Sunday, April 23, 2017

With Joyful Abandon



Wrapped in his mother's arms, the boy's eyes darted from the action on stage to the actors quietly emerging from the back of the auditorium.  He nodded at his mother's gentle reminder that this was only a play. The newest arrival on set caught and held the small boy's attention like no other.
With a small gasp, his arms tightened and then loosed from his mother's neck, his intense whisper tickling her ear, "Look it's Jesus: Oh, Mommy I need to tell him that I love him. Please let me go and come with me!"
His mother allowed him to slip from her protective embrace.  His shoes gave off muffled slaps against the well worn carpet and he planted himself in front of the actor playing Jesus. The actor squatted down and held out his arms.
The little boy raced forward and declared, "I love you Jesus."
With a gracious smile the man responded, "I love you too!"

This account was recently told by my friend, the mother of the small boy.  My eyes welled up with tears as I imagined the scene she described.  Resurrection Sunday is a week behind us, and I am still affected deeply by her son's innocent, uninhibited actions.  Jesus said that we are to come to him as little children:  gladly, joyfully without thought of what others may think.

May we all take our cue from this small child and love with complete abandon.

Joyfully,

Thursday, April 13, 2017

My Favorite Things - April 2017 Edition


It's that time again, dear reader!

(cue game show theme music)

My Favorite Things!

From time to time, I like to indulge in a little show and tell. It's the grown up version where I show and tell you MY favorite things.

1. Topiaries. I have no idea why I love these round balls of greenery on a stick stuck in a planter, but, by golly, I do. Here is a photo of the current topiary offerings in my humble abode. Don't worry, they aren't usually lined up like this, but I am getting ready to move and stuck them altogether until I can figure out how to pack them.




2. The Tonight Dough by Ben & Jerry.  (Diet? What diet?!)  Ben, Jerry and I are not friends. Well, Ben and Jerry must be, but I am not included in their exclusive group. My political leanings are too far right for their taste. But for my taste, so many of their ice cream flavors hit the spot. Currently, I love the Jimmy Fallon inspired flavor, The Tonight Dough.


This delightful concoction combines caramel and chocolate ice creams with chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cookie dough and a crunchy chocolate cookie swirl for an extra-chunky experience that would knock the socks off your freezer, you know, if freezers wore socks.  It's a good thing they don't, huh?!



3. Hammocks. This wonderful outdoor lounging experience has been on my mind (and list) for quite awhile. And it was about time I made it official. What's not to love about a hammock? Well, okay, rolling out of one isn't the most pleasant experience . . .







4. LOST Though I never lost my enthusiasm for this show, I did learn to let it go . . . until last summer when I rewatched the series.  It made even more sense and I loved it even more the second time around.  I even went so far as to make THIS purchase:


Yahoo!  It was a steal . . . and I couldn't resist. Even my kids have leafed through it's many pages on more than one occasion.  JJ where are you?  Damon, Carlton?  We need another great series like this one.  TV just hasn't been the same . . . If LOST ever gets the boot on Netflix . . . I may have to purchase the series.  I'm just sayin'.  I'm also going to say one more thing: They weren't dead the whole time. Trust me. And if you believe they were: you missed the entire point of the show, but I love you anyway.

There you have it: my current faves and loves.  What are your faves?

Counting it all listy joy,

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring Has Sprung and the Fever Has Hit


It's nearly the middle of April, dear reader and we know what that means . . .



Spring Fever has hit in a big way in the Jubilant household! 

The weather hasn't been as cooperative for outside activities as it has been in years past, so instead of getting exercise outside, all anyone wants to do is huddle under blankets, watch tv or play XBox.  And if you know me at all . . . two out of those three things are not what I want as our go-to activities. 

So, what's a mama to do?

Well, we mix it up a little.

When I see a glazed look in my children's eyes as they stare out over their school work, I try valiantly to reign them in, but it can be mighty hard work.  Unless, of course, you have a few tricks up your sleeve . . .

We have a joke fest.  Each of us gets three minutes to tell all our favorite jokes, no matter how many times we have heard them before. There's nothing like a well told joke to boost the ego.

We have a dance party.  Crank up the music and jam like it's nobody's business! Now my 15 year old does not participate in the dancing, but he sure loves to give a running commentary on the rest of us and our dance moves. As long as he is not insulting and at least two out of the three of us are laughing, we go with it.  Oxygenating the body is a very, very good thing!

We make up stories. Yep, we tell stories about people we don't know, but have encountered in public places (Target, the airport, the park, etc).  The kids can get pretty creative with the background stories they come up with for these random people they've come across.

I tell them stories about when they were younger.  Not sure what it is about these stories, but no matter how many times I have told them, they always want to hear about when Whirling Dervish was rolling under the table yelling, "Somebody get me a lantern and a knife! The ants are swarming me!" while his 2 and 3 yr old classmates were sitting nicely eating a snack.  Or when The Cruise Director was five and was to receive a "graduation" certificate to go from the kindergarten Sunday school class to the "big" class and he dove under a pew to hide. Or when we would go to the mall and perfect strangers would come up to us and exclaim how beautiful our children were and then they would look at the Affectionate One and exclaim how ornery she was going to turn out.  And they were RIGHT!

Play table games.  We recently learned how to play Mexican Train, but my kids like to set up Dominoes to topple over after setting them up in long lines (how does this never get old?).  Or they set them up in elaborate "houses" to be crashed to the table. Of course, there is the obligatory games of war, Twenty One, jigsaw puzzles and Settlers of Catan . . .

Any of these activities gets their minds off the drudgery of school work for just long enough to get their brains working again.  And it reminds them that there is fun to be had once their work is through.

What fun and quick ideas help your school aged children get their minds back on track when Spring Fever has hit?  Share in the comments below, we'd love to try out your ideas too!

Counting it all joy,


Sunday, February 26, 2017


Congrats to our local public library for winning Race to Win. You can read my review of Race To Win by clicking here.



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Race to Win Review and Giveaway




 Well, the chickadees, two out of three of them, and I watched "Race to Win" the other night (read on to see how you can enter to win your very own copy here on www.notesofjubilee.com).  It was pretty much what you would expect of a family movie.  There were no surprises.  No surprises in plot, dialogue, language or characterizations.

Though I would not call this a Christian movie, it certainly has positive themes and encouragement to do your best and persevere.  It also reinforces the value of family unity.  Most of the scenes containing the father happen after his death, leaving the audience to decide just exactly how that happens.  No explanation is offered by the movie.  While it seems harmless enough (and we see this type of thing all the time in movies), I did have a brief conversation with my kids reminding them that this is not how life and death actually works.  I do not recall a single objectionable word or scene -- unless a couple of very mild bar scenes with minimal drinking is not your cup of tea.  This is a pretty safe movie for families to watch together.  Perhaps it's best for families with younger children or older children who haven't been exposed to anything beyond mild, animated movies, namely. 

For my tween and teen, and myself for that matter, the movie was slowly paced and the characters were poorly developed.   I don't need "Transformer Movie speed" to be entertained, though that would be my children's preference at this point, but I do appreciate a well-paced movie.  And I would not have minded a movie that was a tad bit longer so that the characters were developed better.  A plot twists or two would have been nice also.  Perhaps this was not the intent of the writer and director in the first place.  The main character, Hannah, has a limited character arc and shows the most range in acting.  Even the most well known actor, Luke Perry, seemed like he was merely putting in time on the set. But then, I never found him a particularly great actor anyway. Cute, but not a terrifically gifted actor.  ;)

Synopsis and **Spoiler Alert **
After the surprising death of her father, Hannah must figure out a way to save the family farm. Everyone, except Hannah, is sure that the way to round up the money needed to pay off the impatient loan shark circling the property is for her to enter a horse race and win the prize money. 

I have seen many movies of this type.  This particular movie did not give into the unlikely scenario of her winning the money, as other movies tend to do.  One of my children actually commented at the time of the race that the race was happening way too early in the movie for the audience to believe she was going to win. I thought that was an insightful comment for a kid.  And it mirrored my thoughts exactly.

It was not an unpleasant way to spend the hour and a half and it did have positive elements, mentioned earlier.  It just wasn't quite our speed of movie, nor a story-line that we found engaging.  My oldest, 15, refused to watch yet "another horse movie."  Perhaps we've watched a few too many . . .

If a mild-mannered, predictable movie with positive elements sounds just right for your family, please comment below (or on the previous post about this movie) that you watched the trailer for "Race to Win," linked here.  This giveaway will end Sunday, February 26th, 2017.  I will announce the winner shortly thereafter.

Counting it all joy,