Are Teens Over-Scheduled Or Not?

I live in the very busy and very expensive Washington DC area. Traffic to anywhere and everywhere is a large concern for everyone. Due to federal government jobs as well as every branch of the military having a base in this area, the demands are high for high-demand schools. I’ve been serving in youth ministry in this area for 26 years. This has led me to call out and name the stress of overscheduled teens and change how I do youth ministry to bless these overscheduled teens.

Overscheduled teens are real. Moms as seemingly full-time taxi drivers are real.

Somehow I stumbled upon a 2008 pdf report from Child Trends that surmises that this overscheduled crisis is really a myth. Their research, which includes collecting other research, found that less than one in ten teens could be described as overscheduled. Also that only six out of ten children and teens participate in extracurricular activities at any given time and that most report positive outcomes socially, psychologically, and behaviorally. Among those who do participate in all these extracurriculars (which includes youth group), the average is less than ten hours per week with those commitments. A very small percentage of 3% to 6% spends 20+ hours per week participating.

Yes, it is dated 2008—6 years ago. But I still cannot let this good research go. Are teens over-scheduled or not? Continue reading


Human Decisions from the Book of Acts

bebraveFor many, many people, the book of Acts is their favorite book of the Bible. It is where everything that was taught was lived out. It is full of some of the Bible’s most exciting stories and completes the stories of some bumbling men we got to know who walked with Jesus. We, as a church, often take the stories in the book of Acts and try to find their place in our church today. We want to see Star Trek-like experiences that Philip experienced. We want to see cities come to know God, key people in those cities turn in repentance. Some youth groups and some churches have even taken the name “Acts 29″ as a way of saying that they are fulfilling the next chapter in that book.

Yet in my recent re-reading of Acts, I found something completely different. Because of the hype surrounding this book, I almost missed it. The Book of Acts is full of people who wanted to give all they can for God and witnessed the very things I mentioned and more–yet made human mistakes in the decisions they had to make.

Continue reading


Undivided: The Movie

shoes3This is such my heartbeat. Over 20 years ago the then superintendent of my school district came to the pastors and asked for our presence in the schools. We were seeing an increase in gang activity and gangs still have respect for clergy. The hope was that our presence, even in collars, would be a help to the school. At the time I was already substitute teaching. Now I had my purpose endorsed by the school superintendent. I haven’t stopped yet.

As for the rest of the pastors, they committeed the opportunity to death and nothing was ever done.

I stumbled across this movie trailer and am so excited about this. Of course it happened in trendy Portland. This is not the first of such stories coming out of that city. This story is something for us with Wild Frontier minds to get excited about. Check it out.

Coming January 29!! I am all about talking this up. Spread the word also.


A Feeling

crazywriterSometimes I look out the window and get this happy, jumpy little feeling in my heart. Something’s just so wonderful about knowing it’s going to be both the best and worst year of my life, and knowing I’m a strong person who’s able to take it all. I don’t want any of it to end–the beauty, the pain, the tears, the sunbeams that shine within. I’m a sketch, and it’s finally come time to add the details. Lightning is about to strike, and I’m on a rooftop with an umbrella. I know the rainclouds will roll in, and I’m here with an empty bucket.

I used to daydream about a year ago, when everything was so much better. I don’t anymore, because I wouldn’t trade who I’ve become for the world. I’m more independent. I’m wiser, more thoughtful, more experienced. My life is a big ball of hopes, wishes, negative thought processes, bright ideas, flowing tears. There’s nothing perfect about it, and I think that’s wonderful. What’s a life without anything to tackle or figure out? What’s a life without a few inner hurricanes?

This pain, this joy–it’s all such a sweet, pleasing feeling.


This is My Happiness

shoes3I wrote this originally back in 1990.  I was doing a lot of good writing back then on my beloved “Sony Watchman-type” screen on my Mac.  I now write on a laptop PC these days.  Marriage brings about such changes in your life.

From reading so much Dr. Brene’ Brown I’ve learned that joy is the most vulnerable and brave emotion there is. You have put yourself out there to experience joy.  You need to believe that you are worthy enough to deserve joy.  You need to live bravely believing that you can have joy.  Which is why this old find from 1990 is so interesting.

“I am happy. I am at a point in my life where I can truly say that I am happy.
How often are we able to say that and really mean it? There is almost a fear in saying it. The fear is that somehow because life sucks and I am happy now, I had better brace myself for the next tragedy. This happiness can’t last for long. Life is about to throw me another bad pass. Continue reading


The Numbing Shield 2.0

shoes3Several months ago I posted a blog about the numbing shield that is the cell phone. You are invited to read it again (I think it is still pretty good).

This numbing shield I named has been “improved.”  I stumbled onto a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for those who really need a numbing shield.

This is the proposed product description: “Introducing the NoPhone, a technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact. With a thin, light and completely wireless design, the NoPhone acts as a surrogate to any smart mobile device, enabling you to always have a rectangle of smooth, cold plastic to clutch without forgoing any potential engagement with your direct environment. Never again experience the unsettling feeling of flesh on flesh when closing your hand.”

no phone Continue reading



crazywriterHello, my beautiful readers (I want to spread love so I always say something like that. You are worth it!). This is both a personal update and a warning that I won’t be able to post many blog posts this coming year. And if I do, that means I’m either slacking off, super passionate about something that it’s worth slacking off over, or too depressed to do anything but write on the internet.

And now, the update. School is far more stressful than I had anticipated. I’ve got the work ethic. I’m doing everything I can (while keeping my health first, of course) to stay on top of things. The problem is, I’m having trouble in school. In previous years, the only problem standing between me and straight A’s was my poor time management skills. Such is not true anymore. The material isn’t making sense to me–only in Chemistry and Geometry, though. The little time I have is devoted to homework, so it’s difficult to find the time to get help. I’m committed to a three-hour program that meets three days a week, which I’m not about to quit. (And don’t take advantage of my openness by asking what it is.) Continue reading


Scotty: 1, Facebook: 0

Crazy ScottyFacebook: Here, look at all your friends on me.
Me: (looks) Oh, hey, there they are.
Facebook: Seems they’re all getting engaged, married, or pregnant.
Me: Huh. Yeah, I guess a lot of them…
Facebook: (whispers) Love will always elude you.
Me: Wait, what?
Facebook: Nothing.
Me: Okay. A– You don’t know that, and B– I shouldn’t be looking to romance as some magic elixir which will solve all my…
Facebook: Alone.
Me: Yeah, but I’m not, though. I have a lot of people in my life who genuinely care about me, and want to see me do well. I have a God who loves me, despite knowing more crap about me than all of my friends combined. And you? You’re a non-corporeal web service.
Facebook: True. (sigh) You gotta admit, though, I’m a pretty conduit for your deepest fears.
Me: Not today. (signs out of Facebook)

Scotty: 1 Facebook: 0