Monday, September 28, 2009


The weekend was a blur of information, images, thoughts, visceral reactions, food, smells and more. There is much to unpack, both literally and mentally. I'm wondering about the future of the Church universal and the Church personal. I'm pondering the state of youth ministry in my own situation, I'm thinking about the body of believers that I worship with, about those who will welcome some fresh ideas and those who will put up a wall, a very, very large intimidating wall. I'm thinking about our upcoming trip to Mississippi and the tug I'm feeling from God to change things, to sacrifice, to go outside my comfort zone. There is much going on in my brain and there is much to filter. I'm sure this space will be used to filter all of the stuff inside my head in the coming days and weeks.

Right now, I'm going to sleep.

Wrap-up of the day

It's really early in the morning or late at night, depending on how you look at it. I've been away from the hotel a full 15 hours. There was a lot packed into that time. Here's just a glimpse:
  • Heard from 3 young people who have started groups that give to others or are taking a stand on issues. Very, very impressive, enlightening, encouraging and cool. Just cool.
  • Worshipped with a children's choir from Africa. If I can get the video, church on Sunday will be worshipping with them as well. I'm making an executive decision as the worship there.
  • Watched an amazing performer bring a story to life that left the whole room in tears. And that was all within two hours.
  • Had lunch at the ESPNzone and watched the 49ers lose in the last seconds of the game...but had a yummy salad.
  • Participated in a workshop focusing on how we connect with God throughout the day in the moments that we have...good stuff. Did you know that chocolate and prayer go together? They do.
  • Enjoyed a caramel frappacino that tasted like caramel corn. Yum.
  • Listened to a discussion about youth revolutionizing the world. It was co-led by a guy who was an atheist, has come to Christianity while working in DC. He has worked for some pretty high mucky-mucks including the Obama campaign. There are a lot of things that I still need to review from that session. I thought I was going to walk away from the conference without buying any cd's or DVD's...not gonna happen.
  • Had dinner with other Presbyterian Youth Workers, including someone that I had gone to a class with a couple year ago. Good conversation and I came away with some new resources, plus after the expensive meals in this town, it was nice to have a free dinner! Thanks PC(USA)!
  • Tonight we heard from the woman the Lifetime movie, Homeless to Harvard, was based on. I appreciated hearing her perspective on made me think about what I take for granted and what I assume.
  • And then, Jon-boy and I hung out and listened to Todd T.'s favorite band in the whole wide world...Lost and Found. Slinky! We also laughed until we couldn't breathe with the Skit Guys. A long but good day.
I've got a bunch of questions running through my head but I also have this little rant that must come out right now. Walking by the hand-out table, where all the extra hand-outs from the workshops wind up, I found this beauty called the Pure Freedom Fashion Challenge. I read through it, it makes sense. I don't like seeing bra straps, shorts that are to short, pants that are too low, I get it. However, it's really frustrating to hear people say "the youth shouldn't wear x, y or z" and then turn around to see the youth workers wearing x, y and z. Where do we think they get it from? It's just annoying. All weekend I've been hearing "youth look up to you!" why don't we get that they look at everything? Okay, rant over for now. It's time to sleep! More tomorrow!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brush with fame???

The LA Convention Center is right next door to the Staples Center, across the street from Nokia Live!, and down a block from the new Grammy Museum. When we arrived on Friday afternoon, Jon-boy and I overheard someone saying "Downtown LA rolls up the sidewalks at night...nothing is happening." Um....that's not my experience!

Last night was a concert that had a whole bunch of excited but buzzed people around Nokia Live! Lot's of people. Tonight there is even more going on. But let me back up a bit...

