Monday, April 30, 2007

A Little Southern Comfort

So I totally blame my parents... and my high school youth minister, not to mention the gentlemen at Texas A&M! Well what I blame them for is not bad it's good actually but it makes me have a high standard of folks... What am I talkin about here people is Chivalry and good manners! That's right! It's not that people this north are rude, most of the time its just simple unawareness of those around you. I was raised in a strict household of manners. My mom used to tell us to act like little adults. My Dad works for Marriott and when ever we were at the hotel or anywhere else for that matter we were to be on our best behaviour addressing everyone by Sir or Ma'am. I felt like I had done something wrong the first time a close friends mom told me to call her by her first name, or just Mom... it felt weird.

Then I get to High School, and my youth minister Allen insists on guys treating the girls of the youth group like the "Princess'" they are. The guys always carried our luggage to the buses before trips, or let us eat first at any event. And then A&M happen, where boys pick up their step to beat girls to grab the door handle, or get heckled by other guys if they are sitting on the bus while there is a female standing. Its a great culture and I miss it! I know about the Women's movement and I am all for women's rights, but I am also all for being a lady! Seriously!

Well in DC I found life is a tad different when guys I knew would open the door just enough for them to get in, again these are friends, not being rude just not going out of their way. Or I had a boss that INSISTED that I not refer to her as Ma'am. Now I get that often people telling me no or what not, I assure them it is not an age thing but an importance thing and since everyone is more important than me everyone is ma'am and sir. But she was not buying it, I told her to be honest I would much rather have her mad at me than my mom. (Keep in mind this lady is actually a big deal) She still was not buying it and thus since it was so embedded in my brain I had to put up sticky notes all around that said "No Ma'am" to remind myself not to say it. It was funny because I would often pause and say it in my head and then keep talking... yeah I'm weird.

But the biggest frustration for me here is the manners on the metro. People will do what ever they have to to push someone out of the way and get their seat! Its crazy. When a metro pulls into a station a little what I like to fondly refer to as "Tunnel of Love" forms around the doors. People make a sorta tunnel on either side for the folks on the train to disembark and then everyone boards. This is where things can get harry, people will push or slip their bag in front of someone to make it clear they are getting on first! Then they run like children to a Christmas tree for "their" seat. Its pretty crazy to watch these folks in their suits do this. I have seen a man push to a side an elderly lady with a WALKER (A WALKER PEOPLE!!) to get a seat only to close his eyes slip on his head phones and act like it never happened! But I have also been blessed to see some good folks too.

So what is the point of this blog, I think if we were all a bit more hospitable to people we would have a much happier world. You have no idea what that person has been through in their day to get to the moment you meet them, so if they are rude or nice, be kind, smile and be polite it can mean the world to someone. And manners are not dead in this day and age, if we just respect each other.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gathering Rap-up

Well I meant to post this one yesterday but got distracted. Tuesday night was our last “official” service for The Gathering this semester. It has been an interesting school year one I may not soon forget. We have seen tremendous growth in this ministry and our students. Let me give you a tad of background on the campus I serve for those who may not know, I work with the college ministry through McLean Bible Church and we meet on two campuses American University and George Mason. We also hold a summer ministry at McLean for returning students and the LARGE influx of interns we see in this town every summer. It’s great. I have been serving on American since the second semester it has been on campus. We started out with 3 college students and a pastor. American was voted one of the most liberal college campuses in America, and the most politically active. The student body is some where around 6,000 students and 66% of them are women. They have one of the most diverse campuses around, in every sense of the word. You can find a large group of people from every race, religion, gender or cause you want. I never felt a call to missions but often when I am sitting in the cafeteria with my students I see the mission field brought to AU.

This semester we have grown to an average of 65 students attending each service, with an average of 15 to 20 guys! (That is HUGE for us here, on our largest attended night last semester we had 86 students and only 11 guys!) We now have a team of 12 volunteers! I love it! So I could tell a lot of stories about these students and how they melt my heart or make me laugh but I will just share some pics with you of the fun we have!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Check Out Aisle 2

This will be a rare glimpse for many of you who read my blog into the single life of a twenty-something in the city. (I say that because I technically have a few months before I hit my official late twenties and I am trying to hold onto the status of MID-twenties as long as possible.) After a funny incident this morning which left me laughing at a girl on the subway I thought I would share her story but would not be right unless I shared my own shameless stories.

