Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Competition, competition, COM-PE-TI-TION!!!

Competition brings out the best in us. And the worst. My children are not in a lot of organized sports for several reasons:

#1 We cannot afford it.

#2 Even if we could afford the money, we could not possibly justify the number of man hours it would take to chauffeur all the humans to the various practices and games/meets/tournaments and what-have-you.

#3 Organized sports have a way of elbowing their way to the front of the line and saying, "I'm more important than these other things," including (and especially) things spiritual.

So every fall and spring my children participate in a home school soccer weekly scrimage activity. It costs $5 per kid per season, but the gal in charge only lets me pay for the first 4 people (even though 7 play).

And they are in Awanas, which means that once a year they participate in the AWANA GAMES and in what Jonathan calls "Sparkie-A-rama". This year their respective teams had too many and too few players, so they wound up playing for another team - we singlehandedly shored up both of their teams with 3 players for each level.

The Sparks event was delightful. I smiled so much my face hurt. Jonathan is not quite old enough to even be in Sparks, but, as we said before it happened, he was born to do the sparky-crawl. The sparky-crawl is an event where 40 5-8 year olds in knee pads line up, 10 on each side of a square that is roughly 20 feet across, the horn is blown, and they crawl like mad to get all their players to the opposite side. You can imagine the pandemonium. They should but don't wear helmets. At any rate, as number 7 in our house, Jambo's whole life is one big sparky crawl - dodging other people, head down, just trying to get to the other side. It was awesome.

And after each event, win or lose, Jambo stood up, put his hands in the air, thumbs up, and acknowledged his adoring fans (remember, this is not our team, so no one knows him).

The final event in Sparkie-a-rama is a balloon relay. Ten children stand in a line and pass a balloon between all their legs and the final person sits on it and pops it. Jon was in balloon sitting position, even though he was the smallest. It took a while, and they were way in last place, but he didn't care. When he finally popped the balloon, his big brother picked him up and carried him around, Jon waving to the crowd. I laughed till I cried.

Then it was time for the TnT's. And that's where it got ugly. I have to say, I got to see my boys and girl shine. They ran fast. They won races. (we didn't think Ben could even make it around the circle without tripping, and he won the 'marathon'!) But the competition was fierce. And heartbreaking. And, believe it or not, parents get ugly, even at Awanagames. I genuinely was hoping for other children to fall down so mine would win. I was wishing for their demise. And the other parents felt the same way. I know, because when our team would default on a line rule, they booed and shook their cowbells. I was ashamed of my emotions. If I had kids in real sports, I'd probably be in jail right now.

I'm aware that there is value in those kinds of activities. I enjoyed seeing my children run (and crawl) with all their strength. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Going through the highs and lows of sports, movies, and life are part of what makes us humans, made in the image of God.

God is a Father, watching us, soaring with us, rooting for us, even participating with us, under the rules He ordained (specifically the one where He chose to give us free will). He waits on high to show us compassion. He desires to help us, to nurture us, to strengthen us, to do even the miraculous for us, but as I believe is the case in WWF wrestling, sometimes He is waiting for the tag. He is for us, who can be against us.

Friday, March 12, 2010

happiness is . . .

going to sit on the couch and finding it fully assembled (as opposed to having cushions eskew and couch pillows all over the floor.

refilling the 'sock' drawer.

waking up and realizing it's friday . . . not only is it the end of all the hard parts of the work week, but it's also casual day, no shirt to iron.

hearing those three little words that mean so much: no cavities today! (spoken by the dentist)(mine or the children's)

being caught up on home school records.

knowing what is for dinner and not being too tired to cook it.

finding my toothbrush on the counter when i'm ready to use it, and it's dry.

hearing my children sing in the van (oh you can't get to heaven on roller skates).

any time spent alone with my husband, even better if he is awake.

opening the dish washer to load it and it's empty.

hugs and kisses from any of my 10 sweeties.

when my son says, "mom do you need help".

knowing where the babywipes are at the critical moment, and they are still wet.

having my identity in Christ.

Friday, March 05, 2010

a day in the life

of my stomach
does this look like the eating habits of a girl trying to lose weight? maybe more like a girl trying to maintain weight? or perhaps like the dietary patterns of a bear getting ready to hybernate for um, say, three months or so?

for breakfast i had 2 eggs and salsa (so far, so good)
i had a cup of coffee with sweetened condensed milk - measured 1 tbs, 65 calories
two pieces ezekial bread
a bean burrito (about 250 calories - still maintaining a measure of self-control)
2.5 peanut butter cookies (225 calories)
large bowl veggie beef soup (200 calories)
handful of miniwheats
steamer, skim milk, honey and vanilla
spoonful of brownie batter (you see where that's going)
large bowl of chili with a small amt. cheddar cheese
1.5 small brownies - 150 or so calories
almonds, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, marshmallows - maybe a half cup all told, maybe more

so you see, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but still not the way you eat if you are trying to be, well, smaller.

i have a hard time getting it through my head that i am going to be smaller. i have a hard time not eating more when i'm bothered about something, or lonely. i have a hard time stopping the sugar train once it's started down the track (which is, as it turns out, all downhill, and the brakes are, in fact, broken).

and so, Jesus, i'm asking for help, here in front of You and everybody. no plans or counts are strong enough to get me there. You are my King. please help me submit myself to You, to the way You made my body to eat, to Your answers to my hearts cry for more of something. You (not obiwan) are my only Hope.