Today at NYWC the morning speaker hit a home run. He spoke about change. Not a new topic by any means, it was the way he spoke about change that brought things that I've been thinking about in a full circle. My mind has been buzzing all day long...and it's been a good day for it to be buzzing. There weren't any seminars, now called Labs, to attend today. They had something they called "Open Space" going on. Basically people created their own topics and had a set time for others to come sit and discuss the topic. Great idea, but with my mind whirring from the morning seminar, and the chaos of trying to figure out what discussion started when, I opted to head back to my hotel room and take advantage of the spaciousness there to sit with God. I'm not prepared to talk about all that yet, but stayed tuned! On my way back to the hotel it became apparent that there was something going on at the Staples Center tonight. I made a mental note to check their website and see what was up.

Anyway, about 5:45 it was time to find Jon-boy and get dinner before the evening Session. I left my room to head back to the Convention with a stop at the hotel gift shop for some bottled water. Seriously, I don't know what hotels do to their water but there is a taste to it...water shouldn't taste! Rabbit trail, sorry. I bought the expensive water and headed for the escalator. Three men in suits got there ahead of me. I looked at one of the guys and thought "his nose has been broken". As we all headed out the front doors, a couple of women were coming in. One of the ladies looked at broken nose guy and immediately let out a string of Spanish, she clearly recognized him. It was then that the light bulb donned. The event happening at the Staples Center...a boxing match...broken nose guy is a boxer! Don't know who he is (boxing is so not my thing) but I have to admit, I felt a little more comfortable walking down to the Convention Center with a boxer in my midst. Hopefully if someone had tried anything broken nose boxer guy would have come to my rescue!

Tonight's speaker was Donald Miller, who's newest book just released. His talk was about the process of writing a book/screenplay and he tied it in nicely with how we live our lives, which is what I believe the book is about as well...I bought it but haven't read it, yet. Again, I connected with what he was saying so much. God is talking, what God is saying is still a little unclear, but God is definitely talking.

Jon-boy and I decided to skip out on late night options tonight...gonna save that for Skit Guys tomorrow. As we left, we noticed a crowd at the Nokia Live! area. It's been busy over there all weekend but I didn't go investigate what was happening. I heard someone say "they can't buy tickets for another couple hours" and my investigative hat went on. The TV just told me what I needed to know...people have been waiting in line for days to get first dibs on tickets to (drum roll please) the Michael Jackson movie. No joke. People have been sleeping out there for days to get tickets to the movie that supposedly is only going to run for a couple of weeks.

And that fight? Yeah, the Governator was there along with Rocky (Slyvester Stallone for those none movie buffs), Madonna's ex-husband, Mike Tyson and a whole slew of celebrities. My brush with fame...they were all in the building right next to where I was! Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Long day

It's 11:30pm...I've been up since 4:30am and should really go to bed NOW! If I get to sleep soon I will get a full 7 hours! There is much, however, rushing through my head, so I'm going to put it down here in whatever order it comes out. Feel free to read along or browse somewhere else.

The car ride to LA was pretty pain free. There were these bugs, however, that decided they really wanted to join us in LA. The front of my car is covered, covered in them. I couldn't get my windshield clean using the wiper fluid, it was ridiculous! We made good time until we were within 15 miles of our destination...then we crawled along for a half hour or so. 2 car accident that for some reason required 10 police/highway patrol people. No joke. My clutch leg was cramping up by the time we got past that. Missed the exit, twice, but managed to find the way to the Convention Center and eventually the hotel.

The hotel. Opinionated Friend, there is plenty of room for you too! Turns out I got a Jr. Suite. Couch, chair, desk, two double beds (the one drawback), vanity, bar area with fridge (yes!) and plenty of floor space for about 5 other people. Sent a pic text to Yo Momma and said "I could live here". I may just camp out here tomorrow and not go far.

As for the Convention itself...there are things that I've heard in the last 10 hours that I agree with, things that I don't. One speaker had me hooked right at the start and then went on a tangent that I just couldn't go on. Still said some good things but I was disappointed. Jon-boy told me I got a look on my face that expressed my complete disagreement...I tried to remain expressionless. Another speaker started out with some things that I questioned and then got to a place where God started whispering in my ear. The whispers are gentle and a little soft right now. I'm praying that they get a little louder and clearer, even if it gets rough.

