Behold The Fire

There was fire.  There were a bunch of guys yelling at each other.  There was… coffee?
Our final challenge for this weekend’s campout was to boil water in a cup and make coffee for our leader.  As with a great number of things, this turned out to be slightly easier said than done.  It was soon discovered that we had to use paper cups, and while that did turn out to be possible, getting it to boil without melting said cup was rather difficult… to say the least.  There were about 80 campers in all, running around nine fires, all trying to melt string and get their separate fires going.  It was chaotic.  Open flames kept spreading and people nearly managed to burn themselves in the mad dash.  The rather oppressive heat of the sun didn’t help much either.  I did hear one fellow roaring about it being a million degrees, and while being an exaggeration, it was a relatively fair complaint to make.

Moving away from that little scene, the weekend and week were all very jam-packed with craziness.  Recently, I’d been planning for carpooling plans to this dance up in Dayton.  In the long run, it will be worth it, but good grief, I find my head spinning.  What with contact details and tossing around of crazy ideas as well as revisions and revisions.  Ah well, we’ll work it out in the end.  And there’s packing and cleaning.  Packing for said campout of this weekend, cleaning a somewhat clean room, relaxing, back to schoolwork.  It’s not too hectic I suppose.  I bet others have a lot more thrust upon them in even shorter periods of time, and blimey, do I feel for them.

So I got out in the form of camping, and if there’s one thing I did learn, it’s that I prefer to lead and direct as a backstage worker.  Yes, being First Officer and leading an entire troop has its perks, but I feel like I am a lot more productive and relaxed when working out of the spotlight.  Maybe that’ll help me in my future job searches, possibly.  I also find myself working better with things than people, perhaps attributed to some lacking social skills, or maybe it’s simply my better area.  Whatever the case, directing people, telling them what to do all the time, having them come to me for what needs to be done… all that and more just doesn’t come naturally.  It’s encouraging to hear people say that I’ve done well, but in a great number of cases, I’d just like to assist a senior ranking officer, as opposed to being said senior officer.

Through the weekend, my six-man team braved several challenges and daringly faced the er… terror of learning knots and lashings?  Hmm… I’m not sure about that one.  Knots and lashings are actually rather enjoyable in my eyes, but well, to each his own I suppose.  Back at that fire challenge though, we managed to unleash our controlled pyromania in a safe environment, and gleefully watched as our excellently built fire consumed all the wood and even the standing stakes nearby.  It was a bad day to be the wood that we gathered.

Finally, to end that Saturday night, we retired several flags.  Time consuming though it is to some, it’s another fantastic way of getting in touch with our history, and at the same time honoring those who have served and continue to serve our country.  Now, before anyone out there gets the wrong impression, retiring a flag is vastly different from burning a flag.  Retiring is a ceremonious and honorable way of taking care of a flag that is past its time of proudly flying.  Both do involve fire, but there is different intent regarding retiring, as opposed to the other.  Every flag that was retired that night received a final salute from our gathering of Trailmen.  Both Veterans and Trailmen stepped forward to carry each individual flag in its final ceremony, and with the retirement of the last flag, we were dismissed into the night.

Organizational Craziness

So apparently this is becoming more of a Sunday thing.  Probably not a bad idea, brand new week, brand new er… mind fizzle.  Anyway, music has been flowing through my brain lately.  Hunter Hunted, some Doctor Who, a lot of Guardians of the Galaxy, and then a single song from the Guilty Crown soundtrack.  So that’s how I’ve survived online school.  Music.  There’s something about it that either lifts my mood or burns me out really quickly.  So there’s that, and it’s most definitely helped by the huge speakers flanking my desk.  In short, yay music!

Oh, so Ate has been back since Monday!  Granted, she’s busy with other aspects of life, but eh, it all works out.  Never thought I’d say this, but my school subject, Career Exploration, has been… not enjoyable, but kind of a blessing(?).  Keeps me on my toes with its new er, partitions to think about.  Web design is relatively simple, but then again, I was born in the age of computers and all that technological stuff (as you can see, I actually don’t know too much about them, but it works).

As for current “hobbies”, I’ve found myself going around the house in major areas like the kitchen and the basement and “attacking” it with some vehemence borne of seeing a huge mess.  My brain has trouble functioning when I’m tired and/or surrounded by said mess of random items all cluttered about.  So I managed to attack the kitchen, and when I was done, I firmly decided that we would not be collecting any more of those plastic container thingies from our Chinese orders.  Oh, and ballroom dancing.  There’s something I still need to work out.  Blimey, finding a place for teens my age is hard.  I might hold off on it until I’m in college or something, it’ll probably be easier in the long run.

Feeling scatterbrained today, so… ah, yes, finally, whenever I’m the only one awake, my baby brother Nino consistently comes downstairs and walks over to my desk.  From there, depending on his level of sleepiness, he will either say hello and go off to play with his (previously our) beloved Bionicles, or ask to be held, and then fall asleep with his head on my shoulder while I work on school and Trail Life stuff.  The kid is getting way older and bigger every day.  I wonder what he’ll think when i go off to college…. hmm… anyway, although he can regularly get on my nerves, he’s got a good and imaginative heart, and I do enjoy hearing about his creations on days when I’m not overwhelmed.  Can’t wait to see what he becomes later in life.

And with that, you may now tune out of random thoughts with me.  Written (usually) every Sunday.

– M

Encounters and Returns

So, here I sit today with a cup of homemade mocha in my hand… well, not IN my hand, understandably, as I’m typing, but it’s nearby.

