Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A vessel of love

In High School my favorite teacher was Mrs. C. She was my Senior English teacher but we went way back. Her daughter was in daycare with my brother (I'm not positive that I was still there when she was there but that's logistics) and Papa Bear was a teacher at the same school. Anyway, Mrs. C. was the most wonderful teacher. I wasn't the best student my senior year of high school. I had "senioritis" so bad and sometimes was doing my homework as it was supposed to be turned in. Mrs. C. would never get on my case overtly, just subtly and with love. I always knew I was loved by her, especially because I had a nickname..."B". Just "B".

Mrs. C. got sick soon after I graduated high school. She was brave, fought valiantly for life and was successful for years. During that time her daughter, now grown up and with daughters of her own, started working for our church and then attending the church. I would see Mrs. C. at special events and church dinners and she always, always had a smile, a hug, a kiss and a beautiful "Hi B". Even years after High School that "Hi B" spoke volumes and volumes of love.

Mrs. C. died a couple of years ago, way too young. Since that time my friendship with her daughter has grown and grown. A while ago I noticed that she had started calling me "B". It made me stop in my tracks...that one letter of my name was filled with so much love coming from her mom and that same respect and love was shining through her daughter. Every time she says it, it's like Mrs. C. is saying it too and my heart explodes with joy.

Mrs. C's daughter is with me this week in Pearlington. She's very amazing in her own right and has been a joy to be around. Yesterday was her birthday and we went to the beach after working for a little break. I knew that Mrs. C's daughter was missing her mom on her birthday, not to mention her hubby and 3 kids at home and had plans for later that evening to just celebrate her. As the majority of people spilled out onto the beach I noticed that Mrs. C's daughter was holding back. I turned around and yelled out "Come on M, you have to put your toes in the water!". Turns out those words didn't actually come from me. Mrs. C chose that moment to speak words of love to her daughter...and I was humbled to be the vessel.

The toes of Yo Momma, me and M in the Gulf of Mexico

Greetings from Pearlington...

well actually Bay St. Louis. That's where the house that half our Mississippi Team has been staying in is located. It's been a whirlwind of activity the last few days, some of which y'all may be reading on the Mississippi Blog. But things have also been going on in my personal life which have brought stress and disappointment as well as the ego beating talked about previously. Having a credit card number stolen is not something I recommend happening while on a Mission Trip. It's not fun at anytime, but especially in the midst of trip in which one had hoped to use the credit card!

Then there are those things that have brought me great joy...like meeting St. Casserole and Songbird from RevGalBlogPals! I was so honored that they would drive out to Pearlington today to meet-up with me (and send hugs from PG and mom! Hugs right back!). Both are just as lovely as I had figured they would be. Thank you both for coming to Pearlington! I heard they were traveling on to NOLA for another blogger meet up and a maybe a little yarn shop exploration...Yo Momma was especially excited to talk yarn shops.

Being on a trip with 19 people who get along well is also a huge bonus. We've had so much less stress and a LOT more laughter on this trip. I don't think I've laughed this hard on a trip in a long time. The work is has been sporadic but the laughter has been abundant.

I've learned a few things on the journey as well. I was driving around Pearlington today and realized that I was pretty confident about getting places. I knew the roads to take, which way to go, which streets not to stop on the corner on and so on. It really felt like home. And it also dawned on me halfway through the day that Ben is more confident with our group as well. He wasn't around for most of the day, he had things to do, places to go and didn't mind leaving us to do the work. That speaks REALLY highly of the group and how they work.

Most importantly, I realized that I don't have to do everything. It's been freeing to step back and just let whatever is going to happen with things, happen. I'm not worrying about meals, I'm not answering questions that others can answer. I'm just doing what I can do and not worrying about doing more. That whole "walk humbly with your God" thing in Micah (our team verse is Micah 6:8) is working it's way a little deeper into my heart. I am who God made me to be, I can do what God asks and nothing more. There's great freedom in that...praise God!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lessons from life

It's midnight. I need to be sleeping. Things have happened in the last 72 hours that have been fantastic and things have happened that have been stressful. I'm consistently amazed at how God starts working things together, putting things in place so that the next event doesn't completely backfire or so that, in the end, I have to stop and say "Thanks".

Tonight I'm saying Thanks. Thanks for the opportunity to grow, the opportunity to be humble, the opportunity to be transparent and for the opportunity to be supported by others in small and big ways. My heart just about melted tonight when a youth group member came up and hugged me, not once but twice. He doesn't even know how much that meant and probably never really will but I will remember it forever.

My ego took a little bit of a beating tonight but it turns out I didn't need that ego anyway. It just gets in the way of God and God's amazing way of working.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve. In a few hours I'll be leading in worship at our Christmas Eve Service. We'll be singing some of my favorite songs, O Come All Ye Faithful, O Rejoice, Away in the Manger. We'll turn off the overhead lights, light candles and sing together Silent Night, cherishing the gift of Jesus...if we are lucky it won't be raining and all of that can be done outside in the chill of the night air with the stars twinkling in the sky.

It doesn't really matter though, whether we sing inside or out, the real joy of Christmas Eve comes when those lights go out and the candles begin to be lit. That's when Christmas starts for me, in that moment with the symbolic light of Christ is passed from one person to another, when barriers are dropped for just a moment to celebrate the birth of Christ into a world in need of saving. In that moment there is hope, peace and joy. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday's Tips part 4

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just two sleeps away. I've got almost all my shopping done, yea! I'll be picking up a couple of extra things tonight before dinner with some friends, yea! I have the last of the pictures I need that need to be picked up at Costco and then I think I have it all together.

Today's tips are the last ones for this Christmas season. Thanks for reading along! It's been fun and challenging for me.

Looking to start a new Christmas family tradition? How about a Christmas movie viewing night. Aunt C and Lisa like to watch White Christmas together. Yo Momma and I (and Lil Bro when he was around) make time to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol. There's plenty of movies that can be viewed by the whole family. What's a Christmas without A Charlie Brown Christmas?

Have one person that you're struggling to buy a present for? Personalize a calendar. K takes pictures of Train Guy and Adventure Boy, cuts them out and puts them "into" the pictures on a pre-printed calendar. It's fun to turn the page each month to see where the boys will be. Or write notes on specific dates on the calendar, birthdays, quotes, special holidays, lunch dates, etc.

If a calendar doesn't work for you, how about an ornament? These are some of my favorite ornaments to give because they come in a nice box.

Looking for a gag gift? Singing animals are always a hit. People either love them or hate them and that's the whole point. I am on the loving them side and have several. I also found that there are some fun animals out there that don't sing but do other things that make me laugh, laugh, laugh. A couple of lucky people will be the recipients of these gifts this year.

My final tip this Christmas season can't be found on the Internet. I found it last night at R.A.W. in the quiet with the rain pouring down on the roof and candles lighting up the room. It was the reminder to stop and breathe. There is much that I will miss in the next few days as I rush not only to get things done for Christmas but for the Mississippi trip, but last night for an hour I was able to just breathe and enjoy the moment.

In the hustle of friends and family the next few days, my prayer for you is that you have the opportunity to breathe and enjoy the moment.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Short post

I love Christmas...I don't love cleaning up after wrapping Christmas presents, especially there are still presents to wrap but I ran out of tape. If my housemates weren't returning home before me tonight I would just leave the mess but if I did I'd never hear the end of it. Good thing there's a spare room!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Five: Countdown to Christmas Edition

Songbird over at RevGalBlogPals says:

It's true. There are only five full days before Christmas Day, and whether you use them for shopping, wrapping, preaching, worshiping, singing or traveling or even wishing the whole darn thing were over last Tuesday, there's a good chance they will be busy ones.

