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I think that too often we forget that we are meant to do this life together.

Fighting the battles 
celebrating victories
cheering each other on 
holding up the weary arms

We live as though it's the pastors and missionaries and teachers that are reaching out to touch lives.  The ones making a difference.  The ones responsible to carry all the burdens.  

We, the humble moms, the housewives, the office girls; the quiet ones that do the same simple jobs everyday.  We live as though there is no part for us in showing this broken, hurting world a Greater Hope.  That somehow our offerings are to small to matter.
This week, I have six Chinese families visiting our small Iowa community.  They are scattered to host families across the counties, but each day I spend time with them in hopes that they see Jesus.  It's only through little things like English classes and visits to museums.  We are eating all the best midwest foods and laughing over silly moments.  But I am constantly praying they see more.

It's already been a long first week.  But tonight one of my sweet friends made me dinner.  The box was topped with a purple rose and a note to remind me to hang in there.  Suddenly my tiredness melted away.  The loneliness of running this program without a whole team of people seemed insignificant.  Like we were partners running a race.  All of us together longing and hoping for more people to truly know Jesus.  I felt so incredibly encouraged.

Our communities need more people like her.  So let's go find our own person in a corner that needs someone to stand with them.  It will bless them more than you know.


So Long For Now

They say when it rains it pours and there seems to be a torrential downpour of bad luck in the technology department around here lately. After my recent blogging break, a new-to-me refurbished laptop arrived several weeks ago and promptly crashed within the month. After a bit of digging around, it appears the company was all a scam. So here I sit, hen pecking all my email and shop correspondence on my iPhone with a shattered screen no less. 

Choosing to let go of this blog I love for the time being is so hard. I love the friendships with you as readers, the opportunities to build community, the outlet for sharing bits of what God is teaching me.  But it seems that once again I am in a place of letting go of my dreams, my plans, my agenda.  Allowing myself to watch His greater story unfold in my life, even if that means a slower pace of life. 

In the meantime, I will, in the words of my favorite Kristen Rodgers, continue to keep a daily 'pocket blog' over here.  I will also be trying to learn in a deeper way what it means to be fully present in the lives of my two favorite boys.  And on the subject of community, I am in the process of reimbursing my lovely girls that have been partnering with me this month as it will be quieter than crickets in these parts for a while. Psst!! Be sure to check out their awesome blogs before you go!!

And most hopefully in the not to distance future, I will be back to what I love here. Ahhh!! I miss you already!! On that note, be sure to pop over to Instagram whenever you have the chance. There will be plenty of #emstagrams to keep you happy for days. You can find me @nicoleneesby 

Ok. Enough for now. Much love to each and everyone of you. You have made my blogging adventure so wonderful this year.


For Emmett

I am fully convinced that a baby's first Christmas is 98% for the sole enjoyment of the mothers.  Because let's be honest. . . these little people are as happy rummaging through the bottle cupboard in the kitchen as they are with a pile of 2013's most popular baby toys.  

That being said, there is something so exciting about picking out a few special surprises for Christmas morning.  A tiny labor of love for these precious babies in our home.  It's also a wonderful chance to support the handmade community and add to our family collection of heirloom toys.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

So here I am, counting down the days til Christmas, like I am a kid again myself!  I cannot wait to watch Emmett cruise around with his little galloping zebras walker, as pushing things around the kitchen is his new favorite activity.  And that little wood iPhone?! May he love it even more than mine. Haha!!

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What are you excited to watch your little people open this Christmas?!  
36 hours and counting. . . 


Sometimes I try too hard at life. . .

to hard at a perfect family photo.
to hard at perfect Christmas decorations.
to hard at memory-making
to hard at Instagram captures
to hard at being spontaineous
to hard at planning awesome moments.

We woke up late because Emmett had a doozey of an early morning.  As I was preparing to dash around to make it to church less than 30 minutes late, I happened upon the email update that due to excessive snow, all services had been cancelled.  I rushed Emmett into his warm little shark suit and it was out into snow.

There is something magical about just after a big snow.  The quiet tracks on the street.  The perfect blanket of white across the lawn.  Everything has the hush of white and early morning.  Emmett thought snow shoveling was hilarious, as was Adam's handfuls of snow that he threw our way.  My family stopped by.  They brought Emmett a gift of tiny bananas.  It was this beautiful moment of laughter and excitement.

There was no outfit planning.  No make-up on.  Just little moments frozen in time.  Perfect in their own way.  It makes me think that maybe I need a little more un-planning in my life. A little more of being unplugged.  A little more carpe diem.  A little more just finding what's beautiful right now and simply enjoying it.

Also, I never got the perfect Christmas card photo taken which is fine because what could I have planned that would top this?!
^^ I don't even like bananas, but these little baby ones?!  I die! ^^
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May your last Christmas days be so merry and bright!!

Only two days left, friends!!