Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Physical Life - Forever Young

As a kid, I thought I would be at my best in my 30's. I couldn't wait until I got to be "that" age. Now, here I am in my 30's, 35 to be exact and it feels weird. Not that I am unhappy or discontent about it, honestly, I think I rock at being 35 and am doing it with style. The part that is weird is that I feel the same as I did at 20. Who I am hasn't changed. Sure I've matured and look at life with a more experienced perspective, but it truly feels like the last 20 years were mere months ago.

I've been working with teenagers since I practically was one and at first I was the hip, cool leader close to their age and now I'm the quirky lady who is the same age as their parents. Where has time gone? I know it only speeds up from here and must be an even further gap as the years pass, because the woman at 80 no doubt feels the same way. Sure our body changes and our pace might slow down, but the spirit of us doesn't change. I connect with people of all ages. Its usually people who hold onto life with a child-like spirit, not to be confused with immature, that I most feel at home around.

I live my life ageless, its not until I get a public reaction that is age appropriate that I realize, oh yeah, I'm 35! Someone recently commented about my 40th birthday being in 5 years and I just thought, is that even possible? Maybe its because I've been working with teenagers for the last 15 years that keeps me focused on life in the younger years, or maybe its because I have a 3 year old and am an older mom. I know one day I will be 80, unless we get raptured beforehand, and that will probably happen before I know it, but I will be forever Carrie, forever young and forever the girl who loves life, travel and hanging out with a lot of people. I will love jumping up and down at concerts, Karoake and road trips.

I'm excited for the journey ahead even though it will continue to get weird as the woman in the mirror begins to look more foreign to the girl inside. But who I am will not change, so when you look at me, or anyone else, don't see the age, see the person. That older woman down the street was your age at one time, and even though you may not see it, that is still who she is.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Party Life - To Infinity & Beyond

My son loves Toy Story, but while most kids who love the movie are crazy over Woody, my son is a Buzz Lightyear fanatic. His first trip to Disneyland, he went on the Buzz Lightyear ride and its been Buzz ever since. So for this recent 3rd birthday we did a Buzz Lightyear themed party. While he does love the whole Toy Story clan, I really wanted to go in a Star Command direction which is a lot more DIY since all the party supplies are Toy Story. Here's what we came up with:

This was the invitation we sent out to all Space Rangers.

My sister was visiting from North Carolina and volunteered to put her cake making abilities to use and made a Buzz Lightyear cake and cupcakes.

I was impressed by her talents.

I got balloons from Party City and other décor from Amazon and Hobby Lobby to create the different backdrops. We had the cake and party favors on this table.

Besides doing a piñata our party favors were Astronaut Ice Cream. I was able to get larger quantities on Amazon and got the extra ones I needed at Hobby Lobby (used 40% off coupon code in store).

I had originally planned on giving kids Star Command badges as they entered. I made them (several hours of work), but then had last minute printing issues and no time to run out and do elsewhere. Instead as they entered they were met with a backdrop and masks for photos.

Here is the birthday boy in his Buzz Lightyear costume.
I painted to background by using a projector and butcher paper. I then painted in my pencil outline. I used the same technique on the other paintings.
As they came in we had a welcome with Toy Story characters saying hello.

Our meal was rocket fuel (fruits and veggies) and pizza at the Pizza Planet.
We had tables outside and did a couple of games and coloring pages before eating. One of the missions for the Space Rangers was to return the LGM's to the Unimind. They had to free the LGM's from the forces of Zurg (purple balloons) then return them to the Unimind (green bucket) to receive their prize. It was a fun party! I know I went a little overboard for a 3 year olds party, but the 50 people at the house had fun and there are a lot of great memories to keep. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with my little boy!

Spiritual Life - This Soap Box Moment is Brought to You By...

Marriage demonstrates that God has a sense of humor. He'd have to, right?! Two people becoming one. Spend 3 seconds in my home and you will see that my husband and I are very different people, and to say we are of one mind could be a bit in a comedy sketch by any comedian of our day. Yet, marriage isn't funny!

Marriage is a commitment not only between two people, but most importantly, God. Marriage is sacred, but the lack of respect paid to this sacred union in our country today, has made me heartsick. I hear a lot of complaining from the Christian community about their issues with homosexual marriage being legal, but the truth is we need to rewind that tape for a long time before we begin to discuss the problems we have in dishonoring God's Word. Divorce is also listed as a sin in the Bible, yet over 50% of marriages end in divorce, and there is no difference in that statistic within the church. So if we hold God's Word and commands to such high esteem that we are willing to crucify homosexuals for their choices, why aren't we tar and feathering everyone who has been through a divorce or willing to walk away from their marriage without any real work in making it better. Let me not get derailed, this article has nothing to do with homosexual marriage, it has to do with divorce, and let's face it, our disregard for the commandments of God which begins before we even get to the topic of marriage. Sex is also considered a sin outside of marriage, but we somehow pick what we will choose to abide by and what we will blatantly disregard, meanwhile, shaking our finger at the sinners around us while we place a "do not disturb" sign above our own disobedient decisions. We have problems "Godly people." I'm not speaking from a place of perfection, I am a woman who had sex in high school, got pregnant and had an abortion. I was wrong and I am married to a man who has been married two times before I came on the scene. We all make mistakes, but there is a difference between messing up and repenting and making mistakes and calling them good.

Lately, I have watched on as men have turned their marriage into a joke as they have cheated on their spouse and left their children in the dust to shack up with their mistress. I have read books where the lead just storms out with child in tow from the one they vowed to stand by "til death us do part" and asked us, the readers, to get excited in the next chapter when their former boyfriend comes back into the picture in hopes to be the new "til death us do part." Then I have watched one of my favorite tv couples demonstrate through a scripted dialogue just how easy it is to throw away something that is divine. If we don't look into this reality and see we have a problem, then we have issues much bigger than sexually related. We have a misunderstanding of who God truly is. We have devalued the authority of God and humanity as well. Don't get me wrong, I do see couples doing whatever it takes to make their marriage work and still ending in divorce, but if those were the only cases of divorce, divorce wouldn't happen in 50% of marriages. Marriage is not dating. It isn't the same and when I see people treat it similarly leaving marriages as often as people date and break up, it upsets me greatly, especially people claiming to be followers of Christ. Reality would say we are in fact, not followers of Christ, but followers of self, walking where our desires lead us.
Why am I so angry? As I stated in the beginning, my husband and I are two very different people, we have walked quite the challenging road over the 10 years we've been together, and 8 years we've been married. There have been moments when I wondered if we would still be married at this point. At each turn in the road we have continued to fight for this commitment we made before God. I feel like each person who walks away, like they found a better job, spit in my face and mock the work I have put into my marriage. Marriage is worth fighting for and when people decide to break up someone's marriage they aren't just messing with a man and his wife but with God himself. One day we will all see what a mistake that truly is. In the meantime, I will rant. Thanks for hearing me out. I know this might not be a popular post, feel free to comment accordingly. Its quite late, and I need to sleep. Good night.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Work Life - Day at Gleanings

Gleanings for the Hungry is an amazing place. Its a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base that is in Sultana, CA (just outside Dinuba). Their mission is to bring food to the hungry around the world in the name of Jesus Christ. The many ways they serve our world is too numerous for just one blog post, but it is an honor to be apart of their work. This last Monday was the 2nd day I have spent on their property serving and I loved it again.

This first photo is our group praying over a truck that was distributing food. We prayed over 3 trucks this particular day and saw over 2.5 million servings leave the premises. What an amazing impact! I was enamored by the variety of Christian organizations that help distribute food. I was particularly blessed by a man named Joe. Joe lives in Missouri and is retired. He spends his retirement volunteering for Convoy of Hope as a truck driver taking food all over the country. Convoy of Hope is an organization that stays on top of disaster relief aid. They are one of the first on the scene after a natural disaster. They are a huge asset to our country and world and are almost fully run by volunteers! That is amazing.
The majority of our group spent the day working in the soup plant. We took a few meal/snack breaks and too breaks to pray over trucks, but the bulk of our day was spent in this position, pouring soup mix into bags that were packed into barrels to be ready for distribution. Here we have to boys hard at work.

Here are 2 other girls pouring the mix.

Here is the instrument we used to help funnel the soup into the bag. Believe me with your head down you are covered in soup seasoning in a matter of minutes. I thought my dusty soup appearance was attractive, but I don't expect the look to make its ways to the runways anytime soon.

After we filled the bags, different members of our group had to push all the air out of the bags for better fit, and to ensure air tight packs.

Some members of the group rotated between these two jobs.

While the majority of the group worked on soup, these two men readied drying racks for the summer. While this time of year we make soup, the summer months are spent drying fruit to be sent out with the soup mix.

Here is our group of workers for the day. We managed to pack 222,000 servings of soup mix in that day!

After lunch I left my phone on the table while going to the bathroom. I returned to find I had been photo bombed to the tune of 240 times. Here are just 3 sampling photos of what I returned to.

It was a great day! A blessing for us to share in this Christ-centered ministry. We also ended our night after dinner by hearing about a trip to Haiti that some of the staff took. It was a wonderful story of missionaries going just to spend a little time only to stay longer after God calling them to build an orphanage for a woman housing 20something kids! God is doing great things and it is inspiring to hear all about what he is doing through the powerhouse of Gleanings for the Hungry in the Central Valley!