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.
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