Wednesday, September 30, 2015

If Only

Madison joined us tonight at KidPak, a special occasion because it is fall break this week!  She doesn't have to get up so early, so she can stay up a bit later - and we're glad she did.  It was a nice service tonight, not a small group but rather one where everyone gathered in the auditorium.  As such, it was pretty cool to have her with us for the service tonight.

She's going to be quite surprised getting up next week.  It is really getting darker and darker each morning when she rises, all leading up to Daylight Saving Time.  It has the feel of getting up in the middle of the night, ready to sneak off somewhere.  But alas, it's only school.

Of course, not this week.  This week has been nice and relaxing.  And wet, of course.  Nothing but rain, rain, and more rain all week long as the unpronounceable hurricane approaches the coast.  Madison and Mommy stayed indoors, keeping busy with crafts, coloring and paper airplanes.  Madison has watched the movie "Descendants" a few times more, still amazingly behind on that tally from the national average.  Apparently, this is a very popular movie.  Daddy learned this firsthand from his presentation the other night at KidPak's small group - the kids admitted to seeing it repeatedly.  They knew all the words to the songs, even, and the movie just came out recently.

Madison is close to knowing the words.  This is a season of something a little different than Christmas music, and it used to be the "Boo-to-You" parade theme, or other related music.  But now, add to that the "Descendants" soundtrack, which Madison insists upon hearing nearly every day.  She loves the song "If Only" and "Rotten to the Core" quite a bit, but honestly she'll hear the whole thing from start to finish time and again.  It's kind of her thing for the morning ride.  Although today, there was no morning ride - it was an evening ride to KidPak.

Speaking of "if only," if only there were no rain this week.  We had plans to do something, but we'll have to take a raincheck on all that.   There's rain everywhere, even up in Tennessee, and down in Florida.  In short, there's nowhere for us to go that is not soaking wet right now.  Or even flooding.

But that's okay, because we're having fun together.  Madison got to go to KidPak tonight, and we've spent some time together.  When asked, she told us she's not quite ready to go back to school yet.  That means she's enjoying her time off...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Airplanes Everywhere

Our daughter is obsessed with making paper airplanes.  We got her a booklet that shows her how to make all sorts of varieties of airplane, and she has set out to create one of each, and then some.  She sits there watching television or during dinner or listening to a bedtime story, each time carefully folding an airplane.  Our house is infested with airplanes.  Instead of a trail of ants, you see paper airplanes in the corner, or on the table, or on furniture.  Our kitchen table at one point looked like an air craft carrier!  Anyway, we're just riding this one out - she's started out with origami, and this has progressed into this weird fascination with paper airplanes.  Will she someday be an aerial engineer?  Only time will tell!

So today there was piano class, which introduced us to quite a lot of fingerwork.  Madison will be practicing pretty hard the next few days just to master this one tune.  But we've got a nice reward for her on the way once she does - she's so incredibly close to completing her Jurassic World 'boardgame."

After dinner, we went to Cracker Barrel for the obligatory game of checkers - oh, and some food there too.  Daddy is tinkering with his diet, as the dairy question is in the air.  Yes, that's dairy air.  (cue rim shot here)

But dinner was nice, although Daddy was immensely disappointed to NOT get to eat macaroni and cheese.  What's up with that?  Somewhere, there has GOT to be dairy-free mac and cheese.  Please let there be!

We went to Goodwill shortly after that, with the goal of snagging some books.  And wouldn't you know it?  We found exactly what we were looking for!  We wanted a book for a friend at KidPak, Mary Shannon, and we also found a Jack Sparrow book for Madison.  But beyond that, we found uch more in the way of books, and even something else little for her for Christmas.

So we had a nice time while out.  Tonight was DAY ONE, the premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where we have all learned that fish oil pills have some bonus features not mentioned on the bottle.  The series is off to a good start - Madison calls it, Daddy-Mommy Date Night.  She goes off to sleep while Mommy and Daddy watch television together.

But of course we can't do that unless we do some reading first, right?  First devotional time, and then a bit from the last Rush Revere Time Travel book, which is off to a good start.  Madison likes these books, and Daddy's happy to see the time travel theme, along with a bit of learning from history.

It was gloomy and rainy today, which is the theme of the week.  A hurricane is forming in the Atlantic, supposedly aimed at New York or Washington D.C.  We'll see how that turns out over time, but we'll probably see more rain because of this.  It's been a while since a hurricane made landfall here - I don't actually remember the last one, really.

We'll see how the week goes with rain.  The Tower here might have to ground all the paper airplane flights due to bad weather!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Return of the Sanderson Sisters

Okay, we're in full "October Movie" mode right now.  And yes, it's not October.  But the weather has been yucky outside, and we were sort of put on the spot for things to do.

