Basil Bear and the Orchard Mystery

If you look in the archives of previous posts you can read a book review on Basil Bear and the Honey Jar Disaster. This book launched a new picture book series by Dr. Connie Palm, published by Gospel Publishing Mission. The warm and fuzzy illustrations by Nancy Blackmon, make this book a treasure!

Connie Palm grew up on a farm in southern Indiana and was one of ten children. She spent 32 years as an elementary school teacher, principal, and college instructor before going to Taiwan as a missionary and pastor’s wife.  When her husband passed away, she spent four more years in Taiwan. She then moved to Florida where she taught classes in a local Chinese church, and decided to  write picture books about a bear named Basil.

My good friend and colleague, Ava Pennigton, introduced me to Connie when she was seeking direction in picture book publishing. Her charming personality combined with a humble spirit made me love her instantly. The three of us met over lunch, I agreed to help her with some editing, and Connie was soon on her way to being published by her denominational publishing house. She sent me a copy of her first Basil Bear book in 2013, which I featured on our blog. Shortly before Christmas of 2014, she sent me her second book, Basil Bear and the Orchard Mystery. Connie included a sweet note of appreciation on a note card shaped like an angel. I left the book on my kitchen table as a reminder to write her a thank you note. The days passed and I got caught up in the busyness of the holidays. I spent Christmas with my daughter’s family in Texas, and we had a family gathering in Florida over New Years. When all the holiday activities were over, I finally sat down to write Connie a thank you note and congratulate her on the second Basil Bear book. In the note, I told her I would feature the book on our blog, as I did with her first Basil Bear book.

The day after I mailed my note, Ava sent me an email saying that Connie had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. She never got my thank you note, but I can keep my promise and feature Basil Bear and the Orchard Mystery on our blog.  

In this charming story, the town is in an uproar when the bears notice half-eaten apples hanging on an apple tree. Rumors about thieves and monsters spread quickly until the police get involved. In the end, Basil learns the consequences of telling half-truths, as he and little brother, Barney, were guilty of eating the apples from the tree. As in her previous book, Dr. Palm included vocabulary words throughout the story, some Bible verses at the end, as well as a glossary.

Connie wrote more Basil stories, and I hope they are in the hands of the publisher. This series could continue with the help of others who may have caught her vision to teach good moral lessons through charming stories about a Bear named Basil.

Thanks for the book, Connie!

Love, Crystal

IMG_0477Books may be obtained from:
www.gospelpublishingmission.org
Gospel Publishing Mission
PO Box 1065
Hobe Sound, FL 33455
Phone 772-546-1113  Cost: $10.00

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The Power of Music

Quick – what’s the last earworm you experienced? If you don’t know what an earworm is, it’s a catchy tune or song that continually repeats itself in your mind long after you last heard it.

Music has a powerful influence, doesn’t it? It can calm or excite us. Evoke long forgotten memories or create new associations. It can even cause us to purchase certain products. If you don’t believe me, try answering these questions:

What was your wedding song? What emotions do you associate with it?

Complete this phrase: “I’d like to teach the world to sing….”

Or finish this television theme song (if you’re over 40!):
“…Till the one day when the lady met this fellow
And they knew it was much more than a hunch,
That this group would somehow form a family….”

This one might make you hungry:
“Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that….”

And what preschooler isn’t able to complete these lyrics:
“Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away.
On my way to where the air is sweet.
Can you tell me how to get, how to get….”

The power of music was understood long before the advent of radio, movies, or television. The 17th century English poet, William Congreve captured the influence of music when he wrote, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.”

Music is also a way we express worship. The Bible tells us to sing praises to God (Psalm 105:2) and to praise Him with instruments (Psalm 150:1-6). But what types of tunes and which instruments should we use?

Enter the worship wars. Traditional or contemporary? Praise choruses or hymns? Organ, piano, or guitar? And don’t even ask about drums! Funny thing is, the lyrics of many of our traditional, cherished hymns were originally set to the secular, popular music of their day. Prolific 19th century hymn-writer Fanny Crosby did it. So did William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army.

Instead of arguing about the merits of various styles of music, let’s remember the first use of music before the creation of the world: worship and praise. If we’re struggling to do that, it might help to go back to this refreshing reminder of the impact of music on our lives:

“Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

Sing that chorus alone or with a child…and experience the power of the music and the words as they reassure your heart.

For some fun in appreciating changes in music styles, enjoy the beloved hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” sung across the decades:

Ava Pennington

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Bible Bedtime Stories

What do you think of when you hear the words children’s bedtime stories? For generations, parents have been tucking their children into bed with a bedtime story. Some of those stories are make-believe, perhaps even a spontaneous creation. Other bedtime stories are readings of a favorite book. The characters are familiar friends who are visited again and again, and who seem to join the child as they drift into sweet dreams. Or perhaps the bedtime story is a new adventure that parent and child share. Continue reading

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Posted in Bible, Devotions, Family activities, Family stories / memories, Memory Maker, Youth and children's ministry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment