Friday, January 31, 2014

You might be a member of my generation if…

Maybe it is because I have moved to a place that holds so many childhood memories or maybe it is because I will be having another birthday in a little less than a month, but my mind is beginning to reminisce. 

I’m a part of Generation X and I always hated that name.  It’s like my whole generation got dropped into an algebra problem and everyone was trying to “find” us.  However, aside from our unfortunate generational name, we are a pretty interesting group.  And we grew up in an ever changing world that was just beginning to use computers, loved music videos, and some of our crew could nearly touch the clouds just by the height of their hair (and yes, boys are included in this statement).  So, if you will indulge me, today I thought I’d reminisce a little.  Remembering this stuff made me smile…maybe it will do the same for you. 

 You Might Be A Member of My Generation if:

You remember watching “Saved By the Bell” when it first came out.

You were keeping the hair spray, mousse, or hair gel companies in business in Jr. High and High School.

Mullets were the popular hairstyle for guys. (Even MacGyver had one!)

You played video games on an Atari 2600

You had a set of “Socker Boppers.” (FYI: I saw these in a store recently…apparently they are making a comeback.)

You owned or wanted to own your own Laser Tag set.

You ever tried to talk as fast as the guy in the Micro Machine commercials.

Trying to figure out how to transform your Transformer toy the first time was always a thrill.

New Kids on the Block were THE group…unless you were a Country Music Fan, in which case switch that to Garth Brooks.

You remember going to computer class and being asked to actually type code into the computer.

Typing class (on typewriters) was a requirement in school.

You remember the other characters that used to be in the McDonalds Commercials (Hamburgler, Grimace, etc.)

Grey Poupon mustard makes you think of people in limos.

You can quote the theme song to the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”…and are probably doing so right now in your head…or maybe out loud. J

When you were growing up, there was always a popular show on television that starred Michael Landon.

You know where the phrase “Punky Power” comes from.

If your Youth Group ever went to a Carman concert. (Always Good concerts and always free!)

If you wanted to play a game with a friend, you actually went over to that friend’s house or they came to yours.  No need for a computer.

You wrote handwritten letters to friends…and couldn’t wait to get a response in the mail.

You got your world news from “Channel 1” in school every day...and you probably still associate Anderson Cooper with that news show as opposed to his current show. (or maybe that's just me)

You loved watching “The A-Team” and found it interesting that no matter how many buildings, vehicles, or random objects blew up during the show and though bullets were flying all the time…no one ever died or was even seriously hurt (unless it was a plot point).

TGIF meant “Full House”, “Perfect Strangers”, “Step By Step”, and “Family Matters” would be on.

People rarely asked “Do you go to church?”, but rather “What church do you go to?” because it seemed that everyone went to church somewhere…even if they didn’t attend all the time.

You loved watching “The Muppet Show” and always wondered how Gonzo was going to goof up the ending of the theme song each week.

You had at least one friendship bracelet that you wore for ages. (Ok…probably just a few weeks)

You knew LeVar Burton as the “Reading Rainbow” host long before you ever heard of “Geordi LaForge”.

Twitter was something a bird did.

If you are a girl, You probably read “The Babysitter’s Club” or “Sweet Valley High” books all the time.

You were determined to find “Carmen Sandiego”

You carried a camera and took lots of pictures, but never seemed to get all the film developed. (I’m pretty sure I still have some somewhere.)


Lots of good memories.  There are, of course, many more.  What’s your favorite memory of Generation X?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Moving to a Not So New Place...

So, as you know, if you've been following this blog or Facebook, I have been looking for a new place to serve because the church in North Vernon could no longer afford an Associate.  It took several months and much prayer, but God has opened a new door for me that seems to be just what I needed.  He's so good like that. 

Starting this Sunday, January 12th,  I'll be the new Children's Pastor at the Parkview Church of the Nazarene in Anderson, IN.  I even get to preach next Sunday night so if you're in the area, stop in and say hello.  I'm looking forward to this new place and getting to know these people.  Why is this such an answer to prayers?  Well, not only am I convinced this church going to be a really great place to serve, my friends, let me share with you how good God is.

First of all, Anderson is my old stomping ground.  I am familiar with the area and have lots of friends and family around.  Second, this opened a door for me to be able to move in with my Grandmother and help her out as well.  Thirdly, my new church is literally right next door to the school where my oldest and one of my dearest friends teaches.  Fourth, within 30 minutes of where I now live, there are 4 other Children's Pastor friends with whom I can connect.  And lastly, because I am still in Indiana, that means I will be able to attend SPARK in March.  SPARK is an annual retreat for children's workers from all over the state where we are able to attend workshops, connect with other churches, swap ideas and more.  It's a blessing that I was truly hoping I wouldn't have to miss.

God is so good.  Even now, I am sitting in the midst of a snow day (my favorite kind of day).  Grandma and I are about to relax and spend some time watching movies and enjoying seeing the beautiful snow that is just outside our doors.  We have about a foot so far and the temperature at the moment is -13 and it feels like -47 we won't be venturing out today.

I hope your new year is as blessed as mine has started out to be.  Until next time, as my Dad always says, "Be blessed and be a blessing."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cyber bullying...Sports Edition

It's a new year.  I promise I will post a blog within the next week about my new position and location, because I am very excited about that, but today I must speak about something that has been gnawing at me for quite a while and I am wondering if I am the only one who is seeing this?

We, as adults, have been doing everything we can to teach children and teens that bullying in any form is wrong.  Bullying is one of the biggest problems that young people are facing today and it comes in so many forms it is mind boggling.  But, I am amazed at how many people I see on a regular basis participating in cyber bullying on Facebook.  It happens every time there is a sporting event.  And it can get NASTY!

If your team is losing, then you see people posting about how terrible this player or that player is.  Or maybe some derogatory comment will be made about the coach or coaching staff.  If your team is winning, then the chatter changes from how bad your team is, to how bad the other team is, or worse yet (and I can't even believe this is happening, but I see it all the time) people fuss about how terrible it is that their team isn't winning by MORE! is enough to make me want to scream sometimes...and not because I care at all about sports.  I don't.  Trust me.  I have nothing invested in any team anywhere except for the teams out of my alma mater and that is simply for nostalgia reasons or pride in my college.  So, please understand that I am saying this for no other reason than the fact that there are eyes watching all that we do and this seems to be getting out of hand. 

First, every player on every sports team is indeed a person.  They have family, friends, and wait for it...FEELINGS!  They may get paid extremely well for what they do (or maybe not if it is a college player which means they are hearing all these terrible comments AND trying to deal with all the regular college life pressures), and if they are a professional, playing this sport, granted is their job and they knew that people would be watching them do their job.  But let us look at them from a different perspective.  Would you like it if everyone in the country had the opportunity to watch you do your job (whatever that was) and then post their thoughts about how well you are doing it, or not doing it for all their friends to see?  Would you allow your child to do such a thing to someone they knew?  Especially if they were going to post that person's name as well?  Would you enjoy having your Aunt/Uncle/Cousin/Son/Daughter/Mom/Dad/Brother/Sister see your name be maligned all over the internet?  No?  Well, that is what is happening to these sports figures.  Why is it ok to do it to them?

I can hear you now, "Toni, none of those players are ever going to see what I post and besides they're making a bazillion dollars a year!  They should be better at the game!"  Ok, so by that logic, then I can post whatever I want about anyone I want in a public forum...but so long as the person I am posting about never sees it and they make a lot of money, then it is ok.  And even if they did see it, they don't know me, so that's ok too.  REALLY????   Is that what we want to teach our children?  It's ok to post something very hurtful online about someone (and even use their name) so long as they make a lot of money, they won't see it, and you don't know them.  WHAT???  I don't think so!

And lets talk about the horrible talk that comes up about the referees.  All those refs have hugely difficult jobs.  They are doing the best they can.  Some will absolutely make bad calls, but I'd dare say they don't do it on purpose and it doesn't help matters if you become irate over the calls they make.  My Dad was a ref for several years back when I was in High School, and you would not believe the stories he would come home with from those games.  People sometimes get downright violent if a call doesn't go their way.  I would often pray that nothing would happen to Dad.  He never tried to make bad calls, but on occasion I'm sure he would probably miss something (after all, even though he's awesome...he is human).  And people do not like when the ref misses a call.  And he was reffing for Jr. High games.  It's so much worse when you get into college or pro ball games.  Give the refs a break!!!

Here is all I am saying:  CUT OUT THE CYBER BULLYING!!!!  Can you really tell your child or any other child that they shouldn't say hurtful things about others if all they have to do is look at your Facebook or Twitter feed and see stuff like,  "Oh my goodness!  George Footballplayer dropped the ball AGAIN!  Wish they'd get rid of him." Or  "Wow, Henry Sportscoach sure is doing a terrible job!  Wish they'd fire him."   If you want to say something about your team, say something encouraging.  "Come on XYZ TEAM!!!  The game's not over yet!"  or "Pass the ball to Henry Footballplayer!  He's having a great game!"

We as Christ followers are supposed to show Christ to the world around us and the online world is not exempt from that.  Before you post something online, ask yourself, "Is this detrimental to my Christian witness," and then ask yourself, "Would I allow my child/grandchild say this about someone they know?"  If your answer is "No" then don't post it. 

End of rant...back to your sporting events.