December 31, 2011

jumpin' jayhawks...

it's been a rock chalk year at our house. not only did we get tickets to the ku homecoming game this fall, i can now say i've experienced the phenomena that is kansas basketball at allen fieldhouse. we got there plenty early so as not to miss any of the excitement and i have to say, even with the students gone for christmas break it was a pretty great atmosphere. the game itself wasn't exactly a nail biter (ku beat howard 89-34) but it was a good time.

kim and i before the game

sarah . shelly . kim . mallory

December 11, 2011

an ozark mountain christmas...

my mom and i have been making our annual christmas pilgrimage to branson for fourteen years. you'd think we'd be getting tired of it by now, but somehow, it never gets old. while we like to throw in a healthy mix of shows for variety, there are two mainstays we cannot do without. it just wouldn't be christmas without the haygoods and silver dollar city. here's what we did this year....

1: we got quackers. my friend jen and her son collin joined us for our first ever ride the ducks adventure. we were by far the four most spirited patrons...and we got the most mileage out of our complimentary quackers.

2: the haygoods. i don't know what it is about this family...i just can't get enough. okay actually, i do kind of know what it is about them. i think i like the fact that the oldest brothers are about my age. every year i spend two hours living vicariously through them and imagining my own career in the song and dance biz. plus they're just flat out entertaining. best version of 'seven bridges road' i ever did hear. this year they added an improv comedian to entertain us before the show and during intermission...he was hilarious.

3: silver dollar city. i love christmas and i love lights, so there is pretty much no better place to be than a park covered in four million of the twinkling things. but aside from the obvious christmas cheer, sdc puts on some seriously good shows.
  • the frontier fa-la-la follies: this saloon show is good ol' fashioned knee slappin' comedy...always good for a laugh.
  • for unto us a child is born: focusing on who we're really celebrating at christmas is one of the things branson does really well and this living nativity includes a particularly fabulous song. the only downfall is that i miss the big black guy who was the narrator until last year...the dude had some serious pipes.
  • a dickens christmas carol: words cannot describe how great this adaptation is. you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll leave inspired. it's broadway worthy...and i'm not just saying that.
4: the best surprise of the year...GREG BRADY! i almost passed out when i saw the billboard. a brady brunch starring none other than barry williams? yes please. the only bummer was that i didn't have my dvd box sets with me for the autograph line!

November 30, 2011

thanksvember: week four...

i am thankful for...

day 22: friends to live life with...when it's good and when it's hard

day 23: a night of side splitting laughter with the ladies from nawlins (and a couple of husbands)

day 24: a family i enjoy...especially my uncle, who will be thrilled to get a special mention on the blog

day 25: always having a place to call home

day 26: spending the day with my mom and having one less closet to paint

day 27: calvary church...where friends really do become family

day 28: getting in on the tradition of picking out trees and eating ted drewes with my mom and the taylors

day 29: getting to work at a school i love with people i enjoy

day 30: the twinkling lights on our christmas tree

"every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought
evidence of Christ's love, and an occasion of boasting in the cross."
john piper

November 24, 2011

black wednesday...

i've never been a black friday shopper. the turnoff for me is that no matter how good the deals may be, you still have to fork over some cold hard cash to get the goods. not so at cvs. they will hand you oodles of treasure for next to nothing. case in point: i went to cvs at midnight and gave them this...

and i took home this...

plus i came into the store with $7.67 of magical cvs money, and i left with $14.55. it's almost criminal. i did encounter a bit of a line, which was a new development. and i had to circle around and stand in line again for every one of my five transactions. inconvenient? yes. worth it? yes again.

