Thursday, October 29, 2009

Joshi's Leadership Lesson

Joshi just read a great book for school. It is called "Yonder Mountain A Cherokee Legend" told by Robert Bushyhead and written by Kay Bannon. What a great story!

The story is about a great chief who has aged and knows it is time to pass on his position to a younger man among his people. He calls three young men who he thinks might fill the spot. He tells them they must travel to the top of the mountain yonder. He tells them to bring back what they find there.

The first man goes part way up, finds beautiful rocks and says he shall bring them back, for they will brings his people money.

The chief tells him he has done well, but they must wait to see what the others bring back.

The second one goes a little farther up and brings back herbs, to heal the people. The chief also tells him he did well, but they must wait for the last man.

Several days pass, and the last man finally comes back, empty handed. When he gets to the chief he tells him that he went to the top of the mountain, and it was a tough road, but when he got up there he saw a signal from somewhere beyond, there are people there that need help.

And this is my favorite part:

Sounding Eagle rose to his feet. "Chief Sky," he pleaded. "We need to go to them quickly. They are in trouble."

Chief Sky stood straight before his people and the three young men. Pausing for a time, he lifted his eyes to the mountains and watched the mist settle on the peaks. He then turned to his people and spoke. "We need a leader who has climbed to the top of the mountain. We need one who has seen beyond the mountain to other people who are in need." (Bushyhead and Kay Bannon, Yonder Mountain)


I love the way the chief was looking for someone who was brave enough to travel outside their reach, and then notice the need of others. Where the other two men brought back good things, they didn't risk it all and go to the top; they didn't see beyond the needs of their own people.

I couldn't help but relate this to the church today. One of the things I love and respect about the leadership at The Orchard is the way our focus, as a church, is constantly being directed on those outside the church walls. And it isn't about trying to convince anyone that Christ is the way to go; it is about loving others without an agenda. Christ can do His own work, we just need to love and He will do the rest.

And so I say to the church everywhere, we need leaders who are willing to travel the rough road and see the people who are in need, and then act.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bumps in the Night

Had a great birthday celebration yesterday. Just a small family affair, consisting of pizza at pizza hut, a pizza cake, and the movie G-force at the dollar theater.

Seth had a blast.

It was great celebrating his day!

In the process of the fun, lots of junk was consumed.

Faith can't eat junk. She has had an acid reflux problem since she was born. We pretty much have it under control, but if lots of bad stuff is consumed, an attack is certain.

So we weren't terribly surprised at 1:30 (that is the time it happens every time) when she woke up moaning.

And when I say "wake up" I say it loosely. She never actually wakes up and rarely remembers the experience in the morning.

She will probably never forget last nights, though.

So Mike got up with her like usual, I don't get up well at night, once I am up I am up, so it's best if I stay put and try to ignore it.

Mike seemed to get her worked out and I heard him leave. Heard the bathroom door close. Heard the bathroom door open.

Heard, thump, thump, thump, thud!

We both shot out into the hall to see her lying at the bottom of the stairs!

We ran to the bottom and she was able to stand. I walked her back up to the top, and she acted like she was going to faint!! I freaked out a bit, but realized she was still asleep!

We took her back in the bathroom, flipped on the lights on and put cold washcloths all over her till she woke up and could talk to us.

She seemed to be okay after that, said she only hit her head at the bottom.

She is super sore this morning.

Really, I blame the design of this crazy house. I have feared, for the last 4 years, that someone would fall down the stairs in the middle of the night. I always thought it would be Seth, my other non-waker. The stairs are placed right next to the bathroom, and there is very little hallway, great way to conserve living space, horrible for sleep walkers.

I would like to say thank goodness this house is a tri-level, therefore she only fell down eight steps and not an entire flight of steps.

Good thing we took the day off today. We shall all rest a bit.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Does Your T-Shirt Say?

Once again, school is overtaking everything!

Love my classes this semester. Lots of art, literature, and philosophical analysis and interpretation. I am enjoying it, and trying to get everything I can out of it. After these classes just two more next semester and I graduate!

Kids are doing great in school.

Faith started using Video Text Interactive this year for Pre-Algebra and Algebra. We are really loving it and can't recommend it enough! Bit pricey, but really well worth the price, so far. Going to find out in the next month or so, what our options are for Faith going to high school part time. Pretty sure I don't want it to be a full day, and neither does she, but would like the access to activities offered there. We shall see.

Great things at the Orchard. Awesome to be involved in a place that cares about the community. One that realizes that it is all about unconditional love for people and not love with an agenda. Loved the song from this weekend Mike did "T-Shirts" by Derek Webb . The lyrics say it all:

they'll know us by the t-shirts that we wear
they'll know us by the way we point and stare
at anyone whose sin looks worse than ours
who cannot hide the scars of this curse that we all bare

they’ll know us by our picket lines and signs
they’ll know us by the pride we hide behind
like anyone on earth is living right
and isn’t that why Jesus died
not to make us think we’re right

when love, love, love
is what we should be known for
love, love, love
it’s the how and it’s the why
we live and breathe and we die

they’ll know us by reasons we divide
and how we can’t seem to unify
because we’ve gotta sing songs a certain style
or we’ll walk right down that aisle
and just leave ‘em all behind

they’ll know us by the billboards that we make
just turning God’s words to cheap clich├ęs
says “what part of murder don’t you understand?”
but we hate our fellow man
and point a finger at his grave

they'll know us by the t-shirts that we wear
they'll know us by the way we point and stare
telling ‘em their sins are worse than ours
thinking we can hide our scars
beneath these t-shirts that we wear

What a sad commentary about the christian community. Love that the Orchard is all about letting people know what we stand for, instead of what we stand against. Jesus loved the people, hung with the sinners, and criticized the religious community. So if we want to be true Christ-followers we should be loving people where they are at and showing them the love they need, not telling them all the things they do wrong, as if we ourselves are blameless.

Okay, that's it for now.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Songs That Move

Music is so powerful. I remember as a teenager, listening to such sad, angry music.
And guess what?

I spent a lot of time being sad and angry.

Music still moves me, and can totally effect my mood. But lately I have been drawn to certain songs, that are able to express where I am better than I can say in my own words. I am grateful for this.

The song Faithful by Brooke Fraser is one that is really speaking to me right now. If you don't know it, find it and listen to it. Here are the lyrics:

There's distance in the air and I cannot make it leave
I wave my arms' round about me and blow with all my might
I cannot sense you close, though I know you're always here
But the comfort of you near is what I long for

When I can't feel you, I have learned to reach out just the same
When I can't hear you, I know you still hear every word I pray
And I want you more than I want to live another day
And as I wait for you maybe I'm made more faithful

All the folly of the past, though I know it is undone
I still feel the guilty one, still trying to make it right
So I whisper soft your name, let it roll around my tongue,
knowing you're the only one who knows me
You know me


Show me how I should live this
Show me where I should walk
I count this world as loss to me
You are all I want
You are all I want

There is so much truth in this song. You can't always feel Him near, can you? And when you can't do you abandon that hope and faith or do you become more faithful in those times of waiting? She talks about having a hard time releasing the past and acknowledges that God is the only one who can remove the guilt...And He can do it by just you asking. There is a lot of hope and faith in this song. I love that!

What's moving your heart right now?


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Making an Impact with Your Super Power

I've been thinking a lot about what my impact in this world is. What am I doing today to make tomorrow better. What steps am I taking to make this world a better place? I don't just want to be one of those people that see the starving children, or the abused women, or the hurting underdogs and say, "Oh, isn't that sad!" Then quickly change the channel.

I want to make a lasting impact on this crazy world. And I know I am just one little me, but I know that God has something incredible designed for me. I just don't know what it is yet.

Oh, and before I go any further, I know being a mom and wife is important. And I love it. But I am talking about something bigger than all that.

I was talking about my good friend Todd the other day. If you knew him you remember his super power.

Yeah, I said super power.

No he couldn't leap tall buildings or stop a bullet with his eyes, but he could encourage you like no one's business.

I mean this guy had the most amazing gift for encouraging people. And not fakey-make-stuff-up-to-make-you-feel-good, type of encouraging, but honest, sincere, thoughtful, encouraging.

He was really incredible at it.

If you were ever encouraged by him, you didn't forget it.

I miss that.

I could use some of his encouragement today.

I am getting off my point. My point is that Todd did a lot of stuff in his life. A lot. But what comes first to my mind every time I think about him, is his encouragement. He was given this huge gift and used it to the fullest.

What is that gift that you have you been given that you are using, or should be?

I am struggling with this right now. My heart is being pulled in the direction of those who need help. I feel like God wants me to act. He wants me to do something, possibly something that seems extreme to some. I don't know what it is, and I don't know what my gift is. Not in regards to this.

All I know is that I can't be a silent observer. I can't just sit her and witness injustice. But I don't know what I am supposed to do.

Any ways that is what is on my mind right now. Don't know if it all makes sense, and it doesn't have to, because it's my blog!!! :)


Monday, June 15, 2009


Witnessed an episode at the pool today. Little girl we know was being harassed by another girl. The little girl we know was standing up for herself, quite well.

