Friday, October 31, 2008

just be

wednesday night we held a candlelight vigil for kids that had come in town for greer's funeral. we weren't sure how many to expect... maybe 15? maybe 150? over 200 students showed up. over 1200 attended the funeral the following day.

at the vigil, each person was invited to come to the front of the church and light their candle from the pascal candle, the candle used in easter tide to celebrate Jesus' resurrection. john left a small mic (the kind you attach to your shirt) at the candle for people to speak into if they wanted to share a blessing from greer. because the mic was small, people had trouble finding it and getting it to work. lisa (another of the clergy) turned to me and said, "why don't you go up there and hold the mic?"

so i did. which isn't saying much. but i got to look into the faces of every person lighting their candle, whether they spoke or not. what i found was that just standing there was actually a huge deal. people wanted to make eye contact. to be acknowledged. they sought from me looks of empathy or encouragement, even without knowing me. some mouthed 'thank you' as they passed by. others, including greer's mother, reached out and touched my arm or squeezed my shoulder as they spoke. what might have been a mundane job of holding a mic turned into a meaningful and totally needed means of connecting. this is a need we share. and all you really have to do is just be there, be aware, and be open.

e-harmony update

nothing to report, except that i let one of my guy friends into my e-harmony account last night and he dumped half my matches.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

and sometimes it sucks

it's no secret i love my job. who wouldn't love a job that requires you to eat pizza 4 times a week... minimum! but sometimes even the best of jobs can get you down, like when someone dies.

i met with a group of 12th graders sunday, and the topic on everyone's mind was a guy named greer who had fallen off a mountain ledge, punctured his lung, and was in critical condition. i didn't know greer, since he graduated from high school before i came here, but all the kids knew him. just as we were ending our time together, the phone rang. the voice on the other end told me greer had just died, and then i turned to the kids to give them the same news. kids i'm only just getting to know. it sucked.

yet, there's something beautiful about watching a community come together to cry and laugh and be angry and remember. i didn't know greer, but i'm touched by him as i hear the kids share stories. and i'm touched by the kids, too, that they'd let me into their space during this time.

so yeah, sometimes it sucks. but even then, and especially then, i love my job.

Friday, October 24, 2008

b'more & buffalo

okay here it is... the weekend roadtrip synopsis.

it started in baltimore, where i landed just in time for a lovely dinner with christina and andy (soon to be married) at pazo. sadly, christina's car broke down, so i had to leave them to wait for the tow truck while my friend john picked me up and took me to the ole' neighborhood standby, ropewalk.
From 2008 Fall
if you don't know it already, ropewalk is a "republican bar" which really just means that the owners are republicanists and they aren't afraid to show it. doesn't really describe the clientele, though. anywhoo... a picture with the gipper is a must. lots of great friends came out to catch up (laurel and david came up from dc!) and that was awesome.

mike and i hit the road early saturday, bound for buffalo. we arrived just as mollie's plane from denver landed, so we picked her up and drove to canada (yes, we all had our passports) in time to see niagra at sunset.
From 2008 Fall
we did get lost on the way. we accidentally drove north of niagra, but didn't realize it until we were crossing the (wrong) bridge into canada. there was no way to turn around, so we just waited in line. the security was so chill (and cute!! mollie and i wanted to steal the guard and take him with us!!). he laughed once he figured out we were lost (such a cute laugh it was, too) and pointed us in the right direction. the drive was beautiful! all the changing leaves and rolling hills, ahhh. finally we made it to niagra falls.
From 2008 Fall
one thing about canadians... they love their snails. snails have the right of way!

we drove back to buffalo for a little party at the "love shack" (the bride's maiden name is love... it's cute) where we caught up with lots of friends that i hadn't seen in months. awesome.

sunday we stopped by the anchor bar, birthplace of buffalo wings, for some yummy finger lickin' food.
From 2008 Fall
this came at the recommendation of susan and others, and i have to say, it is a must when in buffalo. my mouth is watering now just thinking about it!

