So, you think everyone is better than you huh? Think again.

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THIS is what I look like when the little things I write matter to people and they actually read it and I’m left feeling like a little Minion on the movie Despicable Me saying,  “whaaatttt?”

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That, my friends- is a thirty year old woman taking a planned ‘selfie’. =)

Cue next picture of me climbing into my turtle shell- bound for hiding because I think maybe people have it all wrong? Maybe they don’t really understand I’m just a mess trying to figure it all out and it just so happens, my heart pitter-patters for words? Maybe they don’t know I’m just a silly girl who loves sharing words on a screen- hoping one day they’ll spill over onto real sheets of paper and sit next to peoples bedposts. Do people even know that I really don’t know what I’m doing? Like for real- I may love words, stories, and sharing brokenness with the story of Gods redemption, but I don’t even know where the commas go and spell check is my best friend.

So, yeah. I know. It’s a scary impossible,  you just know everyone can’t wait to see you fail sort of dream.

But it gets me thinking just a bit- makes me wonder:“Do people reading my silly words understand they’re amazing? No, seriously. Do they realize they’re created to be unique, different, and totally not like anyone else?”

Then I realize, the truth is: probably not.

Most of us spend a lot of our time comparing screens. Your screen is much cooler than mine. Your facebook or twitter page gets way more likes than mine and you have way more friends than me. Your kids are perfect, and you read your bible every day. Your husband takes you away for mini-vacations three times a year and he even buys you a new dress to celebrate. You’ve adopted three kids, I’ve only adopted two- you drive a new mini-van, I drive a beat up SUV with a broken heater. Your house is bigger, your family is much cooler, and you even have a dog that does tricks.

*sigh* I’m such a major loser.

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See I told you. Major.

If you are someone who is a major loser like me but you think you’re the only one– I’d like to share with you this simple truth:

psssst, it’s a secret. guess what?

Everyone’s kids have cranky, bad days. We all feel lonely and misunderstood from time to time. Not all of us go on vacations all of the time and I know I never get new dresses. We all spend too much money on something, and we all have our things we “just can’t live without”. We all have seasons where our spiritual walk seems dry, and we all sometimes want to walk away from a screaming child of ours at Walmart and pretend they aren’t really ours. There are days when we all want to give up or  just sit in a corner and cry. I know I’m the only one who sometimes lets a bad word fly out of frustration though- right?

Here’s the truth. Nobody’s life is picture perfect. If our lives were perfect, we wouldn’t need the cross.

There is a false reality that comes along with reading about other peoples lives day in and day out. I can get all wrapped up in what others are doing that it becomes very damaging to me as a wife, a momma, and a daughter of the King. I start to compare my life, actions, and activities, with other mommas instead of how I measure up to the calling placed on my own life; The calling of Jesus.

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

If I claim to follow Jesus, I must try to live as He did. It’s not a choice- rather a reaction. It is an overflow of who I am. I am loved by the King. Oh my goodness, I get goosebumps just thinking of His love and favor!!

Isn’t it exciting? As Christ followers, we get to share with the world the beauty of being unique!

You may be like the widow who fed Elijah; or perhaps you have a faith like the Canaanite Woman whom Jesus called a dog. Perhaps you need grace, like the  the woman caught in adultery who Jesus saved from stoning. Or perhaps, you’re someone who needs to just.quit.throwing.stones. No matter what point we are in our walk with Jesus, we have only one person to imitate, Him.

I remember when I first became a stay at home momma. It all happened at once. I had just had our third kiddo, Judah. Only days out from c-section (i know you have home-births, you’re so much cooler than me) I became a stay at home, homeschooling momma. Also a full time ministers wife all in a new town, surrounded by all new people. One night, I was crying, talking to that sweet man of mine about how I just didn’t know how to juggle it all. In response, he looked at me and said something I will never forget.

He said:

“As long as you are being the best daughter you can be; then how can you not be the best mother, wife, and friend.”

I still think of that every day. “Father, I’m doing the best I can; you’ll have to fill in where I lack.” And trust me, I lack a lot. So, the truth is simple. We’re all always falling, and He’s always picking us up, dusting us off and helping us start again. In the world of computer screens, blogs, facebook, pinterest, twitter– we hardly see the falls, we only see the beauty of His help.

For instance, see my little Emmyn making a cutie-pie snow man in this picture?

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Well, what you don’t see is the fight she gave me when I made her wear boots instead of flip-flops only minutes before. =)

Oh and… remember the post about my crazy past of drug addiction and God’s saving grace? What you don’t realize is… i didn’t even realize my sweet man (aka HUSBAND) didn’t even know the ‘date story’ from that post.  ha, ha… oops = /  I thought he knew every little detail of my life.

How about this random pig we saw walking down the road a few weeks back? Yeah- that was strange and my kids wanted to take him home. I almost did.

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See this cutie pie picture from our adoption day? Yeah, the picture of my boys? Isn’t it nice of Triston to be giving Judah a piggy-back ride? Well, what you don’t see is Judah running over in between picture shots to get a huge drink of lemonade and then spilling it all down his shirt. So, we had to hide the evidence. Hence, their sweet, on screen, brotherly love. ; )

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The truth is, there is no one good- accept the Father. Including people with cutsie little blogs or pictures on Facebook. Our days are filled with challenges, temptations, sin, wrong choices, harsh tones in our voices, and bad judgment calls. That’s the beauty of grace.

