Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In "Other" Words - Tuesdays at CWO

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Do you know the joy of seeing the happy smile of your child as they hand you a picture that they drew that you can't make heads or tails out of but cherish anyway just because they made it for you? Have you ever experienced the warm feeling of a hug from your little angel, hearing them whisper "I love you mommy" as they plant a big, wet, sloppy kiss on your cheek?

How many of us would rebuff them for their small tokens of love that come from the outpouring of their heart? Would you? Would you tell them that the picture isn't good enough or that they have "messed up (your) makeup"? How many of us would purposely wipe the smile from our child's face because their efforts weren't "good enough"?

I would hope that none of us would. Every outpouring of our child's heart to us in an effort to show us how much they love us is precious and perfect, it is meaningful in their sincerity. Those efforts are to be cherished, to be tucked away in our memories to reflect on and remember as our children grow older and move away from such expressions of love.

My daughter, out of the blue, will tell God how much she loves him. I hear her say in her sweet little voice in the back seat while we're driving, while she's playing, while she's taking a bath, when she's almost sleeping. . ."I love you God!" She says it whenever and wherever she feels like it and she doesn't care who hears her.

How often do we show our love, our expressions of thankfulness and joy to the One who gave us all of the good gifts around us and in our lives? If we do say it, do we look around first to see if anyone is listening or watching us? Do we give thanks to God in private only? How often have you stopped to thank God for the beautiful sunset on the way home after a stress-filled day or for the much needed rain after a draught? How many of us even notice the sunset or are thankful for the rain? How many of us thank God for an answered prayer – or do we take it for granted?

How often does God hear us thank Him for the blessings in our life? What percentage of our day do we spend in honor to God in thanksgiving for everything that He has given us? 10% of our day is 2.4 hours. Do we, at best, give God even 1% of our day? 2.4 minutes of our time? How much time is it worth to thank our Creator for all that He has done for us and has given us? How much do you think He wants from us? How much does He deserve?

Just like we would never turn away the expressions of love from our children, God would never turn away our expressions of love to Him. Instead, just like us, He cherishes each one. Unfortunately, we probably express our gratitude and love to Him much less than our children express their love to us.
P.S. - is anyone on MySpace? I just started on MySpace a couple of weeks ago. A lot of the guys in Dan's unit use MySpace and so I signed up to post comments to them to encourage them and communicate with them. If you want to hop on my "friend network" you can view my profile HERE.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday's Feast and a Public Service FFT for Halloween

Create a new candle scent.

I would create a scent that was a mix of jasmine, gardenia and vanilla. Three of my favorite scents. Jasardenilla.

Name one way you show affection to others.

I am a very touch feely person - I love giving hugs and kisses and holding hands.

What is your favorite writing instrument?

A rollerball gel pen. Very smooth, no skips or catches.

Main Course
If you were given $25 to spend anywhere online, from which site would you buy?

I have no idea. I generally don't buy online.

Are you dressing up for Halloween? If so, what are you going to be?

I am going to be a mommy. :) Though, and I'll have to see if I can find and scan a picture later, but I used to dress up as the suicidal bridesmaid. I had a lot of bridesmaid dresses to "reuse" and so I could get them good and "bloody". I was so good at making myself look dead and bloody that The X's former boss saw me the Halloween of 1998 when I walked into their store (he had forgotten it was Halloween) and thought I had been in an accident and was about to try and administer first aid and call 911. LOL!

Nic's Question: What are you dressing as for Halloween and do you have anything you are doing or anywhere you are going for Halloween?

We are going to the Fall Festival at our church. Emily is really excited about the it b/c on Halloween night our church has this HUGE Fall Festival every year to take the focus off of the macabre part of Halloween that so many tend to focus on (see my dessert answer above). She's 5 and I don't think she needs to be exposed to the monster/bloody/gory costumes out there quite yet. She has quite an imagination and I know that she would most likely have nightmares from them, plus this is a safe environment that is WAY more fun than just going door to door asking for candy that they never get to eat that much of anyway. Our church does really cool moonwalks and games and train rides, there's face painting and they have a petting zoo and good food, etc. Plus you know that the candy there is safe too and hasn't been tampered with. They do not allow unopened bags of candy, receive them that night and distribute the candy between the games the kids play that night as soon as the candy is received.

Today's Public Service FFT:

Please be careful this Halloween with your kids. Many sexual predators and child molestors like Halloween so that they can be around unsuspecting kids giving them candy. Many cities are having a child molester round up that afternoon and are keeping the perverts out of the way until Halloween is over.

If you want to know where the sexual predators around your house or your child's school is located, the BEST place to go is www.familywatchdog.us. It is a National Sex Offender Registry site that maps where the perverts live in proximity to your house and to your child's school. Best of all, it is FREE! Have a happy and safe Halloween.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In "Other" Words - Tuesdays at CWO

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~ Beth Moore~
From the poem: "The Life I Planned"

by Beth Moore

Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been misplaced
I've looked in every corner
It's lost without a trace.

I've found one I don't recognize
Things missing that were kept dear
Promises I'd hoped to keep
And dreams I'd dreamed aren't here.

Faces I planned to see
Hands I planned to hold
Now absent in the pictures
Not the way I told.

Has someone seen the life I planned?
Did it get thrown away?
God took my hand from searching
Then I heard Him say,

"Child, your ears have never heard
Your eyes have never seen
Eternal plans I have for you
Are more than you could dream.

You long to walk by sight
But I'm teaching eyes to see.
I know what I am doing
'Til then, you must believe."

He's done so much, I felt ashamed
To know He heard my moans
To think I'd trade in all He's done
For plans made on my own.

I wept over His faithfulness
And how He'd proved Himself
How He'd gone beyond my dreams
and said to Him, myself,

"No, my ears have never heard
My eyes have never seen
Eternal plans you have for me
Are more than I could dream.

Yes, I long to walk by sight
But You're teaching eyes to see
You know what You are doing
'Til then, I must believe."

I felt His great compassion
Mercy unrestrained
He let me mourn my losses
And showed me to my gains.

I offered Him my future
And released to Him my past
I traded in my dreams
For a plan He said would last.

I get no glimpse ahead
No certainties at all
Except the presence of the One
Who will not let me fall.

Are you also searching
For a life you planned yourself?
Have you looked in every corner?
Have you checked on every shelf?

Child, your ears have never heard
Your eyes have never seen
Eternal plans He has for you
Are more than you could dream.

Perhaps you long to walk by faith
But He's teaching eyes to see
He knows what He is doing
Child, step out and believe.

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

How many of us at the age of 20/21 had dreams and a life planned out that at the age of 30/40/50 when we look around and there is NOTHING of that plan in effect? In fact, very little, if any, of our life resembles the plan that we had made for ourselves. How many of us had those dreams in place without consulting God on any of them?

I know that at the age of 20 I was madly in love with someone that I thought to the bottom of my toes that I was going to marry and that we would live a happy life with lots of kids and everything would be rosy. Instead, at the age of 21, I was broken hearted and disillusioned and numb to the very soul of me. There wouldn't be that happily ever after with the man I had envisioned growing old with, instead there was just me – so wounded that I couldn't even cry for months after the breakup.

So here I am, fast forward 12 years and I am taking care of my amazing daughter and divorced, my ex having had an emotional affair over two years ago with someone still in her teens and who just gave birth to his 3rd child last month. In the realm of the worldly I should be angry and bitter about the outcome, and, to be honest, there are times that I am angry about it, but I realize now how much less stress-filled my life is out of that relationship and now I am able to focus more on my relationship with God and strengthening that rather than focusing on everything that was going wrong in my life.

I've realized that I really can do nothing worthwhile apart from God because everything that I try to do on my own comes back empty and hollow. If you are a Christian and think you have a plan for your life and try to do it apart from God, you're going to have to sit back and watch your plan fall apart as God laughs at the folly of our human nature. I've learned through my experiences that that happens because God is guiding me back to Him. The life I had planned for myself may not have hurt and ached like the life that God has given me, but it would have been shallow and weak and pale in comparison to what I have now and to where I am still headed. God has in mind for all of us a rich, deep and growing life in Him and He will use whatever means necessary to bring us into that life and that relationship with Him, to bring us in from out of the cold to the warm, love giving, live affirming, full bodied relationship with Him.

Many times God disrupts our "plans" so that we do not boast that WE did it, that it is by OUR smarts or OUR skills that WE accomplished these things in life. Rather God disrupts OUR plans so that we can see in the end that it was HE who brought us through the storms in life so that we can boast properly that it was GOD who did the wonderful things in our life.

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. " 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Many times God also disrupts our plans to keep us from being devoured by the Enemy because, though it is not our conscious intention, God can see where our plans are heading and it is to a place that ends up where we fall into the hands of evil – of Satan and because God loves us, he will not allow that to happen so He can disrupt our plans to prevent that from happening. The popular saying holds true: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Many times we don't understand why God stops our plans, why God breaks our hearts and we will never know, but often times it is because our hearts and lives would have ended up being broken as well as the lives and hearts of many others because of our "intentions". God watches out for us, even when we don't understand why He chooses the ways to protect us that He does.

"...your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8

There is another saying that kind of fits along with this one – at least in my mind it does...Please be patient, God isn't finished with me yet.

I'm not perfect – nobody is. I am a work in progress and God's plan for me is much better than what I could have planned for myself. Do I know what His plan for me is yet? No, but I know that God never gives those who trust in Him and who follow Him second best. I've had second best and it hurt. I'll take the life that God has planned for me because He always does what is best for us. I'm ready for THE best and the only way to get that is by following God's plan for my life, even if I don't always understand what it is or how He is leading me there.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

"Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways." Psalm 128:1

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil." Proverbs 3:5-7

P.S. Thanks to all of my blogfriends who offered me advice on my previous post (which I have since removed). Especially you, Uisce. Good advice and taken to heart.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

For Bragging Rights!

So, today's the big game. HORNS vs. Huskers in Nebraska. The 167th in Iraq are based in Nebraska and they are sooooo looking forward to this game. They're especially excited b/c it comes on at 7:00 their time - or 1900 for you military minded folds. They don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to watch the game and they're planning a nice cook out too. It's nice that they are able to get together and do that over there. Several of the guys over there have blogs and a few of them are waxing poetic about the game and how they're going to win. HA!

They're talking smack about my team and about winning. A couple of times this week I've been putting in their blog comments section "GO HORNS GO!". Heeheehee! I say that this game is for bragging rights. ;) However…I'm sorry for all you Husker fans out there, especially the 167th, but we really are going to pull a smack down on your team. Yes, I am a little bloodthirsty when it comes to Longhorn football. Don't mess with my HORNS!

