Friday, October 28, 2005

vacation with the kids

i left for vacation yesterday and drove the 8 hours it takes to get to western ny. it did seem like it's been that long since i've seen the kids but they had all grown soo much i couldn't believe it. i was grateful that they let me sleep in why they got ready for school. i'm going to make my rounds on monday to 3 different classes and go to each of their school parties for halloween.

i'm also very sad about news that we got this morning about my grandma. she had small heart attack earlier this week (they found a blood clot in the main artery of her heart) but it was all brought on by the mass they found in her lung. just this morning we found out that she does indeed have lung cancer and that it is bad (she is in stage 4). in about an hour or so they are going do surgery to drain the fluid from her lung and then to repair the hole in her from the drainage tube. we all realize it is a matter of time and the question is how will that time be spent...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

a dinner full of laughs

thursday night was the crazy madness sale that pushes all of the store staff to their limits and we love it. and, pittsburgh was exactly what we thought it would be a slower trickle until critical concerns got out and then we had the rush we were waiting for. so after a very long night mindi, jeannie O, lilly, and i decided to have sushi for dinner.

now for me i've just recently met lilly, not spent a lot of time with jeannie (although i always love being with her) and mindi is very much my partner in crime so i knew this would be a great dinner with amazing women that i could learn more about. well it really was that and so much more. we laughed so hard and it really was fun to just be a girl and share that with these other amazing women who love jesus.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

nywc #2 pittsburgh

i made it in yesterday morning after 2 very quick flights from gr to detroit and then detroit to pittsburgh. it isn't even 10 pm and i'm already back in my room (which is a record during convention)and feeling really great about the staff of volunteers and how the store looks right now. it felt really tight in sacramento so things as simple as more room has done wonders.

when i left sacramento i really felt like how could the staff of volunteers possibly live up to the staff in sac, but this team is amazing. i had hoped that wouldn't compare and i don't think that will be a problem. i have made contacts already with the volunteers that i will be working specifically with and i'm thrilled with the folks mindi and glenn are giving me. the thing about all of these volunteers that has blown me away is that a great majority of them travel to one of the three cities to volunteer and go to another just to attend with their staffs. i could be wrong but i that that alone is what makes this convention stand out against other youth ministry conventions.

the convention and store officially open tomorrow and we will again have our madness sale. i pray for our attendees, for our volunteers, for all of our speakers, and for the ys staff in general. each person here is working their tales off, not getting enough sleep, and still in love with serving.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

be careful of what you ask for

this past spring i drove down to chicago and attended one of the ys core events and marko was the speaker. it is always a great time to hear marko teach but after this half day seminar i walked away and wanted to be a junior high boys youth leader. but since i'm a women that probably wouldn't work. now, i've had this thought since then but it was nothing i imagined would ever really happen.

that was until tonight. you see i was out shopping with one of my cousins tonight and then went to her house where 4 boys between 11-12 were and we decided to take them to the haunt (at great haunted house). for any of you who are junior high leaders (thank you)and no i don't think that what i did tonight can even compare, but man did i learn that god laughs at the things we ask for.

we stood outside for almost 2 hours waiting to get in and then found some friends (and yes we cut in the line only after 3 of the original 4 boys decided they really didn't want to go through the haunted house). and, even though we lost 3 of our boys we picked up another 4 (that we cut with) and they went through the maze with us. what i did learn is that boys scream just like girls, they really do like to pass a lot of gas in crowded areas and then blame each other, and i should stop asking god to make me a junior high boys leader.

i never thought i would say this...

i'm in michigan and love it. i finally made it home last night around 8:30 and it was cold and dark, but i was home.

for the last five years i've struggled with living here and even more so in the last two years since my parents moved struggled with not having a home. i don't know if it is b/c i'm single, b/c i don't have kids, or what but i have felt homeless but with a home. i've struggled with finding a church home and being empty. i've said time and time again how silent god was in my life. but, i was wrong.

it wasn't until i went on a spiritual retreat a few weeks ago that i realized that god wasn't silent in my life but was in the silence that i didn't let in my life and he was waiting. i was going to move out of my house this weekend to a different apartment and realized that i couldn't. i realized that this is my home or at least for today it is. god told me in that silence that "he is here, to stop fighting the church, to love the community that he has put me in, and that i have a home, a family, and that i'm loved".

it all came together last night on the plane when i watched a sunset from thousands of miles in the sky, with clouds all around me, with silence in my life. but, more than anything i knew when i finally made it home (and yes this is home) that people were going to be there waiting for me and were excited to have me back. people that prayed for me while i was gone, prayed for me to return saftely, but most importantly have been here in my life the entire time. i think like god my friends and family waited for me to be silent and just let them love me.

thank you...