He is so good to give such good gifts.

Titus 3: 4-7 NIV
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

May we be seeking Him each and every moment of our days, friends. May He fill our every thought. May we compare ourselves to that sweet Jesus of the cross. Who took on flesh to live a life of example and sacrifice. Let us not compare ourselves to the broken brother or sister sitting next to us in the pew, showing up in our newsfeed, or walking beside us at Walmart.

While you slap your little babies hand, while you wipe your little guys runny nose… again. While you have yet another hard discussion with your teenager; while you show grace to your nagging mother just one more time. While you serve at that job you hate just one more day, or help that person just.one.more.time.  May you remember to be the best Daughter of the King you can be.

“As long as you are being the best daughter you can be; then how can you not be the best mother, wife, and friend.”
The rest will fall into place, my friend.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

No better than the next guy,
Kati

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How to become a weak parent

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All my children have played in the water. Emmyn’s the only one who ever crawled in.

Oh, this girl. She keeps me on my toes.

It’s a great thing to do when you’re busy in the kitchen, cleaning up or preparing dinner. I’m sure you’ve done it too; filled the sink up and let them play. Your children stand there on their stool all cute. Sometimes wearing just a diaper; other times totally naked, cute as can be, saying things like, “lookie momma” and “woooow.”

Not my Emmyn.

She throws the water. She turns on the hot water. She gets in feet first. She lives life to it’s very fullest. She is lively.

Oh, lively to say the least. She will look me straight in the eyes and say, “No.”

I’ll say, “Let’s go brush our teeth.” She’ll say, “I already did.”

She totally did not.

Do you have an Emmyn? Are her feet always wet or dirty? Her diaper always off and naked bun-buns exposed? And why is she still in a diaper anyway? Does she have a favorite shirt she wants to wear every day and she doesn’t care if it’s two sizes too small? Did you hide the shirt last night and this morning you are anticipating the daily melt down for the shirt? Oh, and of course it doesn’t matter what store you’re in or if you’re at the library; perhaps even just on the phone, she is loud.

Oh, momma. I am right there with you.

How do we handle these lively little ones, living life to it’s fullest, pressing each and every button us mommas have?

Are there days when you just want the elevator to stop so you can get off? She can just keep pressing buttons–but let you off at the 1,243 rd floor because you’ve had enough.

Yeah, me too.

I think it was after the tenth Emmyn episode, subtracting 92 from 68 for the one-hundredth time with my eight year old, telling my five year old, once again, to pick up the legos before I cut my foot on them; helping my eleven year old with entry level geometry (can you tell I hate math?) all while needing to head out the door to pick up the teenager, when I asked myself the question, a.g.a.i.n…

“LORD, am I doing anything right?”

He simply whispered, “My grace is enough” and my face couldn’t help but smile big and I thought,

Yes, it is.

The Apostle Paul shares,

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 2-10

Am I saying my little Emmyn is a thorn of my flesh? A messenger of Satan? No. But she sure isn’t an angel and I always know she is there. She challenges me, keeps me humble, reminds me daily of the struggle between good and bad. She tells me no, she hits, she kicks, she scowls. Some would think, she hates me at times but then, she turns sweetly and kisses me.

I am weak in many ways- but weak in parenting? I can’t do that! After all, that is where this momma needs to be the strongest, right?

Maybe not.

Parenting–It’s the one thing I want to pick up and handle all on my own.

In fear, I worry.

Sometimes, I get so caught up in trying to “fix” one of my children, I forget to pray about it! (okay, most times) and then the even more humbling thing? When I do pray about it… I still sit and make my plan of attack. “I have to handle this with strength and an iron fist– I have to be ready to head into battle.” 

I don’t want to be weak.

I want to fix it. Fix her.

 


How do I truly surrender my weakness? And after surrender, what about boasting? How do I boast about that weakness–and gladly at that?

How do we then boast in our weakness so that Christ’s power can rest on us? After all, that’s what we need most in times like this, right? How do we rejoice time.and.time.again?

By His grace. His grace is enough. 

It’s like– “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” It’s like the King who came to rule, but ruled in love.  It’s almost incomprehensible. We must become weak to become strong.


We have to come to grips with having a child, wild child at that, different than our other cookie cutter children. [or other peoples cookie cutter children] She is given to us, for this moment, from God.“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him…” Psalm 127:3

We have to pray for wisdom. Pray God will show us how to love her. How to love her best. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3: 17-18

We have to have limits, she can’t run all over us. We have to pray God will help us keep to those limits, without giving in. Besides, that’s the only way we will be able to keep those limits because we both know, those limits haven’t worked in the past. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We have to do good. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:9-12

When they are good, no matter what they might have done before, we have to praise them– that’s how they know we love and notice them. That’s how they see Jesus in us. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15: 21-24

We have to smile, even when it’s hard. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

We have to clothe ourselves.  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

We have to forgive them. Sometimes, the children who hurt us most, are old enough to know better. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

We have to become a servant of all-- and sometimes, this means serving our children. Even when it’s hard. Even after they’ve told you no, hit you, kicked, and screamed. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

We must be strong in our weakness. We must understand this simple truth: By becoming weak and surrendering our joys, our failures, and all the in-betweens of parenting to the One who makes us strong, we will grow in strength. [Like the really good, "super hero Jesus" kind of strength.] “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 2-10

That is the only strength I honestly need, right? the strength that comes from the One clothed in grace. [OK- that, and a really great time out spot.] ;)

Ah! It’s a crazy life! This life of “mom” So crazy, but beautifully blessed.

