Thursday, January 26, 2012

Introducing Deltoid Dustin

So last week, my friend and I were at the Y working out during Homeschool P.E.  It was a Thursday, and we were doing our normal whine through the boring dreadmill or fake it till we made it on the evilliptical, then we went over to the Life Fitness machines.  In our Y, these machines are the ones that are calibrated so that once you are a number on one of them, you are the same number on them all.  I have no idea why I felt like you needed to know that.  I digress.  We were discussing the awkward squat machine and adapted it to a less awkward squat.  Enter Deltoid Dustin (that may or may not be his real name) (he is a personal trainer).  He is this young fella,  extremely nice, respectful, angelic face, great teeth, arms of steel.  He comes over to observes that we are incorrectly using the machine.  We lament over how awkward it is, yada, yada, yada, all the while looking at the clock and being thankful that this conversation is ticking the minutes away.  Then he says, "Why don't you go use the squat machine in the free weight section?

We look at each other, blink, and look at him.  That section of the Wellness Center is ominous.  Big guys are over there grunting and shooshing.  Not to mention that there is an invisible wall that once you pass through, there is the smell of sweat.  Big guy sweat.  But against all logic, we follow him over, and try the squat machine, find that he does know what he is talking about because we really like it, and vow to use it from now on.

Then it happens.  "Hey", he says, "next week I'll run you all through a circuit training."  I perk up, "I love circuits!!" My friend looks at me like I have lost my mind.  I continue: "That was my favorite thing to do when I was in Boot Camp class!!"  He grins with those sparkling teeth and says, "Great!"

Fast forward to today.  This morning I see him when he comes in the Y.  He looks at me and says "Are you ready for me to kick your butt today?"  Ummm, I don't think that was ever in the conversation.  But the competitive me says, "Yeah, right.  I can take it."  When will I ever learn?  Brandy and I enter the Wellness Center this afternoon, and there is the twinkling smile. I remind him that I could possibly be old enough to be his mother.  From that point on, he proceeds to run us through what he called circuits, we called them painful.  I am positive that he stopped the movement on the clock, because that hour felt like 3. 

Not to mention we were in the ominous Free Weight section.  For an hour we burpeed, mountain climbed, squatted, stair stepped, arm rowed, lunged, supermanned, push upped (pushed ups?) and some other forms of exercise with weights that this body had never fathomed to use, all with the grunting and shooshing big guys.  Sweet mercy, were my arms burning.  But it felt great!  Although Brandy may never speak to me again.  And Deltoid Dustin may or may not have said that we were great entertainment for his afternoon in the Wellness Center.  And I informed him that what happens in the Wellness Center stays in the Wellness Center.  Unless I decide to blog about it :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How I know our kids are our kids

Since I invited you to my pity party yesterday, I will share something a little lighter today.  We have 2 kids, Noah who is 11 and Emma who is 8.  Noah is the spitting image of his dad.  Emma is the spitting image of me.  While their features are gender matched, their personalities are cross matched.  Noah is mine.  He is content to be at home, with a book.  He is more introverted and quiet.  He has a specific order for things, and he likes them that way.  Emma is Joel.  She is a party waiting to happen.  She is ready to go at a moments notice, even if she doesn't know where.  She is definitely more extroverted and spunky.  She is more free-spirited - let's just have fun and let the chips fall where they may.  Here is another example.  When I go to bed, the sheets and blankets have to be straight, with the sheet folded back over the quilt, so the quilt doesn't touch my face.  When Joel goes to bed, he just gets in, wrinkled up sheets, blankets can be askew.  He can be asleep before I even get in the bed.  So, ponder this interaction last night.  We were tucking the kids in, Joel was in Noah's room, and the sheets and blankets were all neat and orderly.  Joel pulled them back for Noah to get in.  Noah said "Dad!!  You messed them up!!  Now I have to fix them all over again!!"  Then he goes to Emma's room, where she is already in bed, with the sheet hanging out, all wrinkled and askew, and her comforter in a big lump of waddedness on top.  Joel came out laughing, acknowledging the fact that these are indeed our children. 

I think it is amazing how the Lord knits all of this together.  In His kindness and goodness, and also sense of humor, he takes 2 strangers, brings them together and then creates these tiny humans that, without any coaxing, take on the likenesses and characteristics of their parents.  Simply amazing.

Monday, January 23, 2012

There they sit.  New people in your small group.  It's like the elephant in the room.  A little chit chat and banter before, the actual group where no one really talks, because - hey, there's new people.  Then the after group.  The time where crickets chirp, awkwardness reigns, and the new people just can't wait to get out, and frankly, the old timers are relieved that they can now carry on with their normal visiting with "their" people. 

I am convinced that most churches in America have no idea what to do with new people.  They think they are friendly, welcoming, relevant.  After all, we have greeters at the door, pointing them to fellowship time with coffee and donuts, and the ever popular "everybody shake a hand" time in the service.  I mean, who doesn't want to be jumped on upon entering like a fat kid with a happy meal, then be pointed to go eat with complete strangers, then stand while everyone else shakes the hand of everyone they already know, feeling even more alone than when they first walked in?

I would wager that most people, when going to a new church, are hurting and feel alone.  And honestly, all churches in America seem to do is make it worse.  In the eagerness to be 'friendly,' it only seems to make people feel even more conspicuous.  In the effort to be 'all things to all people,' it only seems to make people wish they weren't those people.   I don't know the answer.  I don't know how to bridge the gap so that welcoming doesn't seem forced, and connectedness happens.  All I know is that it sucks to be the one feeling alone.