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Thursday, September 20, 2012

So this morning I decided to stop procrastinating this long over-due blog post and just start snapping pictures.  Of anything.  Naturally, Isaac and Josh were the first two people I went to. :-) 

They were in the middle of playing Lincoln Logs (hence the buildings at my feet).  Cute guys. 
Joshua wasn't exactly in the mood to smile in this picture due to the accidental destruction of his building during the scramble to pose correctly for the self-timer setting on my camera..... 

SAT study continues.  As well as it can.  I have actually found a ton of helpful SAT study resources online, first and foremost being Khan Academy, followed by Baron's SAT study prep, and quite a few others.  Getting a good SAT score should be a piece of cake with all of the resources available to'd think!!  Too bad learning is part of equation. :-)  Ah well.  My test isn't until December 1st, so it's very easy to just put today's studying off until tomorrow - but I am such a procrastinator anyway, so that will totally not work.  I'm plugging away every day, bits at a fact I even bribe myself.  I wasn't "allowed" to do this blog post until I had studied for a few hours this morning.  :-) 

 And this is the pile of books (only some of them) that are sitting on my desk, just waiting to be read.  I bought so many books at Summit and I haven't finished one of them yet!  I've been so busy!  Plus Mr. Reeves (church) loaned me The Potter's Freedom in answer to my total confusion on freewill / Calvanism / origin of sin, so I'm trying to work my way through that one.  It's very good and making a lot of sense; but I'm only on chapter 3 of I still have my reading cut out for me!! 

David recently started school for the year - this year he is enrolled in K-12.  So far I think he is enjoying it; but this is only day two so we'll see how it goes. :-)  He also has a piano recital tomorrow!  He's playing two pieces and I'm looking forward to seeing him perform.  I have certainly had my share of recitals in the past......they're always a bunch of fun but nerve-racking. :-)

Brushing teeth....Isaac had three cavities recently and we were all a little worried about how he would do getting them filled.  But he did great. :-) 


Summit Notes: Axis

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One of my absolute favorite sessions at Summit was a group called Axis: Apathy to Action

The title itself reveals what they're all about - first, discovering what axis your world is spinning around (what does your life revolve around?), and then, challenging you to think about how that axis is affecting your world.  Because even if we think we're tripping along through life unaffected by what we read, watch, and hear, the fact is that there are thousands of messages bombarding us every single day.  And they do affect us.  If we think they don't, we're deceiving ourselves.   And if we fail to think intelligently, by default, others will gladly do the thinking for us.

It turns out that media is what sways the culture.  Media counsels us.  The stuff we read on the internet, the books or magazines we get, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, even the video games we play......they are all sending us different messages, many of them conflicting with what we claim we really believe. 

It's so easy to consider all these messages as benign - they're not really saying anything bad, and even if they are......well, so what?  It's not like we actually agree with what we're hearing.......or do we?

Media affects us more than we would ever like to believe.  But it's so hard to detect because most of the time it's just a song, or just a movie, just a story.  It's not like any of it is real, right?  And it's not like it really changes the way I think......right?  Can't we be "in the world but not of it" to enjoy the good stuff and turn a blind eye to the bad?  It's hard to believe that most of the media messages we get - the ones that just not a big deal - are actually worldviews in disguise.  

Though most of us would like to believe that we're strong enough in our faith to be able to "deal" with the bad messages we're getting, able to walk blindfolded through a busy intersection without getting hit, the fact is we're never quite as "strong" as we'd like to think we are. Remember that "let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). 

Don't believe that the stuff you hear has a hidden worldview in it?  Take a look at the lyrics of one of Katy Perry's top hits, "Friday Night":

There's a stranger in my bed
A pounding in my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a mini bar
DJ's passed out on the floor
Barbie's on the barbecue

Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on the tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

....Chandelier is on the floor
With my favorite party dress
Warrants out for my arrest

This Friday night
Do it all again

So in just a few verses, we have Katy Perry's description of fornication, getting drunk, the lovely hangover in the morning, possible reference to drugs, poor monetary stewardship, late nights at the bar, complete oblivion to what she's doing because she's apparently high, a warrant out for her arrest, and oh! What fun!  Let's do it again next Friday!   Underneath a catchy tune (I do love the song minus the lyrics) lies suggestions that doing all of these activities isn't so fact they're fun.  And normal. It seems that many songs today emphasize the "you're only young once" idea, making everything permissable. 

This is just one small example of literally thousands of popular hits - for 2012 alone!  We've been getting messages just like these for as long as we've been alive.....this is just a recent example.

And that's just music.  *Gulp* If we took a look at all the other forms of media, like facebook, twitter, myspace, ipods, videogaming, tv, movies, cellphones (just to name a few)....we could be coming up with dozens of examples of a worldview we're being presented with.  Or a way of life - plugged in and tuned out. 

But media isn't bad.  At all.  I happen to love  how convenient media has made can save a lot of time and energy.  But it's how we use this convenience.  It seems like we're so "stimulated" with all the new gizmos and gadgets that we're being lolled to sleep - and totally apathetic to the ideas that our minds are being saturated with in the process. 

Remembering that all forms of media act as a counselor to us is imperative.  Because who or what we hang out with....or spin our little worlds what makes us who we are (Proverbs 13:20)  We need to filter all these ideas through a Biblical worlview if we hope to survive the rapidly changing culture around us.

"Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future." ~ Bill Cosby

Axis really helped me to start recognizing the messages I'm getting.  They're everywhere!  In fact I just discovered the worldview behind "Friday Night" a few days ago.  I'm picking up so much more than I used to.  There are messages (subtle though they might be) everywhere.  I even picked up a touch of self-actualization in the Arthur and DW theme song that I watched for years as a little kid........

"You got to listen to your heart, listen to the beat, listen to the's a simple message and it comes from da heart, believe in yourself, believe in yourself, well that's the place to start!"

Note from one of the speakers:  What if, when we look inside to "find ourselves"...we end up find a real jerk?!

So.....I could go on and on with tons more examples and amazing qoutes.....but that is going to have to wrap up this particular post. :-)  Do you have any examples of media messages that have worldviews behind them?  It's a new interest of mine to pick apart songs and movies please comment and share!!  :-)


I Did It. I Signed Up...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

....for the SAT. 

Okay, go ahead and laugh.  Yes I should have taken it back in 10th grade.  Or earlier, if I had been one of those homeschool-genius-types. But I didn't, so the ugly test is now rearing it's head and is scheduled to destroy me on December 1st.  Ugh!!  I hate tests with a passion, especially when I know I don't know the material very well. 

Extreme study is in order; that and a bottle of Advil to take care of my headaches along the way.  I'm armed with the SAT guide, Khan Academy, and my dad (aka the answer key for all my math-related questions).

I think I'd rather die than actually be around on December 1st to take this horrible test.  Grrr.  Just thinking about it makes me worry.  But won't it be amazing to have that thing behind me once and for all? 

If I am extraordinarily fortunate, I may scrape by with a grade high enough to get a small scholarship for college.  Whenever that happens.  If it happens.  I'm still so undecided at this point.  *Sigh*

Things were so much easier when I was four. Thoughts of finding a job or making money or taking tests never even entered my head at that age.  If we were to be honest about it I am secretly jealous of Isaac and Josh - they are living the best part of their lives and they don't even know it yet.  Isn't that the way it goes?!  :-)


It Was the Last Day

Friday, September 7, 2012

This early-morning airport photo was a sad parting shot as we all headed to our gates.  Sniff.  I had such a fabulous time meeting so many wonderful people...and I miss them all!  Thankfully most of them are on facebook so I am able to keep up with them that way. 

And now you all are probably ready for some normal posts!!!  They are coming, I promise!  I still plan to do a few posts on some of the major topics we covered during Summit, but I will probably mix those in with "normal" posts, if you know what I mean.....:-)

As of now?  Busy weekend ahead.  Was excited to find the last pair of cargo jean shorts in my size at Wal-Mart today - and on sale!  Motivated to begin my early morning jogging routine again.  Happy but not quite sure about the fact that the excersice outfit I purchased matches way too well (a little heavy on the pink, I think).  *Pictures of that getup later*   Very actively looking for a job now that I'm back from Summit. 

And lots more.  Busy busy!  :-)


Summit: Graduation Night

Monday, September 3, 2012

On Friday evening, the last day of Summit, we had a special graduation ceremony for all the students.  Two of the older students were asked to give a brief speech, sharing some of their thoughts on their experience.  Both were very good! 

The graduation ceremony started at 7:15 in the evening and was held outside.  The weather was absolutely perfect and the night was so gorgeous.  As the sun went down, the Christmas lights started to look beautiful.....they had strung lights from all the lightpoles and even made chandaleirs that hung from the porch ceiling.  It was really pretty!

You could tell Johnny was nervous giving his speech, but he did an incredible job giving it.  He had some great points and talked about living for the dash - that tiny mark between the birth/death date on a typical gravestone.  That's what counts.  Are we making our "dash" worthwhile?  He presented it really well.
After the speeches, the choir performance (the staff!), a presentation by Dr. Meyers, and everyone receiving their diploma, we started to party. :-)  Everyone got dressed up for the event and we had ice cream after the ceremony.  It was so fun! 
After two weeks, these people started feeling like was so sad leaving them! :-(
A few of the students.  And Zach is posing with.....a frisbee?? I think he won it in a drawing from one of the speakers during the week.  Not exactly sure how it made it into the picture.....!

