Friday, July 22, 2016

VBS at Parma Heights Baptist Church Rocks!


I always enjoy spending my vacation helping with Vacation Bible School at Parma Heights Baptist Church because it is so much fun, and so BIG, and so well organized!  Once again, we had another fantastic week and kudos to our two summer interns, Ben and Camilla, who helped with so much to make it great for the children.  Thanks to them (and the help of the youth group), the church hallways were transformed into what looked like a deep sea aquarium.

Not only did they head up planning all the decorations, but they also took on the job of scientists, conducting amazing experiments in our lab for grades 4-6.  We had over 800 children attend through the week and over 180 workers each day.  The children brought in $1,780 for the Chain of Love orphanage in Brazil and $1,134 worth of hygiene products for our youth to take with them on their missions trip next week to assist Kids.inc in Indianapolis. 

I was especially blessed helping in the fourth grade group by being a small group leader of nine very energetic, enthusiastic and cooperative boys.  In our small group time, we help the kids memorize the daily verses, review the Bible story and emphasize personal application.  The verses were not the same ones we usually have that so many are already familiar with so I was very pleased that all the boys in my group made an effort to learn them each day.  Even new ones who came on Tuesday, also said Monday's verse to help our team stay in first place.

Two highlights for me in our small group time was when one of the boys said he wanted to pray to receive Jesus as his Savior and I was able to pray with him one on one.  It is not enough to just know that God loves us and Jesus died in our place to save us from the punishment we deserve for our sins.  Each one must accept his gift of eternal life by asking forgiveness, and trusting in Jesus as his/her personal Savior, thanking him for dying for them and be willing to live for him by obeying his word with God's help.

The second highlight was when we applied Psalm 28:7 in our small group by asking the Lord to help us all memorize that verse which is:  
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
When I first saw it, I thought the boys won't be able to do it and that's exactly how they felt when they saw it too!  (I let them know I felt the same way.)  It was unfamiliar to all of us, but the Lord answered our prayer and each one did learn it!  After that, the boys were so encouraged and amazed they did it, they were ready to go all the way and learn the last two of the week as well.  Some were not used to memorizing verses and were really surprised when they were able to do it!

I think what made this small group so special was the chemistry they had.  All were included and as more came the second day, they were welcomed in with our special "green turtle chest bump" greeting that the boys came up with on their own.  I encouraged this and they definitely wanted to help each other succeed in memorizing the verses.  It was great to see them helping and encouraging each other.

The over 8,000 homemade cookies were a wonderful treat!  It's nice having so many people in our church who actually like to bake and cook! 

Praise be to God for a great week!  It was a LOT easier than sports camp and much less draining!  My husband enjoyed helping in the 4s and 5s group where they had around 100 kids, but said the songs got on his nerves after the second day.  (He is sitting on the floor in front of the camera on the puppet pic in the video.)

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Happy Gotcha Day, Spunky Doodle!

We've had Spunky Doodle 12 years now and I am pleased to report that she is eating well again and is almost over her ear infection.  She has a bit of arthritis and the vet said there is some medicine I could sprinkle on her food that would help with that; however, I wanted to wait for the ear infection to be gone first.  I hesitate putting anything on her food in case she doesn't like it because then it may cause her to refuse to eat.  Has anyone else tried doing this for their cat?  

We brought Spunky in as a second cat when she was just a kitten.  She was born in May actually to one of the strays that hung out at my dad's home.  There were four in the litter but I was attracted to Spunky, not just because she was so cute but also very brave.  I saw her trying to climb the tree in front of my dad's house and thought she was very brave and adventurous.  I couldn't bear the thought of her having to live outdoors through a Cleveland winter so on July 17, 2004, I brought her home and took her to PetSmart for her shots.

rolling in the driveway weeds at my dad's house as a kitten

Stretching out on my desk in 2004
 Spunky has brought laughter into our home ever since!  Happy Gotcha Day, Spunky!

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Our Neighborhood Mystery

Next to our tennis courts used to be two very nice looking basketball courts.  There was always a bunch of teens and even some young adults who played up there all the time.  The tennis courts were not well maintained but sometimes my husband and I would play there anyway in spite of the weeds growing in the cracks.
the tennis courts
I was saddened to see the basketball hoops taken down,  Apparently some of the neighbors complained about the noise and litter that often surrounded the court.  Now we noticed it's been repainted so the court markings are gone and replaced with black poles of various sizes and four blue squares.

former basketball courts

We are trying to figure out what this is going to be.  Any guesses?  I would think they would have kept the nice basketball courts and either fix up the tennis courts instead or put this new thing whatever it's going to be on the tennis courts instead.

We have no idea what is coming here.  I'm thinking maybe some sort of skateboard park perhaps but doubt if the neighbors would be happy with that. 


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Friday, July 8, 2016

Critters in Library Garden

There are a bunch of big, colorful snails in the Cleveland Public Library garden downtown that caught me by surprise when I went to read there on my break.

Library Garden Snails
This are all over the garden and even some are bigger than these!  I have no idea why they are here, but that's not all.  On the window sills of the library are some wolves (not pictured) and meerkats as well!

Meerkats on high window sills of library
Everyone at work who was out and saw these the first day they appeared came back buzzing about them.  Some thought they were cute and others thought it was absolutely ridiculous to have these plastic animals all around.  I only saw them at the library though.

Any thoughts?  Personally, I thought it created kind of a fun, happy atmosphere as they looked down on me when I walked to and from work at lunch and on my breaks.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Really Fun Fourth at the Cleveland Zoo

The new tiger exhibit at the Cleveland zoo just opened in early June and we have been there at least three times to see the tigers become more active and adjust to their new exhibit. 
male tiger just outside his enclosure
 The male tiger is still very cautious and has not ventured very far out of his enclosed area, but the female tiger seems to really like it. 


The walkway for the tigers above the people

When we went on the 4th of July, it was a cool morning and we got there early to see the tiger walk around the whole exhibit including the bridge that enables them to walk above the people! 

It was really fun watching her and following her along wherever she went.  It was the first time I ever saw a tiger being so active.  When we first got there, she was eating a big piece of meat on a log.

Did you ever see such a happy tiger?
She would stop and pose so the people could take her picture!

Other fun animals who were very active that day were the Grizzly bears wrestling with each other in the water.  All 5 elephants were on the same side of the exhibit kind of close together and the male was having a great time playing in the mud hole.  We spent three hours there and had a great time watching the animals. 

We LOVE the zoo, how about you?  

We also played a game of tennis, read on our porch, enjoyed our pets, watched a movie and some of the Indians game.  Hope you enjoyed your holiday too!

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