Wednesday, December 31, 2008

For all you Carpet Skates fans out there...

Jill, Laura, Ms. Connie and Em...

my mom just sent me this little gem.

i think i'm gonna need video of you ladies trying this out after the kids go to bed.

p.s. i just discovered that it's even more insanely hilarious if you leave "sweetly broken" playing while you watch it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm so far behind...but for now, Monday's Fabulous Moment

I know I'm really far behind. And I will catch up on all the most crucial stuff. Promise. But I don't want to get farther behind so I'm picking up with today's Monday's Fabulous Moment. A number of weeks ago my MFM dealt with a man who works at Wolf Camera named Kyle. I posted a discussion that he and I had which some of my faithful readers may remember. If you don't, you can read it here. This morning I needed to go get some pictures developed for my grandparent's Christmas present and as could be anticipated, here comes Kyle. It started out alright. He just asked if I needed help and I told him I was just fine. Someone else needed his assistance so he went to deal with them. But alas, when it was time to check out, Kyle was my guy. I stepped up to the counter and our conversation went something like this:

Kyle: Jen, right?
Me: Yes, sir.
Kyle: Cool. So you only had 3 prints today?
Me: Um, no, I had about 50.
Kyle: Oh yeah, I see it right here. 942 pictures. (chuckles) No, I'm just kidding.
Me: Um, haha...yeah.
Kyle: So Jen, what did you ask Santa for for Christmas?
Me: Uh, I didn't ask him for anything. I don't really need anything.
Kyle: No really, if you could have one thing what would it be you have to pick one.
Me: Well, I'm going home to see my mom and that's really all I want.
Kyle: Did you see any good movies this weekend?
Me: Excuse me? Oh, no.
Kyle: Did you see any bad movies this weekend?
Me: No.
Kyle: Oh, guess what I saw? The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Me: That's cool. Did you like it? (taking out my phone to text Charlotte about this)
Kyle: Um, yeah it was okay so you're a texter?
Me: Yes, very much so.
Kyle: I'll be glad when that fad is over.
Me: Oh. Um, okay.
Kyle: When would you like your pictures done?
Me: I won't be able to come back until at least tomorrow.
Kyle: Okay, well they'll be ready tomorrow at 11. So I'll see you tomorrow at 11. Bye! Have a good day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How do I say thank you...

This season of life has taught me so much, more than I've been able to process and God just keeps teaching me more every day. But one of the things I have learned and continue to learn is that you simply can't make it through life on your own. You can try. You can kick, scream and fight to maintain some illusion of independence, but you're just going to wear yourself out. And if you're very lucky, when you're done throwing your little fit and have exhausted yourself beyond measure, someone will be standing there ready to unconditionally offer a hand.

When I moved to Austin it was on nothing more than faith. I didn't come with much, didn't know how much money I was going to be making and honestly wasn't totally convinced that my job was even going to go through. I was extremely blessed to be able to move in with my friend Kelley's parents and if it weren't for them I wouldn't even be here. I will forever be grateful for their willingness to let God use them in that way, not only for the opportunity to have a home when I first got here but for the amazing stories that came from Uhland, TX. :)

My time there was awesome and I enjoyed it, but the commute to and from Austin was getting exhausting. I was getting to a point where late nights at work were becoming more routine and I felt led to get more involved with the church. Truth be told, I don't even really remember how the transition happened, but somewhere along the line, Char offered to let me move in with her and her roommate Liz. I remember that the first time she asked I turned it down without even thinking about it. I had been sleeping on their couch periodically when I was going to be working late and I felt like they were already going above and beyond in letting me do that. Most people would have just let it go...lucky for me, those two aren't most people. And when asked again at a weaker, more exhausted moment, I agreed. That was on a Friday and by Monday I had moved a bunch of my stuff to my friend Ruth's house (another amazingly generous person) and had moved myself and what I needed to survive into a corner of Charlotte's room. That was September something and I've been there since then.

Char and Liz have been amazing servants in that time, always treating me as a friend and roommate rather than a temporary guest. They've shared everything they have and let me share in their lives. As my time there has come to an end, I've been thinking a lot about it, trying to take in everything God wanted me to learn.

I have a lot left to figure out, but I've come up with a few things so far:

When you pray for provision, you have to be humble enough to accept it in the form God's gives it to you. And when you respond in obedience, you'll be blessed beyond measure...and may even end up with some of the best friends you've ever known.

You don't have to pay back every favor you've ever been given and sometimes the favor is simply too big to be repaid anyway so don't drive yourself crazy trying to figure out a way to make it happen. Just enjoy the ride.

God gives us these opportunities, people and blessings that we may see a little of Him here on earth and the most important thing you can do with that, for lack of a better phrase, is to pay it forward. The only way for me to give back to God for what He's provided me is to do the same for others and when they ask why, tell them the story, and bring Him the glory.

I couldn't really begin to do justice to the amount of gratitude and love I feel for these girls, but I thought I'd at least give it a shot. Thank you ladies for everything you do, for this sweet time of my life and for letting God show me a glimpse of His great love through you. You're the best!

Monday's Fabulous Moments...

Fabulous Moment #1:

Background Info: My grandparents are driving down here on Thanksgiving to bring me stuff for my new apartment.

So, yesterday I get a message from my grandma that says, "Your grandpa has some extra hangers he'd like to bring you but he won't just bring a random amount so he needs you to call us back and give us an exact count of how many you need. Okay bye."


To be honest, I got a good chuckle and then totally forgot about the message so later on in the day I get a phone call from my mom who says, "Your grandfather is going to bring you hangers but needs to know exactly how many you need." Yes, right, I forgot. So I respond, "23 would be great." She goes and tells him and comes back on and says, "He will only do increments of 5 so I told him to just round up."

...people tell me I'm random ALL the time...Friends, I come by it naturally.

Fabulous Moment #2:

We've been working with Tiny Tim during Cracked Out Christmas Carol rehearsals to get him to work with his crutch (aka: stick) and walk with a limp. So far, we haven't been terribly successful. If he hasn't straight up forgotten that's how he's supposed to be walking, he's swinging his crutch around his head or crying about the fact that he looks "stupid" when he has to walk like that. Yesterday one of the fabulous black women in the cast said, "Hey Tim, let's work on your walk." He starts out with an okay limp and then somehow it transitions into a bit more of a ghetto walk. To which Marla cracks up and says, "Hahaha! Look at crunk little Tim!"

...I would have fallen out merely from her referring to him as "Little Tim." But "Crunk Little Tim?" Come on...

What in the world...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh. My. Word.

Emily: "ok...seriously my head about exploded EVERYWHERE. that is absolutely amazing."

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday's Fabulous Moment (or...entire evening...) Part Two

Okay, so since we're all waiting for the other person to post about it, I'm just going to do the thing.

Monday evening started with a fabulous trip to Mellow Mushroom with Char in which we discovered they have stickers that have a nun in a tie-dyed habit and say, "Get Into a New Habit." I of course freaked out and went into must-get-sticker mode. Naturally, they didn't have anymore. Dang it.

After dinner we were feeling, as we were later described, "feisty," and decided to journey over to Miss Emily's to cause some trouble, i.e. streamer Em's car. Trouble is never far if you have an ornery spirit and some crepe paper. We knew Em was home and inside her apartment with her roommate and had company over for dinner. This made our adventure a tiny bit risky, but totally worth it. She had parked on the street just outside of her sliding glass door. Luckily, there's a stone wall bordering her patio which made it possible for us to see the very top of her door and made it quite impossible for her to see us when we were on street level. Now, we won't talk about whether or not she can see you if you jump up on a stump and look over the wall right into the kitchen (Charlotte). But luckily, that didn't happen. ;-)

We parked around the corner and walked down the street which is lined with parked cars. I looked at Charlotte and said, "So...if somebody comes, what's our plan?" She said something along the lines of "Book it." Fair enough.

We didn't have many rolls of streamers but were going to make do with what we had. So we're wrapping this thing, moving along pretty well, (not counting the time one of the rolls got stuck under the car and I ventured under on my stomach to get it.) But we're moving along, rocking out to the streamering, trying desperately not to make too much noise when we heard voices coming towards us and around the corner of the apartment building. My immediate thought was that Em's guests were leaving from dinner. Char and I looked at each other, dropped the streamers and took off running.'s where things get a bit fuzzy for me and it would be best if someone else told the story. But seeing as how Charlotte literally can't tell it without falling on the floor in tears, I'll do my best. All I know is that I'm running up the sidewalk thinking surely whoever is coming around the corner is going to see me running. I think Char may have even said, "Duck!" So I've run past probably 10 or 12 cars and completely randomly jump down in between two that are parked on the street. The very instant that my feet hit the ground and I bend over...

pause: you know what happens when you take your little car remote and push "unlock?" you know how your headlights come on and your car goes "BEEP BEEP" or "BOOP BOOP" depending on what type of car you have? okay yeah...

So the second my feet hit the ground and I duck between these two cars with my eyeballs at headlight level the one to my left went "BEEP BEEP!" and the headlights shine right into my pupils. Now, keep in mind when involved in this kind of activity your heart is already beating faster than normal just from the excitement, then when you have to take off running because you're about to get caught, it just goes crazy. At this point my heart basically sunk into my butt and I was quite certain I had peed myself in the middle of the street but being that I was already feeling like a cat on a hot tin roof I apparently bounced right back out from between the cars and took off running again down the street and around the corner. Charlotte caught up with me and was laughing like, hysterical, goofy, uncontrollable laughter.

Once she managed to compose herself and we were certain those folk, whoever they were, were gone, we headed back down the street to finish up. We quickly finished with what we had and decided to take one last big risk. Take a picture and hope like heck that Emily doesn't see the flash from inside. So Charlotte is posing in front of the car and just as I'm about to hit the button I see two of Em's little black curls over the stone wall and her sliding glass door starts to slide open. Again, everything here is a bit fuzzy but apparently still feeling quite jumpy, I just took off in a sprint down the street. I was pretty much holding my breath the entire time I was running because I knew if I laughed and Emily was outside we'd definitely be busted. Char and I got back to the car but were not content to leave without a picture. So, after four trips around the block and a really good strategy about which direction our car needed to be headed to make the fastest getaway, we got this picture...
Not great, but at that point we were like, "Whatevs." So Char and I drive off laughing non-stop and about an hour later both receive voicemails from Emily that say something along the lines of "You stinkers. You punks. I know it was you. I know it was you. I know it was you." Awesome. We really had no intention of never getting found out and it was way more fun that we did since we got to go back over and share what we went through to get 4 rolls of crepe paper unrolled around her car. Like I was talking about before, Char literally fell off the couch with tears streaming down her eyes because she was laughing so hard so I went ahead and shared with Emily, her roommate and her roommate's parents about what had gone on just outside their door. It's was pretty much one of the best Mondays since I've moved to Austin. Well, pretty much one of the best Mondays of my life.
Alright Charlotte and Emily, I've told my it's your turn.

The best dance party EVER...

Em is is totally possible to have a dance party when you're sitting down in the backseat of a car.

And note to self: Always have a bobby pin and a paper clip in case my shirt falls off again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesdays are changing a bit...

From Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing to simply, Videos You Need To See. And every Tuesday I'll just post one of my favorite videos of the week. :)

And since everyone is getting in the Christmas mood, I'm starting with one of my favorite Christmas songs...

Monday's Fabulous Moment #1...

Text Message from Emily first thing in the morning: "I love you LOTS! You better lose your business when you see the flair I sent you!"

The flair: business = lost

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Someone else's fabulous moment...

So in light of the fact that I can always count on Sarah Kelley to cheer up my heart, I got one of the most amazing emails from her that I've ever received telling me an amazing story regarding one of her dementia patients. This is the beginning of the email...

Today this dementia resident comes wheeling into my office. Her name is Ruth but she thinks her name is Shirley. She's blind. She used to be one of those ladies that worked at a make up counter in a department store. She still insists on wearing bright red lipstick every day even though she can't see anymore, so it's usually spilling over onto her cheeks or her chin. Whenever you compliment her lipstick she says, "Thank you darling, it's 'fire and ice,'" even though none of her lipsticks are actually called fire and ice. It must have been her favorite once upon a time.So anyway... dementia...blind... this was our conversation:

What followed was a tiny bit PG and a tiny bit offensive, although truly one of the funniest things I've ever read in my life. So, if you want to know the rest of the conversation, let me know... I'll email it to you. Thank you Sarah! I love you girl.

Lyrics that I'm loving...

There Will Be a Day
By: Jeremy Camp

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth
That we will enter in this rest with wonders a new
But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to You always

I know the journey seems so long
You feel you’re walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you’ve walked out all alone

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day, we’ll hold on to You always
Troubled soul don’t lose your heart

Cause joy and peace He brings
And the beauty that’s in store
Outweighs the hurt of life’s sting

I cant wait until that day where the very one I’ve lived for always will wipe awaythe sorrow that I’ve faced
To touch the scars that rescued me from a lifeof shame and misery this is why this is why I sing

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day...

One of the all-time best. Unfortunately also probably one of those "had to be there" type things.

Sitting in our office was a very large, wooden, uh...shield. It was part of our AKA exhibit and belongs to the local chapter of the sorority. This thing is probably 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The size was part of the issue but the larger problem was that because it normally hangs on a wall, it is round on the bottom and doesn't have a stand.

Earlier today my boss came and said, "Come help me package that thing up so they can take it back." This was the beginning of a long, tedious process of trying to figure out how to hold it upright while wrapping it in many layers of bubble wrap and packaging tape. Of course I ended up in a sea of bubble wrap, with those little styrofoam popcorn things stuck all over me and trying desperately to gracefully maneuver a roll of packaging tape while Para held the thing upright.

And so...the fabulous moment came when I was bent at the knees, trying to wrap the lower half and Para let go of the top of the shield. It fell on me, knocking me over into that sea of bubble wrap which promptly went...


Now of course, I'm laughing hysterically and trying desperately to get up but the more I try to get up the more the bubble wrap is going. Right as I'm thinking, "Oh, I'm going to wet my pants," our museum curator, who really is a woman of very few words, yells from her office, "Does someone have gas out there?"

I am crying I'm laughing so hard and in a moment of not thinking before I responded, yelled back, "I'm sorry Ms. Phifer...I had Mexican for lunch."

To which she says, and I quote...

"Sounds like you had more than one."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just so you know...

The Villager is Austin's newspaper that represents the African American Community. The current issue has many people on the front page, most of whom, obviously, are black.

There are though, two white people in two separate pictures.

Those two white people are:

#1. John McCain

#2. Jennifer Corzine

I share a front page with McCain in a black newspaper.

...these things don't happen to normal people.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day...

Today I went to Wolf Camera to get pictures developed and encountered one of Austin's finest...Kyle. I nearly kissed him by the end of our conversation for providing me with such a fantastic blog worthy moment, but that would probably have given a very wrong impression. I'll just transcribe our conversation as best I can remember it. If you watch The Office, think Dwight, not in looks, but in voice, mannerisms and actions. Unfortunately, writing this out can't begin to do it justice, but I'll try to let the conversation just speak for itself.

So, I walk in and sit down at the computer to decide which pictures to print. I've done this a million times. This guy walks right up and says,
"Hi. My name's Kyle and I'll be serving you today. Keep your arms and legs inside the aircraft and your tray table in the upright position."
Pause for a moment: I personally have never been in an aircraft where there was any place for my arms and legs to go except inside...but maybe he's been flying in something different.
Me: "Hi."
Kyle: "Do I know you?"
Me: "Um, I don't think so. I've been in here a lot though so maybe just from being here."
Kyle: "No, I've never seen you in here before."
Me: "Um...Alright then."
I begin to look at pictures to figure out which one to print. I pull one up of Ashlee, Katie and me at Ruby Tuesday.
Kyle: "What's that? Is that Halloween? Were you at a bar on 6th street?"
Me: "Um, noooo. I was at a restaurant with friends of mine."
Kyle: "Oh. What did you do for Halloween? Anything?"
Me: "I was a student ministry retreat."
Kyle: "Where?"
Me: "Camp Buckner."
Kyle: "Oh cool! Yeah, Camp Buckner!...I've never heard of it."
Those of you who know me well enough can imagine my facial expression at this point
Kyle: "So you work with students at a church?"
Me: "Yeah."
Kyle: "What church."
Me: "Austin Stone Community Church."
Kyle: "Austin's Stones and Community..."
Me: "No...Austin. Stone. Community. Church."
Kyle: "Are you all stoned all the time."
Me: "No."
Kyle: "So, where are all these pictures taken?"
Me: "St. Louis."
Kyle: "Oh St. Louis."
Me: "Yeah."
Kyle: "What is it they say about St. Louis again?"
Me: "Uh...I don't know."
Kyle: "St. Louis is the city that always gambles...or something..."
Me: "Really, I've never heard that."
Kyle: "Oh, if you get that picture like that you're going to chop those people's heads off. Can I crop it for you?"
Before I have time to respond, he has pushed the crop photo button and changed my picture size to wallet.
Kyle: "There, now their heads won't be chopped off."
Me: "Alright then."
Kyle: "So are you from St. Louis? What are you doing here? Did you go to school there?"
Me: "Yeah, I uh went to college there but I moved down here in June for a job."
Kyle: "What kind of job?"
Me: "I work for the city at a theatre."
Kyle: "Oh, you're an actress."
Me: "No, I'm in technical theatre."
Kyle: "So you don't act."
Me: "Well, I used to but now I just do technical theatre."
Kyle: "Hey, what's red and smells like blue paint?"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Kyle: "What's red and smells like blue paint?"
Me: "Um, I have no idea."
Kyle: "Red paint. (chuckles to himself) That's supposed to be a funny joke. I guess it's not really that funny now that I think about it."
Me: "'s pretty funny..."
Right about now I pull out my phone to text Char and tell her that Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day is taking place as I'm texting. Seemingly deterred by my preoccupation with something else, he goes and talks to another customer and I finish up my order. I walk up to the counter when I'm finished and sure enough, here he comes.
Kyle: "So why don't you move to Hollywood?"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Kyle: "Why don't you move to Hollywood and become and actress?"
Me: "Um...because I don't really want to?"
Kyle: "You don't want to make lots of money and be famous?"
Me: "No."
Kyle: "Really?"
Me: "Really."
Kyle: "Oh. I want to move to Hollywood. I wanted to be an actor but then I realized I wasn't that good. Too much competition. So I decided if I couldn't be an actor than I'll just tell actors what to do. I'm going to be a director. Remember my name. You might see it on the front of a newspaper someday."
Me: "Okay. Good luck with that."
I hand him my credit card and he asks for my i.d. so I hand him my driver's license.
Kyle: "Good picture. that's short for Jennifer?"
Me: "Yes."
Kyle: "Cool. Your pictures will be ready tomorrow at 11. Are you going to come back tomorrow?"
Me: "Well, I suppose so. I need to pick up my pictures."
Kyle: "Okay well don't be a stranger. I like our witty banter."
Me: "Right. Yes. Our witty banter. And like I said before, I'm in here a lot."
Kyle: "Oh yeah. Okay. Cool."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The only email I've ever received from the mayor of Austin

As a city employee, it's not uncommon for me to get bulk emails everyday from important city officials. In the 6 months that I have worked here, while I have received many from our City Manager, I don't recall ever having gotten an email from the mayor...until today. And this is what it said:

Austin is the UnDead Capital of the World!

Thanks to 881 dancing zombie Austinites who joined together this past Saturday, in our fairly weird city, smashed the Guiness Book of World Records for the Largest Group Performance of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Dance! From cheerfully bloody six-year-olds to ghoulish grandfathers, Austin has shown the world that we always have a good time on a grand scale... and we can show some serious moves while we're at it.

Check out this YouTube link showcasing our victory:

Join the Grand Reprise performance and Victory Lap this Saturday, Nov. 1 during MexicArte Museum's annual “Dia de los Muertos” procession.

Participants will gather at 5 p.m. at Saltillo Plaza (E. Sixth/Comal streets) to prepare to parade west on Sixth Street. At approximately 6 p.m., in front of the Alamo Ritz (East Sixth Street) all zombies will drop, then rise again to move spookily once more and all together, establishing what I hope will become an annual "Thrilling" tradition for Austin.

I'm speechless...really.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing...

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day...

#1. Sitting at the front desk at work singing Proud Mary at the top of my lungs with my dear friend Adela.
#2. As I'm walking back down the hallway after locking up the theatre at the end of the day Adela yells across the building, "Come on Vanilla Mama, it's time to GO."

I love it here. Absolutely love it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lyrics that I'm Loving

I love songs that speak for you when you're at a loss for the words you need...

Quiet My Heart
By: Brooke Barrettsmith

My mind wanders away
Dreaming of where I could be on another day
I'm always so far ahead
I seem to miss the one that I'm in
And I regret the time I lost
Slow me down before it's gone

Right here in the moment I'm given
I'll treasure the breath that I breathe in
And I'll rest in You
You quiet my heart

Somehow every second that's passing
Is filled so much meaning
As I wait here with You
Quiet my heart

I get stuck in between
Yesterday and all that tomorrow brings
When all that You want from me
Is that I come and sit at your feet
And know that You are God
And with You no time is lost

Don't let me run away
Show me why I should stay
Open my eyes to take in Your beauty
Keep me here in this place
Take me in Your embrace
There's no place I'd rather be than right now

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I love birthday parties...

So Saturday we had a birthday party for Liam Self and it was SO much fun. The boys were out of control.

Exhibit A:

Look at that little face...can I please take this child home?

Quinn and the bluest eyes I've ever seen.
Blue icing. Love it.

There are few things more priceless than a child's eyes after 10 pounds of candy fall from overhead.
Me and Emily...and minus one very important Charlotte Coffee.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day:

Necessary information for those who don't know it:
I haven't dressed up for Halloween in the past couple years but this year our student ministry retreat starts Halloween night and all the leaders are supposed to be in costume. After much deliberation, I finally decided...Sarah Palin. The thing is though, I have to go straight from work to the retreat so a number of things will have to already be in place...the suit, the shoes, the hair...

And now to Monday's Fabulous Moment:

My boss: "We're having early voting here [at my job] this Friday and next Friday."

Me: "Sweet. I can just vote here."

My boss: "You are so going to walk up in this black museum and vote for John McCain aren't you."

Me: "Yes."

Pause for failed opportunity to make wise decision...

"and I'm going to be dressed up as Sarah Palin when I do it."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sand Story

I was lucky enough to see this guy last year at a youth worker's convention and he's amazing. Absolutly amazing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lyrics that I'm Loving

Up to the Mountain
Patty Griffin

I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
I could see all around me

Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired
And I'll be walking
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to

Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so

The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later
It's there I will go

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday's (Sunday's) Fabulous Moment of the Day

A few days ago I posted a sentence..."I freaking love squirrels." I was questioned about it and some assumed there was a story to go with it (a natural assumption). But there was really no reason at all, aside from the fact that I looked
outside and saw one. Now that's not to say that I don't have some amazing squirrel stories from years past. I do. That being said though, I didn't write that for any the time. Little did I know that in just a few days I was going to have a new found affection for one of the little critters, who sadly passed away on Sunday.

But I assure you, he did not die in vain.

Every Sunday morning I get to church at 7:30 to help the student ministry tech team get set up, get the light plot figured out for the worship service and then when service begins at 9:30, I run the lightboard. I always love those two hours before everything gets started. There's something very peaceful for me about that time where I'm in the light booth by myself, listening to the band warm up and practice. It gives me some amazing alone time to pray and get my heart ready for the day. That morning I was on my way to the church and I began praying. For no particular reason I said, "God, I just ask that you would help all of us get out Your way this Sunday. I pray that if things have to fall apart in order for us to rely on You and know You better and see Your power, then let things would fall apart. Humble us however you need to, but God get us out of Your way."


I went through the first two hours with no problem. I got a light plot set up that I was pretty excited about, loved on some kids as they arrived, the service started with a video and just as we pulled all the kids up near the stage to play a game of human tic tac toe, there's a few little zaps and a buzz and the entire auditorium goes dark. The weather was perfect so my first assumption was that we had blown a fuse but that didn't make any sense either given that we were in a theatre which is set up to withstand massive amounts of electricity pumping through.

Now, when you have 100+ teenagers all crowded up in one spot together in a huge room that is completely black, one of two things is going to happen...

1. Everyone starts screaming and acting stupid and it takes the entirety of our time together to get them to settle down and operate like normal human beings.

2. Everyone starts laughing, someone busts into leading a song that all 100 of them know and before you know it they're all singing together and then continue to play the game in the dark.

I'm very proud to say that our kids chose the latter and some of the tech team ran around unplugging and replugging until we could at least get a couple microphones going. Luckily a generator had kicked in and we were able to get some power back. Problem for me was that I couldn't get to the dimmer rack I needed to reset in order to have any stage or house lights at all. So, we turned on a couple of the work lights back stage which bled onto the stage area a tiny bit and decided we would just continue on in the dark.

It was a bit hard for me in the beginning. I'm so accustomed to having a job during student worship, to being needed, to having some very specific purpose during that time. And so for the first few minutes I wandered around trying to figure out how to fix the lights before I finally stopped long enough to realize that worship was going amazingly well without them. In fact it was probably better than it's ever been and if I did get the lights back on it would only serve as a distraction. The kids were so into the music, the message, everything.

I finally just sat down. I sat down at the back of the theatre and watched in total amazement of the way God's presence moved through that space that was completely stripped and raw feeling. And I was humbled to realize that ultimately, God doesn't need me there each morning doing the lights. He wants me to be. And He gives me the opportunity to serve that way. But He doesn't need me there. He's going to show up and do what needs done whether I turn on lights or not.

We found out later that a squirrel had run into a transformer, successfully taking out power not only in performing arts center, and not only in the entire highschool (main worship service lost it too) but in that whole little corner of Austin. A squirrel...who is now unfortunately a little pile of ashes. But again, not in vain. In his little death so many of us were reminded of the awesome glory and power of a God that's far too big to be understood. And if God will use a squirrel to convey that message I can only imagine what He's waiting to do with us, if we'd only let Him.

Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reason #573 that I love my job

Our receptionist just called me at my desk and when I answered the phone, whispered, "I see white people."

Translation: The director of The Laramie Project just arrived and needs you to let him into the theatre.
I freaking love squirrels.

Wednesday's New Series: Lyrics That I'm Loving

You know how you can hear a song a million times and sometimes you hum along and even sing out loud to it, but you never actually pay attention to the words? And then when you do, you've got a whole new song on your hands.

Sticking With You
by: Addison Road

Come on, it's me you're talking to
there's something going on inside of you
don't have to say it, but i *wish* you would
cause it would be much easier

You always hide behind yourself
you walk a lonely road with no one's help
i hate to break the news
you're headed for a fall

And if i have to jump
then I'll jump
and I wont look down
you can cry, you can fight, we *can* scream and shout
I'll push and pull
until your walls come down
and you understand I'm gonna be around
I'm sticking with you

Even if you try and shut me out
I'm staying here 'cause thats what love's about
I might let you down, but i won't let you go

So lean into me, I want to know
Everything about the fear you hold inside
'cause you and i are better than just one so

If thats what it means to love you
If that's what it means to have your back
If that what it takes to show you
Then I'm in, I'm in

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing...

I realized that my Tuesday series title is perfect or the time I spend on Monday evenings with two of my very favorite ladies in ATX. And so today's Tuesday series is dedicated to Kate and Charlotte, Kate's new iPhone, Tina Fey, pizza, our times together, our ridiculously random inside jokes and the immeasurable ways I've been blessed by their friendship.

One of these days, we'll have a good picture of the three of us. Until then, we'll just use the pictures Kate was taking last night with her new toy...
Why do Kate and I look scrappy and Charlotte looks like she just had a professional phot shoot or something...Whatevs.

"I'd like to phone a friend." AHAHAHAHA

Thanks to Charlotte

I'm a registered Texan voter. Got in by the skin of my teeth.

Yes, I registered to vote in Texas at Blockbuster at 10:30 last night, exactly an hour and a half before the deadline. Let me throw in this disclaimer that this is not my first time registering to vote. I was previously registered in Ohio and Missouri where, I'll be real honest here, I felt that my vote was worth a little more.

Politics interest me, there's no doubt about it. And I definitely know who I'm going to be voting for. But I just don't have the passion for it that I used to. And I definitely don't have the passion for it that many of my favorite people have.

This would explain why last night at 7:30 when Charlotte and I were driving over to Sweeney's and she said, "You have registered to vote in Texas right?" I very casually said, "No." I thought she was going to wreck the car. I do believe her response was something along the lines of, "Jennifer Lynne!" Maybe it wasn't that exactly, but it sounded eerily similar to how my mom would have responded.

So, we went to Kate's and on our way back to the apartment she pulled into the Blockbuster parking lot, said, "Go get registered...don't forget to take your driver's license..."

Again, strangely similar. I had to bring the form back to her so she could fill out my current mailing address because I don't know what it is. As we left, I was thinking how proud my mom was going to be so I texted her to let her know I was now registered.

First thing this morning I receive an email that says, "Why did you wait so late to register? At least you did. If I ever find out you haven't voted I'll turn you over my knee. No you're not too big or too old." Well, not quite the response I was looking for, but okay we'll go with it.

I then called her to see how her day was going and the conversation played out as follows:

Mom: "What address did you put on your form?"
Me: "Well, I put Uhland as my permanent address because it's on my license and I put Char's address as my mailing address."
Mom: "What!? Jennifer those are the kinds of things that are going to cause your vote to not get counted."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Mom: "When you do things like that they'll find an excuse to not count you as a valid voter."
Me: "Mom, even if that's true, the whole state of Texas isn't going to turn blue on voting day because they don't count my vote."

...pause for deliberation and exacerbated sigh...

Mom: "If this conversation shows up somewhere on your facebook or something you're going to be in big trouble."
Me: "Okay mom."

How I Missed Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day...

Yesterday I was off work which as much as my heart needed it, was a bit concerning because I couldn't quite be guranteed of a fabulous moment. But I trusted in God's provision and went about my day, making sure to keep my eyes wide open.

