Friday, July 31, 2009

I love the Pub. That is all. :-)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday's Ten -- Ways You've Visited

According to Google Analytics, these are 10 of the keyword searches that have (somehow) led people to visit my blog.

1. (the most requested search) chicken stroganoff
(thankfully I can help you with that one: here)

2. where to buy school pizza sticks
(sorry, can't help you there. I can tell you how to make your own.)

3. take me to facebook
(I believe you go to least that's what I do)

4. starbucks double insulated plastic cup
(I wrote about that particular love affair here)

5. if i could crwal up into your arms i would plac emy hand over your mouth
(I have NO idea)

6. iced coffee at home to taste like a white angel
(uh...I DID post an iced latte recipe. Maybe?)

7. cheesecake chimichanga recipe
(ew. I don't want to know what they were looking for. But my cheesesteak chimichanga is amazing!)

8. i love the way i am quotes
(I'm not sure about this one...)

9. celtic woman lyrics "lost the friends that needed losing"
(Caledonia. One of my favorites!)

10. ex boyfriend friend requested me on facebook
(sorry. Can't help you there)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's the little things

Lately it's the little things that make me smile

Hope today you find something to smile about too.


Do As I Say...Unless I Change My Mind.

It's happened before.
My vodka pasta, for example. Before I made up this recipe, I used the jarred vodka sauce. Mistake! And I admitted it here.

This time, it's my chicken salad recipe. I'm not changing much, just the beginning. Everything is the same, except instead of boiling the crock-pot it the night before.

Here's what I did:

6 chicken breast tenders
1/4 cup water
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
a few red pepper flakes
a tablespoon of the hidden valley ranch packet

I combined all those ingredients and turned the crockpot on low for 10 hours (or overnight will work if you don't have the "smart pot" that mine claims to be)

After that, everything is the same. The color of the chicken salad WILL darken because of the way the chicken is prepared, but I'm telling you, it's good. Anthony tried it for the first time tonight and *really* liked it which kind of surprised me to be honest. So yay for that :)


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pieces of Home

I'm not sure when it happened.

Those of you who have read this blog more than a few times are aware that my relationship with my family isn't the closest, for several reasons. I love them, and they are family, but we've just never been that close.

My mother's mom, Grandma M, lived just down the street from us growing up (and by "just down the street", I mean within 20 minutes. You've gotta realize it was rural life!). Because she and my mother, her only child, had an unhealthily close bond, I never really bonded with her OR my mom. Yet I do remember special times at Grandma's house, the love that was apparent, and the fact that she always cut out the "Family Circus" comics for me to read every week. She'd make them into little booklets for me.

She started having "episodes" when I was in elementary school, and eventually when I was in high school she moved to a nursing home in town.

And when I was a senior in college she died.

I have lived my life in a way that I can say I have no regrets--but if there's one regret I have it's not saying goodbye to her. I wrote a raw poem about it soon after she died. Maybe I'll share it here someday...I was in college and she was in the hospital over Christmas vacation. I had spent most of my time back "home" during my 4 years of college in the hospital waiting rooms, had spent much of high school there too. Jasper Memorial--I could give you a tour. Anyway, I didn't think this time was any different and I had to rush back to school for student teaching that semester...she died a few days after I was back on campus. I remember Dad telling me NOT to come to her funeral, but I did anyway. Really, how could I NOT?

That regret was the desire that spurred me to drive hundreds of miles to see my Grandma B the following spring after Dad called me to tell me the doctors had given her hours to live. I'm thankful I was at her bedside at least.

Anyway, back to Grandma M...I literally drove into town for the funeral and then sped back down to try to make up the time in student teaching. A few months later, during Spring Break, Mom had me go through her old stuff and see what I would like to keep. I'd already been using pots and pans from her house in our college apartment, but now that they were selling the house it was ALL fair game.

I went through and selected a few things and honestly forgot all about it. Moved to an
apartment in Hendersonville, bought this house a year later in '04...I brought some of her furniture that I had laid claim to -- a few end table type things, an antique vanity, small antique rocker, and a couple of chairs -- but I didn't give the other stuff a second thought.

It wasn't until this past Christmas that Mom said "You know, you have boxes of stuff downstairs that you might want to look through."

And treasure was found. Old dishes, cups, saucers, a small oil lamp, figurines...

I remember eating out of some of them when I was a little girl.

And sometimes these days, when I need some comfort, I reach for a "Grandma" dish.

There's something about eating cereal out of one of these bowls that feels right.

