Monday, March 28, 2011


There are a few commercials out there right now that cause me to yell at the TV.  Gain and their "gooder" and Jello with the parents who terrorize their children come to mind immediately.  Incorrect English and awful parents, quite the combo.  I know, I know, I could just turn off the TV.  I don't.  Stop judging me.

There is one commercial that is old but still makes me giggle every time.  At staff meeting last week we had a discussion about Cadbury eggs and I stated that I loved the commercial where the animals are "trying out" to be the spokesperson.  No one on staff had seen the commercial, so I found it (thank you YouTube!) and emailed it out.  So far Pastor E. likes the lion or maybe the cat.   Children's Director A. shares my affection for the cat and Choir Director J. has yet to respond.

Here's the commercial...what say you?  And while you are at it, how do you feel about said Cadbury eggs?  Fabulous Office Admin and I say a hearty "Yes!" (which resulted in a fantastic surprise on our inbox's the next day).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Called and compelled

One week from tonight, in the middle of the night, I will be in Galveston, Texas with a team of 19 people.  We'll be starting a week of rebuilding efforts in response to 2008's Hurricane Ike.  Tonight, as Yo Momma, Papa Bear and I sat and talked about the trip it occurred to me that on April 2, 2006 in the middle of the night I was driving into the town of Pearlington, Mississippi to do Hurricane Katrina recovery work.  So much has happened in those 5 years, things expected and unexpected.  I am the same and yet not the same person that drove into that town with a sense of calling, purpose and Holy Spirit compelling. 

A couple of weeks ago part of a sermon I gave was on following the compelling of the Holy Spirit.  As I've grown in faith I've come to recognize when the Holy Spirit is pushing me into something, challenging me and I've come to recognize how I squelch that compelling Spirit, ignore it, deny it.  I challenged the congregation to ask themselves why they do they act out of the compelling force of the Holy Spirit or because they are expected to do something or because they have been doing the task for so long it just has become something that they do, not something they enjoy or are inspired to do.  After the first service someone asked me if I felt the same compelling to Texas that I did to Mississippi.  My quick answer was no.  But I do feel compelled to support and encourage the youth in my care and so I go to Texas.

I've thought about that more, though, and my answer has changed.  I am compelled to help people, to love others, to bring hope to others lives, wherever that may take me.  If it's Texas, so be it.  It's a new challenge, a new opportunity to be stretched and to grow...but just so we are clear the people of Pearlington have first dibs on my heart, which is why I get home from Texas on the 9th and go to Pearlington on the 14th.  The call, the compelling of the Holy Spirit is still strong and so I go.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let's talk about the weather

It's been a blustery, windy, rainy day here.  The rain poured out of the sky in abundance.  It's been raining pretty steadily all whole week and doesn't look to be stopping until sometime on Saturday...just in time to cancel the Golf Tournament, again.  Sigh.

Anyway, this week the ground has given way in a few places leaving some friends standing on one side of a mudslide with their house on the other side.  Usually, these slides are removed quickly but this one keeps shifting and moving and the rain keeps coming down so there's been little process in clearing the mud away.  The families on this particular road are adapting.

Today's storm caused our local emergency dispatch workers to earn their pay.  There's a couple of websites that someone just as curious as me (ahem**Meg**) pointed me to and I kept their feeds open on my browser pretty much all morning.  I listened to call after call come in of wires down, roadways flooded and watched outside my office window as the rain poured on.  I counted 11 different "wire's down" incidents in one sitting.  Trees were falling all over the place.  At one point a call went out for the local fire station, to which they responded, "we have no one to send out, everyone's busy, get someone else."  Kinda made me laugh.  (It was a false alarm, literally, BTW.)  A friend came by for about a half hour, just to talk, and while he was there a tree cracked and groaned outside...our eyes immediately swung to the window, watching and waiting for a tree to fall...nothing.  The power kept flickering and I knew that today was not going to be the day to get much done.  So I went to coffee with K and watched the rain come down from the warmth of the coffee shop and enjoyed an hour or so of conversation with a friend.  It was good.

