Thursday, December 18, 2008


Nicole and I completed the first leg of our journey a couple of hours ago!

Our YFC director Andy Robinson dropped Nicole and I off at the bus station in Middlesbrough at around 10 am this morning and we then proceeded to wait around for a few hours for our bus for Manchester to arrive!

Not to much to report on the bus ride, I felt like I was going to camp or something. Nicole and I listened to our iPods for most of it, but we both perked up when we were coming into Manchester. We were mesmerized by the city, needless to say we are now huge Manchester fans. 

We're staying at a hotel at the airport called Bewley's and it's pretty snazzy. For dinner we had the best sandwich ever, it had pastrami, mayo, cheddar cheese, and jalapenos on it! :)

Now we're just sitting in our room trying not to fall asleep since the airport shuttle is picking us up at 4 am. Our flight to Amsterdam is at 6 am and we have an hour and a half layover there and then we catch our super long flight to DALLAS!!!!!!

Nicole and I will arrive into Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport at 1:35 pm tomorrow! 




Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas time makes me happy!

So, this week has been so much better than the last. 

I decided that this week I was just going to be positive and optimistic and just try to have a really good attitude.

I think for the most part I've succeeded!

Work was better this week, I was kind of used to Neil not being there so it was easier.

On Wednesday I ran everything on my own which was such an exhilarating experience I have to say. I ran our lunch club Mettle all on my own and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Nicole and I went Christmas shopping on Thursday, and this was one of the best days I've had in awhile. I got most of my Christmas shopping done I just have a few more things I have to get back at home! 

I just realized a few minutes ago that when I wake up next Saturday I will be at home in my bed! How exciting is that?!?!? 

I hope everyone has a good weekend!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Encouragement? Yes please.

So, this has been a really stressful day.

I won't bore you all with details.

I would just appreciate prayers for me to get through the next couple of weeks with my sanity in tact.

Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

Love :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

2 blogs in one day?

Okay, so after my bible study tonight I had to blog and tell you all about the amazing kids that I'm privileged to work with. 

I absolutely love my Monday night group. They're such a joy to work with and they always start my week off on a good note.

So tonight things started off normally I had my younger group from 7-8:30 and there were alone four kids (Sam, Matthew, Graeme pronounced Graham, and Hannah) even though there isn't very many of them they are so much fun and so clever for being so young. In case you were wondering they're Year 8-10 ages about 13-15. The theme for tonight was more about reflecting I guess you could say. We sat in silence for a few minutes and located our favorite Bible verse or just a random verse that they had found. Catherine (my minister) went around the room asking the kids what their favorite verse was and why and it was very interesting to see what they said. Then they were asked to sit in silence for a second time and Catherine asked them if they were getting a picture in their had that could go with their verse. You might think that this was over their heads, but it wasn't at all. Some kids grasped the concept better than others but they all did brilliantly. At eight Matthew and Graeme left for Scouts and then it was just Sam, Hannah, Catherine, and myself. We just talked among ourselves and then Catherine asked them how we could get more people to attend youth group. They blew me away by coming up with serious answers and you could tell they really wanted the group to grow. So, needless the say by the end of their time I was immensely proud of them.

My second group is absolutely fabulous and I love them all to pieces. This group is much larger and their ages 15-18. I'm going to go through all of their names so I can refer to them later and yeah. We have Oli, Andrew C, Catherine T (Year 11 Catherine not the minister), David, James, Hannah, Andrew H, Lucy, Becci, Jonathan L, and Jonathan S. I work with all of them except for a few of them in school so I've formed pretty solid relationships with the majority of them. I love how close knit they are, it reminds me of my relationship with the my year group at church. This group is unique though because there is an age range but they don't seem to care at all, I love that. Anyways, we did something a little similar with my older group but it was quite more mature. We sat Lucy in what Catherine called our "Chair of Prayer" she chose Lucy because she always seems so stressed and she just wanted to make restore some peace to her. Words don't even begin to describe what an amazing experience this was for me. Catherine was asking the group for scripture that would apply to Lucy, or words, and pictures. I think my area of expertise is in scripture and words and I found Proverbs 3:5-6 and it applied to Lucy beautifully. Oli, Andrew H, and Catherine T also found scripture that really seemed to hit home with Lucy. We did that for awhile and then Catherine wanted them to focus on pictures for Lucy. Oh my gosh, my girls did amazing. Becci who is normally a wallflower and doesn't speak much did wonderful. Side note, I absolutely adore Becci Smith she is such a neat girl and we're already getting close but I know our relationship is going to keep growing this year. She actually reminds me a lot of my best friend Taylor Elledge, which is great....haha she's my British Taylor! Back to my story, Becci had not one but TWO pictures for Lucy and they were dead on and I was just amazed. The night ended on one of Becci's pictures.

Needless to say I have one of the coolest jobs ever with some of the greatest kids in England. I mean I get to work with them on a daily basis and build relationships and share the love of Jesus! I mean really what could be better than that?


I'm a horrible blogger

I'm sorry that my blog posts keep getting scarcer and scarcer, I just never remember to do this or when I do remember I have little to say.

To be honest I don't have a lot to say now, but I decided to blog mostly due to my mother's recent nagging. 

Life has suddenly gotten very cold in England. On the plus side though it's Christmas time and this season should be cold so I'm thinking the glass is half full. 

I just typed that and I realized that for the past few days the I've viewed the glass as half empty and not half full. I've just been in a funk lately I think it has hit Nicole and I both. I'm almost certain it came on because I've been envious of everyone that got to go home for Thanksgiving break. I knew that I wouldn't get to, but it's just a hard holiday to miss. 

I expected Thanksgiving day to be really depressing, my boss even gave me the day off. However, it turned out to be a great day. I realized that this year Nicole is my family and I am so thankful for her, I really don't know what I would do without her. So, even though we were a little bummed we made the most out of it. We even started a Thanksgiving tradition! :)

Neil left for India yesterday for about two weeks. So, I've been left to hold down the fort in Stokesley on my own. I'm really excited though, I need to do this on my own for a bit. I think sometimes I hide behind Neil and become a wallflower which is so lame. I mean sure I'm shy when I first meet people sometimes but in reality being shy is not part of my personality at all. I consider myself to be an extrovert and a pretty bold person at that. So, I'm glad I'm going to get a chance to be really bold over these next couple of weeks. 

I think being in England for the past three or so months has started to make me a much more optimistic person, which I'm so happy about. I mean of course I have my cynical and pessimistic moments but they're becoming much more irregular. England gives me hope that I can do anything with God on my side, I just need to put all of my faith and trust in him. I sometimes have trouble relinquishing control, but it's something I'm constantly working on. 

Today Nicole came up with the idea that since there are 31 days in December and 31 Proverbs in the Bible we're going to read one each day. She was saying she learned at work crew for Younglife that Proverbs has all the wisdom you will ever need. So, why wouldn't you read all of them and familiarize yourself? From now on we're going to read a chapter from Proverbs every single day, starting with today December 1. I'm really excited about that.

That's all really :)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Crazy week in the life of a youth worker

Alright, so I really apologize for the scarcity of my blogs. I have time to do them, but after I got home from work I'm absolutely shattered and I just want to sleep for days. 

This week by far has been of the busiest so far since I've been employed by YFC. 

I had the day off on Monday, because Neil and I worked on Saturday so that was nice. But, that was my only real breather this week.

Tuesday wasn't too bad either, but I haven't really gotten used to getting up kind of early so that was a challenge. Neil and I just spent the day in the school, as usual. Neil brought along Jamie this sixteen-year-old guy that is a bit like his adoptive son but not really. Haha, if that makes any sense at all. Jamie is in his first year of college right now (11th grade) and he has Tuesday and Fridays off. He recently got a job at Stokesley School (where I work) as like i kind of intern in the PE department, but he can't start until his police check comes through so until then he's hanging out with Neil and I. Anyways, Jamie and I planned Rock Solid (my Friday lunch club) and that was good, we can work well times. It was a pretty slow day, we did our 6th form (11th and 12th grade) lunch time club which is always fairly easy, and then we went home. 

Oh my cow, Wednesday.....the day of all days. Neil and I got to the school at about normal time, 9:45 or so. We worked with our tutorial group and then Mr. Laffan (the head of RE) asked if I could help him for a bit which a thing called Midweek Challenge. Oh the lovely Midweek Challenge, where do I even begin? It's for Year 7 and they basically get a day off from their lessons to sit in a classroom virtually all day and do the most boring things. This week their task was to create an "eco friendly" newspaper, what a treat. The kids don't seem to be a huge fan of the Midweek Challenge, but I wasn't too bothered about helping because I adore year 7's. It's the first year to the school and they are just so adorable and little, and I love them. I helped out here for a little while, and then I went back to find Neil so we could do our GSCE RE lesson. After the lesson, we had our weekly lesson club "Mettle" which is always good, and then it was back to helping with the Midweek Challenge. Can I just say that working with Year 7's all day can be pretty exhausting. We did this till the end of the school day when you would expect our day to end, but oh no. Neil and I are now helping out at this thing called Duke of Edinburgh. It kind of reminds me of Scouts in a way but I thought I'd include a website address in case any of you want to learn more: It doesn't seem like it would be my thing at all, but oh well. That night the kids (about 60) were doing presentations on people they'd named their excursion groups after and Neil and I judged them on a scale of 1-5 so that was fun. After a long day of work, we went home.

Thursday was a bit like Tuesday in terms of work load. We had a library period with some Year 9's and a lunch club. Other than that we really didn't do all that much, and we went home after lunch time. I was quite glad about this because I was completely knackered, so I took a much needed nap. Good times.

Last but not least, Friday. Another long day much like that of Wednesday. Neil and I were again joined by Jamie, who pushed my buttons today as you will soon discover. Fridays are always a busy day, so I was prepared for a long day ahead. We got to the school at normal time and went to our tutorial group in the library and then followed that with a library lesson. Rock Solid required a few supplies, so we walked into town and purchased those and then came back to school. Rock Solid was a hit this week, and it was so much fun. This lunch time club is really the highlight of my week and I just love working with them. After the club we had a period to sit about before our last lesson of the day. I had time to read and just relax which was very nice. Our last library group was completely rowdy and they were fun, but a little too wound up. Neil was constantly having to shhhhh them and the librarian kept shooting us looks. When the school day was finished the 3 of us headed to Stokesley Methodist Church to run our weekly Friday after school club entitled Friday Night Cafe (FNC for short) and this was the most disorganized it had ever been. Neil had gotten a call right after school saying that his visa for India hadn't come through yet and he was less than pleased. His roommate had made a careless mistake, and they now have to drive up to Birmingham this week sometime to get it sorted seeing as they fly out a week on Sunday. I've never seen Neil get mad or upset at all, so this was a whole new experience for me. Jamie was very hyper at FNC and getting the kids wound up and you could tell Neil was getting annoyed, as was I. Jamie kept tickling me, which to be honest I'm really not a fan of, especially when I'm in a bad mood. But of course when boys see you're upset this only encourages them to mess with you more and I was about to go off on that child. I let it go and just shifted my focus to the kids. This was probably one of their last FNC's because it's going to be shut down for the rest of the year due to the very small attendance level. I was so relieved though when this finished as was Neil, because we were just ready to go home and relax.

And that's my week.

I would greatly appreciate anyone who reads this to keep me in their prayers. I have some medical issues going on and it's hard being away from home when this is happening. 

Thanks :)

Peace out,

Sunday, November 16, 2008


So, I decided that maybe I should start blogging a little more frequently so I won't have to have giant entries that take forever to write. 

These posts might be a little shorter, but at least they'll be coming out everyone wins right?!

Last night we had our monthly youth event known as S1 (which stands for Stokesley 1). This event is basically just a fun time for kids to come and play games and do something fun outside of our normal daily events we do in the schools. About 15 kids showed up which I was well pleased about and there were a decent number of girls! Last time there weren't any at all so I was very happy there were this time around. :)

Anyways, last night's theme was USA so needless to say I was pretty happy about that! I really didn't get to plan much for this one due to the fact that I've been away, but all in all it turned out really well. 

