Thursday, November 19, 2009

i've moved!

well, it's just a virtual move. i won't be posting any more to this site. please visit me now at

hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

the UK by car

this trip to the UK i have yet to be in london. when i arrived, i went straight out to the soul survivor events and spent 10 days there. then i headed to eastbourne to stay with friends. over the weekend, we went to greenbelt & to grapevine, two other festivals. we also stopped off at my friend's mom's in cambridge before heading back to eastbourne. it was quite the road trip. here's a little map to give you an idea:

View Larger Map

A: london heathrow, where i started
B: the royal bath & west showground, home to soul survivor, weeks b & c and momentum
C/G: eastbourne, where my friends live, and home to christian music & publishing
D: cheltenham race course, home to greenbelt
E: lincoln, home to grapevine
F: cambridge, where my friend's mom lives

it was fun to get to see so much territory by car & i love that it's really green here. san diego is fantastic, but there's not much green. the best part was the people of course. lots of time to chat with a friend, and opportunities to meet new people plus see friends from the states.

Monday, August 24, 2009

UK Update

i am having a fabulous time hanging out with my friends at soul survivor. soul survivor is held on the UK version of a fairgrounds and the exhibit hall is in a cattle barn. most delegates camp but i'm in a b & b, which is lovely and has fantastic breakfasts. my typical day has been: wake up, have a lovely breakfast (when i haven't hit the snooze & opted for toast), head over to the event site, hang out with friends, go to part of the morning session, get some lunch, help on the spring harvest exhibit til tea time. have tea, go to part of the evening service, back to the spring harvest exhibit, then back to the b & b for bed. so, this morning i'm missing the morning service to catch up a bit on email & blogging.

i realize this isn't loads of details, but here are a few random thoughts on my UK visit so far, in no particular order, some of which i'll unpack later & some are just here. if for some reason you, dear reader, have a wish for me to unpack a specific one, feel free to comment and i'll do my best.

  • i think choosing a marriage partner might be as simple as saying, 'you are someone i can love, respect & who i have fun hanging out with and whose faults & foilbiles i can live with on most days without it driving me nuts.'
  • hope is often hard, but worth it.
  • the church at large is most likely failing to recognize in kids ages 8-11 the ability to begin understanding God at deeper levels. which in turn likely means we're not giving our young teens and teens enough respect and challenge in discipling them.
  • and the previous thought leads to the thought that if in youth ministry (and this is a sweeping statement i realize), we were better at discipling our teens in a way that allowed them to feed themselves spiritually, we might be spending less time scratching our heads at how to keep 18-25 year olds in the church.
  • how possible is it in current youth ministry models to use the training model of 'i do, you watch; we do it together; you do, i watch (& coach); you do for someone else'?
  • in the UK, there is an event volunteer whose sole job is to sit amongst a huge stack of fire extinguishers with a radio, a phone & a megaphone, just in case a fire should break out. it's a UK safety requirement.
  • it is possible to run a large scale event without a minute-by-minute for the plenary session, but it seems to require a production team with quick reflexes.
  • people from the US speak American and people from the UK speak English and there is a difference.

Friday, June 12, 2009

girls & violence & youth ministry's response

i've been wondering lately if teen girls are becoming more violent. the thought started last week, when in my small group of 7th grade girls, one of the girls shared she'd missed the last group because she was suspened from school for beating up another girl. her revelation opened the proverbial can of worms as the girls started sharing about the fights between girls at their schools and i was a bit surprised at the number of fights they talked about and the violence level of them. i ended up scrapping the lesson i'd planned on women of the bible and switched to an impromptu one in conflict resolution. we talked about turning the other cheek, letting things roll off us instead of reacting, where we find our true identity and how, when and where to get help. it's been a little over a week since that small group meeting and it's been something i've continued to pray about and ponder.

this morning i saw this segment on the today show:

it reinforced my concerns about increasing violence between young women. i hadn't considered making sure that conflict resolution was in a regular rotation of teaching topics, but i'm certainly planning for that now.
and it made me wonder, as a youth worker, what other biblical life skills in i should include in my curriculum planning? i hit the traditional biggies: parents, friends, dating & sex. what life skills do you regularly include in your teaching?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Top Ten Things I Love about the UK

so i've been asked repeatedly just what it is i love about london/the uk, usually with a laugh that it must be the accent. and while i do find the accent charming (of course when i'm there, i'm the one with the accent), here is a list of 10 things i love about the uk. there are more, but this will be a good start.

