Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Friday, May 29, 2009

33oC Ends

Wednesday night was our final night at 33oC.
33oC was what we called our mid-week gathering for students.
33 weeks On Cool= 33oC.
Over this last school year we spent 33 weeks looking at what cool was in God's eyes.

Wednesday night Kev shared with the students the concept of "Ebenezer" or a pile of stones to remember something.
We gave each small group a 3 foot section of a 4x4 and had them make their own totem pole in remembrance of what they learned over these last 33 weeks.
Totem poles told a story, or tell a story, reading from the bottom to the top they tell the story of a family,
a tribe,
a journey.
(que to all who work with youth to break out into a Journey song, "don't stop believin' hold to that feeeelin'....")

It was neat to see what the different groups came up with.
Our small group used a sander to sand the edges smooth and then they wrapped yarn, chiseled a heart, painted a cross, attached a 33oC plaque, they each put their handprint on our totem and topped it off with a stick cross.

This is my small group from this last year, 2 girls are missing.

A bunch of us fooling around at the end of the night.

The totems lined the front of the room near the alter, it was neat to walk along and look at what these students remembered from this last year.

Love on another.
Put aside differences.
Cool doesn't try, it just is.
Jesus is our base.

Now some more random pics. We set up a senior section each week. Since we meet in our church's sanctuary we have to get creative. We have this one area that we bring in sofas and let the seniors sit there while the rest of the student population sits on regular chairs. here is is at the end of our last night, looking very much like my living room with the cushions off and shoes littered everywhere.
We had a "rap-off".
Wanna have fun with students: give them loud music, a microphone and open space.
I promise it will be fun!

I had to take this shot.
Working with students has made me more aware of my clothing style. Without being shallow I learn much about fashion on Wednesday nights, here's a glimpse at the difference in shoes.
Some middle school shots. This was actually from the only week the middle schoolers met alone.

Ever notice in a picture of students at least one has to have a "look".
This photo may never happen again? Youth ministry is ever evolving I'm learning.
Students come and students go. The dynamics of a room, a small group or a photo will always change. 33oC I will miss you (although secretly I won't miss the skit I had to be a part of) and I pray students will have learned more about being cool than what the magazines/television/internet/school tells them. I pray they stay connected to God over this summer and their totem story doesn't tank.
Now on to summer stuff, until next year...
-Michelle

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Few Movie Thoughts

OK, so what does it say about a women who cries at the following movies:
X-Men origins: Wolverine
Star Trek (2009 version)
The Terminator Salvation

You guessed it, I cried at all three of these movies.
I can not think of the last time I went to see a non-action movie at the theatres and now that I think of it, I can't think of watching anything but action at my house.

There was the time I got to watch two girly movies back to back but funny thing is I don't remember which ones they were, they had Julie Andrews in them, I think.

I've gotta be honest - I don't mind.
Heck, I'velearned to I find even the girliest parts in their action movies.

Here's an added quick movie review on the three movies above:
Terminator would be at the bottom of the list but still a decent movie. If you watched the originals then this one is good. I liked that we got to meet John Connor in his glory days.

Star Trek would be at the top of the list, again a good Sci-fi movie. Young Spock and Captain Kurk do a good job as actors. Even if you are not a fan of the TV show I say check it out.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine sits in the middle of the list, good and accurate, a few variations in the original comic story but overall on the mark (info from Vaughan who happens to be an expert of Marvel super heroes) I liked it as I like comic book movies, plus it was nice to see Wolverine's story.

So that's my thoughts as this Memorial Day weekend comes to a close.

Thanks to all who served our great country and for those who died doing so.
You will forever be men of honor.
-Michelle

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Doing What I'd Rather Not Do

You know how life is full of things you don't want to do.
Well it's that way for me.
Most people don't know this about me but I would prefer to live life in the middle of a large partial of land in Montana, venturing out from there. I would classify myself as a "nomadic hermit."
So much of life that deals with people I really don't want to do.

Take last night for instance.
I had been invited to go out with 2 local friends and an out of town guest. When it came down to it I just felt like I didn't want to go. I'd rather sit at home, sleep, hang with the family, settle in to my hermatic ways.

