I Want...

Happy Birthday!!!

to Dad & Mark!
I'm sorry - I didn't even get Dad in a picture. :( But - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (I'm eating the rest of the peanut butter pie right now! I'm not sure how it made it this long but that won't be a problem for long!!!)


Eagles Fans... No Need to Ask!


some people should not be allowed out of their home...seriously.


welcome to the planet

it's a great day because it's a thursday...a day that we get to "breathe life" into teenagers! i'm so excited and pumped for tonight - it's probably our biggest thursday night of the fall as we kick off our new series "welcome to the planet". throughout the next 6 weeks, we're gonna try to help the students struggle and squirm with the question of why we're here on the earth, and tonight i'm just gonna do a basic overview of the series and challenge the students to come back for the rest.

but one of the things that's at times brutal, frustrating, messy, daunting, and awkward about preaching...no matter what the topic...is that i have to live it, sniff it, breathe it, and let it go through all of me before i can present it. this has been one of those weeks where the truth that i'm preaching tonight has hit me pretty hard as it's riveted through the different parts of my life. god exists, and he's really there. sometimes the simplest of truths have the deepest impact. he's there and for some reason, he's intensely interested in the mundane details of my life. the everyday boring stuff that nobody else cares about is like riding the superman at darien lake to him. two questions that are bouncing around my brain this afternoon...how do people do life without owning this understanding, and how did i get it when so many others have not?


tuesday night randomness

it's a quiet fall night, and many thoughts are roaming through my head tonight as i eat a late night pizza. i was gonna make shanna some chicken noodle soup, but she fell asleep before i got the chance (she's got a bit of a cold to contend with). some random stuff from the past few days:
- we're REALLY looking forward to vacation in a couple weeks. it'll be nice to step away and regroup for a few days. on the ministry side of things, one of the things i love about vacation is handing over to others stuff that i normally do, and in the process finding people who can do it better.
- we started up student leadership teams again for the fall last sunday night. as we're starting the meeting with everybody, and as i call them all into a circle, one of our adult leaders sits on a whoopie cushion that was conveniently placed there by the middle school boy sitting next to her. nice... i hope she comes back.
- that same kid is on the music team and as soon as we let out, he grabbed the infamous whoopie cushion and tried to see if he could tune it with a guitar tuner...
- got back a little while ago from our 2nd meeting with our "adult" small group and had a great time! our leader started out by asking what superpower we would have if we could have any, and what we'd call ourselves. i want the superpower of just looking at someone and they're totally on board with what i'm thinking/feeling...no convincing or debating needed.
- as a staff we've been reading carly fiorina's Tough Choices and picking apart the leadership lessons throughout the book. it's been great and very insightful, but i'm very behind on my reading and i need to have the book finished by tomorrow morning.
- i have a meeting setup tomorrow to discuss the possibility of launching 'life hurts god heals' - a program for hurting students. i'm SO excited about this because so often when a teen is in crisis in our ministry, they get the best we can give them, but i find myself dreading those calls because i know there's only so much we can do. i think this program will give us an infrastructure where we can begin to 'pray' for those calls to come in and open our arms wider.


All in a Sunday,,,

We got up bright & early again today! (Which by next week will be sleeping-in because I'll be getting up significantly earlier when I start working... but more on that later.) Anyways - so off to church we went to team-teach Revolution. We were expecting tons of kids because of the bajillions of fliers we've been handing out so when we only had 4 students in the 9:00 service, we were a little surprised! But, it was a lot of fun and our number grew a little so we had enough kids to make 2 teams. We talked about Noah's Ark today, made boats out of straws, balloons, and other sundry items, and attempted to sink said boats. :) Cory is sooo good! He equated our sinful state to a garlic-lovin'-smellin' boy named Joe that loved a girl that was deathly allergic to garlic... (So, the illustration breaks down A LOT - but thankfully, the kids really understood - pretty awesome.) I got the opportunity to talk with some of our girls afterwards about some pretty deep questions. I love working with teens and sharing Jesus with them!

Cory had a few SLT (student leadership team) meetings squeezed in between and after services. Whew! We finally got into the car and went to chow down on some pizza roll I made last night... only to discover that it wasn't baked all the way through, so the dough was really gross! YUCK! This was after I threw away an entire loaf of buffalo chicken pizza roll because we accidently left it on the counter all night! I almost cried when I threw it away. I soooo wanted a big, fat greasy slice of pizza roll... sigh.

We both took quick naps at home and then off to my job interview! I've been in the process of applying for substitute teaching positions, but then saw an ad for a baby-sitting job. Cor and I both visited with the family and I'm really excited! I start on Tuesday at 7:30AM!!! Maybe I can convince Cory to start running with me in the AM before we get ready for work. :) lol.

We're at SLTs now. The band is practicing and sound pretty good! We have 2 drummers, 2 singers, 1 bass player, 2/3 guitar players, and one trombone player. lol. They sound really good!

Another Sunday (almost) over! :)




Last night I met a friend at Panera. It was so good. She shared her story... I shared some of mine. We laughed a lot and cried a little. God is good for bringing me this friend.

Today we got up early (because 7:30AM is EARLY on a Saturday!) and went to the mall for a business expo. Our church had a table there and we handed out a bajillion fliers for our "Creature from another Planet" series that starts tomorrow. It is a series on Parenting and the church has either mailed or handed out tens of thousands of these awesome fliers. Whew! Definitely not my thing... but still good. Cor and I got to visit with our Senior Pastor's wife, Sue. Pastor Vince and Sue are great. We've been incredibly blessed to have 2 amazing senior pastors so far in ministry. Which for a youth pastor... sometimes that is a major fear going into ministry!

Anyways... we're having friends over for dinner tonight. It should be a fun and relaxing evening. But, I'm supposed to be making dinner (pizza rolls and buffalo chicken pizza rolls and potato soup - I'm not even sure if that combo works together, but too late to turn back now... especially since there isn't much more than that in my cuboards!). So, I better stop procrastinating...


"Let not our longing slay
the appetite of our living"
~ Jim Elliot~


my new favorite song

from the inside out - we sang this on saturday at synergy. there's one part of the song that is especially convicting to me as it touches on a theme throughout the pages of scripture that have yet to be embraced by me...



I'm tired. This past week has been an emotional one for me... and I'm just tired - from the inside out. Sunday always feels like the end of the week for me, rather than the beginning. A lot of what we do during the week is gearing up and preparing for Sunday.

So - today rolled around and I taught Revolution this morning. We storyboarded Jonah and then discussed it a little. The kids were engaged! Cory and I were really excited and Cory prompty asked me to take next week too. :) After Revolution - we headed straight into our Lead Team meeting. I was there for ISM and for the Multimedia Team. Meredith saved me a seat and told her husband and mine that they had to sit at the guys' table. lol. After that - Cor and I came home in order to prep for Community Groups tonight.

Cory's group (of middle school guys) was here at our apartment. I was a little nervous, especially when Cory started lighting candles! Yes - you read that correctly! Candles and middle school boys! Thankfull, by the time I got home - I couldn't even smell... oops, I mean TELL they had been here.

Heather and I are leading a senior high girls group at one of our girl's house. They have a beautiful house and are so great for opening their home to us. But, its a little hard for me - its not my stomping ground. As a result - I have to work to focus on my girls and stay confident in my role. We're going to study James and I'm pretty excited about it. We've done this material before and I'm interested to see how I've grown since the last time.

This past Saturday was Synergy at church. Its a prayer event that occurs three/four times a year at Lakeshore. Every time i heard about it previously I broke out in a cold sweat! Honestly! I'm not much of a prayer warrior, especially in the last few years. I want to be - I desperately want to be - but I suck at praying for extended period of times... especially in public. The thought of standing in a circle, holding hands with somebody I don't know, and trying to concentrate for an hour and a half made me want to puke.

(as a side-note Synergy was good. It wasn't an hour and a half of the aforementioned prayer circle... as a matter of fact, I didn't hold anyone's hand! And we worshipped through song, personal reflection and prayer, and a short time of corporate, small group prayer... definitely no puke-inducing moments!)

Most of the time when I'm in a prayer circle of adults... I'm spending the time before I pray thinking about what I'll pray so that it won't expose some horrible failure in my spiritual life. And I want to say just the right thing, so that people see I am spiritually mature... Which in turn makes me feel guilty and shows just how spiritually IMMATURE I am. UGH!

I want to pray -passionately and powerfully. I want to be at the point where it doesn't matter who or what around. I want to pray so that it is just me and Him. I want my relationship with Him to be intimate and consumming. But, I fall so short so often. I know where I want to be... I've even been there before... I wish I could just get myself out of the way and focus wholly on Him.

