Fuhggetaboudit Baby!

So I forgot for a few minutes that we had a baby here at the house. Big Deal. To be honest, I was totally oblivious. I truly didn’t have a clue, that a small infantile child had arrived and is now part of the world my wife and I share in this house.

I wasn’t asleep or dreaming. I was in fact quite wide awake, and with it… kinda.

See I had just come home from a double-header sand volleyball match. I was quite hungry too and when I blew through the back door, I saw my pretty wife, sitting at the bar area in our kitchen. I couldn’t wait to tell her the bump-by-bump-by-spike description of our games. I was already thinking food too. I started probably with the fridge, then slamming cabinet doors in search of an appetizer.

I clanked dishes and talked up a storm. I had a full plate of homemade enchilada and was settling into my meal, when I suddenly looked up, right into the eyes of my wife. “I forgot we had a baby… didn’t I??” I stammered,,, “Uh, yeah.” she hushedly agreed…

I was a little embarrassed momentarily. It wasn’t that our little sweet girl was at the back of my mind, behind the obviously more important volleyball and dinner issues… She just was ‘poof!’ erased for that bit of time! When I walked into the house, I saw a scene that is so familiar, my wife in the kitchen by herself. I was excited to talk to her. I wanted to get out, all these action scenes from the games we just played. The baby was nowhere in sight.

Little Joella was in our bedroom, asleep in the bassinet, and luckily, not awoken or otherwise amused my loud clamoring and carousing in the kitchen. My wife, so forgiving, let me vent and let me eat, and then walked back into reality with me, as the truth came back into my mind 🙂 She’s a sweetie 🙂

So here we go. People can ask about the all the foundation-rocking, life-altering adjustments that happen with a newborn, and I completely forget about mine… for a minute anyway 🙂

Our minds are complex and crazy sometimes. At least mine is. I know you know that, if you’ve read very many of these posts over the last few years. Truthfully, the ideas, the pictures, and the essence of the emotions that follow the stream of stories running through my brain, almost completely consume my days… and my nights too…

In quick rare moments, like a game of volleyball, or a split second of this writing endeavor, my mind is blank and I am just ‘doing’ and not ‘thinking’. If there is average amount of thoughts-per-day that the normal 36 year old male homo sapien, experiences per day, then I’m pretty certain I can quadruple it… at least.

I mean to say, that ‘thinking’ overtakes my world, almost all the time. Thinking about what I’m doing, or not doing. Thinking about how I’m being or not being. Thinking about what you’re doing or not doing. Thinking about what you’re being or feeling or even thinking about what you’re thinking. When I get to thinking that I should quit thinking about what you are or aren’t thinking, then I have chased the tail of my own thought process into tight pretzel knot! (By ‘you’, I mean the seemingly ever-present, current issue of the they or them or he or she or it, that I’ve chosen to chew on like mentally regurgitated cud, over and over and over again)

And how helpful all this over-thinking seems to be!




Nope, I actually tend to agree that it isn’t a good way to engage my cerebral capacities, but like a runaway stagecoach, it is almost unstoppable sometimes!

And stopped it could be. Redirected at least. Slowed down a bit?

I like seeing that I forgot about our cute little darling daughter Joella Denise. I can laugh at the pointlessness of my pea-sized brain. I can notice that although my mind seems to be so brilliantly discerning and dissecting each trifling microsecond of my mundane life moments, it can also simultaneously lose track of the most important.

Ha! Maybe my brain isn’t as smart as I think it is. Maybe my thinking might not be as poignant and important, as I tend to let it become.

As has been quoted many times before “Don’t believe everything you think.”

If my mind can let slip, this little miracle, then what other things is it forgetting to account for? What possibilities is it overlooking? What broken-record patterns does it follow, without seeing the chances to shift all around?

Maybe I could just take a step back. I could let the mind unwind and not worry that it needs to be directing everything all the time. There are more important things to attend to right now, and I don’t want to forget that again 🙂


Aaron Nichols


Ugly Baby Pictures

When I said that “I wasn’t sure that our kiddo was as cute in person, as she is in the pictures.”, I was kidding! Ha! Of course I was. My mother looked at me in pure disgust when I said that little line to her the other night. She was setting me straight!

Actually, what I meant to say, is that; Yes, we were able to capture some very cute photos in little Joella’s first couple days with us. Yes, we got lots and lots of compliments on how beautiful of a baby she is. Yes, as a proud daddy, I was always glad to hear those words.


On the other hand, our sweet little angel Joella, has also torqued up her cute face and let out some loud cries as well. Her milk-drunk rolled-back eyeball look, can be spooky for a split second. She has lots of different looks. Like an ever changing kaleidoscopic that converts constantly in front of you. I could just sit and stare at her all darn day…

And if I did, I would notice that some of her faces are cuter than others. It is true. Yes Linda, sometimes this little lady, isn’t soooo certainly cute. Wow, even typing those words is kinda hard for me 🙂

Ha! Anyway.

The point is this: I am a person with some beauty and some beast in me. I want to pretend sometimes that all is hunky and dory and perfect. Just like these brand-new baby pictures, we as people are enthralled with a pure expression of newborn health and joy. We see the best part of ourselves in these picturesque moments of unspoiled youth…

We want to forget that sometimes, we aren’t cute. We can deny while staring at a precious babe, that our blemishes exist too. The balance of dark and light, the yen and yang, fade and we just see the crystalline pearlescent glow of new life. A blinding light reflects through us, tiny droplets of pure love hang impossibly on gossamer of wonder and joy.

Each and every one of us, was that way once…

I suppose in moments, such fleeting flashes out of the periphery, we see ourselves there again right now…

Maybe you do. I hope you do. Someone you love, sees you that way right now.

I however tend to notice that darkness. The gummed and dirty corners of the windows of my own soul, I notice too much. A smear here, of a past mistake.  A cracked and broken relationship never really mended. Fears and angers snort and gurgle, their teeth gnaw at my insides, I bleed and tear. I know that my own self contains deep black darkness, along with some light. I notice the negative too often maybe, when it comes to looking in my own personal mirror.

Maybe that’s why I feel compelled to point out, that showing only the prettiest of pictures, isn’t showing all the truth.  I use this place here to show more than just the pretty side… of me.

So then, where do we define our own personal beauty? Do I add up all the best of myself, showing you my grand total, hoping it’s enough? Do I cut a clean cross-section and allow all the layers to expose their own truth? Do I really lean in, and leave every last judgement up to God, releasing myself of those duties… whooooo… terrifying…

But really. We love seeing beauty. I wonder what happens though, when it fades. When youth rusts and the oxidized pits of age, of experience, of intentional sins, paint us black?

Can we see ourselves again someday, as Jesus sees us. As a newborn babe in the first precious hour after birth? Can we be new, unblemished, full of possibility again and ever again? Seems almost impossible to me. But that leaves a tiny droplet of hope, of wonder.

I ask you today, to notice that speck, that hint of smile, that we are all still shining beautiful bouncing babies in the eyes of our Creator God Almighty.

Thanks be to God.

Have a great week my precious friend.


Aaron Nichols

No Lullaby Needed

Not much has changed in the last week, since I visited this blog. In fact a bunch is still the exact the exact same as one week ago tonight. It is late, I have worked a long day. I am ready for bed and yet, I want to write and keep up this little texty tradition here.

Okay, so my wife and I had a baby last weekend. So that part of life is new. But a lot of the good stuff is just as it was before. The extra or bad stuff seems to have drifted away for now, thank God. So that is new, and awesome.

A week ago about this time of night, I didn’t know it, but my very pregnant wife, was about to start the laboring process. Right now, little Joella is laying on my chest and just stirring a bit, while hearing me click these keys. 🙂 Joella is the new baby, our little gift from God. She’s healthy and perfect in our eyes. And really I suppose I should say that she has completely changed my life 🙂

Isn’t that the obvious point though?

I have just noticed a few key things that surprised me about the process of having a new baby and I wanted to share them, as you probably assumed I would 🙂

  • The perfectness of God’s design of the delivery process is mindblowing.
  • I am not man enough, to do the ‘woman’s work’, that comes with a new baby.
  • A peacefulness arrived with our daughter. My mind hasn’t been this calm and clear in years, maybe ever. Purpose can bring peace.
  • A new baby is one thing that brings together people, no matter what. I have experienced more generosity and well wishing than any other time in life, including our marriage.
  • We got lucky, we have a healthy child and healthy mother. I know not everyone receives such a precious gift. I don’t want to take that for granted.

I don’t need to write a lot this week, because the inner angst and fiery point of view that brings so many emotions to this screen is serene and open, instead of stormy and dark. Also, there is not much that I can really do, to construct and decorate the story and truths evident, that I witnessed this week. My skills at writing seem to be about noticing divine in the mundane, or uncovering wisdoms and lessons in everyday life. None of that needs to be said, about the arrival of our little Joella Denise. God handled it all 🙂

Today is the birthday of little Joella’s namesake. My Dad, her grandpa, Joel Sterling. I have thought about him alot today, and I am sure he’s been watching over our new little family. Happy Birthday Dad, we all love ya 🙂

Most of all I want to the express that my love for my wife, is deeeeeper now, than I ever could have imagined. She, like all mothers, really earned this little baby. My job has been quite easy so far. Lindsay is impressing me more and more by the day, with how she is handling this daunting task of learning to care for our little girl.

This little preciousness is still sleeping away, she jolts when I breathe in deep. I think I will just sit and enjoy this awhile 🙂


With Love,

Aaron Nichols


Wearing my Grandma’s Shoes… Sorta’

I’m like 100% sure that my Grandma Dorothy Nichols wrote a column for our local paper, The Ottawa Herald. I’m not exactly certain though, what those columns were about. I don’t know how often they were published. I don’t know if it was a weekly thing, or once a month. I can sort of see a picture in my mind of one of her articles, but I can’t say anything about the subject or concerns it addressed…

Funny isn’t it. I don’t really know any details at all, about this part of her, that she shared with the readership of our local area. I think I was about 25 when she passed away. It’s not like I was so young that I couldn’t read. I don’t know how long she was writing her articles, maybe 5 years? Maybe 10 or 20?

If I want to find out more details, I can ask my family. I could research the archives probably, down at the library. I could actually go and read every one of them if I really made the effort to do so.

Interesting then, that even though I have almost zero information about her column, I will say that I know it has made a big impact on me.

Just the simple knowing, that she did this thing, creates in me, an awareness and fondness, respect and admiration, for the act of writing and publishing.

I have this same joy and warm-hearted-ness rushing through me, when I think about a FACS class at Central Heights. My lovely wife teaches them. Their projects span many skillsets, and cooking and baking is one of them. Those kids learn to make pancakes from scratch. They also learn to top them with their very own home-made maple syrup. Wow.

These lucky high-schoolers, are creating and enjoying a recipe that I grew up on, sitting at the round clear-glass table in my Grandma Carol Smell’s breakfast nook. I can tell you how those pancakes tasted. Warm, buttery, just-right thin and golden brown. A stack of four with butter in-between and homemade syrup… YUM! I’m wanting some right now 🙂

But! I can’t tell you how to make them. I don’t do it myself… like… ever… I can’t even remember the last time I ate them, but I should do it again soon.

The main thing I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that my Grandma Smell is an outstanding chef. She knows all the classics by heart, she experiments too. She can do it all, from an elaborate braided bread breakfast wreath, to holiday hams and turkeys, to her world famous dinner rolls.

I respect, admire and love, the act of home-making a meal for family. I just do. I grew up in her kitchen, I saw the love she poured into each and every big dinner, packed lunch or quick after-school snack. Each item, got special attention, right down to the crinkle cut carrot sticks, just cause the cool shapes made them taste better…

These two amazing women taught me so much, and really I don’t know a lot about exactly how they did it. I don’t know all the recipes. I don’t know the subjects and stories of the articles my Grandma published. I just know something, that was important enough to each of these ladies that they poured their essence and soul into something specific they were doing…

I do love seeing a great meal come together. I enjoy that as part of my work that I do, at the Brand’N Iron Bar and Grill. The food, the details, the generous attention to service is important to me. I just must truly believe something good comes from a meal well served. Grandma proves it so 🙂

Same thing about this blog post right here. I think one reason I wanted to continue my writing and sharing and posting some sort of inner dialogue to this screen, is that I know that writing is something my Grandma did. I think I should be honest, and open. I want to really share some detail with you, that wouldn’t normally otherwise be said. I somehow must believe that Grandma would approve of this. Maybe not every post, or every idea I express, but the concept, that we can share through words, our human experience.

I don’t need to know all the details. I will go forward and write and cook-up new details for myself. I do however need to notice and acknowledge the presence of the impact made by the important people in my life. I only need to know the most basic truth, about something they love. When I know what you love, so much, that you actually do it, then I know something that I cannot help but do it too. Some way, some how. When I Love You, I do as You do, in some little way, or some big way.

Thanks be to God, for putting wonderful people in my life. I am blessed with many more, than ‘just’ these two GRAND-MOTHERS… But wow, what a mighty pair indeed. 🙂


Until next week

Aaron Nichols

My Hot and Miserable Wife…

In case you didn’t know already, my wife is very pregnant and the temps have been very summery around here…

It all started back in winter though, I can remember it clearly. I recall that when we had announced our upcoming child, and told people the due date, it began almost immediately. We would say something like, ‘We’re having a baby, we won’t find out it’s sex early, and sometime around August 10th, is our due date.” Right then, is when the sympathy started.

Almost everyone, maybe some people even who read my blog, would begin to tell ‘hot summer pregnancy’ stories. The few predictable lines and questions would center around being uncomfortable in the heat, and readiness to get that baby out as soon as possible. Also, the common word that ended up being mentioned would be ‘miserable!’

Because of the regularity and repetitive nature of these conversations, Lindsay almost became defiant of the inevitable-ness of this seemingly unavoidable reaction to the combination of summertime and pregnancy. Even early on in this journey, I remember her openness to the natural processes she was experiencing and willingness to enjoy it for the amazing gift it is…

Well, if you are wondering if the summer heat has melted away her buoyant and upbeat spirit… It hasn’t.

We are fortunate in several respects, that she has the summer off from her teaching job, and can mainly control her exposure to outside weather. We aren’t pioneers homesteading on the prairie. We do have air conditioning and she stays in it most of the time. She is reasonable with her physical exertion. Besides twisting an ankle while watering the flowers one day, her body has handled this process quite normally.

I am lucky, that my wife has such a positive attitude about the truly dynamic changes she is experiencing. It seems that some people do have a tougher time with pregnancy in the summer. The thing that intrigues me most though, is the almost inherent need to offer up the negative as a first resort. I do think that when we humans share our struggles with each other, we can come closer together, since we then can relate back a tough time of our own. When we show vulnerability, we can connect on deep levels.

In the case of our late summer baby, I think the vulnerable message we have kept to ourselves is that we are really excited and honored to be able to partake in this amazing gift of another life. We are really blessed, that things have gone so smoothly so far. We appreciate that God has allowed us to experience first-hand, His beautiful creation. Complaining about the easily escapable warm weather, has not been on my wife’s list of to-do’s at all. Her confidence in the natural process, makes her sexier by the day to this adoring husband. Yup, my pregnant wife is hot this summer, but it’s not about the temperature 🙂

I am writing boldly today, about a journey we have not yet completed. She has not been miserable yet, in the last 9 months, but it’s not over. Maybe in the next 10 days or less, or more, she will finally get there. Hot and miserable, may yet come. Then when she runs across another soon-to-be mommy, she can deliver that same foreboding message. ‘You’re feeling alright now, but just wait till summer! You’ll be hot and miserable, you’ll see!”

Or maybe she’ll just smile and say “Congratulations! You are about to experience a special gift, enjoy all of it that you can.”

Funny thing to me, is this. When people talk to me about my wife, they mention the same broken record. Hot and miserable. When they tell me about the moment of watching their child come into the world. Almost unanimously, both men and women, younger and older, they all make sure to tell me how special and wonderful and amazing it is. Everyone seems to agree on that part too.

I’m looking forward to the moments ahead, but they can come in their own natural rhythm and time. I hope it’s not tomorrow, but if so we’ll be excited just the same. Until then, Lindsay will be relaxing indoors, making sure to be on the lookout, for when the miserable-ness arrives.

Until next week, be well, stay cool my friends and loved ones.


Aaron Nichols

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