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Letter #276: 4th of July

July 4, 2011

Dear July 4th,

You are one of my favorite holidays, if not my actual favorite! You are easily my favorite day of the summer…great food, fun people, giant pool party, red, white and blue color scheme through everyone’s attire, waking up to fireworks (the only day of the year this is acceptable!) and going to bed to fireworks, patriotic music…honestly, the list could go on and on. I LOVE you, and if I would have been a camper, I would’ve wanted to come to camp during you!

The flip side of you is that it’s one of my favorite holidays to spend with family and for the past six years this has been a no go. I miss just hanging out at the lake, grilling out, shooting fireworks, catching up with family and friends and having zero responsibility! Family, know that you are missed even as much as I love camp’s version of you.

So, we celebrate America’s freedom as a little K-West family, and it’s awesome! Thankful to have such great people to celebrate with and to work at a place that lets us be crazy and fun. I’m also thankful to live in America…as many issues as we have, we still have a ton of liberties other places don’t.

I’m proud to be an American…(Lee Greenwood for President!),

4th of July Lover

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Letter #275: Determined Mom

July 3, 2011

Dear self,

Last night a mom and her daughter arrived at camp at 11 pm after the most hectic day of traveling I’ve ever heard. Missed flight, new flights, rented car, driving for hours just to get her daughter to camp on the right day. Literally after introducing myself the mom proceeded to tell me she was turning around to drive back to Tulsa to catch a flight home this morning…3 1/2 more hours. After offering her a place to stay for the night with no luck convincing her, we got her on her way. The office girls and I got the camper settled in her cabin among her already sleeping cabin mates and called it good until this morning.

So, random story I know. However, to me it’s not that random. Quirky stuff like this happens everyday at camp, and we just learn to roll with it. This is one of the happenings that got me thinking.

I want to be the kind of mom that will go out of my way for my kids…assuming I have kids. I don’t want to enable them, but I want them to know they will be fought for and how much they are loved. Sure, I could’ve been annoyed that we had to go to stay up waiting and stir an entire cabin to get a kid in bed. Instead I was blown away by how much a mother would do for her child.

This mom was determined to get her kid to camp. I want to be this determined about something in life. No, I don’t have a kid to get to camp, but I do work in 100 degree weather everyday with kids who’s moms were determined to get them here. I want to be determined to do things well, to execute them to the best of my ability. I want to be faithful and loving. I want to be the person who will drive through the night to make sure her kid gets to camp.

Thankful for random, eye-opening moments such as these,

Observer of Mother/Daughter Relationships

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Letter #274: It’s a Small World…

July 2, 2011

Dear world,

I’m always amazed at how small you really are. Honestly, I’ve stood on ski slopes, beaches and tthe Mount of Olives and bumped into people I know or that know people I know. Honestly, out of 6-7 billion people, what are the odds?!

As cool as that is, I love your smallness even more when it comes to camp. Just today I ran into three families that reminded meof your smallness. 1) My sorority advisor’s (I was on council and got to know her well!) pledge sister who was picking up her daughter who happened to be in basketball with me. 2) I happened to be walking to the office and ran into a couple from my hometown picking up their grandson. My sister and bro-in-law are best friends with the couple’s son. 3) My oldest sister’s neighbors. I found out that a camper was from Edmond, then she told me her neighborhood name…same as my sister’s! After meeting her parents, we realized they live WAY closer than originally thought…like maybe even the same street! Jam, I found you a babysitter!

All this to say, we make comments about you being small all the time. Reality, you’re not that small, but in situations where we run into the few people we know in situations and are able to make connections it sure is fun. I’m not sure I have a shy bone in my body, but being able to make these kinds of connections makes me even less shy. Moral of the story: if you know me, send your kid to camp so I can see you! Kidding…I mean, really, you should send your kid to camp, but for way more reasons than seeing me. Real moral of the story: don’t be afraid to chat with people and find fun connections. It sure is fun!

It’s a small world after all,

Connection Connector

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Letter #273: July!

July 1, 2011

Dear July,

A) How the heck are you already here? Seriously, where did June go? B) You encompass my favorite holiday…eh, let me clarify, summer holiday, and it’s almost here!!! C) You basically mean my summer is at the halfway mark. I arrived May 18th and depart Lampe, MO and K-West August 13th. Crazy how fast this has flown by! D) We’re glad you are here, but there’s no need to make your presence known by a heat wave. E) You also mark my nine month blogging anniversary! Booyah self…270 something days of doing something…I’m convinced I can conquer the world now!

