A little break is always a good thing. In this case, my mid-summer hiatus has been a welcome reprieve. Almost two weeks ago, those of us whose summer job was to grade the thousands of standardized tests worked ourselves out of a job (my mom came up with that, isn’t she clever?). So upon finishing my part of the grading, I packed my suitcase, loaded my car, and headed for my favorite place on this side of heaven – Pinecrest Camp. 🙂 I’ve been a counselor for the teen choir and orchestra the past 4 of 5 years, but because I thought my summer employment would occupy me through the end of July rather than mid-June, I declined the offer to counsel again this summer. But with the change in my schedule, I decided to catch what I could of the week known as Campmeeting. In many ways, I was able to enjoy the mid-week services with less pressure than I normally would have. And though I hadn’t played my saxophone since last year’s Campmeeting, I blew the dust off of it (almost literally) and picked up where I left off. It’s like riding a bike. 🙂 On Friday afternoon, I found a wicker chair on the porch of one of the chapels and relished the peaceful sights and sounds of the campground. (Note new profile picture). Learning lessons that God is a verb, not a noun, that He wants me to ARRIVE, not just show up, and the reality of living a Holy life were embodiments of God’s promise to draw near me when I drew near to Him, which I felt closely during my few days of retreat.
After leaving Pinecrest, I headed south to spend time with my folks. My dad’s side of the family had a reunion over the later part of the weekend, and I joined in on the family togetherness on Sunday morning. Dad volunteered me to sing and play piano, but I didn’t mind so much. 🙂 The rest of the week went just exactly as I hoped – I earned my keep while at mom and dad’s! Their garden is literally blooming with wonderful produce, so I was able to help pick green beans, snap, and later can them for us to eat throughout the year, along with picking green bell peppers, yellow squash, okra, and cucumbers. We’ll hopefully have fresh corn on the cob soon, too. When visiting my grandma, we picked plums and peaches in her backyard – the plums are preserved in the form of jelly, which makes my toast all the more happier throughout the year. Just before the 4th we managed an overnight trip to Branson and saw the group SIX in concert. Six brothers, with no backing band, providing ALL the vocal sounds, and a tremendously high energy show made it a lot of fun! Even though we were there near the holiday weekend, we could tell that the suffering economy and high gas prices are really effecting the tourist flow that is usually the summer norm in Branson.
I must say, the 4th of July is my second favorite holiday and in my opinion, it’s the summer equivalent of Christmas, minus the presents and baby Jesus, of course. What other time of the summer do you have the excuse to wear holiday-themed clothes, go to parades, get off of work, eat watermelon (though I don’t really care for it), and shoot off fireworks? We were fortunate to see not only one, but TWO town fireworks displays this year – one with mom and dad’s church family, and one with our own family. I attempted taking pictures, but it’s so hard to capture them when they’re in their colorful glory. Regardless, check out my photo blog for some vacation hiatus photos that visually capture the past few weeks.
My pastor reminded us this morning that God promises freedom – John 8:31-32. Something he said really stood out to me, “there is a difference between believing THAT something is true versus believing IN something that is true.” Ultimately being a modern-day disciple of Jesus leads to His truth. I’m reminded of the shirt Sally used to have when were were in college that said, “I believe in God. And He believes in me.” Yes and amen.
On the book front, this past week I finished Mark Twain’s classic “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight.” I can’t honestly say that I ever read “Tom Sawyer” from cover to cover before now, so this was a good exercise for me in enjoying the older vernacular Twain employed for Tom, Huck, Injun Joe, Becky Thatcher, and Aunt Polly. As for “Twilight,” oh my goodness. I had heard about this new vampire-themed series by Meyer, saw that they have been on best seller lists, and after hearing some rave reviews, borrowed it from one of my new MLS friends before leaving town. She told me it would be addictive…boy was she right! Harry Potter move over – this is the new wave of teen literature that I couldn’t put down. (How’s that for a pitch?) Now I need to borrow “New Moon!” Before leaving mom & dad’s I also frequented my favorite used book store and bought “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg for $1.87. What a bargain! It was definitely a pre-teen favorite of mine, which can now be added to my growing library of favorites/Newberry medal winners. As I ponder my direction in the MLS program, I just might have to become a young-adult librarian…I kind of like that idea.