It was late afternoon and I was a getting a little nervous as I do any time it looks like my day may come to an end without anything out of the ordinary happening. I was hanging at my favorite coffee shop when I saw perfect set-up for my fabulous moment. Some of the guys who lead worship at our church were sitting at a table a few feet from me. It was a perfect lay-up from God, beautifully packaged. As I told my friend Emily when "Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day" started, there is one rule:

"rule #1...if a fabulous moment doesn't come, force it. any randomness on your part which causes awkwardness for someone else ALWAYS brings about a fabulous moment."

I sat contemplating my next move. Just how awkward was I willing to be today? I mean, I could just go up and tell them how much I LOVE their music, how blessed I am by it every Sunday. More than likely, that would lead to some massive random rambling on my part which would definitely cause some awkwardness on their part. But, sometimes even my ability to ramble fails me. Should I do something more drastic? Worst case scenario, I could totally go up and be like, "Hey, I used to be in show choir. Wanna hear me sing?" And then bust out some All That Jazz. That would definitely create all kinds of awkwardness, but I had a feeling I wouldn't actually be able to do it without laughing. Not to mention, those are the kinds of moments you save for when you have friends around to witness it.

As I'm thinking through it Em texts me about something completely unrelated so of course I told her that I had the perfect set-up here for MFMOTD. What I failed to realize while I was completely engrossed in my phone, texting furiously, seeking the necessary encouragement needed when getting ready to make a fool of yourself and cursing the fact that there's not an ornery looking smiley face in my text message smiley bank, the guys managed to pack up all their stuff and leave. I looked up just in time to see the door closing behind them.


Next message to Emily... "Curses!...mission aborted...they just left."

And then followed Monday's Surrogate Fabulous Moment of the Day, Emily's response...

"Follow them...I repeat...follow them." AHAHAHA.

Most unfortunately, I didn't get that message until hours later when my phone decided to let it through. (My phone has been a total diva the past few days by the way. But that's a story for another day.)

And so it was that God provided me with the perfect opportunity for Monday's Fab Moment and I missed it. I've been told that delayed obedience is disobedience and now I know it's true. But I was reminded of God's grace and forgiveness in Emily's response. So, I'll pick myself up, dust myself off and next Monday, I will be prepared to courageously take on every moment I'm given.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tot Squishing

Yesterday I was thinking about a fabulous moment from a few years back and although I have no idea why it popped into my head, it made me laugh out loud when I remembered it. It was one of those things I hadn't thought about in forever.

Strangely enough, apparently Ash was remembering it right at about the same time. We have that kind of connection. She blogged about it here. Maybe you had to be there, but it was classic.

And as much as I appreciate that she left one very important part out, I feel like I should give you all the pleasure. You'll read in her post about how she ran into a closed door. I mean, full on bit it. Smacked into the the thing hardcore. Of course, we laughed hysterically (after verifying that she was okay). Naturally, I had to act this out for all of the other girls who missed it. So later in the day, I'm demonstrating what happened to her and I go flying full force into a door that is seemingly fully closed. Quite unfortunately it was not. At all. I'm running and running all prepared to smack into this door and as soon as I touch it, it opens and I fly outside and eat the ground. Minor injuries aside, it was AWESOME.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I wish this post could even begin to do it justice...

So last night I had the great privilege of doing childcare for our church's Tuesday night prayer meeting. Childcare is always fun, but some nights are bump-your-head-I want-my-mom kind of nights and other nights are I-love-playing-with-legos-mom-who kind of nights.

Last night I got to hang with the three-year-olds which is about as much fun as it gets. Most of them have at least a basic system of verbal communication and in some cases, even the most basic of systems can be downright hilarious. I walked into the room and one of the little boys Caleb was in the middle of a three-year-old lego masterpiece. He had a couple of scratches on his face and I said, quite rhetorically, "Caleb, what happened to your face?" I fully expected him to just look at me and move on with his day like the two-year-olds that I watched last week would have. Instead he said, very matter of factly, "I don't know." I said, "You don't know?" And he responded, "Well, I don't remember." And then gave me a look that said, "Now get out of my face."

Since we're talking about Caleb, I'll stick with the rest of his stories for now. By the way, it's okay for me to post these stories about other people's kids right? I'll assume yes. If anyone runs across a description of your own child and you want their hilarious story removed, let me know. Okay, so as the night goes on, I see Caleb sitting on the floor with a very large wet spot on the front of his pants. I said, "Caleb, what happened buddy?" He said, "Oh, I peed my pants." And then I laughed. I went looking for a bag for him and he said, "I don't think my mom brought any extra pants." So, I told one of the children's ministers and she came back with a pair of underwear and shorts and said, "These will be too big, but it'll work for now." I went and grabbed Caleb and said, "Hey friend, let's go in the bathroom and change your clothes okay?" He immediately saw what was in my hand, got a panicked look on his face and this is how the conversation continued:

Caleb: "Those aren't my pants."
Me: "I know buddy but these pants are dry and yours aren't."
Caleb: "But those aren't my pants."
Me: "Yes, we've established that. But you're just going to wear them for a little bit until you go home."
Caleb: "But those aren't my pants."
Me: "Right, yes, okay..."

So we go in the restroom and I manage to get him to take off his pants and he starts putting the new ones on and says, "These aren't my pants." Again, yes, right, I know that. I said, "These are going to feel much better though. Just go ahead and wear them for a little bit." At which point he looks up at me and says very hesitantly, "I don't know about this." And then I laughed. So we leave and a little later he runs up to me and says, "These pants are falling off." And I laugh and tell him he only has to wear them a little longer. Later he comes up and says, "I have to go potty." So we go in the bathroom where the toilet seat has a little padded cushion that sits on the toilet seat to make the hole a little smaller so kids don't fall in. He promptly picks the cushion up and throws it across the bathroom, looks at me and says, "I don't need that. I'm a big boy." And then I laughed. After he goes potty we have this conversation:
Caleb: "These aren't my pants."
Me: "Yes, I know that. We've discussed this."
Caleb (basically to himself): "My mom is not going to like this."
And then I laughed and told him to go flush the toilet. He walks over to the handle which comes up to about eye level for him, swings his foot up in the air, and flushes the toilet with his foot. I was like, what? Where do kids learn this stuff? And then I laughed to the point of tears.

We also had Ella, a beautiful little girly girl with cute brown hair and long dark eyelashes. Toward the end of the evening I see her walking around the room with her legs spread as far apart as humanly possible. I started laughing and said, "Ella, why are you walking like that," thinking she must be pretending to be walking over something or through something...or something. At which point she looks up at me, with an incredibly distraught look and says, "I pooped my pants!" And then I laughed to the point of tears, took her hand and said, "Let's go to the bathroom." And she walked with me, spread-legged to the bathroom.

And probably the highlight of the night were Gracie and Dee, the three-year-old Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (when they were precious and innocent) of our church. They are beautiful, little, blond-haired, blue-eyed balls of identical twin adorableness. At one point (prior to Ella's incident) I definitely smelled some three-year-old poo. So I'm walking kid to kid, checking diapers and coming up empty handed, er, empty diapered. All of a sudden Gracie and Dee turn around at the exact same time and say very cheerfully, "We pooped!" And...I laughed. I said, "Both of you?" And at the exact same time they said, "Yes!" Amazing. So, I pick up Dee and I'm changing her diaper and I said, "Oh man, girl..." To which she says, "I pooped a lot of poop. So did Grace!" I said, "Wow, you know how much Grace pooped?" She smiled very big and said, "Yep!"

And there it is my friends...a night with a bunch of three-year-olds and their poo. Best night of my life.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday: Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing

Char...this one's for you...

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day...

Since Emily's Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day didn't happen on Monday, I decided mine shouldn't either.

