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Sunday, September 26, 2010

All in time

I am not a good swimmer at all. I can swim enough to stay afloat in a pool, I can even swim in a lake if I must. I am confident that I could swim enough to stay safe should I accidentally fall into some deep water and I'm not weighted down or tangled up. That being said, the reason for my swimming deficiency is because I grew up with a fear of water, one that was only overcome because of a desire to graduate High School. You see in my high school one semester of swimming was required to graduate, so I took the non-swimmers course and learned enough to get me by.

Now, because of my experiences as a child I took a very different approach to teaching my children to swim. I kept their swimming experiences positive allowing them whatever floaties, suits, and vests that they felt they needed in order to be confident and feel safe. My oldest boy has done well over the years, he's always been a bit of a fish and loves the water. He has always been the one that jumps right in as soon as swimming season hits, and he's always been the more daring one when it comes to jumping into the water, going under water, and trying to swim without floats. My middle boy however, was always the child that took a full month to decide it was safe to come off the second step and into the water, he has always required that we give him a life vest to wear in the water to keep him from drowning. He was the child that I thought would never learn to swim.

As it turns out, this summer they both learned to swim on their own time, at their own pace, and without floaties. It is quite an accomplishment for them, and they are very glad to have learned. They now swim both under and above the water, and at the rate they are going will be better swimmers than their mama in no time at all! I know that some don't like floaties for children, but for us allowing them to use the floaties until they were confident in their abilities was the best choice.

I am one happy mama, I have two swimmers now, who love the water and never had to overcome a fear of it just to graduate high school!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What was that again?

Today I had the pleasure of visiting a local attraction The Boyce Thompson Arboretum which of itself is simply beautiful. To walk among God's Creations and see the variety and the purpose for each plant is just amazing to me. The whole point of the trip today was to attend a tour offered by a friend of ours all about the Plants of the Bible.

Because of the similarities in climate, many of the plants that are mentioned in the Bible grow well here in Arizona. I was fascinated by the many plants we saw today, and I enjoyed learning some intresting facts about these plants. For example did you know that a date palm tree can produce 24 Tons of dates in it's lifetime? This makes for a very profitable orchard if you have a few date palms within it.

Another very interesting fact I learned during our 2 hour walk was that there is no such thing as a Gopher tree...from which the ark was built, and so scholars began trying to decide where Gopher wood came from. I suppose I always thought that when the Bible said Gopher Wood, I just took it as exactly that. Now there is some disagreement as to where exactly the Gopher Wood comes from, and there is no way to know here on earth who is correct but there are two possible sources that we discussed today, one seems to me highly unlikely. Now the first of the two possible sources is an Oleander, this to me seems highly unlikely because an oleander is a bush like plant, though it can grow quite tall, with very thin whiplike branches. Oleander looks like this:

As you can see the branch of this plant does not look like much to build a large boat from. The second possible source, which seems more likely to me, and again this is nothing that can be proven but meerly an educated guess based on available information. The second possiblity is Mediterranean Cypress, now this tree is very tall, fairly large around and would likely make the perfect planks for building an Ark. The Cyprus looks like this:

As you can see this particular tree is very tall, with a big round trunk. If I had to choose between the two I'd certainly choose the cypress tree!

The Gopher wood is believed to come from the fact that in translating from the original Greek text, there was no English word for the Greek word Kupar so the word Gopher was used. Gopher however actually refers to the process used to get the wood, a process of lamination involving shaving thin piece of the tree and then gluing them back together (think modern plywood). Now this Mediterranean Cypress is very common in the Mediterranean area, it is a very hard, sturdy wood, and was commonly used for boat making by the Cretans and Greeks. This seems a much more likely canditate for the Ark to me.

Again this is all opinion, as no person alive today can say for sure what Noah used to build the Ark. I simply wanted to share a little bit of trivia with you that I found interesting. I hope to take this tour again soon and learn even more!

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