Something about putting my pop tabs in this old teacup that makes me smile.

Spooning sugar into my morning coffee is so familiar.

And I love serving veggies or appetizers on this platter.

I'm not sure why. I've never had that strong a connection, never wanted that strong a connection.
But as much as I've tried to deny's there.

A little piece of me is in every piece of furniture, every dish, every painstakingly put together booklet of comics.

There are plenty of moments in my childhood that I want to forget.
And these are memories that make me smile.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekend Wordle/Six Words

Go see Shannon and link up to play along with the wordles...they're fun!

Two babysitting jobs today, thank goodness!

That's right--2. One starts in about an hour, the other at 6 pm. YAY.
This will help keep me busy on Anthony's last day away. I get to see my boyfriend tomorrow! (Insert happy dance here).

Go see Cate to play along, or just click the button above!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Playing Along

With Bad Haiku Friday!
Sponsored by Laura...go here to join the pitiful haiku parade!

Pajamas all day
Bad TV abounding here
I've sunk to new lows


The cat is worried
She thinks I've found a new source
Of night

(overnight babysitting...but she doesn't know that!)


I think I'll go out
And work on the gardening
Try to save the plants


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why am I Still Surprised?

I am constantly surprised. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I am.

I mean, I'm the one continually telling people
how faithful God is
how real His mercies are
and how I've been so trusting of Him over these last few months.

And then out of the blue He astonishes me with His provision.

I got off the phone around 2 pm today, sad.
I had just been told by a family that had mentioned the possibility of me becoming their nanny that they had decided to keep their 2 year old boy and newborn baby girl in school fulltime.
And while the conversation was good, and I fully support their decision, I was sad.
And worried.
And immediately on the phone and email channels trying to figure out what's next. Because even though nannying wasn't my first choice...
it was nice to have that offer "in my back pocket" in case a teaching position didn't work out.
I was beginning to be resigned to the life of a nanny.
I had begun to stop contacting the schools.
And this just set all that in motion once again.

However, Anne, as we ended our conversation asked me if I would mind being their "on call" person between now and when her parents arrive on the 4th. "Just in case" her water broke or she went into labor in the middle of the night. Just long enough for her husband's parents to drive up from Atlanta to take care of Mr Man (their 2 year old).
I said absolutely.

Not 4 hours later my phone rang.
It was Anne.
Not in labor, but in the hospital because of a car accident. Everything looks fine for her and baby girl, but since she's 2 weeks out from her due date they're monitoring her for 24 hours before allowing her to leave.
Could I stay overnight with Mr. Man so that her husband could stay with her? Of course, they'll pay me my normal rate for this time...

I hung up the phone, and after a prayer offered up for her and Baby Girl, and thanksgiving for their safety, I began to giggle.

Because as I'm worried about how the bills are going to be paid, I get an overnight babysitting job.

My God is a God who provides.

Isn't it when we least expect it...

I realize that it's not an all-powerful, moving mountains kind of story.
No oceans roaring.
No howling winds, no mighty thunderstorms.

But Elijah heard that still small voice
And today...I think I did too.

"I AM a God Who provides"

And suddenly...though I still wonder what's next...I'm not worried anymore.

My GOD is a GOD who Provides!

(a new Hillsong release that speaks to this better than my words can)

Desert Song

Verse 1:

This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm Just Me

I've had at least 4 people in the last week come up to me at church or send me a message saying "I stumbled onto your blog the other day"

It's a bit disconcerting.

After all, when I'm semi-anonymous it's "safe" to write all of this stuff. And yes, my boyfriend reads this blog (hi honey!) and a handful of friends do as well, but it still seemed "safe".

And then tonight I was singing on the worship team at church, filling in for my very preggo friend Jes who just wasn't up to the task (understandably--she IS nearly ready to deliver!). And Randy, our worship minister, introduced a song that he recently wrote. It's all about dropping the facade, being authentic, and letting even the ugly parts show.

And I realized that's what I do on this blog. I'm "inside out", as the song says, and I'm just me...and that's ok.

So here I am...

a girl who was once afraid--terrified--to love
a woman that disagrees fundamentally with her current church's position on "women in the church"
one who often lets a curse word slip (sometimes even here in written form!)
who has taken a quote from her favorite Ellen/Gladys conversation to heart: "I love Jesus, but I drink a little"
who is broken and blessed, all at the same time
who, as much as she has fought against it and tried to take it back, has left a little piece of herself in a small, southern Indiana farmtown
who is madly in love with Jesus
who likes to write about her thoughts, both frivilous and semi-deep
who would love to lose the 20 or so pounds that crept on when her former ED self began to actually enjoy food
and who has determined
that this blog
will be 100%

That's what you've got. And everyday I'm humbled and amazed that several of you seem to enjoy reading what I have to say. What began as a creative outlet has led me to so many friendships and opened my eyes to new worlds.