All this has been rolling around in my head... along with all the job/pride/discouragement crud... and the infertility reality slamming into me again this week... and don't forget the daily grind... and all of this leaves me... tired.


just push play

listened to louie giglio's message "song of the redeemed" this morning - his 2nd message in the soundtrack series. VERY challenging to me...



i learned this morning that i'm not thankful enough for the book of psalms. today it seems especially encouraging and reminds me how deep and wide His Word takes me when i allow it.

You are my refuge…so I will run to you for protection.
You are my strength…so I will give to you my weakness.
You are my rock and fortress…so I will let you lead and guide me.
You declare your glory from the skies…so I will declare it from my life.
You are my deliverer…so I will not be afraid.
You are my shield…so I will hide behind you.
You are my stronghold…so I will hide in you.
You are my support…so I will rest and relax in you.


dodgeball league?

so i came across an ad today from hotshots - a facility in rochester that has a ton of beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, etc. it caught my eye because last spring we took a group of students from lakeshore there for a sunday afternoon and had a blast. anyways, they are starting up a dodgeball league...and i was thinking...how cool would it be to join that?!?!? we used to play dodgeball every wednesday night with the middle schoolers at 2nd, and i always felt a little guilty flinging the ball at an 11 year old girl (but i had to...i couldn't resist). how amazing to be able to compete with people my own age!

then i got thinking about 'the creature from another planet' - a new series on parenting that we're doing at lakeshore this fall. (every fall and spring the church puts on a dynamic series aimed to meet the needs of people outside the church, pulling tons of resources into it, creative stage design, thousands and thousands of mailers sent out, etc.). we've got about 15 flyers sitting in our apartment...and it's been really troubling because we don't know anyone to give them to. we plan to give them to the 3 couples in our side of the building...but 2 of the 3 are old...er...and the other i don't think even has kids. add to that a an extremely profound conversation i had with a friend a few months ago on a changing trend within our culture - evidenced within the fact that "our neighbor" may no longer actually be literally the ones we live next to as much as those we regularly hang out with socially (at the YMCA, at work, at the MOPS groups, etc.).
we don't work out at the Y, shanna isn't part of MOPS yet, and the people that i work with are...christians...and they already go to my church...
hmmm...a dodgeball league is sounding more and more interesting all the time! i'm not sure i'd even be able to get on a team, or if a team would even be desperate enough to take a guy they've never met. it'd be another night out, and do i really have time...i mean after all, we're leading small groups and ministry teams on sunday nights, we'll be joining an adult small group on another night, we have youth group every thursday night, and we try to have people over at least one night a week. am i too busy...or is that just an excuse? don't know...but i'm thinking about it...

"Shocking Sarah"

I'm so frustrated with all the hype around Sarah Palin! Or rather the lack of focus on her and the excessive focus on her pregnant 17 yo daughter. Just a reminder - we have public schools handing out birth-control pills to our girls and condoms to our guys. Bristol is 17 - she is making her own choices and living with those consequences. Every last one of us is living with the consequences of our 17 yo choices. Think about it... As a senior in high school - we're all trying our wings, learning to be our own person. So, she made a stupid choice and got "caught."

Let's talk about all the teen-agers making the choice to have pre-marital sex! According to The Guttmacher Institute, 75% of people in the US have sex before they turn 20 yo. While just under 33% of teen girls become pregnant. We all know that statistics can be twisted and say whatever you want! So, as a youth leader... as a pastor's wife... as someone that went through high school in the late 90's... as someone that interacts regularly with todays teens... THEY ARE HAVING SEX!

Bristol's sex life has been opened wide to the world - because she became pregnant. So - for all those people out there freaking out about Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter - get off your high horse! If you didn't have premarital sex, your kids probably have! And if they didn't - your grandkids probably will!

Or maybe all this isn't about premarital sex... maybe its that Sarah didn't force her daughter to have an abortion in order to "hide their shame." Frankly, there are so many parents/children dealing with this issue right now - that if anyone could empathize - it is Sarah Palin.

I'm so fired up right now! Let me try to calm down a little and clarify a few things. I believe pre-marital sex is wrong. But, I also believe that WE ALL make sinful, stupid choices that land us in a heap of crappy consequences. I believe that Sarah Palin and her family have taken the high road, by supporting their daughter. I believe they have taken the high road by being tranparent and honest with the American people. And frankly - that is what I want in office! Someone who is transparent and honest!

Time will tell if this transparency-trend continues... I'm praying it does.