Category Archives: Living Life

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.

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!

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.

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.

Christian Pickup Lines

I decided I had no life, and might as well enjoy the down time and make a few of those Christian Pickup Line cards. I found most of them on the internet, a few I sort of made up after seeing the original concept. I figure it’s just in time for everyone to get some practice in with the mirror before they find this year’s church camp boy/girl friend. These pretty much at least guarantee you a good smile, and maybe a date to make fun of all the cafeteria food.

You can make your own ecards at someecards.com, they have lots of pics, and you can choose what they say. You might have fun with it!

Enjoy!

Oh, and if you actually use them, I’d love to know how it goes and fully expect a wedding invite.

Best Wishes! Kiersten

Dear Me, (Reflections and Advice from the Future)

 Hey Kiersten, it’s you from the year 2012. Apparently this year the world is gonna end, but I made it thru y2k, the bird and swine flu’s, and the rise and fall of MySpace. I’m not too worried, and I know you and you know me, we’re worriers of the worst kind.

I learned a few lessons in my years here, I thought I would pass on. I know you’re stubborn and might not listen to me, but if not, hey don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Dear First Grade Me, Your father in the principle… your mother is the school nurse… every teacher knows your name. If you are ever gonna be able to “rule the school” now is your time to act. P.S. Not that you’ll listen, but that building a couple doors down is not for psychos… it’s just a old folks home. They aren’t that scary, cheek pinching aside.

Second grade me, keeping dozens of lady bugs as pets just doesn’t work. They won’t stay in that barbie house, and you will wake up with them in your hair. Oh, that squirrel that eats out of your hand, Nutter Butter,  take a picture with him. I don’t think I remembered to!

Don’t let Breelin play, “Don’t step on Toffee”, it just ends in tears, a dead hamster and a missed soccer game. (You make an awesome goalie, you find out later you were the goalie because you were the only one not afraid of putting your face down with a bunch of kicking soccer cleats. You rock.)

Third grade me, when your teacher is reading about some little boy being very sick and she faints, she isn’t just being dramatic. Get the nurse. Oh, and taking home your class Turtle for the weekend may seem fun now… FYI they stink. Literally.

You should really consider enjoying reading starting now, it makes those crazy long car trips slightly more bearable. Although after about 16 hours in the car enjoying it goes out the window, you just want to survive.

Fourth grade me, looking back I know that for fourth graders some of your friends can be VERY dramatic. As a pastor’s daughter I guess it’s good that God brings you this lesson early in life. Remember to try and deal with people diplomatically… oh I have you to thank for the beginning of my life long friendship with a near and dear friend, Sarcasm. Don’t know how I would have made it through school without you. PS. You’re amazing at Wall Ball and Four Square.

Fifth grade me, this is your last year in California. But, it’s okay. Not everyone in Kansas wears ruby slippers and has annoying yappy dogs. Some people there are even pretty awesome. Please though, take advantage of the great cali beaches while your still there. Wear sunscreen.

You have a cute little brother, he screams and cries and only shuts up when you sit outside with him. But you will love him alot, at least until he starts leaving legos on the ground. Take lots of blackmail pictures!

Sixth grade me, see I told you Kansas wasn’t all that bad. You’re at the age when guys get really annoying. Here’s a tip: it doesn’t get any better… Clear mascara is not make-up, it’s clear. It is the chapstick of mascaras.

Also, Xanga is a trap. It is not a private online diary. Do not complain about the mean things your friends do, even if they are mean… because one of the will eventually find the page and drag you to the scary counselor’s office,  after printing out the page of course.

Seventh grade me, don’t be scared about memorizing your locker combo and finding all your classes, you will do it eventually. Just remember, if you walk into a classroom and your seat is taken, make sure your in the right class period before asking the teacher what’s wrong.

Go to the mixer, some kids try to do the worm and it’s a great laugh. Oh, and play outside as much as you can, you’ll miss it.

PS Get over your pony tail phase! Oh my goodness do something with your hair!

Eighth grade me, you think your about to die. Leaving all your very best friends behind in Kansas. You won’t die, but don’t expect things to be a breeze in Christian school either. You’ll meet a few people to help you  get through the year. Might even see a cute guy. Just remember girls are never as dramatic as they are in Jr. High, and you thought fourth grade was bad! ha!

Ninth grade me, you’ll love the year of homeschooling. Just stay on top of things, chill in your PJs. When your co-op group goes to the art museum don’t even whisper joke about sitting on the ancient throne chair (even if it’s only behind a rope and doesn’t seem all that important), the guard a few feet away has like super hearing and will lecture your group for 10 minutes on the evils of sitting in the chair. And when they take you to a fancy lunch… salad with pecan encrusted goat cheese is not your best bet.

