Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Perfect Gift

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."  -- James 1:17

A little over a week ago, I met my little girl and earned the right to be called “mom.” I never really thought of myself as wanting or needing to be a mom, but now I can absolutely say it is the label of which I am most proud. I have learned and felt in the past 8 days things I could not have imagined. Listed below are just a few highlights:

  1. Labor and Delivery. Labor and delivery, besides being slightly long, was much better than I imagined. Actually, the stress of the unknown was the absolute worst part. I never realized what people meant when they tell you about the importance of your own personal birth experience. We went in without a written “birth plan” (which I hear changes a lot anyways), but armed with a doctor I completely trust, a great hospital staff, a loving and protective husband, and hundreds of prayers, the “birth experience” couldn’t have been any better. Not that I am saying I am going to take it up as a hobby.
  2. Meeting Lillian. I was sure I was going to cry the first time I met my daughter. But, I didn’t (As an aside, I only cried once while I was in the hospital, and that was right before I was about to deliver, which is a different story all in itself). Instead, the first thing I did was check that my daughter was, well, actually a daughter. I’d been having strange dreams the weeks leading up to her birth that she was actually a he. So much so that I stopped doing baby laundry in case there was a mass baby-clothes-exchange needed. Then I saw her hair!! My kid has an impressive head of hair! I then spent the next few minutes holding her tight, absolutely amazed by her perfect 10 fingers, 10 toes and nose. It’s like I couldn’t take it all in fast enough, and I was immediately in love!!
  3. A Softened Heart. I will be the first to admit, I am not the world’s most emotional person. In fact, I’ve been described before (much to my chagrin) as stand-offish and hard to get to know. I’ve never really understood grand romantic gestures, and have always preferred the practical, reasonable, and logical over the emotional. However, in the past week (and honestly, probably in the first day), I feel like I have been given a new set of eyes. While I will never be the gushiest, most sentimental one in the room, I have certainly come a long way in a short amount of time. I catch myself tearing up looking at my daughter because she is so absolutely beautiful and precious. She is certainly the best gift I have ever been given.
  4. Riding Home. The ride home from the hospital was quite possibly one of the scariest car rides in my life. Instead of seeing other cars on the road, I saw speeding bullets headed straight toward my precious cargo. I’m sure I held my breath at least half of the ride home. But, more than just being scared about the dangers presented by the “open road,” it finally sank in that we had a baby girl all our own. And, that we were entrusted with her care for at least the next 18 years. No pressure, though!
  5. Baby Time. I don’t know how anyone with a newborn gets anything done before at least noon. Between the eating and diaper changing are the sweetest cuddles known to man. I wish there were words to describe the bond/feeling created by this cuddle time.  
  6.  Diaper Rash Cream. After a week, I am obviously no expert at this “mom” thing, but my goal is certainly to try and become one. And, maybe it will inspire me to write a baby book (but probably not). But, I have learned that you don’t actually have to apply diaper rash cream every time you change a baby’s diaper (thanks, Mom!).

After spending a week with her, I feel like there is so much that I want to tell my daughter. But, here is my first post-partum letter to Lillian—the first hopefully of many.

Dearest Lillian,

In this past week you have drastically changed my life. You are so precious and have already blessed Mommy and Daddy so much. You won’t understand this until you have a baby of your own, but one cuddle from you has the ability to make our hearts in an instant.

I want to write everything down that makes you so special to us, so that, later, when you are inevitably having a bad day, you can see how absolutely cherished you were since the day you were born. But, I fear that there aren’t enough words in the English language (or, quite possibly any other language) to describe how absolutely wonderful and perfect you are.

It actually brings tears to Mommy’s eyes looking at how beautiful and perfect you are. When I am not busy being absolutely amazed by your tiny features and facial expressions, I am constantly praying for three things: 1) that you will know how fearfully and wonderfully made you are; 2) protection over you; and 3) that I will be the best mother possible to you.

I love you so much and cannot wait to see you grow physically, mentally and spiritually.  I know that I will cherish every single second I get to spend with you (even when I’m cleaning your diaper while you practice using your very healthy lung capacity).



*Randal and I appreciate all of the love and support that we have received since the birth of Miss Lillian. So, to all of you that have made us feel cherished and loved, thank you for being such a blessing :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When Two Roads Diverge, Which One Do I Take?

I’ve been putting off a new blog post because I couldn’t decide exactly what to write about. Then it finally hit me. I should write about that—decisions (or, indecision, as the case is so often with me).

I really can’t stand making decisions. Even minor ones. In fact, when I tell you I don’t care where we eat, I really mean it. What I really want is for someone else to decide. Because, every time you make a decision, you are making a choice NOT to do something else. You are opening yourself up to disapproval and to being wrong. And there is nothing more I hate than being wrong.

As we are getting ready to meet our incredible little blessing, I realize that the prospect of making decisions affecting my child for the next 18 plus years is quite possibly the thing I fear most about parenthood. Even the small decisions seem overwhelming. For instance, I have scoured hundreds of reviews for just the correct diaper brand to use. Which is only overshadowed by the amount of research I have done on diaper rash cream and cleaning products. And, I avoid making these small decisions because, as soon as I check them off my list, I need to decide on things like immunizations and childcare.

Compounded with my overwhelming fear that every decision I make will somehow negatively affect my child is my worry of how others will view my decisions. Will they agree with what I let my child watch/wear/read/eat? Will they be offended that I chose someone else’s suggestion over their own? Will they just know that I am wrong? And, while I know these things shouldn’t—and hopefully, won’t—matter, the nagging still lingers in the back of my mind.

My distaste for decisions aside, we are overjoyed (and impatient) about meeting our daughter very soon.  All the bags are packed for the hospital, and her room is well on its way to completion. We can’t wait until we can hold her in our arms and tell her how special she is—our sweet Valentine.

Dearest Lillian,

I so badly want to see your sweet little face and squeeze your tiny little hands. I feel like I have been waiting forever to meet you as one day draws more slowly than the last into another. I would try almost anything to see you faster. What I am feeling, in a word, is impatience. You’ll understand impatience soon enough, especially around Christmastime and your birthday, with decadently wrapped presents staring you down, tempting you to open them.

Your daddy and I will try our best to teach you about how to be patient, even though we have a long ways to go ourselves. We will make you practice being patient for things, while also trying our hardest to be patient with you.

You are so precious, and we already feel so blessed to call you our own. We love you and cannot wait to meet you very, very soon!!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Life Well Lived

(Randal and I at our first Thanksgiving celebration in Stephenville, TX)

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I am constantly reminded how much there is to be thankful for: a home, a wonderful husband, two loving and some-what-well-behaved dogs, and, of course, Clemson Football.  All of these are manifestations of God’s provision and grace in Randal’s and my life (well, maybe save Clemson Football, but I could even argue that). But, this year I am especially thankful for the life of one woman, my grandmother, more lovingly known as Memaw.

Memaw turns 90-years-old today, and is soon to welcome her first two great-grandchildren into the world. Her 90+ years of life will be remembered not by instances, but decades, of love, hard work, excellence, and true servant hood.

I have never heard anyone speak an ill word of my grandmother. She is a woman who, over the course of her life, has gained respect through her actions rather than through power or stature. She has been such a wonderful inspiration and—at least in my opinion—is one of the best living examples of what it looks like (or should look like) to be a woman. I can't count the numerous important lessons that Memaw has taught me over the years, but 4 stand out prominently in my mind:
  1.  Education is a very important blessing. Memaw was born one of 8 children, and was never given the opportunity to go to college. This was, in my estimation, the one thing she always wished she could do. So many times in my (young) adult life, she stressed to me how blessed I was to get to go to school, and how I should not waste that opportunity or take it for granted.
  2. Perseverance and hard work pay off. One of my favorite stories that Memaw tells is that she failed the Civil Service exam on the first try. Instead of taking this failure as defeat, she studied and studied and took the test again, and this time passed. From the way she tells it, she loved her long career as a civil servant.
  3.  Pretty people don’t need to talk ugly. I may have taken some creative liberties with this one, but over the years, Memaw made it very clear that two types of speech can come out of your mouth: pretty and ugly. We should always try to talk pretty, as speaking ugly is unacceptable. It’s a pretty easy concept that can sometimes be pretty tough to put into practice.
  4. Loving and serving others is more fun than being by yourself. Memaw has thrived on doing things for others her entire life. Even still, she shares her beloved McDonald’s pies with her roommate.

Even though Memaw never received the college education she so-desired, she imparted to me more of an education than I ever received inside a four-walled classroom. So special is the bond between grandparents and grandchildren; it sometimes I wonder what my parents will teach my daughter that she will never learn from me.

Thank you for bearing with me through the sappiness of the blog. For me, it does not come very easily or often, but when it does, it seems to flow freely. With that in mind, here is my third note to Lillian.

Dearest Lillian,

First, you are kicking my laptop as I write this. It’s very hard to type on a moving keyboard, so you should wait to do your calisthenics just a few minutes longer. But, I have to admit, I am so excited for the day I get to kiss those little feet that can’t stop kicking. I also cannot wait for you to meet your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-granparents, as I know that they are overly eager to meet you!

So many people already love you, but none more, I imagine, than your daddy (you may currently recognize him as the man with the muffled voice). You already have him wrapped around your teeny-tiny-itty-bitty finger. He is so excited—and nervous—to meet you. Besides the man you eventually marry, no man here on earth will love you as much as your daddy, and no one will come to your rescue faster.

I can’t wait to see all that you learn from him. You are so blessed to have such a wise and intelligent father. I only pray that you take it easy on him, as a tear or a smile from you might be enough to break or melt his heart.

