Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm back!

Wow, I can't believe it's almost been 4 and a half months since I wrote anything! I've really been missing blogging lately, so I thought I would try my best to get back into it!

Well, I'm not in England anymore.....I'm currently attending the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I love it! I'm finally getting to pursue my degree in Early Childhood Education which makes me so happy! :)

The days are starting to get colder, which I have to say doesn't make me too excited. Seeing as I'm a Texan through and through I was not made for cold weather. My father informed me the other day that he thinks it gets colder in Fayetteville than it does in Northeast England.....not cool. Although right now the leaves are changing here in Fayetteville and it's so pretty :) pictures don't do it justice.

Let's see....what can I tell you about my life. In less than 2 weeks my family finally gets to move into our beautiful new house in Blue Ridge, Texas! I am beyond excited! It will be good to have some room again, I think Peyton and Claire would have killed each other if we had to stay in the duplex much longer. I think the number one reason I'm most excited to move into the new house is so my wonderful sheltie, Finn can finally come home once and for all! My Grandma and Grandaddy have been saints while looking after him since March but I'm ready for him to come back to North Texas where he belongs.

So, I didn't do the whole rushing thing here at school. However, I did join a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda. There are about 70 girls in it altogether, and I just really love it. It's exactly the kind of thing that's right for me. :)

Other than that my life mostly just consists of school, which isn't so bad. I'm actually loving learning for the first time because I know it's leading me to the job that I was made to do.


Monday, June 8, 2009


So, this morning at our monthly Youth for Christ team meeting Fiona asked Nicole and I to reflect back on the past year in England and what we've done, learned, enjoyed, and what we're doing next year.

I look back at the past year quite frequently, but I never really reflect and I certainly don't get the chance to share about it a lot. I thought I would share with you guys what this year has meant to me.

Let me start of by saying that this has without question been the hardest year of my life so far. I've had so many ups and downs. The Lord has constantly challenged me in so many ways. If I've learned anything at all this year it's been that I need to fully rely on God. He is where I get my strength from. I really struggle with relinquishing control and giving everything to God, but this year I've had to do it. A lot of the time I think that I know best, but God has a perfect plan for my life and why would I want to mess that up by trying to be a control freak? 

The Lord has also taught me that it's okay to be totally transparent with other people and that it's okay to let people in. I have a habit of keeping everything inside and not fully letting people in, which is so stupid on my end. Nicole has been my rock this year. She is such a encouragement to me day in and day out. She challenges me and she calls me out on stuff, which is what I need. I've never really had an accountability partner until this year. It's kind of cool though because our friendship is one of accountability in itself. So, it's not as if we have to work hard to be accountability partners, it just kind of comes naturally. 

I also look back on the person I was when I arrived in England last August. Man oh man, if old Kelsey met the Kelsey I am now I think both would be appalled. I never expected to grow up as much as I have, but I'm so thankful that I have it's what I needed to do. I know I'm not even close to being done with growing up though. I'm so lucky to have parents and a family who are patient with me and love me even when I'm not the best Kelsey I can be. I know they weren't super fond of the person I was last August, but I hope I'm turning into someone that they're proud of and happy to claim as their own. 

When I take time to reflect back on the past year I look at it and I'm happy. Sure it was hard, but it's been such a rewarding year. I know that being here in England is exactly what I was supposed to do. I think England has prepared me for the next chapter of my life. I only have about two and a half weeks left, and it's so odd. I am sad to leave the place that has impacted my life in so many ways, but on the other hand I am so ready to be home and just invest time in my family and friends. June 26 is going to probably going to be one of the most bittersweet days to date in my life. 

I just want to thank all of you for your constant love, support, and prayers. Your prayers have gotten me through this year. I'm so lucky to have so many good people in my life who encourage me all of the time. So, for that I thank all of you. 



Friday, May 8, 2009


Lately the book of Hosea has really been on my heart. 

My friend Jillian Edwards' CD came out a few weeks ago and one of the songs she wrote is called "Hosea". I copied down the lyrics so I thought I would share them with you guys!

By: Jillian Edwards

There’s an open road ahead of me

An empty sea beside me

Waiting on the sunshine to make me happy

Or the rain to let me break down and cry out to you


And I wonder

Why do I ever leave you and turn the other way?

You call me out to the desert come home it’s not too late, it’s not too late


Wondering why I ever leave you

Chasing other lovers that don’t compare to you

And by the time I say I’m sorry so

You’ve forgotten my mistakes


And I wonder

Why do I ever leave you and the turn the other way?

You call me out to the desert come home it’s not too late, it’s not too late


Lately I’ve been wondering where I'm going 

Lately I’ve been listening to your voice within

Take me out to the desert speak to me tenderly

Take me out to the desert speak to me tenderly


Why do I ever leave you?

