This whole word press blog is complicated. It’s horrible for uploading and sharing pictures, and confusing to use! So I’m really sorry, but for those of you who are willing to make one more move with me, I went back to blogger, and there I will remain! I have a new blogspot address and will be using this instead of the wordpress blog, because I just couldn’t cope with this program! For those who actually care, the new address is:
So here is your random weekly update for this Friday morning!
Last night we had dinner with two other young married couples from church which was awesome! None of us knew one another very well, so we had a wonderful time eating, drinking wine, and hearing one another’s stories. We also got into about an hour and a 1/2 debate which was phenomenal. One of the guys in the group attended for years Mars Hill Church in Seattle where Mark Driscoll is the pastor, and another guy there absolutely hates Mark Driscoll’s take on several things. And his arrogance. And the hermeneutic he uses to interpret scripture. It was a debate done in love but it was definitely intense! I of course am really not thrilled with Driscoll’s take on several issues (mainly that scripture says women shouldn’t be pastors, which I think is a very poor interpretation of some of the passages in the NT) so I was definitely in the midst of the discussion as well! Both Chuck and I were so thankful for the fellowship and discussion and had a great time!
Yesterday I also had the chance to go to a high school football game for the first time since high school. One of our youth is playing on the freshman football team at his school and Chuck and I went to cheer him on in their first game. It definitely brought back some memories being there!
I am reading the second Twilight book, and while I will admit it is better than the first one, I still don’t think I am hooked or in love with this series.
Chuck is officially on vacation! He has a couple weeks off before school starts and it is so fun to see him relax! He’s surfed twice this week and is reading for FUN which he never does! He’s reading The Shack which I read awhile ago and LOVED. I knew he would like it and I was right, he does.
The church I guest preached at about a month ago called again and said I got awesome reviews and would I come back? So I get to preach again on the 20th, which I’m pretty excited about!
If you go to Fuller’s website, you might recognize someone in the picture 🙂 This is me chatting with Dr. Chap Clark, the youth ministry professor I have TA-ed for for 2 years now.
It was quite an awkward and last minute photo shoot where I had to stand in front of the class and debate infant vs. believer baptism with Chap and the effects each has on the discipleship of a kid while this photographer snapped a million photos and the class was cracking up. Ahh fun times!
It’s was my turn to draw from our date night jar this week, so I pulled a date on Monday and am working on figuring it out. Tonight’s date is an in home date where we’re supposed to have a Ticket to Ride tournament (our favorite board game). I’m thinking of creating some new rules for each round–like one round you have to say one thing you appreciate about your spouse for each train you set down, or well, I have other ideas in mind as well 😉
This past week Chuck’s parents were here in town visiting us. We spend four busy days showing them all kinds of sites around LA! Here are a few of the spots we visited!
Friday we visited the La Brea Tar Pits, where a ton of fossils were discovered from thousands of years ago when animals got stuck in the tar there. The tar is still coming up through the ground, it is kind of crazy seeing this in the midst of downtown LA!
Saturday we went to the Nixon Library, which was a great museum. Because he was president during a lot of the space stuff there was a ton of historical space memorabilia.
The library is also the burial space for both President Nixon and his wife.
The gardens were gorgeous!
Sunday night we went to wander around Santa Monica and then to a nice dinner at the Chart House to celebrate my birthday early 🙂
Where of course I had to enjoy my favorite dessert, mud pie!
Monday we went to the Long Beach Aquarium where they had the coolest birds!
About a month ago Chuck and I created a “date night jar” so that when it is Friday night we don’t have to sit there looking at one another saying “what do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” We spend an evening coming up with ideas of all kinds of things to do around LA together and then on Mondays we take turns drawing an item from the jar and making that item happen for Friday night. This past Friday we went to the Norton Simon art museum here in Pasadena and the task on the slip of paper was “find the most ridiculous piece of artwork.” We found a couple. Here they are–any votes for the most ridiculous?
Every fall since I have been here in Southern California I’ve gotten a little used to seeing some smoke fill the skies and having some area of So Cal be engulfed in flames. Never, though, have the fires hit so close to our home or affected people we know and love. Just to clarify, we are not in any danger of being evacuated, these fires would have to burn through entire towns before it hit where we live. But, people we know well have been in trouble, and have been dangerously close to losing their homes. Many of our church members live in La Canada, La Crescenta and Glendale, which is directly where the fires are burning. School was supposed to start yesterday for our youth group kids but still hasn’t started because the schools are evacuation centers and 60,000 people in these towns are not able to get to their homes. The skies here are awful, the smoke permeates everything, and all of us are praying for rain to come SOON! (Which is not in the forecast any time soon). Thought some of you might enjoy some pictures of what the world around here looks like.
Last night was our much awaited girls night out to celebrate our dear Tera’s birthday–we had been looking forward to it for quite awhile! She found a place in Old Town Pasadena called Dashing Divas, a manicure/pedicure spa that serves cocktails while you receive your pampering. Let me just say this is quite a fabulous combination! It was the first time in 3 months all 7 of us from our small group were able to be in the same place and it was so fun to be together again! A trip to Pinkberry completed a wonderful summer evening.
In other news, there are two large fires burning around here, one about 15 miles to the east and one only about 5 miles to the west of us. These are a few photos of the smokey skies last night and then today–you can see how much worse they have gotten.
Tera and Jenn are ready to go!Look at all the pretty colors! I had asked my husband what color toes he wanted to look at this month and he said purple, so that helped narrow down my selection–I may have been completely overwhelmed otherwise!Becca and I are all ready!
Wednesday we took a group of students from the youth group on a hike, which turned out to be awfully steep at times! It was about 6 miles round trip, but it felt like longer! The kids were troopers, it was a gorgeous view, and the end was a waterfall (sort of, it was kind of dry) but had a pool that people could jump into to cool off. Three snakes including one rattler were spotted (you can guess how much I loved that!) but all in all it was a great afternoon. I am definitely tired and sore today, and crashed by 9:30 last night after eating everything in sight! Enjoy some pictures!
Our family gathered in Everett, Washington this past weekend to finally have a chance to remember and say goodbye to Gramma Nan. She passed away back in June and we had her “celebration of life” party scheduled for this weekend so almost everyone could make it (one cousin wasn’t able to get home for it). It was a beautiful weekend full of sharing stories, laughter, meeting all kinds of people whose lives she’d touched over the years, and just being together. Grandma did not want a funeral or a ‘regular’ memorial service. She didn’t want anything formal, or in a church, or full of tears. Instead she wanted a big party, a BBQ on her favorite beach where hot dogs could be roasted and her ashes could be scattered. Wine from a box was her request, and of course, don’t forget the marshmellows to be roasted! This was Grandma, this was where she was the happiest, these are the foods and activities that brought her the most joy. So we followed her directions and threw one heck of a party! Saturday was family-only out at Useless Bay, the beach we would all spend a week on every summer. Grandma would rent the home of a good friend of hers and we’d all gather and spend time walking, flying kites, building sand castles and roasting lots of hot dogs! It was where she was happiest, on her beach, surrounded by her family. So we took her ashes with us and recreated the scene for her on Saturday.
Sunday was a big community celebration where over 125 people gathered for a luncheon and to remember Grandma. She had lived in Everett since the 50s and knew everyone in town it seemed. I had written a post earlier about how much she volunteered, how much she gave back to her community. She never got a paycheck, she was a professional volunteer and dedicated her life to numerous charities. At the luncheon my aunt Peggy read a list of all the organizations Grandma had worked for and with in her lifetime, she structured it from A-Z, and while not all letters were covered, I thought this was pretty impressive. My dad spoke and said in his tribute that if all of us left this earth with a list like this, this world would be a much better place. I think he’s right. Check this out–I’d say most of us have a ways to go before we even come close to the number of volunteer projects Grandma had participated in!
