A Mosaic in the Making

    Pieces of My Life

    Nicki Black  June 16 2010 07:31:54 PM
    Image:Pieces of My Life

    Most people think I'm a serious person when they meet me. But I'm not. Seriously.


    People also like to assume I'm the babysitter when I'm out with my children, and it doesn't help that my 12 year old is now taller than me, and I still get an occasional break out on my chin (meh). I'll be 40 next year so I'll take all the 20-something year old comments I can get, right?

    I was born and raised in the Midwest, smack in the middle of a spattering of cornfields dancing with the suburbia sprawl of progress. I spent my days as a kid rollerskating every chance I got, and in bell bottom pants and butterfly sleeves, waiting at the window for friends to come over so I could give them disco lessons (and shedding a lot of tears when they didn't). I also found myself re-enacting the musicals Annie and Zorba the Greek to my Holly Hobby and Raggity Ann and Andy dolls, and latchkeying my way through the week while both parents worked and my older brothers went on with their lives because they were 9, 10, and 11 years older than me. I think of myself as a last born only child, although my family likes to tell me that I was picked up at a garage sale for a quarter.

    My education was completely at the clutch of the public school system. I remember my parents giving me the option of attending a small Christian high school, but not really understanding that kind of opportunity nor growing up with much of a Christian foundation, I declined because I thought I wanted to be with all my friends from middle school. Unfortunately (fortunately) not being a joiner, I didn't go the clique route, so I spent most of my high school years figuring out who I was and where I fit in, ala Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink (yeah, I even had my own Ducky. *warm sigh*). I was kind of lonely, but also kind of liberated, in that I didn't care who was doing what or wearing who, so I'm quite sure my Mom saved thousands on designer clothes that could have whined their way into my closet. Ultimately what saved me was joining the school band and a summer Scottish marching band (We were North American champs consecutive years in the '80's). Somewhere in my senior year I finally found the reality that I beat to my own drum, and it was ok to be ok with that. Band gave me a host of lifelong friends, a passion for music and collaborated creativity, and some of the best memories I have to date. Some people are brought back to wonderful places in their past with the delicious aroma of perfume or granny's rhubarb pie. With me, I'm brought back when I hear a drum cadence or get a big whiff of Aqua Net hairspray from all the years of plying my hair up with braids while in my wool kilt.

    Fast forward a number of years and 800 and some-odd miles, and I ended up in the Southeast, all alone, forging my way on my own in a new place after a horrific relationship gone very bad just about as soon as I arrived. Sitting in the dark with about 42 cents to my name, I met Jesus as I channel surfed through every late night preacher on tv. I plugged into a Bible study after calling the suicide hotline, combing through the phone book for a church, and finding a safe place to live, in that order. Even though that particular church was only for a season, I met my husband there and we became best friends before anything romantic took hold. .... Actually, he fell in love with me first, even though I wanted nothing more than friendship. He even showed up on a date of mine, and introduced himself to the guy by shaking his hand, saying, "You can date her, but I'm going to marry her...". About a year later I cut his hair and fell in love with him in a blink of an eye. For real. We've been married for 14 years now. Our eldest, our 12 year old daughter, was born at 40 wks + 3 days underwater by midwives (LOVED it, highly recommend), after I was on bedrest for a month for premature contractions (DIDN'T love it, don't recommend). Our youngest, our 3 year old son, was born 2 months prematurely after a very uncertain and difficult pregnancy and a lot of sleepless nights of trusting the Lord on my face. I firmly believe it was the prayers of us and our friends and family throughout the world that rocked the heavens and sailed my precious little man through only 2 and a half weeks in the NICU, and then HOME. *heart* God is GOOD and FAITHFUL and a MIRACLE-giver!