You call me out from the desert come home, it’s not too late

It’s not too late 

These lyrics have just pulled at my heart in so many ways. At surface level when you read the book of Hosea you see that God tells one of his faithful servants to go and marry a prostitute named Gomer. Time and time again Gomer leaves Hosea to go back to her old lifestyle. Hosea goes after his wife and gets her back and reminds her of his love. 

However, God is actually symbolizing the relationship between himself and Israel. Israel had been unfaithful to God time and time again through following other God's and breaking the commandments. So, in this book Israel is depicted by a harlot who violates the promises she made to her husband.

This is absolutely one of my favorite books of The Bible. We as humans turn our attention away from God time and time again and he's always there to pick us back up when we fall. Like Jillian's song said by the time we're actually ready to apologize the Lord has already forgiven us and forgotten our mistakes. How amazing is that? To serve a God who is never changing and always loves us right where we are. 

I encourage all of you to read the book "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. It's a fiction novel based on the book of Hosea. It's wonderful, I'm actually about to start rereading it. 

But yeah I just thought I would share what's been on my heart for the past day or two!

Happy Friday!



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Exciting things in Tees Valley!

So, I figured that I owed everyone a more meaningful blog. I mean my last one basically just gave you a run down of my busy schedule for the next few weeks. Boring? A little bit. 

Nicole and I had coffee earlier today with a lady called Amy Burns. She runs the girls ministry for Tees Valley YFC, the girls ministry project is called G:em (Girls empowered). In June G:em is having an event called "Sugar and Spice". It's going to be a day filled with workshops that will discuss what girls are made of. I know you've all heard of the rhyme "Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of". Well, that's kind of what the day will revolve around. In the morning we'll have the "sweet" workshops which will consist of cheerleading, baking, and girly stuff like that. The afternoon workshops focus on the "spice" and the girls can try salsa dancing, photography, and maybe some tech stuff. Since Nicole and I kind of lack expertise in any of those workshops we're just going to be around to encourage the girls and help wherever we're needed. I am truly so excited about this event! As I've said before girls ministry is one of my passions, and I've kind of been struggling with getting it kicked off in my area of Stokesley/Great Ayton. I mean I love investing in my girls whenever possible, but right now they're just all so busy revising for exams. So, I am looking forward to being a part of a girls outreach event like this! 

I don't think I'm called to me a girl's minister or anything like that, but I think I am meant to do something in terms of working with girls. I just have such a heart for girls and what they're going through on a daily basis. I was so blessed with strong Godly women that mentored me and invested so much of their time into me. I really can't even begin to name all of the women who have made an impact on my life. 

Haha, I got a little deep there. But oh well!


Monday, May 4, 2009


Seriously? It's May already? I can honestly say that I'm shocked at how quickly this year is going by. I mean I come home in 53 days, what on earth is that? 

May will definitely fly by seeing as it's going to be a very busy month. So, I'll give you all the rundown.

I'm not really doing that much today seeing as it's a bank holiday. I have a feeling this week is going to go by pretty slowly seeing as I'm anxious for Thursday to get here! On Thursday I will FINALLY get to pick out my dorm room! Ah! I seriously cannot wait! I already found my roommate too, her name is Bethany. She's from Kansas City, MO and I can tell we're going to have a lot of fun together next year! It will be marvelous.

On Saturday I'm going with Ste and Nicole and their youth to Alton Towers (an amusement park). I have seriously been roller-coaster deprived all year long so this will be fantastic. Although, I'm going to Disney World with the family in approximately 89 days! It's basically going the be the highlight of my summer. 

Next Tuesday the American team from Mary-Hardin Baylor will be arriving in the Northeast. They're quite a large group so we're splitting them up over the different Youth for Christ projects in the area. My area of Stokesley/Great Ayton is getting some and I know Nunthorpe is getting some. Nicole will be moving out that week to be a host in someone else's home and George the chaplain will be staying here with Ste and I. It's going to be a busy week and a half. They come on the 12th and leave on the 21st. I'm really looking forward to venturing up to Edinburgh with the team though! Nicole and I have yet to go to Scotland since being here so I think we're both really looking forward to that!

On Friday, May 22 it's going to be the day of all days! Nicole and I are going to see BEYONCE in concert!! Oh my cow, it's going to be spectacular! I'm pretty sure neither one of us was expecting to see Beyonce when we came to England, but nevertheless we are both thrilled!

That next week is May half-term and I'm going to go spend the week in Oxford with my good friend, Tom Spicer. Oxford is his hometown so I think it will be fun to be shown around by someone who knows the city pretty well. Our friends Si and Jess should be coming to join us for a few days so it will be splendid. :)

I was going to just report on May, but I haven't been blogging very much so why not update you on what June looks like for me as well? 

