“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 ❤

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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 ❤

Oh the time!

I think it has been well over a week since I have written but oh how crazy busy we have been over here in Paradise! I feel like the weeks are just flying by and I am almost in shock that we are now in October! How did that even happen??

We have been working hard to balance our crazy life here at Casa De Delgado. Most days I feel like I “school” 24/7. There is Mister M’s school work and lesson plans, then there is Miss M’s school work and lesson plans and finding time to help her study, schedule tutoring times and then there is MY college work. And then on top of all of that there is the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking and the volunteer work. Most days, I go to bed and don’t want to think about a single subject, assignment, or to do item again.

Then I wake up, roll out of bed and realize it is another day of education and life and off we go. Do I get tired of it? Some days yes; but who wouldn’t get tired of school when that is what you do seven days a week. My poor brain hurts. Is it worth it? Absolutely, without a single moments hesitation it is worth every long hour and day.

Yesterday, I had two  major projects to complete and turn in for my Psych classes. I was so tired, as is the case when you have the “Mondays”. I had to start Mister M’s school a little bit later than usual so that I could really dig into my research paper and finish it so that I could just type it up while he was working on his assignments. So while Mister M ate his breakfast and watched some videos on Kids YouTube on Natural Disasters and Freak Weather, I slaved away at researching the correlation of stress with mental illness. I almost laughed out loud thinking to myself, “Well, I am pretty sure this week I am a prime example of this one.” My kids think I am mental with the moodiness I have shown the last couple weeks trying to be supermom. YET AGAIN. When will I ever learn? Oh God’s grace….

Once I got situated, I started directing Mister M to his lessons. He was as unhappy about school as I felt secretly inside. I just wanted a day to do nothing. Or do something. Anything other than school. I know. It’s a terrible thing. I am his teacher. If I don’t get excited about it, how on earth can he? If I don’t encourage the learning process who will? I would have cried a bit if I even had the energy for that but who has that these days? I need my tears to balance out the dehydration from talking and teaching, reading, grading, planning, studying, home working…all day long. Every day of the week.

Mister M was being very resistant and I couldn’t help but feel like it was my fault. Maybe he sensed how stressed out I was? How worn I was feeling? Maybe I was doing a bad job at all the things that mattered? (That ole’ slytherin…he is ALWAYS coming and trying to make me feel horrible when I already feel bad!) As I sat at my computer, staring at my screen and thinking at how much I was failing at wifing, mothering, teaching, being the student…I felt just near going to bed when I heard that still small voice say, “You are enough.”

“You are enough. In the middle of this mess when you feel like giving up but you won’t because you are determined to not quit this time, in the middle of the tears that just won’t fall, in the  middle of feeling like you can’t give another ounce. You are enough. You are more than enough because I made you and I know you are stronger than you know.”

“I can do all things” suddenly just kept ringing in my ears. I thought of all that God has done for me. For my family. I thought of the sacrifices and realized that if I feel this tired in only this, how tired must he have felt? How much more must he have wondered in those moments on the cross if he was enough? The Bible says he asked, “My God, My God,  why have you forsaken me?” So he must have felt abandoned for a moment, he must have had a moment of feeling not enough perhaps. I will never know the answer on this earth but what I do know is that He did not give up. Even in that place, He put his faith and trust in God and He fulfilled His purpose and what a glorious purpose it was. So much love.

As a woman with many hats, I often find myself feeling like I just give and give and give but I have given nothing in comparison to Christ. I give minuscule things compared to His sacrifice. If he can hang on a Cross for me and give me a life eternal through His sacrifice and suffering, if He did all that for wretched me…then I can give my time, my energy and my love willingly to those I love with a joyful heart. I can do these assignments, teach t these lessons, cook those meals, run those errands, give my time with joy and not complain and I can keep pushing closer to the Father seeking His wisdoms and truths to help me balance my life.

There will always be moments when I feel worn, that we will all feel worn but if we can keep our minds focused on Christ and what He has done for us, those weary moments will slowly begin to fade and we will be reminded of how precious and special we are. How special are we? Oh my sisters and brothers, special enough for someone extraordinary to give their life in exchange for ours.

