Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Panana Camp Day 2

Today our theme was Commission. We explained that just like a ship is made and commissioned for a specific purpose that God has a plan or blueprint for each of our lives. Brayden helped me explain my point by explaining that his dad had directions to help him put together the tent for their recent camping trip. We talked about the Coast Guard ships, cruise ships and cargo ships. As we drove to our first stop on our field trip we passed Jaxport. We saw two cargo ships. One which was being unloaded as we passed. I was more impressed than any of the kids. "Thank you God for supplying the visual aids."

It was much colder than we thin-skinned Floridians like to admit. We went to Kingsly Plantation. The house was being scraped and painted so we couldn't go inside the plantation house. Ashlynn was asleep by this time. Wayne waited in the car while the other three of us tramped the path down to the waterfront. We had talked about the clams that open their shells for the water to flow through so they can filter feed. The tide was out. We walked out and touched clumps of oyster shells similar to the clams we had just talked about. Again, I had to say, "Thank you God for the visual aids." The illustration was how when clams get frightened they shut their shells real quick or they clam up. Too many believers are like the clams. Instead of sharing Jesus with their friends, which is God's great commission for every believer, they clam up.

The kids liked the separate kitchen and even let me read brief snippets of historical information about indigo, cotton and sugar cane. But when we crossed to the other side of the plantation, Brayden and Karyn came alive. They got to see a gopher hole. Brayden especially liked the well and the trough that flowed out of the well. But they both were fascinated by the twisted and gnarled trees on the plantation. Brayden kept saying, "Papa's got to see this. Papa's just got to see this." And he did. I sat in the car and they showed Papa everything. What an amazing Papa he is!

It was hard to imagine that a tree with so many knots and holes could still be alive. I think they were some kind of cedar trees. They were beautiful except for the worms. I've never seen them this bad before. Tiny little green worms on thin string like threads seemed to spin their way to the ground or your clothes or your hair if you weren't careful. Things like that don't bother me, but I wasn't too happy when Karyn found one in my hair. It makes my head itch to think about it.

A little armadillo made its appearance looking for grubs. It dashed away into the thicket near some of the ruins of twenty-five tabby brick buildings on the plantation. Brayden, Ashlynn and I followed it to the edge of the thicket and then down the road. He reappeared on the other side of the thicket about two feet away from us, then he meandered across the road where he scratched for grubs. It was so much fun to watch the kids enjoy the armadillo. I have a story I'll share with them tomorrow about the armadillo.

It was way too cold to collect shells on the beach. Sorry, Kimberly, but I wrapped them up really good and well...we only stayed on the beach for a few minutes. At least it only seemed like a few minutes. Then we were off to Amelia Island and Fort Clinch.

Amelia Island is so beautiful this time of year. Azaleas. Burst of spring green. So beautiful! Quaint little shops, but not this trip. It's Panana Camp.

We had just been to the big fort, Castillo de San Marco at St. Augustine, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to another one. But I'm so glad we did. Its a great fort. Karyn said it was her favorite part of the day. Ashlynn said it was a "fun fort". It was inexpensive and the guide had a nice fire going in the kitchen. He showed us the finger prints of the slaves that made the bricks in the lower part of the walls. You could actually see their prints as they handled the soft clay before it was fired. I was amazed. We went around the fort after that looking for smooth thumb and finger indentions in the bricks. We climbed a twisted, spiral staircase that went up without rails. Yes, Kimberly we were careful. I held Brayden's hand and Papa carried Ashlynn. And Karyn was her normal, careful young lady.

And our lunch was fun. I froze a gallon of naturally decaffeinated tea in the freezer, leaving enough room for it to expand. By lunch time we had ice cold sweet tea to drink. We had sandwiches and deviled eggs. Actually, Wayne and I ate sandwiches and they sorta ate...and yes we ate too many potato chips and animal crackers and moon pies. I'll do better tomorrow on the menu. And yes we were tired.

It was amazing, nobody was unkind, except me for just a minute in my hurry to get everything organized so we could leave on time. I repented to Wayne very quickly. Karyn prayed we would be all be kind and Brayden felt he should pray about it too. God answered their prayer. Maybe Wayne's too. God is so good to let me enjoy my wonderful grandkids and husband. I even got to talk to Jason's baby on the phone today. She was jabbering in her daddy's arms. What a day!

Panana Camp Day 1

I think I am more excited than the kids are. I chatted with Brayden on the phone to remind him to bring items that I wanted him to bring to Panana Camp. He said we should pray and I agreed. So he was named our official prayer captain. The kids arrived with beach toys, pajamas and old clothes to wear to splash in the mud. We are using my Sailing the Seven 7C’s curriculum so beach activities will be our primary field trips. Even Ashlyn enjoyed the devotions. Our first lesson is converted. It is an abstract word which we explained thoroughly. It is used because it is explains that we are a new person when Christ comes into our lives and it begins with the letter C. We went to the park to find tadpoles. I don’t think they have hatched yet. If they have hatched the fish have gobbled them. I didn’t see a single tadpole. Two pre-teen boys were fishing at the pond and shared their knowledge with us. We marched through the trails taking turns leading the way. We stumbled over Cypress knees and imagined floating logs were hungry alligators. The trees are bursting with spring green, my most favorite color of all. You can only see it this time of year, so I savor it! Karyn discovered white silky cocoons on a bush. Wayne cut it open to show them the caterpillar inside, just what we needed for our lesson. Thank you God! And Karyn discovered it. I love nature. God is so awesome to put inside a tiny worm-like creature the ability to spin and change inside a cocoon. It’s mind boggling. I am so thankful to know that God did that. Almighty God strategically designed even the little caterpillar in such a way that it would be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. His design doesn’t stop with a caterpillar; it includes His greatest creation-people. We are transformed by the love of God that made a way for us to become new creatures in Christ Jesus. Wow! It’s too amazing to imagine. The rules say we have to be ready to leave by 9:00 and I need to get moving even though Karyn is making pancakes for us! Yum!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nana Time

My granddaughter Ashlyn, who is almost 3 years old, asked me yesterday, “Can we praise the Lord,” I was thrilled. I grabbed a plastic bowl, but the lid on it and handed it and a spoon to her. My grandson, Brayden, grabbed an empty plastic bottle, added a few dry beans, it was a perfect praise instrument. I didn’t need an instrument because I’m so loud. We marched around the living room and through the kitchen echoing and singing “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” It was great fun! Praising is something that I have strategically and deliberately done with my grandchildren. I want them to understand, anytime is a great time to express your gratitude and worship to God.

When I pull Ashlyn’s shirt off over her head and her hands are up in the air, I say let’s praise the Lord, baby! She and I begin to say “Praise you Jesus. Hallelujah!” From the time they were babies I would scoop them up in my arms and say, “Come, on baby, let’s dance before the Lord.” Then we would begin to swing and hop around praising the Lord. It is so amazing that really young children will actually raise their hands and praise the Lord with you.

Yes, it is a game to them, but that’s where teaching and modeling come into the picture. Brayden said to me, “You love to praise the Lord, Nana.” I agreed with him, and continued with the explanation, “Yes, Jesus has been so good to me. I want to thank Him.”

There are a couple of things to remember when teaching children, or any age group for that matter, to praise. First, reach them on their level. Second, explain it. Thirdly, create an atmosphere where it is the norm. Then model it. For young children it must be fun and active. My explanations must be brief and concise and the praise time is limited to their attention span. We all do it together, plus it is done in the culture of acceptance of love which is critical in creating an atmosphere of worship.

Sometimes I ask them, “What is something you are thankful for?” After they answer I say, “Let’s say thank you to Jesus.” Then I join them in saying “Thank you” to God for what they just mentioned. Again, I don’t spend an extended time doing it. It’s just done in conversation while we are coloring or baking a cake together.

Because I understand no one can worship for me and because I understand the power of worship I want my grandchildren to become worshipers. Worship is more than a song, it is more than words, but when it is connected to the heart of a person that loves God, a song or words are transformed into a fragrance of praise that pleases God.

Little children and adults can worship…and God loves our worship. We all should do more of it!