Tuesday, April 29, 2008

video blogs

Intern Jeff and I have been having a lot of fun filming our Monday video blogs for the college group. They are just a fun way to share what's going on that week in the college ministry. And then we leave the students with a "Question of the Week" that they can answer in the comment section of our MySpace page. Dang, we're SO 2008!

Here was yesterday's vlog:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Swell Season

Another blog about music. This time, it's to chat about the amazing concert I went to last night: The Swell Season!

First off, if you haven't seen the movie Once yet, please do. It's an indie film about two young people in Ireland. The guy (Glen Hansard) works in his dad's shop, fixing vacuum cleaners but also is a street performer in Dublin with his beat-up guitar. Music is his real passion. The girl (Markéta Irglová) is a street vendor immigrant from Czech Republic. They meet, find out they both love music (she plays piano and sings) and start writing, performing, and recording songs together while growing closer through it all.

So Glen and Markéta are now touring the US, playing music from the movie. The concert is called "The Swell Season" because that is the name of the album with all their songs (it came out a year or two ago, right before the movie). The roomies and I got a heads-up on tickets (thanks, Nick!) so luckily we snagged some before they sold out.

So last night we headed up to Oakland (O-Town! Represent!!) and had dinner at this fun tapas cafe/bar in Berkeley. Then we found the theater and got seated.


Oh my goodness, I love concerts but this one has got to be on the top of my list! Glen and Markéta (he calls her "Mar" - yes, they are dating in real life) seemed so sweet and down-to-earth. Glen introduced most of the songs and he was really funny. And when they sang, their voices blend so beautifully together. They were joined on stage by a violinist and two other guitarists. No drums or percussion at all. Amazing.

When they came back for an encore, we were treated to another hour of music! Sweet! And even then, everyone in the theater was like, "No! Keep going! Don't send us home!" It was like we couldn't get enough. And they seemed to be having a ball on stage, too. We finally left around 12:15. We were tired but SO PUMPED. Love love love them.

Here's one of my favorite songs: Lies

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I heart David Cook

I really do.

Let me start off by saying I have never been into American Idol. Sure, it's this mega-reality show, millions of people watch it, it's in its seventh season, singers like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken have come from it...blah blah blah. But I've never been "into" it. I heard people talk about it each year but never really cared enough to make it a weekly show I watched (unlike LOST or The Office).


Then along came David Cook.

I happened to be flipping through channels on a random Tuesday evening and I came to this. My jaw dropped. Who IS this guy?! So then each week I checked in, just for David Cook. Yeah, a few other singers were good. But week after week, David was hitting it out of the park! "Billy Jean" by Michael Jackson, "Little Sparrow", "Day Tripper", "All Right Now"....heck he even rocked "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey! I was like, "This guy can do no wrong."

And then to make things even better, this past week was Andrew Lloyd Webber week. All the finalists had to sing songs from musicals he had written. Cats, Starlight Express, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, etc.

I grew up with a love for musicals, but especially Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. My mom LOVED him and we listened to Phantom in the car to and from school growing up. She and my dad even got to see Michael Crawford in LA as the Phantom, which to this day, they say is one of their most memorable nights together.

When I was 12 (I think) my parents surprised my sisters and I and took us into SF to see The Phantom of the Opera. My first time seeing a musical! I will never forget that night. They even rented a limo and we got all dressed up and had dinner in the city and everything. It was a magical night. I was captivated by the theater, the music, the orchestra, the sets and costumes, and seeing everything played out in front of me, whereas before I had just sat in my mom's Volvo and imagined everything in my head.

This past week on American Idol, David Cook said he was going to sing "The Music of the Night" from Phantom and I almost lost it. One of my favorite musicals, one of the coolest songs, and sung by my favorite finalist. It was like I had died and gone to heaven.

I seriously almost cried. Again, who IS this guy!? I went on iTunes and bought the full length version he recorded (all the finalists record full versions in a studio) and have been listening to it all the time.

So it's official.

I heart David Cook.

And he should definitely win American Idol.

Monday, April 21, 2008

a good but long week

Dang, it's been a whole week since I last blogged. I've had all these blogs topics running through my head, but everytime I have time to sit down and type 'em up...I'm too tired. Oh well. Movin' on.

So yes, last week was very fun and very full. I'll give the quick run-through. Monday was meetings at work, hip-hop class, and dinner with roomies and friends. Tuesday after work I went to sushi with my college adult leaders. We had such a good time! Then I went to "Ladies Night" at a nearby coffeeshop (we do this every other Tuesday).

