Checking Out!

Well, today was my last day at Silver Cloud Hotel. I have known it was coming for a few weeks, but it does feel a bit surreal to have this day finally arrive. I end on great terms, nearly 11 months to the day of starting as the Sales and Catering Coordinator. Today has been a day of “lasts” which mirrors my first day…my last commute to Bellevue, my last morning hotel coffee, my last clock in/out, etc…

I am so thankful and blessed by the opportunity to work here and gain real world experience in the areas of sales, catering, hospitality and other related fields. I have made friends with my coworkers and together we have been through a lot in the past (nearly) year. Working everyday with these people has been a true experience and each of them has taught me something new. I pray God continues to bless them in way even they could never imagine. I have learned a good amount about myself during this time too, both personally and professionally…and I am excited to take what I have learned and apply it in a new way at a place I love.

I end my employment here excited for the next chapter of my life.

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Should Have

When we look at our lives, we are often faced with the “should haves.” You know what I mean, the things you wish you had done because it may have just happened to change the course of our lives. But for one reason or another, we did not do them…and they became “should haves.”

When I started thinking about this idea of “should haves,” I tried to think of some examples from my life. Here are a couple things that sometimes I think about, and I wonder: how would my life be different if any of these were on my “done” list, rather than my “should have” list.

  • Should have been been more involved at Cornell, especially since I was blessed to have a Christian roommate
  • Should have gone on roomies freshmen year
  • Should have gone back to Mexico, or gone on another missions trip
  • Should have gotten on the 4:00 Am ferry
  • Should have gone to China to study
  • And in some cases, it’s as simple as: should have said yes/no

But here is the thing…no matter what we have or have not done, we are where we are in life because of it. Every time I start to think about these, or other “should haves” I remember something powerful: God has a plan for me and although I do not know what it may be, I know it will be great. As people, we are naturally flawed, and we often think this gets in the way of God’s plan for us. But, I assure you, God has a plan for each and every one of us.

So although we may think of the “should haves” and wish we could go back, remember that because of them, you are who you are today. And if you are not who you want to be, remember that life is a journey and you are getting closer to who you are meant to be. You cannot change the “should haves” in your life, you can only look forward and take advantage of the times to come.

On a different note, whenever I think of “should haves” I always think of this song. Brings back great memories of the RlazyS Ranch, that’s for sure!

EFC Uturn Jr. High

So last night was an interesting one…it was my last Wednesday serving as a leader with my church’s junior high youth group: Uturn. I have been with the youth group since September and have overall enjoyed the experience and opportunity.

When I ended my time at camp last August, I moved back home but I was not ready to end my ministy outreach. I prayed that God would bring about an opportunity for me, and He sure did! I was asked to be a leader with the youth group and said yes right away. That was nearly nine months ago…

I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be apart of this group. Not only have I been able to help lead the junior highers, specifically the 8th grade guys, but I have had the priveledge of being part of a great team of individuals. Together we have worked to create a welcoming enviroment for junior high students, an enviroment of safety, fun, new experiences, and most importantly one in which all we do is centered around the good news and gospel of Jesus Christ.

I will never forget my time with Uturn as I enter into new parts of my life, new opportunties. I take with me fond memories and new friends, as well as renewed purpose and mission in life.

A Photo Finish!

Well…another Challenge is finally concluded! Sometime in the last few days (I got off track a couple times so I am not too sure exactly which day it should have ended…) my 30 Day Photo Challenge ended when I posted my last picture. It was definitely a experience, that is for sure, and for the most part an enjoyable one. The template I was following did a good job of covering a lot of different avenues and areas of life and really making me think. Sure, some days I did not post a picture from my life, per se, but to me it all fit together. I hope you got somewhat of an idea about myself through it and maybe even learned something…I know I sure did!

Well, if you have any questions about any of the pictures, please do not hesitate to ask. I know some may not seem too clear to you, so if I can provide any explanation, I will do my best.

Now the question is raised…what challenge do I do next….?

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

The Stark Truth…For My Camp Friends & Family

So as some of you know, and the rest are literally about to find out, I spent this weekend at camp. It was one of our Fusion Weekends (a week of camps packed into a long weekend) and was held at the Ranch. Now, before I get to the topic of the post, I would like to briefly talk about the weekend.     

I left for camp early Saturday and got to camp in time for breakfast. The rest of the day was spent in true camp fashion…never stopping. From breakfast, it was on to fireside then camp games followed by lunch and activities all afternoon. It was amazing and it felt great to be back in the swing of things-truly back in the hustle and bustle of camp life. To be able to work and worshiping along side such great people as the camp staff and hang out with campers was truly a blessing and just what I needed. Although I am back home now, completely tired and worn out, I also feel so rejuvenated and refreshed. It’s truly only a feeling brought about by camp, and something that people who have not experienced camp may not fully understand.       

