Archives for September 2013

Oh! What a Wonderful Day!

Horse Clouds

Clouds … who doesn’t love a flawless blue sky with big puffy clouds that make the imagination go wild?  In our family, we have seen dogs, ducks, dinosaurs, pigs, elephants, horses and countless other shapes and often a silly little song has resulted.  One of my kids favorite memories is their Daddy launching into a perfect rendition of “I’m just a little Black Rain Cloud” and sounding like Pooh Bear himself.  Even now, our children ask for him to sing it for them and their friends. How amazing is it that God can use so many things in His creation to bring joy and create fun memories for our children that last a lifetime.

As I ponder the many types of clouds that God has created~I am amazed at how clouds can be representative of life.  There are the beautiful puffy clouds that make our children think all is right in the world and there are the flat wispy clouds that make for a beautiful sunrise or sunset the God has painted in the sky. But what about storm clouds? You know, the ones that drive our children from wherever they are to be comforted and assured that all will be well once the angry clouds pass.  What another amazing opportunity to teach our kids that even something like clouds can teach us about the character of God and how He is with us on the beautiful days and rainy days of life. You do not have to be a musician to realize there is a wealth of ideas for little songs that can be made up about trusting God in the middle of storms or songs about the shapes of the clouds your children see as you all lay on your backs in the soft green grass. Try it … it is so much fun to see how creative your children are in those moments!

This little song is actually one that my daughter and I wrote for this month from her memories as a little girl and clouds! I will post the tune later as my little singers have been enjoying sunshiny, beautiful cloud days at Disney World and just got home last night!

OhWhatAWonderfulDay

 

Snail Mail

photo credit to Mandy Johnson at www.mandyjohnsonphotography.com. Used with permission.

Over the past year, my five year old daughter has been able to make some very sweet friends who were not only in her preschool class but also in her ballet class. Their adorable little legs are pictured above. This group has been able to have a tight knit bond that I have not seen often with young children. I had mentioned in an earlier post about how I had anticipated that some of the things I would be sharing would come as a result of ways my own children are teaching me gratitude. Today is one of those.

One afternoon as I was preparing dinner, Caroline told me she wanted to send a letter to one of her friends. Much to my own surprise, I asked where she had gotten this idea from (as if it was some ancient tradition!). I could quickly tell that this was her own idea and it was very important to her to create something on her own (in this case a pretty, colored picture). The process of placing it in the envelope, addressing it, putting the stamp on, and walking outside to put it in the mailbox (and raising the red flag up) was extremely important to her. She told me she wanted to send a letter to her friend to tell her she loved her. This one letter has started a steady flow of writing for her that has even moved to sending her Grandmother’s a letter.

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Watching Caroline send her creations in the mail has re-taught and reiterated to me how important a thoughtful, handwritten note placed in the mail can be! Out of Caroline’s love and gratitude for her friends and loved ones, came the desire to send them something beautiful to let them know she was thinking about them. You see in these technologically advanced years we live in, the art of sending a handwritten note can be forgotten. Many times text messages and e-mails that fly somewhere through the clouds into our personal devices (can you tell I still don’t understand how it all works?) replace what 20 years ago would have been mailed as a letter.

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There is something so beautiful about seeing the handwriting of an individual that I love. There is something much more intimate in reading something that could only have been read by my eyes on the piece of paper I am holding instead of something typed that could be cut, copied, and even forwarded for many others to see. Take a little extra time today to pull out a pen and paper and send a note to someone you care about. Let your children see you what you are doing and ask if they would like to send someone special a letter, too. I promise, if the recipient is an adult, they will be so glad to see something other than a bill in the mail. Also, it is so exciting for a child to receive a letter! I am speaking to myself on this one, too, and am so grateful my five year old was able to speak to me through her actions. What a blessing to have God nudge us through our little ones.

 

ballerina photo credit: Mandy Johnson at www.mandyjohnsonphotography.com

used with permission

 

Cloudette

Author and Illustrator:  Tom Lichtenheld

Cloudette

“Morning, small-fry.”   “Hey, shortcake!”     “Hi, pipsqueak!”

Cloudette didn’t mind being called cute little names. After all, she was smaller than the average cloud.  Normally, being the smallest cloud seemed fine, but once in a while, when all the other clouds blew away to do something big and important, Cloudette felt left out.  She wished she could do big and important things too – like help a garden grow, make a brook babble or make a waterfall fall.  She especially thought of what fun it would be of she were a big snow cloud and could give kids a day off from school! But nobody needed a little tiny cloud.

Then one day a huge storm blows Cloudette far from her home. She doesn’t know where she is and hears a strange new noise. “r i b b i t”  She looks down at a dried up puddle of mud, where a single froggie is sitting.  This gave Cloudette an idea. . .

Little children, just like little clouds are capable of helping others.  We can all make a difference and perhaps along the way we will make new friends and have new adventures, just like Cloudette!

1. Do you know what perseverance means? How did Cloudette show perseverance?

2. What might have happened if the storm hadn’t blown Cloudette away?

3. What do these expressions mean:  “feeling blue”, “raining cats and dogs”?

Mary Kline
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Cloud Dance

Author and Illustrator: Thomas Locker
From storm clouds to moonlit clouds to gray clouds that sometimes seem to cover the sky like a blanket – your journey through this amazing book takes you among the wonderful world of clouds.  Not only are clouds wondrous and always changing, but you will see their natural beauty revealed in every season.
“High, wispy clouds race in the autumn wind.”
“Winter clouds, low and thick, bring sparkling snow.”
But it’s the amazingly beautiful illustrations that will draw readers of all ages back again and again to this sweet book. If you look very carefully, you can find the family building a snowman in the fading light of day as the evening clouds roll in.  You can almost hear the thunder as you admire the page on storm clouds.
In the back of the book, you can learn more about the role that clouds play in our world on the “ABOUT CLOUDS” page.  Then you may want to have some crayons or paints on hand, because you will probably feel inspired to make your own cloud paintings. If you do, please send us a picture of them – we’d love to see them!
Mary Kline