Russ in a dress

Two years or so ago, in a youth ministry committee meeting brainstorming ideas for fundraisers, Russ said that he thought we should have a Womanless Beauty Pageant.  His dad had been in one at his home church (I’ve seen pictures, he looked EXACTLY like his sister, crazy).  I was hesitant, but slowly the idea caught on among the youth, and before I knew it we were planning our first Womanless Beauty Pageant.   The youth chose a date and the pageant format.  They decided who the judges would be.  They made a long list of men that they wanted to ask to be in the pageant.

I began to panic two weeks ago when VERY few men were willing/able to be a part of this spectacle.  Even Russ who HAD THE IDEA said that he wasn’t going to be in it.  But slowly but surely, nine brave and secure contestants stepped up to the plate, including Russ (I had to remind him 104 times that it was his idea and we wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for his idea in the first place).  And oh my goodness gracious – it was the most fun.  I haven’t heard a group of Presbyterians get that rowdy in a long time (since seminary perhaps).

The youth are forever indebted to these men who went to goodwill to try on dresses, practiced walking in high heels, painted their own finger nails, recruited our Mary Kay member to do their make-up, created lovely female characters, and went ALL OUT to make sure the audience had a good time and that we raised money for the youth.  I think it is especially humorous that when asked to pick their pageant name, THREE of the contestants chose Daisy – apparently that is the southern idea of a proper pageant name.

I was able to see the contestants get ready, so I knew what was coming, but seeing/hearing the audience reactions as each beauty stepped out of the doorway and headed to the stage was absolutely priceless, especially because our contestants were so into their characters with struts and hair flips and high pitched voices.   They began by introducing themselves and telling a bit about who they were.  Next the question round elicited responses to questions such as: “What is your idea of a perfect date?”  “What are your favorite traits in a man?” and “If you could get away with a crime what would it be?” (This last question got my favorite answer…all of the contestants began to harass/hit on the host and the answer to the question was “stealing your heart, baby” – quick witted those ladies).

Then came the talent portion – there was cornhole, balloon animal making, poetry reading, cheering, jumping on a pogo stick, “singing”, magic, “dip art”, and juggling a soccer ball while wearing heels.  All awesome.  The judges had a very difficult job with so much beauty and talent up on that stage.  But alas, they did choose their top three.

And you wouldn’t believe who won Second Runner-Up:  Nixie Knockers, the soccer juggling, bearded pregnant contestant.  Also known to you as Russ:

I am sad that I really didn’t get a good picture of the full get up.  I’m afraid that Piglet may need therapy after this whole experience.  She was very concerned that he used her little soccer balls for boobs and a ball she wanted to play with for the belly.  At one point she ran on stage, lifted the dress, and birthed the baby ball.  This is the point when I cried I was laughing so hard.

Good Times

coordination, lack thereof

When I was just 8ish weeks pregnant, I busted in the middle of Target when I slipped on some toothpaste. (This I blame on the toothpaste and Target)  Oddly enough that same week, my sister who was 8.5 months pregnant fell at school in front of all of her students, perhaps it’s genetic.

When I was 12ish weeks pregnant, we took the youth out for pizza on a long holiday weekend and had the big preggo reveal.   Toward the end of dinner, I knocked an entire pizza on the floor. (This I blamed on Mellow Mushrooms unstable pizza stands).

But last night, I proved once and for all that my coordination is severely lacking this pregnancy (and that there is no one else to blame).  I was walking from the fellowhsip hall to the office to make some copies for youth group.  I was trying to hurry and tripped on an uneven part of the sidewalk.  I was airborne for about half a second (though it felt much longer) and my body did some weird completely ungraceful movements, then I landed squarely on my left hand and right knee.   I skinned both pretty well.  I recall seeing kids get skinned knees and freaking out and wondering why because surely a little skinned knee can’t hurt THAT bad.   Oh my, I must have forgotten (for good reason) what it felt like to get a skinned knee because IT HURTS.  I did not cry.  But I did sit on the sidewalk for a few minutes with slightly watery eyes trying to reassure myself that nothing was broken and that my belly did not actually hit the ground.

