Amanda’s grandparents were in town visiting the oncologist (I assume) today. Things are looking good for Peggy. It appears they actually got all of the cancer during the biopsy. Amanda and I met them for lunch at the mall as we tend to do when they’re in town around lunchtime. Earl likes it there because you get a lot of choice.

Adam brought his cat, T’Challa, by the house today for us to watch tonight and tomorrow.  Our cat, Mr. Cobblepott, doesn’t get along too well with other cats, but amazingly the two sniffed noses and Cobb even let T’Challa rub up against him some.  T’Challa was also pretty cool with all the attention Harvey was giving him, although he did run away when Harvey would get rambunctious.  Bruce only gave him a little notice.  T’Challa has gotten a lot bigger since I last saw him.  He’s all black with almost golden yellow eyes.  A very pretty kitty, and a chill one at that.
This year and last year at Port City Community Church, the first series of the year was called My One Word. In it, you’re supposed to pick a single word to focus on to help in your spiritual growth. I chose the word time. A couple weeks ago I received an e-mail asking if Amanda and I would be interested in helping out at a couples small group connection. This being basketball season, the first thing I did was check the Duke schedule and sure enough, Duke was playing Maryland that night- a big event to be sure.

I was about to write back and say that it wouldn’t be a good night, but then I thought about my word. What better sacrifice than to not watch a game as big as Maryland at Duke in order to help out at church? Besides, we have a DVR, and I would just have to make sure nobody called or texted me, since the game would probably be over by the time we got home.

That’s what we did tonight. And of course we had a nice time doing it. We got to Studio 3, a former club the church uses to conduct things like this, and ate some sandwiches, chips and cookies with the people organizing and helping out with the connection. We started talking with this other couple there during that- Blake and Stephanie. Stephanie actually grew up in Kentucky and went to UK, so we had that in common. We hit it off with them pretty well.

The connection was the largest ever for the church. I don’t remember how many people came or how many groups were started up, but it was a lot. Studio 3 was packed and it’s a bit place. Amanda and I acted as facilitators; people who helped people get comfortable, find a suitable groups and keep conversation flowing. We were teamed up with a couple who were to be leading a group. (Scott and… Amy maybe? Some A name like that. They were both nice people.) When people first started arriving we talked to a few couples our age, but the leaders we were helping were a little older and had a few kids already. A few other people about their age and older came up and started talking about kids and such, so the younger people went off to find more a age-appropriate group.

Tonight they split everyone up by what night they wanted to meet on and what side of town they live on. I think it’s more important to split by age and where you are in life. A person who it 23 with no kids is going to have a harder time opening up and relating to someone who is 53 and has several kids. I’m going to suggest that next time I talk to Wayne or Lisa or Sarah, the people who are in charge of the small group ministry. That’s how our group started and, even though the members are almost all different now, the group has been intact for over two years now.

After we did our part of helping make sure the group we were with got settled and exchanged contact information we were ready to go. A lot of the people in the groups were still sitting around chatting and getting to know each other. Amanda and I talked to Blake and Stephanie and I asked if they wanted to exchange numbers and get together for dinner sometime. They said they were actually having a get-together on Friday night and invited us over for that.

They talked about not knowing a whole lot of people yet and we told them not to worry, telling them about Kyle and Lorin and how they’d only been here a few months but they already knew everybody. Blake said, “Wait a minute, is Kyle a teacher?” Amanda and I both laughed and groaned, thinking the Van Zandts had already got to them (it’s a bit of an ongoing joke), but Blake said he hadn’t actually met Kyle yet, but Wayne had told him that he, being a teacher just as Kyle is one, should meet him.

On the way home Amanda mentioned wanting to watch American Idol, also being recorded, when we got home. I had been busting a gut in anticipation of watching the game, and I tried to relent and say it was okay, that she could watch American Idol first, but she decided to go ahead and let me watch the game. Her main issue was that she knew she’d want to watch it, and she’d have to watch American Idol as well to keep up with the office talk tomorrow so she’d end up being up late.

We made pretty good time through the game, even though I accidentally restarted it by hitting the wrong button when I was trying to fast forward through the first commercial break after the half. We skipped all the commercials as well as timeouts and the time spent doing nothing between fouls and foul shots. Duke put on a great defensive display. they went through some cringe-inducing droughts in the second half and let Maryland come within two points, but they pulled out a 77-65 victory, continuing the only undefeated ACC streak this season.

I didn’t pay much attention to American Idol. After Amanda went to bed I played some Call of Duty 4 with Michael. I actually did a bit better than I’ve been averaging. I was playing more aggressively and with more abandon. I guess it paid off.

Zach Dotsey