Thursday, July 24, 2008


I often long for the simpler days.

Back in middle school, when you weren't so pressured to give in to society. Back in third grade, when the biggest thing you had to worry about was learning your multiplication tables. Back in kindergarten, when you became best friends with a kid who you played Legos with for a day. Yes, those were the days.

Some people say simplicity is overrated. They demand to have countless things going on in their life, to constantly be multi-tasking, or else they'll get bored. And I say to them, When was the last time you sat down, chilled out, and just enjoyed life? When was the last time you laid out in your backyard and watched the stars? When was the last time you went down to the lake to simply appreciate the beauty of God's creations? I know summers can get busy with work and camps and going to the movies and hanging out with friends, but everyone needs to have a quiet time sooner or later. Our bodies can only take so much physical, emotional, and mental strain before it gives out. We need constant refueling. And that's where God comes in.

God is the Giver of life, the Restorer of souls, the Redeemer of the fallen. Don't be afraid to call out to Jesus in your time of need. He knows you better than you know the back of your hand. He knows how you overwork yourself, and brush off the necessity of good ol' R&R. He knows when you've fallen away from Him because you're "too busy" to give Him the time of day. The greatest happiness you'll ever find is for the Holy Spirit to dwell inside you. But it's impossible to find that completeness if we're always caught up in fitting in with the crowd and giving in to the pressures of society. God created us to want to feel loved and accepted, and we think that we can find that satisfaction in earthly things. We constantly try anything and everything to fill that yearn of ours, whether it's in a boyfriend or girlfriend or partying hard with friends. And in the process of searching for the ultimate high, we overwork ourselves and forget what we were truly and simply made to be: lovers of Jesus.

I think it's about time we realized that complexity and over-scheduling isn't what life is about. Take the time to appreciate the simple luxuries of life. A bird singing outside your window in the morning, sleeping in and snoozing for an hour, your favorite ice cream on sale at Bi-Lo, the sunshine warming your spirits as you take a stroll through the park, a family of ducks swimming across the lake, a beautiful sunset, city lights twinkling in the night, a shooting star, the reflection of the moon on the river. Whether you realize it or not, God's presence is everywhere. He still works miracles. He's the love to the broken, and He's the joy in the sadness.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the greatest things God has blessed us with:

Monday, July 21, 2008


Hickory Cove Bible Camp: The Greatest Place On Earth.

This past week I worked in the kitchen, serving food & drinks, and cleaning up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. It was so much fun. Now don't get me wrong, it's most definitely hard work, but it's so great to work with such amazing people and meet all the campers.

The week was a normal one, with nothing too exciting happening. I mainly stayed out in the dining room wiping tables, sweeping, mopping, taking out the trash, cleaning bathrooms, etc.. because I couldn't fit my still-swollen foot in close-toed shoes. I tried putting my Chucks on Wednesday morning, but I could hardly walk down to the bathroom (On a brighter note, my poor little broken toe is actually getting better. I'm learning how to not limp around and look like an idiot so much). Caleb took us kitchen staff out on the boat Thursday afternoon to go tubing, but because of my not-yet-fully-recovered toe and everything, I opted to just stay in the boat and take pictures of everyone else riding.

Friday night, we all went to Jesse's house in Statesville for his birthday and watched Ice Age & hung out. A lot of the staff had to leave that night, which was incredibly sad. Sam, Joe, Dave, Mike, and the list goes on and on. Luckily, Sam lives in Charlotte, and Joe & Dave live in Belmont. So we're definitely going to be hanging out again before the summer's over. I rode with Alex & Katie on the way home, and we ended up taking the super-scenic route back to HCBC. Although we stopped at the Starbucks drive-through, I think it still took us about an hour and a half to finally get back to camp, when it only took us 30 minutes to get to Jesse's house.

Saturday was a day of adventure. I thought I was going to be leaving sometime right after lunch, but those plans soon changed. Me, Leah, Abdallah, and Caroline went to Wal-Mart to get food (did you know they sell subs & deli sandwiches & popcorn chicken & cesar salads at Wal-Mart?!), and took it back to camp to eat it. Jesse & Ryan had built a boat named Slagskepp (Swedish for "battleship"), and they were going to take it out that day on Lake Hickory to see if it floated around 3 or 4 o'clock, so I figured I could stay for that. Turns out, we fit 8 people in a little 6-foot long boat. It was pretty great. Sometime while we were all down on the dock watching Jesse & Ryan paddle around, everyone got thrown into the water -- with our clothes on. But it was all in good fun. We rode back to camp, got into our bathing suits, swam around for about a half hour, then went to Josh & Lauren's for dinner. Chinese chicken & crispy noodles & fortune cookies filled our bellies, while the laughter of all the staff filled our ears. I had to leave at 7:45 so I could be home by 9, and that was really really depressing. But luckily, Leah and I are going back up this coming Saturday to visit everyone again, so I'm pretty pumped about that.

As for right now, I think I'm going to enjoy sitting around in my pajamas all day with nothing to do. Working 60+ hours in the kitchen in one week can really take it out of you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Committed

Oh my word. Camp was AMAZING!
I went down a day early (Saturday) with Casey, Mandy, Kyle, Caleb, and Zach. That in itself was an adventure. Kyle wouldn't stop singing all these Taylor Swift songs that he had on his iPod. But eventually we arrived at Garden City Chapel, got settled in, and prepared for the best week ever.

