Friday 24 January 2014

My baby girl...

My baby girl...

I am going to be this many years old

Today you are three! THREE! I don't know how you can possibly be three years old yet I struggle to remember a time before you were here, how can you possibly have only been in my life for three years?

Naomi, I love you.  I have loved you from the moment you appeared in my life but as with every day I love you more now that any day that has gone before.  You are incredible child and I still consider it my honour and my blessing to be your Mummy.

You are such a brave little girl.  You tackle every new situation with vigour, enthusiasm and energy.  Yesterday I watched you run into nursery, having never done anything like that before and you just gave it your all.  I love to watch you throw yourself into all these new situations, I like to think of myself as being quite confident but it pales into insignificance next to you.  You know who you are and you love who you are.  I will do everything in my power to keep that being true for as long as possible as it makes you even more beautiful.

You are very sure of your mind.  I'm happy to admit that when you and I are getting a little grumpy with each other, most of the time it is because we are both equally sure we are right and yet we disagree.  In the years that follow from now you will teach me to be gracious and to be gentle about this, you will help me grow and I hope you will allow me to help you do the same.  Don't ever lose your sense of self though, you are precious.

Naomi, you have so much energy, I have no idea where you get it from (although I secretly think you steal it from me, somehow) and you just never stop doing, thinking, being, moving...  The main thing you use your energy for is to imagine.  Your imagination is greater than any person I have ever known, you are constantly in some land of make believe or dressing up or creating scenes for your dolly or teddies or whatever you have lying to hand.  I struggle to keep up with whatever is going on your brain but I look forward to hearing stories you write and seeing the scenes you draw and paint.  Your creativity is one of your main strengths.

You also love to be physical: running, jumping, skipping, dancing, swimming, climbing, rolling, spinning.  You love it all.  I love watching you be healthy and happy being active.  One of your favourite activities each week is Jumping Beans where you learn to balance, to climb, to throw, to bounce.  I have been very proud of watching you develop in this class, you are very good at listening for the next task to do and at waiting your turn on all the equipment.

I love watching your with your sister.  I always knew you would be a good big sister and you have exceeded my highest expectations.  You care for your sister so much, I see you at toddler groups making sure no-one else gets in her way or steals what she is playing with.  I see you trying to help her learn and trying to teach her your games.  I can see you desperate for her to become a better play mate and she's getting there, I promise, I can see you will be the best of friends.  A few days ago you told me "I love my Miriam".  I love that you love your Miriam, I love watching your relationship grow.  It makes me love you all the more.

At this point in life, Naomi, you are changing from Mummy's little baby into a beautiful, (more) independent, little girl.  Doing things for yourself, making decisions that effect other people as well as yourself and learning new things all the time.  I am so proud of the decisions you make, largely you make caring decisions that benefit others, you choose to include others in what you are doing and make sure no-one is left out.  If I am honest I am a little daunted by the task of helping you continue down this path but I am sure we will work it out between us.  You'll help me grow as I help you do the same.

Baby girl, I love you.  Let's make this year the best year yet!

Thursday 23 January 2014

End of an era...

...beginning of an another.  No longer do I have all my babies with me at home all the time.

Ready to go!

Today, my baby girl started nursery! Can you believe?

She was so excited and has been for a good long while so was very pleased to be told it was FINALLY the day to go.  Today was a "settling in" day which meant that she would be able to get a bit of extra attention from her keyworker (who had visited us in our home yesterday) and meant that I had to stay in the building in case of any problems or inconsolable tears.

There were no problems though, I am told she had a great time playing with everything and with the other boys and girls.

Although. Naomi did get very upset at one point, she was not happy at all and even Mummy couldn't console her.  What was the problem? It was time to come home! Eventually we managed to placate her by letting her borrow a book from the nursery, she can return it tomorrow when she goes back and Mummy will be coming home this time!

I hope this is the beginning of many happy years of education for her!

Sunday 5 January 2014

Cornton Baptist Church

Having been in Stirling a few months now, we thought we'd share a little about the church that we've settled in to: Cornton Baptist Church. We spent a little while praying and searching for churches before the move, and it was proving a little difficult as not one place seemed to be quite right. Just a couple of days before the move Jay heard from someone that CBC existed: after a quick look at their website we found that they believe about the right things, are doing a lot of good things, and the church building was very close to our new house (with the implication that it was a church serving our local community - something we were keen to be part of if possible).

We went along on the first Sunday that we were in Stirling and have stuck there ever since. Jay has recently joined the church as an official member (Sandy hasn't yet - a condition of membership is a believer's baptism which he's not had), we're both getting involved in small groups and serving teams, Miriam's been dedicated and with the appearance of some pictures from the church Christmas party we thought it to be a good time to share a little about our thoughts on the church and why we feel God wants us to be there just now.

We'll try to avoid too many comparisons with our previous church Open Heaven as God puts us in the right place at the right time, and all churches have their pluses and minuses. However, there is a quite visible difference form OH, and that is that CBC has a really broad mixture of people and demographics. It's quite balanced between all age groups, with children the same ages as Naomi and Miriam, students, people our age, middle aged and retired. Also worth saying is that the people are really friendly: we were made very welcome from the first week, with simple things like people remembering our names and making offers of practical help like babysitting.

It's a fairly small church - maybe 70 or 80 people on a Sunday - which is good because it's much easier to get to know people well, and it's easier to find a place that we can serve. It's also growing, which is a reflection of the good job that's being done of reaching out to local people.

The teaching is really solid - Bible focused and accessible with a clear gospel message every week. We also think the church's priorities are in the right place - that is, for Kingdom growth - early on we were told that it didn't matter which church we joined as long as it was where God wanted us. As in Loughborough, there is also a good relationship between the different churches in the area.

The church are also open to trying new stuff - we gather that the church has changed quite a bit in the past few years. One example is that Jay has offered to start a toddler group for the community and the response was pretty much - "how do we make this happen?" The church also has a good focus on social justice and wider mission, supporting a number of charities and agencies that do these things.

We're sure that God has put us here for at least the next wee while, and we're quite happy with that. It would be great if those of you who pray can give thanks that we've been led to a good church and that God leads us to the best places for us to serve now that we're here.

Finally, some pictures from the Christmas party...

I see party food...

Smile please.

Yes, actual ceilidh dancing. Awesome!

Party games with prizes!