Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sorry for the delay

It's been quite a while since I last posted, and I apologize for those of you who check this often.  It's been quite a busy two weeks.  So many awesome things happened, and I know that I'm going to forget a lot of them, which is sad.  But I will try my best.

**Also, pictures are still not working on here, so I am also sorry for that.  Hopefully that will pick up soon.

Funny quick side note... just opened my planner to remind me of what I actually all did.  Nice, right?

So last week, I got to play bassoon again.  What an awesome feeling.  I forgot how much I love playing.  However, it doesn't quite work the same anymore.  I mean, I was definitely happily surprised to find that technique (finger wise) I still had it.  However, my chops only worked for about 45 minutes before my mouth was just dead.  Embouchure, well let's just say it has left the building.  But overall it was fun.  And I got to work with Lisa and her new bassoon student on beginning the bassoon.  Oh how I miss teaching.

I was supposed to head down to Marmon to work for their Summer Fun Days, but they actually had plenty of staff and didn't need any more help.  I have had that weekend blocked off since the beginning of December, so I got a free weekend.  How cool!!

I ended up going down to Dayton to see my grandma and spend some time with them.  I also got to go to Kings Island!

Story time:

I got to Kings Island on Saturday, totally forgetting to buy my tickets beforehand for 33 dollars.  I was really upset and frustrated for forgetting to do such a simple task.  It ruined my morning when I got there.  So I went to the gate to get my ticket, all upset thinking of the 56 dollars I was going to spend (on top of gas money to get back home) and right before I go to buy my ticket, someone hands me a coupon for a ticket.  I hand it to the cashier and ask if it's legit (a word that I don't think I like in my vocab; it bothers me for some reason) and he says, yeah sure.  I only paid 25 dollars for that ticket!!!  God is good.  And likes to remind me that I exaggerate things and should just rely on Him to take care of me.  He always does.

So the best part of Kings Island.... Waiting on the other side of the gate was none other than miss Brandy!!!  Awesome!  I got to spend the day with her and two of her friends.  We had a blast at the park.  I even got to see one of my friends, Brian Carlucci on stage (I was in Wizard of Oz w/ him, he was the Tin Man).  He's in one of the shows down there.  I love when he sings.  So awesome.

I ended up spending most of the evening with them, watching How to Train your Dragon and talking.  Cool stuff.  It's really encouraging to know there are kids my age that are just on fire for God.  I love it!

Before I left Grandma's, we went and saw Harry Potter (again for me).  It was kinda cool, seeing as she bought my first HP book when it was first out, and we read them together until they finished, and then we got to see the last movie together.  Awesome memories.  So thankful.

Wow, what a long post, thanks for hanging in there.  This week, I've gotten to do some cool stuff too.  Tuesday was Katie and Kenny's birthday.  Weird not seeing or hearing from either of them.  I  mean I called, but to no answer.  It's really odd growing up and seeing your friends lives change and bloom (and get married and kids, and whoa, I kind of feel out of the loop sometimes).  It's neat, but definitely odd.  Anywho, back to Katie and Kenny.  I can't believe it's been 17 years since I first became friends (back to that fateful ballet class and knocked out teeth).  Kenny is over in Afghanistan serving.  I hope he's okay.  Say a prayer for him and the troops if you can.

Tuesday,  I got to spend the evening at the Falls, which was gorgeous.  Four mile hike that was great spending it with a good friend Ben.  So cool.  Can't wait for Sunday when Brandy (yep, that's right, I get to see her for a fourth time... God is so good) and I get to go to the falls.

I also got to see Corey's baseball game and help out with band camp a bit.  I did the majorette routines for the fight song and the horse (it has been 7 years since I was a majorette... I'm pretty impressed that my body just slipped right back into it.)  Being there, helping and teaching was a blessing.  I miss doing that.

My next post will be an update on this Bible study I am doing with the youth group girls from Stanwood.  It's going really well, and your prayers are much appreciated.

Until then... goodnight!

Monday, July 18, 2011

As promised

I'm hoping to get some pictures up here, but I think that the computer might not let it.

So what has happened since last Thursday, you ask? I have to admit, I don't remember a lot of it, minus a lot of sleeping. I thought I had caught up on sleep, and then my body told me otherwise.

I do know that Thursday night, Kellie and I went out to Massillon to watch the ending of an era... haha. We went and saw the last movie of Harry Potter. It was kind of sad. I mean, I started reading the books probably once they had been out for at least a year (so before the second book came out). Kellie and I went to a premiere for the last book, so it only made sense to go to the last movie at midnight too! We saw the first half right before the second half. That was definitely the best move to make.

My reaction: I can't wait to see it again!!! What an awesome movie. I highly recommend it. It's just a good movie! I even enjoyed the epilogue part (which I hated in the book!) And for those who know Kellie - even she liked the movie! Which says a lot!

If you are a Harry Potter person, for a bit of comic relief, and some thought provoking statements - listen to this (skip to 1:21 if you really want to see it )

Pictures from the crazy evening:

The start of our evening: 8:45 pm
This picture doesn't do justice to the crowds that were there
before the movie.

Kellie's true love

My true love
The mad dash to leave!

