Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday night mind purge

What a week! No rest for the weary, as they say.

- I ended up taking Monday off to rest after last weekend. It was the first day off in about 9 days for me. I went to see my doctor in the afternoon and found out the results of my blood tests. Nothing too major, but I am having to make some minor life changes.

- We also did some major Christ-mas decorating at the church and at the Firehouse on Monday. The campus is looking good!

- Tuesday I had some meetings, then did some finishing touches with a few youth at the Firehouse, and delivered Thanksgiving baskets in the evening with our youth:
As always, it was an AWESOME, humbling, fun experience!

- Wednesday I spent most of the day at the office, getting ready for the BIG exciting good news this morning. Also on Wednesday night, one of my brothers came in town for a few days, which was really nice since it'd been nearly half a year since he'd been here.

- Thursday was Thanksgiving day. It was a nice simple day at home.

- Friday I spent almost the whole day in Mexico with the Pryor family and a team that had come in from Colorado to do missions work in Juarez. I was kind of nervous at first since I hadn't been to Juarez in so long - and then when our bus was pulled over at the bridge and we had to get out for a search, well that made me a little more nervous. But we got through it, and we made our way to the mission site.

Boy was it windy and sandy! But we invested our day there serving people, loving them, and giving the kids Christ-mas gifts. It was so cool, we ran out of food but we had some leftovers from the previous day and right when we ran out of the last parts of the leftovers and used the last plates and napkins, we served the last person. It was a lot like the story where Jesus used the fish and loaves to feed the thousands:

I really enjoyed my day, and it was pretty cool getting to know little Sarah Pryor more when she opened up to me a little on the trip. I absolutely love being with the Pryors, but man do they know how to wear a person out!

- Yesterday I slept in past 8 am for the first time in a couple of weeks. THAT was really nice. Then I went for a nice long run, which I hadn't done in a few days. That was REALLY nice. I honestly don't remember what I did throughout the day, but I do know I went to Walmart in the evening and did some shopping and got some new lights for the Christ-mas tree.

- Today ...well ...let's just say it was not the easiest day for me. I do feel relieved though because I was finally able to break the good news: starting in January, I will begin transitioning out of the youth ministry into our multi-site ministry endeavor. As awesome as this news is and as excited as I am about it, that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

When the time came around to begin our 9:30 am gathering, I was trembling and really nervous. I just shared my story, shared my heart, talked about what this is and what it isn't, and talked about what this will look like and how to pray during this time. After that, Troy said a few words and had everyone surround me to pray for me. That was a really cool time - as I felt the weight of all those hands on me, I felt like God was saying that as heavy as the weight is of my new responsibilities, even heavier is the weight of the love and support I have.

It's surreal though; it's hitting me now and it's finally beginning to feel like this is really real. So I'm scared, but confident. Nervous, yet secure. Sad, yet at peace. This really is a good thing, and I'm so excited to see how God's gonna use Troy in this time, and I pray that the Lord does even greater things than we've seen before after I complete my transition into my new ministry responsibilities.

If you were there this morning, remember this is not a bad thing, and this is NOT me leaving. Remember our mission, and remember that this is simply me being obedient to the Father.

- After our gatherings, I went to lunch with Kayla, David, and Leah Pryor, Stephen, and Marissa and Jonathan. We were there at Wendy's for like 3 hours, then I took them back to the Firehouse and came home. I didn't get to nap today, but I did get to finish decorating my main Christ-mas tree. In addition to the decorations, there's about 700 lights (though you can't see them all in this pic):
Christ-mas tree 08

I might end up getting some large pearl baubles to contrast and sparkle a bit more, but we'll have to see how my week goes.

- Now I'm ready for bed, goodnight!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What a scene!

Oh my goodness! I drove up to my house a little bit ago and saw this scene on the lawn of my neighbor across the street:


This picture just just cracks me up!!!

That snowman on the top looks like a pretty big jerk, like he's a bookie beating down the other snowman 'cause he didn't pay him back in time. I can just hear him yelling "where's my money, punk!?!" at the snowman on the ground.

So I don't know if the wind just blew those snowmen that way or if some mischievous souls set them that way while my neighbor was away - but either way, I think this is hilarious!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving recap

So last night I wasn't sure if I was going to go to the Thanksgiving parade today, but Shannon Rivera invited me to go and watch it with her husband and kids, so I decided to go. It was actually pretty cool and I'm glad I went.

