June 30, 2010

The One with the Muscles on Fire

I hurt. 
I've realized I need to incorporate my Jillian workouts with my weekly exercise routine. 
You see, being out at camp, I've been doing the running thing. 
Which is fun. 
And totally different from the last few years of my life. 
I started thinking, "Hmmm, doing the same exact workout every. single. day. is probably not the best way to keep in the best shape I can." 
So I've been using one of the camp's meeting rooms the past couple mornings--
most likely before anyone else is even awake. :)
(And no worries, I got the director's permission. 
I'm a goody two shoes like that.)

It's been nice--this rotating of my routine. 
The only problem? 
I can barely move. 
Taking the one step down out of our camper is crazy painful.
My quads are burning like crazy!  
I guess it was a "good" thing I decided to switch up my workouts. 
Otherwise, my muscles would just be contentedly falling into atrophy.
And we don't want that, now, do we?? 

June 29, 2010

The One with the Lovely Monday

Monday was great.
(slash: really not good, but that'll come later.)
First of all, I soaked in Psalm 34.
Have you read this Psalm?
I mean really read it?
Every word moves me to praise, to thank, to pursue righteousness, and to commune with my God.
It's overflowing with wisdom for every aspect of life.
Go, read it now.

Donning my brand spanking new SpiritFire youth group tshirt,
I ventured down to breakfast
and enjoyed a leisurely morning of reading--
currently I'm reading another Karen Kingsbury book: Take One.
I spend an hour with the amazing Christina while she and four campers participated in "crafts class."
It was fun.
I learned to do some leather working.
I made myself a personalized bookmark.
It's awesome.
After more reading and enjoying the breeze and warmth of the day,
I helped stock the new drinks in the Trading Post.
Starbucks Frappuccino. Double shots. Sobes. Lipton teas. 
Talk about good merchandise. 

In the afternoon, I ran into Kevin (no, not literally) who was about to take the camp van on a field trip. 
Well, specifically, he needed to make a 30 minute trip to the shop that supplies and repairs our RC cars for youth camp classes. 
Kevin's boss (who happens to be our friend too), said I could tag along. 
So I figured "why not?!"
At this point, I'm relishing the time together, 
and quickly realizing my husband is not well.
He wasn't himself. 
He was complaining of a headache. 
(Which he never has.)
And willingly taking medicine.
(Which he never does.)
He hadn't eaten much all day and had downed 4 large water bottles in the morning alone. 

I knew he wasn't fit for driving a 15 passenger van very defensively in the state of mind he was (or wasn't) in. 
He immediately agreed that it was a good idea to have me drive to our next stop. 
As we headed back to camp, I told him to relax and close his eyes.
He fell asleep instantly. 

Later that evening, after supper, Kevin still said he wasn't feeling well. 
I encouraged him to rest up before vespers. 
On our way up to the camper, 
we stopped to have the nurse check his temperature. 
I had seen goosebumps on his arms numerous times all day long. 
And it was 85 degrees out! 
I knew he had the flu. 
Sure enough, his temp was 101.5. 
Uber high for an adult--especially high for Mr. I'm Never Sick. 
That was that. 
No more fun and games for my boy. 
No more work, either. 
He laid on the couch and slept for 2 hours. 
When he opened his eyes and started talking, 
he proved again how sick he was. 
He was delirious--talking about strange things, in a quiet subdued way. 
We went to bed early-ish. 
(That is, we went to bed "on time" which is early for camp.) 
His skin almost felt on fire to the touch. 
I was concerned.

He slept through the night for nearly 12 hours. 
He's still got a temp today.
And he's still on the couch--
not at all happy about having to miss camp. 
But I'm thankful for his fever--
fighting off the sickness
and forcing him to rest. 

Now, I realize all of that does not sound like a good day at all. 
But even though my circumstances weren't all that perfect for some of the day, 
I was thankful. 
I was in tune with Jesus. 
And I felt the truth of Psalm 34

June 28, 2010

The One with His First Sermon

Yesterday was Sunday. 
Which means church. 
Which, for us, means our "work day."
This is normal. 
No biggie. 
Except that the two of us were totally in charge of the entire service. 
We had another adult helping leading the hymn sing, 
but other than that the fate of the morning worship service lay in our hands. 
I was nervous.
Were we really capable? 
What would the people think?
Would we totally ruin everything?
What if we forgot something really important?
What if 
What if
What if. 

Kevin was asked a few weeks ago to preach. 
He accepted whole heartedly. 
I knew he would do a great job. 
I had full confidence. 
But I really wasn't sure what to expect.
It was his first sermon. ever. 
And it was in front of a congregation who has seen many pastors and heard many sermons in their day. 
I was just really not sure.
And besides that I was imagining the Media Shout program breaking down. 
Or him not being able to get through all his prepared material.

