An Unexpected Adventure – A Guest Post

Hey all! Emma here. I am here with a GUEST on the blog today! My brother Ethan, whom I so frequently refer to as The Bro in my posts, has agreed to share his latest adventure with you all today. This is something I have been hoping to do for a long time, so I am very excited. So without further ado, may I present…


An Unexpected Adventure – by Ethan


Once upon a time, I was bored. And by bored, I mean pretty much every day I have off. Since my hobbies consist of metal detecting, an adventure, or fishing of some sort, there’s not many times I can fulfill my desires because I cannot yet drive and I must rely on someone else to take me.

So with the help of Google Maps I found a pond and it’s the only body of water within feasible bike riding distance. So without hesitation I packed my equipment and fishing pole into my backpack. Luckily the fishing pole broke down into two pieces so it could be transferred safely. I rode like the wind with high hopes that I may have just found a fishing hole.

Once I arrived I realized what I had found. It was, in fact, a hole. What Google Maps did not tell me was that it was a retention pond from the gobs of parking lots surrounding me. My enthusiasm shrank as I was preparing my tackle and readying my pole. This wasn’t quite the paradise I was hoping for.

Though there were fish that I saw, I was targeting bass and as I gazed across the two acre retention pond I realized that the depth was slightly lacking. (Depth is usually a good thing with bass fishing.)

I strapped on a fake minnow and cast it out. It is my go-to bait. Within minutes a bass had started following my lure up to the shore, where I was standing. And then I knew. I had found my heaven on earth.

A few months later…

Once again here I am, bored, on my day off. I had already begged my parents and sister to take me fishing. With no surprise, they said no. Even though my paradise was an answer to prayers, it felt as though the challenge had left because the pond was so small. But as it was my only choice, I packed my tackle into my backpack. I returned to the pond in hopes of catching a bass worthy of mentioning.

I had walked around and fished half the pond with no success, when finally, I was able to outsmart one of the bass and haul it in. It was no trophy, being sixteen inches and two and a half pounds, and it only partially fulfilled my craving for fishing. I released the bass when another fish came up out of nowhere.

I quickly changed my lure for another presentation when I heard rustling in the leaves. I had seen a bird earlier so I glanced over my shoulder, but the foliage was too thick to see anything. I was having difficulty changing lures and again I heard rustling in the leaves next to me. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.

It was a skunk.

Among the many expeditions I have undertaken, never once have I encountered a skunk so close. It was five feet away, under a bush. I was startled by the white-striped mammal and immediately I dropped my pole and, faster than a bolt of lightning, ran along the trail. I thought it inevitable that I would be taking a bath in tomato juice but to my surprise he didn’t spray. I stopped about thirty feet later, to make sure I was out of range. I had never felt so hunted in my life as I realized it was following me. I yelled and threw a branch near it to try and scare it away, but my attempts were futile. It kept walking along the same path as I, with its own signature waddle.

This saying has never been more true to me: Between a rock and a hard place. On one side there was the retention pond I hoped never to enter. On the other, an eight foot chain link fence, lined with barbed wire. I was truly trapped. With one way to go and the path not wide enough to go around the skunk, I had to simply retreat farther down the trail. It seemed that nothing would stop this juggernaut. (And the definition of juggernaut would be, a massive force, not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped.)

Having retreated all the way, I finally got to the point where it was wide enough to hide in the bushes, hoping it would pass. As I stood in the bushes, not only had the skunk lost sight of me, but I lost sight of it. Thinking I had outsmarted it and it would walk by, I stood there for a while. I couldn’t help but entertain thoughts of the furry ninja sneaking up and ferociously attacking me. With every passing moment I expected to get a closer look at this animal, but it didn’t happen.

Once I realized it wasn’t coming I stepped back out onto the trail. I crept up to where I last saw it and it had vanished. With my experience in the woods I had not forgotten to look up. Yes, up–into the trees. It was no surprise that it hadn’t ventured upward, but I wanted to check, just to make sure. Better safe than sorry.

With further investigation I stumbled upon a hole in the ground. It was in fact the only hiding place that the skunk could be. I deemed it wise to end my investigation there, as provoking the skunk any more, might have resulted in a foul stench on the ride home. I placed a stick over the hole so that I’d know if it crept out again. I hustled to where I’d ended my fishing expedition and packed up. The stick had not been moved, and I made it safely back to the bike, and headed home.

The moral of the story would be: There’s always the chance of adventure in anything that you do, even if you’ve done it over and over again for months.


Thank you Ethan for being a guest on my blog! I hope y’all enjoyed the post. We had a lot of fun putting it together! If anyone has any questions or comments, comment below and Ethan will answer for you. 😉 Ciao! ❤

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A Flamingo Flocking Adventure

Before I can share on my most recent adventure, I should make sure everyone knows what I’m talking about so we’re all on the same page. Flamingo Flocking. Have you heard of it? People place a bunch of plastic yard flamingos in a someone’s yard with a sign that says “You’ve Been Flocked!” The recipient of these birds must then give money to a fundraiser or a charity before the birds will be removed from their yard.

