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Monday, July 19, 2010

Multitude Monday...Blessings!

Good Monday morning to you!  I must confess I have the song, "Monday, Monday..." going through my mind.  My body wanted to stay in bed this morning, but my mind was telling me, "get up and get busy!".  My body won until about 6 a.m. which is sleeping in for me.  Now I'm trying to launch my week by writing a few articles and posting here on my blog.  I hope your Monday is a blessed and productive day!

My the spirit of Multitude Monday...

53.   Decaf coffee I actually enjoy drinking
54.  A visit with my dear Friend Cathy - we've been friends since 7th grade!  She is more precious to me than I can express.
55.  Visiting with Cathy's family too - her children are wonderful testimonies to the love of Christ
56.  Watching our girls play in the pool and giggling
57.  Playing badminton with my hubby while chatting about this and that
58.  Warm summer breezes
59.  A day of and then...
60.  The jobs the Lord has allowed my husband and me to have, especially during this time of economic uncertainty
61.  True friends
62.  The blessing of home educating our two girls
63.  Fresh cucumbers from the garden
64.  Blueberries
65.  The quiet of early morning
66.  Scrap quilts
67.  A comfortable bed
68.  Scripture that makes me feel loved
69.  Breakfast cooked for me by loved ones
70.  My Momma's laugh
71.  My Daddy's jokes and cartoons
72.  Homemade jam on toast and waffles
73.  Dangling my feet in the water while listening to the waves (need to do this again soon!)

All my very best to you this morning,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Happened to the Simple Life?

I don't know about you, but I long for the simple life sometimes.  I still get a taste of it when I go home to visit my parents and brother, but I can't seem to instill the simpler life into our children.  It's weighing heavily on my heart and I'm not sure what to do about it.  I mean, how many kids do you see now without a cell phone, i-pod, or other electronic gadget in hand most hours of the day?  Not many...although I will say that our two at ages 8 and almost 11 do not have any of them and we don't believe they need them at this point because they're pretty much home with us most of the time (we home educate).  If they are not with us, they are only with friends or family we know and trust to take care of them and know we would be contacted if there was a problem.  Otherwise, it's like the "old days" when people didn't have cell phones and it was normal for people to go an entire day (gasp!) without chatting with everyone they knew unless it was for a real purpose - like to arrange a time to spend time together. 

About a year ago, my husband and I were walking through the mall with our oldest daughter (10 years old at the time).  We spotted three girls maybe 12 or 13 years old walking toward us.  All three of them were texting while walking.  They weren't interacting with each other, but just walking with dead-pan expressions on their faces while the fingers flew.  My heart dropped when I looked on this scene...all I could think about was our girls doing the same thing in a few years!   (If we have anything to say about it, they won't!)  My husband remarked, "you know what's sad, they are probably texting each other".  You know, he could have been right!  What has happened to the art of conversation?  We have replaced it with texting and e-mail.  We've replaced face-to-face conversation with modern technology.  That scene of those three girls still plays over and over in my mind (and of course, we see it all the time now).  Ugh, I don't want to see our girls substitute the emptiness of texting and e-mailing for the true art and joy of face-to-face or telephone conversations.  

My parents still have the corded phone on the wall in the kitchen.  Yes, they are "with the times" with their cordless phone, but they have adamantly refused to get cell phones and I for one don't blame them.  They live the life!  They have several acres on which they cultivate a large garden and a small orchard.  They have two horses, three dogs, and of course lots of wild critters who wander about in the yard now and then (until the dogs see them of course!)  When they travel, I don't know where they are or how they are...which can be nerve-wracking for me (the one who does carry a cell phone wherever I go), but they are determined to truly go on vacation.  That means leaving behind home, house, and all that goes with it for a period of time when they can relax and enjoy sights they wouldn't normally see otherwise. have that freedom.  Yes!  I gotta say, they are doing something right.  When we go visit, I feel at peace.  I feel like things are right with my small world.  There is something to their way of living! 

What happened to simpler times?  For example:
  • Girls playing with dolls and dollhouses
  • Crafting/sewing
  • Boys catching bugs and playing (harmless) pranks on their sisters
  • Girls dressing up and imagining they are the mom, bride, or princess
  • Hopscotch
  • Reading aloud to your children
  • Card games and board games
  • Music played on the radio or (dare I say it?) a record player (instead of in the ears)
  • Devotional time
  • Running through the sprinkler
  • Playing games in the car to test our brains
  • Going to church as a family on Sunday
  • Washing the car by hand
  • Jump rope
  • Taking a well-deserved nap in the afternoon because you've worked all morning
  • Gardening
  • Just sitting down and chatting with a friend 
  • Holding hands with your spouse
  • Hand-written thank you notes
I will say that we see some of the simple pleasures of life enjoyed by our girls.  They love catching lightning bugs, playing board games together as a family, making S'mores over the fire, camping, and washing the car.  But, we also have our share of computer time, television time, and time listening to music too.  Sometimes those things bother me.  They don't "sit right" with me.  I feel the family being torn apart by technology and electronics sometimes.  Yes, they're great for so many reasons, but they can also be the catalyst that brings families least that's my humble opinion.  Striking the balance is the tough part for me...

It's as if I feel the "real" things in life slipping away and being replaced by empty technology.  I'm scared to death that we will lose our grip on what has meaning in this world.  Yes, I know that the prince of darkness roams this world, but God is still in control.  I know that He has our best at heart!  I know that He wants the best for our girls.  I want our girls to be different than the world.  They are just as drawn to the world as I am at times...convenience, immediate gratification, etc.  But, if we can keep them young and innocent for just a little longer, what's the harm in that?  I am terrified of losing my girls' hearts to the world.  Lord, help me to not allow that to happen!

This post has rambled a bit, I heart is heavy today and I'm not sure how to express everything I'm feeling in a way that "nails" it.  Even writers have a difficult time expressing themselves at times. 

Does anyone else feel this way?  Are you struggling with how much technology to allow in your childrens' lives?  Do you feel this generation is losing its grip on the meaningful things in life?  I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

Well, must go get ready for my day.  We're meeting my parents today for lunch.  We do this sometimes - just drive halfway and meet in the middle to spend a few hours together.  I love these times and wish they could be more often.  I must be on time!  See, they don't have cell there is no way to reach them if I am running late.  Hey, there's a great way to stay accountable and be on time!  (smile)  I always pray for their safe travel there and back and today will be no different.  I trust in the Lord to take care of them. 

Thank you for bearing with me today!

All my best to you,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Counting Blessings ..on to 1,000!

Good Monday to you!  I did not get to post my list of (continued) blessings last week, so I am trying to catch up this week.  I hope you are considering your blessings daily.

It's Multitude Monday!

holy experience

Blessings Continued...on to 1,000!

41.  My hubby mowing the lawn instead of me...right now in fact!  Normally I don't mind, but this hot weather really gets to me.  My hubby is more of a gecko (I'm more of a polar bear), so he was gracious enough to do the lawn on his day off.  Thanks Sweets! 
42.  Enjoying the visit with my niece Melanie this week.
43.  Seeing family and friends over the summer.
44.  A few new clothing items
45.  Birds singing outside my office window
46.  I'm thankful our girls enjoy reading books.
47.  The Lord is faithful...always.
48.  Seeing my Sis last week
49.  My overall health (not that it doesn't need improvement, but thankful where it is anyway)
50.  Thankful for praise and worship music
51.  My husband's tender heart
52.  I'm blessed by my husband's smile and hugs

All my best to you this Monday,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Day at Columbus Zoo

Who goes to the zoo on a hot summer day?  Everyone apparently!  My husband treated us to a zoo membership this year and we were all itching to get up to the Columbus Zoo to see the new additions, so we decided to go yesterday even though it was going to be 87 degrees and sunny.  Plus, our niece is visiting from Georgia and we wanted to do something fun with her while she was here.  It was really hot, but a fun day.  

When we started out, it was foggy, but cleared up pretty quickly once we entered into the outskirts of Columbus. 

Columbus Zoo (Columbus, Ohio) recently added and opened Polar Express, their new polar bear exhibit.  They did a beautiful job with it!  Polar bears are my absolute favorite wild animal, so that was the first place we headed (thank you family!).  There is an upper deck to see the bears outside and then you can go down into what looks like an underground mine to see the polar bears swimming in the water.

 This is the polar bear coming over the side - look at those paws!

This was my favorite shot (I took several that didn't turn out well).  This photo was taken with me looking above my head.  Isn't he (or she) beautiful?  I know they are a fierce wild animal, but I still want to hug one!

It was neat to hear what people were saying around us (this exhibit was packed).  The exclamations were everything from, "Wow!", "They've really outdone themselves!", and just a lot of "oohs" and "aahhs".  When it gets colder and school begins again, I'd love to go there and just sit and watch them swim around. 

We were privileged to see Misha, a baby gorilla who now lives at the Columbus Zoo.  She is so very small!  In this photo she is sleeping peacefully on one of the zoo's volunteers.

You can read all about Misha's incredible story and Columbus Zoo's surrogate program here.

Across the way from Misha was the silverback gorilla.  He is magnificent!  He was trying so hard not to let his eyes close - he had that droopy, "it's time for a nap" look.  There were so many people, it was as if he was trying to see each one before going to sleep. 

I love this next photo - up close of his face.  God's creations are so beautiful and unique!**

We enjoyed some ion therapy while standing next to this waterfall in the Asia Quest area of the zoo.

These gorgeous red flowers were blooming all around the Asia Quest area of the zoo.  One bloom was larger than my hand!

We were a bit amused by this sign...

Especially when we were able to see the bears...

This one was sacked out!  And his buddy was too...

Just goes to show that even wild animals are peaceful at times too.  It must have been nap time!

Columbus Zoo also has baby manatees!  There are 6 manatees in the tank now.  Very cool! 

You can read more about the four new baby manatees here.

My husband loves, loves fish, so the aquarium stop was a must.  The aquarium is quite impressive with all sorts of exotic and tropical fish.  There are a few sharks in the mix (smaller species) and some rays too.  At certain times of the day, you can watch the scuba divers feed the fish and maintain the tank.

Of course, we all took the opportunity to enjoy the air conditioning and sit down for a few minutes.  The girls didn't mind a bit!

Our niece Melanie loves red pandas, so that was our last stop.  Just as we walked up to the habitat, he walked right out in plain view!  I told Mel it was as if he had walked out there just for her. 

He's so pretty!  He has the tail of a raccoon (striped and full) and a face that looks like a cross between a panda and a raccoon (in my opinion).  I do believe God has a sense of humor, does He not?

Our girls were a bit disappointed because we only saw one leopard sleeping.  The tigers and lions were no where to be seen!  We must be visiting at the wrong time of day.  Perhaps next time we'll see them.

A macaw got loose in the zoo while we were there yesterday.  It was rather interesting to see zoo associates - at least 20 of them - positioned around one area where the macaw was hiding.  Zoo personnel were around the pond, on the path, in the trees, and in boats on the pond.  At the time we came across the scene, they had been trying to catch the bird for an hour and a half and still had not caught him.  We don't know if he was caught or not by the time we left.  Always exciting at the zoo!

A Few Miscellaneous Thoughts...

Zoo Membership - If you're headed to the Columbus Zoo, you may want to consider a zoo membership for your family.  Especially if you live close by and enjoy visiting.  My husband opted for the Family Plus membership, which allows us to bring two guests in on our pass for free.  After one more visit, it will pretty much pay for itself.  Parking is also free when you have a family membership.  Oh, and you receive 10% off gift shop purchases too.  Reciprocal privileges include 50% off at Cincinnati Zoo, Toledo Zoo, and The Wilds, to name a few.  There are many more perks with a membership, but I don't remember them at the moment.

Lockers - if you are like us and bring lunch to the zoo but don't want to carry it around all day, there are lockers available in the front entrance area of the zoo.  The cost for a small locker is $6 and $7 for a big one.  You must put down a $3 deposit for the key, but as long as you return the key, you get the deposit money back.  We felt it was a bit of a rip off, but also liked the convenience of it.  We remember the days of having a stroller to roll everything around in, but those days are no more for us.  So, if you have a stroller, a locker may not be a concern for you. 

Pressed pennies - these are so much fun!  All around the zoo, they have pressed penny machines featuring different animal pictures you can have pressed into a penny.  Each pressed penny costs 51 cents, so remember to bring two quarters and a penny for each penny you want to press.  We think these are fun and inexpensive souvenirs! 

Some things to bring/wear:
  • hats
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • supportive shoes
  • camera
  • bottled water
We would recommend bringing your own lunch and snacks unless you have budgeted quite a chunk of $$ for buying lunch at the Congo River Market within the zoo.  Bottled water runs $2.50 plus tax per bottle, so you might want to bring your own.

On the way out of the zoo, there are zoo associates standing at the exit handing out Bob Evans Free Kid Meal coupons.  We were given three - one for each child.  Nice!

It was a great day together as a family!  Hope you and yours are enjoying the summer!

**I just wanted to note that I believe in Creation, not evolution and believe that all animals were created by God.  I believe that man was created in God's own image.  I do not believe that we evolved from apes.  I just think gorillas are a fantastic creation from God.**

I'm not promoting Columbus Zoo for financial gain of any kind.  I simply think it's fun to share what we saw and to share the little tidbits of knowledge that we have learned over the years.

All my best to you today!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Childhood is fleeting...

 This photo was taken nearly four years ago.  It's our girls hiking on my parent's place.  Our shadows are behind them.  My heart hurts a bit when I see this photo - makes me want them little again...sometimes...

Isn't a precious photo? 

All my best to you today,