Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy Update-12 weeks!

After feeling so great the first two weeks after I found out, the sickness hit me hard.  I believe I was about 7 or 8 weeks when it started.  Since then, my life has revolved around it.  I absolutely hate this part of pregnancy.  My sickness with Kaylie was pretty bad, but I was just taking college classes, so there wasn't much required of me.  With Myla, I seemed to do better.  I controlled it very well and I only really got sick at night.  I thought this time would be about the same.  However, this pregnancy has made me realize that I will never get pregnant again.  I'm not one of those girls that enjoys being pregnant anyways, but these past few weeks have been awful. 
It has been hard on our whole family.  Justin keeps joking that he doesn't make a good single parent.  I literally try to make it through the day at work, and come home to live on the couch.  I've lost 10 pounds.  I have broken down in tears multiple times, sworn I was going to quit my job multiple times, etc. 
One of the hardest things is missing Life Group each Tues evening and not spending as much time with God as I need to. God is good though.  There have been a couple of times that I was driving home and feeling like an awful person, when God took control of the moment.  The perfect song would come on the radio and tell me that no matter how much I mess up, God is still there.  He won't turn his back on me.  God is good and has a plan!  Of course, there will be a beautiful baby to play with in a few months! It's just hard to remember that sometimes. 
Luckily, I can tell that I am starting to get better.  I can't wait until I'm feeling good, starting to get a real belly, and we can find out if it's a boy or girl!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life Lesson of the Week

I'm not sure who will learn more from this lesson.  I was trying to teach Kaylie something, but I think Justin and I learned more.  About a month ago, Kaylie got the little Scholastic paper fliers to order books through her school.  She showed us some books that she wanted and we picked out 3 cheap ones.  Well, the other day we got three more fliers.  Kaylie was super excited "to help out the school", grabbed her pen and started going through the pages.  Then, I realized that she was not just circling the books she wanted, but was filling out the order form.  She had at least 8 things ordered, including a $30 Phineas and Ferb Nintendo DS game.  We do not have a DS.  She realized that she made a mistake and asked me to help her.  However, she just wanted to switch it to the Wii game instead of the DS game.  (Not the point, Kaylie!)  I told her multiple times to stop filling out the order form, and just circle the books on the other pages (progressively getting louder and more frustrated every time).  Finally, she gave up filling out the forms, but was insistent that she wanted all of the books because it would help her school.  We postponed the argument for another day.

Yesterday, on the way home from school, Kaylie brings it up again.  "Mommy, I just want to get all of those books because it will help my school."  This is when I realize that the situation did not blow over and that she simply does not understand how much all of these books cost.  Lesson time!
"Kaylie, we cannot afford to buy all of those books, we will get just a couple" (Some of them are $1, so it actually is kind of worth it because Kaylie needs more age appropriate books now)
"Mommy, I just want all of them because I really want to help my school."
"Kaylie, I really want to be able to feed you dinner every night instead of buying a ton of books"
"OK, well I just don't want to eat supper every night"
"You want to starve!?!?!"
"Some nights, yes, it would be okay.  I just really want those books."
(Ok, let's try something else)
"Kaylie, in order to buy those books you want, you would have to sell every single toy you have in the house to pay for the books"
"Ok! I think I want to do that!"
(Oh no! This is not going as I planned! Who is this kid?!?! She wants to sell every single toy, for a few books!?!?!)
"Not all of the toys are yours to sell Kaylie"
"Well I will sell all of my animals except for my whale"
I decide at this point, to just give up on the conversation and start the discussion over later.  So, we get home and I'm sitting on the couch with Justin talking about our day, when Kaylie comes out.  She has a bag full of stuffed animals and she starts heading for the front door saying "I'm going to go to the neighbor's to sell them my animals."  (WHAT HAVE I DONE!!?!?!?!?)  After laughing for a minute, and then realizing that she's completely serious and is unlocking the front door, we tried to explain that the neighbors wouldn't want to buy her stuffed animals.  For the next 15 minutes, she keeps coming to us with crafts she made in Sunday school and other useless junk like this, asking if she could ask the neighbors to buy them.  Kaylie keeps making comments like "I just really want to sell my stuff so that I can get those books" and "I think the parents would really like this because it has a Bible word on it".  We finally convince to stop finding her junk to sell. 

