Friday, August 31, 2012

Cornmeal and Shaving Cream... (Week 4)

Well today is the day...

"A Place For Little Hands" has officially closed its doors 
as a Licensed Family Child Care Home


It is bittersweet
and I am tired

but I can't help but stop here and reflect over the past 8 years...

-giving thanks for all things
-grateful to God for all things
-growing in gratitude and grace in all things

Earlier today...

we were all running around barefoot
while enjoying our last day together

So after lunch I grabbed

a towel
a box of baby wipes and
a shallow pan of warm water

so that I could wash the children's feet 

When my mother called to see how the day was going, I laughed as I told her that I was

performing my last act of humble servitude
by was washing the children's feet

She reminded me that the Lord performed this service for his disciples right before
He was offered up as a sacrifice. 

I stopped laughing and wondered...

What type of emotion Jesus felt that day...  To Him was it bittersweet?
Did He sit with them and reminisce over all they had been through?
Did He think about what He had spent the last 3 and a half years teaching them? 
Did He use those memories as comfort, knowing that His work in that capacity was complete?

I wondered because that is exactly what I was doing... 

remembering how small each of them were when they came to me
telling myself that I had done enough

that they were ready and
that my work here was complete

because although this has been an amazing journey
the time has now come for

"A Place For Little Hands"

to be offered up...

__________________________________________

Here are the final activities from our "spilled cornmeal"

 Activity #16- Cornmeal Letter Search


What I did:  Hid letters in a bowl of cornmeal... (Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Physical Development).

What they did: The children paired themselves up (1 older child/ 1 younger child) and played a game they made up.  The younger child pulled a letter and challenged the older child to name something (food, animal, color, person's name, etc... ) that began with the letter.  This game was a lot of fun and helped the younger children make the connection that letters represent sound.


Activity #17- Cornmeal Play Dough
Sensory Pie


What I did:   Put our homemade cornmeal play dough in a large bowl and provided beans, unpopped popcorn, rice, and bird seed for a cool sensory experience that the children enjoyed.  (Social- Emotional Development, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development).

Helpful Tip:  Keep your children's age and developmental stage in mind when planning your activities.  Some things may be inappropriate for the little ones in your care.  Go back to what I said on Day 1... Know your kiddos!

Activity #18- Cornmeal Goop




What I did: I added water and glue to the cornmeal and began stirring it together to make "goop".  (Social- Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts).

What they did:  This activity was an epic FAIL!  The children hated everything about it (which really shocked me).  I thought they would love playing in this soupy mess, but they said it smelled funny, it was runny, and was definitely NOT goop!

Lesson Learned:  The first thing that I did wrong was put a name on the item we were creating.  I grabbed all of the items and (mistakenly) asked aloud "Who wants to make goop?  Join me at the table."  I didn't realize until later that as I said "goop", the children immediately had an expectation of what the activity should look like.  When it didn't turn out the way that they expected, they were disappointed.  What I SHOULD have said instead is, "Come check it out... let's see what we can make at the table."  Lesson learned indeed.

Activity #19- Cornmeal and Shaving Cream


What I did: I finally went to the store and bought some shaving cream, added some brushes, paint, and dry cornmeal and let the children mix on their own.  (Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development).

What they did: They love, love, LOVED this activity!  So much that they were actually singing "shaving creeeam"!  check out the video of their reaction when I refilled the shaving cream (for the third time) It is absolutely hilarious!


Helpful Tip:  The use of shaving cream is controversial and in some programs is NOT ALLOWED.

Please check with your State licensing entity for further direction.  If you choose not to go the shaving cream route, consider using non-toxic foam paint from your local school supply warehouse.  It has the same consistency of shaving cream, so the kids don't really seem to mind the difference.  Also fill and refill your containers out of the presence of the children to avoid the issue of operating the can in the classroom, however their reaction alone was motivation enough for me to just go for it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cornmeal Play Dough (Week 3)

Adults suffer from childhood amnesia  

we allow our responsibilities to overwhelm us
we forget how to let go and have fun
we abandon our carefree lives as children

and

we stop

playing in the mud
running barefoot in the grass
making up silly songs and singing them out loud

One of the greatest benefits as a child care provider is having
the daily opportunity to watch children at work

And some days
the students become the teacher

Here's what happened...

Activity #11- Cornmeal Play Dough


What I did:  I found a homemade cornmeal play dough recipe, set out rolling pins, cookie cutters, and play dough scissors for the kids to finally open their bake shop!  I planned to read "Everybody Bakes Bread" by Norah Dooley that afternoon during snack.  I was excited because the kids LOVE play dough, play dough meets almost all of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, and I knew that this would be a hit... (Social- Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development)

What they did:  To my surprise, no one showed up for the activity.  Do you hear me?  NO ONE!  I called, "We have play dough!  Who wants play dough?"  "Not now" they answered.  What were they doing instead?  Two of the older girls had set up a nail spa with a foot soak tub, towels, and the promise of pretty polish!  Even the one little guy in my care was waiting in line to soak his feet in the warm, soapy water!

Lesson Learned:  Don't anticipate... relax, be free, and live in the moment.

Helpful Tip:  Homemade play dough that is properly stored (in a sealed container, in a dry/cool location) can last quite a while.

Activity #12- Cornmeal Foot Scrub


What I did: I've heard it said if you can't beat 'em... join 'em.  So I made a cornmeal foot scrub for the nail spa customers!!  I mixed a tiny amount of dry of cornmeal with baby powder and baby oil.  The kids LOVED it and said it left their feet silky and smooth, and smelled great too. 
(Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Visual and Performing Arts, Health)


I see more: I have found that learning how to go with the flow means learning how to meet people where they are. If they want a manicure/pedicure party, then party it is. Join them and supplement THEIR ideas! Build upon what they are interested in and support their vision. 

Helpful Tip: Just realizing that I should have made this clear on day 1, but in order to make the most of your cornmeal, start off by separating it into 3 to 4 small zippered bags.  That way you can bring it out as needed for your different activities.  For instance, once you use a bag to do wet activities, or make play dough, you can not get that cornmeal back.  If you later decide to do more dry cornmeal activities, (like this one) you will still have some in a CLEAN bag. 

Same cornmeal... separate bags

Activity #13- Cornmeal Play Dough (Cheerios)


What I did:   Put out the play dough again with a variety of play dough tools. (Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development, Health).

What they did:  Used items to cut and poke the play dough.  We ended up with something that looked very similar to Cheerios.

Lesson Learned:  Don't be afraid to revisit activities.  The children rejected the play dough on Monday, but they enjoyed it the following day, and every day thereafter.  Part of "going with the flow" is knowing when to try again!

Activity #14- Cornmeal Play Dough (Necklaces)


What we did:   The night before I baked the cornmeal "cheerios" in the oven and let them cool/harden overnight.  The following day I set out paint and brushes and let the children paint them.  After drying we used them for stringing. (Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development)

Helpful Tip:  You want to make sure that your children are old enough to know that these are not for eating!  If your children want to explore in this type of way, you must make sure that all of your materials are clean/edible.  Our cornmeal had already fallen to the floor, so this was not an option for us.  Edible play dough recipes can be found online, however, along with "natural dyes" that can be used to color your cheerio beads.

Activity #15- Play Dough and Paint Dotters



What we did: Spread a thin layer of cornmeal play dough onto a tray, gave them paint dotters, and let them at it! (Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development)

(Click here to see Week 4 activities)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Surrounded by Neighbors

My Pastor had us do something at church last night that has had me thinking...

He asked us to turn to our neighbor and reenact the Native American "blood brother" ritual (sans the actual blood, of course) by adjoining thumbs and saying "you are my brother/sister and I will pray for you."

Then he said to turn to the person behind us and ask them, "neighbor, do you have my back?"  It warmed my heart when the sister behind me answered with an emphatic "Yes!" before I could even get the question out.  When the sister in front of me turned around, our eyes locked into a smile, and no words were even needed because of the special nature of our relationship.  Then the brother guarding the side door near where I was sitting turned and said, "I have your back, sis."

