Does a good man’s life end at his death? The answer for daughter Lisa Reinicke was, “No.” Her father was known by many names: Buster, Bill, Billy, Dad, and the Football Flyboy. His deeds, no matter how small, should be passed down to family, friends, and anyone looking for inspiration, and life-lessons from one who worked, lived and part of the Greatest Generation. The Football Flyboy was young, newlywed and a pilot in WWII. He was a good man. One weekend morning, she determined that his spirit should not stay silent just because his mouth could no longer speak words. “I open my dad’s old air force footlocker - still solid, battleship grey, weathered, and a little rough from travel and age. His name is in white lettering on the front: First Lt William R Cannon.” What she discovered were yellowed envelopes bound in twine - hundreds of them - that her father had written to her mother. Letters written daily during the last year of WWII and received by his bride. Her daily letters disappeared - only three times during the year, did the “mailman” catch up with him and teased with just a few of the hundreds. “Before reaching inside, there was a feeling of the hands of time grabbing onto my heart, knowing that this was such a huge part of not only his life but my mom’s as well.” Meet Bill “Buster” Cannon, the Football Flyboy … a good man with a good life who made a difference.
Since writing the book, I have continued reading Dad's letters. There are thousands if you count the ones from cadet school. There are also many pictures that he brought home from the Philippines that are tiny 1X1 pictures. I have been scanning them in and enlarging them to see what is in the picture. A few have writing on the back so I have clues about the photos. One that I found interesting was of an engine. We started looking for images and matches to see why he would be so interested in and engine. We found it! He had discovered a Japanese Kurogane which was the first 4 wheel drive vehicle in 1936 and was abandoned on the island. That just goes to show you that you should never throw away old pictures because there is a nugget of goodness in there somewhere
Hard to imagine but our first Army parachute jump was in 1940 and they were called the Sky Soldiers. It made me start thinking about this letter from Dad in 1945; the parachute was a new concept in reality. It didn't have a back up cord in case yours didn't open. There was an actual person that packed your chute! So there is human error involved. The material was cotton and you had a small survival guide attached which is the walk out kit he is referring too. This age was truly fascinating compared with today's advances.
I have two of these old footlockers. Inside is where I found all the old letters that Dad wrote home. Things has changed so much in just 60 years. These lockers empty weight at least 25 pounds on their own. Imagine that they could only carry 125 pounds by air and also that the owner of the footlocker couldn't carry it by themselves. It would take two men to carry belongings to load and unload the lockers. What is interesting is that there isn't anymore said about lockers in any of the letters. Dad constantly flew so that mail could never catch up with him so it is a mystery where his locker actually went to base. He moved locations every couple of days and there is nothing noted in any letter where his belongings would be. Now we see our soldiers carrying all their belonging on their back in canvas bags and backpacks.
While we were at the WW2 Ball this year we asked "What are the ingredients of a good man?" The highest number of all surveyed said Godly. Our Flyboy was a little naughty, a lot nice, and had a foundation of Godliness that made him ponder things behind his hooded eyelids. He didn't preach- although one of his nicknames was Preacher. He didn't even read his Bible everyday. He was a man of action, a leader, and he took charge of life. Our greatest generation also spoke out for injustice and were courageous to fight for those who could not. Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9. No other generation in history has ever done as much for humanity than fighting for the atrocities committed by the enemy. Another attribute is to serve the King, living for a greater reward. For Flyboy his heart was in the right place. If he made a mistake he didn’t just apologize, he fixed it. The conclusion to my research came to one overwhelming outcome. Being a Godly man isn’t always about being perfect to be a good man; it’s about having the right heart.
At our book launch this year we asked people to write down three things that "make a good man." Handsome- was voted more than once! Wow, I thought, so you have to be good looking to be a good man? When I started digging into the word, I can understand why that description came up for a good man. It isn't about outward looks, it is defined as; attractive, pleasing, and well made. It isn't just about appearance. Attractive is alluring and charming. Pleasing is being pleasant. That is important. You don't want your man to be a grump. Charming is defined as delightful. Flyboy was all of those things with a head full of wavy hair. That is where the love story began.
I love this excerpt because it shows Dad's humor. If you didn't take the time to know him, or if you just picked this passage to read, you might not see his humility. The biggest lesson I learned from Flyboy is what it takes to be a good man. We did a survey this year for our campaign "What makes a Good Man?" One of the top responses was being "Humble." That doesn't mean acting lowly. It isn't a man that is meek. It is a man that is not too full of himself. We get to see Buster, our Flyboy, as a complete dimensional character. His warts and his halo appear regularly throughout the book. His humility and his bravado appear. The bravado is in his humor, but the humility shows up in his tears and caring for others. He was full of himself but not arrogant. He emptied himself for others in need.
We all know the song right? I bet as you read this the tune is playing inside your head. Flyboy was excited to send this information home to his wife and his mother. Being from the small town of Shawnee and fresh out of high school, the history that he learned in books was now jumping off of the pages into his reality. The American flag took on a new reality. Dad's best friend was a Marine on the front of the WW2 battles fighting underneath the red, white, and blue. The flag displayed continually reminded our troops why they were there. The flag encouraged those back home to work together in the war effort to help our soldiers over seas. On this day let it bring home the meaning of our freedoms.
I know that Dad was a Republican- however there was a bit of a liberal in there. I don't think he would have voted for Hilary- although my mother may have. I am absolutely sure that those 4 liberated sisters would have. It makes me laugh to think about what the discussion over this election would have been like in the living room while they ate pie and smoked cigarettes. Hilary vs Donald would have been in high debate. The men would be hollering for Donald, while the women voiced their vehement views for Hilary. Oh yes- the Cannon family would have had much to say about politics today. No one would get mad- there would be lots of laughter- and no final decision would be made.
The two boys grown tower above Flyboy, their Old Dad. You can see his pride with his back erect and chest puffed with one arm around each grandson. The oldest has a special place both as a first grandchild and as a Marine. The youngest and equally exceptional status as the youngest idolizing his Old Dad. In a picture taken shortly before his death he stands tall, perfectly groomed, and the twinkling in his eyes still there. No one can miss his purpose in life was to teach honor and live without regret. He taught gentleness while being bold. To live an ordinary life that was far from ordinary to those who will get to know him- our Flyboy.
Being a good man means that he is perfect? No in fact it is the imperfections that make him a good man. He does have to be honorable otherwise the imperfections and mistakes along the way cannot change his heart. Without honor there is no heart. Heart is what makes a man want to be good. Laughter is what makes you want to be around a good man. Without laughter it would be a dry relationship. Tears show the heart changing. He has to have commitment. The fact that he will not give up or into something not honorable. He will always be there.
It was August 1945 When Dad left his home as a new pilot on the C-47. He was a newlywed, just married right before he shipped out. He had never been outside of his comfort zone in the heartland of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. Those were his people. His new wife bravely held back tears until she turned to leave him. He respectfully hid his own tears from falling. But then anguish comes bursting out when we are alone. We only have ourselves that can cradle our heart. We don't know what the goodbye entails. Is it today, tomorrow, or forever. We somehow think that saying goodbye on a regular day is ok, but that goodbye may be the last and we would have missed a final hug. In 1945 goodbye for Mom and Dad was war torn. Now it was my turn for war and I was letting go of a son again for war.
He was the 5th child, and the long awaited only son. Ruby Lee with red hair, and a temper to match was the baby of the 4 girls Buster dethroned her just by replacing her in that status. This produced jealousy between Buster and Ruby that seemed to amuse everyone in the family. It came to be the source of entertainment in the Cannon house. It brought laughter to the other girls just to see poor Ruby get in trouble. Buster had a way of making every altercation appear to be Ruby Lee's fault, of course she helped confirm the fault just because she was louder than he was. At the top of her voice she would shout of injustice due to Bud's treatment of her. Their mother was more concerned with quiet rather than justice, therefore Ruby was punished to achieve that goal. He was the only boy, therefore the only child in her opinion. This was possibly true if all the other girls were to admit it openly. They adored him as did their mother which irritated Ruby to no end. Her irritation only fueled his secret torment of Ruby that he inflicted behind his mother's back.
Most of the times when you meet a person their name fits how they look or their personality. At least it jives a bit with who they are. Dad had so many names and they all fit him: that is except for his real name that we never knew. Buster- that was the most common name he went by. He was fun, full of bravado, and protector. Preach or Preacher- was just that- always causing controversy about something and stirring up the hornets nest. Bud- was the antagonist- teasing, and loving at the same time. W.R. - was the professional that knew how to work hard, earn money, and work his way to the top. Poppy- was the protector. Billy Ray- was no one we knew until he died.
Sometimes the best conversations come when you are doing things together. The talking isn't forced. You’re not looking face to face so there is no intimidation. You don’t feel like you are on the spot. Instead there is a nice flow of word sharing as you go about the task. I just remember so well those times were the most precious to me growing up. Chatting about whatever was on my mind while making biscuits with my grandmother were the times I got to know her best. Now I get to have those special times with my grandchildren doing crafts or teaching them how to sew, and Mimi toast will be a smell that they will remember. It sounds silly, toast having a smell, but the butter melting as the bread browns under the broiler has an aroma that they will remember. I find out what is on their minds. I get to know what makes them happy, what is bothering them, and their views on life. The smell of biscuits or horse poop is a delight because it makes me think of my family. When I write, I try to pull from those moments to give others the desire not to let times like these to slip from their life.
Both of my sons are Marines. My dad was Army Air Force. My great, great grandfather fought in the Civil War. My grandmother built ships in the Navy. I have and cherish a bible that my great, great grandfather carried with him on the battlefield. It’s old and weathered, and you can feel the history as you hold it. Our veterans love more deeply because they saw the mortality of life. Crying is the biggest attribute these men carried. One instance is where he leaves his family and newly wedded wife. Again he describes what he saw as the result of war on the Chinese people. There is another letter where he cannot finish as he tries to get through the anguish of babies being caught in the casualties of war. I also found the secret diary of my son on his return from Iraq, describing the retrieval of his fellow men that were killed as he pulled their truck through an IED. Our men and women face eternity without fear by simply serving to protect us. They fight for our honor. Thank you to all the good men and women who allow my family; all of our families, to enjoy our life in America. The land of the free, thanks to the service of the brave.
Me Too! Well, the media is in frenzy. It seems that every man is or has been acting terrible. They are groping, showing, or doing things that are wrong plus it is just so ungentlemanly. Is there a good man out there? Where did all the good men go? Whenever you go digging around in the past of someone’s life there is a chance that you are going to find something that will disappoint you about them. This was my fear as I dug in to write Football Flyboy about my dad during WW2. I had all his letters that revealed his thoughts and actions as a young man. I have to admit there were a few biases that I wasn’t sure about. He quickly turned those around which pleased me. What was interesting is that to stay true to his wife, he made himself write every single day. He never missed one day. He talked about others going to town and their infidelities. He purposely did not go into the towns during his tours. He even stated in the letters that he wanted to avoid the temptation that he thought might tempt him. These are ideas that he taught me growing up. If you think you might get in trouble by going to a place- you probably will.
There are some interesting letters from Cleo , the oldest sister to Dad while he was still in high school. He was definitely spoiled by Cleo. In one letter she talks about his football achievements, especially one game where they beat one big high school due to his touch down. Cleo even had some money bet on him to score and won . Then at the end she wrote, "Honey, I don't have much time so I'll just enclose $5.00 and say goodbye. Five dollars was a lot back in 1941. For a high school kid that was a fortune. No wonder Dad's little sister was so jealous of him. All the other sisters doted on him and spoiled him. When he was born, Ruby , the youngest lost her rites to being the baby of the family. Now Football Flyboy got all the fame.
While Dad was in cadet school, he and Mom had just gotten married. He was so young, only 18 years old. Even while he was in school, he would write every single day. Mom kept all these letters too. I can hear his teasing voice in one of them as he wrote: "What do you mean by telling me that you like Frank Sinatra better than Bing Crosby? Why if I thought that you would swoon while he croons, I would divorce you. Don't you ever tell anyone that you like Frank better than Bing! The difference between Sinatra and Crosby is that Bing can sing anything and Sinatra can only sing a slow ballad. I heard him sing Shoo Shoo Baby about a week ago and it was terrible. I honestly thing I could have sung it better myself." He probably could have!
Male Watchers Day Monday Jan 8th Yes there is such a day as male watchers day. To some it means watching men and seeing all those muscles and yelling, “woohooo.” That is a fun way to celebrate today! However it made me start thinking that there is more to male watching than meets the eye. Beauty is only skin deep, right? The news is full of men that are not worth watching no matter how good the look on the outside because on the inside they have “stinking thinking.” So let’s look hard today while we are watching to see through the exterior. Men full of compassion- who can laugh and cry. Men who do the right thing- even when it is hard. Men who use self control- don’t put themselves in positions that could cause them to stray from honor. Men who are kind but honest- speak the truth in kindness. Men who are strong in faith- that can stand up when we can’t. Men who will not leave their families standing alone-they will fight to hold them together. These are the qualities that they may not be born with but develop as they grow. Watch for my new book coming in March, “Football Flyboy.” A good man will grow out of a man with a cocky flyboy attitude.
We also had times together making peanut butter cookies on Sunday afternoons. Sunday’s were usually lazy days, especially in the winter when it was cold outside. Mom would take a nap, something that I did not inherit because I cannot take a nap to save my soul. As she slept I can remember the quiet of the house. In the den the TV would be on very low with a golf match on. I could hear the refrigerator humming in the kitchen, and the clock on the wall with a gentle tick. Dad and I would use the kitchen table to mix all the ingredients and spoon out the cookies onto the sheet to bake. There were two parts that were my favorite, eating the dough after we were done; in the south we called this “licking the bowl.” We didn’t actually lick it, we just got all the goodies out of if. The second favorite was taking a fork and making the criss-cross marks on top of the cookie before we baked them. As they cooked the aroma drifted throughout the house causing Mom to wake up from her nap. That was when the house slowly arose from it’s quiet slumber as we enjoyed cookies on a cold day.
Well we all know someone like that right? Every family has one of those. For the Cannon family it was Aunt Gladys, who was fondly known as Glad-Ass. She was a fainter. She could faint on cue, and do it beautifully. She wore caftans that flowed around her big body. In the south we called the muumuus. They were always bright colored with bold designs. Her’s were made of silk from China. She always had a bunch of China junk because her secret husband dealt in foreign trade. She would suddenly announce, “I think I am going to faint, Sugar.” Then sure enough she would slowly fold softly on to the floor spreading her caftan around herself in a perfect puddle. The family got so they would just step around her and go on visiting as if nothing happened, but Glad-Ass continued to faint adding to their pleasure.
While I was growing up, there was always a pie or cake with every meal. Dad knew that dessert was the most important delicacy that life could offer. He raised me with this one fundamental philosophy that he communicated at every meal: “Don’t eat so much dinner that you don’t have room for dessert.” All children got dessert, and no one cared about the sugar rush because we were sent outside to play and burn it off.
The happiest people didn't get there by chance. It was a choice. There was a bumpy road more than once along the trip, but a choice was made not to abandon the ride. "You and I are inseparable," were the words at the end of the letter. He meant those statements. There were lean times of no money, times, of sickness, and times of joy. There was even a period of hopelessness, but no matter the season; they weathered it. That is what spouses day is all about; not letting go of each other, despite the weather. Choosing to be the happiest couple.
I know a man who is good and kind. With a splash of hot sauce and the sparkle of wine. Who doesn't want a man like that on Valentines Day? Women are intrigued with a little bit of bad boy image, however, we would never keep that bad boy forever. Just a wee bit of naughty is nice. That is where the sparkle of wine comes in. Dad could be a little naughty but with that came a twinkle of wit and laughter. Those are the qualities that hold relationships together over years of marriage. Celebrate the hot sauce this Valentine's day with a glass of wine. Embrace the moments of frustration when your mate leaves his dirty underwear on the floor. Be grateful for the small moments. Like when he filled your car up with gas so you didn't have to.
Jack was a natural born salesperson if there ever was one. Her success wasn't due to the fact that she learned sales technic. She was truly interested in people. Jack wanted people to have what they wanted. First her smile and greeting to a customer was never fake. She was glad to see them, for real. It was if they were a guest in her home and she wanted them to be comfortable in her presence. Customers liked her immediately. This passage shows her natural ability. She was not shocked that someone would ask for sexual furniture. She didn't even do a double take. Jack wanted to make sure they got what they needed. If they couldn't get sexual furniture- she knew that maybe they would be happy with sectional furniture. Who wouldn't want a salesperson like this!!
In America there is an overwhelming opinion that without a college education, your earning potential is doomed. In Dad's letters he had quite the same reflection. He was only married for a few months when this was written yet he is already concerned with being a flunky. Being in cadet school did give him quite an educations despite not having a college degree. His math was impeccable. He figured out how many miles the Flying Fortress could go based on the payload and fuel capacity by doing the math in his head. I wonder how many college grads can do that? He learned that reading everything he could get his hands on gave him a better education than any institution. As it turned out, he was the most successful man I have ever known.
Dad was actually in Scotland not Ireland when he wrote this. But I found that Fish and Chips is English, Scottish,and very Great Britain. So what better day to share this than on St Patrick Day. He was from Oklahoma where chicken fried stead, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and especially bread and gravy, where the meal of choice. The only thing they used vinegar for in Oklahoma was in making pickles, or salad dressing. Certainly vinegar wasn't to be used on food. So celebrate with Flyboy today enjoying a little Irish food. St. Patrick’s Day with classic Irish pub-style fish and chips. Unlike English fish and chips, which were traditionally serve in folded newspaper, these light crispy beer battered fish and chips are served Irish pub-style piled on rustic torn brown paper bags with fresh-made tartar sauce, lemon and malt vinegar.
Dad's heart hurt for the people in Manila. He got very close to Pepe their house boy while he was there, and the stories about the atrocities committed during the war effected Dad for years. This week we took Dad's funeral flag off of the shelf- that was folded and encased in wood and glass.. I had his 3 great grandsons gathered as we removed it from it's place. They sat in awe as we discussed the price of the flag. There is no price you can put on it- for it costs is a life. The only way to get the folded flag is because someone gave their life for it. The three little boys solemnly touched the flag and listened to the story about their great grandfather in the Philippines and it's people. I am grateful that I could share history with those sweet children.
I can't help but wonder if there wasn't something more to the disrupting call at dinnertime. I know that most families no longer say dinnertime prayers anymore, but just checking in with our Father for one minute at meal time was one minute of communication. My dad wanted nothing more than to hear my voice once a day. Meal time was convenient. He got to hear what I was eating, plus it allowed him to know that I had blessing enough to have food. Dad would laugh when I would tell him what I cooked. That meant that he had done his job well; I was taught how to cook and now knew how to feed my family. Our Father wants nothing more than to hear our voice once a day. To stop. Put the world on hold just for one minute. Be thankful. But- we are too busy- too inconvenienced. Or- maybe we just don't want to talk to Dad. Yes, I believe there was a hidden message in his calls. Again he teaches me, long after he is gone.
It is amazing what I have been able to uncover from my parents boxes- I found an autograph book with a lovely cover and tie from 1935 when she was in sixth grade. Currently that is middle school for our children but then she was still in elementary school. I remember her talking about it because they would typically have their friends autograph as they were leaving to go onto Jr High School (what they called it, instead of middle school.) On the page marked “social activities” Mom has dramatic club-dancing- and piano. What a discovery to find her readings in Jr High as well. I didn’t know she was a dancer! But this revelations along with playing the piano, sheds light on why she made me take ballet and piano lessons. I had no talent in either of those areas which must have disappointed her. I still look like a robot trying to be graceful in any type of dance move. I envy those who can sway with grace and rhythm. Most pages have a poem of a line or two. One of my favorites is on the first page from her sister Marcia- Roses are red- violets are blue- You are sweet and so am I. (Marcia did not share her drama reading talents)
For all their fights and squabbles- Ruby did love her brother. Sept 15, 1943 Dear “Little One” Please forgive my negligence about writing- it won’t happen again. Your news was good news! . Naturally, we all are probably a bit sad about the little brother getting married but the general attitude among the Cannon family is one of absolute approval. For myself I can only say that Mary Jo is as near what I want for a sister-in-law as possible. Just this one and only time- I want to tell you that I think my brother is far above the average boy!! Mentally, physically, and morally. Maybe I’m prejudiced, but we have always trusted your good sense and inherent homestay. Those two factors together with a sense of humor and lots of faith in the future are as much security as any of us can ask in the chaos of this war. Of course, being an old maid, I am equipped to advise you on “how to make a happy marriage,” so don’t take advice from the other kids- ask me! For my part, I say “lead with the heart”- and the devil take the behind. The lecture is over, you can wake up now. The best of luck, honey, to both of you. Take care and be happy. Love Rube
Arnold is full of personality and everyone loves him. Arnold has one problem and that is he loves to eat things that are not good for him. He discovers he loves veggie and an occasional cookie. He gets healthy through eating good foods and exercising with the horses. He sings little oink songs to everyone he meets. Available 11X8 landscape through website www.lisareinicke.com also discussion questions and accompany pig hand puppets. Free offers and drawings.
Wherever I go there is no escaping myself; because I am going to be with me forever. I project my own self image as I write my children's books. I didn’t realize that I was actually doing this until I looked at my bookshelf one day as the covers glared at me. Arnold has OCD, obsessive compulsive behavior. He is constantly worried about food. Every action he makes has the underlying goal to get food. He actually is fighting an eating disorder, one that I share with him. I have been struggling all my life with the urges for food. There is a fine line between the desire not to over eat and the compulsion for excessive dieting. Arnold did find a good medium ground and so did I- but an inner struggle still remains that I face everyday
Arnold got into most of his trouble eating free food. He gained weight by going to the neighbors for free tacos, pizza, and hamburgers. Then going to picnics where people loved to feed him cake and ice cream. The same holds true for us if you think about it. Everything that is free food isn’t always good for us and packs on those extra pounds. At Mexican restaurants we get those delicious chips and salsa. Yummy and I cannot pass that up. And I am always so hungry that I eat a whole bowl of chips before I get my food. Italian cuisine we get free bread and butter. Sometimes it’s hot bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar which is to die for. The yeasty goodness even smells heavenly. Then I eat a bowl of pasta after that. Pizza is often free especially if you help people move. Moving boxes and pizza just go together. Donuts arrive at the office because someone is being sweet to all their co-workers. Candy dishes are scattered around and seem to be everywhere calling my name and it is all FREE! Yippy! So here is to a new diet that worked for Arnold, “Don’t Eat Free Food Diet.” I am going to see if it works.
Arnold is obsessed with finding food, eating food, and not thinking about the consequences. I have a lot in common with Arnold because I love food too. When I was pregnant, ice cream was my favorite, it called my name in the wee hours of the night. As the children grew, so did my waistline. I found that whatever was left on their plates went into my mouth, instead of the garbage. As teenagers it seemed that they were always eating. They were bottomless pits that needed constant nutrition in the form of convenience packaged products easily accessed at a moments hunger. Those packaged goodies gravitated to my hand every time I opened the cabinet. By the time of their weddings, I no longer fit into a dress that I desired that was acceptable for photographs. My request was for a photographer that could take skinny pictures. That is when I took a lesson from Arnold and decided to try healthy eating and exercise. The first thing I had to do was get rid of all the junk food and fill the fridge with healthy fruits and veggies. Who knew that Arnold would like carrots and apples, but he did! And so did I! Eliminate the temptations. Fill in with healthy creations. Exercise daily with jubilation.
This is such a simple picture book, but it has important life lessons to teach. Arnold was given "freedom". He was free to choose where to go and what to eat. He was missing something very important; education and information about his choices. Raising children we want to give them "freedom" as they grow. Just like Arnold they want their "freedom" before they have enough education about the acts they are choosing or the consequences of the wrong choice. Arnold, like many teens, learned the hard way. He liked eating anything he wanted until it got him into trouble. Once he abused his "freedom" it had to be taken away while he was educated on healthy eating and self control. Once he learned to make good choices he gained his freedom back. Wow- I wish I could have read this to my teenagers!
In my book Arnold, we find that he loves food, and yes, he really did LOVE food. He also adored chocolate, but I was told that chocolate was deadly to pigs. Guess what Arnold managed to get hold of? Chocolate. We were so scared and worried about Arnold. Could we make him throw it up? Not a chance. We called the vet and he said to withhold food for six hours and let his tummy rest. This was easier said than done. When Arnold wanted food, there was no stopping him. In fact he could get down right mad when he was hungry. We called it “hangry.” Hungry and Angry. He would come to the back door butting it with his snout. Then he would put his snotty snout right under the crack of the door and grunt into it, letting us know he was hangry. We did manage to keep him away from food for the six hours. He never threw up, he didn’t get sick, and he remained an sinker of little pig. After all was said and done, we managed to put chocolate high in the cupboards to keep it out of piggy’s reach.
I remember the night when we got home and found poor little Arnold so stuffed and miserable in the barn. At first we were just so darn mad at him for eating the entire bag of the horses oats. There was nothing left in the bag to feed the horses. Then we saw Arnold all swollen up with his tummy so full. His belly would just make a wiggle as he grunted an oink. Thanksgiving is right around the corner so what better time to write about getting stuffed! With all the good food on the table we might end up like Arnold; too full to move! So Arnold says," Don't eat so much that you don't have room for dessert! AND eat turkey, not ham!"
I don't know why, but I still had my youngest sons playpen sitting in our basement. I guess that just goes to show I have some hidden hoarding gene. My thought process was that if a playpen kept my babies out of trouble that it should keep a little piggy out of trouble. This was one of those old fashion pens with netting on the sides and a big 4X4 size. It was absolutely perfect for Arnold. He would stick his pink snout up against the netting and grunt loudly for attention. He didn't climb on the sides like a dog might. He was actually very good except for oinking and snorting his unhappiness. After a few months Arnold would no longer fit in that playpen. He got too heavy for the the bottom and put a hole right in the middle of the floor. He was growing fast because even with keeping him contained, he found food when he was out of his pen.
At first we thought the dog was super hungry because his food was always empty. We can to find out that Arnold was escaping his confines and eating the dogs food. He would then put himself back into his little area and act like he had not eaten all day! He was double dipping, eating the dog food and then getting his own food every morning and every night. Besides getting extra food, Arnold found a way to knock over the huge garbage can and rummage through for all the trash. He even learned how to open the snapped shut lid that was hard for me to open. It seemed impossible to keep food from Arnold.
Right from the moment we brought Arnold home, he was hungry! We had a running joke at our house because our youngest son Steve was always hungry too. It just seemed that we were feeding either Arnold or Steve constantly. What made it even funnier was that Arnold learned to follow Steve around to get food. When Steve would have cheese and crackers, Arnold knew that if he wiggled his tail and spun it round and round, that Steve would give him part of his cheese and crackers. Carrots and ranch dressing were a favorite for both of them. Steve had a great personality. Arnold also had a great personality. They were a team, happy, hungry, and hilarious together.
I remember the day that little Arnold came to live with us. I was so excited to get him. He was only about 6 inches long and very squirmy. He wanted down out of my arms and he wanted to play. He could run really fast! He also made a squealing oink when he ran which was funny and made us all laugh. We had a stairway with a rail and Arnold ran right under it and rolled down a couple of stairs. It scared us to death. He scrambled back up the stairs just to start running again. Arnold bonded with the family almost immediately. His little snout was moist as he butted it into my leg. That was how he let me know he wanted to play.
I have always loved animals. They can take a sad day and make you happy. They can make a happy day, well,,,, happier. Pigs are always smiling with their cute little snouts, and that is why I wanted a pig- for mothers day. No fancy chocolates, flowers, jewelry, or other finery. I wanted a pig. With the help of their dad, my two little guys found a little tiny pig for a gift. They enjoyed buying him I think more than I enjoyed getting him.
2017 winner, gold, Mom's Choice Awards. A butterfly and a boy adopt each other into a unique friendship where they learn to adapt to their differences and turn it into a caring bond that will break the barriers of time and be passed on from generation to generation. A good lesson for speaking up about what is right for yourself when friends want you to do things you are not able to. Downloadable curriculum available on line for grades 4 through 6 english and science. Free resources and discussion blogs. Finger puppet companion on line as well as book. Proceeds from website sales go to Mercy Ships for healing. www.LisaReinicke.com
One could interpret the child wanting to put the butterfly in a jar as bullying. In this case I think it is clear that the harm caused would have been unintentional; the child didn't know any better. This made me ponder the importance of educating our children on what bullying really is. It is PURPOSEFUL harm to others for the sole intent of making the other person weaker than they are. This is either by physical actions or by verbal taunting. Our society is quick to judge sometimes without getting all of the facts or hearing every side of the case. No one wants their children to be bullied or wants their child to be the one doing the bullying. Instilling a soft spirit in ourselves is the first step to demonstrate to our own kids so that they can mimic our actions to those around them.
The love of books starts at an early age. I started my guys even before they were one with Pat the Bunny or books that they could feel. It was a time to sit still, focus, and to turn the pages. They figured out that something was on the page for them to enjoy. The love of the book was more than the words; it was time to be together too. As kids grow, books teach them about life, and open discussions between parent and child. Wings and Feet is an opportunity to talk about what we would miss out on in life if we neglect to make friends with someone physically different than ourselves. It's a good time to talk about friendships- how some last a lifetime. All from reading a book - who knew books are this precious!
"Freedom is a right and whether you are human or in this case a beautiful butterfly whose pleasure in life is to fly and enjoy nature and the world." (said by Fran Lewis) It is so tempting to want to capture butterflies for pets but in the book the young boy learns many lessons that most of us would profit from too. Wings and Feet helps young children realize how we get around and enjoy the world and how this precious butterfly uses his wings to do the same thing. So what would happen, think about this, if the butterfly lived in a jar in his room. Would that be fair or right? "Children are unique and butterflies are too." (said by Fran Lewis) Butterflies must fly and children must run. This book teaches friendship, embracing differences, and understanding as we show children how to navigate in this world. (Review by Fran Lewis)
When I started writing Wings and Feet, I made many attempts to tell a story that my grandson told me. He could not give up on the story. He followed me around the house, recanting the events of his butterfly encounter. How the small creature became his friend. It landed on his cheek and seemed to want to tell him something. The wings chased him through the meadows as he would run. They actually became friends in the short span of a few minutes. He was running, the butterfly in flight, they were different, but friends. This is the story of a generational love between the butterfly and humans. A tale we pass on to our children and grandchildren. A realism that cannot be reproduced by artificial intelligence. Friendship.
We all know what is going on in the news about the 'me too" movement. Harassment is on both sides, men and women. It is important to teach our children that it is OK to say NO and mean it. In this excerpt we see that the butterfly is clearly stating "NO." Not maybe , not later, but no- never. While people in the news may have said no, it is never too early for us to teach our children to clearly say NO when they are asked to do something that will bring harm to them. The butterfly isn't mean, or angry in this section. It is just matter of fact, NO. This doesn't ruin their friendship, in fact it makes it stronger. With boundaries in place, it can often make our world a safer place.
The truth is that we pass butterfly kisses from generation to generation. It will continue for as long as we can remember the friendship humanity has with the butterfly. We show our children the special gift the butterfly left us. Our children will show their children. The story will never die. Our personal friendships we build in our lives are the same. We pass on how important those relationships are. We teach our children to work through differences to build the bridges of friendship. This story reinforces how to get along with each other.
Our differences should not divide us. These two friends are determined to find the similarities and the things that they enjoy together instead of focusing on the differences that could keep them apart. I love that they are going to take care of their own uniqueness and own their "own stuff." They focus on the meadow that they love and decide that they are not all that different when it comes down to it. They find that one thing that they both can do together, they are each just doing to get there in their own way.
Often when we meet people with physical differences, we have the best intentions. Here the child just wants to help. He knows that the butterfly cannot run, so he is offering assistance. He believes it will be easier for the butterfly if it doesn't have to worry about flying. You can tell that the child means well with the statement "I won't let you fall" "I'll hold you close." Again we see that there is acknowledgement that there are differences, but they will not matter. I love watching this friendship unfold.
Sometimes, especially children, are afraid to say no when there friends want them to do things that they know they shouldn't, even if it means you might get hurt or in trouble. The butterfly is very quick to tell the child no when the child wants him to do something he shouldn't. The butterfly also goes on to explain why he cannot do what the child wants him to. This is a great teaching tool for children to help them see that it is OK to be different and OK to say no. We also get to see that this does not make a difference in their friendship, in fact it makes it stronger.
We often see people with physical differences and think we know what would be best for them. In this case we see the child thinking that the butterfly would be better off in a jar where he can hop like the child can with his legs. It isn't that the child is trying to be mean, it is evident that he is just wanting to help them be better friends by taking him home. The child thinks that by roaming, that the butterfly must be lonely or unhappy so he wants to make him a great place to stay.
I love that at the start of their friendship the child and the butterfly talk positively about their differences. It is often hard for children and adults to know just how to make friends with someone that is physically different than they are. These two friends start off acknowledging what each CAN do, not what each CANNOT do and stating the positives. No wonder they are friends!
No matter how old we get, or how fast we move, we always carry with us the joy of the butterfly. All of us still have that moment when we see one when our breath is held for just a moment and we say out loud, "Oh look, a butterfly." I wanted to bring back that memory to the parent while sharing this book with their children. For those moments there are no worries or problems. The times we enjoy the nature and freedom chasing butterflies is in every child.
I realized after writing this book just how closely it reflected my own story of adoption. I am adopted and have adopted children. So often in an adoptive family, each one assumes that what is good for one is good for all but adopted children have different needs. It can be a challenge for children that are already in the home to understand that each child is different and so the way you handle each child is unique. The boy and the butterfly discover these differences and how to adapt to each other’s limitations. One has wings and can fly but cannot run; one has feet but cannot fly and they find a way to experience the world more wholly together. Wherever they are different, they find a way to work together and to remain best friends while encouraging each other. Through this, I wanted to illustrate how adoptive siblings can work together instead of against each other. Sometimes we want the family unit to work as one so much that we forget how important compromise is on everyone’s part for our children to truly come together and care for one another. In fact, much of the beauty in our relationships comes from how we overcome obstacles.
It was the night before Christmas and little David's one wish, all he wanted this Christmas was a pretty goldfish. Mom and Dad find that the fish they bought was floating upside down. They go to all extremes to fight though a blizzard to find the pet store closing. Through a parents great love and desire to give David his one wish, they are able to get a new fish just in time for Christmas. A story for all ages of a parents love and simple gifts. Hard copy available through www.lisareinicke.com 11X8 landscape .A definite read for Christmas traditions.
I searched for just the right translation for this verse. Most translations use the word evil instead of imperfect. What child wants to see the word evil about their parent? ( Unless it's a teenager!) (Then you are evil when you don't let them go out with their friends) This book David's Christmas truly depicts this verse. We as parents are imperfect. We make mistakes every single day, BUT we love our children so much it hurts! We worry , we cry, we hug, we sacrifice, and yes we give them good gifts, especially at Christmas. Now, think of yourself as a little child-this is how God sees you. How much he wants to give you good things! Must read this story every Christmas to remind yourselves that you too are loved.
I know, Santa is important at Christmas. All of the best movies are about Santa. The kids faces light up at the very name. This book is written in the same lyrical tone as the Night Before Christmas, however the hero isn't Santa, it's the parents. I didn't want to take away the magic by leaving dear St. Nick out of the story, but I did want a story that communicated how deep a parents love is. It is unconditional. Even when children don't realize it, parents are doing everything in their power to show their love in ways the child will never know. Asleep and so quiet, we love them, and we always will. That is the real magic of Christmas!
I started thinking today about books and preserving our stories. What if there were no books? Our stories would be lost. What if we put it all on the internet? What if we only watch videos for information? I have books from my childhood, and I also have books from my mother, and books from my grandmother. I even have a book from 1863 from my great great grandfather. I wrote David's Christmas Wish to pass down the story of love. It is a story that should never just be on the internet. Love should never just be on a video. We need to speak it, write it down, read it, and share it. Written words to pass down from generation to generation. Your children will find them many years later. And their children. And forever to come. Keep writing all you writers. Tell your stories to your children so they can keep it and know how you feel.
The older I get the more I am dedicated to make sure family stories get preserved. The Native American's always had a storyteller, or historian. In fact all cultures had some way to make sure stories were passed on to future generations. Christmas time is when our sentiments are the sharpest. This is one of the reasons I wanted to write a Christmas book. In this final chapter, Mom will make sure that she is going to retell this story every year as David grows. It isn't just a story about a fish, or a present. It is a story about love. Parents never,ever, ever, stop loving their children.
I know it is sad, but the poor little fishy was floating upside down just as we were getting ready for Christmas. Panic set in as there was no other gift that was as important as that dog gone fish. Anything else would mean that our sweet child would be disappointed at Christmas. It was one of those years where the only thing a parent hears about is that certain thing that the child wants. It also never fails that the item that is the most desired is the item that is the hardest to come by. A fish isn't expensive, and it wasn't hard to find, but keeping the Goldie guy alive was proving a challenge! As the holiday approaches, our children will be coming to us with those wishes to be fulfilled, and we will do everything within our power (and beyond) to produce every desire. Lists will be made, stores scoured, and online searching will begin. This is how we are going to show our love. The real proof of love isn't the shopping, it is that we want to see their faces light up with joy. We want our children to be happy. A simple gift might bring the greatest joy to show how much you love them.
Christmas advertising comes earlier and earlier every year. So I decided to jump way ahead here before the tinsel starts appearing on the shelves. The advertising starts as soon as the Halloween costumes are purchased. I have even seen some on display in August this year. Many children start with such simple wishes for Christmas, and as the hype ramps up the closer we get to Christmas day, the bigger the wish list gets. The real meaning of the day often gets lost in the many desires of gifts we can get our children because we love to see the delight in our children's eyes as they open gifts. As parents shop, the commercials steep children's minds with more items that they simply must have, and we simply must get to see their faces beaming on Christmas morning. The wish in David's Christmas Wish was a simple one, just a pretty goldfish is all the David wants. It will prove to be the most difficult gift that his parents would ever provide on this Christmas.
Wilhelmina had one wish- she wished she didn't look like this. Wilhelmina is a fairy with one problem, a unibrow that she cannot tame. Unhappy with how she looks, she goes on a quest to change only to find the heart of who she is with the help of Mr. Owl who cannot see. Wilhelmina had one wish, and then she changed it.
I worried A LOT about the unibrow. That is when I contacted Sophia Hadjipanteli the model famous for her one bushy brow. She love our little fairy and the message she conveyed. She believes that other people’s opinions shouldn’t dictate how you perceive your own beauty. I agree! So this is why Wilhelmina came to life. To help children identify with their own beauty both inside and out. When we let the beauty that is inside us show- it is reflected in our outer appearance. What might not be a Hollywood worthy feature, all of a sudden takes on a beautiful glow that attracts all who see it. Let your light shine from within to expose your gorgeous self. That is the message.
A child forgets to close the gate and his pet dino gets out causing a big mess. The child has to get creative to capture the dino and get him back in the gate. Then the cleanup begins to take care of what was broken because of the mistake the child made.
I was asked yesterday, "What was your mission for writing Bart?" Heck I never know what makes me do anything because I never slow down enough to think about it. I am down right impulsive! But there was a motive subconsciously when I wrote Bart. My kids were always wanting some sort of pet growing up.I squashed the idea at first but then realized that having to care for a pet teaches responsibility. At first the boys were very attentive caring for the animal, then over a few weeks the novelty wore off and the care started to suffer. That is when "Mom the Enforcer" needed to come to the pet's rescue. I remember the first time I called them back in to attend to their charge. "Mom, why can't you just feed Skippy? Just this one time?" It is tempting to give in and feed the poor animal. Resist-I say- resist! Insisting that the children care for their own pet is an excellent way to build their own self esteem and they will be proud of the job they did in the end.
It's no secret to my children that I have OCD. In fact I passed it down to them as well. When writing Bart- it was half true and half a dream that our animal escaped. My husband was notorious about leaving the pasture gate unlocked. He would close it but forget the latch. We had smart horses that learned from his behavior of forgetfulness. All they had to do was give that gate a little nudge and they were on the loose. My OCD would always send me out into the night to check the gate. And most nights I would have to secure the latch. This particular night of the dino dream, I was too tired to give into my OCD to check the latch. See what happens- The Bart book was created!
There are so many lessons in this little story! This page has to be one of my favorite on "Integrity." It may be a big word for our small children but they can understand what it means. Dependable- When we ask them to pick up their crayons- we can depend on them to put them ALL in the container. Consistent- Every time they get ready to cross the street- we know they will look both ways. Honesty- This one is hard for kids, but one parents have to keep at. Telling the truth- not just now but always. Having integrity means that you have "class"someone who puts a high standard on the way he behaves. Grace that comes from doing the right thing!
I attended my grandson's program at school last night and they sang a song that caused tears to flow as I heard it. "Do the Good You Know." The tune is catchy but the words strike right to the heart. We as parents need many examples and stories to repeat to our children about "Do the Thing You Know is Right" and the song continues, "Then you will see and be the light." In Bart's Escape the same lesson is repeated. "I am sorry that I didn't mind." Then the doing what is right the child works hard to clean up the mess. When we see humanity doing the right thing, it is our light to follow. Children are the future and our hope that our world will be a better place and they are the ones who will carry the torch forward. It makes a difference- this much we know- One act of kindness- can save one soul.
I love this passage. Children are just beginning to learn new words and phrases. What a wonderful new idea to learn. Passing the Buck. This is a good time to teach it's meaning. "To shift blame onto someone or something else." I still remember my kiddo's first try at "Passing the Buck." The words left their mouths, "It's not my fault, it was Morgan's idea, not mine." Bart teaches that taking responsibility can have rewards. All you have to do is look at the news to see what is happening to the people shifting the blame to others; it's not working out so well for them. In fact this shifting blame is causing more attention to be brought to the problem. Don't miss this opportunity to show accepting, admitting,apologizing, and correcting a problem is the best and most often the easiest path in life.
This section in Bart's Escape is perfect for discussing leadership with preschoolers. Sometimes the more we try to force things, the more things won't work out our way. It is trying to put a square peg in a round hole. The child pushes, and shoves, yells, and screams, but nothing works. Anyone can be a leader- not all are born. Only 1/3 is born into us-2/3 is taught. Leadership is first innovation- The child has an idea to get Bart back where he belongs. He understood the social process- Bart loved food. Fill the wagon with treats. Finally he engaged Bart to act the way he wanted him to, and with a smile on his face lead the way back to the gate. Innovation Inspiration Motivation Taught in a simple story that kids will love and a plush Dino toy to match! www.lisareinicke.com
I wanted a story that could show an example of failure, regret, consequences, and blessing. So often that chain of events is exactly what happens in real life. When we make a mistake we think,"Oh no, this is the end, now I have really messed things up." If we are sorry, truly sorry, it shows in our apology and demeanor. Our heart is humbled just like the child in the story. Being sorry doesn't mean that their will not be consequences. Yep, we might have to do some work to fix the mess. Finally in my own life, I have found that a blessing follows because I did the right thing. Bart- you taught a good lesson!
I love this section because it shows ingenuity. We get to see a child's thought process and problem solving skills. We get to share this with our children while reading to help them understand "Ingenuity." In the story, this child has a problem that seems to be too big for him to solve. Then he examines the situation. He needs something to get Bart to move. The light bulb comes on in his head: he thinks of a solution. In life not all things turn out as planned. Not all plans are successful. Yes life does have failures and this is the part of the story that we get to see the failure.
Our horses were running and falling. They were talking in my dream too. One, Laredo, had broken his leg and was saying, “help me I am hurt, he’s going to kill us all.” The pigs were squealing while the dinosaur chased them. Cats were screeching, dogs barking, and the dino was growling. I was in a cold sweat when I woke up and realized it was a dream. I quickly threw on a coat to go out to the pasture to check the gate and found it securely fastened.
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