Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Dancing Backwards in High Heels

Things to praise God for today:

* Friends who intercede and pray for me when I cannot.
* T-shirts that finally arrive, even if they are a month late.
* Being able to help a learning disabled student prepare a presentation.
* Being surrounded by encouraging people.
* Seeing Seattle at night from the top of the Space Needle last night during an unexpected visit from my cousin Paul.
* Singing loudly with my iTunes in my office.

"Been juggling, struggling, closing big deals,
dancing backwards in high heels.
Just when it feels like I can't make it through,
you know it sure is nice
to just be the woman with you."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Monday Mornings are Blech.

On this beautiful Monday morning, The T-Shirts are still the bane of my existence. Some of the directors are worried that the sizes for these shirts run too small for the girls, I am still yet to receive half of the order, and I had to call the printer this morning to tell them that the girls' shirts are the wrong color (a conversation during which, he told me that their mainframe was struck by lightning and rendered completely incapable of working this weekend, meaning they no longer have any history of our order.)

And, from Arlington, we still have six boys signed up, but no girls yet, and we're praying for 25. You can imagine that the combination of these two frustrating circumstances make me feel like numero uno priority loser!

And I recite the mantra "They're not saying no to you, they're saying no to God" and breathe in and breathe out and try to greet the day feeling non-oppressed.

On a better note--I will visit my cousin Paul at the Seattle airport after Bible Study, and this evening, I will lead 3-6 teenage girls in a discussion on Chapters 5&6 in Dateable (the book we've been studying). Tonights Discussion: Guys will lie to you to get what they want, and girls will lie to themselves to get what they want.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I Suppose It Will Make a Good Story. Not today.

Bob's Island Getaway. The official T-Shirt. Posted by Hello

Monday 2/7/05. 2:35pm: Email printer about quote for T-Shirts for Bob's Island Getaway.
Wednesday 2/9/05. am: Call printer about quote for T-Shirts as have yet to receive a reply.
Friday 2/11/05. 9:33am: Email printer again about quote for T-Shirts. This time, mark "High Importance."
Saturday 2/12/05. 2:44pm: Receive email from printer. He has been out of town. We will call to discuss particulars on Monday.
Monday 2/14/05. 2:01pm: Email printer with item numbers for the exact shirts I would like to order.
Tuesday 2/15/05. 8:46am: Receive price quote from printer.
Tuesday 2/15/05. 2:56pm: Email printer with desired color, print color, and design ideas.
Tuesday 2/15/05. 9:11pm: Receive response about confirming shirt colors and design ideas.
Wednesday 2/16/05. 3:14pm: Email printer with exact logo and wording for T-Shirt design.
Tuesday 2/22/05. 8:57am: Receive first draft of T-Shirt design from printer.
Tuesday 2/22/05. 2:12pm: Email printer to let him know shirt sizes and design changes.
Thursday 2/24/05. 2:21pm: Receive amended T-Shirt design from printer.
Sunday 2/27/05. 2:04pm: Email printer to let him know design is a go-ahead.
Sunday 2/27/05. 5:51pm: Receive invoice from printer.
Tuesday 3/1/05. Check goes in the mail.
Wedneday 3/2/05. Printer emails to let me know that shirts will be printed either on 3/4 or 3/7 and will go in the mail that day.
Wednesday 3/9/05. Email printer to find out if shirts have been shipped yet.
Wenesday 3/9/05. Printer replies that they will be printed tomorrow.
Tuesday 3/15/05. Email printer to find out if shirts have been shipped yet.
Tuesday 3/15/05. Printer replies with "Don't worry. We will get them to you before the start of your event."
Monday 3/21/05. Email printer to find out if shirts have been shipped yet.
Monday 3/21/05. 9:03pm. Printer replies that they will go out tomorrow afternoon.
Wednesday 3/23/05. Receive call from printer. Shirts are in the mail. Will arrive Friday. Problem with UPS in shipping, so half of the order may not arrive until Monday.
Friday 3/25/05. First shipment of shirts arrive! Guys' shirts look awesome. Girls' shirts are the wrong color. Other half of Guys' shirts will not arrive until Monday.
Fundamental Dilemma: Wanted to have shirts in hand for first week of March to use shirts as a Marketing tool. Instead, will be driving all over Washington state to deliver shirts to YD Areas.

Moral of Story: I am never volunteering to be in charge of T-Shirts again.


Today we are fasting and praying for Bob's Island Getaway, our upcoming YD retreat on San Juan Island on April 1-4. If you would like to join us in fasting and praying on behalf of the event today, please do!

*Pray for students to sign up, and that they would be students who need to hear about the gospel. We only have four of our twenty-one Arlington spots filled so far.
*Pray for the staff to be rested and refreshed for the weekend.
*Pray for the host families who will be opening their homes to small groups of students for the weekend.
*Pray for our speaker (Rusty VanDeusen) and our worship band (led by John VanDeusen, Rusty's son).
*Pray for the final logistical details of the weekend that are getting worked out.
*Pray for safety for the students and staff as they travel (for some it will be a six-hour drive).
*Pray that transportation would be made available for all of the staff and students to get to and from the island, and that it would be reliable transportation.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

on leaving comments.

um, i just realized today that i had the settings fixed all wonky on my blog, so if you were having problems leaving a comment the past few weeks, it should work fine now. sorry 'bout that.

i like comments. they make me feel good about life.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bronzed, Muscled, and Beautiful! Um, right.

Photo by Mark Alway.
See more ministry pictures at
Posted by Hello

I got an email from Suzanne just before I left for my first weekend of raft guide training on Friday, and she wrote, "heather, you are going to be a brave and fearless river rafting guide! hurrah! you know what this means??! you will truly be my river rafting guide from my youth group senior trip. our guide was this attractive, funny, confident, tan, strong amazing chica and i remember sitting in my damp life vest thinking "wowwww" of her. she was so impressive. and soon YOU will be her. ha!"

I got all excited inside at the super romanticized image of bronzed, muscled me, perched atop the back of a raft, confidently yelling out commands to timid and scared Junior High girls, assuring them that we would make it through the white water, and then getting to revel in the moment at the bottom of the rapids, when they have performed so well in the midst of the torrents.

After this weekend, returning home freezing cold, smelling of soggy Neoprene, with arms so sore that I was unable to effectively open the wrapper on my Granola Bar, I know that I am still many days away from being "Glorifyingly bronzed, rippingly muscled, and beautifully confident Raft Girl." The process is much longer than I perceived that it would be...which is just means that it will be a lot of work.

So far though--I'm doing a pretty good job. I can read the water well. I can read the currents. I know where the water's going and what's going to happen to us when we get there. I even know which way the boat is supposed to go to defeat the currents and to use the currents to my advantage.

What I do NOT know how to do--is to be brawny. Both of my trainers from yesterday, after two runs down the river said, "Heather. You need to be more aggressive." To which I weakly respond "I AAAAM..." and then poutingly look at the little twigs I call arms.

I am not an aggressive person by nature. I can effectively tell stories in which I sound very assertive and aggressive, but when it comes down to ME and the RIVER, I constantly think through everything, evaluate it all, and then submissively ask my trainer, "Is that right?" A few times...they would say..."I don't know. Let's see what happens." And I'm thinking, "Great. I'm going to look like a BIG IDIOT!"

So what have I learned about myself and the craft of whitewater rafting over the past two days?
#1--I hate looking like an idiot.
#2--In order to learn how to be a Whitewater Rafting Guide, you pretty much have to look like an idiot.
#3--Even when I think I look like an idiot, no one really thinks i AM an idiot, because they all remember back in the day when they looked like idiots themselves.
#4--The longer you look like an idiot in the process of learning an extremely difficult task, the more rewarding it's going to feel when you realize you actually ARE good at what you're doing and DO NOT look like an idiot any longer.
#5--God often appoints people who seem incapable of doing things to actually do them extremely well because then, at the end of it all, they are so overshadowed at what God has done through them, that they fall down in praise.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Skagit River...

Months ago, as part of Monday Night Girls Bible Study, I instructed the girls to create a list of 100 Goals that they have for their life. I made myself a list too. Actually, I apparently have 142 goals. The goals are varied--like places I want to visit (Machu Picchu, Lhasa, Victoria Falls), skills I want to learn (Martial Arts, Surfing, Driving Stick), ways I want to live my life (shopping at Independents, Staying out of debt, Writing encouraging notes), and things I want to own (a Jeep Wrangler, a big Bay Window, a big dog)....

Since I made the list of 142 goals several months ago, I have checked off one box--I learned how to make good hummus. And I am in process of checking off two more--I am working on #43--learning how to roll a whitewater kayak, and I am going to begin working on #42--becoming an officially trained as Whitewater Rafting Guide. Tomorrow morning I will begin my first of several weekends of training on the Skagit River. The Skagit River is not the most exciting of Washington's River, but if I wanted to launch into that goal, I would basically have no time for anything else for the next few months, so I'm starting with the Smallest of our Washington rafted rivers, and over the next few years, maybe I will progress onwards and upwards.

It's more than just doing something fun and exciting really--it's about the ministry that happens on a river with kids. I will be trained by the Outdoor Adventure part of YD (Reachout Expeditions), meaning I will be trained by my coworkers...and...on weekends when I'm helping out with a trip, I can take Arlington kids with me, which will add new depth to our relationships.

So I'm excited, anxious, and stocked up on my Neoprene, and ready to go...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Fun Facts for a Monday.

This morning was my first hour of volunteering in the Special Ed department at Arlington High School. I'm going to be spending three hours a week with the Juniors and Seniors, helping them work on their required Senior Project.

What did I learn during my visit today? That when one sticks a lighter very close to their sock, it creates a very interesting and elusive flame that encompasses the entire sock without devouring it, burning off all of the sock fuzz. This is what the Junior and Senior Special Ed kids were doing today--lighting their socks on fire. This had absolutely nothing to do with their Senior Projects. (I told one of the kids that I was so impressed that I would go home and tell all of my friends. He told me I was being patronizing...but, as a result of this post, I have proved him wrong.)

On a sorer note--yesterday I went hiking with a friend near Bellingham, Washington--and while the hike in and of itself was a bit long and arduous, the payoff at the high point was well worth it. You can see pictures from the outlook here. We gained about 2000 feet in elevation in about 2 hours, and the trails were rather vertical in spots...but what I absolutely love is that on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in March I can spend the afternoon hiking up very tall hills and talking about Jesus.

Friday, March 11, 2005

From what I can tell...

It looks like last night went pretty well. All the details went fairly smoothly (except for my decorations, which caused the tragic death of not one, but two table cloths...risk management, people!)

Anyways, with the figures we have today, it looks like, after costs, we raised about $17,000 net, which isn't shabby by any means, but a little short of our goal.

I'm just praising Jesus that it went smoothly, and it's all over.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Today is the day.

Last night, I crawled into bed at 9:15pm, and I had been thinking about falling asleep for at least four hours prior.

So--today is Banquet Day. There are still quite a few details, but for now, it is all good.

Pray for us this evening!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Life of Pi...Loving myself.

I can for whatever reason never think of just one thing to blog about. There are always two.

Today, I am struck by the poignancy of two things--but both are about blurred lines between fact and fiction. Two days ago, I finished reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel. The book was so very endearing. It blended the lines between lunacy and sanity, fact and fiction, and by the end of the novel, I was completely in love with the idea that a boy could really survive in the Pacific Ocean sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger.

Last night--in a moment far more real as far as my actual experience of it, I was sitting in my living room with the Monday Night girls, of which there were six, and we were sharing something negative about ourselves that we'd like to change. Not a detail--like, 'I want to be thinner,' but a character issue--like to be less self-centered, less negative, more respectful, etc. Three of the six girls said, "I would like to quit being so negative about myself. I am always putting myself down and thinking horrible things about myself." Their honesty was deep and genuine--to the point that one girl nearly had herself in tears sharing about how horribly she thinks about herself sometimes.

My girls have come to believe lies about themselves--they have replaced the truth of their beauty and worth with something far more destructive, and they are believing the fiction they have been fed. Blurred lines, fact and fiction...where is the truth?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Advil and Details.

My mind is entrenched in details. Thursday is the Annual Arlington YD Fund Raising Banquet, where our goal is to raise $20,000 for Arlington YD's ministry this year. I am very much anticipating this event, because it will be great to introduce new faces to our ministry and share with them. I am also tense and nervous because there are so many details that seem rather unfinished and unravelled--like, of the 32 people I personally invited to sit at my table at the banquet, I have four coming! Ack! The whole process is plagued with details and hi's and low's and disappointments...

But praise God that he is in the midst of it. $10,000 has been committed already in leadership gifts by a few of our biggest donors...and one of my teenage girls who is very nervous about getting up to share a bit of her story with over a hundred adults. Pray for Bronco and I to have stamina this week, for protection and good health for all who are to attend the event, and for the students who will be helping in serving, specifically with the one who will be sharing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The world smells like...

Today, the world smells like chlorine. Because I spent most of last evening, upside-down in a swimming pool, where Adam was teaching me to do this. I have not yet mastered it--but I came very, very close. Upon completing said feat, I will have completed 2 of my 142 life goals: learning how to roll a kayak, and learning how to make good hummus (I didn't learn how to make hummus while in the swimming pool. This event is, in fact, completely unrelated to kayak rolling.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

In the midst of battle.

If we were at war, I would be sitting on a stump in the middle of the field, my spear at my side, looking a bit downcast and tired, just wanting to be back in my living room with a steaming cup of chai.

I'm not quite sure how I can get a full night's sleep and be just as tired as I was when I crawled into bed. But I'm sure there are a few reasons. Here are some things that I ask you to take time to pray for today:

*We found out yesterday that my Grandpa Casey has bladder cancer. This is his second occurrence of cancer in two years (he had lung cancer in winter 03). It is treatable via very odd means--i.e. filling the bladder with Tuberculosis to kill the virus?

*One of my girls is consistently passing me notes after Monday Night Bible Study to tell me how horrible her life is. They seem like cries for help. Last night, her note read "I don't feel like living anymore." I don't think she's at a place where she will hurt herself, but she is certainly discouraged.

*One of my most consistent girls is moving out of Arlington. She won't transfer from Arlington High School, but she will probably not be a consistent Monday Night attendee anymore. I am discouraged, because after six months of being a believer, she still has not integrated into a church home--and she seems discouraged by this move.

*Our banquet is in ten days, and we still need to secure underwriting for all of the tables--which is about $2000-3000 left to raise. Also, our table hosts are getting discouraged because they are not getting great responses in the filling of their tables. Our goal is 20 tables with 8 people at each, which would be 160 people.

*I am exhausted and worried that because I am so exhausted, I will be too sick or too tired to do well at all of the tasks I have before me this week. I don't want Satan to have an in-roads to deterring me from fulfilling God's purposes for encouraging those I minister to this week, or seeking out the resources for this banquet.

I am in the midst of battle, sitting on my stump in the middle of the field, spear in hand, knowing what it is that needs to be done and praying for the energy to do it.