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

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