Blessings and Love,

Kristy ❤

Oh my heart…

I know I am not alone today as I share with you all how broken my heart is over the tragic events that have unfolded in the last two weeks. There have been school shootings, looting and rioting and there have been catastrophic hurricanes ripping through our world both globally and nationally. The devastation has been incredibly gut wrenching.

Like most everyone across the nation right now, I find myself constantly thinking about the ever rising death tolls in Haiti and the destruction that will take an unknown amount of time to repair. I think about all of those in Cuba and the Bahamas and other areas not even mentioned who are picking up the pieces of their lives amongst rubble and chaos, with heavy and broken hearts. I find myself feeling anxious for those I know in Florida who have made the decisions to stay in their homes and brave the storm as it makes its way through and moves onto landfall. These moments and thoughts almost seem to take your breath away. It makes it nearly impossible for a split second to maintain peace.

But God. In the  midst of all the devastation and the chaos there has been these overwhelming moments of light and love shone that can only come from Christ.

A community wrapped it’s arms around a little boy who was taken from this world far too soon by violent means that we cannot on any day wrap our minds around. An entire community of “Super heroes” turned up to show his family that they cared…that his death did not go unnoticed and that his life, though short, made a big impact on a nation of people.

A world of people began to pray and lift up those all around the globe who would be impacted by Hurricane Matthew. People held prayer meetings and met on Facebook to pray for our world and our nation. They turned to the only one who could give us the peace we so desperately longed to have in the craziness of all that is our world. Those prayers became something even more: they became hope and they became determination to not just settle for what has happened without a fight.

I have watched as people offered up their homes, supplies and encouraging words to those who were afraid or who didn’t have anywhere to go. Moments where it was as if Jesus himself were extending his hands and feet and heart. Beautiful. Encouraging moments.

As the day and the night continues, rescue workers will continue to sort through the rubble of devastation around the globe, families will wonder if their loved ones are okay and many will feel the sting of grief at the news of a loved one lost. It will be a long night for many and it will seem daunting but God is still among us. He is moving and He has not left us. These are the moments when we begin to see humanity rise up and display Christ’s presence like never before.

So let us not give up hope and let us not surrender our peace. While our hearts grieve for those who are going through chaos we cannot fathom, we can still remember that it is God who holds us in His hands. We are not alone and He will help us find a way to rise above, to walk in peace, and to love through every chaotic and broken moment.

Where there is grief, where there is pain, where there is struggle, peace is not far off. It is in our  midst and we have only to cry out to Him, our God, and He will come. He will wrap His arms around us and He will give us the hope of a new tomorrow.

I pray for you as I pray for us all. May God be with you. May God save you. May God give you peace and strengthen you.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” – Isaiah 54:10

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

 

So It Begins…

Well, I have begun my journey into the world of bullet journaling. Some things I have discovered within just a few days:

  1. Creativity has been screaming to get out of the corners of my mind.
  2. Bullet journaling does take time but not nearly as much as I imagined.
  3. I love that I can make everything different each time.
  4. I am in love with all things bullet journaling.
  5. This could quickly become an addiction. A healthy one but definitely still an addiction.

Since I am not sure yet how long this excitement might last or if it will really be beneficial time wise, I decided to start my journey by making use of a journal that I have written in only briefly. My goal: to make it through the end of the year as a committed bullet journalist. I have a nasty habit of seeing the next amazing, do-it-yourself thing and taking it on only to discover that I don’t have the time each week to dedicate to it what it needs to be successful for me. I don’t want that to happen again. This is a trial phase and I have two months to see how it goes.

I decided to start by creating my October Monthly Calendar. As you can see, I did this on a page that was already partially written on with sermon notes. I figured this couldn’t hurt because I am making use of that space and not wasting paper, which I think is a growing issue in our world. Maybe I saved a few branches of a tree right? Here is Monthly Calendar:

img_0129It is very basic and not nearly as cute and creative as I wanted it to be but since I put this on a page that was already used partially, it did not leave me a lot of room to add any cute doodles or designs and I had very small spaces to use for each day of the month. It might not be what I will make it in the future but it is effective and is getting the job done!

