January 1, 2011 was the day Grant and I registered for our little boy. It was significant to us, having registered for our wedding exactly one year before on January 1, 2010. January put me at six months pregnant with our first child and I was going through zillions of emotions: excitement, trepidation, crippling fear, impatience, and joy. That month was spent slowly making plans for the baby along with a few bookings, a visit from my cousin, Dj, a light snow, and a weekend "girls night" with two of my sisters and some friends.
February was a hectic month. There were many concerts and revivals, along with doctor's visits, Valentine's day, my Dad's birthday, my 25th birthday, and a business trip that I was able to accompany Grant on to Pennsylvania. I was also given my first baby shower and I saw an uncle come to know Christ - a prayer that was finally answered after many, many years. February was a blessed month where Grant and I grew more in love and were blessed in meeting new friends which are, now, some of our most dearest.
March brought "March Madness" that had nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with baby. I was one month away from giving birth and, to put it honestly, I was terrified. I was scared of becoming a Mom and I was horrified at the thought of actually GIVING birth. Many days and nights in March were spent with me in prayer. Late at night when Grant was sound asleep, I would lay awake feeling Nathan move in me and I would pray and tell God everything I was afraid of and everything I longed to be as a woman, a wife, and a mother. I had to go back over and over and repent before God, telling Him that I would trust Him....always a difficult thing to do. March also brought a couple more revivals, the last for me before a maternity leave, and my second baby shower.
And then it was April. April was a big month. Our one-year anniversary was on the 17th and Nathan was due on the 15th. I was miserable that last month with swelling and discomfort. Although I enjoyed being pregnant, I was R.E.A.D.Y. to not be pregnant anymore. The first 12 days of April brought my last baby shower, one more doctor's appointment, packing, and trying to rest and relax. Then on April 12 at around 5:20-5:30 p.m. my water broke. Unsure at the time, Grant and I headed for a nearby revival service but left before it was over. Why? Because my water HAD, indeed, broken. We grabbed our bags, headed to the hospital and 24 hours later, on April 13, 2011 at 5:18 p.m. we welcomed our little boy into the world and into our arms. Two days later, we came home from the hospital. Two days after that, Grant and I celebrated our first anniversary. It was far different than what I had always expected, but our sweet mothers made it special for us. The rest of April was spent recovering and learning to adapt to sleepless nights and mommyhood. :)
May was fairly quiet. I was still recovering and Grant and I were learning how to be parents. The first few weeks after Nathan's birth were difficult for me. My Mom was a God-send as she helped me in the first several days of motherhood. After she returned home, I was left baffled. Grant was at work during the day which left me at home...alone...with a newborn. I cried a lot for a few days, with so many changes happening in my life and in my body, post-partum. Then I did what I should have done immediately - hit my knees - and the Lord gave me such peace and joy, I can't explain. May brought preaching engagements for Grant, doctor checkups for me and Nathan, two revivals, and lots and lots of rest. It was a huge blessing learning to become a Mommy and learning more and more about the Lord's unconditional and immeasurable love for His children.
June was fun for me, even though one week brought a severe urinary infection that left me in bed with high temperature fevers. Other than that, it was a wonderful month! It brought our annual youth camp which was exciting and always an anticipated time for me. I had been nervous about the week-long retreat with a two month old in my arms, but Nathan proved to be more of a joy than ever before. He adjusted well from the beginning and easily adapted to his surroundings. He is still the same way. It was in June that he began sleeping longer than 2-4 hours. Also in June, some friends visited for the weekend and, at the end of the month, Grant and I were able to have a night to ourselves where we went out to dinner and a movie. It was such a blessing to be able to have some alone time for just the two of us - the first in two months.
July was another fun, yet semi-quiet, month for us. It began with a birthday party for my uncle Ricky where we went bowling with friends and my family. We had several concerts and a weekend Gospel Jam at our camp. It was another month of sweet fellowship and another month of enjoying Nathan.
August was a full month. The first week was spent at Camp again, doing a Back to School Boot Camp retreat. Again, Nathan proved to be easily adjustable to long days and crazy schedules. Grant and I visited friends in south Louisiana and had a wonderful time being with them and, also, seeing my grandma again. She loved being able to see Nathan - for the first time since he was two days old.
The first weekend in September brought us to Texas for a small trip with Grant's family. It had been years since I had been to Texas and I enjoyed it immensely! We went to Canton and shopped and I enjoyed seeing such beautiful "country land." Later that month, we did a singing near my hometown and then ended the month with a wonderful revival in south Louisiana, where we also celebrated my sister, Brooklyn's 13 birthday! We spent most of the middle of September gearing up for the fall and the hectic season to come! :)
October....was....insane. October of 2010 was the busiest month of that year and October of 2011 proved to be the same, once again. We had four revivals and two concerts! We were gone pretty much every Sunday through Wednesday of the month. Nathan amazed me by his stamina and laid back demeanor. There were plenty of moments when he would grow tired and fussy, but all in all, he was incredible and he made me so proud. He loved meeting all the new people at each Church. October brought along his first-ever sickness when he acquired a left ear infection, but with momma love and a little antibiotics, he pulled through just fine. God lifted us up so much in putting various people in front of us to bless us. When, during a revival service, Nathan began to run a fever, a man in the Church who was a doctor came to check on him and gave me advice on what to do. When Grant and I were worried about a health issue of mine, God placed various men and women in our way who prayed for us and encouraged us. October was a physically hard month that left us tired, but spiritually, I was renewed and strengthened.
November was also busy, though nowhere near as hectic as October. The first weekend of November, Grant and I flew to New York, NY for a getaway, then onto Pennsylvania where he met with customers for his business. We LOVED seeing the sights of the city and I was able to check off another thing on my bucket list - go to a Broadway play in New York city. Another highlight of the trip was seeing the sights of Pennsylvania's Amish community. It was beautiful. Upon returning, we celebrated Grant's 31st birthday where I made him several red velvet cake treats! A few days later, I drove to south Louisiana to surprise my grandma for her 77th birthday. Nathan and I spent three days visiting with my family there and soaking up one-on-one time with my grandma. After that, we began gearing up for the holidays. I had cooking to do for Thanksgiving where we celebrated with Grant's family. Then I hit the stores on Black Friday with my Mom, two of my sisters, my mother-in-law, and Mammie-in-law and we had such fun buying various gifts for Christmas! Thanksgiving weekend was fun and full with food, shopping, then fellowshipping with friends who came to visit from south Louisiana.
Then came December. Nathan turned 8 months old and I realized that in four short months, I would have a one year old little boy. Grant and I decorated our home for Christmas and I began baking and wrapping presents. We had two Christmas concerts that were incredibly fun and beautiful! We celebrated Grant's Dad's birthday, celebrated Christmas with his grandmother, went to a Christmas symphony with my family, celebrated Christmas with my grandma, visited our south Louisiana friends again, sang and ministered at the prison, had my grandmother's annual Christmas party, had a blast at Grant's office's tacky Christmas sweater party, celebrated with my family on Christmas Eve, then celebrated with Grant's family on Christmas Day! Needless to say, it was a full and festive Christmas!
On Friday, December 30, we left for Dallas, TX for a wedding and rang in the New Year there. Of course, having been out late, we were watching the clock TRYING to keep our eyes open until midnight. We did make it and watched the clock strike 12 a.m. .....then we fell asleep. :) It was an enjoyable weekend but I am very glad to be home. 2011 was a full, eventful year. Among all the happenings, the biggest event was, of course, Nathan's birth. 2010 brought marriage and a pregnancy and there were many, many new things the Lord taught me. In 2011, those lessons doubled in size. I have learned more about selfless love. I have learned more about dying to self and how hard it is to actually do that. I have learned more about the unspeakable grace of my God and have been brought to my knees in conviction. I have learned more about having the heart of a child and needing nothing more than my Father. The Potter is still shaping me and sometimes I feel the pressure and the pain of His molding. He is still refining me and the fire is hardly something I enjoy going through. But come what may, in 2012, my prayer is that I will be willing to go wherever, do whatever, and be whomever my Savior desires. Thank You, Lord for a blessed 2011. Now as 2012 dawns, as the old song goes, "Take my hand, precious Lord....lead me on."