Sunday, March 23, 2008

A view from the pew

As I go to our church on Sundays I am amazed. I am amazed by many things, the intimacy of it all, the talent before me, the way God speaks through our pastor and penetrates deeply into my heart...meeting with me, comforting me, and challenging me each and every Sunday. I am also amazed by the difference in the church I grew up in and the church I am in now. Please know I love my home church in Mississippi....but the differences are so vast it is almost comical. So, I thought that I would take some time to compare the two.

There are so many points to compare from....but I've decided to describe my own view from the pew....or auditorium chair.

Let's begin with a view from the church I grew up Mississippi. First...I sit next to people I have known probably for several years....and I am on a pew...a pew with the wooden slightly sloped backs and velvet 3 inch thick cushion. In front of me, on the back of the pew before me is are Baptist Hymnals and a King James Version of the Bible...just in case you forgot yours. As I look around me at all the people....I see mostly middle aged and older adults. The women are dressed in nice dress pants or dresses, men in khakis, button up shirts, and some in wranglers. They are all white, middle class, conservative people. Their faces clean shaven, their hair well groomed. They are good people...most of them have watched me grow up. The service begins...we stand, grab our hymnals and sing songs whose page numbers were already printed in the bulletin. While standing and sometimes singing we sing things such as Blessed Assurance, Holy Holy Holy, etc. The choir director leads us while being accompanied by an organ and a piano.We sing and we sit. We then have childrens church....which was one of my vary favorite parts...all of the children go down while the most amazing children's minister leads them in a clever....really neat mini lesson...and then the children return the pew with their parents. The offering takes place...and the wooden circular plate with the reddish velvet bottom is passed from pew to pew....person to person. Then the pastor stands..sometimes at the big wooden podium but usually dressed in a suit...there he stands and delivers his message. There is an alter call at the end of the service. Sometimes people go down to pray, to join the church, and sometimes to give their lives to Christ....but the majority of people in the church have been going for years...and are already believers.

Now, the contrast....sit with me through a few moments in Mosaic. I am not sitting in a pew this time...nor am I even in a church building. I am at the Beverly Hills high school auditorium. No hymnals or Bibles in front of me...afterall this is a high school in California and that might just be a tad bit illegal. As I look around now, I cannot help but think of heaven....because the diversity within this one room is amazing. I am sitting beside an African American man whom has come to become one of dearest friends. In front of me I see Asians, Hispanics, Filipinos, Caucasians, Middle Easterners, and the list could go on and on and on. They are one is dressed the same. There are men and women with shorts on, flip flops, dresses of all lengths, clothes of all sorts.....all colors....all styles...many pairs of jeans (unfortunately, not so many wranglers). They are mostly young adults.....20's and 30's would be the majority. It's like playing where's waldo to find an elderly person (i miss the the elderly). Some not so clean shaven...many not even what some would say well groomed. I see mohawks, red streaked hair, blue streaked hair....bleach blonde hair....and ofcourse your normal shades too. I don't know very many of these people....probably have real relationships with only about 20 of them. The service begins ...sometimes with drama, other times with improv, or even a dance. Then we worship...and boy do we worship. On stage we have 2 vocalists, a drummer, a keyboard player, a violinist, some electric guitarist, and occasionally someone spinning records! The neat thing is never a is true worship of everyone on the stage and most of us in our seats. The songs are great...many written by our own staff, people are actively participating and loving singing to our Lord...many raised hands, joyful dancing, etc. No children's church, in fact I have never really seen a child in the actual service part. The offering is not passed until the end...and no offering plates....rather paint buckets are passed! When are pastor comes to share....he is not wearing a suit....quite the contrary....he is in jeans...sometimes a tshirt (my favorite is a gray one with pink machine guns and a guitar on it)...other times in a button up...but always untucked and comfortable. And...there is no podium. He does not even stand alot of the time. He has a stool and he sits and just he is in a conversation...many times just with me it seems. There is rarely an official alter call....but the neat thing is the majority of the people in this service have not been in church their whole life...going to church is not the common thing to do in LA. Most of these people are here because they crave this, they want this....they are seeking Christ. And...that is so neat.

I think one of the only common factors between the two churches is that they are both Southern Baptist.

Now, I am not saying one way of church is right and the other is wrong. There are so many different things about every church. Alot of it is because of the culture and location that the church is in. Some people desire the traditional way of church....some people would never be able to stay awake in the traditional way. And....I am only comparing the view from the pew...not the mission of the church or the core values....just my little view and the differences! I will say both blessed my life....but I will also say that for me personally, now that I have experienced worship so intimate and so full of Christ and fun at the same time...I never want anything less!

If you are still reading this....sorry, it was long...and it was just something that I have been thinking about for a while, and decided to put it into words. Feel free to check out our amazing church at .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Missing MeiLing....

(taken from the great wall china adoption website)

It will be 6 more years before we can even send off a completed dossier (adoption paperwork) to China. I am overwhelmed with such emotions just thinking about MeiLing. I can't wait to see her little almond eyes, olive skin, and straight black hair in contrast to her cousins whom have blond hair, curly hair, etc. I know MeiLing won't even be born for several years. But I pray often for her birth mother....who at this very moment will need to develop the courage not to abort her(if she finds out that she's a girl) or the courage to take her to a safe haven when she is filled with pain and disappointment after birth when she finds out that she did not have a boy...and will be filled with grief as she gives up the baby she's carried for nine months. She will have to be courageous!

Lately I have been flooded with thoughts of how neat it will be that God will hand choose a daughter for us. I know the thought of God creating a baby in the womb out of a husband and wife's genes must be similar. But for me....the thought that when we get her, God will have chosen her from all the be our baby......WOW....tears just flow and flow and flow. I just went on the adoption website...and as I looked at pictures of "Gotcha Day" and saw these parents being handed their babies, I sobbed! It is just such a reflection of God's grace and mercy...and how he has adopted us into his family!

Anyway, by the time Ryan and I get Meiling I will have wanted her for 10 years! She will be well worth the wait and when we get her....I have to find an outfit like this little one is wearing in the photo above!

What I want to be when I grow up....

I have mentioned before that I always ask new classrooms of students what they want to be when they grow up. They usually have to remind me of their name first...and then give me their answer. I always participate in these interviews. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: My name is Mrs. Webb....and when I grow up...(I am usually interrupted by a student here)

Student: You are grown up!

Me: Well, that's okay...grown ups can change their mind about what they want to do. ...(then I continue) Ahemm....When I grow up I want to.....well actually I want to do a few things (which I am now completely breaking the rule of the game...since I told each student that he/she could only choose 1 thing, but since I am the teacher I can break the rules).....I want to either move to China and work in an orphanage, be a child life specialist, own my own boutique or gift shop, design my own stationary, design t-shirts, work at a store called Swoozies (, be a nanny, etc. etc.....

As a child my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up went something like this (as best as I can recall):

An Actress
A cheerleader (can't convince Ryan that I should try out for a professional team..haha)
A scientist (very briefly....I just liked rocks a lot)
An office worker (I looove office supplies like pens, sticky notes, those carbon copy message pads, paper clips, and I even love answering the phone for businesses....and taking messages, answering easy questions, and transferring phone calls.)
An interior decorator
A child life specialist
....teacher was never even an option....

So....the point of this blog is to admit that I still have no idea what I really want to do for a living. I never once said...when I grow up...I want to be a substitute teacher! Please don't get me wrong....I love my job...I get to be off basically whenever I desire, I get to meet and teach and love soooo many kids and form amazing relationships...and it is relatively easy...not to mention it has pretty good pay! However, I find it a little odd that I am 24....have a degree...have been married for nearly 4 years...and have no idea what I want to do career wise. Did I mention that I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" my senior year of high school? I guess success can be measured in different ways. I am not stressed out by this.....I am not even really worried....just slightly perplexed by the thought.

