Monthly Archives: April 2011

He’s Risen!!

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A few nights ago, we decided to read the story of Jesus’ resurrection to Kalyb before bed.  Since Easter was quickly approaching, it seemed appropriate that we would let him know the reason behind why we were celebrating.  Throughout the week, Kalyb had been a little stubborn towards the things of God.  When we’d pray at dinner to thank God for our food his response would be – ‘God didn’t give us this food, we got it from the store!’  Very true, little one, but God gave us the means to get this food! 

Anyways, as we read through the story I began telling him that Jesus was killed by people who didn’t like him.  Kalyb looked at me very worried and questioned me about why they would kill him?  What did he do wrong?  We then went onto explain how he was buried in a tomb – wrapped up like a zombie, as Kalyb decided. 

The story continued…Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead!  Kalyb excitedly exclaimed, ‘HE’S ALIVE?!?!’  I responded excitedly with ‘YES HE IS!!’…Kalyb grabbed my neck, gave me a huge hug and started rocking back and forth he was so thrilled with the news that Jesus is alive.  ‘You mean we get to meet him?!’  Well, yes, Kalyb, when it’s our turn to go to Heaven, we get to meet Him in person – but until then, we have Him in our heart!  Kalyb was wondering where baby Jesus was in Heaven – we then got to explain that baby Jesus has, in fact, grown up and even died for each one of our sins.  Kalyb’s pretty convinced Jesus is bigger than Hulk. 

It was the sweetest thing to experience this through a child’s eyes – am I daily that thrilled that Jesus is alive?!  Am I wanting to shake people and hug people and EXCLAIM about the reality of his resurrection?!  If not, what is stopping me?

Happy Easter! 

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Life as we know it…

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…is totally different than we could ever imagine!  The last thirty six hours of our life have drastically changed our day-to-day routine (if there ever was one!).  I know the Lord is stripping me of my tendency to over-plan and schedule every detail of my life as I CLING to Him to guide, direct, and ease the discomfort of not knowing what to expect.

I’ve never been the step-parent of an adorable 4 1/2 year old little boy.  I’ve never been  a wife (until 8 1/2 months ago, obviously).  I’ve never been a full-time worker that has had to balance the aforementioned in addition to wrapping up a school year – we all know how those can be!  I can hardly believe it.  What an absolute blessing.  As I read all the blogs of people who I stalk (unbeknownst to most of them), tears fill my eyes.  What an incredible work our God is doing within and around so many people.  No wonder God created us so relational – in order to experience things just a little bit deeper – the pain and the gladness.  And, oh, my soul is so glad right now.  Glad I’ve been chosen to serve Him in this capacity – that I’d be entrusted with incredible students, an amazing husband, and an entertaining little one! 

What a sweet weekend – it will be difficult to be at work and focused tomorrow knowing there are two boys here that I LOVE to be around.  We’re also getting to spend this week with Deja in town during her spring break and we just can’t wait!  This is sure to be a FULL week – so thankful for this past week of feeling full in a way that I will now be able to pour out.  I’ve felt a little dry lately – just one of those seasons, I suppose.

So here we are.  Wrapping up a weekend – a Saturday spent with 18 hours of travel (4 planes, a great lunch break with Kalyb’s Memaw and Grandma Frances, a slight breakdown at the airport that took almost 40 minutes to remedy – but then a quick turn around, and an incredibly blessed final flight including three hours of conversation with a beautiful older woman named Jane who loves Jesus and a little blonde-headed boy sleeping on my lap).  Blessed.  So blessed.

I’ve now been interrupted by the sounds of uncontrollable laughter as Kalyb is attacked by Josiah en route to bathtime/bedtime.  I’ll go join in on the fun!

It’s like Christmas Eve Around Here!

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Tomorrow morning I will be on board a plane en route to St. Louis, MO.  I’ll be there for a short rendezvous with Kalyb, his MeMaw and Grandma Francis and then Kalyb and I will be on a trip back to San Diego!!!!!!!

He’ll be here through July 3rd – so we’ll be making the most of these next few months, I can guarantee you that!  Stay tuned for pictures, bloopers, and other fun stuff!!!!

And feel free to pray for easy transition, good nights of sleep, wisdom, patience, etc. etc.

