Redeeming Grace Church

Airsoft Party October 2016

On October 29 the youth of Redeeming Grace Church had another Airsoft party. It was scheduled for 10:00 AM but my family and the Rawlings family arrived shortly before then. We were glad to welcome members from three additional families to our group. The more the merrier! The “party” was scheduled to end at 12:30 but, because of the time spent waiting for people to arrive, getting geared up, and taking breaks, we were only able to play three rounds of the Airsoft version of “Capture the Flag”.

Toward the end of the last round, Haydn was the only member of my team that we had lost. The other team was in jail except for Hannah, but she had to leave. When my team began collecting prisoners, I was cast as the prison guard. Although none of the prisoners attempted to escape, there were many humorous conversations about how they were going to get rid of me. The last advance was made when my team went up the hill hoping to capture the other team’s flag, leaving me alone with the prisoners. It wasn’t until the second time Abi yelled across the property that we understood that the game had ended. I had a great time playing Airsoft with you all! I hope we can do this again soon!

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GMCCHS

Spirit Week 2016

Greer Middle College’s last spirit week in the Trailer Park was something else. Currently, our building to be is in progress so all the money raised during spirit week went into our building fund. The bittersweet fact that our portables are seeing their last days landed a quote from Coach Smith on the back of our spirit week T-shirts:

“You can take the Blazers out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the Blazers.” -Coach Smith

Sweek consisted of ‘Merica Monday, Tacky Tourist Tuesday, “Heroes and Villians” on Wednesday, “Color Wars” on Thursday (the Sophomore class, my grade, was neon yellow), and #GMCcameinlikeawreckingball on Friday. When all was said and done, my fellow Blazers and I had raised $42,629.97. This total was not only higher than our rival, Brashier, but also a new record. Go, Blazers!

Redeeming Grace Church

Cross Current October 2016

So many beautiful memories were created at Redeeming Grace Church during October’s Cross Current. Because Halloween was coming up, game time’s theme was “fear factor”. It had been rumored that we would be making smoothies with insects and then have to drink them, so many people (myself included) were considering not going. Despite this, more than the usual crowd showed up.

Although there was no smoothie making, our adrenaline went up when we were asked to smash an egg on our head, to find out whether the one we held was boiled or not. If you refused to try, one point was taken from your team. While the eggs were being passed out, I shook mine and was relieved to find it solid. As it turned out, all of the eggs were boiled. Oh, the power of suggestion XD.

The other games we played included a relay (which required us to fetch plastic crickets from a tank) and a taste test during which the adults (and a few brave youth) tried cat food. Our snacks included puppy chow but this, thankfully, was simply corn squares covered in peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar. Yum! Thank you, parent-youth for making tonight so memorable. I can not wait for next month!

Tristen/Me

Tristen’s 15th Birthday

It has almost been a year since our last get together so, I was overjoyed that each member of RAATH (Abi Rawlings, Abbie Arnold, Julia Alix, Tristen Thomas, and Heidi Haase) was able to make it to my 15th birthday party. We began the evening by making Emoji pillows while listening to our favorite tunes and catching up on each other’s lives. For dinner, we had lasagna and Angel Food Cake with ice cream for dessert. Senior High (a once a month get together with my fellow high schoolers from church) happened to be on the same night as my party so since I did not want to miss it, I took my party guests to D-Group (Discipleship Group). Although we had a blast there, it was when we returned home that the real fun began.

After giving each other a makeover, my girls and I danced along to “Single Ladies” before sitting down to watch old videos of us. Next, Julia and I acted out “Defying Gravity” with her as Elphaba and myself as Galinda before all four of us danced along to “22”, the main highlight of the evening. Of course, we did much more than all that before falling asleep in the middle of my documentary on Alaska at 5:00 am. I had so much fun with my girls. Fingers crossed in hopes that we will be able to get together before my next birthday party!

GMCCHS

Beta Club Inauguration

On October third I was inaugurated into The National Beta Club. The ceremony was better than I expected (since “inauguration” sounds painful). Our student government seated my fellow students and me in alphabetical order and then called us to the stage by row. Mrs. Bailey read off our name, Mrs. Moore gave us our certificate, Mrs. Earle gave us our official Beta Club pin, Mr. Armstrong (our principal) shook our hand and whispered “congratulations”, and then the students who run Beta Club each gave us a fist pump as we walked across the stage. Once everyone had received their certificate and pin, my fellow inductees and I read the Beta Club pledge along with our student body president Bryson Bargar. I am extremely honored to officially be a part of Beta Club and I can not wait to discover what new adventures the future now holds!

