This Kid


is turning six tomorrow.

And tonight, we’re planning games and wrapping presents and tidying the house and creating a treasure hunt and making general preparations for having a six-year-old in the house.

~Natalia

Unique Season

“You might never have a season in your life like this one again.” Mimsy observed today, as she sipped on her Starbucks coffee and gazed over my France pictures, spread across the table in front of us. “You know; not studying, spending time with your mom and sisters…”

And she is right. This is a unique time in my life, and it may never happen again. Without school, this semester is more open than last fall. I am able to help out with the little ones more, work around the house, do projects, and other fun activities. I’m not puttering about, but I do have some free time.

But, in the midst of my projects and little sister fun and cleaning, I have an inkling feeling that there is even more that I am supposed to be doing during this time. Like maybe God has something even bigger planned for me during these months. I don’t know what it is, but I have faith that if there is something else I’m supposed to be doing, He’ll let me know.

~Natalia

Lifeguard Class

I had lifeguard class yesterday. If you have never had the joy and privilege of taking part in a lifeguard class, let me summarize it for you: in a pool for hours on end; splitting your time between pretending to drown so that a random stranger/classmate can pretend to save you and then pretending to save your partner/random stranger/classmate; being strapped to a wooden board so your classmates (who you are getting to know rather well by now) can practice working with spinal injuries; and ingesting a healthy dose of chlorine.

Last nights’ lifeguard refresher course contained all the important aspects and finer points of lifeguarding, but in a more condensed manner, since we already learned all the material a couple of years ago. The three hours that we spent in the pool were a rather fast-paced march through lifeguard skills, starting with how to jump in while gripping a fading red tube to your chest and still keep your head above water, and finishing with how to save a victim with a spine injury who is floating face up on the surface and who requires more than two rescuers because he needs to be velcro-strapped to a huge wooden board so that his head does not pop off.

I cannot deny that I was dreading last night’s class. From the moment I enrolled myself in the class a handful of weeks ago, I wrote off April 26th as a day of dread and drudgery. No, you’re right; it’s really not that bad. The instructor, who I have known for years, teaches very well, and the people in the class are nice. But it is lifeguard class, nonetheless.

For the first part of yesterday’s class, I was paired with a male. Thankfully, I managed to escape that situation before we had done much more than escapes and simple grab-someone-around-the-arms-and-swim-them-to-safety drills.

I had been anticipating that Saving the instructor would be the hardest challenge we faced. Posing as an active drowning victim, the instructor flails about wildly, grabbing onto anything he can get his hands on, and kicking his feet. The concept is very simple: get a hold on the instructor, drag him back to the wall, and you pass.

As a fifteen year old, the first time I took this class, I somehow managed to get a grip on him and get him all the way back to the wall on my first attempt. Yesterday, either I was weaker than the first time, or the instructor had seriously upped his game since last time. My first time out, I was able to dodge his flailing limbs, but was unable to both maintain a grip on him AND drag him to the side of the pool.

A bit later, having (finally) completed the Save the Instructor test, we moved on to Passive Submerged rescues. Once again, quite simple: passive victim under the water. Lifeguard sinks to the bottom, wraps one arm firmly around victim’s chest, and then pulls him/herself and victim up to the surface with the help of the red lifeguard tube. Sounds relatively straight-forward, but I and my extremely patient victim were at it for a good twenty minutes, my victim floating motionless as I floundered around, trying to pull us both up with only the tube as a help, and keep a firm grip on her at the same time.

It was an exercise in breath-holding, water-swallowing, coordination, and patience (on the victim’s) part. But eventually I figured it out and we all returned to our happy lives.

Looking back on it, it was a little fun, I guess. But, no matter how fun lifeguard class is, I am glad that it only comes around once every couple of years.

~Natalia

Sometimes

Sometimes, we whine about having to take family pictures.

Sometimes, Mom makes us take them anyway.

Sometimes, they turn out really good.

Sometimes, Mom is proved right.

~Natalia

p.s. Happy Birthday, Dada!

The Passion of the Christ

At the Good Friday service last week, Karis and I were discussing The Passion of the Christ, since both her family and mine traditionally watch the movie on Good Friday. “What’s your favorite part?” she asked, while one of her sisters played with her hair, and the other squawked happily in the background. “Um… none of it?” I replied, not quite sure what to say. After some thought and a little more discussion, we both settled on the flashbacks as our favorite part of the movie.

Because, to be honest with you, I don’t really like The Passion of the Christ. Satan is creepy, the flogging scene is nauseating, and the crucifixion is heartbreaking. Yes, Jesus does rise again at the end of the movie, and it is sprinkled with wonderful flashbacks of Jesus’ earlier life and ministry, but 95% of the film is cruelty, blood, and gut-wrenching suffering.

But as we were watching the movie this weekend, and as Jesus is first whipped almost to death and then forced to carry His own cross, I was reminded that He was not forced to do what He did. Pilate did not rule over Jesus Christ and Jesus had the power to completely destroy the soldiers who flogged Him mercilessly. He was not coerced in any way.

Jesus chose to suffer inexplicable pain.

And He did it for me. And He did it for you.

Not in a general sort of way, but completely specific, and completely personal.

And completely undeserved.

He did all that because He loves you and me that much.

~Natalia

Once Again

{By Matt Redman}

Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death
Many times I’ve wondered at Your gift of life
And I’m in that place once again
I’m in that place once again

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Now You are exalted to the highest place
King of the heavens, where one day I’ll bow
But for now, I marvel at Your saving grace
And I’m full of praise once again
I’m full of praise once again

Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend

~Natalia

Four Months Later

I seriously underestimated how exciting it would be to go to Target today.

~Natalia

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