Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sunday’s sermon was on the fifth commandment. This week, especially today, I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to have the most amazing parents in the entire world. They love me unconditionally, pray for me daily, and encourage me to follow my dreams and pursue my passions. Over the last 21 years they have illustrated a Godly marriage and built a household based on the Word of the Lord. I cannot believe I am so amazingly blessed.
Two things I learned from Dawn: 1. Never leave the house without lipstick. 2. Big hair is a good thing. Not to mention a super classy sense of fashion :)
My mom is the smartest woman on the planet. Literally, she knows everything. I won’t usually admit it in the moment, but her advice is always the best, and she’s always right. She is truly one of my best friends. She laughs with me, cries with me, and does her best to shield
me from pain and heartache at every turn. Without her I would have never made it through the last three years. She is driven and determined [she’s running a half marathon in a few weeks, real talk]. She is always there when I need her most and even when I don’t think I’ll need her at all. I hope that when I have children I am half the mother she is to Emily and I.
Ray is the world's greatest fisherman. He baits the hook and touches the fish so my hands never even get dirty. Thanks Pops.
My dad is Super Dad. He can fix anything, paint anything, and grow anything you can possibly imagine. He is also the best bedtime story reader and car washer you’ve ever seen. Living with three women he is always outnumbered. Lucky for us [and him], he is a goober and can make the best out of any situation and he endures all of our attitude and fashion critiques. My dad has shown me what the love of my Heavenly Father really looks like. He is patient and loving, but expects obedience and trust from his children. My future husband has a lot to live up to if he wants to be anything like my Daddy.
I am so thankful for my wonderful, awesome, quirky, loving [insert a million other adjectives here] parents. They’ve sat through dance recitals, tennis matches, t-ball games, piano competitions, church musicals, and so much more. They have demonstrated love, compassion, and support even when I deserve it the least. I love my parents more than I could ever say. Maybe [hopefully] one day I’ll have kiddos who love me too?
Peace and Blessings
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
“The F is for FOOD and the A is for ACTIVITIES, the T is for TIME and we know never to ask of these! FAT QUESTIONS, FAT QUESTIONS, FAT QUESTIONS!”
At Kamp we have a cheer or song about almost everything, including FAT Questions. What is a “fat question,” you might ask? As the cheer says, it is any question about food, activities, or time. I would be willing to be that throughout the day we are asked about the day’s schedule and meals at least a thousand times. We discourage these questions because we want kampers to focus on being kids and having fun! Everything at Kamp should have some element of surprise, if the kids know what is coming they can’t enjoy the moment. Surprises create the “moments of wonder” that K-Kountry is known for.
We got our final group of girls on Saturday and it was one of the most challenging days of my life. We were supposed to have K-Life #4 after changeover, but thanks to some unexpected thunderstorms K-Kountry lost power and evening plans changed very quickly. Having a new set of names to learn and eleven new trunks to unpack is hectic enough, throw in a few terrified seven year olds and some headlamps as your only source of light and you’ve got a mad house. Instead of K-Life we had “Night of Champions” and all of the kids competed for different records in events like juggling, blobbing, and hula hooping. After the awards ceremony we went back to our Barns to get the kiddos into bed. What a challenge. We had to get eleven girls into their pajamas and bed for their first night at kamp with zero lights and no fan to help with the heat.
While we were helping them one by one get ready for bed they asked a MILLION questions. “When are we eating again? It’s hot; can we turn on the fan? Are we having the Redneck party tomorrow? Why is it so dark in here? Can I go down the zipline tonight? Is K-Life really loud?” Literally every question they could possibly ask. I was beyond frustrated by the time we finished brushing teeth and getting everyone in their bed. I was so tired of answering questions that I thought were completely unnecessary. I don’t know why I thought they should know what to expect from Kamp, since most of them are first year kampers, but that night the heat and my exhaustion were getting the best of me.
This summer we’re studying James (this is the second summer in a row I’ve been in a James study, I guess God wants me to learn something specific). When I opened my Bible that night I was slapped in the face with this:
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5:7-8
My seven year olds aren’t patient, but then again, neither am I. How many times a day do I ask FAT questions? Probably more often than my kampers. “God, what am I going to do with my life? Where should I go to grad school when I finish this year in Oxford? Who am I going to marry and WHEN? How many kids will I have, I really want two? Where will I live when I’m older, I want to live close to my parents? Why do I have to be patient, can’t I have everything all at once?”
