Friday, January 31, 2014

Ice Day(s)

Typically I'm not a huge fan of winter or snow, for that matter. I can go for one good snow and then I'm over it, but this year I was praying hard for a big snow (kind of a joke since we live in Wilmington, but hey, a girl can dream!). The forecast a few days before was calling for a BIG snow here ... like 5+ inches, but as it got closer the forecast began to change to more ice and less snow.

I prepared just in case and stocked up on my weeks groceries on Sunday night. Tuesday we waited ALL day for something to happen & not much did until that night. Schools were out on Tuesday because the weathermen had said it would start early Tuesday morning. Will & I walked down to the park near our house and took a few before shots just in case something did happen. By Tuesday evening, it was sleeting and began to accumulate pretty quickly. We had a potluck dinner over at our friends house (they live two houses down) and I made English pasties (a tradition on the Nichols side of my family).  It was such a blast hanging out with them that night and eating dinner together! Living in this neighborhood is so fun & we love that we can just walk over to friends' houses and share food on cold nights.

Wednesday morning everything was covered in about an inch or so of ice. Our neighbors came over for some homemade cinnamon rolls that I made and we sat by the fire. I so enjoyed my day off from school! We mostly just relaxed, read books, walked to the park and watched kids sled etc. One of my favorite parts about the day was watching all the kids in our neighborhood attempt to sled on the tiniest hills ever. None of them had sleds because, well, we live at the beach, so everyone was using boogie boards. It was so great & reminded me of all the great times we had growing up sledding down our street.

Our little house looked so cute with some white stuff on it & the neighborhood looked so peaceful (even if it was just ice). We took Clyde out to experience it & he absolutely hated it. Anytime you pick him up and walk towards a window or door, he now freaks out and scrambles out of your arms. Guess he's a summertime boy.

Schools were out yesterday and are out again today too (4 days off!). The ice is melting quickly, now that the sun is finally out and the temperature has risen. We're starting to go a little stir crazy at this point, but it was fun to stay in and spend time with friends for a few days. Last night, Will and I broke out a deck of cards and played a few games, then watched a movie on the laptop in bed. It's been a dreamy few days and definitely a break from reality. We southerners love a good snow ice so that we can shut things down for a few days and spend some time with our family and friends. Now that I've had my one "snow," I'm looking at you, spring. We're ready for ya!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spiritual Glaucoma

Ever stepped back for a moment and realized that you've been so focused on your own life, problems and day-to-day occurrences that you've missed so much? Yep, I'm guilty too. Sometimes we get so caught up in what is not going right for us that we miss what IS going right for others. We miss the big picture and forget that we are part of a much larger story; we're just a tiny piece of that story.

At church yesterday, our pastor was talking about spiritual glaucoma. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve due to a buildup of pressure in the eye. Without treatment, people with glaucoma can start to lose their peripheral vision. Look at this example.

See how it narrows the vision? Well, imagine that in your own life. Spiritual glaucoma. I know I've experienced it. Being so focused on myself and my issues that I miss so much. He read Malachi 1:1-5 and talked about the people that Malachi was addressing and how they had begun to experience this glaucoma. They had been told to simply wait for the Lord, but they were sick of waiting and were unable to see the bigger story that the Lord was creating. In their minds, the Lord did not appear to love them because their vision had been so narrowed and they had grown tired of waiting. 

Don't we all grow tired of waiting? I know I definitely do. Waiting on the next big event, waiting on this to change ... and so forth. If we can expand our vision and treat this glaucoma, we can see the larger picture and be reminded that yes, big things are happening all around us and although you personally may be in a period of waiting, you must wait faithfully & joyfully. 

What a great reminder for this Monday morning. A tough and difficult one, but so necessary. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Five things on this cold Saturday morning:

We visited Cameron Art Museum here in Wilmington for a little midweek date. It's a goal of mine to explore our city and since it was 20 degrees & I was off work, we decided to hit up the local museum. We saw an exhibition called Art Among Friends which featured paintings and artwork from America created between 1880 and 1940. We really enjoyed it! Also, our museum has a cafe that features local food so we stopped in for lunch & had delicious BLT sandwiches. 

I made brown butter donuts with chocolate icing & rainbow sprinkles this week for our new neighbors (and Will sampled). They were delicious and the donut part had a little bit of nutmeg in it, which brought out a unique flavor. I found the recipe here on one of my favorite baking blogs. I highly recommend ALL of her recipes!

Y'all, it may snow. In Wilmington. Maybe... but let's be honest probably not. I'm praying HARD. The forecast looked like this yesterday for the upcoming week. (although I just looked a minute ago and they've already reduced the accumulation amount). I've become my Dad and am so excited about the potential of snow that I can't handle it. Checking the forecast every few hours for updates has become a normal thing. I just want one snow!!

Our office at the house is starting to come together & I'm loving it! I'm typically not a work-at-a-desk type of person, but it's so bright and inviting that I can't resist. Also, this room seems to get the warmest because it has a lot of sunlight pouring in all day so sometimes I just go sit at my desk for warmth. 