He FAR exceeded my expectations. 
I heard nothing but glowing remarks from the parishoners. 
And I really believe they were genuine. 
Kevin spoke articulately. 
He was thought-provoking. 
And precise. 
And somehow managed to get through 19 slides in 20 minutes 
and never once did I feel like he was rushing. 
He threw in a few jokes. 
And I heard the audience respond. 
And I saw many heads nodding. 
I was thankful. 

The only sad part about the whole thing? 
I had decided not to video tape it because it was going to be audio recorded on cd. 
I thought that was perfect. 
But as the sound tech hit "finish" ont he cd recording it said "error" 
and he discovered the recording had been lost. 
Kevin's first sermon will never be heard again. 
I was really hoping I could have it for posterity. 
And for our parents to hear. 
But God works for the good of those who love him.
And I know he has a purpose in all things.

My heart was in prayer throughout the service. 
From the announcements.
To the music. 
To the offering. 
And through the sermon. 
And Praise be to God for his guidance and his hand on that morning. 
I wonder if it was a glimpse into the rest of our lives. :)

June 26, 2010

The One with a Kindred Spirit

Have you ever met a kindred spirit?
A person with whom you seemed to connect fully. 
One who is so much like you, 
yet different enough to strengthen you by their friendship. 
Someone you can't believe you haven't known your whole life? 

This has happened to me once or twice. 
And what a blessing it is. 
It's like finding the friend you were meant to share life with. 

I found one of my kindred spirit friends a few weeks ago. 
She's a youth pastor's wife. 
So right off the bat, we have common ground.
Youth ministry is a unique life, 
one which only those living it can fully understand.

Her husband is awesome. 
He and Kevin get along swimmingly--
which is an amazingly exciting occurrence in and of itself. 
They have similar passions, 
and deep thought processes. 
I might even say they're both nerdy without being dorks about it. 
Make sense? 
What I mean is they love to think and learn and process. 
And to share these thoughts with others who understand. 
But they manage to do all of that without living the life of a dork.
They're like ninja nerds. 
Ok, maybe that's taking it a bit far. 
But the point I'm trying to make is, these two guys could really be great friends. 

After the initial introductory, superficial encounters, my new friend and I learned so much about each other.
We both prefer deep conversations and intimate friendships, 
to having lots and lots of people around and constantly making small talk. 
We are scrapbookers. 
And bloggers. 
And runners. 
(Well...like I said the other day, I'm not really a runner. 
But I run. Sort of.) 
She's inspiring to me. 
She didn't start running until college and now she runs lots of competitive races and averages a 6 minute mile.
I'll attribute that speed to her long legs and her stereotypical runner figure. 
I have neither. 
But I do have the will to keep fit. 
And she's really made me realize you can do that no matter what stage of life you're in. 
She had a baby 10 months ago, 
and you'd never know it. 
She said she ran every day of her pregnancy,
up to and including the day she gave birth. 
I think that's totally awesome. 

And speaking of her little boy, Isaac just about captivates me.
I've never seen a happier baby. 
I held him and played with him for a bit, and we had the greatest time together. 
After spending an hour sharing our hearts with one another, 
my new friend and I both expressed our desires to be next door neighbors. 
We both knew this wasn't just a passing friendship.
And it's too bad we live an hour and a half from each other. 
But we exchanged numbers. 
And promises to get together. 
And sure enough just 2 days later, she had invited Kevin and I to dinner. 
I can't wait to get together with them again!

True friends revive the spirit. 

June 24, 2010

The One with the Summer Storms

This has been the craziest summer ever. 
And it's only been a couple weeks into June. 
I can't recall a year when I saw so many intense storms back to back. 
In the last two weeks, we've had two devastating thunderstorms. 
Thunder like I've never heard. 
Lightening that lit the sky for hours. 
Winds that took down trees. and power lines. 
And subsequently left us without electricity or phones.
But with plenty of repairs and cleanup.
Like taking care of the staff trailers that were cut in half by limbs the size of large trees.  

Not to mention the two tornado sirens.
TWO in two weeks. 
I'm not a fan of tornadoes.
But as a child (correction: until 2ish years ago), tornadoes were my biggest fear. 
As soon as I so much as saw a tornado watch scroll on the bottom of the television I was done for. 
Nauseous stomach. 

When I was a camp counselor five years ago, 
I realized I could no longer be afraid. 
Or at least, I couldn't show my fear. 
I had children all around me needing comfort as the threatening clouds rolled in. 
But even in this situation, God had his hand. 
Because without my previous fear of storms, 
I wouldn't have been able to empathize with them as fully as I did. 

Last night was the fourth time we've seen frightening storms.
But this one seemed worse the rest. 
I saw ominous clouds and wasn't too worried. 
Then the tornado watch siren sounded.
I wasn't too worried, because it just meant conditions were right.
So we went about our business. 

