Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to School : Ah, for Wisdom!

Children across North Carolina and Moore
County are back in school now.  Their teachers
are charged with a monumental task-- to bestow
knowledge to arm them for life's tasks.  And even
more, to foster wisdom that will guide them 
through the unforeseeable future.

I've always been interested in wise sayings and
considered wisdom a valuable commodity. It has
a close relationship with "common sense" and
both are in short supply.  King Solomon prayed
for wisdom and it was granted by God.  The very
 first chapter of Proverbs in the Bible proclaims
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

I agree wholeheartedly.  
Yet what fool doesn't consider himself wise?
Ah, if only wisdom were there for the taking.

I'd like to share some "international" tidbits
of wisdom I've come across in a book recently.
Disclaimer:  These are neither biblical nor
necessarily true, but I thought they were clever.

The ruin of a nation begins in the homes
of its people. ~ African

It's better to bind your children to you by
gentleness than fear. ~ American

Those who advise you never pay the cost
of your taking it. ~ Belgian

Learning is a treasure which accompanies
its owner everywhere. ~ Chinese

Big thieves hang the little ones. ~ Czechoslovakian

All wish to live long, but never to be called old.
~ Danish

The man is the head, but the woman is the neck,
and the neck turns the head. ~ English

Young men think old men foolish, and old men
know young men to be so. ~ English

In an argument, he who loses his temper
is in the wrong. ~ French
And here are three to wrap it up.
(A little twist on a familiar one) 
Look before you leap, for snakes
among sweet flowers creep. ~ French

Some men are wise.
Some are otherwise. ~ American

See no evil.  Hear no evil. Speak no evil.
As a teacher I had a class "Declaration of
Independence." One of its components was
"I can make wise decisions."
If a child achieves that single goal, it will
carry him far.  Let us all help.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Zoom Zoom, Slide Slide, etc.

On a recent evening it was NASCAR Night
at Bri and Hunter's house.

Bri's really bearing down-- she has to duck
to make it under Grandpa's bridge (legs).
And I took this picture looking upside down.

And then she has to show how far
backward she can lean while taking a curve.

Hunter says, "I may not be as fast as Bri,
but I'm a road warrior.  Look out!"

A blanket converts the slide into a hideout
and draws the racers away.  Bri likes the
challenge of the face-first slide.  Not me.
I got some stitches in my nose sledding once.

What balance Hunter demonstrates!  Both 
kids did this over and over.

Sometimes Bri tried to facilitate Hunter's
ascent to speed things along.

Hunter says, "I can see you but 
you can't see me."

Highlights of this video:
The joy of repetition
Bri's inimitable laugh
The joy of sliding on your belly button
Both kids saying "Cool"
Blowing kisses at your Grandpa
(only to be spoiled by a nudge from sister)
While filming, I tried not to converse with
Hunter, but it wasn't easy!

By the time Mommy gets home, Hunter
has already gone peacefully to dreamland.
And Bri is glad to have Mommy to herself.

These gals have something really
special, don't they?
And Judy and I are thankful to be part of it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Visit My New Blog

I'm delighted to announce that I've begun a new blog, "Mystery at the Loyd Homeplace."  It will be totally devoted to information pertaining to the book I wrote in 2007.  Click HERE or on the preview in the column at the left to visit my very first post-- and SEE the Loyd Homeplace.  If you are interested in my book, I will be doing a reprinting very soon and you can contact me by Facebook or e-mail (kloyd1953@embarqmail.com).

The Loyd Homeplace around 1910 with my
great grandparents, grandfather and two great-aunts.

Buddy (Ellis), Caryn, and Ken (me), around 1960.
We are all featured in the book.

The Loyd Homeplace as it now appears.
Visit the blog to learn more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cool Pool Time X 2

On consecutive days sunny mild weather
allowed us to get the grandkids in the pool(s).
These are a poor man's excuse for pools.  One
is a three ring blow-up pool for which only 
one ring holds air.  So it has been converted
into a "Sliding Pool."  The other pool also 
leaks, but not so much if you put it on a 
downhill slope.  You can judge whether these
kids care or not.

Prior to getting swimsuits on, Hunter launches
about 20 items into the pool with his left hand.
Then about 2 with his right hand, just for fun.

There is no end to the creative play.

But what are these pliers doing in the pool?

Which boat shall I said today, the cabin
cruiser or the yacht?

Always eager (and grateful) to help, Bri
refreshes the water in the sliding pool.

Yikes, Grandpa!  This hose is like
rasslin' a wild horsie!

Both kids slid on the slide quite a bit.  Then,
as the video shows, Hunter invented his own game.
And it went on MUCH longer than this!

Time to get dried off and re-hydrate with 
a yogurt snack.  Mommy will be here soon.

But I don't wanna go home yet!
(When a child hides under the rug, you
know she's committed to her cause).

Today, Claire and Evan got their turn at the
pool(s) a few hours before the tornado warning.
They made the most of it.

Claire can really leap.  Do you see why I 
always keep the camera on "sport" setting
with a fast shutter speed?

It's all about a graceful landing and a
big smile for the judges, Grandpa.

Hummph.  Who cares about big smiles?

He's got the whole world in his hands
(hmm . . . haven't I seen that before on this blog?).

Occasionally, Claire has to recline to get
her hair in just the right style again.

Highlights of this video are Claire making
a humongous splash-- in both pools-- and
Evan doing his water dance.  Classic.

Once again, getting dried and dressed so 
Mommy can take us home is a requirement.
And if you don't want to leave yet-- you hide!

Uh, did somebody say "lunch"?
No such thing as a poor man's pool around
here.  We know how rich we are!

Simple Gifts

I've always loved the old Shaker hymn,
"Simple Gifts."  God has lovingly surrounded us
 with simple wonders for our comfort and delight.

This is surely an angel wing.  Or a heavenly logo.

No artist's pallet can match God's display.

And the rainbow trumps the most beautiful
sunset because of the promise of hope it holds.

Here in our own quiet little woods I find our
humble waterfall (4 inches after a good rain)
inspirational and calming.  On the near side
of this tiny island are a couple of potential
swimming holes.  A bridge of cedar logs is
in the works.

This short video pans the serene spot.

The path to the stream cuts through a vast
expanse of alder bushes in full bloom.  The
sweet smells fill the air.

In this video you can't see what Judy and I
saw: an abundance of bees, butterflies and
various other insects.

Smack dab in the center is one of our dragonflies.

Downstream from the waterfall is this simple
bridge.  You can see how much higher the
water has been with recent rains, but a few
dry days lowers it quickly.

Every time Judy and I venture down there
we see numerous damselflies (smaller than
dragonflies) of green and iridescent turquoise.

In this final video, one cooperative Tiger
Swallowtail Butterfly allows me to intrude
on his feeding time.  You may not see him
at first, but every time he moves to a new
plant you can follow him.

A day after I took these pictures, young
Brianna asked me if we could go "see the
water."  We tramped down there in spite of
the heat.  She never slowed up.  And to see 
the wonder on her face as we went back and 
forth from the bridge to the waterfall time
after time was a simple but precious gift to me.
I think it will be a special spot to all the 
grandchildren in the years ahead. 

 Thank you, God.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We had ample opportunity for photos and
videos with Claire and Evan this past weekend.
Here are three videos that highlight their growing
fondness for music.  If you're willing to be silly
you can keep the kids occupied while Grandma
gets some food ready.

In this one, the kids are with me on the piano
bench.  Claire wants me to take a video and is
surprised when I tell her that's what I've done.
(A mere 12 seconds)

Prior to this video, the kids and I have been
carting two Spidermen (mans?) and two
cuddly Teddy bears around while I sang songs.
Spiderman and the Teddies each have to have
a song, and Claire insists on a video.
(About a minute)

This is my favorite, though Judy and I agree
it may not mean much except to our immediate
family.  And it's more than just a one minute
video of a baby monitor.  But that monitor is
what allowed me to capture the inner workings
of Claire during quiet time (once known as nap time).
You may catch fragments of "Holy, Holy, Holy"
(listen for "early in the morning", etc.)
Somehow it morphs into an original song along
the way: "Superheroes Fly By."  Repeat, then
continue to repeat as often as desired.
There were plenty of times I wished I
had the camera, but then I might have
missed some fun.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Evan and Claire, Superheroes

When Judy and I arrived at Claire and Evan's
house Friday we were greeted by a couple
of superheroes.  At least that's what they
are to us.  Here's one Spiderman, alias Evan.

Joined by Spiderman #2, alias Claire, and 
cousin Riley, the heroes pursue  Ron-Ron.
I think his alias is Doc Ock.  Ask the kids.

Things settle down a little before lunch.
But not much.
Evan: "Do you think I need the gallon or
half-gallon jug for both legs?"

Claire tries to coordinate a piano trio with
herself, baby, and Spiderman.

It becomes a quartet when "Maestro Evan" 
joins in.  At least he's mastered the serious
countenance of a virtuoso.

When the weather cooperates, we hit the
circuit of neighborhood parks.  Here in 
Aberdeen Evan shows us how to drive.

The Seven Seconds of Terror!

The kids love the fountain in the middle
of Aberdeen Lake.  But we try to keep them
on this side of the fence!

It's on to Pinehurst's Camelot Park, in my 
opinion the best free park in the western world.
Evan loves the bouncy bridge.

But he and Claire should know that no one
can stand when Big Billy Goat Gruff bounces
across the bridge.

The wooden swinging bridge is just as
enticing.  Nice lead-up to the one at
Grandfather Mountain-- which I wouldn't
even LOOK at when I was his age.

Methinks Robin Hood and Little John
are about to have a confrontation.

Both of the children are into big kid swings.
Naturally, they're going opposite directions.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Evan shows 
us how you can see through a straw cowboy
hat.  He goes bumping around the house with
no injuries.

Removable cushions open up a whole 
world of construction possibilities.  Daddy
will be so proud.

What do you mean, which one is stronger?

Sorry, Spidey, but a challenge is a challenge.

Cushion bridges are for going over, under,
around, or through.

Those who play hard also crash hard.
But he was ready to go again in no time.

Judy and I were astonished at how ably
Claire assisted with this 100 piece Spiderman
puzzle.  I had gotten it last week in Atlanta
for 60 cents and was eager to show it to her
(not wanting to wait until she turns 5).
I filled in the border during her nap and then
Judy and I took turns facilitating.  She was 
really good at putting faces and bodies together,
and didn't get frustrated either.  We'll do it again!

Oh, there's so much we did that pictures
can't show.  Sometimes I put the camera
away.  But when I spotted this rainbow,
I just had to interrupt bedtime stories and 
take Claire outside.  She said it was the first
real rainbow she had seen, and Jennifer later
confirmed this.  In fact (so cute) the next night
she asked Matt to take her outside at bedtime
to see if the rainbow was still there.  Glad
I've got pictures!
If you have any doubt where the proverbial
Pot o' Gold lies for me and Judy, you haven't
been paying attention!