royal family kids camp

Year #1(0)

To the greatest Royal family there is:

Can I just say; ain’t no tired like after camp tired when you haven’t done it for three years.

I’m on my second cup of coffee sitting in my California home base and just starting to truly think about everything that the this past week was.

As I shared in my devotion on Monday morning, I didn’t think I had all the things I needed. I was emotionally drained, tired, and honestly just didn’t think I had the ability to teach bible stories to kids.

It’s felt for awhile as if I’m walking among ruins. Like my life fell apart and I haven’t started building again.

But I was reminded that, for the most part, ruins still have a foundation.

We were starting from scratch this year.
And might have felt, a little bit, like we were walking among ruins.

But, what hasn’t changed, what remained and maybe evolved, was all of our whys.

I saw it in all of your faces as you were eagerly awaiting the kids to come up the mountain. I saw it in your dance moves at chapel and your animated conversations at meals. I saw it in the staffs faces sitting at breakfast club or helping with woodworking or walking another kid to the nurses station.

We may have been walking among some ruins, we may have been missing a few tables and maybe a dunk tank (though did anyone really need to be in that on Wednesday?).

At the end of the day though, the foundation, the heart of the matter was the same.

We were there for the kids.
And we were there for each other.

On Monday I challenged and reminded us to be where your feet are and that you had everything you needed.
Mostly, I was just preaching to myself.

I’m pretty busy at camp. My desire is to always be available to help, to be present and to help make transitions from place to place be the easiest I can.

But, knowing myself, I knew that there would be moments I’d just have to force myself to pause. One of those was on Wednesday when I sat at an activity table for 45 minutes making one of those beaded flower projects with a camper.

Another was when I went on the zip line first and stood across the way for an hour cheering on the LIT girls and counselors.

I could have easily not gone on the zip line, I could have easily sent someone else and then done all the logistics of getting the girls on. But, instead I looked at the girls and said, I’m scared, I don’t want to do this, but I’m going too.

And it was amazing.

I stood across the field for an hour listening to the LITs cheering each other on and it was just a beautiful present moment where all I was focused on was the girl coming down the zip line next.

We all had to do some hard things this week. Maybe it was engaging with a camper or figuring out how to make something when you didn’t have all the pieces. Or figuring out a job someone else used to do for years.

Our campers had to do some hard things this week. Maybe it was going in the zip line or calming themselves down when they were frustrated or making it across the swimming pool.

But what we did this week was create a place where those hard things felt manageable. What we did without knowing it was show campers what they could do by us just showing up again.

Right before the world shut down in 2020, I was in a musical. And I found out after it had gotten cancelled that my parents were going to drive up to Washington and see it. Because, to quote my mom, “She wanted to do a hard thing for her to remind me I could do hard things”.

And I thought of that this week. I thought of it when I was having a hard time being present or when I didn’t feel capable. I thought of it when I was tired and someone flagged me down to walk somewhere with them.

I know we all have stories and reasons why we do camp.

This year, for me, my why was a little different. It was to face a thing I didn’t think I was capable of anymore, because at the end of the day I love and believe in those kids more than I believed in my inabilities to do the damn thing at camp.

At the end of the day my love and belief in YOUR abilities was greater than my inabilities.

You all inspire me and push me on more than I can even comprehend. The ways you show up and jump in and speak life and love with your actions and your words to the kids we serve pushed me on each and every day.

I get asked a lot why I don’t just go to a camp in Washington.

And it’s because of you all.

You are my family.

You are my lighthouse.

Thank you for always welcoming me back home 💜

With love,

Miss Meg

Honest, notes on grief, ramblings

A letter to 36

Dear 36,

I don’t really know what to say to you.

As I look back through memories and pictures and words I’ve already written I’m trying to find kind things to say that aren’t seen through a filter of just trying to see the good in a situation.

About 7 weeks after I turned 36 I got to hug my mom for what I knew in my bones would be the last time.

Soon after that I made a decision out of necessity for my incredibly burned out self that I needed to quit the job I’d been at for a little over 6 years.

About 5 weeks after I started that new job; my mom died.

Now, I can say something about you 36; you set me up to make some choices before I needed to make them.

You pushed me to make some hard decisions I didn’t want to make.

You allowed me to make space before I knew I needed it.

In my letter to 35 I wrote these words

“thirty-five feels like the end of the chapter that leads into an entirely different part of the story”.

And 36 has indeed been an entirely different part of the story.

But to me 36 feels like one of those montages of a movie where life is just happening and you aren’t quite sure what to do.

And then then main character opens the door and gets blinded by the sun and the fact that it’s spring again after what felt like too long of a winter.

36 has felt like winter.

I don’t know if I can say I’m grateful for it.

I’m grateful for the people in my life who have showed up for me in the most beautiful, kind and loving ways and to those humans there is no way I’ll ever be able to repay you for the love and support you’ve given me.

I’m grateful for the bright spurts of joy; like trips with friends, performing on the Lincoln stage for the first time, family shot Friday and the hilariously wonderful humans I work with.

But I can very easily say that I’m ready for a new year of life.

I’m ready for winter to be over.

I’m ready to open the door and be blinded a little bit by the sunshine.

I’m ready for you 37.

Please, be kind.

With love,

Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings

Nice is different than good

I’ve realized that lately I’ve gotten really bothered when people give a situation more credit than it is meant to have.

I’m a words person (obviously) and I believe in the power of assigning meaning to something that doesn’t merit that meaning.

Like chaos. I used to have an assistant in my classroom years ago who would say every moment of every day was chaotic. I finally stopped them and reminded them they needed to change their meaning of chaos or a simple transition gone slightly awry was going to wreck them.

I also realize I have a high capacity for stress (which I understand is not always a beneficial thing) but it’s also helped me realize that frustrating does not equal hard or rough.

I think in the last few years I’ve worked at trying to describe things in such a way that I can understand them.

Giving a blanket statement to something and assigning it a word that has no descriptors isn’t helpful.

(As an example one of my PET PEEVES in working with children is the use of the word “nice”. It means nothing to a a child. Telling a three year old to “be nice” tells them nothing what you want their actions to do.)

When I started pondering these words this morning I had a Sondheim lyric in my head “Nice is different than good”.

A frustrating situation is different than a hard situation.

A stress-filled situation is different than a stressful situation.

Choosing to start to understand what in the situation is actually hindering us instead of just giving a blanket statement and walking away.

It’s work that feels hard.

(And work that feels hard is different than work that feels bad).

I’ve come to a realization that will not be brand new information to anyone that knows me well: but I’ve allowed my capacities for stress and hard work and chaos get so big they very rarely phase me.

And when they do it’s probably already too late.

So, right now, I’m trying to pull my bubble back.

I’m trying to redefine what all those words look like and I’m trying to reframe how I see them for myself.

It’s lot of work and it will involve boundary setting and it will be hard and also good.

(See what I did there?)

So if you needed a reminder that you are allowed to change sometime at almost 37 that you’ve operated in most of your life you are absolutely 100% allowed too.

Deep breathes to your toes 💛

With love,

Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, ramblings

I don’t actually know how I feel about this

I’ve been battling with technology for about 40 minutes. I’m currently in possession of two computers-one won’t work and the other I can’t find the charger too and then my ipad was refusing to open a new document and I just kind of wanted to give up and go about my day, with some banana bread making, Guinness float drinking and watching “A discovery of witches” season 3.

But then my Microsoft word opened and I realized I probably actually needed to talk about the thing that I’ve been dancing around talking about for a few weeks.

Hope.

I’ve mentioned it here and there. Alluded to it in instagram posts and tried to come to terms with the fact that hope wasn’t going to bite me in the ass.

This morning I wrote the following words while at church and they hit me a bit and came with the footnotes that I needed to chose to have hope in myself again and hope in life.

Hope in its noun definition is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”.

What if hope has been so hard because without realizing it we’ve been so far on the other side of hope that we’ve been hoping for the bad things to happen?

