Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Push Up Challenge

As previously mentioned in earlier posts, I attend a boot camp class 3 or 4 days a week. The owner of the boot camp coordinated a Push Ups for Charity Challenge to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. In preparation for the challenge, almost all of our workouts over the past several weeks have included at least some push ups. I do not consider myself to be a weakling nor do I have any delusions that I am some sort of female Hercules. I can do squats and leg presses for hours but have never had much upper body strength. So while I don't despise push ups, I don't really love them either. The challenge was optional but since it was for a good cause I decided to sign up and then commenced pestering my friends and family for donations.

The way the challenge works is people can sponsor you by either donating a flat fee or they can donate a certain amount for each push up. I included in my donation plea to friends and family that my goal for the 90 seconds was to do 40 push ups. Remember, I am a girl, and I have very little arm strength. I knew that I would not be able to complete the entire 90 seconds doing military style push ups so my stated goal of 40 was meant to imply that some of those push ups would be the girly kind. Some of you may think this is cheating and that is fine. However, before you make fun of me, get on the floor, set your timer for 90 seconds and see how many girl push ups you can do with correct form. If you are a girl and you can do way more than 40 then you have earned your right to mock me. If you are a boy and you do way more than 40 girl push ups, well, you are a boy. You should be able to do that.

Anyway, one of my sponsors (we'll call him "Charles") made a complicated donation with a very generous bonus for reaching the 40 mark and an additional bonus for each push up over 40. Charles' donation came complete with weeks worth of friendly trash talk leading up to the event and plenty of complaining that I had "tricked" him by not originally telling him about the girl push ups.

About a week before the challenge I asked Myers if he would like to participate. He said he would, but that he hadn't been doing push ups as a regular part of his workouts and didn't know how well he would do.

Finally the day of the event arrived and I was happy to see so many people participating. It was the average Joes vs. the Coppell Fire Department vs. the Coppell Police Department. In order to make it as fair as possible the rules stated that you had to lower yourself until your chest touched a sponge placed on the ground below you and that when you can up you had to lock out your elbows. I am proud to say that Myers and I were 2 of the few that actually followed the rules. Most of the cops and firemen were doing fast mini push ups (still impressive) instead of coming all the way up. There were about 6 rounds of participants and it was funny to see everyone get completely pooped after about 50 seconds. Myers and I were no exception. We both started out strong and did really well for almost a minute and then our arms gave out. We both managed to irk out a few more push ups in the last 30 seconds but afterward we agreed that we could not have done 1 more push up if our lives depended on it.

I ended up doing 50 push ups which meant Charles had to fork over his original pledge for the first 40 plus all of the bonuses for surpassing my goal. Yay! He came out to the event to cheer us on (or psych us out, not sure which) but showed up about 2 minutes after we finished. I am grateful that I had such great sponsors and was able to help raise money for wounded soldiers. I was also proud that my weak arms were able to struggle through and do 50 push ups, even though I was pretty sore for the next several hours.

Myers who, if you remember, had not prepared at all for the challenge ended up doing 67 push ups in 90 seconds. I was very proud of him...and also a little jealous.

Go Myers Go! See the official sponge used to check for correct form?

Karen struggling through push up number 47 out of 50. Not looking (or feeling) so great at this point. Blerg.

Owen is sad that he is not allowed to participate, poor little guy.

Oh look, a dog! Owen is happy again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things

On Friday afternoons, I have the privilege of leading a Bible study for elementary students called CREW. This is, perhaps, the very best part of my job. We are doing a 6 week series in CREW on "Very Bad Days". We have already covered Moses' bad day and how God delivered Moses and the Israelites from the Egyptians, just not in the way Moses was expecting. Last week we talked about Mary's bad day which ended happily with the birth of Jesus. So this week we discussed the disciples' bad day (Mark 4:35-41) when Jesus calms the storm. I had the kids act out the story by playing the roles of Jesus, disciples, storm, water and waves. Little Timmy played the role of the wave perfectly. I think he has a serious acting career in his future. It was very loud and fun and I think the kids all understood the story by seeing it in action.

We then sat down and went over a few discussion questions about what they learned from the story. In order for them to get the full meaning of the passages, I always try to relate it to their lives somehow. So, I explained to the group how sometimes when people have difficult times in their lives it is called "going through a storm". I asked if anyone had heard that expression before and almost all of the kids said that they had. I asked for a volunteer to tell us about a difficult time in their live. Several hands shot up and I called on one of the boys. He said, "One time (by the way, 99% of elementary kids stories start with the phrase "one time") one time there was a storm outside my house and it was really loud." So I smiled and said, "Yes, that is an example of a real storm. Does anyone have an example of a time when things were hard or difficult for you?" I called on another student who said, "One time, there was a hurricane and I got hit with hail and it was like a 10 pound hail." I realized that if I didn't give them an example I was just going to continue to get more stories about actual storms. I told them how when I was younger I got mono and was really sick and had to miss a lot of school and it was a hard time for me. I heard a chorus of "ooooohhhhh"s which made me hopeful that they finally understood what I was asking. I called on one of the older kids who said, "One time (long pause) at my baseball game (long pause)....(at this point I have breathed a sigh of relief that his story is about baseball instead of bad weather)..."one time at my baseball game.........there was a tornado" Doh!

We switched gears and I asked them to think of a time that they felt like Jesus helped them. This is the question I should have asked from the start. They all had great answers that included a difficult time in their life and how now, looking back, they can see that Jesus was watching over them. Of course, one last comment came from a 1st grader who said, "one time...a tsunami came...and it touched my leg but Jesus helped me. I had to work hard not to laugh as I thanked him for sharing that story.

I love my job.