Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas caroling

Top 3 moments caroling downtown with my college students tonight.

#1 - Screaming/singing "BRING US SOME FIGGY PUDDING AND BRING IT RIGHT HERE!" with a student as we ran down the street. (By the way, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" is the worst Christmas carol ever.)

#2 Singing Frosty the Snowman for people sitting outside a pizza place and a group of guys repeatedly asking my underage students if they wanted a drink.

#3 Asking 3 homeless men with guitars if they want to sing with us. Their reply: "Nah, we'll smoke pot over there and just listen."

Monday, November 28, 2011

food drive totals!

Remember a couple weeks ago I blogged about the food drive my church was doing?

To recap: the past 10 weeks, we've been collecting food and money for Second Harvest Food Bank. We've done a food drive the past 6 years, but this year our pastor gave us a huge challenge: one million pounds of food. And not only that, but one of our missionaries works with Kenyan refugees in a famine-stricken village in Somalia and said it would only cost $10,000 to feed everyone in that village for a year. So our pastor added that to our goal as well.

It was so cool to hear/see what has gone on the past couple months. Kids have been making crafts and selling them door-to-door (a couple kids even did a "board-break-a-thon" with their martial arts clubs), families had garage sales or took money from their Christmas budgets, and my college students and I went downtown to make friendship bracelets and play music to raise money. Everyone wanted to be involved to help those in need.

Last weekend was the final weekend to turn donations in. And yesterday our pastor revealed how much we raised. Here's what he said.

"Did we reach our food drive goal? First, some background: We believe that providing food for the hungry is part of what it means to live like a Christian. 'If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.' (Isaiah 58:10)

Every year we partner with Second Harvest Food Bank for the food drive. Our first year, our goal was 50,000 pounds of food. This year, our goal was one million pounds of food. This has never been attempted before. And the amazing news is...we exceeded our goal, raising 1,229,961 pounds for the food bank locally, plus enough in cash donations to help feed a village in Somalian with our African church partners for three years!"

Everyone was screaming, cheering, dancing in the aisles. It was so awesome. So much hope and joy was bursting out of that place.

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm thankful

Nephew Samuel - 5 months old.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm scared I'm becoming a B.S.W.




I reeeeally don't want to be one. But I am noticing I am headed in that direction.

I'm trying to think of a way to illustrate my concern.

Maybe I should share about having to hold in my exasperated screams of "YOU'RE FREAKING 19!" every time one of my college students whines to me about wanting to be married and where is Mr. Right. Or maybe I should mention I have reached almost ninja-level stealthiness of finding the bathroom when it comes to the bouquet toss at weddings. Or perhaps I should mention my annoyance with "The Back Scratchers" at church. You know. The couple that take turns rubbing and scratching each others backs during a sermon. I seem to have the frequent unfortunate luck of sitting right behind them and spending the whole service wishing to God they'd just get a room already.

But no, I think I will illustrate my BSW-ness with what happened last night. I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to watch an old Disney movie. I decided on Sleeping Beauty.

Well, I'm not proud to say this, but at the end of the movie I cried and then threw a curse word at Aurora. Prince Phillip was fighting Maleficent (aka: Crazy Dragon Lady) and all SHE had to do was look beautiful and take a nice long nap until he came to kiss her. Boooo.

When you start cussing out Disney princesses, something is definitely wrong.

Is there a support group for B.S.W's like me?

P.S. If this continues, I might have to buy a rocking chair, knit afghans, and start taking in all the stray neighborhood cats. I'm allergic to cats but I might have to do it anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I did it! I blogged every day this week. I have more ideas for upcoming blogs in my head, but I'll space 'em out.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

food drive

A few days ago I blogged about going downtown to raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank. It was today...and it was so awesome! Here are some pictures from our afternoon.

We raised $25.75 for Second Harvest (those dollar bills sure add up). Because $1=3 pounds of food, we're donating 77 pounds of food toward our church's goal. It's not a whole lot, but I'm so proud of those students for coming up with the idea and going for it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

to seminary or not to seminary

This past year I have been seriously thinking (and praying) about going to seminary. There is one about 45 minutes away that many of the pastors at my church and a couple friends have gone to and liked. I went to their "Preview Day" back in May and felt like it would be a good fit. I am interested in two of their Masters programs: Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership or Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies.

The problem is finances.

Seminary is dang expensive. We're talking $445 a unit. So if I want to take 6 units a semester, that is $2670 I need to magically appear in my bank account every six months.

I appealed to my boss, wrote a letter, and he presented it to the board at my church. It was my hope that they could approve some money starting in 2012 for staff who want to go to seminary. My boss said the board seemed interested in the idea...but all churches are struggling financially right now, so they're not sure what they can do. I'll know Jan. 1st what they decide.

I know it's a lot of money but it would go toward a great cause. It will equip me to be a better minister, shepherd, teacher, and leader. (I especially want to take more bible classes because my students ask me really hard questions and I don't always know how to answer them.)

I'll keep praying. If God wants me at seminary, I'll be there.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

trivia night

My roomates and I have started a new tradition. There is a pizza place downtown that has Trivia Nights every Thursday. You get in groups of 2-6 people and come up with team name. There are 4 rounds, 6 questions a round.

The trick is to get different people on your team. One person who knows history. One who knows science. Entertainment/pop culture. Geography. Literature. Your combined brain power helps you answer the most questions correctly.

Here's hoping Turd Ferguson (our team name) wins it all tonight!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

donations accepted

I'm not a homeless person, I swear. But I WILL take any money offered to me this Saturday.

Our church has been raising money for Second Harvest Food Bank. SHFB provides food for hundreds of thousands of family in the Bay Area. And with the recession, more families are in need than ever before.

The church's goal is one million pounds of food. (*cue Dr. Evil's pinky to mouth*) 1 dollar = 3 pounds of food. Which means our church is trying to raise $333,333. We started the food drive 6 weeks ago. It's been so fun to hear stories. Kids are doing lemonade stands or car washes. Families are having garage sales. People are re-budgeting their income to set aside extra cash for the food drive every week.

This Saturday, myself and some of my college students will be going downtown and setting up a station. Some of them are going to play music for donations and I will be making friendship bracelets (either I will make them or I will teach people to make one themselves). 100% of donations will be given to the food drive.

I've never done anything like this before. I always see people downtown either asking for spare change or sitting on a blanket selling stuff - art, jewelry, photography, etc. I hope people see what the cause is for (we'll have signs) and get excited about what we're doing.

All money for the drive is due Sunday. And then they'll reveal how much we raised the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I'll let you guys know as soon as I hear the results.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

nephew updates

Staying on the same vein as family, I would love to give you nephew updates. Tomorrow, baby Samuel is 5 months old. Whoa! Time is flying by. I got to see him Saturday at my mom's birthday. He's so cute! He's super responsive to everything now. And then Judah is turning 3 next week. The big news is that he has been going "poo-poo in the potty". Big boy!

Here is an adorable video of them: Judah is being silly and turning his head everywhere to make Samuel laugh.

Baby giggles are the BEST.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Mamacita

I have the best mother in the world.


How did I get so lucky?

Today my mom turned 65. This picture was taken at her birthday dinner on Saturday. I'd like to take a moment and say how hott she is. 65? Yeah right. She looks 45. Total babe.

Let's start by talking about how amazing she is to have birthed 4 kids!! I can't imagine squeezing ONE "watermelon out of a straw" (as my sister says) let alone FOUR. Good lord. She said by the fourth kid, she was reaching down and helping the doctor pull my youngest sister out.

Which brings me to the next part - how wonderful it is to have a mom who's a nurse. Nothing fazes her. Between her four kids and working at a hospital for 40 years, she's seen and weathered it all. Snot, puke, diarrhea, fevers, bruises, mononucleosis (that would be me), broken bones, stitches, bronchitis, fingers stuck in bedroom doors or car doors, sprains, scratches, chicken pox, pneumonia, the common cold, etc. You name it. If we were ever hurt or sick, we didn't have to worry. Mom knew just what to do.

She and my dad have been married 43 years. She loves my dad and has always been a supportive partner and helpmate to him. They live and enjoy life side-by-side. She has shown me through example of how to be a godly wife.

I mentioned this at her birthday dinner, but something my mother excels at is hospitality. Any person who walks in her front door is instantly family. It doesn't matter if you are someone she's known her whole life, a friend of one of her daughter's, or a stranger off the street. You are welcomed, cared for, and loved. The house I grew up in is not huge but it is full of love and memories. A huge part of that was due to my mom's gracious and selfless heart.

