Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Youth Retreat, Jodi's Surprise Party & thoughts on self vs. God

Written Monday, April 2nd
Posted April 4th, since editing photos takes for freaking ever.

This weekend we were away on the youth group’s ski retreat as leaders. It was awesome. Beautiful snow, fun games, great talks, worship, good food, and new friends. We got to share God’s truths with the youth, and have meaningful small group conversation. We got to watch them love their friends, and worship God.
Beautiful Sunny Day for driving
Bam, turns to snow partway up the mountain.
Gorgeous, gorgeous snow
View from the Cabin Door
Paul is in his element!
Snow, outdoors and hitting teenagers with snowballs.
This is my favorite photo from the weekend - I found one of the youth girls chilling like this.
I shouted to ask if she was ok, and she said she was resting because it was comfortable.
Ok, I think to myself, you look like you're dead.
Oh youth.

Also, Saturday was more restful than if I’d stayed home! The other girl leaders let me sleep in and avoid kitchen duty since my hip was hurting. After sleeping in I woke up to eat, play some games with some of the kids, and then go take a nap while they were tubing and skiing. After my nap I woke up and chatted with some of the leaders, played more with some of the kids, and got to build relationships without having to sorry about cooking or cleaning. It was a perfect sort of day, with snow falling outside and friends gathered around the fire. If only they had a toilet, instead of outhouse, it would have been perfect, haha.
Mount Seymour Chalet
Sydney - no explanation needed or possible.
I got my own room! Cozy!
Girls Cabin
Lynds and Sam working hard in the kitchen
So many carbs
Me and Paul - love being here!
Ticket to Ride!
Yes that says nude.
I'm a youth leader, I'm allowed.

We had a great weekend with the youth!
Sunday we threw a surprise party for our dear friend Jodi. First, Stefany invited her out for dinner, just the two of them. When they got to the restaurant 5 of her girlfriends were there. The look on her face was so joyful. We ate, we told Jodi stories and we laughed. Sarah made beautiful name tags and goody bags, and we all took time to share what we loved about Jodi.

Lynds, Tracy and Jodi.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Tracy bought Jodi the most beautiful flowers!
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]

Sarah's name tags and treat bags
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]

My awesome leftovers and party favors.
Seafood Flatbread - Salmon and shrimp!
Then I invited them back to my place for dessert – and when we arrived – surprise, all the rest of Jodi’s friends were there! The look on her face that time was priceless – total shock, joy and disbelief. It was awesome. In honour of Jodi’s year in baking school we had a cake decorating contest. She was the judge and had to give an award for the best and worst. Both were tricky decisions. The cakes were ridiculous, but oh the fun we had. There were about 20 of us crammed in our house to celebrate Jodi.
The Cake Decorating Station
The cakes!
This is my cake.
It is in honour of Jodi.
I mixed lemon curd into the white icing, so it would taste like high tea.
I added white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
I'll admit, it tasted awesome.
Something Anne of Green Gables would have loved!
(Spoiler alert, I didn't win)
Paul's cake - pretty good!
He used Jodi's initials.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Sam's Ogopogo cake
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Dustin's "I'm better than Cake Boss" Cake
The Twizzlers were supposed to be a cross in honour of Easter, but the arms fell pretty quickly.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Jenna's pure flower cake.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Jonathan's "Cars" car cake.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Jodi entered a submission as well, but it could not be judged.
It was gorgeous though!
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Cori's Jodi Cake
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]

And from there it went down hill.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
The winner for worst cake was Mike McCallum!
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Yup - pretty bad - notice the plain lays chips?
That's one gross addition.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
The winner for best cake?
Miss Lyndsay Kinghorn!
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
To remind Jodi of Grandmothers bathrooms and everything nice
So said the description.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Getting ready to light 20 sparklers in our small living room, yikes.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
So much light! So much smell of burning.
The Birthday girl!
Miss Jodi Harrison
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Max tried to eat. It was tricky with his cast.
He decided the spoon would be easiest used stuck into his cast.
It worked pretty well.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Chris thoroughly enjoyed his blue/green icing cake.
I wonder if the stains are still there?
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
Almost all of us - Jenn and Corrie had left already
But oh, we look good in black and white.
[© Stefany Mailhiot Photography]
I can still see the glow of the sparklers, the warmth of the conversation and hear the ring of laughter in my head from last night.

And to top it all off, everyone pitched in to help clean and my house was back to normal by the time I went to bed. WHAT UP

Today I woke up happy, my husband next to me, with the smell of spring in the air. Sure my back hurts. And yes, my husband might be leaving for the next two months and we still don’t know when he’d leave. Also? Our landlord is doing some things that are pretty frustrating. Relational tensions around us are tricky, and we are praying for healing for friends. But at the end of last night I went to sleep after a night filled with friendship and fun. I went to sleep with a clean house. I woke up next to Paul. I walked to work with fresh spring air in my lungs.

And yet as I sit here, if you asked me how I am I’d say that, today is a hard day. I’d be torn, because there are so many good things, but I am struggling to trust God in the hard things. Yesterday all the same good and bad things were true, and yesterday I could see God at work in all of them.

Today He seems distant. But He isn’t.
I know He is there.
I know that any distance is not because He has left the situation, but only that I have let my need to control take over.

I don’t like that we don’t know about Paul’s work.
I don’t like that our landlord is being unfair.
I don’t like that I can’t plan well enough to never have problems.
I don’t like that I can’t solve my friends problems.
I want to be in control, I want to be my own savior.

But I already know that that is the path that leads to death.

At church yesterday we were reading from Psalm 36. The beginning of the chapter describes what wicked people look like: Self-righteous (blind to their own sin), self wise, self directed and self focused.

We learned that God is righteous, compassionate, generous and that he blesses us abundantly. We learned that he is worthy to be followed because he is good. Because he cares. And because he loves to see good happen to his children.

So today I say I know I am wicked. I know I am self focused.
I know that my need for Jesus and his saving power is real.
Today I chose God. I chose to trust Him.
I chose to say that today is a good day, because Jesus lives.
Because Jesus is in control, and I am not.

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