May you be the best summer month yet,

Firework Fanatic

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Letter #272: Mail Age

June 30, 2011

Dear mail,

I’ve made many of jokes about the correlation of you to my age. The longer I spend at camp, the more and more my mail flow depletes! It’s hilarious actually. Counselors will make comments about how they’re sad they didn’t get mail, and I just have to bite my long from telling them to suck it up. The longer someone spends at camp, the more people become used to them being gone for three months a year. It becomes normal.

This isn’t a pity party for me, but a simple acknowledgment of how time at camp changes over the years. There are many differennces the more times I come back to this place. You are simply one of them.

I love receiving you and am terrible at writing you. I’m thankful for the pieces of you I have received. Thanks for being an easy way to brighten our staff and campers’ days. In an age of technology, you’re really fun!

Snail mail is the best,

Fan of the written word

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Letter #271: Crosstalk

June 29, 2011

Dear Crosstalk,

You are the night we get to corporately share the Gospel at camp. Sure, spiritual conversation is happening all term long, but this is the night we know every camper has heard the Gospel clearly. Wow, what an opportunity to get to share the Gospel with 300ish kampers every term!

I love this picture from you. What a neat depiction of the Gospel. This year you are very factual and Scripture based. I LOVE this. Basically we walk through who God is. He is love, judge and holy. God fervently loves us. Heck, He gave up His Son for us. However, He is also a Righteous Judge. There are things that God can’t approve of or be ok with because it goes against His character. Sin is in opposition to God. This brings us to His holiness. God is set apart. Nothing is like Him. He is worthy because He is holy.

Next, we line out who man is. Man was created perfect, but we jacked that up in the Garden of Eden. Now, man is sinful…all of us. Because of our sin we deserve death, seperation from God. He is holy; we are not. Our wretchedness can’t be in the presence of God because He is holy. In comparison, God and man don’t line up. We suck in comparison to God. In a culture where everyone gets an award/trophy, this is hard to comprehend. The reality is we are sinners and deserve death.

Thus, God and man are seperated and there is no way for man to get to God. We try to fill in the gap with our works sometimes, but the Bible tells us even our best works are like filthy rags. Good deeds, positive attitude, attending church, avoiding the ‘big sins,’ none of these things are capable of filling the gap. Now we have eliminated works as an option to bridging the gap.

How will it ever be bridged? Well, the good news is that in God’s love and perfection, He made a way for the gap to be filled. He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and die an undeserved, sinless death to take our place in the death we deserve. Jesus is the only way to bridge the gap. When we acknowledge our sinfulness and need for a Savior and put Christ on the throne in our lives, we are saved from judgment and eternal seperation from God. The gap is bridged by Christ. He is the only way to bridge the gap.

Although I’ve already made the decision to follow and obey Christ, I am overwhelmed by thankfulness when I’m compared to God. I suck and desereve death and hell. God is good and perfect and doesn’t have to show me any mercy, but He does. Thank you Lord.

Praying I would continue to be overwhelmed by Your mercies,

Grateful for the Gospel

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Letter #270: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

June 28, 2011

Dear Sunday,

You are a K-West favorite. We love you at camp…LOTS! The crazy thing about you is that we don’t have you the same day as the rest of the world. We have you on Wednesday during week one of each term and on Tuesday during week two.

Why?? Well, our sweet campers arrive at camp on Saturday, therefore day two would equal sleeping in, church and no classes. This would not be good for our campers. It allows campers and staff to have two days of rest in the middle of the term which, in my opinion, makes for a better camp experience. Thus, today, we have you!

The Bible says to keep the Sabbath holy…well, we may choose when our Sabbath is, but we take this seriously. Sleep in a little, Kanakuk’s famous coffee cake, church, small groups, free time for campers, a fried chicken lunch, extended FOB (flat on back=chill time in cabins) and a fun afternoon activity!

I love the structure of a normal camp day, but I LOVE the laid back nature of you around camp. More and more I’m learning the value of rest. Camp is exhausting, so rest is good for both campers and staff. Lord, thanks for setting the example for us in our need for rest. Thanks for being worthy of us keeping an entire day holy and set apart for your sake. Thanks for letting the decision makers here let us sleep in on camp Sundays!!

May today be fun, restful and remembrance filled,

Sunday lover