Last small group picture!  Caitlin, Nicole, Hannah, Christina, me, and......the chef?  He jumped in at the last minute and claimed he didn't know how we had forgotten he had been part of our small group the last two!  Not sure why he had dollar bills sticking out of his pocket either!!  He was such a funny guy!
See the chandalier?  They strung icicle lights from hula hoops.  So creative, huh?!

Linley and me.
Roomate picture!!  These are the girls I roomed with during my stay!  It was so fun getting to know them. :-)   Kaylie, Ashlynn, me, and Auri.
Sorry this one is so blurry.....

Apparently all the guys got together for a manly-scream-picture.  Unfortunately it was so crowded I only got a side view!
This me with Aunica, one of the staffers who did my hair for the evening - most of what she did was in the back, so you can't really see it! 
Ruthiey and I had such a fun time hanging out together....she was so fun!  I really appreciated hearing some of her godly wisdome...we had several great conversations and I am already missing her.  Thank heavens for texting!

Goofy model shot....:-) After ice cream and plus the fact that it was our last night AND it was late....we were having way too much fun.

Nicole and me - I loved getting to know this young lady!  She was in my small group.  So sweet!

Your's truly....sorry again for the slitty right eye - that  happens in so many pictures its not even funny! It must be genetic!

Another group shot! We all had such a fun time hanging out together!

A serious guy pose.

Austin, me, Daniel (sat next to me in class), and Matt, who was in the middle of having people sign up for his map wallets we won in the auction for Sudan!!  He was offering purses or clutches for the girls, but I honestly needed a wallet more, lol!!  He's mailing them out in a week or so.

Around ten, alot of us changed into normal clothes and started playing card games.  At this point I was just taking pictures of everyone because I am so bad at card games!!

Alot of the guys headed inside for more crochet time!!!  They were very intent on their projects!

That night, being the last evening of Summit, curfew was extended to midnight ~ and after midnight you could stay up as long as you wanted as long as you were in your room.  We packed and talked until midnight, and then I think we finally turned out the lights around 1:30. :-)  Super late, but such good memories!

The next morning I got up at 5 am to catch the 6 am shuttle to the airport.  (Notice my Summit shirt?!) It was so sad leaving Colorado......I had such a fun time.  Texting and skype and facebook are a great way to keep connected to all the new friends I made! 

Next post....I'll go into a bit more detail about what I learned there and the subjects covered. 


Summit Part 2

Summit plays hard, sleeps hard, and studies hard.  We were on the go 24/7.  (Which I loved - the structure was great!)  I got up at 6 am every day and lights were required to be out at 11 pm.  Activities were happening all the way up until 10:30 some nights, so we had little time to sit around. (Again, a really good thing.)

One of the evening activities we had was a student auction for Sudan.  This was Summit's 50th year anniversary, and for fifty years they have held an auction to raise money to buy Bibles and Christian flags for the people of Sudan.  The staff got together and prepared different items to auction; we had several things to choose from including scones/smoothies, staying up all night with the NightWatch crew, a meal at Chick Fil-A, wallets/purses made out of maps, and crochet classes!  They had hilarious options and it was funny to see what groups bid on which items!  We girls were going for the scones and smoothies but were outbid quite a bit.  We ended up winning the map wallets, lol!  Not exactly my first choice, but the money was going to a good cause. :-)

A group of guys got together and bid on, of all things, the crochet class.  (Which, go figure, was taught by several guys!) They won and spent several afternoons afterwards crocheting hats for themselves!  What's more, they did a really good job!

 A crochet lesson in progress.  It was so funny to see them but I give them a thumbs up for being brave enough to step out of their status qou and try something different!

Zach is the only one I personally saw complete his crocheted hat.  Pretty good, huh?  Who says guys can't crochet?!

 The food at Summit was outstanding.  Other people there that had attended different camps told me that camp food is notoriously horrible, and that they couldn't believe how amazing the meals were at Summit. I didn't have anything to compare it by but it was just really good food.  Over the two weeks I was there, we only had one repeat meal.  They were all delicious. 

We got fed three full meals a day - plus a coffee/hot chocolate bar was open all day long for breaks in between class.  It was wonderful! 

 This is Kimbosha and Kellen, part of the Dish Pit crew in the kitchen.  I have never seen people have so much fun doing dishes!  When they didn't have music going, they were singing or telling jokes or just dancing around while they did their work.  It was hilarious!  They looked like they were having way too much fun doing work.

Bacon in progress.....our breakfasts were amazing.  We had everything from waffle breakfasts with all the toppings, egg casseroles, french toast, cinnamon strudel muffins, sausage patties, sausage links, bacon, hard boiled eggs, biscuits and gravy, different cereals, juices, and always a huge bowl of fruit.  So much variety! 