My mom and I started a camp fire.
[Insert side story here:
The two of us girls went to the firewood bin to pick up a few logs. 
After I grabbed the second piece of wood, 
my mom screamed and I looked and screamed and dropped the wood instantly. 
There was a snake under that log. 
And I almost touched it. 
I hate snakes. 
Even if it was just a little garter snake.] 
We had just finished our s'mores as the rain began to fall.
I snatched our belongings and headed for the camper. 
Along the way, I burnt my leg with the roasting fork.
It had been sitting in the fire for approximately 10 minutes. 
It was HOT. 
I think I'm going to have some pretty crazy scars. 

After making our way to shelter, we looked out the window
and things seemed worse. 
I didn't feel like dealing with the uncertainty of checking the skies every 25 seconds. 
So I made the call. 
And the three of us made our way up to the ground keeper's home. 
Ahhh, yes. 
A firm foundation under our feet. 
A basement to hide in. 
Not to mention 34 fellow camp staff
And fresh chocolate chip cookies. 
And homemade buttery popcorn. 
It was a relief. 
Sure, my heart was still racing, my hands still quivering, but I was ok. 
After a couple hours of hiding out,
watching the lightening, 
hearing the thunder, 
and watching the radar,
we decided to head back "home"--
with Debbie's promise of calling me the moment something became scary. 
We slept through the night. 
We're still alive. 
Our cat probably thinks we're torturing him. 
But it's really not our fault, after all. 
I think God's just showing off his power or something. 

June 21, 2010

The One with the "5K"

I feel rather accomplished. 
I successfully ran the 5K path around Somerset this morning. 
The route is mapped out for our annual Somerset Stampede-5K and Marathon in August. 
I have yet to participate in any kind of organized run
though I have been doing the 5K thing regularly since college. 
I never ever in a million trillion years thought I would be a "runner."
I don't have an athletic bone in my body.
Or at least I never thought I did. 
But seriously, the mere contemplation of running was almost nauseating to me. 
I couldn't imagine running. 
For longer than 5 seconds.
For "fun."
And I still don't think of myself as a runner. 

But here I am. 
And I've even seen improvement over the years.
Well, I didn't know I had improved until Kevin went running with me this winter.
It had been a couple years since he ran with me.
And he was shocked at how much faster I was running. 
I had no clue I was speeding up.
But it was nice to know.
I'm still only at an 8 minute mile 
(slower out on the hills around camp.)
But I'm proud of myself.

And after last week's impromptu trip to Walmart, 
I feel rather stylish out there.
I have awesome running/workout clothes. 
And for GREAT prices.
There really is something to be said about feeling good when you're working out.
It's motivating. 

All that to say, I ran the official 5K.
Which means I know I can run the race in August. 
Last week I tried to find the path into the woods and around the lake, 
but I totally failed. 
Today I was prepared though. 
I knew what I was looking for.
"In this general area right here."

I had to jump a fence.
And run lots of hills.
And plow through deep, wet grass. 
And muddy trails.
And spider webs.
And I battled the bugs.
But I made it.
And in three minutes less than I anticipated.
Go, me! :)

The One with the Pros/Cons of Summer*

*subject to be updated at any time. 

Things that are not all that perfect about being at camp this summer:
  1. dirt and sand in my shoes. 
  2. too much good food readily available for my (over)consumption
  3. sitting (literally) at work. (but thankful for time to walk and move after work. :)
  4. driving back and forth. 
  5. not being able to get in on all of the amazing produce sales. 
  6. not getting to try my thumb at gardening. maybe next summer?!
  7. not getting to make loads and loads of salsa from our tomatoes and our neighbor's jalapeños. 
  8. having trouble figuring out how to balance time with my husband. We have very different schedules.
  9. being the lame party pooper once again (that is, having lots of people around who love to stay up late and being the only one wanting to go to bed at a decent hour). I guess it's my life's fate.
  10. not being able to bake on a whim.
  11. not getting to line dry my clothes in the summer breezes. 
  12. scooping cat poop and sweeping up litter every single day (because it's in a conspicuous spot.) 
Things I love about being at camp this summer:
  1. the people. seriously, they're good people out here.  
  2. our cute little trailer
  3. feeling comfortable. 
  4. wearing cute clothes to work.
  5. getting use of the boats and lake.
  6. exploring/hiking/walking the trails. 
  7. the amazing girls I work with. 
  8. not paying for groceries. 
  9. having a nearly endless supply of good food. 
  10. being a part of a great ministry. 
  11. seeing the camp operations from a new perspective. 
  12. staying up too late because we're talking with friends. 
  13. Kyle and Sara's amazing little boys. 
  14. slushies. 
  15. corn muffins. seriously. they are the best. 
  16. making new friends and connecting with old friends.
  17. the freedom to walk or run until my heart's content (believe me, it's a hot commodity when you live on a busy sidewalk-less road like we do.)
  18. new SBC tshirts. 
  19. little kids everywhere!
  20. the stars. there is nothing like the night sky at Somerset. (Well, I'm sure there is, but not that I get to see very often.)
  21. not feeling like we have to suffer through the heat just to save a few dollars on our electric bill. 
  22. Freddie's Freeze. I'm not sure if the ice cream is that amazing, or if it's just the only ice cream place and everyone experiences a dire need for Freddie's at least once a week. 
  23. working alongside my husband in a mission greater than ourselves. 

