KWAT: Kids, Work, Acting, and Trees

So it doesn’t spell a real word.  Sue me 😛 (no, please don’t- who can afford an attorney these days?)  Anyway, it is time for my bimonthly update it would seem.  Let’s try bullet points since much has gone on- not so dull after all.

  • AWANA- ended several weeks ago.  First year of round 3 complete.  In my previous round, the Sparkies I had the first year were K-2.  This year they finished 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.  Hard to believe there was a round even before that, but I have been serving in kid’s ministry since fall ’98, and started that first AWANA round fall ’99.
  • My AWANA team had a *lot* of 3rd-graders.  Where are they now?  Why, many of them have shown up in my weekend classroom.  That’s right, 3rd grade through high school officially moved up at the beginning of this month.  Younger kids don’t move up until the end of summer.  I can hear the sing-song voices of the older kids: “I’m now in 4th grade, but you’re still in fir-irst.  Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!”
  • 5th graders moving out at the end of last month was as usual sad.  Some didn’t even bother showing up (not their fault I’m sure) which was even more sad because I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to them.  Especially since the week before I missed.
  • What?  I missed a week of church?  Blasphemy!  Okay, I have an excuse- I was in southern Illinois for my nephew’s graduation.  From college.  Yes, I am officially old…  I never want to repeat that weekend again, by the way.  We stayed at my nephew’s house (take that, h/motel industry with your doubled prices for graduation weekend!) which was in and of itself not a problem, but he had parties going on Friday and Saturday night.  Think me and parties, those that know me- college parties.  Kegs, beer pong, hip-hop (non)music…  Yeah, I appreciated going home at the end of it.  Oh yes, I watched my pastor’s sermon on the web, so I only missed the fellowship, not the message.
  • The boy’s TnT director had a mini-golf outing two weeks ago for kids who finished a book that year.  Does anyone recall the mini-golf outings my church experimented with a couple years ago for 4th and 5th grade small groups?  I’m sure I wrote up something as back then I was still making semi-regular posts here…  Yeah, it went like those.  28 book-finishers.  Two showed up.  Two.  Out of 28…  Sigh.  Still, for the few of us it was an enjoyable afternoon.
  • Two new employees for my company.  One person had moved to sales, so really just one new for all intents and purposes.  It does free me up a little for camp in August since I gave her two of my stores.  Yeah, August- two months later than prior years.  Well, six weeks anyway.  And minus a day too.  The church decided to change things for this summer to add two extra camp sessions, which actually gave them three because they are consolidating the two 4th and 5th grade weeks into just one for all campuses.  It is going to be crowded I think.  But it will still be fun.
  • The book store is closing at my church so I used the gift card that one of my AWANA kids gave me for Christmas (sweet of him) and added $20 of my own to get four books at 40% off.  Books by John MacArthur, Greg Laurie, David Jeremiah and John Piper- the former three who can be heard on Moody radio on a regular basis.  I also have a book from Erwin Lutzer and others books as well, so I really had better start reading them.  The only fiction book I am waiting to read is the final Wheel of Time book due out sometime this year.  No, scratch that.  It *was* due out in March of this year after having been pushed back.  Now it has been pushed back until next January.  Oh, well.  Plenty of time to read the more inspiring books of my collection first.
  • What of the musical I tried out for?  Didn’t make it.  Oh, well.  I wonder if God wants me to use my gifts elsewhere?  I sent an email to CYT Chicago, now apparently called Spotlight Youth  Theater to see if they had volunteer opportunities for non-parents.  Apparently not since they never bothered to email me back, even with a reply of “no.”
  • Today there was a short period of wind and a thunderstorm.  Sometime during it I heard a funny sound from outside.  I looked and saw that one of the trees in the front yard had assumed a mostly horizontal position.  Yikes!  I expected to see a scorch mark on what remained of the trunk, but apparently it was rotting and all it took was this wind storm to finish it off.  Praise God though- it fell on the ground and driveway and not on the house or one of the cars *on* the driveway.  In fact, there was at least a foot between the butt of my car and the nearest branch (which would have done little more than scratch the car- there was even greater distance from the thicker branches and trunk which could potentially have caused catastrophic damage.  Again, Praise God.

Saved the best for last, right?  Okay, maybe not, but at least it comes with pictures!  I have AWANA award ceremony pictures too, but I probably shouldn’t post them.

3rd Time’s a Charm

Or three strikes and you’re out, but I prefer the title saying better.  It is midway through the year of my third stint at being an AWANA leader.  Some time ago, when I was still subbing, I was asked by family to break off a bit from the kids.  After all, I was doing drama and serving in 4th and 5th grade on the weekends then working all week in K-8 classrooms.  Not wanting to get rid of the weekend service, I dropped AWANA after the year was over.

This year things have been a little different but very much the same.  Originally, 3rd-4th grade were known as Pals (boys) and Chums (girls) while 5th (normally 6th too, but at our church 6th grade is junior high and they don’t do AWANA) were known as Pioneers (boys) and Guards (girls).  I believe it was during time #2 that the switch was made to T in T: Truth in Training for all three grades, boys and girls.  One year I worked with Sparks (K-2) but the rest of the time has been with 3rd-5th grade.  Would you believe the kindergarten Sparkies from that year are in 8th grade now?  Time does fly.  Other differences this year include keeping points for my team- kind of a pain with over 15 boys, mostly 3rd and 4th grade though I do have one or two 5th-graders- and game time is no longer the normal circle games, though at the beginning of the year we did do them.  Now we switch off between double-kickball (two balls, two kickers, one set of bases) and dodge-ball.

Last night was crazy hat night.  Every week has some sort of theme with varying levels of participation- last week was ugly sweater night and few participated.  Wristwatch night also seemed to be on the light side.  Hat night must have been easier as there was much participation.  Conservative, childless me didn’t have a hat anywhere near crazy status and I didn’t have time to think about it anyway since I arrived home from work after six and had to be at the church at 6:30.  There were of course Dr. Seuss hats among the fare, a mohawk hat, a creative lad wearing two Civil War hats representing both Union and Confederate sides, and another one wearing stacked baseball hats.  I am slightly chuffed to say the winner came from my own team, though of course I had nothing to do with it myself.  Cole wore the same hat he always wears to AWANA- he usually leaves it on all night except for prayer- but over that he had on a full Air Force pilot helmet, meaning not just the helmet but the breathing apparatus as well.  Technically not a hat, but it did go on  the head, so…  He informed me one of his relatives was in the Air Force.  If he went to this church on the weekend (he attends a different church- he came as another’s friend one week and signed up after that) he would fit right in at camp this summer and the winter retreat the following January- next year will be the military theme once again.

Anyway, speaking of winter retreat, *this* year’s retreat is tomorrow night and it is now after 11PM.  Time to hit the sack so I will have at least some rest for it.  And perhaps a blog post afterward.  Please pray for us this weekend- 24 hours from Friday 7PM to Saturday 7PM.

Those kids I (should) know…

I have mentioned in the past occasionally running into students who I know from church. The most interesting response one has ever given me was a few years ago in a district I used to sub in. It was an afternoon position and the kids just came back from lunch. Then one boy just shouted out, “Hey, I know you!!!” Well, as is often the case working with so many kids, plus my faulty memory when it comes to names and faces I only vaguely remembered him, but at least I knew from where I knew him, so I said so then slyly looked up his name. From that point on I got to know him better at church, as well as his brother who would enter the 4th grade the following year. Today I found myself in a similar situation. He didn’t blurt it out like the one a few years ago, but quietly let me know. Unfortunately my memory of him was no better than that other time. In my defense I should say that I work two services and interact with about 80-90 each weekend. Some I interact with more than others, and he unfortunately was one of those others. No sly tricks this time though, but I mentioned that I may have to have him put in my cabin at camp this June so I remember him better.

So of course this wouldn’t be as interesting a post if there wasn’t more to this story. After the kids had PE in the morning, they came back and switched classes for science/social studies (my class went to social studies, another class came in for science). So then another boy told me he remembered me from church too! After telling him I didn’t recognize him, he confessed he’d only been there twice as a guest of the first boy. So, not as much coincidence then since the first boy was involved. Later, after lunch, you guessed it… I ran into someone else from my church. What three in one day? Is God telling me something? If so He will need to be clearer unfortunately- this mind of mine isn’t seeing it. I actually ran into someone from church picking up his daughter for a dental appointment. In fact, I had worked with him one year in AWANA. He was the new director of TNT boys (Truth in Training, 3rd-5th grades) and I was a leader. Anyway, care to guess which class his daughter was in? Just by my asking the question you know it was mine. She didn’t know me though as far as I know- it’s possible she goes to the service I don’t lead in. I’ll have to find out.

Speaking of AWANA, I had one of my bigger memory freezes with the former director of the 3rd-5th grade boys. After about six weeks of working with him once a week, I saw him at a churchgoer’s get-together at someone’s farm. He saw me and said hello, and I recognized that I knew him, but I suddenly couldn’t place where I knew him from! Ah, that mind of mine- short-circuits from time to time. Once I said so and he told me, it was the biggest duh! moment ever.

Well, until next time.

Update: Here’s a story about someone with a memory opposite of mine:

Would you like to remember every day of your life? 

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