As of now, she's deciding between birthday presents at her party in a few weeks or ordering the books now.  She is having a lot of trouble deciding.  I feel as though she has learned nothing valuable so far.  However, Justin and I learned how persistent Kaylie can be and not to give her options that we wouldn't go for, no matter how crazy they sound. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My First Pregnancy Post

Well, Justin and I were getting ready to try for #3.  Then, we found out we were pregnant.  I was surprised, excited, and a little nervous about the due date considering I had just started teaching at a new school! I felt great that first week.  I couldn't wait to tell people.  Telling people is how I process it and that's what makes it real in my mind.  I couldn't wait to surprise my parents, because I knew that this time it would actually be a surprise.  Even with Myla, when I told my mom, she basically said "Oh! Cool! I kinda already knew."

I had just recieved a slideshow from Ashlie with our family pictures she had taken.  So, I took about 60 pictures out of her almost 800 and made a new slideshow with this picture added at the end:

Over the course of the weekend, there just wasn't a good time to show my parents.  Sunday evening we emailed the slide show to Justin's sister because she was with his extended family.  They called excited, and yelling at us for sharing it through a picture!  It was fun!
Monday evening, we went out to dinner with my parents, so I finally had my opportunity.  I showed the slideshow to my parents and I hear my mom say "1, 2, 3" and then she hands the phone back to me.  I tried to explain the last picture, but it took her awhile to figure it out.  She was completely shocked!  I had finally surprised her with a baby announcement!
We had figured out that my due date was April 28, 2012.  Awesome numbers, but not during the summer like we had wanted.  Oh well, God has a plan!
The next week we went to Life Group and we were debating about telling the group or not.  We were having a night of praise and worship that night and the timing just did not quite feel right.  Of course, Andy picked that night to have communion with WINE!  It was a very special moment, so I was worried that someone would notice me not taking the wine.  That would be an awkward way to announce it and it would ruin this special time with God.  Thankfully, I was holding baby Joseph and no one seemed to notice that I only took bread.
The next week at Life Group, I knew we had to tell them at some point, but wasn't quite sure how we would do it!  We had broken up into groups to pray and when our group finished, Justin said, "I just want ya'll to be praying for Amy" and then stands there, not saying anything.  Everyone looks at him, then at me, and he isn't saying anything, so I just said "I've been feeling really tired and nauseous and stuff" and then they figured it out!  Then the other two groups found out.  Everyone was very excited, of course. 
So, a lot of the people really close to us knew, but I wasn't ready to tell work, yet.  After all, I had just started a couple of weeks before!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time of Transition

I can not believe that summer is over already.  It went way too fast! Our family is about to start a whole new chapter in our life.  Kaylie is starting Kindergarten (more on that in another post), and I am also starting at a new school.  Around 3rd quarter last year I was starting to become frustrated with work.  I wasn't sure if it was just that time of year or if it meant something.  I prayed, asking God, if this meant I should start moving on from Southeast.  Then things started getting a little bit better, so I assumed it was just the time of year and things would be fine.
I got busy preparing the Student Vs. Faculty basketball game as a fundraiser for the Class of 2013.  Shout out to Coach Harder for, well, just being awesome and helping me out so much! That Friday I was tying up lose ends with the game and I got called down to the office.  I was told that my contract was not renewed.  For legal reasons, no one could tell me any reasons about why.  I freaked out.  Thanks to my friend, Becky, I had coverage of my class the last period.
I think I was not so much upset that I lost my job, but that it seemed like someone didn't like me.  I am very much a people-pleaser and try not to make any enemies.  As I was freaking out and crying, I suddenly remembered a couple of months back when I had been praying about my job.  Duh! God answered my prayer, just not in the way I expected! I know now that God was in control of the situation, it was just hard to remember those first few hours especially.
That night I had to return to school to run the basketball game.  I was still a little angry and upset, but my students are far more important to me than anything else in my job.  The basketball game went fairly well and we raised quite a bit of money.

