Wednesday, April 25, 2012

baseball blues ... ranting just a little

It is that time of year again ... the yard needs cutting and the flowers are blooming and ...

    the baseballs are flying. 

Baseball is the only sport my boys play and I dearly love to watch them play, but I have a terrible tendency to get a little too involved in the game and if I am not careful, my boys just might get a little embarrassed by my ... ahem, enthusiasm.

Don't get me wrong, I really don't care if their teams win or lose.  I want them to play their best and I want them to learn good sportsmanship and I want them to give 100 percent all the time.  Most of all, I really want them to enjoy playing the game.

There are a few things that really, really bother me, though.  Some about the boys themselves, but more about the adults involved in the game.

The one thing that bothers me about the boys is when they don't seem to be paying attention to the game.  Case in point, my littlest one was playing in the grass instead of paying attention to what was going on around him last night.  Yes, I know he is only six years old and I had to keep reminding myself of that fact while trying to resist the urge to remind him of what he's supposed to be doing. 

Anything the boys might do to get my feathers ruffled would be mild compared to my two biggest complaints about playing rec league ball.  One is coaches who get way too uptight about the game and the other is umpires who can't or won't be consistent in their calls.

Twice in the last two weeks, JW's team has played teams from other cities that aren't regular league teams ... these teams are select tournament teams that are just using these unsuspecting league teams for practice.  That in itself wouldn't be so bad except that the coaches for these teams are incredibly intense and they are quite adept at intimidating and frustrating our players by questioning calls and trash talking to their players while ours are listening.  The point is, that I don't mind losing to a superior team, if they would just let the boys play ball, but when a grown man makes it his aim to get young boys upset just so his team can win, it hacks me off.

I have to hand it to JW's coach, though.  Last night, when our pitcher was about to fall apart because the other coach kept yelling balk, our coach told him that he didn't care how many times they called balk or how many runs scored, his only desire was for the kid to have fun.  Despite the fact that we were losing, and that we have other pitchers who might have been able to do better, he just let the boy finish out the game and then congratulated him on how he played.  That little boy's feelings were more important to him than the outcome of the game. Then, after the game, they were able to talk to the umpire and get a lesson on how to pick off a runner on third without getting called for a balk.

I want my kids to be able to walk away from every game and say that they gave it their all, and that they played with integrity, even if they are still learning what that means.  In the end, it really isn't whether you win or lose and it really is about how you play the game ... now if all the coaches could just learn that truth, it would be much easier to teach it to the kids!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

decisions, decisions

For roughly the next 3 hours, all three of my kids will be at musical practice.  The moms have been banned from practice since we can't seem to keep quiet and keep from disturbing the kids, so I find myself with a little time on my hands.

What to do,

                  what to do?!?

On the one hand ...

      we went out of town this weekend and now my house looks like a bomb went off in the living room...

the remnants of last Friday night's baseball game followed by frantic packing for our early departure on Saturday morning are all over the place ...

(Marie, you would have been ashamed of me for leaving my house looking like that!)

...added to that, is the fact that we walked in the door last night, changed clothes and headed back the baseball field for practice and so now, added to the already totally trashed living room are a couple of suitcases waiting for someone to unpack them AND a couple of boxes of new curriculum (which makes me smile and will have a post all to itself soon) and who knows what else is hiding underneath the top layer of junk ...

And then there is also the laundry that needs to be done ...

Not to mention the fact that I am supposed to be working on the program for the kids' musical ...

I am sure that there are at least half a dozen more things that I could think of that I need to be doing ...

however ...

sitting on my bed are three new mysteries I just picked up from the library and they,

        along with the quiet,

                       are calling my name ...

...wonder which voice will get my attention...

Monday, April 16, 2012

pardon me, please

I'll start this post by asking for a little indulgence and giving you fair warning: this post is going to contain a healthy dose of motherly pride.  Okay, now you know ... don't say I didn't warn you!

Last summer, the Wednesday night TeamKids at our church, under the direction of their wonderful leader, Ms. Sheri, challenged the church to memorize 100 hundred Bible verses.  The idea came from a book called 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, by Robert J. Morgan.  The verses are ones that most Christians are familiar with, but may not know the exact words or the reference where they can be found.  The plan is that we will memorize one verse a week as a church and then anyone wishing to can recite the verse and get a sticker on the big board.  Some of our ladies decided that they didn't want to just memorize one verse a week and 3 of them, including Ms. Sheri have completed the 100 verses. 

Me?  I think I have said about 20 verses ... maybe.

My 12 year old daughter?  She finished all 100 last week.  In just 9 months!  She has definitely had some help in the form of Ms. Sheri, who has taught all the kids different strategies for memorization and prepared various sheets for them to use to practice on Wednesday nights, but for the most part, LB has done this because she wanted to.  I have been amazed by her diligence and determination to get this done.

As a way of congratulating LB on her accomplishment and also to encourage others in their memorization, Ms. Sheri planned a special time of recognition during the worship service yesterday.  I am so thankful to be part of a church where the adults are so encouraging to the children and I pray that this will be something that she will remember for a long time.

