Sunday, October 30, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
I was a very young girl when I was told I may never have children. 12 years old to be exact. After falling off my bike, I was doubled over in pain, and rushed to the hospital. Later, my doctor would explain how I had about a 50/50 chance of ever becoming a mother, since I had experienced pretty traumatic "female issues" and almost died on the surgery table. Six years later, and then again at 20 years old, I would go on to experience similar problems, which led to only having 1/8 of an ovary left, and a tremendous amount of scar tissue. My doctors told me that I would never bare any children of my own. It was a concept I had been preparing for since my first surgery, and now it was confirmed. It was time to make a plan B for my life.
I had already started shifting my thoughts as a young girl. I would focus on a life of "just me" and hopefully a man who didn't want children...unless we adopted. So, I spent my 20's traveling the world, while working for an airline, and chasing arrogant men who were a challenge.
I spent my 30's making the most money I had ever made. Spending it faster than I made it. Falling in love. Over and over. While breaking a few hearts in between. I lived for me. I was irresponsible and reckless with my decisions. I was not walking in my faith, or any faith for that matter. I barely had faith...
In July of 2006, I met a man. Ironically, I also found the most solid relationship of my life. Not with my new boyfriend. Oh no, that one was a rollercoaster from the start. What I'm talking about is an unconditional love, something I had never experienced before. It offers an open communication policy, redemption, grace, hope, love, and a stronger inner strength, which comes from the keeper of my soul: God! My father. My rock. My friend. He showed me how He could meet all of my hearts desires. That I was enough. And that with faith, anything is possible. Above all, I learned I can do "all things, through Christ who gave me strength.” Phil 4:13. I quickly learned that religion divides, but a personal relationship is all He truly really wants from us.
Now here is the funny part. In November of that year, I met with my pastor to discuss "abstinence" even though my boyfriend and I had already been intimate for quite a while.
Well, Christmas Day of 2006 came around, and while "popping popcorn" we didn't exactly abstain.
I remember the weekend, the day, and the details like it was yesterday. I had a glow, he noticed. My curves were a bit more full, he noticed. I said it must be my tan. I was sure it must be my new bra, or possible water retention. I figured it was the wine I had consumed, that made me feel so exhausted that I practically slept through Gasparilla "party" weekend. My boyfriend was a father already. He saw the signs. I really thought I was just tired. Really. Really tired. He suggested I might be pregnant a few times, and I dismissed him with an impossible laugh. Finally, if was on that Sunday evening, when I went to Walgreens, (just to shut him up) and I grabbed a test. I was "positive" I was wasting $15. As you can imagine, my mouth literally dropped. I gasped. I screamed. We rushed to the hospital, because I was certain it would be a tubal pregnancy. After four hours in the ER, they assured me "everything was fine." Not really believing that my barely equipped body can make and carry a healthy baby, I scheduled two more doctors appointments with MY doctors. Two more sonograms later, and I was pronounced a healthy pregnant soon-to-be mother, with a fetus sitting exactly where she was created to be.
All I can say is: I know that God healed and restored my body. And although I ultimately found myself becoming a single mother for about 6 long years, in the most "unfairy-tale" way....it was all worth it. The embarrassment. The struggle. The hurt. The pain. The invisible Scarlet Letter, that I felt was engraved on my forehead.
Becoming Shaelyn Faith's mother has been the greatest gift from God that I had ever received. He filled a few voids that I didn't even know existed until my first miracle was born.
My heart. My soul. My life. Forever changed by God's faithfulness. She is my funny valentine. My creative actress. My avid reader. My song writer. My friendly extrovert. My animal lover. My doll collector. My doll. The calm to my storm. The snuggle to my side. My everything.
I have no doubt that He has BIG plans for the kindest, sweetest child I had ever met. You may think I'm biased, but I would question if you have had a chance to meet her?
Shaelyn Faith sparkles when she smiles. She radiates love. She has an inner peace that is easily shared. And...she has been fascinated by bibles and stories of the Lord ever since she was a baby. And that my friends, is pretty rare. And to me? Very awesome!
