Sunday, June 29, 2008

A rant

I am so tired of email forwards. They drive me insane. Partly because I get the same things a bajillion times and partly because usually there is something in the forwarded email that says "email this to your 100 best friends or you will surely die!". Okay, I'm exaggerating but seriously forwards drive me nuts.

The other day Aunt C sent me a forward that she was troubled by and asked for my response. The next day Papa Bear got the same forward from another source. We've talked in length about the forward because first off it's overtly racist and secondly it bugs us!

The forward tries to draw comparisons between the response to Hurricane Katrina and the response to the Midwest Floods. The main point of the email is to point out differences between the "white folk" and the "black folk". Totally unfair, totally racist and it hit a nerve in this house.

If you get the same forward I urge you to purge it, to not continue the circle of bigotry and hate. It's two different circumstances and totally unfair to try and compare I think we've all learned a lot from the response from Hurricane Katrina and are trying to change the system. So, there's my rant for the day. Tune in tomorrow...there might be another one!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The first bus arrived at the beach last night sometime after 6:20pm and the fun began. By the time the third bus pulled up the event was well underway. Food was being eaten, some people were jumping in the water, ride tickets had been given out and my anxiety level had noticeably eased. As I wandered through the lines handing out ride tickets, maps and just saying Hi to the 130 Youth Advisory Delegates that are in town for the Big Church Party it struck me...I really like this stuff. I like hanging out with Young Adults, laughing with them, planning things that bring them joy, listening to what's going on in their heads, all that brings me joy and a sense of purpose.

Somehow in the last few years I have lost confidence in my abilities and gifts. I've begun to think of myself as outdated, useless and I've been wondering if maybe the time to get out is around the corner. Four simple hours with 130 YAD's reminded me that I like what I do, that I've been gifted for this. I believe God is reminding me that Youth Ministry is a part of who I am. Maybe that means that I'll continue to be in this role for years to come, maybe it will change and become something different, maybe God will call me somewhere else. I don't know the answers but I do know that hanging out on the beach with students last night was so good for my soul.

Back to the event. I was struck immediately at how polite the majority of the YAD's were. They were genuinely grateful for everything we were providing. The big thing for some of them was putting their feet in the Pacific Ocean. One young lady mentioned that she is the first out of her family to travel out of her state. The first! One had never seen the ocean before. Many were happy to play in the sand, others excited about riding the rides. All were happy to have a night off before refocusing their energies on the rest of the Big Church Party. It was so much fun to be in their presence. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve these amazing young people. If the future of the church is in the hands of those whom I came into contact with last night, I would say there are some great things in store!

I forgot to add! The best sight of all was stepping onto the bus and seeing the t-shirts that Songfriend designed being worn by all the YAD's. Very, very cool!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Big Church Party

There's a Big Church Party happening in my neck of the woods this week. It's got the potential to draw a lot of controversy and attention. It has the potential to be either really great or kind of lousy. Over the last few months I've had the pleasure of being a teeny, tiny part of the Big Church Party (hereinafter referred to as BCP) planning. I'm so glad that I haven't had the load of responsibility on my shoulders. Just my small part has caused me to wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I've forgotten anything.

I sat in a meeting (because everyone know that this BCP group likes meetings) and listened to all the details that were being put together and I felt the weight of it hit square in my face. This is a big deal. Hours have gone into making this week happen and in just the blink of an eye it will be all done. It will all be history and people will either look back on this BCP locale as either something positive "Remember how great it was in..." or negative. I heard the negative about a previous BCP at that meeting. In fact I think part of the mantra for this planning group was "Don't do things like that other BCP." It was at that meeting that I began to get very anxious for the planners. I want the planners to succeed at hosting the BCP. I want them to be praised for a job well done. And I want my neck of the woods to be a positive experience for all that have traveled far and wide for this occasion. I really, really do.

Tomorrow I'll head to the beach and prep for the group that will trek from BCP headquarters to Fun Zone for an evening of sand, food and fun. I certainly hope and pray that when they head back to their hometowns they will look on my neck of the woods with fondness and happy memories. And I hope and pray that the BCP will bring glory and honor to God in the matter what decisions are made.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Train Guy

It's been awhile since I talked about Train Guy. Life has changed and he now goes to a Preschool on Fridays so my Friday dates with Train Guy have come to an end. Sigh. Adventure Boy and I still have a standing date though, so don't feel too sorry for me.

Train Guy and I spent some time together yesterday. He's 3 1/2 and very independent now. When I picked him up from Preschool the first thing out of his teachers mouth was "He had an accident at nap time and changed his clothes himself." He did a great job. Not sure how he got his pants inside out but the shirt on backwards just made it all make sense. Train Guy was not just a normal Train Guy though, he was a Train Cowboy Guy yesterday. Engineers cap, inside out backwards clothes and cowboy boots. I should have taken a picture.

We talked about all kinds of things on the way to pick up Adventure Boy. At one point we were talking about something sad that has happened in his life and he said "It's kind of boring." Boring, sad, pretty much the same word huh?

After getting Adventure Boy we stopped by my house to pick up Yo Momma (I was the designated taxi driver). Yo Momma was taking off her socks, which prompted Train Guy to remember that some people go to bed without underwear. I really, really, really tried not to laugh hysterically at that point but Oh. My. Gosh. was that funny. I would love to know how all of that came together in his head but for now, I'm just going to laugh to myself and thank God for Train Guy. Life would be pretty dull without him.

Monday, June 16, 2008


This weekend Cal Fire put out a sketch of a "person of interest" that they would like to talk to about the fire in these here mountains. They are quick to say they just want to talk with this individual but our curiosity has been raised. The idea that someone may have started this fire on purpose is floating through the minds of those in the community. It's very sad.

As of 7pm tonight the fire has been fully contained. There have been three injuries, though I'm not sure how severe they were. Over 500 firefighters have fought this blaze. I've seen trucks from Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and L.A. County as well as all the local groups. The helicopters and air tankers have gone on to other places and tonight the cost for fighting this blaze the last 5 days has reached 4.9 million dollars. 4.9 million. Ugh.

I am grateful for the firefighters, for their hard work, their love and dedication to their job and for coming from long distances to help our community. I'm grateful that no lives were lost and praying for those who have lost their homes. And I'm praying that this was just an act of nature, not the result of someones carelessness or evil intent.

I'm also aware that there are other fires that continue to rage. That there are floods in other parts of the country. And in another country there are men and women fighting a seemingly endless war. Tonight life seems just a little heavier than usual.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fire, Graduations and Goodbyes

The plume of smoke has disappeared to be replaced by a haze and slight smell of smoke. We're becoming accustomed to the sound of helicopters and planes, flying overhead. In this community, the sound of a helicopter usually alerts us to an life or death situation, someone being life-flighted out (is that a word?). Now the sound is a reminder that there are firefighters tromping through woods working to contain a fire that has destroyed 10 homes and driven over 1000 out of their homes. The local market has a bulletin board set up where people can be seen congregating, getting the most up-to-date news. And in the midst of all of this the local High Schools and Middle Schools are holding Graduations.

I spent the evening at one of those Graduations, cheering for the 5 students who have been a part of the youth group over the years. I'm getting ready to head out for the 2nd Graduation to cheer on another 7 students. It's exciting to share in the celebrations but a part of me is very, very sad. Some of the students graduating have been in youth group since 6th grade, others only the last year but they've all captured a little piece of my heart. Goodbye is never ever easy.

Yikes! It's later than I thought! Time to pack up Adventure Boy (who's with me for the day) and head out to the sun and the haze. Thanks for praying for the firefighters. I'm certainly grateful for their hard work!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Yesterday on the way to get pictures printed I was passed by a Fire Truck heading in the direction of my town...only this fire truck was from the town I was heading for. Strange but there was no way to figure out where they were going to so I continued on my merry way (after pulling over like you are LEGALLY supposed to do when an emergency vehicle is coming with lights and sirens...when did this become something we don't do?) Anyway, I parked my car at my destination, looked up and saw smoke. Big plumes of smoke. It looked like my whole town was on fire. There's a neato website in our area that tells us about all the calls the emergency vehicles are making, so I quickly called fabulous Office Assistant and had her look it up. Nothing. My curiosity had to wait.

Heading back towards my town the plume of smoke kept getting bigger. As I got back into town I realized the smoke was coming from the hills above the town, in another town. Not. Good. Within an hour people were coming by the church looking for the evacuation center, our parking lot was riddled with horse trailers ready to rescue animals and others were just sitting watching the smoke rise. This is what it looked like from the church parking lot.

Today there is no containment. I've watched reports about the fire on national news stations and read about it on my web page homepage. Signs are popping up, "Thank You Firefighters" and people come by the church looking for a little assistance. If you have a moment, would you pray for the firefighters today? Not just in my area, all over the state and the country. Pray for their safety, for rest and for the communities in which fires rage.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I've not spent a whole lot of time in the South during the Summer. Our trip to Pearlington last June was pretty much the extent of my experience. If the weather that week was typical of the South in the Summer, than I can say with all certainty that this new decision by FEMA is really, really, really dumb. REALLY!! Ice in the South in the Summer (especially) is not a luxury it's a necessity! Especially when there isn't air conditioning, fans or anything else to cool down with. I know I'm a wimpy California Coast Girl so my opinion might not count, but I say send ice! Here's the reaction from a State Senator.

BTW, St. Casserole (the blog to which I link) lives in a town near Pearlington. I've been reading her blog for a couple of years now and have been very blessed by her words...and not just those words about the storm.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Flea Market

This weekend was the first of two Flea Market Fundraisers for the youth and our next Mississippi Trip. I am not a fan of Flea Market Fundraisers. Not. a. fan. I don't like people who try and bargain already low prices down to nothing. No, I am not going to sell that book for 10 cents instead of 25 cents. Hello does the word fundraiser mean anything? Seriously.

We've been doing these for years now. In fact the church now has a flea market season, May through September, once a month. We have regular vendors as well...which is part of why I don't like the Flea Market Fundraisers very much. The regular who always, always, always complains about something. Always tells us how we should be doing things, not realizing they are the biggest offender of all the suggestions!

My cohort in Flea Markets loves to gather other peoples *ahem* treasures to sell as part of the fundraiser. We always wind up with a bunch of lovely items and then the other millions of things. Amongst those other things are usually a couple of items that are the bane of our existence. Like the desk that we lugged up and down the stairs one year or the stationary bike that we've had for three sales now and nary an offer. This year looking at that stationary bike we got smart. Enough of trying to sell this thing, let's just put a free sticker on it and see what happens! And that desk?? We'll try to sell it cheap, cheap, cheap and then mark it free later in the day. Guess what. They both went! Hall-le-lu-jah!! We gave away the bike but sold the desk and at the end of the day wound up with a whopping $550 selling other peoples *ahem* treasures.

Add to that the space rentals and food sales and our little group wound up with $1500!! Half will go towards our next trip to Pearlington (in December) and the other half to Scholarships for the youth. While my dislike of Flea Market Fundraisers is still present, I will grudgingly say that it's worth the effort...after the fact.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Weekend in review

Last Monday at this time I was driving home from a rest-filled time away with God. What a difference a week makes!

Yo Momma is healing pretty well but has spent the days since Wednesday either in her chair or in bed. Papa Bear and I have been doing our best to be good bedside helpers but it's pretty strange to be in this role reversal...for both of us! We'll find out this week if she will be in a cast for 4 weeks or if the cast will come off and physical therapy will begin.

Friday night I had purchased tickets to the Giants game as an early Father's Day present. Yo Momma wisely chose to stay home so Papa Bear and I had Fun Guy join us for the evening. I like going to the ballgame but can't stand watching it on TV. Much more fun to root in person and hope to catch a foul ball or something! Though our seats are never in the places where the foul balls fly too. Did get to see the first triple play by the Giants in 9 years. Very exciting. We finally left at the top of the 13th inning when it seemed like the game was going to drag on forever. Of course the minute we left, the excitement happened. Giants lost. We found a great parking lot that's WAY cheaper than the regular places...gonna have to remember that for next time.

Saturday a couple of my students came over and we baked bread to serve at Communion Sunday morning. The bread turned out really well and had the house smelling very yummy. Adventure Boy and Train Guy joined us for a little while. After not seeing them for a couple of weeks, it was nice to have them around.

Sunday was Youth Sunday and our annual Church Picnic, which meant extra work time for me! I love watching the youth come alive on these days, taking their parts seriously yet with humor and joy. There was a different air about the worship service, less formality and more joy. I think we miss out on joy a lot in worship, so having the youth remind us of the joy of worship was good. Of course having students speak and bring the whole congregation to tears isn't such a bad thing either. God is definitely alive in these students.

I did, though, miss the big movie screening that I was looking forward too. I had to cancel on Friday and by the time it came around to the free time I had on Sunday afternoon all I wanted to do was crawl up on my bed and sleep...which is exactly what I did. Guess I'll just have to schedule it in sometime this week!