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Archive for January, 2007

Weekend Adventures

On Saturday, I took about 27 youth to St. Louis for a day of skiing at Hidden Valley Ski Resort. It was a great day and I had several beginning skiiers and boarders. About 2 pm, one of my youth found me to tell me one of the girls had fallen and broken her wrist. So I headed back to the ski patrol office to wait for her arrival by sled. After 30 mins or so in the ski patrol office, I took her and a couple of friends to St. John’s Hospital about 25 minutes from the resort. I left the rest of the youth back skiing with a couple of adult sponsors. Of course, you know how ER visits can go and this was no different. We got in pretty quickly but there was a major delay with xrays. She had broken her wrist badly and they were going to set it. Now, I realized as time kept going that there was no way we would make it back to pick up the kids and get home by the time we said. On top of that, a winter storm was moving into the area and now we were facing the prospect of driving back in the midst of the storm.

We made it back to pick up the rest of the kids about an hour after we were suppose to be back to JC – 2 hours from St. Louis. With the storm worsening and road conditions poor, we made the decision to stay at a hotel outside St. Louis and return the next day. It turned out to be the right choice with many accidents occuring that night. Plus the youth had a great time. They love slumber parties. We grabbed supper next door at the “Huddle House” and enjoy some great showers and sleep. (not a lot of sleep, but some!) Then we headed back safe and sound on Sunday. It was a great trip really – except for the broken wrist!!

And my prayers to God for a safe trip and some quality time with the youth were answered. Yes, in a weird way, but answered nevertheless. 🙂

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Four …..

Carmen tagged me a couple of days ago so here goes:

Four jobs I wish I’d had:
– Archeaolgist
– Anthropologist
– Author
– A pastor (had to keep with the “A” theme)

Four places I’ve been on vacation:
– Gulf Shores, Alabama
– Estes Park, Colorado
– Gatlinburg, Tennessee
– New York, New York

Four places I’ve lived:
– I’ve lived in Jefferson City, Missouri, all my life except for four years in Bolivar, Missouri while I was in college.

Four favorite foods:
– Moose Tracks Ice Cream
– Ham-n-Beans
– Grilled Chicken Quesadilla
– Mac and Cheese

Four favorite TV shows:(of my life since I don’t watch much tv)
– “MacGuyver”
– “Scarecrow and Mrs. King”
– “Ugly Betty”
– “Cold Case”

Four movies I could watch over and over:
– “Remember Me”
– “Joshua”
– “You’ve Got Mail”
– “Princess Bride”

Four books I could read over and over:
– “Blue Like Jazz”
– “Practicing the Presence of People”
– the Bible
– ????

Four places online I visit every day
Mark and Kailey
Refuge Online
Facebook
Myspace

Four places I’d rather be:
– A warm beach (anywhere!)
– A villa in Tuscany like the one in “Under the Tuscan Sun”
– A cabin in Colorado in the summer
– Sitting by a lake on a porch with my feet on the porch rail as I sip lemonade and read an amazing book.

Four people I tag:
Kailey
Mark
– Grady
– Preston

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Family Time

Tomorrow is ski day with the youth. We are heading to Hidden Valley Ski Resort for the day and it should be alot of fun. 30 youth with many first-time skiers + my camcorder = hilarious footage. I hope more funny than tragic.

I’m really just looking forward to spending the day with them having some fun. We get so busy it is hard to spend time together just enjoying each others company. I miss them.

It’s just like the need for biological families to spend time together to keep relationships real and growing. It’s just like the need for the created to spend time with the Creator to keep the relationship intimate and growing. There are no short-cuts. There are no ways around it. Quality time together is a necessity for the health of relationships.

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Ice, Ice Baby

It has been a weekend of ice here in Missouri. It began Friday (which seems like ages okay) and is still robbing people of power today. Very rarely are we sequestered. Usually, if you want to get out and about you can do it. But this weekend made it challenging. I got out Saturday to make hospital visits and to take some things to my folks. On Sunday, I only ventured out to get the newspaper and in the process landed flat on my less-than-flat butt. After a quick look around to see if anyone had witnessed my mishap, I slid the rest of the way down the driveway. Some little kids were playing across the street and one of them, probably in 3rd grade, politely shouted, “Walk in the grass!”. Instead of shouting back, “I did, thank you very much.” I said “Thanks!” with a thumbs up.

I knew enough to walk in the grass but it didn’t help much on Sunday because my lawn was an ice rink! In fact, when I sidestepped my way back up the lawn, I saw the big (somewhat big but not that big) crack in the grass where I had made contact with my tush.

But no worse for wear today.

Where some folks would find three days of isolation a prison sentence of the worst kind, I’ve enjoyed the quiet time and the time around the house. It has been nice to just read or to watch a movie without feeling guilty of other things that should be accomplished. Most of my youth, however, feel like they are dying a slow and torturous death cut off from the very thing that gives them life – their friends!

I hope you are safe and warm wherever you are.

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The Road Repeatedly Traveled

People have told me that I should write a book. Since I am easily susceptible to praise and compliments, I decided I should write a book. But no one would tell me what to write about. I guess they assumed I could figure that out but I obviously have difficulty thinking for myself. I’m not an expert on anything. I try lots of things and start a lot of things but I rarely finish anything. Like cross-stitching when I was in middle school. All the cool kids were doing it (did I mention my skewed perspective on reality?). From 7th grade to 9th grade, I started seven cross-stitch patterns. One about sisters, two that involved profile pictures of a Native American boy and a Native American girl, one of cute little puppies, one with a nice little Scripture reference to make me feel good and I can’t remember the other two. I didn’t finish one of those patterns. I’d quit the current project for one of two reasons.

First, as easy as cross-stitching might appear, you can make mistakes. Confusing, dumbfounding, no-way-I’m-getting-this-knot-untangled mistakes. It was at that point that I would give up. I’d put it in my bedside drawer and tell myself that I would come back to it tomorrow when I had more time to work out the problem. But we both knew, me and that drawer, that I was lying. I had not intention of coming back to it.

The other reason I would quit a cross-stitching project was because I grew interested in a new cross-stitch pattern. I’d be in a store somewhere and I’d see a pattern that caught my eye and I’d tell myself that if I had that pattern I would finish it because I was more interested in it. So, I’d buy it and you know where the current project would go. Yep, to the drawer.

That was a truly depressing drawer sometimes. In weak moments, when I thought I would work out the knots or restart a project, I’d open the drawer and be met with the undeniable evidence of my inability to follow-through. I remember the half-finished eye of the little Native American girl staring back at me pleading, “Finish me. For the love of all that is good and holy, finish me.” I’d quickly shut the door, silencing her and all the other unfinished works. Out of sight, out of mind.

I do God this way. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve started a new “faith” project. Read the Bible through in a year only to get behind by January 7th and give up because there is no way I can catch up. I’ll just wait until next January. To the drawer. The Lenten season would come around and I would promise God that I would fast from chocolate or sarcasm only to find myself a week later rudely mocking my friend for reminding me of my fast as I threw back a bag of M&Ms. To the drawer. Don’t even get me started on journaling. Just the other night I was rereading the journals I found (guess where?) and every single one of them has unwritten pages in the last third of the book. So, as you might imagine, as I was rereading the journals, I said to myself, “Hmm, Self. I should start journaling again. That is such a good spiritual discipline.” And to start anew with journaling, I should get a new journal.

And then the laughter came. But not from my mouth.

It came from the bedside drawer.

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The youth are currently in my living room starting their Bible study. The lesson is on taking care of our bodies. As they are discussing the issue, they are eating puppy chow and brownies and drinking Fanta Grape and Mountain Dew soda. Notice any irony? 🙂 They are so funny to listen to sometimes. Right now they are reading Scripture and they take turns. The group is a mix of Christians as well as youth that have not set foot in a church. One of the latter was reading a verse and starting laughing. She was confused because there is a random “j” at the end of the verse. Her friend looks at it and starts laughing saying, “That’s a reference “j”.” It is so nice to have fresh eyes and ears around to help you see and hear things in a fresh way.

I spent the day preparing for a presentation tonight at a monthly meeting at the church. I was asked to share about the younger generation and today’s church. I prepared a handout that discussed four key words that described what many young adults and youth are searching for in a community of faith. I suggested that we are seeking a community that is relational, experiential, authentic and spiritual. It led to a very interesting hour-long discussion among the group. Understand that my church is a very large, down-town church that has existed for over 150 years. We have several members that seem to have been part of the founding charter group. 🙂 We also have many new faces as well. Yet we struggle, as do many, to be the community that younger generations are searching for.

To me, however, the most moving part of the dialogue was the admission from two of the older men in the group that they are hungry for these very same things. For just a few moments, we had want in that room what people are seeking – we were real with one another, vulnerable, seeking, and reaching out. It was the very essence of what we were talking about. So many individuals are truly hungry for authenticity. For a safe place to be real and to know they are safe. A place where we can open a vein.

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Protection

My nephew came to visit me at the office today. It made the day. It’s like he blesses my office when he comes. Blesses and rearranges my office. So sweet and innocent (most of the time) is the child.

How in the world does God expect us to come like a child after all that we see and experience in this life? It seems impossible to go back. I would do anything to keep Blake from seeing and experiencing the ugly of this world. I want to make his world as much like the Kingdom of God as possible but much of it is out of my control. The best I can do is to teach Blake to stay in the shadow of the Almighty no matter what lurks beyond it.

I imagine God feels the same for us. God would do anything to make this world the Kingdom of God but there are some things that God willing gave up control over. The best God can do is teach us to stay in the shadow of the Almighty and to help us do our part in revealing God’s will on earth like it is in Heaven.

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