Friday, May 29, 2015

Help Needed

     "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Romans 12 :4-5

     It's Lauren's birthday today, and we are so thankful for our multi-talented young lady!  She has so many gifts and talents and often misses out on social events to pursue them.  We love her dedication, her perseverance in the midst of frustrating obstacles. 
     Mike and I recently had a conversation about something I had been thinking about for a while.  The girls have...and have had... so many, and I do mean so so many helpers in their lives.  From Lauren's batting coach, Amanda, and her various great softball and soccer coaches and her writing mentor teachers who have seen something in her and brought it to the next level.  She has had teachers pour into her natural gift for working with children, entrusting her to do sometimes more than what they'd ask the parent volunteers to do.  And, of course, her amazing art coach, Grandpop.  He saw a talent in her sketches and ran with it, teaching her how to be a watercolor artist and technician.
     Taylor has had amazing Braille teachers, her cane teacher, therapists through the ages, her jiu jitsu coach, her classroom teachers, her piano teacher.  I am constantly blown away by the extraordinary people who have invested in our girls.  I am constantly in awe of how much each of these people have gotten out of our girls.
      I realize there is absolutely no way we can BEST ourselves if we stay put and try to do it on our own.  It takes mentors and helpers, people who use their gifts and talents to help others reach their potential.  It takes us looking for and reaching out to others who know better and see more in us than we see in ourselves.  It means we have to do that for others.  I think is what Paul was talking about he talked about the Body of Christ.  When we all work together with our specific gifts and talents, we become a great team.  We get to encourage and build one another up.  We get to help each other reach potentials.  We get to become more united rather than divided realizing our need for and dependence upon each other, starting with Christ the Cornerstone.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Little Light Goes a LONG Way!

     We had the greatest opportunity a couple weeks ago to participate in the Junior Blind Olympics.  Taylor competed in 11 events.  It was an incredible experience, one in which I was more than overcome a few times by emotion and had to excuse myself for a minute to "collect myself."  I was so grateful to be wearing sunglasses!  I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of volunteers.  There were easily far more volunteers than participants which is always quite moving to me.
     Each event at the Olympics was adapted in any way possible to make the blind competitors experience it for themselves.  For example, there was a box for the athlete to stand in to line themselves up to the target for archery.  There was a rope on which was a PVC pipe so the competitor could run in a straight line.  There were verbal cues given all over the place for rock climbing, kayaking, and the inflatable obstacle course.  They learned how to play Goalball, a national blind sport similar to soccer.  It is super cool too!
     One of the most impacting events to watch for me was the long jump.  Competitors were divided based on total blindness or some vision.  That made it more fair.  I never quite realized the advantage of having "just a little light" until watching the difference between the "Visually Impaired" and "Totally Blind" groups in Long Jump.  The adaptations were similar for long jump and sprints.  There was a rope with a PVC pipe over it so the competitor could run as fast as possible and jump far as soon as they reached the end.  Those with some vision ran and jumped without hesitation.  The totally blind group all did almost the exact same thing.  They ran as fast as they trusted themselves, stopped completely, and jumped almost straight up rather than far out.  I was amazed as each athlete did almost the exact same thing.  I also cried happy tears watching them feel like they were soaring!
   I learned something huge that day:  A little light goes a LONG way!  We can have just a little bit of God's Light shining on us, and we can go much farther and faster than without Him.  God wants us to get more and more of Him, and we get lots of help and support along the way. More Light carries us farther faster!
Reaching the top of the rock climb

 100-yard dash
Learning how to defend for Goal Ball

Long Jumping