Fun-Schooling Baskets & Books Swaps

In this awesome new world of Fun-Schooling, there is this wonderfully beautiful way in which it’s founder, as I like to call her, organizes her children’s Fun-Schooling books and learning materials for the year. She takes baskets of all sizes, depending on the age of the child and the number of materials they will use for the year and in them she places together everything they will be using along with their Fun-Schooling journals.

The baskets include things like books they want to read for both fun reading and educational reading, magazines, their Fun-Schooling journals, of course, markers, colored pencils, flashcards or games. Each basket specifically tailored to that child’s interests and learning goals for the year.

As I am new to this journey and I am starting smack dab in the middle of the year, I am a bit limited on my own personal resources so I am using library books and we are limited to pretty much one Fun-Schooling journal for right now. After the first of the year, when my husband and I have had time to really sit down and discuss my new vision for our homeschool, I will be trying to gather some more Fun-Schooling journals as well as ordering some coordinating materials, supplies and books from Amazon to help enhance his learning each day.

The goal behind Fun-Schooling? To use delight directed educational avenues to teach your children through the use of library books or purchased books of your child’s desire to help them focus on the things they are passionate about and want to learn about. The biggest and most beautiful thing about Fun-Schooling is that it focuses on your child’s strengths and not their weaknesses, it allows them to right now, right where they are think about what they love to do or learn about or see and then begin to explore it fully and begin to build a foundation of learning about the things that will help them to grow into the career choice they want to someday call their own. It gives a child the opportunity to dream about their future and dive into the things, ideas and steps that will help them turn that dream into a reality.

So what does this look like exactly? Well, it looks a little like this:

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This is our beginning basket. I call it our beginning basket because we are just beginning our journey and so we are still working to combine a list of the things we want to learn about. Our first goal was to go to the library on Tuesday and find books that would help my son to learn about the top 4 things he listed he wanted to learn about in his journal: 1. 10 generations after Jubal and Tubal Cain, 2. small dinosaurs, 3. the human body, and 4. volcanoes. These are only a few of the books we got. The others are in our library bag. Once he reads one book and fully has all the information he desires to take from it, we will replace it with another book. In our basket you will also find his Arithmetic book, a Writing book, his Minecraft Book of Secrets “diary”, His Bible lesson workbooks (we use ACE for this for right now but there are some amazing Fun-Schooling ones I hope to get and use instead!), and his Apologia Flying Creatures Junior Notebooking Journal. My son LOVES Math and Science. They are favorite subjects. He has done very well with ABeka Math so we will keep that to supplement with our Fun-Schooling Math journals once we get one of them and we will also keep his Science as he LOVES Apologia. It is very hands on and creative and fun. If he loves it we keep it and if it steals his joy, in the closet it is going until I sale them at the end of the school year or donate them.

NO MORE JOY THIEVES IN OUR HOME!!!!!!

Fun-Schooling also looks a little like this:

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Today we only got our Math done. We didn’t even really get to do any pages from our Fun-Schooling Journal and you know what? I don’t even feel guilty! Why? Because today, Mister M got a LOT of physical education as we played dodge ball, jumped in a bounce house and played tag with our Military Homeschool Group. He got in a LOT of reading today due to the Book Swap the group was hosting and we got SO many new and amazing books while we got to trade in some old ones that were duplicates or were books we wouldn’t be rereading. Do you notice any particular books in there that stand out? In case you didn’t, we found TWO different books that are about the Human Body, one of the things Mister M wants to learn about this  year. We were so happy to snag them up. He read all the way home, read to his baby sister at my doctor’s appointment, read all the way home again and then read up until dinner and our friends arrived for playdate and cupcakes! There is also a couple of Geronimo books we snagged that include dinosaurs in their story!!! Double Win! And of course, we got so many other amazing books as well and a fun I Spy Game. Have I mentioned I have a book problem? We’ll talk more about that later.