The rest of the school year was bittersweet.  I cannot express how thankful I was for the support from the other teachers in my hallway/building.  They were amazing (and I found out later just how amazing!).  I knew that God had a plan for me, so i wasn't worried so much about finding a job.  I was just disappointed that I would be leaving some great friends and some great students behind.  I plan on returning to some sporting events and the graduation.
I started the job search pretty early on, but there really aren't any leads on teaching positions until a few weeks into the summer. I had an interview at Cardinal Mooney, IMG, and at Southeast.  The timing of return phone calls/emails in that whole process was definitely God working again.  Although I did not completely listen to Him at first!
The schedule at IMG is not ideal for a mother of small children, which led to me, once again, freaking out.  After a lot of prayer, talking to trusted friends, and just some time to process everything, I realized that God knows what he is doing and He has a plan for me.  It will work out!  I'm excited to have small class sizes and students with goals in life.  I will be teaching Geometry (I have taught for 2 years already) and AP Stats (I have never taught an AP class before!).  I know there will be a lot of adjustments and challenges switching to Pendleton, but I have faith that it will all be worth it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Girl Boy" vs. True Girl

My girls are just so different.  Besides both being my daughters, it is really hard to think of things that they have in common.
I could tell a major difference when I was pregnant with Myla.  That's why I thought I was having a boy.  With Kaylie, my morning sickness was frequent and sporadic.  With Myla, it was more predictable and a lot more manageable. In the womb, Kaylie kicked all the time, hard.  Myla would stretch and move around and then be still. 
Kaylie: dark hair, tough, likes to play in the dirt, not scared of much, very outgoing (almost too friendly), very active, ran all over the place everywhere we went as a toddler, plays with cars, wants the boy toys at McDonalds, and wants to be boys for Halloween
Kaylie, 2 1/2 yrs old

Myla: blonde hair, wimpy, doesn't like to be dirty, scared of stupid things, extremely shy (didn't speak to my friend for the entire day that she babysat her recently), calm and cuddly, will actually stand right next to me while waiting in line, plays with dolls (for longer than 3 minutes! Gasp! She's really a girl!), wants the girl toys and was a princess for Halloween!
Myla, 2 1/2 yrs old

Another huge difference I saw early on was their sleeping patterns.  Kaylie was a mess from the first night. Night time, naps, it was just not good.  I think she was about 9 months when we finally had some control of it all.  I remember walking her around our small apartment in the stroller for about 15 minutes and then very carefully prop her against the couch so that she would stay asleep for...30 minutes.  Seriously, all of that for 30 minutes?  How did I do it? When I talked to other moms, I always wondered what I did wrong.  Then, I had Myla.  She was a wonderful sleeper.  I could lay her down and she would sleep! She would nap, like really nap, for an hour to an hour and a half, pretty early on!  It was amazing!  I realized that it wasn't my fault that Kaylie was such a bad sleeper!  As she said the other day "That's the way God made me!"
I'm so glad that they are so different!  It is amazing how God develops their personalities so early!  (And they don't fight over toys as often!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pictures from Elevate 2011

Awkward Boys: John, Adam, and James
Madison in our tiny room

Cool Girls: Courtney, (random boy in the background), Madison, Sam, Makenna (trying to hide), Sophie (technically from another church), Me

 Sam with a sword


Bus Driver: Fred "Morgan" Freeman

My Brother, Not to be Confused with My Real Brother


James; Adam

Playing Signs while walking across a bridge

Elevate 2011 Part 7 of 7

(Note: sorry it took me so long to finish this up)
So, it was Saturday night and it was our last free-time for the week.  First, our group went to the overlook for some worship time.  It was really neat! There was just a small group of people down there.  It was just us and a guitar and God's creation!  We were down there for awhile, singing, praying, etc and then all of a sudden we hear SPLAT!  And then, another one and another one.  We finally figure out that it is water balloons.  But, where were they coming from?  Based on the arc, we at first guessed the tree.  Finally we realized someone had a launcher and they were behind the trees.  Okay, now please forgive me because I am awful as estimating distances.  This could be terribly off, but I'm guessing that these punks with the balloon launcher were about 300-500 feet away.  (Notice that I left a nice big margin of error in there).  So a bunch of people go running after them as they go running.  We were chasing them down the hill that takes you off campus.  We reached the end/bottom and no one really knows where they went.  The students were ahead of another counselor and I, but they couldn't find them.  The students headed back up and the other leader and I searched for a bit more, but never found them.  Based on what everyone said and the fact that we couldn't find them, we assumed it was a couple of bored, college freshmen guys.  We never found out who it was, but it definitely was an eventful night of worship!  After this we played Signs for a bit and then we went up to pack and go to bed. 
Our bus was leaving at 5 am because we had such a long trip home.  On the bus, we slept, watched movies, played Mafia, built a tent, and played some other games. 
I'm going to attempt to explain the worst/funniest part of the trip.  In the back of the bus (right next to where our group was sitting) is the tiny bathroom.  Now, there is no where on the mountain for the bus to uhh dump, so by the end of the week this bathroom, well, smells awful.  So, a student of ours decides that he needs to use the bathroom.  We try to convince him to wait, but no, he insists that he HAS to go.  So, we all try to lean away, cover our noses, etc.  He goes in very quickly and shuts the door.  Monty says "He's not going to be able to do it" and then the door opens and he comes back out and says "I can't do it!"  We about died, from laughter and the smell.
After the 14 hour bus trip and not eating lunch until 3:00 (what can I say? Men were in charge ;) )  we finally made it home.  I was so excited to see my family! 
Elevate 2011 was definitely an amazing experience that I will never forget! I learned so much about myself, God, and my relationship with Jesus.  I developed new relationships with some of the youth from Cornerstone.  I can't wait to go back! Thanks to everyone who went, my husband for his help, and to everyone who helped babysit my children while I was away. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Elevate 2011 Part 6

