Valentines Day is over. Pink and red and hearts and flowers and cupids and chocolate and chick flicks and…
The day of LUV has come and gone. My friends and I have joked that Valentine’s Day would be more aptly named “Singles Awareness Day.” The truth is whether you have a sweetie to snuggle up to or simply a box of See’s from your grandma, it’s a day where you are keenly aware of who loves you. This silly holiday evokes emotions ranging from bliss to despair. All this got me thinking… how often do I stop to think about the lover of my soul? What do I feel when I think about God loving me? Do I really believe He loves me, do I celebrate and giggle with my friends over it? How does He love me? The answers are deep and as type these thoughts Zephaniah 3:17 comes to mind:
The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Who could ask for a better Valentine than that?! I think I’ll dwell on that for awhile. Perhaps the Day of LUV has just begun…
Twenty-seven interviews in two days. Needless to say, we are deep in the thick of interviewing summer staff for 09.
We travel up and down the state (and around the country) chatting it up with potential staff. Sure we ask some of the cheesey interview questions and sure some people come dressed in a suit and tie and sure everybody’s nervous, but I love it. We catch all these glimpses of the greatest commandment being lived out in college-aged students lives.
We may not flat out ask, “Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? and “Do you love your neighbor as yourself?” But in the way they share about navigating confrontation, putting others needs above their own,and living out their faith, they answer “yes” to both of THE questions.
It’s simple. It’s beautiful. And the icing on the cake is seeing Echo Alumni (like Johnny, Caitlin, PJ, Sarah, Lisa, and Lorianne) who I have seen live out these great commandments during summer apply to come not just as campers, but as staff.
Hello cyber friends this is the first of many blog posts to be seen. Let me just start by blogging to you about blogging. We will find our blogness and eventually blog it up….. Huge! But for now we just can’t get our blog on without a little blogedy blog so the call goes out to you. The readers. The “Peeps” if you will of our little community which floats around in space until you choose to point and click, drag and drop, cut and paste, view and link, or better yet respond to the great blog. You have our commitment and so from this point on blog we will, and we will. But for you the readers, the thinkers, the cyber patrol, the future of this country, will you respond? Will our blogs go unread? Will they fall on deaf ears or blind eyes. Have you done so much computering that you have lost the will to save this thread? I hope not. So for those about to BLOG we salute you. Blog ON and Blog out. See you in space and hopefully some day we will have real human contact.
Blogeddy blog blogo
I was asked this week to teach the interns here at Mount Hermon on the topic of mentoring. (there are about a dozen interns here each year—they’re a fun part of our team here). Anyhow, as I prepared for this time I wondered who would be a better mentor…Spock or Yoda. Now I’m no Trekkie and I can’t say I know all of the Star Wars movies by name, but I do know those two characters would be a great way to compare and contrast some of my thoughts on mentoring. (what’s that show where they make modern day personalities with claymation and battle it out in the boxing ring?—who would win that Spock or Yoda? I digress…).
So here’s the deal. Yoda is this all-wise trainer of the Jedi’s. He was really old and wise (and pretty spry in those light saber battles!) and had a long list of successful Jedi. I think he did some work with Darth Vader who didn’t turn out so well, so he wasn’t perfect, right? Then there is Spock. I know less about this guy/Vulcan. He was this no-emotion, all logic part of the crew…and he had those killer pointy ears—but Yoda did too—even bigger! I also remember as a kid we’d do the Spock grip on each other’s neck—ouch. I don’t remember if he actually did any training of anyone but I do know that he was always true to himself (is he a self?). What you saw is what you got.
When it comes to mentoring, we’re just supposed to give what God has given us. If it is a skill we’ve learned, a gift of encouragement, knowledge or wisdom or just a listening ear and caring heart. Our job is to pass on what we have received from the Lord to others who will then pass it on as well. I run into a lot of people who still feel inadequate as mentors, and many of them have years of experience and training! The sense is that they often fear they will not provide what is needed for each person or that they have too many imperfections in their own life. While those challenges are real, the reality is that anyone can give away what God has given them. Just be yourself, discern what God has given to you and pass it on.
Spock vs. Yoda? I’m thinking Yoda would probably win the death match claymation thing since he’s got that lazer sword and sorta flies when he fights, but mentoring might be a toss-up. If I wanted to learn about flying a spaceship on pure logic and chase cling-ons he’s my guy/Vulcan.
Ponderosa Lodge’s ministry began June 25, 1969. I found out whenever you begin something new there are a lot of unknowns and we certainly experienced them opening the Lodge. The Dinning Room and Forum were not yet finished so we ate and met in the Multipurpose Room downstairs. That opening year was so anticipated by Churches and people in the Bay Area that we overfilled and had to open up another week before Counselor Training. Yep, we ran a week of camp with no training. It made the following week of Counselor Training a very special week because we came at training with a need to know how to counsel!
That first summer we only hired 24 counselors – 1 per cabin. So there was not rotation that first summer. Ponderosa’s programming goes from 7:00 a.m. until about midnight most days so I had visions of purchasing pine boxes for each of the counselors at the end of that summer. They held up really well and it proved to be a great unifying factor that summer and continues to this day.
