Category Archives: Karlena

A Very Important Decision

Parenting has proven to be one of the most difficult yet rewarding aspects of my life. There are days that I am failing and need to ask for grace over and over again. And there are days that we count as a win, when our kids surprise us or act on a teachable moment.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the should-do-this and don’t-do-that whispers that come from all around us. If I am not careful and prayerful I can get caught up in those. But there are those rare and amazing moments that are God-filled and I want to share one of those with you today.

I should be having Dominic write this story because it is really his to tell. I wasn’t even there, but it was such a beautiful example of parenting with God’s leading that I wanted to document it.

On Saturday I had a special day planned with some of my girlfriends from church. We were heading to Sioux Falls for some shopping and then a evening conference featuring Lysa Terkeurst. It is rare that I get away for days like this so I was really looking forward to it.

Dominic took the kids over to get haircuts before I left town and then had a full day planned filled with work, a motorcycle ride and grilling hamburgers for the kids. It would be a pretty typical Saturday or so we thought…that is until lunch.

We have a 6 and 7 year old right now. We have been working with them on their understanding of communion. In our church there isn’t a specific “class” on why we celebrate communion, it is something that the pastor explains on the Sundays we have it and as parents we are encouraged to talk with our kids and help make the decision about when the time it is right.

For a long time Karlena has been asking about it and wanting to take communion but really just thought it was a time to snack at church. We knew she didn’t understand the significance of it all so we continued to talk to her about it.

After the last time we had communion at church Dominic took home a few of the little cups the juice comes in so that we could talk more about it at home. The cups have been sitting on our counter for a month or more but for some reason on Saturday Dominic got them out at lunch time and he and the kids started talking.

He told them again the story of Jesus, why He came and why He made a sacrifice for us. He talked about the significance of the last supper and why it is the reason we recognize the celebration ourselves today.

Then he asked the kids if they wanted to take communion together. So they got some crackers and he filled the little cups with some of his opened Monster energy drink…to which they all said it was “delicious and mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about”…they are on to me and my lies about how terrible sugared drinks taste!

Anyways, together they took communion and celebrated the gift that we have been given through Jesus. Dominic felt confident that they understood the significance and that they were ready to participate in church.

Then he asked them if they had ever asked Jesus to come into their hearts? Elijah had and so he said yes but Karlena shook her head no. Dominic asked if she thought she might like to say a simple prayer to ask Jesus into her life and she said yes!

So he called everyone together and they knelt down and he led Karlena through a prayer of recognition of who God is, confession of her sinful nature and then asked Jesus to come into her life and lead her. She repeated the words after him and was so excited that Jesus was now in her heart!

I got the news through a text after it happened, and I have to admit that I was a little sad that I wasn’t there, but I was so grateful that Dominic was able to share this incredibly special moment with his youngest and only daughter. And I am so glad that Dominic followed the Holy Spirit’s leading to have the conversation in the first place!

On Sunday morning when she got up, Karlena came to find me to tell me the good news. Wonderful news indeed!! Such an important decision, one that we all need to make. I know this doesn’t guarantee that her life will be easy. As much as I wish ease and comfort for my kids, more than anything I want them to be drawn to a personal relationship with Jesus. And if they are anything like me, they may need some hardship before they come to that place of surrender and being fully ready to let God lead them.

But regardless of what happens in the next 10, 20 or 40 years of my daughter’s life, she has the assurance that she is saved and loved by God. She is sealed by the blood of Jesus and her name is written in the Book of Life.

I am so proud of her and it is an honor to be a parent to the amazing kids God has given us!

Three Truths Experiment

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There seems to be something changing in our family. A few weeks ago we started naming truths about our kids and they are claiming them for their own. It has been incredible to watch them step into a belief of who they are in Christ instead of falling to the whispers that they are not good enough, or bad.

I am challenged by what I have seen, especially with Elijah, and want to start claiming some truths for myself.

I am 41 years young. I have spent the majority of my almost 15,000 days on this earth believing more often that I lack value, than days standing firm on who I am in God.

When my daughter cried that she was a terrible person I rebelled at the notion for her, but when I really think about it, I know I have claimed that for my own life time and time again.

Well it is time for a change and so I have decided to do a “Three Truths Experiment.”

I am going to choose 3 character traits that I believe God has created me with and I am going to start living in those truths. Looking for ways to use His gifts to be a blessing to others.

I was asked by a friend how we chose the three truths for our kids. It all started with Elijah. He had received a note home from a teacher saying how kind and compassionate he was. I knew that about him but this solidified it for him too. We added brave because I told him it takes bravery to keep making good choices, to be kind to those who may not be kind back.

After naming Elijah’s, we moved on to Karlena. Elijah was very helpful in picking out good qualities in his siblings.  And so adventurous, kind and brave were named for our girl.