Tenth grade me, welcome to China Spring. Make some new friends, switch to a top locker (before the guy above you drops a text book on your head), and try your best in every class.

Eleventh grade me, new science wing! Yay. Not really. Chemistry isn’t that bad if you pay attention and take good notes. But for goodness sake don’t forget your rubber band or closed toe shoes on lab day.

Oh, and you don’t think your going to prom, but you are. You also will find a great dress on clearance at davids bridal a week before prom. Don’t stress about a date, you learn it’s more fun to go with friends anyways. Oh, and don’t leave your ticket in the car when your dad goes to vacuum it. You won’t see it again.

Twelfth grade me, Wow. Don’t stress about what you want to do. I still don’t know. But I do know several of your friends have changed majors several times. (Your mom was gonna be a Spanish teacher for goodness sake!) Stop freaking out and enjoy the year.

For heaven’s sake, wear like 6000 SPF sunscreen at the beach this summer! You would rather be white, than red and peeling. I swear.

No matter what you do, you cannot make a paper airplane. It just won’t happen. Beg someone for help ahead of time as opposed to last minute.

At the Zoo, go out the back way… because you CANNOT SEE past the bush, and with your luck you’ll pull out right in front of a state trooper, who isn’t the “give a warning” type.

Relax, Trust God, Perfect Your Amazing Signature, and Enjoy the Ride (it goes fast!)

See ya in the Mirror, Kiersten

This post was inspired by the Brad Paisley Song Letter to Me. It’s cute.

Letter to Me – Brad Paisley

Spiderbites and Pandas

Camp:

This has to be one of the strangest camp weeks, with the most ambulance appearances. Yes, this was the camp where you just kinda wondered what could happen next. It was also the camp where my cell phone charger and new pair of jeans disappeared. (Fine arts– Purse Stolen. Camp– Phone charger and jeans. At the next north texas event, I am going to bring a padlock, and some sort of alarm system.)

I believe my pre-camp blog pretty much had it down to a science.

Day One: We mostly waited around. Wait to get in. Wait for the other cars. Wait for Elizabeth. Wait for room assignments. Wait for dorm assignments. Wait to hitch a ride on a golf cart with suitcase that probably weighed as much as me. Wait for dinner. Wait for service. Wait for the Lord to realize that it actually is winter and we wouldn’t mind 45 degree temperatures. Wait for late night.

Exciting moment of the day: Amber gets a bee sting. We pull the stinger out, but all day long it continues to swell, grow larger, look more and  more like some foreign disease. (You will have to look at day two to see the riveting conclusion to today’s excitement.)

Service was good though. Worship was awesome. End of day one, everyone was predictably happy and excited for day two and the rest of camp.

Day Two: Get gross at games. Go back to cabin for bible study and change clothes… because for some reason sitting in muddy, soaked, and sweaty (not just in your own sweat), clothes, sitting on a bed and reading the bible just doesn’t seem to work. Then we go to lunch and then to service. (Don’t forget the waiting in the 105 degree heat, with 1000 other people, for the doors to open.) More games, more grossness, snack shack and late night.

Excitement of the day: We find out that the Amber’s bee sting is actually a spider bite, and if it gets worse she has to leave. Krystina get’s stung by a bee… making her the spazziest, most paranoid, run-and-scream about any flying-insect. (Yell “WASP!” and point anywhere near Krystina, it is worth it, have a video camera ready).

Day Three: Amber, Alyssa, Kayla and I have the most luggage. We somehow all end up in one corner together. Miraculously we stuff all of our things back into our luggage, and somehow find crevices to stuff all of our luggage into, for cabin clean-up. Other than that, day three is when it gets repetitive.

Excitement of the day: More ambulance visits. Amber somehow convinces the nursing staff that even though her spider bite is worse, she gets to stay at camp. Krystina is still deathly afraid of anything with antennas… and Chris has dubbed himself the camp wasp killer. (Him running around with one shoe in his hand, one on his foot and one sock, chasing wasps has to be one of the highlights of camp.)

Day Four: Pretty much day two and three all over again. Sweat. Dirt. Service. More sweat. Late night snack. More service. Another ambulance call.

Excitement of the day: My lovely friend Kayla’s heart decides to beat irregularly, and scare us all to death. She get’s the okay from parents and doctors to stay and take it easy… she has us all on edge. Amber goes to the hospital (We all know she really just went to get dinner outside of camp.) to get a shot and some meds.

