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


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Friday, March 31, 2006

10 Weird Things about Myself! (And the FFT)

My very dear blogfriend No Average Girl tagged me on this meme. I love memes b/c #1 it’s a way to tell you more about me and, well, it is a cheat for a post when I’m running low on energy and thoughts. Some of these you will have read before but most you probably don’t know as you most likely don’t know me personally apart from this blog.

10 Weird Things about Myself!

1. I have this freaky ability to sing a song that I have never heard before without missing hardly any words as I’m listening to the song lyrics. Now give me the same song to sing after that with just the music and no lyrics and I can’t remember a word in it to save my life.

2. I have one pure white eyelash on my right eyelid – I was told by a friend many years ago that it meant that you were extraordinarily blessed by God with amazing gifts and talents.

3. I’m ambidextrous AND I can write with my right foot too. I haven’t tried with my left foot yet.

4. I can read backwards and upside down – at the same time too.

5. I can tie a knot in almost any cherry stem with my tongue...

6. ...and I can make a cloverleaf out of my tongue.

7. I love the smell of rubbing alcohol, new tires and gasoline.

8. I’m a hand talker. I don’t mean I do sign language, though I can do the alphabet and a few words and phrases. I mean I will be on the phone and will be talking about something and my hands will mimic the motion, even though the other person can not see me at all. It’s completely an unconscious movement and I’ll often not realize I’m doing it until I finish making the motion with my hands. Matt used to make awful fun of me for doing it but it wasn’t something that I could control. It’s just part of me.

9. I fall in love rather quickly, regardless of the person’s faults and flaws, and take a very, very long time to fall out of love – which is why divorce is not an easy thing for me to have ended up pursuing. I think I’ll be keeping my heart close to me for a while.

10. I’ve lived in Austin all my life and I don’t have an accent when I talk...but for 3 exceptions.

• When I start talking about Minnesota or Iowa I start getting a northern accent b/c I spent several weeks up there during most of my childhood summers and a few Christmas vacations as well.
• When I’m angry, I get a noticeable drawl.
• When I drink enough to get me pretty “tipsy” I get a severely affected drawl (nothing I can control – it just comes out) – I sound like a redneck woman though I prefer to think of it more as a Southern Lady...it just sounds nicer! As I told my friend MC, “just b/c I drawwwl doesn’t mean I’m druuunk – yet”. Actually, when I start to drawl I know that I don’t need to have any more to drink so that I can still be responsible and in control of myself. Though b/c my tolerance for alcohol is really high those times are extremely rare, especially b/c I very rarely drink. I’m at home too much taking care of my Em.

Ok, I’m not tagging anyone but if you want to tag yourself, please leave a message so I can check out your 10 weird things about yourself on your blog.

Happy Friday! Thank GOD it’s here!!!
What Jewel Are You?

This is one of those little online quizzes. Interesting results. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at my result b/c I feel anything but. LOL!

What kind of jewel are you?


You are the epitome of loveliness. Your friends secretly hope to learn from you what makes you so beautiful, both inside and out.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

HDQ/Ask Nic/Thankful Thursdays

Ok, so I was delinquent in getting the HDQ up, which should have been up yesterday and even more delinquent in answering my dear friend Great White Bear's Ask Nic question from a couple of weeks ago. And, of course, today is Thankful Thursday day, so you're getting a good group of things to view today!

HDQ/Ask Nic

HDQ: Simple pleasures are the best. What are your simple pleasures?

Nic's Answer: My simple pleasures are my daughter - her laugh, her hugs, her kisses, her excitement and enthusiasm - well, everything about her really. My other simple pleasures are truly quiet times to just talk to God (with an active 4 year old that’s not easy unless it’s at 2 in the morning!), a beautiful day with sun, a cool breeze and blue skies, white/yellow daisies, someone to slow dance with, a good red wine with a perfectly cooked steak and my mashed potatoes, a good book to read, candle light, a warm fire whether it be in a fireplace or a campfire, a hearty laugh, a massage that hits all the knots in my back and shoulders without bringing tears to my eyes, a clear mind and a good night’s sleep.

Ask Nic:

This is the place where you can ask me anything. Think of something you have wanted to know about me or were just curious about in general about myself, my experiences in life and love and parenting, my beliefs, etc... Again, 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. They probably will be up over the weekend if I get enough questions.

Nic’s answer to GWB’s Ask Nic question:

My dear friend Great White Bear asked...

Do you see yourself ever moving from your home state? If so, where would you be most likely to go and why?

Well, that’s tough to say. I find that as life goes on and I get older that the answer to that question is not a clear one. My life is here in Austin. My daughter, my job, my church, my mom, my two best friends. But is that enough to keep me here? I don’t know. I don’t know what the future will bring. Anything’s possible.

