– liesl (my 14 year-old daughter) got home from a 10-day class trip to vancouver island monday night. best moment of the airport reunion: she hugged max long and hard and quietly said, “i really missed you.” money quote on the car trip home: “…then monday, we rock climbed. and it… was… so… cool. because, like, it wasn’t made rocks, but, like, real… rocks!”
– our family played a game last night, then spent time in the hot tub together. great to be together. interesting random quote from max (10 year-old): “my, kayla and carlie have a mass-murderers club.”
– i had to release a ys employee yesterday. so hard. we’re doing some re-organization as we plan for the future. and in order to make room for some strategic new positions, we had to find a couple cuts. we cut one open position, and one of our customer service reps (the call volume in our customer service area just didn’t warrant the number of staff we had there now that most people handle event registration online). but we’re not a big company that is used to lay-offs and turnover. we’re like a family. so letting someone go is really painful, both for them (of course), and for all of us. not a fun part of being a leader, even if it’s the right choice.
– later that day (yesterday), we had a goodbye lunch for long-time, now former, ys employee, renee altson. renee has been on staff for seven years, and really part of our family. she has struggled deeply with illness these past few years, and went onto long-term disability about a month ago. it was a joyous lunch, with lots of love. our whole staff went to renee’s favorite mexican restaurant. and, since she’s a rabid journaler, we gave her a nice leather journal and a beautiful cross pen. and our whole staff wrote in the front of the journal. it was a weird juxtiposition to celebrate renee the same day we released another employee.
– speaking of ys staff changes, the amazing adam mclane started at ys this week as our web community dude, or something like that. adam has been a youth pastor for years, and also founded youth ministry exchange, a wonderful online forum and website for youth workers. he’ll be moving to san diego from detroit, and we’ll really jazzed to have him join us. i’m sure any web-savvy youth workers will see adam’s work with us very quickly.
– i was behind a truck today that had three bumper stickers on its cap. two were variations of marines stickers. the third, also a marines sticker, said, “it’s god’s job to forgive bin laden; it’s our job to deliver him to god.” i thought to myself, well, whatever one’s politics, that’s not a good resume item for a job well done.
– i have too many projects going right now. finishing tweaks to the youth ministry 3.0 book, co-authoring a new middle school ministry book with scott rubin (due at the end of august — i have one chapter written so far), re-writing a session of the CORE for 2009, preparing a wedding for a friend this weekend (and another for my cousin the following weekend, and another for my niece in july), preparing a seminar and general session for the lifeteen (catholic youth ministry) conference in phoenix this coming week, working to help develop the general sessions for dcla. crazy.
– tonite is my final night with my middle school boys small group. i’ve been their leader every wednesday night for three full years, since they were brand-new 6th graders. i love these guys, and know them. it’s sad to see them move on. my co-leader and i bought them nice leather journals, and wrote letters to each of them in the front (i might post these letters — i’m still thinking about that). we’re having a swim party at my house tonite, with pizza, and we’ll sit around the fire pit and talk about our three years; then my co-leader and i will read what we wrote to them in their journals. i feel like i’m releasing butterflies, and am both expectant and nervous about what life and faith will hold for them in the next few years.