i can't stop laughing....

goulet graph
Originally uploaded by braddahdj.
oh man, this made my day. hope you get a kick out of it too. stay well!


I'm just tryin' to keep everything in balance, Woodrow. You do more work than you got to, so it's my obligation to do less. Gus McCrae-Lonesome Dove

physically speaking i have terrible balance. this would be the root of many of my sports related injuries and mishaps. my lack of balance contributes almost solely to my inability to longboard well (both skating and surfing), my fear of heights, and me always running into things and or slipping and falling. one of my problems is that i favor my right side so much, i am often not centered, and tend to not focus on my weaker (left) side.

i've also noticed lately that i have terrible balance when it comes to God providing for me, or to put it simply, the good outweighs the bad. here are a few of the things that have happened to me lately that have brought about this realization.

my bank card was declined the other day when i tried to pay rent, buy as and get cash from the machine. bad day. the reason my card was declined was that someone was trying to access my account and set off a security protocol that deactivates my card. in short, someone was trying to get into my money and they failed, and my bank protected me. much better day.

my apt complex would not take a personal check after my card was declined, so i had to drive 35 minutes to my nearest bank branch (don't ask why) and get a cashier's check and some cash for the rent and spending money for the next few days. bad day. but, my drive to my bank in port hueneme includes 15 minutes of driving through farm country near the coast. it's a beautiful drive and i got to listen to some great music on the way and just relax and enjoy the rainbow that God gives us after rain. good drive, very good day.

for the next week or so until i get my new card, i can not use an atm, or purchase anything online, or with my old card. so, i'm getting phone calls and letters from bill collectors about my card being declined. way lame day. but, after having to pay for everything in cash or check, i'm having to take a look at how i'm spending my money. i've been looking through my finances and finding new ways that i can save money, which is a much bigger priority in my life. i think when i get a day to just work on my finances, i'm going to have a lot of my stuff more organized. very good and necessary day.

this month i am out of town a lot. actually, i'm going to be gone from church four sundays in a row. not necessarily the best thing when there are many fires to take care of, and i def have an increased stress level, and most of all, i don't like being away from the kiddos. bad month. but, the reasons i'm gone four sundays in a row go like this: guest speaking at a retreat, jr high retreat, visiting my sister in england for thanksgiving, and a high school retreat at pepperdine. and, i've got a youth deacon that is missing hanging out with the kids teaching class on sundays. retreats, guest speaking, deacon involvement, traveling to europe... awesome month.

i've got a kid in the youth group that takes a lot of my energy when they are around. a great kid, with a great heart, that just takes a lot of 'talking to'. it's my job, and i love it, but it does add up to be a stressful thing having to talk with them about EVERYTHING. not necessarily bad, but energy consuming. anyways, their parent let me know recently that after a lifetime of looking forward to community college, they have changed their mind and their son now wants to go to oc and be a youth minister because of my influence. i felt like neo in the matrix when he just starts flying because he can. i was so ecstatic, i could barely contain myself, and i def cried right then and there. good day just doesn't seem to capture the feeling, but you get the idea.

the day after i got back from portland, i had a chance to see one of my friends, lameesa, who was in socal speaking at one of dantheman's retreats. we did the usual cracking up and just hanging out doing nothing and loving every minute of it. had a great talk and stuff was discussed that has me stoked for what the future might hold. way good day. on the way back i got stuck in traffic and it took almost four hours to get home. bad day, but not bad enough to make me forget how cool it is to hang out with the oc crew.

last and probably least, i got a giant stack of mail today. normally, a bad day seeing as how most of my mail consists of bills. but today was a good day, i got an autographed picture from mr robert goulet himself. oh man, i have not stopped laughing since this morning. and yes, the picture is now in a frame hanging on an office wall.

here's the kicker...this weekend we have a jr high retreat, with the theme of 'zero balance', and i don't think that there is really a coincidence between what i've been thinking lately and the theme of the retreat. my part of the retreat deals with the scripture regarding the ten lepers. in short, they call out to Jesus for pity, (note: they cry out for pity, not to be healed) and Jesus sends the to the local priest, and on the way they are healed. only one of the lepers comes back and thanks Jesus, and he turns around and rewards that man for his faith. the thing is, Jesus gave them more than what they asked for, and he did exactly what these guys needed him to do. it's crazy. i don't know how much of my life i've spent as one of the nine, but lately i really feel like God has been blessing me for focusing on being thankful for all of the blessings i have received, despite some of the garbage i have had to deal with lately. it's a great feeling, and i def feel like i should be throwing myself at the feet of Jesus.

Dear God,
I'm at your feet right now. It's where i belong, and it's where i want to be. thank you for giving me more than i ask for, and exactly what i need.

one love and one heart.


In the time it's taken to play this game you could have flown from Baltimore to Iceland. -Tim McCarver/WS Game 3

*disclaimer: this post was written in several parts over a few days, and it's been a while since my last post, therefore it's pretty long and a little disjointed. also, i can't figure out how to stop advertisers from commenting on my blog, so sorry for all the random comments.

hola blogworld, there's a lot going on, so i figured i would catch my breath for a few and write it all down before it slips my mind. the past couple of weeks has been (yet again) an awesome roller-coaster of emotions, stokedness, excitement, sickness, tiredness, overwhelmingness, and overall craziness.
when i last updated, the astros had just lost one of the most memorable playoff games in baseball history, storybook, the whole nine. anyways, uncle strech called up the cuz and said if the astros made the series, we had tix to a game if we could make it out. needless to say, the astros won the next night, and as soon as the last out was made, the cuz had our tix to houston printed out . chalk that up as yet another benefit of bachelorhood, no questions asked about seeing your team in the series. just a matter of tix. anyways, we were more than stoked, lawdog convinced the elders that i needed the time off after all the stuff thats been going on here lately, so i didn't even have to use my vacation days. seriously, short of the astros actually winning a few games, it was a perfect trip. so here's some of my thoughts on the flight out, looking for astros paraphernalia, and the games themselves.

white sox fan comment of the day goes to the guy on the plane out to l.a., who asked us (at nine in the morning) if roy oswalt had given up any runs yet.

i have to be more careful of the term 'my team' when it comes to sports. i think fans have this ownership complex when it comes to sports, we like to refer to teams as 'ours'. well, that had to change for me this past week, because we were sitting in front of the daughters f the owners of the white sox. they were pretty cool, and we got along pretty well, despite cheering on opposing teams. but the comment was made about 'our team', and i had to laugh, because it really was their team. that doesn't look near as funny online, but trust me, we had a good laugh. i was just glad the houston fans were respectful when the sox won. we turned around and congratulated them on the win and wished them the best, something they assured us would not have happened had the astros won the series in chicago. nuff said.

part of the hype and fanfare of going to the world series that really cracked me up was all of the people running around getting their hands on whatever astros merchandise they could find. i say this as one of the masses, who has never bought a program for any sporting event, and am currently looking at my framed world series program. i even picked up a couple of shirts for mi hermana and mmi madre's neighbor. oh yeah, i even bought a foam finger because i've always wanted one and my parents never let me have one.

i have to give up to the astros organization for being cool to the fans. i really wanted to keep my ticket from the games in pristine condition, sans the usual back-pocket folds that i typically incur. they handed out these little sleeves to put your ticket in the first game, so i got to keep both of mine in perfect condition, and those are now framed and in my office as well.

i also have to give it up to the astros fans. you would be hard pressed to find a situation where there were two out, or two strikes and the crowd wasn't on its feet. even in the fourteenth inning at 130-am of game three, and the last few outs of game four. and nobody left, not a single soul. it's pretty understandable when people payed what they payed for tickets, but was really cool when most of the fans stuck around even after the astros lost, and gave them a standing ovation for a good season while the white sox were starting to celebrate.

so on to thoughts on the game itself: this is the frustrating part, sorta.
i think the astros were just played out after beating the cardinals. nuff said. ensberg only had a few hits, and left a bunch of guys on base, and adam everett couldn't manage to get any of the twenty people in scoring position across the plate. that and i think he had a series high ten strikeouts. i stopped counting. then there's the almighty astros bullpen, that just got worked over. something got to lidge, and the white sox just didn't have any fear about where they were heading. i think it is important to note that none of the astros losses were charged to starting pitching though.

fundamentals win games. errors give the opposing teams extra out and motivation to take advantage of extra opportunities. that will get you to the post season, but to win in the post-season you must not only have the fundamentals down, but there must also be those one or two people that step it up every game and come through in what sports enthusiasts like to call 'the clutch'. it's pretty easy to see that the astros had the fundamentals down, every game of the sweep was close, and could have gone either way, but the astros did not have those guys step up in the clutch like they did against atlanta and st. louis.

after all is said and done though, it really was a great series, despite the 4-0 sweep. i had a blast, and i couldn't be more stoked that the astros actually made the world series, and i was there. although, there were two things that frustrated me. the first foul ball of the game was flying straight at me, it was a movie moment. music was playing, time was slowed down, until the idiot in front of me bumped my hand just enough to were the ball bounced off the back of my hand, and landed in the cuz's lap. at least the ball is in our apt for me to look at. then, two innings later the same thing, and the same guy knocked the ball away from me. one of those moments where i had go through my mental dictionary and cross out several words that i wanted to say. oh well, i was there.

possibly the best thing about actually going to the games though, was not having to listen to the worst announcer of all time, tim mccarver, butcher the airwaves with his unbearable, misinformed, idiotic play by play commentary. ugh, i would pay to go to any world series just to not have to listen to him. seriously, fox can keep the world series right, but they need to let tim mccarver go. they need to let mccarver go and hopefully he can just keep going. i think the wnba could use some help, maybe he could look there. whatever, bob costas should be required by law to do the world series commentary. he could win an emmy describing a person opening a jar of of peanut butter, and he could bring any viewer to tears with his epic storytelling of world series lore. i think i'm going to put my initiative to separate california in to two states on the back burner for while and address this issue first.

on to other stuff...

in other reasons to celebrate bachelorhood, i got a call at a halloween party late friday night that a ticket was available for the next morning usc game. i'm in, no questions asked. kinda like the word series, it's nice to be able to travel to a sporting event at the drop of a hat, with the only thought having to be 'is that jersey clean?'

and in other sports related stuff, i think it's time that i make my sports enthusiast declaration. i've been working on this a while (the plane to and from houston), and here are some thoughts for my rough draft. feel free to comment with any additions.

1. i reserve the right to cheer on any team that i see fit. wether it is a team i have always liked, or if it is a random game and i have no in depth knowledge of either team.

2. i will check espn, fox sports or any other sports network or information source by any other means whenever i see that it is fit to get updates or analysis on any sporting event.

3. i reserve the right to make any commentary i see fit about any sports team that i follow. i will be sure to clarify between personal opinion and statistic.

4. i will never acknowledge nascar as a sport.

5, i reserve the right to stand at any point of any sporting event and cheer on the team i am pulling for.

6. i reserve the right to make friendly wagers on games, but acknowledge that staking my life savings on any certain team, or outcome of any single sporting event is absolutely insane.

7. i reserve the right to operate as many fantasy teams as i can decently manage. i will not partake in a fantasy league where i never check on my team.

8. i will take my turn on hosting viewing parties of sporting events, and at said events i will provide, or offer to provide beverages and snacks.

9. the size of my tv is directly proportional to my obligation to host aforementioned sports viewing events.

10. i reserve the right to dress up in team colors, jersey, and other team paraphernalia, excluding body paint on a body that is over 215 pounds. fanny packs are also excluded.

11. tim mccarver is lame.

12. as corny as it gets, i reserve the right to hi five any and all fans cheering the same team after a good play. the high five will be used in concordance with the excitement level of the game. i.e. if the astros score a run in april, not a big deal, but if they come back to tie a game in the 8th inning of game four of the world series, everyone in my section is getting a hi five.

13. i will participate in any wave that i see fit, and will not refrain or discourage other from doing so.

14. i will never hit any beach ball towards security, or another lower level on purpose.

15. miniature team flags are unacceptable.

16. any autographed, commemorative, or collectible sports related items will be treated in a manner worthy of the item. i.e. my world series tickets are in a protective frame, on display, and my nascar hot wheels are in the the landfill down n san diego.

17. if i am an avid fan of a particular player on a team, and said player leaves that team i have one of two options. option a: become a fan of that players new team or b: stick with the team and renounce my being a fan of said player. (call this the Marshall Faulk clause.)

well, i think i'm going to have come back to this later, let's change gears here.

so after the stress of the last few weeks, i've kinda been more aware of God's presence, and more aware of spiritual implications of different situations. here's kinda what i've been thinking on lately:

i've always thought it was cool that there were so many names for Jesus, but i never really looked into why. so i've been doing a personal study on the names of Jesus lately and made some kind of cool observations. Jesus really is all things to all people. to different people in my life i take on a different persona. i am d.j. the son, the brother, the grandson, the cousin, the friend, the teacher, the youth minister, trucker, the coworker, the neighbor, the guy at church, the oc alum, the subway customer, the guy in the tahoe, and i'm sure there are plenty of others. in all of these situations people expect different things of me, and have different perceptions of me. I think we have the same expectations of Jesus. sometime i need the good shepherd to guide me back on track, sometimes i need the savior to get me out of a life and death situation, other times i may need the word, and the truth. right now i am looking at Jesus as rabbi, the teacher of the law. sometimes, i feel like i just need the friend of sinners. whatever the case may be, i encourage anyone who reads this to look into the names of Jesus (if you need a place to start, look for the seven 'I AM' statements in the book of John) and see what Jesus you need right now. maybe it's a combination of several. I know there are days when my pride gets away from me that i need the king of the jews, or the most high, so i can be put back in my place.

and last but not least, i've spent the last few weeks redoing my office. i can't really do anything to my apartment, and since i spend more time in my office anyways, i decided to turn it into a place i could really call mine. so out with the old lady carpet, beat up couch, and off white walls. threw some bright white paint on the walls, painted my shelves and table jet black, and i still have to build my new desk, which will also be black and white. the biggest thing though was that i put in pergo flooring in my room. talk about a huge difference, i finally have a place where i'm stoked to chill. and i think it makes me look more legit as a youth minister as well, that my space no longer resembles the old ladies prayer room. anyways, several things hit me on a spiritual level as i was working on my room.

it's nice to have a clean slate. when things are a brilliant white, it makes what once seemed clean so dirty in comparison. sometimes i think my spiritual life is so clean, until it actually gets that fresh coat of paint, and i realize how dirty, dull and off white i had become.

i is important to guard some things when painting. when i was painting my walls, i covered my shelves so as not to get white spots on the fresh black paint. but, i left my desk uncovered because it is old and about to go, and there really wasn't a need, and it would have been a hassle to not have something to set my paint on. i think it is important that i guard myself on certain areas, when there's a chance i'm going to be tainted, and leave some stuff uncovered that can handle a few drops of paint to fit in.

i was putting in the pergo, which is really easy once you get going, but took me a little while to figure out. the pieces fit so well together, i know that if there is a crack it is something in error with me or the floor, but not the pergo. there's also a certain order and direction you have to follow when putting in pergo. i started off going backwards, and was wondering why i was ruining these pergo slats. when i turned things around, all of the sudden things started to click, literally. i had read the directions, people had explained it to me, and yet i still managed to have some slight issues with getting it right. this is what really hit home. i've read the bible since i could read, i've been to church my whole life, and i have a pretty good understanding of christianity, but i still manage to mess up a few slats here and there, and do things a little backwards for a while. inevitably i will step back and take a look at the situation and realize i need to start on the other side. we've got a situation in our youth group that has been stressing me out lately. when i stop, step back, and take a look at the way God intended for me to handle this situation things get so much clearer, and the pieces fit together perfectly. amazing how that works.

also, my office is a mess still. i have some touching up to do, new light switch covers to put on, baseboards etc... so in now way am i done. but i look at the mess my office is in, and i know that when this little project is through, there is going to be a great reward on the other side. with all of the stuff that has hit our youth group lately, i can't wait to see what we have in store for us on the other side.

well, i think i'm going to get back to work, there's a lot on the todo list this week, and i'm back to feeling healthy again. to all my friends,
one love and one heart.


I think I'm getting the Black Lung, Pop. It's not very well ventilated down there. - Derek Zoolander

to quote my own blog from last year:

"Ugh. I don’t want to hear a thing from any cubs or red sox fans. Being an astros fan is worse, we just don’t get to gripe about it as much because they haven't’t been ingrained in our culture like other teams. Needless to say, the cuz and I are doing what we can to not think about the astros losing tonight."

seriously, albert pujols and david eckstein are like mosquito bites on a knuckle. they bother you enough that it hurts. ugh.

whatever, the astros only need to win one more game, and i don't think oswalt is going to give up any runs tomorrow night. that, and they def woke some bats up against carpenter, and got to him pretty consistently last night, which to me sends out a message that they are going to tear up the first cards pitcher that decides to hang a few curveballs. we'll see. the important thing is that uncle strech called the cuz today and said we both have a ticket to the world series. i'm not sure on what game, or any of the details, but i can inform you that there are flights from l.a. to houston for like $138 roundtrip. needless to say, WHEN the astros go to the world series, the cuz and i are on the first flight to tejas.

so there's a bunch of other stuff going on that i don't really feel like expanding into too much detail in a posting online. chances are, that if i've talked to you in the past few days you've heard from one of several topics:
serious situations in the youth group
p.r. for said situation
p.r. for another (in an ironic way) less serious situation
bulletproof chica
elders and deacons
mi familia
women's roles in worship
calendar planning
remodeling my office
the growing stack of books i need to be reading right now
my ongoing war with the post office that is starting to get expensive
the need for our church to get a secretary

and as bulletproof chica pointed out so well last night, i'm becoming one of those people that gripes about my job. or so it would appear. here's the deal. as much as i talk about this stuff, i recognize that i asked for it. to quote myself from another bolg entry:
'This reminds me of the ocean, and trying to make it out past the waves. some of the smallest waves can knock you back if you're not aware of their power. but you can make it past even the biggest waves by knowing how, by being equipped. it's one of the things that you must learn early or forever be intimidated by the ocean. this scripture does not call us to run and hide. it calls us to equip ourselves with all of the proper tools to combat evil. we are not to assume that we can not be knocked down, but we can trust that with proper trust and knowledge we can combat the waves that would knock us down. i say bring it. bring on whatever. the more we have to face the more we have to lean on God. '
yep, this is one of those times where i think it's a simple matter of putting matt. 5:10 into practice.

