May is Over!!!!

Hallelujah!!

 

For the last 10-12 years, May has been the worst month for me to get through.  It shouldn’t be because there are great things that happen in May…

Abi’s Birthday

End of the year concerts

End of the school year banquets and recognitions

Mother’s day

Memorial Day (camping or at Linwood)

End of the scouting year awards evening

Graduation

Anniversary

GS camping

 

But for some reason, May almost always whips my emotional butt.  I used to think it was the GS camping.  When I had 3 troops, I would take them camping together in the fall and/or winter.  But in May, I would take each troop separately so I could spend quality time with them alone.    I have cut back on that.  I only have 2 troops now and we went camping together AND in April….

 

All the end of the school year stuff, isn’t too stressful, I’m not in charge of it…

 

GS Awards evening… yes that adds stress…

 

Graduation… not a big deal and only happens to me every 3 years… the party isn’t till August…

 

Memorial Day events… yes, that can be stressful.  We struggled for years to blend 2 different family traditions.  One family that camped at Wanake every Memorial Day and one family that spent the weekend at Linwood.  We finally settled on alternating years.  This year we were to be at Wanake but because of Graduation (and other extenuating circumstances that I really don’t want to go into and are probably adding to the malaise this year) we didn’t go anywhere.  It isn’t overly stressful on a “normal” year to be at Wanake for Memorial Day.  It is an unprogrammed weekend and we get to REALLY camp and cook out our meals and just be.  That is nice.  When we are at Linwood, yes it is stressful.  We are in a house that is over full and the food is sometimes iffy and some of the family members …. well… we do generally have a good time though… if the weather is warm, the kids get to get in Lake Erie for the first time of the season, and walking on the beach is nice and usually there is a good sunset, and some fun games of Oh Blimey! with family.

 

Mother’s Day… eh… could always be better… I think that no one knows what to do or how to show love in this household…and I suppose that deficiency falls on the mom for not teaching/modeling it … so I guess that it is my fault that I feel “eh” on Mother’s day.

 

Anniversary… it has been 27 years… I can’t remember the last time I felt like I had a wonderful anniversary… there have been good ones but they seem few and far between.  Again, it is probably my fault because I’m not good at the demonstrative stuff and all… but I also have other theories on this that are … well… very personal… and my own demons that I am still wrestling with and probably not good fodder for a public blog.

 

Once again, however, I feel like May has kicked my emotional butt and I am drained because of it.  June begins tomorrow!!  Summer is here!  My list of things to accomplish this summer is huge.  Hopefully I will get most of it done for a change.  If I can kick the lethargy that May leaves me with maybe I can motivate myself to August and the grad party.

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Where Do You Go?

Do you know this song?

“Where do I go when I need a shelter?
Where do I go when I need a friend?
Where do I go when I need some helping?
Where do I go? Back on my knees again…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZzUFei6slA

Do you have a physical place that you go as well?  Is there someplace that you retreat to that is a special place, a comforting place?

For me that place is Camp Wanake.  It has been like a second home since I was 4 or 5.  We came here as a family every year for Memorial Day and Labor Day.  I came here as a camper every summer that I could.  I was on staff for 4 summers.  I volunteered for years after that.  Now that I have my own family, again I come for those family camp weekends.  Our children come to camp every summer.  2 have been on staff (so far).  It is part of my blood.

What makes it so special?  Besides it living up to the meaning of its name “beautiful spiritual place among the hills?”  It is one of those places that never changes.  Sure, physically, there have been changes over the years… new buildings built, old ones torn down, buildings that were bathrooms turned into craft houses… additions to buildings, slight changes to camping programs… new property purchased, property sold, other property purchased…

But what doesn’t change are the basics.  God is Nigh!  The sign leading to Vesper Hill declares this and it is true.  There is a peace that settles over this land.  The spirit is the same from 1946 to today.

The dining hall, while now linoleum (instead of cement floor with shuffleboard triangles and 4 square painted on it), air conditioned, painted and other improvements, is still the dining hall.  The ceiling still has “oatmeal” for insulation.  You still have to “hop” your tables.  The kitchen still cooks the same foods (mostly).  The wood beams, the brick fireplace, the sandstone walls… all the same for the last 60+ years.  A hub of camp and a meeting place for everyone!

IMG_0687What else remains the same?  The smell of the cabins, the dilapidated pool shower house (really?  We were sure that wouldn’t withstand the 80’s and it is still here – it even survived the severe storms this summer that took down 100s of trees… none of which even came close to hitting it!), the smell of a campfire, the joy of children playing games in the yard in front of the barn, the frog pond, the trails, people singing, laughing, playing, making new friends, renewing old friendships, the views from inspiration points (though there are more trees now), the feeling of peace and rest and being home that comes over you when you drive down the dusty gravel driveway.

What memories are evoked as I drive down that driveway?  40 years ago… coming as a family and camping in our tent… my father teaching us about nature and loving nature… my dad singing, he loved to sing and he loved leading singing, especially at camp.  30 years ago… being on staff and meeting and loving some of the best people on earth and growing with them and being able to still call them friends after 30 years… people like Wayne, Kris, Tom, Billy, Russ… to name just  a handful.  There is something about the bond of working with each other 24/7 for 3 months that bonds you like no other.  10 (or so) years ago… bringing my children here as campers for their first time for a whole week (they had already been here as family campers) and then hearing their excitement and joy and chuckling at their tears and “re-entry issues” as we went home because camp is so wonderful no one ever wants to leave.  3 years ago… when my oldest was dropped off for her first year as a summer staff… so proud of her and her choice to be part of the ministry of serving God by leading and teaching children in God’s great outdoors and helping them come to know more about Jesus.  Of course there are all kinds of great memories in between, but those are the primary ones that come to mind first.

What has changed?  I could list so many things that have changed in my lifetime.  But none of them are significant enough to counter the feelings that being here evoke.  Some changes include:  the driveway, the “new/green” shower house, less apple trees, the loss of cabins 1, 2, 3, and 3A as well as the Porcelain Pagoda, turning the Cedar Chest into a craft cabin, building 2 new retreat centers, new pool system,  new caretaker’s house, new Ranch property, …. and so on… oh… and WIFI!   🙂   Some/Most of the changes in the last 30 years have been for the better.  Though, the WIFI could stand to have a booster since this post is now on day 2 of trying to get it to go.   🙂

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I pray that this place remains basically unchanged in the next 60 years, so that my children’s children and grandchildren can also enjoy and grow and love in this special place.

This place has brought me peace through the years.  It has brought me love.  It has encouraged my children in closer walks with Christ.   What more can you want when you “..need a shelter… need a friend?”