Sunday, July 31, 2011

On Infinite Truth, Babies and Their Wisdom, Wedding Planning and Beautiful People in My Life

GROW old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hand
Who saith, ``A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!'' 
When I was searching for quotes to include in our wedding invitation, I immediately googled Robert Browning. I love his poetry and his attitude towards life. It is always poignant and full of double meanings. My search revealed the first two lines of this poem... Jesse and I both liked it, so we used it. But I never read the rest of the poem. It is a selection from his: Rabbi Ben Ezra. I just skimmed the rest of the poem and found it very thought provoking. He asks such hard questions about life and death, the meaning of it. Should he have faith in The Infinite Truth (God)? 

The days are passing so quickly. Yesterday we had our garage sale for the last time. Now it's time to just get rid of all of the stuff that is left. We made well over $200, if my calculations are correct. And, what's even better, we got rid of a lot of things we didn't need. We found out something: Jesse drives a harder bargain than I do. That's pretty scary considering that Jesse doesn't drive a hard bargain at all. Lol!

My sister-in-law-to-be Samantha and I sat down yesterday and discussed wedding all afternoon. We hammered one million different things out. I threw ideas at her and she considered them then proceeded to tell me why they would or would not work. Haha! It's so good to have her in my life. Between her, Lindsey, my sister Lydia, Michele and Jesse, the wedding should be a success. 

We thought of several different ideas that really thrill the socks off of me. One is to have my dad and brother make an square garden arch, like the one we had in Melville. The other is to have an old weathered garden table and chairs sitting on stage with all of the flowers and candles... I'm not sure how much I should divulge right now so I'm going to stop.. but you get the idea of what the wedding is going to be like. :-) 

This month I am going to be working 16 days, going to music camp for five, going to Saskatoon, Regina and Swan River... all the while, planning like crazy. To top this all off, I need to get my teaching schedule figured out for October. But that will have to wait for a little bit.

Anyways, that's all I have for now. I hope you are having a beautiful weekend and a worshipful Sunday. I have been learning so much about God lately. It's so true that He never ends. We cannot ever learn enough about Him. People ask me questions that I can't answer... why would God create people who will always be dependant upon others for care? I don't know. But sometimes I glimpsed truths in their difficult to understand words that astounded me. Perhaps these are the babes who know more about God than we 'normal' folks could ever comprehend. Food for thought.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Done With Camp

... and so very tired. But it was such a great month. :-)

I had quite an experience this past week: my job was to look after a little girl with Down's Syndrome. It was a very good thing for me and, I hope, for her as well....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 3 of Camp

July 19th, 2011

It has been awhile since I've found the time to write! It has been really, really busy here... time actually passes really fast. I can't believe we're actually into the third week. I can't seem to keep my mind off of the wedding planning. Lol. The time is coming up. :-)

Important things I have discovered:
There will always be something happening at camp to make me miserable. Whether it's a dramatic child or heat or rain or having to haul my keyboard (that gets heavier and heavier each time) to and from the chapel twice a day, it's up to me to choose whether or not I am actually miserable. Lol.

There is always something something to be happy about. Kids who come up to you and hold your hand, just because they want to. Little voices and big voices blending together during mass, praising God. Watching an older child help a younger child. Eating great food three times a day.

“You know why I look happy? Because I get to go mini-golfing today.” -- Keira (7)

July 20th, 2011

Today was so good. The weather was cool, which was a relief from yesterday and the day before. I have never felt heat like that before. We had kids having water fights and going into the pool all day long yesterday. Wow. But today was much more bearable. We didn't have to use the air conditioner and music sessions had everyone singing their hearts out. When people are miserable, they get ornery.

Today, Stirling and I went with six kids to mini-golfing for an hour or so. We split the kids up into two groups and went to different parts of the course. Stirling took Coty, Kyle and Baron. I took Andrew, Brynn and Rykele. I don't know if Stirling had fun but I sure did. Brynn is the most adorable 5 year old girl you've ever seen. She has long blonde hair and she's really tiny. She and Rykele are sisters (Rykele being eldest). I have only gone golfing once before this so perhaps I am easily impressed. However, Brynn got half of the holes within a couple shots. She simply knew how to hit the ball. Rykele wasn't bad either but Brynn really surprised all of us. :-)

Andrew (7?) was hilarious. He and Kyle are twins. Andrew is a brunette and Kyle is blond but other than that, they are identical. They look so much alike and sound so much alike that I often mistake one for the other. I really enjoy being around them. Anyways, ever before we got to hole 1,  Andrew insisted that we call him “Tiger Woods” because he was so very good at golf. He had, according to him, been to this course about 8 times and had been playing golf most of his life. In fact, he would be waiting for us every time he won against us. Within five minutes, he was almost moaning in pain because he had missed several shots. He began to say what a horrible golfer he was and he really should just leave the game because he was only hurting the other players (us). Over the next hour, depending on how he did, he was at one of these two extremes. Never in the middle. As Miss Cornelia (Anne's House of Dreams) would say, “So like a man!” ;-) I only laughed a couple times. I promise. :-)

