Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Winding Down

Whoops, I let another week go by without posting. It was another good week! I finally got over my stupid cough, which lasted annoyingly long.

One week from today, I will be on my way home with my parents. So crazy to think about! Almost 3 months ago, Jill and I drove up scared and nervous and now we love it here!

Last week was a lot of fun. Had some good sunny days at the beach, a good group of kids and some fun adventures with friends. On Wednesday, I woke up at 2:45 am, on purpose! A bunch of us met up and drove to Saddle Mountain to hike up by the light of flashlights and the full moon. I think its a two mile hike. It wasn't too bad of a climb and lots of fun chatting with people. The views along the way were breathtaking and the scenery from the top was amazing even in the dark. We hung out for about 20 minutes at the top until the sun came up. It was so awesome to see the first speck of light peak over the mountains. We could see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens from up there. We all just sat in awe of the landscape and the colors that the sun painted across it. After lots of pictures, time praying and watching the sun rise, we headed back down. I hiked alone for most of the way down and it was really good to pray and think while I walked or ran. I think this hike was a really good closure on the summer for me. This might sound cheesy but I came up with a metaphor for this hike. The climb up was fun because it was something new but also kinda hard--not being able to always see that great, hot, spiderwebs in the face, steep; never knowing how much farther. That represents my first two years of college I think. They were really fun but as time went on--winter quarter of sophomore year especially--it got really tough. When I got to the top I was out of breath, hungry, and couldn't see very much. By spring quarter of school I was sick of classes, frustrated with myself over a lot of things, and needing something new. The time when the sun came up and was rising over the landscape lighting it up and adding colors is my time here this summer. I sat there and prayed and praised God for his creation. I was able to see so much clearer with the light and the trail we had come up. This summer has re-connected me with God and let me see where I have come from the past two years. The hike down I was alone though I knew friends were in front of me and behind me a ways. Heading back to school I might feel alone having to say goodbye to my friends here, but I know I can keep in touch with those I say goodbye to and there are friends waiting for me. After the steep section where the footing is hard, I ran down most of the mountain. I am hoping that in the next few weeks I feel ready to go back to school and stand firm in all that I've grown this summer. I may be standing alone sometimes but I want to be okay with that. At that same time though, I don't want this summer to just be a mountain-top experience, it needs to be only a vantage point on my climb higher and higher.

After the hike I napped, layed out on the grassy lawn with friends and then went to here Luis Palau speak. For Moonshadows we went to the arcade in Seaside. It was a lot of fun to play games with friends and have a lot of laughs. Thursday was my last carnival and I got to the Obstacle Course which was a lot of fun. Friday night we hung out in Fireside with Zach since it was his last night. I had volunteered with 2's and 3's during the week and met these adorable twin girls who always ran up to give me hugs whenever they saw me. They were with their family in Fireside that night and I played with them for a bit. It made me feel so happy to make the smile and laugh so much. They were so precious and I love little kid hugs!

Saturday I went to kid breakfast, napped, cleaned, went to the beach for a bit, woo-hoo meeting and then volunteered with 4's and 5's. I always thought if I came back next summer I would want to work with older kids. But after volunteering with toddlers and 4--5s this week I think I would want to do younger kids. They are just so precious and innocent! I love being able to make them smile and be goofy with them. I think I am going to help out with 4-5s again tomorrow.

I have to go do a rec shift now, but I will finish writing tonight maybe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wind in my Hair

The summer is flying by like the wind in my hair today as we drove with all the windows down! I was talking to my dad the other day about it being okay to wait and get my new cell phone from him since it's only two more weeks....2 more weeks!?!?! oh man! It really is coming down to the end. Mike left today. It's so sad not to have him here.