There are many who are done with the rain, who want it to stop, who are ready for Spring and so on and so forth.  Not me.  I missed winter this year.  Granted, I live on the coast in CA, we don't get winter like the East Coast or Mid West but I missed our winter.  The two or three dry, balmy weeks in January were wrong, wrong, wrong.  The weather we are having right now, that's January winter.  The last couple of years our weather patterns have been all off.  Summer was cooler than fall, winter warmer than spring, something has shifted and it makes me wonder...what's next?  Is it going to be blazing hot summer?  Time will tell...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Those boys and the dark

The power went out at church tonight.  I was there, not for the Middle School Youth Group that was happening, but for the Vacation Bible School meeting.  It went out about 10 minutes after 7.  Forty minutes into youth group.  5 minutes after the power went out I got a text message..."power out at church, should I have the kids call their parents?" 

I've led youth group in the dark before.  Sometimes the lights stay off the whole time, sometimes they go on and off, sometimes it's only 10 minutes.  Seeing as how youth group, tonight, was almost halfway through and parents would be coming to church soon anyway, I left my meeting to find the propane lanterns and flashlights and to encourage the youth leaders to improvise.  And improvise they did.  I left as parents were picking up their kids (Hey, I'm not in charge on Tuesday nights!  YES!!) and the lights were still out.  But the youth leaders were their with flashlights in hand helping kids and parents get connected.  We have a great youth staff!

I was searching for the flashlights that have mysteriously disappeared (time to stock up again), I heard the sound of those boys.  You know the ones.  The brave boys.  The ones that are macho, have got it all together, to whom nothing is scary.  Those boys were the ones speaking in extra loud voices as they walked in the darkened hallways.  Those boys were a wee bit scared.  As I crawled into the dark and spider speckled storage space in search of the camping lantern (which was on top of the refrigerator, right where I had left it for emergencies such as these) I giggled to myself.  It's nice to know that beneath the rough exterior, those boys still are boys a little afraid of the dark. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For the six that I know***

They say that it's insulting.
They say that they won't sign the paper.
They say that too many people stand accused falsely.
They say that it will never happen here.
They say that we shouldn't judge.
They say...
They say...

I say six.
Six people.
Six innocent people.
Six people unable to defend themselves.
Six people who weren't lying...who aren't lying
Six people that I know.
Six people.

There are more.
The more remain silent.
To protect themselves,
from those that say
it doesn't happen.

To those that say...
I have news.
It happens.
It's happened.
It's true.
I have a question...
What's more insulting
signing a paper that says it happens,
we will believe,
we will do our best to protect
or not believing the ones who were innocent,
who are not lying 
who were forever changed,

by something they didn't want
and couldn't stop?

I find that insulting.
The six would find that insulting...
and possibly feel assaulted...again.

***and for the ones that I don't know of, who have remain silent, who haven't yet shared.  I believe you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The dress

For the last few years there have been three--wait make that four--"bridesmaid" dresses in my isn't really a bridesmaid dress but was worn at a wedding.  Three were actually worn in a wedding.  One was bought and then the wedding was canceled. 

The three that were worn were pretty.  One I didn't think I would like and wound up really liking.  If there was another occasion to wear it, I has to be the right circumstances though.  The one that wasn't worn I liked.  I liked a lot.  It had a good shape, was a good color and with a little editing (those flowers) it would have been perfect.  It cost a good bit of money, so I've had a hard time letting it go.  At one point I thought maybe I would sell them on ebay or craigslist but I just didn't get there.

A month or so ago, I read in the local paper that a local cleaners was collecting used prom dresses.  They would clean them and then allow girls in the community who couldn't afford to purchase a new dress to come in and choose a prom dress.  I thought about those dresses in my closet...especially the one never worn and decided it was time.

