Happy November, friends!  Is anyone else amazed that the holiday season is almost here?  Time is just zipping by!  I won’t complain, though, because November means Thanksgiving and, in my family, Thanksgiving means my Uncle Shorty’s pies.  I. CAN’T. WAIT.

A new month also means that I get the opportunity to introduce you to another one of my sweet sisters from Build A Sister UP.  This month, I get the privilege to connect you with my dear friend Niki Hardy.

You are going to adore Niki.  As a cancer survivor, she loves to encourage women to thrive, not just survive the difficult things that they may be facing in their lives.  She’s a brilliant writer and regularly shares fantastic material through social media and her website.   You definitely won’t want to miss the weekly Facebook Lives from her Facebook page because, not only will you walk away feeling uplifted, but you will also just love her adorable English accent!

In honor of Niki, pour yourself a spot of tea, cozy up, and meet my sweet friend, Niki Hardy.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Born and raised in London, England, I now live in Charlotte, NC where I struggle to wrap my head around why anyone would ruin a nice cup of tea by putting ice in it. My husband Al and I moved to the US eleven years ago with our three young kids to plant a church and have found ourselves building roots and deep friendships here.

After losing my mum to cancer and then watching my bright, vivacious sister die of the same disease, my own diagnosis just six weeks later shattered our world. My cancer was rectal cancer. It’s not sexy and it doesn’t come with a pretty pink bow, so deciding to talk about it openly has been both hard and healing, for me and others. Now I joke that when you’re told you have rectal cancer the bottom falls out of your world, and then the world falls out of your bottom!

Five years on I’m cancer free (Yeah!) and I write and speak about finding more – of God and the life in all its fullness He came to give us – when life hands us less. I truly believe life doesn’t have to be pain free to be full and I’m releasing a book in the fall of 2018 that’s a practical guide to finding that fullness, no matter what life’s thrown your way.

When I’m not writing or speaking you’ll probably find me outside somewhere; on the porch with a cup of tea, running trails with my two crazy but adorable Golden-Doodles, or on a walk with a friend. I’m an extrovert who hasn’t met a silence she cannot fill but who’s learning those silences are precious if I can just sit still long enough.

Coffee or tea?
Well that’s a silly question!!

Exercise or nap?
If I can be outside then definitely exercise – a good walk or a run in the woods will revive this tired bunny.

Cake or pie?
Cake!! To go with the tea at three o’clock.

High heels or sneakers?
Most of the time I’m in trainers (that’s what we call sneakers in England) and stinky workout gear, but when I actually shower and put real clothes on I do love a low heeled boot.

Vacation or staycation?
I’m not good at resting at home – there’s always something or someone that clamors for my attention – so sweep me off to some far flung place and I’m yours. When I left college I travelled around the world for a year and I’ve never managed to shake the traveling bug. I’d love to go back to Africa.

Early riser or sleep in?
I’m a skylark not a night owl and always have been. It’s useful when school’s in but it drives me bonkers when I just want to lay in bed and snuggle.

Read the book or watch the movie?
Book all the way!! I’m that annoying person who sits through the film muttering “The book was soooo much better” and “it wasn’t like that in the book.”

Dogs or cats?
Dogs for sure. My dog Chester hardly left my side when I was going through chemo and radiation. I love their unconditional loyalty and relentless love.

Introvert or extrovert?
Hmmmm. Let me verbally process that for twenty minutes! EXTROVERT all the way, but I’m diggin for my inner introvert.

Country living or city girl?
If I won the lottery I’d have both a city pad and a mountain home. Until then, city with frequent escapes to the wild. Note to self: buy a lottery ticket!

Do you have any hobbies?
I’ve just got hooked on hand lettering. It’s really helping me sit in silence. When my hands are busy my mind can wander and I can just be.

What are you listening to, reading, or watching that you are loving right now?
The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown is challenging me to pursue less in order to be more productive and find time rest. It’s blowing my mind. When it comes to watching we love our British TV series on Netflix. I’m assuming you’ve watched The Crown and Downton Abby (coz if you haven’t, well, we need to talk) but if you want something grittier try Broadchurch, The Tunnel, or Happy valley. They are modern day police detective series that aren’t gruesome but do deal with some heavy stuff.

What are you passionate about?
Firstly my hubby, kids, dogs and church. Secondly helping women live full, abundant lives, even when life stinks so much you need an industrial strength air freshener just to get out of bed, and lastly, I’m passionate about finding humor and grace in the darkest place. Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh and the horrendous.

What/where are you writing?
I write on my blog and I write to speak. I’m about to hide away in a cupboard and write my book. I’m planning on releasing it autumn 2018.

Are there any other projects or ministries that you are working on/with?
In November I’m having a Thrive Party over on Instagram which will be loads of fun and terribly inspiring. It’s a month of photo prompts to share the good stuff in life no matter what we’re going through. Come and join in! #MyFullLife

How can we connect with you (website, social media, events)?
Website http://nikihardy.com/ (lots of resources for when life’s a pain in the rear!)
Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/niki.hardy/ (November’s going to be super inspiring!)
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NikiHardyauthor/ (I do a FB Live every Thursday @ 10.30am EST – come and find me!)
Twitter https://twitter.com/NikiBHardy (tweet, tweet!)

What is an area that you’d like to grow in?
Learning to rest, unhurry, and not put unrealistic pressure on myself. I’d also love to grow more in community. You’d think as an extrovert I’d be drowning in community but I also have alarming tendencies to go it alone and just make it happen. Community is so valuable for support and accountability.

How can we build you up?
This makes me feel so loved and seen, thank you. I’d love it if you shared my writing with people who are going through some tough stuff and need encouragement and practical tools, and if you fancy hearing this accent in person do send my speaking details to the head of your women’s ministry. Finally your prays would be wonderful. Less me, more He!

Is there a parting thought you would like to share?
When life is tough, really tough and painful, God hasn’t forgotten you, isn’t mad and you, and won’t leave you. When I was really sick all I could do was breath in Jesus, breath out fear, breath in Jesus, breath out anger … He longs to comfort you and sit in your pain with you.

If you need practical help to find God and His full life, my 7 Tools for Thriving, and not Just Surviving, When Life Falls Apart is wisdom from “thriver’s who’ve been where you are. You can grab it HERE.