August 31, 2012

Finished!

Posted in Books, Faith, Just Life tagged , , at 7:56 pm by catsinboxes

Camp didn’t allow much time for summer reading, but I worked my way through this book over the summer and finally, last night, I  finished it.  It was an excellent read.  Moore to come shortly, in the form of a review.  (Please tell me you caught the pun!)

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August 30, 2012

On Catching Snakes and Kissing Frogs

Posted in Humor, Just Life, Wildlife tagged , , at 8:21 pm by catsinboxes

I like snakes, and if you can’t tell by the picture, I like catching them.  We don’t have any poisonous snakes in this area, so unlike    some people, I didn’t have a fear of snakes instilled during my growing up years.  I did learn “red to yellow, kill a fellow . . .”.  I enjoyed looking at venomous snakes and giant constrictors when they were one side of a glass panel at the zoo, and I was safely on the other.  I loved hearing stories about my mother’s encounters with rattlesnakes when she was a camp counselor in North Carolina.  All that to say, I like snakes, and depending on their size, I like catching them.  I draw a line with big garter snakes, they just wiggle too much and it makes me squeamish, but I digress.

At camp this summer, during counselor training, we all visited a bog.  It was a fun nature walk, and right in the middle of the bog what should we find but a snake!  A couple people had spotted one, and then I saw it.  Call me competitive, accuse me of trying to prove myself, and you do have a point.  But hey, I like snakes!  I saw that snake, and within moments, I caught that snake.  It wriggled frantically, but it wasn’t big enough to affect me.  Someone said, “grab its head”, but I didn’t pay much attention.  And then, then that nasty little bog-dwelling garter snake whipped his head around and bit me twice on my knuckle!  I put that snake down dropped that snake pretty quickly!  It was a neat battle wound, and I still have a tiny mark.  I even have a picture of it, but I’ll spare you my bloody knuckle.  Lesson learned: snakes that live in bogs are bad tempered.

All right, so that’s a little about catching snakes.  But kissing frogs?  I didn’t grow up doing that.  I was introduced to it by a friend two years ago.  Over the course of the summer, I did do it on occasion.  I kissed frogs and toads of various sizes.  It was a slight competition; I made it my mission to pass the number 5 since that was the record held by another counselor.  Once I reached 6 I was done, or so I thought.  A few weeks ago, I told my Bible class of 5-7 year olds that I had kissed frogs.  They were awed, disgusted, incredulous.  And that, I thought, was the end of that.  Little did I know . . . A few evenings later, the class was on the playground, when one of our 7 year-olds showed me a frog he had caught.  Frog doesn’t do it justice, that was one of the BIGGEST green frogs I have seen all summer.  He grabbed it, held it up to me, and said, “Kiss it!  You said you kissed frogs; kiss it!”  Well, what could I do?  How could I explain that a friend had enlightened me to the fact that some frogs and toads can carry salmonella.  I prayed a silent prayer, “Lord, I’m doing this for you!”  I picked up the frog, and I kissed it.  Oh, the reaction.  “SHE’S KISSING A FROG, SHE’S KISSING A FROG, LOOK EVERYBODY!!!”  A throng of my 5-7 year olds came hurrying over.  I held the frog aloft and announced I would do it one more time, just once.  And I did.  If you want to impress/make a lasting impression on 5, 6, and 7 year-olds, cheerfully kiss a frog . . . It works.

Back to snakes, I met one other snake at camp.  It was so little, I thought I’d try again.  I started to pick it up, and what do you know?  That little stinker did his best to bite me.  I put him down, and rather than fleeing, or I should say, slithering to safety, he coiled himself up and proceeded to glower at me and strike whenever my hand came remotely within striking distance.  I laughed and named him Rosencrantz.  That name seemed to fit him perfectly.

After those experiences, catching snakes became a hazardous occupation in my book.  As to kissing frogs, it was doable but too fraught with bacterial danger to be worth it.  And then, last night, my confidence in catching snakes was restored.   Walking down the road, my path crossed that of a small garter snake.  With encouragement, I was prevailed upon to pick it up.  And though it slithered around, it didn’t dream of biting me.  We have well-mannered snakes at our house.

And that is all I have to say, just talk of snakes and frogs,

So heed my warning and beware, of snakes that live in bogs!

August 28, 2012

Summer

Posted in Faith, Favorite Quotes, Just Life at 1:38 pm by catsinboxes

After a summer away, working at Camp Forest Springs, I’m finally home for good.  This past Saturday was my last day.  It was time to pack up and say goodbyes.  But it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of a new season.  There’s no way I can put into words everything that I learned, all the things that happened this summer.  But in this post, I’m going to try to give you a glimpse of my summer:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord . . .”  ~Jeremiah 29:11-14a

This was one of my theme verses going into the summer.  I love plans, and I love making my own plans.  In early 2012, as I thought about different summer jobs, I had my own plans.  I knew about Camp, but it was on the back burner.  I was too busy with my own ideas, but increasingly I felt convicted that I needed to trust God and seek His will for the summer.  So, I prayed in mid-January that He would close doors and make it obvious where I should go.  Within a day, I had one door slammed shut.  My mental picture is that of a window crashing closed.  Then, gradually, bit by bit, God started changing my heart and showing me Camp Forest Springs no matter where I turned.  It’s so neat how He gave me an excitement and desire to work at Camp.  It’s by His grace and plan that I ended up working at camp this summer, and the glory is His alone.

“But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.’ ”  ~Jeremiah 1:7-8

During counselor training, a lot of us were nervous, apprehensive.  Counseling is a huge responsibility!  Early on I found this verse in Jeremiah.  It seemed to be speaking right to me, don’t be afraid of them ~the campers . . . don’t be afraid of them ~the junior high campers, for I am with you.  And He was, so many times I saw His grace at work.  Throughout the summer His grace was sufficient for me, His power was made perfect in my weakness.

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.  Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength . . . When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers . . . what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man, that you care for him?  Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name!

His name is great.  I saw Him at work this summer, grace provided in so many ways, from giving me strength to little graces, the beauty of grass in the sunset.  God has done so much, He has brought me so far.  I’m excited to be home, excited for the fall, excited to see Him continue to work.  For He has a plan for me, and I am seeking it, seeking it with my whole heart by His grace alone.