Let’s see…. oh, life has a pleasant way of connecting a bunch of dots you had no idea were connected at all.  To begin, I was recently at the first Dead Theologian’s Society of the new school year, and apparently my friend Ryan knew one of my other friends from Trail Life.  First connection, which was surprising, since I had absolutely no idea where they were relatively positioned or that they were interested in the same things. More on that at some other point in time.  The rest of that night was spent planning for a dance up in Dayton with a small group of friends, some playful prodding of other people, meeting some “new” members to the group, and praying an entire Rosary with about 20 teens.  It’s really the little things that create this – for lack of a better term – mixture of awesomeness.

Cold night though, I will admit.  Brr…  next time, I’ll wear a coat.  Anyway, the next day was P&G Dividend Day at Kings Island.  My family brought along an adopted brother, and two friends, all with varying levels of thrill-seeking apparently.  I decided to be the camera guy, and yeah… I will confess, I highly dislike the idea of rollercoasters.  There’s just something disconcerting about being strapped down in a seat and sent all over the place on a track.  Yes, I lack confidence in that area.  And… no, it’s not heights that bother me (because I will go for ziplining and rappelling in a heartbeat) but again, that whole idea of being told to sit there without having much control over what happens next is just disconcerting in the extreme.  To me.

Anyway, next happening was lunch that day.  Food is always good.  We brought along our adopted older brother, and we were happily sated.  Fast forward about 4 hours, since it was a late-ish lunch, and I had my arrival at Encounter.  My dad – being the awesome and pre-planning person that he is – had already visualized an area to pick me up after it was finished at one of the parking lots that I had seen but not really processed.  So he dropped me off at the Underground, and fortunately, I had the presence of mind to grab my bag containing my precious permission slip.  After entering, writing on a nametag, failing at the use of quotation marks, and turning in my permission slip, I emerged from that sort of hallway into this packed area, filled with hundreds of teens all talking at once.  Very buzzy noises.

Music.  It was like CREDO all over again, and I’ll be the first to admit that I am terrible at singing, but when everyone was singing, I felt rather compelled to join in, even on the songs I didn’t know.  They sang Matt Maher songs as well as other songs I didn’t know, and it was awesome.  I saw people that I recognized from all over.  Some from camp (AHG week and Staff), some from Ballroom Dance Classes, and a bunch from DTS last night.  And there’s the second connection, people from my past dance classes knew my DTS friends, and some of them also knew people from camp… I honestly didn’t expect that.

Oh, and finally, Adoration.  Best part of the night.  There, are at any such moving event, you will most definitely see – on some level – a lot of unexpected and probably “weird” things.  You might hear crying, you might hear bursts of uncontrollable laughter, or you might see people falling over, overcome by His presence.  And that’s okay.  It truly is an Encounter with Him, and honestly, if you were ever in the presence of the One who died for all of us, once you realized that, perhaps you might be overcome by it as well.  The scripture that day was of “Doubting Thomas” as we call him.  Poor St. Thomas, but also a brilliant example to us.  Perhaps he’s how we feel at times before the Lord.  Within himself, he must have wanted to run after disbelieving Jesus’ resurrection.  So that night, we were invited to be present, and find healing in the wounds of Christ, kind of like St. Thomas, though without physically putting our fingers in wounds.  But regardless of that, He (God) was physically present that night in the Eucharist.  So… to be in the presence of The King was our fantastic ending for the night.  And that’s what we needed.  Powerful stuff right there.  Not that I’m able to eloquently say everything that was said that night, but… it was fantastic.

– M

Commitments, Martial Arts, Architecture, Ballroom Dancing and Life.

As is probably clear by now, I have quite a few issues when it comes to actually making commitments to constantly update and continuously write over and over.  However, there is a certain merit to sticking to a plan for a very extended period of time.  So with that in mind, here goes.

It has been almost exactly a year since I last wrote.  Since then, I have gained leadership of Trail Life Troop OH-122, as First Officer.  It’s been a challenging yet very rewarding job, and the guys that I work with are awesome.  Building something up from the ground is fantastic.  I’ll probably write more about my experiences with them at a later date.

It’s my Junior year of High School, and I don’t have many years left to plan for a career path.  Architecture, in all honesty, sounds like a very promising and fun job.  I’ve always been interested in design in general, and it would certainly give me a chance to expand my imagination by visualizing creations in my mind.  To me, there’s something very desirable about being able to lay the foundations for something that people can view and appreciate.

Now, I’ve been the type of person who enjoys learning self-defense, and I fulfilled this by studying Filipino Martial Arts, as a personal art.  I’ve put that on hold for a bit to focus on studies and leading a troop, and now – curiously – I have found myself discovering an interest in (Almighty God help me) Ballroom Dancing.  Yes, Ballroom Dancing.  Probably not too common for a peer of my age, but there’s something appealing about the art.  It improves coordination, you make new friends, and it can even be implemented into hand to hand combat!  Yes, the footwork totally fits into some places.  You have to keep balance and pace, all while keeping an eye on and working with your partner.  Granted, in dancing, you aren’t opponents, but each person has an equal and opposite reaction to whatever the other does.  In combat, you have to use the pace of the battle to your advantage, and provide actions and reactions to survive.  Trust me, both are really something amazing.

Give it a little time, more things will come.

Oh, and this:

“No damsels in distress, no pretty castles, no such thing as Robin Hood!” – The 12th Doctor

– M