Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Weekly NFL Ranking

Week 16

1.New England 13-2 216
2.Green Bay 9-6 137
3.Baltimore 10-5 110
4.New Orleans 10-5 106
5.Chicago 11-4 97
6.Atlanta 12-3 96
7.Pittsburgh 11-4 95
8.San Diego 8-7 94
9.Philadelphia 10-5 88
10.Indianapolis 9-6 83
11.Detroit 7-8 79
11.Cincinnati 4-11 79
13.Tampa Bay 9-6 70
14.NY Jets 10-5 66
14.Minnesota 6-9 66
16.NY Giants 9-6 63
17.Kansas City 9-6 62
18.Oakland 7-8 53
19.Buffalo 4-11 44
20.Jacksonville 8-7 40
21.Dallas 5-9 39
22.Miami 8-7 38
23.Cleveland 6-9 35
24.Washington 6-9 33
25.St. Louis 7-8 28
26.San Fransisco 6-9 19
27.Houston 5-10 7
28.Tennessee 7-8 1
29.Seattle 6-9 -15
30.Arizona 6-9 -16
31.Denver 4-11 -25
32.Carolina 2-13 -46

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Weekly NFL Ranking

Week 15

1.New England 12-2 183
2.San Diego 8-6 132
3.Philadelphia 10-4 127
4.Atlanta 12-2 109
5.Baltimore 9-5 105
6.NY Giants 9-5 98
7.Chicago 10-4 89
8.New Orleans 9-5 87
9.Green Bay 8-6 77
10.Pittsburgh 10-4 72
11.Buffalo 4-10 71
12.Indianapolis 8-6 69
12.NY Jets 10-4 69
14.Detroit 6-8 66
15.Oakland 7-7 61
16. Dallas 5-9 60
17.Jacksonville 8-6 54
18.Kansas City 8-6 53
19.Tampa Bay 8-6 49
20.Miami 8-6 46
21.Cincinnati 3-11 36
22.Cleveland 5-9 35
22.San Fransisco 5-9 35
24.Minnesota 5-9 22
25.Houston 5-9 19
26.Washington 5-9 9
27.St. Louis 6-8 7
28.Tennessee 6-8 5
29.Seattle 6-8 1
30.Carolina 2-12 -38
31.Arizona 5-9 -41
32.Denver 3-11 -42

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Idaho's Top 50 Conservatives

I just found out that I was listed in "Idaho's Top 50 Conservatives" in 2006. Yep, we tore it up that year...and haven't looked back.

I'm Number 38, to be exact. And, yes, I admit to knowing many of the other 50. More than anything I guess that proves that a few people can make a big difference. Just 50 people, and yet Idaho remains one of the most conservative states in the US.

Check it out:

It also makes me realize that people are watching your life - and you don't even know it. I don't have any idea who compiled this list 4 years ago. I know that I was involved in several politically conservative projects - fighting for the FOE Ten Commandments Monument to stay in Julia Davis Park, going to the annual March for Life, praying outside of Planned Parenthood. You name it, I was there. But, this blogger lives in a town 9 hours away from me...and, I was just doing what I know is right. When the Lord says to do things as unto Him, this is what He's talking about. Sure, it's kinda fun to discover (nearly 5 years after the fact) that someone recognized you for your service, but what's really exciting is to know that day-in and day-out your heart is set on bringing glory to your Jesus. That's the list I want to find my name on!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Weekly NFL Ranking

Week 14

1.New England 11-2 179
2.NY Giants 9-4 113
3.San Diego 7-6 111
4.Philadelphia 9-4 107
5.Atlanta 11-2 105
6.Pittsburgh 10-3 101
7.New Orleans 9-4 97
8.Baltimore 8-5 89
9.Jacksonville 8-5 81
10.Green Bay 8-5 75
11.Dallas 4-9 64
12.Miami 8-5 61
13.Chicago 9-4 59
14.Detroit 5-8 53
15.Cleveland 5-8 52
15.Tampa Bay 8-5 52
17.Buffalo 3-10 51
17.San Fransisco 5-8 51
19.Oakland 6-7 48
19.Houston 5-8 48
21.Minnesota 5-8 42
22.Indianapolis 7-6 37
23.NY Jets 9-4 35
24.Kansas City 8-5 28
25.St. Louis 6-7 27
26.Cincinnati 2-11 14
27.Washington 5-8 0
27.Seattle 6-7 0
29.Arizona 5-8 -27
30.Tennessee 5-8 -29
31.Denver 3-10 -34
32.Carolina 1-12 -57

My Weekly NFL Ranking

Week 13

1.New England 10-2 142
2.Green Bay 8-4 104
3.Philadelphia 8-4 102
4.Atlanta 10-2 99
4.Pittsburgh 9-3 99
6.Chicago 9-3 91
7.NY Giants 90
8.New Orleans 8-4 81
8.Cleveland 5-7 81
10.Baltimore 7-9 79
11.San Diego 6-6 75
12.Jacksonville 7-5 69
13.Dallas 4-8 64
14.Minnesota 5-7 60
15.Kansas City 8-4 57
16.Oakland 6-6 55
17.Tampa Bay 7-5 51
18.Houston 5-7 48
19.Miami 7-5 47
20.NY Jets 9-3 44
21.St. Louis 6-6 38
22.Indianapolis 6-6 36
23.Seattle 6-6 26
24.San Fransisco 4-8 20
24.Detroit 4-8 20
26.Buffalo 2-10 17
27.Cincinnati 2-10 11
28.Denver 3-9 4
29.Washington 5-7 -4
30.Tennessee 5-7 -33
31.Carolina 1-11 -56
32.Arizona 4-7 -70

My Weekly NFL Ranking

Week 12

1.San Diego 6-5 106
2.Chicago 8-3 99
3.New England 9-2 97
4.Atlanta 9-2 96
4.Philadelphia 7-4 96
6.Green Bay 7-4 92
7.New Orleans 7-4 88
8.Baltimore 8-3 87
9.Pittsburgh 8-3 86
10.NY Jets 9-2 84
11.NY Giants 7-4 71
12.Miami 7-4 60
13.Kansas City 7-4 56
14.Dallas 3-8 55
15.Cleveland 4-7 53
16.Buffalo 2-9 52
17.Tampa Bay 7-4 49
17.Jacksonville 6-5 49
17.Houston 5-6 49
20.Indianapolis 6-5 35
21.San Fransisco 4-7 27
22.St. Louis 5-6 24
23.Oakland 5-6 21
24.Minnesota 4-7 20
25.Washington 5-6 10
26.Detroit 3-8 7
27.Seattle 5-6 1
28.Denver 3-8 0
29.Cincinnati 2-9 -1
30.Tennessee 5-6 -8
31.Carolina 1-10 -36
32.Arizona 4-7 -61

My Weekly NFL Ranking

Week 11

1.Philadelphia 7-3 110
2.Green bay 7-3 106
3.New England 8-2 86
4.NY Jets 8-2 85
5.Pittsburgh 6-4 83
6.Chicago 7-3 80
6.New Orleans 6-4 80
8.San Diego 5-5 79
9.Atlanta 8-2 77
10.Baltimore 7-3 76
11.Cleveland 3-7 64
12.Jacksonville 6-4 60
13.Dallas 3-7 58
14.Indianapolis 6-4 57
15.Tampa Bay 7-3 55
15.NY Giants 6-4 55
17.Buffalo 2-8 50
18. Oakland 5-5 30
19.Kansas City 6-4 30
19.Washington 5-5 30
21.Miami 6-4 29
21.Houston 4-6 24
22.Seattle 5-5 22
24.Denver 3-7 15
25.Detroit 3-7 13
26.Tennessee 5-5 12
27.St. Louis 4-6 4
28.San Fransisco 3-7 -3
29.Minnesota 3-7 -5
30.Cincinnati 2-8 -7
31.Arizona 4-6 -36
32.Carolina 1-9 -52

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Video on Homeschooling

This little video on Homeschooling is worth watching...if you're a "homeschooler" you'll definitely laugh!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Write a Letter of Complaint

I wrote this letter in response to some finance charges I received in addition to some toll charges. read this letter to a friend to get her opinion on whether I should send it...and, she said that not only should I send it, I should post it up as an example to others who may want to write similar letters of complaint (or, just wish to read it for kicks and giggles)...Enjoy!

