Wednesday, January 21, 2009

21 years ago...

Today was the big day, my little brother turned 21.  21 years ago my family was going through chaos.  My brother was born with a life threatening condition and was immediately transfered to another hospital.  My grandfather was in another hospital living his final days.  (He died the next day) I remember that time vividly, I think I was way more aware of all that was happening than anyone expected a six year old too.  More on that some other time...

I also remember sitting around the dining room table one evening.  Kenny was a toddler and we were dreaming about how old we would all be when we we reached different ages.  We figured out how old Sabrina and Kenny would be when I was 18, when she was 18, etc.  I remember we thought about how old we would be when Kenny turned 21.  It seemed so far away, so hard to imagine.  (I would be and am 27 by the way)  These years have been amazing and I am so proud of the man my little brother has become.  

Here are some pics of the evening (I forgot until the last minute and Kenny and his best friend had already left for Matt's hockey game - Matt and Kenny have been best friends since they were two)  

The Counter in Irvine - The best burgers on earth!  (Great people too)

The first beer.  It wasn't too bad. 
(It was also my, my father's and my sister's first taste of beer - something I had avoided until now, but apparently it was quality beer, so I decided to give it a try.)

Kenny also got a big lego set (he isn't all grown up yet) he is collecting the town collection, it is pretty cool actually.

My mom - complaining that I am taking her picture...

My grandma.  You can't tell but her lips are slightly blue from the cake frosting - a fact that greatly disturbed her.  

The cake that my mom smuggled into the place on her lunch break and the restaurant kept in their refrigerator until the appropriate time (they also applied and lit the candles that we had brought.  They did a great job.  
(and I have no idea why this is underlined - I am having all sorts of formatting issues tonight)

All in all it was a great night.  Now, it is late and I need to go to bed!  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The team

When I worked at my church, my team was defined in a number of ways.  They were all, however pretty obvious.  There was the children's ministry team.  A great group of people who I loved doing life and ministry with.  Then there was the two teams that I led.  The Kids Club team and the BLAST team.  The great thing about these teams was that they were obvious.  We did tangible things together (wrangle a group of preschoolers, put on a VBS, take 120 children to Disneyland).  These things brought us together.  We had things to bond over (taking "bets" on which kid is going to spill his juice at snack time, children spitting pickles at D-land - yes that happened and it was nasty, and how can we find room for all these kids at VBS).  This is one of the things I have missed in my new job.  I do have a great team and I love each of them.  Yet, it is harder for me to feel a part of this team because we have our own tasks and what we do is for the most part hard to see how it is effecting people's lives b/c those people are usually far, far away.  I have just realized that I need a new concept of team and so I am trying to be more aware of when I do feel a part of a team in my role at EGM.  So, I am writing about it, in order to help make it more tangible.  So here they are...  Today I spent a while chatting with one of our staff members who lives in Romania, but was currently in Hungary.  We talked about ministry, our struggles, differences and similarities.  We found out more about each other and encouraged one another.  It was a great moment of Team.  It was a simple chat online, but it was great.  The second moment of team I had today, was this evening.  I spent about an hour or so with three great friends.  We went through nine lessons and brainstormed them.  This is such a blessing to me as it means that I don't have to sit at my desk and start from scratch.  It is also fun to be together.  That is all for today and maybe for a while. 

