Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"It's Going Off Again"

Recently I walked downstairs to my mother begrudgingly stating.... "I have been up since 5:30." It was in that moment that I realized... "What am I going to do? When I leave for school I am leaving behind most of my comedic material."

Really though, I am sure you are wondering. WHAT HAPPENED. Well, every Wednesday Dad meets with 3 other men and they discuss all the world's problems over breakfast. That is at least what it seems like they do. You know... they talk about things crazy things that happened to them through out the week. Usually Dad comes back sharing some story about raccoons or just random guy things. I love hearing the stories. For those who know my Dad, you know that he is the MASTER of telling stories. He can put me to shame, it is no task for him to keep an entire room captivated one moment and laughing the next. Maybe that is why he's been such a success as a teacher. :) (This is his 32nd year. Wow. Most would say that is a HUGE accomplishment, but he just plays it off and says the accomplishment is in the fact that he can now refer to himself as the old fat bald guy at the end of the hall) Gotta love Daddy-o.

Back to the story. (Tangents are my thing) ANYWAYS... Dad always goes to breakfast BEFORE school on Wednesdays so it ends up being pretty early. He drags himself out of bed and grants himself an extra cup of coffee. This would seem quite normal right. Except for the fact that this lovely day, Dad accidentally forgot to turn the alarm off. Therefore... Mom could not sleep. This was the big no no.

Now most of us have probably experienced a situation similar to this. There is nothing more annoying than someone else's alarm waking you up. But even worse than this, Mom couldn't figure out how to shut it off. Aggravated, she called Dad's cell phone to try and stop the problem. He didn't answer. Mom left a voicemail and was all upset. After a while, it went off again, and Mom called Dad a second time. This time her message was short: "It's going off again!"

Here's where the story really starts to take on some humor. Mom can't sleep and decides she's just going to get up and go downstairs. Plopped right there on the kitchen table was the best possible welcome present. Dad's phone. So as a means of getting her point across, Mom hid his phone in the living room and stashed away the chocolate. :) You can tell its getting serious when the chocolate gets put away.

For me, the humor came in the fact that all day Mom cooled off about the whole situation, Dad came home and was super sorry. He listened to the messages while we were at the kitchen table, and we all smiled as he saved the last message. "It's going off again."

So when my parents read this on my blog I know they will say: "I can't believe you put that on there." There is however, a point to all of this. At first the story can seem like a funny glimpse into our lives, but the phrase is what has been stealing the show in my life.

I have been home for 16 days now. A fantastic break. I have been busy doing quite a bit of shopping with Mom... I've had reunions/good bye get togethers with friends here at home, and of course, I've spent a little time at the lake. This time has also given me a chance to get ready for school. In my last post, I talked about how this summer I learned a lot about relying on God for EVERYTHING. What does it mean to talk with Him all throughout the day and see life through His eyes. Time and time again I find myself saying this phrase: "I hate change." It is the truth. I am a girl who loves getting into the routine. I love adventures, but still, I like to know what is happening.

The count down is now one week until I head off to school. I am going to be a Junior which sounds CRAZY coming out of my mouth. Now I love school and shoot this is my third year so I know what to expect. So you can imagine... I was quite surprised when one day this week I found myself getting nervous about school. I can understand the nerves when you are going to be a Freshman but I didn't expect that now. I am established at school. But it was through the whole alarm going off story, and that simple phrase that it finally clicked for me. I have just experienced a summer of life change. I feel close with God, and His peace has helped me be more chill and slow down a little.

Why then a sense of worry about returning to school? You would think I would be EXCITED to return and share stories from this summer. Don't get me wrong... I am excited to see everyone. :) I think it is because last time I was at school, I was a different person. Last year I often felt like I was in a race, trying to keep everything organized and under control. I had to give 100% at softball and I had to get A's in each of my classes. HAD TO. But in the midst of all of this I seemed more like a chicken running around with its head cut off. I left the year tired and not satisfied with my accomplishments. This summer was a summer of breaking me down and everyday letting God show me how I could be in the midst of a jam-packed schedule, constantly have questions flying at me, work a 17 hour day with teenagers, and still be calm. WOW.

This time.... I want to go to school and let God lead. That doesn't mean I am going to forget about grades and no longer push myself. It simply means, I am going to take a little of my own medicine and remind myself of my favorite phrase:

"God's God It."

Moral of the story.... BOTH Christi and I have heard before that we should write a book about our family. On days like these, I realize a book would be a great dream, but I am just not so sure it could capture it all. Instead, I'm thinking a reality TV show. Who doesn't want to get the inside scoop w. the Church's. :D Maybe we could call it:
"It's Going Off Again."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Fish Tank

It has taken me quite some time to figure out what to write as my final post about the summer.

I am now sitting here in my living room in Angola, IN thinking "Wow.... what just happened?" West Virginia almost feels like a dream because I came home and things were pretty much exactly like I left them. I feel like I have just endured a summer of stretching and life changing and I come back wondering "Now what?"

Fortunately, my family has been here and I have been able to just love time to catch up with them. It is great to know that home is always home, no matter what. In the time that I have been home, I realize that SO MUCH has gone on. After living in a routine, following Youth Works schedule to a T... I'm sometimes surprised at the variety that has been going on. :) Dinner doesn't ALWAYS start at 5:30.

Overall, my time home has been wonderful. I have needed the time to start processing all that God did over the summer. Now I know I'm not going to really ever see ALL that He did but at least I have had a little break before running right into my Junior year at Indiana Wesleyan University. This 3 week break is perfect.

Some of the things I am starting to take away from the summer have to deal with worry. This summer God basically obliterated my comfort zone. I was stretched and pushed beyond belief but I think that is the main reason why I can now say that I LOVED everything that happened. God was in charge, and I was forced to trust Him.

I was up in front of 70 people every week talking about God, and yeah... I was a little nervous. I felt unqualified. But I got to witness God transforming youth and pushing and stretching them. WOW! Not only that, but I was able to invest in a community and have a town I had never heard of be my "home" all summer long. The people there were incredible. Raw, and just open about who they were. I loved it.

Now that I am settled at home and once again driving "The White Pony" (For those of you that don't know... that's what we call our big white Astro van.) I have now become aware of how thankful I am that we can pray. My time in Lincoln County, WV is over for now. But the awesome thing is that I can still keep the whole area in my heart and pray that God's work wasn't just happening because Youth Works was there. He can still send people there and He can equip others in the community to just continue spreading His love. PTL.

There have been some funny things that have happened now that I have been home. :)

Mom recently had surgery on her knee and so now that I am home I have become QUITE the chauffeur. On Monday we had to go to Fort Wayne for her follow up appt. so of course... we did a little shopping before. :) Well as we got settled into the packed waiting room, it was obvious that they were a little behind. Mom said that she was the last appointment of the day so I knew we were in for the long hall.

Overall, the weather had been quite temperamental that day.... It'd be raining and then BOOM completely sunny. As we were sitting there, Mom looks down this long hallway outside and says to me, "Look out there! It just looks like it is POURING! Doesn't it look like that?"
So I looked and said, "Yeah, I guess it is."
Mom reiterates, "It is just POURING!"
Then I look again and say... "Mom. We're looking through a fish tank."

So in this crowded waiting room, my Mom and I just start laughing to the point of crying. Finally Mom gains enough composure to say, "Well maybe that's why it looks so wet."

As you can see, I seem to be adjusting well. Mom needs me. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Last Day

It is official... Tomorrow is our last day in Lincoln County. Lately we have been busy saying good bye, and I know that tomorrow will be tough. This place I have called home seems so hard to leave. I am stoked to get back and see everyone in A-town but its hard knowing that I have grown so close with these people and it is now time to move on. God has been great this summer though. I am trusting that this is not goodbye, only see ya later. Tonight we had a cookout with the fire fighters and it was just great. We laughed and they had a hoot watching us all play corn hole. We just found out they had it stored in the Fire Hall. It's a good thing we just now realized it because we are almost certain NOTHING would have been accomplished all summer. :)

I just wanted to update this quickly so that you could be praying. Tomorrow we will drive up and stay the night in Charleston. Then on Sunday morning we'll be driving up to Philly for our closing session. Tuesday morning will be the day that I make the drive home to Indiana. Be praying that saying goodbye is not too difficult. Especially with my site. I've seen them EVERYDAY this summer except one.... meaning I'm pretty used to living with them by my side. It's definitely going to be weird when we split and go back "home." Thanks again for all your support. Don't worry... when I have time I will add some more stories on here. :)