November 22, 2011

thanksvember: week three...

i am thankful for...

day 15: a new sidewalk to walk and bike on...and a lovely afternoon to enjoy it

day 16: the privilege of praying for the via's adoption...and sharing their unwavering faith in the midst of seemingly insurmountable circumstances

day 17: apple-passion-mango juice and chocolate pudding from a box

day 18: sleepovers with sophie

day 19: taking a stroll in the park with a friend

day 20: a surprise visitor at church this morning

day 21: the first of many free meals at chick-fil-a

"...every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought
evidence of Christ's love, and an occasion of boasting in the cross."
john piper

November 15, 2011

thanksvember: week two...

i am thankful for...

day 8: my friend dia...and the hilarious memories of our life in a nursing home

day 9: having my number called at the chick-fil-a first 100

day 10: sleep...which i forget to appreciate until i have to go without

day 11: the freedom and opportunities that come with being an american

day 12: friends that let me show up to their house in my pajamas and lay on their couch while they make me dinner

day 13: the good word at church this morning

day 14: a roommate to go to the movies with

"...every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought
evidence of Christ's love, and an occasion of boasting in the cross."
john piper

November 10, 2011

eat mor chikin...

last night i slept in a parking lot. with 99 other people.

i love chick-fil-a. really, who doesn't? they not only make an excellent chicken sandwich, this company does everything well and with integrity. they have stellar customer service and it's always their pleasure to serve. one of the fun things they do for their loyal fans is the first 100 event. i've wanted to be a part of one of these for years but it hasn't ever worked out...until now.

here's what went down. i showed up in the parking lot of the new blue springs store about 5:45 on wednesday morning. at 6am there were over 100 people (105 to be exact) so a raffle was required. they counted us into lines and handed each of us a ticket. numbers were drawn one at a time to give participants a guaranteed spot in the first 100. the 77th number called was my lucky number. i was given a wrist band, officially registered and then it was camping time!

the rule is that you must remain on the parking lot for the entire 24 hour period until the store officially opens on thursday morning. there's a short grace period where you can unload your stuff from the car and then you're locked in. (figuratively...not literally) as a first timer i was in the minority, but i did my research and came prepared. parking spots were claimed, tents went up and a small city was born, complete with all the necessities like tables, chairs, sleeping bags, air mattresses, computers and games. it wasn't exactly the warmest day of the year, so i packed a healthy amount of foot warmers and extra layers. the whole thing is kind of an overnight tailgate. go team cow.

our periodic line checks throughout the day usually came with free food. they fed us breakfast, lunch, dinner and an evening snack. i was a little worried about being bored all day, since i was camping on my own, but it wasn't a problem at all. i made friends with some fellow sbu-ers in the tent next door and we played tripoley on and off all day long. (incidentally sbu was well represented...even the store owner was a bearcat) plus i ended up having some fun visitors which helped as well. (thanks for coming marilyn, donald, jake, mitch and rylee!) the staff also offered some entertainment in the form of games and some great tunes for a parking lot dance party.

after the last line check of the night i burrowed into my sleeping bag and stayed toasty warm until the 5am wake up call forced me into the frigid morning. during our final line check we were given 'i heart chick-fil-a' t-shirts and paper hats to wear for our grand entrance. the owner, the mayor and a cow cut the ribbon and we were in. team members serenaded us with cheers, cow bells and the banging of pots and pans as we filed past the counter and picked up our nugget boxes of goodness. free chick-fil-a for a year.

cold and all, i would do it again in a heartbeat. i love chick-fil-a!

November 8, 2011

thanksvember: week one...

i have so many things to be thankful for. really, i feel like i've gotten more than my fair share. most days i remember this, but every now and then i get all self absorbed and forget to be grateful. so every month i write in my 'good things book' and remind myself of all the good things i've been blessed with.

in honor of thanksgiving, (and due to the inspiration of facebook) i am declaring this month to be 'thanksvember' and i'm going to pick one thing to be thankful for each day. this might even be a new tradition. so this month, in november of 2011, i am thankful for...

day 1: the kind lady at the car place who not only pointed out the dings on my windshield, but offered to contact my insurance and get them fixed for free

day 2: a drizzly, rainy day

day 3: new friends

day 4: not needing a full time job, but always having enough work

day 5: that feeling of total relaxation just after a hot bath

day 6: the unique and creative celebration of all saints day at church

day 7: my zumba instructor...because the good ones are hard to find!

"...every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought
evidence of Christ's love, and an occasion of boasting in the cross."
john piper

November 5, 2011

tara in kc...

last weekend, one of my dreams came of my very best friends came to visit.

tara and i are like two peas in a pod. we have the same organizational tendencies, we think alike and we just 'get' each other. which is part of the reason i often seek her advice. we met my freshman year of college on a mission trip to croatia. our friendship started with an adventure and we've been having them ever since.

i've been able to make quite a few visits to the arden family over the years, but this was the first time tara's been able to come visit me. matt graciously offered to take on the role of single dad for five whole days to give his wife some time away and make my dream come true.

the preparations

the first couple of days of our visit were pretty relaxing. tara's only request was that she could stay in her bed as late as she wanted. and she took that pretty seriously. we went out to eat with the birthday coupons i scored for her, walked around the neighborhood, had a girls night out with missy and kim. it also just so happened that there were some very important baseball games being played on those days and she graciously spent the evenings cheering on the cardinals with me.

missy, tara and shelly @ mccormick and schmick's for the end of
game six...note my white rally napkin on the left side of the photo

saturday we ignored the staying in bed rule and woke up bright and early for a road trip down to bolivar to relive the glory days. it just so happened to be homecoming weekend at sbu so we got in on some of the festivities. we watched the parade and strolled around campus, telling stories and reminiscing before heading over to jackie and clint's for a mini reunion of sorts. we ate dinner, had a bonfire and proceeded to play mafia until 3:30 in the morning. it was just like college...except for the little kids sleeping all over the house.

@ the sbu alumni soccer game

we managed to squeeze in lunch with tara's family in springfield before heading back to kc for our last night. along with some good conversation, our evening consisted of tara helping me light the ear candles she brought me...during which time we may or may not have accidentally lit the carpet on fire just a little.

it was a fabulous weekend. i can't even explain how thankful i am for her visit and for our friendship. i really don't know what i'd do without her!

October 29, 2011

bearcats forever...

when i was a kid i always thought it made adults sound so old when they would talk about how they couldn't believe how long it had been since they had done/been in/been to ____________. i would roll my eyes and think how i would never be like that. but guess's happening.

seriously though...ten years? i haven't been an sbu student in ten years. my high school reunion was one thing, but this is another thing entirely. wasn't i just living in the dorm like two semesters ago? a couple of weeks ago i was filling out a reunion questionnaire for homecoming and decided it was high time for a little trip down memory lane. i pulled out the scrapbook and found some great stuff. memories came rushing back as i looked at the faces and thought of the people i came to know and love during my four years as a bearcat. the funny thing is that when i think about the fact that these memories are from ten years ago (which actually means fourteen, since that's when i started college) i think, no way. but then i look at these pictures and they seem to be from the dark ages. when did those clothes and hairstyles become so outdated? there's the c.k.g., the crazy ladies of leslie third south, hours of sand volleyball, the killer bees and the 'group'. mission trips, card games, spring break road trips, late night chats, lifelong friends and a whole lot of pranks...which i mostly participated in as an 'innocent observer'. in an effort to preserve these memories in cyberspace, and share a bit of the love, here's a little timeline of some of the important people and places of my college career.

. the ckg .
we were almost inseparable the first few years...these were my homies

zach . stacey . justin . christina . chris

. the rock hoppin' sandal mommas .
croatia: the first of many mission trips...and the beginning of a life long friendship

julie . shelly . jana . nicky . tara

. the killer bees .
flag football champions...two years in a row

winkle . shelly . miriam . leann . pistol . tara . katie . stacey . megan . rene

. the group .
the discipleship group val started...i learned a lot in the two years we were together

becca . shelly . jackie . brian . josh . kristen . erin . val . sarah . candace . gabe . chris . kevin

. midnight breakfast .
my last meal at meller's

winkle . cline . jackie . shelly . ali . kris . connie . shannon . matthew

. the girls of maple tree lane .

emily . tonya . heather . ami . holly . kris . shelly . jackie . kim . kim

. tp road trip .
technically this one is after i graduated...but it still counts!

