Saturday, June 6, 2015

Camp Barnabas 2015: Pick Up Day!

It was pick-up day at Camp Barnabas! And we could not WAIT!

And, God-forbid we stay in a hotel the night before. Nooooooooo...ain't nobody around here got time for that!

No, we'd rather get up at 4:30 IN THE MORNING, and head out for our 5 hour drive. Save that $80.
I intended for us to leave at 5, but one of us was still running around after last-minute things...(that would be ME)...and so we didn't get away until 5:08.

We drove in silence for a long time, because...well, it's 5 a.m. And secondly, it's pitch-black dark. And's 5 a.m.

After about 2 1/2 hours, we stopped for breakfast at the Chick-Fil-A in Rogers, Arkansas. I was so happy to GET OUT OF THE CAR. I typically do not mind a drive, but, since I had my wreck...I've become so anxious. I mean, it's about to be out-of-control. Sweating, heart-pounding...OH MY GOODNESS. I know I was getting on Jim's nerves, because...well, he told me. There were a couple of times on this trip when I thought I was going to have to ask him to pull-over and let me out.

To do what, I do not know.

I seriously had to pray and do deep-breathing like I hadn't done in a long time. I am hoping this anxious feeling gets better over time. It's much better when I'm the one who is driving, but I don't want to do all the driving.

ANYWAY, I had been looking at Facebook, Twitter and IG on our drive. I saw on Facebook where Kelly Stamps had posted that Reese Witherspoon was going to be hosting the big Wal-Mart Shareholders meeting in Bentonville (that explained why there was traffic out the wha-zoo). And so I told Jim, "hey, my pretend internet friend, Kelly Stamps, said that Reese Witherspoon is going to be hosting the big Wal-Mart Shareholders meeting in Bentonville."

He was unimpressed.

BUT, as we pulled out of the Chick-Fil-A and got a little ways up the road, a small jet flew over us (I was driving at this point). Jim looked up from reading his paper and said, "there's your Reese Witherspoon," and I got so tickled...BECAUSE WHAT IF IT WAS?

We got to Camp Barnabas in record time. And, by that I mean, almost an hour before the gates opened.

And, by that I mean...we left at 5:08 and pulled up at about 9:15...and the gates don't open until 10.

But you have to get there early...because you want to be one of the first ones out. Why, I do not know. It's not a race.

Except that it kind of is.

There were about 15 cars in front of us, maybe, which is good. When we went for drop-off day, we got there an hour before the gates opened, and there were about 50 cars in front of us. And I was SO MAD.

When we still hadn't moved at 10:10, I really wanted to lay on the horn...not really, but WHY AREN'T WE MOVING? I was so anxious to see Joshua!

Also, I was wondering where we were going to park...and praying we wouldn't have to park in the field.
There's not anything wrong with parking in the field, mind you...I just wanted to park NOT in the field.

There's a whole hierarchy of how things are done. I would explain it to you, but you wouldn't understand. I don't understand.

We got to park in a parking lot beside one of the buildings. Like in a legit parking lot with asphalt and everything! I don't know why that made me so happy, but it did. And then we walked by all of the losers late-arrivers who were parking in the field.


Jim didn't go with me on drop-off day, so he didn't know which cabin Joshua was in...but he followed me and I found it quickly. Joshua saw us and immediately began running toward us. 


He gave us long, long hugs.

Joshua looked GREAT! Jim took a picture of me and Joshua, and I posted it on my Facebook. Jim got to meet Daniel-from-Colorado, Joshua's CIA-Missionary-Helper person, and Joshua began the process of telling everyone "bye."

On pick-up morning, they have a little closing ceremony in the mess-hall area. They sing and show the video and it's really fun. The last thing they do every.single.year before they the macarena. It is hilarious and loud and fun.

Joshua didn't really want to stay for the closing ceremony, which was fine by us, so we took his luggage to the car and headed out.

Just gonna say: the trip UP there seemed a lot faster than the trip home.

