Wednesday, August 31, 2005

WWJD about Katrina?

Imagine your life being swept away. Imagine nothing left. Imagine some of your things left, some it floating down the street, rendered completely useless by water damage. Water that stinks of sewage. Miles and miles of water, water that will soon be full of potential diseases. Water that will take days to recede. Family members or friend swept away in the wind and rain.

We have friends in New Orleans. We can't reach them on the phone, and email doesn't work. (Pastor) Mike and Christina Hogg are ok though, we received a phone message today indicating briefly that their family is ok. But their home, and their church are another matter. Very likely under water right now. Pray!

President Bushes remarks to the nation today included this:

"I also want to thank the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army and the Catholic Charities, and all other members of the armies of compassion. I think the folks in the affected areas are going to be overwhelmed when they realize how many Americans want to help them. At this stage in the recovery efforts, it's important for those who want to contribute, to contribute cash. You can contribute cash to a charity of your choice, but make sure you designate that gift for hurricane relief. You can call 1-800-HELPNOW, or you can get on the Red Cross web page, The Red Cross needs our help. I urge our fellow citizens to contribute. The folks on the Gulf Coast are going to need the help of this country for a long time. This is going to be a difficult road. The challenges that we face on the ground are unprecedented. But there's no doubt in my mind we're going to succeed. Right now the days seem awfully dark for those affected -- I understand that. But I'm confident that, with time, you can get your life back in order, new communities will flourish, the great city of New Orleans will be back on its feet, and America will be a stronger place for it. The country stands with you. We'll do all in our power to help you. May God bless you."

Ok, here are some resources:

Salvation Army

Red Cross

America's Second Harvest

Catholic Charities

Samaritan's Purse

What do you think Jesus would do?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina - Two Things

When one listens to the news, hears the stories, and sees the devastation, there are two primary reactions:

  1. 1. Pray

  1. 2. Give

Monday, August 29, 2005

Girls Scouts Join the Chorus of Mediocrity

Megan Cox Gurdon of NRO nailed this.

Its Scary Out There at the Edge of the Reef

Pictured at right is my youngest daughter Heather, who, as you can easily see, is an accomplished snorkeling aficionado. As the Hawaiians would say, "Moko ini ale'a huna oli' na na snorkelini", which roughly translated means, "dat' white girl inna polka dot top is gonna drown sure, bro....". Or something like that. At least that what it sounds like right after one of these.

Anyway, last week we spent one of the most idyllic days of my life, and wouldn't you know it, God was right there with us. Right there, on the beach, in the water, all around us. We traveled to the north shore (windward side) of Kauai to Tunnels Beach , pictured below. I could not believe that we had the priviledge of spending even part of a day here. I am fairly confident that when I hit the shores of Paradise, the view will be very similar to this.

Our task this day was snorkeling, as we had heard that Tunnels was one of the best snorkeling spots in the islands. After we ventured into the shallows of the reefs and out to deeper waters, we soon found out that all the advice of both friends and tour books was right on. The underwater world we found was amazing, as you can see below; I am amazed at the infinite creativity of God in fashioning the world around us. The reef at Tunnels is a big one, and extends some 500 yards offshore. This is also a famous winter surfing spot, with some big waves, and also carries some infamy with it, as the spot where Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a shark and lost her arm. Bethany is one of Heather's biggest heros, and Heather has read her book at least two times through during the past year.

As we headed out, I noticed that Heather was more hesitant that her usual self. She wanted me close at hand as we swam through the reef, slowly making our way out to edge of the reef. After about 100 yards, there is a significant drop-off of the reef, from a depth of 10-15 feet to about 30-40 feet. When you head down at this point you can really feel the cold water at the reef thermocline.

If you are 11 years old, sleep in a warm bed in the suburbs of Southern California every night, and have read about girls age being attacked by sharks on just about this very spot, your mind gets to working overtime. Short version - its scary. So we held hands or swam real close together, and explored around for almost two hours, maybe longer. We saw lots of cool fish we had never seen before; big fish, little fish, amazing colors!

Now, as the thick-headed (and only) male in my family, this whole experience took me a while to sort out. Make that a couple of days. The metaphor that occurred to me is that this life we have been granted sometimes feels much like an 11-year old facing a big league reef for the first time. We are unsure, tentative, and often downright scared. That shallow water seems so much safer, maybe we will just stay in close to shore. Out there at the edge of the reef is where the Wild Things happen. But there are amazing things to do and see out there, its worth the journey out. If we are gonna head out there, better to have someone close at hand, Someone who gives us a sense of security.

