Thursday, December 31, 2009

Full of stories... but nothing to say.

Full of stories... nothing to say

now that i'm back to a land where one's rights to blog aren't obstructed, i realize how much there is to say. but i don't know where to start. i probably have no readers left so it doesn't really matter anyway. but if people care to come back along for the ride, the stories are starting today!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I hate goodbyes... and I'm not even out of the country.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A little update...

I have been in California since Monday... just relaxing and recouping before headed off to China on Tuesday.  It's been fun days of sleeping in, hanging out, eating lots of stuff that I know I won't be enjoying for many months, and being with lots of my amazing friends.

I just found out that blogger is once again no working in China... so stay tuned for where updates will be posted.  I am thinking about getting a wordpress blog since that is still in operation.   

On the notes of prayer requests... we are continuing to find out more details about the China's swine flu concerns and quarantining in the country.  When we fly into the Beijing airport, people come onto the plane and take everyones temp, we have to go thro several heat sensors, and fill out paper work stating we have not been in Mexico in the past 14 days.  Pray that we all make it thro the airport with no problems... since the thought of being quarantined in a chinese hospital for a week is not too appealing! 

Miss all of you peoples on the homefront... bigs hugs!!


Friday, June 19, 2009

China Update Email:

* Do you want to receive these email updates? Please email me and ask

* * * *

Hey Friends!

I can't believe that in 3 days the first leg of my journey begins as I board a plane in Des Moines. It's been a crazy, stretching last several weeks! I never knew that it could be so much work to coordinate over 75 volunteers, plus get myself ready for 6 months away. :) It has definately been a pleasure planning for the camps this summer and I look forward to being in China again.

I will be leaving for California on Monday to spend a week with friends there before leaving on the 30th for CHINA!! I am flying into Beijing with a group of other staffers. When I first arrive in China, we will be having a Staff Summit in Xin Zheng, the city where I was at camp last year. From there, I will be headed to Kunming where I will be helping to run the summer camps. In several sentences, that is the summary of my next six weeks. I can't wait to see all the stories that will fill in the blanks in between. All the kids I will meet. The stories I will hear. The hugs and high-fives that will be given. I also look forward to the lessons God will teach me. The ways He will stretch me. I pray that He will continue to burn up the dross in my heart and make me more like Him. May each day bring glory to His beautiful Name!

Right now, God has provided enough money for me to fly to China and remain there for the summer. I still have $2300 to raise for my stay at the ranch, plus about $1000 to attend Chinese classes while I am there. God is teaching me to hold my plans with an open hand. At this point, I plan to stay in China until the money runs out. If that means not being a part of the ranch or going without language school, I am willing to do that. Pray that I will wait on God while I am serving there this summer and that if God really wants me to be a part of the ranch, that He will provide the funds before then.

For those of you who have supported my trip already, thanks so much. You are helping to make so many smiles this summer possible. Pray with me, that God will provide the rest of the funds,as He sees fit and that I will rest in that.

I love all of you guys and want you to know that "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy" (Phil 1:3,4)
- Nicole

New Beginnings....

I have been pondering a lot lately about new beginnings... I find over and over again that I am desperately in need of God's new mercy and grace each day.  I fall short so often.  I fail my family.  My friends.  My job.  My God.  I praise Him that the promise He made never fails: 
The Lord's loving kind
nesses indeed never cease,
      For His compassions never fail. 
   They are new every morning
  Great is Your faithfulness.
Lam 3:22, 23
* * * 
Each day finds me seeking God a fresh.  I am so thankful for the new beginnings He gives us! 

Along these lines, this blog will soon be getting a new beginning too... stay close for the great unveiling!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My beautiful sisters...

Oh how I'm gonna miss these girls!!