Mrs. Bertha talking about the Memory verse challenge and congratulating LB
Mrs. Evelyn giving LB a certificate
Ms. Mary Ann giving LB her Children in Action memory verse stars
Mrs. Linda (our pastor's wife) giving LB flowers
LB and our pastor
LB and Ms. Sheri (she didn't know that Bro. Don intended to recognize
her for completing the 100 verse memorization yesterday, too!)

 I have been a little worried that LB would misunderstand all the attention she was given yesterday.  Yes, she has accomplished something pretty unsusual for a 12 year old girl, but I don't want her to miss the true gift that she has been given in the these scriptures she has memorized.  And, while the memorization of the scripture is the most important part, I hope she also recognizes that the encouragement she receives from the adults in our church is also a very special gift from God.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
that I might not sin against thee.
Psalm 119:11

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
 and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

Thursday, April 12, 2012

a little contemplation about school

My oldest child will be in SEVENTH grade next year.

That is JUNIOR HIGH people!!

Okay, so I know that they don't call it junior high any more... it is middle school in the public schools around here, but I don't care, it still feels like junior high to me.

Just for the record, I am terrified.  There are many reasons I could give you, but the two preying heavily on my mind these days are curriculum and creating goals for next year.

If you homeschool, you know that choosing curriculum can be an overwhelming task.  When I started out I had no idea how much was available and I daresay that there are even more options now.  I have already decided that we will do Mystery of History and that we will continue with Math-U-See, but I am still struggling with Language Arts and Science.

I have to admit that I have been lax in teaching grammar and writing with my kids.  With that in mind, I really want a more comprehensive and structured program for next year that will help get them on track.  I am leaning toward using Learning Language Arts Through Literature.  I like what I have read about this curriculum, but I don't know anyone who has used it, so I am still a little nervous about actually ordering the material.

When it comes to science, I have always used, and been very pleased with, Apologia courses.  We have done several and my kids love them.  As a matter of fact, I had planned to continue the Apologia elementary series with the boys and begin with General Science for LB.  However, I recently heard about the Answers in Genesis science curriculum and after reading the description on their website, I think it is definitely worth considering.  If I go that route, I am leaning toward choosing the Physical Science curriculum.  The upside would be that I could use one course for all three kids and just tailor the activities to their individual abilities.

(Okay, this is the part where I stop and ask all you homeschoolers out there to give me your opinion on science and language arts ... any good ideas that I have missed?)

Back when I was a new mother and home educating my children was just something I planned to do one day, I never even considered curriculum.  Back then, in the dream world I lived in, there were no questions when it came to schooling, everything would just fall into place the way that it was supposed to.  And, in that same dream world, nothing would compete for our time and my children would beg to do their school work and I was an incredibly fun mom and teacher ... now go ask my kids how much of that dream came true ;o)

Back in the real world ... I want things to be different next year.  I don't know exactly what I want things to look like, but I want them to be more organized and less hectic.  I want to remove the distractions and keep only the good things.  I don't know exactly how all this will play out with curriculum choices and activity choices, but I am fairly certain that I had better start planning now if I want it all in place by the fall, 'cause change doesn't come easy to my kids ... or, ahem, to their mother.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

the wonderful cross

The Old Rugged Cross, There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Calvary Covers it All, I Saw the Cross of Jesus, Are You Washed in the Blood, Nothing but the Blood, Jesus Paid It All ...

Do you see the pattern?  Are you offended by it?

I've spent a fair amount of time over the last few days thinking about that question and about the stories I have heard about people who would like to remove the mention of the cross and the shedding of Jesus' blood from church services so as not to offend anyone.

So, am I offended by the cross?

My pious answer would be of course not, I love to sing about the cross and I love to hear the Word preached, even when it makes me uncomfortable.

But then I begin to think about the truth of my life, every aspect of it.  The way I choose to spend my time, the way I treat my children and my husband, the attitudes that others rarely ever see...and the list goes on.  It is at this point that I cannot deny that my words and my actions don't line up.  I love to sing about what Jesus did for me when He willingly gave His life for my sin, but I so easily forget that while it is true that Jesus Paid It All, it is equally true that All to Him I owe... and it is here that I fail again and again.  And it is here that again and again I must return to the foot of the Cross and seek forgiveness and renewal.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; 
and renew a right spirit within me. 
Cast me not away from thy presence; 
and take not thy holy spirit from me. 
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; 
and uphold me with thy free spirit. 
Psalm 51:10-12

I leave you, on this weekend when I have been reminded time and again what my Savior has done for me, with the words to one of my all time favorite hymns.  I hope that these words hold a special meaning for you like they do for me. 

Jesus Paid It All
Words by: Elvina M. Hall
Taken from: The Baptist Hymnal

I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all."
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find Thy power, and Thine alone
Can change the leper's spots and melt the heart of stone.
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I'll wash my garments white In the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb.
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my sould to save," My lips shall still repeat.
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.