These last few weeks have been a flurry of excitement, emotion and adjustment! On Wednesday, October, 29, 2014 we welcomed our daughter to the world! Her entrance was not at all like I imagined (the birth story is a whole story in itself!) but she arrived eventually and she was beautiful and healthy and we are thrilled! We loved the journey over these last months of discussing names and meanings and in the end we named her River Marion Nichols. We chose the name River because of our roots and our passion for the beautiful people that live along the banks of the Amazon river. This common thread between Pete and I was one of the first things that drew us together. His grandparents worked with a small group of people in Bolivia and so Pete grew up hearing the stories of these wise, amazing people. I, at the same, knew a couple that also had worked with that exact same group and so we discovered early on the miracle of how we had both grown up hearing the stories of the same tiny group of about 100 people who speak their own language and have their own culture and who live in the Amazon Basin. We both separately went on in our late teens and twenties to visit various parts of that region of the world. My love for the Chayahuita people in Peru and Pete’s passion for the people that he has met along the way are what drives us on in our work here at New Tribes. All that to say the meaning of the name River was loaded as soon as we thought of it and we could think of nothing more perfect. We chose the middle name Marion because of the amazing woman my mother is, and also because it’s a derivative of the name Mary which means “wished for child”. After this journey we’ve been on the past few years, the meaning of that was just so appropriate. River was born weighing 7 lbs and was 21 inches long. She was perfection if I’ve ever seen it.
She is a month old now and today her Grandma and Aunts and Uncles from Michigan are on their way to see her! Most of them have not met her so we are really excited to spend these next days together as we celebrate American Thanksgiving! We will post more about our beautiful River in the days ahead…
Just three weeks now until the big due date! There is lots of excitement, anticipation and preparation going on around here these days. I can’t help but think back to not too long ago when we were dealing with infertility appointments and wondering if it was even possible for us to ever have children. What a roller coaster of emotion that is to go through! It was just about a year ago exactly we drove from Michigan to London to learn the results of all the testing they had done. It was such a heart wrenching day not knowing what news we would hear but trying to be prepared for anything. I still remember all the range of emotion I felt, especially as we sat in the waiting room. To our huge relief we learned we could in fact have children and nothing major was wrong with either of us. Just some minor things that caused it to take so long for us to get pregnant. Here we are a year later preparing to meet our little one in just a few weeks! Our hearts are beyond grateful.
A few days back I finished up work over in the office and cleared my desk out. After over eight years working full time here with New Tribes if felt strange yet quite exciting. Things will look different for me now as I look to being a Mom and at least for the next year that will be my main focus.
Everything continues to go well with the pregnancy and we are so grateful! I have loved being pregnant but I’m also looking forward to finally meeting our little one and to finding out if we’ve got a boy or a girl! This past Saturday a good friend threw a Dr Seuss baby shower for me! It was so much fun and she put so much thought and detail into all the planning! It meant so much to see each co-worker who took the time to come and celebrate with us.
Pete has been busy with meetings and speaking engagements and developing Off The Grid. He’s also been such a huge help to me here around the house, especially as this belly gets bigger and normal things become more of a challenge to get done.
We’re missing Michigan lately as last year at this time we were settling in there and getting ready to spend the remainder of the year there. It was such a great time and we’re definitely missing the cider parties and time with family and friends.
Thanks for reading our updates here and hope you are doing well and enjoying this beautiful fall season! It is definitely the most stunning and beautiful time of year!
We recently finished our last Off The Grid program of the summer. We had four great weekends this year with over 70 people coming through. Everything went really well and it was exciting to meet each group and see God at work. We loved our coworkers this summer and seeing how we all worked together to make the program possible. While it’s always sad to see it come to an end we also look forward to the pace returning to normal and are happy to see that happen. Being the coordinators of such a program definitely comes with its weight of responsibilities and busyness. Currently we continue to wrap things up and look to next year. We are also meeting these days to discuss expanding Off The Grid to other times of year and offering similar programs with a bit of a different focus. These things will keep us busy as we look ahead to the fall months. Carly will also be preparing to phase out of the office and her full time responsibilities and into motherhood in just a couple months.
Carly is in her 3rd trimester now which is so exciting! The pregnancy continues to move along smoothly which we are grateful for. We had a follow up ultrasound on her kidneys and a follow up appointment with the surgeon who removed her kidney stone and we received the good news that all is clear! No more stones. So she’ll keep chugging the water and hopefully this means we won’t see any more stones for quite some time and definitely not during these next couple months. We’ve got 11 weeks left until baby is officially ready to arrive and I’m sure the time will go quickly! We toured the hospital we’ll be having the baby at the other day and were so surprised at how nice everything was! Made us all the more excited. We can’t wait to meet our little one!
Other than that we’re playing catch up now. During our busy time of year other things fall behind and it usually takes a few weeks to get caught up and back to normal. It’s a welcome change of pace though.
This past weekend we kicked off our 2014 year of Off The Grid! We had a group of youth come from London and another group come from Pickering. It was a great weekend and we loved getting to know those who came! We are really excited about our staff this summer. We have a larger staff than we’ve previously had and it’s making a huge difference! It’s just so exciting to see Off The Grid expanding and developing as time goes on. We are enjoying a quiet day today and some much needed rest! By the end of a weekend, and especially the first weekend of each summer, we are totally wiped! It’s so worth it though and we are so excited to be a part of what God is doing through Off The Grid.
A week before Off The Grid started, as many of you know, I had a kidney stone. I was so grateful that they were able to get me in the next day for emergency surgery to remove it! It was quite the few days to be sure! Pete was completely amazing during that time in how he took care of me and just loved on me. Several have told me kidney stone pain is worse than child birth so give me a few more months and we’ll see if I think it’s true too! So glad to have that behind us now and we’re seriously hoping there are no more stones! We have a follow up appointment in a few weeks with the surgeon so we’ll see then.
In the middle of all of the kidney stone craziness Pete’s sister Paige got married! I was totally bummed to not be able to make it but I was totally glad that it worked out for Pete to be there!
Anyways, a week later and here we are. We made it through those few days, we made it through this past week of getting everything ready for the launch of our 2014 year of Off The Grid and we had a great first weekend! This coming weekend we have a full weekend again with people coming from Oshawa, Stoney Creek and Goderich.
Time is running away on us and our blog has been left in the dust these days.
The big question lately is about how the pregnancy is going. So, as of today I’m at 20 weeks which means we are half way there! So far it’s been an exciting few months. I have been feeling really great which I am SO grateful for! We had our 18 week ultrasound a couple weeks ago and all is going along in normal fashion. I can feel baby moving around now which is crazy cool and also fairly weird to get used to. We have decided to wait to find out what sex the baby is so come November we’ll find out! We look forward to our monthly appointments with the midwives (ok so maybe me more than Pete) and in general this whole new baby journey is simply interesting and exciting. We’re enjoying sleep while we can still get it in normal amounts and these last months of just the two of us.
We’re into our busy time of year. Off The Grid is just less than a month away so we’re busy preparing for that – handling registration, communicating with staff, supply buying, and plenty of meetings. A new addition this year is that I will be overseeing all the cooking for the summer. We never were able to find a cook so this will be a new thing for me but we have different people to work with me each weekend so all is working out. We have expanded our team of staff this summer so Pete and I will not be living up there with the group each weekend. Although we really enjoyed doing that, it will work much better to just focus on our individual responsibilities and the general oversight of the program. Pete will continue with his oversight of the operations side of the program as well as sharing the teaching load, and I will continue on with all the administration as well as the cooking. So we’ve got our work cut out for us and we’re looking forward to it!
I’ve been challenged lately in the area of loving those around me. While that might sound cliche it’s been really impacting. I think we all probably have family members, friends or coworkers who are challenging to love – it could be personality differences, they could be going through a painful season in life or dealing with a lot of stress, it could just be the complexity of family and/or relationships coming out that makes it challenging…it could be a lot of things really. Recently I was asking God to help me be patient and loving in a certain situation because love was really not what was coming from my heart in that moment. He reminded me of those verses I’ve heard a thousand times at weddings or at church. That love is patient and kind. It’s not rude. That it always perseveres. It endures through every circumstance. That love never gives up. I keep thinking that one through and thinking about how heavy it was on God’s heart for us to truly love people. It can be hard to do but it’s the least we can do to keep trusting Him for the grace and strength to love and really love those beautiful people He’s placed in our lives.
After all, love never gives up.
We are greatly excited to show off our first family selfie and to announce that we have a baby on the way! Carly is almost 4 months along and baby is due November 4th. She has been feeling pretty good lately and we are pretty grateful for that. She had little to no morning sickness in the first trimester and apart from the normal exhaustion all is well. It still seems so surreal to both of us but as time goes on it’s changing to more of a reality. We do know that we are totally excited and we’re looking forward to this new chapter in life. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy our sleep and freedoms while we can…
Pete’s oldest sister Paula got married on the 19th over the Easter weekend. We enjoyed our brief time in Michigan and were so glad we could be there for her big day! It was a small wedding, a little smaller than ours was, in a country church just outside of St Johns, MI. Duane is a great guy who is also from Michigan, and we’re so glad they found each other!
After a busy couple of days in Michigan, we hit the road for Chicago. We were excited to take a couple days off and go see some friends who will be moving to Colombia in just a few weeks. They have two little boys who are just the coolest kids! It was great to catch up and relax a bit before heading back to Ontario.
We’ve been home a few days now and then Sunday things took an unexpected turn. We found out Pete’s Grandpa is not well and we were encouraged to come and say our goodbyes. We were scrambling trying to figure out how quickly we could make it there and then by Monday he had turned around considerably and was doing better. So we will still go but not until the weekend as you just never know with these kinds of things. This past year has been full of all sorts of unexpected turns but we are grateful for the strength to face each one and His incredible peace for the way.
I suppose we should break our blogging silence sooner than later. We are doing well and our “silence” isn’t indicative of anything wrong, just maybe a writer’s block or something. March seemed to fly by and I was happy to see April on the calendar this morning as well as my first robin outside! Pete has been co-teaching through Romans at church lately and he has also been taking the Perspectives course on Thursday nights which he is really enjoying! In March we were able to give a presentation at our church, along with some co-workers, about our ministry and NTM. This past weekend we were at the Word of Life Bible College in Ontario at their Students Exploring Missions weekend. So although most days are kept busy with office work and gearing up for OTG this summer, we’ve had some other stuff going on as well.
And yes, this morning OTG made the news! Well okay, maybe just the NTM news page but it’s still news! Check out the article that our volunteer writer put together after interviewing us a few weeks ago.