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phase 2:

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phase 2:

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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.

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

today is going to be a good day; i can feel it.

  1. spring has officially arrived. “technically” it arrived a few weeks ago. but i’m pretty sure it arrived today.
  2. instead of getting on the interstate this morning…. i drove all the way down kingston pike. and i only honked once.
  3. there’s something soothing going on in my soul. i can’t quite pinpoint what it is just yet, but it is there and that’s great.
  4. God is the God of our situations, whether good or bad. we just need to realize that and let him work his magic, per-say.
  5. tip of day: do not wear denim shorts with boots. ever.
  6. i would like nothing more than some breakfast casserole and coffee cake right now.
  7. the following song has been getting stuck in my head like you wouldn’t believe. for the past week

addicted to love

    you know the days that you have planned out because they start early and last long? the days that should run fairly normal? that is… if you remember to set your alarm clock. what did i forget to do last night in my slumbering wakefulness, push the teeny tiny button that let’s me know when to drag my body out of bed. thus being said, i wake up at approximately 7:46 (who knows why…); class starts at 8:10. i was faced with a dilemma. to go to class or to not go to class, that is the question. after ranting and raving about never getting anything right, i decided, to class i shall go. and to class i did go; ten minutes late. with all things considered (you know like, dressing myself, brushing my teeth, having a temper tantrum, driving downtown, parking, walking, blah blah blah)… not a bad time! but amidst the new record time of getting to campus and in a classroom, i found myself angry. i was mad at myself. mad at the cars around me. mad at my alarm clock. and mad that i hadn’t showered and didn’t have on any makeup. phew. the thing is though, we are not to be angry. and moreso, we are not to sin in our anger. our words. our thoughts. our attitudes. we so often claim that “i was just mad, i didn’t mean what i said.” but in reality, what we say is where our hearts are. what we think is where our hearts are. and all of that is reflected in our actions. ephesians 4:26 says, “be angry and yet do not sin.” it is okay to be angry; even the Lord becomes angry. (however, he is slow to become angry [psalm 145:8]–whereas we are ever so quick to become angry). we need to give our anger to the Lord; not hold onto it to use selfishly as an excuse. that usually just worsens the situation. what is really at issue when it comes to sin through anger is a heart issue. think about where your heart really lies when you are angry and saying words that you would never usually say. what does this say about your heart? that it’s okay to act against God’s Word sometimes? that’s what other people will see. and that isn’t okay! it’s time to reevaluate our hearts. and to give them completely to the Lord. if anyone has the right to be angry, it is God and God alone. our mouths and actions are meant to give him praise. to give him praise at all times, not just the happy times, but the angry, depressing, and frustrating times too.

    these words are certainly something that i need to meditate on. these words are not mine. they’re the Lord’s! (they just happen to have my dialect.)

    be strong and courageous, and do the work. do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. he will not fail you or forsake you… – 1chronicles 28: 20

    these are a few words i like to call: food for the soul. david said these words to his son solomon when instructing him in how to construct the temple of the Lord. the words remain ever true to this day. our God, the same God of david and of solomon (because they actually were real people, not just felt cartoon characters we played with in sunday school), is faithful. and true. and just.