Now let's talk about her cooking. I didn't realize till after college (when I had to learn to cook for myself) how awesome my mom's cooking was. I don't know where she got her recipes but they are so good. Fresh ingredients, homemade sauces, soups, salads, and more. And she had to cook for 6 people every night! How did she do it? She's also a fantastic baker. (I just gained five pounds thinking about her Christmas goodies)

When I was growing up, my mom supported my sisters and I in everything we did. She came to our class parties, choir concerts, dance recitals, plays or musicals, award ceremonies, etc. And if we ever needed to have a party or get together, she planned something fun and memorable.

There were so many times I came home from a bad day at school or after a fight with a friend. My mom was there. She hugged me and let me cry my eyes out. She would jokingly ask if I wanted her to beat them up. I couldn't help but giggle, thinking about my mom going out with fists flying.

Vacations were a priority. She and my dad knew the value of making memories together. I have fond memories of going boating with my mom at our summer family camp, her mooning our whole family in Hawaii, and watching her freak out inside a broken elevator in Spain.

She instilled in us a love of learning and reading. At the dinner table growing up, if we were stumped on something, she jumped up and grabbed an encyclopedia or the globe so we could find the answer. Instead of buying a video game system, she would drive us to the library or big bookstore 10 minutes away. We'd spend summers reading or swimming at her friend's pool. We were smart and healthy.

Years ago, when I went through the hardest time of my life, she took care of me, spent time with me, even took me away on a two day retreat so I didn't have to think about things. I look back on that time and am beyond thankful for her gentleness, listening ear, and servant's spirit.

I'd also like to mention that she goes to Ethiopia every year (sometimes twice a year) to love and provide medical attention for kids and adults. She doesn't raise support - she pays all the money herself. To give up weeks of work and life to go to a third world country and show them the love of Jesus.

Today I celebrate her 65 years of life. She has been a blessing to me and so many others. I am so thankful for her. Happy birthday Mamacita!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

it is decided

I have not been giving my little blog much love or attention lately. Therefore, it has been decided that I will blog every single day this week. Maybe it will be deep thoughts. Maybe it will be fluff. Regardless, come check it out.

I will start by saying that the ladybugs are back. I have lived in this room for 8 years now and they come back every November like clockwork.

I keep thinking it's starting to rain, but's just them hitting my windows, trying to get inside my room. A few are flying around my head as I type this. Good times.

All right blogger friends, let's see where this week takes us!

Monday, November 07, 2011

I want to live at Hogwarts


Can I just live there?

Hi, I'm back from Orlando. I had a wonderful vacation.

I posted all my pictures on facebook if you want to check them out.

My highlight, of course, was visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We saved it for our last day of vacation. When I entered the park, my heart was beating really fast. I was so excited/nervous.


I did everything my Harry Potter-loving heart could wish for.

I ate at the Three Broomsticks.
I went into Ollivander's and bought a wand.
I drank 3 butterbeers throughout the day.
I bowed to Buckbeak and he bowed back.
I browsed through Zonko's joke shop, Honeyduke's candy store, and Dervish & Banges.
I went to Hog's Head.
I saw Hagrid's hut.
I saw the Ford Anglia, Goblet of Fire, golden egg, and Triwizard Cup.
I bought chocolate frogs and a Time-Turner.
I watched the Beauxbaton girls dance, the Durmstrang boys grimace and stalk about, and a choir of Hogwarts students sing in a "frog choir".
I sat in the owlery.
I watched Filch's footsteps walk around the castle on the Maurader's Map.
I drank pumpkin juice.
I bought a purple pygmy puff.
I taunted the Monster Book of Monsters and it tried to bite my finger off.
I walked through Hogwarts castle. I saw Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, Hermione, talking portraits, the Fat Lady, the 4 founding witches/wizards of Hogwarts, the Herbology greenhouse, the Sorting Hat, the pensieve, Quidditch equipment, etc. And the ride at the end was the BEST!

It was all I hoped and more.

I didn't want to leave.

I want to live there.

P.S. If you're not a HP fan, no worries. I will blog about other stuff coming up.