7 Quick Takes: 3/22/13

Happy Firday! I love, love, love Friday’s! For me, it is the end of the work week, and gives me plenty of time to hang out with my family. Friday also means it’s time for another installment of Quick Takes! I’m joining Jen over at Conversion Diary, let’s get to it!

1.) Last Saturday night my whole extended family (on dad’s side) got together to celebrate my Great Grandmother’s 94th birthday.

Four generations: Great Grandma, Grandma, Dad, Myself, and my Cousins. This picture should actually include a few more grandkids and great grand kids however they were not in attendance. 
2.) I would like to ask you to please pray for my Great Grandma, as I said she is (now) 94 years old, her health is failing. We are aware that at her age it’s pretty normal for her health and memory to be slowly declining, however the decline has NOT been slow. From week to week she seems to just get worse. If you would please pray for her, and the family as we try to help her….it would be very much appreciated! 
3.) It’s NCAA Tournament time, which means that for the office and family I’ve filled out brackets. Mine never really seem to go very far….so this year (because ESPN lets you make up to ten) I’ve done 9. Hopefully at least ONE of them will make it to the end! 
4.) NCAA Tournament time in this house means that basketball is on all day. ALL DAY!!! There is no escaping it, however today I plan to take four (or more) hours and sit down and watch Les Miserables. (Released TODAY on DVD!!!) complete with popcorn and snacks, and a full box of tissue! 
5.) Even though Wednesday was the first day of spring, it is still snowing like crazy here! I almost can’t believe that it really is March! I am ready for the Florida trip! I know it’s still months away, but I would love to move it up because this snow is killing me! 
6.) I’m still working on the parenting interview, and I’m loving the research aspect of Psychology! It has been so much fun gathering information, and conducting interviews. Now, I have to find a way to put it all into a paper…..the not so fun part…..
7.) This week is Palm Sunday…..the day that we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is also the start of Holy Week. Thursday, we are having our Maundy Thursday service. There is something so striking about this service. We have a partial orchestra, and a full choir. It is a candle lit service, one by one, as each scripture is read, and each song is sung a candle will be extinguished….we share communion, and after the final prayer a lone trumpeter plays were you there. The sound of the horn rings out almost eerily in the completely dark sanctuary. The congregation leaves in absolute silence. Silence is loud, very, very loud. This was the night of the last supper, the night Jesus was betrayed. Friday, we have no service. Friday (Good Friday) is a day of contemplation….something that I will share with you all next Friday! I love Holy Week. I love the services that I get to be a part of…..I love what Jesus did for me on the cross, dying for my sins!
Blessings to you as we enter into this coming week. It’s not about the bunnies and the candy….though I do love a good marshmallow Peep, it’s about the Cross, and the sacrifice, the grace and salvation we do not deserve but are granted anyway. 

http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/aowdjLeaCYs&source=uds
(Youtube: Keith and Kristyn Getty)

Blessings,
Megan 

A Legacy of Love

This weekend my family celebrated my Great-Grandmother’s 94th birthday! What a great time we all had being together! There isn’t really much to say for this post other than that the love my grandmother has for her family is evident in that way that we all come together to surround her each year.

You can see the legacy of love that continues on with her each year.

This is a four generation picture. Great Grandma in front, Grandma C., my Dad (my aunt would have been with us, however she had to work), myself and my two cousins. Four generations, with hopefully many more to come!

Happy Birthday Grandma! We love you! 
Along the lines of this post, I’d like you ask you to please pray for my great-grandma…as I said she just turned 94, her memory is failing her. We all know that this is normal, and that it is to be expected the older she gets. We don’t know how much time is left……but we will cherish the time we have. Thank you for your prayers. 
Blessings, 
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: 3/15/13

Happy Friday friends!! As always, I’ll be bringing you 7 quick takes…..here we go:

1.) I told you about my experience on Saturday meeting the incredibly funny and talented Chonda Pierce. If you missed it, you can read that post here

2.) I came across an old Bible this week, and as I happened to be flipping through it I found this old picture of me and my grandpa.

