Monday, March 31, 2014

Norah | Three

Norah : Light & Honor

Norah, Nor, Nona, Norahasaurus, Norah Jean.

Your mama is sentimental this morning, thinking of your birth and how lightening fast (and painfully slow at points) these three years have gone.

When I was 32 weeks pregnant with you, Angela checked your heart rate to find an abnormality. That night was the first of many I prayed for your heart. That it would be strong and steady. God quickly corrected it and there was no need to worry, but three years down the line I see that He has done more than just make it anatomically correct.

Norah, your heart IS wild, wild like nothing else I've ever seen. But God has indeed made it strong and steady. Your wildness leaves a soft spot in the hearts of everyone you meet. You bring laughter and compassion out of many of your friends. You are an honorable sun flare of a spirit, little one, bursting with uncontainable light, even in the darkest places.

For the first time in almost a year, I laid down with you in your bed and fell asleep with you. Half asleep, you grabbed my hands out of habit, just like when you were a tiny babe and I wept as you nuzzled your warm cheeks next to me. You have a piece of my heart that is a vital part of who I am and I am utterly humbled to be your mother.

Happy Birthday, my little itchy one.

Read Part 1 of Norah's Birth Story Here
Read Part 2 of Norah's Birth Story Here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Living Water

Two years ago we brought both of the girls to Rockport for Norah's first trip to the beach. She was just over a year old and was as itchy as ever.
The first day we went to the beach, Norah sat in the cool water and giggled and squirmed. This was new for her and she loved it. She had rarely been in a pool because harsh water conditions and bacteria posed a serious threat to her skin, but this she loved. Admittedly, I was worried about the toxicity of the water (being the Gulf of Mexico and all), but (despite many accusations of just keeping her away from "fun things" for my own benefit) I was willing to let her try it out at least once. The patches on her skin turned bright red as she played and I held my breath. We all were amazed as tiny little minnows came up to her legs and ate off the dead skin- and she let them! As we packed up to leave I prepared myself to come home to The Itchy Kid, having left Happy Smiley Beach Baby back on the shore.

What we found was just the opposite. The salt water had taken away all irritation. The patches were no longer raised or inflamed, her skin was (for the first time in her life!) somewhat smooth, and she seemed to momentarily forget that she was usually in pain and cheerfully played the rest of the day. When Norah has a bad reaction to something, we often stick her in a bath with some Epsom salt and essential oils with minor results so this was huge.
We rearranged our entire trip to get her in the water as much as possible that weekend. We even considered bottling up the ocean and bringing it back with us to Fort Worth, but knew the stagnate, contained conditions would spoil the water.

Fast forward to a year later when we moved to Rockport.
One of the (very few) things we were excited about getting our tiny lady out to the beach as much as possible. We couldn't apply sunscreen to her skin because everything we found triggered histamine release (this year we will be using coconut oil and carrot seed oil!) so we went to the beach at sunset and let Norah play every few days. Being in homes that were full of things that make her sick was very, very rough on her little system, but the salt water still worked magic for her.

Fall, then winter came and went. Though the weather was mild, it was still too chilly to get in the water.

But spring is here. The water is warming, the sun is out.

A few weeks ago we took the girls out for their Nature Study Day. Since the fishing was supposed to be good, we headed to the beach. The water was still chilly, but not so unbearable as to keep you from ankle wading. We ventured under the pier looking for hermit crabs, identified wildflowers, and dug a few holes. Then Norah got brave and waded out to a sandbar. The sand was soft that day and her little chubby body sunk fast with each step. I watched her patiently, expecting her to need me to catch her from falling at any moment. But then, she remembered.

She dug her plump fingers into the wet sand and began rubbing them on her legs saying "Mama! It feels so good on me 'kin!" and I won't pretend that I didn't cry.

Jesus scooped me up in that moment proclaiming His sovereignty as the Living Water.
I know that I often get caught up in thinking about the woman at the well and imagining babies in third world countries dying of thirst, but this time, I understood His picture of living water so much more. See, the chlorinated, harsh water that dumps from our tap can visibly clean Norah, but it does little to heal her. Christ is like this salt water. Teeming life that not only washes away our filth, but deeply refreshes our spirit and heals our wounds! Salvation has brought me this flowing gift, and today I am grateful for it.

Happy Humpday, Y'all!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

On Parade

It's been about a month since I "quit" facebook.
I know most of you read those "How Facebook is Making You An Addicted, Lazy, Horrible Human Being" articles and roll your eyes, but they were true for me.
You need no more evidence than the fact I had emotional and physical withdrawals in the week following my decision. The reasons were many: time consumption, comparison overload, doling out judgment, the ability to be secretly crushing on a married man. Yep, facebook had me cornered on all fronts.
So ties were cut, confessions and repentancing (new word that Webster will be adding soon) happened, and the truth is, after eight years, I don't miss it. I logged on yesterday morning to manage Norah's symptoms page and found it to be an overwhelming amount of verbal vomit.

Enter Instagram.
Being a photographer, the pictures are where it's at for me. The majority of the users I follow take the time to post beautiful images with insightful captions. And I get to see some of the baby faces of my friend's children that are growing way too quickly and I love like my own sons and daughters.
And now I find myself caught up again. Spiraling in the cycle of the scroll and tap. Hours of precious sleep get lost, I am painfully aware of my own narcissism and feel helpless to do anything about it, and I can't help but feel that by sharing the beautiful (aesthetically, spiritually, emotionally) through what I can show you in a picture, that my life is on parade.
My marriage, my babies, my self righteousness, my ability all laid out there on an hourly basis. Robbing me of my time in prayer, pressing "Hold on baby, let me just type this up real quick" ahead of actually finishing the adorable project I've started with my children. AM I TALKING TO AN EMPTY ROOM HERE?! IS THIS JUST ME?!

This micro-blogging, it is a blessing. One in ten posts I subscribe to are dripping with the gospel, shedding enlightening, painful, vital truth. And the rest is simply drivel. And I'm fighting to find where that leaves me.
Being so young, my babies' faces change daily. Lily is so impressive to me (and I find that sharing with you may cause you to compare her to your delightfully impressive preschooler), Norah is voicing her opinions and they are priceless (but she is not here for your entertainment), Phoebe is a baby sea lion in human form (and I know some of you can't fight your baby making ways and may fall victim to baby fever). I know all three of them bring Joy to the people whose lives are touched by them, it is an outpouring of their ministry that is still, like them, in it's infancy. Having an account of what happens during the day for my husband is so useful, especially on the days when the "So, how was your day?!" comes in the latest, briefest moments.

But as Eamon and I are being called to missions and are preparing our family in a way that reflects that, I feel it is crucial that I change what I am doing. I mean, can you imagine me in the Congo snapping a selfie captioned "So over getting shot at, maybe my adorbz new sunnies will totz protect me from shrapnel."?!? Because my track record shows I am not above that. And let's not get started on how "sharing the gospel from the mission field" often looks a whole lot like a plea for congratulation and adoration for your "good work."

I'm going to need a supernatural amount of self-control, humbleness, and discernment to properly navigate this next move.
Lack of social media hurts my business, directs less traffic to my blog (which, really, I do try and use intentionally since it doesn't have the "HURRY UP AND POST. GET ALL THE INSTANT GRATIFICATIONS."), and can keep me isolated. So pray for me, if you will. I need more Jesus, and less me.