Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nerd Night

Truth be told, I was fairly warned ahead of time.

I remember Brandon's college roommates playfully giving him a hard time about being "deep". They'd refer to his sometimes ill-timed desires for deep conversation as "BBerry's getting into philosophical mode".  They recalled stories of how they'd be ready to go to bed and he would come into their room wanting to talk about deep theological issues until they finally had to kick him out to get some shut eye.

For some reason, I didn't take them seriously.

And then I got married to "BBerry" and we moved clear. across. the. country.  Just me and him. No friends, no mentors, no kids...just us. And in the midst of both being full-time grad students and newly weds, we spent a lot of time together and not as much time in big social groups.

That's when I realized these guys were being serious about philosophical mode.

I tried to track with him most of the time, at first. You know, the new wife thing where every word that comes out of his mouth is awesome personified. But somewhere between years 2 and 3 (ironically, right after we had our first baby), I was no longer able to keep up step for step with all of his topics of conversation. 

Most of you who know my dear hubby know what I'm talking about. He likes to go deep. Sometimes really deep. Sometimes so deep that you wonder if and when he will have to come back to the shallows for some air.

It's one of those things about him that I have a love/hate relationship with. One on hand, I love that I'm not the deepest person in this relationship, or we'd be stuck watching Napoleon Dynamite and this:

I love that he's a deep thinker and especially that he takes the time and makes the space in his calendar to meditate, reflect, research and study. I'm not good at that, and I'll admit that many times when he brings up something that is going to require me to put on my swimmies (read: a little too deep for my comfort level), once I actually go there with him, I usually feel pretty intrigued, and possibly a little wiser.

But there's this other side of me that wishes I had he'd have someone else to share some of this stuff with. And please understand that I'm not at all trying to dishonor my husband. I mean, for crying out loud...he's trying to explain Shechem to me, but at least he's not bar fighting. It could be a lot worse. When I'm really honest, it's not that I don't like going there with him (to the deep convos, not the bar), it's just that with three kids 4 and under and...nevermind, all I need to say is "with three kids 4 and under", I just don't have the time nor energy to track with him when he wants to explain why the red heifer is important.

So a few years ago, I was getting tired of trying to act interested when he wanted to go really, really deep...I'm talking seven bowls of revelation and stuff like that. So, I suggested that I bake brownies and he could invite his friends over to talk about stuff like that and let me off the hook.

And Nerd Night was officially invented.

It was awesome. Three of his buds (all Furman grads and self admitted to like to go deep) would come to the house after we put the girls down for bed, and they'd stay up all night mapping out scripture, talking through obscure verses, and praying. Meanwhile, I'd hide away in my bedroom with a novel or movie or just take that opportunity to go to bed early. Did I mention it was awesome? He got an outlet and I got a break.

In the process, Brandon has grown close with each of these godly men. I've loved watching him get excited to dig in with them. They've even driven all the way to Charlotte to continue the tradition! I'm so thankful for their friendship and their individual relationships with the Lord which encourage and challenge my husband.
So here's to Nerd Night! May God richly bless these guys with more wisdom and knowledge as they seek him diligently!

I'm still here...

My life has been crazy since my last post in February. Three kids and a new church ain't no joke. I longingly look at my blog shortcut on top of my internet toolbar throughout the day and think, "I wish I had time to write a blog."

So here is a start. A very small start.

Ella is beginning school next week. Allie will also be going to pre-school three mornings a week. I'm about to go from having three small children in the house all day long to having time with just Caroline.

Not sure what I'm going to do with the time. Study the Word. Play with my baby. Clean my house. Get on top of my To-Do list? Rest?

Maybe I'll blog about it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Day 7: Button

Okay, okay, okay. I didn't take this picture today.

"Why didn't you have enough time/energy/hutzpuh to take a picture of a button today, Nicole," you may ask?

Well, really, I had great intentions to do so. A button. Let's see. My girls have the cutest button noses. I could have taken a picture of them. I just made hair bows with button on them. That would have been perfect for a picture and blog post.

But truthfully, yesterday Brandon and I tried to live intentionally. Tried, is the key word here. Tried is so closely spelled like TIRED. 

Brandon woke up early. Got in the Word. Got his prayer on.
I woke up early. Fed the baby. Got in the Word. Got some prayer on.

The girls woke up later. Hallelujah. Could be because they didn't fall asleep the night before until 11pm, but that's a whole other story.

After Word and prayer and the sleepy girls got up, Brandon helped them make oatmeal and we had a picnic in our bedroom after I planned out our day of learning and engaging.

About that. We are trying to be more intentional about pouring into our kids. We've been so busy with moving, the church launch, being preggo, having a new baby, etc...that we have been guilty of letting Nick Jr. engage them more than we have. Not good. Not okay. Not anymore was our answer.

But after an hour of teaching them about Noah and his ark...practicing our N's, coloring, counting by twos, playing outside, etc...then making lunch and cleaning together and strategically waiting until they were 'resting' to get work done, and then playing outside again and making dinner and cleaning...