November 30, 2010

Express Toll

22470 East 6th Parkway, Ste 110

Aurora, CO 80018

To Whom It May Concern:

I drove through Denver on your toll road as I was moving back to Idaho after being temporarily away. I have driven all over the US and this is the first toll road I've encountered that is not user-friendly, and frankly, in my future travels I do not plan to use it. Certainly, I don't enjoy the thought of dealing with downtown Denver traffic, but after my last experience the negatives outweigh the positives of using the Denver Toll Road.

My first concern is with the poor service offered to those who *do* use the toll road. As you know, there is no option to pay for the tolls right there on the roadway. I was rather confused by this. A few months after returning home I received a bill for the toll and an additional finance charge. Please note that this was the FIRST bill I had received. I NEVER received a bill for just the toll amount itself. When I expressed this concern to your very nice Customer Service agent (and consequently her supervisor), I was told that it was up to me to read the Express Toll signs and go online or call the 1-800 number. It was made clear to me that not receiving the first bill could not have possibly been oversight or mistake, and it was predicated on me to search the bill out (even though I live in a different state, and I had no way of knowing who to contact). I find such logic to be flawed and offensive. I've worked in customer service for many years and I understand how to deal with complaints, and that some people just whine and gripe. That was not the tone of my call, nor my purpose. I was more than happy to pay the tolls since I used the road and was rather befuddled at the prospect of not being able to pay at that time. The issue is that universally accepted customer service rules of 'the customer is always right' and extending a grace period were not enlisted. When I mentioned that most companies have at least a 90 day grace period and reminded the representative once again that I did not receive the initial bill, I was flatly told that "we don't have a grace period". I don't wish to be inflammatory, but not only do I find this to system to be clumsy, I would call billing in such a manner robbery. Honestly, I don't know why you have a Customer Service phone number on your bills if there is no opportunity for discussing a bill and actually serving the customer.

My second concern -and another reason I will not be using the toll road in the future - is on a deeper level. I do not appreciate the technology set up to monitor the cars (license plate numbers, and thus names and addresses) of those who drive on the road. Please understand, as I already stated, for my work I drive all over the country, and I travel overseas on a regular basis. I'm no stranger to transportation, transportation systems, security, etc. That being said, I don't appreciate the invasion of my privacy and right to travel that your system subjects every driver on the toll road to. My freedom and right to privacy is more important to me than avoiding 30 extra minutes of downtown Denver traffic.

All this concern, you say, because of a $5.00 finance charge? Yes. Certainly, as I've explained above, this is a matter of principle to me. However, it's also a matter of economics. These are hard times. I have a budget, and I don't believe in debt, and work every day to pay all my bills and pay my credit cards off. I can't afford to accrue $5 finance charges. $5 is what I spend for meals for 2 days. Having paid the bill - since I wasn't given any other option - I now face figuring out how to eat for the next 2 days.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter, and I hope that improvements will be made for the benefit of those who will drive on the Denver Toll Road in the future.


