Sunday, February 28, 2016

Snow After All // Winter Retreat 2016

This weekend, my sister, Natalie, brother, Tim, and I went on our youth group's winter retreat. It was super fun! We got to go up on the mountain and play in the snow, which was really awesome because we don't have any snow at our house this year.
We took lots of pictures, but they are mostly selfies because all we had is our phone.  Also, I'm going to apologize in advance that these are mostly group pictures, but it's what we had, and I want to be able to record all of these details and memories on my blog to have years from now. :)
 My mom took this picture when she dropped us off at the youth center; we took vans from there to the camp.
On the way to the camp, we stopped at the mall to get dinner. This is our table. Most of the time, we hung out with friends from school.

Photo credit for this one goes to our youth pastor. :)
Evan, Me, and Rebecca.
On the first night, we settled into our cabins. The high school girl's cabin was pretty cool. There were winding stairs outside that led to two rooms, the West and East wings; each one was filled with bunk beds. I was in the East room. Downstairs, there was another room with couches and a TV (which we didn't use), two bathrooms, and a kitchen.
After we put our stuff away, everyone met in the chapel for our first session. It was a really good study. There were four sessions, one on the first night, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday before we left. During each session, there was worship, which was very well done and led by some of the youth. After this, our youth pastor would speak for a couple of minutes, and then everyone would go off somewhere by themselves and work on the study for about twenty five minutes. We read through 1st John, marking key words and finding the theme for each chapter. After this time was up, we broke up into small groups. I was in the sophomore group. (Our leaders were awesome!)
After the first session, everyone was again broken  up into groups according to their grade. Except for the seniors, the sophomores were the smallest group, with only four people. Each group was given a few props, and had to make up a skit and perform it for everyone else. Ours was definitely the shortest!
Once the skit was done, we returned to our cabin and prepared for bed. Elizabeth, Becca, Natalie and I were the first into our dormitory, so we lay awake for a while talking and giggling. I think we were getting a bit loopy at this point. XD
The next day, Saturday, we got up and ready for the day, ate breakfast--it was pretty yummy--and had another session. Then it was time to get in our snow clothes and off to the sledding hill!
The pictures don't do it justice. It was gorgeous up there!
It was actually surprisingly hot up there; except for when a sledding adventure went awry, or someone hit us with a snowball, we were really warm.
Becca got hot, and started covering herself with snow--and things just sort of "snowballed' from there. She ended up the ice queen, complete with a throne.
Natalie isn't in this picture because she took it. :)

The sledding part of things went pretty well, although I only used an actual sled about four times. A lot of the time, we just did "body sledding", which was almost safer in my opinion.
Right before we left, one of the leaders suggested that the girls in our "group" sled down on a tube one last time, followed by the guys.
So us four girls hopped onto a sled, trusting our leader to guide us well.
At the bottom of the hill was a ginormous, very solid snowman.
And we slid directly into it.
And the snowman didn't even flinch.
Of course the guys had a perfectly safe, fun trip down.
Alekai says he got footage of us hitting the snowman and is going to edit it to play in slow motion.
 After we got back, we took a "survivors of the snow" picture. Really, though, we were all dying to get back to our cabins and change into dry clothes. :)

Left to right: Evan, Alekai, Eric, Becca, Elizabeth, Me, and Natalie

After we had changed and recovered, we wandered out, and ended up at the park area where a game of freeze tag ensued. I didn't play for very long, though; I was pretty tired at this point.
After the free time was over, we had dinner, followed by another session. Then we watched "The Good Dinosaur" and played Mafia.  After one round, us girls headed back to go to bed. This time, we fell asleep before lights were even turned out.
On Sunday morning, we had breakfast (I know, what a shock!), and another session. Then we packed to head out, and cleaned up our cabins and the chapel.
Natalie and me in the cabin on our last morning
Then we got into the vans to head back to the church, where our parents would pick us up. We sang much of the way, as we had done on the way to the sledding hill.
This picture was supposed to just be the girls, but we got some photo bombers.
Becca and me. :)

Most of the people we hung out with.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend and I'm so glad I went. But it is very good to be home again! :)
Again, I apologize for the long post, but I know that even if no one else does, I will appreciate it later on.
Thank you for reading!
What did you do this weekend? Have you gone on a youth retreat recently?
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February, Thus Far

Hello to all you amazing people!
Technically, I should not be sitting here writing a post right now, but I'm taking a break from homework anyway to do so.
As I type this post, my big sister, Brandi, is sleeping in the rocking chair with her almost four month old baby boy. SO sweet!
I'd say February has been a good month for me, thus far.....particularly good emotionally. November, December, and January all seemed to swing from highs to lows, so it's been nice to have a month where I've felt pretty contented most of the time.
Now, let's see....what have we been up to?
Well, it seems the month has contained mostly just regular events; school, AWANA, and church. But they seemed to have a different feel for me this month. It feels like I'm beginning to find more joy in the little moments, and that's a wonderful feeling. Truly settling in and enjoying the moments chatting with friends in between classes, rather then stressing about how I did on the homework for chemistry. Worrying less about being too clingy with all my friends, and just sending them the messages I want to send, asking them the things I need to ask.
“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
Some highlights have been babysitting two nights in a row (SO much fun!), Skyping with my friend Elisabeth for nearly three regrets there. ;), singing in choir after class on Tuesdays, seeing The Force Awakens with some friends again (okay, so that was the end of January, but who cares). My sister and I also started a new class this semester, and I took up piano lessons again. (Which makes Thursday crazy, well, at least compared to what we're used to).
Which reminds me, if you are really tired, don't be afraid to go to bed at 8:00!  I did that a couple weeks ago, and it was so nice to just sip tea, while watching David Copperfield, and then go right to sleep.
Anyway, I realize I am rambling a bit, and I apologize, but there is really no organized way to arrange this post. :)
Anyway, I'd best be off to finish my homework for tomorrow and enjoy my nieces and nephews while they are here!
In closing, here are some fun pictures from recently.
On our way to watch the Superbowl at a friend's house, and...Darth Vader showed up in our car! *gasp*
Bet you didn't know that Darth Vader wears a Seahawks scarf...well, now you do. :)
Hanging out with three of my four nieces. Speaking of which...*drum roll* sister Brandi tells me she was hanging out with our youngest niece recently and her hair is coming in auburn!!! I'm so happy, I think I've waited forever for this moment. XD
Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week!