So let's make this easy, if we can: tell us five things you need to accomplish before Christmas Eve.
  1. Finish buying Christmas gifts & stocking stuffers. This year is particularly hard for stocking stuffers but it's my favorite part of Christmas morning! Good thing I have a shopping day planned with Aunt C tomorrow!
  2. Wrap, wrap, wrap presents...though I tend to wait until that beautiful time between the 7pm Christmas Eve service and the 10pm service when I need to stay awake and all the family stuff is done for the night.
  3. Put together all the media stuff and music for the Christmas Eve services, the 28th and January 4th because I also need to...
  4. Pack for Mississippi! Not my own bags, silly people, but the bag that contains all the stuff the team may need while we are in Pearlington...like songbooks, extra t-shirts, dust masks, construction pencils and so on and so on. Who's idea was it to leave at 8am the day after Christmas?
  5. Dot the "i's" and cross the "t's" on all the Mississippi paperwork which includes making sure I have all the confirmation numbers for the flights and rentals cars, keys and lockbox numbers for the homes we are renting, permission slips for the students, putting the last few checks into the account to pay for all the food, gas, etc on the trip and so on and so on. Yep, the next few days are going to be a little busy!

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The stress is building

It is 2pm. So far today I have sat in an 1 1/2 long staff meeting, helped Fabulous Office Manager put a new program on her computer, walked around the high school campus visiting students, started my computer, eventually answered emails, put lunch in the microwave and made a list of things that I need for tonight.

In the next 3 1/2 hours I need to print out the insert for Sunday's bulletin, write and print out the brochure for the High School Snow Trip, buy supplies for tonight, wrap the white elephant gifts for tonight, compile songs for tonight's "carol-a-thon", write a letter to an unhappy person, put finishing touches on the media stuff for Sunday's worship service, send in the deposit and contract for a rental house for the Snow Trip, put together an estimate for the Snow Trip expenses, set up for tonight's games, post a blog on the Pearlington site about where we stand financially, put together a song list for R.A.W. and make sure I have the overheads, check out the memory information on Church computer and send that information to a friend who's helping figure out the memory problems...and the list goes on. Wait, pastor just called me, add to that list put together a lyric sheet so we can sing Silent Night out underneath the stars on Christmas Eve (if it doesn't rain).

Tomorrow is my silent retreat day, Christmas is a week away in 9 days I leave for Mississippi and I can feel the stress building, building, building.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday's Tips part 3

This week was the our Christmas Celebration at church. We had little drummer people, a whole pageant, lots of music, laughter and audience participation moments that were a lot of fun. Nothing like singing Jingle Bells with a group of people ringing bells. It was a great night. Music always is a huge part of these evenings and I realized that we have an amazing group of musicians, young and older, in the church. I love to see how God uses our unique, distinctive gifts to combine into one amazing celebration!

Which brings me to tip number one. There have been over 9 million viewings of this video and if you haven't heard it before, well, it's time to join the fun. Ready to smile? Watch this video.


Looking for Christmas music that is mostly original? Mary Chapin Carpenter just put out a CD called Come Darkness, Come Light that is fantastic with lots of original songs. My favorite song is the title track and any pastor doing a Blue Christmas service should take time to listen. It's good.

Need a little time out to just play? Try Elf Bowling! I stumbled upon this gem a few years ago, even had it on a floppy disc but lost it somewhere along the way. You can play for about 60 minutes for free at this site. And then you can try Polar Bowling for even more fun! Make sure the sound is on, they are pretty silly to listen too as well...but if you are at work, keep the sound low!

Looking for silly gifts for someone? Try the Container Store. They have great stocking stuffers, though they are a little pricey. Yo Momma and G.G. got luggage tags last year...which reminds me, one got lost off of Yo Momma's luggage this year. Hmmmm...

Now, just because I liked it, I share with you the following video which my friend Kimi shared with me last week. The object was to share the the Christmas Story in under 30 seconds at Churches Advertising Network and this is the winning video. I'm not sold on the whole church advertising thing but I like the creativity! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Unbloggable

Unbloggable. I've read that term on my favorite blogs over the past couple of years but haven't really given it a lot of thought...until the last couple of weeks when issues or topics have come to mind and I really, really want to blog about them but yet there are complications. #1--Non-anonymity and #2--blogging about them could cause more issues than were originally there, thus rendering certain subjects unbloggable.

It makes me sad, really, to not be able to blog about some things going on in life because this place has become an outlet for me. I've found freedom here to put words on "paper" that sometimes would normally stay in my head...and there's the added bonus that friends and family whom I love dearly but tend to neglect get caught up on whatever is running through my mind at the moment. I'm also sad because I've found that whenever I start writing things down here, I begin to process them on a deeper level. I read the words that I write and then have to think about them, very carefully, before hitting that publish button. I could do as Meg suggested and write them all out and then erase, erase, erase. And maybe I will, though there is some kind of strange satisfaction with having my words read by someone else somewhere...and now I'm rambling.

There are things in life that are bloggable and there are things in life that are unbloggable. Unfortunately, today, is a pretty much unbloggable day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chips

A few years ago a young man came to youth group. He was not my favorite teenager. In fact I really dreaded when he came to youth group. There was a chip on his shoulder a mile wide that ran head long into any adult who dare, oh I don't know, discipline him! But I'm a youth director, and God has called me to be a vessel of love, hope and understanding to the young people whom I meet in life and so I grudgingly accepted this young man in our program and "put up with him".


Fast forward a couple of years and that young man has changed. The chip on his shoulder isn't quite as wide. I don't run head long into it anymore, in fact I realized recently that I haven't run across that chip in a long time. I will see him on the school campus at lunch and he will approach me to say Hi. He smiles more than he frowns and a while back when the rest of the group was getting kind of loud and I was trying to get the attention of the group, he was the first one tell everyone to quiet down. Yep, things have changed.


I was sitting by another young man a few weeks ago. Another one whom God had placed in youth group that I really, really struggled with. He came to group for awhile, disappeared and has reappeared again. You know, the same thing has happened. He's changed, though the chip on his shoulder is pretty prominent still. I enjoyed spending time talking with him, listening to the unspoken words as well as those spoken.

There are days when I wonder what God is doing, what the future holds and how much longer I will be in Youth Ministry. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do there is just always this voice in the back of my head saying "You can't do this forever.". I'm not sure whose voice it is, God's, Satan's or mine, and until I figure it out I will continue to do what God has called me to do...be a vessel of love, hope and understanding to the young people whom I meet in life. It's not an easy road but it's the road that God has me walking.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Tips Week 2

This week has been jammed packed with all kinds of things happening. Mostly good, some frustrating and a few unexpected twists but overall good. Though the fact that the guy at the local Taqueria knows that I don't like salsa on my items probably isn't good nor the fact that upon walking into Starbuck$ on Sunday morning both people behind the counter knew exactly what I order. I am there too much!


I am a creature of habit, which is why doing these Tuesday Tip things are so fun. It's my chance to explore new things and pass those tidbits along to you, my internet friends! Are you ready?


Looking for music? I love Christmas Music. A lot. It's hard to just listen to Christmas Music for a month, I want to listen all year long. Loading my I-pod with Christmas music is on my list of things to do this week. In the meantime several people mentioned http://www.pandora.com/ this week. It's a free music site that is just too hard to explain but is pretty cool. Check it out for yourself. Oh, and it's got a lot more than Christmas music on there.


Time for a Christmas Tree? Yo Momma and I went Christmas Tree hunting with Train Guy and Adventure Boy on Friday. Last year we got a tree that we thought was the perfect height, until we cut it down...it was way too short. This year Yo Momma had the fabulous idea to bring a tape measure. It was great. We measured our tree before cutting it and wound up with a tree that is just about the right height. So, if you are going out to cut your own tree, bring a tape measure and figure about a foot and a half difference in the height...if you cut like we do!
Got pictures? I am horrible at printing out pictures. I have billions of pictures from all the adventures of the youth group, not to mention my own life. I've got a program that helps me fix pictures but my printer isn't the best and it tends to jam a lot, so I don't print out the pictures that often. But the other week I got a coupon for free photos from Costco. I uploaded my pictures to Costco.com, chose the size and number of photos and chose to pick them up at my local Costco, which I did the next day. It was so easy and the pictures looked good too. There will be several family members getting pictures for Christmas!


