Lego Mania

My oldest grandson is into legos.  I mean big time legos.  He loves to play legos.  He wants others to play legos with him.  Unfortunately at the age of 8 he has a limited concentration span for putting Lego models together.  The other day I was over at his house visiting with he and his family and he showed me a picture of a lego model race car he wanted to build but had never done it.  I love putting legos together and said that when he came back from his trip to Virginia, I would come over and help him build it.  I am a person who like to be true to what I say and so yesterday was the day we were going to build this car from scratch.

One of the first big challenges we had to face involved the mixing up of the car parts that had been separated previously with all of his other Lego parts–1000’s upon 1000’s upon thousands of parts mixed up with all the other legos in one big plastic container.  This was going to be a long process I began to realize.

The first step was to separate the legos into different containers based upon their color.  The car was red, so we began to pick out all the red parts to build the car. There were red legos, blue legos, gray legos, pink legos, yellow legos, orange legos, green and brown legos, black legos, etc. legos.


There were big pieces as well as tiny pieces.  My wife Nadine as well as Victoria, my daughter, and Parker, her fiancée, realized I was in trouble with this enormous project and pitched in to begin to help in the process.  Slowly we separated all the pieces into bins and began the process of building the race car.  It took over 3 hours from start to finish to separate the parts into color bins and take the needed parts to build the car.


The finished product rested on the carpet where we all created the production line to bring piece by piece together to form the anticipated race car.  There were some valuable lessons learned in the process.

  1.  A community is essential in nurturing the needs children growing up today.
  2. Patience is key when tackling a difficult project.  Brayden was called upon to find pieces in the bins and it took some patience in fingering through the bins to find the right piece.
  3. Developing endurance is an important quality to have as we grow into adulthood.  Brayden was ready to give up in the first hour, but was encouraged to continue to work on the project and see it through to its ultimate conclusion–the finished car.
  4. Putting all the legos in one box only multiplies the time necessary to complete a project.  Organization is a key ingredient to becoming more efficient in accomplishing tasks.
  5. Working with an 8-year-old can be a very frustrating as well as a very rewarding experience, depending upon where you put your focus.  If you put your focus on accomplishing the task, it will be very frustrating.  If you put your focus on what you can teach a young boy, it will be very rewarding.  I experienced both yesterday.

On this journey, God will have some tasks for us to work on that don’t seem to be teaching us much of anything.  Opening our eyes and hearts and asking God what He wants us to learn is the key to learning on this journey.

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Testing!! Testing!!

It’s been a long time since I have been on my jlog (Jim’s Log) and I want to say, “Can you hear me now.”  It feels good to get back into writing, although I haven’t written anything except what you are reading, if you are still out there.  It’s been a journey over the last few months since I wrote anything and will fill you in (for those who still follow my jlog and still want to read my mental wanderings on this journey that God has us on.

This is just a test of the relationallychallenged writer and the readers.  Welcome aboard as I continue this journey.

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Simple Pleasures Part VI: Look Up

Colorado has some of the bluest skies I have ever seen and it brought back memories of growing up with those blue skies.  It also had white putty clouds that as a child I would look at during the day.  On our recent trip to Colorado, Nadine asked me to look at the clouds and tell me what I saw.

I the first cloud on the left reminded me of a puffy heart which you might make out with some imagination.  The second picture on the left is a little harder to imagine, but the bottom cloud links like a funny elephant with a trunk and two droopy eyes.  I took this picture about four minutes after looking at it and the animal changed.  Before it looked like a wolf, but by the time I took a picture of the clouds, it had changed into a droopy elephant–at least that’s what I saw.

If you stare at the pictures enough, your mind can imagine various shapes and animals that can come from the pictures.  The interesting thing is that it does cost you to look at the clouds.  I’m not talking about money.  I’m talking about time.  It takes time to take our eyes off the busyness of our lives and look to the skies.  We have to consciously look up and our natural tendency is to look forward at to what we need to do, or regretfully look back on the poor choices we made with others.

Simple pleasures are all around us if we take the time to re-acquaint ourselves with those experiences we did as a child.  On this journey, if we want to cut back the complexities of life, we will need to plug-in to the simple pleasures that were once ours when we were young.  It’s a choice that you can choose today.  So look up.

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Simple Pleasures Part V: Tastes Remembered

Have you ever taken a bite out of something and instantly feel that you are transported back in time to an earlier place with the exact taste emanating from your mouth?  I had one of those experiences the other day when Nadine came home from grocery shopping. I have been eating very healthy over the last several months and more specifically since I had the run-in with my heart.  On this heart healthy diet, all salt is cut out along with white breads and desserts.

Just a side note.  I love desserts.  I mean I could live on desserts.  I not only have one sweet tooth, but my whole mouth is filled with teeth that devour sweets and crave more when they are finished with one dessert.  It is an inherited gene from my mother who has to have a sweet at the end of each meal as well as having sweets between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner.  On this diet, sweets are out, so I have to get my sweet teeth to like the natural sugars in fruits like cherries, strawberries, and blueberries.  Right now the peaches are in season which is an alternative to the above sweets.

Well back to my story.  Nadine brought home some vine ripened tomatoes which looked good so I took one and bit into it.  Most of the tomatoes we’ve bought seem tasteless and never taste like the ones you pick off the vine.  Well I got a big surprise when my teeth cut into the skin of the tomato.  The tomato was so delicious and instantly took me back to my roots when I was 2-3.


I grew up in a small home for the first 3-4 years of my life and then moved into the one my father built by hand.  Every summer we would grow a huge garden about 25’X25′ and would plant corn, green beans, squash, water melon, peas, and tomatoes.  When they were ripe, my mother and father would pick them and give my sister and I one to eat out on the back step.  We would get a salt shaker and begin to bite into that juicy tomato.  The taste permeated every crevice of my mouth with delicious emissions of flavor.  The juice would run down the sides of our mouths.

On this particular day when I tasted the tomato that Nadine brought home, I was instantly transported back to that back step where I would finish off a whole tomato.  The simple pleasure of eating a tomato as a very young boy still stayed with me as I experienced the event over again over 60 years later.

On this journey we will be triggered with sights, sounds, and tastes that take us back to the good old days when we were sitting on the back step eating a ripe tomato.  Its in those experiences that we learn to enjoy life in it’s most simplest form.

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Simple Pleasures Part IV: New to Old

During my early years on this earth, my family would make the trek from Seibert, Colorado to Powell, Wyoming to visit my mom’s parents twice a year.  It was an all day adventure starting early in the morning, driving through Denver and then heading north through Cheyenne, Wyoming.  I would always hear this song ringing in my mother’s voice.  “Cheyenne, Cheyenne, hop on your pony, there’s room here for two dear, and after the ceremony.”  The song would end abruptly, or thats all my mom knew.  It had a cute ring to the melody, and I can still hear that song in my ear even as I write the words and I wish you could hear the melody as well.  You would love it (or maybe learn to hate it).

After writing the above paragraph, I decided to look up the song and found it was written in 1906.  The following is a partial rendition of the song and it’s not Cheyenne, but Shy Ann as you will see why.

Way out in old Wyoming long ago,                                                                                          Where coyotes lurk while night winds howl and blow                                                               A cowboy’s lusty voice rang out “Hello”                                                                                        And echoed through the valley down below,                                                                           Then came back a maiden’s answer sweet and clear                                                       Cowboy tossed his hat up in the air Said he,                                                                                                     “I’ve come to take you right away from here                                                                     Cheyenne they say is miles away, but they’ve a preacher there”                                         Then she just drooped her eye, she was so very shy                                                                    So shy, oh my!, and then he made reply                                                                                  Oooh-oooh-oooh                                                                                                                               Shy Ann, shy Ann, hop on my pony                                                                                        There’s room here for two, Dear                                                                                                         But after the ceremony                                                                                                                  We’ll both ride back home, Dear, as one On my pony from old Cheyenne

There is another verse, but you get the drift.  I never knew there was more to the story and am going to ask my mother when I see her next.  Well back to the story.

My grandpa was an irrigation farmer outside Powell and planted beets, green beans, and alfalfa for the cattle.  He had this old John Deere Tractor that he would use to plow the fields and would let me get on it with him and drive it around the farm.  I was never so proud when I sat on the lap of my granddad and drove that tractor.  I felt so big.

Well deja vu.  I took my grandson to Chatfield Gardens to look at the butterflies and farm animals.  After viewing the butterflies and animals, there was a sign that pointed to a play area for kids to play.  We walked down this winding path through the wooded landscape and rounded the bend to find something that brought back those memories of my childhood with my grandpa.


Here is my grandson with my wife sitting on the same kind of tractor that my grandpa had me set on his lap.  Mind you, this tractor was dug in the ground and would never be able to move, but my new grandson was meeting the old and having the time of his life.  It involves the simple pleasures of re-introducing the old into our lives so that we can reclaim the joys of our youth when we were young.

On this journey we will come across things that are old that remind us of when we were young.  Take time to reminisce about those times as the simple pleasures can come flowing back into our lives.  The key is taking time.

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Simple Pleasures Part III: Knowing is Understanding

While we were at the butterfly pavilion, I took some time to talk to Bob.  Bob had worked  over the years and was now a volunteer in the pavilion.  He was very knowledgable about butterflies and spiked my interest with his information.  He was specifically knowledgable about Monach butterflies.  Below is a picture I took of one of them flying in the pavilion.


They can only fly about 10-12 miles per hour but make a 1200 mile flight from North America to Mexico every year between September and October and back again.  Once I started calculating the average time a butterfly lives (2 weeks), the numbers didn’t add up.

What he said was that when they start their four stage transformation around March and April.  The four stages consist of eggs that hatch into caterpillars.  The caterpillars form  a chrysalis or a cocoon that then metamorphosis into a butterfly.  What they do before they die is lay eggs for their next generation to hatch and turn from a caterpillar to a butterfly.  The butterflies of the first three generations only live between 2-6 weeks and then lay their eggs and die.  The fourth generation butterfly is different.  This Monarch begins to fly south for the winter and has been known to fly up to 1200 miles before it lays it’s eggs and dies.  When it’s time to return from where their ancestors came from, off they go and the cycle begins again with each generation determined to make their path closer and closer to the final destination.

This information cost me nothing, but I gained an immense appreciation for the monarch butterfly that is determined to fulfill it’s goal and destiny.  We all have a mark from God as to what our gifts and abilities are in this world.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we like the Monarch knew what that destiny was and put our energy in fulfilling the plan that God had for us.  Part of that plan comes in the pages of the bible, old and new testaments.  I have spent a good portion of my life reading it from cover to cover and am learning what He wants me to do and be.

On this journey, we all have the opportunity to find out what His plan is for each of us.  That plan is different, based on our uniquenesses and personalities, but if we seek for and search for that plan with all of our heart, we will find it.

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Simple Pleasures Part II: Thru a Child’s Eyes

As I mentioned in Simple Pleasures Part I, Nadine and I journeyed up to Denver to take care of one of our grandkids and allow his parents some reprieve to get away for their anniversary.  We planned out our time with him by giving him some experiences that we would enjoy but that he would enjoy as well.

Today we ate a healthy breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit.  That was our healthy breakfast, but we threw in four small pancakes with peanut butter on top to satisfy his palate.  In looking at our options, we decided on _____________________ in Littleton, CO.  It had a butterfly pavilion with a petting farm and botanical gardens.  Something for every member of the family.

We packed up the snacks, extra diapers, more snacks for the adults, water, rain coats in case it rained, back packs, and snow shovels just in case (not really but to take a toddler it takes a lot).  We plotted the address on google maps and off we went.  It said it would take around 20 minutes and the time frame wasn’t far off.

Once we paid the entrance fee, we were off to the butterfly pavilion to see the beautiful butterflies.  I found out that there are 10-12 kinds of butterflies that exist in Colorado and they had all of them in the plastic hut.  Below are just a few of the species we saw.

At one point in our expedition, Greyson sat down on a log and just stared at one of the butterflies.  He was taken by the beauty of each one of them and I couldn’t help but take some time myself and see the beauty that God had created in these beautiful creations.


All of us have been a child at one point in our lives and have experienced being amazed at God’s creation.  It could be a butterfly.  An ant.  Worm.  Caterpillar.  Frog.  You name it, a child has observed it and taken time to see the comings and goings of that animal or insect or rodent.  Children are not preoccupied with things they have to do.  They life in the moment.  They don’t worry about what they have to do tomorrow.  The most important thing for that child is living in the moment.  Every moment.

It reminds me of what Jesus said about worry.  He said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Each day has enough troubles of its own.”  Matthew 6:34.  He was telling us to focus on today and live in the moment.  Every moment like that of a child.

On this journey we have a choice today to live in the moment we are in.  The journey is not about taking someone elses journey, but our own.  Take time today to see what’s before you and enjoy the butterfly that flies by.

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