I'm grateful.

And this girl? Isn't going anywhere. So no matter if I've known you since middle school (hi Angie!), am dating you, go to church with you, have met you through an online voice somewhere, or any of the categories in between...I'm glad you're here to share this part of my journey with me. It's a bumpy road, this Life, but I'm blessed beyond measure to have people like you in my path.


Blog Pimping Today!

Hi all! I'm doing a little something different today, and trying out my very first McLinky play along, ok? If this is successful I plan to host it once a week or so.

My friend Kristie just emailed me with the link to her brand new blog:

and I thought...

Wouldn't it be fun to pimp a friend or 5?

So please list 5 blogs that you've recently discovered or just never mentioned on your blog. Sign the McLinky if you're playing along--and please do! Also, please visit a couple of links before and after yours and visit the blogs they're pimping...after all, that's the point!

Here's mine!

People I know:
Kristie: Making Arrangements (decorating, home interiors, awesome stuff!)
Dee: Dee (movie reviews and writing)
Anthony: Running Man Gaming (the boyfriend is a gamer...this is his gaming blog. He says he may start a personal one soon which would be uber cool)

Great Recipes! One of the few bloggers whose recipes I might actually follow...
(Marin) Marin's Creations

My brand-newest blog friend discovery--I became a follower last night. So very fresh! She and her fiancee are adorable, and have these great engagement pics on a vintage bicycle that I'm positively drooling over...
(She's so new I don't know her name yet!) Blessed Chick

And as a bonus, a new favorite site:
I Heart Love


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In My Garden

In my garden
I pretend to grow things that last for exactly as long as I nourish them

In my garden
thai basil is flourishing
the italian basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, dill, and catnip need a bit more convincing
not to mention the lavender and cilantro I'm attempting to grow in pots indoors

In my garden
Emi is more than willing to eat the grass that sprouts up easier than anything else

In my garden

the tomatoes are making me happy
A rose has miraculously survived the past 5 years of my ineptness
A few annual flowers are thriving

In my garden
the moonflowers are poised to bud

In my garden
I can pretend to have a green thumb
I can sit in the evening hours with my laptop and a cup of tea
I can watch the rain

I'm a fan.

What's in your garden this year?


I miss the stars

I miss the stars.
We saw them in all their splendor all week long at camp.
I didn't realize I had gotten used to that again. Then I read the facebook status update of a guy who also works with the middle schoolers talking about the stars. And I realized. I miss them.

I grew up under the stars. In a little town, with grass under my feet and a cornfield (or 3) around our yard.
It had it's problems. It wasn't necessarily the ideal upbringing. But that wasn't the town's fault.
At night I would often find myself on the front porch or wandering the backyard, just looking at the stars.

When I came to college I traded the sounds of a coyote howling, crickets chirping, and dogs barking for the sounds of sirens, loud semi trucks and constant road noise. Not to mention the occasional gunshot.

I traded the soft moonlight through my window for glaring streetlights.

After college I moved to a place not so close to downtown and the projects, but one in which I still hear airplanes, sirens, and yes--dogs barking.

But I still miss the stars.

Anthony called me tonight from San Antonio and told me to start thinking of fun stuff to do when he gets home. (besides run into his arms for a kiss, I suppose :))

There's a science museum that has just opened a planetarium in the past year or so.

I think I know what I want to do when he gets back :0)

Until then, I'll have to settle for this kind of beauty:


Monday, July 20, 2009

I Heart Faces...and Feet

This picture was taken in sunny California a little over a year ago.
I had never been to California.
I was in love.
I have this need to walk barefoot in the sand at least once a year.
Some years I don't get to, so it's always extra-special when I do get to visit the beach.

Sometimes You Need a Little Sand on Your Toes

(go here to enter!)


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Camp 2009

Here's the (long) low-down:


the kiddos boarded a bus and I thankfully got to ride down with another adult (I got seriously green on last year's bus ride so I was grateful!)
We arrived WAY earlier than normal, fed the kids pizza, had a short orientation and then headed to our cabins.
I got 7th grade girls again :)
I was with 2 other counselors, but I was alone with the 18 girls for about 2 hours before either of them showed up. No biggie...I just gave them the "expectations" talk and watched them interact. They are amazing girls!
We were treated to the "Potty Rangers", courtesy of one of the girls having adorable underwear that 3 of them for some unknown reason decided should go on their heads...