The best part of the day, though, came in the form of two of my favorite groups. DC*B and Shane and Shane performed tonight. It was good. My soul is enlivened by DC*B and soothed by Shane and Shane. I go to sleep a happy camper tonight. Tomorrow is another long day. Not sure exactly what's in store but I'm praying that Jon-boy and I are open to God's whispering about ministry and about our own souls.

LA bound

This weekend the National Youth Workers Convention takes over the LA Convention Center. My cohort in ministry, Jon-boy, and I are heading there for the weekend. The time that this post goes live is the time that we will be leaving. I'm excited because one of my favorite bands will be there, DC*B, and one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, will be speaking. Both have new stuff out right now...excited about picking those up too! (Which reminds me, I don't need to pack all those books that I just packed!)

The bad thing about having to get up before the sun is that I need to get to sleep early...which is nearly impossible on a Thursday night when Project Runway is on (though I fell asleep a couple weeks just as the runway show began) and really hard when I've become addicted to Models of the Runway. I love the inside scoop/behind the scenes things, even if that's not reality. Totally dig it.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, looking forward to continuing my Youth Worker training, but most of all I'm looking forward to the opportunity to focus on my need for God, for my own spiritual rejuvenation and some time to just be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It runs in the family...

So, I told you about Nat's song in the last post. It went pretty much like this..."You are 1 year, 2 year, 3 year, 4 year, 5 year, 6 and you get older every day."

Turns out, she gets her songwriting talent from her mom. I was walking by the computer in the church the other day and found a silly little ditty written to the tune of "I'm a little teapot". It's silly and fun and made me smile.

It started out like this:
"I miss my Brittany yes I do
I miss when we sing & take off our shoes."

Music world, watch out!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Where to begin...
  • G.G. and I began Baby Tour 2009 on Thursday morning. We started with Payten, catching up with Aunt C and Uncle K as well. Lil Bro and New Sis surprised me with a birthday cake, complete with candles. I don't have any pictures of that but it was cool. Payten was the youngest and skinniest of the babies on this tour, 4 weeks old and weighing in at 7lbs. She's got really long feet though. It's as long as my thumb!
  • Baby Tour 2009 headed to Colby's house next. G.G. and I had fun trying to get there. We found many places in CA without traffic! Though our blood pressure was rising quickly when the guy in the big truck refused to pull over even though he was going much slower than the rest of the cars on the road. Argh. Colby and I had a great time bonding, he's got a great smile, though I never caught it on camera. Colby's 11lbs and 7 weeks old. Colby's Brother, Brody, was a lot of fun too. Such adorable guys...the picture I would show you is not cooperating right now. Sorry.
  • Baby Tour 2009 continued for me with Sammy. Another young man with a great smile not caught on camera by me. He is a charmer and the oldest on the tour coming in at 11 weeks and weighing 16lbs. I had a fabulous time reuniting with Sammy and his parents. Why is it that the ones that live the closest are the ones I don't see enough?
  • This morning I turned on my cell phone and found this picture. It was a great way to start the day. Nat, the one on the right, also made a card/book... and wrote a song, reminding me that I'm getting older everyday but that Jesus loves me so, so, so, so, so, so, so MUCH. Love her.
  • At lunch with G.G. and B. Young, these two photos appeared on my phone with the captions.
Happy Birthday :)
  • And tonight Super Sarah and R-Girl treated me to dinner and made me cry. They spent a lot of time putting together a scrapbook of our many youth activities and had people write in the book as well. It just about did me in. I am blessed by them.
  • Overall a good way to end my 34th year and begin my 35th. All day I've been at a heightened level of awareness of the goodness of God...I have great friends, kids to love (and hand back to their parents) and family. Life may not look like what I thought it would look like at this point in time but I have nothing to complain about and God has reminded me of that all day long. God is good, life is good and it's been a great day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quick check-in

It's been a whirlwind few days and it's not slowing down yet. There are a couple of posts brewing, some fun, some serious. We'll see which one makes it out first!

