Nothing is Wasted Feature

I had the privilege of sharing my story for Davey and Kristi Blackburn’s incredible blog, Nothing is Wasted. Click the link below to read:

https://www.nothingiswasted.com/stories-blog/nicole-warner

Thank you all for your support and for following along in our journey. It means so much to me! Thankful for you all. Really.

The Year of the Widow; Taking Back My Power

Because my world was rocked so early into the new year, it kind of segmented 2019 in my mind. This year is the year of being a widow, less a couple weeks. It would have been so easy to retreat, to stay home and avoid situations where I had to interact with people, or may encounter something that might make me emotional. I quickly realized that that was not a healthy approach and would not help in my healing in any way. Secluding myself would only allow me to dwell and get more sad, but putting myself out there forced me to dig deep and find strength I never knew I had. And almost every time, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. My mind would make me think I couldn’t handle it or that it would be too hard.

So, I set a goal for myself early this year to run in as many states as possible. Well, it was kind of unintentional at first. The initial few months were difficult to find my footing and any sort of routine. I am very active and normally work out daily, but I was completely doubled over in shock and pain for the first few weeks.

As the weather broke a little and I felt more solid, I hit the ground running (get it?!). Running in Florida in early March gave me the idea to keep myself going. To continue to get out there and live life. I am extremely active and adventurous, and I didn’t want the death of my husband to make me retreat. And I began to realize that not only was exercising good for my body, but it was incredibly helpful at keeping me feeling good mentally. It was my therapy.

I so clearly remember doing our taxes in February and just feeling so sad and HEAVY. I got home and told me sister I needed to run, so I did. And when I got back, that heaviness I felt was significantly lighter. The sadness was still there, but I realized that endorphins are an honest and true thing. And that is medicine in itself.

I still want to enjoy and experience life, so I continued to say yes. I continued to work out and run when I could, experiencing new towns and states I was unfamiliar with. So as of today, my 2019 state run count looks like this:

New Hampshire

Massachusetts

Florida

Maine

Rhode Island

Connecticut

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

So on the surface, this looks like a running challenge. But it really became more than that. To continue to experience life. To connect with nature and cultures different than what I am used to. To run with people I love (or barely know!) and get sweaty and uncomfortable. To visit new cities and meet new people. To look fear and the unknown in the face and to prove that I am strong. I am not afraid of what the future holds.

My life won’t stop because Marcus died. I did not die with him. There is still so much to experience, and so much good to be found.

So… how many states can I add before the year is out? And who wants to run with me?!

tank / shorts / sports bra / sneakers /headphones / stroller

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Never Alone – Be Still Ministries

Thoughts have been swirling in my brain these past few days. This past weekend was so therapeutic, so healing and inspiring. I was invited to spend the weekend with other young widows. Widows in their 30’s and 40’s with young children, just like me. It was painful, but also a special sort of wonderful to know that it wasn’t just me. I am not alone in this crazy and challenging journey.

I met a few women with my traditional super exuberant “nice to meet you!!” and quickly followed by “actually, terrible to meet you.” Because the reality of how and why we were all meeting was so painful. There were stories of husbands who were lost in plane accidents, cancer, suicide, drowning, and a whole lot of heart issues (Jesus… Jesus.).

God was there in a way that could almost not be explained. There was so much hurt. So much pain. So much healing.

But God. But redemption. The panel of amazing widows offered insight of their journeys beyond the fresh moments and months through grief. Their stories of survival and how God has sustained them and their babies through this treacherous journey. It wasn’t so much the fact that they all have their “after” (remarried), more like they have made it through the fire. And another marriage was just another perk that God gifted to them. These women were four, six, or twenty years past when their husbands had passed and unanimously agreed that they ALWAYS will be grieving. Their husbands will always be a part of their lives, and they will always love them. He will always be the father of their children. It was so nice to see others honor and respect that, as I have been doing, and want to do for the rest of my life. It was just so good to see that I am on the right path. I am following Jesus and that has carried me through this journey. And My trajectory is one of strength and healing, as it should be. God will use me, use my story, for His glory and to help others.

A daughter of one of the mentor widows sat at the front of the room on Saturday. Through tears she exclaimed how much she loved her daddy, but her first thoughts as a child wasn’t of sadness, it was of her mom’s strength. She was only 18 months old when her daddy died, so too young to even remember him. Just so heartbreaking. But to see this gorgeous young lady, so smart and put together, talk about how God is GOOD and how He has worked it out for good, was just so encouraging. My kids will be OK. I will be ok. I am doing a good job, by God’s grace, and we have an incredible story beyond this.

