30 May 2014

What HE Taught Me This Year

Birthday Wisdom

So, it's my birthday this weekend.

Yup another year wiser!

I do not feel old AT ALL.

I do on occasion feel exhausted from a full life, but it's a good life, and so I am very thankful.

God has taught me a lot this year.  

He taught me A LOT.

And it wasn't easy for me to learn.  

In fact I was down right angry.

Last June I had three kids.

Three very planned kids.  And in my mind I was finally content.  I was finally happy.  I had all my ducks lined up in a neat 3 person little row.  My older sister calls them my three little bears.  And 3 is a big number.  Micah totally outnumbers me and John and my hands were completely full with 3 very active children.

Julia was 5, Mark was a new 4 year old, and Micah was a few months old.  I was still adjusting to this life of 3.  We were now a party of five and I was feeling very overwhelmed at times.  Micah wasn't the great sleeper that Julia and Mark were.  Micah was 20lbs at 4 months and I had to carry the beautiful chubby baby everywhere.  It was hard.  I was homeschooling and still feeling kind of not super secure in it. 

When 2014 came I felt like God was going to do something HUGE in my life.  I could really feel it.  I was finally "done" with babies and we were starting to think about moving.  I started to think about putting both kids in private school and was praying about what God was about to do in my life.  I felt this change coming and I was kind of excited!!! Dream Big I blogged on New Year's Day!

Then, on January 1st I started to feel sick...

On January 3rd I knew I missed a menstrual cycle...

On January 4th I took a pregnancy test...

Psalm 27:11 "Teach me your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies."

Dream Big?

Dream Big!

God what are you doing!!!???

This was not in MY plan!!!!!!

Isaiah 41:10
"Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

How can I dream big God when I keep getting pregnant? I thought.

I felt like this pregnancy in particular would somehow slow me down from the BIG thing "whatever that was" that was going to happen to me/us.

I couldn't even tell John that day.  I found out on a Saturday while he was at Chinese school and it wasn't until Tuesday night sitting in bed that I finally told him.  It was 3 days of torture.

John 8:32  "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

I knew I needed to tell John.  I was so afraid he would be devastated.  I was so afraid he would be mad.  I was so afraid he would be disappointed.

I told him, and he said, "Kristi why didn't you tell me sooner?  There's always room for one more!"  He made me cry even more because I was so relieved he knew and we just laughed at the shock we were both in.

We kept our pregnancy a secret until after my sister in laws baby shower.  We wanted the day to be all about her.  We didn't want to steal her thunder.  And quite frankly, I was deathly afraid of her reaction and my in laws reaction.  We didn't tell them until I was already 13 weeks and heading into my 2nd trimester.

We get home from the baby shower and help Laurie and Kelsey bring all the many baby gifts into their house.  We make Laurie and Judy (my mother in law) sit down in recliners.  We hand them a wrapped present and say, "Guys we have one more gift to give you."  To which Laurie goes, "No more gifts you spoiled us enough at the shower!"  To which we said, "Open the gift!!!" and laughed.  So they both open up a baby frame of an ultrasound and say "Awwww" at the same time.  I think they thought the picture in the frame was the hallmark photo.  I look them both in the face and say..."I'm due this August!"  They SCREAMED and SCREAMED and SCREAMED!  Laurie tried to jump up but she's pregnant with twins so she couldn't... we all hugged and laughed.  And I saw their faces and there was no judgment...there was only joy and love.

God taught me 4 things so far....

His ways are not my ways...his plans are not my plans.  This baby was meant to be growing inside of me.  This baby was in His plans.  This baby has a purpose in our lives.

I never have to feel afraid or alone because He is always with me.  When you get shocking news it is okay to be shocked.  It is okay to not "feel" happy about it.  Sometimes God has to do a work in you and help you and guide your thoughts so that you don't focus on the overwhelming part, but focus on how He will be with you no matter what.  And God will eventually help you to feel joyful again.  Maybe not right away.  Be patient with yourself.  Emotions are a tricky business.

Trust my spouse.  Tell the truth right away.  Don't hide something and torture yourself.  I came to realize that John always has my back.  That we are in this together.  And that we really are a team.  And we are a great team.

The people who truly love you will not judge you.  They will only share your joy with you.  Don't be afraid to share your joy with those you love.

