Monday, July 30, 2007

Smackin' the Volleys

The gang got together for a 2nd evening of volleyball tonight. What started out as a little pick-up game at an ABF outing over a month ago has really grown to become a serious summer event. The exchange of emails amongst everyone has been entertaining- to say the least. We've had bed-time poetry, song lyrics, battle of the ice-cream stands, and some friendly little trash-talking.

We've also seen the origins of a number of great nicknames for the players, but I would imagine that most of us would be in agreement that The Sandman takes high honors...see pic above for what should be a rather obvious explanation.

It's so easy to show up to church each Sunday, practice the scheduled tunes with everyone, lead the congregation in song and prayer...and then go home and not really get the opportunity to be community with these guys. These games have given us all the chance to really let down our guards, show off our athletic prowess (ha, ha) and just enjoy each other's company- and maybe even get a spike or two in on Dan the Man Lebo, Minacious Mo Davis, or the Dena-nator.

Plans are in the works for Smash Volleyball III: the Phantom Return of Quick Serve Emily

(thanks again for the pics, Dena!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Movie Night: Back to the Future
for the Eubank Clan

Friday, July 20, 2007

So do you have a better idea of what to do with a one year old when you need to vacuum?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Joshua: A Parable For Today
Jesus preached a message of freedom, the freedom of God's children. Religious leaders should help people understand life and enjoy being God's children. They must resist the temptation to run a church as a business and lord it over the people. Jesus never intended to start a business, but to lay the foundation for a closely knit family of people caring for one another....In a real community of Christians, the people are the heart of the community. They are allowed to live freely and plan their own lives as Christians, and to build up their own lives as God's people. The pastor is for them a gentle guide, offering advice and counsel and direction when needed. There is a genuine love that inspires a community like this. That is what Jesus intended.
The story begins with Joshua moving into a small cabin on the edge of town, where the local people are at first mystified and then confused by his presence. A quiet and simple man, Joshua lives his life in perfect harmony with the world, above all the petty concerns that often afflict others. He supports himself solely through his carpentry, and he charges very little for his services- this despite the fact that his wood carvings are exquisite, and word of his artistic genius has quickly spread far and wide. Yet, most important to this man are his individual relationships with everyone in the town- everyone including the Catholic, the Protestant, and his Jewish neighbors. All who come into contact with him cannot help but be transformed by his incredible warmth, and infinite wisdom as to the true teachings of Christ.
I first read this book years ago shortly after it was published in 1983. I was looking for a good summer read last week, so I picked it up once again and finished it in just a few days. Time and time again, Joshua preaches the notion that church is not a building, but rather a community of believers who live out their lives emulating Christ and his teachings. Has today's society embraced this message? Well, a recent statement in the document called Dominus Iesus was released last week by Pope Benedict contending that "all religions (except Roman Catholic) are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation."
Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote an exceptional Faith column this past weekend where he touched upon this topic in which he writes, among other things... That's why I love faith in action such as food kitchens, helping the handicapped, jail ministry, rest home ministry, etc. There are no great theological debates because the problems in front of the volunteers are so pressing, there isn't time for them. Terry has been an active participant in jail ministry for a number of years.
Getting back to the book, the one thing that appears to trouble the townspeople most is the fact that Joshua visits- with regularity- just about every church in town; and, after speaking of Christ's love and intended vision of His church, Joshua's hope is for the denominational labels to fade from the buildings, and for the hearts of the people to shine seemingly simple, yet so incredibly difficult for us to embrace in today's world.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Roughin' It

"Hey Josh, help me unload our stuff from the van, and then we'll go swimming."

First Load: sleeping bags and pillows
Second Load: Rubbermaid container filled with basic camping supplies: flashlights, matches, paper products, bug repellent, etc...

Third Load: lawn chairs, swimming gear, and cooler

Fourth Load..."Hey Josh, did you already get our suitcase with all our clothes?" ."No, dad, did you?" . UGH!!!! Seems that the suitcase was residing back home in our living room. I'm blaming it on the 6 year-old.

Hey, we're two tough dudes...who needs a change of clothes for a couple of days. If Marie or Cindy had been with us, we'd be back in the car to retrieve the suitcase, but a change of clothing is vastly overrated when you're camping- at least for my son and I.

We actually had a fantastic time. Josh was able to swim since I did remember to pack his body swim gear thing-a-ma-jig. After we tackled the putt-putt golf, we rented a paddle boat and took a leisurely "3 hour tour" out on the lake. The leisure atmosphere came to an abrupt halt though when we found ourselves mired in seaweed. Trying to behave myself in front of my ever so impressionable 6 year old, I contemplated what to do. As I saw it, I had three options. Take my shoes and socks off and drag the %^$@ paddle boat out of the muck, throw my son overboard and make him do the dirty work, or sit there and hope that Divine Intervention would come through for us. Opting for the third choice proved to be prudent because during our wait, this one cloud appeared in the sky and Josh and I had more fun trying to decide on the multiple animals that it looked like. We both agreed that it most resembled a frog.

Later in the evening, we enjoyed a hayride and a campfire cookout, and then early the next morning- smelling just a tad ripe from our 2nd day in the same clothes- we headed back down to the lake to feed the fish with a bunch of hot dog buns. Before leaving, Josh got the chance to saddle up on this fearsome looking bronco and toured the campground one last time. Not sure who smelled worse- the barnyard pony or my son.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Crux Spes Unica: The Cross Our Only Hope

With the eyes of faith, consider the greatness of your mission and the wonderful amount of good you can accomplish. And also consider the great reward promised to those who have taught the truth to others and have helped form them into justice: They will shine eternally in the skies like the stars of the heavens. With the hope of this glory, we must generously complete the Lord's work.

-Father Basil Moreau

The Cross- along with an anchor-forms the coat of arms of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The motto, Spes Unica, gives expression to the founder Fr. Basil Moreau's conviction that our true and sole hope is in the Cross.

Born on February 11, 1799 near Le Mans, France, Father Moreau experienced the devastating consequences of the French Revolution. Ordained a priest at 22 years of age, he taught and served as assistant superior of the major seminary in Le Mans. Deeply committed to preaching and Christian education in France, he laid the foundations for the Congregation of Holy Cross, which united the auxiliary priest of Holy Cross and the Brothers of St. Joseph.

I attended a 3 day seminar to learn about the incredible life of this man whose legacy not only includes the Notre Dame in IN, but also St. Edwards University in Austin TX, King's College in Wilkes Barrie, PA (host site of this conference), and of course my beloved Hoban High School right here in Akron, OH.

We had about 40 Holy Cross educators from across the country in attendance, and all had the opportunity to participate in this one excursion of touring the Lackawanna Coal Mine....unbelievable! And yes, I went down this hole in a mine cart, descending approximately 300 feet to the coal beds. In 1902, the Continental Mine's compensation for a miner who blasted and loaded 3 ton coal cars was $1.50- for the whole day! Children were also employed for various tasks including mule drivers (these poor animals never left the mine!) and slate pickers, which brought in a whopping .6- .9 cents an hour. The most disheartening part of the tour was to find out that over 100,000 people have died in American coal mines over the years, many of whom were young children from simply falling asleep on the job, being crushed to death from the coal carts, or electrocuted from the equipment. This particular mine closed in the 1960's as it was no longer able to compete with natural gas companies for fuel consumption.

En route to home, we stopped at Scranton's ballpark, home of the Yankee's triple A team. Mary Lou's son is evidently a huge Yankee's fan. (and obviously in need of some serious therapy!) Oh, and as far as King's College is concerned, it costs a King's ransom to send your kids there. Next year's tuition is set at a cool $32,ooo.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Stayin' Cool

So Marie has been bugging me most of the summer that we need to get a pool for the backyard; what she failed to do, however, was to articulate the preferred size. Hey, Sarah Kay loved it!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bleacher Bums

In all the years that I've attended ballgames, I have never sat in the bleachers until tonight, and wouldn't you know Marie and I were truthfully 12 inches from grabbing Francisco's home run shot in the 4th. I remember screaming at Marie "Watch it comes!" The ball landed directly in the row behind us, hit once, and then the mad scramble was on for the souvenir. Marie was so... close to snatching it up, only for some guy who easily had a couple hundred pounds on her to get to it first. And what would be a "bleacher home run ball" experience without being doused by some dude's beer...unfortunately, it was my daughter who was the recipient of that episode...(Remember the scene in Jurassic Park/ and the reaction on the little girl’s face when she’s sitting in the tree feeding the leaves to the dinosaur…and then the thing sneezes on her, and she gets plastered with dino snot? Well, that pretty much was the same look Marie had on her face after her beer shower in the bleachers.)

We relocated to the upper deck in the 8th because of the fireworks show that was to follow the game. We arrived to our new seats just in time to see Grady blast a grand slam " deep's gone! Grand slam for all-star Grady Sizemore!" (sorry, pretty lame imitation of Hamilton's call, I'm sure.) By that time, the entire stadium was rocking.

The fireworks show was probably the best that I've seen at the Jake. They had a video montage of rock history playing on the scoreboard, a pretty cool light show going on in the infield, and then a guest appearance from Cleveland's very own, Michael Stanley singing his hit, "This Is My Town" To boot, they announced that everyone there that night had just made history as the Tribe had almost 9,000 walk-ups for the evening...the most in Jacob's Field history.