Posted in Camp, Jesus

Hooligans

About a week ago, we were at a luau. We were bowling with coconuts until they cracked, and then we picked them up and chomped on the meat – we learned that raw, fresh coconut does not taste really at all like an Almond Joy. We took Polaroids of our Hawaiian fun and ate exotic foods.

About a week ago, we were at Camp and all together. About a week ago, we were fun and fancy-free; we skipped and sang. About a week ago, we were hooligans, and it was the best.

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Brought to you by the Chickadee cabin

When I first started working at Camp, I was very overwhelmed by the people there. They were louder than I knew how to be, and they were so comfortable with each other, and they worked so hard! They were carefree and joyful and serious and intentional about what they did. I was so intimidated.

I felt like I should go home. I was seventeen and so shy and mousy and unsure – of everything. I couldn’t imagine my voice ever yelling across Camp or my face ever being so lit up about anything. I barely had any gusto in me back then.

Spoiler alert: It’s seven years later and I still work there, so obviously something has changed.

There are so many adjectives to describe Camp people, and I think the word “hooligan” captures it best. Those people who worked many moons ago when I first started are hooligans and the people who just finished out this summer about a week ago are hooligans. Hooligans are out loud and vulnerable and lighthearted people. They are childlike without being childish.

Hooligans know that Camp is more important than they are. And when they know this and act on it, they start to look more like Camp, and Camp changes based on what they bring to it.

This is a terrifying thing to realize, really – that each time we enter the gates, something is different because we were there. It’s scary because I know that I am whiny and imperfect.

But isn’t the same thing true of everyone who enters the gates? Are we not all sinners here? And doesn’t Camp still welcome us in with hugs and smiley fries and encouraging chalk messages? By this logic, isn’t Camp a kind of extension of the kingdom of God?

Camp isn’t perfect and I know that, but it’s better than so many other places out in the world. Our work at Camp isn’t works-dependent because we know that our works fail, because we cannot do things with perfection. We know that Camp has high expectations for us: to be as faithful, as brave, as joyful, and as fierce as we can be all the time, and that isn’t even enough. We know that we can’t be everything Camp needs us to be, and we also know that none of us is an island – that there is help and, this best part: there is grace!

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It isn’t that I am now some perfectly ever-cheerful hooligan. I am still introverted and whiny and imperfect and still have a hard time living brightly and letting what Camp needs be more important than what I want. I am thankful for accountability and for grace.

Our theme this summer was, “live bright, love better,” meaning that the way we live affects the way we love. If we live with gusto, we’ll love with gusto. If we live of light and of brightness, our love will be better.

Camp calls us to do these things and it calls us to be these people of light. The best way to live bright is to live as a hooligan – to be faithful, and brave, and joyful, and fierce, all to our maximum capacity and then more, and to have accountability with others, and to ask for and accept help and grace because they are there.

Camp calls us to do so much and be so much, and it’s all wonderful, and then it’s all over – like right now.

The luau is over. We’re not at Camp and we’re not together. No one is bowling with coconuts and no one is wearing plastic colored leis. But we can be hooligans wherever we are, because that’s what we are.

Love,

Lauralicious

Posted in Camp, What I Learned

What I Learned: July 2016

Most of July of last year was spent at Camp. I was (and still am) learning how to lead, which was hard. Then, the day after Camp ended, I moved to a new town and all new things – job, apartment, roommate, church, etc. July was a very overwhelming and very exciting month.

This is what I learned through all of it –

  1. Sometime patience and persistence are the same thing.
  2. You don’t have to be good at everything, but you do have to give things a chance. Try new things. Do hard things.
  3. If you see or are a part of something that’s wrong and don’t speak up, then what you are communicating is: “everything happening here is completely okay with me and approved by me.”
  4. Sometimes you see another person’s sin and you are appalled at that person’s capacity to hurt people or ruin things or be a sinner. You need to know that you also have that same capacity and are no better. All humans are inherently awful.
  5. Don’t weave your whining and complaining into conversations. If you’ve got to say it, just say it, and then be done with it.

Bonus!

6. Excuses don’t last long. You can only say, “I moved here yesterday” for one day.

Love,

Lauralicious

Posted in What I Learned

What I Learned: June 2016

June 2016 was a new time. I was starting in a new role at Camp, and that was hard. I was learning to be a leader. I was also transitioning from college student to whatever comes next, which was harder than I anticipated. I was in some weddings for friends, which was so fun. June 2016 was the busiest I had been in a long time.

Here is what I learned during that time –

  1. “Leading means relinquishing the right to being told what to do.” – this is from my wise Camp boss, and it was good and hard for me to learn.
  2. If you are grumpy or in “a mood,” either talk about it or get over it. Being elusively grumpy is dumb and annoying and unproductive.
  3. You cannot control humans.
  4. But you can influence them.
  5. It’s hard to lead people if you don’t love them.

Bonus –

6. When you are sleeping somewhere with no AC, end your shower with cold water. You will start sweating again as you exit the shower.

7. If shoes are less than comfortable when you try them on, they will be painful when you wear them for an entire day.

 

Love,
Lauralicious

Posted in What I Learned

What I Learned: May 2016

One year ago now, I was working in the office at Camp, in limbo between graduation and Camp starting for the summer. Earlier in May, I went to visit my Clemson friends and Clemson babies in Pennsylvania, turned 22, moved out of the apartment I’d lived in for 3 years of college, bought a car to call my very own, and I had my first jury duty, which felt kind of grown-up, but at the same time, like a drag.

It was a rare time because I wasn’t in college anymore but my next thing hadn’t started yet but also I was super busy – working, driving, packing, cleaning, etc. I was reflecting on what had just finished as well as thinking apprehensively of what was stirring under my feet – the changes to the things that I knew and the new things that were coming.

What I Learned: May 2016

  1. After you turn 21, no one really cares how old you are.
  2. Your family is your neighbor, too, not just the people “out there.” Serve the people “in here” as well as others outside.
  3. Buying a car is less climactic than it sounds – yes, you’re getting this new shiny thing, but also you’re spending like all your money on it and now you are under lots of pressure to never mess it up. Going out for pizza to celebrate just means you spend more money, which, after buying a car, you never want to do again.
  4. Maturity is not a lack of impulses to sin or to give in to desires, but a change in response to the same impulses and a better foundation with which to deny them. And also a humility that knows you won’t be perfect at it ever while a human.
  5. Your job really starts not on your first day, but when you interview for it.
  6. The less recent an event, the less relevant it can be. Sometimes, time is like forgiveness.

*Bonus!

7. Once you go Subaru, you never go back.

8. Take a book to jury duty, because sometimes you spend 2.5 business days just sitting in a room waiting to see if you’re going to get picked (and then you don’t).

Love,

Lauralicious

Posted in Jesus, life

This Cup

I drink coffee out of this same mug every morning at school. I found it in the grass in front of the sign at the entrance to Daniel Square one random and rainy day in college. It looked lost, so I picked it up and made it mine. I put it in the cabinet with all of my other cups and mugs, and it moved with me here to Columbia. 

Some of these were gifts. Some were inherited. Some were picked up out of the grass (really, though, just the one). Some were bought on a whim. Some were picked up from Clemson football games. Some were supposed to be a wedding gift but I forgot so I just kept them (oops, sorry).

I am fairly sentimental about my dishes, but also I know that what’s in front of me is intentional – just like the things put before me by the Lord.

Sometimes you drink something and you’re so thankful because hydration is important. Sometimes you take one sip of a drink and know that something’s wrong. Sometimes you drink the whole thing and wish you hadn’t. Sometimes you have to drink something that doesn’t taste good but you know it’s good for you. Sometimes you drink something and wish you’d savored it more. Sometimes you wish you’d shared it with someone.

Sometimes there is no cup and you’re walking around parched, just trying work up enough saliva to have something to swallow. And sometimes you’re drinking from a fire hose and it makes your fingers all prune-y. 

No matter the cup or what’s in it or how much of it I drink, I find comfort in knowing that the cup (or lack of cup, or abundance of cups, or alternative to a cup) in front of me was chosen by God for me: not merely approved by Him, but specifically sought out for me by Him personally. He knows me and He loves me and He knows how to accomplish His purpose, which is His own glory and not my own comfort.

And I am thankful that living water is more satisfying than anything here on earth, because even though I still am tempted by others, I know I don’t want to drink anything else.

Love,
Lauralicious

Posted in What I Learned

What I Learned Monthly: April 2016

April of last year was a blur. I finished student teaching and emotionally started to prepare to be finished with college forever. I got a job offer (for the job that I now have!).

As I was reading through what I learned during this month, it seemed like I wrote them down just the other day. I had to check to make sure they were really written down a whole year ago, and they were – so this just goes to further show how true #5 is.

What I Learned: April 2016

  1. Domestic isn’t a relational adjective.
    • This was a hard thing to learn. A boy told me like a year prior to this that he and “all the guys” had been talking and they’d decided that I would make a great wife someday. I was a little flattered and a little creeped out, and then I started to put this pressure on myself to be married so that I could be this “great wife.” But what I learned was that the qualities that can be found in a wife can be useful in more than just marriage. And I was reminded that boys are weird.
  2. God must be glorified in all things, not just the things He gives you once you’re settled down and ready for them, or the things that you wanted or asked for. He must be glorified even when you just want to huff at Him impatiently, like when you are waiting for a job but don’t have one yet.
  3. Leave early for job interviews. It’s better to sit in a gas station across the street for 50 minutes before it starts than to roll in late. And, it’s better for the interviewers to be running late than you.
  4. If you use/engage it, it will get stronger. This is true for your pinkie finger, imagination, sinful impulses/temptations, writing, among many more things.
  5. A year is not nearly as long as childhood left you believing it is.

*Bonus!

6. Follow grandmother advice. Don’t touch door handles after you wash your hands.

7. Don’t underestimate the efficacy and value of a nice white shirt. It can go a long way.

Love,

Lauralicious

Posted in What I Learned

What I’ve Learned Monthly: March 2016

March of 2016 held m full takeover for student teaching and the Clemson job fair and spring break! It was busy and exhilarating, which is how I like life to be. My family took a spring break trip together to New York which was the grandest of adventures.

What I Learned: March 2016

1. The best way to get better at something is by doing it – running, writing, teaching, etc. Studying and preparing is good, but really the best way is to jump in and do the thing.

2. Treat your kids like people – not like grown-ups, but like people. When you’re wrong, apologize to them and actually use the words: “I’m sorry,” because that’s how you should apologize to all people. 

3. It’s more ideal to be a little under-hydrated and get quality sleep than to be quite hydrated but be getting up to pee all night long.

4. Logistics are supremely underrated. Getting places and talking to people you don’t know and planning things is hard and does not happen easily or naturally. Things very rarely fall into place.

5. The most glamorous part of teaching is not actually teaching – it’s talking about it. I felt so accomplished and professional while I was applying and interviewing for jobs because I got to use teaching jargon and talk about all the things I was doing well – but once I got back to school, I felt like a civil servant again. Analyzing it makes it seem exciting and considerate, but doing it feels hectic and creative and exhausting.

*Bonus!

6. It’s not really possible to eat a cheese stick gracefully. That’s okay.

7. As the week goes on, it gets harder and harder to get 8 hours of sleep at night. There’s too much to do and no free time so less sleep happens.

Love,

Lauralicious