rejoice for He is risen!

I had a really cool Easter. 

I started the day with my 3rd ever Easter church service of my life, and it was awesome.  It just felt really energizing and focusing and fantastic. 

I then got to hang with one of my girlies from youth where we mostly played with my camera and she hugged me a lot :).  Love the girls I’ve had an opportunity to get to know through my church’s youth program.  Also, one of the other youth leaders found candy canes on his dresser and brought them to church.  Because, really, what says EASTER more than candy canes?

This was followed by spending some chaotic time in the three year old room, where everything simmered down when they got in for stories and worship.  I had a little buddy who was so adorable through the time we spent in the teaching portion.  He’s three but has just started talking, so he repeats EVERYTHING you say, and decided I was his friend for today.  Three year old cuddles between praise songs are the bestest.

At home while waiting to go to family dinner I did some varieties of running around because the city turned off our water so they could fix something at our neighbours’ place.  Once that calmed down [aka we had showered and acquired a port-a-potty from my grandparents—gotta love being lake people] I read some of the Easter story in the Bible which just felt super awesome. 

"display the bright splendor of your Son, so the Son in turn may show Your bright splendor"

John 17:1

Intermingle this with a lot of praise music, and even the chaos can be really refreshing.  I think that’s kind of a reminder of where I should be ALL THE TIME.  In the chaos, REJOICE.  PRAISE.  SEEK.  And I have to get better at that.

and i am overcome

I’m sharing my testimony at youth on Friday night to the junior highs.  I think in some situations, things just fall together how they’re supposed to be.

I’ve never shared my story more than casually—at Starbucks over coffee, sitting on the floor in my room.  Never to more than one person at a time.  That’s about to change, and I’m really, really excited about it, actually.  I think this is something that God has been stirring in me to do for quite some time.  Friday’s theme is Getting Past my Past, and I think I’ve done a lot of that over the last five and a half years . . . and a lot of realizing that because of God, my past is my past, and it does not have to be my present or my future because of His gift of life.

even now the world is bleeding / but feeling just fine / all numb in our castle / where we’re always free to choose / never free enough to find / i wish something would break / cause we’re running out of time

and i am overcome / holy water in my lungs / i am overcome

there’s women in the street pulling out their hair / my Master’s in the yard, giving light to the unaware / this plastic little place / is just a step amongst the stairs

and i am overcome, baby / holy water in my lungs

so drive me out / out to that open field / turn the ignition off / and spin around / your help is here / but i’m parked in this open space / unlocking the gates of love

beautiful drowning / this beautiful drowning / this holy water / this holy water / is in my lung / and i am overcome / i am overcome / i-i-i am overcome

i am overcome, Lord

overcome, live

12 of 12 – february ‘11!

On the 12th of each month, a bunch of bloggers take 12 pictures throughout the day.  Here are my pictures for February 12th, 2011!

DSCF7306

12:00 AM – hotel.  Just arrived back at the hotel after the rock show I nearly slept through.  So tired.  We’re at a youth event that is fondly known as HOTEL-O-RAMA.

DSCF7308

12:13 am – hotel.  Hangin’ with the grade seven girls who are totally awesome.  Time for junk food!

DSCF7309

1:22 am – hotel.  Apples to Apples.  How often do I play this game on the 12th?!  It’s crazy!

DSCF7312

8:20 am – hotel.  Last night the bus made a stop in front of a Shoppers Drug Mart at 11:50 pm.  It produced the junk food from earlier, plus chocolate milk as Brenda just copied other people’s ideas, which made me very happy.

DSCF7313

9:06 am – A&W.  40+ of us walked into A&W for breakfast [no worries, we pre-ordered]

DSCF7316

9:16 am – hotel.  Apparently since ice cream should typically not be eaten at 9 AM [which we were ignoring] both pictures decided to suck.

DSCF7318

11:00 am – hotel.  Headed out RIGHT on time!  Yes, that blue mattress was my bed.  It rocked, I slept awesome.

DSCF7340

11:45 am – home.  OMG.  FLIGHT FOR NEXT SATURDAY BOOKED!

DSCF7319

12:42 pm – Mark’s Work Wearhouse.  I have little understanding of WHY we need a winter simulator in a store when we have legit winter outside.

DSCF7324

3:19 pm – home.  Little pick me up.  I am SO freaking tired [See also: spent 16 awesome hours with junior high kids, got five hours of sleep, which is not in my properly-functional threshold of under 2 hours or over 6 hours].

DSCF7327

5:04 pm – kitchen.  My grandparents, aunt and cousin Dean were coming over for my grandpa’s birthday [which was last weekend].  I told my mom we needed a cupcake cake!  And guess what?  We got this one for all of $7 at Safeway!  EPIC.

DSCF7338

9:26 pm – kitchen.  My action plan for my Issues in Health class this week is based on spiritual wellness—the goal is to read my Bible for 15 minutes a day, five days of the week to get me back in the groove of actually reading it regularly.

Yeah my 12 started early, so it’s ending early.  I’m not going to do anything any more exciting the rest of the day!

12 of 12 was created by Chad Darnell.  To see all the other 12s from around the world, check out his site as he’s been gracious to let us infiltrate his blog space with our links for another year!

knowledge, people first and adapting

Last term I was in developmental psychology for a good, oh, quarter term.  During the span of the time in this class, my prof—who was, granted, nearing his seventies—constantly referred to children as their disability first and as children second.  NOT okay.