Haydn

Haydn’s 13th Birthday

Haydn turned 13 this year. I can not believe that he is officially a teenager. Some of our many Birthday Food Adventure stops included Krispy Kreme, Johnny Rockets, Red Robin, Whole Foods, Zoe’s Kitchen, Great American Cookies, Auntie Anne’s, The Beacon Drive-In, and Dairy Queen. I could not ask for a better little brother. Happy birthday, Haydn!

To see more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!

Redeeming Grace Church

Church Picnic September 2016

September’s church picnic was very calm and peaceful which made the whole event very relaxing, instead of chaotic or busy. My fellow youth and I, as usual, set up and put away everything that goes into Redeeming Grace Church’s picnics. I very much enjoyed working along side of my friends at the beginning and end of the evening while hanging out with them in between (eating, catapulting pumpkins and watermelons, and playing volleyball). I had a wonderful time and, as always, I am looking forward to our next church picnic.

To see more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!

Family · GMCCHS

An Unexpected Turn of Events

Monday, September 19, 2016

Haydn’s co-op ends at 2:55 PM. Dad picks him up and then they sit in the Greenville Tech parking lot until 3:40 when my college class ends. Knowing this, you can understand my confusion when I exited the building to find the van nowhere in sight. I did not worry, at first. I was released a little early and they probably got stuck in traffic or something.

I walked up the sidewalk along the parking lot and stopped under the shade of some trees. I scanned and re-scanned the parking lot, just in case Dad parked somewhere else and I missed him. Nothing. I watched the Cross-Country team run from GMC to the field in front of the college where they usually practice. I noted that they are usually on the field when I leave so I must have been released earlier than I thought. However, as each minute passed, I became more and more tempted to worry rather than trust God.

It only takes 10 minutes to get from UHC to GMC and Dad is NEVER late so, even if there was traffic, this did not explain his absence. Determined to trust God and not worry, I looked away from the road and acknowledge the clouds floating above my high school. They were HUGE. As I stood in awe of God’s beauty I couldn’t help but imagine what a great picture it would make. Sadly, I did not have my camera (aka, Mom’s phone).

By now several minutes had passed and I attempted to calmly run through the day’s schedule for my family: after school, we were going to stop by Krispy Kreme for Pirate Day however, I drew a blank when I could not recall the final decision about who, how, and when. Dad and Mom planned on attending the 9th and 10th Grade Parent Information Meeting that evening at 6:00 and I made another mental note to remind them that we did not need to go. There was something going on in the afternoon, but I couldn’t remember exactly what. Again, I began to worry so I quietly sang the first worship song that popped into my head (I do not recall what it was). Finally, I sat down on a nearby bench and gazed at the clouds.

By the time I spotted Kaylee and Olivia (friends from my high school) exiting the college, I had already begun considering that something must have happened. What type of something? I only had one idea: a wreck. My eyes began to water. What if Dad is hurt? What if he died? I stopped. No. I thought. I’m not going to go there. I glanced at the road again and noticed Kaylee and Olivia walking on the far sidewalk. I hopped up, pulled on my backpack, and began walking towards them as they noticed me and waved.

I had planned on asking Kaylee if I could text my mom, but I never did. Before the whistle that morning (which is blown by our principal five minutes before the first bell) Kaylee had asked Becca if she could walk home with her. Becca said Kaylee could if Becca didn’t have to work. “Did you not walk home with Becca?” I asked Kaylee. No, because in the middle of first period Becca’s boss texted her asking if she could work. Of course, Becca said yes despite really wanting to go home in order to complete her homework and study for a college test on Wednesday. “I’d say we could take you home but I don’t know where my dad is,” I explained. We had a very short conversation about Pirate Day, they continued walking toward the high school, Olivia asked about the Geometry homework, they continued walking, and then I asked about the time: 3:45, much earlier than I had expected. Reluctantly I returned to the bench half expecting Dad to pull up right then and give a perfectly reasonable explanation for why he was late. But he didn’t.

I pulled out “The Kite Runner”, a book I was reading for Literature & Film, and began to read where I had left off in class that morning. My reading was quite bumpy as I kept glancing at the road to examine each passing vehicle. As each minute dragged on the feeling that my family had been in a car wreck became more and more prominent in my mind. I focused on the words I was looking at: “‘I’ll come back with your morphine and glass of water, Kaka Jan,’ Soraya said. ‘Not tonight,’ he said. “There is no pain tonight.’ ‘Okay,’ she said. She pulled up his blanket. We closed the door. Baba never woke up” (Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner). And then the sirens sounded.

