Monday, July 27, 2009

jane stories:: the very hungry catarpillar

hungry catarpillar from rob walter on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

flea market find of the week::

vintage fisher price play family house, circa 1969; complete with furniture and figures. price: $3.

I know we already have a few dollhouses, but THREE DOLLARS! come on! they practically paid me to take it! it reminds jane of her grandma's house. she was hopping up and down and shouting when she saw me from the window as I walked up to the house with it. (I think this dollhouse may end up living at dad's office, grandma's house, or maybe the children's nursery when my vacation is over!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

eight-years, part 2

I just got back from my ninth summer at hume lake- it was, pretty much the best week I’ve had there. great messages, great kids, GREAT staff team, and the hume staff really blew me away. this year was a little different from the others- instead of just looking after my cabin, or my group, God put it on my heart to look after anyone I could. I got to specifically encourage some youth pastors that were starving for an encouraging word from somebody, anybody.

this year was totally emotional as well. I was sitting in the coffee shop with the camp speaker and we were just talking- and then I started sharing a story (which I'll share below) and just burst into tears while telling it. I was so embarrassed. I also teared up when kids won competitions, when counselors prayed with students, and a few times when students were telling me stories from their lives. I met with the staff team on thursday morning and wanted to thank them each individually. I got to the first name and started bawling and could barely stop- I was just so grateful for each of them. what can I say? my heart is full- and when its full, joy and gratitude spill out of my eye-sockets.

I also wept when I remembered my first year at camp. we have been talking about a “displaced heart” at church lately- that’s a moment where something bothers you so much, that God calls you to a purpose and you can’t let go. I have been sure that I am called to work with middle schoolers, but I couldn’t remember having a displaced heart, until this week:

my first week at camp was in 2001. when I got there, I was so wounded. I was mad that my old church didn’t hire me. I was sad to leave my town and family, and coming from a high school ministry, I was sure that working with junior higher was the minor leagues. in addition to all of this, I wasn’t sure that I could really do well with as a junior high pastor. at my first week of hume, I was an emotional wreck (a lot like the pastors that I got to encourage this last week). there was this one moment during the week where the hume team gave the counselors the day off, while the youth pastors stayed behind with the students for a worship concert. the worship leader that week was such a cool girl. her name was Alicia. at one point in the concert, she sang a song called “you see me beautiful” (which I’m pretty sure she wrote.) I found the lyrics online. they went like this:

“you call me beautiful
you’ve poured out you love and you’ve given me life
you call me chosen
to do your good works since the beginning of time

Lord let your breath fall on me
open my eyes to see you what
you see me beautiful

you call me forgiven
you washed away the guilt of my youth
you call me victorious
you rose from the grave so i can rise too

and you don’t care what i look like
because your light in me is what makes me shine
and you call me beautiful

and I may not catch many eyes
and my looks may not be just right
but one thing i know that will always be true
is I will always be loved by you

you call me adopted
one of your children and heir to your throne
you call me beloved
you’ve captured my heart and you’ve made it your home

if I could remember all this
life wouldn’t be so hard
cause man looks on the outside
but Lord you look at my heart
and you see me beautiful”

here this girl was, singing a song about self-image, and self-worth; a song that openly admitted that she was bothered about how she looked, and jealous of others. she sang that song with tears in her eyes. I looked around the crowd and saw tears everywhere. the kind of tears that understood what she was saying. my eyes filled with tears too. I realized that I was in a room with a group of people that needed to be reminded that they are precious to the Lord. I was among people that were wrestling with self-image and self-worth;
and at that moment I knew that I had to serve these students with my life.
that was so clear to me that I wept through the rest of the concert. I couldn’t stop.
my heart was displaced for these students.
and that’s been my theme ever since: reminding students that I love them, and that I’m so proud of them, and that I’m so excited about who they are and who they are becoming.

that was the story that I told the camp speaker where bawled my eyes out. this week I was reminded of that moment, and reminded of that calling. and that calling was reignited in me all over again.

so thank you hume lake, for helping my wounded heart to heal, and for helping me to see what I’m all about.
and thanks to the greatest staff team in the world.
I love you all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

jane of the jungle

jane of the jungle from rob walter on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

signs that rob is old:: 7/9

today, I am old enough to be the president.
you know that you're old when people wish you a happy birthday and then they say something like, "so...twenty-five today, huh?" and then you have that awkward moment where you say, ""
to all who wished me a happy birthday-

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


wow. I started at the church 8 years ago this week. my first group of 8th graders are now nearly graduated from college, and my current group of 6th graders were 3 years old when I first got to the church. sheesh. we left for hume my first sunday morning at the church; crazy! I only have a few, very low-res photos from those days- my first year at hume, we took about 40 students (at least that's what i counted from the picture,) and 7 counselors. we used the two little busses for transportation. all of this is a lot different from the absolutely crazy amount of people and vehicles that we will be moving up to camp this sunday morning. I was so sad to leave my hometown and my home church in 2001. I worked with high school kids back then. I wasn't really sure if I was up to the challenge of working with middle schoolers. when I got to camp, I had such an incredible group of students and counselors with me. after a week with them, I knew that I could have a life in san jose, and a life serving middle schoolers. that group of students and staff ministered to me way more than I ministered to them. just from looking at the photos I remember students like john and cassie walitsch, katie lawry, maeve condon, justin hillis, ricky deming, chad weilert, justin badal, jeff mardock and shirena lagassse. I'm so pleased to say that I still know all of them, and I'm glad to see them doing well. many of them have come back to serve in middle school ministry at different times. I'm also so thrillled to still know and be friends with those staff people as well. both niki and allyson are still here on the middle school team, 8 years later! chris shelley reamins one of my dearest friends. and through it all, I have had the same, incredible admin and friend, judie- who has helped me every bit of the way.

every year at camp, I always take a moment and remember how I felt the first time I went there, and how in that week and at that place, I felt that God had truly called me to middle school ministry in san jose. I always take a moment to reflect on the past year, and wonder what the next year will bring. I always wonder if I'll be back again next year. a lot has changed over the last 8 years. we remodeled the church, we've seen all kinds of employees come and go- a few years ago we merged with another church! that was a pretty big deal, and just recently, we picked up a new senior pastor, small groups pastor, new board, and new executive pastor. with everything that has changed, a lot has stayed the same: middle schoolers are still middle schoolers. they are the greatest group of people on earth. they respect adults, they are open to teaching, and they are so much fun to be with. as I look at that picture of deanna and i on our first day of work, I see a kid in his mid-twenties who loved Jesus, loved kids, and was sure that he could conquer the world with God's help.
and that hasn't changed one bit.
here are some photos from that first year at hume:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blackberries are the new cigarettes

for the longest time I thought people with smart-phones were annoying. they seemed to just show off all of the distracting things the phone could do. In my mind, I didn’t need that stuff; I didn’t want to be e-mailed, I don’t want to use the internet on the road, I don’t need to play videogames on my phone. but I think my phone got stolen at the gym. or maybe I just lost it, but it was gone; so I upgraded to the blackberry.

at first I couldn’t get the hang of it, but now I really love it. I still don’t use the internet for anything but e-mail, but it does take great pictures and videos, and it synchs up with my computer so that I have all of my contacts and appointments there in my phone. but the question I’m left with is, “where can you actually USE your blackberry?”

:: you can’t use it in jury duty.

:: you have to silence it at church.

:: meetings have become a no-cell-phone-zone.

:: you can’t have it on in the movie theater.

:: you have to turn it off when you're on an airplane or you could crash the plane.

:: its against the law to use it in your car in california,

:: you get dirty looks if you take a call in a restaurant, elevator or store.

:: I wouldn’t dare pick up that phone in the middle of dinner.

:: if I’m in my office talking with someone, and my blackberry starts buzzing, the person I’m talking with gives me a look like, “are you going to get that? really? you would interrupt your precious time with ME to answer that phone? you wouldn’t dare!” (at least it looks like that…and of course I wouldn't.)

:: and heaven forbid you take a call when you’re out with your kid. people give me looks like I’m a terrible father for taking a call during family-time.

what’s the point of having this awesome phone if you can’t ever use it? I was walking through the church parking lot on sunday, reading the news off of my phone about all of the celebrity deaths lately, and a church member walked by and said, “you look just like a teenager staring at your cell phone!” I can’t even use it walking through a parking lot! sometimes I pull my ringing phone out of my pocket and the people I’m with look at me like I pulled a pack of cigarettes out. their expressions say, “you’re not going to USE that are you?!” and “what’s THAT THING doing here?!”

so where CAN you use a blackberry? and WHEN?!
answer: sitting outside of starbucks with all the smokers.
blackberries have become the new cigarettes.
no one wants to be around them.
they pollute the air.
and they are highly addictive.
and I'm sure that one day we'll discover that they cause cancer.

maybe they’ll start making smart-phone sections in restaurants.
the host will ask, "would you like to be seated in texting or non-texting?"

p.s. you can use your smartphone in the airport too. everyone is talking on their cellphone in the airport!