Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More Verses Coming Together

Yesterday, I was getting a little worried that I wouldn't find a great verse for me this week that I wanted to share at Bible Study with the team.  But have no fear!  Jesus always answers my prayers in one way or another.  So I had prayed for Him to lead me to some great scriptures.  Looking through the verses I had found in my reading the past couple days, I read one of them again and had the Yes! excited thought go through my head. 
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9
This goes right along with the song Strangely Dim by Francesca Battestelli.  This is the part of the song that I thought applies to my life, especially now as things are so busy: 
"I've had all these plans piled up sky high, a thousand dreams on hold, and I don't know why...
...But when I fix my eyes on all that You are, then every doubt I feel deep in my heart grows strangely dim
All my worries fade and fall to the ground
cuz when I seek Your face and don't look around, any place I'm in grows strangely dim"
I love to make plans of things I want to do, but no matter how hard I try, God's plans overrule mine.
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."  Psalm 139:16
Just knowing this gives me peace because I know as long as I do my best, God will "make all things work together for the good."  Romans 8:28.  Whenever I start to get nervous or stressed out, I just try to remember that I really have very little contril.  When I feel overwhelmed with obligations and work to do, and I don't get everything done that I feel I need to, and I don't get to do things that I want, there is no reason to be worried or disappointed, because there is a reason that it didn't work out.  Something I know I always have to focus on improving is following Hebrews 13:5 "Be content with what you have, becuase God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"
When I fail, but look to Christ, He is exalted.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness...For when I (my human self) am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
With God in my heart, I have all I need.  I don't need victory, good grades, people's attention, pretty clothes, money, or other silly things I worry about accomplishing.  By setting my sights completely on serving God, I am filled with joy that I can never bring myself.
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  Proverbs 37:4

Putting my Birthday Presents to Good Use

Coming back from my birthday weekend, I made great uses of some of my new birthday gifts!  I wore one of the outfits my mom got me, too.
My friends know me so well!  It's such a blessing to get to spend time with my favorite girls so often.  It's a good thing we love each other because we see each other multiple times a day on average 6 days a week.
Azalia got me the Starbucks coffee mug, which I am in love with.  It has a removable outer covering so I can decorate it any way I want.  So now I can have a coffee cup for any and every situation!  I have already come up with endless ideas that I can't wait to get going on!  This week, I put a verse on one side that says:  "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4.  Around the other sides and back I put a Build-a-Bear jack-o-lantern sticker along with some Peanuts Halloween stickers, a Snoopy and Charlie Thanksgiving picture, and a Life is Good Moose.
The Clif Bar is from one of my most thoughtful friends ever, Katlyn.  She pays so much attention to what people truly love.  She knows I love anything and everything pumpkin, so she got me a Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bar.  This thing was fantastic!  I also have inside my coffee mug another gift from Katlyn:  Pumpkin Spice coffee!  Katlyn also has chickens, so she brings me eggs.  I had one of those with my breakfast!
Katlyn was the one to introduce me to this cute little grocery store called The Fresh MarketIt is kind of a fancy store, but I just love the atmosphere.  They have a huge area of all kinds of foods that you can portion out for yourself.  These items include candy, chocolate, nuts, grains, trail mixes, and bookoos of coffee flavors, just to name a few.  We have one of these stores in Knoxville.
Here, above and below are a couple pictures of the seasonal greatness that Clif Bar has produced.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homemade Pizza

One of my favorite things to make for a post run meal is pizza!  I have never made my own crust, but I buy the whole wheat kind at the store.  I also use the Classico fire roasted tomato and garlic sauce, mixed with my own toppings like celery, bell peppers, goat cheese, hummus, turkey sausage, spinach, broccoli, carrots, onion, Italian seasoning, cilantro, black pepper, thyme, cumin, and any other veggies that may be in the fridge!  I pile my toppings so high, I make a mess eating it sometimes, but it's still so tasty!  (and much healthier and more fun than a fast food pizza!)

During the summer, I have even more ingredients to add that my neighbors bring me from their garden. When I get bags full of tomatoes, I use the blender and make my own sauce for pizza and pasta. See, blenders have so many uses!

Ice Cream and Birthday Cake!

What a blessing it is to have a this thing we call birthdays!  Saturday night, I had the cross country team (girls) over for a little 16th birthday celebration.  I wanted to make the food for my party instead of going out to eat somewhere, so we had a hectic day at the Jones house!  I went on an eight mile road run after I woke up, Dad following behind me on his bike.  When I came home, I made some pumpkin caramel pancakes with some coffee for breakfast/lunch since it was already almost 12:00 by the time I got to eat.  As soon as this was finished, Mom and I began the cooking!  I had chosen two recipes I found for my dessert.  What fun is a party without eating all the good stuff?  That's what I love them for!  (And the fun fellowship of course)  So these recepies are actually healthy, so I could eat a ton witout feeling too bad.  It's my birthday (party) , so I'll have my cake and eat it too! 
We made a Snickers ice cream cake, then topped it with peanut butter mousse. The cake is made of pudding mix, peanuts, chunky peanut butter, ice cream, cereal, and cool whip.  The mousse contains more cool whip, cream cheese, peanut butter, milk, and Splenda.
This super tasty treat is also super easy to make!
Dad made 5 double-batches of his chili, cooking all day.  Mom and I also whipped up a pan of the amazing cornbread.  All the food was a hit with the girls!  I am so thankful for all the hard work my parents put in for my friends and me!
Yes, I stuck a candle in an ice cream cake.  No, it did not melt while the girls sang.
I also loved it so much that I ate 6 pieces.  I would've just finished it off, but I made myself just walk away from the pan.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Strength in Weakness

Strength in Weakness

            There is no doubt God is trying to tell me something today.  I’d really struggled at times since the weekend, just being unhappy, confused, indecisive, disappointed in myself, unmotivated, unappreciative, judgmental, and angry, along with other emotions.  So Sunday night, I was determined that I was going to get in the Word and get my head straight (er), more focused where it should be.  I spent about 2 hours looking up verses and such and said a lot of prayers for my attitude.  I know, still, that I have so much to work on.

Today I also spent a lot of time looking up even more verses, and writing down more that go with how I want to live my life based on God’s Word.  However, it’s not only Bible verses that I have found, but encouragement in song, from others, and just from living.

The first song to play on my morning playlist this morning was Revival Song/Starts With Me by Tim Timmons.  The first thing I heard today was something I needed.  It goes right along with a verse that I have come to appreciate even more through the day.  I have studied it before, but today it took on a slightly different meaning. 

You're my revival song, you start where I belong
On my knees, on my knees
When I am weak You're strong you meet me here
When I'm on my knees, on my knees
Oh, it starts with me

I don’t need to be saying all these other people need to change, when I myself am full of things that need to be changed in my own heart.  The verse I found during school is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.  But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  By lunchtime, no coincidence, one of my friends had texted me this exact verse.  Holy cow.  Then, the first song I hear when I turn my phone on at home, is the same one. 

God is telling me I need to change my own heart first.  When I am at my lowest moments, fulling turning to Him, then He is exalted.

            Yes!  I fail all the time, but I don’t need to become so stressed about it!  I need to turn all my trust upon God!  Like the song and the verse say, when I am weak, then Christ is shown to be all the more strong.  What a blessing this is.  I learn so much and grow in my faith through the hard times in life.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bible Study Treats

Since we had two extra days this weekend, Chantal and Cherie used a little of their extra time to make us all pumpkin cupcakes to bring to Chick-fil-a for Bible Study breakfast Wednesday morning!  The XC with the arrow symbol is homemade, too!  The little jack-o-lanterns on the papers even match my Tervis perfectly!  I'm so excited to be getting into all the fall festivities, but no so much about the dropping temperatures!
Getting to start each Wednesday fellowshipping with my girls and the Lord is the best way to start a day that I can think of!

Black Bean Dip

I'm really behind on posting stuff, but it's a busy life!  My friend had a birthday on Monday, and she had a get-together at her house where we watched a movie and brought snacks.  My contribution was a black bean dip that we had with Wheat Thins, chips, and veggies!
This is the recipe I used:
1 and a half can black beans
1 small onion-diced
2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers (jalapenos in the jar, chop 6-8 pieces)
¼ C light sour cream
3 tablespoons salsa
1 C Colby or Monterey Jack cheese
*Rinse and drain black beans well.  Put into mixing bowl; mash well.  Add all other ingredients except ½ cup cheese and mix well.  Pour into shallow glass dish and sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
*Bake at 350º for 20-30 min until hot and bubbly.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Homemade Energy Clusters #CerealLoversWeek

In honor of National Cereal Lovers Week I decided to join in the fun and enter the contest!  Cereal is one of my favorite foods, so I got in on the events on the website about and using the instagram hashtag #CerealLoversWeek
By entering the contest on the website listed above, you can have a chance to win $1000!  All you have to do is get creative with your cereal and enter a picture and short description.
I made these as a sweet treat to have to give me energy through the day or recovery to hold me over until dinner after a workout.
The cluster is made of multiple flavors of Cheerios, Fiber One Honey Squares, Special K Vanilla Almond Cereal, Linwood's ground flax, seeds, and goji berry mix, pistacios, peanuts, Recees Pieces, cocoa powder, and oats.  The glaze to hold them together is honey, sugar free syrup, and almond butter.  These bars are a little sticky, so it is good to store them in the fridge!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Powerful Pumpkin Pancakes

I found this stuff at Bed, Bath & Beyond on Saturday, and had to get some.  It's packed with nutrients that I need and has a fantastic flavor.

Here is a spoonful of it.  I got the flax, sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, and goji berries blend.

I love to make pumpkin pancakes, but by adding this to the batter, I stepped it up a notch!  It made the flavor even better and gave them a great boost for post-workout recovery!
These pancakes have whole wheat mix, oatmeal, Linwood's ground superfood, pumpkin, pie spice, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  On top I spread pumpkin, pumpkin butter, cinnamon, honey, and a little sugar free syrup.

Tada!  Double stack!

and of course, nothing goes better with pancakes than some coffee.  Especially coffee with seasonal flavored creamer.

The Art of Self Serve Frozen Yogurt

My favorite thing on this earth is frozen yogurt.
Especially the self serve kind.  I consider it an art.
If there is a froyo shop around, you best bet I'm gonna ask if we can go!  It is expensive (especially if you overflow your cup like I do), so I only get it on special occasions.  My absolute favorite time to have it is on our way home from a race.  Since it is yogurt, these places have healthy choices!  They are filled with probiotics and live and active cultures.  The protein, little sugar, and toppings and fruit that can be added are great for recovery.  Saturday I went to Menchie's.  That's where the pictures below are from.  I also love Yogli Mogli, Sweet Frog, Cameez (which I have only seen in Frisco, Colorado; they also have self-serve oatmeal and coffee).  Our mall has also recently gotten a Red Mango.  I've never been to the Orange Leaf, but I have heard it is good as well.  Some TCBYs are also becoming self-serve.
Information on these health benefits and store locations can be found on these websites:
Sometimes there are toppings that go really well with certain flavors, so why put toppings only on top?  I layered mine up!
Layer one:  Pumpkin topped with cheesecake bites
Layer two:  Cake batter topped with Recees Pieces, carob chips, dark chocolate chips, and espresso beans
Layer three:  Peanut Butter topped with more Recees Pieces, caramel turtles, and Heath
Layer four:  Praline
Below is the finished product!  I swirled the Cake Batter and Pumpkin on top and added some more cheesecake and candy corn pieces for the finishing touches, because if it looks good, it will always taste better! 
I was reading an interview yesterday from Running Times on their high school athlete of the week, who is a repeat in this category.  Aaron Templeton from Hardin Valley just an hour or so down the road is one of the nation's top runners!  I agree with him on the last thing they quoted from him:  "It's not such a bad thing to have ice cream after a race."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not Quite "Love/Hate Relationship" with Storms

Everyone experiences different hardships in their life.  We may see some as much worse or much more menial than others, but they all affect us in our own way.  Praying for each girl on the cross country team last night, I had this neat analogy pop in my mind.

When I was a little girl, I hated storms; I feared tham like crazy.  I would cry and be so afraid.  When I woud have problems, pains, or things going wrong or not my way, I would worry, get angry, make worse decisions out of selfishness, and have a bad attitude all around. 
Now that I'm older, I don't always like when bad weather storms come, but they don't scare me; they are actually interesting and entertaining.  I find ways to enjoy myself and make the most of the change in atmosphere.  In the same way, as I have matured in my faith, I have come to appreciate the storms in my life, becuase I know that God sent them to "make all things work together for" my good (Romans 8:28).  I may not like the interruption that the difficulty may bring, but I have the power to go through it knowing the end result will be better than the beginning.  "The end of a matter is better than the beginning and patience better than pride."  Ecclesiates 7:8  I have learned to (at least give it my best shot to) be joyful in all circumstances, look for the good, make the most of every moment, and appreciate the low moments there to keep me humble, as well as the high moments.