Elysse Barrett

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My weekly NFL ranking

Week 10

1 Oakland 5-4 105
2 Philadelphia6-3 100
3 NY Jets 7-2 97
4 Green Bay 6-3 89
5 Cleveland 3-6 73
6 New Orleans 6-3 69
7 Atlanta 7-2 66
8 Indianapolis 6-3 64
8 New England 7-2 64
10 Baltimore 6-3 62
11 NY Giants 6-3 60
12 Miami 6-3 54
13 San Diego 4-5 53
14 Chicago 6-3 50
15 Detroit 3-6 39
16 Jacksonville 5-4 36
16 Denver 3-6 36
18 Buffalo 1-8 32
19 Tennessee 5-4 28
20 Seattle 5-4 28
21 San Fransisco 3-6 27
21 Dallas 2-7 27
23 Tampa Bay 6-3 20
23 Pittsburgh 6-3 20
25 St. Louis 4-5 10
26 Kansas City 5-4 8
27 Minnesota 3-6 7
27 Houston 4-5 7
29 Cincinnati 2-7 6
30 Washington 4-5 4
31 Arizona 4-5 -19
32 Carolina 1-8 -35

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Break...

Here I sit in my dorm room on the the eve of Thanksgiving Break wondering why it was 60 degrees here today, while Boise gets snow dumped on it. This is Michigan, not Texas. Oh well, we can't get everything we want...
In reality we get so much more than we deserve. God is so good to us, and I have many things to be thankful for this time of year.
Looking back over this first semester of college, time has flown...
Deadlines have come and gone...
Exams have been studied for and taken...
Papers have been researched and written...
Friendships have been made and tested...
...and through it all God has been full of grace...
my family has encouraged me...
and my friends have strengthened me.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Basketball Season

Basketball season for Covenant Academy is officially underway. I am so excited for this season, well for many reasons (Lets see how many that I can come up with)...
1. I have almost all my girls coming back from last year! this = leadership, skills and mindset tough my way!
2. I have 6 new girls, 5 of which have never played before so I have a big challenge, but who does not LOVE challenges.
3. I had a girl close to her personal best in the Mikan drill on day 1..just wait for a couple weeks. I see alot of personal best set this year.
4.I am coaching this year with Rebecca, Its going to be fun, we are both going to learn alot and continue to establish a coaching philosophy that will push and develop amazing youth on and off the basketball court. Encouraging each of them to go further in life, always be willing to be a leader, friend, and role model!
5.My Defense! Its called "throttle" I spent all spring and summer working on it...and if it works like it does in my head, opponent get ready for a tough night.
6. A really awesome boys team to cheer us on! GO US!

Ok I can go on and on...but I am going to stop there! I will keep you updated. Tomorrow's practice is dribbling and lay-ups! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

My weekly NFL ranking

Week 9
1.NY Giants 6-2 110
2.Oakland 5-4 105
3.Green Bay 6-3 89
4.Cleveland 3-5 83
5.Baltimore 6-2 80
6.NY Jets 6-2 77
7.Indianapolis 5-3 71
8.New Orleans 5-3 69
9.Philadelphia 5-3 66
10.Tennessee 5-3 65
11.Detroit 3-5 61
12.San Diego 4-5 53
13.Kansas City 5-3 49
14.Atlanta 6-2 43
15.New England 6-2 40
16.Pittsburgh 6-2 39
17.Washington 4-4 33
18.Chicago 5-3 28
19.Minnesota 3-5 24
20.Jacksonville 4-4 23
21.Miami 5-3 22
22.St. Louis 4-4 19
23.Houston 4-4 15
24.Tampa Bay 5-3 13
24.San Fransisco 2-6 13
26. Arizona 4-4 6
27.Buffalo 0-8 5
28.Seattle 4-4 -4
29.Cincinnati 2-6 -6
30.Denver 2-6 -10
31.Dallas 1-7 -28
32.Carolina 1-7 -33

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reflection on the Election

As you may know the last few months I worked on a campaign in my hometown of Boise Idaho. I’ve worked on several elections over the years – doing everything from collecting signatures to setting up press conferences - but this was the first time that I’d actually gone knocking door-to-door. Besides it being a very healthy exercise, I found it to be very fascinating. Those of you who know me well know that I have a sort of hobby in trying to figure out what makes people tick – and how they make up their little sub-cultures and the culture at large.

Let me tell you…knocking on someone’s door provides you with prime opportunity to figure them out. Of course, there were categories of people, like: “mean, bitter ol’ grouch”, or the folks that would just answer “I don’t know” to every question you asked. Those were the special ones I marked under the “idiot” or “stupid” category, and as I left their door I prayed the Lord kept them from voting on election day. We don’t need any more idiots making decisions for our country. Now, the district we were working in is considered very Democratic. They’ve had Democratic representation in all of their state-level seats for about 8 years. I was pretty intrigued by what I found…and, I’m convinced that Boise’s not the only place people like this live. Most people were completely clueless, and blissfully so. They didn’t really want to answer any questions having to do with the issues we’re facing today. And, if they did answer many times it was with an “I don’t know” or some other illogical answer. Their body language typically communicated something like… “Look, I know there’s problems out in the world, but I’m denial and I want to put the problems off for my kids and grandkids to deal with. I don’t want to know anything more about these issues because I don’t in any way want to feel responsible…”

The other group of people I ran into went in the “very angry” category. Angry at the upside-down state of our world. Angry at the government, angry at the banks. Angry at everything in sight. Young people angry they can’t get jobs. Old people angry that their family is moving back in with them. Wives angry that their husbands have been out of work for months. On the one hand, I think that being angry is not necessarily a bad emotion – I saw this anger as very incomplete. People were angry, but had no tools to do anything about the situation. It was actually one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. This look of wild frustration and total helplessness in the eyes of folks I was conversing with on their door steps. It made me so grateful to have the peace that passes all understanding and confidence in the victory that the Lord has already achieved in my life – and not only that for this world and the one to come.

Growing up removed from many of the cultural norms, I have to say I *was* surprised at what a strong stranglehold 3 things in particular have over the American population at large: the government school system, the right to healthcare, and personal comforts. I don’t know how many times I heard statements like “I don’t care what the government cuts, but I will never vote for anyone who cuts spending to education. In fact, I will pay *more* taxes if it goes to education.” Or, the old lady who is smoking while on oxygen pontificating that “…it’s about time America catches up to our progressive European friends and provides everyone healthcare…something we all have a *right* to!” I have to admit that more than once my jaw fell open in utter disbelief. A few times I repeated a person’s statement to them just to make sure I *actually* heard them right. People openly believe this? Wow. I have to say, walking the streets in the beautiful city of Boise almost convinced me that personal responsibility, a sense of right and wrong, and common courtesy are things long dead and gone. Yes, the public schools, healthcare, and a general love of personal comforts above everything is certainly deeply entrenched in the American way of life. And, let me make a comment on the national election here. I know many who were and are staking their hopes on this Republican swing. While I’m certainly not disappointed that there is now more R’s than D’s…what I can say is that I recognized more clearly than ever this election cycle that the only real change MUST be individual people and families changing their entire lifestyle to one that’s Biblical. No amount of Republican representation is going to accomplish that.

Well, despite having knocked on hundreds (actually, thousands) of doors…we lost. But, oh, I learned so much. I learned that the only way to fix the problems in a culture is to take the advice of Dodge. Grab it by the horns. We can’t solve problems without facing them. Nor can we solve them without providing solutions. The problems in our culture are so far beyond the “standing around the water cooler and talking about how bad they are” stage. The best way solve the issues in the pseudo-American/Christian culture that everyone seems be in a mad dash to be angry about is to build a new and better culture. Make the old one obsolete by making a better one. One that works. One that values what God made us to value. One that is Biblical. And that takes work. Hard work. Intentional work. Tough decisions. Maybe even crazy ones.

It means seeking to set aside your own comforts and desires at every opportunity. It means pouring your life into the lives of other people. It means confronting their futile thinking and giving them truth, which brings restoration and healing. It means giving children a distinctly Christian education, so they can’t even understand Mathematics without understanding God. It means practicing hospitality – whether we like to or not, because Jesus said to. It means being peacemakers. It means approaching healthcare from a Biblical perspective of responsibility and bearing one another’s burdens. It means changing our perspective of family to include orphans and widows because we are the orphans Jesus chose to save for His own glory and no merit of our own.

