LIGHT IT UP !

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

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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!

 

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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?

 

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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.

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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!

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PS.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has firefly tours!

 

 

 

 

BOOGALOO CAMP *****Part 3*****

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.

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Pulling the treasure chest up from the bottom of the sea!

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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!

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Protecting the walls from flying paint!

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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!

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BOOGALOO CAMP *****Part 2*****

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)

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“Rock me, Aunt Tara.”

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Chasing the chickens…no luck!

 

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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”!

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Shirts by Lulu…

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My dear daughter in love!

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No room for me on the couch!

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Even if we don’t always act like it!  Fun with ribbon wands!

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The boys think my walker is a perfect place to sit!

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Crazy hair!

 

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The boys bring their favorite books and we have story time together before bed!

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Gigi and Lulu and their boys!

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More to come in Part 3…..

BOOGALOO CAMP 2016 *****Part 1*****

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!

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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!

 

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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…

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John Thomas passed the test!

 

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The first and last time Levi attempted the big slide.  He said, “It’s too dark in there!”  I’m with him!

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It’s obvious the girls get their beauty from their mother.  Love my beautiful sister!

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Just a short rest time…

 

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More to come in Part 2…..

 

 

TEACHING THE THREE’S

This has been running back and forth through my mind lately and I know why.  It’s because the people involved were all women who had an influence on me.  A good one.  All ladies in my church. These were ladies I grew to know and love from the time I started at Southside Baptist Church.  I was in the 6th grade.  These were ladies who were already adults when I was a child and so they were my teachers and my leaders and my examples.

I trained several years while I was in college at Glorietta Baptist Assembly in Glorietta, NM.  I wouldn’t expect you to know about this place unless you were a Southern Baptist.  There was another one in Ridgecrest, NC.  In those years, people would travel for a week or two to one of these assemblies and stay on the grounds.  Then they would go to classes in their area of service during the day.  Every evening there were services with the visiting pastor for the week.  Each night was like a good ole Baptist Revival.  The best preachers were there…the best singers were there.  And, helping to run it all was college students from around the country.   Most were employed to clean cabins during the day, or work on the grounds, or serve in the kitchen…cooking and cleaning.  Some were used in the recreation for the visiting children.  And, a few…just 5 or 6…were selected to work in the preschool department.

I was one of those.  Now, I didn’t realize just how fortunate I was at first, but anything was better than cleaning and making beds or washing 600 dirty breakfast plates!  Thus began my training and subsequent love of preschool education in the church.  The leaders in each of these areas were the tops in their field.  These were the people who wrote the literature.  They wrote the books on how to teach.  The wrote study course books outlining how to set up a preschool department and why.  These people were amazing.  They wrote children’s books and children’s music.  They did it all.  And, for 2 summers, I was directly under their direction and leadership and teaching.

This is the way it worked.  We all got a crash course in teaching preschoolers.  We’d watch and learn.  We’d do something wrong and learn.  We’d read and learn.  And, soon enough, we would take the whole room of children and be responsible for them.  See, the parents who came to attend classes would bring their children.  We in turn would keep them and teach them…like a Sunday School department.  There were classrooms set up.  And, all around the outside of the room were dark screened rooms with chairs.  The leaders would hold classes elsewhere for those who were interested in preschool work and then sometime each day they would quietly enter those darkened screen rooms and observe what we EXPERTS were doing.  Believe me, if we did not not handle a situation right…it was used to talk about the right thing to do…and we were made well aware of the blunder! They would sit quietly for 30 or 40 minutes and then leave.  The children never knew they were there.  (I do remember one little boy coming up to me and saying that the “that wall has coughing in it!”)

I can’t even begin to tell you how soon I began to know just how blessed I was.  This method of teaching made perfect sense to me.  A department was set up with certain areas in it….art, home living, blocks, puzzles, books, etc.  These were a constant each week.  Then an activity was prepared for the child to do in each area.  An activity that went along with the lesson.  The children made the choices as to the areas they visited…but in each one they had the opportunity to hear the Bible Story of the day.  So, by the time they got to Large group time, they had heard the story at least 3 times already!  Then all the lessons followed a rotation system in the areas of God, Jesus, Natural World, Self, Others, Family, Home.  It changed either monthly or quarterly.

This system made such sense to me and it still does, though few follow it anymore.  I began to to work in a local church while I was in college.  And, I had already taken 2 years of Early Education courses at Samford University.  Don and I married and I taught in our church in Birmingham until we moved back to Dothan.  About that time, our home church began a major building project for a new education building and a preschool building was included in that.  I was able to give some input and insight into the building…and they used consultants from Baptist State Boards to make sure it met the requirements they had set forth.  How blessed to be able to teach in a building, and have the materials to teach, all according to the proper set up!  I started my work in preschool at Southside as Preschool Director.  I stayed in this position for some 20 years.  I then passed the job to capable hands and began teaching the kindergarten class each Sunday.  This was probably another 20 years.  I worked as Director again for a few years when we remodeled again, but now I am out of it altogether.  Age and family and health…you understand.   But, I miss it every single time I am at church!

One of the things I worked on in those years is getting trained teachers for all the classrooms…babies, toddlers, threes,fours,and fives.  And I was able to do that.   I taught classes for all ages.  One of my greatest success stories was the Threes!

I don’t remember exactly, but this is my recollection.  My Mom came to me and said that she and two of her friends wanted to teach the threes.  Well, this was just as I was looking for new workers.   I told her that would be great!  So the team of Mom (Eloise Townsend), Jeanette Glover, and Rudean Newton was formed for our three year old department.  They were willing and anxious to learn the ‘right ‘ way to do everything!  They knew how important it was to have training, and spent a week at an Alabama assembly that taught classes similar to the bigger assemblies.  This was Shocco Springs.  They learned and began the work with our threes.  What a wonderful job they did!  Oh, and how thrilled I was to see things done the right way…the way for optimum teaching of little ones.  They worked together for quite a few years.  I don’t remember exactly why, but Mrs. Rudean had to bow out….and was replaced by the wonderful Betty Swicord.  She fit right in and things went on just as smoothly as before.  I had forgotten this but Jeanette told me Sunday that when Mrs. Betty had to exit, another lady stepped in.  And, through all the years, when one or another of the ladies were unable to be in attendance, Shirley Hammond was the designated fill in person.  She was as talented as all the others and could move in with ease.

This post is a thank you to this group who saw the need for  preschool education.  They didn’t think threes were too young to teach.  They understood the principle that, starting with babies, you build a foundation that church is a happy place to be.  People love me at church.  People take care of me at church. We do fun things together at church.  This foundation carries on and is built upon as the child grows.  Soon he is able to learn more about why we come to church…eventually learning to love God and surrender their lives to Him.

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The saints in this group are no longer all together.  Mom and Mrs. Rudean have moved to Heaven.

Mrs. Betty is dealing with serious health issues, Mrs. Jeanette has just undergone some serious health problems, as well.    In the midst of the illness of both of these ladies, they have been faithful and continue to serve the Lord.

Shirley Hammond is no longer a member at Southside, but is doing well and serving the Lord in many ways.  She is and will always be a part of us!

I want to honor these ladies and the example they are to me!  I have watched you all for many years.  I see what you do and how you act.  I see how you suffer and continue to smile.  I see you faith in our Lord shining through adversity.  I don’t think I can ever measure up to any of you, but you are my inspiration.

My mother was wise in many ways.  She was a friend to many.  These ladies were dear to her and loved her.  And, she loved and trusted them.  At times, in church, I get a little emotional, when something reminds me of Mom.  These are the ladies I want to hug…because they loved her, too.  And, I feel almost as if I can feel her though their hugs.

Mom, Rudean Newton, Jeanette Glover, Betty Swicord, Shirley Hammond…thank you.  You have a special place in my heart of hearts.

 

 

PERFECT

This morning (Monday), Levi was looking for a teeny, tiny, itty, bitty gun that goes with his Star Wars creature.  Now the deal was, on Friday as he was cleaning up, I told him to put ALL the little guns in the box so he would not lose one.  Really, they are so tiny, you could easily think it was a piece of trash!  And when he wants me to find one…not fun!  When he went to the box this morning, that one particular gun was not there.  CRISIS

I asked him if he put it up on Friday.  He said that he did but he got it out again when his mother and I were talking.  He showed me where he thought it was…but, alas, no gun there.  We looked and looked…in several places.  But no gun.  TEARS

Don had come into the kitchen to fix breakfast…as he does every morning.  It is a tradition that he and Levi started long ago and no one can fix the breakfast now, but Pa!  Which is ever so fine by me.  Of course,  I do the getting dressed and combing hair and brushing teeth and driving to school part!  (And, we all know how fun it is to wrestle a pair of jeans and boots on a four year old who would rather be doing anything else!!!)

Well, my dear hubby usually has a word or two or ten to interject into how I can do life better or more efficient or faster or like him.  So, he told me that I should have gotten a specific place for Levi to keep all his Star Wars things, so they could all stay together.  It did my heart good to tell him that I did that. ( Nah! Nah! Nah-Nah! Boo-Boo!)  SMUG

Levi walked into the kitchen and I reminded him that he had the big box to put all his Star Wars things in and if he would just do that every day when he left, they would not get lost!

Don was looking at me like a goon and said, “Lulu is right, Levi.  That’s why she can always find what she’s looking for and never loses anything.”  SARCASM A MILE LONG  He did say it with a smile, but …you understand!

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So, I sang, to the room at large..a strange, little silly song….”LuLu is not perfect. She loses things. She makes messes. She forgets where things are!    Oh, well, Big deal….Lulu is not perfect!”

Sweet, innocent, angelic Levi then took me by the hand and looked into my eyes with all the seriousness in the world  and said, “Why did you not tell me that before now?”
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UH OH…slipped a little off that pedestal…

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“Sorry, Levi.  I’m not perfect.  I mess up big time…lots of times.  But, one thing’s for sure…Messes can be fixed or cleaned up or done over.  And, I don’t mind doing that.  Believe it or not, some of the best lessons you will learn in this life come from when you really mess up bad!  We just clean it up and start over!  Besides, aren’t messes the most fun, sometimes! And, in the grand scheme of things…what’s a few messes?  I don’t put things away like I should.  I know I need to, but I get so busy.   I lose things.  And, they may stay lost for a while.  But, it’s so exciting when I find them again!  Oh, well, this is me. I love you.   I love your messes.  I love seeing you so involved in a project that everything else fades away! We can always clean up after…and we do!  And, we’ll try to do better keeping up with the Star Wars guns.  OK?   Your Not Quite Perfect Lulu”

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