PC: Amazon

For the month of July a group of us has taken to flocking our friends. Our flock is rather puny. Twenty birds. Three of them don’t have stakes. One of them doesn’t have a head. But that’s the best we could do.

And what would you know–we got flocked! You’d think that maybe we’d get a free pass, but no. All in good stead because after all, the money we’re raising is going for a good cause. Since the Bro and I are a part of the group responsible for the flocking, we get the pleasure of moving the birds to a house of our choice. Oooh, the possibilities…we pondered over this for a while, and then picked our victim.

Late Wednesday night the Bro and I drove out to our victim’s house, pink birds in tow. Upon arrival we saw that they were still up, watching TV. We’d have to make sure that they didn’t see us. We parked the car on the side of the road, and just as I was about to close my door, I hear from the Bro,

Don’t lock the car! Do you have the key?”

The reason for the Bro’s inquiry would be this: I have a history of using the button inside the door to lock the car, not the actual key. The members of my family live in a constant state of worry, wondering if I’ll ever accidentally lock the key in the car this way. Of course we all know that I would never do a thing like that. I, of course, had the key safely in my front pocket.

We gathered the birds and crept into our victim’s yard. This was our first time flocking a house, but we knew enough to wear all black. Still, we were careful to move slowly and hunched over so we didn’t give ourselves away. Totally ninja. We decided that we would only take a few birds at a time, sneak up to the house, plant them, and return for more. By doing this we could be sure we wouldn’t make a bunch of racket trying to untangle the birds’ necks from each other.

It was good fun, sneaking back and forth. Also a little disconcerting when I thought about the fact that we were this close to their house and they didn’t know we were there. We staked our flock in their front yard, and I even put one of the stake-less ones on the front porch. Our mission accomplished, Ethan and I decided to run back to our car and git outta there.

On the run back I checked my pocket to make sure I had the key. The pockets in my jeans are so shallow, it’s ridiculous. But yup, the key was still there. Good to go.

I slowed to a walk, panting from the exertion, as we crossed the road to our car. I reached into my pocket for the key…and it wasn’t there. I checked my other pocket, and my back pockets as well. I had just had it, but now it was gone!

I ran my hand through my hair. “I don’t have the key,” I told my brother. I shook my head in disbelief.

“Yeah you do,” he replied. Pretending I don’t have the key had been a prank I’d pulled on him several times, albeit, unsuccessfully. Except this time I wasn’t joking.

No,” I said, “I’m not joking. I don’t have the key.”

Not only was it dark outside, but their yard was also huge. Huge-huge. Hard-to-find-a-key-in-the-daytime-let-alone-at-night-huge. Was this really happening?!

“I did have it,” I said. “I checked before we started running. It must have fallen out while we were running.”

Well, we had to find it, but we couldn’t do it without a light of some sort. I was the only one who had a phone so I turned on the flashlight. It was bright! I tried to shade it with my hand so that our victims wouldn’t see the light out their window. We’d been successful up to this point and we couldn’t get caught now, not while we were looking for the car key lost somewhere in their yard!

“Where did you lose it? Where were you running?” We tried to backtrack as best as we could. The flashlight on my phone was too bright and I worried that they would see the light so I turned it off and used the light that came from the screen instead.

“I think…I think I was over here.” I moved to the right a bit and continued walking forward, towards their house, in search of the little black and silver key.

Then miracle upon miracles–less than five minutes into our search I bent over and picked up the key lying in the grass. “I got it!”

“Oh my gosh. Good. Let’s go!”

Gripping the key tightly in my hand, we booked it back to the car and hopped in. We heaved big sighs in relief. “I can’t believe that just happened,” I said.

“How could you lose it?”

I told him how it fell out of my pocket, then I added, “Wouldn’t it have been funny if I’d locked the phone in the car too?”

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Shall We Go Zip Lining?

Shall We Go Ziplining? | Majestic Adventures

So let’s be real here guys…heights? Not my thing.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go zip lining. This was not my first activity choice. My first choice was a 3 v. 3 basketball game, which I didn’t want to miss. Lucky for me, basketball wasn’t until that evening. Translation: I had plenty of time to go zip lining.

Yeah…lucky me.

Zip lining in and of itself sounds like a bucket and barrel full of fun. (And I’m not being sarcastic here.) It’s not the zip-lining that’s the problem…it’s that whole height factor. I mean…yeah. There’s not really much more that needs to be said about that.

I got my harness on and stood in line, waiting for my turn. I was feeling pretty good about it, too. This is going to be no big deal, I thought. I mean, how hard is it to walk up the steps to the platform and slide down? This will be easy.

That’s how everyone was making it look anyways.

Everything was going fine until I started walking up the steps with my friend. I thought, is it too late to turn back? Probably…I’m up here…I can’t back out now…Fear can’t win…can’t be that hard, right…I guess I’m going zip lining, folks…

My hands were gripping both sides of the rail and I was not going to look down.

