Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pictures from NYWC, Day 3

My dinner at FT33.  Pork loin, butternut squash, black trumpet mushrooms, kale, prunes, and almonds.
I thought I might die.
Jereme's dinner.  Lamb breast and rack, barley, yogurt, poppy, and carrot puree.
Get it? The puree looks like a carrot!

Dessert! Lemongrass panna cotta.

Jeff's dessert! Pumpkin, pear, bourbon glaze, and pecan yummies.

NOT the two most photogenic people in the room.

The cute waiter with the facial hair near the sign proclaiming that good moustaches are always in season!

Blogging from NYWC, Day 3

If I recall, I took it easy on Saturday last year, too.  I went to a great seminar with Jim Burns on building family-based youth ministry and then went for a run.  This one was much more successful than yesterday's. I finally made it to the part of downtown that isn't being torn apart, and that made for a much easier time of it.  Plus, I actually mapped out my route beforehand.  That may have made it easier, too.

At noon, Nick and I had lunch with our new friend Jeff (although at this point he probably counts as old friend), and our old Lambuth friend Malissa who is a Minister to Children and Youth in Tampa.  We talked about Jackson and Lambuth, but it was also really neat to connect about our ministries and share our ministry stories.

At 2:00 it was time for the last seminar of the day.  Since our church is planning to focus on biblical storytelling in the coming year, I decided to go visit Mike Novelli, whose writing focuses on biblical storying for youth.  I took a picture, asked him about his presentation last year that I regularly listen to on my mp3, and volunteered to help him during an activity.  He probably thinks I'm his stalker.  But it was great information that I'm excited to take back to my church.

Then Jereme came to pick up Jeff, Nick, and me and take us out to a new restaurant that he found.  It was more event than meal, and we (at least I) had a wonderful time visiting and eating.  It was one of the greatest meals I've ever had, and I've had some pretty decent meals in my time.  It was FT33 and I highly recommend it!

Now I am getting ready for bed and a long day tomorrow.  We have a full day of seminars and a flight back home to look forward too.  Oh!  And lunch with my professors and colleagues in my D.Min. program who are here!

Pictures from NYWC, Day 2

Waiting for the evening plenary!

Adrian (in the red) leads a youth ministry team from a church here in Dallas.  He was called to be a youth pastor at a church that didn't have any youth, so he and his team had to go find them.  They do a lunch ministry in their local high school, and Mark is telling him that YS is sponsoring lunches for the rest of the year.  He then broke it to Adrian that Doug Fields was giving 10 scholarships to the Student Leadership Conference for Adrian's team and the kids he wanted to bring from the lunch ministry.

One other high point was that the couple married for the shortest time and the couple married for the longest time both got to go on dates sponsored by YS.

Tony Campolo getting a Lifetime Appreciation Award from YS.

Believe it or not, the Methodists had the coolest booth in the exhibit hall. Bazinga!

Blogging from NYWC, Day 2

My only complaint so far about the hotel is that there are no protein options for breakfast unless you go to the hotel restaurant, which also requires a full month's mortgage.  So I had fruit and coffee and my stomach was growling by 10:00am.

BUT it was drowned out by the brilliant teaching of Duffy Robbins, who continues to rock my world no matter how often I hear him.  His learning lab was called Teaching that Sticks Instead of Teaching that Stinks, so my youth can now look forward to teaching that doesn't stink, and that may have been worth the cost of admission.  Although I am, in fact, in a D.Min program for ministry to children and youth, I've never had the benefit of something like a Youth Ministry 101 class.  This was surely it, and I am grateful.

Nick and I made a new friend who lives in Nashville but graduated from Lambuth, and he joined us for lunch.  It was lovely.  Then we went back to plenary where Mark Yaconelli and Mark Matlock wowed us.  I went to marks contemplative retreat last year and would think he was amazing if he just stood up and recited the alphabet.  But this was wonderful, and the whole plenary ended with storytelling and fake snow.  Not too shabby.

I skipped one of the afternoon activities in favor of a run.  I think Dallas hates runners because they don't even have sidewalks in much of their downtown.  I did a lot of dodging cars and wondering why the streets can't be on a grid, but I did make it back without getting perilously lost.

When I returned, I went to a seminar by Chap Clark.  I really appreciate his research and writing, but I wasn't sure what I was going to get out of the seminar since I've read a good deal of his work.  But, as usual, sitting in a room with someone puts information in a whole different light than simply reading what they've written.  In fact, I was inspired to write myself late this night after hearing him.  He reinforced much of what I already knew, but with an urgency that I needed to experience.

We had a dinner at a disappointing Tex-Mex place in the food court next door, which was clearly not expecting a massive descent of hungry youth workers.  But it was food and that was what mattered.  Then we went back to plenary.

If you've never heard of Bob Goff, you need to.  He is the president and founder of Restore International, an organization that works to fight injustice against children. I have honestly never heard anyone like him.  I WILL be buying the DVD of that session.  If you're ever having a bad day or just aren't feeling all that great about life, come borrow it and I guarantee that your trust in the true, the beautiful, and the good will be restored immediately.

He was followed by Gungor.  I don't think anybody here, even the sponsors of the convention, have figured out how they scored Gungor, but it was unbelievable.

Now I am worn out and ready for bed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blogging from NYWC, Day 1

On the way here I read through my posts from NYWC 2011 and I was amazed just thinking about how much things have changed since then.

During the contemplative retreat held before the official start of the convention, I was consumed with Jay's illness.  I even made him a little sculpture-y-thing out of clay and took a picture of it so I could tell him what it meant when I got home.

That was also the first time that I had traveled by myself since having kids, and I also remember having a lot of anxiety about being away from them for so long.

It was at the NYWC last year that I first heard Tony Campolo and Duffy Robbins, and it was where I first heard about the D.Min. in Ministry to Emerging Generations at Gordon-Conwell.  You see where that got me.

But this year is much different.  It's much less overwhelming.  I actually know people.  I'm here with someone else.

Jay has had his transplant and is doing exceptionally well.  I'm pursuing that D.Min. that I heard about last year.  I walk through the bookstore for the convention and can count on one hand the books that I don't own. (Last year I came home with 22 extra pounds of books).

I wouldn't have guessed that I would have measured time from a youth ministry convention, but it seems to be more significant than I first imagined.

Today Nick and I managed to make it to Dallas and get to our first Learning Lab, despite our flight being canceled.  We went to Duffy's lab for 3 hours, and even though I spent two weeks with Duffy this summer, I still find so much that I don't know.  He really is a gem.

One thing hasn't changed from last year to this year:  There are still about five concurrent sessions at each block of time that I want to attend.  I guess I'm in for another set of podcasts!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Little Liturgist

On the way home from Joshua's birthday dinner tonight, I was reminiscing about his first few days of life.

Me:  "Joshua I can't believe you're seven!"

Joshua: "Mom, it's just seven!"

Me:  "I know, but when you were born I thought my life had come to an end.  You cried all the time!  You were so needy.  I didn't know what to do with you.  I'd never been around babies before.  I'd never been around someone so needy before..."

Clare:  "I guess you heard the cry of the needy!"

Long pause as Jay and I stare at each other

Me:  "How do you know about the cry of the needy?"

Clare:  "From where we ask God to forgive us!"

Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love, we have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray. Free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.