Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Wonderful World of Relay Part 2

I have no way to really put the experience of relay into words. To understand how moving and amazing it is you just have to experience it. Boone County relay did theirs inside. I'll admit it wasn't my favorite but it was still a great experience. Here is a brief rundown of what goes on at Relay events. 
Every Relay starts with an opening ceremony including speeches from someone who was personally effected by cancer. If you attend a relay make sure you have a box of tissues with you during the opening. Right after the opening speeches it kicks off with the Survivor lap where all the survivors walk a lap together. This year the track was in Mizzou Rec center and it went around two separate rooms. As we left the main room and crossed into the second half of the track where the indoor tennis/basket ball courts are Ed (the head of our local ACS office ran in and started clapping from below. When everyone playing on the courts realized what was going on they stopped playing and stood and clapped the entire time made our way around the track. Thanks Ed you made that experience all the more touching. After the survivor lap they have the caregiver lap. This is my favorite lap because it honors those who spent countless hours meeting our every need. Shawn was an amazing caregiver and I'm always proud to walk that lap together with him at my side. 
Our team had a lot of fun both on the track walking and while we were sitting and working our booth. Our team was called the Imagnieers. Thanks to all my team for participating this year. 
A huge thank you also to those who donated items to sell at our booth and to those who donated money to our team. In total our team raised 900 dollars which was honestly more than we thought we would raise considering we were a pretty small team.

 Part of the fun of Relay is visiting all of the team booths. There are so many fun little games for the kids to play. Plenty of things to shop for and buy, amazingly good food, and more than anything lots of fellowship with others who have been touched by cancer in some way or another. 
One of my favorite parts of the Relay is the luminary ceremony. After another tear jerking speech they light all of the luminary's and shut the lights down. Th luminary's are meant to honor and remember those who lost their battle and to encourage and support those who are still fighting or have won. This year they lit ours with glow sticks and instead of having volunteers and committee members light them they had survivors and their caregivers light them. Somehow a bag with my name on it ended up next to a dear lady who lost her battle the previous year. It was my cousin's husbands grandmother. An incredible women I looked up to even tough I never had the honor of meeting. For that reason I went straight to her luminary and lit it. Shawn lit the one next to it with my name. We then helped light several of the others in our area.

 Once they are all lit they turn the lights down and we walk in silence then to some very powerful music. There are not words to express what this part of the night is like. Its something everyone should go and experience.


The way it works is people are able to buy these bags and decorate them and each bag your team sells goes also to your team total. Our team sold several luminaries. After Relay is over people go and collect the bags they bought so we went and collected all of the ones that people bought that were associated with our team. Several of them were bought by people in other states that were not there. My cousin got a pictures of all of them after Relay was over. 

Not everything is serious at Relay though. One of the crazier things is the crowning of the Relay Queen. They had a short pageant with talent show and dancing. It was a hoot! The only rule to being a Relay Queen is that is has to be a guy. 

They also did a relay character contest this year.There were so many great characters it was hard to choose a favorite.

I think my favorite was Jack Sparrow. Not only was his costume amazing but he also happened to be my old college adviser. Its such a small world!

Our Relay ran from 5PM to 5AM. While our team had a few extra people that stayed till the middle of the night there were four of us that stayed the entire 12 hours. 

Most of the teams packed it up early this year.

We were determined to stick it out and do whatever it took.

The later it got the funnier life got.

Finally 5AM rolled around and we packed things up and went home for a few hours of sleep. It was a great weekend full of family, friends, tears and laughter. I can't wait till next year maybe we will see you there!

The Wonderful World of Relay Part 1

My cousin and her husband came up this weekend to join us for Relay for Life of Boone County. Afton and I always look for an excuse to get together and this was a great one. Not only because we got to spend 12 non stop hours with each other but because we also spent many hours emailing and talking on the phone to prepare for this. We decided to have a team and because she is little miss crafty w figured we would sell home crafted things at our "tent". We had local artists donate jewelry, pottery and a hand sewn bag. She also made some jewelry and brought stuff that she had quilled. Our bigest seller was TuTu's. We decided to make and sell Tutus because as a mom of three little girls we knew that every little girl would want them. What we didn't expect was that boys, older girls and even some adults would want them.
Afton took this one as we were trying to count and organize all the Tutu's.
Once w had all the TuTu's loaded in the car I couldn't resist getting a picture. It was like a princess explosion! 
After weeks of hard work it all came together and we had a fantastic booth.

Even Mickey couldn't resist our TuTu's!

At the end of the night we had only two lonely little TuTu's left. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ride the Leviathan: How Big is Your God?

We had the awesome opportunity to work a week of camp at White Oak. Ok so it wasn't a week it was a weekend and we only worked one day of that weekend. I should start this over and say we had the awesome opportunity to work a day at White Oak this summer well part of a day anyway. This summer's theme was "Ride the Leviathan: How Big is Your God?" I don't know about you but my God is pretty freaking big! 

It had been many years since I visited White Oak but that camp holds special meaning to me. It is where I met and fell in love with Shawn 13 years ago. It also happens to be where we got married nearly 12 years ago. A lot has changed over the years at White Oak and yet not much really has. I wish I could say that this is the shelter we were married in. That shelter was torn down though. Now when you stand on the bridge as we did that special day 12 years ago all you end up seeing is the bathrooms.

White oak is still a beautiful place surrounded by Gods love. Sometimes I forget just how nice and peaceful it is there. We had time between our classes to just sit and enjoy the beauty of the place.

Its such a pretty open space. I don't remember everything being so stinking far though. After the third trip to the car for lesson materials and diapers I ended up pulling the car close to the shelter we were teaching in. I guess this now makes me old. 

 I had a heck of a time keeping up with Jo. Jolie wasn't as big on just sitting. She found joy in running the open space.

 Eventually she led us off to a part of the camp I never even knew existed. I realize that I was never a traditional camper there but of all the times I have been out to White Oak for camps, work days, and other various reasons I'm amazed that I didn't know this was there.

What a cool little hidden place. I'd love to spend a little more time just sitting quietly at the foot of the cross. 

Shawn and I had a lot of fun teaching together. He did an object lesson to show how big our God is and how He can take something like mud and dirt and purify it. Leave it to him to find a way to plug in a nerdy science lesson about filtering water!

The girls of course helped us teach. This was a great experience for them because just a few weeks later they got to attend another church camp. Once they saw what goes on they were a million times more excited about going of to camp. .
 The best part of camp was of course the chapel service. There is nothing like worshiping at camp in the chapel to make you realize the awesomeness of God.

 I'm not sure who got into it more the campers or the helpers?

The skit team was incredible. They helped us learn that sometimes things can be really hard. 
Sometimes things can even seem impossible.
But when you have a great big God...ANYTHING is possible! Wait a sec...are we saying Chris is God?
I don't think so lol!
He may not be God but he gave us a really great message about our Great Big God!

Thanks White Oak for teaching us just how big our God is. We hope to see you again next year!