“Behold, this thing I made!”

March 29, 2009

Props to anyone who knows where the title of this post is from.  Moving on… Friday night Kristen came over to watch Twilight and eat the meal I had prepared for us.  We ate so much food.  So much food, we had food babies (her words, not mine).  Basically, a food baby is when you’ve eaten so much your stomach is extremely bloated… to the point where it’s impossible to suck in your gut.  Anyway, the meal included: Freshly cut fruit (to eat while I finished preparing the rest), Caesar Salad, Baked Chicken Breast, and Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese.  It was my first time making home made mac n’ cheese… and I had quite the task in front of me.  A few weeks ago Kristen and I started talking about how much we both like mac n’ cheese and she claimed that Flemings has “the best” mac n’ cheese she’s ever had.  The only problem is neither of us want to pay Flemings’ prices to eat it.  So after doing some research I found the recipe online and decided to give it a go.  It was a nice surprise for Kristen too.  I gotta say, I nailed it!  It was delicious.  Kristen loved it too.  She was still talking about it today! Here’s a pic of it before it went into the oven.

Chipotle mac n cheese


And another one bites the dust

March 23, 2009

I had a great weekend.  I won’t get into detail but it was probably the best weekend of my life… and I’ve had a lot of good weekends in my day…  Anyway, part of the weekend goodness was a little project Kristen and I worked on.  She wanted to repaint some of her furniture and make it have an antique feel and a crackle finish. 

Here’s the result:
Kristen Crackle

She’d probably kill me if she knew I was posting this picture… oh well!  It might be hard to tell but the cracks are this really pretty green and the top layer is an antique white.  Though some of the process was frustrating it was a fun project, and I can’t wait to paint her other furniture with Kristen.

Here’s a look of me after the cleanup…

Again, its hard to tell, but I’m covered in specks of antique-white paint.  I was hosing off the paint rollers and well… the pressure of the water caused the roller to start spinning at one point and the rest is history… along with my favorite pair of jeans.  My entire right leg was covered with splashes of paint.  Luckily my favorite pair of jeans are just some simple Levis 501’s… so they won’t be too expensive to replace.  The worst part yet… I’m the son of a painter.  A painter of over 35 years.  I should know better.  I do know better.  Then again… maybe this will be the start of a cool fashion trend?

p.s.  my face and beard was covered in paint too.  Lots of fun cleaning that off!


Digging Through Old Memories

February 3, 2009

I’m in the process of switching rooms right now in my house, so what does that mean?  Time to weed out all the old clothes and other junk I never wear/use.  Upon doing this, I came across a few things I haven’t seen in years.  The first being an old photo album my ex-girlfriend had made for me.  That ended up in the trash pile.  But this post isn’t about that, it’s about a graduation card I found from my small group leader in high school.  Arman invested a lot of his time with me.  We had a very similar sense of humor, hobbies, etc.  I had about 4 different youth pastors while in high school, but Arman was the one leader that stayed consistent.  I learned a lot from him, and for a long time I wanted to be him.  In fact, I still wouldn’t mind becoming more like Arman.  I went ahead and scanned the card he gave me on my graduation night, and want to share it with you all…

(click to enlarge)


He said some really kind words.  It’s kinda nice to think of where I was then as opposed to where I am now.  Oh, and the USSR thing is a joke since I’m Russian and He’s Armenian.  We would always joke about the Motherland.  I hope I can make an impact on my students like he did with me… or at least have a baller signature like he does.  Look at that thing!



February 3, 2009

For those of you who know me, is it just me or have I gotten really cheesy since entering Youth Ministry?  I seem to come up with, and worse yet, be alright with using silly puns like “super-bowl” for a bowling event being held over Superbowl weekend.  I guess that’s just another way God has lightened my heart over the past year.  

Last Friday I planned and executed my first “big” youth event since being placed in charge last June?  July?  After stressing out over not having enough volunteer help (which turns out I had plenty), the big night had arrived.  Before I go on, you have to know something about me.  I don’t like to disappoint, especially not those I care about… and I don’t like to do things half-way.  I like to give everything my all.  When I decide to do anything, I dive in and rarely ever look back.  So I spent several weeks planning this event.  Calling friends/parents to volunteer driving students back and forth, calling different bowling alleys to get pricing and availability, making arrangement for pizza, working the overall budget for the event, making artwork/flyers for students to pass out on campus, visiting various campuses around down to pimp out the event.  Yes, I just used the word “pimp” in a post about youth ministry!  Everything appeared to be in place.

I got the pizza, my volunteers/help arrived, and soon a solid group of kids began to show up.  We had pizza, football, ping pong, and video games for them as we waited for everyone to show up.  I was thrilled to see how well my students did with advertising the event.  So many of them brought friends.  Some friends who don’t know Jesus, and other friends who do, but aren’t really plugged into a church.  All was well until we arrived at the bowling alley.  

You see, out of the 3 bowling alleys we have in Fresno, 2 of them were completely booked for the night, while this other one did not take reservations.  When we arrived, I was told there was an hour wait.  Bummer, but no big deal right?  My kids could hang and play video games for an hour while we waited.  Still plenty of time to get a game of bowling in.  Well the hour passed, and soon, so did our opportunity to bowl that evening.  You see, the group that had our lanes decided to not only take their sweet time, but also eat birthday cake IN THEIR BOWLING LANES for about 30-40 minutes.  Who takes a half hour to eat cake.  And just when I thought they were finally done and getting ready to leave… one dad stands up and says, “Hey, who wants to play another game?!”  My heart sunk.  There was nothing I could do.  My mind started to race.  Plagued with questions like, “How could you let this happen?”  “How come you didn’t see this coming?”  “What are you going to tell the students who have been itching to play all night?”  I broke the news to the kids, and as most of them understood, a group of them were pretty disappointed, and began asking if we could go to a different arcade/amusement place in town.  Due to time and the legality of it all I couldn’t grant that request… which bummed them out more.  Per Luke’s suggestion, we drove the to Jamba Juice before heading back to the church office (where they were to be picked up by parents) and I bought them all Jamba… It was the least I could do.  

I’m really blessed to have a best friend like Luke.  He encouraged me the entire night.  I still felt like a failure and a loser, but he definitely softened the blow by pointing out the relationships that were still being built, and the fun that was being had.  And he was right.  That was the whole point of the event.  I know I got to connect with some brand new faces and am confident I’ll be seeing them again.  I also realized that these kind of disappointments are going to happen in youth ministry.  I can do everything I can to make sure they don’t… but when it comes down to it, it’s out of my control.  I need to continue to trust God with my ministry and remember I’m just His worker in His ministry.  His students are on loan to me for the next 1-6 years, and I need to do my best with them.  

A special thanks to Luke for being a great friend and for also featuring RVC Youth for Positive Post Tuesday.  Also be sure to check out Brody’s blog for information on Positive Post Tuesday.  I’m excited to be a part of it, and I hope you are too!


Washing Dishes and Sweeping Hair

January 15, 2009

So you know how in the movies when a character is in a fancy restaurant and realizes he can’t pay the bill because he forgot his wallet, so they make him wash dishes?  Well that sort of happened to me yesterday.  I went to get my hair cut and I realized I forgot my wallet money clip.  They made me sweep up hair for a few hours to pay off my debt.  Pretty embarassing.  Okay, I’m just kidding.  The girl who cuts my hair is a friend of mine, and a good friend of my sister’s so she let me run home to get my money clip.  Looks like I got lucky this time!

On a more serious note, I haven’t blogged in a real long time.  I’ve been super busy, or so it seems.  I’m going to do my best to at least write a couple times a week.  Speaking of things I need to do, I have several emails to write…. hopefully I get to them today!


A Great End to a Great Year

December 19, 2008

Wednesday marked the last RVC Youth meeting of 2008.  It was wild, it was crazy, it was fun, and probably the best mid-week gathering I’ve been a part of since left in charge.  We played football, we played telephonepictionary, drank hot chocolate, ate tons of candy, and had cookies for dessert.  Come to think of it, that might have aided in all the craziness of the night.  On top of it all we had a great discussion time.  Students were engaged, and participated in discussion like I’ve never seen before.  After the “official” part of the night was over, the guys went outside to play more football.  Our female students kicked me out of the room so they could have some “girl time.”  They’ve never done that before!  I was thrilled to see them connecting with each other like I’ve never seen before.  And this is all WITHOUT a female leader.  Just think of the relationships that they could have with the aid of an adult?  Oh, this leaves me super excited for 2009.  

Here’s some pics from the night.
My students are from the hood (not really):
rvc youth hoods
They were supposed to be making tough faces.  Some were a little sub-par if you ask me.

This next picture is a picture of the students taking a picture of me.  For some reason they thought I was posing while I was leading the discussion so they asked me to freeze.  Gotta love it when kids pick up on your weird mannerisms! 
RVC picture in picture

I maintain that I wasn’t posing like this in the first place.  But hey, what are ya gunna do?


RVC Staff Christmas Party

December 13, 2008

Last night we had our RVC Staff Christmas party.  It was a really fun time, especially since I love the people I work with.  After having some coffee and desserts we played the white elephant gift exchange game.  My gift was the first one chosen, and it got a good amount of laughs.  It was also the first gift to be stolen and frozen.  Doug Tucker ended up with it, which is pretty funny because he’s the same guy who dressed up as me for halloween this year.

doug tucker white elephant

I originally had this cool reindeer that pooped out jellybeans, but it got stolen from me.  He would have gone really well with the bear that nods his head that currently sits on my desk at work.  All is well though, I think I ended up with the second coolest gift of the night.

black angels white elephant gift

These are now sitting on either side of my bear at work.  A few more figurines and animals and I’ll have a year around nativity set on my desk!  I mean, there were black angels and a bear when Jesus was born, right?  Another staffer named them Barak and Michelle.  I think I’m going to keep those names.  My favorite part about them is how huge Barak’s head is.