Pretty Important Verse for These Days

Josh made a great point about Genesis 1:27.  He said it is likely the most important verse for our kids to memorize and understand in this day and age.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

The whole “man using the ladies restroom” business because they identify as a woman is weird and strange and potentially quite dangerous, AND YET, the bigger issue is that it speaks of rebellion against God’s authority.  They are rebelling against how God made them.  They think they know better than God.

“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

So in a world that seems very much upside down and backwards, I want my kids to know that God knows best—always.  He is good and what He does is good.  I can trust Him and His ways.

“For you formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have see my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16

 

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Through All of It…He is Faithful

“I have won and I have lost. I got it right sometimes, but sometimes I did not. Life’s been a journey. I’ve seen joy. I’ve seen regrets. But You have been my God through all of it.” (Colton Dixon’s “Through All of It”)

We were sitting in the living room on a regular Monday evening. I’ve been reading the book of Ruth during my times with The Lord and was overwhelmed again at how beautiful that story is. The graciousness and kindness shown to Ruth by Boaz. The love story God wrote through them is amazing. So I thought we would read a chapter together as a family.

So many questions come to mind as I read Ruth. Should Elimelech have led his family to Moab or stayed in Judah and waited on God to provide for their needs? Why did the boys marry Moabite women? Should Orpah have stayed with Naomi and Ruth? Was Naomi being selfish or selfless when she wanted the daughter in laws to leave her alone? If she trusted God so much that it positively affected Ruth, why did she later consider herself bitter and think God had afflicted her? Had God been too harsh to this woman? Is there any hope for someone who has lost husband and children? Seems a bit much to me.
When the full weight of Naomi’s loss hit her, did she have some regrets about coming to Moab? I imagine she did.
I haven’t experienced loss like Naomi has, but I have looked back on decisions with regret. Choices I made that I wouldn’t make again. And yet in all of those I can still see God’s hand on my life. The jewels He unearthed in my heart through the rough times of my life now shine so brightly that I can see His hand in all of it, and I wouldn’t change a thing. He has wasted nothing. He is a Redeemer—buying back what others don’t want and making it beautiful. He is My Redeemer.

We read Ruth 1 as a family. We discussed it with our kids some and then we listened to Colton Dixon’s song, “Through All of It.” I was sitting on the couch that faces my wall of family pictures. There are quite a few pictures on this wall, and I love it. I could cover every wall in my house like this if Josh would allow it.

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As the words played to the song, I scanned the pictures. And tears welled up in my eyes. I see a picture of my dad and me. We butted heads more times than I care to remember during my growing up years. I see pictures of my sisters and me and my mom…and I recall that I was not easy to live with. Thankfully, we all have a good relationship now. I see college pictures of Josh and me. What a God-send he has been to me. And then our wedding picture. I love being married to Josh; I wish I had been easier to live with at the beginning of our marriage. I can easily think of times I wish I could rewind and change my reaction or response to him or my expectations of him. These last fifteen years have been amazing as the Lord has grown us through marriage. I see pictures of three babies! Wow. Those were such joy-filled days and also some of the hardest days of my life. Some days were sweet and full of snuggles and love, while others started off with a tired, grumpy mom and only went downhill from there. I see pictures of Josh’s mom and dad. She isn’t with us anymore here on earth and how God walked us through that time is very special. Irvin and his role in our lives means so much to us. I see pictures of our first camping adventure as a family…a family trip to New York…Josh and I in Israel…a fun trip to France….and our first family mission trip to Haiti. Such wonderful memories on this wall of pictures. Mixed with “back stories” that only I know about. Like when I look at the family picture when the kids were 2, 3, and 4, I smile because I love this season. But I also know that this was also a season mixed with dark days in my life….struggling with body image and emotions that were out of whack, tears that came at unexpected times for reasons I couldn’t put my finger on. Discontentment ruled the roost. There is a picture of our house we built in 2009. I didn’t really want to put the picture up on our family wall, but I see value, not in the beauty of the house, but in what God taught us through the whole process of building it, selling it and moving back to our old house. The God story is beyond being able to put in words, but it is all in my heart. And when I look at the picture of that pretty house that I don’t live in, I am thankful for what God did and how He used it in our lives.

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Life has definitely been a journey. I have seen joy and I have seen regrets. And God has been my God through all of it. Always there. Faithful and loving and kind and patient. Redeeming what others would have thrown out as useless. Such hope is found in living life walking with Jesus. Looking back on my life brings deep joy for His faithful love to me. Looking ahead brings hopeful anticipation of how and where He will lead me.

I have an empty frame hanging on the wall, ready to capture that next moment that reminds me of His faithfulness and to keep trusting Him, keep walking with Him. He’s a Redeemer.

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I imagine Naomi’s picture to put in that empty frame would have been of her smiling as she was holding Obed—the father of Jesse, the father of David. It may have been positioned in between her wedding portrait with Elimelech and a faded picture of the family on their way to Moab many years earlier, but each would have spoken of the hand of God on her life.  “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today… may he also be a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age…” (Ruth 4:14-15).

Take some time to reflect with the Lord on your life. The good and the bad. The great decisions and the horrible ones. Give praise to Him for His constant love. And take a listen to this song (you may have to click on the “Watch on Youtube” link that comes up after your first click.)

 

“Spring Break” at the house

Sometimes you go to DollyWood or the beach or to visit family.  And sometimes you just stay home.

If Josh had been here, it would have been way more fun, but he wasn’t, so we had to make the best of it.  We did school—just math and history and reading.  We got an impromptu visit one evening from a friend bringing over homemade granola bars that were yummy. Each kid had one night that they got to sleep with me. We went for a long walk one morning.  We went to Target to do a little shopping…Mack has birthday money that he is really enjoying spending. He bought some red converse with birthday money from Sweetie and PawPaw.  We found what was making such a horrible smell in my kitchen–a leaking, broken disposal.  ICK!  Thankfully, it got taken care of! It was quite nasty. We met friends at a park for lunch and playing.  We stopped in at Old Navy and Kohls one morning and bought a few spring/summer clothing items.  I did laundry. I mopped! We washed the car.  Bahama Bucks called our name one time  (It called the kids’ names many times, but I only heard it once). There was a lot of jumping on the trampoline. I watched our friend’s kids so they could go on a date and the kids stayed outside for HOURS playing together.  We saw God’s Not Dead 2 last night at Movie Tavern.  The kids have enjoyed playing CLUE, a new game Mack bought at Target. Somehow the kids talked me into J.Christopher’s for breakfast today.  And Josh will be home some time soon, so we are all super excited to have him back with us.

I didn’t take any pictures. I mean, I wouldn’t want to make any of you jealous with all the fun we had around here while you were galavanting here, there and yonder on your Spring Break.

I will add, the traffic around here was DEEEELIGHTFUL.  Like a ghost town of sorts.  A nice bonus for all of us who spent their Spring Break in Woodstock!

Kristy turns 39!

It’s my last year in my thirties.  Wowza.  Time flies.

My birthday was on a Wednesday, and so we had school to do.  The kids would try to complain or huff about school work or chores, and I would gently remind them, “It’s my birthday,” with a smile on my face.  They would stop huffing and comply with whatever they were supposed to do.  And then there was piano and sewing and church.  Josh had a meeting with his discipleship group.  Under normal circumstances, he would have canceled and been with me.  However, due to work travel, he has missed the last five (!) meetings, so I told him he should go since he is gone next Wednesday, too.  And I decided to throw together a dinner birthday party for me.  I have never done this as an adult, but I can tell you that it was fun!  I won’t do it every year, but it was the best gift to have some of my closest friends sitting at dinner with me.

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I have many lovely ladies in my life that aren’t in this picture, no doubt!  I am a blessed woman to be surrounded by friends that mean so much to me and my family, but I couldn’t rent the whole restaurant!  A party of 12 would have to do.  Some of these girls are in my discipleship group…each one challenges and encourages me in wonderful ways.  One in the picture has been my longest time friend since I have been in Woodstock.  There are new friends that I am still getting to know and love to hear about them and see their personality with others.  There’s sweet, quiet ones that are kind through and through.  There are ones that I can just unload on about homeschooling and they know exactly how I feel.   Lots of them are FUNNY!!!  Some are older (not many!), and they give such wisdom in how they live their life.  All of these ladies are amazing moms with hilarious kids.  I love each of their kids so much and know that those kiddos are way blessed to have such strong, loving, patient, hard working moms!  They all make me a better person, and I thank the Lord for each of them….and so many more that He has brought into my life.  All of these ladies are in our Sunday School class and have encouraged me in my role as Sunday School teacher wife in so many ways over the past 14 years.