Planning on going on vacation and don't want to stay in a hotel? Try Vacation Rentals By Owner. People with Vacation properties in the US can list their homes on there with pretty reasonable prices...especially if you are going with a big group of people. I found a house in Mississippi for our March trip and have rented it again for the trip this December...as well as another one just down the street. I am scouring that site for a rental house in Tahoe for the High School Snow Trip. There are several great possibilities.

Enough said! Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No room

"And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn." ~John 2:4-7 (NLT)

A couple of years ago some of the youth group members and I reenacted the Nativity story for our all Church Christmas Celebration. There were 5 people and a couple of the people had to play multiple parts, which always makes for a fun time. Train Guy was just a year old then so he got to be Baby Jesus...very cool. One of the youth, Doug, played the Inn Keeper in the story...not just one inn keeper but multiple inn keepers, for added effect. He's a man of few words anyway but we found that we never knew quite what Doug was going to do. One time he looked at Mary and Joseph and just said "No", another he just shook his head and pointed in the opposite direction. I think the last one went something like "I've got this barn out back." I haven't laughed so hard at a Christmas Pageant since then.

It's always been fascinating to me how much gets added to the Nativity story when we begin to retell it. Mary riding on a donkey into Bethlehem...find that one in the Bible. The Magi kneeling by baby Jesus' manger with the shepherds by their side...yeah probably not. And then there's the inn keeper. While I don't doubt the existence of the inn keeper, no mention is made about who this inn keeper actually was or if the inn keeper even offered Mary and Joseph a stable out back. For all we know, they could have just stumbled upon the stable and that's where they camped out for the night. The story is a little vague.

The point, though, is pretty clear. There wasn't any room for them in the inn. The place where it would be natural for an obviously pregnant woman (I love that translation!) to rest for the night had no rooms available. So Mary and Joseph wound up in a stable and the Savior of the world's first bed was a manger because there was no room for him.

I was struck the other day by this thought...there still isn't room for Jesus. We still find ways to block Jesus out of the most natural resting place for him, our hearts. I can spend much of my day doing a lot of busy work for Jesus and I can spend my nights talking to teenagers about Jesus but how much of my day is actually spent with Jesus. How much room do I make in my heart for Jesus every day? The sad truth is that there are far too many days that go by where I don't think about Jesus at all.

No room. That's the easiest line in a Christmas Pageant and really an easy line in my life. I have no room, no room for stuff, no room for people, no room for more...yet when I tell Jesus I have no room what am I missing out on? That's quite the question to ponder

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday's Tips

So, this being the Christmas season and it seems fitting to share my most recent fun finds with y'all every Tuesday from now until Christmas. Hope you enjoy!

Looking for silly gifts? Fredflare.com is the place for you. There aren't words to explain, just look for yourself. I've found a gift for Cousin T (and if any of you family members are tempted to buy something for her from this site, please check with me first!), the perfect gift for Opinionated Friend and just all kinds of fun items.

Like coffee? Like chocolate? Like Yo Momma's Chocolate Torte Cake? Why not try it in beverage form? Starbuck$ new Espresso Truffle tastes just like that cake!

For the last few years I've enjoyed an online Advent Calendar at Banjobunny.com. There's a new door to open everyday with something fun on the other side. If you have sound on your computer turn it up!

And the final Tuesday Tip is this...if you are tired of getting Christmas presents that you don't use, that aren't practical to your life or that you just wind up returning, why not make a wish list! I've got two so far online so friends and family can find them and get me things off that list. The best part is it really works! So go to your favorite store online and start wishing! Oh, but it only works if you tell the rest of us where to find your list!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful...

Today I am thankful for...
  • Friends who support, encourage and love me for me
  • Snuggles and kisses from Train Guy and Adventure Boy
  • New clothes
  • 10% off coupons and discounts that making buying said new clothes a little less painful
  • A roof over my head and some funny, frustrating and wonderful housemates (Just being honest)
  • Old movies...(watching the Music Man on netflix as I write this)
  • Christmas music on the radio
  • White Chocolate Mocha's and the barista at Star$'s who makes them correctly
  • A job that challenges me
  • A God that challenges me
  • People who allow me feel what I feel, when I feel it
  • Books that inspire me, encourage me and just help me relax
  • Family
  • Blogs that inspire me, encourage me and make me laugh out loud!
  • Life

And I'm thankful for all of you who read this blog! Having an audience is awesome! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just whining

I like the concept of extra days off. Really I do. I don't like the work load that comes with those extra days off. It's annoying. Add to that 3 sick days and viola! a whole mess of work that now needs to be completed in a shortened amount of time. Add in the frustration mentioned yesterday (multiplied by several other people today) and a cough that strikes in the middle of conversations and you will find that I am not fit for human company. I needs to get over this soon! Middle School students descend in 30 minutes!

What would really help right now is about 20 minute walk. But it's dark and cold and rainy outside and that's not gonna happen. BUT in another week or so there will be a lovely treadmill at the garage at home on which I can walk away my stress and worries while watching a fabulous episode of Friends on DVD. Okay I think I just cheered myself up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

There are moments...

like right now when I wish, I wish that I was an anonymous blogger so that I could vent my frustrated feelings into the blog-atmosphere and let them go away.

But I'm not and I can't. Grrrr....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where do we draw the line?

A couple of years ago gentleman A started coming around the church for showers and food to help him get by in life. He would come to the worship services, sit in the front row, clap, laugh uproariously and in general show his appreciation for the worship service very loudly. No problem. Except this all happened with a bottle of "water" or "lemonade" in his hands. It became clear that gentleman A had some problems that went far beyond his current living situation. The church worked with him until the day that he got into a confrontation with one of the church members when they asked him to take his bottle of "lemonade" outside. Then things went downhill. The church was eventually took a stand that felt uncomfortable but necessary.

It turned out that we weren't the only ones. Others in our area had done the same thing with the same gentleman. Every time I see him around town I get a little frustrated that there isn't someplace that people who need more psychological help can go to live, be treated well and get the help they need.


A few weeks ago Opinionated Friend shared about gentleman B that they had at their church that they had to take an uncomfortable but necessary stand with. Last week gentleman B showed up at our church. We offer showers and food but not shelter or a place to just hang out all the time. Unfortunately gentleman B doesn't understand that. Our fabulous Office Manager is extremely uncomfortable with gentleman B which I get, there's just something that isn't setting well with me either. He needs help that goes beyond what we are capable of giving him and from what I understand he isn't going to get that help willingly.


The dilemma for me is that gentleman B is starting to hang around the entrance to the youth and children's area, which is behind the church out of sight without neighbors. At night it's dark, with few lights (believe me that's an issue that I've brought up a bazillion times and no one wants to listen) and can be a great setting for someone wanting a place to crash for the evening. Unfortunately youth group meets at night. Usually I leave the door unlocked so students can freely enter and exit the building on youth group nights. I am often there at night by myself and I park near that entrance. There is a safety issue here. I don't want to turn gentleman B completely away from the church yet there needs to be limits. Unfortunately I'm not sure that he will really understand those limits.

That's where I ponder, where do we draw the line? How much do we help others and where does the help take a turn to enabling someone? How much do we do? Do we allow behavior from people that is threatening or harmful to others (this goes way beyond just one particular set of people) or do we call people on that behavior? Which brings up another thought that is rattling around my head, are we too quick to call the "less fortunate" on their behavior and not quick enough to call the "more fortunate" on their behavior? In many ways it seems like a judgement call and it's an uncomfortable call. What complicates things even more is the scripture and sermons that run through my head, like those I've read this week from some of my favorite RevGalBlogPals that say "love people, nurture people, care for people, feed people" and on and on. Where do we draw the line, if we draw the line at all?

