Wednesday, June 22, 2005

consolation prize

BigE got to go to work with Papa when he was called in for an emergency. In the dune buggy, no less! Chickie wailed and wailed - because moments before the phone call came, they had both been promised a buggy ride.

Fortunately I had a consolation prize on hand: we had just bought five jars of bubble soap to do this craft project, and I'd promised her we'd do it soon.

I did this project with my kids and my sister's kids two or three years ago. About a month ago a page of these "bubble prints" surfaced in our house. When I explained to Chickie how it worked, she immediately wanted to buy the supplies to make more.

As far as kids crafts go, this one is ridiculously cheap, easy, rewarding and fun.

Take a small bottle of bubble soap - you'll want about 6 oz in the bottle (that's about 150 ml) Add about 2 tsp to a tablespoon liquid food coloring (that's about 10-15 ml) ...use more for darker bubbles... or you can use a pea-sized amount of paste food coloring (you'll probably need the paste to get a good purple color) instead. Stir well.

Blow bubbles over your paper. Let them pop on or above the paper. Have fun. Experiment.

It seems to work best inside at a table, rather than outside. The first time we did it we erroneously thought we should blow bubbles the normal way and try to catch them on our papers as we ran. We did have fun, but only got a lot of papers with splatter marks and grass stains for our efforts.

Cardstock (65 lb or 110 lb test) works better than typing paper, as it holds up better under all the wet drippyness. And as an added bonus you can make greeting cards out of it by cutting it in half and then folding each half into a card.

Chickie and I also made a bubble soap carrier out of a pasta box cut in half and duct-taped together. Keeping the jars in the box seems to help cut down on spills... though with two or more people making them at the same time, it's pretty hard to keep the jars in the box.

Box construction pictures here and here for anyone interested.

The bubble swirls make me ridiculously happy. I think it's because they look like 'real' bubbles, only in bright colors. Other than the image below (which is a photograph), these pictures were scanned in and sharpened to show detail; the originals are softer.

Making bubble prints made Chickie happy too. They were, in the best sense of the word, a consolation prize: they consoled her.

A year or two I had an email discussion with a friend of mine about the word consolation. She was reading 2 Corinthians 1 where God is described as the God of all comfort. She decided to read the passage in Spanish, and the word comfort is translated as consolation. That frustrated her. As she wrote, "the 'consolation prize' is the loser prize. Consolation is what you get when you don't get what you want."

Absolutely. But it doesn't surprise or distress me that God is our consolation prize. Maybe that's because I'm a cynic, but - we lost out on "first prize" in the fall. We lost out on "first prize" through our own sin. If we get a consolation prize we darn well better try to be happy with it.... but while a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni might make a good consolation prize, it really does nothing to comfort or console us.

The verb "to console" means "to allay the grief or distress of" ...then I had to look up "allay": to allay is to calm, to pacify, set to rest. This is what bubble prints did for Chickie - they set her grief to rest. She had something to do when Big E and Papa were gone, something to do while she waited for their return, and even something to show them (admittedly with more than a hint of nanny-nanny-boo boo in her voice) when they arrived back home.

As I told my friend, I have my own private syntax that doesn't match up with the rest of the world, my own subtle nuances for every word, which dictionaries sometimes don't explain (and often disagree with.)

Consolation in the Kelly Dictionary is the opposite of desolation or isolation. I couldn't find that sense of the word in any of the dictionaries I looked in, though. But it is somewhat borne out in the etymology. The word consolation comes to us via Old French. Con is the intensive prefix and solare is "to solace, to comfort". So by this, "consolation" means to comfort intensively... ha! that's what I wanted the word to mean.

Still, some griefs are so big that even "intensive comforting" doesn't seem like enough. God's original plan in the Garden of Eden was for us to be with him there. When we by our own sin had to leave Paradise, it was a tragedy of cosmic proportions. If we can't have Paradise with God, we aren't going to be comforted by something less... ANY other prize will be as disappointing as the Rice-A-Roni.

The truly amazing thing is not that the consolation prize is good, but that it is, both for Chickie and for all of us, far more glorious than the first prize ever would have been. It truly is meant to console us.

God's consolation prize was Jesus coming to earth, living as a man, and dying in our place so that we could become His children again - and someday live in paradise again with him.

"But wait, there's more!"-- we also know the depth of his love for us, the lengths he will go to save us, and our own need for him and inability to live without him. We are utterly undeserving of the "consolation prize" and we know it - but God gives it all to us, like the biggest grand prize there is -- "packed down, heaped over, running out" -- anyways.

And while we're waiting for Him to bring us to Paradise, we even get to have fun making bubble prints. That's pretty great.

Chickie had more fun blowing bubbles and showing me her creations (and getting me virtually to herself for awhile) than she would have on the original ten-minute buggy ride that had been promised her.

The bubble prints were also my own consolation prize: something I did for Chickie's sake, instead of doing the dishes and laundry like I ought to... or laying on the couch reading flower seed catalogs like I wanted to. Making bubble prints was more work - extra work I hadn't counted on, at least not that evening, but it was also a lot more fun than I anticipated!


Blogger Karin said...

Sweet, Kel. Lovely.

6/22/2005 1:03 PM  
Blogger busyHSmom said...

I really love your bubble prints! Nice thoughts too.

6/22/2005 7:10 PM  
Blogger Moogie said...

O Yes fortified comfort --strengthing comfort!
I too always figured consolation was an also ran prize.. until I learned that Jesus is Israel's consolation -- the best God could offer a stiff-necked wayward people.

And I remember how much fun we had at Higgins Lake when you first introduced us to bubble prints--thanks for the reminder to try again

6/22/2005 10:17 PM  
Anonymous kim said...

In your bubble-soap carrier, is each bottle a different pre-colored soap, and you keep them ready to go? Do the inside colors match the bottle? :)


6/22/2005 10:37 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

yup, kim, you guessed right. Other than the red is in an orange bottle, because I couldn't find a red bottle at the local hardware store. :-)

6/23/2005 6:09 AM  
Anonymous myra said...

What a great project! I really want to try it with my son, thanks for sharing. :)

6/24/2005 2:43 PM  

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