Wednesday, March 23, 2016

D2S 2016

This year was my fifth Dare2Share and Terry's ninth. Now that we are out of babies it's so nice that I'm able to go along for trips. Once again we went to Denver, combining our group with one from South Canyon Baptist and sharing a bus. Here is the group - all 56 of us.

We departed Rapid by 830am Friday March 12 and arrived in Denver seven hours later in time to eat some Chic-Fil-A for dinner. From there we went to the church where the event was held. Here's Jordyn, Allison, and Gabe ready for it to start. The first night was...weird. Definitely not the best Dare2Share we'd ever attended.

I'm probably getting old. It was loud and dark. Lots of energy and kids. Overall the conference was good; our students were challenged and grew in their faith. 

The following day some of us ate at Chipotle, like Natasha here. :)

In the past we've always done the evangelism sharing portion of Saturday afternoon at a mall. Since the event was nearly a month later this year, we had much better weather and we were able to be outside. Last year it was frigid but that weekend was absolutely beautiful. Notice how no one is wearing a coat. This year we went to the Red Rocks Amphitheater, which you can see behind Aaron who is giving directions on how we were going to share.

I'd never been there and was excited! 

When we arrived we huddled up in small groups and prayed. 

My group consisted of these ladies, Jazmin and Katrina, and Terry. 

Terry had the first spiritual conversation right there next to the parking lot and then we continued up the mountain to the amphitheater. Another of our groups was having a friendly discussion with a group of young people on the stairs.

Aaron challenged us that after we all had had a spiritual conversation we should attempted to run up all the steps with a single stride per step. He said it was impossible so obviously everyone wanted to prove him wrong. There goes Sierra.

I had a conversation with a couple who turned out to be Christians from Laramie and then I tried again with a man who wasn't interested. After that I took some photos and tried the stairs myself.  

It was so beautiful! 

Here's my own pathetic attempt to climb the stairs. I didn't feel up to running up them so I just tried to stride. I made it about two thirds of the way up. Very difficult! Several of the students did make it though. Poor Aaron owed a lot of them dessert.

Terry then shared with this Hispanic man.

At the top. 

View to the north. 

And south.


Terry and I took a few selfies at the top right before we left. It was windy and bright... 


Panoramic and me trying to get out of the way. 

Here's part of our group on our way down.

I didn't want to leave!

I liked it there.  

After returning to the church for the finish of the night we went to a restaurant for pizza. Here's me and girls. 

The crazy youth pastors, Terry and Josh. 

This guy was a joke to the students - he was freaky! Some of the girls thought it would be hilarious to place him in front of people's doors (from our group), knock, hide, and then the people would be freaked out by him when they opened their door. It didn't work as well as they thought but they still had fun. 

I spent my evening playing Heads Up! with students. Fun times. 

When we finished and started heading to our rooms I noticed there was a large boisterous group right outside my room and Terry was in the midst of them. They were interacting and debating with a crazy lady that was staying in the hotel. I had thought she worked there because we saw her the morning before when she had gone out to our bus to pray over it and announced that a "big angel" was now in there.

Some of the girls had begun talking to her and she had elevated the conversation quickly. She asserted that she was a Levitical priestess who could forgive sins, control the weather and many other crazy things. She was being rather rude to the girls so Terry stepped in. She was unreasonable because she was mentally unbalanced. The whole interaction really upset two girls in particular who were crying and freaking out. To be honest, D2S always has elevated emotions because of the lack of sleep. But for these two girls, because of this interaction, their faith grew quite a bit. Once rededicated her life to Christ and the other said she saw God working in her afterwards. It was an intense night.

I had to wrangle the remaining pranking students together so we could finally go to bed. It was like 1130pm.

The following day we drove home and stopped in Sydney, NE for Runza. Yay! 

Good ol' Runza, how we love you.

As we were passing to the east of Bridgeport and Scottsbluff I saw a couple monuments we've been learning about from the American Oregon Trail - Courthouse and Jail Rock. I sent a photo to my mom to show the kids.

This is what it looks like up close. Look at those old covered wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail! 

We stopped one last time in Hot Springs for a bathroom break and prayed all together. 

Jenna did this constantly over the weekend and educated me about it. Apparently a football player did it after touchdowns and it's called Dabbing... 

Every time we got on the bus we counted off to 56 to make sure we had all of us present. We made it into a game. The quickest we ever got through was 23 or 25 seconds.