Gabriel was given hard-working, caring and generous and Isaac – funny, helpful and creative. I loved that the younger kids wanted to help in choosing positive truths for their older brothers!

We told our kids that these three truths aren’t the only things that we believe they are gifted with…but 10 truths per child for me to remember was going to be too much! 🙂 As I shared already, Elijah has added helpful to his list on his own. He is starting too see these positive traits in himself and others and is owning them!

Isn’t that the whole point?

Recognizing the positive things about ourselves and walking in those truths instead of being weighed down by lies that we aren’t good enough, we are failures etc.

So I am going to do this little experiment myself, and I’d love for you to join me.

Will you join me in establishing three truths for your life and then start walking through each day in full acceptance of those truths?

I have a sneaking suspicion that if we do this we will start to see a change. A change in how we see ourselves, how we see others and interact with our fellow man.

I have seen it in my son. Especially in those difficult moments. He is still six, he too can be selfish and sneaky, naughty even. But recognizing the truth of who God created him to be has changed how quickly those negative moments turn to good.

I want the freedom that he has, I want to walk in truth instead of being weighed down by lies. I know that God created each of us for a specific purpose, it’s high time we start living into that calling.

I will be praying over my words and will be back soon to share what my three truths are.

Are you in?!

A Chapter Ending….

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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

You’re Beautiful – Just as You Are! {A Letter to my daughter}

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Dear Sweet Karlena,

You have just turned three my sweet girl and I can hardly believe how much you continue to grow and to change. You are a joy as the final addition to our brood of boys and we can’t imagine life without you in it.

Yesterday your daddy and I were at Walmart and he stopped to look at some purple nail polish, wondering if we should buy it for you. My heart melted knowing you would love it and your daddy was wanting to treat his pretty princess.

You are beautiful my daughter.

You are lucky to have hair like my sister Beth ;), I thank God for that every day (and I may never let you cut bangs either – just saying!) And even though you refuse to pull your hair back most days so we can see your eyes, you my girl are beautiful.

Your kisses make my day and your singing makes me smile. You are beautiful – just as you are!

There are days (ahem) that you can be a bit, shall we say, sassy. But we love you girl!

I hope that you always remember how much you are loved and how beautiful you are.

The world may try and make you feel like you aren’t good enough. You may go through an “awkward” phase like I did, but never forget that you are beautiful, just as you are.

I hope that I can always be there to remind you that God made you in a unique and beautiful way. With gifts and talents special to you.

To tell you that no matter what the world says, God’s view of you is what matters. And what would He say?

You’re Beautiful sweet daughter – Just as you are!

Always grateful to be yours,

Mom

I am linking up with Holley for the 2014 Encouragement Challenge – will you join us and help spread the encouragement love?!

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I’ve Created a Little Monster

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Ok monster is a little harsh I know but I was having a hard time coming up with another title. 😉

She is so adorable isn’t she?

Karlena is a sweet and sassy almost 3 year old and she has been such a blessing to our family.

When she was a baby she slept really well early on. For some who don’t know, the first 6 months of her life Dominic and I lived in different states. He was here in MN for a new job and I was back at our old home with the kids until we sold out house.

I was nursing at the time and so during the week when Dominic wasn’t there I just let her co-sleep with me. She would wake to eat and we would both fall asleep right away. I can fall asleep FAST and so this worked really well for both of us.

When we all moved back together we transitioned her into a crib with little difficulty. She would even go in the crib awake and put herself to sleep.  When it came time to give her a “big-girl” bed, that too went amazingly well.

Now fast forward to about 6-8 months ago. I don’t remember the exact date but I do know Karlena got really sick for a couple of days. She had a really high fever and I didn’t want her to be alone….besides she was waking up every 1/2 hour and crying…so I went and slept in her twin bed with her.

And so it began….

A couple of nights like this during her sickness and it became a routine for her. She, like all our boys at this age, like to have someone else in their room with them.

So now, sometime between midnight and 4am, she inevitabily wake up crying out “mama”…..

I have tried just going in her room and rubbing her back until she sleeps again….but fights it, she wants me to lie down, and if I do she and I can be back to sleep in like 28 seconds.

So in the interest of maximizing my already limited sleep, I don’t fight it and just sleep with her every night at some point. I know…I KNOW!

Please don’t judge….I probably get less than 6 hrs of sleep most nights so every moment is precious to me. But now I can’t break the cycle either.

I tried letting her cry one night and after 20 minutes I caved.

I figure that in a few years she won’t want to be around me much less have me in her room…..I know this is short term.  But it isn’t ideal either.

So I am just curious if there are any other parents out there that have had this “problem” and what worked for you to change the pattern….or did you just ride it out??

And please be gentle….I know this isn’t one of my most proud parenting moments!! 🙂

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