Saturday, November 18, 2006

my last nywc for 2006

i'm in cincinnati at the national youth workers convention but this is the last one i'm attending this year. i'm not sure if i've enjoyed this year more because i'm back in ministry or at least more purposeful about ministry but whatever the reason i've devouring the information being presented.

2 weeks ago i heard shane claiborne for the first time and cried for 3 hours while i simply tried to unpack his message and life. shane lives and works at the simple way in north Philadelphia. he talked about what he learned from mother theresa, from the homeless, the poor, the broken, and the least. i realized for maybe the first time that there has to be more to life than all of this. yeah i've gotten mad at our society, our value, and so many other things i don't have time to write them but i've been a pacifist instead of an activist. so for the last 2 weeks i've been contemplating all that i've taken in and what does it mean for me now.

now here i've listened to donald miller last night and brenda salter mcneil today and both just blew me away. i've only heard donald a few times but it just seems like he gets life. he talked about how the church used to be in a cross and that today our society is in malls or entertainment facilities. don't get me wrong these work but i would question if something is lost when we lose that cross. i can't remember the last time that i set in a pew or picked up a hymnal. why? i guess i'm trying to say that i miss it.

and if donald's all to close to home message wasn't enough brenda set it off this morning with your talk about "who are you?" and who are our students. she made a comment that she purposed that the highest act of worship is to become who god says you are. wow. i can't express enough how many times i question who i am, so if brenda's theory is accurate then i'm doing exactly what saddens god and not worship him at all in those moments. but the thing that i resonated with the most is that when you are looking for god (i would add even looking for yourself) and don't see him then look again.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

our culture today

until recently i've not been purposeful about understanding what the culture around me is doing, about how the culture has shaped who i have become, and how it will shape my future and the lives of the students i work with. i'm not sure why this has never been a hot point for me but it hasn't.

in the last week and a half we've seen 6 kids shot to death in their schools, 2 grown men killing kids and then killing themselves, 1 principle killed and a freshman being charge with his murder. so i guess if i'm willing to deal with it or not culture is shape us.

even the ny times is talking about how our kids are losing their faith, well if i want to be fair to the paper they said our kids are abandoning their faith. what is that supposed to mean? do i have a role in not letting this happen?

i don't want to say this doesn't scare me, because it does but i refuse to life in the fear that the students of today won't love jesus tomorrow. i can't live in that fear and it won't do me any good if i did. i come to events like nywc and realize that there is hope and that no amount of media will ever be able to capture the essence of who god is and what he is doing in the lives of his chosen.

the reality that i live in is i love students. i love being with them and being a constant in their lives and when i come to an nywc i see thousands of people who also love student and love them even more than i do. so i do have hope.

understanding culture and not being blind to what is going on around me is just a necessary, but i have hope.

Friday, October 06, 2006

nywc prayer walk

there are so many things that happen behind the curtain that most people don't know about to make nywc happen. this morning is one of my favorite moments of pre-convention when we have our prayer walk. this a time when all of the staff and volunteers go around to the labyrinth, the prayer chapel, headquarters, main stage, the exhibit hall, and the bookstore and pray for all of the attendee and all of us working. to someone who doesn't come to this type of event it might not seem like a big deal. but coming into a room and blessing it and making sure that it is a safe and holy place that healthy and broken people can come together is more beautiful than i can explain.

so before life begins moving at a pace faster then our souls handle i'm going to take some time to pray, to soak in all that god will do here, and to slow down even if it is for 5 minutes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

nywc austin

well it is that time of the year again and the national youth workers convention are in full gear. i'm in austin right now and we are trying to get all of the last minute details finished before the major rush starts. we should have 2,500 hundred or so youth workers here.

this year is going to be different for me. i'm hoping to attend more seminars, more general sessions, and have more meaningful conversations with youth workers in the trenches. but the big difference for me is that i'm back in ym as well. i've taken the last couple of years off and i just couldn't do it anymore.

i hope to blog regularly about the highlights of the convention during the week so stay tuned for more dialog and a lot of photos.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

how could this happen...

she didn't ask for it,
why did she have to black out,
and they were supposed to be her friends,
i want to hate them for her,
i want to go to the police for her,
why her?