A–Assistance League, charter member and president
A–American Red Cross president and chairwoman of long range planning
C–Citizen of the year of Everett, WA (1978)
C–Child Fatality review board for Foster Care system
C–Compass Health Committee
C–Council on Aging for Snohomish County
D–Department of Social and Health Services foster care citizen committee
D–Department of social and health services advisory committee
E–Everett Community College Board of Directors (a governor appointed position)
E–Everett Community College Early Learning Center
E–Everett Medical Auxillary (this group put together & researched libraries and schools for pre-med students and found scholarships available to them)
F–Foster Parent (helped raise 5 children in addition to her own 5 over the years)
G–Girl Scouts (taught them their first aid certification over the years)
H–Homeless taskforce chairwoman
L–Liz McLaughlin award from the human services council
L–League of woman voters activist
L–Library volunteer (when she heard school libraries were closing b/c of budget cuts she mobilized volunteers to help keep them open)
O–Operation School Bell chairwoman and organizer (her most favorite and rewarding charity)
P–Providence Foundation board member
R–Room mother for all 5 of her children
R–Red Cross volunteer during WWII (her first volunteer experience, she served meals to thousands of people during WWII as a young girl)
S–Snohomish County human services council board of directors
S–Secret Harbor School for Boys board of directors
S–Snohomish County Ethics committee chairwoman
U–United Way–first female president of Washington State’s chapter
U–United Way allocations committee
V–Visiting nurses association president
Z–Zonta President and long time member
Gramma was amazing, and it was a beautiful weekend, and we will miss her a lot. Here are some photos as we celebrated and said our goodbyes.
I learned a lot this past week, some very valuable lessons in fact, that I will now share with all of you 🙂
1. When sleeping with 60+ high school students, ear plugs are a must.
2. Being in charge of ensuring that everyone on a boat of 20 high school boys gets a fair amount of food at each meal is a very daunting task.
3. Sleeping on the deck of a houseboat with a full moon and a sky that is painted with a bajillion stars is spectacular. So is waking up with the first glimpses of the sun coming over the mountains.
4. Sharing a camp with another denomination whose theology of outreach is very different than your own church’s can be problematic–especially when the other church got to bring the camp speaker for the week.
5. Gallon jugs of milk can be kept frozen in coolers packed with dry ice for 5 days and still be good to drink.
6. Grapes may be a healthy snack but are also the perfect size for high school students to throw at one another…or you…or whoever is walking by–they then get stepped on and ground into the decks of houseboats.
7. Baking fresh baked cookies for 120 people takes hours–especially when half your ovens don’t work.
8. Hair can be washed in a lake, not exceptionally well, but definitely better than nothing!
9. Hours of entertainment can be provided to kids by giving them buckets of water they can dump on unsuspecting people who walk through their boat.
10. I LOVE doing ministry with my husband–serving in different ways but in the same community. I loved him being there with me, seeing him connect with these boys (he is wonderful with them!) and having him wander through the kitchen to see how I was doing.
11. Youth ministry, if you let it, will break your heart. The pain in these kids’ lives is unreal, and the reality of God’s grace becomes that much more real when we realize how absolutely crazy He is about these kids.
I left on Monday with the crew, but first we had to organize and pack all the food for the whole week. Kids came to help us carry and load a uhaul truck filled with food. But first, they decorated all the watermelons with sharpies. Austin, Caroline and Rachel drew a picture of Melissa on one (one of the youth leaders)How do you cook for this many people? You pre-cook everything! Susan has done this trip for about 8 years now and has this down to a science. Everything (baked beans, marinated chicken, carne asada for burritos, chocolate cake mixes, etc) were all pre cooked and then frozen in the church’s freezers. Then, everything was packed into 13 coolers according to which meal we would need that food item for. Each cooler was filled with dry ice and labeled with “Tuesday Dinner” etc on top so we never opened the coolers for the end of the week before we got to that day. Amazingly enough even gallons of milk which were used for our last breakfast stayed fresh and frozen all week. It was quite the operation! So each meal we would pull out what we needed, let it sit in the sun to thaw, and then cook each boat’s food in their ovens. It was a lot of work but it went very smoothly!Taylor helps load up the lemonade coolersSunrise that first morningAssembling the giant trampolineThey’re here! All 6 boats were linked together and then connected to our big staff boat and the whole row was staked and tied to the shore. So these boats didn’t go anywhere all week, we stayed in the cove where swimming, the trampoline etc were all set up. There were about 6 ski boats that took groups of kids out during 4 different time slots throughout the day for innertubing and wakeboarding. Enjoying the trampline and blob.Chuck and Matt head out with Henry for some inner tubing.Henry taking out a group of GPC-ers to inner tube on the hot dogGeorge and Michael launching Monica off the blob.The GPC girls chatting and floatingLunch prep one day–each boat received food on their boats for each meal, so we laid everything out in our boat first before delivering it. This day was chili dogs, cheese, chopped onions, chips, oreos, grapes and fruit by the foot.Oh, and lemonade–Dan and Kyle mixed a LOT of lemonade this week!Elpidio grilled a ton of hotdogs this day!Every afternoon they had 6 different kids, one representing each boat, complete the obstacle course. Step one, walk across this wood pannel on the side of a boat without falling off while getting pelted with a hose from above and incredible hulk punching gloves from the side. (most kids ended up in the water, where they swam to step two)Make your way across the lily pads.Climb up on the trampoline and get past whoever was up there blocking your way. Touch the blob without getting tossed into the water.Climb out and ride a bike down the dirt hill into the water for your splash down finish. We are proud to announce that the GPC girls boat came in first at the end of the week when they averaged everyone’s times!Group bath time! Every afternoon there was a collection of people outside our staff boat shampooing hair, using body wash, and yes, even shaving their legs. It was great bonding time 🙂Chuck playing a game with the boysI went out one afternoon to take pictures of the GPC boys wakeboarding. Chris and George are ready!Zach was awesome!Of course George rocks the wakeboardChuck was just learning, and seemed to enjoy his time wake surfing better (which is different than wake boarding, but I didn’t go that day to take pictures)In order to avoid doing a bazillion dishes, Susan buys a ton of foil pans, and then we do a layer of aluminum foil over each pan. Everything gets sorted, cooked and served out of these foiled pans. Then for clean up, each boat had to throw away the layer of foil and bring us back the un-messy foil pan to be reused for the next meal. It worked great! Each boat got a stack of nice heavy duty plastic plates and cups which were labeled with their names and they were in charge of washing those each meal and restacking them for the next one. We learned that some freshmen boys have not yet figured out how to wash dishes and the seniors were giving lessons half way through the week when the dishes on the boy’s boats had layers of grease still on them. Ew! So here’s us prepping lasagna night–pulling apart garlic rolls and foiling pans.On the last day I went with Monica and Clara to try wake boarding on the beginner boat. They had been wanting to try but were scared and the other female leaders didn’t really want to go, so George asked if I’d join them. Those of you who know me are probably laughing, wakeboarding is definitely NOT a Sarah-sport, but I wanted to encourage these girls to try so I agreed. They were awesome. Me, not so much.The two guys who go on the beginner boat are awesome. They only take 3 at a time and are super patient. They start you on this boom, so you are almost already out of the water when the boat takes off. Clara got it right away!Then they move you to the short rope, still on the side of the boat.I enjoyed the floating in the water part!Ok, I am ready to try!Wait! Come back boat!!Ok, managed to hang on this time!I even got up on the short rope. Not so much when they moved me to the long rope at the back of the boat! Lots of face planting and water up the nose!Each night they had “club” on the roof of the first 2 houseboats, where they’d do messy games, a couple songs and our speaker would speak. This game involved the girls breaking raw eggs into a paper cup that the boys had to hold in their mouths. Messy games work well on a houseboat cuz after each game the kids just went and jumped in to clean off!Last morning, GPC boys boat pulling out. Bye boys!
I have read a lot of Harry Potter this week, finishing book 6 and starting book 7, which has been such a fun mental escape. I haven’t read book 7 til it came out two years ago and I flew through it in a day and a 1/2 trying to figure out if Harry lived or died or how the whole saga ended, so there are a lot of little details I missed. I am enjoying the story more this time around!
My friend Heather is here visiting for a wedding this weekend, so she spent last night with us. Apparently the northwest has reached record temperatures (keep in mind, they don’t have air conditioning in most places up there, they just don’t need it very often), so she’s been joking that she came to LA to cool off–can’t say I’m wishing I were there right now!
My little sister started a blog, which I am very excited bout =)
Tonight, for date night, we’re going on a picnic that my husband is in charge of, I am quite excited to see what will be packed and where we will go =) I am in charge of our “activity” which is going to consist of spending time making a “date night” jar. We’re going to brainstorm all kinds of inexpensive local dates that we can come up with and write them on strips of paper, filling a jar with date night ideas. That way when it is Friday nights we don’t have to do the whole “what do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” We will take turns every other week pulling an idea from our jar and making that idea happen. I’m pretty excited about our jar =)
We take off on Monday for a week long houseboat trip with the youth from our church–Monday through Saturday, so we’ll be out of range/contact for those days. Stay tuned for stories of our adventure (120 people on 5 houseboats for 5 days…) next weekend!