Friday, October 07, 2005

my luck sucks...

so i really had thought about flying standby earlier today since i'm so ready to get home. but, the convention was going great so i stayed as late as possible. i left for the airport it took me just over an hour (which is great timing considering the traffic and rain). then i couldn't get checked in quickly, didn't think i would get through security (seriously i should know by now not to wear metal and that the tsa likes to search me) instead i wore metal like a mad woman. finally made it to my gate and had less than a half an hour before boarding.


they came across the overhead and said my flight was going to be delayed. they were a bit vague and said it could be an hour or two late. normally this wouldn't frustrate me soo much but for the love of god why can't i just get on a plane and go home?


Thursday, October 06, 2005

catalyst is great but i get to go home tomorrow

well day one of catalyst is under our belts and we managed to giveaway over 5,000 tniv pocket bibles to the convention attendees. never in our wildest dreams did we think that we would be able to give them all away but if the right product you just never know. i heard comments like "is that the gender neutral bible, don't you have another color, or even i just want the niv" so you never know when someone just won't appreciate a gift. but, more than anything i heard "thank you soo much you have no idea what this gift means to me..."

i did have a great surprise waiting for me when i got to this hotel yesterday from aletha and megan. while i always have fun when i'm on the road and doing conventions i still miss home, work, and of course my friends. so, megan and aletha i'll see you both on monday and thanks so much for making my day yesterday.

one of the highlights of today was seeing soo many people from my home church New Covenant Free Methodist Church the part that was so great for me was not just seeing them but knowing what a role they played in my life. steve and tammy were there and i realized again had it not been for them taking time to love me when i was 15 i might not be the person i am today. and then seeing pastor dale and knowing that he was the person that baptized me and also played a huge role in my life was very real.

but, what i'm most excited about is that i get to go home tomorrow. as much as i love traveling, collecting frequent flyer miles, and sleeping on someone else's bed it will be great to get home and just breathe.

oh yes and if you have never heard donald miller or read any of his books i totally recommend it. i heard him today and was stunned by his realness.

Monday, October 03, 2005

the convention is almost over

today is monday and everyone is buzzing around waiting for the last general session to start. it has been a good convention (long) but good. i've heard so many stories from youth workers across the country this week that have been encouraging, saddening, and very real. my prayer for all of the attendees has been that they would leave hopeful, have something they didn't have before they got here, shared a bit of themselves with their peers, and most of all have been served by ys and all of their volunteers.

one of the most visible things that happened were the anti-gay, anti-gay marriage guys that decided to protest on the corner of the convention center and say they were with YS. it is always nice to spread a gospel full of hate. but like any rebellious teenager their youth workers aren't much different so our attendees started an anti-protest against the protesters. so i borrowed a video camera and started interviewing the people on the streets. it was a great experience and allowed me a bit of creativity.

well the general session is about to start and then we are on for the mad rush of tearing this place down and then i'm onto the next city.

pray for our volunteers, the ys staffer, and myself as we leave the convention and begin to decompress everything that has taken place over the last week.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

the girls are moving

today two of the women i love most in the world are moving away from me (okay it is less than a mile but they are moving). i'm so excited for them today as a new adventure starts for both of them. jody bought a beautiful house even though a lot of things could have changed her mind at any point along the journey and i believe god will bless her because of that. what makes me sad is that i'm not there to be apart of it and to help.

i pray that today god blessings and affirmation are sent to them and that they know how much they have changed my life and how much i need them in it!

one life revolution

today i went through something like never before. one life revolution part of world vision set up an exhibit at the sacramento nywc. just from the outside of it you would think this is just another cool booth that is attractive and wants to bring people in. but, in reality it is much more than that it is a booth that brings awareness to an epidemic that most try to ignore. one life revolution is about hiv/aid in africa and how people are dying, being orphaned, being abused.

this booth is different than any other that i've ever seen and when i went to it i don't think that i was really ready for what i was about to encounter. there are three tracks that take you through a year of 3 different people and then you must face the hardest of them all. you are tested for aids and must wait in this make shift clinic (which is actually a real clinic in africa set up by world vision and wait) the boy who's shoes i was walking in (stephen) did not have hiv but the wait the not knowing was so real it was as if it was my life and my health in jeopardy.