I was about to self-destruct. And I totally didn't care that I got into bed at 9:02pm without taking a button picture.

Being intentional is kind of like getting in shape. It takes a while to be able to run a few miles when you haven't run much at all in the last few months. So I'm gonna keep at it.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Day 6: Dinner

Berry Family Kitchen
Tender Ham Steak cooked in Cast Iron Skillet
Homemade Hash Brown Casserole
Hearts of Romaine and Spinach Salad with Tomatoes, Carrots, Celery, Bacon, and Cheese.
Beverage: Ice Water

Notes: Allie and Ella helped make the salad. Allie didn't eat it. Allie didn't really want to eat anything. Except the "hotdogs" with ketchup. Allie had a time out during dinner for getting out of her chair a bazillion times. Ella tried the hash brown casserole and liked it, Green Eggs and Ham style. "I like it Sam I Am!" Caroline was screaming when I put dinner down on the table, but I was smart and pre-cut my ham so I could hold her and eat without issues, allowing my wonderful husband to get his grub on without having to hold a crying baby. Selfless, I know... ;)  Actually, Caroline decided she was also hungry for dinner at the same time, so I go my multi-tasking self to work.

And after all that, I completely forgot to take the Day 6: Dinner picture.

But I did make cookies and the as the Berry girls were snuggling in with Daddy for the 17 thousandth viewing of "Tangled," I snapped a quick dessert picture. 

And here it is...

Day 5: 10am

Day 5 was Sunday. At 10am, we are in the middle of church. And at 10am today, we happened to be in the church that we helped plant and now lead as the campus pastors, RWOC Charlotte! This picture is the culmination of a year and a half of training, hard work, relationship building, and a lot of prayer! It's exciting to see it become a reality.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Day 4: A Stranger

These have become quite the strangers in the last 10 months. I'd like to get reacquainted with them real soon...

Friday, February 03, 2012

Day 3: Hands

 This hand,
So small, so soft. 
Soon it will grow. 
Soon it will have sticky stuff all over it.
Soon it will be learning how to tickle. 
Soon it'll learn how to hold a crayon and make irreplaceable masterpieces.
This hand,
Soon it will hold a handlebar with white knuckles as Daddy lets go of the bike for the first time.
Soon it will learn how to navigate monkey bars.
Soon it will hold the strap of a book bag as she walks out the door for school. 
This hand, 
Reaching for a chord on an instrument
Or slapping high fives after a game-winning goal
What will this hand experience in victory and character-building defeats?
This hand,
Too soon it'll be used to text and tweet.
To update statuses and update Mom on her whereabouts.
And white-knuckled again, it will grip the steering wheel of Daddy's car for the first time.
This hand, 
I wonder whose hand it will hold one day.
Who will ask for this hand in marriage?
What will this hand look like with a wedding band on it?
This hand, 
How will it be used to heal the broken, the forgotten, the poor?
How will it feel like Jesus' hand to those whom it touches?
How will it fit in the body of Christ?
This hand, 
in His capable hands,
I hold her loosely in my own hands
To release her into His care, for his service, for His glory.

Day 2: Words

This is a tee-tiny lil' snippet of our humongous white board. Humongous as in, "it takes up an entire wall" big. When we moved to Charlotte, Brandon was pretty much looking for a house to fit the board. I hear that you're not supposed to look for a new home based on your furniture...I don't know if the idiom translates to office equipment. To say the least, I was opposed to putting it in the loft office at the top of our stairs...the room everyone has to walk through when they come up to the bedrooms.

"Babe, it's too intimidating."

I lost that battle. Can't win them all, I guess.

And now it hangs in all its glory.

But somehow I've grown to like it. I rather enjoy seeing my husband's thoughts, his words written out. His mind is so full of wisdom, strategy, prophetic visions, and many times I am able to connect with him by seeing what he's written, even when we haven't had a lot of face-to-face time recently.

For the record, I like face-to-face time a lot better.

The board is a topic of conversation that comes up a good bit because we spend a lot of time up in the office. We laugh because there are some of the words that have been there since day one (if you erase that, you are dead to me, woman) and others that don't live on the board longer than a few seconds thanks to our "helpful" children are fascinated with the erasable aspect of Dry-Erase. We've learned to put the really important stuff out of reach so it doesn't get wiped off with little fingers.

If words are life, there's a lot of life on that board.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Day 1: Your View Today

Okay, so this is technically four pictures. Overachiever. But as I think of my view today, this is pretty telltale. Sweet Caroline hanging out in her swing (when she's not nursing, being held, getting changed, getting bathed, getting tummy time, getting burped, spitting up all over me, napping, etc.) 
This morning I took these pics with my iPhone as Ella and Allie played blocks and Brandon was at a meeting.

Which leads me to admit that I'm completely spoiled. There, I said it. 

