Actions in Activities, Musings

Don’t Give Up

Few things make me quite as nostalgic as a debate tournament. Now, I was never a fantastic debater. While winning two out of three rounds wasn’t a huge shock, it was still often a surprise. But I loved it.

I didn’t fall in love with debate right away though. My first tournament was epic. A thing of legend. It was terrible. My partner and I were both first year debaters and we really had no idea what we were doing. She didn’t seem to care that we were doing so poorly, and it drove me insane. But since she was more comfortable speaking and I just wanted to sit in the corner and pretend I was somewhere else, she gave two of our three speeches. I spent most of the time staring at my paper trying to figure out what to write down. When it was my turn to speak, I stood up, thanked the judge, timekeeper and peanut gallery, read the few words I may or may not have written down, stared at my mostly blank piece of paper for a minute or so, said “um” a lot, and sat down. That first tournament I got 1 out of 5 points in nearly every speaker category, in nearly every round. I swore “never again.” I was done with debate, speaking, everything. That was my first tournament, and I was determined that it would be my last. My parents had other ideas. I had to finish the semester and compete in the rest of the tournaments, but after that semester was over I could be done.

It still irks me to say this, (what can say? I inherited my parents combined stubbornness) but I’m so glad that I finished that term.

I learned so much in my time as a debater. It’s not just the obvious things you would think of either. Everyone expects that, of course, public speaking is a nearly universally useful skill. You use it in almost every profession, as well as jobs that lead up to whatever career you pursue (“Would you like fries with that?”). The critical thinking habits are obviously invaluable. But those aren’t the ones that meant the most to me. The lessons that meant to most to me were ones of confidence.

The thing about debate is, sometimes your team can win a round without actually being the better speakers. A first year debater can destroy a seasoned team by pointing out one logical fallacy. A timid speaker can turn a theatrical orator’s case into a colander with the right points. The confidence boost of a win, or even the possibility of a win, is indescribable and addictive. I’ve seen this happen as both a debater and as a judge, and it’s awesome.

When I first started debate, all I wanted to do was melt into the wall. By the end of my senior year, I was often in tears because I didn’t want it to end. Debate can be an amazing activity, but remember five things for me.

  • Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t feel bad when you make one, but when your opponent does, nail ’em. Politely. With a smile.
  • Conversely, when your opponent nails you for a mistake, don’t take it personally. Still be polite and try to remember to smile.
  • You will lose rounds. It’s not a reflection of your worth as a human being.
  • You will think of what would have been the winning argument for those rounds on your way home from the tournament. File it away and be ready for next time.
  • It’s just a game. You are not a lawyer. No one will die or go to prison if you mess up. Have fun.

And parents, please remember that these are kids. Don’t berate them for making mistakes. That’s part of learning.

Farm and Family, Musings

Tradition!

Like most people, our family has traditions. We don’t have many, but we have a few. When someone has a birthday we put them in charge of the leftover cake. We might eat cake for a week, or just eat it all in one day, it depends on the birthday girl (or boy, as the case may be). When Dad leaves for work in the morning he comes to everyone’s bed and says goodbye, even though it is around 5am and everyone is asleep.

Everyone has traditions, whether they realize it or not. You may just see it as a habit, like showering before bed, but we all have them.

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Some traditions just happen, like the birthday cake. Others have a genesis, like Dad’s goodbye hugs.

Our journey as Christians can be that way too. If we aren’t careful, we just get into the habit of doing Christian things. It’s what our parents did, so we do it too.

I have grown up in a Christian family. In fact, Christianity goes back many, many generations and my grandfather was a campus minister. I became a Christian when I was around 5. There really wasn’t that big of a change in my daily life. I didn’t cuss or drink or anything like that. I was 5. I was childish, but I wasn’t demented.

I know there are many people with a beginning like mine, I’ve talked with several. It can be easy to have a “grandchild” mentality. You become a Christian because that’s what your family does. I’m noticing a lot of “Grandchildren of God” mentality in the homeschool community. Teens grow up, and don’t really know what they believe. They don’t have an original thought in their heads. They just regurgitate what their parents say on any given subject or issue. They have a birthday cake mentality. This is what we do. Why would we do it any other way? They haven’t come up against any real opposition yet, and when they do, they are shaken, sometimes to the point where they disregard everything they were taught.

Sorry parents, but this is your fault. Unfortunately, you don’t realized what you are doing. You are just trying to teach your children their faith, but what you are actually doing is teaching them yours. I know you really do mean well, so may I make a suggestion? Give them the tools and the raw materials, then let them build their own ideas. Give them guidance and an atmosphere where they feel free to ask questions. If they come up with something that you feel is off, ask them questions about it. How did you come to that conclusion? Start up a conversation with your teen. Please, remember this little bit of wisdom I’ve learned from my parents. Once a child turns 12-13 you can no longer tell them what to do. You can offer tips, but, unless it will harm something or someone in your charge, they really can’t be stopped (barring extreme force and police involvement, and in most cases that really isn’t necessary). Let them own themselves.

A life built on personal beliefs is a much more rewarding one than a life built on someone else’s. That’s what you want for your children. You want them to have “goodbye hug” traditions, not “birthday cake” habits.

Actions in Activities, Musings, Pictures

I Won’t Dance

An abundance of things have occurred since my last post!

We’ve had a deluge of events!

A wealth of happenings!

A Myriad!

Heaps!

Gobs!

Lots!

 

Random bit of trivia #1

I have old music tastes. Swing, r&b, big band, rock & roll, doo-wop, rockabilly and jazz. Elvis is king, but Frank is chairman of the board.

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Ok, enough of that. 🙂 I suppose I’ll go in a chronological order.

On the 12th we had a debate tournament. We had fun, but only won one of our 3 debates. Oma and Opa came up on Wednesday for my graduation and also got to come to the tournament. The one debate Oma, Opa and co. got to see was the one we won. Guess the family is my lucky charm. 😉

 

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Mummy

On the 14th we had my graduation open house.

Tackle hug!!
Tackle hug!!

It was really fun, even though I ended up giving a speech (of sorts 🙂 ) and playing piano (such as it is). I was so blessed by all the folks who came by to share some cake with us.

*tinytardis*
*tinytardis*

I got to see a bunch of people I haven’t gotten to see in a long time, some almost a year.

Rufous, Pigeon and Sparrow
Rufous, Pigeon and Sparrow

Last Saturday we had the last tournament of the year. This was my first time being on a team with Meg and Claire, we did a great job!  For our last debate we were government so we got to come up with the case. We did a Doctor Who case. The Doctor should take Van Gogh to the museum before fighting the monster. It was so much fun and the opposition did a phenomenal job even though we had to explain everything to them and they still didn’t quite understand what we were talking about.

I’m really not sure who won. They said that instead of going to the museum to boost his morale  the Doctor should take Van Gogh to a monster fighting school. I’m not sure if we pushed the lack of mutual exclusivity enough to win. Honestly, I don’t care who won. It was one of the most fun cases I’ve ever debated or seen. I’ve discovered I love fictional cases, but I’m not good at coming up with them. I told Meg and Claire that for my last debate I wanted to do a Doctor Who case and they pretty much came up with it.

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My last speech, of my last debate, of my last tournament.

I was thrilled to find out that we won half of our debates (Still don’t know which ones)! When a team wins the majority of their debates they are awarded an IBC root beer. Not only is it the best root beer, and the only kind I like, it stands for the parts of a speech. Introduction, Body and Conclusion.

It was a great day and an amazing note to go out on.

 

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IBC root beer, the only root beer I like.

On a less amazing note, right after we left the tournament the van broke down and is in the shop, so we are now a one car family. Not a one vehicle family, one car. We can transport a total of 4 people at once (unless one of them is the baby, then we can move 5). Hopefully we will have it back sometime this week.

Peaches are blooming!
Peaches are blooming!

Today was a day of awesomesauce news, and it all happened at once! Once we got home from the library we picked up the mail and brought it up to the house. There was a big manila envelope from Mom’s lactation counselor training place. We didn’t open it, but we did hold the back tight enough to read through the paper. It said “Congratulations!” We squealed but had to contain ourselves long enough for Mom to read it herself.

While we were gone mom got a call from the library. It sounded very official at first, and Mom got concerned that we owed too much in fines or something (lol mini heart attack). Is this beginning to sound familiar? The librarian asked for me and said my poem “Sureality” had been chosen as a finalist for Hville in the county wide poetry contest. She then proceeded to ask if  Meg was also her daughter. One of Meg’s poems was also chosen as a finalist. By the way, there are only 3 finalists from Hville. She then asked if Claire was Mom’s daughter. Now, Claire is too young to be eligible, but she sent in a protest poem about being too young. The librarians liked it so much that they are going to review the age requirement next year and she earned an Honorable Mention! Societal change for the win!

The big night just happens to be the evening after we give our speeches in debate class! A very big day for speaking! lol

 

Sureality

 

The crackled clouds move over the full moon

Like the surf drawing the sand out to sea

Creating the illusion of a hasty journey

Across the sinking ceiling of the heavens

 

The air is crisp and smelling of snow

Of a soft gentle whispering blanket

The voices of miles whisper to the listening ear

Carried on some unfelt breeze from afar

 

The clouds blown away by the unfelt wind

Expose the radiance of the clear full moon

Casting her beams like waves on the dunes

Moon shadows dance through the trees on silent wistful Elven toes

And the world sleeps

 

Song from the title.

Actions in Activities, Farm and Family, Musings

Returning Thanks

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.

First, go check out my Christmas Page before it’s too late!

2 Thankful for Walmart (yes, evil, giant, Walmart)

3 Thankful for being homeschooled

4 Thankful for actually getting into the Christmas spirit this year

Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.- Mark Twain

5 Thankful for the availability of classic literature

After seeing it referred to many times in the last few weeks, I ordered _The Princess And The Goblin_ from the library. I began reading it a few nights ago and found it to be a basic, classic princess fairy-tale. Perfect for reading aloud. It just so happened that that night Hannah was having a hard time going to sleep. We have been reading it before bed every night since.

6 Thankful to be able to debate with a group where we pray before beginning the tournament

Thursday we had a debate tournament. It was truly a great day. My partner EM was absolutely amazing. I am so impressed with all the first year debaters. I remember my first tourney. I had a partner I didn’t really connect with, who was also first year. Neither of us gave very long speeches. I just stood up, thanked the judge, the other team and my partner, said about the first 5 words of our plan and sat down. We didn’t win a single debate that day. I’m really amazed at all the first time debaters who not only did AMAZING but won the majority of their debates! I didn’t win my majority until about my third or fourth tournament!

EM and I had three great rounds, and won our majority! The first round we were Government and did a case about free speech in public schools. This round went pretty well. The next round we were Opposition and had to refute a case about shopping online. We would have done very well, and might have won, but we forgot to uphold the value and focused on side issues. I think that is the round we lost. The last round we did my thrift store shopping case. I really love that case. 🙂 I have worked on it, filling in the holes, for a while now. I first ran it when LD and I were partners two years ago. This one we definately won. After everyone was done with the third round I talked with Claire and her team. She was with LD and ElM, EM’s little sister. It turned out that LD and I had  the same idea and ran the same case at the  same time! I almost forgot to say something very important! Not only did Claire’s team win their majority, Claire won Most Quotable Quote for saying in her intro “”…and I would like to thank my comrades, for comrade-ing?” It was supposed to be “colleagues” but all day Claire had been saying comrades. So proud of her!

7 Thankful for my very original family

8 Thankful for funny movies that we can watch as a family

We were looking for a movie to watch and noticed “Elf” on Amazon. We had heard some people say it was terrible, and some say it was funny, both from trusted sources, so we decided to rent it. We laughed so hard. I’m not sure I remember the last time we all laughed that hard at a movie. Such a funny story. Get over the fact that he’s  grown man, he was raised by elves who never really quite grow up.

9 Thankful for Hannah-isms

10 Thankful for

Winter nights

Brisk walks

Cold air

Stars that shoot across frozen skies

Others that hang in the frostbitten air sparkling twofold a normal night

Frost on the grass that reflects the twinkling above