finally, the big occasion was upon us... the start of adam and bethany's marriage. i have to say, this was one of the neatest weddings i've ever witnessed, even before it started. their invitations were thoughtful, true, and humble. no response cards were used, saving lots of paper and expense. over and over again, throughout the engagement, wedding and reception, adam and bethany continually pointed to Christ in their relationship.
From 2008 Fall
it was (and is) beautiful.

then dancing ensued...
From 2008 Fall
and the shenanigans began.

eric, the best man, did an awesome toast. our table was literally reeling with laughter, though some of it might have gone over the general public's collective heads.
From 2008 Fall
i have since learned that you can look at best man speeches on youtube... this is apparently how the modern best man gets all his toast material. very unoriginal, and yet hugely successful! i imagine eric was the only one to quote both emily post and amy vanderbilt, though, paragon of etiquette that he is.

monday we made our way back to baltimore, so excited to stop at sheetz, the best gas station in the world, along the way.
From 2008 Fall
where else can you order a side of mac & chili? yum. erin and i had lots of girlie talk and catch up time in the car, which was awesome.

we came home to keegan!
From 2008 Fall
the best little nephew in the world.

christina joined us all for dinner and then she and i went back to her place for hours of uber productive wedding planning (she's the bride, i'm the maid of honor) and just good ole' sister time.

it was, by far, the best weekend ever. and there you have it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


one of the privileges i have as a youth minister is to talk to kids about sex and sexuality and how it pertains to their faith. i spent a lot of time this summer developing a sex curriculum with lots of help from various books, experts and friends (the friend conversations were definitely the funniest).

so we had a sex talk with 11th and 12th graders a few weeks ago, and the whole first half of it was pretty painfully awkward. finally one kid said, "it's not that this isn't relevant to us. it's definitely relevant. we just don't want to talk about it."

last night we talked with 10th graders and decided to squish all the awkwardness into the first 5 minutes. john started by saying, "we're going to play a game you all know and love... a game you probably played in the middle school lunchroom..." one girl raised her hand and said, "the penis game???" YES! the very one.

for those of you that don't know, the penis game goes a little something like this.

one person whispers "penis."

the next says "PEnis" a little louder.

then "PENIS" and "PEENNIISSS!!!!!!"

kids find this especially entertaining in public spaces... like lunchrooms or during spanish class. each person that says "penis" is basically daring the next to say it louder. i totally grew up playing this game. sometimes even in sunday school... the mother of all dares.

next time you've got to talk to kids about sex, try out the penis game, if it's age appropriate. definitely breaks the ice.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

so excited

this time tomorrow, i'll be on a plane to BALTIMORE! the city that claims my heart. i'm headed to adam & bethany's wedding, which is actually in buffalo, but i'm flying into b'more JUST so i can get an extra 20 hours of quality time (in the car) with my friends. AND i get to do some wedding planning with the lovely christina, due to be married in may! i'm so excited about his weekend, i can hardly stand it!!!! start warming up the beer taps at ropewalk... lau's coming home.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

lessons from a 14 year old

i was talking to one of my youth last week, discussing the high school dating scene over a cup of coffee (have i mentioned that i love my job?) at one point she said, "every one of my guy friends likes at least 3 girls. they just can't make up their minds!" she was lamenting the fact that even her boyfriend was into other girls. and i thought, ah, poor high schoolers. they just don't know what they want. i'm so glad that's not MY dating scene any longer...

but perhaps i was wrong.

i visited my friend carolyn (and her wonder dog molly!) last friday in chapel hill. we met up with my rock star (literally) friend, alex wilkins, and then went to his gig at a bar across from UNC. it was fun.

but during the course of the night, a guy named ryan professed that i was his soul mate. maybe this is because we were talking about theology and linguistics in a bar. i mean, it is rare bar talk. but soul mate? and it was especially discouraging, as ryan happens to be ENGAGED. how can an engaged man mistake me for his soul mate? really?

the real kicker was when i came home to find an email from engaged-man-ryan, who i suppose found my email address on my blog, stating that he's really a very nice and faithful guy, but that he'd like to start up a conversation type relationship with me. over email. and i'll add that his email address seemed to have been made up, strictly for this purpose. s-k-e-t-c-h-y.

point being... do 14 year olds never grow up?