The dress hung close to the door waiting to be taken away.  A friend came over, saw it and oohed and aahed over it...I knew it needed to go to a new home.  A week ago, I drove down to the cleaners.  I pulled up in front of the shop and retrieved the dress from my trunk.  As I walked in the door, the lady behind the counter looked up and literally dropped everything, ran around the counter saying "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" and gave me a big hug as she accepted the dress.  "It's beautiful" she exclaimed.

Somewhere, this prom season, some young lady, who doesn't fit the conventional idea of beautiful, will be stunning in a brand new dress...and I think that's good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Did I tell you...

That I'm heading to Texas?  Galveston, to be more precise.  The youth group I lead is joining a friends youth group and we will be helping with the ongoing rebuilding work.  After 10 trips to Mississippi, it's going to be interesting to travel someplace different and do the same kind of work I've done in Mississippi.

Have I also told you that 5 days after I get back from Texas I'm going to Mississippi again?  Just for a long weekend and not with a church group.  Just a couple of friends and Yo Momma.  Ben asked if we would be willing to come help out with the Yellow House.  Everything fell together within a week.  I like how things just happen.  When it all falls into place, I believe it's meant to be!

Now, here's a little plea.  If you are in the area Sunday and want to help out with the Texas trip, there will be a BBQ at High Street Community Church at 5pm.  The cost is $8 per person for the dinner.  There  will also be a raffle, so bring some extra cash for raffle tickets.  (Raffle items are ALWAYS appreciated as well.)  My friend, Todd, whose youth group we are joining for the Texas trip, is in a particular state of stress because not only is he taking a group to Texas but he's going to Mexico with another group two weeks schedules around here do not line up for Easter break this the more people who show up and the more funds raised for the causes, the less stress Todd will be going through.

If you can't make it, prayers for the team would be greatly appreciated!  I'll post more about trip at a later date.  Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Praying and watching

It is always a shock to wake up to news of overnight disasters, to see footage of disaster being played out across the ocean.  Living in California, I'm familiar with earthquakes but 8.9 seems unimaginable.  The fact that Japan has had aftershocks as large as the "big" earthquake we experienced in my neck of the woods 21 years (7.1) brings back many memories of fear and a desperate prayers for the ground would just stop shaking.  I'm praying for the people in Japan that have found their lives upended today.

The news was full of Tsunami warnings here, which always brings to mind the Tsunami of 2006 in Indonesia.  Our waves didn't look that much different from normal waves but there were those couple of instances when the water receded farther than normal.  The video below is a time-lapse video of a local beach.  As I watched the news this morning, one of the surfers in the water just started walking back to shore...from a place that he shouldn't have been able to touch the ground.  It was enough to get me running to the next room to show Papa Bear the images on TV.  Nature is awe-inspiring...and fierce.  (Sorry for the commercial before the video)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

At youth group after Ash Wednesday service...

As we are "partaking" of the left over communion bread Jon boy starts dipping the bread into a cup of salsa that one of the youth group members had...I can't figure out to get the little accent over the "u" so this may not translate well, but Jon-boy then declared that Jesus was as a little spicy.  :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I'm preaching on Sunday. Every so often, I get the chance to stand up in front of the "big church" and speak my heart...well, with editorials...the youth and young adults don't always get the editorials...okay, the youth kids get a lot more editorials than the young adults. Anyway.

I'm preaching on Sunday. I'm excited about it because I'm going to use the following clip or at least I'll be talking about the following clip in my sermon.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

In memory...

Growing up in my family, there were a few things that were a given. One was that we would spend a lot of time in Lake Tahoe, another was that we would travel to Iowa. At the time, some of the travels were not as fun as they could have been. I clearly remember driving for what seemed like days in the back of the Chevy truck (with a camper shell) across the beautiful landscape of...Nevada. I won't ever forget the lightening storms in Wyoming nor will I forget the fireflies that one night camping in Iowa.

The reason for going to Iowa was always to meet up with relatives. Papa Bear's side of the family came from Iowa. Cousin Jean and family (Grandpa O's niece) live in Davenport. Aunt Iva Jean and family (Grandma O's sister) in Burlington. Every trip we spent time each side of the family. They all hold a special place in my heart for the memories and for the people that they are.

Over the years time has taken it's toll. Grandma O was the first of the family to pass away. She died in her sleep the night after celebrating her and Grandpa O's 50th wedding anniversary. Aunt Iva Jean and her husband were staying at our house. I will never forget hearing hushed voices telling Iva Jean that her sister had passed away and the mournful wail of grief that followed.

It was strange visiting Aunt Iva Jean after that. She reminded me so much of my grandmother but yet she wasn't. They worried the same, their voices had the same quality, their skin has the same feel, their hair always done just so, they looked similar being sisters and all. Aunt Iva Jean and Grandma O had the same laugh, though Aunt Iva Jean used her laugh more. Aunt Iva Jean was a little more demonstrative too. Every time we left, I knew that she wished we would stay longer. Both of them weren't the easiest women to get to know yet I know that both women loved their families with every fiber of their being...and they loved each other.

A couple of years ago, when Papa Bear and I traveled to Iowa together, we surprised Aunt Iva Jean and showed up on her doorstep...the same house I had been to time and time again as a child. She was expecting Yo Momma but when she saw Papa Bear and I her exclamations of surprise and delight were there, if carefully tamed. Her eyes lit up and she pulled us both in for good hugs. Her husband had died, the house and Aunt Iva Jean had changed some but she was still the woman I remembered, slightly reserved yet fun, fretting over little things but willing to sit down and visit, wanting us to be around longer.

Thursday Aunt Iva Jean passed away. I have no idea what heaven is like but I know she is there. If we get to meet up with those who have gone before, then she's catching up with Grandma and Grandpa O, her husband Bob and the many who have gotten to heaven ahead of her. If there is a kitchen in heaven, I wouldn't be surprised to find Aunt Iva Jean and Grandma O there, cooking and baking for the people they love...I'm pretty sure that's the picture that I will have in my mind for a long time to come.

Farewell, Aunt Iva Jean. Thanks for the many memories...and love.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not the hairstyle I desire

For the past week I've been getting up extra early and taking my middle-school age cousins to school. Their Mom had to go out of town for family stuff and their Dad leaves for work early. G.G. picks them up from school, but I got the morning shift. Which is fine. I can change my routine and help out. I'm not complaining.

I've done surprisingly well with the change. I am not a morning person, but I've faked it and felt pretty productive the days that I went straight to work after dropping the girls off. That was, until this morning. I think it had to do with waking up at 4:45am to a consistent, irritating, unidentifiable sound outside...or was it inside? Didn't matter, I was awake off and on until 6:25 when the alarm I had forgotten to turn off, sounded. Then I "slept" in 15 minute increments until 7:22 when I pulled myself out of bed. Couldn't put it off any longer. That's when I saw it.

I don't know how it happens, I know that I could never replicate it if I tried. There on the top of my head was this hair. Wild, crazy, just woke up bed hair. My bangs were standing straight up from my head...but not quite straight cuz they did this little wavy thing at the top. I looked like a rooster. No joke. Brushing my hair only made it worse, it then fanned out a little and got bushy. How does this happen??!!

About a minute later the rooster look was replaced with the wet dog look followed by the put together Brittany look. I like that one much also won't scare people in the school drop off zone quite as much. I'm so tired that maybe I won't move much during the night. Hopefully the rooster won't reappear in the morning...but I promised Papa Bear not to crow if it does.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is Papa Bear's birthday. I won't give away his age.

There are many things that I could tell you about him. Despite knowing him all my life, there are many things that I'm still learning about him. He's strong and quiet, with a wicked, dry sense of humor. He looks a little gruff, but just watch him with Little Miss P and you will see that there is a big softy underneath the exterior. He's super political (just a warning) and getting more vocal as the years go on. Papa Bear feels things deeply, has a heart of gold and is the best person to have watching your back. He's a pretty cool guy...and I'm not saying that just cause he's my Dad.

Happy Birthday Papa Bear! You are loved...and if we were in Iowa, I would take you out for ice cream. =)