phase 2:

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phase 2:

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i want to start obsessing over things a little bit more. maybe obsessing isn’t quite the right word. how about….. passionate. i want to be passionate about more things. er, i want to be wild about trying new things or doing stuff that i’ve always wanted to do but for some reason i don’t make time for. i want to sew until my fingers are raw. i want to put art in a gallery. i want to make fearless art (because i often limit myself). i want to learn italian someday. and i want to cook from scratch more often. i want to learn calligraphy. and shoot, what’s holding me back? only myself if i really think about it.

so here’s to today. and here’s to taking risks.

 

i’m gonna go buy fabric.

ladies + gentlemen, it certainly has been quite some time hasn’t it? sophomore year has commenced, i moved out, and low and behold, i ventured up to new york city. having that that was the most exciting/interesting part of my life since i last wrote, that is what i’ll expound upon.

i had the strange opportunity of a lifetime to shadow a photographer in NYC during fashion week. a little girl’s dream right? and somehow it was becoming a reality for me. i hopped on a plane the second week in september and before i knew it, i was in a cab on the busy streets of the concrete jungle. such a surreal experience. it’s almost hard describe! and since i feel like i can’t do the trip justice with my words, pictures will do just fine.

the main entrance to the shows at lincoln center

no one famous, just a duo strutting their stuff

crop top + a hat outside lincoln center

THE manolo blahnik shoe store, aka a playground for the shoe obsessed

sarah jessica parker inside monolo blahnik for fashion's night out

sjp smiles while she signs; all too surreal- fashion's night out

seth meyer bartending at coach- fashion's night out

drake performing a live show at versace- fashion's night out

backstage @ rebecca taylor

backstage @ rebecca taylor

ambiance inside the tent at the rebecca taylor show

inside the show at lincoln center- rebecca taylor

crowd shot waiting to get in at the high line

bold colored street fashion

you've got male- street fashion

corner street fashion

bright orange steps- street fashion

holy architecture- location unknown

street fashion outside of prabal gurung

a blur of corrine bailey rae- outside prabal gurung

militia-like jacket- outside prabal gurung

street fashion- prabal gurung

brightly colored street fashion- prabal gurung

arrival at prabal gurung

model for prabal gurung

model from prabal gurung

helmet lang

the stride- helmet lang

helmet lang

helmet lang

street fashion with feathers- lincoln center

street fashion on wheels- lincoln center

inside timo weiland

timo weiland

timo weiland

timo weiland

lincoln center

cityscape at night just outside lincoln center

 the thing is, the pictures could never do it justice.

wow. 2 months exactly since my last post. boy, has my life been through the fire, been on top of the world, been heavy with sorrow, been bursting with joy. needless to say, much has happened in the span of 60 days. and it’s a little hard to know where to start.

camp is officially over. and an onslaught of bittersweet emotions took over– my closest friends dispersing into different states. leaving one of the most beautiful vistas of the blue ridge mountains. being able to sleep in. coming home. moving away from a place where the heartbeat is Jesus Christ. seeing my parents. seeing alex. seeing my friends that i left in knoxville on may 15. not having to cook for 300+ people. not having a lake in my backyard. see, bittersweet.

as i am writing this, i am thumbing through the pages of my “little black book” for the summer. aka my journal- which just so happens to be little and black. when asked what i learned from this summer, my instant reply is: patience. but that is not the only thing that is on my radar to be put in to practice now home. right now i want to delve into the different circumstances that caused me learn patience. that caused me to learn what it really means to be third. that caused me to learn how Jesus really lived his life. get ready for some transparency. here goes:

june 14: today was by far the hardest day in the kitchen. i left twice crying. which is utterly embarrassing… but it’s true. i can’t even put into words how much frustration i was facing today. i dread going into the kitchen. i just feel like all of my joy has been robbed from me. God please change my heart.

that is how it begins. and that was my prayer daily. kitchen work surprised me on just how much work is involved in order to mass produce meals for nearly 400 people. the middle of june was probably my low for the summer. i felt very confined, very in the shadows. frustration hit me from every corner… because i let it happen. my own pride got in the way for a lot of the summer. i wanted some sort of recognition or applause for all of the dirty, behind the scenes work that myself and the other 2 kitchen crew members did on a rigorous daily basis. this led to more negative attitudes than i’d like to admit. like i said in my journal entry: i felt robbed of all my joy. i found discouragement when i would look out the windows of the dining hall and see counselors with their campers playing in the lake all afternoon. i often felt useless during the times i could go to cabins at night. all in all, i felt pretty meaningless. God please change my heart.

