Going Back In Time!


His bed if you would call it that, was a plastic box hooked up to machines and monitors’ that took on a life of their own. I could hear the sounds of his roommates crying from their little plastic boxes as well, all just waiting to be held, fed or changed. The smell of sterilized plastic lingered in every corner of the room. The look in the eyes of the other parents coming to visit their new born babies told me I was not alone, that gaze of disbelief that anything that tiny could survive was written across so many of our faces.

His entry into this world was sudden and early and I was un prepared. They took him away from me as quickly as I pushed him out, he wasn’t placed in my hands but rather in their care. I got to see him once before they transferred him to another hospital. I was a new mother who had just spent months preparing for his arrival, hours for his birth unable to have anything to show for it, except an empty belly.

I knew that the best care for him we be at the Neonatal unit across town but that didn’t make it feel any less like I was being robbed of my child, I had not even been aloud to hold him when they wheeled him away. I begged and pleaded with my husband to follow the ambulance that was transferring our little boy from one hospital to another, fear of someone trying to steal him overtook my mind, I wasn’t thinking logically, I allowed my heart and my emotions to dictate my demands in the moment as I barked out orders not to loose sight of the vehicle that was caring my heart.

I had to spend one extra day in the hospital for recovery purposes, I dreamed about what it would be like to hold my little miracle baby in my arms. I had a deep sadness of missing this tiny human being that I had just met 24 hours earlier. How could I love so deeply and miss so badly someone I had only seen a few times?

The nurse handed me my release papers, and I checked out of one hospital and stepped into another. My first interaction with my son since our separation was through latex gloves and his plastic box. I placed my hands inside the latex gloves that were attached to two round holes on the outside of his incubator my heart longed to just reach inside with my bare hands and scoop him up and hold him close to my heart. Intellectually I understood the need for all the tubes, wiring and rules, I understood that my little boys life was in danger and every moment mattered when it came to his well being but my heart cried out to rescue him as my flesh perceived him being in danger.

The day finally came when I experienced my Shalom moment, when the tension and the presence of perfect pleasure collided with a deep inner and eternal harmony with the things all around me as I was allowed to finally pick up my little boy for the very first time. His body weighing just a bit over three pounds, less then a bag of sugar. His skin was thin and translucent and looked like it could just peel of his body if I wasn’t careful. His nervous system had not yet been completely developed so overstimulation could cause him severe pain. I had spent many hours studying about the care of a premature baby and I understood the need to be still with him in my arms so that I would not cause him harm. The experts had proven a procedure called kangaroo care, that when done just right, the child would thrive, their lungs would grow, their breathing would increase and they would be able to hold their own temperature, preparing them to be free from their little plastic box and ready to go home to their families.

The method also was known as skin on skin. I was prepared to practice this procedure for the very first time with my little boy. As I stood in front of his little plastic box all of a sudden in was just him and me. The sound of the machines faded into the background, the chattering of the nurses seemed to disappear and the anticipation of finally getting to hold, cuddle and connect with my child took over, my heart was beating fast, swelling with love for this child I had not yet held and longing to let him know how much he was loved. I carefully reached into his incubator, making sure not to move to quickly.

I slowly unwrapped him and undressed him down to his diaper, tears rolled down my eyes as I prepared to place him against my chest, skin on skin for the very first time. My nose nestled over his head, breathing in his sent. All of the worries all the fears seemed to melt away as I held my baby boy next to me, it was then at that very moment that I knew that all was well with my soul, Shalom!

Cris Perez-Nole

Navigating Through The Teen Years!

1. Listen well.

2. Ask good.

3. Pause often.

4. Start all over.

My daughter arrived home from school, plopped herself down on her usual spot and took on that usual look of “I need to talk to you.” Without saying any words the look in my eyes told her I was ready to listen, to give her my full attention. She opened her mouth and began to share about her day, her time on campus, in the class room and among her peers. She finished sharing as quickly as she began and in her silence I knew she was waiting for me to ask good. This is what I call being intentional with all I say, especially when it come to my questions.

I spoke up and my ask good was this, “do you need me to just listen or would you like my input?” and then I just paused and started to listen well all over again. In my pause she looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face, her way of saying thank you for actively listening to me through her expression.

She continued to share and wanted my thoughts, we were engaged in an open dialogue that added to our relationship. I have learned that my pauses do not mean I agree with what she is saying but they do mean that I value her voice and the trust she has to share with me whatever it might be. The conversation ended well with her thinking about some choices she will have to make in the near future. I walked away from the conversation impressed at the way she has learned to communicate well.

The break down in relationships, any kind but especially that of teens and parents comes when there is lack of communication or miscommunication. If our children are in the learning years, then it is our job to teach them well, they were not born to communicate it comes with training, teaching and many hours of listening on the side of the parent.

If there is anything I am learning as I navigate through these years is that my parenting has become 95% listening and 5% speaking. I have learned that the most important part of the conversation has been the pause I intentionally take, it is there where I earn the trust of my children to speak into the situation.

If you are preparing to parent a teen or are in the middle of these wonderful years, please be encouraged to Listen well, Ask good, Pause often and Start over again. This will allow you to become actively involved in a positive way in your teens life while connecting with them through open conversation. It is amazing what our children are willing to tell us when we are willing to listen.


It’s not fair! I wanted to throw myself on the floor as if I were two years old again and just heard no for the first time. I wanted to throw out all I knew to be true and just bathe myself in a pity party, a full blown adult tempter tantrum was just waiting to be released.

That is when I decided I would go for a walk and get out of my own head, me, myself and I don’t usually do well there when I feel like I have been mistreated. Key word, feel, I hadn’t been but everything in me wanted to own that feeling as if I had been treated unfairly.

I had this wonderful day planned out with a good friend that required me to be away from my home most of the day, she lives an hour away and we only get to see each other a couple times a year. I had been looking forward to this visit all week, the anticipation kept me pushing through the everyday tasks I had to accomplish and treated this visit like the prize at the end of my to do list.

Needless to say, I was more then disappointed when my 15 year old daughter woke up this morning with a migraine and in need of being taken care of. I have come to appreciate the fact that for my teenage daughter, feeling taken care of means just being present with her. I knew what had to be done but I felt like crying inside, so many feelings and emotions were running through my head.

First one was one of being a victim, "look what has happened to me" another was anger then frustration and then I was worried about what my friend would think as well as the dreaded phone call to the school and her coach. Can you see why I had to get out of my head? All at the same time, the spirit is gently reminding me that this is my choice, this is what living in the "yes" to His call looks like. It was at that moment that I checked on my daughter, grabbed a water bottle and put on my walking shoes. As I left the house the first thing I told myself was that this season of resting and being home to simply support and serve my family is a choice, one I intentionally and joyfully said yes to.

Of course, I didn't take into consideration the planned out pockets of time I had made for myself when I thought my kids would be in school and husband would be at work. As I started to walk through my feelings, I chose to pray aloud for all that I was grateful for during this season in my life. Thank God for technology, people passing by me probably thought I had a blue tooth hidden somewhere as I walked and talked. The first thing I thanked God for was my home, shelter for my sick child, fresh clean water to give her as she is healing and for the fact that I, not someone else is there for her in her time of need.

I started to pray for a good friend of my who is in the same season in life and just the thought of her brought me peace knowing that I am not walking this rode alone. I prayed for courage over her yes, for patients and perseverance as she pressed into being not just physically present but emotionally present to these young people God has entrusted her with and then prayed the same for me as well.

As I arrived back home, I thanked God for using my friend in a mighty way to help me stay in my “yes” and not act like a victim when in fact I am blessed beyond words to be able to be here for my family. I love how God has surrounded me with other women who have intentionally chosen to live in their “yes” as well, running the race is so much better when done together.

Embracing the call!

We are on the second week back to school. One in Jr. and another in High School not to mention preparing for a wedding for our oldest. This is a new season for us as a family. I am embracing the call of being home and being present for my children when they walk through the front door as well as my husband. How do I do that? I have to say no too many things right now and yes to the most important things and that is Tony, Amanda, Sami and Vito as well as my extended family. I have spent the last several years serving and traveling and it was good, many God moments in the journey but when He calls me to stay, I must listen and listen well.

The benefit of obedience is the wonderful world of communication I see happening between my teens as they come home every afternoon prepared to answer the question “what was the best thing that happened to you today?” Sometimes there is just silence, which I have learned to be OK with but other times my daughter Sami who is almost 15 can go on for 45 min. straight without taking a breath. Well maybe a few inhales of oxygen but she can talk, she can share and I love hearing how her day unfolded and how she is choosing to live her life on and off campus.

With this shared, I must get downstairs and into my kitchen, the pots and pans are calling my name. My prayer is that I will continue to see this season as a blessing, what a gift it is to be able to be home with my family and available to them.