Sunday, October 07, 2018

Our First Fencing Competition

Jonah and Coach Gromov (photo by Jason Davis)
Jonah competed in his first fencing tournament this past month. It was a local, unsanctioned affair but was still hard on the nerves for all of us. Jonah contracted a cold the week before and missed practice the whole week prior. My momma-bear side hated knowing the odds were against him performing well and that he would likely have a negative first experience with competing. Having never witnessed a tournament before let alone been a participant, there were a few things about the process which added a layer of bewilderment atop the frustration of not feeling well. He left with a combined sense of confusion, fatigue and disappointment. Afterwards, we chalked the whole thing up to a good learning experience over lunch and dessert at Culver's as a celebration of making it through his first fencing tournament.

The next day, he went to practice at my behest despite not feeling up to it. It turned out not to be a great idea. He became exhausted before practice was even over, and the next day awoke with a terrible cough that hung on longer than expected. 

As a result, I have come to the realization that we both have some things to learn that simply can't be taught except by experience. He has to learn how to lose, and by this I mean lose well, with grace and without taking it as utter defeat, while I have to learn how to judge when he is genuinely spent and not just uncommitted. 

There are other tournaments on the calendar in the coming weeks. Of course, I hope he does well, but more importantly I want us to enjoy the journey keeping in mind that sometimes the greatest victories do not come through winning. 

Jonah during a preliminary fencing bout (Photo by Jason Davis)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Emerald Village Museum and Gem Mine

In August 2017, we visited the mountains of North Carolina to see friends, be closer to the path of totality for the eclipse and to get a break from the Florida heat. 
When traveling, I am always on the lookout for unique learning experiences. The kids were very interested in gem mining so I researched a couple of places and decided on Emerald Village. It was a longer drive for us but I was intrigued by the history of the site as well as the gem mining opportunity. 
The mines at Emerald Village were started during the depression as a source for feldspar as the main ingredient in the Bon Ami cleaning product. Ironically, any other items found including gemstones were tossed away as worthless tailings. Today, customers can pay for a pass to glean precious metals and stones from those tailing piles. I would imagine that you really need to know what to look for. 
We toured the lovely grounds and museum for a fee and payed to sift through a medium sized bucket.

One of the mines with old equipment about.
Visitors can walk back in the shallow cave and feed the trout in the pond
The Bon Ami Museum and Mine tour entrance at Emerald Village
Inside the mine museum at Emerald Village

An old post office on site at Emerald Village
The Discovery Mill at Emerald Village
Antiques in the Discovery Mill building at Emerald Village are numerous and diverse
Gem mining flume at Emerald Village

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An Almost Teenager!

My oldest turned 12 this month. It is hard to believe that I will soon have a teenager in the house!

Jonah has matured a lot this year in many ways. This momma is very proud of the young man he is fast becoming. May God continue to lead him and us, his parents, as he approaches adulthood. May God make his path straight, his faith strong and his future sure.

Jonah has taken up fencing this year. He is enjoying it and improving quickly. We are thankful to have found a sport that he is truly interested in and also challenges him, as well as the new friends God has brought to us through the sport.

He got braces this summer which has added to his mature look.

At this point, his upper body strength exceeds mine, so he was a big help prepping his room for painting over the summer.

On a recent hike in the notoriously steep Tallulah Gorge, he stayed ahead of the rest of our group the entire time. Here he stopped to wait on us. All that physical conditioning from fencing is paying off.

He may be maturing but he is still a bit of a clown at heart, who enjoys a good laugh and likes to entertain others.

I'm so thankful that God made me his mom. He may be my oldest and he may not be a baby, but I still can't help but call him that from time to time. Afterall, there was a time when he was my baby.