Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our Bright Lights Girls

This fall, my dear friend Alida and I have led a small Bible study for 9 young ladies in the Rolla area. We've used the "Bright Lights" curriculum, developed by a homeschool girl named Sarah Malley. The girls in the group are all home-schooled, and range in age from 8 -13 (although the 13 year old is more of an assistant leader!). I know that both Alida and I have been so blessed by these girls. Having to dig in and prepare the lessons each week challenged both of us, and we really enjoy watching the girls grow and learn. We were able to do several service projects, and visited a local nursing home twice - the first time, Alida and I played piano and the girls sang. But the second time, about 5 of the girls also played piano! What a joy, to be able to bless these older people in such a simple way. Alida and I were both so very proud of the girls, for being brave enough to play, and for being so friendly, kind, and gentle in talking with the adults after we sang.

Alida, the fearless leader and the fun one

Becky, the one who Schedules

A rowdy game of "Switch If," a group favorite

This is all the girls and Alida with their "Action Packs." We did a service project with them - each girl brought several items, and we filled these large plastics bags, which are then shipped overseas to families or individuals who are in need.
The shipping cost $7 for each bag, so we asked the girls to raise some money and bring it in to cover the cost. Imagine our surprise when the girls brought in a total of $63 dollars! Wow! We were able to put the money towards buying some things from World Vision, a Christian relief organization. I believe the girls picked out A month of therapy for a disabled child, and a pair of goats for a family in Africa. We were so very proud of them!

This Tuesday, we had a Tea Party to wrap up the semester, before we take a break for summer. It was so fun - we ate a LOT of food (chocolate. . . ), played some fun games, and enjoyed each others' company.

The girls brought most of these snacks - they were delicious!
Except the chocolate. . . it smelled. :p

Andy even joined us - just for the food!

These girls got the giggles when they were taking pictures of each other.

We played "Oranges and Lemons" - pretty fun,
although it didn't quite work the second time around!

So the reason this one is blurry is because I was laughing
so hard when Alida jumped into the picture.
I told them to pose - this is what I got.

The Whole Group

What a fantastic experience! Thanks so much Alida, for all your hard work! And thanks to you girls, for sticking with us and coming to the meetings, and letting us be crazy with you.

On Daily Quiet Times. . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Regency Tea

Abby and several other young ladies have had a book club this Spring Semester. They read Pride and Prejudice, and sewed Regency Period Dresses. On Friday last week, they gathered to celebrate the completion of their dresses and the book. They made butter and English Muffins, had an outdoor tea party, and went tramping in down the road and in the woods. Quite an adventure, and these dear girls were gracious enough to allow me to attend, as official "flip-flops bearer," "photographer," and "servant."

What lovely girls, and what blessed friendships they have formed! Thanks for including me in your fun, darlings!

Love Never Fails

Love is patient. . .
it can wait a lifetime, and if it's from God, can hold out for His perfect timing.

Love is kind. . .
it goes out of its way to help and looks beyond just what makes "me"
feel good, finding the root of the need or hurt.

It does not envy. . .
it realizes that those I love belong to God, not to me, and they are His to use as He pleases.

It does not boast . . .
it would rather listen than talk, and doesn't need to compete or succeed to feel loved in return.

It is not proud. . .
it's willing to forgive, to admit fault, and to be the first to speak up when problems happen.

It is not rude. . .
it does not exclude others throughout exclusive focus on one,
but reaches out to all who need God's love.

It is not self-seeking. . .
it's always focused on what's best for others, and how God is/wants to be at work in their lives.

It is not easily angered. . .
it quickly lets the little things pass, and forgives quickly,
not allowing the big things to form into grudges.

It keeps no record of wrongs. . .
it doesn't remember past hurts, and never dregs up old pain during new conflicts.

Does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. . .
it is pure, and focuses on keeping those it loves set apart for God.

It always protects. . .
not only does is physically protect others from harm, but also emotionally,
by guarding other's hearts.

Always trusts. . .
it realizes that God is in control, and that He has my best interests at heart.

Always hopes. . .
it thinks the best of othes, never assuming to worst.

