a season to remember

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What a beautiful season Christmas is.  The snow.  The lights.  The music.  The people.  Jesus.

This season is also one where people reflect.  On life.  On blessings.  But also on loss.  The holidays bring up a certain reminder that there are people in our lives that are gone.  That will not be celebrating this beautiful season with us.

Today is my day to remember.

I was watching my two precious girls running down the hall and my eyes filled up with tears.  My other precious little girl is not here.  And I miss her. I so wish that I could have her for one Christmas.  I will never forget holding her, loving her. I loved every second.  I hold each memory as a precious gift.  I am forever changed by the blessing of the time I got to be her mommy.

I remember my Nonnie, my moms mom.  What a wonderful women she was.  It is still so hard to believe that she is gone.  Up in heaven celebrating the birth of Our Lord in person with Him.  But today, I miss her. She loved me so much.  She always believed in me.  She was one of my biggest cheerleaders.  She was an example to me of how to love people well.  How to be selfless.  She enriched my children’s lives by the love she poured out for them.  And, wow, did she love Jesus.   I could go on and on and on and on.   The memories that I hold in my heart are some of my greatest treasures.  The legacy that she left is one of my greatest gifts.  Nonnie, we miss you.  Thank you for the precious memories and the legacy of faith that you left.  Enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus while sitting in His presence.

Inside your heart, there is a special spot that will forever belong to them and only them.  That sport starts out as an empty hole.  A painful reminder of what was lost.  But as God brings healing, He allows the emptiness to be filled with memories.  Wonderful memories of that loved one we lost.  The healing part takes time and the once empty spot still contains a certain amount of tenderness.  And it can start to hurt at any moment for any reason. The holidays usually hit that tender spot, reminding us of the joyous memories while also binging to our attention that we miss them and that they are not here.   And this leads to reflection.  Often times tears.  I used to wish it didn’t hurt, that I would stop crying.  But now I believe that each tear I cry and each time I remember so deeply to where I feel it with my whole heart, I am honoring them.  I am remembering the person that they were and the impact that they had on my life.

This is a season to remember.

~Kristen

back in routine…today

I have been going, going, going.  I know that is very surprising to hear from me (insert sarcasm).  I kept telling myself that once we got into the swing of things with school it would slow down.  Nope, sure didn’t.  Okay, well then surely after October.  Maybe I just needed another month to catch up to the routine.  No, that didn’t happen either.  Now, I sit here ready to say after Christmas it will slow down.

But I am not going to let myself go there.  I am going to slow down now.  Because I want to enjoy this time of year.  I want to take it all in.  I want to hold on to the memories made this wonderful season.  I want to have time, without being frazzled, to hold my family close as we remember the birth of our Savior.

That sounds easy enough, right?  No, this time of year screams “go go go. Faster.”  Why do we do it all?  I have to learn how to slow down this time of year.  It has helped to say no to things.  It has helped to breath a little more deeply :)

This morning I got up early, exercised, read my bible and had some coffee before the kids were up.  That is my normal routine.  It is what starts my day off right.  I was determined that I wasn’t going to wait until after Christmas to start back to the routine that I so enjoy.  I just get tired and sleep in :)  Which, sometimes is okay to do.  But when I get up early, my day starts off in the right direction.  I have taken care of me… and as a mom that’s usually not first on the list…. and I have spent time with the Lord.  This sets the tone for the whole day.

So, this year, I am going to stick with my morning routine so that I can be refreshed and enjoy all that this beautiful season brings.  I am going to pray each morning that God will give me the energy and direction for each day.  That I am productive and that I let go of the little things that keep me busy but get me no where.

Each and every season of my life is busy.  I always have good reasons to keep going at record speed.  As if aiming for exhaustion is the goal.  But that is not how I want my life to look.  And so I start today.  Back in my routine that brings me peace and refreshes me.  It gives me strength for this journey of life.  Because if I don’t start today, I may be sitting here next month saying, “after this month it will slow down”.

What kind of things do you do this time of year that help you slow down, refresh and enjoy this Christmas season?

~Kristen

on a quest to find peace

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Peace.  That is a word I long to know in a deeper, more intimate way.  This world and the demands of life are at times, crazy.  It is fast paced, ever changing.  Always something new in our face.  Reminding us what we should be doing, what we are not doing well, and all the things that we just don’t have.

It is so easy to get caught up in that.  To make those things the focus of our lives.  But at the end of the day all that gets us is a discontent, anxious heart.  It robs us of peace.

Peace comes from the Lord.  It comes from spending time in His presence.  It comes from focusing on what really matters in this world.

Psalm 34:14 says, “Turn from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

When I first read that verse I thought I would just focus on the part where it specifically talks about peace.  But as I read it again I realized, if peace comes from the Lord, then having peace means walking with Him.  Which in turn means that we turn from evil.  When we choose to walk in sin it will take our focus off the Lord.  When we get caught up in the things of this world, we become consumed with things that do not really matter.

What does it mean to seek peace?  To pursue it?  I am not totally sure.  But I think a good place to start would be in pursing God with all my heart.  Letting go of the things that hold me down.

In John 14:27 Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

God wants to give us peace. He wants to pour that out in our lives. Will we receive it? Will we seek and pursue it?

There is so much in this world that stands to rob us of the peace that the Lord so freely gives. I don’t want to let that happen anymore. I want peace to consume me.

