Friday, September 30, 2005

Sleep...it's overrated.

This summer, the high schoolers met at my house every Wednesday from 9-10 pm for a bible study (aka dive). Once school started, it became very clear that between swimming, soccer, National Honor Society, and homework, an evening event was not going to fit into their schedules.

So it was with much fear and trembling that I announced to the high schoolers that dive was going to switch to an AM event--we were going to meet from 6:15-7 AM.

Their responses had an interesting progression:

"WHAT?!?!"
"Hmmm."
"Okay."
"Cool!"

All throughout seminary, my teacher Kenda Dean continually claimed that the higher we set the bar, the more we'll encourage participation...while I thought this was true in principle, I was nervous about actually acting on this assumption.

Last Wednesday a small group of us met with our Starbucks and bagels and dove into the book of John. We were all tired, but the atmosphere was electric. Since showing up at 6:15 am had such a high price, the students were even more eager to glean insights from the Bible...they wanted to get their money's worth.

By the way, I just came across this Starbucks commercial that I'm going to play at Elevation to advertise for this early morning study...Check it out!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Welcome to our Apartment


Hello. Welcome to our apartment. I've been meaning to post these pics for a while...the only reason I'm posting them now is to get certain people off my back (ahem, Kari). John and I are living on the third floor of a house built in the 1840's. The second floor holds two apartments.The first floor is a pediatric dentist's office. On an occasional morning, I am welcomed with the sound of a drill buzzing and a child crying as I walk out the front door. Very pleasant.


You enter on the second floor and take the stairs to the third floor.

This is the living room/dining room/kitchen where we spend the majority of our time. There are six skylights off to the right which make lightening storms very enjoyable. The piano that you see straight ahead is new...well, new to us. Someone gave it to us. It's horribly out of tune, but hey! Free piano!

This is what John has dubed "the listening station". If you were to come for an unexpected visit, you would probably find John sitting on the floor listening to records. (We rescued this chair from the dumpster.)

Some of you will notice that we have a new t.v. So long to the little 14-incher with its own handle. (We pulled the two chairs from the side of the road.)

The dining room. (Todd and Lisa, you may recognize the wicker chairs...let us know when you want them back.)

The kitchen--complete with dishwasher (almost as exciting as the washer and dryer).

Hallway (duh)

Our bedroom #1

Our bedroom #2

Our bedroom #3 (The red chair was rescued from the dumpster)

Office #1 Where John does lots of thinking.

Office #2 (the black chairs in the office were given to us by a friendly D-town relator who was getting new furniture...are you noticing a pattern with the chair in our house?)

The bathroom--only one shot of the bathroom. There's a shower and toilet as well, but I didn't think you'd be interested in seeing those.


Thanks for checking out our pictures. Come see the real thing. If you're ever in NYC or Philly let us know.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Youth Room Make-over

Step 1. Find a boring youth room.



Step 2. Find students to paint and lots of plastic to cover the room.



VOILA! You've got a youth room!




The students were hoping to play "Trading Spaces" with the synagogue next door but agreed to forego their desires.

We had our official Elevation kickoff (aka youth group) last night. Thanks to those who prayed.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ah!

Through the generosity of some new friends at church, John and I were offered an amazing vacation home in Eagles Mere, PA.



This is Fitch Cottage--there is a beautiful wrap-around porch where we spent the majority of our time reading.



When we weren't reading, we spent quite a bit of time on the lake in kayaks and canoes.



Ah! The perfect vacation...books and a fireplace.






Lance and Amy Peeler joined us for our last few days at the cottage. We then expanded our activities to include: reading, kayaking, canoing, and endless games of Risk.




Some of you have been at me to post pictures of our new apartment...and I will eventually. However, I'm currently trying to extend this vacation for as long as I can. Ah!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The best youth activity of the summer...

Okay youth pastors, here's our most popular event of the summer...





Thanks to the good folks at Home Depot, our youth group now owns a 20x50 foot slip-n-slide. The slip-n-slide along with some bubble bath and a hose proved for a mighty fine time.

I am always amazed by the things these students will do. I had to tell one boy not once, but twice that he couldn't go down the slip-n-slide on his head. On his head.

So there you go. It's a fun one.

Friday, September 02, 2005

What I remember. What I forget.

Not long ago, my Volvo stalled in the middle of a busy intersection (my Volvo with 253,000 miles). I sat there trying to start the engine while people honked and cussed. Right as my panic reached mile high proportions, two men in their 60's jumped out of their cars and pushed me to safety.

All day long, some of the more colorful expletives played in my head. I could vividly recall the angry drivers' facial expressions. Altogeth I could argue this unfortunate event wasn't my fault, I nevertheless felt ashamed.

As my day came to a close, it dawned on me that I had been dwelling on the negative reactions of others all day long. Not once had I stopped to think about the two men who helped push me off the road. The two men, who I might add, left their 1965 Mustang and 2004 BMW with the keys still in the ignition at the stop sign while they gave me a push.

Why is it that I tend to remember the negative over the positive? The worst over the best? Why is shame stronger than gratefulness?

When I was in college, I was reading through the book of Ezekiel and was overwhelmed with how often the phrase, "But they forgot me" was used. That seems to have been the most troubling aspect of these people...that they forgot God.

I'd like my memory to be a bit more selective. I want to remember the graces of God before recalling my personal injustices.

I love God's response in the book of Hosea when Israel forgets about him:

"'She decked herself with rings and jewelry and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,' declares the Lord. 'Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.'"

Just when I think Israel is going to get zapped for her forgetfulness, God responds with words designed to allure. There's a sermon in there somewhere...in fact, I think I'm gonna go write it.