 After one music session, we had some extra time to kill, as usual. So I asked some of the kids about their favorite things regarding camp life. It was interesting to get some of their replies. I told them I would blog what they said so here it is. My personal favorite is Mason's. :-) 

Justin (11): I liked the waterslides the best and canteen and activities and being in an awesome cabin, the games in the evening and canoeing. Having friends here.

Colby (13): I liked the waterslides and canoeing best. Having Justin as my friend. I like my cabin members as friends. I like the food. The food is good.

Michael (12): Counselors and canoeing. Waterslides and games. Friends. Pool. Paddle boating. Food! Sleeping. Having friends. Making friends. Learning stuff. Having fun.

Jasmine (11): I am excited for horseback riding and waterslides. The counselors are really nice. I like canoeing.

Mattesyn (12): It's like a Bible camp but they have a bunch of fun stuff too. I love this camp! I love almost everything except that there is a puddle in front of our cabin.

Grace (10): I like everything about camp, especially the food.

Jada (13): Canoeing. I really enjoy being with friends. I've made lots of new ones this year.

Jack (10): I like horse back riding. I like canoeing. I also like the food. My favorite meal so far was the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. I like wood working and the water fight we had in sports today.

Mason (11): I like that I figured out how to get these two water balloons on my fingers! One thing I didn't like how the horse peed while I was getting on it. It went on my foot. I like how I know how I'm going to pass on my swimming.

Joshua (11): I like how the people in this camp spell my name right. And I like my cabin and the people in it.

Levi (10): I like how my cousins can come to this camp and that you get so hot here that you get thrown into the pool.

Noah (8): I like the food, especially the meatballs. I like going swimming the pool.

Jaimie (10): I like doing the art and the music. I probably will enjoy the waterslides too, since I was there once before and really liked it. I like hanging out with my friends in my cabin and starting to make a song for the end of the week.

July 23rd, 2011
For several days I had been really worried about how we were going to pay for certain things for the wedding. One of the biggest ones was the cake. I wanted to make 3 big cheesecakes and 400 cheesecake cupcakes so everyone who came would have some but I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for this. Cream cheese is expensive and so is sour cream. Then  you add things like oreo cookies and fruit to the mix and there goes another $50 or so. Anyways, Gisele and Tylene both grabbed me and sat me down and asked me what I was so worried about and I told them. They helped me figure out how much I really needed to make: 3 cheesecakes and 150 cheesecake cupcakes will feed 200 people. Plus, we're doing potluck dinner so people will bring dessert. Add that to the factor and that cuts down on $$. I was really relieved to think of this and also, where to get the ingredients cheaply... then, the evening of the 20th, Jesse had come out for a visit and Emma grabbed us both to go out and hug with the cabins. They were calling it an early night because it had been so very hot the past couple of days and people were just exhausted. We were at cabin 7 and had just started hugging when Emma suddenly said, "It's prayer time at the MTC [where the counselors all sleep,etc] so we should go do prayers." Neither of us thought anything of it. Jesse didn't even say anything when he saw people hiding behind the couches when we walked up to the door of the MTC. In fact, we still didn't think it was for us when they all leaped up shouting "SURPRISE!!!!" when we walked through the door. ;-) But it was a bridal shower and what a wonderful bridal shower it was. :-) They had made all sorts of delightful goodies, including pizza and chocolate dipped strawberries. Everyone had worked so hard to get it all together and to keep it a secret. I was so shocked. I had not even gotten a hint in the wind that anything was up. Lol. They were really good. :-D 

But the part where I cried was the best, if not the most embarrassing moment of all. I unwrapped the gifts: cream cheese and graham cracker crumbs wrapped in tea towels. The explanation was that they were buying the ingredients for the cake. Yes. I started crying. I had been so worried about how we were going to be paying for all of these things and God just took care of it through the generosity of people I love. I wish I could express how touched we are. There are simply no words for it. 

And yes. This past week was so good. It wasn't just the bridal shower, though that was a big part of it. :-) The kids behaved well for the most part and people really participated in the music. Molly and I were really happy about that. Now I am looking forward to the next and final week. After this, I will have a few days of music camp and then, I will be able to spend time trying to plan wedding. Life is good and life is really busy. 

