Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Anyone Have Any Chains!?"

Hello All,

When last I blogged, I did so under the wretched condition of the common cold. That did not miraculously disappear, it in fact turned into the flu! Making matters worse, I believe it became the flu right as my brother Mike and I made it up to the Kingsfield Church/Calvary Carlsbad Saturday night camp in Wrightwood. The ride up to Wrightwood was great and I was feeling pretty ill, but not as ill as I was about to feel. Mike and I shared our theories on why the Lakers will win the championship this year or next, a usual topic between us. Also as usual, we laughed, a gift that I must confess my brother is able to evoke out of me at will, moreso than virtually any other human being, by virtue of the fact that he once, back when he was young, made me laugh by removing his shirt and flexing, something very bony people have no business doing! The weather was nice, the sun was breaking through the clouds and the mountains were fully covered with powdery snow. Everything was pretty cool.

Then we got there and I started moving up the hill. I started feeling unusually cold, even moreso than one would normally feel with snow covering everything at least a foot off of the ground. I just ignored it and we found our way to the "mess hall."

At this juncture, let me say that camp food has gone through a veritable revolution! We never had barbecued RIBS back when I was a camper! Though a little spicy for my taste, they were tasty! This meal was far superior to the faux meals I was used to as a camper during my "Tenyears" in High School!

Walking into the mess hall and there were friendly faces everywhere. It was great seeing Jonathan, Simone, and Chris Reinhardt, my Kingsfield staff mates, as well as all the future Pastors and leaders of Kingsfield Church (I speak now in faith and hope!). The added bonus was seeing Chris Fik and his lovely new bride Tori. We all got to joke around for a short time, but by this time, I was already thinking that I was not just "common cold" sick any longer. "Just a few hours more..."

The evening went along great. I got to play drums, even though I felt that I would soon see those ribs again. Then it was time to speak. It's an honor to be asked to speak at someone's camp, at all. To be asked to speak Saturday night, which is the night when campers are most receptive is really an honor. Thanks Jon, Simone, Chris and Tori for trusting the Lord in me. I felt that the message, despite my obvious "near death flu experience" came off pretty well and a good percentage of the kids responded to what the Lord was speaking to them about. It's a real joy to partner with the Lord in the process of a young man or woman's life. I remember how much of an impact camp speakers had on me and it humbles me to consider that I might have a similar impact on anyone. That is the Lord's awesome grace.

Add to that, the very amazing privilege of watching two young men, both Reinhardt and Fik specifically, who I have watched mature into mighty warriors. I met Reinhardt back when he was in 5th grade, Fik, when he was a Junior or Senior in High School. Both of these guys are former Redlands men, and I can truly say that their maturity and growth as individuals, into the roles that the Lord has ordained for them to serve Him in, has made me proud to have been a part of their growth as well.

After the evening was over, the surprisingly icy roads caused us to ask if anyone had any chains! Oh, don't go there! After this experience, I think we might just have to purchase some. Thankfully, Matt Bockhann expertly applied the chains in the dark parking lot and we were able to make it back down the hill. Thank you Matt, my fellow Apple enthusiast and Brian Regan fan!

As far as the rest of the way home, I will let it be sufficient to say that there was no heat source that would have made me feel "right." Mike and Chris Reinhardt, who joined me on the ride home, quietly, and without complaint endured the high temperatures that my car emitted in order to keep me feeling human. Chris told me later though, that the ride home was reminiscent of a time when hiked down the mouth of an active volcano!

Fast forward to Tuesday and the worst of the flu has passed me by. But the stories I hear of what the Lord did at camp are just coming in. It's still a miracle to see what the Lord can do in such a short amount of time. The investment is still worth it, particularly that which was made by all the leaders who gave up their weekends, but also that which was made by the student's parental units, whose dollar figure will not touch the spiritual seed that was planted.

In final salute, I must give special tribute to our Youth Pastor Jono, his wife Simone, Pastor Chris Fik and his wife Tori, who bear the brunt of responsibility that is given to Youth Pastors. You guys get to take the heat, whether it works or not. It worked and your work is appreciated by this former Youth Pastor who remembers how long it takes to organize, run and get home from a camp. You guys are to be commended! I pray that you will rest and enjoy the short season you have between now and the next camp!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nobody Likes This!

Hello All,

What a bummer! I am going into this weekend with a wretched cold! Today at work, I felt it coming on in full strength and tonight, as I sit here, my head is stuffy, my nose is runny and my body is achy! It used to be that as a kid, you did all that you could to get sick during the week, so that you could miss some school. Now, it's pretty much the opposite, even though, even in ministry, "everybody's working for the weekend!"

I really don't have anything to complain about though. First, I have not been sick in a little while, which is somewhat unusual. I stay up late and get up early a lot. For that kind of lifestyle, getting sick is somewhat par for the course and I haven't been. Second, I have to admit that there is a good thing about getting sick, namely the word "Contact." Cold medication, especially that which includes a HEAVY dose of sleep aid, gives me a very satisfying sleep experience.

However, the main reason that I have nothing to complain about is because I have a few friends who have real health issues. Our Pastor's wife, Tatum, was in the hospital for the better part of the week with a stomach ailment. Both Chris and Tatum work exceptionally hard in the church, and their absence has been sorely felt by all. The good news is that Tatum was released today from the Hospital. I am not sure about the details, but I believe that this release is only temporary while the doctors analyze the test results. You can be praying for Chris and Tatum, especially over the course of the next few weeks.

Another friend who is currently in the hospital is our good friend Alan Brown, who is fighting a very aggressive form of cancer. The cancer that he has was only experienced by 300 people in the US last year! The chemotherapy has been rough and he has been under tremendous strain, as well as his wife Annette and their daughters, Sarah and Katie. I hope that you will pray for them as well. Alan and Annette, aside from being good friends, were also tremendous supporters throughout our ministry at the Packinghouse. I was Sarah and Katie's Jr. High Pastor, as well as their College Pastor! During the Junior High years, affectionately known to Lela and I as "The Dark Years," Annette made herself available for camps, where she volunteered to be the adult supervisor for over 35 pre-teen or teen girls! She was one of the most amazing volunteers I ever had! After we left for Spain, the Brown's supported us, and often had us over for some brilliant BBQ when we were home awaiting visas that never came. The Browns believed with us and encouraged us, mostly with incredible food and a boat load of laughs! Did I mention the BBQ!? Alan is in a virtuosic class when it comes to preparing meat. Please pray for them.

These people remind me that a cold is nothing to complain about!

Speaking of prayer, I just thought I would ask for some for my time tomorrow at the High School camp. I am speaking tomorrow night for our High School group, as well as Pastor Chris Fik's group from C.C. Carlsbad. I'll be driving in inclement weather toward Wrightwood, likely on a heavy dose of Contact, with my brother Mike. Pray that we would get there safely and that the Lord would use me to minister to this group of students. I hope to have some pictures from the camp posted here by Sunday.

I hope that your weekend will be better, even though I am pretty sure that I won't be envious of your "sleep-aidless" sleep!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We Almost Saw Them All!

Hello All,

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity. Renae had two days off for President's day, so there was a ton of time to take advantage of. Maybe they should change the name, just to be grammatically correct to "President's Days!" Add to that, that there was a birthday to celebrate in the Inland Empire, as Uncle Nate took another step toward old age. We spent the night on Friday in the familiar confines of the Finfrock Home, spent some time Saturday with Pastor Aaron Hale and his family, then spent dinner with the Sanchez Family. We spent the rest of the evening watching the N.B.A. All Star Festivities. The dunk contest was unreal! In case you missed the winning dunk, check it out. Even for non-Basketball fans, you have to enjoy this!