God had me surrounded by "neighbors"

I will never forget the Christian musical, "SAM" that we performed one year when I was in elementary school.  It was based on the parable of The Good Samaritan, and taught us the true definition of a neighbor.  People typically tend to think of a neighbor as one who lives in close proximity of another's home, but in all actuality true neighbors are those who live in close proximity of the another's heart.   

So today as I was sitting and watching the children finish out their last few days in our child care program, a lot was going through my mind.  My son asked if he could walk over to the Beamon's house (our next door neighbors) because his basketball had gone over the fence...again.  I told him that he could, and thought to myself "our neighbors will probably be glad when all of this is finished."

I said a silent "Thank you Lord" for my understanding neighbors who have given the green light to enter their yard whenever needed to retrieve our wayward items.  Then I looked at the houses behind mine, and thought of the houses across the street in front of mine.  I have lived here a long time, and known most of these families for what seems like forever.

And it began to sink in...

God has me surrounded by "neighbors"

Over the course of the eight years that I have been providing child care services here, my neighbors have been very supportive.  They have never complained about our mess, our noise, our drama.  In fact, now that I was really thinking about it, I realize that they have been nothing but supportive. 

They...

- pretend not to notice when we are loud and unruly
- support the kids' homemade lemonade/cookie stands, annual art shows, etc.
- bring over fruit and popsicles when the weather is scorching us
- give us books and toys they feel the children would like
- let us block their driveways during drop- off time on street sweeping day

And it dawns on me that this has been their child care program too!

God has truly surrounded me by "neighbors"

Me holding the neighbor's puppy a few weeks after they first brought him home

So now it is almost time to begin the next new phase in my career journey and I am excited to see what this brings!  I will be working with a new group of child care professionals and can hardly wait for this new experience with its new lessons.  Most of all, my hope is for the opportunity to share how I have learned to treasure ordinary moments, extraordinary memories...

And I pray that as I'm working, one day I will look up and see that

God has, once again, surrounded me with  "neighbors"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cornmeal Music Shakers... (Week 2)

If you have been following this mini cornmeal journey with us, you may be wondering...
"Tondra Denise, is that the SAME cornmeal that you spilled on the floor over a month ago?" 

My answer to you is "Why yes it is, and thanks for asking." 

We have had so much fun with it, and we still have 3 more weeks worth of activities to share with you!  I'm so glad I didn't throw this stuff away!! (I told you that I saw more, didn't I?

Click here to go back to the beginning

Week 2 activities included... 

Activity #6- Cornmeal Maracas

 

What we did: Set out cornmeal, beans, and empty paper towel rolls.  I folded and stapled the end of the paper towel rolls, and let the children fill them up with cornmeal and beans.  Then I stapled the top, and wrapped it inside of the chldren's artwork papers to catch any leaks the staples miss.  Stylish, yet functional!  (Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Health).



Helpful Tip: Recycle, repurpose, and reuse what you already have on hand.  Use this opporunity to discuss "going green" with the children, and explain the importance of taking care of the Earth.

Activity #7- Cornmeal and Rainbow Rice


What I did:  Put cornmeal and Rainbow Rice in separate bowls inside of our red sensory table.  (Social- Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts).

What they did: Stirred them, mixed them, sorted them, sifted them.  (No, this is not from Dr. Seuss)


Helpful Tip: Keep the rules simple and consistent. Each person must wash their hands before and after the activity, be sure to "clean" or sift through the cornmeal after using, and store it in a sealed container when finished with the activity. Following these tips allowed us to use our same cornmeal for over a month!

Activity #8- Cornmeal Textured Painting


What I did: Mixed cornmeal together with paint and put it into a repurposed egg carton (Visual and Performing Arts, Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy).

What they did: The children used their fingers to explore the texture of the paint, and dip out onto paper.

Activity #9- Blindfold Sensory Game


What I did: I separated a variety of items into sandwich bags (birdseed, feathers, cotton balls, string, rice, cooked noodles, beans, and cornmeal).  We blindfolded the children and let them try to guess what each item was using only their sense of touch. (Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Visual and Performing Arts).

