Monday, May 31, 2010

some gave all.

inspiration: Memorial Day

i didn't really grow up around the military, so i can't ever fully know what it's like or even what to expect. i know a few people who are in the military; but again, i couldn't imagine walking a day in their shoes. i can only imagine the pain and hardships of families who don't get to see their loved ones, or fathers, or mothers, or sons, or daughters for months at a time. and i grieve for those who have lost loved ones in war.

and today is definitely a day to honor those who have fought for our freedom and who sacrificed it all. i am so greatly appreciative of the troops here and abroad who sacrifice something every single day so that i can enjoy my freedom and liberty in this great country.

some sacrificed it all to fight for this country. leaving behind families, spouses, children...and i am so thankful for those men and women who put others before themselves, sacrificing a lot for us.

i am so thankful and appreciative of every man and woman who choose to serve our country. =]

and in honor of those who have fallen:
Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

in with the new.

inspiration: new things in my life :)

im attempting to make small changes in my life. changes to improve my health, wallet, well-being, etc.

1. i started a beginners walking/running plan today.
im completely out of shape. you may not be able to tell by just looking at me; but trust me, it's bad! my endurance and stamina are pretty much non-existent. true story.

Beginners Running Program 1.

gotta start somewhere, right?!
started another blog: See. Nikki. Run.
(i know. im prob a little too obsessed with blogging...)

2. i bought my last "new" thing today.
beginning on june 1 (tuesday) through december 31 (end of the year), i am only buying things from thrift/consignment stores. i feel like this will help curb my spending on clothes. i know that "hidden treasures" can be found at places like Goodwill, Newspring Thrift Store, Plato's Closet, etc. (btw, if you know of any other thrift/consignment/secondhand stores, let me know!)

i spend way too much money on things i don't really need. and if i do need it, then i can certainly find it elsewhere for a fraction of the cost.

(i do, however, reserve the right to buy under clothes and swim suits new. but i did buy a swim suit today and i have one from last year, so that will definitely do through this season :))

3. starting a new job on tuesday.
a good friend of mine has been absolutely blessed with an amazing teaching opportunity. i'm taking over her job at mary's music. this is a great opportunity because it will give me a little extra money every week for essentials (food, gas, tithe, etc.), not to mention, my friend has been blessed beyond measure with her dream job!

4. become better with money, in general
i want to become better with money. im awful with it. i need to start planning for the future. money is a huge factor in relationships, and while im not intending to try and get married anytime soon (although, that is totally something i'm trusting God with...so whenever He wants it to happen, it'll happen ;)), i know that i want to be "financially healthy" when the time comes to factor someone else in...



...so in with the new! :)
encouragement is greatly appreciated :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

snapshot.

inspiration: life.

i want to remember how blessed i feel right now. on bad days in the future, i want to look back on the "happy days" and know that blessings are abound. sometimes, i have to look beyond all the negatives and create my own silver lining in a dark thunderstorm cloud.

but today has been an awesome day. i think the entire cloud is made of silver today :) ((well, it kinda literally is considering is thunderstorming...=P)

so in a brief "snapshot".

--3 jobs. 2 at APSU and i start my new job at Mary's Music on Tuesday
--i'm dogsitting for a friend of mine this weekend. loving it :)
--serving an amazing Lord! this is my "off" weekend to serve in Grace Acres, but im definitely blessed to be a part of an amazing church body who is in love with Christ.
--amazing friends.
--happiness is abound. i have plenty of smiles to share.
--i've marked off my to-do list for the day. sometimes that's hard to do, too.
--finding more and more contentment with singleness. it's hard sometimes to see the light at the end of the tunnel of singleness. but i know that God has someone for me and He will bless me with this man on His timetable. i want to be patient. i want to prepare my heart for him. i want it to be a sensational Christ-centered love. a relationship won't just form overnight, so i can't expect it to be just given to me overnight either.


im blessed to be where i am.
so many long hard-fought battles have taken place in order for me to get here. to a place of overwhelming joy and happiness :)
God is doing amazing things in my life.

Monday, May 24, 2010

open doors.

inspiration: "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us." --Helen Keller


when i think of all the struggles i face on a daily basis, they are not nearly as bad as i make them out to be in my head. i have truly been blessed beyond measure.

yes, im a college students trying to make ends meet. yes, i would like to be able to travel and go on road trips. yes, i would like to be "in a relationship". but more than my wants and selfish desires are the blessings that have been bestowed to me.

jobs.
money.
food.
clothing.
shelter.

i, honestly, complain wayyyy too much about what i don't have, rather than praising God for what He has blessed me with.

some doors have closed for me.
but lately, multiple doors have been opened for me!
multiple opportunities to serve.
multiple opportunities to bless.
multiple opportunities to share the love of Christ with others!

and these opportunities are worth more than money.
yes, money is nice. but being able to worship and praise and share my love for Christ with others and to be humbled by His grace and mercy through these opportunities is worth everything to me!

God has a way of revealing Himself to us when we least expect it and when we most need Him. God, not only has the ability to open doors, but also to keep us from seeing them until He wants us to see them. He has been constantly revealing Himself to me. i feel like i tried for so long to "force" seeing Him: i tried to read my Bible more, pray more, focus on myself less...but He revealed Himself to me not when i was trying the hardest, but when i was humbling myself and serving others. strange concept, i know. but God has definitely been working wonders in my heart and in my life. and definitely blessing me far more than i deserve.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

defining lists.

inspiration: accepting who i am and who i am not.

sometimes, it's hard to come clean with our friends. but i find it even harder to come clean with myself sometimes. i set my expectations high for myself. sometimes it motivates me; other times, i just end up beating myself up for "not being good enough". i want to be loved, i want to be accepted, i want to be successful.

but what i am is this: a sinner.

Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

i will never in any way measure up to what i could be. sin will always hold me back. there are lists and lists of things that i wish i hadn't done. there are lists and lists of past sins and mistakes, some of which i am still in the process of forgiving myself for.

this is what i am: forgiven!

Romans 3:24-25a: "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood."

He died for me! He died for my sins so that I may be forgiven and seen as perfect in the Holy eyes of God! In no way will I ever be perfect. In no way will I ever be good. But God showed His everlasting and unconditional love for me through the death and resurrection of His Son!

2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."


I constantly have to remind myself that I have been redeemed and forgiven. My list of sins may be long, but I am not defined by that list. I am defined by the love of Christ! I am defined by forgiveness, grace, and redemption!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

friendship: the glue of life

inspiration: when you're inspired, you just run with it.

i wrote a post yesterday about wanting to be inspired. i've had writers' block for a few days and i've missed blogging. but i had a prayer answered and inspiration hit me when i got into my car after hanging out with a few friends this afternoon.

i had lunch with three friends today (which was a lot of fun :) they'll possibly be roommates soon and needed to meet. i definitely hope everything works out for them. afterwards, morgan and i went to plato's closet and we had a discussion on the way back. at that point, i was struck with an idea about something to blog about. when i got back to my car, two songs came on the radio. and when i heard the second song start to play, i KNEW that it was definitely inspiration hitting me!

last week, i wrote this blog about one of my best friends. ( to my friend brooke). today, i'm branching off that topic into a much more general topic about the strength and importance of friendship, especially the latter.


a few months ago, i went through a devastating breakup. so many emotions were involved and i overcame a lot throughout the whole process. but i know that i could NOT have accomplished that without being surrounded by a community of girls who love me and have really helped me keep my focus on Christ, the only man who will NEVER let me down and who i can instill all my trust in will full confidence!!!

the community group pastor at Grace Community Church, Ben Reed, (read his blog here: Life and Theology) posts a lot about the importance of community groups, especially in the realm of accountability and love and grace and friendship, in general. i feel like over the past few months, i've taken a lot of my friendships and community groups for granted. i realized that today.

i know that probably a lot of people are going through tough times and don't have a "community group" where they can go and talk about their struggles. i don't know where i would be had i not been blessed with an amazing community group (at the exact right time, may i add) to help me overcome my relationship woes. i don't know where i would be without "woman club" to help keep me grounded through all my trials and tests.

friendship is biblical.
Eve was created as a companion for Adam because God knew it wasn't good for man to be alone. Jesus had his disciples with whom He spent a great amount of time with. friendship allows us to grow and connect with others in a way that we couldn't do alone. i know that the friendships that i've developed over the past year have brought me closer to Christ and have strengthened my faith in trust in the Creator God. i hope and pray that through my friendships, Christ may be glorified.

friendships are amazing and friendships are important.
it took me a while to come up with a title (and i know how cheesy it is), but i really do think they are the glue of life. we bond with friends and we endure hard times with friends. they are what keep us sane. i treasure each and every one of my friendships and i hope to never take them for granted. ever again.


two awesome songs:

"We Need Each Other" by Sanctus Real
i can't imagine a life without friends.


"God Gave Me You" by Dave Barnes
i've been blessed with so many friends that mean the world to me. through thick and thin, the true ones have stuck with me. and for that, i praise God for such an amazing support system :)

i pray that God would use me to be a good friend to everyone. and i pray that He has blessed you with amazing friends with which to make many memories and to glorify God :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

inspiration wanted

inspiration: i need inspiration.

i haven't written in a while.
but to be quite honest, i feel like i haven't been inspired in a while.
i want to write so badly, but i don't feel like i have anything to really write about.

i pray that i may remain a faithful follower of Christ and i pray that He may inspire me or lay something on my heart to write about.

Friday, May 14, 2010

to my friend, brooke

inspiration: brooke. is. weird. but i 'ily' her anyways.

It came to me this morning (and unfortunately, I didn't have time to write about it when it came, so bear with me as I try to collect all the thoughts I had earlier) about how absolutely BLESSED beyond belief I am with all the amazing friends in my life. But today, I want to give a shout-out to my homegirl, Brookeulus.

We've been BFFLs** ever since freshman year when she said this:
"Remember that APSU1000 survey we took today? Well, because you're my roommate, I was able to say that I interact with someone of a different race 'on a daily basis'."

(NOTE: We had known each other less than 48 hours. That's how intense our friendship was and still is.)

Brooke and I made our first attempt at cooking last night. It was quite entertaining and turned out to be a decent meal. Neither one of us cook or really know how to cook (although, we did do a pretty darn good job making fettuccini alfredo, if I do say so myself). But we enjoyed our pasta + jello and had some deep conversation.

We really for the first time in a very long time actually opened up to one another. We hang out all the time, and most of the time, we're just obnoxiously poking fun at each other and goofing off and being "us", but it was actually incredibly relieving to be able to open up to one another about our pasts and hurts and stuff. There are things I had been hiding from her for so long, and I felt almost silly for not having told her a long time ago. After all, we're BFFLs!

But we both opened up and shared some of our past mistakes and our fears and apprehensions about things in the future. We both allowed ourselves to be vulnerable, and that hadn't happened in a really long time! But I feel like it really bonded us :) I know from my perspective, I took her for granted a lot. But our conversations last night really helped me realize the true VALUE of her friendship and honesty. I think, both finally realized it. Not only are we able to laugh things off and to enjoy the simple things, like sidewalk chalk and jello. But we also have the close-knit bond and can have serious, deep, conversations that are heavy and we're supportive of one another.

Of course, we had our numerous "we're special" moments (**CLASSIC!**), but yesterday really showed me what true friendship looks like.

I'm so blessed to have a friend like Brooke, as well as all my other friends who came into my life, literally, at the right time when I needed them most. I've been through so much, but I've been absolutely blessed with girlfriends who are always supporting me and lifting me up to Christ and keeping me strong in Him and His love. It's amazing and a blessing. :)


So to my dearest and closest sisters-in-Christ and especially to Brooke-ulus,

You girls are hardcore awesome. I'm so blessed to know you! Ily* fo' rilly



*ily - I love you ;)
**BFFL -- best friend for life

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"life is too short to be anything but happy"

inspiration: the quote.

i saw this quote at the beginning of Danny Gokey's music video. (i didn't watch the video or listen to the song, to be honest, because i was 1. setting the quote as my facebook status and 2. trying to make myself understand what that meant for me and my life.

lately, i've been kinda down.
i've spent probably too much time wishing i had this or wanting that or trying to be better. i've spent too much time focusing on things i don't have. i've wasted too much of my time and energy NOT praising and worshiping God, who blesses me with His love.

after all, we're blessed with things that are already His.
i have been blessed with "things", money, a car, an apartment, food (i have enough Sprite in my fridge to quench the thirst of a small nation), luxuries.
and every time moment i spend wishing i had more is a moment that's not praising God for His blessings.

i've complained too much and written too many blog posts about "not having someone special" when i need to realize that i am being BLESSED with this season of singleness. God is doing incredible things in my life RIGHT NOW! ive never been so blessed in my entire life with all the experiences, friendships, love, and free time that i have. i've been so consumed with all the worry and fear and "loneliness" that i've forgotten that only in Christ will i ever be fully satisfied. only in His love will i be able to rejoice and be happy, TRULY happy!

"I'm not a perfect person. There's many things I wish I didn't do."
you probably recognize that as the first line of "The Reason" by Hoobastank.

if i continue to wish away my days on earth, i'll never enjoy what God has surrounded me with forever. if i continue to blame myself for mistakes and mishaps and breakups and relationship problems, i'll never know the true meaning of forgiveness and i will have missed the entire point of His sacrifice for me on the cross. i'm going to encounter hard times. i'm going to struggle. i'm going to fail. i'm going to fall on my face! but i can't stay down.

"Every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back."
"Life is too short to be anything but happy."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"...when i am weak, then i am strong..."

inspiration: 2 Corinthians 12:10

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." --2 Corinthians 12:10


i've been awake for several hours. and i don't really know why, but it's been "one of those days".
i have been doubting whether or not there really is someone is "out there" for me. i've spent a lot of time thinking about the past and wishing there were ways i could go back and fix everything. i miss certain people and i miss the memories, but i can't focus on those things.

God calls us to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and that's what i'm trying to do. it's not easy and it's not fun. but i know that when i am weak, that's when God is using my circumstances to strengthen my faith and dependence on Him. i know that whether im in a relationship or single forever, God will use me to bring His name glory.

"i want you to want me. i need you to need me."
but rather than sing out lyrics to a song, i'll sing out praises to my King who WILL provided EVERYTHING for me :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

things im looking forward to...

inspiration: mother's day.

i can't wait to be a mother. granted, i don't plan on being one for a while, but after seeing all the happy mothers in Grace Acres and kids giving their moms cards and flowers and such, i just can't wait to enjoy that season of life.

things have changed a lot for me over the past year. outlook, goals, dreams, aspirations. when i was in high school, i couldn't even fathom being married until i was like 27 or 28 (lol). but after having experienced love and all its wonders (and rollercoaster rides =P), i can't wait to be married. i can't wait to find someone to spend the rest of my life with and to create and share lasting memories with. and as much as i long for that, i know that God has someone for me. and all i can do right now is to wait patiently and to pray for him, wherever he is and whatever he is doing.

a year ago (and before), i couldn't imagine being a mother. as hard as it is, i just didn't even know if i wanted to have kids. i thought "yeah, maybe one. MAYBE!". but my heart has DEFINITELY been changed (especially since volunteering in Grace Acres). i have a long way to go before then, though. i have some growing up to do and lots to learn before i can even fathom being a mother, but i know that the rewards will outweigh all the fear and anxiety and apprehension i'm experiencing now.



but to all the mothers out there. and to those who are mother-figures. and to any and every woman who has had an impact on a child: Happy Mother's Day!! =D

Friday, May 7, 2010

where did all the silver linings go?

inspiration: "Every cloud has a silver lining."

life isn't easy. it never has been and never will be.
i commented on a friend's facebook status

"life is hard because we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people. some circumstances are out of our control and all we can do is trust that everything will work out for the best :) and it always will :)"

i didn't think much of it, because that's just the way i view life (well, that's just the tip of the iceberg). but a couple other people commented on it as well saying that they liked my words, i guess.

but we all get hit between the eyes by life and we ask ourselves "Where did all the silver linings go?" (maybe not in those words, though). life is hard. no doubt about it.

one of my favorite verses of all time:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. --James 1:2-4

God doesn't reveal Himself to us immediately when we ask Him for things (see my post here). He wants us to be patient and trust in His plans for us. everything will always work out for the best. it may take time and it sure takes a lot of patience. but God grants us that patience and strength when we call on Him to do so.

we learn from every situation, good and bad. if everything were easy and handed to us, we would never learn. we would never appreciate the healing process, the growing process, the learning process...call it whatever you like.

God allows us (contrary to what most believe, He doesn't cause it...but that's a whole different issue for a different time) to experience the bad because He wants us to appreciate the good. He is Goodness defined and when we are able to focus on the good, we are truly focused on the blessings He has poured out on us. He wants us to see Him (aka the silver lining) in every situation.

James understood that well. He knew that in every situation, God was at work behind the scenes, so to speak. Every trial and test is actually a blessing because once we find the "silver lining", we have actually grown and matured and persevered. We are better off now than we were before because of that test :)

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Every situation is a situation in which to encounter God at His greatest :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"you wont need gold toe socks in Heaven"

inspiration: Brandon's jokes at Aqua were horribly hilarious.

"i see you're looking at gold toe socks. did you know you won't need gold toe socks in Heaven 'cuz all the streets will be made of gold"
"i see you're walking your dog. did you know 'dog' spelled backwards is God?"
"i'm sorry for pickin' on the asians...."

but on a serious note. tonight at Aqua was incredible (as always).

read this blog

Susan came out and talked to us about her flood experience. but just listening to her speak was just incredible. she lost everything, but she is still able to praise God amidst all the tragedy and overwhelming circumstances. it's amazing to see the Holy Spirit working through her.


also, Brandon spoke about how we tend to carry the mindset of "it won't ever happen to me" into our spiritual lives and it becomes "i won't ever make a difference on my campus or in the lives of others". but the truth is that He has blessed each and every one of us with our talents and gifts and our spheres of influence.

im always caught in the place where i want so badly to be able to just "know" what it's like to be "called by God" to travel overseas or to do missions work and to share the Gospel with others. i want to have that "missions mindset". but i don't feel like that is where God is necessarily calling me. i feel like He is calling me to pursue my education and to share the Gospel in the "simple" ways. home, work, school, church. volunteering at Grace Community and being involved with Aqua has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. and i believe He has different plans for each and every one of us.

we all have our spheres of influence, no matter how big or small. some at home, some abroad. some in foreign nations, some in the office workplace. and it doesn't matter size or place, it's all for the glory of God.

God is going to do amazing things through Aqua and Grace Community Church, and throughout Clarksville, in general, through the catastrophic flood events of this past weekend. His glory will shine in ways big and small throughout the community and i am SOOO looking forward to being able to serve others :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

unanswered questions.

inspiration: so many questions. so few answers.

there are so many questions in my life and mind that have yet to be answered.
some of them meaningless; some of them tough; some of them unanswerable.

"why do things happen the way they do?"
"why do bad things happen to good people?"
"when will i meet my husband?"
"what if im never meant to be married?"
"what is my life's purpose?"

but something im learning more and more is that sometimes it's not the answer that matters. "it's not the destination, it's the journey." as cliche as that is, it has become very applicable in my life. God doesn't always (in fact, rarely) gives me an answer when i ask my question. He lets me ponder it a while, often leading me into a time of prayer and spending time in His word. He makes me sit and wait. im not a patient person and i often lose my patience during the waiting process. but in times like right now, im glad He is making me wait. im glad He isn't answering my questions. it's right now that i'm clinging to Him for everything. i'm learning to relinquish control over my life and letting Him write my life story.

i'm impatient and bratty.
i'm controlling and obnoxious.
but He is teaching me patience and compassion.
He is guiding and leading me back to Him.

so for now, the answers to my questions aren't nearly as important as the values and lessons God is teaching me as i wait for Him to answer. =]


Though the fig tree does not bud and there are not grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
--Habakkuk 3:17-19

flooding.

inspiration: monsoon rains hit tennessee may 1 & 2

it's amazing how devastating rain can be.
much of middle tennessee just destroyed by floods.
my prayers definitely go out to those who lost everything in the downpours over the weekend.

today, it's sunny and beautiful outside, but even the sunshine cant erase the fact that there is massive flooding not only in clarksville (im sure APSU is pretty much underwater, right now), but in a lot of the nashville/metro/franklin/brentwood area.

the joke seems to be, "first snow, then floods, what's next?".
but in any and all situations, God will take care of us and provide for us what needs to be provided :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

love is grand.

inspiration: Meagan and Scotty's wedding! =D

so yesterday, my small group leader and dear friend Meagan and her fiance got married! she looked absolutely stunning and scotty looked great, too. im so happy for them. they're such an amazing couple! and i love them both dearly.


it made me really excited about getting married someday.
but i know that right now, im not ready for any sort of commitment like that. i am still working on building my relationship with Christ and making sure that He is first in my life, above all else. i dont want to get caught up in making another person priority #1 in my life like ive done before. only Jesus Christ belongs there.

but love is beautiful and i cannot wait to meet that person that God is calling me to share the rest of my life with :)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. --1 Corinthians 13:4-8