So, Today I’m Thinking…

…that something has to change about the local school district’s calendar. The students weren’t dismissed until June 9 (a Wednesday). The graduation exercises kept most folks around through the weekend, the 13th. So, summer really didn’t begin until that Monday. And most other districts around us were out AT LEAST a week before us, some two, and some private schools a month before. The kids will have to be back in town for their clubs/teams/extracurricular activities the 2nd week of August. That’s six–maybe 7–weeks of summer. (and don’t get me started on how some sports/band organizations have “voluntary” camps and contests during those weeks) I’m not sure that our elected officials truly understand that affects employment opportunities for the students, or vacation realities, or even the need for rest/down-time. But it’s in stone for next year, too. Ugh. And we all know that it’s about the Benjamin’s, too, which doesn’t really help.

…that all the Big 12 conference did was delay the same discussion about teams leaving for about 4 or 5 years. Nobody endures a system where the rich get richer forever. And, while I’m on sports: The Rangers little 5-game winning streak while on the road has been pretty enjoyable to watch (and don’t even get me started on Josh Hamilton’s play this month–which has been nothing short of amazing). And it seems strange to have high expectations for Team USA in the World Cup.

…not to blow my own horn here, but I donated my hair again (5th time), this time a gift to Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign, who works exclusively with cancer patients. It’s funny how I’ve done it so often now that I find myself giving instructions to the hairstylist on how this organization likes it done and all that jazz. I’m sure they appreciate that.

…that I’m amazed how I can have a meeting with parents in which I tell them how to handle certain circumstances that come up in my youth ministry, among them: “Don’t start a phone call to me with, ‘I know it’s your day off, BUT…’, “Don’t have a conversation regarding your teen’s needs or situations with me in a hallway where others (including the teen) can hear,” or “Don’t contact me on my mobile phone for convenience if the answer is written on a list that you don’t happen to have while you’re out.” All of those were broken within a week, and while I try to be gracious…sometimes it’s hard to understand how I’m the bad guy here.

…it’s kind of weird when things happen in my little suburb that remind me how long I’ve been here. Today, I read about the resignation of a local high school women’s basketball coach. She started the same week I did 14 years ago, and I’ve had a lot of students play for her. She’s noted for stomping her high heels when the kids don’t play well so hard that on the hardwood floor where the team sits there is an incredible amount of pock-marks. She’s won several district championships and been coach of the year the last three years. Now she’s off to another high school…and she’ll leave some big high-heels to fill.

…I had to do a double take because, for some reason, a Good Morning America thing is going on in my living room and I saw Bret Michaels and Miley Cyrus performing together. And I thought, “That can’t be right.” It was. Um. Wait? What?

…that today we begin packing for what will be my 20th mission trip with a group of students. We’re off to Arizona to serve the Apache Nation by doing work on the reservation to provide better housing. Our teens raise the money and provide the labor, and I’m pretty excited about seeing how the kids come back viewing the world a little differently than when they left. And most will. Not to mention the group unity that comes from 17 hours on the road together, camping out for a week with no electricity, and working alongside each other.

…that I don’t understand why it is that parents want to go to things like their teen’s college orientation. My parents never went on mine or even expressed a desire to. And back then, there wasn’t a parallel “parent orientation,” either. You just went, stayed in a dorm, saw the video that talked about how great the university experience & traditions are, listened to the dean of your college talk about how well prepared you’d be for life after grabbing that accounting degree, signed up for your schedule, struck out at the street dance, and then went home. Conversely, I do understand the desire to drive your kid to college and help them get settled in their dorm.

…that I think it’s hilarious when former students from 13 years ago still text me movie quotes they find funny, and/or when they’re in Las Vegas they actually wanted me to hop a plane and join them. I think it’s even more hilarious that I likely would’ve done it if I wasn’t leaving on a mission trip this week.

…that satellite radio was one of the best Christmas gifts our family has gotten. Our home is filled with more music than television on occasion.

…that if you’re a U.S. Representative who gets about $100,000 per year in campaign financing from big oil companies, you might not want to pop off about how they’re getting fleeced by the U.S. government. Side note: when you apologize for how we misunderstood your words, well, that’s not really an apology.

…that I’m continually floored by how my former students grow through things like being counselors at summer camps, interns at churches, mission trips, serving in homeless shelters and the like. It’s a reminder that spiritual growth is a slow business and sometimes it’s better to step back and take a look at the forest instead of focusing too intently on the trees. Some of the students who looked like they were stepping off the path (some further than others) are now inspiring me with their innovation and vision.

…that my relatively newly-wed and newly-expecting neighbors were out doing yard work the other day. Well, the husband was on his hands and knees weeding and planting while the 6-month-along wife was pointing and directing. I walked over to say hi and asked the husband how he was doing. While still on all fours, he glanced at the pile of weeds he had made, glanced at his wife’s bulging belly, then back at me and said, “Oh, just livin’ the dream, Brent. Just livin’ the dream.” I just gave him the nod that let him know we’ve all been precisely where he has been.

…that with 3 people working retail in my house, we’ve become that family that has a schedule on the refrigerator to figure out where everybody is at any given moment. I’m sure there are folks out there who would give me the nod and let me know they’ve been precisely where we are.

…that I need to get on with my day in order to finish the yard work before I leave, pack, pick up the vans, stop by the packing group and check on them to get ready for my 5:30AM go-time tomorrow morning. After 19 previous trips, there’s a routine you get in, and you can’t goof that up!