The Journey of the Purse

I bought this awesome over the shoulder purse in China last year that I have literally worn out in the last 12 months.  I realized that it's been all over the country with me.  Here is the some of the purse's journey:

The zipper has ripped, it's filthy dirty... but I'm determined to make it last until I get to China in 2 weeks and buy a new one!!  Stay tuned for the new and updated look!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where's Nicole?!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's killing me that I've been gone for so long. You have no idea how much it pains exceedingly!

Some unidentified persons actually cracked my computer screen a little over a week ago. I immediately shipped it on 3625 mile journey to Dr Jason who fixed it brand new.

Of course while it was being fixed, I had to manage my computer activities on library computers which really kills me when I'm used to my own 'baby-Mac' while lounging in a coffee shop.

Praise to Jesus, the precious package arrived home in the nick of time before I headed of on my last tour of duty for Bring Me Hope.

As I type, I'm sitting on the edge of some mountains in North Carolina. It's amazing. It's beautiful. And today, amazingly enough I was in 4 states in less than 12 hours.

It's a crazy, wonderful life!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Fresh Start...

So today Tiff and I gave our room a massive overhaul.  One of the big things that was redone was our misc picture/stuff board.  This puppy has been collecting random stuffs for close to a year.  We decided to start fresh... but first give you a peek at the contents:

*click the photo for details!
- - - 

It's all empty now... just waiting to be refilled!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

China Updates....

I sent out my China Update letter last week... very exciting!  

I am trying to compile a list of people who want to stay in touch during my six months in China.  I know there are lots of you blogging friends who I'd love to stay connected with.  If you want to get my updates from my adventures, send me an email and I'll be sure to stay in touch.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Treats are always good bribes for not running away!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

54 Days

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, May 1, 2009

Two Randoms

I am continually amazed by my sis's -- both by their innocent beauty and mad, amazing photography skills.

How did I get so blessed??

* * * 

I am humbly, proud to say that today I made my inaugural drive in Dad's sporty, 5 speed car.  I only died a handful of times.

Which really, I think is not that bad!

* * * 

I think, next to babies, kittens are the cutest thing God created.  On my list of things to do in life is having BOTH in my house someday!

* * * 

Today I've been at the coffee shop for over 4 hours... and frankly, I'm sick and tired of it.  Can't wait to be picked up and taken home.  

Any takers?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where's Nicole?!

This is the beginning of a new series on my blog similar to 'Where's Waldo'... except 'Where's Nicole'.  I'll randomly be checking in from all over telling a highlight of the day.  The first part of this series was here.

Friday, April 17, 2009


"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18
- - - 

Brokenness is the mark of  a person who is qualified to be used by God.  If you are not broken then you are using yourself for your own personal efforts, your own personal dreams and your own personal passions. At the end of the day, people that are actually being used of God in a crazy way and in an off the meter way are people that have been cracked up, who have been lunged at by God.  And God has done something to them. 

-Eric Mason

 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you."
1Corinthians 4:7-12

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blessed Ministry

"Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown to us, we do not get discouraged."
2 Cor. 4:1

"But I don't place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God's grace..."
Acts 20:24

What a blessing it was to get to know so many of the kids on the mission trip in New Mexico.  I was so blessed by their hearts to serve God in a deeper way.

They opened their hearts to me... we cried, prayed and shared together.

It's amazing how even a small amount of time spent together, can make such an impact on lives.

I'll always remember these happy faces... their laughter... their stories... their hearts.

What a blessed ministry to be able to work, pray, grow and serve together!

Love you guys!!

To Know.

I always like to be informed about people... as some of you may know, the ban on gay marriage was overturned here in Iowa a little over a week ago.  It was concerning to see the conflicting thoughts that Pastor Rick Warren had on this issue.  It seems as though he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I present this to you readers so you can be better informed.

(here he says he took no stand on the Prop. 8 issue in CA)
(Here he endorses it.)

Friday, April 3, 2009


I got this crazy idea to have Patti stand on her head for an AMAZING picture...

Plan the method...

Whoops!  Dropping her probably wasn't the best idea...

Get situated...


