Monday, November 26, 2007

The Beatles......

I am so excited for GCC's upcoming Christmas series. Let It Be....Christmas. For those of you who know me extremely well, you know that growing up, knowing all of the words to The Beatles songs was almost a requirement in our house. My brother it the ULTIMATE fan. My Mom was a close second.

I love almost every song put out! I can't list all my faves but here are a few:

Let It Be
War Is Over
Rocky Racoon
Eleanor Rigby
Ticket to Ride
Norwegian Wood
When I'm 64
I am the Walrus
Ob La Di
Blackbird............OH yeah
While my guitar gently weeps
Happiness is a warm gun
Octopus's Garden
Hey Jude
Long and Winding Road
And I Love Her

Anyway, when I was in the 3rd grade, my Mom and I were having a quiet day at home listening to The Beatles. That was a daily thing like I said before. She sat me down and said that she wanted me to sing Let It Be at her funeral someday. I replied with "I want you to play Purple Rain at mine." Needless to say, I was unable to sing at her funeral. But Marty (my brother) and I put together an amazing montage of photos of her 51 years on earth. We played Garth Brooks The Dance, Kenny Rogers Through the Years, The Beatles And I Love Her and Let It Be. It was so powerful. Everyone, I think even the church staff, had hot tears streaming down their faces.

If any of you see me at church over the next month (I'll be the one sobbing profusely= /) Don't worry, they are tears of joy. Numerous years and countless memories that are somehow ALL tied to Beatles songs. I think Christmas Eve's song selection will be the most difficult for me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I've been attending church for 24 years now (I'm 31, but I had a small break during my teenage years). I can't tell you how many styles of churches that I have personally attended. I grew up in a Pentecostal church. I've attended a Catholic church, Baptist, Lutheran, Foursquare and Mormon. I'm sure there are more, but they slip my mind this morning.

The point is this: Not one of them kept my interest. Now, I know it's not the faith aspect that is not interesting. It is. Just read the book of Revelation and see just how interesting God truly is.

The part that's not interesting is the monotone voice of the pastor. He doesn't move. He stands up on a pedestal with his pulpit and Bible. Spouting scripture and excpecting that we can all find it in our bibles by the time he starts reading. Yeah right. Picture someone brand new with no Bible. How do they feel during this process? Or picture me ....I just don't know where everything is that quickly. Ask me to find Genesis.....I got that covered. The four gospels, no prob. But most books in the Bible, I have to hunt and peck for.

And when did church attire become haute couture? How come at most churches I've attended, you are expected to wear a dress and your kids must have perfect hair and look like you are well rested? That stuff is only for the movies people. Come on! Who are these perfect people? I'm reminded of the song sung by the Veggietales. The applicable verse goes "Oh you can't get to Heaven, in a washing machine. Cause God don't care if your clothes are clean." Ok - now I do want to sit next to someone in church who smells nice. But who cares that they're wearing a dress. Shorts and flip flops are cool with me. In fact Rob, one of our pastors, did that almost all Summer. ATTN PASTORS - wearing flip flops actually makes your congregation respect you even more. You seem more like a real person. This is a good thing.

I also love walking into a building and knowing you matter. There's something about walking into our church that is different that any other church I've attended. The smell (lattes), the decor, the staff. Seriously, people gather early just to have coffee together and socialize in the foyer. During my first visit to this church, I honestly felt that these folks cared for me. They didn't know my history. They didn't know all of the truly grotesque things I've done in my past. But when I was there I felt that the atmostphere, the seating, the kids facility, the was all directed towards me. It was just what I wanted / needed.

Speaking of their music; It is indescrible. I'm not sure if I can put it into words. Maybe thinking about my other church experiences would help me. The most memorable and hopefully forgettable worhsip experience was at my last church. The leader is a wonderful pianist and singer. The problem is that she caters the songs and keys to her voice. I know, she wants to sound good. The problem being that hardly any of the men can reach her note, even in a key lower. The other problem, most women can't reach her soprano note. The result: Most folks mouthed the words. This left me feeling empty after worship. I was saying to myself "Please let this be the last song." I'm not sure if they thought about having some other folks up there to provide harmony that the rest of us could follow. Worship service became a concert for this woman. My favorite worship leader at GCC is hand down, Trace. He rocks. There is no way you can't be totally ispired by him and his rocking guitar. Unless you are my Mother in law (whom I love) who says it's "too loud." You all remember that t-shirt from the 80's? "If it's too loud, you're too old." Nuff said.

Sheesh - I didn't mean for this to be a rant. Some of you back in OR have been asking questions. Here are your answers. You could also watch last week's service and see for yourself.

All I can say to all of you back home who are skeptical of, what you call "smoke and lights" churches. Check out some of my blog links. Especially Tim Stevens who is writing a book on the use of Pop Culture in the church. You can even complete a survey that will help him choose his subtitle. These are God loving people who use their time, money, and lives to show folks how much they matter to God. Thank heavens they do so without the use of an organ.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I LOVE the smell of Thanksgiving. The butter, onions & celery sauteeing is the best! My Mom used to make so many baked goods, no wonder we packed on a good 5 lbs during the Holidays. I don't make stuffing any other time of year, so I'm looking forward to that the most. I'm starting my baking today. Here's my schedule:

Monday - clean spare bedroom (my cousin is coming from Detroit)
make sugar cookie dough
bake banana bread
Tuesday - make pie dough
bake pumpkin bread
make fudge
Wednesday - bake & decorate sugar cookies
bake pecan pie
rip stale bread for stuffing
make bread dough for rolls
prepare the brine for the turkey
Thursday - turkey goes in the brine at 6 a.m.
make rolls
dinner's ready at around 2

Yes, I like Thanksgiving. But let's be just means we're that much closer to Christmas!

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's tradition

My daughter & I are part of an organization, we'll call them the Girl Sprouts. =) Every year the Sprout troops raise money for activities & service projects. We need around $1500 for the year. The girls parents do pay a small amount in dues, but the rest is earned by selling cookies. The girls plan their sales pitch. The learn selling safety. They also figure out sales goals based on their projects. Some of this year's activities include:
2 campouts
Sponsoring a troop in Iraq of young women
Making plates for the local firefighters
Homemade dog biscuits for the humane society
Sock hop
And many many others......

Girl Sprout cookies are a tradition. People buy them because they are a limited item, they taste good, and who could resist those sweet faces. The problem this year is that there are SO MANY Sprouts in my neighborhood. Someone pulled their kid out of school early on the first selling day, in order to hit the neighborhood before anyone else could. Frustrating to say the least. Mostly because I didn't think of it first. Just kidding.

The troops goal this year is 1500 boxes. Cyra's personal goal is 136 boxes. We only have 41 so far. If any of you locals want some, let me know. I haven't met all of you in person and this might be a fun way. The choices are:

Lemon Chalet Cremes - vanilla cookie with lemon creme filling (new)
Trefoils - shortbread
Do-Si-Dos - crunchy oatmeal with peanut butter creme filling
Samoas - vanilla cookie, topped with caramel, coconut & chocolate
All Abouts - shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate (new shape)
Sugar Free Chocolate Chip - need I say more?
Tagalongs - vanilla cookie topped with peanut butter, dipped in chocolate
Thin Mints - THE most popular cookie

I've been told that they all freeze extremely well. I wouldn't know personally because they never make it that long at my house.

Cool People

On my last flight to Oregon, I was able to travel without my 3 girls. VACATION! I was a little worried about the flight so I brought along a book to read. No book needed. I found Jane.

Jane and I were in seats A & one sat in B. Hallelujah. We had extra fanny room. =) This was one of those divine appointments. We talked and talked and all of a sudden the 4 hour flight was over. We seriously discussed everything. Our significant others, family members lost, freindship woes. I truly enjoyed the entire flight. Except when the woman in seat 9A started having diabetic seizures. That was a tad scary. Good thing we had 2 doctors on board to help. Forget about the fact that they were plastic surgeons!

Anyway, Jane is an awesome woman with some amazing skills. She creates video game characters. She even did the characters for Guitar Hero. Oh yeah. Cyra thought that was so cool. "Mom, you met someone famous!" she said.

I'm not sure if I'll ever see her again, but I'm going to try to keep up with her. It's not everyday you meet such cool people.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm back

Thanks so much for all of the messages and prayers. It's awesome to come home to such a warm reception.

Dad is doing awesome. He followed Dr. Nguyen's (pronounced Win) instructions to the "T". He was up walking a few days ago and even did a few stairs! I was so impressed with his ability to actually rest. In fact that was the topic at our old church on Sunday morning. He rested a lot those first 2 days and then he took to the hallways for his therapy.

It was nice to spend some quiet time with him. I watched him sleep a lot. I got to know some amazing nurses. I taught them to salsa in the hallway during the patients nap time. The trip was an overall success.