Self-esteem boosters with Sarah

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, but I also just had the privilege of spending a week with her during our youth trip to Montreat.

And in all of the ways, the trip did not disappoint.

Of note, in a regular minivan packed with 10 youth and two adults, there’s a lot of conversations happening and you can only hear pieces sometimes.

Someone: “Let’s have a competition to see…” (I forget what they said)

Sarah: “Let’s have a competition to see who has the biggest butt. Laura would win though..”

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#TBT – Roughing it

In October, we took a bunch of the youth from our youth group to a couple cabins in the woods about an hour away from Louisville. It was an awesome weekend, that I hope we replicate this fall.

And boy, did it make for some good overheard quotes. Like this one, which I saved in my phone all this time and may be my favorite from the whole weekend:

“I took a cold shower and nothing’s been the same.”

#camping

Best Week Ever. Part 3.

The story of our week in Jamaica is one best told in pictures – for the most part – so it’s a good thing I took tons of them.

However, a good portion of the photos on my camera were taken by kids there – one in particular, named Jordon.

Jordon is a 12-year-old kid who latched onto our group the moment we got there. Throughout the week, he became kind of our mascot. He was our little favorite and was the first one I trusted to take my DSLR camera and go shoot pictures at different places we went throughout the week.

I’ll make note of the ones he took as they’re posted, but to be honest, there’s a lot of times I can’t tell which ones he took and I didn’t. The kid has an eye. And I told him to keep up with photography if his whole running thing doesn’t pan out (he’s fast though – watch out, Usain).

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Some of my favorite pictures from the week – and the majority of the time Jordon had my camera as well – are from our time in Greenvale, where we took part in street evangelism.

Street evangelism in Jamaica >>>>> street evangelism in America. ‘Cause it’s completely different. It’s focused on love, not hate. Not condemning you to hell for whatever it is you’re doing – like the “evangelists” I saw in college and see on the street corners downtown, spewing hate through a microphone at all of the sinners that pass them by.

Our street evangelism over there? Having a party in the middle of the street with music and dancing and prayer for anyone that wanted to be a part. If you didn’t? That’s alright. Because Jesus loves you, even if you don’t come down and party with us. And even if you’re the Rasta who tried to sell me weed and told me how very bright white I was.

*takes break so I don’t go on a tangent on what Christianity means to me because that’s definitely a blog post for another time*

Greenvale is also known as that place where I wanted to take all the kids home with me. On account of the adorableness. But I’m pretty sure you can’t get 30 kids through customs without some sort of documentation.

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Just an awesome day…

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And now for your viewing pleasure, the following photos, taken by Jordon.

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I may or may not have hired Jordon as my assistant. Now…to get him to Kentucky..

Best Week Ever. Part 1.

This summer, for the third time in 10 years, I’ve gotten to take a trip to my happy place.

You see, in 2004, our youth group got the chance to visit with our sister church in Mandeville, Jamaica. We gained some awesome friendships (more about that later) and a home away from home that we couldn’t wait to return to.

Fast-forward to 2009, when I went back, this time not as a “youth” but as a “chaperone.” I’m going to go ahead and leave that one in quotes because I still don’t believe I should be in charge of anything ever. But people keep asking me to be…

This exchange – us going to Jamaica and our friends coming here – started because of an amazing youth leader/associate pastor we’ve had for the past 10 years.

Earlier this year, we had the unfortunate and gut-wrenching task of saying goodbye to her as she moved on from the church and myself and two other young adults tried desperately to keep our heads above water and come even the slightest bit close to filling one of the toes of those shoes.

One big thing to contend with in her absence was this exchange program. For the first time, it fell on me to get it all together. Again – why am I in charge of things? I’m not old enough to be. Definitely not mature enough.

Long story short, because of the amazing foundation she’d built and all she’d prepared for us within the church, the trip this summer went off without a hitch.

I went to Jamaica for the third time this summer and have it on good authority that that makes me officially Jamaican.

Along with me this time were six of my youth group babies (aka my high schoolers) and, for part of the week, our pastor.

I’ve got so much to tell you about this trip but you’re 300 words in now so I’ll give you a break until next time. For now, look at just a few of the pictures I took. (Don’t worry you’ll get more later.)

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I filled up my memory card that week, you guys. That’s like 1,000 pictures.

I’m tellin’ ya. Happy place. Stay tuned.