Wednesday, October 29, 2008

disconnecting (can i actually do it?)

so i was checking out the hotel where we are staying in pittsburgh for youth specialties. and, apparently you have to pay for wi-fi (boo, hiss). so it got me thinking... and i've decided to leave my laptop at home and go 5 days without the internet.

can i surive?

no facebook, no email, no google reader?

i think it will be healthy for me! i'm even going to disable to mobile facebook (yeah i know, i'm addicted) so i can be completely disconnected.

i'm looking foward to getting away and being refreshed. i'm hoping this YS conference will give me the relaxation, encouragement and replenishment i need. i'm also hoping to get some new ideas on how to be effective in youth ministry. and i'm hoping this trip unites our ministry team even more than we already are.

i'm sad i'm missing my small group on thursday night. (shout out to my girlies, christi, erika, molly, jaime, and jodi - i hope you have a great night, complete with lots of laughs, a few tears, and a few minutes of deep discussion!!!)

i'll talk to you all on tuesday some time!! pray for me, if you think of it!! i need to hear God's voice this weekend! we are taking the grace bus, dave turner might be driving (so, yeah, that might need some prayer too!!) :-)


Saturday, October 25, 2008

going out of town this week and thoughts from youth group

so, i'm leaving on thursday for the national youth workers convention with 6 others from church. i'm pretty excited to go. i missed out on going last year. there's nothing quite like it. 7000 youth workers from around the US, all gathered in once place to learn how to be better youth workers. one of my favorite parts is how encouraging and uplifting all of the speakers are. as a youth worker, i can tell you, the appreciation you receive is not very often and not very sincere. you are more likely to receive criticism over compliments. the kids are more often wanting to argue with you instead of thank you. while i don't think its as thankless of a job as being a parent can be, at times it can feel pretty darn thankless. it is definitely not the place for someone who needs lots of encouragement and appreciation. so the planners for the conference seem to know this, so they usually take as many opportunities as they can to tell you what an awesome job you are doing and just how important your role is.

this year i've noticed they are doing something different ... they have these seminars that you can pick and choose which ones you want to attend. this year they have "tracks" so if you want to focus more on development or soul care or middle school, etc ... they have specific seminars that will be helpful for you. so i'm excited to really take some time, to be quiet, to listen to what God might be telling me and to be replenished and uplifted.

my roomie for the weekend, has never been before. so i'm excited to show her around and let her experience just how cool this conference is. i've never experienced anything quite like it before. we are driving, since it's pittsburgh and road trips are one of my favorite things ever...

so for a bunch of different reasons, i'm excited to go!

in other news, we had a "emo emerge" tonight at the high school service. it's called "emerge" and we've been teaching on the life of Jesus, in reverse. we started with the picture we see of Jesus in Revelation and have been working our way back. tonight we talked about the torture and death of Jesus. we kept it dark in the youth center, with a lot of candles lit and even some black lights on the stage. we had a "coffin" of sorts brought up on stage and at the end of the message gave students to chance to let go of a sin they've been holding on to. they were able to write it down and place their paper in the coffin during worship. worship was acoustic and we sang chris tomlin's amazing grace, my chains are gone right after the message.

what an emotional night! i'm not sure the students were affected as much as i would have liked them to be (didn't stop me from bawling my eyes out during amazing grace ... but that version, when sung right, gets me every time) ... but many put their papers in the box. and it was pretty amazing to hear many of the students singing out ... they paid attention during the message and were overall pretty respectful. it even rained all night, so they couldn't even sneak outside, or go to pizza hut. they were "stuck" in the youth center and i was pretty grateful to God for that. it even helped to set the "tone" of a dark and somber night.

we had our largest attendance of the fall, with 63 high school students there and a TON of leaders. overall, i'm pretty encouraged with how things are going now. i'm at times, frustrated and exhausted with all i'm having to do. but as long as the results continue to be good, i'll be fine!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Interesting article "Why do we say that"

Someone brought this article into my office this week ... it gives the history on some of the funny sayings we Americans have. Thought I'd share a few of them ... the entire article is pretty cool

Letting the cat out of the bag: In the Middle Ages, if you weren’t careful, it was said, an unscrupulous grocer might cheat you out of the suckling pig you’d purchased for a special dinner. While your back was turned, he’d instead slip a stray cat into your shopping bag. When you returned home and unloaded your groceries, you’d discover an unpleasant secret—by letting a (very angry) cat out of your bag.

