Jul 31, 2009

Remember when...

"Friendship is like standing on wet cement.
The longer you stay, the harder it's to leave,
and you can never go
without leaving your footprints behind."

Yesterday, one of my dearest and closet friends, whom I call EJ, moved 468 miles away. I had known the day would be coming for well over 4 months, yet I still was not prepared to say goodbye.

I pulled in her driveway at 6:15am, and sat a couple of minutes...thinking of oh-so-many memories we had made together.

The first memory I have of EJ goes back to when we were four years old and I would go to her house and have play dates. I don't remember what exactly we would do, but I do recall anticipating those days.

Fast forward through the years to 4th grade, and there you would find us sitting in the back row of class where we could get away with it all! ;)

In 5th and 6th grade, we began to realize that all boys did not have germs, and thus started all those pointless crushes. It was also this time, that after school, we would make a mad dash to the bathroom where we would flush those unwanted sandwiches down the toilet... yes, don't worry we've already confessed that one to our mothers!

Junior High brought our silly infatuation with Winnie the Pooh paraphernalia and our fun get togethers at Lady and the Stamp where we would make cards and bookmarks. It was also this time that I "introduced" her to my best friend, Tab, and she "introduced" me to hers, Theresa. We become known as the "foursome" and became quite the motley crew.

When we got to highschool, we thought we had arrived. Gone was the Pooh stuff, now we were wearing makeup and into shopping. I remember one day walking Chesterton (which really doesn't take that long), eating a kid's meal at Dairy Queen and finding great deals at the new resale shop in town! Not only did we have so much fun together, but we also got in trouble together. I recall an incident in 10th grade where we wrote a note on the chalkboard for the Sunday School teacher who wasn't too happy with the way we were cleaning the room on Fridays. Let's just say that our little note was not very respectful and quite a bit mouthy, but we didn't fear because we signed the note, not with our names, but with the whole Sophomore class!

Before we knew it we had passed Sweet 16 and were approaching 18...what did this mean? We were getting Senior pictures, planning open houses and a senior trip, and dreading college. Graduation came and went, it was everything we had ever dreamed of, plus more.

College orientation came and the foursome still stuck together, both scared and excited. Our freshman year we were able to take several classes together. I remember countless days skipping lunch and going up to the library where we would pour over Old Testament Survey notes in hopes of passing Doc's quizzes and tests.

Sophomore year came all too quickly and no longer were we "fresh meat", we had a whole year under our belt and knew exactly what we were doing! I was dating seriously and our friendship wasn't as strong as it once had been. However the summer before our junior year, there was a heartbreak, and who was there? My friends. I remember in particular receiving the sweetest letter from EJ, she always has had such a way with words...

Our junior year came and went, once again, way too quickly. We made many memories however, whether at Christmas Lights, the fall hayride, or Turkey run. When summer came, we couldn't believe that our senior year was already upon us. We came to teacher orientation so excited about student teaching and taking some final credits. While student teaching we listened to each other's woes, whether it be my 9th grade boys who wanted to be doing anything rather than typing, or her 1st and 2nd graders who insisted on asking pointless questions. At the end of our student teaching, we both did come to the conclusion that teaching is so very rewarding. We realized that when it came down to our last day of teaching we were so sad to leave; for not only had we been able to affect them, they had also made an impression on us.

In March, when EJ told me of her job offer (teaching 1st grade in Missouri), I was so excited for her. When she accepted, I tried not to think about her actually leaving.

Once college graduation was over, we realized that the months were passing very quickly and before we knew it she would be moving. So...we held a pow wow at my house along with Tab and Liz. We planned a weekly outing, something to do together and make our last summer together memorable.

This summer has went fast, but whether getting pedicures, beading, setting up a blog, eating at Dairy Queen (several times), using up her snack shop bucks after church, or having a crazy good time in Orland Park on our last hurrah, we have made more memories.

Amazingly I managed not to break down when I had to say the final goodbye and give her one last hug. It will be several months before we see each other again, but I know that despite the long distance we will remain friends forever, for "The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately with out growing apart."

Jul 29, 2009


1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
2. confident expectation of something; hope.
3. confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit: to sell merchandise on trust.
4. a person on whom or thing on which one relies

What do all these define? One simple, five letter word...T R U S T.

Such a small word, but its meaning contains so much. Trust is such an easy thing for a child to do. I've seen it so many times at work. Yet it seems as we get older it becomes harder and harder to do. We have to know why...or see results in order to trust. In the Christian walk, trust is such a basic principle, but it's one that I find myself struggling with at times. Trust God, such an easy thing to do, yet so often I want to see more than just one step at a time, I want to see the whole road and around that bend as well. Once again, the Lord spoke to me in my devotions and seemed to say, "Nicole, why do you think I put you through hard times, why do you think I only show you one step at a time?" "So that you will depend on me, so that you will run to me, rely on me, and cling to me..."