here i thought the "liking 3 girls at once" problem was reserved to the dramas of high school, but it doesn't seem to be a safe assumption.

the evening still rocked, though, since i got to see carolyn AND even did an impromptu duet with alex. i'm lovin' me some tambourine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

fall fashion

so, bachelor numero dos responded to the "thoughtful" (thanks suzz) question regarding homosexuality, and his response was not only reasonable... he could relate. seems "esteban" (as we'll call him) has a gay brother. go figure.

it's the latest accessory.

esteban is a bit of a paradox to me. some things he says make me think, 'this guy is real and has lived and i think we could be friends.' other things make me think, 'are you brainwashed?' so we'll see what's behind door number 2, i suppose.

Monday, October 06, 2008

pablo peters out

seems the pablo story ends before it really begins.

see, i was at lunch with a girlfriend and guyfriend from work. we'll call them lindsay and tim (since those are indeed their names). i was updating them on the latest in the eharmony saga. oddly enough, both of them were "familiar" with eharmony already. i'm telling you, it's everywhere!


when i mentioned i was in "open communication" (ie: emailing) with this new guy, lindsay said, "huh... what's his name?"

i said, "well his profile says *pablo* but he signs his emails *brad*" (just go with the made up names).

lindsay's eyes just about bugged out of her head, "don't talk to him!"

"you know him?"

"i told you i'd tried eharmony before!" she gave me a few reasons to steer clear of pablo... so that's that.

small world.

i just emailed pablo to say, sorry man, but you've been matched with one of my friends, and i've got to bail.

another one bites the dust.

whoa whoa whoa

apparently the fact that i'm blogging about eharmony is not a deterrent. i'm now in "open communication" with a guy we'll call pablo. you know how i love nicknames (not so special bryan... blind date bob... etc.)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

cat's out of the bag

i got a response. and i think it was more than reasonable. and that's all i'll say about that because it's really not fair for me to broadcast some guy's thoughts on homosexuality, right? it's not his blog.

but it is mine, so i will tell you what he asked me in response, and how i answered (and then you'll know why the cat is indeed out of the bag).

1. What are some things you've done for fun in your free time over the last few weeks? (doesn't have to be anything crazy, just an snapshot of what you do for fun)
I'm headed out to grill with some friends now, went to a movie with girlfriends last night, high school football game Friday (that's job related, but fun too), dinner with friends Thursday night, and I was in South Africa the week before that. Fun usually involves eating, drinking, or something active (like wall climbing or salsa dancing). I like to be with my friends. If I'm alone, I read for for fun too.
(note: just to keep things honest, i didn't actually grill out tonight, but had cheese and crackers with friends instead. and i don't wall climb often, but it's an example of "something active" and i would go more often if i could.)

2. Describe your spirituality.
That's broad. My relationship with God is very important to me and informs just about everything I do. I read the Bible and journal (pray) every morning. Not because I think that's how "spirituality" ought to be done, but because it feeds me. I'm enrolled in a theology class, which I enjoy. I also have a lot of non- "spiritual" friends, which I also enjoy. Both challenge me in very meaningful ways, and both keep me growing and authentic. I think spirituality is personal, but it's not something I'm reluctant to share in the least.

** and here's the kicker! **

3. Why did you join eHarmony?
Honestly, some friends and I decided it would be funny for me to give it a 3 month trial and then blog about it. That said, it's something I've taken seriously, as it wouldn't be an honest "try" otherwise. I do desire to be in a meaningful relationship, but I thought surely eharmony would take the fun and romance out of dating... so this experiment of sorts helped me to take the plunge. I suppose you can google me now.

wonder if that'll get me dumped?

Friday, October 03, 2008

1 down, 2 to go

well i've exhausted the first month of my eharmony membership. i only paid for 3, and i'm not keen on renewing. so 2 months to go before i'm back to... more of the same... ie: not dating. but i'm okay with that.

perhaps that's the problem? i mean, if asking authentic questions gets you nothing but crickets, maybe this kind of thing is meant for peeps that are SO eager to date, that authenticity falls by the wayside. i think eharmony doesn't really jive with my M.O.