Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tuck's Rite of Passage

In our culture, we don’t really have any kind of traditional, ceremonial way for boys to mark their passage into manhood. Our young men have to use things like getting their license, or their first job, or their first whiskers to use as a benchmark that they’ve arrived. And yet, in so many ways, our culture turns right back around and tells them they’re still not ready to do many “adult things”,…they can’t drive by themselves, they can’t vote, they can’t get jobs,…Those are confusing signals.

So we came up with our own way celebrate, in a tangible way, the fact that each of our boys had reached that milestone. The result is our family's "Rite of Passage" during which we challenge the boys (at age 15) to BE the kind of men they want to be rather than just hoping people will think that’s who they are; to decide beforehand how they're going to approach life and its adventures; to live a Life of Faith, a Life of Holiness, a Life of Service and a Life of Excellence.

We ask the boys to identify some men from our church whom they respect, who have exhibited qualities they admire. Each of these men writes them a letter about what they think it means to be a man, and pledges to pray for them through the remainder of their high school years.

We identify a key scripture passage for each area (Faith, Service, Holiness, and Excellence), which they must commit to memory as a “lamp unto their feet, and a light unto their path”.

Finally, each area is represented by a member of our family: the boys' two grandfathers, Karen and Dave, and from each they receive a token of some kind to remember their pledge.

The final act of the ceremony, Dave performs a "knighting" ceremony, using the following words:

"In remembrance of the pledges you have made."
"In remembrance of your lineage and obligations."
"In remembrance of the God whom you serve."
"Son of David, son of Patrick, son of Hubert, son of Clyde and Andrew and Moses, rise and join the company of men."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

State Tournament in Bay Minette

We head to south Alabama for a weekend of baseball
in the midst
of a record heat wave,
and meet a real survivor.

After being delayed two weeks because of Hurricane Dennis, the State 9-10 yr Little League Tournament finally got off the ground on Satuday, July 23rd. The Huntsville Nationals team traveled down together on the day before so they could get acclimated and get settled into the hotel,...which meant swimming in the pool of course!

The next day the boys practiced, rested, and then headed to Bay Minette for the opening ceremonies. Our first game was a thriller. The team from Phenix City came out of the gate with 3 runs in the first inning, but we rallied back and took the lead in the second. Each team scored runs in the subsequent innings, but somehow our boys held onto a one run lead heading into the fifth inning. And that's when the wheels fell off,...the PC boys had a breakout inning, scoring a total of twelve runs, and effectively putting the game out of reach. We lost 18-8.

The loss put us in the Loser's bracket, which actually worked in our favor, since we didn't have to play again until Monday evening. That left Sunday available for hitting the beach! On the way back from Gulf Shores we hit Lamberts resaurant, best known for the way the servers throw rolls to people. It was a great day of fun.

Monday night we faced Opp, the other team to lose the first night. Scouting reports gave us a good chance to win, but Opp pulled out to a quick 6-0 lead. A short rain delay gave our boys time to regroup, and they came out rallying to pull within one run in the 4th inning. Things started to unravel in the fifth inning though, and our boys gave up 8 straight runs. It ended at 14-5.

The loss was emotional, but by the time we got back to the hotel, the boys had forgotten all about it. They were much more interested in the pizza party at the hotel pool! Karen, Philip and I picked up the pizza on the way back from Bay Minette, and while we were at the Domino's we bumped into a guy named James who was going to start working there the next day. Turns out he was one of the guys on CBS's Survivor Palau!

He chatted with us for a bit and we got our picture with him. Turns out he was voted off the island ninth, and then spent three weeks in Austrailia while the remainder of the filming took place. Quite a coincidence running into him!

All-in-all, it was a great weekend of fun. And of course football is right around the corner!

Friday, July 8, 2005

Baseball All-Stars

Philip's All-Star Baseball Team
Wins 2005 District 8 Championship

The McGucken Park "National League" 9-10 year-olds
win the right to go to the State Tournament.

Though the regular season was once again somewhat disappointing, Philip's selection to the All Star team paved the way for another GREAT summer of baseball! Coming into the tournament as the underdogs to three other teams made up of mostly travel team players, the National League All Stars blasted their way through the competition in fine style. They had to play 6 games to make it happen, including an extra game when the Loser's bracket champs beat them, but they bounced back in a BIG way in the chamionship game!

Tournament Results:

* Game 1-National beats Lakewood 23-3
* Game 2-National beats Civic 6-5
* Game 3-National beats Patriot 10-7
* Game 4-National beats American 12-9
* Game 5-National loses to American 9-11
* Final - National beats American 25-7

The victory brought with it all sorts of benefits (like embroidered bat bags!), but it also threw our remaining summer plans into a tizzy. Philip and Adam's first "Hau56 Camp" was scheduled for the same week as the State Tournament. It was to be a biggy because it's the only year that Gerrit, as a rising Senior, would be a counselor at one of Philip's camps.

We started working out plans for dropping the boys off at camp on our way back from the tournament, but they'd have to lose in order to have any time at camp, and that didn't sound like a great solution. Ultimately it was Dennis that solved the problem for us,...Hurricane Dennis that is. When Dennis' landfall was predicted to coincide with opening ceremonies down near Mobile, the state tournament officials decided to postpone the tourney, leaving Philip and Adam free to go to camp after all!

Amazing how things work out.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Blountsville Civil War Reenactment

We take a trip to nearby Blountsville
to get a little glimpse of what life was like
during the "War of Northern Agression" :-)

One Sunday in April we decided to do church a little differently.

Down in Blountsville, Alabama, about 45 minutes south of Huntsville, there was a Civil War reenactment going on. The event was designed to recall the "Forrest-Streight Raid" which occured there in April of 1863.

As part of the weekend, they were holding a traditional outdoor church service, complete with "Sacred Harp" singing, and a good old-fashioned time of preaching. We decided that sounded pretty interesting, so we packed up and headed down.

The weather was gorgeous, the singing was awesome, and the whole set-up for the battle was most impressive. After the service, we were able to wander through the camping areas, and across the battlefield, talking to participants as we went.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Back to Venezuela

Our Family goes back to Miranda to work with
our partner church over Spring Break

Group shot at the new land during our going away service.
We held up a copy of the Huntsville Times in hopes
we can get published in their Travel section.

In contrast to last year's rush of excitement about international missions in our church, life seems to be intruding more and more in 2005. When it came time to make the arrangements for this year's Spring Break trip to Venezuela it turned out that only our family could get away during that week. So, off we went.

It was a very different trip in many ways. Without others along to introduce to the new culture, language and food, we pretty much arrived and got right to work. That also served to make it a more special trip, since it felt like we were back home, visitng our family and friends. For the first time we got to be a part of a baptismal service and share the Lord's Supper with the Miranda congregation. We also got to be there for the Easter Sunday services. The result was a great time of fellowship, worship, and service!