As to where I would most likely go? I would like to be closer to my family in Minnesota and Iowa. But I don’t think I could be too close, you know? I love them and as I grow older I find myself becoming more and more like them, but at the same time I’m independent enough to know that living too close to them would drive me NUTS! I do have to say that my very favorite city is Kansas City. I was serious with someone from there many years ago. I’ve blogged about him a couple of times over the past year. I don’t love the city b/c of him, rather I fell in love with the city b/c it is beautiful and vibrant and there is so much to do there like the Plaza, the Royals and the Chiefs, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. They still have drive in theaters and wonderful festivals such as the Plaza Art Fair, the Street Blues Fest, Irish Fair and Ren Fest among many, many others. The atmosphere there is friendly and laid back and they have quirky areas like Westwood. It is a family friendly place and I just love it.

However, I would also love to live in New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming or Colorado as well. I love the mountains and I love being able to actually HAVE seasons. Here is Texas it’s usually 3 weeks of Winter, 6 weeks of mild weather and then HOT the rest of the year with humidity 80% of the time. I love wide open spaces and snow. I’d love to live in a large log house in the mountains with a big rock fireplace and a large kitchen. :) I’d much rather live near the mountains than near the ocean and I would never, ever want to live in California or really anywhere on the West Coast with all of the fault lines and earthquake possibilities. I wouldn’t want to live on the East Coast b/c of the liberal attitudes. I’m waaaaaay too conservative for that. So I’d say Southwest/Midwest/Plains/Mountain areas would be the best for me.

So there you go. That’s where I would live if I weren’t living here.

Thankful Thursday’s:

~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.

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Thankful Thursday: What Nic is thankful for this week

Every day on this earth b/c it’s one more day with my precious daughter
Flowers that brighten the landscape and the day
Rain that makes the flowers grow
The Freedom to worship my Creator and God in private or public without fear for my life and the lives of my loved ones

Links to other Thankful Thursdays
No Average Girl
Sting My Heart
Ladybug Crossing
Child of God
Friday’s Child
Yellow Roses 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!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Perfect Memories

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~Psalm 118:24

Oh, what a day, what a day. It is in the 50’s with the temps sloooowly dropping and pouring cats and dogs here in Austin. Not that I'm complaining, b/c we really need the rain. REALLY need it. However, that being said, we could do without the flooding. Our parking lot at work is flooded and the connection between us and another business is really flooded. The creek that is next to our office building, which is normally dry, is overflowing its banks with great vigor. If you look in one area there actually is some white water rapids stuff going on. It’s a far cry from the heavenly weekend we experienced on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday most especially.

Saturday was one of those days on a weekend that come along maybe 4 or 5 times a year here in Central Texas. Oh, it was glorious! If I had to guess at the weather in heaven, it would have been a carbon copy of Saturday. In the morning it was cool, in the 40’s and clear. The air had that nice chill to it as the sun rose in shades of pink and orange and gold. The birds were chirping as if they were just happy to be alive and there were butterflies around the newly budding spring flowers in the back yard. Big, beautiful, yellow butterflies flitting around. The day warmed up very nicely and the low humidity stayed low all day. The sun was shining cheerily and cast its warmth everywhere. The sky was a brilliant shade of blue and the bright green grass and spring leaves of the trees were the perfect compliment to it. There were no clouds and there was a light, cool breeze blowing. The temps never made it out of the low 70’s.

To celebrate the amazing day that God blessed us with, Emily and I had a picnic in the back yard. Of course she was ecstatic about it. Everything fun like that is just huge to a 4 year old! We had BBQ chicken and beans and corn and potato salad and mac ‘n cheese and fresh banana pudding. This was a very special time for both of us b/c it was just her and me. Just the two of us with no classes for her and no meetings, appointments, errands or lunches for me. We talked about the things a mommy and her 4 year old daughter talk about. We talked about playing and dolls, she wanted to know how my day was going (LOL!) and she talked about her school, we made up stories about princesses and and sang songs, we talked about God and the blessings He’s given us and were just silly at times. And we laughed a lot. All in all it was a perfect memory. You know the kind I'm talking about – those memories of perfect moments that you hold on to and cherish throughout your life? This was one of those. I wish I could say that I took pictures of the day, but I didn’t even think about it. I was too busy enjoying my sweet daughter.

And on rainy days like today, it makes me long for another perfect Saturday as I hear the thunder crack and the rain pound against the roof and windows of the office building and thank God for it as it will bring even more flowers out – after the rain – to enjoy with Emily on another day.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

In a world of evil and horror a story of hope and strength

This story made me weep and just breaks my heart. I am in awe of this little girl and her ordeal. The strength that she has is more than most men that I know. Her story was one that I felt needed to be told b/c it will tell you just how bad things are in other areas of the world and just how good we have it over here compared to the stuff that they are suffering elsewhere.

