Some Lessons From The Summer Of 2014 Or...And Then The Fire Trucks Came

(Firemen in the background: KW, 7/30/14)

By the time they came floating down the river to where I was, I was still working on getting the kindling to catch fire.  There was some smoke.  One of G's friends named Penny asked, "were you able to make a fire?"
I said, "not yet--but if I get this going Pens, it will be a miracle."
She clarified, "so you're saying it's impossible?"
I said, "no but this is only the second camp fire I've ever started and yesterday I had help."
(I was talking about the Duraflame Firestarter, not God)
She interrupted me, "you can do it."
Lesson #1: When you express your confidence/trust in someone, it makes that person determined to succeed.

At dusk, after making dinner over the fire, the kids went off to go frog hunting. I stayed by the camp fire and told them to pick me up before going back to the house. Unfortunately they ended up getting lost.  They eventually found their way back but not before darkness fell and four girls were disoriented and terrified.
Lesson#2: Establish the boundaries before fear creates them.

I have been really enjoying our camp even if it not yet 100% completely done.
I've driven back and forth and played camp host to different groups of people during the various stages of the camp's construction.
Lesson#3: Don't wait. Life is now.

Being at the hunting camp for many days in July has made me neglect the garden I worked on last June.
Lesson#4: Everything in moderation. If you don't balance your time wisely or make provisions for changes in your schedule, you are bound to neglect something.
Unless of course you are avoiding something...

Like I was.
I was avoiding gown shopping.
With just a little bit over a week left to go--we went out and bought a gown that K needed for a scholarship and recognition program that she was coerced to participate in.
We bought the first dress she tried on from the first store we went to, which was a secondhand store.
The whole process including driving time took 20 minutes.
Lesson#5: Just Do It.

Last weekend we attended K's Miss Teen Of Pennsylvania Scholarship and Recognition Program held in Central Pa.
It was not a beauty pageant.
It was like an AAU tournament for poise and brains.
I was definitely out of my element.
Lesson#6: Growth Happens Every Time You Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone.

I nearly caved and almost allowed K to back out of attending this event.
(I actually telephoned the organizer to inquire about pulling her out)
It was for purely selfish reasons.
I was afraid of the unknown, participation delayed our departure date for our family vacation to Florida but most importantly,
I did not want to be a pageant mom.
Lesson#7: It Is Not About Me

As it turns out, the Miss Teen of Pennsylvania Program ended up being a positive experience for K.
Out of 68 teenaged girls ranging from 14 to 18 years old from all over the state, she ended up in the final 6.
The only 6 girls that had to go through  2 extra sets of on-the-spot interview questions that were answered in front of hundreds of people.
By that time I was feeling rather ill.
(I felt like it was the spelling bee all over again.)
Lesson #8: Be in the now and stop labeling experiences as a "like" or "dislike."
All will be well. I promise.

While she is not Miss Teen Of Pennsylvania 2014--she is Miss BRAVE and COOPERATIVE in my book.  I was very proud of her and I am thankful that Steve insisted that she participate in it.
She clearly experienced lesson #6. And so did I.
Stepping out of my comfort zone is challenging but it certainly opens up more possibilities in life for joy and fulfillment.
Lesson #9: Saying yes to life (within reason) increases your chances of making it a habit to think positive.

Right after the program ended that evening, we drove three hours to get back home...only to unpack and repack to leave the next morning for Key West--where we are right now.
Although I typically would have preferred to cocoon in my own bed for a long time after a stressful an exciting weekend, being on vacation does not allow it.
It is only our third night here but so far there has been running, swimming, lobster hunting snorkeling, eating, drinking, grocery shopping, crab hunting, stand-up paddle boarding, shark spotting, beaching, floating, scooter riding, walking, hammock buying, praying, laughing, corn holing and bocce balling, sleeping, sitting, community table eating, socializing, sunset cruising, and then this evening I accidentally caused two firetrucks to come to the house we are renting.
While everyone was out on the beach, I decided to pan fry a few burgers for dinner.
Somehow I set off the smoke detector that has a scandalously loud, institution-grade fire alarm that immediately summoned not only everyone at the beach and the neighbors but also the fire department.
Being renters, we did not have the code to stop the alarm nor the authority to keep the 10 firemen from descending upon me and my now, well done burgers.
I was embarrassed.
It took almost an hour to get the alarm to turn off.
Did I mention I was embarrassed?
Lesson #10: This Too Shall Pass, material conditions positive or negative, are temporary.

And when all else fails, there's always Five Guys, which is exactly where some of us ended up going for a late dinner.
Maybe I should just stick to cooking over a camp fire.