The first weekend of June I'm going to make my way down to Nottingham to visit my beautiful American friend, Erin! She's from Ohio! Don't hold it against her that she's an Ohio State fan.....haha. But, it will be good to see her before I go home! She's returning to the states next year too, and hopefully she'll be attending college in Kansas! I'm keeping my fingers crossed, because Kansas and Arkansas aren't too far apart! 

After that I'm not really doing anything exiting. June is going to have a lot of "lasts" for me if you will. My last youth groups, last time to teach on Sunday morning, last S1, last full team meeting, last wider team meeting, last missions committee update, last day of work, and finally my last day in England. It's going to be a really difficult month for me. I'm also not looking forward to packing away my life for the past 10 months in 2 suitcases that each have to weigh less than 50 pounds. Nicole will probably have to help me out there. 

Even though I really am looking forward to coming home and spending time with my family and friends, I'm also incredibly sad. England has been my home for the past year and it's going to be really tough to leave it behind. I'm just taking in as much of it as I can before I go home. 

Happy May!


Saturday, April 18, 2009


So, can everyone just agree that I'm the world's worst blogger? Alright then, moving on.

This entire post will be giving you a play by play of my trip to Greece with Nicole. Let me start off by saying that this trip was awful, seriously no exaggeration is needed. I just thought I would include that minor detail so you wouldn't notice a trend in my writing. I did in fact not have a good time in Greece. Now that we have that established, here goes nothing.

Sunday April 5: Nicole and I woke up around 6:30 AM. We had a taxi coming at around 7:15 am to take us to the bus station for our 8 am bus to London Victoria Coach Station. I am not a morning person at all, if you know me at all you know this. It was sweet though, Nicole brought me breakfast in bed :) which included scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of toast, coffee, and orange juice. She's such a thoughtful person! We made our bus without any problems, but then came the long and boring task of sitting on a bus for 6 hours. Shoot me. There were 2 crying babies and a guy basically yelling into his cell phone in another language. Needless to say Nicole and I were not amused. We FINALLY arrived in London at about 2 pm and we hurried over to the Victoria Tube Station. Well, we first made a pit stop to the loo and to Subway. We caught the Victoria line all the way down to the end of the line where we got picked up by a guy called Joey. Alright let me see if I can explain who Joey is in simplest terms. Whenever I go out of town or leave the house for an extended amount of time Nicole moves out and stays with a woman from her church called Mandy. Mandy has 2 daughters, Lucy and Katy. Joey is Lucy's boyfriend! Make sense? Haha, I hope so. Anyways, Joey picked us up because Nicole and I were staying with him for the night. Joey actually lives in Essex which is right outside of London. He picked us up then we stopped by Sainsbury's (grocery store) so he could pick up some food for dinner. We went to his house and hung out for a while. Get this, he lives with about 8 other people! I think I would go mad. At around 6 pm or so Joey went and picked up Lucy (his girlfriend) up from work and we all just hung out for the rest of the night. 

Monday April 6: Nicole and I woke up around 9 am or so to a freezing house! Mind you I think most everything is cold in England, so pay no attention to me. We both got ready and folded the sheets and blankets that we used to sleep on. Lucy came downstairs at around 10 am or so and made toast for the 4 of us, how nice. Nicole and I set off for the tube station at about 11 am so we would get to the airport in plenty of time. So, I was not aware that you can take the Underground to London Heathrow. I've always taken the tube to Paddington Station and then from there caught the Heathrow Express, but I guess you learn something new every single day huh? Well, we got there in plenty of time, we had no problem checking in or going through security so that was good. We caught our flight out of Heathrow to Athens at 4:30 pm. The flight only took about 3 hours, but when we arrived in Athens it was already 10 pm (Greece is 2 hours ahead of England). We went through customs (easiest thing of my life) and got our bags. We went to a bureau de change so Nicole could exchange some American dollars she received for her birthday. I then proceeded to go from ATM to ATM to try to find one that would accept my American credit card. Not going to lie I went into panic mode a few times, but Nicole was quick to calm me down. I FINALLY found one that worked! Pireaus Bank, I am forever in debt to you. Not long after we arrived we were informed that the tube station was being worked on from the airport, so we were going to have to take a bus to get to where we needed to go. This made me nervous seeing as I just started to conquer public transport in England, but conquering it in another country that doesn't speak English is a whole other story! We managed just fine though. We took the bus to Syntagma Square (main square) and then we caught the metro one stop over to Monastiraki Station. We walked about 2 blocks and we were at our new home for the next 5 days, Zeus Hostel. We arrived at about midnight and the lobby was filled with people when we walked inside. I checked in and paid what we owed and we were directed upstairs to Room 24. We opened the door and were literally in shock. First of all I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of lime green paint on the walls. I mean wow. The 70's called, and they want their paint back. There was one double bed, 2 blankets, 1 sink, 1 wardrobe with the handles missing), 2 tables, and 1 chair. Nicole has a picture of this beautiful room. We had to just laugh though, because I mean we weren't paying all that much. Hello to the world of hostels! At about 2 am Nicole and I attempted to go to sleep. It was a challenge though because apparently our hostel wanted to party and it was FREEZING! Nicole and I actually had to cuddle, which is just huge for me. I'm normally a "you stay on your side and I'll stay on mine" kind of person. But, eventually we drifted to sleep.

