Camping, Cancer, and Crooked Creek…

I’ve loved all the inquiries about how I survived camping. And I love that most of you know me well enough to know that ‘outdoorsy’ isn’t on the top of list of adjectives for me. I’m not the girliest of girls but I am not exactly one to ‘rough it’ either. I hearken back to a trip in college with dearest friends and others from our Breakaway days (shout out to Breakaway and A&M and G-Matte and the peeps that redirected my walk with the Lord … Despite the camping!) and I had the same challenges in 1994. As captured perfectly by Mel in Nobody’s Cuter Than You …  

I didn’t pack satin pajamas (in part because I don’t own any!) but I did laugh that things haven’t changed much because I packed my monogrammed WHITE (not optimal for camping) robe. And, similar to my college days, all went quite well until it was time to go to bed in this…

Whoever said this was a 2.5 man tent clearly envisioned 4 year olds in the woods alone together. What?! Not even enough room for 2 blowup mattresses (nevermind that there are 3 of us…) but not to fear we let Linc sleep between us without a mattress or sleeping bag. We sacrifice like that for our son. But don’t you worry … He loved it. As we loaded to leave and I was patting myself on the back for my 2 nights victory he was shouting ‘bad mommy’ and ‘bad daddy’ from the backseat because he was so mad we were leaving. Clearly his fathers son. The days were great and weather amazing and views other-worldly and the best nap of the summer was had here…  

… Until I was awakened wet because my adorable cuddle buddy peed on himself and my new hammock and ME. And did I mention we were camping and couldn’t exactly go take a shower?!

But the tiny tent and nasty nap were more than made up for by these views and memories…   

  And s’mores…  

During my big fat nap Scott and Linc went fishing and when they returned Lincoln was so pleased to tell me about the 5 fish he caught and Scott was less pleased to show me where he had hooked himself in the back of the head. And then wanted ME to get the hook out. Don’t get me wrong, there are many days that my ugly sinful rotten self has wanted to inflict pain on him BUT this has never been how. ‘No really, you can do it, just locate the fly and then locate the hook … Oh and can you see if the barb is in my head or out … Yeah then just grab the hook with the hemostats and pull real hard opposite the direction of the hook and get the needle out…’ Really?! I channeled my inner Dr Quinn Medicine woman and gave it my best shot but all I saw was myself pulling his hair and skin a good inch away from his skull and that hook didn’t budge! But the Neales had gone for a hike so he was left with just me or Linc. And what does every avid fisherman do while waiting to get the hook out of his head?! Head back to the river! Once we were all back at camp and had our foil packed dinners cooking on the fire, Kurt went to work…  

And after 2 really good twists and pulls, out came a hook. 

Despite the tiny tent and the hammock o’ pee and the hook o’ flesh, we really had a good time and it’s a good story and a good memory for our family.

We loaded up our dirty bodies and dirty clothes and headed out of camp on Monday morning and headed right to the showers and laundromat. This is when I am glad that Scott is another kindred clean soul because he was as happy to do laundry and re organize the car as I was. And then we made the over the mountains and through the hills drive through Breckenridge to Winter Park where we are adults guests as YoungLife’s Crooked Creek camp. Our dear friend, Nick Manos, is the speaker this week. He is really Scott’s friend from his YoungLife days and was in our wedding but I love him and Melissa so much and am glad that Scott brought them into our marriage:) 

 Our hearts are full as we meet kids and hear the Gospel and celebrate Gods redeeming work. For us, there has been incredible joy as  we watch these volunteers love kids where they are without expecting them to ‘get it together’ before they meet Jesus. Some of my favorite kiddos we’ve met are the kids that are here from YoungLife’s Capernaum ministry to kids with special needs.   

But then again don’t we all have ‘special needs’? Mine just maybe aren’t as obvious:)

We had a sweet time with the leaders this morning. Nick asked me to share my story and what I am learning and it was a blessing to me. Several of their staff have lost loved ones to cancer recently so those are tearful connections and then they prayed over us and it was a precious gift.

Since I wrote last, I’ve learned with some change of plans for doctors visits when we get home. Instead of chemo on Monday and a scan on Wednesday they want the scan and a biopsy before deciding if we will continue with this chemo (if things appear stable) or start a new regimen. They will either biopsy my liver again or the spot on my neck. So, it’s going to be good that we have had a restful and sweet couple of weeks in Colorado because cancer doesn’t seem to take a vacation.

Thanks for the love and prayers and sharing in our journey – both to Colorado and through cancer!



14 thoughts on “Camping, Cancer, and Crooked Creek…

  1. You are a wonderful person and a wonderful writer. It would have been fun to be with y’all in Colorado like a few years ago. Thanks for blessing your many friends with your blog. Well, I can’t speak for them, so thanks for blessing me. A lot.Richard

  2. I like to say I’m “indoorsy”! Great pics & great stories, glad for a fun, refreshing break from routine…😘😘


  3. What a wonderful time your family and friends shared together. As I have said many times, you are so blessed and such a
    Incredible person. What you are going through and to enjoy every minute— minus the pee, sleeping bag etc— to be in the mts so close to God and his beauty was truly a blessing.

  4. Love all your pictures Jennifer! I am not a camper either so kudos to you for being such a good sport. I don’t think I honestly could have done it. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your days in Colorado and have a safe trip back to Dallas. Hugs and prayers to all of you.

  5. I’ve been reading Nobody’s Cuter Than Me and dying laughing. Love it! Glad you didn’t pack satin pajamas again, though I can’t say that something I wouldn’t do! So thankful Colorado has been fun and restful!


  6. Sweet Jen,

    I look forward to seeing your posts pop up in my emails! You make me smile, laugh, cry, and all the above at once!! I’m so glad you and your family are getting to make such amazing memories! Precious gifts!! I never realized we had so many mutual friends!! You will always be the person in my heart who opened my eyes to the beauty and wealth of Scripture. Always. Thursday nights at your house are sweet memories for me. I love and treasure you and pray for you every moment!!
    Amy Massinger

  7. Jen–so glad ur family got away together in beautiful, cool Colorado. I share your feelings on the camping scene. I laughed so hard at ‘Nobody’s Cuter than You’ camping story–and well, the whole book actually! I was sad when I finished it. Anyway… My menfolk get their camping on with Boy Scouts–yahoo! Thank you for this post and all the precious photos. I’ll be praying for your week of return. xo

  8. Jennifer, I feel like I know you personally even though we have never met. Karen Reynolds has been one of my besties for the past 30 years. she and her kids are like family to me! Luckily we both ended up in Tyler and live only 2 minutes from one another. I have monitored Scott’s love life with Karen for about as many years and was so happy when he married you and even happier when Linc came around. I knew Scott would make a great husband and father. I just want you to know how inspirational you are. I hope if I get cancer I will handle it with as much grace and humor as you do. AND I hope my friends will step up to the plate like your friends have. WOW they are super!!! Your blogs make me laugh and cry. Please know that I always have you, Scott and Linc on my prayer list! I hope you can come to Tyler soon so I can get to know you in person! I know Karen wants you to meet some of her peeps! Take care. Please give my best to Scott!!
    Sarah Hightower Bryan

  9. Jen…
    I’m sooooo glad you guys have had such a great trip. Beautiful country and wonderful friends. An awesome combination! Thanking God for blessing you in this way!😊
    Love ya sister and will be praying for guidance for your doctors in the upcoming days and your RE-entry into Texas.😎🔥

  10. Loved your post Jennifer. You are a wonderful mom!
    I remember our college camping trip – great memories! We are praying for you and love you!

  11. Once again I’m encouraged by you! Thank you for sharing. Continued prayers and strength for this week! Hugs!

... Those are my thoughts. Now, I'd love to read yours...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s