Berea Week One


Wow! This week is flying by! It seems like yesterday that I was in my gorgeous hotel room in Houston ordering room service for the first time in my life, when in all reality that has been over a week a go and I am now starting my sixth full day in Berea. And I’m not even in Berea right now! I am at Laurel Lake Baptist Camp where I’ve been since yesterday morning for our BCM Leadership Retreat. Five of my seven students were able to come and we have had a great time of learning, preparing, and sharing with each other.
Yesterday, Virgil Grant came and talked with us about leadership and conflict. He also helped us begin the journey of casting our vision for the ministry and the year.
After Virgil left we worked on calendaring, brainstorming, and casting a vision for the BCM this year. After dinner we shared our stories with one another. I wanted this group of students to hear where I was coming from and what my background was. I also wanted to hear more about their lives and how they got to where they are today. It was so awesome to hear how the Lord has worked and moved among them to mold them to where they are today.
Oh yeah, did I mention that I drove the students hear on the Akidio? Aka, a bus that holds almost 20 people. Crazy! I never thought I would be able to drive it, but I did and I can.  There is so much more I could say about the retreat, but I want to get to what the rest of this week has looked like as well.
Let’s go back to last Wednesday, the day I officially moved to Berea. I left my parents house that morning and headed to Louisville to pack up the essentials and then headed to Berea. I arrived at Travis and Christie’s house around 4 pm. Here I was welcomed in like part of the family immediately.
Travis and Christie run a boys home and non profit Christian home for people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions as well as an array of other problems and issues. Their ministry is called the Gilmin Group and they run it out of their actual home. They have the capacity to host up to 15 people right now at any one point in time. When I moved in their were 8 people already there, Travis, Christie, Gracie & Andrew,their kids, Margarite, Michael, and Nikki who were all part of the Gilman Home, and then Ben, their foreign exchange student from South Korea.  Oh yeah, and on top of all the people there are 4 dogs, Gabe, Brutus, & Angel, the Lynch’s dogs, and Bo Bo, Michael’s dog. Not to mention I plan on bringing Baylie down to stay with me eventually.
Travis & Christie have had more than 40 people come through their home in the last 3 years. Before I moved here I couldn’t imagine what that would be like, but I am learning more and more everyday.  It has been an eye opening and humbling experience to live with and serve with them.
I could go on and on about this, but let’s look at what the next few days looked like. After I moved in and we had dinner I went with Christie to take Gracie to a wednesday night program at a near by church. Then we came home and had our bible study.
Thursday, I woke up and went with Christie to take Gracie and Michael to school in Berea. Then we went to walmart in Richmond to go shopping. After that we went home and I working on some stuff for the Progressive Dinner before I headed back to Richmond to meet with Jon. We met about the year and ran a couple of errands before I headed back home. Not a lot went on the rest of the day, other than Nikki leaving the house. She had been my roommate, but that didn’t last long.  She couldn’t handle the rules and policies of the house and chose to leave. It was hard! I really wanted her to stay and get some help. She reminded me of my sister in more ways than one and I wish I had had more time with her.
Friday I took G & M to school again with C, and we went grocery shopping for the community mentor meeting I was going to have and for the Leadership Retreat. Christie and I also drove around meeting different people I would be working with. Then we headed home for a little while before going back to Berea to take Christie’s grandma to her hair appointment before delivering pillows to the international students at BC. Then we picked Gracie up from school and went home. That night I went to Richmond to meet Trenton and drive an EKU International Student to pick up her boyfriend from the airport in Lexington. It was an extremely late night, but a lot of fun. I got home around 2 am and went straight to bed.
Saturday was our sleep in day and our waffles for breakfast day. Yum! Not a lot happened Saturday. I went to Richmond for a little while, but other than that I hung around the house and prepared for Sunday and the retreat
Sunday I got up and went to FBC Richmond with the entire house. I liked it, but I do want to try other places out before I commit to going anywhere.  As soon as we got home from church, I ate really fast, loaded up my car, and headed to Berea for the Carnival of Congregations on campus. This was going to be where I met some of my leadership for the first time. Rosemary met me at the old BCM building and helped me load more stuff in my car before heading to campus.  At the CC we made contact with about 35 students and I also got to meet, Brittany, Courtney, and Tommy. After the CC was over we went to Bethel for our community mentor/leadership team dinner. After that was over and I dropped the students off on campus, I headed to Richmond to pick up the bus before heading home.
That brings us to Monday morning. I met the leadership team on campus at 8am and we left from there for Laurel Lake. Which brings us full circle to where I started writing. There is much more that can be said and I am processing through a lot right now, but that is what is going on in my life. Hopefully I won’t wait almost a week before writing next time, because this took me an hour to write out on my phone.
Now to finish what I had been typing on my phone Tuesday morning and hopefully get my blog up to date.
Tuesday I woke up way earlier than I planned (5:30 am) so I took the time I had to myself in the quiet to write what you have read to this point.  Later that morning we met for breakfast and then I sent everyone out to spend some time with just them and the Lord.  Reading his word, praying, and reflecting.  For me it was an awesome time to pray for what is next and ground myself in the Word that He has given us to follow.  After that time we spent some time in prayer as a group for the year, for the campus, the students, the faculty, and our ministry at Berea College.  After that we loaded up in the Akido and headed back to Berea.  I dropped them off on campus and headed to Richmond.
In Richmond I dropped the bus off, dropped stuff off at the BCM for Jon, and then went to lunch with Kaitlin (the one friend I had before moving that lived in Richmond and was not in college. I do know a few others who are in college).  Kaitlin is “inducting” me into Richmond life while I am here.  Our first stop was Opal’s – a southern cooking restaurant.  The food was yummy and not super expensive! It was so great to catch up with her and share what was going on in my life.  I am excited to have someone so close that I can talk to about stuff.
After lunch, I headed home to rest for the rest of the day. Which was much needed after the retreat.
Yesterday, Wednesday, Christie and I started our running plan.  We are running/walking/jogging 2.2 miles everyday now in Berea after we take Michael and Grace to school.  It went well yesterday, minus the fact that I wore the wrong socks and developed blisters on my heels.  Then we ran a few errands before heading home for awhile to get some work done.  In the afternoon we went to Richmond to run a few errands before picking the kids up.  We had some free time before picking them up so we also went to the candle outlet in Berea. It is so awesome, and I doubt I will pay full price for a candle again.  Well at least not as long as I live in this area.  The rest of the day was pretty low key, we picked G&M up, went home and had dinner as one big family.  Then we did our daily bible study, before Travis, Christie, & Grace went to Pilot Knob for G’s Bible and Bow’s class.  She got to shoot a bow and arrow for the first time last night.  Which she really enjoyed.
Today, Thursday, Christie and I took M&G to school and then hit our running path.  We increased our actual running distance in the beginning by about 1/2 a mile.  My heels were killing me from yesterday, but we took about 40 seconds off of our entire time from yesterday.  We aren’t going fast and we do walk about half of the time if not a little more.  Hopefully before long we won’t walk at all, gotta get this blisters gone though.  After our jog we went home and got ready for the day.  I had a really good discussion with Travis before I headed back into Berea.  I am currently at BC&T (Berea Coffee & Tea) where I just finished up a meeting with Rosemary, the BCM President.  I have a few things to do the rest of the day before heading back to the house.
I am hoping to post soon about what I am learning and delve into a little more detail on a couple things.  Here are some prayer requests that I want to share with you right now.  1. for my personal relationship with the Lord, that it is consistent and meaningful. 2. for my Leadership Team and their walks and their ministry this year. 3. for the BCM and its impact at Berea College.  4. clarity for my job and some of the issues I am dealing with. 5. The Gilmin home and the ministry that we have there.
If you have any questions let me know!

