Saturday, December 5, 2015

How do you like them... potatoes?

*****edit: this definitely should have been posted on our couple's blog, I don't know what I was thinking. Update: since January, Gabriel and I no longer work for ctc. A very long story. Transition is here yet again, keep us in your prayers.

Well, folks, if you had told me a year ago, maybe even 6 months ago that I'd be in Idaho right now I would not have believed you.

Actually... I probably would have. I'd be liable to believe any crazy thing at this point. And you probably think we have commitment issues with the amount of job flipping and moving around we do, not to mention trying out new schools and ministries. [Only a little ;)]

The truth is, we are still young, still trying to figure out this complicated thing called life, and still trying to find our place in the midst of this crazy world. God has led us to some strange places, and asked us to do some even stranger things, but hey, "I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes..." (1 Samuel 6:22) if that's what it takes to be obedient to the Lord, it's all for His glory and not my own.

We are young, and we have dreams. And we are bold enough to believe those dreams can come true. We just don't want to settle for less. It's an adventure, for sure! Trying out different places and things whether it's to learn something for the future, to figure out what we need/don't need or like/don't like, or just biding our time until our next opportunity has been both interesting and kind of exhilarating. We have a lot of great stories, that's for sure.

I'd rather live my life having tried out a lot of different things, seen different places, met different people, and experienced a wide variety of life than to work some boring 9-5 job I don't care about every day of my life until I'm old and gray.

I will say I'm getting the point in my life where I'm starting to feel a longing for my own home. A place to call my own, something that is ours where we can live and make memories and enjoy life. This is very interesting, because until recently, that had never mattered to me. I never cared about consistency. In fact, moving into a new place was always exciting, with the options being open and trying something new. I guess it's because I moved around so much as a kid, but actually, after a while in one place I'd start to get antsy, and desire to move on. But now, it's just starting to feel like, I could actually settle down somewhere and enjoy it. Really having our own house. How exciting! It's not time yet, and I can wait. But it's an interesting development, and let the record show I'm taking note.

So, all that jibber jabber aside Gabriel is working as the art assistant in a real comic studio! And getting paid! To make art! Granted, he's not being paid much and it's very, very part-time, but it's still awesome. For that I'm thankful. He's learning a lot and enjoying it.

We were originally planning for me to come and be the office manager, but plans changed and I've taken on the role of Sales and Marketing manager, which mostly consists of running the online store for commission on orders filled, and some online marketing that I do on a volunteer basis. I'm currently contacting different comic stores around the country to try and get our books carried, so if you guys have a favorite store or know of one in your area please let me know! I'm currently on the look out for good leads.

We are also working on a big proposal to hopefully start selling at Conventions. My hope is that starting in February Gabriel will turn in his notice at his other part-time job and we'll be full-time Coffee Table Comic-ers! Scary, and also exciting! The plan would be to do 1-2 shows per month and on the weeks when we aren't traveling work in the office here in Idaho. If any of you know of any Comic Conventions, book fairs, or other events where exhibitors are allowed and you think our books would sell I would love to hear about it. It's always helpful to have local information. My plan is to try some of the smaller more local shows as well as the big ones, to see how sales are. My thought is, since the smaller shows are so much cheaper to get into, we still might be able to walk away with close to the same amount of profit even if there are less sales due to fewer attendees.

Please, keep us in your prayers! We are having a blast but have been really tight on money, especially with the holidays and everything, and that has been a major area of testing for us. We are striving day in and day out to trust God to provide for us.

There is a new and updated Coffee Table comics website that looks pretty sweet if I do say so, so please check that out. There will be a blog happening there that will have posts from both Gabriel and myself at some points in regards to what we're doing, learning, etc and how things are going at ctc, so for those of you who are interested in being updated, check that out.

I will try to get some regular updates on our couples blog, the endless frontier, so follow that if you like. My personal blog I'm going to try to use for my writing: some poems, Bible/theology essays, fiction (for fun) including but not limited to allegories, and maybe some non fiction articles about things that interest me -fitness, eating healthy, organizing, diy projects, etc. If you are interested in reading those feel free to follow me here.

I hope you all are doing well. Feel free to send me your updates and prayer requests. God bless!

-Nikki

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Come back tomorrow...


In a small Wisconsin town in the 1930s the bitter cold bit at a young girl's nose. Her clothes were wearing thin and her coat now had holes throughout. But there were no new winter coats in this town. There was no food, either. There was no work. And no money. They were calling it "The Great Depression". I guess there were hardly any new winter coats in any town. This young 8-year-old girl was wondering why she couldn't have grown up somewhere warmer when she finally arrived home. She almost missed it due to the snow blowing around her now numb face. She had to pull hard to open the door against the force of the blustering wind. 

"Amber, thank goodness, you're home." Her mothers weak voice met her at the door. Their home was small, only two rooms. One for cooking and eating and sitting by the fire, and one for sleeping. Everyone slept in there. All seven of them. Mother was sitting in their only chair -a rocking chair, mending some clothes. The baby whined in her cradle, while mother rocked it with her foot. The two next smallest ones were curled up at her feet, wrapped up in one blanket the two of them, napping. Sleeping to ignore their hunger, it was all they could do until supper. Amber was the second oldest, and was usually proud of that fact, but not today. "John is out searching for firewood, my dear, I know it's very cold but I need you to go out again." Amber barely made it home from school without freezing, how could she go back out again? "Your father waited in the breadlines all day, but we just don't have enough. My dear girl, I've heard that the grocer on 7th street sometimes has pity on those of us with too many mouths to feed, I need you to go and ask him for food, please, dear. I know it's cold. But your father and brother are getting weak from not eating, they've been leaving their share for the little ones, we have to find them something..." She trailed off not bothering to explain what would happen if they didn't, Amber was old enough to understand. That's what the depression had done to her. What it had done to a lot of little girls. 

She just nodded, working up her courage, trying to be strong and gave her mother a hug to reassure her. As she pulled away her mother placed something in her hand, something heavy. An old pocket watch. Amber recognized it, it was grandfather's. Mother had saved it all these years after he had passed away. She couldn't mean for Amber to pay the grocer with this? It was too valuable...and too not valuable? The pocket watch wasn't anything special to anyone but grandfather and mother. It was really old, and wasn't even made of a nice metal like gold or silver, it was just your basic pocket watch. Would the grocer really want this old thing? Tick. tick tick. It did still work...amazing. Amber wondered at it for a long time, until mother closed her hand around it firmly, "You'd better go." Amber's eyes met mothers, all mother did was nod, she couldn't utter the words, but this was all they had left of any value. She had to convince the grocer to take it.  She took a deep breath before opening that stubborn door again, as if it was warning her not to go out, she only hoped she could make it back at all, much less with food in hand. 

She had put on a brave face for mother but once outside in that freezing gust her fear cut at her worse than the chill. She fought back tears, knowing they would freeze on her face and make matters worse. Tick tick tick. The pocket watch encouraged her to go on, she shoved the hand gripping it into her coat pocket, and forced herself to move forward. She pushed on for what seemed like miles but was really only a few blocks, and just when she felt like giving up -curling up in a sad frozen ball in the gutter, a wooden sign clanked against a wall. The wind kept blowing the sign but she made it out with ease, mostly from memory, "Grocer". 

She pushed inside past the wind and collapsed against it, once it closed. "My, my, who is this? I'm closed for the day." The room felt noticeably warm and the familiar grocer walked toward her from behind his counter, he wasn't a tall man, but he had very kind eyes. They reminded her of honey, warm and sweet. His smooth hair and mustache were dark brown, like chocolate. Everything in here reminded her of food! Her stomach growled loudly and she immediately blushed. "My child, you poor thing, have you eaten anything today?" She stared at the floor ashamed, "I had some milk this morning." He shook his head sadly and extended her a hand, she willingly took it and he hoisted her up on her feet. 

"Please, sir," she said, "I know you're closed, but don't send me away with nothing. I've walked all this way in the freezing cold, I barely made it here against that awful wind, and I'm exhausted from trudging through all the snow. Please, you can't send me away empty handed. What will mother say?" The man looked at her with compassion in his honey eyes, "Mother? Did your mother send you?" She sniffed, in the warmth her nose was starting to run, and nodded. "Father waited all day in the bread lines, you see, but there are seven of us, and well, we just don't have enough. The little ones don't know it but father and John, that's my older brother, they keep giving their portion to them. So they haven't eaten in days. They are getting too weak to chop firewood, or wait in lines for food or work. They can't go on this way. They will get ill. Or worse..." He quietly, patiently listened to her rambling explanation, nodding ever so often to reassure her. But she couldn't finish that last sentence. She didn't want to. He had to understand. Surely. Instead she just stuck out her frozen hand, still clutching the old pocket watch, and opened it to reveal her offer. Surely he would understand. "My, my, what is this you've got here?" He examined the watch carefully. "This is very old. Probably an antique. I can't believe it's still ticking." Believe it, the watch prided with it's tick tick tick. "This is a special little watch, where did you get it?" She was encouraged that he took such an interest in the watch, "It was my grandfather's. Please, it's all I have. Couldn't I trade it for some food? Anything will do." He stared at the watch carefully. "I see." He hesitated, and Amber understood, it wasn't very valuable at all. She hung her head, she had failed, what would mother say? "I'll take a look back here and see what I have left." She couldn't believe her ears, her head shot up, "You will?" He laughed and it seemed that even his eyes were smiling, "I certainly will." 

He sent her home with a bag of food, but not without having a warm cup of tea with her by the fire. He wanted her to warm up before going back out into the cold. And maybe he was lonely. He did live and work here all alone. The bag had a few potatoes, a piece of bread, and a handful of nuts still in their shell. Small enough for her to carry, and plenty for them to eat tonight. He walked her to the door but before opening it he took her hand and placed in it grandfather's watch, he closed her hand around it and whispered with a smile and a twinkle in his kind eyes, "Come back tomorrow."


This phrase is what inspired me to write this story. Come back tomorrow... just like the grocer only gave Amber what she could easily carry, enough for one day, and yet, invited her to return again for more when she needed it -the next day, God has been so drawing on my heart. I pray for wisdom, I pray for peace, I pray for strength, He gives me what I need and says, "Come back tomorrow." Scripture says his mercies are new every morning! [Lamentations 3:22-23] If they are new then why should we hoard it today? We know we can come back for more, fresh tomorrow. He knows exactly what we will need in order to face each and every day, and all we need to do is ask...each and every day. He wants us to come back because He loves us, He loves spending time with us. We shouldn't be asking for God to make us wise or strong, but instead that He would give us the wisdom for today, the strength we need to get through the day. 

Solomon asked God for wisdom, and he got it. And yet, he did some really stupid things in his lifetime. What happened to his wisdom? God was faithful to give it, Solomon definitely had access to it, but maybe he got cocky and thought he was wise enough, and that he didn't need God anymore. Solomon himself says in Ecclesiates 12:11 "The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. " This, I believe, is why Jesus taught us to pray for "our daily bread". He wasn't literally talking about bread, or even physical provision, but spiritual bread! What is bread if not nourishment? What you need to make it through the day! This is how we should pray, that God would give us what we need to get through this day, and then come back tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2015

6/1/13

Written 6/1/13 (Because I hate loose ends...aka unpublished drafts!)
It's also an interesting back story to why we ended up in Idaho which is why I went ahead and posted it so late and why I'm keeping it up now.

Hello friends, it's been a while but I'm finally blogging again. May was the craziest month for me! I started a new job and did two trips two weekends in a row! That wasn't on purpose. Gabriel mentioned to me that an artist he follows and really likes wasn't coming to the Denver convention this year but the nearest one to Colorado he was going to was Phoenix. I thought it sounded fun seeing as I've never been to Phoenix so I told Gabriel to look up costs for tickets and travel expenses and maybe we could manage it for his birthday! (Even though it was a month later). We ended up budgeting it out of our tax returns, so it worked out. Later we realized a family event -my grandparent's 50th anniversary party, happened to be the weekend before! I only realized this about a month before the trip :P 
The first trip (to Texas) we flew Southwest. That was an adventure! For one, Gabriel and I have a bad habit of waiting until the last second to pack or get even remotely ready for our trips, which results in an extremely stressful night before, especially when have to get up early the next morning, usually accompanying some sort of emotional breakdown on my part! This time wasn't completely my fault, though, because I was planning on spending the day of (Friday) getting ready because I got our flight in the evening, around 6 pm. However, Thursday I got a last minute interview with Gabriel's boss and she was desperately understaffed so she hired me on the spot and asked me to come in the next day.  So, Gabriel and I only had a few hours to get ready for our trip before we needed to go to bed so we could get up for work at 5:30 am. Needless to say we squandered what time we did have and were up late getting ready.