Cockayne Syndrome: A Loving Nature is a Symptom

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It was my birthday last month and I received a priceless gift:

All the videos from Knox’s life on DVDs!   No gift could equal this.

The greatest comfort I have in this stage of grief is watching the joys of Knox’s life. I love watching each and every video, no matter how short.  I watch videos of Knox a lot. Maybe too much.

Now I can pop in a DVD and gaze at continuous footage of him on the big screen….my little precious boy with his cute glasses and spikey hair.

I know most people have never heard of Cockayne Syndrome, so I’d like to tell you something surprising.

A loving nature is a symptom.

Yes, it really is. The loving nature of CS children is considered an actual symptom of the disease.

Dr. Neilan of Boston Children’s Hospital acknowledges this in the documentary “Love Has Wings” (at approx. 23:40) saying, ” Children with Cockayne Syndrome have a very friendly personality, which almost seems to be a characteristic of the disorder.”

How did I miss how remarkable that is?

Admittedly, I could not think about much when Knox was with us. I was so angry at what was happening and I could not accept CS as a blessing during Knox’s lifetime. I remember one of his specialists advising me to consider how preferable CS was to others illnesses shortly after diagnosis!?  I thought he was a nut!  Preferable? How could CS be preferable to anything? I could not comprehend that.

I had always thought of symptoms as purely negative things. A symptom meant something is not working correctly. Truly, CS children do have severe and heartbreaking symptoms. That can’t be denied. But the symptom I remember most when I think about Knox now is not his poor eyesight, failing hearing, tight muscles, or neurological deterioration, but his loving nature.

I look back and watch the videos of happy days and there it is!  In every frame captured from his life I can see it clearly: that sweetness of CS.

How could I have been so blessed?

I would’ve chosen life and health for him, but I wasn’t given that choice.  And that still bothers me. My mood can turn dark quickly when memories of his suffering re-surface.  Sadness can still stop me in my tracks and some memories can still make me feel like I can’t breathe. It’s awful.

The Protestant preacher, Jonathan Edwards, said, “The same sun that causes the brightness of the day at noon, causes the shadows at 3 o’clock”.

I still don’t understand why it happened, but if the shadows had to fall, I’m thankful God gave me Knox.


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“Ducks at Sunset”- Art Activity for Kids


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I found this really great pop-art piece by artist, Walt Curlee.  I loved the colors and the simplicity of the design.

It’s not always easy finding inspiration for my young artist, but this was perfect.

I printed out a sample of the piece as a guide. He picked out the the colors he saw in the background. Using watercolor crayons, he began to draw the sunset…
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Then he used his water pen to blend the colors into a beautiful sunset of pink and purple….

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Next, he practiced drawing the shape of the flying ducks.  It’s hard to get them to look right!

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He got a bit frustrated, so I let him get a feel for drawing the shapes by tracing some of them. This helped!dscf5594

After he was comfortable drawing the ducks, he took a pencil and drew the reeds, leaves, and ducks. Finally, he filled in all the shapes with a dark gray brush pen.

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I think he did a great job! This is my third young artist to attend “Mom’s Art School’, and we’re having a great time experimenting and learning new techniques.  Next week, we’re going to try to paint some trees with faces in them.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Fall.     ~Scarlett

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“Medieval Lullaby”, a Hand Carved Stamp

 

 

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The first time I tried to carve rubber, I created this owl stamp.  It was harder than I thought, so maybe that’s why I’ve waited so long to try it again.  Here’s my second attempt! I chose this pencil drawing from my sketch book, cut it to the size of the rubber, and transferred the design to the rubber with transfer paper and pen. Here are my tools, which aren’t that impressive. You can find Speedball carving set at any craft store and I had a few various x-acto type tools to play around with.
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I’m sure there are great videos about carving stamps on YouTube. I would never make a video because it would put you to sleep. It’s slow going!

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Half-way through, I decided to add a tiny unicorn in the background.  
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My best tip: Ink your stamp a few times as you go so you can tell what remains to be done. Here is an inking I did to check and see what looked right, and what needed more work.

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Inking it in black and stamping it on scratch paper can help you see areas that need work.

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This is one type of art that I love to do, but I need a lot more practice.  Do you find that once you’ve tried a type of art making and enjoy it, the first things you want is better tools? I need a carving tool about two sizes smaller than the smallest one in the Speedball set.  Maybe with pumpkin carving season at hand, I’ll find one!  Thanks for stopping by!

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*Song on the player is “In the Beginning” by Fahrenhaidt

 

The Metaphysics of Van Til in Pen and Paint

 

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Cornelius Van Til was a professor at Westminister Theological Seminary for 43 years.  These art pieces attempt to give visual reference to his metaphysical views regarding theism and atheism.

“Van Til . . . always taught that a Christian worldview should be represented by two circles (for Creator and creature), clearly distinct from one another, with the larger one (representing God) on top.  One circle alone referred to the non-Christian worldview, in which man and God (if he exists) are on the same level, part of one reality.”
— John Frame, Cornelius Van Til:  An Analysis of His Thought, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1995), p. 27.

 

Here is my attempt to show Van Til’s “Creator-Creature” distinctions in paint and pen.  And if you’re thinking they are nothing more than extravagant flash-cards, you’re right! I can say one thing for creating art about philosophical concepts: It helps me remember them for class!
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Easy Drawing Activity for Kids- Pantry Favorites


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I asked my young artist to pick his favorite things from the pantry for this easy drawing activity. Of course, he picked all the junk food! We set up the items on some white paper and put a large sheet in the background to eliminate visual distractions. This was challenging and fun!  He did a great job looking closely at the lines and deciding which details to include.  He chose colored pencils to add color to his drawing, and when it was finished,  he promptly dismantled the arrangement and had a snack!  :)

 

Thanks for stopping by!
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JC pantry art