so evidently i'm a raiders fan...

so it's been a month since i've last sat down and made time for blogging, and i guess i probably should since this is so therapudic. anyways, here's a rundown of the last moth or so
the highlight of the month would have to be merry xmas madness, my firts pretty big event with the youth group that was completely succesful. essentially it was a video scavenger hunt with the youth group doing all kinds of crazy stuff around town. for example; getting a piggy back ride from a security guard and eating a jar of baby food were the first two that came to mind. anyways, it was a big succes, and i compiled all of the videos together on my computer and put out our youth group's frist dvd, with many more to come in the near future. the kids were awesome, and the chaperones had a blast too. the only minor problem was that shaving your head was the top poiint getter, and now i have a buzzed head, and one kid's mom was a little preturbed her son had a mohawk when he got home. oh well, its all in the name of fun. however i have to wait a few months for my hair to grow out again, which i was just getting used to being long.
the other big thing is that my parents are officially texans again. i went home over christmas and pretty much packed the whole house, and they flew out a couple days ago. i can't even begin to describe how much i will not miss going to washington. too many bad memories from high school. this move was pretty good for the family. aside from the empty nest syndrome my parents are going through, it's getting really tough for mom to keep up with a three bedroom house and take care of dad (which is now a full time job) and still try and make ends meet when the bills come. the cost of living is so much lower in texas, and we have so much family there it really made sense. however, it's still going to take a while to get used to the idea of going to dallas to visit my folks.
being home reminded me of a few things. first of all, my dad is the toughest man in the world. this guy has a tumor that has wreaked havoc on his body and has handicapped him to a point where he can't walk or talk. but he has the best sense of humor in the world. he can barely say five words, but he manages to get me on the floor rolling with simple noises, hand gestures and expressions. once a marine, always a marine, he still manages to hum the national anthem while watching football games on tv. his body may not hold up much longer, but his mind has had cancer beat for years.
secondly, mom is the unsung hero of our family. she never gets the credit she desreves when things are going right, and always takes the blame when something goes astray. at church dad gets the attention because people can see what he's going through, mom is the sidekick. that might not normally be a big deal, but when five guys at church are standing around while mom is struggling to get dads wheelchair out, and they're too busy saying hey to dad to help mom with the front door, then it becomes very apparent why mom is moving to texas. there's a lot to be said about southern hospitality. anyways, in the midst of all the chaos involved with moving over the christmas weekends, i think mom pulled off one of my favorite chiristmases that i've ever had. good job mi madre.
third, there really isn't a write off in our family for emotional issues. we kind of got at each other's throats this past week, mainly due to the stress of moving, and i think it's because we all expect tohers to pick up the slack for us, because we aren't emotionally on top of our game right now. unfortunately, when the whole family is dealing with the same issues, there's no room for not getting thins such as packing taken care of. i'm not sure what the larger raminfications are from that, but i'm sure there's something.
this past week also allowed me the opportunity to drive from seattle to simi valley. even though most of our drive was at night, we had a beautiful full moon throughout the mountains in oregon. we seriously could have driven with the lights off, the reflection of the moon off of the snow was absolutely unreal. that, and i got to do the trip with my cousin matt, who continuously cracks me up. he's about as west texan as the come, but i love him still.
speaking of west texas, one of my kappa brothers from oc is out here in socal for the weekend. he came out to see his belvoed texas tech stomp cal in the holiday bowl. it was the first time in a while that i've got to hang out with dantheman, the first time i've seen friends from oc in a while, and the first time i've been back to san diego since i've moved to simi valley. needless to say, today was kind of like a christmas present in and of itself. there's a lot to be said for going to football games with your buddies. i'll go into the male bonding stuff later, but i will say now that this was the great american alpha male afternoon.
the only thing that's been getting to me lately is the whole topgun girl situation. i took her to disneyland a few weeks ago and we had an awesome date, but we really haven't talked since. seriously, i don't think i've ever been that relaxed on a date before, and i def have not seen a lot of the stuff at disneyland that she wanted to see. my prents always steered clear off the main street shops, the parades and the cheesy hokey stuff that makes disneyland fun. this was topgun girl's night, so we did all the stuff that she wanted, and i had so much fun. unfortunately the night ended with an akward kiss and me getting us lost on the way back to her friends' house. yeah, i couldn't have asked for a more akward ending. anyways. we've only been able to briefly talk a couple of times this past month and for some reason that's been getting to me the past few days. anyways, she's in mexico with the fam for the holidays and i don't have a clue when i'm going to see her next. all i know is i have to find some cheaper dates if we do go out again. between hard rock, street scene and disneyland we've ran up a pretty good tab. i don't mind spending the money at all, but if we do go out more it's gonna have to be renting a movie and ordering a pizza or something. i guess what's really bugging me is i'm going to a wedding of two of my friends in san diego next week, and it'd be really nice to have a response to all of the 'so when are you going to get married' and 'we need to find you a girl' remarks aside from telling people to shove off. yeah, i'm bitter and tired of hearing comments. i could write a whole new page on my opinion of recently engaged couples and the torment that brings on the singles scene in churches. i'm already typing harder, so i think i'll stop now before i work myself into a frenzy. i'll finish this point with a comment from the cuz, "i can't believe this, my mom bought me two books for christmas...'God's advice for single men' and 'how to be happy when you're on your own'... what does she think i am?epressed and in a spiritual crisis? i love my life! i've got a truck that kicks butt and i don't have to ask permission to do a thing." word.
anyways, the job is getting crazier by the day, but i think getting to see my bros is gonna give me plenty of motivation to get a bunch of stuff done in the next few days. and, hopefully i'll get a chance to see topgungirl before too long as well. the next week is gonna be a lot of traveling down to san diego, between the usc game and the wedding, i'm putting a couple hundred bucks aside for gas alone.
well, it's way past the time when a responsible person not staying at thier friend's house would have gone to bed. and now that dantheman has beat itspronouncedlaMESA in ncaa 05, i'm the only one with a light on so i think i'll shut this bad boy down so we can get some sleep.
more to come soon.