Now I would like to dive a little more into the purpose of this post and how the title relates.Then on Sunday afternoon, after I left the Ranch, I headed up for a quick visit to IslandLake(where I worked for the past two summers as the Recreation Coordinator). During part of my visit, I spent time simply walking around camp, taking it all in. While I was walking and revisiting all the different areas, I was hit with overwhelming feelings and emotions as memories of all types flooded back in to my mind. I have so many memories associated with camp, it seems that literally everywhere I looked I remembered something else. You see, working and living at camp was a life-changing experience for me. As I think about it, I do not think any singular place or time in my life as affected me as IslandLake. The memories I have from camp vary across a wide range and spectrum of emotions and stir up various responses. It was during my time there that I learned, lead, grew and deepened my faith more than at any other place or time in my life. The people I met during my time at camp have changed my life forever, in various ways, and some of them I consider my closest friends and confidants.     

This gets more to what this post is about…the stark truth about my future with Camps. I was really hit by the realization this weekend that I do not know if or when I will be returning to Camps, in any sort of capacity. This may not seem like much to someone who has not experienced something like this, but I assure you that it is to me. As I think forward to the summer, it is strange to think that I will not be returning as a member of Summer Staff. Do not get me wrong, I have a great career job now and enjoy it immensely, but I am still not used to the thought of not returning to Camp. I have gone several times since the end of the summer to help out, and I will keep doing so from time to time, but I feel that even those times are coming to a close. As the summer gets underway, there will be a new staff, a new community, one in which I am not a part of and I do not overly belong. I do not want it to appear that I am intruding in any way on this new and developing community and will base my visits/volunteering accordingly.       

Camp has truly changed my life. From the people I met and interacted with, to the activities and experiences, and everything in between, my life has been altered. I am so thankful and feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of this environment and I will always remember the times along the way. I am not saying it was all easy or good at the time, but everything worked and flowed together to put me where I am today. I love the mission and drive behind Island Lake and Miracle Ranch and will continue to pray for continued growth and outreach over the years to come. And, should it be according to God’s will for my life, I may just return at some point; for now, I am left with the memories, relationships and lessons from along the way…things I will never let go of and will always remember.     

Here are just a few pictures I took while I was there this weekend. A very small, limited glimpse at Island Lake. Any amount or quality of pictures does not fully give justice to the place. There are more pictures and videos on both mine and Crista Camps Facebook pages, I encourage you to check them out.

Island Lake sign

The main sign at the entrance to Island Lake.

Fire Side

Fireside...The place of so many wonderful experiences...from fun times with fellow staff to watching campers choose to follow Christ, this is definitively hallowed ground.

My favorite view at camp.

My favorite place at Island Lake. Out at the waterfront, looking out over the lake. Such a peaceful place. I have done many devotions and had numerous conversations out at the very end of the dock.

Weekend In The ‘Couve.

I just got back from an awesome time down in Vancouver, WA. One of my closest friends from camp, Jeremy, helped me plan the trip and keep it secret from a few other people. I headed down Saturday morning and showed up at his house around 1 PM. I was hoping to surprise my friend Joel, and it worked flawlessly. I was able to hang out with Jeremy and Joel for the afternoon, Eric and Matt joined us too and we went to Big Als. We bowled a few epic games, and had some food and drinks. From there it was into Portland to bring in the New Year!

Sunday was a pretty relaxed day overall. Jeremy left for work and I spent some time exploring Vancouver before heading to the mall and seeing Jeremy at work. I hung out at the mall for a bit before heading into Portland. I met up with Aly for good coffee and great conversations at Stumptown…always a good time! After a couple fun hours it was back to Vancouver to meet up with Jeremy and wait for Kyle and Emily to finish their drive from Seattle. When they got down to Vancouver we headed out for a delicious dinner at P.F. Changs. So much food and such a fun time!

That brings it to today, Sunday. Kyle and Emily stayed at Jeremy’s house with us and we had a nice, lazy morning watching the Rose Bowl Parade and eating yummy home-made breakfast rolls. I then met up with Jake at IKEA for a lunch of meatballs…so good! It’s so strange to think that we never really talking in college, but I’m so thankful we are now friends! After lunch it was back to Jeremy’s house to hang out with the guys one last time before heading home. Kyle rode back with me and it was great to have a chance to talk and catch up on the drive home.

Well, that’s the condensed version of the weekend. Overall I had a great time and it was so refreshing being able to see such great people…I’ve truly been blessed by some of the friends in my life. I’m thankful for the extra day off work that made it easier to drive down to Vancouver and see my friends. To each of you who I saw, thanks for helping make the weekend fun!

It was a great way to start the new year indeed!