Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It’s been a while since I have written much and man have I missed it. Not going to lie this year has been a hard one, not just for me but for many friends as well. It’s been somewhat heavy and I was in need of some space, some quietness on the pages of my life. As the New Year approaches I'm wondering what my word is going to be for this year- the one thing that I make a priority, the one thing that will bring me closer to who I desire to be and most importantly who I am in Christ.

One thing I know for sure I am tired of is my own insecurity, my own self-doubt, my own self keeping me from truly shining and being able to fully embrace life. I'm tired of the negative thoughts that say I'm not good enough, I'm not the lucky one, I'm not capable, I'm not beautiful, I'm not name it, I've thought  about it. Sometimes I feel like I just walk around life looking at others and being in awe or frustrated that I have not achieved what they have. I feel as though being 30 is the cut off for becoming and creating myself, I had my chance and blew it. Yup, there it is again clear as day, my backhanded thinking.
So its time to put the smack down, because I'm done with being tossed in a sea of doubt by none other than, me, myself and I.

You know what I find absolutely appealing in anyone, the hands down most sought after quality? Confidence.
period. A woman with confidence lights up the room with her self-awareness that she is a treasured gem. Not because she is cocky, self-absorbed or a snob but because she is humbly aware that she is here for a reason, she has a purpose and gosh darn it she is going to live life to the fullest and be all she can be. The naysayers, her own demon thoughts will not possess her to believing that she can't be filled with joy in any given circumstance. Instead she confidently speaks her mind with graciousness and gentleness. She confidently walks into any room and knows that she is loved beyond measure because Jesus spirit resides in her. That is the woman I want to be, a woman of confidence. That is my word this year, I claim it! I own it! I want it!

I don't only want this for myself but I want this for all woman, for us all to remember that we are beautiful, lovely, God breathed woman. Our hearts may be heavy, our pains may be deep with hands and feet weary. This year may have taken a toll on us, we may be battling for our marriage, or a single woman wondering if her prince is out there, we may be turning 30, 40, or 50 but I come boldly to say we have not lost our shine. We have not lost our warmth, we have not lost our purpose. Yes the new year is approaching but each day is like a new year. Its time to be kind to ourselves and allow ourselves to believe that we are wanted, needed, and the most wonderful thing about confidence is that no one can take it from us.


Nicole Renee

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Is this what my life has come to? Stewing inside I cling to the days of my younger 20’s but wake up to the reality I’m a newly clad 30 year old woman.  I have officially entered the stage of wearing mom jeans with a newfound craving for those soft, amazing, lovely things they call pajama pants. The days of rocking the old well worn holey jeans have passed like a warm breeze of youth that has gone too quickly. As I dance my booty off at Zumba trying to shake off little miss muffin top I survey the room of ladies, most have their hair curled and up in bouncy pony tails with bright colored workout attire. As I look at my awkward self doing gangum style in the mirror I find myself cringing at my faded purple tank top and black spandex pants. I wonder what happened to me and when it was that I lost the vibrancy I once had. I look back on the past few years to find many places where I could have lost myself along with energy, time, and motivation. Somewhere between making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the pressure to be super mom, and the unending days of working a 9-5  is where it started. Add in a few heartaches, a couple draining relationships and a dash of bills and we got it folks! I feel frumpy and my beauty seems to be buried behind all the pieces I’ve been putting together or trying to hold together for several years. I took Jalen to the indoor pool yesterday and as I was sitting poolside I felt exhausted, I wanted to close my eyes and somehow wake up on the beaches of Cabo San Lucas with a Margarita in hand with no worries to cross my mind except the amount of SPF I needed to apply as the warm salty air fills my lungs.

Yet this gnawing feeling wouldn’t leave me even if I went away on vacation for a year. It would be like a nice band aid to cover up the wounds that need some one on one attention. I want to feel beautiful again and wash away the frumpiness that has somehow taken residence in my soul and in my wardrobe. I want to embrace the beauty of being a woman and the ability to be a little bit sexy sometimes and be okay with it. I’ve come to figure out my lack of attention to my outer appearance has been a result of my inner appearance and the weariness of trying has become an excuse to push off my efforts to change for another day. I think I’m sometimes scared to have it together because that frumpy side of me is like a layer of shyness that keeps me from being exposed or being noticed.  But the thing is this frumpy season just is not working for me anymore, I need to take charge and push myself to become a girl I like looking at because there is only one me and there has got to be something wonderful about that. So as I slowly emerge from my cocoon of just getting by, I find some kind of excitement for rediscovering not only my inner beauty but my outer beauty and all the possibilities that lie ahead as I embrace the things that I have put on the back burner far too long.
Let Them Eat Cake

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Power of Writing

I don’t watch much TV and consider myself a bit of a hippie in that arena but the other day I found myself holding back a fountain of tears as I was watching Extreme Makeover (Thanksgiving Edition). It was an episode about a family that offers a place for single woman to stay to get on their feet again and develop the skills they need to make it on their own. Well, that was not the part that got me leaking with tears but rather it was the part during the show were the community was giving notebooks and pencils to children in Ethiopia where one of the families child was adopted. The camera crew captured the moment when one little boy in Ethiopia received a pencil and his expression of sheer joy radiated through the TV screen and melted my heart as he said “Thanks for my pencil!” with pure joy and gratitude. If only I could be excited about the simplest of things that are taken for granted. The resources I have at my fingertips each day and don’t even think about are bringing megawatt smiles to children across the world because it brings opportunity they never had before to learn, write, and grow.

