Who the F are you in a group?

On Valentine’s Day, the hubs and I decided to go out to lunch. I know, married people aren’t stupid enough to try to get into a restaurant on that day. That said, we went early, 11:30am, to one of our favorite burger places (St. John’s on Lawrence Expwy in Sunnyvale). We decided to sit on the patio, because apparently in California it’s 75 degrees in February.

We were the first ones out there, but soon other couples came out to sit.  It was a beautiful sunny day and it was lovely and quiet…until Sigma Pi showed up.  Soon a group of about 25-30 guys from Sigma Pi fraternity were sitting out there with us.  The conversation got loud and was mostly about hangovers, Swedish girls and bursting in F-bombs.  All I could think was that if I was a hiring manager at any company, I would be very hesitant, from this point on, to hire anyone from Sigma Pi.

I know it seems hard for a group of young guys to be aware of the people around them, but it’s not just young men; I’ve seen groups of women get into a discussion about labor and delivery in public and be clueless of the impact they might be having on the restaurant around them…afterbirth and Crème brûlée just does not mix.  What happens when we get into groups?

I am probably guilty of this.  Sometimes we get together with friends and we get loud.  We think our fun is more important than the individuals around us.  Mob mentality is so powerful.  We find ourselves behaving in ways we would never behave in alone.  We are no longer ourselves.

I started to have compassion for the one Sigma Pi  guy who was trying to settle his friends.  I ended up giving him my extra chip bags and he was very nice about it.  So ask yourself, are you the one ignoring the world and enjoying your moment with your friends or are you aware of the people around you?  I can’t say I have always chosen wisely on this, but I think I’m going to be thinking about it from now on.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I guess I kind of fell off the face of the earth after a year of weekly blogs. I am going through so much right now I feel like my brain is stretched too tight and the leisurely thinking just doesn’t have any room. I do plan on getting back on track; I just need to re-center myself.

At home I am watching my boys grow up. Both my boys are now college dudes. My youngest, being a homeschooler, had to ask during orientation what a GPA is. Sorry son, I probably should have explained that one. I guess it doesn’t matter though since his is now a 4.0 (same as his brother).

Because the boys were both settled, I got a job. I went from teaching the boys, lunches with friends, mentoring teens and getting chores done…to work full time, rarely seeing my friends or kids, still mentoring teens (when I can), and still trying to get chores done. This might be my biggest struggle. Time has changed everything. I go to bed like an old lady at 9pm, just so I can get up in time to do what I need to do.

At church, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, everything has changed (except that I still get to see some of the same amazing people). I am still adjusting.

I do have a new project that will be coming in the next few months that might excite you all. It involves my thoughts, video and my young friend who loves to edit video…I will be making an announcement about this soon.

So hang in there. I am not gone, just adjusting. I love you all for being such wonderfully loyal blog readers.

My Baptism

IMG_9892On January 3rd I was baptized. I want to share my story so everyone can understand my choice at 44 to do this.

My parents chose to have me baptized as an infant in the Catholic church. It was their choice as my parents and it had a lot of meaning.  I grew up praying and studying the Bible in school; I had a lot of teachers that were nuns (awesome nuns).  At some point, however, due to divorced parents and such things, I walked away from my faith for about 20 years.  You might say I even went as far as becoming an atheist.

IMG_9934When I became a Christian again at 29, I was hesitant to get baptized because I had already done that as a baby and I didn’t really understand why it would be significant to do it again as an adult.  As time went on and I studied the Bible more and more I started to understand the importance of me choosing, on my own, to publicly declare my love of Jesus in a ceremony called baptism, but I felt it was too late and I was too old. I felt this way even more so after my kids were baptized in 2007.  I had let too much time go by.

IMG_9975So what changed?  I used the following story to explain.  When I was in University in Santa Cruz I owned a motorcycle.  Back then there was no helmet law.  I would not wear one because I didn’t want to be uncool.  The truth was it scared me not to wear a helmet, but I was young, and cool was more important than safe.  Soon a law was enacted and I HAD to wear a helmet.  Publicly I would never admit it, but I was relieved and happy that I was having to wear my helmet.

IMG_9989Recently, our church has become a new church (If you want more on that I wrote about it here).  After 11 years of Youth Ministry I was faced with a new requirement; they ask that leaders be baptized.  I thought, “Oh good, I am.”  Then the definition of what that requirement entailed was put in front of me: baptism in water by the individual’s choice (not their parents’ choice).  At first I realized I would have to admit to my friends and family that I had yet to be baptized (most were shocked – including my boys).  Mostly I felt like I did when the helmet law was enacted, “Yes!  Now I can be baptized and I’m out of excuses.”  The truth is, I felt many times over the years that God was calling me to be baptized, but I kept thinking I’d look silly or it was too late and I chose disobedience.  I’m willing to say out loud that I’m grateful to Westgate Church for having this “rule”.  It is a blessing.

IMG_0012So here I am baptized.  I chose to be obedient to God.  In fact, I think that will be my motto for this year ahead – Obedience to God (apparently a lesson I need to work on).  It wasn’t like I chose this because Westgate had a rule, it was more that I could finally do what I should have done years ago.  It was because Youth Ministry is too important to me, for me to keep being a dummy about “being too old to get baptized”.  I needed to be an example of what I had asked many students to do over the years.

IMG_0054Of course I didn’t do this the usual way (when do I ever do things like everyone else?).  I invited mostly youth ministry people, and then some family and close friends.  I wanted both my boys to be there, so I chose the Christmas Break.  Because I wanted to choose the time, I decided to also pick the place – my backyard in our pool.  The downside was that it was 45* water that day because we had a cold snap the week before.  But it was worth it.  The whole thing was amazing.

IMG_0059I learned that my fears of having waited too long were ridiculous.  It’s never too late.  Everyone was so supportive and loving.  People cheered for me and got excited about God.  How can getting excited about God ever be wrong?

If you are waiting, stop!  Listen to God’s call if He is calling you.  Get rid of all the excuses.  Because that’s all they are, excuses.  God Bless you all.

NOTE: All pictures were taken by my friend Lisa Unruh

God would have to take art away…

People think it would be nice if God would come down and remove all pain. That he would fix famine, remove natural disasters, take away bad guys…People will ask, “Why did You let that happen God? Why didn’t You make it right?” I always picture God saying to me,” Why didn’t YOU make it right? Why didn’t YOU do something?”

God created us in his image as an opportunity to represent Him and be able to bring Heaven here on Earth. Are we doing our job?

If God did it all for us, then we wouldn’t need the ability to create…we could get rid of our abilities for architecture, poetry, music, cooking, gardening, math, medicine, art, photography, dance…LOVE? What would be the point? As we would be creating some beautiful piece of music, God could step in and say, “Wait, I do this best. I’ll create something that pleases everyone. Sit back and let me do it.”

So when there is a homeless man, or someone who is struggling in their marriage, or a friend who is plagued with anxiety or depression…, why do we hope so much for God to just fix it? What if we are the ones who have the opportunity to make a difference? What if using our skills to love and create are there so we can make a change and then step back and say, “God made me like this, so I could make a difference there.”

So as you pray, maybe the question is not “God can You?” but it should be “God, what can I?”  Think about it.

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs

I think I have writer’s block. I just haven’t felt like writing lately. I can’t even think of a good topic, so today I want you to tell me about your blog. If you have a blog, post in the comments a little summary about what you like to share and how to find you and I will go check it out.

Another request, is what are your favorite blogs to follow? I love following a few blogs. My favorites are”The Art of Manliness” (not that I read every article, but they do post some amazing stuff) and “New Dress a Day” (not that I ever sew clothes, but maybe someday).  I also follow a lot of political cartoons on a daily basis (as well as Dilbert and Luann).

I have at least 20 friends that write blogs on occasion whom I like to track as well.  Let me add you to my list.  This is your chance to put yourself out there.  Where can I find you???

Thanksgiving Rant/Beg

Please do not shop on Thanksgiving. The people that are opening their stores on this holiday should be boycotted for the holiday season. It’s a terrible thing. Are we so obsessed with money and things that we force others to work and leave their families on a holiday about being thankful, just to buy more crap????

This blog is just a plea to stay home and be thankful for what you already have. Spend time with friends and family. If you don’t have someone, then invite a friend who might also be alone.

That’s it. Rant over.