It was good to be back in the Inland Empire, though Lela and I both agreed that it was the first time that we had been back where we did not feel at home. Apparently home is now in Orange County!

Sunday, Pastor Chris gave me the opportunity to teach the congregation. You can watch it on iTunes, through the Kingsfield Church video podcast, or you can read the notes on my Bible blog. Again, even on Sunday, we had time with our family, as my Dad, Mom and Grandma came out to Kingsfield. It was really special to have them there, especially my Grandma, who is having a harder time getting around these days.

Finally, to end the weekend, we got a chance to go to Legoland for the first time on Monday, Renae's second day off. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had some free tickets for us to use, so we joined them for the day. The kids were really into it. Some of the highlights were Renae's first roller coaster, ("The Dragon!") Caleb and Lizzy's driving escapade, which was HILARIOUS, and our kid's pictures with a "real live pirate!" Of course, I love that our kids are fascinated with Star Wars characters and they have never seen the movies! I am trying not to overreact, but Caleb has said at least twice that he wanted to be Princess Leia!
The weekend was fantastic, spent with just about every family member. Thank you Lord for that timely blessing.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Missions, Local & International

Hello All,

I was making the internet rounds the other day when I saw an interesting blog entry on Blythe Hill's site. The blog was about how the world eats and how much money they eat on. I recommend that you check it out here.

It stirred my heart to read and to see how opulent a life we live as Americans. Here in the richest nation on Earth, both materially and spiritually, we often take our responsibilities for granted. Of course I know that there is rampant wickedness, and we (the USA) are not the Saviors of the world. The only hope for the world is Jesus Christ. But the highest concentration of believers in Jesus Christ, who have the freedom and resource to touch the world, also live in the U.S.A. And yet, it seems that the church in the United States at large has grown increasingly disinterested in International missions.

The reasons I have been given over the last few months are varied. The number one reason is the shift of interest in local missions and that is not bad, but it is different. It seems that just a few years ago, there was rabid interest in getting to some exotic foreign shore. Now, if there is interest in missions, it's much more localized, specifically centered in the US and on more social concerns.

Perhaps it's just a temporary shift in thinking, or maybe it's more systemic and indicative of the church's failure to heed the call to bless the nations. Is it that we have become so self-centered or self-interested, that we are failing to heed the call to both local AND international missions? Remember, Jesus included Judea, the disciples backyard, in the same commission as the "uttermost parts of the Earth!"

I pray that there would be balance, but that interest in World Missions would again be revived. I feel this way, mostly because I have a lot of wonderful friends who are overseas, who are fighting the good fight, like soldiers on a distant, and often truly hostile shore. They fight often alone, minimally armed or supported, but they fight nonetheless for the cause of Christ, as if they had all manner of support. Often, they are misunderstood or maligned because of language, cultural sensitivity and time barriers, which hinder the communication process, making them seem as though they are maverick spirits or disinterested in communication. Our American mindset then looks through the lens of success to see whether the missionary is "accomplishing anything."

Really, supporting overseas missions takes something that very few want to take the time to do: Carefully pursue and investigate. Relationship over statistics. Statistics make it easy to judge a man or his work, but relationship often yields the fruit of great appreciation and inspiration.

Don't get me wrong: I am all for local missions and local missionaries like the young lady who recently talked with me about her work in the corporate world, where she views herself as a missionary to corporate America. Bravo! For all those like her, I applaud and thank you for taking the opportunity that you have and redeeming it for the great name of Jesus.

But can I say, how much more appreciation do I have for the one who has left family, career, comfort and ease, for the frontlines of the faith, some in the very line of the hottest fires. I pray that we will not forget them or relegate them to our mission boards and walls, where they safely remain out of our mental or material reach.

Support your missionaries. Find out who they are, find out what they need, find out what you have that can bless their lives and encourage them in the fight.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fearing & Faithing!

