Mad for…Nicole

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-hearted bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

(Langston Hughes)

Above, on the left, is my former CRHP sister, Nicole Hanna. I met her at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church in Fishers, Indiana. Nicole is pictured here with her daughter, Maggie, who apparently isn’t super easy to get to bed? She is also the mom to three handsome boys and the wife of Chad. Several years ago, Nicole left her suburban home in Fishers and moved to the farm. The Hanna family now lives on a beautiful piece of property near Shirley, Indiana (I think). It was a bold move taking on such a drastic lifestyle change, but I have to say it seems to suit her. She’s now a grade school teacher, and I’d bet a very exceptional one. I keep up with my old friend mostly through social media, and since she’s an old soul who speaks my love language, following her is one of my best kept secrets to keeping my priorities straight and my mental health in check.

Nicole is faith-filled woman with a huge heart, a native of Lansing, Michigan and a BIG Michigan State Spartans fan! I’m a diehard Boilermaker who grew up in Purdue’s backyard, so I utterly identify with her passion, even if we disagree on which BIG TEN team is superior. She posts pictures of homemade pies that are so beautiful I swear I can smell the sweet goodness through my iPhone, and even more glorious shots of sunsets that make me want to move to the wide open spaces too!

Sensitive, loving, thoughtful and silly are words I would choose to describe Nicole. She is also incredibly beautiful. What makes her phenomenal to me is the way she can spin words in such a way that my heart is expanded and inspired. The number of times I have taken a screen shot of one of her Instagram posts is sort of embarrassing. Instead of trying to poorly explain why, I’d rather just have you read her words from today. They accompanied the poem I posted at the top of today’s entry.

“When I was in third grade, I had to memorize this poem and recite it. Moreover, I also had to understand what it meant, which made me learn about Langston Hughes, which made me learn about his historical significance, which made me want to know more. This poem made me fall in love…with words, with writing, with language, with ways we communicate, and with reading. This didn’t happen all at once. After all, I was only 9. But 30 years later, it has stuck with me. It’s these little things, that may seem insignificant but they are life changing. The seeds will grow and bloom and bring life to our lives. I’m hoping that I can plant some seeds- in my own children and in my school children. That’s my goal. That’s my dream.”

Well, Mrs. Hanna, let me tell you a little something. Your honest and sometimes utterly raw sharing has planted some seeds and brought some life in places you may never even know– including in the heart of a grown woman you once knew back in Hamilton County. You are special beyond what I can express, Nicole. THANK YOU for the gift of your sharing, your love of words, and your unimaginably glorious heart! Keep on keeping on, sister! Those four children of yours, and the ones that are blessed to land in your classroom? Well, they are beyond lucky.

You belong to God, children….for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

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