Thursday, February 22, 2018

...Thursday

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We'll have updates in a bit.  We had ballet/jazz tonight, and we had a big day at the office with writing and proofing and watching some more Olympics tonight before bed.  Speaking of the Olympics, here's something Daddy was writing to someone else earlier, about one particular athlete:

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Elizabeth Swaney has been an interesting topic at the Olympics lately.  She went down the half-pipe doing ...nothing.  While others were doing all kinds of stunts and flips and back-flips, Swaney was just going back and forth.  How on earth did she earn a spot in the Olympics?  Overly simplifying it, she was in the top thirty of a sport that didn't have thirty athletes.  Anyone who could travel and ski could have done what she did, and now she can say she's an Olympic Athlete, and nothing can take that away.

It's pretty fascinating to me, given that our generation is what brought Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican Bobsled Team (and their movies) to the table.  The NPR headline says Elizabeth Swaney “scammed” her way into the Olympics, which sort of lets you know how that author feels.  It appears to be a polarizing issue, and these days, what isn’t?

Me personally,  I love it.  We have been really into the Olympics this year (even going so far as to watch an entire curling match or two).  

I always have loved the games - remember EPYX Winter Games for the Commodore 64?  Of course you do.  How many others of us can actually say they played a video game version of biathlon?  Every four years the memories flood back, trying to get that pulse down after a hard-fought ski segment.  


Anyway, all that said, I kind of understand the whole sentiment of the Olympics.  It appears her heart is in the right place, just wanting to be in the Olympics.  She seems like a super fan of the games, and she saw a way that she could become an actual athlete, something like a tourist with the best seats of all.

Ultimately, she’s not hurting anyone else (except perhaps the feelings of those US skiers that didn’t make their own country's top four).  But you can’t complain about her breaking any rules, because she didn’t.  If it upsets folks that much, the best thing to do is work to change the rules next time.  

Of course, if you did that, then all the ladies wouldn’t get to see Mr. Shirtless Oiled-Up Tonga Guy walk in the Opening Ceremonies either.  No, I haven't heard too many people complain about that.  Oh, he’s only been skiing on actual snow for three months now, and sure, he came in 114th place.  But he’s a shirtless oily hunky guy, so I guess that makes it okay!

And the truth is, it is okay.  Shirtless Tonga guy isn’t a problem, and neither is Elizabeth Swaney.

In conclusion, I must apologize for this polarizing bit of writing, and I hope it hasn’t offended you.  Disagreement and division is certainly not the spirit of the Games!  Instead, let us all gather under one flag in unity!  Yes, beneath the only flag that matters, the one you can choose to represent in the Epyx Winter Games:

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

...Wed Night

We've got some updating to do - here's the beginning of a message we were sharing tonight at KidPak, something that ties a few Olympic sports of late that have been in the news of late... updates coming soon...


Before going on, some of you may have heard this, but today, Billy Graham passed away.  He was ninety-nine years old, and for those of you who don’t realize it, this man was one of the most important people to walk the face of the earth these last 100 years.  

Listen to this:  this guy preached the gospel - in person - to at least 215 million people.  By the time television and radio and the internet came along, his messages were shared with even more people.  They’re still playing his messages, especially today.

As great as this man was, listen to his own words:  “I am not going to heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times.  I’m going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who aid in that last moment:  ‘Lord, remember me.’ “ 

He was humble.  He knew he had his own personal failings throughout his life.  Listen to this one quote:  “The Christian life is not a constant high.  I have my moments of deep discouragement.  I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes and say, ‘O God, forgive me, or help me.’”

Today, he is in heaven, and this one scripture pretty much sums it up:

"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith."  2 Timothy 4:7 NIRV

And that’s what we’re talking about today:  the race.  Last night, the Americans did something they haven’t done in a while with a race.  We’re still in the Olympics this week, and we’ve been watching all the sports.  But there’s this one called the skiathlon, which is 15 kilometers - just about ten miles long.

Yesterday was a team event where two teammates race against all the others, and let’s just say it this way:  no Americans have never even gotten a medal in this event.  Ever.  Kikkan Randall said this was her last try at the Olympics.  She was there at the Olympics in 2002 in Utah, and she came in 44th.  Her first World Cup race?  She came in last place.  So here she is with pretty much her last try at the Olympics.  They’ve been racing for seven kilometers.  And let’s see what happens:

CUE VIDEO:  “Diggins and Randall - cross country”

What a win!  A lot of people might be tempted to give up coming in dead last, and then 44th.  And never winning.  And here you are, five Olympics later, and nobody thinks you have a chance at a medal, let alone winning the gold medal!  But she didn’t give up, did she?

Here’s another amazing story from this Olympics, and in the same sport.  This one is a brutal sport, about ten miles long uphill and downhill, in subfreezing weather.  I want you to see what happened to this one guy from Norway, how bad it was… and what he did afterwards.”

CUE VIDEO:  “KRUEGER’S MIRACLE ON SNOW”

He fell down, got trampled, was in last place, and had a ski actually rip a hole through his number bib there.  Talk about a bad start!  But even though he fell and fell hard, he got back up again, and didn’t quit.  Even though he fell, he didn’t stop trying.

And that’s what our life is all about.  We all fall.  We all mess up.  We all make terrible mistakes.

I was just reading about a guy from the Bible named David.  Everyone knows David, who took down the giant.  According the Bible, he was “a man after God’s own heart.”  But I’m reading a book now about how bad he messed up too.  I mean, this guy had some terrible sins.  And yet, by the end of it all, he still is remembered as a man after God’s own heart.  How do you do that?  How do you go from loser that’s fallen on the ground so hard… to a winner?

Repent, and get back up again.  It can seem pointless.  Voices might be jeering.  In fact, you might be hearing voices that are making fun of someone else who’s fallen down.  You could be one of those voices, making fun of someone else for falling.

That’s bad.  What’s good, though, is this:  watching someone get back up again.  You feel a little guilty when you laugh at people when they fall.  But there’s something inspiring about watching someone rise from a fall.  In fact, I have a friend who is going to talk a little about that, and share something about some famous athletes from Jamaica and their bobsled...

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

...Back Home

...back home, smooth traffic except for 400, sleeping in, hating the Emperor, "Legends," and more...

Monday, February 19, 2018

...Checklist Complete



..photo books, finding shells, sunny day, beach walk, Texas Roadhouse, Congo River Golf, Cow Licks, updates coming soon...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

"Ready?"

The Daytona 500 was today, and we can see the stadium from here, all fanned out and open to us.  We can hear the cars from here, but we're staying away from all the craziness just across the inlet.  In fact, we're quite happy over here where it seems a little quieter.  It also seems a bit foggier too.  The fog didn't lift until around 3:00 or so, and fairly heavy too.  That didn't stop us from going for a walk along the beach, and it certainly didn't stop Madison and Daddy from a visit to the indoor pool downstairs.  We spent our time playing "Yes and No" or "Marco Polo," which she loves to play.  We had the whole pool to ourselves, too!

We had pancakes this morning, and a nice, relaxing day again.  We were playing board games and writing poems for the yearbook, plus watching the Olympics with biathlon and speed skating, which was hilarious because of the guy that got the racers set on the line.  He sounded like a really timid version of Lurch from "The Addams Family," along with bit of an accent.  We'd look forward to each race, just because shortly before it, this guy would quietly call out, "Rea-dy."  And we'd all crack up.  It has become a catch phrase for the weekend.

It was a quiet day again, one that had us walking along the beach a few times, looking for shells and splashing in the waves.  No dolphins today, but there were the usual surfers, and the usual miss of the ice cream truck on the beach.  It seems to know when we're back up in the condo, and then you hear the music and see the truck roll by.  One of these visits, we'll catch it.  We'll be "Rrea-dy."

Tonight, we had dominos, and just a lot of talking with the grandparents, which was great because we haven't been with them in a while.  It might have been September, I think, when they were up here.  Since then, we've just been busy with practices for ballet and that sort of thing.  But this was a good weekend to head down.  They'll be back up in a few weeks, and then we'll be back down again, so that will help compensate for such a short visit this time.  But even with the foggy beach, it's still a good day here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Beach Day


Here's the girls, back on the beach!  The weather down here is warm, and just about perfect.  The sunlight is bright, and the day was really nice here at Daytona Beach.  But it wasn't a nice day for this guy here, I guess.


Look at the size of this jellyfish!  If only there were a peanut butter fish nearby.  Madison was enjoying the walk along the water, although it was pretty chilly ocean water.  The sun was warm though, and we were enjoying kicking water up, and collecting shells.  Mommy found a few nice shells along the way.


So we've always got this little checklist going with each trip to the beach.  For example, we have to do a board game.  Check!  We got two in today, actually three.  Early on, there was Star Wars Monopoly.  In honor of the Chinese New Year, we also played a few rounds of "Lanterns."  And later tonight, the whole family did a few rounds of dominoes as well.

Daddy was reading on the balcony, "Downward Spiral," and Madison was watching movies or watching the Olympics with us.  We saw the ski jump for a bit today, including that guy from Norway:


The handlebar mustache is what seals the deal.  Reminds you of some sort of World War I flying ace or something.  We also saw some of the luge competition as well, pretty much watching different events on and off throughout the day.  Even curling, which is something we never really got to watch entirely before.  Oh, and that crazy short track speed skating, which is so unpredictable.

Daddy was doing some writing for the yearbook too.  And all the while, Madison was asking for words for her Mad-Libs, which she's been wanting to do over and over again.  She's been getting into those.  We also built a Tinker Crate project, the two of us creating a pull-copter, and launching discs upward to the ceiling.  It's a bit too windy here at the beach to try it out there, so we might wait until we get home to test it out for height.

Tonight, the grown-ups were watching "Victoria and Abdul," the first time for the grandparents, who had no idea about that particular story of the former queen.  Meanwhile, there was delicious ice cream on the table, and dolphins outside too.  You could see them from the kitchen table, out there playing in the waves and looking around for fish.  Occasionally, one would jump up out of the water.

Such a nice thing - can't believe you can used to that sort of thing, but there it is.  Each day, the in-laws wake up to this sort of view, and for a brief vacation here, we are as well!