Saturday, November 29, 2008

Steph and Beth

This is my sister and her newborn baby girl Loren Elizabeth. Aren't they beautiful!? I got to meet this precious child this weekend for the first time. She weighed 8lb 11oz at birth, but she's so tiny, it's hard to believe she did. She might have lost a little from birth weight, but she's just perfect. She's four weeks old, has red hair and blue eyes, and has the cutest little toes and a button of a nose! I know this picture doesn't really do much to show her off, but I'll get some up soon; silly me forgot the camera in GA. I'm just so proud of my little sister I couldn't wait to show them both off!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A promise

Last Saturday the Lord blessed us to see a most magnificent creation:
I know that a rainbow is not a "miracle" but because they are so rare to see, when I do see one, I smile. Not just because it's beautiful, but because I know why it's there. God made a promise to Noah and that reminder has lasted thousands of years! (Gen 9:11-17) Can you imagine what Noah thought about seeing a rainbow? He'd just gotten used to the idea of rain and then THIS--a promise by our Creator that what he'd just suffered would never happen again. Ah....what relief that must have been every time he saw one.
The rainbow is a promise that the Earth would not be destroyed by water again, but it reminds me of another promise God has made to us. He gave us Jesus and promised us that through the blood of Christ we are saved from our sins. Through baptism we come into contact with that blood and are given remission of sins. And as long as we are obedient to His Word and live faithful lives, we will not be destroyed when Christ comes again!
Heb 10:1-25; Mark 16:15-16; Rev 2:10
What a promise! What a God! What a blessing!

****Be sure to see the next post****


Since Ty and Leslie moved out here last July (2007), these two have become as close as brother and sister. This was at a church function a few weeks ago (just getting the time to post it). Aren't they adorable!

We're going to miss them when they move back to Alabama!

Friday, November 7, 2008

If I did scrapbooking like I want to...

...I'd have at least a whole book devoted to just this one event. I don't know how folks can downsize a trip they take to 5-10 photographs and believe they have fully archived all of the memories... (I do have a horrible memory though, so that could be why I have to take all these pics) To all of you out there that scrapbook, forgive me, but I MUST have tons of pictures for each moment, it will be obvious in this post.

A few weeks back, the Monroe church of Christ sponsored a youth retreat to Camp Inagehi (just outside of ATL). It was hosted by the Monroe young adults, but it was planned for the youth. I am certain that the young adults got as much, if not more, out of this retreat as the youth did.

There were a total of 8 youth, and 13 adults...hmmm. Granted, it did start out with a much grander scale in mind...being planned with hopes that several area congregations would bring their groups, however, the invitations came back with no reply. Maybe they can all come next year. Ty and Korey worked hard in the planning and I know they are glad it went well.

I don't know if I mentioned it in my post about going to camp in June, but I LOVE CAMP. I love everything about camp (ok, except the shower house) I love the dirt, I love the cabins, I love the adventure, I love the memories made, I love the bible study, the sermons, and the especially the singing. There's nothing better than waking up in the morning and having to do relatively nothing except learning about and worshiping God and helping young souls find their path (or maintain their path) to God. How special is that! There is no other place on this earth that is as carefree as I would expect Heaven to be. The next closest place would be one's local church; three days a week is just not enough...

So you get the idea that I am fond of camp...

Brian and I originally thought that we would have a car full of youth, but it turned out that everyone had a ride except one...Miss Caidy Miller! Oh yes...she's fantastic! I was so glad she came with us. She made the ride to camp more fun! [Funny side note: Back in the summer, a friend of a girl that goes to church with us came to Six Flags with our group. Somehow, Brian got to going on about something or giving someone a hard time -- as usual -- and the girl called him "creepy." Of all the adjectives I can think of to describe my husband, that isn't even close to one I would use.] I mention that story because Caidy thought that was the FUNNIEST thing in the world and at every opportunity calls Brian creepy. It's actually pretty funny hearing them banter. Despite the fact that Caidy calls him creepy and did so on the car ride down, I never thought Brian was creepy until I saw he and Ty do this nearly first thing after we arrived:

Yeah...that's a little creepy Caidy. Maybe there is some truth in there somewhere. What you are seeing balls attached to strings attached to clothes pins for the purpose of playing a very interesting game later. But no where in the game did I see these contraptions attached to anyone else in THIS way... Good going babe, very attractive.

