August 26, 2012

When we don't understand, we trust

Todd at the Thanksgiving Day Half-Marathon
As soon as it happened in July, I wanted to blog about it.  His wife and I are good friends, his kids are friends with my kids and have spent the night with us. Kory, his son, was in my kindergarten Sunday School class this past year. Todd was a genuinely GOOD guy in every sense of the word. My heart is broken. Our friend John Ford said it best in Facebook post, so I copied what he wrote below:

Todd Andrew Sumption, 39, of Cleveland, GA, died in a tragic car accident on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at approximately 9:30 p.m.  He was a dedicated follower of Christ and family man, survived by a loving wife and two precious children: an 8 year-old daughter and a 5 year-old son.

Friends come and go in our lives from a variety of circumstances.  There are school friends, college friends, work friends, church friends, and common interest friends.  Todd was in my Sunday school class at Concord Baptist Church in Clermont.  He was also my running friend.  We had done a 5K and half-marathon together, and we were planning to run our first marathon together on October 28, 2012.  Todd and I last spoke exactly two weeks before his death; we discussed the upcoming marathon and were excited about training for it together.

Today, I have lost more than just a running buddy.  A friendship was lost that was only beginning to unfold.  A positive influence was lost – a good, decent man who shared a love of faith, family, the outdoors and physical activity.

There was always a palpable joy in being around Todd Sumption.  He was such a mild-mannered human being.  Todd Sumption was a role model who faithfully met his duties and obligations toward his family, his church, his employer, and his fellow man. Todd Sumption was a good man, a decent man, a faithful man, a hardworking man . . . the kind of man for which this world is in desperate need.

Now, unfortunately, that man is gone.                  

At least on this side of eternity.

You see, Todd Sumption is not really gone.  To the contrary, he is very much alive.  Oh, his physical flesh was temporarily interrupted by a car accident, but Todd . . . he is surely alive and well.  His spirit was instantly in the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at the moment of passing from this momentary life into eternal life.  Todd is now experiencing ultimate fulfillment, peace and joy in the presence of his creator.  Todd is doing just fine.

Unfortunately, he leaves behind a grieving widow and two orphaned young children whose lives have been instantly and irrevocably changed.  No doubt that family and friends will rally around the survivors to minister in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  Good people will come alongside the grief-stricken to stand in the gap.  But no one will ever replace Todd Sumption’s physical presence in the life of his family.  That emotional wound will endure.

In this life, people are born and people die.  We do not choose the date of our arrival or the date of our departure.  We do not choose the manner in which we enter or exit this world.  We are not in control.

Death is a known, inescapable part of life; there is an appointment for every one of us.  We will all give an account of our lives to the one who created us.  It is appointed unto to man once to die, and then comes the judgment.

Despite intellectual and spiritual knowledge of death, its effect on the living is never easy.  Whether via miscarriage, sickness, or car accidents, we are never prepared to say goodbye to our loved ones.  Death is never convenient.  It never feels right.  It never seems ok.  We want to live with our loved ones forever.  That’s because God has placed eternity in our hearts.  Thanks be to God, who made a way for eternal life through Christ Jesus the Son!  For believers in Christ, the response to death is not, “Goodbye forever” but instead “See you later.”

My heart aches for a widow and her two orphaned children in Cleveland, Ga.  I mourn the loss of a friend.  But because of Christ, and CHRIST ALONE, there is hope.  This temporary life is not the goal.  Death is not the end.  Rather, life is like the cover page to a never ending story, and death is like the turning of the page.  C.S. Lewis explained it nicely in his book, The Last Battle.

Todd Andrew Sumption, age 39, fought his last battle on July 14, 2012.

He fought the good fight.  He finished the race.  He kept the faith.

Well done, Todd.  You finished strong!

When my race in this life is complete, I’ll see you at the finish line.

Todd at the Thanksgiving Day race with daughter Sarah and friends from church, including James.

Todd, Tamara, Kory, and Sarah
A drunk driver took his life on a Saturday night, and now two kids are without a Daddy, and a sweet friend is without a partner, provider, and most heartbreakingly, the love of her life. We won't forget you Todd, and will do our very best to take care of the family you were called away from.  We miss you.

August 6, 2012

June continued

I'm going to finish off June before August is over. Yahoo!

The day we took Amelia and Shannon to Six Flags while Mimi was still here, Avery discovered four more kittens. They were brothers and sisters of Twilight. Because their mother was skittish I nabbed them when they were about five weeks old and we put them on the back porch to make sure they would be friendly, and therefore give-away-able. They were really cute and fun, and thankfully in our charge for less than two weeks before 4th session ended, when I shamelessly put them in a box and took them to closing ceremony. That's a terrific way to get rid of kittens! All of them now have new homes.

The morning after 4th session ended I worked on getting the kids packed yet again for camp, as well as getting my Sunday School lesson together. That afternoon Dad and I took the kids to nearby Duke's Creek, a local recreation area. It's fun when he's in town for the weekend, which has been more rare than we would like this summer. 

There's a great swimming hole and sliding rock at Duke's Creek, but it was a little too steep, deep, and crowded with local wildlife for me to be comfortable letting the kids play there. We kicked around in the chilly water upstream instead.

Dad scouted for arrowheads, his favorite pastime.

This arrowhead would have taken a mighty powerful bow.

Hunting for the perfect skipping rock.

After creek fun we changed clothes, headed home, then headed out again. Amanda L. was in town from Singapore, and several of us went to have dinner with her at the Hicks' house.  We miss her and enjoyed catching up.

Sunday morning we went to church, ate lunch at the dining hall, then headed home to throw the kids' stuff on the golf cart and move them in again.

This is getting to be quite the normal opening day picture. Rockcreek without Bubbles and Willow won't be Rockcreek at all. Bubbles (Angela) feels called to Peru, though she's not sure how she's getting there yet. As long as it's only for August through April...:)

Lydia D. finally gets to join  the camp crew and spent her first week at camp this session.

Will she follow the Davidson trend and be a Waya as well? Turns out she did. They're four for four now.

No doubt Elizabeth would have stayed if I'd let her.

Time for the first tribal game! I forgot to get the traditional Shannon in High Noon cabin picture this time.

Go Awahili! I actually like the Himstedts being a house divided because it keeps any favoritism I might have had for a tribe out of the picture. I love it when the campers ask me what tribe I'm on. That means they have no idea that camp is only eight summers old...or maybe they think that I was just a camper myself in the past few years. Yes, it must be my youthful appearance that's throwing them off.

Happy Wayas.

A lot of kids in third session were teeny. The guy next to FIFA (Brandon) shadowed his every move all session long. He had finished kindergarten but wasn't yet six. CUTE!

Shannon, a Multimate Frisbee expert.

Shannon and Bennett.

Maggie and Trevor. The oldest two Knott boys were also here this session for the first time, and somehow also both became Wayas.

Go Lydia!

Amelia and Tanner.

Free swim/zipline time! Also Crazy Hair Day in Rockcreek.

Attack of the Avery. Swim away Bennett, swim away.

The kids love it when real life friends come to our make believe world of camp. Fun is had by all!

And here she is, my friend, my right hand, and also, when she's here, my memory and brain- Karina! She stayed with us during third session to help with the kids, then went to fourth session as a camper (as a Hero II, which means it was her LAST summer as a camper), then came back to stay with us during fifth session. She truly is a treasure, a genuinely sweet girl who is growing into a Godly woman. If my kids turn out as well I'll be completely thrilled. She made it possible for me to accomplish things at home and in camp. I have put "au pair" on my wish list.

Shannon and Trevor.

And here I am (insert Tarzan yell here) coming down the zipline. Jenny D. was on hand as the third session nurse, which in itself is both a blessing and blast. She also takes tons of pictures.

Smelling my shoes, apparently. It's a dilemma, the shoe thing. You can walk the 4 1/2 miles to the top of the zipline barefooted, across rocks and mulch, and then have no shoe issues while on board, or you can save your feet but lose your shoes if you leave them on. Wimpy feet = holding the shoes.

Guess I have a larger derriere than I realized. This is quite a splash.

I highly recommend ziplining to all. It's way fun!

This picture is actually from second session the week before. It shows off one of the many things James does around here. Two week session older riflery classes spend two days with shot guns, including skeet shooting. 

Little Star in action at the barn. We ended up using her quite a bit more than I thought we would. She's small so I didn't think too many kids would be able to ride her during camp, but she ended up being used in at least two or three classes every day. She's such a great pony.

Another Session Two picture. I really like this picture, so I threw it in here. The girl on Nina in this photo is going to be borrowing Kiefer, one of our camp horses for the off-season. Her family has had a difficult time finding a trustworthy horse for her to enjoy doing Pony Club with, so I offered them use of him until they can find something they like.

Amelia in her swimming class. She won a skill award for swimming class during first session, and her instructors said she's a skilled swimmer. She does love the water.

Amelia and "Dora" (Hayden).

She was so sweet with this camper, who was really nervous about jumping off of the dock.

It's cool to watch your kid encourage someone else.

Love this girl!

The crowd joined in with the encouragement. Another cool camp moment.

We have the coolest Harry Potter flying noodles at the lake.

Free swim, later that day. 

Starting a fire in Outdoor Living class.

Making ice cream in Super Science.

Trevor, Bennett, and Tanner.

One of my very favorite campers.

Karina and I took the smallest Himstedts fishing one day. Well, it was more like casting, not too much fishing to it.

Avery did catch a magnificent branch off the bottom and dragged it in. I'm not sure that counts. A funny thing happened that day though, that I didn't get a picture of. The tiny camper who was in an earlier picture was pretty much scared of everything, including the woods, grass, bees, etc. The staff at fishing had him reel in a fish, which happened to be a gigantic ugly catfish. He took one look at it, jumped back several feet and screamed, "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!" No amount of convincing could get him close enough to it to take a picture.

We also visited Shannon's riflery class, in the spirit of stalking the kids with the camera.

Love the cheeks.

Shannon enjoys shooting and is a decent shot with a rifle.

Here's his model rocketry class.

Look closely and you'll see it descending. Then it was caught by a puff of wind and landed in the top of a tall tree beside the field. Very disappointing.

There it is, flapping in the breeze, taunting us.

Avery and Scrappy (Bailey).

Here are a couple of scenes from the Gobstopper Grab game.

I got to join some of my favorite Wayas for Sock War.

Elizabeth's favorite evening game observation point.

Final night Tribal Council games. Shannon's cabin had to keep balloons in the air.

After the games the tribes come to the campfire area for their final Lifeline, skill awards, and the announcement of who was the overall winner of points for the session.

Give me a "J!" You got your J, you got your J!

Closing day, after the ceremony. Amelia performed in gymnastics and drama. I have no pictures of it because my camera was acting ugly and wouldn't take a good one in the gym. I stole this one from Jenny's Facebook page. (Thanks Jenny!) The settings were all messed up on my camera on the automatic setting, which had been the case for at least six months. I searched the book on it several times for help with no luck, then one day randomly opened it to a page in the middle, and lo and behold, there it was! The help I needed! I pressed two buttons and it was back to normal. Months of frustration for nothing.

Third session went by really quickly, as one-week sessions tend to do. Amelia, Shannon, and their buddies had a blast. Amelia was thoroughly happy and tired. We started gearing up for fourth session right after this bunch left.

So what happened in July? You might not believe this, but it was more camp. More of the same, yet different, done the same, yet differently. Every session has it's own personality! Fourth was a really fun one because there were so many returning campers and so many of them were older. My goal was to officially get June finished in this post, so July will have to wait for the near future. I am making attempts to get on that better schedule I was talking about in an earlier post, so I'm making myself go to bed now.

School starts back for White County kids in two days, and since we try to follow the White County schedule I'm feeling the pressure to crank it up around here as well. We're going on a field trip to the Gainesville post office with some other home schoolers on Wednesday, so that will be our kick off. I love to start and end with field trips. I ordered a new curriculum this year in the attempt to make my life a bit easier and our school year more enjoyable. It isn't here yet, so I'm off the hook until then. :) Actually we will be spending time this week doing a great deal of figuring out what we have forgotten over the summer and need to review (them and me!). I'm still willing to take the regression/learning loss to get the kind of summer we had.

Shannon was talking to a camp mom the other day and summarized it best, I think. He said, "You know how summer just kind of blows away? I think it's because you're having so much fun." Amen.