Camping 101 Pop Quiz

I wrote this after a family camping trip 11 years ago. It somehow seems appropriate to re-post it. 🙂

Originally posted in May 2000

Pop Quiz! Camping 101

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the LORD,
for He comes to judge the earth.
Psalm 96:11-13

My family had several memorable camping trips when I was growing up. We did “real” camping in tents at primitive campsites. My older sibs lashed tables and a latrine. We cooked over a campfire, went on hikes and collected more than our share of mosquito and chigger bites and poison ivy.

Most of the trips it rained steadily enough that daily trips to a laundromat were required to dry out sleeping bags and wash muddy clothes. It was quite an adventure! But I don’t remember the hassles of family camping. I remember having FUN! My mom remembers forgetting the tent poles, hiking with occasionally recalcitrant children, midnight trips to the latrine in the pouring rain, and muddy sleeping bags.

We have done quite a bit of family camping and enjoy it, for the most part. Some how, we forget the minor aggravations that come with a camping trip when we’re packing the car. The memories come screaming back, though, as you try to tend a fire in the rain or swat 747-size mosquitos. You laugh (sort of) as you ruefully discover that a third washing just doesn’t get out the smell of slightly moldly wood smoke!

Yet, we still go camping! Perhaps we are deluded by the fresh, clean faces of the models who sell camping gear. Perhaps we simply LIKE dirt. Despite my kvetching and complaining, we love to camp! It brings a quiet space into our busy weeks and a chance as a family to enjoy each other and the world God has made.

Bring your sense of humor and try the following quiz to figure out why YOU go camping!

Completely tongue-in-cheek,
From our home to yours… 



1. What is the purpose of camping?

  • to enjoy the out-of-doors
  • to get back to nature
  • to experience life as the pioneers did
  • to create laundry

2. What is the average temperature for camping season?

  • 90 degrees
  • 9 degrees
  • 70 degrees

3. What is the weather forecast when you plan your camping trip?

  • partly cloudy
  • sunny and pleasant
  • 70 degrees with a light breeze

4. What is the weather really like when you go on your camping trip?

  • raining cats and dogs
  • blazing hot
  • hurricane-force winds

5. What kind of people do you meet when camping?

  • friendly, nice folks just like you
  • noisy, beer-drinking party animals
  • long-bearded recluses
  • no one! it’s just and your family communing with nature!

6. What kind of wildlife will you see on your camping trip?

  • lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
  • deer
  • skunks
  • mosquitos, biting flies, chiggers, ticks and fleas

7. Cleanliness is:

  • next to godliness
  • impossible
  • all relative
  • over-rated

8. Your diet on a camping trip consists of:

  • burnt, half-cooked fried chicken, under-cooked potatoes, lukewarm Kool-aidTM and applesauce mixed with dirt
  • take-out from the closest fast food chain
  • culinary delicacies such as “beanie weenies,” “pocket stew” and “s’mores”
  • poached salmon, dilled haricots vert and fruit compote

9. You will forget to take with you:

  • your camera
  • the tent poles
  • sunscreen
  • toilet paper
  • ibuprofen

10. The time it takes to clean-up from a camping trip is approximately:

  • two hours
  • two days
  • two months

11. When will you go on your next camping trip?

  • like childbirth, as soon as you forget about the pain the last one put you through
  • during the next heat wave
  • during the next monsoon
  • when your youngest child is out of diapers

12. Why was camping invented?

  • to give laundry detergent manufacturers a market for their products
  • because parents have no discernment
  • to end the drought
  • to help you eat a pound of dirt before you die

We’re home from Wild Goose!

The car’s unpacked. The camping junk is in piles. The coolers are unloaded. The laundry is in (very large and smelly) piles. Bearded Brewer went above and beyond the call of duty and vacuumed the car out (it needed it!!!)

I have pictures, thoughts and musings but they will have to come later when I’m showered and have had a good night’s sleep. 🙂

Thankful for God’s goodness…

The land of resumes

A few weeks ago I sent out my next round of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) application packets. (CPE, if you don’t know, is the vehicle for training and certifying chaplains.) I’ve completed three units of CPE and need a minimum of a fourth one to apply for board certification. As I spent about a week assembling the necessary papers, I began to wonder if this is more of a test of endurance than anything else! The final versions had upwards of 50 pages: forms, previous CPE supervisor evaluations, my CPE self-evaluations, resume, autobiography… yikes!

Organizing myself and assembling the paperwork really wasn’t the issue. One of the most difficult parts for me was taking my work history and life experience and writing about it with passion, enthusiasm and confidence… without bragging. As Peggy Klaus says “You have to toot your own horn without blowing it!”

I’m learning the delicate balance of stating what I know I’m called and gifted to do — vs. sounding like a stand-in for Mother Teresa, PT Barnum and Einstein all rolled into one. I suppose the easiest way to fix that is to hand over my paperwork to my family and let them set me straight! But even they would get bored after about page 3. Maybe page 4. My husband proofed my resume for me, but other than that, it was my task.

I have a potential interview in the next few weeks. It’s exciting. It’s also humbling. And terrifying. Humbling to ask references to give me a letter to submit… and terrifying because I really struggle with that whole stage fright thing. (More than you’ll ever know!)

Living in the land of resumes… one of those necessary evils.

Vengeance vs long-suffering

I have, on occasion, been an unexpected witness to the struggles of others. Sometimes it is simply a matter of proximity at an inopportune moment. (Think toddler melt-down in the grocery check-out line!) Sometimes it is because I am processing my own issues and questions in the messiness of life, and there’s “collateral damage.”

And sometimes, though I don’t go looking for it, because I have a sympathetic ear and a caring heart, trouble comes to my doorstep. (Let me be clear — I’m not complaining. I’m doing what I’m called to do.)

This week I am struggling with seeing anger and pain in someone’s life. It feels as though it is being acted out in such an angry, vengeful way. That there were wrongs committed — to that there is no question! But what is the “Christian” response? And how do I bring God’s peace and wisdom to the situation?

I wish I knew for certain.

What I do know is that we are not called to vengeance, to commit acts of retaliation, of anger, of self-righteous indignation. We are called to long-suffering and a patient witness of God’s Presence in the unexplainable and unwanted stresses of life. And it seems that we are NOT called to take matters into our own hands, but to allow God to work.

In the situation where I am a watcher, not an actor, in events as they unfold, I feel a strong caution within me. The Bible says that God is the one who judges and punishes, the One who takes vengeance. I must not spew anger with you — much as I am tempted! But I can pray for God’s justice to roll down, and for God’s intervention to be known.

And may it come…. SOON!

Photo credit Society of the Happily Unusual

Alive Again!

What a change can come in someone who really and truly believes in the resurrection of Christ… I’m walking, living proof!

“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) 

Alive Again by Matt Maher

I woke up in darkness
Surrounded by silence; oh where
Where have I gone?
I woke to reality
Losing its grip on me; oh where
Where have I gone?

‘Cause I can see the light
Before I see the sunrise

You called, and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

Late have I loved You
You waited for me, I searched for You
What took me so long?
I was looking outside
As if love would ever want to hide
I’m finding I was wrong

‘Cause I can feel the wind
Before it hits my skin

You called, and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again… I’m alive again.

‘Cause I want You
Yes, I want You
I need You
And I’ll do whatever I have to
Just to get through
‘Cause I love You
Yeah, I love You

You called, and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again