Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Interesting Moment @ the MidSkool Movement

Two weeks ago, we had our MidSkool Movement Youth Service.  On Sunday Mornings at the First Church we have approximately 70 middle school aged youth that attend.  A few months ago, we launched the MidSkool Movement Service once a month on Sunday Mornings.  Luis Abbott and Christian Johnson are the Main Coordinators of this group of young people.  They do an incredible job prepping for activities and connecting with this age group.

The First Church Children's Ministry Department  conducted a Sunday School Training Seminar a few weeks back with Brent Regnart - Children's Pastor of CLC and Bro Jerry McCool, a very awesome and dynamic Children's Evangelist.  Alot of things were mentioned, but one of the main things that stood out - especially when working with a bunch of crazy, hyper, and unchurched young people was that you must have classroom / activity rules communicated.  You cannot enforce rules if you have not communicated them to the youth you are working with.

With that being freshly engraved in our minds; Luis, Christian, and I made a "Rules" Video for the MidSkool Movement Video.  We were so proud of it.  We had fun making it.  Let me give a little insight into youth ministry.  There are alot of challenges in working with today's young person, but there are fun parts of it as well.  Creating media that can be played in your venues, can be alot of fun.  Here is a Video Recap of the Service, and at the end of the video is the Rules Video that we were so proud of.

So back to the story.  We thought we had it down.  All bases covered.
Room 9 was packed. Excitement was in the air.  The theme of the Movement Service was "The Tightest Gift Ever".  We were going to discuss the real reason of Christmas, and why Christ came.  We had wacky games, awesome giveaways, and off tha hook crowdbreakers.  We were even giving away an IPOD.

As we were 3/4 the way through the service, we were making our way to the "message" segment.  Christian was leading us in praise and worship, I felt to take the mic and sing one more song before I began to launch into the "Message".  The presence of God was there.  Kids were on their feet with hands in the air singing and praising God.  We were right in the middle of the song "Here I am to Worship" when out of the corner of my eye, I witnessed a Blue Bomber Kid get up out of his seat and make his way to the second row, and with all that he had began to punch another Blue Bomber Kid in the face.  In fact, it was so bad, that the kid on the second row got knocked down to the ground as the other continually pounded him. Immediately Bro Richard Masoner, who by the way is one of the coolest Dads/Pre Teen Teachers around, jump right in and break it up.  They grabbed both boys and took them out of the room.  I instructed Luis Abbott to contact the Police - and for them to come out and take a report - in case of any injuries that may of occurred. 

The room was quiet.  I looked into the faces of the other MidSkoolers in the room.  I think the state of shock had set in that there was a Royal Rumble in the middle of praise and worship left the room in silence.

See, I failed to mention, that in the Sunday School Seminar with Regnart and McCool - that one of the main points that McCool really hit on - was working with "Object Lessons".  That "Object Lessons" really help a child to identify with the lesson attempting to be communicated.

I had just had the best "object lesson" take place right there in front of the rest of MidSkoolers.  I quickly took control of the situation and said,  "That when you have the Holy Ghost - you don't have to act out in violence.  That when you have the tightest gift ever, You don't have to fight - but the Lord is with you."   I still felt the presence of God, right there in the Midst of Summer Slam.  I continued to minister to this awkward age group.  A group that seeks identity.  A group that struggles with insecurity. A group that seeks acceptance. God was in room 9.

That night, Victoria - a girl that has been riding the Blue Bomber for a while now came back to service & was sitting in the front row with her Sunday School teacher- Shannon Erickson. She responded to the preaching of Bro Ari Prado and was drawn to the alters seeking God.

After a decade of being involved in youth ministry, I am convinced more now than ever that young people really do need Jesus.  One of the many goals our youth ministry has this year is to connect and minister effectively to the Midskool Age Group.  It is a group that the world is quickly trying to impact and affect.  Please continue praying for the Revivalution Youth Ministry in 2009.    

By the way, in the rules video, we failed to communicate " No Fighting".

