Summer School

Pictures are coming, I promise!

Some things I've learned during a two-week, 4,000 mile roadtrip with Timothy, Temple, Shama, and Brian, and then two weeks at my grandparents' farm with Ivan, in no particular order . . .

1. God can find the best camping spots ever!
2. A better appreciation for the song, "The Happy Farmer."
3. How to prune blueberry bushes
4. I'm not cut out to be a goat doctor
5. How to build a fence across a stream cut down into a gully
6. How to weld without a welder (it involves a torch with a heating tip and a lot of time)
7. Human flight is possible--it's just the landing that hurts (Sorry Brian)
8. Just how much you can fit in a Ford Taurus!
9. How to amuse yourself in airports (surreptitiously hide non-transportable items in the bushes without getting arrested, flip pennies into cups, long for a hackey sack)
10. That I really like the Psalms of Ascent (120-135)
11. Grandparents are one of the best ideas God ever had (I'm so glad I got to spend some time with all of mine!)
12. Chickens are lots of fun--it's like Christmas every day, trying to find their presents scattered around the barn
13. How to train goats that it's not a good idea to try to run through electric fences
14. That I have the most fun when I'm helping other people
15. How to eat Injera and Wot (now I'm really looking forward to Ethiopia!)
16. What fun it is to meet familiar people in strange places (Your eyes sure got big Kelsey:)
17. How to do a backflip (Thanks for your encouragement Nana!)
18. What it's like to drive 46 miles on a dirt road through the desert (and how to hang on when a jungle-trained driver is behind the wheel!)
19. Not to spray Dr. Brauner's Peppermint Oil Soap in your eyes (Seems pretty self-explanatory, don't you think?)
20. That haircuts are much more exciting when it's your hair stylist's first time
21. Living rooms are meant to have hammocks hung in them
22. How to pack a car like never before! (see number 8)
23. Pea soup and grapes and carrots are lovely breakfast food if your Grandma can't remember anything else to make
24. That it's much easier to catch goats with someone to help you
25. How to explore the inner workings of a medical clinic without getting kicked out (Stride boldly down the hallway and don't hang around to talk with anybody official-looking)
26. How to get in to an exclusive restaurant just to look at the decorations (same as above, only with the addition of a determined Grammie)
27. How to drive a truck and trailer with aplomb (I had more practice after I left Montana, I promise:)
28. Roadtrips are more exciting if you have adventurous compatriots and manage to avoid planning every moment (Thanks for your advice Timothy)
29. That Wafflehouse tastes really good at 11:00 at night (and that some waitresses aren't sure where Maryland is!)
30. How to scale trees and then descend with the greatest of ease (have your friends belay you:)
31. That Adult Sabbath School is very different than Primary
32. Waking up to NPR at 5:30 in the morning is slightly obnoxious (I sympathize for you guys at OA!)
33. That there is still a lot of snow in some parts of the country (over 6 feet in the Blue Mountains south of Walla Walla, WA), and that Crocs are wonderful snow-storage spaces, (although this action may have unexpected consequences when the Crocs are otherwise occupied!)
34. Driving long distances is much improved by the addition of odd rituals:)
35. It can sometimes take longer to get from Y to Z than from J to Z
36. Beware of opening your mouth when known mischief-makers ask you too
37. A day just isn't complete without singing three hymns and having worship
38. It's handy to have a tractor around when you get stuck
39. To pay more attention to the special little things that God does for me (I call these mini miracles "angel kisses" :)
40. What a huge blessing Godly friends are (I realize this anew every day!)
41. Oregon has full-service gas stations (and the prices reflect the extra service!)
42. Shade is a very special treat (Ps. 121:5), whether you find it during a hike in the Grand Canyon or after pounding fence posts on a hot and humid Maryland farm
43. It's nice to to have your labor appreciated (and goats and dogs sure are appreciative when they've been fed!)
44. Desert sand makes for soft landings while slacklining--as long as you avoid the cactus spines!
45. How to get ketchup out of a bottle without making a big mess (Thanks Kravigs!)
46. Following hunches while driving can make for beautiful excursions and terrible detours (I don't advise doing it when it's dark, on roads that aren't on the map, and while driving a Uhaul truck pulling a horse trailer--you might have to try to execute a 25-point turn on a little dirt road and end up getting temporarily stuck in a ditch!)
47. Some tricks for getting optimum gas mileage (go slower than the speed limit and make friends with big trucks)
48. If you want to really get to know somebody, either drive across the country with them or build a fence with them or trim goat hooves with them (Common points between the three are lots of time together and sharing lots of pleasant and some stressful situations)
49. A little bit of sand goes a long ways (especially when used as a seasoning!)
50. And I've learned that it's possible to be homesick for a place you've never been too. Being separated from people I love makes me long for our eternal Home more than ever.

Wow, all that and more (I didn't want to take all of your time!) and it's only been a month! I wonder what God has in store for the rest of the summer:)



  1. Whats so cool is that you didn't have to pay any tuition (except for gas, I suppose) to learn all these neat life lessons. Wish I could have been present to learn more of these lessons with you. Oh well, I guess I learned how to give an enema in real life, so that's always useful. (yuk)

    ps. Lets get a hammock!!!

  2. You are a veritable fountain of Wisdom Joel! ... and humor. - Looking forward to seeing you at camp

  3. If you had driven a half hour south from the hot, humid farm with Ivan, you may have found a nice cool glass of mint lemonade waiting for you in North Potomac, MD.

    Maybe next time...

  4. Sounds like your trip was lots of fun! Saralyn and I had a nice cross-country trip as well. On #21, I've always wanted to hang one in my dorm room!

  5. Isn't it wonderful that life is never boring!

    I must admit that I was delightedly and utterly shocked to see you staring my direction at a church I had never been to in my entire life! The little reunion was fun. Who would have thought Emily would be there too!

  6. I just happened to look at your profile and saw the random question and your answer. I laughed :)

  7. Christy: I'm sorry you didn't appreciate your lesson as much as I did mine;)
    Alex: Great Range?
    Joanna: Hello to you too! How was alumni weekend? Yeah, things were pretty busy...and I didn't have any vehicles at my disposal other than the tractors...but those aren't the greatest excuses. I've been imagining how mint lemonade might taste ever since I read your comment:) Nice to know you keep up with my blog!
    Amy: It sounds like your cross-country adventure was just a prelude to all the excitement you've had since getting home ;) Petra Howe (Martina's sister) has a hammock in her living room too!
    Kelsey:I really enjoyed getting to see you guys! I suppose that will probably be the last time until next summer some time:( Keep me posted on breaking developments in the lives of the inmates of the House Beautiful, will you? :)
    Kristin: You found my nursery rhyme allusion more noteworthy than my compilation of lifewisdom? ;)

  8. Of course not :) But I figured since the rest of the blogging world had already commented on your newly acquired life wisdom, I would be different.
    However, I will now take the time to say that I'd be interested to hear more about numbers 7, 17, and 33, number 12 made me laugh, and I wholeheartedly agree with numbers 21, 39, and 40. In conclusion, number 50 was my favorite and the one I can most identify with.

  9. lol this brings back lots of great memories! Thanks for taking the time to share... Looking forward to learning many more lessons here at camp!


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