And, you're not gonna believe this, but as we went back through Bentonville, we saw, what looked like, the same little jet...flying right across us again! Only going the opposite way. I yelled, "BYE, REESE!" 

Our goal, on any trip up to NWA (or home from NWA), is to work it out to stop at Braum's in Alma, meal-time. The food is not that great, and the flies will about carry you off, and, yes, I know there are Braum's in other cities and towns in Arkansas and Oklahoma...but this one in Alma is a touch-stone for us. When we get there, we know how far away we are from our destination...or from home. 

It's what Joshua refers to as a family "tran-dition."

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, it was late-lunch time when we hit Alma on the way home. Most of the lunch crowd had already gone back to work. It worked out great, because we'd had a late breakfast. 

This is just a side note because I don't want to forget it. I was leaving the rest room. It's a "one-throner," which really has nothing to do with the story, I just wanted to point that out. It's always good to know, right? ANYWAY, I had already opened the door to leave, when I saw this young mom walking my way. I told her, "I'll hold the door, so you don't have to touch anything." I noticed there was a child behind her. What I DIDN'T notice was there were THREE children behind her. Two boys and a girl. They looked like triplets. One of the little boys looked up at me as he walked in and said, "HEY-YOOOO!" 

I wanted to ask, "are they all yours?" but then I figured that, if they were, she probably gets asked that a lot. I settled on, "they are all so cute!" And she said, "thanks!"

I walked off wondering how she kept any one of them from opening the door when it was her turn to potty.

These are the things I think of...because: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT.

We were eating when the mom and kids came out, and they got in line to get ice-cream. And, you know that old saying about something being like "corraling cats?" This is exactly what it looked like. What I wanted to remember about this whole scene is how calm and kind the mom was.

Because, I have 4 kids, and one time they were all little. But at their littlest, Joshua was 10 and Clark was born...and the other two were in the middle. So, at least a couple of them were fully aware of how to MIND and OBEY and BEHAVE. Altho, one day, when I asked Logan to please behave, he said, "I AM be-in' hayve."

But this lady...she had THREE THAT WERE THE SAME AGE AND SIZE. 


They were really good, but they were active and squirmy. Like kids should be. I just loved watching them. 

And I was just thinking how much we all, as Moms, need encouragement. You know...a smile, a kind word...even a hand of help sometimes. But only if they aren't looking like they're gonna call the police on you if you offer.

Anyway, as we were cleaning off our table and getting ready to leave, this man came up to Joshua and I and asked, "have y'all been running today?" And Joshua and I...we just looked at him. So he repeated himself, and then gave a nod at Joshua's t-shirt, which had some sort of Camp slogan on it...and toward Jim, who is almost ALWAYS wearing a t-shirt from a race, because "WILL RUN FOR T-SHIRT" is practically his life's motto these days.

I started telling this man that we were on our way back from Camp Barnabas. He said that he'd heard of it, and asked more about it. Jim joined us at this point (he may or may not have been in the ice-cream line, getting one of us an ice-cream cone). The man told us that he had a 20 year old daughter who had Down Syndrome AND Autism.

I looked over at Jim and whispered, "we need to sit back down."

I don't know...I just felt like this was a divine appointment.

And even though Joshua did NOT understand why, we all sat back down...and we listened to this man talk. He needed to tell his story and we needed to listen. Jim asked him what his daughter did...what program or school did she attend. He said, "Nothing. She doesn't do anything." He told us that she was non-verbal, and had a lot of issues. He seemed to enjoy talking with Joshua.

When we finally left, he and Jim exchanged contact information. Who knows what will become of it?

You know, I think we all look around, trying to see God at work in some miraculous way. Or pray for God to use us in some big way. When in reality, it's like Henry Blackaby says in his book, Experiencing God, "God is always at work around you."

And He is. Whether it's a young Mom who needs encouraging, or a stranger who stops you in your's easy to brush it off as being insignificant.

It's easy to miss when you're in a hurry.

I do that many, many times...miss opportunities that God puts right in front of me.

But on THIS day?

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2

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