I ended up getting more sick Thursday night near the end of session. I had chills then got really hot. Thankfully I did not have babysitting and my wonderful boss let me not have to do rec center. I came back to the room, checked my temperature--98.4--and then took some meds and chilled in bed. Friday I felt better as far as having more energy but congested and same with Saturday. Last night I took nyquil before going to bed and I think it still had an effect on me this morning because I felt SOOO tired and exhausted during session. It was a wierd kind of sleepy that I've never felt. I am feeling much better now except for a very sore throat from so much singing and loud talking over kids. Salt water is nasty but it makes the throat feel better.

Thursday night's session felt so long. We had a long story, we went to the park, we played a ton of gym games, lesson, worship, yet it still felt so long! It didn't help that I wasn't feeling so great. Friday morning was good and then Friday night they needed extra help with the babies so I pushed two little boys in a stroller all night trying to keep one entertained while the other was fast asleep. Saturday was very relaxing. I chose not to go to breakfast so I could get some good sleep. It was a very chill day of laundry and cleaning and some phone calls. I covered for Tasha so I got to do the show, eat with the guests, and work as a floater with the 2's & 3's. It was really fun doing the show again and I got to eat dinner with one of the girls in my class and her family. The toddlers were SO cute! It made me really miss the little ones at my church back home. There were these twin girls who just wanted to hold my hand and sit in my lap all night and this one little girl who was quite the talker and reminded me of myself at that age. I saw them tonight on my way to worship with my class and they remembered me and gave me hugs. :) Kids are so amazing!

We only have 11 kids this week which is rough because they get bored with games so quickly. They aren't super into the worship time and we one boy who is really stubborn. Worship time feels really crazy because Kids Klub and 4's & 5's have so many and it's just a little chaotic.

I love Sundays and Mondays because I get the entire afternoon off and it's so wonderful. Today, Jill, Bruce, Trenton and I went shopping in Warrenton and just hung out at different stores. Except for a Passion Tea Lemonade from Starbucks, I didn't buy anything. I love being able to enjoy the little things, such as all of us sitting on couches in Costco to see which is comfiest, trying on funky clothes in Ross, and driving with the music up, windows down and fun conversations. It was such a fun day!

Last night after session, Jill and I went to the park and sat on the swings for awhile just talking. It was so wonderful! It has been really great getting to know her so well and becoming such good friends this summer. We both had a harder time in session tonight and when we came back to the room she closed the door and screamed. Well I had no idea why she was screaming and she scared me so I screamed too! Then I realized she was just letting out her frustration and we both started laughing really hard and trying not to pee our pants! :) Then we went to touch the beach. We hugged and prayed and looked up at the stars twinkling down at us.

I think I will go to bed now. It is very early for me, but I am trying to kill this stupid bug that is making me feel gross. Think I will pass on the nyquil this time though. :S

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Music makes me happy

As it comes down nearer and nearer to the end, I am spending every minute I can with my friends rather than blogging. We just finished another great carnival and I wanted to update this really quick before taking a nap.

This past weekend, four of my girlfriends from home came to visit. We hung out at the beach, ate good food and walked around town. Unfortunately the weather wasn't very nice but it was good to see them. Monday afternoon the sun decided to come out! We've been spending our afternoon at the beach every day playing some intense volleyball games and soaking in the Vitamin D. Yesterday we had a program outing to Hug Point and it was really fun to have everyone together hanging out on the beach and roasting hot dogs on a campfire. We sang songs the whole way back to CB. Last night was the Staff Talent Show. There were some very talented and some humorous acts! I sang Defying Gravity while Craig accompanied me on the piano. It went pretty good and was lots of fun. After that, I took a midnight run to Safeway with Olivia, Rachel, Mike and Mitch. We sang dance and Disney songs during the car rides and ate mint chocolate chip ice cream when we were there.

My class has been good this week. I guess it was not so good last night but they were better this morning. It ranges between 20 and 23 depending on drop-in kids and some not showing up. We are all getting so good at our lessons and leading games and worship. It's really cool to see each other develop over the summer. Bethany has left and Mike leaves on Sunday. We've had some new people come to fill spots and it's hard to be losing people!