Nebraska and Texas are both 6-1 this season and the game is expected to be a close matchup but Texas is predicted overall to win by 7 in this game. They enjoy a 6-4 record in this matchup.

Remember...GO HORNS GO!

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Could the temperatures be so different from these two cities? Snowing pretty heavy in Nebraska in the 2nd half, upper-80's here in Texas. Bring the snow on down here!

What a game! Texas needs to replace their regular kicker. Seriously. Missed two field goals and one extra point, leaving 7 points on the table and brought us to one of the most exciting last 3 minutes of any game that I've seen in a very long time. At 2:23 left in the game it was a 1 point game - with Nebraska leading, then at 2:17 left Nebraska fumbled on a crucial play giving it to Texas who brought it back to the 22 yard line.

With 27 seconds left Coach Callahan from Nebraska used a "coach's challenge" trying to delay the game and shake up the confidence of the sophomore replacement kicker who graduated here in Austin and who won a spot on the Texas team as a walk on. Bailey kicked it straight through the uprights to lead by 2 with 23 seconds left. Talk about a NAIL BITER! Bailey is the hero of the game in my opinion! My throat is sore from yelling! WHEW! Texas is still in National Bowl contention even on an ugly, last minute win like that. It should NOT have been so close. Coach Mac...GET RID OF THE REGULAR KICKER AND REPLACE HIM WITH BAILEY. As I said before:


Sorry 167th. B/C of my Dan I root for the Huskers in every other game except when they come up against MY BOYS. There's always next year, when y'all will be back stateside to see the matchup in person. :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Two for One

You get the Thankful Thursday AND the Friday's Feast in the same post today! WooHoo!

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This is my own version of the Successories style photos. I took this last night from in front of my house as the storms from the cold front moving down started sweeping across the area. This was taken about an hour before they hit. I originally had taken this shot b/c the rays were so pretty and the sunset area seemed like it was lit by a golden fire. It didn't look like this through the viewing screen of my digital camera, but when I downloaded it onto my computer it just popped out at me and I had to stare in awe at the beauty of the picture.

If you have any sort of imagination (as Anne Shirley would say) then you can see the cloud to the left and how it looks like an angel with outspread wings facing toward the majesty and glory of the awesome sunset. If you don't, here is a "rendering" of said angel outlined on the picture rather crudely (sorry, my pixilated outlines aren't so hot):

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Now, go back up to the original picture and see if you can see the angel now without the help from the outline.

Just like my daddy did when he was alive, I love to take pictures. My father was one of the most amazing amateur nature photographers that I knew and I think that somehow he would have been so pleased with this shot. I can almost hear his voice now in my ear talking about the shot. I think he would have been proud.

~1 Thessalonians 5:18~ Give thanks to God in all circumstances (no matter what they may be), for this is God's will for you (who are) in Christ Jesus.

My Peace I Leave With You

Thankful Thursday: What Nic is thankful for this week

Cooler temps b/c 90's in October is just ridiculous unless you're in the Bahamas or something (go 54 degrees! – a real blessing after the 91 of yesterday)
God's majesty and glory that allows me to take photos like the one above and capture just a hint of the beauty that God creates with His paintbrush
Friends, family and faith that help pull me though the tough times
Truth, honesty and openness – without it, no relationship will survive
This may sound paltry but an awesome football team to cheer for this Saturday – sorry 167th in Iraq but "GO HORNS GO!"
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Links to other Thankful Thursdays:
Unicorn Child (new "home" of ThT and code)
A Child of God
A Revision
Anna's Place
As My World Turns
Friday's Child
Imagine Bliss
Journaling Through the Valley
LadyBug Crossing
Momma's Life
Mommy Does It All
Mommy Needs To Vent
Show Them Through Me
Sting My Heart
Uzi's Musings
Yellow Rose's Garden

(If you participate, leave your link in the comments and I'll post it below; or, you can post in the comments)

Click here for the Thankful Thursday code

Click here for Chrixean's blog

Trackbacks, pings, and comment links are accepted and encouraged!

Friday's Feast

What is your favorite beverage?

Non-alcoholic: Sonic Cherry Limeade
Alcoholic: Italian Margarita and Guinness (not together)

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.

Pictures of Emily and Dan, laminating machine and purchase requests to be processed

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?

I would say at my best a 10, at my worst probably around a 7.

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?

I have no idea. I've never thought about it.

What stresses you out? What calms you down?

Stresses: Conflict, not having enough money to pay all the bills and Em's tuition, not hearing from Dan, traffic, sometimes Emily and that makes me feel terribly guilty

Calm: Emily, hugs and kisses and holding hands, affection, knowing that I am loved and wanted and needed, red wine and bubble baths, certain songs, sometimes quiet times alone with God - feeling His presence in the midst of the hurts and storms of my life

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In "Other" Words - Tuesdays at CWO

"It doesn't matter what is behind you as much as it matters who is beside you."
~ Ellen ~
"Laced with Grace"

To take that quote a step further, it also matters what is INSIDE you. The hounds of hell could be nipping at your feet in various ways from emotional, financial, personal or mental strife. You could be just plumb worn out from the battles you are fighting in your life, especially when they seem to come one right after the other. But, if you have the love of a good friend, family member or someone who cares about you – AND you have the personal assurance that God is beside you as well as inside of you, you will come through the battles of life stronger, better and victorious.

It is what is inside of us that defines how we will handle the times in our life where seemingly insurmountable situations not only seem to come at us from behind, surprising us often with their savagery and cruelty, but also those that are surrounding us on all sides that aren't really surprises – those things that we can see coming but are powerless to stop and prevent.

It is who is beside us during these times that determine if you are keeping the right company and very often determine how we come out on the other side after the storm(s) that batter and bruise us. Who we have right beside us – friend(s), family, God – keeps us from being crushed during the blows that we are dealt or the situations that shatter our composure and rock our world.

During the tough times, our character is tested and the mettle of it shows. Do we curse our situation or do we look for the support and counsel from those beside us as well as from the One who is inside of us? Do we throw tantrums or go into a corner and sulk when the tough times come and catch us unawares or do we reach out to others for help and understanding, putting our pride to the side and letting others in to share the burden that we can scarcely bear alone sometimes? If we have trustworthy, caring people of good character in our corner and God on our side, who really can come against us and take us down? What situations can rock our foundation? Nobody and nothing. Romans 8:31(b) states it so clearly: ...If God is for us, who can be against us? Friends, family and faith help us to persevere and push on when we want to give up and let go.

Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:4

Thursday, October 12, 2006

AskNic Answers and AskNic

Here are the AskNic questions that I received last week. I enjoy answering the questions that you ask me because a lot of times they are fairly thought provoking. I have two such questions today.

The first comes from my dear friend Captain Picard. He is celebrating his 300th post very soon so stop on by and tell him congrats on that big milestone! His blog is ALWAYS entertaining.

Captain Picard asked: What is your idea of comfort?

Well, there are different kinds of comfort. There is the comfort of knowing that you are taken care of financially and can live a certain kind of lifestyle without fear of the wolves knocking on your door. That is probably what most Americans think of when they think of "comfort". I prefer the simpler definitions and kinds.

There is the comfort of being content with what you have in life. If you are content with what you have in life, then you'll never be working to chase the almighty dollar, instead you'll be working to chase your kids around the yard in a game of tag or chasing your spouse around the house in a game of "catch me if you can…". ;) It's the comfort of knowing where your place is in your world, who you are to your friends and family. The comfort of a reassuring hug or seeing the sweet smile of your child and hearing them say "I love you mommy". The comfort of knowing that no matter what is going on in my life that God is always on my side as I live according to His will. Comfort is knowing where you belong and who you are in a crazy, monetary minded, "me first", superficial world. It's being able to curl up with a good book on occasion and a warm mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows or a cool wine. It's being around family and friends and knowing that no matter how you might mess up, they'll always love you and be there for you. It's knowing that you and your family are safe at night and knowing that you have the brave men and women in uniform continents apart who make it so. Comfort is being thankful for what you have and knowing you are loved at the end of the day.

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The second question is from a sweet friend, One4JC. She is going through her own difficult divorce right now and is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now. Through it all, the hurt, the humiliation of her soon-to-be ex's flaunting of his affair – even at church, and all the associated cr@p with that she has kept her faith strong and has plugged ahead, one day, one step at a time. She is a real sweetheart and is fixing to go on a missionary trip to Jamaica so stop by and give her well-wishes for her journey!

One4JC asked me: What would you rank as the "greatest lesson learned" in you life at this point?

Wow, that one is pretty tough. To tell the truth, I've never really thought about it. In Tuesday's post – my 300th! – I gave a very long list of lessons I've learned since I started blogging in early 2005. My life has changed dramatically since then and there were a lot of things that I learned since then. I think that probably the greatest lesson in life that I have learned is the lesson of Grace.

Grace is most commonly called "unmerited favor". Grace is what God offers to fallen sinners through the salvation obtained by the atonement of Jesus Christ. We call it grace because it is undeserved. The forgiveness we receive in Christ is through no work we ourselves do, it is for this reason we call it "unmerited favor". (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10, Titus 2:11)

Thomas Goodwin stated that "'Grace' is more than mercy and love, it superadds to them. It denotes, not simply love, but the love of a sovereign, transcendently superior, one that may do what he will, that may wholly choose whether he will love or no."

Grace can be natural or supernatural. God gives us His Grace, just as we can give grace to others through forgiveness. Commonly noted for both the natural and supernatural is that Grace gives us what we do not deserve.

My biggest life lesson in Grace is finally understanding that, as a Christian, I can do nothing that will take me out of God's Grace and that is something that I don't deserve for the things I've done in my past. The only unpardonable sin for anyone is the one that has you rejecting, unto death, the sovereignty of Jesus and the gift of salvation. Everything else can be forgiven, that, can not. If you die outside of Christ, without the gift of salvation, you don't get another chance after death. You have sealed your own fate.

I have made some pretty heinous mistakes in my past, and even worse, a lot of them were conscious decisions to make that mistake but I know that I am forgiven when I ask for it and that it is remembered by God no more.

The hardest part about that life lesson though, is extending that same grace to others who have hurt me deeply. That is a lesson that I am still trying to learn. I am human after all with all the human emotions that come with – and believe me, I am someone who feels everything deeply. I'm not an indifferent person, every joy I feel is like being giddy to the extreme, every hurt I feel is like a knife to my soul, every anger I experience makes my blood boil to the point I can feel the blood pressure going up. I have a hard time not taking things personally, even if they aren't meant to be. For those reasons alone, it is more difficult for me than most to extend full grace to those who have hurt me deeply. I'm not perfect, I'm still learning to live my life the way Christ would and it's not easy sometimes to forgive the other person when the other person shows no remorse for the hurt.

So, I've learned the lesson of Grace personally in my life and it is the most precious lesson I have learned, it's just the difficulty of applying it to the situations in my life with certain people is what I'm still struggling with on occasion.

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Would you like to participate in the AskNic question session? Well here's your chance:

This is the place where you can ask me anything that is on your mind about me, something you have wanted to know or were just curious about in general. You can ask about my experiences in life and love and parenting, my beliefs, etc... Be creative, be fun, be introspective, but please be clean - this is a family style blog after all! You can post the questions in the comments section or email me your question directly to asknic@gmail.com.

I will be posting the questions and their responses soon so check back within the next week for them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


It is time to celebrate my 300th post! YAY Me! My dear blogfriend Lois Lane suggested that I do a "Way Back Machine" to the yesteryear of Nic. Sort of like a review of Nic growing up. I think I will save that for another post. I started thinking about it and I want to tell you what I have learned in the past 300 posts – roughly the past 2 years. This blog was created in 2004 but I didn't start posting until the early part of 2005 and now here we are 300 posts and almost 17,000 visitors later. There are a lot of things that have changed in my life since then, and a lot of life's lessons learned and quite a few things realized. I will impart my non-wisdom to you and maybe these things you read will help you figure out what you've learned over the past few years in your own life.

It feels kind of like writing an elementary school essay with this but here goes:

What I Have Learned In The Past 300 Posts:

I have learned that everything has a purpose, even the painful things, the unexpected and the hurt-filled. I have learned that letting go is harder than it seems but when you give it over to God, the daily steps of letting go are easier. I have learned that I can't do it on my own, that I need my faith and my family and friends to lean on from time to time and to help support me. I have learned that sometimes saying goodbye to the distant past is harder than saying goodbye to the present. I have learned that there is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel and that the light is not that of an oncoming train. I have learned that there are good and decent men out there with high morals and good hearts. I've learned that sometimes, when we find the one thing that we want, we still need to wait in order to have it. I have learned that true love never really dies, it lives on in our memories and allows us to recognize it the next time it comes knocking. I've learned that I worry a lot about situations and people half way around the world that I can do nothing about from here – that not hearing from someone in a combat area can wreak havoc with your heart.

I've learned that in order to live you have to give – your time, your heart, your friendship, your resources, your money, your help, your love, your learning, yourself – among many others. I've learned that sometimes it's better to hold out for what you want than to give in for second best. I've learned that God knows what He is doing, even though I don't, but that I can never go wrong by depending on Him. I've learned that it is better to have quality friends than to have quantity friends. I've learned that the friends who stick by you, even when you're being a brat or are hurting, are the ones that you cherish and you keep. I've learned that my daughter is the single most important person in my life and that I would die for her in a heartbeat. I've learned that my mom is my strongest earthly rock, my biggest supporter and my most ardent fan. I've learned to treasure the time I spend with my mom and my daughter and to try and not take them for granted.

I've learned that sometimes forgiving others for the hurts they've caused you doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes it is a process of slow, pain-filled steps that are like a strange kind of dance – two steps forward, one step back, two steps back and then three steps forward. I've learned that God forgives me, even when I have a hard time forgiving others and that I need to try to learn to forgive like God does. I've learned that forgiving doesn't mean that I have to tolerate or accept the wrongs that others are doing. Wrong is wrong is wrong and even though I can forgive, it doesn't mean that I have to allow the wrong to go on and that I can say "NO" and set up boundaries with consequences for crossing them. I've learned that even though a thousand people can tell me something, I won't be ready to take action until I know that I have done everything I know to change it first. I have learned that it is possible to love someone even though they hurt you greatly. I have learned that there are times that it is hard to let go of anger and hurt, but that it does nobody any good in the long run to continue to do so and the longer you hold on to it, the harder it is to let it go and the more harm it does all around.

I've learned that I have a long way to go in regards to a few things. I've learned that God's best really is what is best for me and that I can't second guess His decisions. I've learned that I need to start sticking to a schedule or things just don't get done. I've learned to admit that, yes, I have ADD – pretty good too (or bad depending on how you look at it). You heard it here first – I've never admitted it before, but as time goes by, I've learned to recognize the signs. SIGH! I've learned that I procrastinate way too much. I've learned that it's ok to love too much and laugh too loud – both make you feel better. I've learned that I am incredibly opinionated politically, patriotically and personally. I've learned that being a mother opens my eyes to so much out there that I was on the fence about – my daughter deserves better than what the world is offering.

I've learned that two people can be the right people at the wrong time and that there never will really be a right time. I've learned that even without closure that you can move on, though it's never easy and that there are moments that memories come back, but that they can be looked on with fondness and gratefulness instead of hurt. I've learned that you learn from past relationships and you take with you the good and learn from the bad so that you don't make those mistakes again – hopefully. I've learned that tears come at the most inopportune times – especially when one is sitting at their desk at work. I've learned that no matter the distance, some feelings are stronger than time, stronger than miles. I've learned that people can learn to regret years after the fact and that knowledge helps to find closure. I've learned that it is enough to finally know that you're not the only one.

