Friday, April 29, 2016

The News from Magruder 4/24-30

We were treated to lots of sunshine on the coast this week. In the dining hall, I noticed some sunburned faces among outdoor school leaders who had spent the week with us. Aprils on the Oregon Coast are probably an unlikely choice for prime sunbathing, but this week, there was plenty. We had some chilly days, but when sunbeams are falling on your shoulders, the chilliness is not so prominent.

In addition to our regular outdoor school group, we also hosted Washington State School for the Blind this week. The school has been bringing groups to Camp Magruder for decades, and it's such a perspective change to work with this group, to adjust your regular modes of communication to effectively interact with someone who doesn't see like you do. There are plenty of ways that we walk into cloudy or dark territory in metaphorical ways on a regular basis, but this group takes those steps in a very literal way. They navigate the same world, know the same world--they just learn about it with a different balance of senses.

On Wednesday I met the students at the beach to lead an ocean encounter with those brave enough to face the incoming surf and the cold water on the legs. We had the students put on life jackets and hold onto a rope with three adult anchors. I was standing behind in a wet suit with a life-guarding tube. I asked the students to listen to the waves, to guess how far away the water was based on what they heard. We walked closer and closer, until the water washed over our feet and everyone cooed feeling that shock of coldness.

We spent 10-15 minutes doing the dance with the water, stepping forward stepping backwards, the water moving up and retreating yards and yards. The water occasionally got as high as the mid-thigh on the students. I noticed, the longer we stayed out, they began to sense when a big wave was coming in, and I began to pay more attention to the sounds of the waves as well. A tall crest that falls evenly in a horizontal straight line would crash louder, booming on it's way in. Waves that crested unevenly would make more of a shower sound. You could hear the waves that produced a lot of white foam make a fizzing noise like soda water.

There are certainly moments in life when we are rewarded by laying back and removing ourselves from the action, and we should probably look for more opportunities to do that. Still, there are other times when we are rewarded for being adventurous and bravely stepping into something that could be uncomfortable. Every time I'm scheduled to lead wave jumping, I know there will be lots of set-up and lots of clean-up. I will get sand all over me. But there is nothing like the feeling you get when that cold Pacific water washes over you, and you look down a line of people who are so awake and feeling so alive in the moment. I watched Haley and Sarafia on either side of me, anticipating each new wave, and thought about the great rewards sometimes received by an adventurous spirit.

One afternoon when Tommie was clocking out she shared that while she was out, she noticed a coyote crossing the camp. We know that there are coyotes here, but it's a rarity to actually see one--they are kind of ghostly. Tommie barely had time to marvel at the sighting, before she also sighted Tigerlilly, the camp cat, on the offensive. Tigerlilly raised her fur, arched her back, and began going after the coyote like she was ready to attack. Tommie said the coyote was gone before Tigerlilly got to it, but we all got a nice laugh at the audacity of this little skinny cat ready to challenge a wild predatory dog. Tigerlilly is not one to back down from a challenge.

As we ended out the week, Rik and Tommie got closer to rebuilding the pier to our boat dock, which was damaged in the flooding last November. They've lifted heavy beams, waded waist-high in cold lake water, and most recently poured a new concrete slab which will provide a heavier anchor for the dock and prevent erosion from the hill above it. I enjoy seeing something being constructed. This pier should be around for decades to come, and there's something cool about having the memories of the skeleton of the thing after years of knowing the completed structure.

I wonder also how these experiences from the week will form a skeleton towards something being built. Will our moments of adventure and audacity be the building block for some greater structure being put together inside us right now? For now, I'm glad to be in the same space where so many things happen on any given day, where so many people wake up a beauty that surrounds us, washes over us, and wakes us up to a new way of seeing.

This week we have a full house, hosting First Unitarian Mens' Retreat, American Baptist Womens' Retreat, Hillside Christian Fellowship, Moalla Assembly Womens' Retreat, and Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network. Join us in prayer that everyone finds something new and refreshing during their time with us.

Next week, we'll be taking a break from "The News from Magruder," post. Don't fear, though, we'll be back the next Friday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Maddy Hickerson

As the summer gets closer, we want you to get to know our Summer Staff a little bit better. We got our 2016 staffers to tell us a little more about themselves. We hope you'll get a chance to meet all of us this summer, because we are excited to meet you. Our next staff profile is for Resource Staff member, Maddy Hickerson

Name: Maddy Hickerson
 
Hometown: Salem, Oregon

School/Job: University of Oregon

Major: Psychology

Favorite Color: Sky blue

My Greatest Spiritual Gift: Being able to see God through the people I meet and in nature.

Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: Jetty Hike

Favorite food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: Spaghetti

Which actor would you play in a movie about your life: Shailene Woodley

What is your spirit animal: Baby Panda

Favorite get to know you question: If you could be any Disney Character, which one would you be?

Ideal Vacation Spot: Bahamas

Dream Job: Music Therapist

Fun Fact about me: I have pet a real penguin.


Something you want to say about this summer: I’m super stoked to meet and work with everyone who comes to Magruder this summer!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The News from Magruder 4/17-23

The Spring continues to tighten it's grip on us out on the coast. We still see the clouds, the periodic rain, but there are more and more beautiful days full of sunshine and warm air. These days beg you to
walk slower, to tidy up the outdoor areas we reside in because we'll be spending more and more time there.

After we started the week with sun and warmth, a marine layer creeped in late Monday and thickened as Tuesday went on. It had this beautifully eeire effect on the surroundings, getting caught up in the needles of the trees, creating a translucent screen in front of the mountains across the lake. All day long, it seemed like we were locked in the same time of day.

We hosted St. Pius Catholic School this week in addition to a very large Northwest Outdoor School group. With two school groups, we staggered meal times and seated one group in the upstairs dining hall and one downstairs in Chappell Hall. Weeks like this are a change in the regular routine. We spent time running dishes, cups, and silverware upstairs and downstairs through the loading dock and the back kitchen entrance. It was certainly a bit of a chore, but the novelty of it made it a little exciting. I got to interact with kitchen staff a little more, especially Big Mike who ended up covering the downstairs a lot this week.

In my life, I've often found an excellent way to get to know someone better is to do some work with them. Just carrying out a task side-by-side gives you a connection. You've been through something together. You get to know each other's work habits, strengths, and weaknesses. Work almost inevitably leads to conversation too. I've learned so many interesting things about people I never would have, just standing next them washing dishes. There's something about cleaning dishes that encourages good conversation.

I led boating for half of St. Pius' group on Tuesday, the day it was so misty. As I waded in and out of the water, launching and bringing in boats, I found the water fairly warm by Oregon Coast freshwater standards. The several weeks of sun must have warmed the water up, where something was left over, even when the sun was shielded from us. The next day, we had puffy white clouds, but lots of sustained sunshine, one of those days where the clouds are bright white and just accentuate the blueness of the sky. The teachers and I couldn't stop talking about what a pretty panoramic view we had, standing at the edge of the lake, a window full of shades of blue and green opening up in front of us.

I've been really drawn to Lake Smith this week, partially because I spent so much time leading activities, but there was some other force pulling me there too. One day at lunch, most of the seats were taken, so I got my plate and took out walking on the Tide Pool Trail until I found a lakeside bench. I sat there surrounded by the salal, listening to water lap against the shore, taking in that view of the blue lake, the layered green mountain, the deep blue sky, white clouds passing through it, all while I ate my food. The view itself was a sort of food I was taking in.

In all this time I've spent near the lake this week, it's look different nearly every time I've visited. It's amazing how you can know a place for days, weeks, years, and somehow still be able to see it new. This world we live in is constantly growing, speaking something new to us, giving us some beautiful new picture to examine. I look forward to the ways we'll know this place, the people who pass through it, as we take part in the work, side-by-side.

This week we welcome Morningside United Methodist, Cornerstone Church, and Lynchwood Church of God Men's Retreat. Join us in prayers that these groups are changed by the beauty of a retreat on the Oregon Coast.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Meet the 2016 Staff: Tanner Morton




As the summer gets closer, we want you to get to know our Summer Staff a little bit better. We got our 2016 staffers to tell us a little more about themselves. We hope you'll get a chance to meet all of us this summer, because we are excited to meet you. Our next staff profile is for Resident Counselor, Tanner Morton. You may also meet Tanner at Camp Latgawa or Suttle Lake this summer.

Name: Tanner Morton
Hometown: Pocatello, Idaho

School: Idaho State University
Job: I am a front desk associate at the Hampton Inn & Suites

Major:  Theatre/ Marriage and Family Counseling

Favorite Color: Purple

My greatest spiritual gift is Mercy

Favorite Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:7

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: This will be my first time at Magruder, but I am looking forward to campfires on the beach!

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life?  probably Meryl Streep. She can do anything.

What is your spirit animal: a dog

Favorite get to know you question: What is your favorite thing about your personality.

Ideal Vacation Spot: Take me to any national park and I am happy as can be!

Dream Job: To work as a premarital counselor.

Fun Fact about me: I have worked as a professional theatre actor.


Something you want to say about this summer: I am very excited for the opportunity to experience new places and adventures. I have wanted to visit the Oregon camps for quite some time now. I am ready for a transformative and faith-filled summer!

Friday, April 15, 2016

The News from Magruder 4/10-16

After two weeks of near perfect weather, we were reminded that Spring is not Summer, and that it generally comes with more volatility and unpredictability. Rain returned to our days, and even a few thunderstorms. As I'm writing, it is fairly warm, and the sun peeks through the mostly overcast sky here and there. We are supposed see more sunshine over the weekend with highs climbing into the upper 70s, basically perfect weather for the Oregon Coast. But in April, it can turn on a dime.

Moving to the coast of the Pacific Northwest from the South, one big weather surprise was the lack of thunder and lightening. In the South, it's not unusual to hear thunder nearly day during the summer. On the coast, it's not unusual to go months without hearing thunder. I've noticed a lot more skittishness for lightening and thunder. It totally makes sense. If you hear it everyday, you're more likely to grow accustomed to it. If it's infrequent, unpredictable, the excitement it causes can be nerve-wracking whether you're scared or not.

Outdoor School had a split week this week, meaning instead of the typical school group who stays Tuesday-Friday, they had two groups: one Monday-Wednesday, the second Wednesday-Friday. It means an early start with less time to get the high school counselors trained, and just a diversion from the normal routine. Outdoor School staff works hard as always, but you can usually see more of a drag in their step as the week goes on. I checked in with Dr. Earth, the Outdoor School Site Director, at dinner and asked how they were doing. He was upbeat as usual, but had a stubble on his face that made it look like he hadn't gotten as much sleep lately. He may just be growing his beard out, but it seemed appropriate.

Angie told me about a night the Outdoor School intercepted a Spring storm, inconveniently on night they were supposed to have s'mores. Outdoor School is typically not averse to braving the weather. They carry on lessons whether it's pouring buckets or beams of sunshine. But, with lightening and thunder in the mix, they clearly had to take more caution. Still, if you've every promised s'mores to middle schoolers, you understand that's a promise they do not take lightly. Try telling someone who's seen a schedule with "s'mores" on it that there's been a change of plans and see how well they take the news.

So, Outdoor School split the group, sent one half to Sherlock and one to Carrier. They stoked fires in the grand fireplaces of each building, and students roasted their marshmallows indoors as the rain came down and lightening strikes occasionally lit up the dark through the windows. Angie said it was a cool sight to see the campers lined up waiting their turn to make the official dessert of camp-outs, inside. To see students enjoying the gooey, sweet sandwiches as a storm threatened outside. It something we proudly boast about working at camp--we have to be quick on our feet, always ready with a Plan B, C, or D. What I've found is so cool about the need to make rainy day adjustments is how those adjustments often create the most memorable camp moments. The moments we recount with friends decades later. The ones that make us realize how close we've become working together. The ones that make us hopeful for life in general.

I remember nights when awful storms killed the hopes of doing anything on the schedule. An entire camp was crammed into the safest, driest meeting space. We had to come up with something fun, something calming, something that might not just pass the time, but make up for the activities we were losing. We would start singing, playing games, even sometimes just hanging out together. Something magical would happen. Campers would get wrapped up in it and begin enjoying it. Some that might be scared or bored or disappointed, would join right in. We were tapping into some kind of special spirit or energy, and they grabbed on and rode it with us. Nevermind the rain. Nevermind the lightening. Nevermind the change of plans. We were doing something unusual. We were making something from scratch. We were turning it on a dime.

