Tuesday, January 16, 2007

All the old has passed away....

And the new has come....thank God it's a brand new day (and time, and place, and hopefully a little bit of a new me).

Okay, I know, I know...it's been nearly a year since I blogged, but here I am now. Other than the fact that I have a migraine and feel like trash today, things are going well so far this new year.

I'm in Nashville at Belmont which is exciting and a little scary. I'm pumped to be in a new place with a kind of fresh start. I'm glad to be able to hang out with my best friend, Amanda, and go through this at least partially together. It's nice to be near my brother and I've had a lot of fun hanging out at Vandy games. I haven't spent hardly any time with him in the past several years so that's been pretty great...Memorial Magic rocks my face off! It may be a little bad for your heart but it's a LOT of fun :). So it's nice to be around people I love and can have some fun with.

As for school, I passed my theory and history test, so I don't have to review them again. I am supposed to (hopefully) get to transfer my bibliography and theory class from UTK, so that didn't leave much that I could take this semester. Which actually I consider a good thing since my main focus is my audition in the spring. My new piano teacher is Dr. Robert Marler, who seems like he is going to be a really great teacher, but quite frankly scared me to death when he told me to (already) start researching and deciding on my thesis. I mean, I haven't even been accepted into the program...I'm only non-degree seeking. Scary, scary, scary. They aren't messing around here...Amanda went through the same thing when she first got here too. We thought that might just be her professor pushing her students, but Belmont seriously pushes you to get everything done. Although that's scary and intimidating when you have no clue what you want to do, how to do it, or what they expect; it's also fantastic for someone like me who procrastinates. I really hope to start and remain focused. I came here to really work on my piano skills and I have a great opportunity this first semester to get that on track since I don't have much else to do.

I went to church with Amanda last week; she got a singing job at an Episcopal church in town. It's different than any chch I've ever been to since I've been involved in non-denominational and baptist (evangelical) churches. This is a liturgical church with a formal service which honestly I thought would be uncomfortable with. I actually liked it...it's probably not the denomination I would be invovled with forever, but the order of the service was actually comforting to me, not restricting like I thought. I think it might be the fact that I need that order in my spiritual life right now that made it comforting. Although I was out of my comfort zone since I didn't know the customs, prayers, etc, I still felt very welcome. The people were surprisingly warm and casual...I think, because of the set parameters of the service, I expected it and the people, to be colder and uptight, but that was not the case at all. I think that I will actually enjoy becoming more involved in the church and with the people there.

Anyway, Belmont, Nashville, etc. are all new and shiny right now and I like that. I'm sure that everything will lose that gleam to me at some point and get harder, but I still think I'm going to like it here (I just sang that song from Annie in my mind). It's a great change from UTK, which I really disliked SO much from the beginning. I'm excited about everything and hope I can keep most of that excitement or at least the happiness from it.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's not a too-mah

So I'm aware that I am really horrible at keeping up my blog. Anyone who knows me probably isn't surprised...I'm easily distracted from tasks, I procrastinate, and I SUCK at keeping in touch with people...even really great friends. But here is my long-awaited and promised blog. I hope that I cover everything I promised to tell.
A few of you know that I have been left uninspired lately because I have been ill. I promised that I would tell a little about that. I have this condition called pseudotumor cerebri. Now you may say, what's that Nicole...and I will tell you. My body thinks I have a tumor...like I'm not crazy enough on my own...my body even has a complex! Apparently like 18,000 people in America have this disorder, and I'm one of the lucky rare ones! It prefers to strike overweight white girls in their mid-20's. Obviously I'm white, overweight, and 25...so I am the perfect typical case. I was diagnosed with this a little over a year and a half ago when my eye doctor discovered that my optic nerves were swollen. They had to do tests to rule out a tumor (MRI, blood tests, etc), with the final test being a lumbar puncture (affectionately called a spinal tap). This test revealed what they all thought and hoped which was I have too much pressure in my spinal fluid which takes up too much room in my brain...making it seem as though a tumor were in there taking up space.
Now obviouly, this affliction is far better than a tumor, but it has its down sides. It comes with nearly all the problems of a tumor. Blurred or double vision, severe headaches, etc. My vision had been holding intact until the beginning of Feb, when all went crazy. Crazy vision is a problem when your major in school and profession is accompanying (playing piano) for people. It freaked me out, but my neurologist upped my medicine and has told me to lose weight as rapidly as I can...hoping that doing so will trick the disease into remission forever or at least a long time. If I don't lose the weight or if it doesn't help, they are going to surgically put a shunt in my spine to drain the fluid off my brain and into my stomach cavity (don't know why there). I personally don't think this sounds very fun, so basically I have been on a mission to lose weight....which, as anyone who's tried it knows, sucks.
I am doing the Nutrisystem Nourish plan (a portion controlled, low GI diet). It's oh so yummy and fun. I will admit that I've had weak moments and cheated, but I have lost 10lbs in the past month...and this week I am really going to hardcore step up the exercise plan and try to shed the weight faster. I go back to the neurologist on the 28th which is good since I think I need to drop down my strong diuretic...I think the 10lbs has been enough to make the dose too strong which now is dehydrating me and causing equally bad headaches....either that or it's not helping and my head is still killing me. I'm hoping he can help either way because these headaches are severe and debilitating...I can't consistently live my life normally and it's annoying. I do realize that things could be way worse and so I can't complain too, too much because at least it's not a tumor (suddenly I just thought of Kindergarten Cop and changed the title to reflect it).
SO that's what I've been dealing with the past 52 (or whatever it's been days). I think I may keep this updated on my weight loss in lbs from time to time...not that I would be so bold as to put my actual weight on here as Courtney did (btw Court, I would throw a party to weight 127 lbs ;)). Ohter than the health stuff, not too much has been going on. I just wanted to post again....after all it's been plently long enough!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