But,
I didn't.
I knew not only did I need to have some girlfriend time but that this girlfriend time was well worth the investment.

Seems to me that a lot of women struggle with relationships with other women. Probably because of past hurts and other issues. I know I really didn't have any close girlfriends until I moved here to Florida.

For me it was a combination of being hurt by female friends in the past, not investing in relationships when times got tough, moving a lot as an adult and then of course my desire to live an isolated life;-)

I've learned that there are a special few who are worth investing in. A special few who get me and I get them or at least we can bear each other for more than 5 minutes.

As women we need to not look at what relationships we don't have instead look at the ones right around us and invest in them.

So last night was my night to do what I didn't want,
and ya know what?

Of course you know what I'm going to say...
I had a blast!
In fact I'd rather hang with them again tonight!
But I can't.
Instead we've made plans already for a Paula Dean Trip 2010- girl style!

Gotta love doing what ya don't want and friends who drive you to do so!
-Michelle

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Welcome to Wired!

I thought you all may want a glimpse into my Wednesday nights for the last 4 years. I stood in the middle of the gym and just turn 360 degrees to get this video.

video

My 3 favorite parts of this video are:

the baseball style hitting with the pool noodle,

the 2 random girls walking and giggling right in the middle of the game

and lastly, at the very end the kid in the black t-shirt who jumps on some other random kid.

It Keeps Me Young,

-Michelle

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Head Struggles

I have come along way in my cell phone usage in the last year.

For example, a year ago I didn't even have a cell phone. Once I got one, it took me 5 months to even try, to text, thanks Amanda, and another 5 months to realize I need a full keyboard, thanks Dani.

Now the struggle in my head: I can upgrade my phone at the end of this month and
I am considering the iphone.

I struggle with this because I often point out that the iphone's media package cost $30 a month which is about the same as most child-sponsorship programs. Compassion, World Vision and the like.

But have you seen or used the iphone?
Do you see where the struggle comes in.
Right now I am asking myself,
If I have an extra $30 a month, what of value can I invest it in?

I will leave it at that.

-Michelle

update: after writing this I went to World Vision and sponsored a little girl in Peru.
I just had to.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trip Anyone?

So we're planning a trip back to Kenya, with the whole family.
I also checked a trip to Senegal, cause, well we plan to go there too one day.
This was what I found...
Seriously. This was the price Travelocity gave for flight plus 9 nights at the Radisson in Dakar, Senegal.
Really Travelocity cause that's like over $67,000,000 a night. I checked the actual hotel and they were a lot cheaper. Glad if I go to Senegal I won't be booking through Travelocity or staying in a hotel.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Better Things

Welcome to Friday night at my house.
You don't need to go farther than the front yard to see what happens here.
This is the shot of 9 boys, 3 more came later.
I want to point out my new favorite kid on the far right; not only is he decked out in Red Sox gear, he also has the Boston accent that reminds me of "home." Two burgers and unlimited sodas for this kid!!
So with a household full of kids, and their parents too,
a really cool thing happened.

Let me back up..last night we had originally planned to go to see the band Skillet in concert. With our great planning and superb last minute RSVPing skills, we were too late and the concert was sold out!

I was ticked off to say the least; mainly because I was planning on NOT going to the concert and having a time to myself at this here house.
Big plans I had: to finally get my bedroom back in order, to mop my floors and maybe even watch some kind of non-action, no shooting, something with pink in it movie. Not a relaxing evening for some of you but for me it was my sanity for this last week.
I couldn't believe how ticked I was over something so trivial and something involving money spending- you'd think I'd be thrilled that our family alone would save over $100.

I did a little figuring and the cost for the whole gang to go to that concert would have been over $250.

So,
as this troop ate their way through my kitchen I made a proposition for them:

"What would you think of buying a goat, and chickens for a family in need?"
Was all I asked.

For a small fraction of the cost of the concert we could collectively purchase a goat and chickens for a family in another country through World Vision. You'll hear a lot from me here on this blog about Compassion International, an organization I really have a heart for and our family has sponsored a child through them for as long as we've known of them. World Vision is a similar organization that not only has child sponsorships but has a gift buying catalog. I love to shop there because I can purchase things like goats, chickens, cows, mosquito nets, water filters... great things that have everlasting value.

