Friday, August 29, 2008

Meeting Thom Yorke

Gosh, I have been busy lately. It's been almost a week since I last blogged, and for that, I apologize. 

Most of you might know already that I had the honor of meeting the famous Thom Yorke, whom, is the lead singer for a band called "Radiohead". I have been a fan of Radiohead for a looong time. I remember when I was 12 years old and I was listening to Radiohead and Nirvana, side by side. So I was truly "star-struck" when I saw him, and am now forever changed. 

The story begins with just another night at a rock concert. I had been looking forward to attending my second Radiohead show for many months (as you can recall on a few blogs of mine back...), and this show was even better because my ticket had been paid by the very giving Christopher Reinhardt as a graduation present (thank you very much Chris!). There were 8 of us who went to the show, but we had to split up into groups of 4 (kind of a bummer...), and our group of 4 had pretty lousy seats. We were so high (as in length...), that I overheard a woman exclaim, "Oh my gosh! My nose is bleeding!" as she climbed her way up to our section. I seriously laughed for a minute straight because I had never put that phrase together as something you could say while sitting in the "nosebleed" section. Apparently I need to get out more. 

I didn't mind being so high (again...vertically...), because at the last show I was so close I could practically touch Thommy, and now being so far back, I could finally see the entire light show (it's pretty awesome). The show ended and I was amazed; truly amazed. The set list was ten times better than the last time I had seen them. It was waaay more relaxed, or "emo", as I called it, which is my favoooorite kind of Radiohead. So, it was just stellar. 

Shake it...

After we realized there would be no more encore's, we (Stefanie, Camyron, Pierce and I) decided to wait out the huge crowds. So we just chilled for a bit, wondering where the rest of our friends went (they should have stayed with us....). Eventually, everyone was pretty much cleared out and we were kicked out by security. As we started to exit, Pierce told us that we should exit to the left because the street is right there which would enable us to avoid the millions of flights of stairs. We trusted him of course, but as we went to the left we were stopped by a security guy. The security guy tried convincing us that that was not an exit and that Pierce had never exited that way before. We were all confused, but then we just started hassling him a bit, asking him if he was lying to us. Finally after about 3 minutes of this, he was like, "Fine, go to the left." We had won the battle. 

We had won the battle, but we thought our only prize was going to be less stairs. Little did we know that God had so much more planned for us. We approached the secret exit and visited the restrooms. After which we were walking out to our car when we approached about 20-25 people waiting at a gate in front of a door which said, "Performer Entrance", or "Musical Entrance"...something like that. We came up to the people standing there and made a commitment to stand there for at least an hour in hopes to meet someone from the band. Well we only had to wait about 10 minutes before Phil (Radiohead's drummer) made his way out and signed everything put in front of him, and took pictures with everyone as well. The four of us wanted a picture and as we tried to take one with Stef's camera, it kept on dying. We must have stood there for at least a minute striking our pose, hoping that the strangers around us would be able to figure it out. But our efforts were lost, and the camera was dead. Luckily, there was a hero right next to us who came up and took a picture of us with his own camera. He was definitely at an odd angle, but you can still see Phil up on the left there. Thank you to our hero Isaac for emailing us the pictures. All of the other one's posted on here are from him as well. 

So as Phil went back inside we were so stoked. We thought that would be it, and we were satisfied. We waited around for another 5 minutes and then a Radiohead security guard came out and told us that when Thom comes out, we are not allowed to take any pictures at all. I was like, "Excuse me...did you just say that Thom was going to come out?!!!" I couldn't even believed it. People started freaking out telling everyone around them to put their camera's away or they would be massacred. And then it happened...Thom Yorke came walking out of that special door. 


You could hear a pin drop at that moment. Everyone was in shock. 

Everyone that is, except for Pierce. Apparently the only thing that shocked Pierce was how short Thom was. Pierce was so shocked by this, he decided it would be smart to say, in the silence, "Wow! He's a little guy isn't he?!!" 

The whole crowd just turned toward Pierce with this look like "What. the. heck. did. you. just. say.?" Stef, Camy, and I were just like, "Ohhh man...ohhh man" as we shook our heads. Never a dull moment with Pierce around. 