God also taught me that it is great to plan, it's wonderful.  But he taught me that when things don't go according to "my plan" it doesn't mean something is wrong.  It means they were not HIS plan.  And HIS plan is the best plan.  We fool ourselves in thinking we decide who we marry, where we live, how many kids we have, and what career we choose.  We often put God in a box and forget that we may think we have great plans for our lives, but we need to remember that God has a BIG plan for all His people.  Sometimes God over rides birth control!  Sometimes God plops the man of your dreams in your homeroom class.  Sometimes God says no to one career or job and opens the door to another.  We do not control our lives.  We only "think" we do.  God is in control.  And it's best to accept that God's plan is best, even if we have no idea why or how it happened, or how we will manage.  I still struggle with how to answer people when they say things like, "Oh, you didn't plan this pregnancy, huh?" Maybe I didn't "plan" this pregnancy, but God did.  And He gives perfect gifts.

James 1: 17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights..."

God also taught me and he continues to teach me that...Yes, my hands are full.  Very full.  But so is my heart.  My heart is so full of love for my husband, and my children that I could continue to fill a blog with the joy I feel.  Yes, I was scared and overwhelmed at first.  Who wouldn't be?!  But I am not alone.  I have an awesome husband, a great support system, wonderful family and friends and a God who is so loving and gracious with me that He decided I got to be blessed with another amazing gift.  A baby girl.

I don't know if you've seen our gender reveal post but after you see the pics and watch the video you will feel the joy and the love we have.  We are so excited for what God has in store for us.

I will choose to continue to dream big.  My hands are full and so is my heart.

36 years old feels pretty amazing.


29 May 2014

Keeping Up With Micah

Photo by Christy H.

14 Months

This blog is a blessing to me because I get to journal about the comings and goings of my kids, the highlights in their life, and even write to them.  Lord willing, one day I hope they can read these posts and feel the love through my words.  I am so happy to be their mom!  Even on the days when I am tired, or discouraged, or overwhelmed, I am still so incredibly thankful for each of them and all that they are.  They are each so different and so special.

Micah, our gorgeous third baby boy, is our over achiever.  This guy was sitting up, crawling, standing, and walking all before he was "technically" supposed to!  I had a walker on my hands right around 9 1/2 months!  

Julia and Mark both walked right after their 1 year birthdays (around 13 months).  So when this unpredictable, over-achiever started walking after Christmas I knew I was in trouble!!! (in a good way)

I knew he was going to be the one to keep me on my toes.  And sure enough he has been the one to open up every cabinet and climb inside.  He's been the one found playing in toilet water (hence why our bathroom doors are ALWAYS closed now).  He's also been the one to push away the baby gates and climb right up the steps!  Let's just say he has made home schooling very interesting and thank goodness for Julia and Mark who watch him in shifts during school time (we call it Micah duty).  He needs to be watched at all times!

These days Micah runs!  Everywhere.  He won't be slowed down or stopped.  He rides the kids bikes. He runs across the yard.  He does everything Mark and Julia does and if they are not paying attention to him he makes himself KNOWN.  There have been times I have even caught him pushing Mark off of a chair just because HE wanted that chair.  I've noticed that he copies EVERYTHING Mark does and always wants what Mark wants.  And so, we have been using the bottom step again...as our time out spot.

Believe it or not...he sits there.  Remorsefully? I'm not sure.  But he knows I mean business and so he stays there.  I even have him apologize to Mark and Julia when he gets rough with them.  He doesn't say sorry yet.  But he does give very good kisses.

At Mark's playground birthday party (which was super low-key because I just had too much going on this year, but I couldn't not have something for my guy) John was on Micah duty.  After about 10 minutes he came over to me and goes, "Kristi, you are a saint! How do you keep up with this kid?"  I have to tell you there was a slight sparkle in my eye as I answered (only because sometimes I feel like he may not realize how busy the kids keep me all day) "It's hard right?!  He's so fast and he's always on a mission!"  At the park he dug in the dirt, he climbed up the slides, he found sticks, he ran and ran and ran.  He never ever sits still and just reads a book or plays with a toy like Julia or Mark used to. (that I can remember)  He is such a high energy kid!  And if I wasn't 7 months pregnant maybe I could keep up but I have discovered pregnant or not....there is no Keeping Up with Micah!

Micah, mommy loves all your energy and your boy-antics.  I love how you climb and run and try to be a big kid.  You are so awesome.  God gave me such a great gift when He blessed us with YOU!


28 May 2014

We Couldn't Do It Without You Daddy!!!

To All The Dads Out There

You work hard to provide for us.
You wake up early every day to head to work.
You put food on our table.
You put clothes on our backs.
You take out the garbage.

We couldn't do it without you, Daddy!

The heavy lifter.
The diaper changer.
The garage organizer.
The bill payer.
The leaf blower.
The snow shoveler.
The jar opener.

