Labor-less Labor Day

I must say… I love three day weekends! And this past weekend was no exception…go Labor Day Weekend 2012….let me tell you about it.

So, as good as the weekend turned out being, it did not start off well. I left work early on Friday due to being at my hours for the week, and because I was not feeling well at all. I got home and slept, woke up to eat, and slept some more.Saturday was a mix of sleeping, watching tv/movies, and playing Call of Duty. Saturday was a bit bitter/sweet because my buddy Evan hit the road to head home to Montana. He has been living with me all summer and is off to get himself married next Saturday (you can bet on a post about it).

But then I woke up on Sunday and felt so much better! Sunday was basically a family day, the first in a while! All three of us had the day off and we decided to go to the fair. We spent a good part of the day at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. We saw animals, booths, various displays, a lumberjack show and more. It has been a while since we have been to the fair so it was really nice to be back and have time to cruise all around. And as it usually is with the fair, we ate too much…but it was all so tasty! After the fair is was back home for a nap then I headed over to Amanda and Robert’s for pizza, fun conversations and Madden ’13 (it’s awesomeeee).

Monday was the true adventure day, however. After visiting one of my friends who just had surgery, I met up with Bryan and our adventure began! We jumped on the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry and cruised over across the water. After grabbing a quick lunch we made it to our destination: Island Lake Camp! Yes, the very same that I used to work at and is so near/dear to my heart. There were not too many staff members still there so late in the summer but it was fun to see the staff that were there. I was especially glad to see my buddy Joel (who you know by a previous post is going to India soon). Byran and I spent time walking all over camp, and it was fun being able to tell him all about it and about some of my fond memories from Camp. We also decided to take a short trip to Miracle Ranch and I was able to see a couple friends there too before getting the ferry back home.

So, there is the basics of my weekend. It may not seem like much to you, but I greatly enjoyed it! It was three days full of a little bit of everything: laziness, adventure, travel, hanging out with friends, and reliving great memories. All in all, a very good Labor Day Weekend…relaxing and rejuvenating.

Chapters in Life

Think about a book for a moment. Nearly every book of any length is divided into chapters. These chapters work together to bring about the full story. If taken individually, a single chapter would not make sense…the reader would be confused as to who the characters are and what is happening. This is why a book is not read by only reading a single chapter; no, it is read by reading all the chapters, in order. Just because a chapter ends, does not mean that everything starts a new with the new chapter, rather, it builds. In this way, the story is understood by the end and all the pieces have fallen into place.

I like to think of our lives as being broken into chapters. These chapters often reflect significant events that shape us and provide structure to our lives. Chapters may include things such as: college, time at a particular job, a relationship, and living in a particular area…I think you get the idea.

Just like a book, there are themes, people and ideals that run constant throughout our chapters. While some of these things remain constant throughout our lives, or at least through multiple chapters, but some of these do disappear between chapters, and do not play a part in subsequent chapters. It is important to recognize when these chapters end and try to determine what will happen in the next chapter, what will remain the same and what will be set aside.

As I have moved through the story that is my life, there have been people, places, material possessions, ideas and more that have stayed through the chapters, been written out and been added in. It just keeps showing me that my life is like a book, and I do not even know everything that is happening. Is it easy to move through the chapters of life? Not always, no. But I try not to be too worried.

You see, one of the reasons I am not too worried about what is next in my story, is because I believe the words of Hebrews 12:2, which state: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus is the author of my life. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11).

So as I move into new chapters in my life, I know there are things and people that will not have a significant role in the new chapter. This is not necessarily an easy pill to swallow, but life does go on. For everything that is taken out of my life, I know that God will replace it with something even more amazing and in line with what He has in store for my life.

To those who are also starting new chapters, to those who are working on figuring out their own story and what may or may not be in it- I wish you all the best. We all go through periods of life in which we try to figure out more of who we are and what God wants for us, and I hope each and every one of you gets to that point. Know you are in my thoughts, but more importantly in my prayers.

So live life, enjoy the chapter you may be in, and know that something new is around the corner…in a chapter still waiting to be written. But also know that some times, goodbyes happen…

Every memory of looking out the back door
I had the photo album spread out on my bedroom floor
It’s hard to say it, time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye.
Every memory of walking out the front door
I found the photo of the friend that I was looking for
It’s hard to say it, time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye
.

