Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween, Computers and Tampa

This morning in staff meeting we talked about Halloween because, well, it's Halloween. In the last few years I've come to realize that I don't really like Halloween. I don't mind the little kids getting dressed up and having fun, but the whole dark, scary part of Halloween just isn't my thing. I'm so tired of horror movies on TV. My imagination runs wild. Just ask Lil Bro, he's seen me in Haunted Houses. I'm chicken and I admit it. So I choose to not really participate in Halloween and that's okay.

Today the High School youth and I put together a mini-carnival for the kids at Snack Time complete with a ring-toss, ball toss, bobbing for apples, relays, a pinata and pumpkin bowling (which was my favorite). The kids all had a great time, even the big kids.

Tomorrow I head out to Tampa for the weekend. I'm going as the Little Boy's nanny while K is in a conference. I haven't been to Florida before, so it will be fun to add that to the places I've been. Hmmm...I should find a US map to post here with all the states I've visited. That could be fun. Anyway, I was planning on taking my laptop on the trip but randomly last night the power cord gave out. That would be power cord number two. It's working okay for right now but I'm being very careful not to move the cord at all. Sometimes technology is a pain! Yo Momma and The Dad (still haven't found a great name for him, though I've got a couple of ideas) are being nice though and letting me take their computer on the road...yea!

I've got to get some sleep. The plane leaves way early in the morning. I can't believe that it's going to be November in just a few hours. What happened to this year???

Sunday, October 28, 2007

God talking

Thursday was my "Come Away" day. One day a month from October to May I head to a retreat center for a day of guided prayer, it's called a Come Away. This day arrived two days after I got back from the National Youth Workers Convention in San Diego. Yeah, I was pretty much done with hearing God talk when I went on my retreat day. But that didn't stop God.

Part of the guided prayer was reading through Genesis 12-17. It's where God is talking to Abram saying "I'm going to do great things through you!" Abram listens to God but always seems to do something that seemingly says "I believe you God but yet I think I need to do this my way." God continues, though, to forgive Abram and share God's dream for Abram "You will be the father of a great nation." Yes, it starts out with Abram being the father of a great nation. One. But the dream gets bigger. "I will give you many descendants, as many as the stars." And then "You will be the father of many nations." Not just one nation but many nations, not just one descendant but a multitude of descendants. God had dreams for Abram, dreams that got bigger each time God talked to Abram.

So there I was reading about God's dreams for Abram, remembering the words of Veggie Tales guy about God and his dreams and I thought "What dreams does God have for me?" Because clearly, God wants to talk about dreams with me right now. The subject just keeps coming up and I know that God is talking, I'm just not sure what I'm hearing. Or maybe I'm just not really listening. I know what dreams I have, I just don't know that those dreams are from God. Some feel like they are from the world or my own selfishness. Maybe I haven't dreamt the dreams that God has for me yet, maybe this is just preparation, getting me ready for the dreams that are to come. Whatever it is, this is an interesting new path of my journey.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Home Again--NYWC Wrap UP

I love going to the National Youth Workers Convention. I appreciate hearing from a wide variety of speakers, I appreciate listening to people who have "been there and done that". I like hanging out with my friends until 2am in fancy gazebos at a hotel that looks like the back lot of Universal Studios and Disneyland combined. I like laughing with said friends, wrestling over things we've heard in General Sessions or Seminars and eating good food. I like sitting in a room with 3200 other Youth Workers knowing that each one of us is hearing something different but that God is still working. I love it when I figure out what God has been up to during all those moments combined. I dig the National Youth Workers Convention.

I don't dig coming home and feeling like I need to sleep for 3 days straight because I'm so stinkin' tired from having fun and learning. Ugh. This time I came home feeling like I was never really able to consistently connect to God through music either. There were only a couple times that I really felt like I had worshipped God through music. That's huge for me. Music is what tends to tie everything together and connect all the pieces in my life. It's like an essential element of worship got left out of the picture this time and I'm not okay with that. I'll deal, just not okay with it.

On another note, it was a little bizarre to be visiting San Diego in the midst of the wildfires. It was hard not knowing exactly where the fires were, how far they were away from where we were and all that. My prayers are with the people of San Diego and surrounding towns as well as all the firefighters who are doing their best to save homes, businesses and people.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

National Youth Workers Convention Part Two

The Veggie Tales guy spoke at the General Session last night, Phil Vischer. He was the one who came up with the original idea for Veggie Tales. It was a good session, with the exception of rude talking guys and cellphones. Seriously, you want to talk, GO OUTSIDE!!!!!

Anyway, Phil was talking about his rise and fall with Veggie Tales. There was one thing that really stuck with me. He said that if God gives you a dream, makes the dream happen and then suddenly the dream goes away, maybe God is trying to get your attention to get you to ask yourself, "Is this dream more important in my life than God?". I almost burst into tears. It hit too close to home.

Lil Bro is engaged. When he told the family he was asking his fiance to marry him the only thing I could do was cry and cry hard, not for him but for me. It was horrible. Suddenly my dreams were crashing around me. I wasn't going to be the first one married, probably not the first to have children and there isn't anyone on the horizon at all. I spent a lot of time this summer asking God why it hurt so much, why I couldn't find that one person, if I'm destined to be the single girl at all the family events. I cried a lot.

Last night at General Session when Phil talked about dreams being ripped away, I realized that my dream really didn't have anything to do with God. It was just my dream. I owned it and expected God to fill in the missing parts. What a backwards idea about God, like I'm the one writing the story. It's easier sometimes to play the part of God rather than letting God be God and me be me. But I don't have the answers and unless I'm willing to listen to God, I'm just going to keep on struggling.

Friday, October 19, 2007

National Youth Workers Convention

I'm in San Diego right now, sitting on the floor of a lovely hotel room. My roommates are returning from their seminars and I've spent the last hour and a half alternating between sleeping and thinking about the story of the woman at the well in John 4. For the third time in a week that scripture passage has come up and I've needed to just sit with it for a couple of hours instead of going to a seminar. I've got some wrestling to do with that passage this weekend, so pray for me.

So far, it's been a nice break from normal life and fun to hang out with my youthworker friends. Dinner is next on the list and then another general session with the David Crowder*Band leading worship. Looking forward to that! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

CD player

I have a love/hate relationship with my car's CD player. When it works, I love it...when it doesn't, well you know. The CD player is an in dash player capable of having 6 Cd's inserted at a time. I love that. I hate that the CD player likes to randomly take the Cd's hostage and not let me A.) play them or B.) get them out!

A couple of years ago the CD player decided to take the Cd's hostage and for almost a year I traveled around without a CD player. I finally broke down and went to see how much it would cost to replace it. Needless to say, I bought an Ipod and an Ipod car adapter instead because that would be cheaper. Then a year ago July my car battery died and we replaced the battery. I remember driving down the driveway after replacing the battery hearing a weird sound. It was the sound of the Cd's resetting. I quickly pressed eject and my beloved Cd's came flying out! FREEDOM!!!

I decided to only put Cd's in the player only after downloading them onto my Ipod after that. Which has been a good idea because the CD player will randomly choose moments to not shuffle correctly to the next CD, get stuck and say "CD error". Great. I've become quite adept at disconnecting the car battery, reconnecting it and resetting the CD player.

Last night a CD got stuck, almost out of the player but not quite. I was not in the mood to fool with it (I was coming home from Middle School Youth Group, enuf said). This morning I freed the stuck CD and noticed that CD #6 seems to not be in the player. Which is strange because I know that CD #6 is, in fact, still inside the player. I anticipate another round of disconnecting, reconnecting and more time listening to the radio in the near future. I am grateful for the few moments when the music I love flows through the speakers but sometimes this stuff just gets old.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Crisis averted

I love planning things. I love figuring out schedules and how each part will come together to make an event or trip turn out perfectly. I am a huge fan of the internet and especially appreciate all the websites that let me reserve and purchase the necessary components quickly. I don't like phones or having to talk to automated systems...unless the moment comes when disaster strikes.

There are 29 people on the "We're going to Pearlington in December" list. I've been purchasing airline tickest for most of them, there are some who are on the fence just a little. I bought 7 tickets last week and then purchased 6 this morning before heading to the High School, the bank and lunch. I came back and purchased 6 more. I checked the names, pushed the button and was printing out the itinerary when I spotted my mistake...I had purchased a ticket for the same person twice!!!!! My adrenline started pumping, I quickly hit cancel only to find out that I couldn't cancel it, my name wasn't on the list of passengers! OH NO!!!!

My mouse and I scrambled all over the website and found the Reservations number. I quickly dialed, became short with the automated answering service and minute, two minutes, three minutes until I heard a voice say "Hello, Mary at reservations."

"I've made a mistake!" I exclaimed, "I bought a ticket for the same person twice! Help!" Luckily Mary knew what to do. She pushed the right buttons on her end "Good thing you called quickly, it hasn't been ticketed yet." She pushed more buttons and then, the words that eased my panicked heart, "Okay, it's all taken care of, crisis averted."

I love planning things. I like making reservations on the internet. And today, I even like talking on the phone.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Today I'm thankful for...

  • Books and down comforters
  • mornings with nothing to do
  • G.G.'s running water and hot shower...(yeah, bathroom remodels aren't fun)
  • 25 people saying "Yes!" to the Mississippi trip
  • People who are willing to work
  • Acorns in abundance and the crows that love them
  • Hamburgers and potato salad
  • Women in Mississippi willing to share their stories of Katrina in a book
  • Pictures from Mississippi that bring back memories and tears
  • The reminder that my temporary lack of running water is nothing and that my home repairs are taking far less time than some people in the Gulf Coast...I've got nothing to complain about
  • That Christmas is 72 days away, which means we leave for Mississippi in 73 days! Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dear Mr. Tree Guy

Dear Mr. Tree Guy,

I saw you today, in your big white truck with your big white trailer. I saw you stopped at the stop sign wanting to make a left turn onto a road without a stop sign. I was passing you as you started to pull out when the traffic coming from your left was clear, into a space that isn't a merge lane. I looked behind me and watched you as you cut off two cars. I continued to check on you as I drove down the road following the 45 mile speed limit and you continued to fall back, back, back, back, clearly going much slower than 45. The last time I saw you clearly, there was a line of 10 or so cars behind you, including the two you had cut off. I noticed that you weren't going to bother to pull over and let them pass; but then why would you do that when you clearly had some place more important to be one truck and trailer length in front of them? I also noticed that when you and the other 10 cars were stopped at the stoplight there weren't any cars coming up behind you for quite a while. Which I take to mean that if you had only waited just a little bit longer you could have pulled out safely onto the road.

I'm not sure why your rudeness bothered me so much today. I wasn't the one directly affected. Maybe it's because in the last couple of weeks I've noticed more and more people being rude while driving. You know, honking and getting frustrated with other drivers when they were following the rules of the road (Yes, I'm talking about you impatient man in truck who wanted me to risk having my beautiful car smashed to pieces by the big rig making a wide turn). Yes, Mr. Tree Guy, you are not the only rude, impatient driver out on the road. I'm sure I will find someone else to be bothered about tomorrow. But I can guarantee you, when anyone in my circle of family or friends needs tree work done, we will not be calling you. See, unlike all the other rude people in vehicles that I've come across in the past few weeks, you are the only one with your name and phone number so nicely painted on your truck. Thank you for that.

So, Mr. Tree Guy, I hope you got to where you needed to go. I'll be sure to make sure I watch out for you next time I'm on the road because I've seen you around before. And Thank you for reminding me that I need to be more careful in my driving. I certainly wouldn't want to have someone write a blog about my driving rudeness.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

End of a very long week

This morning while preparing for the worship service, someone asked me if I was glad that it was the start of a new week. It was then that I realized that tend to think of Sunday's as the last day of my week, rather than the start of the week. I think it's something that's leftover from my school days, Monday's signaled a time to get back to something where as Sunday's were still a day off!

Sunday's are no longer a day off but they still signal the end of the week. And it's been a tough week, though it started out pretty tame. I was actually very bored on Tuesday, which isn't a state that I like to find myself in, it means my mind can wander and I start thinking about deep things and, well, that can get uncomfortable, very uncomfortable.

Then Wednesday hit and life went something like this...up, clean house before the Parents return, errands, staff meeting, extended time with fellow staff member, youth group prep, unexpected office visit, time spent holding my head in hands and praying after unexpected office visit, youth group, home, welcome Parents back, bed, up, visit with Song Friend (thanks for the advice, btw), youth workers gathering, lunch with youth worker friends, walk with K and boys, computer prep for Sunday's service, choir practice, home, bed, up, bake scones for Bible Study, Bible Study, tough phone call as a result of unexpected office visit, lunch with K, pick up Train Guy and Little Boy, grocery store, home with TG and LB, play, send TG and LB home, bake cake for Little Boy's 1st birthday party, head to church for 9-11pm shift for prayer vigil...and breathe.

I wasn't looking forward to the prayer vigil. I was going because I had signed up and didn't have a good excuse for backing out. I really wanted to stay home in my sweatpants, sweatshirt and slippers, but I put on some real shoes and went. I was really ready to just crawl into my bed, pull the covers over my head and hide, but I went to the church to pray. I needed that. I needed to sit on the floor of the sanctuary and pray with others. I needed to be challenged to pray for the people on the prayer cards. I needed to sit and listen to the prayers of lament, joy and concern be given to God. I needed to sit and know that God was big and I am not and that is just soooooo okay. I needed to be close to tears, on the verge of breaking down and know that God was there, that God knew, that God was hearing me. It was a powerful oasis in the midst of a high stress busy weekend. Because though I took time to breathe there was still the whole decorating of the cake, Birthday Party, wedding rehearsal, back to birthday party, home, bed, up, church (both services & rehearsals), lunch, wedding, home, meeting, home, bed thing to be done.

It's been an emotional and physical rollercoaster of a week and I'm glad that for me, Sunday is the end of one week and Monday the beginning of another. Tomorrow is a new day, a new week and I ready for a new one!