Claire Writes! – ‘Baby Frederico and the New Teacher’

One day Baby Frederico’s Papa Frita decided to become a first grade teacher. Baby Frederico was very excited for this. Mostly because he was a first grader himself and he couldn’t wait to have his very own Papa as his teacher!

One night, Papa Frita was showing Mama Mia pictures of his brand new classroom. He said, “I am so excited! It’s like my own special world!” Baby Frederico smiled to himself. He couldn’t wait to be a part of this new special world!

The next day, one of Mama Mia’s friends, Mrs.B the Bee, who also used to be a first grade teacher, buzzed on over and told the family they could come shop for school things in her attic. Baby Frederico couldn’t wait! He was going to get to help pick out everything that would be in his classroom!

Shortly after, Mama, Papa, and Baby all went over to Mrs.B’s hive. As they made the long trek up the stairs to the attic, Baby Frederico’s anticipation grew. He was just so excited! When Mrs.B opened the attic door, Baby Frederico could not believe his eyes. There was every sort of game, book, and Velcro that you could ever imagine! And yes, I did say Velcro! There was even a whole tub of Velcro just sitting there waiting for them! There was EVERYTHING!

After the family cleared out the attic and thanked Mrs.B, they all went home and opened up the boxes.

As Baby Frederico dug through a box, he told his Papa, ” Papa, I am so happy you get to be my teacher this year! It’s gonna be the bestest year ever!”

Mama Mia and Papa Frita exchanged a confused glance.

“What do you mean Baby? Don’t you remember?” Said Mama Mia.

Baby Frederico also made a confused look, “Remember what?”

Papa Frita sighed, “Baby Frederico, you’ve already been a first grader.”

Baby Frederico laughed, “Yes! I know THAT! I AM a first grader!”

Papa Frita sighed again, “No, Baby. You WERE a first grader. Now you’re a second grader. I’m sorry. That’s just how it works!”

All of a sudden, Baby Frederico felt tears well up in his little iguana eyes.

“But Papa, ” he cried, “I thought I was going to spend every day with you!”

Papa Frita gave him a big papa iguana hug and said, “Oh my silly little iguana, I will get to spend every day with you! I might be a first grade teacher, but I’ll be a first grade teacher at your school!”

Baby Frederico sat up with surprise. He didn’t even think about that!

He smiled, “Ya’ know what Papa? I love that you’re a teacher, but I REALLY love that you’re my Papa.”

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Claire Writes – ‘Baby Frederico in One Sentence’

My dad challenged me to write a story in one long run-on sentence. I took the challenge!

Baby Frederico loves to eat brownies but he also likes to eat candy and pretzels, so here is the story that Baby Frederico once made brownies because he loved them but he also wanted pretzels and then he saw candy so he wanted that too but he remembered that his Mama Mia had told him, ” You can only eat brownies Baby Frederico!” so he thought and he thought and he thought until he said,”I know what to do!” so he baked his brownies and waited for them to be done with great anticipation and when they were done, he took out his favorite candies and pulled out the pretzels, and covered the brownies with every bit of them and then called his Mama to come and see and she could not believe her eyes and for a speechless moment Baby Frederico was almost afraid that his Mama would get onto him but soon a big, huge smile spread across her face and she said, “Let’s eat!”, and so they ate happily ever after.

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These Are My People

Claire and I took a trip this past weekend, and I do mean a trip! We drove into the heart of downtown Dallas, Texas to attend the celebrated “Comic Con,” a convention devoted to fans of everything from Star Wars to Superman and X-Men to Back to the Future and every “cool and geeky” thing in between. Claire even dressed up as Wonder Woman!

At one point while we were enjoying the festivities and buying more than a few collector comic books in the grand marketplace, Claire turned to me with the biggest grin and with the most satisfied sound in her voice said, “Dad, look around! These are our people!”

I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. It was an epiphany of sorts that was bubbling around in my teenage daughter’s mind, this sense that different might not be so bad after all, that quirkiness and passion and fun can make for quite a fascinating world.

I remember years ago my wife and I met an older couple who were sharing their life story with us. When he proposed marriage to her, he said, “Darling, would you be buried with my people?”

It was his way of inviting her to join his tribe, his culture, his home, his world. And it clearly worked!

In this massive, crowded world of the 21st century, there is nothing quite like finding “your people”…even if they’re dressed as a hobbit with a long grey beard or are sporting a large red “s” across their chest.

There’s just nothing quite like it.

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The Cloud That Stole the Sunrise

I enjoy driving my daughter to school. We sometimes talk through the entire 20-minute trip, while other times we just listen to music. Then there are times we make up stories. Here’s one that Claire and I came up with when we were inspired by a pretty amazing early morning sky just last week:

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There once was a cloud that was very jealous in his heart. He traveled the skies of many countries and was sometimes hailed by onlookers as the bringer of shade, the producer of rain, and the creator of shadows.

And these accolades produced what originally seemed to be just a very small thing: pride.

But as time passed, the cloud grew so great in his own eyes and so important among his own thoughts that very soon he was all he thought of.

There was, however, one thing bedsides himself that the cloud nearly always marveled at – the sunrise. And the more he marveled at it, the more he longed for it. And the more he longed for it, the more he plotted to have it.

When it rises, there is a brief period of time in which the sun seems to linger midway along the horizon. Its rays spread upward into a sea-blue sky and crisscross themselves as they create a kaleidoscope of otherworldly reds and purples and pinks and oranges.

Lesser concerned clouds take little notice of their own subtle role in this event. They simply are there, paying little mind to the shades and colors, the beams of light that intersect them and reflect through and over and under and within their billowing forms. Our cloud, however, was not among the lesser concerned.

More and more, he watched the sunrise with such envy that it consumed his every thought.  He would hear the peaceful sighs of the onlookers below, hear little ones as they commented on the brilliant work that captured their budding imaginations and transformed an otherwise dull and grey day into a fantastic epic of hope and light.

“How dare the sunrise do this to me!” he said sternly to himself.

“How dare you do this to me!” he said to the sunrise itself.  “How dare you…”

With that, the angry cloud rumbled and thundered as it moved to block the sunrise.  He pushed himself directly into its colorful rays and pushed away those other, lesser concerned clouds around him.

He said, “I want that sunrise for myself, all to myself, and I want it…now!”

And then, the most amazing thing happened.  Children on their way to school were the first to call attention to it.  Families and bus drivers and other early morning risers paused in awe.

The clouds that he had previously labeled as “the lesser concerned” gathered back into their place near the light and a quiet settled upon them all.  They welcomed the jealous and lonely cloud into their midst and shared the light and warmth of that sunrise.  Rays of color quickly coursed around and under and over and through him and he immediately knew that he could not contain it, could not hold it all to himself.

In the coming days, children and families and bus drivers and other early morning risers looked forward to the dawn as they never had before.  Many even described the time as something “like the picture perfect portrait of a thousand brilliant sunrises.”

And a previously jealous and lonely cloud stood happily, peacefully, among it all.

Claire Speaks: Hometown Celebrities

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I am always grateful when our 14-year old agrees to be the guest writer for our blog. Here is what’s on her heart this week:

Who are your favorite celebrities? I know I can think of Tom Hiddleston, Fred Astaire, Bill Gaither, Rod Stewart, Chris Evans, Barry Manilow, Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson – just to name a few. But did you ever think of celebrities as being the people you speak to every single day?

Yes! I know it sounds crazy, but you go to school with celebrities. You might even live with some right in your very own home! No, no, no, I don’t mean that Channing Tatum is your brother or something – but think about this, who are those people in your life that have a positive influence on you and just make you smile by the seemingly simple things they do all the time.

These are your Hometown Celebrities and mine just so happen to be two of my very greatest friends on earth.

My first example is my astonishing Allison. Although she will often shy away from telling you this, she is the most amazing vocalist and actress I have ever witnessed on stage. She is very humble but is quick to compliment you and tell you how amazing you are anytime you need it. She is truly a celebrity in my eyes because of these traits.

Another great example is my spectacular Sean. He is a celebrity to me for a number of reasons. Not only is he just a wonderful person, Sean has some pretty amazing talents that are different from anyone else I’ve ever met. He is on his way to getting his pilot’s license, is an excellent Irish dancer, and is the most outstanding writer in our school. He is also always very gentlemanly and never leaves a moment without filling it with laughter or a smile first.

I could really go on forever, listing out my real celebrities. The countless pastors, family members, teachers, and friends who have filled my life with happiness and song. But now I must let you go and discover your own heroes, so I will leave you with this thought: Do not be swayed by what the world tells you about celebrities and fame. It often says ‘You must live in this certain place’, ‘You must look like this’, and ‘You must do these things’ to acquire those titles. But I have a secret for you: that’s just not true!

You can be a celebrity just by being kind and a good example right in your town, school, and home. You don’t even need a special talent! You will always be admired by someone in the world if you are yourself and not afraid to be it. So look around! Find your celebrities and tell them that they’ve made a difference in your life. You’ll soon find that sometimes, Hollywood can be just around the corner.

Claire Speaks: Frozen

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A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. - Franz Kafka

I am thankful for a daughter who writes! Claire thinks with a pen in hand and was gracious in helping me with this week’s work on the website. So, sharing her perspective about the movie and book Frozen, allow me to officially invite you to hear from fatherknowsbooks very first guest blogger:

Frozen. The movie has swept the nation with its super catchy music and the amazing lessons it teaches. This movie has been awarded Best Original Song for “Let It Go” ( I know you just stopped and sang it at the top of your lungs, don’t deny it), has been nominated for Best Animated Film, has made more than The Lion King($715,000,000 since January), and there are rumors of a Broadway musical – all in its short span of existence on the big screen.

If you looked very closely while the credits were rolling, you saw that Frozen was actually based off of a book called The Snow Queen. This was a story by the outstandingly tremendous children’s author Hans Christian Anderson. He has actually written a couple of stories that inspired their transformation into some of most beloved princess movies in all of Disney history. One example is The Little Mermaid and now…Frozen!

Though there may be many reasons for such success, from my perspective the narrative that so moves us in Frozen is the simple act of a sister’s love. It is a love that knows no bounds and will transform a frozen heart.

The story ends as a tribute to anyone who has ever given themselves as a sacrifice for another:
 “You sacrificed yourself for me?” Elsa asked in wonder.
                                Still weak, Anna replied simply, “I love you.”