why does she have a drinking problem,
will she ever feel normal again,
will she ever feel safe?

you don't have the right to her,
god save her,
god give her strength,
god heal her

do you even hear her cries,
do you see her in her in bed at night,
do you forgive her?

give us the strength to stand by her,
give her the strength to let us in,
bless her

Thursday, August 10, 2006


could it really happen again? since i'm out on the west coast and attending a convention it was pretty late before i got back to my room last night and at this point the news had already broken about the attempted terrorist attacks. so last night i went to bed in fear of what the morning would bring. would our country actually have to live out another 9/11? would we as a nation be too scared to fly? would we actually come together as people?

but then it hit me. i actually did fly on the 1st anniversary of 9/11 so i wasn't scared anymore or at least i didn't think i was. but why are we americans so special the reality is the rest of the world is suffering under these attacks daily. i'm sorry for taking the world for granted. i'm sorry for not getting on my knees and praying when the rest of the worlds breaking news comes across my screen.

today i thank god for allowing these terrorist to be captures and pray to god for mercy for rest of the world that are not allowed the privileges that those of us in the america are.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


tonight is the second night of dcla and we have about 5,000 students in the big room. the big room is a gathering where the students are going through the book of john in the spoken word, rap, drama, singing, ect and it was beautiful to hear and watch them. their are a number of artist, authors, and speakers that are doing the main stage and tonight i felt like i was in church and the preacher was preaching. (and i along with the majority loved it)

i'm so blessed and honored to be connected with a company that cares this much about kids lives, about loving them without condition, about excepting them with all of their flaws, and being real with them.

it's been a lot of years since i've been at an event this big that is for students and the last 2 days have felt like a time of renewal of purpose. i am meant to do what i do, i am designed to love kids, i was created to follow him.

the last week has been a horribly emotional week for me and as of monday night i didn't think i wanted to be here and i knew i didn't want to praise god, but things change. my heart has found some light, there really is hope, and i'm truly created to praise him and that is why i'm here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

it just wasn't what i expected

i'm a routine person. i do everything the same every morning from getting ready to checking my email. this morning something was different, this morning my world changed. i had a message from a friends daughter telling me that her dad passed away last night.

so today my routine stopped. i feel sadness at a level that i haven't felt in a long time. ric was an amazing man and cared about young people so much that he dedicated his life to running a camp in iowa. some of you may or may not know but this is the same camp that i spoke at in june. i fell in love with the camp and with his family, and with the campers.

after camp i knew ric went into the hospital for reason i won't get into here and i even talked to him 2 weeks ago, but death. it was never a thought.

ric i miss you already. did you even know that you helped change who i am? i'll never be the same person, you made me laugh and cry at the same time. our conventions won't be the same for me anymore. i'll never forget you, never.

Monday, July 31, 2006

modern medicine

over 5 hours late my mom was finally taken into the operating room. we were initially told that her surgery was going to take double the amount of time the one she had 2 years ago. after only a hour and half i finally got the call that i've been waiting on since 10 am this morning. my dad said that she was out and that everything went great. she was in recovery and would be there for at least the next hour. i'm amazed that someone in their wisdom discovered means to heal our broken bodies.

my childhood friend also underwent a mastectomy today. what is crazy is that she is my age, but she has a husband and 2 small boys. she as well came out great. she was a little tired but doing well. unlike my mom she has a more unknown recovery but again medicine may have healed her today.

thank you jesus for modern medicine.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

my mom

tomorrow my mom goes back in for surgery so i'm praying that the doctors will "fix" her and that she can live the life that she desires. i also don't get to go down there so i'm sitting in michigan waiting, praying, and trusting god will not leave here.

today she told me that she never thought she would see the day that i would admit to being like her. but what she doesn't know is that there hasn't been many days in my adult life that i would want to be like anyone else. she's great and she's my mom!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

why can't i just be there?

i love my mom and feel this need to take care of her when she's down. i knew she need to have another back surgery for about a month but today she called and said it was going to be on the 31st and not the 31st of august the 31st in 4 days.

