Wednesday, November 12, 2008

31 weeks

I have gotten in trouble from the aunts-to-be about not putting up recent pictures of their niece. Here are a few for you guys:








And then some goofy ones:

I forgot to set the timer on the camera, so Martin wasnt ready for it


Martin thought a picture of me rubbing my belly was funny...apparently I did as well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Faithful

"Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master."

I'm sure these were the words Mr. Nic heard Friday night as he went home, his fight fought, his race finished, his faith strong.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mr. Nic, one of the greatest

I love sports. I love to watch sports, but most of all love to play sports. I would not be the athlete I am (or was before I got pregnant) if not for Dwayne Nicodemus (Mr. Nic). Mr. Nic is the founder of Christian Athletic Association (CAA) where I first learned to play softball, soccer, and basketball - see www.caayouthsports.org . A few years ago he was diagnosed with melanoma, which is the most serious kind of skin cancer. He battled the cancer and through radiation treatment it went into remission. He seemed to be back to normal and I forgot all about it - until 2 weeks ago when the doctors found that it had spread to his lungs, stomach, and brain. Since then, Mr. Nic has been in and out of the hospital, fighting for his life.

Mr. Nic was taken to the hospital again yesterday morning and is in critical condition. I know that God can do miracles and that He could heal Mr. Nic completely so that he'd never have this to deal with ever again. But I also know that God works in ways that I cannot always understand. If He decides to take Mr. Nic home, then this would be on of those times that I dont understand.

Mr. Nic has touched so many lives, including mine and the rest of my family. I dont remember any "official" meeting when I was introduced to him for the first time. When I started playing softball at CAA as an eight-year-old, I first heard about him. He started CAA, he was in charge, he was the head umpire - he was the best umpire.

I began to play soccer and basketball at CAA too. He was my first basketball coach (I was terrible, but willing to learn. And I played at least half of every game, according to CAA rules - and so I had the opportunity to improve). I learned that Mr. Nic had dug out the whole infield on Field 1 himself and I always saw him working on one of the fields to keep them beautiful.

I remember one day before baseball and softball season started, my mom, my sisters, and I helped Mr. Nic organize all the different bags of equipment that each team would receive. It took the five of us all day - a job that Mr. Nic usually did on his own.

Mr. Nic was the best umpire to have because he would give coaching advice during games - fairly and to both teams. He wanted to see us all do well and grow as athletes, which motivated even the way he umpired.

He coached me again in basketball a few years later, when I had begun to know what I was doing a little better. We had a great team that year - surely a testament to his coaching prowess. However, he missed the championship game that year - his wife was having a baby. Mr. Nic gave me some of the kindest words of praise that I have ever received that year too. After a loss, he was upset that the team had not hustled and played up to its potential. He told the team that he wished he could have five of me on the court because I was giving everything (and this was a co-ed team made up mostly of boys). That meant so much to me, to this day I can still hear and see the scene.

Every awards ceremony at CAA Mr. Nic personally talked about the highest honor that you could receive at CAA - the Christian Character Award. More than any championship trophy, this certificate was the reason for CAA's existence. Awarded by coaches to someone on their team who exhibited Christ-like qualities on and off the field of play. Mr. Nic read the names of the award winners himself every year that I can remember. This was more important to him than any athletic ability - Christ-likeness.

As I moved on to play high school softball and basketball, I was still able to stay in touch with Mr. Nic. He asked me to help coach at baseball camp in the summer. I learned so much from the drills that he ran and the way that he sought to interact with and encourage each individual participant. What stuck out to me the most, however, was how he took the time to teach about God as he taught about baseball. Every water break was an opportunity for him to teach some way that baseball related to our spiritual lives. And he made a point to emphasize that our spiritual lives were of far greater importance than any athletic accomplishment.

I also go to help him with field maintenance through the years. We'd cut the grass on the many different fields together - sometimes with only a regular walk behind mower if the tractor was broken. He would faithfully attend to the fields daily, to make sure that every kid who played at CAA had a great experience. The fields I grew up playing on at CAA were far better taken care of than those I played on in high school and college because of the love and devotion of Mr. Nic.

And Mr. Nic and his wife share something with me and Martin - our wedding anniversary, June 23rd. The last time I really got to see Mr. Nic was at my wedding, since we moved away from the Baltimore area. But we have still kept in touch and he even wrote a letter of recommendation for me for a job last year.

Mr. Nic is truly one of the greatest. A giving man and wonderful Godly example of a Christian husband, father, and coach. And now the many people whose lives he touched have the opportunity to care for him. We're praying and we're asking God for a miracle. We want more time with Mr. Nic. But we've also been given this opportunity because of his illness to tell him how uch he's meant to us and to spur him on in him time of need. His trust in God is unwavering, even now. A few days ago he was able to write this:

"Thank you for your prayers and expressions of love and concern. It is so overwhelming that it lifts my mind, my body, and my soul. I am a rich man. I am thankful, very thankful. Nic"

And so we continue to pray.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Settlement on the house

Over the weekend we received our settlement date: November 20th! This is two days before the Saturday we were hoping to move in. We are so thankful that everything has worked out so well in terms of timing. This is just another way that God is showing us that He has everything under control even when we can't see it that way. I dont even feel stressed about packing because we've been working on it a little at a time so far (we'll see if the stress levels start to rise as we get closer to the move-in date!)

We saw the house Saturday and the kitchen is in, cabinets and countertops. Its starting to really feel like a house now! All of the cabinets are in the bathrooms as well, and the light fixtures are throughout the house. There are really only a few things left to be done, so that is great.