August 16, 2017

Love In The Details

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 5:51 am by Broken & Brave

I recall a time several years ago my Dad came over to work on an electrical issue that had come up. There he was, bucket of tools in hand, on my porch at 8:45AM.

My whole life my Dad has done things for me. I know it’s how he shows love. I mentioned in my post yesterday how when I was a young adult my Father would say, “Nicole, bring your car over and I will wash it for you.” What I knew he was really saying was,

“Nicole, I love you.”
Others might have seen a man with a bucket of gadgets on my porch that particular morning, but I saw a man with a bucket of love.

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There are 5 love languages or 5 ways to communicate love to others. We speak the ways that are most meaningful to us: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gift Giving and Physical Touch.
My Dad is a helper, so of course, he expresses love through service/helping. Mine is words of encouragement and affirmation, so that’s how I usually love first. But here’s what I know…people feel most loved when you speak the language of love THEY prefer. Some people need a hug or touch on the shoulder, some need time together most, you get the idea. Pay attention, someone may be reaching love out to you today in a way not easily discerned. As each of us grows in our ability to love, we become better at speaking ALL of the Love languages.

Be a blessing…you are loved.

-Nicole

 

 

July 27, 2017

Wait a Minute!

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:52 am by Broken & Brave

Have you ever had to wait for something? Maybe you had to wait for someone? When I was a girl we went to church on Sunday. My Dad, being a very prompt and punctual fellow, would be ready well before my Mom. As she finished preparing herself for the morning my Father would sit in our living room and play records on the record player of various worship tunes. He would sit at the end of the couch and just softly sing.

Sometimes when we have to wait we become impatient or disinterested in what we were waiting for. We give up. We take a new road. But we can all learn from my Father who chose to wait patiently for the appointed time by singing a song of Worship and lifting his heart to Him.

God knows right where you are today. You may be facing a health crisis, financial crisis, waiting to hear about that job interview or just longing for a change in a dry season of life. Worship your way through. The King of Heaven has got you. ~Nicole

“Blessed are they that wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

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July 22, 2017

Rejuvenated

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:19 am by Broken & Brave

Why be content to run?

Spread your wings, Eagle, and fly!

Many years ago I was hiking with my husband on a high trail that overlooked the Connecticut River. As we hiked we received the extraordinary and rare opportunity to witness an eagle leave her nest, just at our feet, on the side of the mountain. She spread her wings and soared over the valley below. It was spectacular to see an eagle so close, but to actually see the span of her wing from above her, not beneath. I recognized in the moment what a gift it was and I stopped to drink it in.

After having a very wet winter this year, the summer has been bright and sunny and hot! There is something magnificent about the sun’s rays…they heal.

Did you know a wounded eagle will perch himself on the highest rock he can find and bake himself in the sun to cure what ails him?

Oh, how we can learn from the eagle! The Rays of God warm the heart, heal our wounds and cure our disease. But we must bask ourselves in the Radiance of His Glory. This will require getting closer to Him. Climbing higher to meet him. Not climbing like Corporate America, but by taking the “high road” leaving our comfort zone and ordinary behind. Get uncomfortable, stretch your limits and climb! There are Heavenly Rays waiting for you!

If God can do whatever He wants and has no limits, why wouldn’t He do big, limitless things for you?

~Nicole

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?…The Creator…neither faints or wearies. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength…But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles…”

Isaiah 40:28,29+31

July 20, 2017

Need

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:29 am by Broken & Brave

“And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”
Acts 4:33-35

Wow. What a powerful scripture. It’s a small little passage tucked into a big story in the book of Acts. I feel I have seen these verses alive in my life and the life of my family. God inclined us to sell all we owned and designated how we would gift the profit and our possessions. Extreme, I know. But I believe He used my Extreme to exemplify a few things. First, there’s no way I could have done any of that without the Holy Spirit leading. There is no way my husband and I could have been in agreement to do anything like that without the Spirit unifying ours as we walked out the death of our flesh. But, here’s what else happened. We gave in excess, but we have had times when we have received in excess. Leading up to the selling of all our property God lead us through many very lean years that were the kind of lean that was completely out of our control. I do suggest to you He allowed it so He could use it to build our trust and faith and to see what kind of God we really believed in, Him or Mammon. During that season we received anonymous and outright tangible blessing from others. We learned to give and receive as God would lead. Just like this above scripture.

We have given away more cars than I can count, but we have received a few cars as well. We have given furniture and we have received furniture. For example, when we sold our home and gave all our furniture away, when we moved to our new home (four years later) it was much bigger gift than the one we sold. The Spirit of God told me prophetically not to rush out and buy any furniture, He would fill the house by Christmas. Just pray. We prayed for beds for my kids first. Within a few weeks a small home church lead by people we know heard our testimony and their entire church decided to buy us a gift for the house. They were all 100% in agreement after prayer that God wanted them to buy all of our kids beds! They had no idea we prayed for that first! He said to wait on Him in early September. Guess what happened, house fully furnished by Christmas!

Be sensitive to the Voice of God. Be willing to give when He leans into your soul. It won’t matter if you feel you have it, can afford it or not. He makes it all work out. When you follow His lead He provides for absolutely everything you could need to complete what has for you to do. He is always working for your good. And let’s face it, living by faith is very exciting if you learn to overcome your fear of sacrifice and pride of life. You will be blessed in ways that go beyond a fiscal spreadsheet or page. Your entire family and life will experience His River deep. Ask God today to help you learn how to take bigger steps of faith to trust Him with all your resources. What does He want you to give? He’s probably not going to ask you to sell all, but He will meet you where you are at and Bless you for the desire to be a blessing to others. ~Nicole

July 18, 2017

What’s In A Name?

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , at 7:05 am by Broken & Brave

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When I first opened a Facebook account I included my maiden name so people I knew growing up, before marriage, could find me. After a long while I extracted my maiden name and left my married name only. Enough people had found me that I knew by mutual friendships online people could figure out who I was without confusion on my Identity.

Have you ever had someone mess up your name? My first name is easy to pronounce and remember, but spelling it, you’d be surprised with how many people try to put an “h” in my name making it, “Nichole”. My daughters name is easy, but long-Alexandra-so all her life people call her Alexandria…no “i”, please. My maiden name was a mouthful of vowels so it was always being mispronounced. Forget about unique names with peculiar spellings!

But there is one who knows your name. He knows you through and through for he tattooed every attribute of your Identity in you. He burned it with in using His Signet ring…

God has marked you as His.
He won’t get your name wrong.

Whatever you face today, you can greet the day with a smile on your face because He’s got you and you belong. ~Nicole

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 41:3 ESV

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17

July 17, 2017

Community

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , at 6:45 am by Broken & Brave

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately…

Community.

What makes people draw to you and the relationship and service you offer?

Community.

A sense of being valued and knowing you belong. Being embraced, encouraged, loved and supported.

Community.

I’ve really seen this taken deep root in my training business. I keep my client base small. I do primarily small group fitness anymore with only a few one on one training clients. But I have witnessed community bloom and flourish. My clients are so faithful. They love their workouts. They know how much I love them and they love each other. They protect their time together. They look out for one another. On days I don’t train them it is common for them to plan to meet at a local gym or go for a run together.

They are community.

I have always been riveted on the awareness that Jesus came for relationship. Life is ultimately all about relationship. Success on any level pivots on relationship.

This is Community.

I’m not necessarily confident in all things. I rely heavily on my Confidence in God and His direction within me. Here is something I am confident in. I haven’t always known this, but I know it now…

God has built me to build community.

This is something I feel I can do and am watching it happen around me. I have a deep love and value for community. Building a foundation within individuals to equip them to believe in themselves like never before and to go out and explore their potential as never before. Then, I desire to collectively link arms with each individual and teach them to do the same. This is where we can create a community full of hope and vitality.

What are you building?

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:24+25

July 12, 2017

Old Faithful

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:50 am by Broken & Brave

It is humbling to believe the King of The Heavens would even notice me. So, I give Him Center Stage. He is Worthy of my praise.

“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:3-5

My experience has shown me over and over again that extreme obedience brings extreme blessing. We don’t obey for the blessing. We obey because we love God. But God is good in tangible ways, too. So He reaches down for me and pulls me close. Sometimes the best analogy I can give of how He blesses me is a courtship. Like he is a beau wanting to impress me so He peacocks around and showers me with gifts and well. I am presently experiencing some of His extreme blessings right now. My heart swoons for Him, my Sacred Romance.

Extreme obedience brings extreme blessing.

God is ever Faithful. Always dependable. He can be counted on and will never count you out. The Joy of His heart reminds me of a story…

We always took family summer vacations growing up. Camping was big for us. We’d always go to a lake somewhere. We had vacation friends we took trips with. Most of them had ski boats so we would camp out and water ski all day every day for a week. I loved skiing and always had great fun. I guess I’ve always been a water and sun lover. But we had a few vacations that differed and were ultra memorable. One was Christmas in Hawaii and the other was a trip to Yellowstone National Park and every interesting stop along the drive. I think the trip to Yellowstone was my all time favorite family vacation. I want to take my own children to visit.

There are many natural hot springs and geysers in Yellowstone. But the most famous is Old Faithful. Old Faithful received its name for its highly predictable geothermal feature. This geyser erupts every 44 to 125 minutes (approx. every one to two hours) at anywhere from 106 to 185 feet lasting 3-10 minutes. It is beautiful, spectacular if you will. The outer perimeter is lined with benches so you can sit and wait for the next eruption. Glorious view.

Have you ever settled in a vista point and taken in a truly spectacular sight? It is so impactful and brings delight to the eyes, the heart and even soothes the soul.

This is how God looks at you don’t you know? It’s true. His love is adorable.

God cares about our habits…
He desires our Faithfulness.
He desires our obedience.
He knows the blessings that come when we faithfully obey.

Make trusting him, leaning upon His good shoulder, drinking in His Mighty and Majestic Presence a habit in your daily life. You will erupt with Rivers of Joy.

Victories are sure to come.

~Nicole

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July 3, 2017

Vineyard of Hope

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 7:05 am by Broken & Brave

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser…As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:1 & 9

Vineyard of Hope

We live in the heart of wine country. The soil in the region where I live is ripe for agricultural harvest. I absolutely love it.

I love how sometimes in the business of my day I am slowed down by a chicken or a tractor on the road trying to make its way to a nearby field. I’ve even encountered peacocks on my path. Our community is population dense, a fairly large city, but we are blessed to posses a country view.

One of my favorite times of day is when the evening sun begins to fade into shade and as I pull my car into the driveway countless cotton tail bunnies scurry to make way. On our walk to the house the kids and I are quiet as a mouse because we want to see as many bunnies in the yard as we can possibly see.

As we make our way, we find countless lizards, a quail family and teeny, tiny frogs hopping all about. These are the things that make my heart pound.

The rich soul of our region produces. The farmers till the soil, plant, tend, harvest a countless variety of different crops. People all over are fed from it! How wonderful is that?

We are personally surrounded by orchard after orchard of cherry trees, some walnut, and vine after vine of grape vineyards are twined.

Did you know?
Your heart is like a vineyard.

There is one who’s Love for you runs deep…
He wants to plant a vineyard in your heart. He holds the shaft and drives deep his plans and purposes for your life. He nurtures the roots and tends the shoots, cultivating a beautiful harvest of soul in your life.
He is willing to look after you and be attentive to you every single day.

His is a Vineyard of Hope.

~Nicole

 

July 2, 2017

Chiseled

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:54 am by Broken & Brave

“Judge me not by physical size or appearance, but judge me by the size of my character.” -Cornelius Kilgore

I loved this quote.

Everyone has moments of scrutiny. We have each been judged and we have each spent more than a moment of our life having judgemental thoughts of others-people, situations, ideas. I believe many judgements prove to be nothing more than lack of understanding or information.

I have been ever grateful to all who have verbally offered praise or congratulations on my efforts to compete in Figure/Body Building. I am thankful that the praises have outweighed the gasps, though I have had to endure vocally concerned people who think I am “sinning” by my sport selection.

I appreciate the sport and all that each competitor brings to the stage. The discipline and focus required is extraordinary.

Above all else, my God is extraordinary.

He shapes and fastens our heart in place and desires to sculpt each one…hand carved…in His likeness. All my training and sculpting of the flesh to resemble lean lines and hard curves would mean nothing if I did not allow my Maker to chisel my heart and destroy my flesh…making my heart softest of the soft and broken for what breaks His.

Be at peace today, whatever you face, for you are hand crafted in the Image of the ROCK. -Nicole

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June 30, 2017

Inferno of Hope

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:25 am by Broken & Brave

Yesterday I walked into the performance facility on campus where my spouse is employed. It happened to be filled with a water polo club mid workout, my water polo playing son included in the mix . As I crossed the threshold I instantly detected the aroma of chlorine. The boys had come straight to weights from the pool. It put a little smile on my face because there have been other teams in there at times that put off a far different aroma than the smell of sanitization as I entered in.

I’m actually fairly sensitive to smells. I guess I have a strong sense of it. I can walk on a path and catch the flavor a flower exudes and it’s just enough to delight my heart and mood. I love noticing the little, subtle, mostly unnoticed details of life.

Our life puts off an Aroma.
How do we smell?

When we allow God to stroke our heart, heal its pain, fuel it’s worth it gives spark to the bones and Light to the eyes. Like a match that has been struck, it begins to kindle and bring back the innocence of childhood like Faith.

As we walk close to the flame, we experience its warm. As we abide in it, trust it, savor it, knowing we will be consumed by it, but never burned from it. We begin to put off a pleasing Aroma much the same way a scented candle would release a fragrant perfume.

It becomes evident, in this Glorious position of Grace, Peace and tranquility, that we becomes an Inferno of Hope that possesses power and passion- just like the intense heat of the flame- to help others cope all because we embraced Hope.

Today is yours…
flavor it with a Sweet Scent.

~Nicole

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2

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