Becoming weak time and time again,

Kati

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It’s monday, again. And things aren’t going so great.

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The baby didn’t sleep and the toilet didn’t work. The friend didn’t call and the raise didn’t come. The car didn’t start and the bills didn’t get paid. The church didn’t work out and the kids fought all day. The school work didn’t get planned, the lunches didn’t get made.

The weather wasn’t agreeable, the grocery store- too full. The oil didn’t get changed and the trees didn’t get planted. The sun didn’t shine on winters chill and the toys are still strewn all over the yard. The mother didn’t care and the son didn’t call. The little one felt hot to the touch and you don’t feel so good. The chemo didn’t work, the big break didn’t come, the prayer wasn’t answered.

The laundry’s still waiting and it wasn’t even your day to put it all away.

The letter didn’t get written, the book didn’t get read. The cake wasn’t baked and the memory wasn’t made. The grocery list was never started and the coupons never clipped. The jog never happened and the cupcake tasted so good. The husband didn’t say sorry; in fact he didn’t even care.

But you know what? The Father, yeah that one they call King, Savior, Adonai? The I Am, the Alpha the Omega the one who touched the dirty and loved the crippled? He saw it all. He sees it all.

And He is always there.

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Of this I am reminded once again~

It isn’t what happens to me that defines who I am — it is how I react to it that determines whose I am.


Hebrews 12: 1-2 NLT “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne…

[... watching you, smiling at you, finding joy in you sweet friend.]

Monday, Tuesday- whatever day. May your heart be full of faith as you conquer the darkness that tries to capture the joy from our days. May your mind be focused on the I Am because we know we cannot conquer this day without the One who created it. May you lean solely on The One and Only. May the creator of the universe, the painter of the sky; the designer of the honey bee and the intricate flower it draws its strength from- may THIS God be ever evident in your day as you trust in him. As the honey bee must have the beautiful flower to begin it’s journey to honey- may you start your everything by the strength of our father.

Loves,

Kati 

Do things that make the white guy at WalMart say, “Da** girl, how many baby daddies have you had? An adoption story.

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Everyday. That’s how often someone asks me about adoption.

Most people want to know- “Doesn’t it wreck your life?

I don’t think people ask everyone who has adopted this same question. I don’t think the person who adopts the cutie pie little baby is asked this question. I’m sure their most asked question is different.

I think it’s the people who adopt the older “un-adoptables” who are asked my question. Sort of like – everyone loves puppies, but the older pit-bulls- nobody wants.

The problem is:

They all wreck your life.

Big, little; nice or mean. HIV positive, healthy. Two months old, ten years old. Domestic, International. All of them. They all wreck you.

This is how I want to answer everyone who asks.

It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Each day, everyday. It.is.hard.

It’s hard because when I go to the school and the kids in her class interview me, like they do all of the other MVP student’s moms,  they want to know: “What was her first word?” And of course, I can’t say, “Well, I only met her nine months ago… let me get back to ya on that”  ; )

It’s hard because when we celebrate birthdays in our home- we look at baby pictures. And for them, there simply are none. And the truth is: there never will be.

It’s hard because as much as you try to be mom and you really are- you simply are not the only mom they’ve ever known and you never will be because they still remember that mom.

It’s hard because as much as you tell them you love them- at first, they wonder if you’re for real.

It’s hard because, by this age, they really should know how to take baths, eat food, pour water or simply apply chapstick and lotion but they just don’t.

It’s hard because every now and then, they tell you stories of dark nights, no mattresses or food. They remember bugs crawling on them, and dogs hurting them. They have stories of dads yelling and people leaving. Over and over again.

It’s hard because as much as you love them- as much as they’re yours forever and you’d take a whole dozen of them. You still get really mad because someone did this to them.

And then I think:

Oh yeah, you bet we’ve been wrecked.

We’ve been wrecked by that sweet Jesus who makes all things new. Wrecked by this love He has shown us in real life by the true heart of adoption. Wrecked by this reality. Really? Is this the way it is? Jesus loves me? Me? Messy, abandoned me? Me? Always messing up, never getting it right, me?  He.adopted.me?

And now, out of the love of two broken people– two people He adopted into His family, that man of mine and little ‘ol me, we get to show the love of a savior to two kiddos? Two kiddos who, as you can tell, are totally “Gibson”…

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Let me give it to ya straight.

Adoption isn’t for everyone. I get that. I’m not saying it is. Fruit Loops aren’t for everyone either. But just so you know, I think they’re delish. =)

Here is something else I do know. God is moving in the hearts of His people to care for orphans. It simply must be the reason I am asked every single day about adoption. It must be the reason my email is flooded with questions from people I don’t even know asking me how to help with their hurting adopted kids. It must be the reason I am asked, almost daily, “How do I adopt.”

If you are someone who is asking that question allow me to share with you this:

Adoption is hard.

The paperwork is endless, the people involved in the process aren’t always the best. It will require a lot of work. Your house may need some changes- your perspective might need some fine tuning. Some kids are really messed up, they need your love pretty bad. Some people are rude to you- it’s just the truth. Like the man at Wal-Mart who took it upon himself to ask me “Damn girl, how many baby daddies have you had?” as my little crew of white and brown children trailed behind me– totaling six all together ; )

Yeah, he must be a real winner.

Who cares about all of that stuff.

Here is what really matters:

Today I watched my boys play basketball in the freezing cold wearing matching NBA sweatbands. And if the nerdy matching sweatbands weren’t enough to make this momma tear up- I heard Triston (who is adopted) say, “You’re the best brother Judah.”

Here is what really matters:

Two days ago we celebrated Ashley’s ninth birthday- it was her first birthday with us. The truth is, she doesn’t know what this momma was really celebrating. I was celebrating her surviving those first eight years and rejoicing in knowing she gets to live the rest of them- no longer surviving.

Those are the kinds of things that really matter.

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The hard paperwork and countless expenses associated with adoption will fade away.  In fact, some people don’t even have much expense or paperwork. The truth is- the scary unknowns don’t stay unknown for long. And who knows? Your house might be more ready than you think. Someone might answer you “yes” to adopting, rather than “no”. You just never know until you go for it.

When I watch this video- [the video just below]  I know it’s about a sweet baby and the fight for clean water. But I want you to know this:

When you adopt- THIS is the type of world, wonder, and opportunity you offer a child. A chance to see it all for the first time. A chance for them to fulfill their “If I had a mommy and daddy list” and believe me.

They have that list.

“Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”

-Helen Keller

May we be the hands that clutch at emptiness, friends.

All my love made possible thru Him,

Kati

Related Posts:
Jesus can love thru a crazy person like me?: an adoption story.
His grace covers even the drug addict, time and time again.

 

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some people don’t need to hear about jesus

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When we got there, of course, it happened again. Looking around in amazement, I thought to myself, “Just get busy and get rid of some of this stuff.”

She seemed to walk fine to me, playing with her little puppy outside. In fact, when we got there she was walking around her yard on her cell phone. Why does she need our help, I wondered.

I unloaded my little children into the cold evening air expecting to finish in two hours only to reach the gate and know it would take much more than a cold evening, this would take another day.

She had replied to an ad we had placed in the local paper offering free leaf raking help to local people 55+ who either needed help or needed us to do the job for them. We were there to rake her yard. A simple task. After all, her yard needed major help, it hadn’t been helped for several years.

When you walked through the gate, you could see her life that once was. Play toys, flower gardens, sitting areas, and even a pool. At first glance someone would think…

“This person doesn’t need help, she just needs to clean up her yard.” 

 That is what I love about our Jesus. It’s not always the person who needs help he’s helping, it’s usually me. 

We worked hard that night, doing as much as we could.  The kids we’re having a blast, there were so many leaves to have fun in, making piles, running and jumping. Discovering treasures that had been buried under the mess of leaves for what looked like, years. 

I always do it. I judge. I make excuses for why someone isn’t worthy of my Graces. Why I don’t have time to help. Why my help won’t make a difference because I’m just one person- we’re just one family.

I really am a mess. 

As I worked that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about Grace and how absolutely desperate I am for the precious gift. I also thought about how so many people look to me like they don’t need [or deserve] it.

 I stopped and chatted with *Ms. Martha for a bit. She told me of her grandkids who once swam in the big pool (now overtaken with weeds) and how long she saved for that patio furniture nobody sits in anymore. She shared with me about all the pins in her back, the countless surgeries she had endured and how she was preparing for yet another one. She said thank you countless times. When we left, her eyes filled with tears and she said,  

“Nobody ever helps.” 

 

She had experienced Grace and I don’t really know how it happened. I mean, all we did was rake some leaves. My goodness, the kids even argued a few times over the rakes. 

How does grace show up looking like some crazy kids and a tired mom? 

Of this I am always reminded: when we love people, no matter how big or small He does all the rest. He moves and stirs their hearts the way they need stirred. The way only he knows. He uses our crazy, messed up lives to love and help people. 

It’s how they know, He [that magnificent jesus of ours] cares. 

They know He cares because you came. Because you sat and chatted, because you touched them. Because you hugged them, cleaned their house, talked them away from their addiction one more time, took them into your home one more time, or perhaps forgave them once again. 

I realized that night, for the first time. Some people are just ready to see Jesus.

Some people don’t need to be taught about Jesus; they don’t even need to hear the Sunday sermon. They’ve heard it all before– they know all about our Jesus. They’ve heard the stories. The heartbreaking truth? Some may even sit in a pew all their days and never really see Jesus.

I’d like to tell you it’s always easy. I’d like to tell you loving on people always brings contentment to your soul, always fills your voids.  I’d like to tell you everyone I’ve ever touched was nice. I’d like to tell you my kids understood yesterday when I denied the homeless man a dollar but then he denied me the opportunity to buy him lunch or even bend to pray with him. I’d like to tell you I’m totally content where I am in serving others and I’d like to tell you I  don’t pray each time I read Katie’s  updates that He would send me there to help. I’d like to tell you, I don’t question God and beg Him to let me do something more. I’d like to tell you I’ve never had to stop and pray before we step foot out the door- headed to help- asking that sweet Jesus to forgive me for yelling at the kids or being impatient when we’re trying to get out of the house. I’d like to tell you I didn’t have to ask for peoples forgiveness time and time again.

