Sunday, December 28, 2008


My Sweet Mother-in-Law sent me this e-mail today and it really says a lot and speaks to my heart so I thought I would share it with you!


I have learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I have learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I have learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you will miss them when they are gone from your life.

I have learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life.'

I have learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I have learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back

I have learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you

I have learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I have learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I have learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back or even a bright beautiful smile.

I have learned that you don't have to react to bad situations... take the high road... you will win everytime.

I have learned that some people don't know how to say I am sorry, BUT I forgive them all the same.

I have learned that I still have a lot to learn.


I know the title of this particular post seems a bit strange but as you read it, I hope you understand what I am trying to convey.

Family traditions can be great, but they can cause some people to behave as if they have traveled back in time. Old roles get replayed, old expectations resurface, and that is not always a good thing. It was stressful enough dealing with my parents when I was sixteen. Now it is really tough even at the age of 42. Especially when you request your guests to merely take off their shoes and that small request makes the other person become hateful. It literally put him in a nasty mood all day and ruined our entire Christmas. Asking someone to take off their shoes in YOUR home is not offensive. It is simply asking someone to respect your home. We weren't singling that one person out. It is a general rule in our house regardless of what time of year it is. The last thing we expected was for someone to tell us to “shove your floors up your ass.”

As my son said “Merry Christmas to all.” Wow!!!! I guess for some of us, ‘tis the season to go emotionally haywire!

I KNOW who I am and I KNOW that I would have never been upset if someone asked me to take my shoes off (especially since it had snowed the day before and it was starting to melt). Because to me family is much more than that. Family means respecting each other, not just showing your unconditional love to them. Family means spending time with them without trying to see who can leave the fastest on such an important day! Family is spending time with each other without being hateful and grumpy! Family is LOVE and communication and without those two, well family isn’t much.

We are over our disappointment in how our Christmas Day turned out and I will leave you with this thought…. During this time of holiday magic, I wish for you snow lightly falling, friends and family abounding and an angel on your shoulder wherever you may go.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


During the holiday rush and Christmas shopping, many folks need a little time to relax and unwind. Each morning I take the time out of my busy day for devotion. Lately, my devotions have been about slowing down, not taking on to many commitments and relaxing. You think God is trying to convey a message to me? I DO! :)

I will be taking some well needed time off during the last few weeks of this year and I must say that during this time I will reflect upon this past year’s events and think about what goals I would like to accomplish in 2009. I also will share with my family the good things that happened during the year and will try and inspire them to share their thoughts as well. Really, if we look hard, our thoughts do not have to be about major events that happened but can emphasize on actions that demonstrate the blessings of the season. Things like the reason why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, words of love, gratitude, etc.

So stop what you are doing, BE STILL….. RELAX and enjoy the season. Enjoy your friends and family. Enjoy the end of the year. We have worked really hard and have earned this time of rest. In fact, we deserve it. It is time to relax and recharge because in just a few short days, we will begin a new year and it will start all over again.

All that we have left to do is wrap the rest of our gifts, prepare yummy food and open our home to host the Nichols Christmas Dinner, bake, bake and bake some more and then relax, be still and wait…. Wait for the magic that is Christmas.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


As you all know (and stated here on my blog) I love Facebook. Everyday I go on there and fill in my “status.” Sometimes it is personal and sometimes it is a statement that has significant meaning behind it and sometimes I try to think of something “quirky” to say. Today’s status states: “Elizabeth is thinking that people should quit complaining and start changing.” Hmmmm, what do I mean…. Well, let me explain…..we all know that sometimes things do not always go the way we want or expect them to go. Plan and practice as we might, sometimes things just fall apart at the seams.

When circumstances take twists and turns we don’t expect, we often feel disheartened. We then feel like we have the right to complain about our circumstances. But complaining produces a negative mindset. It forces us to unintentionally dwell on what is wrong in our lives instead of focusing on what we can change or do to make things right again.

Have you ever met a person who ALWAYS has some drama going on in their life? I don’t mean misfortune that is beyond their control. I am talking about someone who constantly brings things on themselves and then complains about it. I know a few people who can’t seem to go a day without drama happening. Personally, it would drive me up the wall to have some sort of drama going on day in and day out… but that’s just me… I live for peace and quiet… :)

I honestly believe that some people create unhappy lives for themselves because they just don’t know how to be any different; while others enjoy playing the role of victim. These type of people are ALL ABOUT THEMSELVES….. :( Do you really want things in your life to be better in some way or do you want to keep being the star in your own personal drama just for the attention? You simply cannot keep being the main character in your own misfortune if you want to have a happy and fulfilling life.

