Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sinda the Tiger

I was reading a sad story yesterday about Sinda the Tiger. Sinda was a tiger at the Louisville Zoo. They had to euthanize her because she had an inoperable oral cancer. It is very sad, however; Sinda was 17 years old, which is considered pretty old for a tiger. In 2004, Sinda gave birth to two tiger cubs, Anya and Irisa. Those cubs now reside at the Columbus Zoo. I was browsing through some of my photos last night and I came across a photo of Sinda that I had taken last summer. I thought I would share that photo with all of you.

I really enjoy going to the zoo. I always take my camera and I usually end up taking hundreds of photos. The animals have such personality and I really enjoy photographing them. Along with my camera, I also usually take my nephew, Connor, with me when I go to the zoo. He makes the experience more enjoyable. He enjoys the zoo as much as I do.

I thought I would share a few photos today of the animals at the Louisville Zoo. As you view these photos, please don't forget that the zoo is usually open year-round and they need your patronage to pay for the animal feed.

Naptime for Sinda the Tiger

Inquisitive Meerkat

Pile O Meerkat

Feeding Time at the Zoo

Gorilla Snacktime

Proud Lion

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking Myself Too Seriously

I've been reading some of my recent posts and I've decided that the election really overwhelmed my thoughts for the last few months. My posts got entirely too serious. And while I love a good discussion about religion, politics, current events, etc., I think I will take a more laid-back approach to my posts for a while. We are getting into the heart of the Holidays and I want to have some fun! Are you in?

I find that the closer it gets to Thanksgiving, the more I begin to anticipate Christmas. I truly love Christmas. I love decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. I love giving gifts (although I'm not a big fan of shopping). I love getting together with family and friends and having good conversation and good food. I especially love wrapping gifts while watching Christmas shows and movies. I started thinking about the shows and movies I always watch every year and I decided that I would list them for you, so here you go:

1. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
3. Dr. Suess - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
4. It's A Wonderful Life
5. A Christmas Story
6. Scrooged
7. Home Alone (1 & 2)
8. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
9. Frosty The Snowman
10. A Smokey Mountain Christmas
11. Mickey's Christmas Carol
12. Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
13. The Santa Clause
14. Elf
15. The Grinch
16. Miracle on 34th Street (both the 1947 & 1994 versions)
17. Jingle All The Way
18. Deck The Halls

I'm sure there are probably more that I can't think of right now, but these are some of my favorites. I think there are a great many people who may not have seen #12 on my list, Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. I saw this when I was a little girl and I've never forgotten it. It always stuck out in my mind. There have been some years where it wasn't on television during the holidays and I would be bummed. I never understood why this particular program stuck in my mind so much. I mean, it is a really sweet story, but I just didn't get why it stood out in my mind so well, even when years went by without seeing it.

For those of you who haven't seen this adorable little program, let me summarize the show for you. First of all, the program is done in claymation (like Rudolph). It is about a little donkey named "Nestor" who is born in a manger somewhere in Israel around the time of Jesus' birth. He is born with abnormally-long ears and he always trips over them and falls on his face. His mother is always saying, "Your ears, Nestor" and he will try to be careful to not trip on his ears. He is also ridiculed by the other animals in the manger. One day all of the animals are picking on him and his mother tries to defend him and the owner of the manger throws Nestor and his mother out in the cold. That night Nestor and his mother get caught in a blizzard and she uses her body to keep him warm during the storm. In the morning Nestor wakes to find that his mother has died. Nestor ends up at the market place for sale and a pregnant woman and her husband are looking to buy a donkey to carry the pregnant woman to Bethlehem. They don't have much money, but since Nestor is defective with his long ears, they get him cheap. Nestor carries the pregnant woman (Mary) with her husband (Joseph) all the way to Bethlehem without once tripping over his ears. He is there to see the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful little story. However, this still doesn't really explain why it stood out in my memory since I was a little girl.

One day when I was a teenager, my mother came in and I was watching Nestor. She proceeded to tell me a story about the first time I saw this sweet little Christmas program.

When I was 3-years old, I watched Nestor with my mother. When Nestor's mommy dies in the snowstorm, my Mom said I cried for hours. Nothing she could say could ease my pain. I was so distraught at the idea of Nestor's mommy dying that I just couldn't quit crying. My Mom said that it took so long to calm me down that she swore I would never watch that program again. Finally, a few years later she let me watch it again and the crying was far less severe that time.
I just wonder how many other mothers went through this same ordeal with their tender-hearted little girls.

What is your favorite Christmas program and why? I'd love to hear your stories.

Frosted Bushes

Snowy Limbs

My Christmas Tree

Monday, November 17, 2008

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

I have often heard the phrase "Every cloud has a silver lining." I've always understood that the saying meant that even during difficult times there could be some good to come of out of it. I just didn't understand why they said that clouds have silver linings. It wasn't until one day I was looking at a cloud with the sun shining directly behind it that I understood where the phrase come from.

After the election this year, this phrase came to mind. I wanted John McCain to win the election because I feel that Barack Obama is too liberal when it comes to issues of protecting innocent life (abortion). However, in my own personal disappointment, I can still see the silver lining. There were a couple of "silver lining" results in this election.

Firstly, Americans demonstrated that perhaps they are starting to put this country's history of racism behind them. When Barack Obama was giving his acceptance speech and recited the phrase "Yes We Can!," I was reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King. I remembered back to Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I wasn't alive to see Dr. King's speech in person, but I have heard it numerous times and it never ceases to bring a tear to my eye and goosebumps to my flesh. I felt that same feeling as I listened to Barack Obama give his speech that night. I can only imagine how Dr. King would have felt if he had still been alive on the evening of November 4th, 2008, when he saw a black man nominated as President of the United States of America.

Secondly, Americans got out and voted in record numbers. Young people got involved in the democratic process that makes this the greatest country in the world. Americans are starting to understand that they do have a voice and in this great country they can use that voice in the voting booths. I still think that too many voters don't do enough research on the candidates and their positions, but at least they are getting involved in the political process. Hopefully, Americans will continue their interest in the political process and vote in every election. I also hope that Americans will do the necessary research and not just rely on liberal media and political ads to decide their votes.

I may not agree with all of his political beliefs, but I will support Barack Obama as my President. We all need to stand up and support our President and pray for him to make wise decisions for our country. We also need to pray that God will work in his heart so that he will protect ALL human life, both born or unborn. May God Bless You and may God Bless America!

Sunset in the Park

A Hint of Blue Sky

The Silver Lining

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Final Thought Before You Vote Tomorrow

Are you a Christian? If you are a Christian, I want you to think about something before you vote.

We know that Barack Obama is the most liberal candidate we've ever had on the ballot. We also know that he is also the most pro-abortion candidate that has ever been on the ballot. We know that John McCain is pro-life (as well as his running mate, Sarah Palin). We know that some of the ideas Barack Obama has regarding health care and the economy sound pleasing to the ears (if you are poor or lower-middle class). We know that John McCain believes that hard work should be rewarded. By now there are lots of things we should know about the view points of these candidates. Most people will be considering these view points before they cast their ballots.

However, if you are a Christian, the thing you should consider is this: If you were to stand before Jesus today and have to account for the way you voted, would you be able to look him in the eye and say that you voted for a candidate that you know does not respect human life (which is created in the image of God) because you thought it would be better for your wallet?

If you are a Christian this is something you should consider before you mark your ballot tomorrow.