Archive | December 2016

2016-Year End Review

The year started off HOT as I was fitted in a nice HOT dress with my HOT college besties on a cold winter night. We went to the Casino downtown and were pleasantly surprised with decorations, food, drinks and music. 90s hip-hop and r&b blared through the sound system and we danced our way into 2016.



Then February rolled around. Not only did my BFF from Haiti pay me a visit but I got to have my first speaking engagement! I had no idea I was the key speaker until after the event my great friend Hope who came with me informed me of this important detail. The event was not without its warfare but I prevailed and actually sold so many books I had them on back order!


That same month I received a word from the Lord that I was to start my 2nd book, which I immediately began working on! I was also blessed to be apart of an international conference call. There were several authors who led the call and that opportunity connected me with more writers who I would work with on future projects throughout the year.

In March I stayed busy doing taxes during the tax season while still looking for employment. Since I was laid off the previous November I had been unable to find another full time job. Thankfully God provided every step of the way and I never went without. He also gave me the desire of my heart by allowing me to work as a Tax Preparer full time.


My birthday then came in April. I was overwhelmed by the calls and love shown. I actually had to turn my phone off at one point because I was getting so many phone calls. I did not get to speak with everyone simply because I did not have the emotional capacity to. Instead I chose to quietly celebrate with my mom at dinner. Afterward we did the thing we love most: shopping! That weekend I went to dinner with my girls and was so blessed by all who chose to come and spend it with me. What can I say? 33 looked good on me…


Another big event took place this month! My friends and I were featured in Essence Magazine!! Check out the article here.  Make sure to check out #12😉. God is AMAZING😊.

In mid April the tax season ended and the very next day I began working for my landlord as his bookkeeper. God did not miss a beat and it was a much-needed open door. I was at my wits end struggling with depression and anxiety. I wanted to give up but just when I felt there was no hope, a beam of light shined brightly upon me through this opportunity, tho it came from the most unlikely of places… For the first time in my career I was working in an accounting position!  Additionally I got an up close and personal view of an entreprenuer’s life. I have known entrepreneurship was a calling on my life for a while now and I felt that this job opportunity was further confirmation of that. This job was also another desire of my heart fulfilled, as it was located downtown in the heart of the city–exactly what I wanted. I LOVED going across the street to Mel’s for a cup of joe every morning, using my parking pass on the weekends to kick it in the city and being a “downtown girl”. The Father was showering me with His love.

In June Cleveland was rocked with winning and celebrating the NBA national championship! I’m not a big sports fan but out of all sports basketball would be my favorite to watch. And it was amazing to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers win their first ring in 50 years! The city was on FIRE. There was such a spirit of encouragement, hope and unity wherever I went. Everyone had on their CAVS gear at the parade and I was so blessed to experience a historical event in a city God loved. We were champions, and now everyone knew it!

That same month I had the amazing opportunity to be a guest on a really dope podcast! It was my first time and hopefully not my last! I was so honored and blessed by this open door to talk about a topic I’m passionate about–being a healthy and whole single😊.  You can check out the podcast here.  

The summer was full of activity with friends and family. My mom treated my friend and I to a day at Cedar Point. I took my god-daughter to the Universal Soul Circus. My college bestie visited from Orlando and I took a road trip with my other bestie to D.C. I was honored to celebrate her 33rd with her in style.


My Haitian bestie and I took a road trip to her hometown in Indy. It was go go go and by the end of the trip my introverted self was pooped. But I knew God was showing His love and goodness through so many social experiences. It was truly a blessing to spend such quality time with my friend who now lives so far away.


In September I got a roommate for the first time in 3 years. She was another answer to prayer.   Not only did she provide financial assistance but also companionship in the home (which I didn’t even know was needed.) I LOVE our story of how we met on my blog and how God connected us through writing. Who knew starting this blog 4 years ago would lead to SO MUCH? She is such a gem and I love having her in my home! Shortly after her move we added another member to our household: Ben-Samuel. He has been another source of joy and companionship that I know the Father ordained.

September and October provided more open doors with my writing. I was finishing up my 2nd book and had some book selling engagements for the first one. I was blessed by the support of those who came and encouraged that God was moving in my calling as an author.

