Duck in the Red Boots an Aunty Marsha Book

Unlike other little ducklings, Duck is quite particular about staying clean. His determination to do just that lands him in quite a pickle every day nevertheless he stands firm for what he believes. This story is a cute reminder that children are people too. They have their own character which when nurtured produces confidence.

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Duck did not like getting his feet dirty at all, at all, at all.

He loved to swim with the other ducklings, but he did not like walking out of the water through the mud. Duck loved flying high in the sky above the trees, but he did not like landing on the dirty ground.

Somehow no matter how hard Duck tried, his feet got dirty every day.One day Duck noticed his feet never touched the ground once he was swimming. So he decided to swim all day long and never come out. Duck swam and swam and swam. He swam up and down the pond. He did the backstroke. He paddled, and he splashed his friends with his wings. The other ducklings rested but not Duck.

I am not going to get my feet dirty today! he quacked

Duck 1The hours passed. One by one the other duckling went home until Duck was all alone in the pond. The water got colder and colder and colder. Duck felt wet and tired. His bill shivered. The feathers stood on his head stood up. As the sky grew dark, he felt lonely and afraid.

“I better fly home,” Duck encouraged himself. “Mom and Dad will be worried about me.”

But his wings were too wet and too cold to fly. Finally, Duck gave in. He took a deep breath and marched right out of the pond, through the icky sticky mud. Squish, Squish, Squish, Slop, Slop, Slop. The mud stuck to his feet. It tingled all over his webbed-toes. Slop, Squish, Slop, Squish, Squoosh, Slop, Squoosh, Slop, Squoosh, Squoosh!

Duck mumbled and grumbled all the way home where his mother gave him a warm bath, and his father made his favorite water grass tea.

The next day, Duck decided he would fly with his friends instead. As Duck flew, he noticed his feet did not get dirty while he was up in the sky.

So guess what? Duck decided to fly and fly and fly and never come down. He flew up and down. He flew high and low. He flew in circles and turned somersaults too. Swoosh, Swoosh, Swoosh! Duck’s wings felt so light in the air. The other ducklings stopped for a rest, but not Duck. He did not want to land on the dirty ground. So he flew, and he flew, and he flew. Duck’s wings got very, very, very tired. They moved more and more slowly, but Duck kept on flying. Then something happened! Duck dropped right out of the sky!

SPLAT!

Into icky, sticky, gooey, wooey mud! Duck got up slowly. His feet were very muddy. His wings were very muddy. His head was very muddy. Duck’s whole body was very, very, very muddy!

Duck was horrified. Once gain Duck mumbled and grumbled all the way home. Duck’s father scrubbed his feathers clean and his mother made his favorite water grass tea. Duck went to his room and vowed to never go outside again.

Day by day Duck’s friends tried to get him to play outside since no one wanted to stay indoors all day when outside was nice and sunny. So Duck was left to play all alone. Soon it was Duck’s birthday. His parents invited all his friends for a party in their backyard. They hoped Duck would go out and play.

On the morning of Duck’s birthday, it rained and rained and rained. Duck looked through his bedroom window sadly. It was so muddy outside. Duck’s birthday party was ruined so he went back to bed.

Later Duck’s grandparents arrived with a special gift.

“Little Duck, why are you still in bed?” grandma quacked as she sat to comfort him.

“Why so sad on your birthday?” quacked grandpa.

Duck 2

Duck just moaned and rolled over in his bed.

“Maybe opening a present will make you feel better,” grandpa suggested. Grandpa pulled a giant yellow box from behind his back and handed it to Duck.

Duck loved presents. He could not resist opening it. Guess what it was? The most beautiful pair of red boots ever!

Duck put them on and ran outside.

Duck flew and he landed. Plop! No more dusty feet. Duck went swimming and his new boots went too. Glop, Glop, Glop, Squish, Squeak, Squirk! The boots sang as he ran out of the water. No more muddy feet! No more icky toes!

“Wow, now you look like the happiest Duck in the world!” called grandpa.

Later that day when everyone came to the party, Duck marched up and down in his new red boots. He was very happy. From that day on, Duck was known as the Duck in the Red Boots.

Duck 3

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Why the Pope’s resignation was the best thing for the Catholic Church.

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I am a Christian and I don’t believe in religion.

That very sentence seems to contradict itself, however I believe that there is a God and I accept the bible to be the ultimate guide, however I see today’s religion as complicating that which is simple; a call for persons to fellowship by forming churches has turned into politics.

I love reading and before I was eighteen, I decided to find the most influential book of all time and read it. This book turned out to be the bible. I would be lying if I said I read it diligently, it took me a year and I still fall asleep through the genealogy chapters like Leviticus.  In reading this book for myself – and not waiting for a Priest/Pastor to dictate it to me over my years – I became fully aware that the book could be taken out of context, chapters read in isolation could mean different things according to different agendas.

Since, I didn’t need someone to explain the bible to me, going to church then became more about fellowship. I joined church groups, I volunteered, I tried out different churches and at every corner I meet a horny unfaithful deacon, a leading family who financially supported the church and received more prayers and accolades than others, the overweight, the ever-faithful, the gossipers, the returning backsliders, the silent parishioners, the uninterested, the unruly children of the parish saints, the old, the poor and the very poor.

If someone was over-weight, I didn’t want to laugh at then when they passed, I wanted to start a fitness class. I noticed children who wore the same clothes every week, but their parents wouldn’t accept hand out because they didn’t want to be at the mercy of the gossipers.  I saw flirtations outside of marriage and people with distant eyes, crying eyes and eyes of hatred. I grew tired of looking at people and seeing sorrow.

So I left, I prayed at home, I lived a fair life and was contented and always blessed.

So why am I writing a blog on the Pope, well today I am married to a Catholic. When our daughter was born he indicated that he wanted her to be baptized in the Catholic faith, I had no problem with it. There is a time for everything under the sun and many paths lead to God, my path is best for me but she would have to choose her own path and with my blood in her veins, I know that she would ask questions and choose what makes her happy when she is an adult. My only cautionary note to my husband was seeing that I was not Catholic, I expected him to take responsibility for her Catholic walk and be an example to her.

In all of our years together my husband has never really asked me to do anything directly, not even to cook but he asked me, especially at this time when our daughter is mimicking her mother, to attend church with him. The deal is if he goes, I go.

So we began our dance, I felt very uncomfortable at first, like if someone had asked me to rob a bank, to do drugs, to strip naked and walk down Main Street. I had left bricks and mortar religion, without a second thought and was comfortable with my relationship with God. However, I comforted myself by reminding myself that I believed that this was the man I would spend my life with. I prayed and God said he was the one. While other women were dealing with drunken, violent husbands, my task was only to go to Church.

I returned home with a headache every single Sunday for six months. Excluding my primary education which was in a Catholic school, I hadn’t spent much time in a Catholic Church. It seemed to quiet, monotonous even. I had heard other preachers refer to the Catholic Church as lacking that spiritual fire; they were lead by men not by the spirit. All of the scripture readings were planned and in a book which ran on a three year cycle, it means that if you are 60 and was born a Catholic, you would have gone over that book 20 times. The Catholic people I knew were also strange for Christians my neighbor who was in church every week taking communion, was having an affair with a married man. Whenever there was a project on work that required ‘manipulation of figures’ it always went to the Catholic, she laughed and said ‘don’t worry, confession and some Hail Mary’s and that will be forgiven’.  I always felt that even if I had to go to church, some day, I wouldn’t be to a Catholic church. Was God testing me?

Nevertheless, my husband flourished. He became a more caring husband and is an excellent father. He joined the men’s group and grew happier, he took charge and got ready on time, he sat in the same pew and owned it, he greeted people and walked all over the church, shaking people hands when it was time to offer people a ‘sign of peace.’ I was in shock; this was defiantly not a passing phase, so I began to do what I did when I didn’t know what to do. I began to pray quietly asking God to help me understand my role and accept it. I figured out a long time ago that I shouldn’t give God a target when it came to matters of the heart and mind; I was just setting myself up for more agony if I fixated on a particular outcome. I had to just be open to what the universe had to offer.

I prayed in the shower, on my way to work, in meetings, in the grocery, all the time asking God to wash away my prejudices and conceptions so that I could enjoy my family now.  I hoped to one day move back into prayer and solitude, but my family life was happening in the present and I wasn’t enjoying it. I couldn’t ask God to change my husband; that is not my right, I could only ask God to change me. I had bad church experiences and preconceived notions, it took months for me to relax. Yes, I did relax and I began having a good church experience.  There are flashbacks from the past but I have meet good people, sincere people and I thank God for showing me that I shouldn’t accept a bad experience as final and just move it to one side of my mind and lock it away.

God wants us to choose the best out of our best experiences. He took my mind’s worst case scenario and turned it around. I am still not sold on religion, but I am allowing myself to be genuinely impressed by what is impressive about it.

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Many Catholics and Christians heard and saw that Pope Benedict XVI resigned from a position that usually required death to come to an end. The world predicted doom and gloom; others felt he made a good decision due to his age while others are still waiting to weight in.  I am sure that there may have been other Popes who were as ill and did not resign and I am confident that the church, which is an empire in itself, would not be shaken to doom anytime soon.

This is a unique time in the history of the Church, I am not even sure people realize how unique it is. The Pope said he prayed and he believed that this was the right step for the church. He broke tradition, he shocked multitudes but he is walking by faith. That is by far the most powerful thing a man of God could say, “He prayed, he understood what God wanted him to do and he moved by faith”. For this I applaud him.

Men, even men of the Pope’s stature do not follow the will of God because of fear of what people will say, of breaking traditions. In a powerfully traditional atmosphere like the Vatican, the Pope said “he is moving by faith.” This is by far the most simple, yet most powerful principle of the Christianity; it’s the overarching theme of the bible.

I smile as I write these words.

A spiritual battle was won; no longer can Catholics be accused of not moving by faith. A battle of this magnitude, almost makes me uneasy but Pope Benedict XVI has set profound precedent and I am happy to be living in such times and look forward to seeing how this story unfolds.

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