I was so surprised when I found it! It had been years since I had last seen it, and I’m convinced that finding it again was a God thing. I’ve been missing Grandpa so much lately, and coming across this picture just seemed to….help. 
3.) Sunday night we kicked off the Michigan Nazarene Holiness Summit. It was nothing short of amazing! We had a former General Superintendent speak Sunday night, and a line up of great Holiness evangelists on Monday. You could feel the Spirit moving on Sunday night, and Monday. It was such an awesome couple of days! 
4.) Tuesday I started working on another research paper for my Child Psychology class….this one involves conducting interviews with parents on parenting and discipline. I finally got the interview questions taken care of, and rounded up willing participants…..this ought to be interesting! 
5.) I hated music theory when I was in high school, and over the years nothing really has changed. I found out on Wednesday that some of the music the our orchestra will be playing for Easter Sunday needs to be transposed from Alto Sax, into French Horn…and some from Flugelhorn into French Horn. If you have any transposition tips, I would appreciate the help! 
6.) You may have noticed after stopping by that The Shelf has a new look! I was ready for a change, and this is it! I have added some new features; an about page, a what I believe page, and a chance for you to follow me on Pinterest. Check it out! 
7.) From my devotions today: Psalm 144:2 “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” 
These words came at a time when I most needed them, it is amazing the way that God sends things, or people, along at exactly the moment that we need them. I thank Him each day for how he continues to work in my life! 
Enjoy your weekend, and make sure you go see Jen for more Quick Takes! 
Blessings,
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: Spring Training Edition

I have discovered that I pay much more attention to what I do during the week when I know that I am going to blog about it later on….So, because it is Friday once again I will be joining Jen over at Conversion Diary…if you haven’t watched her show Minor Revisions, find the archived episodes and be prepared to have lots of fun, they are wonderful!

Let’s get to it. You may notice that I gave it the title ‘Spring Training Edition’ that’s because the light at the end of the endless winter tunnel is finally in sight. That light is called Spring Training….and when we finally step out of that tunnel in April it will be opening day and the beauty of spring will be upon us, with the sound of a ball connecting with  a wooden bat, the cheers of fans, the aroma that can only come from a combination of hot dogs, pizza, and popcorn. I’m sorry, I’ve gotten carried away and should probably get to the takes, after all that is the point of this post….here we go. 
1.) Baseball for me is all about family, and instead of going into detail here I did two Talkin’ Baseball posts this week here is Part One, and here is Part Two
2.) Some facts for you about my beloved Detroit Tigers: 
  • The Tigers have four World Series wins
  • In 2011 Starting Pitcher Justin Verlander won both the Cy Young award and MVP 
  • In 2012 Miguel Cabrera became the first player since 1967 to win the Triple Crown
  • There are eight men in the Hall of Fame that played the majority of their career in Detroit
  • Al Kaline hit 399 Home Runs in his career before he retired, that’s the kind of man he was. He didn’t want to be defined by his stats.

so, there are some little tidbits I find interesting…….

3.) We (mom,dad, and I) have what some may call a ritual when we get to the ball park. I always stop at the first vendor I find, and purchase a score card. After I have made my purchase, we find our seats. No matter where we sit, whether it’s the last row of the upper deck, or halfway down the first baseline in the lower section, we go to our seats and just watch. We watch batting practice, I fill out the lineups for both teams on my scorecard and then we get food! 
Photo Credit: Me, with the super zoom on my camera. Taken from the last row of the upper deck .
4.) I love baseball food, and each park I’ve been in seems to have their own signature kind of food available. The Tigers have Little Caesar’s Pizza (LC Pizza is owned by the same family that owns the Tigers). Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Little Caesar’s but there is a small little Gyro stand in Comerica park. There is only one, and that is where I always get my food; I will either get the traditional gyro or the gyro “nachos” (pita chips, and all of the fixings of a traditional gyro…YUM). In Pittsburgh at PNC Park it’s Perogies: All types, potato, cheese, onion, you name it! Of course there is the classic Ballpark hot dog, and an ice cold Pepsi!
5.) Other than Detroit my favorite baseball city that we have visited was Pittsburgh. The people were pleasant and didn’t seem to care that we were the opposing fans. We toured the ballpark and it was gorgeous! Not just was the baseball great but in general there is so much to do! We went to the science center, did our own little walking tour of the city, and drove of Mt. Washington (grandma, mom, and I flat out refused to ride up the Duquesne Incline). I highly recommend Pittsburgh for a family get away!
6.) My grandma (not the one that vacations with us) for some reason still after many, many years of not explaining it to me (or anyone for that matter) is a HUGE Derek Jeter fan. Derek Jeter is a Yankee. The name Yankee is not often said in this home, and when it is it’s not usually in a nice way (sorry to any of you readers that may be Yankees fans….). Years ago, we took Grandma K and Grandpa to go see the Tigers. It was going to be great, we were going to have a great night at the game, all was well….until we got to our seats. We were sitting maybe ten rows up from the visiting dugout, and the visiting team just happened to be the Yankees. Derek Jeter was down there signing autographs and Gram wanted to go down there…but not alone. Oh no, she wanted me to go with her…I refused, vehemently. I noticed the shadow of a smile on dad’s face, and Gramp’s too not Gram….to this day she still brings it up “Do you remember that time we could have gotten Derek Jeter’s autograph but you wouldn’t come with me?” Yes, yes I do. I regret nothing! I love my Gram, just not her choice of players to cheer for. Once again, Sorry Yankee fans! 
Gram and I
7.) This post is to kind of prepare you for whats to come for about six months. Once baseball season officially begins I will somehow find a way to mention it in just about every post that I publish…even if that post is about what I read that day in my devotions! Take this as an apology in advance. However on the topic of my daily devotions (I’m not going to relate this to baseball in anyway) today’s was pretty great I’d like to share it with you…..It was all about prayer. Praying continually as we are told to do in Thesselonians. It said that prayer is a two way street. That continued praying “refines our awareness of God when he answers us” (Perry, 18)*. I was struck by the phrase that said “God only asks for a small portion of our day and gives us eternity in return” (Perry, 18)*. I’ve had a lot on my prayer list, and I’d like to ask you to please pray for a dear family friend. He was out early this week letting his dog out at about 10:30 at night. They have a pretty steep driveway, and it was still really icy. He took a really bad fall, has a severe concussion, and bruised pretty much the entire left side of his body. Please pray for him, and his wife, pray that he will heal quickly, and without complication…but especially pray for the pain to go away, I have a feeling he’s going to be pretty sore for a while. Thanks so much! 
Enjoy the beginning of baseball, but not only that, the Lenten season has begun and so begins the preparation for the Easter season, and Pentecost. I so love this time of year! I wish you all a wonderful weekend!
Blessings,
Megan 
*Delight Yourself in the Lord….Even on Bad Hair Days By: Sandra Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, Debby Mayne, and Trish Perry. 

Talkin’ Baseball: Part Two

If you missed Part One, you can find it HERE.

Let’s get right to it…..here is part two.

We were driving down to a game about seven years ago. We had just gotten off of the highway and turned onto Woodward Avenue in Detroit…up until this point I’d had my nose stuck in a book (big surprise). I put down the book, and looked up to see dad turn his head and glance out the passenger side window. It was just for a split second, but he got this look of sadness in his eyes. Wondering what it was that he saw I turned and looked out too. It was the old Tiger Stadium, which is now just an empty lot and distant memories.

Dad told me on the way into the stadium of all the games that he attended there, I was at one of them too long ago now to remember. He told me about the seats, and the smells, and how “they don’t build ’em like that any more.” Walking into Comerica Park, we came in the center field gate, and walked across the right field walkway. If you’ve ever been to Comerica you know that in right field is a row of statues. 
Dad made it a point to stop at each statue and tell me a little bit about each player. Not only did he teach me about these six, but the history of the game and of the Tigers along the way. Somewhere I have a picture of when we got to our seats, mom took a great picture of dad and I sitting together; he’s pointing out to me something on the field and I’m just sitting there listening to him teach me something new about the game. He bought me a scorecard that night, and taught me how to keep an official score during the game. I was enthralled! The Tigers lost, and it was a bad one but that didn’t matter to me at all. That night, sitting between mom and dad I connected in a new way to my dad. It was so much fun! 
This was a connection we had never had before, I finally had something that I could do with my dad! Baseball became so much more than a game to me. It became a way of life, an ongoing love story with a game that was so unpredictable. You never knew from one game to the next, or even from one inning to the next what may happen. Mom, Dad, and I would sit on the couch at home, pop popcorn and enjoy being together. Sure, dad would still yell at the T.V. but it didn’t bother me, and sometimes (depending on the reason for the yelling) mom and I would join in! 
It was the 2006 season, and the Tigers were heading for the playoffs. My grandma had a viewing party at her house on the night that the Tigers won the American League Championship! We watched the game together, all of us, as a family. From my (now 93 year old) great grandmother, down to my now 14 year old cousin and everyone in between. Baseball is a game that transcends the boundaries of age, gender, and race. It brings people together in a way that nothing else can. This was something that we could share as a family, something that brought all of us together. Now, we make it a point to go to at least one game a season….the whole family anywhere from 12-15 of us depending on when we go. The Tigers lost the World Series that year, and in 2007 we had a partial season ticket package…we went to Opening Day, and 17 other games over the course of the season…it was AWESOME! 
With Mom, Dad, and Grandma across the river from PNC Park in Pittsburgh
In 2008 a tradition started in our family. Dad planned our summer vacation to be in Cleveland Ohio that year. He got us tickets to see the Tigers play their division rivals the Cleveland Indians. The next summer we found ourselves in St. Louis Missouri watching the Tigers play the Cardinals, we stayed in town for two games that week. This past summer we went to a game in Chicago, then we followed our Tigers to Pittsburgh and had tickets for the entire three game series. No matter where we go, we are not alone. The people around us may not be Tiger fans, but they are baseball fans, and somehow we can all look past the team names we wear, and just enjoy being with other people who are as in love with the game as we are. The Tigers were swept this year in the World Series, and made some interesting off season moves but as they begin Spring Training this week at this house we are looking forward to a great season to come! 
You don’t have to be a die hard to understand the connection between a father and daughter that night during something as simple as a baseball game. A connection that to this day is shared in the whole family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. We all get together and share the love of a game that brought us closer as a family. 
So whether you are a fan or not (and if you’re a Yankees fan I won’t hold it against you) I hope you understand that this is about more than a game. It’s ultimately about our family. Get ready folks, there will be many more baseball related posts in the months to come….don’t say I didn’t warn you! 
Blessings,
Megan   
Oh, and here is the reason for the title of these posts… Two Versions, take some time a watch them both!

Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey, and The Duke): By Terry Cashman

Talkin’ Baseball (Detroit Tigers Version): also by Terry Cashman…enjoy!

Talkin’ Baseball: Part One

There are three books that I own that I have read more times than I could possibly count. They are books that at a certain time each year I pull them down from the shelf, open them, and immerse myself in their world as if for the first time. (you’re probably reading this and wondering about the title….it doesn’t make sense right now but it will….I promise!)

The first: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Every year when my family takes a vacation, this is what I read. I have worn out paperback copies of this book, and finally decided to put it on my Kindle so that no amount of reading could ruin it. I start it as soon as we hit the express way…before we are even across state lines I am lost in the world of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. By the time we reach our destination I could be about halfway through….and finish about halfway home, at least with the Kindle I have plenty to read when it’s over. I don’t know why I do this….maybe it’s because the first time I read it I was on vacation, or because in my own travels I can picture Lizzie walking in the summer rain, I don’t know, but this is just the first.

The second: Each year, in late summer/early autumn I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I fell in love with this book as a freshman in high school. I bought my own copy to read in class and take notes right in the book, as I did with all assigned books in high school. My first copy was a mass market paperback, you probably know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one that gets passed out to students in school, small enough to tuck in your bag and only pull it out in class. Not me. I tucked it in my purse, and every chance I got I was reading it. I would be chapters ahead of my class and completely engrossed in the story. I was so lost in Jem and Scout’s world, that I would stay up into the early morning hours just to see what would happen next! That copy is still on my bookshelf but it stays there now because after many years of reading it is literally falling apart, the cover is torn, and the pages are loose but for some reason that I can’t explain I’m still holding onto it….and the paperback that I replaced it with, that is in slightly better condition – but only slightly. In total I have four copies: a leatherbound hard back, the 50th anniversary edition I received as a gift, and the two mass market paperbacks. I am in love with the story, the characters, and the youthfulness in the story telling. Something about it just keeps me coming back for more.

The third and final book is not a novel, but rather non-fiction- a memoir of sorts: Safe at Home; Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic by Alyssa Milano. This book I read twice a year no matter what. I read it first in February, on the first day of Spring Training….I read it again in October, at the start of Post Season Baseball. No matter what my team has done in the off-season, or during the season. I go back to this book not because of stellar writing, not because of Alyssa Milano’s personal story, but I keep going back because I’m in love. I’m in love with a game, a game that connects me to my family, and keeps me coming back for more regardless of how my team plays. It’s not just a book about baseball….it’s about family, finding yourself, and staying connected to your past. The game of baseball spans generations, it connects us to our past, and to the country’s past. Baseball held on through war, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, and the Yankees took the field to the shouts of hundreds of thousands of fans (both in the stands, and at home) after 9/11.

I wasn’t always a fan….in fact for a long time mom and I were pretty much indifferent to baseball. It was just noise in our house (obnoxious noise when dad would yell at the T.V.), that I didn’t pay attention to. Mom became a fan before I did, she ‘saw the light’ as dad would say. So did I eventually. Not right away, but I did. I not only became a fan, but I really connected more with my dad. I had always been a mama’s girl; cooking, learning to sew, doing all the things girls and their mamas should do together…but I never really connected with dad…baseball helped me do that.

I hate to leave you in the lurch, but this post is already longer than I had planned so I will continue in a later post. Look for part two later this week!

Until then,

Megan

7 Quick Takes: 2/8/13

Happy Friday! As always, I’ll be joining up with our wonderful host Jen, over at Conversion Diary…..and away we go!

1.) Last Saturday I spent all day writing, and writing, and writing and….well, I think you get the picture. I was alone at home and I had my computer in the living room, and I decided that I would put something on the TV just for a little noise….I went to NetFlix and I thought that I would see what all the hype is about with Downton Abbey.

I have seen the light! I watched all of season one on Saturday…all of it! I’m finally beginning to get caught up now on season three, and I’m wondering why I didn’t just start watching it to begin with back when it first started! I have gotten myself totally hooked, and I am falling in love with these people! It has made for some great TV watching!

So.Much.Love for this show!
2.) My research paper is finally finished, and (as I figured would happen) I didn’t stick with my original topic. I thought that the topic of Religion would be easy, but boy was I wrong. I had no problem finding the research to go along with that topic, but putting my thoughts into words was SO difficult for me! I finally just picked an entirely different topic: Parents’ Relationships. I used my own mom and dad as an example, and incorporated Alfred Bandura’s studies in Observational Learning……basically I said that kids learn from watching mom and dad, although I said it in more technical terms….I can tell, that this is where my heart is at. Not necessarily this developmental stuff, but Psychology in general, I can talk about it for hours, and I never tire of reading about it! I’m in for a fun ride!
3.) Sunday we had a preview rehearsal of the concert our Worship Arts Ministry will be presenting for Easter, and I was totally blown away by the music! It is a really good mix of some new contemporary worship songs, and traditional hymns of the church! The orchestration is gorgeous, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the horn part!
4.) I’ll admit this to you….please don’t judge me. I’m writing this late Thursday night….as I’m looking out my window, all I can see is swirling snow. According to weather maps, I am right smack in the middle of this “Massive snow storm”. Local stations are calling it “Snow Storm 2013” and the National Weather Service has even named it. Let me ask you this, when did we start naming something other than a Hurricane? I don’t know, to me it just seems silly….but that said, if you are on the east coast I know that you are about to get hit much harder than us here in the Midwest. Please, please, please stay safe, and warm. Don’t go out in this unless it is absolutely necessary. This stuff may look pretty, but it can turn dangerous in an instant! Stay safe!
5.) I’m hoping to head out soon to score myself some good deals on fabric, using my new student discount at Joann Fabrics. I have these grandiose plans of making a “vintage inspired” skirt. I have a plan, and a pattern, now I just need the fabric….that’s what I’m still trying to decide on. Solid or print? Pastel, dark, neutral? If I go with a pattern what should it be? This is why it has taken me so long to pick a fabric…I cannot decide what I want. Help!
6.) The cold bug has hit our family and two-of-three are down for the count, myself included. Mom and I both have it, however she is much worse than I am. Dad (lucky duck), seems to never get sick when her and I do, but so far we don’t have it so bad (knock on wood). Hopefully this is it and it will vacate the  residence soon…if not we’re in for trouble if dad gets it. 
7.) There are some things that need no words….and this, I believe, is one of them…..Take a look: 
By the end I was crying like a baby! This kid is amazing! I can only hope that his story will inspire people to think differently about handicaps. Honestly, I do not have words for how incredible this story is! I hope you enjoyed it as much as me! What an inspiration!
As I said at the beginning, go see Jen, and everyone else for more Quick Takes! Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!
Blessings,
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: 2/1/13