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And then suddenly it was November: one year after my layoff. My position as a bookkeeper with my landlord was great but it did not offer a long-term solution, so I applied for other jobs. Never in my career has God used practical means to employ me and I was frustrated by this fact. Whenever I had a job assignment it came through supernatural means, which I was grateful for, however I struggled with my own insecurities at being a competent professional. Did I have the skills, knowledge and abilities to work in the field of Accounting? Would my degree ever be of use? Do I have what it takes? God was about to answer all of those questions. I excelled at the phone interview and 2 panel interviews and after almost a month of waiting (because that is just my path) I was hired as a bookkeeper for a small janitorial company! When asked if I would accept the position I felt like I was accepting a marriage proposal! I happily said yes. In addition to this huge blessing my 2nd book came out that same month! How to Overcome Heartbreak: Stories That Heal was available, 9 months after I started writing it. God had given me a dream earlier that year that I would have a huge spiritual birthing. I felt this 9 month time frame was further confirmation…

The year ended the same way it began: in style. There were more social events with friends and the celebration of life. Yet 2016 was not without its hard times and in fact they still continue. God did many new things for me this year, things I didn’t expect or even believe He would do for me, simply because He had never done them before. At the end of last year I heard Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” I knew I had passed another series of tests and that I was being promoted. What I did not understand was that spiritual promotion means a higher level of testing and warfare. This year I have experienced that higher level.

Everyday I am learning God’s ways. He is a good Father who has a set path and course for each person’s life but we must seek Him to have understanding of that course. For a long time I felt His hand and His way with me. I was always aware of His presence and intimacy. In this season I did not have that luxury. He was growing me up and I did not want to grow up.

God’s ways are higher than our ways. When He says promotion and advancement it does not always mean what we think it will mean. Sometimes it does not even look like a promotion in the natural. But always it is for our good and if we give Him time we can gain understanding of His ways.


There were unmet expectations in 2016. There were times of utter darkness, aloneness and feeling abandoned. But the fact that I have made it to the end confirms what I feel He is teaching me in this season: my feelings are temporary. Even when I feel alone, I never really am. Yet it is His grace for me to walk out this truth.

I am ministered to through the lyrics of an artist who I appreciate. “If I make it through hell and then came out alive I’ve got nothing to fear”.

He has caused me to face my fears in 2016. The fact that I am still here shows me what He wanted me to see all along. My fears were false and they are not the giants I perceived them to be. In fact, they were only here to reveal the greater version of me that was hidden beneath the surface.

I can honestly say that I am better at the end of this year than I was when it began. And I guess that would be the goal for any year or any season of life.

To get better.

To become more whole.

And to walk in greater purpose and manifestation of the original intention of the Creator.

If you’re interested in checking out my latest youtube video “Encouragement to be a light in 2017” click here.

SHALOM

The Process

Have you ever started on a journey or set out to achieve a goal that was going to take some perseverance and stamina? I remember starting undergrad. I was so excited about this new adventure of going to college. I shopped with my family to pick up the items I needed for my dorm. I got my hair braided so I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a few months. I said goodbye to my fiancé because I believed that going to school was even more important than our relationship. I was committed.  But senior year after being slaughtered in Accounting and Finance for two years I fought tears of fear that I just may not finish on time. I feared that God would somehow prolong my time in underground to prove some type of point.  At the root of this thinking I can see now that I didn’t trust Him. But thankfully He didn’t hold this against me. I graduated on time, passed my Accounting class and made my way back home to start the next chapter of my life.

Often these days I feel like I did my senior year of school. I wonder, “Will I get there on time?” It is easy to have faith and encouragement at the beginning of a new season but after a while most people run out of zeal.  I surely did.

I had a super encouraging conversation with a brother yesterday. He has been through his own set of trials and setbacks and is a little older. God has used him many times in my life. He said to wait for God’s best. He said that we are the chosen and that’s why God has been so specific with our course.  I appreciated his sharing but was honest in my response: “I do not like the process”, I said. “It feels overwhelming”.

I can see the patterns of mountain experiences before the valley.  I can see the trials that surface during transition periods, often in my career.  I can see the waiting inside the waiting inside the waiting; only to be followed with more stretching. I appreciate the blessings and the encouragement and the over the top manifestations Christ has given to endure.  But I sometimes wish we didn’t have to endure.


Yesterday, while talking to my brother I felt led to worship.  I was so encouraged in my spirit that I knew, this is how God is going to keep me moving forward.  He will keep encouraging me with experiences like these.

We need encouragement and hope to keep moving forward, otherwise why would we choose to?

I’m aware people can be extra moody during the holidays.  Those of us who are more sensitive can be even more so around this time.  Even still, I think its good to be honest about how we feel.  And its even better when we can do it with others who have walked this path and can empathize with its rocky course.

FuN selfie 😉 

SHALOM

 

 

My New Name is Yes

It became very apparent to me at the start of this journey that God had a will, a desire and a plan for my life and that He wanted me to choose that plan. The very first indication of this was when He asked me to walk away from the love of my life at 22. It was such a difficult decision for me to make that it took a year to make it. I held on as tightly as I could until the Spirit inside me won over and I could no longer deny His bidding. God was saying “No”. 

It would not be the first time.  