Terry had begun to feel sick the evening before, Saturday, so by the time we got home Sunday night he was feeling terrible. The following day he was diagnosed with Influenza A! Poor guy. He gets sick after every single trip.

my first turkey

The evening before Terry and I went to Dare2Share, I made my first turkey all on my own. I had made one once previously with my mom's help but I don't count that. Still, I had to call her for pointers - like removing the neck and gizzard from the cavity. Face palm. 

It turned out great!

In addition I made my own gravy. I've made it several times but somehow nearly forget how to every time.  

We were all excited, especially Terry. He adores gravy. Noah's favorite is mashed potatoes

It was divine.

note Noah

While getting ready to go to Awana and youth group a few weeks ago, I found several notes around the house that Noah wrote for me. This one was on my purse. 

A second note was discovered on the van steering wheel when we loaded up to leave. Noah made these as a project for Awana. It was sweet. I found a final note on my nightstand that evening and so did Terry. Terry had a couple others as well.

Friday, March 18, 2016

the dining room table

Our dining room table is the center of all activity in the house. Right now it's covered with Legos and Lego books. We have a designated Lego table downstairs, but apparently that doesn't matter. So when it's time for dinner, all the toys just get heaped onto the hutch next to the table. Right now it's covered with puzzles, a Lego bin, several Lego Bionicles, and many papers. I continually wage a war to have things put away and lose. Oh well. 

Samuel wanted help with his puzzle and everyone decided to stay and watch. 

We keep all the toys in the dungeon and none upstairs to try to limit the messes but nonetheless the kids always drag them upstairs to the table. I thought it was cute that Samuel was actually playing with his tool box. 

Ezra is wherever Samuel is, usually to bug him.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ranch four wheeling

Two weekends ago we headed out to the ranch to do some four wheeling. Samuel in particular had been asking for a long while to go. First off we let Noah take a couple spins on the little motorcycle.

Next we all six piled onto a couple four wheelers and took off. Our first stop was the small stock pond behind the rental house we used to live in before we moved to Nebraska. 

The weather was beautiful despite it being only the fourth of March. I still miss the green though. 

Next was another stock pond a little farther on. Terry likes to drive around the edges. I don't.

Vroom vroom! 

From there we went along the fences until we reached the road again. Not wanting to be done yet we switched kids and came up to The Rock from another direction.

When Terry proposed to me here, he had me blindfolded and carried me over those rocks.

Here's The Rock, where Terry carved his proposal into the wall.
"4-19-03 EVA YES (added later) WILL U MARRY ME?"

Evie found a cactus patch. Every time I see these I am reminded of the time my brother ran through the neighbor's cactus for some unknown reason. Why did you do that Nathan?

Sunshine, clear skies, and fresh air are good for the soul.

I suggested we hike down and do a little exploring because I didn't want to be done yet. Everyone readily agreed.

So we climbed down the rocks into the draw below. It's been pretty dry this year so far so it was pretty clean.

Terry broke off some tree branches and taught the kids to use them to kill "bad guys," i.e. tall weeds otherwise known as Orcs. It's what he used to do as a kid out there. Here's Ezra going at it.

I thought the lichen on the tree was pretty.

Noah found an old cow bone and wanted to bring it home to Snap. They found many, many more bones (it was a cow graveyard!) but couldn't bring them all home. We made them leave what they had at Grampa and Gramma's house.

I can't wait for those trees to have leaves on them. 

More orc killing lessons.

The boys went up the hill to find bad guys and Evie and I meandered around the draw.

I wanted to keep going but figured we better find the boys first. They had the same idea and so we passed each other on opposite sides of the hill. The rocks beyond the trees is where we started out. And actually, this is the same place my sister Stephanie and I took a walk during Christmas break when Noah was a baby. She even painted a picture of it...

...and here it is! That's baby Noah and I walking through those bare trees on a unseasonably warm winter day much like this one was.

Behind me was this large solitary tree. And Evie. :)

We went back down into the draw and met up with the boys again. I thought this gnarled out tree trunk was cool.

We wandered and wandered, thinking we were going to come out at the second stock pond. It was taking forever so we climbed up the hill and found we were too far north and would have come out at the wrong place. Therefore we turned around and walked back up the hill to where the four wheelers were parked.

Almost to the top. I felt like a pioneer at this point. It was so windy and desolate, it wasn't hard to imagine. 

Beyond those trees was where we were aiming for.

Found them! Ezra was just about to jump off that rock shelf while I took this photo. I caught him though.

One last run around the first stock pond.