Always perseveres. . .
it never fails to lose sight of the big picture,
and how God has first loved and pursued us, in our broken state.

Love Never Fails.
I Corinthians 13:5-7

Saturday, May 23, 2009

19. Go to a concert

This Wednesday, I completed #19 on my packing list - I went to a "real" concert! Although Zephan and Colin were not able to join us, Andy and several of our friends went up to St. Louis to hear Flatfoot 56, a Celtic punk band. It was a pretty terrible venue, and the other bands playing weren't that impressive either. But that's okay - it's the memory that counts. . . Thanks Andy, for putting up with the little sister and always trying to help me be cool. It's not worked yet, but keep trying!

Funny story - the little guy wearing a kilt and jumping in this photo plays bagpipes and mandolin for the band. And he's incredibly young-looking and short. The three other guys are brothers, and the guy on the far left is tall. Like really tall. Like he kept walking by me and standing behind me and it scared me every time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shall We Dance? (Once Again)

You are, once again, cordially invited to another English Country Line Dance!
Where: Salem Commons
When: Saturday, May 23rd (tomorrow, folks!)
Time: Beginners at 6:00, Dance at 6:30
Cost: $2 per dancer or $10 per family
Refreshments: A Cookie Theme has been declared, so bring along a batch of your favorite,
tried-and-true recipe!
Hope you can make it for an evening of fellowship and fun!


Several weekends ago, Alida and I violently kidnapped Ashley, in honor of her 18th birthday and graduation! We've been planning it for few months, and had to reschedule several times -but at last, success! I had an incredible time hanging out with my girl friends - thanks so much for going along with it, and making it such a great time, you guys! Love you both!

First, we nabbed Ashley at work - then, after lunch at Panera, we drove up to Jefferson City for an afternoon of shopping.

Then, after a stop at Cold Stone Creamery (I had NO IDEA that there was one in Jeff City! I'm now thrilled beyond belief), we headed home, stopping at the BSU in Rolla on our way in. They had a get-together/photography contest that several of our friends had entered in. After that, we took a quick bathroom stop at the house, then drove out to the shed - shopping bags, sleepover equipment, and manicure/pedicure/facial supplies in tow.

Aida - this reminds me of the time you
tickled my feet through my shoes in
the back of the Yukon that one time.
Remember? Good thing you didn't actually
touch my feet for this one -
you would have gotten a swift kick in the face. :D

After getting a surprisingly long night's sleep, we leisurely woke up and had a large breakfast of. .. oh, all sorts of things. Then we partook of the shed's movie theatre set-up and watchd A Walk to Remember while curling/straightening hair. "I might kiss you. I might be bad at it. That's not possible." Sigh. Chick flicks rock my socks.

Once finished with all that, we discovered that we had several hours left together, and no official plans. . . and we were in Rolla. So we called up some friends, drove around town a bit, and wound up doing some rollerblading together! I managed to come up with enough skates for everyone, and Acorn Trail got to experience the wheels of 5 brave individuals.






Dancing on the Blades

The Whole Group

Awww. I love these kids.

Post-Semester Room Organization Statistics

Empty Folders - 12
Folders with Meaningful Papers - 2
File Folders with School Papers, labeled and organized by class - 5
Books to Resell before Saturday - 3
Notebooks of Blank Lined Paper, with all meaningful papers ripped out - 3
Stack of Miscellaneous, yet to be Organized Papers, as measured in inches - 2
Walmart Bags Full of Rejected Papers - 3
Number of Documents in "Becky's Documents" to be Sorted Through - Yeah.
Loads of Laundry I Could Do with all My Dirty Clothes Right Now - Not Telling
Back to Work!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Life - It Happens, You Know ( Part I)

What a peaceful morning! I woke up at 5 am, and was able to enjoy the sunrise as I did my daily devotions alone in the quiet living room. I was struck by the fact that, while life has been incredibly chaotic and busy lately, and I've been faced with many changes in recent months, God Himself hasn't changed a bit. Isn't it a blessing to realize that, while we might not always understand why things happen the way they do, we can always trust who our God is - and his constant, steadfast love is with us at every moment!

