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I’ve officially proved that I can pass for a fifteen-year old. Two separate groups of kids told me they thought I was a camper, not a leader. Mwa ha ha ha!

It went pretty well. I must say, it’s just as awesome to be there as a leader as it is to be there as a camper. Maybe even better since as a leader I didn’t need to wait for anyone else to take me to the flush toilets. (We had a latrine.) icon_biggrin.gif

Camping in tents was new for me; when I was a camper, we always had cabins. I always longed to do it “for real” in tents; now having done both I heartily support cabins! They make set-up much easier for one thing and for another, they make bad weather much more bearable. I like tents just fine; it’s just that I think they’re better for a family outing than for housing 50+ people. Let me tell you, I have an all-new respect for the pioneers who did pretty much the same thing but on the move and for months at a time, not just five days.

We camped at a conservation area near Guelph, Ontario. It had everything! Beautiful trees, a river that ran right smack behind our campsite and a beach! The only swimming I had at camp was this old, scummy man-made pond; by the second year at that site the leaders didn’t even bother with swimming time. Here we had canoing and paddle-boating too. There were islands all over the place, little caves, cliffs and inlets to explore. It was paradise — until the last day, when they closed the beach due to unsafe bacterial levels in the water. They didn’t make a big deal of it or herd people out of the water so it can’t be too bad but still, it’s not very confidence inspiring.

They didn’t do hikes the way I’m used to. Instead of each year going on separate hikes of different durations, everyone went at once and it only lasted a couple of hours. On the one hand, this is much easier on everyone and that was something of a relief. On the other hand, less rigorous seems less character-building or something.

Because of bad weather or delays (herding teenage girls is about as useful as herding ferrets) we had to cut out some games but on Friday we did this awesome Adventure game and I got to play too. I successfully faked my way into a half-hitch knot at the first task. icon_eek.gif That was very cool.

The only fly in the ointment was the “night hike.” I can remember one being planned one year I was at camp myself and the leaders scotched it. I was very disappointed; I thought the idea of hiking at night was awesome. Now I understand why they killed it.

They started off by having one of the priesthood leaders tell a scary story about his first “snipe hunt.” He claimed that it had really happened to him; I thought his acting was far from convincing but some of the other leaders said later — among each other, with no kids around — that he’d frightened them.

Then they had the girls leave their flashlights, gather in groups of three and took them off. I joined up with two of the girls, one of whom was very scared. I’ll call her “J.” They did the usual shtick of having other girls hiding in the underbrush making scary noises and jumping out. Once that was over, the Assistant Director gathered everyone around her. She asked if anyone was scared. J — who had a death grip not only on her friend’s hand but on mine as well — raised her hand. The Assistant Director then proceeded to tell another scary story using J’s name for the protagonist.

I don’t have anything against scary stories at camp. They’re as traditional as marshmallows. I’m not personally into horror but I realize that some people enjoy the scare. However, I really don’t like how this was handled. The night hike was mandatory; they didn’t let any girls stay behind. Then, when they were a captive audience, this creepy story was told. Go ahead and tell scary stories but it’s not fair to force others to listen. If you enjoy them knock yourself out but not everyone can turn their brains off afterward. I feel that, as leaders, it’s our job to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen and I’m upset that I was made a part of it.

I told them my feelings on the subject later so hopefully this won’t happen again.

As for the baking contest I mentioned earlier: we won second place! Woot!  Yes, Applesauce Gingerbread rocked the judges socks. We lost to Pineapple Upside-down Cake.  

My Girls’ Camp, ’tis of thee

Sweet tents of liberty, of thee I sing;

All the marshmallows we roasted,

Of hikes past we boasted,

From all girls bonfire toasted, let testimonies ring!

I loved Girls’ Camp. The Young Women’s program was okay, though I could have lived without the make-up sessions, but Girls’ Camp was the best thing since sliced bread. I lived for Girls’ Camp. It was more than the appeal of camp to my tomboy side; Girls’ Camp is where I made some of the most important friendships in my life. Others have commented on how vicious the girls can be to each other and I don’t doubt it but Girls’ Camp was nothing but magic for me.

We’ve all scattered to the winds now; every summer I remember the great times we had together and wonder what everyone’s up to. Out of all of us, there’s only one I’m still in touch with but they’re all written in my heart.

There was that lake, more of a pond really, man-made and green with the forces of nature marshaling to reclaim it. I swallowed some by accident once; I’m still surprised I didn’t come down with typhoid or something. It didn’t matter though, there was a creek running along behind our cabins, beautiful and clear, great for exploring and splashing around in.