It seemed to me that over and over again when proceeding with plans that seemed good to me and the fulfillment of my desires that seemed equally as good, His response was, “No”. And sometimes “Wait”, which after so many years can feel just like a “No”.

In hindsight I can see the work He was doing in me. Many of my desires were rooted in selfish gain and immaturity while  others were not bad in and of themselves they just did not advance the kingdom. 

I was called to advance.

This time last year I heard a sermon that  spoke directly to my situation. The minister said that God had said “No” so many times that I thought my name was “No”. He said that that was now changing and the doors would now open. 

God was changing my name to Yes.

That Word is manifesting in my life. This year I have been flooded with open doors and the desires of my heart being met, even in the midst of the fight of my life.  As a result I have needed to change my mindset. I was so used to expecting “no” that I prepared for it. I still do this. But the evidence is there that the season has changed. I must change with it. I must grow into my new name.

Celebrating the holiday with my friend…

SHALOM

When You Like Them But They Don’t Like You Back


It happens to the best of us: someone catches your eye or maybe you caught theirs. Perhaps there followed a nice stimulating conversation after that initial attraction. The atmosphere seemed perfect, the dialogue phenomenal, and you can’t help but think, “Hmmm, this may just lead to something”…

To read more check out my guest blog post at Single Roots “When You Like Them But They Dont Like You Back”!

SHALOM

Christmas 2016

The year has flown by though some days seemed endless.  I wonder how we got here often.  How did we bustle through Thanksgiving and now Christmas is quickly approaching?  Every year I struggle with the lack of family around this time and even though that is still a struggle I am grateful that God has given me something a little unique this year.  He has given me community in my home (ironically as I typed that last sentence the cat busted through the door, into my room and is now doing “cat things” in it).  My roommate has been such a joy and I love laughing with her.  I’m certain she makes the Father laugh all the time.  And then there’s Benny (the cat).  Benny who acts more like a person and a dog most of the time than an actual cat.  My roommate and I have had so many nutty things happen in this house with this cat we often joke about writing a book about them!  Yes, God knew what I needed in this season, even if it wasn’t what I thought.

Often it is not what I think.

Yesterday we had our first holiday party.  We combined communities and enjoyed the company of our friends, family and loved ones.  It was a close intimate group which was about all our little upstairs duplex could hold but it was just enough.  My roommate shared on her recent trip to Africa and that was beautiful and powerful all by itself.  I am so blessed to see God move so greatly with her and bring to pass a long awaited desire of her heart.

Friday night she and I attended a holiday dance performance.  There was lovely singing about Christ and salvation and hope and love.  And beautiful dancing to compliment.  There was food and people and fellowship and smiles.  It has been a very full holiday indeed and there are 7 days left to celebrate!  I got most of my shopping done but will have to fight the crowds for a few last items.  I’m nervous to get on the scale these days because I know all the cookies and treats I’ve been consuming will eventually reveal themselves on it.  It seems every other day a client is dropping off their “thank you” at work in the form of boxes of goodies and sweetness.  And then of course we had an overload at our party last night. I’ll be taking the left overs with me to work on Monday!

Life is interesting.  It’s not something you can plan for or control and that has probably been my most surprising and difficult lesson.  Things I never could have imagined have happened, both good and bad.  And yet by most people’s standards I am still “young”.  Surely I am on the older end of the young adult spectrum but by next year I will have tipped over.

As unorthodox as this path has been, I know God has taught me that He is in control even when I am not.  He is ordering my steps even when they seem disorganized.  And He is surrounding me with people full of love, fun and laughter to make the journey a little more enjoyable.

In other news, if you or someone you know is struggling with the holiday blues as a single check out my latest Youtube video!

Also, recently I had a conference call to review the HTOHB study guide.  The study guide is available as a FREE download!  Just click here for the replay of the call!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Fun things lately…


SHALOM

Soldiers Need To Be Made

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I’ve been watching “slave” shows lately.  One of them was “Underground” and it was really good.  Though I really appreciated the character development, storyline and creative writing it entailed I was let down by the lack of spirituality.  There seemed to be no characters with really deep relationships with Christ.  I think it has to do with the fact that people who have not had an encounter with Him cannot reconcile a God of love with suffering so they are unable to write about Him.  I struggle with that too sometimes…

The latest show I’m watching now is “Glory”.  It was actually made in the late 80s and maybe because I was just born I don’t recall seeing it growing up.  “Glory” is a recounting of the civil war from the Union’s perspective.  It tells the story of an all black regiment who are made up primarily of run-away slaves.  As one character put it “We runaway slaves, but we come back fightin’ men.”  Though many of them are run-away, there is one man who is free.  He was born free and his father before him.  He is well educated, speaks properly and has cheered on the freedom of his people in a sense from the sidelines.  He was actually very close to the Captain of the army; they grew up together.  But though the slaves had it so much worse then he, it turns out the other mens’ slavery actually better equipped them for the battle ahead.

