Here is a link to the highlights of our summer!
Grass and Geese
I have always taken grass for granted. Grass is amazing! It is outdoor carpet! The softest most refreshing place to sit or lie down and simply enjoy. Kids instinctively know that grass is great to play and run and tackle....you get my point. I know that sometimes it gets dried up and sometimes there are living creatures in it, but come on. This stuff is awesome! Why do I think that? Because where we live, grass is pretty much non existent and if you do happen to see it is usually in some sort of formal garden that never gets played in by anyone! So, I got really excited about go
ing to camp this summer. We were going to see so many birds, bugs and other creepy crawlies that belonged to the animal kingdom, experience some awesome midwest thunderstorms, and just be out in the great outdoors. When we arrived, the first thing I did was grab my 2 oldest boys and take them to the water hole to check out the swimming opportunities. It seemed there would be a bit of a shortcut on the grass so, of course, I want
ed to feel the grass tickle my feet while my shoes flipped and flopped! Upon arriving to the luscious green we immediately spotted random droppings placing a massive amount of obstacles to our shortcut! No matter, we were in the grass, we can work around it, besides the alternate route is now too far out of the way. Needless to say, what started out as a great memory of grass gently brushing our feet turned into a high anxiety drama of narrowly escaping geese droppings.
If you are ever in Indiana during the summer months and need a place for cooling off fun, I highly recommend going to Santa Claus, Indiana. That's right, there is a town called Santa Claus and yes it is decorated for Christmas year round, and I'm pretty sure the mayor is actually Santa Claus himself. They have an amusement park, called Holiday World divided into holiday lands (would you expect anything less), and a great water park! We enjoyed the slippery slides on the hottest summer day while the baby slept the heat away in the rental wagon (in the shade).
To Ian Warren Manbeck, the cousin of my children. We love you and we miss all your crazy antics and you are just an awesome kid! We love you!
When I was a child, there were certain words and phrases that set my red headed temperament exploding. One of the times this was most evident was on the grassy fields during recess. It was on these fields that I heard from the lips of those testosterone filled boys bombs like, “fireball”, “Annie”, and the most hated, “red headed Woody Woodpecker”. These words pushed the buttons those ornery boys so desired to push and my reactions to these emotional charges were felt all the way down into my skinny white, freckled legs with energy that could possibly rival that of the atomic bomb. I was on a mission. It did not waver. Chase the boy whose mouth uttered the detestable vile and reply with some sort of unplanned physical force. The so desired reaction had been achieved.
Other phrases and scenarios made me respond more implosively, like when some kid told me my belt was a boy’s belt and the fact that I was wearing it somehow made me want to be a boy. Another time would be when my mom made me a great sandwich for lunch that was stacked with fresh deli meat, a slice of cheese, lettuce and a slice of juicy tomato complete with mustard and mayo. Some joker kid sitting next to me spied my unusually large sandwich. He was only able, or so it seemed, to announce to all the students at the other 10 lunch tables how gross and disgusting my sandwich appeared. I was a little hungrier for dinner that night.
The words that were probably the most difficult for me to handle were the words, “How weird!” and “You are so weird!” That would send me to the office in tears for sure and there was a definite plan to be out of hearing distance from the person who spoke them. I think that weird was repeated the most to my ears for whatever thing it was. My clothes were weird, my hair was weird, my food was weird, I walked weird. You know how it goes. You hear something enough and you start believing it is true of your being. Weird still does not resonate well with me, though I am thankful I can be confident in Christ and the truth of God’s Word.
Fast forward about 25 years, and I find myself watching my son as he goes to school. I think often about how different his life is. He rides to school with mom. I walked from the babysitter. He’s learning a foreign language in hardcore emersion style plus another class for French, and, oh yeah, he speaks English at home. Only English for me! He has a tutor and a decent amount of homework, and I had none. He carries a whole book bag filled with textbooks, workbooks, notebooks, art supplies, lunch and his jacket. I just needed lunch. There are a myriad of differences between his childhood and mine.
One difference that I am thankful for is the opportunities for us to get out of town. We have been able to find some affordable places to stay that provide ample opportunity to go snorkeling, build sand castles and swim around in the pool. We have also recently discovered the several areas available for camping within a four hours drive. We took this one opportunity to go camping at the beginning of October with a couple of other families and their kids. My son just so happens to have a crush on one of the girls that came along. He took every opportunity he could to be with her (which meant there was a lot of great rock climbing involved). One evening after dinner we were getting our s’mores supplies out. Judge was wearing his ultra cool “camping” pants that zipped off to turn into shorts. The girl that he played with all week had not recalled seeing anything like this before to which she promptly retorted, “That’s so weird!” which sent me directly back to elementary school and the pain was beginning to form in my heart until I heard from Judge, “They’re not weird. They’re AWESOME. THEY’RE CAMPING PANTS!” And a smile radiated across his face as he ran off with the girl to the bonfire to get warm. I could hear him laughing like the weird statement was the silliest thing he’s heard yet. And my memories were suddenly forgotten.
I am generally a foe to the aforementioned tree huggers and all their groupies. Mostly because it seems to be more about fame, influence and power rather than taking care of the earth. I also feel like these people place more significance on the importance of the earth than we have the power to control, and the people of the earth are not always but generally forgotten, those beings whom God made in His own image and likeness. I do believe in keeping things clean, in order and not being wasteful. I am a strong believer in recycling those bottles, cans and paper goods. But, I believe people are more important, so that takes priority as I trust God to sustain this earth (Check out Colossians 1). But, he also made man to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 2), so there is that responsibility to care for it. Since I’ve moved over the ocean, environmental care has become more important to me as I continue to see such careless behavior being demonstrated. I have also found myself being thankful for the work of those environmentalists who have put a lot of work into educating us about recycling, cleaning up after yourself and responsibly inhabiting this planet.
One of our local grocery stores is from France and has several markets all over Europe and now in the Middle East. I frequently visit it as the prices are great and my needs are often adequately supplied here. They are even environmentally sensitive! I was on their website and discovered that all their own packaging and materials have what is good and great for the environment in mind. They also encourage reusable shopping bags. They partnered with a bank to give away reusable bags to every costumer for a whole week (of which I took part). I have recently purchased 3 more of these bags realizing it would normally hold most of my groceries and keep those pesky plastic bags from circulating the winds of the city at a later date. I brought these bags back to the store, knowing I would encounter many stares and “What in the world is she doing?” looks. I did my shopping and at the checkout I put those bags in front of all my groceries so it would be easier for the boy to pack them up. After I got everything on the belt and paid for my purchases I looked at my cart. It was filled with plastic shopping bags! What? Where were my very responsible reusable shopping bags that I specifically purchased to use at this grocery store? I asked the bag boy where they were. He said he didn’t know….that’s what he said. I found them, all folded up nicely and sitting inside one of their own pesky plastic grocery bags!!!!!!!!!! Oh, the irony of trying to be a responsible citizen! Does this employee even know what these bags are for? I highly doubt it!