Sunday, February 01, 2015

My Daughter's Dream

Kynzi has been asking me for the last couple of years to try out for America's got talent. She wants to sing. She loves to sing. In our house her singing can be heard at a near constant.

She has truly develop a beautiful voice that is uniquely hers over the last year or so. We headed out to Los Angeles at 4 this morning. She had a 7 o'clock appointment to try out for The Voice. You know, the show where Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, for Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera sit in chairs facing the audience listening to a voice singing blindly and pressing buttons and spinning the chairs around? How exciting is that?!

Besides having a beautiful voice, Kynzi has a gift for remembering lyrics. When she was five or six years old she heard Jack Johnson singing a song on  the David letterman show. The next day she sang the song verbatim. I couldn't understand it. She may not have the gift of retaining the fact she needs to do her chores every day, but she can retain lyrics like nobody's business.

When we got to the convention center at about 6 AM there already about 300 people in line ahead of us. The line kept filling up quickly over the next hour. At about 6:45 we made some forward movement. They started letting people inside of the convention center. When we finally got inside the line snaked around a little until we reached the stairs. That's where friends and family had to stay behind unless you were a parent of a minor.

We made our way up the stairs showed our identification and got placed in a holding room. There were six sections that seated about 150 people each. We were in the third section. While standing in line and sitting in our seats we chatted with other singers around us. One girl shared how she had tried out for The Voice two times already and American Idol three times and America's Got Talent twice. She great attitude saying that each time it was a great learning experience.

At one point someone with a guitar had started playing and all six sections began to sing Sam Smith's "Stay with Me" which was pretty cool. Everyone there was excited to see if their dream would become reality.

Of course we had to take a selfie in front of the Voice sign. A news reporter took our picture and got our names. For some reason I didn't ask who he worked for or where it would be posted. Oh well. 

It was finally our turn and we made our way to the back of the room and then they shuttled us out to another holding area. We did not stay there very long, thankfully. Then we headed to a hallway with 9 others waiting our turn. 

We walked into a room where there were two rows of five chairs facing each other where the contestants would sit and the parents would sit in the back while a producer sat behind a table behind her laptop about 20 feet away. One by one the singers took their turn. It just so happened that all the singers in Kynzi's group were girls. I'm sure I am biased, but truth be told, she was the best one in the group! One of the girls in the group came up to her after and told how amazing she sounded. 

There was only one that would qualify for those first episodes of American Idol where you cringe. She was an older woman whose cell phone went off with an 80s TV show theme song during the first girl's turn. She told me she was going to sing the same song she sang for the Gong Show in the 70s. She got gonged then too. (she is in the video below)
Here is a little highlight video of our experience.

Kynzi got her turn. It was awesome! I was so proud of her. If you know me you know that my eyes began to well up. Ha ha. She chose to sing "You Know How I Feel" covered by Michael Buble. She had Christina Perri's "Thousand Years" ready to go, but they got one song. American Idol judges have often said, "It's all about the song choice." Both were the right song choice for her. She gave me permission to post her audition. Enjoy. 

Sadly the producer said, "There is a lot of potential in this group, but unfortunately no one will be advancing this time." Oh well. Next time. She's 15 and has plenty of time to develop her voice and keep trying. Who knows?

We did see one guy, one of the few who didn't look like a typical singer, who got a "red ticket" and advanced to the next round. Kinda cool. Kynzi was totally cool after, bummed, but good with it. We then had to head out to a highly yelp rated crepe place for some brunch and then to Salt & Straw ice cream! This is the best ice cream on the planet!! Based out of Portland, they opened this one in LA in September! A little piece of our old home!!

Kynzi had dreamed of trying out for a singing competition for a long time. I'm so happy for her. 

What's your dream?
What's keeping you from your dream?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jesus' Birthday (Angels and shepherds party)

When Brian & Chele Condello moved to Oregon they brought with them a fantastic tradition. The kids would get dressed up as an angel or a shepherd and we would read the story of the birth of Jesus from Luke 2. (You can read that story below) This became an annual tradition with the Condello's and the Unwin's and the Prins's and more would join from time to time as well.
Last year's Angels & Shepherd's party
We decided we would keep this tradition here in California. As I read the story the kids act out the story as best as they can. It's adorable, sweet and funny all at the same time. After the show is over it's cupcake time! Kynzi made the cupcakes this year and it was seriously like getting cupcakes at a professional cupcake store! They were amazing!

So without further ado, here is the story of the birth of Jesus. 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:1-20 NIV)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I lost a dear friend today

Today I lost a dear friend. One I have not seen in a few years, but one who has had a significant impact on my life. Bill Brown was the director at the camp I started going to when I was in 3rd grade. Delta Lake Bible Conference Center was extremely significant in my spiritual journey. I was not greatly challenged at church growing up (we did have some seasons) so camp was the place where I started my real journey with Jesus.

Camp is where I first realized that I needed to own my faith in Jesus. It wasn't just about making sure I was going to heaven, it was about really giving my whole life to Jesus. I remember when Ed Glover read from Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Ed said that “some of you are trusting God with part of your heart and it is time to trust Him with all of your heart!” that was me. I knew in that moment I needed to fully trust God. I told God that I was all in, whatever that meant and where ever that would take me.

The next summer I was working at Delta as a jr. counselor. Bill sat me down near the end of the summer and told me that he believed God wanted me to be a youth pastor. I had no idea what that meant. I never had a youth pastor. I had met a number of them at camp but only knew that they had to serve a week of camp and that I thought they were cool. 