Now, I'm sitting in the living room, rocking out to Zeke's Hyper static Union CD - the littlest child is safely ensconced in the kitchen cupboard (I was not responsible for putting her in there - she gets in by herself and likes to just sit in the cupboard. Maybe she think it's the only place she can find peace and quiet, I don't know.), Isaac is getting some breakfast, Zeke and Dad are traveling to Zeke's baseball game, and Mum and Abby are representing our family at church this morning. Our weekend has been incredibly busy, with many late nights and early mornings, so I am being a heathen and staying home from church with the kiddos. Elizabeth just came out from her hiding place and is now eating peanuts, dripping from the nose, and crying. At the same time. Wow.

I realize that the last time I gave a decent, essay long monologue about the activities of my life was back in January. . . that's an entire semester ago! Meaning that this will probably be the longest blog post in the world. Deep breath . . .
PART I - The Day-to-Day Occurrences, Characterized by Many "Lasts"

(skip to part two for slightly more interesting reading, or to someone else's blog for actually more interesting reading)

Obviously, basketball season ended a while back. It was great fun this year, and our end-of-the-year night was really exciting - I know that my Mum and Dad love seeing sports drawing together so many home school families. (Isaac just looked over my shoulder and told me, "I think you should say my Mum and Dad." The boy genius is taking over my blog . . . and editing my writing.) It was slightly sad to have my last season "with" RHAA - and realize that next year, I might not even get to make any volleyball or basketball games! Hard to imagine. . .

Since basketball ended however, our family has begun Soccer and Baseball. Abby and Zeke were in Soccer, on the same team, and although they didn't have a exceptional season, I think they both enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I did not make it to any of their games this Spring - I think that going to EVERY game last fall balances that out though. ;) Last week was the final week of soccer games, so we can cross that off the family list of activities. Andy and Zeke are both playing baseball, Andy with his school in Poplar Bluff. Mum and Dad have been able to make it to a substantial number of Andy's games, although that requires a rather large amount of traveling. They love Andy, and baseball though, so they make it work (don't ask why - it's hard to understand). Zeke is just starting baseball season, so we have a summer of those to go to . . . Joy!

Mondays have consistently consisted (ooooh - that was totally unintentional!) of driving Abby, Zeke, Sarah, and Rachel to band. This is probably the highlight of my week. There is something terribly fun about being in the car for two hours with those kids. :) I also enjoy spending a few hours in Sullivan, all by myself. I do meal planning on Sunday nights, make a grocery list on Monday mornings, then hit Aldi and Walmart during band and buy food for the week. It's worked really well, and I've enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of family food preparation. Last week was our final week of band (another "last") - I'm going to miss my time with those kids so much. Nathan - good luck topping my treats if you have to drive next year. :p Mrs. Hickle and Mum - thanks for trusting me with your kids every week.

Tuesdays this semester I was still babysitting and having class. Babysitting and class both ended last week - last time babysitting with Camie (and after doing it for 3 years now, being done makes me pretty sad!), last class with Ms. Kolb, my favoritest teacher ever. Another Tuesday activity has been the Bright Lights' Group that my dear friend Alida and I begun this January. We gather together with nine young ladies (ages ranging from 8-13) twice a month and spend some time in Bible study - we also enjoy games, service activities, singing together, and snacks. :) It's been so great for both Alida and me - preparing the lessons each week has encouraged us in our walks with Christ, and having to come up with service projects for the girls has forced us to take action on some of the ideas we've had in the past. This week, we're visiting a nursing home to sing, and then next week will be our ending Tea Party. Another last. Sigh. Alida - thanks so much for starting this and keeping with it! I will forever cherish the memories we've made. Girls - I'll miss you all next year!

