Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Early this morning, we recieved a phone call informing us of a friend of ours that shot and killed himself last night. My mind can't help but return to our last conversation, the last time I saw him. It was mid June, he actually recognized me. I wasn't paying any attention, just trying to get groceries loaded in the car. I saw a guy approaching me, but since I wasn't far from the cart return, I just knew that's where he was going.
Then I heard him call my name. Turning toward him, I looked at a shell of my friend. (Little background..we went to higschool together, were in the same youth group, I went to his wedding, been a part of both baby showers, couple of cookouts,ect. Not somone I chatted with weekly, or even monthly, but still one I would call friend)
Formalities aside, we talked about our families, he was divorced, had married again and had just spent some time in jail. We talked about our upcoming reunion, chatted about some folks we had seen, some we were looking forward to seeing again.
He shared how the only time he felt good was when he drank.
It was a quick conversation, but one that will be burned into my memory for years to come.
I invited him to church, his response was that he couldn't come, the guilt of not living up to his family and God's expectations would be too much.
We shared a goodbye hug. I was burdened for him, and now today,my heart just aches. I ache as his friend, and I ache for his family.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dreaming Dreams

Last evening Sweetie and I sat with friends and listened to a speaker talk about How to Live your Dreams. He talked about how we are all faced with choices and if there is something we want to do we need to picture that goal in our minds eye and GO FOR IT!
Aren't motivational speakers something? They just get ya all psyched up and ready to jump out of bed in the morning and change the world, or at least try to change your world.
There are many opinions on how to do this, whether it is a certain product or activity or place to visit. If your family wears this brand of clothing, uses these products, drives this vehicle, all will be well in your world. How does a person choose?
I don't know about you, but I do strive for some of these products, for myself and my friends and family. We are even blessed enough to have a few of these "things" and have gone to some of the places talked about. It was fun, and when it was over, we set new goals.
While it is exciting to go and do, and have new things, I believe it is equally important to make the best out of the situation you are in currently. Is there a way you can help someone in your community? Is it a neighbor, a coworker or a friend? Do you take the time to see behind the mask they are wearing?
If we succomb to the worlds eye view of what will make us happy we will never be content, because there will always be a newer and more efficient model coming in just as we finally get the original item. (and most likely we still have to finish paying for the first one!)
Learn to enjoy the time we have with one another. Turn the electronics off! Talk to each other! We are losing precious time, time we will never get back with our friends, neighbors, and family.
Set small goals for yourself. Something that you can achieve in a shorter period of time. This will keep the disappointment down and depression at bay. With several small goals accomplished, you will have the self esteem needed to pursue and achieve the big ones too.
Another point I would like to make is.. time changes goals. One thing we can bank on is that life is full of change. Month after month, year after year, there are few goals that stay the same.
This country's current economic situation is depressing. We know several folks who are out of job. Losing a job, or two, losing your home..are huge crushing blows to a person and thier family. Everyone is affected.
How can we Dream our Dreams in this economy? How about looking in the mirror? Count your blessings! That will perk you up in this depressing time.
As I look over the last few months I see a change in everyone around me. Folks are helping folks. There is a bigger sense of community. Coupon sharing, harvest out of local gardens is being shared instead of sold, people cutting thier spending, more eating at home than in restaurants. More staying home instead of out and about. I've seen more people hanging out in backyards, on the front porches..talking to each other.
May God open all our eyes to these changes so we may embrace them as yet another opportunity to grow our faith, another opportunity to shine as He wants us too. It's amazing how much more quickly I achieve something when I take the time to help someone else out first. Who's life will you change just by giving of your time, and your abilities without asking for anything in return?

July 2009 Chester's 4th of July

It’s the Fourth of July Chester!

“Chester, Wake up! It’s July 4th!” Boomer squeaked into Chester’s ear.
“What?” Chester asked, wiping the sleep from his eyes.
“Remember last year? We had a picnic, we played games, and then when it was dark there was a big noise, and then the pretty colors! Do you remember?” said Boomer excitedly bouncing around Chester’s bedroom.
“I remember…” mumbled Chester rolling over and hiding his head under a leaf.
“Chester, Chesssster, Cheeeeeeeeeesssstttterrrr!” Boomer yelled.
“I’m up!” Chester barked.
“Knock, Knock!” said a voice from the other outside of Chester’s front door.
”SIGH, why can’t I ever sleep in, even just a little?” Chester muttered while walking toward the door.
As Chester opened the door, Lily buzzed around the corner and into his front room.
“Good Morning Chester!” she said. “Your Mom told me to tell you she is making a picnic lunch for us, and your dad has sparklers, and…”
“OOOH!” interrupted Boomer. “What is a sparkler?”
Chester yawned. ‘Why was everyone in his house so early in the morning?’
“It’s a stick that sparkles when you light it with fire.” Dart replied as he flew in the front door; landing in front of the group. Dart explained how all fireworks need a spark of fire, that’s what makes them explode and have all the colors.
“Then I don’t think that is a good idea.” Chester said shaking his head.
“What; why not?” Lily asked.
“If it has to do with fire, I don’t want anything to do with it. Fire scares me.” Chester said folding his arms across his chest.
“First off, your dad doesn’t HAVE sparklers; he said he knew there would be lots of sparklers tonight.” Dart corrected Lily.
“Can’t we just watch? We don’t have to touch them do we?” Lily asked.
“No, we don’t, we are only going to watch the skies, just like last year.” Dart replied.
“Can we talk about what we are going to do today?” Chester asked his friends.
Once everyone settled down it was decided they would go on a scavenger hunt for supplies they could use while watching the fireworks. The group split up and agreed to meet at Chester’s parents’ tree for dinner. Boomer and Lily went to look for some soft leaves to lie on, while Dart and Chester went to hunt some snacks for them to eat.
“I know where to find some good fuzzy ones!” Lily said.
“I’m right behind you!” said Boomer as he followed Lily down into the woods.
Meanwhile, Chester and Dart were gathering berries off some bushes when they heard some whispering. Dart motioned for Chester to join him under the bush so they could watch and listen.
“Do you think anyone saw us?” a voice said.
“No, did you get some firecrackers?” said another.
“I sure did!”
“I watched my brother light some like these last year.”
“Let me see!”

Chester could see three boys scrunched down under some trees. Dart motioned to Chester he was going to get a closer look. Dart backed out from under the bush and flew up into a nearby tree. He then waved to Chester to come join him.
Once Chester was high up in the tree with Dart, he could see a little better. The boys now had some smoke around them and little sparks of fire could be seen as they threw little white papers down on a rock.
“That’s fire they are playing with, isn’t it?” Chester whispered to Dart.
“Yes, they are using it to light the fireworks.” Dart said shaking his head back and forth.
“I thought humans were smarter than us. What can we do to stop this before the woods catch on fire?” Chester asked.
“I’m going to go find the Ranger.” Dart said.
“How will he know to follow you?”
“I will bug him until he understands.” Dart said as he flew up into the sky.
Chester sat in the tree hidden by leaves as he watched and listened to the boys’ pop fireworks. He wondered how no one could hear them as there were people on the trails and the golf course today.
Soon the boys grew tired of the popping and started pulling out what looked like sticks and lighting them. The thing on the end of the stick would shoot up into the air, followed by a little trail of smoke. Then a few minutes later a little parachute would float down to the ground. This was scary for Chester as sometimes they would shoot right up into the tree where Chester was hiding.
Chester climbed down the tree a ways so he could see when Dart was coming. It wasn’t long before Chester saw Dart and then the Ranger climbing up through the underbrush. Dart flew to Chester, and waited to see what would happen next. The boys were laughing and talking so much that they didn’t hear the Ranger until he was right behind them.
“BOYS!” the Ranger thundered.
All three jumped back, desperately trying to hide the fireworks behind them.
“We aren’t doing anything officer.” One of them stammered.
“Seems to me you were shooting off fireworks. That is illegal here in the park. Let’s gather all this up and walk it back down to my office. Then I have some phone calls to make to your parents.”
The boys obeyed the officer and gathered up all the trash and the rest of the fireworks and sheepishly started to make their way down the trail to the Ranger station. As the Ranger passed by he looked up to see Dart and Chester. With a smile and a wave he mouthed a “thank you” to them. Chester was thrilled. He had never had a human talk to him before.

“Dart you are a hero today.” Chester said giving Dart a high five.
“We both helped save the park today, Chester.” Dart said. “Now let’s finish gathering so we can go eat, I’m hungry!”

Boomer and Lily were helping Mom chipmunk get dinner together when Dart and Chester arrived. They were putting the finishing touches on a strawberry cake.

“Yummy!” Dart said cocking his head from left to right.
“I helped with the frosting!” Boomer said.
“What did you guys find?” Lily asked.
“We found some marshmallows and graham crackers that someone left behind at a campsite.” Dart said as he and Chester set the supplies next to the tree.
“I found lots of nuts and berries”. Chester said.
As the friends and family sat down to eat, Chester sniffed the air.
“Everything smells so good!” he said, whiskers twitching.
“There is something here for everyone!” Dad chipmunk said as he placed a juice pitcher on the table.
As the sun started to fade, the group was still sitting around the table laughing and joking with each other.
“Mom, this was so good!” Chester said giving her a big hug.
“Glad you liked it, does anyone want cake?” she replied.
Everyone agreed that cake was a great idea. Once the cake had been eaten, and clean up was finished, the friends were ready to lie back and watch some color fill the night sky.
The leaves that Boomer and Lily found were so very comfortable, and smelled so good, Chester was afraid he might go to sleep before all the fun started.
“Dart, do you think we should say anything to everyone about what happened while we were out today?” Chester asked as he sat down next to his friend.
“No, let’s just have fun tonight.”
“What are you two talking about?” Chester’s dad asked.
“Oh, just the adventure Dart and I had today! We got to see the Ranger in action!” Chester gushed.
“That’s nice.” Dad chipmunk said as he stretched out on some leaves.
“OH! I see one!” Boomer shouted. “Look!”
Fizz! Pffffft!
Pow! Bang! BOOM!

As the sky exploded with color the group sat together beside the lake and pointed out their favorite fireworks to each other. It was a great ending to another fun holiday.

June 2009 Chester's Sleepover

A Summertime Sleepover

Chester and Dart were planning their sleepover. “First we will eat, and then we will play games!” Chester said excitedly.
“Let’s stay awake all night!” Dart added.
“Okay! Ummmm. I need to get home and get things ready.” Chester replied.
“See you in a couple hours, Chester!” Dart said as he flew off to get his overnight bag.

Chester had lots to do to get his home ready for Dart to spend the night. He wanted everything to be perfect. He hurried down the trail back to his home. Hopping inside he grabbed some containers and headed back into the woods.
First, Chester dug up lots of worms, putting them into a small cooler. Dart would love that! Next, he picked two baskets full of berries. One he would mash down into juice for them to drink and the other for snacks. Chester yawned, it had been a full day already and Chester was getting tired from all the running back and forth.

Just as Chester was pulling the second basket into his home, his mom poked her head around the corner.
“Hi Chester! I brought over some snacks for later tonight.”
“Mom, I didn’t know you were here!” Chester said, giving her a big hug. “Your snacks are the best! Thank you!”
“I’m here too Chester!” his father said, coming in the door.
“Hi Dad, what’s up?” he said giving his dad a high five.
“Your mom said that she heard you were having a buddy spend the night and she wanted to bring over some snacks and extra bedding.” Dad chipmunk said.

Chester looked around his home. There were two extra quilts folded in the corner, a bucket full of peanuts, and a stack of games in another basket.
“Thanks guys! This is going to be great!” Chester clapped his hands in delight.
“Your dad brought you boys a surprise!” Mom said as she squeezed the berries into a pitcher.
Chester’s eyes widened. “Oh! What is it?”
Chester’s dad waved at Chester to follow him into the dim hallway. “But Dad, I can’t see back there!”
“Come here, and you will see!” Dad chipmunk was pulling two jars out of his backpack. Each jar had a glow about it.
Chester leaned in close. “What is that?”
“It’s firefly juice, so you can glow after dark. Just rub this on yourselves or anything you want to glow and you will be able to see even in the dark.”
“Dad, you rock! I can’t wait to try it out!” Chester exclaimed.

Mom chipmunk slowly spread the quilts out on the floor. Inside each quilt was a fresh pillow.
Chester sniffed the air. “What is that smell?”
“It’s mint! I put fresh mint into these new pillows so you and Dart will have sweet dreams.” she answered.
“Did you leave us any to munch on?” Chester asked.
Mom chipmunk winked, “I sure did! Over there in the bag on the counter.”
“Mom, you rock too!” Chester laughed.
“Okay, we had better get out of here; it is almost time for Chester’s company to show up.” Dad chipmunk said, opening the door to leave.
“Thanks, both of you! Thank you for everything!” Chester said waving goodbye.
“Have fun Chester!” Mom chipmunk said as she turned the corner out of sight.

Chester was still smiling when Dart knocked on the door.
“Come in Dart!” said Chester.
“Are you ready to have fun? My mom gave me some raisins, and a new box of cards to play with.” Dart said, bringing his bag inside.
“My parents came by and dropped off some things too! We are all set!” said Chester as he showed Dart all the fun things waiting for them to use.

The two friends laughed, and played games for several hours. It didn’t take long for them to work up an appetite. They had quite a lot to choose from for dinner once they set it all out. Dart filled up on berry juice and worms, while Chester ate a little of everything.

Next, Chester brought out the firefly juice. The friends smeared it on their faces and took turns scaring each other. Then they drew pictures on the walls and floors. Soon there were soft glowing pictures of each other, and many of their adventures all around them.
“Sigh! What a great day! Thanks for letting me come over Chester!” Dart said lying back on his fresh pillow.
“No problem, anytime.” Chester said, rubbing his eyes. Even though they tried their best to stay awake, the friends were soon fast asleep, each one dreaming of tomorrow’s new and exciting adventures.

May 2009 Boomer & the Bubblegum

Boomer Discovers Bubblegum

Today we find Boomer, Chester, and Dart picking up litter on the park grounds.
“What did you find Chester?” asked Dart as he threw away an abandoned shoe.
“I found a couple wrappers, and a cup.” Chester replied. “How about you?”
“A shoe, a hubcap, some newspaper, and a plastic bag, so far.”
“Ohhh!” said Boomer; a little further up the trail.
Boomer is Chester’s little brother. He played more than he cleaned up, but Chester
lets him help anyway.
“Did ya find something?” Chester asked as he dropped a cup into the trashcan.
The friends could hear giggles from the other side of the bush.
Boomer didn’t answer. “I don’t see him; he must be in the bush!” Dart said as he flapped his wings and flew up over the bush.
More giggles. “I found a plastic Easter egg!” Boomer mumbled from under the bush. “It has something in it!”
“Boomer, What are you doing? We need to throw that away. Bring it out here and we will help you.” Dart said. It was quiet, and then the friends heard a pop!
“Stop goofing off, Boomer! Did you just open that egg? We don’t know how old that is, the stuff inside might be rotten!” Chester scolded.
Boomer slowly stepped out from under the bush carrying a plastic, yellow Easter egg in two pieces. He was grinning from ear to ear.
“Okay” he mumbled.
“Why do you sound like that?” Chester asked. “What’s in your mouth?”
“Nuttin’!” Boomer said as he pushed past Chester with the egg in his paws. “I’m just going to throw this egg away, just like you said.”
“Humph!” said Dart as he narrowed his eyes and cocked his head while watching Boomer climb up the trash can. Chester wasn’t falling for it either. They both knew Boomer was hiding something. Chipmunks can hide all sorts of things in their cheeks and sometimes it is hard to tell if there is something in there or not.
Boomer quickly ran down the trashcan and off into the woods. Dart and Chester decided to just keep looking for trash as Boomer wouldn’t be able to keep whatever he had to himself much longer.
Chester and Dart were busy finding all sorts of things. Dart found some shoelaces, and a milk carton; while Chester found cans and some soggy socks! Several trips to the trashcan later the friends noticed that they hadn’t seen Boomer lately.
“Where has he gone now?” Chester asked Dart. “Will you please fly up and see if you see him anywhere?”
“Sure, I think we are finished for today anyway.” Dart said as he flew off.
“I will look for him down here!” Chester called out after his friend.

Just over the hill and around the bend, Boomer was un-wrapping the candy that he had found inside the egg. As he ripped open the paper, his eyes widened as more of the candy came into view. The candy was pink, and it smelled wonderful. Boomer closed his eyes and sniffed deeply, wondering what it would taste like.
“Hey, Boomer, what is that?” a voice from behind him said. “It smells so good!”
Boomer jumped and hid the candy in his mouth.
“Nuttin!” Boomer muttered as he turned around. It was Chester’s friend, Lily.
“Uh- huh; I saw you put it in your mouth. What is it?” Lily asked as she fluttered around him.
“I don’t know, I found it in an Easter egg and it tastes wonderful!” Boomer said while chewing on his special treat.
Lily picked up the shredded wrapper. “It says bubblegum, Boomer. It’s bubblegum!”
“Gum is good.” He answered as the sugary candy expanded in his mouth.
“I’ve seen humans with it. They chew it and blow bubbles.” Lily said. “What does it taste like Boomer? Is it yummy? I love sweet things! Oh, please blow a bubble!” a very excited Lily was buzzing all over now.
“I’ve never blown a bubble before.” said Boomer rolling the candy around in his mouth.
“Flatten out the candy with your tongue, then push it behind your front teeth, feel it?”
Boomer nodded.
“Now open your teeth slightly pushing the candy outward with your tongue. Make your lips go in a circle, now blow like you are going to whistle. Blow! Blow!” instructed Lily.
Boomer started blowing, as he blew, the candy formed a bubble.
“Blow, Boomer, blow!” squealed Lily.
Boomer blew and blew again just like Lily said. A small bubble started to appear. A few more blasts and it was quite large!
“Wow!” cheered Lily. “Okay, stop blowing! It’s too big! Boomer!”
“Ha, ha, ha! That was fun!” laughed Boomer pulling small pieces of gum off his fur.
“Let me help you, Boomer.” said Lily as she tried to wipe him off.
Several minutes passed and the two were still trying to get rid of the gum.
“This is hard.” whined Boomer.
“Yes, it is hard, we need to get Chester to help us.” replied Lily.
“Get Chester to help with what?” said Chester interrupting Lily.
Chester looked at Boomer. Boomer was indeed pitiful. Tears ran down Boomers cheeks as he tried without success to pull another pink piece of gum out of his fur.
“Chester, what do I do? I blew a bubble and now the bubble is all over me!” cried Boomer.
“Oh wow! Boomer, you found gum didn’t you?” squawked Dart as he circled the group in the air above.
“Don’t cry Boomer, we will get this off.” Chester said handing Boomer a tissue to wipe away his tears. “Let’s go down to the lake and get you cleaned up before Mom sees you looking like this.”
By the time the sun started to set; the friends returned Boomer to Mom chipmunk fresh and clean. They had all learned a lesson that day.
“Bye Boomer, Bye Mom! See you later!” Chester said waving goodbye.
Boomer smiled and waved. “See you later Chester, and thanks for everything!”

April 2009 Lily & Her Sparkle

Lily And Her Sparkle

“I found one!” Chester squealed as he checked Daffodil off on his list.
“What color is it?” piped in Dart.
The two friends had been on a scavenger hunt of sorts today looking for new things one can find in the woods in April. So far they had just found flowers.
“This one is white.” Chester replied.
“So you found a White Narcissus!” chirped Dart. Dart knew all sorts of things about flowers.
“Yeah, a white Daffodil!” mumbled Chester. He didn’t care what the technical name was, he was just having fun.
“There are some purple flowers over here. What are they called Dart?”
Dart cocked his head back and forth as he looked the little flowers over. He did that a lot when he was thinking.
“I believe that is a Violet Wood Sorrel.” he replied.
“Hmm. Well they taste good!” Chester said between mouthfuls.
“Chester!” Dart scolded. “You aren’t supposed to pick the flowers! Don’t you remember the sign the park ranger put out?”
“I’m not picking them, I’m eating them, mmm-mm-mmmm!” munched Chester. “Besides, that’s rules for the humans.”
Dart shook his head, “Let’s move on before the ranger catches you! Why do you have to put everything in your mouth?”
“Because that is what chipmunks do! Last week I got nine nuts in my cheeks at once! Can you believe it? NINE! Last fall I could only get seven in there! Then there was this time…” Chester stopped as he realized Dart wasn’t listening to him anymore.
“Dart, what are you doing?”
“I smell something” Dart said as he flapped his wings and flew up into the sky.
“What?” Chester asked. He listened real hard and sniffed in the wind.
An amazing smell was wafting in the air this afternoon. How could he have missed it?
“That smells like popcorn!” Dart called down. “I want to see where that smell is coming from. I will go look around the picnic tables and the cave area.”
“What’s popcorn? “ Chester called back. Dart didn’t answer as he had already flown off.
Chester’s tummy growled. “I will look around the lake. Maybe there is food down there.” Chester said to himself.

Chester looked this way and that to make sure the coast was clear. As he made his way around some bushes, under a broken tree, and through the hollow log; he could see the sparkle of sunshine on the lake. He could hear birds chirping, and an occasional splash of water caused by a turtle, or duck, and voices too! As he climbed down to the water line, he kept watch as he knew there would be others looking to score some extra food, and he didn’t want to be left out!
Chester climbed up into a tree that had branches close to the ground. This way he could watch and not be seen by humans, or anything else!
A family was sitting down on a couple of benches feeding the ducks some bread crumbs. The quacking got louder as more ducks saw what was going on, and wanted some bread too! Nestled in a bushy area over to the side a boy and a man sat fishing.
Setting on his hind legs and stretching himself up, Chester looked to see if there were any other humans around. There were several walking the trails today, and a few having picnics up around the tables.
As he made his way down to the next branch, his foot slipped and down he came! End over end into the grass below. Poor Chester! He fell with little more than a thud. Since Chester is so small, thankfully no one heard him fall.
However, a dragonfly saw it happen and flew over to see how he was.
“Are you okay?” she buzzed.
“Yes, just embarrassed.” Chester sheepishly replied.
“What are you doing down here by the water?’ she said zipping over toward a bunch of flowers.
“I was looking for something.” said Chester while dusting off his legs and back.
“Do you need help?”
“Nah, I think I’m finished.” Chester said as he moved out from under the bushes.
Chester stared. He liked shiny things, and this dragonfly was shiny. She moved quickly wherever she flew. Her wings we moving so fast he could hardly keep up with her. In the sunlight she was so sparkly.
“Hello…are you listening? she asked.
“You are a silly chipmunk, aren’t you? My name is Lily, what’s yours?” Lily buzzed.
“Chester.” he said without blinking.
Lily stopped zig - zagging for a moment and said, “Why are you looking at me that way?”
“Do you know you sparkle when you fly?” Chester said as she landed on a leaf next to him.
Lily giggled. The very sound tickled Chester’s ears.
“Wanna race?” Lily asked.
Chester and Lily played tag along the waterline, and then took a break in the sunshine.
“You are fast!” Chester said, catching his breath.
“So are you.” giggled Lily. She was sitting still now.
“I love the way the sun feels on my wings. Hmmm. This is nice.” sighed Lily.
Chester smiled as he watched the sunlight dance in different colors on her wings.
“Watch this Chester!” Lily darted out over the water toward the middle of the lake. Just as quickly she was back.
“Did you see? I get close to the water, but not too close. I don’t want a fish to eat me!”
Chester was so busy watching Lily move about over the water, he didn’t hear Dart calling to him.
“Chester! Chester! CHESTER!” Dart called.
“Huh?” When Chester turned around he saw Dart sitting on a nearby branch.
“I found popcorn!” Dart said. “I saw a boy drop a bunch of it out on the trail.”
Chester clapped his paws together. “Hooray!”
He turned around to tell Lily but she had already buzzed back onto the lake.
“Come on Chester, let’s go eat! Just wait until you taste it!” Dart said, urging Chester along.
Chester looked back over his shoulder and waved to Lily. He wasn’t sure if she saw him or not, but he did it just the same.
As the two friends hurried back to the popcorn, Chester told Dart all about Lily and her sparkle. Chester was happy; he had made a new friend, and was going to eat popcorn with his best friend.

March 2009 Chester's Perfect Day

Chester’s Perfect Day

“Gotcha Dart!” giggled Chester as he climbed up a nearby tree.
“It’s your turn to hide.” replied Dart as he tucked his head under his wing and started counting.
Chester the chipmunk and Dart the bluebird had been playing hide and seek all morning. Chester had a plan, this time he would go further away to hide, he would go where Dart would never find him. Since the wind was blowing through the trees and brush today, it helped disguise any sounds Chester was making as he headed toward the hollow tree around the corner.
“Ready or not, here I come!” Dart shouted.
Chester laughed, and stayed right where he was. While he waited for Dart to find him, he heard the sound of children playing. Peeking out from behind some leaves, Chester settled in to watch.
Dart checked the bushes by Chester’s tree first. Nope, no Chester! He then looked down towards the berry bushes where he hid last time. No, not there either! He looked behind rocks, under bushes and benches along the trail, but no Chester. He finally decided to take to the air. Dart loved to fly, a couple flaps of his little wings and he was high above the tree tops. Dart was about ready to give up when he spotted Chester dart behind some leaves.
“Tag, you’re it!” shouted Dart breathlessly as he landed next to Chester. Chester wasn’t paying attention to Dart; he was too busy wondering what those children were doing. After several minutes went by, Chester asked, “What is that?”
“What is what?” asked Dart, who by now had begun chasing a beetle across the path. “Yum, crunchy.” mumbled Dart as he swallowed his snack.
“What is that thing in the air?” Chester asked.
Dart hopped around the tree and looked to see what Chester was talking about. He could see some kids riding bicycles, some running and jumping, and a girl flying a kite.
“That’s a kite, Chester.” Dart said cocking his head from side to side.
“I want to try!” Chester said as he watched the kite bouncing around in the sky.
“You wouldn’t be able to hold it!” laughed Dart. “You would be tossed about and fly away to who knows where!”
Chester stretched his legs out behind him and his paws out in front of him until he was flat on the ground. He rolled over on his back and looked up at the clouds. The sun was shining so brightly he almost missed seeing something else in the sky.
“Look Dart! That’s the biggest bird I’ve ever seen!” Chester said sitting up straight.
“I don’t see anything!” said Dart, looking aat the ground for more bugs.
Chester stretched himself as high as he could and pointed. “There, see it’s scratching the sky!” Dart looked up just in time to see an airplane streaking across the sky.
“That’s an airplane Chester, it takes people places.” said Dart.
“So, people can fly too?”
“When they get into a plane” Dart replied.
“I want to try!” Chester said as he watched the plane slowly disappear into the clouds.

Chester was quiet as he watched the children play. He had learned two new things today. That gave him a lot to think about. Dart looked at Chester and said, “Do you want me to show you how to make your own kite?”
“Really?” asked Chester, his eyes sparkling.
“Sure! Do you have any paper and string in your treasure room?” asked Dart.
“I do! I’ll go get a piece of each and meet you in front of my tree” Chester called over his shoulder as he ran home.
“Make sure it is a long piece of string!” Dart called out after him.
A few minutes later Chester re-appeared with a green piece of paper and a long string.
Dart pointed to the ground. “Okay, first lay your paper down here. Make sure the long sides of the paper are on the top and the bottom.”
Chester was so excited. He neatly piled the string on the ground next to the paper. He made sure the paper laid right and then said, “Now what?”
“Fold the paper in half, and leave it folded” continued Dart.
The friends were so busy working on making a kite that neither of them heard Boomer creep up to them. Boomer is Chester’s little brother, who sometimes follows Chester and Dart on their adventures.
“Boo!” yelled Boomer. Chester and Dart both jumped.
“Hi guys, whatcha doing?” he squeaked.
“Dart is showing me how to make a kite!” explained Chester.
“What’s a kite?” Boomer asked.
“Watch and see!” replied Dart.
Boomer leaned against the tree trunk where he could see what was going on. It wasn’t long until Dart and Chester were finished. Boomer watched as Dart poked a hole in the kite for the string to attach to it. Chester tied a knot so the string would stay and not come off the kite. Next, Chester tied the other end of the string to a small stick. Then he wrapped the string around the stick, all the way up to the kite.
“Now, I will take the kite and you slowly let out the string. I will take it up high so that the wind will carry it for you.” Dart said to Chester as he put the kite in his beak. Dart flew up to the lowest branch in the tree with the kite in his mouth. Dart let go of the kite just as another gust of wind blew through the trees. The kite was flying!
“Yay!” squealed Boomer.
Chester was too excited to say anything as he felt the tugging of the little kite. He was scared if he talked he might drop it.
“Wow! Look at you! You are flying a kite!” laughed Dart as he landed on the ground next to Boomer.
“Am I doing this right?” Chester asked.
“Yes!” Dart said.
After Chester had flown the kite for awhile, he let Boomer try. When Boomer was done, it was Dart’s turn. The afternoon went by quickly, and before they knew it the sun was getting low in the sky.
“I’d better get going – see you tomorrow!” called Dart as he flew up to his home in the top of Chester’s tree.
Chester and Boomer rolled up the rest of the string and got the kite and put it behind the entrance to Chester’s tunnel. “Come on, I’ll take you home” Chester said to Boomer as they turned to walk toward their parents tree. Dad chipmunk met them just as they rounded the corner.
“Hey guys! Boomer, I was on my way to get you! Did you have fun today?”
“Guess what we did today!” giggled Boomer.
“Dart and I made a kite!” Chester chimed in.
“I got to fly it!” squealed Boomer.
“Sounds like you both had a really great day. Chester, your mom has made your favorite for dinner tonight. Would you like to stay?” Chester’s dad asked as he put an arm around Chester and the other around Boomer.
“I’ll let you have top bunk Chester!” Boomer said.
Chester smiled. “Sure Dad Thanks!”
“After supper will you read to me Chester, will you please?” Boomer asked.
“Sure! Let’s see maybe a story about pirates and a chest full of treasure.” Chester said.
“Hooray! I can’t wait!” replied Boomer as he ran ahead.
As they entered the kitchen, Chester’s whiskers twitched. The smell of roasted acorns was hanging in the air. Chester took a deep breath and sighed. This was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


This 4th of July weekend, we are opting to stay home and have a friend or two over to shoot off fireworks! Smaller is better, isn't it? Due to life everyone is cutting back. Somehow, cutting back is better isn't it? Helps us concentrate on what is really important!
Today our youngest son, was able to pick up a new bicycle! He has been saving up for awhile! He has been wanting one for awhile, we found him one at a yard sale a year or maybe two ago. He rode it, until it fell apart! We have actually taped the seat, replaced tires and the chain...! ha! Wow!
Anyway, we decided this too could be a learning experience. So, over the past several months, he has been doing odd jobs for neighbors and extra chores here at home and with the help of a special family was able to work really hard this weekend to get the final dollars needed for his purchase!
Some jobs he worked for cents on the dollar, some jobs he came away with a couple of bucks. Little dude worked hard. Time was on his side, however as once people knew he needed money they started scheduling his help. He has swept porches, pulled weeds, mowed yards, helped clean out garages, picked up sticks, rocks, shoveled mulch all sorts of good stuff! It was fun to see that hard work, character, and money build up!
Not sure what his next goal is.. he now has a taste of money that he is capable of making, so he is dreaming for awhile!

On another note....

The best of intentions! Isn't it funny how we think we have plans? ha! We thought we did for the 4th! Yes, we still got to see some friends and cookout, but God sent us down a different road.
God showed off some of his fireworks through a good summer storm right around fireworks time! We saw a rather ominous cloud, very close to a funnel cloud, called a shelf cloud. Eeks! A local fireworks display was halted and rescheduled for Sunday night due to the storms. Thankfully we were all okay, just some stuff blown around.
We were able to grill out some brats and share around a small fire pit before the storm rolled in. The tornado sirens sounded in the distance while we watched it roll in. Memories, right?
While the storm brewed outside we chatted about Steve McNair and his untimely death. There has been a lot of that lately. Time is precious, life is short. Love those around you! Share Christ!
Finally around 10:45 we went out to shoot off a few fireworks. Good times! I imagine there will be more fireworks in the neighborhood tonight as last night was pretty much rained out!