What if we’re so focused on the fact and the truth of life that bad things will happen that we don’t free up any space in our brain for the fact and truth of life that good and beautiful things will happen.

Now, please don’t read that as we are somehow a part of the awful things in our life happening. (Well, we are sometimes but that’s a different story). What I’m trying to say is what if we’re putting our hope in the fact that bad things will happen so might as well not hope for the good and because of that we’re choosing to place our hope in the bad.

I always joke that my brain is so full of children’s worship music and choral music from my whole life that I frequently have a “no room in the inn” sign up.

I think we do that with experiences that prove to us we shouldn’t hope that the good and the beautiful will come.

I started my new job on September 7th last year and 4 weeks later I was starting to feel alive again.

4 weeks and one day later my mom told me she was sick. And five weeks and 3 days after September 7th she was gone.

I had started to feel hope again. Started to feel like I was able to breath. Started to feel like I could focus on things that brought me back to myself.

And then it all came crumbling down.

But, I think that that was a turning point for me.

I could have truly chosen to believe and file that away as another time where hope failed me. Where the good was coming and the. The other shoe dropped and knocked me unconscious.

Where hope looked me in the eye and said “pass”.

I think I’m in a frame of life where I’m desperately trying to change the way I see things about hope. I’m trying to be an active participant in what is looks like to hope for movement and good and things being built and an active participant in showing people that the only person who is fit to walk out their story is themselves. And whatever cards they’ve been handed they can pull something from them if they’re just willing to try to live a life wherein hope is for them too.

I don’t what your level of choosing to be hopeful these days. For me, some days it’s just choosing to hope I won’t wake up at 345 and will be able to go into the day rested.

And I know that the world doesn’t feel hopeful right now. I know that the concept of being hopeful for yourself feels trite and small.

And I know some days it’s a no bones day and hope is not only impossible but unhelpful.

And I know what it’s like to feel like hope hasn’t been in play for awhile.

I just want you to know that I’m here trying to figure it out today.

And if you need to borrow some hope from me; I will willingly share it.

With love,

Meg

back to the barre, Honest

On being an island

I just did a thing where I actually didn’t delete the 400 words I had written to write something new but I opened a new document.

The words I was saying weren’t bad- they just weren’t it.

The 400 words I had typed out were moreso dancing around something that I was trying not to say because even just the thought of saying the thing that’s in my head is currently making me cringe.

Today, I feel rested.

I had a beautiful weekend, that started just sitting and chatting with my best friend at her desk because I wouldn’t see her all weekend and those moments began a weekend where my soul and heart and all the insides of me got rested all the way down to the toes in ways I haven’t been in a while.

(that’s not the thing that makes me feel cringy)

And after I sat and wrote the prior 400 words that were filled with a lot of me stating that I sometimes just want to be an island, I realized that while there was truth in that, it wasn’t thing that I needed to say.

After I wrote the prior 400 words and I realized that they weren’t it; I realized what actually was.

This weekend I found rest, peace, hope, family and light.

And today I realized that all of that reminded that I am a leader in the ability to give those things to others. I am meant to do that in a bigger way than I am now.

And honestly, that terrifies me.

I know that sounds ridiculous. That I should know that. (As my roommate Benjamin would have said to be in a text if I text him that: ThAt Is BrAnD nEw InFoRmAtIoN)

That I’ve done it before.

But this feels bigger. This feels more wobbly and new.

I am the person who is going to nag you into believing in the fact that you have something to say. That someone needs to hear the things you have to say. That regardless of what you believe or who you believe in that you have hope and light and a story that the world needs.

That you are on this earth to connect to even just one other person who needs your story.

That, even if we desperately want to be and even it feels less painful, we are not meant to be islands.

I am not meant to be an island (honestly I hate that sentence).

And honestly, there is still a lot of myself that is the most epic cheerleader because being in the background just works for me.

But I know in my knower that it’s not where I’m supposed to live.

