Wednesday, July 28, 2010

dallas love

this week has been perfect! i have nine energetic fifth and sixth graders who are so much fun to hang out with. right away they decided that our team name should be "puffidise" and that we should have puffins cereal for snack one day. they are always so enthusiastic about our activities and our small group time.

today we added a girl just for the day and it was a real blessing to see the girls bring her into the group and embrace her as a new member of puffidise. for small group time we simply sat in a circle on the roof of one of our buildings and talked about life. i could tell that it was good for them because they all wanted to share. this age group always wants someone to listen to them and i'm glad that i was able to be that person for them today.

this afternoon, most of them met me at the fountain with some of their younger siblings. it was really fun to sit and talk with them and get to know them even better. for some reason this week's campers have all asked which of the counselors are our best friends which led to a conversation about age in which one little girl felt it necessary to declare that her father was indeed older than Slider. it was pretty cute, but the funny part was that the other girls realized how silly it was for her to point that out; but instead of making fun of her, they simply smiled endearingly.

i hope that i'm as much of a blessing to them as they are to me. every week i feel like i give my whole heart to these kids and when they're gone it's like i'll never be able to love the next group as much as i loved the last, but God always comes through and supplies me with His overflowing love.

p.s. theme song to this week : the chorus to enrique iglesia's song "escape"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Full Moons and Marshmallows

last week was so wonderful! i had the greatest group of girls ever which made letting them go at the end of the week very difficult. the weekend seemed to come so very fast and lasted quite a while.

after program on friday, we all piled into four cars and headed to Atherton for a relaxing weekend together swimming, tanning, eating, and talking. at one point the whole pool went crazy in a whirlpool of utter chaos and cacophony. during this time, i sat out on a beach chair and enjoyed the sun shine. anyone looking in on this picture might have thought that i was bored or lonely though it was rather the opposite; i loved watching my fellow staff members go crazy having so much fun with each other. once the chaos died down, either Tiger Lily or Munchkin filled the chair next to me which gave us the opportunity to chat and enjoy each others company.

the weekend was full of great food and meaningful fellowship, but it didn't end there.

when we arrived back at camp, we began to prepare for a full week of campers. this week is Dallas Theological Seminary week. which means that it's a longer week with no train day on wednesday and no opening BBQ sunday night. because we have more time with the kids, we get to them much better through Bible Study and activity times. during last night's session, we devoted a big chunk of time to getting to know the kids names and their likes and dislikes. i have a very energetic group with one girl who is especially clingy. please pray for me that i will be able to meet her needs and love her as Christ loves us, but also that i will be able to get to know all of my girls.

after session on sunday night a group of us (Sprinkles, Munchkin, Kona, Kona's sister Taylor, Sassy, Yuke and i) decided to go see inception - new favorite movie!

looking forward to a great week =]

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

3rd and 4th grade again finally!

what a wonderful relief! i have a wonderful group so far of 5 3rd and 4th grade girls who are absolutely splendid! i love this age group so much because they have the perfect mix of 1st/2nd and 5th/6th; they are loving and crazy like 1st/2nd yet they think deeper and beyond the story like 5th/6th.

so far this group has been so much fun. they are really attentive and enjoy sitting and talking as well as participating in the activities. i think this is going to be a fabulous week =D

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ladies Night!!!

this weekend the men on our staff decided to appreciate us women by hosting a Ladies Night where they served us in every way. after our family bbq and show that we put on for conferees on the field, all the women hurried back to our rooms to clean up and dress up for our special night. i wore the dress i picked up with Kona and Parsnip and Tiger Lily kindly styled my hair. all of us looked gorgeous.

the night began with an assortment of orderves and mocha freezes at Joe and Heidi's house accompanied by dancing and music. while we enjoyed the warmth of the patio fireplace, Capo and Yuke read some odd cheesy poetry that had all of us giggling with joy.

from there, they took us back to Day Camp, which they had transformed into a mini casino fit with live piano music, black jack tables, gluten free cupcakes and cream puffs, and mango pina coladas. the men treated us like royalty while they served as dealers, waiters, and masseuses.

if that wasn't enough, we played BINGO where each round had a different prize that involved going and doing something with two of the boys such as going mini golfing or berry picking then baking pie.

the night was above and beyond what any girl could ask for. i felt more loved and appreciated by my brothers on staff then i have by any one else. i am so greatful for what wonderful godly men they are and for the opportunities we have to be friends with them.

(ps. pictures will be up shortly)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

best worst week ever!

this week turned out to be harder than i imagined it to be. my five girls decided to test my patience as far as they could especially two of my little drama queens. my first encounter with this groups mischievous side started on creach day. while we over looked the creach (creek beach) from the suspension bridge, i specified all the rules to my girls and had them repeat them back to me. from their responses, it was evident that they knew and understood all the rules, but as soon as we arrived at the waters edge, my defiant one immediately picked up a rock and threw it. now i understand that being at the creach for the first time is really exciting, so who wouldn't want to throw a rock into the water; i know i would, but it was against the rules. so i went up to my defiant one and said, "Defiant One, remember that we are not supposed to throw rocks and sticks?" to which she replied, "sorry, i forgot." "i understand, but don't do it again," i warned.

at this point i began to help the other girls get there things situated, but when i looked back at my defiant one, she gave me a little smirk, picked up a rock, made eye contact with me and chucked it. as much as this appalled me, i walked up to her and in my most understanding yet stern adult-ish voice inquired, "Defiant One, how many times did i tell you not to through rocks and sticks?" without hesitation she answered, "two." "then why did you just throw that rock?" i continued to probe. "i don't know." with that i had her sit out of the creek for a minute or two.

i thought this would be the end of it since she was practically perfect for the rest of the day, but to my dismay, it was not. she continued to be a pill by disobeying and distracting the others during Bible Study, but by Thursday, i had learned how to handle her better by asking, "are you respecting God and others right now? what should you be doing to follow the rules?" normally asking questions like those helped her realize on her own what she was doing wrong and how she could change her behavior.

i also had a drama queen who would cry whenever she didn't get her way, a little worrier who was always scared that her mom wouldn't know what time to pick her up, a sweet but super energetic little girl who always wanted to know when we were going to move on to our next activity, a wonderful little angel who sat quietly and listened during Bible Study but was fun to play with during activities, and a little boy who was added on the last day of camp and didn't pay attention because he didn't know the first part of the story. even though i had some frustrating moments with them, i love them a lot and know that i will miss their cute little voices singing "Doy Doy Doy!"

on a better note, i have never felt better than i have felt this week. i am growing more and more confident in my position every day, i'm feeling energized and well, and i'm starting to feel more comfortable with reaching out to other people and becoming friends with others not inside my own department (not to mention i bought a new pair of Tom's shoes and a new twin size bedspread). all in all, it's been a good week and i can't wait for what the rest of the summer holds.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pufflets, where are you?

last week turned out to be one of the best weeks ever, camp-wise that is. by the end of the week i felt as though i had known my six girls for years and it was hard sending them home, but i had a pretty eventful weekend to distract me as well.

friday night, Yuke, Sprinkles, Riff and i decided to take a short trip down to Saturn Cafe in santa cruz. this place is pretty odd...first of all, the food is 100% vegetarian, the bathrooms are non-gender specific, and each table has a different theme (our table was the woman's right to choose/condom table; talk about awkward) their fries and milkshakes were really good though. we enjoyed a fun night of conversation and fellowship.

the next day, a small group of mt hermon workers and volunteers weeded around Day Camp and the Rec Field parking lot. we got a lot done and camp looks so much nicer. as a reward for our hard work, Sprinkles' dad and grandparents threw us a BBQ with chipotle tri-tip as well as chardonay tri-tip. it was fun to hang out and eat, but the day didn't end there. after a shower and a little bit of rest, Kona, Parsnip, and i decided to reward ourselves with a little shopping. at first we were going to go simply to target, but Snippy and i had never been to a Nordstrom's Rack before; so, naturally, we had to go there as well. Parsnip and Kona had a field day picking out dresses for me to try on. success filled the air when we finally left target (our third store of the night) with a dress, a belt, 2 tank tops, and a pair of sunglasses. on our way home to the herm, we decided to meet up with one of Kona's friends from college, but we were in a town we had never been to before. we thought "no big deal; we're already the correct street all we have to do is drive a little ways and we'll see him." so we turned on to the street and traveled about five minutes before we realized we were probably going in the wrong direction, so we turned around. as we're driving along, Parsnip realized that we were heading into a residential area so she decided to turn around again; at this point Kona called Jeff who said that just on the other side of the house was a strip of stores where he planed to meet us so as we turned around for the third time we laughed at ourselves and lack of direction skills.

the weekend was awesome, but sunday sneaked up really fast. during our staff meeting, i found out that Redwood (our overnight stay camp for elementary students) needed an extra counselor. no one really wanted to go so i said i would do it if necessary. Joe almost sent me but decided that i need this week to recover from my recent weeks of stress and emotional draining with my family coming to visit and my Grandpa's death. it's nice to know that Joe and Heidi are confident enough in me as a counselor to want to send me to Redwood yet care enough to think about my emotional and spiritual health as well.

now, it's monday and i have five first and second grade girls of whom four are cousins who are so excited to be at camp that they have a hard time staying quiet. i love their enthusiasm and energy, though, because it's easier to get kids to be quiet than it is to get them to talk. because they are so high energy, i had to create a few new tactics to get their attention: whenever i need them to line up with me, i ask "Pufflets, where are you?" and they all come running to me singing "doy doy doy!" while they line up in a row. also in order to get them to pay attention during Bible Study, i promise them one clue about my real name every day if they can each answer one question about what we learned about Esther that day. they really are adorable; i just have to treat them a little different than some of my past groups.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

boom ching cha cha cha

the forth of july weekend turned out to be rather fun. after all of my Asian babies left and after a taco v run, Tiger Lily, Chickadee, Tower, Jordan, Lindsey, and i decided to go on a little adventure down to the beach under the green bridge. we hiked down there in the dark cold with only two flashlights one blanket and a towel. once we arrived, we laid out under the stars and talked about school plans and how camp has been going, but in the distance i kept hearing weird noises from the bushes around the creek. i tried to ignore it, but i have to admit that i began to feel a little scared since i was closest to the noise; so, T Lilly, who was lying next to me, pulled her flashlight out and flashed the light toward the noise. there sneaking around in the creek was a raccoon. it was far enough away that we decided not to worry about it. we lay back down on the blanket and just we my fears were starting to melt away something pounced near our heads and we all screamed and chickadee and i practically jumped into TL's lap only to realize that it was Jordan who scared us.

the next day, the third of july, i awoke at 8:30ish in the morning. my roommate Story said that i was freaking out thinking that i was late for something. she tried to figure out what was wrong until she finally yelled, "puffin, it's saturday!" to which i calmly responded, "oh, i'm going back to bed."

around 1 that afternoon, most of Day Camp piled into cars and headed out for Concord to celebrate the forth of july at the singing flag. first we stopped at Chickadee's house and ate great food and enjoyed good fellowship with one another before heading to the park. Chickadee and i were the only one's who had ever been to the singing flag before; therefore, it was special for us to get to share a forth of july tradition with our Day Camp Family. i've always loved the songs and the dancing, but having everyone there made it so much more fun.

finally, Sunday came and the campers arrived. this week my family is here camping; so, i have the privilege of having my cousin Ashley in my small group along with five other fifth and sixth grade girls. they are all super great! today during Bible Study i shared a little with them about how much God loves us and how that proves His goodness. this lead to some questions about if God loves us then why do bad things happen. we had a great discussion and i was able to help reassure my girls that God loves us even in trials. it was great to be able to interact with them on a deeper level. then we moseyed on to the slip-n-slide, but because it was cold and misty this morning, half of the kids didn't participate; although, everyone played the parachute games, which lasted a little longer than normal. Munchkin had me lead these games, which was really cool for me because i'm starting to feel more and more comfortable in my position and as i get more comfortable they've been giving me more responsibility.

my grandpa is still not doing well, but we are trusting in God's timing.

Friday, July 2, 2010

JEMS comes to a close

best part of the week: my small group kids yelling "God is good! God is faithful! God is powerful! God is hard to understand!" as loud as they can while we hiked to the pool this morning =)

these kids have been practically perfect in every way and totally and completely loving. all of them want to sit on our laps and want to talk to us; they don't care if you are their specific counselor or not, they just think you're super cool, which puts all of us at a great advantage to tell them about Jesus and to share His goodness with them through our actions and chit-chatty conversations. it's great!

this week has been really great for me on many different levels. the kids have been wonderful, and i'm beginning to feel more and more confident in my counseling role. God has placed a few key people in my life this week as encouragement and i have found myself encouraging others. i tend to be able to keep my emotions in check, although, it has been hard for me to be alone this week, and yet, i often find myself without anything to do and with no one to hang out with because everyone has gone to the beach. i think it's God's way of helping me remember that i can't always avoid situations and feelings. i should be willing to rely on Him to comfort through my pain rather than relying on someone else to distract me from my pain.

tonight is our last night with the little ones, and, though i am sad to see them go, i am so excited for what God has in store for next week when some of my family comes for camp.