Thursday, September 30, 2010

Survey in the news

In the days of headlines that are meant to shock and outrage people, I shook my head and sighed heavily when I read the headline "Christian's Don't Know Much About Religion." I just wanted to head the other direction and ignore the headline.

But today I took some time to do a little digging around on this survey and I was surprised. The way the headline's read, I thought that meant that the whole survey was on Christianity and that Christian's didn't know the basic principles of their own faith. That's not what the survey is completely about, though. Yes, there are questions on there that Christians should know, absolutely. But the word religion, used in this context, isn't just Christianity. The survey asked questions about Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Mormonism as also asked who the Vice President of the U.S. was and 41 out of 100 people didn't know the answer but that didn't get highlighted in the news reports...sigh.

As I read the survey and the results it struck me that unless we are specifically interested in learning more about the faith beliefs of others, we would be ignorant of the answers to some of the questions. I only know the name of the Hindu Deity's or when Mormonism was founded because I've done a study on religions with the youth group. I'll admit, sometimes I'm just not curious enough to ask the questions about other religions. When I do ask questions, though, the more I understand what compels people to believe one thing or another.

One of the other big parts of this headline was that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than Christians. Of course agnostic and atheists would know more than the average Christian. In order to not believe in something, it makes sense that some research has been done to figure out why others believe. As Christians many times we aren't willing to look at other religions and figure out what they are about. It's not even tolerance that I'm talking about, it's simply being curious about why other's believe what they believe.

So the headline's are partly right. But the issue isn't as cut and dried as the headlines make it. Now, I'm going to look up who Maimondes is so that I get that answer right!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Last February my phone rang, “Brittany, this is Teresa at KSBW, can you give me a call?” That one phone call impacted my life in an extraordinary way. I quickly found myself on the receiving end of a Jefferson Award ( for the work that I’ve done, with the help of some amazing people, in Pearlington, Mississippi. It was while in Mississippi last March that I found out that I was heading to Washington DC to take part in the National Jefferson Awards. What a whirlwind!

At the National Jefferson Awards, I gave a one minute speech on the work we’d done in Pearlington. After the speech, a young woman approached me. This young woman had grown up in Pearlington and had evacuated with her family to Memphis as Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. Meeting someone from Pearlington, a town of 1700-2000 before the storm, at a dinner of 500 people astounded me. It was humbling, to say the least, to look into the eyes of a teenager and hear her say “Thank you for helping my town.” In that moment the power and mystery of God overwhelmed me.

This December I am going back to Pearlington, one last time. There are not enough words to express the impact serving in Pearlington has made on my life. I know that none of it would have been possible without God’s compelling force and my family and friends who have supported me for NINE trips! I am truly grateful for the support and care that y’all have shown over the last four and half years.

I humbly ask again for that support and care. This trip will cost approximately $750 per person, which is the amount I need to raise before getting on the plane on December 16th. If you are able to help, even just a few dollars, I would appreciate it. Checks can be sent payable to “FPC Youth” to FPC, ATTN: Mississippi Team, 6090 Highway 9, Felton, CA 95018 or you can make a donation through PayPal on our blog Please make sure to note that you are sponsoring me! All donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be mailed to you.

If you aren’t able to financially support me, would you be willing to support me through prayer? We know from experience, that prayer is even more important than finances on these trips.

Thank you, in advance, for your support and for your prayers. I know that I’ve asked a lot over the last four years and a half years and I don’t take your support lightly. Thank you for helping me, help the people of Pearlington.

In Christ,


Sunday, September 26, 2010

In the news

When I was going into high school, I went to camp with a friend. The camp took us to some caverns nearby and we went exploring. I'd been in caves before but never like this. We had jumpsuits, headlamps and we were crawling through the cave. At one point I was overwhelmed with the feeling of not being able to get back out. I can still feel the panic coursing through my body.

Today is September 26th. On August 22nd thirty-three miners in Chile were trapped in a copper and gold mine. The news article I read today said that it will likely take until November for the miners to all be rescued. NOVEMBER!!! I can't imagine what those miners are going through.

Praying today that the rescue work will go quickly and smoothly and that the miners and their families will be reunited sooner than November!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Five: Music in life and worship

It's been awhile since I've joined in the fun!

Marybeth over at RevGalBlogPals says: Music is a part of the human experience, and part of religious traditions the world over. It is evocative and stirring, and many forms of worship are incomplete without it.

Our title comes from a quote popularly attributed to St. Augustine: "He who sings prays twice." A little Googling, however, indicates that Augustine didn't say exactly that. In fact, what he said just doesn't fit well onto a t-shirt. So we'll stick with what we have.

"Singing reduces stress and increases healthy breathing and emotional expression. Singing taps into a deep, age-old power available to all of us. When we find our voice, we find ourselves. Today, sing like you mean it." And let's talk about the role music plays in your life and worship.

1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?)
I sing all the time. In the car, in the shower, in worship, in the store, when I wake up, when I'm going to sleep. Music is constantly running through my head...I woke up several times this last week singing the theme songs to the rides I'd been on the day before (In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki's a small world after all...yo ho, yo ho a pirates life for me...sorry if they get stuck in your head too!). Listening to others sings makes me happy as well!

2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience.
Music has always been a part of my worship experience. Over the years God has spoken to me more and more through the words in songs, helping to connect the emotional part of my soul with words.

3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall?
It depends on the moment. Because I connect to God a lot through music, I think that I would miss that element in a worship gathering but I've been able to worship God without it as well. Music enhances how I worship God.

4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things!
I prefer music that I connect with. I don't connect with the sound of an organ. That doesn't mean that I don't love hymns! I tend to connect with the sound of a band, (guitars, keyboards/piano, bass, drums). I love the sound of voices singing in harmony in praise of God. If that's to hymns or praise songs, it's fine. I currently lead the worship team at my church, which consists of a band. We aren't the most happening thing ever but our goal isn't to be on the cutting edge, just to point people to God. That is what is important in worship to me.

5) What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points!
It's a go-to one who knows me will be surprised by this...Amy Grant. She didn't write this song, but she sings it well! I would embed the video, but youtube won't let me. :(

Monday, September 20, 2010


I love beignets. I love them. Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans is just about my favorite place. Making beignets at home, they just don't turn out the same. So when I heard that the place I'm at had beignets, nothing was going to stop me from getting them!

Right now, this particular place has gingerbread beignets. I really don't care, as long as they are good. Yo Momma put our order in and waited. Out they came. They came with two dipping sauces, one is an eggnog cream and the other raspberry. The beignets were good, not like Cafe Du Monde, but they were good. I didn't notice any gingerbread flavor though.

As we were paying for our lunch and beignets, the waitress took our check and went to get change. She came back and said "There was a change in your bill. You didn't get the gingerbread beignets, so I had them take the charge off." What is that? These were the regular ones? We just got an order of beignets for free? Won't find me complaining! In fact, I'll be back tomorrow to try the gingerbread ones out! :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Road trip!

Yo Momma and I are on Road Trips this week. Road Trip #1 took us for Cousin V's baby shower. Auntie R joined in that adventure. It was a good time with a lot of laughs. That was a quick adventure, though cuz I had to be back home for church this morning. As of 10:30am this morning I am officially on vacation and I'm spending that time somewhere that I love. Getting to the somewhere that I love, though, required some driving. So we hoped in the magical gas-lesser car and braved the road.

I am here to tell you that people lose their brains when they get behind the wheel of a car. I do not jest. Something switches off and people just go out of their minds! We drove a very long straight road for a very long time. There are many trucks that travel along said road. The many trucks meant that the people who wanted to turn said road into the CA version of the Autobahn were slowed down many a time, especially when said road is only has two lanes in each direction. There were many who figured that if the left lane was slow and the right lane appeared free then they should drive there. Which they did only to cut off people in the left lane when the right lane slowed down. Some people figured that if they were close enough to the bumper of the car in front of them, that car would then go faster even if there were cars in front of that one preventing that from happening!

There were the vehicles towing things that were DEFINITELY not going the 55mph limit. One was driving so fast that the wind was tossing the trailer back and forth. I thought for sure that the trailer was just going to tip right over. I haven't ever pulled a trailer, but I have had a car full of teenagers playing football in the car (oh the stories) and I know how hard it was to drive with them moving all over the place. I'm sure it's pretty comparable.

There were the occasional road boulders or turtle drivers, those people who insist on going 5-10mph under the speed limit and drive in the passing lane and won't pull over no matter what because there are trucks in the other lane that they might come upon at any moment and heaven forbid they move!

My personal favorites, though, were the people who would ride the bumper of the magical gas-lesser car until Yo Momma or I pulled it into the slower lane (which we drove in most of the time) only to then take FOREVER to pass. Grrrrrr.....

In all fairness, I like to drive faster than I should but driving on trips like these remind me that my brain needs to be engaged, that courtesy on the road is not such a bad thing and that driving the speed limit (or a wee bit above) is usually a good idea.

Luckily the car is parked in a lovely space at a lovely hotel and it will not have to be moved unless we want to move it for the next few days. We'll be on foot or bus...and I'll tell you all about it as the week goes by!

In the meantime, this movie from 1950 is very much apropos for today.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Power of words

I've never been one to speak an over-abundance of words. Being a shy person, small talk is extremely painful, so I tend to be silent, which tends to be taken as being a snob, when the exact opposite is usually true. I like people (mostly) and am pretty easy to get along with, it's just hard to talk to people that I don't know. Sometimes it's hard to talk to people I do know.