June 20, 2010

The One with the 2nd Year Sentiments

Read in one of our favorite anniversary cards--

They tell us
that LOVE makes
the world go 'round.
but looks like
the two of you
also have found...

It's not just the love,
but the friendship
and laughter
that keep
two hearts happy
and close ever after.

It's working things out
when the going
gets tough.
Sharing your dreams
and the chores
and your stuff.

It's a kind of belonging
that no one can fake.
It's choices
and changes,
it's give and it's take.

It's part
"leap of faith"
that began with "I do."
And lasts for a lifetime
for couple like you.


June 18, 2010

The One that's Down in the Dumps

Fridays are supposed to be fabulous, right?
I don't know what my deal is, 
but my Friday has been just plain terrible. 
I'm in a crappy mood. 
I can't seem to shake it. 
One of those moods where, if anyone so much as looks at me the wrong way, 
I may either errupt 
or break down crying. 
There's really not any good reason for this mood.
I haven't been in such a lame emotional state in quite some time.
In fact, I was beginning to think I was a downright happy person. 
(Well, aside from the steamrolling episode of Tuesday.
But let's not talk about that.)

I'm trying my darndest to climb out of this pit. 
I'm walking--
one of my favorite activities.
I'm memorizing new quote verses--
a very productive activity
and one which should only have positive affects.
I'm doing laundry--
ok, that's not really all that "helpful."
I have this morning off--
which is just plain nice, 
except for the fact that I have to work 3-10. 
And I'm not all that functional after 8. 
But I shall survive. 

I have other, much more happy news. 
Like how we went bowling last night. 
Or how I have some sweet new workout clothes. 
Or how my mom's coming next week. 
Or how I made a really great new friend. 
But I just don't think those wonderful things should be lumped in with my lousy mood.
Maybe tomorrow.
(Or later tonight. We'll see.)

June 16, 2010

The One with Camp Counseling Memories

Watching all of the youth programming staff do their training and bonding this week,
my mind got all reminiscent on me. 
I was instantly transported back in time. 
Five years. 
My first summer after my first year of college. 
I never in a million years would have imagined spending even more time away from home. 
At the beginning of the school year, 
I knew i just had to make it 9 months and then I'd be home. 
But then I got comfortable. 
And I started dating this boy. 
And he told me about this camp where he'd worked before. 
He thought I'd be a great counselor. 
I was totally freaked out by the prospect.
But before I knew it, 
I was applying, 
and interviewing. 
And for 10 weeks I worked with unforgettable staff. 
Friends I still keep in touch with. 
People I wish lived next door. 
And we made a great team as we spend 5 days and 4 nights each week with kids.
K-12th graders (depending on the camp.)
Those kids were our life. 
It was the most challenging, 
most incredible, 
most memorable experience. 
I wouldn't trade it for anything.
::our amazing counseling staff::
11 people in this photo are now married.
We've grown up a bit. :)

::three of us girls hanging with staff kids--Brian and Caleb::
They are now 16 and 17.
And one of them is my brother in law. (Brian on the left)

::camp is crazy::
this is what happens when you let seven 13 year old girls have 
free range of your hair with a full can of hairspray.

::Sara and myself::
I heart her. And I love getting to hang out with her again this summer.
And check out my short hair.
NEVER doing that again.

water. flour. shaving cream. birdseed.

::group building training::

::with some of my girls on an evening hayride::
Thanks, Somerset, for teaching me so much
about who I am,
what I am capable of,
how to learn from others, 
how to train and love and lead kids and teens. 
Without this experience I wouldn't have had near the confidence to step into a youth pastor role. 
It's incredible how one summer can affect so many lives.

June 15, 2010

The One Where My Husband ROCKS!

Today of all days is the perfect day to wear this shirt.
I mean, every day is a great opportunity to proclaim my husband's awesomeness.
But believe me when I tell you, I needed to wear this shirt today.
It's a long (and shameful) story. 
I'll just give you the nutshell version. 
It goes something like this. 

Melanie and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Morning. 

(I'm ready to dive right into this story. 
But I'm really not sure how to begin. 
I think I either tell every gory detail 
or I just hit the broad generalizations.
For my own protection, I think I'll stick with the latter.) 