But I can’t

I can’t because I am desperate. So, desperate for His Grace. I can’t because I’m broken. I’m broken and only complete in Him.

Like so many, I didn’t deserve grace. I was a liar and a thief.  I was an unwed mother at 17. I was selfish,  mean, and full of hate. I was broken.

But grace? That gift I don’t understand one bit? I fell into it hard. And when it caught me, it changed me. It didn’t take away my struggles- no. It gave me a hand to hold thru the struggles. It gave me hope of a day with no struggles. It gave me peace.

It said, “Hey you. I really love you.”

And He has to say it over and over again: “No, no, no. for real. YOU. I love you. Hey Kati- I know the world says you’re no good or not good enough. I know your mind says you have to get it all right before I’ll love you. But no, for real. I love you now. Messy yard and all. Messed up plans, dreams, and hopes- I’ve got that. Wrong decisions, damaged relationships- I’ve got that.”

Someone really loves like that? Yup. He sure does.

Reminds me of a story:

John 8:1-11

New Living Translation (NLT)

A Woman Caught in Adultery

8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said.And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

————–

I bet she thought she was a total loser ; ) And He just loved her, showing grace in abundance. He’s pretty cool like that.

May you fall into grace today and everyday friend and rest there peacefully. May it cause you to be a crazy bright light- shining for Him everywhere you go. And when you fall and stumble? Like I do every.single.day. may he gently help you up. dust you off. and make you new.over and over again.

All my messy, broken love~
Kati

—-

*ms. martha’s name changed for story

Whatever you do- don’t ever homeschool.

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“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die is a process of learning.”  J Krishnamurti

disclaimer:  please, just continue on your happy way today if you are one to be sensitive to a certain type of school- be it homeschool, unschool, public school, any type of school– as I do not intend to offend ; )

I only intend to take one, maybe two of you? on a tip-toe journey through a crazy thing called:

this.right here… this girl. THIS homeschool mommas real “live”  life.

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Here i am. Standing amongst all things we call, in our home, opportunities of learning- strewn out all over once again as I tackle a school room move.

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Yup, there it is- all behind me, around me, and almost on top of me and I am wondering, for the one millionth time… why did I decide to move the school room again and where in the world am I going to put all of this stuff?

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oh my goodenss… HA!! hilarious. ( i know)

Caution, it’s a goofy post today.

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It’s a crazy life here because there are lego creations all around.

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And my two little boys? Well, they aren’t your typical “classical homeschool boys” who like only Swiss Family Robinson, stories of Civil War, and knights of old. They also take to ‘the liberal likings’ of Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Because there are years, upon years, upon years of old school work I just can’t bring myself to part with and every time someone says to me, “So… what do you guys actually do all day?” I want to say: “Come sit with me over coffee and conversation for several weeks and we’ll pour over old studies of birds, creation, elements and body parts. Come read the stories we’ve written. Please, come and listen to my stores of tears shed over multiplication facts and hard division- heck, even two plus two on some days.”

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Because we don’t really take art in a fashionable way. We just sit with our granny, listen to her stories of girlhood, and paint along side her and somehow? Somehow we learn how to paint by just sitting with her.

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You see, we have books upon books that occupy our shelves.

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And lessons upon lessons just waiting for us to get to.

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But often times? Often times we find…

Life. Happens.

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And while life is happening and we are learning- those kids of mine grow bigger than weeds.

So when she says to me “I think I want to be a doctor, mom. I want to learn medicine and the healing power of Gods design for the body and take it to another world.”

I start to break a sweat and think, How in the world am I ever going to prepare her for that? Because we take lego breaks, and we aren’t always in workbooks, and we cry over math, and sometimes we have to go to the grocery store during the day?

How do I live life and raise a up a doctor?

And then, of course, as I type these quick words- there are two more of my precious girls who are placing bandages on their dogs and cat in the make-believe veterinary office that has overtaken their once bedroom. One does the diagnosis, the other takes care of the animal. They take turns checking people in because their office is so busy. I hear one say- “I think it’s a thorn in her hind leg causing the pain.”

One little boy just finished language and asked me if he could start painting.

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Oh no, what will I have to help him become?

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Here’s the scoop.

I’ll finish up these words– grab a book and snuggle with my girls. We’ll pour over language lessons, history, math, and even talk about the vet office. That little man of mine will paint whatever his little imagination can put on paper. I’ll correct one, two, or all six of them at some point today.

I’ll help them all with something they’re struggling with. Maybe it will be educational, however most times it turns out to be character. I’ll struggle with patience and feeling like I’m getting it all wrong. again. Then, tonight we’ll make dinner, we’ll all work together to set the table- someone will do something rude and I’ll have to bend low and re-direct them into love a.g.a.i.n.

All the while… really, I am the one being re-directed by having to love them over and over again. I am the one learning the lesson. Then we will sit. We will sit and enjoy our meal together talking about our day.

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They’re learning.  Because love is the best form of teaching.

Take it from a momma who struggles to love through lenses of self-imposed perfection.

