Monday, June 25, 2007

Sassy Kids

Yesterday at Kids' Club, all the kids were crazy. I don't know WHAT was going on. I went in to the preschool class, where one kid sat in the corner and refused to participate. This was the same kid that clawed at my arms and drew blood several weeks ago when I tried to get him to participate. I wasn't about to do that again, so I left him in the corner until I could get my friend David to deal with him.

Then, Miss Devetta was teaching the story and used a puppet named "Scamper" to tell part of the story. So, Miss Devetta pulled out the Scamper puppet and one of the little girls screamed out, "HEY! Miss DEVETTA! That's my toy! I left him here a long time ago." Well, the toy is not hers. But she was convinced that it was, so she absolutely couldn't listen to the story because every 2 minutes, she raised her hand to inform everyone that Scamper was hers and that she was going to take him home. "He's mine! I promise!"

THEN, one of the little boys decided he was finished listening to the Bible story, so he just laid down on the ground and started crying.

Then it was craft time. One of the girls decided she didn't want to do the craft, so she looked at me and said, "Miss Kelly, you do it for me. I don't want to do it. But give me the pink scissors."

Bossy, bossy, bossy.

Snack time was pretty uneventful. But then it came time to walk the kids home. I was walking Little Miss Sass home (same kid that was convinced the toy was hers). She said to me, "Miss Kelly. Give me a horsey ride." (same thing as a piggy back ride, I suppose.) I said, "Sweetie, I don't feel very good today. Can we do it another time." To which she responded, "Give me a horsey ride or I'm going to walk home by myself." Well, I informed her that she wasn't going to walk home by herself, nor was she going to get a horsey ride from me. At which point she said, "Then I'm not going anywhere. I'm just going to stand here." I told her that she was not going to stay put, nor was she going to walk by herself, OR get a horsey ride... and that she had better pick up her feet and start moving.

And that was that. We finally made it to her front door and I finally got to go home and sleep.

Sometimes these kids just wear me out!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Take the Plunge - Recap

Vacation Bible School is over. Okay, sort of. Tomorrow the kids will sing 2 of their songs in church, but after that, another year of VBS will be behind us. But hopefully the message of Living Water won't be forgotten.

We had an amazing time at VBS. 95 kids participated. We had excellent leaders and excellent teachers. Props to Nikki Branham for the amazing job she did with Bibleland Bay. And this year's crafts? Pam Crowell and Kathy Young provided the best VBS crafts of all time-- wind chimes, candles, bath salts, bird feed. Stuff people would actually use and enjoy.

Day 1. Plunge into Obedience. The miraculous catch of fish.

On Day 1, we introduced our missions project. We were, through a "loose change" drive, raising money for WorldVision's Clean Water Fund to provide clean water for Angolan school kids. There are a lot of kids in Angola who miss school because of the contaminated water at their schools. So... for $100 you can provide water treatment tablets for up to 500 kids for one year.

We introduced our goal. By the week's end, were going to try to raise $100. At the end of Day 1, we had raised $30. Not a bad start. Day 2-- the total was $171.00!! We had reached our goal. We set a new goal of $225, but by Day 3, the kids had brought in $302.00. So I stopped setting new goals and decided to see where we would end up. On Day 5, I go to announce that we had reached $500! That's $100 per DAY at Vacation Bible School-- with kids just bringing in the loose change they found around the house (and no doubt, a few contributions from Mom & Dad).

And the thing is, these kids were SO excited about helping kids in African schools have clean water. They weren't just giving to see who could bring in the most money (there was a girls vs. boys contest)-- they were talking about how they knew they were serving God and making a difference in kids' lives by bringing what money they had.

Day 2. Plunge into Worship. Woman at the Well.

Day 3. Plunge into Courage. Jesus Calms a Storm.

Day 4. Plunge into Faith. Jesus Walks on Water

Day 5. Plunge into Service. Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet.

A big thanks to Andrea Baker for being our guest speaker on our Plunge into Service day. She and her husband Andy and kids Eli and Luke serve God through Word Made Flesh Ministries in Bolivia (http://wordmadeflesh.org/countries/staff.php?country=Bolivia&staff=8)

We got to end the week by having a closing program and party. At the closing, the kids sang and did their memory verses. And at the party at Falling Springs we got to Take the Plunge by swimming! It was very fun.

I love VBS. It's exhausting, but it is very fun. It is my prayer that we would ALL (Me and the kids both!) continue to "Plunge" deeper into God' word and plunge deeper into service to Him and His people.

