Photo youth ministry

You never stop being a youth pastor…

You might need to click on the image so you can take in the awesomeness of this moment. This couple was completely oblivious.
  1. This was Sunday, early evening, at La Jolla Shores. (The most kid-friendly beach in San Diego, one of the best beaches in California.)
  2. There were families and young children everywhere.
  3. Lisa (former youth group student of mine and retired RA from Grace College) couldn’t resist the cameo. She tried, it was too awesome.
  4. My favorite part of this picture is the kids playground in the background. We’re not talking about a secluded beach spot for a private make-out session… this literally is in the middle of family-friendly central.
  5. They cleaned it up by the time we took this picture. There was a time when she was on top of him. And also a time when when hands were in all sorts of places.
  6. Yeah, it’s weird we took a picture. You never stop being a youth pastor and this is always funny. It’s like a middle school girl farting in the church van. You just find it funny!
family San Diego Living

Coronado Beach Day

It was fun to just relax at the beach yesterday. We all got a bit too much sun. The water was frigid. (57 degrees!) But we found a good parking spot and set up… and just did nothing. You’ll see in the pictures that the kids had a blast jumping off and playing on a very large mound of kelp and sand.

I guess this means summer is officially here.


Weekend Review

I’m still amazed at how much fun we can have in a weekend. It’s been since high school that I’ve had weekends off so consistently. Love it!

Friday night, we stayed home and rested. With temperatures in the 100s most of last week, the kids had been stuck in the house a lot. I’d even say that by Friday night they had a bit of cabin fever. Saturday morning, I got up early, did a little reading and writing, then took Megan and Stoney to dog beach.  It’s amazing how much fun we can have there. Stoney loves to play with his ball, but really he loves to socialize with other beasts. You forget that dogs are a pack animal until you let them hang out with other dogs. Stoney would like to be a dominant male… which basically means that he spends his time at the beach trying to get other dogs to submit to him. On Saturday, the funniest part was when two springer spaniel puppies spent 10 minutes messing with him. These 7 month old pups knew some of the rules of being submissive/dominant, but like adolescents, were playing with the rules. Stoney would chase one down and he would roll over to submit to some sniffs. While Stoney sniffed his belly, his brother would jump on Stoney’s back. Stoney would snap at the other and chase the other puppy. It was a riot. In the meantime, Megan and I enjoyed wading in the San Diego River. The crystal blue warm water was perfect. We could have stayed there all day… if Stoney didn’t want to chase and play with every dog on the beach we could have.

After a couple hours of beach time with Stoney, Megan and I took him home. We rested for a little while, had some lunch, then packed up the truck to go to the beach as a family. It was hot at our house when we left. Close to 100 in San Diego is twenty degrees warmer than normal. As we headed west towards the Pacific anticipation built up. To be honest, it was a tense drive! Megan and Paul were snippy with one another the whole way to the beach. Mom and dad were in that “head down, focus” mode! When we finally got to Torrey Pines State Beach we were ready to pour our energy into the waves.

As we gathered our stuff out of the truck to take to the beach Megan and I decided to lose our sandals. This is pretty normal and isn’t usually a big deal. But about 200 yards from the truck we were really in pain. It was so hot that I could feel the bottom of my feet burning, literally. Mom was able to swoop up Megan and carry her the rest of the way to the beach while I tried to trot there. It felt like I was walking on glass the whole way. When I finally made it to the beach the pads of my feet were covered in first degree burns. It’s hot! (They are now blistered up, yuck!)

We spent the next four hours playing hard in the surf. The water temperature was refreshing! And the waves were awesome by the shore and a bit scary at the break line. I had fun getting Megan and Paul on the boogie board by the shore. They caught little 2 footers and would ride effortlessly to the beach… like 50-75 feet in total. It was awesome! When they tired of that I’d head out towards the break line where the waves varied from 5-10 feet. With surf that big I got plenty of practice ducking the big ones. It felt so good to be in the water! I was able to watch the surfers from close up, chat with fellow boogie boarders, and catch the occassional big wave. It’s hard to describe the joy of catching a wave. It’s a lot scary as the wave is way more powerful than you… but completely exhilarating when you catch it just right and zoom along with the wave breaking behind you while you dodge tourists.

Exhausted, we left the beach about 4:30 and went out for pizza. It’s taken us a while to settle on a favorite pizza joint. Truth be told, San Diego has a lot of good cuisine but pizza is not their thing. When we go to Pizza Port, the pizza is good enough, the surf feel is awesome, and the kids love that they have machines to dump quarters into. While enjoying our pie we watched the local Chula Vista Little League team pound the Texas team to take home the U.S. Championship, it was good fun. We drove home, full and tired. Everyone was sound asleep by 9 o’clock!

Sunday morning, our small group decided to bring a little rejoicing to the church by hosting a surprise tailgate party. That was a great lead in to worship. I’m still lost in the idea that we celebrate sports figures but not religious leaders… it was fun to mix those two things up intentionally for a morning. I think it was a success.

After church, we went home and chilled for a while. We watched Chula Vista win the Little League World Series (woot!) and then went to Maddie’s 3rd birthday party. All of the church staff has kids about the same age, so it was a blast to see all the little kids party and dance together. Megan and Paul… were awesome in playing along with a “little kid party.” They really did have a good time. And it warms my heart to see that they feel like they fit in. The whining about leaving Michigan… finally dissapating.

From there, we went home and embraced the quiet. The kids convinced mom to allow them to camp out in the living room. They were in bed early and mom and dad retired to read and go to bed early.

I think it takes someone who never really got weekends off to really appreciate the simplicity and joy of a weekend off. Then again, I think everyone loves weekends and I’m just finally getting to join in!

Next weekend, college football. That makes me super happy.


Father’s Day Recap

Had a great day yesterday. I don’t think it was just because it was Father’s Day. But yesterday gets a gold star.

I woke up, literally, to a scavenger hunt yesterday. Saturday afternoon, Paul and Megan put together a complex set of Father’s Day cards which lead me all over the house. They were super excited to see me discover all of the cards. The highlight for me was a contraption Megan mad in which I cut a string and a bucket fell on my head. As we do each Sunday, before church we made a run to get donuts.

From there we met my cousin Trent and his family at church. We hadn’t seen them since 2003. Since then we had Paul and they added three more girls. It made for a gaggle of kids both at church and for the day to come.

After church we made a pitstop at Rubios for lunch then headed down to La Jolla Cove. It was packed down there and for good reason. The water was crystal clear, the waves were non-existent, fish were ample, and a blast was had. Kristen and I wrangled the older kids near the shore. Their oldest daughter was on a mission to collect shells. It was a bit sad in that La Jolla Cove is not known for it’s shell collection… but she still managed to find a bunch of ones.

We stayed down at the beach until about 5 o’clock and then started heading towards dinner. Marissa suggested (nice word for it. :)) that we go to Phoung Trang in Clairemont Mesa. She swore this was the best Vietnamese food in San Diego… and you know Kristen and I can’t turn down that challenge. Our group grew a little more to about 15 people. This was just a stellar finish to a long, fun day. Great food, great time, all of the kids were happy, on and on.

I hope this is a great kick-off to another great week.

What did you do for Father’s Day?

hmm... thoughts

Spike that weekend football

Sometimes good weekends come unexpectedly. This past weekend was one of them.

Coming into the weekend was cool because I am finally feeling good about my Monday-Friday workload. The first few weeks after YS’s re-organization I just had a hard time relaxing. There was so much to do! (Or so it felt) A lot of that has settled into routine so I can really, truly, chill on weekends.

Friday afternoon I took advantage of a whole in my schedule and took Kristen on a little mid-afternoon date. We went to a little beach bar for some pub grub and took a walk on the beach. It was the perfect way to kick things off even though we had to cut it short so I could get back to work and Kristen could get the kids from school.

Saturday morning Kristen got up at the buttcrack of dawn and climbed Cowles Mountain. This is an important part of her weekend routine. When she came back Paul and I took the dog to Ocean Beach for a little chase the ball and Stoney sniff butt time. Dog pack rules are fascinating to me, but that’s for another post. After we had been at the beach for a while I got a call from Mandy, who is new to YS and lives in the Ocean Beach neighborhood. She and her husband, Jon, came over for a while and we caught up while Paul built the Great Wall of China. An amazing feat.

After the beach trip we came home and I fell asleep watching golf on TV. About an hour and a half later Paul jumped on me and said, “Let’s go to the beach!” Since it was a perfect weather day I couldn’t resist that. Really, we went to the beach and frolicked in the sand to honor our friends who were shovelling snow, sandbagging, or otherwise being tortured by an early Spring blast of cold weather. We splashed around Coronado beach for a few hours. The kids played in the sand while Kristen and I waded up to our ankles in the cold water looking for sand dollars. We came home, got some carry out from a taco shop, and everyone crashed before 9 PM.

Sunday continued the fun. We did our normal donut routine in the morning, headed to church, and came home for lunch. After lunch we went to the Rolando Village street fair and got a better feel for our neighborhood. When the kids had eaten too much cotton candy and mom/dad had seen all the crafts, we headed home.

From there, I took off to meet-up with Dave from work. Dave had arranged for us to do a podcast shoot with the guys from Family Force 5 before their San Diego show at the House of Blues. That was a blast, I got some cool footage of the band. What they had to say was a little bit goofy, but a lot important to youth workers. Later, we headed over to the show. I’m used to Christian shows… so this one was a bit wilder than I expected. About 1000 screaming and sweaty high school kids, mostly girls, filled the club for the 5 act show. We got there for the 2nd act, The Maine. They were good… clearly I’m old since I have no clue who they are. But they had a fun sound. It always cracks me up that high school kids can’t remember to do their homework but know every word to every song. If it weren’t for the annoying habit of them walking up to a mic and just saying random cuss words between songs… I probably would have liked them more. “S**t yeah. How are you mother F**kers, tonight?” Again, showing my age.

Family Force 5After a little swap out of equipment, Family Force 5 took the stage. If you’ve never seen them, they have an incredible energy. I was given a photo badge so I could take some shots for the bands DCLA appearance. As I snapped pictures stageside I could literally “feel the heat” from the crowd who was mashed up against the barriers. I’ve seen them perform before in Christian venues… same songs, same intensity, ten times the energy. Dancing, bouncing, screaming the words. Makes a geek like me wish I had chosen to be a rock star. This band will light up the stage in DC this July.

After their set, Dave and I headed home. We’re old people… two acts and we’re done! I caught up on some sports news… congrats to Tiger Woods on his comeback victory after knee surgery. Super congrats to Tom Izzo and Michigan State. If ever a state needed something to cheer for, it’s this weekend in Detroit.

Great weekend. Lots of good stuff cooking for this weekend as well.