Quote of the Day

“How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.” -Johnny Cash


still struggling with a Christmas list... everyone's waiting for my list, but i just can't think of anything. i even googled "what do i want for Christmas?" and couldn't come up with anything. i did find out that you can "adopt" endangered animals [i.e. sponsor their protection], and that got me thinking about maybe asking people to donate to a cause instead of buying me stuff I don't need.

it's just an idea, but it makes sense to me. not sure how my relatives will respond, though. i just don't feel right about asking for things just because it's "what we do." Not that I'm being judgmental towards my family- I love them and I know Christmas is a time where we all help each other out, and that's awesome; that's what family is all about. I just feel so blessed, and I want to pass that on.

i just ordered a gift catalog from World Vision. It has gifts for all price ranges, and the gifts actually promote wellness in communities across the globe, from clean water to raising livestock to helping sexually exploited girls receive counseling. Check out the catalog here.

It finally reaches the ends of the Earth

Here's my dad's Christmas list:
8GB Flash Drive
Black Printer ink HP #94
"Twilight" Book 1,2,3 & 4
Kodak Easyshare photo packs PH-170

my dad wants Twilight for Christmas.
what in the world...

Kid at Heart

I just saw a commercial for the new Crayola Glow Station, and I got really excited. Can you imagine the possibilities for youth ministry with this thing? It's basically a glow in the dark "white board."

They run at $30.00 over at Target. I don't know if it's worth it or not, but it's definitely a cool gadget. Crayola's been bringing the heat lately, with all their glow stuff. I'm impressed :)

What do you guys think? Is the cool factor worth the cost?

It reminds me of something I saw on a blog awhile back [can't remember whose blog though]. It was a mirror that ran on fiber optics and you could draw on it by touching it and probably order Chinese food with your pinkie finger. The Crayola one is the cheap-o version, and we all know how much I love working on the cheap :)


[interesting] quote of the day

“I really have a good attitude about tattooing. When I first got one, two years ago, I was like, ‘I’m not going to overthink this or what it means, or what it’s going to be like when I’m 80. I want to get tattooed today, and in five weeks, I’ll get a SpongeBob tattoo.’ Will I regret it someday? I don’t know, but I’m not going to deny myself this pleasure today because of what I don’t know in the future.”

- Marc Jacobs tells the new issue of Rolling Stone

interesting view on life and choices and consequences


quote of the day

during a game of Sardines with 5th and 6th graders [it's basically hide and seek with a twist: when you find the hider, you stay with them]

Taylor: Can you give me a clue where they're at?
Me: Sure. [starts whistling 'Going to the Chapel]
Taylor: That's elevator music! They're in the elevator! [runs away]



My dad is a wise man, and I truly feel like God blessed me when he allowed me to have my dad for a father. he has such a kind heart and a gentle spirit, and he's brilliant. and i'm not just saying this because he's my dad. a lot of people would tell you the same thing.

anyway, i went to a conference today [more about that later], and I called my dad to debrief on the way home. we had a good conversation, and he reminded me to never stop learning, even from my interactions with people. then when I got home, I had this forwards in my inbox from him:

'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence: 'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

God is shaping me for the next phase in ministry. I think that's what I've been feeling lately, that transition. Today I realized I've fallen into the programming trap, which is normal- it happens to everyone in ministry at some point. but it's a trap I don't want to stay in. we always blame content, when really context is to blame. I think I'm going to take a day soon for a silent retreat to get my focus back. It's crazy how easily you can get swept away in the fast pace of ministry, and I'm going to try to regain my focus and look at the root of why I'm doing this, and see where it all leads me.


Geek Love

Three more things, since I can't make a bulleted list for some reason...

1. I love the Genius feature on the newest version of iTunes. Pick a song, and it makes you a playlist of similar music. Currently playing: Al Green, India.Arie, Donny Hathaway, Amy Winehouse, Janelle Monae, and Alicia Keys [stemming from a Prince song].

2. Kindle intrigues me. I wonder if it will always cost me my first born, or if the price will ever drop. It's a cool gadget though. I don't know if I would be able to trade my books though for "easier." I love my books.

3. My new phone is having complications... as in, "I don't know how to get to your house." It might be easier to just ride out the old one at this point. I secretly would love a Blackberry, but Jesus and I both know that I don't need to be THAT connected and available. I need to find balance with the phone I have first before I take that leap.

Three things

1. I've been knee deep in building our new website at church, so the updates may be few and far between for awhile. It's a work in process, but you can get a sneak peek here. Most of the links won't work, and we're still missing pages and pictures, but you can get an idea of the structure/ where we're headed with it. It's exciting, and time consuming, but it's well worth it.

2. My mom keeps getting on me about what I want for Christmas. I've had a hard time with this for the last couple years, so I keep avoiding her questioning. The idea of presents is kind of weird to me- asking people to get me things. I don't know, it never sits well. I used to sit down with the Toys R Us catalog when I was little and just go through it and circle everything that looked fun, and Lord knows why, but I usually ended up with everything that was circled [which is why our basement at home looks like F.A.O. Schwartz]. But it all just piled up. Some of it has memories attached, but most of it just collects dust. I don't want to be wasteful and ask for more "dust collectors." Really, if I could have my whole family together, that'd be enough. Crazy how perspective changes when you get older.

3. God is chipping at my heart lately. I'm not sure why, but I feel like a transition is coming. Something big is about to happen. It's exciting, going into the unknown, because it gives me another chance to lean on the Love of my life and see what kind of adventures we end up in. Gosh, I love God. He's so cool.

oh, and for an added bonus- i thought it was tuesday all day.


P.S. 22 Chorus

if you haven't heard of the P.S. 22 Chorus, you're definitely missing out. They're a choir in New York who have an incredible director, as well as incredible talent. I love their story, because it shows what can happen when adults love and invest in their students.

they came out with a new video today: a cover of Tori Amos's 1,000 Oceans.
it's incredibly beautiful, and definitely worth sharing.

because their teacher responded his passion for music and impacting students, these kids have been provided with opportunities they would have never had. Incredible.


today's drink of choice

Add 1 cup tomato juice,
1 tsp chopped fresh garlic,
1/2 tsp of hot sauce,
1 tsp lemon juice,
and a pinch or two of celery salt for flavor.

Heat ingredients and drink hot.

[i'm on the verge of being sick and it's lock-in season, so we're going to try this home remedy out. supposedly it works within a day. crazy.]


i choked it down, and to my surprise, it DID NOT taste like Tomato Soup [i told myself it would as i concocted it].

the big question is: do I feel better?
slightly, but only because the nausea that came from drinking that crap has passed.

maybe I'll just go to the doctor... :)


Solid walls of sound

today i moved up in the guitar playing world. i've been playing on a basic epiphone acoustic for three years now [well, really two. the first year i was trying to teach myself what was going on]. anyway, lately the sound has been kind of muddy and crummy [yes, those are technical terms], so i decided to look into a new guitar. I love the Gibsons with the etched pick guards, but those are like, 3 months rent, so I settled for a similar sounding [and oddly similar looking] Epiphone EJ200. It is a "Honker" as I've been saying all night... it's huge. But I never realized how jank my old guitar sounded until i played my new one. it sounds incredible. i took it over to heidi and bryan's, and they both told me I have to start playing with the praise team since i have such a nice guitar now. their trickery can't fool me though! i have mondo stage fright when it comes to playing the guitar, so i'll settle for playing it in my apartment, pretending to be the next Eric Clapton. well, and actually, the first song i played on it was Bennie and the Jets, but Elton was a Piano man, not a guitar God.

ps. her name is Flossie :)

Advent Video

This is making the rounds... saw it on ymgeek and more than dodgeball this morning. definitely a reminder of what advent is all about.

it got me thinking about my own life and the emphasis i put on money and wealth during this time of year. last year, i remember breaking down and crying to my mom because i didn't have enough money to get what i wanted for everyone. i wanted to give luxurious gifts because that's what my mom does. but that's not what it's all about. this year, my aunt asked for something homemade from me. it made me smile, because it's that kind of stuff that makes memories.

two years ago, i made scarves for everyone and instead of writing names on the packages, i scanned in old pictures of everyone, then printed them off and attached them. everyone ended up taking the pictures off and keeping them. it was all about the memories. i pray that this Christmas we can stop thinking about stuff and start building memories.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." -Matthew 6:19-21