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
I ask and wonder what the Lord has in store for me rather than enjoying this season of my life. I only have a few short months left of my undergraduate career and then its hello real world, real decisions, real bills, and real career (maybe). I am a control freak when it comes to making a plan. I like to know what’s going to happen and when so I can be prepared. When I started college I would have laughed if you told me I would work at a summer camp with no air conditioner, no diet coke, and no cell phone. Now, I can’t imagine a more perfect place to spend a summer. Clearly, God is in control. Only He has the power to get a girl like me to give up a summer by the pool to wear crazy costumes, carry kids around, and sweat to death all for His kingdom.
This summer I am most definitely learning patience (like I mentioned in my previous post). I am learning patience with the beautiful young women I am surrounded by 24 hours a day. Patience with myself when I can’t accomplish goals I’ve set. And patience with my Heavenly Father who has a plan bigger than I could ever imagine.
So from here on out, no more FAT Questions. I will trust in His holy and perfect plan.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Who says you need to be enrolled at the University of Mississippi to earn a degree in being a housewife and mother? All a girl really needs is a summer as a camp counselor. This is long, and I might ramble a little, but it covers some of the funny things that have happened at Kamp lately.
Every day is an adventure and in every adventure there is a valuable lesson.
Life Lesson #1: Who knew you could turn off the water in an overflowing toilet? I sure didn’t, at least not until Sunday morning when our toilet turned into Old Faithful. Sally came running out of the bathroom screaming “ITS OVER FLOWING! I DIDN’T DO IT! WATER IS EVERYWHERE!” Not exactly what I wanted to hear on Sunday Funday, but hey, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. I ran to the office and since it was Sunday the maintenance man was gone—of course. Thank goodness for JP who came to the rescue and fixed our clogged and overflowing commode. He is also to thank for explaining how to turn of the water to stop the geyser. Good information to have for the next time we have a bathroom disaster.
Life Lesson #2: Sick kids always think they can make it to a trashcan; sick kids are always wrong. This one is a little gross, but definitely an important part of Kamp life. One of our sweet Kampers was super dehydrated and felt bad all morning. The nurse told her to sit in the shade and drink water. Unfortunately, the hydration process did not happen quickly enough and it wasn’t long before we saw all of her breakfast. After carrying her to a trash can, holding back hair, carrying her to the next trashcan, holding back hair again, and then finally getting her to the nurses trashcan, I had the pleasure of hosing down the pool deck. It could have (and has been) much worse, but cleaning up someone else’s breakfast is never fun. I guess my mom cleaned up plenty of my messes and God sure cleans up after us all the time, right?
Life Lesson #3: Kids need lots of practice putting in contacts. On this issue, I can speak from first hand experience. I practiced for weeks until I finally got the hang of poking something into my wide-open eyeball. One of our girls went to the doctor and got contacts for the first time THREE DAYS before Kamp. Lucky for her, she has a counselor who has worn contacts almost every day since the fourth grade. So for the last two weeks, I have been putting in eight year olds contact lenses because she insists on wearing them. I know she’ll have to learn how to put them in on her own, but our rustic (for lack of a better term) bathroom is not the place to practice!
Life Lesson #4: Speaking of things kids need to practice—cleaning. Other than cleaning up bodily fluids, I have picked up more socks, wet swimsuits, scraps of paper, wikki sticks, zip lock bags, ribbon, beads, envelopes, crazy creek chairs, friendship bracelet string, waterbottles, and shoes than you can possibly imagine! Who knew kids needed so much stuff for two weeks at kamp!? Clutter has an entirely new meaning when you live with eleven eight year olds for fourteen days. We clean Barn 3 every morning, but somehow by bedtime every night it is absolutely destroyed again. Teaching girls how to sweep, mop, clean toilets, and windex, is such a challenge. Clean in their eyes is not clean in the eyes of an adult. My co-counselors and I have to go behind them almost every day and finish their jobs, but hopefully their leaning at least a little bit about cleaning up after themselves..?