I've learned that I'm not as far along as I'd like to be, but that I'm further along than I thought I would be. I've learned that I tend to make the same mistakes in some areas and that I've got to learn from that and cut it out. I've learned that though I might not have the nice house in the country I've always wanted, it never hurts to dream. I have learned that without dreams, the world would be a dull place, indeed. I've learned that even though I stopped smoking several years ago, in times of high stress – like these past 3 years – that I can still crave one once in a while so badly that I can almost feel it but that I am strong enough to say no. I have learned that there are times when I would rather stay in bed and cry, but life – and Emily – necessitates that I get up and get my act together and get a move on.

I've learned that guilty pleasures come in all forms – mine are usually TV shows that I normally wouldn't watch (like Gray's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars and Men In Trees). I've learned that owning a Harley Hog by the time I am 36, is probably not a reality because, as a single mother, my money is better spent keeping my head above water and providing for Emily. I've learned that the simple pleasures in life are more rewarding than the extravagant ones – except maybe for a full body massage. I've learned that I couldn't survive that well without my computer. I've learned that I need to go to sleep when my body tells me it's tired or else I'm up half the night once I push myself past that limit. I've learned that patience, while a virtue, still is pretty much non-existent for me in rush hour traffic. I've learned to use creative words to express negative feelings because of Emily – heaven forbid (!) she should come out with a four letter word in the middle of kindergarten or Sunday school. EEP! I've learned to watch what I watch in front of Emily and how I act at all times as well. There are certain behaviors that I would rather she not emulate.

I've learned that even the most careless word can wound deeply. I've learned that a simple phone call or email from a loved one can brighten my day. I've learned that once someone is in my heart that they never really leave. I've learned that the best place I like to be is holding Emily and watching a movie or reading or singing to her. I've learned that while thinking things out seriously and thoroughly is usually the way to go, sometimes spontaneity is called for. I've learned that sometimes I'm still too impulsive for my own good and that I have to keep a tight reign on my tongue when it feels like running off at the mouth – especially when I'm upset. I have learned that I am a great starter but a lousy finisher and I need someone to push me from time to time to keep me going. I've learned that I have a hard time speaking my true feelings sometimes when I don't want to hurt someone even though they're making decisions that affect me too. I've learned too though that I speak out when I should hold back and hold back when I should speak out.

I've learned that it's a blessing to live every day. I've learned that I deserve better than what I've had in the past and I've also learned to be a better person because of it. I have learned that I can be selfish, thoroughly stubborn and obstinate at times, but that part of me is not the whole of me, just some of the flaws that I have. I've learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be in light of the life that I've lead, the decisions that I've lived with, the hurts I've endured and the mistakes I've made. I've learned that I still see the best in people first, or try to anyway. I've learned that, yes, I am still a glass half full person as annoying as it can be sometimes. I've learned that blogfriends from across the world can be just as close as friends that you see all the time in your own city. I've learned that God still loves me, even when I have a hard time loving myself.

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Thank you all for sticking with me during my little journey through life over the past 300 posts – for sharing in my joys and sorrows, my laughter and tears – my life. Here's to another 300 together!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Memer Madness Monday!

One, Two, 3…

The every delightful and dear One4JC tagged me with this meme – and b/c she is such a good blogfriend, she did it b/c she knows that, unlike the vast majority of the blogsphere, I happen to enjoy memes.

3 smells that I love:
  • the clean smell of Emily
  • rubbing alcohol
  • new tires

    3 smells that I hate:
  • spoiled dairy products or any kind of spoiled meat
  • skunk
  • port-a-potty's that have been sitting uncleaned out in the sun

    3 jobs that I have had in my life:
  • Mommy (my favorite)
  • Admin
  • Dance Instructor

    3 movies that I could watch over and over:
  • The Princess Bride
  • GI Jane
  • Phantom of the Opera

    3 fond memories:
  • When Emily was born
  • The day I was married (yes, it was a beautiful day, seemingly perfect – who knew)
  • When Emily became a Christian

    3 jobs I would love to have:
  • Not just a mommy but a Stay At Home Mommy
  • Full time writer/researcher
  • Singer

    3 places I have lived:
  • South Austin
  • North Austin
  • Back to South Austin
    Yes, seriously, that is my answer.

    3 things I like to do:
  • Spend time with Emily
  • Read
  • Sing

    3 of my favorite foods:
  • Center-cut buffalo tenderloin – 10-12 oz sounds about right
  • My mashed potatoes
  • Homemade rhubarb crunch cake with hand-cranked vanilla ice cream

    3 places I would like to be right now:
  • Ireland/Scotland
  • Israel
  • In the mountains while it's snowing, watching the snow come down as I'm sitting in front of a lit fireplace in a beautiful, cozy cabin cuddled up with Dan.

    3 websites I visit daily:

  • Omega Letter
  • World Net Daily
  • Captain Picard's Blog

    3 things that make me cry:
  • The thought of anything bad happening to Emily anywhere she is or to Dan in Iraq
  • Certain lyrics to songs that touch my heart and soul
  • Any abuse or neglect of children who are innocent and can not defend themselves

    3 friends that I am tagging:
  • Captain Picard's Blog
  • No Average Girl
  • Crouching Mommy, Hidden Laundry

    My NEXT POST will be my 300th post! Such a milestone. So I'm asking you. What would you like to read about on my 300th post? This is your chance to "direct" a post of mine.
  • Friday, October 06, 2006

    Friday's Feast

    So, here we are on another Friday. It's promised to be a HOT one here. Easily mid-90's today. UGH! Tomorrow is the BIG Red River Rivalry between Texas and OU. GO HORNS GO! I will be watching the game from the comfort of the recliner in my living room in front of my 51" widescreen TV. Maybe with a beer or two on hand, or a margarita and a nice HOT cheesy pizza. Em is at her dad's this weekend so I can be a grown up this weekend.

    So today we have the Friday Feast.

    Name a song you know by heart.

    Which one out of the hundreds I know do you want me to name? I'll name "Baby Mine" from Dumbo for my sweet Em, "Amazing Grace" – ALL the verses – for me and "The Eyes of Texas" just for fun! GO HORNS GO!

    What will you absolutely not do in front of another person?

    There's A LOT I wouldn't do in front of another person but for this exercise I will choose "pick my nose" in front of another person.

    How often do you use mouthwash and what kind do you like?

    I use the Crest Pro Health mouthwash, usually every other day.

    Main Course
    Finish this sentence: I am embarrassed when...

    Oh, hmmmm, I am embarrassed when, well, there's not a lot that I am embarrassed about. I guess I would have to say probably when a certain noise unexpectedly escapes from the hind part of me or when I am around anyone who is very profuse in cussing in public places. It makes me want to crawl away and hide somewhere. Also, when I'm with someone who burps out loud in restaurants, repeatedly and makes no effort to conceal or quiet them. The X did that all the time – burped out loud in restaurants and didn't care who heard him, even though it was rude and showed poor manners. Actually I guess those last two are more like pet peeves than embarrassments. They tick me off.

    What was the last food you craved?

    That would be a good center-cut tenderloin steak and my mashed potatoes.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    HDQ and AskNic

    I don't always agree with Dennis Prager, but he's had some wonderful commentaries over the past year on marriage. I featured one previously on what questions you need to ask before getting married.

    I'm posting his new one as part of this weeks HDQ.

    5 reasons not to shack up
    by Dennis Prager

    I have always believed that there is no comparing living together with marriage. There are enormous differences between being a "husband" or a "wife" and being a "partner," a "friend" or a "significant other"; between a legal commitment and a voluntary association; between standing before family and community to publicly announce one's commitment to another person on the one hand and simply living together on the other.

    But attending the weddings of two of my three children this past summer made the differences far clearer and far more significant.

    First, no matter what you think when living together, your relationship with your significant other changes the moment you marry. You have now made a commitment to each other as husband and wife in front of almost everyone significant in your life. You now see each other in a different and more serious light.

    Second, words matter. They deeply affect us and others. Living with your "boyfriend" is not the same as living with your "husband." And living with your "girlfriend" or any other title you give her is not the same as making a home with your "wife." Likewise, when you introduce that person as your wife or husband to people, you are making a far more important statement of that person's role in your life than you are with any other title.

    Third, legality matters. Being legally bound to and responsible for another person matters. It is an announcement to him/her and to yourself that you take this relationship with the utmost seriousness. No words of affection or promises of commitment, no matter how sincere, can match the seriousness of legal commitment.

    Fourth, to better appreciate just how important marriage is to the vast majority of people in your life, consider this: There is no event, no occasion, no moment in your life when so many of the people who matter to you will convene in one place as they will at your wedding. Not the birth of any of your children, not any milestone birthday you may celebrate, not your child's bar mitzvah or confirmation. The only other time so many of those you care about and who care about you will gather in one place is at your funeral. But by then, unless you die young, nearly all those you love who are older than you will have already died.

    So this is it. Your wedding will be the greatest gathering of loved ones in your life. There is a reason. It is the biggest moment of your life. No such event will ever happen if you do not have a wedding.

    Fifth, only with marriage will your man's or your woman's family ever become your family. The two weddings transformed the woman in my son's life into my daughter-in-law and transformed the man in my daughter's life into my son-in-law. And I was instantly transformed from the father of their boyfriend or girlfriend into their father-in-law. This was the most dramatic new realization for me. I was now related to my children's partners. Their siblings and parents became family. Nothing comparable happens when two people live together without getting married.

    Many women callers to my radio show have told me that the man in their life sees no reason to marry. "It's only a piece of paper," these men (and now some women) argue.

    There are two answers to this argument.

    One is that if in fact "it is only a piece of paper," what exactly is he so afraid of? Why does he fear a mere piece of paper? Either he is lying to himself and to his woman or lying only to her because he knows this piece of paper is far more than "only a piece of paper."

    The other response is all that is written above. Getting married means I am now your wife, not your live-in; I am now your husband, not your significant other. It means that we get to have a wedding where, before virtually every person alive who means anything to us, we commit ourselves to each other. It means that we have decided to bring all these people we love into our lives. It means we have legal obligations to one another. It means my family becomes yours and yours becomes mine.

    Thank God my children, ages 30 and 23, decided to marry. Their partners are now my daughter-in-law and son-in-law. They are therefore now mine to love, not merely two people whom my children love.

    When you realize all that is attainable by marrying and unattainable by living together without marrying, you have to wonder why anyone would voluntarily choose not to marry the person he or she wishes to live with forever.

    Unless, of course, one of you really isn't planning on forever.

    This commentary leads me to the HDQ for this week (HDQ=Humpy Day Question - being that Wednesday is the hump day of the week).

    HDQ: Do you believe that there is nothing wrong with living together instead of being married?

    I used to think not, but having done it and seeing the consequences, I would never do it again, especially having Emily. I don't want to set that example for her that she isn't good enough to marry, just good enough to sleep with and live with and not commit to for a lifetime. She deserves the best, as do I.