I was introduced to the music director and his wife, Andrew and Anna Hopper (Andrew sang & played guitar; Anna sang). We practiced a few songs that were new to us at the time (ex: Marvelous Light, Glories of Calvary, etc...) and then Casey took us out to eat at some restaurant. The food wasn't that great and the service was terrible, but the night ended up being a fun one anyways. We got back to the house around 11-ish, sat around, and talked. I took a shower at about 1 o'clock in the morning (a new record!) and finally crawled into bed. Mandy and I had to sleep in the same bed the first night we were down there, and it was rock solid. Talk about back pain the next morning.

Sunday wasn't nearly as eventful as the day before. We basically hung out, practiced a few songs, went to eat at Zaxby's, made a few trips to Wal-Mart, and waited for the kids to get there. They finally arrived around 5-ish, so we all ate pizza, claimed a bunk bed, went to the first night session, and went to sleep around 1 AM.

Monday morning, I had to wake up bright & early around 6:45 because the band needed to practice again before the first morning session (I realized I woke up WAYYY too early; practice didn't start until 8:00). So we practiced, ate breakfast, went to the morning session, and then went out for our team competitions. Me, Sarah, and Janna were all on team B. For some reason, everyone on our team made an X with their arms. But it soon caught on, and the competition started heating up. The game was Dodgeball, and our team ended up losing because of cheating on the opposite side. But whatever. We ate lunch, and then we had free time. Amber, Sarah, Janna, Morgan, and I went downtown the first day during free time. Aaaaand it sucked. There were two beach stores and an ice cream shop. Woohoo. So we all ended up going swimming in the pool and having a grand ol' time. Anyways, the night session rolled around, and you could tell that the Devil was really trying to distract everyone; Casey wasn't focused and Tony was in the hospital because he got injured during the game. But of course, everyone knows that the Good Guy always wins. God grabbed my heart and spoke to me that night. I finally realized that He really is all I need! I don't need drugs, alcohol, clothes, friends, or anything; God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). We had church group time after the night session, but I couldn't stay for it. I was on the verge of bursting into tears. I ended up walking out of the chapel crying. Casey saw me and asked me what was wrong, and I told him what God had told me, and I think it gave him a little confidence booster too. I went down to my bunk and went to sleep soon after that.

Tuesday. Still had to wake up at the crack of dawn to get ready for practice. We ate breakfast, went to the morning session, then group competition. This time, we had to fill a bucket up with water from balloons that were chunked out to our team and caught with sheets. The winner of the game was the one who had the most water in their bucket once there weren't any water balloons left. Of course, I got smacked in the head with one, but it was fun. Once again, we didn't win the game because some genius on our team decided he would ring his sheet out into the bucket to fill it up more. But Casey saw him and disqualified our team. We would have won, too. During free time, there was a sandcastle contest. We got a group together from CHBC and spelled out Casey's name with things he liked: the C was an ice cream cone, the A was made from softball bats, the S was a Superman symbol, the E was made from Twinkies, and the Y was a North Greenville cheerleader. I do have to admit, it was the best one there. But since Casey couldn't be biased towards us because we knew him so well, he had to make different categories of judging the sandcastles. We won the "Most Personal" one. After the night session, we all went downtown again. I rode a mechanical bull and did some racecar thing, which was surprisingly fun. Then back to the dorms for midnight snack (cherry dump cake, oreo pudding, snowcones, brownies, yummmm...) and then to sleep.

Wednesday morning rolled around without enough sleep on my part. Same routine, waking up, practice, breakfast, morning session, then game time. It was a relay race that encompassed sand, water, sponges, buckets, and running, and ended with a slip & slide. It was finally my turn on the slip & slide. I ran as fast as I could, hit the ground hard, and stopped halfway. Oops. So I was crawling along, trying to get off the soapy & slippery tarp when this kid comes flying down the slip & slide and tumbles into my foot. He hit my pinkie toe hard. Ouch. I got up off the slide, limped back to the front of it, and readied myself to go at it again with Sarah. So we were running, getting reading to jump down, when all of a sudden I feel something snap in my toe. I screamed "Sarah I think I broke something!" and hit the slide. Long story short, my pinkie toe swelled up (along with the rest of my foot), and turned purple and blue. Yep, I broke it. Allen ended up getting his foot torn all to pieces from running on the concrete, so he had to walk around in crutches for the rest of the week. And I limped. Supper, Tuesday night session, then back to the beds. I had to switch bunks with Ashton (who had a bottom bunk) because I couldn't climb up to the top anymore with my broken toe. Oh fun.

Thursday I hobbled around and looked like an idiot all day. I was planning on being on a volleyball team for a tournament, but seeing as how I could hardly walk around, I opted out of the tournament and let Morgan take my place. I took pictures during the group games and sat around during free time. Not too eventful during the day. But the night session finally arrived. You could tell that God was going to do something amazing; all the youth were giddy and excited. Casey divided the students according to their groups and sent them out to give out blue light-up crosses to people in the community. I could sense God's presence everywhere that evening! The worship that night was real. With 120 students and adults truly worshiping their Savior, you know something big is going to happen. The theme of the whole week was Committed, and Casey's message was about staying truly committed followers of Jesus Christ when we get home. God took hold of everyone's heart that night, because after the session, we all ended up on the porches with our light-up crosses on singing praises to Him. Then we ran down the stairs into the big field where we had group competitions, held hands, jumped and danced around, and sang more songs and hymns. THEN we were told we had to go back to the dorms, so I got out my guitar and found the music I'd been using that week, and we sang even more in the kitchen.

I experienced a student-led revival at camp, and I know for a fact it's going to revolutionize our youth group. This isn't going to be another one of those camps that start in a "yay we're on fire for God now," but once we get home that fire soon loses its flame. Our worship in youth will never be the same now that we know what it's like to truly praise our Savior. The revival starts this Wednesday, and I can't wait. We're taking this to the next level. We're running the opposite way.

We are The Committed.