Hello All,

Well, when I said a few posts ago that I did not see any changes coming, I was at least half correct in that statement. However, our lack of ability to see does not mean that change isn't coming, and for our family, it is. This last week, we received sudden notice from Renae's school, informing us that due to class size limitations, Renae was being moved to another classroom, with another teacher. When Lela and I heard this, our hearts were heavy and sad, especially in light of her attachment to her teacher, but mostly because all Renae has known has been change.

Back in her first Kindergarten year, Renae went to three different schools and lived in three separate homes. One of those sets was in Spain, where the learning is the same, but the style of teaching is a bit different. Needless to say, when we decided to keep Renae in Kindergarten, it was her emotional needs that were forefront in our minds.

When I received the call from my wife on Thursday, Renae's difficult academic past was the first thought of my mind. I was immediately displeased, seeing as this decision came without any consultation of her parents. Then my displeasure led to my heart running toward the usual fearful conclusions that would almost inevitably occur because of this issue.

Thankfully, it was here that I at least gave some room, however small, to my faith. With the fear mounting, I allowed, in my mind and in my conversation, the truth that perhaps God was moving Renae to protect her. Maybe this move would be beneficial or some good would be had because of this move.

I have often talked about this concept in counseling, but admittedly, have not had to employ it very often, except when it comes to the kids. The concept is when confronted with fearful situations, as much as you might consider the worst outcome, you must combat that with what God can do. Our Bibles are testimonials to the fact that when you factor God into any equation, then the righteous ones are always benefitted. Someday, perhaps you would want to do a study on the Biblical phrase, "but God" and see what I mean.

Anyway, I began doing this, and all of a sudden, I felt centered and momentarily peaceful. I knew that I had to register my concerns with the Principal, and I did that immediately through email. I requested a meeting, thinking that perhaps that would help matters. I received word late Thursday that a meeting time would be extended to me. I began to pray, and ask the Lord for wisdom, discernment and authority. I emailed our Home Fellowship and asked them to join me in prayer, then asked my Mothers to enter into the spiritual fray.

Friday came, and I went into the meeting confident that I had the best case, and was just needing the Principal to hear my case. I was armed to the teeth, metaphorically speaking, with a great, well reasoned, well rehearsed argument. In case I needed some sentimental support, I even brought a letter from my wife.

The meeting itself was short and very cordial, though the result was certainly not to my liking. The Principal is convinced that this move is the best for Renae. While he may eventually be right, I am presently unconvinced and he knows that, as does Renae's teacher, who I talked with before I left the school grounds.

I left feeling pretty relieved, even though it did not end the way that I wanted it to. I reasoned that this move must be from the Lord, even if it was initiated in the mind of the school Principal. My relief though was a bit curious to me and it made me wonder. I had been so intent on the result, but in the process found that the result did not bring, nor rob me of peace. That came from a settlement in my soul that God was, and is working out an excellent plan for Renae, and our family.

As I mused further, I realized that there is a Bible story that speaks to this. David has been told that his child is going to die because of his sin with Bath-Sheba. David prays and fasts and he does so with great fervor until he is given the news that his child has died. At that point David gets all cleaned up and orders a big meal. The people who have been watching him over the last several days are perplexed as to the sudden mood change. David replies:

"And he said, 'While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
II Samuel 12:22,23

Yeah, that's what I think! Before the decision was made, or final, I pettitioned the Lord, asking, begging, etc. After the decision was made, I realized that this part of my pettitioning is over. Now, I rest and will wait for the next issue to come up. For now, my heart will rest in perfect peace, knowing that I did all that I was supposed to do for that moment.

Will Renae be alright? Will she succeed? Will this be a successful venture? Only time will tell. Thankfully, because I have chosen not to fret before or during, I know that I am free from it after the fact. I would ask you to pray for Renae, that this would indeed be a great move, and that God would open up doors of opportunity through this situation.

But more than anything, I want to score a victory for the Lord, who kept my heart focused on Him during this minor crisis. This does not always happen, but this time it did and I know that I have the Lord and our prayer warriors to thank.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Camera's 10 Second Delay!

Hello All,

I have to give credit where it's due. Chris Norman showed me this on our new camera, which shows you how many lame cameras we have had in the past and how inept I am technologically! Thanks Chris! And at the same time, for the rest of you who have to suffer looking at my face every now and then, you will now know who to blame!

Here's a current "us" picture.
Have I mentioned how much I love this new camera yet!?

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Morning Fill

Hello All,

One of my main responsibilities during the week is to teach the Men's group each Tuesday morning. The study is known as the Morning Fill. It's designed to be a compact service, where the Word comes hard and fast. Then, the men are challenged to share with one another during small group discussion. When I first came to Kingsfield Church, this was one of the first services that I got a chance to observe. Now, the catch is that the service begins at 6 AM!

It's not so early, but when I first began attending and then teaching, I was still commuting into Irvine from Highland, which meant a 4 AM drive. It was an immediate joy, sincerely because of the enthusiasm of the Kingsfield men and their love and appreciation of God's Word.

Now that I no longer commute, I am able to sleep a little bit longer, but I still get there around 5:30 AM, set up a few tables, start the coffee (Probably the most necessary I have ever found coffee to be!) and get ready to enjoy the fellowship. As you can see in this photo, the guys are just getting there. Most of them have helped bring the food upstairs. Each week the food is lovingly and expertly prepared by Maureen Dunn and delivered by her husband John.

Speaking of Maureen, I am also going to say that her food is most of the reason why guys keep coming back! I did a quick poll not too long ago, where I asked the men a simple question: If Maureen left, how many of you would leave. I want to say that 99 percent of the men raised their hands. The one guy who did not is actually armless, so... The great thing about Maureen is that her food is always creative and always satisfying. She even makes us incredibly delicious cinammon rolls, that give Cinnabon a serious run for their money!!

After we eat, it's time for some worship, which is led by the Laguna Famous "J Squared" worship team. Jim Kelly and Jon Nichols faithfully lead the men in worship every Tuesday. What I love about Jim's worship, aside from always working alongside the theme of the message, but he always is considerate of the rest of us worshippers by faithfully providing words for each of us. These guys do a great job every week.

After the message, given by me, the guys get my discussion questions. There are only three each week, but I have never been in a group that got through all of them! The guys are great about sharing experiences and Biblical wisdom with one another. I often do my best to let the guys do the talking at the table, and most of the time, I am blessed by what they have lived and shared.

I will say that every week is an amazing time for those of us who make it a priority. I cannot tell you how cool it is to have the privilege to teach this group, who are incredibly enthusiastic and encouraging. Most of the guys that you see are there every week, complete with appetites, Bibles and notebooks! That these 20 - 25 guys show up at 6AM for a Bible Study has always impressed me. But the fact that most of them take copious notes, just makes me want to be sure that I am not handing out heresy!

For those who might be reading this from Kingsfield and you are a man, I hope that this might tempt you to go to bed early Monday night and come join us this next Tuesday. For the rest of my friends, I wish that you could join us.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, February 04, 2008

Humanizing Eternity

Hello All,

Years ago, a song lyric by AC/DC awakened a great point in the heart of a television preacher. The lyric was "going down, party time, my friends are going to be there too." He lamented the fact that people believed that hell was going to be some extension of life, where joys could be had among partying friends. He expressed sadness at the thought of the rude awakening that the unregenerate will experience when they begin to serve their eternal sentence.

As much as that is true for how people erroneously conceptualize hell, it seems to also be true of the regenerate's view of heaven. One need only attend a few funerals, or in my case, officiate a few funerals, to see this attitude. In testimonials to the deceased, I have often heard men and women proclaim that their departed one was involved in some innocuous activity, such as golfing or fishing. I have heard others speak of their departed ones actually sitting down and having "a beer and a smoke with Jesus!"

What makes us say or conceive such things? Psychologically, it comforts us to believe that they are comforted, not alone and certainly not suffering. When someone says something like this, they remember that he or she enjoyed these activities and what better fate would they enjoy, but the perpetual enjoyment of these activities.

It's strange what things bring comfort to our minds in those times. At the same time, it is disturbing! We are humanizing heaven and thus diminishing it's true glory for some poor substitute. Which raises yet another question: Why do we need to do this?

Let me first say that there is little need for guesswork when it comes to the concept of heaven, or hell for that matter. I have written a little bit about the concept and teaching of hell here. But, for my purposes here, I want to point you to a few verses.

First, on the topic of heaven.

- There is a government. (Revelation 4:1-5)
- There is worship (Revelation 4:6-11)
- There is an eternal city (Revelation 21:1,2)
- There is an unbreaking, undisturbed time of face to face communion between God and His people. (Revelation 21:3)
- There is no sorrow, no pain, no regret, no death, no tears; joy without end or interruption (Revelation 21:4)
- There is no injustice, or sin present (Revelation 21:8)

Revelation 21:23-27 : "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life."

Now, Hell is a little bit different.

- There is no government, per se. (Revelation 20:10)
- There is continual weeping and regret. (Luke 13:23-28)
- There will be no end to the torment of soul. (Matthew 18:8)

Having looked at these verses, I am not perplexed as to why one would want to Humanize Hell, but why Heaven? Why is it that we need to comfort ourselves with stories of golf and leisure, versus the real thing?

I am convinced or shall I say, becoming convinced, that the reason for this is fairly simple to deduce. I am thinking that we are thinking that being in heaven is just like being in church, except for an eternal period of time. While most of us would not mind church going on for a 100 years, we might balk at the prospect of an eternal "service."

So few of us enjoy the presence of the Lord, or perhaps, we have been unable to discern His presence for any length of time. But Heaven is that experience. I am convinced that if our vision were more accurate of the greatness of Jesus, and the power of God, as well as the glory of what our eyes have not yet seen, I am convinced that we would live in perpetual awe. Every moment will be jaw dropping, without interupption for eternity. With every turn of the eye, we will be awakened to a new glory and a new beauty that will be incomprehensible. But all of it will pale in comparison to Christ, our Redeemer and Lord. I imagine that this is the meaning of the type that is so prevalent in the scripture, about the church being Christ's bride. I believe that there will be such love and power and glory in the eyes of Jesus Christ, that all who are the elect, will have a difficult time removing our eyes from His gaze.

Perhaps that sounds a little feminine! Perhaps so. But consider the presenting of the bride to the groom, and that moment when true love is realized and a life is begun. That is the wonder of eternity. I won't care about golfing or fishing or playing basketball. My only desire will be for the one who spilt His blood to redeem me from the fires of an eternally damned state.

I pray that this blog entry has awakened your senses to the wonder that is our hope in Christ. I pray that you if you have the opportunity to share about heaven, that you will keep yourself from humanizing the experience and point to the wonder of Christ and the truth that our words and experiences are insufficient to the task of describing eternity.

I Corinthians 2:9 : "But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'"

Paul, the writer of the Corinthian epistles, actually, likely, visited Paradise for a short time. He came back and said that it would be unlawful for him to utter what was heard there, much less seen. What does he spend his time and writings doing? Pointing us to the point of Paradise: Jesus Christ.

I pray that we will learn to enjoy Him now, more than ever, that we might enjoy Him for eternity.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, February 01, 2008

My Favorite Things About The O.C.

Hello All,

Our family has now been in Orange County for 5 months. It has taken some getting used to, but I have found that I have some things that are worthy of the title "Favorite." By definition, one can only have 1 favorite thing, but I have noticed that you can have favorite things in different genres. This list encompasses those favorite things in our lives that we have discovered here in Orange County. These are in no particular order, again, seeing as they are all favorites!


#10 : Laguna Main Beach. I have never really liked the beach, being a non-swimmer. For me, all it means is dirty hands and feet! That being said, I have really gained an affinity for this beach, with it's charming light tower and beautiful art galleries, just on the other side of PCH. I plan to spend a lot more time here in the summer.

#9 : Ladera Ranch. Alright, sometimes it's a little too quiet at night and sometimes, it has a "Pleasantville" feel to it. In the end, the amenities are really amazing. The parks, the pools, the water park and the lovely scenery all make this a wonderful place to live.

#8 : Kingsfield Church. I'm sorry, but we have a wonderful church! I love the staff, the vision, the love that we feel as a body and the incredible times of worship that Chris Reinhardt leads us in. It's an honor to be part of what God is doing, and in a few years, when we are bursting at the seams, it will have been a great pleasure to look back at these "pioneering" years.

#7 : The Apple Store. As you may or may not know, I am an Apple FANATIC!! These fingers have been dedicated to typing on all Apple equipment for most of my computer life and I would not have it any other way. I live and work within 5 minutes of two Apple Stores, one at the Mission Viejo Shops and the Spectrum in Irvine.

#6 : NYC Cafe. I have had an epiphany and it's name is "Corned Beef!" The NYC Cafe is just a few minutes from our church and I discovered this sandwich around Christmas. It's the only "gift" that I received that keeps on giving!

#5 : Home Fellowships. I gave attended one for the first time in my Christian life and I must say that it seriously qualifies as a favorite thing. Our group meets and every time, it is an enriching and encouraging time in the Lord.

#4 : The Weather. What can I say, the weather down here is amazing! It does get pretty hot in the summer, but the night cools down tremendously, making it really pleasant. Back in the I.E. or back in Spain, when it got hot, it stayed hot. Not here! Woo-Hoo!!

#3 : Starbucks. I am convinced that there is a Starbucks every quarter mile in Orange County. I have played a little mental game as I have driven around the O.C. At random times, I have just said "Starbucks" and then looked around...sure enough, there's one on the corner, in the shopping center, etc. It would be annoying if it were anything else, but it's a true comfort for the truly addicted!

#2 : One Dollar Bookstore. I am not sure that this is the accurate name of this wonderful place, but that's what I call it. For a "bookphile" this is the place to go. Lela and I discovered it one night on a drive out to look for a zoo. (That's another story!) We went all the way up Jamboree off of the 5 Fwy, could not find the zoo, dropped into the Chevron for some gas, when we saw it. A ridiculous sign telling the tale of $1 books! This cannot be so, I mused, only to pleasantly discover that the truth was in the advertising. We got there after hours, but the owner was still there, doing some accounting. Think Santa Claus and you will have a good idea of what he looked like. In fact, he is a Santa on the side, as well as a yoga instructor. Yeah, I was sorry for the visual as well! But anyway, we persused through the giant grocery type store and picked through some titles. Later, I was able to return, during business hours, and I purchased 5 books. Guess how much it cost? That's right: $5!

#1 : Yogurtland. Now, remember, this is just another favorite thing, but this place is truly great. Imagine your choice of Yogurt, self-served from a wall of veritable sweetness. You fill up your cup with delicious yogurt and then you come to the toppings. Not just your ordinary toppings, but some really great stuff! At the end is the cash register, where you pay a small amount of change per ounce. Our family is able to normally get out of there having spent about $9, a wonderful price for a Pastor's family! Of course, if Daddy goes light on the Cocoa Puff topping, we could get out of there for $8, but I won't, so why mention it!?

Well, I hope that I have made you envious of my life, if you are outside of Orange County. If you are inside, at least you know where you might find me on my off hours! I'm beginning to really love it here.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez