Friday, May 30, 2008

Sooo... About That Whole Amusement Park Thing.

We took the high school students to Knoebels on an end-of-the-school-year trip today, which has always been a favorite place of mine since I was a young girl. So many memories are built into this park and they are all good!

But I found out today that I just can't handle amusement parks like I used to. We took the students on a trip here three years ago, and I had a little bit of a rough day then, but just thought I was having an off day. Well today proved to me that amusement parks and I must remain friends at a distance. I went on the tame rides today and felt sick to my stomach. After getting off the first ride, I felt awful. I managed to get through the day, but that meant no roller coasters! The Tilt-a-whirl was the last ride of the day, which was a mistake. Even now, hours later, my stomach is still a little shaky.

But I'm glad I went along. My group was the 10-12 grade girls (pictured below) and it was a sweet time... one final time. Three of these girls are graduating next Saturday.

We finished out our school year yesterday, which means that a chapter of my life just closed. I have greatly enjoyed teaching and working with these girls and other students over the past three years. You know the saying, "time flies when you're having fun"? That has been true of my time at EBA. I loved having the privilege of being in these teenagers' lives and finding out the good and the bad. Each day held it's own joys and trials, and I thank the Lord for every school day. When I came home from my trip out West, two of the senior boys were sitting at a table working on Accounting when the one said to me, "Miss Hammond, I'm really glad you're back."

Now if it weren't for the Lord doing a work in my life, I would say I am being pretty stupid walking away from a job I greatly love; away from great students. How silly that would be to throw away the relationship I've built with my students, BUT the Lord is moving me on to Thailand.

So this is a bitter-sweet day of my life. Another school year is over, and the desks are all cleaned out. The lockers have slammed shut for a final time and the hallways will be silent for three months. The shouts of laughter and excitement will soon be but a distant memory and the classrooms will be silent witnesses to all that took place in a span of 180 school days. A senior class will be moving on, never to return as students. And one particular teacher will be in another country at the start of the next school year. I'm glad I had this final day to spend with "my" students, queasy stomach or not!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Accent? I Don't Have One!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
North Central
The Northeast
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I most definitely am from Pennsylvania - born and bred! Having a voice for TV and radio? That wouldn't be too bad if I didn't have a lisp:o).

Updated Blog.

Just to let you know, I've updated my Thailand blog for those of you who are interested. I figured it out tonight that I have 76 days until I depart for Thailand. I would appreciate your prayers, especially for some situations going on in that part of the world right now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Giggles And Grins.

So I'm slightly behind in posting (I was going to say pictures, but then realized I haven't posted anything)! Here are three brief, but telling, pictures of my past two weeks:

Rolling down a hill in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You have not truly enjoyed life until you've thrown caution to the wind and rolled down a hill giggling the whole way down!

At the Badlands in South Dakota. Cameras don't even begin to capture the beauty, so I won't even try to do so here. Has anyone ever visited the Badlands?

A sibling-with-their-families photo at the wedding.... well, minus a sister-in-law, sister, and a couple of nephews!
Most of the family has left town, and life is slowly returning to normal. I'll catch ya around later!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sense Of Humor!

So I thought I should let my bloggy friends know that the Lord has a sense of humor and proved it to me again on Wednesday:o).

We left for the airport Wednesday, absent-mindedly took a wrong turn (as in, heading west to Des Moines, Iowa instead of towards Chicago), realized our mistake, backtracked 14 miles, got at the airport at 10:50 (my flight was leaving at 11:26), checked my bag (late), prayed my way through security, and got to my gate just as my name was being paged and the door was being closed. The time it took to get from the beginning of the airport to my plane? 20 minutes. The time my plane left? One minute after I boarded:o).

When I landed in Philadelphia, I knew my bag didn't make it onto the plane with me. I praise the Lord for my sister and brother-in-law living near the airport and being able to pick it up for me when it came in on a later flight. Since my brother is getting married this weekend, my sister and brother-in-law were able to bring my suitcase up with them today. I always travel with my Bible and contact/glasses in my carry-on, so I didn't have any "immediate" needs:o).

