Mar 20, 2011

Catching Up...

I’m sorry it’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated you on life here. I have been enjoying days full of babies, driving, praying and loving. I should have taken the time to write sooner. I need to get into the discipline of writing more often because I feel like I have these deep, rich moments that I want to share with my family and friends at home but then by the time I actually sit down to write I can’t remember them all. So maybe I’ll start backwards and see if the dense, rich moments will spring up as I spill out what’s on my mind tonight.

I love Justin Bieber. It’s a newfound love for me although I’ve had “Baby, baby, baby, OH!” running through my head more times that I can count. I mean you have to be living under a rock to not know who the kid is even if you’ve not been infected with Bieber-fever personally. Last week Beth, Lisa and I were watching Ellen reruns on our limited cable network and Justin was one of her guests. He was adorable as usual, had his family in tow, surprised some sobbing fan at her house and was wearing Ellen boxers…typical fair. But what wasn’t typical was a casual comment he made about God, needing to trust Him and rely on Him to make it through everyday life. The way Justin spoke of God resounded in my heart as personal connection, not just a fly-by-night; “I think God is sort of hip” kind of way. Then the camera’s panned to the audience and his grandpa was laughing/sobbing with great hiccupping tears and my heart melted for this grounded kid. We decided then and there that we were going to HAVE to see Justin’s autobiographical movie now playing in our theatres. And that’s what we did tonight. Beth and I took all the girls volunteering at Door of Hope to see Justin’s movie tonight and I have to say it sealed the deal for me. Not only is this kid extremely talented, likeable and adorable he is a brother in Christ. I must have prayed, “Lord, please protect him” about every 10 minutes or so because God has placed him in a position of favor and influence that is uniquely dangerous and difficult. If you don’t have Justin on your prayer list, please add him. This brother of ours needs our Father’s protection, guidance and power to impact his generation and the entertainment industry in ways that we can’t even imagine. Please pray for Justin, his family and his career; pray that all that Justin is and does brings our Savior the glory that He so obviously has created him for.

Before I fell in love with Justin this week I had the opportunity to spend time with my little love, Jackson, all last weekend. As Baby House Coordinator there is one weekend a month were I schedule myself to be at Baby House 2 to be one of the two Aunties holding down the fort, working the regular 7:00am to 6:00pm shift on both Saturday and Sunday. I love all of our babies but I do have to admit that I relish the time I get to love on Jackson. He is smiling all the time now, “talking” more and more and getting more handsome by the minute. He likes to “sing” when I sing to him and he has a deep, resounding passion for his dummy. All of our little babies are growing like weeds and I feel like we’ll be past this itty-baby stage super soon.

Yay! I just remembered one this thing I wanted to share! On Saturday we had a group of volunteers come and do some renovations in our Storage Shed. They put up some fantastic and much needed shelves as well as cleaned and painted the floor. It was so fun to be on the receiving end of that kind of service. I’ve had the privilege of being involved in many service projects over the years and even painted gym floor and a basement floor once or twice. (Do you remember that basement, Cory? I swear a few of us were almost high off of the fumes from the black paint. It was at the Sunshine Kid’s place with the rapper and the after school program…good times for sure!) I had time to marvel at God’s timing and the ways He shifts us and uses us in all kinds of seasons as I watched them work and trying to express the gratitude that I felt as they took breaks and loved on our babies. It was a humbling blessing being on the other side of the camera as the team snapped pictures of us posing in front of the new shelving and paint. There is a season to everything under the sun and I felt like I experienced a new one this past Saturday. When I got home on Saturday I also had the blessing of enjoying Beth’s homemade Chicken Parmesan that ended the day perfectly.

Sunday held these beautiful contrasts that enhanced a regular day. The morning started off peacefully with babies sleeping in their cots until they were woken up one by one to be bathed. Then the doorbell rang about 10 times to let in various people into the church to get ready for the morning service. Everyone napped soundly and completely as Auntie Sarah and I enjoyed our tea times and listened to the worship team warm up in the church building next door. We were then invaded by a group of four 7th grade girls who had cleared to volunteer at Baby House 1 but somehow ended up at our House instead. Luckily nothing ruffles Auntie Sarah and I happen to think Middle School Students are some of the funniest people of the planet. For two hours straight the house was full of layers of noise: babies crying, high pitched voices asking question after question, babies laughing, Aunties returning from church, the baby bin alarm going off with a bag of donations coming through the bin, even higher pitched voices squealing with delight or concern as babies played, ate and puked. I also had the chance to introduce my babies and house to some of the volunteers from Baby House 1 who had come to church at Berea Baptist. Needless to say it was an absolute circus! The big babies had a beautiful nap from 2:30 to 4:00 and Auntie Sarah and I had one on one time with each of the small babies and had a great talk about how blessed we are to be apart of these children’s lives. The day ended with some fussy kiddos (which is pretty normal after the kind of day we had) and I drove home while a perfect, orangey sun set. I came home, ate some random dinner, read some Harry Potter and stayed up too late watching “The Way We Were” (missing my mom the whole time) while a beautiful thunderstorm cooled off our flat.

Thank you for your prayerful support that is allowing me to live this life! I am so blessed to be in the season that I am. Life feels normal here. Please continue to pray for Door of Hope. Our current Director, Kate Allen, shared recently that she is going to be stepping down as of April 1st to be a fulltime say at home mom. The Board has decided to pursue someone who can fill that role on a full time basis. Please be praying for our team as we have many, many roles to fill as we reconfigure our leadership model and are seeking Godly people to fill those roles. Also pray that God will provide for our financial needs and that we will be good stewards of the gifts we receive.

I miss you. I love you. Jackson says hello and remember to pray for Justin.

XOXOXOXO Nicole

P.S. Allison Auser bought her ticket to come and see me this summer and I can’t wait….

P.P.S. Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks...

Like I've confessed, I love Justin Bieber, and I'm NOT the only one!

Jackson all cozy and sweet in his bed

Our oldest (but tiniest) small baby at Baby House 2, all close and cuddly in the moby wrap

Me and Auntie Sarah at Baby House 2

Feeding one of my littles at an O.T. Training I went to last week...

(Ashlee, DON'T READ THIS!!!) This is a picture of the elephant followed us up the road when we first entered Pilanesburg National Park. We had been warned not to engage him or try to pass him if he was on the road. We backed up for a kilometer before he veered off toward the watering hole. Later in the day we spoke with a ranger that said that same elephant had rolled a car about two weeks ago. Talk about an attention hungry elephant! But very beautiful none the less...

For some reason ostriches really freak me out. This one was exactly eye level. Creepy!

Don't ask me why but the warthogs were my favorite animals this time around...

This was our crew at Pilanesburg (Lindsay, Amanda, Rachel (and Lisa taking the picture) on the left and Kate, her aunt and uncle and I on the right

Amanda, me and Lisa

Rachel, me, Lisa and a hippo (which you really can't see) hanging out in the hide



A rhino crossing the road at Pilanesburg National Park

A perfect, peaceful (unfortunately animal free) view from one of the hides

Little Moose Heads Home

I am not sure how time flies by so quickly but somehow 712 days seems like they flew right by! It feels like just yesterday we got this...