Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anniversary # 3

This weekend J. L. and I are celebrating our THIRD anniversary!
I love just hanging out with him, but if you know me, you know I love to celebrate, so this was an especially fun date!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Silly Anniversary, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
I think part of the success of our relationship is that neither one of us takes ourselves too seriously.

Anniversary Smiles, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

JL @ Sunset Grill, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

We got all dressed up and went to Sunset Grill (I highly recommend the creme brulee) where we talked about the wedding, our day-to-day lives, our jobs, where we want to be in five years--you know, just chit chat.

Then we changed back into our normal clothes and hit the newly reopened Opry Mills Mall where we had our first date! We had fun checking out the new stores and then went into Dave & Busters where we played games until we went to go see 21 Jump Street.

(Let the record show that I am a sweet, nice young woman, but if a zombie apocalypse ever occurred, you would want me on your team. I'm a great shot.)

I'm so happy to be able to spend so much time with my best friend who is a Godly, caring and wonderful man. J. L. always makes me laugh and loves me in good times and bad. I can't wait to marry him so we can fall asleep together at night and spend every day together!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Series: The Story of My Name--Sarah-Jane's Edition

Check out SJ's "The Story of My Name" post!
"My mother's pregnancy with me was an "accident." Already raising her first "accident" for 5 years and completely exhausted in the process, another child was the furthest thing from either of my parent's wish lists. So they planned, hoped and prayed for a boy, thinking a boy would bring some calmness and change after the endless storm of my hellion older sister, Jennifer. They even chose a name for me, David Benjamin. know the rest of the story. So they chose to name me Sarah-Jane. Sarah meaning Princess combined with my mother's name, Jane. I have always longed to achieve the nickname SJ but never have. I still cling to the dream though!"

Funny how both of our parents figured they'd have boys!
For some reason I think your parents lucked out! In my experience boys are far more rambunctious!
 I'll be happy to call you SJ! 
Want to share the story of your name? Email me at nicolejeannette87 @ gmail {dot} com and I'd be happy to post it! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Story of My Name

It seems that at the beginning of any class, meeting or other gathering where a group of individuals gather for the first time there is a tradition in our culture where we all state our name, where we are from, what we “do,” and one fun fact about us. (Mine is always that I hate chocolate. People are always equally as shocked as the last bunch.)

However, this semester, at the beginning of one of my classes my professor asked us to tell the story of our name.

What? The story of my name? We all glanced around cautiously, suddenly thinking our professor was nuts and all secretly worried about what we had gotten ourselves into. I didn’t think my name had a story, but it turns out that it does have a story! Often our names are very connected with who we are, where our families come from, and say a lot more about us than you might think at first.

Here’s the story of my name:

My parents were so caught up in the joy of having their first child that they didn’t care if I were a boy or girl, they just hoped I was healthy. Apparently there is a wives’ tale that states that if a woman is caring the child higher up in her belly, it’s a boy. So, they had some boy names prepared. If I had been born male, I would have been Alexander or Nicholas. However, when I came a long, sans male parts, they chose to name me Nicole because they liked the meaning (victorious leader of the people) and thought I looked more like a Nicole than an Alexandra.

Jeannette was my maternal grandmother’s name and I was named after her. Oddly enough, her mother wanted to name her Ruth Jeannette, but the nurse in the hospital wrote Jeannette Ruth on her birth certificate, thus she was Jeannette. My mom’s name is Jeannie, and I plan to continue the line by naming my first born daughter Jeannette or Jeanne—we’ll see.

I’d LOVE to hear the story of your name! 

Please email me at nicolejeannette87 @ gmail {dot} com and I’ll post your story!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Story of St. Patrick

Hey All!

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

St. Patty's Day has always been near and dear to my heart because it's my half birthday, but now that J. L. and I are going to Ireland for our honeymoon (WHAT?) I'm even more excited to celebrate!

Do you know why we celebrate this particular saint? Here is his story!

"Saint Patrick was born around 385 AD in the United Kingdom. His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat (he took on Patrick, or Patricus, after he became a priest). When he was 16, he was kidnapped by a group of Irish raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland. During his six-year captivity as a shepherd, he began to have religious visions and found strength in his faith. He finally escaped to France and became a priest - and later a bishop. When he was about 60 years old, Saint Patrick returned to Ireland to spread the Christian Word. He used the shamrock, which resembles a three-leafed clover, as a metaphor to explain the Christian concept of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)."

To check out more, click here!

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Break in NYC

This Spring Break I had the honor of helping lead a university sponsored immersion service trip to New York City. What's an immersion trip, you ask? Just what it sounds like. It's a trip that immerses you in the culture in which you are visiting.

My group had the opportunity to stay at Metro Baptist in Hell's Kitchen where we worked with the staff there and had the opportunity to serve in several areas around town. 

On the one hand, we got to do all of the fun touristy stuff:

Nanci and me--happy to finally arrive!

Busy Manhattan Streets
Apparently Crystal and I ate the pizza wrong, but we enjoyed it just the same!

China Town


Little Italy
St. Paul's Church -- right across the street from where the South tower collapsed

Federal Hall where George Washington was Inaugurated

Trinity Church where the movie National Treasure has the Mason's treasure buried.

New York Stock Exchange

End of Manhattan facing Brooklyn

Beautiful chandeliers in Grand Central Station

Me wearing about eight layers of clothes in Grand Central Station

30 Rock ice skating rink

Breath-taking view from the Top of the Rock

Look at the Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock

The crew (minus David) on the Staten Island Ferry

Lady Liberty

Brooklyn Bridge

And back to Manhattan

If you've never been to New York City, the city is just as, if not more, hectic than you would think. Everyone is in a hurry and everyone seems to be out for themselves, but New Yorkers aren't as tough and heartless as their reputation would make you think. I may have been passed by, pushed by, or practically run over by about a million people in New York, but I met many people there who made me believe that although they have the rough exterior, people in Nashville, Tennessee, Denver, Colorado, and New York, New York are all the same--we all are looking for purpose and we're all looking to love and be loved.

As an immersion trip is somewhat of a mission trip with an emphasis on service, we spent the greater part of our trip serving around the city at places like Yorkville Common Pantry and Grand Central Soup Kitchen, where we served food to the homeless, Operation Exodus, where we helped out at an after school program in an area where children not very likely to graduate due to gangs, and World Vision, where we helped sort through items in their warehouse.

Throughout the week we did devotionals (read and talked about a passage of the Bible) each morning and kept asking ourselves, "Where do you see God in the city?"

While I never "saw" God, I did see his love and certainly saw places for his love. Whether on Wall Street, in the children at the after school program, or in the soup kitchens, I witnessed both the (worldly) weak and the strong, but in small interactions and moments of kindness, I found God in a city that, in general, seems to be too busy for him.

I am unashamed to say that I am a follower of Christ and that it is through the lens of his teachings I say this, but to me this trip was a reminder that God's love conquers all. Whether someone looks different, whether or not homosexuality is a sin, whether the homeless man across the counter smiles and thanks me or cusses me for giving him the wrong cupcake, this week reminded me my place is not to judge, but rather to love those who need it--and that's everyone.

Scaffolding on Freedom Tower--the tallest building being erected in memory of 9/11

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sick in Bed

After returning from my trip I got very sick.
Unfortunately, that was Saturday and today is Tuesday. 

Today has been the first day I've felt well enough to sit up not feel like I'm knocking on death's door, but I'm still not out of the woods just yet. 
(Hey, don't we all get a little bit dramatic when we're sick?)
I've been trying to muster up the strength to do a paper, but every time I do, I seem to need another nap.

Oh bother.

At the very least,  I'm very grateful that my sweet parents were able to care for me this weekend and also for my sweet fiance to care for me today. I don't know what I'd do without them!

When you're sick in bed, what do you like (or try) to do?