Day Five: Bittersweet… I had to try to stuff all of my belongings back into my suitcase… It’s kinda like those cute tiny ponchos that come with a tiny button pouch case, and you never get it back in there again. There is something so sad about leaving camp, but so exciting. You get to go back home and fire your church up for God, and you look forward to coming back next year.

You want your own bed, shower and food… But, you’ll miss the craziness the only North Texas camp could ever offer.

Excitement of the day: Chris packs the wrong suitcases and gets a call from our cabin mates half an hour away, asking if we have seen their bags. So… Pastor Chris, gets to go back to Maypearl, luggage in tow, to let our cabin mates leave. Smooth move Chris.

VBS:

Oh, Vacation Bible School. How I love you, and the fact that you only come once a year.

I spent the weekend before VBS decorating for the theme. Pandas. Everywhere. Pandamania. Literally, that’s the theme name, Pandamania.

We spent hours making vines, hanging wall settings, making pagodas, coloring characters, and I’ve never stepped on and off a stool so much in my life. Can you say workout?

But the kids loved it, no one went home permanently damaged… except all the workers, who’s mind are forever engraved with every song and hand motion… (“He’s Wild, He’s Wild! God is Wild about us!” “I am not forgotten”). If you have somehow escaped hearing these songs, consider yourself the envy of most of the workers, and some of the parents, and probably even one or two of  the kids.

I would like everyone to give it up for “Miss” Sue! You have made VBS a great success, your vision is what drove this train and made the kids whine about leaving instead of coming. Great job! 🙂

Overall, Pandamania was a success!

I have a million and one, okay three or four (but a million and one sounds so much more interesting), movie reviews to watch. I will be adding another one to the list, The Help. It looks really good… So, I’m off to review Zoo Keeper, Harry Potter, Captain America, and later The Help!

Dear students, start the countdown of misery and despair, summer is coming to a close and school will soon start again… even if the temperatures don’t drop.

Lots of Love and  Happy Reading! Kiersten

PS!!! Breelin gets mad everytime I don’t mention her… May I please point out, Breelin was at camp… Breelin worked VBS… Breelin has a million bruises (she needs to eat bananas) from hanging vines at VBS (I don’t know either)… Breelin will be going to The Help later today.  Breelin doesn’t eat mexican food. Her favorite color is pink. She sleeps in ’til noon. She wants to be a children’s pastor.

Happy Breelin?

Camp! :)

Wow, it’s almost that time again. The time of achey muscles, insanely over-salted food, sweaty people all smooshed together in a tabernacle and of course some amazing worship and services… Yes, what else could it be… CAMP!

Because this is my last year to go to camp, as a camper at least, I thought I would do a Pre-Camp Guide Walkthrough… While every camp is different, there are a few things you can always depend on… So, without any further ado…

North Texas Youth Camp

At Maypearl

Handbook

ABOUT: Lakeview Camp at Maypearl, TX is one of the best assembly of God camps in the nation. It will greet you with a sign, “Welcome to the Best Week of Your Life!” If you keep a good attitude, it really will be one of the best weeks of your life. Really.

Pre-camp: I guess the big thing  is to pack, which  I always end up doing the Saturday and Sunday before camp… I am a major packing-procrastinator. Having been to camp five times before I can help you out… Here are a couple of things that tend to be forgotten, mostly the obvious items… figuresss.

  • Sheets/Pillowcases
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Shampoo/Condition/ Bodywash
  • Razors
  • DONT YOU DARE FORGET DEODORANT.
  • Water-Proof makeup (trust me, just do it)
  • Bibles
  • Notebooks
  • OFF! (mosquitos love campers!)
  • Flashlights (really come in handy)
  • Cameras
  • Socks (Although to be honest,  I have never worn a pair of tennis shoes at camp in my life… Ruined some flip flops? Yes. Climbed up hills in heels? Yep. Tennis shoes… never. Two words, think: “Soggy Socks”)
  • The final thing that is easy to forget (what with the packing, the stuffing your wardrobe into a suitcase, and the constant feeling of forgetting something) is a good attitude. Don’t leave home without it, because I will be stuck with you for five days,  and if your in a bad mood I can promise nothing good will come of it.

Getting There: We always come to church prepared, drivers for people and seperate cars for the insane amount of luggage people pack. (I tend to win “Most Luggage” at the Camp Awards… I cannot help it that I need to bring all my shoes, I mean they go with my outfits, plus other people always borrow them too. It is a totally self-less act.)

When we get within a mile of camp we find, the line. The line of cars, vans, buses, and trailers leading to the camp. Then we sit in the line. Every now and then we move a few feet. Mostly during this time, we talk about how excited we are, who will get the blessing of a camp stalker this year, and memories of last year.