Unfortunately I think I'm getting sick. Woke up with a really sore throat and tense/achy neck and shoulders. Probably a combo of not enough sleep and maybe overdoing it with singing yesterday. Despite the sunshine, I'm going to nap before kid dinner and babysitting.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shooting Stars

To catch up from my last post...

Tuesday was good. There were a lot of big and good sand sculptures. Sessions and rec shift were good.

Wednesday was so relaxing! I slept in until lunch, did laundry, practice for talent show, ran on the beach and then volunteered in MidKids. It was interesting to see the behaviors that were similar to K2 kids and other ways they were different. A couple of the MidKid girls found out who I was at Sunday morning dodgeball and say hi and give me hugs all the time so when I showed up in their class they were super excited and have been even more attache to me since then. It's such a great feeling to have kids love you when you didn't really do anything. After session, Jill and I flipped and flopped forever about whether or not we should go to Moonshadows at the Astoria Aquatic Center. A 45minute drive (one way), $5, and not being able to swim because of my ears did not sound too inviting. But, we eventually decided to go and we were SO glad we did! We hung out with Mike, Mitch, and Bruce mostly. We had good conversations during the van rides. At the aquatic center we played volleyball, sat in the hot tub, and I watched everyone else go down the slide. On the way back we stopped at McDonalds for yummy good, milkshakes and fun times. I feel like I've gone on more "crazy college kid adventures" being here than when I'm at college. Mmmm it was a great night!

Thursday went well. At evening session, Bruce teaches about how we are supposed to be the Salt and Light. One of our kids shared how he has a bully at his school who makes fun of him for being a Christian but he still tries to love him by being nice and picking him for his team at games, etc. It was so touching and encouraging to hear from one of our kids. Our kids are really open this week and like to share personal stories that relate to the lesson. It's so great but hard at times because we have to cut them off for time's sake. Afterwards, I babysat for one of the girls in my class and her 3 younger siblings. We watched Balto (which has a lot of great lessons in it!) and then I told them a story about a Prince Chipmunk named Ferdinand on an adventure to find the Chocolate Acorn. When the parents came back I spoke with them for a bit about their week here, and their homeschooling experience. First, it was really neat to hear their appreciation for all the work we put in (especially on Thursdays). It was also cool to hear about their homeschooling and share part of my experience too. To end the night, a bunch of us went to Ecola State Park to see the meteor shower...unfortunately it was completely overcast and we knew this heading out but decided to still go! Regardless of the clouds, we had a good time. Jill, Mike, and I shared some good conversation as we watched the waves down below light up sporadically--we eventually realized it was from the lighthouse.

Today the sun came out! It was so warm and wonderful. I spent the afternoon on the beach with friends and then worked in the rec center. A lot of my kids were in there this week so I played games with them and the time went by really fast. Tonight's session was fun. We had water balloons, otter pops, stories, coloring and only two kids cry! My girls from back home got here after session and I showed them around a bit and then we went to the beach to watch the end of the sunset, moon setting and meteor shower. As my CB friends showed up it was a big group and eventually decided to go back up to Ecola Park. It was so amazing! Lots of stars and no lights around. We saw around 15 meteors. Some of us did star tripping too which was so funny and hilarious to watch! I could have stayed until 12:30 but the guys wanted to come back at 11 and get sleep so us girls decided to leave as well.

I'm skipping kid breakfast tomorrow so I can get some good sleep since I'll be spending my whole day off with Caytlin, Annie, Kelsey, and Brittney rather than napping. :)

I've had some good times the last few days. It's getting hard knowing that some events are our last with people. They start leaving in batches from this weekend on. :(

No time to write when the sun is shining.

I planned to spend some time this afternoon blogging since it has been awful weather all week. But...the sun came out and it is very warm and gorgeous! So, since i have to be in the rec center from 2:30-5:30 :'( I am going to go enjoy the sun and will post later. My girlfriends from home are coming to visit this weekend so I'm excited for that. Bethany is leaving on Monday so it's very sad doing so many last things with her. Off to get some Vitamin D!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I don't like session getting out so early!

Today, was a great day! But then again, I feel like they all are. :)

Morning session went great. I really love the kids this week, they are so sweet, smart, and well-behaved. The worst part about session was that I couldn't hear hardly at all. Ever since cliff jumping for the second time, my ears have been bothering me so I finally bought some drops but those made it way worse unfortunately and my hearing would come and go. It was very frustrating. After session we had staff meeting and then staff pictures which were funny to see the goofy poses. It was so great to have almost everyone gathered together and see the awesome people God brought from all over to work together this summer.

I decided to go to the doctor today so Jill drove me to Seaside. Thankfully I was the first of 5 walk-ins so I didn't have to wait very long. Using the Elephant Ear Washer, the nurse got a LOT of nasties out of my ears and then gave me a prescription for an infection. It is so nice to be able to hear again!!! It was a good reminder to not take my sense of hearing for granted.

In spite of being rushed and cut a 1/2 hour short, tonight's session was SO wonderful. It was cut short because the speaker this week always finishes at least 15 minutes early which is so frustrating! I felt bad cutting games short and I knew my kids didn't like it either but we had to get to the lesson. I was teaching tonight about Rules. I feel like it was one of my best lessons so far and the kids were really involved. They were paying close attention, had questions, good responses, and lots of comments. We sacrificed our 2nd game time for 10 extra minutes of discussion. Sometimes I wonder if anything I say is making an impact on the kids so it was really encouraging to have such a great response from them tonight. After the lesson we went straight to worship, which we moved 10 minutes earlier in the schedule because we have been getting out of session less than half way through. I helped Trenton lead tonight and I think it was the best worship time yet. The kids were all super engaged and singing and doing the motions. I loved that I could hear them all singing so well. I made eye contact with so many of them and received funny faces, smiles, and enthusiastic motions in return. I had a blast and was SO sad when Ellen came to tell us session was out. I could have spent another hour with my kids!

Bible study tonight was about Galatians 3:1-14. We talked about faith rather than the law that determines righteousness. It wasn't anything new for me but yet such a good reminder that regardless of all the "Christian" things I do, if I'm not living for the Lord they are meaningless. It tied in so well with our devotion this morning which was about having a relationship and not a religion--not reading our Bible because we have to as a check-list item but because we want to spend time with God. mmmm...sounds familiar to what I was posting on yesterday :) God's timing is awesome!

Finished the evening in the rec center with Jill, Zach, and Jordan and then Trenton joined us to go touch the beach and pray. How cool is that to walk to the beach after work with some amazing people and all pray together?!?!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Overwhelmed by God

Oh I don't even know where to start. At one point today I thought back to spring quarter at school as I was looking forward to working here this summer. One of the main things I hoped for was a major re-connection with God--to come away from friends and family (though I miss and love them) and find God again as the number one priority of my life. It's funny to say but not until today did I remember that desire and over the past few months, I've never consciously worked towards it but rather it happened day by day, and conversation by conversation. The environment, people, lessons, kids, beautiful surroundings, and God's overflowing love consumed me and I have felt overwhelmed and overflowing the past couple of weeks.

I feel like there are too many songs I want to sing, too many thoughts to journal, and too many prayers to pray. With the good amount of free time I have here and yet still feel like I don't have enough time to spend with God each day, I'm nervous for finding(making) the time once I'm back at school. What a glorious thing when we will be in heaven and can spend each second of every day of all eternity praising Him.

