Why don't you purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka?

yet another crazy few days in the life of a youth minister...
oh man, there's nothing like taking a deep breath, and hearing nothing but the sound of the boat running through the water as you inhale a couple of gallons of lake water. so me and about fifteen other youth ministers had our tri-annual youth minister's retreat this past mon-tues. what an awesome time. there were a few guys from the inland empire there that we hadn't met before, so it was cool to grow our group of guys out a little bit. as you can probably imagine, the festivities took second place to the fellowship. there's something about youth ministers getting together that just begs for some good jokes. i'd try to write out some jokes form this weekend, but they pretty much all fall into the 'you had to be there category'. just know that we have no clue what we are doing when it comes to making and maintaining a campfire of reasonable proportions, wakeboarding, driving a boat, or keeping critters out of the food. oh yeah, and one guy locked his keys in his car. that part was funny because he made the comment, 'i don't know if any of you have had to think this before, but i really don't want to break this window, because it would cost more to replace the window than what i paid for the car'. been there bro, when i say i know how you feel, i know how you feel. i was pretty stoked to be the guy that finally picked his lock, kind of a pay it forward moment. what else happened... we laughed, we burned things, we did our venting, shared some stories about kids, talked about who we knew in college, shared dorm/club stories, talked about our events, threw in some philosophical debates in for good measure, and topped that off with denomination talk. pretty typical and expected, but always fun. add the inner tubing and wakebaording in the mix and we had ourselves a great time, minus a couple of bloody noses and an unfortunate wave hopping incident that involved me racking myself on the boat. ouch to say the least. i'm gonna try and see a doctor tomorrow if the swelling doesn't go down. other than that, the retreat was a blast. we had our own spot on the lake that was pretty isolated, and a cove for some smooth water for tubing, and we didn't have to go back to the campground until dinner both nights. we took turns cooking and cleaning, telling jokes, manning the fire... good times. i love hanging around the socal youth ministry crew. we get along really well for the most part. there's a couple of guys that refuse to come out of their shells, but that doesn't really last long when we get to telling stories. it's cool too, becuase we are all about the same age, and have pretty much the same interests, and a good majority of us got hired around the same time, so we're going through a lot of the same stuff.
stuff in the ministry is starting to step up to another level as well. more kids are coming to me with things that are pretty serious and personal, which as tough as that can be to handle, also brings about a peace of knowing that God must be in control, because i don't have a clue if i'm doing or saying the right thing. that's something we talked about on our retreat, getting a sense of wether or not what we talk to our kids about is right, and how God can use us as His tools verses the other way around. there's a satisfaction in knowing that you haven't helped a kid out, but God has helped a kid out by using you.
what else... my birthday present finally got here last friday, which was amazing considering how inept our local post office is (see 3/15 post). anyways, my present was pretty cool. mi madre and mi hermana sent a bunch of books, (including 'captivating' the female version of wild at heart, a must read) and season two of the a-team and dukes of hazzard. and then there was a check for me to buy a snowboard and some bindings and boots. to borrow a quote from hannibal, 'nice b.a., nice'. so i'm either gonna buy dantheman's other snowboard and stuff that i learned on, or i may check out some deals at the local sports chalet. we'll see. free time is growing increasingly smaller as of late. all in all though, it was a pretty mellow birthday. a couple of the kiddos brought in birthday cakes to our thurs night roots group, which was funny because half of the kids couldn't eat any cake, do to one of our previous roots. we had a talk about commitment a few weeks ago, where i challenged the kiddos to commit to giving something up for a time, which prompted a whole group of girls to give up chocolate and junk food, hence no cake. anyways, there were a whole bunch of leftovers that i had to give away, because the cuz and i are have neither one gone to the grocery store in weeks, and we'd prob have nothing but cake for dinner if that's all that's in the fridge.
oh yeah, and i got some passes to see star wars. i could go on for a while on how much i love star wars, but i'll spare the details. just know i own no costume of any star wars character. anyways, it was a great movie and i plan on seeing it a bunch more, but it comes with a bittersweet feeling. all of my life i've been a star wars fan. one of my first memories was when i was three i went to see return of the jedi and i remember seeing ewoks on speeders... yeah, i've been hooked ever since, and now the story is complete. as cool as it was to see the story tied together, it's weird knowing there won't be anymore star wars coming out. lame.
on to less nerdy things... i finally took some time to record a bunch of my songs onto garageband, and will hopefully have an instrumental cd finished before too long. i've got a lot of mastering to do, but i'm pretty stoked at how well most of the tracks sound so far w/o vocals. i'm not sure what i'm going to do lyrically, but we'll see. at the very least i'm stoked that my kiddos like most of my stuff, and even the cuz gave a few compliments on a track he heard. i even like it. it's a good cross between rock and reggae so, in honor of my cd that hopefully will be finished soon, here's a top ten list of potential album titles for my cd:
10. quiktunes
9. l.a. calling
8. dude: the soundtrack
7. greatest hits: vol 2
6. semi dub experiment
5. dubya
4. spare change
3. soundtrack to 5
2. put me on trl and i'll say woooo!
1. garagsta

in other news, we've had a couple of losses in our church family that has me looking at how blessed i am. it makes such a difference to know that the person you've lost knew you loved them. i didn't really know either person too well, but i know their family, and it is so obvious the difference having faith makes in dealing with sorrow. so many other families i've known have blamed God, and asked for the person back, and it just seems so selfish to me. when i'm gone i don't want anyone praying to get me back, i'm going to be in a much better place. how selfish we are to assume that life here is better. also, the anger that so many people have regarding death is so misguided, many times we are only angry because we didn't take the opportunities we had to let that person know how we felt. i tell my kiddos all the time that christianity boils down to not being about yourself, and making sure that God and others are the priority. there's a time for everything, so embrace sadness, but letting that turn to anger is dangerous. anyways, i'm blessed to be around people who have it together.

in less important news... i'm almost done with my month w/o soda, and i can already tell a difference. i go to bed earlier and sleep much more soundly. i have quite a bit more energy and i've probably saved at least thirty bucks so far this month. i might stretch this thing out a bit more. i'm thinking of my next monthly challenge... perhaps being a vegetarian, or maybe something more spiritual like an hour of prayer each day. hmmm the possibilities....

well before i head out, me and the cuz decided to start keeping track of 'hannibal's words of wisdom' from the a-team dvds. so here's your wisdom for the day,
'When you pay peanuts lady, you hire a bunch of monkeys.'

one love, one heart

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