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