After I made my Monthly calendar, I took some time to decide which layout I wanted to try first: a weekly or a daily. Because I am still learning and growing with this and testing it all out, I w ill try different layouts over the next two months. I decided to start with a weekly layout. The number one thing that I immediately loved as I began this was that this is MY journal so I can make it my own. I can be as creative or standard as I want. I can use the same layout each week or change them as I go along to accommodate the changes and needs of our family and my life. This is one of the NUMBER ONE reasons that I cannot handle most planners. They are too basic, they don’t have all the things I need and  my needs change over time due to a busy life and family that is ever growing and changing from day to day. With that said, here was my first weekly layout for this week:

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I definitely LOVE this layout. I love that I can have so many sections added into my week that allow me plenty of space to write down what needs to be known for the week. As you can see, I added a quote and some cute doodles to add some personality. I wish I could take full credit for these doodles but I can’t. While I did draw them with my own hands and add the color and flare, the original design itself was drawn by someone else and I discovered them on Pinterest. (I would normally give a shout out to creators but I honestly have pinned so many and I cannot remember who originally created what. I am so sorry!!) I have  a serious addiction to doodles and handwriting font styles. But I digress. This layout served me so well this week that I decided to go ahead and make next week’s layout in the same fashion. We will get to that in a moment. I am not using  my “homeschool” sections to write my full lesson plans in, these are just to notate any quizzes, tests, special projects or field trips. With my daughter, she has MANY quizzes and tests in a week and it is so helpful to see and know what is coming for the week in full view all at once. This was perfect for that! Another hugely important factor for me with this layout was that I got to include a weekly scripture memory for myself. My children learn Bible verses and take Verse quizzes for their homeschool curriculum but I too wanted to learn more scriptures and begin to store them in my memory so I thought this would be a great addition to my weekly layout. It also provides some immense peace to my stressful week and helps me to stay in God’s Word no matter how busy or chaotic my day gets.

Once my weekly layout is done, I created an entire section to be used on Sunday of each week: “Sunday Morning Sermon Notes”. Here was my first week’s: img_0128

In all honestly, this was a spontaneous decision that I made as I sat down for our Sunday morning service last week. At first I struggled with waiting so that each week’s sermon notes would be available for that week’s Sunday morning sermon. This would mean that this section stayed blank the whole week until we went to church that Sunday. However, I realized that by having this in there from the PREVIOUS Sunday, I could reflect on those notes and use them to help me stay focused on working on those areas in my own life throughout the whole week. You could make this one page if you chose to attempt something like this but I tend to take a lot of  notes so I knew I needed at LEAST two pages. I will be lucky if I don’t need more in the future . (I seriously take a lot of notes.)

Notice, the “Highlights” section and the Bubble Cloud. These, of course, are both thoughts my Pastor shared that I loved and wanted to remember so I used these methods to make them stand out to me, plus I wanted the page to have some color and appeal as well. At the top, I used parts of our worship lyrics and parts of my pastor’s sermon to also highlight some things that struck a cord with me. These would stand out and that was important for me. And, of course, I had to add at least one cute doodle….

Once I got home, I began to think about other areas of my life that I want to focus on and grow in. I took some time to reflect on areas I want to make changes in or things that are important for me to help me redirect my heart back to God so with those things I mind I created this next layout for each week. (You will see when I share next week’s layouts that I changed it up a bit and will probably continue to tweak this section or have it vary from week to week depending on what is happening in my life as I go forward with this project.)