Anyone, we all met Thom, and he signed all of our stuff, and our new friend Isaac broke the whatever...
It was definitely one of the best moments of my life to meet him, and I finally broke my silence by muttering nervously to Thom as he walked by and signed my ticket, "Thom...thank you so much for signing me're such an inspiration...your music is so amazing...thank you so much Thom...thank you so much..."

I am such a nerd. 

We walked away and I proceeded to call Jordan and tell him what had happened. He didn't believe me so I just hung up on him. Then I called Reinhardt and told him what happened...he could barely believe it either. Well, I could barely believe it happened!

It was just so great how everything had happened. God had planned it so perfectly. I was thinking about all the things that could have interfered in the way of that happening. 

#1 - Pierce wasn't supposed to go to the show...he filled in for John. If we would have went with John, two things would have happened. One, he wouldn't have wanted to wait for the crowds to clear, and two, he wouldn't have known to exit to the left. 

#2 - If we would have met up with everyone right when the show ended, they wouldn't have wanted to wait for the crowds to clear, and would have forced us to feel compelled to leave as well. 

I am just so glad we were so chill and relaxed the whole night. We had such a good time and just went with the flow of the night, and was rewarded with the best gift meet Thom Yorke. What a blessing. And yes, meeting Thom does deserve it's own blog label. :)

On the next Blog: Why God cares about Social Justice Issues. Looking forward to writing about it again...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This One's For Dr. Witherington

Okay. So, Dr. Ben Witherington is one of my favorite theologians and authors. I love reading his stuff, and using all of his books as my sources for everything I do. You know when you just find that author where everything they write you just "get it". Well it's like that for the late George Ladd, and Ben Witherington for me. 

The other cool thing about Dr. Witherington is that he blogs. And his blogs aren't always these deep ideas that take a million years to read, sometimes they are just pictures of his family, or golfing in Scotland. It's awesome. And it's also AWESOME how he responds to people when they leave comments. I mean, it's not everyday that you can converse with a famous guy (in my dorky world that is...). For you, this may be like conversing with the "Jonas Brothers", or Jennifer Gardner. 

Well, the other day, Dr. Witherington posted on his blog his top 10 concerts that he has been too. I know, awesome right? I read it, immediately was in the mood for Eric Clapton, and thought to myself, "wow, Dr. Witherington is the coolest theologian ever", so I wrote him that thought. 

To my surprise, he wrote me back, thanking me for the kind comment, but then proceeded to talk about my love for Radiohead. For a second there, I thought that he was a good friend of mine, but quickly realized that he must have actually looked at my blog to discover my love for Radiohead. That is enough in itself to feel awesome. But then, not only does he acknowledge my existence, but he calls me out because Radiohead songs have some "four-letter" words in them. Oh. my. gosh. How embarassing. If Dr. Matt Williams (one of my former professor's) ever reads this, he will probably be shaking his head at me. 

Now, Dr. Witherington asked me what my top 10 concerts have been. Well, honestly, I think I am still too young to have experienced ten amazing concerts (no offense to you Dr. Witherington...), so I will have to settle for giving my top five (up until this point in my life). 

