“The Butterfly Training Detectives”

It was a club with two members: my best friend and me.  Our tools of trade were an empty peanut butter jar, a pencil, and a small notepad.  We would catch butterflies, keep them as pets, and learn what they ate and how they lived. This was before the convenience of the Internet, if anyone can actually imagine a time without it.  We had to do the research the hard way: in the field of study.

70sHippyFlowerGirl
70’s Day at school; I dressed as a flower girl.

 

I was proud when our teacher cut windows out of a box and put plastic wrap over it so that we could even keep the butterflies that we caught. Then the class could observe them too.

When my friend moved, I continued the club by myself.  I didn’t research the butterflies so much. I had a new mission: to train the butterflies to sit on my hand.  During recess, I would step quietly and slowly to catch the butterfly in my empty peanut butter jar.  Then, when the butterfly settled down, I would slowly open the lid and put my hand in. Once in a while I would manage to stay still and calm enough for it to happen;  to my friends, I became the girl who could get a butterfly to sit on her hand.

But I wasn’t one to bask in the glory; there was more to do and explore.  There was a different type of insect that had caught my eye… one that I learned was called a damselfly.  At first I thought it was a lady for the dragonfly, but since then I’ve discovered that –although very similar- they are two very different types of insect.

Since then, I’ve had a soft spot for damselflies when I see them.  I never had one sit on my hand, but recently I was thrilled to get a shot with my camera.

Damselfly
It’s a Citrine Forktail! You can download our free image here.
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Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 3

COCOA: Detective Snowy, Detective Snowy, where are you?  (sniff, sniff) I smell trouble.  (sniff, sniff) Something is wrong.

(HAPPY and FABLE enter)

COCOA: Has anyone seen Detective Snowy? We need to make tracks and find the last clue. I can’t find my detective.

HAPPY: No, Cocoa. I haven’t seen her anywhere.  It’s not like Snowball to be late for VBS. Something must have happened.

FABLE: She was going to the mouse alley earlier this morning to visit her friends.  But she should be back by now.

COCOA: Detective Snowy is not here. I’ve sniffed everywhere. I’ve got to get busy and find her.

HAPPY: I’ll help you find Snowball. She might need some help.

FABLE: Yes. Let’s go to the mouse alley and find her.

(SNOWBALL enters “mewing”, without her spy glass and hat.)

COCOA: Detective Snowy. There you are! But, what happened to you? You look like you’ve been in a cat fight!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, don’t call me Detective Snowy. I’m just plain old Snowball.

COCOA: Snowball, what happened?

SNOWBALL: I went to the mouse alley this morning. I was with my friends Stuart and Fival, telling them about VBS, when the mean cats showed up.  The cats started chasing all the mice in the alley.

FABLE: It’s not nice to bother the little guys.

SNOWBALL: Those mean cats hurt Stuart and Fival. I got really mad. I tried to hold on to my temper like Jesus would, but I got so mad.  I started yelling at those other cats.  They had no reason to be mean to my friends. And I got madder because they wouldn’t stop it when I told them to. They started calling me names and THAT did it! I started throwing things around. I scared all the ugly old cats away, and I don’t think they’ll be coming back; but I broke my spyglass and lost my cap.

COCOA: Wow, you’ve had a rough time!

HAPPY: We should have been there to help you defend the mice.

FABLE: Are you okay, Snowball?

AllFour

SNOWBALL: I’m okay, Fable.  You all are such great friends.  You are loving and caring, and so faithful. You’ve got the characterprints of Jesus. I wish I had found the last characterprint before I got so angry. I don’t feel like I’m very much like Jesus. I didn’t find anybody who was brave and courageous.

COCOA: Snowball, Jesus did act like that in the temple. You missed our Bible story today. The Bible says that Jesus got angry with the ones who were being mean to others.  God doesn’t like it when someone hurts others. Jesus showed us how mad God gets.  He threw the table down and ran the mean people out of the temple.

HAPPY: That’s right. God gets very angry at evil.

SNOWBALL: Yeah. But I still didn’t find the last character print. I’m not good enough to be a detective.  I needed to find someone who is brave and courageous.

FABLE: Snowball, I think we know who is brave and courageous.

SNOWBALL: Really? Who? Please tell me. Who is it?

HAPPY: It’s you, Snowball. You defended those poor little mice from the mean old cats, even when they insulted you.

FABLE: Jesus did the same thing.

COCOA: You are very brave, Snowball. Just like Jesus.

SNOWBALL: You guys can’t be serious! I can’t believe this. I have a characterprint like Jesus? Are you guys playing a joke on me?