We started out with an icebreaker called "Drip, Drip, Drop" think of  it being kind of similar to "Duck, Duck, Goose". You have a glass of water in your hands and you walk around the circle and on each person you stick your hand in the water and lightly sprinkle them whilst saying "drip" and then you pick one person and say "DROP" then you proceed to pour quite a bit of water on them and then they chase you around the circle. This was pretty funny, but it got a bit dangerous because the floor got especially slippery and I was constantly having to mop it up.

The next game was called "Burger King" and before the event Neil (my line manager and guy I work with) had heated up about 10 hamburger patties and we proceeded to make 2 very large hamburgers and we put brown sauce (barbecue sauce) all over them. The group was then split up into 2 teams and the first team to completely finish their burger won! It was pretty gross to watch, but very entertaining. 

Our next activity tested the kids knowledge on their Americanisms. We gave them the British word and they had to tell us what it's American equivalent was. For example I would have said "nappy" and they would have to tell me the right word for it was "diaper" and so on. Haha, but the one that nobody got was what the American equivalent to "sticky bun" was, I'll give you a nickel if you can tell me what it is! The game resulted in a draw aka a tie! Ah! I sound British! :) Anyways, so I asked them how many original colonies there were in America and they could not answer that question at all, someone eventually guessed it but out of pure luck.

For our more serious time Neil interviewed me about my life in America and asked me to give my brief testimony and asked me why I had decided to come over to England for a year. Well, I'm naturally an expert now in that question, it's becoming second nature to me. After that was done with Neil had about a ten minute talk with them before they completely lost focus and we had to move on to our final game. 

It was a game called "Banana Split". The two teams that we had been using all night had to pick four representatives to participate in the game, two had the easy job and the other two had a slightly messier job. The two unlucky kids had to put a trash bag around their top half and then lie down on the floor while the other two stood on a chair directly above them. The two on the ground had to put a banana in their mouth while the two on the chair proceeded to pour whipped cream, strawberry syrup, and cherries all over them. Hence the name of the game...."banana split". It was a pain to clean up, but it was quite entertaining to say the very least.

Ha, so I hope you now have some idea of what my job as a youth worker consists of :)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's been too bad

Crazy, so much has happened since I last blogged! I've been extremely busy, but I do apologize for my lack of updating this blog that a few of you have come to know and hopefully love!


I went to London almost 2 weeks ago with two of my favorites, Nicole and Tom and if you want to hear all about if I'm referring you to Tom's blog because he explains it much better than I ever could.


So, on Sunday morning Jonathan (the guy we stayed with in London) took me to the airport where I set off for my beautiful America! To say I was a little excited would be the understatement of the century! I got there in plenty of time so once I got through security and such I bought some candy for Peyton and Claire and I also bought some normal and decent food that I could eat on the plane since I detest airplane food. I then proceeded to go to my gate and what to catch my flight to Raleigh, North Carolina. The flight actually went by really quickly which made me so happy! When we got near Raleigh I started to take pictures from the plane because I loved seeing beautiful American soil again! I got cleared through customs and went and waited at my gate for my flight to Dallas. During my wait I put my American cell phone to get use calling all different people, just because I could! It was a glorious day. On my flight from Raleigh to Dallas I was a little bit restless, very anxious to get home and see my family. The plane FINALLY landed in my beautiful Dallas, Texas and I was ecstatic! It was one of the best feelings to walk through those moving glass doors and see my wonderful family. I ran to hug my mommy and I immediately broke down with tears of happiness, I hadn't realized how much I missed her or the rest of the Raymer clan. The ride home was good I was really just taking everything in and it was a good feeling to be home. I was reunited with one of my favorites aka my dog Finn, haha I about cried. My family then whisked me upstairs to show me my new beautiful room and it is absolutely perfect, no lie. I'll have to post pictures very soon. Daddy stayed up with me for awhile and we just talked and talked and it was fun, I missed that. 


Monday morning I woke up pretty early due to jet lag and chatted with some people online. I unpacked and just kind of chilled out that morning went to Starbucks with Daddy and then later with him to the Blue Goose for lunch :) I missed eating quality Mexican food. I think one of the things I have missed most is The Heights Student Ministry so I went up to the church later that day and talked with Cobb and Steve for quite awhile, it was really good to catch up.  


Then came Tuesday...ELECTION DAY! I woke up super early again due to jet lag and it worked to my advantage, because I needed to pay a visit to the DPS office and get my license renewed and that went smooth for the most part. I had a few errands to run after that, I went up to the church to get something notarized for my visa and then Daddy and I went to the British consulate so I could get my biometrics done. My mom wanted me to have lunch with her so I brought her Cafe Max and it was good to spend some time with her. Then the most exciting part of my day...Daddy and I went to VOTE! Yeah probably usually not so exciting, but being my first time ever made me so happy and made me feel important! It was an adrenaline rush, no joke.  That night I hung out with Allison (my aunt) for awhile and we just talked and walked her dogs around the block. 


WEDNESDAY! What a happy day! I woke up and went to the post office to mail something for Nicole and then I had to rush up to the church to have a meeting with Dave. It was nice to catch up with him and tell him what has been going on in England and what God's up to. I had to then book it to McDonald's to pick up lunch for Claire and I and then I went to Big Springs to eat lunch with her! It worked out really well, because I also got to see my adorable second graders from last year, it was really fun to visit with them for a few minutes. The countdown had finally ended.... I was on my way to Tyler, Texas to visit my two best friends in this world!!!!!! It was one of the things I was looking forward to the most. Haha, I think I made it to Tyler in record time, but it was the best feeling ever to be reunited with them and just spend the night hanging out and catching up.


On Thursday morning I woke up around 8 or so and got ready to have lunch with my Grandma and Granddaddy at IHOP before I had to drive back to Dallas! Even though I didn't get to spend much time with them it was really great to visit with them for at least an hour. The rest of Thursday once I got home was pretty relaxed; I just had to back for my weekend in Arkansas. 


Friday rolled around faster than I thought it would and this was what I was most excited about and what I really came for; the wedding weekend for my uncle Jordan and his then fiancée now wife Leah! My family met up with my Daddy Glynn at the airport in McKinney and we set off for Fayetteville, Arkansas! We got there and went to the hotel to get settled in before the rehearsal festivities that evening. The rehearsal was good I guess, a typical wedding rehearsal. The rehearsal dinner was held at the fancy pants Ruth Chris Steakhouse, hats off to my Nana and Daddy Glynn. It was at the dinner when I got to finally see Steven for the first time in about two and a half months :) it was really exciting! It was nice to catch up with him and see what he's been up to in Arkansas. I was pretty wiped out from the days festivities so I decided to be wise and call it a night after dinner since I had a long day ahead on Saturday with all of my duties as a bridesmaid.


Saturday, November 8 finally came and it was a beautiful day in Bella Vista, Arkansas a perfect day for a Raymer wedding! I had to be downstairs and ready in the lobby with my cousin Jayde at about 9:40 am so Leah's mom could pick us and take us to her house to the limo could pick up the bridal party and take us to the chapel. It was really cute to see how nervous Leah was, but at the same time it kind of made me not want to get married for awhile. The wedding went beautifully and smoothly, the chapel where it was held was so pretty and it was just a fantastic wedding all across the board. My date didn't exactly make it to the wedding due to the fact that he's directionally challenged, but he did show up right after the ceremony ended which I found pretty funny. Typical Steven. Then of course I had to wait around to do pictures, which always take about 50 years I appreciate them later, but at the time all you want to do is sit down and drink some punch. Steven and I then followed my Dad to the reception, which turned out to be really fun. It was so cute for Leah and her dad's father-daughter dance they danced to "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman :) one of the most adorable songs ever. I have to admit I am really excited to get married so I can pick all of the music stuff out, I know I'll change my mind a hundred times before then, but I will pick every song that is played at my reception. I am a dork, but who cares.... it’ll be my day haha although I'm not hoping for it to come too soon. After the reception was over and Leah and Jordan left I got to spend some time hanging out with Steven. We drove back over to his dorm and the university so we could both change and get out of our wedding clothes. We ran into a couple of my friends from back home Tori and Aaron and we talked to them for a few minutes, which was nice. After changing Steven and I walked around campus around for about an hour and it was so nice, freezing cold but it was really good to talk to him and see where I'll be spending the next four years! :) At around 10:30 Steven took me back to the hotel, and even though I was a little sad to be leaving I'll see him in about a month so it was nice.


The family and I woke up Sunday morning ate breakfast with everyone and then headed back to Dallas! I was absolutely exhausted and I wanted to do nothing but sleep for days, but that wish didn't come true, ohhhh well I got a pretty good nap on. The siblings and I went to see High School Musical 3 that afternoon :) I swear you're never too old to enjoy HSM. Seriously. But the most exciting thing about my Sunday is I am now officially enrolled to attend the University of Arkansas starting in Fall 2009! I am totally jazzed! I know that's where I'm supposed to be and it's a really good feeling!


Monday was a pretty tough day, the day I was returning to England. I spent the day packing and saying bye to my family, which I made very difficult, what can I say? I love home. I was excited to come back and see my beautiful Nicole Weldon! Dang, I've gotten pretty attached to that child the past 2 months so I was excited to see her again! Plus next time I go we'll go together as it should be. 


Things have been pretty slow this week since I got back on Tuesday; I went back to work today but nothing particularly exciting to report there.


I did get Nicole and Tom into the Twilight books and it's so fun to see people love them as much as I do! :)


Happy day!


I'm off to finish Steel Magnolias!


Until next time,




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Half term is rocking my world

Right now all over the UK schools are currently experiencing this amazing, wonderful, spectacular thing known as "half-term" which basically means NO SCHOOL FOR A WEEK!


I thought this would be my busiest time to work, but not really since mostly what I do is schools work. So, needless to say I'm a very happy camper.

Nicole, Lauren (our friend from YFC), and I drove down yesterday to a seaside town called Whitley Bay to visit our friend Libby from training. We just spent the day hanging out, and Nicole and I were introduced to British fajitas. This may sound not so appetizing to all you Texans reading this, but oh my cow they were amazing! They basically use most of the same stuff that we do except the add red peppers (which I love) and this sauce called sweet chili which is incredible! 

It was a good day, but Nicole and I crashed when we got home last night.

For the next couple of days before Nicole and I leave for London we have the house to ourselves, which is just kind of exciting.

We made blueberry muffins this morning, and we probably should clean some time today....we'll get around to it eventually.

On Thursday night we'll stay at our location manager Fiona's house and early on Friday morning she'll drop us off at the train station and we'll be on our way to London! Happy day.

Apparently I should be posting more "meaningful" stuff on my blog, which I will get around to when I start working again, but as for now I'm happy with writing the pointless stuff of my day to day life. I think my Grandma would have to agree.

It's getting really cold here, it's actually supposed to snow today and again on Thursday...haha great.

I can't wait for snow, but I really want my new coat that my mom bought me first.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Best day I've had in a long time!

So, this week has been pretty slow due to everyone being anxious for half term which is finally here!

I had a fairly not too productive week at work, which I didn't mind at all. 

I haven't been sleeping so well this week, which is weird for me. In the past 3 days I had gotten maybe a total of 5 hours of sleep.....not good. However, luckily last night I went to bed around 10:30 and woke up this morning at 11 am! It was glorious! 

Today hasn't been my most productive day, but it's just been such a great day. I woke up late and then proceeded to watch Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy on iTunes and that always puts me in a good mood! I then decided today would be a great day to change my sheets, dust my room, and do my laundry! 

I also listened to a lot of great music today, and that always puts me in a good mood. 

I bought tickets to see Wicked in London next weekend! I'm so excited!

Next Friday I leave to go to London with Nicole and Tom, and to say I'm a little excited would be an understatement. 

Nicole has never been to London before, so I'm excited to do all of the "touristy" stuff with her. Plus, I haven't seen a lot of stuff either so it'll be good to have a genuine Brit as our tour guide.....haha well maybe.

In about a week and half I'll be in a plane flying home!!!!! 


I just have to add one more thing for my Dad:



Saturday, October 18, 2008

My mother would be so proud

So, it's Saturday the 18th of October in England and I've been cleaning today? What? 

I kind of had a late start today, but I woke up and I decided that I needed to hardcore clean our bathroom. I'm pretty sure it hadn't been cleaned in quite a few months.....I don't think they have home blessing hour here in England.

Anyways, this week has gone by really quickly for me which isn't always a bad thing. 

Monday night at bible study was amazing! With my older kids we watched the Rob Bell Nooma video called "Flame" which discusses the 2 stages of love and it was so good. I encourage everyone to watch it. The kids were a little embarrassed to discuss sex, but so what? 

This week at the school went really well, Neil and I are staying busy with lessons, library periods, and lunch clubs. Next week will be pretty easy, but the week after is half-term and Neil and I are having "admin week" aka we're not doing anything at all.

Nicole and I leave for London on the 31st and we're meeting our buddy Tom Spicer so that should be really fun! I'm excited to show Nicole around London, because she's never been before and it'll be a good and semi relaxing weekend.


I am ecstatic!!! I seriously cannot wait! I'm sure the 6 days will fly by, but I think a few days at home is just what I need.

Not much else to report, but I thought I would include some pictures from last weekend at commissioning!
I love Caitlin, my fellow American and prayer buddy.

Nicole, Libby, and Lauren!

My new best friend Tom Spicer 


Sunday, October 12, 2008

And it hit me.....

This past week has been good, not too much to report really.

Yesterday all of the yfcone volunteers from Tees Valley YFC travelled down to Coventry for comissioning aka induction into YFC.

I was ecstatic to see all of my friends from training who I had really been missing.

As usual we were late to arrive and we had to go sit in the balcony, which was disappointing but it was alright.

We worshipped for a little while, and it made me so excited because I really haven't had decent worship since training. While we were singing one of my favorite songs "Came to Rescue" it suddenly hit me, that I know for a fact that England is where I'm supposed to be this year.

When I decided to take this gap year I felt deep down that it was right, but I didn't have a "burning bush" moment if you will. Well, I didn't until yesterday that is. 

It was such a cool feeling just looking around the room and seeing all the people that I've gotten to know better and better over the past month. I never really took my Dad's advice which was "Remember to look at every person you meet as a possibility for your next good friend." My Dad was absolutely right while I was meeting people at training I was homesick for the first few days and I really forgot to look at people as potential life long friends, which was daft on my end.

I have met some truly amazing people already this year, one of the whom is really one of my best friends. This person and I just had one of those instant connections and just clicked. I love this person (not romantically at all though) and I really wasn't expecting to make any friends like that, but I did and I'm glad God blessed me with a pretty great friend like Tom Spicer.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like I finally belong here, I mean I even said car park yesterday like I'd been saying it my entire life. I know God is going to do some amazing things this year throughout the UK and he's already been doing so. 

But, I am really excited to go home and see my family and a few of my friends, I really miss them all. 

Um, side note....did everyone see the most amazing football game ever? TEXAS-45 OU-35!!!!!



Friday, October 3, 2008

Something meaningful

I've been getting some feedback lately, that while my posts are good and entertaining there really isn't much depth to them. So, in this post I'm going to attempt to change that.

Let me start off by saying that this year is nothing like I thought it would be at all, but I mean that in the best possible way. I honestly didn't expect to meet lifelong friends at training or be challenged by some of the kids here. I didn't expect I would love where I'm living or really love what I get to do on a daily basis. I thought it would somehow be a chore, and maybe it started out that way but it's not at all anymore.

I wake up every morning so anxious to see what God is going to reveal to me for the day. God is exceeding all of the expectations I had for myself. I knew it was going to be hard to be away from my family and friends, but surprisingly it is not as bad as I thought it would be. I really think God is making this transition from home easier for me so I can focus on why I'm here.

I get to work with the coolest kids on a daily basis. Most of them aren't Christians, but they're so smart and clever and you can tell there is something there. Neil and I have the chance to mentor to Year 9's three days a week during a library period. We've been focusing on The Beatitudes and the kids are really grasping what they're all about. 

Neil and I run lunch clubs Tuesday-Friday for every age group and I love these times. On Tuesday we have the sixth formers (11th and 12th graders for us Americans) and we just discuss worldly issues and stuff and it's really good to have an intellectually stimulating conversation every once in awhile. On Wednesday and Thursday is the Year 10 and 11 lunch club and I really admire these students. I get to work with them a lot more than some of the other students, because the majority of them attend churches that I help out with. One girl Kathryn is a minister in training and she's only 15 years old! She has such a heart for God and I really love talking to her and hearing her opinions on things. Every Friday we have a lunch club called Rock Solid for the Year 7-9 age group, and I must say they're my favorites by far. They have so much energy and they're so much fun to be around. Most of them are in Year 8 and actually out of about 12 of them that attend only 1 of them is a devout Christian. They're so much fun to mentor to and just to hang out with. They always end my week at school on a good note.

I also am really starting to love the local churches I work with. I mostly spend my time with Great Ayton Methodist Church. The reverend there, Catherine Hutton is really one of the coolest ladies. She and her husband Gavin along with their two sons, Joel and Aaden have really taken me in on Monday nights and just embraced me. I really love the time I get to spend with them and the time I spend with their church.

I really haven't gotten to do much work with Stokesley Methodist Church other than a Friday after school youth club that Neil and I run. Only about four kids attend, but they're all so different and fun in their own ways.

I think what I'm most excited for this year is to see how God impacts these kids lives. I'm really just along for the ride.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Getting in touch with my elderly side.....

Alright, so I've got to say that I really have been getting in touch with my elderly side lately. I take a nap almost every single day, wait scratch that I DO TAKE A NAP EVERY SINGLE DAY! I also discuss the joke. It freaks me out! What is happening to me???