There were the music sessions where we twisted and tormented songs until we could hardly breath for laughing, let alone keep singing. “My Camp Tis of Thee” is true to the spirit of those sessions, though not an actual product. No, our songs were “I Walk In Pain,” (a revision of “I Walk In Faith” and an homage to all those hikes) and a mutated version of “They Do Run Run” involving camp life in general. I’m sure there were more but those two are the ones I can still sing. Kind of.

There were the ghost stories, of course. And the Senior’s Prank which had us sneaking from cabin to cabin in the moonlight, throwing open the door, chucking in a bag of candy and dashing off. Oh, and since that year’s theme had something to do with Lamanites/Native Americans, we painted a Cabbage Patch doll with war paint and strung it up the flag pole.

My first year we had to do some kind of skit and I can still remember the song from the Cinderella knock-off that the older girls in my ward did. “Midnight… all alone in the bathroom… there is pee on the floor…” (Put that to the tune of “Midnight” from “Cats” and you’ve got it.) Also, someone decided we had to show off during roll call so when they called our ward’s name we all had to stand up, stick one hand on our hip and the other hand out like a stop sign, and shout “Stop! Annapolis time!”

I lucked out. Seriously. My fourth year I had mono and wasn’t allowed to go on the hike. I managed to talk my mom and the doctor into letting me go to camp anyway; I was only allowed to go for the two or three days at the end, after the Fourth Years had returned from their hike, and only on the condition that I take it easy. Are you kidding me?! I had a doctor-approved excuse to avoid some of the dumber activities and I got to do my fourth year twice! My dearest friend, the one I’m still in contact with, tells me her mom still knows me by the nickname I got that second fourth year when we all got lost doing orienteering.

Mortimer the glow-in-the-dark rat won’t be going with me this year. I have the giant sticks of Pixi-Stix but no idea who I’m going to share them with. I don’t think I’ll need my Super-Soaker either. My giant brown backpack, relic of my brother’s stint in the Boy Scouts won’t be stuffed with gear and strung with whatever else wouldn’t fit inside; I haven’t even seen it in ten years. Instead I’m packed in two old backpacks scavenged from our 72-hour kids. My sleeping bag, so often used as a comforter as much for the weight and warmth as the memories, has gone the way of the brown backpack. In general I’ve had to beg, borrow and jury-rig all the gear that I used to have.

Harder to face than the loss of my gear has been the realization that Camp will, of necessity, not be the same this year. The friendships that made it what it was for me won’t be there. I’m going into this as alone as I’ve ever gone into anything; I don’t know any of the other leaders. I don’t even know the girls. I teach in Primary; I’ve only seen the Young Women (all two of them) in the hallway.

The magic won’t be there for me this year.

This year, I’ll be there to make the magic happen for someone else.

And they’d darn well better appreciated it — I have absolutely NO idea what I’m going to do with the 5 1/2 liters of kidney beans I bought so we could bake in the tin cans.

Seriously.

He’s a misogynist.  Contrast his approach with Christ’s; the scriptures abound with stories of Christ’s interactions with women.  Paul told us to sit down and shut up.

He argues against senior Apostles  and tries to claim more authority than them.  Instead of working with them to unite the church he further splinters things with his claim that even the so-called “super apostles”  cannot contradict him. (Gal 1:8: the term was changed to “angels” in later scripts, as I understand the situation.)

According to the Catholic priest down the street, Paul is a source of Trinitarian creed.

Can anyone out there in the Bloggernacle give me  even one good reason not to dismiss Paul as an interloper and the beginning of the rot we call the Apostasy?

I am a Harry Potter fan. Love the books. Love them. A co-worker of mine is a very devout Christian (Southern Baptist I think) and he and his wife home school their 3 children. They decided on home schooling to ensure that their children learned correct values and the like. Very, very nice people.

The other day I asked him if he or his children had read Harry Potter. He was very adamant in stating that they are evil, occult and lead children to Satan. I have been doing some research (driven by his comments) and have even spoken with some internet ‘friends’ who are Wiccan – I cannot see any connection. He admitted to never having read the books, but I was very surprised by the emotion he had behind his answer. Very surprised.

I know there are verses in the Bible that speak of witchcraft and the like (i.e. Duet 18:10-14). I have been a member my entire life and know very little about this ‘occult’. Is it really something to be ‘worried’ about? Why does the Church not address it?? Harry Potter – good or evil?

I plan to keep reading it and can’t wait for the final book to come out. Just thought I would see what y’all thought.

Thanks!

Guest Poster Amy

In January I went home for a week. During that week my husband decided to surprise me by cleaning out the computer room. Needless to say, most of the computer room ended up in the living room as an amorphous mass of papers, books and other miscellanea that we needed to weed through. Said amorphous mass ate the dining table and all of the floor space.