Potentially Big News

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So there I was deciding on how I was going to break the big news when all of a sudden, some big news was broken to us instead!  And not in the good news sort of way – not necessarily bad, but just not expected.

Before I go any further, let me give you some background.  As most of you know, I fell in love with Texas during my five years at UNT.  In fact, upon graduating and joining Teach For America, I left under the pretense that I would be returning after my two year commitment was up.  Six years later, I remain in Southern California!  Last year, as I contemplated my job situation and was prayerfully considering what to do next my mom and I had a conversation in which she suggested I return to Texas – she said that I always loved it there and had left planning on returning and she promised she would visit 🙂  Well, in all of that, God had different plans and I remained where I was and got to be a part of a lot of change on my campus which was encouraging and exciting.  In fact, this is the only consecutive year teaching that I have ever enjoyed my job at this point in the school year! 

Enter Josiah.  Born here but proudly raised in Texas – and that man will cling to those roots!  In November of 2009 (or thereabouts) his mom was visiting him on Catalina (where he was working at the time) and they were talking about God’s call on his life.  When Lynn asked Josiah what the next steps were, Josiah stated he felt the need to attend Christ for the Nations to begin his studies.  Both of Josiah’s parents attended and continued on to teach at CFNI, so some of his teenage years were spent on this campus and it is near and dear to his heart.  His mom encouraged him to visit while he was in Dallas the next month and she herself was fully convinced she was going to be loading him up and moving him out to Dallas upon his return.  However, between family and festivities, CFNI fell to the back burner and was not visited during that trip.  Six weeks later, I ran into Lynn at Marshall’s and we all know how that story turned out!  Had he ran off to Texas at that point, who knows if we would have ever met in person?!

At some point before we were married it came up that Josiah felt led to attend Christ for the Nations.  Lynn was hesitant in bringing it up to me since I’m established in SoCal and my family is mostly rooted in the western states.  However, I was thrilled at the potential of moving back to Dallas!  How crazy?!  As our lives became full with newly married life, involvement in ministry, work, etc., moving to Dallas wasn’t discussed for quite some time.  At least not seriously in my mind.  After looking at all of the numbers, it was determined that we would need $4,000 to move us out to Texas (between the actual move and the first payment to CFNI).  So between $4000 and a job needed to be secured for me, it seemed kind of unlikely that Texas would be our place of residence anytime soon.  As most of you also know, we are committed to our Get Out Of Debt (GOOD) Mission – having paid of 20% of our debt in the past 5 months – and are faithfully making headway in that area as we seek to live a life of financial freedom where we can more easily do what the Lord calls us to!  (Thanks Dave Ramsey!).

Well, what would you know – between a random pay raise and our taxes, we ended up with $4001.52.  Are you kidding me?!  Moving to Dallas was now a reality.  Enter my temper tantrums.  Seriously, now that it’s becoming more of a reality, I’m kicking my feet and screaming any chance I can get.  Now, Texas friends, don’t take this personally – I love you all dearly.   However, the past six years of my life have been invested into family and friends out here and I’m sad to give up such proximity to my immediate family.  It’s a little bit devastating.  Josiah and I have had plenty of conversations about that – where I try to be excited for him, but I’m selfishly so heartbroken.  I like our life here.  I know what to expect.  I know my way around.  I like my job.  I know what’s expected of me.  I love my friends.  I love my family.  I feel I’m losing a little piece of all of that.  Such a tough cross to bear, I know.

So last week, the main intention of our trip was to get my name out there in the job hunt.  There were several great leads and I’m excited to see what comes of them – if anything, the way the budget cuts are these days!  I spent many hours traipsing from school to school just trying to be able to put a face with my resume.  Last week, our plan was to have the moving truck here on July 14th and spend the following 2-3 weeks meandering our way out there visiting friends and family along the way.  I had already let my school site know I wouldn’t be returning.  We’ve put the deposit on the moving truck, etc. etc.   We didn’t rush around to see everyone in the area because we knew we’d be returning.  We ran around CFNI and Josiah took trips down memory lane.  It was becoming more real.

Last night, we received a letter from the government.  All of our money we were expecting back in taxes was put towards a debt we owed (that we knew about but had not been able to get a hold of them over the past 5 months despite some valiant efforts!) – and everything kind of came to a screeching halt.  I thought I’d be writing a blog to discuss our upcoming move to Dallas – the exciting (albeit bittersweet for me) news that we’ve known about the past two months, but now we just don’t know.  Funny how the Lord works – I know He’s definitely stripping me of my tendency to plan MY things and putting a desire in my heart to follow HIS will even if it is different than I pictured.  And, I promise, I’m getting better at that! 

There are several things that we’re left wondering as we ponder what the Lord might be teaching us through this unexpected turn of events:

  • Are we needing to learn not to depend on our own means and to watch the Lord miraculously provide that money needed for the move?   After all, it’s pocket change to Him!
  • Is the Lord supporting our commitment to getting out of debt and we’ll have to wait before moving back to Texas until we are debt-free?
  • Is He checking our motives into going to CFNI – will we still trust Him if this is not the time despite all the plans thinking it was?  Is it a situation where He’s testing our hearts to see what we’re willing to sacrifice?
  • None of the above?  🙂

Who knows?!  Thankfully, He does.  And we can rest assured in that.  I’m so thankful we serve a mighty, sovereign God who is a Master Planner.  A God in which following Him becomes such an adventure of excitement, disappointment, fulfillment, etc.  One in which, despite our circumstances, we can without reservation place our trust in.  It’s rather exciting being at a place where we really don’t know what our lives are going to look like three months from now.  As of this moment, we still have reservations for that moving truck to be here – en route to Dallas!  Please join us in prayer as we seek His direction, wisdom, guidance and peace!

7 Years…

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This past Saturday, April 9th, 2011 marked 7 years since my best friend passed away.  It also marks the day that would have been her 28th birthday.  Crazy to think of all that I have experienced between the ages of 21 and 28 – and that Kisha never got to have that.  However, she’s spent the past seven years with Jesus which is way beyond anything I could dream of accomplishing her on earth!

It was an interesting anniversary – I usually set the day aside to reflect, cry, remember, and write – however, this year we were in Dallas.   While I’d hoped for a big celebration for her, that is not what was in store.  It becomes kind of challenging to celebrate in some ways – it can seem forced or too painful for others.  I spent the day busy – running around at garage sales in the morning, catching up with friends throughout the day, and then with Kisha’s family that afternoon and evening.  That was something I needed.  We didn’t spend much time talking about Kisha – but most certainly a majority of our thoughts were dominated by memories of Kisha.  Things I did that day, I was acutely aware that she was not there to share in them – a trip to Grapevine Mills, a drive to Southlake to cheer on Millenia, hanging out with Jamell, her once little sidekick. 

Seven years.  Seven.  Biblically, seven represents the number of completion.  What is complete this year?  My ability to understand why she was taken so young?  Not completely.  My sense of loss?  Probably never.  An ability to allow time to heal?  Some, but never all the way. 

Talking to my dad, what he mentions he misses most often about my Grandpa is his dad’s voice.  I remember that moment with Kisha – I was so frustrated one day that I could not hear her voice anymore.  Her laugh was fading.  There are times that it still comes back crystal clear – and I’m certain the few videos I have of her and have watched often in the years since assist in that memory and offer some consolation.  But can one ever be consoled by such a devastating loss?  I don’t believe so.  And that is fine.  We were designed to live forever – that is what God intended.  Part of why it is so devastating to lose the loved ones we do is because that was not part of the original design – to die, to have such a sense of finality.  Thankfully, with Jesus Christ, there is something to hope in.  I can be hopeful that one day I will once again get to see Kisha and fellowship with her – that time, in the presence of the Lord Almighty!  There are some days I can hardly wait.  This happens to be one of them…  There are other days I’m motivated and inspired to continue with the Lord’s work here – and that is most of the days.  The Lord worked mightily in her life and has moved mightily since her death.  Follow this link to read more about her story  (or rather, His story through her life) – and follow the links imbedded to go more indepth as to how the Lord worked in and through her.  Pretty incredible when you stand back and look at it – painful as you’re in it – but healing as we move through it with a growing dependency on Jesus.

Time in Texas

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It had been awhile – two and a half years to be exact – since I’d been back in the DFW area (too long if you ask me).  We decided to spend the latter part of my Spring Break out in God’s country!  After trekking down to TJ with Josiah on Tuesday to get some dental work done on Tuesday (root canal, wisdom tooth removal, a deep cleaning, and two enamel things) it was up first thing in the morning to head to the airport on Wednesday (thanks again to Jamie for the drop off!).  We flew out at about 9am and got into Dallas Love around 3 where Randy (Josiah’s dad) was waiting for us!  I almost can’t even remember the last time someone waited for me in the airport, so that was fun!  He spent the next hour or so giving us a fun little tour of the city – of CFNI, their old apartment, Josiah’s old high school, etc. before making it to their home – me to nap and them to grocery shop!  Josiah prepared dinner for us and Ruby (Mari’s daughter/Josiah’s step-sister) and her son Kaiden joined us as well!  We had a great time enjoying delicious spaghetti and playing soccer with Kaiden in the front yard!  We also got to watch American Idol with Randy and Mari 🙂 

Thursday, it was up and at ’em to run around Dallas – Josiah went back to CFNI to check out the campus and catch up with old friends.  We decided to swing by Hockady to surprise my former Coach (Coach Slinker) at her new job!  We had a great time chatting and catching up before we headed to Arlington to meet Grandma Kiki for dinner at her retirment home – what a great place!  We had a blast!  Grandma Kiki and I had fun looking through all of our wedding and honeymoon pictures while Josiah played pool and before heading home.  That night, Josiah and I each enjoyed respective talks with the in-laws – Josiah with his dad and me with Mari.  Then we finished the evening off by watching the second part of American Idol before crashing at almost midnight.

Friday was another day for running around and this time Josiah joined me.  In the afternoon, we fought the traffic and headed up to Denton to go on another walk through memory lane!  We went by the new athletic complex, my old dorms, the Super Pit, and the main part of campus before heading to the Colony to meet up with Ginny and Kingsley and their new baby Cole!  They were so sweet and treated us to dinner at Pappadeaux’s as an encouragement to keep up with our Mission Get Out of Debt!  (They did the same plan we’re following and got out in 18 months and now have much more financial freedom….thanks for the example, guys!)  On the way out of the restaurant, Josiah was spotted by a friend on mine, Ginny, and Kingsley’s due to her wonderful stalking abilities on Facebook!  Apparently, Audra saw Josiah first and thought, ‘wow, that really looks like Karolyn’s husband….no, that couldn’t be, they don’t even live here’ and then she saw Kingsley.  What a small world!  She ended up coming over to Ginny and Kingsley’s that night as well to hang out and then it was off to bed.

We slept in a little bit Saturday and Ginny and I went to get breakfast at Whataburger – however, we were quickly led astray by all of the garage sales calling our names!  We ended up getting breakfast, dropping it off and returning to the sales!  I got some cute, cute stuff for Kalyb!  Then it was off to Denton or somewhere in between The Colony and Aubrey to meet Miss Alisha for a talk session outside of  a Sonic – it seemed to be a perfect meeting location.  So fun to hear what the Lord is up to in her life and get to talk to her as an adult.  It’s crazy that I’ve known her since she was 13 or 14 – and now to see her all grown up and responsible and all that stuff. Such a blessing!  Then it was back to Ginny and Kingsley’s to pick up the Hubs (who has spent the morning gaming in the Man Cave playing Black Ops or something) and go gather Monica and Chanel to drop Monica off at the airport (on her way to Chicago to go see Oprah!).  Chanel, Josiah and I headed to Grapevine Mills to get Josiah’s watch fix and to give Josiah a trip down Memory Lane 🙂  After walking out to the car, we realized we were all near starving, and headed back into the foodcourt for an early dinner.  Afterwards, we headed back to Frisco because Jamell, his daughter Alyssa and his friend Ken were on their way over.  Got to spend some time catching up with them and dancing with Lyssa!  Then, it was back in the car and off to Southlake to the Softball fields were Millenia was tearing it up!  We were all in awe of the castle-like homes in that area!  After a tough loss, it was back in the car for the 45 minute trek back to Frisco where everyone was about ready to crash for the night!  Spent some more time with Terrence, Millenia and Chanel before heading to bed for another early morning.

We woke up at 7am to get up and get ready for our trek out to Arlington to drop off the car and meet up with Randy and Mari for church.  After rushing to get there and getting stuck in traffic that resulted in us being about 15 minutes later than planned, we made it to church to realize that church started at 9:30, not 9 🙂  We spent the time drinking coffee, eating donuts and catching up on the past few days’ activities.  We enjoyed a great church service at Mansfield Bible Church (I think) and then stopped by Sonic (this time to eat) before getting dropped off back at Love Field. 

We had a GREAT time out in Texas – it was wonderful getting to know my other in-laws a little bit better (I really have been blessed), to see some old friends, and to visit places that hold such fond memories.   We’re looking forward to get back out there again real soon!

Phoenix Phun

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Spring Break started last Thursday, March 31st – well that was our last day of school and Lord knows I like to make the most of my time off, so the travel plans started that day at 4pm.  Thankfully the Hubs came and surprised me at work on Thursday and got to enjoy some of the Cesar Chavez celebration going on throughout our campus.  Then, it was off to the airport – thanks to Ruth for a quick drop off!  I landed in Phoenix about 6pm and the one and only Pops picked me up and we headed straight to dinner at True Food to meet up with Linds!  We had a great time reminiscing, talking about the joys of parenthood (ha! – dad said to check back later – I’ve got lots of good plans now, but we’ll see how it all pans out in action), and enjoying each other’s company.  We spent a few hours there then it was back to the office to pick up the extra vehicle (thanks Dad!) and pack home to enjoy some TV time.

Friday, I slept in to a whopping 7:30am and enjoyed a lazy morning eating, reading, and getting ready.  My  memory is already beginning to fade me..but I’m pretty sure I just went in and helped my Dad at the Warehouse and enjoyed lunch at Quizno’s before heading over to Lyndsey’s new place to join her, Monica, Amanda and plenty of little girls (6 under 6 years old) in the pool!  We had a blast swimming, talking, and laughing.  I left Lynds and Grace around 5pm to go pick my dad up from the dealership (his van needed to go to the shop) before we traveled over to Kohl’s to invest in some new jeans for my dad – I coerced him to invest in a Kohl’s credit card and I’m sure it’s a decision he’ll never regret!  Then it was off to Paradise Bakery before checking in for the evening.  I believe I was ready for bed around 8pm, but we forced ourselves to stay up and watched some TV and read some of Michael Crichton’s novel 9 Dragons.  I could have just made up that author’s name (at least the spelling of it) and the title, but it was good nonetheless.

Saturday, I believe I had another morning of sleeping in until 7:30am before heading over to Jen’s apartment in the early afternoon to multi-task – grocery shopping, walking, talking, catching up, picking up dog poop, putting away laundry, etc.  I’ll take her however I can get her!  🙂  We had a great time hanging out for a few hours then it was off to pick up Lindsay who agreed to accompany me on a 1 hour drive to Maricopa to go visit the beloved Harriman family.  We got to walk up to their local park and enjoy watching Madison’s first softball practice before starting the trek back up north.  I had originally intended on being home in enough time to watch the men’s game; however, the Escalade had other plans and the battery decided to die before I began my trek home.  So, we waited for an hour for AAA to come and filled it up with meatballs and conversation!  After a lengthy AAA visit, I was too tired to drive home and decided to crash with Linds and keep her company since her hubs was out of town.  Can’t say we made it up much later than 11, but it was still nice to get some extended time with her! 

Sunday, I was up and at ’em – headed back to dad’s for breakfast and hang out time before I headed to church.  Enjoyed another great service by Pastor Rick and saw Lyndsey, Kevin and Grace for a little while before meeting my dad at the grocery store in order to prepare for that afternoon’s pool party!  We enjoyed a lazy afternoon and had Lyndsey, Kevin, Grace, Ruth, Jen and Sam over for some pool time, women’s basketball, and dinner out on the patio.  It was a GREAT time at my dad’s house – he really needs to take advantage of that backyard more often, it’s just asking for parties!  Once everyone headed out, it was to bed not much longer afterwards!  It was at about this point I decided I might have overstayed my visit because I was really starting to miss my Man!

Monday, I headed over to Lyndsey’s house to give her a massage, attempted to swing by the Sharpe’s to say hello (failed attempt – will have to make earlier efforts next time!), and then had to cancel plans with Jen in order to go help with a revision at a store of my dad’s.  Had a good time with the ladies there organizing cards, chatting, and carrying on.  I also helped myself to some jewelry and Easter preparation – I just don’t know how anybody could work in those stores day in and day out and ever come home with a paycheck!  Then, it was off to the airport!  Pops dropped me off – quick trip – Jamie picked me up – then it was finally home to the Hubs!