Friday, March 27, 2009

Adventures at Pine Cove

This past weekend, our community group served at Pine Cove as their volunteer kitchen staff. Basically, Pine Cove is a camp during the summer with a full staff, but during their off season, they host retreats for different groups. Since they are without their staff, they depend on church groups to volunteer to work the retreats. Our job was to set-up, serve and clean-up meals.

We went with the guys' community group, but they were serving at the Woods and we were serving at the Bluffs. We arrived Friday night after dinner, so basically, we just got set up in our cabins and had the rest of the night free. We headed down to the lake, and just hung out under the stars. Some of the guys brought their guitars and we sang a little...but mostly listened. After that, it was off to bed so we could get rest for all the work we were about to do.

It was an early morning wake-up call for us on Saturday, but we were in the kitchen on time and ready to work. The 5 of us donned plastic aprons, latex gloves and awesome hats. We set the tables, filled pitchers with orange juice, served breakfast, worked the dragon (their version of a massive dishwasher), put away the pots and pans, mopped the floors, vacuumed the carpet and had a dance party all the while.

group shot in the kitchen

After breakfast, we had a tiny bit of free time, so we explored the camp a little, played some teatherball, climbed Delilah (their infamous hill that connects them to the Shores) and hiked down to the peak. By the time we did all that, it was back to the kitchen to prepare for lunch.

just hangin' around

The same routine was followed for lunch service, only this time, we had the added pleasure of vacuuming about 10 pounds of rice off the floor. Let's just say it was the aftermath of a craft project gone terribly wrong...ha ha. After running the vacuum for about 2 hours, we got to have some quality group time and discuss "Crazy Love" (the book we're currently reading). We also got to play a few rounds of Apples to Apples, which is always a good time. By then, it was time for dinner service.

We served up dinner with a smile and were even able to locate enough cake for our entire table (kind of an inside joke). Once we had set-up, served and cleaned up the meal, we were ready to head up to the peak for a bonfire. The guys' group joined us, along with their guitars again, and we had a great time singing Phil Wickham, Dave Matthews and even some R. Kelly...true story. With our stomachs full of s'mores and roasted marshmallows, we headed to a community room to play "Hit or Miss." It was a new game for all of us, and I highly recommend it.

the girls at the bonfire

Since it was a late night, getting up on Sunday morning to serve breakfast was extra hard...especially for a morning person like me. Nonetheless, I was only a few minutes late for set-up and I don't think anyone really noticed. Our last meal involved some serious clean-up since we had to "close down" camp for the week. I don't think I have ever performed such intense manual labor, but I came away with a whole new respect for those who do that for a living. All in all, it was a whole heap of work, but it definitely provided some awesome bonding time for our community group. I feel so much closer to my girls, and we even have camp names for eachother which are hilarious. The experience was a blessing, but I needed a whole week to recover!

group shot after a weekend of intense kitchen duty
jumping for Jesus...or something like that

and the winner is...

Well friends, not only has it been far too long since my last post, it has also been quite some time since I've given you an update on 'ole preggers, aka my sister who is almost 7 months pregnant. Below is a shot of her during Christmas, but no worries, her tummy is much more convex these days.

Anyway, I wanted to let y'all know the name of my future niece. There had been much deliberation over the name, and it didn't seem that anyone (because my whole family needs to be in on the decision, clearly) could agree on the perfect name. Numerous attempts had been made to conjure up the winning (yes, I see everything in the context of a game where there are winners and losers) name, particularly on my part, but they were all in vain. Either Nick poo-pooed them, or Michelle didn't fancy the name, or one of their friends already took the name, etc. {BTW, if I should ever actually bear children and you take my name, no worries. I will still use it...ha ha.} Anyway, back to business, after months of hemming and hawing, Michelle and Nick have officially named baby #2, so without further ado, I present to you the name of my niece who will be born in approximately 2 months:


Not that my opinion matters (but it kind of does), but I don't think I could love this name anymore than I do. With a name like that, this girl is totally gonna be the cat's pajamas. If I may, I will break down exactly why I like this name so much.

1. It is not trendy or hyper-creative/weird. Meredith is a classic name that is not over-used.

2. Meredith sounds appropriate for all stages of life. It is cute for a baby and toddler. It is sweet for a pre-teen and teenager. And it is completely sophisticated for a young adult and beyond.

3. Meredith actually means "protector," so her name could be translated as "protector of hope." AMAZING! I l-o-v-e, love that! The end.

I could go on, but I will spare you. So, my apologies once again for not keeping y'all updated, but I hope you can forgive me. FYI, my sister is doing well, and I know she cannot wait to meet her new little baby. And the same goes for Aunt Chie-Chie.

I know God has a plan for Meredith Hope and I cannot wait to be a part of it! I love you already baby Meredith!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm in love!

"I'm in love! I'm in love! And I don't care who knows it." (name that movie)

It is official. I'm in love with the sun and I don't care who knows it. Welcome back my friend. Although it's just been about a week since I last saw you, it's been too long. I've been without your sweet rays of light that warm my skin and soothe my soul, and it was beginning to take its toll (just ask anyone who came in contact with me over the past week).

I've missed you so much and embrace your glorious return with open arms. Please don't leave me again, not even for a little bit. I promise I won't complain that I'm hot, even when it get's unbearably toasty in our apartment and I can't turn on the air because Reliant Energy is the devil. You will still put a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

Sorry for the cheesy post, but I felt after all my complaining about the cold, rainy week we just experienced, I had to give the warm weather a proper welcome!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Pops!


This past weekend, Saturday to be precise, we celebrated the day of my Dad's birth. Charles Michael Lawrence was born March 14th, 1952 in Dallas, TX. So, in honor of this momentous occasion, the fam had dinner at his favorite restaurant, Love and War in Texas. Yes, that's the real name of the restaurant. You might have never heard of it, but it does exist. And the poor guy only gets to eat there once a year (his birthday) if he's lucky.

After dinner, we did cake and presents at the 'rents. He requested my amaretto cake, and to my surprise, he actually ate some...even after the fried pickles and ginormous plate of chicken fried chicken with extra cream gravy. Ku-dos!

blowing out the candles (doesn't look like there's quite 57, but who's counting)

Unfortunately, the night ended on a rather rough note, as Michelle made the mistake of bringing out Taboo. I have recently discovered a pretty extreme distaste for this game, so naturally, playing it brought out the worst in me (as usual). I do remember throwing the cards on several different occasions, and at one point, my mom had to leave the room. However, the night did end in a victory for my Dad and I, so I suppose all's well that ends well?

The birthday boy with Pearl

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Brunch and a Birthday

Well friends, it has been a week since my last post, and I'm happy to report that I have officially recovered from my grueling (please hold back your laughter) run in Fort Worth. My outer hips no longer feel like they need replacing, and I have successfully regained full feeling in my hands that were once plagued with a mild case of frostbite. Now, enough with the idle chitchat, let's get on with the post.

The "original" Mimi was in town this past weekend and stayed with my parents for a few days. Therefore, I thought it only appropriate (or just a great excuse) to have an all-out brunch fest on that Sunday. We toasted the day with some refreshing mimosas and chowed down (aka stuffed ourselves until we couldn't eat anymore) on my quiche and monkey bread. In their defense, Michelle did make a delightful fruit salad and the pops steamed some breakfast sausage. Here are some pics from the festive occasion.

me and my favorite niece (until June that is)

another day, another monkey bread

cheers to a yummy brunch

This past weekend, on the day of March the 7th, we "cerebrated" (that was for you Crystal and Meg) Cryssie's 2nd Annual 25th Birthday. Unfortunately, she had to attend a wedding during the day, but we made up for that later that night. About 30 of her closest friends had dinner and drinks at Blue Mesa in Addison. After that, a few of us came back to our house for champagne and cake. I made the birthday girl my amaretto-soaked cake with cream cheese frosting and we had a little Andre to wash it down.

As an aside, I can't believe this past Saturday marked like the 17th birthday I've helped Crystal celebrate. This is just a testament to what a loyal and true friend I have in her. Happy Birthday Crys! I pray this year in your life is blessed beyond belief!!!

the birthday girl and me

the amaretto birthday cake

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hindsight's 20/20

This may come as a shock to you, but I, Rachel C. Lawrence, am not a runner. Under no uncertain terms would I ever claim I can run, nor have I ever had a brain lapse which caused me to think I had the ability to run more than 100 meters. I know, I know. You all thought I was an avid marathon participant who woke up every morning at 4 in the AM to train. That, my friend, is simply not the case.

However, for some crazy reason (that which I am not privy to), I decided it would be a great idea, perhaps even fun, to sign up for the Cowtown 5K which took place in Fort Worth yesterday. As the date grew closer and closer, it begin to set in just what a gargantuan mistake I had made. Nonetheless, I diligently "trained" for the event and did not miss a day at the gym, or outside if the weather was nice.

If you do recall, yesterday was not one of those "nice" weather days. In fact, I can't remember the last time it was that blistering cold outside. Not only was the temperature in the low-30s, but the wind was feistier than I am when I don't get my 10 hours of sleep. If I had any guts at all, I would have called Christy and claimed I had come down with "flu-like" symptoms. But instead, I faced my fears head-on...

I can't even begin to describe how freaking cold it was out there. The wind hit me like a back-hand to the face. My hands, face and ears burned and it felt like needles were going in my legs. I was beyond improperly dressed without anything to cover my ears or my hands. However, friends, I am proud to say that even though I was the last in our group of about 15 to finish, I did complete the race in under 40 minutes. Now, to most people, that would be a total embarassment. As for me, though, it was an accomplishment that I didn't take a shortcut out of the race and head to nearest Starbucks. I "press(ed) on towards the goal, that I might receive the prize."

All in all, I think my performance, or lack thereof, provided some much-needed comic relief to those around me. I'm glad I did it, but it might be a while before I attempt to do the impossible again. And for me, that's apparently running.