30 August 2013

Running on empty?

Countless times through out the week I pause and just ask God to fill me.

I have so much to do, so many places to go, so much to accomplish and teach, so many little lives to impact, that by the end of the day if I haven't asked God to fill me I will be empty and will not be able to pour out in love to everyone around me.

So I pause and I say...Jesus please fill me.  Fill me with your love, your patience, your wisdom, the right words, the right discipline, the right consequences, whatever I am lacking just please fill me so I can pour out.

The beauty of Jesus filling you is that you never run out and His supply is always full.  And after time spent with Jesus you are never quite the same.

Praying Jesus fills you today!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

28 August 2013

Tales/Woes of a Perfectionistic Mom

You know the type: organized, list maker, kids wearing matching/coordinated outfits, house smells like apple pie, floors glisten in the sunlight, all ducks are in a row...you know this mom-- I know you do.

I aspire to be this mom.  Her children call her blessed.  Her husband sings her his praises. I want to be Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray.  The do it all type of mom who doesn't forget anything and accomplishes everything.  As I type the very words I see how impossible this can be, but it does not stop me from wanting to achieve it.  I get so caught up in the Super Mom ideal that I get really discouraged when I can't.

But lately (like the past 6 months) I've been realizing that not only is there no way I can do it all or be it all but that I know I physically can not keep up with things the way I used to before.  Yes, I now have three kids and I homeschool, but that doesn't mean I'm not expected to also have a clean home, healthy meals, stay in shape, volunteer at church, and visit with the extended family, not to mention sports and extracurricular social things we do.

I think that is why I am loving the new mom-devotional I am doing entitled, "Am I Messing Up My Kids: And other questions every mom asks"  It is really putting things into perspective for me about motherhood, and just truly letting Jesus meet your needs and fill  you up so that you as a mom can be ready to pour into the little lives in your home.

So, no I am no Martha Stewart, but you know what that is okay, because in this moment being Kristi Mac is enough.  God knew who I would turn out to be.  He entrusted me with my family.  And I am going to focus on being thankful and flexible, and not being perfect!

26 August 2013

Lee Daniels' The Butler


This past Friday I was so thrilled to have a movie night with my bestie, Christy.  Both of us being moms it was so nice to get out and enjoy a baby free evening. Not to mention we were both really eager to see this movie on The Butler, based on a true story about Eugene Allen a black man working in the White House for 3 decades and focusing most of the story during the Civil Rights Movement.

I am a history buff so watching a movie and being able to see 8 different presidents starting with Harry Truman and ending with Ronald Reagan was more than a thrill for me!  What is so captivating in this movie is the amount of history you see in this 2 1/2 hour movie.  The story begins on a cotton plantation in 1926 and ends with the elected presidency of Barrack Obama in 2008.

As a person of color this movie truly impacted me.  Seeing the first scene with Cecil Gaines (the later butler to be played by Forest Whitaker) as a young boy working the cotton field and seeing the mistreatment of black slaves, we've heard about it, we've read it in history books, but seeing it in a film really does something to you.  It just brings back all the feelings of racism and hatred that one feels when you are "different".  It brings back all the feelings of injustice that our country allowed for 200 years.  I know this was just a movie, but the plantation owners in this movie allowed rape, murder, and mistreatment of human beings in the worst degree...and it makes me wonder how hard life must have been for blacks in our country in the 1920's all the way up to the 1960s when you see Blacks really starting to stand up for their rights with the Freedom Riders, the Sit ins and the bus boycotts they did in the south.

To think that there was a time in our country when we couldn't drink from the same water fountain.  We weren't allowed to sit where ever we pleased on the buses, we couldn't vote, we didn't receive fair wages, we weren't allowed to be served at the main counters in restaurants.  To think that schools were not integrated.  How could we have allowed this in our country?

In home school I am teaching the kids the meaning of the colors of the American flag: red for courage, white for purity, and blue for truth...but when I think of all the things that our country has done to Black Americans it just breaks my heart.  And so many people just went along with the crowd.  Survival of the fittest mentality.  People were treated so wrongly and it was just accepted.

In this movie you grow to have a heart for Cecil Gaines and his wife (played by Oprah) and their two sons.  Cecil goes out of his way to move North, away from the injustices of the South (only to see that no matter where you live in America there is still injustice).  They raise two very different boys, both who love and respect their father.  One who fights for his country in Vietnam, and one who because a huge activist during the Civil Rights Movement.

I left this movie asking myself what injustices of today am I accepting of?  Do I wear blinders?  Do I treat all people equally regardless of gender, race, religion, or origin?  Am I kind and loving to people?  Do I treat wealthy people and poor people alike?  Do I speak down to people?  Do I stand up for my beliefs and do I defend people who maybe can't defend themselves.

I thank God that I did not live in the time of the 1920's or the Civil Rights Movement.  I am thankful for the men and women who went out on a limb to stand up for my rights as a Black Woman.  The people who rode the Freedom Buses they were so brave.  The college students who participated in the sit ins.  The people who protested peacefully and were met with bats, dogs, and hoses, all in the name of liberty.

I don't think I ever would have been able to be so brave, or survived such a sad time in our history.  I'm thankful for the strides we have made as Americans and I pray that we continue to see past color, race, gender, and love each other.

This movie made me think.  It reminded me of how far we've come as a nation.  It made me thankful.


21 August 2013

His Work--2013

Back in 2010 I did a whole Book Club series on The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martin.

You can click here to read the post on His Work.

Here is a little excerpt from what I wrote back then, at the time I had a 2 year old Julia and a 1 year old Mark.  Those were the days where John had 2 jobs of working full time in the city and then would come home to teach taekwondo.  He was so busy then.

As wives let's pray these things into our hubby's life:
1. Their eyes would be open to see what God wants them to do2. For God to reveal doors of opportunity that no man can close3. Pray that God has your husband where he wants him to be4. That God will lead the right people into his workplace and remove people who are troublesome5. For our husbands to find the perfect balance between work and rest6. For them to not fear about the future or worry about making enough money7. Pray their day at work goes smoothly8. Pray that God blesses the work of their hands in favor, success, prosperity, and also that their work brings them fulfillment9. Pray for strength, faith, and vision10. Give him confidence in all his business endeavors!!!

Although 3 years have passed, not much has changed over here (except for another baby and grown up big kids)!  John still works full time as a Financial Advisor in the city and he is currently studying to earn his CFP (which has been such an undergoing!)  And He also still owns the Taekwondo school in Old Bridge.  John has worked probably an 80 hour week these past 2 weeks to finish up a huge 40 page project.  I was reminded this evening to continue to pray for him as he leaves each morning and through out the day.  He has been so weary lately.  When John works these kind of hours it affects all of us.  And of course it affects him.  All I can do is pray for him and encourage him as the wife, and as his best friend.  He already knows how proud I am of him, but I know he enjoys hearing it from time to time.

I am so thankful for my John.  I am praying that God continues to not only bless the fruit of his hands, but also bless all the time and extra work he puts in.  He is such a hard worker.  He never just sits down and watches a show (unless I beg him!)  I pray that God will give him clarity of thought when he takes his big exam this November and I pray that he PASSES his exam which is said to be extremely long and extremely difficult test.

I also pray that somehow God would show John how He can use John in his work to minister to others and share his faith...something that weighs heavily on his heart.  And also for boldness and good timing.

I also pray that John finds the perfect balance between work and play...because we love having him home when his not working!!!


YOU are a good MOM

I'm reading an awesome mom book right now that I got at a christian book store at Camp of the Woods (I am planning on doing a book club on it this Fall) and one sentence that stood out to me this week in my devotions was, "You are a good mom, my friend...even if like me you've had a few bad moments.  You are exactly the mom God knew your children needed.  Let's live in that truth today."

If you are anything like me...you are hard on yourself as a mom.

Let's face it we all have short comings, right?  And we live in our homes relatively excluded from the outside world knowing the truth about the real us at home.

No matter what...if God has gifted you with children...those children are precious gifts that need YOU.

YOU, with all your short comings, with all your gifts, talents, abilities...all of YOU.

YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made!  Don't let a few bad moments dictate your day.  Apologize to whoever needs to hear it...talk to God about it and move forward!

I really needed those encouraging words and so I thought I'd bless all the mommies out there with them too!


20 August 2013

A little bit of KINDNESS

A little bit of Kindness goes a long way...

In our household mommy is reminded that my words, my tone, my gestures, my everything is being watched by my children.

I'm learning that kindness starts with me.  Often the way I greet the kids sets the tone of the whole day.

I'm their main filter at this point.

The other night John and I were sitting at the kitchen table, and the kids started to argue in the basement family room and John yelled downstairs, "Stop yelling at each other!!" Then he and I both looked at each other and laughed...did he not just YELL at the kids to stop YELLING?  Who does that? (ME!)

As I sit here tonight after tucking everyone in, I think to myself "Love is patient, love is kind..." am I kind?  Will my kids think of me as a kind mom as they were growing up?  Will they feel comfortable to come with me to bare their heart about something important to them?  Have I created a safety and aura of kindness about me?

We have been struggling with Julia and Mark sharing, and being kind lately, and I have to wonder, what part do I play in that?  So tonight I am praying that God will change me to be kinder and sweeter (but still honest and real) and model the behavior I expect from them!


19 August 2013

First Day 2013

School is in Session!

Well, today, by God's grace we finished all the subjects I had scheduled (minus Math, which we started but need about 10 min. more to complete).

We started our day in reading God's word (Proverbs 3:5-6) and praying!  I hope that this will be our tradition because the day couldn't have gone any smoother.

We then read a book about Frogs (our theme this year...Fully Rely on God) and we read a book about going to the dentist since we had a cleaning today for both big kids before lunch time.  We then did our Dentist journal activity (we will do a writing/drawing entry every day).  This will make for a great keepsake come this June!

I showed the kids their binders, and work bins so they always know where to look for the days subjects/assignments.  One thing I learned as a school room teacher is that routines really help children to gain confidence and flourish because they always know what to expect.  Then we broke into one on one groups where I worked on a reading, spelling, and writing lesson with each child and they had to do their review work.

It was really encouraging with Julia (age 5...First Grade) because she remembered so much of what we did last year...we breezed through the typical review stuff in reading.  I was super encouraged by Mark (age 4...Pre-K) because he sat down the entire time and was so excited to do school.  He met every challenge and enjoyed writing, which last year was harder for him.  He did finish a good 45 minutes before Julia did, which was fine...he kept himself busy in the playroom and choosing his morning snack!

I think this year the kids will teach me just as much as I teach them.  I'm looking forward to lots of crafts, lots of reading, some science experiments, field trips, play dates, and especially our Home School coop at Lincroft this September which will be an all day event each week!

Team Mac is ready for school!


15 August 2013


First, a quick--Happy Birthday to my amazing mother in law Judy! She looks as if she is 30 years old, she does not age!  She takes such good care of herself and those around her.  Love you mom!

Our Family vacation to camp of the woods has set me ON FIRE!

John and I prayed that this vacation would not only be a refreshment to us, but change us for good.  And boy did it ever!

I left the beauty of the lake and mountains feeling so renewed, refreshed, and ready to really be a blessing to others, including of course, my family!  Going to chapel every morning from Sunday to Friday really does something to you.  It's like having a great Sunday for a week!  I am most excited that on the last day of chapel I heard a new life verse for me.  Isn't it great how God is always at work, always giving you a new song, a new purpose, and another chance to do things better?

Revelation 14:13 says, Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me: Write: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.  Yes says the Spirit.  That they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

I love that God is going to give us complete rest one day!  A rest from ALL of our hard labor on earth.  I think of all the moms and dads out their who commit to the labor of love in raising children.  I think of all the teachers out their who labor in teaching their students.  I think of all the single parents out their who must provide for their families and take care of the home.  I think of all the people who labor in their ministries in service of others.  I think of missionaries who sacrifice and labor for the unsaved.  This is not an easy life here on earth.  We all do some kind of labor.  And the cool thing is we don't often see the beauty and the big picture or the fruit of all our labor.  But this verse says one day we will...our labors, our works, will follow us. And one day we may meet people we never even knew that we blessed, or encouraged, or planted a seed on.  To me, that is so exciting!

Dr. Lutzer our speaker for the week at COTW talked about how we really need to think about and consider our ROI...return on investment.  What do you invest your time on?  Who do you invest your time in?  Where do you invest your time?  Or like me, do you find yourself wasting time?  Not on purpose of course, but never the less wasting time on things that do not matter.  Wasting time watching tv instead of praying.  Wasting time worrying instead of praying.  Wasting time gossiping instead of using your words to build and encourage others.  Wasting your time on facebook instead of.... you fill in the blank.