Thanks for your prayers. Pictures will post soon.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What's the deal?

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Over the past few weeks, I have recieved numerous "cat calls" from all sorts of people. I don't understand it. I am not writing this post so that I can brag about the attention I've recieved lady, but I write this mostly out of confusion. Gals, is being whistled at and yelled at flattering to you? Guys-- what success stories do you have in "getting the girl" from such tactics? Hopefully, I can predict the answer to both of these questions.

On the trip home to Texas we stopped at a gas station. It was 8:30 p.m., still light outside, and we were somewhere in Tennessee. I walked into the gas station (I was wearing jeans and an oversized t-shirt, and my hair was in a sloppy ponytail. I was not looking my best.) and this guy looked at me, noticeably looked me up and down, and said, "Hey Pretty Lady. Where are headed tonight?"

Gas Station #2. 1:00 a.m. somewhere in Arkansas. Getting out of the car, someone at another gas pump whistled at me. What? I went inside. My t-shirt was a Texas Tech t-shirt, so someone in line behind me struck up a coversation about my alma mater. They asked me in a weird sort of way if I lived "around here" and engaged in general flirting. I said no, and explained that my husband and I were on a trip home to see family. As soon as I dropped the "H" word, all conversation ceased.

Gas Station #3. 4:00 a.m. somewhere near Texarkana. Numerous whistles as I got out of the car.

On our return trip to KY, I got a couple of more whistles and comments... and that was in the daylight hours.

Moving on. Monday of this week, I went to the lumber store. I looked ridiculously out of place, but I was on a mission. I needed lumber for a VBS project Billy was helping me with, and in order to save time, I had to go to the lumber store by myself. Hey, I can handle these sorts of things. That day, I was dressed nicely and was wearing my fabulous new red shoes. As I drove up, everyone was staring at me. Granted, they were probably thinking, "What is this young girl doing at a lumber store?" But then I went inside. Where shirtless, toothless men, were staring me up and down. I also got whistled at. Well, I bought my lumber and went on my way.

Same day. I was walking down the street in Versailles, KY. Someone leaned out of their truck window, whistled at me, and yelled, "YEAH!!!"

So ok. That's that. The whistles and pick-up lines have been in gas stations, lumber yards, and downtown Versailles.

But last night Billy and I were in Office Depot. A young guy that worked there helped us find what we needed. As we left the store, Billy mentioned that the guy that helped us was a "good looking guy" and had I noticed. I honestly hadn't. Then Billy asked, "What is it that makes someone a 'dirty guy' or 'gross guy' that you think is hitting on you, and what is it about a guy that would make you think he's just a nice guy?" He was not meaning me, specifically. He just meant "you" in the general sense. He was trying to figure out if I sometimes percieved that someone is "hitting on me" when maybe he's just being nice.

Billy does blue-collar work for his job. Billy is also extremely polite. He's trying to figure out if it's his job/occupation that would make people think he's a slimy guy, or if it's the manner in which words are crafted and attitudes are conveyed that would make someone come to that conclusion-- regardless of the job.

Thoughts?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Take the Plunge: Make a Splash with Jesus!

Well, it's that time of year again. Vacation Bible School! VBS starts one week from today. It's the week where I practically live at the church, work an 80-hour work week, and come home exhausted. I've put in hours and hours of work doing VBS Worker Trainings and VBS Work Nights. We've painted murals, made clouds, put together posters, and made name tags. I have an AWESOME staff that I get to work with who has done a MAJOR amount of work already.

And in the end, it will have all been worth the work. For you see, next week, young lives will be transformed. Children will make first-time commitments to Christ, and others will grow into deeper relationship with him. I am honored to be a part of that.

We have a great theme this year-- "Take the Plunge!" It's a waterpark theme. All of our Bible stories have to do with water-- The Miraculous Catch of Fish, The Woman at the Well, Jesus Calms the Storm, and Jesus Washing the Disciples Feet.

Living Water. LIVING water...

"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." (John 4:11-15)

This water wasn't just alive when Jesus was spoke of it that day. 2000 years later, this water is still very much alive. And it's still available to you and me. Soak in it for a while. Let it be poured over you. It's healing. It's cleansing. It's refreshing.

Well... sometime prior to Monday morning we will have transformed the church into a waterpark. A waterpark of Living Water.

Be blessed today... and pray for us next week during VBS!!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Goodbye to You!