The Wonders of In-N-Out

Tonight I came home around 4:30, then around 5 I realized that I needed to eat dinner.  (Although seemingly obvious, today has been somewhat of a rough day, so it wasn't obvious right away)   I opened the cabinet and freezer and realized that I did not want to eat the TV dinner I had and I didn't have much more than that.  It is towards the end of the week... So I decided to go drive through In-N-Out.  There of course was a long line, it went all of the way out of the drive through area.  No worries I thought, I don't have anything else to do.  So, I waited, the guy took my order, he was quite cheerful.  Then as I crept closer to the payment window I was noticing the amazing purpose with which the employees were moving about with.  The guy taking money seemed to be seldom at the window, yet everytime a new car pulled up, he was magically there.  He greeted me nicely and took my money and gave me my receipt.  Here is when it became amazing.  I watched through the window as the workers went to and fro, moving french fries, flipping burgers, assembling them.  It was a work of art.  It was actually making me happier, just sitting there watching them.  The best part?  They seemed happy, they were joking with each other and laughing.  They were working hard and having a good time doing it.  I eventually made it up to the window.  The guy confirmed my order and handed me my drink.  Then he realized he was still waiting for my fries.  He communicated the need to the french fry guy, who was working on it.  Then while I was waiting, another guy came up to check again if I had everything I needed (catchup, etc) so that once the fries were ready I would be able to leave.  It was amazing.  I wondered as I left why I did not feel frustrated having waited nearly 15 minutes for my food, when I wait a sometimes a whole lot less than that at other fast food places.  I realized that the quality of service as well as the high level of energy that the people were putting into making my dinner made me respect and value them so much more than those many employees at other places who seem to work in begrudgingly.  I was grateful for my dinner.  They had served me well.  They were still technically working at a burger joint, but they were awesome and have continued to set themselves apart from those other establishments.  
How do we in our lives set ourselves apart?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wii Rabbids

I love my Wii.  It makes me happy.  I miss having roomates to play with me (we used to waste quite a bit of time bonding with the Wii), but recently I made a new purchase.  I don't buy a lot of games, so when I do it is quite momentous.  I bought the third installment of the Raymon's Rabbids line of games.  I now own all three.  The first had an actual story line (somewhat) but the menus were a bit confusing.  The second was great.  One of the best party games ever.  I do believe however that the third is the best yet.  Rabbids TV is a television world that involves a variety of crazy games.  This game involves the Wii fit board, which adds a whole new dimension to controls.  So far I have sledded down a hill and driven a car using the fit pad as the petals in a car.  Awesome.  The new dancing game also makes one look a bit ridiculous but is quite entertaining.  Anyway, I am enjoying my new purchase!  Now, I just need a few friends to come play with me.  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The first week back...

So, after two great weeks in OC, coming back to the Temecula Valley was a bit rougher than expected.  However there have been some great things that have happened...
Sunday I had 20 kids in my Sunday School class, which was awesome.  I somewhat miss all chaos that used to be my everyday life.  That is a great group of kids as well.
Monday night I got to hang out with an amazing friend and watch some good TV (although the friend was better)
Tuesday I spent the evening at home enjoying some quiet.  
Wednesday I hung out some more, had a great dinner that I helped make.
Today has been quite the day, the highlight was definitely the two scenes I saw on my way to a meeting today.  On one street corner, there looked to be an older possibly homeless guy he seemed to be having some sort of a conversation with a sign twirler.  Yet, I could not tell if one was harassing the other (although it didn't seem confrontational) and they seemed to be talking and walking around in circles around each other.  Very intriguing.  What were they talking about I wondered.  I was still contemplating them when I saw the second bit of intrigue on my ride.    
This was a group of ladies on bicycles (not motorcycles, just to clarify) they all seemed to be wearing animal prints.  (Although they did pass quickly so I didn't get a good look).  In my minds eye, they seemed almost cave women like.  I was quite confused.  I tried to get another look, but it was a busy road and I had to not crash.  All of that in a matter of a couple of minutes.  Why am I telling you about these two things???  I don't know.  Maybe b/c I just need to write something tonight.  
Anyway, all in all, this has been a good week and I am glad to be living in the Temecula Valley.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The tradition lives on...

For New Years day, my family always goes into downtown LA and eats!  We enjoy food from China town, Philippe's, and Olvera Street.  We had a great time.  The tradition started when we were kids.   My parents wanted to give us the opportunity to ride a train, so we rode the train to Union Station, got off and walked around.   We now usually drive, but we do park and then walk around (we don't move our car).  It was a great day, I think everyone is now in a food coma, although we didn't eat as much as we normally do.  Now, on to game night!