10. broader world view: the national news there consistently carries more stories that are global in nature and considers the story's impact on the globe.

9. public transport: with an oyster card, you can go anywhere in london by tube or by bus and you can catch a train to anywhere else you want to go in the country. also, love that it's easy to walk most places in the center of london.

8. the history/age: i'm completely fascinated by the history and how old things are. in the states, 200ish years is old. in the uk, i think it has to be at least 400 years old to start being old.

7. going to the cinema: i went to see a movie in theatre in leicester square. it reminded me of what it was like to go to a movie in a 50's movie in a way; it was somehow more elegant. first, choice of popcorn--sweet or salty--brilliant to have the option. second, assigned seats. i'm sure not every theatre was like that but i really did like it.

6. the authors: i know this next bit is geeky of me, but i'm okay with that. i love shakespeare. jane austen. chaucer. and then there are modern authors there i love: katie fforde, marian keyes & maeve binchy (technically irish, but closer to english than american), nick hornby. one of the trip highlights was picking up marian keyes' new book in paperback & katie fforde's new book, both before they were available here.

5. manners: the vast majority of everyone i encountered in the uk were terribly polite. well-mannered. and chivalrous. men opened doors. lifted my luggage up stairs in tube stops. i hear people complain about the british being stiff and reserved, and i think that while that can be true, more often than not it's just people being very polite and proper.

4. the museums: i hate to admit it, but i'd never seen a da vinci painting, a vermeer, van gogh, picasso, or botticelli or reuben in person until i visited the national gallery. totally amazing art that has literally endured centuries. this trip i also went to the national portrait gallery and the churchill museum and cabinet war rooms. all incredibly fascinating and places i look forward to visiting again.

3. the food: americans complain about not finding good food in london & i have absolutely no idea where they're going. whether it was curry take-away, wagamama, paella from a street vendor, sandwiches at pret, or nutella & banana pancakes, or traditional fish & chips, everything i ate was yummy. oh, and then there was the chocolate. galaxy bars, rose & violet creams, vodka truffles. and then the food halls. for someone who loves to cook & bake, the food hall at harrods is a bit like heaven i think. if it hadn't been for the walking, i'd have gained 20 lbs.

2. fairtrade products: along with being a little more environmentally sensitive (all the grocery stores charge for plastic bags & encourage the use of reusable bags), there is also a higher demand for fairtrade products at reasonable prices. tea, coffee, chocolate, and clothing seem to have a particular demand by consumers on fairtrade. for example, cadbury dairy milk, the uk equivalent to america's hershey bar, will be made from fairtrade cocoa by the end of the summer. and you can purchase fairtrade t-shirts at marks & spencers 2 for 8 pounds (us 2 for $12). okay, if m & s can offer that deal, surely old navy or target could offer it here in the states.

1. the people: the dry sense of humor, the propriety, the warmth paired with reserve, the "stiff upper lip", i could go on and on, but i do love the brits.

editor's note: i wonder if the uk tourism board is hiring. i might be really good at marketing the uk. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

london days 3, 4, & 5

editor's note: i'm a little behind on the posting and photo upload. what can i say, i've either been running around london or resting up to run around. below is a really short synopsis of the last 3 days with more detail to come later.