What they did: There was a lot of giggling because there is something fun and silly about being blindfolded and given a task to perform (think of pinatas back when we were kids).  The children were only allowed to feel the outside of the bag, which made the game quite interesting.

I see more: Later in the day we read the famous Indian Legend of "The Blind Men and the Elephant" about six blind men who happen upon an elephant.  Each man, using only his hands, must feel the elephant and declare what it is.  What they didn't know is that each of them felt a different part of the elephant leading them each to a different conclusion; the elephant is a spear, a wall, a snake, a tree, a fan, and a rope... "And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong, Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!"

Reinforced Lesson: The children were so excited about this activity, they wanted their parents to play at pick up time.  I was excited because research has shown that learning is extended when adults get involved and show interest in children's play because it teaches them that their ideas are important, it builds communication with the adult, and promotes a love for future learning activities.  It was so AWESOME to have dads that came in at the end of a LONG DAY, who were willing to take the time to let their children blindfold them for a 4 minute game!  The cost of that?...Priceless!!!

Helpful Tip: Do not let the children see any of the items before the game begins.  Put all of the smaller bags into a larger bag and have children pull them out one at a time.  Also, if you have younger ones DO NOT pull the items all the way out of the bag.  Let the blindfolded child feel for what it is without letting the younger children see it either.  Two year olds do NOT have good impulse control and will blurt out the answer!  Ask me how I know...

Activity #10- Cornmeal Sand Castles



What we did: We made our own sand by mixing colored sand, cornmeal, and water.  Bring out the trays, add cups and spoons and make homemade sand castles!

Helpful Tip: To get the most use of the cornmeal, do all of the dry activities first.  Once you add water to your cornmeal, you only have 24 hours before you must throw it out.

(Click here to see Week 3 activities)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cornmeal Tracing... (Days 4 & 5)

If you have ever attended one of our annual art shows...you know I LOVE children's art!

Ok, so here's the deal.

Growing up I never considered myself an artist.  In fact, if you asked me about art, I would have given you the negative answer...  "No, I'm not an artist.  I can't draw.  I'm not very artistic".  I now realize that the main problem I've had is getting the ellaborate ideas in my head to translate onto paper.  I hadn't learned how to master the art of getting the physical product to match the creative process which was taking place in my mind. 

Well, in college I took a child development class that CHANGED MY LIFE,
as I learned the difference between process and product oriented art

We value process oriented art because the process (the true experience)
is where the creatvity is showcased

After all, Life is a PROCESS, isn't it?


Here's what we did with our cornmeal on days 4 and 5...

Activity #4- Cornmeal and Colored Sand Art


What I did:  Mixed cornmeal together with colored sand and put it into a repurposed egg carton (Visual and Performing Arts)

What they did:  Used q-tips to make unique designs with glue onto their papers.  Every child's looked different, and several children made more than one.  They seemed to enjoy the creative process, and didn't stop until it was time for lunch!


I see moreIt was sooo interesting because I noticed that my school age children (who were out for the summer) kept making comments like "ooh, I messed up" or, "I need a new paper so that I can start over".  My younger children (preschoolers and toddlers) never blinked.  They literally kept their eyes focused and just enjoyed the...what was that word again? Oh yeah, the process of creating.  LIGHT BULB MOMENT HERE!  Something happens to us as we grow older.  We lose the ability to have fun just for the sake of having fun.  We are too focused on a "finished product".  Hmmm?  What is that?  Could it be... standardized testing, the grading system, and the expectations we place on them? 

Lesson Learned:  I mentioned to one of the parents that this is the kind of hands-on projects that makes their child's day.  I have found that when I bring out activities like this and let the children have large blocks of uninterupted free time, they will stay focused on certain details for HOURS!  This is why I love the creative process.  This is why I love art.  This is what I love about that child development class I took all those years age.  I learned that even though we are all together, there is a place within us where we can be content at the same time!

Helpful Tip:  Recycle, reuse, and repurpose when possible.  Also, using less expensive items such as cornmeal to "stretch" other expensive materials like colored sand, is a cost effective solution when working with young children.  Toddlers and Preschoolers and have a way of using "too much" of the materials they are working with, but this is part of their process.  Be supportive and give them opportunities to use the materials without limit.  You may be surprised at how long this holds their attention!  

Activity #5- Cornmeal Tracing



What I did:   Spread a thin layer of cornmeal onto a tray and let them at it!  (Language and Literacy, Visual and Performing Arts)

What they did:  They began tracing with their fingers until one of the older children asked for q-tips.

I see moreSince school was out, my 7 year olds were working right along side my 2 & 3 year olds, and it was very interesting to see the difference in their stages of scribble.  Rhoda Kellog has described it best in her work with the "20 basic scribbles".  I noticed 3 major stages of art during this activity: Scribbler Stage, Schematic Stage, and the Realistic Stage.  I LOVE when the children teach me!



Helpful Tip: Keep the rules simple and consistent.  Each person must wash their hands before and after the activity, be sure to "clean" or sift through the cornmeal after using, and store it in a sealed container.  These tips allowed us to use our same cornmeal for over a month!

Week 2

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cornmeal Racetrack... (The First 3 Days)

It's been a little over a month since I first spilled the cornmeal...
(the day that I began to see more)

and within this time I have been documenting

-the cornmeal activities we have presented to the children
-the cornmeal activities the children have created for themselves
-the lessons the children have taught me, along with the "more" that I have seen

It has been very exciting for all of us!

What a blessing it is

to live these...
to have lived these...

and I am sure that one day I will look back on these days and smile, grateful for

Ordinary Moments, Extraordinary Memories!

Here are some of the activities that we have enjoyed...

Activity #1- Cornmeal and Funnels



What I did:  I put cornmeal in the red sensory table and provided funnels, turkey basters, cups and "scoopers" of various shapes and sizes.  I wanted to give them the opportunity to use the materials to explore and make their own science discoveries (physics).

What they did:  The children explored for a bit before finally bringing their own items to the table, declaring that they were going to make cupcakes and open a cupcake shop!

I see more:  The fact that the children extended the activity did not surprise me.  I expected them to do that.  What I didn't expect was that as they saw me taking pictures of them engaged in the activity, they would ask me to "make a video" so they could do a cooking show.  (unfortunately, my camera battery didn't have enough "juice")

Lesson Learned:  Charge the battery next time so I can fulfill their request.  There is no telling how far they would have taken this idea had I been prepared to follow their lead.  Child initiated activities are so important for healthy growth and development and missed opportunities like this are impossible to get back!

Helpful Tip:  Before you begin... know your children.  Where are they developmentally?  Are there any allergies?  Are they ready for this type of activity? Are there cultural sensitivities that would make playing with food inappropriate?

Activity #2- Beans and Cornmeal


What I did:  I put the cornmeal in the red sensory table, mixed in a bag of dry beans, and brought dinosaurs from the dramatic play area. (Social- Emotional Development, and Language and Literacy)

What they did:  Launched their dinosaurs into "full attack" mode accompanied with the appropriate sound effects.  One of the children went to the dramatic play area and brought back eggs from the kitchen area so that the dinosaurs "could hatch their babies".  (Awww, why didn't I think of that?)

I see more:  The children brought more animals from the dramatic play area to add to the cornmeal and beans.  I was shocked when one of the children apologized for bringing items that were not "prehistoric".  I was not only shocked by the actual word choice used, but was wondering why he felt the need to apologize for their play.  After all, isn't this "A Place For Little Hands"?

Lesson Learned:  I should have set up the activity before the children came out to play.  When children watch you gather materials for an activity, you run the risk of making them feel as if you have ownership of the activity.  I figured that the reason the children apologized when they wanted to add a new concept to the activity was because they felt they were "messing up" my original idea.

Helpful Tip:  Once you have set out an activity for children, be approachable.  Let them bring whatever they feel will make the area complete, even if it wasn't in your initial plan.  If needed, offer a verbal invitation and keep the ownership neutral by asking, "What else can we do here?  Do you have any other ideas for this game?"

Activity #3-Cornmeal Racetrack


What I did:  Created a "start to finish" desert racetrack.
(Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Directional Awareness)

What they did:  The looks on their faces made my day as they gasped in awe and started claiming their cars.  We're off to the races!

I see more: The children surpassed my developmental expectations of them on this day!  My group consisted of 3 two-year-olds, 1 three-year-old, and 1 "just turned" four-year old.  I really only expected them to race one time, and then use the cars to play in the "sand".  I did not feel they were ready for a "structured" teacher-directed activity, but  I was shocked when they raced, and then asked me to set it up again.  They even waited patiently as we repositioned our "start/finish" letters and had to search for one of the missing T's.

Lesson Learned:  Don't underestimate your kids.  Remember to keep it fun, but if they are ready for more of a challenge... give them more!

Helpful Tip:  Adapt this experience to make it challenging for older children.  For instance, to build upon the Mathematics foundation (for older preschoolers) let children pull numbers out of a bowl, and count out that number of spaces with the car of their choice.  The first one to the finish line is the winner.   (Or for school age children) Jot down several appropriate math problems, and when children answer correctly, they get to move forward the number of spaces written on the back of the card.  The first one to cross the finish line wins the game.  Most of all, be creative and listen to ideas from the children.

(Click here to check out days 4 and 5)

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Bag of Opportunities

I'm wondering how many would look at this and see a bag of opportunities


Not many, I'm guessing

In fact, I will venture to say that most people would look,
and just see a bag of trash ready to be discarded

(But I see more...)

As I prepare to enter this next phase in my life and career, I can't help but smile as I realize that the more that I'd spent so much time searching for, is actually less.

God has been busy, and while it appeared to me that He wouldn't move, I didn't realize that He was actually repositioning ME!  Now I've looked up and I notice that even though I am still standing in the same spot, everything looks...different. 

Now instead of problems, I see potential.  How did I get here?

For instance, like the night that I was preparing to fry fish for dinner, and I accidently dropped the cornmeal.  My daughter Moriah shrieked as cornmeal spilled incredulously onto the kitchen floor.

I looked down at the container and smiled realizing that I hadn't manage to lose it all.  "That's alright Moriah, God still left us enough to fry the fish".

Then I would see more...

I went to get the broom and dustpan, and returned to sweep up the mess that I had made.  That's when I saw it.

"This is not trash, Moriah".

I decided to get my camera instead so that I could document the more that I was seeing.



"Just because we can't eat this, doesn't mean that we can't still use it. 
What if we put this in the red sensory table for the kids tomorrow?"

Then she saw more...

The smile in her eyes showed me that she saw it as she proclaimed,

"Ooh, yeah!  That will be so much fun,  I can hardly wait".

As I scooped up the cornmeal and bagged it up, my mind began to flood itself with thoughts of redemption and restoration.  Although cornmeal is supposed to be used for food, I could immediately think of several developmentally appropriate activities the children would enjoy, along with the Preschool Learning Foundations that each activity would meet.

This cornmeal would NOT go to waste! 

And so it is with God.  He has an awesome way of using people that many of us would just bag up and set to the side.

(But He sees more...)

Running a daycare for the past eight years has helped me in more ways than I had realized.  Now that we are counting down the days until our child care program closes, people have begun asking me "what are you gonna do now?"

There are too many ways that I could answer that question, so I just smile and graciously reply,
"I am holding a bag of opportunities"

And I see more...
------------------------------------------
Cornmeal Activities

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You Can Catch More Flies...

We are in full fledged summer mode over here

(Which basically means that the children are running the place.  But what else is new?)

Summer has been good to them with...

homemade manicures/pedicures
lemonade stands
sleepovers
pool days
park days
bowling parties
riding bikes, scooters, and other household items not even meant to be ridden
football games
making fruit smoothies
making fruit salad
freezing fruit
squeezing fresh fruit juice
sprinkling fruit with salts and sugars and other homemade concoctions
eating too much and too often and then coming back for more fruit

(because after all who would say "no" to fruit)

Wait, did I mention fruit?

Okay.  Just checking.

Well as you may know, with fruit comes... the fruit fly
Or gnats. 
Or pesky little bugs.

Call them what you want

So last night I couldn't TAKE IT anymore and I researched online to find a safe, homemade remedy to address the issue

I found a recipe online that recommended:

1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 drop of mild liquid soap

I decided to try it to see if it would work

So after cleaning the kitchen, I put all of the ingredients in a small plastic bowl on the counter.  I stood there for a minute and WATCHED IN HORROR as about a dozen gnats suddenly appeared and started heading for the bowl.  (This is giving me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.)  They landed on the edge of the bowl and I had to walk away because it was seriously creeping me out!

Before bed I went back in to check and there were 2 dead gnats floating in the mixture and a couple more sitting on the rim of the bowl.

Well this morning when I got up to check on my homemade fly trap, what did I find? 

Wait for it...

About 2 DOZEN dead, floating gnats!  UGH!!

When my mother arrived to help begin the day with the kids,
I showed her and we both had the same question...

Can't they SEE the other dead gnats floating at the bottom? 
Can't they? 
If so, WHY get so close to meet the same end?

And without even thinking

I remembered
and responded
and repeated

a quote I heard my Pastor reference on Sunday Morning.

"The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history"  Friedrich Hegel 

And I'm wondering...

Can't we SEE that the wages of sin is death? 
Can't we? 
If so, then WHY are we trying to get so close to the world?

Sure, that apple cider vinegar may smell sweet, but that drop of liquid soap will KILL you!  And don't let the term "mild" liquid soap fool you!  Don't believe me?  Just ask my dead gnats over here!!

And NOW I understand why my grandma used to say "baby, wear the world as a loose garment". 

(I wish she was here so that I could tell her that, and thank her.) 

And what was that other thing she used to say?

Oh, yeah.  "You can catch more flies with honey than with...vinegar."

I guess that's true unless you use Apple Cider vinegar because after all,
it's all about the fruit...just ask the kids!

Check your fruit (Matthew 7:17)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Glimpse

It seems like just yesterday that I took this picture of myself...


But no, it wasn't yesterday. 

This photo was actually taken circa 1988 when I was about 12 years old. 

I was going through a "don't smile at the camera" phase,
and now I look back on pictures from that time and laugh. 

It's funny how time changes things.. how time changes almost EVERY thing.

Then one afternoon as I was watching my son shoot basketball hoops in our backyard, I caught a glimpse of my former self.  I couldn't help but notice the look on his face as the sun shone down on him so I ran in the house to grab my camera, came back out, and snapped this photo.


I put the two pictures together to provide a glimpse at life through innocent eyes


No full expression 
No full struggle
No full understanding either

Just a glimpse
back to days when I was still trying to figure out

who I was
who God was
and how it was

that I fit into His plan

I now know that

Learning is a lifelong process

and God only allows us to see just a glimpse at a time
(because any more than that might prove to be just too overwhelming)

He's smart that way
He's good that way

So now...

this phase of my journey is teaching me to cherish these moments shared
because one day I will look back and realize that

my entire life was...

just a glimpse

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Having Eyes That See

One day during my personal Bible study time I stumbled upon Mark 8
and began reading the account of Jesus with His disciples and the multitude

I became especially intrigued when I reached the 18th verse which reads...

"Having eyes, see ye not? 
And having ears, hear ye not? 
And do ye not remember? 

When I broke the five loaves among five thousand,
how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?"

I went back to Mark 6 to read the entire account referenced there

As I read, I began to reflect on all of the miracles that are recorded in the Bible.  Then I started to reflect on all of the miracles I have seen in my own life.  I began to wonder why it seemed so easy for the disciples and multitudes to quickly forget the miracles they witnessed Jesus perform.  I began to wonder what it is that causes us to do the same thing today.

What is that? 
Why do we need constant reassurance? 
Consistent reminders? 

Why do we have eyes that do not see?

So I began writing...

"Having Eyes That See" 
(a testimony journal I have since decided to share with others)

as an invitation 
to

slow down
listen
take the time

to embark on the journey to develop eyes that see!

Now let me ask you...
How many baskets full of fragments have you taken up lately?