Tuesday April 7: Had to wake-up at 6:45 am because we were going on a tour of Athens. We got up and got ready pretty quickly. Had to take the metro over one station and then we walked about a block to the Amelie Hotel (where we were getting picked up for the tour). The tour started at 8:30 am and we visited: Temple of Zeus, Olympic Stadium, and the Acropolis. We also drove by the National Library, Culture Center, and the University of Athens on the tour. It was really neat getting to see the Acropolis. Nicole and I broke off for the tour at the Acropolis because we wanted to explore the Plaka. Coolest thing ever: we spent some time at the Aeropagus (where Paul preached when he was in Athens). Ah, it was so cool! We were like where Paul preached! We took some time and read Acts 17. It was truly the highlight of my trip, hands down. We stopped for lunch at a place called Everest which proved to be a frustrating experience. I don't think I've ever realized how frustrating language barrier really can be. Silly me. I had a ham and cheese calzone, as did Nicole. After we ate we went and booked our ferry to Mykonos, our next stop. We ventured over to the National Gardens and walked around here a little bit. This is probably one of my favorite places in Athens, it's so beautiful. Kind of like a Central Park or Hyde Park in the middle of Athens, so blissful. We were both so tired from waking up so early, so we made our way back over to the hostel to take a nap. After we woke up we went and found a Costa Coffee, which was like a piece of England in Athens which was a little comforting. Not too much to report, we returned to the hostel at about 8:30 pm and called it a evening.

Wednesday April 8: Woke up at about 10:30 am, which was amazing. We walked down to this place called Coco Cafe and got a croissant for about 1 euro. Amazing? I think so. After we ate we went back to the National Gardens to read our books, Breaking Dawn for me and Screwtape Letters for Nicole. It was so nice just to sit and read in God's glory. Nicole found this place for us to get lunch from, this cute little salad place. It was delicious. I came up with the brilliant idea to take the metro to Pireaus (the harbor) because I thought maybe there would be something to do there, yeah there wasn't. We spent all of about fifteen minutes there before returning to the hostel. We hung out in the lobby for a while and we met 2 Aussies, another one was there but we had already met him. There names were: Steve, Ricki (girl), and Jen. We decided to all go to dinner together, I actually had some legit Greek cusine. I had chicken gyros, which was good at the time but it later backfired on me. Haha. After dinner we came back to the hostel and just hung out with a lot of English speaking people there.

Thursday April 9: Woke up at about 10:30 for the second day in a row. This was such a lazy day for me. Nicole was sweet enough to go out and get breakfast for the two of us. I ate, showered, and went downstairs to get on a computer so I could check my email and facebook, of course. We ate another salad for lunch from our favorite little cafe. I then proceeded to nap and read for a little bit while Nicole went out with one of our Aussie friends. That night for dinner we went to eat with our Aussie friends again at a place called Ice Grill. After dinner the five of us went to the top of Lycabettus Hill (tallest point in Athens) and it was really pretty and cool to see, even if I'm slightly afraid of heights. Later we just went back to the hostel and packed since we were all catching an early ferry the next morning to Mykonos.

Friday April 10: Unfortunately had to wake up at 5:30 am. We got everything together, and said good-bye to the Zeus Hostel! The five of us took the metro down to Pireaus (where our ferry was leaving from). The ferry wasn't so awful, although there was this Greek football team aboard and they were playing the drums and singing for about three hours non-stop. Thank goodness for my iPod. We were sitting out on the deck, which really was nice apart from all of the smoke. I'm not kidding, I seriously think I acquired black lung disease from that ferry ride. We arrived in Mykonos (one of the Greek isles) at about 1 pm and we were met by a shuttle bus that was going to take us to Paradise Beach Resort. We all checked in and walked around to get a feel for the resort. It was pretty dead, and not the nicest but given we were there during low season. Nicole and I decided to take advantage of the good weather, so we went and laid out on the beach. I forgot that I'm so ADHD when it comes to laying out. Actually, lets face it I'm just actually ADHD in general. So, I only properly laid out for about an hour and a half then I started to get bored. Haha. Ew ew ew ew, I have to add that some people took the liberty of walking around nude! My eyes were burning at points. Never again. I've learned that I will never be interested in going to a nude beach, just not my thing. For the third night in a row Nicole and I ate dinner with our Aussie friends. We ate at this cute little family owned restaurant. Nicole and I both had spaghetti carbonara and it was delicious! After dinner we all came back and used Paradise Beach's luxurious showers. After showers Nicole and I made our way back to our "beach cabins" and went to sleep.

