Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Unabashed Confession.

I LOVE the Backstreet Boys.

As I was sorting through some old CD's the other day, I found my "Mellenium" album. I forgot about the way I MELT when I listen to almost every song on the CD. A lot of my BB sentiment stems from great memories of not too long ago.

My favorite memory of the Backstreet Boys is from when I was in high school, playing ball for our club team. My dad (the cool guy that he is) bought most BB cd's whenever they came out. We'd travel far away to tournaments almost every weekend. I'd get in the car in full uniform minus cleats (waited to put those on when we were 1 exit away from the fields). My dad and I would cruise the freeway in his Lexus with the windows down...bumping "I'll be the One" on his AWESOME system! We'd sing every word at the top of our lungs (at least I did!). Sometimes I'd even stand on the middle console and stick my head out the sunroof to really give the song it's full effect. Good times.

Another fond memory with the Boys was, again in high school...when nothing mattered besides persuading my favorite teachers into letting me ditch class. I really wanted to hook 2 of my teachers up. Mr. McMahon and Ms. Kable. They were great friends, I thought they needed to be MORE than friends. So...me and my bff, Jenna would talk to each of them separately and arrange to all meet for lunch in one of their classrooms (on MANY occasions). When they sat down to eat lunch, me and Jenna would totally play cool, pretend that we were all there just enjoying eachother's company...then (tricky me) I'd casually make my way to the CD player in the room by Ms. Kables desk, and switch whatever CD she had in there with my Backstreet Boys Mellenium CD. "I Need You Tonight" was THE PERFECT song for the greatly anticipated moment they were about to have...so I'd BLARE it...I'd give Jenna the signal and we'd make an excuse to leave so that they could both just have time to sit and soak in the words and understand that they were just made for each other.

The end result? Well...they both got married to different people...but oh well! It left me with one of my favorite memories EVER!

As a tribute to what I'd call my FAVORITE season of life, here's a list of my all time favorite songs by the Backstreet Boys! Timeless in my heart FOR SURE!

1. I'll Be The One
2. I Need You Tonight
3. As Long As You Love Me
4. Don't Want You Back
5. I Want it That Way
6. I'll Never Break Your Heart
7. Quit Playing Games
8. Larger Than Life
9. Everybody (Backstreet's Back)
10. All I Have to Give

Thanks Backstreet Boys for the memories!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


For the past few weeks, since my last update, we've been trying to land an office space. We really want to have a 7 day a week presence in a building where we'd be able to hold classes in, store supplies etc... Every space in the mall where we're we meet on Sunday's was occupied...until about 2 weeks ago!

We heard about a possible opening in the indoor mall, and after a little research and talking with the landlord, God blessed us with an office!! We couldn't have asked for a better location, as it's directly across from the room where we've been meeting for service on Sunday mornings! We're actually going to have our service in the spot this weekend, because the event center room is being used for a wedding this Sunday morning!

I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to walk into a building and LEAVE our stuff there!! We've been setting up and tearing down EVERY WEEKEND... time well spent, yes. But I am so thankful we won't have to pack up the car on Saturday nights anymore to prepare for Sunday mornings!!

Here's sort of a diagram of where our office space is in relation to our meeting space.

And here is a front view of our new office space, which we'll use as our meeting space pretty regularly.

Aside from buildings and church, church, church...we're settling in well to our new community. We actually just noticed that last week we had commitments EVERY night of the week!! It didn't take too long for our weeknights to fill up!!

Before I got here, I asked God to place me in great friendships. The funny thing about that is when I finally got here, I didn't have much desire for meeting a ton of people right away. Not sure why! Most anyone who knows me, knows that I love and even LIVE in deep relationships! Well I was able to enjoy living in anonymity for a few months...and now I have a fresh new desire for friends and knowing them! YAY! I would mention them, but they already know who they are!!

Steve's niece, Krystle finally got here about 2 weeks ago! She has already been a HUGE help! She's been interviewing for jobs at the mall by our house. I'm anxious for her to find her own group of friends here soon!

We have an exciting new series coming up, which will definitely turn up temperature of our project here. So when we finish defining what that will look like, I'll be sure to post an update!!

Thanks again to all who are praying daily for Church at the Triangle!! You rock!

After our Easter Experience, one of our guys put together a video highlighting the events of the day. Click here to check it out! It might take a few seconds to load.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bright Smiles and Blue Skies

Another beautiful day to be in Raleigh, North Carolina!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Wow! Wow! Wow! Holy COW!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


...until Grandma and Grandpa get here!!

The boy can't WAIT to see you!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Picnic at the Park

Ever since the weather has been better, we've been taking advantage of every ounce of sunshine! Today, we went to a park by our house called William B. Umstead Park. I always pass the entrance of the park because it's just a couple minutes away from our house, but we've never really checked it out until today!

Steve's niece, Krystle, got into town 2 nights ago. The boys were very excited to have company at the park!

Umstead park was so quiet, serene and beautiful! The kids had a BLAST! And we had a great time taking in some fresh air! When we were there, it was hard to grasp the fact that we were only 5 minutes away from home!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just Slow Pitch

Before we moved from San Diego (3 Months ago), I made a list of a few personal goals that I wanted to put into play as soon as our family settled in Raleigh. One of those was to join a co-ed softball league. I miss the sport so much, and I kind of get depressed about the fact there are no fast pitch leagues for us old people (more depressed because I'm OLD). But, I wanted to join a league anyway. My buddy, Craig, the list, came through for me about a month ago after I responded to an ad of a team looking for a catcher. I've never played catcher on a slowpitch team, but I figured I'd be good at it, and it would be a good way to at least get my foot in the door.

Softball on the East Coast is totally different from softball on the west coast. I found out from one of my teammates that fast pitch wasn't around here, at least in Raleigh, until only a few years ago. So most players, at some point had to make a transition from slow pitch to fast pitch...which pretty much changes the complete dynamics of the game. Since CA only ever knew fast pitch, the switch to slow pitch was tricky for me. Once I got the timing down and adapted to a few different rules, I felt I could hold my own.

My sufficient portion of confidence was stretched when I learned I would actually have to "try out" for the slow pitch team I wanted to play on here. Thankfully I made the team, paid my dues, got my uniform and could officially call myself part of a softball team again.

We had our first pre-season game last week, and since we were missing an infielder, I played second base. Since I'm the only left handed hitter on the team, they thought it would be a good idea for me to lead off, putting me as the first hitter in the lineup. I knew I had every opportunity to succeed at this point. When the game started and I had not seen a pitch thrown yet (being first batter), I started getting nervous. I thought about the fact that I didn't get a chance to time the pitch before the game...I thought about what a jerk Steve was to stay home with the boys instead of coming to support me (kidding babe!). And...well... my nerves got the best of me last week and I couldn't do anything but pop the ball up to center field...Not a very good habit for a lead off hitter! Ugh...I was so bummed out. I went home so angry that I didn't do as well as I knew I could."Maybe I'm just too old" went through my head for the entire drive home! And Steve probably wishes that I just would have stayed out that night, because I was such a grump when I got home (blaming everything on him, of course). I wasn't sure why I was so hard on myself until I thought about it for a couple of days.

The reason I initially wanted to join a team is because I wanted to meet people and build relationships. I knew that if I played well, I'd have a better chance at getting to know people faster than I would if I sucked! I was sure I failed my first attempt at a first impression!!

Thankfully when I got home, the person in charge of the team emailed me, and wanted to know if I would consider playing second base for the majority of the season, instead of catcher. I was so relieved to 1. Not be kicked off the team!!! 2. Be able to play a position I prefer!

Our second game is today. Hopefully I'll get past my nervousness of the new environment and hit the ball like crazy today. Oh, and Steve's coming today, so that should help! He does a good job at calming me down and reminding me I'm not playing in the Olympics...it's just slow pitch!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

80 degrees has NEVER felt so good!

I can't explain how thrilled I am that we are DONE with freezing temps until after summer!! It's been above 70 all week, and today we were able to enjoy a beautiful 82 degree day!! Thank You, Lord!! YOU BET we were out of the house by 8:30am to soak up some sunshine. We walked up and down the mall across the street from our house, hung out at Barnes and Noble for a while and grabbed some food for a picnic at the park, where we met for our lead team meeting!! Couldn't have asked for a better day!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just another Faiai fine day!

Before his nap, Riley LOVES catching up on today's Hot Topics as he watches The View with mommy!! Every time anyone on the show starts clapping, Riley joins right in. I think he's really digging the newest co-host in Whoopi Goldberg!

After lunch and naps, we decided to hang at the park for the rest of our day!

Riley likes to wave and say "HI!" to anyone who walks by.

Cameron says this sign says "Cameron is COOL!"

Idol Issues

Tuesday nights have become one of my favorite nights of the week! Kids are in bed by 7PM. I finish cleaning up the house by 7:45PM. By 8PM, I'm on the couch watching American Idol with my hubby! Although it's nice, I can't tell you that it's the most relaxing time of my week. It's definitely FAR from that. My husband consistently ruins the experience by being completely irritated at the judges. One night it's Paula, the next night it's Randy. He never disagrees with Simon but he insists that Simon's vote is influenced by the judges who speak before him after each performance. For the past three weeks during the show, Steve has literally got up during the middle of the show to "write American Idol a letter." He wants them to know how terrible their judging is. Last night, his letter would have consisted of something like "You can't ask them to choose inspirational songs and then criticize because you're going to compare them to the original artist!!" If you read that statement back in your head with a YELLING voice, that's my experience for 1 hour every Tuesday night as we spend time together watching Idol. So far I've been successful in intercepting these letters and emails before they end up in Mr. Cowell's hands. I'm trying to convince him that it's a SHOW! And the REASON it's so successful is because of people like him who are heavily affected by each episodes content!!

Anyway... Tonight we'll watch Idol Gives Back. I've been anticipating this show since their first attempt at it last year (which rocked!). Should be good! There will be NO more judging until tomorrow night. Hopefully Steve will be a little LESS fired up about tonights show since it IS about LOVE and giving back!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Good Stuff!

I've decided to post one of my favorite Ellen moments EVER! I found it on her blog a week or so ago. She just might be my favorite celebrity of all time! For all of you Ellen haters, get a grip! This is GOOD stuff!!

Woo Hoo!

Thanks to Kansas' last minute comeback, I managed to win my very first NCAA Fantasy League Bracket!! I need a trophy or something! What a ride! Can't wait until next year!! I was bummed to leave my San Diego football and baseball, but I've definitely acquired a new love for college hoops!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Beyond Church

Since before I graduated High School, I've dedicated the majority of my life, time, money, and passion to Church. I love the Church and the refuge God intended it to be. I don't regret any choices I've made in various ministry roles, and in our new church plant endeavor, I'm amazed at how God has allowed us to use our long time experience with "mega church" as a tool to give us a leg up on planting a church from scratch.

I'm reading a great new book by Nelson Searcy, called Launch. Searcy gives great foundational advice for us, crazy church launchers. A few learnings that have managed to sink their way into my bloodstream are:

- "Your call to start a church is the most critical factor to success."

- "Build your church from the outside in."

- "Don't try to gather the churched, stay focused on the unchurched."

- "80% of all church plants in the U.S. by the 5 year mark will have been declared DUDS!"

- "Keeping a new church outwardly focused from the beginning is much easier than trying to refocus an inwardly concerned church."

- "God's dream for your church is BIGGER than your dream for your church."

As these ideas (some scary, some encouraging) marinate in me throughout the day, I've become aware of changes I need to desperately need to make in my life, NOW!!

I have "lived for the weekend" ever since I've been in ministry. Just about every moment of my weekday has been primarily focused on either prep, prayer, or planning for SUNDAY. I'll have to embarrassingly admit that good days and bad days have often been determined by whether or not our church service was executed well or poorly. Ugh...that's hard to admit!

