tuesday night

last week for softball we played a team that reminded me of a clip from "the sandlot" when the old rag-tag sandlot team played this decked out, uniformed up team that rode in on bikes, and were very intimidating. we started the game and they were annoying me so much with all the technicalities...finally i called the team together and told them i REALLY wanted to beat them. tonight we played the other team from our church, which was super fun because there are a bunch of teens from the youth group on it. we had been talking it up between us for a while now, and so i called the team together and told them i didn't just want to win...we NEEDED to win. when it was all said and done...the teens have nothing to talk about anymore...

just watched casting crowns new video for the song "slow fade" - very challenging message and a great reminder to me that the best way to shipwreck my life is to just take a few small steps in the wrong direction. humbling...

shanna and i learned the other day that one of our professors from bbc suddenly passed away last sunday - colin smith was a great man - he not only taught us hebrew, but he taught us how to love it. he also had a rare gift of having a brain the size of a planet and yet talking with you like any other person and explain complex things in very easy to understand terms. we feel privileged to have benefited from his life.

have been spending lots of time thinking about missions trips as we prepare for a trip in 2009 and re-read an incredibly profound article from cri. very thought provoking and insightful...


so, you had a bad day...

Today was a good day for me... it didn't start out that way! Definitely not! I woke up, checked my email and puttered on the computer for awhile. Facebook is awesome and at the same time, can be a major negative for my contentment levels - especially when I see many of my college friends posting pics of their children or just plain enjoying their children. There is a crazy ache inside of me that starts throbbing and logically - I know that God has a plan, I know that we are blessed in ways others aren't, I know all (okay - not ALL, but a lot!) of the logical, practical (even theological) aspects of why I should be content and feel totally blessed - but instead, I find myself feeling dejected and miserable and wanting what I don't have. Add to that a few other issues that have left me stressed and we've got the perfect recipe for Disaster Day!

However - it didn't stay that way! Honestly! My mom called... and I just spent some time venting and crying. Then, Cory's mom called and we had a really good talk - Thanks, Moms! Then, tonight - I went to a Multimedia Team meeting/training. At the risk of sounding arrogant, its nice to be good at something! I'm not perfect or an expert - but it feels good to be doing something I enjoy. And it feels good to be contributing and "in the know."

After the meeting, I just visited with the Saluzzos for about 15 minutes. Mere has always made me feel as if I have something to offer - from the first time I met her. :) She's has this incredible talent at making me feel like inlcuded and wanted. Pretty cool. It was nice to visit with their family for a little while.

What is a bad day or a good day - other than our attitudes, right? I mean - really crappy things could happen, but if our attitude was optimistic and positive, it wouldn't seem so bad. On the other hand, wonderful things could happen and a pessimistic attitude ruins the day. I guess that is why JOY is a choice and not simply a feeling. If only I could make that truth real in my every day life.


youth group

had a great night at youth group tonight. our highest attendance yet, new leaders in checking it out, lots of energy and good atmosphere, tons of needs present in the room, gave away a whoopie cushion to a junior higher and he let it off during the message...it was a good night.

one of the cool things lately has been to see our responsibilities start to shift from just administrative to more "life" issues - helping families pace through the deep waters we all swim in from time to time. sometimes we just don't have much to say...and i'm trying to learn that that's ok...


cell phone funeral ?

so we're at darien lake the other day - just shanna and I on our day off...second ride of the day and something goes terribly wrong. it's the mind eraser - the coaster where you're feet get to dangle over water and lots of soggy grass. started the coaster with my cell phone firmly secured in a side pocket...or so I thought. i even made sure the phone was wedged between my leg and the seat. but then, i got into it. arms waving, legs flailing. oh yeah. and when the ride was done, the phone was gone!

we spent hours looking for it, calling it, listening to the rings...then voicemail. we filed a report. then at the end of the day we called it again and it went straight to voicemail. we could finally put to rest the wondering and hoping...it was dead, very dead. probably laid to rest in the bottom of the lake.

later that night i'm left thinking...
- 10 years ago this wouldn't have been a big deal
- i've been spoiled with that thing and i really want it back
- it's amazing how much MORE cell phones are used now (voice conversations is just one of MANY uses)
- it's just a piece of metal (there are more valuable things that could have fallen off)
- luke 15 means a whole lot more to me now as i'm reminded how intensely God searches for us
- what a stupid rollercoaster...


healthy competition???