#5 - Death Cab For Cutie: At a Private Paul Frank Christmas Party, Irvine, California
  • My friend Hannah invited me to her roomies Christmas Party for the designer "Paul Frank". It was an awesome party. It was held over by Wild Rivers in Irvine on the land that used to be a zoo (or so I heard...). There was free food, drinks, carnival rides, elephant rides!, a club, and best of all - a free, exclusive, 1000 person, Death Cab Show. This was all I really cared about and so we got there early and stood right in front. It was awesome, and I could literally see Ben Gibbard's nose hairs. I have seen Death Cab again since this awesome party, but nothing can even compare to seeing them in a venue like this. 
#4 - Arcade Fire
  • Seeing Arcade Fire was an experience. It was a concert like I had never seen before. With all the instruments they use, and all the people playing on stage, I didn't know where to look. This concert was shared with John Krutsinger and Chris Reinhardt. Our seats were okay (as we have gotten used to being on the floor and close). The people behind me wouldn't let me stand during they show because they wanted to sit, so that was a bummer. How could you not stand during that show? Seriously? All in all, I decided that I officially wanted Arcade Fire to play at my wedding, and I am hoping that will happen one day. 
#3 - Radiohead: Embarcadero, San Diego, California
  • Finally, my first time seeing Radiohead was at the amazing, outside, on the bay, venue - The Embarcadero. This concert was shared with (I hope I don't forget anyone) Adam Sabolick, Chris Reinhardt, Chris Madson, The Myers Clan, Stefanie, am I totally forgetting people? Anyway, Adam and Chris R. got there suuuper early so that we could get to the front of the stage. Well, that worked out just fine until the concert started and then we couldn't move because the thousands of people behind us squeezed in. It was pretty scary, and not fun. I proceeded to yell, "I'm gunna barf", as I proceeded out of the middle of the thousands, and made my way to the side where I made new hippie friends and enjoyed the show dancing the night away. I never wanted to leave. And basically, my life has just been on pause, and will "play" again this Sunday. ;)
#2 - Travis: The House of Blues, Anaheim, California
  • I know you might be thinking, "How did Travis make the #2 slot, and not Radiohead"? Well, I will tell you - Seeing Travis in this intimate venue reeeally made the show awesome. Again, we got there early and made our way to the front of the stage. We were just so close. This concert was shared with: Chris Reinhardt, John Krutsinger, Brian Asbill, Stefanie Bammer, Blythe Hill, Erin McLaughlin, and Pam Hyle (I think Adam Sabolick came too...didn't he see Phil Wickham???). This show was so good, that when security realized I had snuck my camera in, I just gave it to them. They actually wanted me to leave the concert to go check it in outside. Ya. right. There was no way I was going anywhere. I told the lady, "Just take it, it's not worth missing one song...this is a once in a lifetime camera can be replaced." She seriously thought I was crazy, but I didn't care. After she left, all the people around me (strangers) were like, "Wow, that was awesome!" I did feel pretty cool in that moment. Not a lot of people know about "Travis"...the band...but you should know. So go buy their CD's, right now. 
#1 - Coldplay: Verizon Wireless Ampitheater, Irvine, California... in the PIT!
  • This is the best concert I have ever been to because it was also just one of the best days I have ever had. I re-tell this story numerous times during the year because it was just so awesome. Back in 2005 (I know, that's insane!), a bunch of us went to see Coldplay. Who shared the experience? - Chris Reinhardt, Stefanie Bammer, Hannah Philebar, Adam Sabolick, Myers Clan, Erin McLaughlin, Lisa Salas (and another Redlands friend...). Anyway, we got there early so that when the doors opened we could run up on the lawn (which is aaaall the way on the top) so we could be in the center and front of the lawn. We were stoked. We are super excited to just be there, even if we had nosebleed seats. We brought all of our blankets and were ready to camp out for the night. We commissioned Hannah and Adam to start running when the gates opened so that they could get to the top first. As soon as they left, we realized that they didn't have their cellular devices, so we had no way to contact them. It took us all about an hour to even see them again. We shopped around and got some tee-shirts and waited for them to let us go onto the lawn (apparently the stopped letting people). As we were walking towards Hannah and Adam (after they finally let us in), they were jumping up and down and screaming at us. We couldn't hear anything they were saying and we were just giving them thumbs up like, "ya, great job, you got the middle of the lawn." All of a sudden we saw Reinhardt (who was ahead of some of us) start freaking out and jumping on Adam, tackling him to the ground. Then they started jumping up and screaming at us. At this point I am totally confused thinking to myself, "why are they so's just the center of the lawn." Finally we make our way down there and they are all yelling, "WE GOT PIT PASSES!!!!!!!!" I seriously don't think I have ever experienced such a happy moment in my life. It was truly glorious. But all of our excitement started to subside when we realized that we only had 7 passes for 10 people. *I just realized that I don't know if I should post this story online...I really don't want to get fined or something...well, it's not like we broke the law, so I think we are good.* So anyway, luckily, only 8 people wanted to go, and 2 wanted to stay on the lawn (thank you for your selfless act). Automatically we give a pass to Adam and Hannah since they got them. Oh, by the way, they got them from KROQ because the KROQ people saw how excited they were to be on the awesome is that?! Thanks KROQ! So that left us with 5 passes for 6 people. Who was going to be the sacrificial lamb? Well, of course, with my luck, I ended up being the sacrificial lamb, but only after we devised a plan to slip one of the wristbands off of Stefanie, while the boys would proceed to bring it back up to me. So really, Stefanie was a sacrificial lamb as well, because she could have easily been kicked out. I can't explain to you how difficult it was to watch all 7 of my friends leave and go running up to the stage, hugging each other, and jumping up and down, while I sat all the way up on the lawn with 2 people who I barely knew. It was horrible. I must have texted Reinhardt about a million times during the opening band, reminding him that I would never speak with him again if this plan failed. Could you imagine?! Me, stuck up there during the whole would be horrific! Later on I found out that my text messages were making Reinhardt a little nervous, and he said that the plan had to work or it would be the end to our friendship (on my part). I am glad he took me so seriously. ;) Finally, during the intermission, the plan was in motion. I met the boys halfway down and they slipped the wristband over my hand. It was a perfect fit...we were ready to go. It ended up being a piece of cake as we slipped by security without them even glancing our way, and I was finally down there. I mean, we were in the front of the front. You could not get any closer to Chris Martin. The concert was amaaaaaazing. We caught a whole bunch of stuff from the band, but the coolest treasure of them all was a disposable camera with pictures of the band from backstage, and one glorious picture of our WHOLE group in the audience (the band took it of us). How awesome is that?!
    One of the shots we got of Chris Martin

    This is one of Chris Martin with the disposable camera in his hand

    This is another one that Reinhardt photo shopped himself into...
    he is dressed up as "dad" for "geek golf"

    I have more pictures...I just need to get a hold of them to post them...
It was the perfect ending to an amazing summer (as Reinhardt said to me...houseboat summer, woot.) 

So, that's my list Dr. Witherington. I almost never listen to music with foul language in it, but that would be like me saying I can't look at beautiful art (like the stuff posted in your most recent blog) because they are naked. Which, I know is a sensitive subject as well, but you and I both know that some of the most classic art we have are of bodies in the nude, and, unfortunately, some of the best music (music...not lyrics...) out there have some foul language in it. This is truly a shame (that we can't find ways to express ourselves without cussing), but God did create music and people with musical ability...God did give us a little thing we like to call "common grace"...soooo

...who knows if these are good arguments. I just love Radiohead...hate the bad words...but love Radiohead. 

I hope you enjoyed my list, and I hope you see Radiohead live one day...because they are awesome live. 

Some Runners-Up:
Ray Lamontagne

...just not good enough to make the list though...and probably will never make the top 10 list. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Goodbye Tita and Bethany!

Maritza Skidmore (aka. Tita), and Bethany Paternostro, are leaving for Seattle on Monday. They will be greatly missed. Here are some pictures from their going away party that was tonight at BJ's.

Maritza and Frankie

Maritza and A.J.

Cute Maritza

Some of the Boyz

Mama Carrie with her Babies

And again.

Bethany and I

Cute little penguins

Pammy and Bethany

Bethany being artistic

Maritza with her presents and the card we made her

Cute one of Aubs and Bam Bam

Ashley, Camy, and Betty

Cute one of Camy and Tita

I love you girls soooo much! I will miss you more than words can say...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Elias Kyler

Elias broke his big toe on Sunday night, but it was worse than it sounds. He had to have surgery to stick a pin in there so it would heal better. 

When I see him next, I am going to interview him and then post the interview on my will be my first interview, and it will be awesome :)

Before Surgery
He is so cute! Before surgery...
Here he is after surgery...everything went well!!!
Lets pray for a swift recovery!

McCain and a pro-choice VP?

Oh this is surprising. 

This just in from Justin Taylor's blog:

"NR has learned that the McCain campaign has been calling key state GOP officials around the country the last couple of days and sounding them out about the consequences of a pro-choice VP pick. The campaign is asking about the reaction of conservative grass-roots activists to such a pick and whether a pro-choicer can be sold to them. This is an indication that the McCain campaign is serious about the possibility of a pro-choice VP nominee and that McCain leaving the door open to Tom Ridge last week may not have been merely a friendly nod to a longtime supporter. In this scenario, McCain's emphatic pro-life statements Saturday night and his pledge that he'll run a "pro-life administration" would have been partly an attempt to reassure conservatives in the event of a pro-choice pick."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Harvest Crusade

The annual Harvest Crusade was this past weekend, and I had the blessing to attend on Sunday night. I have decided that Sunday night is definitely my favorite night to go because it is not as crowded, and people do not get turned away at the door while I take up a seat. Camyron and I headed over there at around 5:30pm, and arrived promptly at 6pm where we proceeded to walk around and get a feel of the "vibe", by request of myself. Poor Camyron, all she wanted to do was climb all the way to the top to have a seat where she could see the stage and Crystal Lewis perform. I, on the other hand, am not that crazy about Crystal Lewis (I mean, she is nice and all...just not my style...), and being scared of heights, wanted to proceed to the lower section where we would be facing the back of the stage. I mean, we could still see the big huge TV screen from our seats. I won the fight, but bought her dinner later. ;) We sat down and realized that Sean Sullivan and Robert Custer were doing security right next to us, so that was fun. And then I saw Jason Myers, whom I haven't seen in forever, so that was cool too. All in all, I think I did a good choice and picking seats. 

Anyway, it was a great night, and Greg Laurie really did a great job with his message. I was totally into what he was saying. He has this way about him where he can just catch peoples attention and keep it the entire time. He gave the "altar call" and many people proceeded to go down the many flights of stairs to reach the field. This included Camyron and I as I was a follow-up supervisor...oh yah ;) ...and Camyron didn't have a name tag on so she just looked like she had gotten saved. It took forever for all the people to come flooding down. Crystal Lewis sang her classic, "Come just as you are", and it was really awesome. I love how she uses her whole body and hand motions while she's pretty cool. Finally Greg led everyone in the "sinner's prayer", and then us follow-up people were off to find someone to give a bible to, and pray with. I found a lady named Carole, and we chatted for awhile, and I gave her a bible etc. She was rededicating her life to the Lord, so that was cool. After that we went to look around for other people who needed follow-up but everyone was taken care of. At this point we ran into Levi Lusko, Marc Paternostro, Frankie's cousin, and Chris Reinhardt. We chatted with various people and eventually made our way out to the parking lot, and I made my way towards the infamous "cult" people that Chuck Smith so adamantly warns everybody about. Whenever I go to Harvest, I always make it a point to stay and talk with the cult people afterwards (it's the most exciting part for me). 

This year, I learned a lot, and I was so sad by the time I had left the conversation. Sad because of two things - (1) Sad because these poor young girls (and kids in general) are so brainwashed into living this kind of life, and (2) Sad because of all the intense "Christians" who like to go pass the people yelling mean things at them. Is "intense" the right word? You can decide later. 

So Camyron and I make our way over to the cult people, who were not protesting this year, all they were doing was dancing Israeli type of dances, and sharing their beliefs with people. Sounds like something we kind of do on mission trips when we do little skits in public places and share the gospel with those around us. So I spot this young girl talking with some people and I know that she is the one I want to talk to. I wait patiently for her to finish as we watch all the dancing. She finishes her conversation and immediately grab her intention and I ask her what her beliefs are. She proceeds to tell me that she is a part of "Twelve Tribes", and that they are a community who believes that they should live with all things in common, sharing all things, just like Acts tell us that the first church did. I won't go into everything that we talked about because we talked for over an hour with her, but basically you can just mix Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh Day Adventist's, and get "Twelve Tribes". 

The main thing that I wanted her to realize from our conversation is that 1 - Jesus was and is God, and 2 - That she could think independently for herself. I went onto their website today and other websites that talked about these people, and it said that thinking for themselves was considered sinful. This was no surprise. We were really getting to places, and I was taking her through John, Philippians, and Romans, with my bible, trying to show her places where scripture said that Jesus was and is God. I could definitely tell that she was having trouble standing her ground, but she never ran away or called for an elder, because the first thing Camyron and I did with her is gain her trust, and show her love. Yes, the first thing I asked her about was her spiritual beliefs, but then I moved the conversation into things like, "So, what is your school like", and "Do you have a boyfriend?" Typical questions you would ask a sixteen year old. ;) By this point, I think she was enjoying talking to us. Well then, during various times of our conversation, random people would come up and say things like, "So what do you believe?! Do you believe Jesus is God?!" Camyron and I would like at each other, like, darn...we are already working on this with her. People didn't even care that we were talking with her, they would just come up and interrupt with their big ol' attitude and hands on their hips. I was so annoyed. At one point, this guy came up to me and said, "You know, they are a cult, you shouldn't listen to them...Chuck Smith tells us not to listen to them." I kindly was trying to tell him that I had the situation under control until finally I had to verbally point out the fact that I had a harvest follow-up person sticker on my shirt, to which he still didn't think I was safe to talk to her. Only to make me then say, "I know what I am doing, I work at a Calvary Chapel, and we are having a conversation here." He proceeded to feel kind of dumb and walk away with a "God bless you" (I was about to pull out my Biola education on the guy...but then he probably would have thought I was a flaming good thing the convo ended). But all throughout our conversation people would just yell things like, "You are a aren't Christians!" So at one point in the conversation, I had to apologize on behalf of all these "Christian" people. 

I am sorry, but I don't think that Jesus would go up to a sixteen year old girl and yell at her. No, He would share the love of God with her...because that what she needs most. I reminded her that the "Harvest Crusade God" was a God of love, and not of hate, and that people can just get confused sometimes. She proceeded to tell us that she is not out here yelling "Harvest is bad", they are just trying to share their faith. I was convicted. I was convicted because that "cult" group was more loving than the people walking out of the Harvest Crusade. I was also convicted because she told us a story about how her parents came into this "tribe". Basically, they needed someone. Their parents were not in the picture, and they had no where to go. I guess they went to a Christian type of church first and asked if they could help them, and they were turned away. Turned away to only find this communal group, and never looking back. This young girl was kind of looking at us like, sooo, ummm, you want to debate that, because anyone can come knocking at our door and we will take them in...what about you guys? Yep, couldn't argue with that one. 

So, I ended our conversation by sharing Romans 10:9-10 with her (they have a lot of works based things..), and just reminded her that if she believed in her heart and confessed with her mouth that Jesus is Lord...God...that she would be saved. I asked her to take her Bible and read through the scriptures we had talked about, and to pray to God to give her wisdom in interpreting them...not just listening to what she was told. Honestly, this girl was brave. Every other girl I saw talking to people (who were pretty much being attacked by "Christians") would call over a male elder to talk with them. This girl we talked to stood her ground for over an hour sharing her faith with me. She knew scripture like the back of her hand because that is what they study all the time. These people are seriously harmless (physically). They are just so spiritually lost. They all need to take a hermeneutics class reeeeally bad. ;) 

So I will continue to pray for this young girl we connected with. As we left, we gave each other (two) hugs, and she told us that she loved us. It was so touching. Camyron and I walked away to our cars and marveled at how lucky we are for the the freedoms we have. 

We also need to continue to pray for Christians around the world who think that the best way to talk to "cult" members is to get up in their face and shove our beliefs down their throat. What do people think...that they are going to convert them right then and there on the spot with all their other "cult" members standing around? I don't think so. But what I do know is that this young girl won't remember anyone who yelled at her, but I think she will remember Camyron and I because we just talked to her like a normal person. We laughed about things and joked around, making fun of the crazy Christians who were yelling at her. But most of all, we showed her love. We apologized for the mean people's comments and told her that we worship a God who loves her, and whose love lives inside of us. I am convinced she will never forget that, and that Camyron and I planted some major seeds in her own heart, which will one day, hopefully, blossom. 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Visit to my Favorite Place in the World!

My love for the La Mirada area kind of freaks me out. I mean, after all, it's only La Mirada, California. It's not like I am in Rome or Spain or Jerusalem or something. I don't know what it is, but there is just something about those cities right in between Orange County and Los Angeles that I love so much. 

It reminds me a little bit of where I grew up in Hawthorne (Holly Glen), California. Kind of "ghetto-ey", but still kind of nice. Where there are homes that are older than 2 seconds, and demographics which include a wide variety of people groups. It's a place where it's not really safe to walk around at night, but where your neighbors would totally have your back because they actually know who you are. 

And of course the most glorious part of La Mirada is that it is where all my Biola peeps are. Visiting the city again last night was a glorious event. I was able to go back to my old dorm, Stewart, and see the fence they put in around it. My friends and I thought of all the ways you could break in still, but hoping for the best (...less robberies). Yet there is still no fence around the boys quads which is kind of funny. But come on, PUQ can take on anyone. ;)

I went around doing my favorite Biola things. Getting a pedicure at Happy Nails (like old times when the Eden girls would go on Saturdays after brunch), sipping on some boba at my favorite boba place, getting gas at my favorite Mobil off of Beach, and going to Chili's with some of the Fitness Center staff. I also saw Lindsay's new house which is super cute, and in an awesome neighborhood. 

I fell in love with La Mirada all over again, and I wish I could live there. It's funny, because I tried to imagine myself moving back, but I still felt like I was called to minister to the people in South Orange County. And because of that, I am a firm believer that you should live where you are called to minister. None of this commuting stuff for church peeps. 

But maybe one day I will be able to call La Mirada home again. Where I can go back to my favorite Trader Joe's and Target, and be ever so close to all the things I love the most...One day...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Son of Hamas Leader Turns Back on Islam and Embraces Christianity

This is an awesome interview. Read the whole thing here

Sneak peak:

JONATHAN HUNT: Why, after 25 years, did you change?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: I believe that all those walls that Islam built for the last 1,400 years are not existing (sic) anymore. They don't recognize this. They built those walls and made people ignorant because they're afraid. They didn't want people to discuss anything about the reality of Islam, about the big questions of Islam and they asked their followers, the Muslims, 'Don't ask about those certain questions.'

But now, people have media. If the father closes the door for his daughter not to leave the house, she's going to go behind her computer and travel the world. So people easily can get information, knowledge, searching (sic) engines, so it's very, very available for everybody to study about Islam, about other religions. Not from the Islam point of view, but from other points of view.

So for the next 25 years this is for sure going to make huge change in the Muslim and the Arab world.

JONATHAN HUNT: You speak from a unique perspective, a man who grew up not just in an Islamic family but as part of an organization seen by many people around the world as an extreme force in Islam: Hamas. What is the reality of Islam? You say people don't see the reality; What is the reality of Islam?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: There are two facts that Muslims don't understand ... I'd say about more than 95 percent of Muslims don't understand their own religion. It came with a much stronger language than the language that they speak so they don't understand it ... they rely only on religious people to get their knowledge about this religion.

Second, they don't understand anything about other religions. Christian communities live between Muslims and they're minority and they (would) rather not to go speak out and tell people about Jesus because it's dangerous for them.

So, all their ideas about other religions on earth are from Islamic perspectives. So those two realities, most people don't understand.

If people, if Muslims, start to understand their religion — first of all, their religion — and see how awful stuff is in there, they'll start to figure out, this can't (be) ... because most religious people focus on certain points of Islam. They have many points that they are very embarrassed to talk about.


MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: Such as Muhammad's wives. You will never go to a mosque and hear about anyone talking about Muhammad's wives, which is like more than 50 wives — and nobody knows (this), by the way. If you ask the majority of Muslims, they will not know this fact.

So they're embarrassed to talk about this, but they talk about the glory of Islam, they talk about the victory, the victories that Muhammad made. So, when people just like look at themselves and see they're defeated, they have ignorance, they're not educated, they're not leading the world as they're expected to do. They’re think they want to get back to that victory by doing the same, what Muhammad did, but disregarding (sic) the timing. They forget that this happened 1,400 years ago and it's not going to happen again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Getting Ready for Radiohead...

O yeah. 13 days.

Just a little taste of the gloriousness...and some lyrics to sum up some thoughts rolling around in my head. I wish I could write songs this good...

"And either way you turn, Ill be there, open up your skull
Ill be there, climbing up the walls"...

"Before you run away from me
Before you start unravelling
Before you take my mic
Just as you dance, dance, dance

Jigsaws falling into place
There is nothing to explain
Regard each other as you pass
She looks back, you look back
Not just once
Not just twice
Wish away the nightmare"...

"I wanted to tell you but you never listen
I keep walking
And I wanted to tell you but you never listen
And I keep walkin', walkin', walkin'

The lights are on but nobody's home
And everyone wants to be your friend
And nobody wants to be afraid
And everyone wants to be your friend
And nobody wants to be afraid
Until you're walking, walking, walking"...

