Tuesday, November 27, 2007

28 days and counting

In 28 days our group leaves for Pearlington, Mississippi...with overnight stays in Slidell, Louisiana...I'm getting excited! Today at Lunch Bunch, a group that meets for lunch at FPC on Tuesday, I got to speak about our last trip in June. As I talked I felt myself get more and more excited, details came flooding to my mind about all three trips, memories hidden for a while flew to the surface and it suddenly hit me...we're going in less than a month!!! YIKES!!

There are so many little details that need to come together. Like food...where are we going to eat? T-shirts need to be ordered, last minute plane tickets need to be purchased and we still need about $12,000.00 to come in to pay for the trip. Okay. I'm officially overwhelmed. I'll just keep thinking about the 17 homes we've already worked on, the many people that we've met, the families that are steps closer to getting into their homes and the excitement that is building amongst the 27 or so other people that are going with me. God will take care of the rest...hey, maybe I should go pray.

Looking forward to seeing this sign:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And for my next act...

It was my turn in the pulpit this morning. Speaking at two services is always a little nerve wracking. Once one is done, there's still another. Sometimes things are better the second time around..i.e. I remember everything I want to say, but I think today I felt like the first service was where I was the most relaxed. I didn't remember everything perfectly but it went well.

Between the two worship services I got to visit with a fabulous lady from Mississippi. She's been here helping her daughter off and on for the last couple of years. She's heading home a couple of days before our team leaves for MS, so we'll meet up with her again in Pearlington. I'm even debating on whether or not we can make it to her church on the Sunday we are there. That would be way cool!

Anyway, before the 2nd service started my nose was feeling a little stuffy, so I went to get some kleenex...nothing in the box. Paper towels were my next best thing. So I grabbed a paper towel out of the dispenser. There was a little leftover piece from the previous towel hanging on the corner which I didn't think much about...until I inhaled in preparation to blow my nose and the little leftover piece came loose and went right in my mouth and I choked on it. Like seriously choked on it. Of course this was right in front of the choir but I don't think they noticed I was choking it happened so fast. I was able to get it out (gross, I know) and then the wireless microphone came loose from the clip and disappeared down my shirt and the choir was waiting for me to pray (didn't know that!) and I thought "Can I get a do-over?" Yep, an exciting morning at FPC!

Monday, November 19, 2007


So last week I felt like I was just sitting around, kind of wasting time, though busy. This week, I'm wondering where I'm going to find the time to do all the things that I have to do. And because it's Thanksgiving and are out on break on Wednesday, I decided not have regular youth groups this week. Hello, that should free up hours! I guess it doesn't help that Thursday is Thanksgiving, which means a short work week and I'm "preaching" this Sunday. Just a little bit of extra stress...which I can handle but still, not enough hours this week.

I've been thinking about what I'm thankful for and how I show that thankfulness...to God and to people. So, I'm gonna ask you...how do you show your thankfulness to God and to people? Leave a comment, I promise I'll check!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Computer Woes

Last July I was in Springfield, MA at a friend's wedding. I had been asked to put together a PowerPoint of the happy couple's relationship and with the Mother of the Groom making sure everything was going to work when I noticed that my laptop, though plugged in, wasn't being charged. I thought it might be the plug that I was using but upon returning to my hotel room I realized that my AC Adapter wasn't working. I quickly put the PowerPoint on The Dad's computer and things went as well as they could.

I ordered another AC Adapter and things have been going well...until I got ready to go to Tampa. And then the new AC Adapter stopped working. The connection wouldn't come through to the computer. Great. The Dad came to the rescue again. For the last couple of weeks it's intermittently worked but then Saturday night it stopped again...and I got mad. Sunday afternoon as I was cleaning I decided it was time to replace the AC Adapter sooner rather than later as I have a lot of things to do in the next couple of weeks that require the laptop. I went to the website where I had ordered the previous AC Adapter and then it dawned on me...hey, this is still under warranty. YES! So, my AC Adapter went on a journey today with the US Mail to New Jersey. Hopefully by next week I will have a new AC Adapter. I'm still very fortunate to have a number of other computers to use...just not the one I really like.

And hey, it's fun to pull out the white boards for Youth Group every now and then. Maybe I'll have to get the overhead projector out for tomorrow. That would really be Old School

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mixing it up

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how we respond to God in worship and how we connect to worship. If you ask people in the Christian circle what worship is, many times the immediate response is singing. I've had that same thought for many years. I find that I can connect to God very easily through music and singing but that's not what constitutes worship as a whole. Worship, as we experience it at FPC, involves fellowship, prayer, silence, scripture, a sermon, announcements, greeting visitors, giving offerings, sometimes a testimony or minute for mission and music. It's not just about the music.

But when we start talking worship, we talk about music. It's really the first connecting point for many people. Over the years the style of music that's being played in many churches has changed and brought many headaches, frustration and fear with it. We've experienced a little of what was deemed the "worship wars" here. Every so often we get to a point where I think maybe this time we've moved on only to be hit over the head with 2x4 by someone who's not done with the subject. As a worship leader for a more contemporary service, I've found myself trying to balance my desire to push the ideas of what worship is a little further with the need to keep the peace. Usually my peacemaker persona wins out.

Not this week, though. This week I gave a nudge. See, I think part of worship is about bringing ourselves to God, offering ourselves and allowing the Holy Spirit to move in and through us. We can sing a song like "Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee." with our hands at our sides, mouthing the words, singing because some worship leader chose the song or we can connect with God through that opportunity. So this week I asked those in worship to open their arms wide and listen as I read the words...

"Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Here am I, all of me. Take my life; it's all for Thee."

There were uncomfortable smiles on faces, nervous laughter and silly giggles but yet for one moment we all began to connect to God. YES! I had chills racing up and down my body, as I gazed over this group of people with whom I come and worship every week standing with their arms open in worship saying "Here am I, take my life." And the sound of those voices as we sang that song (some still keeping their arms wide open) was so powerful.

Later that evening I joined a small group of others to worship God. Again there was music but then there was also prayer and silence, no lengthy talks or ton of announcements, just the rawness of individuals coming together, laying their lives and hearts before God. It was just as moving to sit in silence and listen for God as it was to sing my heart out earlier that morning.

How do we respond to God in worship? In many, many ways.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

One little connection

For over a year now we've had this problem with the projector in the Sanctuary. When we first got the projector we connected the remote control to the projector through a wire. It was fabulous. We could be in the back of the Sanctuary and control when the projector went on and off or easily switch between the computer and VCR, etc. But suddenly it stopped working. We tried and we tried and we tried but nothing. So we disconnected the wire and started using the remote like a real remote. Most times, it's been okay, just a little bit of a pain but whenever we use the projector for the 2nd service, I feel like I'm on parade. I have to walk down the center aisle feverishly pushing the on button hoping that the projector will turn on. Then, when we're done, I have to perform the same task, this time hoping that it will turn off.

Yesterday at staff meeting we were talking about the Christmas season and it came up that we'll be using the projector at the 2nd service every week during Advent. It was apparent that it was time to see if we could fix this problem. Initially I had someone check out the wire and was told that it was fine, that it must be a remote problem. So after a bit of checking, I found out where we could purchase a new remote, though it wasn't cheap. So I ordered it, got it and quickly hooked it up to the perfectly fine wire. Nothing. I checked to see if it would turn the projector on using it as a regular remote. Works great, no problem. There had to be something wrong with the wire. It was at this point I gave up. That was in March.

Today our newest retiree came by the church to help me solve the problem of the remote. He pulled out the ladder, scrambled up it and started checking the connections on the back of the computer. He wiggled the wires, I pressed the on button. Nothing. He switched a wire around, I pressed the on button. Nothing. And then he said "Wait, this connection says wired remote." He took the wire out of one spot and plugged it in, I pressed the on button...blast off!!! We have power! No more parading up and down the church to turn on and off the projector!! Woo-hoo!

We've spent the last couple of months in church talking about having a contagious faith, showing our love of Christ, sharing Christ through actions and words, helping others to hear, see and meet God. I've been reminded during this time that all I am really responsible for is making one little connection for people but it can be an important connection. If I steer someone into the wrong spot, the connection doesn't get made. It's like that wire to our remote control, if it's not in the right connection on the projector, nothing is going to happen. The information won't be sent to the right place.