Tonight I had to make a judgement call. Tonight I had to decide whether I was going to confront someone (gentleman C) about camping out on the church property, let it slide, call in other reinforcements or call in the sheriff. And here is where the line was drawn. See, we offer a place for food, a place for showers and a place of worship but we don't offer a place to stay overnight. We don't say "Hey, no worries, just stay downstairs under the overhang when it's raining." We don't open the doors and allow people to come in and campout for the night. Tonight I needed to draw a line, not because I wanted to be mean and uncompassionate, believe me the whole "what if this was Jesus" thing kept running through my head. No, I needed to draw a line for the safety of those God has called me to be in ministry to...the youth. I kept the door locked, made sure the youth got to and from cars safely and waited until they left before making the call but I drew a line...with a little help from my friends. It feels uncomfortable but necessary.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've been watching way too much TV

Being sick has it's advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: time off. Disadvantage: time off being sick. All I've had brain power for is to stare blankly the TV and fall asleep, amongst the whole trying to breathe thing. Today I realized that I was feeling much better because I had a thought during that TV time.

I've been watching those Makeover shows on TV. Two particular ones.
This one:
and this one:

I did a little digging and the first one the individual has to send in a request themselves to be on the show. The second one friends nominate them and the individual gets bombarded by the hosts and have to make a split second decision about whether or not to be made over.

Now, I can understand in the second show a persons reluctance to hear that their wardrobe is not up to par, needs to be thrown out, how their hair is bad and needs to be changed, etc., etc. (though sometimes the one host could be a little more gentle). They didn't really ask for this to happen to them. I have sympathy for the person.

The first show, though, I have no sympathy for them. If you've put a request in for someone to come in and revamp your wardrobe and style then ditch the attitude! You've ASKED for it! Geesh.

Yep, I'm feeling better.

Sick

Last week I felt a little icky. Seeing as how I had a Bridal Shower to host last Sunday I knew that I couldn't afford to be sick and fought it off...until Monday. Monday I awoke with a raw throat and knew that it was my turn to be sick. K had it a couple weeks ago, Jon-boy had it, Opinionated Friend had something similar, everyone around me seemed to have some variation of the cold.

I survived Monday but packed a bag from work Monday night with stuff to do at home in case I decided to stay home. Tuesday morning there was no option. I was sick. I was in bed all day. Tuesday night my chest started feeling really tight and I had a hard time getting a full breath. Chest congestion meds and a hot shower helped but it wasn't a pleasant night. Wednesday morning was worse but luckily I have the best mom in the world who fetched some lovely medicine and by Wednesday night I was breathing easier. But still coughing and stuffy but better.

Today I have pulled out my computer and am getting some work done but I'm not moving very fast or very far. Being sick is no fun but I'm certainly glad that there are people who can cover for me when I am...not to mention all those sick days I have stored up!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Favorite things from the weekend

This weekend listened to this CD over and over and over again. If you are into guitar driven, slightly country tinged music with amazing vocals and good rhythm, get this CD.



Friday Night was my bargain night. I had a coupon for 25% off of my total purchase at Cost Plus, which saved me money on favors for the Bridal Shower Tea I'm hosting next Sunday. I had a $15 Borders Reward which bought the above CD and a book. Then I went to the members only night at the friends of the library used book sale and bought a bunch of books for under $10. It was awesome! Though I didn't allow enough time...the people at that sale are really serious about their books!

And then there was the cake that I baked as a test for the Shower next Sunday. Sponge cake with a Meringue layer and Raspberries and Cream filling. Yep, it was good, good, good...though not so pretty. Got to work on that!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Five--Funny Papers

Presbyterian Gal over at RevGalBlogPals brings today's Friday Five:

After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!

1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?--Peanuts, Dennis the Menace and Family Circle

2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone?--Adam at Home, Pickles or Baby Blues.

3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you?--Good question. I'm thinking a combo of Marcie and Sally. The side kick but with a little more spunk. But then I relate to Woodstock too!

4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you?--It seems so. Comics so easily speak to our everyday lives that many times I find truth about life within them, with a little humor thrown in.

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples?--They are simple and easy to relate too. That's appealing to me!

Bonus Question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print?

That's easy...Calvin and Hobbes.

Sad

Hurricane Katrina continues to claim lives. My heart is a little heavier today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If you aren't so excited about the President Elect, don't read this post.

The last few years Papa Bear has become Mr. Political. Yo Momma and I have had to reign him more than once to keep the peace amongst Papa Bear and friends with differing opinions. He's been pretty passionate about this election and had a definite idea about who he wanted to see become the next President. We've had some lively conversations in the last few months but I was a little grateful that Papa Bear and Yo Momma weren't going to be home when the election results came in...just in case it didn't go his way. As it turns out they were in Washington D.C., last night, with Bad Duck and his lovely wife who have the same political views as Papa Bear.

I wouldn't have been home last night yet all day I was plauged by a migraine. That sneaky thing just wouldn't go away no matter what I did. So my Chiropracter (aka K) took me to task for being a martyr and made me call in replacements for last nights youth group. Which meant last night at 8pm PST I was home on the couch. Watching TV.

As most of you know the news stations called the election pretty quickly after 8pm PST. At 8:07pm PST my cellphone rang, followed within mere seconds by the home phone. I have caller ID on my cellphone picked it up knowing that it was Yo Momma's phone. Her jubilant voice came over the line and my reply was "Is Papa Bear calling me on the other line?" My question was quickly answered when his voice came booming over the machine "Get out of bed! Answer the phone!". For a few seconds I had both phones up to my ears and both parents laughing excitedly. Neither one of them knew that the other was calling me. I have crazy parents. Papa Bear won the phone contest and we talked until he started getting teary watching people on TV getting teary. Just a big ole softy. I love that guy.

Listening to President Elect Obama's acceptance speech last night I was really impressed with one line in particular. It resonated with me. "I will listen to you, especially when we disagree." I really, really hope that this President Elect lives up to that promise.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday Morning Bloopers

There are some Sunday mornings when I am not a happy camper. In fact, that would be most Sunday mornings. I am not a morning person at.all. so getting up and being coherent and in a good mood tends to be a little difficult. This last Sunday, though, I was super happy. I'd gotten an extra hours sleep (I am such a fan of the fall back time change), the rain was a soothing sound in my ears all night, I had gotten myself together soon enough to get coffee before Worship Team warm-up and we were sounding pretty good as a team.

We had laughed with the couple who came in at 10 after 8 wondering where everyone was for the worship service and after being reminded of the time changed pronounced "But nobody told us!" We had laughed with the kids racing around the Sanctuary and my wonderful friend Norm had even found a moment to work on the huge knot that I call a shoulder.

Then the worship service started. Everything was going along swimmingly until the 2nd song One moment I'm playing the next minute I'm desperately trying to hold on to my guitar. At first I thought I had lost a string (which has happened before) and looked wide eyed at Meg standing next to me to see if it had whapped her but no, apparently the strap on my guitar decided that NOW would be the time come loose and just gave way. Being ever the professional that I am, I continued to play, albeit very quietly and sing through the rest of the song while holding the guitar, while standing up. Not an easy feat.

Of course we were supposed to go right into the next song and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to make that happen, so we spontaneously had a "meet and greet" session while I retied the strap to my guitar and prayed that it would hold!

It was as I was in the back of the sanctuary later double checking the strap and trying to figure out what had happened, that I realized my pick was missing. I then had to leave the sanctuary to go shake my guitar to get the pick out from the inside of the guitar. My happy morning had quickly disintegrated and yet it really wasn't that bad. In fact, it makes a for a good story and a gentle reminder that even on the best of mornings things can go wrong.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Post by the numbers

1 youth group member on Homecoming Court
+
1 football game
+
1.5 inches of rain
=
1 princess, 14-6 win for the home team and 3 very soaked youth leaders.

The memories...priceless.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Visitors








Bob the builder and a cowboy stopped by my house tonight...who stopped by yours?
Bob had to fix the table...it was a little wobbly.The cowboy was fascinated by the basketball hoop...he looks like he's up to something doesn't he?

Too stinkin' cute!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sigh

It's raining. I am so ready for the rain. I've been waiting for the rain for a very.long.time. All I want to do is put clean flannel sheets on my new mattress, climb in and watch West Wing or Friends or NCIS all afternoon.

Instead I sit at my desk doing piddly little things, listening to the rainwater rush through the gutter and hit the pavement outside, wishing that I was at home.

*Sigh*

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gettin' political

I try really hard not to get political. I just don't need the headache of the debates...which to be honest, these days it's hard to have a conversation about politics without debating. So I completely understand if you don't want to continue reading this post. I will go back to other tales from my life tomorrow.

However, today my limit was reached with a certain TV personality whom I never listen to but happened to flash across the TV screen this morning when I was "watching" a morning news show. This TV personality said something that got my hackles up because I knew it was erroneous. If you are interested, you'll have to watch this video. The erroneous statement comes towards the end of the video. I know it's erroneous because I remember reading about a similar incident back in September. And while I remember reading about the similar incident back in September I certainly don't remember hearing about it on the morning news show...but then I'm not always awake, so they could have said something and I just didn't know.

I don't think either incident is right, in fact I'm pretty disgusted with both of the incidents. My point is, these reporters and TV personalities need to start doing their homework better and get their facts straight. Just another example of how the media skews things and proof that we all need to do our homework. I'm really, really ready for this whole election debacle to be over!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things making me smile today

  1. Chicken Caesar Salad.
  2. Listening to the drummer from our worship team tuning up his drums...I like it when he gets a little crazy on the drums...just as long as he doesn't throw his drum sticks at me.
  3. Finding cute paper plates for 48 cents a pack at the bulls-eye store for a Wedding Tea I'm hosting soon.
  4. Papa Bears laugh this morning when he realized that there has been ATM for the bank that he banks with in town for more than 15 years and he didn't know it.
  5. Walking in the park with K and watching the squirrels.
  6. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Swamp Monster

Sometimes it's funny having a blog. I tend to start writing something and then remember that I've written about that before! For instance I started to share my feelings about Halloween and then realized I've already done that! I won't repeat myself.

R.A.W. just ended about an hour ago and as I was driving home I found myself getting irritated with a lot of things...like the radio, the person driving in front of me who was going 7 miles below the speed limit, my knee that is hurting again, people I've been around today, all kinds of things. It suddenly dawned on me that I'm not really irritated with all those things, I'm just feeling like I've been overtaken by the Swamp Monster and I want out!

All week I've felt like I've been running from one thing to another. Worship team, Church, Youth Group, staff meeting, prayer meeting, Mississippi meeting, lunch at the schools, meeting with the elementary principal (and subsequent phone calls) for Sharefest, Sharefest, coffee with a friend, lunch with friends, Bible Study, dentist appointment, walking with K, helping Songfriend move, a night with Yo Momma and friends at an Amy Grant concert, Uncle K's 50th birthday party, the list just keeps rolling on. There is stuff on that list that drained me, stuff that filled me up, stuff that made me happy, stuff that made me sad. I realized tonight that not only is my car's gas gauge on empty, I'm nearing empty as well. I think I've been nearing empty for awhile though and that's what has me feeling like the Swamp Monster is trying to take over my life.

What scares me is that I've taken care of myself a lot this month. I've had time off, I've gone on a silent retreat day, I've been to the Youth Workers Convention, I've slept in, read fluff books, read serious books, read the Bible, prayed. Yet I still feel like I'm nearing empty. Tonight I'm fighting off the Swamp Monster.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Found!

My Bible and study journal have been found. They were never lost, I was just looking in the wrong place or should I say the wrong bag. Life can now return to normal programming.

This just in!

The Mississippi Team has a new blog! For those interested in our upcoming trip visit www.ca2ms.blogspot.com. All our pictures and stories will be posted there instead of here...though I'll probably post my personal thoughts here too!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Argh!

No, it's not talk like a Pirate Day...that was so last September...that Argh that you hear reverberating in your head is coming from me. One of my favorite things to do is organize trips. I love that stuff. One of my least favorite things to do is play the "is the airfare going to go up or down" game. I've been playing that game for awhile now and I'm getting pretty darn tired.

Our Mississippi Mission Team heads back to Pearlington on December 26th. There are 20 of us flying and we have specific times we need to fly because our trip is bookended by Christmas and then the wedding of a friend that many are invited too. We have to fly out on the 26th and back on the 2nd. The cheapest flight I have found has been $540 on S.West. Comparable flights have been seen on other airlines but S.West is the only one that doesn't charge for luggage. I could have gotten a cheaper flight on another airline but by the time we pay for luggage there and back the price skyrocketed...especially since some of us will be taking more than one piece of luggage. Quite a racket these airlines have going on.

Yo Momma is keeping track of the airfare costs as well and keeps calling me, saying "Check here or check there" which I diligently do because I'm her daughter and I want a good deal. I think, though, that she's checking sites that don't really exist because I can't find one of her good deals. Last Thursday I saw the above mentioned flight and tried to book it. Nope. It wouldn't go through. I was getting mad and finally gave up. The next morning, poof, the cheap flight had disappeared...cost had grown $60 overnight. ARGH!

Today the $540 has returned, only with a different flight that gives us 50 minutes to sprint through a big airport to our next flight. Do I take it or do I wait until Wednesday morning when the prices supposedly go down again? That's a tough question. Maybe I'll just go to lunch and figure it all out later.

Updated to add:
Booked!!! We've got tickets! One headache done!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Missing!

I can't find my Bible. I know, it's a bad thing when a Youth Director has lost their Bible. All kinds of trouble can happen there. Technically I have 5 Bibles on my shelf in my office, one of which is used pretty regularly but the Bible that I use all the time, the small compact one that I take with me wherever I go has gone missing. It's just gone. It's taken hostage the journal that has all of my study plans for the next year in it as well. This.is.not.good.


I've searched high and low, in the piles on my desk, in the piles at my house, in my car, in the 5 different bags that I carry things in, I've searched everywhere. I thought for a minute I lost them at big chain coffee shop that morning I took time to work there and then remembered that I didn't have them then either.


I first really noticed that they was gone two weeks ago as I was packing for my vacation/study leave time. I knew that I would want my Bible and I couldn't find it. Then I realized that I hadn't seen my journal either and I knew something was up. Looking high and low, I couldn't come up with either before I left on vacation/study leave. And they haven't come out of hiding since I've been home. While I can make do without the small, compact leather bound Bible that doesn't weigh 5lbs, it's getting increasingly harder to make do with out my study plans for the youth groups.

So, if in going about your business throughout the days you happen to run across a small, compact brown leather Bible (NLT) and a journal about the same size with YS on it, make them go home please. This youth director would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A tooth tale

Sunday night at the NYWC general session, I was sitting with Opinionated Friend (you know who you are) enjoying my second 2-pack of Starburst that had two pink starburst in them...so unheard of but really, it happened. I have witnesses.

Anyway, this starburst was not so chewy so I didn't chew it a lot. About halfway through I bit down and noticed that my starburst was a little crunchy. I thought it odd but didn't worry, just found it odd. Then I was sitting there listening to whatever was happening on stage, it felt like there was still starburst stuck on my tooth. I tried to get it off but wasn't having luck so I went to the bathroom. That's when I discovered that the crunchy part of the starburst wasn't starburst...it was part of my crowned tooth. Not the whole thing, just a little portion of it but still, I have a broken crown...you can stop laughing now.

That was, of course, just before the speaker who got up and proceeded to talk about how our economy is tanking and that we should be prepared to lose our jobs, not because we're doing a bad job but because people are going to stop giving to the church and that means no money...okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a small bit but not that much. All I could think the whole time is that now I've got this broken crown that cost a ton in the first place, I'm still paying off the dentist from the last procedure, now I have a new problem and I'm going to not have a job or the money to pay for it in a month. Have I mentioned that I tend to over think things? Geez.

Then tonight I quickly checked my box at church and found a notice from our insurance people saying that my dental insurance is going to change as of November 1st...again. Oh yeah, someones having a good laugh at my expense.

BTW, it wasn't the starburst that caused my tooth to break. I remembered that earlier in the day, something happened that caused my teeth to clash together and that particular tooth was the one that clashed the hardest. The starburst just helped it come loose. TMI? Oh well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This is not the Motel 6

It's been a crazy week. Last Thursday Gma and I were housed at one house in Tahoe, last Friday I was with my New Sis (to be at that point) at another house, Saturday I stayed at the Parents house in Tahoe and Sunday night I moved to yet another home in Tahoe for the duration of the week or until last night.

This morning I woke up bright and early and cleaned the house I'd been staying in. As I was heading out to pack my car the skies opened up and the snow fell down. I decided since I needed to be in Sac by noon I wouldn't dilly dally and zoomed out of town. K and Lora didn't believe me when I said it was snowing so on the way up the mountain I had to pull over and take a picture with my cellphone of the snow on my car. I don't kid about this stuff people! Geesh.

For the next three nights I'm lodged at a pricey hotel in the big city. I've got a king bed with six pillows...6!!!! All to myself!!! Heaven, I'm in heaven. This is SO not the Motel 6.

I'm in the big city for the National Youth Workers Convention and I have to say that if the first General Session and seminar is anything to go by, God has it in mind to do some pretty big talking to me in the next couple of days. I'm pretty unstable right now anyway, so this could not be a pretty weekend. I'm glad I have a room to myself so that I can hide while I cry...maybe. Tears don't seem to care when they are shed or who they are shed in front of. I did warn Trin though that I'm a little bit of a basket case, so at least one person has been forewarned.

I'm sure I'll post more about what God is saying, once I've had a chance to decompress a little. For now I'm going to sit back in my nice big bed, watch a little TV and hopefully fall asleep.

BUT I have some pictures to post from the wedding...There is one of New Sis and I but it's not good...in fact it may get lost in camera world. Not good at all.


This is Nesta, Lisa and Aunt C (though you can't see her face)...Yo Momma and Papa Bear are in the background. And yes, Nesta has a mohawk. He's so cute!
This is Brody and Kinuye, the dancing cousins. It's a very serious job.
And this is me with Gma and Lil Bro. I think this one is my new favorite.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I am a Sister-In-Law

Life has changed in my world. Last Saturday Lil Bro got married. I really truly pray that both Lil Bro and New Sis will be happy for years and years to come.

The pictures that I was going to post are on another computer, but their fabulous photographer has posted some pics on his own blog...so if you are interested in seeing those click here. Go to the October 4th heading and you'll see. Totally beautiful location. In the big room picture I'm last bridesmaid on the left.

Life has changed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vacation

Tomorrow is my first day of vacation. I will be away from my office for 12 days (counting the weekends). I will miss 2 Sundays, 2 youth group meetings, 1 staff meeting, 1 worship team rehearsal, 2 bible studies, 2 on campus visits and 1 ministry team meeting. While that may not seem like much to some, that's a whole lot to me! It has also means finding people to lead worship, making sure my volunteers have things covered for youth group, preparing as much Media stuff for three weeks as possible, choosing songs for the worship team rehearsal that happens hours after I get home, getting invitations together to send while I'm gone and so on and so forth. Seriously, it's a lot of work to get ready to be away!


After Lil' Bro's wedding on Saturday I have no commitments until the following Friday. That feels weird. My only goal that whole time is to write, relax and read. Then I head to the Youth Workers Convention to be recharged in a different way. Three different events in two different places means I'm going to have a really big suitcase!


I am the queen of procrastinating. I put clothes in the washer this morning because I forgot to do it last night (I still have two loads that need to be done before I leave) and haven't even started to pick out clothes for my time away. Just remembered that I need to stop at the Post Office and pay bills tonight and my car still needs to be cleaned out. Work today has been one thing after another and I'm not sure that everything is done for the time while I'm gone but I'm determined to leave it alone, to walk away...though I know that at some point next week I'm going to wake up in the middle of the night remembering all the things that I forgot to do today. That's just the way I am.

Oh yes, I'm looking forward to being away...just wish it didn't take so much work to actually go away!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Random Sunday Stuff

Last night at 11pm, I was getting ready for bed and decided to put some things to mail by my purse. I walked out of my bedroom (barefoot) and into the family room, dropped off my items and walked back to the door of my room where I found the thing, mere inches away from where my bare feet had been seconds before. Yep, the thing from Tuesday night had reappeared. This time I wasn't going to let it get away! There is a mini-battle in which I tried to tell the thing that I wasn't trying to hurt it, just wanted it out of the house and during which the thing put up a good fight. I won. Yes!

Today a friend spoke at her church, so after worship at my church I headed over to hers. I'm really glad I did for many different reasons but suffice it to say, my friend did an excellent job. It was nice to be a worshipper...not a lead worshipper, just a worshipper.

After church I had to go shopping to get undergarments to wear under this on Saturday. Lil Bro is getting married. If I don't eat for the rest of the week, the dress may actually look good on. Of course now I'm craving everything sweet I could possibly eat. Lovely. And while we're on the dress subject, self tanners should be kept away from me. I always end up splotchy. Hopefully it wears off by Saturday.

In happy news, by this time next week I will be officially on vacation with a house to myself, a computer at the ready and time to begin writing the book that God keeps talking to me about. Let a new journey begin!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Five--Apple style

Singing Owl over at RevGalBlogPals says:

It's a Johnny Appleseed Friday Five

Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!

September 26, 1774 was his birthday. "Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.

As Johnny traveled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his service to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations.

So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!

1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.)--Mmmm, caramel apple pie. The recipe goes like this: find your nearest Costco and purchase!

2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about?--I've planted a lemon tree just because I like lemons. But when I was little, a friend gave me a little tree in a little pot that we planted and now it's a big tree in the big ground. It's got be close to 30 years old now! (Yo Momma will correct me if I'm wrong).

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not?--I like roaming around places, seeing new sites, history, etc. I've always wanted to travel here or there and experience life from different vantage points. Gosh, that sounds very appealing right now...time for the next question!

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours? --I am a child of the Disney era...I love the story of Robin Hood. Though only if it's a fox and a bear. :)

5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he traveled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do? --There is always a song running through my head! Always! One that's pretty consistent for me is "Carry You" by Amy Grant (surprise, surprise!). It's my constant reminder that I'm not on this journey alone, very comforting and uplifting. Does that count?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Adventures of the night

At 1:20am I realized that the scratching noises that I thought were coming from outside my window, were actually coming from somewhere in my room. Last time I heard that sound a random potato bug had found it's way in the house and into my room. Lovely. This time though it wasn't a potato bug...it was something a little more sinister. The thing** got away from me before I could remove it to another preferable place...like outside! Not cool. So at 1:20 this morning I was cleaning, getting shoes, dirty clothes, etc. off the floor so that the thing would not surprise me when I picked something up. I was pretty sure that I had it cornered in one particular area but getting it out of that place could have created quite a racket and I didn't want to wake the whole household up last night. So I decided to just trust that I had sufficiently cornered it. Yeah, bad idea.


I was awake. Wide awake. I couldn't turn my back on that side of the room. So I turned on the TV. And was awake. There is nothing on at between 2 and 3:30 in the morning but infomercials, bad sitcoms, news that freaks me out even more than the thing in my room, oh and the occasional televangelist. Yippee.

At 3:30am (still awake) I heard the unmistakable beeping of a big truck backing up in the neighborhood. Curious. Then I heard the sirens. Hmm. I sniffed the air and didn't smell smoke, looked outside couldn't see anything and got my laptop out to check our local fire website. As the computer was waking up, the sirens got closer. It was 3:30am in our sleepy little neighborhood. No one is driving around a lot but still the sirens kept going. Again and again. By the time the truck made it up the hill and to the neighbors house I was wondering where is it written that at 3:30am in a sleepy little neighborhood the rescue vehicle must use their sirens to alert everyone in the neighborhood that they are coming up the hill...slowly. I prayed for the neighbor who was having a medical emergency, turned off the computer and tried to go back to sleep...which finally happened around 5am.