So I was sitting here bored to death checking websites and stuff and looked at my friend Courtney's blog. There I found something that just made my day (there's a link on here to Courtney's blog...check it out and see what I'm talking about). She has a baby boy that is a little more than 6 months old. I admire Courtney more than anyone can know because she is living life like it should be. A child will never be more loved than her son Grady.
On that blog are various clips of him rolling over, smiling, laughing, and today's of him swinging in the park swing for the first time. His smile and giggle are adorable and infectious...but what struck me even more was Courtney's unbelievably happy laugh in the background. To say that her life has been kind of difficult would be an understatement, but here she is living each moment to the fullest...not missing a second. Not squandering any of the time of her life or her husband's or her son's. They are living and inhaling every single moment. I respect that so much.

I obviously don't have a husband or a baby, so the comparison can't be exact. But, The fact is that I don't live each day as if it's a gift. I complain...I get bored...I get lonely. All of these are very common to other people too, but I don't want to be that way. I guess the fact is that I thought I might be married by now...or at least know that I would be soon. I would know that I would be having children soon. I mean, I value family more than anything and I have always just taken for granted that I would have a husband and children someday. Here's the cruel truth though...I might, but I might not. It's not okay for me to live my life waiting for that to happen to live each day to the fullest...to make it count. I should be DOING things that are important. God calls us to live each day for him...I always thought that a family would be my main purpose in life, but it isn't right now. I am single for a reason...and I could always be. There are things that I need to do, to be, to become.

Here are some lyrics to a song that I want to be my challenge and goal everyday. If any of you feel stagnant and mediocre because you feel like you haven't found your purpose or "home" yet...I hope these challenge you too. Hopefully we'll all do something with the time we have now and not wait for when things are the way we want or imagined to start living life to the fullest.

Chris Rice
Life Means So Much
Every day is a journal page
Every man holds a quill and ink
And there's plenty of room for writing in
All we do is believe and think
So will you compose a curse
Or will today bring the blessing
Fill the page with rhyming verse
Or some random sketching
Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much
Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So nobody's rich, nobody's poor
We get 24 hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest, or squander
Try to get ahead or help someone who's under
Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Has anybody ever lived who knew the value of a life
And don't you think giving is all
What proves the worth of yours and mine
Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Every day is a gift you've been given
Make the most of the time every minute you're living

Monday, January 09, 2006

Do you ever feel like...

Things just aren't where they should be. I feel so inadequate and mediocre. I make decent grades and do well, but not as well as I could. I play piano decently well, but not as well as I could. I love my family, but I don't show it like I can or should. I get along okay with everyone I know, but I don't always really show them how much I appreciate them or love them. I'm not apathetic about issues...I deeply care about people who are hurting or need help, but I never do what I should to show that I care. I love God and believe in Christ and what he did for me, but I don't live my life like I really believe that He sacrificed everything for me, or that I love Him with every fiber of my being. A lot of times, I feel like no one would ever know I was a Christian if I didn't tell them or go to church...or whatever else. I feel like I never live up to my potential in anything...I sit in my comfort zone of mediocrity. I'm not happy with it.....in fact it depresses me very much, but it's easier to sit around depressed than to put myself out there and feel things.

I guess the place I really let things go is in relationships. From my relationship to Christ, to my relationship with my parents, to my relationship with my friends, all the way down to my dating relationships, I really just let things be kind of rough and unpolished. I long for closeness and intimacy with all of the above. As much as I want that, I can't ever give my all. I give a lot to people...I love to make everyone happy. Nothing makes me happier than buying things or doing things for the people I love. I am definitely a giver, but even with all that type of giving, there seems to be a point when I stop giving what's most important....the deepest, most intimate parts of myself. It's like I get a lot of myself out there and then I either get hurt a little bit or remember from somewhere what deep hurt feels like. I don't know that I've ever completely let go without worrying about what I might do wrong to mess it up or get hurt. This applies to my friends, family, boyfriends, and God. I have this safe zone that I hide behind and I'm sick of it. All it does is end relationships or at least hurt them. I make it so difficult for people to love me and so difficult for God to help me and use me because I shut everyone out.

I know that people tend to say that it's because of past relationships. Because things in my childhood weren't perfect. My dad was busy at work...my mom was really rough on me and my siblings. My boyfriends have hurt me emotionally and physically. Friendships have ended because they have shut me out of their lives before. But as my pastor was saying yesterday...it's not anyone's fault or problem but my own. It's up to me to let God heal me...to give up control...to realize that others didn't do this...it's MY problem and I CAN'T fix it. I've vowed to change this before, but it has always been ME trying to do it myself. Only God can heal this...and I long for that to happen. I'm so tired of sabotaging what God can do through me and all the relationships that God put in my life. It's time to let it go and pray for God to take it and make with it what he knows I need.

Return to Manley

Since I am moving back to Jeff City this week, I decided to attend Manley (my home church) this weekend. I was hesitant because it had been so long and I didn't know how it would feel and if it was really where I was supposed to be. In fact, I thought about not going today and waiting until I was officially in Jeff City next weekend. Amanda, however, was determined for me to get back in the swing this morning and insisted on me waking up and I did.

I really had a fantastic experience this morning. The music was a joy as always...Kevin really is infectious...you can feel his passion for God ooze out of every song, every nuance, and every note. I loved it so much. I knew that I loved that...no surprise since I love music and find it easy to worship in that way.

I, however, had forgotten exactly how much I love the pastor there. I respect him very much. He truly speaks from the heart and what he feels God lays on it. Today he focused in on how we have to die to ourselves to really live for God. How we are so self-centered and try to blame all of our problems on everyone, but our problem is sin and sin comes from OUR actions. It's ourselves that get angry, jealous, selfish, etc, etc. It is our one purpose to glorify God and none of the selfish things we do glorify Him. We get in the way of our purpose. If we can't let God lead us and totally get rid of ourselves and our control problems, we'll never live up to our potential or our purpose.

He also talked about how God would call us out of our comfort zones. How it is virtually impossible to remain comfortable and really be giving our all to God. We can only be comfortable doing what we know our abilities are. God can do so much more than we think or know that we are capable of. We are to give our bodies, souls, minds, and everything for God to use. Moses didn't think he could do what God told him to do...it was outside of his abilities, but God asked him to trust him. Moses stepped out in faith and God showed him that anything is possible through Him.

This is the place in particular where I struggle the most. I like to stay in the background...and follow people. I like to help people...I want to help the hungry, the poor, the homeless, children, old people...anyone who has a need that I can meet. My problem is that I never quite know where to start and I'm too settled into myself to let loose of control and step out and find what God has for me to do. I hide behind others because I'm shy...I may be timid with other humans, but my timidity does NOTHING for God. It's time to bust out of that box I've put myself in. It's time for me to let go of my control and give everything in me to God. To pray that prayer every single day. To use any ability and talent I can for God even if it scares me to death. To show that I don't just believe that Jesus is my Savior, but also my LORD who I am supposed to serve...and to serve faithfully. Believing just isn't enough....I have to do something. What good is being idle? What kind of life is that for me, for others, for God? It's time to be truly obedient and useful. That is my prayer...I challenge myself to pray it each day, to live each day that way, to focus on that and not on myself or others but only God. Everyday is a gift and I want to live my life that way. I covet all of your prayers...keep me accountable please!

About Me

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I moved to Nashville to start (another) grad school. It's scary, but it's also cool because my best friend and I are finally in grad school together...delayed, but it happened.