Category Archives: Family

My Dad

My Dad was awesome

My Dad

He was strong

He was compassionate

He loved Jesus

He loved people

He had a servant’s heart

He was kind

He was happy

I only had a short number of Father’s Days with him. And I know I didn’t get to tell him how much he meant to me nearly enough.

His example is still helping me today. Decades after he went to heaven.

I am so thankful for the time I had with him, and the wonderful example he was.

On this Father’s Day, I am thankful for my Dad. I am also thankful for my husband, who is a great Dad to our boys.

Dads – never forget the impact you are leaving on your children. It will be felt for the rest of their life.

What do you love most about your Dad?

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Filed under Family, Fathers, Thankful

Nobody told me

Nobody told me how having kids would change my marriage.

Nobody told me that I would fall in love with these kids so much, that I would unknowingly isolate my husband, and make him feel like he wasn’t needed anymore.

Nobody told me just how HARD it is to raise kids.

Nobody told me that every waking minute would be consumed by taking care of their needs, and putting my own on the backburner.

Nobody told me that I would face serious hardships in my marriage. That my husband would be unhappy. That I would feel completely numb.

Nobody told me that I would ignore my husband for a very long time. And that he would get to a point where he didn’t really care.

Nobody told me that life can be really hard. And that sometimes I would just struggle to make it through the day.

Nobody told me these things before I had kids. Or even after I had kids. Or during those really, really hard early years with multiple children.

So I am telling you.

New Moms, young Moms, Moms with young kids – the road may be difficult.

You may feel exhausted. You may feel extremely lonely in your marriage. Your marriage may be struggling. You may feel like you can’t do it. You may feel like you will never love your husband the way you did before you had kids. You may be annoyed. You may be irritated. You may not have the energy to work on making things better.

Let me tell you something else. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

There are other couples struggling through the same things. Many of them may not be talking about it, but believe me, there are plenty of people in similar situations.

Photo by Mother Letters

But don’t give up! It does get easier. The kids will get more independent. They won’t need your constant attention. It will get better.

I am in a place now where I am past feeling like this. I chose to make changes in my marriage, and I was forced to make others. But the one thing I know is that being a Mom is tough. There are days when it is hard to go on. But, you can do it.

Your kids need you to be alive, and be present, and help them understand that they matter. And, they need to see that you have your own life as well. That they are not your entire world. They need to see you being the you that God created you to be.

Have you ever felt any of these feelings? What advice would you give Moms currently feeling like this?

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Filed under Authenticity, Family, Life lessons, Marriage, Motherhood

Does your Pastor have a bodyguard?

Does your Pastor have a bodyguard?

Mine doesn’t. I have heard of Pastors who do. I find it a little strange, although I know there are well known Pastors with huge followings who might need one. So far, mine hasn’t. But it does make me chuckle a little to think about it.

Although he doesn’t need a bodyguard, I am learning that he needs something else. He needs people to protect him. With prayer, encouragement, love, and understanding of the incredible time and life commitment he and his family give to us. Of course, other than prayer, he has not asked for this. And your Pastor probably hasn’t either. If he has been lucky, he has been getting this from his inner circle of friends and close community members. But, I think it should trickle down farther. I think our church communities should do a much better job.

Someone said, “We need to protect our pastor and his family”, to me recently.  I have always believed that, but over the last few years, I have come to understand how important it is.

I often have the opportunity to speak with new families about what makes our church so unique. Most people are typically drawn to our Pastor and his teaching very quickly. He is dynamic, honest, and extremely relational. I remember feeling the same way when I first started attending.

And then came the first summer. The summer is when he takes extended time off. I remember for the first few years, I dreaded summer at church. Because I knew he wasn’t going to be teaching every week. I knew why he takes the time off. He does it to reconnect with God, relax, spend more time with his family, and reset his thinking and priorities. But back then, it didn’t matter to me. I didn’t like it. I preferred his teaching over others. I liked his funny stories. I always got something out of his message. That was not always true with some of the other people teaching.

And then one day it hit me.

All of those things were about ME.

I wasn’t thinking about him.

I wasn’t thinking about the amount of time he spends preparing his message each week.

I wasn’t thinking about the countless hours he spends with the staff preparing for each series and teaching to be impactful.

I wasn’t thinking about all of the thousands of things he does that go along with his profession.

