My Story

My God is full of wonder, and each day I am learning more about Him
and the amazing plans He has laid out for the adventure that is my life.

This is my story.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Need Help!

Hi Everyone,

Who ever would have guessed that the mountain camper bookworm would find herself teaching sixth graders about marine fish and birds on a beautiful island?! However, I am having quite the time of my life as God has once again blessed me royally with one more fantastic adventure.

I write now to tell you about something very important that the camp I work for, Mountain And Sea Adventures (, is putting on. They are in the midst of a fund raising drive in order to afford to bring at least one hundred (if not more) students from inner-city at risk schools to the island for a life changing marine science camp experience. Some of the kids will have never even seen the beach, let alone snorkeled or kayaked in it! The heart of this organization is huge and they need help pulling this off. And as much as I hate asking anyone for money, it is what is needed right now to make this dream a reality.

Therefore, if you have some extra cash from recently filing your taxes or you just find it exhilarating to help kids who have never had an opportunity like this one to experience a life changing adventure, then please go to their special Donor Website ( where you can donate with ease. You can either give a one time gift, or participate in our monthly pledge system. And if you choose the latter, you will also be able to participate in receiving some rather amazing prizes that have been donated by caring businesses toward this cause. Also, by donating and mentioning that I was the one who asked you to, you will also be helping me to get some much needed paid time off to do some more pleasure hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling all over this incredibly beautiful island!

Please consider donating. I have already seen what even a few days here can change in the hearts of some of the campers I have been in charge of this spring. Our motto is "Break You Fears!" And I have seen a child so scared of getting in the water clinging to my neck finally stick her face and snorkel into the water and see a whole new world open up before her eyes. Then the problem was trying to get her out! We also fervently speak on and do games that are oriented toward Environmental Awareness, and I had one camper that was so inspired by the life she had seen in the ocean and by what plastic and pollution was doing to it all that she created a letter to the president and formed a school program to raise awareness and be part of the change that needs to happen to help keep our oceans and therefore our world a cleaner and healthier place.

This is what we are doing here. Please, if you can, help be a part of it by helping to send those who rarely ever get an opportunity such as this.

In His hands,

Mary Divine

A Difficult Week

This past week has been the most challenging week of my life here with MSA by far. And by challenging, I mean an emotional roller coaster of hard and difficult experiences.

My group this week was a holy terror all by themselves. To be honest, the campers were wonderful... individually. I had 3rd graders this week, which meant that they were all as cute as a button saying the darnedest things that made me crack up constantly when I wasn't trying to teach them. However, as a group in an outdoor teaching setting, having sixteen 3rd graders is quite the nightmare for one's nerves and vocal chords. They had to pea every fifteen minutes and they were constantly asking the most ridiculous off-topic questions. I almost completely lost my voice by the time they left only three days after they had arrived. But I really did love the kids. They even taught me some new dance moves strait from the hood; them being from the inner city. However, their main teachers were my two chaperons, and I have to admit I've never had a more difficult pair. I'm not even sure how detailed I can be in this blog, but let's just say I hope they never come back, and if they do; I hope I'm not here to deal with those two pills again. And can I just say that selfishness is one of the most annoying personality traits ever?!!

And that was only the first half of my week. The rest involved breaking up with my boyfriend and finding out that I had received remedial reviews from my dearly departed chaperons and was therefore asked to re-watch some of the classes I have been trained to teach and had been getting excellent reviews in.

Thankfully, all weeks must have their end. And this one ended with good friends all around me giving me more love than I knew what to do with. I still feel incredibly blessed to be here and am still very much in love with the island. It will always have a very special place in my heart. Every morning I awake with the sun and step outside to see it rising upon the waters just over Indian Rock. Sometimes there's even a pirate ship sailing by. And cormorants are usually flying in mass to feed upon some school of mackerel or sardines; a gleaming blackness across the shining waters.

This week I get a new group of fifth graders and yesterday I was taught how to sail a sail boat, so already things are looking up! I will try not to be too horribly boastful in saying how thrilled I was to successfully turn my boat around with the "boom" on my first attempt!

I am reminded of when I was a little girl taking swimming lessons with Miss Banita. She said I was a little fish who never wanted to leave the water. That feeling has returned and I don't know how I'll cope when in a month I have to leave for the desert and school once more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm On Island Time ;)

Life is continuing to get better and better as the island continues to get warmer and sunnier. I also heard back officially from Azusa Pacific Un. and I got the graduate assistantship I wanted! I'll be working as a mentor for college students coming up with ideas and projects to better our community and to encourage higher education in middle schools and high schools. It's in the Research and Learning Center, which means that I'll have opportunities to present and possibly publish!

But enough about that! Santa Catalina Island is beyond beautiful, even when cold. And I am greedily cherishing each and every moment of my time here as I know it will end all too soon.

So, some of what I've done so far:

I finally was able to achieve diving in a wetsuit! If you are unaware, wetsuits are incredibly buoyant. They pretty much make you into a full-bodied flotation device. When practicing, I couldn't get myself any further than my rear, and then back to the surface I would come. This made diving for cool invertebrates at the bottom of the ocean to show my kids while snorkeling was rather difficult. However, a couple days ago I was able to dive successfully for the first time! I was snorkeling around and suddenly spotted a sea hair! They are a mollusk that is pretty much like a slug in the shape of a bunny (sort of). I was so excited that without thinking, I just dove for it and had it in my hands about ten feet underwater before I even realized I was under! It's also rather good that I don't mind touching slimy things, because the ocean is rather full of those kinds of things. :)

They're now making me the lead for different schools, which means that I've been getting to know the chaperons and teachers that come along with the campers better. This has been quite the positive experience on the whole. They have been so supportive and helpful. I find that I love doing this more and more.

This weekend will hopefully be one of the first lazy full weekends that we've had as a staff to just hang out together. Jules and I want to have a two hour ballet class, which hopefully will be joined by Debs, Melodie, and possibly Juan. Marcus and I are also trying to put together a group to go out snorkeling around Indian Rock, which is just outside our bay and looks like a wonderful place to see more marine life. I absolutely love everyone that I work with here and am so incredibly blessed. This is what continually pops into my head at random moments throughout the day... well, when the song from The Sound of Music isn't playing through my head as I gaze at the beautiful green hills all around me.

Here's some more pictures from the island. Enjoy :)

This is a Garibaldi fish, which happens to be the Cal. State Marine Fish and has the coolest Genis species name ever: Hypsipops rubicundus!