Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Welcome to Narnia

We were all so excited for the kids' birthday party. We started thinking about another good gender neutral theme and Narnia seemed like a perfect fit for our family. Hubby had read all of the books to the kids in the past year and they loved them. We had watched all of the movies that had come out and G loved listening to the soundtrack music all the time. So we started thinking about what our Narnia party would include.

Decorations: There aren't any official Narnia party decorations available anymore so we had to get creative with what we used. We looked around our house for stuff we already had and brought our framed map of Narnia and the little toy Narnia figures that were from McDonald's that we'd purchased from eBay.

We went with a black and gold color scheme and used plastic tablecloths to cover the food tables and used black and gold throughout with plates, napkins, balloons and streamers.

Part of our main 'decorations' were our family's costumes. I looked around for fabric I might use to make something for the kids. I found a burgundy skirt with an organza overlay at the Goodwill store for $4 (probably the bottom to a bridesmaids dress). I bought that thinking I might make something for A out of it. Later I was out shopping at a consignment shop and found this gorgeous princess dress. It was perfect and only $10. I knew I couldn't make something for less than that. The owner heard me talking about Narnia and asked if I'd seen their boy's Narnia costume and I was thrilled. I knew G would LOVE it and he did, he wore it almost every day and still wears it around the house.

We mentioned our party to our friends who are in theater and costume design. They helped us by loaning me a top from a play and even made Hubby a tunic to wear over the real chain-mail they loaned us. It was about 30 pounds but he looked great.

We also brought dress up costumes for the guests to wear if they wanted. We had a box of dress up crowns, swords and shields we'd borrowed from our church.

Games: Our first game was a 'Dufflepud' race. Each child had their legs tied together so they could pretend they were the one footed Dufflepuds in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Our second game was White Witch freeze tag. The person with the wand was the White Witch and had to try and freeze everyone. To unfreeze a friend you had to breathe on them like Aslan did to all the Narnian statues.

Our third game was a 'weapons training' where we taught the kids how to use a sword and shield. I showed the girls how to use a bow and arrow and they got to practice their aim.

Goodie Bags: I found the perfect armor and swords at the dollar store and instead of goodie bags we sent each boy home with a sword and a piece of armor. So the boys were set for $2 each. For the girls I had looked everywhere to find something Narnian that they could have to take home. The day before the party I stopped by a Dollar General store and looked through the clearance bin and saw one bow and arrow set. I figured I'd use that for the archery practice and the kids could take turns. Then I went down the regular toy aisle and they had about 10 more of the sets for only $3 each. I thought, 'I wonder if these are on clearance too?' I was going to buy them even if they weren't because they'd be the perfect gift for the girls since Susan used a bow and arrow in the book. Sure enough they were all on sale too so I snapped them up for 60 cents each. That was my favorite deal of the party.

Food:  We served Animal crackers, pretzels, crackers and fruit but we knew we had to have some Turkish Delight like in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I made it but no one at the party liked it including me!

Cake: For the cupcakes I got gold cupcake liners and made a batch of vanilla frosted yellow with black sprinkles and chocolate frosted with yellow sprinkles. Then I topped them with pictures of Narnian characters and logos.

 Here's a printable 8.5x11 that I created to print out.

Gifts: After our games, snacks and cupcakes we put together Operation Christmas Child boxes. Instead of bringing gifts to our kids we invited guests to bring gifts to donate to our boxes. I explained what the boxes are for and how Father Christmas had given gifts to the Pevensie children in the Narnia books.

We made about twenty boxes using the donations the guests had brought and things I'd purchased or collected throughout the year.

After the party was over and we were back home the kids opened their gifts from us and from family. They miss getting lots of gifts from their friends but being able to give to children around the world and share the joy that we have is worth so much more. The whole party day went well and our kids and the guests had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One issue

Imagine you are voting in the 1780s instead of today. Consider 2 candidates. Candidate 1 holds many to most of your same views on the economy/taxes, foreign relations, and social issues. Candidate 2 has differing views on many to most of those same issues.

But, what if Candidate 1 was okay with slavery and Candidate 2 was an abolitionist? Who would you vote for? Would their position on slavery be enough to make you a single-issue voter? Would you give up voting for someone who shares most of your views to go with someone who supports the rights of all human beings, no matter their skin color?

But perhaps the pro-slavery candidate was not really "PRO" slavery as much as he was wanting individual people and states to make their own choices about it. He was okay with people owning slaves and he was okay if others decided that owning slaves wasn't for them, but he wanted to protect the rights of those who owned slaves. How about if he pointed out the positives of slavery and that we needed to consider how abolition would affect plantation owners. Or maybe he said that even if we stopped having slaves, what would prevent other countries from having them?

You know, in that time some people believed that Africans were not really fully human, more like animals, to be owned and traded as property. What changed the people’s minds and hearts and finally stopped slavery? I believe it was people facing the facts and good triumphing over evil. People had to come to grips with the fact that these slaves were human beings that God created, not animals or a lower class of humans. But the facts were laid out for a long time and no one could dispute them, yet still slavery continued. That is, until one day when someone in a high position took a stand and said it won't be tolerated anymore. Good had to triumph so that everyone had to acknowledge that skin color doesn’t determine worth.

My hope is that one day we will look back on abortion the way we now look back on slavery. My prayer is that good will triumph over evil and we will face the facts. It's a fact that there is life at the time of conception. It’s obvious with today’s medical technology that babies in the womb are humans and don’t become human simply when they are born, or even 'at the point of viability'. We can know that life begins at conception, because at conception a process is set in motion, the fetus keeps growing and growing. You can’t pinpoint a time after conception that signals, ‘okay, now it’s human/person.’ The sex of a child is determined at conception, how could this fetus be a boy or a girl, but not a human/person?

In 2010 I miscarried at 9 weeks along. We had just seen the sweet little heart beating on ultrasound a week or two before she/he died. No one could tell I was pregnant but when you see the little life before you on the screen, you can't deny that is a small growing person, one who needs protecting. Was my child more of a human because we'd wanted him/her? With all the medical advances in technology and how we can see into the womb the fact that there is life before birth has been laid out for a long time, yet still abortion continues

I feel strange even pointing these things out, since it’s not obvious to the world. I wonder how the abolitionists felt when they told people of the horrible atrocities on the slave ships and plantations and then were met with nonchalant attitudes.

As we near the current election we need to consider these bigger issues. EACH person has a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness we need to stand up and face the facts so that can apply to each person, even those who are still in the womb. I have hope and in my head I see a vision that one day our country will protect the life of the unborn, just as our country stood up and declared that slavery would not be legal. I feel like Christians have lost that hope and have just forgotten about this issue. And I think we, as a country need to do more to protect the life of the unborn. There are lots of ways to do that and voting pro-life is just one of them.

If you were looking back on time and could see Christians voting for someone who supported slavery what would you think of them? Perhaps these Christians knew slavery was wrong and hoped that one day there would be a change, but as they decided who to vote for, they may have felt that the economy was a more important issue, or the state of foreign relations. How will you look back on who you voted for in this election? Is protecting the life of the unborn important enough to make you a one issue voter?

The Supreme Court is the place where abortion was deemed acceptable. Only one person has the power to appoint justices to the court. Obama has already appointed one Supreme Court Justice in his first 4 years in office, will we give him the chance to appoint more justices who want to protect the right to kill innocent children?

And so what if the president doesn't get to nominate any judges. So what if the Supreme Court doesn't take another look at Roe v. Wade during the next four years, or the next 40 years. So what. How could I tell my grandchildren that I voted for someone that was for protecting people's 'right' to kill innocent babies. I would hope that in the 1780s I wouldn't have voted for someone who supported slavery, just like today I won't vote for someone who supports abortion, it's a foundational disagreement and I can't look past it.

I don’t care for politics and I dislike discussing it with friends because there are a lot of people smarter than me who will explain why healthcare is a bigger issue, or the economy is a bigger issue, or our relations with other countries, etc. But I don't think that Christians should tolerate a president who is not going to protect the life of innocent children and will instead stand up to protect the people who kill them. It nauseates me. 

I know there are a lot of issues that people consider as they are making their choice on who to vote for and Christians have differing convictions. My Democratic Christian friends (yes! there are such people!) who have prayed through their voting have done their job as good citizens. But I cannot disagree more. Simply said, a law allowing innocent human life to be killed is enough to make me a single-issue voter. I don’t know about all the issues, but I do know who stands for what on this issue. And for me the choice is clear.