Part of the kitchen crew working on the salad bar.
 This is just one of many tables that people ate at.  You could eat inside the dining room, or go out onto the back porch where they had tons of picnic tables set up.  The weather was so gorgeous too, so usually it was really nice to eat outside.

This is the dining room inside....and Mandy, another girl in the Dish Pit.  Notice the moose/deer heads
on the wall?  They were mounted all around the inside of the dining room!!  They even had one of
them named as a joke off of a camp song! 

 This was our chef, Steven.  He was a proffessional chef right out of culinary school, and he was SO funny.  He always  had a joke and was just a super fun person to be around.  And he made the best food ever!  There were a few students who had food allergies and he was totally willing to work around that - made gluten free things or had substitutions for what they couldn't have.

Every other evening, the students divided up into small groups of four students and two leaders (who were not students).  We had an hour to discuss the lectures, or ask questions, or just talk and get to know each other.  We did all three and I got so close to these great girls and the leaders.  The leaders were always really good about having a snack for us...we always had chocolate in some form or fun!  One of my small group leaders actually lives in AZ, so when she comes through in a few months to visit family we're hopefully going to get together!  Super looking forward to that. :-) 

Nicole and Alyssa, two of the girls in my group.  Over the course of a few days, we took turns going around and sharing our testimonies, and it was so encouraging to hear what others had gone through and how God is working in their lives now. 

 This is Caitlin and Christina, my two small group leaders.  Christina is a nurse, so I was able to talk to her about nursing school and how some of that works!  Both of them were super sweet and it was such a blessing to get to know them.

 Your's truly. :-)
 Nicole, me, and Hannah.  We took these photos just days before leaving, and we were all starting to feel depressed at this point because we knew it was almost over!!  I'm homesick for Summit already!

This is the classroom that we sat in everyday.  A full class is 180 students, but this session only had 70.  I still felt like it was a huge group!

They had everyone seated according to age, and alternating between guy/girl/guy/girl.  This gave some good perspective when we had to have classroom interaction with "the person sitting next to you" regarding a topic we were studying.  

We spent seven hours each day in the classroom - sounds like a lot (it was) but they had several breaks in between classes.  The teaching was phenonminal and the speakers was so engaging.  We had people like Ryan Dobson, Michael Bauman, Frank Turek, Jeff Myers, and Brett Kunkle come speak; we had so many more but that's just a few I can remember.  :-)  Many of these speakers were either with well known organizations like Stand to Reason, Colson Center, or Focus on the Family, or were professors at Baylor and Harvard!  It was so cool to hear these men give lectures on such a wide variety of topics.  I got the rundown on pretty much every worldview out there - post modernism, secular humanism, cosmic humanism, agnosticism, neo-darwineism, and way more that I can't even remember off the top of my head.  :-)  We also covered topics such as homosexuality, the destruction of traditional marriage and the family, abortion, apologetics, defending the faith, web design, filmmaking, media, and so much more. Never before have I encountered such a large volume of rich information in such a short period of time.  By the end of the second week my head was swimming and I felt like my brain was literally stuffed to the max!

 With all these amazing speakers, naturally there were quite a few related books they suggested buying.  Summit has it's own bookstore right next to the classroom and they had hundreds of books covering every topic we were learning about and more.  I came home with ten books - my suitcase was so much heavier coming home!!

Here are the titles of the books I purchased:

Understanding the Times  by David Noebl
Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
Welcome to College
University of Destruction
The Pleasures of God by John Piper
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Ethix by Sean McDowell
Women, Sex, and Feminism
Bioethics: A Primer for Christians

I'm so excited to get through all of these....though it may take me a while. :-)  But Summit got me excited about studying, so I'm motivated. :-) 

One thing that I had fun taking pictures of was all the signs hung around the hotel.  They had all the girls on the fourth floor, and all the guys on the third floor. Any guy caught on the girls floor or vice versa resulted in immediate KP.  (Another good rule!) Anyways, here are some of the signs they had on the walls of the girl's floor:

This was posted outside of the shower room....reminding us girls what not to wear. :-)  Someone was a good artist!

A super good qoute by Francis Chan (still want to get his book Crazy Love - anyone read it?).

This sign was hung next to the mailbox in the lobby - showing a sample of a postcard you might send home to your! I just thought it was funny.

Halfway through the two weeks, Summit acquired a beta fish and they set up a poll to vote on what to name it.  These names were based on two philosophers that we had to discuss for an hour during class one day.  I voted for Augustine, although Pelagius won out!  During the "campaign", some of the staff created signs rooting for different names, like, "Voting for Augustine Changed My Life" or, my  personal favorite, "The Cool People Who Have Voted for Pelagius: Chris Tomlin, Justin Beiber, Toby Mac, Ron Paul, ....." and a ton of other people I can't remember. :-)

And lastly, another thoughtful qoute. 

Next up - Graduation night! 


About This Blog

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not
on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will
make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6

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