Sunday, August 30, 2009

Life's roads

It was in the summer before my 8th grade year that Jesus and I started our journey together in a more "formal" way. Growing up in the church, I knew God and I knew Jesus but that summer my faith became real, more potent, to use church language that summer I asked Jesus into my heart and life changed. It wasn't a huge change, I still was who I was but something was different. There was a peace, a confidence that I had because of my relationship with God that came from the inside out. Life with God felt with God still feels right.

Over the years God and I have been through many ups and downs together. There have been times when everything has been great and times when I have been mad, mad, mad. God and Jesus have been those constant voices telling me when things are right, when things are wrong and when I've gone very astray. There was a time when I told God "No"...not to God being a part of my life but for my being a part of church life. God respected that and then drew me back in when the time was right. The roads that God, Jesus and I have traveled have been interesting and varied. There are some roads that I've tried to take that never seem to go anywhere and then the roads that God and Jesus lead me on that take me to places I never dreamed of going.

If God had followed the road that I thought I would be taking, I would be married with 3 kids, teaching Kindergarten somewhere. But the road that God had me traveled has me single, with so many kids of the heart it's hard to count them all, in Youth Ministry, constantly checking this website June through October and instantly on alert anytime the words "hurricane", "Katrina", "Mississippi", "NOLA" and "Pearlington" are said. And while I take no joy in the pain and heartache that Hurricane Katrina brought, I am grateful that in following the road that God had me on, I've been a part of bringing hope, joy and peace to the hearts of those that Katrina left in her wake 4 years ago.

It's not the road I would have taken, but I'm grateful to be on it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dots on a Wednesday

  • G.G. and I enjoyed our time with Payten and fam. We also enjoyed our car ride together. We didn't enjoy the people in the hotel who woke us up three times in one night but the price was right!
  • Something has died underneath the deck outside my window. It's really, really smelly. I thought about writing a poem to the dead thing under the deck but my funny side is hiding right now. Sorry, I know you all would have enjoyed it.
  • I dropped my cellphone today...again. Beginning to think I should have gotten the warranty on it.
  • I cannot get this out of my head. It's almost as bad as Meg's Get Frosty obsession. Almost.
  • A couple weeks ago the router was upgraded at the church. The goal was to get the wireless signal a little better in my office. Wouldn't you know the day that I have a bunch of Internet work to do, the darn thing kept dropping the signal. I was thisclose to throwing a huge fit. That would have been a sight to see!
  • I had something else that I was going to say but Papa Bear just interrupted the flow of my brain, so I'll leave you with these last two pictures of Payten, because I know you just have to see more! She wasn't so happy in this one. I love the little dimple in her chin. She was much more content here. (G.G. also had fun editing this pic.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

First meetings

G.G. and I made our way to Payten-land yesterday. First meetings are good.

She's got skinny, long feet and long fingers. I couldn't stop myself from taking this one. Lil Bro gave me a bad time about it but just look at that foot!Meg, this pic is just for you. What a face!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On the answering machine--update

The Pastor called me into his office today (yes, it's a Saturday, it was a church workday sprucing up the place, a job that never seems to end). Someone had called and left a message that went basically like this:

"Yeah, Hi. I go to the restaurant next door to the church. Yesterday I was there and wanted a glass of wine to go along with my food but they said they couldn't serve alcohol because the church is next door. I'm calling to see if there's something that you could do about that. They really need to serve wine with their food. So, hope there's something you can do to help them out and help me out. Thanks."

Ummmmm...couple of things here. #1, their being next door to a church doesn't seem to be the real issue. Rite Aid across the street sells alcohol and so does the liquor store next to that. I'm thinking a liquor license might not be what the owners want to get. #2. If you really need alcohol to eat the food at this establishment, I would find somewhere else to eat. Just sayin.

UPDATE: Songbird was right! CA code says:
23789.  (a) The department is specifically authorized to refuse the
issuance, other than renewal or ownership transfer, of any retail
license for premises located within the immediate vicinity of
churches and hospitals.

Friday, August 21, 2009

From Yo Momma aka New Grandma

My parents aren't excited about being grandparents at all (insert heavy sarcasm). Here's what Yo Momma has to report from the front lines.

"M(aka New Sis) brought Payten out and handed her to me. Yipee, I thought. Then I walked out into the living room and guess who says, don't I get to hold her? So much for me getting to have her."
"I figured out how to get her back. I told grandpa that his dinner was ready and he gave her right up. So Payten and I went upstairs to read mystery books together. She slept through the whole thing. J (aka Lil Bro) thought she should wake up and be fed, so he took her away. Just really can't get a real good grandma fix when people keep taking her away."
Only two more days til G.G. and I get to meet her. Yippee!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Papa Bear finally got around to sending me some pictures, so I'll share them with you.
Yo Momma and her first grandchild by blood. She's got 4 grandchildren of the heart!

Lil Bro (New Sis is in the background). His comment to me yesterday was that he had a hard time sleeping on Tuesday night. He kept listening to make sure Payten was breathing and so far she's a quiet sleeper.
Payten. Full confession time, I saw this picture and burst into tears. My favorite teacher, Mrs. C. loved to tell the story of my Aunt C. who, when I was born, burst into Mrs. C.'s classroom and danced around saying "I'm an aunt, I'm an aunt, I'm an aunt." Consider this blog my burst.

Oh, this waiting to meet her thing is really, really hard.

Side note to Cathie Mc.: I fell hard and it's just a picture :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dear Payten,

Welcome to the world. Today you have rocked the world of your Mom and Dad, changing their names, made your grandparents legit and changed my name as well. We couldn't be happier.

Your appearance in the world hasn't gone unnoticed by those in my life who changed my name too. Train Guy is a little concerned that you will usurp the time I have for him. He doesn't realize that he will see me probably more than you. That makes me sad but that's what happens when we live so far apart. Adventure Boy wanted to see a picture of you immediately. I hope you get to meet them someday.

G.G. and I celebrated your arrival in style. We had pink frosted cookies, chocolates in wrapped in pink foil and pink sparkling wine. We were silly but happy. Uncle R joined in the fray, eating the cookies and laughing at us. Speaking of Uncle R., I need to tell you a secret. He likes to give people a bad time, teasing them and stuff. He doesn't mean anything by it, that's his way. Just give him a smile and a big hug and he will melt. Works like a charm.

There's much more that I have to say but I'm finding the words hard to form, so I'll just say this; Welcome to the world, Payten. You are loved.

~Love Auntie B

Payten Janet Ann, 7lbs 1 oz, August 18, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fire & VBS

The smell of smoke is thick in the air today. The fire that started on Wednesday night is far from contained and today the smoke has been blown inland, creating a haze in the air in our town. This picture is from Thursday night, the small blip in the sky is actually one of the helicopters that has dumping water on the blaze...the next picture is from today, looking in the same direction. It's just a haze of smoke.I keep trying to get a picture of the many helicopters and planes that have been flying over our house and either miss them or don't have a camera when they are flying overhead. Praying hard for all the firefighters on land and in the air working to get the fire out.

This has been Vacation Bible School week. We had a shack and a dock in the sanctuary. It was very cool. Train Guy and Adventure Boy were kind enough to pose for a picture...Grandma Ruby this is especially for you!
Train Guy was the one who got to go to Vacation Bible School this year. He was very intent on the music and was very, very upset one afternoon when his group missed the singing at the end of the day. He made me proud when he volunteered to pray for the group one day saying "Dear God, help us to have a good day today and for good snacks. Thank you Lord, Amen." He's a keeper!

On Thursday we were supposed to have a fire truck come and hose down the kids. Seeing as how they were otherwise occupied we made do with a sprinkler. At one point the smoke started billowing up the hill making for a dramatic picture.After I took the picture I turned around and spotted these two sisters, each on their own side of the parking lot.They look pretty comfy don't they? Love them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My garage

Every so often, when I come home at night, I will meet up with a critter in the garage. There have been snakes (my least favorite), birds, possums and other scurrying things. One night I inadvertently locked a trio of raccoons in the garage, leaving the mama raccoon outside the garage. That was exciting. Tonight I closed the overhead garage door and was heading out the other side when I noticed something flying around. I stood for a moment wondering if I was just seeing a really big mosquito eater or if it really was a was a bat. I stood there for a moment watching the bat fly around and around trying to find it's way out. I finally ventured back into the garage and opened the overhead door and the bat took off.

