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Love

It is sometimes true that the most loving thing to do is to hide your love.

 

This truth barely makes sense in a society that tells us that self expression is the reason for our existence.  There is a sense in which love is the expression of our feelings.  But the expression doesn’t make the love.  The love waits behind the doing and the saying and the sharing.  And even when there is no doing or sharing, it can still be there, that feeling that makes what happens to another person matter more than what happens to yourself.

 

If you are lucky, or if you are reckless, you will get to express your love.  What impulse is inside you: to dance with joy (or cry alone), to leave a love note, to give a gift, to plant a kiss, to meet an other’s eyes with shining esteem – will rise to the surface and exist as this event in the world, something for history if history concerned itself with such details.  It has been known to happen that these gestures have, though sincerely manifesting love, been missed or mistaken, and the object of love has not known the heart behind them.  Love can be real, and can be acted out, without being communicated.

 

Communication is precious in love! One person is enabled to make another person know some part of their heart.  When they do, the beloved must choose to receive the love or else stiffen and fight against it.  It is an everyday treasure too much taken for granted, that received love can bloom into reciprocation.  The beloved doesn’t just say, “I know,” or even, “Thank you”; they say, “I love you, too.” They join the embrace.  Sometimes this sharing is the only thing we have in mind when we use the word love.

 

“I love you,” doesn’t exist only as a tender voice to thrilling feelings.  It can be a battle cry, a resolute declaration of will, and it can go on being said and meant when feelings slacken or are buried beneath a hoard of life’s other matters.  These words then, and the choices that accompany them, are just as truly love as the fluttering heart or the passionate heat the movies portray.

 

So sometimes that will, with or without emotions, must choose to do what is good for the other, even if that good is to give space, to keep quiet, to deny the fulfillment and gratification of one’s own being – so that the other person can be and do and find out and focus on what they need, on what God is doing in their life at that moment.  It can be like that for a short time, a long time, or forever.  I do not believe it is wrong to love like this, though I believe it would be wrong for a marriage to harbor this kind of love.  Often it is so secret that no one will laud it.  It is so noble that our culture despises it.  This is an act of love.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Priority

I had an emotional crisis a while back.  Not a breakdown or anything hospital-worthy.  Something confidant-worthy.  Due to circumstances, accessing a confidant was trickier than normal.  It struck me, for the first time in this way, that there is no one in my life to whom I ought to be a priority.  My friends ought to make their own spouses and children their priorities.  I still don’t have a pastor, though I have several acquaintances who serve congregations of their own.  I have a lot of friends, and they are the good kind who make sacrifices to love others well, even if we aren’t their topmost priority.  I even have parents who help me with car emergencies, or when I am too sick to drive myself somewhere.  So usually I can find someone to help single, grown-up me out if I need.

 

But this is what I was realizing: each time something comes up, I have to sort it out and select which people I ought to reach out to.  There is no one person that I ought to go to first.  That can be exhausting and lonely.  Just being honest.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I confess to being annoyed that I have to use a w when I write “answer”.  I don’t have to use one when I pronounce it!  I feel the same way about that r in “February” and the entire spelling versus pronunciation of “Wednesday” is ridiculous, especially in light of it being the day named for the Norse god Marvel and Anthony Hopkins delivered to us as Odin (I guess he’s known as Wodan in some regions).  Saying “wensday” massacres the word, but it is just the sort of thing speakers of our language have been doing for centuries.  It is too much work to move our tongues and teeth quickly around the various syllables, so we change them.  But, in these cases, the laziness arrived well before you or I could be found responsible.

 

The pronunciation arrived after the printing presses immortalized the letters we don’t use when talking.  I suppose I am not too unhappy, after all, that the letters are still there, as these inconsistencies between pronunciation and spelling are just the sort of hint about history and meaning that makes etymology so intriguing.