Great things that will impact lives, show some love and build self-worth.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." -Matthew 6:19

So I put it out there to these students, young men, 2, 7-year olds and 10, 6-10th graders; would THEY be willing to give even a portion of what they would have spent on the concert to buy something through World Vision.

What do you think think they said?
How would you have responded?
How would you respond to that today?

Do you really need those shoes on sale or the new DVD or curtain?
How many nights at the moves would you have to forgo to really make a difference?
Trips? Cars? Candy? We think we need it, but do we?
Where are there greater needs? In your back yard, down the street, across the ocean?

When I stop and think about it I see that even in tight times I perhaps don't spend where I should.
Where it matters.

Back to the 12 boys at my house:
they all said yes.
Y-E-S!
So I get the fun job of purchasing a goat and 6 chickens,

all because we delayed our ticket buying! How rockin' awesome is that! (can I even say that Dani or does that really push me into the "old lady is weird" category?)

Peace, love and type-B personalities,
-Michelle

Friday, May 15, 2009

Just Give Me a Pile of Dirt

Some Most days the best therapy for me is being outside in the dirt.

I've always been a tomboy, I guess. Having only brothers and growing up as 1 of 2 girls on a street littered with boys, it only seemed natural that God not only give me boys but also a love for large trucks, construction equipment and dirt under my nails.

It's more than the dirt, it's the smell, the coolness of earth and so many ways I see God as I weed through it all.
I did not grow these but just love the color. When you walk into the front door of our house you have to walk through my garden and these greet you on the table, which is also my view out of my kitchen/front window!
Yesterday I gathered together my new flowers (now in a much prettier pot), some soil, veggie seeds and some fresh rain water.

I planted two small rows of veggies here, cucumbers I think.

Then since my official garden is very overgrown and pretty large and overwhelming I decided to till up this small area of our yard to plant my beans. Our small kiddie pool sat here all last summer and the grass just doesn't grow here. The soil is decent so I figured in the randomness of my head this would be a great spot! The boards are a temporary way to ward off the dog and cats.

We found this little guy living in my soil bag.
Anytime I'm outside I get a nice surprise left behind from my boys. Yesterday it had to do with some of my chairs. I have 4 of these chairs, Steve got them from a rental house that was going to throw them out. I've had them for about 3 years and they get painted different colors. I noticed awhile back that one was missing, the purple one. Hmmm...
On the woods side of our house we have a pile of logs. I know, who has a random pile of logs kickin' around- oh we do! So as I'm surveying the pile I see this:

My purple, or needs to be painted purple, chair lying on the top of the pile. See the life I live. Some days I love it others days I want to run from it! Oh this things called life.Today I may get back outside, I hope to get back outside- the only problem is the inside of my house has been neglected for far too long. Oh Molly where are you?

Peace, love and hand washing,
-Michelle


PS a note on the bird bath above. Birds are the least of all the animals that use it, although I have seen one in it. It's more common use is a watering bowl for the cats and dog as well as a cat bed when it's dried up!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Index Cards Make Me Smile

As my kids have grown up it's been a struggle in my heart and head.
As they become more independent I can't help but feel left out of their lives and it breaks my heart. I also get to see them venture on their own and sometimes succeed and other times fall flat on their face. This hurts my heart and messes with my head.

As parents we want certain things for our children. Ultimately they are God's children and I lift them up to Him daily, but I am human and so I can't help but have some ideas in my head what they should do or how they should respond. When they fall I can't help but fight the thought that I had something to do with it.

No parent sets out with the desire to see their kid mess up. When they do it hurts. I've expressed the difficulty with independence before and I'm learning this parenting thing never gets easy. So when I woke this morning and found an index card with a Bible verse written on it I was thrilled.
Thrilled!

Many of you may or may not know I am an index card junkie. My life is and has been pretty much a wreck. If there is or was a bad decision to make chances are I've made it, if there was an area to screw up, I can check that box too! It has been solely through God's Word that I have survived. I've pulled my index cards with scripture on them out in the grocery store, at a stop light in my car; they are posted on my kitchen cabinets, bathroom mirrors and stuck in every purse I own.

So you can imagine the excitement in my heart when I saw this index card written in my child's handwriting!

Nuff Said.
-Michelle

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Randonmess

Mother's Day was Justin's first day on the ConneXtion team at church. I dropped him off at 7:30am and then I drove straight to my moms. He was in charge of helping greet people, setting up the coffee table and taking the offering. The coolest thing about this was that he decided to do this on his own!
I was bummed because I've missed Vaughan's first homecoming and first day of work; now I've missed Justin's first day on the ConneXion Team!
Good thing he'll be doing it every six weeks or so! Yippee!


Steve has also had a few days to work on the shed.
We've also decided to move this plant. A housewarming gift from an old friend, we just stuck it in the ground 6 years ago and now look at it!
Other than that we're still sleeping in a room with half the closet's items all over the place.
Off to do laundry.
Peace, love and happiness,
-Michelle

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day & More!

We had a great Mother's Day! The first year in 3 that we didn't hit a Florida State Park- instead we went to the local water park!
The reason I can celebrate Mother's Day- my babies!
My mother, grandmother and I met for breakfast at my mom's and then went to church with my grandmother. We always have fun together and I get a glimpse into my future!

Mom and I leaving Daytona Lagoon.

Just for fun I'm throwing in some other pictures. I just love this shell above, it's as if it was painted with stripes.

I've been back in the sewing room- oh it's heaven with a cement floor. I took two old towels and sewed them together to make a long bath mat. I figured we prefer a towel on the floor and I just can't pay the price that large bath mats go for, so in keeping with reduce, reuse, recycle I made this! Bleach stain and all! Oh I sewed lines through it to keep it good and flat.

My tomato plants. Can't wait to eat some and really need to plant more and maybe take them to the local farmer's market. Hmmm, maybe not?
I pulled apart our closet today, as in I took everything out of it, vacuumed and cleaned the walls and now am in the process of putting it back together- yuck! I'd rather wait til tomorrow except all the clothes are on our bed!
Have a great week.
Peace, love and sofa sleeping,
-Michelle

Friday, May 08, 2009

Leaders...


... are prayers.

... yoke their strengths.

... face opposition with integrity.

... are listeners.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Glocks, Weird Smells and Wet Cement

Today was an early release day for the high school, and I mean early, like 11am. The seniors were presenting their senior projects so the rest of the population, (I love how not only was our high school designed by prison architects but that we call the student body the "population") anyway, the rest of the kids got out at 11.

Steve was working around the house, so I thought it would be a safe bet leaving Vaughan and Justin home while I spent the rest of the day at work.

Well.
Let me tell you.

I should have known something was up
when I got a call from Steve saying, "Did you know like 7 thousand kids are here."

me: "What? Seven thousand?" thinking to self: how can that be I don't think we have room for that many children and I'm low on food, they will for sure start eating non-edible items..

Steve: well, not seven thousand but more like 7

me: "Oh, that's better" still thinking: there is not enough food, I'm glad I didn't clean the house, and I wonder if they'll cook dinner for me...

So when I made it home the kids were all outside and on the bar this greeted me:
Ok, interesting.
But then, this:
and then:
Please take time to read in the upper left corner, I thought Glock was a slang term or something. See you learn something new every day.
And then this:
By-the-way, all the guns are fake- well real, but real BB guns.
Finally the crew made it inside and now I had this to deal with:
I love it! Although somehow Mt Dew made it into the house?
Cause you know how much teenage boys need Mt Dew.
I mean, it can drive me nuts but I keep that a secret, well as much of a secret as this blog is. Thankfully something else about the teenage boys that make their way to my place: they don't read blogs.
Another bit of exciting news: our church is adding on.
Downstairs we'll have an actual foyer area and 3 children's nursery type rooms and upstairs a new youth area!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippeee, that'll leave the other building on campus for adults and children.
Today they came and poured the cement.
The back wall of the church is spray painted with "To Your Name Be the Glory" and then all of the peoples names around, below, on top of.
So that's it for today.
Oh, how could I forget: all the boys at the house... they made another movie.
I'll post the link when it's down.
Peace, love and smellyhouse,
Michelle

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Calendar, Planning and Summer!


