God is here

God, when I sit in this room, I can feel both alone and the opposite of alone.
I can be aware of the table and my coffee. I can feel the air moving in and out to my nose. There is a chair beneath me and a black cat walking back and forth around it all.
I can choose to be aware of You, too: The I Am, The Presence. The One who is always here. I can choose to feel you in that air and in my bones.
God, when I sit in this room, I can feel both alone and the opposite of alone.
I can choose to see you as separate from me. In this way, you are here and yet different from the Me I consciously know. You are a loving relationship that requires space between us. I pray and you come. I request and you give.
I can also choose to see you as essentially in me. In this way, you are here as surely as I am here. You are a loving Presence in my cells that requires a connection with my own mind and body. Here, to love myself is to be loved by you. Here, to accept the body I am in, is to accept that this body is Us. Here, to pray for peace is to know that the peace is here waiting to be accepted already in my guts. To ask you to be with me would be like asking myself to go hang out sometime.
You are here. You are more here in and with me and available to me than my own thoughts and emotions and needs. You are the beautiful, quiet option that I don’t always know […]

See – a Five Minute Friday post

Linking up again with Five Minute Friday at the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker‘s.
The rules: write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. Hop over to her place to find out the full scoop behind FMF, and to visit other posts that were freely written in just five minutes.
This week’s prompt: SEE – a Five Minute Friday Post

You are not invisible.
When you clean Barbie hair out of the sink after her impromptu trip to the kitchen scissor salon.
When you search over an hour for the missing toy, place it proudly on your son’s pillow, and he barely flinches – despite throwing a full-on fit about it that morning.
When you collect all the pink cups for a special-request tea party, that your kids play for exactly 3 minutes before running to another room.
When you clear off the dining room table, again.
When, on January 10th,  you remove and wrap up the Christmas ornaments by yourself.
When you are sick and make your own tea but don’t drink it because you’re needed in the living room to find that one episode of that one show that we love and can’t find, but nothing else will do.
When you clean all afternoon and it looks the same.
When the cat pukes and you Clorox the floor and no one ever knows.

You are not invisible. As long as all of us, working all day long to make the lives of our families just that little bit better, remember and SEE each other,
we are not invisible. 
While I do dishes, I remember you are too.
While I clean up cat puke, I remember you are doing gross things too.
While I clean off the table AGAIN, I […]

By |January 10th, 2014|Honest Home|5 Comments|

Advent Stories: Hookers, Heathens, and Me

One week til Christmas. One week til we celebrate God being with us.  
For some people, their lives are so full of family and friends, hot chocolate and Christmas Lights, that the darkness is just a shadow in the corner or a fading streetlight down the road.  For others, this is a time where the darkness threatens to swallow them whole.
Light flaunts its warm power in the life of one and barely flicks the skin of another covered instead in cold, dark loneliness. 
Advent is the waiting. The waiting 100s of years for God to come and make things right. Waiting generations for triumph and light and love to flood the world.  Waiting for God to be with us – really with us. We need God with us.  God, who says He is Light and Love, and yet seems to leave us lonely and scared in dark places. 
God, are you avoiding me?
    Where are you when I need you? Psalm 10:1-2
Advent is the waiting. We have no choice. Reminded of our powerlessness against the speed of time, we wait.  We cannot save ourselves or our friends from the pain of waiting on God to BE WITH US. 
With Christmas comes the promise of a future where we are whole and full. Christmas is the promise that while the pain is still here, God is doing a new thing. He came down to sit in the dark with us.  
And this is what He also asked us to do for each other too. While we wait, we wait together.  I will wait with you. 
The light breaks through dark’s hard shell at the exact points we meet each other.  At the loving touch of a friend, a spark […]

Learning New Things

Do you hate learning new things in front of people? I do. A lot.
I haven’t learned to ballroom dance because I do not want my husband to see me “learning” to ballroom dance. Until I try in front of him, I can keep the mysterious question going…  “is Nicole an awesome, naturally-gifted ballroom dancer?? Could be!!”
… I am settling for that.

A few years ago, we went on a cruise with a large group of friends. One night, we went to the karaoke bar. Now, I love singing when no one can hear me: loud concerts, the shower, my car. But, singing karaoke in front of people – especially friends with whom I work and will continue to see regularly…? Nope. No way. I actually remember saying the words, “I like what you currently think of me. There’s no way I am messing that up by singing in front of you.”
“I like what you currently think of me.” 
I am more comfortable with the
potential of being awesome than living the
struggle of becoming awesome.
Before we get to all the life-lessons I should have learned by now, let’s talk truth for a second:
We are judgmental as people. Every single day, I hear people whisper critiques and make decisions about each other. Oh, he’s not great at this. She’s not ready for that.  I, myself, have seen someone try something and thought, oh. That was not very impressive.

We make decisions and categorize each other’s abilities.  And, then, as opportunities arise – both professionally and personally – we decide who is allowed to participate. Who is good enough?
Entire TV channels are built on this, this “making or not making the cut.”  You mess up once and you are out. Passion doesn’t […]

When We Were On Fire

If you’ve read this blog since it’s inception, you know I am a woman of open and hopeful and thrashing faith. I believe in a big God who loves each individual… but that belief is a wrestling I do fresh every day. Like Jacob in Genesis, I wrestle and prevail, and like Jacob, I am constantly finding God in new places – finding Him Even Here.  I met Jesus by name in a youth group when I was 14.  This entry is a poetic remembering of that time as part of Addie Zierman’s synchroblog in honor of her beautiful new book:
When We Were On Fire.
We ran through fields and over chain-linked fences to escape the hands of the enemy, in practice for the rapture. Dropped off in the middle of the hills and left to find our way back to the school auditorium, we feared Jesus would someday leave us behind because we didn’t truly believe.
We sang at the top of our lungs with Joel Weldon at Hume Lake. We sang of love and hope and a Jesus who was everything. We knelt and sang quietly, trying to find the perfect pitch so Jesus would know we were worth loving… and so the boys next to us would too.
We piled in vans and went to outdoor festivals to rock for God. When we were on fire, we could do anything for God! We moshed for God. We bought tshirts for God. We floated on crowds who lifted us up on their hands – 1000s of hands lifting us up so we could be closer to God, voices of love and cheering and camaraderie.
We held hands and vowed to give our very bodies to God […]

I was out deep and a big set of waves rolled in

Faith. Joy. Optimism. Jesus being real and Him caring about me.
These are the things I have built a life on.
I built a life.
And I find myself in a season of fog, big waves, cold wind.
Where did that life go? Have you seen it?

I am a California girl. For most of my life, I have lived within three miles of the ocean. Had a hard day? Drive to the beach. Feel like life is too much? Drive to the beach. Bills, yells, disappointments, disapprovals pulling you down? Drive to the beach. … Park. Take off shoes. Feel sand rub your feet. Exfoliate the dead life away. Then touch the water and feel new living life seep in through your toes.
Feel better. Move on and Back to Faith + Joy + Optimism + Jesus being real
And, when I was younger, much younger… when I was still only 5′ tall but my insides were more elastic, I would swim away any tears. Underwater no one can tell if you are crying. Underwater, even if people surround you, they can barely hear you scream out your sadness. Tears can flow. Face can be red. Muscles can strain. And it all blends into a beautiful camouflage. Water pushing and moving, hugging back the way air just doesn’t care to.
Water pushing and moving, hugging back the way air just doesn’t care to.
All the sadness and frustration could leave my body and soul.  All flowed out of me and into the healing water.  I would feel empty and ready to be refilled by the Faith + Joy + Optimism + Jesus I’d come to trust would always come back. Hurray!
Recently, though… recently, I cannot find the healing water. I still live […]

Water, please (a parable of sorts)

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
– The Everlasting Man, GK Chesterton

I can see it, the water, just across the room… and yet, I never get all the way there. And, I’m thirsty.

“Why don’t I ever get there?”-  I wonder.  I look down just to check again, as I often do. Yep, all good.  I’m running on my treadmill and it’s working just fine.  I don’t know how you do it in your town, but around here we all run on treadmills. It’s the absolute best way to get to the water. My treadmill is smooth, adjustable, modern.  Everyone uses one – some are better than others, though.  The one I have is good for my knees, I hear. And, I’m extra fierce on mine because there’s a racing stripe down the middle. I feel faster this way.

Lately, though, I’m really, EXTRA thirsty. The water is about 400 feet from me now, I think. I can’t totally tell. It’s definitely closer than last week. Definitely. This new treadmill is working better.

And, I’m working hard at my new program. I bought a new program that helps me improve my running so I can get to the water faster. But, it’s making me thirstier – ah, Catch 22…

I must work harder and harder to improve my skills, my stride, my incline capabilities… the more I strive, the more I want the water, the more I strive!

It’s competitive up in here!  So I keep workin’ it. Studying. Reading articles and books. Trying new products to make me a better runner.  But I really wish I’d make progress more quickly.

This is torture.

Honestly, can I tell you something? I […]