Thursday, December 01, 2011

6 months of cuteness

 Helping his dad clean out our storage area!

 Loves reading [and eating] books.

 Family picture.

 Exploring the world of tropical fruit. Pitaya here.
 
 Avocado. But mango is his favorite!

 Loves sitting up to play with us and his toys.

We're blessed by this little giggler!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

... entrusting my soul to my Creator ...


Eighteen months ago I shared* with many of the women here in Bogota about how I was coming to terms with my barrenness and the lessons** God was teaching me through the pain of unanswered prayer. I now stand on the other side of that prayer having seen it fully answered in God’s perfect timing.

I was asked to again speak with a group of women, many of whom heard my first message, and give testimony of how God worked in my life through our unexpected but much desired pregnancy and then how I coped with such a rough beginning to Cedric’s life. Here are some of the thoughts I gave.

God is always in perfect control of my life. Even when it feels like I’m forgotten. When I found out I was pregnant I was incredulous and overjoyed. God became very real and close as we rejoiced over the special gift He had been saving up to give to us. But there were times when I was tempted to worry and wonder whether I really would ever hold my child – I tried to simply entrust my soul to my faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19). And I did my best to prepare for natural childbirth along with learning the basics of what a newborn might need.

my first glimpse of Cedric
For some inexplicable reason God allowed Cedric’s birth process to begin perfectly normal and end in a disaster – or so it felt at the time. I remember sobbing beside his incubator wondering what on earth had just happened and why my poor, “perfect” baby had to get hurt in coming into this world. Those were dark days, especially the first three when I was aching to hold him and waiting to get some clarity from the doctors about Cedric’s physical condition

There aren’t answers to the “why” questions we ask when loss strikes. Nor should we be surprised if God calls upon us to suffer a little down here. I don’t really get it, but we are to rejoice even in the midst of a fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12-13). Through the tears I just chose to not ask God the why question, and instead clung to Him and His promises. God doesn’t leave us alone in time of trouble and I sensed Him very near while we hoped and prayed our boy would fully recover.

God is sovereign. (Colossians1:17)
   God loves me. (Romans 8:38-39)
      God redeems horrible circumstances for His glory and my good. (John 9:1-3)

It seems a simplistic answer, but it really is the only posture I could be in as a child of God facing a trial – trusting the Lord. Telling myself truths and then really believing them. Faith in Jesus and trusting that He would help me handle whatever was to come.

In this chapter of my story there was a happy ending. God gave me the miracle of a baby after many years of barrenness and then He doubled that miracle by preserving Cedric’s life and restoring him to full health. My days have been full of marvel and delight as I watch this little boy grow and develop. Yet the lesson is not over as I daily seek to choose faith over fretting, entrusting my boy’s soul to his faithful Creator.

*listen in Spanish
**read in English

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Learning Lots: 5th Month of Life

Lots of loving ...
 
 
Lots of reading ...
 Lots of playing ...

Lots of sleeping ... (even in the doctor's waiting room)

Lots of practicing new things ...
  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happily Ever After

We three celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary today!

And we decided to walk down memory lane, trying to dig up a picture and memory of each anniversary... or at least a picture of the two of us taken within a month or two of September! Here we go... counting down:

#12: one of us was nauseous and craving a very cheesy lasagne!  
Picture taken in October at a wedding.
2010

#11: we were halfway through missionary training (SPLICE) in Colorado Springs, here we are atop Pike's Peak
2009

#10: had a picnic in El Dorado park (Long Beach, CA)  
Picture taken in August in Yarrall's backyard during Ang's roommate reunion.
2008

#9: no recollection of how we spent our anniversary this year!  
Picture was taken a month earlier while we were visiting Medellin.
2007

#8: Spent the day in Laguna Beach, California
2006

#7: Celebrated our anniversary a couple weeks after the date while in Prescott, AZ for our friend's wedding. This is at Watson Lake.
2005

#6: First year living in the USA together. I think we ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton for this anniversary.  
Picture taken later that year on Thanksgiving day.
2004

#5: Deb and Les came to Colombia and we went to the island of San Andres to celebrate our 5th anniversaries together!
2003

#4: Another year that neither of us can remember how we spent the day!  
Picture taken in front of our church in Bogota.
2002

#3: This was probably one of the hardest years together. I was sick for most of the year and Bill's mother died in June. We can't remember the anniversary, and we didn't take many pictures this year.  
Picture taken six months later when we visited the USA for Angela to become a citizen and took a detour to see the Grand Canyon.
2001

#2: Bill's mother was in the hospital, so on our anniversary we visited her after work and then went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant.  
Picture taken a month later in Cajica. You can tell I had Cushings Disease.
2000

#1: We celebrated our first anniversary by spending the weekend in a little inn above the Salt Mines in Zipaquira. Took a picture of each other exploring the area. (Before digital cameras!)
1999

and in conclusion... our wedding day... one of our favoritist days of all!
1998

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mourning the Loss of a Generation

So, my very last grandparent died earlier this week. It made me sad. I cried a little. Then life just continued on as usual.

That's really the way it has always been each time one of my grandparents died.

My Nana, who I was probably closest to out of the four of them, was the first to die. I remember walking to class at Biola after hearing the news, I was 19 at the time, and feeling really, really sad. I thought about her a lot those days, but did not mourn deeply. It wasn't until I took a counseling class on grief - 18 years later - that the reality of her passing really hit me and I was able to properly grieve my loss.

As a missionary kid I grew up primarily living very far away from Nana + Papa and Nan + Grandad. We prayed for them every day and were always excited when a letter arrived from them. When I was a kid we didn't make international phone calls, it was too expensive, so there were long spans of time where we didn't hear their voices. I'm blessed in that we did live in New Zealand for three different seasons of my life - seven years in all - and I was able to build a real relationship with each of them. But then, we would always leave. I missed a lot of whatever their lives were like.

After moving to the USA my memories of each of them was limited to a few short weeks on trips I made it back to visit. However, Nana died after we'd only been gone for 2 years, so my last memory of her is a snapshot of her crying at the airport as we left for good. I wonder if she felt the deep physical pain then that I feel now each time I say goodbye to my family?

Papa and Nana Yarrall
I was only 19 when Nana died. In the many years since I've thought of so many questions I wish I had asked her. She was a godly, wise woman and I've deeply regretted the loss of her presence in my life.

The last time I saw my Papa his mind was no longer what it used to be, so he wasn't the Papa I remembered. That was a huge loss, but strange because he was still there. It was never the same to visit him like it had been when I was a kid. I guess in a sense he died before his body did.

My Grandad died during the first year I was living here in Colombia. Not only was I far from NZ, I was also far from all other family members. I know I didn't mourn his death properly. It was hard not to see him the last few times I visited New Zealand. I missed him teasing me and giving me rough hugs. But I also don't think I ever really knew or understood him too well. His life as a farmer in rural NZ was so very, very different from my life living in crazy, big and somewhat sophisticated cities around the world.

Grandad and Nan Comins
And now my Nan is gone. She was always kind to me. Not a big talker, I don't think we ever had any heart-to-heart conversations. But she was good. Lots of simple, but kind actions towards me. I had a little coin collection, she had a big one, when we visited she would go to her stash and find treasures to share with me! I always felt like she cared about what I was up to and did what she could to be in the know.

I'm glad we celebrated her 90th birthday with her. I'm glad we had those few days with her back in 2008. I only wish I could have shared more daily life with her.

Living on the opposite side of the globe has just made relationships with our extended family more complicated. It has been a sacrifice on both sides of the Pacific, for us in leaving and them in letting us go. It is much harder to build memories together and make connections that go deeper than the shared genes. With some of my grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins it has happened effortlessly and the bonds are strong, but with others... well, it is just a lot harder.

I wouldn't trade my life, growing up in a different country than my parent's home country, for anything. It is part of who I am and I can't imagine anything different. But I am sad that I didn't get to share more of life, time and space with my grandparents. I don't like trying to grieve their loss far away in a place that is so foreign to all my memories of them.

Like the other three deaths, this one will probably not be properly mourned until I visit New Zealand again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Almost 4 Months

We've been treasuring these first few delightful months with Cedric. He is a happy baby! Here are my favorite 3-month baby pictures. (If you click on the image you will get a larger view.)





and just for fun... here's a comparison of Cedric with Angela at the same age:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cedric: 2 months old

Here are a few pictures of 2-month-old Cedric. He'll be 3 months old next week!

Loves spending time in his gym... smiling at his sun (there's a face on it) and laughing at his face in the mirror above his head (you can't see it in this picture).
 
All ready for church in a big boy outfit!

 This is how he rides to church... I walk the half mile... he's always asleep by the time we get there - actually, by the time we get to the second block away from home!

 Sitting in church with his daddy. So far, only one major interruption of a meeting - screamed his head off during a ladies' meeting I attended last week. They were too noisy and rambunctious for my little man.

 It's been a month of meeting people & learning to enjoy being cuddled by others. 

 The pacifier (aka "dummy") has been rejected in favor of the thumb.

 Lots of fun times with his mum and dad... even started giggling this past week.

 Finally big enough to use the stroller. Here he is after a walk to the store and back.
Cedric made one good attempt at rolling over on the 7th of August... but appears to have put that milestone to one side for now!