It’s been a month since my dad died. It’s not been easy most days but I remind myself he is in heaven with his parents. My Grandma and Grandpa Carty were 45 and 50 when he was born. His two brothers were twenty years older than he so he was quite the surprise. I was always worried I’d end up pregnant like my grandma but luckily that did not happen.
My grandma always said she didn’t have long to live. She was convinced she would die before my dad ever graduated from high school. That certainly did not happen. The very first time my mom met her she was barely out of the car before she said I’m John’s mom and I don’t have long to live. I am not sure why she thought this because she ended up living until the age of ninety one. She lived to me see graduate from nursing school and my sister graduate from high school. Maybe if she didn’t think she was going to die all of her life she would have lived past one hundred.
My parents divorced when I was five so my dad would take my sister and I to see our grandparents for the weekend every few months. They lived in Salem and we enjoyed going. There was no better nap than when the grown ups were talking. After my grandpa died, my grandma moved to like a senior citizen apartment and my aunt and uncle built a house in Salem close by to keep an eye on her. Her apartment was one bedroom so we would sleep on the pull out couch. We always slept under this pink quilt she had made. I loved it but had totally forgotten all about it.
After my dads service Brenda gave my sister and I a bunch of his stuff she thought we would enjoy. I cannot begin to describe the joy that overcame me when I opened a box and there was the quilt. I had no idea my dad had even had it. It was like finding a long lost treasure chest worth more than all the money in the world. My sister said she will never forget the look on my face and she immediately told me it was mine. I swear it still smells like my grandma.
Brenda told my sister a couple weeks later my dad slept under it until a couple months ago. His legs had gotten so weak (he had polio as a child which is another blog) that he couldn’t move his legs because of the weight. I slept under it for the first week but then put it on the side of my bed. It has to be at least eighty years old and I’m not sure how many more times it can be washed. Brenda said she was getting nervous to wash it because she didn’t want it to fall apart.
I knew that some of my sewing ability came from my moms grandma. She quilted and made things all her life. I had totally forgotten about Grandm Carty. She made my parents a wedding ring quilt by hand that was fantastic. Sadly we used it too much and it fell apart from rough housing with our dog. It would be worth major bucks in this day and age. It certainly is a lost art. There is no way I would have the patience to make one of those so if my girls ever get married I will have to come up with something else.
Mole moral ~ Brightest joy will come from out of darkest night. (Betsy Bircher)
Finding Jesus is easy, following Jesus is hard. Surely you do not grow in your comfort zone but when thrown out of it you either grow or die. I’ve worked with several people that were miserable in their job but so comfortable with the routine they have been stuck for years. Inertia is a mortal disaster. To succeed you must keep moving forward.
Godly training is good for all life to come. It’s rather simple in design but often times difficult to carry out. John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. I can only speak for myself but there are many people I know that are almost near impossible to love. They are so annoying or time demanding, or difficult that I often forget this simple commandment.
I’m trying to write this on the bus and it’s just not working. The kids are playing bingo and our new bus driver is horning people waiting till the last minute to get over in this traffic jam. The bus is egging her on to park the bus and kick butt. She’s quite the hoot and a good reminder of why the bus ride is one of my favorite parts of camp. I’ll leave you with the most profound statement from last night.
People do not abandon people they love. They abandon people they are using.
Mole Moral~ Love is hard, hate is harder. A week vacation is little to give up to show love to teenagers.
If you worry about things you cannot control then worry actually controls you. This word worry always remind me of my Grandma Carty. She was forty-five when my father was born and was convinced she would not live to see him graduate from high school. The first thing she told my mom when she met her was that she didn’t have long to live. I remember going to see her on the weekends and she was always worried she was going to die. Not only did she live to see her son graduate high school, she lived to see me graduate nursing school and my sister high school. I thought she lived to ninety-three but when I was looking at her death announcement a couple of weeks ago I believe she was ninety-one. So she lived over half her life worried that she was going to die soon.
Today’s talk was mostly about anxiety and depression which is a huge issue these days with a lot of people. The lockdown was not kind as we were created for community and not isolation. It is impossible to fake anxiety depression or worry but it’s easy to fake being ok. My own father faked being ok to me but it was easier for him because the last time I saw him was Christmas 2019. The real fear of covid for Brenda was a great excuse.
