Tag Archive | Camp Confidence

4 Day Fambly Whirlwind of Love

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A Whirlwind of Love!

Tonight, I’m writing memories of our Fambly’s 4 Day Whirlwind of Love.  96 Amazing Hours.  It’s May 8th.  Night time … and snowing.  (I.am.not.kidding.)

Pictures are worth a 1000 words, and my Sweet Niece, Sarah, ONE of my Sweet Nieces, gave me permission to share pictures of her kiddo’s.  I had told her, taking time to blog tonight, gets me out of oven cleaning … and she supports me avoiding that for as long as I can – Thanks, Sarah!!

Last Friday, May 3rd, many of us came to support Camp Confidence’s 50th Anniversary.  50 years ago, our Dad, Dick Endres, the founder of Camp Confidence, wrote his Master’s Thesis on creating a year ’round camp for handicapped people and their families – with no government funding. (He was given a C+.  It was well written, but not realistic nor feasible, according to his professor.)  Dad pulled in people from the Brainerd, Minnesota community, who believed in this crazy dream of his. Together, they shared a variety of gifts and talents and a non-profit was formed.  The birthing of Camp Confidence had begun …  It was an amazing celebration!  The Nathan Toumi Family/Gull Lake Glass, hosted the whole evening – including the fabulous food, for Camp and the Community.  Black Bear Lodge did all the cooking and Doug Allen Nash as Johnny Cash and his band, donated their time playing great tunes to close out the evening.  A time capsule was buried with fun memorabilia (including Dad’s historic polyester Camp Blazer), to be opened in another 50 years … so the little kiddo’s you see in the pictures … THEY will be the ones to show up for that celebration!  (My Sweet Niece, Ana will be 79 years old!)

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My brother, Patrick, wearing Dad’s blazer one more time.  The round button is recognizing John Mariucci, famous hockey player, responsible for the beautiful Mariucci Lodge out at Camp.

Us Camp50th

Here’s some of Fambly at Camp.  My Sweet Niece Sarah, husband, Ryan and their 5 kiddos.  My Sister-in-law, Darlene, Sweet Niece Ana and me, next to my sister, Kyung and William.  Patrick on the floor with the kiddos.

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Darlene, me, Ana & Patrick … our last pose with Dad’s/Grandpa’s Historic Blazer

After that celebration and the kiddo’s getting to sleep at Auntie Kyung’s house – one big kid stayed home with them and the rest of us went out to play.  Kyung, just days home from a 2 month work gig in Africa, beat us in darts! (Patrick did, too – her picture is cuter!)

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Winner!  2 Bullseye’s in a row!!

Much of weekend was spent getting things ready for our brother Rick’s funeral on Monday.  I asked Ana and Darlene to help make little newspaper pots.  The next day, we had the kiddo’s put marigolds in them for the table centerpieces at Rick’s Memorial Potluck out at Camp.  What great helpers they were!

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We had some extra’s so … we planted them in a couple of planters on the patio.

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What a good job!

They had limited screen time … all at the same time … I got a kick out of how they all piled on the sofa together …

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While Patrick had the pork slowly roasting in the oven, I got the the cowboy beans done. (Rick’s favorite).  Kyung came over to help put Rick’s picture board together.  Wow, what memories they triggered.  Our folks were so young and Mom was stunning back when WE were the kiddo’s.  Sweet. Precious.  Memories.

One of the days, the kiddo’s played at the neighborhood playground, and when we all got back together, it was time for a campfire!  AND Cinco de Mayo was in the mix … so Sarah and Ana put together guacamole and a pear salad … and she and Micah mixed Margarita’s with Ana’s freshly sliced limes.  One thing we do well as Fambly – FOOD!

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Sarah knows how to whip things together!!

Some kids played in – some played out.

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Playing with Barbie’s in a sun beam …

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Rocking out that s’more!  Pappa knows how to cook ’em real good!

After food and eats … Darlene in the kitchen helping and doing dishes, too.  (We did decide we would splurge and use paper plates for these 4 days), it was bedtime for the kiddo’s.  All snuggled in together in my little cottage house!  The big kids hung out with the camp fire, brother Mike joined in … I think Patrick and I were pulling pork at midnight – it was going to be great for the potluck feast celebrating Rick!!

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A pretty night …

The next morning … Monday … Rick’s Celebration of Life.  I’d been ok, keeping everything together, with my emotions.  Having Fambly is the best.  We had a list, we checked it twice, and again … and again!!  Everyone chipped in to do what needed to be done.  The kiddo’s were amazing – Sarah is an incredible Mom.  She had help with them, too … besides loading up the van to head home after the Celebration was over.  Ana was my anchor, keeping things smooth and steady.  Micah and Patrick were ever watchful, taking care of whatever … was in need of being taken care of!  Darlene was packing and making sure things were collected and ready to go.  Kyung was meeting us early out at Camp to help set up everything before the funeral. (Camp Staff was incredible in getting everything to run smoothly – from the tent set-up to picnic tables, banquet tables, sound system … wow!)

So many wonderful people came to Rick’s funeral.  When I saw my Uncle Jim … the tears came and the hug was long … Rick had Uncle Jack and cousin’s drive up from hours away … old friends showed up and stories were shared.  Laughter.  Tears.  His Son-in-law, Sean, made a beautiful wooden box … exquisite … for his ashes.  Nicky/Collette, his daughter, had everything at church put together … including a slide show … and Amazing Grace was played with harmonica’s.  Rick was a great harmonica player!  The Pastor at Heritage Church, did a great job in bringing Rick’s life, his stories, and faith all together.  We were grateful.  The day out at Camp for the Potluck was sunny!!!  The food was yummy, and as the Endres Fambly goes …. always more than enough!!  The kiddo’s had plenty of space to play and run and everyone was happy to connect and visit.  His granddaughter, Calista, put together a great song list of Rick’s favorites.  “Piano Man” was one that brings tears …

So …. the 4 Day Fambly Whirlwind of Love ended … Yet the Love continues on for us.  How fortunate we are.

Rick’s life … touched many lives.

And these 4 days reminded us to live.  Every.single.day.

A couple of “Rickism’s”

“Keep that smile on your face ….”

“I’ll see you on the flip side!”

With a Grateful Heart …

Debbie

Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

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Ripples of Compassion & Love …

We live in a world filled with compassion and love.  This world also can be cruel, where words and actions can darken our day and put fear in our hearts.  I’m choosing to put my time and energy into kindness and compassion.  Following the election, and some of the negative comments and beliefs about people who are disabled, or immigrants, or LGBT, or a color that isn’t white … or practice an unfamiliar spiritual path … has made me look at my life and realize how blessed I am because of these beautiful human beings, that could be put into categories of concern being disabled, not white, gay, etc …

I was raised being around people who were mentally and physically disabled.  My dad worked as a Recreation Specialist, in a State Hospital, passionate about seeing each person as an individual – perfect in their own unique way.  We kids played with them, learned how to square dance and snow-shoe with them, fished, climbed trees … all kinds of things!  Dad believed nature and being outdoors, provided an environment of healing and mixing up life with adventures was a good thing. He had a dream of creating a year-round camp geared specifically for the disabled.  As crazy as the idea was, he gathered amazing people with different skills and strengths who thought this dream was pretty good … and with alot of hard work and hoops to jump, together they made it happen.  The lives that continue to be touched through this camp are countless.  Compassion and love made/make this happen – lots of voices, lots of action … for beautiful mentally and physically disabled people. (His name was Dick Endres)!

http://www.campconfidence.com/

One of my best friends in college was gay.  He was a great guy.  Over-the-top-crazy-fun- gay-guy.  He didn’t ever want my mom to know he was gay, because they had such a good time together and he was afraid she’d reject him.  He just loved her, and compassionately kept his secret.

My sister is Korean.  She is amazing and the work she has done all over the world has touched many lives.  She has her own  management consulting firm with a long standing commitment to help international development agencies further their vision, mission and objectives.  Compassion and love in action.

Her boyfriend is African-American.  He has shown compassion with his loving care of both our folks, especially while they where dying.  He’s also been a teacher for one of my brother’s groups of friends who had not experienced any person of color – ever!

One of my grandson’s is disabled, struggling with mitochondrial disease.  He is incredible, as are his mom and dad and 2 brothers who put every bit of their life, their love, their compassion into making their lives together the best it can be – and it’s not easy – but they are doing it beautifully, in their own way.

I was married for 22 years.  We have 4 children.  It didn’t work, although he tried … he lived a life that wasn’t true to who he was and so much of his life had been lived in fear of people finding out …  he’s gay.  He met the love of his life and they’ve been together for nearly 20 years.  His parents and siblings love him for who he is.  When he’s in town, we’ll meet for coffee and visit and it’s good!  (It did take a while to get there)!  He’s got his own relationships with the kids. Sometimes, being true, compassionate and loving to yourself is the most important thing you can do.

I’ve been fortunate to be guest at a wedding with my sister – her friend is Muslim and the wedding was beautiful, compassionate and full of love.

I’m also a Licensed Wedding Officiant/Minister and have had the honor of Officiating a number of weddings, including couples who are gay and their marriages are recognized and legal.  They have experienced years of needing and receiving compassion and love.

And so no20161121_101051w, I wear a safety pin with a heart on it.  It’s my bridge of love and compassion reminder.  It indicates support for those in fear of being bullied or persecuted for who they are.  I want to honor race, gender, those with disabilities, LGBT, immigrants and those who practice spiritual paths other than my own.  It’s a bridge of love that crosses the barriers … oh, so many barriers … and recognizes the goodness and Light in others.  I’m handing them out to my friends … I can be a bit of a ripple of in this tiny corner of my world – it’s one thing I can keep practicing …

… compassion and love ….