Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Ping Pong Life

Last weekend was the best weekend I've had in an eternity {minus my weekends with Captain Awesome*} It was the best weekend because I literally did nothing.

Now before you judge me for my horrific and very apparent laziness, I think I've had this weekend coming for a long time. Life has been hectic, crazy since getting home from Cali and taking 48 hours to enjoy my family {sisters in particular} all while doing a lot of nothingness, was just what the doc prescribed.

Sleeping in til 10:00, dance parties in the bedroom with the little girls, no cleaning {sorry mom} shopping at Goodwill for lots of junk-nothings, and cozy afternoon naps. It was AMMaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!

One of my mostest favoritest things we did on Saturday happened while we were at Goodwill. We were standing the book section, perusing for any volume that merited spending $.88. Tiff and I were laughing over some of the stupid books there, when suddenly this hair-brain idea for a game was born.

Tiff and I would hand select and buy, one book for the other person, and we would each {H A V E} to read that book in one month's time. Tiffany had one book in her 'consideration pile' on "Finding the Connection Between Humans & Dogs" and I had one for her "Dealing with Fibromyalgia". The zanier the better.

There is something incredibly healing and comforting about that moment. Laughing hysterically over random books on a rainy, Saturday afternoon with MoH**. After much serious {laughing} contemplation, I bought a book for Tiff on one man's gleanings from teaching golf his whole life {G A G} and Tiff bought this titled book:

Work Would Be Great If It Weren't For The People - Making Office Politics Work for You
"Ronna Lichtenberg, former Senior Vice President for External Affairs at Prudential Securities, shows us that not only is it okay to be good at negotiating office politics, it's essential. In fact, if you're not playing politics, chances are you're forgeiting that work game. You're risking not getting that nicer office, that better account, and the recognition you deserve..."

Seriously. Like I have a lot of office politics to deal with. I work by myself, in my cyber office, with my coworkers who work in their cyber offices across the US. So yeah... this next month is gonna be some fuuuun reading!! {Needless to say, we have both have yet to crack the covers}

* * *
The state of tranquility last weekend was short lived. {sigh} Back to reality early Monday morning.

The last several weeks {especially} have felt like all I do is swim around a bathtub full of ping pong balls... trying desperately to keep them all under. It's a rather exhausting job. There's my cyber office job at Bring Me Hope, nannying two days a week in Iowa City, occasionally driving school bus when they lack warm bodies to run yellow vehicles, and just this week, a second nanny job on days I have nothing to do.

Curiously enough, this 'new' family is not really new. Remember these kiddos?? After being gone for two years, I'm back at to the happy chaos of the mad-good-photographers. With a new addition to the family since then and another on the way, it's good to be back at my 'old-new' job.

* * *
Being busy is a good thing, in light of my constant state of missing Captain Awesome. God is teaching me so much that 'just dating' doesn't fix my problems... though dating it is amazing. I am reminded {daily} what it means to wait on Him. Practically. There is something very helpless about not being able to make time go faster.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requestsbe made known to God.
T H E N:
The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4: 6,7

Sunday we watched a video sermon from Mars Hill talking about worship through suffering. One of the points mentioned was that through suffering, God can show us the idols in our heart. He described worship as "pouring oneself out unceasingly for something or someone" and like Martin Luther said, despite what or who we say is our God, our truly "functional God is that person or thing on which our heart entirely rests or trusts". I felt like God asked me to search my heart for any idols that might be taking preeminence over Him. As I looked at myself honestly, I saw that my idols weren't {bad} things, but when taken out of proper balance, become wrong.

"Take away the dross from the silver and there will come forth a vessel for the refiner. Prov 25:4

* * *

Nothing says love like big chocolate chip eyes {unless they are puddles of blue}

Baby is learning so much everyday. It's like her vocabulary doubles daily. Yesterday she said park and swing and can say all kinds of crazy animal sounds. {fish, snake, lion, bunny}

* * *

Last night when I got home from work, Mom served us an awesome taco salad dinner and then hauled us up to the attic for an overhaul. Personally, I think attics are meant for mess, junk, and treasures. I mean, how else can you get that nostalgic feeling like when you watch Little Women?

The little girls have built houses, stores and forts in our big, four-eves attic. But last night was clean up time. We hauled down all kinds of broken furniture, empty boxes and abandoned stuffs. I found the big desks that MoH and I did school on, an old 2007 Bring Me Hope group photo {where curiously enough, Adam and I W E R E standing next to each other!!} and my boxes and boxes of things that are for my {non-existent} hope chest.

I guess these projects are good. In Grace's opinion, this means we are moving for the 14th time. "Come on Nicole, Mom wants to move so she is getting this all organized so when the time comes we don't have to do this."

Poor Aubrey has been at this house for 8 years on Tuesday. When the other 6 of us were her age, we'd moved at least three times. What can we say, adventures don't happen to this younger generation like they used to in our day! :) Maybe we should shake things up...

* * *

My favorite quote today for Captain Awesome:

"Missing someone gets easier everyday because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will.

{which technically isn't 110% true. it's still hard. just like that dumb saying, "parting is such sweet sorrow" whoever said that obviously knew nothing about true love. grrr. it is wicked sorrow.}

* * *

* Otherwise known as the Amazing Man... or to the rest of the world, Adam Dane Neesby
** My besty Tiffy

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back again...

It's crazy how much my life has changed in the last 89 days. {when the amazing Man started dating me} Exciting, {at times} scary and thrillingly hopeful changes. It's been so good. I'm humbly blessed at the incredible Man that God has given me. Sometimes I have moments where I giggle in sheer delight. Pinch myself out of awe-struck wonderment. Marvel at the goodness of God. He shows me over and over and over how beautiful His plan is.
God has used Adam to show me what unmerited favor and grace looks like. I wish each of you could know my amazing Man like I do. I wish you could see the moments where he quietly serves. Watch his strong arms hug an orphan close. Know all the sacrificial times he has spent ministering to countless people with his listening ear and tender heart. If you knew Adam the I know him...

Then again, I am beginning to believe that is part of the mystery of dating and {someday} marriage. The opportunity to know one person like no one else knows them. The opportunity to love someone for who they really are... even for their flaws and quirky ways. What a beautiful thing.

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -Dr Suess

* * *
God has been laying a lot on my heart lately. Things that pertain to my personal walk with Him. Things that relate to my relationships with family. Friends. My amazing Man. A lot of times I have a hard time getting those things from my heart, to my brain and then practically into my life. One way to attempt to make that transition is to begin blogging here again. It will also be my own way to document what God continues to do in this crazy, exciting adventure of being my amazing Man's girl! {because my journaling skills are pitiful}

Part of my inspiration for picking up writing here again, was a blog that a friend showed me over a month ago. It's one lady's online journal of her family's life. But instead of just writing about daily events or posting her beautiful photography, it's a journal of sorts. Scripture verses, quotes and thoughts from her personal walk with Jesus. Her humility and vivacity for life is a challenge for me.

We can all learn from each other, from the things God is teaching us. This will be my attempt at simply being a link in that chain.... for anyone willing to weed through my long monologues, funky stories and attempts at good photography.

* * *

On the topic of funky stories:

I have a very strange fetish for old dressers. Don't ask me why. Or how it started.
My first dresser I bought was a white, paint chipped wardrobe with spindle legs and two little drawers on top. It was love at first sight at that antique shop. It wasn't 'til I got home that I realized it wreaked of cigarette smoke. Talk about a crushing moment. After baking soda, flower scented drawer liners and lots of time to air out, it's finally normal. Not long after, I found a brown, rather crummy piece on sale for $35. On principle I couldn't leave it behind. If I could only get around to giving it a new coat of paint, it would look light years better.

But Saturday was my dresser-fetish high light of all times. Tiff and I were in a second hand store and as I was walking through the rows of furniture, my eyes happened on this beauty. A tall, five-drawer dresser. Funky handles and awesome wood details. What could make this picture even better?? The price tag which read '$19.99' coupled up with the storewide 25% discount. {Boosh}

Before anyone else came to tackle me down in an attempt to steal my find, I grabbed the price tag, paid for the goods and Tiff and I loaded the hunk of beautiful wood into the back of the van. Definitely the second biggest highlight of my year...

* * *

Speaking of highlights. My {of course} number one is my amazing Man. We have a funny dating relationship. Our daily dates consist of phone calls every night, spanning the 1825 miles between us, sometimes lasting as long as four and a half hours. We actually seen each other a grand total of 21 days out of the 89 we've been dating.

Like my adorable Man said last night, "this long distance thing is way overrated!" Not that the ratings were that high to begin with. :( In a desperate attempt to be positive, we have learned so much about communication. A skill which will benefit us long after the cell phones have been put away for good.

One of my favorite dates while I was out in California the first two weeks of April was this day...

Dating a pilot is such fun. One afternoon Adam took me on a date high above the city and ocean. We flew over Catalina Island, the painfully, gorgeous blue ocean and even Disneyland.

It's a very good thing planes can fly themselves in the air... no hand-holding minutes can be wasted.

Back on the ground again, we hit up the coffee shop and then took a long {romantic} walk on the beach.

From the skies to the sandy beach, it was the perfect date. Then again anytime, anywhere I can be with my amazing Man is a perfect date!

* * *

We also spent 5 days down in Mexico helping at a summer camp for orphans with a wonderful organization, Genesis Diez. It's also funny that around 90% of the time Adam and I have spent together since we first met in the summer of 2007, has been on the mission field. I am thankful that God has given this man an incredible heart of service and love for the hurting all over the world.

We did find a few minutes to slip away during free time to enjoy the incredibly beautiful view...

* * *
Now that I'm back to the {lonely} land of Iowa, I'm desperately attempting to keep myself busy until the next time I can be with my amazing Man.

While sitting in the hanger that Adam works at, a girl I know there gave me a 20 minute crash course in crochet. I immediately went out and bought yarn and a crochet hook to make... something. I have finally decided I will make a small purse for old Thresher's. Who knows. At this point it looks more like a little Jewish kippot.

* * *

Lastly, but definitely not leastly. The past 12 months have felt like God has given me one crash course after another in healthy conflict resolution. I must not be getting it.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger" Proverbs 15:1

"He that handles a matter wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he" Proverbs 16:20

"Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies" 1Cor 8:1