Friday, April 27, 2007

VBS07

Meet my robot - VBS07! I made him for our VBS registration kickoff this weekend. He plays the recruitment DVD from the VBS and will be right next to our sign ups. I'm sort of proud of my creation! I consider myself somewhat creative, but often I lack in execution. This almost makes up for the fact that I'm at work after 5 on my day off with a cold! Am I a geek or what?!





Thursday, April 26, 2007

This Church is a ZOO!

Last night was an awesome night at church. It was the last night of our Wednesday night programming and that meant it was occasion for a big party! (Probably the confirmation teachers thought this was especially necessary) Last year, we had a dunk tank and a bouncy castle which were a big hit. This year we went all out. We had our standard cookout - all very kid friendly - hot dogs, chips and cookies mostly! We had the campfire up and running and all the games out (volleyball, craigball - some confirmation game they made up, hockey meets basketball and soccer, and the parachute). We had a bungee run for the bigger kids - that air filled thing with two alleys and you attach the kids to bungees and have them race to put a velcro piece down the lane the farthest before they get hurled back by the bungee (fun!)

But...

The most fun of all was the petting zoo! It was a BIG hit. We had sheep, a calf, two goats, a donkey, a pony, some ducklings, some chicks and some bunnies! The bunnies were the best part. In fact, they were so popular that it was hard to get a picture of just them because the girls crowded around so much. Here are a few shots from the party - mostly just the animals!

The poor calf was so scared. It was his first time at the petting zoo and he didn't know what to think. In the end he laid down as far enough from everyone's reach as he could. Poor fellow.


The bunnies. They were a huge hit. They kept trying to jump out of the pan. By 5 minutes into the party all the elementary girls had the bunnies named and were showing me who their favorites were.


I love the goats. And it is not just because my husband and I are known as Mr. and Mrs. Goat to his friends. They were a hoot. They kept trying to find food from anyone or anything.


I'm Baaaaaad!


These fellows were in the extra pen. They are wearing the costumes from prior VBS's. They include our custodian (the monkey), our associate pastor (the polar bear), and one of our confirmation teachers (the lion). While we were not supposed to feed the other animals these guys did like to be fed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

8 months!

What is...

The amount of time it took me to go through a 2 Liter bottle of Purell.

I may have an addiction! *Blush*

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wish it were Friday!

Ugh, I'm still at work and fighting a cold which has been worsening all day. At least I think it is a cold, it could be really bad allergies, but either way I'm feeling rather miserable. There is a lot to do this week, and I've now entered one of the busiest times I've got. Our Wed night programming ends tomorrow and we are having a big party with a petting zoo! I'll have to post pictures tomorrow. I'm excited.

(The best part is that the petting zoo owner is bringing an extra pen and our associate pastor and two confirmation mentors are putting on old VBS costumes and joining the petting zoo. So we'll also have a polar bear, lion and a monkey!)

This Sunday is our big signup push for this summer and next fall and there is lots to do for that. I'm going to make a robot to advertise our coming VBS (SonForce Kids - spy type of stuff). Hopefully he'll turn out well.

It seems like life is getting busy. My May calendar looks completely packed! Still there will be a lot of fun stuff there too. I just hope this cold doesn't decide to linger.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Oh Jonah!

Today was our children's musical. They did the musical Oh Jonah which was very cute and full of reminiscing for me. You see, I did this musical myself when I was in middle school church choir. I was...the whale. It was a very fun musical to do but my part did lead to some unfortunate jokes from my friends and choirmates. But I did have a cool solo part, even if it wasn't the biggest one. (Yes, the whale does sing in this musical...Jonah teaches the whale to sing so it opens up wide and Jonah can escape. The angels told him to do this.....it isn't the most biblically accurate but it is cute).

This continues the nostalgia weekend since yesterday was spent with at my old school, playing in a band and seeing old friends. It was so much fun to be playing in an ensemble again and to be on campus enjoying it. I got to play Alleluia, which is really the the choral Alleluia by Ralph Manuel but arranged for band. We played this piece at the end of every Valhalla concert and it was so moving to play it again. The college kids even let me take one of its solos. :) College was such an amazing time for me and it was nice to relive a small part of it.