It doesn’t mean making a hide-out and separating ourselves from the world. It doesn’t mean eating granola, wearing denim jumpers and driving 15 passenger vans. Those might all be good things, but they’re not the answers. What we’re doing – by the grace of God – is so much bigger than that. It’s brick by brick taking a hopeless culture apart and replacing it, brick by brick, with hope.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Christan History Program 2010

Our school's annual Christian History Program is almost here!!!!

Any and All are invited to attend!!!!

Covenant Academy presents

William Tyndale, Martyr for the Faith

Come celebrate Christian History Week in Idaho with us!!!!

When: Monday, November 22, 2010 at 7 pm

Where: Boise Valley Adventist School Gymnasium (925 North Cloverdale Road
Boise, ID 83713

What: This year’s program will tell of the life and martyrdom of William Tyndale the Bible Translator. The play will be followed by a pie social. Bring the whole family for a night of fun and fellowship.

I will see you there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And the Adventure Continues…

I think the surest sign that God is alive and working today can be seen in the lives of His servants. And, the one thing I can say is that I know of this personally since He’s writing a story for my life that I wouldn’t have ever been able to dream up.

Shortly after moving back home (to Idaho) from Georgia, the Lord provided for me to work on the campaign of a friend of mine who is running for State Senate. He understands the Constitution and the Biblical role of Government, and it’s been refreshing to meet people who are ready and engaged in this cultural war. I’ve come to decide that the front line might be the most dangerous place to be, but it’s also the best because you can see first-hand the self-destruction of those who don’t seek truth and righteousness. We’ll have to wait one more week – ‘til Election Day - to see the results of this particular battle, but we know that ultimately our Lord has won and he has commanded us to fight for His Kingdom without fail. And so, press on we must – knocking on doors, challenging the vain philosophies of our day, offering hope, raising Godly children, living, loving serving. All for Him.

And, like I said before, sometimes those opportunities for service take unexpected twists. I’ll be taking one of those life curves (at typical high-speed) in just a few weeks when I start my new position at Samaritan Ministries International. That’s right, this time I’m headed to Peoria, IL and the central time zone. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for me there…and to be just about 4 hours away from Jacob who is studying away at college! I plan to have my own little abode, and to play hostess as many times as possible. So, if you’re ever traveling anywhere remotely near my new residence, please drop me a line and come visit! Having done this once before I know how tough the transition from big-family life to all-on-my-own life is, and I’m confidently resting that the Lord knows best what He is doing, and walking forward. Of course, I’m also counting on all my traveling friends and family to help me out here and stop by any and every time they can! J

In the meantime, I appreciate your prayers (and advice). And…if you aren’t already a member of Samaritan Ministries, I encourage you to check out their distinctly Biblical approach to healthcare – one of the most crucial needs we are facing in our upside down culture these days!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ask the Grad – Elysse Barrett

I'm featured on Lea Ann Garfias' awesome blog: Whatever State I Am earlier today. Feel free to hop over there and let me know what you think.

Here's a sneak peek...

This week’s Homeschool Graduate is Elysse Barrett. At a mere 25 years of age, Elysse is already a voice in the homeschool and conservative political movement. She was one of the original 100 of Homeschool ALUMNI, the premier network of home educated graduates. Since then, she has served on the policy review committee and director of reunion planning committee before her current position on the administrative committee.

Elysse is active in the political process in her home state of Idaho. Most notably, she has worked tirelessly to insure the wishes of the people there to keep the 10 commandments visible in a public park. She is still working on current political campaigns today.

Elysse has a firm understanding of the unique role home educated graduates will play in the coming years as they shape not only their families and communities, but also the new homeschool climate in general. I am excited to hear from her. Don’t miss the special gift she has for readers at the end!....