When will I ever decide?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Round of Loaded Questions.....

Here we go again....

If you could own one type of store, what would it be?
A gift shop that sold my own line of stationary, cute purses, bags, invitations, frames, art, and monogrammed stuff.

What is something that you are allergic to?
Pond or Lake Water

What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Find my house shoes, moccasins, flip flops or something for my feet. I cannot stand to be bare footed.

If you were on a deserted island, what cd would you want with you?
A Jack Johnson CD

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?
Eyes and Smile

If you wake up in the middle of the night, what do you usually end up doing before you fall back asleep?
PRAY....I specifically pray for whomever comes to my mind...and often wonder if God did not wake me up just to cover that person in prayer for that moment...but then I worry if that person is okay.

What is your favorite thing to buy at a convenience store?
Diet Dr. Pepper and some kind of sun chips, funions, Cheetos....oh or beef jerky or corn nuts...haha.

If you could live during a specific time in American history, when would you choose?
The time of Pride and Prejudice...whenever that was. Oh, but wait, that may not have been American History.

What is your favorite greasy appetizer?
Cheese Sticks from pizza hut

If you could change your mind about one thing you did today, what would it be?
I would not have eaten a 2nd cookie!

What is the best thing about having children?
haha...well, Since I don't have any or want any for a long time, I can't answer this question. I am positive that there are joys in having children that I won't understand until that day.....but today I will answer this question..."What is the best thing about not having children?"
-Just going to the store whenever I want.
-Running whenever I want.
-Eating whenever I want.
-Sleeping whenever I want...and waking up when I want to. So, Basically....I am just way to selfish!

What was the last movie that made your eyes tear up?
"Becoming Jane" and "The Other Boelyn Girl"

What word best describes the outfit you are wearing right now?
Hideous or Eclectic (I am wearing running clothes which consists of blue capri running pants, one long white tank...a periwinkle tank....a long pink apron, and tennis shoes with holes in them)....wouldn't you agree hideous is correct?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Farewell Muffy Dog...

Muffy had been a part of the Jolley family I believe since 1997. That made Muf Muf 11 years old when she died today. I wanted her when I was in the 6th grade, after seeing my cousin's puppy (who was Muffy's sibling). My mom said if we could get rid of my 3 cats that we could get the puppy...and so we did. She was a cute fluffy ball. I remember the naming process....what name could we give this precious little dog?? Around this same time, my brother Robbie had recently referred to himself as "A Stud Muffin." My mom then said...what about Muffy? It was the perfect name for the black and white ball of fluff. She came home with us and slept with me her first night with us...I could tell she was adjusting when I woke up to Muffy chewing my fingers. She instantly became a part of our family. She loved when my mom would do laundry. It always seemed as anyone held up socks in the air to try and see if one matched the other....that Muffy thought this was her game. She would attack the sock in the air. She also hated for my hair to be in a pony tail and would find a way to get the pony tail holder out of my hair, if I were near her level. She grew...and grew...and soon was quite obese for such a small dog. ....But her size was just part of her character. At dinner time she had her place....right beside my Daddy (on the floor not in the chair)...and whatever Daddy had, Muf Muf also sampled. And we wonder why she became so heavy? She loved popcorn and could still catch it in mid-air....this was her only trick but she really had it mastered! She was a 12 inch tall cow dog, okay so she did not really help herd the cattle, but she loved to tag along in the truck with my Daddy. She was a sweet dog....she was gentle, too. She handled nearly 4 years of my pestering dog, Chloe, invading her territory and attacking her. She was good with the grandkids....and came to enjoy their food falling to the floor from the high chair. She was so content....until you mentioned a haircut or a bath! She lived a long life for a little dog. I remeber sobbing on the way from my wedding to the hotel because I did not tell Muf Muf where I was going...and she would think that her "sissy" (haha) had abonded her. I tried to explain as I layed on the floor face to face with her the next time I saw her why I was moving and that I would miss her and come back and never forget her. I will miss her little fat self, I will miss her horrible over bite, and her dreadful breath. She was the first dog that I really loved! So, farewell my sweet Muffy dog! You were loved by all and will forever be cherished in our hearts. Thank you for bringing us so much joy for 11 years.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Polka Dots and Ditches!

Well, for a few years I have wanted laser surgery on my face to remove acne scars. However, after finding out the price I decided it might be shallow to spend that much money to change my appearance. Besides, the scars actually represent the passing of something painful, annoying, and ugly. So, I should be thankful for these scars and not trying to get rid of them....right? Well, 2 weeks ago I was tutoring my precious and beloved Ethan and Romea. Ethan is 6 and Romea is 4. I absolutely love them! In fact right after moving here to CA, they were living in our apartment complex while their house was being remodeled. Since I knew no one, anytime I would hear or see them at the pool I would run out and casually decide to lay out at that very same time....just so I could be around some children....and they were such fun ones! Now we have such a great friendship! ....Anyway.....last week Romea looked at my face pretty intensely, and then this was the conversation that followed her stare:

Romea: Miss Stacey what are those ditches on your face?

Miss Stacey: Oh, those bumps...well they are called pimples. They are no fun.

Romea: (still staring) No, not the bumps (touching one)....the ditches (now touching the ditch)...what are these ditches in your face?

Miss Stacey: (cracking up with laughter)...OH, those! Well, those do look like ditches, you are right!

Romea: But what are they?

Miss Stacey: They are scars...from when I use to have those bumps.

(She gently rubbed the ditches as to show me sympathy....and then hopped off.)

................................TODAY'S CONVERSATION WITH ROMEA.............................................

Romea: Miss Stacey, What are those polka dots on your face?

Miss Stacey:(remembering last weeks conversation I immediately pause to appreciate how hilarious the moment is) Oh, Romea.....those are freckles!

Romea: OH

...............FUNNY ROMEA MOMENT 3.......................................

So Romea was drawing illustrations for a story she told me and then she was going to draw me...and she says:

Romea: I think you look like a dead fish.

Miss Stacey: A dead fish?? Romea, have you ever even seen a dead fish? (I mean surely if she had she would not see such a resemblance)

Romea: Yes, and I touched it with the back of my hand.

Lucy: (Ethan's little friend) Nah, I think you look like a dead fairy.

Miss Stacey: Goodness, thank you Lucy. I'd rather be a dead fairy than a dead fish.

This is Romea (pronounced Row-May-Uh)

After today, I think I shall seriously reconsider laser surgery, or maybe something even more dramatic!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Crafts, Birthday pics, etc.etc.....

Well, I have several new pictures.....very random of course....but I wanted to share them with you!

This was taken Sunday on Hermosa Beach. We walked down Sunday afternoon for a few minutes to play volleyball, football, and eat watermelon with our friends Cathy and Cliff.

Ryan decided to kick the volleyball over the net rather than hit the ball. It was pretty cool...and I just happened to get this shot.

And he waits for Cliff to hit it over.

Cliff and Ryan playing...

This is my friend Jessica and our friends' Christin and Dwayne's little girl Noelle. This was taken Saturday night at my birthday gathering!

Jessica, Me, and Cathy.....

My dear sweet husband and myself.

Okay, so my friend Brianne has the neatest giant red clothes pin. Hers was a Christmas gift I believe from Pottery Barn.....and just like I fell in love with Brianne....I also fell in love with her giant clothes pin! So, I found a wooden one at Micheals and tried to make my own version.

Frames that I made for a friend's baby shower.

My mama and daddy sent me some birthday $. I bought a dress and some fabric. I did not know what I wanted to make with the fabric, but later decided to cover some canvas with the fabric....

The three fabric canvas'.