I'm spoiled in a lot of ways, but one I'd like to touch on right now is the fact that my husband gives me until 10am almost every morning to spend by myself with the Lord. He usually wakes up early, gets his own time with the Lord in before the girls wake up, and then engages them while making breakfast. He then brings me coffee and breakfast in bed and closes the door so I don't get distracted.

Why does he do this? Because about 6 months ago when we moved to Charlotte, the Lord told him to make room for me to have uninterrupted time with Him. And he's doing his best to obey. Hallelujer!

As a mom to (then) two little girls, preggo w/#3, trying to keep my house in Greenville spotless for possible showings, researching where to move to in Charlotte, and helping plant RWOC Charlotte, I was taking on a lot of responsibility and not doing so great at keeping my #1 priority #1. So I guess God missed me and told Brandon to give me some space. 

Thankfully, it didn't take long to remember that I do, in fact, love Jesus...a LOT!

So to tie all this rambling back to my picture...I was up with Caroline, Allie, and Ella this morning early while Brandon was meeting with a couple of guys for breakfast. And this was the picture I shot during my early morning time with my girls.

Up For A Challenge

My sister-in-law, Pepper who can be found over here, is so very good about taking pictures. She always has been since I've known her. When their first son, my stellar nephew, Channing, was born, Pepper was one of those moms who set out to take Chancake's picture EVERY WEEK for the first year of his life...and actually succeeded. 

Completely amazing, if you ask me. 

We all oooohed and aaaahed at his epic 1st birthday party as she creatively displayed each week's photo on a clothesline/timeline...seeing him grow and change week by week was fantastic, especially since our families lived over 4 hours away from each other, and our times together that year weren't super frequent. 

So, I got stole the idea from Pepper, and decided to take Caroline's picture each week of her life with the intent to display them at her 1st birthday party. Pepper encouraged me and gave me a tip, "plug it into your phone's calendar and set a reminder so you don't forget." So into my trusty iPhone went, "Take Caroline's weekly pic". 

Week One. iPhone calendar reminder beeps. Okay, I'm on it. Get camera. Get baby dressed. Pick out a cute fabric to lay baby on. Check lighting. Work camera. Wait...(Note to self: Self, you REALLY need to figure out how to use this camera! What's the point of having a sweet, super deluxe camera with all these cool settings if you're clueless as to how to use any of them except the automatic feature?). K, if you can't work it, just do what you can, sister.

Click, click, click, click, click...

Photoshop or no? (Further note to self: Self, you also REALLY need to figure out how to use your Photoshop program. What's the point of paying for sweet computer photofinishing programs if you're clueless as to how to use it?) No. 

And this is what I came up with. Nothing Ansel Adams worthy, but there is a sweet little snookie wookie in that picture who has pretty much stolen my heart.

Week Two. iPhone calendar reminder beeps. But baby is sleeping. Hmmph...I'll wait. 

And that was the end of my Picture-by-the-Week endeavor. Sorry, Caroline. 

So it is with great trepidation that I even put this out there. I saw this on Pinterest and wanted to at least take a go at it. A picture a day, for 29 days (hello, Leap Year). Some days will be focused on the aforementioned snookie wookie...Others will be my other loves and randomness from my life. We'll see how far I get. I'll try to post them on the blog, too...another high and lofty goal: to blog every day. But I want to do this for a couple of reasons. 
A: It will give me an incentive to try to figure out how to work my camera. (or at least my iPhone camera)
B: It will give me an incentive to try to figure out my Photoshop program. (or at least my iPhone photo apps)
C: It will challenge me to document my sometimes crazy life as a pastor's wife and mom of three. Birthing a newborn and a church in the same month is not for the faint of heart, people.
D: It will challenge me to write more. I have so many things that happen in my day that I want to write about. Mostly they get out in 140 characters or less, but I really want to work on my writing skills, so this will give me that push to do so.

29 Days. Let's go.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Caroline

I'm a little embarrassed that it's taken me so long to post a blog about Caroline!

She's here. She's healthy. She's beautiful. We are so very blessed.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Caroline Sophia Berry
December 20, 2012
7lbs, 9oz. , 20 in.
 Sweet girl

 With Nissi
 And Papa John
 Already making faces for Papaw...
 Ella's ready for more big sister duties.
 Allie's not so sure...
 Daddy's really got his hands full now...3 girls!
 Always thoughtful Pappy came with gifts after watching big sisters all day.
 John John, Aunt Pepper, and Chancakes
 Some church friends...I wish I would've had a recording devise to capture the 1000 questions that cutie in purple asked me in the span of 20 minutes! So funny!
 The Smiths were in Charlotte from Greenville for the day and dropped by.
 Going home. Although I begged the hospital staff to let me stay another week or so! Round the clock help and room service...but alas, they kicked us out after 2 nights. We're on our own now.
 Sweet cheeks.
 Everyone loved Caroline's little hat. She'll grow into it soon, I'm sure!
 Daddy chest picture. Classic.
She's been such a huge blessing to our family. She fits right in and is so, so, so easy! Thank you, Lord!