As the week is closing out, the weather has calmed down. The last school buses pulled out this morning, housekeeping got to the weekly work of turning camp over for the next set of guests who will arrive tonight. Outdoor School staff is nowhere to be seen now, either hibernating for the weekend or off on some grand two day adventure. We've gone from raucous to calm, but it will switch again soon enough. We'll do our best to embrace them both. Both are necessary.

This weekend we welcome Cleveland High School Choir, St. Anthony Youth Retreat, and Christ UMC Women. We invite you to be part of this weekend by keeping their experience in your prayers. We'll be back with more news next week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meet the 2016 Summer Staff: Ben Scranage




As the summer gets closer, we want you to get to know our Summer Staff a little bit better. We got our 2016 staffers to tell us a little more about themselves. We hope you'll get a chance to meet all of us this summer, because we are excited to meet you. Our next staff profile is for returning Resource Staff member, Ben Scranage.

Name: Benjamin Loren Scranage the seventh! (not actually, but wouldn’t that be great?!
Hometown: Well the strange thing is I lived in the middle of two towns so technically I shifted the space time continuum by not having a “hometown” (Although my home church is in Halsey Oregon.)
School/Job: I work in contract construction which if you know me very well at all it seems as though this would be terrible choice, but luckily the nice people at the Wesley Center see past that and hire me nonetheless. I currently attend Lane Community College alone for two terms and in the fall I am at both LCC and the University of Oregon in the Marching Band playing for Our Men in Green every Saturday!
Major: Although this will probably not be true minutes after you read it (Because college is about figuring yourself out for a lot of money), I am currently a Journalism Major with interest in Radio Broadcast and Podcasting.
Favorite Color: While red has stood as my personal favorite color for years I have had a recent change to the color of Blue, maybe my life is calmin down.
My greatest spiritual gift is the ability to be open about my own personal faith and accept the stories of others without judgement. It sometimes just takes a good ear to enjoy the good story of someone else.
Favorite Bible Verse: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” It is such a calming idea.
Favorite Camp Magruder Activity Oh without doubt staff hunt. For years and years I have waited for the chance to become a ninja and let no 6th grader find me.
Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: I live and breathe mac and cheese from Carrier, my blood consists mostly of a mix of the cherry juice and lemonade.
Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? I have been said to have the Adventuring aspects of the late great Nicolas Cage. His passion for adventure drove me to search for a national treasure. I sadly still have not.
What is your spirit animal Not so much the spirit animal but more who I truly am I have realized that the cat is my true form. I would love to sleep 22 hours a day and being petted and fed for free.
Favorite get to know you question: What is your favorite Facial expression?
Ideal Vacation Spot: A cabin in colorado, far away from other people but in a large log cabin with good friends for a weekend or two.
Dream Job: I would love to have my own podcast on This American Life. I do have a love for radio.
Fun Fact about me: I saved Macklemore at his last concert in Seattle a couple weeks ago before he left for Europe. A stage dive gone bad leading me to use my camp lifeguarding skills to pull him from being trampled.
Something you want to say about this summer: What we do at Camp Magruder is  try as hard as possible for three months straight to create incredibly memorable times for every camper in attendance. I can not wait to do it again for all of you out there who are coming back. It is the most fulfilling work in the world to make other people happy. Come to camp this summer to make unforgettable memories with unforgettable people. God is truly at work at Camp Magruder, come and experience his beauty.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The News from Magruder 4/3-9

Hoping for a week as gorgeous as last week would have felt a little greedy, but somehow this week was even more beautiful. We saw even sunnier skies and felt even warmer temperatures. There's something intoxicating about a warm-up. You notice the smells of the evergreens more distinctly. You roll your sleeves up to feel the sun on your arms, even if you know you're risking sun burn. The bird songs are crisper. Bugs have awakened to get to the important work of pollinating.

On the mornings of weeks like this, I just want to go running to everyone I can find, asking something like, "Can you believe this weather?" Look at the ways the ocean, the mountains, the lake, the trees look different. Something about feeling this awakening even changes your eyes. It's like we just got our lens prescription updated. 

For most of this week, I've been preparing for Counselor & Dean training, which is happening this weekend. Later this evening, we'll host many of the leaders who will be making this summer happen at Latgawa, Magruder, and Suttle Lake. For most people, training does not inspire very much excitement, because unfortunately many training or ower point slides, acronyms, and mostly one-sided discussions. I've spent a lot of time exploring the quest of making training enjoyable, for it to be this thing that leaves people more inspired to do the work they're training for. 

