Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hot What Now?

Before I really start, you should know that I'm not really a coffee drinker. Occasionally, I'll go for a mocha or some sort of iced, sugary concoction. But, typically, I'd prefer to trade the bitter stuff for a hot chocolate or tea or something frappy and filled with my daily allotment of calories. However, when I'm asking someone if she wants to meet me to gab and hang out and drink something tasty, it's much easier to say, "Wanna meet for coffee?" than it is to say, "Hey, wanna meet me at a local coffee shop so that you can have a cup of joe and I can drink something highly caloric and we can converse?"

Such was the situation this morning. I wanted to meet one of my bestest friends and I had some time to kill before I needed to pick up Matthew so I fired off a text. She knows I rarely drink coffee so, usually, when we meet, she has a cup of black coffee like a good girl and I spoil the rest of the day's meals with a chocolaty beverage.

Auto correct hates me. And it wants my husband to get fired. And, also, what? Because I use the word "cocaine" oh so often when I'm texting?

Apparently, as the mother of two smallish boys, with a husband who is employed in full time ministry, and Bible studies and ministries of my own to run, the only way to get through the day is to start it off with some hot cocaine. It's a good thing that my local barista is able to give it to me in a paper cup with a lid because, if I started injecting that stuff intravenously, eyebrows might raise.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pizza. Gone.

So on Friday, after five hours of subbing for a kindergarten class that was so naughty they made it feel like a twelve hour day, I stopped at Papa Murphy's. It was only 2:00 pm but I already knew there was no way I making dinner. I was, maybe, going to have myself a lie down. With a cold compress, a box of chocolates and some soothing music to make up for the day. (Except, yeah right because my very own kindergartner was waiting for me at home. As was my eight-year-old.) I had a coupon that allowed me to get a pizza free and then I somehow let them talk me into upgrading both pies to the family size--since one was free and all. AND THEN, when they asked me if I wanted any cookie dough or cheese bread, I made the BIG, FAT MISTAKE of taking a long look at my options and would you believe that there was a S'mores dessert pizza howling my name?

There was. And it was howling really loudly AND I needed to drown the horrible kindergarten experience with marshmallows and chocolate on top of pizza dough. So, I came home bearing a lot of pizza, is what I'm saying. When my husband saw the load, he asked me why, on earth, there was so much. I explained the FREE and told him we could freeze a whole pizza and pull it out for lunches or whatever.

Except that is SO not what happened.

I do not have a clue in all the world how I will keep my brood (my brood of only TWO) fed when they are teenagers. Because Troy and I are not really big eaters.

Well, okay...Troy is not really a big eater. During the whirlwind eight months that we were dating, I used to take half of my meal home because HE was taking half of his meal home and I couldn't look like the ravenous lion devouring its prey. I'd go home and (NO JOKE) finish the meal. After a few kisses and a few thoughts about how, hey, LOVE OF MY LIFE AND I THINK I'LL JUST GO AHEAD AND MARRY YOU, I decided that if we were living in the same house he would see me finishing my dinner at home so I might as well just start eating my food right there in the restaurant. In front of him.

But. Anyway. We didn't eat that much pizza. It's the five-year-old trash compactor and his brother, the eight-year-old pizza consuming boss. One entire family sized pizza disappeared on Friday night and there was Jello parfait and a tossed salad accompanying it. It's not like I just threw down a pizza without the hope of getting something green into them. By yesterday, BOTH of those huge pizzas were gone.


As if they'd never existed in the first place.

The teenage years are going to kill me dead.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Birth Certificate Trauma

I feel like it's been awhile since I've done an installment of NAMES I'VE ENCOUNTERED WHILE SUBBING. Listen, it was one thing when, back in my day, subs had to deal with the fact that sometimes boys had names more commonly known (in those days) as a girl name or vice versa. Also, the poor substitutes had to figure out how to say Kersten and Kirsten because, no, they weren't pronounced the same way. And there were some names, even then, that were a bit strange. Starbuck comes to mind.

