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Archive for September, 2011

Sep 29 2011

…And Don’t You Come Back No More

Posted by Mugs @ 1:01 pm in Family,Pets Print This Post Print This Post

On occasion (several times a day), Patches gets fed up with the interloper in her life – Shadow. He is a pest and each day he finds new and creative ways to irritate her. Abby’s room is Patches’ domain, and Shadow’s presence in there is most unwelcome. When Patches’ back is turned, he jumps into her litter box: he sneaks over and eats some of her food; he hides under the bed to pounce out at her.

Yesterday, Abby observed Shadow’s attempted foray to the top of the cat tree. Patches favorite perch is on top of the cat tree where she lays in what looks like a carpeted inbox. We are thankful the cat tree still holds her because Patches is quite a fat cat. When she is up on top of the tree, there is only a sliver of space left. Yesterday, Shadow had the gall to climb up next to Patches and attempt to wedge himself into the space.

He did not experience a kindly reception. With Patches growling and hissing at him, he thought better of his plan and climbed down one level. Here he came up with plan B. The second level contains a small circular covered cat house to hide in. He chose this as his new spot. He found it great fun to periodically poke his head out from there and gaze up at Patches perched above.

Today, I took Shadow to the vet for his rabies shot. When he left in the kennel, Patches must have hoped she was done with him for good. When we returned, she was guarding the kitchen door against his reentry and hissed and growled at him to stay gone. When he escaped around her, she positioned herself at the top of the stairs to bar his way. He snuck past and ran to snatch some of her food before she could catch him.

Patches is now sulking and glaring at me indignantly as if, once again, I have betrayed her.

Sep 26 2011

A Long Awaited Victory

Posted by Mugs @ 1:28 pm in Family,school Print This Post Print This Post

Four years ago, Josiah and Abby’s Christian high school introduced Field Hockey for girls. Because Field Hockey is only played at some schools in our conference, the FCS team plays both public and private schools. Most schools who offer the sport, have a long tradition of field hockey so the learning curve for the FCS girls has been significant. The first year of play, I am uncertain if they were even able to score a goal. The second year of play, they lost all their games and scrimmages. Abby joined the team in its third year. The third year of play, they lost all games and scrimmages, except one game that ended in a tie.

It has been tough on the girls to always lose, to not quit, to not give up.

On Thursday, the team scrimmaged a public school JV team and to everyone’s surprise, including their own, they won.

What a relief.

“…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” Romans 5: 3b-5a

We were all so happy for the team and are thankful for the perseverance and character they have shown throughout their training.

We are all hoping that a game victory will soon be achieved. Until then, we will continue to clang our cowbells for every goal the Chix with Stix score.

Sep 23 2011

God’s Crying Too

Posted by Mugs @ 12:37 pm in Uncategorized Print This Post Print This Post

Taps plays slowly

To give you time

To watch the approach

of sorrow


Flag folded


Sorrow presented

In tangible form


Rain pounding down

Upon umbrellas

Drowns out

Words of comfort spoken


Most times

There are no words

Tears from men

And heaven suffice

Sep 22 2011

Off To the Races

Posted by Mugs @ 12:45 pm in Family,Running,school Print This Post Print This Post

The Autumn school term brings with it the Manry race across Northern Virginia to cheer Josiah’s cross country team. The team runs here, there, and in the middle of nowhere which forces me to drive here, there, and in the middle of nowhere. This is Josiah’s third year on the team, and because there are no seniors, the coach declared Josiah captain. Upon hearing the announcement, a teammate cried out, “Please don’t get us lost!”

They know Josiah well.

Josiah and Abby attend a small Christian high school with a very active sports department. With the competition for students from the football and soccer teams, the boys cross country team has managed to eek out just enough runners to qualify to compete as a team in the meets. I gladly cheer as each runner’s time improves as the season progresses, but never did I expect the team to be able to compete as a whole. Until this year.

After the first practice, the coach was excited talking about a freshman runner named James, “He had great mile splits. I think he can do really well. He was running so hard, he threw up at the end.” These are the things that coach admires. This philosophy was followed by Dale’s roommate, Sean, at West Point. “If you don’t feel like you are going to hurl, you are not running fast enough” was his motto.

The very first meet of the season is a local race in Fredericksburg. Public and private schools of all sizes attend this meet. Josiah does not like the course and usually has a terrible time. The first year he ran it, I thought he got hurt in the woods. Now I’ve learned to sit back and wait. Everyone has slow times at Loriella Park. Everyone, that is, except James.

Our FCS team runs the JV race with most other small private schools and the 8th runner and below of the big public school teams. The boys varsity winner ran 16:28 (5K). FCS runners cannot approach those kind of times, so the coach keeps the team all together in the JV race.

I cheer the start of the race and then carry my lawn chair to the finish and wait. I normally clap for all the top runners as they finish while I wait for our team’s arrivals. This year, I could see the top runner in the distance. He was a small runner in a black uniform. I looked and looked again. “That can’t be James,” I thought. “That can’t be James.” When he was clearly in sight, I started shouting, “That’s James! That’s James! Go FCS! Go FCS! I can’t believe it! Go FCS! Run, James Run!” He finished in first place in his first race with a time of 19:20.

We FCS parents were ecstatic. James’ parents were the most shocked. They had no idea he could run that fast.

All the teams runners ran faster than they ever had on that course and the team placed eighth. It was a happy happy day.

However, there is one difficulty when you win your very first race: Everyone expects you to win every race afterwards. The pressure of #1 can be a bit much for a freshman. Second place, instead of a huge achievement, becomes disappointing to you. The coach lectures you on race tactics and throws you into a Varsity race to see if you can hang with the big dogs.

Meanwhile, the teammates can lie low getting faster with each race, cutting seconds off their time and giving everyone something to cheer about. Unfortunately for them, the coach will eventually refocus and start yelling, “You better start running faster! You got no more excuses! If you are not passing anyone, you’re slowing down! Points! Points! Those people are points!”

Josiah started the season with a 21:48 and has currently shaved his time to 21:33. He is a long way from his final time last season of 19:26. “What’s wrong with you?” Coach says. “Ahh, I do this every year,” Josiah replies.

“Nah,” James remarks, “you’re just old.”


Sep 15 2011

If it ain’t Raining, We ain’t training!

Posted by Mugs @ 10:42 am in Family,Nature Print This Post Print This Post

As expected, the old Army motto held true. Whenever you go to the field in the Army, it is bound to rain. The storms threatened the campout on Saturday night, but held off. Sunday night, as the thunder boomed and the lightening flashed, we packed all the gear except the tent, air mattresses, and blankets into the car and van. We Manrys then huddled in our tent as the rain poured down. The tent stayed fairly dry (Always borrow a tent from Mike Katsarelis) and I slept soundly (It was nice and cool and the rain drowned out the cicadas).

When we awoke in the morning, I packed Josiah, Abby, and Zeke into the car, drove off in search of a drive thru window, and left Dale and Gabe to collapse the tent and load the remaining gear.

When we were all safely home and clean from warm showers, Dale asked me if I had a good time at the campout. I looked at him and replied, “It would be better if you asked, ‘What parts did you enjoy?'”

“What parts did you enjoy?” He asked.

“Seeing the mist rise off the mountains after the rain. Listening to Denise tell the story of her and Bob’s marriage ceremony on April Fool’s Day. Going for a hike with Fearless Leader Mary. Occasionally finding the luck while playing dominoes. Hearing Josh sing the cartoon praise song. Eating shrimp tacos with Becky, Mark, and Bonnie.. Watching Dillon’s hands turn black with ash. Hearing the retelling of Denny’s excursion in the women’s shower. Eavesdropping on the Katsarelis’ fantasy football draft. Savoring a perfectly made smore.” I said.

“O.K.” Dale said, “There are some items we didn’t have this year that we will need to bring next year: oven mitt, tinfoil, canopy, lanterns, outdoor extension cord…”

The list grew and grew as I sat in silent dread of next Labor Day weekend.