But the situation was escalating. I stood up to move a chair so I could see Joshi better, and in the process, realized the situation looked like maybe it needed to be...helped along. Our friends mom came up and called her girl out of the pool, great parenting, while the other child continued to throw threatening comments and anger, but now towards the friends of the girl who got pulled from the pool. My kids.

My kids shook their heads and swam away and continued playing and I realized what was happening. She is a bully.

My friend, the mom of the other little girl, told me this had been going on at school, and she had encouraged other girls to do the same.

This brought back memories. Memories of my junior high experience. It was really awful. I had a friend, we were close, I upset her, she hated me, and turned a bunch of people against me.

One girl threatened to hurt me, and said I had better run home everyday after school, because if she caught me she was going to beat me up.

I beleived her.

I was terrified. My entire eighth grade year, I was terrified. I never told my parents. I was too scared.

By the time high school came along, these people had calmed, maybe they weren't even there, don't know but those problems were over. But psychologically, it was far from being over. It had created some deep emotional issues that were not easy to overcome.

Okay, here is my point. Your kids don't have to go through this. I decided when I became a mom that no matter, what my kids would not be bullied. I didn't care what I had to do, it just wouldn't happen.

I have actually had parents tell me this bullying is good. Tell me that if it doesn't happen when they are young they won't know what to do with it when they are older...hmmm, really?

I was threatened, terrorized, abused, and guess what, it didn't help me deal with it, not one bit!!! Not at all. What exactly was it supposed to teach me? Don't trust your friends? It's okay to be mean?

What I want to say to all parents is that it isn't normal, it isn't part of growing up and it doesn't have to happen. You don't have to allow your child to be abused. It should not be a part of childhood.

And finally, don't get me wrong, I am not talking about conflict. Conflict is a part of life. What I am talking about here is bullying, totally different.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

To Mow Or Not To Mow

It happened about seven years ago. It was spring, our family had moved to North Carolina the prior fall, and the 1/2 acre of grass that surrounded our house was beginning to grow. I was pregnant, and Mike was working about 168 hours a week.

We had no mower.

It was getting pretty jungle-y, and I was starting to freak out. We didn't have the money to buy a mower and even if we did, who was going to do it?

I remember so clearly praying, and being pregnant- crying, asking God to please send us someone to help us with this yard.

I was very overwhelmed with everything in our lives at the time and the yard was just the tip of the iceberg.

The next day there was a knock on my door. It was my neighbor Venessa. We had never really spoken much, just hello and goodbye, not much more. The conversation went kind of like this:

Venessa: "Kristen, God wants me to mow your yard!"
Kristen: "Oh, Venessa, no! I couldn't let you do that! We will figure something out!"
Venessa: "Kristen, I am not asking your permission, God wants me to do this, I am being obedient to Him! I am going to mow your yard for you I am just telling you."
Kristen: "Oh, well, I guess, okay?"

Venessa, continued to mow our grass for about two years until we got ourselves on our feet and bought our own riding lawn mower. We also became best friends, our kids became best friends and our yard lines became blurred, as we worked on them together. I often wish she was here to help me make some landscape decisions :)

This story comes to mind as we are dealing with an issue in our neighborhood, and I need to apologize for my heart and attitude.

Our neighbor, nice young couple with two small kids, up and left their house about 8 months ago. Don't know what happened to them, they didn't say, just left.

I have been worried about the abandoned house throughout the winter, and Seth did see them return once and they told him it was their second house that they would be back when it got warmer. Hmm. Don't know how accurate that is coming from a 8 year old.

Anyways, as it has gotten warmer their grass has gotten longer and longer and weedier and weedier. As we returned from our time in Az this last week their grass is almost as tall as Joshi! All I could think about was, I needed to report them to the home owners, to get this fixed!


So yesterday as Mike got the mower out to mow our yard he began to mow their yard as well. And at first I thought, "What are we going to mow their yard every time we mow???"

And a voice in my head said,"Maybe."

That is when the Venessa story came rushing back to me. Oh my. What a hypocrite. We don't know what the situation is for them, they may really need the help right now, and regardless, shouldn't we as a community care about the people and environment we are living in and around?

It was a wake up call to me. Thanks Nessa for being a great example to me, once again.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Am I Going To Regret This Later?

This is a question I seem to be asking myself a lot lately.

Ever since we said goodbye to our good friend Todd, this phrase has been running through my mind quite a bit.

It has made me more intentional in my decisions, and even made some decisions that would have, in the past, been quite difficult to make, a little easier.

For example, Mike going to Africa. When he came home and told me about the opportunity, my first reaction was not, "Awesome!! You should do it!!"

