I’ve put away childish things…

The sun is bright and Wade was right. That sonofagun.

So a week down, then a week up, the coaster of this roller undulates on.

If you read my last post, I sprayed and spewed a dark inky stain of depression and seething bad attitude all over this pearly white screen….

And Wade said. ‘This week will be better.’ (kinda 🙂 )

And yeah, it is.

This life is better, this week. Valleys don’t deepen forever. The next challenge comes. The downhill runs out, and we head back up the next. At least we’re looking up instead of down, even while another peak hides the clouds ahead.

I saw a picture a striking picture on facebook this week. A simple one. One of me.



This cute little guy belongs to one of those friends from many years past, that we see online only. I get what he’s thinking right in the moment of this pic.

Especially last week, Especially in the junky days, the comfort and coziness of my old ways seem to be the solution. I could go back to having drinks. I could party and play instead of going to bible study. I could relax and hang out and just chill with friends again. How nice that would be. Why don’t I let go of this struggle of sobriety, let go of the stress it causes at times. Just do, what I know I can do so well…

I, Aaron Nichols, am helping to run a bar. I am investing time and energy and exhausted in the place, where I used to play. Literally, the same place. And now, when during heated discussions, I am accused of taking the fun out of late night crowd, when I closer’down, I have to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Yeah, just a few little drinks, I could really use one or two or three after a 16 hour day, (like today could be). And yet, for some stubborn reason, I so far, refuse to go back. To backtrack, to regress and even entertain the reality of drinking again, while it would make such perfect sense now.

My mind is rarely clear anymore. Rushing from this event to that, from this task to the next, from exhausted rest to scrambling around all day long, truly without much of a clue, whether what I’m doing is right or not. I have held on to this ‘thing’ called sobriety.

I saw the picture of the toddler, wanting to once again tuck into his infant-sized baby swing. He remembered the feeling of how nice it was. How life was so good in the gentle rocking motion, the ticking sounds, mommy giggling in his face laying on her tummy on the floor…

Why wouldn’t he want back in there. Why wouldn’t that be his first thought.

Mine is too many times. I want back in there. I want to forget all the change in the last couple years. I want to wake up, and have my old life back.

Except I don’t.

We all know that too. We know that parts of us have developed and expanded. I am a toddler still, with lots of growing left to do. But cuddling up, and trying to fit into something I have outgrown, won’t work. It’s not the answer, damn, I wish it was.

Just to knock back a couple cold beers with the guys. To enjoy a new flavor of wine with my wife, on a camping vacation. To sip a scotch while soothing my aching legs, in a hot tub, watching snowy peaks and skiers still descending on the last run of the day. To smell the salt of the ocean, camped on a beach, fire crackling and squeeze a lime into the bottle, while hearing waves crash hard, just yards away…

Funny, when I dream of good times and booze. I am taken far away, to places I want to visit, to perfect moments of nature and my love, and travel.

Not any of which is about getting drunk, every night, right here in my life as I know it today.

I used to love that too. Really. I enjoyed it. Lots. Except I didn’t. Some part of me knew, it was just a comfortable stop along way. A place to dwell, before I really started to do something different, and yes, better.

So why do I show you this picture this week. And once again tell some more about this daily struggling of sobriety? I am telling myself, more than you, so that I remember, what this moment is like. This tiny moment, when I can see clearly a context in which it doesn’t make sense to go back to old ways. Those illustrations are hard to come by sometimes.

The enemy who wants me back, shows me other visions. Luckily, so far, a power greater than me, has helped me resist. Just like the toddler, who did not grow his own body to a bigger size, through intentionality, and affirmations and hard work. He simply is living through a natural process, expanding and developing through a mysterious force that no one can truly understand. An intelligence beyond us all, knows.

And I can’t predict the future. I am living one day at a time. So how things look today, may be different in the far away. We may spiral upward, yet back around the circle again, seeing from a new point of view. I promise nothing about my future, to me, to you….

Until next week, be blessed. I am, and You are, in some state of development right now. Sometimes we feel growing pains. Sometimes we feel nothing at all. Sometimes we try to push back against it, digging in and holding our ground. We are weak though, luckily. I know I am, thank God.


Aaron Nichols

Take That GOD! A letter written through frustrations.

Ha! – the obvious thing to share today would be that my week has sucked.

Truly, the dark cloud of depression or hopelessness or frustration or despair or junkycrapness has settled into my mind for the last six days or so. Just a general malaise and bad attitude that I wanted to shake free from, but didn’t even care enough to try.

Not long ago I got a message from an old friend. They talked about these blogs, and how something I had written, touched them and they related with it. They went on to say, that they knew that I had changed in my life, I was sober now, and that I had found God. They said, that before reading my blogs, they assumed that I was now free and happy and rejoicing all day long (now that I had found God)… Okay, maybe I exaggerated that a bit.

