Reformed Grits

Them’s the breaks….
September 21, 2008, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Family, Life, Soccer IS life!

Well… the weekend didn't go like we planned…

We enjoyed the stay with our wonderful host family– God bless you, A&G, for your hospitality and for caring for me and the boy.  But it was cut short and that's a shame…

The first game Saturday was a blood-bath.  It was a tie 0-0 but the most brutal, violent soccer game I've ever seen.  Naturally, all officials call games differently and to be honest it's more fun when they let a lot go.  That's some real action and the boys really get in to the aggressiveness and I love that.  But there's a point where rules must be enforced for safety reasons.  It's for their protection and so that REAL soccer can be played that the officials are there.  Our officials in our first game seriously frightened every parent there.  The boys really all crossed the line and it was literally violent– think 2or 3 fist-fights, lots of "posturing", a TON of pushing, shoving, cursing, throwing other players to the ground (literally like grabbing 2 fists full of shirt and heaving them to the ground), elbows thrown, high kicks, and a lot of shouting from parents… and kids.  It was a mess.  It really did drain our boys and took them out of the game mentally.  It was spartan.  It was so disappointing that they were not playing their best– or even GOOD– soccer as a result.  And as a result, we tied 0-0.  I still get a pit in my stomach as I feared for my child's health and safety on the field.  Can I say that I was very proud that he kept his temper in check and that he played equally as tough as the other players but kept himself in check?   Love that kid. 

A few hours later as the boys hit the field we were disappointed to see that our guys were mentally out of a game that they easily could have won.  They were tired and it looked like a pick up game.  Sad, sad, sad.  Halfway through the second half, I looked downfield as someone yelled, "Kick it out of bounds!"  I saw Jojo white as a ghost holding the back of his forearm as he sank to his knees.  Uh-oh.  He went down and leaned over as I saw his buddies on that end rush to see about him, and then I saw one of our team dads who was an orthopedic surgeon run out to him from the sidelines.   I heard Jojo kind of moaning/screaming (he told me later he was saying, "It's broken!  It's broken" because he had heard the "crunch"– sorry) and I started flitting around in a mini-panic.  It was obvious when I saw the other teams parents running looking for help that our soccer day was done.  When I got down to him he was looking for me and Dr. M was holding his arm together with both hands.  We got J to lie down and he was in shock I believe.  I threw my phone to a friend who I got to call Mr. Grits–I knew if I called him I'd scare him with my freaked-out voice that was currently 2 octaves too high plus I had just gotton to J and I didn't want to scare him either.  I was able to calm him down by praying with him and getting him to slow his frantic breathing down.  Miraculously I was able to calm myself down too doing that.   I asked my friend, "So what are we looking at?" and he said, "Compound fracture of the wrist."  Ouch. 

Our good friend Dr. M, who just "happened" to be from Memphis, where we were, had some other ortho friends who worked and lived locally.  He started pulling in every favor he ever had and within a few minutes we were on our way to see an old friend and walked right in to the hospital with standing orders for my sweet boy's care.  Wow, what a blessing.  Can I just tell you too that before we left that night there had been SIX other broken arms from that particular soccer tournament that weekend?  Good officials are very necessary.  😦

To make a long story longer… he had x-rays and I was able to go back with "my doctor friends" haha and see the pics as they discussed them.  It was so cool how they do it all digitally now.  I was a little grossed out to see the particulars of the injury– radius and ulna both fractured.  The ulna just looked like a bone that snapped clean through.  The radius looked like a train had hit it from the front and it just splintered in half and pointed up.  Yeah, it was nasty. 

Shortly they had him in a treatment room, hooked him up to an iv of versed and morphine which may have been the 2nd worst part for him–he is very anxious over these things.  As soon as he was relaxed and sleepy, I told him I'd be back and I went out to wait.  Dr. M had told me that he might get wide-eyed and say "OW!"   Yea.  What I heard from 20 feet away was not "OW."  I think it was the tearing of the fabric of a mother's heart as my baby boy screamed a "man scream" of the worst kind.  I was on the phone and the woman on the other end heard it (yeah, it was that loud) recognized his screaming and we both burst in to hysterical tears.  I could barely breathe; she just started praying one of those prayers you just "vomit" out when you can't think.  I felt someone rubbing my shoulder and when I looked up about 3 minutes later when I started to stop shaking there was a hulk of a old black man nurse who came to comfort me.  What a sweet look he had on his face.  He just stood with me as I sobbed and then another younger female nurse moved me outside to talk to me back down from the ceiling.  A few minutes later I was ready to see him and be by his side so I wiped down my face and tried to calm myself.  I was squatting at the same place in the hall with a box of snotty tissues when the docs stepped out so they could x-ray the re-set.  Dr. M happened to look over at me and blanched.  He came over and told me he hadn't realized I'd only gone that far– I should have been OUT.  Yeah, um, I wasn't.

Can I have something for the pain?

I composed myself and went in.   I tried my best to act like it was no big deal.  I think I pulled it off.  He said he felt a lot better now.  The doctors said we'd have to wait a few hours to make sure the meds didn't have any adverse effects, so we waited for what was an eternity.  I'm so grateful for all the phone calls we had during this time, and the visits from all the friends (including A&G who brought our luggage to the hospital, as our plan was to head back HOME after discharge that night.  He and I were both ready to just go home.)  We got a lot of discouragement about going home that night, and with my husband's blessing I could have… but it wound up being so late by the time we were able to get released that my sweetie wound up booking a room where the team was staying.  (I know we could have troubled you, A&G but it was so late we didn't want to cause more confusion in your home.  Y'all have been so sweet and good to us!!!) 

We finally got some dinner and back to the hotel, and one of our team dad escorted me to a pharmacy to get some pain meds for my boy.  Pain meds in; lights out.  We were dead to the world– and I NEVER sleep in hotels. 

He had wanted to try to get up and make the team's 7 AM game, but sadly we slept through it.  (We lost, making our weekend record a pathetic 0-1-2.) 

We checked out, got on the road, and now are so glad to be in our home (which, I still wish we had done last night but oh well…) 

Thanks for all your prayers and comments.   The weekend was not what we expected, but as I've said a million times to my sweet boy, it's all for our sanctification.  He and I thoroughly enjoyed being together.  I can't count how many times he told me
thank you for different things.  I can't tell you how many times he did sweet things like offer me his jacket when I was cold and ask me if he could help me and walked with his arm around me (oh yes, he did!)  How many times this day have we said "We had the BEST time this weekend– except for that one part."  :-) 


Walkin’ in Memphis
September 15, 2008, 6:30 am
Filed under: Soccer IS life!, Travel

This weekend my oldest and I will be in the land of BBQ and Elvis.  We are so excited to be staying with a kind reader of this here bloggy whose parents we go to church with!  I'm so grateful to her for her family's hospitality and generosity! 
We will be busy with a minimum 4 soccer games but in between, I'd love to have y'all's input on good things to see or do or eat there! 
Anybody ever gone?

I’m blown over…
June 6, 2008, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Soccer IS life!

We've mentioned that we've struggled with our decision about what to do with Jojo and his future in soccer. 

We've mentioned that we got encouragement and advise out of nowhere, just when we had been praying about what to do. 

We decided to let him tryout, just to see what happened.  We had decided that it was fine if he wanted to play on the 2nd team while he would hopefully grow a bit this year and "catch up" with the guys his age. 

Tryouts were this week and I had told him that nothing was for sure but because of size issues this new coach coming in was going to be looking for "bulk."  I told Jojo that there were more spots than there were guys with "bulk" so if he wanted a spot on the team he was going to have to earn it.  Because our team did so well in state this year, a lot of new kids were coming in hoping for a spot on the gold team in our club for their age. 

Honestly, Mr. G and I had steeled ourselves that we'd be back on the 2nd team and were already looking forward to the comradery with the guys we know there and the hope that Jojo would be a leader on this team.  
Tonight, my sweet Jojo came in after tryouts and said, "Can I talk to you?" to me and his daddy.  With a very solemn face, he said, "Well, the coach told me that I just need to grow some (picture my fists clenching here) and that he really wants me to get bigger this year…

…but he told me I made the gold (1st) team…"


Just say no…
June 3, 2008, 11:35 am
Filed under: Faith, Family, I plead ignorance, Life, Soccer IS life!, What's she up to now?

It's hard to say no. 

Well, I mean, to some things. 

When I was in the Bahamas a few years ago at the straw market and was naively "ooing" and "ahhing" over the cute hand-carved pipes with funny faces, it wasn't hard to say "no" to the Bahamian fellow who noticed my pleasure and wanted to know if I would like some "good weed." 

But it's hard to say "no" to good things.  My dear friend Meg brought this to my attention not long ago and it has resonated within me that there are seasons in life where you have to say no to "good things."  This next week I have actually for the first time ever, had to say "no" to working in VBS.  Ever since the spring and summer became so challenging with work, I have habitually said "yes" to working VBS even though it's my busy season for work and it completely drains and overwhelms me and makes me want to sit in the back of my closet with my blankey, sucking my thumb.  VBS is a "good thing."  But Mr. Grits has assured me that I physically and emotionally can't do both.  He decided for me, laying down the law (which he NEVER does except in situations like this where I can't be relied upon to make a wise decision and I know it) that last year was my last time to work VBS as long as I'm doing this job.  He's right, but it's hard to say no to good things. 

Something that wouldn't surprise most folks but they may not know is that Mr. Grits is a gifted soccer coach.  He has great knowledge of the inner workings of the game, strategy, skills, and what it takes to be a great player.  Not just physically, but he knows when a player is a liability to their team with their attitude and temper and is able to coach this as well.  He coached Jojo's teams for years until Jojo got on a traveling competitive team and then we decided that it would be a "good thing" for him to learn what others had to teach.  Two years ago, it looked as if his team would need a coach so Mr. Grits stepped up and coached him again in the competitive "2nd" team.  By the end of the season, the team found itself playing the club's "first team" in a tournament.  With his leadership and having been under his coaching for 2 seasons, our team dominated the game and almost won– a last minute corner kick score did us in.  It was a great experience… except for the fact that Mr. Grits is called to full-time ministry and seminary.  That year of coaching, a new baby, and seminary classes almost stressed us to breaking.   I wish we looked back on that year as "good times" but whenever we look back we groan and say, "We will NEVER do that again." 

