Ying’s Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

Being a writer, it’s a pretty amazing experience to have a personal relationship with your own fictional characters.  “Personal relationship”- It sounds pretty crazy.  Schizophrenia or something, right?

It’s not exactly the same thing; it’s not like our characters have audible voices or visual appearances (or at least not until we draw them.)  It’s all just in the head; like a daydream, a conversation you have with yourself, except one side of the conversation is a fictional character that you’ve written into a story.  Kinda like in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, except if Walter Mitty had been imagining fictional characters instead of his boss or the co-worker that he liked.

Sometimes, the conversation you have with a fictional character can be quite enlightening.

Lacy and I have been cooking stir fry for years now, but we could never figure out the way to master the meal.  Chicken, tofu, etc… no matter what we tried… it tasted… “home-made”.  Which isn’t a bad flavor, not bad at all.  But not authentically Asian take-out.

“The trick is sesame oil,” we would always hear.  But we’ve tried sesame oil, and it’s never worked well in our meals.  We just… always seemed to do something wrong.  The flavors don’t mix well with… whatever else we do… I’m not really sure why.

But finally, one day, we had the kitchen completely to ourselves as we chopped the veggies and prepared the chicken for the stir fry (which was as simple as opening the cans and draining the liquid from it).  We were having fun, joking around in the kitchen, and “hanging out” with a character from one of our stories, one of our Asian characters.  While I was on one end of the kitchen chopping garlic and onion and the veggies for the recipe, Lacy decided to take the advice of Ying – our character – and experiment with the chicken and sesame oil.  She voiced the conversation out loud so that I could be a part of it. (Hence, the “having fun, joking around… and hanging out with a character” mentioned above.)

Lacy: Ying wants me to do something different with the chicken.

Kat: (sidetracked with chopping carrots) Oh….kay?

Ying: Please, please let me try it.  I promise it will taste good.

Lacy: (hesitant) I don’t know… we don’t like sesame oil Ying.  I don’t want to ruin the food for everybody.

Ying: Oh, please.  It won’t be ruined.

Kat: (stops chopping to think) Well…

Ying: Please.  I know how to do it. I cook like this all the time!

Kat: How different will it be?

Lacy: (still hesitant) Well it won’t be that different.  She just wants to put the sesame oil and maybe some soy sauce and ginger on the chicken before she puts it in the wok to cook.

Kat: Hmm…

Ying: (begging) Please.  I promise, it’ll be good.  Everyone will like it.

Kat: Well… what’s the harm?  It’s not that much different.  We’ll just do it this once, so… just let her do it.  (joking) Besides, she’s Chinese, she’d know how to do it better than we would, right?  (to Ying) Go ahead.

Ying: Yay!  Thank you so much, I won’t let you down.

Lacy: Ok. (shrugs) Let’s do this, Ying.

We were hesitant about changing our recipe, because we’ve never been able to make the sesame oil taste very good.  But Ying was so confident in her knowledge on cooking Chinese food, we decided to take her word for it and experiment with the food.

What resulted was… by far the best stir fry meal we had ever made.

Lacy wrote down the recipe, in the diction of her character Ying.  Here it is below:

Ying'sChicken-Ingredients

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: about 20 minutes

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Cabbage, about 4 cupscabbageHeadTip

Baby Carrots, about 4 cups

Celery, 4 large stalks

Broccoli, 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen

Onion, 1 sweet yellow

Garlic, 8-10 fresh cloves

Sesame Oil, 1 tablespoon

Ginger, 1 teaspoon ground + additional sprinkling

Canned Chicken, 2 (12.5 oz.) cans

Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon + additional sprinkling

Coconut Oil, 3 tablespoon

Coconut Sugar, 1 teaspoon

Red Wine Vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps:

YingsChicken-Rice

If you want to serve rice with your stir fry, the first step is to put the rice onto cook. Having a rice cooker makes this very easy. I recommend jasmine rice as a wonderful compliment to this meal, but you can cook brown rice if it’s your favorite.

Step 1 – Open cans of chicken and drain liquid. Place chicken in a bowl and stir in sesame oil and soy sauce (1 Tbsp.), then evenly stir in the ginger (1 Tsp.).

YingsChicken-ChickenStep 2 – Chop the vegetables. Cut the cabbage into large shreds, baby carrots into chopped pieces, and celery into crunchy slices. The onion should be diced, and the garlic also. This is all very good for your muscles and diet, to stand in kitchen and cut, except the crying part when you cut the onions, although some even consider that cleansing. I don’t know if I do.YingsChicken-ChoppedVeggies

Step 3 – The best pan to use with this recipe is a wok, because it is a deep pan that you can cook meat and vegetables in with a searing technique. Pour coconut oil into wok until the bottom is covered. Swish it around, to cover it more evenly. Add cut onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the aroma of the garlic fills the air and their colors change slightly (don’t burn it!). Drop chicken on top of the oil mixture, letting it stay on top, and cook on high heat until the garlic has browned, then stir, with a wooden spoon, the mixture together.YingsChicken-CookGarlicOnionsChicken

Step 4 –  Turn your oven onto “Broil” setting. Did you know that by putting the frozen broccoli under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes, you can remove the excess water and ice, and give the stir fry a better quality? That’s why you want the broiler on. Open the bag of broccoli and dump the florets into a cake pan, opening the oven and putting it under the heat. Watch it carefully because you don’t want the florets to get black on them; so in about 4 minutes, take it out of the oven and stir the florets, placing it back under the heat for another 2-3 minutes. When it’s finished heating, the broccoli will be less icy and a bit rubbery to the touch. That’s ok. You will cook it all the way in the stir fry.

YingsChicken-Brocolli

Step 5 – Keep searing the chicken on high heat. Juice is good. It keeps garlic and onion from burning. However, what you are trying to do is sear the meat until all the juice is gone and the chicken is being directly impacted by the heat, so you can brown the sides. Watch it carefully, letting it cook without stirring for about 3 minutes until you fold the chicken again, trying to turn it and let it cook on other sides. Cook until all the juice is gone and the meat is browned on different sides. (Some sides may be browner than others, and that’s good.) It’s about a total of 8 minutes cooking the chicken.

Juggle the task of checking the broccoli in the oven and chicken in the wok, keeping an eye on both while they’re cooking.

Step 6 – Add carrots to the chicken in the wok. This is a new layer, so begin with not stirring it in while you let it sit and cook for another minute on high. You can add more soy sauce if you want, and also, now it is time to season the stir fry with red wine vinegar and coconut sugar, because the carrots are delicious with their own seasoned taste.  After seasoning, stir the carrots into the chicken and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.YingsChicken-LayerCarrots

Step 7 – Add a new layer: celery. In this layer, you may add more ginger to your liking, sprinkling it in, to give the vegetables a bit more flavor, stirring the celery in after you season it. Cook for another 4 minutes on high heat.YingsChicken-LayerCelery

When you are able to slice a carrot with your wooden spoon, you are ready to move onto the next step.

Step 8 – Add broccoli on top. Do not stir it in. There should be enough liquid from the vegetables at this point, but if you need more (check the bottom to see) add more soy sauce. More ginger can be added (optional) in this layer, too, but only in a sprinkle. Cook for 3 more minutes on high heat.YingsChicken-Layerbroccoli

Step 9 –  In all it is about 10 minutes that you have been cooking the veggies. YingsChicken-CabbageAt last, add the cabbage layer and cook it only until the cabbage is slightly limp and less white in color, but it is best with a slight crunch which can only be kept with minimal cooking. Let the cabbage stay on top, and don’t stir until it’s almost ready to take off the heat. Salt and pepper this layer if you’d like to. I personally don’t like too much pepper but a little can add flavor. Add soy sauce, or take the soy sauce to the table for others to use it like they want. Some people like the saucy, salty taste while some the plainer flavor, I’ve learned.

Step 10 – Enjoy!

YingsChicken-Enjoy

 

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To Infinity and Beyond! (From Abstract to Absolute)

You must have felt, the air is chilly, when that craving for hot, steamy satisfying tea appears, where you crave that comfortable heat to fill your body, your hands, your head, your heart; you don’t want to freeze, so you want hot tea. Your favorite flavor may be zesty lemon, fresh mint, or spicy cinnamon. “Ahhh” would be a natural reaction your lungs have when steam fills yours nostrils, cheeks begin to rosy up, and your nose gets runny.

That’s how I feel when I get tea. You?

At least with the leading brands like Yogi, tearing back the paper and pulling out the stringed teabag lately brings the reading of a wise proverb. One tea stated,

“Love without trust is like a river without water”.

I like that one. Another tea stated,

“The gate to happiness is self-compassion”.

(What is happiness? …self-compassion?)

Wise sayings like these are usually harmless. Mostly they hold some truth, take them as they are. However, the second message (about self-compassion) can be interpreted both to harm and not to harm, due to its abstractness. For example:

A mother’s interpretation might be: “I should care about me this weekend. I’ll soak in a long bath while the hubby’s home.” Mostly harmless.

A painter’s interpretation: “Heed not the family business. Instead, do what makes me happy and go to art school.” Maybe harmful, maybe not.

But then a troubling interpretation from an angry teen: “To protect myself, I should get rid of the bullies. Tomorrow the gun goes in my backpack.” Mostly harmful!

Do you see where I’m going?

There’s no need to blame the teabags for sinister influence. These sayings are far too short and vague for the granting of ill intentions, and it’s entirely the responsibility of each person how he thinks, how he plots, or how he reacts. Right?

With that said, what concerns my writing today is the manner in which we consume abstract thoughts like these – even if each person is responsible for their own living and own behavior, it is the responsibility of a society, or a community, to provide the ambience needed for people to produce good thoughts each on their own.

It is a matter of how we habitually think and live. If we make a habit of consuming messages that are vague and abstract, our lives will be lived in the same abstractness. Our lives will be lived for the general purposes of “happiness”, “wellness”, or “productivity”; that is, the persons that we are will become bounded to the finite. The predictable. The limited. The temporary. Without the eventual consumption of that which is deep, unlimited, and endless, we will never find the absolute truth that sets us free.

As I have taught from week to week for more than a year now on my blog, I teach again: we can find that absolute truth by reading the entire Bible. It allows us to live a life boundless and free, unpredictable, unimaginable, and everlasting. Partly the purpose of my blog has always been to discuss again and again the Scriptures so you will come to know the Bible without having to read it alone and in cold, hard truth. I pray you come to see the burdens-lifting message of the gospel.

The inspiration of my writing today came from a teabag message I have not yet shared with you. I believe it is my favorite, because it brings to my mind the entirety of Christ. Quote:

“Love is an experience of infinity.”

What Yogi meant by putting it on its product I don’t know. Maybe,

God is love.

Love at its fullest mends all hurts.

Love shared by two people has an out of this world feeling.

Lovers are metaphorically stargazers who will never see every star no matter how long they gaze.

Love literally does not stop when completely unconditional.

Love has no ending of explanations.

Christ, however, reveals the quote much less abstractly, in fact, as Paul states it, there was a mystery and that mystery is now seen in Christ. All that was abstract is now absolute in our Lord and King who reigns on heaven and in earth. Read this passage in Ephesians 3:14-21 to get a true taste of infinity!

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

 

 

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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