 

In case you are wondering, “answer” comes from two roots.  The first part is “and-“, and means “against” or “in the face of”.  The second part is the same root as “swear”, and as you have likely deduced, similarly means “affirmation” or “statement”.  “Swear” conveniently retained its w in both spelling and pronunciation.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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It was dark.
I was driving.
I was lonely;
And I thought I saw a snowflake fall…

It was quiet.
I was crying.
I was cold;
And I thought I saw a snowflake fall…

It was winter.
I was wond’ring who I was.
It was heavy;
And I thought I saw a snowflake fall…

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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A few years ago I did some fun research on Pinterest for making your own leg warmers and boot cuffs.  The problem was that I LOVE wide leg pants, and basically had nothing with which to wear such accessories.  Fortunately I used Pinterest to make a board with my inspiring research.

Last year I acquired some thick, fleece lined leggings, mostly to add an extra warm layer under anything all winter long because I get cold, and I’ve discovered that basically if I’m not going to put fat on my body to insulate me, I have to supplement.  An added perk is that in moderate temperatures, I can wear these same leggings with skirts or dresses (not as pants alone!) and boots with that cute little splash of decoration that I loved enough to pointlessly research making them.

So, last week I went to the thrift store with friends in order to acquire some supplies.  I came away with three sweaters whose sleeves were lovely and in appropriate colors to correspond to my fall sense of fashion.  I sat down to work on the first two.  And the third one?  Well, the sweater actually fit and it was beautiful, so I’m keeping it, at least until I get tired of it, and then maybe I’ll Frankenstein it.

I now have these leg warmers, plus a boot cuff made simply out of some wide white lace I have.  And I would kind of like to wear them with jeans.  Jeans are my favorite.  I love long skirts, and fluffy skirts, and some of my grey pants are a pretty color, but jeans are go-to.  It’s probably the most American thing about me.  My solution was to check Goodwill’s 50% off sale this weekend for jeans that are (sadly) not so very long and (wow, can’t believe I’m buying these) not wide-leg or boot-cut.  I found some.  Two pairs, and I bought one of them, leaving behind what I realized later was the pair that didn’t have the hole in the knee.

While at the thrift store searching for skinnier jeans, I found another sweater whose arms were striped in perfectly inspiring colors.  I mean, I wear these colors at least half the winter.  The sweater was ONE dollar, so I bought that, and tried to keep myself from spending any more money, by staying at home all afternoon making them into another pair of leg warmers.  And then I was on a roll, besides having found some wool socks with holes in the heels that I had cleverly saved for just such a craft project as this, and some soft ribbon I love.  I dumped out my whole collection of buttons and began sorting colors.

My first pair is actually super simple.  One of my shopping buddy friends found the sweater for me, and all I had to do was cut off the arm at a good length, zig-zag the cut edge, and then (after wearing them a few times and feeling how often they slipped down, turn them inside out and sew about 3/4 inch inside the pre-existing seam, trim, and zig-zag for a tighter leg warmer.   The four buttons on each even came with.  Perfect.

Next I worked on a sweatshirt I found in the kids section.  I love the blue and the birds on this fabric.  What I didn’t love so much was something I discovered after I cut off the sleeves: they don’t stretch.  Who ever heard of a non-stretchy sweatshirt?  anyway, in the future I’ll always check for stretch.  I added a double row of eyelet lace and two shiny silver buttons on each leg-warmer.  Once again, after wearing them a bit, pondering, and reviewing my previous Pinterest research, I decided to seam-rip down where the eyelet lace was sewn and even a bit past that, and re-sew those edges so that there is a little more give in the top of these socks.  Still cute.

Now we get into some serious buttonery.  I had a surprising number of purple buttons, which did a shabby chic ensemble at the top of my striped socks.  I think these may be my favorite.  I can just see wearing them with my brown tights and a new dark tealish-blue sweater dress I got (also for $1 at the thrift store this weekend).  Or I might wear them with my new jeans and my lime green sweater – or my purple one.  
Next I was thinking about trying to imitate a look on one of my pins.  It was wide lace, slightly gathered by a button in the center.  The only problem was that my only lace that wide was stiff and white.  But I did have some aqua tulle.  At first I thought about braiding it to darken it into a ribbon look.  (And from the olden days, a bit of braided trim was just that touch of hand-made detail that catches my eye.)  Except the tulle just didn’t work well with that, and I didn’t want it actually sewn onto the stripy sock I already had.  So I wound the tulle around my leg about five times, pinned it, sewed up those pin lines to keep it in a tube shape, and then did my little gather-button thing.  I had two buttons I liked, in matching shades of bronze but not at all the same design.  An advantage of boot cuffs is that they face opposite ways, so it would be very hard to see them side by side in real life, so little differences won’t look weird, and if anyone notices, it just adds to the charm.  

Here is the cuff alone:

And the cuff with the stripy sock: 

While searching my ribbon and lace stock for the tulle, I came across a spool of ribbon that I love, but haven’t had much use for.  It feels soft, and is mostly cream with some mocha edging and pale gold flowers with sage leaves.  It’s elegant, and even though I didn’t think of it much as a fall-style before, it works beautifully.  I trimmed it first with some of my favorite cream-colored lace, then sewed it in a loop, and finished with buttons accenting the fall colors in the ribbon (and following the rule of three; however much I liked other buttons and wanted them to go along, or when I tried to line the whole top edge of the ribbon with clear buttons studded with these accents, it was no good.  Rule of three.  Just follow it.).  


These cuffs are pretty short, and I actually like the idea of seeing most of the ribbon.  So with my shorter boots, I wore a pair of matching socks and pulled them up just over the bottom edge of the ribbon.  It doesn’t look so formal, seeing the sock, but it worked.  


I’d abandoned using dozens of small clear buttons on the tops of the cuffs above, but I did have a working idea for blues that were in a line down a sock, not so formally as the first leg-warmers I made, and not matching buttons.  I cut off the top of my grey holey sock and lined up the buttons. I loved it.  I began sewing the various buttons on.  The top one was two-holes, vertical.  After that came two with no holes, and then three more two-holed buttons.  By the time I finished the first sock, the line was more suggested by the buttons than the clean look I’d arranged beforehand.  So I took my seam-ripper and took off all the buttons. This time I had a plan.  I used the ribbing in the sock to line up my needle.  This worked altogether better, and let the buttons speak for themselves.   

One Pinterest image featured a built-in pocket on the sock, which seems so practical to me, even if it is only big enough to hold a key and a twenty.  I haven’t yet decided whether to attempt adding a pocket to the inside of any of these.  

While I was on my second day of boot sock making, I also turned on my iron in order to install an iron-on patch on the back of my new skinny (and barely-holey) jeans.  I forgot about it, went to do it, burned the patch, which then came off.  I also burned an iron-shape only visible when my jeans are inside-out.  I tried a second patch, which didn’t stick, and gave up, hoping the various glues ironed into the pants will keep it for a while, and acknowledging that a bit of a hole can add character to the look.  But since they were under construction, I didn’t do any pictures with jeans.  

Incidentally, I know from testing with wider leg and longer jeans that if you’re worried about bunching (and maybe the best plan is to just go with a scrunched look on jeans and socks alike), if you actually put the socks and boots on before you pull the jeans all the way up over your hips, it can make for a more taut look. Then you just have to be careful how you stretch and bend and sit when wearing them, in order to keep them from bunching.   

I took some pictures with my black boots, and they don’t match so well with most of my sock ideas.  I think the final grey-and-blue ones are probably the best.  

This project was easy and fun, with a good balance of planning and fairly mindless implementation while watching a show.  I am kind of interested in adding a pair of orange ones (for Denver Bronco game days) and a nice green pair that will go with a lot of my sweaters that I end up wearing autumn-spring.  

