My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 2 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Oh my goodness I am laughing SO hard over here!! I read this post over at Stuff Christian Like (Thanks Julie for turning me on to this blog!) and it brought back DEEPLY repressed memories from Jr. High and our summer camp trip. Memories I wish I could have forgotten, but since I can't I suppose I will share them with you all. If my cousin Christine happens to be reading maybe she can help fill in the gaps where my memory has become fuzzy (after all I have worked long and hard to try to forget this trip!)

Ok dates and location are a little fuzzy because after all when you are in Jr. High, like, not much matters except, like, what boys you have a crush on at camp! I had originally thought I was in 8th grade but upon deeper reflection it must be 6th or 7th. We were heading out to camp in Michigan or Wisconsin possibly Missouri not really sure. Upon arriving at this camp we were situated in bunkhouses that were rough. Some better than others. Ours was middle of the road. We didn't have to use the outhouses (PTL) but there were bugs a plenty. Our activities included horseback riding, leather working and, you guessed it folks- what every Jr. High student NEEDS for a genuine spiritual awakening experience- Unsupervised White Water Rafting!

What did Jen opt for? You know it! I chose the "shoot me down a river and hope I live through it package". My cousin did too. They stuck helmets on us and loaded us into a raft with 4 other girls with ZERO rafting experience, helped us shove off and viola! Summer camp excursions at their best!

My cousin Christine and I had done a little canoeing before. So we at least had a general idea of how to row. It was up to us, we figured, to lead this raft to safety. (Oh Lord what was Your thought process there?!) Every girl rowed to her own beat and we basically travelled down the river doing circles. If you're going to try to imagine the scene you must do it as I do. I imagine the scene from the safety of the river bank. I imagine staring at my middle school self. I like to include the sound of our screaming voices in nearing then distancing fashion as would happen with the spinning round and round of the raft while it goes swooping over the rocks with water blasting every rafter in the face causing them to cough and spit up all while managing to maintain the screechiest most ear piercing Jr. High-girl-screams ever. You might also imagine me trying to stand up and convince (read that scream at) the girl next to me to stop back paddling because she was the LEAD perpetrator of said spinning. UGH! It was wretched. All I remember about that event was that for the first time in my life I seriously considered murder. What I wouldn't give to toss that ONE girl overboard!

When we finally reached the calm waters we got out to kiss the ground only to discover the waters were filled with leeches. Some of us had visitors!! The kind that like to stick around for a while. I didn't really believe leeches were real. I HAD seen them in the Rambo movie but never in real life before. All I knew about them was what info I gleaned from that fantastically informative movie. I thought that they had to be burned off or something horrific like that. (Wait did Rambo burn them of or cut them off with that HUGE knife? I can't remember now but back in the day the image was still freshly burned into my brain and I was terrified!)

Yes we did make it out alive. I nearly fainted from the emotional, spiritual and physical exhaustion. I am sure there were some really wonderful events that weekend but all I can remember is the rafting. No spiritual progress was made for me after that. All I wanted to do was get home and FAST. For the first time in a long time I yearned to be with my "mommy". I hadn't thought of the significance of the fact that I am able to raft today! I am so proud of myself. To think that I went rafting in Costa Rica and didn't even have a panic attack is monumental. I did, however, mention a little bit of the story to Dustin. When the guide asked if any of us had rafting experience he flashed his usual devilish look at me and nudged me to say yes. I quickly followed that up with my "Shut up or DIE" look. That got him in line right fast ;)

The post over at Stuff Christians Like was such a timely reminder as the kids of Palm Valley Church will be going off for their retreat soon. I am sure it won't be quite the same for them as it was for me. At least I am praying so. If you are a parent of a child and you plan to send your child off this summer I have one question for you: Have you done your homework?


shawn and tisha said...

Wow, I'm glad you survived that rafting experience. :)

Stacey said...

You are cracking me up Jen! I can't believe you're not teaching a white water rafting course these days :o)