We couldn't do it without you, Daddy!

You make mommy smile.
You kiss our boo boos.
You surprise us with fun outings.
You always putting your family first.
You hold us when we are scared.
You build us up.
You encourage us.
You inspire us.
You love us.

We couldn't do it without you, Daddy!

Best hug giver.
Best mood lifter.
Best gift finder.
Best hand holder.
Best baby chaser.
Best wrestler.
Best tickler.

I couldn't do it without you, honey!

The laughter.
The tears.
The joy.
The fears.
The ups.
The downs.
The roller coasters.
The smooth sailings.
We have been through it all.

God has blessed us so much.
I am so thankful to have a husband like you, and a father for our kids like you.
I love you honey!

I am thankful I don't have to do this alone.  I am so thankful I have you as my team mate!


27 May 2014

Daily Summer Activities: Keeping Little Ones Busy

Excited For Summer

This post is a continuation from yesterday!  I was getting depressed thinking about the weeks ahead of me with being pregnant and having 3 kids to entertain (I love being with my kids, but I'm feeling super pregnant and a bit unenthusiastic at the moment).  So, I hopped on pinterest and started a new board entitled Stay at Home Summer Activities.  

Although we will go on weekly excursions to fun places, I wanted to find a list of fun things we can do in our own "back yard" so to speak, and maybe in the front yard!

I need a plan.  If I am ever feeling discouraged or defeated, God has given me a gift at planning ahead and looking to the bright side so that I can organize my time and look forward to things instead of being overwhelmed.

After pinning for a few minutes I came up with this list of things we can do at home:

1. Finger Painting

2. Chalk drawing on sidewalk

3. Swimming in the kiddie pool

4. Baking with mommy

5. Writing letters to our pen pals

6. Reviewing our Math Facts

7. D. E. A. R. Time (Drop Everything And Read)

8. Neighborhood Scavenger Hunts

9. Making crafts

10. Memorizing God's Word

This will definitely keep us busy, not to mention, going to camp, VBS, library trips, play dates, pool time, and the beach!  Aaaaahhhhh, I'm feeling much more enthusiastic about the summer!  Check out my pinterest page for even more ideas!


26 May 2014

Getting Tired...Finding Ways To Keep Little Ones Busy

Third Trimester Blues

As you can imagine, life with three spunky kids who are full of energy is extremely exhausting, but add a pregnancy in the mix and the task can be daunting at times.  It gets really hard keeping up with Micah.  He is so energetic and busy and he climbs and I just most times cannot keep up.

We had a birthday party for Mark at the park with a few friends and after a few minutes John goes, "How do you take 3 kids to the park!!!????"  "How do you keep up with Micah?"  It's really true, it is very hard.

I want my kids to have a memorable summer, especially with all the hard work they did this school year.  I want to take them berry picking, and to spray grounds and to the beach, but I am just praying for the energy!

The lifting and the bending and the packing the car is the hardest part for me now.  Watching my kids play and keeping an eye on them isn't the hard part.  I know I need to start slowing down...  

But, I am not good at slowing down.  I know I should be asking for help, but I try to catch up on rest when John gets home.  It's amazing, life with kids is so busy!  I really need to find more fun things we can do at home, like baking, making crafts, riding bikes, reading, and doing small science projects....

Hmmmm....something is brewing here!

To be continued!


23 May 2014

Thankful For Those Who Risk It All

Thank You Soldiers!

I wanted to find a way to honor the men and women who fight for our country and keep us safe every day. They risk it all so that we can wake up to the freedoms that we take so easily for granted.  They stand for and protect freedoms like the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and freedom of religion.  They believe in democracy and love their country so much that they are willing to perish if they must.  This Memorial Day weekend is my brother in law Kelsey's birthday and we honor him every day because we are so proud of the man that he is.  

Here is an interview he graciously did for me even though his precious twin babies are only 3 weeks old!  I so appreciate the time he took to answer my questions and I am so thankful for his service in the army.

Kelsey, how old were you when you decided to become a soldier?  Was it your family legacy or something deep within?  What is your title and rank and what are some of your duties?

1. So I was 28 when I decided to join. I was actually outside the average age for who joined the Army at that time. But with 9-11 the military had a huge surge in people wanting to join. At that point in my life I was in a bad place and seemed kind of lost. I had a huge sense of national pride at that point and wanted to do my part for my country. I never really though of it as continuing my families legacy in the military until years later. Then I wanted to know all I could. My grandpa was in the Navy and served during WWII. My dad served during Vietnam though not in direct combat. Both of them were Officers while I decided to become a Non-commissioned officer (NCO). I've even traced some of my ancestors back to the civil war. So it's definitely in my blood. Currently I hold the rank of SFC (sergeant first class) and have 12 years of service. I work as an instructor at Ft. Dix NJ and I am part of a training Brigade that trains service members who are headed overseas to some destination.