day 3 (saturday):
this was 'market day' in which i went to the portobello road market and walked the entire 2+ miles of it! from there, i went to camden town and found the camden locks & market. camden locks will be a return stop on future visit. the waterway looked lovely & the locks interesting from what little i could see of it through the insane crowds. i came back to hotel, took a little nap and went to the 'mall' next to my hotel. made for a relaxing evening after a day of a *lot* of walking. i did find lots of fun things to buy for family & friends, lots of odd things i'm not sure i'd ever seen before or at least not in that quantity (as in shop after shop and tons of stalls selling minimum 3 inch platform shoes), and discovered some really yummy food. i didn't do much in the way of photos this day, but did do some video which i'll upload at some point.

day 4 (sunday): attempted to go to st. paul's for easter service but discovered i'd lost my tube pass so i spent too long looking for it and realized if i dashed out the door right then i could just make it to the church around the corner, which turned out to be greek orthodox and not easter for them yet. i ended up sneaking out during a hymn since i found myself still tired, a bit disoriented and with the beginnings of being cranky. i headed back to the hotel, changed, took a little bit of nap and then started over, which worked much better. i went to the westminster area and walked around a bit and toured the churchill museum & cabinet war rooms which housed the british government & war command during ww2. completely fascinating! from there i walked over to the southbank centre and explored it a bit before meeting jeannie & max, friends from the states who happened to arrive in london the day after i did, for dinner at wagamama. so much fun to be with them. we went to the london eye together after that and then we took the tube to our respective stops together.

day 5 (monday): packed up and checked out of my hotel, then went to the national portrait gallery and wandered around there for quite sometime. i could have stayed longer there which surprised me. it's also on the list to revist on a future trip. from there went to knightsbridge and to the wagamama in the basement of harvey nicks. (yes, i love wagamama & the only place in the states where there is one is boston which is terribly inconvenient when you live in san diego!) after that, i went to collect my luggage which i'd stored at the hotel and then take the tube & the london overground (yes you read that correctly & i didn't know there was one until yesterday either) to watford junction, which is where i met a friend of a friend to drive to minehead for the event i'm at for the rest of this week called spring harvest.

so, that brings us up to now in a short version. really, really excited to be at spring harvest this week. will post more as time allows.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

london travelog day two (click here for pix)

editor's note: each day of my trip, i'll post in a few consistent categories, as well as make the post title a link to a photo album.

leicester square, picadilly circus, parks and buckingham palace, and trafalgar square and the west end were the areas i roamed today.

sights & observations: the plan had been to go to st. paul's but being good friday, it was open only for services. so i headed to the 1/2 price ticket booth at leicester square. there wasn't anything with a discount ticket that i was dying to see, but i did spot a movie at the odeon theatre there that i did want to see & it was one that seems unlikely to be released in the states as it was about british pirate radio in the 60's called the boat that rocked. movie was fabulous!

and the experience of going to a movie here, at least at the odeon theatre in leicester square, was completely different than going to the movie in the states. first of all, you choose your seat like you would if you were going to live theatre. second, at the concession, i was asked what kind of popcorn i wanted: sweet or salty. never once have i had this option at home. i chose sweet which was good-we'd call it kettle corn! next the theatre was huge and had a stage with curtains. the curtains opened, two sets of them, and the previews and 'adverts' began. then the second curtain closed and reopened for the start of the film. and then i loved the movie. need to locate the soundtrack before i go home.

after leaving the theatre i wandered to waterstone's, a five story bookstore in the picadilly area. was very excited to find a 3 for 2 on books including a couple of books by my favorite uk chick lit authors katie fforde, whose new book isn't available in the states for another few weeks, and marian keyes new book in paperback, which is still only in hardback at home. for my third book, i picked up a copy of miss pettigrew saves the day. i LOVED that movie and am excited to now read the book behind it.

from waterstone's i went a few blocks down to fortnum & mason, kind of like harrod's only somehow, more refined & elegant. a friend recommended having tea there, but being easter weekend, the wait was really long. instead i wandered through the food halls. so facsincating! i've decided i love food halls and wish we had them in the states. while our grocery stores are convenient, they just aren't as interesting or have as much eye and sense appeal. oh, and they had simply the most gorgeous wedding cakes i'd ever seen on display. should i ever need a wedding cake, i'd like it modeled after the chandelier cake here.