I know that I've blown it before. I've seen and heard the results of others missteps in making that connection. That one little connection is so very important.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I should be wearing socks

I feel asleep last night at 9pm. I started the day at 4am Florida time and ended it at 9pm California time. In between there I was on Houston time for a few hours. And it was also the end of daylight savings time, which meant I got an extra hour of sleep, but really, it doesn't help much when you travel from the east to west coasts.

I had some time to sit in the Houston airport and think about random things. I've done a lot of traveling this year...a lot of traveling for me anyway. And as I've traveled I've noticed a few things.
  • Why is it that when you pay $100+ a night for a hotel room, in a fancy hotel that you also must pay $10-20 a day for wireless Internet? Whereas when you stay in a Best Western that can also get $100+ a night and isn't quite as fancy the wireless Internet is free. When I'm paying $50 or less at the Motel 6 in Slidell, I don't mind paying $3.00 for my wireless Internet card, but if I am paying over $100.00 a night, that Internet should be free!
  • Speaking of wireless, if airports really want to make people comfortable in their travels and accommodate them and encourage them to fly, maybe they should get on the free wireless bandwagon. I won't pay $7.95 to access the Internet in an airport that I'm only going to be in for a couple of hours. I really appreciated the free wireless and awesome rocking chairs in Charlotte, North Carolina and if I was awake enough to even turn on the computer in Tampa, I would have enjoyed the free wireless there. Houston and Dallas...the places that I have the most delays while traveling...yeah you have to pay there. Maybe it's a conspiracy. My hometown airport, SJC, needs to get on the free wireless bandwagon as well. Seriously.
  • K and I are curious. Why is it that people line up really early to board airplanes when they already have assigned seats? What's the rush? There was one lady that mystified us. She was not going to move as we came up to pre-board with the Little Boy. We could have caused a back-up on the plane as we tried to get the stroller put away, find our seats, put luggage in the overhead bins, etc. I don't get it.
  • Speaking of lining up, when heading to San Diego a couple of weeks ago on S.West my traveling partners and I were amazed at the rude people who were hurrying to get into boarding line A. They seriously camped out in front of us for over a half-hour. And it wasn't just one line, it was two lines swerving their way through the chairs. One guy came and stood with his rear end literally a foot from the face of my friend Todd. It was greater fodder for jokes later on but really, really rude. Todd couldn't handle it and moved and rear-end man immediately sat in his seat. Amazing.

I won't be traveling again for another 50 days. It's nice to go places but I always appreciate home. I came home this time with a light flip-flop tan line on my feet, which is totally unusual for me in November. I couldn't resist wearing my flip-flops today but home isn't as warm as Tampa and the cold that I came home probably isn't being helped by my lack of socks. But it sure is fun to have a little tan in November.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Live from St. Petersburg

Little Boy, K and I made it safe to St. Petersburg, Florida. It was a long day of travel, followed by a night of restlessness. Little Boy was NOT going to sleep in the crib. No way! He's on nap number two of the day right now. The first was in the stroller when we went to explore the local area. This one comes after swimming. Literally took him out of the pool, wrapped him in a towel and he was out. So stinkin' cute! Hopefully this late nap (it's 4pm here) doesn't mean that he's up all night. We'll deal.

The hotel is old. It's actually on the National Historical Hotels List. Fancy with a great view of what I've found out is Tampa Bay. We can see the Devil Ray's Stadium from our hotel room (they are a Major League Baseball Team, btw. I had to ask too.) and the local Pier. It's windy but warm, not super humid.

As I was walking around pushing the sleeping Little Boy, I started looking at the coast line through the eyes of a Hurricane Relief worker. It's scary how close the buildings are to the ocean. I can totally see why it's a big deal when Hurricanes come through...there's not a lot of protection out there. Plus the winds are strong and the current Hurricane is on the other side of the state. I seriously don't think I would ever be able to live here. I'm too much of a Californian, I'll deal with the earthquakes.

There are little movements coming from the crib. Time to go back to my nanny job!