oh yeah, itspronouncedlaMESA reminded me i almost ate it twice today. once at the beach, and once on the way to the hot tub. you gotta love being the slapstick comedy for your friends.

one love, one heart.


no title for today...

Ahhhh blogging… so much to say…
Today is kind of tough to be honest. I found out yesterday that a kid from my youth group back in Tulsa was killed in iraq. For him the army was a way out of Oklahoma. He wasn't really an active member of the youth group, he came with a friend of his every once in a while, which makes it a lot tougher knowing that there was potential there, and not knowing if the potential for the life of a Christian was ever realized. He was a good kid though. He didn't grow up in the church, I don't know a lot about his family, but I know he led a pretty rough life for the most part in high school. I know the army seemed like a great alternative to hanging to in Tulsa for the rest of his life doing who knows what for a living. The thing that gets me is the way we as Christians throw money and time into events, and we forget the urgency of our job. I didn't know this kid that well, but I know him well enough to feel bad about not doing what I know I could have to help bring him to Christ.
one tough situation that death presents for friends and family is the whole 'what do you say?' question. I've learned that the biggest impact can be just not saying anything, and simply being there and acknowledging the pain of the situation. That being said, here are a few do's and don'ts that should be pointed out.

Don't say:
I know exactly how you feel
At least he doesn't have to suffer anymore
It's God's will
Take this, it'll calm you down
They wouldn't want you to grieve
Don't cry, you'll only feel worse
You can't be angry with God
At least you have other family and friends
I think it's time you get on living your life
Don't talk about it, you'll only feel worse
Time heals all wounds
You've got to be strong

Better alternatives:
I can only imagine what you're going through
They suffered a lot didn't they
One comfort I have is God's promise to never abandon us
Do you feel like talking right now
It's hard to say goodbye isn't it
Sometimes tears are the best way to express your feelings
God understands even when we're upset
Everyone has to grieve in their own way, don't' they
We can talk about whatever you want
Time will lesson the pain I'm sure, but you'll always have a part of them with you
I want you to know it's okay to be yourself around me

Just a few pointers from a counselor friend, given to me a few months ago.

This also has me looking at the way I treat kids on the fringe of the youth group. I've got thirty one kids on my youth roll, and ten of those I would consider ten of those 'fringe' kids that come to very few youth events. There just hasn't been that since of urgency to reach out so far to these kids. I can think of things to say or do that might get them interested, but how do I emphasize the urgency of my job w/o trivializing the death of this young man. I don't want his death to be some bullet point on a presentation, or an anecdote for a sermon. Needless to say, today is a day of prayer and mourning.
On a more positive note, I had a great trip home for thanksgiving. Me and my sister were able to surprise mi madre by getting my sister on an earlier flight home. Pops was pretty stoked too, and even our dog dude was going nuts. Yeah, you gotta love coming home. Mi madre and mi hermana spent all day fri shopping, so me and pops got to chill and hang out and watch movies all day. Thanksgiving itself was pretty cool. The typical families were there, with the noticeable absence of my two friends everlast and nordstroms from the table. Dinner was great and we got to celebrate pops' 50th birthday, which is quite an accomplishment in itself. For the rest of the break I pretty much hung out with pops and laugh, which always makes for a great trip. That, and I had mi madre rockin out to guns'n'roses on the way to the airport.
On Sunday I met the kiddos at pepperdine for the last morning of youthfest. it was cool to see them again and def made me feel good about being back in socal. The akward moment came when the youth group from this past summer came down the stairs and said hola. Two of them seemed pretty stoked, but the rest looked pretty ticked, like I had sold them out or something. Yeah, not the kind of fun akward moment that I typically enjoy.
Last night I took a few kids to see an orchestra performance at pepperdine, which was fun in a sixth-graders-don't-typically-enjoy-the-orchestra kind of way. But my boys toughed it out and they may have even had fun. I had a blast because I've been writing so much music lately. It was good to have a different type of musical inspiration and see how different instruments work together. Thursday we are supposed to go back to pepperdine for a student performance, which should be fun, esp since it's outside and the nights temperatures have been getting down to the high 30's.
Well, I've got a lot of random stuff to do… learn how to install stuff on my new computer, get rides organized, prepare for small group, find video cameras, plans a mission trip and figure out what I'm gonna do with the youth room.

Be sure to keep our troops in your prayers, they all have stories.

One love, one heart.