Sunday, September 7, 2014

"...though they be red like crimson..."

Look for more to come soon about our life's adventures this summer. For now, here's a little blurb...

This morning as we were getting ready to go to church, Michael was about to pick John up to put him in his car seat when John turned and ran away from him.  Only a few seconds later John tripped and fell down in the driveway.  Michael picked up the crying and now less resistant toddler and placed him in the car seat.  He noticed John had skinned his knee and was bleeding, so Lydia put a bandage on it.  When we were getting out of the car at church, Michael noticed that John had bled on Michael's white dress shirt when he was carrying him to the car after his fall.  Michael was self-conscious and tried to cover up the blood stains with his suit coat and tie so no one would notice. However, as we sat in church, thinking about the atonement of Jesus Christ (and Michael thinking about John's blood on his shirt at the same time) Michael realized that we had a life lesson on our hands.
There are times in our lives when we walk--or even run away from God to follow our own path.  He allows us to make our own choices and even lets us fall flat on our face.  Still, He is always there for us when we fall, even if we bring it on ourselves.  When our heart is broken and our spirit is contrite and we call out to Him for help, He will carry us to where we need to be. 
He has taken our sins upon Him, and he suffered all so "that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7: 12)  He has the power to heal us both physically and spiritually.  He can heal the wounded knee as well as the wounded heart.  Our sin-stained garments can be made white through the blood of the Lamb of God.
"...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
John's knee will heal. For now, the bandage is a small reminder of what happened.  We imagine it reminds him more of the tender care of his mother than of the painful fall.  Michael's shirt has been cleaned and the stain removed (thanks to Hydrogen Peroxide), but hopefully this little life lesson will remain in our hearts and minds forever.  We are thankful for the little things that remind us of our Savior Jesus Christ, His tender mercies, and His redeeming power.





Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lessons from my childhood: Facing down your monsters and conquering your dreams

 (by Michael)

"Recurring dreams are quite common and are often triggered by a certain life situation, transitional phase in life or a problem that keeps coming back again and again.... Such dreams may be highlighting a personal weakness, fear, or your inability to cope with something in your life - past or present."  (http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamtypes/recurringdreams.htm)

 Have you ever had a recurring dream?  When I was a child, there was a certain nightmare that I dreamed about once a year.  In the dream I would arise from my bedroom in my childhood home in Alabama and step into the hallway of the house that led toward the living room and dining room, but in the hallway was a tall, scary monster with big teeth and fierce eyes.  It roared at me and scared me back into my bedroom, or perhaps into the bathroom just across the hall from my bedroom.  In this dream I felt trapped (not to mention scared for my life), and would always, of course, wake up troubled.


 After having this dream a few times, something monumental happened in my personal development.  One time when I had this dream, I faced the terrible monster and slew him with a sword (don't ask me where I got the sword; it was just a dream).  With the monster destroyed, I was relieved and free.  After that night I never had that dream again.  Furthermore, I began to realize that I ultimately have control over my dreams.  Although it requires some degree of consciousness (or subconsciousness, or unconsciousness?), I can--if desired--change the course events in my dreams so that bad dreams can be turned into good dreams.  Now this is not particularly restful, but it is empowering and exciting.  Maybe it's a "mind over matter" thing.

I've mentioned this phenomenon to others from time to time, but I only recently made a simple yet profound connection between this [formerly] recurring dream of mine and the concept of controlling the outcome of one's dreams to life in general.  We all have monsters that stand in our way:  fears, insecurities, weaknesses, threats, nemeses, sins.  They are big, nasty, imposing, and possibly even deadly (in one way or another).  They will never go away until we defeat them.  They can be defeated.  When you finally decide to face whatever monster is keeping you away from where you want to be, you will discover that you have the power to overcome it once and for all.  As I mentioned concerning my dream, once I slew the monster I never again had that encounter in my dreams.  Perhaps you will defeat a monster, and it will return again later.  No need to fear, because if you defeated it once, you can do it again.

Facing down your monsters goes hand-in-hand with conquering your dreams, realizing you are in control and becoming master of your own destiny.  At the risk of blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, I believe that we have the power to change our circumstances in life, not so our dreams come true, but rather so we can choose our path and enact change so that we are happy with the results.  Conquering your dreams means to shape them into realistic goals and then make a conscious effort to achieve them.  It means believing in yourself enough to do what needs to be done in order to enjoy the peace that you seek.

