Friday, April 30, 2010

Lucy, the Dancing Queen

Lucy has been in a little girls dance class that really is more of a "stretch and move" class. It has been hilarious to watch. Mostly because of the progression that Lucy has gone from just being a baby/preschooler to a "princess" who poses ALL the time. It has been awesome.

At the Lake, Everything Is Beautiful

It's really easy to take pictures at the lake. Really easy. Everybody wants to relax. Everybody wants to have fun. Just take out the camera and start clicking. Of course some people's children ham it up more than others.
Try to guess who is related to us. (Oh wait, ALL OF THEM.)

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It's too bad they don't like spending time with each other.

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Out of all our time at the lake, the worst moment of the weekend came when Lucy fell out of her tube while our eyes were elsewhere. Thankfully, Matt was aware enough to ask me to take a glance at her and I saw her up to her eyes in the water. It was about the scariest moment in my life. I jumped in (Baywatch style) and lifted her up. Another 20 seconds and I don't want to think what could have been.
With that on my mind, can you pray for our friends the Broadways?
Their daughter Natalie is one of our Wyldlife leaders. She is 17 and junior at North Buncombe High School. She is beautiful, funny and loves Jesus enough to be around middle school kids.
While at the middle school yesterday she began to throw up until she passed out. She had to be transported to the hospital via ambulance where they discovered a brain hemorrhage. She had a shunt put in to hold off the bleeding and take down the swelling. She was then transported to Duke Hospital in Durham. She is being seen by the Pediatric Brain surgeons today and should have surgery over the weekend.
Her just stepped off our committee this year after nearly 20 years of loving YL in this area. They helped to bring me to Asheville and found me an apartment. They fed my YL team at North Buncombe for over 8 years. They are mentors, lovers of the Lord and faithful to their children and each other. I am so sad for them right now. Their other daughters, Audrey and Carly are reeling at the thought of their little sister being in the ICU. Please pray for this family.
Just the thought of losing Lucy bottomed me out this past weekend.
I can't imagine truly being faced with the prospect like they are right now.
Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

Friday, April 16, 2010

From Chad Swanzy

I just read this amazing letter from Chad Swanzy over at that I think is right on the mark.

Read and enjoy.

Dear Church... everywhere.

How shall I put this? Yesterday was my two year anniversary of serving in the city of Austin. I am nothing special nor do I feel like people are waiting on the edge of their seat to hear what I have to say. I do have an audience though and from time to time it generates discussion in my virtual life and in my personal life. So I write. I write to create energy in the room and to make people move.

I need you to be moved.

I need you to listen as you read. I need you to believe me. Because I know I'm the guy in the room whose passion can not be questioned. I have been accused of being too serious, too driven, too dogmatic and even challenged to back off because I've isolated myself and locked in on one endeavour. But at the end of the day I know what I'm talking about.

I am in this trench and have been at war for the lives of students for a long time. I have been in West Coast transplanted Denver, wheels off melting pot South Florida, circus spiritual sideshow Dallas, and now culturally emerging epicenter Austin. I have seen your homes walked with your children and served as their shepherd. I listen to my peers, read their blogs, rub shoulders with them at conferences, and answer their questions. I am not alone and there are many who would raise their hand in agreement with what I'm going to say.

This is bordering on obnoxious irresponsibility.

The church is getting silly with tradition and one tradition that is going to destroy us is compartementalizing people and resources in incredibly unintentional ways. You spend way too much on influencing adults and bartering for their participation and spend way too little time on confronting them on how they have pursued their children and pass down God's story.

You're shoving everything you've got, staffing positions, buildings, and experiences toward a group of people that have proven to have already made up their minds, happy to consume, and often immovable in their commitment. You started laying this pattern years ago and I don't blame you if you've just kept doing what worked in the past but you need to wake up. You need dynamic change and to take serious inspection of the coming landscape.

How many times are you going to hear this and not understand it?
Close to 75% of the people who have ever trusted Christ did so before the age of 17.

This generation of middle school and high school students today is the second largest generation in north america in population. Only the baby boomers have been larger. The mission field and listen... last line in the sand is the public schools of this country. You are 2-3 generations from looking more like an abandoned vfw post or masonic lodge that nobody understands anymore or gets in the eyes of your future young adults. I trust God I know he is not a liar. He promised that if we lift him up he will draw his people to him. So, I know even now our teenagers are hearing him, examining their void, burned out on the highs and the lows but you're not speaking their language or helping those who do... to show them Jesus. You've become a place you go when you get old but not a place that deserves your thoughts when you're living.

My brothers and sisters have to beg and plead you to support them and you throw them a nickel on the dollar.

The people equipped as the "special forces" for this battle do life with these kids and are on reduced pay. Gnawing on rations and treating their wounded while their grip is still tight on the stock of God's word and being Jesus to the broken world. The church in Younglife and the mission that they are can't even get you to come to the banquet but they look your sons and your daughters in the eyes to tell them they mean something when they've been broken and used at the end of their worn out miserable lonely life. You wait till the last minute to call them and beg them to salvage your kids. They look at you and ask, "Where have you been?" It's not just my sister and brother in YL but student ministry too. They need help, committed people who will do life with teenagers, resources, challenging, pushing, presence, and questions. They are tired of thinking you don't care because you've never shown up in their events or asked them one question (not born out of a parent phone call) since you interviewed them when they took the job.

They are smarter than us.

Billions are spent on catching this coming generations purchasing power, shaping their values, capturing their voting potential, educating their minds, and shaping their persona. They are wonderful and beautiful creations of God with hearts, lives, promise, and potential. They are chased, pushed, catered to, targeted, and influenced by every single corporation and movement. Why? Because those people are smarter than us. They can see what's coming and we can't. We will spend more on the bulletin this year than we will on students. Sunday school is over. Baby sitting is dead. Don't shirk responsibility anymore. Do something. If nothing just ask your youth leader... "How can I help? What do you see? Where are we hurting? What do you need? How can I speak for you in this auditorium? Should we rewrite your job description? What are you doing? How do you know it's working? How do you spend your time? Who are these kids? What are their struggles? What do they think? How do we reach them?"

We feel alone, undervalued, unempowered, misunderstood, and tired but not tired of Jesus. He is all we have, need, and want. We just are looking for you to get that and to get it for these students. They don't need you... you need them.


Inspiration for the Weekend

Here is your plans for this upcoming weekend:
  • Go outside.
  • Put down your phone, gardening tools, etc.
  • Lock the doors and don't let them back in.
  • Eat all meals outside.
  • Let them fall asleep in a hammock with their cousins.
  • Stay too late with friends, family, whatever on Sunday night because you don't want to the weekend to end.
  • Pay the price for the entire next week. It doesn't matter.
  • Life is too short.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

We went to the lake this past weekend and we did a little "Drinkclip" photoshoot. (Stay TUNED)

But *ahem*
May I just go ahead and say, if you would like to have an introduction to this young man here,
I will personally vouch for him and set you up on a blind date.

Just let me know.
Also, you must comment here:
It's your call.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vampire Weekend

Last week, Amy Noll and I went to see my new favorite band: Vampire Weekend.

It was a most fun show. See:

It was a blast, and I haven't stopped listening to them since.
Great summer soundtrack music. Go now.
Love them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's Springtime! Run Around Outside!

Stop what you are doing, take off your clothes, put a bucket on your head and dance in your driveway!

It's leap-frogged Spring and headed straight to Summer.

Not that I'm complaining....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Recap

The kids woke up to a beautiful Easter morning and we did a quick Easter Egg hunt outside.

Then we got all gussied up for a photo shoot. Look how well they cooperated!

Then we went to the Knauer's for a family feast time and Easter Egg Hunt. At the end of the day, Asher ate so much that he threw up and it was time to leave.
Throwing up ALWAYS means it's time to leave.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter from the Sloan's!
We have had an incredible Spring season of knowing and feeling the Lord's presence.

We know that the stone has been rolled away and our soul's have been set free according to his great mercy.

Asher has been unable to escape the story of the cross and crucifixion and daily asks questions about it. We have been reading the Bible to him and Lucy and he just can't get enough. The other night, we were on the Good Friday story and he begged to hear the Good News.

All he could say at the end was "Thank You Jesus."
I couldn't ask for more.
I hope for that same response to be as natural within my own heart on a daily basis.

My friend Mike Sweeney lost his battle with cancer this week. I have been so sad and yet so glad for him to experience the sweetness of battle being over. His wife Cabell, has been left behind to grieve and has written the most incredible reflection in light of Easter and her husband's death this week. Please read it if you need to go a little deeper today: Caring Bridge
My heart needed to read what she wrote this morning. Maybe yours does too.

Cooper River Bridge Run

Now that it has been a week since we ran the Cooper River Bridge Run, I thought it would be appropriate to bring you an update on how we did :)

We traveled down to Charleston (without our kids-amazing!). We means me, Amy Noll, Alicia Keel (sophomore from Montreat), Matt, Ben Johnson and Brandon Club (freshman from UNCA).
We stayed at Matt's cousins house and it was awesome to have an amazing house, with real beds to go to sleep in the night before a race.
Ben Johnson's mom (who was on a vacation in Charleston) made us a dinner along with a few other of their friends who were running the race. Again, super nice to have a home cooked meal and not have to fight 38,000 runners for dinner in Charleston that night.

The group at 6am. Bleary-eyed and freezing.
We had to get up at 5am in order to get across the bridge in time and for Ben to be able to drive the car BACK across the bridge into Charleston. So we arrived for our 8am race at 6. Awesome.
It was also freezing. Like 40 degrees freezing. Luckily for us, we ALL have been running in that kind of weather all winter long, so it suited us. But still-not exactly what we had in mind. I was so grateful for my running gloves and my base layer shirt. SO GRATEFUL.

In order to warm up, I joined in with a group of runners doing the electric slide.
You'll do anything. I swear.
We also peed 3 times in one hour. We got out of the port-a-potties and then got immediately back in line.
Ugh .

But the race then started, and because I was hanging with Alicia Keel who paces out 8 minute miles and Amy Noll...we started a blistering pace. But I was surprisingly fine. But as we approached the peak of the bridge, I couldn't hang with Alicia any longer and lost her in the crowd. Somehow, I dropped Amy Noll though. So I ended up just running the race alone. Kind of stinky, but there was no one to worry about so I just ran. Hard.

I ended up finishing with a time 49:39. Which is just over 8 minute miles. 8 MINUTE MILES! WooHOO. I was really excited about my time and performance overall. I finished as the 633 overall woman in the race, out of 19,355 and 109th out of 2,926 in my age group. None of that means anything, except that I was really happy. And now I feel really pushed to work harder and do another race very soon.

Matt did awesome too! He finished just over 56 minutes. But this picture makes me laugh because even though he has never run this distance before AND he finished way ahead of when he thought he would...this picture just takes him down. Because a 12 year old is pacing him. Brutal.

We are looking for our next race to do. I would like to do another 10k, Matt is thinking 5k. Anyone out there doing something fun or have a fun event in their town coming up in the next month? I would love to do something before we leave for Colorado.