I thought my 10 for Tuesday would be all about my family today. Which is perfect because I have 8 brothers and sisters and then my parents and parent-in-loves make 10!
I'll start with the parents and work my way down.
1. My in-laws! They truly have loved me from day , Dan and I joke that they loved me before he did. :o) well, regardless they welcomed me with open arms into their family. Mike and Judy have been amazing parents and even more amazing grandparents. They picked up their life of 30 years in North Carolina and moved here to be near us and to help with the kids… and they've done so with great joy! I'm very grateful for them. They have the gift of hospitality and servants hearts and I've been a recipient of that blessing countless times.
2. My parents! If you would have told them when they first got married that they would have 9 kids, live in alaska for 18 years, and be in the ministry they would have probably called you CRAZY! But that's exactly what God had for them and they were beautifully obedient in those callings. Dad has poured himself and his talents and his love for the God into my brothers and to the men he befriends. He knows so much about hunting, fishing, archery, guns, etc…. I remember reloading shotgun shells and helping build flyfishing poles when I was like 11. (thank goodness he had some sons come along…no telling what I'd be doing now if not.) Mom is one of the most industrial and creative person I know. I know I get much of my artsyness from her. She started homeschooling back when I was in pre-K, back when homeschooling wasn't popular; and has continued to educate and help us reach for our dreams ever since. I get asked a lot if I'm planning on having 9 kids and homeschooling them all and I always say, Mom and Dad didn't set out to have a ton of kids or educate them a certain way but they had a willing heart to let God direct their family and parenting and lived in obedience to the path He led and opened up to them. That's what I am planning on doing. What that looks like for us in years to come? I don't know. I just strive to live today…this week according to His word.
2.1/2 I was born. :o) I write all the time about me so I'm not going to now, but I wanted to give a timeline of the fam… so I am the firstborn, and 18 months later….
3. Brittany: She and I have been the best of friends and worst of enemies throughout our life. Husbands and Roomates can vouch that don't get between us when we're in a conflict… and don't try to separate us when we need a sister to be there. (they can probably vouch for a lot more.. but we won't go there, if you have a sister… you know!:o) Bradley is her man, He is a servant through and through and leads Britt in a strong but gentle way. They make the most adorable couple ever! And so it makes sense that they birthed the most adorable little girl ever. I LOVE being an Aunt! I LOVE Mabel. I can't wait to see her next time I'm in Raleigh.
4. Bubba John. I have 6 brothers but only 1 Bubba! I know he loved getting brothers because having Britt and I as big sisters can be quite the experience!! He has always been such a peacemaker in our family and has the biggest heart of mercy! He tells the best stories…. just know that the more he tells it the longer it will get. :o) Right Sarah?! But it's funny… SO funny every time! Sarah is the Blonde bombshell in our family. :o) She shows me all the time what it means to love and honor your husband in how she treats John. They live their lives as a ministry open to the most unexpected opportunities.
5. Josh. God knew I needed this guy close by this year. He has meant the world to our family the past 9 months. We lived next door to each other for a few months and now we still live close so he still comes over anytime. He's become a friend to me not just a brother. Zoe gets SO excited when he walks in the door. And (easy girls) he is AMAZING with babies; he will sit and talk to Jack for as long as Jack wants him to. God's really been doing a lot in his life this past year and is always leading him on paths that Josh never thought he'd be on… yet won't show him too far ahead and so Josh just trusts and obeys. That's hard for a man sometimes, But the Spirit is very evident in his life. And I'm so excited to see all that God is going to do with and in his life. I'm just glad He saw fit to put him into my life for this time.
6. Jeremiah Trapper. I use his middle name, which interestingly enough is one of several references to the great outdoors used in my brothers middle names, but he's the one brother that I sometimes use both names when talking to him or about him. :o) He is SO SMART and loves to talk and L.O.L. :o) Now, he's only 20, (sorry Jere, when you're my age..I can say you're ONLY 20) But God has him on a fast track to maturity by bringing his wife into his life this young. I don't think I could have made it that young… but seeing them together really impresses me. Anna Loves Jere fiercely and with great loyalty. She lights up anytime he's around. :o) Jere's one of those kids that parents say, "one day he could be the president" you know what I mean parents. But truly, I do believe God has great things in store for him and Anna. I think God's going to use their life and marriage in extreme ways to bring Glory to Him….. give it time.
7. Jessica. She wasn't born in Alaska or Texas… she was born in China. But that's about all that's different from her and the rest of us. I've LOVED having a little sister like her. She definitely is the princess in our family * so in style * so put together * loves having a clean room * doesn't like to rough house * shops at forever 21 * loves phones…ipods…movies * 100% girl! She's so much fun and has a huge heart for helping her friends through tough times. I can't wait to see how God uses her story and her life to really impact others who are hurting and also to those who weren't born in america but now live in forever families here.
8. Michael. This guy won't stop growing. He's SO tall. Mikey (as we call him) and his brother came into our family when they were very little. But from day one they fit in as if they had always been there. Michael is very observant when you don't think he is, and is EVERYWHERE all the time. He's always creating something unusual for his hunting/fishing/camping activities. And has recently become great at tying flies for fishing. He's a great little brother to me and a great big brother to the next two. When he first came to be in our family he was very protective of tony and watched out for him all the time even when he didn't have to. I know God will use that to make him a wonderful husband and father someday.
9. Joel. (jo-jo) This guy…. I think he's got all the best of the Nichols genes! He's got a great sense of humor and even will crack himself up often. He always has something to teach me or share with me or explain to me. He's very literal. :o) He is a great loyal friend and loves to live life with those friends. People say he looks and acts a lot like me… but I think he's way more handsome and goodlooking! And Lord knows he's got way more patience than I do. I love his laid back personality. He's also the one guy who has taken a huge liking to Football in our family. We had a superbowl party for the first time ever in our family this year…. and it's mostly because Joel gets us into the spirit! God uses his willingness to serve others all the time to really bless our lives and I am so grateful for him!
10…. and LAST but not LEAST… Tony. (the tiger…as I call him) He's definitely the baby. Now, Tony… I'm not calling you a baby, I'm just saying you're the youngest and you fit really well there. :o) Talk about energy. Talk about friendliness. Talk about adventure. Talk about Tony!!! This kid is either running a mile a minute or he's sitting down and his mouth is doing the running. :o) In whatever house we've lived in the past we never knew we had neighborhood kids until Tony came to town, then they would come out of the woodwork and be wanting to eat dinner with us covered in dirt! :o) What a little people person he is. And he gives the BEST hugs ever! I can't wait for my kids to get old enough to call him Uncle Tony (said with an italian accent)
Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood, we find a delightful creature of a boy.
— Author Unknown
That's my family. I'm one super blessed woman! Happy Tuesday!
*missing jere, anna, bradley and Dan!!