Turning Over a New Leaf


Kaitlyn & Nicole - CTCYM Mission Trip 2010 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Genesis Youth Group,

It is with a very heavy heart that I send this note to all of you who are involved with Genesis Youth Group at First UMC Joshua. I have spent ten months in mission and ministry with you and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to serve with all of you. I have learned so much about life, faith, ministry, and community.

There comes a time when one must make a choice. I have put in much prayer, thought, deliberation, and conversation over the last few weeks and months about this difficult decision and I have made the choice to step down as youth director. While this is a painful decision, I want to assure you that I am comforted knowing that I still have a place at First UMC Joshua. This church holds a very special place in my heart and I look forward to continuing in worship and service as God’s children in our community and abroad.

I encourage you to keep discovering and challenging your faith as you seek to understand what it means for you to follow Jesus here at First UMC Joshua, and I hope we can all continue to celebrate one another in our own unique journey of faith. One of the greatest gifts that I have received since joining this church, and working with this youth group, is the steadfast love, support, devotion, and encouragement from the Youth Advisory Council, the SPR Committee, and Rev. Lara. They are a tremendous team of supporters working together for Genesis Youth.

Even though I will no longer be youth director, I will continue to pray, encourage, celebrate, and support each of you; and I hope you will do the same for me. It is a very exciting time in the life of this church and I am so grateful to be a part of this faith community.

Grace and peace be with all of you,

Nicole

Courtney displaying her beautiful creation at The Art Barn Studio (May 2010)

Carren is the queen of hammering nails - she rocked this doghouse project!!! (May 2010)

This is me in the doghouse, literally! (May 2010)

Nicole and Troy at the Putt-Putt Fun Park (July 2010)

Dulce and Nicole at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History with some ultra-stylin' 3D glasses!!!! (August 2010)

This snapshot became stellar when we realized Kaitlyn's 3D glasses are upside-down, she's so funny!!!! (August 2010)

Thank you, Margaret Feinberg, for sharing "Organic God" with Genesis Youth!!!! (August 2010)

Genesis Youth at Pumpkin Patch 2010

Progressive Dinner 2010

Super Bowl XLV Party at Nicole's House (January 2011)

Nicole showcasing her prized artwork at Galactic Blast VBS (July 2010)

Keep the faith, Genesis Youth Group ~ you are an amazing and talented and blessed group of people. I’m stepping down as your youth director, but I’m NOT stepping out. I’m still here. I’m still going to be a part of this wonderful community of faith we call home: First UMC Joshua. You guys rock. I love you pieces!

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Five Questions


Thank you, Miss Stacy for introducing me to the five questions. While I’m a day late (and a dollar short?!), I love your responses and wanted to join the fun and provide my own. Thanks also to My Little Life!!!!

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up at My Little Life’s blog! You can also link back to my blog so I can share in this with you  Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!

1. Can you drive a stick shift?

Nope. Sure can’t. My husband thinks it’s awful and I don’t particularly care what he thinks about this. Funny story: several years ago when I was still in school at TAMU-Commerce, I spent the weekend with Kevin and his family. The neighbor’s cows found a hole in the fence and were walking on the county road. Fortunately, the cows never got to the busy highway. Unfortunately (plot thickens!), I found myself in the driver’s seat of Kevin’s truck, which had a stick shift. Imagine for a second…Kevin is walking in the ditch trying to stay wide of the road and “herd” the cows back into their rightful place (the hole we thought was in the fence was actually a gate that had been left opened). I was a nervous wreck and refused to get out of first gear. The cows were walking slow, but I drove slower. As long as I stay behind the cows and kept moving forward, though, the cows walked forward. My approach to this situation was working just fine. Moral of the story: don’t give me a stick shift to drive, it’ll take me FOREVER to reach my destination in first gear!!!!!!

This is my preferred speed - with Dad at age 2

2. What are two foods you just can’t eat?

Well, that’s difficult to name just two because I am severely allergic to cow’s milk. No, it is NOT the same as lactose intolerant, I get so tired of people asking or assuming that. (scream!) I could list a whole host of things I cannot eat, but I will keep it simple for this audience: milk and milk products. 

MOOOO-ve away from me, Cow!!!

3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies?

No. Two reasons: most varieties are made with milk and I am not a fan of the endless tables setup at public places with young girls and their mothers trying to entice me to buy their cookies. I’ll be honest, I was never a Girl Scout. Actually, I remember going to an information meeting when I was in the first grade and I left 15 minutes later ~ IN TEARS ~ when I realized I would not get the uniform and cookie boxes THAT day. Bummer. Hindsight is wonderful though, I’m soooooooooo incredibly grateful I did not pursue that group or activity. Praise the Lord for country club memberships and golf clubs. Besides, I think more life lessons are learned on the golf course than the sidewalk outside of Wal-Mart. 

4. How do you pamper yourself?

I purchase a plane ticket to Kentucky and make sure I have a book for the ride. There is nothing more calming, relaxing, and just plain AWESOME about going home. If that’s not possible, I’ll take a book and a porch swing. I hate getting my haircut (which reminds me, I’m way overdue for a trim), my feet are too ticklish for a pedicure, and manicures are a waste of money. It would be a disgrace to my wonderful husband if I didn’t mention our newly remodeled and KICK BUTT master bathroom. Yeah, it’s that awesome.

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?

I honestly don’t have a nickname. Really.My Dad has this thing about nicknames and I think it might be genetic. My name is Nicole, it’s not Nicki. No offense to anyone named Nicki. Actually, I an alternative name, but few OCCASIONALLY use it: Five-Twelve (as in five feet, 12 inches). I was with a group of ladies from church painting at the new parsonage and one asked me to touch-up a spot she could not reach. She commented, “How tall are you, like 5-12?” It stuck. But nobody really uses it, unless the moment is right. For the record, I am not 5-12, rather, I am 5-11. Close enough.

Now its your turn to answer. Don’t forget to link back here and at My Little Life.  Please, leave a comment too.  Have a great weekend!

Friday’s Foto: ABUNDANCE


I’m super-duper excited to share this week’s photo, which fits the “abundance” theme nicely. I mean, c’mon, look at this table FULL of food. Oh. My. Gosh. My mouth is watering! (actually, my mouth and throat and neck are killing me because I’m currently experiencing a severe allergic reaction to cow’s milk AND the stress of the past few weeks has finally caught up with me….ughhhh) But check this out…

Mom, Dad, Kevin, and I at The Feedmill in Morganfield, Kentucky for a last supper before returning to Texas. (Christmas 2010)

I love this photo and the Vanna-White-ness I am exhibiting to delicately display that piece of fried gator!!!

This is me and my family enjoying a delicious meal at The Feedmill Restaurant in Morganfield, Kentucky (look that up on a map, it’s waaaaay out in the boonies!!!!!) We are devouring a Southern feast of Cajun and seafood goodies: fried pickles, crawfish and alligator tail, shrimp, and catfish. This is, BY FAR, my favorite place to eat and number-one request when I am visiting My Kentucky Home. These fried pieces of delicious-ness are best when dipped in The Feedmill’s homemade honey mustard sauce.

I just have to say how impressed I am with this photo and how it screams abundance – look at all that food!!!!!!

Every Friday is all-you-can-eat fried catfish at The Feedmill and I’ve already received TWO phone calls and FOUR messages (via Facebook) about a big group of family and friends going to The Feedmill tonight. Rub it in, people. Just. Rub. It. In.

So, my fellow blogging peeps, what is YOUR interpretation of abundance? Share your thoughts, or upload a photo, and join in on the fun of the Weekly Photo Challenge. And, please, share a comment below about your favorite restaurant dish as I love to hear from my blog readers.

Have a blessed, and happy blogging, weekend!!!!

Etsy-fied


I am a bit curious about the website called Etsy. There’s some really cute stuff (I say that cautiously because I’m not a fru-fru kind of girl), but I am most interested in the items representing my homestate, Kentucky. I might have to break out the credit card for a couple of these. Can a girl ever have too much Bluegrass-ware? I think not.

"502 in the 'Ville"

 This necklace could serve dual-purposes because the “502” area code is specific to the Louisville and Central Kentucky areas now, but back in the good-ol days it covered the entire state. I remember when “270” was introduced and how frustrating it was to dial a number on my grandmother’s rotary telephone. Kids these days don’t even know what a rotary telephone is…..oh dear, I said “kids these days” again ~ that’s twice in two days!!!!! What’s wrong with me???

"My Old Kentucky Home"

"Kentucky Derby Pendant"

I’m really curious about the “Kentucky Derby Pendant” and the year this picture was taken because my grandfather was a huge supporter and regular patron at Churchill Downs. I can imagine him at the track with his bourbon and stat sheets. There’s hardly anything more beautiful than those Twin Spires, I miss my Kentucky.

"Kentucky Girl Shirt"

Amen, I love this shirt ~ it’s so true! Kentucky girls are one-of-a-kind.

"Kentucky Cutting Board"

I’d probably buy this cutting board, but there’s no way I’d ever use it. Definitely a “display only” item for me.

"Love and Luck Horseshoe"

This horseshoe is probably my favorite houseware item I’ve seen yet. Of course, my husband would whip me (hey, sounds like fun!) if he knew I was even considering purchasing a horseshoe considering we have about a hundred in the barn right now. (One of the perks of owning your own horses!!!!) But, husband, this is sooooooo cute!!!!!!!! The pendant reads, “bless this house with much love and luck.” How sweet. I think this would be a nice touch hanging above a door or window. I don’t have any horseshoes in the house or jewelry items, but my “borrowed” item for our wedding was a horseshoe pendant necklace. I would like a similar necklace as an anniversary present ~ HINT TO KEVIN (who never reads this blog).

OK, so maybe I ought to give this Etsy thing a try.

(screaming) HUSBANDDDDD, CAN I BORROW YOUR CREDIT CARD??????????? (oh wait, I have my own. Score!)

So, are you an Etsy fan or foe? Are you a frequent shopper? How does this work? Let me know. Please, enlighten me!

Caution…true story ahead!!!


(actual conversation at the grocery tonight)

Cashier scans soymilk: “Yuck! You drink this stuff?”

Me: “Nope, I pour it down the drain as soon as I get home.”

…awkward silence follows for several seconds…

Seriously, a sarcastic person (i.e., Your Truly) could not dream a more perfect scenario. I really try to be a nice person ~ really ~ but I honestly could NOT control this response. It was an out-of-body experience. My mouth did not ask my brain for comment filtration. My brain did not try to stop my mouth’s impulse. The comment rolled off my tongue without hesitation. It was not until the awkward silence moment that I realized the words left my mouth in an audible tone. Oops.

I probably insulted the poor kid – I’d guess a junior or senior in high school – but c’mon, kids these days need all the verbal direction they can get. (Oh my gosh, did I just say kids these days? Really? Am I that old? Oh. Em. Gee.) 

Monkey See ~ Monkey Do


I think I have found the greatest invention in Nicole-land: CHIMP STICKS

These eating utensils are made of food-safe silicone and perfect for chopstick-illiterate people (i.e. Yours Truly) and come in a variety of colors, including the very retro violet-purple you see here. According to the package, these nifty hand-forks are safe for children age 3 and up. I fit into that category just fine, thank you very much.

Yes, I bought a set of Chimp Sticks. Yes, I used them to eat sushi tonight. And no, I did not feel weird or embarrassed or less worthy.

Admit it, you’re jealous of my uber-cool flatware. Get your own, I’m not sharing.

Friday’s Foto: REFUGE


Sorry it’s been an entire week since I’ve last posted, my life is upside down, sideways, and inside out!  But, never fear, God’s grace prevails and “this too shall pass.”

Anyway, I really love this week’s photo challenge: REFUGE. According to UrbanDictionary.com, refuge means “a safe place.” I think it’s safe (no pun intended) to say this little bundle of precious-ness that I am holding is content and very comfy. (I have nice “pillows” made just for holding babies close to my heart.) Just looking at this picture of Miss Avery, who is the daughter of a friend I don’t get to see too often, makes me want to find a baby and snuggle. I’m a sucker for cuddling with babies. There is no wrapping around my finger, I’m wrapped all over! Avery is now a whopping nine months old, I haven’t held her since this picture was taken. Ouch.

Speaking of babies, K. and H. welcomed their baby girl, Adalee, into the world last week. I am soooooooo excited to head to Kentucky in March (during Spring Break) for a visit with the family and to get all the baby loving I can get. Seriously, I will plant myself in a rocking chair or a corner of the couch and stay there until it’s time to return to Texas.

What’s your interpretation of refuge? Join me in the weekly photo challenge at The Daily Post .

And, please share your thoughts and comments. I love reading what my visitors have to say.

Happy Friday, y’all ~ enjoy the weekend!

Friday’s Foto: CURIOSITY killed the cupcakes


This is not EXACTLY how I interpreted this week’s photo challenge, but I decided to run with the old saying “curiosity killed the cat,” except with a little twist on my current situation. It’s been a really crappy week, and the pictures below just magnify this statement. Please, have pity on me ~ and leave a comment if you chuckled at my cupcake’s mishap. CHEERS!

T.G.I.F…….I don’t think I could physically take another day. It’s been one of those weeks – the kind with too many tears. 

I know, you’re curious, right? Well, keep reading ~

This is what I get for trying to be nice and be PROACTIVE and PREPARE for a youth dinner at church this Sunday. I was just trying to be nice. I was just trying to help. I was just…

A mess. My emotions are a mess. And these cupcakes, oh my, they are a big mess! Please laugh. I did. This picture sums up my week PERFECTLY. If these damn cupcakes were milk-free ~ remember, I have a severe milk allergy ~ I’d eat every last one of them. Just because.

To the driver in the red pickup truck on Highway 174 who slammed on his brakes IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION with a GREEN light: You’re a poop head. Yeah, I said it!

“BLAZin” a trail…


Classic Blazer | Everybody, Everywear

I did it, I really did it! I was super nervous about participating in the Every Body Every Wear challenge, but I wore my new, very red, sweater blazer today. I’m impressed…even if no one else is.

Question: how does a person take decent pictures of themselves? Seriously, I took two hundred pictures but just a few were presentable. I’ve got a lot of learning to do. I somehow managed to activate the self-timer on my camera this morning. That was the highlight of my day, achieved before 7:00 am!!!

 

I love this necklace ~ a gift from Mom ~ and wear it daily.

An unmarked book


I’ve been really fortunate in my education to have really great teachers and professors. In April, Kentucky Monthly (yes, I’m a subscriber) will honor professors at Kentucky colleges and universities in a very unique way: professor superlatives – check out the link here!!!

I cast my vote for Dr. O’Keeffe, an English professor at Bellarmine University  in Louisville, Kentucky as my most memorable professor. I had several classes with Dr. O’Keeffe my freshman year of college, including expository writing and reading literature. He said many insightful things, but there is one statement that continues to stay with me, “an unmarked book is an unread book.” When he said this, we were reading _Things Fall Apart_ by Chinua Achebe. I have to be honest, I struggled greatly in the beginning with this book – until Dr. O’Keeffe made his forever-wise comment. I immediately went to the bookstore, purchased my own copy of the book, and began marking text and writing notes in the margins. To this day, I continue with this habit. Thank you, Dr. O’Keeffe, for this pearl of wisdom and your wonderful reply to my recent email. My heart smiled and it made my day!

So, fellow bloggers, do you have a particular teacher or professor (or educator in general) that made an impact on you?

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