As teachers, I think our most important job is to make the students fall in love with the subject matter. If they fall in love, they'll do most of the work for us. They'll look up internet articles into the night, promising themselves to just read this last one, then go to bed. They'll travel to a convention for this thing, knowing that most people don't realize it has a following enough to warrant a convention. They will even become more responsible, showing up for meetings, getting paperwork filled out--all if we can just communicate why you should be in love with it. Just pass along that passion. Put them in your head and heart, let them see what you see and make it their own thing.

I remember a counselor training I attended when I was first learning. I remember a game we played trying to carry little cups of water from one end of the field to the other without spilling them or getting them knocked out. I recall how free I felt running on that warm day, everyone so playful, like we were tapping into a childhood spirit we might have been losing touch with. Later that day, while hanging out with staff, the Recreation Director said, "Troy, has anyone ever told you that you're awesome." No one had. 

I didn't even realize it, but I was falling in love with camp. I was finding a place for myself, I was realizing all the ways it was good for me and I was good for it. By the time I realized just how much I was in love with it, I was deeply hooked. Like many camp people, I looked for ways to come back, unconcerned I wouldn't make as much money. I wanted to know everything I could, do the best I could, improve on it, teach it. 

One evening this week, low tide synced up with the sunset, and I went out to experience them dancing together. I sat next to the cross watching walkers and their dogs, seagulls, the marine layer rolling in from the ocean. As the sun disappeared on the horizon, I walked down to the surf to stand next to the water. I let the cold ocean water come in and roll over my feet as the sky turned more and more to gray. 

I noticed a middle-schooler with Outdoor School come out from the South Entrance and sit where I had just been sitting. I made my way back to check and see what he was up to. He had left his group a little upset, needing to be alone. He was thinking about a lot of things. I talked to him for a minute, hoping to offer some perspective, some comfort. I told him  that things wouldn't always be the way they are. We talked more about what he enjoyed doing, about his week, about why people do what they do, about how calming the sound of the ocean can be.

Before I had a chance to say he should probably get back with the group, UGA, one of the Outdoor School staff showed up, walkie-talkie in hand, relieved he had found him. I had asked him if he had told a leader what happened yet. He said he had not, but as they walked back, I could tell he was
telling UGA what had been going on. I hope as he wrestles with life more, the things he's in love with are more powerful than the things that cause him pain. I hope our conversation helped him find that a little bit more.

This is the family business we find trusted to us in this line of work. We are to be in love, to take in the beauty, the bigness of this place. Then we are to take it and share it with as many people as we can. I hope we continue to teach, that we continue honing the craft of falling in love with life.

In addition to our Counselor & Dean Training this weekend, we are also hosting an Adventist Young Adult Retreat and the Boy Scout Cascade Pacific Counsel Adult Training. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Meet the 2016 Summer Staff: Hope Montgomery



As the summer gets closer, we want you to get to know our Summer Staff a little bit better. We got our 2016 staffers to tell us a little more about themselves. We hope you'll get a chance to meet all of us this summer, because we are excited to meet you. Our next staff profile is for our Summer Program Director, Hope Montgomery.




Name: Hope Montgomery

Hometown: Union City, Tennessee, but I currently hail out of Boulder, CO.

Job: I'm a crew member at Trader Joe's where I pride myself in telling bad jokes at the cash register.

Major:  I studied Religious Studies and English at Hendrix College.

Favorite Color: Olive green, always.

My greatest spiritual gifts are asking thoughtful questions and seeking and cultivating meaningful connections with others and the Earth.

Favorite Bible Verse: I'm not sure about which verse, but I've always been intrigued by Old Testament stories (especially surrounding the Exodus!).

Favorite Camp Magruder Activity: Beating people at Gaga. Consider this an open challenge.

Favorite Food you’ve had in the Magruder Dining Hall: Steamed garlic broccoli with ginger snap cookies; I didn't even have to think about it.

Which actor would play you in the movie about your life? Daisy Ridley... I wish.

What is your spirit animal: Alligator.

Favorite get to know you question: I like to ask about people's family and friends and find out either how they met or learn about their relationship.

Ideal Vacation Spot: I still haven't seen the Grand Canyon so it seems like I should go there also. I'd also really like to go to Zion National Park.

Dream Job: A touring musician, or more likely, I'd love to work in video production!

Fun Fact about me: I'm working now to record two albums of my own original music.

Something you want to say about this summer: I feel so excited and thankful for summer number two at Camp Magruder!

Friday, April 1, 2016

The News from Magruder 3/27-4/2

This week was the most beautiful of the year so far on the coast. Blue skies and sunshine dominated the skies, and there was a glow in everyone's face caused in part by the change in lighting but probably also the joy that Spring days like this plant in a person. The robins have increased their song. The jays, crows, and gulls are bouncing around with a greater urgency. No sooner than the day after Easter and the world is more alive.

With the sunshine, the temperatures warmed up to mid-60s by the afternoon each day, which certainly doesn't necessitate shorts, but I've found it too difficult to resist. Even with the chill of the mornings, it's that time of year I'm so ready to wear something different that I'm push the numbers a little bit and let me knees get a little cold, just because I can. At this point in the year, we are ready to go a little beyond halfway to meet something fresh and warm.

The ocean is beginning to back off the beach a bit, ceding a little bit more sand to people strolling and exploring. The past few weeks, high tide has come up all the way to the tree line, and it deposited a lane of large driftwood up and down the coast. It also deposited piles of small jellyfish, which have had a heavy influence on the smell of the air around us. It made visits to the beach much less pleasant, especially early in the week, but you really just need to get upwind from them, and you forget all about it.

So much of attitude is influenced by where we are standing in relation to something else. When you're on a plane, cruising at 30,000 feet, there is no rain--it's always sunny. Then dip below the cloud cover, and you dip into a totally new world. Stand on one side of a pile of dead jellyfish, and you want to plug your nose. Cross the line and the West Wind will take all your cares away.

We've had the types of days that call to you, drawing you out from your indoor projects. On Wednesday it was deli sandwich day at Carrier Dining Hall, and I made quick work of my sandwich and chocolate chip cookie bar, so I could spend some time on the swim dock. I made my way out
there, unintentionally disturbing the cormorants and ducks who had gathered nearby. I saw a few newts in the lake, returned to mate and leave some eggs. Three eagles had a conversation in the sky, jockeying for position in the spruces above us.

There was so much out there that afternoon, and I felt like I was soaking in all of it. The sunlight of course, but also the wildlife, the blue sky, the light moving warm air, the towering green trees. It was all there pouring into my vision, like the moment you open the blinds in the morning. What a place to find myself in for those 20 minutes of break time, what a motivation to spread the word of this place, to bring more people in to see this and take it in too.

At the end of the day, that Wednesday I went for a sunset run on the beach. I kicked off my sandals under the bench on the South Beach Entrance Path. I ran all the way to Rockaway, crossing a few creeks just before they merged with the ocean. I stopped along the way, as the sun crossed the horizon. Every now and then the tide would come in just enough to rinse my feet and ankles. The weather felt so much like those summer days, when at the end of the day, we would make a quick trip to the beach to bid the sun farewell, standing next to the ocean tide.

When I returned, I found my sandals on top of the bench, in nearly the same position, just on top instead of under. I didn't think much about how they had moved at the time. The next day, though, I discovered an outdoor school student had discovered my sandals and brought them to outdoor school staff member, Bobcat. Since they were described as a lost pair of sandals recovered from the beach and since Bobcat was in need of a new pair, it seemed like providence. Bobcat was showing another outdoor school staffer, Joker, the new sandals she scored, and Joker told her, "Those are Troy's sandals. He went running on the beach and left them there."

Bobcat frantically rushed back to return them, before I got back from my run, but didn't know where to put them since she hadn't originally found them. She ended up putting them almost exactly where I left them. All this transpired in the time it took me to finish my run, and it would have just been one a minor mystery if I hadn't got the story the next day. There is so much going on so near to us that we
will never know completely. There are just moments that we get a window into the rest of the world if we look intentionally enough or land in the right place at the right time.

These days, thankfully, the weather is compelling us a little more to stop and find those windows to tell us more about the world taking place around us. I hope we gather as many stories as we can, especially if this beautiful weather persists. Even if it doesn't, I hope we still have the motivation to find out a little more about the ones around us, these places we inhabit.

This weekend, we host the Dancemode Women's Retreat. Join our prayers that they find joy and rest during their time here.