Bill believed in me. He saw something in me that no one had before. It was such a significant conversation that I have not forgotten it almost 30 years later. As a matter of fact, it has been something I have used when I have trained volunteers and youth pastors since I have been in ministry. 

Bill loved Jesus. Bill loved camp. Bill loved people. It oozed out over everyone he was around. Was he perfect? No! Haha. But he has made an impact for the Kingdom of God that can only be known by God. The countless number of staff at camp over the decades all could look back and point to how God used Bill in some way. 

This morning Bill passed away of a heart attack. He is now with Jesus. That is pretty awesome, but he leaves behind many loved ones. 

I have lots of memories of Bill. I remember visiting him in his cabin and almost every time I would visit in the evening he would have a batch of popcorn. It’s funny. Until I wrote that I hadn’t thought about it, but the last few years I can be found eating popcorn on many evenings. Connected? Maybe.

We both share a birthday on April 14th. Every year Bill would send me a card or a text on our birthday.

Every year when I worked there we would do a cake auction and we would get together with Jeff Dooley and pool all of our money and pay ridiculous amounts for a cake and then we would sneak up behind Bill and smash it on his bald head. That was always a highlight for the campers and for us!

One time at a Haven camp week (mentally and physically challenged campers) bill wanted to show them a magic trick. He called me up on stage to be his helper. He rolled a newspaper into a cone, jammed it into my pants and then poured milk into it. a) He knew I HATED milk. b) he made the trick not work and poured milk all down my pants. The campers and staff and Bill laughed and laughed and laughed. He got me good!

We did a parody of Bad, bad Leroy Brown and it was Bald, bald, Billy Brown.

This back and forth fun is something I loved about Bill. 
I know his wife Sara and daughter Beth are loved and are in mourning. Praying for you friends.

If you have someone that has spoken into your life, take a minute or two and send them a card saying thank you. It is invaluable for someone to hear that they have made an impact on your life.

Because Bill spoke into my life I followed after God’s call on my life to go into full time youth ministry. I have been in full time youth ministry for over 21 years now! I point back to Bill as the beginning of that. 

This picture that Beth let me use is typical of how I remember him.

Thank you Bill. I love you. I miss you.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Our Road Trip (move) To California

The next chapter of the Williams story has begun. It is one of which I look forward to seeing unfold with wonder and excitement. I have no idea what the next years ahead will look like, but we are on this journey together. That's what I need. My family and God to lead the way. His leading has been clear all along and that is how we have ended up on this road. It has not been easy, let me tell you!

Oh the tears. I thought I had emptied completely of my tears. I didn't know it was possible to cry so much. It feels like the weight of 18 years of memories and relationships has just dumped in a tsunami-like wave from my face. I know that time is the great healer (gift from God) and it will get better, but this is my raw, honest heart being torn apart.

What lies ahead is in God's hands and we will continue to walk where He leads. I believe He has a plan for each day and He is going to give us friends and joys that will be a wonderful. I will continue to open the pages of our journey so you can stay caught up and remember to pray for us as we go. Please feel free to let me know how I can be praying for you too!

Here is a little video of our trip south!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Surprise! Hot Air Balloon Goodbye

Today is moving day. Sigh. We were scheduled to start the journey at 6am but 2 days ago I contacted my friend Jim Desch who is a hot air balloon pilot. I have crewed with him since my first summer here in 1997. The crew all work for free and get paid with flights. 

I have enjoyed giving many of my flights to people I love over the years and that has given me great joy. The last 2 1/2 years (since my shoulder surgery) I haven't really been able to so much. My shoulder can't handle it. 

Kynzi and Karston have always wanted to go up since they were little. You can't really go up as a little kid. Well Karston turned 13 and Kynzi is about to turn 15. I had forgotten in all of my summer craziness and was just going to get together with Jim the other day but it didn't work out. 

So I asked if we could squeeze Kynzi and Karston in with some others and he said we could fill it as a gift to me. So I got Hannah, Meesh and Jenga up (Jenga moves on Friday). 

I woke up the kids and told them we were going to do an early morning breakfast before we left for Cali. "Breakfast" was the balloon ride. What a fun surprise. Only Hannah knew she was going up. Jenga and Meesh thought they were crewing. Love those moments! 

Enjoy some video and pics from the morning below. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Packing with some great friends!

Let's be honest; there isn't much fun about packing your home. The one thing that I find joy in it is being with my friends. The downside is you know they are coming because they're saying goodbye.

We had a party, of sorts, as we loaded up the pods. With Josh and Steve at the helm of packing the rest of us brought out everything relatively unscathed. 

This stuff is hard. I don't like saying goodbye (or see ya later for those who really don't like goodbye). I do like the idea of moving to a place where people will want to come visit. I hope they truly do. 

There are so many memories tied to this place and these people it's crazy as the memories have been flooding back over the past couple of weeks. So much joy has been filling my heart as I have been filing through the memories. As my heart fills up the tears have been spilling out. So many tears. I could say I don't normally cry much, but let's be honest...that would be a lie. 

I plan to update you on Cali life here more often than I have been updating. Join me in the journey. You can even "subscribe" by putting your email in on the right side of this blog. The. You will get an email when I post something new. If you would like that. 

The $10 Pizza Hut deal is pretty sweet!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We are moving so we got stuff to sell

Instead of posting one thing to Facebook and Twitter at a time I thought I would find a spot to put everything. We have a bunch of stuff and if there something that fits your fancy let me know.

Flags are $25 each or $40 for both. 
LPS sold

Djembe sold

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