i'm sad cuz i can't be with her

i'm sad cuz my mom is in pain

i'm sad cuz sometimes the only way to show her how great my love is, is to just be with her

mom i love you

if you knew would it change anything?

i'm over weight, out of shape, doing something about it, and it hurts. i don't know how many times i've heard something, anything about how the more weight you gain the harder it is to lose or the more you weigh the great health risk you have. i even watched my grand parents lose their life in part due to their weight and health issue. so you would think that i would be smarter by now right?

the fact is that i really haven't worked out seriously in over 2 years. 2 years ago i lost 30lbs and was running 6 days a week, but then i broke my leg and gave out hope on ever getting serious again. well last night i had the most intense workout i've had in over 12 years or more and i feel it today.

my question is, if i would have realized 10 years ago how much work it would be, hard sore i would be, and the time commitment to work out and watch what i eat would i have changed anything?

there are so many things in life i wish i could re-do, some many times i've failed both myself and god and knew better. so would i have changed anything? maybe, possibly, but probably not. that is where my need to serve flesh shows up and the grace of god reveals its self. maybe i could have made different decisions or choices but my character would be different, i might not have grown, and i might still be shallow. i'm glad i don't do it right the first time most of the time. i'm glad that even today i get to learn regardless of what i know.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

i could sleep for a week

i'm not sure why but lately i feel like i could sleep for a week. yeah i had my niece and nephews for 5 days but for the most part we all slept in. it could be in part because i did have to get up an hour earlier for work to make sure they were ready and then take them to a babysitter, but i don't think it is that either.

is it because i'm getting old? okay older. ever since i went on vacation i haven't been able to catch up but i did rest while i was away so what is it? when i was a kid i was the one that got up at 5 am just so i could be with my dad.

most of my life i've been told how alike the 2 of us are. he is an early riser i was a an early riser, he likes sports i like sports, and it went on and on, but something changed for me. i don't think it is my diet because i'm finally eating pretty healthy and smaller portions i even joined the gym and actually going to that. so what is it?

the last few weeks i've taken advantage of the michigan weather and headed to the beach for a day out. i've read, i've swan, i've enjoyed the sun and again this weekend i plan the same thing except i keep thinking maybe i should stay home and sleep. i'm i alone here or does anyone else just feel like you can't catch up? does anyone else ever skip the beach for the bed?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

living as a bi-racial person

i have had so many conversations about the color of my skin, my eyes, and the parents that i've come from and still don't know what it means to be bi-racial. i always feel like i end up somehow defending who i am and why i'm proud of that. i mean i always tell people that i'm mexican and well i am but i don't always say that i'm half white as well. why?

i think that part of it is that i don't have to explain the white part but it does make up half of me and comes from one of my best friends, my mom. she is strong, independent, intelligent, puts up with every bit of crap i've ever given, and loves unconditionally. but then there is this part of me that is different the part of me that came from my dad and from my grandparents that gives my brown skin, thick brown hair, and a passion to fight for other mexican's. obviously i know that i couldn't be me without the other but why do i always sway one way?

today for instance someone at the Y made a comment about how i was so incredibly tan (and yes i just came back from palm springs where i only laid out 3 times and i did go to the beach yesterday so i have more color than just 3 weeks ago) and that i must be laying out at the beach every day. i could have just taken this from her smiled and walked away, but instead i said "well i am 1/2 mexican". so again i have this obvious defense about me, but why?

maybe it is my need to be different or to not fit the mold, but i just can't shake the feeling that is has to be more than that. once i cut my hair off people would ask me if i was 1/2 black and white, or other mexicans would ask me why i had mexican skin and white people eyes. so for me i have always had to explain who i was and until now it has always been about my race.

on the other hand i have had people say well you don't look mexican (considering i live in michigan during the winter my skin is lighter, america for the record that is just how it works) but what they don't realize is that regardless of what they think i look like i still am mexican. or i've had people say "i'm colored blind so i don't even see your color" okay if you are anyone who isn't white you have probably heard this and hate it as much as i do. if you are someone who has ever said this you have officially become an extremely ignorant person. if you don't see our color then you are blind "not color blind", i'm not ashamed of the color of my skin so please don't act like it is a bad thing.