And so instead we have Monday's (Friday's) Fabulous Moment of the Day. While I fully intend to write a full blog about my amazing weekend at home, complete with pictures, this particular post will be dedicated to a moment which would be more accurately titled, "Monday's (Friday's) Fabulous Moment of My Life."

Friday morning I got up all kinds of early to catch a 7 am flight back home to St. Louis. *Special thanks to Char for taking me to the airport at the insane 5:00 hour.

The morning was pretty standard...

...wait for it...

AHAHAHA. Yeah right...nothing in my life is ever pretty standard.

So I got to the airport at about 5:45 am and was totally half asleep. As I was going through security the girl in front of me gets stopped and they tell her they need to search her purse. Upon carefully gloved searching, they pulled out a butter knife. Let me reiterate...the girl in front of me tried to take a knife onto an airplane. Well, I was half asleep right up until they busted out that puppy at which point, I woke up. She of course starts apologizing profusely and begging for grace. And while I'm wondering what kind of insane consequences she's going to have to suffer for that little slip-up they say, "Ma'''s okay. You can actually take this with you, we just had to take it out and examine it."

Excuse me, what?

Again, let me say that she had A KNIFE in case any of you were still confused.

She and I both looked at each other wondering if this was a joke, but in fact the security person repeated herself and told her that she could take it with her to which the woman responded, "Actually I would feel better if you just threw it away." too. I'm still wondering why she had a butter knife in her purse in the first place but whatevs.

Moving on in my day, I boarded the plane and was seated next to a fabulous, large black woman who up until Friday had not been on an airplane in 25 years. Suffice it to say I adored her and I had a really entertaining time sitting next to her. If I could convey the conversation that we had without all of the cursing that came from her being terrified of the plane, I would. But as much as I hate to say it, it just wouldn't be as funny. I will leave that hilariousness to your imagination.

Now to the good stuff...

So I finally made it to St. Louis after a pitstop in Minnesota and I headed downstairs to get my luggage. As I was walking toward the baggage area I smelled an extremely familiar perfume that immediately made Kathy Troccoli pop into my brain.


For those of you who don't know, Kathy Troccoli is pretty much my favorite singer of all time, not necessarily because of her singing. Her music has been incredibly important to me since I was about 11 years old and it's the kind of music that always comes along at the right time in life. Not only that, but I read a book of hers at just the right time of life. I went to a conference and heard her speak at just the right time of life. God has used her gifts to speak to me on many occasions so when her music or writing comes up, I know to listen. I have all of her CDs on my iPod and it's what I turn on when I need some encouragement or when I'm seeking God's presence. That being said, I went to one of her conferences about a year and a half ago at my church in Illinois and had the pleasure of meeting her. I could write out that very long story here, but I won't seeing as how this post is already insanely long.

But the point is that on Friday I smelled the same perfume I had smelled a year and a half ago when I met her at the conference. In my own defense, smell is very closely associated with memory and because that's the only memory I have associated with that smell, that's what popped into my brain.

So as I walked by, my brain said, "Kathy Troccoli." I turned around and she was sitting right there next to the baggage claim with her piano player. I freaked out and just stood there trying to figure out what to do. I would have loved to tell her how God had used her in my life but I knew that would simply take too long. In the meantime my grandma calls and says, "I'm waiting outside for you." I said, "Grandma, my favorite singer of all time is sitting here in the airport and I think I'm going to talk to her but I haven't figured out what to say yet." To which she said, "Well I can't sit here forever or they're going to kick me out. What am I supposed to do?" To which I said, "I don't know. You'll figure it out," and promptly hung up the phone. Luckily, she's very forgiving. As I was standing there I could hear Kathy behind me singing a little under her breath. The longer I stood there the more nervous I got but I finally realized that I could not walk away without saying something. Not to her. To anyone else yes. But not to her.

I took a deep breath and turned around and said, "I don't mean to be rude, but I really just want to tell you how much I love your music. It's very important to me." Her piano player smiled really big and said, "Well there's nothing rude about that." Kathy stood up and introduced herself and asked me what my name was. I told her and had the conversation stopped there all would have been fine, but I went into a little babbling spell where I accidentally said that I had recognized her perfume from one of her conferences last year. Awkward moment #1. Then she asked me if I was in town for her conference to which I had to say, "" Awkward moment #2. She told me she was actually just working on some new song lyrics for the album she has coming up and just as my brain was racing madly toward Awkward moment #3 in which I would have told her that I had been listening to her sing for the past 5 minutes, I pulled myself together, told her I was looking forward to it and thanked her for letting me interrupt.

And then I walked away to pick up my bags. For a fraction of a second I let myself play the "Oh I should have said this and I definitely should NOT have said that" game but then I realized how bizarre it was that while I've met a lot of famous people, I've never met them outside of the context of what they do. I've never stumbled upon someone famous in an airport before or run into them at a restaurant. And the first time I do, it's Kathy Troccoli, of all people. The person whose music, writing and speaking God has used consistently throughout my life to make His presence known.

I don't really know what all that means or entails and although it seems like I should end this with some great revelation I didn't have one. But it definitely made me think and absolutely had to be Monday's (Friday's) Fabulous Moment of the Day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Only David Crowder

So awhile back, Emily posted this little golden youtube gem. Probably one of the funniest things of my life. Soon after, I discovered that it had spread to all of the youth ministry blogs I read and really the larger blogging realm in general.

You can imagine how magical it felt to discover that David Crowder in all of his amazingness decided to remix "Jesus is my Friend."

For your enjoyment...

Tuesday's New Series:

Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day:

Okay so kind of like how Emily has "Flashback Friday," I've decided that especially on Mondays it is important that we seek out fabulousness and so begins my new series "Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day." Truth be told, it was the moment that found me and I just needed to find a reason to blog about it.

Let me start by saying that for a brown headed, green eyed, pasty white girl, people ask me about my heritage quite frequently. People have wondered if I'm Asian, Mexican, Italian and who knows what else. My first assumption is always that it's because my hair is so dark, but without fail, people always tell me that it's because of my eyes. I don't know why...maybe because they get really squinty when I smile too big. I truly have no idea.

But, being questioned about where the heck my people come from is not new to me and rarely am I surprised by the conversations.

It should also be stated for the record, if any of you don't know this, that I am the only white person at my workplace and I LOVE it. We have so much fun and anyone who knows me knows how much I love bustin' out my white girl ghetto, frequently to the dismay of my very gracious co-workers.

Okay, now that we have all that out of the way I shall relay Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day:

Monday morning conversation between my boss and me:

Her: "So you met my mom this weekend while she was here!"
Me: "Yeah, she's really nice!"
Her: "GIRL...let me just tell you what she said about you."
Me: "Um..."
Her: "No, it's not bad or anything. She told me you were super sweet!"
Me: "Oh well that's good to know."
Her: "And then she asked me if you were totally white and I said 'Mama you saw her skin, you know she's white.' And then she said, 'Are you sure? Cuz it looks like maybe she has a tint.'"

...awkward pause while I stare at her wondering if this is a joke...

And then we roll on the floor laughing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Something strange...

is going on in Austin.

I don't know what it is but I know I feel it and I know others feel the same thing. God is stirring people up and I don't know what His plans for it are, but if we're all paying attention and we all move when He tells us to move something big is going to happen. There's not a doubt in my mind that that's what we're being prepared for because everyone knows it. It's been talked about, blogged about and prayed over. It's a constant topic of discussion and a constant on people's hearts.

I don't know what it means for me personally yet. That's something I'm still listening for, but I know I'm surrounded by a bunch of people who all came to this place by God's calling and none of us really know why yet. But we all have the same stirring, the same working on our hearts that is far greater than anything I have ever experienced.