I wish it had been.

But that just isn't me. My first reaction when someone, especially Mike, tells me they are going to be leaving me for an extended time is never one of joy. I have all sorts of issues with loved ones traveling, that I have had to try and overcome throughout the years. I have to continually remind myself that I do not have a spirit of fear but of courage. I am getting better, but still not great at it.

So after Mike told me of this opportunity, I went through my usual thoughts of terror, and then I asked myself, "If he doesn't go, won't he, and you, regret that decision later?"

The answer was "Of course!!" If we wait for me to not to be scared, he will never go.

I am finding this question to be especially useful when it comes to dealing with relationships. We have a tendency to think we have lots of time to build and strengthen the relationships in our lives. But the reality is we don't really know what the future holds for us, who knows what tomorrow will look like.

So I would say that when it comes to spending time with your family and friends there are no excuses. Because let's face it, the economy will never be good enough, our jobs will never be less busy, life will never be less hectic, the kids will never be old enough, on and on and on...

And in the end, really, all this stuff, money, houses, cars, you name, just don't really amount to much of anything. Ask anyone who has lost a loved one. It just does not matter. But our relationships, the memories we make together as friends and families, with our loved ones, that is really what counts in the end.

Don't wait. Live with no regrets.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I just found out I am a Great Aunt!!! Long complicated story, but just came in contact with my niece for the first time since she was little, and she has a beautiful 1.5 year old daughter!! Gorgeous!!

I am sad that I missed out on so much of her life, but hope that I can be a support to her now that she a mommy!

I am hoping to meet them when I get to AZ next week.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Scone Friday!!

Yum!! Faith has started a tradition of making scones every Thursday night while Mike and the kids and I all go on a walk around the neighborhood.

Let me tell you, she has gotten pretty good at these things. I will share the recipe with you, so you too can have scone Fridays!! Be sure to read the comments, there is one from a person who owns a cafe and she gives some great suggestions for variations on the recipe!

For the last couple of weeks she has been making chocolate chip scones but this week she shook it up a bit. This time she added apples chopped and lightly coated in cinnamon and sugar, and cinnamon. Delicious.



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Big Salads and Big Shopping!!

Paula and I got to celebrate yesterday!! With a delicious lunch and great time of shopping we got to celebrate surviving my first semester back to school!

We met at Portillos and enjoyed their garbage salad and yummy lemon poppy seed muffins. Yum!! Felt so nice to sit outside and talk and munch. I appreciate my P. hanging in with me through these last few months. She has been a bit neglected by me, while I tried to figure out my new schedule. It was great to just slow down for a bit.

Then we hit the stores, me with the goal of spending my birthday money, thanks Paula, mom, mom Jones, and Gma Bolles :) Paula had a different goal. She decided that since I was a college student I needed a bikini. Yikes!! I humored her and tried one on, but quickly took it off and tried to erase the image from my mind!! We compromised and I got my little black skirty bottom and a bikini top.

It was a good day. I thank God for putting my sweet friend in my life. I don't know what I would do without her!!

Oh, and now that I have a break, I can finally read a fictional book again!!!! P. gave me a bagful. Last night I started reading "Belong to Me" by Marisa de los Santos- only read three chapters last night and it is already fabulous!!!!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Close Shave

I helped Faith shave her legs for the first time the other night. It was over due. She had never cared about it before, but told me a couple of weeks ago she was reluctant to wear shorts because of the hair on her legs...

It was time.

Okay ladies, do you remember the first time you shaved your legs? I do. My mom was convinced I was too young. I think I was in the 6th grade.

I remember I was being teased by kids for my hairy legs.

Mom said, No. So I, fortunate enough to have a big sister, snagged a razor and went at it. I don't remember any major issues with the shaving, but I do know I didn't clean the tub out when I was done.

Mom found the remains in the tub and asked me if I had shaved. I can't remember if I said yes or no, but pretty sure I said no.

Always a memory that stuck with me. I always said I would let my girls shave whenever they wanted and told them that.

But I have to say it was a tough moment. It just seems so grown up. I know she is growing up, but until now I have been able to deny it a bit. This was much more tangible.

All that said, I was glad to share in it. Faith and I sitting on the side of the tub, Kylee sitting on the toilet seat behind us. Me teaching Faith the ins and outs of a smooth shave, and how not to nick yourself too badly. I am sorry that I stole that moment from my mom. And so glad that I got it.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blog Break

Well the Spring semester of school is officially over for me!!

I took a break from writing on here, there was so much to do, something had to go. The blog got cut.

But I missed it. And have lots and lots of thoughts swirling around right now.

