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.