Church planting is hard work. It takes a lot of time, and effort just to meet people and network, let alone plan weekly services. I could devote 100% of my day doing things for Sunday or just consuming myself with all we need to get done before we launch in August. And...I would enjoy all of that thoroughly, because I just love that stuff. But another sentence of this book I'm reading says:

"Structure is essential in the life of a leader."

As I tried to make a list of pillars of structure in our attempt at a church launch, God literally turned my face towards Him and made me realize that instead of assessing the "structure" of my church, I need to be assessing the structure of my LIFE! Yes, a "duh" moment, to say the least, but I needed this slap in the face this weekend.

I don't think it was coincidence at ALL that my son was sick this weekend. I haven't missed a church service in well...as long as I can remember. In San Diego we had so much family to help us with the kids. Even when my boys were sick, I wouldn't think twice about having my mom watch them, just because we HAD to be at church. With NO family here in NC, I knew when Cameron was sick on Saturday night that I was going to have to miss church in the morning. Although I have a HUGE desire to be with my friends doing church on Sunday mornings, I didn't even think twice about the fact I had to stay home with my son.

After researching lots of different churches and their roots, I'm realizing that every successful church has become that way mostly if not ALL because of the fact that God just blessed it!

In this foundational time of Church at the Triangle, I need to be spending less time brainstorming services 80 weeks in advance, and spending more time being the woman, wife, mom, and friend God has called me to be and devote more time praying for God's incredible blessing on our church. I need to structure MY life before I even start trying to structure what I think God's church should look like.

I have a good feeling that God's blessing on our church will be a result of us living our "beyond church" lives in a genuinely "care for others" way which will ultimately glorify God more than the best creative service idea I could ever come up with.

I love how God is pursues me and cares enough to remind me of areas of life I often neglect.

I hope some day I'll be able to say my life was a testimony of Luke 6:48.

"It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it was well built."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sick Sweetness

Having a sick child stinks. Watching Cameron in crippled over pain from an ear infection this week has literally crippled me in sympathy for him. Any parent would much rather deal with the pain of a fever or earache than have to watch their child endure it!! It's seriously a form of TORTURE!!! Ugh!!

But...isn't it true, that when our kids are sick, they just become cute to the tenth degree?!?! Of course, I'd rather Cameron not be sick, but the things that came out of that boy's mouth today were just so awesome! I've already called my mom about 4 different times to tell her the things on Cameron's mind. But they just keep coming, so I decided I needed to post about them!

1. I made Cameron cereal this morning. When he was finished he looked at me and said:
Cameron: "Excuse me, Mom?"

Me: "Yes Cameron?"

Cameron: "I hope you won't be mad at me, but I really need to go rest for a little bit."

Me: "I'm not mad at you. Sure you can rest! I want you to rest."

Cameron: "Ok, goodnight mom. I'm not watching cartoons either because then I won't be able to rest."

Me: "Ok. Goodnight, Cameron. I love you."

5 minutes later, I went in to check on him and sure enough...he was out!


2. Putting his shoes on, getting ready to go to the doctor.
Cameron: "Ouch MOM" (he proceeds to hit my arm)

Me: "What happened"?

Cameron: "You pinched my foot, mom!"

Me: "Oh, I'm sorry baby. It was an accident"

Cameron: "It's ok mom. I'm not mad at you. I can't be mad at you because I just love you too too much."

Me: "Thanks Cameron. I love you too too much too."


3. I hear moaning in the bedroom. Cameron is tossing, and turning and moaning, obviously spiking another fever.

Me: "Cameron, Mommy's going to give you some more medicine, ok?!"

Cameron: (half asleep) "No, that's ok, mom. I don't need any medicine. But thanks anyway mom."

Me: "Ok...but you need to take it anyway."

Cameron: "Ok mom. Hey Mom? (still half asleep) When I get better, can I play your Guitar Hero?"

Me: "Sure bud. I love you, Goodnight."

Now...if only the sickness could leave and the sweetness could stay!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

We're ALL Winners!

Cameron has always been a caring boy. Besides having a small territorial anxiety over toys he's playing with, his sweetness towards his friends and people in general has always amazed me. He's full of kisses and hugs for everyone, even people he's met for the first time. He's constantly encouraging his brother and, on more than one occasion, I've opened my eyes in the earliness of morning to find my sweet boy stroking my head and whispering "you're so precious to me, mom". Yes, sometimes it can get borderline corny, but I wouldn't change that about him for the WORLD!


Over the past couple of years, I've realized that my sweet boy has a MAJOR issue with competition. I'm not sure where it came from, but oh my, I think I've created a monster!!

I only noticed his competitiveness (or lack of it?) in small, subtle ways until 3 weeks ago, when we were at the beach with our friends, the Spruills. I know I already posted our wonderful family beach pictures, but there was ONE picture I intentionally omitted from my post or ANY other Faiai memory collection!!

Exhibit "A":

hmmm... what do we have here? Kai boy is just strolling along, and Cameron is...oh no...did he step on a sea shell and hurt his foot?!

I WISH that were the case! And that's what I probably would have told you, had there not been 5 other people around watching what had just taken place!

The boy got his little Samoan butt BEAT in a race against his friends Kai and Kalia. "Ready, set, GO!" The three of them dashed full speed ahead about 20 feet to where we were standing. After 10 of those feet Cameron had collapsed to the ground crying because Kai and Kalia pulled ahead of him. I scolded him for a while and he was back to playing nicely after his few minutes of agony and defeat. Well...the incident happened about 3 more times on that same trip. We talked to him about it on the way home, because we knew it was an issue that he needed to deal with now (I'm just not sure if it would suit his later NFL career!).

Since we got home from the beach, we've kind of been helping Cameron out in this area, trying to put him in situations where he can learn and improve from his weaknesses instead of getting upset and giving up because of them.

This week, Steve bought the boys a child size basketball hoop. For the past week, both Cameron and Riley have been making up their own type of basketball games, throwing a basketball at different targets in the house. So we decided that their chances of playing in the NCAA Tournament together in 2025 would be greatly increased if we promoted their desire to play hoops in the house.

As soon as I set the hoop up, I let Cameron shoot a few free throws. He would take turns with his brother, and even gave the ball to me saying "we all get turns, we're all sharing!" After a few more shots and showing him proper form, it was time to put a little pressure on, so I started boxing him out and blocking his shots. Wouldn't you know it...the boy CRUMBLES to the ground in tears. I yelled at him to "GET UP" and "get the rebound", but he didn't hear it. He just RAN into his room and cried and cried and cried!!! After a short pep talk (actually, it was kind of long), Cameron came out of the room to play again. I decided to take it easy and just let him work on his shot. After each shot, he'd hand me the ball and in his most cheerful voice say "Now it's your turn, mom!" I, of course took my shots from 10 feet back in the kitchen, and when I'd miss, Cameron was quick to get the ball for me and say "It's ok, mom you're doing really good. Just try again!" He'd give me the ball back try after try after try before he ever asked for a turn! I started making some sweet shots from behind the couch and across the dining room table. It was pretty incredible! As I just kept swishing them Cameron just kept getting the ball for me and cheering "Wow mom, you're the BEST basketball player in the world! Do it again!" After a few more incredible sinks, I sat down for a breather and told Cameron to keep practicing...and he did. He even made one in over my shoulder that I was trying to block! When that happened, I responded "Oh MAN! Good job Cameron, you're the WINNER!!" Thinking this would greatly encourage my boy, I ran over to give him a hug...and that's when he said "You're the winner too, mom! We're all winners!!! Yeah for both of us!!"

I'm definitely learning that I need to be way more encouraging to Cameron. But, on the flip side of that... if he can't ever grasp the fact that it's OK to lose, I have bad feeling that his chances in playing for the San Diego Padres in 2022 are going to be greatly diminished as a direct result of his lack of sportsmanship!

as for now, "We're ALL Winners!"

Even Riley boy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

iPod Juice

Here are 5 of my favorite jams today:

1. Glory of it All - David Crowder

2. Realize - Colby Caillat

3. Stop and Stare - One Republic

4. All Because of Jesus - Fee

5. Take Me There - Rascal Flatts