In my recurring nightmare, the only choice I had besides fighting the monster was to seek refuge in my bedroom where the monster would not go.  In other words, I  hid, hoping the problem would go away.  Of course, it didn't until I made it go away.  However, I now recognize another choice I had in the dream that I did not recognize at the time.  Next to my bedroom in the house was my parents' bedroom.  I could have sought help from them if I had known the utility of it.  I merely add this last point to encourage all to be cognizant of the aid available to us from parents, leaders, friends, and other trusted individuals who can help us face down our monsters.
Now, go conquer your dreams.


"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27, The Book of Mormon)



image 1 source: http://moviepilot.com/stories/2012/12/14/the-greatest-moments-from-the-lord-of-the-rings-781511?lt_source=external,manual

image 2 source:  https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/quote-cook-faith-1199774?category=by-speaker/elder-quentin-l-cook&lang=eng

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Looking back: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.




It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  On January 24, 2013, our first child, John Kimball Spencer was born.  It was the best day of our lives.  After years of waiting, we finally realized our dreams of becoming parents.  You can imagine how excited we were.  Ever since we were married in 2004 Lydia has wanted nothing more than to be a mother.  Michael always loved little children and looked forward to that day since his youth.  We were anticipating this opportunity in 2005 when we were first expecting, but we tragically suffered a miscarriage.  Since then we have wrestled with infertility and the heartbreak it brings, particularly to someone who’s looked forward to raising their own family for so long.  We didn’t give up. Where nature has failed, pure love has taken over.  We adopted, a process that was also filled with anticipation and uncertainty.  Now, a year later, we keep counting our blessings—365 and counting—each day that we have John in our lives.  2013 was without a doubt the best year of our lives, and we have high hopes for the future.  The day that John became ours and we brought him home in our own vehicle to our own home was truly the best of times.

That day, a day of relief, joy, wonder, and celebration for us, our friends, and our family—the best day of our lives—was for another person, who spent that day in the very same room as us, the worst day of her life.  After enduring nine months of discomfort and a full day of the most painful experience known to mankind, she went home empty-handed.  Putting aside the important reasons and mutual benefits of adoption, for a woman to sacrifice her body to bring a life into the world and then to hand that precious life over to another in the same 24 hour period with the understanding of an indefinite separation has to be the worst day of her life.  Mind you that for the ensuing days, weeks, and months she would not be exempt from the common postpartum physiological and emotional infirmities.  I cannot imagine how hard it was for her.  This is not what we want to dwell on; we simply want to acknowledge it.  

While for us it was the best of times, for her it was the worst of times.  Her life months earlier experienced an unexpected turn, and she was faced with difficult, life-changing decisions. She could have aborted, and no one would have to know.  She could have decided to become a single mother and raise the child the best she could, but that is not the life she wanted for her child, and it was not the life she was at that time prepared to face.  She knew that the life she helped to create was precious and important.  She believed that every child deserves a mother and a father who can give it the needed attention and support and to be reared in righteousness and raised in a gospel-centered home.  She decided not only to choose life, but to choose the life that God desired for her son (and His son) and for her.  Of course, it was not an easy decision to make.  The consequences of it cost her job, her health temporarily, and sent her life in a direction she didn’t expect to go.  Some may wonder how a person could just give away her son, her own flesh and blood.  They may think that she was thinking mostly of herself, that she cared more about how her life would be changed by the “inconvenience” of an “unwanted” child.  On the contrary, we believe she was thinking of her son first.  She didn’t do it for her.  She didn’t do it for us.  She did it for him, and it was undoubtedly the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

We don’t know if she comprehended at that time how much her decision would bless not only her son’s life, but also the life of a family who was searching and waiting for a void to be filled, a family anxiously desiring to grow and to accept another as our own.  We hope that over time she catches even a glimpse of what her sacrifice means to us.  Even though that special day a year ago was the best day of our lives and probably the worst day of her life, we know that each day only gets better for us and for her.  Our open adoption allows us to keep in touch so that she can see how happy he is and observe that her hopes for him are being fulfilled.  It allows us to express our gratitude to her in simple ways and to allow—if only in a small way—us to be a part of her life and her to be a part of ours.  One of the beautiful things about an open adoption (and maybe unique to ours) is that we feel as though we not only adopted John, but Kim also.  We remain friends, but we feel like family because of the special bond we share.

