Thursday, January 31, 2008
I like driving SUVs. I like being able to carry a bunch of people, sitting high off the road. But I also like driving small cars that get better gas mileage and can only carry a few people. I prefer manual transmissions over automatics and I really, really like cars that have good radio systems.
That last part was especially nice on Tuesday when I got back in the SUV we had rented on Monday in snow country because one of the vehicles we had taken on the Snow Trip broke down before we could get everyone home. My job for that day was to drive 6 hours back to snow country to take it back to the rental company. Yo Momma (the most fabulous mom in the world) drove her small SUV and I the monster SUV and we drove up the mountains. We talked occasionally on the walkie-talkies but most of the drive was just me and the satellite radio. (BTW--I am now officially a fan.) I listened to country music from the 90's all the way. It was fabulous. I haven't heard some of those songs in years. I was singing and dancing in my seat, just enjoying the ride.
At one point in the drive it occured to me that God had really worked this all out well. Before the Snow Trip I felt tired, just exhausted from all that has happened in the last month and so, so tired of being with people. I put in long, long hours in the days leading up to the trip trying to get everything done but I knew on the other side of the Snow Trip were three glorious days when I was not.going.into.work. I had earned those three days and had arranged for my volunteers to take the youth groups for the week, planned some self-care appointments and brought a bunch of books home to read and prepare for the coming weeks.
On the Snow Trip I found myself actually getting sleep, feeling energized, just hanging out with students, not my typical trip. The car problems didn't stress me out, I handled it well, made the decisions and went with it. I got the last SUV All Wheel Drive that the Rental Shop had and Yo Momma said she could do a return trip with me and it just all worked out.
God knew what I needed. God knew that I needed 6 glorious hours in a car all by myself. God knew that the drive would restore my sense of peace and contentment. God knew that I would use that time to talk as well and God provided moments for me to remember to trust...like when the snow got a little thick, the road got steep and my faith in the all wheel drive SUV waned. God heard my "I need help" prayer and gently blew the snow from the road, slowing me down and clearing the way. God heard, God knew, God provided.
I like driving, especially the convertible, but life sure is a lot better when God's in the driver's seat.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
1 car dug-out from the Rental Shop.
Roads very, very white and slippery for 60 miles.
22 people off the mountain safely.
1 tire blow-out, on a dry, clear road quickly changed.
22 people home safe and sound by 10:30pm.
1 return trip to the snow imminent to take back rental car.
3 fabulous days with students, with God and in the snow...priceless!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
We're safe and warm in our homes-away-from-home. Skiing/Boarding was good. Lil' Bro came up to the ski area before work to say Hi. I miss Lil' Bro hugs. It's extra special to watch Lil' Bro with my "kids". I don't think he knows just how much they love him.
Tomorrow will be an adventure heading home. We've had some car trouble, nothing super serious but serious enough to need a different vehicle. Trin and I have worked everything out...we make a good team! It's been really nice to have someone else to take charge and rely on. A good group of students, a great group of chaperone's, it's been a great weekend!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I don't understand people who feel the need to take their protests to funerals. I especially don't understand Christians who feel this need. The news that one extremist group is planning on demonstrating at Heath Ledger's funeral just undid me this morning. That's just what the family and friends need at this moment in time, to be faced with a bunch of people condemning the person they loved who just died unexpectedly and tragically. Grief isn't hard enough without a group of people carrying signs saying your loved one is going to hell because of a role they played in a movie. Yeah, that's compassionate and loving.
I pray that the God of Love and Compassion that I know will find a way to bring hope, peace and comfort to the family and friends of Heath Ledger despite the efforts of this group to bring shame and condemnation. And I pray that they will know that there are many more Christians in the world that mourn for them and with them.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Last week I decided that I was going to do something really, really selfish and actually take today off. What is that? You mean actually taking a paid holiday off isn't selfish? Hmmm.... Anyway, I've been wanting to see National Treasure 2 so I invited a couple of students to join me...what's that you say? Taking a day off and still spending time with students doesn't really jive? Hmmm...well, I wasn't at the office, so it still counts!
The movie was surprisingly good. I really liked National Treasure 1, so I wasn't expecting to like the 2nd as much. It was fun, though Nick C's hair was really, really bad. Bad dye job, bad cut, just bad...and I wasn't afraid to share my feelings with Jonathan throughout the movie, every time they had a closeup. Seriously, seriously awful hair.
We walked up and down Pacific Ave after the movie, stopping for pizza and bagels. As we were sitting around the table talking, I suddenly became profoundly grateful. Grateful for the students I was with, for the years of relationship building, for seeing a new friendship blossom between two of the students, for the opportunity to laugh, to share in new memories and to just be me.
Today God reminded me why I'm in Youth Ministry, why I'm in ministry at all...it's about the people, it's about the relationships and it's about loving and knowing I am loved not because of anything I've done but because of who God has made me and gifted me to be. Today was a good day off.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
That voice has driven me in many, many ways. It has convinced me that I am not worthy of recognition. It has convinced me that I will fail more often that I will succeed. It has convinced me that the happiness of other's that I lead is my responsibility. The voice has convinced me that I am unworthy, unlovable and undeserving of praise.
I don't like this voice. I really don't like that this voice lives inside of me, that it comes from my own heart.