At the top, the zip liner dude in charge of the whole shebang checked my friend’s harness. After, he checked mine. Adjusted it. Checked mine again. And again. It was making me nervous.

As he admitted my friend and I onto the platform, our harnesses having passed the safety inspection, I had to ask the question that was running through my mind. Because there was no way I was going down without asking it.

“Um…is there some sort of weight limit on this thing or something?”

Zip Line Dude looked up at me and said, “Yeah, only 1,400 pounds.”

I laughed, trying to brush off my nervousness. “Oh, right, so, I should be safe then, hahaha…I’m not going to fall…”

So now I stood up there, on that platform twenty-five or so feet in the air, with railing on three of the four sides. (I never stopped gripping said railing.) It was daunting. Totally not a fan. I searched the people below for my brother, who had just finished his own zip lining expedition, and was now safely on the ground. He waved.

I took a few deep breaths as I watched my friend go down the zip line. It looked like fun, and I did want to do it. I was just a little…uncomfortable, up there where only birds, airplanes, trees, and mountaintops are supposed to be.

I didn’t want fear to keep me from trying something new, but this was…eergghhh. I’ve been listening to this great new song that was released two days ago, and I thought of it as I was up there. It’s called Fearless by Jasmine Murray. (I’ll share it at the bottom. It’s awesome!) Fearless. Well, shall we go zip lining?

“You can sit down and go off that way,” Zip Liner Dude said when I didn’t really make a move towards actually, you know, zip lining.

“Okay…yes…that sounds like a good plan…” Somehow that option sounded safer than just hurling myself off the edge. I don’t know.

I sat down, and I could hear my friends cheering me on from below. I closed my eyes. I’m going to do this. I’m not going to think about it. I’m just going to…GO!

With a scream (terror or thrill, not too sure) I was off, speeding down the zip line…it was soooooo fun guys! I went a lot faster than I thought I would, even as I scooted off the edge. Some people before me tilted upside down, but I was just excited about doing it upright, I didn’t even think about going upside down. Not that I would want to if I had happened to think about it.

I was mega excited as I regrouped with my friends. I DID IT! That was a feeling of great accomplishment.

And hey, if you have 3 minutes and 3 seconds, I really like this song. I think you might too! Happy Music Monday (on a Sunday, because I don’t feel like waiting, haha.)

Much love, Emma xoxo

Behind the song for anyone interested…

 

Kozmo the Explorer

kozmo-the-explorer

I have a black lab mutt named Kozmo. That’s him, pictured above, bathing in the summer sunlight, one of his favorite pastimes. And of course I’m bias, as every pet owner should be, but I think he’s the most adorable puppy-wuppy on the planet.

This puppy-wuppy also happens to be eleven years old…so he’s not much of a puppy anymore. But like any mother and her child, I shall always refer to my dog as my baby, no matter how old and gray he gets. We’re best buddies, my mutt and I.

The one thing about Kozmo is that he likes to explore. What dog doesn’t? I can only imagine how monotonous it must be, trapped in the same fenced backyard, day after day, year after year. Like Rapunzel in Tangled, they must wonder what’s out there, beyond their tower.

Kozmo likes to explore beyond his tower when he can, ever since he was a little bitty puppy. Even in his grandpaw-old age,  don’t let him fool you. He still gets excited and can run fast when he wants to.

It wasn’t too long after we got the Koz, a sleek little puppy only a couple months old, that we lost him. He was so tiny (smart?) that he decided to look for the one fence picket that’s spaced a little farther apart than the rest and squeeze right through to freedom. Finally we found him curled up underneath the steps in the garage. I guess as a puppy, the world seemed too big and intimidating for him to go far. Another time he did the same thing, and the neighbor lady caught him. Eventually he grew too large for such shenanigans, thank goodness.

When that happened, Kozy decided that the back gate was a good way to escape. If we happened to forget to close it while working in the yard, he would take advantage of the perfect opportunity. Kozmo would make sure we’re not looking then bam! He’s gone. Off to explore the neighborhood. What’s really fun is trying to catch him. The Koz has a tendency to wait until you’re five feet away before running off again. It’s lovely, truly ‘tis.

Too big to fit through the fence and with the back gate securely locked, Kozmo had to figure out something else. His new plan of escape? When the screen door was open to let in some fresh air, he would push it open with his nose and walk down the stairs, to freedom, the door slamming shut behind him.

This got really annoying, because it would happen all. the. time. Whenever the screen door would slam shut, someone would shout, “Was that the dog?” One time Dad, The Bro and I were working in the yard. Kozmo needed a drink of water so we put him inside. Later, I couldn’t find the dog anywhere, but I finally figured out he’d escaped through the screen door.

To solve this problem we bought a baby gate to put up whenever we wanted the screen door open. It works great!

Oh, and here’s a question for you! Have you ever had your dog run away while hosting a costume party? Kozmo thinks that all our friends come to see him. He’s a very extroverted dog (around most humans; we never did really get around to socializing him with other animals). Using the push-on-the-screen-door-and-escape trick he was able to waltz out into the front yard as we were greeting our guests for the costume party. And off he went, exploring the neighborhood again, before any of us could stop him.

The Bro chased after him first, his black cape flying behind him, as he was dressed like a phantom. Soon he returned, unsuccessful, and Dad went in his place. Kozmo went through a few people’s backyards, but Dad finally got him back. But what’s really funny you guys, is that my parents even dressed up for our costume party. And guess what Dad was? A bum. He ran through people’s backyards, chasing our dog, dressed as a bum. I thought it was hilarious. Dad…not so much.

Another good one is when we got a phone call from some lady, her saying, “I have your dog here. He’s such a good dog. He hasn’t even tried to get the chicken off my grill!”

Yes, he’s such a good dog. Although he’s not a chicken thief, so #score! No, in all honesty, I would say that my puppy is a very good puppy. Once in a while he’s a little naughty, but for the majority of his eleven and a half years, he has been the best (also only) puppy I’ve ever had. He has to put up with me running into him in the night (it’s dark and he’s black) so I can deal with him running away. It’s a “crazy little thing called love”. (Hey Mom…you know what that is? It’s a song. Hahaha…)

Perhaps in a later post I’ll compile some of Kozmo’s silly little quirks, but for now, let me ask you: Can anyone relate? 😀

Much love, Emma xo

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3 Tips for an Improved Sledding Experience

3 Tips for an Improved Sledding Experience | Majestic Adventures

Sledding.

It’s a wonderful winter pastime; a true classic for kids and adults alike. I love sledding. It’s so fun. Of course, in order to sled, you need three things, all of which are essential.

  1. A hill to sled down,
  2. A sled to sled with,
  3. Snow to sled on

All three together, you have an afternoon of fun waiting to happen. For years I have enjoyed whizzing down the hill, running back up, and sliding down again. My brother and I have made ramps and bumps to hit and invented a couple games to play.

Through it all we have accumulated quite a few sledding stories. From those sledding stories, tidbits of knowledge. And those tidbits of knowledge? Well folks, that’s what I am going to share with you today. If anything, my trial and error won’t become your own–that is, you’ll learn something from my past (and failed) experiences.

Sledding Tip #1: Don’t Walk on the Track

There is always a section for walking and a section for sledding. These are always two distinct areas; never one in the same. That way as you’re walking up, other people can sled down. As you’re sledding down, you won’t hit people walking up. Nice, right? Another plus to this is that when the snow freezes hard, your track won’t be a frozen strait of footprints. A frozen track of footprints makes for a bumpy ride. Don’t walk on the track.

Sledding Tip #2: Be Wary of Ice 

Ice is the best thing to sled on because of the speed factor. To feel the wind against your face as you speed down the hill…ahhhhh!!! It’s so fun. One year we arrived to the sledding hill only to discover that everything was covered in a layer of ice. Of course we had to stay and try it out. We slipped and shuffled our way up the hill and soared down. It was a blast! Except we couldn’t make the return trip up. The result of trying was falling flat on your back. Ice is fun, but only in limited quantities!!

Another potential hazard of ice-sliding is not being able to stop your sled when you reach the bottom and possibly hurting yourself. (My mom will be nodding and saying to herself, Mm-hmm, when she reads this.) But as long as you avoid the big ice boulders where snowplows have dumped their snow, then you’re perfectly fine!

Sledding Tip #3: Know How to Steer

I have been sledding for years. I know how to steer a sled. But if you saw me last week, sledding down the hill, trying to hit a snow ramp? You would’ve said to your buddy, “Wow, that chick needs to learn how to steer.” As you watched me circle and circle and circle and circle my way down.48-in-wham-o-snowboogie-alpine-rocket-foam-sled-15498

Last year I broke my sled while sledding. I really love these foam ones because they are nice to land on after hitting a ramp. They are pretty sturdy. Assuming you don’t land on the handle a bunch of times and break it off, like I did. When I found two new foam sleds at Salvation Army, I was stoked! Last week my brother and I got to try them out for the first time. But for the life of me, I just. can’t. stop. spinning. And I have no idea why! I’ve tried shifting my weight, sitting on the back of the sled, the front of the sled, lying on my stomach (I can go mostly straight when I do that). I usually sit on my knees, you see. Anyways, before I had it 100% figured out, I thought I would hit the ramp we made.

Bad choice. Just as I was about to hit the ramp, I turned sideways and demolished it. After rebuilding, I tried again. Only this time, I hit it backwards, flew in to the air, and landed on my side. My brother encouraged me to try it again, so I did…and I hit it straight on!! The landing was less than graceful though.

Oh, here’s another one I just remembered. Instead of ramps, my brother and I decided to make these speed bumps down the track. We dug small trenches and built bumps and hit them. The Bro went and then it was my turn. But as I went down, my sled turned sideways.

“Don’t hit it sideways!” he yelled, but I didn’t hear. As he later described to me, I looked like Superman slamming through a skyscraper and skidding to a stop, leaving a dirt trail behind me.

Practice makes perfect and once I figure out this doggone sled, I should be able to steer just fine. (It’s not me!)


Okay y’all…I think that’s it! All I can think of at the moment, anyways. 😉 All the information in this post has been gleaned from past and personal experiences, though I do not claim to be an expert. 😉  I’d love to hear about your sledding experiences in the comments below. If there’s one thing I love about winter, it’s the sledding…it’s so fun!

Until the next time, folks! Happy Almost New Year!

Emma xo

The Case of the Missing Ring

 

Case of the Missing Ring | Majestic Adventures It’s only been a few days, but I think you’ll get a kick out of how I lost my ring (like I lost my earring a few days ago). So I thought heh, why wait?

Ironically, I lost my ring because I was trying not to lose it.

Let me explain.

My brother and I met some friends at a ball field to play some baseball. I love a good baseball game. I can usually hit a double; sometimes a triple. That might be because there’s only two or three people on a team and one, possibly two of them are in the outfield. But it’s still really fun.

As I was going up to bat, I noticed that my ring was starting to slip off my finger. I bought my ring, a heart-shaped opal ring (really pretty; I love it) while we were on vacation a few years ago. Since it was coming off my finger pretty easily, I slid it into my pocket and carried on as usual.

The game was over a while later (though I can’t remember who won. We can just say that my and my brother’s team won. I’m cool with that). The bro and I got on our bikes and headed home. We were in a hurry because we were going to see a concert with the family later that night, and I was really looking forward to it.

I got home and was getting ready, and that’s when I realized…my ring was gone. (Sounding familiar to those who read my last post?? Aack.) After checking the pockets of my jeans, I began to get frantic because it. was. not. there.

Where on earth was this thing??????????

We had to leave soon!!!!!! I don’t like to leave things unfinished (i.e. a search for a missing piece of jewelry).

I had really gotten used to it being on my finger, so my middle finger felt a little naked and cold.

Same tune, different words: everyone began to help me look for it. I searched everywhere. I had carried my clothes to the laundry room so I checked the whole path that I had taken. I got on my hands and knees and looked around the bathroom. My brother and I got on our bikes and back-tracked it to the ball field in search of this thing, checking the roads and everything.

Sigh. There were many tears. I couldn’t find it. I had to leave for the concert before I could find it. I was praying that I would, because I really loved that ring. It especially irked because I had been trying not to lose it but it was still lost!

Why do I lose things? I don’t mean to. I really do try to take good care of my stuff.

It’s just one of those things, I suppose.

Despite all that, however, it was a really great concert. I had a lot of fun.

Until I got home and was reminded that my ring was still gone. 😦

But you know what’s really cool?

I think God just picked my ring up from wherever I had really and truly lost it and plopped it right in front of me. Because the next morning, having still not found the ring, I ventured into our basement for something-or-other.

The light caught something just right, and in my peripheral vision I saw a glimmer. Simultaneously I felt a glimmer of hope as I turned, and looked….

In the middle of the basement floor was my opal ring.

And folks, I know that thing wasn’t there last night. I scoured those floors looking for it. Anyone for a miracle, folks? 😀

My ring was sitting right in the center. In the center!

Oh, glorious day! I was ecstatic, as you can well guess!! Ah, it was a happy day. Very happy indeed. The lost ring was indeed found. We can stamp that case closed!

But you know, it’s strange how used you can get to wearing a ring or a bracelet. It feels weird when you lose it and it’s not there anymore. (Not that I lost my bracelet last month or anything, no, why would you think I’d do something crazy like that???)

(FYI I found it. #score)

Yes, my ring and I were reunited. Would you believe me if I told you that two months later a prong in my ring became loose and the opal fell out while I was at a park?

Oh jewelry. I don’t think it agrees with me, but I wear it anyways. It keeps life interesting.

 

You Might Know How To Make A Fire…But Can You Actually Do It?

You Might Know How to Build a Fire...But Can You Actually Do it? | Majestic Adventures

I know how to make a fire from watching Survivorman and Bear Grylls and Man Woman Wild with my brother. The experts always say that it’s harder than it looks–but c’mon, how hard can it really be if you got matches, right? Hahahahahaha.

Rewind! I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I believe I’ve mentioned before…I’m not a big camper, peoples. So when I was asked last-minute to be a camp counselor at a Christian girl’s camp, I didn’t really…want to. Camping! Camping isn’t my thing! But as much as I’ve been doing it lately (three times this year) it might become my thing, hahahaha. Anyways, I felt like the Lord was telling me that being a camp counselor for one week was a good way to serve Him this summer. So, I went.