I wasn’t thinking about how he doesn’t have a Monday through Friday job which only asks for 40 hours a week.

I wasn’t thinking about the sacrifices his family makes so that he can do what he does.

He is a Pastor.

His job could go on 24/7 every day if he allowed it.

And quite honestly, I was choosing my attitude towards the other people speaking. I was determining that I wouldn’t get anything out of their message. And it wasn’t fair.

I have gotten to know my Pastor and his family pretty well. I absolutely love their hearts and where they are leading this amazing community of people. And I now realize how much he and his family need a break from leading. He needs to be able to step away, and spend quality time with his family. He needs to silence all of the noise, and truly spend more time with God. I have watched him learn to adjust his schedule to do this more throughout the year, but the summer is the time when he can really focus on that. They have learned what they need to avoid burnout. And I think that is wonderful.

This year, he and his family are taking a long trip to Thailand. And I am so excited for them. As I think about what it will do for them to be out of the country, spending time together and planning the adventures that await them, I can’t help but smile. I know what they have invested in our community in order to make it what it is. And it has not been easy. Now it is our turn to invest back in them. To help them know how much they are truly appreciated. To give them time to rest.

This advice isn’t just for my church family. You can easily apply it to your Pastor and his family. My heart aches when I read stories of Pastors and how they are treated by their own church community. The fighting and struggle and heartbreak is sometimes unimaginable. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Does your Pastor understand the value of taking a break?

What do you think of the idea of protecting our Pastors?

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Filed under Community, Faith, Family

LifeChangers – A New Addition

LifeChangers

It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

And they are willing to share their story.

Every once in a while, you meet people who you instantly like. When I met Grant and Kellee at the Quitter Conference in February, that was my reaction. They were so sweet, and had a unique energy about them. They have a neat story. A life-changing story.

They have been married for eight years, and have two young, beautiful daughters. They are huge college basketball fans and love the Kentucky Wildcats. They are currently living in Ohio, and starting on a new journey. A journey that started with an experiment.

Last Thanksgiving, Grant’s best friend was visiting and told them about a book called The Radical Experiment by David Platt. As soon as Kellee heard what it was about, she instantly wanted nothing to do with it. She thought it sounded too extreme! But, Grant really wanted to do it, and ordered it that night. They ended up finishing the book in a few days.

The main focus of the book is around a radical response: living the gospel in ways that are true, filled with promise, and ultimately world-changing. The book really overhauled their perspective and altered their whole life’s direction. They started the Radical Experiment on January 1st, 2012, and committed to being open to whatever God wanted for them…with their time, money, careers, service, etc.

They specifically committed to:

1. Reading the Bible in a  year

 2. Praying for the entire world, by country

3. Committing their lives to a multiplying community-their House Church

 4. Sacrificing their money for a specific purpose

 5. Spending a week in another context- for example, a mission trip.

Kellee thought God was just preparing them to give abundantly this year, both in time and money, so that’s where her focus was at the beginning. However, as they continued with this radical shift in perspective, He quickly showed them that He wanted them to pursue something they were completely not expecting. He wanted them to pursue foster parenting and/or adoption! This was quite a shock at first. Remember, they have two small children. And this was not something that either of them had planned.

Over the last few months, they have quickly finished their homestudy and licensing process. From what they have learned in training, fostering is very, very difficult. It seems to be a great thing for the birth parents and the foster children, but not necessarily the foster parents! They are scared they won’t know how to handle issues like abuse. They are nervous about adding more kids to the mix, when they already feel stretched thin. They’re also scared about the attachment to the children and the loss they’ll feel, when they go back to their birth families. Kellee has blogged some really honest, emotional posts during this process. I have loved watching this journey they are on, and am so inspired by them.

I asked them what advice they would give to people considering becoming foster parents.  They said they would urge people to look at WHY they want to do it. Initially, Kellee was not really interested in connecting with the birth family. She’s now come to realize that this is a huge part of the fostering process, and she now prays that she’ll be able to minister and build relationships with the birth mothers. Also, adoption used to be their focus, and fostering was just a means to that end. However, the Lord really changed their hearts, and they now really WANT to foster, even though it means that they will have to work towards getting the children back to their birth families. They still want to adopt, but don’t know if that will happen in this process or internationally. They are truly open to whatever God has in store for their family!
 
I asked Grant and Kellee how we could help them, and they said that our prayers are greatly appreciated. They would love prayer for wisdom and confidence as they get ready for their first foster child placement, most likely happening sometime this month.
 
You can read more about their journey on their blog, http://radicalkeys.wordpress.com.
You can also follow them on Twitter: @kelleekeys and @grantkeys
 
I am so thankful to have met this amazing couple, and look forward to watching how God will use them in the lives of kids who need the love and support they have to offer. They are definitely LifeChangers.

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Filed under Encouragement, Faith, Family, LifeChangers

Intentionality

Intentional

This is one of my words for 2012. I am learning just how important it is going to be. I am starting a season of heavy travel. It is causing me to adjust my schedule.

~ The schedule that I have worked so hard to create over the last six months.

~ The schedule that my husband and family are used to.

~ The schedule of working out 5 times a week in the morning.

~ The schedule of eating healthy and losing weight.

~ The schedule that allows me to be home more.

And when I first realized this, I started to panic. Even though I had thought hard about this new job and what it would require. I had prayed hard about it. Rick and I had talked through it. I had talked to people in my inner circle. I had peace about my decision.

I still panicked.

How can I do it?

I’m going to be gone so much.

I will miss my family.

I’m not good at working out on the road.

I won’t have the discipline to eat healthy when I’m gone.

The voices in my head were LOUD.

I’ve never met someone who had a positive internal voice ~ Al Andrews

And then I realized the answer was that I would have to be more intentional.

~ I will have to be more intentional about my trip planning.

~ I will have to be more intentional about being present when I am home. Not on Facebook, Twitter, or blogging. Being present. I need to be with my family.

~ I would have to be intentional about my workouts. The days I am home are a must at Kettlebell. The days I am traveling, I will workout when I can.

~ I will have to be intentional about the food I put in my mouth. I have been trying to learn this anyway! Now I will have to plan better and make wise choices.

~ I will have to be intentional about organizing. I need to simplify where I can and make sure my family has what they need when I am gone.

~ I will have to be intentional about my time. My husband has always been great about giving me freedom to do things I want with friends and coworkers and church activities, etc.

While I can’t (and don’t want to) let these relationships go, I have to be more intentional about any time that takes away from my family. I will be saying no to fun things more than I typically do.

Will it be easy? No.

But, as always, it is worth it.

So, what kinds of things are you more intentional about?

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Filed under Authenticity, Family

Kindergarten

Last week, my youngest son started all day kindergarten. I think about how crazy it is that these five and a half years have gone so quickly. I remember the day he was born. I was so sick from the anesthesia, and couldn’t hold him for 24 hours. It seemed like an eternity! Now, here he is starting in full day kindergarten.

My two boys are very different. As in night and day different. My oldest is a rule follower, first born-cautious, somewhat shy, and very responsible. My youngest is a loving, carefree explorer, who is full of life and constantly inquisitive about the world. He is intense, and on the move, non-stop. He has been since he came into this world.

He’s been in daycare and preschool, and is always described by his teachers as loving and ALL BOY. He has a hard time sitting still, and is very social. So, I have been expecting that his school experience was going to be somewhat different than my oldest son’s, who has only had one principal involved issue in four years in school, and very few minor incidents requiring a call home from the teacher.

Yes, I have already received two calls from the teacher. They happened in the first three full days of school. However, I am thankful that the teacher and I are working together to make sure that he has a great year, learns to adjust to school, but also keeps his wonderful spirit and not be stifled. I’m sure I’ll have many more posts to share throughout this kindergarten year!!

I am reading a cool book titled Wild Things, the art of nurturing boys. It is great at helping you understand the different ways that boys develop and what makes them unique. It also gives you practical advice on how to interact with them, and help nurture them into amazing young men. I have leard some great ideas for redirecting the energy of my youngest son. Also, the cover just captures the essence of so many boys I know!

As a Mom, one of the things I am working hard on is helping my boys understand their strengths from an early age. I want them to learn the importance of hard work, following the rules, and doing well in school. However, I am learning from this book, as well as talking to many other parents, that we also need to focus on helping them understand their unique gifts and empower them. They each have different ones, and sometimes I think those often get lost or hidden during these crucial elementary years. We are working to make sure that doesn’t happen.

How have you helped empower your children to embrace their unique gifts and personalities? I would love to hear from you!

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Filed under Family, Raising boys