September 14, 2011

Remember The Blackout of 2011? Good Times.

Last Thursday at 3:20pm all of our power went out. I immediatly noticed how quiet it was in my home. Soon the neighborhood was buzzing with reports that the electricity had gone out in all of San Diego County, Imperial County, parts of Arizona, New Mexico, old Mexico down to Ensenada, Orange County, and parts of Riverside County. This was a HUGE power outage. 5 million people were without power in one instant! The things I observed post-blackout were so interesting! First of all, I grew up having periodic blackouts because of Thunderstorms, so this wasn't completely foreign to me, however, 1. Things have changed a lot since I was a teenager. 2. There are never thunderstorms out here, so power outages are highly infrequent.
It was hilarious to see people responding. It was 100 degrees outside, so people were just outside sitting in their cars to get air conditioning. The radio station asked people to call in if they knew gas stations that were open - not much luck on gas stations,but you know who was open? Casinos. They had enough generator power to have gas, food, ice, A/C and gambling. Hilarious. Adam and I had to run to the church around 7pm and what we saw was incredible. Families taking walks down Alpine Blvd together. Neighborhoods gathering outside visiting. Large groups of people BBQing together. It was awesome! And I love reading what several teenager wrote on their FB walls about how their night went. 15yr old Ashley said, " if the power didnt go out i wouldnt have met the ppl i was a good time." A 14 yr old girl named Alyssa said, " i never knew the people who lived next door until the power went out. we all played yahtzee. :)". I read so many posts about family time and great memories shared.  At our home we had some of our students over for a candlelit game of Monopoly. It was a blast!
Since then, everyone I know has talked about the blackout with fondness. Electricity is no doubt a wonderful thing, but in one night people all over SoCal realized what was really important - the people in our lives. No TV, lights, video games, few had internet, computer battery was limited, restaraunts, microwaves, electric stoves, the list could go on. Work was let out early, school was called off. Some entire apartment complexes had get togethers. Neighborhoods chatted together and families played in the dark. Most people went to bed early and got a good solid night's rest. It was a little Wall-e ish. It's funny how one mistake at a power plant in AZ could cause so many people to rethink what is important in their life!

September 8, 2011

Goodbye, Alpine

I should really be packing right now, but instead I'm listening to Pandora, enjoying some coffee and writing. I guess this could be considered packing. Packing up emotions, some memories, unpacking parts of myself that will always be left here in Alpine. In a couple of weeks, Adam and I will be moving away from Alpine. Often people call it "starting a new chapter", but are you ever really this sad about ending a chapter in a book? I don't know. Either way, we are closing up our time in Alpine with lots of hugs and tears. We've accepted a Youth/College Pastor position at another church in the SoCal District. There's plenty of excitement that comes with beginning something new, but right now I'm savoring in the memories of the past few years that we've spent at Bethel and the relationships we've built here.
 I will never forget the long drive from Dallas to San Diego. We were so excited and had no idea what to expect from Southern California or from Youth Ministry. 3 and 1/2 years later, we couldn't have asked for a better Youth Group or Church to get us started in Youth Ministry. I've decided to make a list of things I will miss/special memories I've created. In no particular order:
  • I will miss living in the mountains. I live in a truly beautiful place. Huge boulders, Palms and Pines living harmoniously. After 3 years, I still note what a beautiful drive from Walmart to my home. I can count on 2 hands the number of thunderstorms we've had since I've lived here, but when it does thunder, the sound of it echoing off the mountains is magical.

  • I'll miss the quiet small town feel of Alpine.
  • Panda Machi. I don't care what anyone says about Panda vs Ahi Sushi, I still think Panda Machi has the best sushi in Alpine. Maybe in SoCal. Maybe on Earth. When I visit Alpine in the future, I will be dining at Panda!
  • I will miss our students. Our kids. Past and present. I thank God that He has honored us by giving us the last few years with them. We've met some incredible teenagers and I love them. We've shed tears over death and divorce. We've walked through addictions, depression, impurities, and life in general. And they will always be our first youth group. The trial and error crowd. ;) (If anyone is wondering why this isn't further up on the list, I can assure you that I wasn't shedding tears over leaving Panda Machi.)
  • A couple months ago, I was at a graduation and I had the privalege of holding the baby of one of our former students during the ceremony. It allowed me to get a glimpse into the future of my ministry. I'm still young, but to hold the next generation of those we've begun a ministry to was very special. Thanks for that moment, Marielle.
  • Tapatios. Tapatios, you changed my mind about Mexican Cuisine. Marty, when you visit me, you better bring me a shrimp burrito! PS - My first shrimp burrito from Tapatios was brought to our door by Josh, Mary, and Judah our first week in Alpine! I've been loving them ever since.

  • My dear friends, I will miss you. I've made some great friends here. Stephanie and Marty ministered with us the entire time we were here. There isn't much as awesome as sharing a passion for ministry with someone for a long time. They weren't only fellow ministers, they're close friends. My partner in crime, Renee. Joe and Damara, who else would come over and kill zombies with us? I'll tell you, no one. (Except maybe 15 yr olds) There are really too many friends to name, but I could go on and on. I will miss you all.

  • Pamela. God sent you out here to us. Having you so close warded off homesickness more than you know. And your sweet family brings me immense joy.
  • Yogurt Mill.
  • Dr. Friday and Marti - How will I ever find Chiropractors like them? Marti sent me a recipe in the mail for Eggplant Parmesan the other day, just because she thought I would like it! They are good people.
  • I will miss beating Taylor up at every camp.
  • Our time in Haiti with our Youth was immeasurable. I loved every second of it.
  • I will miss outreaches to Alpine. Parades, Flower hand outs and Halloween Festivals. Bethel loves the community of Alpine, and I love that about Bethel!
  • I'll miss the eccentric elderly people at our church. They were one of my favorite parts of the week!
I could write so much more. I've been very blessed!
Here is a video we made a couple of months ago in memory of our time as Pastors of The Chozen Student Ministry: