Sunday, May 17, 2009

College Mission Trip - New Orleans

I was so very proud of our college students when they approached me earlier this year about doing another mission trip to New Orleans. Several of them went on a mission trip in 2006 which was the summer after Hurricane Katrina devastated that area and they wanted to go back. We weren't able to work around everyone's schedule so not everyone was able to go with us but we also had some join us for their very first mission trip. It's never too late to catch the mission "bug."

We spent the night at Second Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, on the way down and had a fun time going out for Mexican food and watching a movie in their elaborate youth building.
Our first night in New Orleans we attended a Zephyr's baseball game. Ironically, it was too chilly for everyone but me that we left early. Mission work in New Orleans in May is definitely a better choice!
We reported for duty at Musician's Village. "Musicians' Village is a new neighborhood built around a music center where musicians can teach and perform. Musicians Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis teamed up with Habitat for Humanity International and New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity to create the village for New Orleans musicians who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina."

We were assigned to work with site supervisors, Eric & Andrew on a home for our new friend, DD. We were given challenging jobs but Eric and Andrew were excellent supervisors. They were available if anyone needed help or to show us how to do things correctly but then they let us do the job. We hung soffett and siding, built the front porch, hung door frames and baseboards and more.

By the end of the week, we all felt like we had made a difference! We made several friends along the way which made the journey even richer.

On the way home from work, we stopped at a hole in the wall for a sno-ball. It must be the southern version of a sno-cone but it's basically the same thing with sweetened condensed milk poured over the top. yum!!

We did manage to get in a little play time. We spent an evening down at the French Quarter - and even walked down Bourbon Street. We had a contest to see who could collect the most beads and I beat them all by a long shot. However, we decided what happens in New Orleans, stays in New Orleans.

It was a fabulous week with an amazing group of semi-young people!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Matt & Carla's 21st Birthday Party!

My friend, Matt, and I decided since our birthdays are only 2 days apart (well, 21 years and 2 days) that we should celebrate together! I won a happy hour at PBR Big Sky so we invited everyone we know to help us celebrate our milestone 21st birthdays - Matt's first and my second! It was an intergenerational event - my friend, Mark, came from Louisville (He was my polity professor in seminary and now one of my closest friends - and definitely wins the award for the most outgoing person alive!), two friends from church camp when we were in high school, college sorority sisters, former youth who are now over 21, new friends and old friends! It was so much fun! I don't think I've ever seen such a random group of people who almost immediately act like they have known eachother all their lives. It was fabulous!

The highlight of the evening was watching those brave enough tackle the mechanical bull. Lesa is our resident professional with the most experience but Joy, Lynate, Alex and C.J. also gave a great show in the arena! I haven't quite worked up the nerve for that kind of humiliation but I do enjoy watching my friends!
I still can't believe that I'm really 42! I do love that as I get older, age really doesn't mean much at all. I am very blessed to have best friends who are 20 years older and 20 years younger and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. Friendship is a priceless gift!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Pella Tulip Festival

I love tulips!! They have always been my all time favorite flower so when my friends invited me to come visit them in Pella, Iowa for the annual Tulip Festival, I jumped at the chance! On Wednesday, I left work a little early and headed to Pella. Kate had signed us up for the Klompen Classic walk which kicks off the weekend festivities. I'm not sure how it happened but we managed to bring up the tail end of the walk - I'm sure it was because we were stopping to take so many pictures of tulips, right? :) Little old ladies with walkers came in before we did. Oh well!

Every afternoon before the parade and every evening, they invite anyone in the community to come out in authentic dutch costume for "street scrubbing." Unfortunately, I had to leave early for a funeral so I wasn't able to participate in the actual scrubbing but Kate and I had fun dressing up in our costumes anyway. I'm not really sure how anyone walks very far in those wooden shoes but I was certainly willing to give it a try. I hope I can make it back next year so I can participate in more Tulip Time activites - and eat those yummy dutch letters!