In the meantime, I'm gonna be bold and ask those of you who are the praying kind to pray for my friend Karl. Some of you know him, some of you don't and I'm not going to share details, God knows them. Thanks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Evading a rant...

I can feel a church rant coming on. It's brewing, my mind is whirling, stomach churning and I'm trying to think happy thoughts but, grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

In other news, in a week I will be hugging this little one.And in a week and a day I'll be hugging this other little one.
I'm gonna focus on that today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Got to work this morning, got out of my car, coffee, keys and cell phone in hand and got a whiff of skunk. It's not unusual around here to smell that smell. With so much in my hands, I opened a different door than usual to the church, one that will stay open and not just close automatically. That's when the pungent skunk odor really knocked me back. Yuck.

The downstairs hallway, the upstairs hallway, the custodians closet and now my office all reek of skunk. Luckily the youth room seems to have been spared. It would be a perfect day to work from home...except it's Parent/Youth Night and I have to be here.

Candles lit, windows open, hoping the smell of skunk goes away.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Baby recap

So, as far as I am aware, baby craze 2009 has come to an end. They have all made their arrivals and are doing well. Thanks to the tiny little SD card I bought today, I can now show you all the pictures I've gotten of the precious ones without having to text them to Meg who would then email to me. Such a process to get pics off the phone but no more! Woo-hoo! Here's the recap:

This is Kylie, she was the first. I'm hoping that we get to meet face to face sometime but she has this trip to Hawaii with her parents and grandparents coming up and her social calendar is pretty full. She's a cutie!

Sammy came second. Such a great picture, such a happy guy! Sammy and I spent some time together a few days after he was born, which was lovely. I'm hoping that we can reconnect sometime later this month...if he's available. M & L, I'll be calling!

Colby was the third arrival, stubbornly waiting until after I had to go home to make his way into the world. (Yes, it's all about me, clearly!) If you can't tell by this picture, big brother Brody is pretty protective and happy he's here.Payten was the last one and probably the one you will see most around here. She gave us a little scare this week but has rebounded. She's looking pretty serious in this picture. Her Auntie B is having a little bit of a problem living so far away but pictures help!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I've spent the last two days working on my office. It's been the same for a few years now and I got bored with it. A few years ago I painted one wall blue. Just one small wall. I went out and bought more paint to continue onto another wall and never got it done. So yesterday I decided it was painting day. I now have two blue walls.

In the process I moved the gigantic filing cabinet and cleaned behind it, finding CD's that had been lost, a picture that I really didn't miss and a never used phone cord. That started my cleaning, rearranging jag which has resulted in everything that could possibly be moved, being moved. The floor has been vacuumed, the bookshelves dusted, books rearranged, things taken to the thrift store and more never used phone cords have appeared. I really don't know where they came from but at last count there were 4.

Things collect in a Youth Directors office. I found copies of birth certificates from a trip to Mexico that was taken WAY before I started here (which reiterated what I thought when I first started and had to clean out my predecessor's office, when it's time for me to leave, I'm taking a week and going through everything that will be left behind. Someone new shouldn't have to deal with my junk.) Then there are the bags of fake Easter Grass that I bought one year on the advice of Songfriend who would put them in the bottom of his youth members sleeping bags. It sounded like good clean fun...never did it though. There are the 3.5inch floppy disks with worship songs on PowerPoint from the days after the slide projector and before MediaShout. Coffee beans from a fundraiser 5 Mississippi Trips ago, protective glasses from the Mexico 2005 trip and the folder with all the information from that trip. And let's not forget the aforementioned 4 never used phone cords. The garbage and recycling bins are my friends this week.

In other news, Papa Bear has started his own blog. He's political, opinionated and isn't afraid to talk about it, so if you're up for reading you can find him here. Just remember, I warned you.