(I really just like that "Scandal" song of the same name, so that's why I titled this post as such). I'm really not saying goodbye to anyone... except Texas.

Tomorrow we begin the LONG journey home. It's funny really to even say that. Kentucky is our home now and a year and a half ago I never thought it would feel that way. Then, when I spoke of home, I was referring to Texas. Well, wherever home is, tomorrow we will spend 13+ hours in the car on an incredibly exhausting journey.

We've had a good time. Just as we suspected, our visit was too short. We only got to see family--no friends, and not even ALL the family at that. But we are grateful for the time we've had. Billy's birthday is Wednesday so we had a couple of early celebrations here for him-- 2 birthday cakes, 1 iPod, cash, and the many well-wishes are all greatly appreciated.

Mom and Grandma were gracious enough to send us home with gas money. I'm quite certain we didn't have to pay for even one meal.

On the downside-- 2 of my family members told me I looked pregnant. THANKS! That's just what every girl, self-conscious of the weight she has gained, needs to hear. Ah well.

Goodbye Texas. Until next time...

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Lone Star State

I've been singing all day the song, "Deep in the Heart of Texas". I'm not sure why I love Texas so much, but I do. While Kentucky is our home now and really does feel like home, there's just something about Texas that gets me excited and puts a smile on my face.

After a VERY long drive (13 hours!) we finally made it to Garland around 6:15 this morning. The drive itself was pretty uneventful, with the exception of the drive through Tennessee. There was construction on every inch of the highway, which made for a lot of fun (yeah, right) as I am sure you can imagine. Also, we saw a burning car on the side of the road. Really-- flames ablaze, smoke everywhere, and one lone fireman trying to put the fire out. I hope he was successful. It was the front end of the car that was on fire-- obviously the fireman was trying to put it out before it made it's way to the gas tank and blew the whole thing up.

Arkansas is BORING. The interstate is pitch black with very few stops along the way, and has VERY few mileage signs. So we drove for about an hour and a half wondering just how far we were from Little Rock, because there were no signs to tell us.

We got to Billy's parents house and went straight to sleep. I only got to take an hour nap before waking up to meet my old boss for breakfast. I'm really glad I got to see her. She's a good friend, and I haven't actually seen her since we moved to Kentucky!

Today, I am dreaming of Mexican food. And the family fun has already begun. I love our families. LOVE THEM. And I can't wait to spend the weekend seeing all kinds of people in my family-- parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. Life is good.

So those are some of the things I love about Texas. Here are some of the things I'm not quite ready for:

Making the rounds to see the family. It can get stressful and exhausting trying to see everyone in just 5 short days. In fact, it's almost impossible to do. Plus, the amount time we get to spend with them is never enough for me! Then there's the fact that we're in town, and because we have such large families to see, there's no time to see our friends-- our friends who are so very important to us. If only we could come here more than twice a year. But one day we won't live in Kentucky, and we'll be back in Texas. That will make things a lot easier. Of course then we'll be longing for our Kentucky friends! :)

Consumerism. Especially in Dallas. I struggle with this. I've become quite accustomed to our very simple lifestyle and very meager budget in Kentucky. I like it. I'm happier and more content. Yet for some reason, when I come to Dallas, I get tricked into longing for the life we used to have here. It wasn't an extravagant lifestyle really, but we could buy stuff. I could buy new clothes pretty much when I wanted them. We could go out to eat for every meal if we wanted to. We could even go out to eat at nice places. We had a way bigger apartment, that was always stocked with name-brand foods in the pantry and fresh flowers on the kitchen table.

The last time we were here, I was in a store and had to leave because I almost had an anxiety attack. I thought I needed STUFF.

As I drove through the big city this morning, some of those same thoughts came back to me, though not nearly as much as they had been before.

Stuff isn't bad. But it is bad when it becomes your idol. I think that somehow in our former Texas life I had let it become that to me, to an extent.

I'm looking forward to the next few days-- to sharing meals and laughter with our family. To cheering for my sister as she walks across the stage on Saturday and graduates from high school. To meeting my nephew Logan for the first time, and seeing just how much my niece Kayla has grown. To driving along the Texas highway, surrounded by cars with Texas license plates. To stuffing my face with chips and salsa and pretending that the calories don't count because I'm in Texas.

I'll be in touch in a few days. In the meantime, sing this with me:

The stars at night, are big and bright (clap clap clap clap!)
Deep in the heart of TEXAS!
Reminds me of, the one I love (clap clap clap clap!)
Deep in the heart of TEXAS!