It is good to know, we are definitely not alone. I have also found it interesting how two of my favorite people have been thinking the same thoughts along parallel lines, here and here.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Vacation Ruminations

Being far from home in an entirely different setting surrounded by those you love is causing me to reflect on the course of life, ponder the direction of things, and dwell on what really matters. Its as if our daily work-a-day life is performed in some sort of repetitive fog, and being away from that pattern can help the fog lift.

We experienced this just this past Sunday as we visited the famous Kalalau Valley, at the top of Waimea Canyon, on the west end of Kauai. The drive from the coast into the canyon is about 23 miles, but takes about 45 minutes to complete, as the road is very windy along the western edge of beautiful Waimea Canyon, dubbed by Mark Twain as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific". We arrived at the end of the road, in the remote northwestern part of the island. In the past crews have tried to construct further roads here, only to literally abandon their equipment on hillsides and swamps, overwhelmed by the forces of nature. Soon, our family almost felt overwhelmed by nature as well.

As we arrived at the end of the road after the lengthy drive, we found ourselves in fog bank, with whisps of clouds floating over the parking lot. Now imagine this scene for a minute, my wife and I with two girls of 11 and 14 years in the car. Can you not just imagine their wonderfully cooperative and happy spirits after 45 minutes in the back seat of a Mustang Convertible? Might I just trust you to understand that their collective mood was somewhat less than optimal? Very well then.

As we approached the railing the view was stunning. Of clouds and more clouds, that is. Clouds in front of us, clouds behind us, over us, and around us. Normally in situations such as this, I am inclined to sigh deeply, or perhaps even emit a "harrumph!", and venture back to the car to head home. But for some reason, there was something calming about being there in the clouds. I didn't feel a need to leave immediately, nor did my wife. I thought outloud, perhaps if we just wait, the weather might change. And so, we waited. Five minutes turned to ten, and ten to almost twenty.

And then, within seconds, the clouds vaporized, and there before us was a glimpse of heaven, the striking Kalalua Valley, awash in late afternoon sun, all the way to the Na Pali coast. I snapped the photo above right at the moment the fog cleared.

Perhaps if we let Him, God might clear the fog in all of our lives. If we let Him. I wonder.

Charles Warren Stoddard has gone to the Sandwich Islands permanently. Lucky devil. It is the only supremely delightful place on earth. It does seem that the more advantages a body doesn't earn here, the more of them God throws at his head. This fellow's postal card has set the vision of those gracious islands before my mind again, with not a leaf withered, nor a rainbow vanished, nor a sun-flash missing from the waves, & now it will be months, I reckon, before I can drive it away again. It is beautiful company, but it makes one restless & dissatisfied.- Mark Twain's letter to W. D. Howells, 10/26/1881

The Exotic Isles - Past and Present, and 10 Things

Friday – Sunday – August 19-21

Greetings from our nation’s 50th State, the Land of Aloha. I ventured here several times as a child with my parents, but those vacations typically consisted of a view of the interior and pool area of the Hyatt, Marriott, or whatever, and not much ground level experience of life in the Islands. I also found
this website, which celebrates the old Coco Palms Hotel on Kauai (note snazzy photo herein – that is NOT my wife and I) , which has been closed for more than a decade following the 1992 devastation of Hurricane Iniki. I learned about it while doing this, which is something I have always wanted to do.

This is a special time off for our family. Our girls are promoting from Middle School to High School and from Elementary to Middle School – both this fall. We felt it was time for a special vacation, one in which we can enjoy the gift of family and splurge a bit. So here we are 2,300 some-odd miles from home, and happy as clams.

Our family is big on exploring and experiencing new things. For instance, today we did
this. I learned also today that Steve Case, the founder of AOL, purchased 17,000 acres of former sugar plantation land in eastern Kauai several years ago, and leases the land to various public and private uses. For a real estate guy, there is lots of interesting stuff to learn. We went tubing on his land today. From one Steve to another, thanks.

