Life

New Man in the House

Well...Caleb is six weeks old and we are just now getting around to officially introducing him to you. Those of you with children hopefully understand! Time flies. The last few weeks feel like a whirlwind of diapers, naps, bathtimes, spit-up and hours of nursing. Yet it is all, without a doubt, worth it. We love this little man so much. He is an incredible gift to us and we can't imagine how we did life without his little emerging personality.

Here are a few things we have discovered so far.

Caleb loves:

  • People  
  • Noise (His best naps are in busy restaurants, at Sak Saum sales, and during church.)
  • Tuk-Tuks (Our version of the car ride, he falls asleep every time.)
  • Bouncing (A little something Daddy is quite good at.)
  • Eating
  • Bathtime
  • Kicking
  • His hands (He always has them near his face...a habit from the womb?)
  • Staring (He is a very alert baby and wants to be able to see.)

Caleb does not love:

  • Shots
  • Dirty Diapers
  • Mosquitoes
  • Naps in quiet places

We wish you all could meet Caleb in person but this will have to do for now. Enjoy the video!

A Few Thoughts on Peach Pit's Due Date...

The last few weeks I have found it a bit strange to think of what our life would look like had I been able to carry Peach Pit full-term. I would likely have left for Thailand several weeks ago, spending my days drinking Starbucks and waiting. I don't know if Jacob would have come the whole time but I know he would have joined me by now.

A few days ago I held Sokunthia in my arms. She is the daughter of one of Sak Saum's girls. She was tired and crabby and I did my best to quiet her. As I rocked her and sang, I couldn't help but think what it would be like to hold my own baby. To understand the fullness of carrying a life inside and then marveling at the tangible flesh and blood -- my flesh and blood -- within reach, waiting to be kissed, loved, prayed for, nurtured, and on and on.

Yesterday Jacob said to me, "It's hard but what might have been is not." At the time it struck me as harsh sounding. But it really isn't. It is the statement of acceptance. What might have been, what could have been, what should have been...isn't. Instead, new life and renewal issue forth in unexpected ways each and every day. Healing has come and continues to come.

I couldn't have said that with full sincerity several months ago. Even though Peach Pit had gone on to heaven weeks before, something inside of me had continued to grow...an emptiness, lonliness and despair that seemd to expand in my heart as each week passed. Then one day, in the company of a friend, a raging cry of anger, pain and sorrow spilled out. The dam broke and after the flood, there was plenty of room for God and peace.

There have been hard days since then but they are days walked with the certainty that our baby is with the Lord and that He loves our child because it is His nature to be FATHER and CREATOR. 

And all of this brings me to today. Today would have been our due date. Instead we will go to the market, grocery shop, make dinner, start to prepare for our trip home...normal life stuff. In some ways, I feel as though I should have some profound revelation to share in light of today, something that will encourage others on a similar journey or tie everything into a neat, theological bundle. But I really don't. What I do have is the word of God and I love resting in the truth that His words carry far more weight, power and life than mine.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.

Hebrews 6:19

 How thankful I am for the firm, secure hope of God which leads me to a deeper place.

Introducing our Dads

We hosted our first guests and they happened to be our Dads. We waited a long time for the day and we were practically beside ourselves with anticipation as we tracked their flight across the globe. Noelle was busy preparing our little apartment for their arrival and I sat around anxiously biting my nails, tracking every move of their 28 hour journey using my spy equipment (the internet). I know this sounds so dramatic, but we were seriously excited about them coming to visit.

They finally arrived late in the evening and we welcomed them with 10 minute hugs. 

We loved showing them around the city, but more importantly, we loved introducing them to the people we love and the ministry we work with. In His Steps International was founded by Eric and Ginny Hanson and we are proud to say we are a part. Eric and Ginny have worked tirelessly building IHSI from the ground up and our Dads were able to witness it first-hand. For them to see, hear and talk with many of the people we've come to know and have relationship with -- it was the best part of our time together and truly made us smile. 

They were only here for a short time, but I think the 9 day taste of Cambodia was plenty for them to gnaw on once they arrived back home. We took them to the province several times, the beach for a day, and, of course, moto rides and tuk tuk tours around the city. They also visited Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields to help them understand some of the tragic Cambodian history with Pol Pot at the helm.

It was such an incredible time. As their children, it meant the world to us that they happened to be our first guests. Our Dads are special to us and their visit reminded us how valuable family is. 

Enjoy the photos.

Our Dads loved taking photos.

 

The sunset at the beach.

My excited I'm at the beach look.

 

Noelle looking good at 6am.

And this is my 6am look.

A couple of unfinished buildings along the coast.

 

 

What can I say?

Waterfalls near the coast. Beautiful!

 

My Dad wasn't being serious. Father like son.

 

 

Love it!

Bruce getting ready to teach English at Father's House in Saang.

Eric introducing Bruce.

Bruce teaching some basic English. He's a good teacher!!

 

What time of day do you think this is?

Took our Dads to the FCC for lunch. A place journalists came during the war.

 

 

 

Eric and Ginny showing our Dads some land over on an island in Saang.

 

 

 

 

The Killing Fields.

 

Finally, Bruce next to our broken down tuk tuk. I think this will be his next Facebook profile picture.

 

 

 

Sihanoukville

This past weekend, we took a little trip to a place called Sihanoukville.  Sihanoukville is located about 3.5hrs South of Phnom Penh on the coast of Cambodia. It's beautiful! Eric and Ginny took us to their little getaway spot for a long weekend. It was incredible. It's amazing how a little rest can rejuvenate the soul.

I remember talking to several missionaries before we left and one thing that sticks in my mind is the importance of rest. Often times, I think we get carried away in the busyness of life and forget the value of rest. It's vital to our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Well, as new missionaries, we want to practice and establish healthy habits and that includes finding time to rest.

So Friday morning, we all hopped in the car and headed off down the crazy roads of Cambodia to the beautiful coast. After 20 or so lime shakes and a serving of Barracuda and plenty of Cambodian snacks, we found ourselves rested, energized and ready to get at it once again.

Me being a photog, I took pictures. Surprised? I didn't think so. Enjoy!

Here is a beautiful shot of the sunset.

DSC_6690.jpg

An old man grabbing his fishing net.

DSC_6693.jpg

Fishing is a huge source of income for Cambodians, so there weren't a shortage of fishing boats!

DSC_6698.jpg

 

Beach2.jpg

The lady on the left is carrying one of my favorite Cambodian fruit. We call them Hairy Berries. Eric on the right is trying out his new camera. It's fun to shoot photos with someone else that enjoys photography.

Beach1.jpg

Noelle getting her peach fuzz ripped from her face. Also known as "threading." Look painless? It's not.

DSC_6673.jpg

Meet Tee. Eric and Ginny met Tee a long time ago when they first started coming to the beach. Over time, they have built quite the relationship with him. It's awesome to see good things that last. We pray one day, Tee will come to know Jesus. It was great to get to know him a little bit.

DSC_6730.jpg

A shot of my beautiful bride.

DSC_6744.jpg

Um. I guess whenever I go to the beach, I'm a little bit out of control.

Beach3.jpg

Another shot of Noelle. And on the right is a Lime Shake. Tasty!! We had many of them over the course of the weekend.

Beach4.jpg

 

DSC_6780.jpg

The last night, Ginny got crab to eat. Noelle said this at the time and I loved it, "Ginny, you are the only 50+ woman I know who helps handicapped men on the beach (Ginny bought a month's worth of headbands from him for Sak Saum) and eats crab." Indeed. Eric and Ginny are a vibrant couple!

DSC_6787.jpg

The elevators. Long story short. The elevators at our hotel were on crack. They gave you like 3 seconds to get inside before the doors shut. And you know how there is supposed to be a mechanism that prevents them from shutting people in the doors? Not these.

Beach5.jpg

Saying Goodbye to Baby PeachPit...

First, I want to say thank you for all of your love and support over the last couple of weeks. Across an ocean and many time zones, we have felt so cared for and thought of. Grateful is the word that comes to mind over and over when I think about you. We are so blessed.

It is a bit difficult to describe what it is like to be pregnant. There is a rich hope and expectation that is quite unlike anything I have ever experienced. There is also a sense of responsibility, an awareness that your body is growing another human being. Even in such a short time, it called forth this nurturing warmth in me that felt so natural and beautiful. It is a bit like having a secret...the best kind of secret...shared between you and a little being who does not yet know you but relies on you for its well-being. Wow. Incredible.

Even in the midst of the pain, loss and disappointment, I have found myself thanking God for the gift of being pregnant. Sometimes I can't get my mind around the fact that He designed me to carry life in this way. 

And so, just like pregnancy is difficult to describe, so is losing a baby. For me, it has felt like a sudden emptiness. As my womb emptied, it created an expanse in my heart where love and hope and anticipation had been woven together. There will not be another first pregnancy. That has come and gone with many wonderful memories and quite a few tears.

I know God is my Healer. I have experienced Him this way many times before. I will again. I trust Him and share my heart with Him completely. He is able to speak truth and life to me like no human being can. He listens to my anger and hurt. He KNOWS me. I love that about Him.

So as I walk through these weeks, however long the process takes, I wanted to share a few thoughts I have in the midst of still processing:

  • I will always remember PeachPit as my baby who craved ketchup. That is the one "food" that consistently sounded good in the early days.
  • I believe that there will be other babies. My grieving heart cries, "But I wanted to hold and love and know THIS one."
  • I loved watching Jacob so excited to be a dad. He would talk with PeachPit and took so many steps to make sure I was taken care of and that we were preparing well. I am so blessed by him.
  • Seeing pregnant women, babies or even young families creates such a bittersweet ache of longing in my heart. Painful but I want to be a woman who rejoices with those who rejoice and mourns with those who mourns. I need God's help for this... 
  • Sometimes I feel like I failed my baby and my husband or that my body is broken. I know this is not truth but it likes to creep in. Prayer helps replace its lie with reality.
  • I miss being pregnant. I miss PeachPit...a lot. At the same time, I have moments (amazingly) where I feel excited about being pregnant again one day. I call this HOPE. =)

 So welcome to my head and heart. Hopefully it wasn't too personal. Thanks for listening and sharing this journey. If I could, I would give each of you a big hug and say thank you in person for being you. 

With love and joy,

Noelle