Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Turtle Races

It was a busy day and we were making a lot of crafts.... (Many thanks to Marilyn of who obviously makes oh-so-much more than paper toys...  She also makes a lot of happy kids! )

Here is Natalie, and here is our daily plethora of paper airplanes.

Here is Ry with one of his many other inspired creations.  This one is a dinosaur.

We had a very busy day making all sort of papery things.  There were paper people , a.k.a. paper dolls, (both boys and girls,) which we dressed in their fancy historical costumes... a dog show, (which had a wide variety of dog breeds doing tricks and winning prizes!)
We made a paper rabbit and a frog... some fun finger puppets that did a puppet show,

But best of all, we made turtles!

I am not sure "why" exactly, but the turtles were an absolute hit. Before I knew knew it, everyone was coloring one, or two, or three... When we ran out of printed one we began tracing the ones we had made and making our own!

Even teenage Nate got in on the action.

Coloring, I guess, just makes onefeel happy!

For the older of us, who do not color everyday, perhaps the simple act of coloring  makes you feel a little bit like a kid again.  Whatever the reason, everyone was having fun together and was in the mood for playing with, cutting anc coloring and racing ...turtles.  It was a glorious ay of good, old-fashioned, family fun!

When we were done coloring the turtles, Papa George set up the turtle race, and before long they were all off and running!  You will not believe it.  they were running!  This was the really fun part....

You see, no one but George and I really knew what the race would be like and even we were a bit surprised to see it in action.  It was great!  The kids, who had been pulling the turtles they colored and tied a string to around the room, even tying them to helium filled balloons and making "parachuting turtles" that flew up and down and all around the room, or taping them to paper airplanes and making "flying turtles", envisioned that they would be pulling their turtle, pushing it, maybe even running with it to be in the "race" as they lined up and got ready to "GO!"  You can only perhaps imagine their surprise when they were told to simply jiggle the string in their hands to make the turtles run all the way to the chairs and over the finish line!  And boy,  was it a surprise to us all to actually see them all go!

 ON your shell, get ready... GO!

Hooray for Turtle Day!

We ended our day of play reading some books...

(Hooray for pigeons too!)

Last of all, we read a turtle themed book that just happened to be on the shelf..

It is called The Best Father of All, and it is about a little turtle and his dad talking about all the things that fathers of various animals do for their sons.

What a wonderful way to end our Turtle Day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jill's "New" House

 Do you see the utter excitement on this woman's face?  She is so happy as she opens her home for the first time with her very own key!

Built in 1927, this house is anything but NEW, but it is very nice and new to Jill.  She and Den moved in recently..

They were so thrilled!
 Here is Dennis, carrying Jill over the threshold...

 The house has many special features.  This bath is one of them.

 These are the friends that got to be there and watch the excitement of it all!

Yes.  Jill definitely is "right at home" in her new house!


This is me and my dear friend, Lila.

Like my friend Erma, Lila is an inspiration.  She loves to sing and perform on the stage, is fun loving, active,  (she "works out" at Curves almost everyday,) and she is over 90.  On top of all that, she is really fun to be with. She is one of the "Dilly Dally ladies... (friends of mine who have parties together from time to time.)  Last week she invited George Nate and I to go and see the Christmas show she was in.  We got to see her singing in the choir!

After the show she was surrounded by a mob of fans!
It was great!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Marvelous Christmas Display

I put up my playmobile Christmas scene the other day... my grandkids helped me. Technically, (that is, via the human calendar) Christmas is not here yet and according to the "Christmas" concept, being as it is not December 25th, the little baby Jesus has not yet been born, but we have him out and in the manger.  (I understand that some people like to wait till Christmas to put the little figure in the manger, but I just let him be there ahead of time.  (Besides, because we are Christian, I like to think it is "always time for Christmas" in our heart and home.)

I love playmobile toys and the scenes they create, or rather; recreate. These are no exception. They make Playmobils bikes and sharks and chickens. I think they re great! And truthfully, I have these now as a nativity set... not only because I like playmobile, but because I love the idea of having a nativity set that kids are actually "allowed" to touch.  They do have small parts though, like a lot of Playmobile does, so they are not "safe" for little kids... but as an adult, with no little kids of my own, I love the detail.  I do however, put all the little teeny parts away out of a little one's reach.... with a few exceptions. 

The baby Jesus is small, for example, but my grandkids do pretty well at not putting things in their mouths that they are not supposed to.  Also, I watch them close to be sure they are playing properly. They are gone home, and now I am looking at the nativity, amazed; not only am I amazed with the detail in the representation (from a toy perspective and a kids point of view) but also the story it represents.

First and foremost, I have to say that I am  amazed that they, the Playmobile company, as a business,  would actually make such "a religious item--- a "birth of Jesus" Nativity set.  Recently I have heard that Fisher Price has done this too.  These are major toy companies, and they are making the Christmas story available via toys.  I think this is interesting.  While I am certain that some people would consider it a big sacrilegious thing to play with, you know, actually PLAY with baby Jesus,  or to put the little sheep piece in the manger instead of the Christ child, I am "ok" with it myself.

Actually, I kinda like a Jesus you can touch, one that is within your reach, especially as a child.  Such a concept is fitting to the words of a grown Jesus who said, Let the little children come unto me.  It's fitting to the Christmas story itself as well as God comes into our realm, into our humanity, into our human reach.  I also like the fact that this little one inch Jesus has movable arms and legs.

Now, maybe you are thinking they make this toy set simply to make money on "Christmas" like everyone else.....  (I know the thought crossed my mind once or twice, with so many people celebrating Christmas chances are there is money to be made!) However, I do think that the motive is secondary because even if that's the case, the story remains the same.   This is not the SANTA story, if you know what I mean.  And whatever the reason these company's have made these toys, the truth is that God prevails through it all just the same.  The story, with all it's political incorrectness in some circles today, is being told.. or is it, "proclaimed," once again.

As I was looking at them yesterday, pondering and marveling.... I marveled that this company even made such a thing and then I marveled at the pieces and the marvelous things they represent in the Christmas story.

What a way to redeem all of creation!

I mean, there is a little baby, of all things... and a mom, (not out of wedlock... for Mary was bethroed to Joseph.  Jesus however, was not  Joseph's flesh and blood.  He was the seed of the woman, and He was God, or rather the son of man, Son of God himself.  Jesus was not Joseph's offspring, via the flesh, and yet he took Jesus into his heart just the same.

Looking into the scene there is Ja variety of animals.  How interesting that these are beasts of burden and there they are looking into this very scene.  IT is as if they recognize that something special has occured.  Maybe they even recognize Jesus as God?

There are also some kings, "wisemen" from the east , as well as some diligent shepherds.  In this case, there are three kings and a shepherd with a staff.  Previous to this event we are told the shepherds were watching over and feeding this little flock of sheep and their their youngsters too.  Then the angel came and told them Christ was to be born and off they went to see this promised child. 

I loved the star that was part of the cardboard display, portrayed as shining so brightly and boldly, a shooting star it seems,  one particular star in the galaxy of radiating stars...., radiating glory, beckoning the wise men of the East to travel westward, pointing them, and us, now as we look at the scene, to the baby Jesus.  The wise men, when they find him, pay him homage.   Obeisant, the shepherds, worship him.

And there is a baby Jesus, born of a virgin, Mary...  a true believer in God and his promises, (as absurd as they might have seemed to those who did not believe.).  She was one who loved God, obeyed God, and took God simply at his word.  She witnessed, (before any of us,) personally,  how the word of God, become flesh, became a man, the Son of Man, the seed of the woman, (a promise from back in Genesis chapter three, given to Adam and Eve,)  just as God had said.

I loved the wise men...
Here they are, kings... men...  portrayed with beards.  They are each quite different from one another, obviously different kings of different kingdoms here on earth, portrayed with different colors of their skin.

They come and worship Jesus, even though he was not a "gown man" like the likes of them.

In their playmobile hands,, they, like the wisemen in the Bible, are carrying their most important things to lay before His feet, gifts of gold, frankensensence and myrrh.

I loved the angel, the ox, the camel and the little gray donkey... (representing the one that a pregnant Mary probably rode as she and Joseph traveled for the census to their hometown, Bethlehem.... where as you know, there was no room in the Inn.)   Being as there was "no room" (and no human compassion for a lowly "woman" or a poor "family"  (one expecting a child any minute) that would take them "in," they went outside,  and Jesus, as the story goes, was born without a lot of pomp and circumstance.  He was born outside the reception of man, under the starlight of heaven, with the animals, who were glad to look upon such a natural and wonderful sight of new birth and the joy and wonder of new life.  And no wonder, for all of creation is longing for redemption from sin and death.

Jesus came to earth to save them too.

The animals and people all stand looking to Jesus, laying in the manger; the animals, the shepherd, the mom and the dad, and the kings in all their regalia; they are wise men for sure.All of them are assembled to honor and exalt, the One.... JEsus the Christ.... Messiah....Lord of Lords and King of kings.

Yes.  It's quite a sight and quite a story that resides underneath my little Christmas tree, represented by mere toys, the things children play with.

Seeing it portrayed in these toys is more evidence to me, that the wisdom of God leaves nothing untouched.  It touches everything and everybody, so that man, who can choose to believe God or not,  is definitely without excuse.  He has given man ears and his eyes and a human heart, a human essence, and sometimes man (woman) still refuses to believe in God.  I am astounded at the myriad of ways his gospel is preached in all the earth, and
I marvel once again,at the wonderful story of God's redemtion,.... Christmas!

Amazing isn't it?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snowball Farming

 A wintertime crop on Green Bluff. 

We sure grow them big in this area! 

As you may already  know, Green Bluff is where people go to buy fresh fruit from local farms.  They come up in the various seasons for things like pumpkins and Christmas trees too. Now, believe it or not, they come and buy snowballs!

People come up here and pick them when they are ripe, and they use them to decorate their lawns with snowmen... (and sometimes, snow women.)

 Just kidding! 

Actually, this is my neighbors lavender farm .....But do you know what?  Someone just might try a business like this someday!  We have had a LOT of snow!

Since the last big snow, we have been driving by laughing at how it looked like they were growing snowballs and finally, on our last drive by, George stopped and took a photo of it.

and that is what they call a SNOW JOB.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hannukah Note


"Rock of Ages, 
let our song praise
Your saving power. 


You amid the raging throng were our sheltering tower.

Furious they assailed us, but Your help availed us.
And Your word broke their sword
when our own strength failed us. "
Ma’oz Tzur, or “Rock of Ages”
(Click Ma'oz Tzur" above)

In Honor of Bill Debrowsky and Friends....