Good til the Last Drop


“Coffee doesn’t ask silly questions.  Coffee understands!” ~ Unknown

My name is Nikki and it has been 365 days since my last drop of coffee.  365 days…8,760 hours…525,600 minutes…31,536,000 seconds…but who’s counting.  Are those figures even right?!?!  Who knows…my brain has suffered serious caffeine deprivation and the consequences may be dire and irreversible.

Coffee was my favorite companion…the best part of waking up.  A best friend of sorts, she was constant in my life. Getting me through the challenging days of college, work, babies with 2 am feedings, and college again.  How was I to know that we would ever have to part?  I never could have imagined that a day would come when my sophisticated coffee palette would enter a Starbucks and be reduced to ordering a chamomile tea or a steamer a.k.a glorified warm milk.  I find it easier to enter a coffee shop incognito so that I will not embarrass my dear friend or shame myself with my boring drink order.

11 years ago I sat in a gasterologists office and he explained I had an issue with producing too much acid from my stomach. I had actually been battling this for 10 years prior to the diagnosis so I was happy to finally know the root of my problem.  “How can I fix this doctor?”  I naively asked.  “Your first line of defense will be your diet” he claimed.  “Start by eliminating coffee.”  WHAT?!?!?!  My laughter must have echoed through the halls of his office…it was the sort of laugh that bubbles up inside of you and comes out a sound close to hysteria.  Looking back I’m surprised he didn’t order a psych consult as he prescribe an antacid.  I then proceeded to lay down the ground rules for my doctor and my body…I would give up ANYTHING but I was NOT giving up my beloved friend, my precious coffee.  He agreed that coffee in small amounts, a few cups a day, would be fine.  I have a sinking suspicion that my doctors definition of a cup and my definition of a cup might be slightly different…but who can say for sure.  Phrases like “small amounts” or “a few cups” are so open for interpretation.  For 9 1/2 sweet years I enjoyed my friend, we were closer than ever.  There were days when even food wasn’t necessary as long as she was there.  It was pure bliss.  Then came the evening 365 days ago that my body said “ENOUGH!!!”

That day I knew it was time to say goodbye.  The echoes of Andrea Boccelli and Sarah Brightman accompanied this epic moment in my life as I parted with the one who had been with me through so much.  I loved my friend but she was now toxic to my body and I could enjoy her no more.  I knew a clean break would hurt deeply but would be most effective. Not since that day have I had a drop.  And NO…I will not drink decaf…it’s bad enough that I have been reduced to a tea drinker, I will not shame myself further by drinking decaf.

So today to all the coffee drinkers…

Raise your mugs and have an extra latte for me, your fallen comrade.  Never take for granted the simple pleasure of a smooth cup of coffee.  It is a gift and you should be thankful for it.  For now my prayer is that there will be rivers of coffee in heaven for me to enjoy eternally.

Timing is Everything


“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” ~ Dolly Parton

I am a writer, it is what I do.  No, I’m not an author…simply a writer.  My thoughts are best communicated when words flow from my mind to my hand, from the pen to the page.  Maybe this is the reason I have kept prayer journals for years.  I struggle to quiet my mind when I pray, yet when I write my prayers they effervesce out of me.  I wonder if this is how composers, song writers, authors, and other truly gifted artists feel as they come alive in their craft.  I am no Mozart, I don’t belong with the likes of Lennon and McCartney, and Shakespeare, Austen, and Hemingway would cringe if they thought I was even suggesting to be in their league.  LOL…I am amateur at best with my feeble attempt to write yet when I sit down to journal my heart to God or to answer His prompt to blog…that is when I find words…words He has crafted in me to share and words I return to Him is praise, worship, acknowledgment, anguish, despair, confession, and intercession.

Seven years ago…

There were no words, they died with my broken heart.  All that remained were the muted cries of anguish that screamed from the depths of my soul but the pain was too great for them to manifest into an audible sound.  I didn’t worry about whether I would ever find the words to journal again, I was more focused on trying to make sense out of the heartache that weighed down on my chest like a freight train.  As I sat in my living room the night my daughter died, rocking my body back and forth in a futile attempt to soothe the unsoothable ache, the thought that nothing would ever be okay again consumed me.  I cried out God to fix what seemed broken beyond repair…our hearts.

“Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything” ~ Unknown

One week after my daughter passed away my dear friend and grief counselor gave me a prayer journal.  The words of my heart flowed to the pages of that book like the haunting and aching melody of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  There is such beauty in the rawness of the human experience…crying out to the only One who can heal a heart that broken.  Of course at the time I didn’t see beauty, I felt the pain.  But in those moments the gift of communicating my deepest hurts, desires, fears, and hopes to God through the written word returned to me and the healing process had begun.  As I scour those journal entries now I am transported back to a time when God’s presence in my life was so strong…He was everywhere…I felt Him with me, physically.  His people showered love down upon us so lavishly that as I reflect I am awed by how much God took care of us.  His hand print was everywhere.  In my desperate prayers I begged Him to help us survive.  He did more than help us survive…He transformed our family through His love so that we could thrive.

“I AM ABLE to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine…Do not be discouraged by the fact that many of your prayers are yet unanswered.  Time is a trainer, teaching you to wait upon Me, to trust Me in the dark.  The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My power and glory at work in the situation…Keep your eyes and your mind wide open to all that I am doing in your life.” ~ Jesus Calling, Sarah Young

Tomorrow will be seven years since losing our precious Francesca.  As I sit here tonight I am in awe of just how far God has taken our family since that fateful afternoon in 2008.  I asked for survival and He gave me beauty like I’ve never experienced amidst the ashes.  I asked for healing and He gave me peace and purpose.  I asked for my daughter to be a miracle and every day I live, every breath I take I do so knowing that I walk in the miracle of my precious girl’s life.  It is through Francesca that God was able to mold me into all that He created me to be.  She was a miracle…my miracle…she helped me fall hopelessly in love with my God, to fully surrender my life to Him…every part of my life.

Timing is everything.  Seven years ago I sat in the middle of the destruction of my imploded life.  Tonight I sit here in awe of my God and how His plan and His purpose far exceeds anything we could ever imagine.  Seven years ago I wondered day-to-day how I would get out of bed…This morning I got out of bed to start a new chapter in God’s plan for my life.  In the rhapsody of this paradox I could feel the words coming alive inside me waiting for the right moment of release.  The awe I felt reflecting on the road I had traveled…the road that God has carried me down.  Three years after Francesca died I felt God place a call on my life.  He guided me back to school because He desired to use me in ministry.  I had no idea what it would all look like and I really didn’t care…I had learned to just trust that still, soft voice.  It was the voice that had brought me comfort, healing, hope and peace.  I trusted Him to guide every aspect of my future so on to school I went.  I graduated over a year ago and have been in a holding pattern since the day I put my last period on a research paper.  God had told me to wait…the time wasn’t right…so I waited.  Believe me, waiting for a Type A, Doer is not an easy thing to do.  But I trusted God’s purpose AND His timing (even if I thought He was kinda slow at times).  Today of all days the wait came to end and I began my journey into full-time ministry.  Some will say the timing of this is pure coincidence.  I don’t believe in coincidence…I don’t believe in chance.  I believe that my God is always at work in the details.  Beautifully crafting the timing of certain events for His purpose…even if it’s merely to remind us that His hand print is everywhere.  To illustrate that He does make all things new.  To demonstrate how He turns the pain, that evil would like to use to destroy us, into the catalyst for His plan and purpose for our lives.

Tonight I go to sleep with words of celebration as vibrant as any heavenly scene Michelangelo could have ever created in my head.  In a  dream I am one of the great artists creating a masterpiece of praise.  Praising the love and grace our Creator God showers upon us, a love that is faithful and limitless.  And I  Celebrate the beautiful life of my precious Francesca, the one who pointed my life straight into the will of God.  Seven years ago I would have said this blog entry was impossible…tonight I say “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13