Monday, December 12, 2011

... even if the sky should fall



"Courage is not the absence of fear and despair; it is the capacity to move forward confidently trusting the maker of the heavens to cover us with the shadow of his mighty hand even if the sky should fall."


I’ve been sitting at the computer for a while now, typing, then deleting what I’ve written. No parent wants to hear the words we heard on Friday last week. We had our morphology scan, and there are concerns about our baby’s brain. We had an Obstetrician appointment today, and while we were pleased to receive some more information about what the ‘concerns’ actually are, it did little to dispel our fears. We have been referred to a fetal-maternal specialist who will, God willing, be able to give us further information about our baby’s health and prospects for the future. We are not sure when that appointment will be, but are praying that it will be scheduled sometime in the near future. 

I’ll never forget what Scott said this morning as we were talking about and praying for our baby: “Hannah, whatever happens, we saw our baby’s face at the scan, and it is beautiful.”

-----

Psalm 139


11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be. 
-----

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Exasperated delight!

BigMan is growing up so quickly. He is most assuredly in the ‘Terrible Twos’, but those moments of exasperation are mellowed by the sheer delight of seeing our once ‘baby’ grow into a real little person. Some of the highlights of the past few months:

·         A couple of times recently (including at 6:20pm last night!) BigMan has taken himself off to bed, along with Woof, and waited patiently for us to say goodnight. He has also *finally* decided that he can sleep with the quilt I made him on his bed!


·         BigMan loves playdough, and has a vivid imagination. Last time he was playing with it he very proudly brought me his ‘turtle’ creation. That turtle then turned into lots of baby turtles, then morphed again into a kangaroo.

Telling Mummy that this is something yummy for her to eat...
·         While gazing up at the sky from the new trampoline, BigMan saw a couple of whispy clouds, “Arrrgh! Arrrrgh! I can’t reach them! I can’t reach the cowds [sic]!”


·         BigMan loves carrying around Mummy’s baby doll from when she was a little girl. He’s a good ‘Daddy’, but when he tires of it the doll gets dropped unceremoniously on the ground.

Just having a cup of Chai Green Tea (minus the boiling water).

·         Buzz ‘Likeyear’ is his hero. BigMan yells out, ‘To infinity and beyond!’ many times a day, with his right arm outstretched and then runs around the house. He has a number of quotes from the movies, and it’s a bit scary to hear him say, “Buzz! You can’t (think ant, not aunt… good little US accent) fly!”

Someone's happy!
·         Pirates are also a favourite for role playing. He holds his hand up as though he’s brandishing a sword and says, “Grrrr I’m a pirate!” 

·         Of course we still love all forms of wildlife. “I’m a big snappy crocodile!” “I’m stonking like a dinosaur” “I’m an elephant!” 



·         At ‘Footy Fever’ day at Playgroup, BigMan told me that he couldn’t participate in the footy match because, “No Mummy, it’s too dangerous. It’s too dangerous.”

·         When BigMan saw me after Bible Study this morning he came to me and said, “It’s so great to see you Mummy. It’s so great to see you.”

·         Tonight at bed time, “I really love you. I really love you Mummy!”

·         I’m teaching BigMan how to spell his name (ok, I know that it’s not going to mean anything much to him at this stage, but there’s no harm in getting him to recognise his own name). When I start spelling it to him he says, “Don’t forget it! Don’t forget it Mummy!” Like I’m ever going to forget my precious boy, or his name! :)



I love my precious BigMan.

I love that he’s learning every single day.

I love that his favourite story is Noah’s Ark.

I love that he loves his baby sister, tells her that he loves her and gives her cuddles as he asks, “You alright LittleLady? You alright?”
 

I love that he asks me to sing the ‘star’ song to him before he goes to bed. Nope, it’s not Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, it’s much more precious than that. It’s the song my mum used to sing to me at bedtime when I was BigMan's age:

When He Cometh

When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His kingdom
All the jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

Refrain
Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom;
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own.

Refrain
Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

Little children, little children,
Who love their Redeemer,
Are the jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

Refrain
Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

And I love telling BigMan that HE is one of those jewels.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

B.F.F.

Well, my better half had to complete a form for work. One of the 'BIG' questions on it was about what his/our plans are beyond his contracted time up here in the Big T. That's gotten us talking. Well, really, we talk/pray about what our plans are and whether we should stay/go back to Brisbane/move somewhere else in a 5-hour-drive-radius of Brisbane pretty much every day.

One of the things that I've remembered about moving around a lot as a little one is that I never had the 'this is my BEST friend and we've been BEST friends since we were [insert born/2/3/4/5 etc here]' type friend. And that can be tough. I won't lie, it's hard moving schools and always being the newbie. But, on the plus, I did have a wonderful family and I have so many good memories of fun times playing with my  brothers (and occasionally my sister... who incidently is now one of my BEST friends).

Back in our carefree days... (actually, if my memory serves me correctly I was feeling incredibly ill with morning sickness when this photo was taken).
So why this? Well, I just want to acknowledge the very special BFF in my life. She's an incredible woman: an amazing teacher, a wonderful wife and mother and the best friend I've ever had. We haven't known each other our whole lives. In fact, I've only known her since 2007, but I feel like I've known her forever. We share many things, our lives have many similarities, and I'm so thankful that God ordained that our paths would cross.

I'm seeing a distinct lack of dark circles under the eyes here!

And this also gives me hope, and reminds me that regardless of where we live, what far off places we may (or may not) travel to, God knows what friends my children need and he will go before us.

Incidently, I ought to say that one of the big and I mean BIG reasons in the 'FOR staying in the 'Ville' column is the wonderful friends that our family has up here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In praise of 'active participation'

There’s a social media divide. Although I’d like to call it a 3-way-split. There are:
  1. Those people who do not participate and are contentious objectors. 
  2. Those who are ‘watchers’ and whose level of participation is almost solely limited to cyber-stalking others (take my husband for example, who no longer accesses his own Facebook account but uses mine to see what people are posting but doesn’t comment or ‘like’ to acknowledge that he has engaged with what he has seen/read). 
  3. Those who actively participate. You know who you are. And if you’re a ‘watcher’ you know who those people are as well, because you see all the status updates, ‘like’-ing, posting of photos and commenting that occurs in your news feed.

So why bother identifying these three factions? 

I cop it a bit from my family regarding my use of Facebook. I’ve also been involved in a number of discussions with people about the value/dangers of social media, and I think that to some degree that Facebook et al have been unfairly stigmatised. While I do acknowledge the inherent dangers associated with social media, and I admit that Scott and I will have some big decisions to make in future years when BigMan and LittleLady want to get in on the fun, I also want to say a big thank you.

Thank you Facebook for allowing me to remain in contact so easily with my precious family and friends-who-are-family down in Brisbane. I know that without the aid of Facebook we still would have managed to keep in touch, however it would have been much more challenging, far less frequent and exceedingly less comprehensive. 

Mostly, I would like to stay thank you to my friends (and family) – new and old – who allow me to see that I am not alone. I could get very deep and sentimental here, but I just want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that there are women up here in Townsville who have become very, very good friends of mine and it is in no small part because of our ability to interact via Facebook and blogs.

I know critiques of social media say that ‘screen-time’ has had a negative impact on real face-to-face friendships, but I beg to differ. If my friends and I could only interact with one another at Church and at Playgroup then what likelihood is there of any real friendship developing in between, ‘BigMan, GET DOWN!’, ‘Let me just go wipe up her vomit’ and ‘Where’s he gone? Is the gate outside shut? Better go check.’ Rather, our face-to-face interactions are enriched by our Facebook interactions throughout the week. We know when someone’s had no sleep for three nights. We know when one of the gorgeous bubbas is getting teeth/giving solids a go/learning how to crawl/stand up. We know when someone’s just been doing it tough, or when someone is having issues associated a certain obsession with Easter egg wrappers.


So anyway, thanks ladies. You make me smile and you let me know I’m not alone.


When we exchange manly handshakes, compete in races, join together to save one of us who is in trouble, cry aloud for help in the hour of danger – only then do we learn that we are not alone on earth.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On this special day

Today is a significant day. It’s Mothers’ Day. Today also marks 26 years since my Grandma went to be with the Lord.
 
I don’t remember Grandma. I was only 15 months old this time 26 years ago. I wish I did remember her. I know that I was loved by her though. I know that I was cuddled by Grandma – I have the photos to prove it.


I know that Grandma bought me clothes and shoes on her return trip to China – I still have them and LittleLady looks beautiful in them. 


I know how much my Dad loved his mum. I know how much my own mother loved and admired her mother-in-law. I know that I have listened to my father’s best friend from High School speak so graciously about how Grandma opened up her home to him and made him feel like one of the family. I know that Grandpa missed Grandma and looked forward to that glorious day when he would join her in Paradise. 

I know also that Grandma is – in every sense of the word – a hero. She risked everything, sacrificed so much, to serve God as a missionary in China. (You can read Grandma’s autobiography here. If you’ve got a spare minute or two, it’s well worth the time.) 

Here is an excerpt from an email I send to my Aunt recently about my Grandma:

As I was driving to Church this morning for Playgroup, I was thinking about how proud I am to be a grandchild of F. and I., and I became concerned that it was improper pride. But then I realised that the reason I am so proud of my heritage is that my grandparents walked humbly with the Lord, sacrificed much, and were used mightily by him.

When I was in China, I went to a Church service in a small country village, a few hours from Xi'an. I could not understand what was being said, but I was able to sing along when the hymn, 'What a friend we have in Jesus' was sung. At the time, I remember feeling an incredible sense of God's goodness - that hymn would have been taught to the locals by missionaries just like Grandma and Grandpa. The Bible reading was Psalm 100 - "For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues though all generations." (Ps100:6). Even now, six years later, it brings tears to my eyes when I think about it, and the incredible emotions I felt, standing in a Chinese Church, worshiping God side by side with Chinese believers.
 

I am convinced that Grandma and Grandpa were both greeted in Heaven by countless people whose lives were impacted for Christ through their influence. 

LittleLady all snug in a blanket Grandma made for Aunty E.
Ever since I was little I have thought about how wonderful it will be to meet all the Bible heroes in Heaven. I don’t know how ‘theologically correct’ that is given that we will worshiping God in all his glory, but I’m hoping that as well as singing praises with the angels, I’ll be able to give Grandma a big hug to make up for all the ones I’ve never been able to give her. 

 

Friday, May 6, 2011

For Mother

“I wish you were a nothing!”
A little girl once said,
To her dearest, darling mother
Before climbing into bed.

Yes, children tell it how it is
Regardless of the sting.
But now I wish to rectify
The pain that those words bring.


To my dearest mother,
You are incredible,
Radiating strength and beauty,
And to this girl: invincible.

Memories from years ago
Come swiftly to my mind:
Playing happily with your old dolls,
"Read the book just one more time?"
  

I know that there were times
When I wanted you around
When the pager or the telephone
Would oh, so loudly sound.

But I need to tell you, Mother,
That I am ever so proud of you
And I know that you have saved the lives
Of so many, who thank you too.


And now that I am older,
I feel you ought to know
That you’re my hero and the one
Who taught me how to grow.

You never let me doubt
Your capacity to love.
And you taught this little girl to
Rest secure in the One above.


And now that I’m ‘a nothing’
My prayer is that I’ll be
Even half the mum to my precious ones
That you have been to me.


Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honour her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:28-31 


Friday, April 29, 2011

on planes and mother bears


It’s been a while. A ‘virtual holiday’ I guess, as our little family has tried to regroup and recharge after what can only be described as a shocker of a first quarter.

This is how we 'recharge'.
Anyway, now that it’s not raining 23 hours of every day, I’ve been able to get out and do some more jogging with the kids. We were down at The Strand this morning and had a delightful time at the fenced park [after a brief power-play over whether wearing shoes and a hat was compulsory – Mummy won]. The metaphorical ‘cherry on top’ was when we saw a float plane“flying boat-fighter plane” flying out from Magnetic Island 'Misty Island’  do some thrilling loops above us and then land on the crystal waters directly in front of us. I had one super-excited 2 year old giving me a beautiful commentary. Apparently the plane had just been to see Grandma. Once the plane had landed, we had to keep moving in order to get LittleLady to her doctor’s appointment on time.

Smiles for free! Can you tell she's sick?
 There was a car reversing next to our car as we approached. BigMan was holding my hand and we were waiting to get him into the car. Next thing I know, our ears are being subjected to vulgar language. There was a young girl sitting in the passenger seat expressing her displeasure at the cars that were driving along The Strand, preventing them from reversing. Personally, I have no time for such language and I do not appreciate my children being exposed to it, particularly now that BigMan is such a little parrot (he only has to hear something once and it will become a permanent fixture in his vocabulary). But we were in a public space and the girl may not have noticed how close we were to her open window so I chose to ignore the girl, thankful that BigMan was still chatting away about the ‘fighter plane go to see Grandma’. That was until I heard…

“I just love swearing in front of kids.”

I beg your pardon?

Yep. 

“I just love swearing in front of kids.” That’s what she crowed to her mates.

I’ve grown up being embarrassed by one of my parents (I’ll let you guess who) talking to people they don’t know and I always swore I would not subject my children to the same fate. However, talk about a red flag to my mother teacher instincts! I very quickly let the girl know that yes, I’d heard her, and that no, I was not impressed. The look on her face, the look on her friends’ faces, and her lack of response to my challenge makes me think that it’s been quite a while since someone has ‘called’ her on her attitude.  

Thankfully, BigMan and LittleLady were both delightfully unaware of the entire scene.

I know that as they grow up there will be times when I will embarrass my children. There will be times when they will want the ground to swallow them up rather than be seen next to their mother, but when it comes to protecting my children and their innocence I will not be shaken. You know what they say about getting in between a mother bear and her cub… 

Even more 'recharging'. We've decided to give the 'Goat Track' a try this weekend... will let you know how we go!