Sunday, September 25, 2011

Longest. Post. Ever.

The past four months have been the fastest four months of my life.  Well since March really.  I knew doing Hairspray would be crazy, but it was absolutely worth it.  Then came the fun part of my JOB!  The summer!  I can honestly say that I do have a fun job in the summer, but I basically live out a suitcase and I catch myself in a whirlwind because there's so much going on.  I love every minute of it!

I spent the first week involved in one of our BEST VBS weeks ever at FBCM!  Such a fun week talking about missions in the big apple!  Our week even concluded with a tap dance by our Associate Pastor which was HILARIOUS!  Super funny!  

As soon as VBS was over on a Friday, I loaded up with some of my favorite people in the world and went to Clinton, MS for Fuge!  That's always been one of my very favorite weeks of the summer, except for this year.  This sister girl decided I needed a little tan and spent the day at a friends pool before we left-- with minimal sunscreen... like maybe 10 SPF.  MISTAKE!  I promise you that I had third degree burns all week.  I was absolutely miserable!  Ha!  We broke away from camp one night in to have dinner on the Rez at Cock of the Walk.  We celebrated a birthday and laughed at their ridiculous birthday serenade.  Really.  Please celebrate a birthday there... you just have NO idea what you're missing out on!  

 I got home from camp on Saturday had enough time to shower and start a load of laundry and then headed to Tuscaloosa to celebrate Father's Day with my grandfather and all of our family.  

 It's VERY rare that we can all get together like this!!  Right after dinner, we all went our separate ways. I came home to pack for the next trip, my cousins went back to Birmingham and my other cousin left for the summer to study abroad in Austria.  
 Last year my grandparents gave us money to go toward a girls trip to Disneyworld for Christmas.  We're already planning our trip to Savannah in December!  Can't wait to spend another week with these girls!  They're so precious to me!

And speaking of another trip-  just a few days later I packed my bags and headed to Kentucky and Ohio on youth choir tour.  
 We had a great time sightseeing and singing, watching a Louisville Bats game and riding the worlds longest wooden rollercoaster at Kings Island in Ohio!  So Fun!!

 I was home for a few days to get ready for our mission trip!  We headed down to Trinidad for five days in July.  I can honestly say that it was the longest five days of my life, but it was a trip I'll never forget.  
 Our church has a partnership with the people of Trinidad.  We help them fund a Sunday School that meets in the home of Suresh, Reena, Amanda and Alecia.  Faithfully, week after week, Suresh loads his car down with children from around the neighborhood to bring them to Sunday School.  Suresh and his sister, Sandra (both pictured with the group above) opened their home to our group.  They cooked for us, they slept on their porches so that we could have their bedrooms, they took cold showers so we could have the warm water... they're probably the most selfless people you'll ever meet!  I will admit that I was nervous the whole time that we were there just because it was a new experience for me.  But I learned so much while I was gone.  

Pictured above: Olivia, Amanda, Shelby, Sandra, me and Veera

Below is the place where we gathered to eat our meals.  This is the kitchen, dining room and living room  of Suresh and Reena.  The guys all stayed here in little bitty bedrooms off to the left.  Reena cooks three meals a day.  Heavy meals.  Like, not just pop tarts.  So the guys had LOTS of eating to do.  The girls did our own thing for breakfast at Sandra's... mainly because we were too tired to wake up early every morning! 

 The first full day we were there, it rained.  All. Day. Long.  So... the guys had planned to do some construction and that's what they did- all day!  It was muddy.  They were soaked.  But the work still had to be done.  This is the TINY kitchen on the back of a neighbors home.  It was a sad sight.  While they worked, the girls were able to "supervise" and ask 20 questions just trying to make sure that the guys were doing the work right!  
 The rest of the time, we put on a VBS for the Sunday School Class.  Once on Saturday, and once on Sunday.  It was an eye-opening experience for us.  Lots of people.  Lots of smiles.  Lots of praisin' going on!!  We had water balloons to help cool the kids off--- but the people of Trinidad are used to the heat.  We were the ones who needed to be cooled off... and we were.  We had a water balloon fight every afternoon!

We also got to attend worship with Suresh and his family on Sunday morning.  It was a totally different experience than anything I've ever been a part of.  We each got to give our testimony and I was given the honor of getting to sing.  As soon as worship was over, the paparazzi took over!!  I've never had to smile for so many pictures in my life-  they truly treat the American Missionaries like they're celebrities!   

Didn't the boys do such a nice job?!  It looked SO good!!
 Our crew even got to experience a good ole game of Cricket!  I still don't understand the game... nor do the youth that played!    

I've never ever been so glad to see American soil.  This was when we were about to land in Houston... 

and this "welcome home" meal was on my mind... 

Strange combo, I know!!  But I don't think I've ever been happier to eat something in America.  I was so desperate for a taste of diet coke that I paid $13 for a CocaCola Light and a pack of peanut butter M&M's before we boarded the plane in Port of Spain. 

I also spent time with these little monkeys all summer.  From wading in the creeks of shark tooth creek, to going to the NOLA zoo and aquarium, to exploring the new Children's Museum in Jackson, we did a little bit of everything!!  

And then it was time for my very favorite weeks of the summer:  Mississippi's Distinguished Young Woman, formerly known as Jr. Miss.  This was my third year to be a driver and I loved it!  Sweet Anna, Erin, Emily, Mallory and I became sisters for a week.  So much so that we just named ourselves the A-Team... and we represented all the way to the very top!  Mallory from Starkville WON!  Yep, she's Mississippi's FIRST Distinguished Young Woman and she's going to represent us so well at National's next June!

Anna, Mallory, Me, Erin & Emily 

Jr. Miss is also a fun week where you get to see all of the girls that have been with you before.  I got to catch up with Nicole and Mallory on Thursday night of the program!  Nicole is a student at LSU and Mallory is a student at MSU!  So fun getting to see them and catch up for a few minutes!

Oh... and I closed out the last week of summer with these crazy kids at CentriKid camp!!  We had a GRAND time!!  
 Are you worn out yet?!  Because by this point, I sure was!!  And I had one thing on my mind... 
Yep, for a week in August all of the girls in my family packed up and headed down to Orange Beach!!  So. Much. Fun. 

The best part of the whole week besides the sand, sun and fun was that I got to have my last meal at Tacky Jacks... fried dill pickles for BREAKFAST!!  You can do whatever you want to on vacation, right?! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Catching up!

It's the middle of September!!  The MIDDLE of SEPTEMBER!!  Christmas is a little over three months away and I'm in total disbelief!!  Is it sad that I started listening to Christmas music this morning on my drive over to Jackson??  I think so!!  Anyway, I have a lot to blog about- from my trips this summer, to finishing my vacation at the beach, to getting back into the swing of things... my life has FINALLY slowed down a little bit and I'm loving it!  I have a few nights this week that I don't have much planned so I'm hoping to get some blogging done!!  Until then...