Finding Something To Do When There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

I shared my daughter’s story a few weeks ago.  The response was amazing.  So many people in the community stepping up to donate yarn, money, or their time, to make scarves for the homeless in our community.  It was a burden that could have only come from God.

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I’ve had several people in my network approach me about taking it further – start a business? Start a non-profit? Do it as a hobby so they’re no pressure?  For me, having the goals in mind is what helped us to make 120 scarves in 5 week (not including 25+ were donated to our goal).

She wanted to take it further, but we really didn’t know what it looked like.  Until now.

At her bible study this week, she was informed that a classmate was diagnosed with cancer.  11 years old… my heart broke for the family, and I pray for healing and comfort in this time.  Samantha is a sensitive soul, and didn’t quite know how to process this news.  She was young when my father was sick, but has seen the toll it took on his body.  She struggled with how a middle school child gets such a scary disease.

Instead of dwelling on the sadness of it, we prayed about it.  We prayed for healing. We prayed for peace.  We prayed for the words to say when we see this friend.  And for God to give guidance.

It struck me, while in the car, coming home from church.  A local group, The Victory Center.  I’d had a meeting there, seeing how I could help with a marketing endeavor a few years ago.  I remember sitting in the waiting room, and there was a “giving tree” with hats.  I mentioned it to Samantha, who’s face lit up.  “Can we make some?”

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Making hats is not like arm knitting scarves – they take more time and attention.  But of course I said yes.  We have some yarn, and we have some looms.  This weekend we’re going to attempt to learn to crochet.

We don’t have a goal in mind, yet, but again God has placed this in our hearts… How could we not answer.

Some Goodness in the World

Have you ever just looked at the world around you and though – yuck.

However, we have a future to look towards, and prayers are the only thing that can get us through.  We must find some goodness in every day in order to get by, because the world is so full of ugliness.

I look to my children.  My beautiful children.  I feel so blessed to be able to be their mom.  Kids will be kids, they all have bad moments  (we all do) in which they need to learn from.  But overall, I’ve been blessed with some amazing kids.

Today I’m going to share a story about my eldest daughter.

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At a young age, I could see a sensitivity to her; a gentle heart, an empathetic spirit.  A person of those qualities are precious, but can be broken so easily.  I should know, I’m one of them.   I’ve found it important to give her opportunities to let those traits develop, because there is a fine line between leader and a boss; a fine line between caring and giving, and being taken advantage of.

When she began middle school this year, I encouraged her to join every club she could.  Give a it a try, go to a few meetings, and she if it was a fit.  She’s loved everything that she’s been a part of.  Particularly, she’s found great friends and connections in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Sylvania Community Action Team, Junior (SCAT Jr).

The FCA meeting is before school – 7:15am – and for a non-morning person, she quickly gets up and ready to go.  She was so nervous for the first meeting, didn’t think she’d have any friends there.  She was right, she didn’t.  But that meeting, a devotional about being the hands and feet of God, stirred something in her.  She began to invite friends to come to the next weeks meeting, and a few did.

A few days later she attended the first meeting of Sylvania Community Action Team, Junior.  At that meeting, they discussed was that they, even as middle school children, could be an impact on their community.  Kids mentioned giving money to charity, participating in walks/runs.  But she came home, and shared with the family her heart – to make scarves and donate them to the local homeless shelter, Cherry Street Mission Ministries.

As parents we were proud of her, but I was so humbled by her heart, and her listening to the voice of God in her ear.   She told us she had a goal of 60 scarves, but maybe 100 if she could get some friends involve.  All before Thanksgiving, 2 months away.

Then came the task of getting to 60 scarves. She knew how to use a loom and finger weave, but looms can take a while, and finger weaving can only produce so much of a scarf (mostly the infinity variety).  So we had to learn some new techniques – arm knitting.  Honestly, I can’t tell you which of the various YouTube tutorials made the process easiest to learn (casting on is tricky if being taught the wrong way), but once I figured it out, we took off running.

Then came the expense of the yarn.  We made several scarves and sold them to purchase more yarn, some donated money for the cause, and some donated yarn.  We were so thankful for it.

Between Samantha, her sister and I, we made 60 scarves in about 4 weeks, 15 were donated by friends, and another 10 were made by friends of the girls at a knit-in that we hosted.  85 scarves in all were donated on November 8 to the Cherry Street Mission.

But the story doesn’t end there…

Samantha’s goal, her mission, has had an impact on many who have heard her story.   Thanks to friend and neighbor, the Sylvania Arts Commission (who donated a large amount of yarn) put a plea out to help Samantha reach and exceed 100 scarves before Thanksgiving.  Samantha’s story had been shared dozens of times in only 8 hours, and our community has stepped up to make her “small” goal into something bigger than we ever imagined!

 

PRODUCT REVIEW: ANGEL BABY TRAVEL CASE

Disclaimer: I received this product at a discount for my honest review.

I don’t travel much, especially air travel.

But I do have for kids, one under the age of 2, and anything to help me keep my life more organized is very helpful.

So when I saw the Angel Baby Travel Case, it intrigued me.  Instead of just tossing a stroller that just rolled through mud into a heavy-duty washable bag – where has this been the last 10 years?  Why am I just now finding this!  The Angel Baby Travel Case has been very helpful.

It is a bit larger than I need for my umbrella stroller, but not quite big enough for my full size stroller.  It’s been very handy.

Books, Books and More Books

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I’ve always loved to read.  Always.  As a kid, I’d be able to read a couple books a month.  Perhaps even a week.  I’m glad to have passed a love of books to my kids.  The problem that I’m starting to face is finding books that are age appropriate, but challenging for my kids.

My daughters were both reading before kindergarten, and now at 9 and 10 years old read at 8th and 9th grade levels.  So the challenge begins.  There are plenty of books available for them at their age group, and do read them – quickly.  But finding a book to challenge them that’s age appropriate – not so easy.

So here are my opinions on a few of the popular books being read in middle and high schools these days.

My eldest came home from school a few weeks ago with a permission slip to read The Hunger Games.  I laughed.  Are you kidding me?  Kids killing kids, and graphically!  I’d read the books years ago, but thought them to violent for my young lady.  She’d read all the Harry Potter books, and there is some violence and death… but somehow it’s not the same.

She read the first series of Percy Jackson – I liked that the characters were closer to her age, and educational at the same time as entertaining.   Not sure about the whole “send-12-year-olds-on-life-threatening-quests-without-adult-guidance” thing, but hey, it’s fiction.    As a Christian, there were a few concerns about the fact that the Greek gods parented all these kids with different partners.  When she read it, I don’t know that it quite stuck in her head.  At the same time, she has friends who have divorced parents, so maybe she just assumed that was the case with the Greek gods and their children.  The second series The Heroes of Olympus, however, I would not let her read.  The characters were older, all in relationships, and some behaviors a 9 or 10 year old girl doesn’t need to be exposed to yet.

She came home with another book request – Cinder.   So I read the whole Lunar Chronicles collection over a few weeks.  I enjoyed them – I’ve always loved a different perspective on fairy tales.  But I’m still not sure if it’s OK for my girls.  A few offhanded references to “escorts” and quite a bit of graphic (werewolf) violence make me nervous to let her read them.  Maybe just the first one – maybe.

I’ve reached out to teachers and librarians.  There were a lot of “Let me look into that” comments.  But so far, nothing that has peaked her interest that would also challenge her.     I’m always open to suggestions – so please send your kids’ favorite books my way!

Well, nothing recent.  More on the classics later.

Bring on 2016

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So here we are, 2016.

2015 was filled with a lot of ups and a few downs, but I can say, 2015 was a blessed year.

My husband finally got a job in his desired field – an hour away.  But 6 months later, got an even better opportunity in his desired field, 15 minutes from home!  Praise break!

I however, lost my job.  It hurt – a lot- because it was not handled in the manner that someone who gave their entire adult life to an organization should have been handled.  (Not gonna lie, the worse part was none of my friends reached out after, either)  However, I had been in prayer and was seeking guidance to step down from that position anyway to be home more with my son (since you know, more than half my income went to child care anyway).  So, clearly, God was tired of my lack of action and allowed for that door to be closed.

But I’ve started new ventures, and returned to old.

When little Liam will sleep, I spend time crafting and cooking, leading to the creation of Arts & Glass by Cindy, as well as becoming an independent demonstrator for Uppercase Living. It’s fun!Arts & Glass

I also am doing some freelance marketing work, busting out the old Sociably Cindy name tag and business card was fun.  I think it’s time for a re-design, though.

I’m looking forward to writing more, being more involved in my community and church.  Oh, and the JBQ season is about to start – 2 kids in juniors, 1 in beginners, it’s going to be crazy!
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How to Behave Around A Pregnant Woman Part 3

Sometimes people have a hard time reading others, so often times ask the wrong questions without knowing that it’s inappropriate or an uncomfortable topic.  Others, just don’t care…

Now again, this is just my opinion, with input from some friends, but I think most pregnant women would agree.  Here is part 3 of my list.
Don’t Ask  “Are you going to quit your job?”  Wow, so just because I’m a mom I can’t work?  I was a stay at home mom for a couple of years, and it was ok… I loved being home with my kids, but didn’t have any other stay at home mom friends at the time, so I was lonely.   Stay at home moms need adult conversation, which they don’t often get.  Since I wasn’t outgoing, making new friends was hard.  When I went to work part time I was able to be a mom, but also help support my family and feel like a productive adult at the same time.  Now, I work at home doing freelance work (and trying to blog).

Don’t Ask “Is this your last?”  Why is it any of your business?  I’m very proud of how my 3 children are maturing and developing, and I welcome the challenge of adding 1 more child to our family.  While the fear of having another scares me because of all the complications, if the Good Lord shall bless us, I’ll welcome the new baby with love.

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Don’t judge a woman’s birth plan.  If I could have all natural home births, I probably would try it.  But my pregnancies have each had their complications that I feel safest in a hospital.  What works for one mom doesn’t not necessarily work for the next.  If she wants an epidural, she’s getting an epidural.  If she doesn’t, she doesn’t.  If she’s having a scheduled C-Section, or being induced, there are reasons for it.  If you can’t say anything nice or encouraging, don’t say anything at all.

Don’t Ask “Are you going to breast feed?”  I cringe when I hear that question, especially around guys.   Can’t you use the term “nurse the baby” instead?  But again, that’s a women’s choice.  And nursing a baby can be really difficult!  I wasn’t able to nurse my daughters for more than a couple of months.  I was given extra resources when my son was in the NICU, which really helped me be able to nurse for 9 months.  But seriously, I’m the mother, the baby will be fed in a manner that works for me, and for him/her.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my list

How To Behave Around A Pregnant Woman, Part 2

How To Behave Around A Pregnant Woman, Part 2

As stated in a previous post, people now need baby-step by baby-step instructions for everyday interactions.  Especially around pregnant women.Now again, this is just my opinion, with input from some friends, but I think most pregnant women would agree.  Here is part 2 of my list.

Having a baby bump does NOT give you permission to rub my belly.  I know I mentioned this last post, but here are a few other reasons…

Babies in the womb are asleep 20 out of 24 hours a day… so you’re probably just feeling my belly.
Germs.  I don’t know where you’ve been, and you don’t know what my other kids have sneezed and coughed all over my mid-section.  Stay healthy, keep your hands to yourself.  It’s a nasty cold/flu season right now… I CAN’T get sick!

If you see a pregnant woman trying to dig her car out of the snow, help her.  I mean, common courtesy should dictate that if you see ANYONE stuck in the snow, you should help.  And a husband SHOULD have already dug his pregnant wife’s car out, and made sure the driveway was clear for her. But in the case that the snowplows pack 18 inches of snow at the end of a driveway, help a girl out!

If you see a pregnant woman walking quickly in the general direction of a bathroom, don’t try to stop her for a conversation.  I mean, common sense, if anyone is rushing to a bathroom, let them be.  But if you see a pregnant woman walking rather quickly, she’s either about to be sick or just got kicked in the bladder and really can’t stop to chit-chat.

Don’t ask “Are you sure it’s just 1 baby in there?”  The average woman should gain about 30lbs when they are pregnant.  Some “pop” earlier than others; sometimes the baby rests a certain way and for that moment Mommy looks bigger than she did 15 minutes earlier.  Especially if the mom has posted pictures of her 1 beautiful baby’s ultrasound, don’t ask if we’re sure we’re not expecting 2….  Women are vain (sorry, it’s true), and Mommyrexia is unfortunately a growing trend.  Help the mommy-to-be’s that you know to feel comfortable in their ever changing body: watch your words.

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