Monday, December 28, 2009

Make a Bubble

Certain relatives have tsk-tsked at me for letting the kids use the family point-n-shoot, since they managed to break it the day before Christmas, thereby depriving us of filming the frenzy of Christmas morning. But I repudiate their reproach with the proof that sometimes you have to take a risk with your stuff to encourage imaginations to blossom, brains to flourish and hearts to become confident and alive! After watching this video (and the dozen or so takes that preceded it) I conclude that it was worth the risk.

The Bubble-Pop Kids written, choreographed and performed by Addy, Korah and Taylor, with special (bubble) effects by Morgen and Micah

I am so proud of these kids!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Theme Park Answers

When I think of roller coasters, this is the first one that comes to mind. And looking at that picture, I can even hear it; feel it vibrating through my body. Being raise in California, I've been to Disneyland more times than I can count on 2 hands, and the excitement of finally unloading from the car and being greeted by the roar of the Colossus is fused into my DNA (except that I know that it's not because none of my kids are diggin' the 'coasters so far! I blame the horrid carnie coasters for that atrocity. Hopefully a good dose of Disney or Six Flags will someday remedy that). When I googled roller coaster images, I almost had an anxiety attack looking at all the amazing, twisty rides I've never tried! I must find a way to ride again!!

Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS MEANBEAN for putting forth the effort and getting a whopping TWO correct! Hooray! You win!

Now for the CONTEST answers:
  1. Anaheim : Disneyland, where my favorite ride has always been Space Mountain...until 1996 when they started blasting music into the back of your head, which covered up the scary roar of the roller coaster, the screams of the person sitting next to you, and the distant sound of another train whose path you might collide with in the dark since you couldn't see where you were going! I miss that.
  2. Blackpool : Blackpool Pleasure Beach, England. Shout-out to my friend Nigel Fletcher who hitch-hiked there with me from Capernwray. I'm proud to have some international rails under my belt in the wooden Big Dipper and the sketchy-looking bobsled ride Avalanche!
  3. Buena Park : Knotts Berry Farm. One of my favorite things about Knotts as a kid was the Berry Bear ride, which was a slow cart through animatronic Bear Country (including Brer Fox and Rabbit!), and the whole ride smelled like JAM. Ahhhhh.... As I kid I would've loved for my whole world to smell like that. Later they replaced it with some Dinosaur thing that didn't smell like anything. Knott's has the best water rides though, and we loved to ride the Timber Mountain Log Ride as a family.
  4. Denver : Six Flags Elitch Gardens. When Korah was still an only child, our friend Tom flew us out to Denver for some hiking across tundra, croquet in fancy hats, and an awesome day of riding the rails at Elitch Gardens. This still goes down in our books as one of the biggest and most-needed blessings of our married life. Thanks, Tommy!
  5. Portland : Oaks Park. It's not Six Flags, but it has it's charm. A word to the wise at night: you will fly through a large cloud of gnats that are swarming around the spotlights at the bottom of the loopty-loop, so better to close your eyes and mouth for the picture they take and get your protein from a corndog. If you stay late at the adjoining roller rink (hullo--yes, please!), it's fun to tell your kids the park is haunted at night as you walk back to your car-- (it certainly looks creepy when it's all closed down!)
  6. Santa Clara : Paramount's Great America. I think I only went on one ride here because we were there for a Spin Doctor's concert, and when it was over the park was closed! Rip off!! But I can't complain-- I had a friend who worked there and got us in for free :)
  7. Santa Cruz : Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I worked there for a summer and had a full-access pass. Although it's kinda sad to be standing in line for a roller coaster by yourself, it wasn't something I could pass up! California’s oldest amusement park and a State Historic Landmark, the Boardwalk is also home of the 1911 Looff Carousel and one of the only brass-ring dispensers in the country. Check it out!
  8. Valencia : Six Flags Magic Mountain. So many memories, so little time! I always preferred this to Disneyland: it was cheaper, you didn't have to wade through all the souvenier shops and drama to get to the thrill rides, and of course, the Hallelujah Jubilee (where I first saw Russ Taff and The Choir in nineteen-eighty-something). It's just pure, unadulterated roller-coastering.

Alright, now say I'm planning my next roller coaster adventure... What's your favorite roller coaster or theme park experience?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cards for Teachers

For the Teacher's Aids, may your days be...

If you didn't get one, I'm sorry. You'll have to send some more peer pressure my way.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Give Me a Sign

I'm going to start off this post with a tangent.
I love roller coasters. LOVE them. I've been on roller coasters in...

Wait... let's play a game! I will name the city, and you tell me the name of the theme park. Now don't get all serious and google's not like I'm The Pioneer Woman, giving out cool prizes. Although, if I were to give out a prize, it would be a photo of me: 7 years old, wearing a high-necked, short-sleeved, striped shirt and army green Toughskins, standing next to Goofy, in one of those neato little slide viewer key chains:

I spent about an hour looking for these and this is about all I could find! Unbelievable! Are these awesome little things just not on the planet anymore? And someday, that link is going to be useless because somebody's going to snatch those suckers up!

Anyhoo, I digress.

Guess what Theme Parks I've ridden roller coasters in, based on these cities:
  1. Anaheim
  2. Blackpool
  3. Buena Park
  4. Denver
  5. Portland
  6. Santa Clara
  7. Santa Cruz
  8. Valencia
Basically, I've ridden a lot of roller coasters, for an average Joe. They come in all different flavors: scary-fun, scary-unsafe, boring, fast, loopty-loop, free-fall, smooth and modern, old and rickety and what I like to call Neck-n-Back: the ones that give you a migraine and send you straight to the chiropractor. Then there's the ridiculous, portable Carnie Coasters, but I'm not even counting those.

And here ends the campy tangent.

By far, the most unpredictable ride I've been on yet, encompassing all of the above listed flavors, is the Vondercoaster. Being married, having children and becoming an adult (in that order, I'm sure) has been loopy, rickety, fun, unsafe, thrilling, noisy and suspenseful. My stomach has dropped to my toes on numerous occasions and I have consumed more soda and corndogs than I ever would have otherwise. Some people are on wilder rides than the Vondercoaster, I know. But sometimes the dips and turns seem really deep and sharp, and it's all I can do to keep from loosing my cookies.

The other day David came home between jobs (that's right: "jobs" --there's a sign of the times for ya), and we were discussing why the thermostat is set to, oh, 90 degrees or so and yet the house won't get above 56? Sure it's an old house and it's below freezing, but this isn't normal. We later learned that we just needed to clean out the filters. But that day I was so discouraged. After picking up the kids I was driving to the grocery store, allowing my thoughts to spiral down, down... I mulled over how hard things are, how just when we can't afford it both our cars are having problems, the roof is leaky, outlets keep failing and my mom is afraid we're going to have an electrical fire and the house will burn down. The furnace needs work, our poor little children are freezing to death...I'm thinking about the Hispanic family I delivered a meal to one Christmas, 15 people huddled under blankets without heat. They probably had food stamps...but no heat...was our food patronizing to them? I started to think (like I sometimes do) that things were getting too hard for us to handle.

And usually, when I get like this and things seems too dark and too desperate, I can manage to push and lift and heave-ho this heavy burden into the Lord's open, waiting hands, because for all our human efforts, it would take a miracle to keep us from unraveling completely. But today I doubted. I wondered if it was all too much, too fast. Too much unraveling to keep up restoration. Too many miracles to ask for... is that possible? Where does God draw the line at grace and provision and pull out the tough-love? (I'm sure there's a good lesson we need to learn somewhere here.) Have we already received too much?

And then at the intersection of a neighborhood full of construction, I look over at the stop sign-- the temporary kind on the ground in the middle of the street.

Do you see that? It has been graffitied with "everything will be okay". Of course, I started bawling right then and there in that intersection! "Okay, God. Okay," I said out loud. And that was all I could say as I spiraled back up in a fog of humility and relief.

That day, I got home to this email from David:
"I know it's very cold (26.2 F in Portland) right now, but please be thankful for that God is faithful. He is with us, and providing for our needs. Praise Him!... in a sweatshirt and jacket, as we figure out how we can make it warmer in the house."
Sometimes God speaks through my husband at just the right time, confirming...confirming.


I just got off the phone with David as I write this, discussing our van's leaky transmission and the Christmas tree on our front porch (as in, not in the house, decorated) and he reminded me that we are moving forward. It may be slow, but we are making progress.
And that is the definition of success to us.

"Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail."
Lamentations 3.21-22

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Box From Dad

Oooo, a surprise box from Dad in Santa Barbara!



These are from my parents' backyard. The backyard where I grew up, pretty much taking for granted the Eden of fruit at my disposal. And these can't get them in Oregon. These aren't the same hard, tasteless, crap-shoot in the grocery store produce section. These-- ohh-- the meat is soft and juicy and sweet and tangy! It's almost like you are the lucky destination of the sun's long journey, which began with the sweetening of the tiny blossoms, exciting bees and filling the air with its perfume. Then burgeoning forth into a vessel of juicy sunshine and now those warm rays are gushing out of all that pulp and pith, down your chin, down your arm, dousing your tastebuds with childhood memories!!

My sweet and funny daddy sent a note,
"NO MORE SCURVY!" He doesn't like to hear that we get colds every winter here, and wants us to power up. And as David said between mmmmm's, "it tastes like there's more Vitamin C in these oranges!"

What a blessing for us. Thank you, Dad! And for my hometown local peeps, these are just a small sampling; my parents would probably love to give you some oranges...and peaches...and apples; they can't keep up with all the fruit!

**Just a side-note: notice how the oranges are packaged so perfectly in that bubble wrap. My dad did that. That's just how he is. And I'd be willing to bet he even found satisfaction in knowing all that bubble wrap would be just as thrilling (to some of us) as those tasty oranges!