Rewind: Krayon Kids Camp – Joy*

Posted on my personal blog “Choosing Joy,” on July 18th, 2011.  Please read and enjoy!

*Name has been changed for the purpose of privacy. I have Chosen the name “Joy” because she brought joy to my life.

A few weeks ago I have had to wonderful privilege and opportunity to work at Krayon Kids Camp as a day camp counselor. The first half of my day I would spend with “the red group” consisting of mostly 9 and 10 year olds. I (along with the other red staff) would get them checked in, play games with the kids before camp, and then accompany the kids to their skills classes: vocal, dance, hip hop, and drama.

During lunch, which all the kids had together, so ages 7-12, I was just supposed to hang out with the kids, get the engaged with games and each other, and make sure they didn’t get into trouble. On the first day at lunch however, I met Joy.  I had already known that Joy needed some special attention, and for some reason I was very eager to meet her.  She was petite eleven-year-old, with shoulder-length blond hair. Her face was covered in freckles, and maybe some scaring, but I wasn’t sure.  I introduced myself, but mostly I just sat and watched her play.

In the afternoon, the kids were all split in different groups, workshops. They had picked which workshop they would be in when they registered for camp, but now came the chaotic part where we had to split all the kids up (not color-coded this time) and make sure they were all accounted for.  I had not been assigned a workshop that I would help in.  The camp directors just said they would put me where they needed me. With this in mind, I (trying to hide the eagerness) volunteered to go with Joy, relieving the camp counselor who had been her “buddy” in the morning .  I was briskly given an ok, and so I hurried off to join Joy in her workshop, which turned out to be “Glee Disney.”

It was an instant connection. As we started singing through the familiar Disney songs and learning the lyrics, we smiled at each other, beaming. For the record, I LOVE Disney songs. Apparently so did Joy. She was incredible. She sang so beautifully, and she had the most beautiful smile.  Before I knew it,  I was being told that it was time for me to take a break, and I realized it was mid afternoon, and I hadn’t eaten or taken a break at all. As I left, she looked at me with those beautiful eyes, saying, “You leave me? Please, come back soon!”

After that, I was given “Joy Duty” for the afternoons, and I loved it. Some days were good days, and sometimes they weren’t.  Her workshop was actually rather complicated. The kids were learning a medley of different Disney songs, with choreography. Joy pretty much already knew all the songs, which was great because I didn’t know how well she could read. She hated LEARNING the choreography, because they would play the same part of music over and over. She hated the repetition, and sometimes she just got tired out. So sometimes we had to have breaks and “Joy-appointed” time outs, just to talk and do puzzles.  She learned the movements to the songs pretty well, but I always stood next to her, as if one of the kids, and did the routines with her.  That seemed to help her a lot, helped her feel connected and helped her stay on track.  Joy wanted and tried to make friends with the other kids, but that was hard. For one thing, she couldn’t remember their names, but would identify the kids like “the girl with the feather in her hair,” or “The girl with the funny laugh,” or even better, “You know, THAT girl!”  Plus, I think a lot of the kids we scared of her, because she was really touchy.  I didn’t mind if she held my hand, rubbed my arm, or gave me a kiss, but a seven-year-old might.

As the week went on, things went more and more smoothly. Her laugh was incredible and she never ceased to amaze me. She even auditioned for her favorite song, “Kiss the Girl” from “The Little Mermaid.” She didn’t get to solo, but I don’t think she even understood. She was just happy that she got sing and “make the kids happy.”

I was originally told that Joy would not participate in the “end of the week presentation” at all. But as the week went on, I hoped and hoped otherwise. She was eager to do the show, and I wanted more than anything for her to do it too. I knew that the idea of performing in front of a ton of people could cause a melt-down, but I was willing to risk having to deal with that.  It wasn’t fair on her for her to practice so hard all week-long, and not have anything to show for it. So on the last run-through on Thursday, I had her do the whole thing without me. “Joy, can you show me how well you can do it?” She did the whole thing without a hitch. It was incredible. And the look on her face when she was looking at me, just melted my heart! I could see the pure joy on her face. Not only had she made me so proud, but she was sharing one of my favorite loves, singing and dancing.  After the whole thing was over she exclaimed, “Heather, Heather! Did you see me? I did SO good! I did it all perfect! Did you see?”

The Friday performance was there before I knew it.  I did have worry as we walked into the gym, for one thing because Joy hadn’t eaten any of her lunch. I knew it would be loud and echo-y in the gym, which could be a lot of sensory overload for her, for anyone hadn’t eaten properly. But we hustled in to the gym and got in to our spots where we sat and waited as announcements were made. Joy draped herself over my lap, and starting eating her lunch, right there on the gym floor. Finally the parents started to file in. The two of us watched and waited, looking for Joy’s mom. When most of the parents and there was still no sign of Joy’s mom, I  started to worry. I thought to myself, “I’m going to have a serious meltdown on my hands if this girl’s mother doesn’t arrive.”