The men who were slaves learned discipline, both physical and mental.  They learned to control themselves in order to stay alive.  They learned to take orders and they learned to endure monotonous grueling work for long periods of time.  When the men are trained to be soldiers the freeman is targeted by the man training them because of his physical weaknesses.  At one point the Captain intervenes on the freeman’s behalf telling the Trainer that they grew up together, to which the Trainer responds, “Then let him keep growing up”.

The freeman did not understand why the Trainer was so hard on him.  He did not understand the training process, but the whole time I was watching the story unfold it was so heavy on my heart that he needed the training to be difficult.  He needed the training to be difficult because the war would be difficult.  The Captain knew that.  He had fought in a previous battle where many men were lost and he was adamant that his men be trained to endure such a battle.

Spiritual battles and physical battles are so similar.  I have always felt that we, as humans, were born into war.  We were born into a war where there are casualties and there are soldiers and there are choices to be made on which one we will be.  I believe Christ came so that we do not have to be casualties.  I believe He came to show us that we too can have the victory.

But we will have to fight for it.

There is a process we are each called to.  It can be difficult marriages or difficult children or poverty.  It can be physical sickness, mental illness or tragedy.  Whatever the process it is for refinement.  There are seasons where I hate my process and there are seasons where I love it and there are seasons I feel both.  There is an ebb and flow to my journey and for much of it I have fought the flow.

But God.

He has birthed out 2 books anyway.  He has given me jobs and titles and degrees and positions and ministries.  Even in spite of myself.

I believe the training we receive is not just for our battles here on earth but the positions we will hold in eternity.  I hope to one day hear those words “Well done My good and faithful servant” but there are times where I wonder if He is pleased at all. Though I know His Word says otherwise…

I hope you will see that your process is not in vain.  He is training you and the harder the training the greater the reward.  The greater the harvest.  The better the solder you will be.  Soldiers are not born, they are made.  You must go through the process to be made.

Months ago He said to me, “Who are you Nicole?” My reply was, “I’m a warrior”.  He said, “Then fight!”

As warriors we must fight.  As soldier we must train.  As His, we have already won.

SHALOM

 

God Wants Isaac

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Yesterday I had a book event. It was my first event with the new book How To Overcome Heartbreak: Stories That Heal. Unfortunately I didn’t sell as many books as I wanted. I know my mom was a little discouraged by that, but God has taught me an entrepreneur does not just look at the day to day of work, they look at the long run. Sales are up and down when you have your own business and so my outlook is just to look forward to the next opportunity to spread His Word through my writing. Though book sales weren’t what I wanted them to be, I still had a good time.

fullsizerender-3My mom was there to support as well as my roommate and a good friend. The café was crowded and the city was getting ready for a parade outside. It felt like the perfect fall evening as people were getting into the holiday spirit. We ate and talked and I ended up reflecting on this journey in singleness with my friend. She shared she had no idea that she would not be able to control her path. She thought marriage was just something she could make happen. I echoed her sentiments. I’m a few years older and my path has taught me that I am simply not in control (as much as I have wanted to be). I, like her, thought I could just settle and choose a guy and make it work. I’m a go getter and a planner. I like to check things off my checklist and obtain what I think is success. But God keeps teaching me, this world’s version of success is not always His version of success. Actually, it hardly ever is. 2 ½ years ago I thought I could choose the counterfeit and make a life work that I so desperately wanted. I held on to the false as tightly as I could yet still felt God prying my fingers away. Sleepless nights and a restless spirit haunted me and no matter how I tried I could not escape His voice. He was saying, “No”. I battled and ran and tried my hardest to make my plan happen but in the end I obeyed. God wanted Isaac. I thought about these things sitting across my friend in this little café. Maybe the book sales weren’t as important as sharing my testimony with her. She and I actually became friends because she read my first book…

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I was talking to my friend tonight and she shared she did not know how hard this would be. She did not anticipate that the waiting and trusting and believing would be so difficult when there was not a prospect in sight. When none of us had a prospect in sight and the mid 30s are right around the corner.

I love God. And that has been the strength I have needed and used on this journey. But in this season I did not have the intimacy and companionship He gave that has helped me up until this point to walk His path. That’s what made it harder. Not having that strength.

I had to develop strength in other areas. I had to develop mental strength. I had to learn to rely on His voice through His people and His Word instead of through my heart.  I am still learning…

There are times I wish I had not laid Isaac down. That is my humanity speaking. It is Christ saying, “Father, take this cup away from me”. He did not want to do it. It was the very thing He did not want to do. And the fact that He did it is just a testament to the power of God.

The fact that I did it is just a testament to Him. It is not my will but His…

SHALOM