Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crested Butte Ski Trip

So, as I mentioned in an earlier post... I went as a leader to Crested Butte with the TBC youth. What a fun time! It was great getting to know Shaun and Abby (our youth pastor and his wife) and Guy (another adult leader) better. It was a whirlwind trip, but full of memories. Of course, I'm sure the most memorable is the missing van keys. But, I'll get to that in a moment. We started out Friday night, so that we could drive straight through the night (hoping the kids would be less restless and would sleep -- in other words... leave the drivers alone. ha) We had an uneventful drive up until we got to Monarch Pass. It was a bit of a tense drive going over. But, we made it just fine. Here's a photo from my passenger seat (I drove the dead-of-night-middle-of-nowhere-Amarillo-to-Raton portion). The van/trailer in front of us is Shaun, Abby, and several kids:

Once we arrived in Crested Butte, it was time to grocery shop. Note to self -- Do not grocery shop after a 20+ hour drive with 18 teens. Talk about delirious decision making. The remainder of our time was spent skiing (well, for some!), playing Catch Phrase in a huge circle, cooking and eating, and hanging out. I did attempt to ski, but between my ineptitude and a so-so instructor, I was doomed. Someday I may try again. But, the second day of skiing of was a great day for the skiiers (lots of powder), so I chose not to weigh down any of our team with a crappy skier. :) Instead, I hung out around the lodge, drank overpriced coffee, and went down to the town to browse the cute little shopping district:

The day of our departure promised a storm in the afternoon. So, Shaun and the rest of us leaders decided leaving first thing Tuesday morning was wise (the kids were supposed to get in a half day skiing). So we start the packing up process with a departure time of 10:30. About 9 am, one of the girls asks for the van keys. Shaun can't find them. We do a little searching. Still no keys. More searching. No keys. Turn the couch cushions and Shaun's room upside down. NO KEYS. Okay, time a for leader meeting. Start looking at contingency plans which range from the ridiculous to the plausible to the most inconvenient. At one point, we think we've found them in the console of the (locked) van. Call a locksmith. Turn out to be Shaun's Xterra keys. Tear the van apart. No keys. We've moved on to just laughing at this point. What else are we going to do? The locksmith turns out to be our saving grace. He moves mountains for us to get things moving in the middle of the day, the day before Christmas Eve, in a small town. After many many phone calls with the rental company, the locksmith, the Gunnison (nearby town at the bottom of Mt. Crested Butte) Chevy dealership, and others, we find out we can indeed get a new key made. So starts the shuffling of kids down the mountain. I sit with a group at the Gunnison McDonalds, Abby sits with a group at the condo while Guy drives back and forth getting us all down. Shaun goes with the towed van to get our keys remade. After an hour or so at the McDonalds, Shaun calls me -- we have a key, he's on the way, Guy is bringing in the last of the kids, and we have a full ten minutes to get on the road before we lose daylight mid drive and therefore don't want to risk Monarch Pass. By the grace of God, we make it safely and we are officially on our way. At the time we originally planned to leave before our early departure decision was made.

We had some amazing kids on this trip. Such a fun group and also well-mannered. They were great at offering to help cook or clean up. Always remembered to say thank you to Abby and I after we cooked for them. And we also got a few compliments on a well behaved group from various locals. Including at the McDonalds where I contained half of them for over an hour during the van madness.

We pulled in to TBC right on time and I rushed home to do laundry and start the second part of my Christmas vacation... Omaha! The rest of the Ski Trip photos (nothing real exciting and all from my camera phone, but pretty nonetheless) can be found in my Facebook album.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MckMama's Rebel for a Cause

I just donated a small amount to MckMama's raffle-way, Rebel for a Cause. She has teamed up to create an AMAZING giveaway based on raffle tickets sold to donate money to three incredible ministries. MckMama has blessed me so much on her blog and in her story of her sweet baby Stellan and the miracle that God performed in her womb. And in her incredible sweet way, she has created a way for her blog readers to recieve something while supporting these awesome ministries. I would be totally blown away if I won this incredible Canon package; but more than anything, I just wanted to be a part of this in some little way. And, yes, my donation was very small. But, one thing that I have learned while raising money for missions trips... God takes a small amount and simply multiplies it. There is no other way to explain it. It just multiplies. Like the fish and the loaves of bread. So, God, multiply my donation and send it on it's way to bless many hearts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home for the Holidays at TBC

This past weekend our church did a huge event called Home for the Holidays. It was actually a two day event filled with all sorts of fun! We started out Saturday morning with a luncheon and tea for the ladies. We had somewhere around 25 tables set up. A different woman (or sometimes two) in the church was responsible for decorating and hosting each table. I shared a table with our music pastor's wife, Amanda. I had a lot of fun getting to know her a little bit better while we were setting up the table and then on throughout the morning. Here's a photo of our finished table with our combined decorating items, skills, and ideas. (Excuse the bad and uncreative photography, I just couldn't get a good angle and finally quit trying. ha.)

We were entertained by a thought provoking skit and had a wonderful message by one of our ladies. We also got to sing a little Christmas music. Finally, we had a wonderful lunch catered by Mel's. There were so many fun tables to look at, too. Ours was by far the most simple table, but I think it still looked classy and we did get several comments on it.

Sunday night was the BIG NIGHT. It began with a performance by our children's choir, Awaken. They did a fun little musical... It really was precious. Then we all moved outside. We had three bands come in for concerts. Lindsey Kane is just the neatest girl ever! We (the ladies' ministry at TBC) met her at our retreat this past March when she came in as our speaker and worship leader for the weekend. She just fits so well at TBC and we all wish she would move to Tomball. :) Only if she brings Jenny, her percussionist, with her, though! We love her, too.

Next up was Gatlin Elms. TBC has a strong connection to this band as well. One of the guys is one of our very own TBCers. I had never heard the guys live before and they really were fantastic!

Our headline band was the Robbie Seay Band. These Houston guys are really making a strong statement in the Christian music industry. It was quite cool to see them live, also.

Amidst all the live music we had a live nativity, Santa on Candy Cane Lane, food, hot chocolate, wassail, and lots of fun! It was a huge success, especially for a first year event. We've already started talking about "next year".

And with the end of that, I can breathe normally for a few days. Until it's time to pack and leave for the ski trip. And then on to Omaha! Stay tuned for those updates. I'm sure I'll have some good stories and photos.