It works.

Love. always. works.

Sitting with them while they cry over hard math and backwards letters; all while somehow remaining calm– is working. They’re learning.

Pouring over new lessons and figuring out how to better teach that certain subject- it’s worth it. They’re learning.

Helping their words be kind, reaction come slow, and ears be open big- it’s worth it. They’re learning.

“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” John Holt

And so am I– right there along side of them.

My method? never homeschool. Just live. love. and laugh realllly big every day.

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Crazy & always learning, (hard lessons!)

Loves this day and always,
~Kati

no tobacco was used in the production of this post.    (HA!)

how to trick your kids into love

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There’s this little thing we do.

and it’s kind of a secret ; )

It all starts around the table. That place we gather most. Sometimes it’s over piles of pancakes before the day begins; other times it’s after a day full of hard work and heaping potatoes. In our home, we like to refer to it as, Secret Servant.

We all get to pick someone to serve, but it’s all a big, fun secret.

Daddy writes individual names on the back of post it notes and sticks them on the wall in the hallway. One by one, we leave the table, walk into the hall, and walk back with a sly smile on our face… Judah always has the biggest smile. =)

You dare not tell who you’re serving and you try real hard to catch who are serving you throughout the week. Last week, our oldest, Alli whose 12 admits:

“I like to serve everyone here and there,
making sure they see me;
just to throw them off.”

At the end of the week, we gather again guessing who might have served us and then the truth comes out.

“i.served.triston”

“i.served.mom.”

“i.served.jordan.”

… and the list goes on.

The little ones usually put away shoes from the front door, that’s a simple job for them. So, If your shoes have mysteriously found a way to tip toe into your closet,  Judah or Emmyn probably have your name. If your laundry was washed and put away– or the house vacuumed for no reason; Alli or Jordan probably have your name. If the kids were put to bed while you sat a little longer to read a book, that man of yours probably has your name.

; )

They’re looking for ways to serve.

And.it’s.working. 

So, I breathe deep and smile little sly smiles when I come out of the hallway each week.

…OK, and I do a little happy dance, too… he, he.

Big or small, large or tall- any family can gently learn the heart of service. All in fun.Image

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa

Tricking those kids into love daily,  ; )

Kati.–

why you should never talk to homeless people

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They will drive you crazy.

Because my house seems small everyday some days. Because us eight who live here? We really live here. Because I’m compulsive about my house being clean (WHY?!) Because my kids are probably bickering again. Because one kid spilled a smoothie last night, another one did today. Because that joke one kiddo told me for the millionth time really wasn’t that funny but you have to laugh. again.  Because five times they tried to come in while I was taking my allotted two minute shower. Because the snow makes my crazy night job incredibly scary and hard. Because boys are stinky and girls are always making something messy. Because of all these things and countless more reasons… I’m sure there’s something at the store I could buy today that would make it all more simple. A tote perhaps to put all the mess in? A new shampoo to handle the stink? A book I could buy that would solve this problem I have- maybe a nice glass of wine and a quiet dinner. Because after all. I see all of you and you all seem to have it all together. Right?

Contentment.

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Paul and Silas sang while in prison. I complain in the Wal-Mart line. In the Wal-Mart line! The place I drive my CAR to, buy a bunch of things I don’t need, and then complain about the line. Or, if I don’t let the line seal my joy I let the long red light in traffic steal my joy.

When these moments come, which they do so often… me being human and all. I go back to a story. Stories, always. Stories are what make us. Mold us. Shape us.

The amazing truth? Every homeless person or hard up person I have come in contact with is happy. Once you start to talk with them anyway- always. They laugh through toothless smiles about some great story. What do they have that I don’t?

Several years back while visiting home; the town we actually LIVE in now (c-r-a-z-y)… we met a man sitting on the ground at the local convenient store.  For so many reasons, you can only imagine, you could tell he didn’t “belong”. So, we offered him a hand. And of course, he did what all of of those stinkin’ (pun not intended) homeless people do to us- he changed us.

Sept 2005
“Oh wonderful God, you have sent us an Angel. Floyd is his name. He came to us as a homeless man from Chelsea, Oklahoma. Full of love and joy. He has now gone but I pray we will never forget him. While we were visiting home last weekend, Daniel saw him sitting outside the convince store; no sign, no bags, just sitting. He offered him a ride. Then after hearing his story offered him our garage to sleep in. He was so happy! So ready to go find work, maybe go settle down, start a family. But there was no way Floyd could go find a job, or even start a family on his own without help. Floyd was slow, but he had something special. A gift. Joy.

Sweet Floyd. We didn’t know what we were going to do, or how we were going to be able to tell him he couldn’t work or probably “settle down” here. His family was back in Oklahoma. Not the city we found him in, but another one far from it.  On our way to church today I asked him if he would want to go back home by way of bus. Oh, man! Was he ever EXCITED! He had just left a boarding house and had not been home for years.

Well, we bought him a ticket. Alli was just so happy “Flo” (that is what she called him. Being only four, she couldn’t say or remember Floyd) was here and she was very sad to see him go. In just a few short days he had become family. He would crank up the music loud and just sing his heart out to the “good ‘ol oldies” He ate all our meals with us. He always said “thank you”, “I appreciate it”, and always said… “You’re so kind.” He was such a thankful person.

