Monday, February 28, 2005

Mom and Dad have come and gone. Yay and Boo. A good time was had by all--600 miles was had put on my Odometer, my fridge is chocked full of leftovers, and mom and dad have successfully been introduced to life in Arlington. They have seen the high school, my church, the skate park, and the espresso stands, and they have met Bronco, Jo, Mark, Cindy, Corrie, Dawn, Greg, Esther, Sam, Adam, Sarah, Nathan, Rona, Jasmine, Ivy, Elly, Bethany, and many, many more of my Arlington and YD friends.

By Day 2 of their visit, I was dead. Not because they were running me ragged, but because after 8 weeks of being gone every single day, I stopped and relaxed. This immediately resulted in wanting to sleep for three days, which did not happen.

The Denouement is in sight though--after March 10th (The Arlington YD Fund Raising Banquet) and April 1-4 (Bob's Island Getaway), things will be relatively 'normal' for awhile, in that I can return to normal weekly student ministry without a big program to plan on the side. Without wishing the next five weeks away--I am very much relishing April 5th with a sigh of relief.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Terrie and Gary visit the PNW!

Mom and Dad are coming to Washington tomorrow! And I am oh-so-very-excited. They are going to stay with me in my apartment, and we are going to have a smashingly good time. We are going to go here and here and here and here and here and here.

Monday, February 21, 2005

seeing the world through song.

Friday night, I took two teenage girls, along with my friends Sam and Esther, to see John VanDeusen, Micah Kelley, and Late Tuesday in concert. This is the second time I've seen John perform in two weeks, and I'm going to go with Sam to Bellingham to see him again in 2 weeks at Upfest. I am always impressed with this kid--he's 17, and he writes and sings like a young like a young Ben Folds, or (according to Sam) Brandon Boyd of Incubus. I actually can't think of anyone substantial to compare him with--other than to say, he has significantly more of an edge than John Mayer, rock piano potential like Ben Folds, and lots of depth to his lyrics while still being comprehensible.

Just seeing John perform and talking with him after his concerts, I realize, I really am a musician at heart so much. I am realizing this--like I forgot it or something. Maybe it's because during Lent, I am fasting from my CD's and my iTunes and I find myself singing outloud all the time in the car and at home to fill that space. Maybe it's because I wrote my first song with guitar accompaniment, inspired by the "Barrista Boy" at Starbuck's. Maybe it's because John and I can stand there and quote "Spinal Tap" to each other, ("No man, but this amp goes to eleven!") Maybe it's because I'm excited that mom, dad and I will be going to Jazz Alley in Seattle on Thursday to see Billy Preston perform in an intimate Jazz Club...maybe it's because I'm the daughter of a world-famous Rock Photographer...maybe it's because one of my best friends interns at RCA in NYC and tells me about great singers and then the next week they appear on The O.C., and I immediately go to iTunes and download the single!

I am a musician--the kind of musician that isn't a great musician, a great songwriter, or a great vocalist, but can tell when someone else is. Wait--does that mean I should be a rock critic? I'm now thinking of Almost Famous. I could do that.

P.S. Did I just set a world record for most links in one blog entry?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Little Bits of Nothing.

Would you believe me if I told you that youth ministry is easy?

There are days when I don't know if I would believe that either--but today is one of them. What makes it easy--well, you pretty much have to be yourself all of the time--because if you're anything BUT yourself, the kids see you as a fakie anyways...

And--the things that make the biggest difference to the kids aren't that big of a deal to you.

Like--one of my girls sprained her leg really bad on Sunday. On Tuesday, I dropped by for fifteen minutes, where we talked about her saxophone section in band and her four cats. When I saw her yesterday, she was so excited that I had come to visit.

Yesterday at youth group, I was playing pool with these three junior high girls that consistently dress and act like their best friend just died (what I mean by playing pool is that I was actually interrupting their game by using a broomstick as a Cue stick and using the colored balls as the cue balls, which annoyed them greatly. Didn't I say that Rule #1 is to always be yourself?!) Anyways, I asked the girls if next week before youth group, they would like to meet me downtown for coffee and then I'd bring them to youth group. They made it sound like I was asking them to be my special guests of honor at the Inaugural Ball to crown me Queen of the Universe...later, they insisted they would be returning to youth group every week just to see me.

Today, one of my girls has her final home game for Freshman Basketball. When I told her I'd be there a little after four, she squealed and almost knocked me over. Good thing she doesn't know that I'm pretty much the worst Basketball player ever.

I'm really convinced that these things aren't very significant--in the sense that they don't take much of my time or energy, and they're rather simple and spontaneous...but these little bits of nothing seem to really matter to the kids. I'm excited about that--excited that the most important part of my job really boils down to being real, being consistent, and being available. Isn't that what life's all about anyways?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


If you were wondering how temperate the Pacific Northwest is in the winter, it really is fairly warm, you know--maybe in the high 40's during the day.

But--if it should just so happen that your heater stops working in your office, the 48 degrees outside with sunshine, compared to the 48 degrees at your desk becomes a bit inconvenient.

Every so often I stop to rub my hands together. I'm pretty sure my body thinks I'm attempting hibernation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


*Ring Ring, Ring Ring*
jamie: hello?
heather: hello is jamie there?
jamie: this is her.
heather: hi! it's heather! what's up? how was your weekend?
jamie: it was good. how was yours?
heather: great! am I going to see you at Bible study tonight?
jamie: oh, are we having it tonight?
heather: yes, why wouldn't we be?
jamie: oh, because it's valentine's day and all.
heather: (to self: valentine's day?! since when is valentine's day a national holiday? since when do we have to cancel our lives because hallmark and hershey's got together and created a national day of dividing the world into two distinct categories of 'people in love' and 'people who are not currently in love but feel forced to spend a whole day despising people who are because of a deep-hearted insecurity that they are, in fact, un-loved? and NOW, they have successfully convinced my high school girls that they either have to spend their entire DAY pining or swooning over some silly high school crush which has little or nothing to do with love anyways. geesh. ')
heather: (to jamie) yes of course we are! i even made a cheesecake from SCRATCH just for you because it's valentine's day!
jamie: cool! see ya!

Monday, February 14, 2005

If I were a boarder.

If I knew how to correctly handle a skateboard, Arlington would be a very significant portion of heaven these days. Arlington-the-city just opened a brand-spanking-new skate park. Supposedly, it's a super-nice skate park. I went to the grand opening on Saturday, and I watched a bunch of 10-year-olds try to impress their parents with their mad skills. The main feature of the park is a full pipe with an enclosed bowl on one end. I have already dubbed this the 'den o' debauchery' thinking that some crazy stuff will go on inside there, because you can't see inside it from the road. I'm hoping that it won't become a skateboarder baby-making factory.

My friends Erin and Susie came over for dinner-and-a-movie night on Saturday, which made my heart just swim with happiness as we ate beautiful mannicotti and laughingly talked of my friend at Starbuck's who has been titled "Barrista Boy."

And to complete my weekend happiness, the Stillaguamish Athletic Club, of which I am a member, began offering a Sunday afternoon "Yoga Fit" class, in which I learned how to do this.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Identity Confirmed.

Last night I gave the Youth Group Sermon at Arlington Free Methodist Church, where I have been working as a volunteer leader for the last four months. There are usually 70-80 kids that come to their Youth Center on any given Wednesday because the facility not only has an indoor skate park, it also has an Arcade Room lit only by Blacklights with 2 DDR Boards. It's interesting.

So I shared from my heart about what it means to answer the questions "who am I?" and "what do I want to be?" and I showed a clip from "The Bourne Identity" when Matt Damon is trying to figure out who he is and Marie says to him "You will probably forget me!" and he says, "Forget You? You're the only person I know!" (I used this clip mostly because it was Matt Damon and then I twisted it to have an illustrative purpose. The senior high girls affirmed my choice in movie clips.)

And then I shared about how to Jesus, when we're sitting there wondering if anyone remembers us, He is sitting there saying, "Forget you? You're the only person I know!" And I also talked about what kind of person you are when you build your identity around sex/drugs/friends/anger/money compared to what kind of person you are when you build your life around Jesus.

I think it went well. One of the kids I know who came last night for the first time in months came up and specifically told me what a great job I did, so that meant a lot...and one of my girls that I mentor regularly kept referring to me as "Hey Heather Great Sermon" for the rest of the night. So...that was good.

One of the other volunteers said a kid she has been praying for asked her to pray with him about some stuff after the speaking was done, which was awesome and makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Countdown to the Apocalypse

Hours left to finish sermon: five.
# of estimated listeners: 80.
Average age of listeners: 15.3. (Mean 14, Mode 13.)
Estimated length of attention span of listeners: 5 minutes.
Time alloted by Pastor Nathan to be filled with Heather's sermon: 20-30 minutes.
# of words written thus far: 0.
# of video clips chosen thus far: 2.
# of journals/concordances/Bibles stacked on desk for reference: 7.
# of incoherent ideas floating around in head currently: 8,742.
Topic: Identity.
Feelings on current state of being: not available for comment.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Dad is a Famous Rock Photographer.

Back in the 70's, my dad used to go to concerts all the time and take pictures of them. 30 years later, he's been sending the pictures to fansites and people are super-excited and posting them online. So--you should go check out dad's photography work for Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and Wild Turkey. Not only do I have a mountain named after me, I am now also the daughter of a famous rock photographer.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Me and my girls on the Skagit Eagle Float last weekend. We saw 80 Bald Eagles in 3 hours! Woohoo! Posted by Hello


For TWO weekends in a row, I have found myself floating down a river in a boat. Last weekend, it was during our ridiculously program-driven-back-up-planned Snow Retreat--when Bronco and I took 12 of the 76 kids for an Eagle Float on the Skagit River.

The Eagle Float was amazing mostly because it required little to no physical effort and it allowed 80 of us to float down the Skagit River spotting bald eagles (according to one of my girls, we saw 86. i wasn't really looking that close.) We apparently offended one eagle when we mocked him for being a bit on the large side, to which he responded with a loud sqwaaak and flew away.

This past weekend, I went with ten YD friends on a Class II jaunt down the Sauk River. It was only my second time EVER in a hardshell kayak, and the first time is barely above counting because that river was as flat as the 2-liter that's been sitting in my fridge since September. Apparently I was doing well, because the water experts (6 of my 10 friends on the trip are River Guides and 3 of them were under the age of 9 but are practically river guides) kept inquiring as to whether or not I had more experience that I was letting, no, i said. I'm just that good.

What they didn't know is that I'm actually the biggest wuss in the world in high adventure situations, and I really don't like doing anything risky or death-defying. As long as I know I'm safe, I'm fine. So--when you're kayaking next to six professionals, you feel pretty certain that you won't die. And--most importantly, you follow their lead and do what they tell you to do. If they angle their boat to the left, so do you. If they stay on the inside part of the river bend, so do you. If they take the wrong direction and get stranded on the rocks in a shallow part of the river, so do you.

I'm really good about reading the directions. I just bought a new blender and a new toaster, and I always read the instruction manuals, so that I know not to stick my hand in the blender while it's still plugged in--and when there's a chance that I'm going to flip over in my kayak and not know how to roll back over and have to swim down a snowy river in February, I would much rather just do what they tell me to.

Thus--I escaped my river adventure on the Sauk still dry and only slightly freezing and feeling much more daring to learn how to roll my kayak so I can attack some bigger whitewater.

May I say that I love rafting in the winter? Because I do.
May I say that I love having friends who are professional River Guides and spend their winter weekends floating through whitewater? Because I do.

My friends Gretta, Stephanie and I outside of a very Canadian McDonald's in Langley, BC. This was my first Canadian adventure since arriving in Washington six months ago. Stephanie and Gretta are among my many river-fluent friends. Someday, they will let me come visit them in Oregon to raft on the Deschutes or the Clackamas with them, and I will be happy. I'm happy anyways--just because they are my friends. Posted by Hello

My amazing and beautiful Bible Study friends Erin, Esther and Samantha. We love the Lord AND we're hot. It's a pretty dangerous combo. Posted by Hello

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Proverbial Sunrise.

I've been listening to Relient K's new album in my car all week, and there's this line that I keep getting stuck in my head: "I watch the proverbial sunrise coming up over the Pacific." umm...I'm a bit confused about that, because doesn't the sun SET over the Pacific? it's bugging me. I guess the next line says, "I might be losing my mind..." but the song is making me lose MY mind! maybe that's the point.

I've had a rather busy week, preparing for our Arlington YD fundraising banquet in March and preparing the promotional materials for "Bob's Island Getaway," (our re-named spring retreat on San Juan Island.) AND--I've been ridiculously tired after getting 6-8 hours of sleep all last weekend. Aaargh.

Bronco and I are starting a new book study today for training purposes...and after 38 pages, I'm still interested, which is a good sign...(I often abandon books in the first 38 pages and then say 'oh yeah, i've read that' when it comes up, even though i only read the first 38 pages...humorously enough, no one ever notices the difference.) The book is called Hurt by Chap Clark. It's a rather scientific psychosocial look at contemporary adolescent culture with some actual research involved in examining teenagers. This is impressive, considering that most resource books on youth culture speak in sweeping generalizations and grandiose simplifications.

One of the key things that he has identified in the first 38 pages, which I am totally down with is this: "Midadolescents [teens age 13-18] are fully capable of penetrating and insightful dialogue regarding a variety of topics and issues, but when it comes to applying the conclusions reached during these discussions to a relationship or social reality, especially in a different social context, they cannot see the connection" (Clark 37). AMEN! Preach it brother. If I could bottle up all of the ideals and good intentions of my kids and release them as actual actions and behaviors, well, I would not need to be doing what I'm doing.

So I now await Bronco to arrive in the office so we can discuss contemporary youth culture as I wait anxiously to be at the end of today's work day because TOMORROW, I am going kayaking with four friends. Hoorah! It will be my second venture in a hardshell kayak. (That is not a picture of me or of any trick I will be able to do in the near future, just for the record. I will probably flip over, bail out and nearly drown all in the name of recreation.)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I Survived. It was awesomer.

76 kids and eight hours of sleep in three days later, I am still alive. I have survived 'Winter/Snow without Snow Retreat Weekend 2005.' Lots of high's, lots of low's, but really most importantly--most of the kids had a good time and they got to learn lots about Jesus. Whew. Because that was the point.

Our speaker for the weekend was named Dustin, and he gave a great talk about living our lives "awesomer" with Christ. He made up the word--and three days later, the kids are using it as the new buzz word, which is rather entertaining.

Because it was basically us and 76 kids in the Arlington Free Methodist Church Youth Center building for three days, there was lots of down time--meaning there was lots of time for meaningful conversations with kids. I was able to talk to a girl I've been praying about for 5 months about Jesus for the first time--I was able to find my Owyhee River girl a ride to Sunday School, meaning she will probably finally get integrated into a local church--and I was able to talk to a junior high girl who is feeling like it's hard to believe in God right now.

All in all, the weekend for me really was just about surviving a last-minute entertainment-driven no-sleep schedule. and two days later, I'm feeling okay about it.

Although next year, I guarantee I will be praying and fasting for lots of snow.