Anyway, it was interesting to hear that outside point of view, in an honest and matter-of-fact way. Sure, finding God creates happiness. I found God, now I am happy….

Exceeeeeept…. NO.

Don’t work that way.

At least for me.

right now.

Dang that would be great though! The magic key we are all wanting to find. The thing that will bring us happiness! The thing outside of us, like God, or money, or stuff, or ‘security’, or love, or sex, or a party, or meditation, or kids, or a divorce, or food, or a job, or not-a-job, or whatever… All those ideas of things that once we have them, we could then be happy…

Well honestly folks, I have a lot of that stuff now, that I didn’t use to have. And still, truly, I experience deep unhappiness.

I will list some things that I now have, that I didn’t used to have:

A relationship with God, the love of Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, engaging through my daily life, and during Bible Study and Church worship too….

I have a wonderful wife. I am married. I am blessed beyond measure by her.

I have no consumer debt. I don’t have car payments, or credit card payments or even a house payment.

I have jobs aplenty now. Designing artwork, being creative three days a week. Restauranting the rest of the days. Creativity, problem solving, coaching and serving, all throughout the days and nights, and tonight, a very late night.

Money comes in, more than we neeeeed. By a bunch. Sure, more would be even better, but there is no short-term money worries in my house. (Also, not because we make a lot. Because of the ‘no debt’ thing, and we live frugally 🙂 )

Oh yeah, and two years of Sobriety…

So anyway, these are pretty important things in life. God, Marriage, Work, Money. These things are now in much better order in my life than they used to be. I can say that I wasn’t really happy before all this. And at times now, too many times, I still don’t feel much happiness now.

From Your point of view, this will look different. From your point of view, you may see or want to say things about what I just said, to possibly encourage a different thought, or to even argue my statement here. You may want to tell me, how it is that you remain happy and upbeat through all kinds of trials in life, and I could learn a lot from you.

Funny thing is this. Life is lived from the inside out. Whatever I experience, I am noticing from my insides, which cannot be seen or even truly explained to the outside. The same goes in the opposite. When I notice someone else’s outsides, their words, their actions even, I make a judgement or an awareness about their insides, through my filter of my world, and it is probably not exactly right to them.

Point of today’s note is this: I have unhappiness at times. Too many times for my liking. Even with tons of training, and brain smarts enough to notice and tools to change myself, I find myself in moments, where I don’t even care to try any of that stuff. I just want to sit in my pee pants and be mad about it the whole time. I will be a grump to be around, I may lash out at you, I may spread my inner junk all around to anyone close to me.

So there.

I don’t know if this is the death throws of my inner child, finally letting go, or growing pains into the next level of transcendence, so that I can one day be more mature and reserved and balanced and steady and calm. Or maybe, it just is, as it always has been, and always will be.

I have tons of information and resources about happiness around here. I have a complete home-gym filled with Nordic-Tracs, Bowflexes, Thighmasters and Shake-weights. Books and audios and email addresses of people to help with Happiness…

This week though it wasn’t about utilizing any of those devices or methods or tools. It was just about banging around life, in a bad mood, until something started to change. I guess at least, I kept on banging around, kept moving forward, even angrily.

This morning the air is cleaner. The inside hurricane in starting to subside. The half an hour I spent talking with my wife last night helped a lot. I needed that.

So. Just in case someone else out there was wondering. Life isn’t always Peachy in my world. I don’t want to put up any false fronts here. Take that God! You amazing creator of this divine universe! I can still be a damned old grump, while you love me and give me all the forgiveness of the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus Christ. I still have a choice to enjoy that or not, and sometimes I choose not. I hope you let me hang around here for a long time, I still have a lot of work, and growing left to do.


Aaron Nichols

Another Blog Post, because I’m a writer… Right?

I’m not writing, because I’m stuck… right?

Because I’m a writer, I have a blog… right?

I’m staring again at this screen, without words and hoping ‘something cool’ will happen so then I can write, right?

Not really y’all. In fact, lately, I’ve been getting the hints, that just about the way I look at everything is backwards.

I’m not writing because I’m stuck – is backwards. I’m stuck, because I’m not writing.

Because I’m a writer, I have a blog – is backwards. I have a blog, and write on it, therefore I’m a writer.

And the ‘cool thing’ I hope happens, so then I can write, doesn’t happen while I’m again double-checking my email I just checked, or watching another YouTube video, hoping inspiration shows up. Nope. It shows up, when my fingers start moving on these keys.

Truly, I have no more ability to write or express myself than any person reading these words. There is only one small thing different about me that has created this 3 year old blog project. I have written on it.

