Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just an old pencil

It's just another morning of picking up what the kids left behind before they dashed off to school. I noticed an old pencil on the floor, the one that has no eraser unless you bite the end to plump it up and it was half the size of the usual variety so I knew it had been used a few times. So I figured it had done its work and threw it in the trash and went on with life... for about 5 seconds. I kept thinking about that darn pencil in the trash. It must stem from my pioneer ancestry of waste not- want not. I can't stand to waste anything, not even a half used up pencil. The part I couldn't get past is that it was still useful. The tip wasn't broken, nor dulled down all the way. The thoughts of the pencil got the better of me and I found myself back to the kitchen trash digging through bits of discarded food and wrappers to retrieve it.

I guess the truth was I saw myself in that pencil. I'm no longer the newly bought yellow #2 pencil fresh out of the box. I have been ahere long enough to have a child graduating from high school this year. I will be celebrating two decades of marriage as well. These are time markers causing me to pause for self reflection. Have I put my life to good use? Am I still?

If not, today is a new day. Though I may be a half used pencil, I still have lead and I can still write. Write in your book today. Let the Lord use you to help others. We're all in this together. Let's end this life as nubs of a pencil- used down to the last inch... (and if need be we'll get eraser replacement surgery and buy one of those bright colorful eraser caps to keep us going.) We'll be useful to the end. Let's go NUBS! :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Basketball with the Big boys

So it's the first warmish day of March and I hear a basketball bouncing in the driveway. Could that be one of my kids? I love basketball. And it seems that if I love something... everyone else in the family must go against it. I don't know why. My husband points to my poor losing abilities and equally annoying my- in- your- face winning stylistics. Honestly, I don't see it. I do see that I am an "in- the- moment- type girl- who-expresses- herself-openly but, I'm learning to hold it in more, so others will want to play with me. I heard the ball and remembered that if I want people (aka my family) to play with me, I need to approach this possible ball playing opportunity just right. So I walk out there, grab a ball (not theirs) and start shooting around with them. It's my 16 yr old 6+ footer who's throwing the ball, I mention how good he's getting and how about a little game of P-I-G. He thinks about it. I see he is weighing what the outcome will look like. I immediately see I need to push the balance in my favor. I mention that it's just for fun- I continue to show that I am not in a competitive mood- just shooting around. He agrees. I try to hide that my heart beat just picked up the pace. Yes.. I have a player! So we start out, I'm rusty. I hit the rim time and again. But so did he. So no stress. Then I get one in and of course he matches it. Other kids hear the ball bouncing and come out to see what's going on. I say casually, "Hey after this game why don't we play a real game of 2 on 2. Kids versus parents." (Kids hardly can withstand such a challenge- stuffing it in your parents' face without punishment- I knew this would be hard to pass up.) The oldest- 18 and almost 6 feet tall- also rolls it over- I can tell he is thinking of past experiences and wondering if this will be worth it. But then he did something new... He looked at me from top to bottom and realized 5 ft. 3- was his competition. He had grown. We were no longer the same height as a couple of summers ago (when he probably last agreed to play). I saw him nod his head yes that he was in. This was no small undertaking my friends. I only had one more person to convince- my soul mate, my team mate- my husband. So I run in the house to inform him that we have game takers. I also let him know that our children were leaving us and we should act on every opportunity to make memories with them. He did the roll your eyes look. I'm used to that. I said, "It will be fun... I will be good." He did the "Are-you-sure-about-that look?" I shook my head emphatically yes. "Honey, we must act quickly before they change their minds." The wind was kickin' up a little more, the sun was going down. The time to act was now. He stretched his aching joints. (He is in his 40's now.) He finally relented and headed outside to the court turning his baseball cap around on backwards, signifying that the game was on. I would like to say, we beat those boys. But we didn't. But we did hang until the last hoop. I'd like to say I didn't trash talk. But I did. I remember saying something like "Yeah... your mama got back." (Which in slang terms... I don't even know what that means.) I just always say something about their Mama and how she still gots it. But I did learn a few things. 1- I learned that bigger is better (at least in basketball). Gees, I couldn't see around them, I couldn't see over them. The only way I had any chance on that driveway court was to move quickly. Any amount of hesitation and they were all over me and I lost the ball. 2- I realized that is how it is in life- too often we hesitate/procrastinate on the things we are supposed to do and then more likely than not the opportunity passes by. We missed it. Don't miss whatever opportunity is out there today. Listen to that voice inside that tells you to call someone or let that car in or read that bedtime story. Make time in your busy schedule to be And 3- the last thing I learned-Congratulate their win. Everyone needs to know they did well when they did. It shows respect and good sportsmanship and maybe keeps the door open to them playing with you again...someday. Good Job Boys... You got game! And who taught you how to play like that...your Mama? ( Still working on getting myself out of the highlight reel.... just another day in the test of my character. :)