since i skipped the wait for tea at fortnum & mason, i was hungry and went in search of food and found a hole in the wall curry shop. i got a chicken curry take-away and wandered a bit further to the green park and had a little al fresco late lunch in the park. from there i walked to buckingham palace and then up the mall back to trafalgar square and to the national gallery, which i adored on my last trip to london.

since there were still tickets available for the picasso exhibition, i checked that out. while i obviously respect his work, for me personally, the majority of it is disturbing. it's just disjointed and unsettling. so i left picasso and headed up to the old master's and the early italian renaissance art. because much of it deals with religious themes from the early catholic church, it was good for reflection on good friday. one of the things i noticed this time is how there are quite a number of paintings with elizabeth and mary and john the baptist and jesus as infants. in most of them, there is an obvious intimacy between the two women which i found interesting that it was there since most all of the paintings were done by men. just something for me to ponder for a bit.

after the national gallery, i came across an older gentleman playing the most amazing waltzes on his violin. the classical music he played was completely a contrast from the lime green tux and neon pink cowboy hat he wore. i watched and listened for awhile. he seemed to be having a great time. from there i wandered across the street to st. martin in the fields, and was mesmerized by a statue in front of the church. i could also hear the concert of handel's music drifting out. from there, i wandered back thru the west end to picadilly circus before taking the tube back to the hotel. i'd thot i'd stop into a pub between my tube stop and the hotel, but i was wiped, that i just came back to the hotel and crashed.

food: started the day with a latte & croissant from a local coffee shop. next stop was the movie where i proceeded to eat almost the entire container of 'sweet popcorn' which didn't leave me hungry for quite sometime. when i finally was hungry, i found a curry shop and a yummy, oversized chicken curry. so good! i capped off the evening with an orange cream and a violet cream chocolates i'd purchased yesterday at harrod's. apparently in english chocolates, the use of flower oil from roses and violets is quite popular in making creams. and it's really good. it has a delicate flavor. i think some of these need to make the trip home with me. i am down to my last two chocolates, so i think i need to replenish that supply :). oh, and i stopped in a couple pret shops (see yesterday's post) in search of the crayfish and rocket sandwich. no luck. oh well.

today: it's market day! off to notting hill & the portobello road market, then up to camden for the market there.

Friday, April 10, 2009

london travelog day one (click here for pix)

editor's note: each day of my trip, i'll post in a few consistent categories, as well as make the post title a link to a photo album.

i made it to london on a plane that actually arrived early! made it to my hotel where my room was ready so i unpacked, took a quick shower, and headed out for my first adventures: kensington palace, kensington gardens, & high street kensington, where i checked out a few shops and ended up at harrod's.

sights & observations: on the walk to the palace it started drizzling and i opened my umbrella. i was the only one who did. apparently, londoners don't find a bit of drizzle enough of a reason to use theirs. in the palace, it's a little daunting to realize that despite how much of it you see, there's so much more you don't--apartments that are still in use by the royal family. there were two exhibitions in addition to the tour of the state apartments. one was the last of the debs, about the last group of debs to be presented to the queen in 1958-lots of fabulous vintage dresses that i took a few photos of. the other exhibition was of some of the more notable dresses that belonged to princess diana. they were gorgeous but it seemed a little sad. the funny thing at the palace was the kid i nicknamed in my head "balkan urkel". he was about 4 feet tall, probably 8 or 9 with blonde hair that didn't seem to have ever met a comb. he was wearing cordorouy cargo pants held up by white suspenders over a red shirt that was tucked in. the pants were high-waisted and about 4 inches to short. he was a coltish kid who was totally clumsy. it was apparent he'd had a growth spurt he hadn't grown into yet. "balkan urkel" would bolt through the state apartments, invariably tripping over something or bumping into something. i have no idea how his parents stayed calm. i was nervous watching him that he'd manage to hurt either himself or something priceless.

