Welcome to LOTS OF LITTLES ... a little blog about this and that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

a little african finale

Alrighty ... I am back -- momentarily -- from my political ramblings ... and we are still in Africa ... in Disney World's Africa. I am not presently there of course ... just there in terms of the documenting of our vacation.

So ... here was our balcony ... I would have enjoyed just sitting out here for an entire day ... drinking iced lattes and reading more of Fire by Bill Bright and Jack Cavanaugh ... but alas ... that was not to be ...
Here you can see several more buildings in the "village" ... and how they are positioned around the "Savanna Reserve" ...
There were zebras to view ...
And giraffe ...
And many other herbivores ... including ... okapi, eland, roan antelope, kudu, impala, nyala, wildebeest, gazelle, waterbuck, flamingo, ostrich, and more ...
We spent the two afternoons we had at Kidani at the pool area. The kids LOVED hanging out at the pool and playing "poolside games". I think they enjoyed these two days more than the theme parks. Bingo was a blast ...
This is the face of a girl who is two spots away from winning ...
And this is her one space away from a bingo face ...
And this is her winning face!!! Foofie won a pink blow-up sword :)
This goofy game was called four corners ... and I think they each won a couple times ...
One of Buddy's prizes was a squirt gun ...
We also played a little tennis one morning ... the courts were very nice ... like you'd expect of Disney. Can you see Little Dude's truck sound???
A little rest -- and a contented smile -- after playing hard.

Friday, February 24, 2012

a little debate analyzing

I watched the latter half of the Republican debate the other night. It was frustrating ... so I'm back to drumming the Ron Paul drum :)

Ron Paul was the only candidate who mentioned adherence to the Constitution. In fact, I think he was the only one who even mentioned the Constitution! The other three {Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum} were much more "political" -- in the bad sense -- and seeming to base their decisions on what will please the most voters rather than on what the Constitution has to say about a given matter. For example, when the education question was posed, the other three appeared to be spinning their wheels ... just trying to say what they hope people want to hear. Paul, on the other hand, merely answered in a straight forward answer with whatever is actual and true ... leaving little room for confusion.

Ron Paul was the only candidate who gave detailed facts or information to consider concerning Iran's nuclear weapon that isn't confirmed. He mentioned that during The Cold War ... the Soviet Union had 30,000 nuclear weapons ... and we avoided war through talking it out. Furthermore, those 30,000 nuclear weapons weren't tagged and we don't even know where they all are now. That might be a cause for concern, no??? Now compare this to Iran. We haven't confirmed that they even have one ... yet. The keyword, I guess, is yet. Everyone is worried about this one weapon ... which might not be ... yet. In addition, Paul mentioned that we have FORTY-FIVE MILITARY BASES surrounding the smallish country of Iran ... so in a very real sense ... we are already keeping tabs on the situation. Is it possible that our government wants us to believe there already is a major threat so that we will comply with certain things??? It seems like the other three want to paint it in the worst possible scenario -- and provide us with little factual information -- in order to gain votes. Each of these other three men tell us to fear not ... they will take care of the Iran problem ... and if elected, they will keep us safe ...

Ron Paul was the only one of the four candidates who has served in the military. The other three have NOT ... and I'm just guessing ... but they probably wouldn't want to send their sons off to war. Don't you think that would have been a good requirement for those that wish to hold this highest office in our land??? That those who would have the ability to declare war would have experienced it firsthand??? Until one has actually tasted the wretchedness of war ... one can only pretend to comprehend its ugliness. So it's no surprise that ... "this year {2011}, Paul has 10 times the individual donations from the military as does Mitt Romney. And he has a hundred times more than Newt Gingrich."

Finally, Ron Paul is the only one who answered the last question. The question was ... what's the biggest misunderstanding people have about you. Paul replied that people (in a general sense, of course) think he cannot win -- BECAUSE that is what the media is telling the sheeple ... er ... people. The other three chose not to answer the question -- I know Santorum might have started to answer ... but then he veered off. Instead they chose to be political ... and promote themselves some more. It seems the other three will say almost anything in order to get elected.

For example, "Romney claimed, in November, that President Obama’s decision to bring home all American troops from Iraq was premature and represented “an astonishing failure.” True to his trademark elasticity, Romney has now changed his mind and is fine with bringing the troops home. Perhaps he’s been reading the polls that show that nearly two-thirds of all Americans think the Iraq war was not worth the loss of lives and treasury."

Granted, one of the other three might be more polished than Paul ... or more charismatic ... or what-have-you ... but we need to look beyond these distractions and zero in on what is absolutely essential. What might that be??? Truthfulness, humility, transparency, constitutionality, not-pragmatic, trustworthy, and unwavering.

Unlike some ... Ron Paul doesn't appear to be seeking the prestige ... or the power ... or the fancy white house. No ... in his case ... the presidency is more like a necessary burden he hopes to carry in order to help direct our country back on a better course. Ron Paul genuinely loves our country and wants to shoulder the burden ... everyone else just seems hungry for the title ...

Both quotes taken from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/22/soldiers-choice/

Monday, February 20, 2012

a little more africa

The other resort in the Animal Kingdom area is called Jambo Lodge. We dined at a very nice restaurant there called Boma.
Like Sanaa, it features African~Indian type foods ... but also has many of the basics, such as meatballs, macaroni 'n' cheese, and fruit ...
Foofie nearly had too much fun with cousin Luke :)
For those who probably won't ever visit Disney -- Mum & Dad at least :) -- Mickey is everywhere! There are Mickey designs on the carpet ... on the curtains ... on the corbels in our kitchen ... etc.. Many of them are pretty subtle ... and there's a book out {Grandpa got the kids one} which tells where to locate the oodles of "hidden Mickeys".
Nifty outdoor rockers positioned to enjoy ...
this bonfire :)
After supper ... we had a drumming lesson with a Nigerian fellow :) This was the pre-drumming dance show ...
Getting a feel for the drum and how to hold it ...
Foofie is in the groove ...
Little Drummer Boy was a bit uncertain about all of this ...
Still uncertain ... and Foofie apparently lost the groove ...
Daddy was the rock star :)
Grandma did it too!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

a little like africa

I absolutely loved being here! This was probably my favorite thing at Disney! We spent our first three nights in Disney World at their Kidani Village ... one of their two Animal Kingdom resorts. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the enormous lobby here ... but it was so cool ... can't think of a better word than cool. Definitely cool. Having spent five months in Kenya ... it kind-of brought me back to being at a safari lodge. I remarked that it was just like being in Kenya ... only cleaner :) This was our bedroom ...
More of our bedroom ...
An ostrich egg in the lamp ...
Part of the kitchen ...
One of the bathrooms -- these two-bedroom suites have three bathrooms!
Part of the living room ...
The kids' bedroom ...
This is outside of the restaurant in Kidani Village ...
Have I told you that I ♥ bamboo???
The whole gang had lunch here ... and a friend of Grandpa & Grandma joined us ... this horticulturalist lady oversees all of the growing things in Animal Kingdom and elsewhere (the resorts perhaps?) ...
The restaurant was African-Indian ... this was my lunch ... and I had already downed an insanely wonderful mango smoothie :)
Little SweetTooth with his dessert :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

a little tickling

After our night in Georgia ... we were back on the road the following morning at ...
Little Happy was cheerful about being back in the van ... with fistfuls of trucks ... bear feet ... and someone to tickle his toes :)
video

Thursday, February 16, 2012

a little Moe's

As aforesaid, we were heading down to Florida ... so after The Creation Museum in Kentucky ... we continued on our long journey south. We went through Tennessee ... we had to stop and see Dolly ... for whatever reason she is borrowing Jeff's scarf ...
Another one of our overnights was in Georgia ... and we were thrilled to find a Moe's to eat supper at :) Praise the Lord! We love burritos from Moe's! And ... it was kids night to boot ... so the littlest two ate free :) What a deal! Most of us have looked better at times ... but here we are ... happy to be at Moe's :) If you ever have a chance to eat at a Moe's ... take it!
And take a gander at Moe's new-fangled pop machine!!! It's computerized, customizable, and cool :) When I tapped on the Mello Yello ... there were four other options besides original Mello Yellow ... peach mello yello, cherry mello yello, orange mello yello, and one other. Anyway ... quite fun for pop/soda drinkers :) So ... I mixed half mello yello and half peach mello yello :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a little LONG thing :)

You probably don't want to hear much of this ... and you might like me less after reading this ... so I am kind-of reluctant to actually go ahead and write this ... but, I am compelled to nonetheless. I definitely don't want to offend one of my few dear readers ... and I certainly don't have all of the answers ... but I've been doing a little research about the history of Christmas. It's been eye-opening really ... and I want to share some of it with you. I don't wish to take the "fun" out of Christmas ... but sometimes it's helpful to consider why we do some of the things that we do. I don't want to put a damper on your Christmas spirit -- this year anyway :) -- so although I've been working on this post early in December ... I decided not to post it until after Christmas :) I meant to post this last month when Christmas was still fresh in our minds ... but January got away from me :/

Although Jeff and I both grew up "believing" in Santa, but we never considered telling our kids the tale of Santa. It might sound like we're totally un-fun ... and we can be totally un-fun ... but we wanted to make sure there was no confusion ... that our kids would know that Christmas was all about Jesus. I didn't want Santa to out-shine Jesus. How can you give your kids (in most cases) a pile of gifts at Christmas-time ... and then tell them the most important thing, however, is Jesus. Young children are not abstract thinkers ... and Jesus is not going to seem like the most important thing in the midst of all of these other tangibles. It's like that Happy Birthday, Jesus song ... "the presents are nice, but the real gift is YOU". Really??? What kid is actually going to agree with this in their heart???

Furthermore -- and this is something I just learned from an article Jeff shared with me by a Justin Peters -- Santa seems to share many of the attributes of God. Isn't that interesting??? Santa is eternal ... had no beginning ... and will never die. Santa is immutable ... he doesn't change ... he doesn't age. Santa is omniscient ... all-knowing ... he knows if you've been sleeping ... he knows when you're awake ... he knows if you've been bad or good. Finally, Santa is omnipresent to some degree -- he can travel around the globe in a single night.

God, however, says that He will not share His glory with another. Hmmm. Is Santa stealing some of God's glory??? Surprisingly, a friend of ours found a Russell Stover Christmas candy bar ... with a dollar-type decorative wrapper featuring a picture of Santa in the middle. The "In God We Trust" was replaced with "In Santa We Trust".

Nonetheless ... over the years ... while we're at the mall, my husband has occasionally asked the kids ... "Hey! Do any of you kids want to sit on that big old guy's lap for a picture??? See that stranger in red with the crazy beard??? Do you want to sit on his lap and get your picture taken???" Maybe he does it to make me chuckle ... but not one of our kids has ever volunteered :) We also might stop and observe a couple/few families get their photos done and undoubtedly there will be a crying toddler who doesn't want to sit on Santa's lap ... and the mother will insist her child cooperate. And sometimes the lines are amazingly L-O-N-G. People will stand in line for a good chunk of an hour to accomplish the traditional "picture with Santa". Oh, and most of the time they even hand over cash for this service ;) It's quite a phenomenon really ...

So ... we never did Santa and we tried to focus our Christmases on Jesus. Several years later, however, our understanding was capsized as we learned that Jesus was almost certainly born IN THE FALL!!! Most projections for his birth are late September ... maybe October. Definitely not December 25. Definitely not December -- and not even in the winter! This was a bit startling. Why, I wondered, are Christians trying to celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25 ... which is not even close to his "birthday"???

Then we learned how Christmas grew out of pagan winter solstice festivals -- Christ's Mass, Saturnalia, and the early Norse/Scandinavian Yule Holiday -- which were full of all kinds of debauchery. "The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling)." In the Saturnalia festival in Rome, "each community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival's conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman." {simpletoremember.com} Originally, the evergreen tree was a symbol of sex and fertility for pagans. They would bring the tree into their homes to worship it with the hope that it would be a source of blessing.

In 1900, only 1 in 5 homes in the U.S. had a Christmas tree! And today??? Nearly everyone has a Christmas tree -- Christian and pagan alike. Even our church displays a large Christmas tree in the front of the sanctuary. It's just a little bit interesting that we {Christians} celebrate Christmas nearly the same as our pagan neighbors ...

{There is TONS more you can read about all of this ... I also gleaned information from the movie The Unwrapping of Christmas.}

In essence, Christians tried to co-opt a secular holiday and claim it for their purposes -- possibly similar to what we've been trying to do with Halloween??? This happened, of course, before any of us were born and the Christmas customs have now been handed down for many generations ... and it seems like most Christians now believe that the December 25 celebration has always been the Christmas the Christians celebrate. But the Puritans didn't celebrate Christmas and regarded it as pagan -- "in fact, Congress was in session on the first Christmas under America’s new constitution on December 25, 1789. In 1828, New York city formed the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot! Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870." {thethirdlittlepig.com} You've heard "Put the Christ back in Christmas" and similar slogans. These jingles were, I'm certain, created with wonderful intentions ... but things like this just strike me as very strange now that I know that the December 25 celebrations didn't in fact originate around Christ and now that I know his date of birth was probably late September.

Don't misunderstand me. I like Christmas. I like wreaths, cookies, outdoor lights, and vintage glass ornaments. I like a lot of the Christmas carols. Who doesn't love Joy to the World or Oh Come Let Us Adore Him??? But now that I have more knowledge ... it seems odd for me to teach my kids that Christmas is really all about the birth of Christ.

What I think I want to say is that it was a pagan festival and Christians have tried {perhaps in vain} to claim it for Jesus ... and much confusion has been created in the process. A new, pretty Christmas song that I've just heard this year sings about His birth "two thousand Decembers ago". But it wasn't two thousand Decembers ago. I acknowledge that our Christmas is a FAR CRY from the debauchery of hundreds of years ago ... but still ... is it truly a celebration of Jesus' birth???

What does Christmas, in our day, mostly consist of??? Carols {many of them not about Christ}, shopping, cookies, stress, outdoor lights, stockings hung by the fire, Christmas trees, ornaments, parties, Frosty, giving gifts, wish lists, getting gifts, mistletoe, cards, eating, more shopping, Santa and Rudolph ... Most of it has little to do with Christ ... although we say it's really all about Christ. It seems like a celebration of materialism ... of stuff. Does anyone else feel the dissonance here?

I've heard that we receive gifts because Jesus did ... or perhaps we give gifts because the wise men did. I just don't see the connection. Should we start following stars??? Shall we put our babies in feeding troughs??? The wise men didn't give gifts to each other because it was Jesus' birthday ... only to Jesus. Can you imagine ... one wise man giving a gift to another wise man because it's Jesus Birthday Party??? And what about the gifts??? Was it just something they picked up because they HAD to give a gift??? No. They were meaningful gifts -- eternally meaningful. The mhyrr, for example, was a burial embalming spice -- indicative of his death. His death, after all, is really what he was born for. He wouldn't have come otherwise. "Christ Jesus came into the world TO SAVE SINNERS ..." {I Timothy 1:15} Maybe we should give each other urns or gift certificates to funeral homes??? Just kidding :) Just kidding!!!

I don't know what, if any, the solution is or could be. I don't have the answers ... I'm just asking the questions. Ideally -- although nothing is ever ideal -- we would celebrate Jesus' birth in the fall. It would hopefully be less like our Christmas with all of its commercialism and consumerism ... and perhaps more like our Thanksgiving??? But what would we do beyond share a meal and read the birth narrative??? Might that be plenty??? We probably wouldn't want to sing all of our carols that seamlessly blend truth and myth ... plus there wouldn't be snow ... or mistletoe ... or trees. What about our WHITE Christmas??? And oh dear ... where would we put our presents??? Or maybe there wouldn't be any ...

But ... perhaps we don't even need to annually recognize Jesus' birth in any significant celebratory manner anyway. After all ... the early church never did -- not for three whole centuries! It wasn't until the fourth century that they began to celebrate Christ's birth -- but it wasn't anything like we do it today. God could have told us the date of Jesus' birth and then we could celebrate it on the correct day ... but ... maybe He didn't tell us for a reason???

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

a little museum

A few Thursdays ago we took a little jaunt -- actually a biggish jaunt -- to someplace in Indiana. I can't remember where anymore. We were on our way to Orlando ... aka Disney World ... and planned to detour a little bit and so we could tack on a field trip to The Creation Museum which is in Kentucky. It was late when we finally arrived ... and by the time we got to our room it was ...
10:36 p.m. Time for a swim! The pool, we quickly discovered, was open until 11! Praise the Lord! Sure ... it was late and it was going to be a full day tomorrow -- but the kids had been dozing in the car on the last leg of our journey and they were antsy from being buckled in all day. All snuggled in :)
The following morning, we had a couple hours to drive to get to the museum. We were hoping to get there around 10 ... which is when they open. This fellow was there to welcome us :)
The chameleon's tongue accelerates five times faster than a fighter jet!
One of several Noah's Ark models ...
Ezzie enjoyed seeing all of the dinosaurs :)
Foofie listening to their Noah robot -- he moves and talks :)
Buddy looking peaceful in part of "Eden" ...
Daddy and Halo are discussing the famous "Lucy" fossil ...
Giddy-up???
We were thankful to be able to spend a day here :)