Monday, October 7, 2013

Waxing Poetic

Sometimes my baby's breath is like fruit
on an Earl Grey English Morning
Fresh and Sweet and
full of promise
that spring gives with early life

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thieves Row - It's Biblical!

I had a flashback today.

I was in the car with my college roommate, whose name would be changed if she were innocent, but she wasn't...neither was I, but that's not the point. Her name was Kelcey. We were driving back to school, I'm not sure from where, but my guess is that we were just visiting her hometown. We attended the University of Kansas. Anyone who drives back to school from their hometown in Kansas is likely to drive by farm fields. Like...100% likely. 

Kelcey was full of helpful Kansas knowledge. Like how the longest curved road (as of 1994) in the US could be found on the way to Iola (not to be confused with Iowa). On this particular trip, I learned about how farmers planted an extra row around the perimeter of their fields knowing that the outer edges were prone to theft. Hence Thieves Row. 

It's odd how some things, like that memory, will stick with you. When driving by a ripe field of oranges, my husband and I will look longingly and say with drool on our lips "mmmm...thieves row...." 

Anyway, I got this flashback as I was reading Leviticus 19:9-10:
“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God."

Of course, then I had some other thoughts. My first was how God's word can get so convoluted.  God told us to leave some of our harvest for the poor. There's such a stark difference in seeing something as "prone to theft" versus "planted with the intent to feed those in need".  

Then I thought of how I could apply that to myself.   Am I the farmer that plants knowing that some of my "fruits" might not end up in my harvest? Or am I intentionally planting extra in anticipation of feeding those in need?   

Lord, keep me from greed, so that your harvest is plentiful.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sassy Pants and The LIttle Swimmer

Two of my favorite things this week:
The swim cap
The funny kid

Mom, is this hat for swimming? 
(slightly deflated, but not deterred)
Rylee: Hey Angelica, did you know I have a boyfriend?
(non-chalantly bragging)
Angelica: You do?
Rylee: Yeah. Do you wanna know who he is?
Angelica: Yeah. Who is he?
(both of us - Bwaaa haa haaa haa haaa)
The Grand PooBah of The Pool


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not only the neighbors...but the whole neighborhood.

So, a few hours after Close Encounters Of The Gator Kind, I was due to pick up The Taz from school.  Maggie and I rolled up to school and a mother from the neighborhood shouts "Hey Nikki, Heard you spent some time on top of your car today!"   And she doesn't even know about this blog. (Hard to believe, I know.)

For sure this made me giggle, because now I am famous. And people for blocks and blocks will know me. Sure it's not really cool like "oh she's the mom that always makes the coolest treats for the kids at school." Or being referred to as "you know, that mom that runs behind her kids to school, and have you seen her arms, she must do cross fit."  But it's something. "Yeah. That Mom who was on the roof of her car because she saw a baby gator."

Anyway, thanks to my kind neighbor (whose husband made sure the gator was not under my car, so I could climb down) I now have better pictures to show you of the beast.

Here she comes just a walking down the street.
Singin' "Doo wha diddy, it's your dog that I will eat."

Seriously. This isn't right.


The neighbor thinks I'm crazy

Picture this.

There's me. In the garage. Minding my own business. I'm cleaning up my work space. I'm sanding. I'm sweating.  

Then I hear something strange. Like a small animal. I see something out of the corner of my eye.

Let me zoom in to show you what I was looking at.

That's right. It's a gator. Only about 4 feet long.  Only my baby is just about 4 feet long.  Luckily she was at school when this went down.

So I did what anyone would do, and I turned around, grabbed my phone and then jumped on the hood of the car to call my husband (right after I got a couple of photos, of course). Upon viewing the phone photos, and getting no answer from Troy, I did what anyone else would do next. I ran inside to grab my real camera. I did have the wherewithal to lock the door behind me...just in case gators grew opposable thumbs since last I studied them.  After grabbing the good camera, I ran back outside and jumped back on the hood of the car.