Between the other counselor and I, we had fourteen girls with us and they kept us busy. In spite of the busyness however, things were actually going just dandy! Every night everyone would participate in what the camp calls a “Great Special”–some form of game that’s great and special. 😉 Every night the Great Special changes. One night it was kickball. Instead of bases, you had to stand in piles of rotten sauerkraut and green beans. Yuk!

Tuesday night, however, was different. Instead of the whole camp doing the Great Special together, each counselor took their girls and built a campfire, had s’mores, and the girls put together and performed their own little skit. It was rather…intimidating. I never went to summer camp as a kid and it was my first year being a counselor at one. I felt thrown into it, but the other counselor with me had had camp experience which made me feel better. Still, I desperately wanted to do a good job.

We set the girls to work gathering small sticks and things to use for kindling. The sticks were placed into piles according to size, but much to my dismay, nearly everything around us was either damp or still green. Not very, but enough that I wondered how well this was going to work. Once we had a pretty good amount of sticks to start with, the girls left and began practicing their skit leaving us to get the campfire started.

“I know how to make a fire,” I told the other counselor.

“You do? Perfect! I will leave you to it then.”

I began to build the fire. Smallest things first, the tiniest twigs and other dry stuff that’s good for starting a fire. Then build a teepee around it with a little bit bigger, bigger, bigger, sticks. Making sure to leave a way to get the match down to the small kindling.

Meanwhile the camp director was making his way around to see how us counselors were doing with our campfires. When he checked mine, he said that it looked like a really good fire, though I had yet to light it. I felt proud. A little too proud, perhaps.

After he left, the girls performed their skit for us. It was hilarious, and very long. We lost track of time, and before we knew it an hour had passed. It was time for me to light the fire. I pulled out the tiny book of matches and stuck one, holding the flame to the twigs. As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs so I didn’t panic when it didn’t light on the first match. But as the second, third, fourth–twentieth match was lit and extinguished, I became overwhelmed and frustrated. It was nearly dark. I had forgotten my flashlight back at the cabin. I had a headache. The girls were all asking when they could have marshmallows.

Last match. I whispered a prayer before I struck it and held it to the kindling. I got a small flame! I blew gently to try and grow it. When the embers fizzled away, I wanted to cry.

“That was the last match,” I told the other counselor with me. “What do we do now?”

We used the walkies and asked the camp director to come down. I was extremely embarrassed; the feed went through to everyone else and I learned that the other group had a fire going. When the camp director came, he brought along a blow-torch of sorts. He said the same thing I thought–the kindling was bit too green, but we also needed a little more of it. I borrowed a camper’s flashlight because by now it was seriously dark, and helped gather. And finally–at long last–we had fire.

“Thank you so much,” I told the camp director as he stood. “The girls are so glad to have marshmallows!”

Maybe he knew I was still embarrassed. “You did a good job. The other group used dryer lint,” he told me.

We had a fire, everyone got a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers, and everyone was happy. In the end, I learned a couple important lessons to help me if there’s a next time…

1. Building a fire? Definitely harder than it looks

…especially on your first try. No matter how much you know about building one, it’s still a tricky business if everything’s not just so. There’s no shame in asking for help.

2. Don’t count your chickens before their hatched

especially if said chickens are a small book of matches. You go through them quicker than you think.

3. Have fun

because camp is about having fun. We still had a blast with the skit and spending time outside together and worst case scenario is eating a raw marshmallow and chocolate. Plus it’s making a memory.

4. Dryer lint

apparently really helps. Or a blow torch, but dryer lint is probably more accessible, especially at summer camp.

 

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Let’s Go Fly a Kite

 Lets go Fly a Kite | Majestic Adventures

♫♪Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights…♪♫

Yesterday afternoon I was humming this Mary Poppins song as my brother and I took our kites to the nearest place we could fly them. It’s been in my experience that our backyard isn’t the best place. It may or may not have to do with my tendency of letting the kite take as much string as it wants, even with a pine tree looming nearby.

Upon arrival, I was having a semi-hard time getting my kite to stay in the air. The wind was changing directions on us and coming in sporadic gusts. My brother’s kite, which in the sky I thought resembled a blue, green and pink striped flying stingray, caught the wind easily and had little-to-no trouble staying in the sky. His kite was soaring with the birds and mine was mingling with the worms.

“Want to fly mine so I can get yours in the air?” I had been trying for a good twenty minutes with no fruits to my labor, so I agreed. He handed me the little red handle to his kite and set to work.

Something about seeing the kite so high in the sky…. The field is open except along the fence line, where there are big tall maple trees, which is the direction my brother’s kite was flying. But it would be fine, I’m sure, so I let the string go, go, go, and the kite went higher, higher, higher. Soon I had all the string out.

The horror of horrors–the kite started to dip down, right towards the trees. The kite had been a gift from our grandpa and I knew my brother would be none too thrilled to have his kite stuck 50 feet in a tree. I turned tail and ran, pulling the string in at the same time.

When I turned back around, my brother exclaimed, “You were ten feet away from those trees! You’ve gotta be careful.”

Duly noted.

I began to give the kite more string so that I could eventually hang onto the little red handle. I’d dropped it while pulling the string in to save the flying stingray. A strong wind took the kite and pulled the string through my fingers and gave me string burn, the younger sibling of rope burn. It still hurts the same though.

Somehow in my attempt to regain my control, I got string burn on my forearm and where my elbow bends. More string burn to the fingers and I was done–it hurt and I let go of the kite.

The little red handle dragged along the ground as the kite gained more freedom, unrestricted from the string. “Oh no!” It began to lift off the ground, and it all happened so quickly that I didn’t do anything except stand and watch. It was five feet in the air when my brother turned around, jumped after his kite and heroically snagged it.

Now it was coming down. “It’s my kite and I love it!” He saved his kite from nose-diving into the trees by running as quick as he could.

As everything returned to normal, he told me that I should be more careful. He had that look like he thought it was halfway funny, but yet, not. I basically told him I hadn’t meant to let go, but fleeing from something that hurts is my natural reaction to pain. He told me he didn’t really trust my flying judgement anymore and I thought that I might agree with him. I really did–and do–need to be more careful.

In the end, my brother does still trust me. He proved that by actually letting me fly it again, since we never could get my kite in the air. I managed to safely maneuver it without any more close calls. And I say all’s well that ends well.

Right?

 

 

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Let’s Go On A Happy Adventure

Lets Go On A Happy Adventure | Majestic Adventures

For the past few summer nights, I’ve had the urge to go outside and catch fireflies. Instead, I stayed inside and watched them light up, all the while thinking, “It would be fun to go out there and catch some.” I felt like I was too old.

Rewind a little bit to the past winter. It hadn’t even snowed yet but I was already dreading it. Then a very timely thing happened. I read a blog post where the author said something to the effect of, “I never want to stop anticipating the beauty of the first snowfall.” Something clicked.

When I was little, I couldn’t wait for it to snow. What had happened to that eager anticipation for the glittery snowfall? As I got older I’d decided that snow was too bothersome. I realized that I didn’t want to be like that. I wanted to be excited again. The rest of the winter I remembered those words, and my attitude changed. In the morning, I woke up to a sparkling winter wonderland and smiled.

I doubt you expected to read a post about snow in July, but as I was sitting on our deck watching these fireflies, I was thinking, it’s kind of the same thing. At least in my mind it was. I’ll try and connect the dots for you, but if it still doesn’t form the picture, then it apparently is one of those things that only makes sense in my head.

Last night we had homemade elephant ears for supper and sat on our deck to enjoy the evening, which was beautiful. As expected, the fireflies soon made their appearance. I watched them and thought I should go out and catch some, but I didn’t. In a way I think I was afraid that it wouldn’t be as much fun anymore.

And then, pfft, I realized something: I’d gotten the same way about snow. My attitude had changed. But once I put the right perspective on it, I remembered that snow could be pretty amazing sometimes. (I say sometimes because I’m not a personal fan of shoveling 2-1/2 feet of the stuff every other afternoon. 😉 )

So last night I thought I’d try the same thing with the fireflies. I’d stop thinking I was too old for something I wanted to do and I’d just do it. I went inside, got a jar, chased them around the yard, and put them in my Ball mason jar. I didn’t care that I wasn’t the typical lightning-bug-catcher age. I just went with it. I didn’t go in thinking, too old, no fun, blah blech blug. And when I went in with the right attitude, I discovered that yeah, catching lightning bugs is still fun to me.

Your attitude towards the situation does make a difference. The snow can be good or bad–it depends on how you want to view it. You can be too old to catch fireflies in your backyard on a summer’s night–but only if you say so. You could absolutely fail your math test because you’re not an A+ math student, or you could go in trying your best.

And sure, there are some things that I’ll grow out of. But I don’t grow out of them because I feel like I have to; because I feel like I’m too old for them. If I’m going to grow out of something, I want it to be because I’m moving on with my life and going on to even more exciting things. My dolls might not go on outdoor adventures anymore, but I do. I go exploring all the time, something that I couldn’t do when I was little. I’ve told you guys about some of my adventures even: meeting that muskrat in the woods, for instance. Adding outrageous amounts of baking soda to a single batch of snickerdoodles.

SAM_2788

The rest of this summer, I’m going to go on happy and joyful adventures. I’m going to wonder why my lightning bugs won’t light up while they’re prisoner in my glass jar but never stop blinking when they’re free. I’m going to pick a gallon of wild black raspberries at the sacrifice of my arms and legs being full of scratches. I’m going to get sort-of lost on a bike ride and call my parents to figure out “Just where exactly am I and how far away is the nearest cross-road?”

And I’m going to go into every situation with a good attitude about it. Well, try to. Jesus is still working with me on the “every situation = good attitude” part. But we’ll get there.