wandering through the gardens after leaving the palace, i saw a guy old enough to be my dad teaching a guy my age the finer points of speed skating on roller blades. and a group of boys playing king of the mountain on the marble or granite borders of the steps leading up to the albert memorial. between them they spoke 3 different languages-a fact that wasn't apparent til their parents came to claim them and tell them it was time to go. you never would have guessed they didn't know each other from their laughter and play. it was entertaining to watch, especially since the smallest boy was really ruling the 'mountain'!

food: i love to cook & eat and as i have friends who love to cook and eat, this will be a daily feature. so, for lunch, i stopped at a shop around the corner from the hotel called pret a manger. so yummy. it's fresh, no preservatives, and healthy. i had an egg salad and bacon sandwich. why i haven't i ever thot before to add bacon to egg salad sandwiches? i love both. it was also interesting to see a few unfamiliar things including a wild crayfish & rocket sandwich. i have no idea what it is, but i'm tempted to try it just for the adventure.

then there was the food halls at harrods. really, harrods deserves its own post. but as a teaser the food halls are amazing. i'm thinking i'll go back there today & try and get some pix. it's almost overwhelming the amount and diversity of choices there. including in the chocolates. i picked out a few to try. a champagne truffle, which was amazing. and a vodka truffle, which was unbelievably yummy. i still have a few more to sample. and finally for dinner, i found a noodle shop not far from the hotel where i got a shrimp wonton and a bbq type chicken & noodle takeaway. i posted photos of these to the link above. both were good, but the shrimp wontons were a total surprise and my favorite of the two. instead of being like the wontons we have in the states, shrimp or crab mashed up with cream cheese; these were whole, tailess shrimp, wrapped in one end of the wonton and flash fried. they were fresh, yummy, light and crisp--no grease at all. they coud become a favorite snack.

misc. on the underground on the way back from harrod's i noticed a totally cute guy. i was watching him surreptitiously, when he totally stuck his finger up his nose, and then put that same finger in his mouth. i was so surprised i gasped aloud and then nearly burst into a fit of giggles. i was relieved we arrived at my station just a moment later. the other little oddity is that i kept getting stopped and asked for directions. it happened at least 4 or 5 times yesterday. i was actually able to help 3 times which just entertained me. and everyone who asked was surprised by my accent. it seemed they didn't expect me to be american.

today: plan on visiting st. paul's cathedral, then over to the picadilly circus area for trips to waterstone's and fortnum & mason. tonite, i'm going to the national gallery since it's open late.

Monday, April 06, 2009

london info request

one of the fun little bits about my london trip is that my friends jeannie & max oestreicher will be in london on some overlapping days. we decided to meet and have dinner at wagamama and visit the london eye together.

my plan at the moment (subject to change) is to wander around knightsbridge and kensington when i arrive on thursday; st. paul's, national gallery and maybe a show on friday; notting hill & hopefully a couple other markets on saturday; church, the tate modern, wagamama & the london eye on sunday, and i haven't decided what to do on monday before my train leaves.

my friend max is looking for some restaurant suggestions on his very cool blog over at the shnazzy blog, so check that out. and if you have any ideas for me, that'd be cool too.
have had a quiet night in for the first time in awhile. cooked dinner, watching a movie.
good heavens! it's nearly 8, it's still light out and we haven't had dinner yet. i should do something about that.
i've decided to stop by coney i-slander for a snack.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

upcoming adventures

in the midst of looking and listening for what God has next for me career-wise, he has provided me with the opportunities for a couple of adventures about which i'm very excited!

first up is my trip to london. it was something i'd planned for before i left ys, but the cool little God bit is that in addition to the 5 days in london is i'm going to stay on 5 more days to volunteer at an event called spring harvest. last fall i met a few lovely people from the uk who run a youth ministry event there-one in particular i've kept in touch with since then, wendy. she also runs spring harvest and i'm going to volunteer at the event in minehead (there is a simultaneous one in skegness) from the 14th to the 19th. i'm so curious to see and learn more about spring harvest and to experience the church in the uk a bit, plus i'm excited to see wendy again. i leave wednesday for london and spend 5 days there before going onto spring harvest. i can't wait!

