catered to each and every special diet, gluten-free, peanut allergies, any curve ball you could throw their way. All the volunteers arrived a day early for orientation and training. We learned how to deal with the different complications that might arise, like seizures or temper tantrums.

Orientation was probably one of the scariest parts of Camp Blessing, not because the staff were “trying” to scare you… but because if you’re me medical stuff freaks you out and you automatically assume that someone could die under your care.

We then headed off to our cabins, this is where we realized our whole group would be separated out.  We all looked at each other with the slight note of terror in our eyes… They were gonna stick us in cabins with a a bunch of strangers alone!? Say what? My sister and I hadn’t planned for that. One of us had sunscreen, the other one had Off! At least I had the hairbrush. Next time we def need to bring seperate supplies… So we can both be sunburn and bugbite free.

The camp officially started with the kids getting dropped off red carpet style, and running down a ramp full of applauding counselors and workers. After being scared out of my mind in orientation, the excited smiles on kid’s faces was the perfect way to set the tone for the coming week.

That’s when I met my camper Courtney; I almost lost her, she darted down the ramp so fast! Courtney was Autistic, ADHD, and obsessed with Tinkerbell. If I ever lost her attention we talked Tinkerbell. I learned more about Tinkerbell that week than I will probably ever need to know, but I had a blast. Courtney was very passionate in everything she did. Most of the staff remembered her from the previous year, but it didn’t matter if she remembered them or not because everyone–stranger and friend alike–got a very enthusiastic Courtney hug. On a scale I’d place Courtney somewhere between bear hug and NFL linebacker.

The activities were where the real fun began! What camp would be complete without archery and horseback riding? Not this one! No one had to miss out on anything. Even kids in wheelchairs were able to enjoy everything! Zip-line included! There are so few places that cater to these kid’s needs. I will never forget excitement of seeing them conquer a fear and go zip lining, or on a horse, or in a canoe. Every night was a literally a party at Camp Blessing. Courtney’s favorite had to have been the dance party. I don’t think she stood still for more than ten seconds that whole night, which in turn meant I didn’t either. Talk about exhaustion.

After parties though, things got taken down a notch. We would have church service and worship. Worship was probably what impacted me the most during this week. Seeing kids with disabilities or in wheel chairs giving all they had to praise God really touched my heart. At home I’d throw myself a pity party for forgetting to record The Bachelorette amazed me. But knowing that kids who can’t even walk still find it in their hearts to praise the Lord was remarkable.

Life as a counselor wasn’t always a walk in the park. In fact, it almost never was. For the entire week you spend at Camp Blessing you essentially become the guardian of your camper. You make sure they get showered and tucked into bed before you take your own shower. You make sure they have their food before you get your own. They always come first.

I think that’s the whole point of Camp Blessing, serving others. All the counselors were not called “counselors,” we were called “SOTK’s” which stood for Servant of the King. The first day you put your camp shirt on, and think nothing of it. The last day you put it on it has suddenly found meaning, you suddenly understand. You spent the week serving. Our whole lives, especially as teenagers, are spent thinking in terms of “me” or “I”. One week at Camp Blessing broadens your horizons so much. One week at Camp Blessing reminds you there’s a whole world outside of yourself, and that world needs you.

Campers get to come to camp blessing and experience unlimited supplies love and acceptance, something the “special kids” seldom seem to receive in the “real world”. But campers aren’t the only ones who get something out of Camp Blessing.

After one week, counselors may really miss their own showers and beds. I could also admit to being both physically and mentally exhausted, but for the first time in my life I actually knew what it meant to serve others. I actually felt what it was to worship and thank God through all things. That’s the true magic of Camp Blessing. A week there affects everyone personally and deeply. You can’t leave the same person you came, and why would you want to?

Sorry if this sounded super formal, it was originally an English assignment after all. Hope you enjoyed it! If you feel lead to, check out their website!


Me and my camper, Courtney, in the music room!

Courtney and I about to get on the canoes in those attractive life jackets.

Our Cabin’s girls! G5!

Me and Megan and Jessica being silly, they were very good at that.

For real!

For real!

I have so much to tell ya’ll! I’m just too exhausted to do it at the moment! Bare with me, my posts will be up and running again soon!