This got me thinking about the power of writing and how I need to never take this gift for granted. Writing brings such a sense of accomplishment after it is completed, it unloads the burdens that we carry with our thoughts, it brings our imaginations to life and helps us through the pitfalls. Even if no one ever reads our words it can be our sacred place of trust between ourselves and our unspoken journal. Writing can touch the multitudes or it can be the place of defeat where we vent our failures and fears. It’s the place where prince charming really can show up at our doorstep with a handful of roses declaring his love, it’s the place where our wildest dreams become colorful and infused with the excitement that we feel in our hearts. It’s the place where we can tell our own precious story of new beginnings or wisest discernment of lessons learned.

If I did not have the opportunity to write I would be a  stuffed up bottle of emotions ready to burst. I would be tear of sadness upon my face with endless pain locked inside. I would be a light burning with no place to shine.  To be able to write is like a sweet breath of release and a dream coming true. So as I think upon that sweet child in Ethiopia who was so thankful for the simplest of things, my soul is awaken again to the power of writing and the extraordinary gift that is right at my fingertips.

Nicole Renee

Let Them Eat Cake

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Me as Blogger and Me as Mom

Me as Blogger
Ever since I was little I had a pen in hand, starry eyes, and the passion to put words to what was milling around in my mind. I was always introverted and  was one of those people that would explore every option before sharing my perspective. Being shy and introverted can translate into many different stereotypes; daydreamer, snobby, spacey or just plain weird. Yet being shy was the greatest character trait I could have had because as I sat back and observed I became very aware of others and compassionate towards their needs. This helped me develop into someone that I am proud of and I’m even grateful to have sometimes taken the back seat to those with charm spewing….you know who I’m talking about those confident, in charge, always have something to say, extroverts of the packJ.

In all seriousness I have a heart for those who have made mistakes and are in need of love and that is why I started this space called “Even the Sparrows”. Initially I began with this blog in God’s hands sharing what I’ve learned through my own trials but then slowly I got off track and it became more about who was reading and more pressure to stand out from the rest. I found myself competing with top knots, RED lipstick, the latest cowl scarf, awesome recipes, and beauty plastered everywhere with families dressed to the T and mom’s who seriously look like super models.  I was beginning to feel like a magazine at the local market. Should I be more like Allure, Woman’s Health, Modern Woman, or a fashion icon like Vogue. I was even having dreams about the who’s who of blogging and that is when I realized I was getting waaaay off track.

That is when I pinched myself and woke up, this is not a dream. I have a message I want to share that touches the hearts of the broken, lost, empty, and hopeless. I was that girl so many times and if I share my story than maybe one person, just one won’t have to feel alone in their own battle. There are parts of my story that I have yet to share that are hard to share but I know I will eventually when the time is right. There are struggles I have posted and then reverted into a draft because I have been afraid of putting myself out there for anyone to see. The things I want to write about are not easy, light, and fluffy. They are deep, sometimes dark, and just downright messy. But that is the life we all live, we all have our something that we are going through, that thing that we can’t get over, that hurt that never seems to heal. My heart has known so much sadness, regret, and aches but it has also known redemption, endless love, and glorious beauty. That is all of our story in some way and that is the message my soul wants to express in this blog. There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning, that is a lyric to a song that sometimes plays in my head that whispers to me that no one is too far gone to start again.

I love those fashion blogs, health blogs, and beautiful family blogs. I really adore them all and learn so many insightful things from so many different realms of this blogosphere. But my purpose started to get hazy and I started to doubt my own message with the giants of success reminding me of how small I am in this world. But that still small voice that leads my life reminded me that I have a passion to write for a reason and I didn’t experience trials to sit in the rubble. Because I believe in Jesus, I know I experienced trials to be a light to anyone who needs it, that could be one person or it could be more than I imagined. Yet by his grace I am his and by his grace I have the opportunity to share the truth and love he has given me and that is why I blog.

Me as MOM
I’m a single mom to an inquisitive, wonderful, handsome 7 year old boy that I call J-man better known as Jalen. We have had quite the journey together. I bought all the planning books, I got all the necessities I would need to raise this little guy but when he arrived and was placed in my arms I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I realized life would never look the same and nothing could plan me for what was ahead. I was one of those way overprotective moms who insisted others sterilize their hands before picking him up, and when he started riding one of those razor scooter things flying down hills and making sharp turns I was a flipping mess. Yet over time I have learned to let go a little more and trust God is in control. He is truly the light of my life, I can’t stay mad at him for more than a few minutes, and story time is my favorite time at the end of the day. He is extremely perceptive and loves the earth God created sea life, dinosaurs, birds and all. He makes me laugh all the time with his charming wit that we will have to keep in check when he starts dating! Oh dear goodness, I dread the day. Anyway you will see Jalen pop up more than a few times on my blog as he is my number 1 priority and keeps me young…..well most of the time!

Nicole Renee

Sunday, November 25, 2012


There are so many things to move past, especially this time of year. It’s become this stressful blur of getting gifts, festive gatherings, diets down the drain, overloaded with questions, wants and needs so apparent, and the restlessness of our souls ache. I find myself often going down memory lane with tears in my eyes at the thoughts of people who used to be a part of my life who are now distant or gone. I think of my Italian grandma and her boisterous laugh and how when she yawned it sounded like opera. I think of how she was so proud of keeping her house tidy at age 90 and that she could still put on a delicious meal with homemade breaded chicken and meatballs.  I also think of how my life hasn’t exactly turned out as planned as choices I made have not always been the best and I’m left to meddle in my own despair. I think of people who I love so much and don’t even know it because the bounds of past hurts are too much to break through. I think of friendships that helped shaped me that didn’t turn out as I hoped or planned.

 I wonder this time of year if I’m capable of changing my life for the better or overcoming my own self doubt and insecurities. I wonder if I can set out to follow my dreams and make them come true. I wonder if I can become the woman God called me as a mother, friend, and daughter. As thoughts swirl through my mind I find myself scrambling for something more. I want to know what God’s plan is for me or why I can’t seem to let go of certain thoughts or memories. I want to know why I still feel lonely and sadness in a time that is supposed to be filled with joy.

