Saturday, July 28, 2007

What's In a Name?


Tonight Cainan asked Brian to read "Walk, Rabbit, Walk" to him for his bedtime story. He loves that one because it was one of Brian's favorites when he was a little boy. Cainan then reminded Brian that he was a little boy a long time ago. Brian agreed and Cainan turned to me. He said, "You were a little boy just a short time ago." "Actually I was a little girl a very short time ago," I replied. He then asked, "What did we name you when you were a little girl?" I reminded him that Grandad and Granny named me 'Crystal'. As he gave me my good night hug he said, "They named you Crystal but now your name is Mommy."

The Wedding

Brian and I have been attending First Christian Church in Greenville since 1995, but we just went to our first wedding there. When we moved there all of the friends we made were already married so we weren’t really ever invited to any weddings. Now though, Brian’s students and kids that we have watched grow up are starting to get married so we are getting invited to a few. We enjoyed the wedding and are very happy for Corey and Alaina. During the ceremony Cainan turned to me and said, “Do you think you’ll ever get married, Mommy?” I explained that I had gotten married a long time ago before he was born. That satisfied him and he went back to playing in the pew.

But that really isn’t the story I’m telling today. You see we have had a very hectic time recently and I did not have a gift for the happy couple. I sent Brian out to Value City between the wedding and reception to pick up something. We usually get all newlyweds a set of lawn chairs…I don’t know why, they’re just useful. Anyway, Brian comes back and tells me that Value City didn’t have any lawn chairs so he got them a lamp. Yes, you read correctly…a lamp. He then goes on to describe it as “silver with 3 white globes coming out of the top”. By this point it was too late to worry about it so I just let it go. Then he tells me that he bought some wrapping paper for it because they didn’t have any gift bags big enough. We were already in the reception and I was on my way to Saturday night service to run the power point so I found some tape and scissors for him and he went out to the car to wrap it. (FYI: Brian is a horrible wrapper.) I pretty much forgot about it after that until a few hours later when I was unloading the car and found the roll of wrapping paper. This is a small sample:
He claims it was in the ‘wedding section’. So Corey and Alaina, this is my apology to you. Sorry that we got you some sort of crazy lamp wrapped in poodle paper by a science nerd. Please take it back!!!!

Ryker, on age

One day as he was trying to change the batteries in one of his toys Ryker said, “Do you think I’m old enough to use a screwdriver now?” When I replied affirmatively he said, “Wow, seven is a great age…even though it is an odd number. On my birthday I’ll be eight and you know what that means don’t you? NO MORE CARSEAT!!”

Nuts and Seeds

My boys do not like nuts, never have, probably because their father doesn’t like nuts…except for pecans, which he says don’t count. So I was surprised that they were all excited about going to the restaurant where their Aunt Alyssa works. She had been telling them about all of the free peanuts and that you can just throw the shells on the floor. They couldn’t wait to go. They’ve never eaten a peanut in their lives so I wasn’t sure what the attraction was, but oh well. Once we got to our table I suddenly understood. Cainan grabbed a whole handful of peanuts from the bucket and threw them back over his shoulder. They clattered to the floor, scattering everywhere, and landed on the diners behind us. When I jumped up to scold him he said, “But Alyssa said you can throw them on the floor!”

Sunflower seeds were another new one for Cainan. He had never tried them before but when his little friend, Daniel, had some at the baseball game Cainan decided to give them a shot. Next thing I know Daniel’s mom is laughing and trying to explain to Cainan that he is supposed to spit the hulls out. He was chewing them up, swallowing them whole…and enjoying them very much.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Momentous Occasion

We moved into our house on March 1, 2002. Since that time we have been finishing little bits and pieces that we didn’t have time to do before with moved in. Alas, there are still a lot of things that need to be done, but we never seem to make time to do them and we are beginning not to care. That’s dangerous. But every once in a while we get so fed up with it that we spring in to action and work like crazy to get something done. (Well, let me rephrase that…every once in a while I get so fed up with it)

Anyway, just such an event occurred recently. I just couldn’t stand our garage any more. It was cluttered and dirty and smelly and, since we have never put in the sidewalks to the front or back doors, it is the only way for people to enter our house. I started cleaning and Brian soon joined in. It took us three full days but we finally accomplished something that had never been done in the history of this house…

We got both cars in the garage at the same time!!! Not to mention the bikes, toys, lawn mower, two garden tillers, and one kid sized John Deere Gator.

It was truly a momentous occasion that we had to document…because it may not last.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We have always recycled aluminum cans. But the past two years in school Ryker has learned a lot about recycling and is very interested in it. So now it is his job to collect the cans from the kitchen, crush them, and store them until we can take them to the recycling center. He then gets the money for the cans. Once my grandpa got wind of this he started giving him all of his cans too and then Aunt Susan and Uncle David joined in. Needless to say he has been making a pretty penny considering that they pay 65 cents for every pound of aluminum.

Cainan has become jealous of Ryker’s new found cash cow ($12.90 at the last drop off). So when we were cleaning out the garage we found 4 old batteries that needed to be disposed of. Brian told Cainan he could help him take them to the recycling center and then keep the money. Cainan was thrilled. Unfortunately they only pay 4 cents a pound for lead so Cainan only came home with $4.00. He didn’t seem to mind at all. Later that night when he had graciously shared part of his treat with Ryker, he yelled out, “Happy straw for the rich man!”

A Dog's Life

Ryker and Cainan are the kings of make believe. They can play with a rock and two sticks and be totally happy (until they start bickering with each other over which stick gets to win the sword fight, that is.) They play a variety of make believe scenarios but one they continually come back to is being dogs. Every time they play Ryker is a dog named “Scout” and Cainan is his faithful companion “Bitty Dog”. They chase each other around on all fours and wrestle around in their dog house (a rickety contraption of blankets draped over chairs which Kinley continually knocks down). They speak only in barks, woofs, and yips but kindly translate into English for each other.

Sometimes one of them will be a human, “the petter”, while the other one is the dog. Of course, on these occasions the dog must wear a leash. The dog puts the loop end of the real dog leash around his arm (thankfully both of their heads are too big to get it around their necks or I’m sure they would) while the petter holds onto the clip end. Recently Ryker was taking Bitty Dog for a walk. As they started across the living room Ryker commanded Bitty Dog to stop and he ran into the other room to get something. When he returned he had the end of a gray plastic Indian tomahawk in his mouth. When we asked him what he was doing he said, in his best British accent, “I forgot my pipe. Come Bitty Dog.”

Apparently they had just watched “101 Dalmatians” and were reenacting the scene where Roger takes Pongo to the park. I forgot that cartoon characters used to smoke.

Jesus Fingers

While we are on the subject of make believe….

While folding laundry recently I heard Ryker and Cainan playing harmoniously in my bedroom. Since it was such a rare occasion, no fighting, whining, or tattling yet, I listened closely. I could tell that they were playing with their pirate ships because they kept calling each other “Cap” and “Matey” and yelling at various others to “Walk the plank!” But then I heard something that didn’t seem to fit. Cainan said, “Pretend my fingers are Jesus.” Of course, I had to go investigate. I found that the pirate ship was going over a water fall and the Jesus fingers were walking across the water to save them. They do listen in Sunday School after all.

Big Girl

Brian and I both just love this picture of Kinley. She is so cute sitting up on that little rocking chair all by herself with her hair all laying down…for once. She looks so grown up, though. I can’t believe she is almost one year old already.

What's Right with the World

In mid-June I attended the Arts Conference at Willow Creek in Barrington (suburban Chicago), IL. The theme for the event was “Hallelujah, What’s Right with the World.” It was an amazing experience. Envisioning a church service that takes place in that kind of atmosphere was difficult at first, but once I realized how well organized they were and how friendly, knowledgeable and helpful the volunteers were it was easy to see how they can accomplish such a large undertaking several times a week. (The picture above is a view of their stage in their sanctuary. Remind anyone of home? Didn’t think so.)

I learned so much! Not only did I get to hear speakers like Donald Miller and Erwan McManus, but I also went to 4 different sessions taught by the head drama director from Willow Creek. I came away with a lot of good ideas for how to form, maintain, and minister to my core drama group and a lot more confidence to audition and direct the members of the group in order to insure that our performances are as high quality as possible. The main thing I came away with was the idea that “drama asks the question that the sermon will answer”. Drama should be a vehicle to prepare the congregation for the message they are about to hear. I’m excited to start working with my drama group again and try to implement some of my new ideas.

It was also really interesting to see some samples of worship sets from other churches. I saw a multicultural presentation of dance (including break dancing), song, spoken word, rap, drama, and saxophone solo from a church in L.A. Very interesting! Not something we will ever use in Greenville, but interesting. The film festival was also a highlight. To see what churches are doing with video editing, etc. was truly amazing. We really got inspired to start making some of our own videos. We are starting next week with a Sunday School promo that involves people diving into a swimming pool fully clothed. We’ll see how it goes.

Overall it was a great time of fellowship with my team, good food, and lots and lots of information. It was definitely one of the things that is right with the world.