Have you ever had those moments where you come to a moment in time and you know that one day down the road, it’s going to be a defining moment?

Well, this Monday afternoon on my couch just turned into one of those for me.

This weekend I realized that God has been repeatedly telling me not to worry. He’s been reminding me that I have what I need.

He’s been reminding me that I need to look in a mirror when I remind people that they are more than they think they are.

I know there is more to me. I can feel it, beneath the surface. I know that I’ve spurred on a belief in myself by setting boundaries, by choosing my personhood and mental and emotional health over those who would say I didn’t do enough to earn their love. I know there is more because I’ve spent a lot of time making space for it.

I don’t know what is next but damn. Something is.

That’s it.
Well, that’s not it, but it is something.
Here’s to the reminder that we can always find pieces of ourselves when we’ve believed for a long time they are just pieces to give out- not to keep.

(But I will always, ALWAYS, remind you that you are more than you think you are.)

With love,
Meg

Honest, notes on grief

From behind a wall

To actually sit and force myself to write- to just let words flow feels incredibly anxiety-provoking right now. But it also feels like one of those things that if I don’t sit in front of a computer and just let my thoughts out for others to read, I might be stuck on the other side forever.

I don’t want to get stuck, but I feel almost as if I am stuck in a perpetual wheel that causes me to be unable to just write. To pull out thoughts and share them.

Most days, I think, I am doing pretty ok. I am living in this new view of life with a lot of things on my brain- some I don’t really talk about (that’s the 20%) and some I don’t want to talk about because it makes me cry. I am a little bit fearful that this is just how life is now. That I am going to be sad forever and that there isn’t really anything to do to fix it. I know that isn’t the case. I know there isn’t anything to fix.

I know painful things happen and we just must keep walking in the direction that we are meant to walk.

I’m supposed to be writing a piece for the website I write for about the hope I find in choosing to trust my own balance. In choosing to know that I’ve been through some shit and that I am stronger and more capable to withstand things than I think I am.

I’m supposed to be writing about the hope I have in the strength I’ve been given.

You know that word I hate, “resilience”.

 But all I want to do right now is delete the 275 words that came before this sentence.

This though is my reality.

Some days, I am truly ok, some days I’m just not and some days are like a little fruit salad of all of it.

But I don’t want to get stuck with an inability to write down my words.

I know I’ve shared this here before, but when I was little, I was so terrified to confront people when I had hurt feelings or was scared. And I would write my mom notes and tuck them in the chair she was sitting in and run away.

I’ve always used writing to communicate my emotions, articulate what is in my brain and conceptualize the thoughts that are tricky for me to decipher.

I write to untangle.

And currently, I am still actively untangling grief, untangling the relationship I had with my mom, and untangling some things that I don’t necessarily feel ready to communicate.

And I’m grappling with the fact that I don’t feel strong enough or capable enough or old enough to be dealing with any of this.

Normally, at the end of a string of words with a lot of questions, not a ton of answers, and what feels like a lack of hope I’d usually tag a PS to my mom who read every word I wrote, to let her know that I am in fact; ok.

Because at the end of the day, I am. I’m ok. I’m moving forward, I’m living. I’m just a little less than sometimes.

So, Mom, I’m ok. I’m moving forward, I’m living, I’m just a little less than right now.

And that is ok.

With love,

Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, notes on grief

My moment one.

Today while sitting in church, I went down a supreme tears rabbit hole. It is something that happens frequently when I allow myself to be still. And I’m not ashamed of my tears or my sadness or grief, it’s just that my modus operandi is to just keep moving forward and to save my moments of tears for when I’m alone and in my own space.

But grief really doesn’t care.

A favorite photo of my mom and I

Last week we talked about our word of the year for 2021. Mine was shift. And shift I did. I quit my job, shifted away from relationships, shifted I deemed important.

The big one, obviously, was quitting the job I had, had for over six years. I didn’t know why then I was pressed to quit- nothing major had happened, I didn’t leave on bad terms, I just had this feeling that I needed to make this change for myself. I needed to walk away from something incredibly stressful.

Five weeks later my mom died.

So, the reason for the shift I didn’t really know until that moment. I knew it was for me, for my mental health and stress levels, but I didn’t realize that the reason I need to walk in a period of stress relief was because the stress was going to hit incredibly hard in ways I hadn’t felt before.

That leads me to my word for this year. At the beginning of 2021, I read Hannah Brencher’s book “Fighting Forward” and there was a passage that hit me then and today it came back to me. In the book she is discussing her new years words and what that looks like and she quoted a scripture from Jeremiah and this phrase popped out to her, “The city will be rebuilt on her ruins”.

And I started to think about how heartbroken I am, my family, the people around my mother were when she passed. I started to think about how much it might feel as if the lives of those she left behind are in ruins because of her leaving this earth.

But then, I started to think about how ruins aren’t always a bad thing.

Ruins can be the start of something good, something new, something more beautiful than before. Ruins are apart of the restorative process. You just have to sift through all of it and find what is yours to keep.

All I want in this world is one more phone call, one more time for my mom to nag me about my eyebrows, to ask me if I’m warm enough. One more, “I love you my sweet girl”.

Instead I’m left sifting through the heartbreak and ruins to see what can become of them.

To see what parts of my mom I’m carrying to use to rebuild.

I always get a little nervous when it comes to finding my word of the year. That may sound silly but for someone such as myself who finds deep hope in words, it’s always something that truly ends up meaning something in my life.

As I sat with what it might mean to rebuild ruins I wrote out words, that popped into my brain and sifted through synonyms. Begin, embrark, start, innovate.

Until I wrote the word “create” and something settled inside.

It might seem silly for me, as a writer, to settle on the word create. But as someone who has been standing on ruins for a long time, someone who has spent a great deal creating from a place of pulling myself up over the ruins, I believe it’s time for me to create something out of them.

I have so much hope in the word create.

I ended 2021 feeling like I was a bit out of hope. I stood on my porch after midnight holding a glass of champagne (barefoot in 20 degree weather) and it felt a bit like I was look out into an ocean- you know the vast feeling of looking out over the water at night not knowing what is sky and what is ocean. And it felt incredibly overwhelming.

But today, I wrote the word create and I felt something that felt light. Not new. But me.

I don’t know what ruins you’re building on from this past year. I don’t know what heartache or grief or anger you’re walking through.

I don’t know if you need to walk away and rebuild away from the ruins, or if like me you need to find the beauty in the ruins.

Whichever it is, I want to remind you that you’re already on the other side of something. You’ve made it to a shore (even if it’s a small island amid an ocean).

We can rebuild whatever we may need too.

This is my moment one.

Let’s see what happens.

with love,

Meg

notes on grief

Beginning notes on grief

I have been wanting to write the last three weeks but if I’m being honest the thought of writing has seemed heavy and has seemed like it would make the world around me more real than I was capable of dealing with.

For those of you only follow me in this corner of the internet I have yet to share this here: three weeks ago my mom died.

She died in her home, the one I grew up in, surrounded by her husband, us three kids and ¾ of her grandkids- one being away at college and a handful of her nieces and nephews. More family came in that night and over the course of the next week or two that lead up to the memorial we had for her last week.

I don’t know if I’m ready to talk about my mom or see the words on a screen but I knew that if I didn’t begin to write something it would get progressively harder to do so.

This morning I opened my journal in church and aggressively wrote out my thoughts on writing before the tears threatened too quickly.  I tend to write around what’s going on in my life. I tend to write to work things out, to untangle them, to remind anyone who might be in the same space as me that they aren’t alone.

I can easily say that of all the grief I’ve ever dealt with or felt I’ve never met this monster in my life. I’m doing my best to be kind to myself, to take help, to ask for hugs, to cry- but it’s really, really hard. Even right now as I write this I’m blinking back tears.

My mom commented on everything I wrote. She would make sure to call and tell me she had read things and I usually got a text after I posted a blog that she “loved my ‘she writes on Sundays’”.

I’m sure I will write more. I will write with tears down my face, I will write through anger and now, I am writing out of exhaustion and the desire to put words on a page.

Grief is a lot. More than any human can actually fully grasp.

I miss my mom a lot. It’s still not real that I won’t be able to hug her or call her or have her nag me to go to the doctor.

But here I am, to the best of my ability, moving,

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, relationships

But I am grateful for THAT

I am not one to talk about what I am grateful for in the broader sense. I will text friends and write cards and buy coffees and double vodka tonics and constantly try to remind and tell those in my circle that I love them, I am so happy they are in my life, that they’re champions, that I’m proud of them, that I believe in them etc.

But, as I was getting to ready to come and sit and drink a coffee in this bright lovely space today I was thinking about what I really truly am grateful for.

You see, it’s easy for me to be grateful for people and memories and moments and inanimate objects (sparkly water and ice coffee I’m looking at you).

There is something that it is actually incredibly difficult for me to be grateful for:

Myself.

The past month I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up internally. I’ve spent a lot of time negating who I am and what I’ve done and what I believe. I have spent a lot of headspace telling myself I’m not worth a change, or something new, not enough.

I stood on the porch of my house for about 3 minutes debating and wondering if I should actually come write and put words down.
But, I locked the door and I started moving.

Because, when it comes down to it, I am grateful for myself.

I am grateful for the ability to love fiercely, even to the point of exhaustion because I never question my passion for something or someone.
I am grateful for my inability to be confrontational because it means I am constantly learning how to be better at that very thing.
I am grateful for the fact that I am good at my job. Grateful for the knowledge I have and my ability to be able to relate to parents and kids. I am grateful for my desire to ask questions and my ability to ask for help at work.
I am grateful for my ability to be stubborn. I am grateful for the times wherein it hinders me and helps me. I am grateful for it because it always reminds me that I can do hard things.

I am grateful for my relationship with God even in the moments where I didn’t want it. And my ability to be ok with doubt.
I am grateful for my ability to be friends with so many different types of humans.
I am grateful for my singleness because it has taught me constantly that I am my own person. I am grateful for the ache of my singleness because it reminds me that I desire something I might never have, but inspires me to be stronger than I think I can be.
I am grateful for the fact that I’m a basic white girl. That I love avocado toast and cold brew and not disgusting pumpkin spice lattes.
I am grateful for my extra weight and the curves on my body. I am grateful for how it has taught me to dress for who I am and own what I love.

I am grateful that I know what it feels like when I’m about to have a panic attack. I am grateful that my body and I have come to such a place where I know when it’s about to stop working.

I am grateful for the friendships that have come into my life and my ability to realize I need them.
I am grateful for the friendships I’ve lost. Because even though it sometimes still hurts- I will always remember the ways I grew because of them.
I am grateful for my inabilities because they have in more ways than one led me to where I am.

I am grateful for myself.

Now, this list isn’t all of the things I am grateful for inside of myself.

And you’re probably thinking “Meg, some of these aren’t awesome” and you’re right.

Some of these things that I have listed aren’t probably things to be grateful for. Like, maybe I should lose weight, or get more mentally healthy, maybe I should stop being stubborn or be a better friend.

Maybe.

But here’s a real talk moment: This is who I am today and who I will probably be tomorrow.

But each day I chip away at something and change the story.
Like confrontation: still not great at it, but better than I was 5 years ago.

My anxiety? I still have it but each day I learn the signs more and more and learn what I can do to breathe it out.

The more time we spend hating parts of ourselves; the more likely we will just hate all of ourselves.

I have spent a lot of my life thinking I didn’t need to matter- and if I’m being completely and utterly transparent I still have moments where I feel that. The desire to be invisible and just move the pieces for other people. The desire to blend into the scenery and cheer on from the audience.

I still just sometimes want to sink into the actions and deeds I do for others. Because it’s easier than being known and seen. I would still rather feel your feelings than give up my own.

