Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh! My Aching Back and Other Things

I have not been very present in the 'verse this week so I thought I'd take a little time to explain.

First, thanks to everyone who left such supportive comments to my last post. The Community of Survivors of Dysfunctional Families served me well this week. It is nice to know you are out there, although a little sad that there are so many of us. Lest anyone think that a little family histrionics would keep me from posting and commenting, I thought I'd explain a little about what is going on at Chez Mary-LUE.

This week has been our church's annual vacation Bible school. Now, for those of you who may have attended VBS when you were a child, you may not be aware of how things work now. VBS is a Major Production. There are sets, casts, costumes, props. You name it. Crafts, snacks and memory verses are still a vital part of the modern VBS experience, but there is just so much more. Whether that "more" is for better or for worse is best left to individual preference.

Our church's program is also different in two other ways: 1) We have it at night. With so many families having two parents who work out of the home, our attendance and volunteer base is actually better this way. 2) Our VBS extravaganza is "family" oriented. Isn't every vacation Bible school family-oriented? Yes, but usually they are more child-centric. Adults plan and lead the program, but the kids get checked in around 9 a.m. and checked out, crumby-faced, craft in hand, around noon. For our program, the parents are invited and their presence preferred. Instead of being in groups sorted by age and led by a volunteer, you make the rounds to the craft, snack, games areas with your family. Kids whose parents cannot join them are adopted by other families.

I am of two different minds about this specific facet of our program.

I love it.
It is a great idea. The worship team consists of parents and children. You know exactly what your kids are learning and are given tools for discussion and application. Marley loves that we are there.

I hate it.
FAM JAM (Families and Me, Jesus and Me) always coincides with swim lessons. For four days, we take Marley to swim lessons around 4:30 pm.

The best part of swim lessons, as far as Marley is concerned.
That does look like fun, doesn't it?

Afterwards, we get her cleaned up and dressed, take her to dinner with our other swim lesson/FAM JAM-attending friends, then head over to church at 6:15. There, we, the g'rups, are expected to join the kiddie mosh pit for worship, eat snacks and play games which involve water balloons, bare feet and scavenger hunts. (I am Rebellious, Loner Mom. I follow around dutifully, help Marley with crafts, etc., but avoid at all costs the games and usually avoid the mosh-ip pit.) Usually, Paul is helping out with sound and in the days previous, I am providing some sort of prep cutting out labor or providing a pre-FAM JAM meal for the volunteers one night. (This year, I did none of those things. Bad Mary! Actually, I was just not up for it. I'm usually quite happy to contribute.) By Friday night, we are all pooped and I am filled with fond remembrances of VBS drop offs and pick ups of yesteryear.

One of last year's messy games which I successfully avoided.

So, we've been busy in the afternoon/evenings and recovering during the days. Also, we have a friend's son come out to stay for two days and one night so he could join us for Treasure Quest, FAM JAM 2007! Unfortunately, this all coincided with some back pain. A few years ago, Paul and I paid for the hardwood floors in our living/dining room to be refinished in the rental we live in. The man who we hired was the Methuselah of floor refinishers. He had a young man who helped him, but every time he bent over he made this unearthly groaning noise and I was greatly afeared he would not be able to get up.

I feel like that man this week.

After going too long between adjustments and working out pretty hard for a few weeks, I had a chiropractor visit on Monday. I think my muscles and bones are in confusion about who exactly is in charge. It hurts. An almost constant ache with periods of sharper pain. I'm ibuprofen-ing, stretching, heat pad-ding. It just is taking its sweet time to feel better. This is not my usual, post-cracking bliss.

That is the main reason I've been more absent from the blog'verse. I've been reading and commenting here and there, but there is more I would have said and written if not for what I just described above. Also, my kids are around all the time and I like to blog alone. (Is that a bad sign? Isn't that the first question on any "Are you a ______aholic?" questionnaire?)

And, AND!. . . I've got the bulk of two books to read by Monday and Tuesday for the two book clubs I am in. Woman, thou art delusional!

Well, that is what is going on at Chez Mary-LUE. How about you guys? What's new with you?

Oh! Oh! Oh! I almost forgot. There's a new Scenic View in my sidebar. One of my most favoritest authors in the 'verse is Cyn Kitchen. She describes motherhood in a way that makes you laugh, cry and shake your head in recognition. Amazing stuff. Lately, she's been sharing with us her publishing successes. So, if you want to check out her recent contribution to, here it is: You Made It, Whatever It Is. I dare you not to like it. Double dog dare.

Good night. . .


Alpha DogMa said...

My name is Alpha and I will 12-step with you out of this blogging addiction. So are VBS a common American thing? I've never heard of them before.

Let me know about the chiro - I've got some back issues too. But for now I'm going to blame our 8 year old mattress.

Mary-LUE said...

Hi Alpha! Welcome to our meeting of Bloggers Anonymous.

I'm not sure if VBS is North American thing or just an American thing. It might be more of a non-liturgical church thing. All I know is the days of cheese and crackers and popsicle stick crosses are long gone and VBS Rep Theater are here. (They are really great, honestly, but a lot of work. We had a pirate theme for ours this year and there was a ship and an island on stage. A big ship!)

I have an appt. scheduled for the chiro. for July 9th and am assuming I can't get in before then anyway, what with Independence day and all. If I start typing groans into my post, you'll know I didn't get better!

Julie Pippert said...

Busy busy busy!

Yes, P1 was at VBS last week. Avalanche Ranch. She LOVED it. Game Day is at the end of July. Which one did you do?

Thanks for the update!

Julie Pippert said...

Ooops! Just read your comment. Pirate theme eh, sounds fun!

Hope your bones and muscle aches work out to the good soon.

P.S. It's okay to blog alone. :)

Binky said...

I loved that piece by Cyn Kitchen. I had to read the first paragraph out loud to my husband. That's a classic.

Mel said...

VBS is a wonderful thing. It amazes me how it's evolved--but I can see how it had to.

*sending healing thoughts for those aching bits*

L-Girl said...

Ouch!! I hope your back pain gets better!!! And Marley looks like she's having a ball!!! I remember VBS. It was fun, but as a teacher now, I get where all the work that goes into it comes from....snaps to you for being so involved!

Emily said...

Girl, I had the worst back pain with my second pregnancy. I could not walk. So, I am awfully impressed you made it to the computer at all, let alone VBS.

V-Grrrl said...

VBS. Ugh. I hate what an enormous production it has become. The elaborate themes, sets, costumes, skits, games and crafts seem to overshadow the message. The kids have a good time, the parents are exhausted, but do the kids take away anything but a bunch of artwork?

I was a Sunday school teacher for years and a youth group leader too.I was more than a little dismayed that sometimes the attempts to make everything fun and entertaining did more damage than good--turning the kids into "consumers" of religion, not encouraging them to think and challenge their ideas and actions. So many people then grow up to choose their churches on how well they like the preacher and how exciting the music is and whether it has enough social programs for families. They forget church isn't all about THEM and their needs but about having a relationship with God.

End of mini-sermon. : )