July 5, 2009

I would like to go on record

This was one of those blessed weekends where things went exactly as I might have hoped they would. I will admit that I was skeptical about my plans, because I was just going home to my parents' by myself. How cool does that sound? Psh. Anyways, my dad and some of the members of their church have been working on a construction project for the last few weeks. I got the opportunity to go and work with them on Friday. Something that may or may not be interesting about me is that I kind-of dig manual labor. I love construction work. It was really fun to work alongside my dad and friends to help a family who has been ravaged by cancer. Sweet times. They're almost finished with their work - hopefully this week they'll pass inspection and trim everything out! I'm proud of all them - and sad I only got to work one day!

My new buddy and me rockin' the "GIRL POWER" crew:

How many people does it take to put siding on a house...?
Frank, me, Dad, and Mary Alyce - apparently.

After we finished work that day, at my request we went over to my parents' best friends' house (my second Mom and Dad) for a cookout. Another something about me: I LOVE a cookout. I also love Frank & Cherryl so it was doubly fun. I have no pictures of my feats of eating agility, but I may or may not have eaten hamburgers and hot dogs like there was no tomorrow.

Luckily, there was a tomorrow, and it included the best 4th of July I can remember. Mom and I went to her family's lake house for the day (Dad stayed behind to work with the construction crew). I grew up going all the time, but I don't think I've been since I graduated high school (over 8 years!). I had recently talked to my oldest cousins about it on facebook, and it worked out that a lot of the family went down for the day. I love the lake. It's like the beach in that you don't have to wear anything but a bathing suit all day. They had an inflatable pool set up on the deck for the kids, and if we weren't in the lake, we were all siting in the pool. It was so relaxed and it was the PERFECT day. I got to play with the jet skis and water ski for the first time in AGES, and I'm happy that it worked out well. Also, it should be mentioned that my 60-year-old Aunt Becky and my mom also skiied for the first time in ages - all of us getting out of the water on the first try. Boo-yow!

I love this picture of the dog in "his seat" on the deck.


This picture makes me laugh so much. If you carry your wife from the lake in a trailer behind a lawn mower...you might be a redneck.

I've decided that it's good to have a little redneck on the 4th of July. It's perfect for me. We finished off the day in the sun with some meat from the grill and my grandma's acre peas, watermelon, and corn on the cobb. Delish.

After our delightful day at the lake, Mom and I came back to watch the fireworks with friends...right on the banks of the St. Johns River. I don't think we could've had a better seat with the breeze blowing right off the water, and the show was great!

I finished off the weekend today going to the church I grew up in, with friends who have known me since the day I was born. There's something that's just special to me about that, even if I do miss my own church. It was sweet. Mom fed me well before I left their house, I was cranking the tunes on the way home with my dog, and now I'm in "my chair" in my house watching the same Deadliest Catch marathon that's been on all weekend. Can life get any better? (Well, maybe once I'm not sore from the skiing - but it's a price I'm happy to pay!)

I love everything about this weekend. Thanks for listening. (:

June 29, 2009


You know what I love? --A good gimmick.

Yesterday at church, my beloved pastor gave us a good word from James 1:26 - about keeping a lid on our smart mouths. He challenged each of us to go 24 hours without saying anything negative. We were each given a rubber band upon exiting that we are to wear on our wrists each day - and if we slip up, we're supposed to switch wrists. The object, of course, is to wear the band on one wrist for a full day. My favorite part of this whole "experiment" is that everyone is talking about it. At dinner tonight with friends, we were able to laugh and hold each other accountable (and maybe only change our rubber bands a few times). I've never had so much fun being held accountable. Try it!

June 9, 2009

My Chicago

I realize I was in Chicago (or at the very least, on the youth choir tour) for 7 days, and I only gave my frillions of readers 5 days' worth of posts. That could be because life falls apart when Lea exits my life. I spent almost every moment of the first five days with my friend, and then when she left EARLY on Saturday morning from Chicago is when it all started to go awry for me. Amber and I did the final room check that morning before we left Moody and we told all the girls it was at 8:45AM. We were ready early and sat around in our room making sure to give the girls adequate time to ready themselves. Everything went well and all was ship-shape. That is, however, until we realized (when The Director texted me) that we were supposed to LOAD THE BUS at 8:45. Room check was to have been at 8:30. Chaperone FAIL. Anyway, we traveled to Nashville that day and sang for The Next Door that evening. Those women were SO gracious and sweet and I wish I could have stayed. That evening we stayed at the Comfort Inn. Lights out at 11:00PM with a wake-up call at 5:30AM. I do love a scheduled 6hrs of sleep. (: However, The Director and I got an extra hour on account of the face that when the light switch is turned off in that particular hotel, none of the electrical outlets work. We didn't know that when I plugged in my cell phone charger to the phone that had our alarms on it. Needless to say, it did not charge and in fact DIED. Luckily our Crew Chief called The Director's cell phone 15 minutes before it was time to load the bus. We had the privilege of riding on the bus all day and giving our home concert with no showers. De-lish! (: Lea is never allowed to leave early again.

Anyway, it turned out all right in the end. Lea and I were still able to dance in the balcony while the kids were singing their last fun song. Good times!

I've thought a lot about why I have loved this trip so much, aside from the people who played a big part in my adoration. Here's what I've got so far: The Director, at each and every concert, turned around to the audience and told them that we were all there to sing about God's love for them. In nursing homes and rehab facilities and homeless shelters and half-way houses and cerebral palsy care facilities, they were told simply that GOD LOVES THEM. It brought to life the meaning that Jesus came to care not for the well, but for the sick. I'm so happy to have been able to experience even a small part of ministering to people on the fringes that even Christians have a hard time dealing with. Thank you for praying for us and for following along.

Here are two more of my favorite trip quotes, since I must finish what I started:
"I need to drop a duty."
"I have been watching you this whole trip and I think you're beautiful. May I please have my headphones back?"

And some of my favorite pictures from the trip for your enjoyment:

Ferris wheel at the Navy Pier

Just a fun picture of some fun kids

Some of my favorite chaperones (at the Navy Pier)

I love this kid as my kin. I always wanted a brother.
Matching sunglass provide a photo op if nothing else. (:
Fun with my girls!

Why, yes, I do love bribery.

At United Cerebral Palsy

Skipping up Michigan Avenue!

Trying to choose my favorite miniature room at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Millie and me hanging out with the Monet. Yum.

June 5, 2009

Day 5

I have had a great day in the city of Chicago.  We took 5 chaperones and 3 youth to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio tour today (2 1/2 hours!) and then forged our way to the Chicago Art Institute.  I am in love with the Art Institute and I found my new (and maybe only) favorite modern artist.  

More about our day on the tour blog.  I was with Lea so it was a blast!  

My quote of the day is actually from yesterday but we talked about it today.  From a youth on this trip: 
"If I put on more eyeliner, I can pass for 14!"  

Because those 14-and-up clubs are the BOMB!  

Traveling to Nashvegas tomorrow!

Day 4

So technically it's Day 5 now.   But for the sake of my OCD and posting every day, I haven't gone to bed yet so it's still Day 4.  We've had a great day at Pacific Garden Mission and United Cerebral Palsy.  

We decided today that Tina is our Hyper-Witnesser.  My favorite quote of the day is from this morning when Tina was a few minutes late to the bus:
"What is Tina doing, leading someone at Moody to Jesus?!"

My other favorite might be, "Grady, give that homeless man a cupcake!" 

The hits just keep on coming here, people.  Tomorrow is our fun day, and I'll be heading to the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum and the Chicago Art Institute.  

I LOVE these kids and they're doing such a great job.  Keep praying and check out the tour blog.

June 4, 2009

Day 3

This day has been great.  The kids sang two concerts at rehabilitation centers, and then we all went and prepared meals at Feed My Starving Children.  It was an amazing experience and I think it made an impression on all of us.  Plus, we got to wear these sweet hats:

I cannot look at that picture without laughing really, really hard.  Thank you, Lucas.

My favorite quote of the day comes from The Director (I hope her husband's reading) and it's a pot-calling-the-kettle-black sort of situation:
"This is a parable...of the hypocrite and the 6th grader."

Here's hoping we continue to forget myself, follow Jesus.

June 2, 2009

Day 2

We finally made it to Chicago!  It's such a great city and I am LOVING IT.  Hop on over to the tour blog for a play-by-play (click the button, people).  

My favorite quote of the day is from our illustrious bus driver, Charles.  (Who, when I asked very politely if I might call him "Sir Charles" responded, "You can call me Charles.") : 
"I like everybody, but some people I just don't wanna be around."  

As a side note, we started Sonshine mail today, in which the kids and chaperones can write encouraging notes to other peeps.  I may or may not have gotten a little teary over some of our GREAT kids...  

And here is perhaps my favorite picture from our architectural cruise his evening (during which we FROZE, fyi).