Monday, July 16, 2012


This will be one of many posts over the next couple of weeks as I contemplate my experiences from youth camp.

Pursuit was the theme at youth camp this year… for me it could have been “uncomfortable.” I went to camp last year and it was easy. I drove one of the vans to camp, hung out during the day after Bible study and then had lunch, a nap and dinner then evening worship and church youth group time and bed. Pretty easy week, I didn’t have to worry about the kids or make sure they were safe. I just had to make sure the one or two kids that I hung around made it to meals and services. It was a piece of cake. The hardest part was sharing a room with one of our students.

This year was a whole different story. I agreed to go and be a driver then we signed up for MFUGE instead of Centrifuge which we had done the year before. MFUGE was everything like before but instead of hanging out and napping I took kids from a bunch of different churches to go and do missions in Santa Fe. Our group had our leader (staff) then five or six adults and about 25 students. We were one of the PCY (painting, construction and yard work) groups. We spent our day at Youth Works and the whole week I was completely out of my comfort zone. I was hungry, tired, hot, cold, cranky and just wanted to have five minutes to myself. Going into the week it was totally about me and no one else. I didn’t know if I wanted to give up five days of vacation to go to a camp that, although each room had its own bathroom and you used a key card to get in your room, I knew I would have to share a room with someone, not have a nap and fight my asthma all week (the camp is at 7500 ft in elevation). But the biggest reason not to go was I didn’t want to do missions. It’s scary and people reject you and you have to recite all these verses about how you are going to go to hell if you don’t believe. That is true but it’s scary to tell a total stranger that and they reject or accept you. I just imagined spending my day knocking on doors and doing visitations. That is not my cup of diet coke tea.

So I went out of obligation. I couldn’t leave Josh hanging and some of the kids I had talked to over this past year but I really only knew two or three really well and the rest were just kids that came. I knew their parents much better than them. Boy was I in for a shock!!!!

First uncomfortable moment is when I am paired with three girls. I knew all of them but one I was the most comfortable with and the others I figured I would get use to it. To be honest there were days that I wanted to come back from our track and have a shower to get the grime off and take a nap but that wasn’t the plan because in our room would be the “little girls”- the new girls (7-8 grade) hanging out with E and playing Catch Phrase. Catch Phrase is my favorite game and I am a little competitive but I really just wanted a shower and nap but instead I showered and played the game with them. We all had fun and I got to know the younger girls better. I would have missed out if I had gotten my way. We ended up playing that game for a couple of days. The three girls worked out well too. I got to know A and J much better and we have some great stories and good laughs over the course of the week. Time that now makes me miss them when they go off to college next year.

My second uncomfortable moment was when they (the Bible Study leaders) talked about what we were going to be doing- connecting with people. As I said before, I am not a good door knocker and I really didn’t want to hand out tracks. Thankfully they said we could do what we knew- Romans’ road, other bible verses or just talk to them about family, interests, their religion and then talk to them about what God has done in our lives. How we see and experienced Him. I starting thinking that I could do that and not freak out. I have lots of stories I could share from my life. I just had to get over my fear of strangers. If you know me, you know that I can talk to anyone but by anyone I mean, they have to be attending a Farm Bureau event, book club, walking group or a friend of a friend. Otherwise I have stranger danger and want to run the other way. So having 25 kids that I don’t really know and 23 of them I have no idea of their names and where they were from; add in the other five adults and then the adults we were working with at Youth Works and I was in stranger overload. So I put on my big girl pants and sucked it up. It was just four days and I could do anything for four days.

But God used those four days, the three girls from my room, the little girls and the worship and Bible Study time to teach me something. That it really isn’t about me and my comfort zone. It’s about reaching out to others and helping them and showing them love.

My next couple of blogs will be the lessons I learned at youth camp.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

We had a discussion at my Bible study/accountability group about lying. We all do it but has it gotten easier because we do little lies instead of big lies?

A big lie is cheating on your taxes or forgetting to mention to your spouse that you have a girlfriend/boyfriend (unless your into the whole sister wives thing) or borrowing the money from the wallet you happened to find in a persons purse or jacket.  The little lie is the ones we say when we don't want to hurt people's feelings. Men do it all the time when we set them up by asking if we look fat in something. I've done it when I don't want to go someplace or eat at a restaurant or go to the gym. It's an excuse rather than saying I don't want to do it we say "I would love to but....."

We use our schedules, kids and family to lie- they are our excuse rather than saying I just don't feel like it or I am not able to we feel like we need to explain and sometimes we use others to justify our lie.

But it doesn't matter if its a big lie or a little lie, it's still a lie. As the old guy says in the movie Pure Country (love my George Strait),  "Funny little thing about that white speck on top of chicken shit. It's still chicken shit"

Little lies will eventually lead to a big lie just like a little of something leads to a big something. I see it in my life when I listen to certain music or watch certain shows or movies. My language changes. A little influence makes a big difference in how I act.

There are lots of things I struggle with but this past week it has been to focus on that small aspect of my life. I failed several times but I will keep going. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Life of Contradictions

I was talking with my new friend Norma about just weird things new friends talk about when they meet the first few times and the topic of germs and stuff came up.

I think I am a walking contradiction when it comes to life.  I am a ranch kid who grew up in the middle of Oregon (literary one mile from the center) in a one building town that housed a bar, store, gas station, post office and house and our nearest neighbors were not next door. I now live in Mesa and am surrounded by people- some nice some not so much.
I now live in Mesa and am surrounded by so many people. I don't know my neighbors other than the kid downstairs name is Frank. Back home in Oregon I could tell you all the people who lived in the area for a good 50 miles. I may not know the ranch hands but I could tell you who was driving down the road (person or the ranch they were from) based on the truck that drove by. 
I miss being home where the doors are unlocked and keys are left in the trucks but love the fact that Target is just a half mile up the road and that I don't have to plan for a month of meals I can just stop by the store on my way home. 

I grew up on  a ranch and I love beef but I hate going to a steakhouse. I like to fix my steak my way with my marinade and the steakhouse just doesn't do it good enough. I love my cows- riding for them, branding, calving- everything that goes into running a cow-calf operation but I fell in love with the beauty of veggies and cotton.

But here's the biggest contradiction in my life that my friend Norma said I should blog about because it's so weird that it's funny. I grew up on a ranch where animal body parts and fluids don't gross my out but other people's germs do. I have no problem being covered in cow manure or blood but the thought of sharing a bottle of water with someone or a utensil just sends me over the edge. 

If we ever go to dinner there is no sharing. Call it an only child thing but if you want to try what I have ordered you need to order it yourself. If you take a taste off my plate I will leave a couple centimeter buffer around the area your utensil touched and only eat to that part of my plate.

If I go to the Circle K to get a drink I have to take the cup that is under or behind the top one and the lid has to come from the middle of the pile so less people have touched it. Also, straws have to be covered in paper. I won't use a straw if its in a dispenser with no wrapper because someone had to touch the bare straw to put it in the dispenser.

I love the taste of watermelon flavored things but actually eating watermelon grosses me out- it's a texture thing.

Another thing that kind of doesn't fit in my world is soft hands on a man.