Monday, March 31, 2014


Hello from OKC!

It's tough to blog without a full keyboard, but I had the overwhelming need to get my thoughts out on "paper" here goes.

Today was our first full day of work.  The group was split into 5 teams and I was put in charge of one team.  I chose the work I knew I could handle, Sheetrock, which is hysterical in one sense because I have struggled nightly with Sheetrock over the life of these trips. Many a swear word has been uttered.

Anyhow, my team was at Eddie's house finishing up one missing, taping, sanding and patching.  Let me just say, it was a struggle. The students were excellent. They were helpful, eager, excite and ready...and none of them knew a thing about what we were doing.
About halfway through the day, after teaching mudding techniques, "scrape off the excess into the tray like this to get a clean line", showing how to fill holes and sand down excess, I faced the holes in the ceiling. I knew enough to fake it...and asked for help when I didn't but mostly I stood back, gave instruction and let the students go for it.  It was a challenging day. At the end of the day, as we put one last piece of drywall in, the heard myself say to the young woman who was struggling with the screw,"Keep going,but will suck in," and I knew that I had one person to thank for the knowledge I had used all day was the same man whose words had just flown from my friend Ben.  Those 10 trips to Mississippi where Ben taught, encouraged, led, forced me to try and instilled his knowledge in my soul had just come to fruition.  Today I passed on Ben's legacy to 2 young men and 2 young women...and it was good.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Leaving on a jet plane...

Good Saturday morning.  Today begins my 16th adventure in Disaster Recovery in 8 years.  I'm so excited!

Our team of 48--33 High School Students and 15 adults--will be in Moore, Oklahoma all week doing whatever God has planned for us.  I'm ready to be back in my boots, jeans and t-shirt, gloves at the ready and wide open adventure ahead.

I don't know if there will be wi-fi access where we are, so blogging will probably not happen (plus, I'm just taking my Kindle and it takes a LONG time to write a blog post on a Kindle.  I do so much better with traditional computer keyboards.).
However, Youth Pastor Friend will be posting to the youth group Facebook page as much as possible.  You can find photo's here:  Even if you aren't on Facebook (I keep thinking I'm it's time to close my page...tired of the fake lives on there) you will still be able to see photo's of the day and any updates.

So, if you are of the praying time, please pray for the team!  For safety, sleep, good conversations, good work and financial support to keep rolling in!  I'll catch ya on the flip side!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Holy Conversations

A couple Saturday's ago I met with a friend for coffee.  It's a regular occurrence, usually at the same place and the conversation takes whatever path it needs.  I look forward to these coffee times, simply because I leave feeling loved and centered again.  Most times there are three or four of us who meet together.  We sit outside and watch the crazy drivers and near miss accidents.  We talk, we laugh, we commiserate, we share life together and it is good.

Last Friday, I will met with a different friend, at a different coffee shop for an entirely different conversation.  Our political and theological viewpoints are on much the same level.  I will left that conversation feeling, again, loved and centered but also like I am not alone in my view of what it means to be a Christ follower in this world.

On Monday evenings for a few months at a time, I gather with a group of friends around a television for a couple of hours, as we watch people make fools of themselves.  Those two hours are filled with snarky comments, yummy snacks, times of checking in with each other and a lot of laughter.  Most Mondays, the majority of the group leaves one by one until there are just a few of us left and we break into serious conversations about life.  I leave those conversations feeling, loved, accepted and understood...and centered.

Are you seeing the theme?

With each person, each group, each conversation there is an element of faith, a discussion of belief and at some point a revelation.  Sometimes they are major revelations, sometimes they are minor.  Saturday's coffee conversation reoriented my outlook on my career at the this moment in time.  Monday evenings conversations reminded me of the good of being known by others. Friday's conversation brought much needed laughter and understanding to my weary soul. Each revelation comes through a conversation.  A holy conversation.  I am grateful for those who speak and those who listen.  I am grateful for the conversations.  I am grateful for the revelations.  I am grateful for the people with whom I meet and the love, acceptance, centered, life confirming, hope that comes through these holy conversations.

I pray, this week, that you may have a holy conversation, where God shows up even if you don't recognize God's presence until much, much later.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teenagers, life events and disaster relief

Working with teenagers keeps me grounded.

