Sunday Offerings – Three Simple Joys

It’s a Sunday in Summer and, I confess, I didn’t make it to church today.  But, I did spend some time thinking about the following simple things that bring me joy and make me grateful.

!. Dodge Ball

Yesterday, Nico came home from a week at Boy Scout camp. He was covered in grime, and filled with stories of his camp adventures. He told me what he did each day, but when he told me about his last day at camp, his ever-deepening voice was filled with pride.

He told me that on the last day of camp, the camp staff challenged the scouts to an epic game of dodge ball. The game started out with about 30 boys playing against an equal number of staffers. Little by little, as the camper or staffer was hit by the ball, or failed to catch the ball, the player was eliminated. The game got down to Nico, the lone camper, against 3 of the kitchen staff. Nico threw the ball at one of the staffers. The ball hit the staffer’s legs and bounced off, hitting the second staffer, and both in one throw. With the game down to Nico and the last staffer, Nico threw the ball at the staffer. The staffer bent down to catch the ball, caught it, and then dropped it! The other campers who had been eliminated but were still watching the game let out a loud cheer for Nico.

The scouts won! Nico proudly told me how he was carried back to camp on the shoulders of his fellow scouts. What a great moment for him. Nico, the last man standing, triumphs in dodge ball!

2. Magical Cups

I have been helping my mom go through some of my grandmother’s things since my grandmother’s passing. It has been difficult and discouraging because she had so much stuff. We can’t just toss it out because some of it has value, even if it is just sentimental value. I took a few plant cuttings from my grandmother’s garden in the hope that maybe, in her death, my grandmother’s green thumb will have magically passed onto me. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes…

I also took these:

These are metal cups. They are the two remaining from a set which is long gone. When I was a child my grandmother would serve me milk in these cups. The milk always tasted so good when I drank it from these cups. Even though my stomach can no longer tolerate milk I wanted the cups, so my mom let me have them. Yesterday Diego, who rarely drinks milk, asked for a glass to go with his PB and J. Juan served him milk in the cup. Later, Diego asked for more milk from the cup. He said he had never tasted milk like that before. He told me the cup was “magical.”

I may not have my grandmother’s green thumb, but I have her magical cups.

3. Greener Pastures

About two weeks ago, Juan declared war on the grass. He looked at the patchy, yellow, poor-excuse-for-a-lawn we had in the backyard and said, “You and me lawn. I am going to win.” He went out and bought grass seed, lawn topper and set our sprinklers to automatic. Friday, we came home from a couple of nights out of town and we saw this:

Juan Wins!

Grass. Growing. And it is green!

Yeah. Maybe my grandmother’s green thumb went to Juan instead of me?

What about you? What simple things bring you joy? What simple things make you grateful?


Sunday Offerrings – A Day at the Races

Today we went to at a Cub Scout event, the Soap Box Derby. The Derby is an annual event where the boys race homemade cars. The boys steer the cars with their feet as it goes along the slightly downhill, winding course. In case things get a little scary on those hairpin turns, the boys use a hand brake to slow themselves down. The runs are timed and the boys compete against each other.

Diego’s Cub Scout pack is a really nice group of families and boys. I like the cub scouting program because I think it helps to remind boys about what it means to be a kid. The kind of kid who plays outdoors in the water on hot summer days, goes camping, and takes hikes though the woods. Sometimes my boys become so hooked into the video games and television they forget about going outside and playing around. Today, they were reminded of that.

And I was too.

My "pit crew" readies me for a race.

But Diego did much better than I did.

Here’s my attempt:

Obviously, Diego did a lot better than I did!

3rd Place Finish!!

Kinecting with My Inner Athlete, and My Kids

Every New Year brings with it a set of resolutions. In my case, those reolutions usually go something like this:

  • Eat better.
  • Lose Weight.
  • Exercise.

I almost never make it past January on the Eating Better or Losing Weight part, but last year I made it to September on the Exercise part.   I worked out (almost)  weekly in a Pilates class and in a Mexican folk dancing class.  It was as fun as any exercise can be, but then my schedule got out of control and I couldn’t find time to get to the classes regularly.  I have decided that I am a social exerciser.  I need to exercise in a group, preferably a group with many people for me to  hide behind, in a class that plays good music.

I have also decided that I am not an athlete. As a child I didn’t know there was such a thing as girls sports. My parents signed my brother up for little league football, baseball and basketball, and my sister and I became cheerleaders, or we took dance classes.  In high school I decided to try team sports so I joined the badminton team. BADMINTON! After one season which confirmed to me that I am not an athlete,  I joined the drama club and drill team.  As I have grown more,  (ahem) , mature in my years  I have not acquired a passion for exercise. I look at it more as a necessary evil.  I now understand that in order to make exercise a part of my life, I really need to enjoy the activity. DUH! But as much as I enjoyed the pilates and dance classes, that wasn’t enough. Exercise also takes time. And time is one thing that a working mother of four kids in a blended family is short on.  So my exercise routine puttered out as 2010 came to a close.  New Year, new me.

Yesterday, as I was polishing off the last of the Christmas food gift basket,  I heard my boys in the family room yelling and jumping around as they played with their new X-Box Kinect.  The X-Box Kinect is a video game which uses your body as the video controller. Players stand in front of the video console while watching the television screen and react to the video game being played.  I decided to give it a try. First, Nico and I played the bowling game. I reached out for the digital bowling ball seen on the screen, took my bowling stance , and swung my arm, releasing the ball. The ball appeared on the TV rolling down the lane and hitting one of the pins. Ok, so bowling isn’t my sport either.  The next game we played was beach volleyball.  I jumped, and dove, mimicking a real volleyball game. I knew there was a reason I went out for badminton and not volleyball. It’s hard.  I swear, I got sand in my eyes, I was playing so hard! But, we were also having great fun, playing together and laughing at ourselves!

This morning as I got out of bed my calves burned. I went to brush my hair and my arm was stiff. Diego came hobbling into my room complaining of  pain in his calves.  That’s when it occurred to me what happened. I had finally discovered an exercise which I could enjoy, and spend time with the family. Beach volleyball. On the Kinect. If only they made a badminton game.