October 25, 2012

Sweet Taylor

This little girl is amazing! I don't know the Hall family personally, but during the past few months I have really grown to love their daughter. Taylor has a cancerous tumor near her spine called Neuroblastoma, it is aggressive and stage three. Throughout the rounds of Chemo, that sweet smile has not left her face. It has been wonderful to see God at work. Her tumor has shrunk 93 percent, and her bone marrow biopsy came back negative! There is no cancer in her bones!

Taylor and her family have been having a lot of fun together this week. This is the longest she has been without chemo since her treatments started. She has lots of energy and is back to her cheerful, giggly, happy self.

It's sad to think that she isn't out of the woods yet. The surgeon said the tumor still has some major arteries in it. If one of those were to be cut Taylor could die. He said that it will be extremely risky. Neuroblastoma tumors are worse than other ones because instead of pushing things away, it grows around them.

Her surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday on October 30th. Allow her sweet face to be etched into your mind and pray, PRAY, pray for her often!

What to know more about Taylor? 

October 24, 2012

I Needed a Sunset

Do you ever feel the need to spend a few moments to yourself? Deadlines seemed to tower over me, and some disappointment was abruptly thrown into the mix. It felt like the last straw. I needed a walk to one of my favorite spots ASAP.

This is what I saw at the end of stone the path. Wow. God knew what I needed. This shouldn't surprise me. I sat down at a picnic table to enjoy the view. I was almost overwhelmed by the beauty that stood before me. It was impossible to not feel God's presence as I looked at the sky. Now that He had my full attention, we had a nice conversation.

He promised that he would not give me more than I could handle. He also reminded me about Ephesians 4:32. I needed to change my focus. I made a mental note to keep my chin up. People are going to disappoint me, it's a part of life. What happened wasn't fair, but neither was the price paid for me on the cross. I took my focus off of myself, and put that energy into practicing forgiveness. Seventy times Seven times, right Lord?

I serve a God that can change blue skies into awesome waves of color! I headed towards home as the sky grew dim. The oranges and purples faded, but the peace that I found remained.

October 20, 2012

The Birthday Boy

My brother was born twenty years ago today. This means that I no longer have a brother that is a teenager. Wait, how did that happen? Let's introduce you to him using some old pictures. He would love that! ;)
Jonny and I have had many adventures together over the years. He knows how to have a good time.

In the past he was chicken around a lot of people. We both have a tendency to be shy. I would say that his social skills have improved dramatically over the years.

Jonny isn't afraid to get the job done - even if that means getting his hands dirty.

My brother is strong. No, I am not talking about his muscles. He has another kind of strength. A strength that only comes from the Lord. Psalm 28:7

You can depend on Jonny. There will be ups and downs in life, but you can trust him to be there for you.

He might not like to admit it, but we enjoy being with each other. We know how to make each other laugh. How many times have we said the same thing at the exact same time?

Happy 20th Birthday Jonny! I'm excited to see how God is going to use in the years to come!

October 19, 2012

A Group of Hobos

While driving with my dad we had this silly conversation. If you're a bit confused after reading the title above this post, I understand how you feel. I was confused too.

Dad: *Laugh* Look at that group of hobos!
Me: What? Hobos? Where?
Dad: In that flowerbed across the street.
Me: Oh. Those are called scarecrows, Dad.
Dad: Oops, I told you that I was tired tonight.

This is how inside jokes are made. If you ever see a scarecrow with my dad I give you permission to call it a hobo. After this night, I feel the need to do it all the time.

October 16, 2012

Sweetness and Test Results

Our fridge is properly displaying a piece of artwork that Lucy gave me yesterday. I slipped it into my backpack right away. It needed to come home with me.

There is a tree with changing leaves and some grass. Oh, and I cannot forget the green and yellow sun! I think it's funny that she drew my hair blowing in the wind. Although, my hair normally isn't that contained when I am walking kids home from school on one of those windy days.

The drawing is cute, but the second page is waaay too adorable. I can hardly handle it. I guess she was listening when I told her that my road test is tomorrow. She was excited to hear that I would be able to drive if I passed my test.

Lucy asked me to write what she said on a fresh piece of paper. This is the easiest way for a five year old to write something in their own words.

She diligently copied each letter onto her card, and she even left a finger space between each word. What a fun way to practice her writing! 

I managed to take this picture of her working on it, but only if I promised that I wouldn't peek. What she was drawing had to be a surprise.

After she finished coloring, we took the stapler out. You should know that this little girl loves to staple things together. It was a small reward for a job well done! 

We worked as a team picked up the markers, and she handed her drawing to me. I even was lucky enough to get a hug.

Isn't her message so sweet? I love that she added a P.S. telling me to be careful! Driving is a dangerous task.

The DMV called this morning asking me if I would like take my test an hour early. I jumped on the opportunity. Less traffic on the road? Sounds good to me!  

Guess whaaat? I passed! A big thank-you goes out to everyone that prayed for me. 

I only had a few points taken off for not exaggerating my scanning at intersections. The examiner also doesn't want me to angle my vehicle's lane position when I turn right. (This is how my driving school taught me) She told me that she has gotten a lot of nails in stick her tire doing it that way. Lol! 

Most people skip the parallel parking part of the test, but I had weird feeling about it for a month. Somehow I knew that I wouldn't be let off the hook.  I was told to parallel park behind a wide car on a hill. I tried not to panic as I proceeded through each step. She said that I parked perfectly. I guess many hours of practicing really did pay off! 

October 10, 2012

Handprint Spiders

I can thank Pinterest for this cute idea! Now that October is here I can break out the fall crafts! I was brave enough to paint 4 little hands before bedtime. The hands belonged to children ranging from 3-8 years old.

Supplies: newspaper, smocks, paint brushes (we used a foam brush), black paint, white paint, an old pencil, a permanent marker, orange construction paper, a bowl, sponge, and paper towels

Step 1: Find a willing volunteer that is ready to paint their hand. Make sure you cover the whole hand with a sufficient amount of paint. Caution: This step can cause giggling! The paint is cold and the brush can tickle.

Step 2:  Make your handprint! We turned our construction paper upside down to make things easier. I pushed each hand/finger down firmly. I also made sure the paper stayed on the table when the kids were ready to lift their hand. Before pressing their hands onto the paper I instructed them on how to keep their fingers spread apart. For the smaller kids we practiced with their clean hand first.

Step 3: Use a smaller brush to fill in any orange spots inside your hand print. This was Noah's favorite part. 

Step 4: Wash, wash, wash! Whenever we are painting with our hands I always prepare a bowl of warm soapy water before we start. This keeps the mess in one place, and saves time when I am cleaning up. Dry their hands after the job gets done. Warm water can be a fun place to play!

Step 5: Wait for your paint to dry. This is the perfect time to repeat the process with the next child. Once the spiders were dry, we gave them two eyes using the eraser of an old pencil. After this step they quickly came to life!

October 9, 2012

Waiting Isn't Easy

The kids that I babysit need to put shoes on before they go outside. While this is ideal, they usually race outside before I get the chance to check their feet. On a normal day I have to corral the kids back inside, and watch them dreadfully put their shoes on.

Lucy was ready to go outside and swing, but I told her that she needed one thing. Shoes! Without missing a beat she ran into the other room. She asked me to help her reach the ones with the pink and yellow flowers. Why were these shoes out of her reach? I held the shoes and knew something wasn't right. They looked rather big compared to her other shoes. "Lucy, are you just trying to get me to let you wear these?" I asked. The smirk on her face answered my question loud and clear. She tried the shoes on hoping that they would suddenly fit. I knelt down to show her why she couldn't wear them yet. As soon as I finished my sentence she quickly turned the water works on.

I understood why this little princess was disappointed. They were cute shoes! I remember crying over a hand-me-down winter jacket when I was her age. Growing takes time, and waiting isn't the easiest thing to do!

As I put the mary janes away I began to have a light bulb moment. How many times do we want something right away? In many situations our timing is always...yesterday.

Should I take this job? Who will my future spouse be? What's the next step? The details of life can cause us to feel anxious and restless. If we think we are ready, we might even try to find ways around having to wait.

It is important to remember that God works things out in His perfect timing. I encourage you to take a moment to study Jeremiah 29:11. Did you catch thatGod has a plan for each individual, and He has our best in mind. We need to realize that God has a divine perspective that is far better than our own.

This Sovereign King is interested in being personally involved in our lives. He knows each one of us inside out! After all, isn't He the one who created you? He has the right, wisdom, and power to say "Stick with me, I have something better in mind."

Waiting upon the Lord is definitely a choice. We must be willing to remove our deadlines, and set aside our own agendas. This involves not only allowing Him to work but also giving Him our control.

God may desire to see you grow mentally, emotionally, or spiritually before he gives you the answer. Don't forget that He is always working behind the scenes! Waiting for His timing/direction will bring blessings, strength, and joy that lasts.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

October 3, 2012

Reasons to Smile: September 2012

Finding joy in the little things!
  • Pumpkins that keep popping up on my neighbor's porches
  • Finishing painting this backdrop of Italy for our church play
  • Being able to wear my Wisconsin Geocaching Association sweatshirt!
  • Chicken soup on a cold day
  • My favorite season is finally here!
  • Gabriel's touchdown dance
  • Owners that play fetch with their dogs
  • Crisp fall air - I love being outdoors during this time of year

October 2, 2012

Exchanging Coins

I am always looking for fun ways to entertain the kids during the 2 hours that I babysit them each day. The kids are not allowed to watch tv, or play any video games while I am there. Whaaat? You mean they can't stare blankly at a screen while I get paid? Nope! Homework can wait until their parents get home, but I still require them to use their brain somewhat. ;)

Last week I pinned this Coin Game to my Kiddos board on pinterest. I knew that the boys would enjoy playing it with me. It was still a bit advanced for Lucy, but she could always match the right coins to their corresponding pictures.
I announced to the kids that I brought a new game with me. Noah was eager to learn about the rules, and he jumped right away. Gabriel decided that he would give it a try after his brother beat me in multiple rounds. I had fun watching these two work as a team. Noah loves to explain new things to his siblings.

Here's Gabriel working hard! This little guy happens to have a very competitive spirit. He really does not like losing. If he realizes that someone else is going to win, he usually wants to quit. I was surprised that he was so engaged with this game! Even when he didn't win, he still wanted to play another round.

The playing cards contain one side for beginners, and another side that allows you to exchange four quarters for a dollar. After I printed the cards out, I inserted them into protective sleeves for stability. Hopefully this will help them last longer.

It looks like this game was a hit! Our favorite part was tossing our coins back into the bank. The boys were ready to start exchanging the quarters for dollars quicker than I expected. Noah kept asking me to bring the dollar with me next time. He was determined to make sure that I wouldn't forget!