Friday, August 17, 2007

Thoughts at a Rolling Boil

I thought that I would go to sleep a little early tonight before my four month-old daughter, Claire, woke for her 11pm-ish feeding. That was prior to beginning R.T. Kendall's book, Out of Your Comfort Zone, Is Your God Too Safe? Truly, I've only read about 30 pages, but my thoughts are just bumping into each other. Really too much so to even make sense of them right now. But I am highly intrigued so far and can't wait to see what I learn as I progress through the book.

But there is one conviction I wanted to blog about. Let me set the stage a bit. Little Claire is adorable as any baby, but her sleeping habits are somewhat lacking in continuity and endurance! We never know what the night is going to be like or daytime naps. An hour and 15 minutes is about the longest she will sleep during the day and consequently, she doesn't stay awake for very long. Putting a baby to sleep 5 - 6 times a day is tiring. All of the night wakings and stirrings keep me feeling like a "Jill in the Box". Some days I am okay. Occasionally, like today, I feel great. And some days, like earlier this week, I feel like I did when Claire was 3 weeks old.

In commiserating with my sister who is a mother of three, I piously wondered why God wouldn't answer my prayer for Claire to sleep better at night? What is so wrong with that? Really, my thinking is that God is mean and honestly, kind of stupid. I mean, we all know that a rested mom is much better than a grumpy mom. This conversation came back to me as I was reading Kendall's book tonight.

Basically, God wasn't fitting into my "nice" category and therefore, was just not working for me at all. Kendall begins in his first chapter posing the theory that maybe God plays hard to get just to get a little more out of us. I know what would happen if I had a baby that slept well and took the textbook two hour naps. I would go around telling other moms how I did things and wonder what they were doing so wrong that they couldn't get their babies to sleep. This would be one of the rudest things I could do in the world of mom-dom. I know because I received this kind of advice and I was a little hot (and not so nice in my email reply which I had to later apologize for). So, in giving me a baby that doesn't comply (and is like so many others), God has graciously spared me from myself. He has enabled me to be more real, more authentic and more empathetic. That makes it a little bit easier to live with Grumpy Nicole. At least for me. My husband may have a different opinion on that.

And I can stretch my perspective of God, which is probably closer to I-think-you-should-make-my-life-comfortable God than who He really is. The Creator and Master of the Universe loves me, but He is not afraid to let me squirm and reach a bit so that I can grow and yearn for Him past my desire for 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I think I'm okay now. Thoughts are not rolling any longer and I think I can go to sleep. That is, after I feed my baby who is, like clockwork, waking for her last feeding!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ode to the Helping Hand

I took a lot of literary license with this, since there isn't any "rhyme or reason" to the meter nor any punctuation! But it is from the heart. Moms and Dads abroad understand.

Never has there ever been
And never will there be
Anything as refreshing
As the helping hand

When Hubby plays with
Baby for a spell
Or does the laundry (thrice)
I thank the heavens
Nothing is so nice
As the helping hand

Miss Neighbor smiles prettily
And in her sweetest way
Asks if she can take
Little One on Wednesday
God’s greatest creation
Is the helping hand

Memaw and Papa are nearby
Love is overflowing
August moons bring
Our second anniversary
Open arms extension
Of the helping hand

Dear friend has called
A note is parceled
The timing is blessed
Words of endearment
Encouragement flows
As the helping hand

Numerous ways and
In every season
God uses each of these
As the helping hand

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Claire Update

Welcome to my first brag session! Quite ironic that I am choosing today since I have been so wiped out from lack of sleep. Little Claire is wonderful, but her sleep patterns are wearing me out! But, as every mom and parent knows, you are still inthralled with your little one.

Bragging may be the wrong word because that implies that someone has done something out of the ordinary or to a level not yet seen. Claire doesn't do much but just look adorable and everything she does is just so stinkin' cute! So, gushing would be a more appropriate term.

One of my favorite things to watch is her finger/fist sucking as she is talking and talking at the same time. She is developing a melodic range that would rival most opera singers all while keeping the slobber making to a maximum! Kisses are certainly not for the faint of heart and are best taken with a burp cloth nearby.