Of course I had to be up at 7am. I cautiously exited my bed, raced through a shower and got ready for my day because I had made plans to go meet K at 8 for coffee. I am a really good friend and I had a really BIG coffee.

I had something going on until 1:45 this afternoon, but believe me as soon as I could, I hightailed it back home. I couldn't get the thought of the thing out of my head. So at 2pm when Yo Momma and Papa Bear arrived at home they found me in my room with a shovel and garbage can pulling things off of shelves and attempting to find the thing. Yo Momma, ever the helpful Momma, joined in while Papa Bear made really bad jokes about my needing a shovel to clean out my room. Yeah, he's lovely.

We moved everything, I mean everything, in my room and the thing was no where to be found. it has escaped somewhere within the house. Which doesn't make me any less freaked out...I think I'm going to start wearing my work boots around the house.

**I would post a picture of the thing but I don't want that image in my head anymore and I don't want to name it because, ew, so for those who are curious start thinking astrological signs and you'll figure it out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More birthday celebrations...

Tonight the worship team surprised me by gathering for dinner together in a mini-celebration of my birth. It was very nice, unexpected and appreciated.
Last night was dinner at my house with some fun people. Train Guy decided that I needed a dinosaur cake for my birthday, so he and Grammy B. made one. It came out quite well, don't you think.
Adventure Boy was especially excited about the cake...in fact he didn't want to stop with just one little piece. At one point after pointing and saying "Cake! Cake!" for many unheeded moments, he looked at the cake and said "I want cake!". He may not be stringing sentences together all the time, but when it comes to things he wants, Adventure Boy is pretty clear!

And then there's Yo Momma. A year ago we were in a quilt shop and I expressed my lack of appreciation for quilts made out of those things called yo-yo's. Really, they aren't my thing and I guess I was pretty vocal about my desire never to have a quilt made of yo-yo's. Didn't say anything about a clown though. Yo Momma has a good sense of humor.
So, my birthday is officially over, my 34th year has officially begun and I'm blessed beyond words with some amazing friends and a fabulous family!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

You say it's your birthday...

it's my birthday too! I officially turned 34 at 6 something this morning. Yippee! The only thing that is freaking me out has more to do with feeling like life is going to change this year and I'm not really sure how...but then again I never know what's really going to happen in life so I'll let that go.

Anyway, awhile back I told K that what I wanted for my birthday was a spa day. A day to get a pedicure, have a facial, lunch out and whatever else to feel pampered for a day. That day came yesterday because, well, I have a job that requires me to work on Sunday's. K, Meg, Lora and I started with coffee, went for pedicures, had a yummy lunch by the sea, wandered in a bookshop, went for facials, back for more coffee and ended with this movie:

It was a lovely day! Thanks ladies!

Today Yo Momma has something up her sleeve, so I'm sure there will be a couple of surprises and then tonight Adventure Boy, Train Guy, K and N will be over for dinner. I think maybe G.G. too. I'm feeling loved, appreciated and happy today.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall Equinox Friday Five



Songbird over at RevGalBlogPals says:

It's that time of year, at least north of the equator. The windows are still open, but the darned furnace comes on early in the morning. My husband went out for a walk after an early supper and came home in full darkness. And yes, where we live, leaves are beginning to turn.

As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:


1) A fragrance--I love the smell of cinnamon and apples. Always brings a smile to my face.


2) A color--We don't get a whole lot of leaves changing colors here in sunny, mild California, but there are a few. One in particular has leaves that turn a beautiful red-orange...that's my favorite color of fall.


3) An item of clothing--Black sweatpants. I'm wearing them now. Comfy, stretchy, warm and they look good...of course they are getting worn out and I need a new pair but they don't make them anymore. :(


4) An activity--I don't do it very often, but I love going pumpkin hunting. I like wandering through the pumpkin patch picking and choosing just the right pumpkin. I don't love gutting the pumpkin though...yuck!


5) A special day--Technically it's not in the fall, it's the last day of summer...my birthday! It means that fall is just a day away!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My new favorite site

I'm way behind the times I'm sure, but this is my new favorite site.

And this is now sitting on my desk.

Though my desk doesn't look like that at.all. It was my one big purchase in Shakespeare Land. I'm very happy with it...and the youth kids like the jelly belly's that are currently filling the cup!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Um...yeah

Last week the keyboard on my work computer all of a sudden stopped working. Being the technogeek-wannabe that I am, I wiggled a few cords and it started working! Yea!

Today in the middle of trying to make a purchase at the $100 store online, my keyboard went out again. In the process of wiggling the cords I managed to hit the power cord which of course sent work computer into failure mode. Work computer flashed off and then on again. It started up with this message

"Keyboard Auxiliary Failure: Press F1 to continue or F2 to enter set-up". Being the great rule follower that I am, I pressed F1...wait for it, wait for it, yeah. If the keyboard is failing pressing F1 or F2 isn't going to help.

Technogeek-wannabe just got an F. But in my defense the really Technogeek people who wrote the program that put that message up either have a really good sense of humor or they weren't thinking very well either.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hair and pictures

Is it possible to actually feel hair turning gray? I swear I just felt more hair turn gray just a few seconds ago. There it goes again! Yes, my stress level is high. No, I don't want to blog about it. Instead I will show you a few pictures.

This is a picture of Mr. K's house in Pearlington when we left in March.


This is the picture I received over the weekend.


This is a picture of the front yellow house last December.


This is what it looked like from the backyard this weekend. The water isn't supposed to be there.


Praying for Pearlington, Galveston, Houston and all the places that Ike unleashed his fury.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My favorite line from today's newspaper:

"Police cracked down on a drum circle that has become a weekly tradition but, recently, has drawn complaints that participants are using drugs, blocking the parking lot and playing badly."

Forget the drugs and blocking traffic, it's the playing badly that really brought the police out! HA!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pondering...

Every Wednesday our church has a program called Snack Time for children from Kindergarten to 5th grade. It's an abbreviated version of Vacation Bible School, with crafts, snacks, singing, bible lessons, games and more. I just heard one little girl running down the stairs yell back to her friends "Hurry up, we're going to miss Snack Time!".

Wednesday night the High School group meets. We've been off the last couple of weeks for a much needed break...on my part anyway. Both weeks I've received a text messages from one of the teenagers asking "Is there youth group tonight?". I talked with his mom this afternoon and she said he was up late last night doing his chores because if he didn't get them done he couldn't come to youth group tonight.

Today I received an email from a friend asking "Is R.A.W. ever coming back?" R.A.W. stands for "Real Authentic Worship" in my world, NOT the Wrestling program on TV but a small group gathering in which we sing, read scripture and pray. Some would call it a worship service but without a sermon. (We're looking at starting back up in October, BTW.)

Right now I'm pondering what makes these things so meaningful to each specific person that they are so excited and eager to return? I'm also wondering if they would be so excited about coming to a worship service on a Sunday morning? Or is there something different about these times, and if there is, what is it? I'm pondering the disconnect between young adults and formal Sunday Morning/Saturday Night Church. I guess this is my day for pondering.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Presbymeme II

Presbyterian Gal tagged me for the Presbymeme II last week when I was on vacation and not really focused on blogging (except for a little storm watching and ranting). But I'm back home and ready to answer the questions! Here's the rules:
  • In about 25 words each, answer the five questions below.
  • Tag 3 Presbyterian bloggers and send them a note to let them know they were tagged.

  • Be sure to link to this original post.

1) What is your favorite faith-based hymn, song or chorus?

It's a combo Hymn-Praise Song...Take My Life (and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee) with a chorus by Chris Tomlin. Super combo of older and newer.

2) What was the context, content and/or topic of the last sermon that truly touched, convicted, inspired, challenged, comforted and/or otherwise moved you?
No matter where you find yourself, no matter what you are doing, God is calling you to shine where you are. In all situations, shine where you are.

3) If you could have all Presbyterians read just one of your previous posts, what would it be and why?
This one. It talks about one of the issues that I hear about the most in the church (worship music) and my experience with how God can use music to reach us...featuring above named song.


4) What are three PC(USA) flavored blogs you read on a regular basis?

Just three? Presbyterian Gal, Cheesehead in Paradise, and Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips. There are a lot more though.


5) If the PC(USA) were a movie, what would it be and why?

This one...

Only 25 words? New (stepmom) vs. Established (mom) and how they figure out how to work together for the good of the the children and how they had to learn from each other in order for each to survive. Maybe it's more my hope for the PC(USA).

Okay so I don't know many who haven't done this meme so I'm gonna say if you are in the PC(USA) and you haven't done this yet consider yourself tagged!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Political Ranting

Yo Momma and I are in Oregon getting a little culture this week...just think Shakespeare. We've seen a couple of great plays, eaten at our favorite restaurant, walked through the town, walked through the park, relaxed on our balcony with our books and we've been watching a little news too...which is never a good thing because I get myself all worked up and then Yo Momma has to listen to me steam for awhile. I've been steaming all day though and think maybe it's time to let a little of that steam out...I don't normally talk politics (with anyone outside my family and very close friends) so this may be a once in a blog time thing.

As a citizen of the United States of America who will be voting in the next election, I hope that I will be given all or as much information as possible about any candidate to make an informed and wise decision on my elected officials. I do not care if that candidate is male or female, Caucasian, Hispanic, African American, Asian or of any other ethnic group nor if they are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green Party, Libertarian or what. I want to know their history, their values, their ideals and dreams. I want to know about their family life, their stance of many different issues and what experience they have had. I want to know what drives them, what makes them tick, what motivates them and most certainly how they may react in a tough situation. Most of all I want to know if they are going to be above board or if they are going to be sneaky and hateful (though I tend to believe that at some level all politicians are sneaky). If any public official has a problem with that then maybe they should rethink their day job.

Okay, rant on political issues now over. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sighs of relief

From the news on the Pearlington Blog there is less damage than originally suspected. Check it out here for yourself http://www,pearlington.blogspot.com

Yo Momma and I were talking today and there are two things we can do right away #1 send clean-up buckets to PDA and #2 start sending gift cards to Ben so that they can buy whatever supplies they need. Lowes or Home Depot. If you want to get one and send it my way I'll combine them all and send them to Ben...any amount is greatly appreciated!

In the meantime I'm going to enjoy my vacation and breathe a little easier...and figure out what my response is to the Presbymeme II that I just got tagged for! Thanks PG! :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Storm watch Day 1

The news right now is that 100 homes in Pearlington have flooded. I've added a link to the Pearlington blog to my blogroll, so feel free to go there for the most updated information. I'll update when I hear again from Tom.

Watching from the road...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Storm watch w/update

It seems ironic to me that I'm sitting today watching the news, praying fervently for those I know in Pearlington and preparing to leave on vacation tomorrow. Three years ago as Hurricane Katrina headed towards the Gulf Coast I was going on vacation. This time, though, I'm will have news access the whole time I'm gone.

Today we've learned that our friends in Pearlington are under a mandatory evacuation notice. This morning I thought of Miss Sandra and the Bailey's who won't leave their homes easily. I thought Mr. Keyes and Ms. Shirley. I thought of the Taylor's and the Wake's and the Earl's. I'm praying for their safety, for their protection and for wisdom in the midst of anxiety and stress.

Last night on the news as the ticker tape scrolled across the screen I saw this: 7000 residents in the Gulf Coast still living in trailers. The residents of the Gulf Coast are still trying to resettle after Katrina, it seems so wrong that they have to brace for Gustav now. Yet as hard as we try we can't stop nature. So I watch, wait and fervently pray.

UPDATE: For those who know Ben and Sue, they've evacuated (Tom's with them) and are concerned about storm surges. The news isn't saying much about anything other than NOLA so I'll update when I hear from Tom again. Pray!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Remembering and watching

When our team first arrived in Pearlington it was really late at night and dark. We couldn't see much but then we hadn't seen much in the hour it had taken to drive into Pearlington from New Orleans either. We didn't notice the tinkertoy design of the I-10 bridge, we didn't see the apartment buildings on the side of the abandoned or the homes that were destroyed. We didn't notice, not because we weren't looking, but because it was dark, so very dark. There weren't streetlights or lights on in homes. It was dark.

The morning brought a new vision to our eyes. Destruction surrounded us. The boat washed up on land that we'd seen pictures of was in the backyard of the camp we were staying in. That first glimpse of Pearlington 8 months after Hurricane Katrina ripped through is not something I will soon forget. Nor will I forget what it was like to return each of the subsequent trips. It's been humbling to be a small part of the recovery of Pearlington...and frustrating. Each time we go we witness the struggle of rebuilding, for every 5 steps forward it feels like we take 4 steps back but yet there is a constant movement forward.

Last March as we drove from Pearlington back into New Orleans at the end of our 6th trip we saw more signs of life, more streetlights, major work on the I-10 bridge that took it from being right on the water to rising high into the air, more businesses and more cars. I felt truly hopeful as we left, hopeful that someday soon the work would be done and life would return to whatever normal is for the Gulf Coast.

Today, as the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina comes around my heart is a little heavy and I'm feeling a little extra anxious for the Gulf Coast as Gustav begins to pick up steam. While remembering the horror of Katrina, I'm watching the preparations for Gustav and praying desperately that this storm doesn't bring the destruction that all are preparing for, that the hope that has been recently found again will not be lost and that all the work that has gone into making homes on the Gulf Coast more hurricane ready will not be tested this season. Praying for the residents of the Gulf Coast and remembering.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last first day of school

Today I found myself with a whole day (after church) with nothing scribbled into the box on my calendar. Nothing. I rarely find myself with days like these, where nothing is scribbled in and nothing is piled up at home that needs to be dealt with...thanks to last weekends marathon laundry day. So I did something I've been needing to do for a long time, I went shopping for girl clothes. Not my favorite thing to do. The trying on of certain girl items always leaves me uncomfortable and irritated. Us big girls only have a few places that we can get certain girl items and when none of those items fits appropriately, well, I get pretty irritated with clothing manufacturers. But that's another blog entry.

Anyway, after my girl clothes shopping, I wandered through my favorite chain store (think bulleyes) and then decided that though I really love Aunt C. and could have dropped by her house as a surprise, I really just wanted to go home. (Thanks for understanding Aunt C.) And so I got onto the highway headed towards home. Mistake number one. Within a mile traffic came to a slow and we crawled along for a while. Then traffic stopped. I turned to the news radio station hoping to hear if this was just regular traffic or if there was an accident ahead. No word on that but the person reading the news was only too happy to share that this week we'll be having a heat wave**. Lovely. Suddenly the traffic started moving again and I happily moved along with the rest of the cars around me, past the one exit that would take me onto an alternate route and then traffic stopped again. That was enough, I quickly took the next exit and decided that my shopping time was not yet done. I then made mistake number two. I went into an office store.

The parking lot was busy but I've not been to this particular office store before, so I didn't think much of it and then I went inside. Holy cow. Parents and children were everywhere. Dads were yelling for children across the store, Mom's were pushing carts filled to the brim with back to school items and children were wandering through the aisles looking for just the right folder or pencil set. Yikes. The cashier commented that tomorrow is going to be even worse. I wished her luck and got out of there fast!

Driving home (on the alternate route) I started thinking about school. Specifically my last first day of high school. Not being in the "In" crowd I didn't' get the memo that said "wear toga's on the first day of school" but I wasn't the only one. I remember walking onto campus (having driven myself to school for the first time) and thinking "This is my Senior year". It felt different, I felt different. Maybe it was the acknowledgement that life was going to change drastically in the next year or the realization that over the summer life had changed for me. Whatever it was I remember that last first day of school and smile. It was a good year, a growing year. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Tomorrow the class of 2009 will step onto the local High School campus for their last first day of school. I hope and pray that years down the road they will be able to look back at that day and smile.

**If I had been thinking I would have known that this was the first week of school and stopped myself from making mistake number two...there's always a heat wave the first week of school. It's a given!