Fortunately, a new movie is out in theaters:  "Hotel Transylvania 2."  We liked it, but not as much as the first one.  It was just good to see the characters back in action once more.  Judging by the money this one made, I suspect we'll be seeing more of the characters in the future as well.  The theater was packed - it was noon, and all the kids in the county were off of school, and it was raining.  This meant big business for the movie theater in Forsyth County.  We got there early and set up camp in our usual spot in the back row, with a huge tub of popcorn and some drinks we got for free:  our rewards card to that theater has been great.  Sometimes we get free popcorn, or free drinks, or even a free movie ticket.

Anyway, it was raining when we left.  No surprise there.  We had just enough time to go to ballet - all of Madison's other activities are not cancelled for the week.  Just school.  So ballet it was, and Madison had a good time there as well.  She enjoys her time there and has friends to dance with, and loves her teacher there.  Waiting parents usually sit in the hallway there, but Daddy usually goes to the car to do work, or in today's case, continue reading "Raising Steam."

We got home, and Madison wanted to play Clue again.  Mommy and Daddy got out the 50th Anniversary edition of the game, one that has not been even played yet!  We looked online, and is valued at over $100 - but we're keeping it.  We would, however, like to get a future Disney version of the game for Madison.  She enjoys Clue, and is actually pretty good at it.  No joke, we don't 'give away' anything in this game, really playing to win - and Madison got us on that first round of the game. She won easily and quickly.  Of course, there was a bit of luck involved, but she's also very bright at deducing things.  She's a clever girl. She always has to be Ms. Scarlet, and always hopes that it isn't Ms. Scarlet that isn't the culprit.  Up until now, it hasn't been Ms. Scarlet, so we're good there!

After our board game, we introduced the Sanderson Sisters.  Do you even know who they are?

These are the witches found in the movie "Hocus Pocus," a movie we showed Madison tonight.  It was a little more grown-up than other movies though, I must warn you of that.  But Madison sailed through without any difficulties.  Afterwards, we watched on our big television the recording of the latest Boo-to-You show from the Magic Kingdom, seen above.  Yes, it featured the Sanderson Sisters, who were wanting to throw a Hocus Pocus party.  This required all sorts of villains to show up, and a few musical numbers on top of that.  It was well done, actually, as are most things there.  Maybe next year we'll head down there - but this year, we'll be in the area for Thanksgiving, which will be special.

Anyway, it was a nice day overall, with an October theme for sure.  You can tell we're ready for the fall season to begin.  If only this weather would straighten up a bit, we could go see fall leaves and so forth.  But for now, it was just fine to spend the day indoors with each other.

Tonight we finished up our one Bible devotional, which was rather sweet the way it was written.  There was an entry about heaven, and the book of Revelation, and a happy ending.  And as we approach the end of a gloomy sort of month, we can focus on that:  the happy ending.  We're all heading for a happy ending!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Sky is Falling

So tonight Daddy had a bit of an epiphany in regards to his own health, that is to say that he just might have some negative allergic reactions to certain food items, like dairy products.  I suppose most allergic reactions are negative, come to think of it.  Anyway, this will be a work in progress, and a bit of a discovery - and a road to recovery, just as Mommy is on her own road to recovery.  Seriously, there have been some problems the last few months, and this would be tremendous news.

Anyway, today there was a great deal of setting up for the Hillsong Concert tomorrow night, where the gang from down under will be hanging out in our office and classrooms until the performance itself.  Daddy and Mommy aren't going this time, as Mommy's healing process was a bit unpredictable at the time, and we were playing it safe.  As mentioned before, we got to see the older generation of Hillsong perform the classics from that time, although I know there's a new generation and new classics.  We do like some of the new material - Madison does too.  She sings worship songs in the car when we have certain ones on the radio - she sings along, which is just wonderful of course.

Today was a big day for prophecy folks, although nobody has any idea specifically what's going on.  It was the Final Blood Moon, the one that happened to be a Super Moon on a Jewish Holiday and hanging over Jerusalem like an ominous harbinger.  The tie-in is that whenever something like this happens, there's bad news for Israel or Jewish people in general.  We'll see how it all plays out - there's Russia in Syria right now, and of course our own President making a deal with Iran that Israel has every right to hate.  So a lot of folks in the prophecy department are expecting something not good to happen to us here as well.  Again, we'll see how it all plays out.  But this has indeed been one of those significant sort of Septembers, with all kinds of signs here and there.  We'll just have to wait and see, right.  The sky isn't falling yet.

Which is a perfect transitional to what we did tonight to celebrate the fourth blood moon:  we watched "Chicken Little."

Tonight we were at Oaky Oaks again, just another part of our October movie series.  A little early.  We just started watching these movies early, that's all!  This is such an underrated movie - we all enjoy watching it this time of year.