Basically I was selfish. 
With unmet, unattainable, unknown expectations. 
And wishes no human being should ever to have to meet. 
I was petty and prideful. 
And I was completely ashamed of myself. 
And I took all of my negative emotions out on the person I love most. 
The one who happened to be sharing a 20 foot trailer with me. 
Poor guy. 
I basically steam rolled him.
For a couple hours. 
Believe me, I really, really, really wish I were. 

But alas, my husband rocks
And he showed me Christ-like forgiveness. 
Mercy and grace.  like I didn't deserve.

In other related, yet more positive, news,
you must check out this great company. 
About a year ago I saw this adorable tshirt on Kristen's site. 
And I fell in love with it. 
This year, for our 2nd anniversary, we wanted to purchase one shirt for each of us. 
Come to find out, the 2nd anniversary is the "cotton" anniversary. 
How fitting. 

Celebrate your spouse in style. 

Union28 offers a line of designer t-shirts for husbands &
wives who want to honor each other and make 
a positive statement about marriage.

Because marriages are sacred covenants. 
Taken all too lightly in this age. 
Do you dare declare your spouse ROCKS?!

I was in no way compensated for promoting Union28. 
I just think they're an awesome company!

June 13, 2010

The One with the Tithe

Malachi 3:10 is truth. 
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, 
that there may be food in my house. 
Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, 
"and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven
and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

The Church need to take the Lord seriously. 
Our tithe is not an option. 
If we call ourselves "Christians," we must be obedient. 
Yes, writing that check can be painful. 
Especially if you don't have milk in the fridge. 
Or cash for the new exhaust pipe. 
Or the means to join all your friends at that restaurant down the street. 

Though we've been raised to tithe
and seen our parents give their portion each Sunday, 
we now have first hand experience with our great God's faithful provision.
Many times over, in fact. 

Months where no money was entering our account, 
but there was still enough to pay our bills.
It could only be compared to Jesus feeding the five thousand.
There were only 5 loaves of bread. 
And 2 fish. 
But all ate until they were satisfied. 
Just as Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34 he cares much more for us--
his children created in his image--
than the birds of the air or the flowers of the fields.
If they are cared and provided for, how much more will we be taken care of? 

This, while a bit more in depth, was the testimony I shared this morning. 
During Pastor Dale's call to tithe, I had a thought I could not ignore. 
I used the impromtu moment, with Pastor Dale invited, 
and challenged our people to give. 
Even when it's scary. 
When it hurts.
For God will always provide--
and many times He will give us even more than we could dream. 

June 11, 2010

The One with Blue Slushies

We're looking into the iPhone package. 
This would be replacing our internet/phone/cable or cell bill. 
Which, according to my calculations, would actually even out financially. 
The only thing is, this is ATT and my family is on Verizon. 
And I need to be able to talk to my unlimitedly. 
Is that even a word? 
Does ATT have a family circle plan or was that Verizon? 
Also, has this little device come out yet?: where you can use your 3G phone network as internet for you home computers? 
Or am I making that up?
Any opinions on this?

It's late. 
Working until 10 is a little stretch for this early to bed, early to rise girl. 
But working with girls who are great makes it enjoyable. 

Also, six year old girls with curly hair and a penchant for chatter are quite entertaining when business is slow in the camp store. 

I may have eaten too many Tootsie Rolls today. 

I am loving the accidental realization of ICED green tea. 

Kevin and I need to play some tennis tomorrow morning. 
We BOTH have the day off.
This is me, totally stoked.

My eyes are glazing over.
I should go now. 

June 10, 2010

The One where Her Love is Back.

My husband has officially moved out to camp. 
With me. 
No more "hello. goodbye. hello. goodbye."
Even though I don't see him all that much, 
just knowing he's here,
it makes me feel whole again. 

Even if he does cramp my style a bit.
You know, I get a routine for my days, and I have change it.

It's totally worth it.

June 9, 2010

The One with Memory Techniques

In reference to my post about memorizing quotes from John
and in response to a couple friends' inquiries, 
I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some memorizing techniques.
You know, in case YOU decide to take the Psalm 119:11 challenge seriously. 
I'm hoping many adults in our congregation will join us.
Because seeing a quizzing/quote competition between the teens and the adults would just be epic. 
I get all giddy just thinking about it. 

There are so many possible techniques for helping YOU memorize verses 
(or anything for that matter).
These are options I have found helpful.
Maybe some of you will too.

Quote cards
I like to write down the verse on a notecard. 
With the reference on the back. 
I have a thick stack of these with each John quote written on them.
They are clamped together and they go everywhere with me.
I keep them in my purse for opportune memorizing or reviewing moments.
Sitting in a waiting room.
Working on mindless tasks--
like cutting scrap paper into small squares for notepads.
(Not that I'm the least bit obsessed with making use of every piece of scrap paper or anything.) 
Taking a walk. 

The walk thing is probably my favorite memorizing technique.
I probably look like a crazy person when I'm on such a walk, but I just pretend that no one sees me. 
Here's what I do. 
With notecards in hand, I set off on a road less traveled. 
You know, because I like to avoid stares. 
Then I quote the verses out loud.
Be sure to quote the reference along with the verse.
That is, I believe, the trickiest part of Bible memory--
connecting the reference (i.e. John 1:1-2) to the verse. 
Though it may be challenging and seem somewhat unnecessary, this is an essential part of the quote verse process.
Because if you don't know where to find the verse and you need to show it to someone, you will have hunt through thousands of pages to find it.
Not really the simplest way.
But if the verse AND reference are a so much a part of your mind that they cannot be separated, then you have truly hidden God's Word in your heart 
and it can be retrieved in any moment of need.
For comfort. 
For battling temptation (as Jesus did in the desert.)
For giving proof of the Gospel.
For knowing the Truth that sets us free.

I think I'm a combination learner--

This is why the walking works so well.
I'm physically moving, keeping my brain active and engaged.
I'm saying the words out loud, meaning I'm hearing the verse to be memorized.
I'm reading the words on the page, meaning I'll locking the appearance of the words into my mind.
So days later I can recall what the verse sounds like, what it looks like, and even what it feels like.

And leads me to my final point.
There is evidently a "Rule of 7" for learning.
It takes seven concentrated efforts to move knowledge from short term to long term memory. 
This means after I have initially memorized a verse I must make it a goal to review that verse at least once in the next six days. 
When I'm finally to the point when the verse just flies off my tongue at moment's notice, I know it's stuck.
But I keep reviewing these each week.
I don't want to lose it!
works for me wednesday at we are that family


June 8, 2010

The One with the Wicked Twisters

So Debbie may be a wimp, but I'm not far behind.
I've always been terrified of tornados.
Even the tornado drills we ran in school totally freaked me out.
I used to get nauseous as soon as I noticed the dark clouds and winds rolling in.
And when the undersides or whites of the leaves are showing?
Forget it.
I was a goner.
Thanks, by the way, to whoever told me that when the whites of the leaves are showing (or when the leaves are turned over) it means a storm is imminent.
I appreciate it.

Surprisingly, sometime during the last two years or so, my fears have lessened.
Not really sure why.
I think it's probably out of necessity.
I am home by myself much of the week.
And I simply had to be brave.
So I was.

That wordy intro was all to say I can't believe I slept through two tornado sirens on Saturday night.
Yeah, that's right.
If there had been an actually twister, we would have been goners--
Dororthy style.
The thought of that totally freaks me out.
So I will just think of the positive.
Instead of spending my night being scared out of my mind, I was peacefully sleeping.
Maybe not the wisest situation, but it worked out in the end.

Unfortunately, the town just 15 minutes from our real life home (not the camper that would have blown away with high winds) was devastated by tornadoes that ravaged through the town.
As we drove home for church Sunday the main road was blocked off.
Road closed.
We had just heard about the tornadoes and were able to make a detour.
But it was sad as we passed trees and telephone poles and roofs scattered haphazardly around yards and farms and businesses.
I'm so thankful we were spared the devastation.
And praying that the towns affected will rebuild quickly.

June 5, 2010

The One with Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Have I mentioned how much I love camp?!
I'm totally digging my office job
(besides the whole "sit for eight hours and feel like I've gained 20lbs thing")
and we're loving our trailer abode
and seeing old friends again rocks.

Case in point:
Sara mentioned having Debbie, her husband Brian, and myself over for dinner last week.
I hadn't been to their house since I worked for them in 2005!
She couldn't believe it had been that long and neither could I.
Wednesday night rolled around and I hadn't heard anything so I just went on with my evening.
I made a sandwich for myself,
stuck it in the camper fridge,
called my mom and headed out for a stroll.

Little did I know Sara's wonderful husband, Kyle, was hunting me down to invite me to dinner.
Brian had spotted me going that-a-way.
Then Debbie saw me over there.
And I was totally oblivious to the hunt.
I wasn't trying to be elusive, but evidently I was doing a pretty god job.
Suddenly, in the middle of a conversation with my mom,
I noticed Kyle's car heading my way.
I stopped to stay hi.
And then I realized, "Did you just track me down?"
"Yeah," he smiled.
"Aww, that was so nice of you!"

I mean, seriously.
He totally did not have to hunt me down all over the far corners of camp.
They could have said, "We'll just invite her again some other time."
But no.
With a group effort falling only slightly short of government search standards, 
they found me and I was thankful.