Happy summer, guys. Go on adventures, and have fun with it.

xoxo Emma

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Me and the Raccoon

Me and the Raccoon

A while ago I posted Me and the Muskrat, in which I tell you about the time my brother and I went on a walk through the woods and a ferocious brown furry animal attempted to eat me (or so I thought at the time, in my panic-stricken state). This past Memorial Day weekend while I was camping with friends, I was reminded of my harrowing ordeal years ago, in which I met the masked creature of the night–the raccoon.

It all started one Sunday when my church announced that there would be a three-day tent camping trip in July. Awesome! I’d never been tent camping before–or camping in general as it’s not really my “thing”–so I was ready and even excited for the trip. It was going to be a lot of fun; we were going to be in the woods, eat s’more upon s’more, learn about God, and get eaten up by bugs.

I love this part!
I love this part!

When the day of departure arrived, 33-ish people met at the church to divvy into car pools and begin the three-hour drive to the campground. In order to save time, everyone had agreed to pack their own lunch so that we didn’t have to stop at a McDonald’s or Burger King on the way up. My lunch was mostly left uneaten in my bag, because not too long into the car ride, I began to feel a little car sick. Iiiggh.

So, understandably so, I was exceptionally happy to finally make it to the campground. Once there I began to feel better, and helped the others set up the large tents and carry the supplies to the little patch of dirt we’d call home for the next three days.

To make our trip go as smoothly as possible, the leader spelled out a few rules. One of those rules was “no food in the tents”. The reason for this, of course, was so that no wild animals would smell it and try to get it. Somehow that rule went in one ear and out the other, because along with the bag that contained my swimsuit and sleeping clothes, was the bag that also contained the uneaten PB&J and potato chips. Both went into the tent. I never even remembered.

The first day of camping went awesomely. We hiked through extremely hot sand and swam in extremely cold and clear water. We had s’mores around a campfire and when midnight came around and it was time to go to bed, I was exhausted.

I should’ve been all ready for bed–and I was, decked out in my pajamas with my teeth freshly brushed–except for one little, itsy bitsy, teeny tiny thing. I had to go to the bathroom.

This, my friends, is why camping isn’t my first choice of vacation. You have to walk a half mile to use the campground-shared bathroom.

I remembered and followed the buddy-system rule and asked my mother to accompany me, since she was like the only one who hadn’t fallen asleep in our tent yet. She agreed, only after telling me “You should’ve already!” Yeah…sorry!

We joined hands and set off down the trail, the only light coming from our flashlights. I played my flashlight along the edge of the trail, keeping it just ahead of my feet.

Everything happened so quickly. My light shone on something oblong-ish and furry. Before my mind could tell my feet to stop, I kicked it! Oblong and Furry squealed when it got kicked and I screamed. I yanked my hand free of Mom’s and darted down the path, not stopping until I heard my name being called. “Emma!”

I was gasping for breath after having ran most the trail, and I shook while I waited for my mother to catch up, whom I’d left in the dust.

“I heard a shriek and a squeal and then you were gone!” she gasped. “What happened?”

At the time, I swore that what I had kicked into was a skunk. But I wasn’t sprayed (thank goodness!) and Mom remembered some of the guys in our group spotting a raccoon earlier that day. It must have been a raccoon!

We made it to the bathroom and back without further incident, but we huddled together and swung our flashlights around at every little noise, in case we should quite literally “run into” the Masked Mammal again. But that one 3.734 second encounter was enough for me, so I didn’t feel too badly. I doubt the coon did either.

Two awesome and fun days later I still hadn’t seen, heard, or kicked the lil creature again, and now it was time to go. While I was stuffing my things back into one of my bags, I found my lunch. The barely touched peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the mostly-filled baggy of potato chips. My eyes bugged when I found it, and I showed it to Mom.

“I forgot I had this in here!”

Her mouth dropped into an O. “Emma! At least no bears came to get that!”

While there hadn’t been any bears, looking back now, perhaps, just perhaps, that raccoon smelled the peanut butter through the plastic baggy, through the fabric bag, through the tent, through the woods, through its little nostrils and thought to himself, Mmmm, that smells like a nice supper. I think he probably stalked me out.

He probably was following his nose at the time I kicked him, intent on breaking into the tent and stealing my sandwich. Bandits do wear masks, after all! He is probably a relative to this guy:

Me and the Raccoon
This ‘coon knows where the good stuff is. Here he’s pictured on top of a dumpster at a pizza place.

If that were the case, maybe, just maybe, it was a blessing-in-disguise that I kicked the little guy by mistake. Dealing with a tent full of screaming and if my reaction was any indication, kicking girls, a sandwich (half eaten at that) just wasn’t worth it and he decided to scamper on home. I may have single-footedly saved my tent from a raccoon encounter by my midnight trip to the facilities.

Although, if I had remembered the rule in the first place, there would be no lunch in the tent and none of it would’ve happened in the first place…

But we’ll just ignore that little tidbit.

 

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