Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Growing Up A Coutu

I have undoubtedly, the best husband in the world. Now, don’t roll your eyes – it is completely true! I attribute this to God’s grace at work through the influence of Kevin’s parents. There are some things that I directly see evidence of his parents’ influence on Kevin. I am grateful that his parents taught him how to communicate with women (ME!). He never gives the one word answers or grunts as is so often portrayed in male stereotypes. He gives details, he asks questions, he COMMUNICATES. I know he learned this through consistent communication with his Mom and Dad. I am grateful that they taught Kevin how to be a gentleman. He always holds the door open and pulls out the chair. He doesn’t miss an opportunity to express gratitude for the things that I do for him. He helps with the laundry, he helps with the groceries and even carries them in. He does things spontaneously which makes things very exciting around our house! :-)

More than what they have taught Kevin with regard to how to “treat a woman”, is what he has learned from them by example. I am grateful that: Kevin is tender hearted. Kevin works hard. Kevin loves excellence. Kevin loves passionately, just like his parents.

I have amazing in-laws and I feel blessed to call them Mom and Dad. You accepted me into your hearts and I thankfully accept you into mine. You both are a constant inspiration in my life and as our marriage flourishes, I know you both will always be a wonderful force in our lives.

So if you are reading this blog, know that I love and respect you both very much.

NOTE: It also didn't hurt that Kevin grew up with four sisters and he was the only boy! He had no choice in the matter and learned early on! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just A Sister

Sunday morning as I sat in church, I looked down the pew and SMILED. Seated, were a few of my brothers and my parents. I truly am appreciative of my family. I have always been close to my brothers but as we get older (hmph), we seem to connect even more.

So I begin today with a blog about my brothers. Hmmm, where do I even begin a blog about my brothers? I guess the beginning seems like a nice place....I have two older brothers and three younger brothers. When I was younger I always wanted a younger sister--someone to share secrets, share clothes, share friends, etc. But through the years I have shared all those things and more with my brothers (except the clothes part). There have been many times where I sit and wonder what I did to deserve the brothers I have. If you want to see really good quality guys, you just have to meet them. They are the best fathers and husbands in the world (they married pretty fantastic women too). They are kind, funny, respectful, hard workers, spiritual, caring, protective. (is it prideful for one to go on and on about your family?).

We have all laughed together (we do A LOT of that), cried together, shared disappointments, stood up for one another, defended one another and shared exciting times. We have so many wonderful memories together! We are allies in a common cause; we share similar pains and similar joys. We have been through so much as a family, but one thing has stayed constant in our busy, hectic, ever-changing lives, and that is the support of one another. No matter what is going on in our lives, we have always been there for each other. Yes we had/have those days when we don't get along, but for the most part we have awesome relationships with one another, relationships I feel lucky to be a part of and I wouldn't trade my brothers for anything in this world!

When I was growing up, my brothers and I used to spend most summer days and evenings out in the street, playing street games with the neighborhood kids, starting huge water fights or just playing a game of football/baseball with just the six of us. I also remember times when we would fling ourselves on our bikes and ride off to spend the afternoon in the sun or swimming in the pool with our sunglasses ON. :-) But when the rains came and we had to amuse ourselves indoors with various toys, we just simply brought the fun indoors. We would play with a variety of different toys that were popular during that time, act like we were singers (remember Elvis, Jerry? or the Grease diddy Paul?), hide and go seek, board games, baseball card games. (You remember those don’t you, Paul & David????) :) I could go on and on about all the things we did together but I'm sure those reading this blog would become bored because it would be endless.

Each of my brothers has left an impression on me. Jerry, the oldest, has always been the protector of the family. Growing up, he was WAY more mature than the rest of us but he still managed to always take time out of his day to play a game of baseball or football.

Bill, the comedian, is hilarious to be around (he is the one in the pictures below with the hula skirt on his HEAD). I was "grounded" a lot because of him but it never stopped me from following him around and heading into another "Nichols Adventure." Bill would give you the shirt of his back and I think he has a time or two! :-)

Then there are the "two babies." At least that is what we called them until they were in high school! Just kidding.... it was more like middle school! ;) Paul, the tough one, is a sweetheart even though he comes off as being gruff and tough. He has a heart of gold and can make your heart melt just by giving you one of his lopsided grins! :)

Then there is David, the baby, the sweet angel who made us all realize growing up what a "doll" really was. He is the most generous and devoted man I have ever met.

came along when David was 14 and we spoiled him rotten. He will entertain you for hours with his continuous impersonations of celebrities! :-)

All of the experiences with them and the incredible gifts of resilience, optimism, humor, and strength from my brothers I have used in my every day life to keep the positive flowing. ALL of them have defined me and made me who I am today.

I love you Bros! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

ALOHA ----A Way of Life

Kevin and I tried to tell everyone we throw awesome parties BUT we don't think anyone actually believed us UNTIL September 8 when we hosted our 2nd Luau...... I did say on the record a few weeks back that "if you decide not to attend the Luau, you will miss one of the best parties of the year." That wasn't a lie. It was a fantastic night. Everyone was greeted with a lei and a hula skirt (at least the women wore the hula skirts), they showed up ready to be entertained and have some great fun and that is exactly what we did.
The funny thing is I am a HUGE social anxiety freak. I stress over social events even if they are held at my house but when I got up that particular Saturday morning, I wasn't worried at all. Somehow I knew everything was going to fall into place and that everyone who attended was going to have the best time ever. AND THEY DID! :-)

Here are a few pictures that I took at the Luau. If you want to see all of them, I have posted them on Facebook. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


September 11. A date that will forever be engraved on the memories of people from all walks of life. On that awful day when terrorists commandeered several planes and killed thousands of innocent people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, we began to realize the real depths of wickedness in the human heart, and the doubt and fragility of life itself.

What possible lessons could God teach us from such an appalling tragedy? I don’t know the full answer to this question. I do know that millions came together that day and prayed, which is amazing in itself. Life has always been uncertain, September 11 just made it clearer for us.

When I wonder whether what I do matters at all, if I really make an impact, I try to remember how I felt after the planes made impact with their targets, especially after hearing how Flight 93 missed theirs because a handful of Americans did whatever they could to foil the enemies of freedom and liberty. I believe that taught us all a priceless lesson. Sometimes whether an individual effort succeeds or fails isn't really the point. It is that the effort can inspire others to act. And that is what I strive to do… inspire others to act, whether it be with their fitness program or to be a better person.

Please take time out of your busy and demanding day to say a prayer (or a moment of silent) for those families who lost loved ones that day.

Friday, September 07, 2007

In A Not So Perfect World

WHEWHOO, my favorite time of the year is just around the corner. FALL, waiting to come and knock on my door. I am ready. Ready for a new season, a new time and a fresh start. When Fall comes knocking, how do you open your door???? I open mine with a big ol’ sappy SMILE! :-)

Last weekend, Kevin and I had one of the BEST weekends ever. Do you ever realize when you are having one of life's perfect moments? They don't happen very often, probably because we keep ourselves insanely busy running around, working on something or obsessing over something. I find that if I slow down every once in a while, those perfect moments seems to just fall into place. Like last weekend…..

On Saturday, Kevin and I decided to go to the Rivermarket and get some fresh produce and just walked around. We spent a majority of our morning and afternoon just walking around, chatting and soaking up the rays. Then we decided we better head to the grocery store and get our weeks’ worth of groceries. Once we got home, we decided that since we had such a good time at the Rivermarket, we wanted to spend more time outside so we headed up to the Legends for dinner. We sat out on the patio, had a few appetizers and “people watched” for several hours. It may not sound like perfection to you, but we connected doing all of that together and it was just so relaxing and wonderful and... dare I say……perfect. Have you ever had days like that?

Sometimes our perfect moments are sitting on the deck and looking across the lake and listening to the sounds of nature and just chatting with one another. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just a time when you connect with each other and all the stress of the world doesn't touch you.

A perfect moment in time.