In the name of love…

I heard a saying recently: “Days go by slow but weeks go by fast.” How true that’s been for me in the last 15 to 20 days. It seems like yesterday I was watching deer in a neighborhood yard…

…and that’s already been 4 weeks ago! Since then I’ve been around the southeast from Birmingham to Tallahassee, Memphis, Branson, Montgomery, Nashville, and lots of little towns in between.

In the name of love.

On the way to Missouri we stopped at the Civil Rights Museum, the site where MLK gave his life for freedom and love.

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My brother and two of his kids at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee.

Then we went on to Missouri, where my brother and I could do our part to serve in the name of love.

In Branson (actually it was Lampe, Missouri), we volunteered at a camp where we worked when we were in college. I’m sure I’ll post more about our time there but for now I’ll say it was a really great, exhausting, learning, fun week with him. We did a lot of manual labor type work, lifted weights, ran a 5k every day for 5 days, played whiffle ball homerun derby, and lots more. We got there on a Saturday. When my body felt like it had done all it could do, and I was ready to pack up and head out, “It’s been a great week, y’all!” I came to realize it was still Saturday. Dang. Long days, for sure!

Straight after that week was Wilder beach week back in Florida, at a little beach just south of Tallahassee called St. Teresa. This is the week all the Wilders meet up for a week of fun with 8 kids, 8 adults, and 3 dogs. Lots of love in this family!

Exhausting was this week, too, but mostly because we’re all having fun on my dad’s boat (tubing, skiing, dolphin watching, etc), playing soccer on the beach, knockout on the basketball court, volleyball on the beach, and other random fun things that don’t include flying a kite. More on that later!

I returned to Nashville two weeks after leaving. It was nice to sleep in my own bed again, to watch Leverage on Netflix again, to play sand volleyball with my friends again. But this trip was so great.


-Out of the Wilderness

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Sand volleyball at camp

One thing I miss the most about Nashville as I’m on a sorta lengthy vacation is sand volleyball. My brother and I are in Missouri volunteering at a sports camp so you’d think there would be a chance to play some while we’re here…heck, there’s even a sand volleyball court! So I start the week with high hopes.
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But at the same time, around here sand vball seems to be treated more as a ladies sport, and because I’m a random old dude, I won’t play unless other guys do. Unfortunately, the bros here play basketball during their free time.

That is…..UNTIL YESTERDAY! I saw a co-ed vball game going on and ditched my brother to get some sand between my toes.
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Now you gotta know I’m not good at sand volleyball, maybe slightly above average. But my level of competitiveness and desire to win is entirely too high. I’ll kick a niece in the shin to get ahead.

What can I say, that “be like Mike” commercial went straight from TV to my eyes to my brain to my heart to my soul to my life to my evil determination to rule the world. Watch out LeBron! Watch out Kerri Walsh Jennings!

Wow, went off on a little tangent there.

OK, back to volleyball. I hopped on the court and played socially for the first few points. But there were good players on the court. I channeled my inner Brandon Sommers attempting an entertaining/encouraging play by play commentary as we hit back and forth. Brandon’s the master, but I tried. Meanwhile, I’m also determined not make a fool of myself by trying too hard amongst these middle/high school/counselor folk.

It was so fun! A great reminder of the fun I have in Nashville playing sand volleyball. Plus the net is low so I did take the opportunity to spike one on a high school guy. Call it a learning opportunity for him. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I bet karma will pay back once I’m back in Nashville. But for that one moment in time, I was April Ross. I was the wind beneath your wings. I was the future of American volleyball. I was the lion king.

Naaaaa sibenyaaaaaaaa!!

I was like Mike. Except in volleyball. But also not at all as good as Mike.

-Out of the Wilderness

Great and not-so-great games for kids on road trips

Nashville, Tennessee to Tallahassee, Florida. Tallahassee to Memphis,
Tennessee. Memphis to Branson, Missouri. Those are all road trips I’ve
been on recently and while they might not be considered long road
trips, the shortest was still over 5 hours. The longest was about 10
because with children, it just takes longer. Think about stops for
snacks, potty breaks, etc.

The first leg of my trip I was with my dogs and they are great
travelers. That was Nashville to Tallahassee. From there I launched
out with my brother and two of his kids to Memphis, Tennessee. I was
quietly anxious to show these two nieces a couple of spots that I hold
in high regard- Graceland (Elvis Presley’s home) and the Lorraine
Motel (where Martin Luther King, Jr gave his life for the cause of
equality and “freedom of the whole human race”).

But we’ll get to that! Before leaving on the trip I looked up sites
with lists of fun car games to play. I jotted down a list of 9 games.

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The game we enjoyed the most starts with this line: I’m going on a
picnic and I’m bringing a _________. There is where you fill in a word
that starts with A. The next person repeats the line, along with the A
word and adds a B word. The next person repeats it all, plus A, plus
B, and adds a C word. On and on it goes till you get to Z and it was
so fun. We all loved coming up with odd or silly words for each
letter. And to keep the game going without anyone getting frustrated,
it’s more than OK to help out when someone gets stuck along the way.

We also played 20 questions which I’d say was the second most popular
game. We each came up with a person, place, or thing, and then
everyone else in the car had to guess it within 20 questions. It was a
little tough for my youngest niece because she’d fire off 37 questions
in a few seconds, so it may be best to go around one by one to ask the
questions, as a way to prolong the game and keep it organized.

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Another top 3 game was using a print-out map of the United States.
With the map you can mark off every time you see a state, whether it’s
on a license plate, billboard, road sign, etc. This one is good
because you can do it for a while, set it aside, and when another
state name pops up, pull out the map again and mark it off. So it
could last the entire trip as a game you do, then come back to.

We also added a twist to it where I had the girls close their eyes and
point to anywhere on the map. I’d say something like, “This state is
where you were born.” They open their eyes and read off the state. You
can come up with fun ways to set it up- you met your husband in this
state, you will get a job next year and move to this state, etc. That
was fun!

The game that didn’t work so well was the question game. This is where
any conversation taking place has to be in the form of a question. For
instance…
Person 1: How was your day today?
Person 2: How do you think my day was?
1: Is it safe to say it was an amazing day?
2: Does a bear poop in the woods?
1: What kind of answer is that?
2: Aren’t I free to say what I want in this country???
1: What country are we in, anyway?

And so on. I think it would work best for older kids, or adults. But
even when my brother and I tried it, just he and I with my nieces
listening along, it just didn’t ever really take off.

So I hope you can try out some of these games and help make a long and
potentially hectic trip go by fast and make some great memories along
the way. And if you’re ever in Memphis, make sure to at least drive by
Graceland and check out the Lorraine Motel (if you have time, also add
going into the home of Elvis, and into the National Civil Rights
Museum next to the Lorraine Motel).

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-Out of the Wilderness

A week at summer camp: Part 2

So tagging on to my previous post about going back to summer camp, I was most excited about these three things:
1. My nephew going to Kanakuk/ road trip with him and my brother
2. Seeing a few old friends
3. Serving any and all staff for the week
Immediately after walking into the camp on opening day, I hugged a guy that meant a lot to me when I was working at K-West. Actually, he and his wife met at K-West during one of the summers I was there. DSC09255 DSC09254He goes by the name Sparky and she goes by Rachel. Awesome people. So glad I got to see them again. I also got to see the director of K-West, Ward Wiebe, an awesome man who I also reference in this post.

I knew in my heart of hearts it was going to be a great week, but I didn’t know I’d leave inspired by all the people there. It’s a whole different culture where they really do put God first, others second, and themselves third. I have become so accustomed to “the ways of the world” that I forgot we’re commanded to love other people like we love ourselves. This week at Kanakuk was a refreshing reminder of the second greatest commandment (the #1 commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength).

Good times in Missouri! There was also a bird nest in the teepee my brother and I were sleeping in. I’ll write more later about those baby birds, and more about what I mean when I say we slept in teepees, it wasn’t a typo.

-Out of the Wilderness