Fun-schooling also looks a little like this:

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Mister M has a huge heart for community service. He is always trying to think of ways that he can do something to help or bless others in his community so we look for every opportunity we can to do things in the community. Our Military Homeschool Group made Christmas ornaments and then delivered them to a local Senior Adult Living Apartment Complex where they sang Christmas Carols and gave out lots of hugs. On the ride there and back, we took note of the things we saw in our community we might not have seen yet. Colors on the trees, birds we saw in yards, and other things all around us. When we got home, he recorded some of those things in his Science Nature Book he created for his Notebooking Journal.

I don’t have this all quite figured out yet but what I have discovered is that learning takes place in EVERY thing we do together. It’s when we work through Arithmetic worksheets, make bird houses for Science, when we sing Christmas carols, when we go to the library, when we build, when we talk and when we cuddle together to read a good book. Our education happens in every moment of every day and it truly can be FUN. It can be delightful and wonderful and it can teach my son to explore. create, and think outside the box. This entire week has been full of smiles and wonder. There have been zero arguments over school time or tears shed from frustration and chaos and feeling “behind”.  For the first time in two years, it has felt like FREEDOM.

Fun-Schooling has been AMAZING so far and we are both so excited for tomorrow! As I purchase and gather more of the Fun-Schooling Journals, I will take some pictures of those to show you as well and let you see what we are doing in them and with them each day! And of course, I will share life and other fun details because that’s just what I do.

If you feel like you relate to where I have been and where I am going, perhaps Fun-Schooling will help you find your joy again too! Don’t be afraid to take a risk, to break away from the mold, to let go of your expectations. Sometimes the greatest journeys in life come when we stop following a map and just drive.

If I have peaked your interest, stay tuned. There is SO much more to come!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

 

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Oh Baby: An Overdue Update

I have not done the greatest job updating or writing as of late. Life has been well, a bit of an adjustment.

Our sweet Little Miss M arrived last June. Things did not go quite as I had expected or planned and I had to have a scheduled C-Section. Little Miss M decided to just keep herself upright in the womb and refused to turn. (She is definitely my child!)

So on the morning of June 13, I was prepped and taken into the OR so our little angel could make her big debut and what a debut it was! She weighed in at 8lbs 6oz (Tiny baby? Not even close!) and was almost 22 inches long with a head full of black hair. ❤️ We are in love.

Life since her big arrival has been wonderful, terrifying and exhausting all rolled into one. No one prepared me for life with a newborn at 39 years old. I am so much more tired than I was with my other babies and I find myself more consumed with fear than I ever was. It has been like being a first time Mom all over again. There are so many things “that could go wrong” and so many things “that must not be done” and so many new and terrifying things they tell that were somehow never mentioned before. And social media makes it worse. It’s a new mother’s worst nightmare: all the terrifying and horrible stories of things gone wrong with infants right in front of your face all day every day.

I think I liked having babies before the ride of social media much better, although being able to share instant photos of the kiddos with family far away is pretty amazing.

In addition to tying to adjust to the new baby life, I have also been struggling to bounce back after my C-Section and tube removal. (Someday I may be brave enough to share that experience here but not yet.) Everyone kept telling me it wouldn’t be a big deal and I would bounce right back but that just hasn’t been the case. I have been struggling both physically and emotionally. What everyone kept telling e would be an easy, quick and beautiful delivery was actually really traumatic and has had some long term affects on me they have me feeling old beyond my years. With all of that said, Our Little Miss M is going to be turning six months old in a few weeks and I am still not recovered fully. It has been a long, difficult and beautiful journey.

Beyond that, I am finding that the routine, consistent life I had so nicely grown accustomed to has been thrown and tossed around like a ship in a hurricane. Homeschool gets done at random times when I can find peace amongst the crying, constant diaper changes and feedings and life happening on the daily. My former immaculately clean and tidy home is now often in disarray as I try to find time to fold the laundry, vacuum clean my bathrooms while tending to a pretty active and needy infant. I have had to learn to be okay with the disaster and just breathe. A messy house equals a lived life right? (I am still trying to convince myself of this one.)

Through it all, Mister M has been amazing at adjusting and loves his sister dearly which is such a huge blessing. But there are also moments when he feels the weight of no longer being the center of the universe so we have really workes hard to find times each week that each of us can have time alone with him and try to do things he enjoys. Life isn’t always easy with an adorable baby sister who attracts attention like white on rice but he is a trooper and makes me proud every single day.