Child abuse in any form is deplorable, reprehensible, disgusting and shows the true face of evil. If I had my way, all child abusers and molesters would be sentenced and subjected to the exact same things they did to their innocent victims and THEN would be given a slow, painful death. All children are precious. They are a gift. Jesus held children in such high regard that He said that unless you have the faith of a child you can not enter the kingdom of heaven.

In order to keep a better eye on your children there is a wonderful website that lets you know where any convicted sex offenders are in proximity to your house and their school. It’s called Family Watchdog.

I hope you are as moved by little Gulsoma’s story as I was.
Child Bride
Posted by Kevin Sites
on Mon, Mar 20 2006, 4:55 PM ET

Married at the age of four, an Afghan girl was subjected to years of beatings and torture, finally escaping to discover that within all the world's cruelty, there is also some kindness.

KABUL, Afghanistan - Eleven-year old Gulsoma lay in a heap on the ground in front of her father-in-law. He told her that if she didn't find a missing watch by the next morning he would kill her. He almost had already.

Enraged about the missing watch, Gulsoma's father-in-law had beaten her repeatedly with a stick. She was bleeding from wounds all over her body and her right arm and right foot had been broken.

She knew at that moment that if she didn't get away, he would make good on his promise to kill her.

* * *

When I meet her at the Ministry of Women's Affairs I'm surprised that the little girl, now 12, is the same one that had endured such horrible suffering. She is wearing a red baseball cap and an orange scarf. She has beautiful brown eyes and a full and animated smile. She takes one of my hands in both of hers and greets me warmly, without any hint of shyness.

"She looks healthy," says Haroon, my friend and translator. I nod. But she looks older than her years, we both agree. In orphanages — first in Kandahar, then in Kabul — she has had a year to recover from a lifetime's worth of unimaginable imprisonment, deprivation and torture.

In one of the ministry's offices she sits in a straight-backed wooden chair and tells us the story of her life so far. She is stoic for the most part, pausing only a few times to wipe her eyes and nose with her scarf.

Her story begins in the village of Mullah Allam Akhound, near Kandahar.

"When I was three years old my father died, and after a year my mother married again, but her second husband didn't want me," says Gulsoma. "So my mother gave me away in a promise of marriage to our neighbor's oldest son, who was thirty."

"They had a ceremony in which I was placed on a horse [which is traditional in Afghanistan] and given to the man."

Because she was still a child, the marriage was not expected to be sexually consummated. But within a year, Gulsoma learned that so much else would be required of her that she would become a virtual slave in the household.

At the age of five, she was forced to take care of not only her "husband" but also his parents and all 12 of their other children as well.

Though nearly the entire family participated in the abuse, her father-in-law, she says, was the cruelest.

"My father-in-law asked me to do everything — laundry, the household chores — and the only time I was able to sleep in the house was when they had guests over," she says. "Other than that I would have to sleep outside on a piece of carpet without even any blankets. In the summer it was okay. But in the winter a neighbor would come over and give me a blanket, and sometimes some food."

When she couldn't keep up with the workload, Gulsoma says, she was beaten constantly.

Gulsoma's scars

"They beat me with electric wires," she says, "mostly on the legs. My father-in-law told his other children to do it that way so the injuries would be hidden. He said to them, 'break her bones, but don't hit her on the face.'"

There were even times when the family's abuse of Gulsoma transcended the bounds of the most wanton, sadistic cruelty, as on the occasions when they used her as a human tabletop, forcing her to lie on her stomach then cutting their food on her bare back.

Gulsoma says the family had one boy her age, named Atiqullah, who refused to take part in her torture.

"He would sneak me food sometimes and when my mother-in-law told him to find a stick to beat me, he would come back say he couldn't find one," she says. "He would try to stop the others sometimes. He would say 'she is my sister, and this is sinful.' Sometimes I think about him and wish he could be here and I wish I could have him as my brother."

One evening, Gulsoma says, when her father-in-law saw the neighbor giving her food and a blanket, he took them away and beat her mercilessly. Then, she says, he locked her in a shed for two months.

"I would be kept there all day," she says, "then at night they would let me go the bathroom and I would be fed one time each day. Most of the time it was only bread and sometimes some beans."

She says every day she was locked in the shed, she wished and prayed that her parents would come and take her away. Then she would remember that her father was dead and her mother was gone.

But Gulsoma had an inner strength even her father-in-law couldn't comprehend.

"When he came to the shed he kept asking me, 'Why don't you die? I imprisoned you, I give you less food, but still you don't die.'"

But it wasn't for lack of trying. Gulsoma said when her father-in-law finally let her out of the shed, he bound her hands behind her back and beat her unconscious. She says he revived her by pouring a tea thermos filling with scalding water over her head and her back.

"It was so painful," she says, dabbing her eyes with her scarf and sniffling for a moment. "I was crying and screaming the entire time."

Five days later, she says, her father in law gave her a vicious beating when his daughter's wristwatch went missing.

"He thought I stole it," she says, "and he beat me all over my body with his stick. He broke my arm and my foot. He said if I didn't find it by the next day, he would kill me."

* * *

Gulsoma found hope after escaping

She crawled away that night and hid under a rickshaw. When the rickshaw driver found Gulsoma, broken and bleeding, he listened to her story and took her to the police. She was hospitalized immediately.

"The doctor at the hospital who treated me said, 'I wish I could take you to the village square and show all the people what happened to you, so no one would ever do something like this again,'" Gulsoma says.

It took her a full month to recover from her last beating. But the fear and psychological trauma may never go away.

"I was happy to have a bed and food at the hospital," she says. "But I was thinking that when I get better they will give me back to the family."

However, Gulsoma says when the police questioned the family, the father-in-law lied and tried to tell them she had epilepsy and had fallen down and hurt herself. But the neighbor who had helped Gulsoma confirmed the story of her beatings and torture.

The police arrested her father-in-law and "husband." They told her, she says, they would keep them in jail unless she asked for their release.

"Everyone was crying when they heard my story," Gulsoma says.

Gulsoma says she stayed at an orphanage in Kandahar, but was the only girl in the facility. Eventually, her story was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

The toll of torture

Gulsoma was then brought to a Kabul orphanage, where she lives today. She takes off her baseball cap and shows us a bald spot, almost like a medieval monk's tonsure, on the crown of her head where she was scalded.

She then turns her back and raises her shirt to reveal a sad map of scar tissue and keloids from cuts, bruises and the boiling water.

Haroon and I look at each other with disbelief. Her life's tragic story is etched upon her back.

Yet she continues to smile. She doesn't ask for pity. She seems more concerned about us as she reads the shock on our faces.

"I feel better now," she says. "I have friends at the orphanage. But every night I'm still afraid the family will come here and pick me up."

Gulsoma also says that when the sun goes down, she sometimes begins to shiver involuntarily — a reaction to the seven years of sleeping outdoors, sometimes in the bitter cold of the desert night.

She says she believes there are other girls like her in Kandahar, maybe elsewhere in Afghanistan, and that she wants to study human rights and one day go back to help them.

As we walk outside to take some pictures, I ask her if, after all she's been through, she thinks it will be harder to trust, to believe that there are actually good people in the world.

"No," she says, quickly.

"I didn't expect anyone would help me but God. I was really surprised that there were also nice people: the neighbor, the rickshaw driver, the police," she says. "I pray for those who helped release me."

Looking directly into the camera, she smiles as if nothing bad had ever happened to her in her entire life.

"I think that all people are good people," she says, "except for those that hurt me."


The Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone team has set up an email account so that messages of support can be retrieved and forwarded to Gulsoma via a local organization. Click here to email your message.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

200th Post Tuesday

Today is a momentous occasion! It is my 200th post!!! There will be a variety of things to read today for this post. Thank you all for being continued readers of Nic’s Place. Many of you have grown into treasured friends. Though we may never meet in person, we have come close through emails, reading each other’s blogs and just plain caring.

I want to highlight just a few of the blogs/blogfriends that I really enjoy on a regular basis. My apologies to anyone who was left out, it wasn’t intentional by any means. For an expanded list of amazing bloggers and blogs visit my blogroll on the lower right sidebar.

No Average Girl, is the sweetest person. A young, strong girl who has a head on her shoulders and a maturity beyond many who are twice (or more) her age. She is going through a tough time. Her beloved pawpaw passed away over the weekend after a prolonged battle. She is handling it exceptionally well and is a real rock for her family. You can find out more about the ordeal that they have been through over the past week on her blog and gain a great deal of insight into her. You will come away awed by the strength of character that she has maintained throughout her life so far.

THE Great White Bear is another dear friend who has been a real source of encouragement to me when I’ve been down. I’ve mentioned before that he is so different from me philosophically, theologically, ideologically among others. However, in spite of the fact that he is liberal, leftist, anti-Bush and his administration, a self-proclaimed XXXL hippie, a humanistic atheist and much older than me with grandkids, he, most importantly, is kind, compassionate, caring, a real friend, encourager and cheerleader to me always. He has my back and I know he always will. He also is a huge hockey fan and loves all things Celtic – especially the beer! I adore him and would have his back without hesitation should he ever need it.