Still going strong at 2:30 am!

What a perfect sky to end the Harry Potter era

Sunday, (because I kind of can't remember what happened on Friday evening or Saturday, other than playing xbox with my family a lot and sleeping) - Oh wait! I did go and hang out with Chelsea, Ashley, Joe, John, and Andi for a bit. Back to Sunday - the mission team spoke at church and then we went to Applebees afterwards. I had a lot of fun with those guys. Oh and I went fishing last night, and I totally caught a fish!

Heads up from a prayer standpoint. Starting this Thursday, I'm leading a high school girls Bible study. I've decided to go through Ruth with them and see where God leads us as we study how He led Ruth to Boaz. If any of you have tried to get 9 high school girls and yourself to find one day that works for all, you feel my pain of trying to pick a night. For this week, it's Thursday. If you could be praying for this time, I would greatly appreciate it. God is doing amazing things in these ladies lives, and I can't wait to see how they grow.
As promised, a few pictures! . . . . . . . . .

On second thought, the computer is slowly failing and they aren't going to come. I am going to figure out a faster way to get pictures to you though. I think I am going to open a picture share site through Shutterfly and see where I can go from there. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

After resting for a bit.

It's been a bit since I last updated, but I feel as if I'm finally rested
enough to function correctly. For those who might not know, I spent the
past week serving with our Sr. High Mission team in Chicago. What an
amazing experience. But I'll get into that in a second.

This week of recuperation has been rough. I thought it wouldn't be so bad,
after all camp is what I did for 10 weeks last summer! Yesterday was the
first day I felt normal again :) It was awesome to come home to family, and
Corey came home from camp too, which is a story for another day. This
week, we have been blessed with a visit from Steph, Nate, and Jayden (our
family from NC). So much fun catching up with them and seeing little 5
month old Jayden!

And before I talk about Chicago, God has blessed be with so many wonderful
people, one of them being the Hoover family. I like to spend the evenings
with them every once in a while and enjoy good conversations and good food.
I went there yesterday, only to leave something behind at their house.
Returning there to pick it up near lunch time today, I was welcomed in with
open arms and taken care of. So thankful!

Onto Chicago...

We (as in the 5 adults) took 23 high school students to Chicago to serve
with Inner City Impact - known as ICI (check out their website here). We
got the opportunity to run their day camp program from noon-5 all week, as
well as Jr. High, k-2 and 3-5 club Tuesday - Thursday night. The youth
that went with us either led an age/gender specific group or they ran game
time, crafts, tutoring, snack time, Bible story time, and a time they
called group gifts. They had some help from the adults, but they
definitely deserve the credit there. Somehow between what we had planned,
and our groups wonderful ability to fly by the seat of our pants, we had an
extremely successful week. We got to build some wonderful relationships
with the kids, the staff, and definitely each other.

The culture of where we stayed is definitely different than the one we are
used to here out in Northeast Ohio, but it was one that I fell in love with
(something I honestly thought wouldn't happen). The Lord calms all fears
when you choose to give it to Him. Going to Chicago I know definitly made
me fearful (and I'm sure the parents of the youth were thinking the same
thing), but once we left the church, it was gone. God is good. The only
time it may have come back is when we were trying to get 26 of us to
downtown.... but that was more anxiety than fear :) [to be clear, we all
made it and had a blast downtown!!!]

The group got to have a lot of fun during our 'downtime,' which to be
honest, wasn't very plentiful, but we made use of every minute. We got to
play some fun games (Screaming Viking, carpet ball, Saul, David and
Goliath, and many more), get a little bit of rest, have great
conversations, wonderful worship time, and just some awesome fellowship.

I'm so proud of all the youth that went on this trip. I don't think there
was a single person this trip that didn't get stretched in some way shape
or form. It was long days, with little to no breaks. The group meshed
well, and even when we offered them a chance to get home earlier and sleep
in their own bed faster, the guys and gals protested because they wanted to
serve even more and stay longer on Saturday. God's got some great things
planned for all of them, and I can't wait to see where that is.

If you think of it, prayers for ICI are needed. There is so much need and
they are going where God leads them, but the life there is not easy. Which
Christ told us it wasn't going to be easy to follow Him. The kids we
served said that being a Christian in Ohio is easy, and after spending the
week with k-5th graders where gang activity was just normal, plus
everything else there, I will definitely agree with them. It's definitely a
challenge to my faith, making me question how much am I really living for
God, would I really be willing to put my life on the line like some of them
have been called to do in Chicago (and in other parts of the world)? Makes
the fire want to burn brighter, I'll tell you that. So inspired by the
kids, and by the Sr. High group. Amazing.

I'd love to tell you more about it, like the little things that added up,
the Walgreens store that was a lifesaver, and then kind of a let down
Friday night, the amazing couple that started ICI, the staff at ICI, Thad,
the amazing-ness that surrounds the Ellington and Lau clans, what God did
throughout the week, the changes of heart that were so great and visible
and amazing. The gals and guys that I can't wait to see continue to grow in
Christ. If you want to hear more, I'm always up for a phone call, a trip
for coffee (though I'll drink tea), or any type of food is also a great
option , just let me know!

Note to self: Pictures to come!
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