Monday, August 29, 2005

Final Outing

Yesterday was my last official day of the summer holidays. Unfortunatly I spent the afternoon working which was thankfully, brightened by a few events. The first was that a large troup of my aquaintance stayed until after I was done working. They messed around with music and that sort of thing. Brian tried to teach me how to pick a lock (in case I ever get locked out of a car!) and I chased Josh with a very nasty mop until he dropped my umbrella which he was abusing. There was nothing more delightful than to see the fear on his face that I would actually wack him across the face with it. Needless to say I fully intended to carry out my threat.

The evening brought some better times. Shauna came and took Nate, Hannah, and myself to get icecream since all three of us were starting school today. I enjoyed it a lot. Shauna talked about her work quite a bit and jr camp and the summer and all of that. I do hope she doesn't end up moving away.

On other topics: I will have my first ever piece of writting in print. The sad irony of this triumph is that it is merely in a newsletter to the children's ministry staff and badly written to boot. I'm afraid that Mrs. Bell would have my head on a platter if she knew I wrote an essay that didn't have one theme with three subpoints.

And on yet another topic. I'm reading "Brave New World." I don't like it at all for the simple reason that it seems far too likely to actually happen someday. It's like F451 except that is focusing on a world without relationships instead of words. Words are baned in this world but the main focus is on the world powers trying to destroy human relationships as they were meant to be. A good read but I still don't like it.

the end

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Summer

The green is fading. Have you ever noticed how trees do that toward the end of summer? The green is less fresh as it was at the end of spring. It gets a little more greyer, drier looking than it was. Then the weather begins to get cooler and the leaves decide that its time to change color. I love autumn though I think spring and summer are my favorite seasons. Fall is not as lovely as it might be if there was no winter cold and snow to come behind it. And I'll miss swimming. Contrary to what that sentence might indicate, I do not swim as a sport or for exercise but merely love to float around and dunk people when I get the chance. Oddly enough I have been able to do lots of both floating and dunking this year, nearly every week, which I will miss when it gets cold.

Another of my favorite summer activities is ultimate frisbee at the Warren's every Tuesday night. Unfortunatly, my abilities are little more than yelling that I am open half the time and dropping the frisbee the other. However I do enjoy running about and talking with everyone. Being with a gathering of people, even if I am not entirely familiar with all of them, is something that I love to do. I like hearing other people talk. So often the strangest and most laughable things are overheard to make me smile.

The leisurely hours are almost gone... time to put my mind to work once again. And it all begins on Monday.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

AWANA Clubs

I heard Mim and Adele begin joyful exhaltation over someone in the fact that they have literally no home videos of their childhood. This is in a word, horrifying. Home videos are special to me. Whenever I watch them I find myself laughing uncontrolably and happily revisiting the best places of my life.

This afternoon, my entire family took a walk down memory lane to one of the most beloved memories of Watkinsville First Baptist Church: AWANA Clubs.

AWANA is an acronym for "Aproved Workmen Are Not Ashamed," from 2 Timothy 2:15. This was what was hammered into us week after week, every Wednesday evening throughout the school year. If we gave everything we had in everything we did, we had nothing to be ashamed of before God or men. "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God." As we watched the highlights of the first two years of awana in our church, I could see this being done.

Who could have forgotten the game time? Here Daddy pushed everyone to their vocal limits, including his own, to get us "pumped" and ready to compete for the orange pin and black and white bean bag. Some might see this as a trivial matter. Who cares about the winning of a plastic orange pin for a few seconds glory? Don't ask such a thing. It mattered. Everything mattered just to hear your team scream with ecstasy when you won. Then between games the screaming would grow louder as Dad led the chant, "I LOVE JESUS, YES I DO! I LOVE JESUS, HOW 'BOUT YOU?!" I remember my throat hurting after game time. In later years we added the yell "AWANA FEVER!" and the teams would respond with "CATCH IT!" I don't know how Dads voice lasted all those years. I know he can't yell like he used to simply from his giving the 100% of his voice every week. Those games were nothing compared to the tension that would build at the end of the year when everyone eagerly looked forward to the Olympics. Months of practice. Then Regionals. Then States. Dad pushed his boys to do everything perfectly. Perfectly. Those boys loved him. He loved them and they knew it. Somewhere they would pull out that extra energy in a sprint or perfection in a baloon pass just because he asked it of them in that tense, pumped up scream of his across the game floor.

I wanted nothing more than to be a part of the boys team that won first place in the state every single year. I wanted to perform like that and experience the thrill of winning. Unfortunatly I never had the chance to compete since I was unable to "make the cut" as part of the girls team when I grew old enough. Dad knew and understood how disappointed I was and let me go to every single of the boy's practices as his "assistant." I held his clipboard and whistle and brought him things. In actuality I wasn't needed but nothing could have pleased me more than that job. We won that year. It was our last year in Georgia.

Then there was Bible quizzing. Oftentimes I have found among the church quiz team a confusion as to my competitiveness in this area. More than once have people told me to calm down and not be so stressed. Awana was where I found a love for this. My first quiz I ever witnessed was the paddle kind. I knew one of the questions and whispered the answer out loud excitedly to Mom. I was taken out and not allowed back in. That wasn't the best time though. They had ftvs of sorts in another competition. I remember seeing Matt in this. I sat with Aunt Dale for this one and she videoed him the entire time. I have a clear image of the "ref" asking "Is that your final answer?" and an Ashford boy saying "No it is not." and then repeating the verse. I can't remember if he said it right the first time or if he had it right the second time.

Dad put the same enthusiasm, love, and energy into his coaching of Bible quizzing. One particular afternoon he had a quizzing practice/football game party. The boys would take turns going with him in the other room being asked verses to which they would yell "BEEP!" and answer, while the others would carry on a rucus over the Bulldog game.

Again I was never able to do this. I could have made the team. I have no doubt about that but we left for a six week stay in Missouri that took me off the team. Disappointed? yes. This merely added to my fervor for the sport when we moved to PA and I found that the jr high had a quiz team of its own.

Who could forget the Penny Pushes? These were Mom's forte. The goal? To raise money to be sent solely to missions. Usually it was a competition between the girls and the boys. Whoever brought in the least ammount had their leaders pied in the face. The girls usually won. What surprised me in watching the movie was how much we brought in. Our tiny little church brougth in over $1000. How we all laughed at the video of the leaders being pied...

There was such excitement in awana. I wanted to learn my verses. I wanted to have them perfect. I wanted to do everything the best I could because my leaders had such energy and passion to do it themselves. Everyone loved the leaders though Dad was the favorite. No doubt. We have a video of a girls sleepover (the older group. I was too young at this point. A number of the girls in the video are married now) where four or so of the girls did long and accurate imitations of Dad during game time. Seeing little Hannah Hager start twitching and saying "Oh I feel it coming" and then loudly screach the Jesus chant was so funny. Or seeing her running up to a girl and asking if she was pumped tonight. "Oh Baby!" was one of the common expressions.

To end, I would like to say that I wish kids could see that kind of intensity of life. To see that which made them sing "I've got a river of life" at the top of their lungs and learn their verses as if their lives depended on it. As Jennifer said, "I wish I could go to AWANA."

So to Dad and Mom and the Rattis and the Smiths and the Hagers and all the other leaders in my childhood: Thank you.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wherever My Wimsey Takes Me

I have come. I have a blog. And I'll have things to say later but am unable to think of anything to say.

I think I should go have some tea. That will clear my head.