Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hannah on Football

Not Hannah on a Football, which would look something like this:

(Pardon the cheese-factor. I'm pretty sure that my sanity is questionable at this point.)

I have been asked on a few occasions if my love for football is out of support for my husband, and I feel that it is now time to set the record straight.

When I first met my man, he hadn't seen an Alabama football game in FOUR YEARS! Four years! Not even an Iron Bowl, for goodness' sakes! I'm not totally sure how that's even possible, but he claimed that he was in high school the last time he had seen a game.

I, of course, found this repulsive, and quickly clued him in on the fact that Hannah's Saturdays are permanently booked. I watch Alabama play. Then I watch the rest of the SEC play. Then I watch the big name teams in other conferences. Then I watch whoever is playing in the NFL on Sunday. Then I talk about it all week.

When I think about football season, the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" comes to mind, my eyes light up, and I get giddy, which is really saying something for me. (I don't typically do giddy.)

What is it about football? I wish that I could somehow communicate what it is that makes me so happy when it comes to football, but I just can't. I simply love the game. I love that I understand such a large percentage of the rules. I love that I can be an expert on the subject up here at the crossroads of Hockeyville and Socceropolis. I love faked passes that manage to trick the announcers. I love bold statements in the big game. I love playing it smart and conservative just to crush the opposition in the end. I love the nervousness of being down by 6 in the last quarter. And I love the excitement of an amazing comeback. I love inspiring coaches, selfless players, and exuberant fans. I love the feeling I get when I walk into a college stadium. It's been a long time, but I remember it well.

All that being said, it's still just a game. A great game, but a game. It's a fun thing to do with my family on the weekends. It's something that I look forward to, and would certainly miss if it suddenly vanished.

But I don't need it.

I don't have to have it. There's only one part of my life that qualifies for such a level of distinction. I only need my Creator. I only need my God. I enjoy football, but it ain't got nothing on the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Football is a hobby. Jesus is the driving force of my life, choosing how I spend my time, how I love, and how I give.

Only He gets to do that. Only He should do that. Only He is worthy of praise. Only He is good. Only He is precious. Only He is God!

Don't be confused. Football is a game. Jesus is God Himself.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Geography Lesson

When people hear, "New York," they obviously think of the city, the most populous city in the country. They think of taxis, skyscrapers, and gangsters. They don't think of the state. They never think of the rural area in which we dwell. When something happens in New York City, they assume that we are affected by it. In order to educate the public, I have decided to put on a little geography lesson.
(Oh, I am totally qualified to give such a lesson. I remember getting a 100 in geography in 6th grade, and I have access to the Internet, which is where I found the above map, so I'm pretty much an expert... right? Maybe not...)

Notice that you have to drive the length of three states to get from New York City to our home! As close as we can estimate it, we are 7 hours from the great city, which includes a two hour train ride.

Obviously, it's not insulting to assume that we're closer to NYC than we are. It's not that I dislike being in the same state. I love where we live, but it's completely different from what I expected.

And here's the kicker: people in rural areas are pretty stinkin' similar, whether they're in Alabama, Kentucky, or yes, even New York State.

(Okay, that's more sociology than geography. I'm multi-talented that way.)

The trucks are big, the farmers work hard, and everybody knows everything that happens in town. For the first few months, I had a really hard time remembering how far away we were from our original homes. Then I would pass a sign stating that the Canadian border was one mile away, and I'd have a sudden feeling of desertion, as if I'd just left home.

It's amazing how close a few thousand miles can seem at one moment, and how incredibly far they can seem the next. My mental map had a serious scaling issue. Since then I have developed a better understanding of our location (4 months of snow a year will do that), and a better appreciation for the similarities between yankee country folk and confederates that fall into the same category. We can be distant from where we know while being very close to what we know.

Class dismissed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Big Girl Hair-dos!

With school about to begin, I decided to get the girls' hair cut. This decision may also have something to do with the fact that I'm tired of the hair brushing battle. I mean, hair? Really, hair? I'm just trying to keep my sanity here.

The girls loved the experience. In fact, DeLaynie had a difficult time keeping still. (Which is weird for her... Okay; not really.)

So, here's what you really want: Pictures!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Don't Drive Tired

I was in a terrible car accident yesterday. Okay, it was a minor fender-bender. We can hardly see the damage on our already dinged-up car. The woman whom I hit, on the other hand, can most definitely see the damage on her much more expensive, much fancier, much whiter SUV.

I was trying to escape for a few minutes. We had camp last week, and Edwin and I are extremely tired. While the foster kids had visitation yesterday, I was given the choice between a nap and some time to wander around a few stores.

I chose poorly.

I was pulling up to a STOP sign, and the car in front of me started to go. It's a really busy intersection, so I started looking for the next window to pull out. I wasn't very thoroughly awake at the time, so it took me far longer than it should have to realize that the car in front of me decided to not go. I was in Edwin's car, and the brakes are much looser than my own. There was no time to stop it, but I managed to make a small dent instead of a large one.

The driver was not happy at all. Unfortunately, we live in a small town, and she's a local, so several people stopped to ask her about the horrible atrocity that had just taken place. I watched her tell the story of the accident with far greater enthusiasm and plenty of gestures. I think it's easier to be stoic when you have absolutely no sentimental attachment to the car.

I must confess that I didn't even apologize. I only spoke to her for the quickest moment to let her know that I was pulling out of the way of traffic. From that point on, we remained in our corners. It had nothing to do with a lack of sorrow on my part. I was really quite thoroughly mortified, but I thought it would be best to stay out of her way.

I probably should have implemented such a strategy before I hit her car.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Reunion

DeLaynie has been asking me about a friend from school ever since summer began. She wanted to send her letters almost constantly. Anytime she made something she was especially proud of, she would sigh to herself, "I wish she could see this..."

Obviously, friendships are a normal part of a little girl's life, but DeLaynie isn't normal. She's socially stunted due to her delays, and she has never really seemed to care about friends when they're not around. I was desperate, of course, to make DeLaynie's dreams of seeing her friend become a reality. There was just one problem: I didn't know her name!

DeLaynie kept telling us about her friend, and she used her name very specifically. DeLaynie has a wild imagination and she tends to get things from television mixed up with things from real life. I made her point her friend out when we looked at her class pictures. She was consistent. Edwin and I decided that The Friend may actually exist. But we still only knew her first name.

I asked a school teacher at church if she knew her. She wracked her brain, and sure enough, she made the connection. She is good friends with DeLaynie's teacher from preschool, so she tracked down the phone number for us. I made the phone call to The Friend's mom, and The Friend missed DeLaynie too! We set up a playdate for today.

I was terrified that it wasn't going to be the right friend. What if DeLaynie mixed up the name, and the little girl who got out of the car was someone else? What if DeLaynie said, "That's not The Friend!"? The anticipation mounted all week. DeLaynie kept reminding me that The Friend was coming, and I kept hoping that we found the right girl.

Then her mom pulled into the driveway. DeLaynie, Ella (who had gotten caught up in all of the excitement), and I went out on the porch to welcome who we hoped to be The Friend. Their eyes met, and they ran to each other! It was The Friend! DeLaynie was right! There's a real person that DeLaynie really likes! They hugged, and DeLaynie exclaimed, "You're here. You're really here. We're finally together again!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Pleasant Change

This week is youth camp for our Baptist Association. Because the churches here are few, far-between, and tiny (compared to the South), the associations sponsor or organize many of the activities that are typically the responsibility of individual churches in the South. Edwin and I again have the privilege of leading the small group Bible studies. We have organized childcare for our foster kids, and take our girls with us to the camp, where they get some intimate time with Mommy or Daddy while the inverse teaches their small groups.

I am deeply enjoying the time I get to spend teaching, the time I get to spend with the girls without fighting off two toddlers, and the time that we get as a family on the drives to and from camp. The foster kids seem to be enjoying their time at home with the sitter. It's pleasant to have a week with less pressure and a little breathing room.

We also have the joy of spending a little time with some friends that we pulled up here to lead worship and pastor the camp. It's a fun and bizarre thing to see friends from the past in our new surroundings, around our new friends.  I like being around grown-up friends. It makes me feel like a person. I find it odd that I have to go to youth camp to be around adults, but that seems to be how it is.

The fosters' mom is looking into getting a home, which will allow her to have overnight visits, eventually leading to a temporary discharge. We're praying for our guest children and their mom. We love them, and want what's best for them, and we really believe that their mom wants the same thing. It is such a strange state-of-being to live with children when you know that they are temporarily in your home. How do I teach them to trust when I know that it is my job to leave their lives? Well, that's the only deep question that I am presenting today. I'll let you stew on it for a while.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Plague #2

The Virus has subsided, it seems. I'm not casting any bets, but it appears that we are now free from The Virus.

But now, Plague #2 has begun, and it's a dandy. We have a bat problem. Okay, I'm not sure how big of a problem it is, but we have had three visitors in the last week. Ella is absolutely loving it. She seems to want to keep one as a pet. We tried to explain that some bats can make you sick, but she thinks that all of our new friends are healthy, nice bats.

So there you go.

The silver lining is listening to three squeeling girls talk about bats and how to rid our home of them.
Ella: "When bats come in, people go, 'AHHHHHHHHHH!' They fly around like this (hand movements of flying) and people run away!"

DeLaynie: "I know! We should put on bat costumes! Bat costumes will get rid of the bats!"

Foster daughter: "No. That won't work. That will make the bats want to come in. Unless we go outside in the costumes and then run back inside when they go out! Your house is spooky. No, not spooky. Your house is evil."

With these great words of wisdom, I think that our future is looking bright. The leaders of tomorrow are living in the Attaway abode today, I tell you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Virus

It began with the baby. He was whiny and cranky, but babies are supposed to be whiny and cranky sometimes. Then came the bodily expulsions. Seemingly unending bodily expulsions. Before he could conquer The Virus, the next oldest child was whiny and cranky, a sure sign of The Virus. As it progressed through his system, the three year-old began to be cranky... another victim. It seemed unending, unrelenting, devoid of mercy, completely unstoppable through modern medicine.

The adults seemed okay from the outside, but lack of sleep was eating away at their minds, even as the incessant whining tore away at their souls. Zombies! Will it ever end? Will this plague ever be defeated? Will The Virus bring life as we know it to an end? Stay tuned for more from...

The Virus