WHAT CAN YOU DO IN 45 HOURS?

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Beaches are for sunshine and warm breezes and cool drinks and playing in the water…and sunshine.  But, when God sees fit to water his creation, there’s still lots of fun to be had.

First thing…sit in the only spot of sun on the porch and watch as the clouds roll in…

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Ask your Mom to go get doughnuts for breakfast…cause doughnuts can make any disappointment so much easier to bear!

While you wait for your Mom and your Lulu to get ready…why not rearrange the toy shelf?  Everything out…and everything back in again.  But better suited to my liking!  Good job, Levi!

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Mom… Where would you like to go?

Levi...Wal Mart!  Wal Mart!

Mom…But we are not buying any toys…

Levi…I just want to look and see all the things they have in there!

Mom…OK…here we go!

Lulu...Oh, My!  Wal Mart?  Really?

Thank goodness for umbrellas!

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First we look at all the toys…ALL the toys.   Then we find a cooler for our lemonade stand (Coming soon).

Lulu...I need some keys!

And, so we get an up close and personal lesson in key making!

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5 keys later..we set off to find something else interesting…Look at this!  A bicycle just for Lulu!

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Here and there we go…all over the store.  Suzanne found a great way to keep Levi under control!

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Levi and I decide we need some white cheddar popcorn and chocolate chip cookies…you know…rainy day food!

So, we check out and head to the car…popcorn, cookies, m&m’s, and cooler in tow!

Levi...Look!  It’s not raining now!

Suzanne…I think it’s time for a smoothie!

Levi...I think it’s time for McDonald’s.

And, so we go to both.  Suze and I have a smoothie and Levi has a Happy Meal!

We stopped at the paint store and Suzanne did a little touch up painting in the house!  Thanks, Suze!

Back to the Sandcastle to wait for Pa and Uncle Ian…they are dropping in to spend the night on the way to Las Vegas.  Pa likes to fly out of PCB.

And, once we visit a few minutes…it’s off to Boondocks for a great meal!  Levi managed to get Pa’s hat from him and proceeded to wear it all night!  Levi and Uncle Ian having too much fun!

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Levi and Pa and Uncle Ian decide to stop at Pier Park and let Levi ride some of the fun rides there…but Suze and Lulu sit it out in the car.  We’ve had a busy day.  We get tired…but Levi never does!

To tie up the night, we stop for ice cream and sno cones!  YUMMY!

Up the next morning, we wash sheets and towels, tidy up,  and hurry home for an important meeting .

BACK UP A DAY…

A few pics from our first day.   First we went to the Frank Brown Water Park and soaked up lots of sun and fun!  The day was perfect!  Not too hot…cool breeze…a little cloudy.  Just like we ordered.

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After a quick shower back at the Sandcastle, we set out on a search for supper.  Every place was crowded.  Somehow…and I’m still not sure how…we ended up at a little local place.  There was live music, folks dancing and having a ball!  There was even a pool the kids could swim in during dinner!  We sat outside…and laughed and laughed and laughed!  We decided that even though the place was not crowded…and we had to wait over an hour for our food…we’d make the best of it and enjoy being together!  And, we did!  When we finally got out food…it was delicious!

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And, since no one likes to go to bed on time at the beach…Suze and Levi took a few spins on the go-carts.  Me?  I was safer just watching from the sidelines!

Sweet fun on a quick 45 hours at the beach!  A huge amount of fun in a short amount of time!  Hey…you just gotta cram that fun in  in the time you have!  And, we did!

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See you soon, Sancastle!

 

 

FACES UNDER A HAT

Levi finagled Pa’s hat away from him, and found it a perfect fit!  Well, a perfect fit for cute pictures, anyway!

 

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GLORY, GLORY, GLORY

It’s our country…our land.  The place we were born.  Or the place we hurried to get to.  It’s where we owe our allegiance.  We honor those who fought for our freedom…who gave their all…so we can enjoy the lives we lead.  We support those who are serving still.  It’s where we till the soil, or work in a building brushing the sky.  Perhaps we serve in a medical position, or teach little ones.  We may be the merchant of vehicles for fun and relaxation or we may simply serve by being kind and gentle and accepting of our position. We share our lives together…perhaps worshipping together, or watching tv together or cooking out in the backyard together….it just has to be together!   Because we grow and learn and become stronger by our mutual interests.  One shares with one…who shares with one…who shares with another.  It’s in this place we put down roots, and grow our families…new generations who come to understand why we can proudly say “Glory to God!  I live in America! ”

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                 HAPPY JULY 4th…2017

BOOGALOO CAMP… 2017

 

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And…once again   Boogaloo Camp is history… for this year.  Oh, but the memories will keep us happy until it’s time to do it again!

***Lots of pics here, but it’s all about the documentation***

Joy and I arrived at The Sandcastle on Monday and spent two days watching the rain pour and pour and pour!  Which wasn’t too bad.  Gave us a great chance to catch up and just spend time together.  We did manage to get to the grocery store.  I had chicken salad to make…which is a tradition at BC….and Joy wanted Potato Salad, too…so we did that, too!  The girls and boys arrived on Wednesday!  Fun was just waiting to happen.

We started off with me explaining to the boys what a Scavenger Hunt was.  And, then I gave them a list of things to be looking for all week…such as a red straw, a throw away cup with writing, a rectangle shaped napkin, a smooth rock, a lea with two colors, a ticket stub, etc.  They did great. They stayed busy everywhere we went looking for those 12 items!

Another continuing project we did was weaving.  I tore up an old canvas and used just the frame.  We tied jute on tip and bottom .  Then we learned about weaving…under, over, under, over….then over, under, over, under.  They caught on pretty quickly.  We even used some palm fronds and drift wood and finished off by tying on some shells they found with holes in them!

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That tropical storm didn’t bother us…we saw a break in the weather and made a beeline for the Panama City Beach Pier!  One of our little campers wasn’t sure if it would be sturdy enough for us to walk on, but soon those fears gave way to fun!  This was probably not the best time to go walking on a pier.  Winds, we found out later were at 40-45 mph!  We were blown sideways by that mighty wind!  The boys had a ball!  But, us girls, had mighty tangles in our hair!  Oh my!

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We stopped at a restaurant just outside the pier, Hook’d, and had delicious fish tacos!  The rain held off, but the wind continued to blow!

Up early the next morning and an art project to start.  We tried to do tie dye last year, but, ran out of time.  But, we got it in this year!  The boys designed their own shirts.  They decided on the design they wanted and picked their own colors.  Us girls all made us one, too.  We had to let them set overnight…so we began another project…String Art.  We had previously hammered nails into a circle on a slab of wood.  The boys then used all different color string to wrap the nails and come up with their version of a beach ball!  Looks pretty good!

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And, here’s how the shirt making turned out…

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We took a little trip over to Destin, because I wanted the boys to  experience the fun of eating at LuLu’s.  (In case you don’t know, this is a restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister.  It’s on the water, and all open air.  Their is a big sandy playground for the children complete with water play, and bungee jumping .  The boys loved it!  We all did, actually!

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We stopped and did some very minor shopping…you know…two little boys…not what they wanted to do…whines and “let’s go!”.  Back home the girls took the boys for a walk out on the beach…almost dark.

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Then they stopped for ice cream.  Joy and I stayed home and rested!

Bright and early the next morning…we started another art project…this time we made candles.  We decided on color…and scent…and containers.  John Thomas was the instigator of this fun idea!  The boys were amazed that they could actually make their own candles.   They measured and leveled, added wicks, and leveled again!   And, boy did they ever smell good.

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The sun was out in full force and it would have been terrible not to have enjoyed some sunshine and swimming!  So off we went to the PC Water Park…which has a wonderful facility for younger children!  It’s the boy’s favorite place to go.  We spent several hours there.  And, SURPRISE !!!!…our Lori showed up!  We had missed her, but her work wouldn’t allow her to be with us all week.  But, there were 2 happy boys when she showed up!  She lightens up all our lives!

And, after showers, we all went out to BoonDocks for a delicious meal!

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And with that, we had to begin gathering up supplies…cleaning up…

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…and preparing to leave the next morning!

A FEW MORE PICS…

The boys had a pillow to color and went about their work diligently.

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Levi made a very interesting color choice on his and I complimented him and said, “Levi, I like how you are using your artistic eye!”  He turned and look at me…did this…

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and said, “Actually, Lulu, I have 2 artistic eyes, don’t you know!”  So you do, my Little Man…so you do!

I taught them to play Old Maid…that was lots of fun!

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John Thomas looking cute in his new outfit…

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I bought the boys some cute shorts and painted them a shirt to match…

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Another fun project was a little tedious…on my part.  I made pics of the boys in the same location.  We then had them printed.  I taped the picture to a stack of 6 square Duplo Blocks, then carefully cut apart the picture between each block with an exacto knife.  Then I handed the boys a jumble of pieces and they had to put themselves and their cousin together.  Then is was so funny to put the wrong legs or the wrong arms on the other person!  Picture Blocks!

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They each have a set, and can take each other home and play together whenever they like!  We used one rectangular block on the bottom so they would stand side by side.

John Thomas designed, painted and lettered the Boogaloo Camp sign at top of this post!

PaPa Clyde…we were thinking of you while we were gone…

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Scavenger Hunt went well…they found all on their list and both won prizes!

And, of course, Thomas’ Doughnuts was visited quite often!  

I could go on and on here about the blessings we have and the memories we made on this trip!  But, I’m going to leave it here with just this thought.  Every good thing…every happy thought…every burst of laughter…every sweet hug…every goodnight kiss…and every Good Morning…is a gift from Almighty God.  He causes His favor to rest on us all.  He gives us more than we deserve.  He sends His love to us in so many ways.  I praise Him and honor Him and thank Him for this beautiful week!

“It is God who has given us these times of joy.”  Psalms 81:4

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JUST A CUP OF WATER

I arrived at my little cottage at the beach before any of my guests joined me.  As I pulled into my little neighborhood of Laguna Beach, I noticed an elderly woman sitting on my porch.  She threw up her hand as I pulled into the carport.   I waved back.

***The area of our little cottage is quite transitional.  It is definitely ‘old Florida’…lots of little cottages.  New homes are slowly replacing the older ones.  But, there are lots of older people who have lived there for years.  They walk together and walk their dogs together and keep tabs on each other.  This lady, Carol, lives in a tiny place  a few streets over, with her white dog, whom she walks two or three times a day.***

After I parked, I walked onto the front porch to say ‘hello’.  She spoke before I could.  “I hope you don’t mind.  I got so hot, and my heart was beating so bad, I had to sit down for a minute.  Don’t worry I’m not going to let the dog mess in your yard.  I’ll be gone in just a minute.”  I told her she was welcome to sit for as long as she wanted.  We exchanged a few more words and then I began to unload the car.  As I brought the first things into the house, the words “just a cup of water’ flashed through my mind.  I knew immediately I needed to fix Carol a cup of ice water.  And, so I did.  I unlocked the front door and walked outside.  She was beginning to walk off.  I called out to her and told her I had her a cup of cold water.

Drinking water is poured into a glass

She stopped and turned around and came back into the yard.  Tears began to stream down her face as she took the cup.  She drank half of it in one gulp.  Then she looked at me and said, “Thank you. Oh, thank you.  That is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” She turned around and walked off with her cup in one hand and  her dog leash in the other.  As she walked away, I watched her take a couple of pieces of the ice and give it to her dog.

I went back to unloading the car…thinking, ‘that was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her?‘  That’s tragic.  Whether it was true or not,  she was crying and obviously touched.  And, I did so little to warrant that reaction.  It’s quite humbling to think you have done such a little unimportant deed and someone thought it the nicest thing that had ever happened to them.  Who knew?  What other little tasks could we do that would touch someone just as much?  Have I missed a nudge from God to do some simple thing?  Have I missed an opportunity to give someone else a ‘cup of water’ or something equally as simple?

I started thinking about the phrase ‘just a cup of water’…and remembered it was a song my mother used to sing as a solo.  I could remember a few of the words.  “If just a cup of water, da da da  your hand….then just a cup of water is all that I demand”.  God expects us to give to others with what we have been given by Him.

Now friends, I have not heard that song in probably 40 or more years…nor thought of it.  Actually, probably longer than that…because 40 years ago I was 23 and long gone from home…so maybe even 50 years ago!  It’s a very old song and I don’t think I’ve ever heard it sung except when she sang it.  So it was buried deep in the gray matter…but sprung to the front when I needed to follow the instructions.  I think it amazing that something I heard my Mom sing 50 years ago, was stuck in my memory.  The funny thing is, when I told Joy about it…she started singing and I joined in…  ‘I travelled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care.  The burden on my weary back had bowed me in despair.  I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me and then I heard him say so tenderly….da, da, da, da, da, da, da,…….if just a cup of water.da da da da da da then just a cup of water is all that I demand.’

Where do those old songs reside in our brains?  And, what makes one stick and not another one?

 

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This is just a reminder that the things we say and show our children when they are young…are in their memory for a long, long time.  This is a hymn that Mom sang in church when I was quite young.  I was reading recently an article about the theology of hymns.  They were originally designed to be a concise nugget of the gospel message…written precisely for congregational singing…with rhyming words, or choruses to make them easier to memorize.  Our church forefathers planned our worship to include the singing of hymns.

I consider myself and my children blessed to have grown up in our denomination (Baptist) at a time when hymns were considered a vital part of the worship experience.  I realize the younger generation has different feelings about what they wish to experience in a worship service…and, though I would be happiest if we could sing all hymns…all the time, everyone in a church needs to be considered.  That is as it should be.  But, I so miss the messages I get from the words of hymns.  I just don’t get the same inspiration from songs written with words that repeat and repeat and repeat….songs usually meant for a soloist to sing accompanied by a band and backup singers.

Anyway, thank you, sweet Mother, for choosing this song to sing.  The words must have been meaningful to you.You always chose your songs so carefully.  You did well…50 some years later…those word are ringing in your daughter’s ears reminding me to give and share and help those who need me.  To continue to follow God’s commands.  What a legacy you left me, Mom.  Oh, how I pray my children can say the same of me!

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FOLLOW ME

I traveled on a lonely road and no one seemed to care.
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair;
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him say so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary, upon the Calvary road;
The cross became so heavy, I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”

“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune, I’m worth a lot to Thee”
And then I hear Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday,
‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die”
These are the words He gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand.
But if by death to living they can Thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to Thee.

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GRADUATION DAY…

1fp4On the occasion of First Presbyterian Preschool Kindergarten Graduation…2017…

What a beautiful group of children!  Some tall, some shorter, some a little chunky, others thin.  Brown hair, red hair, blond hair, black hair.  Skin darker, skin lighter…there were children who excelled and others who were a little slower getting the hang of things.  There were those who sang out loud and proud  and others who barely moved their mouths.  Watching them, I remembered some of the ones who loved to explore through art…and others who would much rather not be getting their hands messy.  Some of the children stood still in their outfits Moms or Dads had ironed…keeping their shirttails tucked in…hair neatly combed and bows tied perfectly.  Others had bows untied, shirttails pulled out or halfway out…shoes untied and hair all disheveled.

But everyone is perfect!  Perfectly themselves.  It’s amazing how at five and six years old you can already see the personality of a child.  You can discern if they are a perfectionist or totally laid back.  You can tell if they see the big picture or get distracted by the details.  You can see if they are rule followers or prefer to follow their own path.  You can see if they are explorers who want to be involved in discovery or prefer to let others do the discovering and read about it later.  You can see the ones who are leaders and those who prefer to follow.  Some are sweet and gentle, kind and soft spoken.  Some are also loud and boisterous and always desiring to be in center of something…if there’s not something…they’ll start it!  Some are nurturing and want to take care of others…some want to do things without any help…from anyone!  Each is perfectly made in God’s image.

And you know, our society needs ever single one of them…just like they are!  We need the ones who will be content to study quietly and who will love to listen to their teachers.  But, we also need those who will are not afraid of a challenge and prefer to discover new things for themselves.  We need people in our world who  love to throw lots of color onto a canvas and swirl it around.  But we also need those who prefer to draw tiny sketches with a pencil.

Which of these dear children will be doctors with empathy for those who are ill?    Which child will be a merchant who stores goods that we all need?  Who will be the lawyer who helps solve problems?  Who will be the policeman and firemen and paramedics who respond quickly in disaster?  Who will run the library and catalogue the books and have them available for us when we need them?  Who will be the schoolteachers who will guide more young minds?  Who will be the preachers who remind us of our need for God and how to better serve Him?  Who will be the artist?  Who will be the movie star?  Who will be the secretary who keeps all the books and files in order?  Who will be the scientist who discovers something we never knew before?  Who will run the gas station and the clothing stores and the restaurants?  Who will be the mechanic who works on our cars and sees that they are safe to drive?  Who will be the farmer who grows crops to feed us all?  Who will be the missionary who goes far away to share God with the world?  Who will run the daycare and preschools?  Who will teach the world to sing and love music?  Just think of all the people we need to run our world?  Every occupation is necessary and provides for our livelihood.  Every choice of what to do with our lives is an opportunity to find joy and fulfillment and is a chance to serve others.

We need everyone of these little ones to take their place in the world when the time comes and make their own contribution.  Do you realize what just one of these 75 could do?  One of these children could change their family’s life.  A few could change our town.  A group could change our state.  Together…they could change our world!

We must do our parts to see that they have every opportunity to excel…in their own way.  We must encourage and train and listen and reprimand and challenge and support and discipline and love these little graduates as they move away from the cocoon of their kindergarten classroom into a new and exciting world.  They may take it all in stride.  Others may be overwhelmed.  We must be ready to under gird them when needed  with patience and love and respect.

May God bless them with an inquisitive mind and a spirit of peace.  May He bless them with able bodies and minds to fill with the wonders of His world.  May He cover them always with His arms of safety and protection.  May he fill their hearts with empathy and grace and mercy and may they look for ways to serve others and Him.   And, may they look to Him for guidance, above all else.  I pray each and every tiny soul here today finds the big world they are going into filled with love and kindness and support and opportunities for them to find the fulfillment they and their Heavenly Father desire.   Amen

SWEET PRAYER

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“Dear God,

Thank you for all my friends at First Presbyterian.  Thank you that I got to go to school there.  Thank you for all my teachers that I love at my school.  Help the people at Providence to understand that I might have to go back and visit at First Pres.  Help people who lost their job at Gander Mountain to find new jobs.  Help all the people who don’t know God.  Amen”

Prayer by Levi at lunch after a tearful goodbye to his dear teachers at First Presbyterian Preschool.

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