“The way to Christ is first through humility, second through humility, third through humility. If humility does not precede and accompany and follow every good work we do, if it is not before us to focus on, if it is not beside us to lean upon, if it is not behind us to fence us in, pride will wrench from our hand any good deed we do at the very moment we do it.” Augustine
Monday, May 30, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
This has been a good cooking week ~ beautiful late-spring vegetables, lovely warm summer-like weather and school winding down are putting me in a happy mood.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Noticed you haven't blogged in awhile... Just making sure everything is ok??? :) Miss you.
- Led a retreat for Single Ministry Leaders within the Free Methodist Conference of Southern California (FMCSC);
- Presented a seminar on "sustainable youth ministry" to the "Northern Lites" district of the Coastal Region (again, FMCSC);
- Taught a month-long series on ancient world civilizations that I titled "The 'Isms" at Providence Hall;
- Took a lovely day trip to San Luis Obispo with 3 amazing high school girls I've loved and met with regularly for three years ~ before they graduate and head out to Great Beyond;
- Consulted with a wonderful church in Seattle about their youth ministry, entering a 17-month project with them (and got to visit with some friends whom I love dearly after the consultation!);
- Published an article with YMToday on ministry and parenting with 5th/6th graders;
- Started a new coaching project with a 102-year old Free Methodist church in LA;
- Finished the Ism's with high school students and then taught the same series at church to adults, ranging in age from 20 to 75;
- Started another series with Providence Hall, this one framed around John Stott's final book, The Radical Disciple (pick it up ~ I really like it!);
- Saw my beloved Lakers completely muff this year's path to the playoffs (grrrrrrrrr!)
- Celebrated my best friend's birthday with a great dinner with her family and an incredible concert in Hollywood, seeing Slow Runner and William Fitzsimmons (do not pass up the opportunity if he appears near you);
- Picked up two more youth ministry consulting projects through Youth Ministry Architects (when it rains it pours!)
- Met with a pair of Cantonese Free Methodist pastors who are guiding a summer camp for neighborhood children;
- Just finished leading a retreat with this year's inaugural round of Summer Interns for FMCSC ~ I'm already in love with this bunch of talented and earnest young leaders.
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! (Psalm 103:1-5)
Sunday, May 8, 2011
- To legally be able to drive her car if needed to.
- To have auto insurance for when I rent a car. Do you know you cannot have car insurance without it being attached to a specific car?
Saturday, May 7, 2011
As can really only happen in spiritual reading, several different things I meditated upon this morning struck deep chords in me...
[The disciples] had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat. This frightened them, but he said, 'It is I. Do not be afraid'. (John 6)You can go out and you will live. You will live eternally because Jesus is the Lord of life. That is the ecstasy. You can start participating in it every time you step out of your fear and out of the sameness. It doesn't require big jumps, but simply small steps.
1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
I am like Peter. With my mouth I declare obedience, but internally I am skeptical, and keep myself at arm's length. After all, if my expectations remain small, I won't be disappointed, right?
I love Peter's response when the great catch of fish happens... his first reaction is not "Yippee! It's payday!" because now he'll make a ton of money on the haul of fish. Instead, his soul is pierced and the true state of his fearful, willful spirit is revealed. In embarrassment he tells Jesus to leave.
Then I read this quote by Richard Foster, who wrote Celebration of Discipline, among other outstanding books:
We have real difficulty here because everyone thinks of changing the world, but where, oh where, are those who think of changing themselves? People may genuinely want to be good, but seldom are they prepared to do what it takes to produce the inward life of goodness that can form the soul. Personal formation into the likeness of Christ is arduous and lifelong.
This morning I am reminded of so many things...
...that personal growth comes through consistent and small steps more than giant mountaintop experiences;
...that unconsciously I always hold back ~ my fears are ever present, and must be uncovered constantly;
...that I will be chipping away at these things, with God's great grace and endless power, for the rest of my days.
A prayer from St. Benedict states it beautifully:
Therefore we must prepare our hearts and our bodies
to do battle under the holy obedience of His commands;
and let us ask God
that He be pleased to give us the help of His grace
for anything which our nature finds hardly possible.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
- Flip Video Camera: This item simply rocks. True, I counted on my friend to be the photographer for the trip, but there were so many things I wanted to videotape... Emiliano the Archaeologist Tour Guide at Pompeii, the phenomenal ocean views from our hotel rooms, the funny moments at certain meals (when what we received didn't quite line up with the poor English translation on the menus), beautiful church sanctuaries, gorgeous paintings in museums or cathedrals, lovely sounds of church singing, or just those goofy little moments on the trip... whatever. It was a fun, different way to record memories. I have the most basic model that only records 1 hour, but most of my clips were 30 seconds to 1 minute, so I was able to record a ton of stuff.
- Sunscreen Stick: The spring break was lovely and warm most days, and I did not want to get burned. I also did not want to deal with the potential for a leaky bottle in my purse or problems with one more 3 oz bottle to deal with, so I brought a stick instead. Super easy, worked great.
- Frommer's Travel Guide: I have come to the conclusion that SO MUCH can be figured out before and during a trip if you have a really good travel guide. Last time I went to Italy in 2006 we used one by Rick Steve's and it was amazing. I didn't care how much I looked like a tourist when I pulled it out... first of all, I WAS a tourist, so why pretend, and secondly, Rick always pointed out the best gelato spots! So I was sorta bummed when I could not locate a Rick Steve's edition for the Amalfi Coast. However, I can say that I was not at all disappointed by this book ~ plus, it was a bit smaller than my old Rick Steve's edition for Rome and Florence. Frommer's had great maps, excellent tips for train travel, and outstanding restaurant recommendations. It also included those cool little tidbits about local history and sights off the beaten track.
- Dover Italian Phrase Guide: My second favorite book for this trip was this one. It was super thin (about a 1/4 inch) and well-organized. And when I was stumbling through a menu and needed to know what the word was for eggplant, or the phrase for "Where is the bathroom?" BAM, my Dover book was there for me.
- Dramamine: One of the best parts of this trip was that once we took the long plane flight, very little travel was involved on a daily basis... we never had to go more than 30-50 minutes to get to the next town. However, those short little trips often involved a boat ride across a somewhat choppy channel or a winding bus ride along that treacherous (but utterly beautiful and breath-taking) cliff that is the Amalfi Coast. I just so happened to have a travel bottle of dramamine pills with me and I was one happy girl (as was my friend) that I had them. Other than making me a wittle sweepy every afternoon I took them, they worked like a charm.
- Trader Joe's Organic Fruit Leathers: I was so grateful for the gluten-free bread options I found in the farmacias in Italy, but I needed an additional little snack sometimes as we were walking through a cathedral in the late afternoon or heading back to the hotel on the bus, and these babies came through for me every day. The fruit leathers packed up well (so thin!) and were all gone by the time we headed home. (I also packed a jar of peanutbutter so I could have some protein options, but that got confiscated in LAX, dang it.)