If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O'er present griefs we would not fret.
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.

If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light,
Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Some day life's wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.

"If we could see, if we could know,"
We often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o'er
Trust and obey.

Jul 17, 2009


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Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." Elizabeth, Tabitha, Liz and I have known each other since childhood and as of recent have grown even more close. Tab and Elizabeth will be leaving their childhood roots and going to Missouri and South Carolina to use their college education and teach elementary. Since college graduation we have been trying to get together as much as possible. We had my little sister come with us to Chellberg Farm and be our photographer. We ended up taking some 75 plus pictures and had a blast being "stupid" together! I will miss them immensely, but I will have some great memories to remember them by...

Jul 15, 2009

What I'm Reading Today...

One day in early summer I walked past a beautiful meadow. The grass was as a soft and thick and fine as an immense green Oriental rug. In one corner stood a fine old tree, a sanctuary for numberless wild birds; the crisp, sweet air was full of their happy songs. Two cows lay in the shade, the very picture of content.
Down by the roadside the saucy dandelion mingled his gold with the royal purple of the wild violet.
I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry eyes, and thinking in my soul that God never made a fairer spot than my lovely meadow.
The next day I passed that way again, and lo! the hand of the despoiler had been there. A plowman and his great plow, now standing idle in the furrow, had in a day wrought a terrible havoc. Instead of the green grass there was turned up to view the ugly, bare, brown earth; instead of the singing birds here were only a few hens industriously scratching for worms. Gone were the dandelion and the pretty violet. I said in my grief, "How could anyone spoil a thing so fair?"
Then my eyes were opened by some unseen hand, and I saw a vision, a vision of a field of ripe corn ready for the harvest. I could see the giant, heavily laden stalk in the autumn sun; I could almost hear the music of the wind as it would sweep across the golden tassels. And before I was aware, the brown earth took on a splendor it had not had the day before. (excerpt from Streams in the Desert)

I recently read this in my devotions; it wasn't the first time I had read it, yet it still spoke to my heart. So many times in my life I am guilty of being so short sighted, I only see one day at a time. I, look at my life and think that I know best, I want to take control and do something now rather than wait on God. I look around me and see friends getting married and others moving away, and wonder, "What about me, Lord?" There was a time I would gaze into my future, and it looked like that beautiful meadow...it was all to perfect and I was certain I knew what it held. However, my future, just like that meadow has been uprooted. This last year has not been all a bed of roses for my family. We have went through hard times, spiritually, and financially. But, I know that "His way is perfect." I know that all though my future may be veiled right now, the Lord will reveal it to me in His timing. I know that when His way is made clear, when my bare brown earth is transformed into a field of ripe corn, that all my worrying for the future will have been pointless. So, even if the Master Plowman comes, as He often does, and uproots my plans, and turns under that which I thought should be, I will know that He is no idle husbandman, for He purposeth the crop for my future...

Jul 13, 2009

The Simple Things in Life

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"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." This weekend I was able to do just that. My little sister, Lauren and I were able to take two days alone and spend time doing "the little things." Did we do anything spectacular? No, we just took the ordinary things in our day and made them more fun... We packed a picnic and went to Chelburg Farm where we ate and then hiked the trail to the Bailey Homestead and then to the barn, which I was sad to see no longer has any animals...:( We took some pictures, appreciated the surrounding nature, and enjoyed each other's company.

The rest of the day's activities included: cleaning house, doing yard work, washing my car, making dinner, putting together an Avon order, and scrap booking. We were able to get so much accomplished in one day and actually did not bicker at all!

Sunday, after the evening service we went to McDonald's and ordered sweet teas and double cheeseburgers (not so healthy, I know...), then went to Porter Beach where we sat in the Duneland grass and watch the sun set beside the beautiful skyline of Chicago.

It was not a typical weekend at all, and I don't know when an opportunity like that will ever rise again. I truly enjoyed every minute with Lauren and I am so very glad that God has blessed me with not only a sister, but a friend. I love you Lauren, I always will; and I certainly hope we will have more opportunities to "hang out"

Jul 8, 2009

Family Day Trip

Remember traveling for miles with siblings and passing the time by singing songs, playing games, and listening to books on tape? Family road trips, you got to love them... Yesterday my family and I made the 1 1/2 hour road trip to Shipshewana where we spent the day. Road trips in my family always include stopping for coffee and packing snacks such as crackers, cheese, chips, and chocolate. We barely roll out of Chesterton, before my sisters and I are munching on some of our goodies and asking mom and dad to put our Cd's in.

On the road...

We walked the rows and shopped the booths and

discovered that there is definitely not a shortage

of socks, sunglasses, 1000 count Egyptian sheets,

and soy candles that burn non-stop for 8 years!

We also enjoyed chasing down little Amish men

on their bikes and buggies...Lauren was quite

embarrassing sticking her head out of the vehicle

window and pointing her camera at this poor man...

On the way home, we again passed the time
with profitable things... I looked out the window
snapping pictures and trying to appreciate
nature while attempting to ignore my weird sisters!

"In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong,
not by number of heads counted at the dinner table,
but by the rituals you help family members create,
by the memories you share, by the commitment of time,
caring, and love you show to one another, and by the
hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit."

Jul 5, 2009

What I'm Singing Today...

I may not have riches as some others may

But I have a mother who knows how to pray

And maybe there's some things I've missed in my youth

But I have a father who stands for the truth

I have a goodly heritage

I'm blessed with things you can't see

I have a goodly heritage

And that is worth far more to me

And if in the future, my parents pass on,

To dwell in that City we've come to call Home

They may not leave me the goods of this world

But I have accepted their God and His Word

This song has been coming to my mind the last few days...Working with children at a day care has caused me to realize how vital godly Christian parents who are involved in their children's lives are. I have been heartbroken and even brought to tears by several of my kids this week. I feel as though some of them are growing old before their time; as if there is too much on their hearts for being so young.

We recently had a new family enrolled in our day care, the eldest, a six year old girl is very emotional and cries quite often, especially if she sees either one of her other siblings upset or crying. They are the first to arrive, promptly at 6:30 am and leave around 5:45 pm. I feel as if we are raising them, rather then their parents. Just the other she confided in me...

They were fighting again last night...about money...that's what they always fight about. Well, besides mom's new boyfriend who dad doesn't like. Dad still loves Mom, and she still loves him...they just don't know it yet...her voice trailed off.

A six year old should not be subjected to these problems, she should not have to lay awake at night wishing her parents would stop fighting and get back together.

Another little boy while coloring a picture said, I'm going to give this picture to you...I can't give it to mommy, she's in jail...

My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and squeezed him and very graciously accepted his picture.
While rubbing backs at nap time, I looked over and noticed one of our most behaved two year old whimpering on his mat. I quickly scooted over to him and wiped his tears from his face and asked, What's the matter, Aydin?

His big brown eyes, which were brimming with tears looked back at me, and his little lip quivered, Mommy...I want mommy

Mom, he wanted his mom, the woman who that morning had shoved her kids at me and pushed her older daughter away when she wanted a hug. The woman who did not have time to give her kids a kiss goodbye.
Our problem child, who is only 2 1/2 years, really knows how to test our patience. He is constantly biting, spitting, scratching, pulling hair, and throwing temper tantrums. If his behavior is not improved he will most likely have to be withdrawn from our school. What amazes me is that his mom does not have a job, she is on welfare, and still brings her child to day care...for what purpose? She'll drop off and pick up in her pajamas on numerous occasions. When little Stephan starts to test my patience and causes me to lose my sanity, I remind myself that he has not had the same opportunities and family life that I have.

I wish so badly that I could take these children home, show them what a family is supposed to be like. I truly have been so blessed. I have a wonderful family... Are they perfect...no, but they are godly and have done the best they could in raising my sisters and I. I can't imagine where I would be if I hadn't been born into a Christian family. Would I be being carted off to day care while my mother sat at home, or worse yet in jail? Would I spend sleepless nights in bed listening to my parents fight and praying that they would stay together?

I only hope that I can show these children I work with the love that they so need and crave and in so doing so make an impact on their lives. The Lord has truly given me A Goodly Heritage and I am realizing how very fortunate I am on a daily basis.

Jul 4, 2009

Shutterfly Account

I have decided to start updating my Shutterfly account. I tend to take too many pictures of just about everything, so rather than trying to post them all on my blog, I'll just put them on my Shutterfly account, which is http://nicoleswonderfullife.shutterfly.com/

Jul 2, 2009


I love my hometown! Chesterton is the cutest little community, not too big and not too small.
The first settler to the area was Joseph Bailly, a French fur trader. He established a home and fur trading post in 1822 to do business with the Potawatomi Tribe. The original site and some of his buildings are still open to the public at Chelburg Farm. Chesterton has very much a hometown feeling to it and offers so much for families to enjoy. From its European Market, to its band music at dusk on Fridays, its National Dunes and trails, the Coffee Creek Center, Wizard of Oz Festival, quaint downtown, antique car shows, movies in the park, and beautiful State Park. Just this past Wednesday, the town of Porter hosted its first fireworks over Lake Michigan Event. Through local businesses, the town was able to raise 18,000 dollars for the fireworks. Ten thousand actually went towards the fireworks and the other eight was for the barge that set them off. My family arrived 1 1/2 hours early and quickly found a group of people from Fairhaven. We fellowshiped and walked the beach watching it quickly fill up with people from the community. The fireworks started at about 9:15 and went for a good 20-30 minutes. It was so fun just sitting there, listening to all the squeals coming from the children around me and hearing the laughter of families having a good time. Chesterton is such a great place to have grown up in and I certainly hope some day my children will live somewhere just as quaint!

Slowly filling up...

Lauren and Me!


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