"I want to live and breathe
I want to be part of the human race.

I want to live and breathe
I want to be part of the human race.

Where do we go from here?
The words are coming out all weird
Where are you now when I need you?"...

This video is from 1994 - one year before I became obsessed with Radiohead for life. It's like I grew up with them...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

2 Incredible Testimonies of Faith

Today I got home from family camp (more on that later), and was checking up on some things while I was gone. This included checking up on Justin Taylor's famous blog, where I found the whole segment of Larry King Live with the Chapman Family. Steven Curtis Chapman, who is a famous Christian musical artist, lost his adopted daughter, Maria Sue, in a horrible accident a few months ago. If you don't want to watch the whole interview (I don't know why you wouldn't!), then at least watch this final segment of the show. In this segment is a remarkable story about how Maria Sue left the Chapman family with a sign that she was okay. I have no doubt in my mind that the picture she drew just hours before her death was drawn through her hands by the Holy Spirit Himself. 

You can watch all the videos which are listed in order here on JT's blog. Thank you JT!

Though Larry King can be pretty insensitive to the family (I seriously do not know what his problem is), the Chapman's sit there with the upmost of dignity and amazing character. It is obvious that their ONLY goal(s) in coming on this program are to 1 - Honor Maria Sue's life, and 2- Share the gospel of Jesus Christ. These two goals are fulfilled on this show. I loved watching Steven Curtis glance at his children every time they would say something (giving all the glory to God), with a look of - "I love you and I am so proud of you."

I am so encouraged by the Chapman family.

In similar sad news, I haven't yet mentioned on my blog about the passing of Christopher Laurie. Christopher Laurie - Husband to Brittany, Father to Stella (and one little baby on the way), son to Greg and Cathe, and brother to Jonathan, died in a tragic car accident a couple of weeks ago. In the same manner, Greg and Jonathan Laurie got up on the Sunday morning after the Thursday accident and preached Christ and Him crucified through the overwhelming grief they were feeling. Many came to Christ because of this. Glory be to God.

I have been so encouraged by the strength of the Laurie family.

In conclusion, first, we can obviously continue to pray for these families. The grief they must be going through is unimaginable to myself. I have no words to tell these families other than I am sorry. My prayer is that they would receive the peace of God. By this I mean that only they can truly be at peace with what has happened, and only God can give them that peace, that understanding, that strength. 

Second, these two events have really brought me to my knees in prayer about life in general. What does God want to do in my life? What is important in this short life we have? I do not want to waste the time I have. But could someone explain to me the definition of "waste"?! ;)

Third - I have thought a lot about how people would remember me if I were to die today. What would people say at my memorial service? How would my friends and family remember me? I have been thinking about this a lot, but every time I do, I am only driven back to one thought and one thought only: I will be with the Lord! I have felt compelled lately to worship God through meditating on how it will be to be with Him forever in a place where there will be no more tears and no more pain. And so, I hope that is how I am remembered when I die; as a person who is so incredibly happy to be with her Savior for eternity. 

I may not know much about this life, or the life after, but I do know is that God is amazing. He has saved me and given me eternal life with Himself. As for this life on earth - I am along for and ready for the ride that God wants to take me on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's My Birthday...

...and I can cry if I want to. 

Okay, but really, I wrote this huge birthday blog but I don't know if I like it enough to post it. A lot of things have been happening lately, and God is just...well He is here...

I am off to family camp where I will be roughing it for a few days. It should be pretty fun. :)

Maybe a birthday post will be in order when I return. Thanks for all the happy birthday wishes!

Something to leave you with...

Do you see any similarities with these two album covers? Looks like "Third Day" got a little carried away with copying a "little" band called "Radiohead"...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stefanie's Birthday

Happy Birthday Stefanie...just for you... ;)
Standard Frankie
Sorry Camyron, I need to edit you out...
I just laugh at this one of Sarah...
Isn't Pammy so pretty!
They say this is how I pose....
Standard present from John.
He is trying to kill me...the classic horrible picture of everyone in it...
Camyron and Stefanie are going to kill me for posting this one...
Awww, the group, minus Bethany, who is taking the picture. 
And then, an entire wedding party (including the bride and groom) walked into BJ's...
strange night.