Nicole received clerical ordination into the Order of Interbeing in the Plum Village tradition by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 2007 and given the Dharma name Chān Diêu Hoa, which means: True Wonderful Flower. She is the director of the Open Way Mindfulness Center in Missoula, Montana and gratefully serves as one of its spiritual leaders, helping to direct local retreats, organize special events, and offers both community classes and private consultations. Nicole is also founder and program director of the Be Here Now Sangha, a weekly mindfulness and meditation community group, which she started in 2002, at age 23.
In addition to her love of community building, Nicole enjoys spending a great deal of time in a warm and friendly place she likes to call Writing Land, where she’s currently working on two non-fiction book projects and crafts a monthly mindfulness-based column for Montana Woman magazine. Nicole is a hospice volunteer, part-time nanny, drummer for a local African dance troupe, spoken word artist, motorcycle enthusiast, dancer, and proud tender of her family homestead and all those who reside in it or come to visit.
Here's a little more info, if you're left thinking: Um, but, like, where's she from and stuff
Nicole (aka: me, though I intend on continuing to write in third-person, as this way it appears I have "people") was born in the year that the UK elected its first female Prime Minister (insert brief pause here while I decide whether or not to make you google this tidbit of info...did anyone guess 1979?) and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Warminster primarily - go Panthers!).
She moved west on a strong and distant urging from the state of Montana, which prompted her to pack up her belongings and boyfriend at the time into her old blue Pontiac, Towanda - whose name was inspired by one of her favorite movies of all time: Fried Green Tomatoes - a few days before she would turn 19-years-old. Sadly, but not sadly, too, said packed-up-boyfriend did not last long. Not sadly because Nicole was then freed up to meet her Montanan-grown husband, Mike, a few months later. A pairing that continues to this day, against most odds, having been wed at the young and generally clueless age of 20-years-old. NOTE: She regards both moving west and marrying Mike as the two all-time best decisions she's ever made and considers herself victorious in the endeavors of life due to having made them.
Writing as a form of self-expression and an outlet of creativity, has been present in her life since as far back as she can remember. What started as diary entries about crushes she had on boys in third grade turned into brooding/hippy-esque/pretend non-conformist journaling in high school. Oh, and there was that stint she ran an "underground" zine called They Kill Us For Sport in high school, too. (Underground in the sense that she got found out pretty quickly by a teacher who then volunteered to be her academic advisor so she could continue circulating it on school grounds.)
Other than completing a correspondence course in Children's Literature in 2001, after spending two years in college going after a degree she chose to stop pursuing, she's had no formal writing education - unless reveling in David Sedaris and Bill Bryson counts, which she likes to think it totally does.
P.S She hopes and hopes some more that her comedic wit translates well to others outside of her own mental landscape - at least once in a while - as she finds her own self terribly funny and would like to be remembered for this quality when she dies.
P.P.S As she is interested in pushing back against a system that fosters female-folk who deem it inappropriate to share both their accurate age and weight, she wanted me to tell you that currently (as of July, 2018 ) she is 39-years-old and weighs either 132, 133, or 134 pounds, depending on the time of day.