The Fourth Turning


(photo credit Tablet Magazine)

A great deal of the books I’ve read in the past year are about WWII. It’s been pure coincidence. I didn’t set out to do a study on WWII, but somehow this subject matter has been the theme of most of these books. A lot of WWII-themed novels are being published at the moment, so some of this so-called coincidence could just be me falling prey to marketing. I’d like to think there’s something behind why publishing houses are putting out these books and why I subconsciously am obsessed with the subject matter.  Why is this historical event surfacing again in literature?  Not that it ever disappeared, but there’s perhaps a rekindled interest in reading about WWII.

Recently, I had a discussion with my dad about generations. He made an interesting comment that I’d never heard. There’s a theory that every fourth generation repeats itself. Some scientists call it the “Fourth Turning”. Simply put, every generation has a distinct personality type and so every four generations (80yrs) that personality type repeats itself. The personality type is distinguished through social patterns and structures that are similar to four generations ago. Of course this is not an exact science but a concept. Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote about this in their book  Generations.

This is where it gets fascinating. 80 years ago Americans experienced the Great Depression and entered WWII. 80 years before that, America entered the Civil War. 80 years before that was the Revolutionary War. Therefore in theory, the next major crisis will occur in 2020. They are quick to state that this doesn’t exclude major events that have occurred along the way, such as 9/11, the recession of 2008, the election of Trump in 2016 (ok, I inserted that), but rather these events are building to an even greater crisis. It’s hard to believe an event greater than 9/11, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. Those were huge and tragic. The list could also go on with all the tragedies that have occurred and continue across the world.

Getting back to the generation theory, Millennials (b.1982-2004) would essentially have a similar personality to The Greatest Generation (b.1900-1925). It’s hard for me to believe Millennials could be the next Greatest Generation considering their traits seem so different. Perhaps that’s what the older generations thought about the Greatest Generation too. As a Millennial (barely), it gives me hope that my generation has an innate strength of character that may emerge under conflict and struggle. It’s hard not to be skeptical living in a fairly narcissistic culture.  Millennials have been concerned with international issues and issues of social justice. I heard someone call us the “Do Gooders” years ago. How we would respond to a major crisis in the future only history will tell. The Greatest Generation wasn’t planning on exhibiting great moral fiber, patriotism and courage before WWII, they merely responded.

All this is just food for thought and a fun little historical rabbit trail I found myself on this week. There are a myriad of reasons why WWII books are being snatched up. One significant reason could be how far removed my generation is from the horror, thus the interest. I don’t think my grandparents would relish in reading these books as much as I did. Here are the books I’ve read about WWII in the past year. Most of them I’d highly recommend!

All The Light We Cannot See: Anthony Doerr

The Lake House: Kate Morton (WWI and WWII)

The Boys in the Boat: Daniel James Brown

The Nightingale: Kristin Hannah

In the Garden of Beasts: Erik Larson

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer





Commonplace Book

Is it not ironic that my last post, four years ago, was about me not blogging anymore and here I am, trying to get back on the horse once again? I had fallen out of love with blogging years ago, probably because life wasn’t quite worth reporting about, at least in my mind. I was a first-time mom, but the blog was started because we were spending two years overseas. Those adventures felt more worthwhile to blog about than documenting diaper changes. Nevertheless, my urge to write again came about a year ago.

I have a serious internal monologue going through my head all day long. Thoughts about movies, books, friendship, marriage, parenting, faith, television and music and it makes my head spin. Writing is an outlet for me to process all these thoughts. I used to be so good at keeping a journal with paper and pen, but that habit has been kicked, most likely because I have three children 5yrs old and under. But, I want my head to stop spinning and I want a place to reflect, just for me. If you want to read along as well, you are more than welcome.

