Mar 31, 2009

girlfriend's outing

"What is a friend?" I will tell is someone with whom you dare to be yourself. True friends are not something easy to come by, yet I have been blessed with so many; two of them being Tab and EJ. Tab and I were destined to be friends before we were even born. Our newly married mothers had met at church and were fast becoming the best of friends. I was born 7 months after Tab and we became childhood playmates at a very young, young age. We have pictures taken together as one year olds in my playroom. Through the years with our families being best friends, our friendship has been strengthened. The two of us are complete opposites in most areas but that's what makes me love her the more. She definately is one of those life long friends; we are like a Anne and Diana Barry who made this pledge: "We must join hands...I will repeat the oath first. I solemnly swear to be faithful to my bosom friend, Diana Barry, as long as the sun and moon shall endure."

EJ is another childhood friend of mine...We probably had our first introductions in church nursery, I'm really not for sure...:) We have been friends through elementary, high school, and college. EJ is a super sweet girl with a hilarious giggle and a very creative style. I graduated from kindergarten with her in 1993, from highschool together in 2005, and now this May 14th we will be graduating from college. The years really flown by and I am so excited to see what the Lord has planned for all of us.

Tab and EJ truly are those kind of friends "who come into our lives and we are never ever the same... Last night we were able to spend a very enjoyable evening together. We put our "pennies" together and got a room at a local motel. We spent the night gorging ourselves on peanut m&m's, elfkin cookies, bbq chips and french onion dip, mt. dew, subway, red vines, peanut butter cookies, and sour rips! (strange combination, I know!) We swam, took pics, went out for a midnight snack, chatted, and channel surfed. We took off of work today and were able to get some great deals at the Outlet. We had a very relaxing and enjoyable outing! "Life truly is partly what we make of it, and partly what is made by the friends whom we choose."

Mar 28, 2009


Yesterday at work, I was coloring a picture (something I do 2-3 times a day), with a table of children, when one of "my" little kids looked up at me and said,

"Miss Nickel?" (so they all call me)

"Yes, Kayla," I answered.

"Miss Nickel, you know what I want to be when I grow up?" she asked.

"Um, a mommy..." I guessed.

"Noooo...try again." she replied.


I guessed until I had used every stretch of my imagination, even including some animals. Finally I had given up.

"I have no clue, Kayla, puhlease tell me."

"C'mon...When I grow up, I want to be...Miss Nickel!"

I looked up from my picture in surprise..."You want to be me?"

"Yep, I want to be just like you Miss Nickel!" she emphatically restated.

It really struck me as I sat mulling her words over in my head how much I play a part in these children's lives. How much of an impact, impression, or influence I may have on any person's life that I may come in contact with, whether it be on a daily basis, or just for a brief moment.

I began to think of people who have had an influence on me and probably not even known it. People, who are not people of great importance in this world, but people who, nonetheless, made an impact on me.

Take for instance my 5th-6th grade teacher. She pushed me to always reach for the stars, and that anything I put my mind to I could achieve. I learned that setting goals was a necessity for success in any area.

From my piano teacher I lwas taught that "Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect." I learned that if I wanted to get a piano piece down perfect I had to give it my all and practice it perfectly.

When I was in 7th grade most of the senior class picked on us to no end, and I was quite horrified of the lot of them. However, there was one girl who never stooped to the rest of their level, but instead was kind to me. I determined at the young age of 13, that someday when I was a senior I would treat the lower classmen with the same kindness.

That I would take secondary education with a major in English was due in part to a highschool English teacher who was so passionate about her field that I couldn't help but develop a love for it as well!

My junior high youth pastor taught two years on Christian manners. They are lessons that I will never forget. Lessons on how to treat your friends, family, and those you come in contact with.
I have been impacted by so many around me and I have recently found that even I am influencing others. You don't have to be a "person of influence" to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they've taught me.

Mar 25, 2009

She's Back!

Our family is complete...Lauren is back home after being gone for three days. I've decided to dedicate this post to my littlest sis; the one who adds such spice and excitement to our life! If I had to describe Lauren in one word it would be fun... She is the youngest sibling in our family and the most sanguine. Even though she is almost 16 years old, she will always be considered the "baby."
She does the most random things and her naughtiness usually makes us snicker inside. I'll never forget the time her and her best friend were playing outside on a Sunday afternoon. I remember going out to check on them and finding them by the hose scrubbing at their hands. I noticed that the palms of their hands were completely blackened. What in the world had they done??? The two of them had been trying to peel the skin off of walnuts and it had stained their hands. It was a good two weeks or so before it finally wore off!
Another time, when she was in junior high, she wore two different shoes to school. When the teacher called on her to come up to the board, Lauren refused. The teacher nicely asked for an explanation, to which Lauren refused to give her. Rather than suffer embarrassment, Lauren planted herself firmly in her seat and ending up getting in trouble from the principal for disobeying the teacher! All because of mismatched shoes!

