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.