Wednesdays I would classify as another highlight of the week. This semester, I've gone out to the Quakkelaars' house nearly every Wednesday and helped Mrs. Q with whatever she needs help with - most often, that is doing school with her kids and Alex & Julia Pettijohn. I feel so at home there, and they really have become a second family to me. While Mrs. Q and the kids might think that I was coming out to help them, I was actually going out there every week because of the help they gave me! Regardless of how upsetting or frustrating my week had been, I never failed to leave their house uplifted, and encouraged. I refuse to think of this in light of being a "last," although reality causes me to realize that next fall, I won't get to see Gabe, Maggie, Eva, Malachi, Zeko and Mrs. Q every week. Mrs. Q - thank you so very much for allowing me to come invade your home once a week. I know for a fact that the noise level rises substantially with me in the house, and I appreciate that you put up with that. Kids - thanks for adopting me and putting up with my everything style cooking! Someday when you are ancient 17-year-olds, you can come help me do school with my kids. I can't wait. :)

Since the Quakkelaars have been gone for the past few weeks, I have continued doing school with the P kids several days a week. That's been fun - definitely a good experience, as far as learning teaching techniques, and what works to motivate kids. *cough* candy *cough* This Thursday was a "last" with that - and Alex and Julia are thrilled to be done with their school! Thanks kids, for being so cooperative, and laughing at my car with me. I'll never forget you guys, and will pray for you often.

Thursdays most often involve babysitting for MOPS (had my "last" for that a few weeks ago), Comp class, and CCF. CCF this semester was simply amazing. Although I unfortunately missed quite a few weeks, the ones I did make caused me to have many late nights. I would come home still thinking about what had been taught, and often feel forced to examine myself, and change things about my life. The spiritual encouragement has been invaluable during a rather dry semester. Not to mention that the music makes me want to cry. Or raise my hands. But I think that Mark or Ashley, whom I often stand next to, would have a heart attack if I did that. After all, I am Lutheran. ;)

Fridays - Fridays are always different! It's good - keeps me on my toes. Alida, Ashley, and I were able to spend several afternoons together, sharing prayer requests and holding each other accountable in our lives. More often than not, I would end up planning something for Fridays with friends - for an introverted person, I sure do know how to surround myself with people!

The musical "Pirates of Penzance" also has occupied much time this semester. I was props manager, and I've already posted several times about this - well, we had the Cast Party last night, and finished on a high note! Another last - most likely the last Fine Linen production I'll be an active part of, at least for a while. I'll miss you, theatre people! Saturdays were pretty well occupied by that - first with rehearsals, then with dress rehearsals and performances. It was fun.

*Side note: A cup of orange juice, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it, is a heavenly treat. Even at 9:42 in the morning. Hey, give me a break - I've been up for nearly 5 hours! It's like lunch. . .

Life - It Happens, You Know ( Part II)

PART II - The Unusual or Special Occurances of 2009 So Far

Renee turned 16 and had an awesome party at her house! What fun - thanks for having us all Renee, sorry for making a mess in your basement. We will have to play the banana game outside sometime. ;)

Mum and I visited Valparaiso University, one of my college choices, and her and Dad's alma mater. It was cold, there was lots of snow, and we had an awesome visit. Best of all - over 10 hours in the car together to talk!

Lisa Pettijohn passed away. Her celebration of life was incredibly moving. My favorite memory from it - watching Renee and Julia dance to Blessed Be Your Name. I think Renee was dancing through her tears, and you know - that's exactly how she's dealt with everything these past few months. She is the strongest young lady I know.

My Lincoln's Birthday Party! We played old-fashioned games, including bobbing for apples. In our basement. It was fun and somewhat chaotic. Mostly just fun.

Kiwanas Pancake Day - That was an early morning, and I was sticky. 'Nuff Said.

Had a photo shoot at Lion's Club with friends Mark and Rachel. It was cold, but we had fun. And they got some spectacular pictures too! I'll post some of my favorites in the near future - they are both great photographers.

Gave up facebook for Lent - 47 days ya'll. It was rough, but I felt that the time away only served to draw me closer to God. I also fasted once a week during Lent, which was a very eye-opening experience. Real hunger is something that most of us know absolutely nothing about. Incredible experience.

OAT Talent Show - wow. Not going to lie, I nearly died with pride to watch all those Fine Linen kids doing their Annie routine. WOW. The future of drama and live theatre in Rolla is very bright indeed. The Nisbett men were rather impressive with their quartet, and the Moshers and Browns on their string instruments quite blew me away too. Maybe I'm just easily impressed, but wow!

St. Pat's Week: CCF had a Night of Praise at Vineyard for part of their St. Pat's festivities. I love singing worship songs alongside other believers. There isn't a whole lot in life that compares to that experience. They also had a Pancake Breakfast, for which I came to the House and made Pancake batter. Great fun!

Apparently the Hickle family came over to dinner. I actually don't remember this happening, but it's on my calendar! ;)

Bonfire at our house - I just decided somewhat last minute to have people over, and thought that, since it was so last minute, I should invite a whole lot of people, because surely only some of them would make it. Well. We had a lot of people here. It was fun though - it really was!

During Spring Break, Zephan, Mark, Nathan, and I drove to Lane Springs one afternoon, and hiked up to "Blossom Rock" and laid in the sun for several hours. It was actually rather fun. . . and I got to drive.

The ZOO! See previous post.

CHESS Talent Show - our family sang "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" in four-part harmony. Dad sings bass, Abby tenor, Zeke and I take alto, and Mum carries the soprano. I was sick and nearly fainted. I hear we did a decent job though. . .

Grandma and Grandpa Hall visited, and Zeke was confirmed on Palm Sunday. I'm so proud of you Zeke! It seems like not long ago that you were just a little snot running around here - now you're a big snot, but still. . . I love you, kid.

Andy came home for a few days during Easter. We played Volleyball at the park one evening, although the sand was simply freezing!

"Pirates" successfully kidnapped, stole, and looted the remainder of our April. Both Grandparents came down to watch, which was incredibly fun! Grandma Hall brought me a settee for my room, and now I can sit in my settee in the sun. Thanks Grandma! I love it dearly.

Took several friends out for lunch/coffee this month, and in March. I love one-on-one talking with people. Friends are such blessings, and it's nice to be old enough that you can invite people out and not need your parents to be involved with ride arrangments and such. :)

Visited Truman State, my other college choice, with Mum. Only 6 hours of talking in the car this time, but it was a gorgeous day for a visit. Not to mention a gorgeous young man who gave us a tour of the residence halls. *cough* No, but the campus was very nice, and our time there was well spent. More on this in a moment.

Invaded the Quakkelaars' house while they were gone and did some cleaning the afternoon before they got home. Thanks Abby, Sarah, and Rachel for your help. It was fun - next time, I will do my cleaning dance for you, I promise. Thanks Mark for letting us in, and graciously allowing us to make dinner for you. :) You're so generous.

Striking of the Set. :(

Party at Q2s. The Hemingways have been visiting from Costa Rica, so we went over to hang out with all of them. I love the Hemingways, I really do. They are some of those people who you can go for years and years without seeing - and then, when you do finally get together, you can pick up exactly where you left off, and be just as comfortable with them as ever before. So glad you guys could come visit!!

Started off on an AMAZING note with a weekend spent kidnaping Ashley and doing girl stuff with her and Alida. See post on that. Thanks girls, it was SUCH fun!

English Country Line Dance - several "Pirates" people made it, and it was rather enjoyable.

Rolla Bible Church has moved into their new building (okay, so that was weeks ago) and had a dedication service on the 3rd. We went - it was great. I was pretty moved, almost to tears. And. . . on a lighter note, Zach Winzer thought of a funny, yet totally unsuccessful pick-up line. Which he kindly shared with me. I laughed a lot.

Learned Hebrew dancing out at the Q2s, taught by Rachel and Maggie Hemingways. Wow - I think I've found my life's calling. Not really, but it was terrific fun, and great exercise too!

Saw 3 or 4 soccer games in one week - all CCF teams. It was fun - I've never before watched a real soccer game, and my friend Jenna is SO fun to watch with! She made it worth the cold and rain and mud, etc. ;)

Knocked out my last two papers, a research paper on Florence Nightingale, and a literary analysis. I loved doing them, except for the incredible stress and lack of sleep they caused me. Other than that, yeah - they were great.

Band Night with Hickle and Nisbett families. Of course, we did more talking, fellowshipping, socializing, etc. than music-playing. Eh, maybe about 50/50. Naturally, I did no music playing. Ah well, it was great fun. The concepts of Friends and Family begin to morph into a single entity when you have friends like these, you know?

Hemingways came over to dinner - great fun, although I spent most of that time cleaning bathrooms.

The Second Hike! 21 miles, lots of friends, lots of fun. Yes, I am walking like an old lady. Yes, Isaac's time spent on my back had a lot to do with that. Oh! JOEL!!!!!!!!! I meant to spend several hours last night thanking you for your help with Isaac for the last stretch there. You were incredibly thoughtful and I never actually said thanks. So, if you don't read my blog. . . I guess I'll just have to actually thank you next time I see you. Or write a thank you note. But consider this a public acknowledgement of how kind and considerate Joel Nisbett was on Friday. Oh - and you can totally disregard what Isaac said when he was talking about killing me. Becuase I honestly have no idea where he got that. . . The Hike ended at our house, where several insane individuals played volleyball and ultimate frisbee, and others got caught in a downpour. Very fun, and I'm sad to classify this under what is, most probably, another "last." :(

Homeschool Graduation was yesterday - band kids, you played great!

*Side note - how can Isaac hum Star Wars music so flawlessly? Wow.

On our way from the Applegates' house to the Cast Party last night, we met three low-water bridges that we did not try to cross. And Dad got a second flat tire. Twice in one week. On the same stretch of road. Incredible.

Cast Party! Great fun, great food, cold feet, and a FANTASTIC, memorable ride home! Mr. Hickle - you are seriously my hero for driving us around the round-about. Sarah - you need to stop giggling. ;)

Life - It Happens, You Know ( Part III)

Part III - Looking Ahead: Summer and Beyond

I had the first major decision of my life a few weeks ago, as I decided where to attend college in the fall. If you were around me in the weeks leading up to this decision, you know how incredibly stressed I was about it. I had narrowed it down to both Valparaiso and Truman State, and I knew that either option would be a terrific fit for me. In some ways, that made the choice even harder! But after a few talks with Mum and Dad, some college visits, and several hours of soul-searching, I finally decided. So, if you haven't already heard, I'm going to Truman State University in Kirksville, MO this fall!

I've already been accepted into the BSN program, and will (presumably) graduate in four years as a Registered Nurse (RN). I excited, nervous . . .well, you know. It's that typical mixed feeling thing. Part of me can't wait to get out on my own, to be intellectually challenged, and to learn about how being an adult really works. And, part of me dreads ever leaving Rolla, and my family. This year, I have grown so much closer to all of them, and to many friends and families here in Rolla. I don't even want to think about how hard it's going to be to leave in August - in fact, I'm trying not to think about it! But God's going with me, and it'll all work out. ;)

This summer is going to be intense, packed full of getting together with friends while I still can! I'm also working out at Camp David of the Ozarks, 3-4 days a week. I'll be helping in the office and putting together photo scrapbooks for each of the campers. I've already started working several hours a week, and I'm looking forward to doing that.

*Side Note: Elizabeth definitely just put a medicine syringe in my mouth and tried to force feed me air.

My other primary activities this summer are detailed in my Packing List - I haven't gotten very far yet, but I have several friends who are eager to help. I'll definitely keep you updated on the progress, and hopefully knock most of those items out! Mad Cow Disease, here I come!

I guess I'm all out of words. Finally.

Yup, that's it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Of Purple Time Eating Monsters and Poetry Writing Sea Creatures

My May is being rapidly consumed by large, purple monsters who like to gnaw away 17-year-old ladies and their time. I do not have time to go into detail at the moment, but look for a l-o-n-g post from me sometime in the few days or so, delving into the intricacies of my thoughts and life these past several weeks. A quote and picture, to tide you over:

"Poetry is a diary kept by a sea creature who lives on land and wishes he could fly."
- Carl Sandburg