Life Lesson #5: It’s easy than I thought to differentiate between real tears and fake tears. I never understood how Dawn could tell if we were faking it or not, I thought I was such a great actress! Now I understand.
Life Lesson #6: Learning how to French braid makes you a SUPERSTAR. These curly locks haven’t seen many French braids, but this summer I am learning the art of the French braid. Its taken some time, and I’m not ready for pig tails yet, but I have mastered the cute little side thing that goes up into a ponytail and my sweet co, Lauren, is being so patient in teaching me! The girls will sit for hours waiting on you to finish as long as the end result is something resembling a braid. Maybe if I have a daughter one day she won’t have to be as patient as my Kampers!
Life Lesson #7: Sometimes we have to do nasty gross things to please the kiddos (this goes along with Lesson #2). On Sunday Funday, after the toilet episode, we set up different water stations on the lower fields for the girls to rotate through. Rather than walking to different stations with my girls, I was assigned to the “greasy watermelon” station. Tara and I had the joy of covering a watermelon with Crisco and having the girls in the slough throw it around and try to catch it before it splashed water all over them. We used our hands to coat the watermelon with Crisco, word to the wise—Crisco does not come off of your hands easily. Two days later I found some underneath my ring—sick nasty, I know. In the midst of the first rotation, a few girls found a dead fish floating in the water. It took literally 2.5 seconds before the water was evacuated and the girls were standing on the shore and screaming about the fish. So what did I do? I waded into the water, picked up the fish by the tail, and set it on the grass so it wasn’t in the water. Yep, I did. It wasn’t worth listening to them scream or miss out on the activity so I just sucked it up and touched that smelly, gross, dead, slimy thing.
These life lessons have been accompanied by so many more.
At Kamp, patience is key, patience with kampers, other counselors, and with myself. It is so frustrating to repeat myself for what seems like the 1000th time. Sometimes I don’t understand why my girls won’t put on their swimsuits and waders the first, second, or even fifth time I say it. But the more I think about it, aren’t all children the same? When we’re young we don’t listen. Our parents have to tell us a million times not to speed, but when do we stop speeding? When we get a ticket that costs us $250. When do my kids finally put on their swimsuits and waders? When they realize they’ll have to sit out of the pool and miss the fun. Isn’t our relationship with The Lord the exact same way?
We are commanded time and time again to obey our Father, and regardless of our efforts, we are never completely successful. Rather than giving up on our imperfections, God forgives us and gives us a second chance, and a third chance, and a fourth chance…and on and on and on. He gently reminds us that we are his beautiful creation and that He will love us no matter what we do wrong. His patience goes beyond our imaginations. Crazy to think He will forgive me no matter how many mistakes I make.
Being a counselor at K-Kountry has without a doubt been one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. I have learned so much and been blessed to spend my summer around Godly men and women who love investing in kids lives. But ultimately God our Father is the one working. He is moving through Kanakuk and working in the hearts of children from across the country (or Kountry). As counselors we may be called to do some really disgusting things, but if one life is changed it is all completely worth it. Every bad day, krazy party, cheer, canoe trip, homesick kid, and memory—its all for The Kingdom. I cannot believe I have the opportunity to spend four weeks living on the K-Kountryside, the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
This is my new favorite verse from a former camp counselor:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16
Monday, June 13, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
(This is long and I might be rambling, but I had a long week and lots of thoughts!)
The Happiest Place on Earth. Where exactly is this place? Thousands of people might say Disney World, others a warm sandy beach with a cool ocean breeze, a foreign country rich in history and architecture, or even their own front porch, but all of these people have missed the mark. This place isn’t anywhere near your typical vacation location or tourist hot spot; in fact, most of the tourists you’ll find nearby are members of AARP- cashing in their senior citizen discount at ever dinner buffet and country sing along on the strip.
High-pitched laugher, squeals of joy, and shouts of excitement make up the soundtrack at one of the most magical places in the country. Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, K-Kountry had claimed the title of “The Happiest Place on Earth” for children, adults, and college students from across the US. From waterslides that wind through the trees to canoe trips that end at Kanakuk’s own “Hard Rock Café” every day at the Kountryside is one to remember. But kamp is about more than just making memories; it is about moments of wonder.
What exactly is a moment of wonder? A moment of wonder is more than a memory, it is a moment that resonates for years in our hearts, leaving a lasting impression on our lives and ultimately inspiring us to walk more like Christ.
Last week I spent seven days at K-Kountry for Staff Training Week, a time dedicated to preparing and equipping college students to invest in the lives of hundreds of children. Our goal is to create moments of wonder for kampers, not just memories While we were readying the Kountryside to welcome parents and kids, we took a day off from kamp work and drove to Joplin, Missouri to aid in storm relief.
After seeing the incredible damage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I had some idea of what to expect when we arrived. But never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such devastation in one town and I would have never expected to find a moment of wonder in such a beaten and torn down community.
When we entered the area where the storm touched down just a week earlier you could see for miles with no trees, buildings, or signs to obstruct view. Everything was demolished. Homes, businesses, schools, and cars were all twisted beyond recognition and wrecked beyond repair. Families lost more than their homes; they lost family photos, clothing, furniture, and things that can never be replaced.
We went to Joplin to work with Samaritan’s Purse and show the love of Christ through service. Our teams went to homes around the affected area to clear debris, rake leaves, and love on the families who lost almost everything. One of the families we worked with were in the ministry. They were living in Lake Charles, LA when Katrina hit the coast. After recovering from the hurricane they moved to Joplin to avoid hurricanes, they had no idea that they would soon be faced with one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the mid west. We helped them clean up their yard and clean off their house (which had very little structural damage), they had been so concerned with helping others whose needs were greater than theirs that they hadn’t taken any time to remove the debris and downed trees from their own property. They were overcome with emotion when we left and even called us their “Blue Angels” (we were wearing blue shirts). Who knew that filling a few trash bags with leaves and sticks could mean so much to a family?
Talk about a moment of wonder. This family challenged me in a whole new way. Rather than just live an easy life and let generous people like Franklin Graham organize help for me when I’m in need, I should put others needs first, showing them the love of Jesus. When times are tough and people are asking why, we, as Christians have the opportunity to be salt and light to the world. We should take every opportunity to be the body of Christ, to set an example for those around us and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same. I wish we could have worked later into that afternoon or the next day, but I know that in the few hours we spent there we were all changed forever.
While we were cleaning up houses and yards a few exciting things happened. We went to one house—located on Mississippi Street of all places—and helped a lady named Sissy clean up her yard. Long story short, Sissy and her husband both graduated from Ole Miss undergrad and her husband and son went to Ole Miss Law School! Small world, right? Well, it gets better. Sissy was also a Delta Gamma! Super cheesy, I know, but what are the odds that we would end up in the yard of an Alpha Psi? I think slim to none. Some teams also worked with Kamp families who were hit by the storm. At one house, Rachel presented the family with scholarships for all three of their children to attend the 1st term at K-Kountry! They even provided trunks and gift cards to fill the trunks with kamp necessities! Hearing about the excitement of the kids and their family makes me tear up. These kids have something fun to look forward to and something to take their mind off the storm! They get to spend two full weeks at The Happiest Place on Earth
Cleaning up yards and hauling limbs to the road was such a humbling experience. I knew that when I got back on the bus I would ride away from the darkness and destruction in Joplin, but the families there have months and years of rebuilding and recovery ahead of them. I knew that I had a warm bed, clean bathtub, and plenty of freshly washed clothes waiting on me at home; these people had nothing. We went to Joplin to serve these people, but they taught us so much in return. Most of the families we met were thankful to be alive, and were anxious to help the other families around them. But the sense of community was overwhelming. People wanted to love other people, putting others needs ahead of their own.
The rest of my week at K-Kountry was spent pulling weeds, painting basketball courts, and sewing curtains—I know, totally housewife preparation. We had a K-Kountry Hoe Down and learned real square dancing from real live square dancers. It wasn’t quite the dancing we do in Oxford, but it was fun nonetheless. We also made a trip to the original Lamberts for some chicken fried steak and throwed rolls. A few of us went next door to K-Kaui to give blood, the diet coke and cookies were our motivation and it was totally worth it. Of course, we had playbook sessions to learn the rules and activities training where we learned how to run the zipline, teach archery, and how to blob. The week flew by as we ran around kamp fixing things and sprucing everything up for the kampers. I cried when Sydney and I finally left and I’m so sad I won’t be back for six weeks. But I know the Lord is working in the hearts of the 244 kids who arrived on Saturday! I cannot wait to hear the incredible stories of changed lives when I get back to the Kountryside.