The summer calendar is complete!
A little late but then again it's been an interesting Spring and I'm simply thrilled it's done.
We have a busy summer, as usual, and the planning of events has begun. One of my favorite parts of my job! Yipee!!

Right out of the gate we have our annual Triple Yuk Event to welcome middle schoolers into our middle school ministry called Wired. It's a day when all the incoming 6th graders through outgoing 8th graders can come and get messy! Last year this event included, wet dog food, cat litter, ketchup, mustard and pigs feet. This year promises to be a different kind of fun but equally as messy!

Wired also has Cosmic Bowling, separate girls and boys sleepover events and of course our summer mission trip! This I am super excited about it!!! The last two years we travelled to New Orleans, LA and Waveland, MS for Hurricane Katrina clean-up; this year we are staying home! I've been making calls and lining up local opportunities for our middle schoolers to serve the people in our area in the name of Jesus Christ.

Now on to high school. Our high school ministry is called Refined and their "welcome to summer" activity is a Psycho Game Night! que Psycho movie theme Not your typical game night, why would we be typical around here?

Another big step we took this year was to cancel all Refined D-Teams (that's Discipleship Teams or Sunday School) for the WHOLE summer. I'm sure we'll get some interesting feedback on this one but it is oober important that our Lifeguards get a break from the weekly serving that goes along with youth ministry.

But... never fear we have Movie and Theology Night to replace it. Yep! It'll be a night where we'll watch a movie and then ask, "Where was God in that movie" or even "Was God in that movie?" And the icing on the cake for this one is we will be meeting in a local condo movie theatre!

Next Refined has their annual mission trip to Cass Corridor, Detroit as well as some great Thursday fun that I'm going to keep secret for now.

So with summer around the corner I'm excited, a little overwhelmed and ready to get the ball moving!

Monday, May 04, 2009

They


They tell you a few things about having kids.

I've listen to They for the majority of Their advice but I'm freaking out right now over some of it.

For example, They say you, as a parent, should keep the computer screen in a main area of the house where it can be seen by all.

What They don't tell you is after years of this you want to smash the screen with whatever household item is in your hands because the music and the youtube videos, no matter how funny they are, are a bunch of noise that can drive a parent to insanity.

They tell you the same thing about X-Box and Playstation. Keep your kids at home, be the "hang out house", then you'll know you're kids friends and what they are interested in and it's a good way to keep an eye on them.

Well, I understand this advice but again what They don't tell you is the amount of food that gets consumed and the amount of dishes that need to be done and the amount of noise that accompanies these said children. A day or a weekend of this is OK but when years go by all this is enough to admit a parent to a mental hospital.


They also tell you to pick your battles.

What They don't tell you is that when hormones kick in battles are everywhere.

In case you don't have teenagers let me clue you in:
Teenagers know everything and what to argue about anything.

me: We're going to the store
teen: No we're not we're going to Wal-mart

teen: What are you eating?
me: A sandwich
teen: No you're not, it's a sub

me: I think we'll relax and do nothing tonight
teen: No we won't it's virtually impossible to do nothing because even when doing nothing you're doing something

me: isn't the sky pretty, there's not a cloud in it
teen: yes there is we just can't see it, seriously mom you can't see the sky all over the world

*These are all conversations I've had recently, in a matter of 24 hours.

They don't tell you this stuff.
They don't tell you that even the dog will imitate the teenagers and become more argumentative.

I've even heard Them say the number one piece of advice with teenagers is to survive.
Just survive.
Survive.

What they don't do is tell you it's easiest to survive teenagehood in a bomb shelter locked away with canned goods and a cot to sleep on, while teenager do this thing called growing up. Seriously, if I had the chance to lock myself away I might very well take it.

Well, with that said I need to go.
I feel a little better
I mean I'm thankful for teenagers who are healthy and energetic and creative and like to be at home.
But if I could only get my hands on those people out there we call "they". I think I'd move them in and let them have my job for a while.

Obviously it's been a rough day week.
Peace, love and sanity,
-Michelle

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