Some great homegrown (as in Texas) blogfriends that I visit on a regular basis, but don’t always post a comment on their blog and the delightful Present Storms (aka Stormie), her husband Guppy and then dear Epiphany. I enjoy them all.

A woman who knows what I am going through b/c she is going through it too is One4JC. She's kind, empathetic and a voice of support during our respective ordeals with divorce. Go on by and give her a word of encouragement too.

There are also some other great blogs out there that I enjoy going to, especially the always interesting and wonderful Michael Manning. He is a great friend and another amazing encourager for everyone he comes across. He is a Steve McQueen fanatic and enthusiast and finds the good in everyone or at least he brings it out in everyone.

A great conservative blog out there is Oblogitory Anecdotes – because everyone is entitled to his opinion! He is pro-America, pro-family, pro-ethics and pro-morals and always has interesting opinions on the stories that he reports on his blog.

Mike Jones is a really sweet single dad in California, in law enforcement and loves singing and God. He is a real encourager to both myself and No Average Girl over the past months. He's a real class act and one I'm glad to say is a good blogfriend.

Next up are three wonderfully witty and deeply delightful ladies. Lois Lane keeps her “Home Fires” burning bright, Ms. Susie Sunshine (my nickname for her) begs an answer to the question “What was I thinking?” and finally CMHL (Crouching Mommy Hidden Laundry) gives you a glimpse into her wonderfully hectic and stressed life with a hint of humor (after all, isn't that the only way to go through life and be sane is with some humor). You will either be touched deeply by their posts about their respective families and some of the struggles they go through or will be laughing out loud hard enough about their (or their kids/spouses) antics to bring tears to your eyes.

And lastly, but not least, are my intergalactic friends Captain Picard who is currently, with his crew, on the Walt Springer show in order to garner better understanding between the citizens of the Federation and those who are on Starships; and Master Yoda who is having to put up with the likes of the street speaking Young Anakin Skywalker, the narcissistic Mace Windu, the slightly annoying Harvey the Youngling and his pet Bob the Bantha. Captain Picard has been ever gracious and kind and is always an encourager when he leaves a comment on my blog and Master Yoda and his stupid intern Bill J. are funny and a wonderful daily read!

Check 'em out, you'll be glad you did!
Some things about me that you probably don't know yet:

• My favorite shows are American Idol, Nashville Star, Grey's Anatomy and Criminal Minds. Yes I'm a sucker for the singing shows. I have a good voice – a really good voice, but I have never had a great voice so I love listening to the undiscovered talent out there who have a chance to make it.

• I love watching Saturday morning cartoons with Emily on Saturday mornings – I never grew out of enjoying cartoons.

•I'm a sucker for flowers – yellow and Shasta daisies and white and yellow roses especially.

• I can recite the alphabet backwards with almost no hesitation

• I can read and write upside down and backwards and also read and write both ways at the same time
I was watching "The Best of Guy Penrod" form the Gaither series this weekend and I thought to myself...that is the kind of man I want. He's a Godly, God-fearing, man who loves his God, his family, his country and his friends. He's funny, fun-loving, respectful, a great husband and father (of 8 – 7 boys and 1 brand new baby girl – though I don't want that many!), who sings, reads morning Bible verses with the whole family, helps home school his kids and hunts among many other things. I was watching this with Emily and my mom and just felt that thought so deeply.

I told my dearest friend MC this weekend that I'm perfectly ok with being single. For the first time in my life I am completely ok with being single and I know that it is because I have been able to really concentrate on my relationship with God and my daughter and have really grown in both, especially how I am learning to really lean on God instead of trying to be so self-sufficient and if I'm single until the day I die, I will truly be ok with it. However, that being said, I would really love to, buy the grace of God, find someone like Guy Penrod. Those of you who know the Gaithers and who know about Guy Penrod know what I mean.
I was reading the verse of the day from Bible Gateway and it really was what I needed to hear today in a big way.

You know how sometimes you read a random verse and it speaks to you in a voice so loud you can't help but know that it was from God? Yeah, that was this verse...

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”- Jeremiah 17:7-8

I was reminded - as I often need to be, unfortunately, that no matter what is going on in my life that I need to keep trusting God, regardless of the level of trouble. I shouldn't worry, no matter what the situation, I shouldn't be concerned b/c God is always in control and He will always watch over me and care for me.

Consider Matthew 6:25-34:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to their life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If God takes care of the birds of the air how much more will He take care of me if I just trust in Him that He will take care of me?
Now for a joke:

One day while walking down the street a highly successful Human Resources Manager was tragically hit by a bus and she died. Her soul arrived up in heaven where she was met at the Pearly Gates by an Angel.