Then I think of Mary- the mother of Jesus and think of the weight of the world on her shoulders because she would be carrying Jesus in her belly. She would be the woman to love and nurture this world’s Savior! Can you imagine the fear, the doubt, the insecurity that would well up at such a great task? I imagine I would feel incapable of such a feat, I would hope to get out of it. I would pray that God got me confused with another Mary because I would feel so afraid to mess up or just plain not be good enough. Mary, precious Mary she was afraid like most of us would be but she also believed. She was not quite sure of her own ability but she didn’t doubt God’s. With her faith planted in his truth and faithfulness she prayed and trusted in the nearness of God, the assurance that God is who he says he is and that he has an almighty plan. For some reason that plan included her, Mary, a woman that would go down in history as the mother of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Do you feel incapable like me? Especially in a season where our frailties are more apparent than ever as we try to find thankfulness in our hearts even when we don’t quite understand what we are going through. I want to be more like Mary an ordinary girl loved by an extraordinary God who has a plan set out for me. We are loved by a God that is capable when we are not. As this season unfolds I’m centering my heart on Christ and the assurance of his nearness to me when I am scared of the future or clinging onto the past. God has a beautiful plan and as I think of the mother of our Savior I think of the beauty of an obedient heart resting in the presence of the Lord and the mercy of his plan.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

God is Teaching Me...and Picture Fun!

God is teaching me I need to talk to him to hear him, all I need to do is open the door and he will show up.

He keeps teaching me about forgiveness, some people make me so upset or let me down so badly, even people who I love so dearly. God teaches me to forgive seven times seventy because he did that for me and I'm no better than the next person.

God is teaching me that when we reach the brink, he reaches out his hand at just the right moment to keep us going.

God is teaching me that I need to stop holding on to what I want so badly and trust that his plan is better than what I can come up on my own.

God is teaching me that my anxiety is a symptom that comes from a lack of obedience and discipline.

I love that God is up to something each moment and I pray that my heart is always earnestly waiting for what he wants me to do.

God is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of all masters (1 Timothy 6:15 PH).

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Picture fun:
I don't know if ya'll have heard of this cool site called Pixlr but I absoutely have fallen in love with this free picture photoshop. I love spicing up my photos with borders and different colors and this site works perfectly to have a little fun especially if your not super tech savy. Check out the link below...I may be behind the times of what the up and coming technology is but wanted to share just in case....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Beauty Worth Knowing

Imagine you walk into the room where  your competition was dripping with dazzling jewels, lavish dresses, hair stacked high and beautiful in braided up do’s embellished with crystals. Their makeup articulately executed to ensure their skin looked like porcelain next to their smoky sensual eyes and red pouty lips.

Compared to these girls you looked rather simple with barely any makeup on, a plain white flowing dress outlined with gold embellishment and only one piece of jewelry; a dainty necklace that held special meaning from your upbringing. Could you imagine how you would feel to be outdone by so many beautiful woman? Yet what if you did not envy the other woman, and in fact the searing claws of jealousy didn’t come out at all. You were like the mother hen of the bunch, the one the girls would cling to when they were afraid or insecure. They clung to you because of your humbleness,  graciousness, and subtle confidence that managed to break down the barriers of vain beauty to find the truest beauty of all- a girl after God’s own heart.

You and the other girls were all in the race to be the chosen one, a princess. A princess that could either change the world or merely be a fixture to the right of the throne for nothing more than oooh’s and ahhh’s  over stunning beauty. While others were gawking about with anxiousness and making sure their hair was just right you were praying and walking in the garden. Something about your presence was like a beacon of light that others tried to understand. There was something about you that none of the other girls could capture, there was a peace in your presence.

As the other girls vied for the King’s attention, one by one they were dismissed and utterly dismayed. No one seemed to hold the key to the handsome royals heart and he began to grow irritated as his hopes of meeting someone to spark his interest seemed dim. Then one of the last to be called, you enter the kings chambers with your minimal makeup and less than extravagant attire. Yet the king asked you to stay with him, something about you drew him in. He thought you were breathtakingly beautiful and was captivated by your presence as the others were. There was something about you that he needed to call his own. You were his chosen one, you would be the princess.

This is my own interpretation of the opening scene of the story of Esther, hands down my most loved story in the bible. There are sooo many lessons to be learned from Esther a woman of strength and dignity. She was the furthest thing from just a fixture to the right of the throne. She was a woman who risked her life to save her people, she broke the boundaries and was much more than a pretty face. Her spirit soared with the qualities I aspire to have. She was quite beautiful but she chose not to adorn herself with things that enhance beauty, she simply came as she was with a prepared spirit. Esther was an orphan so I can imagine the character that was developed as she probably had to grow up faster than most and she had to learn things at a young age.

 If you have never read her story I encourage it greatly as well as the movie “ One Night with the King”. I will be writing more about her but the reason I do today is for us as woman to remember the priceless beauty of our inner spirit. The calmness and discernment that comes with quiet prayer amidst a noisy world pulling us in a million directions. More and more our outer adornment is becoming emphasized and you know looking back at Esther things were not much different back then. Woman wanted to be noticed and thought that their outer beauty would be enough to capture the heart of the King. It’s a good reminder to know that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and just being who we are with a mindful spirit is simply is enough, more than enough.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We as Mothers

They say it takes a tribe to raise a least I heard that somewhere and so far I would have to agree. Without the help of my family, friends, and most importantly the grace of Jesus I would be the oldest looking thirty year old you have ever seen (let's not mention the patch of gray hair growing in already). Yet there is something about  being a mother, its such a blessing to be her. There is something so beautiful about how we as mothers can stand strong willing to take on any duty to ensure that our children are safe and loved. There is something so beautiful about how we as mothers want to understand every hurt and sing every praise. The gray hairs, the strife, the worry, the joys, the laugh out loud moments all becomes this big beautiful story unfolding that will one day be reflected in who our children grow up to be. I love being a mother to such a wonderful son with a heart for others and a sense of humor that cracks me up.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lately-Worrying is like a rocking chair....

