If we don’t do for ourselves, the universe will do for us. The universe doesn’t play.

But we should.


We’ll remember this year as the year of “personal-sized,” home floods. We had two.

The first flood was at the farm in March. A valve failed around 1:30 a.m. Water gushed from the utility room wall, and, within minutes, water found its way into every room of the house. Wee morning shop vacs, mop buckets, and valve repair.

Around the same time, winds and rain broke into our Baton Rouge home through the southeast corner of the roof and into my son’s childhood room. Since the room had become a dumping ground for those things in between I-can-use-that-one-day, I’ll-sell-this-on-eBay, and the thrift store, we rarely entered it and didn’t discover the breach until the first or second day of April.

That Baton Rouge flood was a very different kind of flood. While it also required the mop buckets and towels, the bigger recovery chores were moving boxes, furniture, and equipment, making the insurance claim, and calling companies for the repairs.

None of this was fun. While the second flood was strikingly less dramatic, recovery and repair took dramatically longer.

The floods were two among several obstacles thrown on a busy course of plans for 2023.

A Nudge from the Universe

What does this have to do with universal nudges?

Our suburban home has become the place where projects come to procrastinate. The projects combined with my partner’s inefficiency parsing his decades-worth of belongings into meaningful piles and destinations have created a situation worthy of a rescue TV show.

The problem? Neither of us wanted to take the time for the tedium of moving, sorting, homing, and tossing the things that collected in every corner of the kids’ childhood bedrooms. And we certainly didn’t want to tackle repairing the ceiling in my son’s room, where he had left a series of penciled sketches and holes just above the headrest of his loft bed.

The universe nudged us by dumping a damp obstacle in the middle of our self-inflicted paralysis.

Seemed like forever from flood to fixed, but six months after the flood, the bedroom boasted a new ceiling, repaired floor and walls, and fresh paint.

The room became so fresh and inviting, we decided to make it the guest room. The former guest/junk room became our maker room.

From Obstacle to Miracle of Play

At the beginning of 2023, three of the four bedrooms were storage or junk rooms. By August, we had a fresh guest room and new maker room.

The maker room lured me in right away. What did I do? Play.

When I think back to January, February—July even—, this does not feel unlike a miracle: two decades worth of beads and findings that my oldest daughter and I collected all in one place and all in one corner of the new maker room.

I play. It’s a miracle.

I spent the first block of days just sorting the beads and findings. This is also play. As the holidays approached, I began creating stringed and wired treasures to share with family and friends. I played hard. It’s a miracle.

I’m hoping I don’t always require nudges in the form of floods and other such obstacles to receive miracles, but should I stumble across what feels like an obstacle in 2024, I’ll be open to the miracle it brings.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023.