Archive for the 'AIM' Category

Stripey shirt song

(sung to the tune of “Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”)

Oh where, oh where has his stripey shirt gone?
Oh where, oh where can it be?
It hung on the bar with the un-ironed clothes
But now it’s not there.  Woe is me.

Tomorrow are two presentations to do,
And Andrew in costume will be.
With mime make-up on and his feet blackly shod,
But shirtless, his chest all will see.

Perhaps we can paint some bold stripes on his skin,
But since he is brown we will need
To put on both white ones and black ones aligned.
There’s no time to do it with speed.

I told him, “Ask Jo what to do about this.”
And Jo said that Courtney would know,
But Courtney is in Colorado right now,
His striped shirt on her list is low.

So then I called Tess and asked what we should do.
Our AIM brain – alas, she is gone.
We laughed as we thought of the four months to come.
When Jo’ll have to think and lead on.

I thought about crying but chose not to weep.
I’m sure that our Llama can cope
With all things that need advance planning and such
He’s older now; that gives me hope.

We still have no striped shirt for Andrew to wear,
But Tess will call Ryan to see
If someone left striped shirts at the S-A-C,
And if so, then happy we’ll be.

Oh when, oh when will my boys think ahead?
Oh when will me they not need?
I fear that that day will come too soon for me
And then my poor heart, it will bleed.

But now, for tonight, I can rest and sleep well.
The boys will go do their AIM thing.
And I told Josiah to not come back home
Unless all those gloves he does bring.

I hope he also will bring two stripey shirts.
I hope he will pack them a lunch.
I hope he takes plenty of sunscreen along
And water and something to munch.

I know that these months will all cause him to grow
And sense the full weight of his role
As big brother, SALT man, and dad’s employee
Maturity – that is my goal!

Proud and patriotic

Well, they did it again, those AIM kids.  Today I watched them present about half a dozen patriotic songs to a very enthusiastic crowd of veterans at the Red Roof Mall.  Yes, they did a superb job.  Yes, Josiah was Jeremiah Denton.  Yes, I bawled my eyes out.    Why DO I put on makeup before these things?

I forgot to say that the glasses were found

I found them the morning after I posted their loss.  They were on the lower shelf of my nightstand, behind a pair of tennis shoes.  Go figure.

In other lost and found news, I, the keeper of our kids’ mime team’s presentation gloves, went to get the glove box out a couple days ago, because the team had a presentation scheduled for today.  I went to where the glove box should be (up on the shelf in the playroom) and to my complete dismay, there were no team gloves there at all.

This was highly disconcerting, as I didn’t know if we had enough spare gloves to prepare a set for our now very large (19?  20?) team.  The children and I looked high and low – literally  – all over the playroom, Jessica’s room, the attic, our office, the pantry, the cellar, Jessica’s car, the van, and Andrew’s room.   We didn’t venture into Josiah’s room, because it’s a war zone in there.

No team gloves.

Now, these gloves are really hard to lose.  They were stored in a clear box that’s about 12″ by 8″ by 16″ high.  It’s not a small box.  It won’t fit under a bed.  It’s not the kind of thing that could just vanish from sight beneath or behind something else.   Realizing that I had responsibility to provide a lot of gloves in various sizes in two days, I pulled out all the new and/or extra gloves and started sorting and labeling them.  I was able to scrounge together enough, but some of them were those old baggy ones that won’t really stay on. I also went to Wal-Mart and bought another box to store/carry them in.

Back in the playroom, labeling the new box, and with gloves in three styles and four sizes spread all over the ping-pong table, I looked again up at the shelves surrounding me.  We store lots of an hand-me-down clothes for Andrew to grow into up there.  I scanned the marked boxes for the umpteenth time and my eyes landed on a U-Haul box (from our move 13+ years ago) that was neatly labeled “Misc Homeschool Books”  – in my dad’s handwriting!

Now, we do re-use boxes ad nauseum, but I can tell you that NO box in the playroom contains any homeschool books.  All our book are in the library, or in our office, or on the buffet, or on the dining room shelf, or any number of other places they’ve been set or left, but NOT in the playroom.  U-Haul boxes are really nice (to those of us who lust after storage in either the cardboard or plastic persuasions) and we had surely put something else in that one, but why on earth would anyone shelve a box with an old label out?!?  Either the box was empty, or else it contained something and whoever put it away labeled it and then shelved it with the label hidden.  Of course, there is one other logical possibility, but I’m sure that NO ONE in our family would EVER fill a box and shelve it without labeling it at all.