By the time we actually get to the front of the line, they kick us out and make us carry  our bags, which mostly weigh more than the person carrying them… to a giant room, and then we sit and wait for cabin assignments. This is usually when we all complain about past cabinmates and pray we don’t get any this year.

After we drag all our junk to the cabin and all make faces about how annoying our cabinmates are, (because they are usually loud, LOUD, and giggley…) we head to get our team assignments. Teams consist of a color and an animal… I have had the red crabs, the blue rats, the white monkeys, the black beetles and the missing one is missing because these camps are so popular that one year we got wait listed and went to another camp, up in Dallas.

I am hoping to neither be black (it gets all hot, but it doesn’t show stains…) or white (I honestly don’t understand why they even use that as a color… All of camp is basically a wet t-shirt contest for the white team, and you walk outside and your shirt is stained… I never understand how). Yes, I don’t wanna be black or white. Yes, I realize I sound totally racist.

Day ONE: The mood: is excitement and joy to get away from our families (haha). No one is tired or sore yet, and even though we still get hot and sweaty, we haven’t had to use the disgusting showers yet (BRING SHOWER SHOES, do it.).

That night: Is the first service, most of the time the speaker kind of makes it the testimonial night, it’s also when you get a feel for the worship. Most of the time you don’t bawl your eyes out or anything. You also still have energy after they make you go to snack shack at 10 at night and then late night, at whenever time they feel like it. You usually get in at 12 to 2 AM and your either dead tired and annoyed because someone thought it would be funny to drink a monster 20 minutes ago, or your the one who is hyped up and everyone is annoyed with you.

Day TWO: The mood: everyone is still happy to be at camp, if not a little tired, from lack  of sleep, and the fact that they have to wake up early for the first camp breakfast of the week (I usually stick with cereal.). Once you get back it’s a mad scramble to clean up the dorm to avoid the title of Dirty Dorm.

(which entails the theme song, getting sprayed down with iced lake water, and your counselor wearing a toilet seat… Maybe, we should get dirty dormmmm, don’t you think Elizabeth would look HOT working a toilet seat?…. :))) (You  also have to stay up EXTRA late and do things like fill water balloons and stuff).

That night: Depending on the person, most people eventually have at least one or more emotionally draining night. That includes, but is not limited to: head aches, puffy eyes, the need for tissues, a sore throat and the overwhelming want to go straight to your cabin and skip snack shack and late night… because after a night like that no one looks good.

Day THREE: the mood: Everyone is starting to get annoyed with eachother, because after a few days on no energy, high emotions and camp food people are bound to get crabby and stuff.

That night: Basically the same as number two, except by day three your really annoyed that late night is mandantory and you swear if you have to sing “On a night like this…” one more time someone will get hurt.

Day FOUR:  the mood: everyone is trying to resist the urge to kill eachother, the more social people have made friends that they spend this last day trying to hang out with… The boy-crazy girls, and the girl-crazy boys usually have someone they are semi-stalking. This is also the day of the Iron Man race… which I always find a way out of… but basically all the teams are up against one another in a marathon that’s all over camp. The winner gets some major points, which helps, out, because the whole camp is a competition to win the ultimate title of Camp Champs, and get tshirts… TSHIRTS!

that night: you sing every verse with hand motions of “On a night like this…” and know it will be stuck in your head for months… REALLY. Months. After all this is the last time you will be singing it all weeek, at least, by force. You also usually stay up later that night, being the last night and all.

Day FIVE: the mood: sad, because it’s time to leave camp. Camp is a place of sweaty- smelly guys, gross food, flag dancing, minimum sleep, waterslides, the blob, walking everywhere, competition, new friends,  stalkers, changed lives and new encounters with the Lord. You cannot help but miss it.

That night: You realize as much as you totally love camp, you have to admit, even a little, that a shower in your own shower, sleeping in your own bed and finally having fast food, is a little bit nice.

 

(IF Your going to camp this year, or if your kid is, I suggest they start reading thier bible nightly, which I realize can be really hard. I also think it’s a great idea to pray that thier lives be changed and our youth group as a whole be changed at camp… “Ask and you will recieve”, right?)

As a camp lover, I am both excited and dreading camp. Excited for everything except what I am dreading (bugs, the showers, the food, and sweating.).

Love, Kiersten

P.S. Shout out to Krystina, one of the funnest craziest people to go to camp with, you are not allowed to say “that’s what she said” again, and noooo energy drinks, or sugar, or caffiene… you are the one person on this earth who doesn’t need extra energy to get through camp.