After a while, I got up and continued my copy making quest and realized I couldn’t walk without limping.  The youth decided upon my return and explanation of why I was holding a paper towel on my hand that I was not allowed to go anywhere by myself anymore, just in case.   Isn’t that sweet?  But then, of course, they ALL recalled the pizza incident of three months ago and had a good laugh at my expense.

And today, my knee hurts whenever I bend it or Piglet runs into it; both of my palms hurt where they are scraped; and my left arm is incredibly sore from catching the weight of my pregnant body as it plummeted to the ground.  Good times.

going mad and old

The other night, Russ was studying in the office and I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed.  I heard a strange grumbling noise and thought it was my stomach…the Cracker Barrel lunch and the few bites of Russ’ onion rings and Piglet’s ice cream post dinner dessert made that seem like the most logical explanation.

Then I heard it again.  Then again.  Definitely not my stomach.  It actually sounded like it was coming from the toilet.  So I stood over the toilet trying to hear it again.  There it was.  and again.  it sounded like we were above a sewer and someone was tapping on a pipe down below and the vibrations were making their way through the water.

Then the sound changed.  This time it sounded like someone was actually talking in the imaginary sewer below.  so strange.  so there I stood staring at my toilet wondering what in the world was going on and thinking I was going a little crazy.

I was about to walk into the office to get Russ to come and examine the sound with me and at least prove that I wasn’t hearing things when I realized the sound was not coming from the toilet but from the other side of the wall – in the office where Russ was studying the various sounds of regular and irregular heartbeats with a simulator.

So I guess I’m only a little crazy, at least not hearing things that aren’t there yet.

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Speaking of hearing things, the youth proved that we are in fact old.  Last night they were playing the ring tone that is supposedly at such a high frequency that adults can’t hear it, making it the ideal ring tone for school hours.  Just a few short years ago, I could still hear that ring tone, but last night – NOTHING.  After I discovered that I could no longer hear it, Russ decided that surely he could hear it – still in denial he was – but sure enough, they tested him too and NOTHING. sad.  It’s hard getting old and not hearing things that are there.

RSVP, regrets only

This weekend, there were three major events happening in the world of me:

  1. 10 Year High School Reunion
  2. PC Homecoming
  3. USC football game

And I was home.  Why?  Because we are sad, pathetic, lame, broke, busy, tired, and stressed.

Instead of those wonderful and exciting events with friends and family,

we hung out with our daughter who is two, going on 15.

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We went to the church yard sale.

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We only came home with three small items on Saturday, but somehow this table and chairs ended up in my car on Sunday.

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We played with Lucky (notice the lovely post-nap hair).

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We went to the corn maze with Piglet.

(complete with hayride, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, and haybale maze)

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WE! ELECTED! OUR! PNC!

(Pastor Nominating Committee/Search Committee)  There are no pictures of this event, but by golly, there should be because it was momentous and joyous and spectacular.  There were applause and tears (ok, maybe only me, but still there were tears.  of joy)  Heck, I got teary the first time I heard the slate of names  last week because if you could have a PC(USA) PNC dream team, this would be it.   So I don’t apologize for my tears, no I don’t.  I mean, it’s only been 17 months since our previous pastor retired, but who’s counting.  We’re on our way.  Hallelujah.  Amen.

We watched two of our youth play soccer.

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And we took our youth to the corn maze.

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While there were many places that I would have liked to have been this weekend, we had a pretty fun and full weekend on our own.  and it was good.  At least that what I’ll tell myself as I look at the pictures my friends and family post on facebook over the next few days.

World on Fire

Yesterday was Youth Sunday, and I really love the way this church does it.  The group that goes to Montreat plans the service using that year’s theme.  It makes the planning process so much easier, plus the youth are really pumped about sharing their passion and energy from Montreat with the congregation.

The youth were near perfect this year – I am amazed at how much they’ve grown in the past three years.   And we heard so many comments after about how inspired people were to set the World on Fire.   And it was actually tangible in the sign-ups for our first congregation-wide Serves Day coming up in October – we are already up to 60 people signed up, and it’s still over a month away (our goal is 100).

BUT BUT BUT

As much as the service was great.  People are still finding things to complain about.  We didn’t have bulletins, and this just weirded people out.   Granted there are some logistical problems with our sanctuary layout, so next year we will probably suck it up and use bulletins.  There were complaints about the music, saying it was distracting – when 98% of the people loved it – there was clapping….and even a little swaying…in a presbyterian church.

Why do people complain about this one chance the youth have to share their passion with the congregation…to plan worship that is meaningful to them? 

I feel like it all boils down to fear.  Some people are so afraid of change and that the younger generation is going to steal their church and completely take away everything they’ve known for the past 50 years.  But they won’t – these young people are incredibly insightful and sensitive and appreciative.  We even sang two hymns from our hymnal (granted the words were on the screen and there were guitars playing the music), the gloria, and the doxology – because they mean something to the youth as well.  They don’t want to burn the church down and start over – they want to use the strengths of what we have and build on them, recognizing that sometimes the way we’ve always done things doesn’t make the most sense anymore.

I was reading our tech savvy moderator’s blog this morning in which he was defending the use of social media in the church and addressing the fears that many have of this form of ministry.  And his arguments fit here as well…when we plan our worship and our programs and do the same old thing, “who are we defending and protecting?” and “who are we leaving behind?”

Granted I cringe whenever people start talking about having a “contemporary” service to attract young people.  (I’m just a big contradiction aren’t I?)  I think that just splits the church and doesn’t get at the real problem of the absence of young people in our churches.   There are many in our generation who do like organ music AND guitars…and our church is so blessed to have many musicians and many flexible folks, and we use it all.   It doesn’t have to be either/or.

But for now, the youth will continue to ask questions, to make people a little uncomfortable, to push people out of the box, to inspire, to be inspired, and to search for a way where we can all be the church together.  And I feel privileged to accompany them on this journey.

facts of the matter

I am sitting in the library of Presbyterian College skipping small group as I always do at the Montreat Middle School Conference.   In my less than 24 hours of conference experience, I have some observations:

  • Middle Schoolers are crazy
  • Middle Schoolers on caffeine and sugar are almost unbearable
  • Middle School boys talk about poop, farts, and puke a lot
  • The dynamics of this conference and the sr. high Montreat Youth Conference are SO very different – I had forgotten that.   It’s amazing how developmentally different they are with just a few years between them – that’s a lot of growing and maturing to do in such a short time, no wonder adolescence is so akward.
  • Middle Schoolers make me laugh a lot.
  • Middle Schoolers are honest about others and themselves – I appreciate that, but sometimes wish they wouldn’t be so honest so loudly when others are present.
  • Youth Conferences give me hope when I’ve run out.
  • Middle Schoolers make me prone to violence.
  • Seeing old friends is the best
  • After waving hello to some friends, my youth said, “wow, Dorothy, you’re popular”  – ha, I guess in the small world of Presbyterian Youth Workers, I am.
  • My theory that I am allergic to Clinton, SC has been proven yet again – I woke up barely able to breathe
  • PC spends way too much money on stuff that doesn’t matter

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(like statues of fairies with telescopes by the new science building – really not kidding), and not enough money on the dorms – Georgia is grosser than it was 6 years ago, and THAT IS GROSS.

  • When I think about how long ago I graduated and how much has changed at PC, I feel really old.
  • I miss my college roommates a lot.  They were the best.

Montreat

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post, but last week was the Montreat Youth Conference.  We did not have internet, and there was certainly no time for blogging.  And this week is Vacation Bible School.  There still is no time for blogging, but I did want to sneak in a minute to post some pictures.

When we were moving back into our office after the flooding incident, I found a picture from my very first Montreat experience, and I started trying to figure out when it was…I had to count back five times because I was in disbelief – IT WAS 12 YEARS AGO!!  It really seems like yesterday.  Those were good times.  Coming back as a back home leader is fun, but so very different than coming as a youth.  So here is is folks:

Grace Youth Group at Montreat 1997

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DPC Youth Group at Montreat 2009

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