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Quick Catch Up

Revivalution Youth -> Christmas in the Park & Streets of Bethlehem
Birthday Celebration #1 with BFF's -> P.F. Chang's
Birthday Celebration #2 with my family -> Claim Jumpers
Birthday Celebration #3 with the hubster (forgot camera) -> Carino's
Ollie met Santa -> don't think he liked him
Date night with hubster -> San Francisco/ Union Square
Hosted Christmas Eve at my house -> parents and my aunt and uncle came over (sibling's are in Peru - long story).
Christmas day -> spent with JW's family (forgot camera)
  • I have been 29 now for one week, and must admit that I do feel a little more mature  ;o)
  • I have been off of work for a week, and have had moments of complete boredom (I will be sooo ready to go back to work).
  • So far have been over to the Hassas' house twice for dinner (with a third time approaching this weekend) - thinking we will be wearing out our welcome really soon ;o)
Happy New Year's Everyone! - LW

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Trees, George Bailey, So-Cal & Sanger

There is no season like Christmas. I love Christmas. Here is a picture of our Christmas tree in all its glory.
The other night I was with a group of our young people and I said "Merry Christmas". They looked at me all weird and then like only a teenager could respond..."Dude it's not Christmas yet!"

Christmas for me is the time from Thanksgiving to December 25th. I remember as a child waking up on Christmas morning and running into the Living Room and ripping open gifts. After all the gifts were opened, it was time to clean up all the debris. Then onto Christmas dinner. was over. My mother was the type that would break down our tree the day after Christmas - because it became a fire hazard. So to me, Christmas became not about the 25th - but about the season.

This year, Leah has 2 weeks off of work. I plan on spending time with my honey going out to the crowded malls, and taking a drive to freshly dropped snow in the mountains that surround San Jose. After Christmas, we plan on traveling down to Southern California to see some awesome friends. We will also be heading to Sanger to chill for a bit with our dear friends Tirso and Rachel Gonzales. They have the coolest kids.

If you have not read any of the previous posts, let me reiterate that I love the cold weather. I love the busy shopping malls. The crowded Parking Garages. The Christmas Music. The Gift Cards I will receive from my youth group...hint hint. I love it all. I love saying "Merry Christmas" to the most grouchiest looking people on the street. I sometimes feel like George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life", as he runs through Bedford Falls screaming "Merry Christmas"! - JW

Friday, December 12, 2008


A week from today....I will be turning 29. That's right, you heard me right, there was no mistaking what I said..........29. I will begin my last year of being in my 20's.

I. Am. So. Depressed.

I cannot believe it is happening to me!

A famous person once said:

"I still feel 18 inside, but then I look in the mirror
and see that I don't look 18 anymore, and I think - That is not me, what has happened!?!"
~Bishopette Bobbie Shoemake

That is exactly how I feel. I feel like a fraud, someone that is faking being an adult...I don't feel like one inside.

I have never minded getting older. In fact, I have loved my 20's - they have been great. But to think that next year I will be 30!!!!!! I NEVER thought I would be here. 30 ALWAYS seemed so OLD - and now, here I am one year away from "old".

[A special "Thank you" to the Blue Bomber kid in our class a few weeks ago, who asked how old I was, and then without any hesitation said, "Wow, that is really old" - you did not even notice my eyes welling up with tears, my heart being crushed....I know, I know, I am being dramatic.]

I know I should just roll with it. It is just part of life. But knocking at 30's door has truly made me stop and think. Made me evaluate my life, what I have done, what I HAVEN'T done, where I was SUPPOSED to be at this time in my life. I feel a little panicked when I think of everything I want to do before 30 is here.

Knowing what is ahead gives me a year to come to full acceptance of something I cannot stop or change.

Just bare with me if you happen to walk by me sometime this year and I am having a complete break-down, if Alzheimer's starts to set in, or if you happen to notice any white hairs on my head (DO NOT point them out unless you are willing to comfort me as I cry).

You never know, maybe the rapture will happen next year and I will get to stay 29 forever. -LW

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Photo of me and my sister when I was 10 years old

It felt like someone was holding our building, gave it one rough shake and let go. It was an earthquake. We have had two so far this morning that were centered 6 miles from where I work. They were 3.0 & 1.4 magnitude.

The California native that I am hates earthquakes, but would much rather have them then hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, etc. You never know when they are coming (the whole "not knowing" works really good for me). While they are happening, I AM terrified, scared, heart racing, looking frantically for a doorway/desk to duck and cover (like I learned in elementary school), but an hour later my fear has been forgotten. I like it that way.

I remember the Loma Prieta Earthquake in '89. I was 10 years old. At the time we were living in a mobile home in Union City. It was so strong that our mobile home moved a few feet forward (with all of us inside), and the car across the street rolled and crashed into our home. It was CRAZY to say the least. We did not have a TV, so I remember going to our neighbors and watching the bridge collapse and the aftermath of chaos as a result of the earthquake. I will never forget it. -LW

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap #2

Annually we meet on the day after Thanksgiving, with Sam & Monica Hassas and Johannes & Tawni Escudero for dinner.  I think this year may be our fifth or sixth year of doing this.  I look forward to it every year.  Not meeting up after a conference, not going out to eat after a youth event...just getting together for the sole purpose of having a good time.
Usually Monica or I host it, but this year we boycotted all of the work and opted for a Maggiano's feast instead...who could resist that???? 
JW and I feel so blessed to have these two couples in our lives.  They are truly GOOD PEOPLE, and we feel honored to call them FRIENDS.
JE, TE, SH & MH ~We love you guys and look forward to another 50 years of Post-Thanksgiving Dinners with you! -LW 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend - Jwest

What an awesome Thanksgiving Week we had. The Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, Pastor threw down. It was not your traditional "Thanksgiving" Message. It was incredible. It ended with everyone flooding the alters just so grateful for the blessing of God. It was awesome.

On Thanksgiving, Leah and I did the annual Turkey Day at three locations. We started the day at my mom's house for a few hours. Then off to Leah's Parents for a bit, and then finally concluded the day at Sam and Monica's house. Leah and Monica were crazy, going shopping at the Great Mall at Midnight on Thanksgiving night. I fell asleep on Sam's Couch till 3 am when they came home from their Shopping adventure....WITH NOTHING! I am sure Leah will blog about it later.

What was even better this week was that Leah began decorating for Christmas. For those of you who don't know Leah very well, she loves adding things to our home. She has an awesome sense of decor and style. She worked at Ethan Allen for a few years when we first started dating, so she has a good sense of home decor - but not at Ethan Allen prices!.
What is so great about Leah, is that she is constantly shopping for really neat things to make our home an even more welcome and desirable place to be. Even though I complain at times for the hours she spends at Home Goods in Gilroy, she does an incredible job. You all need to stop by our house in December.

On Friday, we spent the whole day at home recuperating from a very festive Thanksgiving Thursday. Later in the evening, we met up with long time friends Johannes and Tawni Escudero and Sam and Monica Hassas at Maggianos for the annual Thanksgiving Connect. What a great time we had laughing and enjoying each other's company. We all came back to our house, and talked until 1:30 in the morning! I really appreciate the times that I am able to spend with quality friends.
I love the season of Christmas. Believe it or not, I love the cold weather, crowded malls, packed out parking lots, and the hustle and bustle. We have spent 2 of the last 3 Christmas' in Manhattan. If I had my way, we would be there again this year. I can't wait for all the Holiday Parties, and festive things we have planned this month.

Monday, November 24, 2008


For those of you none DOG LOVERS.....STOP reading this post NOW. Everyone else, please continue on.....

For a while now JW and I (by this I mean ME) have been debating over whether or not to get another dog. Ollie has been an only child for four years. He is absolutely, positively, without a doubt the most spoiled dog I have ever known. He does not share toys, food, our attention, or anything else for that matter!

To make him a more rounded dog (and ease the guilt I feel over leaving him alone for hours and hours at a time) I thought a sibling would be "sibling" I mean a fellow dog companion =) Two people at our church currently have for sale male Yorkie puppies(full breed, which is what Ollie was SUPPOSED to be). They are the absolute CUTEST things ever.

The pros of getting a puppy would be:

  1. Puppies are SOOOOO cute
  2. Ollie would have to share
  3. Ollie would not be so lonely during the day (we assume he is)
The cons would be:
  1. House training
  2. Puppies chew stuff up
  3. More $$$ for dog food/Vet/grooming
  4. Puppies are hyper
  5. We don't want to be known as "The DOG PEOPLE"....(you know those people...there is dog hair everywhere, it smells like dog when you walk in, and they let ALL of their dogs jump/climb all over you....I shudder at the thought)
To a non-dog-lover-thinker, looking at this list would answer this question for me, but still I am so torn. Ollie is (almost) perfectly trained to our lifestyle. He does not require much work on my part. A puppy would change EVERYTHING (on a side note....I would imagine this is how parents feel when they debate over having another child...hahaha).

What should we do? Should Ollie share the Christmas card picture this holiday season? -LW

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Week Early...But I am EXTREMELY Thankful for...

  1. God's love, GRACE & mercy.
  2. JW - He is the best. Need I say more?
  3. My Pastor and His Family - with different circumstances that have happened in my life, the Shoemakes have really become like FAMILY. I love them very much (and I am not just saying that because I know they read our blog..haha).
  4. My Family - I am VERY blessed to have been raised in a great home. I have wonderful parents and my siblings are pretty cool too. I hated it while growing up, but now LOVE the fact that I come from a large family.
  5. My Life - Though FAR from being perfect - I have a GREAT life compared to many others.
  6. Friends - I don't know how I could survive without my friends....I would surely drive JW CRAZY!
  7. Ollie - I know, I know.....many of you are SHOCKED that he is this far down the list, but in case we have fooled you into thinking differently - he is a dog.
  8. Living at the Church - I feel so connected to EVERYTHING that goes on at the church. I will miss so many things if/when we move. (Westside - UPC Cribs Video coming soon).
  9. My Job - God has BLESSED me with a great job that is flexible and gives me time to do MANY church related things (as well as blog..hahaha). The pay isn't bad either ;o)
  10. Living in San Jose - Though I dream of moving back East for a year(just to experience the SEASONS), I know that being a California native I would DIE. I am blessed to be able to live in the most beautiful city in the US.

There are a MILLION more things that I could list, but these are just a few that have been on my mind this week. - LW

Monday, November 17, 2008

Amazing Weekend - Jwest

What an incredible weekend we just had. It was extremely busy, but yet so worth it all. A group of our MidSkool girls attended the Esther Conference in Stockton. A Big thanks to Kellee, Tina, and my awesome wife Leah for taking the young ladies. I heard they all had an awesome time, and I'm sure Leah will blog it at a later date. Here is a quick glimpse @ the Esther Conference in Stockton :
While they were all @ the Conference, we took advantage of it and had an All Guys night @ the Church. It was crazy fun - with Airsoft, Basketball, Video Games, and food. I really enjoyed connecting to our young men at this event.
Early Saturday morning we had a Blue Bomber Blitz. The last few weeks our attendance has not been as high as times past, so our objective was to get out in the neighborhood and blitz it for a few extra hours. We had a great turnout of Blue Bomber Workers as well as a few of our Sunday School Teachers. We had 42 more kids on the Blue Bomber this week than we had last week...the extra effort payed off!
Sunday was the highlight of my weekend. We had our First MidSkool Movement Youth Service on Sunday morning. The situation that we are having is that on any given Sunday we have approximately 70 MidSkoolers @ the First Church. We have been trying to get them to our Friday Night Venue, but for whatever reason we only get a few of them on Friday. So, we decided to bring a Friday Night Element to Sunday Morning. While the Children were downstairs having Super Kids Church - we packed room 9 with 70 MidSkoolers. It was incredible. We had rockin media, incredible worship led by Christian and Junia, and a great response to the message. At the conclusion of the message, Kids just poured into our "alter" area. They all came with their hands raised seeking to draw closer to God. The majority of them didn't know how to pray, what to say, or even what to do. In the alters, it was very instructional - where I had to teach them how to pray- and open their heart to God. I loved it. After all the Midskoolers left the room and the staff was downstairs, I remained in the room and just basked in the presence of God. I rejoiced all by myself for what God had done in the lives of those that responded to his calling to draw closer to him. I wanted to give special "props" to Christian Johnson, who labored on Saturday setting up the room and making sure it was perfected. Christian is extremely gifted and he did an incredible job connecting to the Midskoolers this weekend. Check out this quick recap:

Today is my brother Mark's 19th Birthday. I can't believe it. He is in his first year in College. Mark is very involved in his church's youth ministry as well as being a dedicated volunteer for the Christmas in the Park Committee here in San Jose. Tonight we intend to meet up with Him and my Mother @ the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate His Day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Weekend -LW

JW = Youth Connect
Great Couple = Wedding
Making Caramel Apples = Learning Lesson
Canceled Sunday School Class = Breakthrough
Bake Sale = Esther Conference
Abandoned Shoes = Shout Service

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

TRC - Famous Friends

Needed something to post this here it is! A friend found this picture online. For the whole article go here. -LW

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Legendary Blue Bomber Crew

A few days ago, my honey - Leah, wrote about her experiences with the Blue Bomber Kids - who happen to be the group of children and adults who ride our Buses on Sunday mornings.  There is alot to be said about this group of children.  Being involved has revolutionized my life.  I had never been involved in something like this, but it is amazing.  
Just this morning, Travon, a kid from the neighborhood missed the bus, and didnt want to miss Sunday School, so he jumped on his bike to get to First Church.  The Funny thing about this was that when I saw his bike, I started bustin up cause even his bike was "pimped".  He had taken some foil and made his wheels all bling.  I had to take a picture of this.  In the near future I will introduce you to a few success stories coming out of the Blue Bomber Ministry.

