the stone

Tonight at youth, we all chose a stone that we felt represented us.

DSCF9666

My stone from a distance looked like it is smooth. At a closer look, you’re able to see the small indented imperfections that don’t take away from the big picture, but are still a part of the current reality.  These are the things in my past that have made me who I am, the things that have left scars within me — inside and out.  These are the stories, good and bad, who make me who I am.  Running my fingers over the rock, I felt the small imperfections on what is mostly a smooth rock — though mostly unnoticeable, it is possible to feel my physical scars, and it is possible to notice them if you take a close enough look — a physical reminder of what I have been through.

The stone is dark.  A darkness, a reminder of the stories behind me, still follow behind me — a shadow. These stories are a big part of WHY I am who I am today, and as much as I hate some of the things I have done, some of the places I have been inside, they are why I am here as I am right now. And I cannot change that, and I cannot forget that.  There is not beauty in light until there is that time of fear, aloneness and solidarity in the dark.

On the right side, there is a patch of lighter brown. This represents the light shining through the darkness.  This light changes dependent on the situation — sometimes, this light is the physical sunshine. Sometimes it is simply what is coming out of me from my own perspective.  Most importantly, this light spot is Jesus . . . changing the darkness into light.  This light spot is the question being created . . . why? . . . This light spot is proof that joy has come, that joy WILL come, and that I am HERE . . . and I cannot let this light get away.  The light spot is the here and now.  The light spot is why I do everything I do.  The light is HOPE.

The dark is the story behind me, the story the sun has set on.  The light spot is why I am who I am . . . and the story that is still to come.

“climbing, from overstimulated states to hearing . . .”

Weightless, Nada Surf

About a month ago, my friends and I went wall climbing.  It is an awesome climbing gym, and we’re planning on going again sometime in the near future.  My friend Dan and I are big into incorporating DOING something into our get-togethers.  While eating is doing something, and we usually do that after, we kind of like getting something to be active about before we eat a bunch of food.  So we play ice hockey or ball hockey . . . or go climbing!

(On that note, at about 11:30 every night, my Fitbit tells me to CLIMB IT. And I tell it “Chill, I am going to bed”.)

Climbing is not an activity I am exactly good at [okay, let’s face it: I am the girl with the proficiency barrier. I do not move skillfully in the majority of regards].  But I really enjoy it, and not only is it a really good workout and my lungs are pretty okay with it–I really enjoy the aspect of being able to exercise AND breathe well at the same time, but I think there is a thrill in it and an amazing high associated with it [literally and figuratively] that is very unique–at least that is what I experience [I am pretty high on life in all regards . . . no drugs needed . . . but sometimes I just get REALLY stoked about things!].  Before the climbing event, the last time I climbed was in grade 12 PE, so it was due time I got up there again!  So, not only do I go out of my way to organize these sorts of crazy climbing events, I totally try to climb whenever I get the chance!  [This is probably totally the fault of my friend Steve at Living Vertical, who is climbing every day in 2012–props, dude! He is full of motivating, and he and his wife Stefanie are full of awesome in all they are doing!]

Tonight, our church’s youth event was to tour a new youth centre and try out their activities, such as an indoor skate park, a gym for basketball and volleyball and stuff, video games, and . . . a climbing wall!  So, of course, I was encouraging the girls in the small group I was leading to get up there!  And, of course, leading by example is the way to go, right?

“when you reach the top”

IMG-20120127-00213.jpg

“as you bottom out

but you understand what it’s all about”

–Love Just Is, Hilary Duff

IMG-20120127-00215.jpg

This is how I finish a rappel, apparently.

It. Was. Awesome.

12 of 12 – november ’11!

On the 12th of each month, a bunch of bloggers from around the world take 12 pictures throughout the day.  Here are my pictures for November 12th, 2011!

November is the time of year for my church’s annual youth retreat to a bible camp about two hours outside of the city.  I fall under the interesting category of “inclusion leader”, so I was one-on-one with a seventh grader [hereafter known as “the girlie”].  We met for the first time at last year’s retreat, but I also went to camp with her in the summer, so the two nights were a piece of cake and super fun!

DSCF9548

12:21 am – cabin room. The girlie is asleep on the top bunk, the bottom is mine [I moved on night two though, since the girlie and I had the room to ourselves!]

DSCF9549-2

7:50 am – cabin. One of those days — winter + my asthma = out for me.  Giving the girlie a few more minutes to sleep before waking her up a little before our 8 am wake-up time [since I know it will take her at least five minutes to actually get out of bed!]

DSCF9551

8:21 am – outside. Yeah, that’s what you want to see right when you get up.

DSCF9557

9:52 am – chapel. OH MY GOODNESS. ELISA AND I MATCH!! :]  COORDINATED LEADERNESS!  [Also, if you need an interior designer and you live near me, please hire her so she does not have to go back to Vancouver, as I will miss her if she does!]

DSCF9558

9:57 am – chapel. The grossest youth game ever.  In which an onion was passed like a hot potato, and participants had to take a bite of the onion when it stopped on them, or they had to sit down. Disgusting.

DSCF9565

1:40 pm – on the rocks. “Creation reveals Your majesty — from the colours of fall to the fragrance of spring, every creature unique in the song that it sings . . ” —Indescribable, Chris Tomlin

DSCF9573

3:12 – dining hall. Yeah, I can play Apples to Apples and Sorry! at the same time.  No big deal.  [Also, yet another 12 where I’m playing Apples to Apples!]

DSCF9574

3:57 pm – dining hall. The official design of the youth retreat.  Our church’s graphic designer is super talented and amazing!

DSCF9585

4:32 pm – cabin. Ready for the Awards Dinner.  This is my semi-rockstar outfit.  Because I don’t do formal.  The girls all looked amazing and all took like an hour and a half to get ready, it was super adorable.

DSCF9608

5:46 pm – dining hall. And the dinner prayer went “God, thank You for pizza.  Amen.”. [Probably some other stuff, too, but mostly it was about the pizza.]  Veggie pizza — I made a new vegetarian friend on the retreat, we met at a workshop on haters and some guy in his small group was jokingly making fun of him for not eating ribs, and he and I exchanged several high fives over how tofu sucks.

DSCF9612

10:23 pm – cabin. The girlie and I came back from chapel [way] early as she was just totally wiped out.  She fell asleep around 9:30, so I had like two-plus hours before I went to bed by myself.  So, i tweeted of my boredom, and Bob came to the rescue! :]

DSCF9616

10:46 pm – cabin. Since the girlie was asleep and I couldn’t leave for snack, the lovely Elisa brought me cookies back! <3  Camp makes super good cookies, these ones were white chocolate, Friday night’s were chocolate chunk.

12 of 12 was created by Chad Darnell.  Check out his blog to see a list of all September 12 of 12s.  Thanks, Chad, for dreaming up this awesome idea to connect people around the world, and for allowing us to infiltrate your blog space for another year!

love is louder than circumstance

You make all things work together for my good.

and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? [. . .] our God is healer, awesome in power . . .

 

I hear ignition in the words off her tongue.  I see the light in her eyes.

This IS the girl I knew last year, but the girl has grown.  I am seeing the change, seeing the love.  And I am blessed, amazed, astounded at the work that God is doing in this girl.

She’s sixteen, and has the beautiful trusting mind and relentless love of a five-year-old.  A glowing smile, and a hug every time we see each other.  And the above are a few of the choice lyrics that overflowed from her heart tonight during worship.

Last year she came but rarely engaged.  Worship was too crazy, too overwhelming for her, and on the bigger, busier nights, she’d often choose to stay home.  This year, I can’t even piece together what changed in her, except that God is doing amazing things through music in this girl.  She runs in every single week, finds me, gives me a hug and then holds onto my shoulders, jumps up and down and says “Kerri! Are we doing worship tonight?!”  And I am so, so happy every time that I get the opportunity to say “YES!”  And then she asks me repeatedly “How long until worship?”

The character of God is changing the character of this girl.  I love that when I least expect it, He opens my eyes through her in such a way that only a big, big, BIG God can do.

I am blessed.

I am blessed by her presence, her heart, her love, her perspective.  Her perception.  Seriously, she caught me tonight, figured out I was tired, and then after worship told me I needed to go home and go to bed.

I am blessed that through some path only an amazing God has created that our paths crossed, and I’m able to be a part of her world–I do one-on-one respite support for her at our youth events on Friday nights.  It’s something I never perceived happening when I signed up to be a youth leader, but it was definitely not an accident.  And it’s an amazing learning experience, not only in working with people with disabilities, but in life.

She opens my eyes every single time.

She teaches me how to trust.  How to engage when the moment is right for not everyone, but for me . . . as she does.  She teaches me how to open myself up to others . . . not for them to see more of me, but for me to see more of them.

She reminds me time and time again that LOVE is LOUDER than circumstance.