Though I didn't see it happening, this summer has given me exactly what I needed and hoped for. I remember struggling to spend any time reading my Bible or praying during the school year because I had no passion and it was more of an item on my to-do list than time with my Savior. I wanted to have the desire but it wasn't there and I didn't know how to find it. Slowly, over this summer, God has broken my heart and filled it with an amazing love for Him. Songs come alive each time I hear/sing them. Verses jump out at me and are so amazing. Just a little phrase someone says will stick with me for days. I'm amazed at how reading chapters at school was so dry and didn't help but here I can read a few verses and be so impacted.

I've realized the culmination of this overwhelming passion the last week but it really came to a head tonight at SNL. There wasn't a speaker but different "stations" that we were given time to go through for personal reflection. There was journaling, prayer for persecuted brothers and sisters, verses to memorize, a banner of Thanksgiving, and communion. During this time, Isaac played a medley of hymns and worship songs on the piano that was SO beautiful. He started with my favorite hymn (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing) and that's when I realized how much this summer has really changed my life. It's been one of the most fun summers, a great learning experience, and filled with great friends, but it has renewed my passion for God, refreshed my faith, and revealed a new perspective on SO many aspects of my life.

I'm still not super excited to go back to school knowing the struggles I will face but God is slowly preparing my heart for it and giving me strength to survive through it. One thing that really helped with this tonight was praying for Christians who are persecuted all around the world. Most often they are physically tormented and as I prayed, I was encouraged that when I feel mentally, emotionally, and spiritually persecuted this year at school I can think and pray for them knowing that if they can do it in a much worse situation then I can too.

One more month here. God has done so much in the past two and I'm so excited to see what the remainder of the summer holds. Here's some lyrics from a couple of the songs we sang tonight that really captivated me:

I need you Jesus to come to my rescue
where else can I go?
There's no other name by which I am saved
capture me with your grace
I will follow you.

I'm falling on my knees
offering all of me
Jesus You're all this heart is living for.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Catching Up

Wow! Time flies when you're having fun. I did not mean to let some much time slip by without posting. Whoops. Picking up where I left off...and warning this is a long post!

Two Wednesdays ago: My mom and I spent the day together. We walked around town, spent a great time in the fabric shop, looked at pictures and videos online, sat and talked for a couple hours, enjoyed the salmon bbq, and attended Ron Cline's session. It was so relaxing and wonderful. Our conversations and laughter was very enjoyable. It was weird not having my dad and brother here with us but I'm glad for the time with my mom. I was able to share a lot of what I've been learning and just in verbalizing it all, I was able to process a lot and figure out exactly what I have been learning. Saying it to my mom rather than a journal was great too because she offered helpful feedback and encouragement! It was a great day! I will share about a fun event from Wednesday night in a separate post because it is a long story.

Two Thursdays ago was my Mom's birthday! Unfortunately, it was also the day I had to work the most but we were able to do fun things in-between my shifts. I took her out to a new little Mexican restaurant in town for lunch--we were the only ones in there! I had machaca, my favorite; it was so yummy! Then I had carnival and mom came to visit me at my booth Flick It. After clean-up, I took her to get cupcakes in Seaside and walk around. That night's session was good and babysitting was fine. We had a great group of kids this week and I really loved each session with them. Except for one girl that liked to create cliques and not join in on any of the activities.

Two Fridays ago: work and more time with my mom. We walked to Haystack Rock and back and had more great conversations!

Last Saturday my mom left after breakfast. I was sad to see her go and since then I have been more homesick. I went back to bed and slept from 10-3pm. It was SO nice and I really needed to catch up on all that sleep. Too much fun really does wear you out. WooHoo meeting was fun and hilarious as always.

Last Sunday was great! The new group of kids was so fun. In the afternoon a bunch of us went cliff jumping again. I wasn't sure that I would go again since I had checked that item off my list. But...I did decide to do it after everyone else jumped. I still took a few minutes to finally do it and needed a song to inspire me again. Craig had the perfect one: "Defying Gravity"! I jumped and though I did swallow quite a bit of water and was choking, I was not in pain and received no battle wounds this time. It was so much fun. On the way back, our car decided that blueberry pie sounded amazing so we drove on to Safeway to get the ingredients and Ellen agreed to bake us pie later that week. After session, a few of us hung out in Fireside and listened to Mike’s life story. It has been so great getting to really know people here and build such great friendships.

