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A Southwest Nativity for Children — A Free Download courtesy of Carolyn Loshbaugh

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"Please emphasize this is a children's crèche," says Carolyn Loshbaugh. But you know that the Southwest Nativity for Children will not only delight the young — but also the young at heart.


Carolyn Loshbaugh's Southwest Nativity for Children will fill you with delight: there are so many playful pieces — besides the beautifully rendered Nativity figures — you'll find yourself playing "Where's…" with a child. Where's the gila monster? The lizard? The prairie dog? The jackrabbit? The bobcat? The bald eagle? The coyote?




 
 Carolyn and her Southwest Nativity for Children.
When Carolyn Loshbaugh showed me her Southwest Nativity for Children I was quite amazed (see photo, above).

"So many memories of wonderful days are tied up in that nativity," Carolyn says. "About 40 years ago, during my college years in Arizona, I made a number of trips to the Navajo Nation to visit my friend who was a missionary there.

"I was privileged to see many Navajos still living in their hogans, weaving rugs, shepherding their sheep, and very few of them speaking English.

"Little old ladies would be dressed in full regalia, but wearing brand new tennis shoes instead of moccasins — a sign of changing times.

One of my collegues was from the reservation and told me how his grandmother hid him every time the government officials came to send the children to the boarding schools. He did not learn to read write until he was 14-years-old.

"As I pondered some of these memories, I wondered what a Southwest Nativity might look like: the great Sonoran Desert in its beauty versus the rugged life eked out of its barren red soil?

"I love working with paper because you can create a whole world for a few pennies. It can be shaped into anything you want to represent - the imaginary places and worlds are endless. It can be beautiful, shiny, dull, written on, painted on, colored on, torn, cut into shapes, papier machè. It can wrap gifts and be printed into forms to take on 3 dimensions. It can carry messages without words. There are so many possibilities for creativity! We will never run out of creativity!

"And being able to share like interests with friends all over the world is an amazing result of recent technology. These new and fascinating friends may be older, younger, richer, or poorer. It just doesn't matter what we look like, where we live, or what we've accomplished when we share our passions. There is a measure of anonymity that allows us extra freedom to reveal our hearts. We are not trying to mirror someone else's face, figure out what that person wants, or trying to impress. We are more ourselves on the Internet than when we are with our own family, in that regard. And the awesome energy that comes when you are linked with another of like interests is so affirming. You are not alone anymore.

"Svatava Vizinová has been such a friend and wonderful mentor. I had never before seen any Czech nativities, or European ones for that matter. I have learned so much from her. Her heart for the cribs is genuine, and she accepts her place in sharing them as an honor. This gentle, unassuming person is quite outwardly, but her understanding of life peppers every correspondence with humor and wisdom. She's an amazing woman with great intelligence, forbearance, and talent.

Southwest Nativity for Children

"Please emphasize it is a children's version. I have redrawn the loom from a better photo I found. I will check on the pottery tomorrow — but I don't think it will matter that much whether it gets changed or not.

"I'm not an artist, but I tried to draw the figures based on a precious little piece of free clip art I found. I ended up downloading more than 1000 pieces of clip art from which I was able to enhance, combine, re-size, toss, draw around and over, and start again.

"I outlined each item in black using a free Internet drawing program, paint.net, so it is not sophisticated, really — just very simple shapes for a child's interest.

"I have made three paper nativities so far, the first two satisfying enough. But when I considered making the Southwest Nativity, it was the first time I started wondering what Christ might have looked like to a completely different culture, a completely different time.

"One of the hang-ups on the Southwest Nativity is my desire to add some historical narrative for each of the Navajo 'customs and artifacts.' I'm thinking I may have mistakenly showed a basket from the Hopi tribe and not from the Navajo. Since the Hopi reservation is encased inside of the Navajo, I want to be certain on my facts before releasing it.

"We can't keep these wonders for ourselves. I want to share the Southwest Nativity for Children with Crechemania Afficionados — for free! And as a thank you to you, Alexis, for all the time you have shared with us!

"So enjoy — and remember this is from the heart, not the head."

Download Carolyn's Southwest Nativity for Children today!

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