A Thousand Words

They say that pictures are worth a thousand  words and today I am hoping that is true because my heart is heavy and I just can’t quite muster the strength for many words. In light of this, today’s post is brought to you by the magic of my camera and my loss for words.

Blessings,

Kristy ❤️

“A Sailor’s Prayer”

Dear Lord, I’m just a sailor
A protector of our land.
A servant called to battle
When my country takes a stand.
I pray for strength and courage
And a heart that will forgive.
For peace and understanding
In a world for all to live.
My family’s prayers are with me.
No matter where I roam.
Please listen when I’m lonely
And return me to my home.
-Amen

 

 

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Dear Older Me…

Dear Older Me,

I see how tired you are. I see how weary you feel and how worried you have become about everything these days. I see how you struggle to find balance throughout your day. I see as you forget to eat and I watch as you choose the worst foods to try to soothe your stress, your worry, your disappointments. I listen as you cry when things feel overwhelming and you feel like you are such a failure. I watch as you stare at yourself in the mirror and wonder how that person could possibly be you.

I have watched you and felt the sting of each moment with you. I have cried with you and wondered how you could have forgotten the important things these years have taught you so today; how you could have forgotten how far you have come and how much you have overcome.

I want to tell you a few things. I want to encourage you because my dear, sweet older me…you are so much more than you are seeing.

You keep looking back. That’s your first mistake. You keep replaying every single mistake in your life in your mind like a movie reel, constantly trying to pinpoint the moments that you could change to make all those regrets and mistakes disappear from your record of life, but don’t you realize that the younger version of you made those mistakes and had I not, then you would not be the woman you are today. Those mistakes, one by one, grew you, refined you, hurt you and broke you just enough that you found Christ and you allowed God to redefine who you are. Those very mistakes, those very broken roads all led you to the life that you so deeply love and thank God for today. Stop looking back. Those days are gone. That’s not who you are. Instead of trying to figure out how to fix younger you, focus on who you are now and embrace this season of your life with grace, compassion, understanding and acceptance.

You keep saying that you will start tomorrow. Our tomorrows are never guaranteed. Why do you keep trying to hold off on the important things out of fear? Has God not shown you time and again that He has called you to be present in TODAY? Stop putting off your destiny and calling. Stop saying that you don’t have time. God gave you the exact amount of time you need. Allow yourself to see that you are worth being a part of every purpose and plan God has for you RIGHT NOW. So write those books. Publish the ones you have already written. Move in those ministries. Stop being afraid of who you are and love yourself the way God does. You are beautiful and special. God says so. Stop waiting until tomorrow to accept that and be bold enough to be all that you are created to be. Tomorrow may not come.

You keep saying you don’t have time for yourself. That’s a lie. You have plenty of time to take care of yourself. Stop trying to have the perfect home. The laundry will always need to be folded and clean clothes are just as clean and wearable if they are in the basket as they are in the dresser. The floors will always get messy so stop fretting if there is a crumb under the table or dog hair by the back door. Instead of pushing yourself until you have nothing left trying to be an ideal of perfection God doesn’t expect, take moments, instead, to take care of YOURSELF. Take the shower…who cares if the baby is crying. She won’t cry herself to death. Put her in her walker in the bathroom with you and let her cry while you wash your hair. Take the nap. Your laundry will still be there when you wake up but the moments you have to rest will be gone if you do not seize them. Do the workouts. You may not be able to do them easily or perfectly but if you just keep trying, you will eventually be stronger than you ever thought possible. It’s okay to let the house go so you can take care of you. If you wither and buckle physically from the stress of your need for perfection, you cannot take care of the ones you love the most. So go ahead. Say no to some of the cleaning today and just spend time on yourself.

You keep saying, “I can’t”. Stop using those those words. They are lies. Trust me I know. I have been using them on repeat for years and you are so much more than I am. For every I can’t, there is an I CAN. God made you to be more than capable to do ANYTHING you put your mind to. You are smart. You are strong. Your are incredible. Stop believing you can’t do things and just do them. Prove every I can’t wrong. Someday you will not be able to do that so make it your mission to turn every single I can’t into an I DID before it’s too late.

Your life is precious. It means so much more than you give yourself credit for. Stop selling yourself short. Stop letting people speak harmful things into your life and stop living your life afraid of the things that have been spoken over you that you KNOW were not from the Lord. Stop caring what anyone else thinks. You know who you are and you know what you are created for so be confident and love yourself. Show yourself the same care and compassion you do others. Allow yourself to make mistakes and stop trying to be who you used to be. I like who you have become. You are braver, stronger, more fearless, and more amazing than I have ever been. You are my hero. So keep being YOU.

P.S. I think 40 is going to be your best year yet.

Sincerely,

Younger You ❤

Spring into History

The last few weeks have been so busy for us as we began to approach Mister M’s leave and prepare for our friends to come spend their Spring Break with us. It has been a wonderful way to take our minds off of our fast approaching deployment.

Last weekend, we drove up and met our friends in D.C. That night, Little Miss M and I hung out in the hotel while Mister O took Mister M and our friends to watch an NBA basketball game.

Then Sunday morning we woke up early and spent the entire day exploring the historical sites of our nation’s capital.

We were especially excited to take Mister M now that he is old enough to really take in some of the sites. We were able to see so much and walked for over 6 hours. We did not get to see the Smithsonian museums like we had planned but still had an incredible day.

We will definitely be making another trip before Mister M leaves so that we can see and explore more. There is just something so special about getting to see these important pieces of our past and walking in a place full of  our nation’s historical monuments and documents.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤️

Oh, Mr. Rogers, How Much You Knew…

As a child, I grew up watching “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”. I loved the music and the “Neighborhood of Make Believe”. It was a show that created a calming and soothing effect and I can remember feeling like it was a safe place. Anyone could be a part of his world and anyone would be treated with kindness. He taught us things, he opened up ideas and thoughts and helped us to realize things we might be feeling or thinking. He created this mutually understanding that life was about constantly growing and changing and learning how to be okay with that and do it in a way that promoted healthy and stable environments, emotions and relationships.

As the years went on, I am sad to say that I forgot about the things that Mr. Rogers taught us. I became consumed with the need for friends, the latest boy bands, trying to fit in at school and wanting to be accepted. I became consumed with television shows that seemed to always be about a boy falling in love with a girl or a girl trying to win that boy’s affections; shows that seemed created this need to be someone other than myself.

Even shows that seemed harmless seemed to, while trying to get across some very valuable principles and lessons, often times pushed into my mind these thoughts that I wasn’t enough. And then there was the music and the magazines and the commercials that all seemed to also push sexuality onto us, and in a lot of cases ideas of bullying and even violence. They were so subtle that they were often over looked.

By high school, we were hooked on shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, MTV’s the Real World and too many others for me to even bother mentioning. Our minds became bombarded with images of physical sexuality, drug and alcohol exposure, underage bar hopping, bullying clicks in school, and so much more. But no one told us that it wasn’t safe for us to watch because most didn’t even realize what was happening. These shows were actually targeted with a young viewer age range in mind and we bought into it. Every. Single. Episode.

From there, it went downhill very quickly. Shows began to use foul language and we became so used to it that after a while they added harsher foul language and we didn’t even notice or pay attention. They also began to slowly and steadily introduce nudity. It started with small things and then we began to see actual nude female bodies until it became the norm to see naked men and women on television. Shows began to incorporate very graphic violence and where we started with video games like Super Mario Brothers, we quickly escalated to games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Grand Theft Auto, which let you go into places to “purchase” and have sex with prostitutes or shoot cops. They are so graphic and yet, this game was sold across America without anyone really blinking an eye as a whole and was played by varying ages. Most thought it harmless because after all, it was just a video game.

And then it slowly began. This spiral downhill trend of our children and our society. With these rapid increases of exposure to violence and sex, we also began to change how discipline was viewed in our society. We took children and began to treat them as adults, teaching that the days of  strict discipline were outdated and also harmful for our children. Spanking became taboo and wrong, even though it had been used for centuries and the vast majority would tell you that they suffered no harm mentally or physically from this. There is and was a difference in a spanking and abusing a child but that line no longer existed and it became socially frowned upon to spank/paddle for any reason. Then that led to this notion that any form of strict discipline, even those that did not include spanking, caused lasting emotional trauma for children.  That slowly led to a trend of approaches in which children became the navigators of their own lives giving them the freedoms to think, say and do as they saw fit for themselves. We took away from them the ability to remember that they are only children and still need guidance and instead, gave them this idea that they are already grown enough and know enough to be able to navigate life but this approach has failed many of them because they are and were actually not emotionally or mentally mature enough to handle the realities that having to make these kinds of choices and decisions bring in life. They were and are not mature enough to navigate life but we have taught them that’s okay. Just go for it. You can do it. But they can’t.

