Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Book I Read All the Way Through

Yes, it doesn't happen very often.  It's a little embarrassing to admit.  Yet, the truth is I have a stack of books (I had a stack of books till my husband put them into one column the length of Jack's Beanstalk and carefully balanced them all the way down the stairs and laid them on my office floor) that I've read some of but haven't finished.

Yes, I am a teacher.  Yes, I love books...perhaps just a little too much!  Besides, at night who knows what I might be in the mood for - Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, Stories for a Woman's HeartThe Life of Amy CarmichaelTraveling Light or Jewish Culture for Dummies.  I mean I like to keep my options open.

Truth is I did finish a book last night!  It was one of the many books I got for Mother's Day.  Are you dieing to hear the book's name?  Captivating, Unveiling the Mystery of A Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge. 

You've all read it, haven't you?  You're all thinking, What took you so long to read this book that everyone raved about...six years ago? 

Yes, Matt's girlfriend was here for the past few days.  She's read it twice and even done a book study on it.  :) So much for being on the cutting edge.

So why was it so great? 

I think one of the most memorable parts was a point that Stasi made that coincided with a conversation I recently had.  The coming together of real life with a succinct quote...BAM!

I had left a conversation on parenting with a friend.  We were discussing disrespectful children and getting very specific.  So specific, she was addressing my child.  Now I am the first to admit, my children are not perfect.  Yet still, as I left that conversation, I felt defensive.  I felt judged.  I'm sure my friend didn't realize how I was feeling.  Perhaps, I should've let her her know.  At any rate, when I opened Captivating that night, I read "A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become."

BAM!  "A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become."

I immediately thought, Have I ever made a friend feel defensive or judged?  Am I intentional about making those around me feel grace and love?  Do they leave me and feel hope?

The grind of life can feel forever, like pedalling up Mount Everest on a bigwheel. It can be unsettling like sticky fingers with no running water.  It can be annoying like a wet sock.  For Pete's sake, I don't want to make it any harder on my friends...I'll save that for my enemies, thank you.  :)

(Just kiddin...sorta.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Twin Teaching

Quincy United hosted it's annual soccer tournament.

Madison's Team lost their first game, then won their second.  Semi-Finals were then scheduled for Sunday at 10:00.  Uh-Oh, I thought.  Of course, it would have to be when I teach my Children's Church class!  What to do?

I considered asking the 3 wonderful subs that had helped me the previous 6 weeks during SLYSA games and tournaments.  But no, I couldn't give them enough notice

As I was thinking out loud, Meredith asked, "You just need someone for tomorrow?"

"Yep," I said.  I want it to be someone the kids will love.  Someone the kids will connect to and learn from."

Meredith smiled, "Uh, could I do it?"

By this time Michaela had come in.  "Me too?  That'd be so awesome!  Mom...can we?"

"Mom, ple.e.e.ease!" Meredith chimed in.

Now I was smiling.  My girls were begging to teach children's church.  No one begs to teach children's church!  But I wasn't complaining!

"Girls, you can't teach alone.  You'll at least need an adult there with you."

Meredith frowned.  "Well, as long as they don't take over."

I thought for a few minutes.  I remembered back to when I was in highschool and I first started teaching the 2's and 3's class.  It was horrible! 

What kind of children were these?  They didn't know how to sit down.  They just wanted to play.  They weren't even listening to my 45 minute lesson!

Yes...not a good thing to throw me, the newbe, into a class without guidance.  It almost kept me from doing the very thing I love and was made for. 

Hm...It really mattered who that adult was. 

It had to be me.  As much as I wanted to be with Madison, I knew I had to be with Meredith and Michaela.

I told the girls I would be the adult. 

"O.k." Michaela reluctantly agreed, "just remember we're the teachers!"

The girls ran through their ideas and plans with me.  It sounded good.

The next morning, as I came zipping into class in my black sweats, there was Meredith.  She sat at the front of the table.  She flashed me a quick smile, then finished explaining the "cooperative scale" as Michaela wrote the kids initials on it.

Wow, my girls are really cooperating themselves, I thought.  They usually cooperate about as well as a teenagers colic on prom night.

Meredith then read a story about siblings who didn't cooperate and fought over the remote.  She then asked a discussion question.  Several children blurted out.  "Hands up," Meredith called.  Immediately the kids hands went up.

Wow, the class is really listening.  They are engaged in the lesson.

The morning went quickly.  I found myself in awe when Meredith asked Michaela to go get the pitcher of water for snack and.....Michaela did!

My twins have done many things together.  They shared my uterus, sippy cups, and my lap.   But today they shared in something even more intimate...loving and serving their Jesus!

Today Madison had a loss.  Meredith and Michaela...a win!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Soccer Moms

Soccer moms...I've been one for a long time.  There are as many types of us as bags of junk food in the Walmart aisle.

There's the soccer mom that hyperventilates when their child gets bumped off the ball.  There's the soccer mom that yells "Be tough" when their child goes up for a header and smashes heads with their opponent and lands in a heap.

There's the soccer mom that packs their child's bag complete with 3 pairs of socks in both team colors, 2 extra jerseys and a can of fabreze.  There's the soccer mom who's never even opened their child's bag, ever.

Soccer moms. You'd think since I've been doin' this awhile I'd have this thing down.  I mean, I started back when Matt was 3.  That was 17 years ago. 

So why is it that two weeks ago at a tournament with Madison, I started really noticing a particular soccer mom?  She was video-taping every game.  She went on to tell me that after the game she and her daughter were going to watch the video and dissect her play.

Wow,  I thought.  That's impressive.  Just think how much farther ahead her daughter will be when she can actually see for herself what she did on the field. 

I subconsciously tuned in even more to this soccer mom.  What else does she do well? I thought.  Besides buying a video camera or learning how to use the one in the closet from the dark ages what else can I do to improve?

I watched as she yelled for her daughter.  "Take the shot!"  "Shoot the ball."  Hm, maybe I should be yelling more.  Does Madison need to shoot more?  Probably.  Do I need to be yelling that?  Probably! 

Besides Madison would like it better than what I had yelled that morning. What's wrong with yelling, "Work harder, Madison!  Good job, she's workin' hard!  Get after it!"

O.k., in all fairness to Madison it was more specific than that.  She hated when I yelled "She's workin' hard!" (one or two times.)

"Never, ever," she said with eyes that mimicked mine when I used to substitute teach,  "ever yell that again!"

I bet this super soccer mom had never yelled that!

I glanced back over to super soccer mom. 

I could be just like the super soccer mom.  Just think how much better Madison could be if I were like super soccer mom.

Minutes later as Madison came off the field and we were driving to get something to eat, I asked her what she thought about me videotaping her games.

"Sounds like a good idea," she said.

Why had I never thought of this before, I berated myself. 

The next morning at Madison's game,  as I waited for it to begin, I looked around.  Where's the super soccer mom? I thought. Oh...way over there? 


I want to watch the game, not a soccer mom.  I want to yell like I always do (except of course "She's workin' hard.")  I want to focus on my Lily, not on myself.  I'm no super soccer mom.  I'm Madison's mom.  :) And that's o.k.