We had a great evening together. 
Whether or not I was invited to do so, I made myself at home. 
I don't think they minded. ;) 
I love being with like-minded, closer-in-age, similar-stages-of-life friends. 
It's just plain good for the soul. 

June 4, 2010

The One with Mr. Whistler

I have a stye in my eye. 
Not cool.
I get these blasted infections a couple times a year. 

And I don't know why. 
I don't share makeup or anything disgusting like that. 

(Sorry to offend you if you do share makeup.
But seriously, it's just not cool.)

I think I may have just had a teeny (and extraordinarily embarrassing) revelation.

It may be due to my slightly poor contact lens usage.
May being the operative word. 

I think I'll just leave it at that.
I would go into the specifics of this but that would produce no positive results.
In fact, my own mother might disown me.
So I'll just move on.
And bear the (literal) pain. 

But speaking of my mom, she's great.
And she has this little habit that is quite endearing. 
My mom is a hard core professional whistler.
She's not all that well known, but I think she could compete with the best.
And she's got these quirky little medleys that she whistles.
And we can all whistle it along with her.
And she has no clue what her medleys are.
It's hilarious. 

But I smiled the other day as I sat outside of my camper reading. 
From the opposite corner of the camp I heard a crystal clear whistle blending with the tweets of birds and the blowing breeze. 
This gentlemen whistles, whistles, and whistles. 
It's a lovely little habit. 
And even more so because it reminded me of my mom.
And I love my mom.

June 3, 2010

The One where They Memorize John

We are really looking forward to starting our second season of Bible quizzing with our teens.
I had never really heard of Bible quizzing before helping out my "professional" quizzing husband at quizzes during college. 
This program may sound a bit lame on the surface--
particularly to the students' peers.
I mean, seriously? 
You're joining an extracurricular activity that involves even more studying.
Who would want to do that?

Teens who have a passion for learning Scripture, that's who.
They're taking the challenge of "hiding God's Word in their hearts" seriously.
And I think that is so cool.
They are going to know their Bible's inside and out.
Having memorized verses that will give them peace,
or to combat tempations of Satan,
or to share the Good News with their friends.

And on top of all of that, the quizzing program is competitive.
Which, for most people, means totally fun!
And every month at the conference quizzes, the teens see the same peers again and again.
Friendships are established--many of which will last for years to come.

This past year was the first time our church has had a Bible quiz program in ages. 
No one really knew what we were talking about.
And no one, including Kevin and I, really knew what to expect. 
But we ended up building a team of three dedicated students.
Each month we had an absolute blast hanging out with these teens at the day long (or sometimes overnight) trips to the quizzes around the conference. 
They made us proud again and again.

And I think their enthusiasm was infectious. 
Because this next season we're going to have NINE quizzers.
What?! 200% increase! 
Yup, that's right. 
We're TOTALLY stoked about this. 
We just passed out the new quizzing material for the book of John.  
And we've challenged our veteran quizzers to memorize ALL of the quote verses this summer.
Before the new quiz season even starts!
And the new quizzers need to memorize at least 5 of the quotes. 

Get this: almost all of our new quizzers have already run up to me and spouted off this quote or that. 
And I'm so proud.
Because I feel that the quotes are one of the most essential parts of the quizzing program.
Those verses are going to be applicable for life.
And, if memorized properly, they will never leave you.
Which means you have the living Word of God dwelling within you and ready to be used at any moment.
It's so cool when God brings the perfect verse to mind.
And that's only possible if we have it hidden away in our hearts.

Which is why Kevin and I are taking the quote verse challenge this summer as well.
I already have through chapter six memorized!
But now that the summer's started, I'm realizing it will take serious focus and dedication. 
So here's to memorizing! 

May 26
John 1:1-2
John 1:12-13
John 1:14

June 2
John 3:3
John 3:16-17
John 3:36

June 9
John 4:13-14
John 4:24
John 4:34-35

June 16
John 6:27
John 6:35
John 6:68-69

June 23
John 7:37-38
John 8:12
John 8:31-32

June 30
John 8:36
John 10:9-10
John 10:14-15

July 7
John 11:25-26
John 12:25-26
John 13:34-35

July 14
John 14:1-2
John 14:6
John 14:12

July 21
John 14:23
John 14:26
John 14:27

July 28
John 15:1-2
John 15:5
John 15:7-8

August 4
John 15:13
John 16:13
John 16:33

August 11
John 17:3
John 17:17
John 19:17-18

August 18
John 20:21
John 20:28-29
John 20:31

August 25
John 21:25

June 2, 2010

The One Where JM Works for Me

Well, I'm pretty sure she's my bff. 
Ok, not really. 
But I do feel like I know her. 
Which may be kinda creepy, but you're just going to have to deal with it. 
Between being a HUGE Biggest Loser fan (no pun intended), 
exercising with her almost every day this winter, 
reading (slash "skimming") her books, 
seeing articles about her in magazines, 
or watching interviews with her on Ellen, 
I'm certain we're friends.

