Geared Toward the Youth...

Did 'ja see that last comment by Amy on the last post?? She mentioned that her church has Sunday night services 'geared toward the youth' with dark lighting, etc.... Now, that made me chuckle. DJ and I have been really wonderin' the past few years what the thinking was/is regarding our 'modern' services that remind us more of saloons in West Texas than a church.

But that's just me. I guess I inherited more than I thought from my mother... and if you knew her ~ you're smiling. Aren't you!


On Sunday Night

What happened to "Sunday Night?" Now, if you've always watched 60 minutes, you don't remember having to grab your Bible right when the flying monkeys came out during the annual presentation of "The Wizard of Oz" or you didn't grow up in a church-going home as a kid...well, you can probably skip this post... But for the rest of us...What happened to Sunday Night church?

Growing up in let's say 'unique' times in American Christianity, it seemed that Sunday nights were the services we absolutely had to attend if we were going to be in the right place. Denominational differences didn't matter much ~ my friends went to all sorts of churches. Of course, most people went to church where I grew up, Christian or not...

I can't honestly tell you too many sermon topics from my teenage years. But I do remember that going for pizza or to Denny's or laughing in the best burger spots in town after the Sunday night services were some of the most special times of that era in my life. It wasn't a 'youth' thing. We all went! Riding in your friend's car and chatting with their parents was part of the weekly adventure. And then, families had tables pushed together at these places serving their outstanding cuisine. Laughter and love were mixed in as freely as if they were the best appetizers and desserts on the menu.

I know, I know, we're busy now. The argument against Sunday night services is commonly raised that people are busier in this new generation and need their rest on Sunday evenings. Maybe so. But most of my friends have time and energy to watch Sunday night football (after Sunday afternoon football), Cold Case and perhaps (shhh) Desperate Housewives. And in our PST zone, we don't have that early CST zone with the news on at 10; it comes on at 11 out here...


"Just Until We Get to Know You"

JJ, as you may know, is nearing the end of studies at University. When he was in 2nd grade, we joined our credit union here in Sunny. It's just about clockwork....every Friday morning I go in and get our happy stash to pay for fun stuff for the weekend. Usually at about the same time, even...

Last week, the nice gal at the counter asked to see my ID before finishing things up with me, instead of just asking for my password. "Sure," I said, but felt a little silly as they all call me by name. (JJ can attest to this; he finds it really humorous.)

This morning, the somewhat serious young man asked me for my ID as well. I inquired if this was a new policy. "No, it's just until we get to know you." I laughed a little and he didn't understand that at all. "Well, I've been coming in once a week for around 15 years now, so I guess it's a new policy then." "No Ma'am ~ it's just until we get to know you."



Nope, I'm not going there today.
But it sure looks inviting, eh...


12 Smooshes High

The Red Team was the winner this morning! Well, actually both teams 'won.' How can you pick between two teams full of speed, innocence and effort?? The prize they each got to take home was a cd we're using for our worship in kids church all year...so that's a winner all the way around!

And I found a great way to use two shirts left over from our VBFW (Vacation Bible Fun Week). The "whippers" 'won' those also...

I wonder if long ago, when Jesus was telling those stories by the sea, if he knew that one day we would be finding ways to tell those same beautiful stories and we'd be using pancakes with massive amounts of red, green, yellow or purple food coloring, tons of whipped cream from a squirter (not a cow) and worship songs with bass that rock the floor sometimes... Hmmm... Well, we certainly do know He had an amazing love for children ~ and still does.


Not Quite Ready, But Promises to Be Fantastic!

So here it is...our large boat for the story of Jesus calling Peter. We started the theme last week and will take it a bit further this Sunday. You can see our neighborhood forming in the background, as well. I'll be sure to keep the photos coming as we add the church and school with the small American Flag, of course...

Construction came to a halt with a bit of the rumbly, recently referred to here at Grace Today, extending to our artist this week as well. I think "the rumbly" is my favorite new description for any sort of illness. It's just more polite, don't you think?

Regardless, we're looking forward to a great year looking at life with Jesus. That's about the best open-ended curriculum you could imagine, eh! And perhaps when our theme is finished, we'll blow up the big boat one last time and all go down the hill and climb in at our nearby beach. Wouldn't that be fun?? Can you imagine if we told the people on shore we were celebrating learning about life with Jesus by hitting the waves in our plastic yacht??


A Little Rumbly

It's been a rumbly-tumbly day. Mostly my tummy. Master Max has done a fantastic job of trying to help me feel better, but it is the highlight of his week to snuggle outside in the sunshine too. So he has ulterior motives. As much credit as we'd like to give him, he does still usually think of himself first. Unless of course, we have strangers approaching or those wild creatures in the garden. Then he's all about protecting his house. He has an amazing set of lungs when he decides to use them. I guess it's a good thing that most of the time he just wants to sit in the sun...

I must share a recent adventure from visiting the local Juice Restaurant. It was on Wednesday I believe. We'd stopped in to get a snack and I ordered the Strawberries Wild. It was right up there on the column on the right side of the large menu board behind the cashier wearing the large patriotic hat. (Which seemed a bit odd on a Wednesday well after Labor Day and far too early for the elections...) He asked, "What?" "The strawberries wild." "What's in that?" "Well, according to the menu it is strawberries, banana and some non-fat yogurt." "O.K., we can do that." "Would you like a free boost?" "Sure. Protein." "Would you like that free?" "...Sure."

The machine went grumble, grumble, gurgle and I had my lovely treat ready to go. I spotted some nice pastries in the display and thought I'd give in and have a little sourdough Parmesan twist. "I'd like one of those, too." "No." "No?" "We don't have any." "But there's about a dozen right here." "Oh. Those are fake Ma'am. The only ones we have are completely frozen until tomorrow." "Oh." "Would you like something else from the display case, Ma'am?"

I merely raised my little Strawberries Wild as if toasting the young man and his hat and smiled and quietly left to find my friend at Starbucks next door. They have real things for sale in their stores...


Sometimes You Wonder...

It's been an odd weekend here in Sunny. Not necessarily bad, just odd. Things started off on Friday setting the tone... I needed to blow up a large boat for kids church. I thought the boat was about 3 or 4 feet wide. Unable to find a blower-upper-thingy that would work at the church, I stuck the thing in our little car and brought it home. Later, we realized it was actually the size of an above ground pool and we'd need the air compressor!

DJ is quite the trooper and we let some air out, stuck it back in the car and loaded it up again. The custodians came running when they heard the machine going in our normally deserted part of the church on Saturday night.

We happened to run into one of my new best friends in the kids area. She'd gone in for all day on Saturday to work on our new neighborhood set (and who says society is hopeless). We had some laughs while working together and that just warms your heart. As soon as the set is done, I'll share it. It's amazing!

Then for dinner, we stopped in at a favorite pizza place. I thought DJ was watching someone too, but it turned out he wasn't, so then I felt like a snoopy lady. (Picture big glasses) Well, the situation was I couldn't keep my eyes off of the server for the next table. About 6', with long black braids, I think the question was one of trying to confirm what sex they want to declare but the jury is still out.

I also have this gift, or challenge depending on how you see it, of being able to take in most of the conversations in a restaurant that are happening around us. That really annoys DJ, so I don't mention it much anymore. However, it's a lot like facebook I think ~~~ just keeping tabs on folks, just for fun.

Then Sunday...oh my...did you catch that game?? Poor Max. He's just not used to seeing his papa get so upset. He wasn't at all sure what to do with the touchdown towel. He finally left the room to go sleep under his favorite chair.

So once again, you've got the news from Sunny. It doesn't really impact your world, but I hope you've had a smile or two. Sometimes smiling is the best option ever.


Oh My!

Oh dear goodness...I'll need to know you are all watching out for me. It is regarding my playlist. I just went to click on sign in with central blogging intelligence and the music for Grace Today started. Much to my surprise it was some sort of how does one say, well, a much more vibrant collection of tones and noises than is typically heard here.

I clicked over to the playlist to see what was on (right near the top where I'd put it awhile back after Elaine said it was hard to find...) and it said it was playing "The Four Seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi. "No-No, is isn't" I muttered....

I'll take care of the one song, but please, if something has gone awry with our delightful playlist company and you hear "I Love Rock and Roll" well, chances are it's a mistake. I do like to listen to that song when I'm in a mood to remember college days, but that isn't exactly the desired ambiance to portray when speaking of the status of our new kids church environment, concern over friends with issues and God's faithfulness through it all.

I'm off to big adventures this morning --- bringing home a large inflatable boat to use Sunday to tell the story of Jesus calling Peter. And the time has come. I'm picking up a camera too.

Have a great weekend friends!


then on Tuesday...

JJ had recently turned 16. We'd been looking for a car for him and we must admit (easily verified if you know us here in Sunny...) he had found the perfect one! It was an old Porsche, however through much research he found one for sale by the original owner and with very low miles. Wow! We all felt so blessed. He found it on Friday and needed to transfer the money before we could pick it up ~ so we had to wait until Monday. I'm sure it had been the longest weekend of his life so far.

Just the Thursday before, I'd had a bad situation at work. My office had been broken into and lots of personal papers were stolen. That's a hard thing. And even harder was not understanding those who commented, "Well, at least they didn't take anything of value." Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. Yes, I was grateful I hadn't been there when the robbery occurred, but was frustrated that the police seemed to minimize this invasion of my privacy as well. How could they not come in to take fingerprints??

After a crazy couple of days changing lots of account numbers, and worrying about things, life was back to normal. Our hearts were so happy as we took JJ down to get his very own first car. There were the trips here and there for no need at all ~ just because.

DJ gets up quite early and on that Tuesday he was ready to head out the door when I heard the radio announcer say fairly quietly, "There seems to be a plane crash in New York." I bounced up and got the tv on as fast as possible. Fast enough to see crash number two. DJ was leaving and JJ was ready to drive that fabulous car to school when we all realized...our world was broken. We saw the horror unfold over Washington and words just wouldn't come for any of us. We just sat there. All day. Silent.