Steven Furtick had this over on his blog, and I thought it was worth sharing with my realm of influence.
You can either avoid confusion because it makes you feel vulnerable-and miss the chance to upgrade your paradigm- Or lean into your confusion, admitting you don’t have the answers, and watch God expand your thinking and grow your soul.
i love that. i love looking for the positive. i love that in our confusion, we can turn to God, trust Him, and watch him move. thanks Steven for sharing this :)


at the beginning of this school year, adam's youth group did a really cool kick off event, focusing on impacting your world. it was awesome to read how his students rose to the occasion and went after the challenge. this event has stuck with me since i heard about it, and i've just been waiting for the right time to bring it up with my kids.

currently, our church is doing a series called, "The Best Life Ever," and we've been focusing on our use of time, talents, and treasures. i thought this would be the perfect outlet for the "Impact your World" event, and tonight's the night. we're sending out groups of students with $20 and a driver, and their only responsibility is to make a difference. it can be for one person, or it can be for several. the goal is to help students see the value and possibilities of money and wealth, as well as how they can use everything they have to advance the Kingdom of God.

i've been praying for my kids all day, praying that God will meet them tonight, that His Spirit will stir something inside of them. the weather outside is awful, but i'm hoping that the kids can see past it. i'm hoping that they see possibilities. i'm hoping they see the Kingdom of God at work through them.

if you're the praying sort, i'd love for you to join with me tonight as I pray for my students and the people they meet. Pray that they're open to whatever God does.
You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. -Deut. 8:17-18

Today is the Day

This song has been in my head for about a month now, and it's been something my heart's really connected with lately. I thought I'd pass it along :)


You're as old as you feel.

... and after today's mishap, I feel OLD.

Anyone who really knows me will tell you that I'm stubborn. They may also tell you that I have this superhero complex, where I think I can do it all without any help.

Enter: my new 100lb TV stand.
Also appearing: my second story apartment.

dumb dumb dumb.

The box even says "This box cannot be lifted by one person. It is a safety issue" [something like that]. "But no," I said. "I'm She-ra, Princess of Power. I'm unusually strong and can carry this box all by myself. I don't need anyone!" And lo and behold, I strained my back like a champ. Perfect timing, considering our Rake and Run is tomorrow. But God is good, which is why he invented ice. I love God and His ice :)

Moral of the Story: Even She-ra needs the Masters of the Universe from time to time.


I'm with the band.

marko had a great random name generator thing going on today over at his blog.

step 1. name that band.
step 2. name your first album, using the last part of the quote.
step 3. get some album art, just pick one.

My band name is Birds of Kyrgyzstan.
Our first album [droppin' this Christmas!] is Stop at Nine.
And our album cover?

I guess we're kind of a grunge rock group or somethin. crazy.

Now, I'm tagging Deena, Tom, and Adam.


three things about today:

1. i love my 5th and 6th graders. they're crazy, but they're also really good kids. they're smart, too. awesome awesome group of students.
2. i get to see my friend Deena tomorrow. i haven't seen her in a LONG time, but i love her, because she and i have parallel lives. plus, she's crazy and wonderful and we keep each other in check most days. She has a blog over at saidyouth.org.
3. i'm sick of talking politics. well, scratch that- i'm sick of talking politics with people who try to convince me i'm wrong to be as liberal as i am. People can believe whatever they want, but tearing me down won't change the outcome of the election. Instead of fighting for whose candidate is "better," why don't we try to figure out what we as advocates of Jesus can do with the lot we've been given? I love politics and change, but i hate when people pull the Christian Conservative card on me. I can still love Jesus and be liberal. Four years ago, I voted Republican, and I defended Bush to a lot of my friends who gave me a lot of hell, but I stood by my decision, and I'm going to do the same thing this election [weird how my friends went from super liberal to super conservative, just in 4 years].

The Woman at the Well


from Pepplers

this is key. it moved my spirit, so i'm sharing.

from the Pepplers' blog:
Thought for today...
As I walked into my polling place to vote this morning, this is what the church's sign read: "Tomorrow is uncertain, but heaven is for sure." Thank goodness we have a God that is bigger than all of this and no matter the outcome our future is secure. God Bless America!


