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Faith's Firm Foundation: October 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Words, part 3 --Guest Post by Kelsey

Wisdom from a hundred years ago...
“A holy man used to say when he returned home from a night of table-talk that he would never accept such an invitation again, so remorseful did such nights always leave him; so impossible did he find it for him to hold his peace, and to speak only at the right moment, and only in the right way.
And, without his holiness, I have often had his remorse, and so, I am quite sure, have many of you. There is no table we sit at very long that we do not more or less ruin either to ourselves or to someone else. We either talk too much, and thus weary and disgust people; or they weary and disgust us. We start ill-considered, unwise, untimeous topics. We blurt out our rude minds in rude words. We push aside our neighbour's opinion, as if both he and his opinion were worthless, and we thrust forward our own as if wisdom would die with us.
We do not put ourselves into our neighbour's place. We have no imagination in conversation, and no humility, and no love. We lay down the law, and we instruct people who could buy us in one end of the market and sell us in the other if they thought us worth the trouble.
It is easy to say grace; it is easy to eat and drink in moderation and with decorum and refinement; but it is our tongue that so ensnares us. For some men to command their tongue; to bridle, and guide, and moderate, and make just the right use of their tongue, is a conquest in religion, and in morals, and in good manners, that not one in a thousand of us has yet made over ourselves.
[But Christ was such a one.]
And much as I would have liked to see how He acted in everything, especially would I have watched Him how he guided, and steered, and changed, and moderated, and sweetened the talk of the table.” –Alexander Whyte

(I love the droll way he wrote that, and how applicable it is even now, many years later.  Enjoy these next quotes from Mrs. Elliot, who is a very precious and wise lady.)
From Elisabeth Elliot:
“Rather late in my life, I've been trying to learn the importance of silence. I've been trying to discipline myself to simply stand or sit before the Lord in silence, without saying anything to Him. Placing myself in His presence.
 It's not an easy thing to do, but it's worth a try. Instead of rushing into your daily devotional time by talking to God, it might be a good idea to practice spending the first few minutes silently. Saying nothing, thinking nothing except, Lord, here I am in Your presence. Speak to me.
This is one of the hymns that I use in my own devotional life; I use it as a prayer:
Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hush'd my heart to listen,
In expectancy.
Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feel Thy touch of pow'r.
Begin with silence. Put yourself in His presence. Realize His omnipresence. He is here with you in this room.
Ask for grace to serve and worship acceptably. 'Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer.' Psalm 19:14
And then, read a portion of Scripture, perhaps a Psalm, perhaps a chapter in the Gospels. Try to put yourself in the place of the psalmist or in the story if it's from the Gospels. Ask yourself, 'What do I learn about God? The Holy Spirit? Jesus? Is there here a command to be obeyed, a sin to be confessed? Is there some cheer here for me or for others who need it?' Read and pray. Pray and read.”

Another quote from Mrs. Elliot:
“It is always easier to add to the noise of the world than to be silent. Silence is a very precious thing—‘There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour’ (Rev. 8:1), when the seventh seal was opened in the Book of the Revelation. Thunder and horses and martyrs and earthquakes had preceded the opening of this seal. Hail, fire, blood, and fearful judgment followed it--but in between, angels stood in the presence of God and there was utter silence.
      Have we learned to stand in God's presence, mouths shut, hearts open? 'Lord, what do you want me to do?' We must be quiet in order to know Him and to hear Him and to hear Him answer us.
      ‘If any of you lack wisdom let him ask his friends.’ No. That is not the Word of the Lord. ‘If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God’ (James 1:5) is His Word to us. There is a place for asking wisdom of godly friends, but let us always go first to God."

May the Lord help us each to guard our tongues and use them for good!  (I'll pray for you if you pray for me:)
-Kelsey :o)
(Go back to read Words, Part 1 and Words, Part 2.)

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Facing Giants

From Dayspring, Inc.

Max Lucado - Facing Your Giants - 365 DayBrightener Calendar - $ 9.99
From: DaySpring Cards Inc

One of my all time favorite movies is Facing the Giants, by Sherwood Pictures. A memorable moment from the movie comes when "Grant Taylor," played by Alex Kendrick, feeling broken and having come to the end of himself, finally comes to the One Person, Jesus Christ, Who can help him.  It goes like this:

"Lord Jesus, would you help me? I need you. Lord, I feel that there are giants of fear and failure staring down at me, waiting to crush me. And I don't know how to beat 'em, Lord. I'm tired of being afraid. Lord, if you want me to do something else, show me. If you don't want me to have children, so be it. But You're my God. You're on the throne. You can have my hopes and my dreams. Lord, give me something. Show me something." 

Facing giants of fear and failure is something every person has to do at one point or another.  The only antidote to fear is faith--faith in Jesus Christ.  Faith and fear cannot abide within us at the same time.  The interesting thing is that making myself tougher, and thinking myself stronger--having an "I can beat anybody, just let me at 'em!" attitude is the opposite of what the answer is.  Instead, humbly coming to the Lord, admitting I can't do it, and that He's my Only Help, is the beginning to receiving the power to conquer fear through faith in Him.  
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Guest Post by Alyssa

  I thought I would share with you one of my favorite poems! 
~Alyssa :)
The world, I thought, belonged to me - 
Goods, gold and people, land and sea - 
Where'er I walked beneath God's sky
In those old days my word was - "I".

Years passed; there flashed my pathway near
The fragment of a vision dear;
My former word no more sufficed,
And what I said was  - "I and Christ".

But, O, the more I looked on Him,
His glory grew, while mine grew dim.
I shrank so small. He towered so high,
All I dared say was - "Christ and I".

Years more the vision held it's place,
And looked me steadily in the face;
I speak now in a humbler tone,
And what I say is  - "Christ alone".

~ Unknown

Wendy's note:  I am so honored to have Alyssa (and her sisters Amy at Pressing Toward the Goal, and Ana at Everything Good) guest posting this month.  Please visit them all.  You will find Alyssa at Days to Remember.

Alyssa at Days To Remember

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


From Dayspring, Inc.

Pansies Teacup and Saucer

Femininity is a lost art, it seems.
Adding beauty to my surroundings in little ways makes me feel feminine.
A single flower in a lovely vase sitting on a lace doily.
Drinking coffee or tea from a china cup.
Cotton curtains wafting with the breeze from the window.
Little touches of beauty.
Actions can be little touches of beauty and make me feel feminine, too.
A kind word with a loving smile.
A gentle touch to a child's fevered forehead.
A hug and embrace just a little longer.
A little gift that says, "I was thinking of you."
Fostering femininity requires intentionality, I think.
Because femininity is a lost art, it seems.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Words, part 2--Guest Post by Kelsey

About Gossip, Tearing Down, Slander, and Backbiting:
James 3:7-12  “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."

Our words affect other people.
Prov. 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”

Are We Salt Water:
Psalm 50:19-20 “thou givest thy mouth to evil”
Romans 3:13 “their throat is an open sepelchre”
Or Fresh Water?:
Prov. 12:18 “the tongue of the wise is health”
Prov. 15:4 “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life”
Prov. 31:26 “She openeth her mouth with wisdom”
Prov. 15:1 “A soft answer”
“Kind words produce their own image in men's souls; and a beautiful image it is. They soothe and quiet and comfort the hearer. They shame him out of his sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to be used.”–Blaise Pascal

Refrain [to stop, quit, cease or leave] and Shun [to stand aloof, keep away, avoid]
1 Peter 3:10 “he that will love life”
2 Tim. 2:16 “shun profane and vain babblings”

Don’t be deceitful, be sincere.  Psalm 55:21;
Ezekiel 33:31 "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness."

Don’t try to justify yourself, it will only make things worse.  Job 9:20;
Prov. 21:23 “whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue...”

Our words also affect our reputation as followers of Christ:
Psalm 39:1-2
1 Tim. 4:12  “let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example”
Matt. 5:13-16 “let your light so shine”

How do we as humans respond to the presence of God?  
With silence.
Zech. 2:13 “be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord”
Job 40:1-5 “I will lay mine hand upon my mouth”
Isaiah 6:1-5 “I am a man of unclean lips”

Psalm 46:10 “be still and know that I am God...”
A friend and I were talking about this verse the other day, and she commented that usually when we come to God in prayer, we have 10 million things we want to say to God.  Some of them might be really wonderful, but we should just stop for a minute, and think.  We are coming before the Almighty God, the Ruler of the Universe, the Wonderful Counselor.  Shouldn’t we want to hear what He has to say to us??  Of course, the Lord is our Father and Friend too, and He does want us to talk to Him, but shouldn’t it seriously excite us that we can listen to GOD?  What an amazing and humbling privilege!
Psalm 144:3 “Lord, what is man?”

But there are times when we shouldn’t be silent.
There is a season for everything:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-7
Here are some examples of times NOT to be silent:
 -When we need to stand up for what God says is right, such as against abortion or homosexuality.
-Prov. 30:11
-Psalm 107:8,15,21,31:  "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"
-2 Timothy 4:2
-Heb. 13:3
-Lev. 19:17

Part 3 coming next week!  Thanks for reading!
-Kelsey :o)

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guest Post by Dorothy Adamek

Arthur Stace and his Yellow Chalk

There are some things I just don't like. I'm tempted to say I hate them, but that would be too strong a word for small irritations. Like the feeling of wet wool when I'm hand washing a knitted cardigan. That squeaky sound always gives me the shivers. Then there's the feeling of cornflour between my fingers. Is it just me or is that another squeaky kind of shiver?

The worst 'do not touch' is chalk. Whether it's me, writing on a blackboard or the sound of someone else scraping chalk as they scribble (or horror of horrors - 
their fingernails) it's one of my least favorite things.

Not so for Arthur Stace. Born in the Balmain slums of Sydney in the 1880s he could have been the face of any neglected child of that era, brought up by alcoholic parents. His sisters ran brothels and his brothers followed in their alcohol fueled lifestyle. Little wonder Arthur wound up stealing bread and milk from Sydney doorsteps. By 15 he was in jail and by the time he's reached his twenties, he worked as a scout for his sisters' establishments.

When word got around the slums of a free cup of tea and a bite to eat at a local church, Arthur joined the line of 300 dirty, rum soaked men, who ached for a kind word and hot drink. Their food arrived after a half hour sermon, during which Arthur experienced a dramatic conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ. He emerged transformed from an alcoholic fog to the clarity which comes from complete surrender to God.
Months later, in a fiery sermon he heard the preacher say, "I wish I could shout 'eternity' through the streets of Sydney." It was this heartfelt cry which pushed Arthur Stace to became the famous street writer of Sydney's cobblestoned pavements. 

From his pocket, he produced a piece of yellow chalk and in perfect copperplate swirls wrote  
Eternity on the pavement. It was the day he "felt a powerful call from the Lord to write."

Not a novel or sermon. Not an article or a blog post. One simple word, Eternity. In his lifetime he wrote this word on the pebbles across Sydney streets half a million times. He did this for 37 years and pointed the hearts and minds of passersby to a day which fast approached them.

Eternity became an enigma for the people of Sydney. Its writer didn't like publicity and remained anonymous for many years amid speculation of his identity. In his later years Arthur Stace revealed himself as the mysterious writer and explained his desire for everyone to consider where they would spend eternity.

His legacy continues today and Sydney has embraced the Eternity sign as its own. On New Year's Eve 1999, it lit the sky as the centerpiece to the Harbour Bridge fireworks display. Adopted as the Sydney Olympic Games emblem, it reappeared later that year on a worldwide stage.

But what difference did it make to the millions who tripped over his words as they hurried through the slums? We will only know when we reach eternity ourselves. On this side of life's journey, we know 
Arthur Stace was called to write... and he obeyed.

Dorothy Adamek can be found over at Ink Dots, where she says of herself: 
"My husband says I should’ve been born 100 years ago. My parents say I should live on a farm, (now there's a thought) and my children say I pack too much food into their lunch boxes! The reality is I'm a Christian wife and mum of 3, living in Melbourne, Australia. My background is in Education, and I have served many years in Christian ministry with children and young families. I enjoy collecting the stories of pioneering early Australians, unravelling the details of their past and winding them into my present and future. One of my current projects is writing the first of what I hope will be 3 novels set in 1870s Australia - that is if I don't get lost in the delicious research of this amazing time!"

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Jerry's Tribute to Cristina De Hoyos: Manage It (Victorious in Christ) Monday

When our dear friend, Cristina De Hoyos passed away recently, and Kelsey and I went down to Mexico for the funeral, I anticipated that Alfredo would ask people for testimonies.  I don't do well under those circumstances, because I'm too emotional.  I knew that Alfredo would be missing my husband, Jerry's, presence, and I also know that my husband can write really, really well.  So, I asked Jer to write a testimony that I could take with me down to Mexico.  This is what he wrote about this incredible woman, whom we all loved so much.

I remember Cristina

Though my visits were few, my memories of her are many and lasting. How challenging it is for me to reflect upon her life lived here on earth for the Lord. She had a smile that demonstrated why God made smiles for His creation, and a hearty laugh that could swell that smile to fill the room with warmth and happiness. She had a voice that spoke softly to turn away strife, but strongly to defend God's goodness, and to tell and retell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

She faithfully cared for and loved and nurtured her husband and family. Beyond that, she had hands that made gifts for others, and arms that carried those gifts where she went. She had feet that took her to the homes and hearts of others to share God's Love. She had eyes that were clean windows into a heart made pure and right by God. Her sweet countenance was divinely given, and could not be mistaken for happiness brought by this world.

How wonderful to ponder that those feet now walk on streets of gold rather than the dust and mud of this world. How joyful I am to think that she has joined the laughter and rejoicing in heaven. How good of God to have shared her with me, to demonstrate His everlasting Love. She no longer needs His special gifts of faith and hope, but having known Cristina has made me more grateful to God for these gifts, until I no longer need them.

God in His infinite wisdom has taken her to Himself.  I pray for His comfort to fill the void left in the hearts of all those who knew and loved her, until by His great Mercy and Grace we too can join her in that far, far better place. 
1 Peter 5:10,11
Jerry Gunn

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Food Friday: Guest Post

Recipe for Banana Whoopie Pies Cookies
by Ana

These cookies are so yummy!    I first made them this summer and after sharing the recipe with friends I was asked if they were gluten-free; they weren't but I couldn't help myself.  A few days later I made them again and tried them with gluten-free flour and they turned out just as amazing (see Special Note below).
They are amazing with white chocolate chips in them!!
I hope you all enjoy this "comfort dessert"! 

Special note: If you are Gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthium gum (my favorite brand is Namaste foods) instead of the all-purpose flour called for. :)

Banana Whoopie Pies
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups (3 medium to large) mashed bananas
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour  
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped walnuts

3 tablespoons cornstarch
dash salt
1 cup milk
¾ cup butter, softened
1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
¾ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.

For the cookies: In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, and then the bananas.
The mixture will look curdled; that's okay.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Whisk together the flour and baking soda; add to the banana mixture, mixing until evenly combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then mix for 1 minute more.

Stir in the chips and walnuts.

Scoop the dough by the quarter cup for large cookies, and by the tablespoon for small cookies.  Allow some space between them just in case they spread.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly touched with your finger, and the edges are a very light golden brown.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before filling.

For the filling: In a saucepan, combine flour and salt.  Whisk in the milk until smooth; cook and stir over medium-high heat until thick. Remove from heat.   Allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Add cooled milk mixture; beat for 7 minutes or until fluffy.  Spread about 2 tablespoons on half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.  Store in refrigerator.

Wendy's note: I'm so excited that Ana was willing to share one of her recipes with you! You've seen Ana's work here before! She made this amazing Wedding Cake! If you'd like to see more of Ana's beautiful and delicious creations, and get the recipes, visit her at Everything Good!

Ana at Everything Good

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lord, I'm Not Qualified: Guest Post by Joan Hall

Lord, I’m Not Qualified

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you – Psalm 32:8
Do you desire to serve the Lord in ministry? Do you aspire to lead Women’s Bible Studies or teach Sunday School at your local church? Perhaps you are sensing God calling you to a speaking or writing ministry. However, there is one problem – you don’t think you are qualified. You might be hesitant due to age or to lack of experience. You may think no one would want to listen to what you have to say or write.

Do you think you are too young? Job 32:8 tells us the breath of the Almighty makes us understand. Too old? Consider the prophetess Anna who, at age eighty-four, did not depart from the temple worshiping with fasting and prayer. (Luke 2:36-38)

Not qualified? No experience? Consider Jesus’ first disciples. He could have chosen scholars or members of the religious establishment, but He didn’t. Instead, he chose twelve ordinary men with ordinary occupations. Among them were fishermen, a despised tax collector, and a political extremist.

The only qualification these men had was their willingness to follow Jesus. They listened to His teaching and learned from Him. They became the first of many disciples. After Judas Iscariot left their presence to carry out his act of betrayal, Jesus told the eleven, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit… (John 15:16a, ESV).

Whatever you sense God calling you to do, obey. He is looking for willing servants. Remember that “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”

Joan Hall can be found over at Reflections of His Grace where she writes beautiful devotional and inspirational posts and reflections from her life experiences. Leave her a comment here and visit her there!

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Words, part 1--Guest Post by Kelsey

Hi all, this is Kelsey (Wendy's daughter) again!  This is part of a lesson from the girls' Bible study I led last year.  (Part 2 coming next week)  I hope you are as challenged/inspired by it as I was while compiling it. :)  Note:  The only reason I didn't type out all of each Bible verse was because of space.  During the study we would take turns and read all the verses aloud.  Please do look them up, if you have a chance.  There is nothing that can compare to the Word of God, "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2Tim.3:16)   

The wisdom of being silent
“Think before you speak” is a commonly known phrase.  Even the world knows that it is a good idea to think before you speak, or, as the saying goes,

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

More importantly, the Bible also speaks many times about the wisdom of keeping our mouth shut.   

Proverbs 12:16:  "A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame."

Being silent enables us to:
-listen to others or to God
[“Good listening involves:
1. Letting the other person speak without interruption.
2. Giving the other person your undivided attention.
3. Making sure you really understand what the other person is saying or thinking.” (Wayne Mack)]
-avoid foolishness
-avoid saying anything we will regret

“The true test of a man’s spirituality is not his ability to speak, as we are apt to think, but rather his ability to bridle his tongue.”—Kent Hughes

What the Bible says:

James 3:1-6  “For in many things we offend all.  If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

“Keep thy tongue”  Ps. 34:13
Prov. 12:23 “A prudent man concealeth knowledge”
Prov. 15:2 “The wise useth knowledge aright”
Prov. 14:3 “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride”
Psalm 49:3 “my mouth shall speak wisdom”

Controlling the tongue is a sign of a true Christian
James 1:26 “bridleth not his tongue”
Galatians 5:22-23 (The Fruit of the Spirit):  Do we demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit with our words?  Even the words that seem small, insignificant or unworthy of thought?
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. ” (Matthew 12:36-37)

We cannot control our tongue on our own.  Ask God to help you guard your tongue:  Ps. 141:3 “set a watch, O Lord”
Our words vs. God’s words:  Ps. 12:2-4, 6
Ask God to give you His words:  Isaiah 50:4, 7

“The man who lives right, and is right, has more power in his silence than another has by his words.”—Phillip Brooks

Stay tuned for Pt 2 next week!
-Kelsey :o)

Thanks for sharing, Kels.  I always enjoy when Kelsey posts.  The Lord really used the Scripture she quoted to convict me. Have you ever wished you had kept your mouth shut?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Como Zoo Field Trip Photos

Remember that our "Mom Thing" went on a Field Trip to the Zoo?  Well, I forgot to post the pictures!  So, here they are.  (I apologize that the inside photos aren't the greatest, because the lighting wasn't very good.)

It was such a fun day, but it was pretty chilly! Who would have known that if we'd have waited until October to go, it would've been a lot warmer!!

Giraffes fascinate me.

5-week-old baby giraffe!
Isn't he cute?

About a 13-foot-tall baby!

It's a ways up there, and I didn't zoom in, but he's really sprawled, and boy, is he massive.

Can you see him camouflaged up there? BIG GUY! Look at that hand!!

All baby animals are cute, it seems, even baby orangutans.

We had so many kids under about 3-years-old! Aren't they cute?

Like human children, the orangutans liked to play more with the cardboard box.
They had ripped it up and put it on their heads!

Even mama orangutan had fun with the rope.

See the measurements on the wall? Pretty big baby,
and even bigger mama.

I love the majestic beauty of a tiger.

Those that stayed longer heard this big guy ROAR!

It was the first Zoo experience for some of the kids.
He looks pretty far up there, doesn't he!
We missed the seal show--Next time!

Zoos are so fun.

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