Thursday, July 29, 2010

so much to learn

So, I know I've mentioned that I teach piano to a 70-year-old Vietnamese man. Now I have to revise that statement, because he and his wife had their 60-year anniversary this past weekend.

60 YEARS!!!

I was floored. Anyway, I asked him about the party, and being married 60 years and such things. He told me that usually marriage is arranged much younger than in his case. He was 17 when he got married, and his wife was 16. So I did some quick mental math, and realized that he is 77.


I just got to thinking about his life, and the things he's seen and been through.

I know he was a political prisoner at some point, he speaks pretty good english, and he and his wife have several kids. Like, 6, I think.

I'm still floored by being married for 60 years.

But, we still have lessons. He still wants to learn. I have to teach him, and help him discover how to play the things he wants to play without seeming disrespectful. It's a good learning experience for me. Today he said that he learned a lot, and he wants me to keep going in the same way, so he can keep learning.

I still have so much to learn.

He is inspiring to me.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


So, here's the deal on LIFE. The church denomination I grew up in and go to now has a HUGE youth conference every three years, and it's called LIFE. I went twice when I was in High School, and it was awesome. The best quick description I could give you is that it's like church camp, but on steroids.
The main attractions for LIFE is that everything is awesome. The speakers, the worship leaders, the bands and concerts, the seminars, the things that are available in the activity center, and even the "services". They are actually called sessions, but most of the time it's like church. Fun stuff to start off, singing, special presentations, and speaker, all designed to speak to teens where they are. But, I will tell you that I am NOT a teen, and I loved every minute of it.

So, some examples of this awesomeness would be...

Speakers: Francis Chan, Derwin Gray, James Grout

Worship: Logan Martin Band. They are from Salem, OR, and if you haven't heard of them yet, you will soon. They were GREAT!

Special Presentations:Trace Bundy (guitarist), Bradley Hathaway (slam poet), Carlos Oscar (comedian), Danny Ray (illusionist), and lots more.

Bands: Hawk Nelson, Kutless, Proxy (hip-hop artist), Flynn Adam (DJ before each session)

If you want to know any more about these awesome people, you can check them out, but I just don't have the time to tell you about each one. I loved them, the kids loved them, and a good time was had by all. It all combined to make the sessions less like "church", and more like a fun get-together. Very entertaining.

The theme for the week was "collide", and all the speakers talked on this theme, and how it relates to us. The first day was on the collision that was creation - God spoke and everything we know came out of his mouth. He created eating! Francis Chan talked for several minutes about how weird eating is. But God chose to create eating, rather than creating us like trees, sucking up nutrients and water from the soil. This was all very vividly demonstrated with a Kit Kat bar!
The second day was the collision that was incarnation - Jesus' choice to become human and messy, and take on our sins. That Jesus came down to earth to live outwardly through us.

The third day we talked about the collision of our Faith with our lives, and what it means to live out our faith. James Grout talked from James 1, and basically said that we need to live out our faith - if there is no evidence of our faith in our day-to-day lives, then our religion is useless.

That really struck me - what evidence of my faith is there in my every day life?

Friday night was the Project night, and we got to choose from all of the concerts or performers. It was pretty cool, I thought, that there were so many choices. The Hawk Nelson concert was a big draw, but several of my kids went to different shows, like Danny Ray the illusionist, or Carlos Oscar the comedian.

Saturday, the last day was on the collision that is the church. James Grout talked from Luke 10, and reminded us that our "job" is to love God with everything we have. Often we get so busy doing the "work" of the church, that we forget to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, etc. If we love God with everything we have, we will act as the church should act.

This morning, was pretty cool as well: there was a missionary parade, with Alliance missionaries carrying flags from all the countries where the Alliance has workers or a missionary presence.

Here's what it looked like from above:

Saturday night was the last meeting, and Jason, our "pastor" for the week gave us all glow sticks! It was pretty cool to see 6500 teens waving glow sticks. Here's a picture:

It just reminds us that in order to bring light to the world, Jesus had to be broken. Such as it is with a glow stick.

So, I haven't even touched on half of the things going on at LIFE, but I think you've got the idea. The most amazing part of this week was that God put a call on several of our kids' lives to go into the ministry. I am SO grateful that they were in a position where God could speak to them, and they listened.

Any time God can grab ahold of a teenager's life and change it for good, I'm all about that.

So, now LIFE is over, and until 2013 in St. Louis, I guess we will have to look back at the pictures and notes on the speakers, and continue to apply all that we've learned.

Thanks for reading, and here's to living out the collision in your life.


Friday, July 16, 2010

so much to say...


wow. wow. wow.

I'm not sure I have words for all that's happened in the past 2 weeks, but here goes. I feel the need to write about it, and get it off my chest. (Really off my brain, but that's for another time!)

To start, I went away for a week to Louisville, KY with the Youth Group for a huge youth conference. That, I will have to tackle in another post, because it's a whole thing unto itself.

Let's start with the good news/bad news, shall we?

First off, I came home from the trip sick. Not really a major deal, but the cold that about 8 of us got on the last day or two of the trip. I rested about 20 hours the day after returning, because I was so tired. All well and good so far. Until the next day...
I work up and KNEW that something was wrong. Called the Dr. and got in that morning. Turns out that the cold had worked its way down into my chest, and I had bronchitis. For me, this is the usual course of action, so I wasn't dismayed. When I went to the Dr., I had a temp of 101.5. No WONDER I was feeling so bad!

I'm on the usual drugs now, and feeling a little better every day.

In this situation, I am so grateful that I didn't get bronchitis while ON the trip because that would have been terrible! I'm grateful that my Dr. understands what's going on, and that there are cheap drugs that will fix me right up. I'm also grateful that I had time to rest and get better.

OK, next situation.
On Tuesday night, my downstairs toilet exploded. This is the 2nd time in 3 months, and it was hellacious to clean up. I shop-vac-ed almost a whole canister of "water" off the floor before it was all over, and then had to clean up after all of it. I called Roto-Rooter and they couldn't come until morning, so the next morning I had the Roto-Rooter guy at my house bright and early. He listened to me, and immediately called the HOA to tell them that the main sewer line needed to be cleaned out.

So, the sewer clean-up was not the greatest experience, and at one point during I was dripping sweat, and crying because I didn't feel good (bronchitis, remember?) and didn't want to be doing THIS! But I pulled up my big-girl panties and did it. Gave me a sense of accomplishment, actually.

For this I am SO grateful for a couple things:
First, that it didn't happen while I was out of town. Blllleeeeeeech. I cannot even imagine that sitting on my floor for days.
Second, that the Roto-Rooter guy didn't even fiddle with my toilet, because he KNEW that the problem was in the main line. This is a blessing because the HOA won't randomly fix things unless they KNOW that it is not anywhere inside one of the units. If I called and talked to them about this, it went nowhere. But when the Roto-Rooter guy called them directly...well, he's my new favorite person.
I'm also grateful that I didn't have to pay for any of this huge repair and be reimbursed - since he called first, the HOA just took care of it totally.

Yes, it was an inconvenience to not use water at all during the day while it was being fixed, but when I step back and look at the whole picture, everything really did turn out good in the end.

I'm taking a cue from my friend Beth over at Like a Day Off, and looking at all things with JOY.

Next, the skinny on LIFE, and all the LIVES it changed.