ali . nicole . lindsey . shelly

October 25, 2011

bayou bound...

though it's been six years since hurricane katrina swept through new orleans, the recovery effort still marches on. in some areas of the city there are no obvious signs of the destruction caused by the storm, but in other areas the scars are still very evident. in the span of a block you will see many well cared for homes with fresh coats of paint, but sprinkled between are abandoned homes with overgrown lawns that have yet to be salvaged from the storm. the large X's that search crews used to mark the homes when checking for survivors are still visible all across the city. there is still work to be done.

my mom and i went down to louisiana with a team from calvary to work with an organization called touch global. they have been there since the beginning and are committed to continue serving the community, long after most of the other relief agencies have moved out. the majority of the people still needing assistance have similar stories. they hired contractors to rebuild their homes with the money received from insurance settlements, government assistance, etc., but instead of completing the needed repairs on the homes these contractors skipped town, money in hand. touch global has a waiting list of people still needing help so we headed down to serve wherever we were needed.

our team of seven ladies spent the week working at jj's house. the overall goal was to make some progress on scraping, sanding and priming the house...but we also caulked, weeded and removed a chain link fence. since our touch global site supervisor was in charge of multiple work sites, i put my habitat skills to work and became our job foreman. while we did get some work accomplished, my favorite part of this trip by far was our team. we had a ton of fun listening to heidi's stories, dancing on the sidewalk and enjoying each others company. it was a 24-7 laugh fest.

after our work week was over my mom, heidi and i stayed an extra day to explore new orleans and soak up the cajun culture. we had beignets at cafe du monde, walked along the riverfront, rode the streetcars, strolled through tulane university, listened to live music and experienced a night on bourbon street.

you can click here for more pictures of our week and our adventure in the city.

October 1, 2011

college game day...

thanks to some family friends of the twogoods, kim and i scored some great tickets to the ku homecoming football game. though i'm not a dedicated, die-hard jayhawk fan like kim, i was pretty excited at the prospect of a real college game...real being a synonym for "not sbu". but i wasn't just looking for a game, i was looking for the entire college football experience. thankfully joy, one of my bible study buddies and lawrence native, invited us to join her for some classic tailgating festivities. their tent boasted ladder ball, corn hole, lots of food and jayhawk plastic ware. it was top notch.

after i dominated corn hole, we headed into memorial stadium with time to spare...mostly because i didn't want to miss the dancing girls. (the pre-game and halftime shows tend to be the highlight for me) not only did we get free jayhawk flags, we were delighted to find that our bleacher seats had been equipped with those comfy chair backs. it was like we were royalty.

the first quarter was super fun. we were sitting near the ku end zone and they scored three unanswered touchdowns. just minutes before the first quarter ended the score was 20-0. we were waving the wheat and even made it on tv. but we won't talk about what happened the rest of the game.

while this wasn't the specific school listed when i made my goal to attend a college football game, and though i don't bleed crimson and blue, i did have a great day with the jayhawks. rock chalk.

September 15, 2011

vegas in pictures...

kim and i decided there is no better way to say farewell to summer than a quick trip to vegas. the first event of the weekend was lunch with maddie and mal at hash house a go go. i really wanted to love this place but they were struggling that least we had good company!

at night we headed to the jubilee theatre for an old school vegas showgirl revue with lots of sequins and feathers

after a breakfast of dunkin donuts and some quality time at the pool kim and i headed to the strip for lunch and some more of that vegas sunshine

then we got all fancy for our last night on the town...

September 9, 2011

a day in the life...

there's a certain rhythm of life we encounter in honduras. this being my third visit to project manuelito, i know the pattern of the days. it's an amusing balance of a predictable schedule, coupled with the necessary flexibility needed when encountering the latin american culture. a culture where plans are virtually unnecessary, due to the fact that they often tend to change on a minute by minute basis. but even so, this is a fairly accurate glimpse of a day in the life of the manuelito family...

a day in the life

1: the big white bus that gets us to and from teguc for the week

2: we wake up to this glorious honduran sky...the sky is SOOO big here!

