Categories
Travel

Relaxing in Rosarito

One of the commitments that I made for 2012 is to rest better. I know, that sounds silly. But with all the stress and craziness of 2011 I forgot to take more than a few sporadic days off. That’s not healthy or sustainable. 

With that in mind, and Kristen’s parents in town for the week, we jumped on the opportunity to take a 36 hour getaway down in Mexico.

Hotel: We stayed at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. It was great. We stayed in the Pacifico Tower, which is only 4 years old. It’s gorgeous. We got a king suite with a beach view and balcony for a little over $100. The property is right on the beach, has great beach access, a kickin’ pier, and all the amenities. Free parking was a nice added bonus. We’re already planning to go back with the kids. Seriously, the hotel was like 45 minutes from our house. I really dig the old world charm of the older parts of the hotel. This thing dates back to the 1920s. All the stars have been there. I mean… Marilyn Monroe stayed there back in the day. How cool is that?

Beach: I don’t know how long the beach is. It’s long. You can walk about a mile south of the hotel and… we got tired after about a 1.5 miles to the north. It was very clean and mostly empty. We thought it was cool that there were some fun things to do on the beach if you were into that. Like, rent a horse or ATV or drink a piña colada or eat shrimp. In the afternoons there is even a dude that will take you up in a sail plane. We didn’t do any of those things but it was all right there.

Food: There’s no lying about it. One reason you go to Mexico is to get your eat on. And that we did. The star of the show is El Yaqui. They basically do one thing and do it very, very well. They have a skirt steak taco (perrones) that is perfect. The steak, onion, guacamole, cheese, and tortilla make love in your mouth to produce a love child called delicious. We had 4 tacos and 2 sodas for like $11. You can’t beat that deal. For dinner we went to a divey place on the main strip and shared a fish combination. We had shrimp, white fish, calimari, and lobster plus drinks for $20. I mean, get real. It’s so cheap and good and fun! For breakfast we grabbed coffee and a couple of pastries and walked the beach. Simple and magical.

Shopping: Kristen had actually never been to Mexico. So we had a good time exploring Rosarito’s shops. The main market has dozens of little stalls with every souvenir you could imagine. We didn’t buy much but had fun. The main thing we bought stuff was in a big candy shop! They had everything you could ever want to put in a piñata. $10 in that place could get you a very serious sugar high.

Safety: I’m so sick of hearing how unsafe Mexico is. Yes, if you’re in a gang or you buy drugs or you’re in the red light district at 2:00 AM… Mexico is probably dangerous. (Um, just as dangerous as Omaha or Dallas doing those same activities) But it’s also a country with millions of people who are very proud of their homeland. Believe it or not, not every person in Mexico wants to illegally immigrate to the United States! I’ve been to Mexico several times in the past year or so and never once felt the slightest bit in danger. In fact, when we walked back to the hotel after dinner at about 7:45 PM the streets were basically empty. If you’ve stayed away from Mexico because you heard it was dangerous… my experience in TJ/Norther Baja have been awesome.

An invitation: Whether you are thinking about bringing your youth group/church to Mexico for a mission trip or maybe you’d like to find a sweet getaway spot. I don’t know any other way to make it OK for you than to simply invite you to come down. Drop me a line. I’d be happy to either connect you with some friends who live/work in Mexico or, if I have time, take you myself.

Categories
Christian Living family

When Daddy is Away

It’s inevitable.

All of the chaos happens when I leave town. 

On Monday afternoon Kristen dropped me off at the San Diego airport. All was calm and under control in the McLane clan. Leaving Kristen for 5 days with Megan, (10) Paul, (7) and Jackson (4 months) was hard. I really didn’t want to leave them. We all wished I didn’t have to do this trip. Not because I was dreading going on the trip or being in Minnesota but simply because it’s been so long since I’ve been away. And I’ve really loved being home more.

At the same time we were prepared for daddy to be gone for a few days and for Kristen to manage the kids, and the house, and her job, and the kids school. (They go year-round, getting out July 15th) The older two are growing very independent… helpful even. In many ways, when I’m gone is like an exam. Can they handle more responsibility? Let’s hope so because they need to! 

I checked in with Kristen Monday night when I landed in Minneapolis. All was calm and everyone was tucked in and sleeping away.

My Tuesday was rushed in visiting with all of my fellow co-workers at YouthWorks, meetings, the normal. Then I got a call from a weird 619 number. I let it go to voice mail but quickly checked it. It said, “Mr. McLane, this is the nurse at Darnall Elementary School. We have Paul here in the office and he’s been injured on the playground. We’ll need you to come get him as soon as possible. Please call us right away.”

My heart leapt and sank at the same time. My instinct told me to grab my keys and go get him. But my reality was that I’m a 4 day drive away. I quickly connected with Kristen, who was dashing to get him.

He had broken his arm in an accident on the playground. Our first ER trip as parents and I missed it.

Kristen and I exchanged a hundred text messages while they were at the ER. Paul and Amy, dear friends, came to the rescue and took Megan and Jackson for the afternoon. While Paul waited nearly 3 hours to get an x-ray and a cast… I wasn’t there. 

It seems like this always happens. Important things happen when daddy is out-of-town. Last year, Kristen was rear-ended while I was on a trip to Washington state. I’ve missed kids losing teeth. Or winning an award at school. Or epic small group nights with major breakthroughs. Doctors appointments when Kristen was pregnant. Bed times, quiet times, crazy times, thrills, spills, shrills, and the immediate stills of realizing it’d all be OK.

When daddy is away stuff happens. Life doesn’t stop at home. It’s inevitable. And it kills me. And while I know Kristen is a trooper/super power mom/amazingly strong woman who can handle it all I want to be there, with her, when these things happen. I want to be there.

What does this have to do with you?

Our Heavenly Father is the same way. While He never leaves us sometimes we go far from Him. And life moves on. Stuff happens, chaos reigns, victories occur, and sometimes bones break. For every bed time, quiet time, crazy time, thrills, spills, shrills, and the immediate stills of realizing it’ll all be OK– Our Heavenly Father wants the intimacy of sharing those moments with us.

His heart breaks for His children when they are away from Him. He wants to be there.

Maybe it’s time for you to come home? 

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

I’m going home tomorrow to Kristen and the kids. But maybe today you need to go home and be with your Father? 

Categories
hmm... thoughts

The weekend ahead

I’m looking forward to a fun and crazy next 5 days.

We’re going to Disneyland!

We might be the only family in Southern California who has never been to Disneyland. And that’s all Megan wanted for her 10th birthday. So today, after school, we are going up to do just that. We’ll be in Anaheim tonight through Sunday. I’ve actually never done anything at a Disney park, either. So we’re all pretty amped up about it and a little nervous, too.

Sunday morning, I’m getting up at the butt crack of dawn to leave Disneyland and come back down to La Mesa to teach at Encounter. My talk is called, “So I’ve been thinking about how to be good news in my neighborhood.” It’ll be all about unleashing your creativity to be good news. (I’ll post the notes in the free section.) After church, I’m back to Anaheim to hop in the pool and then drive everyone home.

Monday afternoon through Tuesday, I’m off to Chicago to help out my friend Andrew Marin. He’s working with a publisher to produce some training materials for his smash hit book, Love is an Orientation. Actually, I’m not 1000% sure what my role is in that. But I know that I’ll be speaking into the youth ministry portion of the content, helping youth workers practically minister to adolescents in matters of sexual orientation.

I’d appreciate your prayers for this whirlwind 5-days.

Categories
Travel Video Clip

The Sea

ten things i have learned about the sea from lorenzo fonda on Vimeo.

I was mesmerized by this short film. Like the filmmaker, there is something about the ocean that speaks deeply to my soul.

If I had unlimited time to travel, explore, and write… traveling by cargo ship would be incredible. Am I the only one who looks at this film and says, 14 days from San Francisco to Xiamen? Yes, please!

ht to Likecool

Categories
Books Funny Stuff illustrations Travel

Book Cover: How to Share Your Faith on a Plane

[download id=”15″]

I have a knack for getting an empty seat next to me when I fly Southwest.

On more than 60% of my 2010 flights I sat in the window seat and had an empty middle seat. In January 2011, I flew with Southwest 11 times and had an empty middle seat 7 times. (The other 4 were completely full flights with no empty seats.)

As I bragged about this to my friends, they began to wonder: How in the world is Adam doing that?

I’m not going to share all of my tricks. (Here’s a blog with some decent tips) But one thing that definitely helps looks like this:

  • Make sure you are in the A boarding group
  • Sit in a window seat, then place a book or your iPod/headphones in the middle seat.

It’s the book detail that my friends bring up and eventually resulted in the graphic you see above. More often than not I am reading a non-fiction Christian book like Kenda-Creasy Deans Almost Christian or John Ortberg’s Faith and Doubt. For some reason those types of titles tend to cause on-coming passengers to continue moving towards the back of the plane more than the latest issue of Sports Illustrated or Wired.

That’s the genesis of this fake book cover. My friends and I hypothesized, “If people won’t sit next to me because I’m reading a book with a Christian title, what would happen if I made a fake book cover with an overtly Christian title AND made the book about evangelism?

That’s how this was born.

How to Share Your Faith on a Plane: 25 Scenarios for Converting This Flight from Transportation to Transformation

Instructions:

  • Download the pdf.
  • Print/cut it to the size you need. (The original size is the size of a standard hard cover book with a jacket)
  • Replace the jacket your book came with and follow the tips on the back cover.
Categories
family

Grounded

According to Tripit, my travel tally for 2011 looks like this:

2011
Trips 3
Days 18
Distance 9,959 mi
Cities 18
Countries 1

That’s as of February 2nd.

And it doesn’t include all of the cities I’ve been to… just the places I’ve spent the night.

The first 33 days of 2011 have been a total whirlwind. This was something I did intentionally to try to get as much done before the baby arrives so I won’t have any pressure to go anywhere. Anyone who knows me knows that I push myself 10 times harder than anyone could possibly push myself.

33 days into 2011. 18 days on the road. 15 days at home.

Yesterday, waiting for my bags in San Diego I habitually popped open Tripit, my app and travel companion. (Because it always tells me where to go and what to do next.)

It said, “No trips planned. Want to add one?

Nope.

I hit the home button and shoved my phone in my pocket.

Symbolically, I’ve hit the home button for the next few months. My hope is to not have to travel for work for a while. I have no need to leave San Diego County until mid-April. And I don’t think I’ll spend a night away from my family until May. That’s plenty of time to regain footing in our family routines and work hard to bond as a family of five instead of a family of four. (2-3 more weeks!)

Last night, as I was talking to Megan and getting her ready for bed, I said, “It’s really nice to be home. Did mommy tell you that I won’t be going anywhere until after your birthday?

The smile said it all.

I’m grounded. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Categories
Travel Video Clip

World Air Traffic (24 hours)

This blew my mind.

Categories
youth ministry

Right Coast Bias

I’m sitting in the airport, headed to the east end of our fine country. My goal for the next 6 days is pretty simple:

  • Meet up with as many youth workers as I can over the next 6 days.
  • Talk until I’m blue in the face about two ministries I’m 1000% behind- PlanetWisdom [students] and YS Palooza [adult volunteers, parents of teenagers]

Here’s my rough schedule. If you’re in one of these areas or somewhere reasonably in between. Let me know… I’d love to grab coffee. (Or crash on your couch)

Categories
hmm... thoughts illustrations

Moments of Awe

Awesome is one of my favorite words. While my day is full of moments of awesome there are only a few moments in life described by the word awe.

Here’s a few…

  • Hearing the words, “I’m pregnant” from your wife. (Trust me, as much “awe” is created the first time at 24 as at 34 when it wasn’t expected.)
  • Seeing the sunrise over the mountains or the sunset over the ocean for the first time. (Whoa, there are colors I never even imagined!)
  • Meeting a starving person who asks if they can pray for you. (Whoa, you mean you can really praise God even when you aren’t comfortable?)
  • The birth of your child. (Whoa, you and me doing that can result in this?)
  • Witnessing 50,000 worshipping God in a city where hundreds of thousands just died in an earthquake. (Whoa, how is that possible?)
  • A young lady sharing her deepest fear and how God showed up in front of her peers. (Whoa, her words are more powerful than mine.)
  • The realization that Jesus died for me. (Whoa, the son of God… was perfect… and gave his life for me?)
  • A jet-lag induced early morning walk through a crisply cold city in a foreign country. (Whoa, discovering this place is amazing!)
  • Riding the Maid of the Mist deep into Niagara Falls to feel the full force of gravities simplicity. (Whoa, I’m soaking and exhilarated at the same time.)
  • The moment you realize you both feel the same way and knowing you’ll spend the rest of your life with her. (Whoa, there really is someone just for me.)

There are moments in life so full of awe that words truly defy them. I think that’s the history of the word awe right there. Something happened and a persons jaw dropped and said, “Awe.”

Getting back, recreating them, and remembering them creates years of inspiration.

Oh, that we might live a life inspired by awe.

Categories
haiti

The prayers of the people ring out

Right now I hear a congregation praying in the first floor of the building I am trying to sleep in. I hear crickets and look out of the balcony and see returnless lightning in the distance. The night is filled with stilled activity under the oppressive humidity of the Carribean.

Moments ago the congregation sang Blessed Assurance. ( apparently 10:45 pm is a great time to worship) Maybe imagined it, too? You never fully know. But as they sang my heart sang as tears filled my eyes. I don’t speak Creole yet I know the song well enough to sing along.

Blessed assurance. That is the only hope for Haiti, right? We can serve the physical needs of the people, but the difference here between joy and misery comes from the spiritual realm.

It’s been a long day. A trip to Haiti is about working past the physical discomfort to find joy in the journey and knowledge of what God is doing.

And today was physically uncomfortable. We arrived at the airport at 2:20 PM and yet we didn’t make it to our host home in Carffuer until about 6:15. (10ish miles) The harsh roads pounded our weary body and reminded us that we didn’t have any water. Likewise, the shock of the beggars at the airport dehydrated any hopes that things are significantly better here. Two team members didn’t make it to our flight. One will come in the morning and the other went home. One team members baggage got lost… So we all shared to try to make him comfortable while hoping it arrives in the morning.

It’s been a long day. I pray we each find sleep.

And so we rest. We rest tonight not just under the cool breezes of the Haitian sky, we rest in the blessed assurance that no matter what, God’s people can praise their Savior!