Monday, January 21, 2013

Eli checking out Alex's Lego Robot.
Eli is studying Job in Bible class at school and while preparing for his test the question was something like, “What did Job do when Satan took everything he had?” After tapping his chin in a thoughtful pause, he sat up straight and said “Well, surely the man went crazy.” Surely, indeed; we are impatient humans with limited understanding. Job, of course, as God’s chosen warrior, withstood all of Satan’s tricks and praised God despite the Evil One’s torturous temptations. In the end, God gave Job earthly blessings beyond what he originally had, but most importantly, Satan was defeated. Job was not told the purpose of his trial, yet he never questioned it. Job is one of the greatest examples of the answer to “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The simple answer, as I’ve said before, is because of Satan. I’m always amazed at how many people acknowledge there is a God, either by following Him, acting like they follow Him, or even by insisting He doesn’t exist until they want to blame Him. But, no one wants to acknowledge the activity of Satan. The Evil One has many tricks that are not as obvious as cancer, and sometimes I think that is part of the trick. I find myself walking a slippery slope these days with Eli seemingly doing so well. I want to have it written across that sky that has had us pinned down so that all will see the glory of God through answered prayers. But, I think I have to be careful about that. Literally, three miles from us is a little boy Eli’s age, fighting the same cancer, whose soul is waiting for death’s door to open. One’s faith (without judging it) would take a beating to see the earthly success of one, and not the other if our understanding is based on what earth has to offer. So, I am torn. I want Eli’s “prayer warriors” to see the fruits of their labor. I want the unbelievers to see something tangible that might prick their hearts. I want to let out an earth-shattering sigh from the top of this mountain we are moving that shifts the foundations of other mountains being moved. But, the fragile faith of so many is being tested right now, so I don’t want anyone asking “Why them and not us” because of what they see on the surface. I, personally now, have to be careful in promoting God’s steadfastness in his promises because so many have not had an opportunity or taken the opportunity to build a foundation of understanding. I do not want to appear to be spiritually arrogant because our prayers have been answered as we had hoped. Eli’s success can be translated different ways depending on the understanding of the receiver. So, I find myself once again dependent upon our “prayer warriors” to spread the “good news” while we walk as examples of the “good news,” ready “to give an answer” if asked.
Abbey with Jolie after their performance.
 We’ve had – and really, I literally chuckled when I started to write this – such a fun weekend. I know, I know you get tired of reading it, and I get tired of writing it the same way over and over, but that’s pretty much it – We’ve had a fun weekend. And, I know I have not posted in a while, but for some reason I have not been able to keep my eyes open past 2100 hours for the past four nights. Literally, my head has been dropping as Abbey and I sing and I listen to her prayer at night. I don’t know what’s going on with that, but I have not been able to get anything done because I either went on to bed or I sat in the recliner with the computer on my lap while I accidently slept. But back to the weekend - Friday night we visited friends that are part of a Lego Robotics Team. All of my kids love Legos - the boys especially - so one of my many Jennifer friends, who coaches her son’s team, invited us over to watch a demonstration of their robot. She also helped the kids write a little program of their own for the robot to run. Saturday morning, my 12-year-old and a friend participated in a babysitting class. Hannah Grace gets practical experience at home with Caleb, but the class gave my “lessons” some validity. The class also covered safety and emergency topics and gave them some occupational tools to kind of organize their efforts on the job. We went for her “graduation” at the end of the day. She enjoyed it, and I think it was all good information even if she only ever babysits Caleb. Eli had another Upward basketball game and he actually is having fun. He even chased a ball going out of bounds diving on his knees to try to save it. It was all in slow motion, but still it made me laugh and tear up, too. He seems to feel good because he talks my ear off at times. My 10-year-old and a friend participated in a talent show performing a rendition (edited by me) of the classic Abbott and Costello comedy sketch “Who’s on First?” They both did really good, and Abbey just loved being on stage. She smiled and said, “I heard people laughing.” Uh-oh.
Hg and Sophie after their Sitter Safety class - For Hire!
Family came to watch Eli play, and Abbey perform, and friends helped me maneuver the girls around so that we could hit all of our interests because the day wasn’t done. Sandwiched in between all of that, I participated in a volleyball alumni tournament at my high school, the school at which my kids currently attend. Girls athletics began at our school in the early 1980’s with volleyball. The sport brought home its first state championship in 1989, I think it was, and a tradition was born. Volleyball was not my preferred sport (I lived and breathed softball, which the school didn’t have until a couple of years later), but I participated in summer clinics and practices every year, just to be able to hang out with my friends, but I only tried out for the team my senior year. The reasons I would not try out the other years are immature high school reasons, and I regret it because I could have played more. But, my history is written and I only played the one year. I put myself through volleyball conditioning and training just to hang out with my friends knowing that I would not be trying out for the team. So, yesterday was just what the doctor would have ordered for me. I enjoyed getting to play with a couple of pioneers of the sport, Sharon Persall and Jennifer Persell, who both played on one of the early teams. Our youngest teammate on Saturday was Ashley Dobbs who was on the first championship team. Technically, she was a youngster on the 1989 team, but was gracious enough to play with the 80’s on Saturday to give us another setter and make it an even six on the floor. But, I was most excited to play with Jill Duke (who I play tennis with) and Gina Pierce. I have played many years of sport with these two ladies, and they each have a special place in my heart because of it. I have taken the field hundreds of times with them in softball, during high school and beyond, and seeing their parents in the bleachers (still watching their daughters play even in their mid-forties) on Saturday brought back many memories. I can even remember the day Jill announced to our city team that she and Chris were expecting a baby and that this was her last game; it was a bitter sweet moment for me at the time. The two are skilled, natural athletes who play with grace and know how to enjoy competition.
Jill, April (standing) and Gina at Saturday's event. Yes, Jill is
wearing her actual 1988 volleyball jersey.
 They are tremendous examples for the young Christian female athletes at school, and are pillars in the history of the athletic program as a whole. They are among the earliest of female athletes at the school that went on to the collegiate level. In addition to playing while a student at ABS, Gina returned to the school and was an assistant coach of the 1989 championship team that set the standard for the volleyball program. After a head coaching stint, she was followed by one of her protégés from the 1989 team, ABS’s current coach April Davis who continued to grow the program into the powerhouse that it is regularly winning state championships and spawning scholarship athletes and talented coaches. April, with whom I have also enjoyed playing softball and now some tennis, organized Saturday’s event. I did not initially sign up to play because, as I have mentioned, I only played the one year. But, my friends know me well, and I’m sure thought “Call, Kristie, she’ll do it, she’ll do anything.” I hated to be the one to represent 1987, but I also didn’t like the thought that the 80’s participation was so light. We gotta represent! So, I took my 80+ pounds heavier self and hit the court –a few times literally hit the court. Years ago, the gym floor was softer and I was harder, but this time I was softer and gym floor was harder. But, we actually won our first game against the early 90’s. I was glad because that was our best chance at a swan song, and it was so much fun. I am not shy about being pumped up, and get excited even when the other team does something cool. But by our fourth game with the youngest of the 21st century, who are scholarship athletes in the sport, I felt like I had been in a car wreck and Ashley and Jill looked like they had been in one with bruised arms. We even required the four of them (yes, they played with four) to serve underhand and they were not allowed to jump. So, funny, and they still beat us handily. For the last game, players were drawn from a hat to divide the teams, but Jill and Gina were the only ones in good enough shape to hang with the little girls. I was glad, too, because they had not lost a step in these many years and deserved a chance to really play. They next day, I hit the ground running after church services with a Lads to Leaders marathon of practices for the girls, and selling girl scout cookies. Today, the kids are out of school, and we are cleaning house, washing clothes, finishing homework, finishing a science project, and making headway on a research project – oh, and writing a blog.

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