Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

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Being There

June 29, 2009

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I spent the past week as a chaperone with a group of youth from our church while they attended a CIY Conference in Tennessee. I haven’t worked with youth in a lot of years, and I was a little apprehensive of how the trip would go… mainly, I wasn’t sure how well I would relate to the teenagers I’d be chaperoning. I’m pretty insecure, and teenagers scare me a bit.  However, I couldn’t resist the chance to spend a week at my alma mater (Milligan College) where the conference was held. So I agreed to go.

I love Milligan. I spent four wonderful years there as a student, and I remain very connected to the place even now as I prepare for my twentieth reunion this fall. I never miss a homecoming. I try to stay in touch with my classmates, former professors, and other friends who live in the area. But spending a week down there with hundreds of teenagers, living in my old dormitory, eating in the cafeteria, and worshiping each night in Seeger Chapel? I’m not sure I have figured out just the right word to describe it yet…

Unique?   Definitely.

Nostalgic?   Deliciously.

Inspiring?   Surprisingly.

It all started on Monday. We arrived on campus to get checked in late in the afternoon. I walked in to the student union building and had the bizarre experience of being recognized by a complete stranger (Chad Brown, director of the conference) from a facebook photo. And then we got our dorm assignments. I’m sure the kids would have preferred air conditioned quarters, but I for one was delighted to find that we girls would be staying in Sutton Hall. I even had a room just a few doors down from the room where I lived my sophomore year. So far, so good.

One of the first orders of business after checking in was to eat some supper before the evening worship session began. So, just like old times, I walked down Sutton’s echo-y stairwell (people who have lived there know what I’m talking about) and got in line to eat. Only thing is, the cafeteria which I have written of so fondly in a previous blog post has been completely renovated. So, walking through those doors was a bit disconcerting. No more big open space with long white tables and molded plastic chairs. No more brown trays and yellow tumblers. It’s all muted greens and cafe-style tables and flat screen TVs showing the news. Very very nice, and very very wrong at the same time.

Note: I guess the school is all about being “green” these days, so no trays translates to less water and heat used to wash them. However, no trays also translates to more food on the floor when certain people who shall be nameless but who look an awful lot like me cannot juggle a drink, dinner plate and salad plate very well. Clean up on aisle 2! Is all I am saying.

Things really got interesting after supper when it was time for the first worship session to begin. We all walked down to Seeger Chapel and checked a big chart on the wall for our assigned seats. As we found our rows and sat down, I started having flashbacks to my student days… gathering before chapel or convo, chatting with my friends, figuring out where to put my books while I sat in one of those ridiculous seats. All around me were hundreds of high school students, and lots of CIY paraphrenalia on the stage… but in my mind, I could see all my old chums from the late 80s. Just like it was yesterday.

CIY09-7I have trouble describing just how special it is, as a Milligan alum, to sit in Seeger and see it packed to the gills with young people singing their hearts out in a worship service. I am pretty sure that the people who first envisioned and then built the chapel never could have imagined the kind of celebrations that take place in there nowadays. The loud music and the lights and the smoke and the hands raised and the jumping… oh, the jumping! I was quite certain a few times that we were suddenly going to find ourselves in the basement, the floor was shaking so much. To think that the hallowed halls where I sat for many a solemn assembly is host to nightly rock concerts during CIY week is mind boggling. But in a good way.

After worship, our group went out to meet together to discuss the day’s events. We headed down to the gazebo at the front of campus… another hot spot for nostalgia if you are an alum like me. So there we were, gathered by Buffalo Creek, chatting about our evening and the week to come. The girls squealed about spiders. The boys wanted to go down by the waterfall.

And I sat there feeling very much at home.

I spent the rest of the week hanging out with the kids, attending worship sessions, participating in small group discussions, and enjoying a lot of free time in the afternoons. One night in our group’s discussion time, our youth pastor asked everyone to share what their “God moment” had been that day. When it came my turn, I got a little choked up. My day and indeed my week had been full of “God moments,” but I wasn’t sure how to explain them to the kids. My “God moments” were born of the realization that it has been 20 years since I graduated from Milligan, and yet there I was, feeling like it could have been me attending that youth conference as a youth. Because once I set foot on campus, I was transported back to a time when I walked up and down those hills on the way to my next class, or to the cafeteria, or just on a stroll with a good friend to talk about important things… like what we wanted to be when we grew up.

It’s a great thing, to be able to feel that way. To remember so clearly what it was like to be young.

I am blessed.

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Whoohoooo! We did it :)

June 10, 2009

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We made it through the MS Ride last weekend! This is a picture from my camera phone of the two of us at the second rest stop on Saturday.

The ride was good, I made it through 114 miles all together (62 miles on day one, 52 on day two). I wasn’t sure how the second day would go, especially because the terrain between Frankfort and Lexington is more hilly than what we had the first day of the ride. But, I did it! And even though I was thinking on Sunday that I might never want to ride my bike again, I am already thinking about what other rides I can do in the future.

We even made it home in time to get a brief rest and get cleaned up before heading to our friend’s wedding that afternoon. Congratulations to Karin and LeAdam! We are so glad we got to be part of your big day. 🙂

Now, a new development: I found out that there is an official 2009 Bike The Bluegrass bike jersey that is awarded to any participants who raise $500 in donations. I managed to raise just over $300 before the event, and donations are still counted up through July 7… so, if any of you out there haven’t already donated and would like to help me win a bike jersey (I don’t have any jerseys, so I’m not one of the “cool kids” yet), please visit my online fundraising page and make a tax-deductible donation online. OR, you can mail me a check made out to the National MS Society, and I’ll turn it in. You’ll be helping a great cause, and you can help me get a nifty jersey commemorating the weekend that I biked more than I ever have before!

More details about the actual ride to come soon…

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Countdown to Craziness…

June 5, 2009

It’s about 9:30 p.m. and I need to get my shower and get to bed. We will have to wake up tomorrow around 4am  in order to get ourselves over to Keeneland and ready to hop on the shuttle that leaves at 5am for Churchill Downs. Assuming everything goes OK, we’ll return to Keenland sometime Sunday afternoon. Then we get to go to a wedding! (Hi Karin and LeAdam!)  I hope I’ll be still be able to move my legs at that point… we’ll see 🙂

Here are the images of the routes we will take both days:

Day One: We plan to do the pink route, 62.1 miles…

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Day Two, we plan to complete the green loop, 51.2 miles…

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Assuming I make it through, this will be the most miles I have put on my bike at one time.

I guess I’d better get some rest…

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Weekend Update: In which I speak of many things which interest few people.

March 21, 2009

Updates have been sporadic recently, for no good reason. Here is an attempt to get everyone who cares caught up on the goings-on at our house…

We’re going to Disney!

Yes, we are actually going away for Spring Break this year, on a real vacation to a real destination. One week from today we will be in Walt Disney World. Our plane lands in Orlando at 4:08 pm, and I fully expect to be on some sort of thrill ride by 4:09. 🙂

We have looked forward to this trip for many months now, and it would not be happening except for the fact that my parents couldn’t decide what to get us for Christmas last year, so they said “how about if we send you guys to Disney World?” For the record, Mom and Dad… we are very grateful! And you are now off the hook for birthdays, Christmases, or any other gift-giving occasions for all of us Doolittles, indefinitely. We love you and we couldn’t be more thrilled about the upcoming trip.

We will be staying inside the park at the Wilderness Lodge for 7 nights, flying back home on April 4th. We’ve got park hopper passes, water park access, meal plans, the whole bit. And we are not planning to bring a laptop with us, so we will essentially be “going dark” while we are down there. As I warned some of my clients recently when I reminded them of my upcoming vacation… I will have my cell phone with me, but I’m not likely to hear it ring over all the yelling and carrying on that is sure to be happening.

I intend to thoroughly inundate the blog with vacation photos and stories when I return.

Help, I’ve Registered and I Can’t Give Up!

I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve forgotten that I am 41, overweight and out of shape… and I’ve signed up for another organized bike ride. After managing to get through the Bike Trek to Shakertown last fall, I thought I’d up the ante this summer and sign up for Bike MS 2009… a 2-day ride that begins at Churchill Downs in Louisville and ends at Keeneland Race Track here in Lexington.  Glenn has ridden this one before, but I have not. Whereas I rode a total of about 85 miles in two days on the Shakertown ride, the MS ride routes that I intend to take should bring me to a total of 110 miles — And that is with me opting for some of the shorter routes!

So, we’ll see how it goes. A couple weeks ago I got on my bike after the long winter months off and rode over 20 hilly miles through the countryside near where I live. I thought that was a pretty good start. This evening Glenn and I took a shorter ride of about 14 miles. I would like to work toward getting some 30 and 40 mile weekend rides under my belt over the next several weeks.

We Still Need to Hire Someone to Fix Some Things

The ice storm back in January left us with some things to fix around the house. Our roof, although virtually unscathed on the outside, has several rafters that need to be fixed/reinforced/repositioned . Our brand new deck needs to have a 15-foot railing replaced. The gutter along the back roofline needs to be replaced. And at some point, I need to either repair or replace my gas grill.

Ah, the grill! I miss it already. We have had a few grillcrunchpleasant days recently when I would have loved to throw some chicken or steaks on the grill for supper… but alas, this is what my grill looks like right now. Glenn tells me that we can still use it. I… don’t know. But we may have to try to fix it up, because… guess what? In a lovely turn of events that confirms the stereotype that insurance companies are out to get you, and you always must read the fine print… the damage to the grill was NOT covered by our insurance. You see… there is a clause somewhere in our policy that says that if weight of snow and ice causes a tree to fall on my house, then any personal property that is outside the house is not covered if it is damaged. OK, well, I guess that’s fine. But the funny thing is, if WIND had caused the exact same tree to fall on our house and deck, and smash the same grill in the same way… then the damage to the grill would have been covered. Funny, no?  I’m laughing on the inside.

That about sums things up for now… Stay tuned until next time!

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Weekend Update: Aftermath

January 31, 2009

We got hold of a tree service today and had them come by to take care of the limbs that have been on our house since the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Around 11:30, several guys showed up in our yard, waving chainsaws in the air and eager to get to work. It was still very cold, but the sky was a beautiful blue…

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They made quick work of the huge limb, scrambling all over our icy deck and putting themselves in precarious positions with seemingly no thought for safety. For example:

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Here are more pictures from the morning:

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As you can see, in addition to repairs that will be needed for our deck, roof and gutter, I will also need to get a new gas grill!  But the grill’s sacrifice does not go unnoticed… I am fairly sure that it absorbed a lot of the impact from the falling limb, and actually lessened the damage to our brand new deck. So, thank you, big fancy Brinkman Grill… I will fondly remember the many fajitas I made with you!

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Thursday Snapshot: So we were just sitting at home, minding our own business…

January 29, 2009

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It was a dark, stormy night…

First, everything was covered with ice.

Then, the power went out. It was very dark.

Then, a tree fell down on our house. It was very scary, because we watched it as it happened.

Here are some pictures.

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Ice and More Ice

January 27, 2009

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Today the kids were out of school again, and legitimately so… there is at least a half inch of ice covering everything outside today. I cannot open my kitchen storm door because of the thick ice on the deck. The boys spent most of the day outside sliding all over our driveway and the  yard with sleds, lawn chairs, snow shovels, and anything else they could find to slide on. The dog is a little bit shy of going outside right now because it’s hard for him to get around.

School has already been called off for tomorrow… there is a prediction of another 2-4″ of ice possible tonight and tomorrow. I guess the boys will be in school until June.

When I opened the front door to snap a couple photos, I could hear that familiar sound that I remembered from the big ice storm we had back in 2003:  the sound of tree limbs creaking and falling under the weight of the ice.

I’m glad we had our power lines buried a few years ago!