Friday, August 12, 2016
Well, we kicked off our first official fundraiser on October 18th, 2016. A perfect time to do so, since it was National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was held at "Painting With a Twist" in Fruit Cove. Mary Russo Holm loved to create, so we couldn't imagine a more fun, local, and honoring event, than gathering with friends for fun! Our featured canvas had mason jars of "Hope" with a survivor ribbon weaved in it. We had raffles and a silent auction too.
Our 2nd annual event is on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 at 6:30pm (social) and @ 7pm, the painting begins... Same location in Fruit Cove.
We are always looking for ways to raise awareness and money so that we could be the "light" when theses women and families encounter darker days. We also believe in blessing those women affected by breast cancer with some of our encouraging pieces of jewelry. Premier Designs has a variety of faith inspired pieces. They are beautiful reminders that HOPE and COURAGE are powerful. Faith does wonders...
Our foundation is growing....We welcome friends, family, and community participants. We offer many opportunities to help other sisters battling breast cancer who need HOPE, as well as some positivity, sparkle, and bling in their lives.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
My heart truly aches and breaks for Orlando. For the fear and hatred that radical, crazy people cause in our world. My heart aches for the young, talented singer who was also killed by a crazed fan. For the people who will make extreme decisions and judgements based on the acts of a few mentally disturbed or evil people. My heart aches for our media. For our corrupt government. And all the division they try to create, simply to increase ratings or fulfill a political agenda. Innocent lives have been lost. And for this? My heart is pounding with aches and pains.
My heart breaks for all the people who were directly affected by this mass shooting, as well as the countless other tragedies I've become aware of throughout my life. My heart breaks for those who are currently suffering from the aftermath of those senseless bloodbaths. For the family and friends of the countless victims. Nobody should have to endure that type of terror and pain. My heart aches. And breaks to a feeling of complete brokenness, when I really stop and think about where we are as a civilization. (Ironic, right? We should be "civil" and kind to all) Many bad things have happened in history, and will continue to happen, which are mostly, outside of our control. We must be intentional about focusing on the positives.
"I" must be the safe haven and protective shelter for my children, as they are too young to comprehend what this means for their futures. Tonight I was led to stop, put my phone away, and just cuddle with my children. I needed to hold them a little tighter tonight. It felt so good.
In reality? Senseless killings have been happening since the beginning of time. Hurt people hurt people and when they want to "hurt people" they find a way to do so. Radical gun laws will not stop the depraved from finding a way. In the same respect, "making drugs illegal" has never stopped broken humans from buying and consuming those substance, then spiraling down to the depths of addiction and self-destruction.
Finally, I must share with you all, that I watched a segment of a young, shaken up man who survived this tragedy. Towards the end, he admitted to not being "religious" but was emphatic about asking for prayers. He said, we all need love. We all want those prayers. We NEED them. My response to this man, is you do not need to be religious to believe, or have a relationship with God. And of course, we are praying for you! For ALL of you. I pray you find comfort. Healing. Peace. And your best friend... I will also be praying for a change of heart in all those lost and broken souls, who continue to focus on hating and dividing us as people, rather than accepting and loving all.
As a mother. And a woman who believes love (my Jesus) can truly conquer all...I will be vigilant about praying for all those who are hurting. I will also continue to pray for my children. My family. My friends... and for the state of this world. We need a major HEART change in this world we live in today.
I am so blessed to have witnessed the healing powers of God, first hand. I am believing and trusting with my child-like faith, that God will continue to work his everyday miracles in the midst of this tragedy. For His word says, "And we know that in ALL things God works for those who love him, who have been called to his purpose." Romans 8:28
Saturday, March 19, 2016
My son and I were on our way out for dinner together on "date night" a few weeks back. As we passed an old building, my son enthusiastically pointed to it and said, "I've been to that library." Surprised, I inquired further. "Really? With who?" "My birth mommy in heaven," he said very matter-of-fact.
I feel my decision to sell Premier Designs will bring her and I closer in spirit. Closer in family. Closer with God. I am not Mary. I am Nikki. I am a mother. A wife. A realtor. A blogger. And a child of the one TRUE king. I am authentic. I am hoping to make a difference in the lives of our children. Always with the loving memory of MY beautiful and honored Jewelry Lady: Mary Holm.
May her spirit and memory continue to sparkle and shine...God never wastes a hurt. Mary Holm has created a beautiful legacy of eternal love and selflessness. Her magnetic smile shines on in our hearts, thoughts, and memories.
The name of our Premier "Family" is "Legacy of Love!"
RIP Mary Holm~ Forever in our hearts...
Sunday, February 21, 2016
You see, mommy has hurt people, from time to time. Usually without intention, yet nevertheless, it has happened. Oh, and mommy has been hurt. Some people believe that people do not change...however, they absolutely can and do. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13. Sometimes close friendships will end...Sometimes beautiful families will fall apart...Sometimes you may realize it's a part of YOU that needs to change, and so you will need to work on yourself. And pray. And read. And pray. And become the better person, who God intended you to be....to become the friend that others will gravitate towards. Though whatever you do, and whoever you become...do it authentically and with a genuine heart.
I pray you never let the words spoken from a thoughtless or insensitive person define you. "Hurt people hurt people" and as the bible says, "Forgive them...for they know not what they do." Luke 23:24 Children, at times, you will make poor decisions. Sometimes you will directly, or inadvertently hurt others. Once you become aware of your blunders, please humble yourself and attempt to make amends. No matter what the other party says to you, please forgive yourself. God already has.
If people decide to walk away from you in life, you will be okay. Let them go...Breath in and learn from it. Remember there are reasons for various seasons. Some friends will blow in for a short season, and others will be there for decades....A friend may end up growing in a new direction...God will reshape and enlighten you through every trial. He will bless you with new relationships that exceed your hopes and enrich your dreams. True friends will rejoice with you and show more love and acceptance than you could ever imagine. Though first you must learn to embrace and love yourself! Hopefully not your "selfie"- self. Learn to be selfless. Be thankful and love the way He made you. (Your freckles are His design...your height is perfect...your curls are angelic....you are EXACTLY as He intended for you to be--Beautiful!) Embrace your imperfections as they are perfectly imperfect parts of who you were created to be!
I pray you continue to run with passion towards God. Try not to be influenced by what "others" are saying. Keep an open mind that there are always 3 sides to every story: "Your" side, "Their" side and the TRUTH. However all the truth you will ever need, can be found in your bibles. When in doubt, seek Him...Dear God, may you continuously seek Him.
Most of all, I pray you always have the courage and character to stand up for who and what you believe in. Walk to the beat of your own drum and make your own decisions about people. I hope your hearts have enough compassion to love and cheer for the underdog! They need the encouragement...you never know, that under dog could be you some day...In some way. When in doubt, try to put your feet in the shoes of others...not literally!
Think, reflect, and dream on these words, my sweet little ones:
Philippians 4:8. Finally...Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy...think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen from me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. --This is a verse. This is the word of God.
And to summarize this in Mommy terms:
Be the light! Follow the Light of the world...It is in Jesus name we pray. Amen.
And as I blow up your pillows, remember to always dream the biggest, sweetest dreams! Happy thoughts...Always knowing how much we love you! From the moon to the sun, and back through the stars...I LOVE you more!
Monday, November 09, 2015
My parents divorced when I was a young child, and shortly after, I began to experience the reality of stepfamily dynamics. I’ve heard stories that I would torment my father's new wife by telling her that SHE was an evil queen, and MY mother was the beautiful princess JUST like Cinderella! Hmmm, and I wonder why she wasn't my biggest fan? Ha!As fate would have it, I am now a stepmother, by definition. I certainly feel convicted from time to time, on how I can be a better mommy. New families are complicated. Heck, even many traditional families would consider their situations dysfunctional at times. Two different lives coming together, bringing unique sets of expectations, traditions, and backgrounds to the marriage table. Now, imagine voluntarily signing up for a more complicated life, where all children are not created equal "so to speak” and this is known as the beautiful, modern day step-family. Many people now refer to us as the "blended family."
