Category Archives: general

Ch-ch-ch-change Change Changes…

Something strange is not only afoot at the Circle K, but also at this here blog.

I’m guessing maybe one of you got the movie reference (Hey, Christian).

(For those of you who aren’t dating Christian and haven’t been forced to watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, I’m sorry.)

If you’re observant, you’ll realize it’s Friday, and this is not a typical Friday post. Normally, I’m regaling you with my fitness adventures, but ever since plantaar fasciitis got hold of me, fitness hasn’t really been all that exciting. I’ve been going to the gym just as much, but honestly, telling you about riding the bike at the gym is about as boring as riding the bike at the gym.

So we’re taking a break from Fitness Friday. Instead, I’d like to announce some new features of brown eyed basics that I hope you’ll enjoy.

More frequent posting.
I sometimes feel bound to only post once a day, even when there are little things I’d like to share. I will still continue to post at least once a day Monday-Saturday, but I may throw in small bits of encouragement on Sundays, and I may post a few times at week in the evenings.

Blogs of the week.
In an effort to encourage community around here, I’ll be choosing a blog to highlight every week. I’ll write a short synposis of the blog at the beginning of the week, and you’ll be able to see the RSS feed for that blog over on the sidebar. I hope this will encourage you to check out some of my favorite blogs!

Letters from Lisbet.
Every other week or so, I’ll be sharing a letter I’ve received from the little girl I sponsor through Compassion. If you read my guest post at Gather Little by Little or my short blurb on Blog Action Day, you know that Compassion is very close to my heart. I hope that by sharing the letters and pictures she sends me, you’ll develop a passion for releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, too. I’ve got the child packet of a little girl named Herieth who needs a sponsor within the next three weeks, and there are plenty more where she comes from!

Notable podcasts.
I just started getting into podcasts. My job is such that when I’m doing certain tasks, I’m able to listen to my iPod, so I’ve been taking advantage of sermons that are available online. Of course, there are more than just sermons online, but I’ve been so encouraged to listen to preachers like Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. Each week, I’ll share at least one that God really used to influence me.

More money-related articles.
I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy personal finance blogs. I don’t necessarily want to create me own personal finance blog, but the older I get, the bigger role money plays in my life, and I’ve got a few posts on the drawing board. I hope these will be helpful for those of you who are like me – not looking for complicated articles, but rather, small tips that have helped me financially. This is, after all, brown eyed basics.

Recipes galore.
I have a planner where I try to plan for future blog posts. I generally plan two weeks or so in advance (although I don’t write them that far), so over on the margin of the monthly calendar I jot down little ideas. I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes lately and don’t want to wait to write about them until I’ve forgotten the whole experience of making them, so I’m hoping to post at least one new recipe every week.

Online how-to’s.
My post on using Google Calendar remains, as it did on my other blog, my most popular post so far. Apparently I’m not the only one obsessed with organization. I hope to do some more posts similar to that on other online applications I’ve found useful. If you’ve got one in mind you’d like to see, shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

It’s kind of hard to believe that I’m actually planning on doing more here than I’m already doing, because sometimes I feel like it’s hard enough to think of one post for each day, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of momentum right now and I’m excited about the future. If Feedburner would just start showing that I have more than one reader, life would be perfect.

In other news, I’ve got a new blog in the works, but it likely won’t be ready for a long time. I’ll be talking more about it in the weeks ahead as Christian and I – yep, a mutual project – prepare for the grand unveiling. (And no, we’re not engaged. Not yet, anyway.)

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the last installment of the Great October Blog Purge!

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Promote Your Site For Free @ Brown Eyed Basics

Because I want to get to know my readers better, I’ve got a proposition for you that may help you get a few more clicks to your blog.

My blogroll is one of my most clicked-on pages, and most people who visit it click-through to the blogs listed. If you’ve been reading brown eyed basics regularly and have a blog you’d like to promote, let me know, and I’ll happily include you in the new “readers’ blogs” section of my blogroll.

Leave a comment on this post or e-mail me letting me know you’d like to be added!

