19 September 2011

Engagement Story

It was a quiet Saturday for me. I went to gym, did laundry, some cleaning..... nothing special. Matt had told me that he had some work to do for his dad but had plans for a date that night. I was instructed to dress causally and comfortably and when he arrived at 7 that night, it couldn't have been more normal. He suggested La Terraza for dinner, a place we'd been to at least a dozen times. I remember thinking that he was extra chatty that evening, or maybe I was more quiet. The meal ended and he suggested heading out to the refugee. The weather was hot and sticky but we always had a good time out there so I agreed. The drive out there was, shall we say, different? He....was going.....so.....slow. I mean like 35 mph on a 55 mph road. Looking back, I was getting a little antsy. About half way to the refugee there Matt turned off the main drive and into a neighbor, explaining to me that he wanted to live here one day. I was thinking, "so this is nice, but not a 20 minute detour nice.... lets go!" We pulled out again onto Oktoc Road, going 35 mph. Finally, we got to the T in the road; left went to a place where I'd never been before, right went to where we always went. He went left. "Matt! What are you doing? You always go right!" "Nikki, its been a long a week. Let me turn around." I was agitated by this point. I knew that he knew which way to go, he seemed a little tense, and he was texting his dad a lot. We'd talked about getting engaged for a while, and he'd told me it wasn't going to be this weekend because he didn't have the ring. But man alive! He was acting WEIRD!! So, I text my mom: Can you please pray? We're on a date, and I want to just be able to enjoy that date. I know we're not getting engaged anytime soon and I just feel frustrated because Matt is acting kinda strange. She lovingly replied "sure babe. love ya"
By this point, we were turned around and heading in the right direction. It was almost dusk and across the lake I could see some lights flickering, which wasn't that surprising because it wasn't uncommon for people to be grilling out at the picnic area. As we pulled closer, I realized that the flickering lights weren't those from a flame of a grill, but this:

I couldn't believe it. "No way...." I said.  He smiled, grabbed my hand, and said " come on...." I was a little shaky as he sat me down. "There's something I've been wanting to ask you for a while now. Do you mind if I read it to you?" I shook my head. He then read me the most beautiful letter. He talked about our first date and the incredible way God had so richly blessed it; he talked about how God had to be at the center of our relationship in order for relationship to work; he explained to me why he picked the ring he did, symbolizing God in the center and us on with side. He finished with: "I've wanted to ask you this since our first date: Nikki, will you marry me?"

I said yes :)

photograph by Erin Fults

15 September 2011

The Power of Chocolate

Yesterday started out as one of those days. Nothing bad happened, actually I was just tired and irritable! My little sister kindly baked me some brownies and whatdoyaknow?!?! With a big old chunk of chocolate and strong iced latte, my mood got a whole lot better :)

mmm mmm good :)


14 September 2011

Emotion: Strength or Weakness

I was sitting on my parents living room couch, texting a dear friend about the frustrations of emotions, and the ability they have to zap energy.  I've come to realize that I'm aware of my emotions in two situations: when I'm feeling worn out in every single aspect: physically, emotionally, and spiritually or, when I'm feeling really happy and someone I'm close to can't/won't share take part in the joy I'm experiencing.

For those that know me, they are fully aware that I'm a highly emotional person. I'm a "feeler" by nature. I connect with others when I can openly and honestly share what I'm feeling. I know that's a woman thing, but I also know that woman are often seen as the weaker party because of that. That makes me livid. It makes it seem like women were designed with a defect. I've heard christian and non christian men say that "its because women are so emotional and unable to make tough decisions that men are called to be the head of the family." Maybe there is an element of truth to that, but our emotions aren't defects, they're our strength. Behind every successful man is a strong woman, whether that woman be his wife, mother, sister.... it doesn't matter. I don't know of a man who doesn't want a woman by his side, cheering him on to the best of her ability, be overjoyed with him for his victories, aches for his loses, and believing in him regardless. If she said it mundanely I doubt he'd believe she believed in him. Emotions, for me at least, influence just about everything, especially my actions. Now, I'll be the first to admit that acting in emotion can be a bad thing, a very bad thing. However, it can also be a great thing. When a child shows his mother an excellent report card and is rewarded with a genuine hug and honest congratulations, "I'm so proud of you!" there is more satisfaction there, than seeing his name on the honor roll. When a friend is devastated by some tragedy in her life, the comfort of being able to sit and weep a supportive a friend, a friend who you know is hurting with you, is more comfort than all the money in the world.

Please know that I am not hating on people who aren't emotional. God knows we need people like that -- that's why He created them!! In fact, in 66 days I'm marrying a man who isn't emotional, not like me at least. And, it's one of the things I adore most about him. If I'm the waves of the ocean, he's the light house I crash into, steady and dependable. I need his dependability, and he needs my wild emotions, even though at times they can get on his nerves (and mine :)).

Emotions: life would be so bland without them. Despite the weakness that I feel because of them at times, they keep me going, they keep me growing.

11 September 2011

Last Friday Night

Friday has been my favorite day of the week, since forever. But, now it's my really favorite day of the week because its the day I get to see Matt :)  We'd both had a long week, the was preceded by a long weekend and the deal was that Friday night was date night, our night. I exactly what I wanted to do, go to Stromboli's, then head out to the refugee. The weather had been glorious all week and Matt was the person I really wanted to enjoy it with. So that's exactly what we did. And it was awesome.

this is the look Matt gives me when he's wanting to say: "Nikki, put the camera away. I'm smiling because I have too. What are you doing?"
The last two pieces of my 10" veggie pizza....and yes, I ate the whole thing.
Stromboli's patio decor.
The breathtaking sunset out at the refugee.

08 September 2011


Of all the photos I've taken, these seem to me to be some of the more successful ones. For the first time, I really worked at being deliberate with the lighting, as well as the composition. I didn't want this shoot to look like a posed, perfectly put together setting; I wanted it to be what it was: a beautiful teenage girl in front of the camera, sporting an everyday outfit, next to no make up, in her backyard. I wanted to present her as herself, not someone who trying to mimic the models of today. Emily Grace: you are so beautiful, you are gracefully getting through one of the most challenging stages in life. I promise you, these years will be over before you know. Keep focusing on the eternal, you're doing great. Love you.

Even though this shot was way over exposed I'm kinda likin' the way it turned out.

I absolutely LOVE this photo. The drama in it is Ah-MAZ-Ing!!

shooting into the sun = new favorite thing

Well Hello there, Miss Thing

Who has flawless skin as a teenager? I'm 20 and mine still doesn't look that good!

06 September 2011


After a weekend of traveling and rain, I'm sitting outside in my parents backyard, soaking in the beautiful 70 degrees weather. It feels like fall, the time when school starts, the air becomes crisp, and a hot latte is the perfect way to relax. This fall feels so surreal. I'm not in school, and I don't have job. Instead, I'm living under my parents roof for the last time. It is so bittersweet. The bitterness is being away from Matt, the sweetness is knowing that I'll be with him forever in 74 days. The bitterness is leaving home, leaving what I know how to do, leaving what I'm used to. The sweetness is that I get to start a new way a life, with my best friend by my side. That is beautiful thing to dream about.