Last night, Daniel went out to check on him. After several minutes, I thought I’d walk out across the yard to check on the two of them. You know, thinking maybe the toothless, homeless man, fresh from a shower in our home– might have killed Daniel and left him for dead. Hey, you never know. But then I heard it. My man. Reading to Floyd. He was Reading the sweet words of  Apostle Paul.

Apostle Paul. The man whose life was changed as he sat in a strangers home. Floyd who couldn’t read a word was letting the sweet words seep deep into his rough, dark skin. Seeds being planted.

Floyd is happy to be going home. Daniel took him tonight to the Greyhound stop. His bus leaves out at 1:15 am but he’s been asking the time since 7:30. We watched a movie tonight, “Bruce Lee”. Man, was Floyd excited! He loved it. He said it reminded him of going to the movies when he was just a boy. I thought, a boy? You mean when life was normal. When he had a mom, a dad, sisters and brothers. When he played in the yard like our kids?  Because I’m sure he didn’t plan to grow up and be a homeless man. Just like my kids don’t. He kept complementing our stuff. Our house, our beat up cars, our dry, dusty, rocky yard. Our church with hard pews and slow hymn songs and our family. And God, most of those things? I’m unhappy with or sometimes even embarrassed. And that Bruce Lee movie?  I’ve hated that VHS since the moment I married that man of mine and it came with him.

Daniel and I cried tonight after Floyd left. We thought, “God, when were we ever as happy as Floyd was? When were we ever happy having nothing while someone else seems to have everything? Come to think of it, when did we ever have nothing?” He never said one time: Man, I wish I had a house and a yard. I wish I had this Bruce Lee movie, this place to sleep, this shower, this place called home.  He had nothing, yet he never compared his stuff to ours. No, he took joy in everything– for us. He NEVER stopped smiling, even though he had no teeth. He just wanted to sleep in our garage.

Lord, Thank you. Bless Floyd. He can’t read the promises in your word God, send him someone to be the word for him. And thank you for sending him to us.

Thanks.

At the time we lived in a 900 sq foot house with two VERY small bedrooms, one living room, and a kitchen. We dreamed of bigger living. We had moved from our American Dream life, complete with white picket fence and all, for Daniel to go to bible college and thought we were making such a sacrifice. Luckily, we had an old detached garage with electricity that Floyd was able to live in for such a short time. But it would not have been long before he would have shared our home if he had stayed.

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You see, if I had this book or that curriculum-  I’d be a better homeschool mom. If I had a bigger house, I’d be a better wife, friend, or host. If I had this job or he did this different, THEN I would be pleased. If I had this type of floor, the smoothie wouldn’t stain the carpet- if I had this type of vehicle, my kids wouldn’t argue over getting in and out. If I only…

If I only had a homeless person for every day of the week, huh? Maybe my life would then be truly different.

Good thing Jesus was homeless. And he’s mine.

He’s mine,
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

and over and over and over again I just need to set my mind on that sweet, sweet Jesus.

Because the house will never be big enough, the smoothies will spill again tomorrow; and someone will always have something better than me.

But that Jesus of mine? He will always be the life giver of true joy. Which is never found in things, rather life being lived.

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May we become crazy! As crazy as a homeless person. (because that Jesus is yours too!)

“Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace, and your soul in the joy of Christ”. ~ Thomas Merton

Loves this Monday morning,
Kati

Part 2. What if we’ve resolved to love in 2014 and they just don’t love us back? [ a three part series on 2014 New Year's Resolutions ]

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All I remember mostly, is he was really dark in the summer time, wore short shorts and cut off t-shirts.

Of course he did. It was the late 80’s.

My big brother.

Yeah, I know- you’re surprised.

If you know me, then you know I grew up an only child. Hearing the words mom and dad, brothers and sisters isn’t typical of my stories. Well, once upon a time -when I was five, I had all of those things.

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And considering my stories lately have centered around family or lack there of, I probably seem like I have lots of “issues” but really- Nope! I’m totally fine with all of it. But those stories are a part of who I am, how I’ve learned, how I connect to others, and all of it makes the God story of saving grace even bigger in my world.

He writes each Christmas. I don’t even know how he finds my address when we’ve moved. He isn’t on Facebook and I’ve never had much luck with Google. And I’m a Google pro ; ) But a letter will come, without fail– each Christmas. And it will always simply say,

“Love Marcus and Karri.”

I’ve never met Karri. She use to send pictures of her and Mark (that’s what we always called him before he changed to ‘marcus’) from what I recall, they had a couple of dogs and I remember she had a big nose and beautiful long brown hair. But over the years, the pictures faded away and only the few words remained. Love, Marcus and Karri.  Love?

Each year, I’ll write something similar inside of our card.

“Hey Mark, I wish..”
“Hey Mark, call…”
“Hey Mark, I hope one day…”

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Because I want him to know. I’m here and I hope.

I want him to know– I’m here and I’m waiting and it will be a happy day when and if we see each other again. Just awkward hellos and hugs around the neck then lets just get this big brother, little sister relationship thing going.

Truth is- sometimes, you can love but love always returns void and empty. Sometimes you can love but love doesn’t always love back. What if my hands are old and worn before he ever returns love? What if he never does?

So I plant seeds. And seeds? They have the best hope of life.

I could send mean letters, I could send no letters. But I’m hoping there are little seeds being planted with each, “Hey, Mark”.

Seeds of love and forgiveness.

The story of seeds, oh the beauty. The way birds scatter seeds all over the world. Then little trees burst forth in beauty, each one gently touched by the magnificent One called God. The One who breathes life into creation. The One I always try to figure out, but will never be able to. He takes those seeds and gives them life. Awakens their dark soul and call them into the light.

So, perhaps it’s the best way to live? Casting out beautiful seeds of love, hoping they will be given life. Praying someone will one day water them, they will grow into beautiful, strong trees. Bursting forth with fruit and the fruit of that tree will maybe love me back? Or surely love someone, somewhere all because I chose to love.

But loving, requires giving away a part of us. Loving can hurt.

We have to understand, some will never love us back. Some won’t love us how we need. Some are so injured, they can’t hold love long enough to give love.

We have to remember, some seeds we plant, the love won’t return to us. That person may love others during only the last two weeks of their frail life after they’ve been told the end is near. Some will love soon and it will be a beautiful life for them. But there is no promise that because we loved them, their love will be seen or felt by us.

So- we love today. We resolve to live fully today. And hope today, that God will use our little seeds of love for his purpose. oh! His love, His way, is so perfect.

When we love the mean cashier at the local grocery store, with a simple smile- we may plant a seed of joy that brings forth life by the end of the day.

When the pained wife loves the hurtful husband, who is always telling her she could do her “jobs” better- when she loves him day after day, perhaps those seeds will one day take root as his soil softens and he will finally learn to love the loving wife back.

When we love the ones who have hurt us most, maybe all along those seeds are being hidden away and one day, when their pain is far away from us, their seeds of love will start to grow and they will love someone who has hurt them.

When the person I love most in the world doesn’t love me the way I think I need love. Maybe God knows how I really need loved and the love is really perfect after all.

When the friends we see on facebook, read about through screens on blogs, and envy through pages of books — talk about how they’re loved so perfectly. Let us remember- there is only One who loves perfect. So that person? That friend? That story? They have a tragic love story somewhere, to be sure. You are not alone.

I am not alone.

 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languagesand special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13

I have to remind myself- It is not IF I love they will love me back. It’s IF I love, it can change the world.

It.is.always.simply.LOVE.

All my sweetly broken love friends,

Kati

Related Posts:
Part 1. Why resolving to love is…
Because you don’t have to be perfect this Christmas…

Part 1. Why resolving to love is really the only thing worth striving for this new year. [ a three part series on 2014 new year's resolutions ]

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“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

-Helen Keller

This was once my grandmothers house.

I remember when I was a young girl and we would travel there– I would always run fast from the car to step on the grass.

She had the fancy grass. You know, the kind that stands two inches from the ground and feels like you’re walking on clouds.

I remember her yard was always so beautiful and full of life. Her backyard was full of flowers and there was always laundry hanging out to dry. I remember she went out and fed the birds each morning, even calling one Robin by name, Robbie. He would eat raisins from her hand.

She had raised him from a baby and set him free in the backyard.

I remember the day of my Papa’s funeral, the adults sat inside listening to the funeral service on a cassette tape. I was outside, kicking a ball against the shed out back.

I remember the way her door would sloowwwly close with that hissing sound only screen doors can make.

I remember my mother and her, never getting along. I remember my mom always saying, “Mom, you don’t have to make your yard look perfect, you really are too old to be out there doing all that work.” I remember going for walks while visiting — my mom would always say, “Oh, my goodness. I don’t know why your Mema chooses to live in this neighborhood. The houses are so close together.”

I was 12 when my grandmother passed away. I remember my mother had a letter from my grandmother,  sitting on the kitchen counter. She had been too busy to write her back. Those were the days when you paid for long distance and nobody had a home computer.

When the call came in that she had passed away, I remember how badly it hurt my mother.

And now, when you hear my mother talk of my grandmother, she has only good things to say about her. That grandmother she use to talk about is no more and she dreams of just one more day with her mom, in that cramped neighborhood, with that perfect yard– just one day to sit and love.

So when I told her I was making a trip to Oklahoma City she asks me to go.

“Go and take some pictures for me, Kati. I haven’t seen it since we laid her to rest.”

When I give her the pictures, I simply wrote:

“I hope these photos can bring good memories and not bad pain. It is such a good testament to how we must love fully today because we are not guaranteed tomorrow.”

I love you,
Kati

And it did to me, like writing somehow always does–

it changed me.

Because isn’t it the truth? When we resolve to love fully, it changes us. If we love fully our family, we strive to bend in service for them more than expect things from them. If we love fully our bodies, given to us by our creator, we strive to only give it the best things- to nourish and keep it well. Put simply, when we love fully those around us, we are truly full.

I believe a little man named Gandhi once said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of others.

And a little old lady, not always so old once said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa

Oh my! This could start a resolution revolution!

May we love fully today friends. Touching those around us with gentle smiles of love and grace. Creating warm feelings deep within them of value. Starting with those in our home. {my, oh my- how this story is for me.}  May this be the thread that binds our resolutions together this 2014 New Year’s.

Simply, Love.
All my love,

Kati