Award of Merit

Merit: a praiseworthy quality: virtue. Character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem ; also : achievement.
I am a wife, a mom and I scrapbook. In addition my hubby and I direct a youth choir and drama team. The team ministers in drama, human videos(acting out music), short sermons, choir, sign language, dance and flags. We have ministered as a team at our church, other churches , community venues, retirement homes etc. We have taken this team for the past three years to a District Fine Arts Festival, and subsequently been good enough to be invited to a National Fine Arts Festival each year. You have to make a certain score to qualify and this year, not only were we invited we were awarded the "Award of Merit" in ASL (American Sign Language) and choir! Oh, that means we had the highest score in each category! I am so proud of our team! We worked so hard and it paid off! But I have to tell you about how crazy the weekend went...

First of all I should have known it was going to be crazy because the weather forecasts were horrible! I had parents calling me the morning of our trip asking if we were still going. Reports were talking about snow storms, chains being required and roads potentially being closed. We made lots of calls and said we would turn around if we had to but we were going to go for it. (If you don't compete at Districts FAF you can't get invited to Nationals.)
We had lots of people praying for our trip so we felt pretty confident, our plan was just to take our time. One of the kids could not leave until after school because of a concert. Our youth pastors wife had to work so they couldn't leave until later in the day. We arranged for them to give this student a ride and the rest of us went ahead in the morning. Things were smooth sailing at first...We stopped at a fast food place for lunch - no sign of snow. After lunch I began to feel sick. I ended up losing my lunch in the van! (I do not get car sick!) We had to pull over and I was so sick I did not want to leave that restroom!

45 minutes later my hubby is freaking out because of course it is now snowing- hard! He says we need to get back on the road, and I am saying no way I can't! So he says we either need to get back on the road before the road conditions get worse, we should turn around and go back home, or he could get me a hotel and I could rest and wait until the afternoon when the rest of our group comes through town. I chose option #3, there was no way I was getting back in that van with the way I felt!

It's a good thing I chose to stay because I didn't stop throwing up until 6:30PM! :O!!! That's when I realized that I had not heard from our youth pastor and his wife. Turns out they got stuck in a town about 40 minutes before reaching me, they closed the roads!!! Hubby and the team were stuck in scary, crazy weather! A drive that should have taken us 4 1/2 hours took them 9 1/2 hours! (Imagine me, by myself and no scrapbook supplies!:O!!)

The next morning the roads were still shut and the kids were in a panic because I wasn't there! Meanwhile I did not have my charger with me my phone was dead! I asked at the front desk if they had a charger - she had a whole box, none of which fit my phone. There was an Office Max across the street, I felt better so I decided to go buy a charger. I had to cross a major street and it was snowing, I pushed the button to cross, the light changed and something told me to wait. Thank God I did because as I'm standing there a car that was speeding sees the light and slams on his brakes! He spun in a circle right into the intersection! God always has my back!

As soon as I got back and plugged my phone in it rang, the roads had just opened back up! YAY! They were on their way to get me! The kids kept calling and the roads were still slick but not as bad as the day before! We were watching the clock and we got there just minutes before the team had to perform their sign language piece! I got there just in time to give them hugs and a very quick pep talk before they went on! They nailed it! (here is a pic of part of the team doing sign language - I can show this one because it's blurry, I don't want to show their faces online.)
Later they aced their choir number too! It was the best they had ever done! We are so proud of them! We knew we had done well enough to get an invite to Nationals and we were happy with that but we had no idea that we would be the #1 in both categories making us the "Award of Merit" winners for our district! Whoo hoo! It is nice to be validated! Nationals are in Florida this year! I see a LOT of fundraisers in our future!!!It was a crazy weekend but totally worth it!We missed the first nights services but the second night was amazing! The kids were ministered to and so were we! I didn't eat much the rest of the weekend! LOL! I sure was thankful that God kept us all safe and that He chose to validate us in such a big way! Have a blessed night! (or day depending on when you are reading this!)


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