2 Thessalonians says, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”

It says at ALL TIMES and in EVERY WAY. I want that. I want to seek that. I want to accept that gift that God wants to give. I want to live a life of peace in this ever changing, often chaotic world. I want my life to reflect peace at all times and in every way.

~Kristen

who am I?

I have had so many moments where I have asked the question, “who am I?”.  I have looked in the mirror and looking back was a woman whom I didn’t know her true identity.  She had changed.

I have always wanted to be a mom. Always.  And God blessed me to be one.  I knew it was a selfless and wonderful calling.  But I didn’t know how selfless.  I knew I would do anything for them.  Do absolutely anything to keep them safe and help them know they were loved.  What I didn’t know was that I would give up a piece of me.

I used to know exactly who I was.  I used to have so many hobbies, passions, interests.  I was sure those were all still in there but I didn’t have the time to find out.

For quite a few years, I didn’t notice the loss of me.  Because I was so wrapped up in the new joyous adventure of motherhood.

But there came a moment.  And moments that followed.  Where I was not sure who I was outside of being a mom.  For years I didn’t even need to know.

But there I stood, in front of the mirror, looking back at a woman who resembled me but perhaps a little more tired and quite a few more smile lines from the wonderful adventure of being a mommy.

I realized at that moment that being a mom was the most honorable calling I had ever been given.  It was what defined me.  What gave me joy.  But I also realized at that moment that I felt lost.  Who was I?  Who is Kristen?  I started to pray about who I was.  Who I wanted to be.  I wanted to have goals, passions, aspirations that were outside the realm of motherhood.  For awhile I felt that was selfish.  I wasn’t used to thinking about me.  But I have grown.  I have realized that God made me me.  And there is a lot that defines me.  And although motherhood is one of my greatest most precious callings, I have been made for so much more.

I am me!  And that definition encompasses a lot.  I have started to discover who I am.  As a wife, as a mother, as a child of God, and as Kristen.

I am Kristen.

I am child of God.

I am the wife of an amazing man named Aaron.

I am the mother of two precious daughters named Hailey and Aleah.

I am a daughter, a sister and a friend.

I love people.

I am passionate about foster children, teenagers, faith, parenting, marriage.

I love camping, being outdoors, rock climbing, singing, being with friends and family, hosting, cooking, writing.

I am me.  And that includes EVERYTING God has made me to be.

I wondered who I was.  Who I had become.  Who that woman was staring back at me in the mirror.  And then I realized I was still me.  But the me I used to know has been redefined.  In a greater and richer way.  I now also hold the blessed title of mom.

~Kristen

Thanksgiving Every Day

um, yes please!!!  I love Thanksgiving!  Family time, good food, lots of laughs.  I love the way Thanksgiving and the days leading up to it makes me feel.  It’s the best!

I recently wrote a post about being thankful.  This time of year we tend to reflect on all the things that we are thankful for.  We tend to compassionately notice those who go without.

But what if we chose to live in a state of thankfulness always.  Every day.  No matter what.  We took on a Thanksgiving mindset.  I truly believe we would have more Joy.  We would focus on all that we do have and not on what we don’t.  We would give to those in need more regularly just as we tend to do this time of year.

Why?  Because when we are thankful and take the time to count our blessings, it is hard not to be joyful.  It is hard to miss the needs of those around us.

True thanksgiving pours out of our hearts.  It turns into praise, joy and giving.

That is something that I want every day.  I want to create new habits.  Not just thank the Lord for my blessed life but really be thankful.

I can say that I am so thankful for my children.  And I am.  Very.  But there are days..You know “one of those days” where I am just trying to get through it.  On those days I certainly don’t have a heart of thanksgiving.  I don’t thank God for the mess and chaos those days bring.  But I want to.  It’s part of raising children.  There are good days and there are days that aren’t as good.  I want to thank The Lord even for those days.  Because even those days are such a reminder that I am blessed.

~Kristen

You are my everything

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Lord in those moments of weakness, You are strong.

In those moment when I am lost, You find me.

When I fall, You pick me up.

Those times I cry, You comfort me.

When it is TOO MUCH, You are all I need.

In those times of hurt, You bring healing.

When I feel alone, You are there.

Your my comforter.  My Rock.  My protector.  My strength.  Lord, You are my everything.

~Kristen

God’s Grace

I am overwhelmed by how gracious and wonderful God is.  When He called me to write I questioned it.  I thought it would be a waste of time. I put a lot of heart and soul into my writing.  I knew that if God wanted me to do it I had to go all in.  See where He wanted to take it.  See how He could use me.

And wow.. I cried as I told friend how totally blown away and humbled I am to see how God is using me.  I had no idea I would ever share that life experience with all of you that led to the post titled “Life“.  It is just not something that I talk about much.  For various reasons.  But I wrote it anyway and God has used it.

What an absolute blessing it is that the baggage from my past can still be used to bring glory to God.  God’s grace is enough for me.  He has brought healing to my life and He uses me.  His Grace takes my pain and my suffering, and He turns it into something beautiful.

After I wrote a piece of that story, I was covered in God’s grace once more.  His healing.  His presence.

So here we are on this journey together.  Not sure where it will lead.  Only sure that I want to find out.  And certain that God’s grace will be enough for me!

When have you experienced God’s grace?

~Kristen