I will continue posting about it as things sort themselves out and God begins revealing His plan for all this. I'll lay my heart on the internet here for a second and say that my greatest fear, the thing that would be really heartbreaking in all of this, is that 5 years down the road I'll look back at this post and realize that those of us who were brought here walked right past what God was calling us to. It's easy to be moved by God in our own lives, for me to come to the theatre everyday and try my best to do God's work here in this building, but it's something far different for thousands of people to come together and do God's work in this city. And we could all probably convince ourselves that we just made this feeling up, that we fed off of each other and the Sunday morning sermons and just needed something to hold on to. But deep down, we'd know we were wrong. The greatest prayer of my heart is that we do something now, while we have the opportunity. Because if we wait, we're going to miss it.

Luckily, I have the utmost trust in the faith of the people around me. I see that they're all on fire and ready to go and I'm hoping that when the day comes I'll be able to keep up.

"Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare."
~Jeremiah 29:7

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Uhland, TX...I'll see you soon.

The end of an era has come...

My time of living in Uhland, TX is over and while I considered staying just for the stories, I knew in my heart it was time to move on. Uhland was a great blessing to me for a time and I have no intention of being a stranger. There are still great adventures to be had. But for now, it was best that I move up to Austin.

On Sunday evening, I packed up my room in Uhland and on Monday morning Kelley and I loaded up her dad's truck and my car and bounced up I35 at about 40 miles an hour, getting honked at the entire way.

And friends, I'm really glad my camera was really close by because if I hadn't had the opportunity to document me looking exhausted, filthy and utterly scrappy as we made this move, I would have been really sad.

And so I present to you the twenty-something single girl version of The Beverly Hillbillies:
Me with the ghetto truck and all of my junk bungee corded down. The truck looks surprisingly clean, but don't be fooled. Oh and the house in the background is not in Uhland. It's where my stuff is chilling out in Austin for a while.
The inside of the truck where I threw all of the extra junk that I didn't know what to do with. I plopped something down on the seat and a large cloud of dust puffed up and settled on my face.

Kelley and I in the AMAZING hats we found in the truck. As much as I would love to say that we wore these bad boys all day long, we didn't. I can only handle looking that redneck for a moment. I am SO glad Kel was around to help me move. It was a lot more fun that way.

AHAHA...oh my gracious...I can't believe I'm putting these pictures up...whatevs...over and out.

First thing Monday morning before we even started loading up the vehicles, I walked out to my car in my flip flops to get my Chacos out of my car. I put the Chacos down on the ground and stepped out of my flip flops. Just as I was putting on my Chacos, Daisy, one of the inbred dogs from next door, comes running up to me and is doing everything in her power to get me to pet her. I said, "Daisy, friend, I don't have time for this right now. I have to get packed." And as she continued to rub her nose all over my leg I said, "No Daisy, go home." I leaned back into my car to get something and when I turned around, she was totally gone. I didn't even hear her feet running across the gravel. I looked down to pick up my flip flops and where there had been two laying beside me, there was now one. I looked all over thinking maybe I kicked it under the car or threw it in the back seat on accident but it was nowhere to be found.

I suppose that's what I get for telling Daisy I didn't have time for her. Or maybe she just knew I was leaving and hoped it would cause me to stay. But, I just smiled and walked in the house knowing that there couldn't be a more perfect end to my time in Uhland, Texas...well, unless an armadillo had waddled up. It was one of the flip flops the podiatrist had been yelling at me for wearing anyway. And now, just as I hold a special place in my heart for Uhland, I guess now Uhland will also forever hold a very special piece of me.

In all seriousness though, God has continued to amaze me with the people He's put into my life and the opportunities He has provided me to just keep moving forward one step at a time. And while it's sometimes hard to accept all that others are more than willing to offer, I am learning to. So I'm now basically a resident of Austin, Texas. My awesome friend Ruth offered to house all of my stuff and my amazing girls Charlotte and Liz offered to house me until I was able to move into my own place. It's a crazy feeling to literally be living out of a cardboard box and still be so at home and at peace, especially when I'm so far away from my home and family. While I normally feel like I can express myself better through writing, even that can't begin to convey my gratitude to God and the friends and family that I've found here.

And now, let the Adventures in Austin begin...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's been way too long since I last wrote an actual post. And there's a reason for that.

I've been busy.

Probably too busy. See, it's been the kind of busy where I feel like I'm barely keeping in step with life. Where if I slow down, even for a second, I'm going to fall behind. The kind of busy that makes me feel like I'm struggling just to keep my head above water. The kind of busy that makes me run around all day like a chicken with my head cut off but look back on it at the end of the day and can't seem to figure out what got accomplished.

...The kind of busy that causes me to only open my Bible on Sunday mornings because I was able to fit going to church into my schedule. The kind of busy that leaves me waiting to find time to pray. The kind of busy that unintentionally pushes God away and says, "I can do this on my own."

The kind of busy I'm not particularly proud of.

It's interesting because through all of this I do believe I've been doing what God was calling me to do, I've just frequently been doing it without Him and today I received an incredibly grace-filled and gentle reminder that there's just no need for that. A reminder that as my life speeds up, I should be seeking Him more, not less.

One of the things that has kept me busy, although admittedly it was only my own inability to focus that caused it to keep me busy, was a project I needed to complete for the student ministry for this morning. I spent the better part of the week fretting about it, stressing about the fact that it wasn't what the leadership was looking for, that my small group co-leader wouldn't like it and most of all that my girls wouldn't respond to it. I had prayed in a moment of panic that God would provide me with an idea for what it should look like and within minutes He provided not only the idea but many of the resources. And right then is when all of my anxiety should have subsided, but I kept right on worrying, even after it was long finished and just waiting to be used.

This morning as I was getting the lighting ready for the student worship service an amazing new friend Chloe, whose maturity far surpasses being the senior in high school that she is, came to say hi. We chatted for a bit and I jokingly shared my concern that the display I had put together wasn't good enough and wasn't what they were hoping for. I told her I hadn't found enough time to make it look the way I wanted it to and that I was still a little stressed about it.

And I was incredibly blessed by her response...

She said the typical, "Oh I'm sure it's fine! Don't worry about it." And then said..."And no matter what it looks like, God will make it amazing in the eyes of those who need to see it."

And she then continued on with her normal encouragement but I don't know what she said because my head was spinning from this gentle reminder from God that all this time I've been running around trying to serve Him by giving all of myself when the fact of the matter is that all of me is not enough for anyone. Others don't need me, they need Him and I can run myself all the way down offering all that I have to those that I love, but it's just never going to be enough. I was reminded that God is made great in my weakness but I have to let myself be weak in order for Him to be great.

And you know the thing that still amazes me, after all these years of believing is that when I tried to take on life on my own this week, God could have just let me fall on my face. I certainly deserved to. But He didn't. He stayed right behind me the whole time and when I slowed down long enough to listen, He said, "I'm still here."

I have a lot of big changes coming up. Exciting and fun changes, but change nonetheless. It's my prayer that I won't get too far ahead of myself this time around. That I'll dust myself off and start over, this time walking beside, not in front someone far greater than myself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh child, precious one
Let your life shine like the sun
But you say "How long 'til I can come home
'Til I can rest in your arms again"
And I say "Not long but don't miss this life and I'll be
Waiting 'til then"

Live with the wonder of a child
Pray with your arms thrown open wide
Love with a love that has no end
Until I see you again

Oh child, precious one
With each breath know you are loved
But you say "How long 'til I can come home
'Til I can rest in your arms again"
And I say "Not long but don't miss this life and I'll be
Waiting 'til then"

~Mark Schultz

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

laughing so hard i'm crying

Mom, watch'll love it.