This is my favorite part of the parade ...the police cars at the start of the parade:


And of course the fire trucks were pretty sweet:



A tribute to the late, great Don Haskins:


And to El Paso native Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek:


And a massive monster truck:


All in all, it was a pretty good parade that I, along with about 315,000 of my fellow El Pasoans, enjoyed together.

Afterwards, I arrived home just in time to enjoy my mom's awesome lunch she made with ham, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, bread, and pumpkin pies. Oh gosh, it was awesome!

After eating, we talked about what we're grateful for, then put on the Cowboys game. I crashed on the couch, then moved to take a nap in my bed. I got up around 5 or so and hit up the food for a second round:


Then I brushed my teeth and pulled out the Christ-mas tree. It's kind of my tradition to put up the tree on Thanksgiving afternoon. After about an hour, this ...


became this ...

I'll have to put on the rest of the lights and the decorations this weekend.

So it's been a pretty sweet Thanksgiving for me. I'm thankful for many things:

- My family
- My parents who have been married over 36 years
- My friends
- My church
- My staff team and my youth leaders
- My Honda
- Food to eat
- Clean water to drink
- A warm home
- A comfy bed
- Music
- And so much more ...

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So I got something in the mail today ...



It's just ink on paper, yet it took 4 years of really hard work to earn this ink on paper.

I don't even know how to describe how I feel.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh by the way ...

I went to the doctor on Monday afternoon for a followup to find out the result of some blood tests I had done a couple of weeks ago. My doctor thought I might have had a hyperactive thyroid, and we tested me for diabetes as well - thus the tests.

He showed me that all my numbers are actually quite good, except my bad cholesterol which was just 3 points above what it should be. He wasn't worried about that at my age.

So I asked him why it might be that I'm always hungry and tired. He said I might not be sleeping well so my parents have to watch me when I sleep and make sure I'm not tossing and turning and to make sure I'm still breathing when I sleep. I might have to get some sleep tests done if that's the case. Or he said this might just be a phase my body is going through and I'll just have to wait it out.

So basically, I'm in pretty good health.

Also, he diagnosed me as being lactose intolerance, so I have to stay away from dairy, beef, deep fried foods, and anything that's high in sugar.

That's gonna be a pain, especially with the the holidays so close. Curse you, lactose!


Monday, November 24, 2008


"Love God, Love People, and Serve the World" - that's the brief version of Del Sol Church's mission statement; Serving the World is something we're particularly passionate about.

This morning I walked into the Del Sol Church building and saw this:


Those are Thanksgiving food baskets lining the hallway. Then I walked into L-1 (one of our large gathering rooms) and saw this:


There were a group of youth and adults working on sorting food and organizing Thanksgiving food baskets for the less fortunate in our community.

Last year we delivered around 80 baskets; this year, we have 106 to deliver tomorrow.


That's 106 families who probably would not have had a Thanksgiving meal if it weren't for the incredible people of my Del Sol Church family coming together to sacrifice for others by donating the food for these 106 food baskets.

Each food basket has flour, sugar, canned vegetables, canned pie filling, butter, eggs, fresh fruit, potatoes, stuffing, and other basics for a Thanksgiving meal for a family - all donated by the members of the Del Sol Church family.

I can't even imagine how many hundreds of dollars (maybe thousands?) that has been invested in buying the food items for these 106 baskets. All we do as a church organization is buy turkeys and then the youth ministry and GrowGroups will deliver these baskets just in time for the families to make their meals.

I'm humbled to be in leadership over people who would give of their money and time to supply 106 families with food for Thanksgiving.

106. Wow!

The mission of Del Sol Church is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by creating environments that encourage and equip participants to Love God, Love People, and Serve the World.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday night mind purge

What a week!

- I was so wiped out that I slept in on Monday morning. I went in to the office after lunchtime and spent most of the day studying and working on my message for the Mix on Thursday, my Bible study for the band retreat on Saturday, and another Bible study for this morning. After work, I went to the hospital to visit Lesli, then went to buy some groceries.

- Tuesday was another study/writing day, with Youth for Christ at Hanks and staff meeting in the middle of the day. Again, went to Beaumont to visit Jeff and Lesli right after work, so all those elements combined made for another really long, tiring, draining day like Monday.

- I really don't like going to hospitals, but I could definitely see them as some great opportunities to serve people in the Name of Jesus Christ. Maybe take fresh coffee and donuts to people waiting in the emergency room? Or snacks for the staff at the intensive care unit? Hmmm ...

- Wednesday was another day spent mostly at the office. I would much rather be out meeting with people or at a school campus, rather than cooped up behind my desk, but this week was so jam packed that I didn't really have another choice this week.

- Thursday was yet another day spent at the office. I had a very good meeting with Pastor Walter, then we had the Mix in the evening. I had such a good time at the Mix this week. I always have fun, but for some reason this particular week I was REALLY having fun.

- Actually, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed the Mix as much as I did this week.

- And it's nice to know that I really am loved. I know some people don't know how to express it well, but the Mix was just a great reminder of how much my youth ministry family loves me.

- Friday was my "day off". I use the quotation marks because I was actually pretty busy getting ready for our band retreat that evening. We drove up to Aspendale right by Cloudcroft, NM for the overnight retreat.

- What a fun weekend! Troy's scary stories, trying to make a fire in the fireplace, throwing stuff across the guys' dorm room, getting hit in the eye with a shoe, "warming up" the go karts while everyone else was still at the dorm, racing the go karts with the rest of the group, worship through music and a Bible study, playing Mafia, singing Happy Birthday to DP, Original David, Other David, and Matthew at Burger King. Good times, good times ...

- Probably the best part of the weekend was Alex's line while we were all playing Mafia: "is that supposed to be on fire?" =)

- I was so wiped out this morning. It was so nice not having to be there at 8 am for band practice. I got to sleep in 'til 7 am today, and it was really nice!

- We finished up our Philippians study today. I taught junior high and then went to the 11 am worship celebration. It was really great today, really really great. The music was awesome, Walter's message was right on, and we had a chance to sacrifice and give for our children's ministry center.

- I'm excited to see how our church family responded financially through the offering we took up today!

- After our church gatherings this morning, I was invited to go with the Pryor family to lunch to celebrate David's birthday. Man, I love that guy! Anyway I had such a great time with the Pryors. I love being around them and seeing such healthy, God-honoring family dynamics.

- Then I crashed pretty much as soon as I got home and I slept 'til about 6 pm. Ugh ...I'm still do tired and feel drained. Thankfully I'm able to take tomorrow off.

- Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in a bit and then go to the church not to work, but to help decorate for Christ-mas. I'm REALLY excited about that!

- I'm also kind of nervous about tomorrow because I'll be going to the doctor in the afternoon to find out the results of some blood work I had done a couple of weeks ago. Kind of really nervous. I've been really nervous about this doctor's appointment tomorrow for awhile now, and I'm just ready to know. I feel like my body is fighting against itself, and I hope that the blood tests will reveal what's going on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Surreal Nostalgia.

Tonight I went to visit Lesli Moser down at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, which was pretty cool because right after I got there, the nurse went in to take some stats and Lesli's numbers were really good.

Keep praying for her and the rest of the Moser family.

So after that I hit the streets looking for some food because it was about 7:30 pm and I hadn't eaten dinner yet. As I was driving down Piedras, I noticed a grocery store - the Quality Food Mart:


This is the store that my Grandpa and Grandma Martinez used to shop at because it's within walking distance of where they used to live.

I decided to go into the store just to see what it was like, and it was crazy - it was like walking back in time into the 60's or something. Check out those sweet vintage aisle signs:


It was weird, kind of surreal actually, walking down the aisles of the grocery store that my grandparents used to walk down when they was still alive. Since I was so close to their house, I decided to drive down and see it. Gosh, it was so sad to see what disrepair it had fallen into after my Grandpa Martinez died in 1996.

So today I went from being in the hospital that my Grandpa Holguin was in before they sent him home to die, on the same floor he was in, in the same room he was in (I'm like 99 percent sure it was the same room), to being in the same grocery store that my Grandpa Martinez used to walk.

What a surreal, nostalgic evening. It made me miss my Grandpa Martinez quite a bit.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday night mind purge

- Monday was busy; Mondays are my administrative day where I try to get as much of the office work done as I can so I can focus on relational ministry during the rest of the week. So many tasks + new responsibilities = not enough time.

- I can hardly wait until Sunday, November 30th when I can finally break the big, exciting news!!! I'm so ready to talk about it, process it together, and do community with my youth ministry family.

- Tuesday at lunch was Youth for Christ at Hanks. I'll admit, I was close to losing heart and giving up, but it was so refreshing and revitalizing to see so many new people come in and leave looking like they had enjoyed themselves. Also, John Stout from Montwood Church of the Nazarene (he was our guest speaker) ...he's pretty cool.

- Tuesday afternoon was staff meeting. We watched a video that's been making us process things a bit more. I really want Del Sol Church to be a preview of Heaven, culturally, racially, and economically speaking.

- Wednesday was another busy day. I didn't get everything done on Monday that I needed to, so there was a bit more admin work to be done. Ughh ...I sent the wrong writeup for Sunday's program to Lydia, our administrative assistant. Oh well ...

- Thursday was the Mix. The band did pretty good, and our Lead Pastor Walter Mueller preached, and several people made commitments to follow Christ. WOO!!!!

- Friday was my day off, and it started out pretty relaxing. My, how things can change in a day. I started out by sleeping in (always a good thing), then exercised a bit, lounged around, then cleaned up and went to have lunch. Lunch was nice, and afterwards I went to see Jeremy and Tara and little 4 day old Corbin Jacob Kroeker. He's amazing - I could have just stared at CJ for hours ...what a miracle! I got to hang out with the Kroekers for awhile, then I drove around the northeast praying for it and praying for the city, asking God to do something great in our city.

I then went to the mall and got some new pants, a pair of jeans, and a long sleeve henley since it's gettin' cold these days. I was having a pretty great day all in all, and then I got home.

Without going into too many details, suffice it to say that when I got home, there was some incredible tension brewing because of some extended family stuff that's going on and I literally stepped right into the middle of it when I walked in the door. Allegations had been made specifically against my mom, my dad, and even my brothers and I that could have caused us great legal trouble.

The tension tide had been rising the past few months and I had kept my mouth shut, but this time I had had it! I had to pray like crazy as I opened my mouth, laid out the truth, exposed lies and gossip, confronted the people who had been lying and gossiping, and told everyone there that I was not going to stand for this any more.

My immediate family, and mostly my mom, had put up with enough crap, we had overlooked enough lies, we had put up with injustice aimed directly against us, and my parents' marriage and my mom's mental health was really taking an emotional tool - so Friday night, I said enough! I put my foot down, defended my mom and my dad, and told the others involved that I am not going to put up with it anymore and I'm not going to let my home fall apart because of someone else's lies!

That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but it's amazing how right Jesus was when He said in John 8:32 that the truth will set you free. My blatant exposure of how things really are, even though it greatly hurt some people, somehow was the catalyst for some incredible honesty and relational mending. Things aren't perfect, but I honestly feel like after years of division, some bridges were mended and some hurts were healed. I was worried that I might have overstepped my bounds and stepped on my dad's toes, but my parents both told me they were really glad I did what I did.

But man ...that was an incredibly angering and emotionally draining night - especially for my Sabbath "day off." =)

- Saturday, I woke up still totally drained, but somehow managed to clean out my dad's SUV and to clean mine out, and do cleaning around the house.

- Saturday night I met with a couple of my guys and we went to the UTEP football game. It was SO great! Somehow in the past few years, because of my schedule I've managed to only go to 1 game a season, and I'd been waiting for this one since August. I had a REALLY great time with the guys, the Miners won, and we actually were allowed by one security guard to go into a place where the public isn't allowed and spend a few minutes looking at the ACTUAL Sun Bowl trophy until another security guard asked us to leave. That was so cool, and I only wish I had taken a picture of it. Wow, how cool was that?!

- I didn't even get home 'til about midnight, then wasn't able to fall asleep 'til around 1 am.

- I was a few minutes late to band practice this morning at 8, and by the time I go the first worship celebration at 9:30 am, I felt physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. I walked in while the band was leading worship, and I just lost it. I just cried and cried and could barely even sing. I wasn't sure if I'd make it through the morning, especially having to teach at 11 am.

- By God's grace, He took over and I made it through the 11 am gathering, then came home, had a quick lunch, and crashed. I slept 'til around 6 pm.

- Now I'm here ...and I have 2 Bible studies and a sermon for Thursday that I'm studying for.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Five - Things You May Not Know About Me

Today, 5 (times 8) things you may not know (or perhaps don't want to know) about me:

1. I'm addicted to Chick-fil-A. Well not really addicted, but I absolutely love it.

2. I once bought a Gateway computer and had a really bad experience. I now will never buy a Gateway again – cow print or not.

