Sunday, December 7, 2008

there's no place like home for the holidays

so for those who don't know, my family flew me down to Austin for a holiday visit! I got to spend 11 days at home seeing everyone and having a blast. The best part about it was that it was a BIG SURPRISE FOR EVERYONE! I'll tell you about it and then I'll share some pics!

So originally my dad and stepmom were gonna come up and visit me in Seattle for Thanksgiving, since my dad was on leave from Iraq. But then they decided it would be easier, cheaper, and cooler to just fly me down! So they did! It was so surreal being back in Austin, and truth be told, I was kinda worried it would be too early for me to go back- you know, cause i might just move back if i realized how much i missed it. But I'm back in Seattle, and realizing more and more that this is where I belong! :D

We originally thought that my dad was coming in on Sunday, but he didn't get in till Monday at noon. You can imagine the shock when I showed up at church on Sunday. I made it halfway through the parking lot before Steph Pyles (an MCA second year student) ran up to me, shouted my name and tackled me with a bear hug! It was so awesome!! And all of a sudden, everyone crowded around me and just hugged and loved on me! It was so sweet!! It was so good to see everyone! And I didn't realize it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, until all the youth kids, my small group kids, and other youth leaders kept asking me, "Are you coming to Pie Night...Are you coming to Pie Night...Please come to Pie Night" Pie Night, for those who don't know, is the big Thanksgiving Party for the 3 different youth groups that are affiliated with my ATX home church, GTaustin. The three would be: Ten Student Ministries, Unique Reflection (in Liberty Hill) and The House (in Manor). So when we found out my dad wasn't coming in till Monday, I agreed. It was so much fun- like I had never left! I went to lunch after church with a bunch of MCA peeps- to EZ's!! It felt so great having an Alamo Bowl again! :D

After that, I got up the courage to venture back into the MCA offices and hung out with Dave and Mike and met all the new MC guys. Then I went to go help set up for Pie Night. They let me lead the Christmas Movie Game, create a skit, and do my infamous TURKEY DANCE hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! The highlight was seeing one of my small group girls- Keaton, and when i tapped her on the shoulder, she turned around, screamed my name and jumped into my arms, and gave me the biggest hug! it was so awesome to get such a sweet reception! I had so much fun at Pie NIght!

Then I went to coffee with Laura Sexton...soon to be Castagnola! And had such a great time hanging out and talking. And I got to stay the night with her at the Hardy House! It was so great!

Then on Monday, I surprised the Norphy's when I showed up to morning workout with Master's. Midway through, me and Christina left to go grab coffee at Genuine Joes and it was so wonderful to catch up with her!

I had to leave before lunch, but had a blast going to morning prayer and hanging out with the staff and third years in the office. Then we went to go pick up my dad at the airport! It was so great to see him!!! HE WAS THE ULTIMATE HIGHLIGHT OF MY TRIP!! And just so you guys can get a feel for how awesome my dad is, apparently he met a fellow soldier at the airport and offered the guy a ride Killeen...which hour and a half outside of austin, so that the guy didn't have to take a bus and delay his return home! But before we took him, we invited him to join us for lunch at Cheddars (yumm!!) and my dad paid for the guy's meal. My dad is so my hero! I love him!!

So then after we got home, my dad opened some of his presents and shared some stories with us and we had such a fun time just enjoying his company. Then it was time for bed. The next day me, dad and cindy went to breakfast and just hung out. I also got to have lunch with Elaine Zuniga at Chili's! I love hanging out with Lainer! She is such an inspiration to me!

I also got to have lunch with Carrie Sue at Chuy's- good ol' Tex Mex! And I finally got to meet Fancy, her cute puppy!

And for the FIRST TIME EVER i went shopping with the family on Black Friday. Talk about MADNESS!!! I really don't do well in large hostile crowds. The first place we went to was Wal-Mart and it was utter chaos. I took one look at the crowd and was like, um... i'm gonna go check out the books. And when I got to the book section, sure was just ME AND THE BOOKS! ha! no one was looking in the book section! hahahahahahaha!! Then we went to Target and I was looking for a pink care bear for my niece (the big thing she wanted for her birthday) and got trapped in between 4 carts on either side in the toy aisle. I was so done with shopping! I started sweating and getting dizzy. It was bad. I grabbed the care bear and got outta there!

The week was full of family gatherings, meetings with friends, and spending quality time with my dad. That also included sharing my testimony with my dad, which was a big deal for me. and it was so freeing! I absolutely love my dad! We celebrated Thanksgiving with the family and celebrated Christmas on Sunday. The time at home was so great- I got to see my mom, sister, and my niece and hang out with my family! And I got to have dinner with the MCA staff too! it was so good to be back in Austin, and I am so grateful for the path that God has me on! He's been so good to me! And now I'm back in Seattle and so thankful for where God is taking me from here on out! Trusting Him has been one of the best things ever in my life!

Now, here are some pictures from my time in Austin! I hope you all enjoy! I didn't get to include a lot of details from my trip, cause it would take hours to write out...but if you want to know, just ask. :D


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