I am super excited to see my cuppa with series return. This time it is part of Join in January, a guest posting event hosted by Christian Bloggers UK to promote Christian bloggers working together and hopefully introduce you to some lovely new bloggers. I loved chatting to women last summer through this series, so if you would like to take part in a cuppa with interview do fill in the contact form at the bottom. For now, I will leave you to get to know Nicola Woods (I hope you have your cuppa in hand!)
It’s really nice to meet you – please introduce yourself to us all!
Hi there! I’m Nicola Woods and I’m 32 years old (I honestly have to double check my age these days!) and have been married to my husband Colin for almost 9 years now. I love doing those ‘interesting facts about you’ icebreakers as I’ve met and spoken to the Queen back in 1995 when she opened a motorway bridge and I’ve been on the Weakest Link where I got to the 6th round so got a personalised insult from Anne Robinson! I’m a qualified accountant but I am a stay at home mum these days. I love coffee, chocolate, journaling and when winter turns into spring.
Where do you live and what do you like/loathe about it?
I live in Belfast in Northern Ireland. It’s the most fantastic city in many ways as it’s small, but has plenty going on, we live less than 10 minutes drive from a beach, my husband has a short commute to work and the whole of beautiful Northern Ireland (and the South) is easily accessible. Sometimes I get frustrated living here as it’s where we both grew up and feels very uninteresting to live a few streets away from my husband’s childhood home and a few miles from mine. I think neither of us ever imagined settling down here!
How many kids do you have?
I have two boys – Daniel is 4 and Rory is 19 months. Daniel loves ice cream, reading books, counting, playing i-spy, going on trains and visiting the farm. He also has Down Syndrome. Rory loves climbing, spinning, building towers, watching planes and running around after his brother. He also has crazy curly hair.
What is the best thing about motherhood for you?
I love watching the two boys playing together and the cuddles and wet kisses from them! Rory still has that lovely soft skin and smells so good, while Daniel melts into you when he cuddles up on the sofa and you just don’t want to be anywhere else at those moments!
And what is the worst thing?!
The relentless nature of it. I frequently feel overwhelmed as we’re often still up at night (with both boys) and they need supervised constantly when they’re awake. Daniel, because of some of his developmental delays, is like another toddler but he also has different needs to Rory so there’s a lot going on,
How do you try to help your children connect with God and the bible?
We have started having a faith anchor in our day. When my husband is on the bus home from work, he texts us and the boys and I do a quick tidy up of the toys, we light a candle on the kitchen table and then sit down on the sofa with their devotional book (we use Everything A Child Should Know About God) and we talk about God. Daniel struggles with his understanding of intangible concepts so I just pray that God makes Himself real to him as he grows up. He loves talking about baby Jesus and the stable and donkeys, so I know he has got the nativity story, except for the fact he thinks I’m Mary after I acted her in a church drama at Christmas!
We also pray at bedtime and when we’re out and about and something comes up that we need to pray about. I’m a big fan of sticking some worship music on and having a dance to music that declares Biblical truths as they often stick better in our head than many a talk or devotional.
It is definitely a challenge trying to help a child with a learning disability connect with God and the Bible as many concepts are so abstract and the vocabulary is very hard to teach. And it’s hard not to look forward to Daniel’s teens and adulthood and see the parts of church that will be a real struggle for him.
What is your “mission-field” at the moment?
My mission-field should probably be the school-gate but I’m always a bit frazzled at the school gate and don’t think I do a good job at all at representing God there. And at tots groups I’ve always got to have an eye on Rory, who would escape at the first opportunity so I often feel like I’m not paying full attention to people I’m talking to. I should pray about both those places!
I think my blog – www.happyisherhome.com – has provided me with a place to share with people how my faith has helped us through some difficult times and how circumstances the world sees as difficult can still bring joy. Our lives are ultimately lived with an audience of one, so we don’t live trying to please others and there is such happiness and hope that comes from living a life with God.
I’ve also had the blessing of speaking with many mums with a baby with Down Syndrome and encouraging them that this is a very precious baby that will surprise and delight them as they grow up. I actually think this is a really important mission-field for me.
What causes or activities are you particularly passionate about and why?
Daniel has transformed my understanding of disability. Pity is not what people with disabilities and their families need or want, and I believe that the church could do a much better job of ministering to people with learning disabilities in particular. Our church family has a number of children with Down Syndrome in it and most people have made a real effort, for example, learning Makaton signs and telling us what’s going on in Sunday Club so we can talk to Daniel about what he’s learning.
Outside of the church arena, I am really passionate about changing attitudes to Down Syndrome which unfortunately are really negative and outdated due to fear around pregnancy testing and poor reporting in the media. Our lives are truly better BECAUSE of Daniel’s Down Syndrome, not in spite of it. He is emotionally intelligent, sociable, loving, bright, engaging and I believe that our home is happier because of Down Syndrome.
Thanks so much for having a cuppa with me!
Thank you so much for having me!