Before I met my husband by divine design, I was a single mother with just one child and much more freedom. I married a widower with three small kids, and we were in such a rush to complete our families and start our happily ever after life, that we never paused to think about the changes and the realities. We had four little ones between us, and all seemed so desperate to have constant love and stability from both parents. His first wife advised him to “complete the family” when he knew, so we both trusted that between her and God, our marriage was meant to be. Our wedding was completely magical, and just like a fairy tale. Our children really do love each other and get along quite well. So what happened to our “happily ever AFTER?” Well….AFTER: WE discovered that while we have common values, we couldn't be more opposite. We've had some major challenges. Meanwhile, we live. We love. And we continuously learn. Adjust. Connect. Reach out. Reach up. We pray...A lot! Life is not always as “happily ever” as captured and posted on social media. Not always. We have our reality moments more often than not.AFTER: We’ve endured countess tantrums and arguments. We've been tested and manipulated. Simply stated, the expectations we each brought into the marriage, as well our different parenting styles have caused us the most stress. We tend to struggle with balancing their constant fights for our attention. It can be so draining. We've mostly battled about fairness, jealous, and extended family issues. I recall warning my husband during our engagement period that we would need counseling. I'm certain he thought I was joking. Nope. Too much pain and too many complexities and dynamics.
AFTER: I’ve been haunted by visions of Disney's evil step mothers when self-reflecting. I will look into the mirror of my heart, and wonder, “But, Nikki my dear, would you have handled that situation just as equally as if it involved your biological child?” Thinking and over analyzing my reactions, my tones, my facial expressions, and my disciplines and punishments. Was I truly fair, just, and equal?
My most recent step-mommy fail occurred when I took my two oldest out for lunch and a day of shopping. While strolling down the aisles of Publix, my biological daughter came to me very sad that her brother told her she is just his "step sister?” Where did THAT come from? “The only steps in our family head up to your bedrooms,” I barked. His head hung in shame. After I had time to process his comment, I apologized for my reaction. I was responding from a place of insecurity. Technically, he was correct. I’m simply not a big fan of the word "step" because it shows separation of a family. However, it IS what it IS. I am their “step-mother” and they will always have their biological mother in heaven.
So, how do we manage through the messy moments? Honestly, I wish we had a magical mop to wipe away the emotional damages we cause when we stain our children’s hearts with our ugly "spills" of confusion. These responses come from our ego which manifests within us while we speak out of fear or insecurity. Since magic only exists in the wonderful world of make believe, my husband and I strive to live a God first life. Our relationship with Jesus allows us to love each other through the hurts, and forgive when forgiving feels impossible. We have found immense support through fellowship in a group called "Blended & Blessed" which is a Stepfamily support resource through Celebration church. We are learning so much while building new relationships with other families who have "been there” or who are currently walking in similar shoes.Typically we find the more common stepmother is dealing with other moms or dads while co-parenting, which can certainly cause more family issues and stress. While we have lost a great woman who wanted to be here, alive, and involved, we struggle with many other issues. Regardless of the challenges, thus far, I have found truth and comfort by learning...1.) Step family happiness is not an overnight miracle. Blending Families is not as fast and smooth as it sounds. Be prepared to cook your family right: Low and slow. Combining all the different ingredients as they are, in their own unique forms. If our old cooking methods cause the pot to boil over, it might be time to simmer down. The secret ingredient for all situations here is love. Love always tastes good too. Never bitter. Always sweet.
2.) Family dynamics are like building a puzzle. We are all shaped differently, and “fitting in” to each others lives naturally can take time. We must focus on seeing the big picture as we work together, adjusting our expectations as we strive toward our own functioning family masterpiece.
3.) A healthy family, equates to healthy children. The first year is always the hardest. No successful marriage or family unit thrives on auto pilot. The key is working at it. When we married our spouses, we married the entire package. Progress comes with time. Younger minds need to adjust to the complexities of their new realities and schedules. It's an adjustment period for everyone.I have experienced first hand, that family peace is possible. Step by step. Day by day. It starts with believing God and HIS word. It means accepting and loving each other, and our children: Right where we are. Right where they are. Just as God has offered his love to us. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that WE should be called children of God!” -1John 3:1 Figuratively speaking, isn't God just one giant step parent to all of us? Literally one "step" away...