Memorable Memorial Weekend

So this past weekend is definitely one for the books. I had the privilege to be a leader with my church’s high school youth group. They had planned a Memorial Day Weekend trip to eastern Washington for white water rafting and camping. And let me tell you, it was quite the weekend to be sure! I figured I would outline the weekend, so you can better get an idea of everything that we did.

Saturday Am: Our group, consisting of approximately 40 students and leaders, met at the church at 8:30 AM. Miraculously, everyone was fairly on time, and how often does that happen? We packed up cars and trucks with tents, backs, coolers and other camping paraphernalia. After some quick instructions and prayer, it was time to hit the open road. I was one of the drivers, and my friend Kasey (also one of the youth group leaders with me) rode shotgun. We had a very enjoyable drive and spent the time talking about all sorts of different things and people. From Bothell it was straight to US 2 and up an over Steven’s Pass. We had a brief stop in Leavenworth for lunch (unfortunately no brats on this trip) before continuing our trip through Wenatchee and north to our destination: Alta Lake Camp Ground.

Saturday Afternoon: Everyone rolled into the camp group around 1:00 and we started setting up camp. With so many people helping out, it did not take long at all to get all our tents up and mock-kitchen area established. Then we were all off to enjoy the afternoon. We spent some time talking about the weekend ahead, but we all really just wanted to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather…did I mention it was 75°? A group of us went down to the lake and had a good time just relaxing on the beach. Several people went swimming, and I opted for a nap on the beach. It was such a relaxing afternoon, and definitely needed. I knew it was the start of something great and refreshing. I spent some time praying over the weekend, hoping God would move in the hearts and minds of all of us, especially the students.

Saturday Evening:  A couple of us volunteered to make dinner on Saturday, and it was lots of fun. We all worked hard to prepare a taco dinner for 40 people, and I must say that it turned out great!

Serving up dinner!

so much food!

We sat around the campsite, eating and enjoying getting to hang out with new friends. After dinner we had a great devotional time with words from our youth pastor, Dawn. She is such a great leader and speaker, and I always enjoy hearing her give a good word. After she spoke, Dawn gave us an hour for personal devotional time. This was such a key component of the weekend, and one that I had been looking forward to. A couple of us went back to the beach and enjoyed the time in God’s Word while watching the sunset and nighttime fall around us. We all reconvened at the campsite and spent time sharing and praying with each other. After that, it was time to relax around camp and just enjoy camping. Several people stayed up late around the campfire, and I spent some more quiet time at the beach…it was great to be away from distractions and have a couple hours to think, pray and write.

Lovely time on the water

Sunday Morning:  I woke up to a beautiful morning on Sunday, perfect to spend a little time with Jesus and enjoy the peaceful morning. We had a great breakfast and a devotional time focused on learning about what it means to be a disciple. After a personal devotional, it was time to get ready for the central activity of the weekend: white water rafting!! 

Braving the River:  After changing into swim wear and gathering together, we drove to meet up with the rafting company at the nearby river. They were all great and helped us get the rest of our gear together before pilling us onto a bus and heading north. Once we were at the launch site, we divided up into the different boats. My team, which just happened to be the best, consisted of myself, Caroline, Elizabeth, Dane, Kevin and Andrew and was led by our guide, Michelle. Our boat was the front runner, we launched from the beach and were soon far ahead of everyone else. From there it was 13 miles of fun. From going in huge holes, getting splashed and soaked, to just having a great time with each other. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and there was always something new to see. We worked extremely well as a team and I was so proud of each of the students. At one point, I intentionally jumped in the river and floated along the raft for a bit…while the water was super cold, it was also very refreshing…Caroline managed to pull me up, back out of the water! We had fun drifting and laughing and I know we all wished it would have kept going. When we were back in sight of our cars, I jumped out again and spent the remainder of the time floating, and sometimes walking on the bottom, from boat to boat. What a grand adventure!

Sunday Evening:  By the time we got back to camp, we were too tired to do much of anything. I went down to the lake with some of the students and enjoyed getting to hang out with them and relive various parts of the rafting trip…there were so many great stories! We had a yummy dinner once again and spent the remainder of the evening having devotional time, listening to the wise words of Pat, sharing about our lives, praying for each other, and of course eating s’mores. I slept so well that night.

Monday: We were all much slower to wake up on Monday, but we all managed it and worked together to make another great meal. After I shared the morning devotional (I talked about the importance of taking retreats and showing that even Jesus did during His ministry time) we again had individual devotional time. We worked together to clean up camp, and a group of people went for a late morning hike. I opted to relax back at camp and just enjoy the last little bit of peace and quiet. Once everyone was back we had a huge lunch, consisting of everything left over, and finished packing. My car was full once again, and Kasey and I jumped in and hit the road for home. We again talked about so many different things, mainly about the weekend and different things that had happened in both of our lives over the past three days. We hit traffic but were not worried about it, aside from the desire to visit a restroom. We met up with everyone at a pizza place in Monroe and enjoyed one last meal together. Then it was the final push to the church and ultimately to home.

 

back at church!

Now that I am back to “real life” I know I will be reflecting on my time at Alta Lake. Here are a couple personal takes-a-ways from my time on a much needed retreat:

  • Retreats are not necessarily a break from what is going on in life. Rather, it is a break from the noise of life, and an opportunity to focus on God and His plan for our lives. Retreats are a great place to turn over issues and situations to God and seek out His help and guidance.
  • People of all ages have something worth saying, just take a moment to listen and do not just discount them on account of their age. While high schoolers seem inattentive or disinterested at times, give them time to think through things and formulate thoughts, the results may just surprise you! The high schoolers on this trip were just great all around.   
  • Whitewater rafting is great.

What a trip…what a weekend…one naught to be forgot.

Travellin’ Man

Well, I’m back from another weekend away and it was another good one! While I was driving back from this particular adventure, in Bellingham, I thought about the various trips I have taken so far this year. Seeing as it’s only the second week of February, I guess I’ve traveled a lot so far. Here are the past few weeks briefly outlined:

  • New Year’s Weekend: Drove down to Portland and stayed with Jeremy for two nights. Over the weekend, got to spend time with Jeremy, Joel, Erik, Matt, Aly, Emily, Kyle and Jake. It was a fun weekend ringing in the New Year.
  • January 6-8: Went to a camp in Cle Ellum with my youth group. Spent the weekend worshiping God, studying the book of James, playing in the snow and just having an overall fun time!
  • January 14 & 15: Left at 3 AM to drive to Missoula to help and support Evan as he proposed to Sadie. Robert came with me and we had a great time! It was a crazy two days to be sure but totally worth it!
  • January 21: I stayed home but working on Saturday for Spirit 105.3. Rocking concert!
  • January 28: Spent the day at SPU for Homecoming. First time as an alumni and it was super cool! Centurion’s Brunch, President’s Luncheon, Young Alumni BBQ and more.
  • February 4 & 5: Fusion weekend at Miracle Ranch. See my post “The Stark Truth” for more about this weekend
  • February 11 & 12: Well, that brings us to this weekend. I went up to Bellingham to see some friends that had haven’t seen since the summer. I was able to hang out with some great friends from camp, and event meet some new friends. Good times with Jeff, David, Michael, Jessica, Monica, Hilary, and others. It was so refreshing to be around people my age again and it was just so much fun!

It has been so great being able to travel and see my friends. Although distance may be between us, I am working to maintain my relationships. See, if a relationship is important to you, it will require a little effort to make it work but it is completely worth it!  I’ve had such a great time so far this year and I’m excited to see what other adventures are in store. I may not travel every weekend, but you can probably believe that I will be doing something…time doing nothing is time wasted! So if you ever want to do something with me, let me know! I’m down for an adventure whenever you may be as well! 

Here’s to the memories and adventures I have had so far and the ones yet to come!

Compass

To The Future!

Alright, well, it’s officially! 2011 has concluded and 2012 has begun.

While the sun sets on one year, it prepares to rise on another; may the light of a new year illuminate the paths set before us. Boldly step into the future, you never know what may be in store for you!

Let’s make it a great year!

2011…*Over and Out*

Seems fitting that I’m posting this a year to the day of starting this blog….What. A. Year…Want to know a little more? Take a little read below….

Well, no matter what happened over the course of the past year, I’m at my current place in life because of all of it. One year ago, if you were to tell me everything that was going to happen this year, chances are I would have laughed at you. There’s no way I could have predicted or guessed any of what was going to happen during 2011. I started this blog as a means by which to record parts of my life over the past year, and I hope this has been accomplished-at least in some manner.

What a year it has been indeed. The first half of it, until June 12th, was spent by me finishing my time as an undergraduate student at SPU. It was an awesome two quarters to be sure! I learned a ton, had so much fun, and developed friendships that will last me a life-time. I was able to finish my BA in Business Administration and also concentrate in marketing. I’ve had a couple academic/financial set backs over the past four years and I am so incrediably happy and blessed to have graduated on time. There’s so much more I could say about my time at SPU, and maybe sometime I’ll write all about, and put down on paper most of what happened during my time there. From classes to clubs to internships & jobs, I seemed to always have something going on…and it was great!  