Read More here!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Chilean Rescue

I'm probably in the minority on this one, but does anyone else find it disturbing that the Chilean miners are each getting a 6 month stipend from their government? What? Huh? Why? Because anytime people do heroic things or survive horrible circumstances they now are entitled to government aid? Wrong. Totally wrong.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Columbus Day

Today we get to celebrate the man who sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

Some of his own words:

"The great success of this enterprise is not to be ascribed to my own merits, but to the holy Catholic faith and the piety of our Sovereigns, the Lord often granting to men what they never imagine themselves capable of effecting, as he is accustomed to hear the prayers of his servants and those who love his commandments, even in that which appears impossible; in this manner has it happened to me who have succeeded in an undertaking never before accomplished by man. For although some persons have written or spoken of the existence of these islands, they have all rested their assertions upon conjecture, no one having ever affirmed that he saw them, on which account their existence has been deemed fabulous."
I'm posting so nobody can say I never posted on my own family's blog.

Thought of the day

Here is a good thought:
It is not about the harvest you reap today, but the seeds you sow today.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

HSA CO OutReach: My Thoughts

The latest OutReach event took place at the Ellerslie campus in Windsor, CO. Our goals were simple: paint, fix the decks, install a drainage system, lay some sidewalks, enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in Colorado and some good fellowship with friends. As I see the blisters and mosquito bites I acquired that week healing up, I started reflecting on the week from start to finish and realize all that – and so much more – was accomplished.

As folks began arriving from as far away as New York and Massachusetts, and as close as Denver, it dawned on me that most of the group were newbies to the OutReach experience. Yet, the Lord answered our prayers and provided exactly who was needed. We were asked to do a few last-minute additional projects that at first we weren’t sure could be accomplished, so they took a lower priority. However, by the end of the week every project had reached the point of completion – due to the hard work and skill sets of each person who came.

While we worked, sweated and got sunburned, cheerful conversations took place. At any point in time you could walk through each project and hear discussions ranging from theology to history to cultural change. No matter what was being discussed, it was edifying. And when folks ran out of things to talk about the singing started, and one could hear lovely selections of Sound of Music wafting through the halls. J And, at the end of they day, while there might be an occasional comparison of blisters, I never once heard a word of complaining. Everyone was eager to serve the Lord and one another. Rarely have I seen a group so prepared to serve their King.

And, then there was the worship and fellowship. Ellerslie provided daily worship, so that when our bodies were spent, our soul could go and be refreshed. We were challenged night after night to press toward the higher calling we have in Christ Jesus. It’s amazing how one can be so physically exhausted and yet spiritually refreshed all at once. And the fellowship among our group and the folks at Ellerslie can’t be contained in words. Exhilarating is the closest I can come.

The group at this event cried tears of sorrow upon parting. It almost felt like leaving your band of brothers and sisters in the midst of a battle – knowing you’ll always have each other’s backs, even if at a distance. A few days later, after hearing that some pipes had broken and leaked, causing Ellerslie to have to do repairs in the very building we worked in, I was reminded that, yes, we are in a battle. Day in, and day out, whether working together on a project like this or in our day lives scattered across the country - whatever we are doing, we must stand for truth, righteousness, justice, holiness, purity, and Godliness. And should we expect any less? As always, when progress has been made for the Kingdom, what does Satan do but launch an attack. Just one more testimony to the faithfulness of the people at our event.

Usually an event like this can be described in a word or two…but it would take far more descriptors than that. There were so many lessons learned, encouragement shared, life lived, battles won, and dreams dreamed, and the irony of it all is that I would have been happy if there were no paint drips, hammer slips, broken equipment, hurt feelings, or arguments. It was truly an expression of the abundant life we are called to live – and it doesn’t take an event like this to make it happen. All it takes is realizing that we must faithfully serve our Lord who is not only the Great Shepherd, but the one who victoriously fights our battles for us and keeps our hearts knit together in Him.

PS - A big thank you to each person who came and made this event so special!