Monthly Archives: March 2015

Lest You Think We May Be “Normal”….

Family

One of my friends does a weekly “confessional” on FB and shares a bit of the reality of her life and asks others to join on in.

So in the spirit of that I thought I would give you a look into our little lives, and lest you think we may be “normal”…well sit back, read along and be transformed in the truth! 😉

I let Karlena eat the chocolate snack she got from dance class on the way home in the car. I know it is right before dinner but it was this tiny kit kat bar..how much trouble could it cause? Well after our 3 minute car ride she was covered in melted chocolate, even getting it on her brand new tights. That’s what I get apparently.

Today we took our dog Sydney to a “spa day” aka she needed a trim and a wash and mama ain’t got no time for that so let’s pay someone else $30 to do it for me day. She was soft and fluffy and clean, And then it rained (because of course) and someone aka Gabriel let her outside and left her outside for a long time…and she is no longer clean nor fluffy. She basically smells like wet dog. Ahh good times.

Speaking of dogs, ours is shedding at an incredible rate (lest the reason a haircut seemed appropriate). It is as though she births 15,000 small rabbits each day all across our main living space. They tuck themselves in each nook and cranny that they can find and hide there until I can vacuum. I have done so the past 2 nights and am frightened at how much I am picking up. Will this end before graduation in May, please tell me it will.

My 2 youngest children speak in a slightly British accent. I am not sure where it came from as it doesn’t always show itself. I call it Minnesota British. It is really quite unique and I can’t even begin to describe it…but if you are ever around my kids listen to them say something about “the last morning” and you will know what I am talking about.

Oh did I mention that I have a SENIOR this year and I am basically doing my best to hold it together before he ditches our family all together for life! Ok maybe that is a little extreme but when he is moving 7 hours away I am guessing that we won’t see him very often. And can I say that this whole transition phase is also not fun. He needed a copy of his medical records for college, I call and can’t get them because he is 18.

I know, I know the rules, but such a hassle, especially when he is working or in school from 7:45am to 7pm most days. We have all of his Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive/HIPPA docs prepared so that if something ever did happen we could make decisions for him…but we have to pick a date when he isn’t working and we are free and can find a Notary that isn’t one of us and get the darn things signed.

On my list of things to do. Along with painting those stupid shelves. I know kids we don’t say stupid but right now I am over those shelves and wishing they would paint themselves.

Anywho…

Oh and speaking of toy rooms, ours is incredibly clean right now which only means they are not engaging in playing with toys and likely spending too much time playing video games instead. But sometimes when I need 20 minutes to write a ridiculous blog post, I just let it slide. You understand right?!

Oh and a little behind the scenes to the picture above…Isaac looks like he was in a drug induced stupor (he was not)…and Dominic is, if I remember correctly, grabbing my “bumper” as Elijah would call it trying to make me laugh. Always a good time happening around these parts.

So there you go. A look into our wild and wacky and sometimes weird but hardly “normal” lives.

When Laughter Lifts Spirits

Laughter

I had the joy of attending a baby shower yesterday for a sweet new mama. This is her first child and it can be scary. Several of us from our small group joined together to have this shower and it was such fun.

Nancy hosted and made the yummiest of treats. I ate 3 of her filo cups at the shower (I was trying to be super polite) …I could have had 50. They were THAT good. They were these little filo dough cups filled with cheese and mayo and bacon and tomato. YUM!!

I digress….

I had an idea for the cake and was scheduled to do the frosting and then my kids got the stomach flu (YUCK)…so my friend Steph offered to take care of it for me, which was such a blessing.

They did such a good job. It was so adorable! And their story about how it all came together (or almost didn’t) was HILARIOUS. I was laughing just hearing it.

I needed that laughter yesterday.

I said it before but I have found myself in a tough season. It has been a struggle and while I have felt God’s presence so clearly, it is still hard. I haven’t found myself laughing much, and sometimes it is just what we need.

We spent almost 3 hours laughing and sharing stories.

Joy, our youth pastor’s wife, shared the devotional and gave the best “10 things to do to go crazy” list. Dave Letterman doesn’t have anything on this woman. So so good. Everything was written to be sarcastic and we were roaring through it. Like “When you are feeling down about yourself, go onto Facebook and compare your life to all of the perfect people out there…” or “Apply every piece of advice someone give you to your life immediately.” (Don’t we all find ourselves doing these very things and then going crazy over it?!)

And then we just shared stories about our kids and life.

They weren’t the “bragging” kind of stories. No, these were the real life, it isn’t easy and we all make mistakes, kind of stories.

Laughter filled the room, time and time again.

And as the time was coming to the close my friend next to me said something to the effect of “this was so much fun. I just feel better about myself as a mom and feel like I can go home now and better deal with my life.”

Isn’t that what community should be about?