On my Come Away day God decided to confront that voice. God showed me areas in which the voice has been winning the battle, places where I set myself up for failure. God showed me places where I have triumphed and succeeded only to allow the voice to convince me that I wasn't as good as I thought or as others were saying. God was there as I cried tears of sorrow and loss, as I wrote words of apology and allowed the places of deep jealousy and envy to be unveiled. God spoke words of forgiveness, diminishing the power of the voice, if only a margin. God said "I love you. You are worthy. I am so glad I made you."
This morning I realized that I had allowed the voice to speak again, after my Come Away day. I feel right into it's trap. But God was there this morning and God was doing the revealing this morning. And God said "I love you. You are worthy. I am so glad I made you." I am beginning to believe God more than the voice.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Overload in bullet form: (started at 5pm)
- In 45 minutes five students and a youth advisor are arriving to talk about our journey through the one year bible. It's the 16th. I'm on day 11. I still need to order the pizza and pick it up.
- Youth group starts in an hour and a half. I know what I'm talking about. Just not so sure how it's going to be said. No games planned, no songs chosen. We're winging it.
- Next weekend is the High School Snow Trip. We're going with another church whose youth leader called today and said she broke her foot and can't drive. Unless we get a new driver, 3 students will be walking to the snow 250 miles away.
Restarted at 10:50pm
- Church computer doesn't like me anymore, which makes it hard to put together picture CD's from the Mississippi trip...all 6 of them! It keeps stopping in the middle of burning the CD and then crashes. UGH.
- People are antsy for their donation receipts from Mississippi, and rightfully so. It's not a quick process though. This time it's not the computer but the printer. It will only go so fast!
- Tomorrow is my Come Away Day. Which means driving in commute traffic to LG and then being silent for 4 hours. My mind is so busy, I pray that I can just put everything else aside and be with God.
- After the Come Away I have a meeting in San Jose and then need to race back home for another meeting that night.
Yep, feeling a little bit on overload. Friday is just around the corner, though which means two days off! And I'm refusing to do any church related stuff on Saturday. I'm not going near that place! Will someone please hold me to that?
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Lately I've been looking at my calendar and saying "Why is my plate so full?" It's nothing new. I've been here before. This time though, I'm beginning to realize that while my plate is full, my energy and enthusiasm is running on empty. My focus has gotten off track. I need a break. Unfortunately that break really isn't going to happen for another two weeks. There is a bright spot coming this week though, a half-day set aside for me and God. To talk, to listen, to be silent, to just be. I'm looking forward to that day. It's like dessert. I don't want to miss it.
Yep, I've got a full plate. But dessert is coming.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Gutters were installed at Ms. P's daughter's house.
Siding was repaired at Ms. L's house.
The house was leveled and a new sliding door installed at Ms. S's house.
Foam insulation went in at Mr. J's house.
The yard was cleaned up and floors prepared for laminate tiles at Mr. P's house.
And then of course were the reminders of the storm.
This is what one of the rooms at the yellow house looked like before we started working.
There are many more pictures. I will attempt to add them to an online photo book at some point and post the link here. If you are in town on Sunday we are sharing at both services, 9am and 11:15am. Feel free to join us!
Saturday, January 5, 2008
I would have updated things yesterday but by the time I was ready to begin thinking about using a computer the power went out. We've had rain, rain and more rain plus a lot of wind the last two days. I'm pretty sure the rain gauge outside my room was overflowing at some point last night and it holds 6 inches. The rain and power outage were the perfect excuses, though, for some much needed rest. Still not 100 percent rested, but I'm getting there. The power is on now and there are movies to watch, so I'm going to enjoy the rest of my day off and just vegg out.
More pictures and stories from the trip will be up in the next week or so. Thanks for reading along!
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Pete—To have the opportunity to spend such profound time with my son was by far the best part of the trip. One of the most fun things was when Mr. Guy and Mr. Peanut had rock and roll flashbacks on the way back to Slidell. It was fun to finish strong and I felt like we finished strong today.
Violett—My best moment was today when Justine and I were talking. I liked that all of us were really close and actually bonded. Today I was talking with Brittany that I’m really a wanting and needing person, I’m always asking for more. I finally realized on this trip that there are people who have less and I need to be happy with what I have.
Sandy—Mine is being with my church family again on a week’s worth of travel. It’s always amazing how close we get in this one week and when we go home we stay that way. We have a bond that people can’t understand a lot. Also going to the Baptist Church lunches, seeing them still serving great meals, it hasn’t changed. It’s still just as good now as it was then. And I got to pound two nails into their new church building, one for me and one for my sister.
Michelle—My highlight of the trip was the yellow house the first day, how we all banded together. Also, the church where we eat lunch at being remembered by the people who were serving lunch. It was nice to know that someone remembered me. Also, just being here and being able to work when most people choose to sit on the couch and watch TV on their break. Probably the biggest highlight was at the end of the day sitting and listening to everyone’s day and hearing how they were changed by the day.
Guy—For me the highlight was being able to go back to Ms. S’s house because I had been there last year. It was also a low point because she seemed to be doing much worse but by the end of the week she was much better. She gave me a picture of her rose that I had pruned for her last year.
Debbie--I was struck today by the complex recovery process. Each house is different and the recovery is different. From the house that is in the same condition that we left it the last year, to the house that is finally in the beginning stages of recovery, to the house that the people have moved in but will have to move out because of the permit process. Yet everyone is still grasping onto hope. It's evident that everyone is in their own process is healing.