But I am telling you that right now people are FOR REAL just throwing a bag of marbles on the ground, listening to the sounds they make when they kerplunk on the tile, and writing that on the birth certificate. (In fact, I'm sure there's actually a Kerplunk running around somewhere.)

Don't have a name and you're about to leave the hospital? Take the first letter of the first name of each nurse you've met and put them together. Jadiel? WHY NOT? Think that sounds kind of girly when you actually gave birth to a boy? NO MATTER.

You want a more traditional name but feel this intense need to give it some sort of modern spelling? Maygan's your girl. Or Krystyn. Or Aeva.

One of my kids is currently playing a certain organized sport with a GIRL called Sawyer. It's no problem though because they refer to her as Soy Sauce and/or the shortened version, Saucy. I promise, you can't make this stuff up.

Today, in a kindergarten class, I had a Thor.

Yesterday, there was a Bracken, a Brylee, a Brysia and a Brightyn.

I've had a Kolvin and a Tytan.

I've heard of Monson.





The list just goes on and on. Some day, I hope that my own children appreciate that I did not name them after leafy ferns or characters in Norse mythology. Some day, I hope that they reward me by not naming my grandchildren Naythin or Narcissus or Bryzannaleigh.

Dude. Someone, somewhere, is going to accidentally stumble upon this blog and totally name her daughter Bryzannaleigh. And it's going to be MY FAULT.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road Twice?

MATT: Hey Mom, why did the chicken cross the road?

ME: To get to the other side.

MATT: (pause) Well, why did the chicken cross the road twice?

ME: (smiling, thinking maybe he finally has a funny joke for me. Pausing, I try to think up an answer. When none comes to me) I don't know. (MATT says nothing. Too much time passes.) Do you know?

MATT: What?

ME: Why the chicken crossed the road twice?

MATT: Oh. Nope.

Well then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Guy

My husband is not perfect, y'all. No. He likes to take naps and he likes making piles of things and his idea of deep cleaning is vacuuming and scrubbing the floors. He's not a planner, he hates to be touched while he sleeps and he likes mayonnaise on his sandwiches. So, like I said, not perfect.

But he's spiritually wise and he knows EXACTLY how to handle me.

Four weeks ago, when I thought I was maybe dying, he humored me while I showed him where everything was that he would need if I met an untimely death. He only barely shook his head when I instructed him to replace me right away with an even better model.

And, this weekend, during The Great Buggy Disaster of 2014, he listened to me as I processed and cried and went through several possible scenarios in my mind. (I did all of this while sitting seven inches away from a giant black widow I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW was there.) He spoke words of affirmation to me as I (unnecessarily, as always) put the weight of the world on my shoulders. YOU try being a people pleasing, overdramatic, focused activator, with fear of rejection issues sometime and see how you like it. Then add the pressure of telling forty women they've been exposed to bed bugs.

It's fun to be me. Except when it isn't.

He prayed for me. He gave me his opinion but told me it was up to me and he would back me whether I took his advice or not. (For the record, I did.) And then, when I came home and tried to slowly unwind my stress paralysis, he even let me fall asleep draped all over him.

He sees me at my most vulnerable. He holds my hand in doctor's offices and he reminds me, always, of the bigger picture. He guides me and teaches me in my own walk with the Lord and he gently corrects me when I'm not applying God's word to my course of action. He makes me want to listen to him. He calls me out when I put the focus on myself and take it off of how God can be glorified through my experiences. He earns my respect because he loves me.

He's mine. And I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to give him to me.

Even though it means I have to buy mayonnaise.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I Might Not Meet Your Needs...But I'll Praise Jesus

This past month has been...hard.

Really, this entire year has been a struggle. It's difficult to be employed in ministry. To attempt to meet everyone's needs, to listen as people explain how I've failed to meet theirs, to smile and know that they don't understand that my failure to meet their needs is directly related to the fact that I'm barely meeting my own.