i don't have the answers to the whole bi-racial issues, but i can say that i learn more everyday, i'm proud of both of my parents for loving each other regardless of what their families said, and i think that in the book of revelation talks about all tribes and tongues will come together, it will finally understand how and why god cared enough to make us different!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

the end of my two weeks offs

i've been back from la for 2 days and i'm getting ready to head back to the office tomorrow. i can't believe how fast these last two weeks have gone by. i spent nearly a week in iowa and the last week in la visiting with family and enjoying the hottest weather i've ever experienced. (total side note, if anyone thinks visiting palm springs in july is a good idea they are full of it)

during this last week i split my time between palm springs and la and palm springs was 110 just about every day. it was so hot that the pool at our condo was enjoyable. well not until the last night when we decided to be as stupid as possible with our pool toys and i nearly got a concussion on a raft. yes, i said it was stupid.

anyway, we had a red eye flight so we were in lax at 10 pm on thursday night and at 2 am while sitting on the plane for over 2 hours we were told our flight was canceled due to an electronic problem. my problem with this wasn't that the plane couldn't (and shouldn't fly with me on it) but that they took 2 hours to decided that. since there were 8 of us flying together we decided to stay at the airport until at least 4 am until united opened back up so we could check in our luggage. finally at 5 am we made it to our hotel and i got 3 hours of sleep before grabbing a quick bite and heading back to lax. after almost 24 hours i finally made it back to grand rapids and was thrilled to see my family again.

i guess you don't really know how much you love and depend on them until you are gone from them. i'm really not used to not seeing my brother and sister for 2 weeks (considering that we all live in the same house) and it was nice to have a meal, catch up on life, and enjoy being together again.

but, being back also means that it is over and tomorrow i get up and go back to work. having been off for 2 weeks i hope to have something more to offer the office that i didn't when i left.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

3rd day of camp and the injuries have begun

i only have 1 day left here only 1 talk left so i'm filled with both sadness and joy. i didn't think i would connect with these kids like i have. okay seriously who am i kidding i love to connect with people but it is always hard to say goodbye. i've heard some hard stories, and i'm not sure if it was the story or not but i even had a dream about becoming a foster parent to one of the girls. on monday i had a girl tell me that if she stopped screwing up she would go back to her mom, and if he went back to her mom she would get beat up again. what am i supposed to say to that?

well i talked this morning about sacrifice and what it actually means. i talked about moses, abraham, and the widow at the well and what they gave up out of their faith in god. then i showed the kickball (nooma) and the students were so open and really heard what rob was talking about. i wish i had a another week with these kids to really get to a place where they feel completely safe and willing to be fully here.

last night we played a great game in the dark out in the woods. i decided to be by the fire and take some pictures of the kids being cleansed so i'll post some of those here. i'll also post some of the great ones from today's game. but, while all of these games have taken place we have had to take 2 people to the hospital (1 last night for a bruised sternum and 1 today for a possible broken foot). mom and dad if you are reading this camp just isn't as safe as it used to be :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

senior high camp

well today is day 2 of camp and it has been some ride so far. it started out with me getting food poison on sat. evening (yes tony it was from chicken) so i wasn't feeling great for that 7:30 am flight sunday morning. i got here to iowa a few hours later and kinda jumped right in.

i got to meet the students late sunday. most of them have been great, a few of them have that young teenage boy smell that well only young teenage boys get. i have realized what a humbling experience this is for me. i'm not sure what god sees in me or why he is allowing me to speak to 80 students but he is.

i think this is the first time that it has really sunk in how important it is to listen to the voice of god b/c it's not just me this week. so far i've shown lump (it is a nooma video), big mamma's house, i'm going to show kickball (another nooma) tomorrow and pay it forward on thursday.

i've been told "wow that was good stuff", "i like that you don't talk forever", and "seriously tell if it hurt to get your nose pierced". as i've been praying for this week and these students i've tried to focus on reaching 1 student. i know it doens't seem like much but i figured i had to start somewhere.

i hope to post more about the week later tonight or tomorrow with pictures, but i wanted to at least get something up.

to all my girls at Z i say wat' up! seriously i miss you guys and the family and i'm more grateful for your prayers than you will ever know. blessings.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

dependance on god

4 months ago i was given this amazing opportunity to speak at a camp for senior high students. while i've been in youth ministry a long time i haven't traveled to speak to young people, much less kids that i've never met. regardless i said yes and have been praying about what i share ever since.