Charm and Punishment

As you are reading this  I am all sweaty, disgusting, hot and on mimimum sleep. That’s right! While you read this I will be at camp! Anyways… this is going to seem like it’s really long. But it is a five minute short story I am entering into a contest. Through the magic of technology this will appear while I am miles away from cell service.

I had to rewrite a fairy tale! My love of fairy tales being what it is, I was totally up for this challenge! I decided to rewrite Aladdin. For starters Aladdin, becomes Miss Adalyn… the rest you can read for yourself!🙂 The winner get’s published in a magazine and a free Kindle Fire! How cool is that?!

Just thought you might be in need of a smile today, and I hope I can help you out! Enjoy!


PS. Please pray I’m still alive, haven’t broken any bones, or broken any kids! Love ya!

One very well executed senior prank, and what was I doing? I got stuck sorting through the basement of terror for the next two weeks. Only me! Everyone else dodged the bullet somehow.

Oh yeah, I remember. My “friends” sold me out to the principal.

The crypt’s only “school board approved” purpose was storage for several decades’ worth of lost and found items. It was also served as the school’s hot spot make-out zone, and a torture chamber, namely for me.  It was either this, or no walking the stage at graduation. I’m pretty sure it’s child abuse to have me down here against my will. There’s probably mold down here, I gasp, or poisonous spiders.

At my funeral they’ll realize how cruel-and-unusual-punishment-y this was. But by then it’ll be too late.

All we did was set the principle’s ’66 Mustang GT Convertible on the roof… He had a total meltdown, like try-to-call-the-coast-guard-to-save-his-“baby” meltdown. Slight over reaction if you ask me.

Note that I said “we”. That’s because there were four of us. After months of planning, weeks of drills, hundreds of dollars, and a perfect execution, they ruin the moment and sell me out so they don’t get ‘suspended’. What a bunch of pansies. I grudgingly brought myself back to the task at hand and picked up an old retainer with some form of food still attached to it. I threw it across the room, resisting the urge to scream. I am in dire need of new friends, and gloves.

I decided to tackle the boxes from last year first and leave the 1970’s in their place, buried deep in the basement, hidden among rolls of orange shag carpeting and boxes of bell bottom jeans.


I spun around the room, looking but seeing no one. Great, 20 minutes down here, and I’m already starting to lose it.

I shook my head and decided to open the box marked from last year. The thin water damaged cardboard was practically dissolving into the floor. I start to reach my hand in, using the screen on my phone as a pathetic flashlight. Dear God, may all rats, mice, spiders, and anything else that moves or has teeth please disappear from this box, never to return. Amen.

I closed my eyes, and began to expose the contents of the box. A retainer, no two retainers… Three library books. One pink sparkly converse shoe. Ew, one moldy sock. A pocket knife. And… ooh, what’s this? A cell phone!

I picked it up, and rubbed the dust off the screen. It flickered to life. Now that’s what I call battery life, geez. I examined the phone. I’m halfway tempted to see what kind of dirt –metaphoric dirt—it contains.

A strange woman popped up on the screen, wearing a total punk outfit. Blue hair, black miniskirt, and fishnets included. Strange.

“Adalyn! Finally!” I dropped the phone. It said my name. It moved. The phone. Spoke my name.

“Stop being ridiculous! Pick me up this instant,” she (it?) commanded, voice muffled as the speaker was now lying against the concrete floor. I don’t really want to, but I kind of do, who am I kidding? Of course I want to. I pick up the phone and turn the screen to face me.

“Thank you! Didn’t you hear me call you?”

“What is this? Is this a joke?” I am talking to a cellphone, ‘to’ not ‘on’, yep I’m losing it. “Am I on TV?”

“Shut up, and let me give my spiel.” I nodded my head in compliance, she gave me an annoyed half smile and continued in a completely uninterested monotone.

“Hello Adalyn, I’m Trixie. I’m a genie. I’m here to make your life amazing, your wildest dreams a reality, and ultimately,” she rolled her eyes and glared at me with distaste, “to make you smile.” The over-rehearsed script obviously engrained into her mind, much to her disdain.

“Where are the hidden cameras? Am I gonna meet Ashton?” I asked a little too excitedly, scanning the room quickly.

“No, not unless you wish it!” she shouted. “Now pay attention to the rules.”

I rolled my eyes, rules.

“Humans almost never get anything right when telling people about supernatural beings, but they somehow managed to get one detail right. Three wish limit, no exceptions, no extra wish wishes. Three. Oh, and absolutely no raising people from the dead. That’s just gross.” She shuddered at a bad memory.

“No seriously, is Ashton here?”

No!” She shouted so loud it hurt my ears, “You senseless human! Do you not understand? I’m magical! Charmed! Enchanted!”

“Don’t genies, like, come in lamps? Lamps buried deep in caves?”

“Our homes change with the times, duh.” She rolled her eyes. “The lamp was much roomier than these preposterous ‘smart phones’,” she said with disgust.

I looked at her with furrowed brows, and she sighed dramatically before crossing her arms over her chest and quickly bobbing her head once.

We were soon floating up to the ceiling!

“Put me down!” I screamed as the ground became smaller, and the mess in the basement seemed to grow. The room began to spin wildly, or was it just me? Shag carpet, retainers and hundreds of boxes flew past in a blur. “Okay. I believe you’re real! Put me down!”

“You’re not exactly valedictorian, are you? Didn’t think so.” After insulting me, she became an actual little five inch tall person standing on my phone screen. “Now let’s make this snappy, three wishes. I have a wish quota to fill before I get some vacation time, and Atlantis is calling my name.”

“You mean I have to decide now? But that wasn’t in the rules!”

“You were actually listening?” She asked, completely irritated.

“Of course.”

She stomped her foot like a irate five year-old.

“Why? It’s not like you don’t have plenty of time.”

She had the best death glare I’ve ever seen, and started to open her mouth.

“Your manners are a little rusty, you really need to get out more,” I smirked and she growled, literally.

“Okay,” I put my hands up in surrender. “I’ll try and decide on what to wish for.”

Ummm… Panic began to set in. Maybe I should be responsible and wish for like world peace or something. Nah, who am I, Gracie Lu Freebush? Trixie began to tap her foot impatiently and clench her jaw.

“I can’t choose this quickly!” I yelled, stress building.

“One night, I’ll give you one night to dream, imagine, and decide on your final wishes. After 24 hours, I start to get testy.”

“24 hours? You started to get testy -” I stopped. One look at her face told me this wasn’t a welcome conversation.

I tried again, “24 hours sounds lovely.”

“Well, have fun with this,” she glanced around the room, and her eyes lit up. “Let me help you out with the 70s.”

With an impish grin and a flick of her head, all the 70’s boxes opened and began to organize themselves, Hot Stuff by Donna Summers played in the background. The disco ball even hung itself on the ceiling.

I almost got maimed by a flying afro pick. I dodged it Matrix-style and she smiled.

Three wishes. It was my turn to give an impish grin. This punishment might not be so bad after all, might even be a little fun. 

How to Procrastinate: Packing for Camp

In my efforts to put off packing for camp as long as possible, I am writing a blog post to help those of who need a few tips on Procrastination.

You roll your eyes now, sure. You think that you just turn on the TV and sit? No. Procrastination is not just sitting. It is an art form, and class is now in session.

1. Know what your actual minimum deadline. This is key to being a successful procrastinator. If your alarm clock goes off at 6 AM, but you know that you can actually get ready late-ninja style in 10 minutes, well, there you go. You know your minimum start time and laze around until then.

2. Keep reading this blog. At least a few minutes closer to your goal.

3. Trick yourself into thinking you’re being productive. For example. I put my clothes in the washer… but really that just puts off me packing for another hour.

4. Distract yourself with something semi-productive. Twist logic however you need to for this to work. I am doing a blog post for all my readers waiting with baited breath. After this I might head over to pinterest and find some life saving ways to use mason jars that I could never survive without.

5. Make yourself believe what you are doing is really actually important… this is again where the logic twisting magic of your pro-procrastinators comes into play.

6. Make others believe what you are doing is actually important. “But mom, I HAVE to write this blog post.”

7. Push away that guilt. There is always tomorrow. Unless you die… then it really didn’t matter anyways did it?

8. At the last possible second, run around like a 4 year old with a monster energy drink trying to get everything done. This step includes but is not limited to the following actions: running around the house, being able to find nothing, yelling at everyone in the house asking if they’ve seen your other shoe, yelling at them to “stop being lazy and help me look,” getting really mad when they don’t help, getting distracted by something else that you found more entertaining than your lost shoe, finally finding your shoes just when your sure the dog ate it, falling asleep with everything “almost done”

9. You wake up the next morning and you realize “almost done” means something way different than it did four hours ago. Last night almost done meant zipping up your bag. This morning it means: finding socks, packing a tooth brush, remembering you need bedding and towels, running around like a mad woman ultimately skipping breakfast and making you really irritable.

10. You made it. You get there and realize you forgot a minimum of three things, but you have friends and decide to make the best of it… and mooch off of them.

Congrats: Your diploma will be in the mail any day now! You’re a PROcrastinator! Woo!

You Don’t Say? As told by Kiersten Shafer

You Don't Say? As told by Kiersten Shafer

This seriously annoys the heck out of me! Please stop doing this.

Too Sore to be Productive

Hello lovelies, you’ll have to bear with me today.

I am basically really sore from Bob Harper’s Kettle Bell workout. I’m pretty pathetic, and in a tabloid-y mood today. Mostly because I can do nothing else without cringing. What is the best way to waste time being totally non-productive. Celebrity gossip of course!

So here’s some celeb news,( with pictures for your convenience! Am I sweet or what?) for the last day or so.

I knew I liked Matthew McConaughey for a reason! He’s a Texas Rangers fan.

Image In other celeb news worthy moments…

Miley Cyrus is engaged to Liam Hemsworth! Adorable couple, sorry ladies, but come  Andddd hellooooo? Look at that rock! Good job Liam.


 Famed author Ray Bradbury died at age 91!😦


More importantly though, if you are looking for a killer workout please do yourself the favor of checking out Bob Harper’s (yes, the biggest loser guy) Kettle Bell workout. It will kick your butt… if you dare!

Ow, I hurt.

Enjoy my current obsession, on the house! (WARNING: It is country music. I like country music.🙂 )

Hunter Hayes sings Storm Warning

The Sock Monster (and other totally existent creatures)

We all know about the monster in the dryer that only eats one sock…

But my house is beginning to feel like a Dr. Suess book. A monster around every corner stealing a specific item just for kicks.

“All those Nupboards in the Cupboards they’re good fun to have about. But that Nooth gush on my tooth brush…..Him I could do without.”
― Dr. Seuss, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!

Buy a pack of rubber bands… gone within a week. Do you ever see them again? No. Of course not, something around here eats them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Chapstick! I have never ever gotten to the end of a chapstick… for all I know there is a prize at the bottom. A ridiculously tiny trophy for making it through without losing it. That’s what I’d do if I made chapstick! No one would ever know either. Because purses eat chapstick.

Nail polish, moves. It moves all over the house. There is obviously a very girly (or cross-dressing*) little fiend running around that enjoys painting her (his*) nails.

Keys, wallets, and the nessicities. These are a given. Keys disappear daily around here. They end up on the mantle, in the fridge, in the bread box, on top of the cabinets… You name it, the keys have moved dust around there.

There also must be some kind of little creature that just cannot keep it’s hands off my t-shirts… but in all fairness that’s just my sister, Breelin.

The point is, that I sure ain’t taking the blame for all of my things that magically vanish. My house is a portal for all the little clepto monsters of the world.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Happy reading, Kiersten

* Added mostly for hilarity, and in order to poke a little fun at the political correctness of the world today.

Think Before You Ink (And a little good news)

You may all breathe a sigh of relief… or at least you can laugh while I do.

Robert Pattinson will not be making an appearance in the (it’s-gonna-take-forever-to-come-out) much anticipated Hunger Games sequel (as reported by US Weekly).

That would have been awful. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Twilight (you either just cringed, shook your head, smiled, or begand asking yourself ‘why am I reading this’?). But that last thing the world needs is Robert in another teen sensation movie… I’m just getting over hearing his name every two minutes.

If I had to see his face on any more tshirts… or worse, body parts I’d have to scream and fall into a Bella-esque hermit depression for a few months.

Sadly, your eyes do not deceive you. This really is some lady’s leg. Click on the photo to go to the website and see more laughably awful Twi-hard tattoos.

The Hunger Games tattoo fad has already begun (see below), the last thing we need is more of Robert Pattinson’s face everywhere. He is not even that cute! Come on people!