    My husband and I started our web development/graphic design/hosting company in 1996, and added a professional recording studio a few years later. I am the creative director and graphic artist for both sides of the house, while my husband is our Lotus Notes developer, administrator, instructor, and sound engineer. I like to say that I make it pretty while he makes it work. Part of our heart with our studio is to teach people how to "fish", particularly the youth. Once we're done with the new expansion of the studio, we will be starting boot camps where singer/songwriters and bands will be chosen to come in with their original worship music, and we will teach and mentor them in how to record and engineer their projects, with the help of other invited special musicians, teachers, and producers who will join us in pouring into and loving on the kids. When I'm not on the computer, I am a stained glass mosaic artist, painter, singer/songwriter, one of the worship leaders at my church and at a worship venue nearby, and I'm in a band. When I have the time and inspiration, I also like making jewelry and soap, and traveling all over the world vicariously through travel magazines, NatGeo, and Globe Trekker TV (don't get me wrong, I love to travel for real, too - especially to Turkey). Organic gardening and holistic living is very important to me. I started researching what kind of additives and poisons were bombarding our lives from all angles, and protecting our health became the forefront of my priorities. We started raising chickens a year and a half ago, but some sneaky little varmint ended up dining on our flock, so this summer's new project will be to rebuild our coop and it's run, and adopt a new brood of girls. We live in a historic house, which we've been gutting throughout for the last 7 years so flames don't shoot out of outlets and our office chairs don't roll down the unlevel slope into the dining room, and to expand the recording studio and business offices into a whole new space. I've been working on recording 2 CDs of my own - worship and soaking - and also a collaborative soaking CD. Lots of detours have happened along the way, so of course, personal projects get delayed. C'est la vie. Stayed tuned.


    Get it? Hmmm. Ok, I tried.

    We've been homeschooling for the last 6 years. You're probably wondering how in the world homeschooling even has time to fit into it all that we're doing. Good question, because some days I wonder, too. I think God somehow avails the time like loaves and fishes because my husband and I know without a doubt that we are called to give our children a nurturing, Godly, flexible, creative, and safe education, and when we need those teachable hours, there they are. Our daughter was in a private school for kindergarten and 1st grade. She experienced so much bullying (she also beats to her own drum and isn't a joiner) that we finally decided that we needed to do something different to preserve her spiritual and emotional well being. I researched every other educational avenue available, and after not being at peace with any of them, we finally decided just to jump into the deep in faith and go for it ourselves. My husband told me that he actually wanted to homeschool from the go, but was patiently praying and waiting for me to have the revelation and make it so. I can truly say that I absolutely LOVE it and it's the best and hardest thing I think I've ever done. We have a pretty chill style, and spread out our academics across many means of curriculum, peripherals, games, and other activities. Our daughter is a voracious reader, writer, and illustrator, and she started writing full blown books when she was around 9 years old. She loves everything having to do with horses and strategy games. Our little guy is a spitfire of energy, loves to snuggle, and generally never travels anywhere (including room to room) without a handful of Matchbox cars and currently, his American flag and an old beat up orange raffle ticket. Gotta love that, eh?

    We plan on homeschooling as long as the Lord leads. I believe He will always provide the resources, wisdom, and grace when we allow Him to take the wheel. I'm kind of a low key, fly on the wall in person (with fabulous jewelry). But when you get to know me you'll see that I'm really the quiet but observant one you need to watch out for, who has a propension for dry humor and useless trivia (with the fabulous jewelry). I have never been the kind of girl who likes long phone conversations. I'd much rather buckshot my life's happenings in writing, because, uh, the phone has neither spell-check or duh-check or hold-on-for-who-knows-how-long-while-I-wait-for-the-kids-to-stop-talking-so-I-can-hear-my-own-voice check. Or I'd like to have some honest unpretentious in-my-jeans-and-tshirt (and fabulous jewelry) one-on-one time with a few girlfriends over coffee and watching our kids play. Say, that's a lotta -'s, but I digress. Anyway, I wholeheartedly invite you into my world of random thoughts, curriculum reviews, and this never predictable thing we call life. Drop me a line (just don't phone - haha - just kidding... uh, sort of). I'd love to hear from you. :-)