the second adventure doesn't feel wholly real yet even tho i've booked a plane ticket and am working on it already. i've been asked to train youth workers in singapore alongside my friend dr. amy jacober. this is totally a God-thing. i'm so excited and honored to be asked to spend time working with & training this group of youth workers. this trip isn't until july, but i have lots to do for this.

both of these are adventures that i feel like i only have the time and space to do because i'm in transition. i'm curious to see what other adventures come my way as i continue the journey.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

family is otherwise occupied so finally headed out to run errands i've been trying to get to for two days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

list girl

i have always been a list girl. i always have several lists going at any given time. for example, currently going are:
  • groceries
  • ideas for my blog
  • books to read
  • errands
  • movies to watch
  • tasks for the godparents 50th anniversary celebration
  • packing for trips to tulsa and london
  • ideas for a couple of clients
  • youth ministry ideas
  • gift ideas for upcoming birthdays, holidays, etc
  • and of course, the generic to do list
in the last few weeks, without the typical work schedule, i've lost control of my lists, more so than ever. recently i bought a lovely pink moleskine plain notebook to use as my current journal. and tonight, i bought a lovely pink moleskine ruled notebook to gather all my lists. together, i think they'll make a nice little memoir of this season of my life.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

because after endings come beginnings

one month and one day ago, i was laid off from my job at ys along with 13 others. yesterday was officially my last day as a ys employee. it is the ending of a dream job that lasted nearly 9 years.

my time at ys has been amazing and such a gift in so many ways. i've met, worked with and become friends with a wonderful and slightly wacky group of people and have ended up with friendships that will continue long into the future. i've had the privilege of serving youth workers from all kinds and sizes of churches and have learned from and been blessed by the stories of so many. i've been able to work with youth ministry professors and students through the ys academic support network and had more fun and learned more from them than i would have ever imagined! i spent time with denominational youth ministry leaders and loved connecting with them just because of how much they wanted to encourage and equip youth workers. and then there are the dozens of youth workers who've volunteered at the conventions who've become friends and with whom so many memories have been created. (for some reason, the one that popped into my head was my fake birthday courtesy of scott riley & friends!)

of course there are all the ways i've grown professionally. for example, i can pack, label and shrink wrap a pallet. not a skill i had before going to ys. seriously tho, i can't begin to list or describe all i learned at ys. it's rather diverse. for example, in addition to the pallet packing, i leave with skills ranging from basic html programming and database management skills to the ability to create direct marketing strategies and direct art for ads and campaigns.

finally, i leave ys more confident, more comfortable in my own skin. and with a richer faith that is simultaneously more simple and more complex.

the ending of my season of life at ys is truly bittersweet. there is a part of me that is heartbroken. i have truly loved being able to serve with youth workers alongside an amazing team of people. i will deeply miss working with this team and serving youth workers on a daily basis. somehow though, alongside the sad, is the hope and excitement of what is about to begin. i'm starting to see some clues in some opportunities to do some freelance work by which i'm both excited and challenged and in an least one opportunity to do some speaking. all of the opportunities that have turned up so far were completely unexpected and totally show God's hand.

i used to tell people who would ask me about working ys that for most of us who worked there, it was a crazy God thing that we ended up there--something that was especially true for me. and so in this ending, i can't help but believe that God is in this too, just waiting to show me what else in my life is ready to begin.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

girls & self-esteem

today i ran across this article:

and while i agree with the author, for me, as a woman and a youth worker, there's a piece that is neglected.

the author says at the end:

"As we spend time with our kids, we should teach what "self-esteem" truly means and what it doesn't mean. Our girls don't need to try to measure up to an impossible standard that the world has created. We need to remind our girls that God doesn't care about outward appearance- he cares about the heart (I Sam. 16:7). Students need to be careful who they are listening to, what they are watching, and ultimately, what they believe. And it's up to us to help them do that.

