Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Magical Mystery Tour
Piling our stuff and then ourselves into the Harris Van, not knowing that this would be an adventure we would long remember………it was a Tuesday evening. We arrived in Hernando without incident and had a restful night sleep after “the girls” (Amy, Grace and Jenna) stopped talking.

Wednesday, after decorating the Van with “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” “HONK if U heart JESUS” “Dare you to Move” “F.U.S.I.O.N.” “L-D DEBATE TEAM” Our FUSION Logo among other things, asking for God’s traveling mercies, we set out for Wake Forest, North Carolina. The joy truly is in the journey………

“We bow down and we worship you Lord…..” “Change my heart O God, make it ever new……” “My heart and flesh cry out for you the Living God” these are just a few of the songs that the girls led us into spontaneous worship. What a privilege to enter into the presence of the One who made us!

As we were cruising along, I asked Karen if she had picked up Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. Well, not only had she bought, she had brought it with her to read. Karen, Tom and I continued talking. Sometimes on these kinds of trips Karen would read aloud to Tom. Since, we are both Wild at Heart families, we were already familiar with the Eldredges, so when asked, I said I would be happy to read it out loud.

“She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch………Eve is…….Breathtaking.
“Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch, …..Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, “The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith with me.” Captivating page 25
To say the least us 5 girls were feeling pretty built up by this chapter. Every woman needs to know that she too is captivating. For every woman reading, you are captivating!

This is just a mere morsel of what we read from this refreshing and inspiring book, written together by a man and wife. Our first reading we only got through the first 42 pages. We had interrupted with songs and stories. On page 42 I had just read, “Whatever else it means to be feminine, it is depth and mystery and complexity, with beauty as its very essence. Now, lest despair set in, let us say as clearly as we can:
Every woman has a beauty to unveil.
Every woman.”
As I was reading this very line, Tom was pulling over. A woman was hitch-hiking in the dark and we would be the ones to get her home. Kim was a beautifully wounded woman who only wanted us to take her to the next exit but Tom got her to let us take her to her street. Our time with her was brief but it touched the hearts of our children. There were only a couple more paragraphs on the page. Grace interrupted, “Mum, could we pray for Miss Kim?” Of course, honey, let me finish the page. So, I did and then we found ourselves in the Loving Presence of our Abba Father, coming to Daddy with a burden for Kim, another daughter of Eve, another beautiful woman.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Thanks for all the comments and kudos for my last blog. One of my dear friends from back home commented that I don't blog enough. Well, Grace and I are preparing to leave this coming Tuesday to travel to Regionals. Since, the last tournament I have done follow up and Grace has just bared down on preparing for the next step. It is similar to advancing to the playoffs in sports. You gear up and work harder.
On a more somber note, I took Michael to his first wake. He has been to funerals. This was a wake for his friend Anthony's 4 year old brother, Mikey. Little Mikey was killed in a car accident. He was playing in the street. Mikey was the youngest of 4 children. It was heartbreaking and hard to go, but Dan and I knew it was the right thing to do. Anthony was very grateful that we came....not that he said so in so many words but his little face lit up when he saw us and he knew we cared enough to come. At the last minute Michael didn't want to go and I told him that it never gets easier but we need to not think about ourselves but about Anthony and his family. They need us to be there and be a comforting presence. And of course, after I left the funeral home where a little life has come to a premature end, I held Michael's hand a little tighter, and couldn't help but think of my own children and how precious they are to me. Death is a part of life.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Post Tournament Update
Amazing! Enthusiastic, poised, spunky, energetic, entertaining, delightful, strong yet gentle style, confident…..these are just some of the wonderful adjectives that judges use to describe Grace’s speeches and debates.

I imagine you may be interested in how she did with the Red Sox speech. One of her favorite comments from a judge from this event was, “How is it possible that you made a subject that usually bores me and kept me spell bound?”

This morning I was all gung-ho to list how well she did…..and perhaps I will but you need to know something about Grace, she really see this as a place to grow and learn skills that will benefit her throughout her life. In fact, she whole-heartedly agrees with her fellow FUSION debater, Jarret, who wrote on his xanga, “My NCFCA experience means nothing at all if I haven't collected some logical reasoning skills during those debates.”
It makes a mama proud to see her own child staying right sized.

It was such a full week. We hosted an out of town family in our home, so our children all bunked out with us in our room. All fared pretty well. On Wednesday night, we got to talking, then the kids started laughing and I wanted to go to sleep and I did to the laughter of my children. These are treasured moments.

My favorite part of this tournament was that each one of us was involved in a very real way. Dan, Katie, Michael and I were a part of the operating team (the committee is what most of the people call it). Dan and I ran errands, did some judging, assisted the Tab Room, worked in the hospitality room and whatever else was needed. Katie was the official Tab runner which means she did most of the postings for each round of speeches and debates (among other duties). Michael timed in practically every round. Each speech and debate requires a timer. Michael & Katie were also instrumental in set up and break down of the rooms.

In the past, we have told our children, “it is not ok to be proud of yourself but it is ok to feel good about making someone else proud.” (Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. So says the proverb) Well, our Grace made us proud. God has been showing us how each of our children are made and what their giftings are. Grace is capable of becoming a great communicator.

So, I guess it would be ok to let you know how Grace did. She placed in 5 of the 6 events that she entered. She qualifies her to go to regionals in these events.

Original Oratory 3rd place Red Sox
Lincoln-Douglas Debate 8th place Advanced to regionals
Persuasive 6th place Africa aids, debt and trade
LD Speaker 4th place Debater earn speaker pts.
Impromptu 3rd place Limited prep
Duo 1st place A dramatic duo with friend
Sweepstakes tied for 6th place with friend Kyndra. This is given to the top 8 speakers of the entire tournament. (90 students)

Hopefully, I will write more tomorrow. Send congrats to Grace at