Update: I’ve added a little widget with the number of readers I purportedly have, but I’m really discouraged. Not because it says that I have only 3 readers (when clearly, I have more, since I’ve got 5 people on my blogroll in less than 24 hours), but because Feedburner can’t seem to decide. That widget says 3, but when I sign into Feedburner, it says I have 0 subscribers. I seem to be the victim of its wily whims. Anyone else ever have this problem?

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A Wee Little Announcement

To the uber-bloggers who get 20,000 hits a day, this probably won’t seem like a big deal, but today this humble little blog received its 2000th hit on the 40th day of its existence. I haven’t done a whole lot of promotional stuff since the first couple weeks, so it seems like the content is doing its own work now.

Thanks to those of you who read every day, whether or not you comment!

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Blog Action Day – Is God Calling You To Sponsor A Child?

I wish I were more on the ball and had realized today was Blog Action Day. Thankfully, Gather Little by Little has written plenty about it, and I was incredibly humbled that he again mentioned the post I wrote about the little girl I sponsor through Compassion.

I have a post in the works about my experience with Compassion for my own blog, but I want to emphasize that one of the things I love about Compassion is that they are a holistic organization. They provide children with food, water, education and clothes, but they also offer them Jesus.

Please go read his post and consider ways that God might be leading you to aid those in poverty. If you’re interested in Compassion, please consider sponsoring a child. I’d be happy to answer any questions. I also have a child packet on my desk right now for a 12-year-old girl from Tanzania named Herieth. If you’re interested, I can either bring it to you (if I know you) or mail it to you.

I’m a volunteer child advocate for Compassion, but I don’t receive anything for publicizing them in this way. God has given me a passion for these children, and I’m so blessed to have people like GLBL help me spread the word.

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How To Be an Excellent Babysitter (and How to Know If You Found One)

When most people think of babysitting, an image of a slightly awkward 16-year-old girl comes to mind. She may change a diaper or two while she’s watching the kids, but she spends most of the time on the phone with her friends.

In case you were wondering, that is not what excellent babysitters are made of.

Most babysitters, though, aren’t quite so terrible. Hundreds of thousands of parents entrust their precious children to such people every day.

But what goes into being an excellent babysitter? How can you be an awesome babysitter who deserves what you’re paid? How can you be sure the person watching your kids can be trusted?

An excellent babysitter loves kids.
This may seemingly disqualify those of you who aren’t sure if you love kids. If that’s the case, do what you can to find out if you love kids. Volunteer in the nursery at your church. If you find out that most kids drive you crazy, maybe you should find another source of income. If you find toddlers OK, but middle schoolers a pain, then only say yes to parents who have toddlers. Really loving to spend time with kids will ensure that most of your problems while babysitting are minor. And parents and their kids can tell if you hate kids (it’s like a sixth sense).

An excellent babysitter listens to what the parents say before they leave.
Some parents leave a detailed note that makes you wonder how long they’re planning to be gone. Others jot down a few things. Some don’t leave anything but their phone numbers. Regardless of what is written down, listen to what they say. And be thinking as they’re talking about anything that leaves you confused. One of the questions I now ask frequently before parents leave is, “Does your child have a special item he sleeps with?” and then (if yes) “Is the item already in the child’s bed?” I’ve had to call parents too many times asking where Susie’s “lovey” is, only to find it in the dryer or stuffed in the oven of a toy kitchen. It makes bedtime more complicated than it has to be.

An excellent babysitter is at least as consistent with the child as the parents are.
Some parents may not be very disciplined with their kids. There are a plethora of parenting techniques, and as you, the babysitter, are probably not a parent, it’s best not to have strict judgments on what’s right and what’s not. But say, for example, the parents are trying to teach their child to say, “Yes, ma’am.” If, once the parents are gone, the child keeps saying “Yeah” or “Uh-huh,” it’s safe to prompt the child with a kind “Yes, ma’am!” Not only does this help the parents out, but the child immediately learns that just because Mom and Dad are gone, doesn’t mean the rules have changed. A child who thinks the rules are different is a force to be reckoned with.

An excellent babysitter is creative and takes initiative.
Most children, if given the option, would watch television all day long. Some parents may let their kids watch TV while they get things done around the house, but they’re not getting paid to watch their kids. You are. If the parents say they can watch a particular show for a certain amount of time, then go ahead and let the kids watch it. But for the most part, you should be trying to entertain the child in other ways. Going for a walk, reading books, doing arts and crafts, playing with neighborhood friends and playing games outside are all activities most children will love. If they seem hesitant at first suggestion, don’t give up. Turn off the TV, say “That’s all for now” and immediately engage the child in whatever activity you’ve chosen. The child will be way better off developmentally, and the parents will be thrilled when their kids tell them about all the fun things you did with them.

An excellent babysitter goes beyond expectations.
The kids are in bed, the parents won’t be home for two more hours, and Top Chef is coming on next. The turn of events seems obvious. But before you watch gourmet cooks battle it out to the death, check the sink for dirty dishes and wash them. And then pick up any toys the kids left out. Most parents pay a flat rate per hour, so you’re getting paid just as much to play hide-and-seek as you are to watch TV. Do what you can to really earn those extra dollars.

Following these principles will most certainly make you an excellent babysitter, and you’ll reap plenty of benefits. Not only will the parents be more likely to call you next time, but they’ll also recommend you to their friends. Most of the babysitting jobs I have gotten over the last year have stemmed from one family who I babysat for the first time four years ago. I don’t babysit for that family much anymore, but if it weren’t for them, I’d hardly babysit at all.

And finally, while you should always be professional, don’t look at babysitting as just a job. You’re forming relationships with kids and setting an example for them. You’re also serving the parents when you do the best that you can. That yields eternal rewards, and it’s a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Feel free to share any babysitting horror stories, or any other tips you might have on how to be an excellent babysitter.

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How To Take Advantage of a Holding Pattern

God often gives us seasons in our life when we experience what is commonly known as a holding pattern. I’m in one myself right now as I look for a job. While I know moms with multiple kids probably never feel like they’re in a holding pattern, there may be others who in a certain area of life find themselves waiting for the next thing.

As I’ve been in this particular holding pattern for almost two months now, I have wasted a lot of time and have also had very productive days. But you don’t have a job, you may point out. True, but there are other things I’ve found to do that have kept me from feeling useless and have (I hope) honored God, served others and helped myself.

Memorize Scripture.
It’s surprising how little time it actually takes to memorize Scripture, if the time is concentrated. While I’ve found trying to memorize verses over the course of a day isn’t very effective for me, spending ten or twenty minutes where that’s all I do can help me memorize several verses all at once. Not only does this help you spend time wisely in the moment, but memorizing Scripture has eternal benefits.

Read.
I’m in the middle of a couple theological books and a few works of fiction. When I was in middle school and high school, I was a voracious reader. Until I went to the library a few weeks ago and checked out some books, I had forgotten what an appetite I have. Last week I had an afternoon with nothing to do and read an entire book! It’s certainly a better use of time than watching TV or piddling around online (both of which I have also done in the last week).

Find an alternative source of income.
Other blogs have more wisdom on ways to do this than I do, but since I’ve been out of work I have babysat and also done some freelance work editing. God has used babysitting to help me pay my bills, which has been a huge blessing. I’m also in the process of becoming a guide for ChaCha, which would provide even more income.

Look for ways to serve others.
Because I’m living at home with my family right now, I have lots of opportunities to do this. On days when I’m not babysitting, I try to find at least one thing I can do around the house to help my mom. One day last week I cleaned the bathroom. Another day I did all the dirty laundry I could find. I also try to cook dinner once a week or so. In doing these things, not only do I serve my family and honor God, but I also feel like I’m accomplishing something worthwhile.

Exercise.
There have been times in the past couple weeks when not having a job has really discouraged me, and when I’m down, exercising is the last thing I want to do. But consistently going to the gym has not only kept me healthy (which is good, because at the moment my health insurance is pretty terrible), but it also has kept me energetic and given me something to focus on.

These are just a few of the ways I’ve tried to take advantage of the time God has given me over the last couple of months. What are some ways you take advantange of seemingly “empty” periods of time?

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