J-SALT fam

The rain came down / And the friends came / Together

The power of piano / And paper airplanes / Thank you, Sarah / Paul

The dining hall / Is now my home / And J-SALT / Family

I don’t like how WordPress formats my poetry in the excerpt for the posts, so I’m trying a new format…

This poem was from the prompt “A Storm”, and I wrote it in Camp Gilead’s dining hall after cleaning up with the rest of the junior counselors, who were working as kitchen staff during Teen Week. The usual kitchen staff are SALT members (Service And Leadership Training), so we called ourselves J-SALT (Junior Counselor SALT). There is a piano in the Hall (don’t ask why), and our SALT leader, Paul, and the lovely Sarah, the nurse’s assistant who helped out whenever she could, played us some lovely piano pieces. It was a really sweet time, so I pulled out my poetry prompt journal to try to express what I was feeling.

Camp is officially over, and I’m trying to reclaim some sort of normalcy before I start school on Monday Hopefully I’ll get some more posts written and all that jazz. 🙂


Ultimate Satire

A couple weeks ago, I had to write a sports paper.  So I read a chapter of a book on sports writing, but then I also read the next chapter: humor writing.  With both of those influences being tossed around my mind, this paper emerged.  As soon as I told my sister Carrie about it, she brought up Paul.  She was totally write right; as soon as I realized I wanted it to be sarcastically funny, I subconsciously channeled my inner Paul

So, this is for you, Paul

Ultimate Frisbee, commonly shortened to the creative “Ultimate,” is an increasingly popular sport among both millennials and their parents.  Scientists are investigating how this unique phenomenon exists, and advertising agencies are altruistically pouring millions of dollars into the research—for the good of the cause, of course.

I’ve only played Ultimate twice, and that was many months apart, so, in reality, I’ve simply played for the first time twice.  For this reason, you can rest assured that I know everything that there is to know about the game and never get confused during changes of possession.  Ever.

I played most recently with a group of people who ranged in age from twelve to mid-fifties, but the most influential players were surprisingly the young men in their teens to mid-twenties.  The rest of us merely blocked and distracted the other team to the best of our abilities, occasionally catching the frisbee in a complete and honest accident that had a good chance of helping the opposing team.

Understanding Ultimate is really quite simple: it is the monster that emerged when your buddy Jared rolled over the group’s only football in his Mack truck but then tried to pretend you could still play football with the flattened remains.  Of course, with those guys in charge of coming up with the rules, nobody should be surprised that we’re left playing an anarchist football in which you can only run if you don’t have the ball, and where downs have been exiled to the frozen wasteland of the hearts of NFL coaches.  Thus, you still want to get a touchdown, but you have to make approximately 17 ½ passes between the same 4 guys to get it downfield, which can take upwards of 10 minutes or less.

Of course, the defending team enjoys this new and improved football: to claim possession of the frisbee, they don’t need to intercept it with skill and dexterity and suspense, but instead merely need nimbly hit it out of the air with as much brute force as possible, accompanied with macho yells intended to terrify their victim.

According to the UORTDE (Unofficially Official Rulebook That Doesn’t Exist), from the moment the defending player (who now goes on the offensive in the name of disgracing consistency and order and all things holy) touches the frisbee again, it is in play and must be thrown frantically in five seconds by the other team’s count.  For this reason, the possessing player often merely hovers over the downed disc, letting his teammates get in a better position as the opposing team circles him hungrily, waiting for its moment to strike and then probably howl at the moon.

As this explanation has probably inspired you to join your local Ultimate league as fast as humanly possible, I will leave you with the wisest, most universally applicable advice ever screamed at the top of a player’s lungs in pure terror during the game:

“Watch out for Eric!”


Giving vs Getting

It always feels good to receive good things, doesn’t it?  Help with some hard things, hugs, money, wise counsel, birthday presents, etc. are all exciting things to get.

But have you ever experienced the joy of giving those things?

Giving someone money isn’t always the easiest thing financially, but seeing their joy when they are able to buy something they need or maybe just want is priceless.

Giving (and receiving) wise counsel bonds you with the person on the other end.  I received some amazing advice this summer from a friend I trusted, and I gave some good (I hope) advice to a couple different campers.  When you have serious talks about serious things that directly relate to someone’s life, you get to learn more about the person’s heart and thought process, bonding you with them in a very unique way.