My curiosity piqued, I HAD to find out what was in that box.  I reached up and jiggled it, and it didn’t feel like it was full of clothes.  In fact, it felt kind of empty, with a roomy feel as I shook it.  I pulled it down.  Shock and awe for sure – someone had put it away without even folding shut the top flaps!  In the box sat the missing glove box, full of snow-white, sweet-smelling gloves, neatly clipped in pairs and color-coded by size.  Who’da thunk?

I was thrilled to have found the missing gloves and quickly reported their reappearance to those who were looking and praying with me, but I have not yet figured out WHO put the glove box inside another box and then shelved it so that only an eight-foot tall being could ever tell there were gloves in it, or WHY whoever it was did such a thing.  Was s/he trying to play a cruel trick on me?  Or maybe the spiders carried it up there at night?  Perhaps it’s just one of those hidden mysteries that will never be solved, but I can tell you that the gloves are now stored on a low shelf where I (and every one else in the family) can clearly see them at all times.

It WAS a quiet weekend

Scott and I had lots of time to talk, relax, and re-connect.  The kids seemed to have a great time at Family Camp, and the whole gang is eating breakfast now.  The Tennessee guys will be leaving in a few minutes to do some sight-seeing and then head back.  I think their drive home is about eight or nine hours.

I am a little concerned for Andrew’s emotions, as the departure plans were changed after our gang came home last night.  He thought all the Family Camp folks would reconvene this morning for final goodbyes, but it turns out that that is not happening.  There won’t be any final goodbyes, and that kind of closure is important for Andrew.  However, we will have a relaxing day with no academics, and I’m sure he will rebound well.

We’ll be washing a lot of sheets and towels today!

Family Camp has begun

Our weekend looks to be quieter than normal during the days and a bit louder than normal at nights.  Jessica, Josiah, and Andrew are attending the AIM Midwest Family Camp here in Branson, and we are housing eight of the guys at night.

Actually, tonight we have four guys and a mom chaperone, but tomorrow we will trade her for a dad chaperone and a few more guys.  They all seem to be very nice folks and I’m sure that their cookies and milk will wear off soon and they’ll all crash and snore.  The troops will leave about 7:45 AM and return about 9:15 PM, so I’m thinking Scott and I will be able to accomplish loads of tasks and projects while we’re home alone – unchaperoned.   = )

Maybe this is our Intro to Empty Nest course.

Awesome final prez

Jessica and Josiah had a tremendous opportunity night before last (May 7, 2009) to do their AIM end of session final presentation at the God and Country Theater on Highway 76 in Branson.  It was billed as a benefit for the Salvation Army Church, the church that has been a HUGE blessing to AIM for a number of years, allowing the team to meet their for practices, assisting with administrative oversight, etc., etc., etc.

The students did a superb job that night.  Of course I am a proud mom, but the whole team really worked well together and their enactments of nine songs focused on a theme of Faith, Family, and Flag were truly heart-gripping.

There were a couple of deja-vu moments for me.  For one thing, our tiny church used to meet in that very same building, back when it was a movie theater.  It was like walking back into my past, although this time I came in the front door rather than the back, and I was NOT hauling in shop lights on yellow stands, pieces of puppet stage, a portable sound system, or flip-top boxes of children’s church props and supplies.   I was also not being assisted by a six-year-old version of Katie, following a five-year-old version of Jessica, or attempting to corral a three-year-old version of Josiah.

The other thing that really hit me was mentally seeing the Jesus character on stage seemingly switch back and forth between Josiah and Aaron.  Aaron was doing the lead roles in these dramas back when Josiah (then only shoulder high on me!) first attended an AIM presentation.  I remember Jo telling me that he really liked Aaron and wanted to get to know him.   Aaron was THE example of outstanding personal character and excellent mime technique, never taking the glory to himself, but always exalting God.   He was the guy in AIM who reached out to Josiah and eventually spent quite a bit of focused time mentoring him.

At the Thursday night’s presentation, Aaron sat with his parents in the audience.  He had just completed his freshman finals at Evangel University in Springfield, and although his AIM days are now over, his younger siblings were all on stage with our two and the rest of the team.  Aaron and Josiah have something of the same physical builds, angular faces, and short buzzed brown hair.  Josiah’s facial expressions and the intesity of his mime technique reminded me a lot of Aaron’s three or four years ago.  It was as if the face on that character was flashing back and forth – Josiah one moment, Aaron the next, then Josiah again.  It was a bittersweet time for me.

I was really thankful that my friend, Dianne, was able to be there, too.  I haven’t had a chance to talk with her since that evening to find out what she thought, but I know she must’ve been proud – four of her piano students were on stage for Jesus that night, and they shared their faith powerfully and eloquently – without playing a note or saying a word.

Road readiness

It’s 10:00 PM and Jessica and Josiah leave at 8:45 AM for AIM’s East Coast Missions trip (ECMT).  They will be gone from home for about five weeks and all their stuff for that amount of time (minus school work) has to fit in a duffle bag that is about 24″ long, 12″ deep, and 12″ high.

Prior to departure, there is a HUGE amount of Bible homework that each student must do.  Jessica’s is not quite as heavy, because a section of the homework is actually part of the application process, and she did all that two years ago when she went on her first AIM mission trip.  Josiah, on the other hand, has spent something approaching 30 hours on all this Bible work, no exaggeration.  That being the case, he wasn’t able to start packing until today, so it’s been a bit wild around here.

Just a few of the things that have had to be done (and some still aren’t done!):

> Label all clothing, because they will be doing laundry with several other kids.  We usually use black Sharpie markers for that, but it doesn’t work well for black sock, black shirts, black pants, etc.  So, on Josiah’s black stuff, I sewed several running stitches of pink thread.  (I figured most moms would use white or yellow, so I asked him which other color he wanted.  “Well, pink would offer good contrast.”)

> Plan five weeks’ worth of academics, and photocopy all necessary text pages, tests, answer keys, etc.  Jessica did this.  THANK YOU, Jessica!

> Locate a small travel pillow for Josiah.  He’s pretty frugal, so I ended up making one for him for $3.00.  I was proud; he was happy.

> Photocopy some of Jessica’s piano music so she can practice if she finds herself near a piano.

> Figure out what Josiah will carry pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, etc. in

> Cut Joisiah’s hair.  Still not done.  Oops.

> Give each of them the necessary information to call home using our calling card.

> Get Josiah to clean his room?

> Remind them both to take TU notes and stamps

> Help Josiah find his favorite Bible. . .

> Figure out how to get Josiah’s prescription meds to him on the road

It’s actually loads of teeny tiny details that continue to come up every few minutes.  “Mom, do we happen to have a . . . ?”  (which we don’t have, but Wal-Mart does, and someone in the household was there three hours ago).  Or, “Mom, what could I pack my . . . in?”  (like Jessica’s pencils.  She wanted a zipper pouch, which I didn’t have, but we have a little neck traction kit that came in a zipper pouch, so we dumped its parts into another box and I let her use the zipper pouch.  It was a little short, so any news pencils would have to go in diagonally, but she said it would be okay.  A few minutes later, she came in to “provide your evening’s comic relief, Mom.”  In her hand was a fistful of what looked like broken pencils.  “They were too long to fit in the bag, so I cut them all – with scissors!”)  Or my question, “Josiah, do you need to take a towel and cloth?”  “No, I think we’ll use theirs.”  So I ask Jessica, “HEY!  Does Jo need to take a towel and cloth?”  “Yes.”  Jo:  “That seems a real waste of weight and space.”

And on it goes.  Jessica has traveled a lot and is used to packing.  This is Josiah’s first time to make a major trip where he – not a parent – has the primary responsibility for all his stuff.  Therefore, I am more concerned about his logistical preparation than hers.  She will think ahead and figure things out.  He tends to arrive at a point (in time or space) and not have a clue what’s going on, what he might need, or where to find it.  I think this trip will help him mature in that regard.

They will be without cell phones, without computer access, and without television, for five weeeks – except for about 10 minutes to call home once or twice a week.  It may be toughest on Katie and Jessica, who talk to each other almost daily, but always after 7:00 PM when our cell calls are “free.” On the other hand, the girls will get to see each other twice on this trip – once when the team goes to Patrick Henry to do a presentation and later on when they are back in that area to help with AIM’s East Coast Family Camp, which Katie is itching to attend.

They’ll traveling, doing schoolwork, and/or leading workshops during the days (and into the evenings) and then sleeping on the floor in host homes.  They’ll be up late and rising early (particularly tough for Josiah), with virtually no alone or “down” time.  They’ll eat whatever is provided for them without complaining.  They will be intensely and often uncomfortably mentored.  They will make a difference, and they will come home changed.

I will hold down the fort and I’ll be here to welcome them home – even when I know good and well that they’d rather not come home!

Go, guys!  I’m so proud of each of you!