School for me was great! The thing I was most worried about was the writing portion. I had not written a college level paper in 13 years! So of course, one of my classes, Humanities 370- The Popular Arts, was super writing intensive. Huge amounts of reading, like 60+ pages a week, and tons of writing. Very challenging, but I learned so much and loved thinking about stuff! Also cool, was watching all the movies for the class. My kids now have a huge appreciation for 1930's-1960's cinema! Pretty cool.

And I ended up with a 4.0 this semester!! Still made dinner for my fam. at least 5 nights a week, schooled the kids and kept the house in a sort of order. Now that I am on break, I am feeling a bit restless. Break won't last long though, I have a 30 day summer class starting on June 1st, so I have much to prepare for before it starts.

Also learned something about myself. I think schooling the kids has really taught me some amazing organizational skills!! I was not even aware that I had them!

Lots going on this month.

Mike is going to Africa with Scott. The kids and I are going to AZ while he is away. We are all excited.

Kids are also finishing up a great school year. They have really done awesome this year, learned so much.

Faith went for an orthodontic appointment to see if her jaw and slowed down enough to possibly fix her bite with braces. Unfortunately, it looks as if we are looking at surgery as she gets older :( What a great kid though, she thought that sounded better than wearing braces for several years.

Okay, I guess that is enough for now. More later.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Seth's Pinewood Derby!!!!

Well this is supposed to be a post about Seth's derby race, but I had these two pictures of Mike during the minus temps we had a week or so back. And since we never see Mike in a jacket let alone, his big old down jacket, I had to post this!

Shot of the outside with all that snow!!!

Okay here are the cars in Seth's second race all lined up. His is the silver shark car in the second row!

Here is Seth starting the race because he was the first car in the row!

Here are the cars racing down the track! His came in second this time around.


Mom and Seth loving each other

Daddy pinning on Seth's bobcat he had just earned!

Seth pinning on the bobcat medal on his daddy.

He had a great day!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Am Sorry- Me

Okay, so I think I owe myself an apology.

For the last 14 some years I have been embarrassed and ashamed that I was so near a degree in humanities. Not that I was so close to a degree and never finished, although that is pretty embarrassing, but because I was actually getting a degree in humanities. Whenever someone would ask me what I had studied in school, I would mutter something about being a humanities major and then quickly try and explain, that I was young when I chose it, that I wasn't really thinking about my future, that it was a silly choice and if I could go back and change things I would.

And since, I decided to go back and finish my degree, my attitude about that degree hadn't changed much. Until this week.

I am now realizing once again why I chose the major that I did.

I love it! I am so enjoying my history and humanities classes. My biggest struggle right now is drawing boundaries for myself so that I don't get so involved in my school work that I am neglecting what must come first. At first I thought it was a time management issue, but it isn't, I am just really enjoying my study time and re-learning some of the things I had forgotten.

So from this point on, I will not be ashamed of my education!

I will be proud!

And when people ask me what I am going to do with my humanities degree, and they will ask, I will tell them......well, I don't know what I will tell them, but I am a humanities major, I am sure I will come up with something creative!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Guitar Hero

Mike and Kylee have been having a little guitar hero battle the last couple of days. Kylee has won every round.

Mike is a little frustrated.

They are playing right now.

Kylee just won again. While he was jumping up and down and shouting, "No! No! No!"

Kylee said:

"What's wrong you can't beat a little girl? hehehe"

Ah, smack talk, where did she learn that??


School Stuff

Well, I made it through my first week of school. And I am only slightly over whelmed.

I think I made a good choice with the classes that I am taking this semester. The humanities class seems a bit intense, but the teacher also seems like the kind that will be fair, especially if you are trying and showing a lot of interest.

My history teacher seems....removed. He doesn't even seem like a person. Just seems like he threw some stuff up on the website and is done. Doesn't really seem to want to get involved personally. But one really cool thing about my his. class is that it starts off in 17th century Europe which is about where we are at home! The kids are just about a week behind my history! So not only am I getting the benefit of learning and finishing my degree, I am also preparing for what the kids will be learning in the coming week. Pretty cool!

So I am trying to stay ahead of my week, tonight, while Faith is at student group, I am going to head to Starbucks and work on the rest of the reading assignment for history and the discussion question I have to post for this week, then I will only have the hum. class to worry about. Yeah, I know, Mike said I am that old person everyone hates in class, luckily it is an online class so there are a lot of me in the class, I think.

Also, loving my new MacBook. Really is helping with organization and keeping my stuff together.

Also Faith started blogging this week, so check out her blog for an update and give her some encouragement!!