Saturday, January 30, 2010

"What's Hip Today Might Become Passe!"

Hello All,

This is my Grandpa and Grandma Sanchez on their wedding day. The picture was taken just before the 2nd World War. It made me laugh because it seems that not smiling was the cool thing to do back in those days, at least in the circle of friends that my grandparents ran with. Could you imagine taking a wedding picture like this today? I think that you might get a few strange looks.

But looks aside, my Grandparents remained by each others side, despite having only dated for a few weeks. They got married before my Grandpa went out to fight for our country and they stayed married until he died, just a few years ago. Their picture says a lot about their time, but not much about the value of commitment that they demonstrated to each of us over many years. Their marriage faced great challenges, greater I'd say than most that we would face: Deployment to World War II, alcoholism, the loss of their first born, etc. They stayed together. That should never go out of style, though today, marriages often fail at the first sign of potential trouble!

A funny aside to this picture. I went and visited my Grandma not too long ago and she gave me a little inside scoop into the background of this wedding picture. Apparently, my Grandpa's sisters like his ex-girlfriend so much, that they insisted that she be included in the wedding party! Can you imagine that!? My Grandma let it be, but she was none too happy about it!

Speaking of pictures, here is a picture of the Bwudda's big cut. Boy glory, here we come! In case you can't see it, it's above the left eye... We took the bandaid off today because it's getting a little itchy. Caleb's face reflects his misery! Poor kid!

Have a great weekend everyone and watch out for those walls!!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Stitch In Time...

Hello All,

Monday night began on a very promising note. I had barbecued the chicken, Lela had assembled her incredible "smashed potatoes" and there was a Dryers Cookies n Cream in the freezer. The kids didn't even fight at the table...neither did the adults! Things were moving along really nicely.

After dinner, the playing began, while Lela and I cleaned our little kitchen area. The kids were playing really well, enjoying the benefits of being so close in age. Soon, the playing turned into wrestling and running, a recurring motif in the Sanchez home, especially after dinner.

The next few seconds are a blur. Lizzy came crying first, so most of my attention was on her. She has a bit of a shrill cry that raises the dead. Most of the time, the occasion of pain does not meet the shrillness of her cry. (Read, "She can be a bit dramatic...") Our attention was on her and Renae, who was trying to explain how it wasn't her fault. In the background, Caleb was jumping up and down, crying, saying "Owie, Owie." Not very manly, but this is the mantra of pain for the Bwudda. He was facing the other direction and when he turned, that red spot just above his right eye immediately caught my attention.

At this point, Lela went over to Caleb to begin to collect the blood that was coming out of this wound and I went to grab a towel. We put on the pressure and the blood stopped flowing. The cut was small, but the impact with the corner of the wall, left a deep cut. Lela and I both started talking about what should be done. We are in between insurances, so this was going to be interesting.

Meanwhile, Caleb said, "I don't want to get stitches." He was crying, about to get hysterical about the prospect. I looked him in the eye and told him, "We are not going to worry about that right now. You need to calm down. You might not even need stitches." My words calmed him and then we sat together to watch the Lord Of The Rings Appendices. Somehow, the making of swords and digital monsters kept him very calm.

During this time, it was decided that we needed to take him in. Lela called her parents, who live just up the street, to come down and watch the girls. Remember, Caleb is calm and doing really well now. Dad and Mom walk in and this was the conversation:

Dad: Oh yeah, he's gonna need STITCHES!

Mom: Oh, but don't worry Caleb: They give you a SHOT to deal with the pain!!

On the inside, I was just cracking up! It was so funny. But Caleb was now in the throes of great soul turmoil. "Stitches AND a SHOT!?!?!?" I can only imagine the visuals that were going through his mind. Here comes the very large, freaky Doctor (a kid's perspective) with a needle the size of a tree branch! There was no consoling him now, but I tried. Again, I said, "Caleb, we don't know what they are going to do..." This helped a little.

We came to the hospital, imagining that we would be there for several hours. Thankfully, we were there for just about two. After all the drama, as well as answering the same questions over and over again, they decided that stitches would not be needed. In fact, all that they would need to do was to glue the wound! I COULD HAVE DONE THAT!!! The blessing came a few minutes later, when one of the secretaries told us that they would bill our insurance when it kicked in! We all win!

I came away from this night with a few laughs, a story to tell, and a great sermon illustration for Thursday night. Not a bad night after all!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

P.S. Pictures might come soon...the wound may be a little anti-climactic!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Things That I LOVE!

Hello All,

I was just musing about the things that I love about life. I don't know why I began to think about these things, but the more that I considered these things, the more excited and grateful I am for the life that I have. Perhaps compiling a similar list would promote the same things in you. Perhaps you might have things that I SHOULD love that would further increase this feeling. I will present them in no particular order after the first few things. I love...

• My family. I could blog about my wife and kids just about every day. There is nothing better than being Lela's husband and Renae, Caleb and Elizabeth's dad! When we're all on the couch, watching anything, tickling, etc., I am more content than I ever believed possible!

• Our parents/extended family. The support that they have given to us over these last 5 years cannot be measured for it's greatness. Our siblings, our aunts and uncles have tendered unbelievable love toward us. Aside from that, they are amazing people to be around. Every time we are together, there is as much thought as there are laughs. This is truly a rare blessing in our world.

• God's Word. I know that as a Pastor, I am supposed to say that! The Word is my job, what I am on this earth to promote. However, there is nothing more satisfying, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally, than the deep study of God's Word. I am thankful for the men in my life, whose sermons and excellent work in the scriptures continue to benefit me on a regular basis. People like Pastors Ed Rea, Charles Swindoll, Damian Kyle, James McDonald, John Macarthur and Alistair Begg. Posthumous credit must be given to Charles Spurgeon, G.Campbell Morgan and Francis Schaeffer.

• Thursday Nights. The Bible study that we are doing is such a great source of joy for me personally. To see a group of likeminded, mature believers gathered together to enjoy the presence of the Lord and offer a spiritual sacrifice of worship is wonderful. I look forward to every Thursday night.

• Great food. My wife, since tuning into the Food Network, has been on a roll in this department.

• Great music. Chick Corea, Paco De Lucia, Vinnie Colaiuta, Carles Benavent, and all my iTunes library...I love it!

• Kind people. Last night at the store, a woman with a cart full of groceries let me go in front of her, as I only had 2 items. Then when it backfired, as the checker needed to go unlock something to get my final item (a gift card), she laughed and said, "This gives me the opportunity to read a bit more of this magazine!" Let's spread this people!

That's enough for now. I hope that you find the things that you love the most today, and thank Him for the gift that He has given you.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tidbits & Gratuitous Pictures Of My Kids!

Hello All,

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at the Men's breakfast for Calvary The Brook on Saturday morning. You can listen to that message right here. Later that day, our family had the chance to join the Packinghouse Junior High ministry in Idyllwild on Saturday night. The pictures that are interrupting the text were taken on a beautiful trail near the camp.

Sunday capped off a rare 4 sermon week. Earlier in the week, I spoke to the students of the Packinghouse and then of course, at the Gonzalez center on Thursday night. That message is available here. I am grateful that the Lord allowed me to have the health and the strength, but more importantly, His presence, as several people responded to what the Lord was speaking, and several gave their hearts to Christ for the first time at the Junior High camp. I pray that He will continue to allow me to speak His Word.

At this point in my life, this is par for the course. Each week thus far has been an adventure to
see just how the Lord will provide for our family. Honorariums for speaking, playing drums or leading worship have helped to sustain us while we wait to see what the Lord develops with the church plant that I am overseeing. I have also returned to teaching drum lessons, which has been fun to get back into. The point is that variety is both the spice AND the meat of life currently!

Speaking, no pun intended, of speaking at the Gonzalez Center, the Bible study is going along really well. This last Thursday was our best attended study yet. Technically, we had 23 people, 3 of which were my kids and 1 of which is not yet born, but is making quite an impression! We have been enjoying studying the book of Genesis, as well as the growth of a community. I am hopeful that the Lord will soon move us into a Sunday morning service, but I am not wanting to rush anything. I want the Lord to make that obvious to the entire group. I believe that He is beginning to do just that.

By the way, for those in the Colton area, you are certainly invited to join us! I was asked by someone this week at the gym if this was an exclusive bible study. It is not. It is open to all that do not have a regular place to receive the Word of God and worship. I especially appeal to those of you who have not been in any place for a while or for that matter, ever! Come on out and join us for a Thursday night. We are about to begin the life of Abraham this Thursday and it would be a perfect time to join us. We meet every Thursday at the Gonzalez Center at 670 Colton Avenue in Colton.

Moving from the study to the home front, life has been a bit of a challenge. As many of you
know, we moved into an apartment during Christmas week. A short time later, Renae began to exhibit an allergic resurgence. We tried to remedy this in the usual ways, but found no relief for her symptoms. We talked with our landlord, who graciously allowed us the opportunity to break our lease. At the same time, we asked the lady who was renting our home to begin to look for a new place. This personally pained me, as she has been a faithful renter and was the innocent party in this whole thing. I prayed that the Lord would set her up. Just a few days ago, I found out that God had done just that by giving her a larger place for the same rental amount! I was truly relieved and grateful to the Lord for His faithfulness to her.

Our movement back to our old home in Highland should alleviate Renae's allergies. She never exhibited any allergy problems there, mostly due to a large portion of the house being covered with laminate flooring. Additionally, It will also give us a bit more room, including a garage where drum students can once again come to me. If you are interested in drum lessons, please do feel free to contact me. And, what is truly a gift from the Lord: We'll be paying the same amount for the mortgage that we were paying for the rent in our current apartment! God is good. My last prayer is for our current landlord, namely that they will find suitable tenants that can make a long term commitment to them. I hope that you will pray that along with me.

Moving again is the bad news. This move will bring us right back to the place where we started this journey! Back in 2005, we decided right there in our living room to follow the call of the Lord to Spain. Since then, we have moved 10 times! That is 10 times in 5 years! but this move will allow us to be in a stable place, which will prayerfully translate to a more stable approach to ministry in the Colton area, as well as a return to blogging regularity. I have high hopes for these next few months in both of these regards.

A few final words and this tidbits post will be done:

• Thanks to Joe Lindberg, a faithful Thursday nighter, I am knee deep into gourmet root beer addiction! Until otherwise knocked off the pedestal, my allegiance belongs right here
• Kudos (that is such a weird word...) to my son Caleb, who got caught "doing good" at school and won a special student of the week award! You have got to love his humble face in this picture. This reward entitled him to a free personal pizza from Shakey's, which he immediately proclaimed to be "not as good as Pizza Hut." We have not had pizza hut since we lived in Spain! Good memory kid...or bad pizza Shakey's!

• This blog is on a 20 blog commented streak. For the past 20 blog entries, there has been at least one comment. Don't fail me now people! Just one comment extends the streak...let's keep hope alive! By the way, just so you know, the most commented on blog entry was this.

• Speaking of burritos...there will be no argument here: The best breakfast burrito in the Inland Empire comes from Bravo Burger. Their Egg/Bacon burrito is the best! If you would like to experience this for the first time, my wife and I would be glad to accompany you...not to see you eat one, but simply because we must have another one soon!!

• I am looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday...anyone with a 2,000 inch HD TV and gourmet root beer having a party that we can crash!? Let us know! I am not much of a football fan, but you gotta love the commercials.
That's all for now.

Blessings... To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, January 11, 2010

In-N-Out: How I Love & Hate Thee!

Hello All,

Tonight, I present you with an "Ode & A Diatribe" to that SoCal institution, "In-N-Out" burger. First, I will begin with the well wishes of my family, who have been loyal fans from the 80's. It seems that this restaurant has been a monthly stop since that time. For us, it began with our family's ministry evenings at the L.A. Mission. We would do an hour long service and the temporal reward was "In-N-Out" on the way home, at the Barranca location off of the 10 freeway. Burgers with onions at 10PM? Not necessarily the formula for dietary or...ahem...digestive success!

Today, my family continues this monthly tradition, as we venture out to fill our faces with burgers and fries. The burgers are always perfectly prepared. The fries, always crunchy. The milkshakes, always thick and challenging for the strongest slurper! Then there are the patrons. It's inevitable that someone will order off of the secret menu. When their order is called, you look up from your burger handful, and smile at your spouse because you are in on this joke. Yes, you have heard of an "Animal" before, but you know that some first timer, usually the guy that just bought the newest shirt, has no clue what that "Animal" is all about!

If you happen to venture to your local "In-N-Out" on weekends, you are bound to find a bus load of kids from some foreign country, Oregon for example, stopping by for our famous food. You can always spot them because a) they are coming off of a bus, and b) they have pieces of paper with the secret menu on it, but they always mispronounce the order: "I'll take an 'Ah-Ni-Meal" please..." It's multi-culturalism at it's best!

But alas In-N-Out, I have this one thing against you! Unlike your corporate cousins Starbucks, you have made the opposite mistake: UNDER-SATURATION! Yes, it's true that Starbucks had to close a ton of stores last year due to the fact that there was one at every turn in the Inland Empire, but that is better than only having one story every 2,000 MILES!!! We need to get a clue on this one In-N-Out!

Your US has led to some disturbing trends that need to be addressed now, if not in the next 5 years. Let me lay them out in order:

• Overcrowding. No matter what time of day you enter into your store, the place is full to beyond capacity. The sign on the door says 75 is the capacity. I have been in there when there were 700 people in the store!! Lela says, "find us a table." The nearest one is about 6 miles away!

• LONG lines. Binoculars are necessary when looking at the menu! Thankfully, I am a veteran and hate change. I have ordered the same thing for 2 decades!

• The number system. Here is the typical scenario and it never fails. Tonight, we were 97. We are FAMISHED you understand! The kids are about to faint. We hear the first number called, "94." Cool, we are on the verge. "95..." YES, I can almost taste that burger goodness now! "96..." We are salivating like Pavlov's dogs! "347..." WHAT!? "622..." "Is that this new math!?" And then almost like nothing happened, "97!" Cruel, and I wish, unusual!

At least the food gets there right!? Yeah, there it is: All hot and perfect...Before we eat, we thank the Lord...quickly...and then we dive in. Another great thing about In-N-Out is that they provide just the right amount of ketchup (or "catsup" if you are from Oregon...), and by right amount, I mean an everlasting amount that provides each Sanchez with their own personal ketchup cache!

Afterward, the goods outweigh the bad, and what ill-will is leftover, the milkshakes take care of "lickety split" (Oregonian for "very fast!).

Now that that is out of the way: A belated happy new year to our friends! The Lord's best to each of you!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez