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I can try.

I have three beautiful boys, who I love dearly, and my friends they are BOYS. They wrestle, play for hours in the mud, build forts, wrestle some more, love superheroes, shoot everything, “hunt” around the house constantly, build guns with their Legos, build superhero forts with their Legos…you get the idea.

We watch the Disney channel, and every time a “you can do it, princess” commercial comes on they yell about not being a princess and I get upset. Disney seems to be consumed with swinging the pendulum as far possible in, whatever direction, the feminist movement happens to be swinging. Our culture, seems to be determined to loudly swing the pendulum the other way. As a mom of boys, I find it massively frustrating, unfair, puzzling, confusing.

I grew up in a home where I was constantly encouraged. I was also disciplined, when I was being naughty…, given responsibilities and expectations. But, when I wanted to try something, I never heard from my parents that I could not do it for any reason. I was not given  a false belief that I literally could do everything, but if I thought I wanted to try something, my parents rallied behind me.

My mom was, and is, a doer. She went on adventures, traveled, camped in Alaska for months by herself, and moved across the country by herself. My dad was, and is, a doer. He became a commercial diver and traveled working, went to the bottom of the ocean and has some crazy stories! They both traveled around Europe. They met, fell in love, and got married three months later. They both are big dreamers and are excited about their life together. As a team.

Not once did I ever feel less than because I’m a woman, not once have I ever seen my mom back down because she is a woman, not once have I ever seen my dad treat a woman as less than because she is a woman. Not once did my brother ever treat a woman as less than because she is a woman.

My husband is my favorite. One time I tried to play helpless (not a clue why) and he looked at me like I was nuts and told me I could do it, so do it. When I told him I wanted to go back to school, he was my biggest cheerleader. He has supported me as a stay at home mom, by choice. He has listened to me go on for hours about what I would love to do and encouraged me to keep moving forward. I have never seen my husband look at anyone as less than because of their physical appearances. I have never heard of him speak of anyone as less than because of their physical appearance, the fact that they are female.

There is a new shirt at Target, Strong Like Mom, which is great. But, why would I not want my sons to be like their dad? Why would I not want them to emulate the character of a man who I love more than words could ever explain? Someone who I respect day in and day out. Someone who I have grown to love more and more over our, nearly, thirteen years together. Someone who loves me well, respects me, makes me laugh, holds me while I cry, fights for me and loves God above all else. Why would I not want them to seek to be like him?

My boys know I’m strong. They see me as capable, hard working, loving, a teammate for my husband, and someone who loves God above all else. They love lifting weights with me, running alongside me, celebrating with me when I finally finished my degree! They see me cry and wrestle with God on the hard things, and praise Him for all of it. I don’t need to protest in the streets to prove that point.

When I see women aggressively attacking men, because they are men, I am offended. In all of the jobs I have had, I have received equal pay, equal treatment, and not once questioned whether or not we were on the same playing field. If there was a time that a man has made a joke at a woman’s expense, there has always been a man to shut him up and defend women. Women rant and rave about “man colds”. When my husband is sick, he is SICK. He had pneumonia for part of December and all of January, he did not miss one day of work, struggled to breathe, but still participated fully in our home and in his classroom (he’s an elementary school teacher).

I am proud to be his wife. I am proud to be mom to our boys. I am honored that I get to stay at home with them during this time and that my husband encourages me to do so, and works so hard for me to be able to.

I am proud to be raising my boys the way we are. I do not want them to treat girls, young ladies, ladies as anything less than. Ever. They will respect women, and not because they are women, but because they are human. Do I want them to treat women differently than men? Yes, I do. Because we were created differently. We have different strengths and weaknesses (physically, emotionally, mentally). Because God designed it that way. IT. IS. GOOD.

I still believe I can try. I told my dad I wanted to write a book, he thought that was fantastic and immediately started working on a plan with me. I told my husband I wanted to get re-certified as a personal trainer, he thought that was fantastic and encouraged me to do so. He also encouraged me to look at master’s degrees, so I can fulfill my ultimate dream of being a counselor.

People that tell you, you can’t, are NOT people you need in your life. People that are not encouragers of you and your dreams, are NOT people you need in your life.

Look for people that will cheer you on. Look for people that will push you. Look for people that will come alongside you and work with you. Then grow with them.

Do you do well to be angry?

This is a question that God himself asks Jonah. I cannot even begin to imagine having the voice of God reigning down on my ears, but I do have His words in my face, asking me: Kelsey, do you do well to be angry?

Last spring I was reading through Jonah, our middle son loves the story of Jonah getting swallowed up by a whale/big fish and I thought I would study it a bit more and really get to know the story so he and I could talk about it. Jonah’s story is fascinating, and in so many parts, completely relatable. Right off the bat we find God has commanded Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and “call out against their evil” (chapter one, verse one). God is asking Jonah to do a HUGE thing here, go and spread His name to the people of Nineveh, give them a chance to repent!

Jonah thinks he can disappear from the presence of the Lord.

He thinks this so much that he buys a ticket to go on a ship in the opposite direction. Thinking he can escape God. God watches all of this, throws a storm at the ship, provides a way out for the sailors (who feared God) by throwing Jonah overboard (Jonah’s suggestion), who God then rescues! from the sea. AND THEN God handpicks a fish to go and rescue Jonah, thus providing Jonah some quiet time.

Jonah takes this time to pray to God, giving thanks and recognizing God’s almighty saving power. So, God has the fish spit him out, right where he needs to be to go and share with Nineveh. God, again, says, “go.” This time Jonah goes and cries out to the city and they believe!! They believe and repent. God sees this and grants them mercy, turns away his wrath.

Jonah gets MAD! He yells at God, and argues with him! Because he knows that He is, a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster,” (Jonah 4:2) and God has saved Nineveh in that great mercy. God responds with: Do you do well to be angry?

God does not throw down lightning bolts, or cause an earthquake to destroy Jonah, although he (we) deserved it. God simply asks him a question, forcing Jonah to think about what he is saying/doing. This question gets me every time. I can hear God asking me, every time I get mad at our boys, frustrated with this, that or the other things and lose my temper. Kelsey, do you do well to be angry?

Our God so full of compassion, mercy, grace, His steadfast love, protecting me from utter disaster. Kelsey, my daughter, whom I love, do you do well to be angry?

My husband and I spent about a month talking about God’s incredible patience with Jonah (who also got mad at God for killing a plant), and wondering to what purpose does our anger serve? In our daily lives, on a drive to work, getting through the grocery store (with it’s incredible convenience), walking our way through the day with our children, at our jobs, dealing with family and friend drama/trauma, in any of our normal circumstances, I would like to strongly encourage you to slow down and ask yourself:

Do I do well to be angry?

And read Jonah. It is such a short book that, more than likely, you will be able to read it multiple times and be able to dig down deep into it. You will find in Jonah pieces of yourself, you will see God’s mercy for someone just like you and you will find comfort in God’s amazing attention to detail, his steadfast love, and grace.

God bless, friend.

 

 

(Small side note: I would like to emphasize the NORMAL part of the circumstances. I would never question anyone’s wrestling with God on big life altering changes happening in their lives. A very dear friend lost one of their closest friends suddenly yesterday. I would never challenge, downplay, or ask someone to move quickly through their grief. Life is hard, I pray every day that Jesus would come back quickly. Until then, I am praying for you today! Do not feel rushed to move through your emotions, but self-reflection is so good, looking at our daily circumstances and taking a step back to see if we really do, do well to be angry.)

Surrender

At the end of 2015 I came across a blog post about picking “one little word” to focus on for the year. Last year I had two, strong and courageous, you might actually call that three… This year, I have two. Again. Because apparently I can’t follow the rules. 😉

At the beginning of December I saw the word “surrender” and I knew that that was my word. Since January 1st I have been forced to recognize just how much of my life I have not surrendered to God, how on a daily basis I struggle, in some areas I have been able to move forward a bit, but for the most part I struggle…maybe that should have been my word.

My husband got some stressful results from some blood work he had done, he was running around doing life with pneumonia and not being able to breathe (he has really bad asthma) and that opened my eyes to how much I struggle with surrendering fear. Fear of watching my husband die slowly from a horrifying disease, he is having more blood tests done in a couple of weeks, now that he is finally done with pneumonia and antibiotics. That showed me how much I struggle with letting go of the notion that I might have some control over my life or my husband’s, or our kids…I cannot stop my husband from dying, I cannot heal him, I cannot take any of it away from him. (Just so we are clear, nothing has been confirmed, more tests are being run!) But, I have no control over the genetic mutations he was born with!

Jesus tells us that we are to seek Him first. In Matthew 6 He talks about food, drink and clothes and how God knows what we need before we need it. We are to seek Him first. His righteousness. His kingdom. FIRST.

Just a few chapters later (Matthew 10:38-39), Jesus talks to us about taking up our cross and losing our life for His sake. These two, very small, sections of Scripture are like a big slap in the face to my fear. To my worry. To my plans. To MY                , whatever you want to put in there. I do not own my life; I make choices, hopefully, as a reflection of my love for God and desire to have Him first in everything. There are consequences to my choices, both positive and negative, there will always be consequences. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

BUT GOD.

He, “gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Because of this I am purposefully working on surrendering my fear, my control, my marriage, my role as mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, auntie. I am surrendering my life to my God because He loves me. Because His best for my life is far beyond anything that I could ever have hoped for. His love for my husband, my children and myself is bigger than I could imagine.

Because my God is good. He has chosen me and has called me to put on as His chosen one, “holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 (emphasis added).

<He LOVES you too!! He created you for a beautiful purpose. He chose you.>

Does that not sound like someone you would love to be around? Someone who you would love to be? Today, will you join me in surrendering yourself? Asking God to help you put on all of those things listed above. That we would put on His love. His humility. His kindness. His compassion. Let the person He created us to be SHINE.

Verse 15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” (emphasis mine). Let His peace rule. Let Him rule.

 

 

 

My goals! Let’s stay accountable.

Goals, goals, goals!!!!

I’m a little late joining the party, but! I figure if I post here and make my goals internet public, maybe I’ll be held more accountable.

Last year I discovered Lara Casey’s PowerSheets and I fell in love with them! She is someone that is FOR people, she is an encourager and wants to see people succeed. I’m drawn to people like that, those that truly care for others and not just their bottom line. (Fully realizing that as a business owner, she cannot help but have one.) This year when they opened their shop with the 2017 “intentional goal planner”, I jumped on it and got one as an early Christmas gift. (I put a link down on the bottom! Also, in no way do I get any kind of kick back for this, I just love the products.)

Lara breaks your goals down in such a way that makes small ones feel hugely important and big ones completely tangible. I’m excited for 2017.

My goals are somewhat varied but after completing my biggest one last year (finishing my bachelor’s degree! yay!), this year is filled with day-to-day goals, relationship growth, and letting go of what I cannot control. At least releasing my iron grip a bit so my knuckles no longer glow white. SO! Here are my goals, in no particular order of importance or completion date:

Goal 1: Read my shelf of books. As I got closer to my graduation date I started collecting books that I wanted to read or re-read. I’ll post my list later. So excited to simply read for fun!

Goal 2: Overnight adventure with Ry (my hubs). Since becoming parents (over seven years ago) we have not gone away together. Neither of us regret not having done this, but our kids are at an age and point in our asthma journey, that we can reasonably do this now.

Goal 3: “Tour” Washington and see friends. The state I grew up in and called home for half my life, still brings so much joy to me and is home to many dear, amazing friends! I’m excited to journey through it this summer.

Goal 4: Colossians. I feel very vulnerable putting this one out there. Super, hardcore, my cheeks are red, NERVOUS. Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid I would create my own newspapers, magazines, and books. I would interview my dad and make up story lines for my stuffed animals. These days, I want to write for women. So, this year I am going to write a devotional for the book of Colossians. Whether or not it sees the light of day, I will be doing this.

Goal 5: Read the Bible in 90 days! I have already started this one and I am so excited about it! I love spending time in the Word and it is really exciting to be reading through it again. A couple of summers ago a very dear girlfriend gave me the plan and devotional to go with it. She is such a gift, at the time I was overwhelmed with life and school and family and I just could not do it. SO! I started January 5th. Here we go.

Goal 6: Run a 10k! I’m finally in decent enough shape again, my back isn’t killing me, my hip pain is down to a minimum and I am looking forward to my fitness journey opening up again. I have not figured out which one I’m doing yet, it’ll be happening this summer, but I’ll post back when I do! (No more babies are growing in my belly, unless God does something CRAZY.)

Goal 7: Harder 5 adventures! I love going on adventures with my 4 men, our boys are 7, 5.5, and almost 3! We have an awesome time together and love making memories. I’m looking forward to more, purposeful time together.

Goal 8: Apply for at least 3 Master’s programs. I’m still battling on the degrees that would help me go further in my dream, and those that are possibly the “should” degrees that would make for a more responsible, adulting decision. Those give me an icky taste in my mouth…obviously I need to work on this.

Goal 9: Hunt with Ry this fall. I love spending time with my husband! He loves to hunt, it’s been roughly six years since I’ve gone out hunting with him…due to babies, moving, lack of childcare. This year is going to be our year though! That said, he starts at 7,000 feet and goes up over 10,000 and typically hikes 8 to 12 miles a day. Throw an animal on your back and OH MY LANTA. I need to get in hunting shape. We have four grandparents volunteering this year to make it happen. YAY!

Goal 10: Pray with purpose ,on a daily basis. Not just in crisis. I have a beautiful prayer journal from Val Marie Paper. I LOVE IT! I used her 6 month journal the last six months of last year and this year I got the one year journal as a birthday gift. (I turned 33 last week!) It has help keep me accountable to those I am praying for, as well as giving me the gift of looking back and really seeing prayers answered. If you want to grow more in your prayer life this year, I would encourage you to check out her journals! She has pregnancy journals, adoption, marriage, 6 month and year long, and more!

Happy Monday to you!!! I’ll be back soon. 🙂

Journal Collection

https://shop.cultivatewhatmatters.com/

REST

A word that can be mighty deceiving. Rest can look different from person to person, but one thing is for certain, it is a must for all.

I’m getting ready to graduate with my Bachelor’s in Psychology (finally!!! After five years and two six month breaks in there) after ten moves in four years, one change in my major, the birth of our third child and all of the other little day to day life happenings.

I’m ready for some rest.

I am ready for life to slow down a tiny bit, to not lie awake at night wondering if I have done enough, panicking over my next paper, the books I have yet to read for class. Finally drifting off to sleep only to have one of our beautiful boys come “sneaking” in because they had a bad dream or the crazy Wyoming wind woke them up.

Rest with three little boys can be very difficult and hard to come by. Having one in school has allowed for a little bit of slowing…but only a little. Trying to keep the other two engaged and moving throughout the day can be a full time job. Struggling with the guilt of sitting down to do homework and not being totally available can be difficult. BUT it has also allowed for our youngest to learn to play by himself and our middle to make some (I think) amazing things with his Lego’s!

There is joy in the little day to day pieces, even though they might seem mundane at times, taking a break and looking around at our home (however frequently it changes) and the people that occupy it makes my heart soar. Our family pictures on the wall, the dirty boy shoes by the door, the artwork covering our fridge and the wall by our desk. Our calendar full of life’s reminders (because this mama forgets a LOT). Our kitchen table is frequently littered with my school books, all of the projects that happen throughout the day and the snacks that are inhaled by the boys. Life.

I woke yesterday with a tiny bit of panic, November 1st. 40 more days of school. Just over three weeks until Thanksgiving. About seven weeks until Christmas. Just over two months until I turn 33. My poor friend Suzanna has listened to my horror over the years going faster (and us getting older!!!) for the last five years, with my panic ever increasing. Each year goes by faster and I feel like I’m still trying to catch up. BUT! My “word” for the next two months, I decided, is rest. Because I need it. I need to put down my phone, I need to snuggle my boys a little longer, read the third, fourth or fifth book…play Lego’s a little more frequently throughout the day.

REST.

Because God say’s so.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15

I could always use a lot less of me and a whole lot more of Him; and if rest is the way I am going to get it, then here we go.