Sunday, October 30, 2011

Change. and. Refreshment.

Fall break. Two words that officially help me get through the rest of this semester. Today is the last day of this lovely, week long break...and I am soaking up every moment until the timer goes off.
The week started on such a high note. After waking up at 4:00am, trekking to the Denver airport, landing in San Diego (with a drastic weather change), I found myself on the scene of a chaotic family event. My little brother, who I still see as a blonde hair, bull cut, 4 year old boy, asked his childhood, crush to be his future wife. I felt like I was on the set of a movie when I watched him walk into his future in-laws' house with this crazy, big smile on his face. Max knew that I was going to be in town, but Leigha had no clue. Seeing her jump up and down, and scream, when I saw her was worth the weeks of the silent treatment that I had been giving her (I am a terrible liar. Desperate times call for desperate measures). I could not imagine gaining a better sister. The fact that I have been able to invest in her life since she was an awkward junior higher, was able to be a part of her and Max's first year at Vanguard (despite their flip-flop emotions for one another) and have been a part of watching their relationship develop and unique to any other story that I have heard. I love them both dearly and I am extactic for what is to come!
After the 48 hour whirlwind in San Diego, my two lovely sisters, Katie and Alli, flew out for a 5 day Colorado experience. Colorado gave them nothing short of an incredible experience. The weather alone was ridiculous. Monday: 75 degrees. Tuesday: Rain, 45 degrees. Wednesday: Snow, 15 Degrees. Thursday: Clear Skies, 30 degrees. Needless to say, it took WAY too long getting dressed and attempting to get out of the house. I will treasure my time with these ladies...forever. We filled every moment with new adventures. One day, the whole wolf pack will be reunited.

After a lovely Sunday run...I am back to reality. Planning for the next 27 days of classes until Christmas break. Plotting out the finals that I will give. Choreographing for the Christmas letters production at church. As chaotic as life is- I am excited to be reunited with my students. If at any moment I loose sight of why I do what I do, I just need to step back and remember the grace that I am given daily. I am called to be a representative of Christ's love to these kids, and will gladly take on this task day by day.

Continue running the race strong, my friends.

All of My Love.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Goodbye Tan

Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Saying goodbye to days full of sun, water and tan bodies and hello to crisp air, leaves changing and holidays that never fail to bring families together. I never realized how much I truly liked summer, but change is refreshing and brings with it, fresh starts and motivation to press on.
Most people hate change. And, disclaimer, in some cases, I would agree with this...but I would say for the majority of time- I have a fond complex for change. Thank you United States Marine Corps for engraining this in the fibers of who I am.
Last night I sat under the bright lights of RCS's 2nd football game (which they dominated), with lightening striking through the sky in the distance, and the first hint of fall in the air. I am amazed at the way this community comes together on nights like this. In that moment, it seems as if everyone is content with life and could stay there forever. Moments like make me excited and anxious for heaven. When one comes to the realization that they were, and are, created for community, it is life transforming.

This week took a turn for "crazy" and will continue to be there for another week or so. Camp CCR goes down in t-minus 8 days. We are way behind the curve on being prepared and need to kick it into high gear- which I am gladly willing to step into :)

Speaking in chapel on Wednesday was blast. There have been some life transforming conversations that have happened as a result of the word that God sent out. Wonderful!

Encouragement for the weekend...Read Galatians 5. Live it.
You are called to live in freedom. Bold freedom. Each day is a new day. You are forgiven and Loved.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

An Incredible Start.

All I can say is, "WOW"! What an incredible start to the school year.
I realized that I only have one year of experience to compare all else to...but this school year is starting off with such amazing energy and momentum.

Glimpse into my day: Worship Dance. Freshman Classes. All Girls Sophomore and Junior Bible. Add a little Student Council and Mentoring 8th graders on top of that and you have the recipe for an incredible year ahead.

This year holds new challenges and SOOOO much work, but when you are working in the vicinity of your gifting it doesn't even seem like work.

Prayer Requests on the table:
Patience to let the Holy Spirit break down walls and soften hearts (which he is absolutely starting to do). Boldness to speak out when necessary but wisdom to hold my words in the right time. Student break through in experience and living out kingdom oriented lives.

Exciting things on the horizon:
I am going to be going to Belize with the senior class over Spring Break. I love this class and am stoked to be a part of their lives being changed through this experience!

Also, I will be going to Israel in the beginning of June with the dance group, Illuminate, from my church. This trip in the beginning stages of planning but is going to be incredible. Dance is an international language that anyone can understand and I am excited to be a part of sharing the love of Jesus through this. Pray for finances. No, but seriously. Pray. Living on a teacher salary I stress about buy fresh fruit, non the less a trip to Israel.

Monday I start teaching hip hop at the church. Watch out!

I am speaking in chapel on Wednesday to all of the middles schoolers and high schoolers. Excited for the word that God has put on my heart.

Friday is the beginning of a long weekend...I think I might go to the mountains. For the first time since I have lived here. Pathetic. I know.

And yes. There are still lots of cows here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have utterly failed as a "blogger"...but I am going to try to pick this back up.
After visiting California, I was reminded of my amazing family and support system that I left.
These relationships are kingdom oriented and lasting. So, to those of you reading this, thank you for your prayers and support- and I promise to try to update this consistently.

It has officially been one year since I have lived in Colorado and I am BLOWN away at the doors that God opened up. During college I was challenged to lean into finding out "who Nicole is...and what makes Nicole found in the Lord". Part of this exploration allowed the realization of my gifts to surface. It was exciting to identify them but almost devastating that they laid dormant for years after. I felt at a loss and failed in striving to find an outlet for ANY of them. Fast forward through the past year. I am living in a place that I swore I would never move to. Doing a job that I truly did not want. And changing everything that I knew as familiar. These gifts that laid dormant have been given outlets beyond what I could have EVER imagined.

I have become involved in a dance ministry at my church called illuminate. Dance, something that identified who I was growing up, has now become an intimate means of worshiping the Lord and a great way of finding community! Rediscovering dance in a new context has been wonderful. Not only am I dancing at church, but I will also be starting RCS's first worship dance class. I am excited to see the way that the ladies in this class grow together and find new ways of worshiping the Lord.

Midyear, I stepped into a role with Student Council. Having never been involved in stuco or ASB during my school years, I was CLUELESS as to how I was going to handle this. Decorating for dances. Check. Love it. Rewriting a school's constitution. No thank you. Need less to say, I was pretty nervous. I recently returned from a week long Stuco camp at CSU with my officers and am SO pumped to step into the role. My heart to walk through life with students and train them to be effective leaders for the kingdom is going to be able to spill over into the part of work.

A few other big events of this past year. PROM. glad it is done and HAPPY to pass on the torch to next year's junior class sponsors. Choreographing and teaching the WHOLE (k-12) school a flash mob dance and pulling it off at the open house night. Staff vs. Parent basketball fundraiser.

Seasons come and seasons go. Change is hard. Especially unexpected change. I was reminded last night that mourning the end of a season is so important because it forces you to move into a place of authentic life. The transition out here was seamless. God has provided in numerous ways and has blown me away by this adventure that He has for me.

Looking forward to this next year with GREAT anticipation.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Crooked Creek Video

Here is the video capturing moments from our high school retreat earlier this year.
I thought many of you would enjoying taking a peak into this side of my life! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Much Needed Update.

To all of my family and friends in California, I am so sorry that I have been delinquent at keeping you all updated on my new adventure. Sometimes I feel like I am on an extended mission trip and will just head home at Christmas time- then I step back and realize how real this is. I packed what I could fit in my car. Drove 4 states away. Moved in with a family I had never met. Started a career, that I never thought I would being, doing 6 days later. When I stand back and look at the reality of how my life has changed in the past 3 1/2 months, I am blown away- and yet, amazed at how God has intricately worked out all of the details.
Everyone has told me that my goal, as a first year teacher, should simply be keeping my head above water. Simple enough, right? I am treading water harder that I ever did in swim team, that's for sure. Every day, I take a long, deep breath. Remind myself why the heck I am teaching. And dive right it. To come home, start planning and finish more grading. When I decided NOT to be a teacher my first year at college, one of my arguments was "I don't like homework. I don't want to give homework to students. Because that just gives me more homework." Ironic. I am going to stop being so opinionated.
The kids are precious. Sometimes I feel like I am babysitting my 6th graders and then one of them comes up to me with an innocent question like, "Why do people raise their hands when they worship? Do I have to do that to worship?" These questions remind me how moldable they truly are. It has challenged me to look at my faith in a whole new direction. Without getting into the details of my high school classes...I will simply say that it is a challenge. It is impossible to instill passion for Christ in each student and then measure their growth. I am over "Sunday school" answers and am ready for these kids to really encounter WHO Jesus is. Understanding and experiencing how passionate Christ is for each of their hearts would set them free in so many ways.
As much as I would love to say that I have developed a fabulous social life, its not true. But enough of work. Over fall break I moved to Loveland and into a house with two wonderful ladies that I work with. They have been such a blessing in my life. We are having way too much fun together. In between the move, I hopped on a plane for my first visit to NYC! It was a four day get away that was absolutely necessary. My goal: drink coffee. sit on a bench in central park. throw some leaves in the air. drink more coffee. You get the picture. It was a great trip. Pretty sure I walked a marathon in one day. Now, I cannot wait to go back with my family for Christmas. Seeing the nutcracker in NYC has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. One day.
Last Tuesday I woke up and realized, I am not in southern California anymore. We had a nice, beautiful, COLD layer of snow outside of our house. Gorgeous. But I do not feel equipped to drive in this weather at all. To be completely honest. I am terrified. Time to get over that or else I will not have a functional life for the next 6 months. I have had the chance to see Catherine (my roomie from college) and her great husband a couple times in the past two weeks. They are a breath of fresh air. CJ used to play for BYU, so the three of us went to the BYU vs. CSU game last weekend. SO fun. Minus the sudden attack of snow that fell on us. The frozen toes because I clearly do not know what real socks are. And the angry CSU fans because CJ flaunted his BYU colors.
For those of you that prayed for my dad when he landed in the ER, thank you. Not being able to drive my car over to the hospital and be with family was one of the hardest parts of this fall. I am so thankful for all of you that surrounded him and my mom with prayers, support and love! I cannot wait to see you all at Christmas!
I will let the Bible teacher in me come out one more time. My students are memorizing James 1:19-27 and I have become so encouraged through the conversations that are coming out of this. Verse 27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." God is increasing my capacity to love by revealing pieces of His heart to me. I wonder, what would it look like if the reality of this verse, and God's love was REAL to each of us?

All My Love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Chairs!

New Chairs in my Classroom :) Next steps. Rug. Coffee Pot...

The tree on the wall is the mural for the year. The kids are posting prayers, struggles, hopes and words from this year! It is exciting to have a visible representation of their growth!