Tag Archives: Colorado

Unpacking the Summer

At the end of my adventures in Idaho last summer, I wrote a blog post where I talked about finding a new side of myself. I, bookworm and indoor aficionado,  learned to sleep under the stars, hike for fun, and white water raft. Part of the appeal of going to Colorado this past summer was the idea of further developing this new side of myself. 

And in a way, it was. I camped. I hiked. I white water rafted. (It is a lot more fun without the raft of paranoid middle school girls.) 

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Yet looking back, I would not say this was a summer of discovery. Rather, it became something more precious: a summer of remembering. 

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Law school is stressful. It is a melting pot of emotions and nuances and feeling like a failure. I emerged war-torn and exhausted. Going to Colorado felt like a terrible idea. As the weeks leading up to my departure became days, I kept wondering if Young Life would really would miss me too much if I just…didn’t go? After all, they’d told me there were two legal interns. Maybe they didn’t need me?

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I knew better than to bail last minute, though, so I got on my plane, read 4 books, and started a truly amazing internship. What made it amazing? 

  • I had work that mattered and that I loved. 
  • I worked with incredible people who made me feel loved. 
  • I lived with 8, wonderful, sometimes crazy women who loved me and took the time to let me know it. 
  • I participated in an internship program that provided mentors, speakers, and a small group that all poured into me and left me feeling…you got it, loved
  • Finally, I got hour after luxurious hour to read and think and be alone, to truly love myself. 

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The theme you should notice is that I was spoiled this summer. I was spoiled because people treated me like someone remarkable, someone smarter and funnier and more pulled together than I ever felt. They made sure to invite me to all their activities and never took offense when I declined to instead stay home and read. I always felt included but never pressured. And considering how many times I turned them down to read, that is saying something. 

Yet while I felt beloved for my reading and bug-killing abilities, I also felt the love did not stem from my personal attributes. I was surrounded by God-loving people whose love for each other stemmed from that love for God. Certain personalities might mix better and certain skills be more praise worthy, but at the end of the day, those things mattered less than the fact that each intern represented someone loved by God and thus worthy of love.

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I was spoiled this summer because I felt unconditionally loved. I was spoiled because I got to do work that interested and excited me. I was spoiled because I got to live in the incredibly beautiful mountains with no humidity. 

I called this a summer of remembering. Why? Because it was a summer of remembering that my worth is not in what I do, or where I live, or what grades I get. It was a summer of remembering who I am when not stressed, not busy, and not networking. A summer of just being…me. Was it hard sometimes? Oh, you bet. But for all that, it was a summer beyond my expectations. 

The thing I want to take away, the thing I need to take away, is that this path wasn’t the most natural, the most prestigious, or even the most sensible. But in the end, it was the most fulfilling. God knew what He was doing even when (especially when) I doubted the most. 

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(And because I couldn’t find the right place for it in this post, extra grateful shout-out to my awesome fellow legal intern, John, who now knows a lot more about Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, public sector labor law unions, and agency deference than he ever could have wanted, but who always let me interrupt him and patiently listened while I rambled away. Thank you.)

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Beginning of the End

Today marks my last Monday at Young Life. I will miss it here. I plan to write out a more thorough post at a later time. For now, I just feel a sense of sadness that my summer is coming to a close. It has been a lovely summer full of fun and fulfillment. Mondays don’t feel like Mondays. I’m always eager to get back to work. 

But I guess all good things come to an end. After all, new blessings cannot enter your life if you cling to the old. 

I’m so grateful for this summer! 

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Old Friends, All the Acne, and Scary Amounts of Enthusiasm

‘That looks like Joel,’ I think as I stand in the church lobby and observe the other attendees. ‘But he lives in Virginia.’ 

Joel Grewe is the director of Generation Joshua and a mentor of my high school and college years. 

For a moment I marveled at the resemblance before realizing that Generation Joshua’s iGovern West camp started this week. It could be him. 

“Joel?” I ask. 

Considering the odd surroundings, he takes my presence in stride for a few moments before the oddity strikes him. He motions to where the other iGovern counselors are gathered, ready for lunch. I’m ecstatic. These are my old friends. I practically run across the sanctuary to say hi. 

