Friday, February 27, 2009

Give yourself a break

Once a month during the school year ('cuz that's when it's offered) I go on a silent retreat day. I drive over the hill, as we call it in this neck of the woods, to hoity-toity land to a retreat center where two amazing people have prepared a day long prayer retreat for about 12 of us. After spending much, much time in front of computer, behind a desk, in an office, in a youth room, basically, inside, my favorite thing to do is to sit outside and pray.

So that's where I was yesterday. Sitting outside praying or not praying. Usually I feel this need to complete all the work handed to me in a timely manner, making sure to talk to God about everything written down on the piece of paper I received at the beginning of the day but not yesterday. Yesterday I put the paper down, picked up my notebook and wrote these words, "Today I give myself a break." I didn't force myself to follow the outline, to come up with words to say to God, I just sat and listened to the birds, watched the squirrels run around, pondered the drops of water from the recent rain dripping off the roof, enjoyed the feel of sunshine warming up my legs. I gave myself a break.

God showed up there. God was there all along. God spoke, I wrote. I spoke, God held. God was silent, I was silent. I don't do it very often but yesterday I gave myself a break. I highly recommend them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things I don't understand...

Last week it was 4:30, this week 5:20, weeks before that have been around the same time...Middle School boys show up for youth group that starts at 6:30pm. While I'm glad that they want to come here, there are questions in my mind...where are the parents? Have any of these guys gone home after school? Do they have dinner? Have they done their homework? Why are they allowed to just roam around for hours unsupervised? Does anyone besides me see the huge problems that can arise here?

Feeling very old fashioned tonight. Off to cook Mac 'n' Cheese so at least they have something to eat.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Musings

I've started and deleted about 5 posts this last week. I have things to say, just not so sure how public some of those things should be...sometimes it's better that words just stay in my head. But I've been thinking about a lot of things some good, some bad, some just thoughts. Because I like bullet points on blogger a lot--though I would much prefer arrows--I'll list some of my thoughts for you to ponder and comment on or just read and wonder what in the world is happening in my brain!
  • Saturday I went to the SF Food Bank with some youth, college students and friends. I have a new found appreciation for people who work on assembly lines doing repetitive motion. We did manage to bag about 9000 bags of popcorn kernels though...with a little help from the other groups that were there at the same time!
  • Why is it so hard to take time to do a necessary thing? Like stopping for 15 minutes to have the nail in one of my car's tires taken out so that I don't have to keep refilling the tire.
  • I don't get drugs. Seriously, I don't understand the fascination with drugs or alcohol. And I'm really, really tired of watching young adults mess up their lives...really, really tired.
  • Where are all the good websites for Christian ministry jobs?
  • Note to self, when you attend a bunch of weddings in a span of say, oh, 3 or 4 years, be prepared for a bunch of babies to appear around the same time. May, June, July & August are gonna be fun!
  • When one youth group night goes well, why is it that the next youth group night stinks?
  • Did you know that the Bible is an actual historical document. I mean, the things in there actually happened in history? Crazy! AND to really understand the things that Jesus said and did, it's pretty darn helpful to understand what was happening in the culture at the time. INSANE! Why did it take me so long to take this class?! Ok, so just to clarify, I understood all that stuff before but it never really filtered into my conscious brain. I know that it all happened but for some reason I didn't get it as much as I'm getting it now. Thanks Fuller! Thanks MMT!
  • I hate tests.
  • I can't study at home if my housemates are there. Too distracting. I can't study at the Coffee shops cuz I get distracted. G.G. came home yesterday, can't study at her house anymore. (BTW, G.G. sorry about the salad left in your fridge!) Libraries are closed on Friday (my study day) and if I try and study at work, well, see I'm supposed to be working right now and I'm distracted by this thing called the internet so, yeah, that's not gonna work. Suggestions?
  • NCIS marathons do not help the whole studying thing happen.
  • I'm going back to Pearlington. In fact Yo Momma & Papa Bear and 5 other fabulously wonderful people are going as well. April 12th. That reminds me I need to file my taxes so I can pay for this trip!
  • Frogs love rain. People with neighbors who have hot tubs who like to come out and sit in their hot tubs late at night talking really loudly like rain too.