june 17: right now, i’m sitting on a little dock with my feet in the water, yet all i’m soaking in is God’s beauty. I see the blue ridge mountains, trees that are full of life, all kinds of song birds, and God’s children running around like they own the place. i love every bit of it. God please give me a pure heart and a steadfast spirit. i have neither. but long for both.

as you can see by the dates, the Lord works in little ways. he knew that i had been stripped of joy, and he renewed the joy with himself. which is how it should be. i was seeking the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

june 25: the enemy loves attacking my fragile spirit. God, i need your help more than anything. i feel like the enemy will be ever present in the weeks to come. but Lord, i know you’re faithful. you’re stronger than he ever will be. please fight for me. i know i can’t do this alone. on my own, i would just quit. let me be used by you.

i’m finding it difficult to add to this prayer, this plea. i must have been reading psalm 60:11 that day, “give us aid against the enemy.” satan attacks our soft spots, and he knows exactly how to bring us down with ease. i knew that i couldn’t wage war with him alone; i sought the Most High to fight on my behalf. especially since i was already feeling defeated.

june 28: i feel as if joy is squeezing its way into my week mercilessly. i can feel prayers being sent my way. how awesome is God. he is a masterpiece-maker, and he’s in the process of perfecting his image of me. God provides for his children like no one else can. he blesses those who love him abundantly. God is interceding on my behalf, and i could not be more thankful.

i distinctly remember this time in my life. the two weeks leading up to this point were extremely difficult for me. but throughout all of that, i was able to recognize the Lord’s blessings. he cares for those who love him. he will never abandon them. that is something that i’ve always heard, but this summer, it actually meant something. God was working in my life even though i felt like quitting; i recognize this now. i saw God’s provision in many ways this summer. blessings of hope and joy were what i took to bed with me that night, and i clung to the Lord’s will for me to be working in the kitchen despite my selfish wishes. this is when i began to understand that i am not working to gain approval and applause from everyone at camp. i only want, i only need applause from the Lord. then i was plagued with thoughts of: am i worthy of His applause? he knows my heart. and i am absolutely not worthy. yet he loves me the same. our God is so good.

july 21: God, reveal to me a piece of your love. a love so astounding that i can’t fully understand it. God, thank you for never leaving me. you know when i am in distress, and you hear my call. thank you. thank you. thank you. i’m so ready to go home right now, but i am thankful for God for placing me exactly where he wants me. and that place is here at camp.

accepting my position at camp during the month of july changed my attitude entirely. i recognized what real servanthood was. serving with your whole heart and now to entertain others or seek their approval. i learned to be patient in circumstances that i would normally not be patient about; i learned to be patient with others. i also learned thankfulness. we should be thanking the Lord always. he has blessed with so much!

throughout the summer, God was at work. in campers’ lives, in counselor’s lives, in full time staff’s lives, in my life. all summer long, i had the privilege of helping out in a cabin during the times that i didn’t have other obligations… aka at night because otherwise i would be caught with a chef hat and an apron on! everyone on op-staff (ie: nurses, kitchen staff, program staff, etc.) chose a counselor to assist for the rest of the summer. i happened to choose my dear, dear friend missy smith. she impacted my summer immensely. the Lord is truly using her story for his glory. she is someone who is willing to follow the Lord no matter what the circumstances. she is someone that i cherish and someone that i am ever so thankful for. spending time with her cabin each week was a highlight always. on wednesday nights, i was able to lead devos which was always an exciting time for me. that was my chance to share my testimony with the girls and have real talk about what they deal with back at home. missy told me that lots of walls were always broken down during this time, and i am just giddy that they were! to think that God would use someone like me to work in his children’s lives. that’s just awesome. plain and simple.

and now it is all simply a memory. campers are gone. counselors and op-staff are back home. i love visiting those memories… and revisit them more often than i probably should. so many silly times and so many serious times. this summer was an  extremely hard summer for me, but it was also an extremely fun summer as well: climbing on real rocks, creating some of the best friendships i will ever have, spending hours at the lake on saturdays, playing in mud puddles during work hours, pouring ice cold water on the camp director, painting, laughing with missy for long amounts of time, singing in the kitchen like a fool, doing german band at skitsophrenia (you’d have to be there…), attacking chris with cake batter; i could probably go on and on. my closing remarks are this: God is at work even when he seems distant. he will never abandon his children, and he brings us to difficult circumstances to make us more like him and to draw other to him. give thanks to him always. he will never fail us.