Words have power. I've been on the receiving end of a many a painful word. That whole sticks and stones and words thing isn't as true as we would like to tell kids. Words can hurt. I tend to err on the side of extreme caution and try not to use words that will harm others. Some I know say it's silly, that they would prefer to just tell things straight out, people be darned. I can't do that. I pick and choose my words carefully (as the delete button on my computer will tell you). It's a safeguard for my feelings, really. If I choose not to say words that might strike others as wrong, I then won't be rejected and hurt by the other person. All of that means that there are a lot of words that run through my head all the time. Most of the time the words stay hidden in my head. Never to see the light of day.

There are moments, though, when I let the words come out. I still edit and try to tread carefully but sometimes the words just come out. It's like there's a balloon in my throat that expands with every word I swallow until it just can't hold anymore and it pops, letting the words that have been trapped inside come flowing out in a gush. When the person on the receiving end of the words is receptive, I am reassured that expressing the words that I keep trapped inside can be a good thing. However when the other person rejects those words, they essentially reject me and the message is sent "words are dangerous, keep silent."

Lately that balloon has popped a number of times. A few times the words have landed on safe places but far too often the words have been rejected thus I am rejected...messed up, I know, that's why I'm writing it out. Some of the words, I'm not sorry for saying, they needed to be said though I'm sad that they were rejected. Some of the words I just wish I could take back and let live in my head again. I remain convinced that words have a deep, deep power to hurt not just the receiver but the one who gives voice to the words.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A lemon tree

Last July I asked Lil Bro, while he was here, to help me move my lemon tree. I've had the lemon tree for several years. A couple of summers ago it exploded with lemons. I had lemons the size of softballs, which wound up being a lot of rind and little lemon, but that was okay. I had fresh lemons.

The lemon tree has been in a place where it's protected from the winter frost but over the last year it's barely blossomed at all. It was a little too protected. Branches had started growing through the deer netting that covered the top and most of the sides but not the bottom, which was noticeable because the bottom branches were stripped bare of leaves. It wasn't quite protected enough.

So it was moved to a better place, where there is more direct sun and room to branch out, instead of up like it's been doing. I bought new deer fencing and poles and surrounded the lemon tree. I watered it well and then walked away. I noticed that there were a couple of lemons forming on the tree but that was about all.

A week ago, as I was watering the lemon tree, I noticed that there were a lot of blossoms on the tree. The bottom branches, bare of leaves, now exploded with blossoms. It was like that all over. A bee was buzzing it's way through, landing on blossom after blossom. The top of the tree wasn't straining toward the sun anymore, it was relaxing in the warmth of the sun's rays. The branches are already growing and pushing at the deer fencing...gonna have to take care of that soon. Tonight, I noticed the beginning of 8 or 9 new lemons with many, many more blossoms still to open.

With a one little move and some extra attention my lemon tree, that I was pretty sure was dying, has had a resurgence of life. It occurs to me, that my faith life is much the same. There are times when I am full of bloom, full of vitality and life. Times when all is going well and much fruit is being produced. Then there are times when all productivity ceases. When I'm straining, reaching for any glimpse of the Son that I can get, when my faith gets stripped bare and death is imminent. It's in those places that I forget that I can move. That I NEED to move. That to survive, I need a change of scenery, that I need to ask someone to help me move into the Son again...and then I need to relax in the warmth of the ray's of the Son and allow the healing and growth to begin again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Train Guy comes and hangs out on Wednesdays. The bus drops him off after his morning of kindergarten in the church parking lot. It's a quick walk up the stairs for me to pick him up. We're still working into a routine, seeing as how this is only week three. Yesterday it was lunch at my desk and a Veggie Tales movie before Snack Time started.

Snack Time is our mid-week kid's program and Train Guy is loving it. They play games, do crafts, sing, listen to Bible Stories and more. I think the thing that Train Guy loves most is the playing. In fact I know it is. After Snack Time was over and I picked him up and told him it was time to go meet his parents at their office. "But I don't want to go to the office!" he said. "I want to play!" The need to play was so intense that he brokered a deal for two more minutes and raced back to the playground. It's good.

But my favorite moment of having Train Guy yesterday was as we were pulling out of the parking lot. It was kind of overcast and chilly yet Train Guy said, "I want the roof down." And so we drove down the road in the convertible with the roof down. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce you to a convertible convert, 5 year old Train Guy. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fresh perspective

After spending four days with teenagers, whom I love to pieces and wouldn't trade for anything, I have a two thoughts:

#1--I am so glad I am not a teenager anymore.
#2--Yo Momma and Papa Bear, I am sorry.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beneath the surface

Beneath the surface they bubble and percolate.
They stew and stir until there is no holding back
And it explodes...

Into a flurry of voice raising, pitch raising, eye raising

These words pour out onto shoulders
That hold them and listen
That carry the burden
That understand and empathize
That relate.

Beneath the surface the bubbling slows,
Percolating stops.
The stewing and stirring lessen
The explosion has ceased...for now.