I'm sure everyone has seen the news stories about the massacre in Colorado. I have read so many posts on Facebook about the tragedy. As my heart and prayers go out to all those affected by the events, I just have to stop a moment and thank God for all He has done and blessed me with.

My plan tonight was to come home, eat dinner, and go to bed early. Going to bed early was something I was very excited about due to the fact that I did not get into bed until 4am this morning (that Batman movie was super long but SO worth it). However, as usual, He had other plans for me. Facebook sucked me in. Some how I got to looking at my own Facebook page and actually scrolled through so many posts, so many statuses, and so many pictures from over the last few years. First of all, let it be known, I am pretty funny. Second of all, wow. I am beyond blessed with people who love me and I love back.

If you ever need a pick me up, just look back at some of your posts and comments on your Facebook page. You will definitely be reminded of how many people actually care about it.

Reminder: we are all blessed beyond anything we will ever deserve.

Last night a group of us went to McDonough Road Baptist Church to see Travis Cottrell perform with Cindy Morgan and Shawn Groves. It was absolutely emotionally reviting. Every year, it gets harder and harder for me to get into the Christmas spirit. Christmas songs have come to a point to where they are what they are: songs. The funness and excitement about Christmas within itself has been hard for me to grasp in the last few years. The main reason for this is all the rushing around to get it accomplished. To get everything ready for the BIG DAY! I realized last night why that is.

Every year....I see Christmas as a holiday. A holiday of gifts, family, food, and songs. Don't get me wrong I love the songs! I love the traditional Christmas songs like Silent Night, Jingle Bells, etc. etc. I do. I really do. However, they haven't been a source of joy over the last few years. Like other things in life, things have just become repeative. Same ol thing every year. We sing songs at church, we put decorations up, we give and receive presents, we eat and enjoy family. All funness. I assure you. The excitement of Christmas has just been missing for me the last couple of years. However, last night changed that for me this year.

The first part of the concert was all about typical Christmas songs. Rudolph, Jingle Bells, Silent Night, etc. etc. And it was great. It was Travis for Pete's sake! But then it all changed. The typical Christmas feeling.....the played out Christmas version in my head all fell away. Travis sang a song called In the First Light. Below are a the lyrics:

In the first light of a new day no one knew he had arrived
Things continued as they had been while a newborn softly cried
But the heavens wrapped in wonder knew the meaning of his birth
In the weakness of a baby they knew God had come to earth

As his mother held him closely it was hard to understand
That her baby, not yet speaking, was the word of God to man
He would tell them of his kingdom but their hearts would not believe
They would hate him and in anger they would nail him to a tree

But the sadness would be broken as the song of life arose
And the firstborn of creation would ascend and take his throne
He had left it to redeem us but before his life began
He knew he'd come back, not as a baby, but as the Lord of every man

Hear the angels as they're singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes again to earth
Hear the angels as they're singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes to rule the earth!

Great song! Travis and his crew made it even better by placing video within the song and it started out with clips from Mary giving birth and ended with the Passion of the Christ. Needless to say it was a refreshing moment. It helped to remind me that....yea we're celebrating HIS birth. But ultimately, we're celebrating HIS life, HIS will, HIS plan, HIS works, HIS EVERYTHING! It hit me like a tidal wave. Get over all the Christmas fun and festivities. It was like HE was saying....this is about ME!

Then Travis finished with Jesus Saves and In Christ Alone. Needless to say, I couldn't stay seated any longer. It was the refresher that I needed and I think the whole congregation needed. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas for all the typical reasons! I love getting together with all the family and giving gifts and just enjoying being together. But like I said, it was all kind of repeative. I needed that refresher!

Okay for those of ya'll who know me and know how OCD I am, this will not come as a surprise to any of ya'll. (Plus, some of ya'll already know about The List!)

Now that I have a BlackBerry and can keep 50 billion notes on there, I have 4 saved notes that I am constantly updating on my BB. Every time I update it, I'm usually around my friends who have grown so accustomed to these lists, that they have started telling me to add things to them. I mean, hello? They ain't your list. Make your own! Just kidding girls!

So of course you're probably wondering exactly what these lists are. Well, they are: Books to read, Movies to buy, Movies to see and Music to listen to or buy.

The book list and the movies to see list are the greatest hits. I'm constantly updating these lists with new releases and things that I have finally had time to consume!

So, with all of that introduction.....here are my lists as of today:

Goldengrove by Francine Prose
He's Just Not That Into You
Marley and Me
A Charmed Life: Growing Up In Macbeth's Castle by Liza Campbell
Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddon
The Reader
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Love or Something Like It by Deirdre Shaw
The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (in process)
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (not released yet!)

Movies to see-
Shoot First Sight See Later
Mummy 3
Hotel For Dogs
The Soloist
The Ugly Truth
Monsters vs Aliens
All About Steve
Night At The Museum 2
Land of the Lost
Center Stage: Turn It Up
Married Life
Fast and Furious
Full Monty
Donnie Darko
Fame 9/25
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Five Killers
Easy Virtue
Public Enemies
Funny People
The Brother's Bloom
Julie and Julia
The Time Traveler's Wife 8/14
Love Happens
Old Dogs
The Edge of Love
Echelon Conspiracy
Sherlock Holmes
500 Days of Summer
Shutter Island

Now obviously, some of the movies are older and are already available on DVD. However, I've never seen them. These are mainly just lists to keep up with what I've seen (as in previews or covers) and would like to read or watch one day! Also, these are not "reviews" as in "Hey ya'll have got to read/watch this!" LOL Those will come at a later time!



How is that one show can be so addicting??? American Idol. A contest. A show. A outlet. I think the whole concept is amazing for aspiring singers. Especially for singers who normally would never be recognized within their day to day lives. Last week during American Idol, me and my BFF Bethany had the rare chance to sit down and watch the show together! The fact that she lives FOUR hours away makes it almost impossible for us to watch anything together anymore! Anyway! That's another blog for another day.

Since Bethany and I are both movie, musical and music addicts we were completely ecstatic to find that American Idol last week was Songs from the Cinema week! Everyone did a fantastic job with the exception of Lil. She seems to have lost her voice over the last couple of weeks. I know the girl can sing but she just can't pick the right songs to sing!

My favorite performance of the whole night was Kris Allen's rendition of Falling Slowly. I guess I shouldn't say rendition because he was pretty much right on with the recording that I'm familiar with! When the music first started playing and I realized what he was singing, I lost my breath! The fact that he even knew the song was fantastic! The fact that he could sing it that great was beyond me! For some reason, I was to the point of tears because of his performance! How lame am I?!?! I haven't really been a Kris Allen fan. Sure he's cute but he definitely isn't anything to be swooning over! Sorry Kris! But the whole point that the song was performed was the greatest aspect of the whole night!

The song came from a movie called Once. Granted, the movie isn't really that great. But the storyline, the simplicity of the movie makes it a good watch. Everyone should definitely check it out.

Also, if you missed Kris' performance, check it out: http://www.americanidol.com/videos/season_8/performances/kris_allen_falling_slowly


You've gotta love DVR's! I was finally able to catch up on some of my recordings in the last couple of weeks and I was able to watch Kate Winslet on Oprah. I've always been a big fan of Kate and when I saw this show, it just confirmed how great of a woman she really is. Anyway! As I was watching the show, it was Oprah's Academy Award's special and she had Kate, Sean Penn, and Hugh Jackman on. She played clips from the awards show for each actor and showcased their best moments during the night.
Kate's best moment in the night was when she won the Best Actress Award for The Reader. My favorite part of the clip was when she was thanking the people who had faith for her along the way. During the clip, she thanks her mom and dad and can't find them in the audience. Anyway, watch this video to see what I am talking about. You can fast foward the clip to about the 7 minute mark and that's where she actually starts her speech.

I about cried when I saw this clip because it made me think of our Father. Of how if we just whistle (pray), He'll respond and we'll know where He is!! If we just ask Him to, He'll speak to us so that we'll know He is there! He might whistle, He might speak, He might do something beyond normal but it will still give us the sense that He is there somewhere in the audience. Somewhere in the midst of all of our craziness!!


"When we trust our lives to the unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read. With a grand ending." ~Beth Moore - Esther

Isn't it funny how all things always work out when you least expect it? Or how things work out when you're not even expecting it? I always feel in awe of God when these types of things happen.

That's how I feel today. I'm sitting in the lobby of our hotel at a conference for work and all I can think about is how awesome God is. Of how He takes care of us when we aren't even asking him to. Last night, I did some of my Esther Bible Study and I looked back at last weeks session. Last week, Beth Moore talked about how the book of Esther is all about time. Boy did God have something in store for me last week!

If you know me, you know that patience is one of those things that I do not have. Its not something that I struggle with, or have a hard time maintaining. It is something that I DO NOT have! Everyone always tells you..."don't pray for patience". Well I don't. I have realized over my life that I may not have patience, but I can accept things. Its hard to know people who stress over their jobs or things going on in their life and they can't seem to get to the point where they can just sit back and let God run things. Over the past few years, my mind frame has turned from panic and stress to "There's nothing I can...I might as well accept it". Take for instance my job situation: A couple of weeks ago, our Director comes to us with news from the state, from Governor Perdue. The Governor is trying to change things around with the way that school systems and RESA's co-exist. As of right now, the way things work for us at RESA, is that the school systems have to pay into their appointed RESA. They don't have a choice in the matter. In fact, the money goes directly to RESA and the systems don't ever see that money. The Governor is trying to change it to where the schools have the option whether they want to pay into RESA or not. Our Director sat everyone down a couple of weeks ago to give us this news. As you might guess, alot of people started to freak out. Alot of people started looking for other jobs and they started stressing over whether or not they were going to have a job. Me? I didn't do anything. I listened to what our Director had to say and went back to my desk and continued working. My only prayer was, "God." I didn't pray for it not to happen or anything. All I said was, "God". I knew that it was all in His hands. I didn't have to ask Him to take care of it. I knew that He was and is already taking care of it. I hate it for those people who just can't have faith that all things are going to work out for them. They just don't understand it. I can be an example of my faith but until they find it themselves, they'll never know.

I say all of this because up until last week that is where my mind frame has been concerning things in my life. Like I said, that was up until last week. Most of everyone who will read this knows about my situation with a certain somebody that I like to call P. P and I have been friends for a long time and with his situation we are remaining that way for a while. However, some days we start to see ourselves jumping ahead and we have to put the brakes back on. We start acting and talking like a couple. We know that until his situation is handled, that if we go any further with our friendship that it won't be pleasing to the Lord. Well....sometimes it is SO easy to forget that.

So last week...our Bible Study. Beth is talking about how the whole book of Esther is basically centered around time. She gives four points to show us how even in real life, time is important. I don't have my book next to me, but she talked about how sometimes we have to wait on things for them to be time for us, time for God, or time for someone else's time. I can't remember the 4th point, but the very last point was waiting on someone else's time. When she told us that last point, I started laughing. You see, God....he has a GREAT sense of humor. In fact, sometimes, I think He has a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor. He wasn't only reminding me that P and I have all the time in the world or that I needed to wait for P's situation to get settled. He was also telling me that I needed to wait on someone else's time. I needed to wait on P's time. Just because his situation will be over one day, he might not be ready for anything more than a friendship for a while.

Well...God's sense of humor goes even farther for me this week. As soon I get His point, or the point that I think He is trying to give, He shows me another part of His plan and all I can do is smile and shake my head. Like I said before, He just plain out amazes me.

As I stated earlier, I'm sitting in the lobby of our hotel at a conference in Atlanta. I've only been up here for 2 days. Well the last two days has definitely been a defining point for P and I. And let's just say that God has been having His own laugh these last few days.

I'm always so excited to see what God has in store for me. Especially now that P is part of my life's equation. But like I said before, I don't have patience and so I'm desperate to see where things are going. So....I can't wait to see what God has in store for tonights bible study! I'm expecting to be amazed once again! I guess that's why I entitled this post "Don't just wait and see. Live and see." I believe that to live life according to the way that God would have us to live it, we can't just sit back and wait for life to happen. We have to LIVE it.


"Faith is for that which lies on the otherside of reason. Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys. Surely it wasn't reasonable of the Lord of the Universe to come and walk this earth with us and love us enough to die for us and then show us everlasting life? We will all grow old, and sooner or later , we will die, like the old trees in the orchard. But we have been promised that this is not the end. We have been promised life." ~Madeleine L'Engle

I start this blog with the above quotation. I think it explains how I preceive life in life itself. Without Faith, I don't know how one person can make it through this short journey that we all live. Life comes with sorrows but it also grants us with great joys!

I guess I should start off by introducing myself. My name is Nichole. I'm 24 years old and I consider myself to be just a "plain Jane". However, as far I precieve things...God never creates things to be plain. If my friends and family were to describe me, their choice words would probably be: fun-loving, opinionated, loud, funny, sweet, thoughtful, compassionate and maybe a little OCD. I'm a glass half-full kind of girl. I am a Preacher's Daughter that totally defies the typical definition of such. I absolutely LOVE serving the Lord. I have my ups and downs with being a PK. As with any other thing in life, the good always comes with the bad. I've worked at the same job since I was 16 and I absolutely love and adore the people that I work with.

I guess you could say that I've been forced to blog. Two of my friends have started blogs that touch my life each time they post. Being one that is usually not easily persuaded by peer pressure, finally broke after a little pressure from the two and here I am! I plan to dedicate this blog to all and any of my opinions (there's a fore-warning for you), my hopes, my joys, and my sorrows whether it be with real-life applications or inspired by movies, books or music. (I'm a critic by heart!)

Heart Wide Open. Hands Lifted High.
I entitled my blog as this because throughout my life I have always lived with an open heart. As hard as I have tried with past hurts, I have never seemed to build up those walls that so many people have had the chance to do. I go into all things and do all things with an open heart and usually an open mind. I think God granted me with a gift of discernment because of this inability to build walls. Thus, Hands Lifted High. Even though I've been hurt by friends, family, past relationships, etc.,I always end up on the other side praising God. Whether HE delivered me from unforseen circumstances or just had something better for me, HE always delivers.

So...with a Heart Wide Open and Hands Lifted High.....the blog begins!