Simply put. I am not a well-toned athlete, because I don’t regularly commit myself to train and exercise. It’s not about whether or not I ‘am’ this or that. It’s about what am I creating, what am I developing and practicing to improve in my life. A blog like this has done cool things for me, I’ve shared and communicated with people, it’s neat. It’s also nothing that anyone else out there couldn’t do.

It’s basically free. It could be completely free, except I choose to own my domain name, but it’s not required. I have a computer. Most people do, or you could use a phone, or go to the library to do some blogging.

It’s only the act of this typing, that makes me a writer or a blogger, or whatever. It’s the action that produces the description. Not the other way around. I am only a writer as long as I keep writing… It can end at any time, I quit.

So, what else in my life, have I believed I can’t have or be, because I’m ‘not’ one of those people. I’m not gifted or talented enough to do certain things, be certain things, have certain lifestyle options, or even ‘stuff’?

This is so darned hard for my little pea brain to really wrap my mind around, but it is simple. This week on our whiteboard at the restaurant, I wrote another Dusan quote, “Wanting something, and being willing to get it, are two entirely different worlds.” Wow, I guess I have been willing to ‘get me a weekly blog’ created. Maybe you want to do the same, good idea! Go fer it!

Maybe you want something else though. Maybe you want stuff you believe you can’t have. I do that alot too. I wonder if I will take this message really to heart today? Or if I will just plop out another thousand word post, to merely shrink back into my normal ways, after making a bold strong statement publicly online? Hmm… most times it’s the latter.

So can I flip the script? Can I see that I’m seeing backwards? When I say that I am, or I am not, __________ (something), can I see the truth that it’s the other way around? Can I see that since I am doing ________, then I could currently describe myself as _________. It can change. Or will I forget, and lock myself back into the self constructed little prison of my ego. Repainting the walls again in my little box and claiming how righteous and important it is to ‘Be Me.’

Maybe I’ll try some new action. Maybe I’ll step first, then describe my path. But probably not. Truthfully Y’all… I feel that many days, are repeats of days before. Without inner change, without forward motion, just a re-hash of old crap, jumbled up in a new way. I get mad and blow up. I ‘turn-off’ and detach. I display 0.0% of the Christ-like-ness that I would like to…

So there, another post on this blog. Another little insight I want to share. Another idea that could land in the right place, at the right time for someone. And the danged-old-darned truth, that for me, many times, I’m re-creating the same old broken record crap, over and over again, even though I detest the tune.

That’s weird right? I wonder if it will be that kind of weird for good? Maybe sometime, I’ll start with a new action. A new way first. A different swing, that will feel funny, because I haven’t done it before. And then it can become the new way. A better way, or maybe just different, will be good enough.


Aaron Nichols

frustrated and grumpy and tired and angry and nervous and hectic… Perfection

Step Back.

That’s the advice I would give myself right now. Step back, and take a look. Relax out of the scrunched up and squinting perspective, peering furiously close, flattened against the glass. Seeing your immediate world, through a microscopic lens, in it’s finest detail, noticing the dust and grime and , could-be-better-ness, you’re losing the big picture…

Give yourself some space, man.



A week like this don’t come along too often. Enjoy it: Two years sobriety, BANG! A speech delivered and well received at the Rotary Club. New focus and intensity in our kitchen, making customers happy with the promptness. Equipment fixed. Nice messages from old friends. Support, Love. Money enough to indulge for my wife’s birthday. Dinner date set for Sunday. Work and work and work, but it’s moving along, moving forward. Step back Man… See this miracle, right here right now.

Ha! We are so fickle and quick to complain here in Kansas. We’ve all heard it before. One day we all complain it’s too hot. The next, we’re freezing, and wanting a ‘normal’ season for once… Yeah, season’s aren’t normal here. Seasons of my life aren’t normal either.

It’s feast time, and I question if I should be enjoying it. Famine and lack and struggle ruled the day, long enough, I forgot how to smile and relax some… I had more time back then, bothered me with everyone’s busy-ness. Now I am too… just with dream-jobs and stuff. Perfect moments, one after the other. BUT, perfect doesn’t mean easy. It doesn’t mean comfortable or effortless. Perfect moments seem too hard sometimes to notice the gifts.

Looking into the eyes of a man, and thanking him for his impact on my life. I meant it Pastor Tim, you have encouraged the changes in me, that dozens of people complimented this week. You Sir, show me how the walk looks and show me how it smiles and plays. You show me it’s concern too, it’s selflessness, even it’s worry sometimes, it’s humanness. This great week, is in part due to one sentence you said, on a Wednesday night bible study. One sentence can do it sometimes. ‘You can do this.’ is what I remember about it…

Wade, you scoundrel! You suckered me into growing again! What is your deal man! You just get a kick out of watching people squirm, or what! You only get to ask people to stretch so much, and get them (me) to do it, because you’re so danged committed yourself. Do you know that? You sir, walk your talk. You show up. You engage and lead by example. I do want to be YOU when I grow up. I gave a speech in front of community leaders this week, just like I owned the place. I did that because you asked me to, and I didn’t want to let you down. Your level raises mine. I worked and practiced and knew I’d still be nervous, BUT I was going through with the thing, for you. Thanks, it was really for me.

