Thursday, March 27, 2014

Motown Madness

 Motown Madness is an area-wide discipleship weekend that my chuch, First Baptist, and another large church in town, Manley Baptist, take turns hosting each year.  This year, Manley was the host church, where we had our worship services in their brand new sanctuary!
Friday night, February 28th, we started out the weekend with an awesome service before heading to our host homes.  (Unless there is too few people in an age group and they have to combine) each gender of each grade, 7th through 12th, is assigned a host home where they sleep, eat some meals and snacks, and have small group.  My group, the sophomore girls, stayed at Cassie's house.  We have a large Sunday school group, and most of us got to come along with some that we invited from other churches.
Here's some pictures and things we learned and shared over the weekend.  You can find more from anything that anyone posted at Twitter #Motown2014 and Instagram #Motown2014.
Jenna inspired me to draw this picture.  Being rooted in faith, you grow, and when you grow, people can see it and you can give off seeds to make others grow, too!
"So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
Colossians 2:6
Along with being firmly planted in the faith, I gotta stay firm!  I know through lots of experience lately that there is nothing in this world that I can put my trust and hope in.  The only One who can always satisfy my soul is Christ.  I often get distracted then disappointed by things that I want to do, but I know that my efforts are pointless if they are not backed by Christ.
"The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God is my Rock in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."  Psalm 18:2
More roots...
"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how long and high and wide and deep is the love of Christ."  Ephesians 3:17-18
This is a collage posted by the girl in the bottom picture wearing the purpleish scarf.  Her name is Katie, and she was one of our college leaders with our group for the weekend.
Up top left is Bella, who like me, loves to sleep.  And she loves cats.  How convenient we got a picture of Bella sleeping next to a cat. 
On Saturday, everyone gets free time between lunch and dinner, and since the weather was gorgeous, Panther Creek Park was a the hotspot!  In the top right, Bella, Katy, and Maddie set up their Enos and "hung out" for the afternoon.The bottom picture was Saturday night after small group.  From left to right is me, Abby, Katie, Patty (our amazing Sunday School teacher), Sara, and Olivia.
Here again is Olivia, who used to be one of my absolute best friends when we were in elementary school.  We had the craziest sleepovers and laughing fits, and of course I had to have a crush on her brother at one point.  Seems like everyone had that friend when they were young.  It has been great getting to see her at church again lately; we were all thrilled she got to come.
Abby has also been a great friend of mine for a long time!  We went to preschool together, but then went a long time without getting to see each other.  Now, we are both at the same church and are growing together all the time.  We even have the same birthday!
Katie is a new friend, but we're all glad she joined us!  She has a home church and church she sings at on Sundays, but she gets to come to FBC on Wednesdays.  She is one of the many college leaders we are blessed to have with us!  It is so important to have older, yet still young, people in our lives to share with us and encourage us in what they have learned.  Something that she said that I really liked was, "It's just as much of a sin to think that you aren't good enough," because God has made each of us to be used for His purposes.
This was while we were waiting around before worship on Friday night.  In the back is one of my best friends since preschool, Parker, and his friend who moved to the other side of town for high school, Ed.  They're such fun and goofy guys, but they're also sweet, too.
This was also at the park during free time.  Cassie and I tried to get a picture swinging, but those swings were hard to get high on!
Everyone always love the food at Motown.  It's a lot of people's favorite part!  Around here when kids her Motown Madness, they think of the awesome worship services and food.  We had all kinds of yummy stuff Saturday morning like muffins, coffee of course, fruit, sausage balls, ham rolls, and any snacks and sweets people brought to share.
I took a group of girls on a hike up to the highest point at the park, on a trail called "Point Lookout" where you can look over the lake from wayyyyy high up, and it is gorgeous.  We had a ton of fun!  One of the things we talked about in worship was being rooted in our faith in the Lord, so we had to get a picture with some major roots!
We also went to Sonic during free time, and Patty thought it was hilarious that the cat loved to lick milkshake off of a spoon.
I don't have any pictures to go with this, but the speaker/preacher who does Motown Madness is the one and only Chad Poe!  If you ever hear that he is near your area, you should really go listen to him speak.  He is not here to tip toe and make you love yourself, but to be honest and really share what life with Christ is all about.  He always says things that push me to be a stronger Christian.  He is also hilarious, so I promise no matter how long he talks, you will not get bored.He really hit me head on that weekend with plans, the way for my life.  I have plans.  I have a ton of plans and my own ways that I want my life to go.  But ya know what Jesus says? 
"I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  John:14:6.
Christ is not a suggested route of travel to eternity or a rest stop along the way, He is The Way.
Another tree analogy:  "Without roots, it is no longer a tree, it is an obstacle."Remember that the service, the music, the people, the clothes, the weather, the day, the circumstances won't always be the same, but the God we worship will always be the same.This is something that he said that I remember to stay humble:  "Until I realize that I deserve the wrath of the Lion, I will never get the mercy of the Lamb.
This is a picture I took a screenshot of on Instagram.  This is the man and his band who have been leading the worship at Motown for the past few years.  He is Chuck Hooten!  Not only does he have a great name, he has a fantastic voice and opportunity to use it to glorify the Lord.  I also just now found his blog!Having a strong worship leader is very important because music is a sermon in itself.  It is beautiful, teaches and inspires us, and gives us opportunities to worship our Savior!  Chuck did a great job of getting us fired up to learn and grow.
Here is a picture I took of Chuck up there doin' his thing!  He was a little panicked at one point, because the batteries in his earpiece died, and he had never sang without his music.  We encouraged him to wing it, and he did, with great success!  Now hopefully he will be more confident to burst out anywhere sharing his love for the Lord!
This poetic picture as she called it was taken by my friend Morgan, who I think is just super cool!  Today is her birthday as well!  She takes very pretty pictures when she goes places, like here at the park, the beach, and even overseas and on mission trips.  She also loves sports and is always up for something fun and challenging.  Her hair is also really long and silky, and she almost always has a smile on her face.  Her Biblical knowledge is amazing; we always go to her when we have questions!  I love her spirit for the Lord!
This beautiful girl has a terrific future ahead of her; she has an amazing voice and can play the piano and sing like a pro!  Her name is Hope, and you better just watch out because she will be out there singing and performing one day like those on KLove, like Laura Story and Mandisa!

Here's a final picture I threw together to sum up our adventures.
Small group, worship, happy hour at Sonic, and a walk in the park.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Pile-Up Since Snow Days

School is insanely busy, so I haven't posted anything since our last bunch of snow days.  However, when there was something that I wanted to share, I saved a picture; Now I have to add captions to them all!
I thought this was just too funny!  Sophie did not enjoy having to go back outside on those below freezing days.

My new favorite drink:  Lipton Tea & Honey, Green Tea, Mango Pineapple.  The only place I have found it so far is at Target, so I need to keep looking!

This is the college leader in my Sunday School class, Jenna, and my friend Bella brought homemade by her mother red velvet and cream cheese cupcakes for her birthday back on February 16th.  She is such an inspiration, and it's been a blessing having her in our class to teach us so much.

How cute of a daily Peanuts this was:  Love is patient, love is kind.  1 Corinthians 13:4

This was from my last night skiing at Cataloochee for the year.  This time last year (today is March 14th), Dad and I were having a blast at heaven on earth, Colorado!
Although Dad nor I would ever drink, we do tend to hang out by the bar.  We always make jokes with the line from Dumb & Dumber, "Sitting by the bar, putting out the vibe."  There's usually sports on TV, and small groups can almost always be seated immediately.  People are also always watching, so we could also be an influence on the people who are going crazy.
Plain 'ol popcorn can hit the spot sometimes, too.
("having a blast at heaven on earth" is linked to the pictures I posted on Facebook from our trip.)

I got creative with my cooking once again, and made my own healthy version of Chick-fil-a's cinnamon clusters. 
I took slices of whole wheat bread, sliced them each into 3 strips, and coved/flattened them with "icing."  My icing was a mixture of:  honey, vanilla, protein powder, cool whip, almond milk, cinnamon and other spices, cream cheese, pumpkin, pumpkin butter, and I believe that is all.  Then I rolled them up and stuffed them into muffin cups.  I topped them with a bit more honey and cinnamon sugar before sticking them in the oven to bake until the tops were barely crispy.  Yum Yum!

Another great snack I found!  From the Emerald Almond makers, they have a line of Breakfast-to-Go packs.  This one is Caramel Macchiato, which has sea salt caramel almonds, mocha roast almonds, dark chocolate espresso beans, and granola in it, all giving you a great boost of healthy fat and protein to get you going for the day.  I think it goes great with yogurt and froyo as dessert, too!

There for a while, I was on a Reese's Puffs kick, and put them in almost all my desserts.  TCBY also has a new partnership with Mrs. Fields, and one of the new flavors is Peanut Butter Dream Bar, and it really is like a dream!

I actually won a contest.  Never in my life have I won a contest, but I enter them all the time!  YouthRunner magazine does a weekly contest on Instagram, where they choose a winner from photos that people tag with #YRContest.  A team prayer picture from this cross country season won a few weeks ago, and I got these two magazines and Roger Bannister movie in the mail!

Here is another simple, sweet, and encouraging Peanuts picure.

I went all appled-out one day at lunch.  I love to coordinate things.

This is my buddy Michael!  He was one of my first best friends in kindergarten.  Everyone calls him their favorite Asian.  This was the Sunday of Motown Madness, and I did my weekend run after I got home from church.  I just-so-happened to be finishing my run at the same time Michael, his dad, and friend were finishing their 40 mile bike ride.  They're into triathlons, which I think is awesome!

A new month means a new "Love Is" calendar picture!
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."  Ephesians 4:2

I took this picture from a Twitter post by Life is Good.  I love it because it is so true.  We are in charge of how we react to situations.  If we choose joy, there is no downside.  God provides joy; we just have to choose to accept it and live every moment with it.

This was my first big frozen yogurt in a long time!  It makes it more enjoyable to have it every once in a while.  (More cost-efficient, too; this stuff is pricey.)  This came from one of my favorites:

This amazing runner, Chanelle Price, won the 800 meter World Championships a couple weeks ago.  I don't know how I had never heard of her; she went to UT and lives in Knoxville, which is less than an hour down the road!  I hope I can meet her someday.  She has such a heart for and trust in the Lord, and gets to use her running as a platform to share Him with the world.  That's how I hope people see me, too.

We had a huge group at Bible Study last Wednesday morning!  It made me so happy to be able to fellowship and share little pieces of the Lord's work in our lives, so I had to get my dad to take a picture!
Alright, we're almost up to date.  This was the Peanuts picture from yesterday.  Joy is my favorite word, because it is a feeling that you can't really describe because it is far beyond happiness.  I believe the only true joy comes from delighting in the Lord.
I saw a commercial for this on tv a couple nights ago and decided to try it.  What an easy way to help people who don't have something so essential to life that we take for granted every day?  I went to the UNICEF Tap Project site on my phone and started it out, but I had some trouble.  I got it to work for 20 minutes one night, and last night it took no time, although I left it running, counting time, for over 9 hours while I slept.  Hopefully it is working better for others!
There is also a hilarious video on YouTube called "We Are Hungry" that makes fun of the school lunch program.  You should check it out.