Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Incredibles 2

Today was the day!

I finally saw it, INCREDIBLES 2!!!!

It was.....wait for it.....INCREDIBLE! *giggle*

I went on my own today. Years ago I decided that sometimes it's good to just go by myself. Today that was very true. *grin*

What I didn't expect? THE CROWD!

It's no secret that movie theaters don't have packed seats any more. The day I saw Solo with friends, we were the ONLY three people in the theater! I'm not over exaggerating! We were it!

So, this past Sunday when I decided to go for $5 Tuesday, (AMC Theaters) only two other people had purchased tickets. (The app shows available seats.) When I got there today, I was somewhat late. I mean, previews were still going, but I was slightly late due to heavy rain on the way. My logic was that I'd rather be late than go fast and not make it. *grin*

I walked in, and there were very FEW empty seats. It made me glad I had pre-purchased. *grin*

Once I made it to my seat, I looked around. There were two seats empty next to me, but they were filled fairly quickly. Yes, that means, there wasn't an empty seat that I could see. Kinda makes me think how well theaters would do if they had $5 days more often.

And at the end of the movie, people clapped.

What?

I haven't been in a movie theater where the crowd clapped in a VERY long time. I smiled.

Of course, I have hit middle age, and I think about how when I was a kid, I could get in the theater, buy popcorn and a drink, and have a quarter to call home afterward for a ride. *giggle*

My Dad could do it all on a QUARTER. *giggle*

That's okay, every once in a while, a movie is good entertainment. *grin*

I highly recommend seeing Incredibles 2! It literally picks up where part one left off. Of course, that can only be done in animation. *grin* It was REALLY good and worth the 14 year wait!

That's all I have to share right now. I'm living on the internet job searching, but don't have anything to report yet.

He's teaching me to wait, and building my character.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Term 1: Brand New

I always return from camp with tons of thoughts rolling around in my head. That's a good thing, as I grow closer to Him in the midst of the processing. *grin*

Our theme this year is "Brand New". Given where I'm at in life, it fits so well. *grin*

I have spent the past few days cleaning stuff out, making room for the new. My Dad once said, "If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it." *grin* I just took 9 plastic bags full of clothes to the donation box. I also took 3 boxes of recyclables to the recycle bin. It feels SO VERY GOOD to be purging stuff out of the house. Yes, it serves a couple different purposes. One, it's keeping me busy while I wait for God to show me where I'm to land next. I'm not scared, just waiting. It is also forcing me to go through all my junk in the guest bedrooms and realizing how much can truly be recycled or thrown out. *grin* It is also therapeutic, in a sense. As I have gone through things, I am letting go of a lot of things I have held onto for unknown reasons. It is time consuming, but that's okay because I have plenty of time. *grin*

I plan on continuing my clean out project, and will post some things online to sell. Irregardless, it just feels good to be getting ready for whatever is next.

I miss camp immensely, but know that I wasn't supposed to serve this week. Barnabas always makes me long for more....I imagine Heaven will be similar to what Barnabas does to the spirit. *grin*

For now, time to eat dinner and work through the DVR. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Term 1, 2018, Camp Barnabas, A Little Bit of Heaven

Hello!

If you have known me for any length of time, you know that Camp Barnabas is FAMILY to me, and I return each year because those relationships matter to me. *grin* I am one of those people that would do ANYTHING for those I care about. This has sometimes been to a fault but I am continually growing in that area of my life. I never claim to be perfect, only to attempt to love people to the best of my ability. In Him, change happens in some of the coolest ways. *grin*

I have so much running around in my head, so I'm not sure how it will come out. Read it or not, that's fine. As always, this post is more for me than for you. *grin*

I arrived Saturday with an expectant heart. I have served Term 1 enough that I know A LOT of the campers. Therefore, I look forward to it every year. Volunteers arrive 24 hours ahead of campers to prepare them for the week ahead. Those 24 hours feel like a long time for me, as I know the ropes and the campers are some of my favorite people EVER. *grin*

At the same time, I love family time after we go to IP for worship. Family time is amazing, as the volunteers and cabin staff spend time in the cabin getting to know each other before the campers arrive. I had two staffers who HAD NEVER BEEN TO CAMP, and they were the best ones I've ever had. They carry the JOY of the Lord in who they are, and that helped our cabin grow close from the very beginning. It was TONS of fun!

Oh, and dinner that first night, the dining hall turned into a dance party. For the first time ever I heard "Year 3000" by the Jonas Brothers. That kinda became my favorite song for the week. I regretted not having my phone to record the dance party. I love how camp began with SO MUCH JOY! Yeah, I downloaded it already. *giggle* It reminded me how music can bring people together, irregardless of socioeconomic background, skin color, or singing ability. *grin*

Right before camper arrival we had an adult meeting with one of the leaders. This year we had something new, and I don't want to spoil the surprise for those who are going to camp this Summer, but it was AMAZING because they took what people have said for years and made something REALLY cool for us! I felt appreciated in a new way out there. I didn't go looking for it, but it made me smile a lot throughout the week.

I find it amazing that I go out to camp thinking it will be the same as the previous summer, but it is NEVER like that. Every year is full of new experiences, even with people I have known for years. That makes each Term so special to me. Truly.

At Camper Arrival, I spent time welcoming campers to camp and distributing water. I met almost all of the campers during that time, and smiled as everyone returned to camp. While my cabin was full of people new to me, I did have two campers from last year, which made me smile. It was an unforgettable week, with campers in my cabin, and campers I've had before that were in other cabins too.

I walked into my cabin after arrival to meet everyone, and smiled. I love how God takes a group of ladies who don't know each other at all, and they become family within a week. That first hour is always interesting to watch, as campers & missionaries are nervous and try to connect. Relationships take time, so it has to start somewhere. *grin*

We had a delayed dinner because arrival took longer than expected. That was okay, because we had a camper arrive late, so we could all go eat together without being in a rush. Dinner was good, and I took my normal spot at the end of our table since I don't have an assigned camper. *grin* If you ask me, it's the best place to sit at meals. *grin* It allows me to see everything happening in our cabin. It's sweet.

Meal time turned into one of my favorite times of the day this Term, as one of my girls Amanda, was in G5. I was in G4, so our tables were side by side. Amanda has always been a gal of few words, but we had a connection several years ago, and we created our own little language. So, we would make eye contact at least once during the mealtime, and smile, wink, and/or send each other the "heart" signal with our hands. We would have a whole conversation in the spirit of God's love, without saying a word. We always smiled too, which made it even more special. Unless you were watching us, you had no idea what we had just done. *grin* It was a definite highlight for me this week. I miss Amanda already. *grin*

Mealtimes are also special because campers are encouraged to go to the stage and sing while we eat. We had "Sound Effects" guy, and he made all of us smile as he could essentially whistle (only way I know to describe it) various songs. I loved it, as he did a lot of Christmas Carols, which is so fun. *grin*

We also had another young man who led us in the Star Spangled Banner each meal. It is also one of my favorite parts of camp, as there are some minor camp things we add to the song. To me, the camp changes make it a song that truly shows respect to our nation. It was a continual highlight for me. Truly.

I can't recall the first party (we have a party each night, except Cross Carry Night) but I do recall sitting on the hill outside the dome, and people would sit down with me from time to time. This has become my norm during the parties for me so that if I'm needed to be a third (you can NEVER be alone with a camper, so I often escort campers & missionaries to the restroom) I can be there for my girls, while singing to the songs being played or talking to those who sit by me. Two of the key leaders of camp sat down by me, and shared in various things related to camp. I loved every moment of it. The two of them don't know it, but they inspire me in so many ways. It was an evening I won't forget. *grin*

We had a really strong cabin and I wasn't needed to be with anyone most of the week. Typically there's one camper and missionary that I wind up providing extra support for the camper and missionary. Our missionaries killed it, and our campers had all been there before so it was a pretty chill week. *grin*

This post wouldn't be complete without mentioning Ashley. I have had Ashley several times, and adore her. Ashley is non-verbal camper who makes me smile each time I see her. I didn't always hang out with her, because she wasn't in my cabin this week, but I did make time with her when it was appropriate. It was full of laughter and love. I forgot my cap, so I need to remember that for next year. We play a little game with it. *grin* As I was leaving camp, I saw Ashley one last time. It was a precious way to end camp for me. God knew what I needed, so it was precious. *grin*

My staffers, ohmygoodness, I loved my staffers!!! I always love my staffers, but these two gals are so full of His joy and brought a new piece of joy to camp. They also weren't afraid to ask for help or advice, and would try my ideas. We had a really good cabin, so they didn't really need much support. They truly reminded me of the "new" in camp. Truly. *grin*

I won't forget how well the missionaries adored me. I think this was the closest cabin I've ever been a part of, and I will remember each one of those ladies. They each hold a special place in my heart. Truly. I miss them already.

The last night of camp, we have cross carry and Say So. Cross Carry is an emotional time, as people who have gone to Heaven ahead of us are honored. This was the first Cross Carry where I knew people's names on the cross. I thought I might cry, but I didn't. I simply supported others around me. It was great.

Say So is where the campers thank everyone for their amazing week at camp in front of everyone. I love Say So, as we hear from A LOT of the campers. After that we hear who won JEFF (Joy, Enthusiasm, Fun, and Fellowship Award), and MY CABIN (G4) WON!!! It was only the second time that my cabin has won it in the eleven years I've been serving out at camp. It was tons of fun, as we had a party in the front conference room after Say So. That was a God thing, as it's typically at the Silver Lining, but they moved it to the front conference room. I loved it because it meant less walking, honestly. *grin* It was tons of fun, and I was so proud of my cabin of ladies! I loved it!

This post wouldn't be complete without mentioning our floater for the week. A floater helps out anywhere, and isn't assigned to one camper. Our floater was AMAZING! She is a person with high-functioning Autism, but if she didn't tell you, you wouldn't know it. She was a sweetheart, and will never know how much she touched my heart. Truly. I hope to serve beside her again out at camp. I really mean that. She blessed me more than she will ever know. *grin*

God stretched me this week in the kitchen. I'll be honest, working in the kitchen is my least favorite part of camp. I don't cook outside of camp, so cooking for 500 people isn't my idea of fun. However, God put me in the kitchen with some incredible people, and it seemed slightly less dreaded. I was often put with someone for the salad bar, and I don't care for salad, and we always got it done. The last meal I served, God paired me with a queen of the salad bar, and I took a picture of the salad bar when it was done. I think sometimes we have to struggle a little in order to appreciate the success. *grin* For me, that was definitely true this week. At least when I return to camp I will be better prepared for the salad bar. *grin* I know, to you it's a no-brainer, but for the picky eater here, it was a mountain I dreaded before I conquered it. *grin*

In terms of the challenging end of camp, I now physically weigh more than ever before, and that made navigating camp (physically) more challenging. He and I talked A LOT about what needs to change upon returning home. Years ago, I was taught that if you don't like something about yourself, to change it. I see that happening now. I don't want another week like this one physically, so I plan on changing my life choices now. *grin*

On the way home, I had lunch with a dear friend. I love how we can solve all of our world's problems over lunch. *grin* It made me return back home a little later than I expected, but, it was the best lunch I've had in a really long time. Again, those relationships mean a lot to me. *grin*

During lunch, I had a phone conference for a job interview. I stepped outside of the restaurant and had a good interview. I won't know for a little while the complete results, but, it made for a good memory. *grin*

As usual, I missed Jay deeply. It's amazing how a little animal with four legs can grab your heart. I missed him tons, so the return home yesterday was precious. Truly.

So, I'm slated to go back Term 5. I will see how the job search goes, to determine when I return. I do think camp filled me up in a way I didn't know I needed at this point in my life. For this single gal, the people at that camp blessed me more than I could ever put in a post. God's love is evident there in a way I think EVERYONE would benefit from a trip there. For me, there's a smile on my face and joy in my heart because each of those people touched it in their own way. Truly.

In typical post-camp form, I think a nap is in order now. *giggle*

Camp.
It's more than activities, demos, meals, and parties.

It's building on relationships that last a lifetime.

I'm blessed.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!





Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Family Reunion-Barnabas Style

I love this time of year. I forget about it each year, until it's here.

It's CAMP BARNABAS Season!!!

Unless you've been there, you don't know what this means. At. All.

When I read Social Media, today, the campers are PUMPED! As I read their posts, I get more excited too!

I spent so much time preparing for the end of school I didn't think much about camp, but this week I am getting ready and am excited to see my friends! Some of my friends I haven't seen in a WHILE, so I'm pumped. Truly! It's a family reunion of sorts, as we're all bound together by this incredible place for people with Special Needs!

I've mentioned before how relational I am, and it is so true. I LOVE people! Next week will rock!

I. Can't. Wait.

I'm Camp Barnabas Bound!!!
(Later this week)

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

19 Years....Time for the Next Chapter

Yesterday was a memorable one for me, as I ended the last chapter of my life, and wait on God for the next step. *grin*

I was blessed as many people checked in on me at school, to make sure I was okay. Truthfully, not one tear was shed. Truthfully, I tend to cry at the WORST times, and don't cry during the typical times. *giggle* I think that's part of my charm. It's hard to describe, but, all of this change feels so right! I could attempt to explain it, but I honestly won't tonight. I am not sure how to put it into words just yet. *grin*

I will say, the typical last day of school emotions were there for the students. I held one student as he cried because he won't return to the school in the fall. It reminded me how relational I am, and how that will be used in my next chapter of my life even though I'm not even sure what that looks like yet. *grin*

Last night I attended a concert with my brother and sister in law. I enjoyed the evening and thought it was a great way to end one chapter and begin another. *grin*

I have worked quite a bit today on various things around the house. It felt good to get some things done. I worked VERY hard the past few months, and my house suffered. It feels SO MUCH BETTER than when I woke up. *grin* I care about my house, my job just took A LOT of time the past few months. Totally. *grin*

So I plan to take the next week and rest, while working through the boxes I brought home. I also hope to catch up with some friends that I have not seen in MONTHS.

I'm praying for several things in my next chapter, including more time for a personal life. I haven't had one in a year, and I know that that is important to me wherever I serve next. I'm praying for that, and some other things that I will share later, I'm sure.

For now, I'm binge watching the TV Show, The Resident on Fox On Demand.

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.
TOTALLY.
*grin*

Saturday, May 19, 2018

More Ponderings

I've been deep in thought lately. I think that comes with my age. Okay, well, moreso at this age. I've always pondered life, but it seems I'm in a deep season of pondering now. I thought I'd share some of them, so if you wanna read, cool. If not, cool. *grin* As always this is more for me than for you.

We had our Field Day yesterday, and through the course of the day, I saw all the kids at my school. In the morning I led a game in the gym, "Clean Your Room". It was fun to see the kids play. In the afternoon I was on popsicle and water duty. So in the morning I saw all the little kids and in the afternoon I saw all the big kids. I don't know all of them, but I know many of them. It was fun. *grin*

As I watched kids, I pondered how we don't control the human frame we're in. You get what you get. (And you don't throw a fit! I know you had to finish it, right?)

I truly believe that God gives each of us the frame to live life this side of Heaven. Sometimes that means people have physical beauty while others are "average". Or perhaps people are given unique physical qualities that others don't have, and we need all of those differences. We need everyone as they are, not trying to be like everyone else.

I watched those kids yesterday, all trying to figure out where they fit in and how to navigate their place in this world.

Some kids are not kind to the others around them.

Other kids, well, they kinda blew me away in a good way.

There's a kid that blesses my heart and I don't even have him in my classroom. He is just a fun-loving kid, that is sometimes misunderstood. I absolutely adore the kid. So, I watched him while he played. The rule I had was that they could only hold one ball at a time. This kid, he would pick up two and give one to a friend. Every. Single. Time. It blessed me more than that little guy will ever know. I told his teacher before they left, because I wanted that kid to know that he's noticed. He matters. The good in his life is seen, not just the bad. At our recent Art and Writing Celebration, I saw the parent and let her know how much I adore her son. She teared up.

We all need that.

We all need someone to remind us we matter.

At the end of the day I was in my classroom when I heard the teacher tell another teacher how well that kid had done and how he had shared balls with other kids.

I smiled.

That teacher didn't see it. She went off my word.

I smiled.

Seems to me that little dude knows more about life than some adults do. Sad, but true.

I am down to 4.5 school days left.

I'm expecting an emotional week, but in a good way. I am still waiting to see what God has for me next, but plan to be present completely in these last few days. Totally.

19 years as an educator.

*grin*
Life.
Is.
Good.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Ponderings

I spent last weekend in Springfield, Missouri and attended the Live to Love Conference at Dayspring Church. It was the second conference I have attended there, and I LOVED every moment of it. I could spend this time sharing who led what session and what each session entailed, but I won't. I want to share what I've been pondering since then. It was truly an amazing weekend full of all kinds of God Moments. *grin*

Will Hart is becoming one of my favorite speakers in the word of God. I was inspired and challenged to go deeper in God than I have in a long time. I love how God provides conferences like that to reach my heart in pivotal times in my world. I've been blessed. I took more notes in those five sessions than I have all year. God knows what season I'm in and what I need to walk through this chapter into my next one. *grin*

I woke up this morning to clouds, thunder, and a short rain shower. In those moments, I remembered a quote from last weekend, "I don't want to be a cloud without rain." I feel like that kinda sums up my thoughts and feelings right now as I spend time with my students. I want to be so full of joy and love these last 2 weeks of school that the kids remember fun and love, not sadness as I move on.

Meaning, I don't want to be a rain cloud that isn't full of rain. I want to be so filled up in the Lord that I have nothing but love, patience, and kindness within me. *grin*

This afternoon, one of the other teachers in our pod opened the curtain and said, "Can you give my buddy a hug? I need a moment." I held this little dude while he worked through his emotions. I'll be honest, I loved it, every single moment of it.

I came back filled up, and am blessed because of that.

After all, it would be a bummer to be a cloud and not have any rain to share, wouldn't it?

*grin*
Life.
Is.
Good.