Where It All Began…

I was straightening shelves and putting out sales product in the Christian retail store where I worked, pregnant belly pushing my work apron to its limit.  There in the women’s interest section, I heard my husband of nearly a year walk through the door.  It was the middle of the work day, and he asked if he could talk to me for a minute.  Something’s not right I felt on the inside.  There was someone else on the floor, so we walked to the back room where my inventory desk was located and I waited to hear what he was going to say.

As we walked into my workspace, surrounded by the product that was already coming in for the Christmas season, I found that my sneaking suspicion was correct.  Looking back, I think it was the Holy Spirit trying to give me a quick,

“Are you sitting down?  I think you should sit down.”

Thank you, Holy Spirit!

“Nicki,” he said.  “I lost my job today.”

There it was.  Just before the holidays (both Thanksgiving and Christmas), months before our first anniversary, right after we had just settled into our first house (it was tiny but it was ours), well into our first journey of growing a tiny human being, we experienced something that we never expected to happen.  It was unthinkable.  It was unplanned.  It was unwelcome.

But God…

God had a plan for us, and I believe He still does.

God cared about this little girl from Kentucky and her husband and unborn baby.

God made a way for us over and over and over again–and He still does.

In the midst of it all, I found out who God really was.

So this is my message to the woman whose life hasn’t turned out how she planned (I’ve got plenty more stories where this one came from), to the person who has had life’s rug ripped out from under them, to anyone who is experiencing burnout and letdown…

God still cares, and He is still there.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

(BibleGateway.com, NIV translation)

When we are experiencing the unexpected and unwelcome, as a wise woman in my life often says, “God is not undone by this.”  He has a plan.  He has a way out.  All we have to do is go to Him.

So, how about your life?  Where has the Lord been faithful?  Where are you asking Him questions or believing for His help?  What Scripture has been your lifeline?  I look forward to hearing from you.

Grace to You,

Nicki

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Life, Love, and Reading

Winter seems to be leaving its mark a little late in our neck of the woods, and rather than going a little stir crazy I am bent on finding ways to make the most of the madness this snow season.

First of all, there’s something about being home for long periods of time that helps your notice the clutter bugs and cobwebs.

What is that smudge on the floor? 

Is there a shoe sticking out from under the loveseat? 

Where did all these dust bunnies come from?

On a regular day, I would be so covered up in alphabet sounds, math facts, and writing assignments that I would be happy to just get the kitchen table clear in time to put dinner on it.

I’m thankful for snow days as a chance to tame the crazy and deal with the clutter and dust that piles up at our house on a regular basis.

Second, miracle of miracles, I am down to one child today.  One stayed with mamaw before the snowstorm and two are headed to work with Daddy today.  I am looking forward to some one on one time with my seven year old.  We are hoping to build a snow fort, play a game, and enjoy the quiet!

Finally, I’m planning to get a little reading in this weekend!  Homeschooling four kids, it’s usually “Mommy Time” that gets tossed to the wayside, and I am excited for the chance to get some reading in.  Here are my books for March:

Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sarah Clarkson is one I started yesterday.  It is all about being a Titus 2 woman and leaning on God instead of trying to do life yourself.  (Secretly, I think they wrote this book for me!)

Choose Love by Stormie Omartian and Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge are both about our relationships with our God, our loved ones, and ourselves–just in different ways.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Fit for Excellence by Sheri Rose Shepherd is a book that I have wanted to read for quite some time.  I listened to Sheri Rose on a Focus on the Family broadcast awhile back, and she is very real and just hilarious!  I’m interested to read what I believe is her first book ever.

When Jesus Wept by Brock and Bodie Thoene is my one fiction novel for the month of March.  I love to write fiction, but my taste is a little random, so I don’t often find a novel I really want to read.  Brock and Bodie Thoene, though, have always been some of my favorite novelists.  I love their writing, I love their style, I love the heart behind what they do.  I also love to read something contemplative during the season of Lent.  Just like Christmas, I love to experience the journey up to Easter.

Recently, I read a devotion about taking the Lenten weeks and reading Christ’s words in red.  We have been going through the Bible book of Matthew this year for our homeschool readings, and it is amazing how Scriptures I have read many times before open up new meaning this time around.  (More on that later)

The last books I have pictured are research materials for my new novel.  Part of it is based in, you guessed it, Turkey and Greece.  I plan to post portions of it on the blog later this year.  I was particularly thrilled about the volume on Greece that I found by Jesse Stuart.  I know him for his Appalachian volume The Thread that Runs So True.  It is a winner, for sure!

So what are you reading this month?  Leave a Comment and let me know.  I may put it on my list for April!

Grace to you,

Nicki

March Madness in Real Time

So, it’s March again!  Where we live, everyone is snowed in for the second time in the last three weeks.  🙂  If you are anywhere near social media, I’m sure you’ve heard jokes, complaints, anything and everything (including one post I saw blaming the current most popular animated character on the silver screen).  Everybody has their own way of coping when the winter weather throws an icicle into their regularly scheduled lives.

At our house, we got an unexpected day off to spend with Daddy.  He has been working a few extra days lately, so that is very much appreciated (especially for Mommy).  My kids are getting time to just be kids!  No running around and hassling them about what they have to do next.  I was so happy inside when I walked into the kitchen and saw this…

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Just like their Mommy, instead of having a fit about what they can’t do or where they can’t go, my kids would rather just pull out the art supplies, crank up some Mozart, and have an art day.  Paint love!

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Maybe we can all learn a lesson from our kids today while our plans are “frozen”–and find a moment to love, a moment to create, a moment to snuggle, a moment to enjoy.  I know I will.

How about you?  How are you surviving or thriving through the winter weather?  I would love to hear your stories.

Grace to You,

Nicki