We discussed how to deal with child grief with a counselor, stories of other widows who have since been remarried, finances, dating, and all of it. There are a lot of dynamics that come with being a widow beyond the fact that our husbands died. It is honestly so complicated and there is one million things that come with being a widow aside from the fact that our husbands died. It is work. It is really hard. It is a lot to manage.

Honestly, it was comforting just simply being in a room with women who know exactly what I have gone through. Or, women have gone through it and have seen success beyond it. I could sit next to these women without saying a word, and I know their story. They were me. I was them. I know their pain and I have felt the intensity of crazy emotions.

Being a widow is now a huge part of my life, but it will not negatively define my life. I won’t let this stop me from living. I will let this be a catapult to how I should be living. Let it strengthen me and give me tools and empathy that I could never had before to the same degree.

God allowed this to happen. And God will reveal to me why. I pray I see that in this lifetime. I pray that my children see success and health, not forever be in the mindset of sadness that their daddy isn’t here. He won’t be here to help them with homework or to walk them down the aisle. But he is in Heaven with Jesus and they have the most supportive cheerleaders than anyone else in this world. They will be advocates for Jesus. They will know their daddy. Because I won’t stop talking about him. And none of us ever should.

Here are some pictures from the retreat! Most I borrowed from the girls there…. I am SO bad about taking pictures!

Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible! Thank you to the mentors, Rachel, Brittany, Ginger, and Paige. Thank you to Be Still Ministries for making this whole thing possible. It was so valuable, so refreshing, and I feel so recharged and inspired. This is a group of ladies I will value forever. Thank you, Lord.

Three Months From Now…

Just chillin with my free samples.

I am a doer. Plans are great in my head, but sometimes I get stuck on the details (we can’t be good at everything, right?. I was so happy when Basic Invite reached out to me to help organize my brain and get my thinking past next week and into the holidays! I tend to wait a little too long to order my Christmas cards online, and then I feel overwhelmed trying to choose the perfect cards. Never mind the time it takes to print and have them delivered to me. And THEN to address them and mail them out. All before Christmas. In theory.

I had a hard time deciding which card was my favorite since Basic Invite offers so many gorgeous styles. They also offer complete customization and almost unlimited color options too, so I had so much fun playing around! You can customize online and see an instant preview online. They also have 40 different envelope options. I think that is a really nice way to make your card stand out among the others!

The feature I REALLY loved was that they offer FREE custom samples. I am a very visual person, so it really helped to hold my choices in my hand to decide what my favorite option was. They also offer free address capturing services and foil options.

It would be just as helpful to use the free samples for your
holiday party invitations or even happy holiday cards!

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51

Plan ahead and take advantage of it! You will thank yourself come Thanksgiving…

Please act surprised family and friends when one of these arrives in your mailbox in a few months… I just can’t decide which one! What would you choose?

Check out some of their beautiful options!

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The Darkness is Good for us.

The darkness is good for us.

As I was putting my youngest to bed tonight, she complained about how dark her room was, as she does every night. And every night I tell her how even though she may not like it, the dark environment is good for her. It is beneficial to help her brain relax and have a good night’s sleep. More scientifically, it helps the brain to produce melatonin which assists with the sleep cycle, among many other physical and emotional benefits. Light activates the brain. We are drawn to light naturally, as much as it is natural to pull away from the dark.

Meanwhile I am coaching myself while reassuring my child.

The darkness is good for us. It is good for me.

For a child, dark is just dark. You can’t see the benefit to it because you just don’t like it. You want a nightlight or closet light on to be able to see your surroundings. Because the unknown is scary, right? Fear. Fear of what we can’t see. And it is so easy for our brains, much like our children’s, to fabricate the scariest of visions when we aren’t sure what is around us. What is ahead of us. The present and future aren’t visible, and that in itself is petrifying.

What we envision is happening in the dark is usually far less scary than our reality. And a lot of times, we don’t even have anything to fear. Our imagination is taking flight, and we are allowing it.

If we didn’t have the dark, we wouldn’t appreciate the light. And limiting the dark isn’t really what is best for us. Trying to move away from the dark won’t let us learn or grow through it. We need to be present in the dark, experience the pain and discomfort, and grow from it. Choose to find a purpose in it. Press into it.

We don’t choose the dark, but we can control what happens with it.

The dark has a purpose, even if we don’t like it or want to experience it, the dark exists for a reason. We can resist it, or we can embrace it and appreciate it for what it does for us. Hold on to the dark and look forward to the light.

The dark is good for us.