i think it's time to switch gears from vent mode to laughter, so i'm going to move on.

i finally got around to redoing my office this weekend, a much bigger task than first anticipated. picture me as a 25 year old tim taylor. fortunately there have been no lost limbs, and zero broken bones, but there def were some great awkward moments. to start off, i have to laugh at the idea of me walking around home depot acting like i know what i am doing. then, i decide to buy a point sprayer, because i am a guy. we buy power tools to make jobs easier. so i pretend like i know what i'm doing with this paint sprayer, and start painting the shelves that run along my back wall a nice glossy black. now i had enough foresight to go ahead and buy some masks, because i know my office is not very well ventilated. the problem occurs when, in an effort to save a few bucks (did i mention i just bought a paint gun?) i buy some cheap (see ineffective) spray masks. the whole night i have fumes shooting right back in my face, to the point that i was coughing up paint later that night. the embarrassing part came when i realized that i had gone to the grocery store and gas station with black paint all over my face. i looked like a coal miner. it's one of those things where you get the feeling everyone is staring at you , and then you go home and look in the mirror and realize why. needless to say, the next day when i was pointing the rest of my room white, i looked like a goth kid and was sure to travel around only at night.

what else have i been laughing at lately....

oh man, i was bored and started looking up random things online (always a great way to pass the time) and here are a couple of websites i'd like to share with everyone:

www.robertgoulet.com - be sure to order your own christmas card

www.worldbeardchampionships.com/Gallery/gallery.html - i'm feeling the urge to get started on mine.

well, speaking of urges, i think i'm going to go play out in the rain or something.

one love, one heart.


"his half is glass full!" - the cuz

yeah, the cuz says some pretty funny stuff.

this past week i was at the national youth workers convention in sacramento. whoa. that's all i have to say. top tier speakers, awesome seminars, and some of the best christian artists out there. simply amazing. not to mention that i went with a whole crew of youth ministers from socal (9 in all). man what a great week. here are some of the highlights from the convention:

seeing 3500 youth ministers and volunteers in one room. mi amigo merlin made a great observation about why this impressive: at most jobs you work alongside others who are involved with your daily work, and you have a common bond to discuss. in youth ministry you don't really get an opportunity to have someone else who knows exactly everything else that's going on. so to be able to laugh at jokes about youth ministry is a huge thing, kind of a relief of sorts. for me, it was nice to know that i'm not the only one with a messed up office, poor parent communications, and an addiction to lost on weds nights.

bands that played: third day, steven curtis chapman, david crowder band, chris tomlin, shane & shane, starfield, kutless, 4th ave jones, kendall payne, lost and found, and the swift.

renewing my love for road trips with the fellas. oh yeah, and getting to hang out at some great truck stop dives.

a lot of the speakers kept talking about building intimate youth groups. these are guys that are published authors, and leaders of youth ministries of several hundred kids a piece. with that in mind, i was really floored hearing these guys speak, and talking to other youth ministers from large churches about their goals and aspirations. all of these things that they were striving for, were things that i feel are our strong points. here i am looking to them for guidance and ideas, and they keep talking about things that our youth group already does. for example, one guy said he would give anything for his kids to say that they love each other, and just simply give each other a hug. man, if i forget to yell '5 HUGS' at any youth event i might get ran out of town. so this has me re-thinking a lot of what my goals are for the youth group. i threw down a challenge a few weeks ago to double the youth group in a year, and now i'm seriously re-thinking that challenge. this has me in a lot of prayer lately.

it was amazing to me how many people were complaining about their jobs. i love my kiddos. no questions asked, even the ones that are a pain sometimes. there seemed to be this air about some guys that they got into youth ministry to put on laser shows and run sound, and teaching the kids the gospel was a second tier part of the job description. while this may sound negative, it was really re-affirming to me about how i view my work. that, and it was a great reminder that a band, a light show, and a huge stage are not a sign of a good youth group, just a big one.

i'm not the only one who hates lock-ins.

i'm not the only one of my friends that watches lost. i asked the guys if they were in a hurry to get to sacramento, and as soon as dantheman mentioned he wanted to get checked in before lost was on, the other guys all had a look of shock as we all realized we shared yet another common bond. speaking of lost, we are all mad because the commercials said there would be questions answered. not only were no questions answered, but twenty more were raised. ugh. i'll have to tape it tonight.

nine chiefs and no indians make it tough to decide on where to eat every meal for six days. and taking initiative to suggest a place means if said restaurant is lame, it is def your fault. yeah, we had a lot of fun with this.

downtown sacramento was pretty cool. everything was in walking distance. it's fun to be a downtown person every once in a while. some of the guys weren't as excited as i was, but when i explained that it was quicker to walk, than to find a parking space they came around. and, i love wandering around downtowns.

we got to see the governator! the last afternoon we were eating lunch on k street, which runs behind the hyatt where mostof our group was staying, and the schwarzenegger family lives. anyways, we're just chillin, grabbing a bite, when arnold comes walking out of a steakhouse across the way. everyone cheered for him, and he waved at us. pretty cool. the funniest part though, was we had a guy from colorado with us that talked all week about wanting to see the governor, and he was inside getting a refill when it happened. needless to say, we had a good laugh when he didn't believe we saw arnold, and then went running after the gov. not a good idea. we had to tell him to stop or the security guards (just imagine the size of the guys that protect a former mr universe) would prob break him in two. yet another good laugh.

what else...

well, i can't really think of anything else from last weekend. reality has kinda hit now that i'm back in the office. right now i'm working on copying cds of the lectures for the rest of the youth min crew, getting our youth group hoodies done ($20 if anyone wants one), getting a couple of drivers for a youth rally on friday, our jr high camp, merry xmas madness 05, magic mtn, paintball, thanksgiving plans to europe, our spring break college tour, not to mention the five or so kids with identifiable crisis in their lives.

sounds like a lot, but i'm keeping a pretty good mood about me. i had a really good conversation with this chica from quizno's yesterday, and a guy a wal-mart last night, where i really felt like i was doing my part to be an evangelist. feels good to have that focus. and, the quizno's girl had my favorite quote of the day, "you don't look like a youth minister. they're cheesy."

oh yeah, and my sister posted some really amazing pics from her semester at oxford. she def inherited my dad's gif for photography. check em out at http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/acuinoxford05/my_photos

one love, one heart.


Lemme show ya something! This is why you never put nitroglycerin in a chain saw. -Fire Marshall Bill

hola blogworld.

so yesterday me and fire marshall bill decided to head down to burbank and see the tonight show firsthand. pretty cool to say the least. anyone who comes to visit the l.a. are should take a day out to be part of a studio audience. it's not a mind blowing experience or anything like that, but it was really cool to see how the show is made. so here's my thoughts/observations on yesterday:

i have an increased respect for jay leno. he lives off of his earnings as a stand up comedian. all of his tonight show money either goes into savings, charity, or his massive car collection. he also wears a denim shirt and jeans everyday to work, and owns over 150 cars. most people change clothes every day and drive the same car to work. i got the impression that jay leno also treats every person equally, wether they are a tv star, some random schmuck, or the guy that does security for the stage. very impressive.

the studio spared no expense to redecorate the tonight show set with one exception, jay leno still has the $35 chair from office max that he has sat in for every show.

the stage for the tonight show is actually really small. the cameras have special lenses that kinda deceive the eye. very hollywood.

tom selleck is very short and he wears his pants up his chest like an old man. sorry to burst your bubble mom, but magnum p.i. prob wears black socks and sandals too.

there was a guy from pittsburgh in front of us in line that had me and fire marshall bill doing our best not to laugh. he starts going off on random stories, really random stories, and ten minutes into the conversation i realize that the window to tell this guy that there is a giant red thing in his teeth has passed. at a certain point, you just have to let that go and not say a thing, otherwise he's going to be really embarrassed, and my chance to enjoy an awkward moment would be over. needless to say i could barely look at the guy after a while and neither could fire marshall bill. had to be there i guess...

after the jay leno show, they asked some us to come watch the carson daly show, which we actually debated, but decided it was better than being in traffic. what a difference carson daly makes. anyways, that show was cool, but much less impressive than the tonight show. i think the biggest difference was the guy that came to warm up the crowd. the jay leno guy was funny, but never condescending, and he never tried to give us some false sense of importance to the show. all he said was, the audience at home will respond how you guys do, so please laugh when you think things are funny, and don't worry if a joke bombs. the carson daly guy was trying to tell us that we were 'an important part of hollywood'. right. and you don't say that to every audience. that, and he was a forty year old guy doing the trl yell every time we were supposed to be 'excited'. i typically don't consider myself cooler than most people, but i def have one guy beat. probably.

so other random people i've run into lately...