During dinner I tried out a “conversational tip” I heard from Michael Hyatt (they all kind of laughed when I told them we would be doing this…but they went along with it like good sports).  He says he learned it from Lucy Swindoll.  It’s called the “One Conversation Rule.”  So I announced that once we ordered our food we were going to try this rule out.  I threw out a question. “What is one risk you have taken in life?  Are you glad you took it?” I let them think about it for a while and have small talk with each other and then we started answering the question and everyone at the table listened to who was talking.  Then, sometimes there were other questions that would come out of the answer that was given.  I enjoyed it so much.  This enabled you to get to know everyone in the table a little bit more, instead of being limited to hearing from those right next to you.  I don’t know what they thought, but I thought it was amazing!  I will definitely be implementing this again.

So as I laid down last night in the bed, I closed my eyes and smiled– Grateful to God for His blessings in my life in the way of friends and family.

I thought about a moment earlier in the day when Mack brought me a piece of paper and told me I had to say  yes to what was in the paper.  I was reluctant because, as I told him, if he asked me for a million dollars, I couldn’t say yes.  He assured me it was a reasonable request, so I agreed and he gave me the paper.  I opened it and read his poem:

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And the back:

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Oh my goodness.  He is so sweet.  I read the note and saw $3.00 folded up.  I was telling him how incredibly kind his gesture was, then I looked at his face and his eyes were watering and then he just started crying and hugging me and telling me that he hopes I had a great birthday.  I was crying by then, of course, and telling him that I have had a great birthday because of his sweetness.  He cried for a little more and sat with me.  He is just so tender hearted.  Josh likes to say, when Mack does something like this, “Yep.  Just like his Daddy.”  While Josh is very good to me, I don’t think his sensitivity level is anywhere near Mack’s.  We could both learn a thing or two from him.

But Josh did send me flowers!

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He is a loving, hard-working, generous man, and I am honored to call him mine.

And I got a sweet gift from my friend and neighbor, Melissa.  She is a treasure! The picture of what a friend is.

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So, happy birthday to me!  It was a GREAT day.  Perfect in every way.

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Mack turns 9

Mack has one more year until he enters double digits!  How can that be?  When I look at him I still see his chubby little baby self toddling around here and making hilarious faces.  What we’d do without him, I do not know.

It is so fun having a nine year old boy in the house.

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My mom and I gave him the same card.  Great minds…

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A trip to the mall to pick out a couple of gifts was the highlight of his day.  He is a fun guy to celebrate!  Every time someone called and asked him, “Did you have a good birthday?”, he would say, “I had a GREAT birthday!”

HAPPY 9TH BIRTHDAY, MACK!   We love you.

Easter 2016

What a fun, but wet weekend down in South Georgia!  We didn’t do a traditional Easter egg hunt, but PawPaw did send the kids off together on a scavenger hunt of a few eggs when it wasn’t raining for five minutes on Saturday.  It was so nice to be together with Irvin on Easter.  He cooked AMAZING food for us all weekend.  The man can cook.  Uncle Tony was in town, too, so we got the bonus of getting to see him.  GG was looking and feeling good, and Papa Mac came out to the house one afternoon to eat and be with everyone…must say, he is doing phenomenal for 101!  Crazy.  Jason and Merrilee were there with Deacon.  We had so much fun squeezing on him.

We all went to church together on Sunday to celebrate the Jesus is alive!

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On Good Friday we went to a service as well.  Irvin had many friends gathering around afterwards to meet Deacon.  It was so sweet.

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Mack got some early birthday presents while we were there as well.  The piñata was full of cash instead of candy!  Fun!

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Happy Easter to all!

A Little Baseball

Mack is playing baseball for the first time!  He is loving it so far and keeps telling us how much fun he had.  Here are a few pictures from the day.

He is so cute.

Josh being on a baseball field brings back some memories….like, of almost every weekend while we dated.:)

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Somebody’s little brother wants to play, too.  Lucas is hilarious and too cute.