* i leave in 5 days and still haven't finished my messages or handouts and i'm not quite sure what that means.
* does it mean i have nothing to say? does it mean that god doesn't want me to go or even that he isn't speaking to me?
* could it mean that i haven't found that total dependence on god yet?

whatever it means i'm ready to face it. i called a good friend in l.a. today and he offered some great advice. i will say that i trust timothy since he is a trusted friend, preacher, and gifted speaker. when i told him that i was nervous and not finished he said two things:

* if i was nervous then i wasn't trusting in god enough and relying on myself to much
* if i would commit my time and talk to him then the nervousness will go away and leave room for god to show up

it isn't always easy for me to release my hold on something that i care about but he was right, i do need to let go and let god show up. for some of these young people this is their last chance before they get locked up and if i'm honest i can't be the one to save them.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

life today

for the last 3 years i've lived in the historic distoric of my city and my house has 3 floors and each floor is a seperate apartment. so thursday night at about 9 pm i decided that all 3 floors needed to have a yard sale on saturday moroning. so aparently that is pretty short noticed but we got together late friday night and started brining stuff out. i got up at 6 am the next morning and got the rest of my house up and ready to work. we were all set-up by 8 am and stayed open until 5 pm. it was 92 degrees out but we all made great money and decided to donate anything that didn't sell. so needless to say i feel like it was a productive weekend (tiring, but productive).

this next week is my last week in the office since then i'm off for a week to a quaker camp in iowa to speak at a senior high camp. this week i need to finalize my talks for the kids and get their hand-outs ready. i keep waiting for god to give me this super holy, spiritual, and completely divine talk, but i'm going back to what i believe i started with 3 months ago.

then i fly back from iowa and 12 hours later leave for l.a. on vacation (well at least i think i'm going). at this point i'm thinking about not going, my plane ticket was free and the condo is free so i wouldn't be out any money if i decided to not go, but if i stayed here i could go camping with the kids. if i don't go i'll be missing out on a week at the condo and what i know will be a lot of fun.

so there it is, my life as it stands today.

a much needed rest

i haven't blogged in over 2 months, not because i had nothing to say but more because i just needed some internal time to sort life out. so much has happened that i don't know where to start.
  • my company bought another company (thus tons of change for me, but all change that i'm thrilled to be apart of)
  • my brother married the love of his life (it took me a lot of prayers and many months to finally realize that i wasn't losing him but gaining an entire family)
  • my mom and i talked opening and honestly for the first time in my adult life (god is good and we have a better relationship now then i've ever prayed for)
  • i actually found a church home (in the last 2 years i new that mars hill was not for me, but i walked into madison square 4 months ago and have felt god move like never before)
  • i'm actually enjoying life!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

lectivo divina

this is the second time that i've done a lectivo divina exercise in the past week and both times i've meditated on different verses but the same phrase has come up both times and it should be apparent but sometimes it just isn't. "get up and go". what is god telling me? what have i forgotten to do, what have i ignored? what don't i get?

having recently heard a talk by david anderson about abraham, david talked about abraham being called to go to the land of cainan but that he stopped before he made it and stayed in the desert. so after this david posed a question: are you stuck or stopped because if you are just stuck then there is hope because you can become un-stuck.

so now my question is am i stuck and don't even know it? am i stopped and refuse to accept it? or am i simply on this journey to get me to that place god has called me to? twice in one week god has spoken "get up and go" but i'm not sure what it is going to take to actually do that.

contemplative youth ministry retreat

i'm sitting with about 150 youth workers/pastors in oak brook, il at a retreat with mark yaconelli. he asked everyone to take 30 minutes to meditate on 3 things:
  • what is my cry for mercy?
  • invitation to trust?
  • gratitude

i didn't meditate on any of these (because i forgot my camera at the hotel so i went back to do that) but were back now and it is interesting to hear all that god spoke to these people. they are being vulnerable with themselves and each other. as someone shares what god spoke to them you can look around and see the affirmation as others shake their heads or echo their sentiments.

mark is taking us through a lectio divina exercise which is always interesting to go through with people you don't know. there seems to be some uncomfortableness with doing something outside of yourself.