We parked by the aquarium and went into the gift shop.  I was on the hunt for gifts for my girls.  After walking around the store about 5 times and picking up about 20 different things, I finally decided to get them some cute little magnets that had a shark and a penguin floating in each.  (They liked them!)  The guys were a bit excited when they found a stuffed AquaBear (well kind of).  After that we decided to walk across the bridge to find Clumpy's.  It was hot, I had shin splints from The Hike From Hell, it was a pretty long bridge to walk across, and it was HOT!  Luckily, Clumpy's is an ice cream place! I guess it is a tradition to go there every year.  It was delicious! We also went on the carousal (it was a very interesting carousal!).  Then we started the walk back across the bridge.  Someone had the bright idea to play signs while we walked.  This was quite a feat because in order to play the game you have to be in a circle facing each other and one person is in the middle with their eyes closed for 10 seconds at the beginning.  It was fun and helped pass the time though!  (Note: This was a bridge just for walking so we did not play Traffic Signs, though we did think about it for a second)

We went in search of stores that had souvenirs.  We found a Moon Pie Store!  We learned that Moon Pies were made in Chatanooga.  But most importantly, John found his set of mustaches.  There seven different mustaches (one for each day of the week).  Unfortunately, they were fake fake mustaches because they didn't stick very well.  Therefore, we had to wait until we got back to use them.
During our walk through the city we learned a very important lesson.  We happened to pass a homeless person sitting on a bench holding out his hand.  Later, we talked about it.  Each of us admitted to having an urge to stop and help him, but no one wanted to be the first person to do it.  We all realized that we need to listen to those thoughts more often.  I typically rationalize things to myself due to danger, etc. I think that it can't be the Holy Spirit speaking to me, because it's a smart thing to do.  However, helping someone is a good thing and I'm guessing that when we have an urge to do something good that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  I have been trying to listen to the Holy Spirit more often.  I have been so blessed by God, and I feel selfish not sharing those blessings with others.
When we returned for dinner, we found tape for the fabulous mustaches.  This was when we were introduced to Covenant Dave.  John, Adam, Monty, and Covenant Dave all put on a mustache and we went to chapel.  They got a lot of funny looks and many compliments! At one point, we saw one of the band members on stage look over with a puzzled look and then smile.  
That night at chapel, the worship was once again amazing.  I was brought to tears, again.  (I'm guessing I cried about 8 times this week).  At one point during a great song I looked around the room.  I would guess that about 90% of the 250+ people in the room had their eyes closed and hands raised as they praised Jesus.  It was very humbling to see God's power at work amongst those teenagers.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Elevate 2011 Part 5

Thursday night during free time we played Apples to Apples with most of our group.  It was a lot of fun!  The main point of the game is matching nouns with adjectives.  The cards that you win are the adjectives and are supposed to describe you.  I won quite a few cards, but they weren't the best cards.  I believe I got exploding, demanding, filthy, etc.
Friday morning we got up bright and early for our white water rafting trip.  Our group was too big to fit on one boat, so Madison and I went with some people from another church, including our friend Sophie.  We had an awesome guide that didn't get us into any trouble. No one fell out on accident and everyone had a lot of fun.  However, at one point we looked back and the boat that held the rest of our group was stuck on a rock and was almost completely vertical! They were stuck for a few minutes too, but luckily no one was hurt.
We hung out in the afternoon, had dinner and then went to chapel.  That night's worship was the best yet.  Thinking about how messed up I am and how much I sin when I don't even realize it brought me to tears.  The amazing thing, it doesn't matter how much I mess up, God will love me all the same.  He sent Jesus to die for our sins.  All of my sin was cast upon Him and now I am spotless in God's eyes. His mercy and grace astound me.  At the church huddle time I realized that other people in our group were moved as much as I was that night.  It was amazing to see the Holy Spirit working in our group that week.
We were planning on playing Apples to Apples, but someone else already had it, so instead we played Signs.  This was another new game to me and I LOVE it! I can't wait to teach more people and play it again.
Saturday morning we had breakfast and then morning chapel.  That day we went to an interactive called Silence.  We watched an interesting video that showed a man getting ready, going to work, coming home, and then just sitting and staring out the window.  It was just silent as we watched him sit.  It felt like forever and you could hear people in the room start to make some noises.  After the video was over we found it was only about 3-4 minutes of silence.  The awkwardness of the movie helped us to realize that we rarely sit in silence with God.  We try to fill every moment with noise (some even when we sleep!).  We then sat in silence for 8-9 minutes.  It was a bit hard, but still a neat experience.  Our next interactive was about Missions and how we as Christians should have a desire to help those in need near us and around the world.
After lunch, we went to Downtown Chatanooga.
To be Continued....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Elevate Part 4

The bus driver tells us that he can't make it into the parking lot for the swimming hole.  Someone on the bus tells him about another swimming hole a little bit down the road.  (I didn't really know this was going on because I was in the back of the bus)  At this point I'm feeling pretty car sick.  I'm trying very hard to look at the road, but like I said, I was in the back of the bus.  So we're driving a bit more and then the bus pulls off into a very tiny parking lot in the middle of nowhere.  He then turns around.  We find out later he had missed the turn and had to drive for awhile to find somewhere to turn around.  All I could think was "I just want to get off of the bus!"
We finally make it to the gravel road that you drive down to get to the path that takes you to the swimming hole.  It's a one lane gravel road through the middle of the woods.  The bus finally finds a place to slightly pull of to the side and we get out and start walking.  Thank goodness we got off the bus! (Or so I thought)  So we're walking down the gravel road for quite a while.  We're all carrying our bags with towels and changes of clothes in them.  We finally see a large clearing and think that we're almost there. 
But no! This is just where the trail starts.  And this is not a nice dirt or mulch trail.  It's hilly, rocky, and muddy because yes, it was starting to rain.  So we walk for what seems forever down the mountain basically on this "trail" and we finally make it where we can see the swimming hole.  To get to the swimming hole you have to climb some pretty big, wet, mossy rocks.  Keep in mind I'm awkwardly lugging around a semi-heavy tote bag. And to top it all off....we have to leave to get back to the bus in about 20 minutes.  I finally decide to brave the rocks (I really don't move like I used to....funny what having two kids does to you) and make it over to the swimming hole.  The water was kind of chilly so I just got in a little bit.
Then it's time to get back to the bus.  This is when this trip went from an adventure to what the MC at the conference called "The Hike from Hell".  I make it back up to the "trail" and I'm already feeling the pain.  It was quite a rough hike.  I was huffing and puffing my way back up the mountain.  A couple of times random guys asked me if I was okay.  Me, who grew up hiking and things like this with my parents was the weak one! It hurt my pride a bit.  Then again, I have had 2 babies.  I pawned my bag off on a nice young gentleman for awhile, which helped. 
The hike definitely felt longer on the way back, but luckily the bus was able to make it a little closer to us.  One of the leaders and his wife actually had their 4 yr old and 2 yr old little boys with them! I was astounded at how well they handled that.  If I had my children with me on that hike, I'm sure I would broken down and sobbed.
So, we started off the day thinking we were taking 1/4 of a mile hike to a swimming hole.  Turns out we took a very difficult SIX MILE hike up and down a mountain to swim for 20 minutes!  Hence, why it was termed the "Hike from Hell".  However, it was definitely worth it!  We all had a nice bonding experience and some wonderful/awful memories!
When we returned it was time for dinner, but girls that we are, Madison and I booked it up to our rooms to shower before dinner.  We ran back downstairs just in time to grab some food before the evening chapel.
Thursday evening is when the messages and the worship really started to affect us.  To look around and see 250+ youth worshiping God is just amazing.  Hadriel (the band) really know how to praise Jesus! Two things that I wrote down from the message:  1)  Everything we do flows from our personal encounter with the presence of God; 2) If we don't have a passion to please Jesus, then something is wrong with our perspective!
Isn't it wonderful how the Lord rescues us from ourselves. I love the lyrics of the David Crowder song, "How He Loves".  We sang it a few times while we there.  I'm going to end with one part in particular that spoke to me:
"Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking..."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Elevate 2011 Part 3

We see a young man walking toward us. This is my thought process: "Wait, he looks like my brother! It can't be him! Oh, it's not him, but man he looks so much like my brother that it's freaking me out."  So as I'm freaking out he asks how to get to the gym.  So we explain that you go down the hill and around and you should find it.  Well, we keep walking up the hill and turn and see that he is on the other side of the courtyard also walking up the hill.  Worried that he couldn't find the gym, but not knowing his real name I start screaming, "Eric!" (my real brother's name).  Of course, he doesn't hear me so we give up.  From here on out this boy is referred to as "My Brother"  (not to be confused with my real brother).
After another trip down and up the large hill looking for Courtney (who was at the top of the hill the whole time) it was time for bed.
Thursday morning we woke up excited for a fun day of spending time with God and finding a swimming hole.  If we only knew what was to come.....
The day started out normal with breakfast, and a morning chapel session.  Two things that really spoke to me in Matt Casada's message were 1) What we hope for shapes how we live now.  and 2) Disappointment is the soil in which hope grows.
We went to 2 more interactive sessions that day.  The girls went to a "Girls Only" session about finding our worth in God instead of other people's opinions of us (particularly boys).  It was very good!
Then we went to the interactive that Monty was in charge of.  It was a prayer experience.  There were different stations that you could explore where you do certain things while you pray.  For example, you take play-dough and create something.  This made me realize just how amazing it is that God created the entire world so perfectly.  Another station was where you held an ice cube in your hand to remind you of how your hearts start out hard, but God softens them and melts them.  Something that I realized as I held the ice cube out in the sun was that when I held the ice cube tight and put pressure on it, that it melted faster.  I think this is what God does with us!  He puts pressure on us to help our hearts melt faster for Him!
After lunch, we piled onto a charter bus with another church and some of the band members to find the swimming hole.  We're about to pull into the parking lot, when the bus driver says that he can't make it in there.  This is where the day took a turn for the worst.
To be continued....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Elevate 2011 Part 2

The pregnancy clinic is in Chatanooga, Tennessee.  It's called Choices now.  It used to be called AAA Pregnancy Clinic (or something along those lines) so that it would be first in the phone book.  Many years ago there was a free-standing abortion clinic and they decided to open the Pregnancy Center across the street.  Multiple times women who thought they were going to their abortion appointment ended up in the pregnancy center.  They didn't realize where they were until they had missed their appointment.  Some of them changed their minds and ended up keeping the baby.  I believe that this was in the 70's and maybe 80's.  Many people stood outside on the street frequently protesting and praying for the women going into the abortion clinic.  At one point the pregnancy center was contacted because the building that housed the abortion clinic was going up for sale because the owner was going bankrupt.  They raised almost $300, 000 in cash in a very short time and bought the building.  Then they kicked out the abortion doctor and turned the area into their new pregnancy clinic.  The best part was that they tore down the building and turned that area into a memorial for all of the babies that had been aborted there.  It's called the National Memorial for the Unborn.  In the courtyard there is a large area covered with rocks.  This represents the approximately 35,000 babies that lost their lives through the years at the abortion clinic. 
Check out the virtual wall on their website.  Reading the plaques is what made me cry.  It's so sad to think about.

After spending some time at the memorial, we continued working outside weeding, etc.  When we were done we returned to campus for dinner in the cafeteria (they had Coke!) and then we went to the evening session of chapel.  We learned that we need to follow Christ's orders.  Following Him might be uncomfortable, but He has amazing grace and a compassionate heart.  He has our best interests in mind and his orders are good for us. 
During worship, Hadriel sang "If Our God is For Us".  This song reminds me of my friend Summer.  Summer and her husband Sean were having trouble getting pregnant and had been talking to fertility doctors.  They tried a pretty basic fertility treatment.  The doctors said that there wasn't much hope because there was only about a 7% chance that it would work.  We listened to that song at Life Group and then we prayed over Summer as a group that God would perform a miracle.  And He did! Summer became pregnant! This week I knew she would be having her baby boy any day, so when I heard this song it really hit me how amazing God is and how powerful his miracles are!
After this we had our first real huddle time as a church.  Monty is the youth director.  Sam and I were the female leaders.  Makenna, Madison, and Courtney were the girls that came with us.  John, James, and Adam were the boys that came along.  Of course, the leaders were the main ones speaking the first night.  However, we did start to form a good bond as a group. 
After huddle time we had some free time.  Most of the youth went to play sports in the gym.  Madi and I went down to watch, but after both getting hit by different balls we decided to find something else to do.  We started walking back up the hill to the lounge in the dorm to play some games. That's when......
To Be Continued....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Elevate 2011 Part 1

I have decided to start a blog.  I was avoiding it because I typically am not very good with words.  I'm a numbers person.  However, I just got back from camp with some of the high school youth and I just had too much to share.  So, I'm starting now with telling my story about Elevate 2011 and then I'm sure I will be talking about my kids like crazy in a few days.

Monty, the youth director at Cornerstone, called me a few weeks ago and asked if I could be a leader on the high school trip to "camp".  I was excited, but wasn't sure I could leave my family for 6 whole days.  Luckily, the Lord worked it out.  We left bright and early Tues morning.  The charter bus that already had another church on it picked us up at 6:30 am! We had a long drive (14 hours!) up to Covenant College on Lookout Mountain.  I only knew one of the six youth from our church that went on the trip.  I sat next to Makenna (one of the girls I didn't know before hand) on the ride up.  We picked up another church just north of Orlando on our way up.
Before I left, Justin (my husband) made a comment along the lines of, "Too bad on this trip up north you won't be able to make it to Zaxby's".  So I was completely surprised and excited when we pulled into the Zaxby's parking lot for lunch.  Needless to say, it was DELICIOUS! I learned a new game on the bus called Mafia.  I'm hooked! I got to know some people from another church

We got to the campus around 9 pm.  Sam Reilly joined us.  She came to the camp with the church she has been going to while away at college, but decided to stick with our church for the week to help out as a leader. Getting into our room really brought back memories of college for me.  The bunk beds, the wooden dressers and desks, the girls running around the hallways.  However, there was a bathroom in the room (one up on Gardner Webb's dorms).  We had 5 girls and 4 beds so we grabbed an extra mattress and threw it on the ground.  Then the battle for bottom bunks began.  I threw in the "I'm an old 55 year old lady" card and they bought it, so I luckily got a bottom bunk! We thought our room was standard for the dorm and were completely happy with it.  That is, until we saw the other rooms.  They had room to walk around! They had outlets in the bathroom! We realized that we had the smallest room on the hall even before we added the extra mattress on the ground! We decided that it would just help us to bond more.  And it did! We got situated and headed down to chapel. 
A band named Hadriel was the worship team this week.  They were amazing! (more about that later) After worship our church got together for pizza and a little huddle time and then it was off to bed.

Wednesday started off with breakfast at 7:30, followed by a leader's meeting. I got to know a little bit more about how the camp worked and the heart of the people involved with putting it together.  From there we went to the morning chapel. Matt Casada was the morning speaker.  We learned about how we are in a waiting period after Eden, and before Eternity in heaven.  We have pain to deal with that we were not created to deal with.  Therefore, we have to lean on God!  We also got a taste of how awkward Matt was a child/teenager!  Hadriel introduced us to a few of their original songs. 
Then we went to our Interactive times.  Our group chose "Worship" with the band and another one on dealing with your parents.  We learned a lot about the band and their hearts.  It was a good time. 
After lunch we went on our first "Excursion" (aptly named due to the trip down the mountain in the charter bus).  Our group signed up to do some service work at a pregnancy clinic in Chatanooga called Choices.  We finally found it, got started doing some weeding and things outside and it started raining and lightning! Luckily, this provided us with some time to learn about the pregnancy clinic.  This was the first time I cried this week.....
To be continued...