Thanks Patti for still being my friend... even when I drop you!
You da bomb!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Ranch

So here's the first installment of The Ranch documentary... for those of you who don't know what that is, you need to watch so you have a better idea of why I'm moving to China...

I would humbly ask you, is there anyone who is willing to be a part of this project by supporting my trip?  It takes a lot of money to fly to China and live there for six months, and three of those months I will also be supporting my two orphan buddies and translator.

I know that God has a thousand ways to answer my prayer for funds and so I can't wait to watch Him provide.  If you feel like you are able to help in this area, you can see below a few options:

I need the following monthly supporters to cover the costs during the 6 months:

20 ppl - $10 monthly

10 ppl - $25 monthly

6 ppl - $50 monthly

4 ppl - $100 monthly

I also need one-time supporters with gifts of any amount.

If you are willing to join me in the adventure by financial support, you can email me for details.

Thank you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's Activities

Get up.

Cough and eat cough drops.

Drive one kid to school on a 76 passenger bus.

Cough and eat cough drops.

Go on four deliveries with Dad... only sitting in the truck napping, coughing, eating cough drops, etc.

Answer emails at the Java House while listening to the live music.

Cough and eat cough drops.

Eat warmed up chili in the truck for lunch.

Cough and eat cough drops.

Drive a bunch of kids from two schools to their homes.

Cough, eat cough drops and try to stay on the road.

Go on one last delivery with Dad.

Eat supper with the fam at the Brown Bottle restaurant.

Cough and eat cough drops.

Go to bed.  (Try to get better.)

* I never realized trying to get better is such a tiring, full time job!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts on Kissing

These lips can't be touched...

... til it's time to tie the knot!

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine."
S of S

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goodbye Michigan....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Michigan Recap 1/2

So tomorrow afternoon we head off to the second half of the Michigan tour...  it's been such a special time here in the Grand Rapids area.  I love this place!

So here's to our new friends and all the memories!   I 'heart' you!

The Touring Tour

So today we spent the day seeing some of the amazing things in Grand Rapids.... like statues, a huge tire swing, yummy restaurants and a bubble tea that I've not enjoyed since I was in China.

It was a good day.

Stay tuned for a hilarious video recap of the first part of our tour in Michigan!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friends Tour 6.0


Patti and are having a great time in Michigan.  We've been seeing all kinds of cool Michigan things, meeting great people,  eating insanely amazing food, and talking to people about the kids in China.  What more can you ask for??

Today we spent the afternoon/evening with my friends, the Haleys.  While waiting for a ride from Seth, we bummed around Target and found multiple things to amuse ourselves with -- not the mention all the important shopping we got done!

We decided to have our own little sunglass-fashion show.  Which do you like best??

- Huge -

- Aviators - 

\ Crooked /
- Highschool Musical -
(my personal favs!)

On Sunday we went to our host's church, Crossroads.  People from all different walks of life were sharing how God is using them at their 'street corner' - the place God has placed them to minister.  It was such an encouragement and the worship that was sprinkled all throughout was just what I needed!

I was stuck with what the pastor said.  He said the problem with America is that we are a bored people.  His reason for this was so powerful and true.

We are bored because we have bought into the American dream and when that doesn't deliver, we become bored.  And despair follows boredom.  When your life is turned over to Jesus Christ, it is an exciting adventure.

I am so blessed to be part of this adventure!

Long Lost Pals

Today is one to go down in history.  I finally got to meet our friends the Haley's.  Our ties go back a long way when we first met Mr. Haley here and then Dad and the boys saw them again here.

This afternoon was my first time to meet Mrs. Haley and the kids after Mr. Haley stayed at our house 12 years ago.  They had the most incredible hospitality, smiles and food!

Crazy stuff, huh?  I love all the adventures that God's throws into our path.  

So yeah, today was pretty much amazing fun with the newest family I have fallen in love with!

* I heart you guys!!

Nicole + Horse = ... wow.