Happy February everyone! Wow, January flew by fast……

It’s FRIDAY! I love Fridays, the end of my work week, a day at home catching up on DVR’d television, another installment of 7 Quick Takes, I’ll be Joining Jen as always, so when you’re done here head on over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else has going on…So, how about I get right to it?
1.) On January 28th I celebrated the 200th birthday of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and by “celebrated” I mean- I started reading it again (for the umpteenth time). I love this book, and any book that was written by Jane Austen, however she has given my quite unrealistic expectations when it comes to men. 
2.) I’m currently in the process of writing a paper for my child psychology class on “The Making of a Child” beyond the biological aspect. I’ve chosen my topic to be character development, and raising your children with religion. It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Being a single college student with no children of my own I can only go off of how I was raised by my own parents, and whatever research I am able to dig up. If any of you can weigh in on this, whether or not you are raising your children in church…I need both sides…and anything helps at this point! 
3.) I decided that I don’t need my Nutrition class this semester…I signed up for it back when I was still a nursing major, and psychology majors don’t need it so I dropped it. I made one of my first grown up decisions without consulting my parents (they didn’t care, and I was thinking at least one of them would be slightly upset….I was wrong). I got my refund in the mail today, it was only a half refund which is definitely better than nothing and I was so happy! So, for the remainder of the semester I am only doing psychology….which is what the rest of my time in college in general is going to consist of. I LOVE IT!!
4.) I have been singing the songs of Les Miserables for the last week, they are totally stuck in my head and won’t go away. Not that that’s a bad thing…..it just won’t go away! Let me just tell you though, that Les Mis was one of the best movies that I have seen in a LONG time, and I love that the story of redemption takes center stage. Yes, I cried like a baby when I saw it, but it was totally worth it! 
5.) I’m writing this on a mental break from my paper, and I would like to apologize for what may seem like nonsensical rambling, because that is essentially what this is. 
6.) I’m totally drawing a blank here, so……………11 days until pitchers and catchers report to Lakeland, FL for SPRING TRAINING! The long winter is finally coming to a close, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and Baseball is on it’s way back!
7.) I think that’s it for this week, the paper won’t write itself, and I need to get back to it. Thank you to all of you who stop by each week, I didn’t think anybody would ever look at this blog but some do, and for that I thank you! Have a wonderful weekend, and whether you are cheering for the Ravens or the Forty-Niners, I hope you have a great time on Sunday.
Go Ravens!
Blessings,
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: One Louder Edition

Joining Jen and the rest at Conversion Diary for a little Friday Fun, be sure to check it out.

So, last week I told you all about Disciple Now, and I promised you a recap; here it is:

1.) We kicked off the weekend with a leadership meeting, and prayer for all of the kids that would be participating. We went over rules and expectations, and got ready to welcome them for the weekend.