When I need help, I don’t struggle with letting people help me because I think I’ll look stupid.  Instead, I freely accept their assistance and thank them profusely for their help while smiling hugely because I did need the help!  I often want to become better friends with those who go out of their way to help me, especially if I don’t know them very well.

But giving help is something I’m not very good at, simply because I don’t see the opportunities around me easily.  Some people have a gift of sensitivity to the needs of others around them, but I really have to work at it.  So, usually, by the time I realize someone needed help, someone else has already taken care of it.  But, the few times that I’ve been able to help someone by carrying something for them, opening a door, explaining a math problem to them, etc., it has been extremely rewarding to hear them thank me or see them smile.  Doing or saying something that brightens at least one person’s day a day is a goal I read somewhere that I really try to strive for.  Being the light, you know?

I hope this inspires you to get out of your comfort zone and give something to someone, whether it be your time, effort, money, or kind words. 🙂


Quatro Años


I started blogging in 2013, so I was 13 (which just seems crazy to say).  In these four years, I’ve gained 324 followers. (Hoooowww???) But, more than that statistic, I’ve gained an uncountable number of friends; on WordPress and in real life.  Some have been good for a short time but faded away, and some are still here since 2013.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship because God also has recently given my family a bunch of new friends through our band/orchestra/choir program, GCHFA, through our synagogue, and through random (I mean God-designed!) encounters at the beach.  Like, how cool are people who are incredibly cool but yet also think that you’re cool??  It’s so great!

Thank you to all of these amazing friends (online and in person) who have made an investment into my life.  I wouldn’t be here without you, and I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without you. 

Praise God for friends!

-Syd the Squid

P.S. I’m going to see The Last Jedi with a bunch of my church friends (FAMILY) tonight!  


On July 26, 2016, Paul wrote a post announcing that he was going to write letters on his blog to anyone who requested one.  Mine was suuuuuper far down on the list, but I waited patiently.  For over a year.


His post is here so you can go read through it via that lit link, but I’m also going to copy and paste parts of it here so my reply makes sense and so I can laugh a lot.

Dear Paul,

First of all, let me say, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA thank you ever so much for your amazing letter I will cherish it forever!

Now, onto your first questions:

  • Do you like calamari? Do they have it in Florida? Or should I say Flo-Rida like all the cool kids? No need to answer that. The answer is “NO”.

I have had calamari once in my life, and it was at Carrabba’s.  As my nickname has been Squid since I was, like, 8, I felt cannibalistic kinda bad about eating it… However, I did like it.  Battered and fried… mmhmm.  However, seafood (except for gilled fish like tarpon, tilapia, cod, etc.) isn’t kosher, and my family tries to stick to the kosher laws (my step-dad being a Messianic Jewish rabbi and all), so I haven’t had it since.  *sigh*

That’s not how you pronounce Florida?!? #livingalie The answer to that is always YES! 😀  I’ve always wanted to say Flor-idi-a myself, but rappers seem to gain more prominence when it comes to pronunciations…

As to your confession… Surprisingly, you’re not the first person to genuinely think that my name could be Squid.  I knew a guy who heard my mom call me ‘Sydney’ at our synagogue and was totally flabbergasted that Squid wasn’t my actual name.  I guess it didn’t help that I introduced myself to him as Squid when I first met him… XD

Don’t even get me started on camper names!!  One of my cabins this summer had very little even remotely-normal names, which added more difficulty to learning all of them. XD


The X-Men are a group of Marvel superheroes created in 1963.  They are all mutants, meaning they were born with their powers and not, um, mutated (?) by radiation or anything.  Don’t ask.  I’ve always been a fan of them and have watched most of the movies and read a lot of the old b/w comics.  However, totally fine that you don’t know of them; I know next-to-nothing about sports. 😛

I want to see a Y-Men movie!  Parodies are amazing, and that one is very creatively clever.  Even a political documentary about Yemen could work.

  • You like summer camps, eh? So do I. They make me feel smart. Kids know absolutely nothing, yet they know everything. Know what I mean? / They don’t know facts or historical information, but they can tell when you sneak an extra lunch for yourself, or when you talk to other counselors more than others.

OK, I totally forgot that I mentioned summer camp in my letter request.  I had just gotten back from my first week of camp ever in my life, as a camper at a Teen Week.  This year, however, I have just finally readjusted to life after working at a camp as a JC.  Veeerrry different perspective.

So, yo, I totally know what you mean!  This being my first year at this camp meant that a lot of the campers knew a lot more than I did about everything because they were returning for their 3rd, 4th, or 8th year, but they still couldn’t grasp that you need shoes to leave your cabin, your Bible to go to chapel, or that you should listen to the person giving the announcement so you don’t have to ask your counselor later. *sigh*  They are also extremely perceptive.

  • What is your favourite part of camp? Mine was the bus ride to the pool.

YOU GOT A BUS RIDE TO THE POOL???  OK, we didn’t actually have a pool, we had a lake, but we had to walk there!  I mean, it was just across the street, but still… Whoever had the cleanest cabin in the morning would get a golf cart ride there or back that day, but that was it.  I’m quite jealous. 🙂

Back to the really hard question.  I loved:

  1. Playing frisbee during canteen/oasis time with the campers and counselors.
  2. Leading worship with the rest of the team.
  3. The giant volleyball games.
  4. Having a camper come up to me and say, “I’m so glad God put me in your cabin.”
  5. Last but not least, I love the family I gained.

  • I never went to camp as a kid. I had video games that needed attention. / I credit video games for giving me my cat-like reflexes, which are sometimes panda-like reflexes, but who’s keep tracking? [????] / Also, video games helped prepare me for the technological world we live in today.

Truth!!  Video games do increase hand-eye coordination and teach you menu navigation skills like nobody’s business. 😀

*stops laughing for a quick second to gasp out words* Your fandom mix-up is completely and overwhelmingly hilarious!!  LotR, Harry Potter (which I know next-to-nothing about except for the fact that calling someone a muggle is an insult?), and Star Wars from one Yoda question.  *claps*

Shopping cart.  Buggy is what a horse used to pull back in the days of horse slavery.  Now we pull them.  Go figure.  You extra “u” people………

Heard of Yoda, you probably have.  Talks like this, he does.  Makes fun of it, people do.  Makes Yoda sad, it does.

As for the actual interaction, he’s probably not used to people not knowing who he is.  People are usually all like:

Fangirl: *fangirl squeal* Master Yoda, can I have your autograph??

Yoda: *whacks them with his stick* Fangirls, stop it now.

He probably actually appreciates the fact that you didn’t know who he was, but he was too surprised to show it.  Hence, grumpy.

I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now, so I’ve been following your blog for about 3 (if not more) years.  I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!

A consequence of my sister following you is that she reads your posts before I do sometimes and then tells me all of the funny parts (consisting of going back and rereading most of the post out loud).  She has done so on many occasions, so we have a little bit of a rivalry now. 🙂

Despite your celeb status in our house, I think my parents still are confused when I simply quote “Paul” instead of “Paul, that funny Canadian blogger I’ve been following forever and who I told you about like 3 years ago.” XD

Fairly Local – Twenty-Øne Pilots

The irony is that you’re a whole continent country away from the people who talk about you, so you’re almost the opposite of a local celebrity… an internationally local celeb?

Thank you for making my day with your letter!


P.S. The title of this post comes from a super serious and boring song from a little-known TV show.  The mail song from Blue’s Clues.  I know, you’ve probably never heard of it.  We sang it at camp every. single. day. at lunch.  We would hold the “I” for a long time to prolong the suspense and then sing the rest as loud as we could… The counselors always got really into it and the kids looked at us because like we were weird.  That’s the point of camp, right?

Sisters On Our Knees Feature!

This week I had the honor and pleasure of being featured on a prayer blog, Sisters On Our Knees!  One of the ladies, Joy, is my long-term blogging friend who has been an encouragement to me since my early days of blogging.  One of her blogs, the one I’ve followed since the beginning, is Cherry Tree Poet, so please go check it out!  

Anyway, the post is actually part one of two (because I write a lot… Sorry!), so next Wednesday the next part will be published too.  

Without further ado, Meet Sydney: A Teenage Prayer Warrior




My friend Emily was a Senior Counselor this summer at the same camp that I worked at as a Junior Counselor.  She just wrote a post detailing her thoughts on this summer, and it is highly worth reading.  I echo so many of her sentiments, and her heart for God shines through it beautifully.  Soooooooo go read it.  Now.  Good job. 🙂


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