Thursday, July 30, 2009

Violin and Poker

My summers are so much more lazy than the school year I've noticed. Josh and I have found ourselves bored to tears on some nights in fact. While Jyllie was on vacation recently, there were a few days that Jada was also away and we both found ourselves home alone twiddling our thumbs. We decided to try playing free poker at a local bar/grill place. Both of us like to play for fun, so we headed over to this little place to join.

I think I like cards because my family plays a lot of card games. My mom and I use to play hands of gin rummy when I was younger. And during the holidays when my grandmother would come to visit, we would often have 8-10 people sitting around playing games of 31 or ‘dimes’. These are some of my favorite memories, including the way my German aunt Ernestine would always say “See, I'm on my honor now” and dust her hand over the table a few times, meaning she was out of money, but could play one more hand that way...(tee hee). When Josh and I got married and he was in the military, we frequently had groups of friends come over to play spades, euchre, or hearts. I have pictures of us all sitting on milk crates and fold up chairs at a table in front of windows with blankets tacked up to them (because we couldnt afford curtains). Good times, good times.

And then, of course when we moved to Texas, I naturally learned how to play Texas Hold ‘Em.

I think I’m pretty good at understanding strategy, bluffing, and odds. I know what it means to hit top pair on the flop and whether the guy next to me is placing a value bet or already has a made hand. I love bluffing a good player out of a big pot and I understand why it’s not always a good idea to chase a flush, particularly if your short stacked. I know how to calculate outs and odds, but I also feel like I’m pretty good at reading other players better than percentages. (some call it luck) At any rate, sometimes it all works…and sometimes it doesn’t. And it's no biggy if we win or lose.

But there is a downside to playing cards at the bar. I mean, it IS a bar…not church. People swear, they drink heavily, and the clothing is not always tasteful.
I wish I could find a Christian venue to play cards regularly.

I try to be a little salt and light though...
Sometimes I wear my “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” bracelet, and once a guy commented on it. We had a conversation right there over the poker table about which verse was his favorite. It was one from Hebrews he said, and he quoted it for me too. That was cool. Another guy asked me about the cross on my ring. It's easy for me to speak about Christ, if someone asks me. Not so easy if someone is using his name as a swear word though.

I once sat at a table with a Matthew and a Mark….I commented that all we need was a Luke and John to make the Gospels complete. (I’m not sure anyone got that…but o well.) But I’m not really sure how God feels about us being there. Would he rather we spend our time elsewhere? Is it really gambling, if you never pay any money, or win anything?? Is being in an environment like this…something that tarnishes our Christianity? What do you guys think?

And so, we’ve spent a few nights playing this summer, knowing that when school starts we wont be playing much more.

And, just so that I am well rounded in my hobbies, I’m also taking up violin lessons again.

I played violin when I was in Jr. High from about 6th grade to 8th. But because it was dorky to play in the Orchestra, and because it was a pain to drag my violin case to basketball practice, I quit after I entered highschool. Now that I’m older, I really wished I had continued playing and I mentioned this to Josh in passing.

So my nice husband bought me a violin on craigslist one afternoon. Unfortunately, it was a cheap one and not really able to be played, so I went ahead and rented one from a local dealer who usually specializes in students. Then I managed to find a friend from church who teaches professional lessons to students as well.

Now once a week I have a lesson and in between poker nights-- you can find me in our garage practicing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Life is Good!


Victoria :) said...

Good for you for finding a new hobby!

Melisa said...

That is totally my family! When I was there for Tylerr's wedding we played Rook, Hearts, etc into the wee hours every morning. Oh, and watched Michael Jackson... :o)

bristowmom said...

I don't believe it's wrong to go into a bar and play cards, ESPECIALLY given the fact that you will talk about God there. Jesus ate dinner with sinners - it scandalized the pharisees but Jesus didn't care.

KC said...

yes, this is true. I have played the "Jesus ate with sinners" card before. (no pun intended...okay, yes it was!)

But I also came across this verse, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Bad company corrupts good character. And the context is that sitting among sinners who are interested in hearing about God, is one thing. But sitting among sinners who have no desire to hear about God, generally corrupts you.'s a balance I guess.
I have to examine what my real motive for sitting at the bar it really to talk about God, or play cards?