*I started this post on Wednesday and finished it on Friday.*
I've never been as happy to sleep in my own bed as I was last night. More than that, I was thrilled for my children to sleep in their own beds! We were at a youth camp for the last few days with our old church, First Baptist Irving. It was so much fun. All of Jackson's old church buddies were there and it was nonstop play. We had bikes, balls, bubbles, and plenty of room to run around.
This was our fourth First Irving youth camp to attend at Camp Timberline in Lindale, TX. The first time was in 2003 when Curtis was the camp speaker. We'd been married one year and we were still living in Houston. Chuck and Kristi Walker were leading the youth at that time and that's where I really got to know and love Kristi. Some of the youth we met that year ended up being the college students we worked with when Curtis came on staff.
The second camp experience was in 2005 when Curtis was First Irving's student pastor. I was about six weeks pregnant with Jackson and sick as a dog. Alicia and I led a great group of girls and we wore red feather boas all week. I seem to remember us winning a big award at skit night. Kristi's younger sister, Amy Savage, was a brand new staff wife and that's where we got to know and love her. Bless her heart, she had to celebrate her birthday at camp that year with a bunch of people she didn't know!
The third camp experience was the very next summer when Jackson was five months old. That was not a very good year for me as I was totally on the sidelines and hating it, if I can just be honest. I remember finally going to Walmart and buying Marley and Me to entertain myself.
This fourth camp experience was interesting with two kids in tow. I had zero expectations as far as attending worship or hearing Curtis speak, so that helped. Mainly I got to watch my son have the time of his life and enjoy getting to visit with some dear friends - Melissa, Krystal, and Janelle. Melissa's husband, Peter, is the youth pastor and he ended up getting appendicitis and had to leave camp to have surgery. Can you imagine?
Janelle and I got to sneak off to Chili's by ourselves for lunch one day. It was so wonderful. We got to share things that don't get talked about over email or in short spurts of conversations on the phone. I think my favorite thing was when we went to Cracker Barrel with our families for breakfast yesterday morning. We laughed so incredibly hard. By the way, Cracker Barrel has some adorable Easter stuff. I got some things for the kids' Easter baskets but of course Jackson climbed into the back of the car and found it all as soon as we got back to camp.
I didn't know most of the youth this year. The ones that I did know were the youngest of our group when we arrived in Irving in 2004. They're now the upperclassmen. I kept seeing people from a distance and thinking they were so-and-so that always went to camp in the olden days. Jake, Vonda, Teri, Alicia, Big Mike, Galley, Beth, Annie, Loran, Neeli, Angela, Kiley - I kept seeing all of you!
I think my fondest First Irving camp memory was the time Teri asked me to take her swimming. I nearly freaked out. Well, not nearly. I did freak out. Teri is one of the strongest people I know. She spends most of her time seated in a wheelchair or walking with a walker, but her spirit is so incredibly tough, smart, capable, and courageous. And she loves Jesus. Any limitations that you might think she would have are invisible to her. Anyway, Teri wanted me to get in the pool with her and let her swim back and forth from the wall. I was terrified that I would let her drown or hurt her in some other way. (If I told you about the incident when I drove her home and her walker collapsed, resulting in her face-planting on the driveway, you might understand my fear.) But seriously? Who would say no to that? She was amazing in the water and we made some forever-memories. I could probably write a week's worth of blog posts on the ways she challenged me. If you ever read this, Teri, know that you are one of my heroes and I miss you very much.
And this concludes my rambling description of Spring Break Youth Camp 2010.
*Insert First Irving slow clap*