I felt so convicted as I sat in my seat.  I knew God was telling me I need to focus all my time and energy on making my family my greatest legacy.  I need to not get caught up being Super Mom or Slacker Mom and just be a godly wife and mother.  I want to invest my time in ETERNAL things that truly MATTER!  I want to invest in people's lives...starting with John, Julia, Mark and Micah.

God has set me on FIRE and I don't intend on wasting anymore time!!!


14 August 2013

The Kids Top Ten at COTW

Vacation Time is the BEST Time

Here are Julia and Mark's Top 10
Favorite Things from Camp

1. Bunk Beds in the cabin
2. Playing basketball with daddy every afternoon
3. Riding daddy's shoulders to the dining hall each day
4. Playing in the sand near the lake
5. Dr. Doug's jokes and sitting on Aunt Debi's bed in her room
6. Getting piggy back rides from Becky, Bethany, and Kimmie and singing "my mom gave me a penny...instead I want some bubble bazooka zooka bubble gum!"
7. The carnival and cotton candy
8. Made up bedtime stories by mommy and daddy each night
9. Playing wreck it ralph on the ipad
10. Daddy being with us all day long

13 August 2013

Camp of the Woods Vacation

The Highlights:

1. 5 hour car ride with 3 little people...3 stops...lots of snacks, songs, and beautiful scenery as we headed upstate NY.

2. Got to our cabin around 4pm and the kids had their own room with BUNK BEDS! They were so happy.  Micah stayed in our room in his pack and play.  I loved our King sized bed.

3. Our view outside our back door was glorious...the lake, the beach, the sky...the sand...the mountains...it was awesome.  It was actually in the 70s up there...we got to wear jeans, and sweaters!

4.  Every day we walked to our meals at the Purdy Center.  We got 3 meals a day.  Delicious choices!  And guess what?  I didn't have to cook or clean!  Now that's what I'm talking about!

5. Sunday we went to church in the huge chapel.  The kids had their own classes to attend.  We kept Micah with us and of course, he just slept.  Monday through Friday we had chapel each morning at 9:15...we would drop all the kids off and go to worship and hear the speaker.  It was such a refreshing time to hear about God's Word, be reminded of God's promises and faithfulness, and be challenged in your faith.  I LOVED it.

6. After chapel we would pick up the kids and head to the Tee Pee for fresh cinnamon rolls and hot coffee...and we gave the kids a quarter each to buy penny candy at the candy shop!  They loved this tradition!  After we sat with our friends and chatted about the sermon or talk of the day we headed to our cabin to change, relax, and play in the sand, go to the playground, ride on the boat, go tubing, water ski, craft, play volleyball, or just hang out etc.

7. The kids loved the games we played and the freedom and safety of the camp grounds.  They especially loved having Daddy all to themselves and that he never went to work!  I loved that the staff cleaned our rooms every day and made our beds for us each morning!  What a nice break I had from chores!

8. The lake was a tiny bit cold but that didn't stop any of us from putting our suits on and swimming and boating and tubing and John even got to water ski!  He did great of course!  

9.  I loved that the kids got to play to their hearts content and we only had to stop to eat a meal!

10.  Going with a group of our friends was awesome because we got quality time with all of them to talk, to share, to just hang out...seven days wasn't enough when it's all your favorite people!  We loved our time there and we are praying God will allow us to go again next year!

Happy Anniversary my love, ten years was a blink!  Thank you for such a great vacation!


05 August 2013

Home Team

August 8, 2003-August 8, 2013

Wow, ten years...

So much has changed in the past 10 years.

We went from a family of 2 to a family of 5 (plus Paris our boxer).

We moved from our town house in Old Bridge to a real house in Aberdeen.

I went from teaching in a classroom to teaching in my home.

John went from owning a taekwondo school to becoming a Financial Advisor for Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley.

We went from going out every weekend with friends and family to the movies, museums, and the city, to raising a family and having back yard picnics and eating Popsicles near the kiddie pool.

God has continued to bless us and use us in ministry to serving overseas on a missions trip to having a missional community in our own home.

I can't tell you how many times at night John and I lay in bed and look up at the ceiling and say, "Who would have thought we would have 3 kids???"  I mean, we met in high school in homeroom class, who would've thought that we would end up together, forever, with a family?

Isn't it neat to look back and see how God blessed your life, and used circumstances to grow you closer together, to lean on Him more, to stretch you as individuals?

Zechariah 4:10 says...Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin,
Philippians 1: 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carryit on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ... 

It also makes me think why has our marriage lasted and stayed strong these past 10 years...we are not perfect people.  We have our ups and downs.  Why has God allowed us to have this love that just seems to grow stronger and stronger?

First of all, God gets all the glory.  We couldn't do it without Him.  Not one day.  He is so good and so faithful.  I know I say that a lot on my blog but it is SO true.  I think back to the days when doing my devotions every morning was easy.  When praying together at night as a couple was easy.  When feeling close to the Lord was all the time.  Now, as a mom of three, I feel so tired and stretched and I say, Lord, how can I fit all this into my day?  When do I find time to pray, to sit and read the Bible, to pray with John like we used to.  Help us!

And He does.  That's the great thing about a relationship.  You can talk things out.  I can be honest with myself and with God and say, I know I can do better, help me to make this a priority.  And he does.

I think the only reason we have stayed so close as a couple is because of God's goodness and because of our determination to keep Christ at the center of our marriage.  There are a few non negotiables with us.  

Number 1: Divorce is not an option.  Number 2 John is the head of our family (Praise God for that) Number 3 We both realize that God is the head of our family and He is our priority.  We seek God's will before establishing what we want.Number 4: We make going to church a priority because we want to be accountable to other christians, we want to keep growing in Christ and we want to set a good example before our kids.

I'm thankful that we have Him.  And that we have God to keep us together and our love growing strong.  Like I said...God gets all the glory!  I love our Home Team...Go Team Mac!Photobucket

02 August 2013

10 Years!!!

August 8, 2013 will mark 10 years of wedded bliss for us!

This year instead of going to Cape May (oh how I will miss the beach) we are headed to the lake and cabins of Camp of the Woods in upstate New York with a group of our DEAREST friends.

I can't wait to have John ALL to ourselves with no work interruptions. (I might have to hide his blackberry!)  The kids really need some one on one daddy time.  He's been so busy with the two jobs and studying for his CFP.

We will be there for 7 days!

I will try to blog next week but if I don't you will know why! VACATION Here we come...


01 August 2013

The Gym...The Pain is Worth it!

Suicides...burpies...push ups...planks...wall sits...tread mill...bicycle...v sits...squats...lunges...mountain climbers...warrior pose...the list goes on and on...

I've made a goal since Mother's Day (my gift was a gym membership) was to go to the gym 3-4 times a week and twice out of the week to meet with my trainer.  Every Saturday and Monday since then I've been training with Chris, my awesome trainer who used to be in the marines for 4 years.  He is amazing!  And he pushes me very hard!

I have never had to work out this hard since college (in college I worked out at the Rec Center faithfully doing kick boxing, step aerobics, cycling, and running).  Don't get me wrong I've always loved working out.  I love Denise Austin, I've done Leslie Sasone videos, kickboxing, yoga classes, even taekwondo, but nothing compares with having a personal trainer.

And Chris sets very high expectations for me.  He thinks I'm a lot stronger than I am sometimes...but because he pushes me I've had some AWESOME workout and some amazing results.

See this dress I am wearing in the picture?  It's a size 2.  After 6 weeks after I had Micah I tried wearing it.  I couldn't get it over my head.  But after working out with Chris...10lbs later, plus all the paleo diet, and juicing I've been doing...I wore this dress to a birthday party a week ago and felt awesome!

My other trainer Steve, a manager at Retro told me it's not about a target weight...it's about how you feel in your clothes...and that is so true!

So each Saturday afternoon, and Monday night...when I get home exhausted, sore, sweaty, and like jello, I realize that all this pain has been totally worth it.  I've never felt stronger!  I just added on more sessions so that I can keep this momentum going!

If you ever considered working with a trainer and if it would be helpful I would say go for it.  I don't think I would have been this successful without it.  Just going to the gym and running/walking on the treadmill is different than a total body workout.  That's the specialty of trainers.  They work your upper body, your core, and lower body.  I've never done this much strength and resistance training before!  And the more muscle you build the more fat you continue to burn!!!!!!!!

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