Wednesday I had college group and afterwards when I went out to my car, I saw that my stduents had made Intern Jeff and I some fun signs. They had placed them in front of our cars. Super fun and creative. I stuck my sign in my trunk and if I ever need to reserve a parking spot for myself at church...I'm set!

Thursday was the beginning of the weekend o' fun. My two younger sisters (Liz and Emily) came into town and stayed with me overnight. We went downtown for a "Flashback Movie Night" at the big movie theater. They're starting this thing where every Thursday night at 8, they're showing fun movies from the past for only 5 bucks. This week was JURASSIC PARK! Dun dun DUNNNN!!! Can you believe that movie is 15 years old? Came out in 1993. It was fun watching it on the big screen with surround sound. Everyone in the theater was totally into it - laughing, screaming, clapping, gasping. I love that! It was one of my co-workers birthdays and he had invited everybody, so we had a big crew of people there in the theater to celebrate.

Liz and Em crashed at my place and then Friday we drove over to where my parents were staying for the weekend. (The reason my whole fam was in town was for a wedding we were all going to) I had lunch with them, went shopping for the wedding present, went home and cleaned the house, wrapped the present, and then got ready and drove to the wedding. My older sis Amy and her hubby David were there with the rest of the fam by the time I arrived. We all sat together and watched my dear friend, Jessica, get hitched. It was an outside wedding and very beautiful. Congratulations Sass and Rex!

I sadly couldn't stay for the reception because I had to get back home for our....LADIES SLEEPOVER. On Friday night a group of college ladies came to my house (which is why I had to clean it) for a sleepover and a bunch of college guys went to another house to spend the night. The boyz wanted their sleepover to sound manly, so they called it the "Guys Manover". Cute.

We had a great time. We ordered pizza (and had a pizza delivered to the boys house that said "Girls Rule" in black olives), had a dance party, played games, made cookies, listened to music, etc. We also had the idea to make a cake for Intern Jeff because he was turning 25 the next day. The girls went crazy decorating it (it looked like a Jackson Pollack painting). At midnight we piled into cars and drove to where the guys were. We lit the candles and surprised all of them by walking in and singing "Happy Birthday"!! They were all playing video games, so we joined them for awhile. They even had Rock Band! Fun!!

We went back to my house and watched a girly movie and crashed around 3. (Zzzzz....too late for Granny Sarah) I made them all breakfast in the morning and then they took off around noon or 1. And then since my fam was still in town, I spent the day with them. We walked around, shopped, went to see a movie ("21" - about five MIT college students who go to Vegas and "count cards" to win thousands of dollars), had dinner at a fun Mexican place.

And THEN we went to ice cream at my favorite place nearby...and we ran into the bride and groom! Jessica and Rex were there getting ice cream! They didn't leave for their honeymoon till Monday so they were in town. My mom was so shocked to see them. She pulled into a parking spot, looked up and said, "There are the bride and groom!! Oh SH--!" which is awesome, because my mom is not a cusser.

Sunday I had church and afterwards went to "Park Day" (we all bring lunches to a park nearby and hang out). Then I did some work and went home and CRASHED big time. I was so pooped from the week and weekend. I slept for 11 hours and I woke up today still tired. I am contemplating taking a nap right now or not. Hmmmm...

Anyway, so thanks for reading about my life the past week. Good, full, sunny. (Can it be summer soon PLEASE!?!) I hope all of you are doing well and had enjoyable weekends, too. More blogs (that don't involve a blow-by-blow description of my schedule) to come. Love you all!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sarah's Top 10 Signs She's Getting Old

10. I have been buying things for "back-up". For example, I have a tube of toothpaste or bottle of shampoo in my bathroom. But I'll be at the store and will buy an extra tube or bottle to keep as "back-up" for when the first ones run out. And I do that with multiple toiletries. Seriously, who DOES that!?! (moms and grandmas, right?)

9. When some jr. high/high school students cut across the street (not at a stop light) and I hit my brakes, I mutter under my breath about the "younger generation".

8. I am constantly forgetting things. They say memory is the first thing to go...

7. I need at least 8 hours of sleep every night. But I aim for 10.

6. Sometimes when I get out of bed in the morning, my joints are noisy and creak-y.

5. I talk to our house cat. (Oh God, help me)

4. My college students have their 19th and 20th birthdays and I can't even remember my own. They seem like eons ago.

3. I recently discovered 2 gray hairs. Nooooooooooo! Those babies were ripped out right away.

2. Someone asks for the time and five people nearby pull out their cell phones to check. Suddenly, I feel so old to still be wearing a watch.

and last but not least

1. At the Paramore/Jimmy Eat World concert last week, it was too loud for me. And I didn't have any earplugs. So I made a pair myself out of toilet paper. I looked ridiculous.

Anyone else feelin' old? Do you resonate with anything on the list? Are there any of your own you would add?

Friday, April 11, 2008

thank goodness for days off

I have Fridays and Saturdays off from work, and hallelujah, I needed today. This week was so lame. And by lame, I mean ridiculously busy and frantic. There is so much going on in students' lives, it's a bit overwhelming. Add to that still not being caught up on post-Mexico schtuff and planning/running the normal college stuff this week. Whew. Both Jeff (intern) and I were so ready for a couple days off.

So instead of boring you with how lame my week was, let me share how AWESOME my Friday was. First off, I slept in. Always a good thing for Sarah. I met a friend for lunch downtown and while we were sitting outside eating, we ran into 3 different random friends at different times. It brought me joy because I realized how much I love the community I live in. I never know who I'm going to run into.

Oh and can I also add how BEAUTIFUL the weather was today? It was seriously in the low 80's and breezy. So of course I drove everywhere with all 4 windows down, sunglasses on, and listening to a new mix CD I made last night. It felt like summer. I was so giddy.

I came home and got inspired to clean my room and bathroom. I will be the first to admit that cleaning the bathroom is on the bottom of my favorite-things-to-do list. But two of my sisters are coming to crash with me next week so I wanted to clean everything up before they got here. And it actually felt good to get everything clean. My room looks good and smells good. Sweet.

And THEN I went on a bike ride. I waited till it cooled down a bit and then got out the ol' bike from the garage. My annual triathlon is coming up in 3 weeks, so I gotta buckle down with training. It was a great ride. I saw 5 deer eating grass in someone's yard, a ton of horses at a ranch, lots of birds, and had the pleasure of multiple bugs flying into my sunglasses and mouth. (Bleh!) But who cares? It was invigorating.

Today has been so nice and relaxing. Just what I needed. Thank goodness for days off.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Paramore and Jimmy Eat World

What a fun concert last night! Oh my word. I loved Paramore before I saw them in concert, but now I love them even more. They did SUCH a great job. The lead singer, Hayley, has a great voice and bounces around stage while the guys in the band headbang (she joins them in that once in awhile). Lots of energy, great songs, everyone was singing along. I love that!! Music brings people together. I didn't know the other thousands of fans in the arena, but we all sang as one when we heard songs we knew.

I didn't know many songs by Jimmy Eat World, but they were fun to listen to and they all seemed super nice. I am so glad I got to see both bands live. (AND we stopped at In N Out before the concert...always a good thing) So all in all...a fab night.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mona Lisa talks??

Ever wanted to know why Mona Lisa doesn't have eyebrows? Well, I guess now we can ask her. I saw this on Yahoo today and wanted to check it out. Apparently there is an art exhibition in Seoul, South Korea called "The Alive Gallery" where paintings come to life and talk to you. They can answer your questions, too. When asked about not having eyebrows, Mona Lisa replied (in Korean) that wide foreheads were considered beautiful during the Renaissance. So many women back then shaved their eyebrows to make their foreheads seem wider.

Leonardo de Vinci and Michaelangelo also come alive to answer questions and talk about their paintings. The Last Supper is also featured with Jesus and his 12 disciples. It's so crazy! Here's a clip from CBS News:

What do you all think? Cool? Not? How dare they mess with famous art like that? Etc?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mexico '08

I've had a couple days of rest so I am a bit more coherent. I would love to share with you all about our amazing mission trip to Mexico. It was good. Good good good. God is good.

We left Saturday March 22nd and drove down to San Diego. I was in charge of transportation for the trip and luckily everything went well for the ride down. We crashed at a church that night and then woke up Sunday morning to cross the border. Once we crossed, we drove to our tent area. The rest of the day was spent setting up camp. Yeah for wind and tarps and tents and porta-potties and unloading equipment and setting up the kitchen area and tables and chairs and making a campfire and assigning students to tents and unloading luggage and sleeping bags and making our campsite as homey as possible.

Monday was the first day of building. Since we had over 100 people on the trip, we split them into 5 teams, with the goal that each team would build a house. It was great because AMOR (the organization we work with) got us work sites that were close to each other. (in previous years we've been split up) So here was a typical day:

wake up at 6
breakfast, pack a lunch
drive to work sites
work from 8-5
drive back to campsite
dinner, leader meeting
campfire with everyone to talk about the day
hang-out time, bed

It was so fun to walk around to all the sites each day and see the students working SO hard. And smiling! And laughing! They were giving up their spring break to be in the hot sun (praise for no rain!), live in dirt, get sweaty and filthy and hungry, doing hard labor...and loving it! I was so encouraged.

Yes, there were definitely times of frustration and stress. But then I watched as the leaders of each team would stop everyone's work and they'd all just grab hands and pray. Love it love it love it.

Here are some of my highlights from the trip:

* camp fire time (I loved hearing stories from the day)

* the girls in my tent

* car rides to and from the work site (our favorite songs were "This is Why I'm Hot" by MIMS, "Low" by Flo Rida, and "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi)

* the families (our site's family was a mom and dad - Sergio and Elvira, and they had 3 kids - Valeria, Sergio Jr. and little Cesar who was almost two years old)

* hangin’ with college students (and high school students, too) Because of all the prep that went into the trip, I hadn't spent time with students in a long time and I missed it! It was so nice to be away from home and get quality time with them.

* the kids in the village

* seeing everyone working so hard and having the greatest attitudes

* poop stories (it wouldn't be a church trip without them)

* giving the keys to the family on the last day

So overall, when people ask me about the trip, my response holds words like "soooo good" or "it was so cool to see the students grow closer to God and to each other" or "awesome!" or "it's so great to see God at work in Tijuana" or "best year yet!" All are true.

The only bad part of the trip for me was the second-to-last day. We packed up camp early Friday morning and set out to cross the border back into Cali. First, I got separated from our group and got lost on the road. Scary. Then we had to wait for 2-3 hours to cross the border. Then, when we stopped for lunch, I got a call saying one of our vans broke down 10 miles behind us. Eek.

Long story short, I went to pick up the stranded students (the driver would stay there until the car was fixed) while everyone else headed for our little motel in Anaheim. When I got there, I got chewed out by one of our adult leaders. Then I went BACK to our lunch spot to pick up a couple more students. And then I got my first ticket. Arg. All I was thinking about was how behind we were, all I wanted to do was get to the motel, it's the end of the week, I'm fried, I'm done, etc. I went through an intersection at a yellow light but got caught behind backed-up cars and end of blocking the intersection. Crap! Got pulled over, tried not to cry, all of this happened with 6 students in the car.

Then we hit 3 hours of Friday afternoon traffic. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot and the students scrambled out, I burst into tears. I was so DONE, ya know? Since I was in charge of transportation, I felt responsible for the stuff that happened. (although I couldn't help the wait at the border, the traffic, or the car breaking down)

So I just stayed in the car (when I should have been in the all-group meeting) and cried and thought and prayed and cried some more. After awhile, a friend of mine (Amy) climbed into the passenger seat and sat with me. After I shared with her about the day, she and I talked about freakin' Satan. We had just experienced an amazing week in Mexico, watching God at work in the lives of these students. No injuries, no problems, no sickness...just a purely awesome week of serving God. And I felt like Satan wanted to bring me down and make me forget about all that had happened. And it was true! I was so focused on all the horrible things that had happened that day. It was souring the whole week's experience.

It was so good to put things in perspective. We also talked about how good it was that both the break-down AND my ticket hadn't occurred until AFTER we crosed the border. They both happened in San Diego. If they had to happen at all, I am thankful they did not happen in Mexico.

Anyway, I could go into it more, but it really helped to talk with Amy. The rest of my evening was w-a-y better. I went up to my room, took a shower, and then got to have dinner with best friend Elissa and her hubby Mike. Then Saturday we packed up and headed home. I almost fell asleep 4 times at the wheel. Good times.

So since then I have been sleeping, sleeping, sometimes eating and seeing roomates and friends, but mostly sleeping. This trip wipes me out more than any other trip. But. It. Is. So. Worth. It. Next Sunday night is our "Celebrate Mexico" night where we all come together for a night of stories, pictures, a video, awards, re-connecting, etc.

It will be so good to see everyone again. You get very used to waking up and living life with 109 other people all day every day. It's a bit strange to come back to real life and not have that around you.

So anyway, thanks for reading my long post. Great trip. Still reflecting. God is good.