Thursday, April 27, 2006

MMC lives on

Tonight was unexpected. After running some early evening errands for work and making dinner I found myself with nothing to do. LIFE Group was last night, so I didn't have a lesson to worry about until next week. The bills are paid...even my checkbook is balanced. My room could be cleaner, but that's normal.

Somehow I decided to visit YouTube and do a search on the Mickey Mouse Club (MMC). When I was in elementary and middle school this show was my absolute favorite. Nothing else even came close. To this day, I don't think I've ever been such a fan of any other show, musician or movie. Here are just a few examples of the obsession I had with this show:

1.) We had the Disney Channel just so I could watch the show.

2.) I used to record just about every episode. (Uh, no, I don't have those tapes anymore and I never watch them.)

3.) I made mixed tapes of the songs they sang on the show. I would use my dad's stereo and put the mic up to the TV speakers. In some of the recordings you can hear my bird chirping and me saying, "Shhhh" to my dad.

4.) In 6th grade my parents announced that we would be going to the Disney/MGM studios, where they filmed the show, for Mother's Day. Two things made me very excited: there was a possibility that we'd get to see a taping of the show and I knew that there would be plenty of MMC merchandise for me to purchase. Unfortunately, the show was on hiatus when we were there so I only got to see the set and have my picture taken with the lifesize cut-outs they had of some of the cast members. I had also saved up all of my money from my birthday, Christmas and anywhere else I could get it in order to maximize my shopping experience. I don't remember exactly how much I had saved, but I know it was over $100. I walked out of that theme park broke, but with two bags full of MMC stuff. Whatever they had, I bought...even a MMC fanny pack! My mom became concerned that my dad would get upset with me for spending all of my money so she covered for me and carried one of the bags so it looked like she'd done some shopping, too. I still don't think my dad knows about that.

Anyway, back to my search at YouTube. I searched "Mickey Mouse Club" and to my great delight, several videos came up. The first one I watched was the opening credits from either the second or third season of the show. I got a smile out of that.

I continued on and decided I should try searching the names of some of the cast members that I liked a lot. Britney Spears and some of the guys from nsync were on the show, but they weren't my favorites. My favorites have gone on to do some notable things, but aren't as big as the others. I thought Ryan was cool and he's done some big movies like The Notebook and he's got a film coming out this fall called Half Nelson that is getting a lot of buzz. As for the girls, in the first seasons of the show, I thought Tiffini was the greatest. But then they introduced Keri Russell and I had a new girl. She has since been on a show called Felicity and is going to be in the new Mission:Impossible movie. I also read she's going to be doing some make-up ads.

So I did a search on "Keri Russell," and found some of the most hysterical videos. The one for "Live and Learn" really had me rolling. I haven't laughed that hard in a while. These videos are so cheesy that I couldn't help but enjoy watching them. I used to think the kids on that show were so cool. And I wanted to be like them so much.

It was so great to watch these videos and get all nostalgic about the show, good memories from those times and simply laugh at myself. And while I never did get on MMC, my mom and dad did eventually buy me the jacket that they had on the show. And if you think I ever wore that jacket to school and told random people that I had been on the show, then you might be onto something.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I was at camp for Easter last weekend and got to go to part of the sunrise service at Bok Tower Gardens. It is probably what Lake Wales is most famous for. Bok Tower is also the home of the highest point in Florida. Anyway, here are a few pictures from the service.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


In high school and in the beginning of my college years, I was a big fan of The Real World and Road Rules. Of the two shows, I was a bigger fan of Road Rules. Although I have to confess I did have a crush on Jacinda from the London edition of Real World. Whenever they had those all day marathons of either show on a Saturday, I was there. The idea of taking an extended road trip in a Winnebago and going on various adventures in unfamiliar territory is still appealing to me today.

When I was a freshman at UCF my roommate (a buddy from high school named Vadin who is easily one of the funniest people I have ever known) and I even made audition tapes for those two shows. I remember getting a rejection letter saying I didn't make the cut. I don't think we seriously thought we had a shot of being chosen, so I thought it was great to even get just the rejection letter.

What appealed to me the most about those shows, though, was the sense of community I thought they experienced. They would all be crying at the end no matter how many people had been voted out of the house or how many times they made the wrong turn while on the road and I would think, "I want to have that kind of experience with people!" I wanted to have people caring for me and I wanted to be caring for them. I was longing for it.

Flash forward to March when I was visiting my friends in North Carolina. I love these people. To the left are Kim, Ru and their son Jacob. Unfortunately I have no pics of James from this trip, but I've got plenty video of him channeling his inner Rachel Green.

I had a great time on this trip. Good chili, St. Patty's day parade and a psycho bowling tournament, just to name a few of the highlights. On the Sunday night of my visit I got to attend Grace Community Church, which is the church that Ru planted a few years back. It came time for communion and I had a pleasant surprise. When they serve communion at Grace, it is served to you by an elder and he prays for you right there. I was slightly intimidated by this at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It was so personal. The elder asked for my name and prayed for me on the spot. Without even knowing anything about me. All he cared about at that moment was that I was celebrating Christ with him. I came home wishing the church I attend here could so the same thing.

Then tonight I went to a Maundy Thursday service at UPC and my wish came true. Mike O. announced we would be coming up to the table and the elders would serve the Lord's Supper to us and then pray for us. I loved hearing Mike call me "brother" when I took the bread. I loved seeing the elders put their arms around people as they prayed for them. What got me even more was seeing a couple or family go and be served together. What an awesome thing.

And then it dawned on me on my way home. That is community. Coming before the Lord together as a family. What better way to do it?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I have been in a funk lately. But I love how God surprises me with the most unexpected things when I am in a funk. I have had a couple of those lately.

Last week I had Monday and Tuesday off from work, so I was not in the mood to be there on Wednesday morning. But I got a call from Debbie, who is one of my favorite people. She handles our bookkeeping, payroll and other things I don't understand and called to say she was giving Diana and me increases in our gas allowances. Awesome! It completely caught me off guard. She thought we deserved more, so she told one of the owners and made it happen.

A second surprise occurred when I called my dad earlier today to catch up. I asked him to specifically pray for me about something. For some reason, I usually don't call my dad with specific prayer requests, so I felt a little embarrassed to ask him. But God surprised me. My dad's response was, "I always pray for you." That made me feel so good and so loved. And I really needed that. I guess I just expected him to say, "Okay, no problem," but his response exceeded my expectations.

I also had LIFE Group with my 8th graders tonight and it didn't go as well as I would have liked. Distractions came up and I didn't handle them well. They were frustrating me and it was one of those nights where you wonder why you even bother. So I got home and signed on to iChat and up popped a window that says someone is trying to do a video chat with me. "Video chat?" I thought. I accepted it and all of a sudden I'm looking at Ben Seidman, one of my favorite campers from Circle F. (That's us on the left in 2003.) It was unexpected and just plain cool. It was like he was sitting in my room hanging out. (I totally want to buy a webcam now.) And it was great to hear from him. It also reminded me of a line from Patch Adams that Linc shared with us once during a ULife meeting and that I shared with the youth group last time I spoke. At one point in the film Robin Williams says, "When I took on the problems of the people around me, my own problems began to disappear." That's what happened when I talked to Ben. I sat down in front of my computer frustrated with my baggage and then he started talking about things he's dealing with as a sophomore in high school. Suddenly I forgot all about my problems.

All of this reminds me of a verse from Ephesians 3:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I'm so thankful that God loves us enough to surprise us with things that we don't even think are possibilities.


Yesterday I saw something really simple, but I loved it. I was walking around the Waterford Lakes Town Center heading over to Old Navy when I heard some commotion. I looked behind me and saw that a family (a dad, mom and little girl) was racing to their car with these big smiles on their faces. The mom won and cheered when she tagged the car first. It was so great. It immediately made me think how great it will be when/if I have a family of my own and can do things like that.

I also realized that that was probably the best part of that family's day. Whatever they bought at Waterford couldn't compare to the joy I'm sure they felt in that moment. It reminds me how we are created for relationships. I had spent the day unsuccessfully shopping for new furniture (conclusion: I don't like shopping) and decided that the coolest looking living room ever wouldn't really make me happy. What I want and truly need are valuable relationships. And the relationship I'll experience the most joy from is the one I have with God. What strikes me as crazy is that I was willing to drive all over Orlando looking for a couch, but have a hard time spending 10 minutes in prayer talking to God.