The Home Teachers came over. I straightened up, made sure there were clear seats available, then smiled and shrugged.

My Visiting Teachers are coming over tomorrow. This will be the first VT visit I’ve had in a year or so. (Not that I’m SuperVisitngTeachingWoman myself.)

I couldn’t take it. The idea of these women seeing my house in this state… Gyaaaah.

After considerable digging, the table has been re-discovered. Though earlier efforts had yielded encouraging results from the floor blob, one final push of locating and categorizing was necessary before the floor was re-claimed.

The dusting and vacuuming will be done tomorrow. The bathroom will be wiped down. The amazing pile of dishes we managed to accumulate this weekend (in large part because I have declared Sunday my No Housework Day) has been whittled down and will be vanquished tomorrow.

I ain’t touching that Great Wall of Books-to-be-Sold-or-Donated in the laundry area though. Even if it is clearly, plainly, unavoidably visible due to the open-concept aparment design. Gyaah.

…I’m looking forward to this with equal parts excitment and dread.  Well, not dread so much as trepidation.  You see, this will be the first time for us.  We’ve been aparment hunting sure, but that was in Japan and that was just for the two of us.  We hope to be starting a family soon so there’s all of those considerations to take into account.

Of course we’ll settle wherever DH gets hired but part of what we’re going to try to do is search out areas we’d want to live in and then apply to those school discricts.  (He’s going to be teaching high school.)  Here’s where your help comes in.  What kind of things do you look for in a city or township?  What are good points and bad points?  Great bonuses and run-screaming-the-other-way points?  Who would you talk to to find out such things?

When the woman in your row, or in front of you, behind you, across the aisle, up at the front– wherever she was sitting– when she abruptly sat down during the intermediate hymn (“Families Can Be Together Forever”) and huddled in her seat with her shoulders shaking miserably.   How did you respond?  Did you respond?

In his response to my “Small and Mysterious Mercies,” BrianJ said:

Maybe the help we recieve in a prayer isn’t as important as the message it conveys. In your case, was God trying to teach you “prayer before panic”?

That lesson came none too soon.  Yesterday morning as I was cleaning my knife, it went off.  My nice, big chopping knife whacked me solidly just above the knuckle on my right index finger.  My husband had left for work.  I managed enough prescense of mind to grab a clean dish towel from the drawer to press against the cut but then spent a couple of minutes walking in frantic cicrles.  It was bad enough to scare me but not bad enough to call 911.  In my panic, BrianJ’s “prayer before panic” came back to me.  I didn’t manage more than “Please God help me” but it was enough.  With His help, I was able to calm down enough to make the decision to walk to the hospital a few blocks away.  Still keeping the pressure on my hand, I locked the door, remembered to turn off the water (I’d been watering the garden) and set off.  I was still scared.  The walk seemed long, I didn’t know anyone in my neighborhood to turn to… but then I remembered Mrs. R.  She lives behind us; she knew my husband’s grandmother when she was alive and living in this house and despite being 70-something years old, still has a car.  She’d taken us grocery shopping a couple of times.  I was fairly sure she’d be up (it was around 8-8:30 am) so I rang her bell and asked her to take me to the hospital.  Instead she cleaned the wound (with the stuff that bubbles but doesn’t sting), bound it up with gauze and tape and drove me to my doctor’s office (which has walk-in hours).

There (after a long wait but at least they have a TV in the waiting area) I got a stitch.  Yes, a stitch.  Though deep, the cut is also pretty short.  Between that and the tetnus shot, I’ve effectively lost the use of my right arm for awhile.  However, I’m thankful that it was no worse and I’m especially thankful for God’s lesson and BrianJ’s help in deciphering it.  You really never know how your words can help someone.  :)

I lost my wedding ring when I was out weeding this morning.  I have no idea how; perhaps my pants have a hole in the pocket.  All I know is that I put it in my pocket to protect it from the dirt and such and then when I was inside it wasn’t in my pocket.

I thought perhaps I hadn’t quite gotten it into my pocket so I went back outside planning to search the doorstep, which was where I’d been when I put it in my pocket.  On the way, I kept thinking about something Krista had said about praying for her lost wedding ring.  Unwilling to be too stubborn to pray I did so.  As I did, I cast my eyes down… and there my ring was.  Sitting smack in the middle of the driveway.  If I hadn’t decided to pray then, I would have continued on to the doorstep, not found it and begun panicking.

I suppose I would have found it later but I really, really appreciate being spared the panic, harrassment and frustration on a day where I already felt overloaded.

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