thanksgiving fun

i love how fun and easy jibjab.com is. just created the video below to start off our services this Sunday.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

quick & random

the day before thanksgiving...and still no snow :) so nice.
a few quick and random updates from us...

- shan & i will be hitting the road late this afternoon and joining the hundreds of other people in similar pursuit as we head to meet up with family in pittsburgh. we're super excited to get away and see everyone.

- getting really excited for christmas and our christmas series in ISM. yesterday God was really working on my heart with it and i feel pretty confident on a little tweak to it and minor change in direction. should be exciting, and praying that God really uses it to impact not just our students but others around the world.

- last sunday was our first sunday of ISM services for all students 6th-12th grade. between the two services our numbers were double what we normally had on a good thursday night. it was so exciting to start getting to know so many that are always here every week "hidden" in the crowd.

- just picked up this book at ollies last night in hopes that it'll help prep me for flower city work camp this year. the theme is quite exciting, and one of the goals of the week is to help the students see that their life is incredibly significant...incredibly small in light of the much grander story of God...but incredibly significant when we can find our place in that larger story. so far it's been a super interesting read and just plain fun!

- there's a little debate in our home right now as to what kind of christmas tree to get next week (fake and boring vs. real & fragrant). one thing i know for sure: we won't be cutting it down ourselves!


National Adoption Day

Today is National Adoption Day.

I have a lot more to say about adoption and our adoption specifically, but for some reason I haven't been able to blog about it. I'm not sure why, but the words won't come when I sit down to type. Perhaps too many emotions... and the sobbing, hiccuping, booger running emotion just isn't too pleasant, but a little too familiar lately.

So, I'll leave you with 2 things:

I'm working on several fund-raising options to help us along in our adoption. The first one is a 2010 calendar with some of my photographs from the past year. The second is a longaberger basket giveaway. Stay tuned! Info coming soon! :)

And lastly - Look into adoption yourself as Nia Valdaros shares. There are almost 130 thousand children that need a forever family. Could you be that family?


youth pastor retreat

just returned from the 2 critical days that i look forward to every year now... the youth pastor LEAD retreat from our church's district. a generous family opens up their summer home on Lake Chautauqua to us for a time to retreat from life and ministry and reconnect with others with the same calling and passion. last year's was so beneficial and refreshing, and this year's was absolutely the same (even better without the snow!). there's something special about getting together in an amazing setting like this, sharing what's happening (good, bad, and ugly) and finding common encouragement from all.

this year i was challenged with how out of balance life has been lately. part of me wants to say it's been unavoidable due to the opening of the new building and the season of transition our ministry is in... part of me says it's inexcuseable... but after a retreat like this another part of me realizes that at this point it really doesn't matter. just get back on balance.

i can hear messages on balance (and i have), and i can read books on it (and i have), but there's something about seeing others WITH balance and living it out that speaks into my life more than a message or a book, and it's powerful. i watched other guys just as busy as me manage their big families and their ministries with balance and passion...refusing to please people and be held hostage by that monster. it was so refreshing.

thanks to tom for the pics.


new building progress

been overwhelmingly busy in life and ministry lately, but an exciting time nonetheless. below are some pictures of the progress on the new building. these were taken a few weeks ago, so it's actually further along right now than it may appear. we are so blessed to have this building taking shape...can't wait to move in!

this is the view from the existing building as you walk towards the hallway to the youth rooms and multipurpose room / gym.

this is the multipurpose room / gym... SOOOOO excited to throw a dodgeball in here and shoot some hoops with the students.

this is the space that will be our new youth room. ping pong tables, pool table, foosball, cafe bar, tables, and stools, couches, video games... can you see it all?


New Photo Shoot...

PS - click on the pic to see the blog
Vote on the sidebar for a new name for my photography/design blog.