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Friday, March 8, 2019

Winter Youth Retreat 2019 - thoughts


Here are some thoughts from leaders and staff that attended the weekend in February:

At the winter retreat I liked how you the different ways of reading and understanding the Bible were incorporated into the weekend like Florilegium and Havruta, I also liked when we wrote to the veterans. Overall was a good weekend. - JS


Camp Tamarack is a place to rest and recharge. Winter youth retreat is a place to catch up with friends from the summer . I enjoy cooking for the young people . - LJ


Peaceful. In a world that is so busy and distracted by everything, camp is refreshing. I did not charge my phone once because I never 'needed' to be on it. Camp is a reminder for me that I do not 'need' technology in my life. I love quality time with others around me. Camp is a place where quality is a must, even for those who would usually hide behind their phones. There is no stress because you are there with the people. You are not there with the people and the multiple others that you may be texting. Refreshing and peaceful. I appreciate Camp Tamarack for these reasons. We push each other in faith through love, support, and community. ❤ - KO

The biggest thing I enjoy about coming to camp as a leader would be interacting with and getting to know the campers individually to ensure they have a good experience. Watching them also become better friends with each other was another thing I noticed over the weekend, which was also great to witness. Being a leader here also helps me practice valuable leadership skills that are needed to be successful in my career. - CP





Wednesday, March 6, 2019

From Dust You Came and From Dust You Shall Return

Growing up Baptist, we weren't very liturgical. I think the only way I knew that Lent had started was because for lunch on Fridays at school we would have fish sticks. I didn't like fish sticks so I think I may have fasted without realizing it.

Today is Ash Wed - the 46 days prior Easter. 
The time frame of 40 days and 6 Sundays represents the 40 days Jesus was in the wilderness. It is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the joy that is to come Easter morning. 

Is it a literal fast from food  for a day/time frame or fasting from things we may need to let go that aren't good for us - all the time spent on a video game, sugar, social media, single use plastic, fill in the blank _______. What's interesting to me is this is a personal decision in how I approach Lent. 
There have been times where people have talked about taking something up for Lent. Take up reading a daily devotional, commitment to prayer, volunteering somewhere, giving to charity, fill in the blank _____. 

The whole point of giving up or taking up something is to feel closer to God to find a practice that works for you.

Today I was able to receive ashes at the Region Office from one of our gifted pastors. She started with a prayer and then as she placed the ashes on our foreheads she started with telling us we are beloved. Even though we are dust/dirt/ash, we are beloved by God. 

So are you - maybe you needed to hear that today -   Remember that you are God’s beloved dust, and to God’s beloved dust you shall return. Amen

Thursday, February 28, 2019

It's been awhile....

The last time I posted on this blog was in 2013!
A lot has happened and changed since then!

We've had 5 summers of camp, 6 Winter Youth Retreats, numerous rentals and more....as this gets going again I may share about more changes - right now let me share about what is coming up for 2019.

Registration for the summer is now open our website www.camptamarack.com.

The theme this year is "Connectedness" - last year was Rootedness and it makes sense to talk about the next steps of faith - once your roots are strong, how do you stay connected to God, to others, to family, to church, to ________ whatever you need to stay connected to.

Our verse this summer is

The Camp Commission had a great discussion on what it means to be connected, how campers could experience being connected even when their camp is over, what keeps us connected to camp and what it means to their faith journey. 

I am excited to see where this summer goes.

There will be more blogs - I promise - so stay tuned! Good to be back :-)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Your grace is enough

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

I am not a political person and I probably never will be. By political, I mean city, local, state, national, world politics. I vote and I have my opinions - which by the way, reading someone's FaceBook post isn't going to change them.

I have played the political game at previous jobs and yes, there is some of that even with Camp. Definitely not to the same extent. I can play the game, but that doesn't mean I want to.

My head and my heart have been hurting lately with all the politics in the world. All the posturing. All the you are wrong and I am right talk. Even people with the best intentions trying to help the hungry, the homeless, the hurt, the broken can play the political game even without meaning to.

I am so glad I believe in a God that believes in me. Even with all my flaws. I can't DO anything to win His grace. It is already given. It is in that grace right now that I need to rest and believe in God who makes all things new and right. 



P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I am doing a lot of writing for school and sermons and have been written out for awhile, but I hope to get back in the groove.


Friday, August 2, 2013

"I" vs "We"

Acts 17:28 "For in him we live and move and have our being."

The verse above was our theme verse this summer at camp. In my mind it was chosen innocently enough as we discussed topics at the Camp Commission meeting in January. What I didn't realize is that God was going to use that verse to speak directly to me in many ways.

Each weekly Director and Pastor takes the theme of the verse and makes it their own as far as worship, games, Vespers, crafts and wherever else it may fit. There were many creative analogies and ideas for each age group. From Andre talking about hashtags and how they are used (or maybe misused) to Jane talking about how we each see ourselves to Phin helping to bring "The Jesus League of Tamarack" to life (Complete with superheroes and logo!) and Kim talking about the vine and branches there was a lot of talk about identity and who we are in Christ. Sometimes who we are apart from Christ, too.

As summer staff gathered together we were all excited about the summer ahead of us and how we can make a difference in the life of the camp. We tried to study the book of James (as a staff member we are pulled in many directions all times of the day and night), but I always had that verse in Acts in the back of mind. We all come to camp with our own idea of identity and individuality.

As I sat across the meal table with all 7 staff members (mostly 6 as Kim would eat in the kitchen) I realized I could see myself in each one of them. There was a part of me that shared a common bond with each person. I am guessing if I had spent time with each cabin leader and camper I would have found the same thing.
With some it was our love of science, or books, or crafts. With others it was the anticipation of graduating and looking forward to "big girl" jobs. With everyone it was laughter and trying to find humor in all situations.

I think sometimes when we talk about identity people get stuck in their own identity. Who am I? Where do I fit in? I got stuck in that as I realized I am not who I thought I was. I have a closet full of high heels and business clothes, but they don't fit in at a camp. Does that mean I don't fit in with my old friends?

I learned to look outside the "I". The group I ate meals with is not a group I would have spent time with prior to working at camp. Just because of logistics and where I was in life. Now, though I see the "we" in that Bible verse. We had a common goal to help camp be successful and because we share a Savior we will always be connected and live and move and have our being. Even if we don't work together again, we are part of a bigger family. All of us are part of that bigger family and it is definitely a part of our identity!




Thursday, May 30, 2013

"To" not "From"

My daughter and I have this thing we do. In September of 2011 we bought a notebook and I wrote questions in there for her to answer. Then I put the notebook on her desk. She gets around to answering the questions and then she writes two questions for me to answer and places the notebook on my desk. I put the notebook on her desk last December with a couple questions about Christmas and then forgot about it.
Last week, she cleaned her room (I had had enough) and she cleaned her desk and found the notebook. She answered the questions about Christmas, but the questions she wrote for me stopped me in my tracks.
I leave for Camp full time next Wednesday and I have been a flurry of activity cleaning the house, get budget stuff set up, making sure doing chores won't take more time for my husband than he has time for and so on....

Her question to me was: What are you looking forward to at Camp Tamarack this summer?

Looking forward to.

I have been spending so much time and energy looking at where I am leaving from - my home, that I forgot to look forward to Camp.

It has been a lot to ask my family for me to take on this job that I sometimes feel guilty about leaving them at home, with chores and the duties I usually do every day/week/month.

Every person should be able to look forward to something so here is the start of my list!
I am looking forward to:
Time at Vespers
Time in my kayak on the Chain O'Lakes
Working with some amazing people
Watching campers grow, struggle and smile
Getting a tan
Runs through the forest
Watching stars at night
Campfires

What a unique opportunity I have with this job as Director of Camping Ministries and I am going to look forward to living it :-)

What are you looking forward to?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Staring at a blank screen

I have been looking at this blank screen for a few minutes now, not sure what to write. I think part of my problem today coming up with a topic has to do with the title of this blog and what's going on in my day to day life. The blog is called "What's Up at Camp Tamarack" and my day to day life has a lot more going on.

For camp, we are still working on finalizing cabin leaders. I am not sure what history is in obtaining cabin leaders and if there has ever been a summer where everything has been lined up and there have been no last minute pleas or scrambles to get everything set. I remember a few summers where on a Saturday night my Grandpa Epps would tell me I was packing a bag and heading to camp to be a cabin leader. Well, first you don't argue with Grandpa and second, why wouldn't I want to go to camp. I think I need to find a better way to ask people (or rather tell people :-) ) they are coming to camp to help.

The mini-mission weekend is coming up so Mark and Deb are prepping for the physical "opening" of camp and getting things organized.

I am weaning myself off of TV and starting a book list. I won't have a class this summer so will have some fun reading time.

Kim has started a list for our first food order.

Camp staff are getting packed and ready to head up to start work in June.

I am packing or at least thinking of what to pack and I realize I am leaving my husband and daughter again for the summer. Now we do have plans to stay connected, but that ties to other things happening in my life. I am preaching this Sunday on Solitude and have been giving a lot of thought to being alone and lonely vs solitude. Sometimes even when there is a busy and full camp, I am lonely. I miss my home and my husband. Sometimes though I find solitude in the kayak or sitting at Vespers. I know I need to do a lot more thinking/research/praying before the sermon is ready, but I am wondering where you find solitude and how you differentiate between being alone vs lonely?

Shalom