The first groups started their performances, and still no sign of Joy’s mom. Good thing WE weren’t first up! Finally, right before It was our workshop’s turn to start, we spied Joy’s mom walking in the door. We waved, and she waved back, looking almost surprised that her daughter was with the other children, ready to join in.

The kids scrambled to their places and the music began.  Gotta admit, the adrenaline was pumping for me too. All of us camp counselors were kneeling in front of the kids, facing them, ready to prompt them with choreography. And then it started….and it was INCREDIBLE! The rundown of the songs went as follows:

  1.  Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast)
  2. Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
  3. Arabian Nights (Aladdin)
  4. Kiss the Girl (The Little Mermaid) 
  5. Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid)
  6. A Whole New World (Aladdin)
  7. Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast)
  8. Fathoms Below (Little Mermaid)
  9. Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid)
  10. Friend Like Me (Aladdin) 

Whew! A lot to learn in one week, huh? But ALL the kids did incredible! It was like a miracle. Joy had gone from flopping around and barely being able to handle learning the work, to doing the routines almost perfectly! I was so proud of her, and she was incredible to watch! Because she was SO HAPPY! I see so many kids just go through the motions with performing (and LIFE for that matter). But that is the special thing about some special kids like Joy aren’t always afraid to show how DANG HAPPY they are!  It’s just so simple: “This is what makes me happy, so here’s my lovely smile!”

Anyway, back on topic, Joy succeeded in every way. And her mother, with tears in her eyes, DEFINITELY agreed. Joy’s mother was very touched, and when I saw the look on her face, I knew I had been part of something miraculous. Her verbal gratitude toward me was beautiful. I am also pleased to say that I will most likely be babysitting Joy during the school year!

I finished the week feeling very accomplished. THIS is the reason I want to work with kids with special needs. It’s so fulfilling! I got to BE JESUS to this little girl for a week, and it blessed me SO MUCH!

Joy* and I on the final day of camp

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Rewind: Coffee Shop Ponderings

During the past few months, and years of that matter, I have spent a lot of time in various coffee shops. Coffee shops are good for a lot of different things.  They are good for charging laptops.  They are good public places to stay safe in. Some coffee shops are open in the early morning, some are open late at night, some don’t close at all.  This was some writing I did at a Starbucks in March. I was very frustrated because I had set up an ideal surrounding for myself to write, but then I couldn’t find anything to say.  I ended up writing like this for a while…”free writing” of sorts…and then went home very frazzled. In reality I was still getting some medications sorted out.

Anyway…take a peek tonight into the (sometimes frustrating) mind of Heather. Go ahead, and then tell me what you think!

Tonight is a night of pondering.

Thinking.

Evening Walking.

Caramel Latte. 

Jars of Clay. 

Reading.

Blogging.

I wish I had the ability to take what is in my head and get it in words on this screen. There is so much I am longing to say, I just can’t seem to interpret it into words. I feel isolated. Trapped within my own mind, raging to get out. Where is God when I need him? In the words of Psalm 42, why are you cast down, oh my soul?

Failure.

Loser.

Their talking about you. Nobody like you. What a joke.

Where’s my camp? Where is my safe haven? Nowhere. It doesn’t exist.

God, be good to me. I’m trusting you will unmuddle my head soon.

I can’t feel you. You’re a cement wall in the sky.  Frustration. Anger. Every emotion at once. Why is the writing thing sooooo hard? Why can’t I interpret what’s in my head?

Tebo’s.

Dance.

“Darkness is my closest friend.”

My story is one of uncertainty.

Nicotine and Caffeine.

I’m losing it…

Jesus I’m crying out to you. Cover me. Help me function. I can’t do this on my own. Send me an angel of hope.

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I’m on Facebook!

I’m on Facebook!

Why a page for me, “The Corpse Butterfly?” Well I’m not quite sure yet. But I guess I’m excited to share who I am.  My words, my music, my dancing. Its kind of scary. It was scary going downtown dressed as the Corpse Bride on Halloween night. It was scary when I picked up my purple butterfly wings for the first time at church. It was scary the first time I tried to take the zombie makeup off and the pretty makeup on in less than an hour. It is scary every time I share myself with someone else.  It might always be a little bit scary when I give in to the metamorphosis that is me in Jesus. Yeah…its scary. But it is SO GOOD. 

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Ponder With Me For Awhile

Ponder with me for awhile…

  • If Jesus came back today, would you rise to meet him in the air? Are you ready and waiting, are you’re affairs squared away?
  • Do you daily practice seeing the best in people? Do you see the people in you’re life as who they are, not gay or straight, catholic or protestant, black or white, male or female? Do you love you’re neighbor as yourself?
  • What does it mean to be clean before the Lord? Does one’s purity really depend on their physical body?  Is it possible for us as humans to learn to see each other as the Lord sees us, clean if we are in him?