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My goals with this section are pretty self explanatory:

  1. I want to spend more time diligently and specifically praying to the Lord and making note of when God answers in that particular area. I want to leave a legacy of prayer and devotion to God for my children to look back on and honestly, I need moments of remembering all that God has done in my life when things get hard. (I don’t think I am the only one that needs this! Am I right?)
  2. I wanted to make note of areas I am struggling with while at the same time remembering those struggles in light of WHO GOD IS. Sometimes we are facing battles we don’t recognize because we don’t pay attention to what we are struggling with. I don’t want to be that way. I want to know my struggles, recognize who God is in spite of them and surrender my weaknesses to Him. I tweaked this a bit the next week because I want to rotate between different areas of my spiritual journey each week.
  3. Meal planning for my week has become so very important because we get SO busy. Our family was spending too much time eating terribly because I would be struggling to juggle all things on my plate and would often choose grabbing something for dinner so I didn’t have to try to worry about cooking that day. This has led to a significant weight gain on my part and a very unhealthy lifestyle so I started working hard the last month to plan my meals and cook in the home as much as humanly possible. This not only saves money but helps us to eat much healthier.
  4. Finally, I want to become more consistent with exercise. This is a HUGE struggle for me. I loathe all things physical activity. I know. I know. That’s awful but it’s the truth of who I am. The thought of gyms  make me cringe and the thought of exercise makes me want a double order of chili cheese fries. Stat. However, I so desperately want to work on this area of my life. I am approaching my 40’s much faster than I would like to be and I want to take back my health now before it’s too late. I want to begin to work on making sure I am here for my family for many, many, many more years. With that in mind, I thought I would track how long I work out each day. I will be honest. I did ZERO exercise yesterday. There was no time. (Story of my life as ole One Direction would sing if they were here.) I had an 8-page research paper due and the kids schooling also. Maybe this will motivate me to do something so that my days aren’t blank. I am not sure but we will see.

And that is what I have so far. My plan, for now, is to use these types of layout each week for the next month. I created next week’s also so that I would be ahead of the planning and designing. Here are next week’s layouts and any changes I made:

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As you can see, the weekly layout stayed the same aside from the cute images I used and the handwriting styles. I have not yet picked my Scripture for next week but will do that before the week begins. img_0143

My last section had a few changes. I changed my “Struggles vs. Gratitude” section to “Gratitude & Truths.” This will help me highlight things I am thankful for and allow me to reflect on a Truth of God’s Word each day. In addition to this, I changed the layout style of the Exercise Tracker just a bit. I think I want to work on this section a bit more but am not sure yet how I want to approach that.

I did not capture an image of my “Sunday Morning Sermon Notes” section because it is exactly the same and it looks pretty bland without anything written or drawn on it yet.

I am really very excited to see where this journey takes me and I am already loving how personalized, creative and organized it all is. But more than anything, I love that this method allows me to work on myself. It allows me to find areas that need growth, how I can implement them changes to help me while watching the journey of growth unfold. What a precious memory these weeks will become. I am very excited to press forward and will keep you all updated on my progress.

If you are a bullet journalist, as I like to call us, I would love to see some of your pages too! Until next time!!!!

Happy Journaling in Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

“Mommy, Is this the last thing?”

Some days, this feels like the ONLY sentence I hear the entire day. Homeschool is a lot of things for me but for my son, some days, it is filled with nothing but “horrible, awful, lots of boring stuff”. (Said in the most dramatic voice anyone has ever heard…)

It makes me feel bad some days because I want him to LOVE school. My dream day is for him to walk in and say, “What do I get to learn today Mommy?” This never happens of course but the learning continues anyway.

It is tempting some days to just sat school aside and play all day. I read all of these articles and the homeschool experts tell me that he is just in first grade, after all, and that is best. They tell me that at this age, they don’t need all that “busy work”. Learning should be fun. It should be something they enjoy doing; something they want to do. But I struggle with this because that is not at all how life works or how I was taught about the importance of learning. I didn’t just love it immediately. It took time. It took work.

I didn’t want to go to school each day. I didn’t want to do the work. Yet, I got up each morning and I climbed into that big yellow bus and I got there. I did the work and I discovered a little more every day that I actually LOVED to learn. Some days I hated the work because I would rather play with my friends. We were taught that once our work was done then the reward of friendship was to follow. Life was not all about what we wanted or having nonstop fun. How true that is to our life. Even as an adult I find myself feeling that very same way about my laundry or dishes in the sink. I don’t like housework. I don’t want to do housework but I get it done. I get it done because life isn’t always about Netflix or taking it easy. Doing my housework is necessary for my family and oh how I love the feel of a nicely made bed or the smell of a fresh shirt out of the dryer. From a very young age I was taught that there are just some things in life that are necessary. You may start out doing them for just that reason but you usually find that as you do them, you begin to value them and feel glad that you did them. Some things in life are vital for our existence and education is one of them.

I look at my son now and see my former, tiny, self whining that I don’t want to do this or I don’t want to do that and I smile when I respond back under my breath, “There are lots of things in life I didn’t want to do but I did them because they had to be done.” I suddenly remember my Mom and I can’t help but feel like these are precious memories in the making. Some day my son will look at his own children and teach them the same principles. Learning takes time to fall in love with. My Mom taught me that. That is contrary to what we are told but it’s the truth. True learning is when we evolve past only doing what we want and learning to do so much more than we thought we would ever want to do or are capable of doing.

That’s what I feel like I am teaching my son. So, every day we may brave the “Mommy, is this the last thing?” moment. That’s okay. It won’t be the last thing but each day He will take longer to ask that and each day the things He thought were so boring and mundane become easier and more interesting. That’s the beauty in learning: it stretches us and our abilities.

Don’t be discouraged if your children don’t seem to just LOVE to learn. Don’t be disappointed if they aren’t coming in wide eyed and ready. Instead, remember that this is a journey not a race and they will grow to love learning a little more each day. Each task will bring more endurance and more knowledge and they will soon find that they are getting the necessary done because once it’s complete, it’s a great reward.

Onward hoe we go my Brave Mommas! For though the journey be long, at the end will come great rewards. If we want to see those rewards unfold, perhaps we should pursue our homeschool the very same way that we are instructed to pursue our faith:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

We will not homeschool alike. Some will you will through play and some of you, just like me, will learn through “busy work” but if we are teaching our children that their love for learning is a gradual journey, they will begin to appreciate the steps it takes to get there more every day. In the end, we will all meet at the same finish line and share the victory.

 

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

Bullet Journaling: Have you tried it?

So, in my constant search for the perfect planner and the perfect organization for my life I feel that I can never find something that fits all of my needs (errr…wants) in one neat package. The calendars never seem to allow me enough detail and the daily sheets are never detailed enough for all that I need to put in. So, I did what any woman these days does who has a desire for something more: I went to Pinterest. (And I survived!)

In my search for DIY planners, I came across something called bullet journaling. At first glance, I was pulled in. The picture displayed this adorable, personally created planner page. It had doodles, it had quotes and it had all of these different elements. All of them created by hand by the individual using the journal.

I had to know more.

Suffice to say, that was days ago and now my “Bullet Journaling” Pinterest board is filling up and I can’t put that darn application away. After hours and days spent reading and searching and viewing, I have made the decision to give this whole idea a go. I am going to test it out for one month to see if I like the method and if it will work for me. I am a terrible perfectionist at times so I am somewhat worried about typos in my handwriting or design and then having to constantly start over. I also love to be creative and artsy but have to have clear direction and visual appeal. If my doodles end up looking like a two year old drew them with a poorly inked pen, I will cry. I feel that oh so certainly within my being but I am still so hungry for more creativity in my life that I am willing to put all those risks aside and see where this will lead me.

My goal: To plan my life, my homeschool, my college career, my hobbies and my crazy thoughts all in one beautiful, inspiring place. A place that I can call my own. Truly my own. Not like the bathroom where I say it’s my own place and then children and dogs interrupt my hot bath. Not like my prayer closet where I am invaded by hyper six year olds with post it notes and rather large spiders that keep invading my favorite scriptures as I read them and not like my bedroom where I have to share it with a man who loathes the very notion of anything “DIY”, He loves me. I love him. But oh how I need a place. A place where I can breathe and laugh, even if only in silent doodle.

If anyone out there on this side of the “cybersphere” is reading this and has attempted this beautiful concept, I would love to hear your story. I would love to see your pages and hear how you got started. I plan to share my journey with bullet journaling here and document how it goes. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you and maybe you too will find your only special place. Goodness knows, we all need a place to call our own.

Wish me luck!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