    You can leave your answers in the comments.

    Next is Ask Nic:

    This is the place where you can ask me anything that is on your mind about me, something you have wanted to know or were just curious about in general. You can ask about my experiences in life and love and parenting, my beliefs, etc... Be creative, be fun, be introspective, but please be clean! You can post the questions in the comments section or email me your question directly to asknic@gmail.com.

    I will be posting the questions and their responses soon so check back within the next week for them.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    In "Other" Words - Tuesdays at CWO

    "A husband is a guy who tells you when you've got on too much lipstick and helps you with your girdle when your hips stick."
    ~ Ogden Nash ~

    Hus-band [huhz-buh nd]
    1. a married man, esp. when considered in relation to his wife.
    2. to be or become a husband to; marry.

    Well, this topic is one where I am going “off-topic” – sort of. Instead of talking about lipstick and hip-stick I would like to discuss the Proverbs 31 HUSBAND. Many of us know the Proverbs 31 wife and her virtues. Many of us aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and many of us fall short – like myself. There are many sermons, discourses, articles on what a Proverbs 31 woman is, but what about the Proverbs 31 husband?

    Behind every successful man, the saying goes, there's a good woman. But have you ever considered that behind many a successful woman, there's also a good man?

    Was Proverbs 31 ever intended to be an unrealistic standard for women to reach alone? Heaven forbid! If one really studies this particular passage they will see that it was written originally as a challenge to men. When men read Proverbs 31:10-31 it’s easy for them to think how wonderful it would be to have a wife like that. After all, with a wife like that they think their lives would be so much easier for them. What they fail to do is to stop and notice what these verses say about the Proverbs 31 husband.

    Before anything else, the Proverbs 31 husband recognizes the true value of his wife as a person. He knows her value is “worth far more than rubies” (31:10) and sees her as priceless and unique.

    God’s measure of true value isn’t based upon what we do, or what we look like or what we have but rather who we are – people created in the image of God. Beauty, wealth, talent and smarts mean nothing to God. What matters to God is our heart and how we live our lives for Him.

    A man makes his wife feel beautiful and wanted by cherishing her for what she is. The husband doesn't let his wife feel less than special once the honeymoon is over. He continues to woo her and with his words, touches and actions a husband lets his wife know she is the most important person in his life.

    The Proverbs 31 husband also believes in the potential of his wife (31:11). He doesn't allow her to become a doormat, inactive or put her in a box where she has to stay at home doing only his bidding. Instead, he allows her to be productive and fulfilled both in and out of the home.

    The Proverbs 31 husband is willing to let their wives make real estate investments, begin business enterprises on their own (31:16) and contribute to charitable organizations using their own judgment (31:20).

    He fully trusts her, knowing that she will make wise decisions in his absence. There is nothing more important to the family or society than a woman who has the trust and confidence of her husband.

    The Bible says here that the heart of her husband does "safely" trust in her. Being able to safely trust means that his confidence is not in vain and his trust does not go unrewarded. Her husband can go about his business knowing that the cares and needs of his household are being met by his wife.

    Traditionally the husband has been seen as being entirely responsible for the family income and budget, leaving the wife out of all of these aspects of their life and depending on the husband to give her what she needs to take care of their family. The Proverbs 31 husband challenges these social folklores.

    The biblical concept of submission has in it the idea of taking up a supportive role. Both husbands and wives are summoned to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21). The Proverbs 31 husband actively supports his wife as she seeks to reach her full potential. He encourages her, stands by her and loves her as Christ loved the church. The Proverbs 31 husband is mature enough to encourage and support his wife to reach her full potential. He believes in her and provides an environment in which she is free to succeed without his ego getting in her way.

    The Proverbs 31 husband will wisely listen to, and learn from, the wisdom of his wife (31:26). He may be spared from many careless and imprudent actions by respecting the "faithful instruction . . . on her tongue."

    The Proverbs 31 husband can be taught much about God and life through his wife without relinquishing his responsibility as the spiritual head of the home. He enjoys challenging and being challenged by his wife both spiritually and intellectually. No husband ever comes in second place when he gives his wife his full attention.

    Why are so many couples failing in their marriages? It is because they have taken no time to cultivate their own relationship, listen to each other and develop common interests. The Proverbs 31 husband strengthens his marriage by taking the time to listen to his wife. He respects her opinions and pays attention to her Godly advice.

    And, at the last, the Proverbs 31 husband praises the virtues and accomplishments of his wife (31:28). He doesn't flatter her with empty praise for earthly pursuits but instead praises his wife for her fear of God (31:30) and her successful endeavors (31:31). He publicly praises her to others and lets others know that his wife is someone who is extra special.

    Any man, not just the Proverbs 31 man, can never encourage, compliment, praise or build up his wife too much. The Proverbs 31 husband is not stingy in his praise of her and indeed heaps praise on her. Everyone craves appreciation and a compliment, I know I do, and wives perhaps need (and deserve) it the most for all that they do. A husband can make an enormous impact on his wife, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, by consciously and consistently looking for opportunities to praise her.

    The Proverbs 31 husband doesn't expect his wife to be able to instantly replicate and model the virtues of the practically perfect wife that is described in Proverbs 31. Rather, he encourages his wife to grow and mature in her personal life and she does the same for him.

    While it is important to strive to be a Proverbs 31 wife, I’d like to also have a husband who strives to be a Proverbs 31 husband. How much would we be able to accomplish together for God and our family?