Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Carnatal, continued

The Carnatal retreat was a lot of fun. Last year I missed it due to my trip to Rio de Janeiro with my sister and brother-in-law, so I was happy to be around for it. This year's theme was "In the Master's Steps," and you can probably guess what we studied. :) We were warned before the retreat started that there would be very little, if any, running water in the house. That meant disposable plates, little chance for showering, and we chose to stop there and try to not think about the bathroom situation! The young people at CDC decided to proceed with the retreat anyway and "rough it" for a few days, as this retreat is one we all look forward to all year. Boy are we glad we did! Turns out the water problem wasn't as big of a problem as we were anticipating, and by Saturday everyone was bathed and smelling fresh! We enjoyed time studying about what we must do to follow Jesus (decide to follow him, deny ourselves, love others, etc) as well as time to just hang out and play a lot of really silly games. They had great Bible-based activities planned (Bingo, a Bible-bowl competition, "find the verse and read it faster than anyone else," Bible character charades) as well as games like musical chairs, etc. Just another weekend that reminded me of how much I love my church family, and why I enjoy living alone! Ha! Enjoy the pictures:

Playing musical chairs where, if you didn't have a chair to sit in, you just sat in someone's lap. We had some visitors at the retreat and..well..I guess this served as a nice way to get to know each other fast. :)

We had lots of free time to spend time together, and the weather was so nice we spent a lot of time on the front porch. Since we didn't have access to a pool this year (no water, remember?) this was a very common scene.

This night we had to turn our clothes inside out in order to be served dinner. It was fine for people like me who were wearing clothes that look the same on the inside as the outside. There were some people who were not so the girl wearing a dress with a polyester lining and the boy wearing swim trunks with netting on the inside. :)

Bible character charades, Marta is acting out Joseph. Took us a while to get what she was doing. But she kept doing this over and over and over and over AND OVER until we understood that she was pulling on her own coat to resemble Potiphar's wife.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I know that all the time I recommend Google Reader for all you blog readers out there, but that was when my blog was ugly and the content was more important than the layout. Well, the tables have turned and now I don't really care what I write about, I just want you to see the pretty new design!! For a while now I had been looking for someone talented enough to commandeer the task of redesigning "Living and Loving," and I finally found just the right person. Her name is Kelly Mann, and I think she's a genius, don't you? I told her basically nothing about what I wanted (i.e. I don't like cutesy, I don't like polka dots, and I want the colors of the Brazilian flag) and TA-DA! She got it right on the first try. Then after she came up with this, I was able to come up with a few tiny details that I wanted (like the flower by my signature and the Bible verse under the header. Really. That's the only thing I added.) But really she did all of it. That's an artist, if you ask me.

So take me off your Reader and put me on your bookmarks, because I want you to enjoy this as much as I obviously do.

Thank you, Kelly! (Click on either of these links to see more of her excellent work.)

I'll be back later to report on the rest of the Carnatal retreat. Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 1 Carnatal

Two posts in one day? THREE posts in 24 hours? What is this, 2007?

Since I'm not sleeping at the Carnatal retreat this year, but instead coming home to sleep in my scary-bug-less house and non-foam mattress, I decided to give you a report on Day 1.

Day 1 of the Carnatal retreat was a success...a success for everyone but Talissa the Car.

Baby's first time getting stuck in sand.

It doesn't look bad...but if you'll notice the color of the front tires, that happened from them spinning helplessly, trying to get out. And no, I'm not an idiot, I was driving on packed sand when a car came around the corner and I had no choice but to veer right. Turns out that was not a wise choice.

Proud to be out of the sand.

Today I am thankful that it worked out that I just so happened to give a ride to three male church members rather than female church members. Had it worked out to be a car full of girls, I'm pretty I'd be getting ready for bed in my car right now rather than blogging.


I have a friend who is a few months in to a 24-month stint in Armenia as a Peace Corps volunteer. This morning I read this post on his blog about missing American food, and I must say it's spot-on. For those of you who have never lived overseas and think it's weird how many times I've talked about Mexican food on this blog, feel free to read his post so that you'll see that I'm not alone.

And don't miss my post below this one, I published it last last night and you probably haven't seen it yet...

Still feeling thankful

Yikes. I've done a much better job about posting lately but the comments aren't reflecting readership. Is it A) because the reader ship is sinking? B) because the readership is shy about commenting? or C) because my posts are too lame to be comment-worthy?

A whole week after I wrote my Thanksgiving thankfulness post, I've thought of a bevy of other things to be thankful for, so since this is my blog and I can't sleep I decided to continue. Here goes...

I am also thankful for:
  • my apartment. I could easily describe this apartment as a dream come true. It sounds like I'm making this up, but not a week goes by that at some point as I'm flicking off a light switch or closing the windows for the night I don't think "I LOVE MY HOUSE." It's true. I dreamed for 1.5 years of living in a place big enough to host church gatherings (like the one pictured below) and church sleepovers and have a kitchen big and efficient enough to actually enjoy cooking in it. God provided all of those things, and I feel BLESSED.
(Lacy, you might be interested to see the blackout curtains, the new couches, and the painting on the wall, the only real additions since you left. Everyone else, there were 27 people in my living room that night. And only two fans. This is a group REALLLLY committed to praising God.)
Well, that about sums it up...for tonight, anyway. I'm getting sleepy. Happy Carnatal everyone! (10 points to you if you remember what Carnatal is. It starts tomorrow, which means the church retreat starts tomorrow as well.)