Shhhh. No one tell resistance that I am at my keyboard.
Ever since people I admire started noticing my writing… Ever since people started cheering me on… Ever since I set a goal, RESISTANCE has gotten strong. Really strong.
I’m learning to be a writer so this is where my resistance meets me – here on this blog. Where does your resistance meet you? Where do you feel that invisible force push you aside, distract you, and basically keep you from doing that nagging but beautiful dream that lingers in the dusty corners of your brain?  
It can feel a lot like fear, but disguised under whatever will most tempt you. 
And RESISTANCE is endless.
When I swam on the team in high school, I would fantasize about having one of those ENDLESS POOLS – the pool with a constant current so you could basically swim in place for an hour.  That sounded awesome!  
That’s how it is with writing this month. But it’s not awesome. Not. Awesome.
Swimming in place feels pointless when you want to be landing on the shore of a new land. 
The instant I set my mind on writing an ebook this month – my equivalent of swimming across the English Channel – the avalanche of family-needs and work-needs descended on my little life like a scene out of ALIVE.  Forced to eat my words, I survived but it has not been pretty.
So, please, no one tell FEAR that I am here. These words may not be pretty, but these are inches I will crawl to gain some ground.
I’ve been writing and I have still made NO progress where it counts. I have not one inch to show for myself. I look up and see my […]

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 […]

Hello Monsters, Poem

When I was small
even smaller than this
all smiles, fine hair, and freckles.
I lived in a room with my little sis.
In that room was a window
looking out on an old maple tree bigger than God
whose leaves made me feel free enough to sing
at the top of my lungs.
But on the opposite side of my room hung a door
a wooden shutter, slatted and white
and that door haunted us every single night.
You remember those cracked closet doors,
that fear of childhood, right?
Well, mine was more evil than most
a shutter-door with one missing shingle
a pitch black rectangle of terror
waiting to host the glowing eyes of some child-eating monster
with a taste for freckles.
And with these thoughts, came FEAR.
Fear that freezes your bones
that makes your body turn to stone
on the inside but never enough on the outside.
Fear that takes today as ransom
for a kidnapped tomorrow that will never come home.
So after months of sleepless nights
I could not hide any longer.
I did the most courageous thing of my little life
I moved in with my monsters.
In a flurry of determination
I grabbed my pillows and blankets and books
a flashlight and my sister
and we moved into that dark closet.
Slept there every single night
and not ONE monster was ever brave enough to show His face.
This is when I learned:
Fear is a lion
that only backs down
when we stop acting like prey
and stand our ground.
But we do grow up
and the monsters
get darker and smarter
and the next thing we know
we are running much harder.
No longer daring to face down our fears but away
from the beasts who will swallow us whole
who make closets that scare our very souls.

Monsters: like betrayal, hair loss, loneliness, and grief
failure, sprained ankles, botched interviews, and spinach in our teeth
at just the worst times.
I am afraid […]

By |September 11th, 2013|How Can I Help, Poetry|1 Comment|

Courage and a Poem

What have you done in your life that took courage?
This is what my boss asked us all in our staff meeting: What have you done that took courage?
Sitting there quietly, hands knitted together, making eye-contact so as not to seem distracted or weak; I let him finish and I listened as my friends and coworkers stood up to speak about skydiving, surviving strokes, having kids, traveling on missions trips, going to college… so many amazing things.
And while I can remember doing individually impressive things that took courage, the truth is… for me…
Getting out of bed
Answering the phone
Calling AT&T
Singing when you can hear me
Talking to my neighbors
Admitting to really liking something
Going after my dreams
Parenting my girls
Creating from my heart

Calling AT&T takes as much courage as skydiving, for me.
But now, I have come to a place in life where I realize, I cannot take fear into consideration anymore – at least not anxiety, worry, insecurity. FEAR in it’s purest, most primal force, can save our lives. I am not talking about that kind of fear… I am talking about the insidious kind that takes us captive, binds us, so that we never grow in the direction of the sun.  We bend and warp to it’s controls. We never grow straight and strong. I don’t want that for me and I surely don’t want that for You or my daughters.
So remember today; the day this very scared person told you to be brave. DO IT AFRAID.
So remember today; the day this very courageous person told you to be brave. DO IT AFRAID.
This is why I wrote this poem, “Hello, Monsters”

“Tell fearful souls,
    “Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here.”
Isaiah 35:3

Hello, Monster

There was a time when my daughter was very scared of monsters. These were nights of 3a room visits and long conversations in the dark. Nights when the blinking light on the smoke detector threatened to eat her in her sleep.
During the day, we could talk openly about her fears and I tried to find humor and perspective for my Dear One. “Face your monsters,” I’d say. “Monsters chase us when we run. But, when you turn to face them, they either run away or they play with you.”

So, one day we tried to look straight at the monsters and get to know them…


E = my daughter’s answers, Age 5
M = My answers, Age unnecessary

E – gobbling up chips really fast

M – knocking down a door when you try to open it.

E – Eating everything around you when you are hungry

M – trying to bounce a basketball and it goes through the floor.

E – Winning every basketball game because people are scared of you.

M – Being scared of the light instead of the dark

E – they like to sleep in your room all night and protect you. In the morning, they are in your room with the lights and blinds off.

M – looking in the mirror and startling yourself

E – being scared of your shadow

M – trying to watch TV but your fingers are too big for the remote control buttons

E – …So he just kicked the TV

M – wanting to make friends but everyone just runs away.

E – eating everything (including the jar) in one bite

M – loving camping and scary stories around a campfire

E – when you sleep in a tent, make sure to bring meat to eat

M […]

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 […]