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DIY/Crafts/ Homemaking/ Spiritual

When Hopelessness Needs a Remedy + Simple Curtain Hack

a window with a curtain hack

**This is a guest post by Deidra Riggs.  She is my dear friend and neighbor, and I am so excited to have her here as guest at New Nostalgia.  This post is just a glimpse of her authentic, loving heart—a heart that has been there for me & prayed me through some of my toughest life moments. Read on to know why her heart is happy these days, and enjoy the Simple Window Hack at the end of the post.


I’ve been having a secret celebration in my heart these days.

One year ago today, I was one sick woman. Last February, I had a business trip in California and, when it was over, I flew to Vancouver to meet up with my husband. It was the week of Valentine’s Day. Rarely do we do anything really special for Valentine’s Day, but last year, we decided to take a trip so that my husband could ski and I could write.

We had a great trip. While not the best ski weather (it rained nearly every day), it was good for us to get away and spend some time together. At the end of the week, we flew home to Nebraska and, not long after we’d settled back into our routine, I came down with a nasty virus.

It was one of those viruses that wrestles a person to the ground in about twelve hours. At first, I thought it was just a cold, and that I could press my way through it for three or four days. I was wrong. By the end of the first day, I knew I’d have to surrender and so, I climbed into bed, hoping to doctor myself back to health with Tylenol and NyQuil. But this one was a doozy. I was achy from the fever and worn out from the coughing. My head maintained a constant ache that made me wonder if someone had implanted a knife behind my eyes when I wasn’t looking.

That virus knocked me down for two entire weeks. Somewhere in the middle of those fourteen days, my husband drove me to see my doctor. She checked me out and then patted me gently on my knee. “This thing is going around,” she said. “It’s nasty, and you just have to tough it out.” So, home I went. Back to bed.

Now, worse than being sick with that virus was the fact that it rendered me incapable of doing anything but lie in my bed in my empty house with nothing but the thoughts in my head. My husband came home each day at lunch to check on me. At night, he’d bring me dinner and sit with me in the bedroom. But, for most of the day, I was all by myself and it that was not good. Not good at all.

Depression is a nasty bugger. For me, it usually begins with a sad or scary or sinister thought that won’t let go. It keeps running itself around on a little track in my head and, before I know what hit me, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of hopelessness. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know what I’m talking about. In those times, it’s a struggle to hold onto any shred of anything that offers hope.

Last year, in my bed, hope came through the window. I’d turn over onto my right side and peek out through the curtains, looking for a slice of blue between the branches, or listening for the call of the cardinal. Sometimes, a robin would land on the peak of the roof just on the other side of the screen. Most of the time, the hope lasted for just a few minutes, but a few minutes of hope is a magnificent deposit in the battle against deep sadness. Slowly, over a few weeks (at the tail end of that virus, I got a nasty case of strep throat which set me back for another week), my body healed and I was able to get myself outdoors. There, with daily doses of sunshine and fresh air and the promise of Spring, my mind found its way back to wholeness.

This year, I was silently fearing February. I know it was an irrational fear, but it was there, just the same. I was afraid I’d get sick again and wind up with a repeat of last year. But, here we are, all the way into Spring! Hoorah!

There is no guarantee that I’ll never be sick again. I probably will be, because we live in that kind of world. But, each time I pass by a window, or hear the song of a cardinal, I’m reminded of the power of hope, even in the smallest dose. And you, sweet warrior? You who know these feelings, too? I’m praying the power of hope over you today. May it reach you through the window of even the tiniest faith, and restore your beautiful soul.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:5)




Here’s a little decorating hack for the windows that surround you. It’s one I’ve used for many years and I love it because it’s sooooo inexpensive and easy! Not a single tool required. All you need is a tension rod, two tea towels, and some drapery hooks on rings. The total cost of this easy window hack? Less than $15!


Picture of Deidra RiggsDeidra Riggs is a national speaker, editor, and the founder & host of Jumping Tandem: The Retreat. She has been a featured speaker at Q Women, TEDx, and The City Gates Initiative, as well as several women’s events, including Allume, Winsome Retreat, the Beautiful Life Conference, and Compel. She is a contributing writer for Incourage, and her work has been featured online at the Washington Post and Today’s Christian Woman.

Deidra is the author of “Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are.” Her second book will release in the Spring of 2017. Deidra and her husband are the proud parents of two adult children, and the happy inhabitants of an empty nest. They live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

 Follow her here:  Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest
5 Minute Fridays/ Spiritual

Forced Rest


{I am participating in 5 minute Friday. We are given a word, then write 5 minutes. Today’s word is REST.}



I sit in this room where rest has been forced.

Our dear friends, a car accident, a traumatic brain injury & months of healing and rest.

In this room I’ve witnessed pain, determination, suffering, triumph, tears, celebration, testimony & rest.

I’ve watched a hero cycle. He goes from working hard therapy, back to rest. Over & over. These are days of healing and relearning. Small increments of healing that over time add up to miracles. Days have turned into weeks that turn into months & he fights. I am a witness of this hard healing & I watch in awe.

I’ve watched his wife so brave, and although at times, stressed to the max, she is still at rest. She points consistently to the One who provides this. The One who holds her heart pieces together when it breaks. She is real with pain but still testifies how faith is made strong in weakness. She knows when she is weak God is strong and leans heavy on Him and in turn is made strong. She is another fighter who cycles, acknowledging stress then choosing to rest.

This is her lived out testimony:

“Yes, my soul, finds rest in God. My hope comes from Him.” Psalms 62:5




Would you be willing to know more about our dear friends and consider giving toward a fund we set up to help lighten the load? We are getting close to the goal and I know every bit helps and so appreciated!

If you are unable to give, will you pray for them? The journey has been long and the road is hard. I know your prayers will bring continued rest.

Music Renews/ Spiritual

I Am A Sinner If It’s Not One Thing It’s Another

 IF-ITS-NOT-ONE-THING-ITS-ANOTHER“‘Cause I am a sinner ~ If it’s not one thing it’s another ~ Caught up in words ~ Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior ~ And You take brokenness aside ~ And make it beautiful” –ALL SONS & DAUGHTERS


I sit in church, feeling numb from the weekend.  It was a rough one.  I felt on edge, worried, moody, & not myself.  I have not had these feelings for a long while now, and I did not like experiencing them for one day, much less going on day three.  I felt it building each day and I wonder where it came from and what would come of it.

What came of it? A teenager who is moody herself– acting fairly normal for a teen– was rude and I reacted. I lost patience and words came and frustrations spewed out and over onto my girl, lecturing, accusing & pointing fault.

I watch my words not only cause her to shut off and go into her room, but I see a shut down in my Todd.  Usually when shut down happens in him, I feel hurt and uncared for. This time, I saw pain. He went inward and I saw pain in his eyes –my eyes were opened to see his– I saw his eyes reflecting pain from my words and actions not just of today, but of the past. Today hurts him deep due to history of hurt. I am faced with my history of emotional words that hurt, I then shut down and feel myself spiral inward.

Shame. Guilt. Thoughts go dark. I cause pain. Now and before. I wallow in past failures & wonder how is it that I am loved? Doubt creeps in & the enemy cozy’s up and keeps planting bits of lies here and there.

I struggled quiet, until Sunday when we gather together at church and we sing two songs and the pastor preaches words from the book of Samuel.  I confess I see the message is from Samuel and I inward eye roll as I don’t think I will receive what my heart is longing for.

You know what? I don’t know much. God knows everything. He knew exactly the words my hurting heart & shadowed thinking needed to hear. Our pastor is anointed and brings the Word so faithfully.  Some of his favorite words are spoken in almost every message.

“God lavishes his grace on us”

“Get out of the dark room.  Run into the Light Room”

These words and visuals have saved me more than once from the Accuser.

And then this verse– from of all books– the book of Samuel:

“Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭12:20-24‬ ‭NASB‬‬ (emphasis mine)


Words of truth from my pastor, God & Samuel straight to my heart.  Take THAT Accuser.  I find myself turning toward the Light room.

We then sing this song & I confess with its words and my toes that step into the light room & light starts shining bright.  My feet walk toward the front steps of the altar–toward forgiveness– with a card in hand. We were encouraged to write on the card that which needs left in the past. I write my emotions, literally, I write down my emotions or really my lack of control over my emotions that have brought me down that weekend and in the past. I leave them and the card at the cross.

Brokenness Aside

{Brokenness Aside by All Sons & Daughters}

Will your grace run out
If I let you down
‘Cause all I know
Is how to run
‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Will You call me child
When I tell you lies
‘Cause all I know
Is how to cry
‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
You make it beautiful
You make it beautiful
[x2]‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful

I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies, oh yeah
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful

You make it beautiful
You make it beautiful

You make it beautiful
You make it beautiful

We sing this song & I soak it in. I’ve kept singing it all these days.

Church service lets out and I go straight to week 2 of a teen parenting class. Light continues to brighten my path in that room of wonderful, wise parents trying to do their best but feel overwhelmed, and in one big voice we agree just how hard parenting teens can be.  It normalizes my struggle, shows me I am not alone, shows me my girls are inward and outward beautiful and I have not failed them. I leave with feeling empowered and ready to love well.

The week starts and by the end of day 3 of dreary grey days, my heart is feeling shadowed again. Despite my wonderful Sunday, grey Monday comes and so does words of criticism and accusation, but this time they are from myself at myself.

I just couldn’t shake the shame I felt. It is hard to go so long without falling into a place you don’t want to go, and then go there and have to face it again. It allows one to see more clearly when it is no longer a habit, and I clearly saw pain that I brought to my loved ones. I wallowed in it, & was quiet and inward, until the evening of the third day. I finally talked to the man who has loved me for 20 years and knows me better than anyone.

Continue Reading…

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

A Cancer Health Update – Prayers Needed

FullSizeRender copy

I sit writing this, with big, fat, snowflakes falling outside and Christmas music playing inside.  I feel at peace in this moment.

The last few days I have fluctuated between feelings of anxiety and feelings of peace. More peace than worry, for we have been in this place of waiting before, but this time it feel different.  Heavier.

I went to see my Oncologist last week for a routine checkup.  I was expecting to be in and out of there quickly, as I have been feeling much better compared to this summer, and have even gained weight, which was truly a comfort to me.

My doctor came in and congratulated me on reaching the 5 year mark.  She said it is encouraging, but also cautioned that as a grade 3 breast cancer survivor, she can never use the word “cured.” Regardless, there was a lightness about her and lots of smiles. She commented on my 5 pound weight gain and said my “eyes and cheeks look so much better..filled out instead of sunk in.” Why, thankyouverymuch! This made me smile.

She did her usual routine check, her capable hands sweeping over my body, feeling for lumps and bumps.  She runs her fingers along my lymph lines, a familiar path she takes every checkup, but this time they paused at the left side of my neck. I remember a short pause in that very spot 3 months ago during my last exam.  During that exam she asked me to come back in 3 months instead of the usual 6, due to my weight loss and unexplained nausea.  I had moved on from worrying about my physical symptoms, thinking it was not anything to do with cancer and blamed anxiety that I have been fighting this past year.  It has been in the back of my head that I am still experiencing morning nausea if I don’t take anti-nausea medication, but the meds work so well it is easy to just continue on and forget the extreme of my illness this past summer.

It could still blame it on anxiety, and it very well may be, but her hand stayed on my neck, and I knew she had found something that made her eyes turn concerned. And then she voiced concern.

It is a hard lymph node, higher up in my neck, a bit below my ear. It feels hard as a pebble & stagnant. She also found another node under my right arm, but that one was less concerning as it was soft and movable, although swollen.

The lightness in the room turned heavy, and she said she wants a CT scan done right after the holiday weekend.

This was 2 days before Thanksgiving, and I have been concentrating on inhaling and exhaling and trying to find my thankful in the perspective that facing one’s mortality brings. It is a love/hate thing, this facing. It is a scary place, one that I want to deny and turn away from, but it just turns with me and follows me, front and center, in my face. On my neck.

It is also a precious perspective, for we all are mortal, and every day is such a beautiful and delicate gift and I GET IT, but I lose it in the comfort of the absence of lumps, bumps & scans.

My CT scan of the brain, neck and chest is scheduled for Thursday, 12-3-15.


I am afraid. I do not like looking on the insides. Especially the insides of my head.

We sat as a family and explained all that is happening to our 3 girls. They are sweet and strong & asked all the right questions. A few tears due to the unknown and scary, but they were very brave tears. This world of cancer has been their world most of their growing up years, and I know God is faithful in working it out for their good–this news and the waiting that they endure. I am the proudest of Moms.

If this node does contain cancer, the location of it makes it tricky. It places me at an automatic stage IV, and that is what brings the heavy. Nodes above the collar-bone have their own entitlement to staging–who knew? We do now.

I am hopeful for the all clear, and then I will go on and not waste this deep knowing, this reminder of how quickly life can go from ordinary to not, and how each moment is truly a gift.  I will continue to work out anxiety and do what it takes to overcome it.  I will continue to find my voice once again during this hard season.

I know I am not alone in these hard seasons of life.  I know so many of you are facing your own bumps that bring on the heavy.  I pray that we all remember that we have HOPE, especially in this advent season. It is a season of waiting on the one who comes whose name is Emmanuel, which means GOD WITH US.  This is my hope. It is a real, true hope, one that overcomes the heavy.  Yes, He is with us. He is holding me, holding you, and holds the heavy so we don’t have to.


Want to join me in advent?  I am following along with IF:EQUIP.  If you sign up, you will get a daily email that will walk you through this Christmas season & will point us all toward true hope.

I will keep you all informed.  Be sure to follow my social channels (instagram, facebook, twitter) as I usually am able to get to them before getting to writing a full post.  I expect results from the CT scan the second week in December, hopefully by the 9th or 10th.

Love to you all!


Personalizing, Paraphrasing & Journaling Scripture To Bring About Life Change


A Beautiful Way To Pray Scripture

Personalizing, paraphrasing & journaling Scripture is changing my quiet times & making my prayer life full and meaningful. I feel it changing me as I pray from His Word. I have loved looking at passage or chapter of Scripture in the Bible, reading it in a version that most appeals to me,  paraphrasing it, and making it personal by choosing words to journal.  I write the words in my journal,  then pray the words back to God.  It ends up being a beautiful way to pray scripture, and I find so often it is exactly the encouragement my heart needs.


Praying Scripture Exposes What We Need

I have been asking God to help me in my prayer life & this is one way He has shown me that has enriched it and has given me words to pray.  What better words to pray than ones that are given to us in His Word?  Scripture is so full of rich & powerful words, and they expose just what God wants us to see and think, and also exposes that which needs to be challenged and changed in us.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12

Praying Scripture Helps Us Apply What We Read, To Ourselves & To Others

Too often in my life, Scripture is read, but then forgotten and not applied. Journaling and praying Scripture is a way to use its power not just for my life, but also in the lives of those I love.  I will often substitute their names in place of mine.  I have especially found it a great way to pray for my kids.

How I Personalize, Paraphrase & Journal Scripture

The easiest way I have found to personalize, paraphrase and journal Scripture is to use the YouVersion Bible app, choose a version of Scripture that appeals to me (usually the New Living translation or The Message translation) journal it, read it, and then pray it.

I have my YouVersion Bible app set up to a plan that sends me one Psalm and one Proverb each day.  I have LOVED doing this process with the Psalms especially, as they so often express what my heart desires to express, but often can’t.

I usually do this process in the quiet morning with a cup of coffee and a breakfast of oatmeal & toast. I bring the app up on my phone, scroll down as I journal, choosing words that most jump out at me and paraphrase & personalize them.

Below is an example of a prayer response journal that I did recently on Psalm 18, using The Message version of Scripture:

Psalm 18–Paraphrased, Personalized & Journaled:

I love you God, you make me strong.

I live in your castle and you are my rescuing knight. I run for dear life to you, I hide in you. I am safe in your hideout. I sing to you and find myself safe & saved.

I cry to God to help me, he hears my call.  My cry brings me right into His presence, a private audience of just me and God!

You catch me, reaching all the way from sky to sea, pulling me out of enemy chaos where I was drowning, the enemy who hit me when I was down…but YOU God, stuck by me.

You take me to wide open spaces, I stand safe & saved, surprised to be so loved.

God completes my life when I place all my life pieces before Him.

I bring my act to Him and He gives me a fresh start.

Keep me alert to your ways & help me not to take you for granted.

Keep me in You everyday reviewing your ways & watching my step.

Piece by piece you put me back together.  I open my heart to you and You see me.

I taste your goodness, I am good.

I taste your health, I am whole

I taste your truth, I am true.

When I am down and out you are on my side.  Take me down a notch when I am stuck up or stuck on myself.

Floodlight my life, in the light room you reveal & show me your glory–You are blazing with glory!

Your road stretches straight and smooth.  I run in God direction, a road tested, and I make it as you promised.

You prepare me & pointed me in the right direction.

You show me how to fight.

You protect me and hold me with a firm hand.

You caress me with your gentle ways and clear the ruble so I will not stumble.

You have surrounded me well.

Rescue me from squabbling people, Oh Lord, rescue us. Be with our family, Lord, bring your revival.

I thank you God.

I praise your name with songs.

You rule and win over all and you chose me as your beloved–always.


Isn’t that beautiful? His words and my words entwined.  His words written down in my journal, an act that makes me submit with each stroke of the pen, for it changes me. My thoughts exchanged for higher thoughts, my faith restored as I pray them aloud.


How about you? Do you journal? Do you struggle with remembering Scripture or allowing it to seep into your heart and soul? What are ways you enrich your prayer life?  Does this way make sense and would you ever try it?

If so, get the Bible app, pick a passage, get your journal, write it out then pray it for yourself, your friends, your spouse or your kids.


For more about journaling at New Nostalgia:

7 Ways To Journal & Why I Write Versus Type 

A New Way To Count The Gifts–A Thankful Journal

5 Minute Fridays/ Spiritual

Trust & A Health Update


Participating in  5 Minute Fridays. 5 minutes to write about one word. Unedited.
This week’s word: TRUST

My last health update was last May, and I was in searching for answers for an extreme nausea that I had been experiencing for weeks.

20 pounds lost, watching the scale go down brought on such fear and anxiety.

A summer full of tests & more tests, still no answers.

No sign of cancer brought some relief to my fear, but unknowns still abound–yet I will trust.

I went off cancer meds, thinking they were the culprit, but they were not.  Adjusting to going off of them & then back on was — an adjustment. Chemical menopause, then not paused, then chemical menopause once again brought more than pause, it stopped me in my tracks.  There were many days of crying out to God in despair.  I wanted answers. I wanted normal. I wanted to be able to feel well again & write well again, instead of forcing yet another recipe post.

I am feeling better and finding my normal.  Anti-anxiety medication seems to be the answer I needed to bring back normal, for cancer meds don’t just steal my hormones but what seemed to be the whole of who I am.

The nausea still lingers in the mornings, but yet another medication has taken the severity of it away and I am able to eat again and my weight has stabilized. I am so. very. thankful.  A bit of weight has been gained, & so has my trust.

God was near this past year. I have been running hard to Him in the hard moments, for hard moments turn to precious in His presence. It is in these hard life moments when desperation gives no choice but search His words for help and hope, & He is always there, saying “Trust.”



FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Marriage/ Spiritual

Using Scripture To Fight Fairly In Marriage


Marriage is something to fight for these days, and calling it quits is rarely the answer.  Learning how to fight fairly is key in fighting for your marriage.

I am about to turn 40 next month and I find myself a bit frustrated with how immature I can be in this area.  I am an emotional and sensitive being, which can be a beautiful thing, but it also has a few negatives. When fighting in marriage, emotional & sensitive can often translate into being defensive.

Despite my frustration, God has been faithful in showing me how He is the answer & my defense, so I don’t have to be defensive.  When I put down my defenses, I can finally, truly, hear my Todd instead of being preoccupied with my own feelings.

Putting down defenses takes a humility & grace.  It takes compassion for the other person.  It takes a trust in knowing that I am fully loved by the best of Defenders.

I have an app on my phone that sends daily readings in Psalms and Proverbs.  This week I was Proverbs 18 & Psalms 18.  Both gave me insight into how to fight fairly in marriage, and I am thanking God for his provision, as my Todd & I were able to talk through some issues that had been sending spinning, around and around in circles. You know what I mean, don’t you? Talking in circles and getting nowhere.

These verses caused me to rest in God’s provision, reminding me I am fully loved, quieting me so that I could truly listen.  This and my husbands’ humble response back to me got us off the crazy spinning wheel.

Proverbs 18

{some words from the Message version}

~Do not run off at the mouth v2

~Do not use many words v4

~Do not come down hard on the innocent v5

~Do not be like a fool & start fights v7

~Run to & say the name of God, for it is a place of protection v10

~Remember that pride causes you to crash v12

~With humility comes honor v12

~It is wise to listen & always seek to learn v15

~It is ok to agree to disagree v18

~Words can kill or give life, they are either poison or fruit–you choose v21

~When you find a good spouse, you find a good life & the favor of God v22

~Humbly speak in soft supplications v23

~Do not bark out answers v24

~A true friend sticks close like family v24


Ah, such good advice, huh?

And then there is this, words inspired from Psalm 18 & from God who is my Defender, so I do not have to be defensive, and a realization of who the true enemy is–who we are TRULY fighting.

Psalm 18

{Message version, paraphrased by me}

I love you God, you make me strong, I live in your castle and you are my rescuing knight.

I run for dear life to you, I hide in you, I am safe in your hideout.

I sing to you & find myself safe and saved.

I cry to God to help me, He hears my call.

My cry brings me right into His presence–a private audience of just me and God!

You catch me, reaching all the way from sky to sea, pulling me out of enemy chaos where I was drowning, the enemy who hit me when I was down.

But You God, stuck by me.

You take me to wide open spaces, I stand safe & saved, surprised to be loved.

God completes my life when I place all my life pieces before Him.

I bring my act to Him & He gives me a fresh start.

Oh God, keep me alert to your ways & help me not to take you for granted.

Keep me in you, everyday reviewing your ways, watching my step.

Piece by piece you put me back together.  I open my heart to you and you see me.

I taste your goodness–I am good.

I taste your health–I am whole.

I taste your truth–I am true.

When I am down and out you are on my side.  Take me down a notch when I am stuck up or stuck on myself.

Floodlight my life, in the lightroom you reveal and show me your glory–you are blazing with glory!

Your road stretches straight & smooth.  I run in God direction, a road tested, and I make it just as you promised.

You prepared me & pointed me in the right direction, You show me how to fight

You protect me and hold me with a firm hand.

You caress me and your gentle ways clear the ruble so I will not stumble

You have surrounded me well

Keep rescuing me from squabbles, Oh Lord, rescue us!

Bring your revival.

I thank you God. I praise your name with songs

You rule & win over all!

You chose me as your beloved, for my name means beloved.


The meaning of my name, Amy, REALLY IS beloved.  Oh to remember this at all times, that I am fully known & fully loved by Creator God. Knowing & believing this brings the spinning to an abrupt and peaceful stop. Yay God!