A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Precious Moments

What an amazing weekend! We took 14 kids, grades 1-6, to church camp over the weekend. I know, that sounds crazy, but it truly is an awesome experience!

I wanted to write about one of my highlights from the trip, before I forgot! On Saturday evening, we had a unique worship experience. Each one of the small groups planned and led a portion of worship. My small group was assigned communion.

My small group was a different group -- my kids were the youngest campers there for the weekend. All were in 1st or 2nd grade, with an extra kindergartener thrown in. (Her dad was the other adult leader in our small group, so though she was still a bit young for the weekend, it all worked out.) We also had two high school kids who helped with our small group.

So, perhaps you can imagine what I was thinking as I sat down with the group to plan our part in worship. I find I am always surprised by something new that God has to teach me. Remember that Bible verse that encourages us to "let the little ones" come to Jesus? Sometimes, they just get things in a way that is difficult for adults to understand. It's that amazing childlike faith.

Yes, the first graders served communion. And not only did it mean a lot to them, it brought some of us adults to tears.

And yes, the second graders and kindergartener spoke the words of institution over the bread and cup. Did they know what they were saying? Yep! And watching the light in their eyes during this experience certainly made the moment mean even more to me.

But the best part of our communion experience, to me, was watching our tiny kiddos bravely stand in front of the rest of the campers (who were ALL older than my group) and lead the camp's favorite communion song, Sanctuary. This was the first time that most of the kids in my small group had heard this song (and we practiced a lot during our small group time to learn it!). But their sparkle and joy was certainly contageous! All the "big" kids joined in, and carried the song on. What a wonderful worship moment.

On a personal note, what a treasure it was for me to be served communion by my own little first graders that I teach at school and in Sunday School. And what a treat for me to offer them communion at the end of the service, as they had offered communion to the large group and waited patiently for kids and adults alike to partake.

"Lord, prepare me
to be a Sanctuary
pure and holy
tried and true
With thanksgiving
I'll be a living
for You.
Lord, teach Your children
to stop their fighting,
start uniting,
live as one.
Let's get together
and live forever
as Sanctuaries
for You."

Friday, January 25, 2013

January Sicknesses and Winter Camp

January has been crazy.

First, my daughter got sick and had to miss two days of school. Quite unusual for her. She also had to miss the final basketball game of the tourney, which was also her last basketball game of 6th grade.

Then, my son got sick. As per the usual, he was sick for a week.

During this entire time, my husband was also sick. And when he wasn't sick himself, he was staying home with the sick kids. So that was not so cool.

I figured, since they have all been well and attending school this week, I was probably going to get it.

I was right.

I spent the last two days at home sick. Ugh.

I had no choice but to feel better today, though. This afternoon, we are taking our kiddos to Mid-Winter Camp. This is the awesome church camp our kids attend every winter about this time. This year, we are taking an even dozen with us. So cool! Can't wait for them to experience this! Two of them are just old enough this year, so this is their first time. We also have two others who have never gone with us before, either.

So, I hope I continue to feel better and make it through the weekend!

Just for fun, I've been reading a cute book called Encyclopedia of Me, by Karen Rivers, about a middle school girl who is grounded during the summer and decides to write an encyclopedia to keep herself occupied. Cute book, I think all 12-13 year old girls will love. It's been good to have something to keep me occupied.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Basketball Boy

My son only plays basketball because I make him. That's what he tells everyone, and it's actually the truth. In their elementary school, the 4th-6th graders play basketball during this time of the year. If the kids choose not to participate on the basketball team, they end up sitting through all of gym class. Well, I figure he does enough sitting during the rest of his day; he needs to be up and active during gym class. So, yes, I make him play basketball.

The hardest part of playing basketball, for him, is that the rest of the boys in his class are incredibly talented. It's like they were born with athletics in their genes. They live and breathe sports. So my son doesn't get to play in the games for very long (although his coach is awesome and lets every boy have some minutes of playing time in every game).

Last night, though, my son got plenty of playing time. The team was ahead by a ridiculous number of points. (I think the final score ended up being something like 45-8.) And somehow, something in my son's brain finally clicked. He actually took 3 shots -- something he's NEVER done in a game before.

And he actually MADE a BASKET! In fact, it was the final basket of the game, though it wasn't a "buzzer-beater" or anything fantastic like that.

I was probably the most excited person in the stands at that point. I'm so proud of him. He's stuck with it, and improved as a player, even though he really doesn't like playing basketball. And that makes me proud of him as a person.

A great basketball book: Summer Ball by Mike Lupica

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dreams Gone By

Well, Mother Sugar ( has done it again. She's asked a question that caused me to take a "sentimental journey".

The question? What dreams will you never see fulfilled, and why do you think they won't be fulfilled?

I've been pondering this question since it was posted last Friday. It's a difficult question, because we all want to believe that phrase "Dreams can come true". After all, don't we tell our children this? I encourage my kids to dream big dreams and work to make those dreams come true. One of my favorite tomes, Walden, has always been an encouragement to me, to keep building my "castles in the air" and the "foundations under them".

Yet, this question begs for an honest answer. So here it is.

My dream that will never be fulfilled is for my children to have their grandmothers at their graduations, weddings, and other lifetime achievement moments. I have been so lucky. I had both of my grandmothers beside me through most of my life. I even knew my great-grandmothers. And yet, my children will not have this same joy. My mother passed away before my children were born. My husband's mother passed away when my children were in 1st and 2nd grade. It's true: my kids will not have their grandmothers beside them the way I did.

My kids have been lucky enough to have close relationships with their great-grandmothers -- all four of their great-grandmas! However, in the past 3 years, my kids have lost 3 of the 4. In fact, my kids' last remaining grandma just turned 93. It makes me sad and a bit nostalgic when I think of all the red-letter days that my kids will have to experience "grandma-less".

Don't get me wrong. My kids are certainly not alone in the world! They are surrounded by loving parents, aunts, uncles, and grandfathers. They even have a step-grandma who cherishes them. They have plenty of extra grandmas at church and in our tiny community who come to support them in all their endeavors, whether it is a piano recital or a football game.

But that dream of mine, of my children proudly walking across the stage at high school graduation with their grandmas beaming from the audience. Well, that dream will be unfulfilled. Not a thing I can do about it. Except to remind them (and myself) that we are not alone. That we are loved. And that somewhere, their grandmas are looking down on them with love and pride, no matter what.