This really has been the easiest week so far. It's good I really needed a kind of chill week after being sick last week. Today Neil and I had a half day and we have tomorrow and Saturday off. I'm really excited to actually sleep in somewhat.

Nicole and I finally set up our HSBC bank accounts which was nice, because we've been trying to do it for 2 weeks! We attempted to set up our phone contract as well today, but we needed a bank card and that doesn't come in until next week. 

I just keep telling myself that patience is a virtue.

I've been reading "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers and it is such a great book! I'm not finished with it yet, usually because as I'm reading it I fall asleep due to my elderliness. But, I'm getting there.

Oh so I got Skype the other day, and I have to admit it's the coolest thing since sliced bread. So, if you want to download it we can talk all the time!



I cannot wait!



Sunday, September 28, 2008

I've been here a month and 2 days?

Wow, this week has really flown by!

I cannot believe I've already been here for a little over a month? Time sure has flown.

This week at school was pretty good, our schedule is actually getting full which is good, because I like being busy. Thursday was Amy's last day with YFC and it was bittersweet. I'm sad she's leaving, but so excited for her travel year....she'll have an awesome time with Nathan! 

I've been feeling pretty under the weather this week, which I hate because I normally never get sick. Besides, it's never fun to be sick when your mommy isn't around and you can't sleep in your own bed at home. 

I really actually don't have that much to report, so this is probably going to be a short and sweet post. 

It's starting to get colder by the day. I don't know how I'm going to cope when it actually starts getting really bad.

I had some homesick blues this weekend, because all of my friends went home for homecoming which is kind of lame. But, I really miss all of them. 

But, I'll be home in a little over a month and I'm so excited!

Last night I got to watch the presidential debate and it made me so happy. I felt like I was connected to America in some strange way even though I'm so far away.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I've been sleep deprived lately....what?

The past few days have been pretty slow, well they've gone slow they've actually been pretty hectic!

Sunday was good, I went to church with Nicole and Ste and afterwards we went and had a proper Sunday lunch! It was like Thanksgiving, but well I like Thanksgiving way better. Nicole and I just hung around the house until that night where we went to the "alternative service" at the anglican church in Great was interesting. Ha, so funny side story Nicole and I were sitting in the pews during the service and there are these cushion things hanging in front of us and I assumed they were to kneel on, but I wasn't sure since there was like no room to kneel! So, I asked Nicole and she said you're supposed to sit on them so we did and Amy and her boyfriend Nathan starting cracking up and I just thought it was because we were super tall from sitting on them. Yeah, but no they actually are for kneeling on.....apparently people back in the day were way thinner than they are now.

Monday was a pretty slow day....for the most part. Neil and I went to school and just planned for about 2 hours and it was good, we got a lot done. We got to go home around noon because I have Monday afternoons off since I work Monday nights. I love the kids, but Monday nights are always rough for me the bible study ends at 10 and I usually don't leave until about 10:30 or so. Another funny story, someone brought some candy to bible study last night and one of the candy's is called minstrels. Well, someone asked another person to pass them a minstrel and I heard menstrual and I about had a heart attack. The minister quickly explained to me what had actually happened, it was pretty funny though.

Today I woke up and was feeling pretty under the weather so I stayed home today and basically just slept all day and it was glorious! 


Alright here is some more British translations/lingo:

Instead of saying "don't have a cow" they say "don't have kittens" hahaha great right?

They call the board game Clue, Cluedo instead.
And the board game Chutes and Ladders, Snakes and Ladders.

I swear we almost speak and entirely different language.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A very productive Saturday!

So, this was my first productive Saturday in Middlesbrough....and what a great day it was!

I woke up at around 10 and I basically slept walked downstairs to check my clothes that were line drying they weren't dry yet so I went back inside to take a shower. I then proceeded to be very productive I reorganized my drawers, changed my sheets, and put up all of my clothes. While I was doing this I was still half asleep and after all of this I fell back asleep. I woke up again about an hour later and Nicole and I ate breakfast and waited for Ste to get up and then we decided to go into Middlesbrough and do some stuff.

We took the train from Nunthorpe to Middlesbrough and went to the 02 mobile store, because Nicole and I were thinking of setting up a contract thing where we pay 20 pounds a month for unlimited texting and 600 minutes, because this pay as you go thing isn't very good at all. It turns out though we need to set up a UK bank account, but HSBC has this passport account thing for people who come over for a few months so we're going to look into that.

Ste showed Nicole and I where all the good shops were and stuff so now Nicole and I know where to go. We got simple things like a hamper and a bin so we're set for awhile. 

And then we went to the most exciting place in England.....TESCO!!!!!!! AH! I love it there :)
We stocked up on groceries and we mostly bought healthy stuff, so I'm really excited! 

On October 11 Nicole and I are going to YFC commissioning in Coventry and I'm so happy to see everyone from training again! It's kind of like an induction into YFC and everyones families will be there, but Nicole is my family this year so it'll be good. I'm so excited for her to meet everyone!

Tomorrow Ste is taking Nicole and I to get a proper Sunday lunch! Yay!

Well, Marc introduced us to a website where we can watch The Office for free! So until next time.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

So, don't take the little things for granted

So, for the first time ever I did laundry last night WITHOUT a dryer! Let me tell you it was not so fun. First of all the washing machine is teeny tiny and Nicole and I basically filled it to capacity. To dry our clothes we laid them over the many radiators in the house, it dried the clothes pretty quickly but they're pretty stiff now. Any suggestions?

It's been a pretty chill past few days, Neil has been out sick so Amy and I have been going to the school and not doing a whole lot, because Neil has the majority of our school stuff. Today we just helped out the librarian with getting the library in order and organized, also I ran my first ever lunch club! I did it on the prodigal son, and I kind of went off what we did when we were at Kings Academy, but still! It was great, we had a really great discussion and I'm a happy camper.

Later on Nicole and I are going to Redcar which is right by the sea to have a lemon top with Lauren! It's actually a really pretty day here in northeast England so Nicole and I are going to take advantage of that!

So, this may sound totally lame but I'm really going to need some prayer as the weather starts getting colder and colder. I was clearly not made for cold weather and I picked one of the coldest places that I could ever see myself, so yeah. Nicole and I are doing alright for now, but we're both pretty big babies when it comes to the cold so just keep that in mind!

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I should probably start writing more frequently....

Alright, so I haven't posted in awhile because things have been pretty slow lately. I'm not complaining though!!!

I didn't really do much last weekend, Nicole and I hung out all day together just hanging around the house which was nice. We both needed to relax and just have a mental health day. Sunday was my first time to attend church over here and I went to Great Ayton Methodist Church and it was good, pretty contemporary. I met loads of people and I can't remember most of their times, but I'll get there. I had to go to the front of the congregation and get interviewed, which was fun. Although, occasionally I would kind of forget what they asked me and I was already half way through my answer so I would always find somehow to direct my answer towards God.

Then on Sunday night Ste had a few people over and it was good to meet more people! Yesterday we had volunteer induction and then Fiona (my locations manager) took Nicole and I out to lunch and after that I hung around the house until I had to go to youth group for Great Ayton. It's a good group and for the younger ages we're starting the NOOMA videos by Rob Bell so I'm pretty excited!

Today we had a full team meeting and we had to climb Carlton Bank which is a hike! Whew. We just took time up there to pray over Tees Valley and dedicate this year to God, it was really neat.

Tomorrow my schedule kind of returns to normal and I start going to school again!

Happy day!


P.S. Can anyone tell me how to post pictures on this?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Who knew youth work could be so exhausting?

Wow,  so I think that this week has drained me, but in the best way possible.

I had to wake up again at around 8 today to be picked up at 9:20, and then Neil and I went to the school (Amy was working at Staples today), and we went into tutorials and hung out with the kids for awhile, and then we basically sat around for a couple of hours making a flyer to advertise all the lunch clubs we do during the week. Then, during lunch we had the Year 7-Year 9 lunch club called Rock Solid, and they're a fun group....very energetic though. After that we really had nothing going on until about 4:30, so Neil dropped me off at home.   I got to relax for a couple of hours.

At 4:30 Neil picked me up, and we went to Stokesley Methodist Church for their weekly after school club, and I can tell I'm really going to like doing that!  (Only about 3 kids were there but they're a really fun group.)

After that let out at around 6:15, Neil dropped me off at St. Mary's Church Hall where Ste and Nicole work; we're putting on a huge youth-night club-sort-of thing for Year 9-Year 11 and the theme was "back to school", so the kids were supposed to wear school-type clothes. Let me just say that I have never seen so many stomachs, short skirts, and high heels in my entire life. Nicole and I really weren't sure what to think.....but then again it is a good way to reach out to the kids in the community. That ended at around 9:30, and we got home about an hour later after cleaning up the church hall.


I really need it; I'm so exhausted, and I kind of think I deserve to sleep in a little. But, I think Nicole and I are going to attempt to do a little laundry and go hang out with Lauren. 

It'll be a pretty chill weekend; I just have church to go to, and even on Monday I really have nothing to do until that night due to volunteer induction, so all-in-all it's going to be good.

I can really tell that I'm going to love what I'll get to do this year, even though I hate the weather.


Getting used to this whole freedom concept...

So, it just hit me last night that I don't have to ask permission before I like want to go out and that just really weirded me out for some reason.....

Yesterday I told Ste that Nicole and I were planning to go out with our friend Lauren, and then I kind of phrased it as a question, but I mean it's not like he can say no and I totally forgot that. Not that my parents every really told me to stay at home, but I don't know this is just all so new to me. But, it was good because Nicole and I were dying to get out of the house.

I can tell my schedule is going to get really hectic really quickly for YFC. Which is good, because I like staying busy but it'll take awhile to get in the swing of things.

Also I really need to remember to just be outgoing, loud, and talkative self. I think I'm still so overwhelmed by everything right now.

Tomorrow night I'm basically working all day, but it'll be good to sleep in on Saturday and basically do nothing.

Ah, so tonight Lauren came and picked Nicole and I up and we drove to Whitley Bay to see Libby! It was good, because I really missed her and I'm glad Nicole got to meet some more people and basically get to know everyone from training by us telling her about them, even though she really won't get to meet any of them until January. 

On Saturday Lauren is taking us to Middlesbrough to do some shopping and then to Redcar to get a lemon top! Happy day!

Well, I'm off to bed.....I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First day of school in Stokesley

It has been such a long day here in rainy and cold England!

I woke up at 8:30 AM and got ready for my first day at Stokesley School. Neil (who I'm working with at the school this year) picked me up at around 9:30 AM, and we headed out to Stokesley which is about fifteen minutes away from Nunthorpe (where I call home). When we arrived, Amy (who I'm taking over for) was there and we all kind of hung out in the student center, and then we met with the head religion education teacher. It was good, but I really had no idea what they were talking about, so I need to learn a little bit about the British school system. 

Then Amy and Neil went off to do something, and I sat in and observed an R.E. (religion education) lesson on 9/11. Haha, so that was interesting.....I can honestly say I've never heard an actual lesson on September 11th. We then ate lunch and drove around Stokesley and then Neil dropped me back off at home.

And, ever since then, I've just been hanging around the house with Nicole because Ste is at a meeting, and we watched the worst movie ever....Bend it like Beckham. Now we're watching another movie.

I'm off to another day at the school tomorrow, so I'm going to attempt to get to bed a little earlier tonight....but I bet that won't happen.

OH! So Nicole, Ste, Rebecca (who works some with Nicole and Ste), and I were sitting in the lving room and all of the sudden the doorbell rings and it's for me! I went to the door and I had a flower delivery from my wonderful family :)

Until next time.....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Final hours in Nottingham.....sad day :(

Well, really sad day I'm so bummed to leave Nottingham in a few short hours....

This has been such an amazing 10 days of training.

I have met some of the coolest and best people and I feel like I've known some of them forever.

My new best friend Tom Spicer is my Harry Potter soulmate, really last night we had a Harry Potter quiz with one another and I've never met anyone that knows as much as I do. He's a really cool guy, and I can tell we're going to be friends for quite awhile.

I met another cool guy Kyle....he's a really sweet guy. But, I kind of broke his guitar today....ON ACCIDENT! But, I've never felt so bad. I was just putting it on and all of a sudden the top of the strap came off and then it fell on the floor and the neck like came off. It was horrible, Kyle was so nice about it but I was like I'll pay for it! And he said he had like 8 guitars and not to worry about it....I think I'm still going to send him some money to repair it. I should never be trusted with objects of importance to others. I almost cried though.

One of my new friends Lauren is at the ER right now, because she hurt her thumb in a very intense game of 4 square, so I'm not sure if we'll get to leave on time.


I'm so excited to see her tonight! I'll get home pretty late, so I'm not sure if I'll actually see her or not but I might just wake her up and give her a huge hug! 

But, honestly this last few days have been amazing and it's so comforting to know that I'm going to have such a large support system this year and people I can talk to who will know exactly what I'm going through.

Oh! In case anyone wants to write here's my new and permanent address:
15 Ripon Road

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day off!

Wow, so can I just say that I honestly cannot remember a time where I have been this exhausted and felt so drained? 

I love training and the people, but this schedule is way intense, but luckily we had a day off today!

I went into Nottingham with a few of my new friends and we just walked around, went in a few shops, ate and came back to the university(where we're staying)

I then proceeded to facebook, watch Secret Life of the American Teenager(amazing), and take a nap....I'm lazy.

Not much to report after that...but it was really good to get a day off and clear my head a bit and get ready for my last few days of training. 

My team leaves on Sunday, which is about 5 days earlier than everyone else but I'm glad that I'll be able to have about a week to settle into my new home.

Nicole finally gets to the UK on Sunday!!!!!! She's also bringing peanut butter :)

British lingo lesson of the day:
When you say something is "top banana" that means cool.

Haha, amazing right?


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nottingham is love....

So, basically I couldn't be happier right now!

No more gloom and doom Kelsey for awhile!

Training has been going really well so far, it can be a little long and tiring at times but for the most part I'm really learning a lot and I know God is going to do great things this year!

Funny story though, but first let me explain our schedule 
Breakfast 8-9
Devotional 9-9:30
Break 9:30-9:45
Morning Session #1 9:45-11
Break 11-11:20
Morning Session #2 11:20-12:45
Lunch 1-2
Afternoon Session #1 2:30-3:45
Break 3:45-4:15
Afternoon Session #2 4:15-5:30
Dinner 6-7
Evening Activity 7:30-whenever
Lights out 11

So you can see it's a pretty jam packed schedule...

Well, I haven't been getting a lot of sleep since I've been on my computer talking to everyone back at home so I've been wicked tired the past few days.....

Here comes the funny story....yesterday at afternoon session #1 we were talking about personal sin and I could feel myself dozing off, but I was holding it together. But, then the speaker went into a prayer and in a prayer like position I totally fell asleep, and I woke up a little later and everyone around me was staying up with their hands in the air.....STILL PRAYING! I mean I love to pray, but I don't like the marathon prayers, but anyways I was just thinking in my head "Oh crap....what do I do? People are going to think I'm like unholy!" But shortly after the prayer ended and everyone sat down. My friend Caitlin said that she just thought I was in a super intense score one for Kelsey!

But, I really love it here. I'm meeting some great people and making some friends that I know are going to last awhile!


Friday, August 29, 2008


Day 4 in England.......I guess you could say I'm adjusting? But, slightly not?
Training was a bit on the boring side today, just going over YFC policies and such. Not too much to report there. 
Nicole will be here in a week! I'm pretty excited about that! I need someone else who talks like me and who doesn't exactly pick up on that famous British humor.
Tonight we're going out to eat and then to bowl......haha, which  I'm not so great at. 
We leave Sunday morning for Nottingham, so that should be good.
So, weird fact last night season 3 of Grey's Anatomy ended here.....really weird. 
I'm definitely missing home, I think just because basically all of my friends can just leave school on Friday and go home to see their family and I can''s really hard.
Although it's pretty good because I stay pretty busy during the day, so I really don't have that much time to miss home.
I think things will be fine once I finally settle in to the townhouse with Nicole and Ste and I have a normal routine, something I really need in my life. 
Well, I better go...I have to leave for dinner soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First official day in England!

So, today was my first real day in England! Ha, it started a little late considering I didn't wake up until about noon so to say I'm caught up on sleep is an understatement!

Today I went and got Starbucks with Fiona and Neil (the guy I'll be working with this year) and that was nice. Then Fiona and I started to run a few errands for me, we went to Boots and I bought a hair straightner and hair dryer for Nicole and I to use this year, hopefully they're quality brands but I haven't had a chance to try them out yet. I also went to a little convenience store and bought more minutes for my cell phone. I also saw where I'd be living this year so that was kind of exciting!

NICOLE GOT HER VISA!!!! YES! So, hopefully she'll get here soon!

I leave for Youth for Christ training tomorrow morning until September 7th so my posts might be a little scarce! 

I just bought Secret Life of an American Teenager and The Hills off of iTunes since apparently I can't watch full episodes on the website since I'm in the UK and not the US which kind of stinks....but oh well!

Kelsey :)

Jet lag isn't fun.....

So, it's 10:09 pm Dallas time....which would make it 4:09 am England time. Haha, I'm not doing too well with this whole time adjustment thing.

I FINALLY got into England at around 11:30 am yesterday and I arrived in Yarm at around 3 pm. Let me be the first to say getting here can take quite the toll on you. I flew from Dallas to Amsterdam which is an 8 and a half hour flight, and then from Amsterdam to Manchester which takes about an hour and a half and then took a train from Manchester to Yarm which is a 2 and a half hour journey. So, to say it takes a little while to get here is an understatement! Haha.

I'm staying with a very sweet and godly lady named Fiona right now.....she's kind of my mom in the UK. On the 28th I'll go to training for a couple of weeks and on September 7th I'll move into my new home in Middlesbrough!

I should probably try to get some more sleep.....

But, please pray for Nicole as she tries to make her way over here!

Over and out,