Monday, August 27, 2012

Praise & percussion

I have always been a believer of trying new things.  After a conversation with a long time family friend David, I decided to visit his church - Total Christian Life Ministry in Joliet, IL.  My Mother took us to church our entire lives, the only church service setting I know consists of attentive and silent worship.  Immediately upon walking into David's church I was very warmly greeted, welcomed in, and seated.  Quietly, I sat and watched as nicely dressed glorified souls entered with big smiles on their handsome and pretty faces. They happily greeted each other, took their seats, and the service began.  There was a small band that consisted of three instruments a keyboard, drums, and a clarinet.  The band began playing beautiful music and a large group of people quickly made their way to the font singing together.  At first I didn't know why they were hurrying to the front. I thought to myself, "Communion? This early?"  They all sang and sang, swaying, and clapping.  At a glance it was obvious their hearts were filled with a love that only God can give.  The singing continued and quickly became increasingly interactive.  I felt slightly uneasy, I didn't have any negative feelings what-so-ever, but it was hard to shake years and years of maintaining mandatory absolute silence during church service.  Today was different, we were encouraged to stand up, exclaim, sing along, clap and raise our hands.  Everyone was having so much fun I thought for sure the next instruction would be - sliiiide to the left.  When asked to stand, I thought to myself, 'No problem we stand all the time' the next instruction was clap your hands, I convinced myself that clapping wouldn't be so bad.  I clapped along with the music holding back my growing desire to start dancing.  After the clapping, came hands in the air, again that uneasy feeling came back, I decided I'd just keep clapping.  Once the singing was done, the deacon gave a wonderfully motivating lecture on new beginnings.  The Pastor began his sermon, he is truly blessed with the gift of insight, motivation, and knowledge of God's word.  I was very pleasantly surprised when he added a little comedy here and there.  Overall, I feel this experience was delightful.  David introduced me to a lot of friendly people, it was absolutely time well spent, the rest of the day and even now I feel happy, peaceful, and inspired.  I do plan to return, I might even bring my dancing shoes!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Snacker showdown

One sunny summer afternoon my three brothers and I were relaxing in the pool house listening to music while taking a break from the pool.  We enjoyed a variety of snacks and refreshing chilled beverages.  One of our snacks was a bag of 'Chicharron' also called 'Pork Rinds' in our house we always referred to them as 'Skins.'  We talked, laughed, drank, and munched passing the snacks around and around to each other.  My middle brother left the pool house to assist my Mother with the grill.  My oldest brother noticed the contents of one of the bags of dog treats looked very similar to the Skins, except the dog treats were larger in size.  We three looked at each other and smiled knowing exactly what we HAD to do.  My job was to keep my eye on our middle brother while the other two quickly opened the bad of dog treats, selected one and put it into the bag of Skins.  We hurried back to the sitting area of the pool house and waited.  A brief moment later our unsuspecting middle brother came back in and sat down.  At this point I had the bag and passed it to the oldest, he selected a Skin, ate it then passed the bag to our middle brother.  He looked into the bag and saw the larger than the rest 'Skin.'  His eyes grew wide with excitement as he reached into the bag and pulled out the jumbo sized treat.  My other two brothers remained cool, calm, and collected, while I of course have NO poker face what-so-ever sat squirming, looking directly at him, mouth open, and eyes wild.  I watched in amazement while he raised the treat up to his mouth, opened wide, inserted the treat, and right when he was ready to bite down - he stopped and looked at me.  I quickly looked away, he took the treat out of his mouth, looked at it for a second then directly at us and said, 'It's a dog treat isn't it?'  We all began laughing hysterically, my youngest brother slapped my leg (which really stung because I was still wet from swimming) and blamed me for the joke not going over as we'd hoped.  From that day forward we never missed an opportunity to remind our middle brother that technically he did have a dog treat in his mouth even if it was only for 2 seconds.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

First grade fright fest

Before he retired, my oldest brother was a professional basketball player.  He is exactly seven feet tall and weighs 280 pounds.  He played for numerous professional teams in the United States and all over the world.  My dear friend Josie is a first grade school teacher and asked my brother to come speak to her class.  My brother is very nice and loves children so as soon as his schedule allowed he flew back to Illinois to oblige.  When Josie told the Principal at her school that she had a professional athlete of such stature coming in, the meet and greet quickly went from Josie's classroom to about 4 classrooms.  When my brother and I arrived at the school the children were already assembled in the gym.  We stood out in the hallway while the teachers organized the students.  A few minutes before it was time for my brother to come into the gym I quietly stepped in and took a seat off to the side.  The students were finally all seated and quiet, Josie gave a wonderful introduction about who the special guest was and a few of his accomplishments, basketball music played in the gym as Josie called out his name and the children all began cheering and clapping.  My brother came running into the gym with lots of energy and a big smile on his face.  The children  took one look at him and majority of them began screaming and crying in fear.  Josie and the other teachers jumped into action to calm the children and my brother quickly left the gym.  I just as quickly went to the hallway to find him standing there upset because he scared the kids.  I consoled him the best I could ~ while trying not to laugh.  Josie came out to the hallway, told him the kids are all OK and asked him to please come back out, of course he agreed.  Josie reached out and took my brothers huge hand into her little dainty hand and lead him back into the gym.  The children sat there silently, some still looking wild eyed.  My brother spoke as softly as his very deep voice allowed, the more he talked the more you could see the kids relax and begin smiling and enjoying him.  By the time he was done talking and demonstrating his basketball tricks the children absolutely loved him (which was no surprise because everyone loves him!)  The meet and greet ended with my brother standing under one of the basketball hoops, the children all lining up single file, and one by one he picked up each child and let them 'Dunk' the basketball into the hoop, each and every child giggled and squealed in delight.  He was even nice enough to let them all go twice.   It was the cutest thing I had seen in a long time.