Only we're not.

Ok, not that we've got that cleared up.
The one thing I am certain of is her workout dvds totally rock. 
I started out with Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.
Holy crap, I thought I was going to die.
Which is, apparently, exactly what she wants you to feel like.
She's says as much during the workout. 
Thanks, Jill, love you too. 
This is the most intense cardio workout I had ever experienced. 
And I run 3 miles regularly. 
Yeah, intense stuff.

I then branched out and purchased the No More Trouble Zones--
because who doesn't want to get rid of their "trouble zones"?
Wait, what's that? You don't have any trouble zones?
Ok, then. We're not friends anymore. 
This workout is focused more on toning then on burning fat with high powered workouts.
I was still out of breath. sweaty. 
My pulse was racing, but in a different way than with BFBM. 
This one makes muscles burn.
Muscles you didn't know you had. 
Yeah, she finds them. 

After I felt like I had those two dvds down pat, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about over this 30 Day Shred business. 
I thought to myself, 
"Self, if you can handle two different 45 minute workouts with JM then this set of three 20 minute workouts will be a piece. of. cake."
Not so much. 

What's that you say?
Pride comes before a fall?  Hush, you. 

But in all seriousness, the 30 Day Shred is ridiculous.
Somehow she comes up with a hundred and eleven new moves that weren't already used in NMTZ and BFBM.
I loved that these workouts accomplished the same results the previous dvds. 
These save some serious time and kick some serious booty. 

But let me tell you, after doing the 30 Day Shred I could handle
No More Trouble Zones and
Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism 
with ease. 
I think it's because the 20 minute workouts are THAT much more concentrated. 

Alright, so I owned the JM complete collection.  
But then she had to go and come out with Yoga Meltdown
This came out days after I fell in love with yoga.
I did some research and discovered this workout is not about peace and relaxation and focus like traditional yoga.
This is, in true Jillian style, a complex workout focused on toning AND burning calories.
You know what that means, right?
That equals intense muscle-focused poses held for 15 seconds
preceeded by repetitions of the movements to keep the heartrate pumping.

There are some pretty hardcore poses in this workout.
I would recommend starting with a more traditional yoga workout to get used to the practice first. 

So whether or not we're friends, Jillian Michaels workouts totally works for me.
works for me wednesday at we are that family

June 1, 2010

The One with the Traumatized Kitty

The cat has been relocated. 
He is officially a resident of our lovely little camper abode. 

But notice, I used no endearing terms when referring to THE cat.
In this post, I am not feeling the slightest ounce of affection for this animal we so recently (officially) obtained. 
I was praying the hour long car ride would go off without a hitch.
I figured Butterscotch would be frightened and uncomfortable for a few minutes, 
but would quickly settle onto my lap into the lump that he is.

That is not at all what actually happened. 

We loaded the car (for the second time that day) and Butterscotch had walked over to say goodbye. 
I picked him up.
Which, you must know, is not his thing. 
He loves to snuggle with you, but being lifted or held or suspended feet from the ground is last on his list of priorities. 
It's sad really. 

Anyway, I set him on my lap in the car. 
Immediately he started "maowwwwwwwww."
This is the sound not of a precious "meow" but of a cat upset and scared silly.
It continued as he climbed onto the dashboard.
We hadn't even started the car. 
I put him on the backseat as we pulled onto the street. 
The cries continued. 

I sat him on the floor behind the driver's seat.
He attempted to crawl beneath the seat. 
The poor thing thought we were torturing him.
I kept leaning back to stroke his head--
whispering, "It's ok, Baby. Shhh. It's ok."
I felt terrible. 
But I knew we were doing what was best for him.
He can't stay home by himself 6 days out of the week, right?
But he couldn't see that protection we were planning for his good.

That made me think.
Hmm. I bet that's sort of how God feels about us.
He has our good in mind. ALWAYS. 
He takes us through the pain to get us to the glory on the other side. 
But we fight him. 
We scream and yell and protest--
believing he's torturing us. 
And when the hardship is over we may not even realize from what we were being saved. 
But God delivered us into HIS good will, nonetheless.

And I just had to keep reminding myself of that as this poor pitiful cat pooped on my lap.
And then again on the backseat. 
All while "maow"-ing.
Albeit a bit more muted than before. 

That was so not cool. 

But we're "home" now. 
And even after not being able to find his litter, 
and not having a teeny space to hide in, 
and having to deal with yesterday's thunderstorm 
(the second to last thing on his favorites list), 
I think Butterscotch is doing just fine.
At least I hope so.   

And just so you all know, if you hear me refer to Butterscotch as Reginald, pay it no mind.
Well, other than to think "That is totally the awesomest name for a cat ever."
And that credit totally goes to my husband.