Family Circus


You wouldn’t guess it from this picture (unless you can tell what that black thing is that’s hovering above the first white L), but this family missed their week long Family Camp this summer and barely made it to All Saints’ Family Camp weekend this fall. The mother is in a walking book for a stress fracture after months of physical setbacks from a running injury. The dad just had a cancerous mole and surrounding tissue removed on his neck by a plastic surgeon – not even a full three months after his 2nd back surgery in two years. The son featured above is 7 days out from three staples being inserted into his head, while the little lady is spoiled rotten with only a severe case of eczema. We are a mess, but we learned two important things this weekend.

1.You don’t have to save the world, JUST SHOW UP!

2. ALL bleeding stops eventually. A doctor said this, so it has to be true. He also said it has multiple life applications.

I needed to hear both of those things this weekend. See, they got all of Spencer’s melanoma. He is released by his doctor to participate in all physical activity. My son’s three staples were removed this morning – his bravery quickly rewarded with apple juice. I only have to lug around this hideous boot for another week and then, who knows, maybe I can take my kids for a walk. How glorious that would be! And even my daughter’s eczema is improving with a prescription.

Eventually, our bleeding will stop. At least for a while.

Stuff My Son Says

In the midst of an adult conversation in front of our children, Spencer quickly asked, “What time does Brooks wake up?”

Brooks immediately popped his head up from an intense truck session and said, “Thirty!”

We probably laughed too hard.

Running Gets ‘The Boot’

So here I am, five months out from my initial injury and we’ve just learned I have a stress fracture. With that said, I will be wearing the gorgeous Prada boot featured below for one month.

The first few days of wearing this beast felt like the end of the world. Maybe I’m dramatic, but that’s how it felt. We were waiting for Spencer’s melanoma removal biopsy results and this was the last straw. More than one person actually said, “Man, y’all can’t catch a break, can you?”

My dietician, who also happens to be a genius and our family hero, says, “Your body will take care of itself. It will also slow you down when it needs to.”

Well, I guess it really needed to, because it did more than slow me down. I’m flat stopped! While I’ve been swimming throughout my injury, my podiatrist asked me to give my foot muscles a break while I’m in this boot. Fantastic. I deal really well with limited outlets – not only is it a pain to go anywhere because this is also my driving foot, but I can’t even exercise. Unless it’s with a hand bike, but I’m not that desperate, so no thanks!

Therefore, I’m taking a month off and facing the facts. Below are a few:

1. I’ve secretly been planning my running comeback with a second lottery entry to the New York City Marathon, this time for 2015.

2. I somehow believe this is where/when all my dreams will come true.

3. In reality, I may not be able to run again.

4. Running definitely became an idol somewhere between the 2012 Turkey Trot and last week.

5. I am not a gym person. I only joined for the childcare, which I may not be crazy about.

6. I don’t want to fit my life around a training schedule (this also includes a shower schedule, since I’m weird about going outside after I’ve showered for the day).

7. My value doesn’t rest in accomplishment.

8. I’ve ever-so-slightly allowed a few eating disorder behaviors to creep back into my daily repertoire.

9. I will be just fine without running. After all, I took off a decade before the post-Brooks kick and I puttered along dandily.

And funnily enough, here I am, a mere eight days out from my Cinderella boot ceremony and I find myself grateful that this all happened. In reality I’ve been obsessed with getting back to what I’d convinced myself was the only thing that could make me feel good, the only thing I could call my own. As far as treating my injury, I’ve tried it all, read it all and worn it all to no avail, so here I sit finally accepting that God has been at work all along. Only now can I see that he was trying to get my attention. Or at least pose the question, “Are you sure you want to lose these precious years to wearing out your body for a picture or a medal that will only wear out?”

I’ve made my decision.

It’s: Nope. I love to walk and hike and bike and those are things I can enjoy with my children. I have the rest of my life to run, but I hereby choose my family over what I want. I guess this is what dying to self feels like, that bizarre freedom that comes with laying down our lives.

Book Review: The Frog Who Never Became a Prince

I just read The Frog Who Never Became a Prince by James “Frog” Sullivan. He was present for the birth of camp and gives the rest of us a sneak peek. Of that first summer of Laity Lodge’s youth camps, he says:

…we only had 15 or 20 youngsters in each session, but I was to see perspectives that I had been learning over the years take form in our staff, and I began to see that these approaches worked positively. No matter how hurt a person is, and no matter how bad a person is, or what kind of trouble he is in, no matter how wealthy a background or home he comes from, he responds to love and he listens when you share what Jesus Christ has meant to you in a very quiet and warm way. This was what we began to do in those camps.

So basic. Loving on a handful of kids led to the camp we all love so dearly. The place is beautiful, to be sure, but it is the people that make LLYC what it is.

The very first summer, we saw kids come in that were not interested in the gospel, no interested particularly in God – who He was or what he had done for them – but we began to see these kids change. We saw them accept love, and we saw them give love, even those who had probably never loved anyone in their lives. The project became a burning passion in my life due to its potential and its possibilities.

Frog bears many failures in his memoir, but one thing shines in neon lights – he has a burning passion for young people to know the love of Christ. So much of what he experienced working with Young Life, both as a student and as a staffer, was brought into the Canyon, forming the foundations of what LLYC is today. And I am forever thankful that this “project became a burning passion” because it sure did a number on me!

In the next four years, with the help of Bill Cody, Dave Philpot, and Howard Butt, and the great crowd of kids who attended as counselors and staff, we built those sessions into one of the most successful camping enterprises in this county. Eventually every session of the summer was filled to capacity, and the number of kids returning year after year was phenomenal.

When I hear Holly Williams talk about staying multiple sessions and just popping over to Leakey to wash her clothes, I catch a glimpse of the relaxed environment of camp’s early days. Frog finishes:

I guess the most important experiment was being permissive with kids, letting them do what they wanted most to do, letting them choose the skills they wanted exercised and cultivated, the ones they wanted to develop. Having a warm Christian counselor personally involved in the life of each kid continually was important; that was something I had learned in Young Life. But now we wanted to take it one step farther: we wanted to see if we could tear down some more barriers and bring kids into making decisions on their own so that when they were confronted with Jesus Christ, they would be able to make their decisions about him and his love.

The schedule looks different now and camp has undergone some major cosmetic transformations, but that remains the essence of LLYC today. 45 years later, this is still a place where kids can come and choose what they want to do. They have phenomenal mentors come alongside them. They are exposed to the gospel and loved whether they accept the free gift or not. But, most importantly, the decision (if made) is real because they are the ones making it.

So, Frog, for the “Hey, Dolls” when there was no way  to remember thousands of camper’s names to the Cross Talks (year after year and session after session) to the Work Crew appreciation nights at your place up on Echo Bluff, thank you for letting us choose. We will miss you.

The 2014 Monocle Resurgence

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and here is my conclusion.

We should bring back the monocle for the following reasons:

1. There are people like me who have poor vision in one eye, but they don’t want to deal with the contact business (I really mean One. Single. Contact.).
2. There must be adults like me out there who have tiny heads, but refuse to wear Disney glasses from the kid’s section. Warby, where is your teen line?
3. Monocles are straight up dope.