Then I remember what I’m wearing. I chose sleep over makeup this morning; my jeans have a huge hole and my top is a castoff from my sister – a bedazzled Star Wars t-shirt I only wore because I haven’t done laundry. To match my odd shirt, I paired my choker necklace and I have a decided goth-wannabe feel. Or I would if I bothered with makeup. I wish I had; I’m so broken out today. 

I feel very self-conscious. But also excited. Everyone is confused to see me. It is so good to see them, even briefly. These are my people. They invite me to the camp gala on Tuesday night. I don’t have a ride but I will find one. I’m more excited about the gala than I was to go to the Supreme Court last weekend. 

My ecstatic mood lasts through brunch with the other Young Life interns. I’m bubbly and bouncy in a way they haven’t seen before. I’ve mellowed a lot…but there is nothing like Generation Joshua to bring out all my enthusiasm! 


Colorado Mood Swings

Colorado has the strangest weather. Within an hour, the sky darkens, the clouds dump rain, and then the sun comes out. You would never guess it just poured. This place has the most bi-polar weather I have ever seen.


180 Days

Exactly half a year ago, I was sitting between classes trying to find a Thai language app. I figured it was good to get a jump on it what with my new found interest in Thailand.

Unfortunately, I did not find one. I did notice that Duolingo finally had Korean, though. So I started there.

Today marks 180 days of doing Korean for ten minutes a day! I don’t actually know if I am learning anything, but it is fun.


White Water Rafting

I have no photographic evidence of the adventure, but after I got lost last Sunday, we went white water rafting. It was my second time going but my first time with adults and not screaming 7th grade girls. It was a really fun time and I did not fall in!

By the end, though, my foot was killing me from shoving it in the side of the raft. I’m amazed it didn’t swell up. It still hurts! Someone needs to invent a better way of staying in the boat. Speaking of hurt, today is the first day I don’t feel my abs every time I move! What a workout! 

If you ever find yourself in Buena Vista, Colorado, I highly recommend Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting and Adventure Co. https://www.noahsark.com

If you can get Kat as a guide, I recommend her! She was awesome! 


Never Pee Alone

At this point last week, I was wandering around a campground hoping someone would eventually notice me missing and come find me. 

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For the first, and last, weekend of the summer, all 14 of us interns were in town. We decided to then all leave town and go camping in Buena Vista, Colorado. 

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As those who know me well, or not so well, know, I’m not a big camper. But I did spend all of last summer as a camp counselor in a wilderness camp, so I thought, how hard can it be? I felt particularly scornful of the mattress pads and tents. I was a real mountain woman! I did not need such luxuries! (Though I’d take ’em!) 

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Sunday morning I woke up and needed to do my business. I started walking away from the campsite to find a convenient bush…and kept walking…and walking…and eventually it dawned on me that I had no clue where I was. 

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I listened for the sounds of my somewhat loud compatriots but could not hear them. I looked for familiar landmarks but suddenly felt unsure. Was the house on the hill behind us? Or did we drive pass it when entering the campsite? And where had that river come from?

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I considered my options carefully. I could follow the river but, as there was definitely no river by our campground, this would get me nowhere. I could sit in one place and wait for someone to find me. However, I was not confident they had even noticed I was gone yet, or would think to walk this far out in search of me. Further, I was not dressed for the heat and already felt myself sunburning. 

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Worse, the only thing on my feet were cheap, Wal Greens flip flops. Every rock and thorn punctured them and went straight into my foot. No matter how judiciously I avoided the cacti, they somehow found me. 

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After wandering for what felt like days but in reality was only 30 minutes, I realized that if I could find the road that looped around the whole campgrounds, I could find our specific campsite. So I shoved my way through the brush until I located someone else’s campsite, and from there the road. I started walking on it until I heard distant shouting. Up on the largest rock they could find stood three of my fellow interns shouting my name. 

Apparently, they were the 4th group sent out in search of me. 

We made it back just in time for breakfast! 

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Moral of the story? Always take a buddy when you have to pee.