Rest assured that when the books fall apart, the sales cease, the paparazzi scatter and the actors get old, there will always be a few people crazy enough to immortalize a teen fad onto their skin for all time… or at least until they start sagging and forget what the blob is.

OTHER AWFUL FAD TATTOOS (That people will surely eventually regret, or who’s kids will cringe when going out in public with their ‘mature adult’ parents.) :

Harry Potter. The best part is, she can totally hide it with a turtle neck or Rapunzel length hair!

Even though I adored The Avengers movie (I saw it twice the day it came out!), I believe that these guys were doing fine without having them permanently etched onto my skin.

Yes. That is Justin Bieber. In all his 12 year old glory.
Tell me she won’t regret that in 10 years, when people are laughing at the song “Baby” and she remembers his face will never leave her side.

“And she’ll be like baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
Your face will always be mine… mineee!”

Sorry, couldn’t help it.

Don’t get me wrong. I do understand that some tattoos have a lot of meaning. I do get that they do not all come with a pop culture expiration date of doom… But some do…

For the love all that is good and holy, THINK BEFORE YOU INK kids…

…or some body part of yours may end up forever on the internet, being laughed at…

The end. 

Decoding Elementary School Award Ceremonies

My little brother is officially a second grader as of today… and yesterday he and his whole school did an awards ceremony. Aside from lasting longer than my highschool graduation… literally, it was a cute ceremony… full of little encrypted messages and back handed compliments that I couldn’t help but giggle about.

My mom told me when I was younger teachers always told her I was very informative… It took a couple years for her to realize what that actually entailed… namely me, being the class tattle tale. Teachers have to be some of the most diplomatic people I’ve ever met.

I’m sure they were all laughing at this awards ceremony… and you would too. I mean some of these awards… crazy.

My little brother got the “Most Knowledgeable award”. Knowing my little brother, without a shadow of a doubt I know this means “smart alec-y know it all”. I just imagine him on a daily basis, cutting the teacher off to correct her or make some snarky comment. The kid knows more about medieval weaponry and animals than any first grader should.

Some of the other awards and their OKD (“Official Kiersten Dictionary”) definitions

“Good Communicator” — Adj. Most likely, but not exclusively, a girl who cannot keep her mouth shut.

“Perfect Attendence” — N. Signifies parents that aren’t any fun… and an over compensation in the immune system department.

“Risk Taker”– N. Will not stop jumping off the slide no matter how many times the whistle blows.

“Well-balanced”– Adj. Means the teacher did not once consider sending that particular child to the guidance counselor.

“Most Creative”– Superlative signifying a constant daydreamer, game-player, and art class enthusiast.

What would your award be in elementary school?

Love Kiersten

PS. Romo is never allowed to open another Rangers game. He cannot even go to the game. He cannot even watch the game at home on his probably-way-too-big flatscreen. Nope. Not allowed.

If only The Hunger Games were real… and other unlikely scenarios that would benefit my health.

If The Hunger Games were real: 

1. I’d be in shape! Fearing a fight to the death every year would probably keep me in shape.

2. There wouldn’t be enough food to let me get fat anyways. haha. Seriously though, all the people are like starving in the book. While it does make me extremely grateful (I’d pass on the squirrel stew for now) … I also know that none of them are fat…

3.  I’d be so in love with the Baker’s son… (who’s name is Peeta, like Pita, like bread… seriously?)

If  The Princess Diaries were real:

1. I’d stay in shape on the off chance I actually was a princess just waiting to be discovered.

2. My hair wouldn’t look anything like Mia’s pre-makeover look. Are you kidding me?!

3. I wouldn’t let my friend call her basic cable local TV show “Lily Tells it like it is”.

If  Gone with the Wind was real:

1. I could make designer duds out of curtains.

2. I would talk with extra syllables and an extra dose of whine at all times.

3.  I wouldn’t have to worry about getting fat because those corsets wouldn’t let you eat anything anyways.

If Twilight were real:

1. I could just become a super model by becoming vampire: Worth it.

2. I’d have to drink blood, even if it’s from animals… and that’s kinda gross. (Okay, really gross)

Lesson learned today: In a perfect world there would be major motivation to workout (fights to the death), McDonald’s wouldn’t be on every corner, we’d be happy when we got food and understand the blessing it is (ooh, got heavy right there), and I would be able to make clothes out of curtains.

The real issue here: