Lately, in pictures

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A second birthday for our spunky Lanie Lou. A family birthday party. A growing baby. A visit from dear out-of-town friends. This winter has been flying and I've been doing my best to keep the camera handy for precious moments like these. 

Tiny seeds.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A couple days ago, the February day felt more like May, and our neighbors invited Liam to jump on their trampoline with their 10-year-old daughter. We watched as they jumped for a while, then sat in the middle of the trampoline and chatted in the sun. When Liam came home, he sat down for lunch and nonchalantly told us, "That girl doesn't believe in God."

The way he said it seemed factual and nonjudgmental, so I casually asked him how he knew.

"Well," he responded, "I knew I wanted her to go to heaven and so I asked if she believes in God. She said no, so I told her that God loves all people and he loves her and he can do miracles."

As I've thought about what he said and the boldness he had in saying it, I'm tempted to attribute it to the running dialogue we have in our house about our King Jesus. But the bigger part of me realizes that only the Holy Spirit could prompt a 4-year-old heart to care for another child's soul enough to speak up. I see the gift of evangelism beginning to grow in him. Liam often prays that Lanie would know Jesus someday, and he's eager to share his faith with strangers and friends alike. I couldn't possibly "teach" him to do these things with joy. It's obvious this prompting is straight from Jesus.

The other night in the car, we were headed to a friend's house when Liam jumped into telling me the entire Gospel message from beginning to end. Some of his insights were astounding, and things I know we've never specifically taught. He said, "Mommy, they put a crown of thorns on him even though they should have given him a real crown... they didn't know that he was the real King." And after he finished the Story - as mascara ran down my face - he said, "When Jesus was dying on the cross, I fink he knew that he would make Liam Newby and would send me out into the world and would make me believe."

I've prayed so adamantly that this would be the year that Liam discovers Jesus as his true Friend and Savior and I'm watching God brilliantly answer that prayer. Don't get me wrong - he's still a four-year-old boy. He loves all "poop"-related words and thinks it's hilarious to taunt his little sister. But I'm seeing these tiny seeds that we've planted and prayed would grow begin to bear fruit, and it is the greatest joy to have a front row seat to the beginning of his walk with God.

Behind me, before me, with me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Some days, when I walk into my house after a long day at work, Liam sweetly asks, "Mommy, how were fings at the hos-a-pital today?" It's an innocent question. I should probably just respond, "They were good, buddy. How was your day?" But some nights I walk in carrying so much weight, and it's difficult to translate to 4-year-old speak.

If I could say what was on my mind, I would talk about the hospice patient who died alone because his estranged daughter refused to visit in his last moments. I would talk of the way he gripped my hand and stared at the wall blankly before his eyes closed forever. I might mention the woman who came into the ER with a stomach ache and would leave the hospital with a terminal cancer diagnosis. How her husband wept at the news. I might even mention the dementia patient who was fully convinced she was a famous politician's wife, and how it kept a smile on our faces. Or the way another's illness brought his grown children and grandchildren into town for the first time in years.

There's a heaviness that comes with working in the medical field that only others in the medical field can really identify with. It's as if this sacred space - the convergence of life and death - can hardly be discussed outside hospital walls with well-meaning family and friends because it's just too much to grasp. And recounting a day in my life as a nurse probably makes my job seem thoroughly depressing, which it's not. It's peppered with plenty of hilarious moments, often involving bodily fluids. (They're usually just funny after the fact.)

Transitioning from the hospital back into my real life can be tricky. I often fall into bed past midnight and wake up just after 7am to toddlers asking for blueberry waffles. Images from the night before haven't left me, and I'm shocked awake a few hours later to the stunning joy of my life with my family. I remember during clinical in nursing school, I would walk out of the trauma unit and cross the street toward my car, passing a playground full of giggling children and smiling teachers. Did they have no idea that just across the street, someone was being pronounced brain dead? That another was just receiving news that his son had died? I found it hard - and still do - to break back into "normal" life, chatting about potty training and meal planning on the playground with other moms after what I've witnessed the night before.

There are days I wish my feet didn't have to carry me rooms so devoid of hope. Then there are other days I know for certain the Lord has led me there with great purpose. People lying on their death beds usually have big questions, and some have looked me square in the eye and asked, "There's something different about you - what is it?" It's there I can look right back at them and say, "The difference is Jesus Christ. He is everything to me: my joy, my peace, my hope for salvation in this very dark world." I never quite know how those tiny seeds will grow, or if they've fallen on rocky soil. But I'm reassured in that moment that God is so near, I am so unworthy of him, and he has called me to this very moment.

If you're thinking about becoming a nurse and this all sounds unimaginably heavy, let me encourage you. It's a lot like I've found motherhood to be: hard, but extraordinarily rewarding. When you see a patient recover from an illness that should have cost her life, you rejoice. When your coworkers rally around you on an especially hard day, there's nothing like it. It's a ministry like few others in being so hands-on and practical. Each day I throw the stethoscope around my neck and walk off the elevator, I have no idea the challenges and the joys ahead. What I do know is that Christ goes behind me, before me, and is with me even in the darkest places.

Snow day

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The weathermen in Raleigh had predicted 5 to 7 inches of snow (and my poor co-workers even spent the night in empty patients' rooms because it was going to be so bad out there), but we ended up with a measly half-inch. Still, we've had the sweetest family day with these two. The guys went out and did the manly work of chopping firewood while the girls stayed in and cooked soup. I'll take a few more days like these, please.

A dollhouse for Lane Eliette.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

As soon as I saw this dollhouse by Lia Griffith as I was scrolling through Pinterest one day, I knew I wanted to create something similar for Lanie for Christmas. I love that Lia's site has plans to build the dollhouse as well as recommendations for furniture and bunnies to inhabit it. I used my miter saw to cut the pieces (and Shawn and a friend cut the house shape for the backing with a circular saw), and I've listed most of my sources at the bottom in case you want to make something similar. I absolutely love the Hape dollhouse furniture as it's the perfect size to actually play with without risking breaking tiny parts, and it was easy to paint certain pieces. There are still some things I want to do like make more bedding and rugs, and I've ordered a little baby bunny to add to our family. :) But for now, it's the perfect little bunny cottage for Lanie Lou. I hope you enjoy, too!

The kids' room

The master bedroom

The bathroom

The kitchen

The living/dining room

Kids' room:
Vinyl wood flooring on top level from Lowe's (for under a dollar) - just cut, peel, and stick
Hape children's furniture from Amazon
White brick scrapbook paper from Michael's
Bunnies from Calico Critters rabbit family on Amazon
Free printables on Pinterest (shrunk down to bunny size), taped on with washi tape

Shingles from Hobby Lobby. One of my favorite parts of this whole project!

Master bedroom:
Flooring from Hobby Lobby dollhouse supplies, cut and glued on
Hape bedroom furniture on Amazon
Tiny planters from Hobby Lobby, filled with faux leaves
Bedding made with scrap fabric from my stash
Art was made with wood tiles from Hobby Lobby with scrapbook paper glued on

Floor tile from Hobby Lobby dollhouse supplies, cut and glued on
Hexagon mirrors are scrapbooking stickers from Hobby Lobby
Hape family bathroom furniture
Botanical prints found on Pinterest

Prints found on Pinterest
Tiny planter and flour sacks from Hobby Lobby dollhouse supplies
Wood flooring from Hobby Lobby dollhouse supplies, cut and glued on
Hape kitchen furniture and Hape dining room furniture

Living room:
Flooring from Hobby Lobby dollhouse supplies, cut and glued on
Hape dining room furniture and Hape media room furniture, painted
Tiny fur and pillow from my fabric stash
Prints found on Pinterest
Hexagon mirrors are scrapbooking stickers from Hobby Lobby

All floorboards and crown molding from Hobby Lobby dollhouse supplies
Annie Sloan chalk paint in Paris Grey used for the outside of the dollhouse

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