Last week I wore one of my favorite shirts ever to youth group.  It's a grey, long sleeve t-shirt and simply says "Pearlington, Mississippi" on the front.  The back has the names of people who helped our team go to Mississippi that time for Hurricane Katrina Relief work.  I don't even remember what year or which number of the 12 trips it was.

One of young women looked at my t-shirt and asked "Where's Pearlington, Mississippi?"

I told her where it was and why I had been there and she looked at me with a puzzled look on her face and said "When was Hurricane Katrina?"

"2005," I replied.

"Oh, yeah, I was 5," was her response.

One of the other leaders looked at me and said with a touch of incredulity in his voice, "She was a year old when September 11th happened."  We both took a moment to ponder that.

Time marches steadily on.  There isn't anything I can do to stop the steady movement. There are days when I look at the number I am supposed to claim as my age and wonder how those years passed so quickly. I don't FEEL like the number I'm supposed to claim as my age.  Do you know how OLD that number seemed when I was a teenager?!

Time marches on and world and life events happen.  There are events, such as September 11th or Hurricane Katrina that will forever be etched in my brain.  Those events changed my world outlook.  They changed ME...and many of the students that I work with these days weren't even old enough to understand. They will have their own BIG life and world changing moments. It's just the way the world works.

Time marches on.  This April it will be 8 years since I first set foot in the town of Pearlington, Mississippi.  It's been over a year since I was last there.  I hope to get back there again.  This time for vacation, not Hurricane relief work.  But if something happens and the call comes again, I'll go in a heartbeat!

In 3 days I will board a plane with some of my teenager friends (33 of them to be exact) and head to Moore, Oklahoma.  Time does march on, life does change and teenagers really do keep me grounded...and in case you were wondering, I am taking my favorite long sleeve t-shirt with me.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A change of view

It's interesting how my views have changed as I have gotten older.  I view the world through much different lenses than when I was a teenager, some 20 years ago.  At one point in time I would have been nodding my head along with the "one language" purists who are up in arms about the Coca Cola commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.  That was then, this is now.

Now I work in an office building where there are multiple languages spoken in offices surrounding me.  At any one point during the day I hear French, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Tagalog and so many more languages I can't even begin to figure them out.  There are the loud, obnoxious white people too...and the British couple down the hall who are usually quiet but have recently been arguing, causing me no end of amusement.  Wait, that didn't come out right.  I'm not amused they are arguing, just at the sound of the clipped British accents...I can't hear the conversation.  In my 2014 worldview, THIS IS the sound of America.

Watching the Coca Cola commercial I honestly didn't get it at first...I can be a little naive...and then, gradually I got it, I understood the point.  Cool.  I'm not going to go out and buy more Coca Cola but it was a cool ad.  Then I saw the backlash.  Really?

First off, it's not the national anthem, a white opera singer sang that (someone who actually hit the notes in that ridiculously challenging song). 

Secondly, THIS IS the sound of America.  Americans are multi-ethnic and multi-lingual.  It's actually kind of cool, in my humble opinion.

Change is tough, it's threatening.  Change requires us to examine the ideals and things we hold as truths.  Change means we have to look at ourselves and realize that we don't have it all figured out or all together.  We tend to fear change and yet it happens all the time; many times without us noticing anything...kind of like my worldview.

The United States isn't a country made up of white people who speak English...American English.  The United States is a country made up of different races, religions, languages, orientations and so much more.  That Coca-Cola commercial looked and sounded a lot like the United States I live in.  And that America is Beautiful.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I found this list in the office awhile back.  It came from a very talented, amazing group of High School students.  I found it to be a great reminder of what it means to be a leader.  I typed things out just as they were written.

  • Influence not authority
  • Positive attitude
  • Open minded
  • Taking initiative
  • Selfless
  • Dependence
  • Outspoken
  • Altruistic
  • Supportive
  • Confidence
  • Reliability
  • Respect
  • Generous
  • Network
  • Cooperation
  • Social Action
  • Courage
  • Delegation
  • Lead by example
  • Peace
  • Connection
  • Be your word 
  • Teamwork
  • Optimism
  • Communication
It's a great list with a few items that challenge me and some that come very naturally.

As I look at the list, I would add

  • Sense of humor
  • Grace
  • Tact
  • Be a listener first
  • Be thankful
What would you add to the list?