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Slow and Grateful

This summer has been an especially hard one at our house.  We have found ourselves in strange places we never thought we would be.  We have struggle to find answers for problems too big for us to solve.  Relationships have been tested.  Dreams quietly collecting dust in forgotten corners.

Yet strangely enough, this summer has proven to be one of the best I can remember in a very long time.  Instead of my normal routine of stressing through my summer bucket list, I decided to simply each day live slow and grateful.

Slow and grateful.


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It has became my mantra.  My new way of squeezing the very life out of each day.  No matter the ugly, the hard, the painful.  Because when it really comes down to it, we don't get to choose the suffering that will happen throughout our lives.

The trials.
The loss.
The struggles.

But we do choose how much happy there is to fill in the cracks.  The memories that will make us smile after years have passed.  The simple activities that make you go to bed still talking about how good today was.  The little things that become an overshadowing joy in the middle of pain.

So even though brokenness still hurts and tears will keep falling, may our homes be filled with little glimpses of heaven through the way we love and live.



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. . .