Tomorrow real life resumes after 16 consecutive days away from the office. My time off has been refreshing and therapeutic. The freedom and flexibility has been a welcomed change from the rigidity of months prior.
I finally had time to invest in practical preparation for Jonah. Oh, the joy of toiling to make way for new life to enter our world! Allen and his dad tag-teamed painting the nursery, and we managed to collect all of Jonah’s furniture for a fraction of what we originally speculated it would cost. We stumbled upon a cherry convertible crib in an antique store. It was practically new and only $99. Then an hour or so later we found a mattress for $30 (It had been marked down twice), and we found a dresser/changing table combo listed for $129 with free shipping on Albee Baby. I’ll post pictures as soon as Allen finishes sanding and painting our purchases. Those of you who have visited our home are well acquainted with our obsession with black furniture. :) We are overwhelmed by the provision of God and so thankful that he is accompanying us as we venture into the uncharted (and often intimidating) territory of parenthood. Daily we glimpse his involvement and interest in our family and sense his joy and pleasure over Jonah’s life. . .
My time off has been filled with sacred moments with family and friends . . . unique opportunities to connect with those both far and near. After Christmas, we were graced by the presence of the Papa’s (our dear friends from Apollo Beach, FL) for 16 hours. They were venturing north to attend a OneThing conference in Kansas City and decided to stop by our place on their way through Nashville. We met their baby boy, Judah, for the first time (he’ll be 2 in February). He’s every parent’s dream- gentle, charming, jovial, obedient and respectful . . . He exudes love and warmth just like his parents. Allen and I were in awe of his nature and have referred to him in many conversations since. We’re hopeful (and prayerful) that Jonah will possess such a pleasant disposition. Joey and Nikki are dynamic, humble and sincere lovers of God. Their passion and enthusiasm for the kingdom as well as their conviction and willingness to venture beyond the ordinary into the depths of life with God challenged and inspired us. Their longing to escape the mundane routine of religion and authentically operate in the totality of power, authority, revelation and promise extended to believers through Christ’s sacrifice is uniquely intense (and refreshing to encounter). Nikki is pregnant with their second baby, Zion Anna, due mid-February. She has been an amazing source of comfort and wisdom throughout my pregnancy. While here, she and Joey shared a vast array of insight in the realm of baby products and parenting, things I’d never heard or considered before. Allen and I were compelled to research everything from chemicals in diapers to the hormonal impact of lavender in baby boys upon their departure . . . Thanks to them, Jonah’s odds of breast development have substantially decreased. (LOL!) We are overwhelmingly thankful for their input and advice.
Judah's handprint on my stove :)(I love that little hand) . . . sadly the only picture I took commemorating the Papa's time in our home.
Allen and I escaped to Chicago to celebrate the New Year and the closing of the final childless chapter of our lives. There are no words to describe the intensity of this trip for us (my eyes are tearing as I type). I have never experienced such extraordinary desire for the closeness of another human being, nor the depth of satisfaction that fills me at his side. His essence liberates me entirely. The unconditional nature of his love never ceases to overwhelm me. The tenderness of his touch and the honesty in his eyes still captivate my soul. Venturing beyond the ordinary illuminated and intensified the reality of our hearts and opened a gateway of novel expression. We reminisced about years gone by, dreamt aloud about all the future holds and reveled in the blessing of our togetherness. . . We stayed in the gorgeous Hotel Monaco, near Magnificent Mile. Our room had a window seat and an outstanding view of the river. We wandered the streets of the city, absorbing the energy and searching for eclectic spots unique to the area. The first night, we ate at the Signature Room on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building. The restaurant had floor to ceiling windows and offered magnificent views of downtown. It was absolutely breathtaking (and oh so romantic)! New Years Eve day we journeyed to Lincoln Park, an artsy spot filled with Brownstones and miles of unique boutiques, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. We enjoy hunting for the hidden sites, sounds and tastes of the cities we visit. As night fell, we made our way to Angelina Ristorante, a dark and intimate Italian trattoria popular with the locals. We didn’t have reservations and they were entirely booked for the evening, but they welcomed us in anyway, allowing us to sit in a romantic nook near the bar. After dinner, we headed to Navy Pier to watch a spectacular fireworks display over the river, then made our way back to Magnificent Mile for dessert at Bella Bachino’s. We originally planned to watch midnight fall at Buckingham Fountain, but decided instead to head to our room for an intimate celebration of our own. . . we watched the ball drop (a customary tradition for both of us) and toasted over smoked gouda and crackers (we like to eat, can you tell :) ). Our teary-eyed conversations and passionate exchanges will remain with me for a lifetime. . .
There’s so much more I’d like to document. . . Christmas with our families, our crazy-sweater-party at the Webster’s (and Ryan’s chair incident), Josh and Sam’s wedding and the time we shared with the Woodliefs (our friends who were transplanted to Vancouver Island in January of 08), but time is running short.
The only regret I have from my time off is that I failed to take pictures! How sad. . . thank God for technicolor memories!
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