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Training

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.

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Worry

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.

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Death

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.

God

Sacrifice

Priest

Temple

Laws

People

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.

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Adversity

Adversity-difficulties, misfortune.

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.

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Toxicity

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.

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The Comparison Game

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!

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Big Stuf Is Back

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.

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My favorite camp moment

Every evening after session the kids have small groups with their leaders. I’m not that leader (rather a nurse leader as if that makes sense) so I always headed back to my room. This year Pastor Tom decided the adults should do small group as well. So we discussed our POD (picture of the day) and what we liked best. We also prayed over every kid that came down. Yes I prayed out loud. For those that don’t follow me on Facebook this is just another thing totally out of characteristic for me.

Last night was what was the best part of camp. For me it was the session in the morning. Three kids in their super early twenties shared their stories. One was a Big Stuf intern from our church, and intern from somewhere else and one of the obterns (Oak Bridge intern) that came with us to camp. Her story is similar to mine. Although she knows God and people love her, she has never felt it. I had just reposted my very first camp note last week and that was me. It was at Big Stuf that I finally felt love. Of course then they had to play How He Loves and I’m just crying like a baby, singing and begging God to let her feel his love right now. (Yes, I’m a multitasker). I don’t want her to have to wait forty one years to feel it. It’s so awesome.
Of course I wrote her a little note and shared this. She found me this morning and hugged me and I hugged back. When you share your story with others you soon realize people are just as screwed up as you. People can spend a lot of energy creating the persona they have it all together but it becomes exhausting. More camp talk later.
Mole Moral ~ Everybody doesn’t need to know everything but somebody needs to know everything.
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Big Stuf and Firefighter Dave

If you know me well, you know I do not handle last minute changes or surprises. I have always been a I must know the rules and the schedule kind of gal. So if it gets changed up, it makes me crazy. So I was at Big Stuf Olympics and someone told me an EMT was coming down as well. A little later he introduced himself. He was super nice and I liked him instantly. Due to a scheduling conflict I had to leave Olympics early and didn’t talk to him for very long. By the time I arrived to my car I had forgotten his name. In my defense, I try not to remember anyones name to prevent HIPPA violations. That way I can’t talk about them if I don’t their name. Luckily a couple days later he sent me a facebook message so I confessed I had forgotten his name and why. He was cool with it.

If my family likes you, you end up with a nickname. Some of our kids friends nicknames are Toenail, McWeinee, Trollinator, Meecham Ritchelle, Amber Bamber, and a few others I cannot think of at the moment. My nickname is Big Red and we use to call Brian dad fag but that is no longer socially acceptable so most days I just call him Mole. One of my first interactions with Dave was he told me he brought down an AED (you know the shock machine for CPR) just in case. I was like finally someone more paranoid than I am. I knew I was normal. Hahaha. I had his number in my phone but hadn’t put his name with it. So when he texted me the next day I was like who is this. And since he is a firefighter the nickname Firefighter Dave was born.

It has been awesome having him around considering this years camp stuff hasn’t been the usual jellyfish stings, Band-Aid’s, or sore throats. It’s been stuff like feet rashes, bite from an unknown bug, fire ant sting. So I call him for a consult quite frequently. I have already informed him that I decided he is coming next year as well. His assessments are very hands on whereas I am more of a doorway assessment type person. I can pretty much look at a kid, diagnose them and come up with treatment with barely touching them. He comes along and he does a true assessment and draws the same conclusion. This only hammers home that I really am the queen of “doorway assessments”. This nickname comes from work where everyone swears I stand in the patients doorway yell to ask them how they are doing and come out with them fully assessed. This is a bit of an exaggeration of course but life is fun with Big Red around! Bahahahaha.

 

Mole Moral ~ My dog has at least eight nicknames which tells you who I really love the best!

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Happy Thirtieth Birthday Big Stuf!

This years theme is Original which doesn’t mean being the first of something. It means being different and better. This describes this camp perfectly. And for those interested in the history I found these gems out in the main hallway.

 

Mole Moral ~ Lanny Donoho was the founder of this camp which makes him a huge original! I am so glad he followed his heart and has touched so many people with his originality.