|Austin and I|
Austin and I left for Rose City Sunday afternoon heading to New Life Camp, he took the bus and I drove up.
We came home Thursday night about 11pm.
My body feels like it has been put in a blender and turned on to "puree" and I sound like I am a 3 pack a day smoker.
This week I was a counselor for junior high girls. I had 14 girls and was so thankful to have "Maria" there as another leader in our cabin to not only help me but also to be there for me.
I remember my youth camp days. Actually it was this very camp that I met my husband, 22 years ago. I was 15 years old and we were cleaning the camp up from the summer sessions. I can still remember what he was wearing...
It was a sunny fall day. We were all equipped with rakes and bags. We were raking up the leaves and cleaning it up for the winter. He stood tall and confident up on the hill. He was working feverishly..almost snobbishly in his snow white sweat suit. He never looked up away from his task. All the girls I was with noticed "Andy Harless". How could you not. I mean who comes to clean up a camp in WHITE?? I was just going into the 10th grade. I was short and awkwardly skinny. I had kitchen haircuts and clothes compliments of Kmart. But somehow he noticed me on that hill when I thought no one especially HIM noticed me.
That is where I met the man that I have now been married to for 16 years!
I didn't see any relationships that looked long lasting coming out of New Life Camp this past week!
It was a great week. I loved crawling into my own bed without spiders or 3 inch mattresses. The comforts of air conditioning in 90 degree weather is priceless.
BUT...Life is so much more fulfilling when you fill it with others. I love those kids. I wish I could save them. I wish so much for them. So many tears and heart aches this week.
But also so much bonding, laughing, sharing and loving.
I reverted to 13 years old again. If the kids were playing it I WAS PLAYING IT.
From Octoball, Volleyball, Wiffleball, Army Basketball, Paintball, every ball used every way to the basic camp swimming and zip-lining, I participated in them all. I am beat up, bruised, battered, wiped out and thankful for every sore and blunderer up body part.
|This picture does the hills NO justice!! The hills were so steep the buses were only able to do about 30 MPH up them!|
Day ONE..I ran 6.5 miles. I ran this alone. Dad had me a quite nervous about a bear coming after me. The first mile of my run was covered in trees down a thin dirt road. This is where I expected the bear to attack me. I ran with caution but the only wild animals I saw were 2 rabbits, and a barking hound dog. The most ferocious thing I encounter was the elevation of the hills at mile 2 and 3. I think getting attacked by a bear would have been less painful then running up and down these inclines.
Day 2. Ran a warm up mile ALONE..Then I actually had 3 others join me!! Camp Counselor fun RUN!
Scott, Sarah, and Jeff met me at 6:40 and we ran 4 miles together. Ran 5 miles all together.
Day 3. "Sarah" is the only one who joined me this morning. It was another beautiful morning for a run. It was really hard to get up. We ran walked 3 miles. "Sarah" and I actually found a stray kitten and we brought it back to camp! So cute..Camp Kitty now!
|"Sarah" My Camp Running Partner!|
Day 4 Finally getting used to the 3 inch mattress...Final run. great run, definitely beat up and worn out..but being with all those kids was worth it!! Ran 1 mile warm up alone. I met back at the camp to see if I had any joiners. And "Sarah" came out to join me. She was a trooper. I loved having her company. She is quite the Brick house. She is a tough cookie and as I found out she is also very disciplined. We were all running on about 5 hours sleep a night and she came out to run 3 of those days. I dropped her off after 3 miles and ran another mile alone totaling 6 miles total.
I got to know a lot of the leaders more closely. I was nervous going in the beginning because I didn't know the other leaders very well. We all go to the same church but I am about 10 years older then most of them. I reminded myself I was going for the kids. It was not about me or my comfort. I had to get over my insecurities and fears. When we get over OURSELVES it is amazing what we are capable of. When we DIE to ourselves, our hurts, our hang ups, our mindsets, traditions and whatever we let Run the Show for us we are more fulfilled then anything this WORLD had to OFFER. To put my arms around that 15 year old girl with a sister who tried to commit suicide, a alcoholic mother and a deadbeat dad was more impact full then living my life in the same old routine in the comforts of the world I create.
To cry with that 6 foot teenager who is a tough as an ox on the outside but soft as a baby on the inside will sit with me forever.
I can not save them. I wish I could. I wish I could protect them and tell them everything is going to be OK. But the reality is my little 5 days is just a blink in their life. But even that Blink, that Breath can plant a seed. And that is life Worth Living. To share their tears, to hold their hands, to listen to thier heartbreak and confusion, to have my heart cry out for them will always be worth it.
|Beth and I ..Firepower!|