Friday, November 27, 2009


Yesterday may have been one of the best Thanksgivings of my life. And certainly one of the most special. Some of the guys got to go home for the day or a couple days, but for those that don't get to leave our addictions counselor Leslie makes a HUGE feast for everyone at one of the houses. We spent most of the day yesterday just chilling, and then went over about 4:30. Between boys, staff, and a couple families, there were around 30 people, and I can honestly say I did not think there would be leftovers. But holy dang were there ever leftovers!!! There was so much food! It was just amazing. Turkey, ham, lasagna, a gigantic green bean casserole(which, if it had been at a Gates or Kempton Thanksgiving, I can pretty much guarantee would have been finished), sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potato salad, macaroni salad...and then just as many desserts. Bree and I spent half of Tuesday baking (a highlight of my week for sure)...there were 2 apple pies, 2 pecan, 4 pumpkin, 3 cakes, and 6 batches of cookies. Let's just say our fridge is pretty full. I shouldn't really go on about the food though, because that wasn't even the best part. Just being there was one of the most amazing feelings. Whenever I told people I was going to be working the holidays this year the usual response was a sympathetic one, but I wasn't having it. I was excited. I have spent lots of holidays with my family. And they have all been great. But if you know me you know I am always up for new experiences. And this wasn't just an opportunity for a new experience. These boys, this staff, they are my family now. I feel so much love when I am at work. Love coming in from those around me, and also love going out; love that God is constantly pouring into my own heart so that I can share it with others. And that's what working the holidays is about for me this year. Some of these kids have never experienced a happy holiday. In the days and weeks leading up to yesterday I was slowly feeling myself filling up with excitement until I was almost ready to burst over the fact that I had the opportunity to show that to them. And I think we did. After we were done eating we all sat in a big circle in the living room and went around sharing things we were thankful for, and it was beautiful. Even now I am starting to become overcome with emotion. I can't believe I get paid to do this. God is so good.

In other news, I thought I would offer a little catch-up, since I've been AWOL for a minute or two. At the beginning of October Ryan, Bree and I went to LA for Bree's birthday. Hello, Disneyland!
As much as Ryan and Bree will try and disagree, it's definitely not as great as the World. I'm not hating, I'm just sayin' :) But it was tons of fun for sure. I also got to visit Azusa with them. It was awesome not only to see their campus, since I know it was a special place for each of them and it was cool to see this place that means to much to them, but it was also neat being back on a college campus again. It did make me miss Asbury though...

And God knew I would be feeling that way, because the next weekend Wes came to town!!!

He was in Monterey working at the Laguna Seca Raceway. However, our schedules made it so that the only time we both had free was from whenever he got done Saturday night until he had to be at the airport at 6am Sunday morning. Do you think that stopped us? :) Amazingly, the route from Monterey to San Fran took his van straight up the 101, which means he got dropped off less then a mile from my house, just before midnight. Poor Wes had been working like a dog all weekend, but he was able to muster up 3 more hours of energy, and boy did we make the most of i! We were able to cross 3 things off of his California list: In'N'Out, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino (which is apparently the Apple headquarters- who knew?), and the GGB! It was an amazing 3 hours, and I definitely didn't want to let him go.

Then the weekend after
that, I ran another half-marathon! Thanks to the connections of a good friend, I was given the chance to run in someone's place in the Nike Women's Half-Marathon in San Fran. And it was awesome! Not my best time, but I don't care about that. Plus it was much hillier than Louisville, so I'll give myself that. But it was such a beautiful course! Unfortunately the fog didn't completely burn off until later in the day, but while we were running it was slowly lifting, and so we saw the sun rise over a half-covered Golden Gate Bridge. It was amazing. And to top it off, Mom and Dad came up! It was the first time they'd seen me run since high school, and definitely my first marathon. It was a great weekend.

Overall, God has just been abundantly blessing me lately. Every morning I find myself waking up just busting at the seams with joy, and God is just telling me "Ok Becki, now go share it." And that's what I get to do! Every single day! And I get paid for it?! Dang.

Oh, also, I have found a church. It is amazing. I have never been so excited so consistently about going to church. But this post is getting kind of long, so I will save that for next time.

Be a Light, and remember that you are loved. :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tears and Pranks and Remembering God's Power

So today was kind of a sad day, for things that I can't really talk about. We can pray though.

On a bit of a different beat: so tonight after we got home from the meeting, James and I began a game of pool. One end of the pool table is a few feet from the sliding glass door out onto our deck. Early into the game, I was leaning over about to take my turn, with the door behind me, when James said "Oh My God". If you know me, you know I have always been afraid of the dark. And as it is, looking out that door at night scares me, especially when I am alone. I always have the fear that someone is going to run up the steps at me. So as soon as James yelled that was my thought, and I turned around to see a big man coming quickly toward the door. I jumped and then realized it was Gene, our weekend night counselor, but it was too late; my nerves had already gotten the best of me. Nothing in me could control me from screaming, or throwing down my stick and running around the corner yelling. Gene got a kick out of it.

Side note: about halfway through that paragraph there was a sudden knock at the 1 am. It was Gene, coming back from his night run. He sucks.

So yes, pranks are fun. And that was definitely a memorable one. But regardless, my mind is preoccupied by other things tonight, and all I can do is keep praying and knowing that God is hearing me and that He is with those who are on my mind.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sleepless Nights

It's about 3:30 in the morning. At 9:00 last night I was ready to conk out, but now I can't get to sleep for anything. So I decided to post an update.

Tonight I went to San Jo with Ryan and Bree to see Love Happens, the new Jennifer Aniston chick flick. It wasn't what I expected, but it was a movie. And I was glad that I went. I love spending time with Ryan and Bree. They are by far my two best friends out here. And they are too of the most intentional people I have ever met. It didn't take me long before I got here and met them to realize that I have spent the last 4 years of my life avoiding deep relationships, and I knew that God placed Ryan and Bree in my life to work on that. It is a daily challenge, but I know it is for a reason.

So I realize that many of you have no idea what I am actually doing out here. Although it is difficult for me to not be detailed, if I were to do so now this post would be pages long, so I am going to try my best to just give a general idea for now.

I work for Advent Group Ministries, based in San Jose, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping adolescents and their families dealing with a variety of issues that have kept them from functioning normally in school, society, and at home. One of the avenues through which they provide services is thier group homes. I live and work in one of those group homes in the boys program as a Resident Counselor (RC). I am basically like a house parent; my duties include- waking up the guys, making sure meals are prepared, driving them to and from school, making sure they complete their house chores and responsibilities, and then making sure they are completing their recovery education work. And then beyond that, I get to spend time getting to know the boys, investing in their lives and showing them how much I care about them and how much I want them to recover from their addictions and adversities and return to life as normal (or as normal as possible).

It is definitely a challenging job. When I first got here I heard crazy stories from staff, and less than 3 months in I already have crazy stories of my own! But beyond the challenge, it is also a blessing. I absolutely love what I do. Love it. And that is completely a God thing.

The first two weeks on the job are a training period, where my senior counselor lived in with me and I was basically able to shadow him as I learned the ropes. The very last night of that period was one of my roughest nights so far. None of the guys were doing what they were supposed to, half of them were acting out, they were all challenging my authority and doing the opposite of whatever I asked, and come Room time, no one was in their room. I was stressed, and seeing as how I was basically being evaluated at this point, I felt totally inadequate. After they finally went to their rooms and I was able to finish up, I went back to my room and just broke down. I called my mom and sobbed on the phone to her, then laid in bed and prayed. As I laid their crying, I found myself thinking "You know, maybe they were a little wild tonight. Maybe some of them didn't do their chore, and they didn't go to bed on time. But you know what? They're here, they're alive, and they're one more day clean. And sometimes, that's all you can ask." After that night I make it a point to ask myself each night "Are they alive? Are you alive? Ok, then we're good." It was a complete act of God giving me that insight, and it has done wonders over the past 2 1/2 months.

So that is my job in a nutshell. I don't want to make this post too long, so I will most more details later, and some good stories every once in a while.

Sweet dreams, and so much love.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good Genetics

Yesterday morning we had a work day from 9-noon to get ready for the Advent Barbecue this weekend, and the Laurel staff spent that time weeding and raking a nasty patch of yard by the volleyball court. I worked pretty hard, with blisters to show for it, and several people made a point to comment about how hard I was working. I tried to not make too big a deal of it, all the while thinking about my Grampa, and how my 3 hours of working in the sun yesterday PALES in comparison to how he has worked his butt of every day of his life for more than seventy years.

Then today I called my grandparents to get someone's address, and he answered. It was 12:30 in Vermont so he was taking a break for lunch, a salad made of ingredients that he picked in the garden on his way in from working. We were on the phone for 11 minutes, close to a record for my Grampa. He told me about the progress he'd been making cleaning up different things around the farm, and other projects he was starting on.

I asked when they were heading south for the winter, and he replied "Well I just found out I've got a dentist appointment November the 4th, so I supp
ose no sooner than that. Mommy's itching to leave, but I'm in no hurry. Too much to do around here."

I can only hope that I will work half as hard during any given period of my life. Let alone 70 years. Or in retirement.

I love this man. I am so proud to belong to this family. So proud.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Giving In

So yesterday I was riding from San Francisco to San Jose with Riley, and "I'll Walk" by Bucky Covington came on the radio. If you aren't familiar with that song, it's a very sappy, bordering on corny, country song. I encouraged Riley to stick it out and listen.

At the end I turned to him and said "I've got chills."
He looked at me and said "Yeah, I've got vomit."

After laughing out loud (lol-ing, Tyler) for a minute my immediate thought was that, if I still used my AIM regularly, that would have gone in my away message that night, so that I could share it with the world. But since I don't use it anymore, and I'm not really an advocate for the Facebook status becoming the AIM away message of today, I realized I didn't really have a way to share it.

And then Holland's voice came into my mind. So I have started a blog.

I have never been very good at maintaining a journal, so I figure that every once in a while one of my entries may be like a journal, but for the most part I will just share sound bites and random thoughts that come as a result of my daily adventures. We'll see how this goes.

Thanks Holland. :)