As I begin again, this blog IS going to serve the purpose of a journal for me. This blog is just a way of making me committed to the process. It’s much easier for me to know I have a place to be accountable to write rather than opening up a Word document. I have some PhD friends who call this a “Commonplace Book”. Hundreds of years ago, scholars, writers, what have you, would use a commonplace book to write down their ideas, recipes, observations, poems, quotes, etc. Sure, that sounds about right to me. So, here is my Commonplace Book. It’s called “Crouch Potato”.



Did you know I have a blog?

Because I think I had forgotten.  It’s been almost 5 months since I posted on this sucker….5 months!  I do actually have a reason, however, and it’s not because of Tennyson. I will not blame this one on the little man.  I have been trying to find another blog host for awhile.  WordPress, I love you but why must it take 5 minutes to upload a photo??  Do you know what I can do with 5 minutes these days?  5 minutes of free time could be used throwing a load of laundry in the wash, emptying my dishwasher, folding a pile of clothes, brushing my teeth (and hair) or simply getting dress, heck, taking a shower!  Don’t you realize, WordPress, that I count my spare time in minutes these days?!

So, more to come on that front.

In the meantime, I have a newborn that all of sudden became almost 6 months old.  I can hardly believe it.  He is a little person with a big personality.  We call him our little tiger because he’s constantly moving, wrestling, talking, laughing or chewing on something.  We’re perplexed as to how we could produce a child with so much energy and feistyness, ha!

These past 5 months have been the most joyful of my entire life.  Sure, I’ve operated on less sleep, my hair doesn’t lay the same way, everything is slightly more complicated and we have to think.through.everything.  But, we are constantly staring at him with amazement that we made such a creature and that God gave us such a gift.  What a miracle.

One Month of Tennyson

This week, Tennyson turned one month old!  Believe it or not, I’m a little weepy that he’s reached this mark because I know it’s already flying by.  Despite the lack of sleep and the blurriness of days that comes with a newborn schedule, we have loved every minute with this new little one.

Tennyson has gained over a pound since his birth so he is definitely growing bigger, but it’s mostly in his belly.  He remains a long and lean little guy in his limbs.  He’s an incredibly alert child who loves to stay awake and constantly observe his surroundings (which makes napping difficult).  Thankfully, he’s exhausted by night time so he sleeps well then.

Danny and I have A LOT to learn about being parents, but thankfully they grow little by little as we try to keep up.

Tennyson Crouch

James Tennyson Crouch was born on October 2, 2011 at 10:50pm.  He weighed 8lbs even and measured 21 in. long.  Danny and I are overjoyed!

He is named after Danny’s dad, James Crouch (1945 – 2008), but he’ll go by Tennyson.  Danny’s dad was named after a great missionary and writer, James Hudson Taylor. The name James will remind our son of his late grandfather, also a great missionary, teacher and leader. James Crouch gave up his life in order to find it in Christ. He found it in the lives of missionary and Nigerian children, teacher colleagues and local churches in Nigeria, where he lived and served his entire life. We give James Tennyson up to Christ and pray that he too will find his life in Christ.

Tennyson is a literary name we liked for it’s British roots, which is where he began :). Here are a few of our favorite quotes from the British Poet Laureate Lord Alfred Tennyson:

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”

“My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure.”

Thank you for your love, care and prayers as we’ve welcomed Tennyson into our lives. We are eager to introduce him to our friends and family.

9 Months and Counting

I thought I would never desire food again after 16 weeks of nausea in my first trimester of pregnancy.  Now, I’m blinking twice at the date and wondering how on earth we got to 40 weeks so quickly and thanking God that I just ate my lunch with an appetite.  Where has time gone?  Perhaps it was moving from one country to the next, reuniting with family and friends after being abroad for 2 yrs, moving back to our Nation’s Capitol and trying to reorient ourselves into American culture.  Maybe that’s where the past few months have gone.  Maybe.

It could also be that life carries on, even when you’re pregnant, and perhaps that’s been the greatest surprise of all.  Now that we are waiting, waiting, waiting, on a job for Danny, on our child’s birth, on the first night I can sleep on my stomach again, I can’t help but look back at these nine months and reflect on this unique and special time.

Month 1:  January 27, 2011 we found out we were pregnant in Durham, England.  We were giddy and surprised to find this out, at least as giddy as we could be on a dark, wintry morning.  We couldn’t stop smiling all day and wanted to tell everyone.  But, we both decided we’d wait until I was farther along to announce the pregnancy.

Month 2:  Sick, sick, sick.  Enough said.

Month 3:  A little less sick and starting to move around.  On March 21st, we saw a heartbeat and were told our baby was one week farther along than expected, due on Sept. 27th and not October 3rd…we’ll see about that!

Lindisfarne, England

Month 4:  Auntie Anna and Uncle Ben came to visit lifting our spirits immensely.  My sister, who just had her baby 3 days ago, was a great comfort to me coming out of 3 sick months.  We had a full, fun-filled 2 weeks with them that we’ll never forget.

Month 5:  We introduced Baby Crouch to our favorite hobby: traveling.  We took our Babymoon to Southern France and Spain for 10 days.  On May 11th, we looked at a healthy baby on the ultrasound and somehow made it out of the doctor’s office without finding out the gender.

Madrid, Spain

Month 6:  June was a month of transition!  I had my first baby shower, one I will never, ever forget.  I don’t think a baby could ever be more internationally celebrated!  Friends from China, Mexico, Canada, France, USA, India, Japan and Columbia came out to bless this little child.  Mimi Crouch came to visit us for a week before we left.  We had a great time showing her around Durham and introducing her to our friends.  On the tail end of this, we said our goodbyes to those people who we still miss a lot.  For the first time in two years, we were bound for the US for a permanent stay.

Durham Baby Shower

Month 7:  Surrounded by friends and family, we felt that joy that you experience when you “come home”.  We celebrated Matt and Daynes Crouch’s wedding in early July, went on the Oster’s annual beach vacation, apartment searched in D.C, and ended the month with a family baby shower in Roanoke that was an extremely sentimental time for me and Baby Crouch.  I loved looking around a room full of women ages 3-78 who are part of this family.  I can only hope and pray that I live to be a great-grandmother and watch my family grow year by year like my Me-Maw.

Roanoke Baby Shower

Month 8:  Moving house in your third trimester of pregnancy is a good idea, right? I think our new motto is, “If it’s not crazy, why do it?”  On August 1st we moved into our new home where we will be a family of 3.  Thanks to the help of D.C. friends, the move was relatively painless and we were able to spend a good month settling in.  We continued to get to know our doctor better and better who we love and Danny logged tons of hours job searching.  The month ended with an earthquake, hurricane and tropical storm–both more hype than actual ‘disasters’.  It didn’t stop a terrific baby shower hosted by old friends in DC.  If rain is lucky on your wedding day, what does it mean on the day of your baby shower?

Month 9:  And here we are.  Still doing much of what we did in Month 8 but feeling ever

DC Baby Shower: These girls made that day so special!

the more expectant.  Any day now we will finally meet this little tyke who has been a trooper through all these months of transition, months of highs and lows.  One thing is for certain, this little life will bring us more joy than we could ever imagine and we can’t wait to introduce the world to it.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to use Danny as my official mirror.  We went on a date last night and I left the house with two different flip-flops on.  The worst part?  One of the flip-flops was Danny’s…you’d think I’d feel the difference.

The left one is green, the right one is blue.

Aubrey Mae Porter

Welcome to the world, Aubrey Mae Porter! My sister and brother-in-law had their third child yesterday morning, a sweet baby girl.  Aubrey weighed in at 8lb, 6 ounces, and 21 in. long.  She is a content, healthy baby and we are all rejoicing in her birth.  My sister was a rock star, laboring for a mere 6hrs from start to finish.  I’m hoping this is genetic!

Isn't she beautiful?!

Now, Baby Crouch, are you ready to join the party?