In addition, we must help them understand that everybody has problems; it is how we deal with them that makes or breaks us. Low self-esteem is a reality for far too many girls, but they need to be lovingly reminded that everybody faces problems in life. If teenagers learn to handle their problems responsibly, they will soon see that their quality of life drastically improves. If they don't, they can make matters worse. Self-destruction will never be the solution for low self-esteem."

the neglected bit is what kind of culture do we create in our ministries for our girls? as women, what do we model for them? the highlighted bit in the quote above touches on it, but i want to unpack that a little. what i mean by this is:
  • are girls of all shapes and sizes given the opportunity to be up front? whether it's for games, student leadership roles, reading Scripture or whatever?
  • are there women leaders of all ages, shapes and sizes working with the girls in your group?
  • as women leaders, are we talking about this diet, that diet or negatively about our own bodies in front of the girls? or do we talk about nutrition or the things we do like about our bodies?
  • when we compliment girls, are we complimenting their appearance more than their character? or do we notice and compliment their character most?
creating opportunities for girls to serve is important and does help their self-esteem. but they also need us to create ministries that celebrate all girls no matter their appearance, personality or intellect. the world tells girls continuously that they must be smart, thin and gorgeous. but having our youth ministries be places where none of that matters, where girls are loved just as they are, will help girls hear and understand the whisper of God that says "you are my beautiful creation that i love!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

7th grade girls & relationships

this year i'm working with a small group of 7th grade girls. our group has grown to 16--fortunately, i have 2 co-leaders. as we're approaching february and valentine's day, i wanted to do a series on relationships--friendships and romantic ones both. to get started i pulled some questions from ys's middle school talksheets books and came up with a questionnaire to learn what my girls thinking is around these relationships. here are a few interesting observations:
  • the majority of the girls feel like they can be good friends and would like more friends (11 of 13 and 9 of 13 respectively)
  • only 2 felt their parents should have a say in their choice of friends. 7 were firmly against it and 4 weren't sure.
  • the majority of the girls feel their friends really care about them, like to hang out with them for who they are, and are fun to be with. (11 of 13 on all 3)
  • on the other hand, 11 of 13 think their friends may talk about them behind their backs.
  • all 13 girls believe that guys and girls can be best friends.
  • all 13 girls believe it is okay to date non-christians.
  • 10 of 13 girls think middle school isn't too young to start dating and 7 think middle schoolers can be in love.
there were 4 questions that were situational and the girls had to decide if it was no big deal, a big deal, or it could go either way (maybe). here's the breakdown.
  • you're at a party and people start playing games involving kissing: 6 no big deal; 4 big deal; 3 maybe.
  • you're close friends with a member of the opposite sex and you start liking that person: 7 no big deal; 3 big deal; 3 maybe.
  • you're asked out by a member of the opposite sex: 11 no big deal; 2 big deal (no maybe's here!)
  • you're home alone after school when a close friend of the opposite sex stops by to hang out: 1 no big deal; 7 big deal; 5 maybe.
we're going to have some great discussions over the next few weeks!

52 books: #4 part 1

book 4: plan b further thoughts on faith by anne lamott. 2005, riverhead books. 320 pages.

it's a bummer in a way to be only 4 weeks into this book a week experiment and have fallen slightly behind schedule. i've read 15 of the 24 chapters and likely i'll finish up tomorrow night.
but being a bit behind my self-imposed schedule is worth it. i love reading ms. lamott's writing. she uses words as both music and paint. there is rhythm and rich imagery in her words and i just enjoy taking my time with them. and then there are the thin places. places that her writing touches my soul in ways for which i have no words of my own, only tears. some are joyful tears and some are tears of deep grieving which need to be released.

i'll write more about my overall impressions of the book when i'm finished, but for now, here are a couple favorite quotes:

"when God is going to do something wonderful, He or She always starts with a hardship; when God is going to do something amazing; He or She always starts with an impossibility."

"the usual things helped: some distance, prayer, chocolate."

