Call me narcissist if you must but this blog is all about ME. I have another blog about my kids, whom I love and adore writing about. But I was Nicole a long time before I was mom and I don't intend to give up being Nicole overnight.

You can read all about my kids at Naptime Optional.
Or you can follow along on our Arizona adventure on my 365 project blog.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


One of the lessons in the Mondo Beyondo course is about vulnerability. We all try to hard to be so guarded all the time, trying to never open ourselves up to being hurt or ridiculed or embarrassed or shamed. So we put, what we consider to be, our best foot forward. We hide secret parts of ourselves and sometimes those secret parts are the very thing that makes us who we are. But, we're shy or embarrassed or afraid, so we keep it under wraps, pretend to be who we think other want us to be.

But sometimes daring to be just a little bit vulnerable is just the key to opening up new doors.

So I've been toying with some ideas, and trying vulnerability on for size. And I had this idea the other day. I was painting, because I'm always painting these days. I had the tunes cranked and was singing as dancing along as I rolled paint on the walls. Because this is what I do. I sing and dance. All the time. Not that I'm particularly good at either. But I like it. No, I LOVE it. My husband laughs at me a lot. And claims that I wished my life was a musical. (I tell him my life IS a musical, just nobody else has learned the choreography yet.)

Just for a minute I got brave. I set up iPhone up on the step ladder, turned the camera on, and was just me for 5 minutes. I painted. I danced. I sang. I painted a little more. I danced some more. I painted to the beat of the music. All in a day's work for me.

I had every intention of then posting that video here on my blog, because that would be a HUGE exercise in vulnerability.

But I couldn't do it. It's a tad too embarrassing. A tad too real.

Well actually I was going to suck it up and just post it before I could have second thoughts. But I asked my husband if he would be embarrassed for me if I put it on my blog....and he hesitated, just the slightest bit. So then I got all worried that it was even worse then I thought it was and I chickened out.

So there will be no video of me busting a move with a blue paint roller in my hand. At least not today. I think maybe that was like jumping into the deep end of vulnerability and maybe what I need is to just dip my toe in. Test the waters before I drown in them.

Do you have any stories about being vulnerable? How did they turn out?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's about more then just the color of the walls

Yesterday I was painting walls, again. I feel like I have been painting walls for an eternity now. I literally have blisters and callouses on my hands from gripping a paint roller. Painting an entire house in a week is a LOT of work.

So there I am, all alone. My hands hurt and my neck hurt and my arms hurt. I started to question why I was going to all this effort. Yes, the walls were all neon yellow and florescent orange. And no, I didn't want to live in a house with neon yellow and florescent orange walls. But it WAS just a rental. And really we are just staying for 5, maybe 6 months until our home is done. And I started to think that all the people who said we were CRAZY for going to so much effort to paint a rental were right. Maybe we were in over our heads. Maybe it really wasn't worth all this.

The conversation with myself was negative, and exhausting and I had to get out of my own head.

So I started listening to some of my Mondo Beyondo interviews.

Shortly I came to the one where Jen Lemen interviews Kelly Rae Roberts. Jen talked about how Kelly's entire house was a place were dreams could thrive. And then they spent the next 15 minutes talking about how important it is to create a physical environment that is conducive to dreaming. A space that is YOU. Where your essence is at home, at peace.

And suddenly felt so glad we had made the CRAZY choice to paint. Even though this house is just a rental. Even though we will only be here for 5-6 months.

Because it is 5-6 whole months! And moving to Arizona in the first place was ALL about following dreams and following our crazy intuition and taking risks and finding out who we are. And what a shame if all that was sucked up in the neon yellow and florescent orange walls. How sad would it have been to lose our momentum and excitement because we were always hating those neon yellow and florescent orange walls.

Painting was no longer about the color of the walls. Painting was suddenly about creating a safe space for my dreams to thrive, because my dreams (and I should add my husband's dreams) are big enough and important enough and sacred enough to go to all this effort. At that moment painting the walls became almost spiritual to me. (Don't laugh, I'm being serious.) Making the walls clean and fresh and pretty again took on the feeling of a ritual cleansing of sorts, and it was no longer drudgery. It was a work that I was thrilled to be a part of.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The little things

Last week had a few rough patches.

One of the things that pulled me through was looking for small things to be grateful for.

The 97 cent spray bottle from Walmart. Every time I got so hot I thought I was going to literally melt into the pavement I had one of the kids spray me down with some cool water. Did the trick every time.

A furniture dolly/hand truck.

A ramp from the trucking company that was wide enough for the furniture dolly. At one point I was feeling tired beyond limit. Even with the furniture dolly unloading the truck was taking extreme effort and I wanted to quit. As I was directing one load down the ramp I noticed how narrow the ramp was, and how the wheels for the dolly really just barely fit. I was suddenly aware of what a wonderful thing that was!

A landlord who happened to have a fully furnished rental around the corner that he was willing to let us stay in. Oh how wonderful it was to have a clean spot to eat a meal. A bed to sleep in that wasn't surrounded by the chaos of moving. I know that was a luxury most people aren't afforded when moving.

My iPod full of tunes that kept me moving, kept my spirits up.

Kids who have been mature beyond their age and have found ways to play together and entertain themselves and help one another out. My kids have been amazing little troopers and have rolled with the punches in an amazingly inspiring way.

A husband who was patient with me when I needed 10 minutes (or maybe a little more) to let the overwhelming feelings flow in and be experienced so they could flow back out.

A healthy body. It may have been sore and tired but it just kept doing what I needed it to do. I spent a lot of time thinking about my dear friend, MaeLynne, and how her last months were spent in near constant pain, her body refusing to work the way it was supposed to. My body was just stiff and tired.

We are still working hard this week. The truck is unloaded but there is still a lot to do before we are "at home" but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm going to Summer School

I hate to boast-but life really is good right now.

Yes, we are still wandering gypsies without a place to call home.

Yes I am sore from painting for the last 3 days straight and I still have 6 more rooms to paint.

Yes I still have a 28' foot moving truck to unload before Monday morning.

And yes, I am feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed and afraid and tired.

But life is still good.

Maybe it is the Arizona sun after a long, dreary Utah winter followed by an abysmal spring full of day after day after day of clouds and rain.

Maybe it is the excitement and hope that I am infused with from my participation in Mondo Beyondo.

Maybe it is all the time I've been spending with my husband and kids. (We have taken family togetherness to an whole new level these last few weeks.)

Or maybe it's a little of all the above added with just a pinch of magic.

There truly must be some sort of magic involved because yesterday something truly magical happened.

I have had my eye on going to Skip's Summer School for quite some time now. But things were all up in the air as far as when we were moving, and where exactly we would end up. Plus there was the expense of moving itself. So I just kept quietly wishing I could go, but telling myself it wasn't likely to happen.

So yesterday morning I was quickly scanning my twitter feed before heading out to go paint some more when I saw this tweet from Scott Bourne.

Scott was offering to pay for 10 photographers to attend Skips Summer School. I read it and my heart skipped a beat. And I got butterflies in my stomach. And my gut told me I needed to respond. NOW. I went through the negative self talk about how 100's would likely respond why should I win and that I had SO much to get done today I didn't have time.......but I silenced my self-doubt and sat down and composed a simple email to Scott.

Then I went to work. I had a house to paint. I figured it would be a day or two before winners were announced anyway.

I had an email back from Scott in less than an hour. It simply said "Hi Nicole. You're in. See you at Summer School."

I stood there in stunned silence, a paint roller in one hand, my iPhone in the other.

And the surprises were just beginning. A short time later I received a phone call from Skip Cohen to finalize my registration for Summer School. Not a secretary or an assistant, but Skip himself. And he asked me about me, and what I wanted to accomplish, and directed me towards the classes as summer school that he thought would most help reach my desired goals. It was an extremely surreal experience. And the REALLY fun stuff is still to come!

All because I wrote one little email.

Yes, life IS good.

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Beginnings

I just wanted to let my faithful followers know (all 4 of you) that I have started a new project and blog.

It is my 365 day photo challenge. A photo a day for a year, starting on our first day in AZ.

Head on over for further details and join us on our new adventure.