3: the kids get dressed in their school uniforms and we all eat breakfast together

4: manuelito now has it's own school on the property, the kids are in classes between breakfast and lunch (which is a typical school day here)

5: when the kids go to school, we go to work...this almost always involves the mixer and bags of cement

6: my first job was bending two hundred pieces of pencil rod into rectangles

7: then everyone else used metal wire to tie them to the rebar to make 'baskets'

8: then the baskets were laid on top of the walls to create the header...this was later filled with concrete

9: once school lets out, we usually end up with a few eager helpers

10: in the afternoon the kids have different chores to do like sorting beans or cutting grass with machetes...that one is not fun, i tried it

11: and of course there is never a shortage of laundry to be done

12: these guys are often wandering by and like to 'help' with the laundry...and by 'help' i mean they eat the clothes off the line when no one is looking

13: usually the kids have some homework to do...there was a lot of cursive letter practice going on last week

14: there is also time in the afternoon and evening to just is usually the most popular option

15: once we're done working for the day we get to play too

16: electricity at the project can be sketchy. we went without for about thirty hours in a row this time...a record for our particular group. this is what no electricity looks like. no electricity means no running water. no running water means bucket showers and bucket flushes.

a few more pictures can be found in the facebook album.

September 6, 2011

the mouse in the house...

i have an irrational fear.

a highly irrational fear.

what scary monster gets me shakin' in my boots? mice. ick. while this is not necessarily unusual for someone of the female persuasion, i have the gift of taking this fear to new heights. normally, a mouse sighting would constitute squealing and standing on chairs. this seems only natural. but when there's a mouse in my's a whole different story.

we recently had the unfortunate experience of just such a thing. it's life. it happens. but when it does, i cannot contain myself. when a mouse is heard or spotted on a different level of the house than the one i am currently occupying, my immediate response is to curl up into the fetal position on a chair and cover my head while repeating "mouse get out of the house". (the rhyme does make me feel a teeny bit better) but if said mouse is in close proximity on the same level, well then my insides start to shake and sheer panic sets in.

the extreme level of emotion that follows is not a normal occurrence, although my mom could make a case for my dramatic nature. i'm glad i don't have to wonder if she'll still love me when my crazy comes out. plus, she should get some kind of medal for being the only one who has to deal with it most of the time.

the 'incident' occurred when i came home alone one afternoon. after giving myself a pep-talk on being brave, a lot of banging, a very slow open of the front door and many shouts of "mouse, mouse get out of this house", i ran up the stairs thinking i was home free. instead, as i rounded the top of the staircase, i was met with an unwelcome surprise. after a few moments of near hyperventilation on my bed, i quickly ended up on top of the file cabinet in my closet, where i remained until i was rescued about thirty minutes later. (shout out to kim's dad and aunt for their kindness and patience)

see what i mean? irrational. thankfully, said mouse has now permanently vacated the premises, and i couldn't be happier. i know i'm bigger than they are, but i just don't want a mouse in the house.

August 26, 2011

creeper trail tails...

when jenn talton has visitors, she doesn't mess around. she is the hostess with the mostess. there is never a dull moment in the a-jenn-da o' the food is amazing.

jacob, nickie and i got off to a bit of a rough start, airline wise, but we finally made it to north carolina. the first order of business was some time at the lake house. always a crowd pleaser. we played cards, kayaked in the rain, water skied (i slalomed successfully for the first time!), jumped off a rock and ate low country boil. it was a splendid time.

the slalom and the boil
then we got really serious. sunday's adventure was a thirty four mile bike ride on the virginia creeper trail. and an adventure it was. here's what we were looking at going into the day: you park your car at a bike shop at the end of the trail. the bike shop shuttles you to the top (about a one hour drive) and off you go. we knew the first half would involve a lot of coasting, with the second half becoming a bit more strenuous as the trail flattens out.

