Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ringing in 2014

    So as the past four months were consumed with my first semester back to school in...well lets just say years, blogging was not exactly a top priority.  Don't feel bad movies, tv, and even friends didn't make the list of priorities.  I am however on the 8th of January about 7-8 days late in letting the world in on my resolutions, which I normally don't partake in.  No clever diets, or discipline plan to set me up for "success,"  I just simple know something about myself that I happen to hate, that I actually hate about every other human on the plant as well....
     As I stood by the intracoastal sea wall waiting in anticipation to observe the beautiful fireworks display they do so very well every year, the count down began.  At the shout of "ONE" there was a couple who kissed, one group with impossible noise makers, and a child about the age of 3 who woke up in the commotion.  What stood out most to me though was the mixture of people from every group who chose to be glued to their phones rather than enjoy and savor the moment of ringing in the New Year with their loved ones and friends.  The fireworks raged on for 23 minutes, (impressive right?) and more and more people instead of being present in the moment and enjoying it for themselves and with each other were either constantly taking pictures, or videos of the production.  But is that really celebrating a moment, when the only thing we do with it is turn it over to the closest social media sight for our hundreds (tens in my case) of admirers to "like" or "comment" on.  I mean seriously I could rant on a lot why do we even leave the house these it only to get a few hits on a social media sight, or because we really want to go and do something?
   Either way that is not my point tonight.  The point is that I was convicted and realized how much I hate that I am one of those people who want to post a really cool picture on instagram that gets a ton of likes, and I want to be really witty and re-tweeted on twitter.  And in my quest to those ends I am missing my life....and so are you is my guess.  So my resolution for 2014 is to put my phone down and be present in my life, and experience my life, maybe even enjoy it a little instead of allow myself to be convinced I am missing something online that I might "like" more.  Do you ever find yourself missing out on moments only to re-discover them on a #throwbackthursday on your phone?  Do your friends ever get upset with you because your phone is never out of your hand?  Maybe you have the same problem that I have.  Challenge yourself this year to put your phone down and be present!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


My Acceptance letter from Liberty University
   As I enter into my 31st year (yes I know, doesn't seem right) I am about to embark on a new adventure.  I am finally going back to school to finish my college degree.  With the encouragement of a few friends last spring I realized that I really had no excuse or good reason for not finishing, so I began the search for a program/school that would have everything I wanted.  Living in south Florida there area lot of options as far as school goes but I was more interested in something that I could fit into my schedule instead of the other way around, so I began looking for online programs.  After looking into several I quickly saw cost differences, and limited degree programs offered online for most schools.  I landed on Liberty University Online for those reasons and a few more, they by far had the most degree programs offered and a variety of ways to accomplish them.
   I work in full-time ministry and I know that I don't necessarily want to change that after I get my degree but I wanted to find something I would be interested in that could also benefit my organization, Palm Beach County Youth for Christ. I will be studying for a business administration degree w/ and emphasis in marketing.  I am both nervous and excited, mostly excited though.  Part of what pushed me over the edge for this decision was that I wanted something that I could do for me, kinda like a hobby.  Working in ministry where you aim to love and serve others for Christ, and being single where often times your schedule is dictated by friends who are married and either do or don't have time for you makes it difficult to feel like I have things and time that is my own.  Hence the new hobby!  It really is amazing how when I "quit" college I always knew that if and when God ever wanted me to go back and finish that He would make a way and give me a desire to do it.  His timing is never off, I really feel that this couldn't be happening at a better time for me and I'm so excited to do it!  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

YFCamp 2013

 As usual the road to and from YFCamp is filled with stress, heartbreak as well as overwehlming joy and 2013 was no different.  The weeks leading up to camp were filled with a lot of hard, but as we loaded up on the charter bus and pulled out of the parking lot the stress of it all went away...for the most part.  The road was bumpy, literally bumpy because of the bus' hydrolix system struggling, so as we hit any little hole in the road we were met with an unpleasant jolt.  We arrived in one piece to Carolina Point in the beautiful Smokey Mountains along the North and South Carolina boarder.
   I won't bore you with a day by day account of camp but I would like to share 5 of my most memorable moments of YFCamp 2013.
   #1 -For the first time at a YFCamp we had the opportunity as a cabin to camp outdoors...with my city girls I knew this was an opportunity they needed to have.  Everyone was excited to have the opportunity until the rain storm was set to move in!  I was so proud of the girls they not only toughed it out but looked forward to the challenge with a great attitude.
  #2 -One day the entire camp, (all 250+ people) went on a mile and a half hike up the mountain to have lunch.  The hike was a definite challenge for our below sea-level living Florida selves-not to mention the students, but once we arrived at the top and took in the spectacular view of 3 states below us the complaining finally stopped.
  #3 -One thing that was really special to me was having a couple of my former students there at Carolina Point serving as work crew.  Both Tiffany and Taylor first said yes to Jesus at YFCamp, so to see them growing and having a heart to serve so that other high school students have the chance to say yes to Jesus too is
phenomenal.  They were and are so encouraging to me!

  #4 -A zip-line ride would make a top 5 list anywhere but while waiting to go on the zip-line a memory that will never be forgotten by me and is quickly becoming an all-time favorite YFCamp moment happened.  Lexie didn't want to go on the zip-line but I told her she needed to at least come up and support the rest of the girls who were.  Fortunately one of the young men working the zip-line was pretty easy on the eyes and Lexie took notice, so when he nudged her to try the zip-line she convinced herself to do it.  She and Liz went together but as she got near the end of the first section Lexie missed the rope that was supposed to bring her she zipped in and quickly out.  She was hanging there for 3 minutes tops but as I watched all this go down I said out loud to my co-leader, "she is going to kill me!"  So as they finally got her pulled in and safely back onto the platform I asked to use the walkie to radio to her, the conversation went as such....
                ME:  "Could someone of the second platform please inform Lexie that I love her!"
                without a moment in between
                LEXIE:  "Blow yourself!"

I cried I was laughing so hard.  It may have been because I was a bit delirious from lack of sleep but I could not stop laughing that that was her choice of words to me and that anyone at camp that had a radio heard my student tell me to "Blow myself!"  I love that this was Lexie when she got to camp but while at camp she said Yes to Jesus and is different now!

L-R: Me, Lexie, Ariel, Liz
  #5 -The best part of YFCamp was the 12 students from RPBHS Campus Life who came, the 9 who came not knowing Jesus, and the 6 who said yes to Jesus while there for the first time!

Friday, July 26, 2013

If its not one thing its another...


   At the beginning of the week I caught myself asking my boss, "Can anything else go wrong this week?"  She responded with a dropped jaw "yes it can and it probably will because satan just heard you say that."  I have never been the type of person who ever gives satan more credit then he deserves so I kinda balked at her response, however its Friday and I now regret saying asking that question.

  We are leaving tomorrow night to take 55 high school student to YFCamp in North Carolina.  So that means this week has been consumed by collecting forms, meeting parents, and fielding questions about what to pack.  I have worked really hard to sign students up and to raise money to make it possible for many of them to go.  I have been SO excited for YFCamp, as I am every year, but something happened this week and my excitement and joy was kinda taken away- and when those were gone my perspective and focus became negative.
  This is somewhat uncharacteristic of me because I LOVE camp! I love it so much that I spend two weeks of my summer going.  First week to take students and the 2nd I serve so other leaders can be with their students.  This week just seemed like everyday had a new surprise of something I didn't want to deal with.  First was the discouragement of a couple students dropping out despite having scholarships for them to go, leaving me with money and space for more students to go but no one who seemed to want to go.  Second was missing an important deadline to enroll in college to finish my degree which I have been looking forward to for months now.  Then my roommate tells me she wants to move out, and my car starts acting up. (Goes without mentioning how necessary my car is in order to finish picking up paperwork in preparation for camp.)  Then I receive a phone call from my bank telling me my card number has been compromised and they want to close my account and re-issue everything...Go ahead and scream or crawl into the fetal position for me as I was unable to do either of those things with so much still to get done for camp.  Even as I write this I am procrastinating on finishing that "to-do" list.
   I have a tendency to feel picked on when things like this happen, you know when one thing after another just seems to come at you whether your ready or not.  When this happens I have a hard time telling the difference between God's tests and satan's distractions.  This week I have a feeling that my boss was right, and I shouldn't have asked a question that would imply things could get worse...because they did.  I suspect that satan did want to find a way to steal my joy and excitement for what will happen at YFCamp, and it worked.  However I also suspect God is trying to teach me something about my character, as I do have a tendency to throw my hands up in the air and give up when life throws too much at me all at once.  All that said I am expecting God to show up and do some amazing things at YFCamp this week- Please pray that I would focus on what God wants me to see, and understand that whether its my car, my living situation or which students get on the bus and which ones don't, He is in control.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Way Way Back

    Anyone who knows me well knows, that I love watching movies.  For the past few years I have been blessed with the ability to preview many movies before they are released.  The Way Way Back is one such movie that I have gotten to see, despite the fact that its not playing within a 50 radius of WPB.  It's actual release date was July 5, so other parts of the country have it already and are better off for it.  I watch a lot of movies and I would be honest about how much I watch except that I dont' want you all to assume I don't have an actual life.  That being said I have seen A LOT of movies in the last couple of years and I can honestly say "The Way Way Back" is the best movie I've seen in at least 2 years.
    This movie came from the same producers and such that made the movies Little Miss Sunshine, and Juno.  So one of the reasons I like this movie so much is the same reasons many enjoyed those films...the characters are real!  You can say you know someone just like them or you see yourself in them and the acting is so honest that if you do see yourself in there you don't feel bad about it.  Even the scenario is real, as painful as it is at times you get the feeling that these people really exist somewhere and they are really doing those things.  Not to mention with real characters there is real humor, not made up dialogue with unnecessary cursing or inappropriate banter- what cursing and banter there is feels real and appropriate for the situations.  This movie is exactly what it suggests, funny, endearing, and honest.  I laughed so much!

 I have to admit however that I do have a bias to this film for the very story that it is.  This is a story about a teenage boy living through the breakup of his family and implications of the aftermath.  (ie. he is stuck spending the summer with his mom, her boyfriend, and his daughter in a beach town where he doesn't know anyone.)  He is an awkward, quiet, and shy kid. Working for Youth for Christ I am used to seeing such a teen, and it always breaks my heart.  I want so badly for teens to come out of their shells and see that they are more than the circumstances they are going through in their life.  This movie takes the audience on just such a journey when he (after a handful of awkward meetings) meets and opens up to a water park manager who sees potential in him.
    Because of this story and the realness of the characters coupled with my heart and what I do for a living I saw myself throughout this entire movie.  Maybe its all of the awkward attempts I've experienced trying to connect with a teenager, maybe its seeing potential that not even a parent seem to recognize at times, or maybe its just that the movie is that good and anyone can see themselves in this story.  Either way I highly recommend that if you have a chance that you would go see it.  And if you read this and you are in youth ministry or volunteer in a youth ministry you need to go see it.  I speak with so many adults who don't understand how to "connect" to teenagers and if you struggle with that this movie may help you understand its not as hard as you think it is.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

CrossFit Chronicles take 2

   So here I am, in the sixth and final week of my beginners Crossfit class.  A couple of weeks ago I was in pain and constantly sleepy.  I had a friend tell me that once I got to week three that the workouts would no longer make me tired but would give me energy, and that I would love it.  There is no way that I would have thought my friend would be right but he the middle of week three I finally felt stronger and was enjoying the workouts more.  I was no longer huffing and puffing through the warm-up and actually getting through it ready to start each morning.  Also despite NOT being a morning person getting up at 6am became easy and even preferred, (not that I don't look forward to off days and sleeping in a little.)
   As for the people of Crossfit, I still hold a somewhat similar opinion of them however in my six weeks I have felt them open up and be more friendly to those of us in the beginners class.  Maybe this is because they want the money and so they need us to sign up and keep coming, but I like to feel it has to do a little bit with credibility.  They have seen us start and struggle, but push through and finish the six weeks where many who began with us are gone.  They (Crossfit people) still come off as cocky, somewhat unfriendly, and way too interested in working out, but why would I fault them for finding something they are passionate about and pursuing it??  I have things that I am passionate about, though its not fitness and exercise, I'm sure when people interact with me regarding those things they might find me a bit cocky and way too consumed by it.
     Now the big questions come...did I lose weight, do I want to continue with Crossfit?  As for my body I decided to do this 6 week class because I needed something to get me moving again.  After the lose of my mother just over a year ago I have put on a lot of weight and the grieving process barely gives you the energy to get out of bed in the morning, never mind working out or running.  I had no weight goal in mind, I just wanted to be in shape again so that I could get back to life.  Which includes keeping up with teenagers weekly, not to mention two weeks of camp that can literally kill you no matter how "in shape" you are.  I have lost inches, though it would be difficult for most people to notice, I do and that is all that really matters.  And YES I think I would like to continue with Crossfit!  I am no where near able to keep up with the "Hardcore" crowd, but they are opening up a bootcamp class and many of the folks in my beginners class are going to do that so I will join them!
   When was the last time you challenged yourself, and found that you liked it?  Have you ever needed a healthy change and been motivated to do it, no matter how impossible it seemed?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crossfit Chronicles

   So here I am in the second week of my Crossfit beginners class.  I am a beginner in every way when it comes to working out, but if you have ever been in a Crossfit class or seen pics and/or prideful posts on social media then you must understand I am a beginner in all sorts of ways starting Crossfit classes.  
My desire here is not to brag (beginning has a way of humbling you), but to observe myself not only physically through the class but also socially and mentally.  Mostly socially because I can already tell you I don't like Crossfit people.  I may not have a great reason for that last statement but I am entitled to my opinion from my personal experience thus far.  However for the time being I have become one of those "Crossfit people" so I continue...
    After the first day I had a hard time walking, I wondered how I would get to the second day not to mention how I might get through the work out.  Though very sore I made it through.  Physically my body was in a lot of pain, but I was surprised to experience my brain all but shut down.  Every day I literally had to take a nap and went to bed very early, and still my brain is having a hard time staying on task.  I probably owe it to myself to research this a bit but I am not going to.  My assumption is that my body is in need of so much more "whatever" than its used to that my brain isn't getting all that it is used to getting...So I sleep.  LOL
   Back to those "Crossfit people": I like the trainer/instructor but I feel like whenever someone from the "hard core" class comes in that they are laughing at those of us who are in the beginners class.  I am sure this isn't true all the time but I am safe to assume it is true most of the time.  There also tends to be a lot of bragging in whatever instruction is given.  An example of how to have the right form for a exercise becomes a, "hey (fill in a name here) how much weight do you do with this one."  
  So I am complaining a little bit here, but I am committed to 6 weeks of trying this Crossfit thing out.  And I must say despite fatigue and soreness I am seeing results and do foresee myself able to make a lot of progress physically.  I just have a hard time relating to people who's biggest priority in life is to have and maintain a ripped body!  I don't think that will ever be me, the priority part or the ripped body part.