My day just keeps gettin' better.

A real post will come soon, but until then...

Oh, and P.S., the nun beauty pageant got cancelled. Seems a lot of people thought it was sacriligeous or something. Whatevs.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ah highschool...

AHAHAHA. Awesome.

This is what show choir used to look like kids...

(Whoever can find me gets a free hug.)
*Hint: I look exactly the same, minus 7 years and 20 pounds.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

From "The Jesus of Suburbia"

If you follow Jesus, you follow the most radical man who ever existed. He marches into the world with kindness, peace, and love and offers people a whole new way of looking at the world and living within it. His is the most radical message you can preach or live. He turns everything upside down and calls us to do likewise. Jesus is not vitally committed to our comfort and safety; he is committed to the advancing of his kingdom revolution in the hearts of people everywhere.

In talking about what his kingdom is like, Jesus announced, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men take hold of it" (Matt. 11:12). In other words, God is doing something so powerful and dangerous that only those who are willing to embrace it with forceful intensity may take hold of the movement of God's kingdom. The revolution of Jesus isn't for the faint of heart or the middle-of-the-road. It isn't safe. It isn't comfortable. It costs us a great deal to say yes. We take hold of the revolution by abandoning ourselves to Jesus and letting go of everything else.

It seems every day lately, God reminds me that nothing about following Him is meant to be comfortable...I think I have some work to do.

just never ever gets old...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The world could be a really different place

I really have a thing for contagious laughter.

If you've never heard the famous jack in the box voicemail do yourself a favor and listen to it.

it'll change your life.

(If you want to listen to the audio file on its own, you can google it and download it into iTunes, but this was the best thing I could find to hyperlink it to.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tough Stuff Melts Down

I love being a girl. I really do. I love wearing pink. I love purse shopping. I love wearing makeup, even though it melts off in 2 seconds under the Texas sun. I love having fresh flowers in my living space, even though I can't keep them alive. I love singing and dancing and all things that sparkle.

I try to be an independent girl though. I've dealt with snake bites and bloody armadillos. I clean up dead insects in my theatre. I managed to maintain my composure the other day (well, almost) when I saw a cockroach the size of a uhaul. My job requires me to climb 40 foot ladders and carry around 50 pound weights. I drive a stick shift. I used to teach a high ropes course. I feel confident that most of the time I'm a pretty tough cookie.

But we all have our cryptonite.

And last night, after working 35 hours in 3 days, and having a total of 9 hours of sleep in between, the feeling of fresh dog poo on my bare foot was mine...and the cause of an embarrassing episode of shrieking, screaming and hysterical laughter. While I completely acknowledge that this following video falls far short of flattering, I decided to be tough and immortalize it anyway.

"Miss Sister"...oh this is too good.

I have a minor fascination (obsession) with nuns. What began as a simple respect for what they do and how they live has become a self-defining joke, but one that I claim nonetheless. If you're going to have a fascination with nuns, you gotta own it.
I think it started right before I moved to Switzerland for school and was told I would be living either in an apartment or a fully functioning convent. I begged my study abroad advisor to put me in the convent. 10 minutes after convincing him that I was serious, he told me that because the demand for living there was so low, it shouldn't be a problem. When I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland all starry-eyed and hauling two 50 pound suitcases, I was led by a beautiful, older Irish woman to my new the Red Light District. I thought there must be some confusion. How do you request nuns as neighbors and get prostitutes? But alas, there was no mistake, just God and His infinite sense of humor that never ceases to amaze. A short trip to Rome though and a couple hours in the Vatican and I was good to go.

I was always amazed by nuns and the thought that they have got to be incredibly strong, amazing women full of courage and grace. I started vocalizing this a few years back. A whole lot of laughter and a few weird looks later, I've become the "nun girl" and have been showered with amazing gifts like, "Nunzilla" and a "Nunchuck," a slightly sacrilegious yet fabulous little plastic catapault complete with little plastic nuns that you can chuck across the room. It's just one of those quirky things about me that people for the most part have seemingly come to appreciate.
All of that being said, this absolutely made my day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Prayers and Pogo Sticks

or "poto sticks" if you were one of the two people lucky enough to witness that moment of stupidity...

C.S. Lewis has a brilliant view of our time on earth and how it relates to what awaits us in heaven...

"...If I find in myself a desire which no explanation in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage."

There are moments and experiences that I go through that remind me of this and it's usually because they are so important and so magical that they make me think, "this is just a suggestion of the real thing." And just the thought that what I'm experiencing at the time is just a fraction of the majesty to come leaves me utterly speechless.

Last night was one of those times and I pray that it's etched onto my heart so deep that I never forget it. A few of the amazing people I know gathered for a time of prayer and worship, led beautifully by this fabulous lady. Six (seven for a short time :) ) of us spent some amazing time gathered together, resting with God. We raised our voices in prayer and song and laid our hearts on the table. I don't know about anyone else in the room, but I dropped some baggage at Jesus' feet last night and it was incredibly freeing. We took communion together and welcomed God's presence into the room. It was truly just an awesome time of sharing and community with some awesome people.

When you start giving things up to God that don't really belong on your heart, all of a sudden you find yourself feeling incredibly lighthearted and carefree in a way that's indescribable. And when you get there, well then it's time to enjoy one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us...and laugh your head off. So laugh we did.

People have a lot of ideas about the Baptist folk, but I can attest to the fact that if you walk into a Baptist Association office, there's bound to be some fun waiting there for you, and if you're lucky enough, a rake, a scooter and a pogo stick.

AHAHAHAHA...I'm going to get killed for this, but it's so worth it. Kate, have to get on the pogo stick BEFORE you start jumping.

Charlotte and Emily, rockin' the pogo sticks...

I can't help but think heaven is a whole lot like last night. A community of people who love each other coming together to give their hearts over completely to God and discovering what it truly means to be freed by His grace and mercy. And then living together in joy, laughter and worship when the weight of the world has literally disappeared.

I have a pretty good feeling Jesus will bust out a pogo stick too.

And won't that be funny.

Well today has been hilarious...

1. I totally almost got run over by one of those little moped situations. I was in a parking lot and as I stepped out from behind a van, this tiny girl riding a bright blue moped at about 40 miles an hour comes flying at me. Right about the time my life flashed before my eyes she swerved and very nearly wiped out. I felt bad for a fraction of a second until I realized that none of this was really my fault. Once she regained control of her scooter on steroids and I had verified that I hadn't peed myself, she kind of shook her head a little and said, "WHOA!" before speeding off. Interesting. Truth be told I was mildly disappointed. For all the effort and terror, actually getting hit by one of those things would have made for a really entertaining post.

2. Following the moped incident, I came to work to discover that our one maintenance man is on vacation until Monday. We have numerous events in the theatre over the next few days and hundreds of people will be in and out of there meaning it's going to be filthy. So, this morning I saddled up our new backvac...

I don't know if that's what they're actually called, but it's what I call it. It's basically a vaccuum in the form of a backpack. Oh, and our other one got stolen. Yes, really.

...and went to town vaccuuming my little heart out. As I'm moving in and around the theatre I'm failing to notice that the cord is getting completely tangled around the seats. Before I know it I have wrapped myself and my backvac in a cocoon of a bright orange electrical cord and the sound guy for our current show looks at me and says, "What DON'T you do around here?" I found a dollar under one of the seats though.

3. My boss sent our front desk girl an email regarding a luncheon that we have tomorrow. The email states that they would like us to provide, "pickles, cheese slices and hot dog wieners." Is that how all Texans refer to hot dogs?

I love days that begin like this and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's destined to get funnier.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What has sustained me the past few days...

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

All of my life
In every season
You are still God

I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favour and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow.