Camp Barnabas

So, I am back from Camp Barnabas. And, it was a wonderful trip! It was the hardest and best week of my adult life. Barnabas was known as "Son of Encouragement" in the Bible, and the camp completely lives up to the name.

I had never been on a mission trip before. I didn't grow up in church that took mission trips, so I have never done anything like this before. And, as always, I think I wound up getting more out of it than the kids.

We had 6 Girls that were part of youth groups who came, and they were called Christians in Action (Called CIAs), 2 camp counselors, and 6 campers in our cabin. Five of the campers had Autism and one had Down's Syndrome. All of them were so different, but as always, God does amazing stuff.
We prayed as we went over the Camper Cards on Sunday night, and then each CIA took a camper card. We then prayed and talked as a group about our backgrounds, etc. It was cool. The next morning we had training all morning and part of the afternoon, and then the campers arrived. It was incredible!
We formed a tunnel of encouragement and each camper was escorted through the tunnel with their CIA. I fought tears, it was so touching. The campers were taken to the cabins while the adults parked the cars and met the kids at their cabins.
I was REALLY nervous. I didn't know how things worked and wasn't sure how all this was going to work. I mean, teenagers responsible for kids with autism? I thought, "God, this has to be you!"
And it was completely God, every minute of everyday! Each CIA was paired with the camper just for them. It was cool. Everyone did a fabulous job! Everyone worked together as a team and we grew close as we dealt with the highs and lows of the kids.
Fortunately for us, we always managed to see the good in the kids even when they were bad. We had 2 campers who required A LOT of help. One of them was violent when she didn't get her way, so it was an interesting week.
But there were moments that made it all worth it. We laughed more than we were frustrated and became a family for a week. The last night of camp they have "Say So". It is the night where the campers thank the staff for all their hard work. Our problem child for the week got up and thanked us for all we had done, and it made it all worth it.
God really stretched me. I was used to being in control of the situations because I'm used to that in the classroom, but I wasn't in charge and that was hard for me. I had to submit to the leaders above me, and while I didn't always agree, I always backed them up. It was a learning experience for me. And honestly, I have some ideas of what to do next year when I go that will help.
Above all else (and God taught me more than I could ever post on here), I was shown how selfish I really am. I am single, so I don't typically have to think about other people in the aspects of daily life, but in a week, I learned what a serveant is called to do. Don't get me wrong, I still have A LOT to learn, but I am different tonight than I was one week ago.
And I thank God for that.
And yep, I already told Laura, I want to go back next year.
I can't wait!
Later!

Barnabas Bound!

Greetings!

It's hard to believe that it's the 21st of July already! This Summer Break is going by faster than I thought it would. I suppose that's a good thing. I'm not one for too much alone time, so I'm glad it's going by fast.

The past few days certainly flew by very quickly, and today I am going to spend the day getting ready to go to Camp! That's right, I'm spending the next week out at Camp Barnabas (yes, the one that was on Extreme Makeover, I have been asked that a lot since I've been telling everyone about my upcoming camp experience.) as a Cabin Mom.

This is something I've always wanted to do, but never have. I didn't know anyone out there, so I have always talked myself out of it. Well, this past year I met the volunteer coordinator out there, Laura, and after much time in prayer and talking to Laura, I'm headed out there for a week!

Am I nervous? Yep.

But I'm also excited. I get to go work with children with Autism. Autistic kids have sort of become favorites of mine at school because they're so unique and different. I think it's cool that it worked out that I get to do Autism week, as I didn't pick my week based on who would be there, but on what ONE week I didn't have workshops. (It wound up that I will be missing a two-day training session afterall, but I am approved to be gone since I will be at Barnabas. Go figure, the one week I chose that had nothing scheduled, and then in mid-June they added it.)

So I need to go get stuff packed up and make sure I didn't forget anything. I figure I'd rather find out today than tomorrow.

So, have a great week!

Later!

Feelin' odd...

You ever have one of those weeks were you just feel a bit odd? Out of sorts perhaps? I don't know, all day today I have felt "off". Nothing is wrong, per se, I have just felt like I'm homesick only I'm at home, so that's not it. I just feel weird.

TLA ended last night. I hate to have fun stuff like that come to an end. I can honestly say that in my 8 years of teaching, TLA was the most valuable and enjoyable training session I have ever been in. Nothing was boring. It was all new and exciting. And I met some really cool people. It was good.

And then today I was in a workshop that was one of the worst I've ever been in. I really wondered if that was the case, or if TLA was so good that I now want all workshops to be that fun. It was a rough session because the presenter didn't like the topic she was teaching and clearly didn't want to be there. It was the opposite of TLA. You could tell in TLA that those people enjoy their jobs. It was strange.

I feel like right now I'm in an odd season. I've started looking at each day in 24 hours incremeents. I tend to do that during the Summer. The days are long, and I actually miss my students. (Not the lesson planning or grading papers, just the kids!) I thought about today. I spent 4.5 hours in a workshop that was a waste of my time. (not an overaggeration. if you'd been there, you'd agree!) I want each day to count. To mean something.

I often find myself looking FORWARD to things instead of enjoying the "NOW" of the day, week, or month. I'm working on trying to enjoy the moment. Each and every moment.

I know, you're thinking, not possible...this is the real world.

Well, even if it's not possible in reality, I think breaking it down into 24 hours increments is easier.

And even though not everyday may be filled with "Wildfire" rides or TLA class, it still counts.

For that moment on that day...it counts.

Now if I can stay in the NOW, that would help.

I'll keep ya posted.

Later!

How To Knit A Sock


  1. 1.Realize a desire for sock knitting. Speak of it often. (This step may take a year or so...)
  2. 2. Read every available pattern for socks, along with commentary and advice on sock knitting.
  3. 3. Buy a skien of dental floss thin, self striping fancy foreign sock yarn.
  4. 4. Growl and toss said skein across room when knitting with size one needles goes awry.
  5. 5. Visit fancy out of state yarn store and muse on the beauty of knitting socks with worsted weight yarn on size seven needles.
  6. Mix with eighteen hour bus trip and weeklong teacher workshop.
  7. Mix well, weave in ends.
  8. Wish for a moment that the completion of one sock now necessitates the completion of another sock.

Powder Keg and T-LA Continued

Greetings!

Well, so it's been a few days since I've been on here because I've been so busy, but in a very, very good way. I enjoy "Bum" status, but I must admit, it has been fun to go and learn new things and hang out with people. It's made this break even more memorable. Let's see...where to begin...

T-LA continued Wednesday night and Thursday night. It has been a really fun experience. I have gotten to know some new people, and the technology available to me as a teacher is sort of mind-boggling to me. I still have one more night of class on Monday, but what I learned this week was really helpful and I see why the district is pushing for technology integration. I can see my students soaring into new discoveries with this teaching. I can't wait to try it out in the classroom! I think my students will really enjoy it, and I will too!

I REALLY like my new laptop. Even that blows me away. The things the new computers can do astounds me. Oh, and I did go to see how much it would cost for wireless out here. Yeah, as it turns out, I can't have wireless out here. I kinda figured that. There is a card that I guess they can put into the laptop so I can have wireless anywhere, but it costs $60 per month! Yeah, I think I'll stick with the free availabilities at restaurants and school. I still have this one at home for dial-up, so I can still do internet here at home. It's just slower. I don't care. Either way I'm in good shape!

So I need to spend my day on my big project for this class for TLA. That's fine though. I mean, a laptop for my own use, new strategies to use in the classroom, and being paid for my time in class....I figure a couple afternoons on a project are nothing in comparison to what they've given me!
Finally, and perhaps the best part of the past week, I went to the amusement park not far from here yesterday. I loaded the car up with some cousins that I had promised to take, and we headed out yesterday for the park. I went with my cousins, Josh, Garrett, and their friend Parker. Yeah, it was sort of weird being the only girl with 3 teenagers, but I was excited.
We got there, and it was pretty busy. I thought we would spend most of the day in lines rather than on rides, but I was wrong. I was happy about that. We rode Wildfire, my favorite ride, three times in a row, and I loved it! Then we decided to ride Power Keg.
Now, Powder Keg is a roller coaster that SHOOTS you up over a hill first thing. In 2.8 seconds you are going something like 60 mph! It is incredible. I had ridden it twice before, but never front car. Josh and I decided we wanted to ride front car. We waited in line for 40 minutes before we even got on the ride. (the newer rides had longer lines) I even texted my Dad while we were in line so he would know! hehehe Anyway, we got in, and it lifts you up into the starting point, and WOW! What a ride! It's an entirely different ride front car! I LOVED it! As we came in at the end of the ride, my legs were shaking. Yeah, it scared the begeebers outta me, and I loved EVERY second of it! Awesome!
So what do you think we rode after that? Well, we ate dinner first, and then we did Wildfire about 5 more times. To be honest, I lost count we had been on it so many times. The line wasn't very long, so you could almost get right on it! It's still my favorite ride, but I can say Power Keg is the most intense roller coaster ride there.
And ya know what, I can't wait to go again!
Go figure...
Later!

T-LA

I know, you're thinking, "Shortone, where have you been?"

I have been a student for the past 2 days! I finally have a laptop of my own (Okay, okay, it's the property of the school district, but mine for all practical purposes!) and have sat in classes the past 2 evenings learning about technology.

They gave us these spiffy little laptops, and bags and then we sit and "play" on them for 5 hours each night. It's been pretty cool. Granted, most of what they've taught so far I could already do, but I think tonight begins the more in-depth stuff. I'm excited. :-)

At this moment, there's a catch to it all. I can't use it at home for internet stuff because my home isn't wireless. I'm going to go today and see exactly how much it would cost to get a wireless setup. I live out in the middle of nowhere, so it's not like it's as easy to access as people who live in town. But it's free at school and around town at various restaurants and other locations, so I can still use it.

I'm not complaining though. I get to learn a lot and have a laptop for my own use.

Yippee skippee!

Later!

You know you're family when...

So, a few days ago I was getting ready for the big family shin-dig in Western Kansas. I had my itenerary all planned out, and was pumped! I mean, family reunions don't happen much in my family because we're so spread out and busy. So back in May when I received the news about this weekend I was thrilled! Pumped. Ecstatic.

So, I called the parental unit Thursday night to make sure we were cool for this weekend, only to find out I couldn't make it to their house using the road I wanted to take. I was bummed for many reasons when I figured this all out. But, hey, we all get curve balls from time to time, so I thought about it, and wound up calling my Aunt who lives nearby to see if I could ride when them.

Well, three phone calls later, I had a ride and a plan, and I was back in the game. I was excited, and nervous about the weekend. I'm not used to traveling with these people for long distances, and due to my picky eating habits, I was a little more nervous than usual.

As it turned out, it was all good. You know you're family when they take care of you and make sure you're alright. It took a total of 6 hours to get out there. I was tired of sitting, but glad to reach our destination.

As soon as we entered the place, I realized how much I had missed these people that I once grew up with but never see anymore. I have cousins that I used to play with when I was a kid, and they were older than me and single. Now they're all married and to see how big their kids are made me realize how fast life is going by. One of my Second Cousins, Adam, is now a young adult who is in college. I remember when he was born! Wow.

The highlight for me was when we entered for dinner. We had assigned seating and I was separate from my own brother, sister-in-law, and parents, so I was nervous before we entered. It was a huge event, as we were celebrating my aunt and uncle's anniversary, so many, many, many people were there.

So I entered the room and found my table. Sitting at my table were two of my second-cousins who I recognized but I don't know them very well. So, I was excited. Then I was very excited as their Mom and Dad sat down. B.L. is one of my favorite cousins in the family! When I was a kid, he was the one that treated me like a special little kid. He's always been a favorite. So, it was really fun. I enjoyed it. It was a short evening, as we were dismissed earlier than I expected, but it was fun. Enjoyable. Memorable.
After that we went back to the hotel and I wound up swimming with the kids. My second cousin, Josh, commented how I'm still considered a kid in the family. I always wind up playing with the kids, but that's sort of my favorite part of the whole thing too.

So, now I'm home, after another 6 hour drive.
And I'm wiped.
I think I'll return to my bum status on the couch again.
Later!

The Electric Company - A Night at the Movies (Spidey)

Eight Years Later, Eight Things

Long, long, ago, Mister Teacher tagged me with a meme wherein I share eight random things about myself. However, his was the very last email I saw before I left to embark upon an eighteen hour bus ride with twenty four of my favorite teens to spend a week in the Blue Ridge Mountains.



So now you get eight facts. Now, when I am twelve hours of sleep and two showers past said bus trip.



Ahhhhhh...



1. I used to be scared of Morgan Freeman. Not Driving Miss Daisy Morgan Freeman, but The Electric Company Dracula Morgan Freeman. I'm just posted an example from YouTube. Watch it and know my terror.

I used to dream that I was sitting around my family's kitchen table wearing the witch costume my mom made me for Halloween. I was catching up with some other witches (yeah, catching up. I have no idea what we were discussing) when Morgan Freeman walked in and proclaimed that I wasn't a real witch, and that I was wearing a costume! And then he'd chase me!!! Terror!!! This nightmare finally ended for me during second grade or so.


2. I was a very weird kid and my television watching should have been limited.

3. I think I am becoming more introverted. Not only do I choose to be alone often, I am not as outgoing as I used to be--I am usually the last to approach someone with a greeting.

4. In HS, I had the all time record for Thespian Points and the last time I checked, it hadn't been broken.

5. While I am a pedicure junkie, my fingernails are kept short and polish-less. Every time I clip my fingernails, I remember how my piano teacher would send me to her front porch to clip my nails before I could have my lesson.

6. I cannot play the piano, but did have lovely long nails as a young teen.

7. Few things get under my skin like the use of the (fake and incorrect and very much NOT REAL) word, anyways. I will immediately think a bit less of anyone who uses it. Ditto for the word addicting for addicted. I respect Grammar Girl's stand that it's a matter of word choice, but my opinion is so strong that it's fact and I shan't budge.

8. As much as I like to pretend that I am a free spirit and care not a whit for conventional rules, the matter a great deal to me. One morning, I fumed for at least twenty minutes about the elderly lady in front of me at 7-11 who got cappuccino in a coffee cup and paid the cheaper price.

Despite this new penchant for rules, I am at a loss for eight people to tag. Are there eight of you who haven't done this? Tag then! I've tagged you!!!

Yeowch. This Is Probably Right.

Thanks, Jim.

You Are Scissors

Sharp and brilliant, you can solve almost any problem with that big brain of yours.
People fear your cutting comments - and your wit is famous for being both funny and cruel.
Deep down, you tend to be in the middle of an emotional storm. Your own complexity disturbs you.
You are too smart for your own good. Slow down a little - or you're likely to hurt yourself.

You can cut a paper person down to pieces.

The only person who can ruin you is a rock person.

When you fight: You find your enemy's weak point and exploit it.

If someone makes you mad: You'll do everything you can to destroy their life

Friendship

The Fourth of July was great in my little corner of the world. I went to two Fourth of July gatherings, and enjoyed them both immensely. It was one of those days that I just sat back and realized how blessed I am to have so many friends in my life.

My first stop was to my church's Fourth Celebration. I would up sitting and talking to Regina the entire time. She's a neat lady that has a lot to offer those around her. We just sat under a tree and visited. Granted, we had others come over and join us, but it was mainly Regina and me.

At the end of my visit there, Kenny came over and sat down by me. Kenny is a big teddy bear. He and his wife hosted the shin-dig, and are two of the nicest people I've ever met. I told Kenny I was headed to another Fourth of July party where his brother would probably be, and he turned to me and said, "Who do you like better? Me or Mike?" I smiled and said, "You, of course!" So then he told me I could visit where I was going, but I was to remain in his homegroup. I smiled and told him, "You can't get rid of me that easily, Kenny. Don't worry!"

Then I smiled and left.

I came home long enough to freshen up a bit. It was hot here yesterday, so I wanted to freshen up at least a little bit. My Best Friend, Deb, had invited me to the Fourth of July celebration at my old church. I wanted to go because I miss my friends from there quite a bit.

So, we went and I had a great time. I think it's absolutely cool how I no longer go to church there, but fit in like I never left. And the kids have all grown so much! I wondered around being social at first, and landed myself on the lawn chair I had borrrowed from Deb. We watched everyone play volleyball, as well as Water Balloon Volleyball. It was a hoot!

And, true to form, I wound up playing "keep away" with a kid nearby. I always wind up playing with the kids at some point. It was a blast!

At one point, the kids were throwing water balloons at us, and I had one headed right for me! I balled up, ready to get hit. It bounced off me before it exploded! I didn't get wet at all! hehehe It was really cool.

The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display. It was really cool to sit with friends and watch the sky light up. As I sat and watched, I was thankful for all the wonderful people I have in my life. While I'm not very close to those people, I know they care for me and welcome me with open arms anytime I join them.

For that I'm thankful. I think too many people get hurt or offended or whatever, and walk away without realizing what gifts are available if they just look for them. While I don't go to church there anymore, God has placed me in a different place where I'm supposed to be, I know I am still part of a family at my old church too.

Kinda cool if you ask me.
I may be single, but I'm not alone.
Thank God.

Later.

Bum Status Continues

So, I didn't even log in to check email yesterday. I think I'm really beginning to dig this bum status stuff. I did go out and get some errands run yesterday, but other than that, I was quite comfortable on the couch.

You know, normally I'd be climbing the walls already, but due to the fact I had too many things going on throughout the year, I am in need of some rest. It feels good.
One of my favorite parts of this break so far has been the freedom to sleep in as late as I wish. I can stay up late reading a good book, and then sleep until my body wakes up. I am still waiting for the day they ask me, "When do you think we should start a school day?" And then I would reply, "How about 9:00-4:00". However, until that day comes, I will be at work at 7:30am. Therefore, I shall sleep in every chance I get this break!
Finally, I am counting down the days until Monday, when I will get my own, brand-new laptop! Yep, in our district if you go through five days of training, you get your own laptop. Granted, if I ever leave the district, the laptop stays with them. But, as long as I'm with the district, I get my own laptop to keep! Of course, I have to go to each and every class session, and there are follow-up days throughout the school year. But it's a cool thing. I have never owned a laptop, so I will hardly know how to act! By the way, the class I have to take, I signed up for the night class. :-) I still get to sleep in and get my own laptop.
What a deal.
Later!

Bum Status

Once again, I find that I am a good at playing the role of the "Bum". This is day #1 of the official break for me, and I had my little kiester on the couch all day! I never left the house. I was semi-productive and got a few things done, but for the most part I played the role of the bum. And I enjoyed every second of it!

My Best Friend was sick all day yesterday and was still under the weather today, so it was fun to joke and laugh and watch movies together. In fact, it was sort of a nice way to start the break. Not that I'm glad she's sick, I'm not. But, it was fun to have a friend to enjoy movies with. Movies are one of my favorite things to do, and so today was very cool.

Tomorrow I will leave the "all day" bum status, but don't have anything major going on. A few errands here and there. But, overall, it will be a relaxing day.

I know, you're already thinking, "But you love your job!"

Sure do.

But everyone needs a break sometime.

I think I'll move back to the couch! :-)

Later.