My friends, what you will see inscribed herein is only a fraction of what I have done for the past few months...
Okay... you know what, forget the formality, and let's have a good time here!
Buckle up cause it's going to be fast, and it's going to be a lot!
So don't say I didn't warn you!
So first off... just a totally random side note here... I wear contacts now...which is literally awesome!
And this is my bro and I... totally living it in the end of summer... and refusing to believe that the summer was about to end!
End of September we celebrated the event we'd been planning and waiting to have an opening to do for a while... My highschool graduation. Wow! I used to think I wouldn't ever get through school... course that was a long time ago.... but still, you get what I mean! I can't believe how fast the time went in actuality. I'm excited for what God has planned for my future and what I'll be pursuing, and I'll keep right on sharing it here with all of you!
A special blessing for me was to have my pastor speak and give me a charge and a blessing... Even though I've only known him for a little less than a year, I have learned a whole lot!
Someone gave me the mic as well.... and being that I'm a talker, that could or couldn't be a good idea!
Well, they all survived my talk... and even laughed about the time I dropped the dumpster lid on my dad's head... Totally my fault, people! Anddd... it was a really long time ago!
And this one was really late after a whole lot of dancing.... which was awesome!!!
Next thing that happened to me was pretty awesome... So back in July a friend casually mentioned a piano competition to me... I casually listened and then went home to check out google! Anyway... long story short, I get to play the entire Schumann piano concerto with a local orchestra... I'm excited about the opportunity cause I love to perform with orchestras... I'm going to put some info up about that in a while! But yeah, no pictures of that competition!
At some point a week and a half or so later, I found myself recording auditions.. but this time as a accompanist for Eden... Portland, Oregon has definitely made some adjustments to cope with these rather *ahem* hyper, displaced, SoCali people! JK
And I don't care what you say.... this evening was awesomeness! If you don't recognize that guy (not me... the other one! JK) that is Marty Goetz. He is a really fantastic Christian artist... I got to see him play many years ago at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (Once again, the Cali theme!) so it was really wonderful to get to see him perform once again, to spend some time visiting with him and his wife, and worship the Lord together!
So, many of you know that I work as a swim teacher..... well, this was this one evening after teaching where I found myself shirt shopping with some of my sisters...... I really couldn't find a better fit for myself than this one!
And soon after all this (Like a few days later) we all took off for Orlando, Florida
(Literally took off! ;))
I spare you the plane pictures..... partially cause I didn't take any, and partially cause I spent a good portion of my flights talking to the people next to me, which was awesome in it's own regard!
But I digress!
First thing we actually did when we got there was.....
(Wait for it.....)
I know, surprisingly uninspired but highly important!
I have to say... My experience in Florida is sort of impossible to explain... I can't pinpoint a favorite thing, a favorite experience or anything like that... it was all so wonderful and I'm so thankful for all of it! So... in the words of Inigo Montoya, (And what a great quotation it is!) "Let me 'splain...No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
I was totally stoked to make it to the final day of the National Bible Bee... all you who've read this blog for a while probably know that I did that competition for the past few years, had a great time, met a lot of friends, memorized a lot of Scripture, and so on, and so on, and so one..... ;)
But getting to come back was amazing... first off, it was different, I was a watcher and not a competitor. Secondly, I was so thankful to go... and even more thankful to get to make it to see this guy competing in the final round...
And yes.... any of you who have read this blog for a while probably have a pretty good idea of who that is! ;)
Right... it's my crazy, amazing, awesome, so thankful to God for, friend, Daniel... We got to compete in the semifinals of the competition together last year, and if it wasn't enough for me to get to see him compete in finals this year... well.....
Wait for it.... again! :)
I really hope he appreciated (and wasn't totally killed by) the literal football tackle some friends and I gave him directly after he came off stage! JK
Unfortunately, I didn't really take very many pictures of Bible Bee nationals.... in fact, I think I only took a few of other people... It's cause I talk with people!!! It destroys any incentive to take pictures!