In this country we take freedom for granted each day, which freedom do you hold the most dear and why?

2. Right to bear arms. This country was formed and defended by men and women who had this right. I believe without it then the others like religion an speech can be taken away from us. The government should fear the people, not the other way around. We as a country would never let our government take over. But, if you look at history, when an aggressive government wanted more control of its people because it feared them they took away its way to defend themselves.

Kelsey, you are now a Dad of twins, does this make being a military person harder or easier or both?

3. I haven't been back to work since they have been born. Looking ahead I think it's going to be a bit harder. Their going to be on my mind all day. And now instead of being able to see them any time I want, I'm going to have to wait until I get back each day. Plus i still have 8 years left before I reach 20 and can safely retire and collect a pension at 60. I know at some point I'm going to have to mobilize and end up away from my family for possibly up to a year. And that's when it would be real tough.

What is the best part of military life?  What is the hardest?

4. Best part of military life is the experiences. There is always something new. I've visited countries the average American doesn't get the chance to. I've met so many new people during my 12 years. I came to Jersey on a whim and eventually met my wife, settled down and now have 2 lovely loud babies. The worst. Being away from family and friends. When a past unit I was in mobilized back in '02 I was basically gone for 21 months. Letters and pictures allowed me to still have hope that there was some civility back from the cruel hell I was in at the time.

Do you want to pass down a life of serving your country to your children or would you rather they choose a different path?

5. I definitely encourage them to choose their own path. But if they go the military route I would prefer they take a position that they can transfer into skills they can use in the civilian world. The military offers plenty of oppurtunities to those that earn them. It's cool to think that they would be another part of a long line of my family that has been in the military, but I also would like to see them make a career and not struggle like I did as a young man.

If you could clear up one misunderstanding about the gov't, or the army, or military life what would you say to people reading this about the job you do?

6. Good question. I could go deep into each one of those. I'll talk a little about military life. It's definitely a whole new world and there is such a dark side to it. There is a lot to explain with it and to me personally I feel it is quite a few years behind where we are in today's society. If you look at women, minorities, and gay/ lesbian service members. They were all at some point segregated and discriminated against and not allowed to serve until fairly recently. But if you look at American society it is illegal to discriminate against these same groups. You would think a service that fights for these rights wouldn't be the last to allow them to fight and serve. Personally I feel If you love your country and want to join the service, who cares if you're black, brown, a woman or like a person of the same sex. 

Thank you so much Kelsey for doing this interview on minimal sleep now that the babies are here!  I owe you a batch of brownies!  We salute you and thank you for all you do!  Happy early Birthday too!  God has truly blessed you this year!


21 May 2014

I Need A Procedure Manual

Ch. 7 in the book Unglued

Author: Lysa Terkeurst

My favorite line in this chapter: 

"God's divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life?  If that's the case, why do I still come unglued?"

I get so frustrated with myself when I repeat the same bad behaviors or struggle with the same character flaws.  It's so annoying to constantly have to go to God and say, "God, I am an utter mess, and I keep messing up! Help!"

What brings me comfort is that He knew we would mess up.  He knew we needed to come to Him often to repent and confess and start over.  He expects that and He STILL loves us.  He actually wants us to keep those short accounts with Him.  It keeps us humble and it keeps us close to Him.

He doesn't want us to keep failing or to stay stuck or trapped in the same sins but He does want us to be transparent with ourselves and honest, and He does want us to obey Him, so we can move forward and He can continue to show us other areas we need to work on and improve.

Lysa gave a fabulous little list in this chapter that I have to share with you:

Selfishness: I want things my way.

Pride: I see things only from my vantage point.

Impatience: I rush things without proper consideration.

Anger: I let simmering frustrations erupt.

Bitterness: I swallow eruptions and let them fester.

At church we have these geographical groups called Missional Communities or MC's which is very similar to a small group Bible study but much more open to becoming an outreach tool so that others who may not go to church may feel welcome and included.  We have been going to our MC for almost 2 years now...we started going pregnant with Micah....and now we are pregnant with baby girl...I feel like I'm always pregnant these days.

Anyway, in our MC we have been reading this book all about "how to change."  We all have these things about ourselves that we don't like...whether it be a short fuse, or impatience, or a critical spirit. Whatever it is we all have something we are working on, and each time we get together (twice a month) we share how our "change project" is going.  