HAPPY: No, Snowball. We really mean it.

SNOWBALL: Wow! I never thought I’d find any characterprints in me. I was surprised to find Cocoa was humble and loving, but me!? This is more than I ever expected! Are you guys positive I’m like Jesus?

FABLE: Yes, Snowball. We’re positive.

COCOA: So, Snowball. How do you feel now that you’ve found all the characterprints of Jesus? Are you proud of yourself?

SNOWBALL: Well, yeah. But not as much as I thought I would be. You all get the credit, too. A little. I did do most of it myself.

COCOA: What!?

SNOWBALL: Let’s review the character prints we found. Cocoa, you were humble when you took a flea bath, and you were loving when you let me change your name. Okay, it was ridiculous to change our names.

FABLE: Happy was faithful. He didn’t stop liking you when  you changed your names. He didn’t make fun of you either.

HAPPY: Fable was forgiving. He forgave Cocoa for what Cocoa said to him.

COCOA: You don’t have to  bring that up, do you?

FABLE: Don’t worry, Cocoa. I forgive you.

SNOWBALL: And I was brave and courageous. I saved the poor lSnowball-ENDittle mice from the mean cats.

COCOA: Yeah! You’re not Detective Snowy – you’re Catgirl, champion of mice!

SNOWBALL: Catgirl?

COCOA: Yes, you can be a super hero….and….I’ll be your dog!

SNOWBALL: No, Cocoa. Let’s just be friends.  Let’s help each other be like Jesus. He’s the real super hero. Jesus Christ is the champion of the whole world.

COCOA: That’s right! Jesus loves everyone!

FABLE: And Jesus is forgiving.

HAPPY: Jesus is faithful.

SNOWBALL: Jesus is brave and courageous! He helps everyone who needs his help. He saves us all!

HAPPY: I hope everyone enjoyed VBS.

FABLE: I sure did.

SNOWBALL: So did I. I learned a lot and I hope I can come back next summer!

HAPPY: Well, bye everyone!

SNOWBALL: Yeah, bye everyone!

FABLE: I hope you continue to have the character prints of Jesus all your life.

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, why aren’t you saying goodbye to everyone?

COCOA: I’m thinking about changing my name to Champion.

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, say good-bye to the audience.

COCOA: Good-bye to the audience. Oh! Bye everyone. I hope you will go into all the world and make tracks for Jesus!

SNOWBALL: Hey, Cocoa, Fable, Happy, let’s go eat! I’m starving!

COCOA: Yeah! Let’s make tracks to my house! I’ve got some mice in the freezer!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa! Don’t make me mad!

COCOA: I’m just kidding, Snowball.

(All puppets leave stage.)

(Behind curtain) COCOA: Ow! I’m just kidding Snowball.

THE END

Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 2

(SNOWBALL and COCOA enter)

SNOWBALL: I was thinking, Cocoa. Do you think I should change my name?

COCOA: Uh, I don’t know. Snowball sounds “cool” to me.

SNOWBALL: I think I need to change my name to Detective Snowy.  How does that sound?

COCOA: Snowball, I think your name is just fine like it is. Come on, make tracks! Let’s find some more characterprints!

SNOWBALL: WAIT a minute! I’m the detective! I decide what to do! And I say I’m going to change my name. I’m Detective Snowy. And I’ll change your name to….um….YES! Your name is Sir Chocolate.

CCocoaOCOA: Sir Chocolate?

SNOWBALL: Yes, Sir Chocolate. It’s so much more sophisticated and mature. After all, it’s European.

COCOA: You mean I’m foreign? Do I lose my character prints if I’m foreign?

SNOWBALL: No, Cocoa, uh, I mean, Sir Chocolate.  You’ll be the same no matter what name you have.  Jesus had a human name but he’s still our Lord and Savior.  And he loves the whole world, not only one nation.

COCOA: Well, uh, I don’t want to change my name.

SNOWBALL: Oh, come on. Just for the next two days.  Then you can change it back to Cocoa.

COCOA: Okay. You can call me Sir Chocolate.  But you’re the only one.

SNOWBALL: Okay! Thanks! You’re a good dog.

(HAPPY enters)

HAPPY: Hiya, Snowball. Hey, Cocoa.

SNOWBALL: Hi, Happy.

HAPPY: Fable told me you’re a detective now. Where’s your detective’s coat?  All detectives have cool trench coats.

SNOWBALL: I don’t need a trench coat. I have my own coat of fur, thank you very much.  A beautiful coat of fur if I might add. And my name is Detective Snowy, NOT Snowball.

HAPPY: Oh. Well, Detective Snowy, I still love you no matter what you change your name to. And Jesus loves you, no matter how much you change.

SNOWBALL: How come everyone is being so loving and faithful today?

HAPPY: Well, Snowball, I mean, Detective Snowy, those are two of the characterprints of Jesus.

SNOWBALL: Oh, YES! I forgot all about the clues! What are the next two clues, Sir Chocolate? Get busy and sniff out our next two clues!

COCOA: (sniff, sniff loudly) I smell……sniff, sniff…..um……I smell something.

SNOWBALL: What do you smell, Sir Chocolate?  Tell me.

COCOA: I smell you, Detective Snowy.  You smell sweet.Snowball

SNOWBALL: Oh, Sir Chocolate…..you’re…..you’re so European.

HAPPY: Hey, Snowy and Chocolate, why the new names? I thought you were finding characterprints for VBS?

SNOWBALL: We’re looking for someone who is loving and faithful.

COCOA: Hey, Detective Snowy! I think we’ve found someone. Happy! He is faithful; he’s our friend even when we change our names.

HAPPY: That’s right. You can change your name all you want, and I still like you.  It’s not your name, or your parents, or your friends that makes me like you. It’s who you are. Sure, you have some flaws, but we all do. Jesus doesn’t just look at what you do wrong; he looks at what you do right. And there are lots of things you do right.

SNOWBALL: Absolutely! You’re right, Sir Chocolate. We have found a character print in Happy.  He is very faithful. But, what about loving?  Let’s keep looking….

(SNOWBALL wanders away, looking for clues)

HAPPY: Cocoa, why is she calling you Sir Chocolate?

COCOA: Oh, she wanted me to have a foreign name, but she’s just calling me Sir Chocolate for the next two days.  I finally agreed after I found out I wouldn’t lose my characterprints.

HAPPY: Detective Snowy, I think you need to look a little closer than that.  Cocoa is very loving, and his love for you allows him to be your dog, and lets you change his name.

COCOA: Do you mean I’m humble – and now – I’m also loving?  Bow WOW, I thought I was just being nice to my friend!

HAPPY: You were, Cocoa. That’s exactly right. When you’re nice to your friends, that shows that you have character prints like Jesus.  You’re loving and humble.

SNOWBALL: I thought you had to be nice to your enemies, and all that stuff, before you could be loving like Jesus.

HAPPY: Well, that’s true, too, Detective Snowy.  Jesus says to be nice to everyone. But if you think about it – Cocoa would be considered as the enemy to most cats! You’re very lucky to have him as your friend.

SNOWBALL: You’re right, Happy! Thanks for helping me see that. Who would have thought? Sir Chocolate is loving! Meow! I solved the next two clues. Happy is faithful, and Sir Chocolate is loving.

HAPPY: Come on, Detective Snowy.  You, too, Sir Chocolate. Let’s go get a banana split.  I’ll make the best one you’ve ever tasted!

COCOA: All right! Make tracks!  Find me some pineapple topping!

SNOWBALL: I get the strawberry topping!

HAPPY: And I like the chocolate! But most of all, I like my friends!

(HAPPY, SNOWBALL and COCOA exit)

 

Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 1

SNOWBALL: Hello, I’m detective Snowball, and I’m here to see if anyone in this room has characterprints like Jesus.

(COCOA enters)

COCOA: Hey Snowball. Whatcha doing?

SNOWBALL: Well, if you weren’t late, you would have heard me the first time.  I’m a detective, and I’m going to find out if anyone in this room has the characterprints like Jesus.

COCOA: Hah! Hah! That’s funny Snowball.  You can’t be a detective.

SNOWBALL: Why not?

COCOA: You can’t even sniff out your own litter box! You can’t find any clues.

SNOWBALL: I can too!

COCOA: Can not!

SNOWBALL: Can too!

COCOA: Can not!

SNOWBALL: Fine. If you really want to help, you can be my dog.

COCOA: All right!  I’ll sniff out any clues there are! I’ll be the best dog detective anyone’s ever seen!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa?

COCOA: Yes?

SNOWBALL: You are NOT a dog detective.  I’m the detective. You are just the detective’s dog. Okay?

COCOA: Oh, okay.  Sorry. What clues do we look for first?

SNOWBALL: First, we’re looking for the meek and humble characterprints.  Also, the forgiving and merciful prints.

COCOA: Oh, yeah!  That should be easy!  Wait! (sniff, sniff loudly) I think I smell something! It’s… it’s… (sniff more, then pause)… IT STINKS! Who’s wearing dirty socks? Yuck!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa?  I think you’re smelling yourself now.  Which reminds me. Before we get started, you need to take a flea bath and get a leash.  After all, I think ALL dogs need to be on leashes.

COCOA: WHAT!?  No way! I can’t do that! That goes against my dog instincts!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, even your instinct STINKS! If you don’t go get a flea bath right now, I’ll…..

(FABLE-enter-interrupts)

FABLE: Hi Snowball. Hey Cocoa. Um, Snowball, what are you doing?

COCOA: She’s Detective Snowball, and I’m her dog!  We’re trying to find someone with the characterprints of Jesus.  We don’t waste time sitting around writing silly fables!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa! You’re terrible.  Now I’m convinced you don’t have any characterprints.  That was a very rude thing to say to Fable! If you keep that up, I will have to disown you.  I do not want such a stinky animal for MY dog!

FABLE: That’s okay, Snowball. Don’t be mad at Cocoa.  I know he didn’t mean it.  Not everyone enjoys writing stories like I do. To Cocoa, writing fables might be wasting time, and I respect his opinion.  I don’t expect him to like everything I do. After all, none of us are ever exactly alike.  We can be totally different, yet we can still be very good friends.  We can still like each other.  Jesus wants us to be different, and he wants us to be very good friends to everyone.

SNOWBALL: Fable, that was such a forgiving thing to say. After all, Cocoa is only a DOG, and dogs don’t know anything when it comes to being polite.

FABLE: Well, Snowball, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say about Cocoa.  Do you realize that Cocoa is actually very humble by being your dog? He is trying to help you.

SNOWBALL: I guess you’re right, Fable.  Everything I said was true, but I guess I shouldn’t have said it.  Sorry Cocoa. I do thank you for your help.

COCOA: That’s okay! I forgive you, Snowball. Fable, could you do me a favor?

FABLE: What is it, Cocoa?

COCOA: Well, I sorta was just thinking….could you help me, um, take a flea bath?

FABLE: Oh, sure, Cocoa.  Come on. Let’s take a bubble bath!

(COCOA and FABLE leave)

SNOWBALL: Well, I guess I solved the first two clues.  Fable is forgiving. He could have gotten really mad at Cocoa, but he didn’t.  He didn’t yell; he didn’t throw things around, or anything.  Just like Jesus at the cross.  Jesus could have gotten really, really mad, and called the angels to help him get off the cross, but he didn’t.  He died because he loved his friends and his enemies.  And Cocoa, that silly dog, didn’t have to take a flea bath, but he did it for me, so I would be happy.  What a friend!  He’s a good dog.

(COCOA comes back)

COCOA: Okay, let’s make tracks!  I’m ready to find the next two clues! What do we look for next?SnowCocoa

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, we can’t look for any more character prints today.  VBS is over and the kids are going  home.  But we’ll look for more tomorrow.  Come on, let’s go eat lunch.  I’m starving.  Let’s go get some hot dogs!

COCOA: Um, Snowball? Can we eat pizza?  I don’t like to eat hot dogs.

SNOWBALL: Okay, Cocoa. Hey! You look great! You’re really a “hot” dog!  And humble too.

(COCOA and SNOWBALL exit)

 

VBS & Puppet Skit Fun

As a kid, I loved playing with puppets.  I would always write my own puppet plays and play them out for Lacy or for my stuffed animals or parents (depending on if Lacy wanted to play puppets with me or if she wanted to just watch.)  In 6th grade my best friend and I were the puppeteers for the school counselor, although that wasn’t much fun because the voices were pre-taped and we just moved the puppets’ arms around and their mouths according to the voices talking.

In Sunday school, I was a puppeteer when my parents taught the children’s Bible hour.  It was loads of fun, and I loved helping my mom write the plays that would speak to the younger kids each Sunday.  I would have even more fun playing the voice of one or two of the puppets.

In the summer of 2000, my church was holding a 3 day VBS, “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus”.  There were 5 lessons:

Lesson 1 – Jesus was humble.

Lesson 2 – Jesus was forgiving.

Lesson 3 – Jesus was faithful.

Lesson 4 – Jesus was loving.

Lesson 5 – Jesus was brave.

The point of the VBS was to encourage the kids to be detectives and find out ways to be like Jesus Christ.  I remember, the instigator of the VBS was trying to come up with a fun way to close out each day’s activities, and so my mom offered us to make a puppet skit and put it on for the rest of the kids (and adults, too).  I had so much fun with VBS that year.  Mom played the cheery Happy the bear, Lacy played the lighthearted Cocoa the dog, I played the sassy Snowball the cat, and we got another gentle-voiced woman from church to play the amiable Fable the panda.  Needless to say, our skits were a hit.

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Love is a Strawberry

There was this time, a few years ago, when my mom was gardening and she saw her new strawberry plant had a tiny fruit on it. It was the teeniest thing, about the size of a Tic Tac. She wanted to taste it so much. Knowing plants, there was a chance no more berries would grow that year, because it was only a baby plant. However, that didn’t stopped Mom from acting in love: instead of enjoying the berry herself, which would have been easy to do being the first to see it, she brought that little fruit inside the house to show it to Kat and me. She cut it into two small specks, giving me one piece, Kat the other.

“Try it!” We did indeed. She wanted to know what it tasted like. Tart and juicy, it was good like unsweetened jam. So good! But the taste wasn’t as good as the love Mom shared by sacrificing the only taste that plant would give us that year.

Of course, next year the strawberry bush grew three berries instead of one. One was an inch big, the other two smaller. Mom let us half the bigger strawberry, she tasted the smaller one, and left the last one for the birds. Still, she was thinking of others besides herself, even the birds.

Some call the love Mom showed us “a mother’s love”. It is the same type of love that agape (a Greek word for “love”) is, which the Bible speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13. However, agape love acts this way for everyone, all kinds of people, no matter what age, gender, color, race, or person they are. If a person acted in agape love, an enemy could be gifted the same way as a family member or friend.

Agape is the love Jesus acted on when He died on the cross to save the world.

Three Scriptures which express agape love:

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9

Someone might say that a person who loves is like a strawberry plant. The love-bearer begins as a baby plant, producing only one berry, or one act of love, but as the plant grows the fruits produce more and more. By starting small, thinking big, and acquiring more knowledge of God, you can fall deeper “in love” with Christ, meaning gain understanding of who he is and how to imitate him, and then the love in your heart will grow more each year. As love grows, you will begin to know how, more each day, Christ would want you to treat others, therefore, you will become a vessel of agape love.

  1. Start small.
  2. Think big.
  3. Learn who Christ is.
  4. Watch love grow!
  5. Slowly begin to love others.

Sure, there will be hardships. It’s not easy to love endlessly. We’re not robots; we’re beings, created to produce thoughts, feelings, and opinions. So yes, it may be that you give a strawberry away and a person doesn’t receive it well – for example, the strawberry (your act of love) is placed on the counter, forgotten, and fuzzes, and is no longer enjoyable – but it didn’t start out ruined; your intention was never for your love to ruin. But it happens, sometimes.

No matter what, continue to love, continue to produce fruits, and even if some of your acts of love are not taken by the receiver the way you want them to be, remember, it’s not your power to keep the love fresh once it’s been given away. Your power is in the production.

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Crazy Like a Fox

A warm ray of sunlight shone brightly into the open-air window, almost like the sun was smiling upon a magical spot in a teenager’s room. The room was a young girl’s fantasy, with pink sheets and curtains, and small angel trinkets on display. On the shelves was a small assortment of books, and around the room were display dolls of all shapes and sizes. A woolly gray teddy, with round spectacles balanced upon his nose, sat on a corner table studying a chessboard. A small pocket watch was sewed to his vest, and he looked quite intelligent.

The cheery, warm sunshine peeked in among the row of potted plants on the windowsill. It spied a small beanbag fox, lying lazily among the plants. It almost seemed as if the small fox had been lost among the plants, and forgotten since childhood. He sat there staring intently at the blue jays and sparrows flittering around the yard with a dreamy, yearning sparkle in his marble eyes.

“I want to go outside!” Foxxie called out. “I’m gonna run away, and have an adventure!”

Professor Marble looked up from the chessboard, and gazed skeptically at Foxxie. Foxxie watched the teddy bear closely, to see how he would react. The small bear just kept gazing at his worn-out beanbag friend.

“Well, aren’t you going to say something?” Foxxie questioned. “I’m telling you that I’m running away!”

Professor Marble cocked his head. “Will you enjoy yourself?”

“Dah!” Foxxie shot back, nodding his head happily. He was proud to use his wonderful Russian word. He used the word with the Professor so that he would sound more intelligent, just like his friend. Foxxie thought the word sounded smarter, anyway. It was his way of saying “Yes!”

Professor Marble gazed at Foxxie before speaking to correct his friend. “The word is da, Fox. It’s said with an aw, as in paw.”

“Oh…” Foxxie mused. “Well, ‘dah’ is my own word. I made it up.” It wasn’t smarter, after all, but at least he was unique.

“Well then, bon voyage. Have fun.” Professor Marble took one last glance at Foxxie, and then went back to his game.

“Oh.” Foxxie let out an exasperated sigh. He was disappointed that Professor Marble didn’t try to stop him. “Well, goodbye!”

Foxxie hopped out the window, into the thick carpet grass. A cool breeze blew, wiggling his whiskers. “Dah, that feels so good. It feels good to be outside! Free and wild! Free to be me!”

Foxxie looked around at his new surroundings. There were lots of beautiful flowers scattered around the yard, but Foxxie especially liked the exotic red flower growing in the flowerbed. He felt that he just had to get that beautiful hibiscus flower for his favorite person, Jackie Jackson, the young girl who had grown into a lovely young woman. Foxxie could imagine the lush red flower in Jackie’s thick golden hair. Foxxie suddenly felt forgotten and lost to his only love.

“I have to get her that flower.” Foxxie said to himself. “My future with Jackie depends on it!” He ran over to the flower and tried to break off the stem, but it was too tough. He tugged at it again, when he noticed a large bumblebee buzzing around the flower.

“Stay away from the flower, you bee!” Foxxie yelled. He glared at it, ready to attack if it came too near the flower. “You can’t have the flower! It’s mine. I’m gonna give it to Jackie, and you can’t have it! Go find your own!” The bee buzzed around a few seconds longer, then flew off to another flower. “Dah! I scared it away!” Foxxie said proudly. Then he looked back at the flower. “Now, how am I gonna get it? Hmm… I know! I’ll go ask the Professor!” He climbed up an old lattice next to the window and stumbled back onto the windowsill. “Professor Marble, how can I get a flower out there? I can’t get it off the stem.”

Professor Marble gazed patiently at the worn little fox, and gently shook his head. “My friend, you’ve got to think wild when you’re an adventurer. Would Christopher Columbus have discovered America if he hadn’t dared to imagine that the world was round? Of course not. As an adventurer, he dreamed something different and made it happen. How do you suppose Thomas Edison, a great adventurer into science, created the light bulb, or Alexander Graham Bell the telephone? They imagined. You, too, must use your imagination. Imagine some very sharp teeth in that soft little mouth of yours, and that flower will be yours in one bite. Imagination can get you anything.”

“Oh, dah!” Foxxie replied, a little embarrassed that he didn’t think as wildly as that. Then he cheered up. “I just thought! I need to add a note to go with the flower!” Foxxie dashed to Jackie’s desktop and rummaged around in her letterbox until he found a small piece of paper. On it was scribbled the words: “To the beautiful Jackie Jackson; the angel of my life. From your secret admirer.”

“Dah, this is perfect! It doesn’t even have a name.” Foxxie looked around, but couldn’t find a pencil small enough for him to use. He walked over to Professor Marble and held up the paper for him to see. “How can I write my name on this?”

Professor Marble glanced down at the small note and chuckled. “Fox, I believe a secret admirer’s name is to remain a secret, isn’t it?”

“But how would she know it’s from me if I don’t put my name?” Foxxie shot back.

Professor Marble let out a small sigh. “Well, if you want your name on the note, why don’t you imagine? Before people had pencils, they used feather tips dipped in ink. They used their imaginations. Why don’t you use yours?”

“Dah! That’s a good idea!” Foxxie shot out the window and landed on the soft grass. He frantically looked around, but to his dismay he didn’t see any feathers. But he did notice that the bumblebee was back.

“Hey, bee? What are you doing back?” Foxxie shouted. That’s when he saw the point at the end of the bee. “Hey! I got an idea! Hey bee! Come here!” The bee seemed to ignore Foxxie. It seemed preoccupied with the flower. “Hey Mr. Bee! Don’t ignore me! I need your help!” He ran up to the bee and watched as it landed on the flower and turned to look at him. “Please bee, I need to use your stinger! I need to write my name on this note, and I was wondering if you could help me.”

The bee looked at Foxxie for several minutes. Then it spoke up in a small voice. “I’d like to help you, little fox. But how will you be able to use my stinger?”

Foxxie looked thoughtfully at it, then said, “We’ll use our imagination. I’ll imagine you are a pen. You’ll go dip your stinger into one of those berries on that bush over there, and then I’ll write with the berry juice as the ink.”

The bee thought for a minute. “Alright, but be careful. My stinger is fragile, and can break.”

The bee buzzed off to the blackberry bush and stabbed a small berry cluster. When Foxxie pulled it off the stinger, he noticed a little bit of juice on the tip. “Dah! You got some!” Excitement was in the air.

Foxxie gently guided the bee over the notepaper and started to write his name on the note. He soon ran out of his ink though. He was about to need more berry juice when he heard some voices on the porch. “Oh no, Jackie’s coming. I need to hurry and get the flower!” He glanced down at the note. All he had written was the ‘F’ and half of the ‘o’. “There’s not enough time!” Foxxie loosened his grasp on the bee and watched as it flew up into the air. “Thank you, bee!” He yelled. Then he turned and dashed over to the flower. He closed his eyes, breathed a deep breath, and took a big bite off the stem. It snapped in two, and Foxxie grabbed the flower.

Just then, a girl in her late teens walked up. Foxxie watched as she brushed a bang out of her beautiful blue eyes. Her shoulder length blonde hair was tied back into a large pink ribbon. She held a badminton racket in her hand.

“Where did that birdie go this time?” The girl looked around, and noticed Foxxie. “Foxxie, what are you doing out here?”

“Jackie!” Someone called out from the other side of the yard. “Come on! We’re waiting!”

“Hold on a second. I can’t find the birdie!” Jackie called back. She picked up Foxxie and glanced at her open window. She gently picked up the flower and read the small note with it. She noticed the letters “Fo” scratched out at the bottom of the note. She looked back at Foxxie with a puzzled look on her face.

Later, after Jackie had taken Foxxie back to her room and placed the flower in a vase on her desk, Foxxie was on Jackie’s bed examining a scrapbook she had out. The bee had buzzed in to hear the ending results of Foxxie’s quest. Foxxie had just finished reporting to Professor Marble and Mr. Bee all that had happened.

“What happened to your great adventure you had planned?” Professor Marble asked. “I thought you wanted to become an explorer, like Lewis and Clark? Didn’t you want to go out and find something great?”

“Dah.” Foxxie quietly said. “It wasn’t all that I expected it to be. It wasn’t as great as I thought.”

“Well, perhaps you shouldn’t let your emotions control your actions.” Professor Marble scolded softly. “You can’t lose control of your feelings like that. You need to keep your mind on your mission.”

“Dah, you’re right.” Foxxie agreed. “I totally lost control. Maybe I’m not cut out to be an adventurer. I’m not the right kind of person to be an adventurer. I’m more of the romantic type. I’m more ‘go for the girl you love’ rather than ‘go for the adventure’. I’m in love! I want to be Jackie’s Prince Charming. I will be the next Don Juan!”

The bee buzzed around the room with delight, obviously picking up on the excitement of the moment. “Yes, yes! You can star in the movie Gone with the Wind! You can play Rhett Butler and your friend Jackie can star as Scarlett O’Hara! You two can fall madly in love!”

“Or I could write letters to her!” Foxxie cried happily. “We could write to each other, and she’ll never know it’s me! Then we could meet sometime, and she’ll discover that I was the one writing the letters all along! She’ll realize that I’m the one she loved all this time!”

“Oh, what fun that sounds.” The bee exclaimed, then settled down and sighed a happy sigh. “Wow. What a romance story that would make.”

Professor Marble smiled kindly at Foxxie. “So, my little Romeo, have you learned anything new today?”

“Dah.” Foxxie said. “I didn’t impress Jackie by getting that big beautiful flower. She couldn’t read my whole name. She must not have known it was from me.”

“Good. I’m glad to hear that you have learned a lesson today.” Professor Marble gave a small sigh of relief and nodded. “Now maybe you’ll think twice before going out and trying to impress Jackie. After all, she’s grown up and doesn’t have time to play with small toys like us anymore. We are only for display now.”

Foxxie shook his head quickly. “Oh, no! That’s not what I learned. I learned that one flower wasn’t enough, and that berries don’t give enough ink.” Foxxie exclaimed. “I’ll have to use my imagination to think even wilder next time. I’ll have to think of something better to write my name with. And, I’ll just have to get her lots of flowers!”

 

Foxxie Compares Problems to Dirty Laundry

Foxxie is a life-long character (and beanie baby friend) of ours. He’s motivational, no matter what, although his ideas are a bit far-fetched. His creative personality encourages those he befriends, which is anybody who crosses his path. His favorite interjection is the word “Dah!” meant as affirmation and praise. He wanted to write on our blog this week to give workaholics some friendly advice.

What’s up? I’m the fox, Foxxie, and I have a question for you!

Do you work, work, work, all day and all night, just to SLAM brick into a wall? Not literally but. Do you ever topple into a dumpy slump? Like, when you’re doing your job, if you’re a writer, and you’re writing a book, you get writer’s block. I compare problems to a pile of dirty laundry! A big, STINKY mess of clothes! Yuck!

If you do get in a mess, don’t let it get to you! Those somedays of dirty laundry aren’t your fault. Dah! If it was up to you? You’d keep it clean, but it’s LIFE that makes it dirty.

Don’t nag yourself for the spiral going outta control. Like, when the big washer sloshes around – buh-roo, broo, broo,– making some sound: that’s your life forcing you into a swishy wad. You’re the victim to unfortunate events. Yeah? It’s not your fault.

Let me tell you what I mean! There’s five things I can think of, where the dirty laundry hatches its mean plans, and you’re just kinda holding your head… “Aww, what happened!” … cuz you were doing your job so well, then boom! Life gives you a stinky, soggy disaster.

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1. Overloaded Routine: Mixing Whites with Colors

Nobody mixes whites with colors in hot water or else stuff changes. It all ruins! Well, the same goes for routine: one task gets a little dicey, before you know it, boom, boom, boom! Everything white’s now pink! The whole schedule’s hours, days, even weeks behind.

But Foxxie’s got advice for you – dah, I can help. If your routine’s in a rut, sliiiide it off your back. Chill! On purpose. Wear the now-pink-white as if it was always the plan. Don’t fret it! You can do it!!! Keep reminding yourself you can do it and don’t count lost time, just move on! Start anew.

2. Sad Things: Splattering the Bleach

Isn’t it harrowing when bleach splashes your best shirt? You get it outta the dryer, and there’s an ugly spot sitting there, staring at you. SAD! Like, “Once upon a time I was your favorite shirt… now I’m history.” Wah! I compare that moment to when it all becomes too much. When you work so hard on the job, then that feeling creeps up, making you think: I’m a failure. My work isn’t good. I should do something else. WELL DON’T LISTEN! IT’S NOT TRUE! You’re a winner!! Never surrender to spotty thoughts blemishing you. Instead, put on some music and keep trying! Keep it up!! Get it done!!!

3. Uninvited Company: Grass and Ink Stains

It happens! Like, when you’re about to start typing a new chapter in your story, then a person comes to your house and starts babbling nonstop: it’s like the nasty grass stains on dirty clothes that no stain remover can remove. You’re sitting there, staring at your screen, crying in your mind, because your precious story won’t write itself… you wanna put the blame on the uninvited company… creativity whooshes to the far reaches of your mind, perhaps never to be inspired again, it seems… the stain of interruption forever changing everything…

If it’s a salesman, that’s abominable rudeness, but if it’s a friend who interrupts, they’re ok. They need love!

So I’ve heard – you think it’s true? – smart folk say socialness helps your mind get more creative, not less! Maybe they’re right. Hard to say. Take a break from work, then, and you’ll do even better than if you’d been left alone! You’ll return saying, “Hey! I know how to make my story even better!” So I guess it’s ok to sacrifice a little of your time, when people are involved.

…If you’re not convinced, hey, think of it this way! Unless you wanna be Emily Dickinson and wait post-mortem for fame, you gotta get fans somehow!

4. Machines Stop Working: Washer Stops Washing

You know it! Air conditioners go out. The coffee pot stops brewing. Or your computer’s the problem. It stops working right in the middle of your best work. It freezes, turns blue, becomes a zombie! That’s when your life is like the washer that stops washing. You either can’t work at all – waiting for the maintenance man to come fix it – or you have to work in an inconvenient way. Kinda like scrubbing clothes by hand, scrub’o dub dub.

Broken machines make your life impossible! But it’s really not your fault. Hey, give yourself a pat on the back. Say “It’s ok! I got this.”

5. Yucky Health: Running Out of Soap

My personal worst is when the soap runs out! Dirty laundry can’t be washed and just keeps getting dirtier: hours get too long, body runs out of energy, and you just have to sleep in order not to die. Seriously! If you feel this happening, take care of yourself! Get some sun, or shade if your work’s outside. Drink some water! Watch TV! Take a nap. Care about yourself. You gotta stay well to see your dreams through ’til the end. It kinda sounded like I was teasing Emily Dickinson before, but hey, maybe she had to stay in her room, to stay well enough to write all those poems. It’s ok to rest. Foxxie wishes you well.

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When bad stuff happens, if there’s no way out of the dirty mess, and the only thing you can do is wait, no need to sit and mope. Have a pizza party! That’s what I do! It’s fun not to work all the time. Dah?