Monday afternoon became a spontaneous girls' day, which we all agreed was more fun than the planned one the previous week. We drove to Warrenton to go to Fred Meyer and Costco mainly so I could return and buy some things but then they all ended up getting stuff. Jill’s indecisiveness over yoga pants and food was great entertainment! On the way back we rolled the windows down, blasted some awesome music, and sang at the top of our lungs! Such good times and I’m really going to miss these girlies. Sessions went good that day and my Bible Study was wonderful. A bunch of us headed to the beach for a bonfire, complete with tiki torches. J We were all talking in British accents and it was really funny.

Tuesday: sessions were good with our kids! That morning we told them to bring sweatshirts for our time at the beach that night. One girl said “we’re going to have a bonfire?!?! You guys are the BEST!!!” We had Capture the Flag and a bonfire at the beach which went really well. During the afternoon I had my mid-summer evaluation which went well and then practiced for the Talent Show. I now have an extra rec shift on Tuesday nights since one of the Floaters has left. It was a lot of fun and I spent most of the time teaching Jill how to bump and set a volleyball and then peppering with Katie. Afterwards, a bunch of us gathered in Jackie’s house to watch Trenton’s favorite movie, Rocketeer.

Wednesday was such a great day! I slept in which was so nice and then baked cookies with my K2 staff for the Nursery gals. They were the group we were assigned to do something nice for. We had lunch with them in Fireside and gave them cookies and cards. After that Gretta and I watched Hello Dolly, singing along to all the songs while Jordan sat there and pretended not to watch it. J The sun finally came out and so Jill, Gretta and I went to meet Trenton at the beach for some Vitamin D. After session that night we had a little girls movie night at Ellen’s to watch Hairspray. As I write, I realize all I do this summer is hang out with cool people and have fun, yep it’s awesome! J

Thursday was great. Another awesome carnival which I spent part of in the dunk tank. J Mexican food with friends and then the long session and babysitting for two adorable children.

Friday’s sessions were a little more chaotic. All of our kids really bonded with one another this week which was great but it made them want to have conversations and giggle more than listen. The sun came out again and I was able to enjoy the beach for a little bit before going to my Rec shift. I usually don’t enjoy rec shifts because it is slow but I knew I needed to have a better attitude about it so I went in looking for an opportunity to hang out with kids even though I would rather be at the beach in the sunshine. God was good to me though and I had a GREAT rec shift. One of the girls from the Youth came and sat down to chat with me. I found out that she went to Legacy and we had a lot in common which provided great conversation. She then showed me her sketchbook which was amazing and I asked her to draw me something. As she sketched, we talked more and she pointed out how awesome it was that God is such an amazig artist. After she finished she asked for my email so we can keep in touch. It was neat to spend time with someone not in my age group and connect with her. I’m always amazed at what I learn from the kids here even when they don’t mean to be teaching me. After session that night we finally had the blueberry pie! But…because Zach and Ellen are retrievers and felt bad talking about pie at lunch in front of people who hadn’t originally been invited…they invited everyone and decided to make 2 more pies: apple and chocolate peanut butter. We all sat in Ellen’s cozy living room eating pie, playing Apples to Apples, playing Robot Unicorn, and laughing way too much.

And now that brings me to today! Kid breakfast, ear drops that made my hearing WORSE, lunch with Cassie and Brian, drinking a delicious French Kiss Latte on the beach in the rain, WooHoo meeting and volunteering in the nursery to hold an adorable 1year old boy all night! :D So happy!

Phew, that took awhile! My bad for not keeping up on it. I will try to do better the remainder of the summer.