This morning, of course, was church.  It went really well, actually.  Daddy was speaking his message, and the videos were good - and the skit was pretty fun too.  We had visits from more people from the past, including George Washington Carver, whose appearance is partially inspired by the funny episode of "The Tick," the one that includes "Leondardo DaVinci and His Fightin' Time Commandos."  It's a great series, and that particular episode was pretty funny, including George Washington Carver.

But the day on the whole was great for the kids, including Madison, who saw another part in the ongoing series with a time machine.  The message, of course, was about waiting for your appointed time.  This is something Daddy still feels he's doing, but rather than act like Uncle Rico and his time machine, we keep moving forward here, right?

Anyway, it was a good day on the whole.  We worked this afternoon on cleaning and prepping the place - this right after the services of the morning.  So as you would expect, there was a little sleepiness thrown in this afternoon.  We all napped a bit, and then got up and looked outside:  dreary weather.  So indoor games it is!  Board games and so forth - and then a movie with popcorn.  A perfectly restful rest of the afternoon!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

You Have a Density

Mommy and Madison were on hand to help out today, as we all came in to work on the Sunday service tomorrow.  Madison is getting used to the bits about work, and is privy to a lot before it happens at the church.  Though there weren't many at the church today.  Josh was there doing his usual editing, and Mommy was doing better, helping gather costumes and so forth.  We got she and Madison home early though, as Mommy's energy isn't quite up to 100% yet.  It will be soon enough, but she did get a pretty good workout today, helping in a lot of different ways, mostly doing the typical housecleaning that goes on.  Hillsong is coming on Monday night to the church, and evidently they're using some of our office space as a waiting area.  Mommy and Daddy saw Hillsong quite some time ago, and we got to hear Darlene Zschech do the signature song, "Shout to the Lord," which was a pretty amazing moment.  Strike that one off the bucket list, although we'd love to go visit that church in Australia some day.  Some day!

So they'll be there in the office, and hopefully staying away from the expired cheez puffs.  Okay, I'm pretty sure they will be, as we're throwing them out!

Anyway, we did a lot of cleaning today, and my office in particular is starting to look less like a holding area for completely random props, and more like an office again.  And over the course of the day, we learned that Daddy gets to speak the message tomorrow.  Daddy actually writes all these messages, but still it is a surprise when he actually shares them from the stage.  So there's a little bit of nervousness there.

So here below is the message, sort of scripted out, complete with references to "Back to the Future," a movie that many of the kids probably haven't seen.  And hopefully won't any time soon, come to think of it.  But that's our theme for the month:  time travel.  So here we go...!

KidPak Adventures: Time Travelers
You Have a Destiny!

CUE SLIDE: "Time Travelers"

HOST:  "Hey there!  We've had a great time here at KidPak, and I just wanted to stop and and give you a quick message about …well, you.  YOU HAVE A DESTINY!"

HOST points at his t-shirt, which reads, "I AM YOUR DENSITY!"


HOST:  "Okay, I'd better explain this t-shirt.  So there's this movie called 'Back to the Future,' where characters go back in time on an adventure, and there's this funny line a guy says.  He's trying to impress this girl, right?  He walks up to her and is SUPPOSED to say, 'I am your destiny.'"


HOST: "But you know what he says instead?  He says, 'I am your density.'  Which was so completely wrong - he was basically walking up to her with this swagger and saying, 'I have a thick skull!'"

CUE SLIDE: "Time Travelers"

HOST: "Anyway, today it's about destiny.  Not density.  Although 'density' means 'pretty heavy,' and I have to tell you this:  our message today could be pretty heavy!"

HOST:  "The title of our message - the bottom line - is 'You Have a Destiny.'  And it's true.  God has something in mind for you.  We know that because of one of our memory verses for this series found in Jeremiah 29:11 NIrV."

CUE SLIDE: "Jeremiah 29:11"

HOST:  "For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future."

CUE SLIDE: "Time Travelers"

HOST: "That's the scripture I want you to hold on to today, because it's a promise from God.  He doesn't lie.  If He said it, you know it's going to happen!  But sometimes you get that voice nagging you, the one that says, 'Get out of here kid.  You've got no future.'  But here's the truth, straight from Marty McFly:  'If you put your mind to it, you can really accomplish anything.'  Tell that nagging voice, 'Well, history is going to change!'"

Let audience respond.

HOST: "It is.  And let me tell you why.  A few weeks ago, I told you about your awesome Father God, the one who adopted you.  He also goes by a pretty cool name found in the book of Revelation - and that's our point one."


HOST:  "He's the Alpha and Omega.  Want to know what that means?  Let's take a look in the book of Revelation."