I love Lysa's point that God's divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life.  There is hope.  We can change.  But change takes time.  And thankfully God gives us time.  He is patient.  He is loving and forgiving.  And He's given us a "procedural Manual" aka the Bible.  He has equipped us for every good work...we just need to stay close to Him, and trust Him, and know that the more we yield to His will that He is faithful to work in us and change us.  Not by our power but by His power in us.

I think it all begins with an obedient spirit.  Am I willing to obey right away?  When God brings something to my mind do I fix it right then or let it simmer or fester?  When the Holy Spirit whispers to me, "Kristi, you need to forgive that person."  Do I submit and forgive?  When I hear God tell me to calm down and relax do I stop, sit down, and rest in Him or do I explode?  It may all be baby steps, but baby, you have to start somewhere.

Lysa's steps....

Step 1: Remember who you are...

Step 2: Redirect your focus to Jesus...

Step 3: Recognize that God's job is not your job...

Step 4: Recite thanks and praises to God...

Step 5: Realize reactions determine reach...


1. Alarmed, I resolve to remember who I am 

2. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

3. My job is obedience...God's job is results

4. Shift from attitude to gratitude

5. My reactions determine my reach (Honor God with your actions and reactions)

Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever. --2 Chronicles 20:21


19 May 2014

Love Letters From Julia

What Fear Can Do

For the past 2 weeks Julia has had a tooth that was so loose it was hanging on by a thread.  The dentist predicted that her two bottom teeth would fall out soon since they were both loose in February.  It was only a matter of time....

After coop on Friday it was so loose that she refused to open her mouth.  She was afraid that if she talked or ate it would fall right out...so she wouldn't talk!  Fear just paralyzed her.  She wouldn't even eat pizza at lunch time and I cut it in really small pieces so she wouldn't have to chew too hard.  I felt so bad for her.  She wouldn't even let me look at the tooth.  She wouldn't open her mouth at all.  Let's just say it wasn't our finest hour.

Julia has been growing in leaps and bounds.  I had to buy her new shoes this weekend so I thought a trip to the mall would brighten her up or at least get her to talk...no such luck.  She did pick out some cute sandals though!  She's already a size 13!  All the while using sign language to show me what she liked and how she felt.  And I did get her to drink a milk shake.  She asked me to pray for her a couple of times and we prayed that God would help her to calm down and not be so scared and that it wouldn't hurt too much.

Finally we got home...and John was a few minutes behind us.  I knew that even though she was afraid she would let Daddy help her.  I told John he had to try to get the tooth out before bed.  I thought she might swallow it in her sleep.  By this time she opened her mouth to show me her tooth and it was almost on it's side from being so loose.  She kept crying though.  She was so scared and she didn't like the taste of blood in her mouth.  I asked her why she was so afraid when she lost her other tooth before and it didn't hurt.  She just got really teary.

John finally convinced her in the bathroom that he was going to use some medicinal tape help it to stand up...and what do you know he pulled it out (he needed a good grip).  Julia was SO happy that her dad helped her!  She was so thankful.  It was 10pm and I was so happy to be able to go to bed in peace, knowing she wasn't in any pain.

John handled the money under the pillow for me so technically he was the tooth fairy this time!  Since this was her second tooth we just gave her a bunch of quarters.  And I told her I would take her to get a manicure pedicure on Saturday so we could have some much needed girl time.

When we woke up on Saturday morning, John made a delicious breakfast for all of us and afterwards as we were all getting dressed and ready Julia went to her room to get dressed.  I came out of my shower to find a note on the bathroom sink for me.

It read: Thank you Mommy for encouraging me when I was scared and thank you for making me comfortable.  Love, Julia

John also got a note.  It read: Thank you Daddy for taking out my tooth I really appreciate it.  Love, Julia

She misspelled a few words which I edited but the fact that she wrote us each a separate note and wanted to thank us was so sweet.

I love the little lady she is becoming!  I am so proud of you Julia!

This post is dedicated to you my sweet.


16 May 2014

My Instagram


That's my IG profile name!  My sister today teased me because I have changed my name a few times. It was hard for me to choose one that I liked and I wanted my blog name to coincide with our growing family of now...4 kids! (Baby due this August)

I really enjoy Instagram because I love a good photo!  Whether it be a moment with my kids, a meal I am proud of, a shopping adventure, a fun outing, whatever it may be it is fun to capture a moment through the lens of a camera and invite the world to see things through your perspective.

I am a homeschooling, stay at home mom so I have lots of photos about our daily homeschool adventures.