Last week, she turned over for the first time! Claire showed her determination on Saturday by spending an entire hour trying to and turning over. And it can really frustrate her when it takes too long or too much effort to get her roly-poly body flipped over. Once she gets turned over, she's not too happy. Tummy time is not her favorite hour - or more appropriately 3 minutes. But when she looks up at me with raised eyebrows over her blue-green eyes, I melt.

Most spectacular recently has been Claire's to take a bath, dry off, diaper, lotion and almost have her pj's on before she begins crying. Bathtime smiles are some of my favorite and border on miraculous. She can be fussy and grumpy seconds before and morphs into the sweetest girl in the tub. There's nothing like a nice soak to sluff off the day's troubles.

Claire displayed shades of her mother this afternoon. Desperate for a little time out of the house, we strolled over to the corner store for a Dr. Pepper treat. Silently and almost motionless, little girl takes in the green trees, sky and street sounds. She is like this for 30 minutes - never cracking a smile, talking or even uttering a fuss. We come in and I put her down on the couch. Instantly, she begins talking and jabbing fingers and fists in her mouth. I chuckled. When I am out running errands I can hardly wait to get back and give my husband a play-by-play no matter how mundane the time was. I just need to share! And so glad that my little girl is sharing with me. Hopefully (and prayerfully!) she will always want to share her thoughts, ideas and emotions with me.

Okay -I'll stop boring you right now. But before I go, I wanted to post a link for a Gerber babyfood coupon at Target. It is for $1.00 when you purchase two items. If you buy the $0.47 stage 2 babyfood, it is actually free! The greatest thing is that you can print off multiples and buy as much as you want. Don and I bought a selection of items and paid $5.78 for $25.28 of babyfood. We felt like we were robbing the joint! You will have to go to the 07.07 archives and scroll down to the Happy Parent's Day posting for 7.21. Stock up and enjoy the savings!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Couples Connected

Today we implemented a relaunch of our Bible Community at church. It is a class for young marrieds, mostly with families. It is newly titled "Couples Connected" and tagged with "Making friends for life while growing in Christ". For different reasons the class had shrunk to 7 - 9 couples. We have a new director for the class that had a vision for the class to focus our purpose and to reach those in our church who weren't involved in a Bible Community. After a couple months of planning it kicked off today with a five-week marriage series and a BBQ afterward.

So, with a 4-month old baby who is not incredibly portable and trying to connect with as many people as possible - I am wiped out tonight! I found myself sitting on the couch this evening and thinking about our class. No matter what it is headed for growth (we had 141 people today!), but what else? I would love to begin a group for new moms with 3 - 6 month olds. Could there be lifelong friendships develop? Or even better yet - discipleship? Or a group of moms who are sold-out-dedicated-ferocious prayer warriors for their children and husbands?

What about our men? Will our men in the midst of their fun activities find that friend that sticks closer than a brother?

How does this kind of thing happen? Not having all the answers I believe it is a lot about being a willing vessel. Just saying to God, "I will begin what you put in front of me and you use what I have." I've found that He does the supernatural work and we get to enjoy the results. I found this out first hand when I served as a missionary in West Africa just out of college. A local pastor asked me to help him with the women in his town who were new converts. I had no idea what a 23 year-old white girl had to give to village women who got up at 3 am to get water for their family, balancing the containers on their heads. I went with a good friend who was a translator. We began with 10 women and at the end of a month, God had grown it to 25 women. He already had this in mind, but just needed to use an ordinary girl who received a blessing in the process.

Maybe God is already using you as a vessel and you don't see it yet. Or you have a desire in your heart to start something? What is stopping you? Start putting some plans in place, no matter how small, but stay after it!

"And yet, Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand." Isaiah 64:8

Friday, July 20, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

This is my first voyage into the world of blogging and I am kind of excited. Being a new mom I feel a little lost with my new job and being at home full time, so hopefully this will bring some focus and remind me who I am. I have always enjoyed writing, but have gotten out of the habit, so maybe the creative juices will begin flowing again.

What can you expect to see in my blog? Probably some recipes, stories about my family, Don and Claire, and some introspection. The name of my blog whispers about who I am, a Christian woman who wants to make a difference and fight the enemies that try to destroy us. Fighting, but never forgetting that I am a princess from my mascara laced eyes to my inner wishes to the relationships I cultivate. Hmmm... What great idealic language! Most often I don't believe these things about myself, but I want to! I want all women to be the princess warrior God designed us to be, so maybe we will make this journey together!