"Welcome to Heaven," said the Angel. "Before you get settled in though, it seems we have a problem. You see, strangely enough, we've never once had a Human Resources Manager make it this far and we're not really sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," said the woman.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have higher orders. What we're going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in."

"Actually, I think I've made up my mind, I prefer to stay in Heaven", said the woman.

"Sorry, we have rules..."

And with that the Angel put the executive in an elevator and it went down-down-down to hell.

The doors opened and she found herself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of her were all her friends - fellow executives that she had worked with and they were well dressed in evening gowns and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks and they talked about old times. They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner.

She met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy kind of cute and she had a great time telling jokes and dancing.

She was having such a good time that before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook her hand and waved goodbye as she got on the elevator.

The elevator went up-up-up and opened back up at the Pearly Gates and found the Angel waiting for her.

"Now it's time to spend a day in heaven," the Angel said.

So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds and playing the harp and singing. She had great time and before she knew it her 24 hours were up and the Angel came and got her.

"So, you've spent a day in hell and you've spent a day in heaven. Now you must choose your eternity."

The woman paused for a second and then replied, "Well, I never thought I'd say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell."
So the Angel escorted her to the elevator and again she went down-down-down back to Hell.
When the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth. She saw her friends were dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting it in sacks.

The Devil came up to her and put his arm around her.

"I don't understand," stammered the woman, "yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time. Now all there is a waste land of garbage and all my friends look miserable."

The Devil looked at her smiled and told...

"Yesterday we were recruiting you, today you're an Employee."

This “joke” is a good lesson in 'deception'. Deception is what the enemy uses and deception is what we see in the organizational set up of this world. In this fallen world, mankind's philosophy has been one of deception. Everyone wants to be rich and successful and the art of deception IS, one of the key ingredients.
I wish everyone had the innocence and faith of a child!

In his beautiful book, "I Shall Not Want," Robert Ketchum tells of a Sunday School teacher who asked her group of children if anyone could quote the entire 23rd Psalm.

A golden-haired, four-and-a-half-year-old girl was among those who raised their hands. A bit skeptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm.

The little girl came to the front of the room, faced the class, made a perky little bow, and said, "The Lord is my shepherd, that's all I want."

She bowed again and went and sat down.

That may well be the greatest interpretation of the 23rd Psalm ever heard.
Again, thank you all for being continued readers and for your kindness and support over the past (almost) year. March 28 will be my official one year "blogiversary". I first started this blog in October of 2004, but didn't post anything on it until March 28, 2005. I've been blessed by y'all more than you know! Here's to another 200 posts with all of you!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thankful Thursday 2

There's a new Thursday participation list that is making its rounds in the blogsphere. It's called Thankful Thursdays. You list things that you are thankful for - it's easier on you emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually to count your blessings instead of your complaints. Yes, I am a little late, but it's still Thursday!

Welcome to Thankful Thursday 2.

~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.

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Thankful Thursday: What Nic is thankful for this week

Laughter - it makes the heart lighter
Hugs and kisses more precious than gold from my beloved daughter
A great job in this economy in Austin that can support a single parent with the high cost of living here and more importantly, a job that I really enjoy and am good at
The sun, moon and stars so beautiful in the sky that our heavenly Father created for us to enjoy

Links to other Thankful Thursdays
No Average Girl
Sting My Heart
Ladybug Crossing
Child of God
Friday’s Child
Yellow Roses 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!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pick your poison HDQ

Good Wednesday afternoon! It's time once again for the HDQ and another Ask Nic session.

First up, the HDQ:

What do you think you are the worst at?

Me, I'm great at organizing people and events but lousy at organizing things and keeping them organized. And that's all I'll say about that. I'm also a great starter but a lousy finisher. I can't tell you how many unfinished projects I have somewhere in storage at the house. I start out all excited and enthusiastic then life usually gets in the way and there isn't any time to work on it and then my enthusiasm wanes and it never gets finished. Though there are some projects that I've completed and they look GREAT!

Next is the Ask Nic session:

This is the place where you can ask me anything. Think of something you have wanted to know about me or were just curious about in general about myself, my experiences in life and love and parenting, my beliefs, etc... Again, 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. They probably will be up over the weekend if I get enough questions.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A mother’s heartbreak for her beloved child

Emily had her first taste of true rejection this weekend, not once but twice. The kind of rejection that she shouldn’t have at the age of 4 – or ever.

On Friday, one of her friends that she talks about a lot from her school told Emily that she had a new friend and didn’t want to be friends anymore. Emily was so sad when I picked her up after work. Her little face was just dejected and I thought "Who would ever reject a child as big-hearted and kind as Emily?" I comforted her and we talked about it and she felt better about it after.