I love taking the kids on field trips like Apple picking, to the farm, to science centers, parks, I feel blessed to be able to stay at home and so I really try to make the most of every moment I have with my kids.

I also love featuring my amazing, godly, husband who is a wonderful provider, a sweetheart, and my best friend.

I love capturing milestones in my family's life, like this was a surprise party for my MIL 60th birthday.  I know, she looks 30!!!!

I love all the silly faces Julia, Mark, and Micah make.  This is from a trip to Lancaster, PA and Julia had her first root beer and it was sweet and bubbly...just like her.

I love making fun announcements through photos...this is when we announced we were pregnant with Micah our third baby.

Sharing moments like this...when Julia and Mark met Micah for the first time at the hospital!  They loved holding him and being the big brother and sister.

We just love our third baby Micah to pieces, and we are super excited to welcome baby girl (our fourth to our family this summer).

Our family vacation to Camp of the Woods in upstate New York!

Instagram is great because you can capture these moments and document milestones, and allow people to enter your life and see it through your eyes...in this pic I see two people who have been married for almost 11 years.  They love Christ.  They want to serve Him and raise godly children.  They are not perfect by any means.  They are just normal people, thankful and grateful for life and the opportunities set before them by a very gracious and loving God.

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram at: Keepingupwithkristi4


14 May 2014

The Stuffers: Do you build barriers or collect retaliation rocks?

Book Club Wednesday

Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst

Chapter 6: Stuffers

I have been reading this book by Lysa T. for a few months now and this current chapter I do not like one bit.  I don't like it because, well, it is me.

I have realized that if I want to make wise choices (in the midst of raw emotions) then I at least have to admit that I am a stuffer and that I need God to help me change the way I deal with my hurt.

I am just like Lysa in that, I am an encourager by nature.  I love to write cards, text my friends sweet things, leave cute notes for my hubby, anything to make the people that I care for and love smile.  I think this is why when someone gives me a negative comment, or vibe, or some form of discouragement, it cuts me to the core.  I go out of my way to be sensitive and say the right thing to others and when someone is flip with a comment or sarcastic deliberately, I just can't really deal to well.

Lysa says: "There are two types of stuffer reactions: stuffers who build barriers (definitely me) and those that who collect retaliation rocks" (definitely not me, at least I don't think so).

Lysa also gives a list for reasons why we stuff:

* I don't feel safe enough to confront this person.
* I don't have the energy or the time to get into a conflict right now.
* I don't know how to address the issue.
* I don't want to seem hypersensitive.
* I don't want to get rejected.
* I don't want to lose control.
* I don't want to make things worse, so I convince myself I can just let it go.

Guess which three reasons I use the most? I don't know how to address the issue, I don't want to get rejected, and I don't want to make things worse.

If you are a stuffer like me, which reasons do you favor?

Many times I honestly just don't want to make things worse, I think to myself, "Just forgive and forget and let it go, act like whatever happened or whatever was said, didn't really bother you."

But the thing is, I can't forget, I am like an elephant.  I remember everything and every detail.  Ask John, I can remember what I was wearing during the offense, how the person sounded, what they were wearing, their tone, their words, everything stays vivid in my mind.  I pray and ask God to help me forgive and forget but then I start thinking about it again and again and I replay and rehash the conversation in my mind.

ALL of this only makes me angrier...and more bitter.

You might think you are being the better Christian or the one taking the higher road by not saying anything, but honestly if you are just stuffing and building a barrier, the barrier will destroy the relationship and you will only be worse off and bitter.  I totally can relate to this.

Lysa says that the problem with stuffing is that it totally isn't fair to the other person because they know something is wrong but have no idea what it is because there is no healthy open communication.  So every interaction confuses them.  They know something is wrong but have no clue what it is.  Eventually, this relationship will shrivel up and die because it's been deprived of open communication, the life giving oxygen that fuels good relationships.


The sad thing is...sometimes I think the energy it takes to have good communication with our friends and family is so BIG and so MUCH effort that we just sweep issues under the rug hoping they will resolve themselves on their own.  But they never do, do they?

Lysa then goes on to talk about how in a healthy relationship instead of building barriers you set up boundaries.  You say things like, "If you continue to .... (hurt me in this way) ...I will be forced to ... (set up this boundary).

Setting up a boundary is honest transparency.  Setting up a barrier is just going to lead to isolation in the relationship.