We purchased an 8’ in diameter ball to use on the Recreation Field the first day of summer. The camp was divided in half and positioned on each side of the field…the ball in the middle. The object for each team was to run to the ball and push it across to the other team’s goal on the opposite side of the field. I blew the whistle and every one went flying to the ball. The fastest person from each team impacted the ball at the same time which catapulted them into the oncoming crowd. A counselor hit his head on the knee of an oncoming student and went into convulsive shock. (Remember we only have 24 counselors for 24 full cabins!) He recovered and was back in the cabin later that afternoon with a purple heart. From that time on we had the teams circle the ball and push it back to their own goal reducing the inertia from a straight on direct hit.
In order to get into Ponderosa Lodge in the early days you had to bring a friend with you. We were focused on evangelism at that time in the Bay Area. My most vivid memory is seeing the number of students lined up outside John Fisher’s back of the Forum closet office to talk to him about following Christ. Because John was on the cutting edge nationally of the changing worship styles the students respected him and wanted to know about the Jesus he wrote and sang about. John did the work of an evangelist and was one of the most effective I have ever experienced. The whole staff took on the challenge to love and reach out to students in a time of national upheaval and God brought so many into the Kingdom that summer. I still look at that 1969 Staff picture and thank God for what He accomplished through that special group of people
Jacquie and I are so looking forward to Ponderosa Lodge’s 40th Anniversary this summer. Can you believe that is has already been 40 years since we started that ministry? Save the dates of August 21-23, 2009 for the big celebration and plan on coming it is going to be great! If you were on Summer Staff, a Camper, a donor, a Mount Hermon Associate, or one of the people developing this ministry/facility, we need you to come and help us enthusiastically celebrate!!! More information following…keep your eye on this blog.
One of our Writers Conference faculty, B. J. Taylor, sent this blog today. Enjoy!
When the professional photographer set up a fan and started blowing my hair around I wanted to yell STOP. Wind-blown hair, flying all over the place, that’s just not me. It felt uncomfortable. It felt like I wasn’t in control–every strand of hair wasn’t perfectly in place. It felt well, different. But I told myself it was okay to stretch, to take a leap of faith, to stick my neck out there…to blow in the wind. So I let her take the shots. And I looked at them when she was done. Hmmm…I liked it. I was out of my comfort zone, but it felt kind of good.
I wondered if I was in a comfort zone with my writing. Reach out and try new markets? That would be too scary. Speak at a women’s event? Goosebumps would break out all over my body. Write a novel? Too daunting to even think about.
But what am I getting by doing what I’ve always done? I’m getting the same thing as always. So for 2009 will you join me? Let’s take some chances, fly with the wind, dare to risk. Let’s stick our necks out. Here’s a list of some of the things you might try:
- Write a book proposal for that idea you have.
- Speak at an event, or join a speaker’s bureau, to get your feet wet.
- Make an appointment to talk to an editor or agent at a conference.
- Submit to three new markets.
- Begin to work on your novel (you know you’ve been thinking about it!).
- Take a class to beef up your writing skills.
- Join a writers group.
What else can you think of that is outside of your comfort zone? It might be a little scary and feel quite uncomfortable, but pretty soon if you keep doing it you’ll become more and more at ease with stretching, growing, and blowing in the wind.
Fly with me in 2009. And if you want accountability, send me a quick email to tell me WHAT you plan to do…and then as Nike says, “Just Do It!
Follow your dreams…
B. J. Taylor
I just uploaded the form on the web that helps registrants know what the publishers, editors and freelancers want to see and are willing to critique. It’s the most important form for writers to see so they can make intelligent decisions as to what person they want to peruse/critique their pre-conference manuscripts. Have at it, writers!
Keep praying for more writers to sign up even though the economy is difficult at the moment. We’re excited about what God wants to do through this time together.
Thanks so much,
Director, Christian Writers Conference
The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference has long been the standard by which all others are judged. I attended their first more than 30 years ago and have been back nearly 20 times. It’s been a kick to see it grow.
It may seem strange for someone who hosts his own writing conference every year to, in essence, endorse the “competition.” But I’ll admit it: Our Christian Writers Guild’s Writing for the Soul conference patterns itself largely after the Mount Hermon conference. It was there I learned especially the value of a deep lineup of workshops and exposure to book and magazine editors and veteran authors to evaluate manuscripts and counsel people on their writing futures.
Mount Hermon also offers inspirational keynote speakers and great music, and the friendships and professional relationships begun there can last a lifetime. My entire adult life has been immerced in writing, editing, and publishing, and I still like to attend writers conferences as a conferee. No matter where a writer is in his or her journey, we all need to remain lifetime students of the craft.
Jerry B. Jenkins
New York Times best-selling author of the Left Behind books and Riven; owner of the Christian Writers Guild
I cannot begin to recommend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference enough! It’s always held Psalm Sunday weekend in the awe-inspiring redwood forests of CA. I credit this conference (God-inspired, of course) for landing my contract with Multnomah for my passion book, Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer.
Just so you know, I didn’t sign a contract there, but met the editor who would champion my book all the way to a contract. Networking is invaluable, especially these days when many publishing houses will not accept freelance work. It pays to know someone. Editors are looking for fresh talent at conferences. That is one major reason they participate. When you send in a query and submission to a publishing house and can say you met the editor at Mount Hermon’s Writers Conference, you’ll most likely get your project looked at.
So I encourage you to go to Mount Hermon’s Writers Conference. You will learn tons, make invaluable contacts, and begin wonderful new friendships. It’s not cheap, but nothing worthwhile is. If you can’t go this year, start saving your pennies for next year.
There are a number of wonderful conferences out there, but this one, hands-down is the best–la creme de la creme! And what other conference could beat those renowned redwood trees? Go for it!