Thursday, June 23, 2011

To the End of the Earth

Last weekend we traveled to Portugal. It was the most amazing trip!! We did absolutely nothing... just relaxed! I had to force Jay to sit on the beach and just let time go by. This wasn't our normal vacation, but it sure was fantastic. We spent almost all of our time playing in the water, playing on the beach, or sleeping in the sun! So great!

I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Ok.... maybe not. It's been sitting here spinning for over an hour and it's time for me to leave!

Jay and I are heading to Romania this afternoon. We will be spending the next two weeks serving God in a very exciting way. Jay will be working hard the whole time, building play grounds, painting, and doing other odd jobs to make the place look nice. I will be keeping the kids busy. I will be leading Vacation Bible School for the younger kids, Club for the older kids (like a BASIC concept for those familiar with that), and then a sports ministry for all the kids! Our location is very poor and has nothing, but they are the happiest happy! I'm excited and neverous at the same time! It's going to be a great week of seeing God at work. Please pray for us!!

I'll try to post Portugal pictures when we get back. They are beautiful, so I have to share!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

School's Out for Summer!

I'm just getting ready to leave the house for my last day of school!!! Yesterday we had our awards ceremony with the kids and then sent them home for the afternoon. We had the rest of the day to work in our classroom. I could have been done easily, but I decided to dive into the unknown wall of closests and do some MAJOR cleaning. Nothing in these closets is mine and I haven't touched them since I moved into the room. But it was time! It really wasn't that bad. And I'm not afraid to throw things away, so my garbage filled up quickly!

Today we have to go in to do our final clearing and checkout. I get my room inspected at 8:50 this morning, and then will have the rest of the day to do...... Club Beyond planning. We leave for our mission trip in Romania in one week and I have tons I need to do before then. It will be a good time for me to stick myself behind a desk and get some planning done.

But that will only last so long, as we are jumping on a plane to head here this afternoon...

This would be the wonderful, sandy beaches of Portugal! I'm so excited to get away for a few days, slow life down, and simply relax. Jay and I tend to forget what that word means, so we'll see how long we last. We have two options..... we can spend hours on the beach doing absolutely nothing, or we can go inland and tour the country. I'm sure we'll do some of both as neither of us can sit still that long!

The weather is supposed to be absolutely perfect! High of 80, perfect sun, and no chance of rain!!! I can't wait to get there!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Undefeated Season

The end has come to our softball season. We finished this past weekend with a tournament. Back to March when we started practicing, I would have told you we wouldn't win a single game. I was so scared with the team I had. The first few practices we had to start with the very basics.... I'm talking the things that you think everyone knows about softball. When I asked the girls to run after they hit the ball, they asked where to run to. When they fielded a ball and I said to go two... the left fielder left the ball rolling and started running to the infield. I had to remind myself that even though these are middle schoolers, some of them had never touched a ball before.

As the season went on, I saw more and more progress out of the girls. They were getting so much better! They could throw, they could catch, they were running aggressively. We were winning one game after another. Up until this past weekend, we were undefeated. We wanted to finish off the season that way! I made sure the girls were focused and ready for their last two games of the season.

Here's how focused we were...
Can you find me? I got piled on!
 Then it was pay backs!

The first game we pulled off with an 8 point advantage. The second game.... well, it wasn't much of a challenge. We ended up winning 16-1. It could have been much worse, but I forced my girls to stay at third base instead of stealing home. They are hard to hold back because they've been taught to be aggressive, but enough is enough. I had to remind them about sportsmanship. That's a difficult concept at that age. They just want to play their game and win, they don't care much about the score.

It turned out to be a great season. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to coach these girls. They are such a joy to me. This is my third year of coaching several of these girls. A few of the parents are begging me to move up to coach the next age group next year so their daughters can stay with me. We'll see what next spring brings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Beautiful Norway

Over Memorial Day weekend, Jay and I traveled up to the beautiful land of Norway. It is quite an expensive country, one of the most expensive in the world. We did our best to keep it cheap, but it sure wasn't easy!

We were there for three nights and spent two of those nights in the car. The one night we were in a hotel, we paid $180 for a simple two twin bed room. It sure wasn't anything speial for that price! But it was nice to shower and sit on a toilet (not squat in the trees).

Many beautiful country churches. A perfect setting with the mountains in the background.
 Also a church, but from 2000 years ago!

We also had to eat very cheap. We ate one meal of McDonalds and one meal of pizza. For the rest of the meals we went to the grocery store and bought bread, peanut butter, and jelly. I was definitely ready for real food by the end of the trip.

It stayed light most of the day and night. At 2:00 in the morning it was still somewhat light. Made it quite hard to sleep in the car! This picture was taken at 10:00 at night. We didn't even realize how late it was.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't the greatest for us while we were there. It rained quite a bit, which made for not such great viewing. There were some things that we wanted to see but didn't get to because of the rain and fog. Nonetheless, it was still beautiful. The mountains, the water, the farm land, everything was so pretty.
This is what we saw a lot of the time! Looking out the window as we waited for the ferry to arrive.

Finally, an almost clear day!

 The torch from the Lillihammer 1994 Olympics. We also saw the ski jump and speed skating arena.

Jay and I really enjoyed looking at all the barns. They were so beautiful! We took lots of pictures of them. Several times we felt like we were in Iowa!

As we were driving up a mountain, we passed a bus that had blown a tire. We got about 200 meters up the road and heard a strange sound. We too had a flat!! I went to the trunk to get out the spare, and there wasn't one! Instead, it was a repair kit. After looking at the pictures of the directions, we finally figured out what to do. We had to pour a glue like mixture into the tire, swish it around, pump up the tire (with an electric pump that plugged into the car), and then drive for 10 minutes to let it harden. We checked it after 10 minutes and it was still holding. Two days later when we turned the car in, it was still good!! We were so lucky to not have any more problems. Buying a new tire would have cost a pretty penny!

This is the valley where Jay's Grandma's family came from. It was an absolutely beautiful area, with a stream running through, trees all around.

Overall, we had a good trip. It wasn't my favorite country, but the bad weather and the high prices had a lot to do with that. I'm glad we went though, as it is a great way to remember the awesome creation that God blessed us with.