WE CELEBRATED ! And what a fun celebration it was! Pop turned 90 on the 9th of July, but it was the 17th before we could all be together for the party.
Invitations were sent to two churches and other close friends. We held the party at my house, and, even before 2:00 they started coming in! And, they kept coming! Friends for many, many years were here. Friends of his and mother’s were here. Young men he taught were here. (Some of that teaching took place on a motorcycle!…other times, while gardening in his yard). Friends our age who have much respect for him. And, even those with children the age of mine came to honor, him.
Pop loves to talk. He loves to interact with people. He wants to know who you are and what you are and why you are what you are. And, if you’re not a Christian, you’ll know before you leave him. And, you’ll get a few words of wisdom, too. Like…” the most important decision you will ever make is to become a Christian. The second most important is the choice of a mate. Choose wisely, in both cases.” And…“If you are lucky enough to be born in America, you are blessed beyond measure.”
He’s a talker and he’ll talk as long as you’ll listen. But, he’s also wise and has seen much in his years. And his joy is in giving to others.
Back to the party. Joy and Suzanne and Lori and Tara came over to help me get ready on Saturday. And, Ian came home, too. Adam managed to take off work, and Praise God!, Alex was able to be up with us, too. Tara and Will were here, and Lori with her boyfriend. Tommy was here, too. Only Donald was missing. He had a business meeting out of town that was imperative he attend.
It was a glorious day! Even if the skies opened up and sent a deluge of rain. Many came right on through the rain! So, outside it may have been yucky weather…but not inside. Inside was filled with laughter and reminising…eating and drinking…catching up on lives of each other and children and grandchildren. Inside was filled with the buzz of family! Not all blood kin, but all of the same heart. A group of friends and family who have grown throughout the years to become a part of each other’s life…caring and loving one another…being available when hard times surface…laughing and playing and sharing the good times. That’s what a family is.
To each one who came to celebrate with us…who sent messages…who helped with the party…who braved the rain…who loved us enough to share this special day we us…we thank you from our heart of hearts.
I don’t like spiders, or snakes, or bugs. I do not feel I have authority over even the tiniest of creatures. I just want to flee. I hate to kill them…but I will stomp on a spider. Roaches…I don’t even think I can stand to talk about them…so let’s not. I do, however, have a fondness for two of the tiniest of God’s handiwork…ladybugs and fireflies. I can get along with these…and let them live and be at peace.
But, I recently heard a sad tale abut the firefly. Actually, we used to call them lightning bugs. I remember Joy and I catching them in an old glass jar….and Mama making us let them go before we came inside for the night. (That was when you could play outside and with neighborhood kids with out your parents worrying to death!) I’m glad she had us let them go. If you think you don’t see them much anymore, you’re right. Their population is on the decline. This is because of (according to Mother Nature Network.com) light pollution, pesticide use, and habitat destruction. And, this is the sad part…if a field where fireflies have lived is paved over or built on..the firefly family doesn’t just move over to another field…..they just disappear forever.
Does that make you a little wistful? It does me. I think of the absolute delight my sister and I, barefooted and dirty, had running after that elusive light to try to catch one in our hands. I don’t think I ever did. To get them into the jar, you had to be real sneaky and creep up behind them and bring that bottle down over them quickly! It’s not a skill I use anymore, sad to say. I don’t know when I’ve seen a firefly.
We lived in town on a busy road, but had lots of friends out in the country. And, once you got away from the light around town…right at dusk…you would begin seeing them. We also went to a church out in the country. I can remember when Memphis Baptist was just 2 small buildings. And when we would get out of church on Sunday night, it would just be getting dark. At that time, there were fields all around and a cemetery across the street. They would all be filled with the tiny lights! Of course, we couldn’t go chase them…cause it was still the Lord’s Day, and that was not befitting behavior for 2 young ladies, Daddy said. And besides, we still had on our Sunday dresses and sox and shoes. Mama was not happy if those white patent leather shoes got marks on them! But on Wednesday night, those bugs better beware! We had on school clothes and there weren’t as many rules about them! Even that far back, I remember what a sight it was to see a field all of a sudden light up. Wow. God makes so many wonderful things for a kid to marvel at!
Let me tell you a little about these little creatures. First of all, they are beetles…not flies. They have a chemical called luciferin inside their tails. When this combines with oxygen, calcium, and adenosine triphosphate….a chemical reaction occurs to create their spectacular light! Now, they carry the luciferin in their tail…and I know where the oxygen is…but where do they get the calcium and adenosine stuff from. Does it float in on the air, or is it in the ground. Do they get it from the food they eat? I could not find out. But, isn’t it wonderful to know that every little firefly that’s burned their beautiful light had to have help from the Master Creator to get the job done! And, it’s even more wonderful to think that Almighty, Heavenly Creator that He is, cares about his little firefly family on the earth enough to make sure they have the things they need to shine their light…attract a mate…and make more fireflies!