(I have video evidence too...)


the first day of camp is always filled with questions from the 7th grade girls. "what do we need?" "do I HAVE to leave my shoes on the porch when I come in?" "Do I REALLY need my water bottle?" "what's the devo about?" "what's free time?" "what do we DO during free time?" "you mean I can do whatever I WANT during free time?"
Our group played sports (basketball and kickball) and won both thanks to me, really. Since our group was larger than either of the other teams, Pat and I stood on the sidelines and cheered them on.
Hailey and I saw each other twice (she's A's little sister, who had told me she was going to hang out with me at camp as much as she could since neither sibling of hers was there...but since she's in high school now and I'm with middle school that proved to be somewhat impossible)
We mined for gemstones and I got some HUGE rocks.
(the small one? apparently a ruby. we'll see.)

Oh. OH.
And I got hurt. Playing duck, duck, goose.
I'm not as young as I once was...and I have further to fall.
In all fairness, I saw that all the kids were slipping and falling on the semi-wet grass. And neither Pat nor LaJuana (the other adults in our lifegroup for the week) were playing. For good reason. And really, I thought to myself that I would probably fall but "no big deal"...after all, the kids were getting right back up!
I bounced. Starting with my knees and ending with my chest. And both were sore for quite awhile. And my knees? Still sore. According to my massage therapist (who, bless her, gave me a "love gift" yesterday of an absolutely free, no-strings-attached 90 minute massage) they're still very swollen and tender. I am STILL taking Ibuprofen.

Camp Coker Creek has gone green! Not only were there eco friendly disposable (compostible) plates and utensils, they also had "corn cups" instead of the normal styrofoam. I also noticed a significant healthy change in the menu. Whole wheat pastas, and whole wheat wraps available at every lunchtime, plus an amazing salad bar, and for the first time ever...skim milk!

Worship was led by some visiting band. The kids loved them. I listened from the front porch. Believe me, it was loud enough there :0)


Solo time with middle schoolers is always interesting. Trying to keep them quiet for 2 hours? Impossibility.
It was ok this year. Better than usual.
Doug gave me a ride up the mountain since my knees were REALLY killing me this day.
I sat and wrote letters to all the girls in my cabin. And a few extras to older girls in the lifegroup who had showed real leadership the night before.
Somehow Judy, LaJuana and I missed the lunch call...
We walked down the mountain...alone...about 20 minutes after everyone else had left.
We were talking about things going on in our church family that has the potential to tear it apart...or make it stronger. We're hoping for the latter.

(my awesome group of girls. They learned both the "zoo" game and the cup game on the same day. Headaches for Anna, LaJuana and I. I finally just joined them! Notice skunk rub-on tatoo on my arm. Abigail, our youth ministers 3 year old daughter called it a "sunk". And on the day it started rubbing off she told me my sunk broke)


Sports again. Ultimate Frisbee and Dodgeball. Pat and I played both of these. Anihalation was in order--we dominated in both games. And I got a couple of interceptions in ultimate! I've already told Anthony that we need to play sometime. He loves the game. I don't think it'll take too much convincing.

(We had just been scored on...I was not thrilled. And my shirt says "I heart/love boys who recycle. I can wear it...A recyles!)

Unfortunately I paid for playing the rest of the day by limping my way through activities.
And for the first day of camp I took a nap. Which was heavenly. And Hailey came and visited my cabin twice...bearing mini Butterfingers. Love that girl!
When I woke up, I ended up french braiding the hair of 4 of the girls in the cabin. Cute.
Worship, led by our student praise band, was amazing.
Quote number one from yesterday's post came in here. The girl was putting her towel on the porch and wanted to know if the bug was bigger than her fist or not, so she would know whether or not she could scream.
I told her it wasn't.
It may have been.


Our traditional day to go whitewater rafting, this year we spent it doing a service for the camp we've been attending for 9 years. We moved rocks from one side of camp to another to prevent erosion. The group I was with (all of the middle schoolers and about 50 high schoolers) was loading them into the truck. I was shocked--and proud--when instructions were being given and none of the 7th and 8th grade girls in our group screamed when the words "spiders, snakes, scorpions" were mentioned simultaneously.
By the way, we found 2 out of the 3. Snakes were hiding, but we had plenty of the other 2. Didn't even know Tennessee HAD scorpions. But we do. And they're poisonous!
We finished in less than 2 hours what it would have taken the camp staff over 3 weeks to do...and that's if they had no other groups coming in over those weeks.
The kids were pumped about it, and I didn't hear a single complaint about not rafting.

Of course this quote happened during that time:
Does anyone have a Tide to go pen? I got mud on my white tank top.
Why did you wear white on a work day?
I thought we would be doing easy stuff
We also had the hoedown in the afternoon, where we danced to our hearts content (and apparently I had NOT learned my lesson from Ultimate, so I danced anyway)
(Hailey and our favorite horse, Trouble. She's the one I rode last year. She can no longer be ridden--arthritis :()
I missed worship, because a girl in my cabin started her period. For the first time ever. And didn't want to be alone. Bless her heart. So I stayed with her, rubbed her back, and made a hot compress with a washcloth and ziploc bag.
I was glad there was only one.
Doug has to stop putting me with the 7th graders. I'm a first-timer magnet.
One year I had 3. First timers. In less than 2 days.
I ALWAYS come prepared (ha. Pun not intended, but now that it's out there I'm kinda giggling)
We packed and cleaned the cabin and spent some more time laughing and enjoying each other.


As we were stepping off the front porch to head down to the busses, massive downpour.
It only lasted 5 minutes. We were told to "hold" them for at least 30.
So we were late leaving out. And no cabin pictures (I realized this on the way home)
I had to ride the bus, since my ride had left earlier in the week. But leaving is much better than arriving--all the twists and turns at the beginning rather than the end, and my stomach has 4 hours of interstate to calm down again.
Around Knoxville I heard someone behind me say:
Hey! We're in Tennessee! We're almost home!

(we had been in Tennessee...all...week.)

Arrival at the church, hugs and "see you Sunday"s all around
I took Hailey home
And then I headed home for my post-camp routine:
drag luggage in house
greet cat
throw load of laundry in
throw load in dryer
(that last one didn't happen because I was afraid I would miss getting to Anthony's on time. His family, bless them, pushed back the departure time for family vaca so that we could have a meal together. He treated me to an amazing Italian meal, we went to Target, we kissed goodbye, and I sent him off to San Antonio. Where hopefully he's having an amazing time :)


Overheard at Camp

Miss Lora? Come here for a minute. I can't tell if this bug is bigger than my fist or not.

Does anyone have a Tide to go pen? I got mud on my white tank top.
Why did you wear white on a work day?
I thought we would be doing easy stuff.

Your sunk broke!

Hey! We're in Tennessee! We're almost home!

Explanations of these will come sooner rather than later, but I have a bed that is calling my name, and a worship team to sing on tomorrow morning...

love to all


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wordle, Wordle, Wordled (and 6 Words)

I rather like this week's wordle :0)
(go here to participate)

Six Word Saturday:

Back from camp, oh so tired

Boyfriend is vacationing, miss him so


Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm on my way!

HOME, that is!

I'm sure it's been an incredible week, and I'm equally sure I'm ready for a good long shower followed by a good long nap, or vice versa. I'm excited to see Anthony tonight for a few hours...but his family leaves late TONIGHT for family vacation, so it'll be over a week before I see him again after this. This past week is the longest we've gone without talking for well over a year, so at least he'll be reachable with a text or phone call once in awhile while he's away :0)

I'll be back (live) on my blog soon, and hope to catch up with all of yours rather quickly. Much love!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday's Ten

Thursday's Ten

I'm at youth camp this week, with a bunch of middle and high schoolers from our church. This, as all the other blog posts this week, is a scheduled post...I'll respond to comments when I get back TOMORROW!!!

Ten Reasons to Love and Hate Camp

1. The hike up Hootie Hill
2. Front porch time at the Retreat Center
3. The smelly dog who will get in the creek to presumably make the smell even stronger
4. Worship times (truly amazing)
5. Attempting to get 20 middle school girls out of bed at 7 am
6. Attempting to get 20 middle school girls to
7. The dining hall (salt and pepper football will be on a hiatus this year since Anthony isn't at camp :()
8. Solo time
9. Horseback first attempt was last year. Oh dear.
10. The Dam Trail. More about that later.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ahhh, the Pub

*note: all posts this week (Sunday - Thursday) are scheduled posts. I am WAY out of cell phone and wireless network range. I love your comments and will look forward to reading them when I return on Friday!

I love the Pub.

