Big Stuf kicked off last night. The speaker was new to camp and his name is Noah Herrin. It seems his job is speaking around the country and not tied to Atlanta like a lot of the speakers have been.
The theme of camp this year is HELLO. Jesus says hello in the form of I am and fill in the blank. They told us to fill in blank and my answer I am sick. Some people yelled out excited and things like that.
The recurring theme of the talk was you can either know of Jesus or know Jesus. Knowing of him gives you knowledge and can change some things while actually knowing him changes everything. He then told us the story of Andrew meeting Jesus. Jesus came walking by and Andrew just started walking with him. I would have started running if some dude was following me. But since Jesus is bold he straight up asked Andrew what he was doing. Shortly after Andrew asked where he was staying. If some rando asked me where I was staying I might call 911. But again Jesus is not me (that’s a very good thing) and invited him to come and see. And then Andrew joined him and after one day ran home and got his brother. I always wondered why Simon’s name was changed to Peter. Simon means shaky and unstable while Peter means rock and steady. I thought that was pretty cool. I wonder what Jesus would change my name to?
Noah likened following Jesus to cliff jumping. His friends invited him and he wasn’t so sure but he did jump and found out he enjoyed it. He said now if he would have stood on the cliff and watched or hung out at the bottom and watched, it would not be the same experience. He hopes everyone meets Jesus this week. That sentence right there flashed me back to my first camp of 2008. I would say yes I met Jesus right then and there and for the first time in 41 years I could finally feel love. Before this I knew people loved me but I never felt it. This is another example of you know, you know. If you don’t be glad because I missed out on a lot up until that point in my life. So just like the speaker I hope every kid here leaves knowing God loves them!
Mole Moral ~ Even so sick I should have stayed home, camp is amazing and worth potentially never getting better!
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.
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 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!
I’ve been home for over a week and tonight was the first night for the Edge (our youth service). I cut off my arm band from camp a little while ago. This year we were yellow so I had a couple of people ask me at work if I was a high fall risk. (Patients that are high fall risk wear yellow armbands). I hadn’t even thought about it until I was asked and that cracked me up. The messages were great and the theme was awesome. I am reposting the take away sentence from each message which i copied from BigStuf.
>>if you can SEE different, you can BE different.>>
>>what if we saw THEM through HIM?>>
>>the best things in life require a fight>>
>>based on where I’ve been, and where I’m going, what’s the wise thing to do?>>
>>what do you think about when you think about God? Jesus reveals God as a father.>>
>>if they don’t bring out the best IN you, they’re not the best FOR you.>>
>>your life is saying something about Him.>>
The nursing side of camp was insanity. I decided this year to keep a record of how many kids came through my room. I am sure I forgot a few so I’m estimating somewhere around 55. Most of it was easy stuff, I need a band-aid, I have a headache but some of it was a lot more. The first night of camp I was awoken at two in the morning for an assessment and that should have been my clue to go straight to the airport and fly home. Totally kidding but it was a foreshadowing of the busiest camp to date. Three kids tested positive for strep throat and another kid broke his arm. I missed session six with a medical emergency. Because of HIPAA I can’t really be specific but every nurse friend was blown away that I did not rush him to the ER. However, because of my ten years of burn/icu experience I was comfortable taking care of it the way we handled it. However by missing session I got to go to small group after session. It was interesting to hear what boys had to say. They are so different from girls and it made me wish I would have had just one. But since I didn’t, it just explains why I find a boy every few years to pour into.
I did not go to the ER/urgent care with any of the kids this year. At first I thought it was because they didn’t think I was competent or something. I really need to work on my self-esteem. After the second kid, I learned it was because they didn’t want me to leave in case I needed to triage someone. So that helped my low self-esteem. I really need to get over it. After all I diagnosed all the kids correctly and no one died so it was a win-win. They plan to take a second nurse next year and a few adults to run kids for treatment if needed. This leads me to some sad news.
My roommate Lynn has been a true joy the last five years. She has been a huge blessing helping me with triage and talking to the kids. Every time someone knocked on the door we would be like now what and we would take turns getting up to answer it. She told me this was probably her last year. This was camp eighteen or nineteen for her. She said she just doesn’t feel as connected with the kids because she doesn’t understand the technology and her husband is not in the best shape medically. I was so sad for myself and for her as well. Everyone knows I hate change but at least I have a year to adjust to a new roommate or two at camp. I have finally come up with the perfect thank you gift for her. She will never really know how much I have appreciated her over the years!
Mole Moral ~ How different the world would be if “we saw THEM through HIM”!
Jamie took over speaking for the rest of our time together. I really enjoy him and he reminds me a lot of my sister as he also talks a hundred miles a minute. Tonight’s talk was about the wise filter which made me think of something Pastor Tom has said for years “based on my current circumstances what is the wise thing to do.” Dumb decisions don’t matter until they involve things that do matter. Everyone has filters for how they make decisions. Jamie’s examples:
I would venture a guess and say most of my decisions are based on thinking. I really don’t care what culture and others think except for maybe my husband. However he said none of these are worthy of your life decisions and smart people do dumb things. Therefore be very careful how you live, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. So he very careful how you live not as unwise but wise.
Jamie then brought a cardboard car front out on stage and sat behind it to demonstrate how to make wise decisions. When one drives he looks two directions both forwards and backwards. So one knows where to go based on where you been (looking behind) and where you are headed (looking ahead). His example from his high school days was that he was invited to two different parties. The last time he hung out with group a they were a lot of fun but they made a whole bunch of stupid decisions with tough consequences. Group b was a little boring but no bad decisions or tough consequences so he chose group b.
Mole moral ~ God’s “rules” seem restrictive and make for a boring life when they actually release you from experiencing pain from making unwise decisions.
Stuart Hall was not a speaker this year at camp and my first thought “oh no camp won’t be right.” Yes, I know that I am never going to learn God knows better than me. The first three sessions were given by Gerald Fadayomi who is with Brown church a division of North Point. He was awesome. After session last night Josh said something to the effect that he has been coming to camp for many years and he was the best speaker. After this out of my mouth flies “I agree” like really loud. This had to be God yelling through me because I am not a loud person in a crowd of people I do not know.
This years theme is Filters and the first night was called the US filter. Everyone has a filter for their life and it’s how they see the world. Gerald gave some examples.
1. The fun filter~This person is all about fun, where the party is, or the class clown.
2. The fashion filter~ This person is all about fashion and sees the world through style. They judge people on what they are wearing. This is certainly not me as I pretty much wear Big Stuf t-shirts year round. And we won’t even talk about my lack of shoe wear.
3. The achievement filter~ This person is all about making straight A’s and maintaining the 4.3 GPA and climbing the corporate ladder of success.
4. The guy humor filter~ The guy that always waits till the perfect time to make stupid guy jokes.
5. The relationship filter~ The person who sees every one of the opposite sex as relationship worthy or not.
For most of my life my filter was trust no one and don’t let anyone get too close because I never knew when they might jump ship. This stemmed from my parents getting divorced. I did not even realize I viewed life this way until I met an awesome counselor nine years ago and attended Big Stuf camp. After I changed my filter, my life became a whole lot richer. One of the main points was how you see, is how you be. That really hit home for me.
Do not copy the behaviors and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. This would be my interpretation of some verses in Romans that I forgot to write down. God wants to have input in the way you see so Gerald suggested to change your behavior, you have to change your vision. I’ve been working on stopping cursing. Some days are better than others but I started by subing in dirt bag. I decided when I see curse words different, I will be different and no longer be a sailor mouth.
Mole moral ~ Dear God, Help me to set my filters aside so you can transform my mind. Love, CR
This is my very favorite kid and Big Stuf intern. His name is Dan. I met him four years ago on the way to camp. We were on the same bus and it was during the get to know your bus neighbor game. I am not going to lie, I hate that game. It’s where you move seat to seat and talk to every person. It is so hard for me and we actually skipped it this year. However, if we wouldn’t have done that, I would have never met Dan. One of the questions we were to talk about was what is your favorite restaurant. I had written down Steak N Shake (I’m real exciting) and Dan had written Subway. He saw that and high-fived me and said we skinny people can eat fast food. I was like time out, I’m not really skinny and I told him how I had lost forty pounds and how I run like a crazy person. Anyway by the time I switched seats, there was something about him and instantly became my favorite kid besides my girls. After we returned I checked in on him and prayed for him. (Ok stalked him for those who know me well. Haha) I would find out later that Dan had run into Tom (pastor) at chick-fil-A who told him he should do the Oak Bridge internship and he agreed. This past fall/winter when Dan told me he had applied for the Big Stuf internship I was so excited. The opportunity to spend the entire summer at camp leading kids would be so incredible and a life changer. When I found out he was chosen I was thrilled for him. The interns have to pay to do this so most of them fund raise. They do stay in a hotel and are fed for free. However, Dan told me it was camp food all summer so that ended the camp nurse dream. This was the best camp ever. I really never imagined any could out do my first year but this one far surpassed it and I have much more to write about. However I was at the hospital until 2 with a kid who was dehydrated so I must nap for a while. I am so thrilled that Dan was here the entire summer and I am confident it was a life changer for him!
Mole moral~Often the things we dread the most, turn out to be life blessings. Without the get to know your bus buddies game I would have never met Dan! He truly is my favorite kid!