i’ve come to the conclusion that weeks feel like days and days feel like weeks. when it comes to waking up in the morning and going to bed at night, it seems as if there are at least 72 hours in one day. (just think of how much could be done if there actually were!) with all that being said… it is easy to get sleeeeeeeepy!

i felt a bit broken this week. i felt many frustrations and much discouragement throughout my days (which seemed to last weeks). i felt as if i just couldn’t get my act together towards the beginning of this week. i was late to the kitchen twice this week. once, was very significant….. an hour. you see, i had my alarm set at 4:40 so i would be up and in the kitchen at 5; however, i turned my alarm completely off and woke up at 5:53. such a disaster. i had never rushed to the kitchen so fast nor had i apologized about lateness in excess to that extent. it turns out the delivery truck had just arrived minutes before i did, so that did soothe my soul a little. but not much! it was definitely a God thing that i fell back asleep and woke back up when i did though. throughout all of these frustrations i’ve faced this week, i’ve learned to be more dependent on the Lord and to be extremely observant of my surroundings and why God called me to be where i am. God’s purposes far outweigh my little frustrations and complications even though i might not understand his reasoning at the time.

On the flipside of frustrationland, the campers i was able to be around this week were such a blessing. when i have free time and at nights, i hang out with missy smith and her cabin. i love missy to death. she has such a cheerful spirit and a glow that shines Jesus through and through. i just love getting to know her more and more. on monday, she told her girls that i absolutely loved bear hugs… from that moment on, i received about 20 bear hugs a day from 9 + 10 year olds. and i adored each one of them. these girls were especially sweet this week. i enjoyed loving on them more than they know. they were all so curious about the knowledge of the Bible and asked deep, inquisitive questions pertaining to it. you know, the questions that we’ve all had that are nearly impossible to answer. “how did God get here? who created him? how did Jesus ascend? will such-n-such be in heaven? how do you know God was never married?” try explaining what a bridegroom is to a 9 year old… good times, for sure. each girl was so sweet though. it was such a joy being able to spend time with them, even though it was only for a little while each day.

the Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

psalm 29:11

this verse spoke to my every need this week. plagued with tiredness and restlessness and distracting thoughts, the Lord wrapped a blanket of peace around my shoulders and a strength to push through tiredness that i was unaware i had. rereading a journal entry from the day that i read this verse pinpoints the exact struggles that i had been facing this week. how thankful i am for peace from the Lord and for his healing hand. each distraction was satan’s way of pulling me away from Jesus this week, and i do not want to let him have a foothold. especially in my mind. each week… shoot, each day allows me to learn from the Lord and calls for dependence on him. there are so many things to be learned. and so much of God’s glory to behold.

one cool thing i made in the kitchen this week: s’more brownies. brownies + marshmallow creme + crumbled graham crackers. and voila! dessert deliciousness.

please continue praying for all of us here at camp! some specific things you could pray for me about: having a good attitude at all times, wisdom when speaking with campers, a diligent heart. for our counselors: wisdom and God’s strength to push through tiredness and illnesses. full time staff is always in need of much prayer too! thank you so much. the Lord does indeed hear the prayers of righteous people.  in addition to those, please read the following link. https://www.facebook.com/notes/woodlands-camp/urgent-prayer-request/10150194021982035

thank you so much to those of you who have written letters. you would not believe how encouraging they are throughout the week. one letter is sometimes a day changer for me. so if you have an urge to write……..

courtney gibson

1242 old blue creek rd.

cleveland, GA 30528

p.s. i’ll be home next weekend!

also, about 30 kids accepted Christ this past week at junior camp! can i get an amen?? that just brings happiness right to my heart. also, all of the support stuff (ie: kitchen staff, extreme counselors, nurses, etc.) were able to move into the new cabin. it is such a blessing. the Lord does indeed hear the prayers of righteous people.

hello friends.

a whirlwind of two weeks has passed since i last let the public see a speck of what goes on in my heart and mind. and i tell you what, whirlwind is probably the best word to describe those fourteen days. there have been ups and downs. new relationships have been solidified. Christ has been glorified. and lessons are being learned.

i’ll start with the new fun things i’ve tried at woodlands: longboarding. yes, longboarding. i want to be able to do it by the end of summer. (for those of you who do not know…. longboarding is simply skateboarding…. on a longer board). slack line. which is basically tight rope walking. it’s one of those impossible things to do that seems effortlessly tangible…. yet it’s still impossible to do. i’ve taken about 4 steps on my own; i’m pretty proud of that. rock climbing. 90 feet up, a rock face, a harness, some shoes, and a beautiful belayer named shelby. i surprised myself by actually getting to the top. here’s to defying our fears! trapeze. simple enough to understand…. i’ve tried it before, but i could never do it. this time i did it! i was so proud of myself. hobo dinners. ground beef, veggies, seasonings. wrap it all up in foil and throw it in a campfire. voila! it is simply delicious.

the things i’ve learned at woodlands: God is so good. God is so good. he always gives us what we need. (even if that means a good butt whoopin’). we are called to live a life of love. this means seeing the best in others always. and always means always. that means seeing the best even when someone might be annoying or could have previously wronged us. it’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s certainly something that i am working on.

the past couple of weeks, i know that God is really breaking me. he’s revealing to me more and more the parts of who i am that i have not wanted to give over to him. as many of you might (or might not) know, i can easily be consumed with appearance. i don’t want this to be confused as judgements toward others’ appearances. i am talking about vanity. my own vanity. the Lord wants us to sacrifice every aspect of our beings to him. (after all, our beings are his). here at camp, a normal outfit is a t-shirt, basketball shorts, and chacos. a lot of readers out there would read that and say: “hey, that’s comfy + awesome; who wouldn’t want to wear that?!” but those of you who really know me know that those are clothes you would never see me wearing… sans the chacos. yet here at camp that is my uniform, and i’ve become pretty okay with it. clothes sacrificed. check. next thing on the list to go… makeup. getting up in the wee hours of the morning just calls for a lack of makeup. i’ve gotten pretty used to not wearing so much of it; not that i wore a ton to begin with, but ya know. here’s the kicker. i received the wrong box of contacts from my optometrist. that being said, i was forced to wear my glasses. at this point, i feel lowest of low. uglier than ugly. flat out avoidable to any eyes that came my way. my confidence was not high at any means at this point. and that’s when it hit me. i have been caught up in my own vanity for far, far too long. i had been placing more time looking into my reflection than into the words of God. but God is so good. he taught me that it doesn’t matter my appearance, what matters is the heart. acceptance from people doesn’t need to come from appearance either. the woodlands family here accepts people with or without glasses, makeup, or a fashionable wardrobe. that’s a physical reminder to me. but moreso, God wanted me to sacrifice my all to him, and that was a big piece that i was still hanging on to. throughout this whole time i’ve been learning so much about humility. pride that i did not know existed does exist within me. and that is not something that i am proud to say. but it is certainly something that i am willing to battle.

as far as the kitchen goes: it has its ups and downs. there are many, many fun times in there. lots of singing goes on, and that is something i absolutely love. i received a minor injury about a week and a half ago. i accidentally laid my arm on top of the griddle while sautéing some pineapples for hawaiian hamburgers. the results: quite a little burn. it definitely hurt, but it doesn’t at all nowadays. every week and a half in the kitchen i have delivery duties. this means, be in the kitchen at 5 a.m. and distribute heavy boxes of food to the proper locations in the kitchen. i tell you what, it is hard work!

one special thing that happened this past week: i was able to lead a little girl to Christ. what a nervous moment and a joyous moment all in one. it was all such an ironic night. i did not want to be there for starters; i was a sweaty mess and tired as all get out. yet i was there. and i was astounded that the Lord would want to use me that night! i was so excited to be involved in his mission with mackenzie’s salvation. i had never seen that little girl look so joyful. it was such a blessing to be a part of.

 

God is full at work here at woodlands! please continue to keep all of summer staff in your prayers. wisdom, leadership, and strength to push through tiredness would be excellent topics of prayer towards each of us here at camp.

 

and here’s a little shout out for my mom: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIANE GIBSON! i love you so much! wish i could celebrate with you.

i have officially been at woodlands camp for a week! and it feels like such a blessing just to be here. i have met so many incredible people, and they really do feel like family! i don’t know where to start, so i’m just going to give a recap of my week and what i’ve been learning along the way:

standing in the parking lot, staring at nearly all unfamiliar faces, i didn’t really feel like i would ever belong. making small talk and trying to make good first impressions was the objective at hand. naturally, i wasn’t being my true self. i was quiet and couldn’t find things to talk about  with people. the first two days at camp were a little rough for me. in completely honesty, i felt like crying and coming home those two days. day 3 was when i gave in. i pushed myself to hang out with some of the girls. we worked out together, ate together, and cleaned nearly every surface on camp together. and i felt like i belonged. there is something so special about 54 college students coming together to serve the Lord for their entire summer together. we’ve spent hours pouring into His Word this week. nights filled with prayer and worship. i can’t imagine myself being anywhere else than here right now. something i am working on this week is finding my identity in Christ. and being transparent. what does that mean exactly? to be real and raw with the sin that is in our life. when we’re transparent, we’re being real. we’re letting our Christian brothers and sisters know the real stuff that is going on in our lives. i’m also realizing the essentialness of prayer in our lives. we need Christ every moment of the day. and we need to stay in communication with him all throughout the day! there have been so many things to learn and just let sink in this week. it’s also been VERY tiring. something i cling to: when we are weak, He is made strong. isn’t that a great promise? please continue to pray for the full time staff, summer staff, and campers here at woodlands camp! satan is lingering right outside our door, but God hears the prayers of righteous people.

one more thing: i saw the biggest spider i have ever seen in my life this week. i get chills every time i think about it. i also get a little nervous every time i get in bed each night just incase there’s a spider there….. eeek!

my goal is to write every weekend about the previous week pertaining to what’s going on here at camp and how God is impacting lives here.

p.s. please write to me. letters are so encouraging! i get so excited when i see a note or a letter in my mailbox.

Courtney Gibson

1242 Old Blue Creek Rd.

Cleveland, GA 30528

we’ve all heard the news: osama bin laden- dead. america’s most threatening terrorist has now met his demise. new insights about the war on terror now that bin laden has been killed.

i cannot tell you how unsettling this is to me. all day, i felt a funk in my mood, and i completely know it’s reasoning. there are two reasons really; one, i might discuss at a later time in life, and the other i will address right now. i am very sad about the death of this man, osama bin laden. that sounds strange, huh? granted, it should. yes, he was involved with terrorist attacks on my country, and yes, he was an instigator of fear and war that will impact our country for now on. but he is a man. he was created by God. psalm 139:13 applies for him too. (it’s not just Christians that were knit together in their mother’s wombs). and people are rejoicing in his death. fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are rejoicing in this man going to hell, and i just do not get it. that is not okay. how can we be excited and joyful and praising and thanking Jesus for a man being killed? this man will now spend eternity separated from Christ. and writing this right now brings tears to my eyes because i know the joy that i have found in Christ, and i can only imagine how his life could have been changed through Christ. some people reading this might think: “that’s completely absurd. there is absolutely 100%, no way that osama bin laden could have ever come to know Christ.” really? is that the kind of mentality we should have? easy answer: NO. let’s look at saul for a quick second. was he a murderer? yes. was his goal to kill Christians? yes. was he feared by the world? yes. now let’s look at bin laden. does he share any of those same qualities of saul? easy answer: yes. but as we all know…… saul became paul! he was changed through Christ which literally changed everything. his mission was no longer to kill, steal, and destroy; it was to bring glory to the Most High. what if osama bin laden met Christ? and decided to travel the world preaching the Good News? what if…? that what if has been cut short now. and he will be encapsulated by darkness forevermore.

with all that being said, how can we, as christians, rejoice in this death? why are so many chanting “USA! USA! USA!” all because of his death? this world is not any closer to finding peace through the death of one man. our peace can only come from Jesus Christ who is working all things together for our good. we can cling to that promise, that’s for sure. i ask you to examine your thoughts today. are you rejoicing in this death? are you satisfied with knowing that another person will now never see Jesus face to face? what we think about is what is in our hearts, and we are called to set our hearts on things above (colossians 3:1). think about the eternal impact that was made last night, not the temporary impact that it has already made in this world. yes, he killed. yes, i would probably be a little scared of him. yes, he has done wrong. we have done the same things as he in our hearts though. sin is sin. i only wish he could have known the forgiveness and freedom that i know.