Sunday, July 22, 2012

Student Leadership University 201

Now that I'm home for about a week, I can finally breathe again! July has been so busy! Family reunion, soccer camp, and this past week... SLU 201 in Washington DC. What an extremely packed, but so rewarding week! I don't know if I have ever taken in that much learning in a week. I guess I should kind of explain this conference before I dive into the post. SLU is composed of 4 different conferences (101, 201, 301, and 401). 101 is in Orlando. 201 is in DC. 301 is in England and France, and possibly some of the surrounding countries... I can't remember. 401 is in the Holy Lands. One of their main purposes is giving students a 15 to 20 year head start on the leadership world, and I already feel like I am close to that in all the sessions on leadership they threw at us. If I posted everything I learned, people would unfollow my blog because it would be too long! It was a challenging, but amazing week. My dad went as a "school leader" for SRCS and there were about 7 of us girls. Aside from teaching specifics on how to be a good leader, they also enforce things such as modesty, table etiquette (in a fancy setting), and taking the initiative in situations.. which are all leadership qualities.

I do want to share some of the things I learned, though. However, I am looking at my 90 page workbook full of notes, and I have NO idea where to start!!!

We talked a lot about the founding fathers' impact on our country and that yes, we truly were based on Christian beliefs, despite some of Pres. Obama's latest statements. There is evidence all over DC proving it. There are so many things written in the memorials/ monuments. There are pictures of Biblical events in the capitol building. Dr. Richard Land was one of our speakers and he reminded me oh so much of my grandpa. A conservative, believing citizen. He was brilliant on all things America and leadership. One of our discussions were, "Will God bless America?" We used 2 Chronicles 7:14:

          "If my people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." That just about sums that up.

The next part I'm going to share about was from a session on debriefing what we saw at the Holocaust Museum... it was depressing. We talked about abortions in relation to it because the question was raised, "Can the Holocaust happen again?"

Since 1973, 1/3 of the babies conceived have been aborted. That would mean 53 million babies. That is more than the amount of any casualties we have suffered in war for America. You cannot have quality of life (that so many Americans say they want) without first having life.
  • Have we killed the cure for cancer?
  • Have we killed the next Abraham Lincoln?
  • Have we killed the next bold evangelist?
Then, we talked about health care law. haha, that is depressing as well. There is a British guy who has assisted Pres. Obama and this is what the British health care says:
After the elderly reach 59 1/2 (all of my grandparents would qualify):
  • no more organ transplants will be available
  • no more heart surgeries will be available
  • no more stroke remedies will be given
  • no more cancer treatment will be allowed
all because, "they'll die anyways. A 15 year old's health is more important than theirs." That made me want to cry. About 3 or 4 years before my grandpa passed away, he walked into his doctor and the doc found problems with his heart. 1 or 2 days later, we were all sitting in St. Francis hospital for about a 6 hour open heart surgery to correct all 5 main arteries that were clogged. He would have had a heart attack within the week. I cherish all of my years that I had with him, especially the years after the surgery. He died at age 72 on January 25, 2011 of a heart attack, but you know what?? Life is sacred, and there are so many memories I wouldn't have if he had not been allowed to have heart surgery. And I truly would die for any member of my family. Don't tell me a young person is more important than an old person. It is written that "all men were created equal". I am 16 years old and it makes me furious, along with any adult that wants to take a stand on this, that the elderly will have limitations on their basic health. If they are living, God intends for them to be living until he calls those precious people to come home to Him. Sorry if I went off on a political spell. That's actually the first time I've ever written about government and quality of life. :) Once a country forgets God, anything is possible.

Some important leadership lessons I learned:
  • The 2nd chair can sometimes play the most important role.
  • Help your peers reach their capacity.
  • Leaders are readers.
  • Tell on your sins (to God) or they will tell on you.
  • Those who take the time to initiate are the least likely to fail.
  • Our responsibility is to share God's truths in present day language.
  • God loves you as you are, but also loves you too much to let you stay the same.
  • Be convinced in your own mind.
  • Militantly refuse to be shallow. Grace demands more.
  • The attitude of Christ leads to service, community, and worship.
The last thing I will share for now is an acronym given by the vice president of CFA.

Gain knowledge
Reach out to others.
Open your world.
Walk towards wisdom.

Thanks for taking the time to read a fraction of what I learned! I'm sorry if it is of no interest to you, but I really think God is calling me to be more bold about sharing what I'm learning and sharing my beliefs of our most precious Heavenly Father.

Oh, and did you know that Martin Luther King Jr.'s lowest grade was in public speaking??? :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Covenant College's Soccer Camp

This past week, my soccer team and I adventured up north to Lookout Mountain, GA to soccer camp at Covenant College. It have a world of different feelings about camp up there! It goes from having fun, to being completely exhausted, and to laughing until you cry and choke on Gatorade! This year was the best year out of the 4 years I have been. I thought I did well and improved, and so did the others. It did rain on us.. a LOT! Thankfully, it didn't lightning a lot so were able to still play. When it did, we were able to go inside to the gym to play real games and tournaments. The coach there also let us use the cars to get to the field in the rain instead of walking the 1/2 mile to get there which was nice. However, that did give our van a nice smell to ride home in today. ;)

Camp is always really fun in the aspect of growing friendships. I have two very best friends, Madison and Michala, who are the funniest, most encouraging, and best friends I could ask for at Strong Rock. I was thankful I got to room with Madison, who is a prankster and loves doing anything to mess with Michala. Michala is quiet to strangers but is amazing and so... well awesome for me in this time of my life. She was able to walk with me to get the pizza we ordered Wednesday night and it is wonderful to just be able to talk. She is really one of the best players we have and will sadly graduate this year... it's gonna be emotional! Madison is in my class so we will both graduate the year after this one.

That leads me to write about something else... college. My mom and dad asked me if being there at Covenant made me want to go there/ not want to. And really, it did neither. I have loved it since the first year I went, but I just don't know if it's where I need to be. I want it, it just seems that some other schools may be more obvious in my decision of where to go in God's plan. It's going to be a hard decision... financially, spiritually, mentally, and all of those other things. I would really like to go to college with Madison. Am I supposed to? I have no idea. Public or private? I have no idea. And I really need to start praying and trying to get somewhere in my heart and mind of what God wants. I've looked into more places, it just seems that this is going to be one of my first BIG decisions. And I'm thankful for it, because it's forcing me to rely on God for direction.

OH, and Happy Birthday Mom!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

First Family Reunion

This summer, my family participated in something we had never done before... a family reunion! It included all of the siblings of my dad's mom. SO, that meant Pat (Mema), Gordon, and Sylvia, and each of their families and extended family. Mema and Papa brought us. Gordon and his wife, Cheryl, brought their son, Shane, and daughter, Danielle. Danielle is married to Jeff and they have six kids (Aidan, Daniel, Mya, Jonathan, Ty, and Brielle). Sylvia brought her family and is actually 20 years younger than my grandma. She is married to Steve and they have Joseph, Scott, and Erica (whom I have actually met before in my life more than once). That's all the people that came, and there were others that couldn't make it.

But, that's not what I wanted to write about. :) I have 2 stories/ experiences that I want to share. One is on a lighter, funnier note and the other is good but more serious.

On the 4th of July, we went at it allllll day! We started off the day with a hike to see a waterfall that Ty (14) so desperately wanted to see. Let me stop here to say that kid really is a nature boy. He could survive longer than the rest of us if we got lost in the woods. And he had also preceded to tell us on another hike that the cousins had done behind the house, to wear flip flops and it would be alright. (?) Thankfully, my mom didn't let me. hehe. Anyways, it was rough getting there. It was about 30 miles away... and it tool 1 hour 40 minutes. We continually got lost and tried to make light of it but all 3 of the 16 year old girl cousins were crammed in the back. And I was hot and tired already. ;) (hahahahaha) BUT, we made it to the place and started out on our 1.5 mile hike. We also heard pretty loud thunder as we entered. That's not far.. but let me stop again to say we had a 3 year old, a 5 year old, and a 6 year old. That provided for some funny things to be said along the way to water fall. Aidan (3) was carried by Ty on his shoulders and said "teeee" for every tree he saw. Mya (6) was carrying a large backpack stuffed with arts and crafts "to prepare for the Olympics". Long story short, she got carried some as well by Erica (16) who is patient and runs track. Daniel (5) was the funniest to me. He and Scott (20) were right behind me most of the way and the three of us played "Made ya look!" Dad joined our game on the way back. Some of the things we heard... (he can't pronounce his r's and has the cutest voice ever)

"Look, Scott!!!! It's a REAL LIVE bear!! .......made ya look!"
"Look, Kayla!!! It's a PINK power ranger!!! ..... made ya look!"
"Look, Scott!! It's deer poop!!! .... made ya look!"

It got old, but he was cute so he got away with it. Eventually, we made it to the waterfall. It was beautiful. I'll dedicate a post to pictures when we get them downloaded. There was a huge area of large rocks, little rocks, and sticks. All the cousins, even the youngest, were able to climb and play. We were able to make it out eventually and had a nice meal at home. Mom and Papa grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, and we had smores by the fire that night. We also played with fireworks and water balloons. :)

For my 2nd story, Erica and I had a very neat opportunity to share Jesus with Brielle. (We're all 16.) Brielle and her family are Mormon and I actually did not know hardly anything about their beliefs. Erica and I both had wanted to talk to her, but didn't know how or when. But, as I got ready for bed that night in the bathroom, I heard them talking in the game room. When I came out, they were talking about God and differences in our beliefs. SCORE! We ended up staying up until 2 in the morning, talking for 2 hours about everything.. really, everything. It was so special. I can say now that I know a lot about the church of latter day saints. I would love to share more with anybody interested about their beliefs but it's so much that I will save it for later if wanted by anybody. It is really messed up and made me sad as I tried to go to sleep after our talk. She was very defensive, but not angry. Nobody came away from the conversation upset and we all still love each other. She is still were she stood before the conversation. :( But, I am praising God that the seed was able to be planted and I am praying He waters it. I think it gave me a new view in boasting in Christ. I honestly felt "proud to be a Christian". It brought me joy in sharing my faith. I think it is mostly through prayer and practice and studying that we are able to become better at defending what we believe. However, it is on both sides, because Brielle knew how to stand firm. She couldn't give anything Biblical for the "why's" but I realized that she along with many others don't think they need something "biblical" necessarily. I don't evangelize often, regrettably. But, it sure did give me a very strong desire for her to be saved. I want so badly for her and her immediate family to be saved. One of the hardest things for the lost to do is realize they are lost, especially those who so firmly already believe in something such as Mormonism.

Well, that was long, but I hope it was good for a first post. I'll work on the length and excitement. :) It will probably be another week before a post.. I'm off to soccer camp at Covenant College on Monday. Have a great week! :) KayBay