It pissed me off, so I wrote him a stern but not condescending e-mail exemplifying his errors and explaining HOW to rectify his speech.  I wrote the message sitting in the front row of his class, and received a simple “thank you, Kerri” in response about ten minutes after class concluded.  The next class, he tried to drop an ‘autistic child’ as he had been doing.  He got to “autis—“ paused, and said “child with autism”.

I recieved an e-mail that said a child “IS special needs”.  [ALL kids have special needs, so I actually don’t like that catch-all too much either].

A child is NOT their difference, their disability, their special need . . .

They are who they are and who they are likely is partly shaped by how they have been socialized to feel about who they are with regard to their disability.

As a leader, a facilitator, a friend, it is important for me to know how I can best adapt a program to ANY child’s unique circumstances.  Because knowing SOME level of specifics makes so much make more sense.  How chain-reactions occur, what to watch for, and how far it is okay to push—a big thing we’re dealing with at work with some kids right now.  As a leader, facilitator and friend, it’s hard to adapt something to a child if there’s something behind the scenes I don’t know about.

But all in all, I still need to know the child, the person first.  I go by the same saying with many, if not all, chronic medical conditions, disabilities, et cetera I encounter . . . In my own case “asthma does not define me . . .  but it helps explain me”.

trust, hope and isaiah 53:5

I’m really realizing that God puts me where I am for a reason.  I’ve been learning lessons in trusting Him lately, which is very cool.

The other day I said to Kim “What’s the point of having a story if you don’t share what’s strengthened you cause of it, right?”

So I hope it helps.  I hope that this will be God using me, speaking through me when I’m telling my story tomorrow afternoon.  Praying it’s used in HEALING for one of the youth girls.  And because God knows the specifics, please just pray.

He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole, and by His wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

living the revolution – youth retreat ‘10

It’s been nearly a week, and I’m still having a hard time gathering together everything that went down on this youth retreat from the perspective of a leader—a leader doing semi-one-on-one at that.  I think I experienced the youth retreat this past weekend bit differently than most.  Not in a way that was any better or worse, but just, different.  A good different, though.

I think there were times in all of it that I was really challenged.  That is a good thing.  There are things that happen and you realize “Wow, I am here for a reason.  This is where I am supposed to be.”  And they rock.  I think that was a biggie for me this past weekend.  Like, I have no words—God is just too faithful, too big, too awesome for me to have words!

I think what it is, is that I really struggled to find a church where I felt like I belonged.  Where people outside of the people I came with knew me.  Where I got to meet new people, pray with new people, and worship with new people . . . People who have huge love and passion for God that extends outside of the physical building that is church.  And then when the time was right, maybe bring new people into the mix once in awhile.  That is where I am now.  And that is something I realized in the midst of worship on Saturday.  “This is where I’m supposed to be” and that just felt so awesome.  It took me five years to finally found a church I love.  This is it.  It feels awesome.

The fact that I’m doing inclusion-ish stuff, like I’ve said before, is just crazy that God would put me in a place where I’m totally stepping out of my comfort-zone and needing to trust Him more in knowing that I will do okay.  And I really believe that is part of the reason He’s brought me here, too.

The girl I was hanging out with was awesome and a sweetheart most of the time, although she did have a bit of a rougher time at some points which is fine, that’s why I was there.  We clicked really quickly, and we had a lot of fun, even on Saturday night when she started having a rougher time because she got a bit homesick [the first night wasn’t a problem.  But this was the first time she’d been away from home for two nights before].  She and Brenda called her mom during worship, and then she and I headed back to the cabin to chill and take it easy.  [We were supposed to be going on a night hike to shout their declarations into some valley, and I kind of thought she wouldn’t dig the night hike part—I wasn’t gonna stop her, but I’m really glad we just hung out in the cabin together.  We had a really good talk, too.]

I finally got her to go to bed because she was totally zonked.  Her mom wanted us to call before she went to sleep, so we did that too.  [Actually, calling her mom was totally a good incentive to get her in bed.  “Okay, take your inhaler, get your pajamas on, go to the bathroom, and then we’ll call your mom.”  Worked like a charm, especially because her mom was coming earlier the next morning to get her.

So after she said goodnight to her household and her mom and I talked about how she was doing at the retreat, I asked her if she wanted to pray together before we went to bed.  And let me tell you, it just pumps me up when kids say yes to that!  So we prayed, talked a little bit longer until she started trailing off.  My favourite thing was that the last thing she said before falling asleep was “Jesus rules”, and then 30 seconds later she totally conked out.

At this point I really got to just sit and reflect on the weekend, and pray, and read my bible and stuff.  I had an hour and a half of downtime between then and when the other girls came back, so I spent a long time writing, read Ephesians and finally got in my sleeping bag and just about fell asleep when the other girls came back.  Oh well 🙂

To switch gears, food.  Remember how I like, take food everywhere because of my picky not-eating-meat-ness?  The food at this camp freaking rocked.  There was SO much of it, and pretty fruit plates on the table at every meal, and fresh bread!  It was yummy.  I was pumped when on Sunday morning when I said to Brenda and Elisa on the way to the dining hall “I hope we have cereal!” and I walked in to find a bunch of cereal on all the tables.  I don’t usually eat breakfast, but on Sunday morning I totally had half a muffin, Raisin Bran and fruit.  Epic.

All in all, despite the minor challenges, despite being eaten by a stick [oh yeah, my kiddo dragged me through the middle of the forest and killed herself laughing when I told her a stick tried to eat me.  It totally did.], despite the freezing-cold bus with no heat on the way back . . .

it was awesome.  And as much as the retreat was to challenge the kids to go deeper . . . it challenged me, too.  I think it challenged several of us leaders, too – engaged  us in the process of growing with the students.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

James 1:5-8

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

James 1:12