For the next six weeks I’ll be keeping a sweet little nine year old. I’m sure Peyton and I will have some great adventures before I head back to Branson!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Brown(er) hair is not for me, Mississippi State University is not for Maggie, and apparently blonde hair is not for Mallen.
You never know when God will put incredible people in your life who will change you forever.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Glee is my dream. What would be greater than walking down the hall and breaking out in song? Nothing. The Brittany Spears episode is one of my favorites; along with “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” and “A Very Glee Christmas.” If you haven’t seen Glee, watch it. Tuesday nights at 8:00 (during Crusade, but its on Hulu by Wednesday).
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is pure genius. Who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of insanely rich women prance around Beverly Hills and create unnecessary drama? Lisa Vanderpump is quite possibly one of the most fabulous women to ever live. She is uber classy and with her sidekick, Giggy, she always finds fun somewhere in the 90210. In the very near future, I hope I can take a trip to BH to eat at one of her beautiful restaurants!
Friday, January 14, 2011
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book. I read this book in less than three days while I was at Kamp—meaning I stayed up really late at night and read during every bit of my spare time. Once you open it you will not put it down.
Francine Rivers tells the story of Hosea through a man and woman living in California during the 1850s. The story illustrates God’s never failing love for us regardless of our sins. She relates the story directly to the book of Hosea and after reading her book; I will never read His book the same way again.
Reading this book I saw a real picture of how much my Father loves me. No matter how ugly and dirty I am, He still pursues me wholeheartedly and embraces me with loving arms.
"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely…" Hosea 4:14
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I’ll Fly Away—I love hymns, especially this one. Really, who doesn’t want to hang out on the celestial shores of Heaven? I know I sure do. Just a few more weary days here on Earth and we’ll fly home to Jesus!
She’s Everything, Brad Paisley—I know it’s corny, but one day I want my husband to feel this way about me. And I want him to sing it to me all the time. Annndddd if he can play the guitar (or piano) that’s a definite plus for him.
If I Die Young, The Band Perry—definitely one of my newer favorites. However, if I die an early death I would like to be sent down the river in a pretty satin dress.
Lead Me, Sanctus Real— http://sanctusreal.com/ watch “The Story Behind ‘Lead Me.” You will never listen to this song the same way again. What a powerful song and testimony. I have been blessed with the most amazing father here on this earth and he has shown me a beautiful example of the love of Christ. He has led my family with strong hands and he never ceases to amaze me. Every time this song comes on KLOVE I get teary eyed thinking about the Godly men in my life and the way they have changed my life and continue to do so.
Move Shake Drop REMIX—this song will forever remind me of my sweet Delta Gamma sisters (I know, super cheesy) and the amazing times we had. Dancing with Madeline, Saralauren, Lori Beth, and Hayes to this song in the chapter room is still one of my favorite memories. I cannot imagine my college years without the girls I have come to love so much!
What Love Really Means, JJ Heller—This song is a tearjerker, but it is such a beautiful illustration of Christ’s love for me! No matter how imperfect I am and no matter how many mistakes I make He will “love me for me,” how comforting is that!?
Tearin’ Up My Heart, N’SYNC—when I was in fourth grade I would have chopped off my right arm to hear JC and Lance to sing me this song. I went to the concerts, watched the Disney TV specials, and even bought the dolls. Too bad the latest generation of tweens has never heard of N’SYNC, Bacstreet, or Lizzie McGuire. What is this world coming to?
He Won’t Get It, Sweetwater Jade—I know most people don’t know who this band even is, but they’re amazing and I love the girls who are a part of it. Shout out to Whit, Jean, and Kelsey!
For Good, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth from Wicked—Hands down my favorite Broadway production, EVER. I have so many incredible friends and one of the most amazing families I could ever ask for. They have all taught me so much and I don’t know where I would be without them. If not for them, who knows what I would’ve become.
My Hallelujah Song, Julianne Hough—of course this one had to make my list of favorites. I think this song can describe how I finally feel-at peace and content with my life. I have finally stopped looking to others to complete my life.