The day (more like 12 hours) after graduation I moved back to Island Lake Camp where I spent the next three months working once again as the Recreation Coordinator. It can be hard to adaquately summarize the summer, but I can say that I am overall so thankful for my time there. I was able to further relationships with returning staff from Summer 2010 as well as meet new and amazing people. Some of my closest friends have come from camp and I consider their friendships such a blessing in my life. The summer tried and pushed me in new ways, and as difficult as it was at times, I made it through and would like to think that I am better now because of it. My original plan was to stay at Camp for a year, but I made the decision to leave and take on the next challenge that life was sure to present itself. This was not an easy decision, and came about as the result of many conversations and countless hours of prayer. I love Camp so much, but I felt as though it was time to move on…never know, I could end up going back someday!

So that brings us to the end of the summer and start of a new chapter in my life. I was called by Children’s Hospital and contracted to work for two months in the HR department of the Research Institute. I spent my time processing employee evalutations, on-boarding new non-employees and other similar tasks. It was a good feeling to be working and making money, but I knew it would come to an end and that I would need to find something else. Overall, September and October were wonderful. There were so many new and exciting things happening in my life, I felt truly blessed. It was also during this time I grew tremendously in my faith. I spent time everyday reading and praying , and seeking God’s will for my life. It was difficult to make the move back home, but I worked to find the good in it and use it as a good opportunity. I also started serving with my church and became one of the junior high leaders and small group leader for 8th grade guys.

Then came November. For some of you, you know just how difficult the month was for. It seemed as though so many parts of my life were falling apart and ending in some manner of speaking. I began questioning God hardcore as to why things were happening and spend some days in what was essentially depression. It’s all well and good to say that you are going to trust in God, but doing it gets so much more difficult when nothing seems to be working out. I relied so much on my close group of friends as well as the knowledge and understanding that there was a plan and if I kept at it everyday, I would end up where God wanted me to be. I truly had to humble myself before Him and set aside any feelings of entitlement I had, especially in regards to finding a job. Not to say that the entire month was bad, there were some fun times thrown in, but overall it was difficult…a new experience. But, as I’m sure you know, I pulled through and life went on.

However, God truly does provide just what we need and just when we need it. December began with me starting a new career-oriented job at Silver Cloud. It came about so quickly and out of nowhere that I fully believe the Hand of God was at work in the situation and that this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. See my blog post for more information about it and what I’m doing…just know that I’m really liking it so far. I’ve also been working part time for a while as a member of the Promotions Team with SPIRIT 105.3. I work with such amazing people and always enjoy it. December has really been a fun month overall. I celebrated my 23rd birthday with some of my best friends, hung out with friends in Seattle and at home, and spent time with my fellow youth group leaders. I’ve definately had some fun times over the past few weeks, it’s just been great.

Well, that’s my year in a very concise nutshell. So much has happened, so many memories along the way. There are times that I wonder what it would be like to go back and change something, but I don’t know that I would. I’m where I am right now because of everything that has happened. Sure, somethings were better and something were worse, but it’s all now woven together in some regards into my personal history and is now part of my life’s story.

So how would I summarize the past year into a few words or phrase? I’m not really sure how I would, or if I would want to try. The year brought about so many different experiences and opportunities, and whether they were good or bad, they happened. I’ve worked to learn from everything, and to be thankful for where I am in life. Is everything exactly where I want it…do I have everything figured out or planned? Of course not! But then, do I really want to ever be at that point…I don’t think so. I look forward to the future and what it may hold, cause I have no idea! God has a plan and it’s up to me to seek it out. Each day is an adventure and I want to live it all to the fullest.

2011, we had our run…thanks for everything, you’ll always be remembered! Let me leave you behind with no regrets over anything that has happened, only the lessons I learned along the way and hope for a future still unknown.

2012, it’s going to be a crazy year and I have no idea what may be in store but I’m ready! Let’s get to it and make the most of the year to come! “I think I’m quite ready for another adventure.”

Thanks for reading…Be sure to constantly be checking back here for more! I’ve really enjoyed the creative freedom and outlet this blog as provided and will continue to use it more, and in a variety of ways. I’d really appreciate it if you click to follow my blog, it would mean alot!  Thank you, friends, you rock!