Facebook was full of love this week. People! You People! You Women mostly, (a’hem… guys?!?!) supported and encouraged and lifted me up when I made a post about sobriety. You clicked like, You wrote messages, You texted me too. Wow. Sobriety is a lonely place sometimes. The world doesn’t seem to have room for us, where everyone else is. It can feel like a lonely cage while everyone else parties and plays around you. Not this week. I was blessed and drenched with love from all around. Old friends, who knew that old me, encouraging the freshness they read about here, mentioning how it encourages them. Thank God it does 🙂

My mother is a writer 🙂 I see where I get it. She posted one of the nicest things I’ve read, right on my own FB page. I wanted to read more. I wanted more of her sentences, just to really see her from a new perspective. She’s beautiful. So were those words. 🙂

Chad stepped up this week. He’s opening his own eyes. It is a tough process. We are tough guys. Working with me ain’t easy. Some of you know that. Working with him ain’t either, Lindsay knows that too. So here we are, two flawed men, showing up every day and working in this restaurant. Together this week, through the fire and heat, we forged a new beginning. A hardened and more precise instrument. A tool we can use together, a kitchen focused on the customer. Beauty in Business. Thanks, Man.

I stood on Main Street again this week, holding a package that felt so important and dear and miraculous. I did that once before. I remember it well. I remember wondering who was watching me, as I walked into the jewelry store, a year and a half ago. I remember, being nervous and not knowing anything about what I was buying. I remember being broke, and wishing I could buy up all the best for my lady, but I couldn’t. I know that I asked about the one ring she clicked ‘like’ on their facebook page. They showed it to me. It’s an ‘estate’ ring. Like me, it’s not pristine and brand new. It’s got a history. In fact, it even has a big blemish right in the middle, that I never noticed until after we had it home. Funny, huh. When I think about that ring, I think about how Perfect my wife is. She loves it, just like she loves me, with all my big obvious blemishes right in the middle. I know it’s a divine gift that we’re together.

Mine is from the estate collection too. It’s even more fitting. Just a thin circle of silver, they didn’t want to sell me. It was $10 and crusty with tarnish. That’s what I wear. It’s perfect for me too. It shows lots of nicks and scratches and turns black sometimes too. Unlike a lot of guy’s rings nowadays though, it’s pure. It’s just one thing. It’s not a collection of metals, that could have been a toaster instead. It’s Sterling.

These things were bought on Main Street, in my hometown. And this week I stood again, outside a downtown building, and held a package, that I knew was precious. Just paper and ink and some purple canvas. Heavy and expensive. Too much too pay, when Amazon is out there. But who cares. It’s hometown. It’s a BIBLE. The cost is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with it’s value, it’s possibility, the impact it can make. A birthday gift for my wife, her own. Although I do love leaning in together and reading from the same page, on Sunday mornings, she does deserve to have one of her own.

Now, step back. Take a look. Realize this moment. A Bible for my Wife, for her Birthday. A week of love and accomplishment and hard work paying off.

Oh, did I mention that I need this message to myself, because I’ve been frustrated and grumpy and tired and angry and nervous and hectic all week long too 🙂 Yeah. That’s what this perfect week felt like, from the inside.

It’s not about these little black characters on this screen. It’s not about the pictures I showed in my presentation. It’s not about text on my phone that people sent. It’s not about plates of food that move quicker now. It’s not about metal in that ring, the chip in that diamond, the pressed fibers and dark ink that make up that Bible. It’s not even about the buildings downtown, or dinner we’ll have together on Sunday. None of that crap matters.

That’s the stuff of life. It’s everywhere. It’s the tangible, that has nothing do with truth. These things are holograms. They don’t exist. The Perfectness of this week existed between and beyond and throughout all these tiny moments. They were the spark in engaged eyes. They were the electricity felt while reading about love and encouragement. They were the fleeting and real moments of heaven and the kingdom. They can’t be bought or planned or predicted. They were gone as quick as they were noticed.

I am glad I took time right here, to capture them loosely, with my dim memory. In practice it’s hell, it’s the world’s obstacle course. The high, the kingdom, the bliss shows up, when I’m sweating the hardest through it. Not when I’m lounging and drunk and going nowhere…

Happy Birthday Baby, you give me a life I want to live well for 🙂

Thanks be to God.


Aaron Nichols

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18