I want to bring special attention to the Blue Bomber Crew.   This incredible team of young people / adults work so hard. They are the hardest & most dilligent workers at the First Church. There is so much that this crew does behind the scenes to gain the trust, respect, and affection of the kids they pick up every Sunday Morning.  

They Do midweek prayer walks & followup.  Then go out on Saturday mornings for 2 hours to reconnect.  Then on Sunday they are here as early as 7:30 am and leave around 1:00 pm.  They are the first to arrive and last to leave on Sunday Afternoons.

I love the dedication that these workers have for the Kingdom of God and for the children of the neighborhood.  Not all are in this picture that was taken today, but I wanted to give a glimpse of the Blue Bomber Crew to those following the Westside Story.  These individuals inspire me.  They are truly world changers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random Things I Love About JW - (in no specific order)

  • I love it when he makes himself LAUGH - usually I wind up laughing at HIM laughing at himself, and not at the reason he is laughing.
  • I love it that he thinks that OLLIE is the CUTEST DOG in the world....even though I know he really isn't. This gives me hope that someday he will love our kid's no matter what they wind up looking
  • I love that he lets me buy things for myself, and NEVER complains about the cost
  • I love the fact that he was the first guy I EVER went out on a DATE with.
  • I love it that he let's me be a BOOKWORM...he never complains when I choose reading over cooking, cleaning or laundry.
  • I love that he is REAL - what you see is what you get.
  • I love that he LOVES people. Really loves people and sincerely cares about them.
  • I love it that he often makes me LAUGH until I CRY.
  • I love that he likes to HAVE FUN.
  • I love it when he tries to SING a song that he does NOT know the words to.
  • I love listening to him answer phone calls from telemarketers, the accents he uses are HILARIOUS!

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder"......I was without JW for 4 days.

I missed him. -LW

Friday, October 24, 2008

United Way/Sacred Heart

As part of the United Way campaign, I was privileged to volunteer at the Sacred Heart Community Center yesterday. The thing that I love the most about working for Johnson & Johnson is their commitment to improving their world. There are a number of volunteer opportunities offered throughout the year. A few that I have been a part of are:
  • Family Giving Tree - wrapping/sorting Christmas gifts for children
  • Tour De Cure - Bike ride to raise money for a cure for diabetes
  • United Way/Senior Center - played games/entertained seniors for an afternoon
  • Second Harvest Food Bank - Food sorting and coordinating a food drive

After yesterday, Sacred Heart Community Center has my vote as the #1 community program in San Jose. No more will I give any donations to any other center (i.e. Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army). All services offered by Sacred Heart are FREE.

While there I was placed to work in the Clothes Closet. I saw everything from:

  • cars dropping off donations
  • items being sorted (the qualifications being -don't keep anything you wouldn't wear)
  • clothes being hung on hangers (this was my job)
  • then being put out on display
  • and then being taken by "customers"

I literally would go through the bins to try and find the "good stuff" to put out, and in a matter of minutes they would be gone. My eyes watered a number of times (I know....I know....those of you that think I am insensitive are SHOCKED), when the kids would come in and get all excited over a used Spiderman tshirt, or a man asked me if there were any dockers in the bins for him to wear to work, also by watching the disabled man in a wheelchair take tshirts that looked like they had seen better days.

The saddest part of the day (I must admit that a tear fell over this one) happened on the food side of the center. A mother and her baby walked up to the counter asking for formula. The center had given away all that they had, so the mother then went to the water fountain and filled the baby's bottle with water. To think that for however long, until the mother could get formula, the baby would be drinking water.....this broke my heart. I wanted to track her down, find her, take her to the store, get her whatever she needed for her baby. I am sure that if I was working on the food side when it happened I would have totally broken down. I know that there are situations like this all of the time, but for it to be right in front of you, and for you to have the ability to change it.........

When I went home last night I talked with JW about the center. I really want to have our young people volunteer here before the end of the year and am looking at when/what we can do. My hubby has ALWAYS wanted to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving Day so maybe this is the year for us to GIVE.

Once again I feel overwhelmed with all that God has blessed me with. We don't have much, but I am so very, very thankful for it. -LW

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a Harvest Party!

Our Youth Ministry's Wild West Harvest Party was Friday night. We had an awesome time with everyone coming dressed in Cowboy hats, plaid shirts, and cowboy boots. We Did a Mystery Scavenger Hunt @ Valley Fair mall. Imagine this - 65 young people running through the mall with only 30 minutes to take as many group pictures as they possibly can all over one of the biggest malls in the bay area. To say the least, security was called and wound up chasing our young people through the mall. The youth jumped onto the bus - and we were out of there. We rallied back at the Church and had an incredible meal provided by Leah, Sis. Tasha Shoemake, Kellee, and Tina. They continued the "western" theme with a menu of bbq'd chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, chili, Frito boats, garlic bread - and topped it all off with root beer floats for dessert. The Youth spent the conclusion of the evening playing interactive games and connecting. One of the interactive games that was fun was called "Two Word". This game involves 2 people staring into each others face - and the goal is to only say two words to make the other person laugh. Crazy, crazy games. A lot of laughs to say the least.

For all of those youth ministers that think they have to have a huge budget to put on a successful evening - you must learn to improvise. We needed a back drop that could be used for a stage as well as a picture op, so we got some old Pallets, painted them brown, and zipped tied them together to make a cool looking backdrop. We then put "WANTED" posters (which I made) all over it to make it look like a wall. Part of the challenge / fun of working in youth ministry is attempting to be as creative as possible, with limited resources. HOWEVER, If anyone is reading this and would like to contribute some money to our youth ministry.....we will not deny you your blessing. - JW

Check out the Recap from Friday Night:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wild West Youth Party Preparation...

This Friday night is our Youth Ministry's Harvest Party. The Theme is - The Wild West. A lot of preparation is going into this night. We will definitely post pictures after the event. I had a great time taking pictures of some of the young people last night after service. We are making "WANTED" posters to be hung up around the Fellowship hall as decor.

By using the "WANTED" Posters, I am hoping to relay an additional message to the young people that they are "WANTED" by God and by the church.  November will be a month that we launch the "WANTED" Campaign.  In a day and society that young people are in search for identity, acceptance, and to be loved....the CHURCH extends the hands to those in pursuit.  For they are "WANTED".  No young person left behind.

If you have any ideas or thoughts on some wacky wild west games, please feel free to send them our way.

Here is a sneak peak at JoJo's wanted poster.


I have been reading a blog about a couple that have eliminated their debt using the Dave Ramsey method. Though I am not yet completely sold on him, I must admit that the debt free living part sure sounds good.

The thing that I don't like about all of these "get out of debt" programs, is.........the lack of spending. No more can you run to the store and pick up a little something - "just because". Gone are the days of "must have" shoes, or clothes - I don't know if I could actually live like that.

I once read in a book that there are two things you can do to get out of debt:

  • Cut Back
  • Make More Money
I am not really a Cut Back kinda girl, so therefore my only other option would be to Make More Money.

That being said.....I am having a yard sale. Actually it should be called an apartment sale (since we do not have a yard). A couple weeks ago I finally finished my spring cleaning, and decided to get rid of EVERYTHING that I have not used in the last year: home decor, accessories, purses, shoes, dishes, clothes, clothes and clothes.

I have finally come to my limit of having STUFF. I am tired of digging looking for something I vaguely remember having. I am done.

Don't get me wrong, I am sure you will still find me on the clearance aisles of my favorite spots: Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Macy's, Nordstrom Rack, Target. But, I can guarantee that from now on I will be a wiser shopper (as I recall all the hours it took me to clean out 7 years worth of STUFF that I just HAD TO HAVE).

If you are in the area feel free to stop by and pick up a few things for yourself- you deserve it. :-)

~picture was taken of me and Ollie after church last night, doesn't he look so cute with his new haircut!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Addendum to: Sunday School Class Part I - Bus Kids

Yesterday I had to confiscate a blue bandanna that one of the bus girls had been flashing to the other girls.
I was dying laughing inside, while I was sternly telling her to "Hand over her rag", thinking of ME being in this situation.
All in all it was one of the best classes we have had in a while.
Later this week I plan to finish this post with the aspect of the church girls that are in my class.
Until next time....-LW

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What a Night!

Friday night is our Youth Ministry Night. It is our goal to have a variety of events / activities in our department that would be fun, challenging, and desirous to attend.  Its the end of a school week, and our mission is for young people to feel up to the challenge to go to youth night rather than go home and go to sleep.

Last night was our MidSkool Movement / HiSkool Revolution Break out Night.  Luis Abbott along with Christian Johnson are developing into some awesome leaders.  They are helping coordinate this huge group within our youth ministry. On Sunday Mornings, we have well over 60 Middle School youth.  The last few days they have strategized, decorated, and studied for a big launch on Friday Night.  Room 9, which is shared with 20 different ministries was the location of the MidSkool Movement last night.  I was unable to be upstairs during their Session, but I heard they did an awesome job.

Last night the subject being discussed in both break out sessions was that of GRACE - and how it applies to a teenage life.  It was amazing discussing the topic of Grace, and understanding that Christ Loves us Unconditionally and that it is the unmerited favor of God.  I think it is a subject that not a lot of apostolic young people fully grasp.  That it is through the Grace of God that we obtain MERCY.   As I began to share with the High School and Young Adults Session, I was excited to see the attention of first time visitors so tuned in.  It was awesome.  When a unchurched youth hears that there is a God that loves them and cares for them - while they are sinners, its great to see their eyes light up.

This morning I met with the Blue Bomber Crew in the Prayer Room and we had an incredible prayer time.  God refreshed and renewed our Bus Team.  I am astounded every week how tenacious our Crew is to reach unchurched kids.  It is very inspiring.  At times they motivate me, just by their continual dedication to their ministry.

That's it for tonight.  Sunday Mornings always come quickly. - JW

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sunday School Class Part I - Bus Kids

Today I thought I would post about my Sunday School class. A little background (for those of you that do not know):

  • The class is for Teen Girls grades 7th-8th
  • We average 30 girls every week (about half are church girls, and half from our bus ministry)
  • I assist our Pastor's wife, Sis Tasha Shoemake, in teaching this class

If you know anything about our church, then you are aware of the BLUE BOMBER. I cannot begin to tell you how our bus ministry has revolutionized ME. I have been raised in the church my entire life. Never have I had to deal with the following:

  • 14 year old girls getting pregnant (and wanting to keep the baby because "they will get a check for it every month")
  • talking girls out of fighting (I have to admit this one is more due to the fact that I would not want to get hurt trying to break one
  • taking class pictures and having to tell girls to "Please put down the gang signs"
  • trying to convince girl's that at the age of 12 they ARE NOT IN LOVE
  • lack of work ethic
  • lack of respect/disobedience to teachers/authority (I have the UTMOST respect for the teachers that have these kids Monday-Friday)

The hardest thing for me is trying to relate to these girl's - because I can't. I don't know how they feel, I can't relate to the things they deal with, I never have felt the pressure's that they feel. For the first time I feel bad that I have always had parent's who I knew loved me, wanted me, made me feel good about myself, and who are still married.

Lately this has been my struggle. I want so badly to know what to tell them, to help them, to change them, to want them to be better people, to want them to live for God....but I don't know how.

I hope that it does not seem like I am complaining, I love working with these kids. I find it challenging and it is continually taking me out of my comfort zone (which I need to get out of anyways). If I had to change something it wouldn't be a bus kid or the way they act, it would be me - that God would help Me to be what they need.

Bus Ministry has impacted my life. It has changed my view of people. It has changed my view of life. It has helped me want to give to those less fortunate - not just for the sake of giving, but because I have met the less fortunate. It has given me more love for people. It has made me appreciate everything a little more. It has made me want to make a difference in my world, my neighborhood.

I am a better person because of it -LW

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Interesting Monday Evening...

I was reminded of the multiple purposes a youth minister serves to a local church on Monday Evening. Not only is a youth minister expected to connect, motivate, encourage, and entertain at times.  There are times when a Youth Minister becomes so much more.  I am renewed in my role after Monday Night.  

I am unable to go into details, but I thank the Lord I was able to connect to a young person that really needed someone.  Often times we get so caught up with programs, activities, making sure everything goes just right - that we miss what its all about - and that is simply being able to not only connect, but to build solid relationships with young people.

I am anticipating a great week ahead.  This Friday Night is our MidSkool Movement and our HiSkool Revolution Break out Sessions.  The Theme of this Friday night is "Grace - and how it applies to my life."  So often times we expect our young people to know what the Grace of God is.  I really believe the subject of Grace is what our generation needs to fully understand and grasp.

I am about to enjoy a cup of coffee and spend some time chillin with Ollie. - JW

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Post Maximum Velocity thoughts..

The highly anticipated Maximum Velocity Youth Conference has come and gone. It was absolutely an incredible 24 hours. On Friday night, there were well over 1,100 people and on Saturday around 350. The worship of the young people and the power of God that swept through the alters was just highlights in themselves. But when you add the ingredient of great fellowship and makes the weekend perfect. Leah and I were able to spend time this weekend with some great friends. As I previously stated I really enjoy the friendships that I have with other youth pastors and ministers from other churches.

The more time goes by, and the older I get - the more I value quality friendships. I was able to hang out with Steve Caballero, Stephen Barker, Eli Lopez, Brandon Miraflor, Brad Allard, Chris Salyards and just a ton of incredible dudes. What I love about all these guys is that the common thread between all of them is that they are so "in love with Jesus". I know it sounds cheesy, but its the truth. I watch how these men in their respected cities and churches turn their worlds upside down, but then are able to come together on a district level and work towards a common goal of impacting the lives of young people.

It was very interesting on Saturday Night, we went to the Cheesecake Factory with Jesse & Angela Pinero, Matt & Danelle Silviera, Adam & Misti Wiley, and Marisa Luke. I had a great time. Matt Siliviera was sharing some interesting famous "boo boos" of his beloved. We spent a few hours there hanging out and enjoying a really fun conversation. Maybe others will blog about it....

I have a big day tomorrow with the Blue Bomber Crew. It is Super Kids Church Sunday. I always look forward to those days. James Wang and Kevin Theobald do an awesome job with the 200 plus kids that will be in the Youth Center. I will blog on Monday about the results of Super Kids Church.


Thursday, October 2, 2008


I just spent the last 3 hours in a Sunday School Meeting with some incredible people. They are the leaders of the Blue Bomber Crew and the Management team of the First Church Sunday School. We were discussing a possible solution to facilitate ongoing growth in our classes. As I sat there and listened to each individual speak, the more I really understood the concept of communication. It is so important if the team is going to be successful or progressive.
Even though, I may not have agreed with every perspective that was being given, I still respect that the form of communication was in progress. It helps me understands how and what a person is thinking or feeling. It is my goal to be communicative with the people I work with. From Volunteers to even friends. The concept of communication in our walk with God is even so crucial. Just my random thoughts for the night.

Maximum Velocity is tomorrow night. I am looking forward to Tirso and Rachel Gonzalez of Sanger staying with us. I am anticipating seeing friends from all over Norcal. Connecting to friends is always a highlight at conferences.

I think I'm gonna rock a crazy pocket square @ Maximum Velocity. Wayne Francis Style - JW

I've been tagged (Thank you Monica) -LW

6 unspectacular things about me:

1. I have three brothers and one sister
2. My family has always had reptiles as pets (snakes, lizards, tortoise's- to name a few)
3. I can read an entire book in one sitting....if it is good
4. My very first date with my husband was when I was 15 years old
5. I worked at Ethan Allen for six years...thus began my furniture fetish
6. My sister and I share the same middle name....Renay

I am going to break the rules, and not tag anyone.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Update #2

This has to have been one of the nicest weekends I have had in a very long time. It had all the makings of being perfect:

  • I was able to fellowship with other young married couples (a rare treat)
  • I learned to cook something new (I am enjoying this more and more)
  • I read a good book (Anne of Green Gables..don't you just love Gilbert...sigh)
  • I went to dinner with a girlfriend
  • and last but not least, spent some quality time with my hubby
Friday night after work I met one of my dearest friends for dinner, we went to PF Chang's. I do not have very many close friends -the saying "quality not quantity" totally applies to me in this area. I really appreciate the few that I feel I can be 100% real, 100% transparent with. Rev. KH- "Thank you for letting me be me, and not holding it against".

Saturday Ollie woke me up at our standard time of 6am for his potty break(don't you just love apartment living?). After that I was up so decided to give him a bath - I think this traumatized him a little since he was barely awake.

Saturday night's dinner was a success. Everything somehow just turned I wound up making only the Brisket and Latkes (potato and vegetable) and purchased the Challah bread- I was able to find a grocery store close by that had 3 aisles of Kosher foods. There was such a wide selection of food at the dinner. The best new dish that I tried was called Pupusas. For those of you that do not know, this is a dish from El Salvador. Carlos and Ruth Zamora brought them, and they were DELICIOUS!

Sunday was busy. In my Sunday School class we had around 28 girls. I LOVE spending Sunday mornings with my class - they are such a great group of girls (SS class post to follow soon)! The weekend ended with an AWESOME evening service.

I am usually EXHAUSTED on Monday's. Today is different though. I feel ready to face the week. We are hosting Maximum Velocity this week. I am looking forward to seeing many friends I have not seen in a while. If you are in the area, make sure and stop by. - LW

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