Saturday April 11:  Nicole and I woke up around 10 am after a freezing cold night! We went and got our complimentary breakfast which consisted of: a piece of bread, croissant, orange juice, and coffee. Coley and I went and got ready and rented a 4-wheeler for the day! Yay! Haha, I let Nicole drive. We rode into Mykonos town and spent our day booking plane tickets back to England, exchanging ferry tickets, and canceling reservations at our other hostels. It was exhausting, but we were both relieved that we would be home the next day. We were both getting sick and we just needed to be home. We came back to the resort at about 4 pm, had a early dinner and went to bed. 

Sunday April 12: Happy Easter! Woke up at 9:30 am, got dressed, and went and ate breakfast with our Aussie buddies. Made our way back to our beach cabin and did some last minute packing. We said bye to our Aussie friends, checked out, and caught a shuttle to New Port. Our ferry to Rafina (near Athens) was at about 1 pm and we weren't expecting to arrive in Rafina till about 6 pm, but we were so surprised when we got there at 4 pm! I guess our ferry isn't called the Highspeed 2 for nothing. We caught a bus to Athens International Airport where we had to wait in the airport for about 4+ hours, but I don't think either of us cared all that much. We caught a plane to London Luton Airport! We got into London at about 11 pm and we stayed the night at Holiday Inn Express.

Monday April 13: Woke up at 8 am, I showered, we got our stuff together for the last time, and we went downstairs and had our complimentary breakfast. We walked back to the airport where we caught a bus to central London. We walked to London Victoria Coach Station and we bought tickets to get us back home in the Northeast. After a very long bus ride we finally got home at about 9 pm or so! I was so happy to be home :)

Well, that's my trip to Greece in a nutshell! 


Friday, March 6, 2009

March is here :)

I am so excited that the month of March is FINALLY here! It is one of my all-time favorite months! People always ask me why, and to be honest I'm not really sure why. March just always seems to hold good things for me. 

Um, so super exciting news! Today I was waiting at the bus stop for the bus to come to take me home, and all of a sudden I got really hot. Granted I was wearing my giant black eskimo-like jacket, but I took it off! Do you know what this means?! SPRING HAS ARRIVED IN ENGLAND! Oh my cow life is good.

Things have really been great these past couple of weeks at work. I'm sorry to say I really don't have much to report, but I don't know things have just been extra good lately :) I think with spring my mood just automatically improves. I also seem to get in a "winter funk" I hate being cold and it takes a toll on my mood. Not that I've let it affect my work, but it has affected my mood quite a bit every once in a while. 

I'm sure some of you want an update on my two girls, Abi and Maisy. They're still coming to Rock Solid consistently and I just love on them and yeah. I'm on a two week hiatus from work due to Midyear Retreat and then my family coming (yay!). But when I return I fully intend to build my relationship with them even more and share my testimony, or even just why I came to England to hang out with them. 

I'll be AWOL the next couple of weeks, not like it will make that big of a difference at all though. Haha. 

Please keep my family in your prayers as they move to Blue Ridge, Texas tomorrow. Especially pray for my little brother, Peyton and little sister, Claire. They are the two coolest kids in the world and I admire them both so much for being so brave during this move. They may look up to me, but what they might not know is that they're my heroes. 

Happy Friday everyone!


Sunday, February 22, 2009


My monthly youth event, S1 was on tonight and it was really good.

For a long time now two of my Rock Solid lunch time girls have been on my heart. Their names are Abby and Maisy, and they are two of the sweetest girls. They're both consistent with coming to Rock Solid every Friday and they always bring a certain joy to the club. 

I encouraged them both a couple of weeks ago when I last saw them to come to S1 and lo and behold they showed up tonight! They kind of stayed near me all night, which was alright with me. I just loved getting to hang out with them and talk to them in an informal setting.

Neither one of them are Christians, yet they keep coming to a Christian based lunch time group and a Christian based monthly youth event. I just can see that there's something there and I can't wait to see it flourish.

Even if a seed has been planted, that would be awesome. I might not ever get to see the outcome of that seed, which is totally fine.

Just knowing that they're interested and curious means the world to me.

I just thought I would share that seeing as it's been on my heart for a while now.


Saturday, February 21, 2009


My blogs seem to be getting a little more consistent, every week or so. I could definitely start doing better though. I'll work on it.