Caught red-handed: Several hilarious but incorrect explanations exist for this expression, from references to thief-deterring dye bags in bundles of money to an outrageous legend about lower classes being forbidden to eat pistachios. “The intellect is our means of making sense of things,” Doyle says. “If we can’t discover sense, we will fabricate it.” In truth, “caught red-handed” refers to criminals who were apprehended while they literally still had the blood of their victims on their hands.

Mad as a hatter: These days, we expect nervous breakdowns from celebrities, but oddly enough, the cliché once applied specifically to hat makers. Mercury was once used to treat felt, so a disproportionate number of milliners, who worked for years on end with the poisonous substance, ended up in mental institutions with neurological damage. The expression became even more widespread after author Lewis Carroll used it as inspiration for a character in Alice in Wonderland.

Raining cats and dogs: Unfortunately, the story behind this popular expression is far from warm and fuzzy. Back in 17th-century England, poorly designed gutter systems sometimes caused stray dogs and cats to drown during major downpours. After a storm, it wasn’t uncommon to see the dead animals in the street, which, Evins says, “led some people to conclude they had actually come from the sky,” like the rain.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

had the best time tonight

so my life has been pretty crappy the past few weeks. i've been in this weird funk that i couldn't shake at all last week. work has been pretty rough and i haven't even wanted to have all that much of a social life.

due to this funk, i didn't make any time to prepare for my small group i lead for my high school girls on saturday. so instead of doing a lesson, i wrote up 20 questions and put them in a bowl. each of the girls drew a question and then we all answered them. it was a great way to get to know my girls better and for them to be open and honest with each other. some of them were silly questions, like 'who's your favorite celebrity' or 'where do you want to go on your honeymoon' (which interestingly enough, all high school girls seem to have this planned out ... lol ... none of them even had to think about it!!). i also had some deeper questions like 'how's your relationship with your parents' and 'what made you cry last'

i have to say this was one of my best groups ever. for someone who likes to be prepared and organized, for something so spontaneous to actually work was pretty amazing.

so then tonight, i stopped by the small groups happening @ the youth center to give some announcements ... one of the guy leaders wasn't there and we were going to combine their group with another one. the guys decided they would rather run their own group than combine. one of them jokingly suggested i lead their group. so i said, sure i'll stay for a few minutes, just to get you guys settled.

i ended up staying the entire time. it was so much fun. of course, we didn't get to the lesson ... but we did talk about their weeks and then i gave them a chance to ask me any questions they wanted ... so we talked about sports and music and colleges. then, i told them they had a one time chance to ask me any questions about why girls are so mysterious or baffling. and they didn't hesitate to ask!! it was great. towards the end, they told me i should have an 'ask rachael' blog on facebook where they could ask anonymous questions about the mysteries of girls. it was too funny.

i can't say it's conventional at all, or probably something that should happen every week. but for tonight, having a female leader in their group was a pretty positive thing.

and it made my week.

i don't know how balanced my world is, if the thing that i look forward to most, is hanging out with high schoolers ... but lately, it's about all that keeps me going.

i'm hoping i get over this funk soon. i'm not one to normally be ruled by my emotions. i have been determined to make this week better, and it seems to be getting that way. i'm not back 100% but i will be soon!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

i'm thinking of riding the bus

So I've figured out I can take the bus from close to my house to church on Saturdays for youth group.

It will take me over an hour but will only cost a few dollars. I guess the question then becomes, is my time worth the cost of gas if I drive myself. I can imagine it would be nice, to read for an hour or listen to my i-pod. There's even a return bus that I could probably work with my schedule.

But what happens if I get lost? If I can't figure out what to do? Am I comfortable enough without my car if I get turned around or get on the right bus? Normally I'm great with directions, having been blessed with a good sense of direction. I love maps and enjoy getting lost a time or 2, if it means I can figure out a different way to go somewhere.

But that is from the safety of my own vehicle, where I'm in control.

Things to ponder ...