Positive: I am feeling much more rested than I have in a very long time. Negative: Stirling got injured badly this past week. He will be fine as long as he takes it easy but I am so worried about him. Positive: I have really awesome friends surrounding me. Negative: Some of the big boys really misbehaved on Friday and scared us. Positive: I have had two really amazing bridal showers. Positive: I love teaching music with Molly! Positive: I love Jesse. Positive: I love watching M. Night Shymalan movies. ;-) Positive: God and I. That's awesome.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week 2 of Camp

July 11th, 2011. Can you believe it's actually the 11th? Time is passing so quickly! It seems like we should still be in the first week of camp. :-) But no, we have a brand-new group of kids and I have a different person with me in music. Yes, I'm not alone as I had feared. Molly Fogarty was assigned to music and we are having a blast. Molly and I met last year when she was still a camper and immediately liked each other. Not only does she had the most awesome talent as a guitarist and singer/songwriter, she is also an amazing person. The kids like her. I like her. :-) :-) Can you tell I'm thrilled??

Yesterday when I got back to camp, Seth mentioned that he wasn't feeling well. Sore throat and all that. I gave him some oregano oil, ginseng and zinc. It doesn't seem to be helping. He woke up still feeling really sick and had to spend a good portion of the morning resting. The oregano oil I gave him is usually really strong and costs $20 for a small jar. I tasted some of the new bottle I got and was a little disgusted because it was so weak. Honestly. When you pay money like that, you really would like it to be good quality. ::sigh:: If it was as strong as it usually is, perhaps it would actually be helping. Blah. Anyways, Seth, Brianna and Daniele are all coughing and not feeling well. I have just a touch of a sore throat but I'm trying to dose myself. I really hope to avoid getting sick this year. Last year I got something and it hung on for about two weeks. I completely lost my voice and the girls had to sing for me. Lol. Ah, the joys of camp.

And it is fun. :-) So far, all of the groups have basically cooperated and, more importantly, enjoyed themselves to a certain extent. We have three rules for Castle Musick: 1 – Have fun. 2 – Participate. 3 – Stand while singing. Our schedule ran like this today: 9:00 – group 1. 9:45 – group 7. 10:30 – group 6. 11:15: group 5. Lunch at Noon. 1:00 – group 4. 1:45 – group 3. 2:30 – group 2. The first day, you really do sing for 45 minutes for each group because everyone is learning about the songs, what you expect from them and about each other. The firs day is definitely hardest in some ways. They like to test you and see if you're a liar or not. They like to see how far they can push their group buddies. Lol. The girls like to flirt with the boys and be all shy. ;-)

The activities this year are: art, music, swimming, catechism, survivor, sports and woodworking. Added to that are three meals, canteen, cabin clean-up, horse back riding, golf, waterslides, mass, free time, canoeing, etc, etc. As counselors, we try to keep the kids busy all day long, from 7:45 am to 10:00 pm. Usually we are up an hour later than that with prayers and winding down.

Highlights from the evening of the 10th and so far today:
     meeting the kids when they arrived at camp. Familiar faces! New faces! Really exciting.
           going into the pool for the first time: yes!!
       Listening to Morgan (10) play Fur Elise, which he taught to himself. Impressive. 
          Hearing how one of the boys threw up, then went back into the Mess Hall and asked for cake.
     Eating the best birthday cake I've ever had.
     Listening to my boys regale us with tales about the camp director made them behave last night when they were being wild and boy-like.
     Playing music and singing with Molly.

July 12th, 2011

Me: Jordan, you need to sing.
Jordan (12 yr. Old boy): I was singing.
Me: Nope. You were talking.
Jordan: Johnny Cash talked sang and he was famous.
Molly: And Johnny Cash... is dead.


I feel like a new person. :-) Yesterday, I spent most of the day feeling sick. It seems that I had gotten a flu/cold combination. I dosed up really well and never threw up but I had no energy. Even with a rest between sessions and supper, by the time 8 pm had rolled around, I went to my room and crashed. Today, I woke up before my alarm rang and have been full of energy for most of the day. Tonight, I went in the pool with the kids and had lots of fun for a little over an hour, then went and had my shower. I still feel like I have lots of energy so I can join the hug crew tonight.

Seth and Daniele are both feeling much better, as well. It's good to have everyone back. :-) Stirling is sick now but he seems to not be feeling so badly. A couple of my boys have been sick (they probably picked something up from me!) but they both seem to be on the mend as well.

Today, the singing went so well. The kids sang and had fun and asked for extra songs to sing. I am so happy. :-) Molly and I make a good team. We both love music and we both sing our hearts out. We're both adore kids and at the same time, are firm with them. It makes for a great partnership. Doing music class feels really natural with Molly involved.