During some exploring and snorkeling downtime last night, our family together watched
Because of Winn Dixie, based on the classic childrens’ book by Kate DiCamillo. This is a wonderful film, full of love, heartache, magic, and good moral themes that I can recommend to anyone. Outstanding film-making! India Opal, the girl who is the main character in the story, wants to learn 10 things about her mother, whom she has been separated from since she was small. In this theme, I thought I should post 10 things about myself for my readers (all 12 of you) to know about me (not necessarily in any particular order).

1. I am an only child, and intermittently shift from blaming all my weaknesses in life on this one fact, to attempting to just “get over it”.
2. My finding Christ at the age of 21, and meeting my wife at age 29, remain to this day the first and second greatest miracles of my life.
3. The birth of my daughters Kelly and Heather, in 1991 and 1994 respectively, are the third and fourth (not necessarily in that order) most wonderful things ever to happen to me.
4. Everything I like to eat best, is not good for me. In N’ Out Burger, Dove Bars, and chocolate brownies. I rest my case.
5. I fall half way between and introvert and extrovert in most personality tests. This can be hard to live with, just ask my wife. It is sort of like being socially pi-polar.
6. The last Democrat I voted for was Jimmy Carter.
7. The first Republican I voted for was Ronald Reagan. I have a story about his change of mind, which is partially informed by
8. The three people I respect most in the modern context are; Billy Graham, John Wooden, and George Bush.
9. I struggle daily with the story of the Rich Young Ruler. It feels like it is about me. Probably will for the rest of my days.
10. In my mind, the greatest moment in baseball was Kurt Gibson’s homer in the 1988 World Series. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

There, 10 things. Up next, more on vacation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Tomorrow morning our family leaves for 10 days in Hawaii. We are all very excited for the opportunity to play, rest, explore, eat (!), create family memories, and enjoy God's creation.

I will not be blogging for at least the next six days, as the first place we are staying only has dial-up access, and I need to get a non-blogging life! I think this is Devine Providence. I have my swim trunks and underwater digital camera housing. What else do I need? Oh yeah, toothpaste.

I might touch in here next weekend, but then again, you may never hear from us again - From "Take Another Road" - by Jimmy Buffet:

Take another road to a hiding place

Disappear without a trace

Take another road in another time

On another road in another time

Like a novel from the five and dime

Take another road in another time

Monday, August 15, 2005

One Really Bad Comparison

Alright. I have to admit something here. Take away my Good Christian Who Never Says Critical Things Sunday School Attendance Badge, but James Dobson makes me feel bipolar. While I am thankful for the emphasis on solid values of Focus on the Family (I have a friend who works there) and all the good this organization has done, there are some times when I could just scream at the dumb things Dr. Dobson says. Remember Sponge Bob?

Last week was one of those times. When I am the same age as Dr. Dobson, I hope I have enough sense to speak less and listen more.

Of Pounding and Straightening

More today on the "Genu Valgum Kid" (pictured at left) - lessons my daughter has taught me in character.

Yesterday we left off with Kelly's return from the hospital. She was told to keep all weight off her legs for the first week or so, and that meant a wheelchair to get around. The hospital has doped her up fairly well before she left, and so life was fairly pleasant; for about the next nine hours. And then it was, for a 12 year old, and for her family, pretty much H-E-Double Hockey Sticks.

Kelly woke up the next morning in the worst, most debilitating pain of her life. I have never seen her like that, and it was very hard to watch. I did the compassionate, mindless father thing that I often do, and showed little compassion. For this, I will always be sorry. I have a heart of stone sometimes. Bad genes, and a selfish and sinful heart. For the next week or so, we had to do just about everything for Kelly. Here was this strong, healthy, almost-teenager reduced to pretty much the state she had been in when she came into the world - dependent on us for everything. As she began to bear weight on her legs about a week later, it was very hard to watch. And in this, the Body of Christ was evident; our Fuller Seminary/house guest/family member/ordination candidate Jill was a godsend to us all. Friends brought movies by, care packages came in the mail.

Here we learned another lesson about the psychology of the orthopedic profession. Never tell the patient that the procedure they are about to go through will be so painful that they might wish they had never been born. And also don't tell the patient that you will have to cut through major muscle surrounding the knee in order to accomplish your medieval task of pounding staples into their bones in order to correct this odd malformation. And one more. Don't tell the full extent of the slow nature of the recovery process.

Recovery was slow. Slow as in continental drift. Physical therapy consisted of the very basics; attempting to stand and walk again, through the intense stiffness and pain of post-surgical healing. When asked, Kelly will tell you that the dealing with the pain was, "like learning to walk for the first time again". But Kelly persisted, she did not give up. In spite of the pain, even though she spent the first two weeks being pushed around school in a wheelchair. Even though she spent the next four weeks on crutches. She did not give up. She worked, went to therapy, continued in school, and developed
character. Character like I have never seen, through a difficult journey for a 12 year old girl. And now, she wears on the inside of each knee a scar. But maybe when she looks at those scars, they might seem like badges. Badges of courage and character.

I have been blessed to have a daughter like this. For some reason that only God knows, her legs started out in life a bit off of center. Walking on tip toes, smiling and moving forward. A scary day at the hospital, and as she slept there in a medicated fog of general anesthestic, a pounding sound in a cool, sterile room, surrounded by those who would help her begin the task of healing. A groggy awakening to the smiling faces of her family. Intense pain, very slow recovery, feeling insecure, beginning all over again. And in the end, something crooked became straight. And a girl learned an early lesson in what life is sometimes about.

Maybe that is how it is for all of us. We don't like the diagnosis that life gives us, or maybe God gives us. Its scary. Maybe we can just leave things as they are, then it won't hurt. Kelly elected to face the pain, and the pounding, and the recovery. She showed me in new ways what healing is about. Sometimes, healing means being willing to be healed.
May we know what in us is crooked, and Who is our only hope to make it straight.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Making the Crooked Straight

This journey of life is mysterious, hard, and delightful, all at once. As I have mentioned, 0ver the past month I have spent a considerable amount of emotional effort looking after the care, feeding and emotional stability of my parents. Dad is 85 and Mom is 84, and clearly, they need more help. This opportunity to focus on the needs of others has been strangely beneficial to me. Life has become much less about me suddenly, and that is good. At 47, I have had the opportunity to reflect on what my life is about.

These changes have had caused me to reflect upon the character of the people I love the most - my family. Today, I thought I might share with you part of the story of one particular person who has, through the fates of life, shown me courage, endurance, and perseverance. My oldest daughter Kelly is now 14 years old, and heading to high school in just a matter of days. Even though she makes me crazy sometimes, Kelly is a wonderful kid. She has a smile that lights up the room, a sense of humor that consistently cheers her family and friends, and is just about the best friend a person could want.

Tippy Toes
When Kelly was little, she went everywhere on tip toes. When she walked, her heels really never touched the ground. I think it is a metaphor for how she lives life - always expectant. The orthopods we took her to cleverly called this condition "toe walking" (now there is what a med-school education will get you - sophisticated sounding diagnoses), and suggested we cast both her feet, to mid-calf, for a period of a month or so, in order to stretch our her Achilles tendons. We, as the serious and caring parents, considered the doctors' advice, and put her in casts. She was about 4 or 5, and she was a trooper, running about for about six weeks in two purple leg casts. She never broke her smile. We were hopeful the "toe walking" would taper off after the casts came off. It didn't. She just kept on moving through life on tip-toes.

Genu Valgum
When she approached Middle School we began to notice that she was markedly "knock-kneed", (or Genu Valgum - as medically termed and pictured above) and could not put her feet together without crossing her knees. More visits to the orthopods. Now it was getting more interesting. A surgical procedure was required, on both knees. Not easy. Slow recovery. The visit to the first orthopedic surgeon was less than fruitful, due to a noticeable lack of bedside manner. This seemingly gentle doctor told Kelly, "this is easy to fix, we just pound some surgical staples into your knee". Now, I don't know much about medicine, but the use of the verb "pound", is not in my mind a subtle way to explain something to a 12 year old. Kelly's eyes became noticeably larger as the use of the word "pound", and I somehow sensed we might seek a second opinion.

The second doctor was a much more diplomatic, and grandfatherly soul. He took a look a the xrays, looked at Kelly, and said, "Would you like to get those legs straightened out?" She nodded, apprehensively. He then smiled and said, "lets take care of this then - I can have you out of the hospital the same day". What a difference the initial approach makes. Kelly was steeling herself for this, not sure at all of what lay ahead.

The surgery took place on a January morning. Kelly was completely sedated, and had the surgical staples shown above inserted into both knees. Ok, not really inserted, more like, well, pounded. Kelly was in recovery in less than 90 minutes, and home late in the day.
More on the outcome, and lessons for our family - next up.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

You Just HAVE to get this Book!