The sense of humor was revealed during the service Wednesday night. My Pastor was preaching about not sweating the minute things. I think the Lord had me go through that whole "ordeal" at the airport earlier in the day, just so I would have a fresh lesson of application for the preaching:o). Isn't God good?!?

All that being said, my camera cord was in my suitcase (which I just got back tonight), so no pictures yet of my trip! The next few days will be taken up with wedding/family/Memorial Day stuff, so hopefully I'll be able to post the pictures after the "busyness" dies down:o).

Would you mind praying for the wedding this weekend? There's going to be some people at the wedding who aren't Christians, so please pray for witnessing opportunities. Some of you know my brother personally, so I would really appreciate your prayers!

Monday, May 19, 2008

6 Days - 2,000 miles.

Boy, am I tired.

And that's not an understatement.

I'm sure some of you are wondering just where I am; I, at times, wonder that too! I left last Tuesday night on a whirlwind of a trip that has taken me over the most amazing handiwork of God's creation.

My trip started in Philadelphia (routine), continued to Chicago (more of the same routine), but really picked up once my sister-in-law and I started out at 11 PM for a 10-hour drive up to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for my graduation. Once we got out of the Chicago area and away from the interstate, we faithfully followed our GPS down back country roads through Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Let me tell ya, those are some flat, flat, areas! But they were also very nice to drive through. Where else do you have the luxury of driving 75 mph legally?:o)

We arrived in Sioux Falls late Wednesday morning (btw, Sioux Falls is the biggest city in South Dakota ~ so we were back to an actual town!) To give you some idea of this grand place in the Midwest, our hotel didn't have an elevator... only stairs. That was a lot of fun dragging the suitcase up two flights of stairs:o). After spending the afternoon enjoying a nice lunch, viewing the waterfalls, and going go-karting (is that a word?), we headed to church for the mid-week service.

Thursday was spent doing "graduation" stuff: practice, luncheon, and then the actual graduation. I was so thrilled to walk across that platform and receive my degree! What a great blessing, privilege, and honor that the Lord gave to me! This was definitely an answer to prayer:o).

Friday morning found us heading out early, early, early in the morning (to the tune of 5 AM!). Since Sioux Falls is only about 45 minutes into South Dakota, we had quite a trip ahead of us to get to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. Along the way, we noticed how flat the eastern end of South Dakota is, but as soon as we crossed the Missouri River, the mountains popped out from no where. It really was a beautiful drive; I would recommend it to anyone.

It was such a busy day exploring the Badlands, which were absolutely breath-taking. As we walked on the various trails, we were excitedly watching for rattlesnakes... but we didn't find any. We heard some, but I suppose they had better sense then we did in keeping hidden!

We also went to an 1880s town that was set up with original buildings from all around South Dakota. I really wished we could have stayed in the area to explore more, but we eventually continued on to Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore is 5 hours beyond Sioux Falls, so we worked it into our travel plans, since we figured we will probably never be out that way again. What we didn't plan on was going to Wyoming to meet up with an old friend of my sister-in-law. Call us crazy, but we travelled the extra 4 hours from Mount Rushmore to Casper, Wyoming. The amazing thing about Wyoming is that it is full of ranches and mountains. You can go 70 miles and not reach a town. I'm not even talking about a town with a traffic light:o). We stopped at this little hole in the wall for dinner (which was the place to be because everybody knew everybody else there!). Once we left there, we drove 90 miles before we finally came to Casper, one of the "bigger" Wyoming towns with a populations of 49,000.

Saturday morning was spent at a horse ranch that was quite literally out in the boonies. I found it quite amusing that a state road was down a dusty, gravel path. That was neat to see the teens show off their horses, but after a while, it was a little much just standing around watching someone ride a horse for hours on end.

The highlight of going to Wyoming was going to a place called Independence Rock. Go ahead and Google it:o). My niece and I climbed all the way to the top - 131 feet in the air. As I started up the rock and saw the steep incline, I headed over to where some large boulders were resting and was just about ready to climb up when my sister-in-law's friend said, "Anne, you might not want to go over there. There will be rattlesnakes in there for sure!" That was enough to convince me to head up the steep slope!

The climb was definitely worth it, although I thought for sure I was going to fall back down the whole rock. When I got to the top, I just stared at all the miles and miles of mountains and plains and thought how good God was to let me take part in His creation. My niece and I sat on top for a while talking about the pioneers who travelled on the Oregon Trail and climbed that rock in order to write their names on it. That must have been quite the sight to behold!

Like anything else, all good things come to an end. We left at 8 AM on Sunday to start the drive home. We would have preferred to go to church, but the morning service didn't start until 11:30 so we listened to some mighty powerful preaching CDs all throughout the day. It wasn't ideal, but the Lord knew our hearts.

If you are ever travelling across Nebraska, be prepared for a l-o-n-g drive. It took us over 10 hours to cross the state (although we did stop for dinner and also visited with a former member of LVBC ~ Pat Baker, for those who might remember her). That state was the longest one I have ever driven through; it's not something I want to repeat anytime soon!

We drove all through the night and 24 hours later made it back to my brother and sister-in-law's house. Just a couple of more days here, and then it's home for a family wedding... the fun never ends:o).

I know this was a long post, but I write as much for myself as I do for readers. Hopefully when I get home I'll be able to post some pictures that will explain all this writing:o).

This has been, by far, my favorite vacation I have ever taken. In addition to being in 5 new states, I also saw some amazing places that just point to the fact that God clearly did create everything. This has been such a sweet trip and I truly am grateful the Lord gave me the opportunity to go.

But I think I'm going to get some sleep now... getting 3 1/2 hours of sleep over 40 hours just doesn't do the trick:o).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Worth A Grin!

In reading the news this evening, I came across this title that make me chuckle:

Canada can't find 41,000 people it wants to deport

Can you just imagine the conversation going on in that office?

"What do you mean, you can find 41,000 people?"

"Well I thought it was your responsibility to watch them this week!"

Good times, good times!

I hope they find them soon;o)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Local, New Testament, Baptist Church.

I had such a great day in the Lord's house today! For Sunday School, we studied Hebrews 10:24-25 using the Seven Step Bible Study Tool method (the link will explain what it is), which was just great. All week long, I would read those two verses over and over again in my personal devotions and just walked away with a blessing each day. We were given about 45 minutes to discuss the verses in our various classes, but my class only got through step #3. The discussion was really good though!

For the morning service I was in nursery (which was very edifying, I assure you!);o). But then tonight in church... wow! Let me just share a little bit from the message. The assistant pastor preached on "The Believer's Responsibility To The Local Church" and had five quick points:

  1. Join the church
  2. Attend the church
  3. Serve the Lord through the church
  4. Give through the church
  5. Love the church

The thing that Bro. Ronnie mentioned that got me thinking was this: God values the local church and if I don't, then I don't value what God does.

In short, God has placed me in the exact local church He wants me at. I praise the Lord for Lehigh Valley Baptist Church and am so thankful I have never had to go "church hunting". God placed me here at LVBC 11 years ago, and as far as I'm concerned, this is where I belong and am staying until God picks me up and moves me along.

Although I plan to be gone for a year in Thailand, that trip is under the auspices of my home church. My local church is the place I plan on coming back to when this next missions trip is over.

Someone recently told me I am a nun. When I asked what that meant, the person replied that I'm always doing things with the church. AMEN! That's the best place for me to be at... although we do have a joke about the Baptist Nunnery;o).

The last question of the night Bro. Ronnie asked was this: Am I ministering to the body of my local church? That's the way it should be!