Currently one in six teenagers have considered suicide. This is a mental health issue not a sin. Self harm has also risen whether it be cutting, eating disorders, drug addiction etc. Anxiety is like rocking in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere. Stuart offered four things to help with anxiety.
1. Get control over the things you can control such as integrity, love and humility.
2. Get clear on whose opinion of you actually matters and no not all one thousand Instagram followers opinions matter. He suggested taking a small piece of paper such as a post it note and writing the names of these people on it. He called it the square squad and to let them know they are on you square squad and to help you.
3. Get honest about the things that really matter. Does it really matter if not everyone likes you?
4. Get help for the things you can’t control. He was referring to professionals such as counselors. I’m not sure why this country has such a stigma about asking for help. It’s almost as if you admit that you are weak and broken you are viewed as a loser and yet it takes a pretty strong person to admit they need help and go down the road to find themselves. Almost everyone is afraid they will find an ugly person when generally the beautifulness finally emerges through the process. It’s been a long time since I graduated counseling but it was by far the best thing I ever did. I almost left my husband during this time and if not for the love dare I’m not sure we’d be together. I daily blogged that on Facebook and the posts are on this blog if anyone wants to read.
This was my favorite service so far even though it started out a bit shaky. We were singing and I had my left foot resting on the chair. When I went to put it down, I got it all tangled up, lost my balance and almost fell. This would have been fine if I wasn’t sitting by Tom, Kathy and Herc. Tom leaned over and said I about gave him a heart attack. I said it’s ok this is kind of normal for me. This camp has been very low key for the nurse duties which has given me the quiet time I needed more than I realized.
Mole Moral ~ Emily’s life verse. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Session five is always what I refer to as the altar call in the baptist church. Every single year Stuart does it differently and beautifully and this year did not disappoint. The bottom line ~ dead things don’t breath and religion leaves you breathless. We don’t need religion as our way to Jesus because Jesus has come to us.
His visual was amazing this year. He put these words on the steps.
So we attempt to follow the laws which we constantly mess up thanks to sin. Back in Jesus day people would go to the temple to meet with a priest who would make a sacrifice to get right with God. This process is repeated over and over again. Stuart had a seventh grader running up and down the stairs while he was talking until the kid was near out of breath. He then had him stop and whipped out a slide. He told the kid to go to the top and he is now God. Then said don’t get a big head cause you aren’t really God. He had him slide down to represent Jesus coming to us.
Stuart addressed the only way to God is through Jesus issue. He said one solution is not exclusive if that solution is offered to everyone without exception. Stuart was diagnosed with covid at the end of March last year when it was brand new. He was on a ventilator and ended up having a heart attack as well. He was near death on more than one occasion. His kidney doctor called his wife and said I’d like to try a plasma exchange. I’m not sure if it will help. She did not say no I want to wait for other options she said if you think it might help do it. After all what other option do I have.
The final day of camp starts in about an hour and it’s going to be awesome.
Mole moral ~ The greatest commandment is love your God with all your heart soul and spirit and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.
I had to look the word up so I knew exactly what it means. Look I hated English growing up, I thought it was stupid and a waste of time. I kind of still do. Please give me math any day, any time.
Stuart Hall had the audience totally engaged. At some points it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I consider this really amazing considering I’m talking about teenagers. However the repeat campers love Stuart and for kid reason. He’s real and authentic.
It seems as if the goal of life is to avoid pain at whatever the cost. Parents try to spare their children the experience of pain but this is impossible. Jesus did not say follow me and you will live pain free. No he said in this world you will have trouble (aka pain) but take heart for I have overcome the world. Perhaps if he said suck it up buttercup no one would have taken him seriously. Most certainly that expression would be crazy sounding over two thousand years ago.
My notes are terrible even though the talk was good. Today marks three weeks since my father died. Talk about pain, that’s a huge pain that could easily leave a big gaping hole in my heart. However I know my father believed Jesus was who he said he was and rose from the dead so my father is in heaven. I also know his earthly crippled polio body has been replaced with heaven perfection however that may look. So although I’m sad because there are no more Saturday nine am chats I do have some sense of peace.
Mole Moral ~ Adversity is a part of life and since neither avoiding or fixing it work, embrace it with the help of Jesus.
If I’m real honest here I had a hard time paying attention to this message. I have doodles all over my paper. Maybe it’s because over the years I’ve already cut out a lot of the toxic stuff in my life. Also God chopped a huge one out of my life a couple years back when I changed jobs.
I am guilty of toxic thinking about myself. According to the speaker we have between thirty and sixty thousand thoughts a day and seventy five percent are negative. They are so automatic we don’t even notice them. So true. I was out this morning doing a coffee walk and I passed a few runners. I immediately thought they were thinking look at that idiot walking she should be running. Yet when I pass walkers I think good for them, they are off the couch. I currently can’t run unless I want to flare up my plantar plate tear that I swear is never going to heal.
Toxic relationships are another. Sometimes those are hard to get out of and get over. The friend that I first started walking and then running with turned so toxic that we had to end the friendship. It was hard as we worked together but I’ll be honest and when she left for a different job I threw a party in my head. Watch out for toxic people, no where does Jesus say you have to be friends with everyone.
Finally there is toxic behavior such as lying or being manipulative. I think one could also add drinking, drug abuse, smoking, cussing, pornography, bullying, gossiping and a host of others. Often we think we can manage this behavior and assume it’s harmless but neither is true. It’s best to kill it, before it kills you.
Mole Moral ~ Pastor Herc’s life verse. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
Session two did not disappoint. They dove right in to a big topic that tied into my blog earlier this morning. Comparing ourselves to others is instinctual. No one even needs to be taught this. Can you imagine a class called comparison 101 identifying your perceived short comings by focusing on others. This little game can ruin friendship, marriages and lives and social media has poured gas on this behavior and set it on fire.
How many times do we compare our real life to someone’s filtered life posts on social media. How many times do you look at something and think I could never be that great. This is a direct result of real versus reel. Your real life compared to someone’s highlight reel. They post only the best parts of their life and leave the crappy stuff off. Think about this the next time you are scrolling social media.
The comparison game is as meaningless as chasing wind and trying to catch it. It leads to a lose lose situation. Either you feel inferior to others or superior to others. I’ve experienced both but I will share a superior story that came to mind. It actually started as inferior and later turned to superior. My parents divorced when I was five in 1972. My parents were told my sister and I were ruined because they chose not to stay married. I spent my early years proving these people wrong. I graduated from college with a bachelors degree in nursing, the first in my family. I got married and am still married thirty one years later. I have a job I enjoy ninety-five percent of the time. I have three girls who are doing well regardless of the fact their parents stayed married while everyone else was getting divorced. I have to watch myself not to look at those whose parents stayed together and start comparing how they turned out compared to me. In the grand scheme of things it’s irrelevant.
Their is only one of me (thank goodness for everyone’s sake) and only I can do me and no one else. If only I could remember and live this out all the time, I wouldn’t have time for comparisons.
Mole Moral ~ If I could have one wish it would be this, that every single teenager could experience Big Stuf camp at least once in their life!
It’s been over seven hundred days since the last time I was at Big Stuf camp. The hotel and camp look the same as if it was just patiently waiting for the kids to return. This years theme is Breathe and what a perfect choice. There were so many times over the past year and certainly the past three weeks I felt as though I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t have paper last night to take notes so this blog is straight from memory. The speaker who was new to me was dynamite. Very engaging which is always a plus when trying to speak to 750 teenagers. He spoke about the pace of your life and what drives that. Say what?
Death and social media spoke loudest to me. I’m still working through the death of my father. I’ve known for so long social media is such a ruse. You can pretend to be anyone you want. You can take 800 photos and use the right filters to look awesome in one picture. Then a low self esteem kid sees it and thinks I’ll never look like that not acknowledging it’s fake. And for the faker the amount of time and energy it takes to keep up that persona is life killing. A long time ago I decided people either like me for who I am or they can get lost.
I’m not sure how I spun off onto that tangent but anyway the bottom line “what you run to, determines your pace.” Jesus says come to him all who are weary and burdened (raising my hand screaming that’s me, right here Jesus!) for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Never does he promise to take our junk away but if we run with him, he will make it easier. WordPress has changed how to edit and I’m getting so frustrated I’m cussing like a sailor at Jesus camp. So I’m ending this before they wash my mouth out with soap. I’m staying with sophomore girls this year so I need to get my mouth under control. Off to the beach for quiet time.
Mole Moral ~ The bus ride was long and crazy but it’s still one of my favorite part of camp.