Relationships are so tricky.  But I love the reminder that God gives us more than just a heart to use in processing life...He gives us a mind as well.  Therefore, as we really seek to do what God wants in our life, when we put Him first, when we are reading the Bible and asking Him to RENEW our mind, He can graciously help us to change the way we think, and help us to heal hurts and to set boundaries and not barriers.

It's a lot easier to shut people out and not deal with what we are feeling.  It takes a lot of bravery and courage to face our feelings, be transparent, and talk to the people we care about and work on our relationships.  And to me, it's worth the work and effort, even if it's hard.


12 May 2014

Weekend Bliss

Mother's Day Weekend

I love family weekends like this one.   It's an excuse to see both sides of our families and spoil the grandparents.  This weekend was no different.  Me and the kids started our rounds of visiting the grandmas on Saturday after Chinese School.

It is our family tradition to make sure we see our Moms (both live in Old Bridge which is only a few miles from our home) on Friday or Saturday of Mother's Day weekend.  We started this right when we got pregnant with Julia so that we would set the tone that Mother's Day weekend was spent with everyone, but that Mother's Day would be just for our little family.  This has worked really well for us, especially now that our family has grown so big!  

Saturday we visited the McInerney's and dropped off cards and gift cards for Grandma Judy.  We gave her a mani/pedi gift card at her favorite salon and we also gave her one for her coffee!  The kids like to make her cards now that they are older so they were excited to bring those and show off their drawing skills and writing ability.

Saturday evening my sister and I took my Mom out to the movies.  Oh. My. Word. That was so fun!  We laughed non stop at the movie and had so much fun having our own little girl time!  Spoiling my mom is our favorite.  I gave my mom a gift card to starbucks and gave her some cards from the grand kids.

Sunday was serving at church and then home for lunch.  Then we packed the car and headed to Princeton.  It's a 50 minute drive so the kids took a rest and John and I got to talk.  It was 80 degrees today so walking around was absolutely gorgeous, the flowers were blooming, their was a cool spring breeze, and everyone was in a good mood.  It was also fun for me to watch Micah toddle around and play at Princeton the way Julia and Mark have in the past.  We set up our picnic blanket and let them run around on the lawns and dance, take photos, and do cart wheels.  Micah loved it!

We always end our time with ice cream!  It's a McInerney tradition.

Then John took us all out to dinner for Korean food,one of my favorites!

It was wonderful.  Just being together.  No schedule.  Just relaxing. Holding hands and being thankful.

Super thankful for all God continues to bless us with.


09 May 2014

A Legacy of Love

Mom Blessings

God has blessed me with TWO great moms.  My mom and my mother in law are the sweetest, kindest, drop-anything-for-you type of women.  They are both strong, and fun, and their grand kids ADORE them both.

I love that my Mom is the artsy crafty grandma who likes to start messy projects, and paint, and color, and create.  She also loves planting with the kids, and loves when they visit so they can help her water her garden.  She has such a green thumb!  

My kids LOVE the fact that she always has snacks for them, sweets, gummy treats, gum, all the things I was NEVER allowed to have as a kid are now spoiled upon my kids (sigh...lucky ducks).

Question 1: What is your greatest joy being a Mom?

What an incredible joy it is to have a child, watching the excitement of a little one embrace and be captivated by simple joys of life; the excitement of noticing lights dance in a room, coming in from a window.  I remember very specifically the joy of my own daughter as her little legs maneuvered over and over and over again, holding on, one leg up, --to climb onto a shelf.  The picture is still in my mind.

Question 2: Growing up, what important lesson did you learn from your mother?

The incredible gift of of the knowledge of God.  That He is real and alive today was taught to me by my Mother.  Each and every day we would take a moment to read the Bible and pray as a family.

Question 3: What advice would you give to a new Mom?

To weave into your child's life the reality of a God who deeply loves and favors you--would be the paramount lesson to teach your child, as found in the Bible.

Second, to manage your work schedule to a degree that your children have YOU to care for them, and not to hire caretakers on a daily basis for extended periods of time.  So much of our lives is spent on "having to survive" that we forfeit the treasures and the joys of our own children.

You miss the embrace of their world, among a multitude of other lessons--far too exhaustive to mention here.

Mom, thank you so much for sharing your heart.  I love you dearly.  Growing up I am so thankful that you brought me to church and taught me about God and prayed with me.  Those treasures I will have forever.

My Mother in Law

My other mom whom I have called Mom since the moment she asked me to.  I had called her Mrs. Mac for years while John and I dated, but after John proposed (I will never forget this) maybe a few weeks or days later, I was visiting after work and we were all hanging out in the living room watching Seinfeld, and I called her Mrs. Mac, and she said, "Kris, you know you can call me Mom!" and with tears in my eyes I said, "Ok," and never looked back.  She has always made me feel a part of the family and important.

As Grandma Judy she is the grandma who takes the kids outside to play in the backyard or will play on the floor with them, she changes diapers, serves lunch or dinner, watches movies with them, and really just enjoys spending quality time with them.  She LOVES the grand kids and they LOVE her back!  She has given Julia some very special jewelry from her own mother and from her own jewelry box and she has always made Julia feel EXTRA special as the first granddaughter, but she is very FAIR.  If she brings one gift for one kid, everyone gets something!  I like that!  I guess because she had a son and a daughter she knows all about making things FAIR.

Question 1: What is your greatest joy being a mom?

There is more than just one, but here are a few: them being born (a total miracle), knowing they are happy and having someone you can always count on.

Question 2: What important lesson did you learn from your mom?

I learned to always go with your heart and do what's right.

Question 3: What advice would you give to a new mom?

Take advice from someone who has more experience than you (like your mom) love and keep your children close, and love them unconditionally.

Mom, thank you for the gift of your son and your unconditional love.  I love being a part of your family.  It has brought me much joy these past 20 years getting to know all of you and being part of your lives.  I am so glad God chose you all to be my second family.  You have taught me so much about loyalty and faithfulness and love.  I love you!  And thanks for offering me your friendship and letting me call you Mom!!!


08 May 2014

Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa

I found this recipe online because I have been excited to try meals with very few carbs.  This meal was perfect and filling!  I adapted the ingredients and recipe directions to how I made it so that it is much more simpler!


1-14 ounce can of vegetable or chicken broth

2 peppers (any color will do)

1 cup of quinoa

3 carrots chopped small

1 onion chopped small


1. The first step I did was cut the peppers in half and get rid of the seeds.  Then in a large pan of boiling water I boiled the peppers for 3-5 minutes just so they have a crisp to them.  Then I laid them on paper towel to dry.

2. Rinse the quinoa in cold water before boiling in broth.

3. In a separate small sauce pan I boiled the broth and it took about 9-10 minutes to simmer the quinoa til the broth is gone.

4. In a large pan you want to saute the chopped carrots and onion for 3-5 minutes until soft, season with salt and pepper and paprika and mix in the quinoa.

5. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa and carrot/onion mixture.  Bake at 350 for 20 min!


07 May 2014

What is Hidden Art?

The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Chapter 2

What is Hidden Art: "Art which is found in the minor areas of life.  By minor I mean what is involved in the 'everyday' of anyone's life, rather than his career or profession."--Edith Schaeffer

If you know me then you know how rigid I can sometimes be when it comes to keeping to a schedule.  Ever since I became a mom having a schedule, planning ahead, making lists has been my major mode of survival.  Plus, the organization of my day not only helps me and brings structure to our life, but it promotes safety and a sense of well being to my kids.  

Monday through Friday we stick to our schedule, whether it be chores, school, fun outings, or field trips.  But the minute after dinner time on Friday comes, and John walks through that door, I am able to relax and know that we made it through another week, and that now we can enjoy family time with Daddy.

The weekends bring me much joy, especially when we get out of the house and let our hair hang out and we have fun together.  I am able to go with the flow, forget the schedule, and just enjoy my kids and time with John.  I am not the teacher, the homemaker, the errand girl anymore.  I am just Mom.  I can be silly, loosen up, and just celebrate the weekend.

I see the moments when I am the most carefree as the moments of my hidden art.  I am able to just relax and be in the moment.  I am not tense.  I am not stressed.  I am not checking off things on my list.  

"To develop 'Hidden Art' will also, of course, take time and energy-and the balance of the use of time is a constant individual problem for all of us.  What to do, and what to leave undone.  One is always having to neglect one thing in order to give precedence to something else."

It is during these times that my soul and body find rest in the mundaneness of it all.  It's these moments of freedom that I am able to be the true me, and smile, and take a deep breath, and know that everything is going to be alright.

I love when the author says that "a Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively.  We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there."  Our job is to basically be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.

I look at the bright and beautiful leaves in this picture and I just love the fact that the leaves are yellow (my favorite color) and that my two favorite big kids are enjoying the day with me.  We were having fun out in nature.  Loving the beautiful Prinecton campus, and the cool Fall temp, and having a ball just being us.  When I look back at pictures like this my first thought is, "See we DO have fun!" and my next thought is, "Man, are we lucky to have these kids."  I just feel so blessed.  And it makes me appreciate my Creator, my God, my Savior, who makes all things new, and beautiful and loves us so very much.

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