It was a slow but steady decline that has now led us to a nation of youth who are many things. They are strong, determined, intelligent and highly vocal. This is good, of course, But while those things are good, they are also so much more that we often do not want to fully take accountability for or discuss. They are also angry, they are irrational, they are intolerant of any view that is not their own, they are entitled (Yes. I said ENTITLED. And they are. They believe they should have whatever they want with little or no effort.). They are also depressed, they are suicidal, they are careless with their words and they have little regard for anyone who does not do things their way or think the way they do. While they are not all these things at once, they are some of them at different times. There are exceptions and there are moments when the good outweighs the bad but at 40 years old, I can tell you that growing up, suicides among young people were not this prevalent and we certainly did not have 5th graders taking their own lives at the rapid rate we do now in this society. I had never even heard of a childhood suicide of that age until the last few years. I can also tell you that while we had teen pregnancy issues, we did not have the crisis and epidemic of babies having babies that we do today and I can tell you even  more certainly that we absolutely did not have the amount of youth that we have today who thought it perfectly acceptable to stand at a platform and scream and yell and demand for anything. We did our best to take a stand while still showing at least an ounce of respect for others and trying to speak and debate in a manner that was becoming of debate itself.

We were taught the value of human life and while violence was a problem then, it is an epidemic now. It is a daily norm to wake up and see children murdered and stolen and for us to see events such as school shootings or mall shootings or people being blown up by bombs at marathons or events. All of these things became something that slowly became socially acceptable to allow children to role play with in video games and take in day after day on the television shows that began to replace the programs that once taught life lessons and educational concepts.

While our generation is called narrow minded and out dated, I can tell you that in my time as a youth, we did not see these types of crimes happen as prevalently as they do now. The decline of our nation and the rise of violence began to rapidly increase when we took away the rights of parents to truly discipline and we began to expose our young people to things that their young minds should not yet be exposed to.

Mr. Rogers once spoke before the Senate floor, urging and asking for the funding for his program to not be cut. He made mention multiple times of the concern he had for children and the things they were being bombarded with now that television had become a household item. He was concerned with what these outlets were teaching our nation’s children and he wanted to be sure he could provide an outlet that taught them value for human life while also teaching them how to navigate their feelings and their emotions. He spoke of the importance of teaching children that they were loved, that they were accepted and why his program was so instrumental in helping do this. He won the Senators over with this speech and two years later, they increased his funding budget by millions. His show began airing in the United States around 1969 and continued until 2001, when the show was cancelled because of his terminal illness. He lasted 31 years. He fought the good fight for 31 years and provided an outlet of safe, educational entertainment for children all across the nation.

But where are the Mr. Rogers of our nation now? Why are we, as parents, not as concerned for our own children and nation? How have we let ourselves become a nation where children taking their own lives or the lives of others is something we just know is going to happen and we just feel sad about but don’t stop long enough to ask WHY?

I am not here to debate gun control. I am not here to place blame on anything other than where it should be: ON ALL OF US. The harsh reality is that we are all a part of this decline. We are all a part of the problem but this is not a popular opinion or wanted response. It is however, the truth.

As a mom, I am ashamed to admit that I have not been diligent enough to be fully aware of the things my son is exposed to. If it is marketed for children, I have naively assumed that it is safe. That it is content worthy of viewing but that is NOT at all accurate. Many of the cartoons he has been watching have promoted such things as bullying, either in speech or action, killing “bad guys”,  and being a part of the “cool crowd” just to name a few. At 7 years old, I have had my son ask me if he is fat. I have had him ask me if I think he is cool. I have had him ask me if I think he is popular. How is that even something that a 7 year old should have a concept of or be worried about?

I was naive enough to think that video games created and available on his iPad that are clearly marketed with children in mind were safe. But this morning, I sat down to look at them all and realized that a VAST majority of them, while seeming innocent on the surface, had horrible undertones of violence and disrespect all through them. One such game was a game of cops and robbers. This game allowed you to be a robber and your end goal was to be able to take out as many cops as you could. I was heart broken. My son had a video game in which the end goal is to take out men just like his father, who happens to be a military police officer. I had watched him play this before and yet, this part of the game had managed to go unnoticed by me because it was marketed as a race car game. I deleted it and began to purge his entire iPad. The devastating reality that there is so much deception in these outlets was overwhelming.

Trust me when I tell you that I check his technology ALL the time. I constantly have him show me what he is doing and he has to have permission before downloading things, but unless you sit and watch them for a good deal of time you may miss what is in them. I did and it upsets me to know the things I have naively allowed my children to be exposed to over the years because I too had begun to be exposed to them as I got older and it was allowed. It was the norm.

But it shouldn’t be.

The truth is, the trend in violence and self harm can not be undone by one person or one thing. It will take us ALL. It will take MANY OUTLETS OF CHANGE. It will take a level of commitment that we may not even fully be able to understand yet or be comfortable with as an individual (change and blame is hard to swallow sometimes) but we have to be willing to go beyond ourselves and work harder to break this cycle in our nation.

I cannot fix the entire world or every person in it but I CAN fix what’s broken in my own home. I CAN evaluate what I am exposing my children too and I CAN change what I am allowing to be the norm in our home. I can work harder to remove poor content. I can work harder at being okay with being the “mean mom” and I can work harder at teaching my children about discipline, kindness and respect. I can work harder at paying more attention to my children and less time to my own screens (let’s be honest, we struggle more than they do). I can work harder at teaching my children about the value of human life and why EVERY life matters and is important. I can work harder to teach my children what it means to work hard and be the kind of person that will work hard to do what’s right and help those around them. I can work harder at being the kind of example they need to see it all in action.

This won’t happen overnight. I am aware of that, but it just takes the decision to do it. So, today I made that decision not just for my son but for MYSELF. I too have become desensitized to the violence and the sex and the drugs. So, I have things I am having to give up also for the good of my children and home. If I can’t have a life free of these influences, how can I expect my children to? Giving up what we like is sometimes a deal breaker but it also very necessary if those things we enjoy are contradicting what we are teaching our children.

While we may never fully be able to rid our world of violence and death, we can at least work to no longer ignore them or allow them in our home to the best of our ability or allow them to invade our minds on a daily basis and influence the hearts and minds of our children. It’s time we have real conversations with our children and we start addressing the decline of morals and discipline (all forms of discipline) and respect in our nation. It’s time we find the roots of the problems and one by one begin to work on them. If we work together, one at a time, and we determine within our selves to change as parents, we WILL begin to change our children.

The responsibility does not lie upon the teachers, the administrators, the politicians or anyone else. The responsibility lies upon US, the parents. It starts and ends with us.

So the question becomes, what will WE do about that?

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

 

Hip Hooray, President’s Day Stations

I apologize for being a bit quiet the last week! We had a crazy week after Valentine’s Day and I have been working hard to organize and purge my classroom and to get lessons planned and see where we will be in May.

So, today was our homeschool group meeting and I planned all our activity stations. I was excited to have found such amazing ideas on Pinterest and could not wait to set them up. The most loved station was the Macaroni Monument station where the kids were all instructed to build their own “Washington Monument” out of pasta shells. We had Penne and Rotini shells. Using clay, glue and the pasta, those littles spent almost the entire time at that one station! The second favorite station was definitely the “Quill” station where they turned an ordinary #2 pencil into an old fashioned writing quill. It was so simple and easy but the kids went nuts over it!

It was a really successful meeting even though I was so exhausted I could have slept standing. That’s seems to be my norm these days.

Below is a snapshot of each of the stations. I highly recommend each of these activities for your next President’s Day.

Until next time!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤️

 

 

 

 

When Exhaustion Trumps All

I have been doing so good at staying devoted to my writing and updating my blog almost daily for the most part but the last few days it has taken all the effort I have to just survive the day so writing, I am sad to admit, has been the last thing I have thought of.

Each morning, I open my eyes and remember it’s another day flying solo and I close my eyes and for just a moment, imagine what it would be like in a world where this was not my life….this constant routine of separations and solo parenting. A world where words like deployments and ships and underways simply did not exist.

Slowly, I make my way out of bed, brush my teeth, get the baby from her room and begin my day. There is breakfast and things to pick up in the living room and then schoolwork. I go from one moment to the next in a fog-like state, just getting things done as best I can.

Faking it until I make it.

Lately, it seems that my exhaustion trumps everything else I feel in my life. I could sleep for years and yet, still feel like I need more sleep.

It’s only a season. I keep telling myself this over and over but when you are this tired…even a season is just far too long.

Hoping for more energy tomorrow (and better words of wisdom to share),

Kristy ❤️

Some Days

Some days you scramble to get anything done. Some days you fight all day long to just get through one moment to the next. Some days you feel overwhelmed. Some days you feel alone. So very very alone.

Then, some days you are reminded of how blessed you are with wonderful people and you don’t feel so sad. Some day you are surrounded by good people and good laughs and the grief eases a bit. Some days you manage to get a lot done and you think to yourself, “Maybe this one won’t  be so bad.”

Today is over. We survived. And that’s enough. It has to be enough.

Today I am so thankful for precious friends who came to just do life with us today, homeschool and all, and helped make this day not seem so hard. For loving us right where are. For knowing that underways and deployments can feel so big and scary and we shouldn’t battle it alone.

Today, I am just so thankful for these people.

And for napping babies. Today, I was very thankful for a napping baby.

Kristy ❤️

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Sweet Kae and Little Miss M. This Momma sure needed this break.