To God be all glory.  
Lisa of Longbourn

 

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Ok, so there’s this thing going on in the NFL, a gesture of disapprobation for something some players view as a national problem.  The phenomenon is actually in other sports, too.  I’ve seen it in the WNBA, and heard quotes from an NBA player in support of the right to protest.  It takes the form of kneeling during the national anthem or standing with arms linked as an expression of solidarity for a cause.  The cause, as I understand it, is racial equality and justice, with the related concern of police brutality.  And a lot of fans don’t appreciate these protests.  I have observed several reasons that people object.  First, people object to the means of the protest, that it is not showing traditional honor to the United States during the national anthem.  Second, they believe the context, sports/entertainment should be free from political statements (but usually these same people want the political statement of the national anthem being played and honored to remain).  Third, they disagree with the cause for which the players are protesting – not necessarily that they don’t believe it is an important principle, but because they don’t believe the problem is as pervasive as some consider it to be.

 

On some level, I agree with each of these reasons to oppose what these athletes are doing.  However, I have some concerns with the ways people like me are responding.  These concerns are what this post is about.

 

There are three instances I have in mind, which I have encountered this week, that are at the top of my list of reasons to be concerned.  I don’t feel comfortable repeating the language used in these responses, so I will summarize them.  President Trump used profanity to describe people who, as he and many others perceive it, disrespect the national anthem, flag, and country by protesting in this way.  A caller to a talk radio program suggested that those who want to “take a knee” should get a knee, in a way that would cause them pain or injury.  A Facebook post “liked” by a friend used a few different curse words to curse the athletes who were kneeling during the national anthem.  This Facebook user also specifically identified one athlete and hoped he would, in the course of the game, have to be taken off the field on a stretcher.  To this I say, Whoa.  Some people are doing things we don’t agree with and don’t like.  Since when is the correct response to use profanity to describe or curse them?  It is morally inferior to wish violence on peaceful protesters.  There isn’t a lot more to say.  I can’t believe this isn’t obvious common decency.  I can’t believe the people who agree with me are wishing violence on those we disagree with.

 

While I’m on the subject of peaceful protesting, let me make my next point.  A lot of people whose views I mostly share on the subject of race in America are concerned at the escalating violence committed by the malcontents, however legitimate their grievances.  It has been pointed out that Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t burn buildings, overturn cars, or get into street fights with the white supremacists and segregationists he was campaigning against.  There are peaceful ways of raising awareness for your cause, and pursuing the changes you believe are necessary.  I find it disheartening that when a movement arises that is peacefully trying to draw attention to the same issues, it is squashed with as much indignation (and, as mentioned above, threat of force) as the violent movements are.  Let me just say, that while I don’t advocate violence, I know history and humanity well enough to recognize that when people feel desperate, like there is no other way to be heard, they tend to resort to violence.  Should we really be silencing their peaceful statements?

 

On the other hand, at this point, the NFL players who have been protesting ought to recognize that their message has been lost in their method.  Whatever their actual reasons for kneeling, and whatever cause they hoped to highlight, the only thing people who didn’t already know and agree with them are getting from their protests now is a provoking perception that these people hate America.  And honestly, however unintended, the way their actions are being received was not unforeseeable.  I understand that it feels a little like giving in, but as one commentator mentioned, a real protest doesn’t plan to go on forever; it has goals and engages in a process.  So I believe that now, at the very least, they should switch methods.

 

Let’s talk, for a minute, though, about how unfair it is to assign motives to people, in direct disregard for their testimonies about their own motives.  I can think of a lot of more disrespectful actions one could take if they intended to communicate the disrespect ascribed to them.  I have not seen any of these players spitting in veterans’ faces or stomping on the flag.  I have not heard a single athlete say that what they are protesting is the United States’ stand for freedom, nor that they are protesting the soldiers who have served to protect those freedoms they enjoy.  To consistently characterize their protest as against these things is pretty dishonest and egocentric (that is, behaving as though our own perceptions are the most valid).  Let’s not be angry about what they’re not even saying.

 

That said, if their method offends you because of its unintended belittling of things you hold dear, I have a couple of recommendations.  I suggest you recognize that these people are not injuring you, nor encouraging others to do so.  They’re not preventing anyone else from showing honor to the anthem or flag.  If you wanted, you could change the channel and not even see whether they’re kneeling or not.  You could calmly and humbly admit to them that the effect their actions has on your feelings is to irritate you. (This is known as an “I statement”.  It defuses tension because it comes across as less judgmental and more open to their side of the matter, while still inviting them to show consideration to you.)  In that case, rather than believing that all things that irritate us should be forced to go away, you could attempt to engage those with whom you disagree (a little tricky with celebrities, I admit) in respectful dialogue in order to persuade them of your way of thinking.  I advocate for this because one of the great things about people is that they can change.  Even if they haven’t shown an inclination to change, God can change them.  Or, we might be surprised and change a bit ourselves.

 

Another option is to suggest alternative methods of getting the word out or taking a conscientious stand.  This could be challenging.  I’ve tried to consider how I would abstain from showing an honor I don’t believe is presently justified, without being disrespectful?  What if the cause was something nearer to my heart than that which we’re discussing?  If some current and distressing aspect of the USA (abortion, international aggression, government mandating immorality, [insert your pet concern here]) was the most prominent thing to me, so eclipsing the things I value and honor in America besides (sacrificial soldiers and officers, unique freedoms, Christian history, etc.) that I could not in good conscience risk communicating that I’m showing honor for the dishonorable things about our country, yet I still want to respect those things that I sincerely value – how would I act during the national anthem?  I saw a player this weekend, who was participating in the kneeling, but who still placed his hand over his heart.  Is that a good way to communicate both?  Or would it fail to satisfy the outrage many are feeling?  Is it necessary to hold a press conference ahead of time to explain the complex motives informing the decision?  Anyway, I personally am not offended by their method, so it is not for me to say what tactics would be less offensive.  I’d love to hear feedback on this question if you have constructive ideas!

 

Aside from how to handle the expectation of honoring our country before each game, there are some more obvious alternatives for using the platform they have as professional sports stars to engage the public on behalf of their communities and the causes that are they prioritize: They can use social media.  They can call press conferences.  They can organize events.  They can donate to organizations.  They can serve in their communities.  They can meet with influential people who disagree with them, and start a dialogue.

 

When this topic resurfaced this week (months after Colin Kaepernick initiated his kneeling protests), one thing I thought of was the historical abolitionists.  They incorporated their causes into their private businesses.  In an industry that didn’t have much to do with slavery directly, the Wedgwood company wanted to be involved in ending slavery.  So they printed abolitionist symbols on their ceramic medallions, to raise awareness, to bring the cause from the fringes to the mainstream.  The image from the medallion came to be also put on vases and snuff boxes and bracelets.  I think this is an excellent means of promoting social justice, and that the NFL, if it so chooses, could employ such methods for causes they believe in.

 

That said, if their customers or employees don’t believe in their cause, the NFL may find themselves with a choice between profits and activism.  I believe it ought to be any private business’s right to put any (non-sinful) condition on their employees for keeping their jobs.  So if the NFL wants to demand that players stand for the national anthem, they can.  If they want to demand that they kneel, they can.  If they want to allow their employees the option of joining either cause (pro-patriotism or pro-reform), they can.  And we, as the patrons, can decide not only if we like the product, but if we want to indirectly support the causes the companies are promoting, and these conditions for their employees.  I really value this aspect of free markets, and for that reason, I’m reluctant to discourage the boycott that many are engaging in since the NFL declined to take disciplinary measures against players who kneel.

 

But I do.  I discourage the boycott because of the following four reasons:  First, the boycott has the unintended consequence of drawing more attention to the protest, a protest whose whole point, from what I can tell, is to garner attention.  Second, if a bunch of people with mostly conservative values stop watching the NFL, and if the NFL doesn’t comply with their wishes, football will become a smaller part of our culture, but it won’t go away, and it will be left to people who don’t share our values.  Not that this would be a huge tragedy, but there are too many parts of our society that we retreat from.  Do we really want to give over news media, storytelling industries, arts, higher education, the medical fields, cake-making, counseling, and charity to people whose values we oppose?  It is hard work, surely, to keep them and keep them well, but I hope some things are worth it to us.  Third, really? The national anthem and the players standing for it is an integral part of the experience of being a football fan to you?  I don’t even know why we have the national anthem at sports games, and most of the time I don’t get around to tuning in or paying attention until kick off anyway.  And what the players do during the anthem is not affecting the actual game, which is what I want to see.  Finally, while I’m proud of Americans for being able to eschew the conventional obsession with football, I’m disappointed that this is what provokes people to boycott – not scantily clad cheerleaders or players who sleep around or whatever other, more demonstrably wicked behaviors the sport tolerates in its employees.  In addition to football, there are many other businesses whose employees promote all sorts of ungodliness, yet most Americans still patronize them.  Is patriotism such a superior cause?

 

What would you do if the president of the United States said that you or your coworkers should be fired for declining to participate in some morally significant activity?  Would you feel threatened?  Would you relent in fear, or take a stand against a dangerous use of the bully pulpit to compel patriotic uniformity?

 

Some people think these players should be fired, among them President Trump, according to a statement he made last week.  Fellow athletes who may not agree with the cause of the protest, nevertheless respect their teammates’ views and believe they should not be forced to make a political statement they aren’t presently sincere about, just to keep their jobs.  In order to deter their organizations from firing them, these additional players join the protest, because it is much harder to fire half a team than one or two members.

 

Even before President Trump’s comments, to teammates and coaches and owners, the question was not so simple as whether or not they love their country.  The represented cause matters to a lot of the football players and – though you may not be aware, from being in a bubble of likeminded people – a lot of fans.  They had to consider what message it would send to those teammates and fans, to not join in their protest.  If they valued unity and peace – like I do! – they had to make an attempt at a choice that had potential to bring people together, or to demonstrate an example of unity, at least.  I believe this is why some teams chose to stand together with linked elbows, and even why some people joined the protest, who wouldn’t have started it on their own.  They don’t want to be seen to say that they don’t care about things that matter to others.  And even if we disagree with their conclusions, I don’t want ordinary people, myself included, to disregard the things that are inspiring people to take these bold stands.

 

I’m disillusioned enough to realize that some of the participants in these protests are just doing it because it’s popular, or because they’re emotional.  But I also believe that many of them hope for good things for their country.  They see problems.  Not as bad as they have been at some points in our history, and not as bad as the problems in other parts of the world, but they care about what is theirs, their country, here and now.  And they want to contributed to improvement.  That’s why I was disheartened to read that some, even among my friends, suggest that dissenters should expatriate.  If you don’t think America is perfect, move somewhere else?!  If I believed that, I’d have to be living in another country!  And if everyone believed that, no one would have anywhere to live, because every country on earth has problems, and every country on earth has the gift of citizens who haven’t given up on seeing them overcome.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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For a few years, I was an Awana game director.  I wrote the following to teach leaders what to do during Game Time at our beginning-of-the-year training meeting.  We even acted out some of the things!  

Cubbies:

Cubbie leaders, you are needed in the gym or play area with the kids.  As they enter the play area, they will all start with jumping jacks, until all the clubbers are present.  Then we’ll pick a (small) number and count that many more jumping jacks.  We then sing the Cubbie song, with motions, and when that’s over, everyone does high-fives to the game leader.  Then the leader will give instructions about the game.  This weekly routine makes the kids feel safe, and provides a buffer in case some kids are slower arriving.  During game time, there should be no escaping children, from either the group or the gym or play area.  Make sure the kids are not hitting each other or doing their own thing too much.  Cubbies will cry from time to time.  Don’t worry.  Just distract them with something (or take care of them if they’re hurt).  Rules for the games will be simple.  The big thing is that you help keep everyone together and involved.  The Game Leader can’t do everything.

 

Sparks and T&T:

I’d like to introduce you to several characters from my childhood Game Times.  The first is Mr. H, the game leader/director.  He has a mind for relays, and efficiency is his middle name.  As soon as kids arrive at Game Time, he has them lined up tallest to shortest, and is patting their heads, sending them red, blue, green, yellow.  He announces a game, gives a short time for teams to get set up, quickly summarizes rules.  After each heat, he loudly announces winners, POINTS – including points for cheering during events or silence during instructions.  Points are in the hundreds, because points are free, and a leader writes them up on a big white board everyone can see.  He lets the line leaders know if there are any disqualifications, so they can teach their team the rules.

 

His game lines function like relays.  Here’s how it works.  We all line up tallest to shortest (boys and girls separately).  The event calls for two girls (if segregated).  They play, and return to their line.  The tallest one will be standing now next to the shortest girl.  Then the next heat is boys.  They go back to their line.  And another girls heat.  They line up tallest to shortest behind the tall girls of the first heat.  See?  That way when Mr. H is trying to figure out how many more heats to call, he can glance up and see that there are three short girls and two short boys left.  Three more heats.  If you have been playing a balloon game, and now you’ll play something totally different, your line resets to the way it was at the beginning of the Mr. H relay: tallest at the front, shortest at the back.  (Sometimes to mix it up, he’d do it in reverse, and start with the shorter end.)  This “game” happens every week at Game Time, and you the line leaders are responsible for teaching it to the kids and enforcing it.  If there is a leader on your line who hasn’t “played”, teach them too.

 

You will ALL have a color line that is yours all year.  In case of absences, we will shift around.  But you’ll be assigned a color the first night.

 

Next I want you to meet Mr. V.  He is the line leader every week on Blue.  His team always knows the rules, and is never disqualified.  He carefully explains things like running laps, starting behind the line, and running AROUND pins without knocking them over.  When time for a heat, his team is always ready.  When the game director is speaking, his team is standing quietly.

 

On Red is Mr. D.  He’s an LIT (leader in training).  On his line there is no goofing off.  Everyone stands with their toes exactly behind the line.  If they are on the line, they get “stepped on”, because he goes down the line with his big teenage tennis shoes, stepping on toes.  No one is sitting.  Everyone on red team knows that they may earn an extra five hundred points for being the best lined up.  Winning means a lot to Mr. D’s team.

 

Over on Yellow is Mrs. T  Yellow is a horrible color, but that doesn’t stop Mrs. T from being the wildest cheerleader in the place.  She jumps up and down, does enthusiastic kicks, and has her whole team clapping in rhythm for their team.  During the week she notices things that are yellow, and incorporates them into her cheer.  Hers is the best line at game time, not because it wins, but because it is fun.

 

Mrs. C is the leader on Green.  She answers questions about rules from her kids.  She also learns each of their names, and makes sure the whole team knows their names so they can cheer for each other personally.  None of her kids leave to go use the bathroom without permission.

 

Mrs. S loves whiteboards, and she’s good at math.  She takes up her position at the scoreboard, writing huge numbers everyone can see.  Scores go in hundreds.  She adds quickly, erasing all but the zeroes as each score is announced, 200 points for first and 100 points for second and sometimes and extra hundred or so for good cheering or quiet readiness for rules.

 

There are other leaders.  Ideally there will be at least one male and one female leader on each line.  But you can talk to each other about games, and you can talk to both boys and girls.  Each of you must be actively keeping your team standing, cheering, ready for the next game, understanding the rules, interested in points, not fighting with each other, learning sportsmanship.  If we have an extra leader or two, they can help set up the game equipment between heats or escort clubbers to the bathroom so you, the line leaders, do not have to leave your line.  Never leave a line unattended.

 

There is no sitting at any time except for injured clubbers or injured leaders (and elderly leaders!).  Participation is expected unless a clubber is injured.

 

Please get the game leader’s attention if you have a question, if you saw a DQ on your line, or if they’re not loud enough for everyone to hear.  At the end of the night they should announce the winning team and hand a stack of Awana shares (or other small reward) to the line leader.  You make sure each child on your team receives one reward.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

 

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