If you are down in a rut, I encourage you to listen to this song by Casting Crowns called Praise You in this Storm.

Caramel Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Friday mornings are my smoothie and popcorn in first block days, so this time I decided to take a different path with my smoothie.
I love pumpkin if you didn't know already, so I made one just like a pie, but healthier!
This shake has:
pumpkin (of course)
pumpkin butter
vanilla yogurt
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice
Yoplait Greek Honey Caramel Frozen Yogurt
Honey Maid low fat honey graham crackers
cheesecake flavor pudding
vanilla protein powder
This shake is great for you all who are craving all the indulgences of the fall seasons!  You can have the sweet stuff and still feel good about it, too!  This is a yummy choice for those hard workers who need an extra boost, since it has a little healthy fat from the Yoplait, carbs from the pumpkin, yogurt, and whole grain in the graham crackers, dairy from the yogurts and pudding, and antioxidants from the spices.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wonderful Wednesdays

Guess what day it is!
I love Wednesdays.  I have the blessing of getting to start every Wednesday morning out with a group of some of my favorite girls.  My cross country team meets at Chick-fil-a for breakfast and Bible Study around 7:15.  Recently, we have all been bringing a verse to share each week.  It is so encouraging to hear things that speak to other Christians!  Someone may know or find a verse that I just love, but have never heard before that day.  We all have positive attitudes going into the school day.  Of course, getting some of their yummy coffee is always motivating for me in first block at school, too.  We also take prayer requests for anything and pray together before we leave.
I am so thankful my Dad is willing to take so much time each week to drive us and sit in CFA since our team is so young!  We have only 2 other drivers, and one of them can't go to school first period because of dual enrollment.  Lately, we have been having an over-full car!  Here we are last week!  9 of us total, including my Dad!
This Wednesday was also a great day at school!  I got so much done and felt confident in my midterm exams.
Cross coutry on Wednesdays is very predicatable.  Almost every week, we do what we call in park road run.  It is a 10k through the road of the park, campground, and boat ramp.  This is no easy run!  There is one especially killer hill!  I love it anyways.  Sometimes, however, we do group indian runs on the trails, which is what we did yesterday.  I was so hungry before practice, I was shaking.  It began to worry me, but Coach Farmer gave me a few Gatorade energy chews that he keeps in his truck.  That helped a little bit.  Sometimes we do themes on these runs for the next person going to the front, and this time we did rhyming words!  It was pretty funny; these themes always make the time pass faster.  The last mile was on our own, and I felt so strong through that hilly mile loop!  Every Wednesday we also do accelerations around a triangle of trees in a large, almost flat field next to the parking lot.  We go slow around the two short legs, and go hard like we are finishing a race around the long one.  We only did 4 accelerations today, but they felt terrific too!
Now I just had to wait on Dad to pick me up and get home to be in the biggest hurry of each week.  On Wednesdays that I have time (which I try to force time), I go to church after practice.  However, of course I have to eat first.  I like to have pizza on Wednesdays (I make my own). Monday night I had extra time, so I went ahead and made my sauce and mixed the cheese in with it, so tonight all I would have to do is warm up the sausage, put the mix on, and stick it in the oven.  Now I was off to the shower!  After cleaning up super quick, I stuffed my face with half of a pizza and fixed a bowl of cheesecake pudding with pumpkin, cinnamon, and graham crackers for dessert.
Now for the finale of my wonderful Wednesday:  church!  I just love going in and worshipping with my friends in Equip (our student ministry).  We also got our new shirts with the logo on them tonight.  I also love hearing Rob and our other leaders preach the Word.  Positive feelings always flow from my church family!
I look forward to every Wednesday!
 yummy dinner and dessert, church

Tis the Seasons for Decorations and Accessories

  I got all this stuff out and set out my fall decorations a couple weeks ago, but it just occured to me to post it!  I love these new hand sanitizers for the fall!  (I call them hanitizers for short.)  The eyes and mouth on the Jack O' Pumkin scent glow in the dark!  The fall line at B&BW always has my favorite scents of the entire year.  Smores and pumpkins are hard to beat.

Here are some of my many decorations.  Some things like the pumpkin, pumpkin-n-spice granola bar, pie spice, pumpkin butter, and pumpkin pie yogurt aren't decorations, but they go terrific with the season!  B&BW also has lotions, soaps, and candles so you can have an entire matching collection.  Of course, you can never forget Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang any time of year, so I have a sticker sheet of them in costume.  I used to have many Build-a-Bears, but now I only have one with an outfit for each season.  His cape and Halloween boxers have come out now, too!  They also glow in the dark.  Seeing the drawings, window clings, tasty treats, and pumpkins everywhere has got me looking forward to so many seasonal activities on the way!
It's not in this post, but I also have a Trick-or-Treat Tervis!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cocoa Coffee Almond Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

Here is another recepie I made with the Bolthouse Farms drink.  Some of my favorite treats are also in this shake!  I took it for breakfast to school earlier in the week.
These are the ingreedients I blended up:
cocoa powder
almond butter
vanilla protein powder
Bolthouse Farms mocha cappuccino
a little each of whole and unsweet vanilla almond milk
a banana
Stonyfield dark chocolate frozen yogurt
Stonyfield chocolate under vanilla yogurt

<<<The finished product on my desk in first block Physical Science!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dark Chocolate Coffee Pancakes

Here is the first thing I made with the Bolthouse Farms drinks. These delicious pancakes are made with Bolthouse Mocha Cappuccino, coffee, chopped dark chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and whole grain batter. Tastes great with honey and sugar free syrup and a cup of coffee!

Bolthouse Farms Drinks

Sunday at Ingles I found some tasty looking new drinks I wanted to try. They are so healthy and come in bookoos of flavors!  I chose these two to go in smoothies, shakes, and mixes. I'll post some ideas when I make them!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Why I am who I am

This song by MIKESCHAIR, All I Can Do, and this verse, 1 Corinthians 15:10, have become my favorites this cross country season.
I very often get asked questions like, "How do you run so much/so fast/like running!?"
I only can supply one answer.
There is no way I would be where I am and doing what I am doing if I didn't have the Lord.  My life has changed so much as I have grown closer to Him.  I see so many opportunities that He has blessed me with.  Lately I have just been overwhelmed with the grace I've been given.  I don't deserve this life at all.  I still sin and screw stuff up every day, yet He still loves and forgives me and gives me opportunities to serve.  I am filled with so much joy and motivation for life!
I am fast (in others' opinions), I love my life, I am joyful all because God has given it to me to be used to bring Him glory.
"By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked hard...yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."  1 Corinthians 15:10
All I can do is thank You for this life I never deserve.  Wanna thank You for the grace I know I don't have to earn.  You love me, You love me, Your mercy is proof.  All I can do is say thank You.

Friday, October 4, 2013

True J. O. Y.

This is one of my all time favorite acronyms I have learned since I have been in the youth at my church. Joy is my favorite word!  My friend who just graduated, Jenna, shared this with us. She loves it too because her mom's name is Joy!  Put Jesus first, then serve others, all before you think of yourself. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Camp Your Face Off 2013

This past weekend consisting of the Bristol Cross race and then my church's fall youth retreat, Camp Your Face Off, was one of the best weekends I've ever had!
Sorry that some of these pictures have instagram labels on them.  They are cropped out on my phone and laptop, but for some reason, they still appear on this blog and I cannot get them off!  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

This is Jay preaching the Word of God to all these students and leaders!
Jay preached on Galatians 1:1-9, 10-24 on Friday and Saturday morning.  My favorite verse from this section (although I wasn't there for this session) is verse 1:10. "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."  As I am such a competitive person, this really applies to my life.  I am so motivated right now to serve The Lord, but I am also so determined to perform well.  Many times not just well, but the best.  If I truly want to be a servant for Christ, I have to put my own desires behind me to fully do His work.  I must not worry about what others think of me.  God knows my heart.  He is eternal!  Life here on earth is not worth my worry.  One day I will have the ultimate reward in heaven. 
Saturday night was on Galatians 5:1, 16-25.  Something I learned in this section (although I had heard the Fruits of the Spirit many times before) was that it is singular-fruit of the Spirit.  They all go together.  This is also the main message I refferred to in my previous blog about a sleepless morning and blessings.  I love hearing this part:  "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit was is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." (verses 16-17)  "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desire.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (verse 24).  I am a daughter of Christ!  His Holy Spirit is within me!  By living by His Word and trusting in Him, I have power to stand up agaist sinful desires.  My conscience keeps me accountable; I can feel when there is something I should do.  God is always walking with me; all I have to do is completely trust Him.  He gives us freedom from our sins!

Brooks Gray, the contemporary worship leader at FBC Morristown, leading worship in the building at Harrell Park.

One of our just graduated guys DJ Gibson has amazing photography skills!  Instagram @darnellgibson
Sunday morning's session was where all the leaders shared what they had been learning.
Erin is our intern in the youth ministry at church, along with attending college.  She always has challenging and encouraging things to share!  I like how she said that our sanctification is an ongoing thing; we grow in our faith continually.  She also read the verse Ecclesiastes 3:11.  "He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."  This passage is headed A Time for Everything.  God works in us daily to teach us more from His Word.  Whenever we are convicted, we have to use it to draw us to repentence, not condemnation.  We are given freedom!  But we must be sure to not fall back into slavery, but to use this freedom to walk by the Spirit.

The first challenge of Sunday afternoon's amazing race:  eat a jar of baby food fed to a member of the team by 2 other teammates, while wearing panty host over his or her head.  But wait, there's more!  This person also has to wear a diaper the entire race to keep up with all the "trash" from the events!

A gorgeous moment captured by another member of our youth group.

Meet Rob.  He invents all this crazy stuff.  A kid at heart, here he is joining in on "thrickball," leading his team to victory Saturday afternoon.  We couldn't ask for a better youth pastor.

Friday night's bonfire

Some plain and chocolate chip pancakes flippin' on the giant skillet!  Nothing better than fresh-prepared, over the fire pancakes to wake up to after the first night of camping!  All thanks to our dedicated adults.

Poor Lindsey, Rob's wife, is such a trooper hauling their little girls to all these events.

Can't be outside with the guys of our youth group without a little football.
What Tyler shared on was a great way to think about Galatians 1:10.  It says that if "I was still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."  That made me think, well, that means when I am trying to please people, it makes me unable to serve Christ.  Christ or people.  I must choose.

My tentmates!  Tori is our college leader, then there was Julia, Roxanna, and me.   This was taken right after we woke up!
Tori's soon to be husband was also a leader.  Logan used an analagy with their relationship.  At first they were all focused on "well you can do this and you can't do that," and it just frustrated them.  However, they realized as the love between them grew, they weren't doing things to please each other because it was a rule, but because they love each other and want to make each other happy.  This is also how our relationship with God should be.  We should please Him becuase we love Him, not because we have to.  "It's not about the rules, it's about the relationship."

Girls gotta have their Enos.  I've never been in one, but from this angle, it looks quite relaxing.

The most beautiful place to have breakfast and quiet time.  Overlooking the lake.
After I got myself together from being so stressed in the tent this early morning, we got ready for breadfast.  Sitting here I found even more great verses and how they could apply to my life.  In Equip we had been doing book studies a chapter a week, and the next week was Hebrews 4.  It is titled A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God.  How convienient considering this was a Sunday, the "traditional" Sabbath day.  Yes, I was here at Camp Your Face Off, totally different from any day.  (I am a big routine person, and this was not routine!)  This was an opportunity God gave me to rest and grow.  Once I got home, I found that God also gave me plenty of time to do the things I needed to do at home, too.

My Sunday School teacher Patty has to bring her little puppies with her to enjoy the fun, too!

All the fun just makes us want to dance.
Left: Tessa  Middle:  me   Right:  Kristen
Tessa is such a creative girl!  She works at a little art place and takes amazing pictures.  She even designed this year's fall retreat logo!  Visit her blog!

Another Amazing Race Challenge:  "Capture that jump"
This was my team!

I was also the one to wear the pumpkin helmet through the entire race.  This is comical though, because I absolutely love pumpkins!  This was carved using only ink pens.

Our final meal was burgers grilled on those big skillets that were shown earlier.  They were amazing!  The adults got super crafty and even homemade French fries too!
I don't have a photo, but Saturday night they made fajitas or taco salad with chicken or steak and sautéed veggies!  I am so thankful that we have such hardworking leaders and adults to help us have such great weekends like this!

This was my first of 3 chunky brownie and ice cream sundaes.  Yes, I splurged.
A final thing that I heard this weekend that I want to share was from a leader in our youth group I don't know too well, but she is so sweet!  This goes along with the singular Fruit of the Spirit.  When she said this, I totally thought that I do this exact thing.  We can't pick apart the Fruit.  Often times, we desire the individual qualities of the Fruit according to our own success.  My motivation for the Fruit should be my longing to please God, not so that I can be successful.  I should be motivated because I am greatful and thankful for the love He has for me.
Why am I/are you pursuing Jesus?