Yesterday, I finished the first season of Downton Abbey and it's wonderful.
I love European history, but especially English history right before-during WWI and WWII, so this is right up my alley. Have you seen it yet?

Oh Mr. Bates. My heart.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sister Love

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I met my best friend on November 29, 1989 when she came into this world. Since then my sweet sister, Jenny Wren, has been my companion, confidante, and partner in crime. As I am on my trip out of state with a group from the university, I've had some time to reflect on what things at home matter the most to me and I realized that Jennifer gets very little attention for the amazing things she does and the wonderful person she is. 

Sweet and kind, but not afraid to speak her mind, Jennifer has always had a heart for serving and loving others. She's working to save up for graduate school to become a Christian psychologist so that she can work with the mentally ill to help them rediscover, or even create, a sense of reality, dignity, and what it means to be loved and appreciated. I'm sure her immense amount of patience and care will aid her in helping her patients.

In addition to being a very intelligent religion student and servant leader, Jennifer is also quite the fashionista. I'm constantly asking her what to wear and borrowing her clothes--even though not living together makes that difficult these days!

Look at this pretty girl!

I adore J. L. with all of my heart and definitely consider him my best friend, but Jennifer will always be my first and longest-standing best friend. I know that marrying J. L. will be a new chapter in all of our lives, but I'm so happy that I don't have to lose one best friend, just to gain another. I'm more than content with multiple "best" friends.

I'm so proud of the strong, yet gracious, women Jennifer has become and so honored to have her as my sweet sister. To us, "sister" has become a somewhat sacred word. We know each other as we have always been. We've seen the best and the worst of each other. We share secrets that only the other knows and more than sharing half of our DNA, sometimes if feels like we share one heart.

We've been to France together, lived together in and out of college, stolen pens from the local bookstore together (I was four, she was two. I stuffed the pens down her overalls. We got caught and had to return everything, thus ending our crime spree.), saved each other's lives (slight exaggeration, but it felt like it at the time), laughed, cried, and simply lived life together.

If you don't know Jennifer, this may seem a little bit gushy and over the top, but I wanted to take the time to publicly say that she means the world to me!

It's been a joy and such an honor to be your big sister, Jennifer! I hope you know how much you are loved and appreciated by me and everyone else you meet!

How about you, reader?
Who is someone in your life that you feel like you'd like to publicly appreciate more than you already do?

Nicole Jeannette

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring Break 2k12

Right now I'm headed to New York City with seven students to serve on an immersion trip (think service/mission trip with an intentionally educational component).

Do you get a spring break?
If so, what are you doing?
If not, what do you WISH you were doing!


Nicole Jeannette

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Awkward & Awesome

  • Writing a blog post about how I'm going to blog more regularly and more in depth and then disappear for two weeks because school and work are taking over my life.
  • Tweeting "I always wonder if the actors in the Valtrex ads actually have herpes or just really wanted to get paid." Except not from my account. Oopsies...
  • When people change the subject and you think they're offering you some really big, exciting thing when they're not.
  • The realization that I'll be a quarter century old on my next birthday...
  • Spilling salsa on a shirt I JUST washed and having to go to a meeting without being able to change. Ugh. 
  • Doing drug searches. Say nope to dope, kids.

  • I'm going to New York on Saturday! It's my first time to the Big Apple and I couldn't be more excited! It's a mission trip event and I'm ready to serve with some of my students!
  • Dave Ramsey. I'm going to blog about this later, but J. L. and I have been taking his 13-week "Total Money Makeover" class and are really enjoying it! I've always been frugal, but now I'm learning how to actually manage my money and it's great.
  • J. L. and I booked our honeymoon! I'll share more about it later!! I'm so excited to take this trip with my boo.
  • Being this in love.
  • Graduate school. I'm really enjoying my poetry class and Writing and Social Issues class this semester. That said, I will never again work full time and take 6 hours at once. (SERIOUSLY)
  • Got my cute new Asics running shoes in the mail today! Thanks Zappo's!
  • Got a bonus check this week! 
  • Having a contest winner: Congratulations Stephanie M!