My heart, my love, my life

My heart, my love, my life

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Gift of a Game of Frisbee

KK had soccer practice tonight. We all loaded up, like always, to go to the field together. KK practiced and the rest of us played frisbee. I learned today that I can still out run Austin. Today will be a glory day because by tomorrow he will probably be able to outrun me. Time goes by so fast. They grow too quickly. Tristyn just celebrated her 6th birthday. We are celebrating almost a year since we brought Muluken and Gifte home. Kailyn is going to be 9 in a month. It is almost like blinking. It happens without you even realizing what is going on.

Playing frisbee today was fun and carefree. My boys chased me and tackled me to get the frisbee. Gifte and I tried to team up against the boys. The little girls played in the sand and Jared, my hero, made sure I never went without the frisbee for long. The weather was warm but breezy. I can tell that fall is coming. It is my favorite season. What a special day! We laughed and chased each other all over the soccer field. To often I get caught up in doing instead of being. I am so thankful for the hour we played today. I wish I had pictures, but I didn't have my phone or any type of electronic device. I am so thankful for today. Thankful for a simple game of frisbee with my family. I am praying for many more simple times.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


As many of you know we moved into a new house in December of 2009, a little over 2 months after bringing our children home from Ethiopia. We just sold that big, beautiful house. It hasn't even been a year. The Lord began to speak to Jared right after we moved in. He cried a lot and said that he felt that we had done the wrong thing. I kept thinking that he was just being sentimental and missed our old home. Yet, he persisted. When I finally caught on, which took awhile, we began to pray that God would make us like-minded. Whichever direction that might be, we had never been so far from one another when it came to something like this.

Over time, God began to move my heart in the direction that Jared's had already been for months. When I realized that I had lost the vision that God had given to me for my family, I began to see the holes. I am not sure that I really even know how to explain the holes. We had a vision for our family, not one that we had ever written down, but a vision nonetheless. We desired land, dirt piles, room to run and feast on the little things that God created. To be barefoot and free. Sounds weird. We spent hours outside at our other house. We played soccer, football, baseball, hide and go seek in the dark, races up and down the yard, swimming in the pool, climbing trees, riding bikes, caring for others animals, growing a garden (more on that later), swinging and looking up at the sky through the branches on the tree, pulling weeds and talking about how much weeds represent sin in our lives, digging in the dirt and so much more. Our other house was small and cozy, a place to sit and chat for hours, to play on the wood floor and to hear whispers from the kids across the hall because they were right there. It was a place that was always packed full of people. Whether it was family dinners, college night, movie nights or any number of other reasons, we filled that tiny house.

This house is different. It is beautiful, don't get me wrong, the kind of house we always dreamed of living in. God gave us our dream and then used it to show us that it wasn't everything we thought it would be. My girls have a movie called "Gigi" and Gigi wants Princess Pinkie Stars castle for her birthday. Her father keeps trying to tell her that it isn't for her, that he has something better planned for her, that is made just for her. But she persists and in her dream she is given Princess Pinkie Stars castle, only to find out that nothing is the right size for her. She wanted a chocolate milk moat, which come to find out, attracts bees. She wanted wild flowers instead of fir trees. She is allergic to flowers. The story goes on to make it very obvious that our King has something far better planned for us than we could even ask or imagine. That story reminds me of us. We didn't push to get into this house. God opened all the doors for us to be here, in less than 3 weeks. It has been a safe, comfortable home where our family has been able to make some enormous transitions and adjustments. It has also been a place where Jared and I have learned valuable lessons. I do not think we made a mistake. After all, I believe that scripture that says,

"God works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose."

I just believe that our time here is done. This house served it purpose for the season we needed it. Not long after we both received confirmation and God restored our vision, we put our house on the market with no idea what we were to do next. Six weeks later we have a contract on our house and we are praying for direction. We are open to wherever the Lord leads.

We are looking for a place with land that we can have some horses, goats, chickens and a garden. Nearly every year we had a garden in our other house, it rarely grew anything, but it was always there. A place with riding lawnmowers, tractors, bare feet, flowers and all kinds of nasty creatures (like the frogs I found hidden under a tupperware container today) that my children love to capture. A place where my children learn to work the land and work hard, where I can learn the same and where my precious husband can return to his roots. He grew up farming, milking cows and raising all sorts of strange creatures. I grew up in the city and had nothing like that. It was a life style that I always desired. My mom used to tell me that I was a "small town" girl at heart. I knew I wanted to marry my husband when he climbed up on a tractor in his church clothes to take the kids for a ride.

We desire a smaller house, with only 3 bedrooms instead of 4. My little girls never sleep in their room, they beg to be with their older sisters or they sleep in our room. The bedrooms are all the way across the house here. It breaks my heart when Brityn comes running across the house crying at one in the morning because she is scared. Everyone said we would love the space, love the split floor plan and all the room. We are getting lost in this house. I want to hear the whispers across the hall, the giggles as the talk over the events of the day. I love that my children want to be with each other in the same room. I liked when they were under my feet and in every room that I was in. But somewhere along the line, I forgot that. I struggled going from 4 to 6 children and then being very sick on top of that, just magnified the frustration. I wouldn't go back and change the decisions, not one of them. I am so thankful for the things that God reminded me of. Lessons that I wouldn't have learned any other way. I love that He knows best and also knows the best way to allow us to learn and grow, "so that we may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."

We are excited to see what the Lord does. We are praying for his provision and not our own. Our children are also excited for whatever is in store for our family in the upcoming months. Fall is my favorite time of the year. This summer has been tremendous and we have come to understand so many things. I look forward to the changes and know that the Lord has something good planned. We just have to wait for him to tell us :-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Starting Over

Life has taught me so many lessons. The one that seems to most repeat itself more consistently than any other is starting over. Starting over in the middle of a day go awry. Starting over in the middle of a conversation when the conversation has gone a direction that I didn't intend for it to go or my emotions got the best of my tone of voice. Starting over when I decide that I would rather retire for the rest of the day or maybe even the rest of the month. Starting over writing on a blog that I have the best intentions of keeping up with but seem to fail at every time. Starting over when I miscount how many cups of flour I have put into a recipe because I am distracted by the children hovering around the Kitchen-Aid. Starting over when I say 'No" to the kids without thinking about why I just answered 'No' and going back to apologize and say 'Yes'. The amazing thing about God is he allows us the ability to start over, if we are willing to humble ourselves under his mighty hand. To say we are wrong and need to start again. To seek forgiveness and then right our wrongs. Sometimes they may not even be wrongs, they may just be a different direction than where God desires us to go. How often I am reminded that God's mercies are new each and every day. How many times I also forget that and I get bogged down by the past, the mistakes that I have made and the consequences that my family or I suffer as a result of continuing in my willfulness instead of listening to "the still small voice" and turning from my ways and running toward him.
I am beginning to see these things in my children. One of my daughters spoke out of turn and disrespectfully to her teacher, who is also like her aunt, today. When Jared and I sat her down to talk to her about it. She said, "I didn't mean to say that or say it like I did, it just came out that way." She started to cry and wiped her tears with her t-shirt as she lay in my lap. I saw myself in her as she sat there and cried over what she had done. She meant no harm but was unable to stop the words before they left her mouth. It is a 'start over' moment. She cannot undo what was done, but she can go back and right her wrong. As we know, that is where the hard part comes in. Writing a heartfelt letter of apology is easy, but standing up in a classroom full of children to apologize to them and to her teacher for her conduct is not easy. She is worried about what they will say about her. At eight it is hard to understand that others opinions should matter little to us in comparison with what God's opinion of us is. I desire for her to stand before a living and holy God, able to humble herself and find his forgiveness. We will be standing beside her as a physical reminder to her that Christ is with her at all times. His strength is made perfect in our weakness and He will uphold her with his mighty hand. Seeking forgiveness from others is so hard because it requires us to lay our pride down. I know that God will honor KK and bless her willingness to seek forgiveness both publicly and privately. I also know that she will be setting a great example for the other children in her Sunday School class. The freedom she will feel on the other side will be tremendous and will make it so much easier for her to apologize in the future. The public profession of her disrespect will also help her to think twice about saying unkind things. She isn't one who would ever intentionally hurt someone with her words or her actions but she is really beginning to understand the pull between our flesh and our spirit. Starting over would have been much easier had she stopped with what she thought and repented of it at that time before she let it slip through her lips. How many times I have done the same? When I wished that I would have thought something through before I said it or I look back in disgust at times I have acted in ways that our not pleasing to the Lord.
Through all of those things God has taught me tremendous lessons, just like he is teaching KK. He continues to teach me as I am teaching my children through the mistakes that their Daddy and I have made. I am learning through the mistakes that they make. How can a holy and perfect God give us start over moments? I wonder how often I have missed the opportunity to start over, to fix or mend a wrong that I have caused. I pray that my children don't miss the boat as many times as I have, that their precious hearts would be sensitive to the spirit's leading and they would be willing and obedient to Him who calls them.

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Matthew 6:14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

2 Corinthians 2:10 "But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ."

Colossians 3:12 "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

His word reminds me over and over again how important forgiveness is. He knew we were going to struggle with forgiving and seeking forgiveness. Oh, what an opportunity for KK to see how important it is that she is forgiven by her Savior and that he is presenting her with an opportunity to seek forgiveness from the ones she has wronged. She is a precious girl and loves the Lord. I know he will use this tremedously in her life. He has used tonight tremendously in mine. To see heartfelt repentance and sadness over sin. I think as grown-ups we often forget to be 'child-like' and truly broken over our sin nature. Yes it breaks my heart but many times I miss the seemingly small sins. Oh, Lord forgive my blindness. I wish to see all of my sin as Jesus sees my sin. Not in the jaded view of my human flesh. Open my eyes to see Lord. Help me to listen. Let us start over fresh tomorrow and remember that your mercies are new each and every morning. It is never to late to start over. You are the God of redemption and restoration. You specialize in start overs, from the biggest to the smallest. My life is a living, breathing testimony of that grace. I pray that the fragrance of our lives would be pleasing to you. May all the glory be to you Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Fun!

Snow, Snow and Snow

The snow is no longer on the main roads but it is still covering the grass outside. The kids have had a fabulous time in the snow. Yesterday we went to my mother-in-law's house to play. We pulled the kids in a homemade sled behind the four wheeler. Muluken and Gifte laughed hysterically! We threw snowballs and chased the different four wheelers and the gator around. 16 of us went up there. Poor Mimi, we all raided her cabinets and refrigerator. She was such a sport about it, and everyone enjoyed it. Brityn and Cayden (my nephew) even had the chance to sled. They were so cute bundled up in the sled together, while Cayden's daddy pulled them around.

My favorite part had to be the sweet time we got to spend with my newborn niece, Lexi. All of the girls got to hold her and kiss her sweet face. It was precious. The best picture from yesterday was when Gifte and I were sitting on my bed. We were making pouting faces at each other and then laughing at the silliness of it all. It was a blessed day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good Intentions..... aren't getting me far :-)

There is several inches of snow on the ground and it is amazingly beautiful outside. The kids have built snowmen and a partial snow fort. They have come inside soaking wet and blessed beyond belief by the snow. Some of our college kids stayed the night and a few more showed up today to play. What fun!
So my best intentions at blogging aren't getting me very far. Because honestly, life seems so hard right now. Many times in my life since becoming a christian at the ripe old age of 21 (I asked Christ into my heart at 19, but didn't really get it until I was 21), I have been pruned by the Lord. Not ever as severely as I have been the last 4 or 5 months. I would love to say that life is glorious and grand but I would be lying most days. Many days I have argued with God about being pruned during the winter time. Things die when you cut them back in the winter, doesn't He know this? Exactly Krista! I think I was the last one to understand what He was doing. Scripture is filled with verses reminding us to be imitators of Christ, taking up our cross and following Him, dying to ourselves, putting off our old selves, and on and on. None of these things can be accomplished when I am living in my natural self. They also cannot happen when I am being stubborn, unwilling and disobedient to the truth. I wish I could put to words everything that God has taught me in the last few months, about dying to self and living for Him. The verse in Isaiah 1 has been a favorite of mine for years, but has lately become a constant saying in my heart, my mouth and our home.
"If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land. If you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." Isaiah 1: 19-20

Oh how I struggle with this. I don't just want to eat the best from the land, although who wouldn't? I do want the Lord to bless us, but I really want to bring Him honor and glory through my life. To imitate Him in every way and every where. Yet, I continue to live with my ears plugged to the truth in certain situations. Unwilling to let God expose certain areas of my sinful heart to the light so that they can be dealt with. Many of them are silly things really. Things that I should want to let go of and not worry over. One silly one is, people chewing with their mouths open. While this sounds so small, sit at a table with children who do this 3 times a day for weeks on end. I doubt that this small "flaw" by my standards is even noticed in Ethiopia but it is something that I struggle with and it gets under my skin like a bad rash. Instead of taking a deep breath, giving a consistent, gentle reminder and letting it go; I remind gently and then choose to be irritated. Messy rooms are irritating, dirty bathrooms are even worse and children that bicker is sometimes more than I can stand. All of it matters little tomorrow, but for that moment and the few after it, it matters, a lot.... WHY????? I have asked myself and the Lord "Why" more in the last few months of my life over trivial things. Embarrassed and prideful over the silly things that I can't let go of. But there is the problem right there. In our home, "CAN'T" means "WON'T". So if I rephrase that last sentence- I am embarrassed and prideful over the things I "won't" change. That leaves quite a different taste in your mouth after saying it. I know that I am breaking God's heart because He desires freedom from these struggles for me. It is a choice for me to lay it down, to accept the "new normal" and to live as He is calling me to live. Uhhhhhhhh, I want to but when I am faced with a 'trip wire' (as we call it in our house), I fall right over it and then later realize that I wasn't even looking. Open the eyes of my heart Lord, so that I can see the trip wires placed out there. When I see them, I can choose to step over it, jump over it or go around it. A simple choice, but I don't know that I would always choose to do the right thing, even if I see the choice in front of me.
Open heart surgery, is what I would call this season of my life. I don't even like the word seasons, when it comes to speaking about the places we are in life. A dear friend of mine used that word constantly, and though she was right about what she was saying, I refused to accept some of those "seasons". Well, she was right. I have gone through lots of seasons, and this one happens to be very hard. We are struggling with all the adjustments of 2 more children, cultural differences, language barriers, lots and lots of miscommunications, moving, adjusting, financial struggles and much more. But God is good and faithful. We have more good days than rough ones. I sat at the soccer field the other day and watched my four older children play on the same team, and for the first time I had a true glimpse of the picture that God is painting of our family. I was a proud momma that day. I walked away full of hope. Maybe that is what I have lost in the middle of the hard times and realization of how incredibly stubborn I am, is hope. But God is the giver of hope and through Jesus, we have the hope of far more than just what we can see in the here and now. Eternity.
For the here and now, what I choose to hold onto is the truth of God's Word. Truth that I deeply desire that my children know and live by. Today, I choose to, "Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. " Hebrews 12:1. I will also remember to, "Consider it pure joy, Krista, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:3
The rest of the day will be full of card games, snowball fights and lots of loud, joyful voices. Thank you Lord for the snow, for precious family and dear friends. Sweet memories will be created today. Thank you Lord for this day!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Okay, really.... I am terrible at this blogging thing but I am determined to do better... A dear sister told me that blogging is a great way to journal our lives. Well, better late than never. Our lives have been a whirlwind since coming home from Ethiopia. We sold our home in September and made several offers on houses and waited and waited on the Lord. So I sit writing this blog from our new home- that in all of God's provision He provided in just the right time. We closed on our old house on the 14th of December, and closed on some land, that we have wanted to sell since we got married, on December 16th and then closed on our new home on December 18th- one week before Christmas. It wasn't the house we waited and waited on... God kept shutting that door. But the door He opened is blessed. We all love our new home. It worked out that we got to spend 2 nights in our new home before Austin left to spend 10 days in Seattle. I love the Lord's timing..... lol.... now that we are through it. We had so much help moving, my brother and sister-in-law, my father-in-law and a ton of our college kids pitched in to help... We were completely out of our old house (-outside stuff) and into our new house within 24 hours... It was amazing... I am so thankful....
The year 2009 brought so many changes to our lives, and strengthened our faith because we had to completely lean on the Lord. We have gone through major transitions and I am praying for a calmer year for 2010 so that we can adjust, as a family, to all of the changes. But looking back, I can't believe where we started almost a year ago and how God provided for all of our needs and even some desires in just the right time and in a way that was far more than we could have ever imagined. It doesn't seem like a year ago that we began to pray about bringing Muluken and Gifte home and how God moved mountains to allow that to happen. Hmmmmmmmmm- His ways our definitely not our ways. I am just in awe at what a year it has been.

Christmas was fabulous- well except for our tree. Picking out just the right tree and a rather large one, is an event in our family. I was so excited to do this with Muluken and Gifte this year. Since we moved so late, the trees were all gone when we went to get one. So we got a little, bitty Charlie Brown tree. It took one small strand of lights to decorate it. I was crying as I put the lights on the tree- but looking at the faces of my children- they didn't care. Christmas isn't about a tree, or how many strands of lights go on it, or how many pretty ornaments it will hold, Christmas is about Christ and remembering His birth. Focusing on the gift of His life and the gift of our families is what Christmas is about, not all of the seemingly important traditions. Lesson learned Lord, it was a great reminder through a very small, funny looking tree.

We had a big turkey dinner on Christmas Eve and I had lots of help in the kitchen. They had a great time taking turns helping me bake and prepare things. Christmas Day was full of excitement, and we had all the family at our home for lunch. It was fabulous!

My mom and step-dad flew in for a surprise visit from Seattle on the 29th (the day Austin came home). It was the first time for them to meet Muluken and Gifte. We have enjoyed our time with them and have a few more days before they have to return home. We spent New Year's Eve watching the movie, "The Ultimate Gift." It was a great movie. I need to watch it again in order to really think through how to explain the lessons available in it. The calm night was a great end to a great year.... I hope soon God will fill my heart and mind with words to express this past year- as of now, I feel a bit like Mary must have, I am just pondering everything in my heart. Happy New Year to all!!!