My sweet little mother was visiting our friends out in the Midwest. Now, words most definitely can not explain how distraught she was that week. She was ready to get on the Amtrak to come home to Sunny. To hear the airports were closed! Now, Mother had often discussed terrorists plots and the likelihood that we were in the middle of such a horrid thing had been at the forefront of her mind immediately.

Our little family was just shell-shocked and speechless. The new car didn't really even get discussed and the lost papers were completely out of our minds.

Yes, when we think back to those days, it is still hard to imagine real people could have conceived such a horrible chain of events. I also think of how packed our church was on that Tuesday evening as we opened it for a time of prayer. I haven't really heard of churches opening up for prayer services tomorrow night. But I'll stop and ask God to be with those families. I'll ask Him to be with the Moms or Dads who miss their kids Dads and Moms or Brothers or Sisters or Grandmas or Grandpas. And I'll ask Him to be with the families who have a part of their soul far away in Iraq or Afghanistan or Fort Bragg... And I'll remember that Tuesday. It seems like yesterday.

Please protect them all, God.


Abuzz, truly abuzz...

It seemed that life here in Sunny had slowed down a bit this week...JJ is back at the university, school is back in session for the little ones in our world, Gramma & Grandpa are set to leave on holiday soon and our friends have returned to their home up north... And then tonight it hit me how much it had slowed down. We, the three of us, were watching a bug. It was buzzing in our living room and we were all three staring at it. The football game was on the big screen and yet...

Master Max had been watching the ceiling and ever since we had our big Eucalyptus trees trimmed he hasn't been too concerned about the leaves falling on the roof. So DJ turned down the football game so we could listen for the bug and help Max find it. Pitiful! Isn't that just pitiful!

We were all in a tither when we realized that the bug he wanted to catch was actually a bee. "DJ!! We can't let him catch that!" So we tried to distract him as much as possible, and then standing there in the middle of the room -- Max started to attack DJ's shirt. The bee had landed on his back. In a blaze of motion, DJ swashed it (I think that's a real word) off and it hit the sofa. DJ captured it in a rag and tossed it -- well, far away -- where Max would remain safe from the horrors of a bee sting.

And then we realized...the towel he'd used was our "Touchdown Towel" and Master Max promptly took the appropriate run around the family room, just as if he was indeed the victor or perhaps he was proud of his papa for conquering the curious creature and saving us all from horrors unknown.


America's Funniest...

Oh, if only they had this on the America's Funniest Video show. The moms might come into some good prize money... After yesterday's post, please enjoy this look at entirely normal darling children.



I came across this video on a website asking the question, Cute or Creepy? My vote is creepy. Some things just make you wonder... how in the world was this child put in this position? What was the context of this video or 'service' and so many more questions.

Feel free to share a comment. I promise not to add an organ background to the blog for this weekend...


How Cool!


DJ was very frustrated on Tuesday night. We'd heard that Pastor Miles McPherson from California was going to speak at the Big Convention. We had two channels recording the time slot, and it seemed the hosts just commentated right over this brief appearance. But thanks to a tv station, we can all see excerpts from his remarks.

I tried to get it to put the little tv screen with the arrow on it to make it easy...but well, I'm sure you understand that sometimes these things are challenging....

We're going to be putting our little neighborhood together the next few days in place of the cave for the kids at church. There's just nothing quite like the smell of fresh paint to give you hope. As soon as possible, I'll show you how it turns out. We're going to make windows for the wall that really open -- how cool!


By the Sea

We could save this photo for our Christmas card ...but then Max would feel left out, eh. We recently had a lovely visit with our dear friends from Up North and our day at the harbor was just fabulous. You may recall I wrote about some of our adventures at the time. This shot was taken in between observing wedding sites three and four... (See this post for clarity.)

As you may know, DJ and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary and I suppose I'm a bit sentimental tonight. (Some times these moods hit and I ponder and ponder things.) We've had a most interesting 25 years. Life has had challenges certainly, and there will most likely be more; but God is good and He is always faithful. There is so much for which to be grateful.

And for friends and family near and far, we pray God will be with each one of you, keeping you safe and in the palm of his hand. That's a very good place to rest.


Bloggy Brunch

Recently I had a most delightful serendipity. Dear Sister Sheri and her family came to Sunny for a few days and we were able to meet for lunch. How absolutely fantastic! I was able to meet young Christopher and handsome Anthony and I can fully verify they are wonderful as she maintains on her blog, the Leaking Window.

We had a lovely time enjoying laughs, sharing stories of blog bits and discussing this crazy world of cyber-friends. We spoke of practical concerns and bloggers who don't have a single photo of them on their sites and the healthy limitations we should put in place when putting our personal information on our blogspots. What's the safest way to go from cyber-hugs to meeting for coffee that first time, for example. It was a delightful time together, for sure.

All too soon we had to say goodbye. I had to get back to tearing down that cave, and Sister Sheri and her handsome guys had to catch their plane for Far Away. Sometimes good things have to end much too quickly. Won't it be nice when we have all the time in the world for our sweet tea? That table by the sea will beat any in Sunny any day...