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Welcome home...

Friday, August 31, 2007

This is my new apartment. I got the keys today and will be moving in slowly but surely over the next week. I am beyond excited because this is really the first place that I have had to seek out and work hard to get. When I moved down here, Tracy picked out my apartment which was awesome because I didn't know anything about the city. For me, that always seemed temporary especially because I really felt like I wouldn't stay here for more than my two years.

I plan on making this one feel a lot more like home. I've already put curtains up and have bought some things to decorate with which will be good. I plan on slowly replacing my furniture because I still have a lot of mismatched stuff that doesn't really go together at all.

I think I will feel completely better about it when I get settled in, but for the most part I am excited about living close to friends, in a residential area, in a pretty cool apartment.

It is good to have this part be almost over...

teaching experientially...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I know my cultural and historical Bible info fairly well and can lead a pretty good Bible study when I have the opportunity to. Right now I'm leading my youth through John, and I want ways to spice it up and do some experiential things. A lot of Bible Studies I have found for youth just take pieces of the Bible and pull things out of it in order to prove a point rather than let the text lead the discussion and that is what my kids want. They haven't had a whole lot of interaction with the Bible as a story, so that's what we're working on. I think one of the things that is wrong with Sunday School in general is that we have the tendency to dumb it down so that kids get it. By the time kids get to youth group they don't know how to think critically about what they are reading. So that's what I'm working towards. Anyone have any ideas, specifically with the book of John?

I'm hopefully getting to a point where I can really start working on visioning for the youth. It excites me because I am completely a big picture person and jumping in and having to deal with the week to week stuff utterly exhausted me. Besides the fact that I just am overly busy.

I completely just got frightened by one of our pastors who came in my office and laughed maniacally. Not cool. Completely derailed my thought process.

Off to go work on stuff for Bible study tomorrow morning. I think I might be in too many Bible studies.

a prayer

Saturday, August 25, 2007
I have a favorite prayer I turn to when my life is a little more busy than I would like it to be. All of the frantic pace of my life seems to be catching up to me but hopefully I'll be able to slow down a little bit soon. For now, here is the prayer

"A Busy Frantic Life"
by Teresa of Avila

How is it, my God, that you have given me this hectic busy life when I have so little time to enjoy your presence. Throughout the day people are waiting to speak with me, and even at meals I have to continue talking to people about their needs and problems. During sleep itself I am still thinking and dreaming about the multitude of concerns that surround me. I do all this not for my own sake, but for yours. To me my present pattern of life is a torment; I only hope that for you it is truly a sacrifice of love. I know that you are constantly beside me, yet I am usually so busy that I ignore you. If you want me to remain so busy, please force me to think about and love you even in the midst of such hectic activity. If you do not want me so busy, please release me from it, showing how others can take over my responsibilities.

wow what a week

Friday, August 24, 2007
Earlier this week I was preparing to move my stuff out of my apartment and didn't have anywhere lined up to live. I was anxious about an apartment but hadn't seen it and kept getting the runaround about it. I'm always very planned about big stuff like this, but it seemed like no matter what I did I kept ending up back at square one.

On Tuesday I was finally able to see the apartment I've had my eye on since the beginning of the month, and on Thursday I signed a lease. I'm still within about 5 minutes of the church by car which is a good distance. There are perks to living across the street, but now I will be able to separate home from work with more distinguishable boundaries. It is also a bonus that I will be living within walking distance from some great friends.

I am still moving everything out this weekend because I can't handle the stress of turning over an apartment within a day. My new lease starts the day that my old lease ends.

Moving is one of those things that I really dread for the most part. I think that I am just a creature of habit and really work hard to have my life follow patterns. That always makes transitions a little rocky. Thankfully though, I have friends who are seriously amazing and are letting me store stuff at their houses, are helping me to move stuff and are letting me stay with them for a week. So a big thanks to Billy, Tara, Whitney, Jarrod, Alex, Leah, Parker and Halecia. My friends here are seriously amazing and I am thankful that I am staying in Albuquerque and get to continue to have some really great friends!

moving and other things.

Sunday, August 19, 2007
Ok, I found this funny.... and can't help but post it.

Hat tip to Gavin for that one...

Now that you've watched that...

My life is crazy busy, but fun. I'm in the midst of moving all of my stuff to a friend's house, I'll be staying with some other friends starting Saturday if I still don't have a place to live, but hopefully I'll have somewhere to move into this week or at the latest by Sept. 1. Right now I am so thankful I have friends with big houses where I can store things and live for a little bit. Hopefully once I move, I'll stay put.

We've been averaging 25 kids since the end of summer at youth group. I had 8 this morning for Bible Study. That says a lot for an 8:45 study. I won't be surprised if we end up with 30 tonight. God has been blessing this ministry so much these last few weeks it is absolutely amazing. I'm ramping up the spiritual side of things next week, and I'm going to use a lot of the stuff we've been doing the last few weeks to drive the point of community and unity home.

We're moving towards a church wide family and senior high mission trip to Costa Rica at the end of May and into June. I'm beyond excited for that.

I've been battling a cold this week, but I'm starting to feel better.

I've been trying to volunteer with Saranam as they bring in families this coming week. Things are crazy with that ministry right now, but God is truly blessing them for some amazing work to be done over the next 2 years with the new families.

This week is what I call "paperwork" week. I have a newsletter to get out to my youth, I have things that have to go in our church newsletter, I have things for our Church council report. It seems the paperwork never ends!

Now to get a bunch of it done over the next two hours or so when youth starts!

Happy Left-handers day!

Monday, August 13, 2007
Today is a day to be celebrated. It is a day of celebration for people who are left-handed.

I only do one thing right handed, and that is play golf. Of course I haven't played in forever, but that's it.

People who are right handed never really get the discrimination that we left handed people face day to day. I play the guitar left handed and have to pay a premium price to get a guitar that will work for me. I have to search for a seat at a table that is on the left end so I don't elbow people. Scissors... well don't even get me started on scissors. There's no wonder we have a higher mortality rate than right handed people.

In college, my 2nd semester of Greek was strange... there were 13 of us, and 7 of the 13 people were left handed. I didn't stick around past that first month of the class, but every time we took a quiz, Sansone would comment about how many left-handers there were. We all just decided we were overly smart because we were left handed and that is why we even made it to the 2nd semester of that class.

Well, as the old joke goes, there is at least one good thing about being left handed... at least I'm in my right mind.

thinking about young adult ministry

Thursday, August 09, 2007
Yesterday I read an article about young adults and churches online at USA today. I was fascinated by it, and found it especially helpful as I get going in youth and young adult ministry. I definitely don't want to be leading a youth group that is just a holding tank with pizza, I want to be helping these youth find their spiritual identity amidst a world of chaos.

Earlier this afternoon I had a conversation with one of my youth who was telling me that it is hard to be a young person these days. So much to be distracted by such as the internet, cell phones, so many people expecting them to grow up without ever having chances to make mistakes, and so much more is just going on in this chaotic world. I know that I myself have gotten a lot accomplished today, and have been seriously multitasking even listening to sermons while finishing up a Bible Study and keeping my eye on apartments and making phone calls etc.

Our culture tells us today that we have to go go go. We always have to be doing something, we always have to be on the move and worst of all, it tells us that we don't need God to do all of this. We can rely on ourselves. Between the sermons I listened to and the Bible Study I finished up today I am seeing this be a recurring theme. Perhaps it is a sign for me to slow down and know that I need God through everything, not just where I call upon God but through it all.

One of the sermons I listened to today quoted this quote from George Orwell that I found especially striking.

"I thought of a rather cruel trick I once played on a wasp. He was sucking jam on my plate, and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him. It is the same with modern man. The thing that has been cut away is his soul..."

I fear that in our busy lives, in our hurried pace, this is what we are really starting to do. I don't think that it is too late yet, but I think if we don't take the charge seriously to include God in every aspect of our lives, one day we will turn around and realize that even though we are consumers eating our jam and being relatively content, our souls have been cut off.

One easy way we're doing that is that the church is not raising up leaders like it should. It isn't doing so because leadership isn't something you just tell people to do, it is something you foster and help people grow through. Like the above article stated.... "Unless religious leaders take younger adults more seriously, the future of American religion is in doubt," says Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow in After the Baby Boomers, due in stores in September.

Cutting off young people is just the beginning of cutting off the soul of the church and ultimately the soul of Christianity in my opinion. The statistics are truly staggering and really opened my eyes to the grave outlook that there is as far as youth and young adult ministry is concerned. Though it might be grave, I am energized by the spirit that is moving in and around what is going on here in this ministry so far.

fear factor...

Saturday, August 04, 2007
Tomorrow we're doing a "Fear factor" night which I have renamed "faith factor" We'll do some gross stuff then move into a discussion about faith and fear. I'm really excited about it. I need to go pick up a few more items for it, and I love that my list is this.... marshmellows, alphabet soup, sardines, knee high panty hose, and bananas. I bet the clerk at the store will look at me funny.

I've really got a solid group of youth right now which is amazing. I've spent a lot of this week touching bases with them, seeing how they are doing and being in conversation with them. That has been good because I am just a little bit stressed about my life currently. At least I'm down to one job.

This morning I did go help out with some Saranam stuff, and of course I've volunteered to do some things next Saturday and the week of moving people in. Starting yesterday, I'm being incredibly intentional about taking a sabbath day, which is Friday for me. Saturdays are also helpful to have off, but I have things I have to get done on Saturdays a lot of the time. I took care of some things yesterday, but was really intentional about not working at all and it was really a good day for me.

I need to be off to church for setup here soon, but I was just too entertained by my shopping list for tomorrow that I couldn't help but post it. It will definitely be a whole lot of fun.

Youth director at her finest...

Friday, August 03, 2007
One of my youth sent this picture of me from the lock in. Good times.


Thursday, August 02, 2007
So most of my fellow US-2s have started going through their transitions to the next chapter of their lives, and Tiffany just posted a quick blog about it being August already and ended it with a quote from Grey's Anatomy that is oh so true... "We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?"

I've been a little stressed out myself even though I am not leaving here. I turned in notice to my apartment complex that I'm leaving at the end of the month, but have nowhere to move to. I feel like that might have been a bit silly, but I fear that if I don't make myself move, I won't. So I'm frantically looking for a place to live. If it doesn't happen I have amazing friends who will let me stay in their spare room for a few weeks, but I'm trying to have confidence that I will find something I like and can afford.

The transition to the new job has gone fairly smoothly. I'm really starting to get my bearings and have already seen 32 individual kids over the last week which is awesome. I only have 28 on my active list currently so to see 32 last weekend (between the lock in and youth on Sunday) was a true blessing. I'm definitely looking forward to this year and all the things that are planned and coming up.

I think that part of why I am a youth director, (and why other youth directors do what they do) is that they fear growing up. Just like I'm fearing finding some place to live on my own (this is really the first time I've had to do that as Tracy did it for me last time), I am fearing really being an adult. I'll be 25 this year, which is just unbelievable in my mind and all I have to look forward to in that regard is that my insurance is going to go down come November. Sad really.

So what is so scary about becoming an adult? I certainly don't want to go back to being a child again, or a teenager, or being in college, but this concept of completely being on my own in the world, not as some missionary or college student or high school student.... it really scares the crud out of me.
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