2013 was full of happiness, joy, learning, anxiousness, adventure, and togetherness, and we anticipate more of the same in 2014. As we get ready to celebrate John’s big 1 birthday, surrounded by family and friends, Kim will be far away, but she will remain near and dear to our hearts.  On this day of celebration for us, we can’t help but think back on that day a year ago when our dreams began to come true.  Happy birthday, John Kimball Spencer!

Adoption:  it's about love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Films to get you in the Christmas Spirit in 30 minutes or less

Here are a few great Christmas movies that will help you keep the right perspective during the holiday season and put a smile on your face... each in less than half an hour.  So for a quick pick-me-up, put on one of these for yourself or for the whole family.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (25 min.)
"ISN'T THERE ANYONE WHO KNOWS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT?!"  If you're overwhelmed or dismayed by the commercialism of the season (still reeling from Black Friday?), you can commiserate with Charlie Brown, who gets no respect for trying to find meaning in the Christmas routines (until the end).  If not for the soundtrack alone, this is a fun way to set the proper Christmas mood.  I can't help but watch it several times each year.  There are so many memorable lines and antics from the Peanuts characters.  This short movie actually inspired me as a child to memorize the nativity story from Luke 2 in the New Testament (and recite it just like Linus), as well as the carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Also, I can't go a year without watching this entertaining mash-up: http://youtu.be/-sKrwsHweGc


Mr. Krueger's Christmas (26 min.)
If you're a day dreamer, a lonely person, or someone who sees the magic in everything about the Christmas holiday, you can relate to Willy Krueger.
No, this is not a spin-off of a horror flick. The aged Jimmy Stewart stars in this touching snapshot into the life and imagination of a lonely widower who has plenty of Christmas cheer and yet rediscovers the meaning of Christmas and of life through his introspective interview with the Christ child and his new friendship with a sweet little girl.



The Gift (17 min.)
Can't decide what to give someone for Christmas?  Often the best gifts don't come from stores or catalogs, but are made by hand, or are done with our hands.  Seemingly simple acts of service can make more of an impact that we realize, as young Sam finds out in this humbling and heartwarming film that shows another perspective on giving using a very simple setting and story.




How the Grinch Stole Christmas (26 min.)
This is another one we've seen many times, but it still brings a smile and a tear to our face each time.  If you're human, it breaks your heart to see a character so heartlessly take advantage of another who is so meek, innocent, and vulnerable.  But how joyous it is to see the change of heart (that finally starts to beat) and immeasurable good that is brought on by the unconquerable Christmas spirit and attitude of giving and sharing!
If you have children, I recommend reading the book to them instead for a quality family bonding experience.  There's always time for a reminder to not be a Grinch.



Do you have a holiday favorite that always gets you in the right mood while reminding you of the true meaning of Christmas?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More midnight raids at summer camp: Showdown at Camp Alaflo.



(by Michael)

When I was a kid, I loved summer camp:  a full week away from home with other kids my age out in the woods.  We had plenty of opportunities to escape adult supervision and do really fun stuff, like swing on vines, stalk deer, and, most of all, pull pranks.  I was a mischievous child, and pranks were a very important part of my week at scout camp, much more important than earning merit badges.  I spent a lot of time planning and preparing for pulling pranks at camp, and I also enlisted the aid and confidence of my fellow scouts in my troop.  While I had a lot of fun concocting and pulling various pranks on people, this story is about when it got out of hand and I learned why we are cautioned by our elders to behave ourselves.
After my first year of summer camp at Thunder Scout Reservation my troop started an annual tradition of bombing another campsite with water balloons on the last night of camp, all in good fun of course.  After three years of attending Camp Thunder, our troop then started attending Camp Alaflo for summer camp.  This did not change our annual tradition, though.  Something else did.  The first mistake was letting the younger scouts talk me into ambushing another campsite on the first night of camp rather than the last night.  The reason why we had always done it on the last night was because we would leave camp the following day before people had a chance to ask around to find the culprits (and before any of us had a chance to blab about it).  So, we got overzealous.  We decided to bomb a campsite where other scouts from our church were staying.  We got ‘em good.  They were sleeping in cabins; it was like shoot fish in a barrel.  I must say, it was fun and exciting.
Of course, the younger scouts in my troop couldn’t keep their mouths shut and by the second day of camp the other troop knew who to blame.  They didn’t say anything about it, though.  I was on edge.  I knew they would try to get us back, so we keep our eyes and ears peeled.  The big camp-wide campfire program was on Wednesday night.  While we were at the campfire, we noticed that the other troop was not there.  I knew they were up to something and had taken that opportunity try to ambush us.  We didn’t want to leave the program early because we didn’t want to arouse the suspicion of our scoutmaster.  As soon as it ended, we hurried off down the trail toward our campsite, knowing something was about to go down.
As we approached our campsite, I could see that they toilet papered the whole place.  I was ahead of the pack, and before I got all the way to there, I saw the boys from the other troop hiding around the corner (not very well for an ambush if you ask me).  I shined my flash light on them and saw them holding water balloons in their hands with big grins on their faces.  “There they are!” I yelled as my comrades caught up.  Then threw their water balloons toward us, but they all seemed to burst as they let them go, so we hardly got wet at all.  It was a pathetic effort, in my opinion.  They turned and ran away toward their campsite, and we chased after them.  We caught up just enough for Cornelius to kick one of them in the butt.  Steven, my brother, wielded a staff as he ran after them.  We quickly gave up the chase and went back to our campsite to clean up their mess, but were shocked by what we found.  They had done a lot more than toilet paper.  They knocked down all of our tents, dragged some of them into the woods, scattered all our stuff around, and sprayed dish soap all over everything.  Our stuff was all scattered, dirty, and in some cases wet.
Now, we were angry.  The more we saw what a mess they’d made, the angrier we got until we huddled up and decided to head down the road and kick their butts for real.  As I gave the rallying cry, I was interrupted by one of the scoutmasters, “NO YOU’RE NOT!”  He told us to stay there and clean up and he would go talk to the other troop’s leaders.  By then we knew that we were all in trouble.  We were just as guilty as the others.  They just took things too far.  Still, everything was going to be out in the open now. 
The scoutmaster returned with the other boys and their leaders.  Our leaders made us all stand face to face and explain how we ended up in this mess.  They made the other boys apologize to us for what they did.  They had really messed up, because they also trashed our scoutmasters’ tent, so they were pretty ticked, too.  Surprisingly, though, my stuff was untouched.  My tent was gone, but my cot and everything on and around it was just as I left it.  Jacob was not so lucky.  He was my tent mate.  His stuff was scattered all over just like everyone else’s.  I figured they knew which tent was mine, but not which cot, and in an effort to trash my stuff, they guessed wrong and trashed Jacob’s stuff instead.  I later felt guilty and apologized to Jacob that it had happened to him.  Anyway, the scout leaders made those boys pick up all our stuff that they’d scattered into the woods and put our tents back up.  They made us keep our distance and just watch.  Some of the boys taunted us with sinister grins, which provoked Cornelius and others to breathe out threats to them.
When the mess what pretty much all cleaned up, our leaders made us all come together and stand in a circle.  They made us each stand next to a boy from the other troop and hold hands.  As we all stood in a big circle holding hands, they had each one of us in turn say a prayer asking God to forgive us and help us forgive each other so that we could all be friends again.  It was one of the most humbling experiences I can remember.  I can’t say we all got along well after that, but we didn’t fight, and we didn’t do any more pranks on each other or anyone else.  We had learned our lesson. 
Sometime after summer camp that year, my friends and I were talking to some girls from church about what had happened because the girls knew the other boys, too.  I mentioned how they must have confused my cot with Jacob’s because I’m sure they were targeting me.  They told me that those guys actually thought I was a cool guy and liked me the most out of the group, which surprised me because I figured they would resent me, being the leader of their rivals.  We all eventually did become friends.  In fact, a couple years later we all went on a snorkeling trip together for summer camp and had a lot of fun.  Most of us eventually served missions and kept in touch afterwards.  Summer camp that year at Camp Alaflo was pretty dramatic, but now it is a [somewhat] fond memory.  We all had to grow up a bit and learn that we cannot control the consequences for our actions, so we must control our actions.
This is the only picture I have from Camp Thunder days.  They kid in the middle is Fidel Castillo.  Disclaimer:  Tom Winters is pictured here, but he was not our scoutmaster at the time any of the events described in this blog occurred, and other pranks not described here he was likely unaware of.

Once bitter rivals, now friends.  Pictured here are many of us who were involved in the great fiasco at Camp Alaflo.  This picture was taken a year or two after that at a state park in Key Largo.  We don't look too friendly here, I confess, but we really did get along better then.  Sorry the lighting is bad.  (Look for more to come about the Florida Keys trip in future posts)

Speaking of pranks.... Poor Jamie... he was always the first one to go to sleep, and such a sound sleeper he was.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stories from my childhood: Midnight raids at summer camp

(by Michael)

I attended my first Boy Scout summer camp at Camp Thunder in Georgia when I was twelve years old.  It was fun, I loved Boy Scouts and camping and anything where I could travel far away and do fun stuff.  This story starts on the last night of summer camp:  Friday night, the night before we would leave to go back home.  We were gathered around the picnic table in our campsite reviewing the week’s activities and how much fun we had.  There were only five boys from our troop who came to camp:  me, my best friend Jared, who was my age, Mat and Mark, who were both 13, and Chris, Mark's older brother.  He was 15.  There we were sitting around camp when suddenly the lantern went out.  KER-SPLASH!  Someone hit me with a water balloon!  There were more ker-splashes, and I soon realized that we were being ambushed by our scoutmasters with water balloons.  All of us were under attack and scrambling.  Mat and I tried to get to the ice chest where the water balloons were stashed while the scoutmasters were busy throwing some at the others.  Now I had ammo to fight back, but I was tripped up by Mark, who was on the ground for some reason, and I dropped my balloons.  Chris was quick thinking and grabbed the water hose at the latrine and use it on them.  After it was all over, we were all drenched and laughing, but still in shock that we were taken completely off guard… and that our scoutmasters had done something so fun and cool.  But what was even more shocking was what they said when we got the lantern lit up again.  “That was fun,” they said, “now, let’s go get another troop.”
We were all up for that and were so excited we couldn’t sit still.  We changed into our camouflage and filled up some more water balloons.  When we came back to the table, our scoutmasters threw us for a loop.  They decided that they could not participate in a water balloon attack on another campsite because if we got caught we might never be allowed to come back to Camp Thunder.  However, they said we could choose to do it on our own.  That way they would have plausible deniability and act like they knew nothing about it.  We were alright with that and started making plans.  We looked at our little map of the camp and picked the campsite furthest away from ours as are target, all the way on the other end of camp.  We waited until midnight and loaded up with a water balloon in each hand, ready to head out.
There were two paths leading out of our campsite.  The shorter route led straight to the main road by the dining hall, and the other path led right through Troop 150’s campsite, which was next to ours.  We wanted to go undetected, so the logical route was away from the campsites, toward the road.  We were soon halted, however, because in the open space around the big dining hall there were several light poles, and next to the dining hall was a pavilion with picnic tables and coke machines.  Sitting under the pavilion were a couple of scoutmasters who decided to stay up and chat.  They would certainly see us as soon as we left the woods to head in any direction, so we knew we couldn’t go that way.  That meant we had to go back the other way, through the campsite. 
We had to be sneaky and quiet so as to not wake anyone in Troop 150 or draw their attention if they happened to be awake in their tents.  We had tiptoed about halfway across their campsite when we heard a voice come out of one of the tents, “Where are you going?”  It was the scoutmaster.  Mat quickly replied, “to the coke machine to get a drink,” which was obviously a lie because we were headed in the exact opposite direction of the coke machines.  “Go back to bed!” the man replied from inside his tent.  “Okay,” he said, but kept going forward instead of turning around to go back.  We got through the campsite and nobody followed us or said anything else, so we thought we were pretty slick.  The trail curved around and crossed the road that passed above the dining hall, the side road that only staff people take to get to and from the staff lodge.  We took that road because it was dark and less likely to be traveled at night, and we could get to it without being seen by the scoutmasters who were sitting by the dining hall.  The only thing is we would have to sneak past the staff lodge at the end of the road where there were many people still awake and lights were on.  Still, maneuvering through the adjacent parking lot undetected was easy enough.  As we started down the dark road, we noticed something.  Someone was missing.  It was Mark!  Back when the scoutmaster told us to go back to bed, we kept going, but Mark actually turned around and went back to our own campsite.  We were shaking our heads but were rather amused at his blunder.  Oh well, we’d press on without him, just the four of us.  It was too bad he’d miss out on the adventure, but we weren’t really sad about it because he seemed more a liability in situations like this, and he’d already demonstrated why.
We approached the campsite we selected for our target.  It was pitch dark outside.  We huddled together behind a picnic table that sat near the entrance to the campsite to go over our strategy so everyone knew what to do.  Our biggest concern was not getting caught, so we made sure we knew when to book it out of there and what our escape route would be.  While we were crouched there together, someone started walking out of the campsite in our direction.  We started to panic.  We all shushed each other and tried to stay perfectly still, hoping whoever it was would not see us and pass us by, but inside I was sure we were caught, and I was already trying to think of some excuse why were there.  The person came closer, and I was about to start running away when he spoke in a whisper, “guys, is that you?”  It was Mark!  “Mark! Get down and shush!” we told him as forcefully as possible in a whisper.  You can imagine we were just as perplexed and shocked as you are about how in the world he wound up there at that time, and we started asking questions.  It turns out, when he realized he was the only one who went back to camp, he decided to catch up with us by going the other way…walking right past the two scoutmasters who stayed up talking by the dining hall.  He even went into the staff lodge to look at the big map of the camp on the wall to find out how to get to the target campsite.  Evidently, he took a different trail that led to the other end of the campsite… and walked right through it until he found us.  We were all face palming and cursing him under our breath.  Our operation was doomed, we thought.  How could you be so stupid, Mark!  He swore up and down that nobody noticed him.  We doubted that, but had come too far to turn back.  Everything seemed quiet, so we felt secure in going ahead with the plan. 
We crept into the target campsite to take our positions.  None of us took into account that Mark was absent at the time we made our final plans by the picnic table.  The tents were set up in a large circular formation.  They were canvas tents with door flaps on each end.  Crouching like ninjas, we filed in, each of us positioned behind a different tent.  We all had a water balloon in each hand that we had been carrying with us the whole time, which was another reason why we were so upset with Mark.  He said, he had kept them out of view, but I still thought it was a stupid thing to do.  He was positioned at the tent next to the one I was at.  I was still ticked at him, so I told him “don’t say a word” in a stern whisper as we entered the campsite.
We were all set.  I was waiting on a sign from Chris or Mat.  They were the oldest, so they were the de facto leaders of our team.  We had to do it quickly and all at once.  I was ready to follow their lead.  Then Mark started motioning at me.  He was about 15 feet away. I had no idea what he was trying to say.  I just waved him off to tell him to stop messing around and get ready.  Then he tip-toed over to where I was.  “Now, what?!” I thought to myself.  He leaned toward me and asked in the softest whisper possible, “what do I do if there’s only one person in the tent?”  I gritted my teeth and whispered “throw it at ‘em! Now, get over there!”  When we were back in position, I peeked inside the tent where I was at and beheld my victims.  I perked my eyes and ears again, waiting for a signal to go.  I did not want to wait any longer, so I lifted the tent flap, raised my water balloons in the air, and… SPLAT!  SPLAT!  I did it!  Then I took off running through the middle of the campsite back out the way we came.  Soon, the others were right behind me.  We kept running—filled with adrenaline—until  we were far away.  As I ran I could hard contain my laughter brought on by the exhilaration of what had just happened, but I was conscious about not making too much noise.  When we were far enough away and in a spot where we were sure no one could see us, we stopped to look back to check if anyone had followed us and to make sure we were all together.  “Did you throw yours?” I asked the others.  “Yeah,” they all said.  We all laughed out of excitement, but quietly, because we were still worried about getting caught.  “I thought you were gonna go first,” I said to Chris.  “I don’t know,” he replied, “I just froze and didn’t know what to do until I heard you throw yours and start running.”  Mark held up a water balloon in his hand and said, “hey guys, what do I do with this?”  “Get rid of it!” we told him, so he busted it on the ground. 
We decided  it was time to move on.  We took the long way back to our campsite to stay away from anyone who might decide to look for the culprits.  We weren’t in too big of a hurry at that point.  We walked along and retold our event to each other over and over, and commented on how awesome it was and how we should do it again next year.  We snuck back into our own tents easy enough, and not two minutes after I was in my bunk we heard pick-up trucks driving up and down the roads.  I was sure they were looking for us.  We were camped close enough to the road that I could see they were using spotlights to search for people lurking around.  I had a quiet fear that they would wake everyone up and start questioning us all, but as the noise drifted away I swelled up with a sense of pride and accomplishment about our successful secret mission. 
The next day we heard nothing about it from anyone around camp.  Everyone was getting ready to go home that day.  I thought about what it was like for the poor, unsuspecting individuals we had bombed with water balloons the night before.  It was quite amusing to me.  We discreetly told our scoutmasters about our mission accomplished, but didn’t say anything else about it until we were out of camp.  I had enjoyed summer camp that week, but that night’s events made my whole summer.  I couldn’t wait to replicate the adventure at the next summer camp.
To be continued…