Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dancing with the 5th Graders

I just got back from Oklahoma and had a chance to see the fruits of my sister's dream! She has started a program to bring ballroom dancing into the public schools. Last fall the program was in 8 schools. Next fall, it will be in 26!! Originally she was going to limit it to fifth graders, but this year they are going to do a pilot in an alternative high school and a couple of middle schools.

I was blown away by the poise and abilities of these young ladies and gentlemen. I have seen some of these dancers over the course of the year and they have made unbelievable progress. The testimonies of the principals of these schools will knock your socks off. Two of them said they had had NO referrals for discipline since the program started. WOW! I am excited to see what occurs at the middle and high school levels.

The dance instructors have poured their hearts out into these students. You haven't lived until you see a 6'5", 280# national guard recruiter dancing in cammie and combat boots. Four of the instructors are Oklahoma National Guardsmen who volunteer their time as a community service opportunity. According to them, they get lots more out of it than the children! Other instructors are men and women who have "caught" my sister's vision for the young people of her community. All of the instructors have been taking lessons and are certified...which means they can dance either part...I can't dance one part.

But probably the most remarkable part of this story is the mentoring which is going on with the children. Many are being reared in single parent homes with no positive male influence. My sister describes the program as a mentoring program disguised as a dance program. I would like to challenge you, like my sister has, to take yourself to your neighborhood school, YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters (like Janie over at Soundingforth), or elsewhere and get involved with a child. Make a difference by giving a child some one on one time. I am going to find me one to work with when school starts this fall.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


We have purchased a Wii for ourselves for our anniversary present. I am amazed to report that I find this little gaming set to be quite entertaining since I do not usually enjoy video games. It probably has something to do with poor eye-hand coordination or something. But I do like the Wii bowling and golf. I understand that the skills on the Wii do not transfer to the real games, but it is kind of fun to believe that they do! Escapism reigns supreme here on the circle.

We have had two families over to "Wii" with us, and both have had a good time. Last night we entertained a couple and two of their children. The boys are 16 and 14 and had a super time, especially with the boxing! I haven't, and won't, box, but it is fairly amusing to watch the kids go after it!

So, I think it's my turn to bowl...I will let you know how the games turn out!

Friday, July 6, 2007

I have spent the day with a 12 almost 13 year-old and a 7 almost 8-year old. Whew. I have forgotten how hungry, cranky, picky and incredibly sweet they can be. The almost 8 year-old is my grandson, the almost 13 year-old is his half brother. We have had the boys for the last three Friday nights...their mom works a double shift and it gives me and hubby a chance to see the boys and gives her a little respite.

The biggest problem has been the weather. It's summertime, the kids want to swim, but we're dodging thunderstorms almost daily. We had discussed trying to catch a break in the weather today, but it wasn't looking good. So we made plans to go to the movies-much more MY style. About time to leave for the theater, my friend with pool access called and said she'd changed her mind...her grand nephew and granddaughter wanted to go swim...it was, after all, 84 degrees! We loaded up and made it to the pool and the guys got to swim for a couple of hours. It was worth it to me (one who avoids the sun if possible) to watch them have such a great time...I think it might have been the first time the older one had been in a pool with a diving board!

We've visited a camp to pick up loaned out equipment, gone to a pretty awesome museum display of Star Wars, and got to swim today...what about next time? Any suggestions anyone? I have an extra week to prepare because they're going to their other grandmother next week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day

I am hopelessly patriotic. I think being reared by a Marine veteran left an indelible mark. Every Fourth of July I am struck by the amazing decisions that were made to begin our country. Anyway, today I would like to take a moment to thank all those who helped form this country, and paid the price of becoming traitors to their former land to do so.

I salute all the men and women in the armed forces who served in the past. Thanks, Daddy, for serving valiantly in WWII in the Pacific theater, thanks to my husband for serving in the Vietnam conflict, thanks to my son's father-in-law for serving in Vietnam and up through the first Gulf War.

And most especially, thank you to all of those who serve today--voluntarily. May God bless you richly and keep you safe. I bless your families with the peace of God. May the Lord give His comfort to those who are wounded. May God be especially near to those whose loved ones have given the ultimate sacrifice.

All I can say is thank you.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Simple Life

Janie over at Sounding Forth has been on me to post. The problem is that I have nothing exciting, or even remotely interesting going on at the moment. I could blog about my never ending struggle with my weight and cholesterol, but who wants to hear whining? Not ME!!! I could whine about it raining EVERY DAY for I can't even remember, but I really hate to because sooner or later, I will be wanting some of this wonderful rain. I do feel for those who are being flooded out, luckily all my floods have been very minor. I could blog about my 18 year old Volvo's failing air conditioner and other parts, but why?

Today I went to the ophthalmologist for my three month glaucoma check up. This was the one where she does the field of vision test. I describe this as a kind of video game you play with one eye. For people like me who are challenged with eye-hand coordination, it is extremely stressful. All looked good, praise the Lord. No change in the field of vision test (which makes me crazy every year---I know I'm missing all these little lights), no signs of cataracts or macular degeneration, no problems with the retina, optic nerve is stable. All in all an excellent visit. I am grateful for a wonderful doctor who has worked hard with me to keep me on an even keel.

All in all, I am happy that my life is a trifle boring. I am one who resists change and find it excruciatingly painful at times. I am happy with my simple life on the circle.