Some valuable lessons have been thrown into my lap the past couple of days. The most important one is that no act of love ever goes without notice. Someone sees, someone feels, someone appreciates, someone thinks. So, dear self, whenever you are feeling anxious and perhaps irritated at a child who seems to think his sole purpose in life is to make your existence miserable, don't give in to the pressure. The easy path is to snap at him or her and try to make them feel as annoyed as you feel. Lol. The hard path... well, it is referred to as the hard path for a reason. ;-)

Well, it's time for campfire, I think. Goodnight. I hope you're having as great of a month as I am having! Remind me to tell you about the other lesson .... namely, the one in which I have to take to heart the words of a song... “please swallow your pride... if I have something you need to borrow... lean on me...”

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Focus -- Week 1 of the Kenosee Boys and Girls Camp

“That's the nice boy with glasses who's name you cannot ever remember. But I'm the nicer boy with glasses.” --Braeden M.

Children are wonderful. They are so uninhibited and express themselves without qualm. I find such honesty in them and it makes me feel humbled and amazed all at once. This week has been one of great learning, teaching and discovering. The children have been really testing me and forcing me to search out who I am as a person. I really miss my sisters... but at the same time, I am so thankful for a chance to learn more of who I am.

Right now, I'm sitting in the MTC typing on my computer, randomly scratching the mosquito bites on my right ankle with my left foot. Tonight at the church service, my feet got bitten three times in that many seconds. Blah. I hate mosquito bites. They burn for a very long time and swell up. But I have been having a pretty good time otherwise. ;-) Anyways, I'm sitting on a couch, listening to music, watching one of my guys lay on the couch (his tummy has really been hurting all afternoon) and enjoying the company of my fellow counselors. There were only 24 kids this week and 21 counselors, so we're almost one to one with the kids. Lol. They got lots of love this week.

My job is music again. :-)  I thought I was going to have Tylene to help me but it turned out that she is in kitchen. Then, they said that Jesse S. was going to be on music. I was so relieved because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to handle all of the kids on my own. I can't really play and keep them all in line at once. It was hard enough with Hannah and Lydia and myself! Anyways. Jesse S. has been amazing and it has been a really great week working with him. He is really great with kids and plays the piano well. We take turns playing and working with the kids.

Most of the children have been really great. They are so obedient and they cooperate very well. I really enjoy them. But there are always the odd men out... we have two who especially cause us no end of grief. Yesterday (Wednesday) was our worst day, by far. We couldn't get either boy to cooperate; they wouldn't sing, they wouldn't stand still, they wouldn't do the motions, they wouldn't do anything but run around and yell or say inappropriate things. Lol. I lost my patience and got a little snappish with them. I also made them do push-ups. ::sigh:: So today I was going to take a different approach. I told the guys that I wanted to be their friend and yes, I would like them to sing! But if they didn't want to, I wouldn't make them. One of the guys actually sat up and sang and did the motions. Jesse and I were so thrilled. :-) The other guy alternated between sitting and standing, singing and not singing but his face wasn't sullen. He seemed much happier. :-)   

Next week we are not sure how many kids we're having because of the postal strike but we're thinking around 60 -70. It was nice this week to be able to ease into the job and not have that many kids right off the bat. Also, this coming week, I'm not sure I am going to have any help. I am slightly nervous about this. Lol. Hopefully I will be able to think creatively and remember that praying for wisdom is never without answers. 

Cheers! May the coming week be glorious and full of joy. I am rejoicing in the goodness of God and looking forward to the challenges of the coming week.... who knows? Maybe we'll all come down with the flu, like last year! ;-)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I have a lot of mosquito bites. I mean, a lot. Blah. I think I'm going to buy something for the itching when I'm in town today...

Will try to post something later on. :-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Summer

June was not over
Though past the fall,
And the best of her roses
Had yet to blow... 
--Robert Browning 
(Another Way Of Love)

I love old poetry... listening to the Nasby brothers sing and play... watching fireworks whirl and spin through the night sky... feeling raw emotion.... dancing in the bright sunlight... laughing with children...

These things I have been doing; thinking about; feeling. I am really tired. :-) Thus, my thoughts are scattered right now. Today we had our garage sale again and sold a lot of things. Hurrah! I guess the right people needed the things we had yesterday. I have also been addressing wedding invitations for two days and still have quite a few to go. I wanted to be done before I leave for camp tomorrow but I don't think that's going to happen. However, I can work on them at camp in the evenings...

I probably won't be online much this coming month and maybe not in August either. But there is no telling what the months will bring! I am really looking forward to working with the kids at camp. I intend on having a good time. :-D  However, perhaps this is good. I am resting in the grace of God.

Some exciting news: my sister Hannah is dating a very nice young man she met in Bible College. Love you guys. :-) 

May you all have a beautiful, full Summer. Enjoy the sun and the rain...