I love my little Lauren so very much. We tend to bicker alot, but that does not mean that I love her any less. She is smart and athletic. She is very musical, on the piano, flute, and even singing! She is so very beautiful and I know that she is going to be drop dead gorgeous when she is older. She has lovely hair, a perfect complexion, big beautiful green eyes, and long eyelashes...But, more importantly than her outward appearance is her great fun-loving personality. To know Lauren is to love her and I am so very glad she is home!

Mar 22, 2009

Another Weekend Over

Well, another weekend has just ended and a new week lies before me...I know when I go to work the topic of the day will be, "What did you do over the weekend?" It really is quite sad to sit back and listen to what my coworkers think of as a fun, fulfilling weekend...To see their faces the first time I told them how I spent my Saturdays and Sundays, was quite comical.

"You did what on Saturday morning?"

"And then you did that on Sunday?"

"When do you get to sleep in?"

"When do you get to party?"

Questions poured from a couple of the girls' mouths too quickly for me to even answer, and it really set me to thinking about how different I define a "good" and "fun" weekend then most people.

Ever since I can remember my family has always been part of a nursing home ministry. Each Saturday morning we, along with some college students, hold a service at a local nursing home. I have currently been attending The Waters of Duneland for the past five years. We go there trying to be an encouragement from them, but more often than not, they end up being a blessing to us. For instance...during prayer time when my dad asked for prayer requests one of the residence raised his hand and said, "How about we pray for you, Joe? How is your work situation, shouldn't we pray for you?" Here we are wanting to pray for them and their needs and the main thing they can think of to pray for is my dad. Nothing too exciting in the world's eyes may encompass my Saturdays, but I can't imagine not visiting the elderly folks for they truly end up being such a blessing to me...

Sundays are always very busy for me as well. I have the opportunity to ride a bus to Portage and pick up children for Sunday School. I have been on bus route since the 9th grade. Last October, I figured that I would give up the bus ministry since I had done it for so long, that way I could put more into other ministries. I went a grand total of one whole week and realized that I could not go any more Sundays not being on a bus route. Sure I got to sleep in an extra hour and my afternoon was completely freed up, but something definately was missing. By the next Sunday I had gotten myself onto a bus route. I love my bus route, each kid is so unique and special!

On Sundays I also get to help in a four year old junior church, which never lacks excitement. Several times I've had to chase four year old boys down the church hallway as they run out of class laughing. There is this one child who we always have a problem with and it was really coming to the point where I dreaded coming to class and wished and hoped he would not be there. The Lord smote my heart one day and I realized that I had the completely wrong attitude-I should be praying for this kid; sure I may not know how to deal with him, but I was sure the Lord could help me...Gradually I have seen with my attitude adjusted, that this little boy is suddenly not so very annoying to me, nor so very bad. In fact, to my amazement he was so well behaved today that he won the quiet seat!

As I look back over my weekend, I think how different it is from most of the worlds'. No heavy partying, no hangovers, or whatever else may be considered "fun." In fact, to most, my weekend sounds like a waste, but I know otherwise...No matter how busy my weekend may have been, whether at Nursing Home, on the Bus Route, or in a four year old Junior Church I will sleep content tonight knowing that I have ended another rewarding weekend in my eyes...

Mar 19, 2009

Candy Sale

Well, I did it...I fulfilled my day of candy selling...and survived. It really was not all that bad at all. I went with my childhood piano teacher, Mrs. Edwards, who, might I add, I still believe to be the best piano player in the world! Her two children kept me entertained from business to business; I never was quite sure what might pop out of their mouth. We sold from around 10:30-3:30, with of course a lunch break...I ate at the Noodle Company for the first time and absolutely loved it! I ordered Mrs. Edward's fav. dish which was a macaroni noodle with parmesan crusted chicken, I also got a side of tomato basil soup, which was completely and totally amazing...(sorry, there I go again with food)
Candy selling yesterday brought back so many memories from highschool candy sale trips, especially the Detroit trip with Mr. Wright, or downtown with Mr. Schrock. We always had so much fun, never sold alot of candy, but always had a very enjoyable time. Candy selling, I believe really helped me learn how to talk with strangers and how to deal with rejection and very crabby old ladies who threaten to call the police on you! However, yesterday I learned something alittle to make lemonade out of life's lemons...literally...Let me explain. So, we are ate the Noodle Company and Mrs. E orders a water to drink. I proceeded to watch her as she went to the pop machine, got her water then put two lemons in it. "Lemon water, I like lemons in my water too..." I thought. But then she confused me by adding two Sweet and Lows to her water as well. "Huh, what in the world is she doing? Sugar water?" Nope, that wasn't correct either...She put the lid on and shook up her lemons, water, and sugar, and what do you know, she had a lemon shake up! It really truly amazed me, and I can't wait to try it, seeing as both her children ranted and raved about how good the "water" was!

Mar 16, 2009

Seen and Heard

As of Monday, March 16, 2009, at approximately 4:13 p.m., the college bill of Nicole E. LaBate, of Chesterton, IN, has been paid in full. It was a sizable amount which was forever heavy upon the heart of its recipient. Nicole is now happy to say that she has a zero balance on her college invoice. She was seen skipping from the business office and singing, Hakuna Matata very loudly and off key. Pedestrians were warned to steer clear of a green Ford Tauras as Nicole was seen recklessly driving home. This epidemic is said to be expected of any poor college student who has made their last payment on their bill. Nicole is expected to be aquiring a new wardrobe now that her tuition is paid for...


On March 15th, twenty-two years ago, I was brought into this world...oh what a joyous day! With yesterday being my birthday, today at work I had a coworker ask me what I did for my birthday and how I celebrated. I had to chuckle as I thought over the weekend...I really had more of a "birthweekend" celebration, then just a day!

First of all, at work on Friday, we celebrated my birthday and the kiddies sang me "Happy Birthday." Brooke brought cheese cake for all the teachers and I brought Dunkin Donut's munchkins for all the children to enjoy.

For supper, I got to choose the menu. We had a salad, sweet peas, white rice, and a Rachel Ray chicken recipe that is totally divine! For dessert, my mom made me one of my favorite desserts (being a dessert lover, I had several choices to choose from). It was completely heavenly, and it tasted just as good as it looked... After fine dining at the LaBate household, I unwrapped presents with my family and watched a movie of my choice. It was a very relaxing evening of which I was accompanied by several cups of coffee...ahh...what a life.

On Saturday, I knew that my sisters and I were going out for lunch at Popolano's, but I didn't know that we were to meet my closest friends there as well. I must admit, I was alittle on the grouchy side...I didn't quite understand why we couldn't eat at 11:30, or why Brooke insisted on not leaving the house until 12:15 and then decided to go to the grocery store and kill time...I was very surprised and had a great time with my girlfriends. On top of the awesome company was again...killer food. I really think I should be a food critic!!! This meal included shrimp bisque and tequilla lime shrimp pizza, which is amazing...

Later in the afternoon I went bargain shopping at JcPenney and was able to pick up a few summer tops and so concluded Saturday of my birthday weekend...

On my actual birthday-Sunday, my dad offered to make me whatever I wanted for breakfast, so I chose breakfast tacos. Then, on the way back from bus he called me and said he would like to take me out for lunch as well. We went to Bass Pro Shop and I ate fish and chips, another great birthday meal...

So asked, "How was your birthday?"

"It was remarkably enjoyable, complete with superb food." I truly feel so very spoiled and really feel bad for the man who will have to live up to my family some day!

Mar 13, 2009

Today is the best day of the rest of my life...

Well, this week just completed the last volleyball marathon of my college career...With graduation just two months around the corner, everything that I do related with college is my last. It is so hard to believe that I have already completed four years of college. It seems like just yesterday I was graduating from high school and getting so nervous for college orientation. Just yesterday I was walking into my first college class and wishing I could go back to high school. Just yesterday I was sitting in Mrs. Preacher's Grammatical Analysis class, listening to her speak some tribal language and wondering, "What did I get myself into?" Just yesterday I was having my first date in the old green and white snack shop. Just yesterday I was going on my first Christmas lights to Chicago. Just yesterday I watched my little sister graduate from high school. Just yesterday I student taught English and Typing. And it has all culminated and graduation is so very near. What happens after May 14th when I walk across the platform and receive my college diploma? What does getting a degree really mean? Does it mean that life from that point on will be a piece of cake? Will my eyes suddenly be enlightened as I am titled with a bachelor's degree in secondary education? Will my future be revealed to me when I receive my last college statement that says-PAID? With my college days behind me and so very much before, I smile to myself and think, "Today is the best day of the rest of my life."


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