And, get this…they are light geniuses.! Their light is 100 % usable light where as the incandescent light bulbs that we humans manufacture lose 90% of their energy as heat…only 10% is usable light! Anything God makes is right from the start!
A very wise friend of mine told me once that God is just as magnificent in the tiniest of details we may ever not see, as He is in the large things we notice every day! It’s true!
There are over 2000 species of fire fly, but they don’t all light up. Each species that does light up, however,, has their own specific pattern of flashing. Some can even synchronize their flashes. Now, the whole’ light up thing’ is just a ploy to find a mate! The male flashes one pattern…the female flashes back another. I don’t really know the deciding factor on who they choose…but their lights can come in yellow, light red, green and orange. Perhaps the female has a favorite color!
And should some other creature be attracted to this light and decide it looks appetizing….a firefly also has something in his blood called LUCIBUFAGINS (love that word!) which makes them taste really gross!
Now friends…if you’ve even kept reading this far, I know this is not on the list of information that you would find useful or even interesting. But, when I got to thinking of the fact that I would so hope my little grandson has the chance to see and experience the wonder of ‘fairy lights’…I wanted to know more about them. I want to know where they are. Cause I’m gonna take him. I’m gonna watch it once more through his eyes! And, then I’ll hold that memory as close as I do the ones of my sister and I. Have you seen any in this area?
There are so many wonders in the animal world…but none that I know of as enchanting as watching the yard ‘fill up with little fairy lights’. It’s an experience similar to seeing stars race across the sky. It’s something you never forget…even if you’re 63. It’s just a little ‘magical respite’ from long days and hot work in the sun. It’s in those few minutes between being out working and going into the house for the evening. It’s where you think, “Man, I’m tired, But got a lot of good stuff done today.” But, you just don’t quite want to go in and call it a day. You just stand and survey the world. Maybe hear God say, “Sit back. Put your feet up and watch! I’m have some friends who want to do a show…just for you!” And, He calls His fireflies to perform…just to delight you! Isn’t He a good God! I am remembering my days on the farms in NC with my aunts and Uncles. I can see my Uncle Arthur Lee drive up in his truck and come up under the carport….stomping the mud off his feet as he comes. Then he’d sit down on a chair and take his shoes off and then his cap, and run his fingers through his hair. And, just sit there for a few minutes. I’ve seen my uncle Charles and Uncle Jefferson do the same thing.
You know, I have a song playing in my head…sorta in the background…while I’ve been writing this post. Seems I remember that once upon a time I did a musical with a bunch of kids at school. It goes..“Angels and Lambs, Lady Bugs and Fire Flies told every person in sight that Jesus was born in Bethlehem on that Christmas night” I can even see the book I used. Hmm! Now that was not even in my head when I started this post. Funny, isn’t it, how thinking about fire flies leads to thinking about old summer time memories as a child and then to children and music I taught at school! Yeah, memory is a funny thing. And songs seem to really stay with me.
I hope you see some fire flies soon! Reckon what memories they will lead you to? I’d love to hear about it, if you’ll share. Just leave a comment at the end of the blog. I’ll see it!
PS. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has firefly tours!
I do a lot of reading. And, since one of my loves is arts and crafts, I look at a lot of crafting web sites. I’m always looking for something new and fun for Levi to do. I also teach art at FP Preschool and love to find new ideas for the children. A few months ago, I began seeing a lot of info on water beads. So I explored. Sounded like fun…and an extra for the Boogaloo Camp boys.
The beads are actually vase fillers that have been around for a long time. Some clever crafter just found a new way to use them! The ones I bought were from Hobby Lobby in their floral department. They did not have a good selection of colors, but, I got 3 different ones. They look similar to this…
When you pour them out they are very tiny…
Then comes the magic! I let the boys play with the beads as they were for a while, then told them the beads were growing beads! I used one of the big aluminum throw away casserole dishes…the biggest and deepest I could find. Then I let the boys pour lots of water into the pan and added the tiny beads. It wasn’t long before they started getting bigger…and bigger and bigger! We had to add more water once. After several hours,we could see them growing. The next day, they were at their maximum size. So we poured off all the water, and let them have it. This is the size difference.
Oh, my, they were mesmerized! We adults were, too. It is a totally sensory experience. The beads feel wet, but are not. They have turned into balls of a jelly like material. And, we found out they would bounce, too. But, that was not an inside game! They ran their arms through them…picked them up and let them slide through their fingers, dropped them on top of the others…just exploring this new sensation.