And I got to see some good friends again. The conductor and founder of Valhalla was there and it was so nice to reconnect with him again. He's back in the cities now so I may actually get to meet up with him and his wife sometime which is always fun. I got to see several good friends from the band too. And I did see my old friend, J as well.

Compared to the worry from my last post, the reunion with J when exceedingly well. We did not talk about any of the trouble the kept us from talking for 6 years, but told memories of the fun band times instead. She acted just like she'd been friendly to me for years, and I did too. It was nice to be friendly and uplifted. We exchanged info at the end of the evening. I don't know if I'll hear from her or we'll get together again (she does live an hour and a half away) but I do feel some closure in this. I feel like I have a friend back, at least partially.

So yay for nostalgia weekend! Woohoo!

Friday, April 20, 2007

An old friend?

Tomorrow I'm heading to my alma mater, St. Olaf, for the 10th year reunion of a student concert band that was formed while I was there. When I was a freshman I luckily made it through auditions and found myself in the last chair of the 2nd concert band on campus. One of my colleagues in the trumpet section was a fellow who was slightly (ok, maybe more than slightly) cocky, but humbled by not making the St. Olaf Band in his freshman year. His first week here he was commiserating about that fact to one of the conductors or profs that he wasn't in Ole Band and discovered that 100+ freshman did not make any ensemble at all.

This amazed him and frustrated him. He thought that any one who wanted should have an opportunity to make music at St. Olaf, and so being a future music educator he decided to form his own student band. Another freshman with experience conducting joined as the co-leader, and I joined right away, playing in the band and serving as their band librarian (since I was already employed by the school as a music librarian - a sweet student job that I had for 4 years).

For 4 years I was in this band(maybe only 3 1/2 - senior year was odd) . I made close friends there. I met my husband in the band (arguably, it may have been in chapel, we don't remember). It was a wonderful place for me and I remember it fondly. So we have a 10-year reunion tomorrow on campus - 10 years since we discovered that over 100 people didn't make a band at St. Olaf. 10 years since we this band got off the ground. I'm excited and can't wait to see everyone, and yet, there is one worry...

She will be there...my friend? J.

I shouldn't worry. It is childish and silly but I haven't spken to her since before graduation on my senior year. She was my roommate, and my friend, and I still miss her. We met our freshman year but didn't get to be good friends until our junior year, where we formed the core of a great group of bandies and others. I had so much fun my junior year at Olaf. It was a time when I came into myself and learned to be complete as I was. Some of my funniest stories come from this year, as do some of my fondest memories.

But junior year led to senior year, and there arose problems. I met Chris, I fell in love over that summer and I spent it away from my friends staying on campus working on an independent study. I was due to live in a triple with my friend and her old roommate (also part of the group). I should have been smart enough not to live in a triple. But if it had been only that we may still have been friends. But space was tight and our living styles were different. (I'm admittedly messy but I tried to keep it contained).

In addition to that, it did not take long for J and Chris to decide they didn't like each other. I'm not sure how it started exactly. I spent too much time with Chris, maybe J was jealous that I had a boyfriend, maybe it was because I'd finally made the top band, who knows. But the situation came to a breaking point during Spring Break of that year. 3 students were killed in a car crash over spring break, one of whom Chris and I knew fairly well. We came back to campus after break to attend a memorial service. J's cat had died that same break. Everyone was emotional. Chris and I wanted some time alone, which we never asked for, but we did. A heated exchange broke out. Bad things were said by Chris and J and it became a huge ordeal. J stopped speaking to me, despite my attempts to keep the peace. Accusations were made about Chris which were false and I defended. I defended J to Chris too.

But in the end, she just stopped talking to me. The last 2 months of my senior year, no one talked to me in my room. I took to being away all day and coming back when everyone was asleep. She packed up and left after graduation without saying goodbye...

It was hard on me. Despite all that happened, I couldn't think of her as not my friend. I was angry and hurt and I wished I could have fixed it. If I think about it I'm still hurt. I've never had a fight with anyone that I was not able to patch up and I've never lost a friend is such a dramatic and agonizing manner. I spent several years trying to reconnect with her and mutual friends told me to keep trying but I never heard anything from her. It has been 6 years since and tomorrow I will see her. I've thought about her from time to time but I wonder if she's thought about me at all. It is like a bad bad breakup (but come to think about it I didn't have any of those either).

I want to see her, but I don't know what will happen. Part of me wants to ignore her or pick a fight (I don't think I'll do that one but it has its tempting moments). Part of me wants go apologize (again) and try to patch up our friendship. Part of me wants to be an adult and be polite but let it go. We'll see how it goes but it has been on my mind.

She was my friend and in my heart I remember the good times more than the bad. I can't write her off as not being my friend. So we'll see how tomorrow goes. I'll give you an update later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

?!

Yesterday I returned home from work to discover my cat with a huge ugly lump/sore on her lip. Concerned I called the emergency vet who told me to bring her in. A harrowing drive (you'd think I was abusing her for all the yowlling she did) and a fairly long wait later...

Allergies.

My cat has allergies.

It isn't supposed to be all that common, but apparently cats can develop allergies. It can be to almost anything a person can be allergic to - mold, dust, pollen, food etc. (I wonder if cats can be allergic to cats? dogs? humans? hmmm)

It makes sense with her symptoms too. Tsu is an over-groomer. She has a lovely bald spot between her legs where she'll lick a bunch. (Must. Resist. Obvious. Innappropriate. Joke.) My little allergic OCD kitty. The grooming, growths on her lip and stuff are all allergic reactions.

And yes, they do have a vet dermatologist that I could take my cat too. I don't think they make kitty-cat Claritin though. We haven't talked about whether we'll take Tsu in to get the allergy testing, but it seems a bit overkill for a cat. We'll see how bad her allergies get perhaps.

In the meantime, she got put on Pregnizone to clear up whatever is causing her allergies right now.

And in my world my own allergies are insanely out of control. I have a massive sinus-type headache and a glance in the mirror reveals my descent into neanderthal-ness as my forehead expands from the pressure.

So like mommy, like kitty I suppose.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The color of the day...

PINK!!!

PINK ... Like the babies rosy faces who I play peek-a-boo with at church.

PINK ... Like Carrie's brand new baby girl...Keifer Lynn!

PINK ... Like my bright pink shoes that I got to wear again now that it is nice and warm out.

PINK ... Like the slight sunburn I got while enjoying my lunch (Chipotle, yum!) out on the patio.

PINK ... Like (hopefully) the beautiful sunset we'll have tonight.

Isn't it amazing how a warm sunny day and a little color make life simple and content.

**In other (sadder) news: prayers to my friend Barbara
whose mother died this weekend. We are thinking of you Barb! Also our prayers go out to the students at Virgina Tech.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Monday's Random Thoughts.

* Who can play trumpet at 3 services, clean the apartment, host the in-laws for Easter and do her taxes all on one day on only 2.5 hours of sleep...SUPER LIZ! (Insert fanfare here).

* Today I went to the Twins/Yankees game and saw them lose terribly. I also had to call security on a particularly drunk and disruptive jerk. He brought a water bottle full of what he proudly told the world was bourbon and proceeded to get sloshed...and loud. I got security to keep an eye on him, but it wasn't until my soon to be sister in law overheard him saying (loudly) that he was 16 did they finally come and card him. Then a large burly fellow named Art came and asked to talk to him in the hall...he didn't come back after that. Some people thought he was funny and harmless and yelled for them to let him be but they were not in the seats right below him and his increasingly drunk self. So I'm not that sorry!

* Mom and Dad leave for Paris and Amsterdam soon. I wish I could go along. That would be so much more fun that hanging out here this month. Especially with another snow storm coming.

* Easter was interesting. Our senior pastor has a habit of telling multiple seemingly unrelated stories in his sermons and trying (sometimes succeeding and sometimes not) to bring them all together. Chris and I counted during the Easter sermon. I got 8 seperate stories, he got 9. Either was it was a bit excessive and really hard to follow. It is a shame for me because Easter is one of the few times you know people will make an effort to show up. Don't you want to offer something more related to the gospel? And easier to understand? It was still a nice service but even after 3 services I had a hard time coming out with a clear point from the pastor.

* We are getting money back from the feds this year. Thank goodness because we sure could use it.

* I am proud to say that I suceeded in my *no computer games for lent* rule. I was rather impressed. There were times when it was quite difficult but I am proud to say that I didn't even play a game of solitare. Woohoo! I should try to keep up with the cut back games. It is easier to get work done (even if there are other means of procrastination..including blogging).

* I realized this weekend that I have a church obligation and a wedding on the same weekend this summer. Since it is my brother-in-laws wedding and my husband is in it I really need to get out of the church obligation. Oops. Although, even realizing it before now wouldn't have helped since the dates were preset. Still, I feel a bit silly for not realizing it before now.

* My dear sweet hubby turned 26 on Friday! Happy Birthday to him! We were at church for Good Friday services and I noticed our welcome cards. They have the circle the age bracket things. Two are 18-25 and 26-35. I told him...welcome to my age bracket...mwahahaha. I'm not sure he was amused!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The geeks shall inherit the earth...

Finally, the world is starting to recognize the geek influence. Introducing...

The R2D2 Mailbox. I rest my case.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!


It's Holy Week folks. The annual church roller coaster ride from hope to pain to joy. As it is Palm Sunday, I am trying to live in a place of hope today. The people watching Jesus ride into Jerusalem were not so much faithful as they were hopeful. They hoped that Jesus was the Messiah they had prayed for (he was), they hoped he'd be the one who would set them free from Rome (he wasn't). They hoped that he would change their lives (he did...and didn't). The Hebrews have always been a fickle people, their stories are easily relatable even today. A charismatic young leader comes to town, he fufills prophecies, he talks big and he excites people. He gets them thinking about the possiblities that could be - about the Kingdom of God. The crowds follow and hang on his word. They are desperate for a word of Hope, a word of God.

But that same desperate hope will turn into rejection because of fear. We are just days away from Jesus' betrayal and death where not one of the people who shouted in the streets stood up for him. As quickly as the throngs appeared they dissappeared and the only one who seemed to want to keep Jesus alive was Pilate, the Roman. We are just days away from the complete abandonment of Jesus. On Friday, like Good Fridays before, Jesus will suffer and die and we will look away. Granted we may go to church and sing "Were you there?" and feel a sense of pride that WE wouldn't have been so blind. WE would have seen the truth of Jesus and stood by him. But who are WE kidding? I couldn't have stayed. I'm am a coward. A faithful one perhaps, but still a coward. Would I have stayed and spoken up? I doubt it. Would you?

It is easy to shout with a crowd, "Hosanna!" It is easy to march along and get caught up in pagentry and hope. But deep down we would have rejected him as all the others did. And we even know the end of the story. Lucky for us, Jesus knows this. That's one of the very reasons he is needed. We cannot save ourselves. We are mired in sin and fear, mob mentalities and loneliness, hope and hopelessness, good intentions and self-centeredness. We can't wait for Easter to be reminded that Jesus rose again and God is triumphant over death. But the real miracle occurs when Jesus suffers alone, with the weight of our sin helping sufficate him on the cross. The cross is the miracle of Holy Week - that God could love us - a broken and sinful people - enough to die, even when he is rejected by the very people he loves.

Today I was playing trumpet at church - Joyful hymns and anthems of God's power. I waved my palm with the rest of them, but this is what I remembered. These palms that we are waving with so much hope are going to be collected and stored and soon they will be next years ashes. We have not even reached the miracle of this year when we must prepare for next year's sins. Good Friday is still 5 days away but already we must think about the penance of lent once more. We can celebrate the events of one week year after year, and we must cling to that promise that we are forgiven, because year after year it is our sinfulness that is shown to the world. "Remember You are dust and to dust you shall return." "Jesus remember me, as you come into your kingdom."

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
~ Isaiah 53:4-6