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The girls had a sleepover last night, hence the crazy hair and sleepy eyes. Not sure what my excuse is.  They had a great time with their friends and enjoyed watching Mack play his game.

Snapped a pretty shot of the sky as the sun was setting on this day…it’s been a good one.

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G-burg

Gatlinburg, baby.  We are back again.  Our trips to this area are usually centered around events hosted at The Convention Center–one being an annual event directed by the hubs, actually.  This is always a fun time for our family to come hang out with Josh and meet some wonderful people.  Why other families come here to vacation is still a mystery to me.  And I don’t mean the surrounding areas in a cabin in the mountains.  I mean, this main strip in Gatlinburg.  But I digress.

We started off by visiting with our friends, The Koesters!  Ruby spent a couple of nights with them and loved every minute with her sweet friend, Katherine.  They fed us a yummy dinner, and we got to catch up with them.  I LOVE that Ruby and Katherine have been friends for their whole lives.  A rare treasure!

We have enjoyed the GORGEOUS weather God has given us this week for the Timothy+Barnabas Retreat.  Lots of sun and warmth.

Josh, Mack and Molly did some racing on Monday.  I opted to be the picture taker.

These little crazies have been together the whole time.  They have been “helping” Mr. Chris sell some of Pastor Johnny’s materials.  They are a funny crew.

Ruby arrived and got her name tag:

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It was perfect and true.

The sessions have been fun for the Ladies!  Mrs. Janet always plans for a good time….and has amazing speakers come in to teach and encourage the pastor wives.

I ran into our sweet, sweet friends, The Blantons.  Love, love them and miss them!  We traveled to Israel with them a couple of years ago and had such a fun time. They were in our Sunday School class while they lived in Woodstock for about a year.  Thankful God has them in North Carolina, but we miss them!

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We took a ride up the Sky Lift this afternoon…it’s a G-burg tradition!

THANKFUL FOR THESE DAYS WITH MY FAMILY!

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Passover Book Recommendations

Hello!  How about a couple of book recommendations?  This season is one of my favorites–  Reflecting on Jesus, the Lamb of God, and how He sacrificed His life for me.  How can we share the story of Jesus with our families?  There are so many creative ways!  Here are two books that have helped me in my knowledge of Passover and the Feasts that God put into place and why they are still important to me as a Christian.

Check these out if you, too, are interested in this topic and how to share it with your kiddos!  The last picture is a book that shows you step-by-step how to have a Passover Feast with your family and friends.  It tells you what each part of the meal means….it’s awesome.

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Happy Reading!

In The Woods

The weather all week has been BEAUTIFUL!  We are loving the sunshine and taking advantage at every turn.  There were lots of trampoline breaks from school work every day, which I welcomed.

This morning I decided that we would all go on a long walk at Lieta’s Garden.  The kids didn’t complain at all.  I love it when that happens.

As we walked, we talked and noticed.  Mack and I talked about Sam Gibley, a character in the book we just finished.  He told me what he imagined his shelter looked like while he lived in the woods.  We noticed moss and lichen on rocks and trees, which happens to be what we studied in science this week.  And we talked about being thankful for the wonderful weather and for the ability to walk such a long trail!  Mack led us the entire way, and he was proud of that. Such a trooper.

Homeschooling just about kills me on a regular basis, but I suppose I will always treasure the time we spend together throughout all of these years.  I wonder if I am teaching them as well as I should be.  I doubt my abilities and creativity, but overall, I think they are learning and growing and being challenged along the way.  They are seeing plenty of real life scenarios as we go about our days.  And we are learning how to get along…or trying to, at least.  Ruby is growing in her ability and desire to manage her own time.  I am so proud when I see her making her own lists and numbering what needs to be done first, second, third, etc.

Mack and I were butting heads the other day during math.  He was stumped on square numbers, which we have gone over five million times.  I was not patient or kind with him about it.  I gave him three pieces of paper and told him to write the square times tables until he DID know them.  And once I cooled off I told him that we would play a game to see if he actually did learn them.  We threw a tennis ball back and forth while he answered the questions…..1X1, 2X2, square root of 64, square root of 81, etc.  He loved it!

And here’s a picture capturing my view for a part of every school day:

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Love learning with these kids.