Your mommy and daddy love you so much, and we will see you in about 3 months!!!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beauty and the Fear of Beasts (and Other Various Things)

I have to admit that I had a “great” idea for a Halloween blog, but never got around to posting. As a consolation, I do have long-awaited (somewhat exaggerated) baby bump picture FROM Halloween:

The very first Moore Family Halloween was somewhat of a bust. I raced home (a teensie bit early) from work to buy last minute candy and prepare for the rush of trick-or-treaters that I knew would be descending on our front porch. I don’t know why I was so excited about little kids in costume coming to our door—possibly it was the fact that impending motherhood has made me nostalgic about playing dress-up.  More likely, however, is the fact that I have not-so-secretly planned Lillian’s costumes for the next 3-4 years, and I needed to compare. Whatever my excitement stemmed from, it was soon thwarted as we had zero little monsters, zombies, superheroes, princesses, or anything else (well, besides a very cute 5-month-old “monkey” belonging to our friends, but he didn’t really consume much candy) come to our door. 

We are rounding out (pun intended) the 24th week of pregnancy, and as the belly grows, so does my sense of worry—about everything. Am I eating something that I’m not supposed to? Am I forgetting to do something (like sleep at a 45.5° angle away from the second star in Orion’s belt) that will cause irreparable harm to the baby? What if I slip and fall and break the baby’s head? What if the baby comes to early? And those are just some of the worries I have BEFORE the baby is born. The list goes on and on for after Lillian makes her big debut, from changing diapers and day care decisions to appropriate parenting choices to affording college. 

If I let it, this sense of worry and fear (and, yes, dread) can really take over my day. However, because I was so blessed with such a great mother—who still listens to me throw mini-fits of worry and frustration, then guiding me to pray –I will always remember the verse she made me repeat over and over when I was convinced the boogie-man was about to strike:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

-2 Timothy 1:7

And, with this in mind, here goes my second letter to our sweet daughter regarding one of the biggest fears I have.

Dearest Lillian,

I am so excited to get to meet you, and to introduce you to girly things like pearls, dresses, and shoes. However, one thing mommy already fears the most is that—one day—you will look in the mirror and you won’t see how beautiful you are, but instead, you will see too fat, too short, imperfect skin, or one number of other non-existent flaws. And I fear that your mind will dwell on what you see in the mirror.

You see, I already know that you will be the most precious and beautiful little girl that has ever breathed. But, I also know first hand that, often times, this idea of beauty gets twisted.

I will do my best to teach you good habits on taking care of your body, as it’s the only one you get while you’re here on earth. And, I will always want to do everything in my power to help you feel like you shine. But what I don’t want is for your self-image to thrive on compliments of others on your appearance, as it is not sustainable.  Instead, I want you to be proud of who you are, inside and out, and rest in the fact that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were put on this earth for a very specific and important purpose, and I will do my best to help you not let this fact be blurred by an image you see in the mirror.

I pray that—together—we learn to cherish and put into practice this verse:

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

-Proverbs 31:30

Mommy and Daddy love you, and we cannot wait to see your precious face, as I am relatively sure its loveliness will completely redefine my meaning of the word “beauty.”



Monday, October 22, 2012

Coming Soon!!

The Moore household will be welcoming a new addition very soon! And, no, our new addition isn’t furry and doesn’t have a tail to wag (hopefully).  We are so excited to meet Miss Lillian Grace Moore on or about February 25th, 2013.  Depending on my diligence, this blog will serve to update our family and friends about our sweet little angel. We are currently in a state of excitement (and panic!), trying to get everything ready. The nursery colors have been picked (pink and green, of course) and the bedding has been chosen. We are slowly accumulating children’s books, baby polos, and the cutest, tiniest little sock and shoes.

Right now, Lillian’s hobbies are few.  It seems she enjoys performing the running man or karate in my stomach. But, who can blame her? It would be rather boring laying around all day with no conversation, cable, or good book to read.  Randal and I keep wondering what her talents will be. Will she, unlike her mom, be extremely coordinated and athletic? Will she enjoy baking? Reading? Science? While we won’t be disappointed where her passion lies, we are both excited to foster a sense of excellence in our daughter.  In this blog, I will be writing little tidbits to Lillian. Things, although it will take years for her to understand, I want her to know. The first is about her very special name: 

Dearest Lillian,

One day you will hear a famous quote by a man named William Shakespeare: “What’s in a name?” Your daddy and I took very special care in picking out yours. While you probably won’t share our last name forever (just like Mommy doesn’t share with her parents), you will carry around “Lillian Grace” your entire life. And, we hope you do it with pride.

Lillian means in Hebrew “My God is a vow.” You will learn the overwhelming truth in this statement over the hopefully many years you are here on earth.  For God’s promises will not fail you, even where you fall short. And, trust me, you will fall short. But, don’t worry, you are not alone: every single human has failed at some point or another. And, it is when you do that you will understand the meaning of the word (and your middle name) Grace.

However, the meaning of the name Lillian is not the only reason that you have your first name. One of Mommy’s favorite verses is Luke 12:27. It says to “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” As you will soon learn, the overall context of this verse is telling us to worry about nothing; God has it under control. Mommy and Daddy will spend our lifetimes trying to teach you this, and you will spend yours learning to comprehend the magnanimity of this lesson.

Mommy and Daddy can’t wait to meet you, and we can’t wait to watch you grow up! We know that you are a wonderful blessing, and will teach us so much more than we can ever hope to teach you.

Love Always,