It is a simple fact of life that every one of us is going to endure suffering in some form, could be physical, emotional, or mental, but it is going to happen, if it hasn’t already. Sometimes we are quick to judge and curse God for allowing it, instead of accepting it for what it is. A stepping stone. God could stop all suffering, but He doesn’t because He told us to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow Him. Life hurts sometimes but it doesn’t mean we are to give up all hope and wallow in our sorrow. We need to pray about our circumstances, embrace it, look for God’s guidance and then move on, knowing that God will help us in our times of need. I don't know about you but He has never foresaken me yet and I truly put my trust in Him.

So I guess to sum up my status, I think that if you are unhappy and don’t know what to do, you should first stop complaining and think of a way to start changing. After all, you are the only person you can control. :) Start by doing something and then observe what happens. Is the “change” happening for you? If so, you have solved your problem and changed for the better. BUT if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again and do something else. However, if you want to keep the same old problems and dreary life, then just keep complaining about it and it is sure to stay pretty much the way it is. Either way, what you think about will tend to fill your life.

With God’s help and your family and friends’ assistance, you can change for the better and have a fulfilled and meaningful life…. It is up to you! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's A Beautiful Life

December is here and things are in FULL swing here at our house. Organization, tackling to-do-lists, attending holiday parties, visiting friends, cleaning, and preparing for Christmas are in full force. I absolutely love it. I feel so together, so on top of things, so fruitful, and productive.

Christmas cards are signed and mailed. Our decorations are up all over the house. There is just something about turning on the Christmas lights when you get home and sitting back and relaxing. It brings me comfort….. I love love love it! And when I have time to sit back and relax, my thoughts drift to things that I am most thankful for.

It has a been a very full year for our family. Full of highs and lows, changes and lessons. A lot of those lessons have been learned and life-changing for me personally. I know I have said this before in different self-reflexive posts, but I am at such a different place, and feel like such a different person than I was just a few short years ago. And for these two facts alone, I am so happy and free and very very thankful! The difficult lessons we learned this year did not outweigh the blessings that we received.

I am thankful for the life that I live. Especially my family. All my life I have dreamt of this family which I soak up on a daily basis. I always pictured it in my mind and prayed that one day my heart would be content and full of life. I wondered what it would be like to have a life like the one I am experiencing. I am living proof that God hears our prayers and knows the desires of our hearts. My son is thriving and doing great after the loss of his father. It took him awhile but he is finally at a place in his life where he is truly at peace. (Thank you Jesus).

I married a man who knows me better than I know myself, provides all things for me and loves me unconditionally. He never complains and he does things that he knows I love without me telling him to do them. He just does what he needs to do and then some. Always supportive, positive and loving. Trust me, there are times my heart is so full, words are hard to find to describe how I feel.

Both of us are employed and we love our jobs. That isn’t something you see every day and we are thankful God gave us the opportunity and opened doors for us that we thought were closed a long time ago. We live a very content life with what we have and with the system we have going on it works for us and we are happy. Amidst the failing economy, God provides for us and gives us the wisdom to save and budget. It is a good feeling knowing we are in agreement in our marriage on the issues of money, and that it is important to both of us.

So tell me, during this holiday season, what are you truly thankful for? I hope and pray that for all of you, it is abundant.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hustle & Bustle

The holidays are an exciting time of year and we can get pretty wrapped up in all the things we have to get done before the festivities begin. During the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and discount deals, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to put our safety first. We all need a gentle reminder that we need to be aware of our safety while we are out shopping. This can be a very cruel world. Be alert and aware of your surroundings AT ALL TIMES. Everyone deserves to be safe this season.

I am telling you this because last night one of my friends was robbed at Oak Park Mall. This is not a Mall in the bad part of town, this is in a highly respectable uptown neighborhood. She was out for a night of shopping and was heading up the stairs in the parking garage when from behind she was shoved to the ground. The young man who shoved her down, then tried to yank her purse from her grip (unsuccessfully I might add). Before really giving it much thought and I am sure going off of adrenaline, she swung her legs around knocking the guy off balance making him crash to the ground. She then yelled and ran up the stairs to security. The police were called but the attempted robber got away. The only thing he got away with was a few bumps and bruises all courtesy of my friend who was defending herself.

I know we are all busy and have a lot on our minds this time of year but please be ALERT. I know how easily it can be to get caught up in the moment during this holiday season. It only takes a split second for something horrific to happen.

One day last Fall, I decided to run errands over my lunch break. Yes, I was in a hurry and had to make one final stop before going back to the office. Normally, I am very aware of my surroundings and always look around. This time I did NOT! UGH! What a stupid thing to do. As I was getting into my vehicle and as I was about to shut my door, there was a lady between me and my car door! OMGoodness, was I ever scared. For JUST one stinkin moment, I was utterly paralyzed. I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, nothing. But then all of a sudden, everything I had been taught about self defense started running through my mind. I positioned my keys between my fingers, I started glancing around to see if there were other people around. Unfortunately, right next to my vehicle was a guy sitting in it. I though instantly it was her accomplice. :( In that moment, I truly thought I was a goner. But then the lady started to ask me for money (over and over again) and I told her I just spent the last few dollars I had in the store. She said well I need some cash. I told her I didn’t have any and to please move. This conversation took all but two minutes but it seemed like an eternity to me. I think she realized that she was scaring the you know what out of me because she started saying “OH MY GOD, you don’t think I’m trying to rob you do you? It isn’t for me. The money is for my friend over there.” Yeah whatever. Get out of my way so I can shut my door. She finally moved out of the way, at which point I slammed the door, locked it and called the police. She was out in the parking lot trying to solicit money from other folks when the police arrived… How scary! When I walked out of the store, I had no idea what she was doing because I didn’t look around. I could have prevented the whole scene IF I had been aware of my surroundings. I am sure I wasn’t the first person she approached. I would have known that if I had been looking around. :(

After it was all over and I was back at the office, I was REALLY angry at myself for letting it ever happen in the first place. I truly pride myself on being alert and recognizing threats and responding accordingly. You can ask my best friend in Phoenix, I am the biggest chicken S&@T in the world if it means I’ll be safe! ;)

I know no matter how alert and sensible we all try to be, this kind of thing can happen to any of us. But I believe reminding all of you can and will make it a little less likely. So I am asking that no matter how important you think that last minute gift is, your safety and your life is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more important and much more valuable. Please be aware.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas :)

Yesterday I took the time to put up all of our Christmas decorations....what I didn't know was that it was going to take me 10 FULL hours.... I had no idea (or I had forgotten) that I have five trees to put up.... and before you go FIVE trees? One tree is 7ft tall and the other 4 are under 2ft so it REALLY isn't that bad until you start putting up the ornaments!!! OMGoodness, I am in dire need of a massage. Seriously! :) I guess I should have skipped my workout before starting. :)

At any rate, I am glad that the decorations are up and that the house looks festive. My son Scott really loves this time of year and commented on how nice the house looks. It took me so long because I was determined to go through each and every ornament and "declutter." I have stuff that is 20 years old which I never use anymore... no reason to keep it. Don't worry folks it wasn't any of the ornaments that Scott made for me through his childhood....those are precious memories I would never part with. Sometimes it is hard to create your own filter for what makes a worthy, keepable ornament. Trust me, if you haven't used it for over 7-10 years, get rid of it.... :)

After I finally got all of the decorations up, it was clean up time, which seemed to take more time than all that came before. However, when we were done, our house was festive, our hearts were full, and our hopes were elevated to a season that celebrates a Savior.

Now, we all can sit back, relax and wait for the festivities to begin.

(Kevin's mom took the Christmas photos above of Kevin and Elizabeth!)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


For your viewing pleasure:

Monday, December 01, 2008


Family vacations are FAMILY vacations! Ultimately family vacations are about being together as a family, deepening our relationships with each other, conversing, laughing and encouraging each other. It is about telling the same stories (even if they are a bit embellished) and laughing even harder than the last time.

Have you ever thought MAN I wish I could go to the Bahamas or Hawaii so I can have a good time? Why do you have to go so far away to have a good time. We spent our time off in Ridgedale, Missouri (right outside of Branson) and had a marvelous time. We thoroughly enjoyed our 10 days off. We spent time hiking, shopping, eating and relaxing. This vacation was about spending quality time with Kevin’s folks and that is exactly what we did. AND the weather was beautiful, temps in the low 70s. ;)

In my humble opinion, the difference between forgettable vacations and unforgettable vacations is not the location or attractions. Not at all. The difference is the company you keep and the memories being made. We made a lot of memories last week and I would never trade those memories for the world. I will be posting photos on my Facebook account soon.

Memories last a lifetime and in this season of Thanksgiving, I am forever grateful and thankful that we were able to spend this past vacation with Kevin and his folks. :)

Now, here’s to his folks and a safe journey home.