I would still rather hold your purse of problems than let you sift through my own,
BUT
I’m getting better.
I’d still rather spend my time in the background and I would still rather hold my cards close at hand.
But I’m grateful for the growth I’ve made and the stories I’ve shared and the beliefs I’ve changed about myself and the space I inhabit.

I might not say what I’m grateful for or thankful for again this month- I’ll probably still show it in the purchase of coffee or vodka, handwritten notes, and hugs.

But for myself, here it is a reminder that my life is built on stories and pieces of myself that won’t go away just because I dislike them- but will be nurtured if I choose to see what they’ve done for me.

So as a final question: How are you grateful for the parts of yourself that for which you’ve spent a lifetime being not grateful?

 

royal family kids camp

To my Royal family: 1+1+1=1

To my Royal family,

I started writing this on Friday in the gazebo around 7am which turned out to be a horrible idea as I swatted away multiple mosquitoes (I rounded out at 19 bug bites).

Before I get into it I want you reading this to take a deep breath with me and say the following statement (which you can obviously edit if you don’t like my word choice):

“We did the damn thing”

I don’t know about you but this was my most exhausting year at camp. It’s Sunday and I barely did anything yesterday and I might feel rested now. Maybe.

Since Friday morning I’ve been contemplating what I learned this year from the kids and from you guys. I’ve been trying to think about what my first thoughts of take away are from this year.

Every year there is a small piece of me that thinks I might hit a point where the magic wears off. Where my love for this kids and this camp won’t be enough to push through. I came into this year of camp probably at the lowest I ever have. I’m pretty burned out, fresh out of ideas for things happening in my own classroom and just plain tired.

I wrote about this at the beginning of the week but the moment I got out of the car at Pinecrest I felt new again.

And then the week began.

And as I am every year- I am amazed by the way all of you love and serve the kids.

Obviously we aren’t all perfect and there are things that happen that I don’t agree with and that frustrates me, but it’s those moments that you all think no one sees. It’s when you bend down to listen to a tinier camper or when you give an older, tougher boy a chance to be a kid.

It’s when you get into the pool with the kids and see the look on their faces that you would get in the water. Or when you get up on stage to dance and it lights up their faces.

The thing about a week at camp is that the effects last a lifetime. Five days can change the course of everything.

Even just one of those five days.

I think we know that, somewhere deep inside, but I think sometimes we forget that each year of camp changes us and leaves a mark on us.

This year camp changed me more than others. And even as I sit here on Sunday morning I’m overwhelmed with just how much I love those kids. Even more than I thought possible.

I’m not quite sure how it changed me yet if I’m being honest, but this year left a mark on me (and not just the bug bites and the two bruises I got in the pool). I’m not ready to go back to life yet, I’m not ready to leave and I’m not sure how to take what I have now into my life.

But, in that, I want to remind you to take a moment or two or three, today and next week and the week after and jot some things down about camp. What you learned, what you didn’t want to learn and what you are holding on to. I want you to shake off things you don’t need and place things at His feet that you don’t need to carry.

I want you to remember that you are amazing. Whether you are a teen staff, a counselor, a staff member stationed at activities or a staff that was constantly moving locations, a grandma or grandpa, aunt, uncle or a dean. If you are someone who can’t come to camp but in hours with quilting or fundraising or the birthday party. If you were my team coach or work with the LIT. If you were one of our amazing staff counselors or last but certainly not least- if you are Becca or Susan:

You are amazing and out of this world.

Every year I am blessed, excited and beyond words with getting to work with, laugh with, and say all the words or no words with.

We did the damn thing for the kids.

We learned what worked. (The pool system)

We learned what didn’t go well ( #ripvarietyshow2k19)

And we on top of all of the that: we loved, we WERE love and I think we received more love than we can comprehend.

Every year I’m in awe of the kids and every year I’m in awe of you guys.

Another year in the books.

So let’s take a breath, write some reminders for next year and take what we learned into Monday and see how we can bring a little bit of camp to ourselves each day.

I love you all.

Until next year,

Meg