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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Berlin Wall-ace

I just finished reading Lauren's blog. I am really proud of her. It's been cool to see her openness to how God wanted to use her. I think a lot of us are scared to do the things that God wants us to do. Leaving our comfort zones, let alone our homes, is a difficult thing to do. She is in Germany right now, serving in a leadership postition for Young Life for the next 2 years. Pray for her often. It is weird to be back home still. I really like spending time on the Rez, serving alongside my friends, and in some cases, family. I am fortunate to be a part of a really great group of believers. It's a cool thing. Many of us on the trip had been there multiple times and it was cool to see how many of the Navajo remembered us. God has been able to help us establish some really cool connections there and now we are starting to have some really cool conversations with the families we are ministering to. It is something I am really grateful to be a part of.

Here is the second video that I made for Pati. She is singing "Always Forever" by Phil Wickham. She played this song during our devo on the mission trip and it sounded great.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Home Is Where the B.A.R.T. Is (Hold Up, Wait a Minute, Put a Little Love In It!)

We got home last night at around 10:30pm. The drive was fairly smooth and uneventful. Quite the opposite of the days that preceded it. The days that led up to the uneventful drive home were filled with poorly played basketball, me blowing up a Nissan Armada, 110 degree heat, lightening, and Mr. Tumnus. I shall explain the latter before elaborating on the former. One morning when we woke up, after spending the night in the magical air-conditioned house that Mel and I crashed in, Tony and I attempted to wake my brother up who was sleeping on the couch. He was shirtless and looked a bit like something out of Narnia. So henceforth he was known as Mr. Tumnus. He loves it. Though Nissan Armadas look tough and manly, they are in fact made of feathers, flowers, perfume and silk. I was driving it from the Rez to Flagstaff when it decided to stop working. It died. We realized that the transmission gave out and luckily it wasn't my fault. But we stayed the course. Things worked out. Basketball camp was a lot of fun too. It was extremely tiring but a great experience. I lost almost 10 pounds this week which was funny. I loved coaching alongside Tony, Matt Pine, Chad, Josh Moog, and the girls. Angela, Irene, and Meghan tried to pester me and were pretty sure that they drove me nuts, but truth be told, they worked hard and were a lot of fun to be around. Just don't tell them I told you that! Melissa did so well on the trip. I was so impressed with her and was reminded (not that I needed to be) about how strong her character is. She is so tough, yet still a pretty cute girl. Quite impressive. She She worked hard this week and our baby will be that much stronger for it. He told me that he enjoyed the Rez and looks forwarding to slaughtering a sheep there one day. What a stud! Mel's kids club family really wants her to bring the baby out there next year. We'll see what happens! I am so thankful that God allowed Mel and I to go on the trip. It truly is one of my favorite things to do and I hope Mel and I can go back again. God really did a lot of work through our group and within it. I was blessed to be a part of it. I will write more about it later.

Friday, July 27, 2007

On the Rez

Today is the 6th day of the Arizona trip. Things have been going really well and hopefully you have been keeping up with the trip's blog. We are leaving the Reservation today and heading for Flagstaff which is both exciting and a bummer. I helped lead the basketball camp this week and escaped virtually unscathed. It was a ton of work but a lot of fun. I got to get to know Chad Clelland and Matt Pine pretty well. they are great guys. The Ton and I got to hang out a ton too which was a treat. I am pretty tired and should probably go help clean up. I will talk more about the trip and post some pictures when I get home. Good tidings.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Off to the Rez!

Tomorrow morning at 6:15, Mel and I are flying to the Rez. Well, technically Farmington, New Mexico, but close. I have been remaining in contact with people on the trip and they are doing well. My brother emailed me some pictures as well. We will be gone for about 8 days, serving the Navajo near the Four Corners region. I am in charge of leading the basketball camp while we are there which is funny on many levels. One: I am horrible at basketball. Two: I broke my wrist playing basketball on their court last year. This should be a treat. While we are on the trip, I am going to be updating another blog: The Arizona Outreach Blog. Here is the link.

I filmed Pati singing some songs a couple days ago for a demo DVD that she needed to make for a music school she is trying to get in to. It came out pretty well. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Practice Doesn't Always Make Perfect

I know I haven't been the most dedicated blogger as of late. Some would say that this could be an indication of me getting a life. But on the contrary, nothing blog-worthy has really happened. Ok, I suppose I just haven't had the gumption to blog. But here I go! Anyway, we have had mission trip training this week. Always a treat. I am in charge of directing a drama called Creation. I posted the video from last year's rendition of the skit a couple weeks ago. As we were practicing one of the students put on his costume. He was to play the role of a sheep. We borrowed this funny sheep costume from Moog and it would've worked perfectly had the student not put on backwards. He did it accidentally and I had him switch it before most of the group noticed. I tried to be mature about it but I couldn't stop laughing. I put it on after everyone left. It was classic. I have since removed the picture.

Last night Tony, his brother, and I watched Pan's Labyrinth at my house after training. The movie is in Spanish and was up for a bunch of awards last year. It is a combination of Narnia, Harry Potter, and something much more sobering and dark. It was very interesting. Brilliant really. The art and effects were insane. They were done very well. I am still trying to process it all. there is a lot of spiritual imagery and social commentary but it is pretty brutal at times. Interesting movie. I already said that. Redundant. Redundant.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rocky Ninolato and the Panda Express

On Wednesday the Nino family hosted the MSM for an evening of Middle Eastern food, swimming, and trampolining. It was quite splendid. They even had a chocolate fountain. Jake did music for us and Gary spoke. It was pretty much big church-lite. We had a lot of fun. They had the trampoline set up right next to the pool so you could jump straight in. It was rather scary for someone as uncoordinated as myself. It was also frightening watching the middle schoolers helplessly flail their bodies into the pool below. Luckily I am an EMT (rusty as my skills may be).

Last night Tony, my brother, Lauren, and I went to see Rocky Votolato at Bottom of the Hill in the City. The concert started at 10 and had 2 other artists in addition to Rocky. The first band, Panda, was a group of barely-graduated high school students who played a brand of Franz Ferdinandesque nerd rock. It was a bizarre spectacle to watch the nerdy members "dance" and gyrate onstage in synchronized dorky unison. The next act was Langhorne Slim which was a pretty rad folk acoustic band. They are worth checking out. Rocky was amazing. He played until after 1am which was a bit rough but worth it. He is really really talented. My brother, Rocky Jr., got Rocky's guitar pick and hand-written set list after the show in addition to the beer bottle cap that Lauren grabbed for him after Mr. Votolato flung it in her direction. Justin wept.

Melissa and I have decided to go on the Mission Trip. We are flying to our favorite airport, Farmington, NM on Sunday. I am going to be leading the basketball camp (they don't know what's coming!) and Mel is in charge of the kid's clubs. We are both excited.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Softball: Not just for girls anymore!

This past week has been filled with softball excitement. I have experienced all of the highs and lows that the game has to offer. Our Friday night team ended the season by losing to the first place team last week, Hopyard Brewmasters, 11-6. That team had beaten us by over 15 runs the first time we played them so it was nice to keep the score semi-respectable in our closing game. We finished the season 2-10. That is 2 wins, 10 losses. This is the same league that we finished second in last season. We need to practice more in the off season I suppose.

The past 2 Monday's, the Pleasanton Sports Park hosted the VBC Coed Softball Tournament. According to our critics, "our team was stacked." Technically...it was. The tournament was a lot of fun. It was really cool to see the interaction between the various teams, teammates, fans, and umpires. One of the guys on my team, JB, is actually an umpire from our Friday night league who Wayne asked to sign up. Mel and I had a really long conversation with him last night in the parking lot after the last game about the Lord and about our church. He was in shock that our team's leftfielder, Gary, was actually the preacher. He couldn't believe how down to earth he was. JB said he wants to come check out our church because everyone was so nice to him. Our team won the championships which was a nice bonus.

Mel is feeling great. The baby (BOY!!!) is kicking a lot and is quite happy to be alive. In our most recent doctor's appointment, the doc said that Mel is measuring big. We asked what that meant and he said that we are going to have a big boy. Probably 7 feet tall or so. We have already started getting the kid some stylish threads. My mom keeps buying the baby stuff as well. And yes, we have a name but we're not telling you! Oh yeah...I passed all three of those crazy English CSET tests that I took the other day. Until next time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

IT'S (gonna be) A BOY!!!

Yesterday Mel and I got to go to the doctor's to get the second ultrasound done. This was also the appointment where we got to find out the sex of the baby. It was really fun, exciting, overwhelming, and strange all at the same time. In the last ultrasound that we had done, the baby was roughly the size of a bean. A lot has changed since then. It was incredible watching the ultrasound screen as the baby moved, played with his feet, opened his mouth, swallowed. My heart was beating super fast.It was crazy to see that the baby now has arms, legs, kidneys, and yes, a weener! This was the most exciting of all revelations. When the technician said that we were having a little boy I started to cry a bit. I then realized that I am going to be a wreck when this guy is born. Our moms got to be in the room throughout the appointment and they were equally giddy. The doctor came in the room and said that the baby looks exactly as he would like it to look in this stage of development. He is 20 weeks along, 10 inches long, and 15 ounces. Pretty much a zucchini, except less green and much better looking. Melissa and I are both so happy and can't wait for this little guy to be here. It still feels weird to think it's a boy. We had quite the entourage at the appointment too. Both of our parents, our brothers, Mandie, Ashley, Amy and Charlie. It was a fun moment to share with them and it gave me a glimpse of the amount of people that will likely be at the hospital come November. It's gonna be fun!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rocky Point: Where fun goes to die.

This weekend, Melissa and I went with the Quest and Table ministries (college and post-college) to Rollins Lake. It was so fun! There were 37 of us and we were camped out on a part of the lake called Rocky Point. It was given this name due to the treacherous rocks and ugly terrain that make up the campsites that we stayed in. This shadeless, poor excuse for a campground ended up serving us quite well. On Thursday, while setting up tents before the bulk on the group arrived, Nick and I made up various slogans for the trip, including- Rocky Point: What's the point?"; "Rocky Point: Fun has met its match!"; "Rocky Point: Do you still believe in God?"; "Rocky Point: Maybe the middle schoolers were right!"; and so many more. We were laughing hysterically as we made the slogans up. Luckily there was a cool beach a 10 minute swim away where we spent a bulk of our time. The beach had a small, shallow creek flowing through it that we played baseball in, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. It was a great alternative to Rocky Point's craggy shores. Mel and I slept outside under the stars which is one of my favorite things to do. Moog and Nick spoke and Deej did the music. It was one of those weekends where I realized (not for the first time) how fortunate I am to have the network of friends that I have. That group of close to 40 people is like my extended family. I have had so many cool experiences with many of them that they feel like my brothers and sisters. Just being outdoors, worshiping God, alongside some of my favorite people is truly my favorite thing to do. Sure we were sleeping under power lines, and a rocky knoll with 3 electrical towers begging to give us cancer, but in those small moments on the trip I realized how loved I am and how fortunate Melissa and I are to be part of such an amazing community of Christ's followers.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Rockin Rocklin Pre-Anniversary Wedding Filming Adventure and More!

Melissa and I, as previously stated, went to Rocklin last weekend to film a wedding for a friend of Melissa's family. The wedding was on Saturday but we went up a day early so that we could spend time with Nick Breitbart. It was a really good time. We went to the American River on Friday and swam. The water was super warm and the fish stayed a pleasant distance away while we swam. Nick tried to teach me how to flip to no avail. I am pretty hopeless when it comes to that kind of stuff. We went to Chik-Fil-A, saw Ben Foster, and went and played shuffleboard at a super swanky bowling alley/bar and grill placed called Strikes. It was a lot of fun. The wedding that I filmed was really pretty and enjoyable to take part in. Nick was my assistant cameraman, though he had another name for it.
On Tuesday Mel and I went to Santa Cruz to spend the day for our anniversary. We love going to the beach there and cruising around the downtown area. We went in the various shops and looked at baby clothes. It was a splendid second anniversary.
We just got back from a weekend at Rollins Lake. I will post some pictures later this week and share some of the weekend's highlights. It was a great trip.
Tomorrow we get to find out what kind of baby we are having. We are super excited! I am pretty sure it's a girl and Mel thinks it's a boy. Either way one of us will be right. Here's to hoping that she's right.