Tag Archives: camp

I’m drowning in unwritten blog posts

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So, I’m so insanely behind in my blog challenge that it’s just unforgivable!  My life has been a bit crazy– summer time is always the busiest time of year for kids’ pastors.  And then there’s Christmastime.  And Easter.  Well, let’s just say it’s been crazy!  Last week I led a Musical Theatre Camp for kids–it was fun, and crazy, and our performance was a comedy of errors.

Just imagine one of our stars stopping in the middle of the performance and screaming “There’s a GIANT spider on the stage!” while her fellow actor scornfully says, “I hardly think this is the time to discuss spiders.”  And then there was the time all of the actors forgot what they were supposed to do and stared at me in confusion as I mouthed “Exit.”  Only they didn’t exit, they just stared at me.  And my mouthing became a whisper, became a stage whisper, became a full voice, became practically a yell as the entire audience laughed and the kids just stood and stared.  Or then there was the actor who missed her cue to bring out a tray of appetizers, so we went on with the scene.  Only, two scenes later she decides now is the time for appetizers.  And I shoo her offstage.  Then she tries again in her next scene.  And her next.  Until finally she yells at me (from onstage) “But they told me to.”  Ahh . . . such awesome memories.

Anyway, if I’m picking up where I left off in the blog challenge I’m supposed to write about the best thing that happened to me this year.  I’m not really sure I could point out one thing that has happened so far.  So instead, I’m going to cheat and go with the best thing I’m hoping to happen to me by the end of 2013.  I’m hoping to get my foster license, and maybe even my first kiddo.  And I’m on the road!  Last night was my first foster class.

It was an interesting experience.  Our room was jam-packed, and we looked like a diversity in foster parenting ad.  Mostly there were young to middle-aged white couples.  But there was also a black couple, a gay couple, a lesbian couple, a single parent black mom, an older newlywed man whose wife is already certified, and me–the single white girl with no kids.  I’ve heard from many others that only about half the class will make it to the end–the rest will drop out along the way.  I’m trying to guess who will bow out before the end comes–does that make me sadistic?

Anyway, one of the things that I didn’t expect was just how many of these couples are looking at fostering as the road to adopt children.  I think every couple in the room was seeing this as a way to “expand their family.”  And of the seven straight couples,  four of them were led to fostering because of infertility.  Some of them still carried a lot of deep pain when talking about not being able to have a child.  And although I can appreciate how much pain that would cause, I also wonder if they are ready for what fostering really means.  I wonder if some of these couples have chosen foster-to-adopt because it’s a lot less expensive than private and international adoptions.  Now, I firmly believe more people should be fostering and that it is a fantastic thing to do.  But I wonder if parents who are still grieving their own inability to have a child are prepared for the challenges of fostering–not least of which is operating in a world where Plan A is always to return the child to their birth family.

What do you think, internet world?  Has anyone been in this situation before?

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First Round of Sketches

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In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m doing a musical theatre camp for kids this summer.  I’m really excited about it–it’s a great chance to help kids develop their talents, have fun, and build confidence.  Anyway, we’ll be doing The Little Mermaid–not the Disney version, but a pretty cool one.  I just finished the first round of costume sketches/paintings.

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Now . . . who wants to sew construct these for me?

“Amanda’s got cooties!”

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For those of you who may be unaware, I work with kids.  More specifically–I am a children’s pastor.  Most people have no idea what a children’s pastor does outside of weekend services–probably just play with Mr. Potato Heads and create new recipes for slime.  This is not true.  I only play with Mr. Potato Head on the weekends.  So, in an effort to help bridge the gap and build a better understanding of the day-to-day life of a children’s pastor, I thought I’d tell you about the time I got cooties.

It was summer in Florida, and I was participating in a time-honored children’s ministry tradition known as camp.  Our kids went to camp at Lake Placid.  (Remember that movie?  Crocodiles who eat cows and men without regard.  Sounds like a great place to take hundreds of elementary kids swimming and camping, right?)  We never met any man-eating crocodiles, however I did have my own frightening encounter with a flesh-eating creature.

It was our camp tradition to have a luau on the beach the last night of camp, where we would roast marshmallows, play limbo, and compete in hula contests.  This particular year I was in charge of the luau and was busy running back and forth across the sand to make sure every lei and hula hoop was in place.  (You don’t want any stray leis, that would be a disaster.)  My flip-flops were not cutting it in the thick sand, so eventually I kicked them off and went barefoot.  The night was a smashing success.  S’mores were devoured, limbo champions were declared, and a good time was had by all.  The next morning I packed up and headed home.  Over the next several days I prepped for our upcoming VBS (a wonderful invention in children’s ministry in which children’s leaders spend weeks entirely sleep deprived and running on a strange cocktail of coffee and goldfish crackers).  As the week unfolded, I began to notice something wrong with my foot.

It started with a small reddish line on my big toe.  Then the line began to grow.  And not just growing larger or redder–it was leaving track marks around my foot.  It was moving!  I headed into the doctor’s office and presented my case.  After a quick exam the doctor told me I had acquired a new friend– a parasite.  This thing was living inside my foot–moving around, feeding off my flesh and blood, and leaving a reddish-purple path in its wake.  Apparently these monsters live in the soil and sand, and my barefoot night at the luau had provided them with a perfect opportunity to pack up, climb inside my foot, and take up residence in my toe.  I was given a prescription guaranteed to kill my parasitic friend, and sent on my merry way.

I dropped the script off at my local pharmacy, and came back a few hours later to pick it up.  A baffled pharmacist met me at the drive thru window and explained that my doctor had prescribed a drug that was no longer manufactured.  Great.  It was Friday night and the doctor’s office was already closed.  I could wait till his office opened on Monday and request another drug then, but that would mean two and a half more days of this parasite literally eating me alive.  No thanks.

I decided to call in a favor.  One of the benefits of being a pastor is that although you don’t usually have friends in high places, you do have a good variety of friends.  And I happened to know someone who was a doctor.  He worked as an ER physician, so he was sure to be up at 8pm on a Friday night.  I called him up and explained the situation.  I hadn’t gotten very far in when he burst out laughing.  “Amanda’s got cooties!  Amanda’s got cooties!” he began chanting, like some punk from elementary school.  Seriously?  I think he might need to work on his bedside manner.  But he quickly called in a script for a different medicine that was still manufactured, so I decided to overlook his taunting. It took about a week for the parasite to die off and the track marks to fade.  In the meantime, I spent a week leading VBS and showing off my strange red marks to kids and adults alike who were fascinated by my new friend. Eventually though, my cooties bid me a fond farewell.  Or perhaps not so fond, considering I was killing them off.  At any rate, they were gone.

Fast forward a year or so.  I was preparing to leave the church where I had spent the last three years.  I had built some amazing relationships with parents and volunteers, and I was really going to miss them.  However, God had called me to go serve in another country, and I was excited about the plans he had for me.  As a farewell, a huge group from my church planned a trip to a comedy sports club.  This particular club featured an opportunity for you to purchase a special musical tribute to a member in the audience.  And my amazing friends chose to honor me with this.  They turned in a huge list of random details and funny stories from my life and the talented improv actors began to turn my life into a musical comedy.  Not surprisingly, my friendly, neighborhood parasite came back to reprise his role in my life.  The charming actors named him “Petey the Parasite” and told a story of how I exorcised him like a demon, preached the gospel to him, led him to salvation, and ultimately took him with me around the world to preach to others.

Although I’m back in the U.S. again, I like to think Petey is still  out there . . . sharing God’s love and preaching the gospel to the world–one parasite at a time.