But due to the fact that we never actually got a formal picture last year, Daniel and I did get one together....
And he looks good... and I look... well... never mind!
The next day, part of the family went to get food to supply us for the next week or so... this left some crazy people at the hotel.... and... well... I decided I like hanging in that position. Gives a new dimension to what a bat goes through all the time! :P TOTALLY KIDDING!
And we also swam... because the Strang family really likes to swim! This is what coordinating eight people to jump in a pool at the same time looks like... Hey! I'm visible!
Random selfie from some point or another!
I forget what time this was taken... but I'm pretty sure it was late!
This one was late for sure.... As Bethany and my mom were putting schedules together, I really helped them out by making some fun jokes with them and eating coffee ice cream.... They were really appreciative of that!
And now comes the big stuff... Disneyworld!
Next morning we were early to take Epcot center! And take it we did.... we used kind of a Trojan Horse principle... You know, just put way more people in a small car than should actually be in there. Then get out when you get inside.... and the people keep coming and coming and... you get the picture.
Epcot center... where certain rides make you feel like you're literally going to go through the bottom of your seat cause of the G force... Know what I'm talking about, Eden??? ;)
Eden and I.... The only two people who braved the orange level space ride.... the one that spun like crazy and forced an "OH MY WORD!!!" out of Eden when she was sitting next to me!
A decent (albeit somewhat casual) picture of all us seven kids... Look now, cause these are more rare than blue moons...or something like that!
The boat ride that everyone thought we were going to take but no one could figure out where it left from! Oh, the things that happen when we travel together! And the other guy... you all know who that is... Yep... another one of my awesome friends... Evan! (I have a lot of awesome friends, you know! ;))
A beautifully cool picture of the sun on the water which I didn't take...
(How's that for a caption?!)
Because very fast thrill rides are awesome....
The next day was our day to conquer the magic kingdom... we did a pretty amazing job of it if you ask me... I think we did just about every single ride there!
In which we look like tourists... not that we can help it...
(Side note, but this is where you do the classic Disneyworld photobomb!)
Splash Mountain.... Where Eden and I vied for the front positions in the boat just to get wet!
And just because Space Mountain is totally epic......
...I did it four times! Haha!!!
And the last "ride" of the evening... The tram....!
And the famous, "awka' face"... (inside joke)
This one could be a bit of a personality revealer..... :P
Next day we went to something I had looked forward to for a long time.... The totally epic, literally amazing waterpark! The best thing ever was the free fall drop slide of 120'... That. Was. Thrilling.
And even though it's technically Google's picture... ;)
This is what it looked like.... Seriously the best thing ever!
And yes... I plummeted over the edge of that thing... multiple times!
And we closed the evening off with an amazing fireworks show that pictures don't do justice to....
Next day we did the beach...
Feels like I'm all the way back where I belong!!!
After that.. we went north to Jacksonville, Florida to hear this artist play... His name is Paul Wilbur and he does a monthly service... it was some really wonderful worship!
And even though we got back in way too late... and even though we only got about four hours of sleep... us four oldest kids and my dad headed out to the beach once more...
...To go surfing!!! This was as we said, "Our Cali, hang loose look"!
This was amazing! Plus we had a really good coach... my dad! He grew up surfing so we learned a whole lot from him!!! I enjoyed myself so much in the water! And at the end of the day, Eden and I declared ourselves surf fanatics! This won't be the last time I surf.. I assure you on that one!
And... we updated the back of our van to prove it!
The little kids.... going with the cool look down at the pool, while we surfed!
And one of our last pictures down there... This was doing our five course Mexican meal inside the airport... talk about talented! jk
And lastly... once we go home, we put this video together... it sort of summarizes our trip in our own crazy way....Spontaneous dance is rather normal in our family, so we decided to have some fun with it! Enjoy!
Wow... you read it all! Congrats!
But seriously, it was a really incredible time to get together with friends, and to spend some wonderful time as a family making memories together... I have so much to be thankful for!
And... photo credits for some of the more random pictures on this post to Bethany... and Elanee! ;)