Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm home from D.C.!!!!  I left on the plane at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning and flew in at 1:10 Sun. afternoon.  What an amazing week I experienced.  I was challenged all week to look at myself, others and how I can change the world.  Yes I've read about it, dreamed about it, hoped for it and even planned for it, but now, I'm going to TAKE ACTION! are a few monuments of my week!  I did journal, so here they are!

7-20-10 3:45 p.m.
So this morning I took off for an adventure, yeah another one.  I woke up at 3:30 @ my grandparent's home, ate a quick bowl of cereal, then drove to the Grand Rapids airport.  There I got on a flight leaving @ 6:00 a.m. for Cleveland OH.  I arrived around 7 and had a one hour layover.  Then I got on a plane for D.C.  I arrived around 9:00.  Instead of waiting for WLC (Washington Leadership Conference) staff, I found my luggage and got a taxi and headed for the hotel I was staying at.  When I arrived I found just one FFA person....Tino.  We were both rather happy to see someone in FFA (even though we'd never met :D).  After being told that check in wasn't until 1:00, he and I walked around a while and found a place to eat.  It ended up being only 10:00 a.m. but we were both starved.  After grabbing a bite to eat, we went back to the hotel and chatted for a while and met other members as they started coming in.  I am now check in and just chillin' in my room.  I've met one of my roomates.....can't remember her name.  She's from Florida, seems pretty nice.  Signin' off for now....

P.S.  There are many military personnel here.  I walked up to one guy, shook his hand, and thanked him or his service.  After I left, I looked back and he had a smile on his face.  Thank God for our Military men and women.
Iwo Jima memorial
Lincoln memorial from a distance
WWII memorial.  Each star stands for 100 soldiers who died.  There are over 4000 stars.
Washington Memorial
 Roosevelt Memorial
 Lincoln Memorial
4:30 P.M.
Wow, day 3 already at WLC!  I didn't write yesterday as the biggest activity was at night and we didn't get bac to the hotel until after 11:00.  Quick recap on yesterday.....we went into town early and visited a few monuments.  Then later in the evening we took a guided tour and saw nearly all of them.  Very cool!  But...I'll let the pictures tell the story. :)  Today we were in OD (official dress) all morning.  We took pics early and then went to the Capitol.  Several people had congressional visits lined up but unfortunantly I did not.  I toured the Livrary of Congress.  I wanted to tour the Capitol, but I think I'll do that later if I have more time.  We are back at the hotel now taking and hour break.  Tonight we don't have too much....just dinner, one more community ground session, reflections, then bed!  My roomies are pretty cool.  One girl is from Nebraska.....Briana.  She's awesome!  Anyway, kinda just chillin' for now.

I'll try to keep updating!  This is a very memorable experience. :)


9:50 P.M.
I though the rest of the today was going to be kinda lame.  I was wrong.  The main theme of this week is...Our Purpose.  Yesterday was focused on myself.  Today...others and the people around me.  It's amazing the changes that have happened over the last two days.  This conference has made me step up to the plate and remember what I am called to do.  Though it may not always be the easiest thing to do, it's what my purpose is.  May God help me fulfill it.

 Arlington Cemetary
11:56 A.M.
The day I have longed for many years has finally happened!  This morning we visited Arlington Cemetery.  Amazing that so many men and women have died for our country.  How can I ever thank them enough?  We witnessed the changing of the guards for Unknown Soldier.   We had two kids pass out because of the heat, kinda scary.  Anyway, it was an amazing experience and I took TONS of pics.  Anyway, now I've got a few min. before our next session.  I'll close here.
Natural History Museum!
American History Museum
 Briana and I in our room. :)
11:40 P.M.
My last day of WLC is coming to a close.  Probably of the best, most wonderful, saddest days here.  We went to a service project early in the morning and spent over an hour picking Kale, collard greens and pulling weeds.  What a great thing to see so many teens working and excitedly serving the community even though it was over 100*F with the heat index. 
We spent loads of time touring today.  I made it to the Smithsonian and saw the American History and Natural History Museums.  Very neat!

I've now said goodbye to all the friends I've made here hover hte last few days (except for my roomies).  Hopefully I'll be able to stay in contact with them.  Gotta git to bed now, flying home tomorrow morning!  Flight leaves @ 8:00 A.M.

 Over Chicago
I left the hotel at 6:00 a.m.  My flight was scheduled to leave at 8:00 and I got check in with nearly an hour to spare.  The flight however was delayed when the pilot didn't make it in on time.  We finally pulled out around 9:30.  With the time change of 1 hour, we landed in Chicago at 10:15.   (hour and 45 min. flight)  My flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids left at 11:30 and again with a 1 hour time change came in at 1:10.   (40 min. flight).  My awesome grandparents picked me up at the airport and brought me home.  We got home around 4:00, had dinner and then did chores.  I was so tired!

I am now all settled back in at home.  Looking back at my experiences and remembering the great times I had there. 

I'm going to settle in for a short nap here.  I'm so exhausted from everything!  Have a great day everyone!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Goings On

Okay, so it's been a LONG time since I've last posted and so much has happened!!!  I guess I'll start where I last left off. :)

July 4th we had just come home from a one day show.  We did okay with 2 Reserve Champions and several other decent placings.  We spent the day just chillin' and then hung out with some wonderful friends that evening.  What a great way to celebrate!

July 8-9 I was gone for a Regional Officer retreat called SLCRO.  It was a great time to bond with my fellow officers and get our year planned out.  We've got a great theme and we're totally looking forward to putting on camp next year!!!!  :)

July 10 We went to another one day show in Indiana.  Probably the poorest placings we received all year, but we did have fun.  It was the first show that we went by ourselves, just Abigail, Elizabeth and I.  What a blast!

July 16 Abigail and I competed at the State Livestock Judging contest.  We left at 7:20 A.M. and headed up to Lansing where Abigail competed with her FFA team and I competed with my team from last year in 4H.  Because we won FFA last year and went to Nationals, we couldn't compete again.  We judged 6 classes, Market Hogs, Crossbred Breeding Gilts, Performance Angus Heifers, Market Steers, Yearling Suffolk Ewes, and Market Lambs.  We had to give three sets of reasons (Market Hogs, Heifers and Market Lambs) and one set of questions (Breeding Gilts).   It was rather interesting contest, so we were pretty worried that we weren't going to do so well when we were tallying up our placings.  The FFA team (Abigail and 3 others) ended up 2nd in state!  Way to go!!!  The 4H junior team ended up 1st in state and the 4H senior team (that's me and my team) ended up 1st as well!!!  So we are off to Nationals once again...this time in Louisville!  We'll be competing at the end of November.  As for individual placings, with my reasons and placing scores I ended up 3rd overall in state and in reasons alone I was first!  I was so excited!  I got a 44, 44 and 47 on those, surely one of my best days!  I was also one of the top market lamb reasons, so I was thrilled.  It was a much needed courage booster, so I was thankful for that.

July 18  Mom and Rachel had to work at a dog show for a fundraiser with the 4H dog club.  The rest of us went to church but only stayed for Sunday School, going to shop for a camera afterward.  I am now officially announcing the arrival of my new camera...

So....that's my exciting news for the day. :)  I've been wanting a nice camera for some time and when my old camera broke down and it was time to get a new one.....this is the one I bought!  Anyway....

Tomorrow I will be working in the morning and then taking off for another adventure. :)  I will be heading up to Grand Rapids where I will be spending the night, then getting up and heading off the airport there in GR where I will fly to Washington DC!  I am going there for an FFA Leadership Conference (WLC) and will be there until the 25th.  Hence the reason I bought a new camera. :)  I will be taking LOADS of pictures and should have a fun post when I get back.  Meanwhile, I hope everyone has a great rest of your week!  

Until then,

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day!  4th of July!  The day America won her freedom in 1776.  Since the Declaration of Independence, Americans have been celebrating this amazing day for 234 years in a row. 

Last evening our family went to a nearby town to watch a beautiful firework display.  The many beautiful colors, primarily red, white, and blue filled the night sky.  The deep and intense sound of fireworks rumbling, hissing and popping filled the air.  We all sat huddled under our blankets in the back of the truck watching, celebrating, enjoying our country's freedom.

In all the celebrating that will happen today, do many people go back and ponder on that day 234 years ago?  Or how our country was  bought with a price?  While watching those fireworks last night, I couldn't help but close my eyes and go back to the Revolutionary War, currently going on in 1776.  I could see men fighting, hear the sound of those cannons as they hurled shells across fields.  I saw the flag, ragged and torn, but still held up as the Americans stood their ground and WON!  Maybe, on this day of celebrating, we don't think too much about the death and destruction, the pain and the price that was paid for our country.  However, we can never forget those who have fought and are fighting to keep this country free.  God bless them all!

Today, I'm going to go celebrate our freedom!  Sing of God's wonders!  Enjoy family and friends, and remember that day when 56 men sat down and signed our Independence, declaring the United States of American, a free nation.

Happy 4th of July!