I left the pan sitting out and it was amazing. No one…kids or adults could walk past without running their finger through them. It attracted everyone. And, they just felt so good. I left them out for about 4 days, and they were just starting to shrink some. That may vary depending on conditions where you are.
Levi has quite a collection of little sea toys he keeps at the beach…creatures and boats, etc. So we took those and hid them under all the beads, and they had great fun seeing what they would pull out. They would try to guess what it was by feeling before they pulled it out!
Suzanne was most intrigued! In fact, she used the same idea this week in VBS at her church…calling them ‘fish bubbles’. Their theme for the week was Submerged…all about the sea. The children were amazed!
She ordered a big bag from Amazon…they are much cheaper that way.
And, by the way, if you let them dry completely out, you can start the project all over again. They shrink back to the original size. Not quite sure how long this takes.
In one of the web sites, it suggests to give each child a clear bottle…like an empty water bottle…and have them drop 8-10 beads inside. Then fill with water…and watch the fun begin. They will float and move from top to bottom. I think I’ll try that.
If you mix the colors, it can also be a great sorting game!
One word of warning! These are NOT EDIBLE! So do not use with children who want to put everything in their mouths. HOWEVER, in my perusing the craft sites, I did come upon a recipe to make some that were edible. Didn’t try it, but you can google it and find it easy enough.
Just thought you Moms and Grandmoms may want to try this out. Not much mess and loads of fun!
Another Lulu/Levi project
One of the first things I planned for this year’s Boogaloo Camp was a cruise on the Sea Dragon. The ship is based at the St Andrews Marina, in Panama City Beach, Florida. I had run across it online and every single review was glowing.
The cruise is geared totally for the kids.There are places for adults to sit…but other than that…all activity is for the little ones. Every single minute, is planned. There is no time to sit around and get bored. They do all sorts of pirate stuff. ..water gun fights, shooting the cannon, dancing and singing and a conga line, swabbing the deck, face painting, sword fights, discovering treasure in the ocean and helping to pull it to the boat, then opening and sharing the loot!
Following are some pics of the day. BTW…this was a surprise for the boys…they didn’t know about it till we got there! They were so excited! Shirts courtesy of Lulu.
Pulling the treasure chest up from the bottom of the sea!
Every day we had a time for some arts and crafts…both of the boys are quite artistic and love to paint and cut and create!
Protecting the walls from flying paint!
Now we are all back home in Dothan and Abbeville. We are going about our daily routines…going to PT, seeing about Pop, getting ready for VBS at church, going back to our work with the sick. Boogaloo 2016 is over…but the memories linger on. John Thomas taking the test at the pool and going the distance well. He got to do the obstacle course and the tall slide. Levi taking the swimming test, but struggling a little…he only got to do the slide. And, once on the slide was plenty for him..while JT did it about a dozen times! ***Levi saying to us all, out of the blue, “Im a good talker and a chicken eater!” *** John Thomas working slowly and surely on painting his anchor.***Levi chasing about 10 chickens down the road trying to catch one. He didn’t. John Thomas taking it upon himself to be sure I had my waker every time I needed it! *** The look on the boy’s faces when they realized they were going to ride on that big pirate ship! *** Sitting between the boys on the couch and reading to them…acting out the voices and being silly. ***
Friends, life is so sweet. Family is so important. God is so good. Amen!
It so nice to have all the girls in the same room. Talking, acting silly, eating, talking about eating, talking about shopping, eating, interacting with the little boys…just doing life. We don’t have the chance to do that much during the year. Oh, we spend time together for a meal…but everybody has to talk to everybody else and there’s no time for real interaction. And, so as we gather together away for a few days, we focus on each other.
Not a whole lot of seriousness, mind you…but a whole lot of bonding!
Let’s start these pics off with a ‘breakfast of champions’!!! (Good ole Thomas Doughnuts)
“Rock me, Aunt Tara.”
Chasing the chickens…no luck!
What a fun aunt Lori is to these guys! John Thomas calls her “Ree”…….Levi calls her “Lorly”……I call her “Loopy”…we all call her “Special”!
Shirts by Lulu…
My dear daughter in love!
No room for me on the couch!
Even if we don’t always act like it! Fun with ribbon wands!
The boys think my walker is a perfect place to sit!
The boys bring their favorite books and we have story time together before bed!
Gigi and Lulu and their boys!
More to come in Part 3…..
Time has such a way of marching …faster and faster and faster. The days go by, and the weeks and months and then the years are gone. Memories are all that remain. And, the fun-filled, happy ones are definitely the best!
Our extended family here in Dothan is very close. Mom made it a point that we were together as often as possible. Any excuse for her to fix a meal and have everyone over was always on her agenda. My children and Joy’s children grew up together…in church, in school, at Granny and Papa’s house. They were and still are great friends. After Mom moved to Heaven, Joy and I discussed how we wanted to make sure this continued with the next generation. An even though Levi and John Thomas live in different towns…they see each other enough to play together, and love each other.
But, since a day here and once a day there is not enough…BOOGALOO CAMP was formed 3 years ago. This is a time when Joy and I take our daughters and our daughters-in-love and their children away for about 5 days. The beach has ben our destination since we bought our beach house about the same time. Besides…we all LOVE the beach! It is a time of fun, food, crafts for the boys, swimming, shopping, and surprises!
We have just returned from our 3rd camp. I want to share it with you and document it for posterity (In our family, it seems I am the only one who tries to keep records and pictures for those who come after…it just seems quite important to me).
Joy and I arrived a few days earlier and got food together and set things up. Then the rest of the crew arrived. Because it was a little cloudy and hard rain forecast for the next two days, they decided to take advantage of the sunshine and hit the beach! Of course, the beach and the sand was off limits to me with my bum knee. But, a little quiet time with a good book is always a treat!
John Thomas after a quick dip in the ocean!
We ended our last day together back in the water again. This time at a PCB water park. The boys love it. The park has a pool that’s about 3 feet deep and all kinds of equipment to play on, climb on, and slide on! Then, also 2 large Olympic size pools also! It’s so nice and clean. Here are a few shots from there…
John Thomas passed the test!
The first and last time Levi attempted the big slide. He said, “It’s too dark in there!” I’m with him!
It’s obvious the girls get their beauty from their mother. Love my beautiful sister!
Just a short rest time…
More to come in Part 2…..
Today I went to the K-4 spring musical at First Presbyterian Preschool. There were appr.70 children maybe, on stage. There were short ones and tall ones and chubby ones and skinny ones. There were little girls with bows as big as can be and little boys with hair slicked back to hold down the cowlicks! Some wore glasses. Some had given themselves their own haircuts. There was brown hair and black hair, and blond hair and redheads. Some of the children were still and quiet and hardly sang, others were so full of the music it bubbled out all over them. They had blue or green shirts to wear. And, about 70 different variations of khaki shorts or skirts. And each and every one of them had a Mama sitting in the audience proud as can be.
Motherhood. Each child is represented by a mother. A mother who labored to get her child into the world or perhaps labored to get them into their world. Mothers see and know what others do not. Because God gave us those hearts that pick up on things so easily. They know when their little one is embarrassed or shy. They know when the world is just too big to adjust to at the moment. And, so a few more hugs and sweet words are necessary. They know when their child is proud and pleased with himself. Perhaps he has done something extraordinary. Or perhaps he has just remembered to brush his teeth before bed. But, Mamas know that it matters that the task is acknowledged. Mamas know when a child is troubled. When someone did not offer to play together on the playground or didn’t make a space in the reading circle. Mama knows she needs to soothe that little bruise and put it in its proper perspective. There’s so many things that Mamas know. They understand a new pair of shoes makes a kid feel able to conquer the world! They understand that home baked cookies just happen to have a little more love mixed into them. They understand that if the hair bow is lopsided, then the whole day is ruined. Mammas just know. They know that at time, words of correction are a must. The little ones living in our world see hundreds of new things everyday….and have new experiences…and meet new people. That’s a lot to deal with. Cause it has to be thought about, discussed, and then placed among all the new things already learned and still leave space for what will come tomorrow. Why! It’s overwhelming at times! But, Mamas remember how it felt to them and so they explain, and correct, and admonish if need be. Then they finish it all off with a hug and a kiss. And, all’s right with the world!
Oh! there were such lovely grandmothers there, too. I think they looked a little more relaxed than the Mamas. Perhaps because Grandmothers, and Mimis, and Nanas, and Memaws, and Dedes and Gigis, and Grannys, and Mias, and Lulus have seen just a little more of this old world. And, they know what things should be cherished the most. They know that watching their grandchild today is a blessing from God! They know that forgetting a few words is no big thing. And, they know forgetting a whole song isn’t either! They know that a little boy who can’t be still can run like a cat and build the best roads you’ve ever seen. They know that sweet little girl with the pigtails who seemed so shy, can talk and sing and care for her baby doll for all the world just like her mother. They know the little one that gave two big jumps at the end of his part is so filled up with love for everyone, he just can’t help himself! And, they know that dear one who seemed sorta bored with it all, can lose himself in a good book and it’s there he finds adventure. Grandmothers know. Grandmothers know these little souls will be fine and grow into people who will love and help others. They know they are in good hands. After all, it’s they who raised their mommies and daddies.
Happy Mother’s Day from this one who cherishes my roles as Mama and Lulu.