Sunday, January 31, 2010

A new update from the Sustars...Easing In...

Here we are.
This week has been full of beauty, fun, work, and the sadness of human suffering.
Here it more HERE.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The 9th Street Cafe's not afraid of a little rain!

It drizzled on us till we got the tent up and then it just rained. Once it was all over and everything was taken and most people had gone, the sun came out. It was a great day on 9th Street anyway.

If you pray, two ladies named April and Dina asked for it today...for shelter, healing and recovery.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Sustars take off!

Howdy folks, a quick note to let you know that our good friends and 1/3 of Youth With A Mission Modesto, the Sustars, are headed out tonight for 3 months to Thailand. They are going to serve with Compasio, working on the Thai/Burmese border with vulnerable families and children. Please keep them in prayer and you can follow their journey at their blog...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Little things, big difference

It was cold in Modesto today. OK, you east coasters, it never gets cold cold but it still gets cold. Cold for being outside most of the day. And it's wet cold. The fog and wind today made it a "in your bones" cold. This week, Kelly (a home school mom at Sam's baseball class) brought by our house three grocery bags filled with small things that made a big difference today. She got the idea after hearing from Amie what it is we do on 9th Street. So, at our cafe this morning, as well as our usual hot drinks, bread and pastries we gave out these little bundles...

All this, wrapped up in a hat and scarf. People were so happy to receive these thoughtful gifts. Many put the hat, scarf and gloves on right away. These took some time to put together and we are so grateful. A little creativity, intentionality and generosity made today a little better for some of our friends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whitlers vs. Food!

Monday, Stella had a routine doctor's appointment in San Francisco as a follow up to her cleft pallet repair when she was a baby. We decided to make a day of it and do something we'd never done. Josh and Sam love the show "Man VS Food" where Adam Richman travels the country and takes on the many fine eating challenges out there. He also highlights other establishments of culinary interest in different cities. So it was for sure because Adam Richman had been there...

And not because Paris Hilton had been there...

Our destination? La Cumbre Taqueria in the Mission district of San Francisco, the birthplace of (are you ready?) the BURRITO as you know it.

That's right, the burrito was born right here as a way to make a quick, hearty lunch that workers could take with them and eat on the way. This is where it all began.

This is where it starts, in a quick serve line...this is the way they've been doing it for years. You go through line and tell 'em what you want on your tortilla and it's all there. Steak, grilled chicken, beans, rice and a delicious array of homemade Salsas. Have you ever been to Chipoltle or Salsarita's? Well, this is like a real one of those. Like really real. gooooooood!

And yes, I could even order a plate that kept me on track with my eating plan.


Then, off to the beach to walk off our awesome lunch!

A great day!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fear, embarrasment, dry wall compound, vernal falls, friends and Donald Miller

A couple of years ago, Jimmy, Aaron and I took a day to go up to Yosemite and hike around. We had a great day and decided our last act would be to do the Vernal Falls trail. It's only 1.5 miles to the, you know...up a steep hill. I couldn't do it. I made it about half way up. It was quite embarrassing. The guys were great about it. They could have gone on but chose to stay with me. We talked about losing weight, accountability, exercising together.

It's hard for friends to talk to friends about weight. It's hard to say, "hey, are you gaining some weight?" It's embarrassing. We figure it's none of our business. We don't want our friends to feel bad or shamed. And I have always tried to make myself open to input and my closest friends have made some awkward tries. The truth is, when it does happen, it does embarrass me. Joking actually does hurt a little. This subject goes deep for people that struggle with weight. It goes pretty deep for me.

Around this same time, we were doing a renovation project at our church. This is a 5 gallon bucket of drywall compound and they weigh about 67 lbs. We lugged them up and down the steps at church and they are really heavy. This is about the amount of weight I needed to lose. The thought of carrying this up Vernal Falls is insane but that's exactly what I tried to do.

Last Winter, some friends got the guts to talk to me about my weight. They wanted to help me and offered to help me with the funds to go on a specialized weight loss plan. I panicked. I told them no. I told them I felt OK the way I was and I didn't think a diet plan would work for me. I told them that I felt like I was the way I was. I freaked out a little. I was scared of change, failure and letting them down. They were sacrificing for me and I didn't know how to handle it. Finally, after coming down a bit, praying it through and talking with Amie, we decided to take them up on the offer.

I did it...I lost a 5 gallon bucket of dry wall compound between April and August 2009! And come to find out, it's not embarrassing at all for your friends to let you know you're LOSING weight. People mention it all the time and it feels great. I even had to punch 2 new holes in my belt. I was feeling good.

Then early in the Fall, I stopped being so diligent. I half heartedly continued the program with making little compromises here and there. The compliments kept pouring in and so I thought I was OK. When you're losing weight, you can feel it first in how you're clothes fit. As it turns out, that's how it happens when you're gaining too. Here recently, I started to notice a change. I weighed this morning and sure enough, I have gained some of my drywall back! Ahhh! I've gone back a belt loop.

So disappointed in myself. I let my friends who sacrificed down, I let my family who were so proud of me down and mostly, I let myself down. Enter Donald Miller. I read a new year's blog entry at hos sight inspired from his recent book, "A Million Miles In A Thousand Years." I won't try to 're-post' his thoughts completely (you can read that here) but I'll say his encouragement was to not make a new year's resolution but to write a better story with your life in the new year.

He says in all good stories, the lead character has to want something, events have to be set in place to get the character to change (he calls it an inciting event), there is pain, conflict, difficult choices and hardship that bring about a desirable resolution. So instead of 'losing weight', what do I want to do?

I want to climb dad gum Vernal Falls! For the story of my weight loss, this is my inciting event...letting you all know that this Spring, I will climb Vernal Falls and I'll go up all the way up. My friends have agreed to help me on a particular health program that provides a health coach to check in with you and give you keys to sticking with it. By the way, if you're at all interested in this plan...check it out If you're Modesto local, I can even go with you to a meeting...lemme know.

I do not want to give up but I need help. I need friends that will ask me how I'm doing in living the Vernal Falls story. I'll try to post my progress here on the blog a bit more often.

And there are even more important stories than this that I want to write with my life this year but in order to write those, I want a healthier body to live them in. As I let go of fear and shame and embrace difficult choices, hardship, my community of friends and the joy of the Lord, living a great story is possible.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Sam Rocks!

If you're reading this on facebook, glonk "view original post" or go HERE to watch Sam rocking out...

ROCK! from Chris Whitler on Vimeo.