[In order to keep this post organized and my own head on straight, I have decided that it will just have to be a three-pronged post. There’s a lot to write about- what a good problem to have! So much fun stuff going on…]
The Zoo (with 100 first graders)
Friday was spent at the zoo with 100 first graders. Actually, I had four with me, but we entered and exited the zoo with 100 kids and 20ish adults. It was my first field trip on this side of the classroom, and it was a blast! I had fournative Spanish-speaking kids, and we had a ton of fun looking at animals and talking about them in English and in Spanish. I realized that my zoo vocabulary isn’t quite up to par, but I don’t think that was ever taught in a Spanish class. Anyway, I had also spent last week teaching them about the rain forest and desert, so they recognized a lot of the animals we saw from pictures, books, and discussions. They got to feed a giraffe as well as llamas, deer, and goats at the petting zoo. A couple kids asked especially great questions, and in the relaxed atmosphere, I think we all learned a lot. For them, it was about animals; for me, it was about teaching.
The best quote was from our time in the African Aviary. There were several eggs lying on the ground, and one little boy said:
“The ducks aren’t being responsible with their eggs! Look! They aren’t gonna hatch because they aren’t being responsible!”
He was so concerned about this. They were all disturbed when we saw a half-eaten egg in another food dish. What irresponsible animals!!
Girls’ Get Away
What a great 22 hours we had! There were about 30 girls from ASU and 10-15 (I think) from Embry-Riddle, so we had a house full of girls! We arrived Friday night and had a session with worship and speaking and prayer. I prayed for strength (after my day at the zoo and 3ish hours of driving in traffic to get to Prescott) and the heart to be there with purpose, and God was faithful. He did good stuff that night! I didn’t make it to the campfire, however….bed called my name.
On Saturday morning, we had breakfast, and then painted. It was the coolest “Artistic Expression” time I’ve ever had, mostly because it was directed. We painted with watercolors a representation of how we see ourselves, and how God sees us. When we shared afterward, it was a really cool time of seeing the other girls’ hearts in an open and safe setting. Next, we had another session with the theme of Warrior Princesses, and then headed off to lunch.
After lunch, a cool God thing happened that may not seem spectacular, but truly was. A bunch of girls sat around in the cafeteria, and we ended up talking frankly and openly about real issues that usually get ignored or glossed over. It was a really safe time that led to prayer for each other and agreements to hold one another accountable in weak areas.
When we left the cafeteria, we packed up a little before speed-bouldering. I really wanted to go bouldering while we were there because, well, the boulders are right there! We didn’t have a ton of time, so we literally ran from one set of boulders to another, climbed to the top, enjoyed the view, and climbed down. It was fantastically fun! Then, we got to do a little bit of the ropes course, which was also super fun. It was physical play like kids do, except with adult-sized equipment, and I didn’t realize how much I needed it! I got to swing like Jane on a rope. 🙂
We debriefed, cleaned the camp, got ready for Ladies’ Night Out, and cleaned some more before heading out. It looked like the biggest bridal party ever in the bathroom.
[It really is a pity that this post is getting so long. If you are still reading right now, congratulations! I guess two fun-filled days make for one fun-filled post.]
Ladies’ Night Out
Ladies’ Night Out was amazing. It was a night full of honor, appreciation, unspoken challenge, and grace.
The guys from Embry Riddle and ASU did everything they could to honor us. It started with valet parking (which I didn’t realize in time to take advantage of) continued with an escort in to a coronation for each of us, two at a time, complete with tiaras and a declaration of “Princess Angela.” What fun! They fed us a delicious, authentic dinner of poached pear, chicken or beef, and the best peas I’ve ever eaten, and served cheese tarts (mmm!) for desert. The entertainment was hilarious and encouraging, and included a video (of ER guys) reenacting a battle between the Evil Org and the knight.
The guys said over and over again how much they appreciated us. They had a letter for each of us at our seat that said how much we bless them, and each letter had a hand-written verse (different for each girl) with it. They put a lot of time and energy into the whole night, and I don’t even know the half of it. We definitely felt appreciated.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I definitely felt gently challenged to be the woman God has called me to be, especially in my relationships with guys. I’m not always sure how to do this, and I’m definitely learning a lot (like: don’t ignore them :P), but I want to do this better. I want them to know that I see them being and becoming strong men of God, and I am blessed when they step out to do that in little and big ways. It makes me want to follow, which is, I think, the way things are supposed to be.
I had heard about this from last year’s LNO, and the guys did it again this year. They apologized for the ways that guys have misused and abused and not honored us as women. Knowing what some of the girls in that room have experienced with guys, I prayed that it would sink in and that faith in God to renew guys just as He renews us would grow. There was a lot of humility in that, and it was a mark of the grace of God in these guys’ lives.
So that’s that…what I could type up in a few minutes before church this morning. Thanks to all the guys who made LNO possible. Thank You, Jesus, for Your work in it all. Be glorified!