I felt a little bit like that bat yesterday, trapped in a place that I really didn't want to be, with a way out close by but I couldn't get to the door. The way out was blocked by circumstances, finances and more. I was trapped in the garage, a place that is fine to hang out in once in a while (and is a perfectly great place to have a party if you clean it up a bit) but not a place that is great to live in for a long haul without a major make-over. I've been "living" in the garage for a few years and I really, really want out. Only for me, that garage is middle school ministry. It's time to get out. There are steps being taken to make that happen, but in the meantime I'm thinking there needs to be a lot of prayers said.

For a moment today, I wondered if my garage was actually youth ministry in general. Tonight confirmed that it's not. Hanging out with College Students, chillin' with High School youth, it all felt right. Yep, the garage really is middle school for me. I'm praying that someone opens the door and lets me out soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Musically speaking

NOTE: This started off as a rant and God turned it into something more constructive. Thanks, God.

I am a music person. I like to listen to music, I like to play music, I like to sing. It runs in the family. Yo Momma and G.G. are very musically talented as well. And Lil Bro has been known to hum a tune or two as well.

Lately, the music that I listen to has been limited. My in-dash CD player has eaten CD's and refuses to A.) play them or B.) spit them back out. Which leaves me with the radio or I-pod. The I-pod FM adapter has issues. If I hit any bumps on the road it cuts the power out, which cuts the I-pod off. Our roads are bumpy, thus, I tend to not use the I-pod very much which leaves the radio. In all the driving I've been doing the last month I've come to one definite conclusion about the choice of music on the stinks.

Yesterday, as the youth and I were traveling back home from SF, we switched between two radio stations and realized that we were hearing the same songs over and over and over again. I know, it's nothing new, it's been like this for ages, but it just bugged me anew. Why can't there be more variety? I love the radio stations that are playing "oldies" (aka 80's music. It's not that old and no comments about being in denial, people.) but they only play those songs for an hour and then it's back to the same 15 songs. Really? There are only 15 songs worth playing? I don't believe it.

It gets even worse because I refuse to listen to some songs on the radio, so then I'm switching stations all the time and really hearing those same 15 songs again and again and again. Radio is not my friend right now.

That is where this rant was originally gonna end. But then God reminded me of music that is good. Music that I love. If I could make my own radio station, I would play songs by this guy. This is Jared. He's 17. He has written, recorded, produced and distributed 4 CD's, the latest being this one:
It's available on I-Tunes, and on his website...all for free. My absolute favorite song on the CD is God Speak. Give it a listen! Jared is amazing and is a blessing to those of us who know him. God has seriously blessed him with a heart for songwriting and worship leading. One of these days I'm gonna say "I knew him when...". Way to go J-Rad!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


To unbloggable person,

I listened. I didn't want to, but I listened. I tried to ignore your words. I tried to focus on something else. I texted a friend, I thought about tomorrow but still, I listened. I heard the words you were saying. I heard the condemnation. I saw the verbal finger wagging. I know what you were attempting to communicate. And I reacted. I felt the indignation rise up in my throat like bile that just has to erupt. I reacted. My teeth and jaw clenched tightly. My hands curled into fists. I reacted. My heart felt like it hardened, I saw the crap meter in my head register high.

Because I know the truth. I know the truth. The verbal finger that was wagging at me had four more pointing directly at you. Trying to remove the plank from my eye, you completely missed the TREE in yours. I know the truth and I'm so stinkin' tired of listening to the words that fall from your lips with such ease. Words that you don't really mean, words that barely hold back contempt for any that don't follow exactly what you say to do. I'm tired of listening to lies veiled as truth because I know the truth.

I may have a plank that needs to be worked on, but I can still see around it. The veil was lifted from my eyes a long, long time ago. The masquerade has long been over. I listened but I wonder, were you listening to yourself?