June 19, 2011

Mission Trip 2011

"Let us throw off everything the hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1b-2a

I had such a great time on our youth mission trip this past week! We loaded up 31 kids and 8 adults onto the bus Sunday morning and headed for Little Rock :)

These pictures are from Sunday night. We drove straight to the Behavioral Health Hospital for our first night of "bible school." Our theme this year was Christian Olympics and we talked about running the race for Jesus. Our 3 main topics were running to win, having a good attitude, and finishing the race. Our youth did a great job presenting the material, engaging in crazy songs and dances, leading discussion, crafts and games at the Hospital on Sunday and Tuesday and the Children's Home on Monday and Wednesday. We had a lot of great time with the kids at both places.

We also had some work projects to do. Tuesday afternoon we built, painted and decorated 6 picnic tables for the grounds at the Behavioral Health Hospital. Our kids worked so hard to get the tables together and to make them look nice. And lots of our girls got a chance to learn to use power tools as everyone who wanted to had the opportunity to drill the holes for the tables and then help put in the nuts and bolts.

We also were able to enjoy lots of time together at our host church. Every evening we had several hours to play games, practice for the next day, run around playing flashlight tag, fix each others hair (they even got one of the boys to let them straighten his hair!), and have lots of conversations between dinner and bedtime.

Wednesday afternoon we did some landscaping before heading to Arkadelphia for a night in the hotel. We all enjoyed being able to take a real shower on Wednesday night after a sweaty afternoon of working. Then we spent the evening by the indoor pool before sleeping in beds for our final night!

Thursday we got up and headed to Lake DeGray for our fun day. We spent the day tubing and swimming and getting plenty worn out! I even had a short stint of driving the boat! I drove it back to shore after one of our trips out to take kids tubing. I enjoyed it, but was just fine to spend most of my day watching the tube and the rope for the kids instead of driving!

Then we loaded up and headed home to our own families, beds and showers.

It was a great week and I was so blessed to have the opportunity to spend the time with these youth watching as they learn to take leadership and make a difference in their world. It was nice to get away and get re-focused.

I'll leave you with our Youth Benediction from the book of Numbers which is how we ended each day and each session.

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face sine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Snuggle Puggle

My co-workers always made fun of me because I called Allie my "snuggle puggle." Whenever I was having a bad day, I would say I needed to go home and have snuggle puggle time and they thought that was the most ridiculous thing they'd ever heard.

So when I stumbled across this picture tonight I couldn't help but smile:

That pretty much sums it up :)

June 18, 2011

A little life with a lot of love

I had a great week on Mission Trip (post about all of that coming soon), but it has been a rough couple of days. When I got home Thursday night I found out that Allie had gotten out of the backyard at my mom's house on Monday evening and was hit by a car and killed. It was very hard coming home to my apartment without her yesterday. I've written a few posts in the past about her running habits (Allie's Adventures #1 and #2) and through my time thinking about it I've realized that Allie was doing exactly what she loved very most when she died--running like a crazy dog. To her it was just another adventure. I will miss her very much, but I am definitely at peace about all of it.

I was looking through all of my pictures of her... so here is a walk down memory lane of Allie's short life with me.

Her first night at home. That sweet little baby face before she had her big teeth and her "pug face"

Allie's "happy face" on her way to Abilene to meet Aunt Nicki

Snuggle Puggle

Allie loved playing with her friends... especially Sasha

She also really loved trying to escape (this picture is absolutely hilarious to me)

And she was my guard dog... this was her natural place in my apartment. It will be sad to come home and not see the Allie face in the window.

At the Dog Park--very grateful that the last day I spent with her was here, her absolute favorite place to be!

I am so appreciative of the love and prayers and hugs from so many sweet friends. Yesterday was a really hard day, but I was able to get a good night sleep and am ready for a new day today. I'm about to finish getting ready for a baby shower for my sister-in-law (and nephew Chase who will be here in just a couple of months). Such a sweet reminder from the Lord that He makes all things new. He holds every tear I've cried and gently nudges me on to walk through a new day in His grace with His new mercies.

June 11, 2011

Away from My Desk

I know I have been a little MIA in the blog world. Not much has been going on with me lately... just working trying to keep up with an increasing caseload and preparing for a week off. Yesterday I was able to tie up quite a few loose ends and leave fairly close to quitting time. I left without any stacks on my desk, no messages or emails to attend to, all notes and files finished from everything I've done this month. I know when I return to work there will be new stacks waiting for me, but it felt really good yesterday to record my out of office greeting--

Because for the next week I will be with this amazing group....
Sharing the love of Jesus with some kids who desperately need to hear that He cares for them. Enjoying game nights, bus rides, songs, lots of chatting, laughing until we cry and some un-expected surprises I'm sure.

And probably even a little bit of this...

(from last year's mission trip, this is some of my girls' favorite picture of me that they now like to include in every slide show)

I'm very much looking forward to a week away from my desk, focusing on something different, being exhausted, but getting re-energized.