A gathering where our joys are multiplied, and our sorrows divided. (<====Click to Tweet)

If we leave a time like this feeling better about ourselves, it is so so worth it.

It wasn’t really about the food or the cake (although both were amazing), it was about shared heart-stories and women gathering to support and love one of their own.

I need more of that in my life.

I need to make it a priority to spend time with other women, in community. Because when I do I walk away with a lighter spirit and a song in my step.

Laughter truly is the best medicine!

Photo Credit: a4gpa

Building Spiritual Muscles

Journaling Bible

I am a girl with lots of ideas. I love home improvement projects and changing a space with paint. But at times I have terrible follow through. I start something and then get really close to finishing it and stop.

This is evident most in my recent toy room re-do. I have everything done, except painting 2 long shelves that hang on the wall. I can’t hang my pictures until I hang my shelves. I need to get those darn shelves painted already.

I have avoided it for the past 4-5 weekends. I know if I just set out to do it…I would get it done and I’d be so happy with the results. I really have no excuse except that I am lazy at times!

The same goes for exercise.

I am not one of those people who LOVES exercise. I despise it in fact, it hurts during and after and I don’t get the results I want overnight…so I commit for a day or 2 and then quit.

This seems to be my “MO”.

And committing my time to God has suffered the same results, until recently.

Last fall I was asked to participate in a 40 Day Prayer Challenge with a group of other women. We read/listened to Mark Batterson’s devotional and committed to praying for 40 days. Knowing my track record, I didn’t think I would make it past day 5…but I wanted to spend more time getting to know about God and felt this was a great way to start.

To my surprise, I went through the entire 40 days and didn’t miss one! I journaled every morning and committed to praying for our son who is a senior. He has some big life choices ahead and I wanted to cover him in prayer.

This 40 days was life changing for me. I had started to develop a spiritual discipline and was working my “muscles” every day. It felt good. I was listening for God, seeking His path and documenting all the ways He was answering my prayers.

But I wanted to take it further. I knew that if I wanted to see and understand who God was, I needed to get into His Word.

My husband bought me (after much hinting) a journaling Bible for Christmas.

This too has transformed my time in the Word. Feeling free to write, underline and highlight my way through His promises has created a desire for more. (<===Click to Tweet)

Each morning I get up an hour before I need to take a shower. It is early and I am so tired, but it is important. I start with the prompts from She Reads Truth, then join in my Hello Mornings online group and recently have been going back through the Circle Maker  as a walk through Lent.

I will be honest, I have missed a few mornings. But this time in God’s Word has become a lifeline to me.

I tend to get a little squirrely when I am not spending at least 15 minutes each morning in some form of quiet time. I can tell a difference when I choose to sleep in. I am more snappy and less patient.

As I continue to develop this routine I am building those spiritual muscles. I am more confident in God’s love for me. The past month has be TOUGH personally. I am working struggling through some things that typically would bring me to a point of hopelessness and defeat. But as I have committed time to God, He has committed His promises to my mind.

Those promises remind me of who I am through Him. 

He is my strength and strong tower.

He upholds me with His right hand.

He has a plan and a purpose for my life.

He told me there would be trouble, but to have heart because He has overcome the world.

With each new day I am reminded time and time again why I need to hold onto hope. And we all need a little of that don’t we?!

It can be hard to get into the routine, but I promise you when you do you will be filled with blessings overflowing!

What has been your roadblock to more time with God?

spiritualdisciplineslinkup

Joining my friends over at the High Calling.

A Chapter Ending….

school bus

We have made some unexpected decisions (well unexpected to me) in the last week which means some changes are ahead in our family starting next fall.

We had conferences this week for both Elijah and Karlena. If you remember we made the decision last year to hold Elijah back from starting Kindergarten and gave him another year in preschool. We chose to send him to Preschool FT so that he would get school every day.

It is a decision that I struggled with only because my niece, (my sister’s daughter) who is only a few days older than Elijah, was starting Kindergarten. I worried that as cousins they might discover the difference as they got older and Elijah might be upset. The reality is this was way more about me because Elijah will likely NEVER care!

Our decision was affirmed when we had conferences. Elijah has grown and matured this year. For the most part he thrives as a leader and he is all over better prepared to head to Kindergarten next year.

And as we talked about Karlena, we started considering sending her FT next fall to best prepare her as well. Karlena is a December birthday so the decision of when to send her to kindergarten is a bit easier. But we still want to make sure that she has the best possible start.

After discussions with both her current teacher and Elijah’s teacher we decided that we will send her FT next year. This in itself is a big deal, but my heart strings hurt a little at the thought of not bringing her to her daycare anymore.

Before we even placed an offer on a house we signed a contract with Markel. I don’t even really know how I found her originally (GOD), we had started considering a move here to MN but I wouldn’t even commit until I knew there were quality daycare options available.

