Dave had pre-recorded Christmas specials like the Burl Ives’ version of Rudolph” and the animated “Grinch,” but she slurped the last of the milk and wanted more active play.
I treasured AG’s idea that we “play Christmas” with the nativity set she and her sister had received as a gift this year. We took turns telling parts of the story, but it was the heart of a child that lined all the people and animals up this way “because everyone should see Jesus.”
Austyn Grace swims like a fish in the summer, so the hot tub created a great place to laugh, stay warm, and tell stories together. And AG loves to have anyone read to her or tell her made up tales.
I don’t remember exactly when I began making up stories using a character I called Big Bad Bart, but this 4 1/2-year-old requests new tales at a mind-staggering pace. BBB gets into trouble when he lies or takes things. In each story, AG’s Daddy, two grandfathers, two uncles or other strong adults always catch this crafty wolf, and he says he is sorry. However, in the very next story, he reverts to his old tricks again. Over time I want AG to come to the realization that simply saying, “Sorry,” and trying harder, have no real power to change the heart. I pray for the day she will realize that the only true hope for heart change lies with a call from the Good Shepherd to her.
She has now asked me to tell her stories about BBB’s sister, appropriately named Big Bad Barb. Barb’s difficulties always come from her bad attitudes and rudeness . Now why did AG want me to talk about a female character like that?
Karen Bonser, our pastor’s younger daughter, is a gifted artist who loves to create cartoon characters. When I told her I wanted a blue-eyes dandy with Peter Rabbit type clothes, she drew Big Bad Bart in about 20 minutes!
And, yes, although I didn’t complete the Snapfish book in time for Christmas, I have, in progress, a book about sharing. The book includes text, photos and cartoons. In the meantime, I found myself having to create multiple stories about the adventures of Big Bad Bart whenever AG and I sat in the hot tub.
In our late afternoon hot tub session, the snow fell in earnest. Fat flakes fell and the wind carried the snow under the porch to the point that we tried to catch snow flakes on our eye lashes! Austyn Grace kept diving under the water and swimming around under the covered half of the tub. She did that just to feel her hair freeze when she stayed above the water for a few minutes! We did “the raisin test” on our fingers to see when we had to make a hasty run for the warmth of the basement’s gas fireplace. But before we left the tub, the Lord sent us a lovely sight. Perched in a snow-covered sat a cardinal, and an opportunity to talk to AG about God’s amazing creation. Thanks, Lord.