Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Childhood Memories

Today at lunch Melissa and I warmed up some microwave meals, since we both had to be at work and it was quick. Of course I haven't come across a microwave meal that has satisfied my hunger. I eat them more like snacks between meals, its like a meal before a meal which is nice especially when they compliment each other.

Anyways, I needed something else to eat if I was going to make it to dinner, so Melissa suggested a hot dog and cheese in a tortilla. I have heard her talk about this before, but have never really had a desire to try it. I did. It was actually pretty good. However, it reminded me of nacho cheese rollups. This was a meal that went horribly wrong on an afternoon when my mother was sick and my sister decided to fix us some lunch. It consisted of a tortilla, cheese, and tortilla chips microwaved. I was already feeling upset because my mom was puking and the lunch did not help me out.

After remembering this I was thinking of other funny childhood memories and decided that Melissa and I would both share one from our lives.

The first one is about me.

I have a lot of funny stories...I was a funny kid. To narrow down to just one is hard to do. One of the ones that I find particularly funny is about my sister and me. My sister could be really mean. First off, she would never call me brother, and only called me Ben. This caused significant psychological damage. I would cry and beg my mom to make her call me brother, but she refused. I say that to set up what she did to me. She told she had an evil twin. Like all good, naive, little brothers I believed her. She told me her name was Bessica (like Jessica, which is her name, but with a "B") this terrified me. First off why didn't my parents tell me that she had a twin, and why did this twin no longer live with us. Obviously she was so evil that she could not live with because it would put our lives in danger. Second, did Bessica know where we lived and would she try to seek revenge on the family that deemed her as an outcast. Third, was my name really even Ben. If this information has been held from me what else is being hidden from me? Maybe I also had an evil twin named Ven, or Jen, or maybe Ken!! I would never know. I was scared, I cried and it took some convincing from my mom to know that this wasn't true.

One of my favorite stories about Melissa when she was young was the time she found her way into some diapers. She says she doesn't remember it, and I believe her. But from I have gathered she was about 7 years old and her youngest sister was just a tiny one. There were some cloth diapers in the house and after they were used they were rinsed out in the toilet. One night I guess Melissa was feeling a little too clean while she slept and decided to do some sleep walking to where the dirty diapers were stashed. There was a commotion going on and Melissa was found rubbing dirty diapers over her legs. HAHAHA....that just cracks me up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Something about Beauty

There is something about beauty. It is something we all long for. We want to look beautiful. We want our yards mowed and edged contributing to the other beautiful houses in our neighborhoods (in my case we cant hang towels outside on the balcony cause it could look tacky). I even got wrote up in college for hanging a skeleton (my roommate's idea, of course I went along with it) because it took away from the decor of the building. The decor that consisted of peeling paint, mold, and cracked bricks (if anything we added decor).

I myself have always been captivated with beauty. Whether it is my wife, a landscape, or parent loving their child. It reminds me that beauty is not found just in concrete forms but also abstract. I have come to see that the abstract beauties are the most beautiful.

I have recently learned a new song at church. It's a song on how God makes us beautiful.

The chorus goes

"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us".

We held a worship night the other evening built around this concept. Although I didn't walk away with any particular spiritual experience or an emotional high, but I did however walk away with comfort. And maybe comfort isn't even the right word. Because I haven't really been feeling that I am not made beautiful through God's grace. I know I am, and it is something that I am very grateful for and realize daily.

It's just that beauty is something that I have always loved equating with God. Obviously (maybe not so obviously for some) God is the master of beauty. I like to imagine God singing the universe into existence. Not really singing as a command telling the mountains to rise or the rivers to form, but more like because of the pure beauty coming from His voice land forms cannot resist coming to life.

Even if we look to His creation we realize that His creation is just a reminder of the true beauty He is, which is His flawless unconditional love that was the root of His ballad that creation couldn't resist.

So back to my original thought, when God makes us into beautiful things it doesn't mean that we are more appealing to the eye, it simply means that He is singing to us, love is pouring out of His mouth, and we can't resist but to come alive in Him and join with him in his chorus of love. Because love is the creator of beauty...and God is the creator of love. If the reminders of his beauty is captivating now, just imagine being enveloped by the real thing. But then again to be enveloped are ears have to be open to the music.

"Set your minds on things above, not earthly things.For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then also you will appear with him in glory". Colossians 3:2-4 (NIV).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear Blog, It's been awhile

I haven't updated in awhile and I am sorry. I know that you all have been dying to hear about what has been going on. Part of me wanted to write a blog to top our children/cat relation blog. I have come to the realization that some of our blogs will be boring. Maybe not this one though. I have been thinking a lot about marriage... particularly my own. I love being married, and I love my wife. I have mostly been thinking about the things that I have learned in just the short nine months Melissa and I have been married. If there is one thing that I have learned it's don't underestimate proportion sizes. Melissa is petite...I am not so petite. I'm sure this subject would be different if we were both the same size and ate the same amounts, but that also might be a little awkward (not that we wouldn't love each the same).

Both Melissa and I enjoy cooking, so we share and both cook for each other. Now when I cook I like big meals i.e. chicken fried steak w/gravy, mashed potatoes w/more gravy, green beans, salad, and of course a big glass of ice tea to wash it down. When Melissa cooks she likes small but complete meals i.e. a chicken strip usually marinated in some type of dressing, and a side salad.

Now both of us like both types of meals, except where I see an everyday dinner, Melissa sees a Sunday lunch (which are always big in OK). Needless to say, when I cook I have to finish off Melissa's meal, and when she cooks I'm usually rummaging through cupboards 30 mins later to fill in the empty spaces in my stomach.

I soon figured out that this lesson in marriage was about compromise, and we have done just that. Instead of cooking medium sized meals we'll usually cook something that can fill me up and then serve ourselves. The problem was never how much one of us prepared it was when we tried to be nice and prepare each others plates. So now I can have as much as I want, and she can eat as much as she wants (and then I can have the leftovers as well).

We have also compromised by buying Melissa sized items, and Ben sized items. This doesn't always have to deal with food either. I have posted some pics below to demonstrate what I mean by Melissa sized and Ben sized.

Me holding normal sized wine glass

Melissa holding the same glass

Melissa sized watermelon

Melissa holding Ben sized pen

Ben sized calculator

Melissa sized glass (usually filled only half way)

Friday, August 20, 2010

16 and NOT pregnant!

So lately Melissa has got on this kick of watching the MTV show 16 and Pregnant. And since she does have the computer tied up watching them I sometimes sit down and gather in a few moments of the shows. It is sad to see some of the girls and the insecurities they have. It's heartbreaking to watch their stories. I was reminded of how blessed Melissa and I are. I also know that I will be well prepared to have a kid someday because I have a cat. There are a lot of similarities between children and cats. Our lovely cat Jenga keeps us entertained as I assume our children will also. I have decided to compile a list of a few things that Jenga has helped me see what my future will be like, and some things that I hope I can train my child to do that I have trained Jenga to do.

1. Jenga has pooped and peed on me
No doubt this will happen often with my children.

2. Jenga now uses a litter box
Hopefully I can train my child to do the same that way we can eliminate #1 above
(the litter box is pre-toilet of course)

3. Jenga is easily distracted by shiny objects and things that fly
When I need a few moments to recuperate I can just toss my keys across the room hopefully that will buy at least ten minuets.

4. As long as I keep food and water in Jenga's bowl
she is satisfied

I hope this works the same way for Ben Jr.

5. If Jenga somehow does get annoyed with me I just have to give her a treat that tastes like fish
I think this will be more beneficial in the teen years. Just have to find edible fish crackers. If I can't I am sure an actual cat treat won't hurt the kid.

6. Is it ethical to get your child declawed?

7. I can leave Jenga by herself for a few hours and not worry about coming home to a dead cat. Still working out how I can do this with my kid.

8. Jenga sits at the table until all of our food is gone Hopefully little Ben/Melissa will not be looking for a few scraps, and eat there smashed up green beans.

9. Jenga meows relentlessly until she gets some

Not looking forward to the crying, mainly because I am a softy and will give in.


10. Unlike Jenga... my child will learn how to do more household chores This will benefit me because then I won't have to do as many.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Catching Up

The past few days have been hectic! Melissa and I have been recuperating from family visits. We had some good times with Melissa's brother (Jedidiah) and her youngest sister (Naomi). We had a week full of non-stop excitement.

Here are some photos of our activities to make you feel like you were with us.

We had a great time and enjoyed having family close. Hopefully more will be able to come visit soon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eventful Days

It had been awhile since we have posted anything. Mainly because we have been crazy busy! But there has been a lot of eventful happenings going on in the past few days. I got back from youth camp this past Friday... and it was amazing! It was emotionally, spiritually, and physically lifting and exhausting at the same time. God did some amazing things, and just when you think God is wrapping some stuff up He slaps and says I'm never done and deal out some more. It is truly amazing.

Two days after I returned from camp Melissa's brother and youngest sister flew into town and we have been busy catching up and entertaining (which is always fun). Sunday we let them sleep and then took them to down town Disney where we fought the crowds and watched fireworks.

Monday we went to the San Diego Zoo (where Melissa and I got to activate are Zoo season passes). It was good times seeing all the animals. We even saw this big crane like bird snatch up and eat a baby duck!

Tuesday (today) we went up to NBC studios in Burbank and watched a taping of the tonight show where Jay Leno gave me a high five, and we saw Betty White who is hilarious. We got there early and got great seats! We set on the floor right in front of the stage.

Tomorrow we head the happiest place on earth...Disneyland!! It's going to be good times!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I've been home alone this week with the cat. Ben left this past Sunday afternoon to go to church camp with the youth group. I decided to post something so that you, our avid readers don't think we dropped off the face of the earth. Now, I'm not a writer and I'm definitely not funny when I write, so I apologize and promise that when Ben returns he'll take over again! :) This week has been uneventful to say the least. I've worked at my part-time job at Bath and Body Works and went in for a second interview with a preschool today which hopefully I'll be getting the position. Other than that I've just been "spring cleaning" our apartment and getting things in order for when my brother and sister come to visit next week. I will definitely post pics of everything we do! I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week!


**Ben gets back Friday, I'm sure he'll write all about how camp was, so stay tuned!**

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Camp Expectations

Tomorrow I will pack up 13 teens (9 girls, 4 guys) and make an estimated 2 hour trip to Crestline, CA to go to Thousand Pines Christian Camp. Youth Camp is a special time in a young person's life. Going to youth camp should be on everyone's bucket list, its that important! There are some things that I love about youth camp that does not happen in the realm outside of youth camp. I have generously made a list of 5 things that you will only experience at youth camp and no where else.

1. Youth will be shame free for one week: I don't know what it is about youth camp, but every experience I have had with youth camp I have seen kids (including myself, back in my glorious days as a camper) forget about what others think about them. I can remember doing some pretty ridiculous things, and wearing some ridiculous outfits that normally would not be apart of my ordinary attire. I didn't care what other people would say because this behavior is always encouraged at camp. Not only is it encouraged it is a competition to see who can look the most ridiculous. I once saw a kid drink his own urine for $5 (This one I did discourage, yet $5 dollars would buy icee's for the rest of the week). You have some kids that choose not to participate because they think they are too cool for these "childish" games, yet they are the ones that are not cool at camp because they will not see how long they can hold their breath before they pass out.

Example of not having shame (I am on the right. I know, I know I'm pretty hot!!)

2. Everyone sleeping in one bed:
This doesn't happen so much in the guy's cabin. But I have heard stories of pushing two twin size beds together and then 30 girls climbing in with their PJ's on all cuddled up. This isn't done because of a shortage of beds. There are of plenty beds. Maybe this is done to strengthen unity, maybe in order to keep warm on those cold summer nights, or maybe only scholars that study the instinct patterns of female gendered mammals hold the true reason.

3. Junk Food and Regular Bowel Movements:
Camp is filled with junk food and cafeteria food (some camps bring there own cooks to prepare food). Which ever way it is done campers eat good! And not so good! I can always count on someone carrying around a half melted stick of raw cookie dough, usually chocolate chip. With three square meals a day, junk food of various types, skittles, and snow cones you are sure to stay regular (and it usually comes in a rainbow of colors).

4. B.O. and AXE
The smell of B.O. and AXE usually creates a cloud of smog inside the guys cabin. Many guys come in from rec time sweating and dirty, but instead of saying, "Hey I better take a shower real quick" they say, "I'm glad I brought a can of AXE for each day I am at camp", and continue to coat themselves in the musky flavors that claim to attract the opposite sex like a swarm of locusts God himself sent down to help free His people. But the only thing that is really freeing about a guys cabin is getting the heck out of there into some fresh air. (I hear the girl's cabin smells like perfume and burnt hair due to hair curlers/straighteners, and always breaking a few fire codes with them all being plugged in at once).

5. The Camp Boyfriend/Girlfriend:
"OH Johnny I'm so glad I met you here at camp. I have known you for 3 hours now and I truly understand the definition of soul mate. I knew you were the one when you didn't have any shame while running up to me in a batman costume waving the $4 you just won by eating a live cricket that had been dipped in chocolate chip cookie dough! I can't wait to climb into my small twin sized bed with 45 of my closest friends tonight and tell them how sweet you were to take me to the snow cone hut, and how you smelt so wonderfully of sweat covered in AXE! Alas, it will be Friday soon and we will go back to our separate towns and churches. Promise me you will write and visit on fall break..."

This is a common monologue of a young teen girl at youth camp; it is usually followed by this monologue 3 days later...

"Susie, we have grown so close these past couple of days. But during worship last night I felt that God was telling me that I am just not ready for a serious long distant relationship. I hope you understand, I mean you have to, this is what God is telling me and you can't argue with Him. Maybe I'll be more mature and ready next summer...(dramatic pause)... pray for me, goodbye".

In all seriousness though youth camp is a great experience and one that look forward to every summer. Tons of great decisions are made and many choose to dedicate their lives to Christ. So if you are heading to camp, or have already gone this year I hope you had/have a great time.

God Bless

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Typical Tuesday (nothing insightful)

Today was a typical Tuesday. I have started to dread Tuesdays. A typical Tuesday will consist of waking up and heading to the church or running errands that need to be done, that is if I'm not working a morning shift at Barnes & Noble. If I have Tuesday mornings off like I did today I will generally try to spend time with Melissa, because it will be the only time i get with her on this day. We ended up doing laundry this morning which is not the best time spent with the one you love, but apparently my clothes were reeking of corn chips and butt as Melissa would say. I then spend time in my office being productive by researching the newest version of dodge ball, reading tweets and facebook statuses, and gathering crazy ideas that I can test on the youth group.

After I have poured creative juices into my morning it is off to staff meeting. I look forward to staff meeting, it allows me to toss around ideas and sit around with the other staff of the church. It's one of the times when I'm reminded that I have a say in things and that being the youth pastor means I am not just doing another pointless dead end job like selling the NOOK, or unpacking shipment at Old Navy. I am actually fulfilling the purpose that God has laid out for me at this time in my life. I feel like I am making a difference, even though not all of my ideas are considered (and that's a good thing because some of my ideas consist of the head pastor dressing up like a robot to illustrate his sermon).

After staff I hurry down the freeway, well not really because by this time the freeway is blocked up with bumper to bumper traffic, to go to class. I then sit in class and usually think about everything but what is being taught to me. I then come home kiss my wife hello and thank God because tomorrow is Wednesday, the second busiest day of my week.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My wife and I decided to start a blog together after reading some of our friend's blogs. We have some exciting times and boring times as do all people. Both my wife and I grew up in small Oklahoma towns (her's was smaller), and now we live in southern California. not just a small SOCAL town either, we live in Anaheim. Home of Disneyland, the Angels, the Ducks, and a million tourists. We are officially perma-vacationers.

Needless to say it has been quite a culture shock. I have been here for a year and my wife has been here for 6 months now. She still won't drive on the freeway, but I can't say that I blame her they are a lot different than one lane streets and dirt roads. We pay way too much for our small one bedroom apartment where we can hear the sounds of the neighbors screaming MARYLIN!! (their little girl) switching between Spanish and English. We have a cat, Jenga, and one car. We also have each other, and we are happy!