As we prepare to go into Christmas,l and the New Year, I feel in awe of all that we have seen unfold and all that God has blessed our family with. No matter how hard some things have been and are, life is amazingly wonderful and I couldn’t have asked for more.

I will try to be better at updating on life and homeschool adventures our way. I really will but I can make no promises. Most days it is just a wing and a prayer to get through but each day gets easier the the one before and each week seems a bit more routine than the last so there’s always hope!

In the meantime, I hope that your holiday season is one filled with immense joy and love. After all, that’s what it is all about right?

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy 🎄

Our first views of sweet Little Miss M. ❤️

Little Miss M and Mister M taking in our trees. We have our big one in the living room and then little trees in each of their rooms. It was quite a sweet moment letting Little Miss M experience her very first Christmas tree. Oh how I LOVE Christmas!

“Oh Where Have They Gone Wrong?”

Every day, social media is flooded with stories of suicide, bullying, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, and addiction. Much of it surrounds the next generation. The youth of our nation. It is everywhere. It’s like an epidemic of disease that cannot seem to be stopped, growing worse each day.

And I seem to keep encountering the same questions being asked over and over again, “Oh where have they gone wrong? How have the “millennials” gotten it so wrong? How did they get so far off track!!!??”

They seem like a legitimate enough questions. In theory. It is always easy to look at those making these horrific mistakes and think that it’s just something that happened to them. They just chose it. And yes. It IS a choice. One they indeed made. However, they are the NEXT generation, meaning the generations that came after us and those who came before us. They didn’t just one day wake up and think up these choices on their own. No. They were already being presented to them AS choices that they could make. So the question I feel more than ever that we should be asking is this, “Oh where have WE gone wrong?”

I get it. You are already shaking your head and calling me a liberal. After all, only a “liberal” would not hold the “millennials” responsible for their own choices and actions. Only a “liberal” would try to make it about someone else. Right? Well, that depends on what version of truth you live your life by I guess.

Please don’t give up on me and please hear me out. What I am about to share with you, has been reflected upon for the last 24 hours. It has been sought after. It has been digging at my heart and it has not given me easy answers. The answers however, are so vitally important if we want to truly know where this next generation got it all wrong.

A generation will follow it’s loudest leaders. They will cling to those who mentor them willingly, who will listen to them when they need an ear and who will give them advice that attempts to fill the voids they so desperately want to fill. They will almost always follow those who have come before them, hoping to glean wisdom and truth from them. Listening to them intently, waiting for all the answers. Which brings me to the most important question I want you to keep you at the forefront of your mind as we continue, “Whose voice has been the loudest? The voice of truth and light or the voice of the world?”

Let me help you better understand what I am about to share with you. In order to do that, I want you to take a moment to take in the following image:

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This was taken yesterday morning as my family and I were touring the library downtown. I was immediately taken aback by the image and the words on the cover. I almost wanted to take it and throw it in the trash but had to remind myself that this was not my property to dispose of. My heart just sank as I really took in the image and what this was speaking.  But more than that, it broke my heart to see who it was speaking TO.

TeenVogue. A magazine that’s target audience is preteens and teens. Our “millennials”. Our children. Our grandchildren. Our nieces. Our nephews. Our brothers. Our sisters. Our next generation of leaders. This magazine is “The Sex (oops scratch that), Coming Out (oh and scratch that one too), Obsession (oh, we’ve done that already so that’s gotta go too), Heartbreak (Had about enough of that…SCRATCH!), LOVE issue.” That’s right it’s all about the LOVE in this issue of TeenVogue and doesn’t our beautiful cover model just scream love?

I didn’t even allow myself to read the magazine because honestly, there was nothing in TeenVogue that would even remotely help me or anyone else to better understand what love is. After all, they group it’s importance level as that of every other topic they got bored with before so it must not be that important. I already had a very good idea of what their version of love might just look like. Now, in all fairness maybe I am wrong but does anyone else see what is wrong with this ENTIRE concept?

Where have the “millennials” gotten it so wrong? Quite simply put, they have chosen to listen to the wrong voice. The loudest voice. The world and all it’s publications and propagandas. They have chosen to look to the advice of these writers because they appeal to them and they seem “right”, they seem to have all the answers. They are bombarded with these magazines everywhere they go and they all scream the same things so how could they be wrong?

WE have failed them. We have failed them because our voices are no longer the loudest. How dare I say such a thing? Well, it’s the truth. I am sorry if that hurts or is hard to hear but let’s face it folks, our churches are changing scriptures, our “biblical teachers” are changing the values of the faith and making things acceptable that God has clearly outlined for us are not and we just agree. We nod our heads and say, “The Gospel changes as the world does. God is a God of love so we can’t judge that, we can’t know that, we can’t say that….it’s not “loving”.” We have traded TRUTH for ACCEPTANCE and TOLERANCE. We have begun to quiet our still small voice and instead jumped on the bandwagons of the world’s version of truth and those “millennials”…those young and sponge-like children of ours that we are pointing our fingers at in disgust…they are simply following OUR LEAD.

Oh friends, please, please hear me out. If you hear nothing else I am speaking, please hear this. We are ALL to blame. Every time we laid down our values for something shinier. Every time we succumb to the world’s megaphone of stances. Every time we had an opportunity to tell them the truth but chose to tell them what they wanted to hear. Every time we pointed a finger and placed all the blame on them and remained silent. Every time we chose to turn a blind eye and put our “righteous” noses in the air, we pushed them right up to that platform and gave them a free T-Shirt. We helped them to begin to think that their choices involved what the world had to offer.

Our next generation of leaders can only lead as they have seen those before them lead. They will only listen to the loudest voices and they will only choose what is easiest. And that is why, more than ever it is so vitally important that we stop and ask ourselves, “How loud is our voice?” “What do our actions speak about leadership, about truth, about righteousness? What do our lives teach those who are coming after us.”

When the children of Israel who had been in the wilderness with those who had been there for 40 years came out, they wanted to do more and seek God because someone chose to be the voice, someone chose to lead them in the RIGHT way. That person made their voice the loudest, above all the complaining, above all the wrong doing and sin, they chose to exemplify light and justice and truth. And that generation was hungry for more than what that wilderness had offered them and their generations before them. They wanted MORE and thankfully, someone stood up to offer them just that. Joshua. A man who chose to be louder and more determined than the sin around him, rose up and took the next generation into the Promised Land. He didn’t just point a finger at those “millennials” and say, “Man, you guys have screwed up big time. Sad. You had so much potential.” NO! He stood up and said, “This is the WAY. This is the TRUTH. STOP LISTENING TO THE LIES. DON’T REPEAT THEIR MISTAKES. Follow me, put your faith in God, trust in HIM and let’s get out of this wilderness. Whose with me!?!!?”

My dear brothers and sisters, we must take some accountability for what is happening in our next generation. They are broken. They are hungry for more and they are filling themselves up on empty promises and advice that is coated in lies. They need us to be strong and to be unashamed to preach the Gospel, the TRUE Gospel. They may not want to hear it but we must teach it and speak it no matter what because they ARE listening. They ARE watching us. They are taking it in and sooner or later, that Word will NOT return void. It can’t. It’s just impossible. The Bible tells us that. (Isaiah 55:11). It’s a seed that grows over time.

If we want to see true revival and we want to make a true difference, then it’s time we stop placing the blame solely on them and maybe be willing to ask if that blame also belongs on us? We must be humble enough to ask the Lord to forgive us for bending to the world, for craving the easy way, for remaining silent. We must become determined to be the voice they can no longer ignore. We must become a Joshua in a world full of grumpy old Israelites. We must be salt among the sugar.

It’s time we stop asking where they have gone wrong and start asking where we have gone wrong and pray that God will help us to make it right. We must pray that we can be the leaders and teachers they so desperately need.

I pray that this post inspires you to ask the hard questions, to seek out the Lord for our next generation and for a stirring to take place in our hearts to put on our armor, to mount up and go into battle for those who are broken behind us. I pray that God compels us to become the leaders and teachers they so desperately need and that where we have gone wrong in the past will be overshadowed by where we go right from this moment on.

It’s up to us. Their lives are literally at stake.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 11:18-21:

“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above earth.”

 

In Christ’s love,

Kristy ❤

All Things New

Well, we have arrived at our new destination. We have finally settled into our new home and set up our new classroom and the baby’s nursery. We have begun to allow ourselves to take in the reality that this is our new home. This is our new journey.

It hasn’t been an easy transition. Coming here or being here. Everything is so different. Fast paced, huge city, insane drivers, not so friendly drivers. It’s been a bit overwhelming to say the least. Add to that a child who just celebrated his 7th birthday in a new place with no friends, no family and nothing familiar. It has been a struggle to adjust for him to say the least.

Yet through it all, we have remained both hopeful and determined. No matter how overwhelming it may seem, no matter how different it has been, no matter what it has looked like to us thus far these past three weeks, it is HOME and home we intend to make it.

Military life is a lot of things but one thing is must be is determined: determined to find the good in any location, place or circumstance. Determined to make anywhere you find yourself a place to call home and something wonderful. Determined to conquer new adventures with positivity and hope rather than sinking into sadness or grief or bitterness. Determined to grow, to bloom in whatever garden you find yourself next.

That is our moto. We are going to bloom wherever God plants us because we know that while the paperwork says the Navy takes us to new locations it is ultimately God who has ordained it all. It is His design and plan that supersedes even the “World’s Greatest Navy.”

So here we are. In our new home, with so many uncertainties but also so many possibilities and while it is a bit overwhelming and unnerving at times, it is also exciting and new. It is a beautiful masterpiece just waiting to be written, a fresh sheet of paper just waiting for a pen to touch it’s surface. There is so much to be said and I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

We have begun to visit churches. We have visited two churches so far and have another church we plan to visit this Sunday. We are trusting that the Lord will show us exactly which place is our new church home and we are determined to be diligent with our new church family, to learn and grow and share God’s love with our children, one another and those around us with a greater diligence than ever before.  We would covet your prayers in regards to this area of our family’s life.

All things new. God makes all things new, and this family is daily learning what that means. I look forward to sharing these new things with each of you.

We pray you are all blessed and well.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

P.S. Here are just a few of the things we have already discovered and LOVE:

One of the piers, the zoo (I love giraffes!!) and the most amazing library we have ever been to!

Changes…they are a coming

It has been since January since I last updated. Man. I am definitely not winning any blogger of the year awards at my slow pace of updating these days am I? Well, it’s a good thing I wasn’t hoping to win any then!

Much has happened since January and I apologize that I have not been diligent to keep you all updated but life has been a whirlwind of craziness since the new year began and I find myself just taking in those moments and remembering less and less about writing it all down. That can be a good thing and a sad thing. Some things I want to remember and writing them down this way may be one way we have to remember them someday. Perhaps, in the months to come, I will get better at this blogging habit.

As I shared in my last update, we are expecting blessing number four in June. A little girl that we shall call Little “M”. We couldn’t be more excited or blessed! In February, my dear friends threw me a baby shower and I was incredibly overwhelmed at the amount of people that came and showered us with love and blessings. We also had friends and family from all over send cards, gifts and love who could not attend our special day but so wanted to be a part of it all. What a beautiful thing it is to be in a room filled with people you adore who feel the same way about you! It was truly a blessed day!

Also in February, Mister O had to leave us for an entire month to attend a training school in Texas before we made our big PCS move. It was a LONG month without his humor and sometimes, irritating ways, but we managed to get through it unscathed and with determination. Oh how we miss that man while he is gone. Life is definitely significantly less interesting without him around. But maybe don’t mention I said that. We don’t want him getting a big head or anything!

He arrived home JUST in time to help us  pack up what we were moving ourselves and help oversee the packers, movers and cleaning of our home for final inspection. On March 30, we hit the road and made our three day journey to our new home.  We arrived on Saturday and picked up the keys to our new home yesterday. A home we love already. Our new city is SO huge and it is a bit overwhelming but is also full of so many opportunities both for us as a family and as homeschoolers so we are very excited to get back to our routine next week and pick up where we left off!

Little M is growing nicely and so far all is going well. The only snag we have hit in this pregnancy is me. I have gallstones 😦 It is HORRIBLE ya’ll. I mean REALLY horrible. But I am surviving and am just counting down the days until we finally get to meet our sweet little princess and I can get this gallbladder issue fixed! Take it from me, stay away from the fatty foods. It’s is NOT worth it!

Well, I guess that is all for now. I am sure in the days, weeks and months ahead, we will have some fun and interesting adventures and stories to share with you all. I am adding a few photos at the bottom of the baby shower and the outside of our new home for you to see. I pray this update finds you doing well and blessed! You are prayed for and loved!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

 

New Year, New Beginnings

Once again, I find myself coming to you after months of being silent. I apologize for not being here more often. Life just seems to slip through my fingers and while I love and cherish my writing moments and sharing my passions and thoughts here with you all, I have come to learn this past year that living life is most important. So, if I have to choose between moments of living in the moment with my family or writing about those moments instead, I choose my family every time.

What a beautiful thing that is indeed.

This past year brought many answered prayers, many changes, some brokenness and some big news. As I have shared of course, some of the big changes were when Miss M came to live with us full time last Spring after school had ended. What a rejoicing it was for this mother’s heart. But as we have so often learned, seasons change and with that rejoicing, we quickly, just seven short months later, found ourselves grieving as we had to say goodbye to Miss M once again after her making the choice to move back to our hometown. A decision that was so hard for us to hear but one that we knew she had fully reflected before making. It was a moment that taught me much about my ability to once again trust in God’s perfect plan and not my own designs.

And in the  midst of our grief, the Lord brought us miracles and more answered prayers. As we looked to Him and wondered what His plan was, He chose to reveal another small glimpse: the blessing of a child. Just before we went home to visit family for Thanksgiving and say our goodbyes, we found out we were expecting our fourth child. I would say our final child but we are keeping our futures open to adoption down the road if that is a part of God’s plan also. It was such a bittersweet and beautiful time indeed.

In December, it was revealed that our little one would be a beautiful baby girl. A girl. Another precious daughter. A chance for redemption and restoration of the things in my life that the enemy has tried so long to take from me.  There are not enough words to describe my feelings of gratitude and sincere awe at God’s goodness, faithfulness and perfection.

So, in June of this year, we will welcome our littlest Miss M and we could not be more full of joy. With all of the changes, I have learned to draw closer back to my Savior. I have learned that I do have breaking points. That I cannot always be the strong one. Sometimes, I am the weak one. Sometimes, I can’t be there for the world because I need someone to be there for me. I learned that I make mistakes, that sometimes I let people down, even when I don’t mean to; that I doubt, that I often question but that God never makes mistakes and every detail of our lives that He knits together serves a much greater purpose than we see. While it was hard to have to have goodbyes and journeys end so soon, God used the times I had before them to bring healing, to bring restoration and to work wonders within our family and my own heart and mind.

Miss M is flourishing back  at home. Public school is definitely where she needed to be and with all of our moving coming up and the changes, she just really needed to back with her familiar routines and her learning styles outside of how we operate. Not to mention, she was incredibly homesick and that was hard to watch her journey through. She is full speed into her junior year and while I know she misses us and our moments here, she is happy to be back home with her Dad and step mom, her siblings and all of our families. Her time here brought them all closer together as well and she is making decisions that make us all so proud.

As for us, we are flourishing too. The Lord once again moved us to a new place of worship and His timing, though odd, was perfect. After working through many things these last three years, I found myself returning to a spirit filled church. A place where the miracles and love of God abound and there is much freedom and yet at the same time, a reverence to God’s freedom and not our own. It has been such a joy for us and Mister M has fallen in love with church all over again. Something he has not cared for much since leaving our home church three years ago.

We are flourishing with our faith, with our studies and as a family. God has brought a wholeness and a determination to our hearts that brings me to tears when I reflect upon it. I finally have a balance I have worked to find since coming to my Father 7 years ago and I have begun to discover things about myself that I never could grasp until this place. This wilderness experience.

And as with all wilderness experiences, God is moving us out and into a land of Promise. Our next big change is coming in March as we prepare to move to a new state with the Navy once again. A new land of hope and promise that God has designed for us. A new land that will hold many more lessons and faith building moments I am certain and a land that will bring further fulfillment of the many promises God has made over the years since we found Him and surrendered our lives to Him.

I have learned so many things in 2016 but the  most important of them all is that 2017 is our greatest year yet. It is our year of fulfillment and it is a year of HOPE. It is a year of new birth and new faith. It is going to be a year that we will remember for a lifetime. I am more certain of that than anything else.

I pray your year came to a beautiful close and that your new year has brought a beautiful new beginning. A fresh start and a fresh fire for your Father and His kingdom. We have so much to be thankful for and much to anticipate. I look forward to sharing it all with you in the months to come.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

To Climb a Mountain….

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This past week, I was incredibly blessed to get to take a Mother-Daughter getaway alongside my best friend and her daughter to Atlanta, GA for the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain. I have been counting down to this trip for months as it was my first time to take a trip alone in years and I knew it would be an incredible experience for me and Miss M to have together. I look at her and realize how very quickly she is growing and how very quickly she will be off to college and making her own decisions. I feel like my time to create memories she can look back on is so minimal so I want to take advantage of every moment I can to make as many as possible.

The weekend was filled with vendor booths, amazing food, laughter and amazing views. The entire fair is inside Stone Mountain Park at the foot of the mountain. There are trees everywhere, beautiful landscapes and the weather was so amazing. It was my first fall in almost three years and I loved every moment under the color changing trees with the winds blowing over me.

On our first day, we decided to hike all the way to the top of Stone Mountain. 1,700 feet. To be honest, I was not really sure I could handle it. I am not a physically active individual and I struggle these days with attempting any form of exercise. As we stood at the foot of the mountain and I looked up at this huge beast of beauty in front me, I felt so small and incapable. I was already dreading the racing heart that I knew would soon encompass my chest and I was picturing me defeatedly turning around because honestly, when it comes to physical endurance, I have never had enough and my past history with quitting my physical fitness endeavors is…well, embarrassing to say the least.

And just as I imagined, very quickly into our hike, I was falling drastically behind. My pace was slower than a tortoise. I watched as my friends and daughter zoomed ahead of me while I struggled to breath and slowly make my way over each new rock and slope. Poor Miss M finally got so worried she just stopped and came back for me, certain I was probably not making it.

Each step was more painful and tiring than the last. My chest felt like it might explode from my heart beating so fast and I just wanted to quit. I really did. I wanted to just say, well, I went for a hike. That’s better than nothing. But I kept looking up at that beautiful mountain and wondered what it would be like at the top. What beauty would I miss out on if I didn’t finish the climb?

So I kept going. I had to make a couple brief stops to catch my breath but I pushed and I pushed until, over an hour or so later, I made it to the top. And oh…the beauty that I would have missed if I had given up. I have never seen something so beautiful. I could see for what felt an eternity all around me. The skylines in the distance, the clouds and the way the sun felt as if it was right there with me. Seeing all that beauty made every single bit of the struggle to get there worth it.

Climbing that mountain reminded me a lot of the trials we face in our walk with God. Far too often, it is easy to give up on the things God is calling us to do because the journey to get to the place He is calling us to is far too hard on us. It hurts, it’s uncomfortable, it’s exhausting. So we give up. We just settle for half the journey and turn back when it gets too hard. But imagine the blessings and the beauty that God has waiting for us at the top of that mountain. What if we didn’t turn around and go back? What might we encounter? What might we experience that might make all of that struggle worth it?

As you journey up your mountain of faith, remember that it’s okay to take a break; to catch your breath, to ask God for strength but don’t just give up and turn back around. KEEP CLIMBING. The beauty and blessing that awaits you at the top of that mountain with God will far surpass anything you have laid eyes on at the bottom and I promise you will be so glad that you didn’t give up.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong…” 1 Corinthians 6:13

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