Monday, November 18, 2013


Shanghai, Beijing, Uganda, Tel Aviv, Geneva, London, NYC and Detroit.  What do all these places have in common?  Since September, my husband has worked in all of these cities.  He left again today for Asheville, North Carolina and will be working his way up the east coast to Baltimore.  Each week until Christmas, he is scheduled to be gone, (except Thanksgiving--yay)!  And we miss him already!  He just returned on Friday from the last trip!  It seems he is barely home long enough to get some laundry done before he is off again.  Life doesn't stop when he comes home either.  I have commitments, the kids have activities, friends/family need meals or time or love or all of the above.  I'm not about to complain!  But there is a cost that comes, and I have learned the necessity of having my priorities straight, efficient time management, not taking on more than I can handle and the art of recognizing my blessings.  Inevitably, appliances and cars break down when spouses are away!  Kids get sick.  Moms get sick!  Important documents need signing.  I bought our last house when Brandon was traveling! The list goes on...

The past several months have been insane for us.  We still have things left unfinished on our new home.  As workers come to finish, they point out things that need to be redone because they were done incorrectly, they throw numbers and words out about framing, electrical or plumbing as if what they are saying makes perfect sense to me!  Its difficult knowing who or what to trust.  We've been burned.  I've been naive and too trusting.

Kids come with their own individual struggles and our family is no exception.  Constant concern over what is best for them, time needed with each one, and learning how to advocate for them is something I spend a great deal of time on.  Getting to the root of learning disabilities, speech impediments, potentially fatal allergies, emotional issues and more takes time and a lot more emotion! 

We are not immune to health challenges.  I have a bag next to my bed that is host to a dozen pills I take every day.  Kids whose bodies aren't functioning right and need medicine to rely on for the rest of their lives is something that will keep you up at night! And learning how to discern between normal child behavior or behavior caused by a disease that messes with hormones is another challenge!  Searching for avenues that will restore health take a great deal of time, money and discernment.

I've now painted a miserable picture!

Here's another view.

I married a good man.  He is a good dad.  He is loyal and faithful. He has never complained about providing for our family.  I know he didn't want to get on that airplane today.  But he is a hard worker and will always take care of us.  When he's not working, he's working.  He listens to me talk about each kid and then does what is needed to reach out to them during that small window he is home, or over skype!  He forfeits sleep and rest (even with jetlag) so that he can be with us.  He is a good man.

We have been blessed beyond measure in so many ways. Our bodies are strong and functioning.  We have the means to pay for good health care and medication (at least for now!).  We have cars with over 100k miles that seem to be doing just fine (knock on wood!).  We have a roof over our heads and within these walls we have a safe haven that protects us from more than the harsh elements this earth provides.  We have kids who are learning how to be good people and want to be.  They are learning that their challenges are often what turns them to the things that matter most in life, rather than seeing them as obstacles in their way.  We are given opportunities to grow closer together and rely on each other.  We have felt the joy that comes each time we are reunited and know there isn't a greater feeling than being together after being apart.  We have a great support network from our parents who constantly provide relief, support and love.

I've learned if others are painting a miserable picture of their life, they are not seeing the good.  And if they are painting a perfect picture, they are not acknowledging/sharing the bad!

As Mormons, we believe that opposition is essential to God's plan.  We are free to choose liberty and eternal life through Jesus Christ or captivity and death, according to the power of the devil.
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things...righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad...and if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin.  If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall say there is no righteousness.  And if there be no righteousness, there be no happiness.  And if there be no righteousness or happiness there be no punishment nor misery.  And if these things are not there is no God.  And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon.
 For there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon." (Book of Mormon, p.58)
I have learned where there is resistance, there are greater blessings right around the corner.  We have felt the tug and pull of these slight challenges recently, but we have also seen unexplainable miracles unfold in regard to all of these challenges.  Likewise, where God is seeking to provide blessings, the adversary (Satan) is working overtime to create temptation and feelings of doubt and insecurity in us. If you are feeling weighed down, learn to feel the opposite.  If you are without hope, trust in the opposite.  If nothing seems to roll your way, wait for the opposite. 

Because I am a Mormon, I will look to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and do all I can to be faithful and choose eternal life.  I believe this is the way to happiness in this life and the world to come.  I do recognize there is another way to live, an opposite; but misery is not something I plan to welcome into my life any time soon!!

I love this family picture because we were all laughing at something when the timer went off on the camera! 



Brett said...

Nikki you an Amazing Woman!! Great Family shot BTW:-)

Rich said...

Nicole (I love that name). I have known you most of your life and admire your family, your common sense, your testimony and your courage. Thanks for the public statements about how good life can be when you realize the blessings we enjoy along with the challenges. I too am proud to be a Mormon.
Richard and Barbara Ek (still at the same place in Fungus Corners)

Nicole said...

Thanks Brett! I think the same of you (an amazing man, of course!)

Nicole said...

Thanks Bro Ek!