Woke up this morning, smiled at the rising sun...

hola blogworld.

this time tomorrow i'll be in nyc. it still hasn't hit home yet, but i'm getting more and more stoked by the minute. i have no clue how i'm ever going to get to sleep tonight. mom said she has a surprise in store for us saturday night, i think we're going to mass on sunday, and i'm really looking forward to checking out the statue of liberty and ellis island. oh yeah, and just walking around nyc.

this year's merry christmas madness was a huge success. we had to tone down the list a little bit, and there were def some naysayers trying to rain on the parade, but we triumphed and had almost 40 kiddos participate this year, almost half of which had never been to our church before. that has me really stoked too. i think the funniest thing i did this year was convince a stranger to shoot a marshmallow out of his nose.

best conversation ever.
- i think we need to talk about this year's list for merry christmas madness.
- okay.
- some of this stuff doesn't seem appropriate.
- like...
- well, i think it said on there to pick a teammates' nose.
- oh yeah.
- that's kind of gross.
- yeah, nobody did that one last year.
- why is it on the list?
- the kiddos came up with the list, they thought it was pretty funny and gross.
- and you approve?
- yeah, it's pretty funny.
- i don't think we should be doing things as a youth group that are embarrassing.
- it's gross, but i don't know about embarrassing.
- there shouldn't be anything on there that would embarrass the elders.
- if we're going by what they would do it's going to be a pretty short list.
- i can't believe you think this is okay.
- yeah, it takes a lot to pick someone else's nose.
- are you kidding me?
- well, this event is about creating memories and doing crazy things to get the kids out of their shells.
- by picking each others' noses?
- it does create a unique bonding experience
- it's gross.
- it's a memorable relationship bonding moment. it asks the kids to step out of their comfort zones for a second and do something that might forge a relationship with someone they go to church with. there's a pretty big community building thing going on there.
- you're talking about picking noses.
- yep.
- just take it off the list.

the serious.
last night i ran across a homeless guy sleeping on the balcony at the church. supposedly, i'm to ask people to leave the property but i couldn't do it last night. i talked to him for a while, and he said he remembered me giving him a bottle of water this summer on a hot day. we talked for a couple of minutes, then he said he was going up to the grocery store to get something warm to eat. i gave him a ride to the store and a few bucks to get a meal. he said he was good to go and thanked me for my kindness.
it's nights like last night where i remember how truly blessed i am. i live in a nice apartment, in a safe town, and make a pretty good living. i'm headed to new york city for christmas to spend a week with mi madre and mi hermana. i have what i want for christmas. i have more than i need. here's to all the people who are spending christmas alone, in the rain, or simply having another tuesday.

i'm finding out more and more that people around the church are noticing that i've become a much happier person. i feel it too. bad days just aren't that bad lately. i'm not sure of what the exact reasons are for this, but i do have several educated guesses going back a few months. i think a lot of it has to do with me listening to my heart a lot more lately, and not trying to be a minister. this feeling of being more and more genuine is addicting. every time i do something that feels right, i feel right. i wish i could describe it more eloquently, but it is approaching 2 am.

books on tape.
my newest addiction. so far i've listened to velvet elvis, wild at heart, dennis miller, and i've got several more lined up. i kid you not when i say that i'm excited to spend all day on a plane tomorrow with my ipod.

well merry christmas and happy hanukkah to all those that i love.

one love, one heart.


'Today I didn't even have to use my A.K., I got to say it was a good day.' - Ice Cube

So much of today was great. But it's so easy to let the one downer take over the day.

I refuse to do that today.

I woke up early and enjoyed a good breakfast with people that treat me like family.

I got to just sit and pray before making a bunch of phone calls, and God answered my prayers and then some.

Our office manager and his wife had me over for lunch, and then offered an invite to join the kiwanis club.

I'm going to check it out.

We had home made lasagna for lunch.

The pepsi was the perfect temperature.

I talked to mom for over an hour and we mostly laughed.

My christmas bundle from asian man records came in the mail.

Some of the kiddos called and made me laugh.