i was heading to a b-day party for valleygirl on monday night and i stopped off at the drug store to pick up a card. the couple in front of me were trying to buy a box of top ramen with some fake food stamps. the guy started yelling at the lady behind the register, and i thought he was going to get violent. so i interject my two cents, and comment that the gut shouldn't get mad at the girl just trying to do her job. if you're doing something illegal, don't complain when people don't go for it. 'nuff said. so the guy looks at me and yells, 'so what are you going to do about it?' so i put down a couple of bucks on the counter and tell the lady at the register to put it on my bill. the couple does not even say a word. no thank you. nothing, they just grab the box and head out. oh well, three bucks is a small price to pay to avoid a fight.

so later that night i'm down on sunset blvd for this birthday party. (not something i've ever been able to say before, and i only mention because it will help make the rest of the story make sense.) anyways, i got there an hour early because there was not a sign of traffic, so i decide to walk down sunset to kill some time, and give bulletproof chica a call, cuz it had been a while. so i'm walking down the street, and there's all these little hole-in-the-wall places with no signs that i never realized were there, and all of the sudden this car parks on the other side of the street and a guy in the car starts taking pictures of me. i don't have a clue who he thought i was, but it was unnerving to say the least. i can imagine how that could freak famous people out. not a cool feeling, but funny. needless to say i'll be checking the national enquirer for my pic.

then there's my favorite person of the day, the 'i'm a part of hollywood' guy that name drops like there's no tomorrow. i've ran into a few of these people before, they have a great sense of distorted perception. proximity does not equal celebrity. the very fact that you work in the same building as jay leno, does not make you a celebrity. yes, it's interesting, but if that's the greatest thing you've got going for you, it's time for a reality check. this guy took the cake though, because he wasn't even name dropping a person, but a car. 'Yeah, i was right next to a a brand new lambo, and this guy starts to rev his engine. i'm like, seriously, all i have is a camaro, i'm not gonna race your lamborghini. then, the guy stalls it when the light turns green and i beat him across the intersection. it was awesome'. please allow me to break down my response:
1. i find it ironic that the guy wasn't going to race until after he had won.
2. lamborghini's are impressive machines. no guy will argue that. however, i do think you must actually own one in order to call it a 'lambo'.
3. this guy was asking people that just came to see jay leno to also sit and watch carson daly. he did not fill his quota or the stands.
4. i can understand telling this story being told in the context of a conversation about cars, racing, or even nice cars that you might see around los angeles. i cannot even begin to grasp why this story was told without any prompting whatsoever.
5. everyone in southern california has seen a lamborghini. there are a lot of nice cars here. call it nice weather or whatever, its one of those peripheral benefits that comes with living here. that would be like me bragging to my roommate that i saw a house that cost a million dollars, or i saw disneyland from the freeway, or i know where the ocean is from here.

on to the more serious stuff...
me and the cuz watched 'Hotel Rwanda' last night. frustrating to say the least. obviously the hardest thing about the movie is wondering how a group of people could kill over a million of their fellow countrymen. i hope i never understand that. but something else struck me, why didn't we know about what happened? why didn't the u.s. take any action? the answer is pretty simple, the administration of the time chose to ignore the problem. i think it's ironic that the same people that criticize our involvement in other countries are the same people that allow millions of people to be victims of genocide. then i remember hearing about the 'ethnic cleansing' in romania, and somalia. so excuse me when i say i don't mind our involvement overseas if it means that we are preventing genocide. oh yeah, those are the same people that say it's okay to kill children. why am surprised?

and then today, i found out that most of my extended family, will have to evacuate their homes due to the hurricane heading towards houston. keep mi familia in your prayers.

well, i'm not one to end things on a downer, but it's been a real crazy week between the good and the bad. such is life, no more than we can handle.

one love and one heart.

oh yeah, in response to lindsy's comment on my last post, i did forget to mention the best thing about going to costco, the free samples! good call.


They say that the recipe for Sprite is lemon and lime, but I tried to make it at home, there's more to it than that.

kind of a random day, good, but really random. here are some of the things that have crossed my mind today.

why am i listening to bon jovi... again?

if you own a pizza place that happens to be on a street that will be closed for a parade, then no, you will not be able to deliver on that day.

i don't like country music, so i better find another way to categorize nickel creek.

if there is any official function for ministers, there must be a speaker. no speaker, no event.

every speaker must have an introduction.

every introduction must list off the things that qualify them to speak.

we had a luncheon the other day at pepperdine, and the 'host' listed the qualifications of the guy that was going to say the prayer for lunch.

i wish i needed to be introduced. my introduction would be, "speaking to us today is d.j. iverson, he's the youth minister from simi valley. he has a degree in graphic design and he's probably the only one here wearing jeans."

for the first time in a long time i am looking forward to the rainy season.

mountain dew is underrated.

so are hot tamales.

i'm 25 and i have a full time job yet i still enjoy getting care packages from my mom.

we had a dinner three weeks ago here at the church and i left some pots and pans here. we didn't notice until yesterday.

'taming a liger: unexpected spiritual lessons from napoleon dynamite' may be the greatest book i've ever read.

the great gatsby is definitely the worst.

lord of the rings IS better than star wars.

costco (or sam's club for the midwest) is a great place to do some people watching.

who needs five pounds of mayonaise?

what is the best way to send salsa to someone in another country?

the way i feel about 70's music is probably how most teenagers feel about 80's music.

old people always pay in cash.

if the retail value is $80, and you're trying to sell it in a grocery store parking lot for $20, no you are not cutting me a deal, you are trying to sell me stuff i don't need and/or want. and you wearing a suit and tie with running shoes doesn't help either.

well, that's about all i have time to ramble about today. things are pretty nuts around here, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that knows me, or anything about youth ministry.

one love, one heart.


Please, Damon is the biggest practical joker I know. He once convinced a sophomore that he was the middle Hanson brother

so i think this is going to be one of those 'stream of consciousness' type blog entries where i'm off on a bunch of tangents. that's cool, that's kinda how things have been lately...

so where to begin...

i love inside jokes. nothing makes for a better friendship than having an inside joke with someone. some of my best friends are people that i became friends with because of one joke. then there's a whole crew of people that i know that our whole relationship revolves around one joke. i'm not going to go on vacation to see them or anything, but if i ever do run into them again, i guarantee we'll bring our joke back up.

i know no one else will get these (the whole point of an inside joke) but these are some of my favorite inside jokes...

trashcanning and d.o.b.

tres grindage


congratulations dave and jessica

you turned that down for a pepsi?


old navy.... YAAAAAAAAY!

where are the urinals?

toss me an oreo. strike.

you know i don't speak sign language.

shtank you for shtoppng by the plateau taco time, would you like shome shalsha or shour cream? your total ish sheven shixty shix.

lane 6

ain't kiddin

there's the lawrence welk stand

812 dub tribe

han solo hair


the dirty dozen


ahhhh, there's so many more, but those are the ones i've been thinking about lately.

so what else has been going on...

i really need more of my friends from san diego to come and visit. bulletproof girl came to visit this past weekend and i was forced to get everything organized and cleaned up before she got here. def a good thing. aside from having an awesome weekend journeying around, staying up too late and people watching, i now i have everything organized as a result. add that on to the list of reasons why i'd like to see bulletproof girl again.

one thing we did was watch both of the ring movies, yeah... creepiest movies ever. (i so heart creepy movies... yeah, i know right). i promote a lot of movies, and typically they're not of the horror genre, but if you're one of the two people that haven't seen both movies yet, i highly recommend watching them as soon as possible. but not with me, i make jokes to cover up the fact that i'm actually pretty creeped out.

one of the things a youth minister always has to wonder about is wether or not they make an impact on their kiddos, and wether or not they feel comfortable with you. yesterday i got a little present to show how much the kids care. i've been planning on redoing my office here as soon as the time and money are available at the same time (i.e. not the couple of days around when rent is due). anyways, a couple of the girls in my youth group decided to go ahead and redecorate for me. 'an obsession with hanson' wasn't really the theme i was going for, but i did get a big kick out of walking into an office literally covered in hanson posters, magazine cutouts and who knows what else. they did a good job, and it must have taken them a while, but there will be repercussions. i need to show them how much I care. it was also funny, that while i was buying some shoe polish and other accessories to get them back, they walked into the grocery store. so i payed quickly and quietly, and tagged their car while they were picking up a snack. not the best work i've done, but considering the situation i had a pretty good laugh. oh it has been broughten.

i made another little realization yesterday. if we eat out a fewer times each month, me and the cuz could easily afford a much larger and nicer tv. i'm not one to need the latest and greatest toys, but i think i've gotten bit with the tv disease, and sony is thy name. we'll see. there's no big rush, except that after going to best buy the other day our tv at the apt seems oh so small and unentertaining. first priorities first though, i need to recover financially from giving up half a paycheck to our church for hurricane relief. seriously, if anyone in this country hasn't stopped by the red cross or a local church or something, do it right now.

which leads me to some more serious stuff thats been on my mind. i am absolutely sick and tired of people complaining about the government's response to the hurricane victims. some idiot the other day was comparing this disaster to the 9/11 response and made themselves look like a total idiot in my book. when an entire area is flooded, it's going to take time to get aid in. when 9/11 happened, there were only a few square blocks affected (not to discount the impact of the disaster) but people were physically able to respond because of the proximity. as for katrina relief, i can understand why people are frustrated and confused, but to start shooting at relief helicopters and loot your town as a response is absolutely uncalled for. it's one thing to be in desperate need to get your baby food, diapers, water, shelter and other necessities, but when i see a bunch of people pushing a display case of nikes down the street there is a line of decency and understanding that has been crossed. that is someone else's livelihood that you are stealing, and using a disaster to say that these are 'owed' to you because of your struggles is absolutely insane. for so long, certain political leaders have preached that it is the responsibility of the government to take care of our every need, that we have lost the ability to take responsibility for our own actions. we are not 'owed' anything by our government if we do not take the responsibility to contribute ourselves. if anyone is 'owed' anything, it is the thousands of volunteers that got off their butts to help others. it is the countless number of nurses and doctors who, being flooded out of house and home themselves, start taking care of those around them in line waiting the arrival of organized help. they are owed a thank you. they are owed a peasant night's rest knowing they have served their community and their neighbors. the ironic thing is, these are the people that never in a million years would ever ask, demand, or put together a news conference to draw attention to their actions. if i were a new orleans resident i would be ashamed of my mayor, and i would have every right to feel that way. his comments, and those in his corner have distracted our attention from the true victims, and are blatant political grandstanding. yes we know there are thousands that may have died, and there are hundreds of thousand that are without homes, and your city is in ruins, but criticizing the hand that literally feeds you is uncalled for. this is one of those catch twenty-twos that responsible leaders have to deal with when grandstanding opportunistic self-serving press conference mongers get involved. no matter what you do, it will never be the right thing. people are complaining that relief isn't coming soon enough, but if relief had come even a day earlier people would have been complaining that it wasn't very organized. get it through your head, you are owed nothing. the fact that relief is on it's way at all is out of sheer compassion of others. it is because our forefathers set up a government that would take care of it's own people (and others around the world in need) to the best of it's ability. does this mean everyone in new orleans will get a new flat screen tv, no. but it does mean that any and all victims that can get help will, to the best of our country's ability. in no way, shape, or form am i trying to criticize those who are tired, lost and have nothing but the clothes on their backs. i can't begin to imagine the amount of suffering and distress that this hurricane has caused, but i will call out the political leaders who prey upon victims for their own political gain. typically i don't like to call out names, but jesse jackson is at the forefront of my mind so often when it comes to these tragedies, and it makes me wonder, what does he do when there aren't any disasters? does he encourage the naacp to help any white victims of the flooding? does he encourage anyone to help out with hurricane relief or does he complain about it? has he served a meal without a camera around? how much of his salary has he donated to relief? what does he do for a living?

ugh. it stuff like this that makes me mad. even my own attention is taken away from the hurricane victims and pulled to the hurricane criminals. i'm infuriated. i may also rethink buying that tv. i think i may have to take a break and go back to some inside jokes.

Dear God,
I know it's so hard to understand your plan sometimes, but i see so much potential for your glory to shine in the wake of this disaster. i praise you for guiding the hearts of so many that are risking their lives, and using their time and energy to help their neighbors in need. i thank you for those that are working tirelessly, and selflessly to find the lost, reunite families, serve and prepare dinners, drive busses, fly helicopters, organize finances, make decisions, and anything else that is being done to serve. bless them Lord, and give them strength to continue to serve beyond disaster relief. let them know it is You who served us first, and we are just following your example. i pray for all the victims of this disaster, that they may lean upon your word and compassion for support, and that they know that You are God. i pray that new orleans is no longer known as a city of debauchery, but a city of service and compassion, where your light shines. i pray that those using this time for personal gain would to distract our country from serving and caring. Lord, let this disaster be a firing point for your servants everywhere to be called into action, whether it's time in prayer, financial support, or physical labor.

much better.

onto other things...

so everyone pretty much knows that i'm a music nerd and all that, but i was kinda struck by some songs the other day. i made a bunch of comp cds of my favorite songs for my truck, and there was a group of songs that played in order that kinda had some cool messages, at least they did for me...

welcome to paradise-
i really am happy with my life and where i'm at as a person. i have a job i love, people that care about me and plenty of stuff to laugh about.

welcome to the jungle-
and yet i live right over the mountains from one of the most insane places in earth

what do i get-
that's my question too often. i'm always looking out for what i can do to earn things. instead i should be asking...

what i got-
i don't take stock of the blessing i have often enough

what's golden-
what has value in my life? do i have any idols?

what's my age again-
i love this song. one of the reasons i became a youth minister was so that a part of me would never have to grow up.

whats up-
not so much a message here, but i love how a cheesy song can be so fun to sing along to and play on guitar. that, and sometimes it just feels good to stand up and yell 'Hey-ey-ey-ey, Hey-ey-ey, What's goin on?'

when i come around-
i wonder what it would be like if i actually used all of my potential.

when it's good-
'when it's good it's oh so good, and when you're gone its gone' taken out of context, that makes a very nice spiritual statement.

where is my mind-
i seriously get distracted by so many things other than what i should be focusing on.

where is the love-
(yes, i like BEP) always a good question to ask yourself in any given situation. am i acting on love?

where the streets have no name-
i can't wait for the day.

yes i know that these are in alphabetical order, which is the easiest way for me to keep track of my music, but that's besides the point. i like how a simple random section of song titles can bring up so much thought.

well, after a weekend of hanging out with bulletproof chica, and a true couple of days off i feel energized and ready to get to work. keep me in your prayers cause we have a lot of stuff coming up, and i'm thinking of taking a significant increase in my responsibility in my leadership role in the church. speaking of, we are looking at different things we can do to improve worship service on sunday mornings, so if your church does something that really works well i'd like to get some outside ideas. thanks.

one love, one heart.


three little birds were on my doorstep...

ahhh, blogspot... like a cool pepsi on a hot afternoon. i have no idea what that means.
well, it's been a while since i've updated, and that's pretty much due to the fact that well, i really haven't felt like slowing down long enough to write. but today is a nice day. i've got a pile of stuff on my desk that is calling, so obviously this is much more fun. so where to begin...

i got back yesterday from my trip to the country of texas. i went to go visit mom, pops and mi hermana before she heads off to oxford for the fall. let's see, details from the trip... i got there last tues and got to see my parents new house. very nice. it looks like the backlot of universal studios where they filmed leave it to beaver. very suburban, very nice. the neighbors wanted to have a cookout to meet me and say goodbye to mi hermana which was really cool. this neighbor drove by and mentioned that he was a photographer and saw the neighbors out every night talking and watching the little kids play. like he said, it's good to know that this still goes on. anyways the cookout was fun, got to meet the neighbor kids that mi madre always talks about and they were pretty funny.

also got to meet mi hermana's boyfriend which was very anti-climactic compared to how freaked out certain members of my family were hyping it up to be. we got along really well, but i think he respected that i am the big brother and the responsibilities that are entitled to me. whatever, we got along and there's no drama there.

seeing mom and pops was really cool too. mi madre was a lot less stressed than i thought she would be, and handled mi hermana leaving really well. and, she's still my same old madre, going out of her way to make everyone else happy and relaxed (except for me stressing trying to keep up with her on the freeway). pops was his usual goofy self, which is exactly what i came to visit. it's amazing, the man can barely communicate but still manages to crack jokes and keep all of us laughing, if only with simple gestures. i messed with him on a daily basis, and got to ride just me and him out to abilene which was a lot more fun than i had realized i was going to have.

by the way, dallas traffic is much lamer than l.a. traffic. at least out here you have a reason for traffic, out there it's so open and spread out its just frustrating as to why there should be any traffic in dallas at all.

then there's abilene. first of all, i must start off by saying that the acu campus is much more impressive than the oc campus. i'm sure it probably loses some of its charm if you go there, but i was really taken back at how well the campus was maintained and how well designed the architecture was. i even bought an acu shirt to show some love, and to prove to my kiddos that i don't hate other colleges. as for the town of abilene, i don't think i could have handled west texas. as nice as the campus was, i am glad i knew that i had okc to go to while i was in college. not that okc is a raging metropolis, but it def is a step up from the town of abilene.

what else... i got to stay an extra day in texas and go to church with the fam which was cool. except mi hermana pulled the mom bit and was trying to introduce me to 'this girl i had to meet'. i told her 'you're right, i should quit my job and move out here'. ugh. pet peeve alert. that was overshadowed though, by getting to see a good friend from back in the oc days, mike simpson, one half of the simpson jam band that i used to rock out with. random i know, but it was cool to see him. kinda made me miss some of the other oc crew, but we had a good time chillin one night and just catching up.

unforeseen highlight of the trip def goes to my stop in tulsa sunday night. got to see some of the kiddos from park plaza, my amigos that i worked with and a few others i miss from the tulsa days. seeing the kiddos from the park was cool, but it def made me glad to see my kiddos here in simi. not really sure why, but i was def ready to come home.

and maybe a close second to unforeseen highlight goes to no big stories from the plane trips. no bad seatmates, no big delays, no one making out on the plane, just a lot of sleep and more sleep. my

the only big observation from my travels is that salt lake city might be the creepiest place on earth. everyone looks alike, not similar, alike. creeps me out every time i have to switch planes there.

other random thoughts...

it's nice to have phone conversations that end because you're simply too tired to talk anymore, instead of running out of things to say. had a few of those lately. very nice.

texas is nice when it comes to the people, but how anyone lives in the humidity is beyond me. this time last week i was walking out of an air conditioned airport into 98 degree, 98 percent humidity.

right now i'm sitting in my office with my door open and its a nice 73 degrees outside with just a hint of a breeze off of the ocean. ahhh... oh yeah, and there aren't any mosquitoes buzzing around.

the new 311 cd came out last week. buy it. nuff said.

the night before i left i was trying to tie up some loose ends at the office when a lady walked up and asked for my help because she was a meth addict and was trying to fight the urge to get high. we talked about the story of the prodigal son for a while, and she kinda calmed down, but it was the first time i've had someone come to me in that type of situation where i actually felt like i helped the person out. it was a good feeling. i don't know where she's at right now, but i know i did the best i could, and there's a lot of joy that comes from that.

story of the week goes to one of the kiddos at park plaza. he was helping out with officiating at a special olympics track meet, which may just be one of the coolest ways to volunteer to serve ever. anyways, one of the competitors decided not to run in one of the track events, and this kid had the responsibility to go tell the judges on the other side of the middle infield. so he kinda jogs from the starting line area over to the middle infield where the judges are, and as he starts jogging, people in the stands start cheering him on and applauding. he doesn't know what to do so he keeps running to the judges, who are also cheering and trying to give him a ribbon. oh man, i was on the floor as this kid was telling the story. what a great story though, it says a lot about the attitude of the people that attend those events and their spirit. even those helping out with the special olympics deserve a round of applause, even if it is under some funny circumstances. way to go evan, you get a blue ribbon in my book any day!

today is a just a good day. i've got a lot to do, and a lock in to prepare for, but it's a good day nonetheless. i'd like to thank everyone who contributed to me having a good day.

last night was pretty sweet as well. the youth group cooked a spaghetti dinner for our senior saints, and then we had a q&a time afterwards. it was awesome to hear our saints tell stories from growing up, and how much the world had changed in their lifetime. we have some really cool saints at our church. one lady used to have a hot rod in the 50's and snuck onto a movie set with elvis presley, and a couple of our guys worked on the apollo rockets that landed the first man on the moon. if you haven't really talked to any senior saints lately i highly recomend it.

and last but not least, i went ahead and got my tattoo that i've wanted for a while. i got my dad's signature on my shoulder where he used to put his hand when he was talking to me. nothing flashy, but it means a lot to me. it took him a second, but he seemed to really like it when i showed him, and mom absolutely loved it. i can't imagine anything else i'd like to get tattooed and i'm fine with that. when i was getting the tattoo i ended up telling the whole store the story of my dad, and why i wanted his signature and i almost had a couple of people in tears. it turned into a great ministry time, and i was really stoked that i actually went through with it. when i get my batteries charged for the camera i'll try and get a pick up for those that are interested. it's still a little weird whenever i catch a glimpse of it in the mirror but i'm so glad i got it. for anyone thinking about getting a tattoo be sure to think about it for a long time, def don't do something you're going to not be completely stoked about years from now, i.e. tribal designs or random stuff like that.

oh yeah, our mission team got back from india last week with some pretty cool stories. check out http://osh-india.blogspot.com/

well, i'm sure there's other stuff on my mind, but it's turning into a gorgeous afternoon and i think i'm going to sit outside and play guitar and have a pepsi. hope you're having and awesome day. God loves you and so do i.

one love, one heart.


you win... you always do.

well it's been a while since my last post, and while part of me wants to apologize, there's a majority of my brain that says, 'i'm a youth minister, this is summer.'
so summer is my crazy time and i wouldn't have it any other way. summer for me means late nights with kiddos, early (yeah right) mornings into the office so i can get stuff done before hanging out with kiddos all day, and into the night as previously mentioned. but most of all, summer means church camp. seriously, i look fwd to camp more than christmas.
so this past week i was at teen camp (hence no weekly post) rocking out with a bunch of kiddos and my bros in youth ministry. fun was had, but most importantly God was praised in a way that still has me stoked. lemme see if i can explain.
to start of the week i was told that there were four kids coming from our church that i either hadn't met or had never attended anything here. awkward. some of us had reservations because of the stories that kids had come back with from previous years. yeah, enough with the negativity, everything was awesome. we bonded with the kids that aren't too involved in church and def built relationships that are going to be a huge blessing. and a couple of my guys really opened up and let loose for the first time since i've been here. dantheman typically judges the success of a youth event by how many kids cry, by his standards this was a great time. one of my kiddos was really upset by the soldiers laughing at Jesus during a Passion clip we showed, and that anger manifested itself later on that night when he asked the other kids point blank why they don't go to church, and later on when he revealed that he couldn't remember the last time that he told his parents that he loves them, or gave his little brother a hug instead of making fun of him. another kid really realized how much he holds back in the time we spend together and i think that really got to him. yet another kid really came out of his shell and got some great positive attention from the whole camp. he even won the camp 'hip-hip hippopotomus' contest. way to go rockstar. one of our girls was put in the hotseat one night and given a whole bunch of compliments, which was cool because she had a: earned it and b: never in a million years asked or wanted to be in the hotseat. what else... had another kid that wants to start studying about baptism, we had to resist the urge to go right then, but we decided it would be better to help him know what he was doing before he made the biggest decision of his life. the heart is there but the knowledge isn't. i think every kid that went from our group got what they needed. some kids needed to make new friends, some had to break out of their shells, some just needed to get into worship, and all of us needed to just focus our attention on God completely for a week. the most impressive and important part of the camp was our worship time. it's cool to see conservative and liberal churches get together and throw out all of the devisive stuff and just worship. dantheman and the wookie led our worship time which consisted of everything from art stations, clay stations, phones to talk to God, pennies to represent people we needed to forgive, rocks with our struggles on it to throw away, a tree where we attached what kept us from answering God's call that ended up being burned (think moses and the burning bush), an encouragement station for us to write two letters to a couple of kids that were kicked out the first day for bringing drugs to camp, feet washing stations... it was all awesome. so creative. it's the first time that i've ever been able to include my art in a worship time. talk a about a huge blessing for me. the kids got into it as well, one kid went to town drawing all kinds of stuff throughout the day to decorate the barn where we worshiped. and the singing... i can't even begin to describe. throw in a couple of really moving short videos and worship was a huge impact on our lives.
so the devil def played his hand to early with the drugs on the first night. the response by the kids was overwhelming and quite moving. we told all of the campers what happened so that there wouldn't b any rumors floating around, and they responded by embracing the message of the day, which happened to be forgiveness. i was moved when a 15 year old kid said, 'i'm not going to say anything bad about them because i didn't come up with here with the right intentions either. just because what i was doing isn't illegal doesn't mean i'm just as wrong.' wow. the youth ministers were speechless. the devil tried to get at the camp early but he made several mistakes. 1. he messed with a camp that was completely committed to God. 2. by keeping the counselors up the first night he forced us to rely on God for strength to get through the week. 3. he underestimated the amount of love that the camp has for each other and the love we have for God. there's some lessons to be learned there on our part, mainly being committed to, and totally dependent on God for strength is sooooooo necessary.

last but not least for me was being able to be around my friends and fellow youth ministers. what a blessing we have. we work so well together and encourage each other so much. i was looking around at our crew one day and realized that we were probably going to be working together for a long time. and then it hit... THIS IS MY JOB! oh man. i almost lost it right there. what a perfect mix of friendship we have together. i can't really explain it, but can you imagine being friends with everyone you work with, no drama, no talking behind each others backs, just blessing each other with laughter and encouragement and a shared passion. man, i really am blessed. i was having a rough time before camp but right now i feel on top of the world.

here's some of the other stuff that stuck out this week:

one of the kids that i haven't seen around much went from literally running away from people hugging him, to being the first give out hugs when the time came.
we were able to laugh during worship. i don't know how many guys i know that have a great sense of humor but put that aside when they get a mic in front of them in a worship setting.
the guys in my cabins broke a bunch of dvds and cds that one of the guys needed to get rid of.
the younger guys cabin did a skit where guys with guns came and cleared out all of the non-believers during a church service.
at campfire one night we had two chairs set up where people could either apologize or forgive whoever they needed to.
seeing my girls hanging out with so many different people.
praying for our mission team with just our youth group.
playing robert goulet for a skit one night.
laughing at every staff meeting.
eating it running up the ampitheater back wall and leaving a part of my leg on the wall.
the silence of the camp being empty.
being able to hear God in that silence.
the skits.
merle and burl.

well, it's too nice out today to stay inside. i'd love to stay and update you more on what's going on, but it's time i went and made some more stories.

one love, one heart.


bring it.

just had these scriptures on my mind this weak for different reasons, and would like to share.

'blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' matt 5:10

i know that there are as many degrees and strengths of faith as there are people, but how cool is it to have such a strong faith that you are blessed to have to defend it. i like to think of this verse as saying that heaven is for those who have the bravery to stare evil in the eye and show nothing but God's love.

'Consider it pure joy my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, ot lacking anything.' -james 1:2-4

once again, how cool is it to to be so trusted by God that you are given the chance to show His love despite whatever is going on in your life.

'put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.'

This reminds me of the ocean, and trying to make it out past the waves. some of the smallest waves can knock you back if you're not aware of their power. but you can make it past even the biggest waves by knowing how, by being equipped. it's one of the things that you must learn early or forever be intimidated by the ocean. this scripture does not call us to run and hide. it calls us to equip ourselves with all of the proper tools to combat evil. we are not to assume that we can not be knocked down, but we can trust that with proper trust and knowledge we can combat the waves that would knock us down. i say bring it. bring on whatever. the more we have to face the more we have to lean on God.

so i guess this is an encouragement to those i have been blessed to be around this week. stay strong, fight the fight. equip yourselves. there is a battle raging, and you have committed yourselves to fight for what is true. bless you. bless you and may God guide and protect you.

to all the soldiers in the fight,
one love and one heart.


Cotton McKnight: It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian.

so my last post was way more down that i was actually feeling, and me being someone to not mislead the public, i thought it would be cool to share things that i can think of that always make my day.

walking into an air conditioned room

diving into the word for a while

when a song ends right as you are putting your car into park

getting a phone call from a friend you haven't talked to in a while

watching someone try and swing a golf club for the first time

having breakfast with the senior saints

letting the kiddos stay over for a second movie

getting soaked with water by some kiddos in the middle of a great round of gennis

80's one hit wonders

bill and ted's 3 disc boxed set on dvd

the beach boys

those really huge burps that clear your soul

a really great guitar riff

not caring that dinner wasn't that great because you realized it was only about $1.50 a piece for you and your roommate

missing the dartboard in our apt and ruining yet another light switch cover

a broken in pair of vans

a light lunch

phone calls to the fam

making fun of country music

when its 94 degrees outside and it only feels like 87

tuning my guitar by ear


learning a new song

skipping past all of the college complaint rock and emo on my itunes playlist and going straight for the marley and 311

well, just thought id share. hope you're having a good day too, and if you have any ideas for songs i should learn or make reggae covers of feel free to contribute.

happy 63rd birthay harrison ford!

one love, one heart.


i haven't slept for 10 days, because that would be too long.

ahh the stuff on my brain...
you ever have those weeks that seem like they take forever, and then the next thing you know it's over and it went by really fast? me neither.

so last week was vbs, which is always a good outreach, but it was kinda hard for me to get into it. actually, it's been hard for me to get into anything lately. i don't know who all read this, but i'm going to assume someone out there is like me when it comes to getting stuff done. if i don't get a start early in the day, or if there's a pole of stuff to do, i just put it off until the mood and the time hits me right to take care of everything at once. that's kind of where i feel like i am today. i started writing out a list of stuff i need to do and/or get started on and it's a bit overwhelming. to be honest, i think i'm just going to go home and clean up the apt before the kiddos come over tonite. maybe tomorrow with lawdog out of the office yet again i'll feel the motivation to do more, but today is really not the productive day that i needed. not that i'm not getting stuff done, i just feel like every time i shovel something off of my desk two more things arrive.

you know you're having a weird day when you look at the cds you've listened to and they have nothing in common. i started off the day listening to underoath, then went for some dropkick murphys, now i'm rocking the donovan frankenreiter and jack johnson. by the end of the day i'll prob be breaking out primus. i think it's just one of those days.

had an elders meeting last night where we talked about me going before the congregation last sunday. as usual there really weren't too many answers to questions except that i need to have a parents meeting evidently. i think that's number three on the aforementioned list. i have no clue what' we're going to discuss though, so until that gets figured out, no parent meeting.

what else, i've had some pretty good conversations with nursegirl, supermodel, and several other chicas down in san diego that have me wishing i would take a day off to go down to s.d. to visit the amigos. that and i could go for some really good rolled tacos.

me and on of the kiddos started up a myspace account for santa. nothing exciting, i just thought it was funny to see that santa has all of 12 friends. check out www.myspace.com/santaandfriends to sign up for the nice list.

i just read where one of my favorite comedians, mitch hedburg, died recently. seriously, when are people going to figure out that drugs are taking away some of the greatest entertainers we have. the part of me that loves his jokes is being overshadowed by the part of me that is pretty mad at him for destroying himself.

you know it's going to be a weird day when you wake up on the floor, and the tv is on telemundo.

well, i think i'm going to head out and be productive for a while, maybe even tackle this list. something about writing this out has given me some motivation.

i know this post seems kinda like a downer, but i'm not really in a bad mood. just to prove it here are some jokes that have me cracking up:

'My apartment is infested with koala bears. it's the cutest infestation ever. Way better than cockroaches. When i turn the light on a bunch of koala bears scatter. And i don't want em to. i'm like, Hey! Hold on fellas. let me hold on of you. and feed you a leaf.'

'i like rice. Rice is great when you're hungry and you want to eat 2,000 of something.'

'last week i helped my friend stay put. it's a lot easier than helping someone move. i just went over to his house and made sure he did not start to load stuff into a truck.'

'i used to like pepsi. I still do, but i used to, too.'

'I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shish kabobs.'

'I played golf, I'm not good at golf, I never got good at it. I never got a hole in one, but I did hit a guy once. And that's way more satisfying. You're supposed to yell "fore." But I was too busy mumbling, "there ain't no way that's gonna hit him." .... I hit a guy in one. What's par for hitting a guy? One. If you hit a guy in two, you are an a jerk.'

'Tortillas are sleeping bags for ground beef.'

'I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn't work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality.'

'They say that the recipe for Sprite is lemon and lime. But I tried to make it at home. There's more to it than that.'

'I order a club sandwich all the time. And I'm not even a member, I don't know how I get away with it. "I like my sandwiches with three pieces of bread." "So do I." "Lets form a club then." "Okay, but we're gonna need more stipulations." "Yes we do." "OK... Instead of cutting it once, lets cut it again." "Yeah, four triangles." "And we will position them in a circle. And in the middle we will dump chips. Or potato salad." "Let me ask you a question, how do you feel about frilly toothpicks?" "I'm for 'em!" "Well, this club is formed. Spread the news on menus nationwide."

'Once I saw this wino who was eating grapes, and I said, "Dude, you have to wait".

'I like refried beans. That's why I wanna try fried beans, because maybe they're just as good and we're just wasting time. You don't have to fry them again after all.'

'Magicians disappear all the time, but as soon as a regular person does it, everyone is all scared. "Tom's gone!" "Is he a magician?" "No." "Then let's print up some flyers!"

'I would imagine that if you could understand morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.'

'I was walking by a drycleaner at 3 a.m. and there was a sign that said "Sorry, we're closed". You don't have to be sorry. It's 3 a.m. and you're a drycleaner. It would be ridiculous for me to expect you to be open. I'm not gonna come by at 10 and say, "Hey, I was here at 3 a.m. and you guys were closed. Someone owes me an apology."

'I had an apartment and I had a neighbor, and whenever he would knock on my wall I knew he wanted me to turn my music down and that made me angry 'cause I like loud music... so when he knocked on the wall, I'd mess with his head. I'd say "Go around! I cannot open the wall! I dunno if you have a door on your side but over here there's nothin'. It's just flat."

'I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've travelled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so that the map will not fall down.'

'I want to be a race car passenger; just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Can I prop my feet up here? I need to go to the bathroom. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? You need to take a right. Man, you really like Tide ..."

'I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.'

'As an adult, I'm not supposed to go down slides. So, if I'm at the top of a slide, I have to pretend like I got there accidentally. "How'd I get up here? I guess I have to slide down. WEEEEE!!!!" That's what you say when you're having fun — you refer to yourself and some other people.'

'My belt holds my pants up, but the belt loops hold my belt up. So which one's the real hero?'

'One time a guy handed me a picture of himself, and he said, "Here's a picture of me when I was younger." Every picture of you is of when you were younger.'

'I was in a casino, minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.'

one love, one heart.


do you believe?

Originally uploaded by braddahdj.

oh yeah, me and santa loaded some more pics up on http://dversion.blogspot.com/ for your viewing pleasure.

Mugatu: They're break-dance fighting.

ahhhh, the week that was....
so last week i was at palomar church camp down near san diego and i don't know where to begin to describe my week.
i guess i'll start off with the theme, which was 'the battle within', focusing mainly on the different elements of war that we wage daily against evil. evil comes in so many ways, arrogance, pride, apathy, distraction, and that's just the ones i thought of in the first day. our devos at camp were awesome as well. i really thought we were going to struggle because our worship leader is pretty new to the area and didn't know too many songs, but God pulled through and really blessed us with a great time of worship. we had our annual midnight hike to this clearing in the woods where it is so easy to see the beauty of God's creative side. the worship was awesome and included several kids contributing that last year you would have never thought possible. weds night also boasted the jacket devo, where kids use a jacket to represent Christ, and act out their relationship using the jacket. (i.e. jacket on and zipped means a close relationship, hung over the shoulder not as close) that was an awesome time of worship because all of the kids got to see where each other stood in their relationships, and were pretty amazed at how similar their stories were. lots of respect goes out to the kids that stepped out of their comfort zones and really bared their souls. friday night was a blast as well, with our pillowcase signing party going till about 5 in the morning. thursday night was by far the highlight for me though. we started of with our concert of prayer, where we break up into groups of five or six and go through four specific prayers for humility, forgiveness, praise and thanksgiving. my group was simply amazing. we are all in different places spiritually, but were so united in our prayer. it was cool the physical difference in our prayers as well. for humility we all decided to be on our knees and hold hands, forgiveness we had our arms around each other, for praise we all put our hands in the middle, and for thanksgiving we turned our hands palms up. it was awesome as we progressed, because some of us were in desperate need of humility, others for forgiveness, and all of us really needed to praise and thank God. by the time we got to praise we were so spent, and felt so free from praying for forgiveness that we actually started to laugh as we prayed. it's hard to explain, but someone made the observation that satan was 'getting his butt kicked by God' at that moment, and it really struck a chord, because i think that's how we all felt at that moment. anyways, our prayer time turned from long individual prayers, to quick comments to each other and God, all the while looking each other straight in the eye. def different from how i'm used to praying, but it was so spirit driven i really felt like i was liberated from everything that separates me from God at that time. our group consisted of one who tries to do everything himself, a guy that let's down his adopted family and is constantly being forgiven, a guy who would literally rock God's message every second of the day if he could, a guy who struggles with the images he puts in his head, a guy that has wondered if anyone would notice if he weren't there, another that uses comedy as a distraction from pain, and a guy that is simply wondering where he fits in to God's plan. it's like a christian version of the breakfast club. anyways, there's a certain type of bonding that can only come from praying with another and an open heart. follow that with a time where we got to wash each others feet, and i was emotionally spent. friends were washing each other's feet, brothers and sisters, total strangers, fellow youth ministers, but the one that got to me was one of the counselors washing the feet of his son. man, what an image. i hope i never lose that mental picture. what a great statement for a father to make to a son.

we also had daily prayer partners, and that was a huge blessing as well. i prayed with one young lady who comes from a catholic background and felt completely out of place. i reminded her that we are part of the body of Christ, and that the church was secondary to that, and her first priority is to read the word and follow what God has guided us to do. we talked about baptism and what it means to repent, and several other issues, but it was a blast for me because she looks and has the same mannerisms as my sister did when she was that age.
there were so many people that stick out in my mind from this weekend. the first and foremost is this kid jeremy. jeremy was the kid the counselors were warned about last year. he came to camp wearing a trench coat and a slipknot shirt. he had long black hair and looked like he was pretty mad at the world. we were prayer partners one day last year, and i remember him telling me he didn't think God could forgive him for all of the stuff he had done. he prayed for me a job, and we prayed that God show jeremy his power. ffwd a year to jeremy walking down the hill toward camp with a grin on his face that never let up the entire week. no joke, this kid never stopped smiling the entire week. last year he was the kid that kept his whole cabin up asking random questions like, 'why don't they have mint flavored soda?' and being really distracting. i do remember though one night towards the end of the week last year where he burned all of his heavy metal shirts in the bonfire, saying he wanted to change. this year i don't think he started a public statement without prefacing it' God is awesome'. amen. God is awesome. He took a kid that was so guilty and turned him into a unanimous vote for the hotseat, a time where the campers and staff get to pay him compliments. i hope i never forget my eyes getting cloudy as he walked down the hill towards me for the first time with huge grin and a smile, giving me a hug and telling me, 'God answers prayers'. yes He does jeremy, He gave me a job and showed you the power of His grace. I hope we are constantly are reminded of that.

who else... there's another guy that always reminds me of how much God loves sharing His grace. this kid was bounced around from foster home to foster home for most of his young life, until a family at church finally took him in. talk about understanding love and grace. what's really cool is that the family just adopted another young man of a different race, and they call themselves brothers with a pride that is simply amazing.

then there's my whole cabin that simply floors me with their attitudes towards living life on the front lines. these are the guys that are into christian hardcore, that have no problem expressing their faith at the top of their lungs, and with every action. sure there are some fart jokes in there as well, but i have no doubt these guys are soldiers for Christ.
then there's this whole other crop of guys that have no problem expressing their love for each other trough service and through hugs. man did we get some good hugs in this week. i would go and list them name by name, but i feel that would be so redundant i wouldn't do them justice. they should just know that they are loved, and it is evidenced in the way they love others.
then there's the counselors. i wish i could say that my motives for going to camp were completely about serving God, but it would be wrong to deny how much i wanted to see my friends again.

my friend 'supermodel' always makes me laugh, esp when we got into a 'pose-off' one day and were literally on the floor cracking each other up. then she told me about an organization called models for christ. i kid you not, this may the greatest Christian club i have ever heard of. only in my dreams have i imagined something like this, and it really exists. needless to say, when she moves up here at the end of summer, we're going to be hanging out a bunch.

then there's myshell, who will forever laugh, and keep me laughing as well. never a dull moment around her.

my friend the bum really cracked me up too. last year he was in the marines, and was pretty quiet outside of the cabin. this year he's been unemployed and loving it for four months, and i don't think he said anything that wasn't funny the entire week. we even dragged him onstage at the talent show to sing a song he made up to wake up the guys that didn't feel like getting out of bed.

then there's 'the brat', who has always been a person that has one-upped me, and used to be the one person i would never mess with for fear of retribution. actually, our families are great friends and we've know each other for way too long. she still intimidated me for a sec until she brought up a story about how when we were little she peed her pants and had to borrow my g.i. joe underwear. yep, after that i just don't think she had too much to embarrass me with.

the rest of the counselors were all pretty cool as well, we get along great and i wish i had more stories on the rest of them, but my typing really can't keep up with my thoughts.

then there's the other people that somehow just show up at camp for a while. dantheman and futuremom made an appearance which was pretty cool, topgun girl stopped by a couple of times which at first was awkward, but ended up being okay. we didn't talk a whole lot, but i don't think there's really anymore drama there. then there's bulletproof, who i haven't really gotten a chance to talk to in eight years, and who def defined some of my fondest camp memories. we talked for a long time, and i tried to give her a hard time, but as usual, she wasn't buckling.

the godfather was there recruiting for his new program at cascade college, which is just an odd place to associate with him. i still haven't gotten used to him not being a part of san diego. oh well, it was great to see him in his element getting the props he deserves. after 14 years of ministry he's become pretty famous for his stories, and one day he had a whole crowd at free time completely hanging on every word of his stories. you know you're big when you have to use a mic so everyone can hear your stories.

but the cake goes to mi amigo noodles for the week. he's not even a full time minister, but he had camp dropped in his lap and he really ran with it. i know he stresses and everything, and there were def things that were a potential distraction and/or disaster, but he handled them all with grace and ease. i was so excited to get to wash his feet, because he is such a great servant, and i normally don't look up to guys my own age a whole lot, but noodles will always be an exception. we had to stay up one night to wait for some parent's to pick up their kid and we had the best laugh either one of us has had in a long time. it's one of those 4 in the morning cleanse the soul kind of laughs that could never be explained, and trying to do so would only taint the experience. anyways, we had a good time and i hope he's is currently somewhere away from a computer and phone relaxing with the knowledge that God completely took over last week.

other thoughts on camp...
we had a football team sharing the camp that comes from a 'christian' school up here in simi. the first day one of them was wearing a confederate bandana, to which the coach replied, 'yeah i guess we live in some PC times'. no, actually we just don't really like to see symbols of hatred. and then there's the crew that snuck into our cabin at 230am and broke a window throwing water balloons, then tried to deny that they did when we have pictures of the wet glass on the floor and balloon shrapnel on the window. way to try and distract our camp guys, it didn't work.

i think the thing that separates this camp from any other that i've worked at is the openness and honesty that everyone brings. it is truly a nonjudgmental place where everyone feels compelled to let go of things that distract them from God. i wish we could be more open and honest everywhere else, but it is jut so hard. i tried yesterday at church and it just wasn't the same. i don't think people were ready for it.

so where do i go from here? not sure really. i know i need to work on getting out of God's way in the youth ministry here if we are ever going to be successful. i'm not sure what that means but i'm sure i'll know when i need to.

on to other stuff...
i went to the dodger game last night with a fam from church for the big fireworks show which ended abruptly when some trees in the parking lot caught on fire. way to go pyros.

i hate mosquitos.

i love my friends and kiddos down in s.d., but it was great to get back to simi. it's just nice to have a place to call home.

don't you love that tired feeling when you know that you're tired for a good reason?

the only tv i've watched since i got back was ''we were soldiers' and baseball, although i did wake up this morning and my tv was on telemundo.

we have our vbs this week and my throat is pretty raw from singing in the mountain air. i completely forgot i'm leading singing this week.

oh yeah, i finally went in to the optometrist and got my eyes checked out. seems i should wear glasses at night to help me see farther and more clearly, how was seeing more clearly not a priority of mine sooner?

well, i think i've ruminated enough for today. it's nice outside and i feel like watching stuff blow up to celebrate our country's birth. which leads me to my final thought:
every july 4th fireworks show should end with a performance of the national anthem by jimi hendrix.

one love and one heart.