Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Beyond Blessed

   At 7:20 AM when I walked into my Journalism 1 class, I sat down and spent the next 53 minutes watching a documentary on poverty in the United States. While it wasn't my ideal way to spend my morning due to the fact that it was honestly depressing, it opened my eyes and made me realize just how amazing I have it. Amazing is an understatement, too.
   I'm constantly surrounded by my supportive, inspiring, loving and healthy family and friends. I have a beautiful house to call my home. And a wonderful life I get to call mine. I've always been grateful for all that I have, but it wasn't until today that I even realized all that I had. I have a fridge with food always in it, air conditioning, cars and clothes. 
   Even more than that, I'm beyond rich in things money cannot buy. Friends. Family. Health. Love. And the list goes on. I have parents that have gone to extremes to make ends meet for our family. Especially during the recession in 2008, our family was greatly affected. I was young and my parents didn't tell me exactly what was going on. My dad lost his job three times, our house was under construction and my mom was sick, and I didn't even realize how much my parents went through. I guiltily can admit I didn't feel personally affected by this but that's all because my parents took it all upon themselves to keep us feeling secure and safe and happy. 
   Continuing, no matter what, I hope you can recollect and think about how much you have in your life. For a minute forget about materialistic things. Think about the love and dedication that is spent in honor of you. I hear my dad come in from his office at 11 at night and I know he's out there working to keep my siblings, mom and me all happy. There are so many selfless acts people take to be there for you and we don't even say thank you half of the time. Give your parents hugs and kisses and tell them thank you for everything they've done and will continue to do. And keep in mind half of their sacrifices for you, you will probably never know about. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

50 Days Until I'm Home

   Today marks 50 days until camp. I spend five weeks in the mountains of North Carolina under the stars and on a beautiful lake, surrounded by my best friends at Camp Merrie-Woode. Although it's only my second year going, Camp Merrie-Woode has held a special place in my heart since I was born. My mom went there as a little girl and I've heard countless stories from her about her days in that special, special place. From singing around the camp fire to kayaking down the rapids, my mom told me about all the magical experiences she had, and all of her memories there that she still holds close to her heart, all these years later.
   With all of the stories my mom told me, I expected camp to be the best thing that I've ever done. While I was right, going to camp for the first time was the best thing that has ever happened, it was SO much more than I could have ever anticipated.
   There's something about waking up to the 8 AM bell that echoes off of the iconic "Old Bald" mountain. There's something about the mountain air that seeps through the cabins screen windows. There's something about the crunch of pea-rock under my Bean Boots. There's something about the camp fire songs on Sunday night, surrounded by the greatest girls in the world. There's something about the after-taps dance parties that make you feel alive, and purely happy. There's something about this 96 year old camp, hidden in the mountains that captures your heart and makes you feel more at home than you've ever felt before.
   It's something that I wish I could describe, but it's the continuous presence of love, unity, acceptance and empowerment that captivates the soul, mind and body. It's a spirit that you take from that sanctuary, and carry with you everyday after driving out of that twisting, 14 MPH, camp road.
   My last night at camp, I laid on top of my cabin with my counselor.  Slightly against the rules, but well worth it. We talked until 2 AM. We talked about everything. A couple of times, tears came to my eyes as I realized I have 11 more months until I can do this again. While these months away from my home-away-from-home have gone by way too slow, I'm so excited to know camp is right around the corner.
   "I'd trade 10 months at home for 2 months at Merrie-Woode"