"if regular people spotted your hidden, angry inside self, they'd draw back when they saw you coming. they would see you for what you are--human, flawed, more nuts than had been hoped--and they would probably not want to hire or date you."

"everyone has been having a hard time with life this year; not with all of it, just the waking hours."

"in fact, i'd like to skip ahead to the resurrection vision of one of the kids in our sunday school, who drew a picture of the easter bunny outside the tomb: everlasting life and a basket full of chocolates. now you're talking."

"age has given me what i was looking for my entire life--it has given me me."

Monday, January 19, 2009

52 books: #3

book 3: waiter rant by steve dublanica aka the waiter. 2008, harper collins. 302 pages.

a co-worker bought this book and i borrowed it from him. it's a book i'd joked about writing when i was a server and worked in the restaurant industry. actually, since my table-waiting days, i've always said that if i ever had one sermon to preach in 'big church', it would be about how church people (not all, but a frighteningly large percentage) walk right out of sunday morning church just to generate hell on earth for those unfortunate servers stuck working the sunday lunch shift. the post-church crowd is known worldwide (i've waited tables in a dozen states plus canada) for being the highest-maintenance, lowest-tipping crowd you ever encounter. not to mention the messiest. but i digress.

this is one of the many food service industry truisms the waiter hits on in his book. while the main storyline certainly revolves around him, the anecdotes on his customers and what happens in restaurant life is spot on. anyone who ever worked in food service will identify with and appreciate this book. and anyone who hasn't but either a) thinks they can be a chef or other food service guru, b) has had a high number of 'bad' service encounters or c) just finds other subcultures of our society interesting will also find this to be a good read.

and for those of you, dear readers, who have found yourself in group b above, the problem might not be your servers. please cut straight to appendix a: how to be a good customer. yes, i said it. the better customer you are, the better service you'll get.

next up: plan b: further thoughts on faith

52 books: #2

book 2: shoe addicts annonymous by beth harbison. 2007, st. martin's press. 327 pages.

this book was a christmas present that i think was meant as a subtle hint--as in if there is such a thing as a shoe addicts anonymous, i should begin attending meetings immediately. seriously, i have shoe issues. currently in my living room i can see 22 pairs of shoes. that doesn't include all the ones behind the couch and in the closet. but i digress.

this is a fun, chick-lit read. centered around four women who, for various reasons, can no longer afford their shoe addictions. they form a meeting based on a mutual shoe size to trade shoes and feed their never ending compulsion for fabulous new shoes. along the way the four who began as strangers find friendship, find more of their identity beyond the shoes, and solve a mystery along the way. and i have to say, that for a self-confessed shoe addict like myself, the ending has the ultimate dream job.

while this little book won't win any literary awards, it's a nice, enjoyable read at the end of a stressful day.

next up: waiter rant

52 books: #1

book 1: she's come undone by wally lamb. 1992 simon & schuster, inc. 465 pages.

this book was a gift from my friend brandi. she's a huge fan of wally lamb's writing. when i told her i hadn't read any of his books, she promptly bought me a copy of this one. at first, i felt like i was rubbernecking at an accident site. i kept reading with a feeling of dread. i could almost hear the type of music played in movies every time something bad or sad happens. ultimately, i ended up being mesmerized by this book. the story of a woman's unbelievably tragic childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, she's come undone's heroine somehow captivates you with her humor and pathos and you just keep reading in hopes something good happens for her.

and regardless of what happens to her, (no spoilers here) lamb's storytelling is engaging enough to keep the pages turning--in my case fairly rapidly--until the end.

next up: shoe addicts annonymous.

52 books-an idea

i'm a book girl. i love to read, i love books. if i'm feeling blue or bored or lonely, a trip to b&n or borders is usually a good pick me up.

but lately, i've been doing more reading that isn't just for work. it's just for me. in the first 2 1/2 weeks of the year, i've read 3 books, which makes me wonder, can i read a book a week? and books that aren't for work?

well, i don't know until i try so i've decided to give it a go. i'll post thoughts about what i've read and a preview of what's next up. here goes...