About once every couple of years, I come across a book that resonates with my soul. This is the book, and the author is pictured at right. Buy this book! Trust me on this, you will laugh, you will cry hard, and you will be encouraged. This is tangible faith, take it outdoors and into the street faith, messy, mysterious, and wonderful faith, expressed in beautiful ways. Go here to learn more about him and visit his web site. I have been following the wonderful writing of Gordon now for about nine months, and my life is so much richer for it.

Its a small world, as it turns out, Gordon just recently had the opportunity to meet a very dear friend of mine, Dale Bruner, at Laity Lodge in Texas. Gordon has appreciated deeply Dale's theological reflections for years, as I have been deeply thankful for the friendship that my wife and I have enjoyed with Dale and his wife Kathy. I love this small world concept, and I love the heart and writing of Gordon Atkinson, a brother in Christ from Texas.

How beautiful is the body of Christ.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Interrupted by Children While Driving to Work

While driving to work today, my usual calm ride was interrupted by the images of hungry children in Niger. I listened to this (go ahead and listen), and my heart filled with a sense of dread. Then I thought about going here to learn more. So I did.

And then I did this. Please, do the same, in Jesus' name. Its simple, really. Talk about WWJD......

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Dinner with Frank

As we travel through this life, there are a few people who make real impressions on our lives. These are the souls who leave an imprint on us, leave us feeling hopeful about the future, and gracing us with humor, love, and a simple charm. People such as this are rare, and when we find them, life is sweeter for having been in their presence.

For the past 15 years or so, I have known a good and gracious man named Frank. Frank is much of the kind of man I want to be "when I grow up" I tell myself. Frank grew up in the eastern US, moved to Southern California just after World War II, settled down, and started a family with his sweet wife Jane. They have had children and grandchildren, seen births and deaths, joy and heartbreak. Frank grew up in a Jewish home, and came to accept Christ as a young married father here in Los Angeles. He has been very involved in the life of our church for more than 30 years. Frank and Jane's life together has been a blessing to those around them.

Frank is one of the coolest older guys I have known. About 15 years ago, there was an active and fun young couples group at our church. Several folks from this class have ended up in the ministry over the years, making career changes to follow Christ. Frank was a mentor and friend to many of the guys in this class. However, Frank's mentoring sometimes took a different form - poker night. Frank often organized poker night for the younger guys. We all love Frank.

Recently, my friend Frank was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Frank is 80 years old, but is the youngest 80 year old I have ever known. I swear he looks 65, and I suspect this is the result of Grace upon his life. Although his body is beginning to give way and he cannot walk anymore, his sense of humor is completely intact. He gets around these days via an electric wheelchair.

Last night our family made him dinner at his home, and afterward, Frank and I had a brief moment together in the dark on his patio under the stars. I asked Frank how he was doing, and how he was feeling. "You know, some days are better than others. Sometimes I get down, but you know, the Lord gives me great peace." Knowing Frank as I do, I know he meant that; he has never been one to spout Christian platitudes. Great peace. What a sweet gift. Come to think of it, that is what Frank is to me - a sweet gift.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Stupid Tree

Short post today. I agree with Mark Brewer's concept of the "Stupid Tree". I am often ashamed at the mindless behavior of the career bureaucrats in the PCUSA. I have great respect for Mark, and for his view of what is really important in the world.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Something is Very Wrong Here!

Last night we had our dear friends, Mike and Nancy Litteken over for dinner. The kids splashed in the pool, the dad's cannon-balled the kids, and the weather was just about perfect. That weather is why there are 36 million people in California (note: there are 31.7 million people in ALL of Canada, the largest land mass in the world).

Anyway, we barbecued some steaks, shared an old bottle of wonderfully good cabernet, and enjoyed greatly each other's company. We have known Mike and Nancy for all of our almost 17 years of marriage, and I have known Nancy for a bit longer, when we worked together on this. Good friends are a blessing indeed.

Mike and Nancy have an 8 year old daughter named Molly, who loves life, and never seems to hold still for a moment. She is always the center of attention, and she loves to make people laugh. Molly has Down Syndrome. Molly's parents have big dreams for her life, as all we parents do for our kids. (For a girl who is realizing her dreams, and is pictured on this post, go peek here, and take a look around while you are at it, it will do your soul good)

As dinner was finished, and twilight filled the sky, Nancy and Mike told us of their time last weekend at the National Down Syndrome Congress in Anaheim. The weekend was a time of gathering, learning, sharing, and being granted hope for families on the journey with Down Syndrome. Our conversation was rich and fascinating. Nancy and I are so glad we know the Littekens and that Molly has swimming lessons in our pool every week.

We learned of something last night that is amazing and outrageous all at once. I have to tell you about it. It seems that there is a problem in the medical community that is nearly beyond belief. Nancy and Mike shared with us that they heard a speech by Dr. William Bronston, indicating that a large majority of the people with disabilities interviewed regarding organ transplantation believed they were subject to "wholly illegal, explicit and de facto discrimination" regarding organ transplant availability. The National Work Group on Disability and Transplantation, founded by Dr. Bronston, reported that "survey results indicate that policy and practices in the transplantation field have resulted in effectively excluding persons with intellectual and other disabilities." The study group attributed this to the improper use of "psychosocial" criteria employed in qualifying transplant candidates and the lack of awareness training, which serves to perpetuate express and de facto discrimination. To read more, go here, and here - this one will make you more upset.

Ok, I know that I have gone on long here, but I think the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence says something about "all men are created equal". Not to mention, um, well, what the Scriptures tell us! In closing, I am not sure whether we should all be writing our congressmen about this, or writing letters to the editor, or forming a PAC. But can we agree that something is very wrong in our culture if disabled people are not treated as full equals?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

One Very Cool Very Job Above Earth, And An Uncool One Down There

This bottom photo was taken yesterday, during a space walk on the current Shuttle Mission. Can a job get any cooler than this? I think not! And what about the top photo, how about the view from this bedroom window. Truly stunning! It is beyond me how anyone can become blase about the space program. I mean, it may be somewhat inefficient, but its nothing compared to working at the UN.

Our Place of Weakness

As I have mentioned here, my perspective on life has been altered significantly in the past weeks by the declining health of my parents. This morning, I was reading this, and was struck by the words of Henri Nouwen describing meals at L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto:

"During times of prayer at the end of each meal, it becomes clear that these Daybreak meals have the quality of a memorial. We lift up not only our own life to God in gratitude, but also the lives of those of whose weaknesses we are aware, and especially the lives of those who are dying or have died. Thus, we make all par of our "fellowship of weakness".

Reading this made me think, yet again of this verse, upon which my faith is centered. I am thankful today for a God who knows our weaknesses, and makes Himself known in the midst of weakness.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How Do You Spell Shellacing?

To answer avid reader Tod Bolsinger, this was a long weekend. On Saturday, my daughter Heather and I headed to Riverside for the 11 year old girls All Star State softball championships. The result of that game was less than splendid. There is a rule in girls softball that if a team is ahead by more than 10 runs in the 4th inning, the game is mercifully ended; hence the term "mercy", often used as a verb, as in, "we mercied them". We got mercied.

Last night was the second game in the (less than winners) bracket. Something interesting happened in this game. At the field at which we played, there is an interesting tradition of turning off the electronic scoreboard in center field if one team is ahead by what is determined to be "too many" runs. Long story short, the scoreboard was turned off, in the 5th inning - because of the less than stellar performance of the South Pasadena team. One problem for us; our best pitcher took off to Guatemala with her anthropologist professor parents to study monkeys. Good for her. Better exploring the jungles than pitching in 90 degree heat in Riverside.

Now, let me add here that my daughter is a completely happy girl, even after this loss. Perhaps that is because her parents were not so absorbed into this whole sports thing that it rules our lives. Life moves on, and now, at long last, after a month of summer school and thrice (or more) weekly practices, my 11 year old can be, imagine this if you can, a kid. A kid. Swimming in the pool, hanging with friends, even (gasp) watching some Disney Channel (right now, her favorite program is this).

This is a funny culture we live in, where half of a kid's summer is dominated by sports. I am not completely comfortable with it all, especially with an eye on Kingdom things, I wonder if this sports obsession we have is all that good. The way sports affects some families we know is probably not healthy. I have always thought that kids should be kids as long as is possible. The way that our media and culture bombard them to be little adults is frightening, and we need to let our kids grow up at a slower pace if that is at all possible.

Final and somewhat scary thought. Next year, Heather turns 12. At that age, the All Stars can end up in the National Little League Champships! Maybe we will go to Guatemala instead.
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