On babysitting four small children

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Recently my sister and I had the privilege? um, opportunity to babysit four children, ages six and under, for four days. Now, I babysit my nieces and nephews quite frequently, but I had never had charge over this many for this long. During those four days, I learned some very important things about mothering.

#1. Children produce COPIOUS amounts of pee and dirty dishes. Four soggy pull-ups in the morning, and many little accidents throughout the day, which I’m sure was partly due to the fact that two of my charges were two year-old boys.

#2. Children have no respect for morning people, or mornings, or people. One morning one of the kids woke me up at five-something requesting breakfast. Other mornings the four would be up bright and cheerful, yelling about their toys as we adults groggily tottered out of our rooms.

#3. I now have great respect for mothers who ever manage to dress up or wear makeup. Who knew it took so long to get four kids grime-free and presentable?! It’s basically like walking a minefield to get them all to the car without various accidents happening along the way.

#4. If anyone ever needs a personal comedian to have at their side throughout life, have a child.

#5. It’s impossible to stay mad at kids. They can be completely unreasonable and annoying, then the next minute they’ll melt your heart as they give you a few squeezes meant to be a “sherder massage”, or tell you that you are their favorite person in the whole world.

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Snowy days

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Snow here in North Carolina is a rare occurrence, so when it comes, we have to make the most of it!
Recently we had a lovely snowstorm, resulting in about eight inches of fluffy white goodness, so out came the coats and leggings and hats, and we prepared to party! We went hooding in a field with an old truck hood, scooping up laps full of snow, and getting soaked and happy. We went sledding down the neighbor’s hill with a piece of metal, since this is the south and we don’t have sleds! We made snowmen, and did photographs the Croods’ style, and came in to eat hot chili with red noses and icy ears. What a lovely day we had!

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Aren’t snowy woods just the prettiest thing ever?
When you ride the hood like a chariot, and go tumbling off head first into the icy layer just under the snow, sometimes bad things happen.

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And… Our Croods family photo. :)

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Winter, I love you.

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(Photo credits to grettagraphy )

My Artistic Challenge

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A while ago a friend asked me if I would accompany her on a drawing challenge she wanted to tackle. The goal was to draw something, anything, everyday for one hundred days. Being the knucklehead that I am, of course I said yes, even though her drawings make mine look like a six-year-old’s in comparison. So I’ve been drawing, and doodling, and sketching, and actually having a lot of fun in the process! Our challenge won’t be over until May, so I still have a while to go, but in the meantime, here are a few of my doodles.

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This next one is one of my favorites, even though it’s far from professional. I want to maybe redo it and see how it turns out next time.

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And— I want this one to be a description of me.

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Books for 2014 #3

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Miracle for Jen is the fascinating biography of a girl whose life was completely changed in a horrific car accident with a drunk driver. Written by Jen’s mom, the story follows the agony of a five week coma, and wondering if her daughter would ever be normal again, then seeing God heal her in a miraculous and completely unexpected way. It’s a very interesting book, especially if you like medical stories.

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Speaking of medical stories, Dr. Levy’s book Gray Matter follows the story of how this young and energetic neurosurgeon brought his faith into his work, and the changes that brought about, not only for himself, but also for his patients. Prepare yourself for a medical treat if you read this book, as it’s full of crazy stories about impossibly difficult procedures that this surgeon tackled regularly.
Why yes, I do like medical stories! Why do you ask?

Books for 2014 #2

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Toby Tyler, a fun, whimsical kids book about a little boy who runs away to join the circus, only to discover to his bitter disappointment that it’s not a fairy tale in real life. Funny and charming, this is a great one-evening read.

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Masquerade by Nancy Moser. Said to be historical fiction, this was a disappointing, fluffy, unrealistic romance novel. Meh. Skip.

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The Pied Piper of Helfenstein is a wonderful book. It’s a WWII story about a mysterious American soldier who rescues children from concentration camps and makes them promise not to reveal his identity. Yet when one of the children puts him in her will, he must be found. It is fiction, but well worth your time.
More coming! :)

Books I’ve Read

My New Years resolution this year was simple- to count all the books I read, and to read a lot of them! So far, I’ve managed to stay on track, and we’ll see how long it lasts. :)

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These are the first three I’ve tackled, although “tackled” is hardly the word. “Devoured”, or “consumed” might be more accurate.

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“The Horse and his Boy” by C. S. Lewis was my first. This is a re-read- probably for the fifth time or so. Part of the Narnia series, this book tells the story of two Calormene children escaping to the fantastical land of Narnia with two talking horses. On their way, they become separated, and manage to find out classified information about danger to Narnia. The story is full of adventure, as the whole series is, with many wise bits tucked in the fun. If you’ve never travelled through the marvelous land of Narnia, do yourself a treat and read the books!

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“Swan House” by Elizabeth Musser was my second book. A fat novel, this one actually took me more than one evening to read. In its pages is a complicated plot of a young girl navigating the turbulent teenage years while finding out dark secrets about her artistic and fragile mother who died in a tragic accident in the beginning of the story. The story is historical fiction, and also contains the dark rumblings of racial prejudice and tensions. It is well written and captivating.

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“Mary Emma and Company” is one of Ralph Moody’s set of books about his childhood and adult life. Growing up without a father forced him and his siblings to be extremely innovative and responsible since they had to help provide for the family. Filled with adventures and mishaps, this book, and the whole series, is definitely worth your time.

Why I Love Winter

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I hear so many people complaining about winter, complaining about the cold weather, longing for summer to hurry here so they can then complain about the hot weather. Well, I think each season has so many things to enjoy, and winter is no exception. I love cozy lighting. (Whoever invented Christmas lights should be given a medal!)

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I think all the hot drinks we can consume are simply delightful. Is there anything better than homemade wassail?

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New Years parties with my favorite youth group are always fun, and this one was no exception.

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And of course, there’s Christmas, and we must wear silly, jingly bracelets to help the festive spirit.

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There is more time for enjoying the pleasures of life, like reconnecting with family, and improving the playing of your favorite instrument, and rubbing creamy lotion onto chapped skin, and sitting huddled over a warm floor vent with morning coffee.

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For all the stark ugliness in the world, both physical and in people’s hearts, there is still so much beauty if only we take time to see it.

Of Pieces and Goodness

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Life goes on, as it always does after a tragedy, and we all try to pick up the pieces and make a new life out of what’s left. Marco’s widow prepares for her little baby that will never know his daddy, his friends slowly get back into the routine of life, his family begins the year of firsts without him…

And through it all, through the pain and the heartbreak and the many many questions, God is still good. Although our vision is clouded sometimes, and it looks like nothing is ever turning out well, yet we know that this is not the whole story; in fact, it’s just the forward to a story that has a better ending than we could ever dream up.

To know that life is beyond our control is terrifying, and at the same time, immensely freeing. Having the responsibility of directing fate would be a crushing weight to carry, regardless of how appealing it looks sometimes. But in knowing that we can rest in God’s hands, and that God’s heart is GOOD, there is safety. Complete safety. No, not safety from pain, but safety in knowing that Good will be the winner in the end.

Praying For Marco

Someone is not satisfied with what they have, with boring work to make money. They decide breaking into a house makes sense. Quick cash. Easy entry, with the couple that lives there gone in vacation. They enter cautiously, then proceed to tear the house apart. They destroy precious keepsakes, they empty drawers in their pursuit for possessions, they blatantly disregard the large pictures of the happy couple living in the house, newly married, just making a new life together for themselves and their baby boy on the way. The carefully painted chevron nursery walls, waiting for the precious baby, done by the daddy’s careful hands, the touches of love around the home mean nothing. The house is ransacked. And then, the owners return. Just at the wrong moment, just as they’re hauling the loot out of the house, the car drives up. The man is protective of his wife and unborn child, and has dropped them off at a friend’s house when something feels wrong about his own. He pulls up, sees what’s going on, and calls 911. Of course, the burglars can’t risk getting caught, so they fire shots, six to be exact. Unfortunately, they can aim, and one of the deadly bullets enters the man’s head, lodging behind his eye. His wife hears the volley of shots, and help is quickly called. The man is airlifted to the hospital, and lies unconscious, a day, two days, three, four… His wife sits beside him, carrying his unborn child, watching his motionless, bruised face, and waiting. Waiting for her husband to return, for the man she loves to wake up, to see what damage has been done. And we, his friends and family, we all wonder why? Why him? He has so much to live for, people depending on him. Why not me, why not someone else?

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But throughout the pain and the questioning, God is faithful. Marcus exceeds the doctors’ expectations. He lives, despite having only a five percent chance of doing so. His brain has pressure, but people pray, and he stabilizes once more. He responds occasionally to stimulation, but he is far from out of danger. However, we see God’s Grace in his wife’s serene face, in her smile in the middle of so much pain. We see God’s mercy in the people all around, the thousands of people praying around the world, the overwhelming load of food baskets, and support and care throughout the community. We don’t know why, but we know God does. And we know that someday everything, even this senseless shooting, will make sense to us. And we know that God will get glory through this. We believe.

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We feel the love and support so much, and are thankful for all the prayers being raised around the world. If you wish to follow this story and pray for the situation, or to make a donation to the family, visit the Facebook page called prayingformarco
Thank you!

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