There's more but that whole work thing is getting in the way. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The Mississippi Team has it's own blog. I posted a video there, so if you are interested head on over and view's the link.

Monday, February 16, 2009


It's been raining all weekend. Which has been a nice change from the 70 degree weather and dry land. I like the rain. I don't like having to get in an out of my car in the rain, though, that's not so much fun. Adventure Boy and I went out to Brunch yesterday (just the two of us!) and he's in that very independent stage, so while I stood out in the rain he took his time getting into the car and into his seat. I, of course, wound up very wet while he was just as happy as could be. As we drove to brunch he talked and talked and talked. He was a happy Adventure Boy. After brunch he wanted to know where Yo Momma had gone after church. So we drove to the Health Club where Yo Momma and Papa Bear were...only Adventure Boy was all adventured out. Mere seconds before arriving at the Health Club he fell fast asleep.

So I drove. I drove down the road, around the corner and down to the ocean. Another fun effect of this rain storm is the beautiful big waves. While Adventure Boy napped, I sat and watched the waves come in and go out, come in and go out while the rain came down, down, down. It was lovely.

The sound of the rain hitting the roof above the sanctuary at church is one the most beautiful sounds to my ears. I almost wished that the power had gone out yesterday during worship so that we couldn't use the sound system or electric instruments and just sing to the sound of the rain on the roof. Or sit quietly in prayer listening as refreshing rain poured out from God's hand.

The rain clears out a lot of the stuff in the air, the stuff that makes my eyes itch and my nose twitch. The rain makes me think more carefully about where I am going, how fast I am driving and where all the potholes are on the road. The rain washes things away and washes new things in. The rain causes the frogs to rib-rib-ribbet with enthusiasm outside my window and the daffodils to droop a little under the weight of the drops but then makes other flowers blossom beautifully in the spring.

The rain has been around all weekend long...and I like it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A lighter moment in the day

The Children's Ministry Department is in full-force tonight. The kids are hosting a dinner for the parents, which will be followed by a parent meeting. They've been running up and down the stairs all afternoon, putting up tables and chairs in the social hall and decorating like crazy. It's a little frenetic around the church today.

A few minutes ago a couple girls came racing downstairs and into the youth room. One girl, referred to as Middle Bebe on her Mom's blog, is very familiar with the church and I heard her say as she walked down the hall "I know exactly where it is." The second girl is new to the church. My office is almost directly across from the youth room and this is what I heard as they walked in: "This is the Junior high room. Oh my goodness the junior high kids have so much fun stuff in their room! They have a pool table and a TV and a juice bar!" (A juice bar? Nope, that's the Karaoke Tiki Hut but thanks for the new idea!) They were looking for something specific and soon appeared at my office door...because Middle Bebe really didn't know exactly where things were. The conversation went something like this.

"We need wrapping paper but not birthday paper."

"Not birthday paper?"

"We aren't wrapping birthday presents it's not anyone's birthday though Sandy's birthday and Brianna & Britney's birthday was this month. The kid Britney not you. Wait, is your birthday this month?"

"No it's not."

"When is your birthday?"


"Oh, well, we don't need birthday paper we need other paper."

We found the other paper, two rolls in fact. Truth be told it's probably meant to be birthday paper but it will pass for just general wrapping paper. They took the paper and headed on their way and as they raced back down the hall the one who is newest to the church said to Middle Bebe "She's the singing leader for the church." Yep, that's me. Singing leader and wrapping paper finder. I love my job.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"I'm so upset at FEMA"

That was the text message I got from one of my college friends this morning. I get text messages and emails like this occasionally but I didn't know the background story on this one. Seems like there's a whole bunch of money just waiting to be spent and FEMA, in true fashion, is holding it back. Call me surprised...NOT!

I don't love what FEMA is doing but I do love that God has opened up the eyes of those in the church, youth ministry and college ministry here to the suffering and need of those in the Gulf Coast. Coming on the heels of my report to the congregation on our trip in December just yesterday, today's text message warmed my heart a little and made me proud. Proud of the college friend who gets upset for the people he knows in Mississippi. Zach, I'm upset with FEMA too.
Pearlington, MS January 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

The words we use

Papa Bear has noticed lately that he uses the phrase "You know" a lot when he speaks. He noticed this because he asked Yo Momma to let him know when he was using "you know" in the middle of his sentences as fillers. Yo Momma has been elbowing Papa Bear black and blue (slight exaggeration but you get the point, right?). We had a little discussion about this phrase tonight and Papa Bear walked away while Yo Momma and I kept talking. Papa Bear re-entered the conversation and caught himself saying "you know". It was quite interesting to see what happened. All of a sudden the conversation slowed down as he took time to think about what he was saying.

There are many around me who use the phrase "you know" all the time. It's a part of their vernacular. They can't help themselves. Some, myself included, have caught the "like" habit which is especially lovely when added to the previous as in, "like, you know". We get stuck in our language at times, using words that fill the space while we search for words instead of taking the time to think about what we are saying.

I use phrases, though, that aren't used to fill the space but used to shelter me from other's feelings. "I kind of think" is my personal problem phrase. That phrase in my language means "what I'm about to say next may not be received with you well and though I may feel pretty tied to that thought I'm not willing to argue with you and will act like I agree if you disagree with me after I make this statement." Whew.

Some phrases and words have been around awhile and but are picking up in their usage lately. Personal pet peeve statement of the moment is "blah, blah, blah". An example is "My friend and I went out to dinner the other night at a great restaurant. They had the best food, wine, the waiter was really nice. But blah, blah, blah. You should really go there." Yeah, no. (That was a bad example, sorry.)

Of course there's the always useful filler "um" or "uh". There is a speaker that I hear quite frequently that uses those two words as well as "you know" way to much. I want to scream out at times "Are you listening to yourself??" The answer is quite obvious, they aren't.

The words we use are important. Maybe we should start listening to ourselves more and find out what those words are.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Unexpected blog silence

It always seems that I return from the High School Snow Trip with something. Last year it was car problems that resulted in a return trip to Tahoe the next day. Usually it's a migraine. Yuck. A couple of years ago it was the flu. Ugh. This year, well, I'm not really sure what it was but it's been knocked me down flat.

Tuesday everything seemed fine except that I had this little tickle in the back of my throat that I just couldn't get rid of. Wednesday Morning I awoke and thought "Hmm...not feeling so great." My whole body hurt and when my lunch wasn't settling well and I was getting the shivers, I decided to go home and sleep for a couple of hours. 3 hours later under 2 down comforters I called in sick, not something I do very often but it was necessary. Good choice number 1.

Thursday I was supposed to accompany Train Guy and Adventure Boy to L.A. for the weekend to be their "nanny" while K & N went to a conference. But by 9:30 on Wednesday night as I lay underneath my down comforters not being able to eat much with a fever still raging, I gave up on that hope. Good choice number 2.

I've been down since then, re-emerging on Saturday briefly to send out the last couple of donation receipts I was working on Wednesday that needed to be in the mail yesterday. And I re-emerged this morning for Church (which Yo Momma will tell you was not a good idea) because I am a glutton for punishment and I was determined to get out of the house. The problem is I don't have much of an appetite (for good reason) but because I haven't eaten much I'm weak, so taking a shower and getting dressed this morning just about made me pass out. Lovely.

There also may be a little bit of a caffeine with drawl thing going on too...great way to detox huh?

So my unexpected blog silence hasn't been for fun or resulted in any great wisdom, just a bad case of cabin fever...though there is a post brewing somewhere, just wait!