Even if you are married you all should know about the infamous “ring-check” this is the sly movement of the eye when you spy one of God’s great creations of the opposite sex, before you stare too long you glance down to the left hand to check for the ring, once there is conformation there is no ring present you are able to go ahead and enjoy looking at God’s creation a tad longer.

Well this morning one such ring-check happened on the metro yet not so gracefully. The trains were backed up for some reason, which I am still unaware as they probably made the announcement while I was asleep. The funny thing is that earlier on the ride the train jolted I noticed a nice looking gentleman next to me, immediately did a ring check lo and behold there was one, and then went back to sleep not caring if my head bobbed or a little drool slipped out! (J/K I don’t drool!) So I awaken later to the train stopped in yet another tunnel and begin to look around, we come to the next stop and a very dashing man in his designer suit steps onto the train looking very important. I gave a quick once over and noticed yes he was indeed as good looking as I initially thought he was. He was holding a large folder in his left hand but my vantage point of sitting allowed me to see there was in fact no ring very easily. I then noticed a girl standing practically next to him checking him out as well, she although was having a much harder time doing the ring check. I started to chuckle to myself because I knew she was in fact not fixing anything on her heel but trying to see his left hand. Her efforts were futile and thus she decided heck with it and SHAMELESSLY bent at the waist an obviously checked out his left hand. Upon rising to an upright position she had a big smile on her face but this totally wigged out the cutie in the suit! It was funny!

Well since I sold this poor soul out on the internet I thought I should tell a couple of my own getting caught stories. While I am a pro at the ring check and never been caught there, I have been caught twice shamelessly staring at one of Gods great creations. The first time I was walking into the metro station when literally THE hottest guy I have EVER seen in person walked toward me. I could not help but to praise the Lord for His job well done by admiring a tad longer as he walked past me. The girl to my left totally called me out on it and shouted "I caught you". I jerked back and she was laughing and told me she only caught me because she too was shamelessly admiring as he walked by and was returning her head to face forward when she saw me. The other time was not that long ago when I was standing in Starbucks for my morning latte. A very nice looking gentleman (would rival my first metro boy) walked in and was standing to the side, after taking in the view for a bit I thought it was only right to text Jodi to rub this great encounter in. While I was waiting for my coffee at the coffee bar I was sending the message “Just saw the hottest guy ever at Starbees” when a young woman happen to look down and saw it. She laughed as she grabbed her coffee and told me “I agree”! I was mortified but glad she too thought he was as good looking as I did.

Monday, April 23, 2007

On A Lighter Note

Well I thought I would share a funny story that happened to me on the metro to lighten things up a bit. This happened just a few weeks ago and was a bit funny and a bit creepy all at the same time. Well just about all of you know about my habit of sleeping on the metro. I get up bright and early now a days (4:30 am!) and so I covenant my time on the metro to sleep! And yes I SLEEP! Sometimes I sleep so hard I think I am in my bed. I often have those moments when something startles you in your dream and you jump... yeah those are great to explain to a train full of rush hour commuters. Its awesome and humbling.

Well this particular morning it was actually nice out and I did not have an over coat on, and took my suit jacket off as I found my seat in the corner as I always do so if I lean I do so on the wall and not so much on the man next to me... I put my small gym bag on my lap and crossed my arms on top of it. I was wearing a pair cuff links that were a gift to me from the head guy at my former place of employment and needless to say they are cool cuff links. A gentleman (and I use that term loosely as you hear the rest of the story) sat down next to me and was obviously admiring my cuff links. I thought with pride yeah that's right I have a pair, and yes I really am as cool as you think I am! (Maybe God is trying to bring down that pride level...huh... but I digress) I dosed off in my normal fashion prepared not to awake for another 40 minutes or so. I wake up at my normal stop right before I exit, promptly thanking the Lord again for waking me up at the perfect time. And begin to prepare myself to exit the train. I look down and low and behold I am missing one cuff link. The cuff link on my right sleeve is missing. My arms are in the exact same place they were when I fell asleep so I assume it could not have gone far but ponder how such a well made pair of cuff links would slip out. As I look on my bag and around me there is no cuff link in sight! I do a much more thorough search only to come up short again.

Well I am not one to point fingers but the only explanation we can come to here, is that someone straight took my cuff link of my person! WHAT IN THE WORLD! I mean who takes ONE cuff link! I know they are cool and such but how far is he going to get with just one! I had to rig a paper clip to hold my french cuff shirt that day! Yeah that looked awesome. Never fear I have had the link since replaced but I am now more aware of my surroundings while sporting them and try to keep my suit jacket on as to deter would be thefts!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Salvation Is Here!

God above all the world in motion
God above all my hopes and fears
And I don't care what the world throws at me now
I'm gonna be alright!

Hear the sound of the generations
Making loud our freedom song
All in all that the world would know Your name
It's gonna be alright

Cause I know my God saved the day
And I know His word never fails
And I know my God made a way for me
Salvation is here

Salvation is here
Salvation is here and He lives in me
Salvation is here
Salvation that died just to set me free
Salvation is here
Salvation is here and He lives in me
Salvation is here
Cause You are alive and You live in me

These were the words that ended our time of prayer and worship at American University last night. These students had endured two days of agony. Many students wondering if their high school friend was okay, trying to bust through blocked cell lines, or work the web to find out any information they could on all their friends that attended school there. As information became available new questions and realizations began to arise as well. Some began to wonder if their friend would pull through in the hospital. Some faced the sad news their friends had in fact seen some of the horrific scenes take place. Some came to the deafening realization they had in fact lost those they knew. And in fact their world would never be the same.

Or even for those who had no direct connection to victims, their friends were still there at the school down the road enduring this tragedy. They knew this could have sadly happen on their campus or any campus in the nation. That realization is a sobering one, and one that brings me to tears for the world we live in today. It has been a trying last couple of days for me personally. These events had brought back many memories of my past, the Bonfire Tragedy while I was in school myself at Texas A&M, or the days waiting to hear on my family in New Orleans. There is this sense of uselessness in these types of situations and that is when as I said before God brings us to our knees and all we can do is pray and worship Him, in that He is still in control and He still has a plan.

Last night I think I caught a glimpse of that plan as I stood with my college students at American University. Students who had entered just an hour earlier confused and stunned were now praising the Lord with tears streaming down their faces. Some of these students had only become Christians in the past year and this event could have shaken their faith but as they praised the Lord and were walking out there was a sense of hope, a sense of relief that the Lord was still in control. Many times as Christians we know that in our minds but when events such as those that took place at Virginia Tech happen we have a hard time feeling it in our being. I wish each and every one of you could have stood in that sanctuary last night. It was an unbelievable feeling that brought me to tears. And these were not tears over the tragedy, while that feeling is still with me, these were tears of joy at the light we see coming.

These students knew that their God HAD saved the day! They knew His love NEVER fails. And they knew that while this tragic event would be with them forever and change them forever they knew He had made a way for them! It was a joyous night in the midst of a crazy time.

I continue to beg for your prayers as many of the names are now confirmed and 5 of the victims and the shooter are from our area. And our students are their friends and their families grace the halls of our church. I know Salvation is here and it is living in the college generation!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech

This blog will probably not make much sense and have a lot of mistakes through out but it is late and I wanted to get this up while everything was still fresh in my brain. Many of you know I work with a college ministry that reaches multiple campus' throughout Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. Our summer programs hosts many students who attend Virginia Tech and our College Pastor speaks there often and thus we have many connections to that school. Today was one of those days where God obviously brought many of us to our knees. And one thing that kept running through my mind was why a college campus? Why did so many young and up and coming lives have to be cut so short. We were waiting by the phone most of the day to hear from students we knew, or friends of my students here and it was a long day to say the least. It brought back many memories from my days at A&M with Bonfire or the month after the Hurricane hit New Orleans and we were waiting to hear from family. That sense of uselessness that you can do nothing but wait, and that is was brought us to our knees. In the absence of being able to offer physical help all we can do is pray and praise God.

I have just left a night of prayer with my students here, and it was very moving to see their hearts. To hear one of my students first prayer out of her mouth be for the family of the shooter. And it was in that moment that God showed me why this had to happen on a college campus. Because these are the people who are waiting to change the world, these are the people who can rally and gather and lift each other up. And pray for those who have hurt them. And then the thoughts of so many college students who do not know the Lord and the questions they will have and be bringing to us and our college leaders over came me. And the awesome task the Lord has for some reason entrusted onto me and my fellow college ministry workers over came me. I was broken in tears oh awe of who God is and awe of what He is about to do in this college generation. This event was monumental and it shock not only the town and college in Blacksburg but the entire nation and much of the world. It is causing these college students to stop and re-evaluate their lives. And that is where Gods healing begins. I know His word promises us that ALL things work together for HIS glory and thus I know in the midst of this tragedy He has something in store for us that is huge. And I am praying that it will come soon. And I am praying that as college students meet across this nation to mourn the lives lost today and question the lives they live that HE will be present comforting them and that He would equip those of us with the great honor and privilege to serve these students with HIS wisdom and love. So I beg of your prayers for the students HE has entrusted to us in the DC and Virginia areas. And I beg of your prayers for the students at Virginia Tech and the families who lost loved ones students and staff. And especially for the family of the gunman today. Pray for revival amongst this college generation. I know my God is big and He was not shifted off His throne today, He has a plan and I pray I get to take part in it.

Gym Encounters

Ah, my gym! You have to love it, it is a place of the most random happenings. Well recently I had a pretty great random encounter. The other day I worked out with Maggie Gyllenhaal! You may know my good friend Mags from many movies such as World Trade Center, recently Stranger Than Fiction and many know her from Mona Lisa Smile. As I have said before the early morning crowd at my gym is pretty small so when someone new decides they want to join us they usually stick out like a sore thumb, stealing “someone’s” treadmill, taking too long on the weight machines, you know anything that disrupts our usual morning routine of working out. So when she entered the gym she was pretty easy to spot.

Well I guess this is the point I should clarify “worked out with”… so by “worked out with” I mean I ran on a treadmill just a couple down from hers, then we stretched out in the same general vicinity we did not talk much, but I could tell she was like "That is the coolest girl I have ever not met". And I was all "I know!" Her body guard asked me at one point to move that I was freaking her out but I assured him we were good friends and new work out buddies! (Totally Kidding about that last part!) But it was something fun to make my usual boring work out routine a bit interesting. And it was funny watching all of us pretend not to stare or care but all of us were totally staring. I bet that made her feel REAL comfortable. And no one said anything to her about disrupting the normal pace of the herd and stealing one of the “regulars” treadmills (because sometime this specific persons treadmill she swiped can be a bit feisty with new people, always informing them that is her treadmill as she like to watch that TV) So all is all it made my morning very fun and I will keep my eyes peeled for the next celebrity to work out with!

Friday, April 13, 2007


Many of you know for the past almost 3 years now I have been volunteering with the college ministry with my church here in DC. I work with students at American University and truly it has been one of the best and most stretching times in my faith! American University was cited by US News and World Report as the most politically active campus in the US. I am usually on complete opposite sides of the political spectrum from my students and I love it! I used to meet with one student after she finished protesting in front of my former place of employment! God is so good on bringing His people together!

Anyway this ministry started 3 years ago with 3 students. We have now grown to a ministry with a solid attendance in the 60s each Tuesday night topping out over a hundred on a few special nights. Remember this campus is small too with only about 4000 students. It is such a blessing watching so many students come to know the Lord and make their faith their own! I love it! It is something I did not get to see much of in Texas… I mean lets be honest friends you say Jesus in Texas and you can have a few hundred show up no problem. You say Jesus here and many turn or start to tell you how He is so politically incorrect. Like I said it has been a stretching ministry!

So this semester John has challenged the students to “Take Action” to find an issue they know the Lord is concerned with and “Take Action” with it, and involve the campus. It has been great way to minister to this campus as they see our students reach out to the causes they care about with Jesus as their point man. The past two months our students wanted to “Take Action” on the child sex trade and children stuck in sexual slavery. They worked last month to gather as many signatures as they could to petition congress to “Take Action” of their own. Then while we were sitting in our monthly leaders meeting they came up with a brilliant idea for this month. A 24 Hour program to raise money to help FAAST an organization that works to rehabilitate and educate children taken out of the sex trade. They organized See-Saws Against Slavery! With minimal help from us leaders these students organized hosting a 24 hour see-saw event on their campus to raise money for these kids. It was awesome and we were all hoping to see maybe a $1000 come out of it. But our students would have none of our small thoughts they reached for it and worked with our other campus George Mason so they would hold a 24 hour See-Saw fest after ours. And in the end what did they raise… over $3000! To do so by raising money on a college campus with poor college students is huge! They did so great they are working with organizations to take this thing further and maybe travel the country next year!

I am constantly inspired by the students God blesses me to lead here and often feel I am learning more from them than they are from me. These are students who know Gods heart for the poor and oppressed and they don’t just want to sit around and pray about it they want to do something about these problems. They should challenge all of us to “Take Action” in our own way. If you want to learn more about the shocking statics and facts on the child sex trade you can check out the organization FAAST they are the group we partnered with along with World Hope. If anything pray for these children and their families who actually sell them in.
Here are some pics from the event... these are just the ones from my camera (still waiting others) so they only show the activities while I was there which was after work...
American U See-Saw Against Slavery!

The Gathering Gang!

Jodi and I showing off our great See-Sawing Skills!

Miriam Rockin

Jodi and I doin our happy dance at the amount we had raised to that point!

Jeff See-Sawing Secret Service Style

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brothers Wedding Pictures

Here are the pictures from my brothers wedding. Despite the FREEZING weather and the ICE! We still had a good time and everyone made the situation great! My brother and I are 10 months apart and we grew up as practically twins. He is one of my favorite people in the world and I was so happy for this day to come for him! And so happy he is with Grayson! It was a great time at home and great time with family!
My "little" Brother Joe and I before the Wedding!
Grayson and I before the Wedding

Common Scene that day all the girls around the heaters! It was COLD!

Sabrina Sneaking Cake

Joe encouraging Cake Sneaking...

Joe and Grayson Cutting the Cake

This is what happens to a guy who grows up with three older sisters!

Joe and Grayson Dancing with Sabrina and Savannah

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Where in the World is Michelle!

Where have I been… I know, I know, the lost Texan was really lost! Well unfortunately I was incredibly sick. And I do not get sick very often… although this year has been a dousy! It was one of those sick times when you really think the end is near you plead with God if He will just let you make it through the night, you promise to be a better person! A couple of Thursday nights ago that was me. I thought that was it, I was curled up and all I wanted was my mommy and she was a thousand miles away battling being sick herself! It carried over the weekend in which I was to help with a leadership retreat for our college students so sadly I was not 100% Michelle… on a retreat of all places! And then into the next week!

Last Wednesday morning I left for the home land! Yes Texas! I was still under the weather and I am sure my stomach HATES me for the eating that took place but when you are home you must enjoy the Texas luxuries. I was home because my “little” brother was getting married! We were all so happy for the wedding, and to make the wonderful woman in his life an official part of our family (please pray for Grayson… you know our family is CRAZY!) It was a wedding of many mishaps not to mention the least of all 31 degree weather oh and an Ice Storm in Texas (Its April People!) for and out side wedding! But in the midst of all the craziness I would say the wedding went off smoothly! And it was a blast as many weddings are! I was glad to be home, eat as much good food as my tummy would let me and cut up the dance floor with my brother at yet another wedding (which for those of you who are counting I have now been in 17 weddings… need help planning I’m your gal;)

I will post some pics of the wedding in just a bit… actually a tad busy here now that I have been out for so long!