the first seventeen miles were indeed delightful. since we were riding down the mountain there was a gentle slope the whole way. i think i used the pedals about five times in that first half. the scenery was beautiful and we were loving life. we even happened upon an all male a cappella group practicing in a nearby house, which was a fun surprise. at the halfway point, we found a little cafe to have lunch in and relaxed for a short bit. then back to the trail we went.

that's when the real adventure began. less than a mile into our second seventeen, the heavens opened and the rain came down. and i mean it came. down. i couldn't see due to the waterfalls coming off of my eyelashes and my shoes quickly became individual swimming pools for my feet. at one point jenn said, "i could get off my bike and go jump in the river and i would not be as wet as i am right now"...and she was right. it was hilarious. we pressed on, not knowing how long the rain would last, but knowing we had no other options since our car was at the end of the trail. the incessant rainfall ended up lasting for about the next three miles, though at the time it felt a little bit like eternity. while grateful for the clear skies, we were now pedaling one hundred percent of the time, and my muscles (which were already sore from water skiing) began to protest. but we persevered and made it out alive. all in all it was a great day of memories, and i was able to check something off my list. our end of the trail pictures don't really do justice to the wet, the sweat and the mud we encountered, but if you look closely you can spot the creeper trail tail on the back of my shirt...

August 11, 2011

it's all about the water, eh...

if this most recent mother/daughter road trip had a theme, it would be...water. i know. our destination was niagara falls. just call me captain obvious. but i'm not just referring to the thirty five million gallons of water that flow over the falls every minute of the day. we encountered water at many of our stops...spraying in our faces, falling on our heads, and as part of a delicious treat.

stop one: as previously mentioned, our first stop was in louisville to visit pauline. (okay, technically our first stop was at my aunt and uncle's house to pick up a rubix cube) these stops were water free.

stop two: the creation museum just outside of cincinnati. i can't remember where i originally heard about this place, but i'd wanted to visit for years. it was a good stop on the journey, with interesting and well done exhibits and films. especially the one where you're watching a movie with two guys explaining science and the bible and you suddenly get sprayed in the face with water. (it was an opportune time in the story line, but definitely took us by surprise)

stop three: after an overnight in erie, pa and a lunch of buffalo wings in buffalo, ny we crossed the border into canada where, sadly, i did not receive a stamp in my passport. i hate that. we grabbed an adventure pass, like all good tourists do, and started visiting attractions. we were presented with complimentary ponchos in three different locations. the most amusing was the time we thought we were going to a nice, calm movie about the formation of the falls, but instead we stood on a floor shaking like we were having an earthquake while being rained and snowed upon. good times.

at this same stop we also spent some time exploring the town of niagara-on-the-lake, where our bed and breakfast was located. we strolled the streets, spent an afternoon in the park and i rode a borrowed bike around town.

before heading out we spent a morning on the american side of the falls, for a different perspective. the actual falls area is a bit less commercialized and more nature-ish than its canadian counterpart, but still boasts similar up close and personal attractions. plus i got to see the hotel from jim and pam's wedding.

stop four: following a quick detour to the house from 'a christmas story' in cleveland, we were onto our final scheduled stop...rita's. what delightful treat does dear rita sell? water ice. it's delicious. and a fine way to end our water themed road trip.

for photos, complete with commentary, click here.

August 5, 2011

my bolivar grandma...

i didn't get the pleasure of having grandparents around for a lot of my life. my grandpa harry (who was quite a hoot) was my last living grandparent, and he passed away when i was eight. needless to say, by the time i went to college, i had been in a grandparent drought for quite some time.

when i arrived at sbu i heard about an organization with an adopt-a-grandparent program. and since i was in the market for one or two of those, i signed right up. the actual process of pairing up with someone was kind of sketchy. basically i was given an index card with the name and phone number of an oblivious senior citizen in town. i would then call and ask the unsuspecting person(s) if it would be alright if i came to their home for an hour a week to visit. calling strangers and inviting ourselves over...that's how we roll in small towns in the midwest. the first woman i called was a widow. she, understandably, was not interested in having an unknown person in her home. so onto the next index card i went, where i discovered some delightful new friends.

lee and pauline must have decided i did not sound like a robber or an axe murderer and said to come on over. we started with weekly one hour visits, but that didn't last long. soon we were playing hand and foot all afternoon and even taking off on a few adventures.

since i left bolivar we've kept in touch and i visited often. lee passed away in 2005 and a few years later pauline moved to louisville to be near her daughter. we haven't been able to see each other since the move so when my mom and i were planning our road trip to canada i lobbied for a detour. pauline had a plate of cookies waiting for me, like any good grandma would, and we spent an afternoon playing games and chatting...just like old times.

July 25, 2011

my mexican birthday...

our first full day in mexico just happened to fall on what i consider to be a very special day. i woke up to a house full of birthday signs, hung by my very favorite mom. after breakfast we got to work and spent the day on some projects at the wgm guest house in saltillo. my mom and i constructed some window screens, then helped out the painting crew. and that night i was given a super fun birthday cake.

the rest of our week was spent at one of my favorite kinds of since my affinity for summer camp is no secret, it seemed quite fitting that this is where we were able to work for the week. the camp is located up in the mountains, about an hour away from the city. we were helping to prepare for family camp, which meant cleaning, building bunk beds, pouring a sidewalk, deconstructing a fallen retaining wall, replacing a water heater and a bunch of other odd jobs i've already forgotten. of course we also managed to squeeze in some necessary mexican culture...specifically churros and fried corn. they were delicious.

for more photos and info from the week, visit our facebook page calvary church missions: saltillo, mexico or click here for my photo album.

July 4, 2011

my favorite week of the year...

last week i checked another item off my list when i came out of retirement and reclaimed my original role of counselor at kids camp. i hadn't had a cabin for the past few years and i was ready to get back in the mix. (although i did miss the nightly laughs and conversation at the "pub") i had a really fun group of fourth grade girls and almost no drama. i'm not sure if i got lucky or if i'm just that good.

aside from the girls themselves, my favorite thing this year was the music...hands down. dave milliken also came out of retirement and graced us with songs from camps gone by. it was a great trip down memory lane and i loved every minute of it. especially the time he broke out "grandma's in the cellar" at the campfire. gooberdinky's and all.

these are my cute girls

fun story. one day during cabin devotions the topic was having a peaceful heart. we talked about things we're afraid of and how God is always with us and can help us when we're afraid. after the discussion the girls all got a blank pillowcase and some fabric markers to decorate it with. the instructions were simply to draw or write things that would remind them that God will be with them when they are afraid. about ten minutes later gracie (who sat on the inflatables for the whole hour that morning because she was afraid of the fish in the lake) came back with this little gem...

it says: i ain't afraid of no fish. i will jump in very happily next year. i will not sit on the inflatables the whole time next year. how great is that? i wish it were next year already...i'm having withdrawals!

June 13, 2011

it all started with a fruit crisp...

some people live to eat. i eat to live. i'm not very picky and will tend to eat anything given to me. emphasis on the word given. i was never one to get overly excited about food and certainly never spent time thinking and talking about food that was eaten more than ten minutes earlier. then i had this fruit crisp...

it was the calvary classics cruise. the first night in the dining room someone at our table ordered the fruit crisp, and that was it. i never wanted to eat another dessert for the rest of my life. (or at least the rest of the week) i can't explain why it was so good, but it was. everyone agreed.

then a caramel apple fell from heaven. this time i was visiting lindsey in georgia and a friend from church dropped a few homemade caramel apples by the house. i'm not usually a fan, so i didn't get excited. lindsey cut one up and said i really needed to try it. she was right. it blew my mind. i followed the children around and as soon as they set down their bowls indicating they were finished, i snatched up the rest of their apples too. don't judge. i promise you would have reacted the same way.

and last, but definitely not least, there was the banana cake. this brilliant baked good showed up on the snack table at the salem camp reunion. when i first discovered it, there was a good three quarters of the cake still in the pan. i had a piece (okay, three) and headed outside. not five minutes later i come in for round two and said cake is now in the kitchen surrounded by vultures. and approximately one eighth remains. there were five or six of us frantically 'squaring off' slices and corners in an attempt to enjoy as much banana cake as humanly possible before it disappeared. we were quite a sight.

now it's summer and i'm ready to indulge in more than a few visits to the shaved ice shack, if only i could find it...

June 1, 2011

salem camp reunion...

ahhh camp. there's nothing quite like it. i have been consistently going to camp for the past twenty two years of my life and have no plans to stop anytime soon. for me, salem camp is where it all began.

this past weekend we had a reunion to re-create and celebrate the amazingness that was salem's multi-generational family camp. we brought back several old standards: the talent show (via video flashback), morning watch, softball (i may have played the best game of my life), the odd ball olympics, rest time, the songs ('hey, hey mon' anyone?), the official, the bonfire, and everyones favorite...the square dance. that's right. we brought in a caller and danced the night away, just like old times.

i've always been really grateful for my camp memories and the great experiences i had growing up. this weekend reminded me how grateful i am for the specific people i got to share camp with...they are a hoot.

my mom and i watching the odd ball olympics...

...where it is completely normal to be spitting koolaid

the square dance

shelly and jen
( wasn't the same without you!)

May 27, 2011

the tour de missouri...

in an effort to conserve gasoline, for the benefit of both the environment and my checking account, i am combining a number of fun summer activities and venturing forth on a tour of the great state of missouri. because i'm sure there are people out there who are dying to's a map of the route and an explanation of said activities:

A: the start {lee's summit}

B: salem camp reunion {high hill}
  • i have a million memories of growing up at salem church. i love that place. while i don't know if i could actually pick a favorite memory, i know what would be pretty darn close to the top of the list. camp. i lived for camp. literally. one year i made a countdown when there were still like eighty five days to go. i cried every year when i got home because i wanted it to last forever. i didn't realize it at the time, but salem did camp in a special way. everyone went together, and i mean everyone. if you were six months old, you went. if you were thirteen, you went. if you were forty-seven, you went. if you were eighty-two, you went. everyone, all together, all week long. and it was awesome. i didn't even know that was unique until i was halfway through high school. so in honor of the church's 125th anniversary this year, they're bringing camp back. i'm actually getting pretty excited about it.
C: mom's house {st. charles}
  • sometimes i like being at home for no particular reason. while i don't have a specific agenda, i am looking forward to spending a day with some friends i've known almost forever. also, i'm pretty confident i will be drafted into spending more than a few hours at church helping with vbs preparations. i might even get a little ambitious and try to paint a few closets at my mom's house in an effort to check something off my list.
D: float trip {richland}
  • need i say more? we're celebrating my friend erica's birthday by floating down the gasconade river. this makes me exceedingly happy. i can think of no better way to celebrate anything.
E: the grob's house {lake of the ozarks}
  • i like to consider this my personal resort. there are comfortable accommodations, the hammock is delightful, i am fed home cooked meals approximately every two hours and boat rides are included. the best part is they don't even charge me! i'm meeting missy and sophie there and we have a long list of things to do: lounge around, eat, play games, color, eat, ride on the boat, watch the bbc version of pride and prejudice (another list item) and then we'll probably eat.
F: the finish {lee's summit}

May 9, 2011

i love my mom because...

my mom is my favorite person in the whole world. i love her a lot. really a lot. in honor of mother's day (and her birthday) i requested some assistance and asked her friends and family to tell me what words came to mind when they thought of her. here is what we came up with...

happy mother's day!

May 4, 2011

a glimpse of life...

awhile back my friend joy documented a week of her life in photos. i loved seeing the 'everyday' bits and pieces of her life and thought it was a fabulous idea. i wanted to do it myself, but naturally i stressed about how to select a week...since no two ever look the same. then i had an epiphany and decided that i could take the idea and give it a twist...just a glimpse of life, no matter the week. so here is a little of what it looks like to be me...

...and you can click here to visit the facebook album, which has captions and everything.
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