Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's that time again...

I hate grocery shopping. Absolutely hate it.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't care about prices, but I simply can't NOT compare prices and clip coupons to keep more money in my pocket. It just takes forever for me to sit down and plan meals along with the whole price matching/coupon cutting, and then on top of that go out to actually get what we need. I would much rather spend all that time scrapbooking.

So basically what I'm saying is that if anyone would like to volunteer to come and do all of that for me, that would be great. Thanks. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Past Year and a Half...

Here it is, as promised...a quick update covering the major events of the past year and half of our lives as husband and wife. There's a lot to take in and sometimes it's difficult for me to even comprehend all that we've done and all we've been through, but it's definitely been exciting and we're looking forward with anticipation to what's coming next.

1. Marriage

June 7th, 2008 was the day our two separate lives officially joined into one. Little did we know then how much joy we would experience being able to spend each day with our best friend! We knew even less about how difficult it would be to start living with another person who is totally and completely different than you (in a good way of course). But, after being great friends for a year and a half, dating for about 9 months and being engaged for another 8 months, we were more than ready to be together for the rest of our lives, and so far so good :)

2. Ministry

After returning from our honeymoon in Tennessee, we immediately jumped into full-time ministry! Brett was hired as the full-time children's minister at Kingsway Christian Church here in Omaha, and I was blessed to be able to join the ministry team as an intern. We also both went back to school at Nebraska Christian College that fall, me full-time and Brett part-time.

3. Trip to Salt Lake City, Utah

As a student at NCC, we are required to take a week off classes every spring and focus on ministry somewhere outside our classroom walls. In 2009, Brett and I signed up for the trip to Salt Lake City and came back changed. We went expecting to spend time with good friends, enjoy fellowship and perform a couple service projects, but in a nutshell, the trip was a shifting point for us in how we lived and carried out our professed faith in Christ. From where we stand now, we look back and credit this trip as being the event that changed the course of our spiritual lives.

4. Graduating!

On May 9, 2009, after 4 years of hard work, I (Nicole) could finally call myself a college graduate! I received a Bachelor's degree in Family Life Ministry and Counseling, and while the moment of knowing my college years had come to an end was bittersweet, I was reassured in knowing that the adventure God had laid out from that point forward was going to be incredibly exciting.

5. New Job

On July 7th, 2009 I started my new full-time job at Open Door Mission. I was hired as a Volunteer Associate, mainly to help coordinate and facilitate the work our volunteers do for/with us. With the hope of moving into a case-management position in the near future, I began working at one of the biggest homeless shelters in the Midwest. Let me tell you, the minute I began working at ODM, God began stretching me out of my comfort zone and challenging me to address so many heart issues I had tried to ignore. Words cannot describe how much of a blessing this job, this ministry, has been.

6. Anniversary Trip

In order to celebrate our first year of marriage and spend time away with each other before the new (and LAST) school year started for Brett, we booked a week long trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico. We definitely enjoyed the rest and relaxation and having no schedule whatsoever!

7. Transition, transition, transition...

Since Labor Day weekend 2009, this has been the theme of our lives. We first found ourselves transitioning through a difficult season in the life of our church family at Kingsway. Our lead pastor resigned and the circumstances were not very pleasant. While we knew (and still know for that matter) that God was completely in control and worthy of trusting, our hearts were broken and the loss was great.

After about a month and a half after that whole process began, we found ourselves facing a new transition as a couple, this time with our physical living location. We had felt unrest for quite some time about how isolated and comfortable we were and decided it was time for us to move. We had been living on our college campus in the married student housing units for over a year and felt it was time to get out into the "real" world and be the light and salt we had learned about in our classes. So, at the end of October, with a new roommate Michael in tow, we moved to a new apartment complex in Omaha and have already seen God work through us to make connections with our neighbors.

Our most recent transition has been in regards to Brett's job at the church. Ever since returning from our Salt Lake City trip last May, there was a desire in Brett to do something other than children's ministry. He didn't know what and he didn't know why, but God had begun to mold and shape his heart on that trip to reach out to a different group of people, particularly the poor, homeless and marginalized. Through many tough conversations and serious prayer filled months, Brett was offered to fill the position of Worship/Outreach Ministry at Kingsway.

Well, that pretty much covers it. While highly condensed and abbreviated, this list contains the major things that have made this past year and a half so great, so challenging, so rewarding and so incredibly unbelievable.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Get Ready

After taking some time to sit and be quiet, I (Nicole) have come to realize that the past year and half has been the most challenging, exciting, difficult, blessed, unbelievable, God-ordained time I've ever experienced. In fact, you could probably insert any number of descriptive words into that list, and we would be able to find some instance or situation we have encountered that fits perfectly. I don't have the time right now to write about all those events that have made up our last year and half of life, but more details will be coming in the near future, I promise (perhaps even this evening if you're lucky). So, with that introduction, I give you the Ricley blog. And if there is one thing I can tell you, just get ready. God has done and is doing so many amazing things in our life and we can't wait to share them with you.