I plugged in our christmas lights at the apt and one of our neighbors smiled at me, and told me she liked our lights.

dinner was quick and cheap.

i watched most of the chronicles of narnia.

one lame phone call, immediately followed by another that put me back at ease.

I finished narnia, and put things into perspective.

I jammed on guitar for a few minutes.

Jimmy Kimmel was funny.

Now Oprah is giving stuff away.

I asked my friend for prayers.

He responded a few minutes later.

I ran across The High Calling, by G.D. Watson that made a huge impact on me a few months ago.

Now I'm listening to jack johnson getting ready to sleep.

That's right it was a good day.

one love, one heart.


"You promised me a rockin chair." - Mose Harper

i love calvin and hobbes comics. i ran across this collection of calvin and his demented snowmen today.

i had a map of simi valley on my wall today, and i was marking out where all of our kiddos from church lived. our office manager said my office looked like ctu.

american dream.
i'm a huge switchfoot fan. tonight at spark i used this song as means to talk about consumerism around christmas.

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us
As top of the mind becomes the bottom line
When success is equated with excess

If you're time ain't been nothing for money
I start to feel really bad for you honey
Maybe honey put you're money where your mouth's been running
If you're time ain't be nothing but money

I want out of this machine
It doesn't feel like freedom

This ain't my American dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I'm tired of fighting for just me
This ain't my American dream

When success is equated with excess
When we're fighting for the beamer, the lexus
As the heart and soul breathing the company goals
Where success is equated with excess

I want out of this machine
It doesn't feel like freedom


Cause baby's always talkin 'bout a ring
And talk has always been the cheapest thing
Is it true would you do what I want you to
If I show up with the right amount of bling?

Like a puppet on a monetary string
Maybe we've been caught singing
Red, white, blue, and green
But that ain't my America,
That ain't my American dream


the line that sticks out to me is 'success is equated with excess'. it reminds me a lot of luke 12:15 where Jesus warns that, "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

christmas list
the american dream song has been ringing in my head lately because i put together my annual christmas list for my mom a few days ago. i really had trouble this year because there's nothing that i really want that can be bought. me, mi madre, and mi hermana are going to spend a week together. that brings me more joy than any store bought 'thing' possibly could.

at this point, the only reason i even bother making a list is because of tradition. back in high school i turned my christmas list into a piece of art for mom and every years ice i've done the same. i don't even remember what i put on there for this year, but i know i like giving mom her own piece of art every year.
xmas list 07

another band that i've been listening to a lot lately is thrice. today was a perfect thrice day. i was trying to keep my energy up for class tonight even though i felt like garbage all day. later in the day it became overcast, and now it's raining. the latest thrice album, the alchemy index vol. 1 & 2 have been the perfect soundtrack for the day. the first six songs revolve around the element fire, and the last six revolve around water (their follow up with wind and earth should be out soon). anyways, the heavier fire songs were a perfect way to get stoked for hanging out with the kiddos tonight, and the water songs have been a perfect listen with the rain outside.

aside from the pace of the music, the lyrics really grabbed me today too. in the song the arsonist, i really liked the verse:

There is truth beneath the floorboards;
there is hope in brick and stone.
But they tell me just to shut my mouth;
leave well enough alone.
But I think maybe all that's needed,
is a match and gasoline;
because I don't think that any one of them believes that there will be a reckoning.

there's something powerful in the message there. it's a great call to arms to being passionate about being a revolutionary christian. the same song has a great line in the chorus:

I love this city, but I've set and numbered its days.
I love this city, enough that I'll set it ABLAZE.

wow. the idea that we might have to do something extreme to save what we love. i'm not really sure why this hits home so much right now in my life, but it really has struck a chord with me.

well, that's enough serious stuff. here's some stuff that's been cracking me up this week.

kent tekulve was a great pitcher back in the day. somebody made a t-shirt with his unmistakable silhouette on it. it's my nominee for t-shirt of the year.

and lastly, one of my favorite things in the world are really bad record covers. so here are a few really bad christmas album covers that i found.

racial sensitivity is a must.

polygamy does not go well with christmas.

which present to open first?

the two things i nerd out on the most cancel each other out to be really funny.

one love, one heart.