Then yesterday I just about went ballistic. There is another little girl whose backyard kind of backs up to ours but only a part of it. There is a 6 ft. privacy fence that separates them but there is a loose board so my Emily and this other girl (whose name is Emily as well) talk through the boards. They pass little things through the boards to each other and talk. However, the parents of this girl are somewhat "questionable" in character. The mother is usually yelling at the kids and saying things that can be damaging to a kids psyche. Well, yesterday after church, Emily was playing outside and this other Emily had a friend over. Let me clarify something before I go any further...this other Emily is older than my Emily. She’s probably 7 or 8. My Emily tried to be nice and passed two sticks through the fence (don’t ask me “why sticks?” b/c I don’t know) – one for the other Emily and one for her friend. My Emily was thinking “Great! A new person to talk to!” Well, this other little…brat (for lack of a kinder word) decided that she didn’t like my Emily and didn’t want anything to do with her – which in turn caused the other Emily, who my daughter has been talking to for months, to tell my Emily that she didn’t want to be friends anymore either and basically told my Emily that her “gift” of the sticks was stupid.

Emily came running in the house just crying her little eyes out and just heart broken, and as a mommy with a huge soft heart who went through the same thing, but in jr. high, I cried with her. Though I tried to keep it a commiserating, empathetic mommy cry and keep it short. My heart just broke for her b/c Emily doesn’t see age, she doesn’t see color or race or religion or handicap, she sees friends to be made and she doesn’t have any close friends really and I hurt for her very much. She so desperately wants a friend her age to do things with and to just be a friend with. After she was done crying and I was done explaining to her that most children don’t understand what it really means to be a friend and have a friend like Emily does and that if they don’t want to be her friend then they’re not worthy of being her friend, she looked up at me with her huge, beautiful, teary brown eyes and said “At least I have you mommy. I know you’re my friend.”

Oh my heart just aches for one sweet little girl who so desperately wants a friend and who, though outgoing in so many ways, gets her feelings and her heart hurt so easily b/c she doesn’t understand that not everyone is going to be as kind and generous and soft-hearted as her. She tries so hard and longs so much for a friend and I pray that God brings just the right friend to her so that she will have a true friend worthy of her at last.

I told my friend MC about it yesterday and she went through the roof! Had several choice things to say about the situation and older kids saying and doing that to younger kids. Yeah, Emily has a lot of people who have her back and love her completely – just none of them are friends her age.

Remember when you were a kid and had that one special friend that you loved completely and shared everything with and who loved you completely in return? Yeah, that’s what I want for my Emily.

After all, who could say “I don’t want to be your friend anymore” to this precious face?

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Em with her beloved Aunt Sarah (Matt’s sister whom I just adore)
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Em with Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jeremy (Sarah’s husband who is absolutely wonderful)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Today's FFT (Friday Field Trip)

Today's FFT is actually a "go nowhere" field trip - one you can sit back and enjoy in the safety and comfort of Nic's Place.

"Are you tired of rhythm?"

Yes, my friends, it is the ever popular How To Dance Like A White Guy promotional video. A must have for every redneck home. It doesn't matter if you're from the North or South, rednecks are found everywhere.

So kick your feet up, pop the top to a cold one (soda that is) and get ready to have fun while learning the secrets of How to Dance Like A White Guy! Maybe you can pick up a few pointers before hand if you're going out this weekend!

Just press the start button and you're on your way to a learning whole new kind of dance to impress the other people on the dance floor.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thankful Thursdays

I visited my dear friend No Average Girl last week Thursday and she had a great weekly post called "Thankful Thursdays". It was her first week to do it and I thought it was so neat that I am participating in it too. There are quite a few out there who are starting to participate in the "Thankful Thursdays" posts and I have some of the links listed below. I hope you enjoy the newest addition to Nic’s Place and that it will help you to count your blessings as well.

~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.

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Thankful Thursday: What Nic is thankful for this week

Knowing that my eternal future is secure, that no matter what I have done that God has promised to forgive me if I sincerely ask and then He will remember it never again. (Psalm 103:12)
Emily who loves me just as I am and who is my true miracle child – I thank God for her several times a day.
My mom who is my rock, my supporter and one of my best friends.
Friends who understand and care (you know who you are and what I mean).
Our men and women in uniform who are confronting a menace to our world as great as that fought by previous generations fighting Nazism and communism and who are putting their lives on the line to keep me and my family safe and for ensuring that the freedoms we enjoy now we can continue to enjoy.
The United States of America because every one of us has this country to thank for enabling us to live lives of unprecedented freedom where we are free to legally worship in our own ways, say what we want and express our views, dress as we want and so forth and so on without fear of being thrown into "re-education camps" or worse.
Today – another day on this earth I get to spend with those I love the most. And a beautiful day it is! Perfect in every way. 74 degrees, cool breeze, sunny, low humidity. This is a perfect weather day!

Links to other Thankful Thursdays
No Average Girl
Sting My Heart
Ladybug Crossing
Child of God
Friday’s Child
Yellow Roses 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!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Truthful Tuesday

A friend of mine sent this to me and it had a hard truth and an important moral to impart. I hope you understand it by the time you are done reading this short story.
An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.

The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while, Senor."

The American then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, Senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But Senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then, Senor?" The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions, Senor? Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

"You mean being a Harvard MBA, you have to go thru all that to finally get to where I already am, Senor?"
How foolish we become when we work so hard to get to the place where we can finally enjoy what we ignored to get to the place where we want to end up! It saddens me to think that instead of enjoying what really matters in the earthly realm – family, children, friends...a sip of wine and a stroll on the beach, etc. – that so many people work non-stop to get to a place where they believe they can finally enjoy all of it (if they don’t die first from stress), but at what cost? What is more important, working 60, 80 or 100 hour weeks to try and enjoy your family and life before you die or working a 40 or 50 hour week and having time in the evenings to enjoy the laughter of your children and their sweet hugs and kisses and the warmth of the smile from your spouse or loved one? Pursue happiness with what is most important now instead ignoring them in pursuit of a “comfortable” future b/c if you ignore them now instead of investing in them, you won’t have those important people in your life to share your future with. You will have isolated them from your life with work. Remember the saying, no man (or woman) ever went to his (her) grave saying “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday Meal!

Ok, so this is more like breakfast, but it's a fun and easy way to make individual omelets. I know I usually do a full meal with sides and dessert when I do post recipes, but you'll just have to deal with one recipe today. :) Besides it's really fun and something the whole family can get into, including the kids.

Omelets in a Bag!

Have guests write their name on a quart-size freezer bag (MUST be a freezer bag b/c the other bags will melt) with permanent marker.

Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag (not more than 2) shake to combine them.

Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, salt, pepper, etc.

Each guest adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake.

Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.

Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water.

Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.

Nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake; everyone gets involved in the process and it's a great conversation piece.
This would be easy to do for camping too! Just put a pot of water over a campfire and do the same thing!


Friday, March 03, 2006

Today's FFT

I'm having a bad hair day where the humidity is at that optimal level to ruin just about everything I try to do. SIGH.

So, you can go pick on Stars Without Makeup since I'm feeling particularly frumpy today.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Ok so this HDQ will be fairly simple.

What do you find fascinating?

Me, I find life fascinating – especially the life of my daughter. She literally is a miracle. Even the doctor who was my OB and her nurse practitioner said that she should not have happened and yet there she was and so she was a miracle. I find that the fact that God knew that I would need this precious gift to keep me going through some of this stuff just amazing and utterly fascinating. I know that if I didn’t have Emily there to be strong for that the stuff I’ve been going through and dealing with in the past couple of years in my marriage, I would probably have had some pretty big problems personally. However, and this may sound really unfair to those of you with “perfect” lives and/or who don’t have children and haven’t really had any adversity to speak of in their lives, apart from God, Emily is my #1 stabilizing factor in my life. I stay strong because I have to take care of her. I keep on going some days when I am at the bottom of the well emotionally and tapped out because of her sweet smiles and generous heart and kind spirit and her love. She is my own personal angel in human form. The miracle of her fascinates me.

I also, from a Christian and Biblical perspective find Biblical prophecy fascinating. There are so many things coming to fruition in the world right now, as I type this, that were written about by prophets as long as over 2,500 years ago! It’s absolutely fascinating to me. I started reading about Biblical prophecy back in high school but didn’t seriously start studying it until about 4 years ago and the things that are happening now are things that were talked about by Daniel, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Jesus, John, Joel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Malachi and a few others. Daniel wrote about the 10 kings that would reign under the rule of the AntiChrist and those same 10 kings that Daniel wrote about over 2,500 years ago are the same 10 core, founding members of the WEU today. Fascinating to me that the signs that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 in regards to His return for the Church (comprised of all true, professing believers who have taken Jesus as savior of their lives) are the very things we are experiencing now. He called them birth pains. Just like labor, these signs start coming harder, larger and closer together and at no other time in history have they all come together at once in this magnitude. The very subject of Bible prophecy and seeing it come to fruition right before our eyes fascinates me so much that I started a separate blog about it dedicated solely to Bible prophecy and the Christian life.

So anyway, again, the HDQ for today is: What do you find fascinating?