Firetrucks and police cars, but (I prayed) no ambulances. Their noise was so loud I knew they were driving along the roads that box in GVLTC and GMC. I beat the feeling but, in the end, I could not ignore it: my family had been in a wreck. There was no other explanation.

My eyes began to water but I fought back the tears and prayed. Oh, what a desperate prayer I prayed. “Lord, please let them be all right. Please let them be all right.” And then I reminded myself that God has everything under control. Everything will be alright, no matter what happens. Everything will be alright… “God is good,” I whispered to myself, remembering a quote from God’s not Dead. “All the time. And all the time, God is good.” I blinked away the last of my tears, took a deep breath, and turned back to my book.

Moments later a red car came to a halt several feet away. I did not pay much attention to it until it honked and my mom got out of the passenger’s seat. She motioned me to come so I dropped my book into my backpack, zipped it up, and obeyed. Once by her side she gave me a hug and said, “We were in a wreck. Everyone is okay but Ansa is a little shaken up.” She then explained that “this nice lady”, the driver, had checked to see if they were alright and offered to come pick me up. Once introduced I was directed to the back seat and we made our way to the point of impact.

________________________________________

Mom and Ansa had picked Haydn up from UHC and then gone to Krispy Kreme for Pirate Day. From there they went home to pick up Dad (who was doing a podcast) and drop off their four dozen donuts (three for dressing up and one for sharing a picture on SnapChat). Then all for of them came to get me.

Despite being in a conversation about college, Dad missed the main entrance for Greenville Tech. Instead of taking the back way, he decided to turn around by taking a left into someone’s driveway. Mid-turn my family was T-Boned by a white truck Dad had not noticed.

Dad banged his head against his window, Mom was slung so hard that her sunglasses flew off her head and landed in the back, Haydn was thrown towards his window but caught himself before contact was made, and Ansa was tossed. By the time I arrived at the site, Dad had a headache, Mom felt as if she had been punched in the jaw, Haydn was fine, and Ansa was suffering through the first of many headaches due to a likely concussion.

The van was totaled. We will never drive it again.

After hearing of the minor injuries and examining the burst tire, missing window, jammed doors, and various other damages, I could no longer hold back my tears. God was with my family that day. He could have easily taken them all home but, instead, He answered my prayer.

I will never be able to fully express or justly describe my gratitude. “Thank You, Lord. Thank You.” The only words I was able to speak in between my silent sobs. Ansa, who was as pink as the shirt she was wearing, crawled into the back with me and we held each other as the tears continued to flow. God IS good. I thought. All the time. And all the time, God IS good.

To see more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!

Redeeming Grace Church

Cross Current September 2016

On September 18, my church held it’s once a month youth meeting for Junior and Senior High: Cross Current. As always, I had a blast. Most of the memories were made during game time, which is not surprising.

The first activity was assigned to the men. They had to undo frozen t-shirts and put them on. The person to do this first won. This proved to be more tedious than one might expect because the t-shirts were frozen solid and the water given to help undo the articles of clothing was freezing cold. In the end, Mr. Ballard ended up winning.

The next game split our group into boys and girls who each had to form a human tower. The first group to finish won. This ended up being the boys because, in general, us girls were a little overwhelmed by the task and so the quality of our problem-solving skills drastically dropped.

The final game is one of my all-time favorites: the Three Legged Race. In case you don’t know, this game is just like any foot race except for the fact that it requires, instead of one runner per team, two runners who have their legs bound together. The trick to this game is how you and your partner run. I have found that in order to move quickly each person in a pair needs to wrap their arm around the other. The closer you are to one another, the more smoothly you will be able to function. If not, you and your partner will split and fall like a tree struck by lightening. I paired up with Hunter, a boy around the age of my younger brother, and our team ended up winning. Despite the fact that Hunter ran on my foot for the entire race and that it took multiple people to undo our tightly bound bond, I had a lot of fun and am looking forward to Cross Current next month.

To see more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!

Neighbors

Litke Playdate September 2016

 On September 16 my siblings and I went to the Litke’s, our former neighbors, for a sleepover. Because the weather was pleasant, the girls and I slept on mattresses in the Litke’s unfinished apartment above their garage. Besides an occasional car passing by, all you could hear was the chirping of crickets and, in the sky, all you could see was a brilliant full moon. This environment was very serene.

The next day, while in the middle of a Nerf battle, Abby and Katie’s prayers were answered. The Litke’s cat, Kallie, gave birth to her kittens in time for us to see them. By the time we had to leave, her babies had been cleaned and dried so we were able to hold them. The sweet kitties were barely the size of my hand. It was something else to see these little bundles of joy shortly after they entered this world.

To see more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!