This picture has me aching to travel. Wanna hop on a plane with me tomorrow? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Little Cottage

I still haven't taken any decent pictures  of the inside of the house, but here's a sneak peak at the front! We are in love with this neighborhood and are so thankful that this house opened up at just the right time.

Please take note of the incredibly cute mailbox. I remember when we looked at the house I noticed the mailbox and thought, "I hope that isn't the current renter's." It makes getting bills so much more exciting. 

Alright, that's all I've got for now. I'll add more soon (hopefully!).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Comfort & Predictability

I'm sitting in a coffee shop filling the awkward time between school and tutoring. I'd hoped to get lots of schoolwork done, knock out some lesson plans, create some quizzes, but it seems like that's not quite happening. I made one quiz... that counts for something, right?

I'm reminded of those glorious college days where my roommates and I would drive a half mile to a coffee shop (sad statement on our laziness) and snag a big table to "get work done." In reality, our studying looked a lot like coffee drinking and chatting about every detail of life (probably making a scene while other people were actually trying to do work), but every once and a while we'd get a little work done and act productive. I can remember senior year sitting at a table with some of my roommates, searching for jobs like maniacs and complaining about how hard life can be. HA! Hilarious in hindsight. We were "ready for the real world," yet scared of the unknown. 

It's funny when you stop and think about the ebb and flow of life. How we go from comfortable times where we're just bee-boppin along and life is pretty great to times where change is so common and the familiar seems distant. I feel like I was in that comfort zone during college (or at least the second half of college) and then entered the crazy, full-of-changes part of life right after. Life felt pretty unsettled after moving to a new city and only knowing a few people, not to mention that my job felt unfitting. I was lacking friends where I could truly be myself and meaningful work to fill my time. It's just as of recently that I realized I've reached that sweet part of life where life is sailing along again. 

Will and I have been married for a year and half and we're in a groove. We've been lucky that that came right away, but I can see that with a year under our belt we are learning how to love each other better and better each day. We're blessed with wonderful friends and I'm happy to have a close-knit group of people to trust in town (I've still got wonderful friends all over the state & country who love me so well, but it's nice knowing I have folks close by too). Work is challenging, yet incredibly rewarding, not to mention I have the dreamiest schedule ever. It allows me time to volunteer and mentor and gives Will & I a little flexibility while he is working. Will has found a niche job and loves what he does. As of now, film work is still flowing into Wilmington & for that, we are so incredibly thankful.

I know that there is good in both the comfortable times of life and in changes, but for now I'm enjoying this stage of life. It won't always be like this, I'm well aware so I will enjoy it before the next roller coaster ride begins. Life is ridiculously crazy, but as I've gotten older, I've learned to soak in the calm days because I know they will not always be around. Some may say predictable is boring, but I'm pretty pleased with it right now.

Monday, January 20, 2014


January is flying by and we're already almost into February! I blogged a little about some very general goals for 2014, but I'm still dreaming up some ideas. It can seem a bit silly to write these down, but I'm going for it and hoping to knock a few things off the list.

1. Read a book a month. (Hopefully more, but we shall see).
2. Take a sewing class. -- I've been checking on the schedule for JoAnn's and there are a lot of upcoming beginner classes.
3. Travel somewhere new -- We were hoping to make it out west this year, but we're not sure since this seems to be shaping up into a very busy film year (which is a good thing). Either way, I want to travel somewhere new; I'm open to things really close by or farther away.
4. Be an encouraging wife-- find ways to serve Will.
5. Get into a running/workout routine. Every since running XC in high school, I have craved that solid routine I once had. I'm still not sure if I want to get back into more distance running and train for a half marathon, or branch out and try some other activities like yoga or sprint triathlons. My goal is simply to start & stick with some sort of exercise routine.
6. Find ways to continue learning (ie: visit museums, explore new cultures, try out some conversation groups etc).
7. Be intentional about maintaining friendships & open our home up to foster new & old relationships. 

2014 has already brought so many wonderful changes for us. I'm looking forward to another great year!

Friday, January 17, 2014

New house!

We are settling in to the new house nicely and are already loving the neighborhood. After one day, we had met almost all of our neighbors which we loved! The house has lots of charm and character. I can't wait to post some pictures of the place (as soon as the pile of boxes dwindles down a little bit). 

We've been antiquing and searching for a few needed furniture pieces. It's a slow process but we've found a few gems that fill a need and add some extra character to the house. The house was built in 1939 so we're working on a mixture of pieces that fit the time period of the home, as well as mixing in a few more modern aspects. We are far from expert designers, but its fun to pretend & give it our best shot.

I love that our house is already a gathering place for friends and family. Last night, our living room was full of friends catching up and listening to some music, truly one of my favorite things! I'm looking forward to more get-togethers in this house and continuing to explore the neighborhood.

Pictures coming soon!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Forgiveness is the key to a happy marriage.

"A happy marriage is a union between two good forgivers." - Robert Quillen

This morning I am reminded of the beauty of grace and forgiveness. The gift that with each day we start fresh. His mercies are new every morning! ...How I am so thankful for this! 

I am thankful that we have an example to follow for marriage and that when I can't seem to get it together or visa versa, we have already been forgiven by our Maker. It is a sweet moment when all you want to do is be upset/angry and then you are overcome with thoughts of the Lord's grace for you. I remember that I screw up nine million times (a day probably) and He says, I love you. You are mine & you are forgiven. Mindset changed. You see, when we look at our marriage and our spouse like the Lord looks at us, we are able to forgive more easily and overlook those silly mistakes. I know I personally need a heck of a lot of forgiveness because let's be honest, I'm rude and I speak too quickly at times. 

This morning I'm reminded of how the Lord wipes our slate clean over and over again. I am realizing more and more how undeserving I am of this love and forgiveness, yet I sit here begging for more of it. Today I am thankful that I married a sinner and that perfection is not attainable. I am thankful that I am not God, but that I can look at His example of love and strive to live that way. I am learning over and over again how to forgive and be forgiven and boy does it feel good!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


It is a frigid morning here. Granted, it is nothing like what the rest of the country is experiencing, but for North Carolina it is cold! Schools are even operating on a two hour delay this morning because they decided it was too cold for students to be standing at the bus stop (that's the south for ya).

This morning I slept in, crawling out of bed after 8:30 and immediately throwing on warm socks and a big sweatshirt. I made some hot tea and bundled under a thick cable knit blanket. Will is up now and the smell of freshly ground coffee is in the air. It's one of those good, slow mornings where music is playing and we are waking slowly.

I should be packing but I can't help but soak up this time and place. I know there will be time for packing and moving later, so for now I will keep sipping on this cup of tea and turning pages in my book. This morning is a good reminder to not rush the day, to put off the chores every once in a while and spend time with the ones you love. It is so worth it; I promise.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Moving Tips from an Expert

A few days ago, I had the realization that this upcoming move will be my fourth in less than three years, yes, I said fourth. Gah. For a kid who NEVER moved until college, this is a big deal.

Not sure if I've gone crazy or what but alas, we are moving yet again. Since I am apparently becoming an expert at this, I thought I'd share a few tips for a stress-free (ok, thats impossible but less-stressful) move. 

Tip #1: Make a friendly visit to an ABC store and ask for boxes. You may end up looking like you drink vodka morning, noon and night but hey, they are very sturdy boxes- perfect for books! --- you can see all the vodka boxes in the picture above.

Tip #2: Label EVERYTHING. 

Tip #3: I realize this is going to sound incredibly ridiculous and over the top (...but just remember this is coming from an unorganized person, so you can do it too!), color code boxes based on the room they will go in. For example, on each box I use a different color tape to represent what room the box will land in (ie: pink for the kitchen). The tape also says what room and what items, for example: Kitchen- wine glasses.

Tip #4: Recruit some friends & provide food/drinks for them. Last time we moved, I bought a bunch of Jersey Mike's subs, chips & drinks for everyone. It keeps everyone happy & is a little "thank you" for all their hard work.

Tip #5: Don't take things too seriously. No need to get all worked up- it will all get done & in place! (I'll be reminding myself that this week!) AND, plan a relaxing night in after the move. Order some pizza with a few friends and just take a break.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Looking Forward

So I thought I posted this on Jan 1st but apparently it didn't go through... so try two!

There's something so beautiful about a new year, a new start and fresh outlook on things. I've always loved this idea, but as I've gotten older I have really started getting excited for this time of year. It is a time to look back and evaluate what worked and what didn't, to say "we nailed that" or "let's keep working on this," to consider the possibilities for a new year and dream some big dreams. 

I'm not a New Year's resolutions kind of person, but Will and I do try to write down goals each year. We find it is helpful to state them and write them down- there's plenty of research proving this as well. We make personal goals, relational goals, work goals etc. And when you write them down you can look at them at the end of the year and celebrate all thats happened and keep working on those goals that haven't. Sometimes you even find your goals from years later which provide lots of entertainment and hilarity. ----We have begun the packing process and yesterday we were purging big time. Will found a box that had a bunch of junk from college, but there was one gem in there... a "2008 Goal List" which included "BE MORE ORGANIZED!!" I loved it and couldn't help but tease him at the irony that we are just now finding this in a box of crap :)  Gotta love it!

So around here we'll be working on organization for sure, but more specifically I want to make it a goal to become more disciplined. It recently has come to my attention that I lack discipline in a lot of ways. I used to be very disciplined, but somewhere between graduating high school and now, I've lost that. My lack of it has become apparent in my messy classroom (and house), lack of a running schedule, inconsistent prayer time and so many other things. I'm brainstorming plenty of other goals, but here is to more discipline in 2014 (who would have thought I'd ever say that as a child)!