Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday Wonder - Nik

How does she think of these things?
Walking into Atlee's 6th birthday party last month, Basden ran to join the girls on the living room rug decorating an enormous wrapped box with glitter, markers, stickers, and all things girly. The moms visited, toddlers prattled around, and the girls remained enthralled decorating that big, beautiful present.
It was a spa party (or Pet Shop judging by the gifts!), which Basden kept referring to as a "spy" party... and Nikki had brought in a couple of friends to treat the girls with manicures, pedicures, and fancy makeup.
After Atlee opened her gifts and hugged each friend, Nikki simply brought over the glorious present the girls had worked so hard on.
"Ok, everyone, are you ready to see what's inside?"
I noticed one girl actually hold her breath with anticipation.
True excitement.
With the go ahead from the party mom, the girls tore into the box.
The room filled with squeals and ripping paper.
Finally, one girl pulled open the top of the box.
Disappointment filled their little faces.
Nikki showed mock surprise, and she quietly said, "Oh my goodness, it's empty! What a beautiful gift, but there's nothing inside."

She walked across the room and lifted a plain, unadorned brown cardboard box.
"Do you want to open this and see if there's anything inside? I know the box isn't as beautiful, but maybe there's something in here for us."
Again, the girls clamored to open plain box and discovered colorful packages containing crafts, sticker books, candy and party favors. Laughter and delighted squeals again filled the room.
Nikki (quietly, as she does everything quietly) finished the object lesson, explaining that we can't always tell the value of something from the outside. While the first box got everyone's attention with it's beauty and sparkle, it held nothing for us. But the simple, rather ugly box offered abundant treasures.

My friend Nikki is a constant source of creativity and inspiration, especially when it comes to parenting, marriage, and decorating. Oh, and cooking. And menu planning. And obviously birthday parties.
And she is a loyal friend.

Some of my favs about Nikki...
- For decorating inspiration, she pages through "Shabby Chic" and "Domino" side-by-side. Her furniture is rearranged a little differently every time I visit.
- My only friend besides Paulette who regularly prepares authentic Greek food. Yum.
- Jeff and Nikki left the comfort of our well-established, fantastic church nearly four years ago to help plant our current (beautiful!) church, Trinity Chapel Bible Church. It has made all the difference to walk alongside the Anderson family in this process.
- She inspires me to take time with my kids and enjoy them by simply modeling this with her own family.
- Upon meeting Nikki, you might think she's quiet and shy and maybe even a pushover. You'd be wrong. She's actually very spirited, has definite opinions, and is good at saying "no" to events and activities that might threaten their family's guarded schedule.
- She and Jeff regularly invite their neighbors and new families at church for dinner or to spend time together. They truly foster community with those around them.
- After 5 years of friendship, I have never heard Nikki raise her voice. But just wait til she gets going on the passport story - you must ask her!
- She and Jeff share a great marriage, and just being with them makes you appreciate and desire to prioritize your own marriage.
- As described above, she takes simple every day things (birthday parties) and adds some depth and focus on what's really important.

I could go on... and on... this girl's got too many qualities to highlight here.
Nik, thanks for your friendship, you are a "vital" friend in my life.

** Look for my Wednesday Wonder posts (most weeks!) - please forgive the cheesy name - as I highlight inspiring friends and people in my life... enjoy! **