After this week, I've discovered an extreme competitiveness between Alaina and Cory in regards to MONOPOLY! We played TWO games during Alaina's stay! Neither of them were very pretty! The first night we started playing and finally postponed the game at midnight... Cory had to take pictures of the board from every angle and record the number of bills, properties, etc. he possesed. We resumed the game the next day... Alaina and I joined forces against Cory. However, he likes to be "nice" and make deals - which in turn drags the game on endlessly and makes everyone miserable! Finally, we forfeited. As a result - yes, CORY WON! Thankfully, the monopoly game has been put away - hopefully for a good long while!


random stuff

well here it is on saturday evening. shanna's sister alaina has been visiting this week and right now the two of them are watching some chick flick that's absolutely boring me to death...something about a king of england and two sisters...and a whole lot of depressing orchestral music. all i can say...thank goodness for jack bauer and 24...
some random happenings and thoughts from this week:
1) stole an idea from a friend (i would link to his blog here, but he's yet to get with the times) and used it at youth group on thursday night - we asked the teens which race is more important - obama vs. mccain or kobe vs. garnett...no doubt the nba finals came out on top of that poll. personally, i would rather stay up all night listening to political analysts talk about the electoral college than watch 7 games of pro basketball...but i'm trying...
2) had to put gas in the car this morning before the day's events, and tragically ended up spending shanna's entire shoe budget for the rest of the year.
3) discovered that a really good way to break in a new bible is to accidentally leave it out in the pouring rain...then just hang it on a clothesline to dry...a few hours later and the new, crisp feeling is gone.
4) shanna and i have successfully gone over 3 years on only one car...and are quickly finding that those days will need to come to an end soon. but...i'm a little nervous because i'm not the best at keeping one up! currently our a/c is busted, the horn has been out of commission for a while now, and i guess i have a brake light out (so the guy behind me tells me). maybe i'll do a lesson on the value of service to our senior highers...
5) overwhelmed with the urgency of the times that we live in - even in the new testament you find people expecting christ's return during their lifetime...and yet i have to believe we're a tad bit closer today. today there are hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, wildfires, floods, terrorist attacks, wars, famines, and rampant disease...all in the same news cast. i don't want to be wasting my time, and i have been getting so fed up with all the little petty discussions and arguments that we christians seem to constantly find ourselves in...when our window of opportunity may be closing more rapidly than we realize...


the bucket list

just finished watching the bucket list - we wanted to see it when it was out in the theatres but just missed it at the tail end. great movie and very thought provoking to ponder what i would do if i knew i only had _____ to live. lakeshore did a whole series on this concept around Easter and it opened up lots of great discussion for our people...but i guess it didn't faze me fully until i watched the movie. when asked whether or not they would want to know the date of their death, 96% of people say no. i'd probably be in the majority on that one...but i'm left here hoping that my life wouldn't be lived any different than if i was in the 4% category...

my last post had a couple errors in it now that i look at it. the video can be found here, along with the rest of the message...this time WITH sound.


10 JUNE 2008

When we went to Pittsburgh for Grant's grad party, Mom & I went to Elmer's and walked away with tons of flowers. I planted a bunch for our balcony... I love flowers. Last night we were in Auburn and drove past our Liberty Street house. My flowers are all coming up and looking beautiful. The lady that owns the house now has made it look so good. I'm glad. I can't wait to own a home again and create beauty from dirt and seeds (or little green starters).


a supporting role?

i get bored with routine very easily, and so as i seek to spend time with God, i try to keep it different and fresh each time. somedays i just spend time reading, somedays it's more about communication and prayer, sometimes it's in the morning, sometimes in the middle of the day, sometimes by the lake in silence and solitude, sometimes it's on the way to work as i drive (aka windshield time), somedays it doesn't happen at all...

today i decided to go into the office early and shut my door behind me. i went on to youtube and found a video that intrigued me from the beginning and so i started watching. amazing! below is part 1 of 6 - the rest can be found on youtube when the video title is searched. i was left with the lingering question...am i really willing to trade a starring role in the tiny story of me for a [supporting] role in the infinitely large story of God? very profound question that i haven't been able to shake all day...


long weekend

had a great weekend out at houghton college. i love heights and the 'free-falling' feeling and i love seeing students push themselves further than they thought they could. it was fantastic! a couple things i have to say though... i don't like bugs and i really really really appreciate air conditioning and whoever invented it ought to get a raise this year...

some thoughts running through my head this evening...

1) VERY excited about the excitement generated around the youth group's summer student leadership teams - opportunities for the students at lcc to get involved in ministry and leading their peers! there's few things in life better than seeing teenagers serve and lead!

2) struggling to keep parents informed...but not too informed...but informed...it's a balancing act and something we're always trying to improve on. do you blog announcements, send out emails, snail mail, convince parents it's not important, pay a senior higher to do it for you...?

3) been looking at and impressed with a website design company called clover. i've got to get the youth group's website back up at some point, but i'm taking my time until we find just the right one that's clean, simple, easy to navigate, and yet fun, interactive, and modern.

4) kung fu panda is looking like a hilarious movie and it's on our 'to see' list

What a Weekend!

We went to Houghton College's Ropes Course this past weekend.

I'm climbing a really thin tree - felt like a million feet in the air, probably only about 60/70 feet. My goal was about half-way up, once I got past that it wasn't as hard.

I attempted the "Dangling Duo" or "Jacob's Ladder" with Mikey (after climbing the tree).

This picture is of the "ladder". The 2 ropes in front were our lines attached to us and the belayers. I stood up on the bottom rung in the picture (which was the 2nd rung) but couldn't make it up and over that middle rung. The rungs were probably about 5'5" apart between the 2nd and third rung, so I had to hang on over my head... (After that they got further apart!) My muscles were shaking and we were using each other to push off of with our feet... I have a bunch of bruises! I love war-wounds! :)


Friday night we walked down into a field and looked at the stars. We found one of the Dippers and saw some shooting stars - did you know that when we see a shooting star - its actually burnt out several days before we see it? I learned that from the teens this weekend.

Staring at tens of thousands of twinkling stars... Listening to the low croaking bull-frogs and the soothing tree frogs... Feeling the scratchy grass and pesky bugs... Enjoying the company of crazy teens... God reminded me of His HUGENESS! To be so big and strong and powerful to create all of that and yet, love me consistently and faithfully... When I'm in the midst of "the daily grind" I lose sight of this truth. Instead - life's crappiness & my own failures cloud my view.

I'm thankful we got away. I'm thankful we know the kids better. I'm thankful for pushing past my fears. I'm thankful for the way God works beyond my understanding... even when it hurts.


We went down fighting...

The Penguins played hard, but we still lost. Oh, man. What a bummer. It was a little anti-climactic after Monday's game. Pretty cool we made it to the Stanley Cup Finals!

We went to Wendy's tonight. Just a quick trip to get 2 Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers, Mayo & Lettuce only. Well - they messed up our order and gave us a chicken wrap & fries. When I got inside, there was a line of people with messed up orders too. I wasn't upset - I think it would be pretty stressful to work at a fastfood place during the dinner hour. However, the lady before me was a different story! She was pretty steamed. I mentioned feeling badly for the workers and in response received a nasty look... Then 2 of the workers began talking with the disgruntled lady. One of the workers mentioned the girl in-charge of the drive-through wasn't so "bright". They were all agreeing, etc.

Oh! I was so stinking ANGRY at them. Let's not only blame somebody else, let's say derogatory things about her in the process! RRRRGGGGG!!!! How would you have responded to these people? Maybe I was chicken, but I just grabbed my correct order (and the chicken wrap & fries) and left. I've thought of a million things to say to those people to "put them in their place" since coming home - but that obviously doesn't help me.

Sigh. I hate sin!



so it's tuesday night and we're both about ready to crash. as i type this out i'm realizing how difficult it is to keep up with this whole 'blogging' thing. wow we stink at it. oh well...some random thoughts from us lately:
- it feels way better to win than to lose - we got smoked last week in a softball game against a team from gates wesleyan, and so tonight, when we got to play them again, i told the team i wanted revenge. we walked away from the game winning 31-15. it felt so good.
- praising God for lcc - we love it so much and are convinced this is where God wants us. great people...compelling mission...passionate enthusiasm...and tons of support. love it!
- attended a prayer meeting with a few other believers from the area at athena middle school earlier this morning and there's something really cool and special about praying with others that you've never met. it's also a bit awkward to be honest, especially when your stomach lets everyone in the room know you should've eaten breakfast.
- sat through a super interesting staff meeting today as we discussed some of the results from the reveal survey lcc did earlier in the year. amazing. i was taking notes left and right and am sure more discussions will follow.
- just watched this clip from louie giglio.