You can vote however you like

these kids know what's up:

i love this video because it combines three of my favorite things:
1. smart kids
2. politics
3. hip hop [specifically T.I.]

Fresh Air

As I previously have mentioned, I'm working on putting together a scrapbook of all these old pictures from my dad's side of the family. In doing this, I've also uncovered some great articles about my relatives, providing more insight on who they were and where I come from.

Most of the articles about my Great Grandfather, Elmer Demas, talk about him going up to the lake to get fresh air. He had really bad asthma, and he would go up to the lake for months at a time, in order to just breathe.

Once again, I think this is a lost practice. We get so busy that we don't take the time to breathe, and our health suffers. We can't afford to take the time to relax. We push and push until we keel over, exhausted from burning the candle at both ends, while also trying to light it in the middle.

We've got to take the time to breathe. We've got to accept that our bodies need rest, need time to rejuvenate. Otherwise, we'll just end up suffocating ourselves.

So here's a question: how can I convince Pastor Paul that I need a 2 month vacation at the lake to breathe? :)

Up on the Soap Box

I was just catching up on reading some blogs, when I ran into an interesting article on Josh Griffin's blog. The article was by a guest blogger, which is an awesome idea, but I say that so as to not reflect my comments on Josh, who I think is a really legit and brilliant guy.

The article was about how your youth ministry reflects your own spiritual life, and as I read it, I was nodding my head and saying "Yes!" a lot [and I probably looked like a fool to anyone who walked by my office]. Then I got to the four "pointers" the guest author was offering to youth workers:
all good things. Then there was #4:
4: HAVE A DATE NIGHT EVERY WEEK! (Good for YOU) Part of YOU is YOUR wife. Always remember: happy wife, happy life!!! Have a date night every week to keep the fire alive! The power of partnership is one of the most untapped strengths in ministry!
I understand that for many, being a pastor also means being a man. I get that. And I get that you can throw out of context scripture at me, telling me I can only teach women, or that I shouldn't teach at all. Trust me, it won't be the first time I've heard it. But now, not only do I have to be a man, but I also have to be married? I obviously never got the memo.

I know I'm probably being harsh. I have the tendency to get offended and develop a chip on my shoulder, offering some sarcastic and facetious remarks that are borderline bitter. So, before reading this, know that I realize my flaws. However, as a single woman in ministry, I get frustrated. I get tired of the male pronoun always being used, I get tired of people assuming I have to be married to be a Christian after college [a separate rant that I don't have the energy for after today]. There are some incredible, brilliant women doing awesome things for youth ministry these days, and we've got to get away from the "Good Ole' Boys Club" mentality. That was my mom's biggest fear for me, going into ministry. She didn't want me to let other people break me down because I'm a woman. She wanted me to feel validated and appreciated, instead of belittled and beat up.

I've been blessed to be surrounded by people who support women in ministry. My professors at Bethel College did an awesome job with maintaining equality. The pastors I've worked with are also huge supporters of women in ministry. Unfortunately, every once in awhile, I'll run into someone with an antiquated view that all pastors have to be men. My favorite quote was from a good friend, who asked, "When you get done with school, what will you be? What's the female version of Pastor? Nun?"

A lot of people will think I'm being overly sensitive, and that's okay. People can think what they want, but until you've been in my shoes, you can never really know. I'm happy with the way things are changing in the Church. I think it's awesome that more women are getting their PhDs in Ministry [only 3 women in the US have it in youth ministry]. I think it's awesome that Youth Specialties has a time for women in ministry to get together [even if it is linked to a few stereotypes- what I call the "teatime with Jesus" mentality]. We're making strides, and that's great. At the same time, we've got to be able to call a spade a spade when stuff like this article comes up. It's unacceptable to just let it slide.

[steps off soapbox]

Powerful Video

Anderson Youth Building Vision Event from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

NewSpring's teens recently got a new youth building, but before the carpet was laid down, students wrote names on the floor of those they wanted to reach. It's a great idea and a powerful video. This is what student ministry is all about.