3. Growing up, I used to hate tea. Now I love tea.

4. One of my favorite places to be is in my bed.

5. I love fried okra.

6. I hate peas and lima beans.

7. I love grilled chicken fettucine alfredo.

8. Barbecue is my favorite kind of food!

9. I love peach cobbler.

10. I live with constant neck and back pain.

11. I get tremendous, crippling, blinding migraines every few months.

12. I don't use T9Word predictive text when I send text messages; I type in each letter individually.

13. I've never been on a date, nor ever had a girlfriend.

14. I love to drive. I also love to drive in the rain even more.

15. I really want a 4 door Toyota Tacoma or a 4 door 2009 Chevrolet Silverado.

16. I don't really know how to swim; I only kind of know how to swim.

17. I love mashed potato tacos.

18. I grew up on expired food that was meant for hogs, and on leftover government food like powdered eggs and powdered milk.

19. If I had to be cold or hot, I'd choose cold.

20. I've never been out to White Sands.

21. I've never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld.

22. I love to travel.

23. One of my favorite places in the world is in the mountains of New Mexico – both the Cloudcroft/Ruidoso area and Glorieta.

24. Other favorite places to travel are Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin.

25. The first time I ever flew on an airplane was when I was 18. I was flying back to El Paso from Fort Worth.

26. My favorite kind of pizza is pepperoni pan pizza, and my favorite pizza place is Peter Piper Pizza.

27. I always wear undershirts.

28. I love to run.

29. I don't like to swim.

30. My favorite drink is cold water.

31. I like the shows House, CSI: Miami, The Office, and Family Guy.

32. I'm pretty sure that my left leg I shorter than my right leg.

33. I've never broken a bone.

34. The only time I've ever been in the hospital was when I once spent a few days there with really serious pneumonia.

35. I am a HUGE Hanks Knight and UTEP Miners fan.

36. I've never seen the movies The Little Mermaid, It's a Wonderful Life, or any of the Lord of the Rings movies.

37. I love Christ-mas. Easter is my favorite holiday, Christ-mas my second favorite, and Halloween is my least favorite.

38. I sleep with 4 pillows at night. It's very difficult for me to fall asleep with only one pillow.

39. I have a permanent retainer behind my bottom teeth to keep them straight.

40. My right pinky finger is bent at a slight angle from when I sprained it as a kid while walking my dog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lesson for the day.

Don't ever get the chicken wraps from Sonic. They're not good. They're really not good.

Go for Chick-fil-A ...much better choice.
Man, I freakin' love Chick-fil-A!

Monday, November 10, 2008


In Luke 16, Jesus told a story where a shrewd money manager was commended. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus said to be shrewd as as a snake. So in light of those verses, I've always tried to be a shrewd money manager. I try to be frugal; I try to be wise with my money and with the church's money; I try to think of the best ways to do things, and think through how we can do things better and less expensive.

In a word, I try to be shrewd. Being shrewd has been very appealing to me. But I found out today that shrewdness can also be a bad thing if I'm shrewd in the wrong way.

A few days ago it was our administrative assistant's birthday at the Del Sol Church office and I totally forgot so today, I thought I'd get her a "happy belated birthday" greeting card and a gift card to 'Bucks.

As I thought that through, I felt an urge to get her just the greeting card and not the gift card. And then I realized, "I suck. I'm so concerned about money that I'm second guessing doing something to serve someone else."

And then I thought about how a little while back I was reading in 2 Samuel 9:1 how David was asking if there was someone in the family of Saul (the man who several times tried to kill him) that he could show kindness to. I remembered how when I read that, it really stuck in my mind and I prayed that everyday God would show me who I can be kind to.

Suddenly, being shrewd wasn't so appealing to me. Suddenly, I didn't want to be frugal; I wanted to be generous. I want to be like the generous manager in Matthew 20 and obey the command in 1 Timothy 6:18 to be generous.

So today I find myself again praying to be generous. Like David, I pray "God, please show me who I can be kind to and let me be generous to them."

I would challenge you as well: Is that a prayer you'll pray? If you do, be ready to serve - and generously at that.

"David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?"- 2 Samuel 9:1

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday night mind purge

All in all, this has been a good week.

- Monday ...gosh, I honestly don't really remember what Monday was like.

- Tuesday was kind of cool. I went to Youth for Christ at Eastwood High School to hang out with my Eastwood peeps Nataly, Savannah, Alicia, Sarah, and Cassandra. I love those girls, and it was SO encouraging to see such a big YFC club. There must have been at least 50 people there and Josh Brown from LifeGate Church definitely brought it in his message.

- Tuesday was also our weekly staff meeting. Every week we start by sharing "wins", which are stories of how God is moving and how we're accomplishing our mission. It's always so cool to hear and celebrate how God's working in lives throughout the people of Del Sol Church!

- On Tuesday they put up some freakin' nice 50" LG flat screen TV's in Cafe del Sol. They look AWESOME!

- On Wednesday I had a great lunch meeting. It wasn't great because it was at Grandy's (though that was pretty down), but it was awesome because I hadn't really had a chance to talk with Lee Loper in such a long time.

- I went to my doctor on Wednesday afternoon to see him about some health issues I've been having for many weeks now. He's got some ideas of what might be going on, but I've got to get some blood tests done to be sure.

- This week was also our First Wednesday communion celebration. We prayed for our new President-elect and worshipped through music.

- I went to Youth for Christ at Jefferson High School on Thursday to hang out with my Jefferson peep and one of my youth leadership team members, Alexa. It was also pretty full there and also very encouraging, just like Eastwood's YFC.

- the Mix was on Thursday night, then I went to Rudy's with Rick and Kristin, then to Village Inn for some pie.

- It was really cold on Thursday night almost got to freezing!

- Friday day of rest ...was not very restful. I hate when my days of rest are filled with stress.

- Saturday morning I had to go get blood drawn for the tests my doctor ordered. I almost died. Well not really, but I did almost pass out. Read about it here.

- After that I went to the Unify Conference and had one of the most incredible, worshipful, miraculous, prayerful experiences of my life with those hundreds of youth and adults from all over El Paso. It was so great not to have to do anything, or to be responsible for anything, and to just hang out with my adult friends who are in the same youth ministry boat as I am.

- This morning at Del Sol Church was p-a-c-k-e-d, PACKED! I'll get the numbers tomorrow, but I wouldn't be surprised if we had over 1,000 again this weekend.

- After our worship celebration services, we had a youth leader's meeting with our youth staff. The volunteer youth staff at Del Sol Church's Fire Youth Ministry is made up of pretty much the greatest people in the universe.

- I'm humbled ...just absolutely humbled with where God has me in life and where He's taking me next year. I can't even begin to describe how humbled I feel as I think about what He's doing in this part of my life.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So it's safe to say I'll never be a drug addict ...

... because I'm terrified of needles.

I went to the doctor on Wednesday because I've been having some health issues for awhile now, and he's having some tests run on my blood to check me out for a few things. So today, I had to get up early to go have some blood drawn for some blood tests.

I got to the lab, filled out the paperwork, and the technician took me back into the room to draw my blood. I think his name tag said Dracula and I'm pretty sure I overheard him say "I vant your blood!"

Anyway ...he had me sign another form in that vampire room and left to go make a copy of that form. While he was gone, I started panicking a little bit because I'm terrified of needles. My breathing got heavy, my heart started beating fast, and I felt faint. I really thought I was going to pass out, but I just kept taking deep breaths and asking God to help me through this.

Did I mention I'm terrified of needles?

So he came back in, wiped my arm with alcohol, and very gently put the needle in my arm. All I could do was turn my head the other way and keep praying and breathing. I honestly thought I might pass out with a needle on my arm. Even right now as I type this I'm feeling woozy as I remember my experience this morning.

In the end, I survived! And I'm really glad that God cares about big things and little things. I'm glad He cares about orphans in Africa and me here in El Paso, Texas, having to get some blood drawn. It's great to know that even stupid petty things like a fear of needles don't escape His care and His love.

My arm's been sore all day and I'm waiting for the results of my blood tests, but I know that if God is caring for me in the little things like getting blood drawn, I'm confident He's caring for me in the big things like health issues which that blood might reveal.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" - Luke 12:22-24

Friday, November 7, 2008

So apparently ...

... this is what I look like to a 9 year old girl:
Ariel drawing

Tonight I was working at Parents Night Out at the church, and one of the girls said she was going to draw a picture of me. I gave her a pencil and paper she drew this (you can click the pic to see it full size).

So I guess I look like a girl wearing a pointed necklace to 9 year old kids. Either that or she thinks I have a mullet and a small neck.

Kids are interesting, aren't they? =)

Friday Five - Five Prayers

Fridays mean Friday Five posts! I've taken a hiatus the past couple of weaks, mainly because I just was lazy or too busy but I'm back now. This week - 5 prayers I’ve been praying lately.

I don't like to pray canned prayers or chants or meaningless prayers, but there are a few prayers I've been praying in recent months over and over again because they're deeply imprinted on my heart:

1. "God, please give me wisdom, vision, creativity, and self-discipline."

2. "Send revival, start with me."

3. "Show me what to do."

4. For my youth: "God capture their hearts!"

5. For the spiritual journeys and marriages of my fellow staff members and the volunteer leaders at Del Sol: "Lord, draw them closer to You and closer to each other. Let them remember their first love for you and for each other."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now we know.

Things didn't turn out as I had hoped for. I had hoped John McCain would be the 44th President of these great United States of America, but that didn't happen.

Though I don't agree much with President-elect Obama politically, I am SO proud of my America for how far we've come in electing a black President. There were many in my grandparents' generation who lived in a day where black people couldn't even drink from the same water fountains as white people, and they never thought something like this could happen. My grandpa, who experienced racism first hand, probably never would have thought this could happen.

But it did. And politics aside, I'm really proud to be an American right now.

I'm feeling so many different things right now. I could be bitter. I could make snide remarks (I did make a few, and I was wrong to do so). I could say the election was rigged. I could mope and whine and fuss and pout. But I'm not going to.

Instead I'll be proud of my country, and I'll remember Proverbs 21:1 - "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases."

So President-elect Obama, I pray that you will be humble, that you will seek God's wisdom, that you will seek wisdom from advisers on both sides of the aisle, and that you'll lead not for political power or to pad your pocketbook, but that you'll lead for the good of this great country.

President Obama

President-elect Obama, you are in my prayers.

Musings on this historic election.

Disclaimer: The opinions in this post in no way, shape, or form represent Del Sol Church or its leadership. I've written this not in the capacity of a staff member, but as an individual. Also, no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

For a long time, I wasn't sure who to vote for in the Presidential election. I favored Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo in the Republican primaries, and Governor Bill Richardson in the Democratic primaries. When the candidate fields narrowed down, I favored John Edwards on the left and Governor Mitt Romney on the right.

Finally it was whittled down to Obama and McCain. And my conundrum began because they're both senators and because I'm not too crazy about either of them.

I don't like Obama, but I don't like McCain all that much either. Mostly, I'm just glad that Hillary Clinton is out of the running - that would have been absolutely terrible, in my opinion (not because she's a woman, but because she's Hillary Clinton).

For quite awhile I thought about it, prayed about it, and just could not come to a decision. I finally made my decision late last week when I heard that if Obama is elected, the Democrats will have a "super-majority", which means they will control all three branches of the government.

That's not good - for either Republicans or Democrats to have a super-majority. So I decided to vote for McCain not because I like him, but because I think we need checks and balances in our government. Obama was never really a viable candidate in my mind because he has almost no national leadership experience, has no executive experience (though in fairness, neither does McCain), and is dangerously socialistic. There is NO excuse for his "spread the wealth" ideology; that idea goes completely and totally against the basic tenets of the American economic system.

His idea is to take money that people have worked hard for and give it to everyone else (even those that don't work or pay taxes) just because he thinks that's fair. But then that's not fair to the rich people who have worked hard to become rich.

And the idea that middle class should get tax breaks while upper class get higher taxes? That's stupid! The upper class pays about 70% of the nation's taxes, while the middle class pays a very small amount - 6.something percent, I believe. Naturally, the rich SHOULD get the biggest tax breaks because they pay the most taxes!

So for me, it's:

If Obama is elected, I'll pray for him and support him as our nation's leader because that's my duty as a Christian. But also, if Obama gets elected ...God help us.

Guess what I just did!

I Voted In The 2008 President Election

I feel so American!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Please don't suck.

On December 8th, 1941 - the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - Franklin Delano Roosevelt said a line that (ironically) has lived in infamy: "... yesterday - December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy ..."

I would say that tomorrow - November 4th, 2008 - is also a date which will live in infamy. Tomorrow, either we will have a black President or a female Vice-President/probable President (either in 4 years or sooner if Senator McCain passes on while in office). This is such a historic election that I'm sure I'll probably be up all night tomorrow, eyes glued to the news, to see who wins.

Until today I haven't really been too excited about the election, but tonight I find myself really excited and filled with expectancy to see the results:

- I really want to know who will be Sheriff of El Paso county, Texas - Wiles or Stoltz.

- I really want to know who will represent the greatest state in the Union - Texas - in the United States Senate - Cornyn or Noriega.

- I really want to know who will represent District 78 in the Texas State House of Representatives - Margo or Moody.

- I really want to know who will be the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court - Jefferson or Yanez.

- And of course, I want to know who will be the President of this great country!

I'm thrilled that tomorrow, I'll get to be part of history and [after waiting a long time in line] cast my ballot for ...I'll tell you tomorrow.

So as Steven put it so eloquently in his blog today: "Please don't suck. Go vote tomorrow." =)


It's coming ...

52 days!
Props to Rick Lovelady for this pic.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday night mind purge

- Lunchtimes on Monday are one of my favorite parts of the week. On Mondays at lunch, I go serve at Wayside Teen Center and get to know a bunch of students from Hanks High School. I've been doing it for years, and it's definitely one of my high points of the week.

- Tuesday was a pot luck staff meeting at the Firehouse. The staff wanted to see the work on the Firehouse we've done and celebrate it with us. Little did I know it was also a conspiracy of grace:

The staff pooled their money and gave me a card and a $100 Visa gift card as a graduation present, and the timing was impeccable because I just had my degree conferred on me on Monday.

That was really great, really really great. I didn't see it coming, and it was so humbling to be recognized like that. I worked really, really hard for my degree and I know that my parents want to celebrate but they just can't afford it now. I really thought that my accomplishment would just pass by with a few pats on the back and "congratulations", but it was neat to be celebrated like that. Even right now as I write this, my eyes are watering. It was really cool to be on the receiving end of a conspiracy of grace.

- Wednesday was a pretty crazy day of admin work. My natural gifting is administration so I feel accomplished when I check of tasks from my to-do list, but at the same time I would much rather be with people than with my planner.

- Speaking of getting things done, on Thursday Lesli Moser and I worked on the Fire Youth Ministry bulletin board at the worship center, and I think it looks pretty good. I'll have to post a pic later on.

- It was REALLY nice not having the Mix on Thursday. It felt so much less stressful.

- On Thursday afternoon, I had a meeting that changed my life in a really good way. Things will be really different for me starting in the new year. It's gonna be tough for me, but I'm confident that this is God's will and it's gonna build up His Kingdom through Del Sol Church.

- I really wish I could talk about what it is right now, but it's not the right time. I'll be able to talk about it sometime in January.

- As I've said many times before, put on your sunglasses because the future is bright for Del Sol Church!

- It was pretty fun decorating on Thursday night for the Fall Freakout on Friday.

- Friday night was the Fall Freakout. We had about 120 people there ...WAYYYY more than last year and lots of guests. It was really cool to meet all those people, and to see the Firehouse be so packed out!

- Friday night was also the Hanks/Eastwood game. Hanks owned (of course) on Eastwood's turf, and it was a sweet, sweet victory and a good game.

- Saturday was one of the best days I can remember having. I slept in, got up and went for a run (which gave me a nice tan since it was pretty warm), and then spent a couple of hours finishing my lesson for Sunday. After that, I drove out to Las Cruces and met the Pryor family for the NMSU/Boise State football game. The game was good, but kind of boring since Boise absolutely slaughtered NMSU 49-0.

Afterwards we went to Fuddrucker's on the westside for dinner and got to catch the last couple of minutes of the UT/Texas Tech game. Wow. That was a miracle last play!

The Pryor family are some of my favorite people ever. I love being around each and everyone of them - even Kendra who I finally met!

- Today was a pretty cool day at church. Our worship celebration was cool, Walter's message was right on for where I'm at, and then I had the incredible privilege of teaching on Philippians 3:12-17 to our high schoolers. I try to just be faithful and teach what God gives me, and let Him do the rest, but it was pretty cool teaching today because I did not feel confident at all this morning. All I could do was surrender it and let Him speak through me, and from what I was told - He did.

And that's enough for me. =)