This week has been really good. It's half-term so Nicole and I haven't had to work at all, which is nice. A break here and there is appreciated. 

To be honest we haven't done too much this week. Monday we had our belated Valentines Day which consisted of chick flicks and ice cream. Tuesday-Thursday we really didn't do much at all, just relaxed and hung out together at home. Yesterday was a great day, we woke up fairly early about 9 AM (believe me that is early when we had been sleeping in all week) and we caught the 10:05 AM train into town. We went to the movie theater and saw a double feature and afterwards we went to Nando's! So all in all this week has been just what I needed.

To be honest, my work schedule for the rest of my time here is really nothing at all. I work this next week and the next and then I'm off work for two weeks. One for a retreat with the rest of the YFC volunteers and the next week my family arrives! I then work two more weeks, and then Easter Break comes along which also lasts two weeks. After Easter Break I work five weeks then Nicole and I are off to Oxford for May half-term. Finally after that I work about three and a half more weeks and then Nicole and I are coming home for good! It's crazy to think about how much time is really left here in England.

I'm a little bummed this weekend though. It's Chi-Alpha weekend, and I'm not home for it. It's my first one to ever miss since I was first able to participate in seventh grade. It's really cool though because a lot of my friends came home to be leaders, and I'm so proud of all of them. I will for sure be there next year as a leader, so I guess a year isn't too long to wait really.

My house in Garland has been sold and my family has to be out of it by March 9. It's a really weird and kind of sad feeling knowing that I have slept in my house for the last time. It's okay though, because my family and I are going to start a new life in Blue Ridge, Texas. 

I have to work tonight for the first time this week. Our monthly youth event known as S1 is on. I also have to teach a Sunday School lesson tomorrow morning, so my half-term is technically coming to a close really fast. Oh well, it will be good to work again.

I hope you're all having a great February! 


Saturday, February 14, 2009

The day of Love

Happy Valentines Day!

I'm not really allowed to celebrate today though. Nicole is on a weekend away with some of her kids from church and since I'm all alone on this lovely holiday we decided not to celebrate it until Monday! 

It's a little difficult though because when I woke up this morning I had a package waiting for me downstairs from my sweet Nana ( I love you!) and it contained some Valentines Day treats! My favorite though, a box of RASINETS! My Nana truly knows the way to my heart. 

I'm also wearing red which is a little cliche, but it's a Manchester United jersey so it's not too bad. 

It's officially half term aka no school for a week and I'm so stoked about it! Nicole and I really haven't had a chance to really hang out since she got back from Texas so just a week of Nicole time is fine by me! :) 

We're going to do fun stuff all week, but I'm most excited for the day of all days FRIDAY! We're going to go into town and go see "He's Just Not That Into You" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and go eat at on my all-time favorites, Nando's! Seriously a great day all around.

This past week seemed to go by really quickly, which I'm not too disappointed about. It just means that March is getting closer and closer and I will get to see all of my YFC buddies again (some for the last time), we're not going to dwell on that though and then I'll get to see my family! Ah! I am so excited! Kent, Stacey, Peyton, and Claire in England is basically the most exciting thing since England won the World Cup in 1966.

I think once March hits the rest of my time in England is going to fly by which makes some people happier than others. I'm just ready to see what the last few months of my year holds, I'm going to take in every single second of it!


Monday, February 9, 2009

The joys of Monday

I highly doubt that this blog will be nearly as deep as my last post, but oh well.

These last couple of weeks have probably been the dullest of my life. Nicole was in America, and I never realized how much I depend on her until she left for fifteen days. However, she's back now and I couldn't be happier! :)

Last week there was tons of beautiful SNOW all over the country. I played in it a bit on Thursday, and by play I mean I took some pictures in my cute snow clothes and made a snow angel and that was it. I love snow, but the cold that goes along with it isn't really my cup of tea. 

Nothing new to report from work, I've just been doing the same old. However, I think after February half-term I'm going to get a girls group started in partnership with my church in Great Ayton. There won't be that many of them and they'll be Year 6-8. But, I couldn't be more excited. I love working with younger ages, and I can't wait to build relationships with some of these girls. 

People ask me more frequently when I'm coming home and every time I tell them June 26 I can't believe how soon it really is. I mean really it's only like 4 and a half more months, and I'm not working for 6 of those weeks. My time with Youth for Christ is drawing to a close, and I'm really torn about it.

On one hand I absolutely love what I get to do day in and out. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing without the amazing kids that I'm blessed to work with. They're why I get up every day and go in to work. I've had a lot of challenges facing my job this year and I cannot wait to leave those behind, but I'm going to miss my kids so much. Through them I know that this year out was what I was meant to do this year. 

On the other hand I cannot wait to come home. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my family, turn 19, go to Disney World, and prepare to go off to Fayetteville, Arkansas next year. I am so ready to start pursuing my degree in Early Childhood Education. I have missed learning so much this year. I guess I never realized how much I actually did enjoy school till I wasn't going anymore. Every day that I get closer to going back to school the more excited I get.

I guess what I just need these last 4 and a half months in England is to finish strong. Some days are much harder than others, but I just need the motivation to finish what I've started.

Happy Monday everyone!


Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm at the middle mark

5 months ago today I arrived in England. I can't believe how time has flown while being here. I remember when I was at training in Nottingham all the new volunteers were told that this was going to be one of the most challenging years, I disagreed at the time. However, much to my dismay I was definitely wrong. 

This gap year has been nothing like I expected. To be honest I'm not actually sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. This year away from home is BETTER than anything I could have ever hoped or dreamed for. God has challenged me in every possible way, and I'm so thankful for that. If the Kelsey I was 5 months ago could meet the Kelsey I am now I don't think either one would recognize the other. It's unbelievable, but I am finally starting to become the person I'm supposed to be. I think I'm finally living up to the potential that God gave me, which is scary but at the same time possibly the coolest thing ever.

Also, in exactly 5 months from today my gap year with Youth for Christ will end and I will make the long journey back to Texas. I really feel like these next 5 months are going to fly by. 5 months ago I was excited to do this year, but I also was excited to come home at the end of it. But, now I cannot begin to express how sad and heartbroken I'm going to be when my 5 months are up and June 26 rolls around. I know the next 5 months are going to be amazing though, and I'm so excited to see what God has in store for me.

I have met some of the greatest people alive, and I seriously don't know how I'm going to survive 4000 miles apart from some of them. Sad day.

It's also going to be really weird not living with Nicole anymore. Throughout this year in England she has been my constant and has kept me stable. She's my roommate, accountability partner, best friend, and most of all she's my sister. The kind of relationship I have with Nicole is a new one for me, I mean yeah I have best friends but it's kind of different with Nicole and I. A couple of days ago Nicole found out her grandma had about 24-48 hours to live. Not fun news to hear when you're in another continent. But, after Nicole told me this news I found myself actually crying with her and mourning with her. I wouldn't say I'm not an emotional person, but never have I done anything like this with another person who wasn't a family member. Haha, I think Nicole and England are making sure I really get in touch with every single emotion possible this year. 

Please pray for Nicole and her family. She left England early Sunday morning for California to see her grandma, however she passed while Nicole was on one of her flights. Just please keep them in your prayers this next week.

I didn't mean to get all serious in this blog, my fingers just seemed to take over and do the typing.

Hope everyone has a great week!


Friday, January 23, 2009

New Ideas

My last post was a little lame, and not terribly informative so I thought I would write a better one and recap my week for you!

Monday: I had the morning and afternoon off due to the fact that I worked on Saturday. It was nice to sleep in or have a "lie in" as they call it over here in the UK. Then at about 6:45 Gavin, my minister's husband came and picked me up for Monday night bible study. This really is the highlight of my week, I love all the kids I work with. They're just all so different and fun and they're just awesome. I don't think I would be doing what I'm doing this year if it wasn't for them. 

Tuesday: Always a relatively easy day in my world, which is nice. I went in to school at about 10 or so because I had to take the bus and it was a tad bit late. So, I just waited in the office for Neil and I had a cup of tea. Can I just say that tea is really starting to grow on me? I mean seriously, I love the stuff. I drink it loads more than coffee, but another reason for that is the big thing over here is instant coffee and I kind of snub my nose at that. I know, I know I'm a coffee snob, sue me. Anyways, we had our usual Religion Education class that consists of three Year 11's, who are all quite clever. I didn't partake in this lesson though seeing as I was editing and sprucing up Neil and I's newsletter that goes out about twice a year. We then had our Tuesday lunch club which is for 6th formers (11th and 12th graders) and I always like seeing and spending time with them. It's a very small group that comes, but they're a good core group. After lunch Neil and I headed back to the youth center and I planned our Wednesday time lunch club while he emailed our newsletter to our main office. Then it was time to head home, glorious day.

Wednesday: So my hump days are the total opposite of Tuesday. My day started at about 9:40 am and doesn't finish until about 5, on a normal day. Neil picked me up at around 9:40 and we immediately had to go to our tutorial group for about 25 minutes. Then 10:30 rolled around and Fiona, my locations manager picked me up from school and we went to a local cafe to have our monthly chat together. Fiona then dropped me back off, and it was time for another RE class for Year 11's, except this class only has two students in it. It's alright though, because they're awesome too so I don't mind that there is virtually nobody in the class. After the lesson we had our lunch club called Mettle for Year 10's and 11's. We talked about the difference between spiritual gifts and fruits of the spirit, and it went very well! Happy day! We Mettle ended it was time to head over to the dining hall for a weekly event known as "Midweek Challenge", sounds exciting right? Yeah, not so much. The school pulls all of the Year 7's (youngest in the school) out every Wednesday and they don't have any lessons on, they just do random activities. It doesn't sound so bad, but in reality it's really chaotic and it stresses many of the teachers out and the kids I've talked to aren't really fans. However, this particular Midweek Challenge actually ran quite smoothly. About 20 or more adults came to the school and we all sat at a different table in the dining hall and a group of about five Year 7's would come around and interview us about our jobs. Can I just say how precious these kids are? They're just so tiny and adorable and I love them. Anyways, I had about six or seven groups interview me total and they would ask me about my job as a youth worker and it normally went along without any bumps. Haha, I did have this one kid that asked me if we have any lizards in Texas. Precious. My last few groups though were all girls and once they heard my accent, their faces lit up. I was then asked things like "Do you go to the mall everyday?" and "What's your favorite shop (clothing store)?" and so on. So, needless to say sometimes my American accent leads kids to take a detour from what they're supposed to be doing. I'm sure they were really bored though of asking the same questions over and over, I know I was tired of answering them. What a crazy Wednesday, fun times!

Thursday: Ah, what a great day. I didn't go in to work until about 12:30, because Neil had something to do that morning. We did our Thursday lunch group which is the exact same kids as our Wednesday one. Neil showed them a video from when he went to India, and I sat quietly and planned for our Friday lunch group, Rock Solid. After the club we had nothing to do, so it was time to head home only working for about an hour. I got home and the two new episodes of LOST were finally done downloading from iTunes! YES! I watched those and my spirits soared. I was a little disappointed not to be watching it with my normal LOST buddies, my dad and brother but it's okay. Surprisingly a lot of people over here in the UK are LOST fans as well, it actually premieres here on Sunday night, but like the true and devoted fans could wait that long. Psh, yeah right.

So, I'm really excited about something at the moment! I'm about to begin two girls bible studies pretty soon! One for ages 11-15 and the other 16-18. I'm meeting with my minister, Catherine on Monday before youth group and we're going to look at dates and start to plan this thing out! I'm really thrilled beyond words, I love working with girls and ministering to them and I can't to see what God will do through this! If you could please pray for me and the potential girls I'll be ministering to that would be greatly appreciated!

Lately Nicole and I have really been into making list, well Nicole got started first and I followed in her footsteps. I really like it, and yeah. Ha, just thought I would share that random fact about my life with all of my faithful readers.

I officially put down a housing deposit for the University of Arkansas next year and I'm really thrilled about that too! It means I'm one step closer to college, and that's kind of scary but also so exciting at the same time!

I was kind of in a weird funk last week, and just little things like LOST, making lists, and future girls bible studies are really lifting my spirits! 

Happy early birthday to my fabulous grandmother, Elizabeth Sue Flanagan!

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!


Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm still alive I swear.....

So, I know I haven't blogged in ages but what can I say? I guess I'm just a horrible blogger, which I'm not even going to try to deny.

December is always one of the busiest months for me, and it seemed to double this year being a youth worker. It seemed like I was doing a lot more since Neil jetted off to India, and I was left in charge of everything Stokesley. It was an exhausting, but good month to finish 2008 off with.

On December 19 Nicole and I found ourselves making our way back to the beautiful state of TEXAS! To say we were excited would probably be the understatement of the year. We were both so thankful that the missions committee allowed us to spend Christmas and New Years at home with our family and friends. We considered ourselves very lucky since the majority of the other foreigners over here doing a gap year got to spend their Christmas in the UK. But, during one of Gary's sermons he said that Jesus never went "home" for Christmas and that really stuck with Nicole and I. 

Our two weeks at home were absolutely amazing, but before we knew it January 2 rolled around and it was time to make the long trek back to England. It was kind of bittersweet, but we knew going back was what we were called to do. We were only in the Northeast for about a day and a half before the entire Youth for Christ organization met up in North Wales! 

Staff conference was exactly the boost I had been looking for. It was so good to see everyone from training, and just catch up with them. Our speaker for the week was Leonard Sweet, a fellow American! He said some things that really stuck with me, and I know I'll hold on to them for the rest of the year. 

I returned back to my normal routine of work last week, which is good. But, it just hit me the other day that I have already completed half of my time with YFC which is really odd. I know the next 5 months are going to fly by and I just want to take in every possible second. 

I apologize again for being such a horrible blogger, but hopefully I'll start writing more and more frequently. Lord knows I have enough free time on my hands, so I really have no excuse.