My babies aren't little anymore. I mean, sure, relatively speaking, they are still quite small. But they don't require the constant care that they did for roughly a seven year block of time collectively. I no longer worry that they'll drink chemicals or drown in the bathtub--although I suspect that either of those is still technically a possibility. Now they require shuttling from sports to scouts to school and back again. My energy is spread thin as I attempt to make them into well rounded little people.

Add to the regular daily grind of life the fact that we've been hit by a lot this year and we've got a recipe for a whole heap of I MIGHT BE A FAILURE WHEN IT COMES TO MEETING YOUR NEEDS TODAY. So much of this year has been tied up with extended family turmoil which, although it doesn't directly effect my little family, has caused deep grief and emotional anxiety. I had a health concern this past month which, although it turned out to (PRAISE THE LORD!!!) be an overreacting physician's assistant, caused a great deal of stress for Troy and I as we thought about what it would be like for our family to deal with it. (I'm TOTALLY fine, by the way.)

I have spent months pouring time and energy and prayer into our annual women's retreat and, when we were there this past weekend, little tiny bed-dwelling critters were discovered. As the director of the women's ministry it fell to me to figure out what to do, how to proceed, etc. With all the pandemonium, all the phone calls and prayer and developing information, I became, what the movie Mom's Night Out refers to as stress paralyzed. There came a point, long after I'd confided in two of my ministry team members and long after I'd prayed and cried on the phone with my husband for a half hour, that I sat in my room and very seriously could not form a thought that was coherent. I knew I needed to ask our speaker if she wanted to leave but I couldn't think straight. I wanted to just curl up and take a nap. Except that I didn't really because, bugs.

My husband, like the husband in the movie, says that stress paralyzed isn't actually a thing. But it is. And this month has been stress paralyzing. But God is good. All the time. The pastor's wife in the movie gives a great piece of advice to Allyson. She says that life is about finding the meaning and the joy and the purpose in all the chaos.

And it's true. Life is a lot of little moments that add to up one big moment and the little moments are all crazy or joyful or precious or gut-wrenching and our job is to the find the purpose.

And to praise the Lord.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I try REALLY hard not to complain about the heat--like, ever--because I keep myself busy complaining about the SNOW and the COLD from November until May. It's exhausting. I feel like I can't, in good conscience, monopolize all the complaining so I do my very best to keep my mouth closed when it's hot. Even, REALLY hot. It helps that I think my body was actually made for life on Venus because I happily operate at a good ten degrees higher than the rest of all the population. Like, if the world is miserable at 88, I won't be miserable until 98.

I'd rather take clothes off than put them on. And by that I mean that I'd prefer to lounge around in a swim suit as opposed to a snow suit.

I'd choose Arizona over Minnesota. But, in fairness, that probably has more to do with mosquitoes than temperature.

It was uncharacteristically hot when we were in Tahoe this summer. I didn't complain.

We had some pretty warm days here in July. No complaints from me.

But yesterday, something came over me and I darn near lost my mind.

I went on a field trip with Garrett and, since it's mid-September in Salt Lake City, I assumed that wearing black leggings and a shirt that went to my elbows with a camisole underneath was a good choice. And it was quite fine when we rode the bus as 9:00 am (even though every other mother was lamenting the HEAT and the LACK OF AIR FLOW and the HORRORS OF THIS UNENDURABLE HEAT). The outfit was perfect for the air conditioned planetarium. Where it broke down was getting back on the bus at noon (the bus that had been sitting in the sun and must have been 90 degrees inside) and riding it to the park where we would stay until 1:30 before getting back on it and riding home. By the time we got back to the school at 2:20, I was relatively close to yanking off my leggings and sitting there with no pants on at all.

I would have been horribly humiliated by my pit marks and my back sweat but, my ten degree (live on Venus) buffer made me less sweaty than every other mother. It turns out that, when everyone has pit marks, there's a sense of pride in having the smallest ones. My hair was sticking to my face and my neck. All I could think about was getting home, peeling off layers of clothing, and lying in a tub of ice.

But I had to go to Walmart and I figured that leaving my clothing on was really the better choice. Because I can just see the headline now and it reads "LOCAL PASTOR'S WIFE ARRESTED AT WALMART FOR INDECENT EXPOSURE." When I got home from the store, I shed clothing. I drank cold water, I did my best to perk up but I was exhausted. The heat had drained all of my energy. And it was in the 90s, yes, but that's hardly super hot. It's just that LONG, BLACK LEGGINGS were not the best choice and, in fact, created a sort of oven, encapsulating my legs. Essentially, I slow roasted myself.

So, yesterday, I broke down and, for the first time this year, COMPLAINED about the heat. I'm not proud of it. In fact, I'm pretty ashamed. But, you guys, it's because I was totally a smelly, sweaty goat wearing leggings. And that's really the end of my story.

My apologies to anyone in the greater San Diego area who is reading this and thinking that I should take my 90 degree weather and my black leggings and shove them because you're enduring nearly 110 degree temperatures. My condolences. But you still live in America's Finest City and you still have your ocean so, really, you still come out ahead.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Instagram Pictures and How Long They Took

Welcome to this first installment of Instagram pictures and how long they took.

Take, for example, this photo. If you think this is the first shot I snapped, you'd be wrong. I had no earthly idea--as in, IT NEVER CROSSED MY MIND BEFORE IN MY LIFE UNTIL I HAD A BLACK SON--that lighting doesn't just automatically work for taking pictures of dark skin. In half of all the pictures we take, Matthew's face is a dark circle with no features whatsoever. In the other half of all the picture we take, Troy's eyes are closed. It's super.

The shadow created by this here helmet made my boy's eyes disappear in the first couple pictures I took. This one was probably the third shot. So what I'm saying is that this, "Hey let me snap my life and put it on Instagram" phenomenon is not what it seems. It's really a, "Hey let me take a dozen pictures until I get one that might work and then I'll edit the heck out of it."

Garrett asked me if this shirt was a picture of a bear riding a crocodile. I had to give him a lesson in state flags. Or, at least, in the California state flag. It's just now crossing my mind that I might not know what the Utah flag looks like. I maybe haven't paid any attention. Seriously. This is ridiculous. Is it blue? Is there a bee hive on it? A temple? I just looked it up. Two out of three. Anyway. 

I was so amused by his idea of the crocodile surfing bear that I wanted to post a picture of it. But then I realized that I was basically going to be taking a selfie of my chest. So there was some strategy involved. How to get the focus ON the bear and OFF the person wearing the bear? After a handful of snaps, I went with this one.

We live in a weird world where there is always a camera in our pocket or our purse. Even though it looks like I took this picture from somewhere in Nebraska during the 19th century (er, in a time warp where they have asphalt in the 1800s), I actually took it from the parking lot of the boys' school. A school where, from any other angle, you'd see suburban homes, a temple or two (not pictured on the Utah flag as I've recently learned), telephone lines, an elementary school, and/or the entire Salt Lake Valley. These are pronghorn antelope which I had no idea actually lived less than a mile from my house. This is actually the only shot I got because I was trying to get closer and they decided to take off running.

This was like, maybe, the 20th picture we took to try to get a decent one. We attended a quinceanera and got dressed up fancy. Since we were so dapper, we needed to commemorate it with a picture. But someone had his eyes closed or someone else looked like a goon or the shadows were all wrong. Until, finally, HOORAY! We did it! (Thanks, Chris, for capturing it!)


This isn't an Instagram picture, or even a picture I took on a cell phone, but it's five years old now and that's just crazy talk. I love these guys. I love how much they have adored each other since the very beginning. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waffle Cone

My little man is LOVING kindergarten. I was really, incredibly, completely terrified that it wouldn't go well. So, I implemented a reward system. If he earned his hand stamp 10 times, he'd get an ice cream. I substitute for his teacher quite often and I know that the kids can lose their hand stamps for a lot of reasons. Talking. Repeatedly touching other kids. Not listening. Using the restroom without asking. Being disruptive. You get the idea. I had a feeling that draping oneself against the wall and flat out refusing to participate--which was sometimes Matthew's choice behavior in preschool--would not be welcomed.  I had no idea how long it would take for my son to get 10 hand stamps.

Exactly ten days, it turns out.

Today was his tenth day of school and we went, after school, to get him an ice cream cone from Sonic. I went big and let him get a waffle cone complete with whipped cream, candy bits, caramel, and a cherry on top because I wanted him to know that I was WAFFLE CONE proud of him and not just VANILLA DISH proud.

He comes out after school and tells me all about the people who lost their stamps, and exactly what behavior earned such horrors. He also tells us how the other kids treat him which is usually positively. Except for once last week when Michael spit on him and this week when Benjamin called him dumb.

"Mommy," he said. "Benjamin called me dumb."

"Well, that's ridiculous. You're not dumb. You're very smart. Next time he calls you dumb, tell him that you know how to read so you can't be dumb."

"HE DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO READ!" Matthew exclaimed.

"Well then..."

"Then next time," Garrett interjected, "Say, 'I know how to read, DO YOU?'"

(And so, yes, we need to work on humility with our kids.)

But, back on track. Reward systems work SO well with my children. Call it bribery. Call it bad parenting. Call it what you want. IT WORKS. I know people who say that if we start rewarding our children for expected behavior, they will feel entitled to a reward for said behavior FOREVERMORE. But a reward system totally taught Garrett to poop on the potty. I do not (repeat: DO NOT) still have to give him a toy from Dollar Tree every time he poops.

The trick is that you stretch the rewards out longer and longer. In this case, ten hand stamps equaled an ice cream. We decided together that now he needs to earn 15 hand stamps and then I'll take him out to lunch. He puts a sticker on a piece of paper every time he gets a stamp. When he walks out from class every SINGLE day, he has an expressionless face. He slowly walks toward me and then, just before reaching me, he throws his stamped fist out and I "bump" it with my own.

He's learning and loving it and BEHAVING EXACTLY AS HE SHOULD BE. And I couldn't be more WAFFLE CONE proud of him.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Road Trip Rebuttal

If you're not regularly reading Kristen Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan, you should be. She is relevant. She is wise. She is compassionate. And, often, she is hilarious. Also, I want to go with her to ALL THE PLAYS and I want our children to be best friends. There's my plug for her before I go ahead and disagree with one of her posts. But it's not her. It's me. I'm a road trip bigot.

Bigot: A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

Yes. I am a bigot. I am a bigot when it comes to Christmas trees. Go real or why bother? I'm a bigot about smoking. Just do not do it around me or anywhere in my vicinity please because I do not want that stuff secondhandedly infiltrating my lungs. And I am a bigot about road trips.

Kristen's post, sponsored by Chevrolet, and titled, "Turning vehicles into wi-fi hotspots? Yes, please." falls into one of my biggest pet peeve categories. I don't fundamentally disagree with turning vehicles into wi-fi hotspots. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Since getting a phone with Internet capabilities this past spring (because, yes, it took us that long to cross over into the land of the living), it's been nice to be able to find the cheapest gas in an area, locate a restaurant to eat at on the way from San Diego to Salt Lake City, or check for available hotels when we're stuck in the WORST VEGAS TRAFFIC THAT EVER THERE WAS. EVER. Kristen points out that, with vehicular wi-fi, her children could work on homework in the car, pull up Google maps and learn about the geography of a particular region they're driving through, or use the Internet to find historical landmarks. All great ideas.

What I disagree with are her thoughts (and, really, it's just the echo of the thoughts of so many people I know) regarding the boredom of road trips, the fact that thirty years ago travelers had two options: stare out the window or sleep, and the general idea that our children need to be plugged into something in the car or heaven forbid they might just shrivel up and die from the lack of entertainment. (Um. Those are totally my words, not hers. And I'm not trying to call her out here, I'm calling out our society.)

When I was a kid we regularly drove LONG distances to visit National Parks, Lake Tahoe, and other destinations. You know what? I did not die. I looked out the window at our gorgeous (and, sometimes, not so gorgeous HELLO! BARSTOW! THIS ONE'S FOR YOU!) country. I read books and books and more books! When I tired of reading books I flipped through a new magazine my mom had bought me before the trip. I did not sleep because I was born without the gene that allows for napping--even on road trips--unless it is dark outside. But my brother slept. For hours on end and his road trips were shorter for it. We took a bucket of toys. We had notepads for drawing or writing stories. We talked! We had walkmans and, eventually, discmans. When we were very little, my mom would buy a few small toys and hand us one every few hours. We anticipated rest stops because, perhaps, an ice cream or a candy bar would be our reward for good behavior. We didn't ask, "Are we there yet?" because we knew that if the car was still running, the answer to that question was an obvious, NO. (We weren't stupid children.) We fought, sure. But we did that at home so a road trip was really no different. We laughed, hysterically, at each other. We played car bingo, slug bug, and the license plate game. We created our own entertainment.

And it has turned us into adults that have the ability to go on long road trips. Those vacations have sculpted us into people that can now be behind the wheel on those long trips without wanting to claw our own insides out from our own attention deficit. (Um...road trips involving HORRIBLE VEGAS TRAFFIC NOT WITHSTANDING.) Those trips helped us become adult passengers that don't need to be playing on and/or watching their phone/laptop/DVD player incessantly. These days, my husband and I take turns driving on long road trips. When I'm the passenger, I rarely do anything except listen to music and have extensive conversations with my spouse. Sometimes I read. And that's it. Those long road trips from my childhood built character that I wouldn't trade for the ability to watch endless movies.

When our boys were tiny little people we began taking road trips with them. We do have a portable DVD player but our general (loose) rule has been ONE movie for every 12 hours of travel time. That means they need to find a way to entertain themselves for the other 10 and a half hours. They look out the window. Then they ask questions about things they are seeing and it opens up dialogue between us and them and someone always ends up learning something. They crack each other up. They listen to music. They read books. And, before we leave, they pack a bin of toys. It is their single greatest joy--when we're getting ready to go somewhere--to choose the small toys they will take and they often ask me many days in advance if they can do it.

Have there been growing pains? Of course there have. Have there been times when they've asked how much longer or how much farther or if we're there yet? Of course there have. But my boys are eight and five and they are the best travelers I know.

Kristen said, "Because, as much as we like limiting the kids' time with electronics, we're also realists. Making everyone power off in the car works for about 10 minutes, followed by screeches of 'She touched me!' or 'I'm bored' or (God forbid) 'Are we there yet?'"

(Read more: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2014/09/turning-vehicles-into-wi-fi-hotspots.html#ixzz3CYhTpA6J)

And, while my degree is in Theatre, I took a boatload of English course work and I know hyperbole when I see it so I realize the exaggeration for comedic effect. But it's not unrealistic to expect your children to put down the electronics. So what I want to say to all the parents out there, the parents of teenagers and the parents of tiny little kids, is that you're missing an incredible opportunity. Your children, when stuck in the car, are a captive audience. You have no where else to be, nothing else to do. Point out landmarks. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and why. Introduce them to the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and the Wicked soundtrack. Read them a book. Let them entertain themselves for awhile.

Unplug them and they will learn how to travel unplugged. Then, instead of your road trip being all about the destination, it can also be about the journey getting there. But what do I know? I'm just a road trip bigot.

Note: This totally breaks down on an International flight from Salt Lake to Israel that takes 18 hours. When the lights in the plane are off and everyone is trying to sleep and your kids think it's three o'clock in the afternoon and they didn't bring toys because you didn't want to haul them around the Holy Land and the iPod is dead and they don't have a window seat and they're confused because the flight crew is trying to feed them breakfast but it involves salad and the baby two rows up has been screaming for a solid two hours, then you totally just let them watch as many movies as they want to and you thank God that you chose a flight where they have their own screen built right into the seatback in front of them. But, because they usually have to entertain themselves on trips and this time they get endless movies, they will be the world's best travelers and handfuls of other Israel bound tourists and the flight attendants will tell you how wonderful your children are. So what I'm saying is that building up road trip character in your kids will, inevitably, gain you parenting praise on an International flight. AND WHO DOESN'T LIKE THAT?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ice Bucket: Go Big or Go Home (UPDATED)

This is a guest blog by the author's husband . . .

You might have noticed the viral phenomenon of people pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness (and funds) for ALS research. 

Within 24 hours of being challenged, participants have to record a video of themselves in continuous footage. First, they are to announce their acceptance of the challenge followed by pouring ice into a bucket of water. Then, the bucket is to be lifted and poured over the participant's head. Then the participant can call out a challenge to other people.

Whether people choose to donate, perform the challenge, or do both varies. In one version of the challenge, the participant is expected to donate $10 if they have poured the ice water over their head or donate $100 if they have not. In another version, dumping the ice water over the participant's head is done in lieu of any donation . . .

This is not the first incarnation of the ice bucket challenge. In fact it has been done previously in similar forms to benefit cancer research, the Special Olympics, and other charities.

This go around, however, has been largely associated with ALS and seems to be everywhere: professional athletes, former Presidents, news anchors and all sorts of normal people like you and me have been nominated to participate in the challenge. As the challenge spread, like a disease, I saw friends, family and church members taking up the challenge and passing it on to others.

I knew it was only a matter of time.
This week the inevitable happened—I was finally nominated by a member of our church. While I am recommending him to the board for discipline (there has to be something in the Bible about wishing cold water on your pastor), I still felt I had to show that I wasn't going to wimp out and I could handle a little cold water.
So I'm posting the evidence here on my wife's blog.

A couple more things:

*I normally don’t post much on facebook or similar media sites.  So I’ve asked permission to post here. 

*I also don’t normally solicit funds for causes, especially on media sites.  That being said ALS research is a worthy cause. I recommend research entities such as the ALS Therapy Development Institute.  There is more than one organization doing valuable research and that is one whose method of research and fundraising I feel comfortable recommending.

*There are also many other causes worth contributing to: Cancer Research, Samaritan’s Purse, etc.  I don’t care where people choose to give their funds.  It’s not like ALS has sole proprietorship over money raise from buckets filled with ice . . .  However, if all nominated gave an extra $10 to some worthwhile charity that would, collectively make a significant amount.  I’ll pick my own, you pick yours (whether its ALS research or something else).

*FINALLY, as a former youth pastor the ice bucket challenge seemed very tiny and far too easy.  I figured if I was going to participate it was GO BIG OR GO HOME.  I decided my bucket challenge needed to be done on a larger scale. 

And, yes, it was cold and full of plenty of ice (25 lbs. to be exact).  I would have put in even more ice but there was only so much in the freezer and I didn’t want to break the bank by buying any more. 

So here it is.  Proof. (by the way my wife and associate pastor were witnesses of the icy temperature of the water).

It was cold but as a former youth pastor from the Northwest I’ve swam at the Oregon coast (and in mountain streams).  I’ve done polar bear challenges and faced the “ten buckets of doom.” No big deal, really.

But it does give me a chance to nominate my oldest son.  Have fun Garrett.

Because my son had been challenged the freezer was emptied of ice to fill this bucket:

Garrett completed his challenge you can see the proof here:

And Matthew promptly fulfilled his challenge and issued one of his own: