#TasteOfHome

This summer has been so amazing and I’m loving my new home here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

But home is where the heart is, and my heart belongs to so many people down in Louisiana. I’ve been super blessed with visits these past four months to keep me grounded with those southerners. Siblings came to visit me (and their criends/former campers) while CKC was in their busy season.

DSC_0474DSC_0449

Then on July 8th, grace flooded down from heaven as I stood by my best friend at her wedding. It was such a beautiful joy to witness the long distance come to an end as they embarked on a new journey together. Needless to say, there isn’t any party like a Catholic party.

And finally to wrap up the summer my sister and two college friends came up to experience some real National Forest camping. I’m so proud of them for becoming hardcore campers after getting soaked multiple times, hiking up rocks and through thorns to our campsite, finally eating dinner around 8pm, waking up to a bloodhound sniffing around in the middle of the night, trying to see through fog covered mountain views, hiking downhill as the rain turned our path into a river, and of course learning the “orangutan hang”!

 It was a wonderful experience (thank you Jesus for holding back any other storms) and we were given a beautiful taste of heaven! Praise God, our merciful creator, for giving us the wonder to appreciate His masterpieces even after all the rain!

Kept this one short and sweet, but don’t worry there is always adventure on the horizon!
-S

#BlueRidgeBeauties

I’m back chicas!

DSC_0004

Within 24 hours of my last connection home from Europe I was on the road in the wee hours of the morning heading to North Carolina. Camps Kahdalea and Chosatonga have been a large part of my adult life, working the summers away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Even though we are not one of the long-term families who practically grew up at camp from a young age, this place is home and the friendships formed here are stronger than most. As one former program director said, this place seeks to find the good in others, draw it out of them and reflect it back so they can see the goodness in themselves. We don’t just teach activities here, we are teaching children. It is less about knowing every knot or plant in the book, but more about learning to approach new things in a spirit of learning and determination. No wonder I can’t stay away.

This year is different. In summers past, I was on staff as a rock climbing counselor and this time I am working as the office manager’s assistant. It blends my love of the outdoors with the skill set I have been gifted from a higher power. There has been much laughter alongside days of frustration…but isn’t that everyone’s summertime.

Staff2017
Photo Credit: Christie Peaslee

The mountains are beautiful as ever and so far I have been three places for the first time ever!

C2F83C70-1.  Devil’s Courthouse has such a great view and is even pretty wonderful to look at from the parking lot itself.

2.  Mount Hardy was the Counselor Overnight destination. With tutorials on stove usage, pita pizzas, and a couple guitars strumming along, we enjoyed the sunset. These people have possibly the most ridiculous and fun-loving personalities of all time. They love to have a good time and if a ground pad accidentally gets set on fire…no harm done right?

3.  Paradise Falls is tucked away hidden far down a slippery slope *symbolic isn’t it?*. Overall totally worth the trouble it can take to find, this little area of the world is beautiful and refreshing. I can’t believe it took me so long to make it out here, but in the end timing is everything 🙂

The summer is halfway over and with the conclusion of our first big session comes Carnival. We dominated Chosatonga in the Archery Tournament then proceeded to attack everyone within arm’s reach with shaving cream.

Lastly we conclude the session with Parent’s Day and Final Candlelight at the Kahdalea lake. This is always a really special time and very memorable as we come together as a full camp one last time.

So with my expanded knowledge of beautiful places in this corner of North Carolina and only half the summer left, I guess I should get back to exploring/enjoying these mountains!

-S

#2016

A year in review, praise God we survived!

Kolkata, India

I was blessed to begin my year serving the poorest of the poor alongside the Missionaries of Charity. This is where Mother Teresa answered her call within a call and ultimately found her final rest.

The place where every sight permeates your soul until you can no longer be the same; growing in humility and gaining perspective.

img_20160113_162956
Ferry in the morning smog
img_20160118_165314_01
Caro & I

To D.C. And Back Again
BR Youth Life March

Watch the cars go by. Listen. The mix of voices are filled with excitement and a slight angst from sitting on a bus for hours. We march. To be a witness for the life and respect that each human deserves. But it is more than just walking a few blocks, it is a pilgrimage.

img_20160123_111908
The Popsicle 😉

 

Florida
Camp Travel Edition

Driving around a few different states for about two weeks straight may not seem like a dream job to most. But I love car trips! I think my parents began the brainwashing early on, back when our family would pile into the van and drive from MD to LA. This happened at least once a year. Finding the states on each passing license plate, the Alphabet Game, and falling asleep on the nearest sibling were only a few of the “must-have” experiences. So naturally I jumped at the chance to promote my favorite camps #CKC (2funcamps.com) for two weeks in a car and stay with the most wonderful host families along the way.

img_20160202_160750
Driving to the beach
img_20160204_230116_01
The heaven sent Julie & Judy

New Jersey
The Armpit of America

Well it happened…we all have to grow up and get a job eventually. Grace fell graciously upon my life and I started  a full time job in February as a consultant. This means flying up to New Jersey each week Monday to Thursday unless I have vacation or a holiday. Fortunately my weekends bring me back home. But don’t worry, this travel junkie sometimes felt adventurous and wandered around.

img_20160512_161646
George Washington Bridge

CKC
2funcamps.com

If I can’t work there, you best believe I’m going to visit! And thankfully the directors allow me to come renew my spirit among the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and the joyful souls who call that valley home. If your child is in need of adventure, growth, or laughter, I highly recommend the CKC. They emphasize daily the importance of drawing out the good that is in each child to help them realize their full potential. They’re challenged to create and conquer goals. To laugh loudly and dance like crazy. Fostering friendships and trying new skills is what these counselors encourage campers to do on a daily basis. There are no sidelines when you are outside!

img_20160729_144510
Drove overnight to CKC
cropped-img_20151231_13085314.jpg
Black Balsam Knob

N.Y.C.
Now You’re Cold

Working a full time job can’t keep me from taking the bus next door over to the great metropolis that is New York City. Although technically yes I’ve been visiting throughout the year, this place comes late in the post because I did most of my exploring in December.

IMG_20161209_161922.jpg
NYC from the bus

New Orleans to Mobile
#finally

What better place to end the year than among old friends and the perfect love within the Trinity that is reflected when a family begins.

IMG_20161231_182540.jpg
#TA54 #anewbarbERA
IMG_20161225_012047_625.jpg
Midnight Mass Pergies

Onward!

-S