I spent hours searching online, making calls and nothing was open. Nothing. We had a 2 year old and a newborn and no one had an opening for both. It seemed hopeless and then I got Markel’s name and called her. Apparently she had a family that had 2 children the same age and just that week had announced that they were moving unexpectedly.

Here was the opening we needed. But of course you can’t make a decision over the phone so we scheduled a time to meet her the next weekend we would be in MN house hunting.

We knew she was the perfect person to take care of our kids and immediately signed a contract. We didn’t move for 5 months and there was a time we didn’t know if we would…but knowing we had Markel available if the move happened, gave me peace.

I haven’t regretted that decision once in the past 4 years.

Markel is family to us. And while I knew this change was coming eventually, I honestly didn’t think it would happen for another year.

I know she is just blocks away and I know we will see her (and likely use her to help with Karlena as needed)…it is just a little sad for this chapter to be closing.

I can’t tell you how grateful that I am that Markel has been such an amazing provider for our kids the past 4 years. She has loved our kids as her own, she is a blessing through and through.

Thank you Markel. Thank you for loving our kids, for potty training them in 3 days (seriously she is a miracle worker when it comes to that!!!), for praying for us and supporting us in so many ways when we were both unemployed. You spend your day providing the best environment for our kids when they can’t be with us and our thanks don’t seem to be enough. We are blessed to call you family and praise God for orchestrating our meeting. You are a gift. And while this chapter closes, it isn’t the end. My prayer is that God pours out His blessings on you and your family because you have done the same to ours. We love you!

Do you have someone you are extra grateful for? Why don’t you take a moment today and let them know!

Photo Credit: redjar

Why I Blog

Why I Blog

Recently, as a part of some God-sized Dream team building, we were asked by one in the group to share our “why I blog” story. It has been awhile since I have written about that so I thought it would be fun to revisit it today!

I started blogging in 2008. Honestly as I type that I can’t believe that it has been that long. We lived in SD and had dial-up internet. Writing a post took forever, uploading a single picture was 30 minutes at least! It is a wonder that I stuck with it for several years with those conditions! 😉

I have always loved sharing stories and writing.

When I was young I had a journal, the Type A personality in me also had a clothing log. In my great efforts to become popular (it didn’t work btw) I would record in spiral notebooks my outfit of the day. Had there been blogging in the late 80’s early 90’s…OOTD may have been cool. But this was my sad attempt at making sure that I didn’t wear the same thing in a 2 week period. Yes even then I had problems!

For a time I had a prayer journal and would write out all things I wanted to do or change in my life. And then for many years the writing stopped completely.

Life got HARD. I was unable and unwilling to see any good in my life and so I shut down. If I had a blog then I would have called it “Let Me Count the Ways My Life Stinks”…catchy huh?! At that point I didn’t believe God could really make a change in my life. I had prayed for it, begged even and He hadn’t answered my prayers…(or maybe I wasn’t listening…)

In 2006 God grabbed a hold of my heart in a BIG way. I could see clearly my desperate need for a Savior. I couldn’t keep living the way I had and became willing to do whatever I needed to find peace.

It was 2008 when I first heard the word blog. I had tickets to attend a concert with Point of Grace and Selah. Selah had to cancel our concert because the lead singer, Todd Smith’s wife, was pregnant with a baby who was “incompatible with life” and she was due to deliver any day. The radio station that hosted the concert asked for prayers and directed us to Angie’s blog where she had been documenting her journey.

My heart was instantly grieved for this woman I hadn’t ever met. In February, just a few short months earlier, I had lost a pregnancy as well. One that I was so excited about, one we had prayed about…a pregnancy that had felt like a “reward” for finally being on the right track with God.

So when I had a miscarriage I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen. Weren’t we doing everything right? My heart hardened towards God and the relationship that I had been building over the past 2 years began to crumble.

But every morning I would go and read Angie’s words.

Filled with heartache and pain, but yet hope, she shared about her God. A God that was the same yesterday as He was today…regardless of the circumstances happening around her. Her transparency was remarkable. Of course she was heartbroken, she wanted a different outcome for her daughter, but she never stopped trusting God with all of it.

Her words, her story, gave me hope. (<====Click to Tweet)

I began to ask myself if her faith can stand firm in that situation…then why not me as well? How could I sit with my hardened heart, cursing God for not saving my pregnancy and Angie was praising God even in the storm? How do you get to that place of complete surrender and full faith?

I wanted what she had, a faith like that. A hope in Christ in ALL things.

And so I started a blog of my own. A place where I could work out this shaky-knees faith. A home that I could share my hurts and my pain and hopefully one day share the hope I had in Jesus.

It didn’t come easily at first. I can say that in the beginning the words may have just been that, words. I wrote what I wanted to feel but didn’t truly believe them for my own life.

But God has a funny way of working on our heart and over time I started to see the blessings.

In late 2012 I started this blog. I probably should have called it KristinSmith.com, because according to people who tell you how to blog best…that is the way to go. But the reality for me really was this, it isn’t about me. This space, my ability to write and share stories, is all God. (<====Click to Tweet)

God gives me the words. And by trusting in God and working through some difficult life experiences, I have a chance to be a light here. To share with someone who is hurting the hope that is found in Him. My life isn’t without problems today. But because of Christ I am lavished in love, riches that are beyond my understanding.

Oh it is my honest prayer that maybe just one person might rest here for a moment and find hope.  And that is why I blog!

Do you have a blog? I’d love to read your “why” story…would you share a link below?!

Photo Credit: JeanbaptisteM

Circling Your Dreams

Chicago 4

On my way to Houston to celebrate my birthday, I had a short layover in Chicago. It was just getting dark as we were flying into the Chicago area. Lights below were starting to twinkle and it was a beautiful sight.

Looking out my window, I could see the airport below, and watched as we flew right past it, headed out to the edge of the city, and finally over the waters of Lake Michigan below.

Then there were a couple of what seemed like sharp turns to get us headed back toward the airport. It likely seemed a little more scary because we could see the frozen waters below, dark and uninviting.

Chicago 2

But as we started back towards the city we straightened out and the view that I saw was breathtaking.

Chicago 3

Sometimes in this dream-chasing journey, I get stuck. My focus is on the end result, the destination. How soon will I get there? When will my dream ever come to fruition? “Are we there yet, mom”….oh wait, that is another type of trip! 😉

But really, have you been there?

Been headed towards that goal, maybe even been to the place where you can see the end in sight and then there is what seems to be a detour? You fly right past and think wait…where were the brakes?!

I am sharing some encouragement over at God-sized Dreams today, will you join me there?!

Life These Days

Last week was a rough one. After I wrote that post our furnace broke. I am not kidding. Thankfully it was (I think, we don’t have a bill yet) an easy fix. And we had heat again by that evening.

And the weekend didn’t get much better when Dominic came home about an hour after he left for the office with the stomach flu. Yuck for him. He was in bed all day and only started feeling better by Sunday afternoon.

As for now, we are all healthy and SO ready for Spring…which by the looks of it may be right around the corner. A girl can hope can’t she?!

forecast

I mentioned in my post last week that I am “fasting”, if you will, from spending money (on myself mostly) that isn’t classified as “necessary”. I felt convicted that I maybe had been a little too “loose” with my purchases as of late.  So I got an accountability partner and told her that I wasn’t going to spend money on myself until after Easter.

Then a picture of this blouse came in my inbox.

Shirt

And it is only $29 and in my favorite color and it’s called the PERFECT BLOUSE..and they only have a few mediums left (justify, rationalize)…ultimately I didn’t buy it. I sent a picture to my friend, said I was struggling but wouldn’t buy it. We talked about self-control and how it is times like these that help us to be more thoughtful about our purchases. It was hard for me but it is good.

A few hours later I got an email from Melanie at Unexpected.org that I had won a giveaway she had earlier this month!

This beauty from Trades of Hope came in the mail yesterday…like a little love letter from God.

Trades of Hope

Speaking of Melanie’s blog…if you haven’t ever read it – start with this post about her Overdramatic Family . It had me busting a gut, much needed laughter for my Thursday!

It has been 6 months since my PRK surgery. For the last month I have been on Restasis eye drops. My eyes haven’t gotten to where they would like to see them, and I was showing symptoms of chronic dry eyes (which makes no sense because they NEVER feel dry)…but I figured it was worth a try. The pharm companies are charging a RACKET for these drops. $187 for 1 month and not covered by insurance. Can you even believe that?!

But they seem to be making a difference, so I am continuing for a month and will check things out again in 3 months. Currently I am 20/15 in my right eye and 20/20, with random blurriness at times, in my left. Overall I am really happy with my results…but to get 20/15 in both eyes would be ideal.

I had an opportunity to review a few pieces of ViBella jewelry  and share a bit of my story over at their blog this week. Their company represents transformation and I loved sharing a bit of my transformation journey with them!

ViBella

I have a big list of things that I need to get done this weekend, mostly projects that I have started and never completely finished. I did a toy room redo, which I will blog about once it is all done. I have 2 long shelves I need to paint and then once they are hung, I would be finished. I just need to paint the darn things.

In addition I started painting my sunroom and am almost done, but after my fall 2 weeks ago I didn’t ever get back to completing it. It WILL be done this weekend.

On my to-do list is also sleeping, because this week and last have left me exhausted.

And I guess that’s all I have for now. Nothing much of substance but at least a record for myself of all we have had going on recently! 🙂 Happy Weekend friends!

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