HOST:  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord God.  "I am the God who is, and who was, and who will come.  I am the Mighty One."

CUE SLIDE:  "Time Travelers"

HOST:  "When we pray, we're getting in contact with the past, the present, and the future.  God is the ultimate time traveler!  He knows what's going to happen long before it happens, and guess what?  He said He's got a plan for you in the future."

HOST:  "Today I'm going to talk about a couple guys who knew they had a big future ahead of themselves.  There was this one kid - he was actually anointed king of all Israel, chosen ahead of all his brothers.  His name is David."

HOST: "And then there was this other guy named Abraham.  God told Abraham that he would have a son, and that son would have children and so on and so on - and his descendants would be in the squillions."

HOST: "Oh, and then there was this other guy named Joseph.  God actually gave him dreams about Joseph being the center of the universe, and everyone coming to him and bowing before him."

HOST:  "But guess what?  The prophet Samuel didn't take little David off to be king right away.  Abraham's wife wasn't pregnant that year, or the next, or the next.  And Joseph?  He was thrown into a pit and sold into slavery.  Now in each case, do you think these guys forgot about what it was that God told them?"

Let audience answer.

HOST:  "Nope.  In fact, it probably bugged them.  Okay, God.  You said this, and yet here I am, stuck as a slave.  Or in jail.  Without kids.  Or in David's case, being chased all over the place by an angry king who wanted to kill him!"

HOST: "If only we could go back in time and encourage these guys.  We could tell them point two!"


HOST:  "Your time is coming.  You really have an appointment with destiny, so keep your faith in Him and His promise.  Do not lean on your own understanding, and trust the Lord with all your heart.  you have an appointment with destiny."


HOST:  "The Bible tells us that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;  They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."


HOST: "Point two is all about simply trusting God and believing in Him as you wait for your promise.  Something happened to these guys before they saw their dreams come to pass.  It's called life. That's the stuff you do while your waiting.  Here's our problem - we get impatient.  But look at what David did while he was waiting:  he trained himself to become better and better.  He made worship a lifestyle, and he watched over his sheep."

HOST: "He sat there practicing with his slingshot, and a few times he had to defend his sheep by fighting off a bear, and even a lion.  And here's the neat thing:  do you think those skills came in handy?"

Let audience answer

HOST:  "Sure they did!  Here's the crazy thing:  those things God promised would come true.  But these guys had to be ready for it.  It would have been too soon!  Tell your neighbor that God is always on time."

Let audience answer.

HOST: "This takes us to point three, something pretty awesome!"


HOST:  "He can restore your time.  David held on to become king of Israel.  Abraham became the father of many nations, with more descendants than there were grains of sand on the shoreline.  And we know Joseph's story - he went on to save the world during a time of famine."

CUE SLIDE: "Time Travelers"

HOST:  "And just as He did with these great man, God can restore your time, and make it all worth it.  Let me tell you about a guy from modern times, one who if I told you his name, you'd recognize it right away.  This was back some time ago, but he was pretty creative and innovative.  He got into a contract with a guy to draw cartoons, so he came up with this rabbit.  And it was a great cartoon - pretty popular too.  So this guy's boss gave him some employees, and things were going really, really well."


HOST:  "So one day, this guy's boss tells him to come see him.  Now at that time, the boss was in New York, and this guy was in California - he had to hop on a train and take the long ride over there.  And on the way, he's thinking - business is getting bigger and better.  I might get a raise, or maybe get a new project out of this."

HOST:  "So he arrives in New York, and he doesn't get a raise.  In fact, he discovers that his boss had decided to take all his employees away - and his cartoon rabbit as well.  Because of the way the contract was, his boss literally took everything that this poor guy ever had.  Including that rabbit."

HOST:  "Only one of his employees decided to stay with the man.  And this man got on the train, a long ride across the country.  And I would have absolutely loved to be a fly on the wall inside that train.  Because here he was - this guy lost it all.  But he decided right there and then to start all over and not give up."

HOST:  "And it was right there on that train, the man started to draw a new character, one that he hoped would be more popular."


HOST: "You recognize this little guy?  It's amazing that this one moment in time changed so much.  He didn't have anything, he didn't give up.  And because he didn't give up, the world changed.  Seriously - Orlando should be the size of Gainesville.  But because of this man, the city saw 62 million visitors last year, more than any other place in the country.  There are theme parks in California, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, and one on the way in Singapore.  Disney movies make billions.  And then there's the Disney Channel - this past week in our small groups, I played a few clips from this movie - anyone seen it?"


HOST:  "Descendants.'  This movie is incredibly popular, just like the other movies on the Disney Channel.  The name Disney means a lot to some folks.  The guy started pretty much an empire with just a little doodle on a train.  And you know something?  I've seen some of you in class doodling.  Just sayin'!"


HOST: "Walt Disney said about this empire - 'we must never forget it all started with a mouse.'  And it did.  But don't forget the part before that.  Walt Disney lost everything.  He had nothing at all but a dream, and that turned into a company that makes more money than many actual countries!"


HOST:  "He had a destiny.  But the thing is, so do you.  We know that because God's word says it, and God always tells the truth."

HOST:  "The point is this:  you'll get there.  Your future is on the way, right now.  Your job in the meantime is to do your best everywhere you can, and get ready for something wonderful when it comes.  Soon, your future will be waling up to you, ready to say, 'I am your density!'"

HOST: " Or rather, destiny.  Either way, that's pretty heavy!"

HOST:  "Let us pray!"

Friday, September 25, 2015

Uncle Rico's Time Machine

Tonight we revisited "Monsters Unleashed," which Madison enjoyed very much.  It's the second of the Scooby Doo live-action movies, again both of them pretty enjoyable movies.  We wish they made a third, but at this point it's probably too late to round up all the stars for a third go-round.  Scooby-Doo, for example, is pretty famous these days...

It's so great to hear Madison laughing at the slapstick in these movies.  Her giggles are infectious!

She was working on her drawing skills, and she's getting better and better lately.  She did this one drawing of Jasmine, and did it free-hand just by looking at a picture of the princess from Aladdin.  It turned out really well.  Not only does she draw things out really well, she also colors them in, creating a colorful piece of art.  She's still doing the fish drawings, and also doing plenty of paper airplanes and origami as well.

It was a rainy day today, a Friday though.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives has decided to step down, and so we'll have some monsters unleashed there, folks trying to claw their way to the top and be next in line for leadership.  There's a bit of a war there in the House, between those who like tea, and those who don't care for it.

We were doing a bit of writing for the upcoming drama today, finishing up part two of our ongoing series.  We'll see Edvard Grieg on stage, and a very young George Washington Carver, a guy already obsessed with peanuts.  Both of these characters should add a lot of fun to the stage for the kids.  We'll see how it goes on Sunday.

Looking back with this series on famous time travel devices, the thought occurred to us that we forgot one:  the time machine from "Napoleon Dynamite."  Yeah, that one didn't quite work.  But it's funny nonetheless.  And here's a quick entry Daddy wrote up about it, one we're using in Parenting Matters soon:

     Napoleon Dynamite has an uncle named Rico, and Uncle Rico has a time machine.  Does it even work?  Hey, he bought it online - you don't even know!  If you want to time travel with this totally sweet device, first you have to read the manual.  There you'll see how simple this machine is:  just remember to add the crystals, and of course set it to the year you want to go to.
     For Uncle Rico, he wants to go back to 1982.  It was the best year of his life.  It's an obsession!  He spends all of his time wishing he were back in 1982.  But Uncle Rico is not alone.  A lot of people do that, looking back on their glory years, and wishing they could go back. 
     The funny thing is this:  RIGHT NOW are your glory years, wherever you're at in life.  In fact, in about five years, you'll be looking back at right now thinking how great it was.  But you  can't do that if you're constantly looking to the past.  You've got to think of this moment right now, and keep building towards your future.  
     This is not the worst day of your life.  No matter where you are, this is your time.  If you're still alive, it means this: God has a plan and a future for you.  And it's going to be totally sweet.

Rather than go with that theme - which none of the kids would really get - we filmed another video about time travel.  It's one where Daddy actually comes from the future to tell himself to not give up.  This required putting braces on his teeth, which was no easy task.  But it came out funny.

Let's see - what else.... oh, we saw a rabbit.  Okay, this isn't that big of a deal.  But the rabbit was in our front yard, and Madison was pretty excited to see the thing not move.  That's right, it sort of sat there, staring us down.  We weren't about to advance upon it, and it seemed unlikely to do the same for us.  So we had ourselves a bit of a stare down.  I am sad to report that we lost.  The rabbit remained in place, as we retreated to the supposed safety of our home.  Even as we type this out, that rabbit is out there, lurking...

We got some free firewood today.  This is leftover from the Women's Conference this past weekend at the church.  They roasted marshmallows and sat around some fires, and there was plenty of wood left.  So guess who gets the leftovers?  Yep, we did.  We asked around KidPak, but nobody was ready for firewood yet.  So Daddy hauled that in.  The weather was gloomy enough to warrant a fire in the fireplace, but the temperature just wasn't there quite yet.  It's still kind of warm outside, despite the overcast skies.

Madison begins a week off now, today being the last day of school for the next nine days or so.  Nice break, huh?  Too bad the weather is so rainy - all next week.  Oh well, we'll still be thankful for the rain.  And we'll have a good time as well.  You'll see!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pope Pinion IV

So the Pope is in America, which is a big topic of conversation throughout the nation.  That's not a picture of him above though - the picture above is in fact of Pope Pinion IV, who was last seen in the movie "Cars 2."  Okay, this was a great little moment, getting to see the Popemobile actually made into a car from the movie, along with an actual Pope car inside.

Daddy and Mommy used to be Catholic once upon a time, so we know a little about the Popes, which of course date back all the way to Peter, who was the first head of the church after Jesus.  Peter did not have a Popemobile, a Vatican City, a long white robe or a little white frisbee on his head.  In fact, I sort of remember Peter saying at one point, "Silver and Gold have I not."

Which is not to say that there is anything necessarily wrong with the tremendous amount of pomp and ceremony surrounding the Catholic leader.  Although it has been pointed out that in his lengthy speeches today, he did not mention Jesus or God.  This of course created a bit of buzz in one community, while those in political circles were looking to spin comments or visits in whatever ways that they could.  Meanwhile, there are millions wanting to see they guy, and he seems really wanting to see them as well.

Daddy was born during the 'reign' of Pope Paul VI.  Some quick research reveals he was a pretty busy guy, removing a lot of the pomp and circumstance that had been there before, such as an official crowning.  The man even sent a message to the moon:  "To the Glory of the name of God who gives such power to men, we ardently pray for this wonderful beginning."

A month after Daddy was born, somebody tried to kill Pope VI.  Which is of course a commentary in itself about the world we live in.  The obvious question is "Why?"  The world hates the light.

Mommy was born during the reign of Pope Pius XII, who had the unfortunate task of leading the Catholic church when Italy - that's where Vatican City is - was fighting on the wrong side of history in World War II.  Of course, when we factor in what Germany did during that war, the magnifying glass comes out and we start analyzing statements and actions even more so, with critics and praisers pondering, "Did he do enough?"  Based on research, I think he did all he could.

The Pope that Mommy and Daddy knew best was Pope John Paul II.  This was the guy who was Pope during the Reagan years, the Bush years, and the Clinton years.  We read that he was instrumental in bringing down communism, and like Pope Paul VI, someone tried to kill him.  He was in fact shot.  Daddy remembers this.  So does a lot of the world - and again there is the question, "Why?"  Again, the world hates the light.

But now we have the Popemobile, a car that's almost as iconic as the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.  Almost.  It has the windows and a chair, and lets the Pope safely wave at folks without fear of some sniper wanting to take a shot at him.  As ridiculous as that concept sounds.

So, who was Pope when Madison was born?  The answer is Pope Benedict XVI, not the current Pope. Pope Benedict XVI was a good guy, and the answer to a pretty good trivia question now:  he retired.  Most Popes end their careers as they pass away, but Pope Benedict XVI wanted to retire, as he didn't think his current health would permit him to fulfill the responsibilities of the office.  In doing so, he was the first to do that since Pope Gregory XII in 1415 (although that Pope didn't actually want to resign).  Anyway, this retirement led to a new Pope, the very one that is in the United States right now, Pope Francis.  I think he's the 266th Pope, whereas Peter was the 1st.

Again, we're not Catholics.  But it's interesting nonetheless.

Dramatically changing the subject, today was speech therapy, and our last for about a month.  We're cutting back to once per month due to insurance coverage.  Simultaneously though, Madison's speech therapy is now starting at school, so we'll see once-a-week there.  Although communication isn't the best when it comes to her school and that aspect of her education.  Still, we feel like we're seeing some progress with some of her letters, particularly the letter 'r.'

Tonight we watched the first of the live-action "Scooby Doo" movies, and were reminded of how well written the dialogue is.  Madison was laughing out loud a few times, and assurances were passed around that we'd watch this second movie tomorrow night.  We've already watched quite a few of our "October" movies, and we're not even there yet. But we have quite a few, so we'll see ourselves watching more than usual this year.

School featured science, which featured a bit of geography as well - rivers and tributaries.  Madison knows the Hudson River, the Mississippi, the Rio Grande, the Ohio, and the Colorado.  Oddly enough, the Missouri River did not come up.  I guess the longest river in North America isn't all that important?  Daddy sat Madison down and we looked at a map - he showed her the Missouri, and she showed him all the others listed above.  She's smart with knowing where all these states are - some day I hope to take to all of them, where she can see the rivers for herself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


We had our small group tonight again, and the third graders loved the message about "Descendants."  Amazingly enough, they knew every word of the song "Rotten to the Core," which sort of opens up the whole musical.  It was almost like a "Let it Go" moment, where all these kids were involuntarily singing a Disney song for three minutes!

But lessons were learned and there was much rejoicing.  Again, Madison did not come tonight, as she has to get up pretty early in the morning for school.  But there was a related bonus for her:  Daddy got the soundtrack to "Descendants," and had it waiting in the car for her.  On the way to school, we listened for a bit, and Madison was almost reverent in the back seat, listening to it and absorbing all the lyrics she could.  I imagine this soundtrack will be playing for the next few weeks on the way to school.  And other places too!

Personally, Daddy isn't a huge fan of "Rotten to the Core," but there are a few other songs on there that are somewhat catchy.  It's not as solid as the soundtrack to "Lemonade Mouth" or the "High School Musical" movies, but it's something new and current and flashy.  The costumes are probably going to be pretty popular for Halloween - just saying.  I'm pretty sure if Madison had the option of being Mal, Maleficent's daughter, she would do that pretty quickly.  She likes Mal's voice in the songs she sings, so I can already imagine we'll be playing that one song again and again.

Okay, so as for reading, we're facing a small dilemma.  Basically, the next two books of the Jack Sparrow series are not at any of our libraries.  Nor are they at the Hall County libraries.  Not entirely sure what's up with that.  So we're on a small break from Jack's adventures.  But we'll pick up soon enough - no worries there, mate.

Until then, Madison is making her own book.  She's got her version of Jack Sparrow on the cover, and she's written a bit on the inside, although I think it is more like a journal of his.  It probably has the word 'savvy' written in it over and over again.  That word was immortalized by Jack Sparrow, and I think I can say accurately that it is near impossible to say the word 'savvy' without thinking of Jack Sparrow.  Savvy?

Anyway, today was a busy work day for Daddy.  And Madison and Mommy did their usual routine with ballet and beyond.  We met for a few brief moments on the ride home from ballet, and Mommy had a nice meal for Daddy when he got home.  We all talked together, and Madison showed off her homework, which features a lot of multiplication and arrays.

Oh - we did get her school picture.  I'll have to post that here in a bit, but it came out really nice.  We generally like the ones they do in Spring better, but these are for the yearbooks, and they sort of all have to be of a certain look.  So as far as that goes, these pictures turned out well.  Madison is smiling much better, much more natural.  It'll look nice in the yearbook, savvy?


So tonight we watched "Descendants," as a reward for Madison's hard work lately with piano and elsewhere.  She was pretty happy to get that reward, as it is a movie she said she really wanted to watch.  We of course knew that, so we had it ordered some time ago.  The reward was waiting for her once she figured out a clue - Maleficent was standing there in the guest bathroom (or at least a Disney Infinity statue of Maleficent), and there was a clue that told Madison:  "You can find my family, just look beneath the family tree."

We have a family tree on the main level of our house, one of those Halmark trees where you can hang photos of family members on each branch.  And yep, that's where the DVD was.

Madison was delighted, and we did in fact watch the movie - she was pretty excited about it, along with the popcorn.  Mommy and Madison were sprawled out on the couch, enjoying the music, dancing, and various spells.

The rest of the day was piano class, which went well, and a bit of work, which did not do quite as well, but that's okay - we can catch up tomorrow.  Today, however, Daddy wrote up a message based on "Descendants," one where we'll show a few clips at service tomorrow night.  It's a little rough around the edges, but it should be fun with the kids!



HOST:  “They’re not bad.  They’re just born that way!  How many of you have seen the movie ‘Descendants’ on the Disney Channel?”

Let audience answer.

HOST:  “This is one of those movies that reintroduces you to some of the worst – or some say best – villains around.  There’s Jafar, Cruella DaVille, the Evil Queen – and yes, there’s Maleficent.”


HOST: “This story isn’t so much about them though.  It’s about their kids.  That’s right, each one of them had a child.  And I think it’s time for us to meet them now…”

CUE CLIP #1 “Rotten to the Core”


HOST:  "Yeah, they’re rotten to the core.  Taking candy from babies?  Everything they learned, they learned it from their parents.  Let’s do a quick roll-call.  First there’s Jay.”


HOST: “ He’s the son of Jafar, who is one of the world’s greatest thieves.  That means he steals stuff.  A lot of stuff.  Like father, like son.”


HOST: “ And we can’t forget Evie.  Change that last ‘e’ to an ‘l’ and she’s EVIL.  She’s manipulative and vain – that means it is all about her.”


HOST: “ Yes, and there’s Carlos.  He’s the son of Cruella Da Ville.  He’s off-the-charts nasty, and always a little overdressed.”


HOST:  “And yes, there’s Mal.  She’s the leader of the pack – trust me, you don’t want to get in her way.”


HOST: “They’re rotten to the core.  And you know something?  You probably know kids like this at your school.  Sure, they don’t cast spells or do song-and-dance routines.  But some kids just seem to be from the wrong side of town, undesirables who everyone is supposed to stay away from.”

HOST: “And that’s what has happened here in this movie.  You see, they all live on this island, and they’re trapped there, and can’t escape to the larger world where the good guys live.  That’s what happens to bad people.  After all, they deserve it, right?”

Let audience answer.

HOST: “ Right.  But then one day, something happened.  Something pretty interesting.”


HOST: “ You remember these two, right?  Well, they’re king and queen of the land where the good folks live.  And they have a son as well.  His name is Ben.”


HOST: “Ben will be king soon, and Ben has some ideas about what he’d like to do once he’s in charge.  Let’s see what he’s thinking…”

CUE CLIP #2 “Ben decides to welcome the villains, and first tells his parents”


HOST: “Ben’s a good guy.  And he sees something that nobody else sees in these bad characters.  Not even they themselves can see it.  He sees good within each one.  He understands there’s a little rotten in them, sure.  But don’t forget:  there’s rotten in all of us.”


HOST:  “The Bible tells us that we’ve all sinned.  We're just like those descendants:  we were all born into sin!  No one measures up.  But the Bible also tells us the good news:  God gave us all a second chance.  We sit here in church and are on the good side of things, simply because of a thing called GRACE.”


HOST: “The others don’t know about grace yet – nobody has shown them.  So in they come to the land where everything is good and happy, and as you can imagine, it’s quite a shock.  And even worse, in this next clip, it’s hard to tell who is the good character, and who is not.”

CUE CLIP #3 Mal meets Aurora’s Mom, ‘Good’ characters taunt bad ones at picnic table – cut just before Mal goes through her book.


HOST:  “This is the world in action.  Those who are thrown aside are rarely thrown a lifeline.  Those who are made fun of, those not even given a chance… it’s those who need it most.  And yet, many times, we don’t want to have courage, and be kind.”


HOST: “ Isn’t that what Cinderella says?  Have courage, and be kind.  This goes with a story from the Bible that Jesus was talking about.  Jesus was talking about a guy who was robbed and thrown into a ditch, and left to die.  Not one, but two church workers literally walk right by him.  They were too busy.  They don’t want to be inconvenienced.”

HOST:  “It can be like this at school.  If they were school students, maybe they’d think that everyone was looking at them.  Why should I go help someone else – someone might think I’m not cool or something.  What’s the first thing that happens if there is a fight at school – instead of people stepping in to do what’s right, you hear the same old thing:  Fight!  Fight!  Fight!”

HOST:  “Have courage.  And be kind.  Jesus had nothing good to say about those two church-going guys who did nothing.  He did, however, love what the third man did.  The third man helped out the robbed and beaten man.  That man saw need, and went to work.  That man didn’t see anything worthless in the ditch.  He saw someone who needed help.”

HOST:  “Let me share with you something short and easy from the Bible, three words with a lot of power.”

CUE SLIDE:  “1 Corinthinans 13:4”

HOST: “Love is kind.  That’s a simple memory verse for us today.  But it’s so hard for some folks to understand.  We look at people who are different, and sometimes we can’t see anything worth talking about.  But Jesus saw something dying for.  And he is looking to us to show love, and show kindness to everyone.”


HOST:  “That’s what Ben did with these four.  Despite everyone else giving them a hard time, Ben kept showing love and kindness.  And here’s the part of the story where things get interesting.”


HOST:  “You see, all along, the plan was for these bad guys to steal a special wand in the palace.  But Ben’s actions throughout this movie were a seed that was planted and taken care of each day with kindness.  And it’s one that we’re about to see blossom.”

CUE CLIP #4:  Mal’s Decision at the Coronation


HOST:  “They chose good.  The very ones who were rotten to the core turned out to be more noble than some of the other characters that called themselves good.  And none of this wouldn’t have happened if not for the kindness of one character, Ben.”


HOST:  “Here’s the deal.  God wants you to be a Ben.  He wants you to show kindness to others.  He wants you to show His love in schools and elsewhere, and to those who need it the most.  Some people are so ignored, so unloved by the world.  But Jesus died for them too.  And our job is to be a light of the world, and show that love.”


HOST:  “Mal and the others made cookies – they were cooked with bad intentions.  But God can take those things that were bad, and transform them into something good.  That’s why I’m going to give you these cookies – they aren’t for you.  They are for you to share with someone who needs it most.  You might not find someone in a ditch, but perhaps you know someone who needs just a little bit of encouragement, and a little bit of love.  Maybe you know someone who needs a bit of kindness.”


HOST: “ But don’t stop at giving them a cookie.  You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, especially those who could be a bad influence on your life.  But God doesn’t want us to sneer at them, or treat them with contempt.  God wants us to treat them with love.  And love is kind.”

HOST:  “Let us pray.”