Moontanning and other simple pleasures…

Tonight I had the pleasure of enjoying one of my summer simple pleasures, my cousin Sara and I dubbed it Moontanning. I feel it is a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who is still breathing.

Basically swimming in the pool by moonlight, watching the stars come out, and not worrying about reapplication of sunscreen or what SPF you should try and use.

So, I was trying to come up with a good blog post, something that would be fun to come up with and lighthearted and easy to read… Sitting Floating in my Opa’s pool tonight I was struck by how insanely grateful I was for everything in my life… It seems like the perfect night to come up with a list of simple pleasures that tend to show themselves in the summertime.

Summer Simple Pleasures (in no particular order)

  1. One of my absolute all time favorites has to be when a little yellow dot floating around your backyard catches your eye on a warm summer night. Lightning bugs! They are a sign to me that summer is actually here.
  2. Ice Cream. While Ice Cream can be (and is) enjoyed year round… I am not sure how you can beat a bowl of ice cream (vanilla completely soaked in chocolate syrup) after an exhausting day of swimming in the sun.
  3. Late nights and even later mornings, just knowing that you can stay up until 4 in the morning for fun and not becuase you (if your like me) need to finish reading a book and write the book report, or finish a science project, or write your four page paper…
  4. The smell of clorine, while it can be utterly revolting there is something distinctly summery to me about a clean pool.
  5. Sleepovers and movie nights!
  6. Fireworks… fireworks are great, but you have not seen them until my dad sets them off… upside down…
  7. Lemonade. Summer is literally the only time I ever drink Lemonade.
  8. NO HOMEWORK… ’nuff said.

I probably have more and will do another post on just anytime simple pleasures, but those are good for now, and I have a bunch of books from Half Price to bury myself in. So until the next post…

Be happy, look at the blessings you have and smile! 🙂

–Kiersten

To my dad, the writer, dreamer and loser of all things…

My dad is the absolute greatest father ever. He’s a writer, and everything he does is over the top, imaginative and crazy… which makes it okay that my mom has to assemble all the furniture we ever buy and program the tv remote.

I think one of the funniest moments I remember with me and my dad would have to be from an insanely long car trip, me made with my 2 month old brother, from California palm trees to Kansas praries. If you have ever made this trip you know two things are inevitable, 1) It is flat after Colorado, a Tree is your new mountain and 2) there will be a ton of signs directing you to wonders of the world such as 6 legged lambs, and the world’s biggest rocking chair.

One of the signs we saw about 500 miles away, and every 50 or 25 miles we saw another sign… THE THING 450 miles… 300 miles…. 150 miles… By the time we got there we had to know what this incredibley amazing Thing was, it just said the thing, no details… so as we pulled up to the gas station and bought our dollar tickets from the cashier we were totally in the dark.

So we followed the sidewalk around the back of the gas station and into a free standing garage, oh yes, so worth a dollar, good thing mom opted to wait in the car, we’d never hear the end of it. We look around at the things hanging on the wall, just junk from the town land fill probably… and then we make it to THE THING. It was a mummy, I think, it might have just been a dummy advertised as a mummy, but whatever… All wrapped in gause and lying in the glass case. We looked at the mummy for about a minute and then look at my dad who starts laughing.

When we get to the car, dad tells mom she has to buy a ticket and go see it. So like him… she refused and back in the car we went…

I guess one of the things that absolutely sums up my fathers approach to life (Over the top, dramatic and big) are his theme dinners. Even when I was little he’d pick a place, a movie, or a tv show and cook around that theme. The whole living room and dining room would be decorated up, fried chicken and quilts for Little House on the Prarie… Jumbalaya, jazz music, mardi gras beads and crazy masks for New Orleans. Sombreros, mustaches and Mexican blankets for Mexican night. To my dad, bigger is always better.

The more complex, the more frustrating, but also the bigger payout in the end.

A favorite memory of my dad would have to be when I was from first and second grade, and we lived in Washington state. My mom worked the late night shift at a hospital or nursing home, and dad would stay up to write. This is when he was working on his very first book. Me and my little sister would play at his feet while he wrote, I can just hear his fingers bouncing off the keys… slowing when he had to think through something, and quickly speeding up when an idea came to mind.

I love my dad, and I hope he knows how much I appreciate him, and really love him. Without my dad I wouldn’t have my sense of humor, my dream big take on life, I might not lose everything I have ever owned, and my love for James Bond and Our Man Flint would definately not exist nor would my green eyes. So here’s to you dad… May all your still insanely out there dreams come true and may 2011 be the year we pack our bags for “Easy Street.”

LOVE, Kiersten