This summer, Mr. Grits and I have been plotting strategy for him to finish school inside the next 2 years.  We've talked about getting "gazelle intense" with his schooling.  Meanwhile, it looks as though an opportunity would come about to coach again this next year.  This prospect, like the proverbial carrot hanging just out of grasp of the horse's mouth, tempts like a siren.  He's a good coach.  A GREAT coach.  He enjoys it.  He could make a difference.  This opportunity is a good thing.  But it's a good thing we have to say no to. 

I've tried to think about a Biblical basis for this.  Why should I say no to something that's good?  The thing I keep coming back to is how Paul often mentions he had to turn away from trips or opportunities to go visit those he loved to continue on with difficult and challenging ministry opportunities.  In 1 Corinthians 16 he says "…I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.  But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me."  He is delaying the gratification of the "seeing you now" in order to be obedient to what the Lord has actually called him to, with the hope as well that he'll have a longer visit later. 

So basically, it's about obedience.  Our primary call is to get through school and for me to do my job.  (Obviously secondary to The Primary Call of parenting our children and raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.)  Coaching soccer, working VBS, volunteering in the kids' classrooms, working in the library, having the kids in music lessons or even playing soccer (yes, there I said it) truly are good things.  We just have to pick and choose which things help us in our call and which ones distract us from it.  Sometimes we don't know.  Sometimes we have to make bad decisions and learn from them.  And sometimes we just have to do the hard thing by saying "no" to "good things."

Nothing worth doing is easy. .

Good news/ Bad News
May 10, 2008, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Soccer IS life!

Well we are home from day one of state cup playoffs and we come home with 2 tough wins.  Yay!  This puts us in the final round for next weekend.  We are really stoked about this great opportunity!

The bad news is that Jojo is out for the count– during the second game when he went in, he looked awful and played, well, not long.  I noticed that after a while he was sitting with his head in his hands and not looking up.  It was obvious something was wrong.  I eventually went over (I don’t think I’ve EVER gone over to the bench.  I’m not "that kind of mom.") and asked what was wrong.  His eyes were bloodshot and he looked awful.  His hands were shaking like crazy and he said his head was killing him.  He was out of water so I went and got him some and gave him a motrin.  He didn’t get back in the game.  😦 

He slept the whole way home (almost 2 hours) and when we arrived his temp, with motrin, was 101.2. 

So that rules out play for tomorrow.  Even if he’s better it’s not worth risking getting his teammates sick.  His throat is killing him too, so we are likely going back for another strep test and at the least going to get some stronger cough medicine.  He has a deep rattly cough too.  Not great when you are running for 70 minutes straight. 

So say a prayer for our boy.  He’s discouraged and miserable. 

Well… Game four…
April 20, 2008, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Soccer IS life!

We are back home.  Exhausted. Sick of road food.  Tired of being in the car.   But enjoyed our time together and our great weekend.  As you know the Grits family LOVES to win.  We skunked in all our games, which is pretty fun.  When it came to the last game, it was intimidation from the first touch.  It was a very intense game with yellow cards and tempers and yelling.  But when it comes down to it, it was some GREAT soccer.  Our boys played the best this weekend I’ve seen them play and it was a lot of fun. 
And winning is fun when you give your best.  When you don’t have to play hard to win, it’s not near as satisfying. 
But that last game?  Oh so very satisfying…
One goal by our team scored in the last minute of the game won us the title for a final score of 1-0. 
Hard won, and those boys had smiles on their faces. 

We are so proud of them.  I’m glad to be home.  It was a great, great weekend. 

Now I must finish giving baths, go start laundry, put kids to bed, and go to the grocery store before bed.

Thanks for following along!

Game three
April 20, 2008, 9:42 am
Filed under: Soccer IS life!

We were up at 6 this morning to leave bright and early for our 7:30 game.  It was against a team that had already lost twice this tournament but for whatever reason had a grudge against us.  They played angry and their parents were angry too and it made it challenging.  We won 5-0 but their team played hard.  Our team took a while to wake up.  One of our boys made a goal by heading it in.  It was really cool!

We are in the championship game later today.  Continue to pray for our boys– for their attitudes, safety, and endurance.  We didn’t sleep again last night as Sugie had a number of night-terrors last night.  Bee also woke up once crying.  I’m wiped out and the kids are starting to get on my nerves.  Not their fault– we are doing a lot of waiting, eating a lot of road food and junk food, and we are all running on no sleep.

I really think this will be the last time we take everyone.  The little ones just don’t do well without naps, and if anyone is able to sleep their wakefulness from overtiredness ruins it for everyone. 
I’m happy for the boys who have worked hard and played hard and will be in the big game later today!  News to come!  I hear it’s a tough team!!