Lately I wonder if I'm not as good as I thought I was. I wonder if I'm any good at relationships or if I’m just plain bad at them. I wonder if my expectations are too high or if I've just been through the ringer and had enough. I wonder if I can ever figure out my heart, all the broken pieces. They seem to be strewn about and I wonder if I'm capable of putting them back together. Sometimes I wish I could just lose gravity and float high above to see where I had lost the willingness to try, the willingness to love. I've been worrying about these things quite a bit lately as the days go by faster and it seems my endurance gets weaker. I feel tired and worn out from a drawn out fight with myself, my flesh, my soul, my faith.

Then this weekend out of nowhere all the pressures I have been putting on myself became null and void when I heard his voice. He reminded me not to worry, he reminded me that he can see all that I want to be and he has me in the palm of his gracious hand. He has ALL the pieces that I had lost along the way and he says that I'm new. I can give all my worries to him and he will take care of them. His willingness to try and to love remains and is sufficient for me. 

 As I thought about the Lord this weekend I felt so grateful that he made himself known to me in my time of need. Looking back in my life I have seen the many times he has given me his favor when I absolutely didn’t deserve it. Its moments like these where I find peace and am reminded that I don’t have to know if I’m good enough for this person or that relationship all I need to know right now is that I’m good enough for God. He reminded me that he makes things beautiful in HIS time and that includes me, all I need to do is let go and trust.

 Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. -Glenn Turner

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Proverbs 3:5 NIV

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. Psalm34:17-19 NIV

Nicole Renee

Friday, November 9, 2012

Impact and Investment- Blogging Thoughts

When I started my first corporate job I was so completely nervous and felt somewhat out of my league given I have never finished college. There was another girl that started the same day as me and she was as bubbly as can be with a warm smile on her face. To this day I remember her flowery button up collared shirt and the deep blue sweater she wore as well as her short spunky hairdo and dash of red lipstick. We became fast friends and good thing since we would be in the same department for the next few years we worked together. I will never forget the second day of work I showed up and there was a package of M&M’s on my chair at my cube. I wondered where the candy fairy had come from since I barely knew anyone and it was only my second day. Then come to find out my new found friend Kerri with the spunky hairdo and bright red lipstick had gotten me the candy because well she is just that kind of person. The kind of person who cares about others but better yet wants to make a difference in their lives with her gift of compassion and giving. In the whole scheme of things it was a small gesture that made a huge impact on my life and to this day she is one of my very best friends.

When I think of her subtle gesture I realize the importance of investment. As I write in this blog it’s very easy to get caught up in the friend list, the growing numbers, the lack of growing numbers, and the pressure to please people I don’t even know. The whole reason I started blogging was for one purpose…to make an impact. Then as time has gone by an ulcer has started forming within me as I wonder if my blog really makes a difference. There are blog hops, link-ups, and all sorts of avenues used to connect with people which I love (see my sidebar) but then I start to wonder if I’m really connecting with people or if these hops are just to have “friends” but no friendships. Even I can admit that I have started following blogs only for them to fall off my radar as the hype to gain new followers intensified. I don’t want to do that, I want to make investments in the people that take time out of their days to read my post, to become my follower friend. I want to develop authentic relationships with people across the borders and in states I’ve never visited. The mission behind my blog has to be tweaked to not just make an impact but to invest.

As followers grow and new link-ups come around the corner I know that keeping up with everyone’s blog is nearly impossible yet my mission doesn’t have to change. I can keep investing in people, I can keep encouraging people, I can strive to keep my voice authentic and for me that is writing for an audience of one, which for me is the Lord.  I don’t want to just follow to follow but instead to relate, to love, to encourage the people I meet. I need to remember the impact my friend Kerri made in my life several years ago simply by making a small investment in my life in giving from her heart without expectation. Without expectation that we would be friends, without expectations that I would tell someone about her graciousness.

It’s time to forget the numbers and lay down my expectations.

It’s time to impact and invest in the lives of others.

Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend's counsel that comes from the heart. Proverbs 27: 9

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Top 3 Reads

I don’t have a lot of time to read so when I do I really want to enjoy it. I wanted to share a few of my absolute favorite books that I have read over the past few years  that have either been for self-improvement or just plain old fun.

Number 1 pick- Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers
The first book or set of books shall I say that I HIGHLY recommend is the Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers. Anything and everything this lady writes is amazing and truly life changing. I have already read the trilogy twice in less than 2 years and ready for my third run through. It’s that good! The main Character in the first two books is Hadassah and she is everything I want to be as a Christian woman, this girl blows me away. She a plain girl that is called ugly quite often but her humble heart shines through to make her one of the most beautiful girls I have ever known….given this is not a true story but Francine Rivers is such an amazing writer that she makes this girl come to life and truly will shape your heart in a whole new way as a woman of God.A little excerpt of each book from Barnes and Noble
#1 A Voice in the Wind: Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, a young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.
#2 An Echo in the Darkness: Turning away from the opulence of Rome, Marcus is led by a whispering voice from the past into a journey that could set him free from the darkness of his soul.
#3 As Sure As the Dawn: Atretes. German warrior. Revered gladiator. He won his freedom through his fierceness . . . but his life is about to change forever.
Mark of the Lion Trilogy: An Echo in the Darkness/As Sure as the Dawn/A Voice in the Wind

Number 2 -Pick Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Okay, Okay I’m not doing a promo for Francine or anything but seriously this lady has captured my heart with her beautiful penmanship. Redeeming love truly showed me that God can take any situation and make beauty from the ashes and that there is redeeming love for all of us.
Redeeming Love

Number 3 Pick- Sex and the Soul of a Woman
This is my go to when I’m struggling with purity or if I need reminders of what a true value it is to protect our hearts in a world of casual dating. I highly recommend this book for any girl who is waiting for marriage or wants to re-claim purity.
 Sex and the Soul of a Woman: How God Restores the Beauty of Relationship from the Pain of Regret
Nicole Renee

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I recently went to the Gungor Concert and I was so blessed. They have this beauitful presence about them and their music just draws me so near to the Lord. The lyrics, the instruments, everything about their music stirs my heart and soul. If you never heard them before I highly recommend them, they stole my musical heart! "Beautiful Things" is one of their popular songs and really reminded me that God can make beautiful things out of any situation.

Okay to Lighten Up!

I'm soooo glad its almost Friday! I realized lately that I've been writing alot of heavy posts that my heart just needed to pour out but today I just want to be a little quirky. So I posted some goofy pictures of myself as a reminder that I need to laugh more and just have joy in each day! Hope your ready for Friday also, have a great day!

I love hats and this fedora here I bought a while back but have yet to wear outside of my house, I need to branch out! What do you think? Yay or Nay? I think I need to read my "Okay to be me" post again!

This is what I call the Zoolander, when I do my makeup or take pictures trying to look cute I often look like I'm trying waaaaay to hard

This is my don't even ask picture- I was either in a ridiculously good mood or trying not to smell something....that is why I say don't ask.....

And this is one of my favorites! Me and my son also known as J-man. I love when we are goofy!

And one for YOU, thanks for stopping by! Hugs and a silly kissy face!

Nicole Renee

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Okay with Me

My mom used to say “you’re going out of the house like that?!”, “where is your lipstick?”. She is old school Italian and I love her with all my heart but we are different, a lot different. She always puts on lipstick before stepping out of the house, out of the car, out of the booth at the restaurant. It’s one of those quirky, beautiful things that makes my mom who she is and stand out. However I can leave the house with my hair in a bun, with sweats on and barely any make-up and feel fine but that was not always the case.

From as long as I can remember I used to always ask for approval “do I look okay?”, “do you like my haircut”, “what do you think about this idea?"I always needed validation whether it be advice on what I was wearing or if I had what it took to write a book. I needed to have feedback to feel that I could do things. However, if the response was not what I was looking for than my heart would sink as the fire within me fizzled.  I was insecure and afraid to just be me. If I asked someone how I looked and they said the dreaded words “Oh you look fine”, I would cringe as I ran to my room to change. Fine? The definition of scrapping by and being so-so I used to hate that word with a passion. If I told someone about my dreams and they didn’t line up with their ideas than I felt that they were just not good enough or unachievable.

But then one day I went to the supermarket with my mom sans makeup, we parted ways to get different items and this young gentlemen approached my mom. He told her that I was a gorgeous girl and if he was taller that he would ask me out (I’m 5’10). My proud mom raved about me and how I was her daughter and then went on to tell me about her encounter. I will never forget that day because I seriously did not do a thing to look pretty. I had my hair up and no makeup on yet he thought I was pretty. It came as a surprise to me as I never really thought I could quite possibly be cute just as I am. Unfortunately it took a butcher at the store for me to realize that I was putting too much time wondering what other people thought of me and needed to just be me. Then as I started writing my fears, struggles, and what I really felt about faith and life I started sending my posts to my closest friends. As days would pass one of them would bring up my little post and tell me how much it meant to them and how it helped them when they were having a bad day. One friend even told me that she made a folder with my name on it where she kept all my posts when she needed inspiration. What?? My writing could really mean that much to someone? That was mind bottling to me and I felt so incredibly humbled because I was just being me.

I finally found that being my own person can bring the most blessing and is the most pleasing to the Lord. I decided to conciously stop seeking out others definition of beauty or what I should be and found confidence in the way God made me. Not everyone will think I’m pretty or like my latest hair style-and that is okay. Not everyone will like my posts or agree with me-that is okay too. As I was writing this post I felt completely full of myself for telling the story about the butcher and how he thought I was pretty however I realized I was again worrying about approval. We are made to embrace who we are, our quirky things, our tedious things, our silly things. I truly think that as long as our intentions are pure, lovely and true we can’t go wrong no matter what we look like or what dreams we want to pursue.

Blogging has exposed a lot of my insecurities all over again, until I met other girls who are embracing who they are without seeking the approval of others. They put themselves out there and are so real that it is refreshing, it’s beautiful to see other woman that can be funny, vulnerable, unpredictable, and open their lives up with transparency. It inspires me and reminds me it’s great to just be who we are.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I used to think they had to be long to be real

I used to think they had to be articulate to be understood

I used to think that I had to get on bended knee to be sincere

I used to think that I had to know the scriptures to hear him speak

I used to think that I would have to be sorry over and over again to be forgiven

But then  

I learned they could be short to be real

I learned they could be messy to be understood

I learned that I could pray wherever, whenever and he knows my heart

I learned that all I needed was to be still to hear his voice

I learned that he removed my sin as far as the east is from the west and I am forgiven

Today I am thankful that God can see the intention of my heart. He doesn’t need me to elaborate to understand the pain, the confusion, the disappointment. Even in my joys he knows my spirit is soaring. I’m thankful for the simple prayers and that he knows the depth of me. Even when I clutch my hands together and close my eyes yet the burden is too heavy and I’m exhausted of words he is still with me.

Prayer is taking on a new meaning for me and so different than the complexity I once made of it. It’s becoming sweeter, deeper, and stronger as I find its more about the condition of my heart than fancy words, memorized scripture verses, and elaborate apologies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Celebrities that won't change their flaws

That was the headline that popped up when I was logging into my computer the other day. An article praising and bringing attention to those celebrities that embrace their imperfections. In a day and age of wanting to achieve perfection and being the next best thing it was kind of nice to see the headline but also kind of sad that we have to point out the few people who embrace who they are. I have a lot of these so called “flaws” or at least I used to think so. I’m half Italian so I have one of those Roman Italian noses, my brother sometimes uses it as a ski slope with his finger making fun of the mogul in the middle of my face. I have untamable hair, it naturally curls up into a coiled mess when I go all natural. I have a little jiggle around my waist that won’t seem to go away, I could blame my son but he is now seven. Day after day I would obsess about my flaws looking in the mirror unsatisfied, not that I thought I was ugly but I just felt so discontent with certain attributes that God had given me.

I started to wonder if it was even possible to be content with my flaws and what that would look like. Then I started to think about other woman and what I find beautiful in them. That is when I looked to my closest friends and the woman that I don’t know personally but admire. I don’t know if its coincidence or just the mere fact that God knows what he is doing but the thing I find most beautiful about other woman is their uniqueness. What sets them apart from the rest, they all have their little flaws or imperfections (because we all do) but it’s the whole package that makes the person shine. Time and time again the heart of the person outshines the appearance of the person.

Beauty is a twisted, complicated, draining, wonderful thing. Flaws are a twisted, complicated, draining wonderful thing. Beauty can bring out the best and worse in us but so can our flaws. Over the years as I have tried to be content with the woman God made me to be and what  I have found is that the imperfections make me beautiful because they are humbling. The mirror is  more than a reflection of our insecurities instead it can be a window to see that even though we may not always like what we see there is more to us than meets the eye. Over time I embraced my Roman Italian nose because its different, I began to love my hair because I had more options…curly or straight.  I even started to like the little jiggle around my waaaiss……okay not quite there yet.

I want to say I may not know you but I know that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Look in the mirror and see past what you want to change and look at the full picture. The person you are, the things that make you stand out from the rest (we all have something), and find yourself humbly content that you are loved by a Savior who created you with YOU in mind.


Friday, October 19, 2012


Some people call it naïve to think the best of people, to want to pursue dreams. Some people call it unrealistic to actually believe people can change and that people become better. Naïve-the definition of inexperienced and immature, and that was me.  I was always hoping for the best and waiting for the good to come around the corner. I chose to see the best in people and believed they would always follow-through with the things they would say. I was always dreaming up all the things I would be when I grew up, thinking I could be super woman. That naïve little girl in me lived in what some call the lollipop land of rainbows and butterflies.

Then as time went on  little naïve me became “experienced” and “mature”.  Reality set in as I was met with disappointment time and time again only to become disenchanted. Bitterness sprouted its mean little head when I realized that a lot of people don’t change or keep their word. Chasing dreams was defeated with exhaustion because nothing ever seemed to come into fruition. Over time I found that I instantly judged, expected the worse in people and assumed no one would dare commit to anything more than two hours in advance (that would be a crime!).  As you can see my matured self needed a little attitude adjustment.

I think I like the land of rainbows and lollipops better, I think we all need that side of us to get through the tough days. I think seeing through the eyes of our youth can shed a lot of light on the condition of our heart. As time goes on we get worn down by hurts, failures, and brokenness but when we hope for the best even when it seems unrealistic and pray for good to come around the corner something comes alive inside. I need to peel of the layers of sludge that has blurred my vision to the good, lovely and true in people. It’s still there because God is alive and we are each are his and that gives me hope. We can still become all we ever hoped for it just may look a little different than we planned-it may even be better!—sound Naïve? I hope so.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Yesterday I forgot my purse, yes my purse. The masterpiece of woman, the bottomless pit of stuff, the crammed nook and crannies that lead to the abyss of things we HAVE to carry with us everywhere, and the things we don't really need yet find comfort in hauling around with us. So basically I began the day armed with nothing but a set of car keys and the clothes on my back. Naked much? I felt stripped of my very LIFE. No license, no money, no lipstick, no phone…..oh the dilemma.  How did I leave the extension of myself behind you ask? Unfortunately that is the typical life of running late ruby (that’s me) my blood pressure through the roof, time ticking by, a million thoughts of what is on my to do lists swirling through my mind as I forget the things I need (like my purse) and rush off to work.

As I was beating myself for forgetting my purse, I realized I must have hit rock BOTTOM. My life was becoming this glob of days and things to do. I was becoming a steam roller on the path to destroying the much needed peace that is way more important than my bottomless pit of “stuff”. It was then I reminded myself in the chaos that I need to pause. I need to breath in deeply and look heavenly. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Heavenly- that word exudes peace of body, mind and spirit. If I don’t pause to listen for the small still voice of discernment than how do I know I’m steam rolling towards the right things? What if God has a new direction he wants me to take but I’m too busy frantically checking off my list to notice that he is not even on the page.

Forgetting the “extension” of myself was good for me because I felt vulnerable for a change. I felt that a disconnect from the world somehow- (and reckless without having my ID), but it was then that the shackles of life fell off my soul and I could breathe again. I paused and let his presence fill up my lungs bringing me a rejuvenated spirit. I let go of the chaos, the responsibility and let God be in control for a change and it was nice. We all need to slow down sometimes, especially when we are running around like crazies to let the steam roller pass by and embrace the peace that our Savior brings when we take a sweet moment to pause.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Guilt Ridden or God Driven?

I have found the absolute number one thing that keeps me from God is guilt, which is also goes hand in hand with shame. If I know that what I’m doing is not pleasing to God I shut him out of that part of my life. I dismiss the spirit that stirs within me that is trying to get me to hold my tongue, take a different path, or just plain walk away from  temptation. Even as a thirty year old I become like a child pretending he won’t see or know what I do. But unlike a parent God knows even before I speak, make a move and delve into my flesh.  I can’t tell you how many times I have asked God to open a door to escape certain temptations and every single time he did. Except I wasn’t a willing participant, I didn’t do my part and honor what he wanted.  Then the aftermath of my self-absorbed ways slowly  brewed up thoughts of guilt and I slowly began to tip-toe away hoping that I could escape his disappointment. I hate letting God down, especially when it’s the same sin that repeats itself.

The guilt ridden life is a life that shrinks back and hides because we believe that God only wants the part of us that gets it right. In the moments of failure (sometimes epic moments of failure) we don’t believe we have what it takes to be worthy of his love or to be a witness to others.  Sometimes we even try to go “above and beyond” scrambling for his love trying to prove we are really “good” and that we really do have good intentions.  A majority of the time for me I stopped praying, getting in the word and having a relationship with God  due to feeling ashamed.

I began to realize that I was repeating unhealthy cycles because I kept tip-toeing away from my sins instead of working through them with God. I was so tired of hiding out during my bad seasons and then returning to my relationship with God when I felt good enough. After years of living a guilt-ridden life I started to realize that part of being a believer is wrestling with our hearts instead of slinking away when we get it wrong. I always knew that God knows everything about me but I never could grasp that a God so perfect could relate to my struggles and wants to see me overcome them. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that we are only as close to God as we let ourselves be. God is always there, his love for us is not dependent on the good side of us or the bad side of us. Its dependent on a relationship with us and our willingness to wrestle the through the hard stuff with him.

I think of my own son and I know that if he was experiencing shame or guilt over his mistakes I would not want him to hide out or be afraid to talk to me. I would want him to come to me and tell me everything and know I still loved him. I would want him to know that he is courageous for sharing his struggles with me and that I will do whatever I can to help. If I love my son that much, how much more does our father in heaven love us? The Guilt Ridden life puts up boundaries in our hearts that say “you are not good enough”, “you need to feel bad for a little while longer”, “you can’t reach others because your own life is a mess”. The God Driven Life takes down the boundaries in your heart and whispers “You are forgiven”, “I am with you” ,“I know everything about you and still love you”, “I have good for you” ,“come as you are”.

When we start to live a God driven life it helps us to overcome what we never thought we could because we are seeking God in our weakness. We become braver, stronger, and realize that guilt is a scheme used to keep us from the power of God’s love that is truly unfathomable yet always available to those who seek it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fickle Freddy

The dating scene these days is becoming more dismal and the pickings are slim. What looks good on paper is often not what it seems anymore, people are becoming more self indulged then wanting to settle down. You don't want to meet a guy at the bar or club scene however the guy you met last week at the singles event at church is giving every devoted Christian man a bad name.  My oh my what are we going to do with these men? Not only does there seem to be fewer options but there is more pressure to be "perfect", and when I refer to perfect it's all about how hot we are to be a catch these days.  A little arm candy and we are all set, at least for a month until we find ourselves back at the single events because prince charming turned out to be fickle freddy. Do I sound a little cynical here? Ha! That is not my intention but a lead into what we don't want to lose sight of as beautiful woman crafted uniquely by a God that knew what he was doing. 

As a girl who has finally found the love I've been waiting for it wasn't long ago that I was impatiently waiting for my own piece of heaven on earth. I wanted to meet someone but I was going insane with the what  the options were or shall I say lack thereof. I was going crazy until I realized that I was making waaaay to much of my singleness about men. My heart was being broken and I wasn't even in a relationship! My heart was breaking because it felt that I would never measure up to being fickle Freddy's dream girl. My lens became so skewed I was measuring my own worth on what a fallible man thought of me instead of what the eternal God created me to be. As my heart became heavier with my own self-inflicted expectations of how to be the perfect girl for the perfect guy I realized that I needed to change my views.  Like every other woman I see the gorgeous woman plastered on magazines in the grocery isle checkout line, I see the sultry ads, the Housewives of Beverly Hills, the "arm candy" of this generation. But if we really dig into those people's lives I'm sure we would come up with something that looks a lot like us. We would find a whole host of insecurities and pains trying to be covered up by airbrushed perfection. That is why  what is skin deep doesn't impress me anymore, what impresses me is the humbled heart of a woman fighting for her marriage or like myself a single mom raising a strong willed child. As my perspective on beauty changed I began to find peace that when the right man came along he would be taken by these same qualities I adore, the strength that woman have to be courageous and have dignity in a world "gone wild". 

Something valuable that I figured out is that I'm responsible for the condition of my heart and what I have to offer someone. I am responsible for becoming who I need to be and working towards that. For so long I thought I was unworthy of love because of a past relationship, but when I took charge of my life and sought out guidance I discovered that I was believing a bunch of lies and reminded of the truth. When we finally meet our prince charming we don't want to offer them a handful of our own  insecurities, we want to be able to offer warmth, trust, faithfulness and joy. Singleness gives us the chance to become those things, or restore those things and to recognize when someone else is offering them to us. When we wait sometimes we become restless and our eyes are only set on what we had hoped that would happen already. That is what happened to me, things had not gone as planned and I was disappointed all too often by the men I was meeting at church or out on the town. I was impatiently waiting for the next chance to meet someone and trying to achieve perfection of the most shallow attributes. 

Not until I remembered that I was a woman of God and that I have a spirit for the Lord is it that waiting changed to becoming. I didn't want to sulk around another night wishing I had met "the one" or stew in a big ol' pot of jealousy because others were in love. I wanted to become a rocking chick because that is what God designed me for, not to take a backseat in life until I said I do. Some of us struggle with that feeling of being incomplete without "the one" (insert ME here) but seriously there is so much cool stuff to do in the meantime of finding love like pouring out my heart in a blog for example:). In a place that has high standards of superficial proportions embracing our flaws and finding confidence in them is not an easy feat yet once we love who we are as we were created we will discover what we have to offer far exceeds the time of day we will give any fickle Freddy's. In a place that screams….why are YOU single, or have YOU been on any dates lately we need to put on the brakes, breath, and be okay with where we are at and set our sights on being a strong, courageous woman who knows that something special takes time and is worth the process of becoming in the meantime. 

Love from one rocking sister to another
Nicole Renee

Friday, August 17, 2012

On Being a Mom

About six years ago I found myself a single momma and no idea what that would mean for me although I thought I did. I thought I could handle it no problem, I wanted to be a strong and fierce momma. The kind that had lunches packed the night before school, the kind that is organized with all those fancy organizers and compartments, the kind that has my kid perfectly dressed and early to the bus stop. The kind that is able to sign my child up for every possible class to give him every opportunity possible to be all he can be. It all looked really nice in my mind but the reality was a rude awakening.

My days were filled with racing to the bus stop, scrambling into the pantry to find another snack for the lunch box. Days of doing homework assignments past bedtime, buy yet another pair of jeans because my rough and tumble child got another hole in them, and for the classes we can only afford and find time for one every season. Not to mention I realized all the different parenting styles there were and how so many people raise their kids different. Which way is right which way is wrong it became a battle to know what is truly the best way or if there is a such a thing.

On top of wanting to be "super" momma I also wanted to make a difference in this world. I didn't  want to be just another 8-5 cubicle worker scraping by to make it. I wanted to be SOMEONE, I wanted to make some kind of difference. So on top of wondering how I could be a better mom I was also searching to fill this void that ached within me to be a part of something outside myself that could change the lives of others.

I don't know what it is but there is something in  me that always feels like its missing out or lagging behind. Not just single moms but all moms have to make sacrifices, we give up some dreams that we envisioned long ago when we became parents. The big factor really comes down to time and resources, there just never seems to be enough of either. Another day was passing by  and I began to feel a gape of frustration growing in my soul. I felt that I was doing nothing to build the kingdom, I felt that as if I was chasing my tail every day. Same rushing to the bus, same job, same old me.

One day while making my usual route to work I looked in the review mirror and  was reminded of my son who sits behind me in the car, except I had already dropped him off at the bus that morning. I was reminded of that blonde head surfer dude that has a passion for sea creatures, drawing dinosaurs, and a knack for absorbing everything and tucking it into his steel trap for future conversations and retorts. One day he will no longer be in the backseat being chaperoned to school, one day he will be self-sufficient and following his dreams. All the rushed blur of days that pass me by now that seem mundane will eventually lead to something much greater. It was in that moment that parenthood took on a new life for me.

Parenthood was no longer parenthood but instead became a ministry. I wondered if I was crazy to not have thought of parenthood in this way before, but as a single mom hoping to get things right I often felt more burdened with the tasks of getting things done rather than feeling free that I'm part of a important calling or mission. The most important mission I will ever have, is right under my roof. In my very presence each day is the opportunity to be present in the life of someone who looks to me as a compass in life. This mom thing really matters, and it doesn’t mean that I will always get it right, but it means always trying. It doesn't mean being perfect but being refined. It doesn't mean signing up my son for a million classes but being present in his day to day life. It's been refreshing to remember that I'm making a difference in my own child's life and the mission of motherhood will someday be the reflection of who my child becomes and how he treats others.

So if your exhausted from trying to be super mom don't worry your not alone. And if your chasing dreams and trying to be a mom, don't worry your not alone. Be encouraged that what you are doing in the mundane is really something  beautiful unfolding. Being a mom is the toughest mission but the one that is most worth it. I'm discovering that there are books and books of how to be a good mom/parent, there are people all over with different techniques and ideas on how to raise kids right. Knowledge is good but love covers all, so when you are on the brink of wondering if your doing anything right remember that as long as your always trying you are on the right track.


Friday, August 10, 2012


Lately I've been thinking a lot about potential…am I all I could be?

As I witness others lives I'm in awe by who they are and wonder how they came to be so amazing.

I think of woman like Beth Moore, Francine Rivers, Gabby Douglas, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Esther, Ruth, Mother Theresa just to name a few....

I believe that God gave us each at least one thing if not more that makes our heart race with passion

That one thing makes us ponder… this what I am called to do or be?

Its going to take BOLDNESS and COURAGE to acheive our potential

There will be times we want to dance on the rooftops and tell the world what we are going to accomplish and other times we will be filled with self-doubt

There will be times that people around us that we love can't see what we see and find that one thing, that burning passion to be unrealistic or a phase of fairytale dreams.

But if its good, pure, lovely, and  true I can tell you it’s a grander plan that only needs the willingness of you

You that unique person and soul, YOU that person that has a story to be told, YOU that person that has potential for the world to know

Potential means we have what it takes, we have the gifts, we have the tools

But we will never see the fruit of all that we can be if we don't work hard to achieve it

So don't bend and don't break

Keep moving forward with your head held high towards what makes your heart beat

Don't let your heart be dismayed  by the distractions of what others have, be inspired by the talents that reside in you
Remember there is nothing that can't be done that has already been started in you.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.-Phillipians 1:6

Nicole Renee XOXOXOXO

Go for it! Dance on the rooftops and shout out your dreams and make them come true!