That's when the neighbor saw me.  On the hood of the car. Crouching kind of weird like; trying not to leave a dent in my go-getter.   He had a weed whip, so I shouted to him "THERE'S A GATOR IN MY YARD!"  As a disclaimer, I did not actually see if the gator came into our yard. because by the time I got back into position, it was gone.  Lucky for me, said neighbor had seen the gator cross the street before it got to our house. So I only looked kind of crazy, and not straight-up-heat-has-fried-her-brain crazy. 

The story is really anti-climactic from here. The neighbor and I did a hot lap around our house- he carrying the weed whip and a brick from a different neighbor's house; and I with my camera - and we found no trace of the gator.  All in all, a very exciting thirteen minutes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Last weekend I was perusing Craigslist for nothing in particular when I saw a post for a solid wood hutch. It was advertised as being a fun "project" or tool storage for your garage.  I already had "the bug" to re-do more furniture after my last project. So, I quickly snatch that hutch up.

The owner before me had gotten this from her parents. A momma, just like me, with hopes of restoring it to it's natural beauty.  I got my power sander out right away. I hadn't done a project this big before, so I was nervous about messing it up; especially knowing it had come from someone who was hoping to see it restored.  I knew I was going to learn a lesson with this piece. What I didn't know, was that the lesson wouldn't be about furniture, and sandpaper, and stain.

Recently, I have been wondering about what my "gifts" are.  "Lord, open my eyes to what you would have me do when both my babies are in school. Lord, once the laundry has been folded, and the kitchen cleaned, what would I do to fulfill both our heart's desires."  As I loaded the paper on my sander, I remembered Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's handiwork, Created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Someone one explained that verse to me like this:  It's like a chef's kitchen. All of the mixing bowls, and spoons, and spices and ingredients are there. God's given you the tools, you just have to use them. Start cooking.

I looked at my actual tools. A sander. Sandpaper. Sanding block. Some paint brushes. A can of stain. And the most important tool - the desire. And I started cooking....errr....sanding.

When I finished sanding, I was in awe of what was under the gumpy residue of being a tool storage bench in a garage for 15 years.
About the same time, Troy found a dresser at his storage unit. It was just sitting out, waiting for someone to take it home.

When I started sanding this piece, I realized that God was going to talk some more. He told me that even when I was this dark, scratched up piece, He wanted me. He knows my beauty. He knows my worth. He also told me I needed some work. 

At times there were spots that were very hard to get the paint, and stain and varnish off.  When it would get too hard, I would put on a fresh piece of sandpaper. God told me that I had to use the right tools. And to keep them sharp.  My tools are my faith, my desire, and the word of God.  I kept on sanding. The more I got rid of the old, the more beautiful this piece became.

I ended up finishing the hutch first and putting it on Craigslist to sell.  The woman who picked it up said she was going to use it to display art work that kids complete at her summer camp. My heart swelled.  If you know me, you know I have a soft spot for the arts.

And when I finished the dresser, I was once again reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things passed away, new things have come."

So my prayer is no longer - Open my eyes Lord; rather, Sand me, stain me, prepare me that I might be ready to display Your artwork.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Furniture Face Lift

Last week I spent all of my free time giving some of our furniture a face lift. I was inspired by a headboard that we found. A small little secret - some storage facilities have an area for people to leave things that other people might want.   You can find some sweet treasures.  So, as My Chef and I were on a very romantic trip to his work's storage unit last Valentine's Day, we happened upon this beauty:

It had some stickers on it, a few scratches, and didn't really match the other furniture.

But that was fine by me, because I had two things on my side: a can of primer, and a can of paint.
In fact, they had been burning a hole in my proverbial pocket; waiting for the perfect project.
I was going to take the lead from my friend over at White Butterfly who snazzes things up
with new hardware. But I was on the cheap. So I picked up myself some metallic silver spray paint for the trim pieces and, if you're asking me, I made a pretty good choice.


Now that I have a little confidence that I can successfully paint furniture, my next project is to find a free piece that I can clean up during Lentsgiving and donate to a local organization that serve people getting back on their feet and need furniture. 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

10K Talk with the Big Man

Today was the day of my 10k run, and boy, was it a good one. I started the race with my friend, who is a strong runner, at the back of the pack because she was pushing her two chitlin's in a stroller. About a quarter mile into the race she said she was going to peel off. After I ate a bit of her dust, I was left to my own thoughts.

The sun was just rising at the start of this race; so naturally a camp song came to mind. "So, rise, and shine and give God the glory, glory..." In that moment, I knew that He and I were going to spend the next 6 miles talking.

I thanked Him for the cool weather, for the able body, for my loving family tucked in their beds. He sent some birds to sing in reply.  I gave Him praise for the beauty around me.

I told Him about my friends- How LJ was having surgery again for breast cancer - How my Cousin Lisa (who isn't really my cousin) just had surgery again for cancer cells in her brain - About my mom's complex body - About Kim's foot - About my friend John who bid farewell to his wife so she could be with Him.  I spoke at length about their fears, their pains, and their sadness.  I thanked Him for the comfort He sends them each by way of doctors and medicine and people to love on them.

Then He reminded me that he knit each of them together while they were still in their mother's bellies (Psalms 139:13). That He knows every inch of them. He knows every ailment, every worry, every need.  That He will provide for them, carry them, heal them and make them new again. He reminded me that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

We ran together like this- me lifting up my loved ones, and He answering with scripture. "Those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not grow weary."

I was beaming when I rounded the last corner to see the balloon-arch finish line. I had not walked once. And God reminded me to "run with perseverance the race that has been marked" for me. (Hebrews something something).  And I told Him I would. Then we high fived. 

Then as I was crossing the finish line, there was my friend, with her two beautiful children that she pushed in the stroller, waiting to cheer me on. (Never mind that the three of them finished 17 minutes faster than me.) I got my medal, three Gatorades, a banana, two bagels and a granola bar and set off for home with a huge smile on my face and joy in my heart.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I just made up that word. Lentsgiving. It's like Thanksgiving. Only in the spring. And instead of giving thanks, you give something up.   Last year one of my friends commented that he didn't even know what Lent was. So, in case that's you, I'll start with a short explanation.

You could Google the word Lent and come up with all sorts of history and articles. But let's skip that and go straight to what it means to me. Lent is a time that I have recently started to appreciate as a way to prepare my heart for Easter. For the 40+ days before the celebration of Christ's Resurrection, I like to reflect on my own life. One year I gave up Facebook, intending to replace my time giving thanks to God for all his grace. One year I gave up pop. Last year, instead of giving something up, I wrote letters to people. As I wrote, I took stock in the the blessings I'd been provided by way of those I was writing to. 

Looking back, all of those seasons were about me. This year, I want to do something different.  Since Lent is a season to prepare for the celebration of Salvation, which has nothing to do with me or my actions, but all about God's sacrifice and grace, then maybe I should be spending this time giving Him mad props. Maybe, my actions shouldn't be something that I can pat myself on the back for, rather something that will glorify God.  So how then, would I glorify God?  This is when I dug deep for a cliche, and asked What Would Jesus Do? 

He'd probably do what He does best and SERVE people.  I've been making a list of ways I can serve others, not for my recognition, but so that God would get the credit. My list is simple. It consists of things I try to do regularly anyway, and things I can continue to do throughout the year. In the past, it has been a time to discipline myself, but then I always go back to my old habits. This year, I want to train myself to look for opportunities to love on other people. I don't want this season to be marked by an End Date; rather turn it into a six week kick off event to what I pray will be a year of blessings.

You're probably curious about my list. I started it by thinking of ways that I could give of my time, talents and resources.  My very first act of service will be to replace my neighbors mailbox. It is one good rain storm away from just being a post in the ground. I see this guy trying to re-attach his flag every time he has outgoing mail. I know it's a small thing, but it's on my heart, so there you have it.  The list also consists of bringing meals to families in need, donating to the food shelf at school, volunteering (I read somewhere that a local retirement home needs Bingo Callers! It's a win-win!), and prayer.

There are so many people looking for, and in need of, prayer. If you would like, I'd be honored to pray for any of you. You can leave a comment below, or feel free to email me at    My heart would be, if you celebrate Lent or not, that God might bless you and show you ways to love on those around you.   Happy Lentsgiving.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Easy on,not so easy off

It finally occurred to me why it is so easy to gain weight and so HARD to lose it.

My girlfriend and I were having True Confessions on the treadmill yesterday. She told me about a 410 calorie donut. I told her about an empty bag of chocolate treats. When we were done sweating, I did some math.

If we're being honest, one Nikki-Sized serving of chocolate treats takes 5-7 minutes to consume.  In that 5-7 minutes, I could potentially eat 500 calories. (yikes!) It takes about 45 minutes for me to burn off 500 calories.

So if over the course of one week, a gal hypothetically had one serving a day (and twice on Sunday) that's just under an hour of indulgence versus 6 hours on a treadmill.

Who has six hours for a treadmill?

I wish I hadn't typed the word chocolates so many times because now all  I can think about is chocolates, chocolates, chocolates.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some kind of crazy

This morning was "Muffins with Mom" at The Taz's school.  As we ate, she waved to every third person who passed by, saying hello, presenting the pastry that she chose like she just won first place in a blueberry muffin picking contest.  I kept urging her to eat so that she'd have half a chance at being focused for the day. When she does not eat, she gets into trouble. Take yesterday for instance when her teacher pulled me aside to inform me that The Taz told another teacher "You're not the boss of me."  After we got home and wrote two "Sorry I was disrespectful" letters, I unpacked her backpack to find only half of her lunch eaten.  So I begged; "please honey, eat your beautiful muffin."

Two tiny jugs of orange juice and half a muffin later, The Taz was headed to her class and the wee one and I made our trek home. With Bear Cub riding her bike, stopping every so often to pick weeds flowers, it is a leisurely stroll home that I cherish. It won't be long before she will join the ranks of her sister and these un-rushed moments will be a distant memory.

Just as we turn the corner onto our street, I saw a woman running down the middle of the road. She was in workout clothes, so I only thought she was a little nuts because there was a line of cars, two blocks long, behind her. She started shouting something about a white suburban. I went into panic mode thinking someone stole her car and her baby must be in it. But why was she yelling at me? I'm on foot with a 3 year old.  She got closer; her yelling was clearer. "Stop that White Suburban. My 18 year old son is driving it." Now I really think she's nuts.

Our house is on the main street into the development, which, if you ask me, was planned poorly with narrow streets. Add to that the traffic coming into the elementary school and the cars that do not park in the driveways, it can take a bit of time to weave yourself out to the major thoroughfare. I could see this woman's vehicle at the stop sign a block away and would have given her 80% odds that she would have caught up to him. I stood there, secretly hoping to see it happen.

My guess is that the boy must have seen his mother in the rear view mirror because the car turned off the main street and the woman crossed over to the sidewalk and slowed to a walk. I got the giggles at the whole scene.  Bear Cub asked me what was so funny, so we had a one-sided conversation about who must be crazier - the woman running down the middle of a busy street, or her son for taking the car, knowing full well his mother is a wild card.

I let my mind wonder on what the conversation would look like for that kid when he returned home. That's when I stopped laughing. Because I saw myself, sitting my 18 year old red-headed Tazmanian Princess down at the kitchen table, after chasing her on foot through a busy neighborhood, because she took the car without eating the blueberry muffin I made her for breakfast.  I would be telling her that I didn't care if her friends saw me looking like a stark raving lunatic, that I loved her enough to make sure she has what she needs for a successful day.  Then, after breakfast was over, instead of a "swear jar" we would each put a dollar into our very large, almost full, "therapy jar".

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Both of the girls made a picture for me tonight. Of me. First came Maggie. "Here Momma. Dis is you. Your bootiful."  Then, a half hour later, Rylee came up and said hers was better. "Mom, I did a picture of you and it looks just like you."

I won't tell you who's is who's. What I will tell you is that they both got it exactly right.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pushing the Re-Start Button

I've started 6 different entries over the last couple of weeks on the same topic.  What's the topic? Making healthy choices. I've been wrestling with myself and my habits this month; my inner health nut has been trying to bust out of my lazy, sweet-tooth and convenience driven self. Why is it so hard? How do I start? What kinds of obstacles are in front of me? What am I doing to get past those challenges? Why do I sabotage myself. Why must garlic cheddar biscuits smell so delicious?

I have all the tools I need to succeed. Knowledge. Coaches. Videos.  A Club Membership. A sweet pair of Brooks running shoes. I even have time to do it. So what's the problem? Why is it so hard?

Ruts. That's the trouble. Rewarding myself for a job well done with a diet coke and some cookies. Celebrating small victories with a bowl of frozen yogurt. Escaping from stress by cruising through facebook and reading about everyone else's lives. I've gotten lazy and complacent. I started driving The Taz to school when walking or riding our bikes is faster. 

A small snack here, a little bowl of low-fat ice cream at night, driving instead of walking - they all add up. I wrote a blog a year ago about reaching my goal weight. One year and a bunch of lazy choices later, I am up 20 pounds. I had to do something. So I pushed the re-start button.

I've gone the approach of making small changes here and there until they add up to big changes. Cut out butter here. Ditch the ice cream there. Go low-fat when you can. But this time, I needed something different. I chose to do the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. In addition, I've paired it with using the Weight Watchers on-line tools to make sure I was getting the right amount of food in addition to the right kinds of food.  (It's important to note that no one is paying me to write about their programs.  This is just me, telling you, how I'm going about this "re-boot".)

The 24 Day Challenge starts of with a 10 day "cleanse".  It's not a fast. You still get to eat; but what you do eat is very "clean".  What's "clean"?  Fruits, vegetables, proteins.  If you can't wash it, don't eat it.  The first three days I felt like I was being deprived. I couldn't wait for the 10 days to be up so I could have even the simplest of a piece of toast.  But at the end of the "cleanse" I found myself down 4 pounds and wanting to continue ridding my body of the junk that I put in it. (Except for the day that Troy made no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies. Forget it, I ate three of them.)

I'm about half way through my 24 Day Challenge and have realized that the hardest part of the whole thing was breaking out of the ruts. Reaching for carrots instead of pretzels. Jogging behind The Taz as she bikes to school.  Being aware of, by tracking, all the food that I put in my body.

Are you trying to make changes this year? What are some of your Rut Breakers?  Sometimes, even my grocery shopping list is the problem. We buy the same thing from week to week. Which means we eat the same things week to week. In the next few days I'll try to post some of the delicious meals My Chef and I have been preparing to shake things up a bit.  I'd love to hear some of your ideas for healthy snacks and meals. Share in the comments, and I'll send you a recipe from the fabulous-almost-famous-not-yet-written cook book called Feeding the Handeland House of Hooligans.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not so much a resolution, more of a Check Yourself

I put a hurtin' on myself over our Christmas Vacation.  A Hurtin'?, you ask. It's where I test how much junk I can put in my body before I burst into a sugary blob of slime - later to be bought and used by Nickelodeon.

The signs that I am near the point of combustion are as follows:

1. I got the shakes in the grocery store today. It's no coincidence that they only came on while I was in the candy, soda and ice cream aisles.  

2. I dreamt that I was hoping to be pregnant so that I would have an excuse for my ever growing gut. (Anyone that knows me, knows it has to be bad if I'm dreaming of being pregnant)

3. I can't go three hours without feeling like it's been two days since my last meal.

4. I thought about quitting The Club, out of shame.

5. I was unwrapping an yellow Starburst before I had even finished chewing the two in my face. I don't even like Starburts, especially the yellow ones because they taste like Lemon Pledge which reminds me of doing chores when I was 10.

6.  I dreamt that I was a private detective searching for extra material and a seamstress.

7. I dreamt that I ate a Skittle off the floor of our car. I don't even like Skittles. (OK, that wasn't a dream.)

8. Thinking about giving up carbs and starches gives me the cold sweats.

9. Speaking of sweats, even my "yoga" pants are tights.

10. I just found a little sack of chocolate gold coins, that were meant to go in the girls' Christmas stockings, and hid them in laundry room. (I hope Troy doesn't read this until I've had the chance to either eat them, or re-hide them).

Since this is more of a minor detour into gross negligence in taking care of myself than I've-hit-rock-bottom-and-can't-climb-out-due-to-the-sugary-quicksand-I'm-wallowing-in, I don't think it warrants a whole year's resolution.  But there is some serious Check Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself conversations that need to happen every time I pass by the kitchen. 

Anyway, Happy New Year friends! May your resolutions be challenging but rewarding and may your friends not be "enablers".