Paula Deen’s House Seasoning

Seasonings can be one of the keys to a good dish and let me tell you, this one is amazing!  I use it on grilled chicken, veggies, & burgers the most, but I would try it on pretty much anything that I grill.  Paula Deen is one of my favorites and even though she doesn’t always have the healthiest recipes, they have never failed me.  So here it is, her famous house seasoning.

*Disclaimer: this is not an original recipe. I do not deserve the credit. It is a Paula Deen recipe*

1/2 cup salt
1/3 cup ground black pepper
1/3 cup garlic powder

Mix together in a bowl and then put in your favorite shaker or tightly sealed container.

Use as a seasoning for meats, veggies, or whatever you would like.

My Twist:
I like to add a little bit more garlic powder and black pepper.

I don’t remember where I found this recipe exactly, but it was one I quickly memorized.  You can probably find it in many of her cook books/magazines.
*Disclaimer: this is not an original recipe. I do not deserve the credit. It is a Paula Deen recipe*


This is the beginning of what I hope becomes many posts on cooking, baking, and recipes.

Here are two smoothie recipes that I love and created on my own.

Banana, Strawberry, Orange Smoothie

I love smoothies and wanted to create one that was healthy and lower in calories than something you can buy at Panera or you can make out of a package from the store.  So this is my attempt.  Try it out and feel free to let me know what you think.

3/4 cup of ice
1 small banana (cut in slices)
1 cup fresh strawberries (approx 7-8 medium sized cut in half)
3/4 cup orange juice
6 oz of vanilla yogurt

Blend ice, banana, and strawberries in a blender until smooth.
Add orange juice and yogurt to mixture and blend together.
Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy.

Makes 3 servings, of approximately 8 oz.

[I use Kroger Calcium Orange Juice and Kroger Lite Vanilla Yogurt]

PB&J Smoothie

Don’t let the title fool you, there is actually no jelly or bread in this smoothie, but it does taste a lot like a PB&J.  This smoothie was inspired by my friend Ellen from work.  She asked me one day to make her a PB&J smoothie and I looked at her with a very confused look.  She explained that if you took our strawberry smoothie puree and added peanut butter it tasted like a PB&J. I made it for her, but was very skeptical until I actually tried it for myself a few weeks later.  It was amazing!  But I am on kind of a health kick and thought I would try to make something similar at home.  Here is my healthier attempt at a PB&J smoothie.

-8 medium fresh Strawberries
-1-6 oz container of lite vanilla yogurt
-3 Tbsp of Peanut Butter
-Spash of apple juice

-Remove tops of strawberries and cut into fourths and add to blender
-Blend with a splash of apple juice until it creates a smooth liquid
-Add in yogurt and peanut butter and blend for about 30 seconds (make sure you scrape down sides if peanut butter has become stuck to them)
-Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy.

Best if chilled before enjoying.

Yields approximately 2-7 oz servings

Noah & Eli

*Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. ~Proverbs 3:5-6*

Yesterday I said  goodbye to a family that I have grown very close to here in Louisville, The Scott Family.  I emailed them about an ad for a babysitter in the seminary bulletin and it has been a wonderful relationship since then.  Lesley and Thom are wonderful parents and their two sons are adopted from Ethiopia.  Eli is 3 1/2 and Noah is 16 months.  I love these boys and am going to miss them so so much.  Over the last 3-4 months they have stolen a piece of my heart.  I have seen Noah transform and become more mobile and begin talking more and more.  Eli and I have had many sweet moments of cuddling, hugs, and kisses on the couch after we put Noah to bed.

Basically every Sunday night for the last several months has been spent with this family.  There has been lots of hugs & kisses, cuddles,  swimming adventures, swinging & sliding, walks, playing with trucks, dirty diapers, laughs, dinners, fireworks, and sweet times.  I can’t believe that my Sunday nights won’t be filled with them anymore. 😦

One of my favorite memories with them was the weekend of July 4th.  I babysat the boys and then when Lesley and Thom came home they brought a movie and Blizzards with them.  I had already put Noah to bed and we treated Eli with the late night movie and snack.  During the middle of the movie we put it on pause and went outside to watch fireworks that neighbors were setting off and we went out on the back porch and set sparklers off.  Then we went back to the basement to finish watching the movie.  It was so fun.

So I decided to make these sweet boys something that they might not even grasp or like now, but will hopefully bring comfort to them in the future.  I painted them letters (an E & N) with Proverbs 3:5-6 written on them.

I have included pictures of the letters I painted for them and some pictures of our times together.

Am I really?

Am I really a college graduate?
Am I really taking classes to get my master’s?
Am I really about to have a real job?
Am I really moving to a brand new place for a job and not for school?
Am I really a dog owner?
Am I really a car owner?
Am I really on my way to paying off all of my own debt on my own?’

These questions are just a few of the ones swimming around in my mind.  Especially when so many days I feel like I should still be in high school, playing sports, marching in band, being involved in every organization possible, with no real care in the world, and no responsibility outside of finishing homework and memorizing my music.  These questions come more when I am with my friends, many who are older than me, many who seem to have life way more together than I do.  They also have been popping up more as I have taken a job that I don’t always feel 100% capable of doing.  Anyway, that is my ramblings about what is going on in this crazy mind of mine.