Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Meet Me This Saturday

A childhood friend of mine, who is now married and has 5 sons and is a Chandler Police Officer could use our help. He was one of my best friends, growing up in church together. His older sister is married to my older brother. So, we're kind of like family.

Our church, Mesa First, has prayed for his son in the past. When they were expecting their fifth son they found out that he had what is called Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) They had to leave their four sons here with his in laws, and go to The University of Michigan, (where the Dr. best known for these kinds of surgery's is) for Shae to be born there, and four days after he was born he had his first heart surgery. And six months after that he had his second. Shae is turning four now, and they will be flying back to the University of Michigan for his third and hopefully final surgery.

This Saturday, August 2nd, Chick-fil-a in Chandler is hosting a fund raiser for their family. It's from 5-8 pm. At Chick-fil-a at Gilbert and Germann. Right off the 202. A portion of every order will go directly to the Veach family for Shae's surgery and their trip back to Michigan. They will also be selling raffle tickets for prizes that have been donated. So, please come and help out.

We will be there, and if you meet Scott and Shannon, (they should be easy to spot, they will, I'm sure, be the tallest couple there. He played football for ASU, and she played women's basketball there as well. And the funny thing is, is I was always taller than him when we were little!) Tell them Star sent you. I know a great turn out to this special event will really mean a lot to them, and hopefully take some of the financial burden off this very upsetting time. Thanks friends. Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 28, 2008

In a New York State of Mind

OK, so you know I'm a big movie buff. (My mind is full of useless information) so imagine my disappointment when we're sitting on the Staten Island Ferry and I said "You guys, we are sitting where they filmed the movie Working Girl!" only to realize that none of the teenagers I was with has ever seen that movie, and well, I guess that makes since since it came out when I was their age. And I wore the blue eye shadow just like Joan Cusack did in that movie!

But I did score points with them when we walked into Grand Central Station and told them that in X-men when Rouge ran away this is where she came and Wolverine followed her here. They got excited about that one. As well as The Witness was filmed there. Not to mention that at the subway stations we could be where Ghost, Crocodile Dundee, and The Pursuit of Happiness were filmed.

I've already mentioned we stood where An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Apprentice, and Big were filmed. And also in the Empire State Building we stood where Elf and King Kong were filmed. We were also where Home Alone II, Miracle on 34th Street, Serendipity, You've got mail, and When Harry met Sally was shot.

We saw the Museum where Night at the Museum was filmed. The Library in The Day after Tomorrow. The bridge and the tram from Spiderman II, we saw places on Hitch, Enchanted, Saturday Night Fever, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Godzilla and Cloverfield. Just to mention a few.

One of the kids mentioned how new York City looked like Sesame Street. But I thought more of The Cosby Show, Friends, Seinfeld, or The King of Queens. It seems there was a movie or T.V. show reference for every place we went! Now when we see a movie filmed in New York, we can say we've been there! fun.

And I have to tell you about the infamous Subway incident: We had spent the evening in a park in Brooklyn talking with and ministering to people. Afterwards we got to stay in the park for a concert by the New York Philharmonic, followed by a great fireworks show. So, it was close to midnight when we took the Subway back home to Queens. One of the girls on our trip, (the youngest and smallest girl of our group) fell asleep on the subway ride back. When we got to our stop Kyle tried to wake her up. She opened her eyes and looked around not registering where she was, she just kinda sat there dazed. The rest of the group had gotten off the train and we always regrouped on the platform to count heads. So, I step off the train behind the majority of the group and Zach had waited for Kyle and Shaina. The three of them were still on the train when the doors closed behind me. Now during the day it wouldn't have mattered that much, they would have known to ride the subway to the next stop, get off, go up the stairs then down the stairs on the other side and take the train going the opposite direction back to our stop. But, at night a lot of the trains don't run, and they shut down a lot of the stations. So, you have to take different trains, on different routes and try to end up some where close to where you want to be. So, who knows where they could have ended up that night.

And the rest of the group standing off to the side tell the story of hearing me yell "Wait!" and they turn around to see me pry open those subway doors to get the kids off. They swear that I turned green and became the Incredible Hulk in that moment! (How's that for a movie reference?) All I know is I had a huge black mark down my arm and my arms were so sore that night! They teased me the rest of the time we were there, Kyle said "Man, we could have gotten lost in New York, how cool would that have been!" not very cool if you ask me. And, did I mention that cell phones don't work in the subway. And every time we got on the subway after that, they'd all say "Shaina, don't fall asleep!" Their story got bigger every time they told it, telling people I caved in the doors, and damaged the whole side of the subway car!

I guess that old saying is true "Never get between a Momma Bear and her Cubs!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pictures from my trip to New York City

with Lady Liberty

I always wanted to be a Rockette

Zach's first subway ride

David Letterman Fans!

Kyle preaching to the kids in a homeless shelter

Zach doing card tricks for the kids at the homeless shelter

Kyle playing the piano from the movie BIG

Me with Audrey Hepburn having "Breakfast at Tiffanys"

The New York City skyline taken from the top of the Empire State Building

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Love New York

Our Missions trip to New York City was in a word: AWESOME!

We saw the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, Central Park, Times Square, The Empire State Building (yes, I stood where An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle, my favorite movie of all time was filmed!), Rockefeller Center, The NBC Studios, The Ed Sullivan Theater, Broadway, 5th Ave., Macy's, Tiffany's, FAO Swartz, The Trump Tower, The Plaza, The Waldorf-Astoria, Radio City Music Hall, Shay Stadium, Yankee Stadium (The original stadium, and the new one they are building to replace it), China Town (where I bought a really cool bag!), and Ground Zero (the only truly quite place in the city), We ate New York style pizza and hot dogs. We rode the Subway everyday. And we were able to see The New York Philharmonic play in the park, and to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway! And being the big city girl that I am, I loved every single minute of it! As did Kyle. Zach likes a little bit slower pace I think. But he still liked it.

I will fill many future posts with all that we saw and did, and since I am such a movie buff, I will include all the movie references. Every time you turn a corner, your somewhere you've seen in a movie or T.V. show. But, for now I want to get to our favorite part of the whole trip. What we loved most about the city. The true heart of the city. The real reason we went. The People.

We walked the streets and parks of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem and The Bronx's. We did dramas, played music, and just talked and shared with people from all over the world. We served in a Soup Kitchen, We visited the terminally ill in a Hospital/Nursing Home. We went to homeless shelters, and we heard the stories of peoples lives. That is what changed us the most. Those are the things we will remember. We were able to go into a Hindu Temple, and a Muslim mosque and met with the head 'Pastor's', and were able to ask them any questions we wanted to about their religion. And then we went into little India and witnessed to Muslim's on the street.

My favorite moment was late at night, standing outside a Homeless shelter in Midtown Manhattan. We had handed out sandwiches, bottled water, and toiletry kits to the homeless who were waiting to see if they could get into the shelter for the night. Our students were in groups of three, talking and sharing with different people. I was standing at the head of the little alley way where I could see all of our groups. When a man came up to me. Unfortunately we had already given out all of our supplies, so I had nothing to give him. But, he just stood there and talked with me. First we talked about Arizona and New York. Then he told me he had spent 8 years in prison. And how he had gotten his life together and was living in Pittsburgh, had a job, a car, a house, all until he had the thought that he'd been sober for over three years now, so he thought he could handle taking a drink. He couldn't. It ended up costing him everything. He had to move back to midtown where he was from, and was now living on the streets. He shared with me that he'd been HIV Positive for over 20 years. And how he'd recently been badly beaten up and thrown unconscious on to the train tracks, when a stranger jumped down and saved his life. I could see scars over his eye and he was missing some teeth, from his jaw being broken. I would guess he was only in his late 40's. I looked him in the eye that night and said "you know, Jamie, you should be dead several times over. But, God loves you and has a plan for your life." Tears came into his eyes. Being in Prison (or the hole, as he called it) he had read the Bible through twice. We talked a little more then I asked him if I could pray for him. I stood there on the street that night with my hand on his shoulder and prayed with this man I will most likely never see again. And I've prayed for him everyday since I've met him.

And each one of us who went on this trip has similar stories to tell. Of people who opened up to us and shared their lives and their stories with us. I don't think any of us will look at homeless people the same way ever again. We've realized that even more than our money, what they want more than anything is to know that someone on the face of this planet cares about them. We will look them in the eye and smile and maybe say "how are you doing?" just like we would any other person we pass on the street. No more will we avoid eye contact with the down and out, afraid they will ask us for money. Or pretend they're not there, or worse yet that they are not human. Because we realized that just a few unforeseen circumstances and that could be any one of us.

Another great thing was that I had the opportunity to watch my sons minister. Talk about a proud mama! Zach played guitar and sang for the homeless in the soup kitchen. He gave them beautiful music to eat by. He played in the hospital as well. He wowed a group of kids in a homeless shelter for families by doing card tricks for them, giving them something to laugh at and forget their circumstances for awhile. Both the boys did dramas, lead worship, shared their testimonies and talked with people outside of their comfort zones. Kyle even preached at the family shelter, where we did an entire service for the kids. He gave an alter call, and led those kids in the sinners prayer. It was an unforgettable experience. Now when we wear our "I heart New York" T-shirts, you'll know, we really mean it!

I will share more at other times. I know this is a long post. I just want to share everything with you! Thank you so much for praying for us while we were there. And following our trip. It truly was Awesome!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Boys Must Love Their Mother

They look like they're in very deep thought over
what they should buy their loving mother!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More NYC Pics

Me and the boys in Times Square!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Off To New York

Tomorrow morning we are off on our New York adventure! Yeah! Except for the fact that we have to be at the airport at 4:30am (Yes, there is one of those in the am too. Who knew?)

We have our tickets to see Phantom on Broadway. And we are very excited about that! The kids have been learning drama sketches, and practicing giving their testimonies to get ready.

I'll try to post some pictures on this Blog while I'm there. And for you techno geeks you can follow us on Twitter. (For those of you, like me, who are technology challenged Twitter is pretty easy to do I guess.)

You can go to: www.twitter.com/devonyc (Our youth group name is Devo youth Church, and NYC stands for New York City) You can look at this site to read about our trip and see pictures.

Or you can receive updates directly on your cell phone by texting "follow devonyc" to the number 40404.

And I'll tell you all about the trip when I get back. Unless of course I get "discovered" on Broadway and don't come home! ; )

Please Continue to pray for us while we're there. Thanks so much.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Teens and Tattoos

Indulge me a moment before we get to the subject at hand. (Or arm, or back, or shoulder, wherever one may get a Tattoo.)

I remember when I was little I really wanted to get my ears pierced. I begged and begged but my parents made me wait until I was 12. Prior to that time period, (the 70's, yes I am that old!) The hippie's and flower children were really the first generation to pierce their ears. I still remember when my dad took me out for my special day and of course I chose little gold stars for my very first pair of earrings. Now, this generation of new mothers doesn't even wait for their kids to ask for earrings, they take them to get their ears pierced as infants or toddlers. I however didn't, I waited until my girls started asking to have their ears pierced, and then I made them wait until I thought they were old enough and able to take care of them themselves. They got them pierced for their 9th Birthday. And it was a special day for them.

Now fast forward a few decades. It used to be that the only people who had tattoos were sailors or bikers. But, now I'm sure we all know people who have them. Like piercing your ears, it has now become a big part of our culture. We were youth pastors when the youth culture really started to embrace tattoos. And I thought to myself it would be so cute to get a little star on my ankle. That was over 15 years ago. And I have talked about it off and on all this time. So, this year for Mothers day my kids decided that's what they wanted to get me. And If you will notice the picture on the top of this blog, you can see it. Kyle told me when I get old and have Alzheimer's I'll just have to look at my ankle to remember my name! So, if you didn't know anyone with a tattoo before, you do now. ; ) I think, at least for Kyle (who is the ring leader) it was important to do this for me this year because he is turning 18 and has always wanted a tattoo of his own. And I think he thought, "If mom has one, she won't say no to me getting one." Though I could always pull the "Do as I say, not as I do" thing.

He has known for years he's wanted a tattoo and exactly what he wanted and where. And in Arizona you can get a tattoo if you are 18. (You can be 16 with parental consent.) But before he could get one we made him think long and hard about it and had long talks of, "are you sure you want to do this?, and that you want this on your body for the rest of your life?" We also made sure he knew some employers wouldn't like it, or might make him cover it up, etc. He was fine with that. So, for his 18th Birthday we let him get a tattoo. He got written in Hebrew the word for Lord, or Yahweh on his forearm. You also can not give blood for a year after you get a tattoo, so he donated blood before he got his tattoo.

I also set down a rule that he can not get another one until he is at least 21. Because that first tattoo is such a big decision of weather or not to put something permanently on your body. And you pick something that really means something to you. But, then too many times I've seen people after they get that first one, they like it so much, and see how easy it was, so they go crazy and start getting a bunch of other ones, and in a couple of years they realize they didn't really mean anything to them. And they regret getting them. It also helped that we saw Danny Bonaduce (child star from the partridge family) on the Dr. Phil show and he said that he has seven women's names tattooed on his body, and he couldn't even remember who three or four of them even were, whoops! Thanks for the lesson Danny! "Come on get Happy!"

I do not think that teenagers wanting tattoos is necessarily a sign of rebellion, no more than me wanting my ears pierced was. Some of my friends had them, and some didn't, My mom didn't. But I wanted mine done because I liked it, and I wanted to wear pretty earrings. I am 43 now, and to this day, I still wear earrings every single day! And in the same way, tattoos are just a part of our culture now. I've even read of the parents of new born identical twins tattooing a dot or something on one of their babies feet or backside in fear of getting them mixed up. I guess then you'd just have to remember which one you tattooed and which one you didn't!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Leaders are Readers

I'm always reading. I Love to read. My favorite book of all time is Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott. I read it as a girl, again as a teenager, and then as a woman. I made sure both of my daughters had their own copy of Little Woman long before they could even read. I've always tried to instill in my kids a love of books and a love for reading. I talk about books and I let them see me reading. I loved reading to them when they were little, and reading with them as they got bigger. And it worked, on MOST of my kids anyway. (Three out of Four isn't bad!)

Zach and my girls love to read like I do! And I've always tried to keep them reading even through the summer months. We sign up for summer reading programs at our local library. And I always try to find books that I know would interest them. Zach loves history, especially having to do with wars. So one summer when he was around 5th grade, he and I had a World War II summer. We both read The Diary of Anne Frank, and watched the movie based on the book. We also watched a documentary of her life & times. This year my girls & I started the summer by watching the new Nancy Drew movie (I just love that movie! It's Disney the way they made movies when I was a kid!) And we went to the library & checked out some Nancy Drew books. They now have Nancy Drew books for different ages, I think these were called Nancy Drew Notebooks, where she's about 10, rather than a teenager. For Christmas I got a vintage Clue game, and my girls love to play it! So now they are solving "mysteries," and spying on their big brothers all the time! :)

Now, Kyle is a different story. Where did I go wrong? He loved to be read to when he was younger, but to get him to read a book now, is like pulling teeth! This past year in school he had to read To Kill a Mocking Bird, so, he found it on iTunes and down loaded it to his iPod, so he could listen to it instead of read it. He will read a book just enough to make the report & never finish the book. I'll ask him "don't you want to know how it ends?" - he doesn't care. This can not be my child! So, a couple of years ago he had to read a book and do a book report that was going to be a big part of his grade for the class. He was worried about it and didn't know what to do. I suggested several great books, as did his dad, who also loves to read, but nothing appealed to him. He literally HATES to read!

Then it happened. I had what I consider one of my greatest parenting ideas of all time. I know my kids and I know books. So, I went to the movie cabinet and found it. I hadn't seen it in years. I pulled out an old VHS tape (remember those?) one I had from years ago. A great movie. The Outsiders! You know the one about the greasers vs. the soci's. With every actor from back in the day in it. And just like I knew he would, Kyle loved it. So, I went and bought him the book by S.E. Hinton (who is a girl BTW) He read it. He loved it. He got a really good grade on his report. So, I've since bought him every book I can find by S.E. Hinton. And he's liked them all. He still doesn't read just to read, or for fun. But anytime he has to read a book for school or do a book report, he uses one of her books.

I would love to know what your favorite books are, and how you get your kids excited to read?

They say "Leaders are Readers," so keep reading. And encourage a love of books and a love for reading in your kids.