Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Wood, Jackson, and Santos familes celebrated this first Thanksgiving in California in style! We had such a great day being together. We have so much for which to be thankful. After feeding the kids a lunch and doing some crafts with them, the kiddos took a nap while we enjoyed an adult lunch. Here are some snapshots to recapture the day!
Andy & Mandy helping the kids make noodle necklaces.

Making Native American head dresses

Our two Indian Chiefs

A very aggressive hug that turned into a tackle

Big hugs! I love Lily's face in this pic!

This was the first time since we got married that Andy & I used our fine china and crystal!
It was a lot of fun and quite beautiful, if I may say so myself!

"The Spread" Mmmmmm!

"Uncle Awchie" carving the turkey


The guys showing off their very full bellies after eating that feast...
quite attractive, don't you think?

A pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake made by Mandy. It was better than The Cheesecake Factory!

My little Turkey!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Due to recent cut backs...

Today I saw a bumper sticker that said, "Due to recent cut backs, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off."

After I laughed out loud, I thought that statement really captured what so many people are feeling right now. We are living in the greatest economic crisis of my lifetime, and some have even said since the Great Depression. There is so much uncertainty. Most of us personally know someone who has lost a job or had major life style changes as a result of the economy. People are really hurting and some feel that they are without hope.

When I saw that bumper sticker, I was so glad that the Light at the end of my tunnel never turns off. He is Hope for the hopeless. He offers peace that passes all understanding. He gives perspective when life is overwhelming. The Light of the World shines brightest in the darkness.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In My Opinion

This post is an addendum to my last one regarding my lack of visual/spacial intelligence. After reading my post, my dad responded that it sounds like I needed my sister. Let me explain why he would say that and how true it is...

When I was growing up, my sister (3 years older) loved to play "mommy" to me and I loved to let her. She did my hair every day until I was in middle school. She and I shared clothes until she went away to college (and it was a MAJOR crisis when she moved out and we had to divide the clothes). And virtually all the clothes we owned had been picked out by her. This should have been a red flag that perhaps I have a slight disability when it comes to fashion, but I just explained it by saying that I like her taste.

It got worse, not better. When Andy and I were engaged, I took Stephanie (my sister) with me to help me register. (Can you even imagine someone like me trying to register by myself? Can you say nightmare?) At first I was excited and motivated, but by the end of the day I was in tears and she had the scanning gun.

When shopping for my wedding dress, my mom and I narrowed it down to 3 options but I could not make a final decision. I told the attendant helping me, "I'll bring my Opinion next time." I'm not sure she realized I was talking about a person! My sister, therefore, picked out my wedding dress, my bridesmaid dresses, my china, and virtually everything else that I registered for!

Andy and I have moved 5 times since we've been married and 4 of those times, either my mom, my sister, or both have been there to hang pictures and put up decorations. One time a college student said to me, "I really love design and interior decorating! I could help you if you want me to!" How gracious! This comment was after I thought my house was decorated!

This is a major issue for me. I guess we all have things we're good at...this just definitely is not one of mine!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Confession: I'm really bad at...

I am really bad at anything that has to do with home decor, design, or fashion. Apparently the visual/spacial part of my brain never developed. I don't know where to hang a picture. I don't know how to pick out paint colors to coordinate with throw pillows and curtains. Some days, I don't even know if a certain shirt matches a pair of pants. (Andy has had to tell me before "That doesn't go together." True story.)

The other day Andy and I went to the mall. This is always a miserable experience for me because I hate to shop and going to the mall just reminds me of how out-of-style my clothes really are. I don't even know where to start. Knowing that I have a limited clothing budget it's always a dilema: Should I invest my clothing money in shirts or pants or shoes or accessories? Should I buy brands that look nicer and last longer or should I buy less expensive clothing so my money will go further?

After walking aimlessly through the mall on two different occassions, I decided to just go to Target and buy some shirts, but have resolved to buy a nice pair of jeans. I wear jeans almost every day of my life and I want a pair I feel good in. I have some money from my birthday that I've been saving for such an occassion, but I have no idea where to start. Almost every store sells jeans and there are 10 different styles at each store. Any suggestions on the best places to buy jeans?

(PS- Please keep in mind when making suggestions on where to shop that a "nice" pair of jeans is still relative...I don't plan on spending $200 on one pair!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Missing Person Report

We have tragically lost an important family member. If you, or anyone you know, has any information concerning the whereabouts of this person, please contact me immediately!

Name: Fuzzy Wuzzy
Date of Adoption: December 9, 2006
Height: 13 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Eye Color: Black marbles
Hair Color: Brown (covers entire body)
Last seen wearing: a green apron

Our precious Fuzzy Wuzzy was last seen going for a stroller ride with our family on Saturday in Rivermark Plaza. His older brother, Caedmon, misses him desperately, especially at naptime and bedtime. Please help us bring Fuzzy home!

Monday, November 17, 2008

One down...One million to go!

Yesterday was an amazing day! South Bay Church had our first ever public service and we were thrilled by all that God did. 175 people present. 5 decisions to follow Christ. And a ton of people interested in more information about the church!
I cannot even tell you how much prayer and anticipation led up to this day. On Sunday I had that really strange feeling of total exhaustion from working around the clock but being completely wired from adrenaline, caffeine, and nervous energy! When my alarm went off at 5:30 AM it felt like the gun at the starting gate of a race. A shot of adrenaline pumped through my body and I was ready to go!
Today I feel a mixture of emotions. Thankful, excited, and relieved would be at the top of the list. Thankful for all that God did. Excited to get to be apart of this movement of His Spirit that will have rippling effects throughout the Silicon Valley and ultimately the Bay Area. And relieved to have that first Preview Gathering behind us!
At the very beginning of the worship set with the band already at full volume Archie yelled out, "Good morning! And welcome to South Bay Church!" Hearing those words for the first time was an amazing feeling. I (along with several others) let out a loud cheer as I inwardly thanked God for bringing us this far. This is the vision that we've been dreaming for so long unfolding before our eyes. Not without work. Not without tears and hardship and barriers to overcome. But God is faithful and He is the One propelling this forward.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Discipline of Sabbath

Where have I been? It's been a while since my last post...or since the last time I watched TV, or replied to a friend's email, or read someone else's blog... So what has been keeping me so busy? South Bay Church's first Preview Service is in NINE (9) days!!! The count down is on and we are all working around the clock to pull everything together. It's a very busy, but very exciting time!

Even with all the insanity that is surrounding our lives right now, Andy and I are still trying to practice the discipline of "Sabbath". We work (hard) for six days, but on the seventh day (for us it's Friday) we try not to do anything related to work. I even had to work kinda late last night and I've got my whole day planned out tomorrow in order to be able to take the day off today. But it's worth the extra thought and planning in order to have 24 hours of rest.

Today we drove up to San Francisco, walked around on Pier 39, watched the sea lions, ate some lunch, and got some ice cream. It was a lot of fun, and so healthy just to let our system have time to shut down and reboot. It reminds us to laugh, to have fun, and to cherish the moment. It helps us not just see each other as ministry partners, but as a family with love and commitment far deeper than a call to start a church.

It's not easy to practice "Sabbath" and it's been something that we've had to grow into. We try very hard not to make "exceptions" for why we would need to work half a day, or reply to that email, or return that phone call. We're not legalistic about it. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons that an exception needs to be made. But we try hard to limit it.

I can't even tell you how difficult it has been for me today not to get some work done. I've got a lot of deadlines and very little time to get it done. But, for me, practicing Sabbath is an act of trust. It reminds me that God is the one driving this church forward and the world will not stop turning if I take a day off. It reminds me that He is God and I am not. The work will still be there waiting for me tomorrow. But today, I choose to rest. I choose to trust.