Handbook/Note Keeping Journal
2.) Usually a rule on weekends like this is that (for the students) cell phones, i-devices, tablets, etc., etc, are not allowed. This one was different however. We literally wanted to be One Louder for the whole weekend. So, we allowed the students to keep their electronics. We blew up Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all weekend using the hashtag #OneLouder. 
2a.) On Sunday, to wrap up, we were told that our tweets were seen by a possible 140K people! How awesome, that our message went viral! At one point in the weekend we were “Trending”. 
3.) The theme of the weekend was One Louder. Andrew, our Sr. High Pastor said it best in his blog this week:

One Louder is buzz language for living out of ones own comfort zone and reaching outside to those who don’t yet know the love of Christ. One Louder is the acceptance of the outcast, the defense of the oppressed, the standing up for the bullied, and the love for the unlovable. Ultimately One Louder is a life lived for the other.

 You can find him at Arpology... he was the creative genius behind this weekend.

Our speaker for the weekend was our College Pastor, in one of his messages he said that we need to live our lives as an 11-out-of-10, One Louder, one more than normal. He also said that  we need to think outside the “soap”box. One louder isn’t necessarily street corner preaching, but that it could be Shiva…the Jewish mourning tradition of just being present. One Louder could be just listening to someone talk, when someone asks you to pray for them instead of adding it to your list take the time right then to pray WITH them.

4.) I had the most amazing group of girls to spend the weekend with. They are all struggling with issues that I dealt with at that age, and in one of them I see so much of myself. I could tell that she (more than the others) was really struggling to fit in, and that reminded me so much of my eighth grade self. I was able to have some great talks with her, and just be a friend for all of them this weekend. We started with small groups on Friday night, and right off the bat got into some pretty deep spiritual discussions, and I could tell right then what we were in store for, for the rest of the retreat. We did some get to know you stuff where the girls introduced themselves, and then got to ask me any question that they wanted to. I highly recommend this to anyone in a youth leadership position: I had them write on a slip of paper (anonymously) any question they wanted to…spiritual, fashion, relationships, nothing was off limits….and then I had to answer. Let me tell you, things got emotional. We talked about our spiritual journeys, friendship troubles, the importance of knowing that no matter how you feel about what you see in the mirror, GOD sees beauty! I got emotional, and so did my girls.

Then when we had gathered ourselves together we settled in with popcorn, and homemade peanut butter fudge and watched The Princess Bride. Which up until this point in my life I had never seen…..Holy Twoo Wuv Batman! It was AWESOME! I didn’t know what I was missing until now…..Loved it!

5.) Saturday was a day of service. We were sent all over the community to do a day of service projects. I went with my girls over to a local clothing closet, and food distribution center. We painted, vacuumed, sorted through bags of donated items, cleaned windows inside and out, and scrubbed floors. We did all that in two hours, and still had two more to go. We headed back for the church where we joined in on the folding of 4,000 plastic grocery bags for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan…yes, we folded 4,000 plastic bags! It was fun!

6.) I had a wonderful weekend, hanging out with the teens, seeing old friends, and remembering my time as a student on these retreats. These kids have committed themselves to living One Louder! They have said that they are not ashamed of the Gospel! I saw the power of God working in them! How amazing it was to see prayers answered this weekend!

7.)   Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” 

 One Louder. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel, don’t be ashamed of your faith, of who you are in Christ! Live your life as and 11-out-of-10! Let your actions, your unyielding faith, your love speak One Louder! I know that in this society it isn’t always easy, God never promised that your cross wouldn’t be heavy, but he did promise to bring you through. Living One Louder may sound impossible, but not with God on your side. I can’t wait to see where he takes this. We can be One Louder here at home, or on an international mission field. We can be One Louder as a pastor, or as a psychologist. God can use you wherever you are, whatever your circumstance he can use you to be One Louder!

Thank you so much for your prayers for this weekend! I would like to ask that you keep praying for our teens, as they return back to “normal” life. Being back at school, and at home for some is not always easy. Please continue to pray.

Allow me to leave you with this….here is a picture of me (on the right) and my best friend.

The two of us met seven years ago as students at Disciple Now, and were back this year as leaders! I trust this girl with my life. We keep each other accountable, we keep each other in line, and we confide in each other…thanks to a Disciple Now seven years ago….I got to witness friendships like ours formed this weekend. Thanks be to God for putting these people in our lives!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Blessings,

Megan