Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Senior Send Off {Varsity Swim & Dive}

 Team Captain Zachary leads the pre-meet yell

Today marked the final home swim meet for Zachary and the other seniors on his swim team.  Following team tradition, the five seniors were honored with a call-out by Coach Don, a run through the team tunnel and a gift (purchased by their parents; presented by cheerleaders).  The guys beamed as they took the blocks for a moment of honor during a short break in the swim meet after the diving competition.  The gifts this year, embroidered team towels, seemed to be a big hit, and rather more useful than a bouquet of flowers as presented in previous years. Although Zachary has been home schooled since kindergarten, our high school PE curriculum centered around participation in sports through the local public high school.  

Coach Don congratulates Zac on his four years as a varsity swimmer.
 Zachary's senior gift, presented by cheerleaders~~from the high school he never attended but represented well as a four year letter man and team captain.

Although Zachary was quite forced to join his first public school sports team as a home schooled ninth grader (freshman), he developed a great love of especially swim team.  Zachary participated on the (phenomenal) cross country team for three years and the track team for one, but swim team became such a focus that he rejoined the club swim team last winter to train all year in preparation for this final varsity season.  Together with his coach, he set high, yet realistic goals, and stands a good chance of reaching them in the next few swims before the final varsity splash in a few weeks.

Ezra in air
Ezra took first place in the diving competition, beating out three divers from the opposing team.  His dive scores weren't as high on the whole, but the six dives he performed ranked at higher degrees of difficulty, so adjusted scores gave him the win.

Zachary's still looking to shave a few minutes off his times, and has high hopes that the well planned taper will give him a burst of speed to round out post-season competition with all-time PR's.  Speaking of shaving, the facial hair, body hair, hair-do-shaving ritual happens in a little over a week.  I am looking forward to having our clean-cut son back after the scruffy swim season.

Our local newspaper covered today's swim & dive meet: gallery here.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

January 28: Tim, Zachary and I were baptized.  We joyfully celebrate our Triple Baptism Anniversary on this, the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Agnes (her secondary feast).  Tim (in 1968) and Zachary (in 1995) received this new birth in the Holy Spirit at St. Benedict Church in Seattle, and I (1968) at St. Agnes Church in San Francisco, in the Haight Ashbury district near my dad's medical school, UCSF.  Do you know your baptism anniversary?  If not, do some research and discover the date so you can celebrate it and praise God for such a tremendous gift!   Trust me, it's no mere coincidence that my husband Tim and I share this exact date of our baptisms... God arranged it precisely so that we would know for certain that we were created to be married to one another.
Officially now a foster-free zone, we have begun deliberations over the possible return to a new normal with Zachary moving back to his old bedroom upstairs.  Zac rather enjoys the seclusion and quiet of the downstairs room, which is also warmer; but it's tiny size makes his giant mess harder to conceal.  Many have inquired if we intend to continue offering foster care in our home, and the honest answer right now is we don't know. After six+ months with three foster children ages 5 and under, and 2+ years with Ezra, we are eager to spend some quality time as our family of 5.  If we do take on future foster placements it will be after careful, prayerful consideration of where and to whom we're already committed and how we are called to best use our gifts.

 Scoutmaster Tim + a few Scouts {tackling a gigantic mess under Peter's direction} = Scout Service Project Saturday.

As the newly elected Quatermaster, Peter's leadership responsibilities in our BSA troop include organizing and cleaning the disastrous Scout Room.  Part storage room, part meeting room, part garbage can, the Scout Room can go from neat and orderly to downright dangerous in a matter of minutes. Boy Scouts heading out on camping trips, in their pre-departure mode with last-minute furious searching and 'packing' give way to uninhibited chaos in the gear room.  Having a clean-up day a few times each year beats back the mess and gives our Scouts one clean room to share.  Next stop: bedrooms!

 Sorting the useful from the useless, Peter and helpful Scouts Enoch and Bryce attempt to make order.

An Eagle Project of enormous effort and profound perseverance, Zachary's carport project built up a little steam this weekend as a talented construction worker (Scout dad) volunteered his time and expertise to install the rebar forms for the concrete pour to begin actual construction work.  This endless ongoing project continues to offer opportunities for leadership, vocational awareness, technical training, communication skills, and character growth.  Continuing tomorrow, and many work days in the next few weeks (months?) the carport will take shape soon, mark my words...

In a shocking phone call from Liberia today, Ezra heard that his father spent two days in a coma after a tragic car accident in which at least one person was killed.  Reportedly, he was one passenger of many piled in the back of a pick-up truck which spun out and overturned.  Ezra spoke to his father, and offered him prayers for healing.  Unfortunately, the whole report could be fact or fiction.  You see, there is an ongoing history of many, many phone calls from Liberia; most all in a given series culminating in a desperate plea for cash.  In fact, when I reported today's news to Ezra's mom, Renee, she replied: "We had a call a couple of months ago that (Ezra's cousin) Stanley was in a car wreck, broke his arm, and was in the hospital for several days."  When I asked Ezra how he felt after hearing the news today about his father's accident, he replied, "Stanley told me my dad was in a car accident a few months ago."  Either the Liberians are in an awful lot of car accidents, or...
On the business front, my entrepreneurial husband Tim opened another new venture: music lesson rooms.  These are adjacent to our new Music Store, next door to our first pawn shop.  For a small fee, music instructors can rent a room in which to provide lessons for students.  A small waiting area for parents as a bonus, plus high hopes that a few will spend time and money shopping for at least part of the time they're waiting. 

Our home might catch you off guard if you've never visited real honest-to-goodness out-in-the open Catholics before; or if you're not in touch with you inner teenage male; or don't enjoy large rowdy labs knocking you over at the entryway.  Zachary hosted a houseful of (relatively new) friends from his swim team recently, for a few hours of fun and games (DnD).  Unfamiliar with some of our visible sacramentals, his Jewish friend asked him about the holy water.  "It's a powerful weapon against evil," was Zachary's simple and honest explanation.  Baptized in it (on this day), we keep the holy water handy at our house for blessings.  (No, it's not magic; no we don't worship it.) It's just holy water, on tap and available at your local Catholic Church.  Take some home and keep the baptismal blessings flowing!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!