Friday, February 24, 2006

my first trip to san diego

npc is almost over and vacation will be starting soon but it all seems to be going by so fast. this has been a great trip to san diego (my first time here) so far and i'm looking forward to experiencing more of its culture but first things are first. we still have 24 hours left of this convention and things just seem to be getting busier. we have about 1550 pastors here who all seem to be enjoying themselves so far. it is always interesting to see who comes to these types of events and what they'll do with their time while they're here. some go to every workshop and leave completely overwhelmed by information that they will either never use or have no idea to use what they just got and how to use it. or they don't go to anything in hopes of avoiding whatever it is that god is trying to tell them. and then there are those who come and hear speakers who change their lives and sometimes even their callings.

it is always interesting to watch pastors be served by others (most of them don't know how to do it). they come in excited about a new product or idea they heard about and want to talk about someone else who has used it. or they'll tell you about a product they've been using and encourage you to buy it and take it back to your church. regardless of the patterns and habits of these pastors they are fun people to be around who love the church and love god.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

5 days and counting

i leave for california on friday and i don't feel prepared at all. i did manage to pack a good majority of my summer(ish) clothes but there are so many more things to do. i'm trying to get a tan (of course the fake way) so i'm not the palest mexican in all of california. but i've only gone 2 times since i got my membership since the first time i got a little red on the back side (i didn't want to risk burning and then peeling) waited 2 days and then got a little red on the front. i'm not sure if i'll be able to go back tomorrow or not.

i also really want to get in the habit of working out in the morning instead of waiting until 8 or 9 at night when the gym isn't as crowded as an after thanksgiving sale. but, instead i took at 2 hour nap this afternoon and now i'm watching desperate housewives and then grey's anatomy so i won't get enough sleep, won't want to get up in the morning, and therefore won't get my early morning workout.

oh yeah and i haven't done laundry in a week in a half so by the time that i actually do it i have 10 loads (okay not really) but more than i'll want to do the day before i leave.

Friday, February 10, 2006

just asking but....

are you corporate ghetto? not sure what that even mean? if you're curious check this blog out

i just wanted to make a post

ever since the fall i either haven't wanted to blog or have just been too lazy to do it, but in the last few weeks i really wanted to blog and i couldn't. i can blame it on my laziness but the reality is that i thought i forgot my password b/c i couldn't get into my blog anymore. since i'm sitting in my house tonight sick i thought what a better time to sit down and figure this thing out.

i tried every email address and possible user name i would have used in the past 10 years but nothing seemed to work. randomly i clicked on the user profile and noticed that i've moved from a 29 year old woman to a 31 year old man. it wasn't even that i was clued in then, it was when i began reading all of "my favorites" and suddenly i realized that i had become my brother and he had taken over my blog.

since we use the same computer i can see how this would happen. and after he used someone else's paypal (the former owner of my mac) account to buy my mom's christmas gift i knew this sounded like something he would do (and not even notice).

so i did what most people would, i hacked into my blog with his account information and deleted his blog. tomorrow or sunday i'm committed to showing him how to do this blog thing himself, but until then he is never allowed to be a 29 year old woman again!

tony --thanks for the laugh i love you!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

saddness for my friends

in november i was able to meet sandy at the last nywc of the season. the first time i saw her someone was hugging her. i watched the interaction between sandy and this other person for a few moments and knew instantly she was a women whom people loved. at the end of the convention i was able to watch the ys staff that knew and loved her shower her with kind smiles, hugs, and hellos.

little did i know that sandy was fighting a battle that took her life last weekend. her funeral is tonight and many friends have made the trip from san diego to detroit for the funeral. knowing this group of people; i know that they love hard and have hearts that are hurting for both sandy's family and themselves. i'm so sorry that this is now part of their story but i'm so grateful for the times that they've all shared with her.

to my friends who are so sad by sandy's passing i hope to one day see the smiles on your faces that were there every time you were with her. blessing