I told Anthony the other day that it's no coincidence that two of my favorite cities in the US are Boston and Chicago. And when we were at the pub the other day my friends Sean and Josh played back to back "Charlie on the MTA" and "Southside Irish"

And then there's the classic Irish drinking songs. And the craziness of the regular crowd that jeers and sings along. As Sean says, it's all about audience communication, participation and intoxication!

The pub is a place where I can just go and BE.

What are your places like that? Where you can have a great time, or just chill and enjoy being with people you love?


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

About this time last year

I was eating each meal in the dining hall with a certain Anthony. We created a paper football adaptation using pepper packets since I got one with nearly every meal. I knew with every moment we spent together that I was falling more and more for him.

(and right after camp he sent me a text stating that the week had been fun and he thought we should hang out more. wish? command.)

Anthony's sister was a co-counselor in my cabin and I was constantly listening for hints about whether he was crushing on me as much as I was on him. Little did I know he had asked her to "spy" to see if I mentioned him.

I rode my first horse. It was...interesting.

I continued the tradition of telling my cabin that if a bug wasn't "bigger than your fist" it's not appropriate to scream.

We instituted nap time/quiet hour in the cabin. Ahhhh.

I was making a hemp bracelet for someone. Several someones, actually.

I was reminded of how wonderful the worship times are. And I was enjoying watching Anthony worship. It made me like him all the more to see how incredibly uninhabited he was. In the church tradition I grew up in, that was the norm, but the church I attend does not have roots in freedom of worship!

I was missing my real bed, but thankful that we were in a great cabin with wooden bed frames and not one but 2(!) showers in the cabin itself.

I was falling in love with a group of 7th grade girls that I shared a cabin with.

Can't wait to see what this year holds!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Memory

*note: all posts this week (Sunday - Thursday) are scheduled posts. I am WAY out of cell phone and wireless network range. I love your comments and will look forward to reading them when I return on Friday!

My first camping experience with the youth group at Woodmont was...interesting. I had no desire to actually volunteer with the youth group-- I worked with middle schoolers every day! So when I was invited to go to camp I hesitated. But truth be told, I got bored in the summers and then they dangled the prospect of going whitewater rafting in front of me and I jumped at it.

(Incidentally, Anthony tells me he noticed me at camp that year. He was interning, and since they're busier than anyone else on the grounds we never really talked. But he says he thought I was "cute". Heehee)

Anyway, I rode up with my friend Vera, and when we got there we had a small orientation in the retreat center. Keep in mind that I knew NONE of these students.

Doug reads off my name, along with another adults name and says "oh, but Lora...Angie will be here tomorrow afternoon. You're on your own tonight"


And then he reads off the name of 15 7th and 8th grade girls and says "Follow Lora to the Eagles Nest"

Well...I had no idea WHERE that was, so thankfully a camp staff member joined us on the hike.

It had been, POURING. And the Eagles Nest just happens to be a part of Indian Village, the group of cabins on the very tip-top of the campgrounds.

We had a looooooooooonnnnnng walk.

And true to form the middle school girls were quite vocal about it. It was muddy, they were tired, their bags were getting dirt, how much further.

I finally turned around and said something on the order of "Keep that up and your cabin's nickname will be the Whiners."

They shut up.

(although I felt awfully bad that that was their first impression of me)

We got to the cabin, made introductions, and because few of them wanted to sleep on a top bunk I got the honor.

We turned the lights out about midnight, just as the storm started.

A few minutes later I heard frantic whispering. I turned around and saw 3 of the girls huddled in the center of the room. "What's wrong?" I ask, and they respond "Nothing, nothing. Go back to sleep."

So I did.
I rolled back over, waited for about 3 minutes until the frantic whispers continued growing and turned over to say "Seriously, what's wrong?"

"We're scared of the storm."

So I drag myself out of bed, walk onto the front porch with them and assure them it's just a thuder and lightening show, nothing severe.

They don't buy it.
(and we WERE isolated in a dinky little cabin at the top of a hill. I can't really blame them for a bit of freakout)

I finally said the only thing else I could think of (I'd tried praying, hugging, reassuring...nothing worked.)

"Well, why don't we all pull our mattresses off the bed and sleep on the floor together."

And somehow that was the magic statement. 4 matresses magically fit in the space that about 2 and a half should have, and all the girls were asleep within moments.

I should have left my matress down there. It was the best night's sleep I got all week. Silly metal creaky bed frames.

(Lots more happened that week that I'll share in time. But suffice it to say at the end of the week I told Doug "I think I'd like to start working with the teens.". He was estatic. :0))