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.