As for me, the first thing I did was head for the coffee pot. By 7:00 I started getting a little tired, and when we arrived a little after 8:00, I knew the only way I would make it to midnight was a lot of caffiene and a good dose of the giggles. And I got both.

Here is Leslie enjoying her cup of joe. We downed the pot of coffee quick! Well, between four of us anyway.

The first game that was planned was a balloon pop game. There were several balloons and within each balloon was part of the theme verse of the weekend. They kids were to pop the balloons and get the pieces and put it in order.

This was one of my first pics and it's a little out of focus because my shutter was too slow for how fast these kids were moving around the room trying to get the balloons to pop. Wes and Sarah did good to stand still for me (unknowingly) for a whole two seconds...

I kinda thought that the verses would be know, big print. Maybe I'm going BLIND in my old age, but for heaven's sake people...16 pt font is just too small for me on a game like this....hehe

Are you grasping how small these are? It must have been luck that none of these bits of confetti got lost in the shuffle of balloon popping!

I guess it worked for the yungins...they got it right. I guess it is just me getting old. They seemed to see it just fine. The verse was Romans 12:2. Take a look at it! The whole book is great, but first few verses of chapter 12 are pretty powerful! Our theme for the retreat was "Transformers." I thought that was pretty clever. Good one Ty!

A quick break in between games allowed for a very awesome photo in an impromptu photo shoot! Don't they look great for having been up for....well...who knows how long we were all up by this point. All I know is that I was delirious (hence why I wasn't in many pictures that night)

That Hannah...such a sweetie pie. Couldn't you just eat her up!?

The next game we did was called Amoeba. For those of you out there that can't bring your brains back to 9th grade science class [like I couldn't and had to be reminded], an amoeba (uh-me-buh), is a sort of organism that has no definite shape and moves around in a very random fashion. It has a flexible outer shell/membrane that is filled with goo (yeah, there's a scientific name for it somewhere) and has several nuclei so it contracts and expands in all kinds of formations trying to get from one place to another. Whoever thought up the name for this game must have been a smarty pants because that is exactly what happened in the game.

The kids were put into a group, tied together only on the outer edge with rope, and asked to move from one side of the room to another going through several obstacles. The object of the game was to move as a unit. It was a shaky start, but they made it back, all of them relatively unharmed. I don't have any pictures of this because I was busy keeping them from running over one another.

Then it was the adult's turn. It was our goal to beat the time the kids had, but to also be one unit...not killing one another like a stampede of hippos. Thanks to Emily manning my camera, we have more proof that Brian could actually be creepy, AND why an amoeba might have a good reason for having no form or direction....notice NO ONE is looking in the same direction. Maybe an real amoeba have too many nuclei like this one.

Here we are all be squished into a space about two feet wide...hmmm. Yeah, little me, see my head poking out in the back. Yep, I was the one getting squished into the pile of lunchroom tables. But, it was fun.

The last game was a relay. You can't really see it in this picture, but they have those clothes pins with the strings and balls on it attached to backs of their shirts. The goal was the squat down and sink the ball into the cup on the floor without knocking over the cup. Does it sound easy? IT WASN'T. The team that had all of their members complete the task first, won. Sarah and Jacob were the first to attempt this. I was the last...seeing it done doesn't make it any easier. LOL!

After the games, we had a short devo and then had about an hour to play and have fun before lights out. I'd forgotten how hilarious Emily was when she creaped up to us in her Tupac dew rag. What? Was she even BORN before Tupac died? She cracked me up all weekend.

The next day was way better than the first. Saturday was an awesome day. There was a bit of a nip on the air, but nothing a good pullover couldn't fix. We started the day with a great breakfast and had a lesson by Sean. He did a great job too! After that we had game time. Here, Jillian is trying her arm at "Who can throw a softball the farthest"-game.

I don't know that there was any real purpose to this game other than to give Butch something to do. He was the "outfielder" and such a good sport.

Brian did an OK job at the softball throw, but his form was a little to be desired. Uh, he looked like he was trying to throw the shot in a shot put competition. GOOOOOO Brian!

I was trying to stretch out my arm before I threw. I was making a silly face at Emily and it was captured. One might not put something this hideous about oneself on a blog for the world to see, but I figure...had it NOT been me, I'd be all about putting it up! So, to be I am. Nice right?

I think Caidy had the most fun playing with Sarge. They are both cute, but Caidy is beautiful...don't you think so? Since this pic, she's gotten her hair cut SOOO super cute. I'll have to get a new one up of her for everyone to see it.

Our fearless leader with a rake and a shovel. I think they were getting ready for the bonfire...making a big pit.

Here's Emily just before we had to go in for lunch, practicing her fast-pitch. She was a teeny bit rusty, but with a few more throws and an actual batter, she would have been whirling them in to the zone! Her hair flinging out made me laugh. Didn't notice it unti I caught it still-frame.

After lunch there was time devoted to singing. I took just this one picture. I love singing time.

Once singing time was done, the four-square madness was on. It was like Lay's potato chips, after one, you can't stop. Well once you started it was inevitable that you played again and again and again. Here's Jillian in her best four-square defense stance. She's a serious player too!

Nicholas was pretty intense too! It was unfortunate that there was no four-square ball. All they could find was a volley ball. Ah well...whatever works.

Caidy and I stayed away from the four-square madness, having a little fun with the camera.

Emily in her dew rag again. This time she decided to be ninja! AH HAHAHA! Well, maybe not a ninja. It guess it was more like Karate Kid.

Here's our newly weds! This was their first adventure after the honeymoon. They got married the weekend before camp. Aren't they adorable?

Ty and Korey plotted out a course for an activity for the kids called "Faith Walk." I'd not been involved in one of these before so it was awesome to see. Each of the kids were blind folded and were given an adult partner. The adult was to help their blind partner thru the path and the obstacles (which weren't easy). The course was planned in a way that you would go back thru the same obstacles coming back as well. Here are some pictures of the path and most of the kids:
This is before we started...Emily being a nut.

Caidy had the funniest blindfold...a wound up t-shirt because all the bandanas were taken! LOL! She looks pitiful!

Nicholas did well. I was to surprised to see im walking with his hands in his pockets. I would be feeling around trying to find something to touch...or at least trying to keep my balance. He did a pretty good job.

Here's my sweet blind boy, Wesley! He did so good, and was so cute doing it! He was the youngest of all the youth there and I was proud of him on this course! He's about to step onto a bridge here. We weren't allowed to physically touch the kids with the purpose that they find their own way. But just before this picture was shot, I had to save Wesley from taking a plunge into the creek. Two or three more steps and Sheila (his mom) would have had me for lunch!

All the kids made it out of the obstacle course unharmed, except for Emily. Apparently she blindly found a yellow jacket hive and one of them decided to attack. She was a big sport and kept on going thru the course. That's a beast for ya! She's a strong girl!
Later that day I found Sarge playing at the lake's edge. He wanted nothing more than to swim out to the middle of it! He would inch out and then come back. Then sniff around and find a bug to jump around to catch. After the bug left, or he caught it, he'd come back and play at the water again.

Wouldn't life be grand as a worries.

One of the last activities before dinner was skipping rocks. The boys had fun. Of course, it wasn't a planned activity, but it made me smile to see them doing it. I guess it goes to show you that video games and television aren't the only things that kids can do these days to have fun. At camp we learn about God, but we sure do have a way of learning about ourselves and each other. Life goes by way to fast.

Across the lake

Of all the things we did and shared at camp, I think I'll remember our breakout session the most. That was when all the girls got together in a group and the guys got together in a group and we discussed what it meant to "conform" to the world. We had so much discussion and laughs in the class! I couldn't help but be moved and encouraged each girl there. Even Kayleigh, who toughed out the class, even with a migraine. Poor lasted almost all day.
I'm thankful that the Lord allowed me to be involved that weekend! May there be many more opportunities to spend a weekend this way!

I'll end with one last creepy thought...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Some exercise

Brian took Helen out for a nice walk this evening. I love when they spend Daddy-time together. His main purpose was to burn some energy, perhaps some calories, but Helen insisted on walking the entire time. Three of her steps made for one of all he did was take a walk, but it was a walk with is daughter. I'd say time well spent! WAY TO GO DAD!

****Check out the next post****

A little crow, a big Mickey, too much Dynamite

During the summer, one day while Helen was swimming in her little pool outside, she and Grammy (my mom) heard the call of a crow. Helen stopped what she was doing and asked what the noise was. Grammy said, "It's a caw-caw bird." Since then, she's been fascinated by the sound and the sight of a crow.

So it was only fitting (an irony) that this year's halloween costume be a scarecrow. Moma and Tom made her a small crow to sit on her shoulder (and in the following pictures it's on her hat). She loved that little crow too! We put it on her shoulder after she shed her hat. Then the bird had to go altogether because it became so cold she had to wear a sweater.

We started at Beth and Duke's house again this year, but instead of spending the evening going door to door with tons of kids, they threw a party for all of the kids and the families. As is usual with the Allens, it was a blast of a party. We had pizza and several people brought games or activities for the kids to do to win prizes or whatever.

Helen found the pumpkins on the front porch very fascinating. She liked ALL the pumpkins she saw, in fact.
Here she is with Nathan. He came as a cowboy! Isn't he adorable. He had real boots and a real hat and all he needed was a holster, some guns, and some spurs to make him a full fledged cowboy! I guess for a three-year-old, what he had on was plenty! :)

(Never missing an opportunity to rock)

Stopped mid-sentence to point and say "LOOK MOMMY, PUMPKIN!" Then she got down and ran over to it!
It didn't take long for her to shed her hat. It was a little small for her anyway. She wanted it on her head, but it just didn't want to stay...especially at full throttle speed all night.

"Daddy hold it?"

Through all the kids, you will notice a very wonderfully crafted bean-bag toss game made by Ty. I don't know if he had any help, but it sure was fun for those kids. Every single child (and adult too) had a go at this thing. Helen saw it and you know what she said, "IT'S MICKEY!" Yeah, she thought it looked like a Mickey Mouse head. Brian told me later that she walked over to it and said "Hey Pal!" Just like Mickey says to Pluto! Isn't that the sweetest! She spent a good portion of her time here.
Such determination!
This was my "booth." I decided to bring the stuff one needs to paint miniature pumpkins. It was SO fun to see all the kids painting and doing. I'll have more about this little venture soon.
This is me....mixed with dynamite. Napolean Dynamite that is. LOL! I look like a ten-year-old. Duke and Beth's daughter, Savannah, came dressed as Napolean. By the end of the night, she had shed the wig and glasses. So I decided to try it out...
This is Savannah after the Napolean. One of the booths was for face painting so she got a nice camo handprint on her face. This pic doesn't show the colors very well, but it looked really neat.
Last but not least, my sweet little angel got to put it on too! HAHAHAH!
I don't think this could be much cuter!

Maybe next year I can get her a red dress and a shaggy dog and she could be little orphan Annie! :)