And now maybe a few harder questions, possibly blunter than is conformable for some. But nevertheless, questions that need to asked, that must be mulled over. Please join me in wondering…

Do you refrain from jumping from conclusions about the people around you?

  • Those wondering hands? They have been taught that fondling is the only way to love.
  • That loud mouth? Its under the influence of substances and doesn’t even know it yet.
  • Those cut up arms? They Bleed because they eyes attached can’t cry tears.
  • The girl you call skinny? She knows that she resembles a corpse and no, skeletons are not considered pretty.
  • The dark makeup? It covers the dark circles caused by dozens of sleepless nights.
  • The panicky eyes? They have seen more in their few years than most in a lifetime.

Join me today in my questions. Think before you speak. But please, do speak. Somebody needs to. 

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Rewind: Children of the Light

Posted on my personal blog, “Choosing Joy”  on January 26th, 2013

 

 

From Darkness To Light

Eph 5:1  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

Eph 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

Eph 5:8  for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 

Eph 5:9  (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),

Eph 5:10  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 

Eph 5:11  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  

Eph 5:13  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 

Eph 5:14  for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 

“Awake, O sleeper, 

and arise from the dead, 

and Christ will shine on you.” 

 

Recently I have been studying and meditating on Ephesians 4:17-5:21, entitled “Living as Children of the Light.”  These are the verses that have especially stuck out to me. I love the that Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12) and that there really no such thing as darkness.  Darkness is simply the absence of light, just how those of this world live in the absence of Christ. I also love how the Tabernacle from the old testament was lit up inside by seven lamps reflecting on the gold interior (Exodus 37:17-24), as a visual that true light is from the Lord, as reveled by Christ in his teachings.  Also, when Moses was in the presence of the Lord on Mt. Sinai, his face was radiant because he had seen the Lord face to face (Exodus 34:29).  This demonstrates the figurative way that Christ radiates through him when we are in him; when we are children of the light. The word for “light” in this passage is the Greek word φῶς (phōs) which is not the word that would describe how the sun or another object shines, but is usually used in reference to God. Another way that the last phrase of Ephesians 5:14 can be translated is “and Christ will give thee light.” Christ shines his glory upon us who are in him, but also illuminates our lives, we become translucent and Christ radiates through us.  As the light exposes ourselves, Christ becomes evident in us as we daily die to sin and awake to our identity in the Lord. 


I am encouraged by the fact that God chooses to use me to radiate his light if I remain in him! The rest of this passage shows what it looks like to be a child of the Light, but in short, we are to imitate Christ and the way that Jesus lived. What an honor to bear his essence, I am truly blessed to be a blessing. If only everyone could understand the honor that we have received to be considered children of God, children of the first, true and only light.


 

I am blessed to be the hands your grace

I am blessed that one day I will see your face

Your face that is the light of the world

Your face will be all I see…

Blessings on you today, may you too learn and desire to live as a child of the light!

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Thoughts of Halloween

Today marks my third official year celebrating Halloween.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with this day, and I think I always will. I’m not going to get into a debate today on the ethics and theology of Halloween, I have many friends who both embrace and deny it.  I do believe it is a special day though.  I think that things happen on this day that don’t happen on any other day of the year.

 

Many different memories come to mind on this day.  I remember the dress-up box getting put away, because God knows who would get us if we dressed up on October 31st.  I remember being kept home from activities and church groups because of the costumes.   I remember our curtains being closed, locked out from the whatever evil the rest of the world was doing.  I remember all the candy that I would somehow get a hold of after the holiday was over.  I knew there was something magical that I wasn’t getting to be a part of. 

 

Two years ago I went to my first Halloween/harvest party.  I dressed as Ragity Anne, and prepared at my friend’s house.  I watched her and her current finance’ fight and yell about his drinking habits, and was thankful that I  wasn’t getting a ride home with them.  The friends I did get a ride home with was lit up with glow sticks and thankful we weaseled our way out of a ticket when we got pulled over.

 

Last year I made a warm welcome to Halloween at swing dancing and community college.  I prepared a killer costume of Deb from Napoleon Dynamite with the help of friends.  I organized a group of my friends to go to a special costume swing dance event.  Amazingly, the people I spend that night with are some of the friends who have supported me greatly this year.  

 

And this morning I found myself stranded in North Portland, dressed as the corpse bride, to exhausted and scared to get myself home, watching the city go by.  I made it to school around noon where I was treated like a celebrity due to my costume and rising networking status.  After crashing in a friend’s car, I made to downtown Oregon City where with my theater company we brought in the evening with a bang.  Soon I will make my journey back to Portland where I have the best of friends waiting for me to make sure I have a safe and fun night, whatever I need that to be.  

 

 

Stranded in North Portland!  Making the best of things as the corpse bride hangs tight waiting for a ride on this crisp beautiful hallow's eve morning. #corpsebride #halloween #lovethiscity

Stranded in North Portland! Making the best of things as the corpse bride hangs tight waiting for a ride on this crisp beautiful hallow’s eve morning. #corpsebride #halloween #lovethiscitySo tonight I am blessed.

 

 

To tonight I toast to the people that have stood by me through thin and thin.  I toast to those who have been affected by my careless words and behavior.  I toast to my friends who are rising above the gossip and rumors in order to keep people safe.  I toast to the Lord because he is so good, and I toast the devil because he reminds us how beautiful our God is.  The clouds have a silver lining, because the sun is so much brighter. GOD BLESS YOU ALL! 

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With You in Spirit Tonight

Here’s another letter from a relative I received today. God is with us!!!

 

 

 

I remember swing parties and will be with you in spirit tonight, even though we are separated by some 66 years and an entire continent. I’m also excited for you as you prepare for your Great Adventure and will be mailing a contribution soon. 
 
I will also read your blog and email you from time to time. (I’m not a big Facebook fan.) When I turned 18, I had just finished my first year at Lindenwood College, a small Presbyterian school in St. Charles, MO, just outside St. Louis. I was on my own for the first time and loved every minute of it.
♥♥♥
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Rewind: My Journey Towards Choosing Joy

Below is a compilation of personal blog posts telling the story of my special horse and I, and the way we learned to trust together.  Please enjoy the stories and pictures.  Stay tuned for more posts telling about my more current experiences with horses, including a trip to this ranch just a month ago! 

Continue reading

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Swing Dance Fundraiser…Less Than a Week!

The countdown is on!!! The Swing Dance is Friday night!!!

swing-dance-81

Now that I have lots of information about my trip and what I will be doing, I am even more ecstatic to share about it in this great night of dancing!  I am being blessed so much already by the people who are helping me put this event together and who have RSVPed!

For more information about the event please visit my earlier posts Fundraiser Swing Dance: To Kona and Beyond and Swing Dance Fundraiser Reminder and Update.

You can RSVP on the Facebook Event or on Google Calender

Thank you and I hope to see you there! Please feel free to introduce yourself!

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Welcome to the HeartBridge Performing Arts & Media DTS!

Aloha and Welcome to HeartBridge, Performing Arts & Media DTS!

We are so very happy to accept you as one of our 2014, JANUARY quarter DTS students! You are an answer to our prayers, by join our calling to Know God and Make Him Known through the Arts and Media.

Friday, January 3 /  There will be orientation and a welcoming Celebration. ( We are encouraging every students to bring one small gift from your nation to present to the Lord as gift in this day. 

Monday, January 6 / Our first full week of lectures begins.

Right from week 1 (Jan.6) – week 12 ( March28) the daily schedule will include Lecture content, plus Skills Training, which involves learning/rehearsing 1-hour long production called “Coming Home. If you want a glimpse, check our website:   www.goheartbridge.com  or www.uofnkona.edu  – Performing Art (we will give you the weekly schedule on Arrival Day.)

Then,  March 30 – June 30 will be tour ( Outreach ) to the Hong Kong ? and South Korea for 3 months. ( Cost is $6,000 )- Please open to change. We are still praying.

( We might have HeartBridge Company extended tour in Korea for one or two more months. )

During week one, it is our custom to hold auditions for every student to try anything you want. That will help our very experienced staff to identify your best gift for JESUS.

Many students have been asking what date they should book their return home. I recommend scheduling your return ticket home some time around July. 1-3.

And we might recruit few people for “Heartbridge Company” extended one or two more months tour in same nation we are ending if we see your skill level is intermediate to pro and character is mature.  Also we will have time to recruit for next our staff.  Then if you want to move into next YWAM, Kona Staff or other courses then YOU need to Change the date for your return ticket later.

For your information, we also have an incredible continual secondary school Biblical Foundation for the Art ( Sep. ) & School of Performing Art 1 ( Jan.) scheduled to start as module course towards AA or BA degree for the U of N, that may serve as the perfect warm up for you to join our two-year Performing Arts degree track called “Center Stage,” which runs from early as September , 2013. Please check the course info :www.uofnkona.edu and you can register through online after completed your DTS.

We welcome any student who has successfully completed the PADTS to audition for our full-time performing arts company called HeartBridge if your Art skill is  intermediate or professional level with mature character .

Well, we are so excited to see you soon and pray for you that God will protect you and provide everything you need.  May all your friends and families will blessed by your obedience to God!

Friends, I am humbled and overwhelmed.  These last couple days God is making his plan so clear.  His timing is not our timing, his ways are not our ways.  But he does have our joys and dreams in mind.

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