Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas & New Years Love...

From our (messy, pajama-shorts/pillow-covered, funny-face) family to yours...
Marian (7.5), John (5.5), Vivian (3.75), Isaiah (8.75)

May 2015 be a season of new growth and much fruit for your souls and relationships and the community around you.  May the Lord Jesus be more and more known and treasured in your hearts and your lives be filled with His joy!

Much love to each of you dear friends,
the K family

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

K Christmas 2014: part one

"Marian" by John

We enjoyed our Kindness and Thankful stockings again this year.... so grateful for this fun tradition of serious joy.   During Advent, the kids get to stock their stockings with notes (or pictures) of what they love or what they're grateful for or sometimes, invitations to private tea parties after homework is done.    At our Christmas celebration today, we read all the notes and then we pay the kids for every note, plus a little....   and that's their gift giving fund to give away together.   We ran out this afternoon to buy one snazzy China gift for one fantastic (biggest) cousin!  Still more fun ahead to give the rest of it to more needs.  We get to celebrate our Savior King's birth by giving gifts to Him!  

I doubt many of you have finished up your family Christmas's yet, so I'll try not to spoil the end of Unwrapping the Greatest Gift for you.... but my favorite of all the whole book is the bottom of the second to last page.  Enjoy it when you get there, friends.  

oh so terribly grateful for this tradition.... candlelight advent readings and sweets and our Jesse Tree banner.  I'm deeply grateful to the Lord for Ann Voskamp's Christmas words and inspiration.  
We leave well before morning for 2+ days of travel (2 planes and 28 hours of train) til more Christmas with more family.   (We're wildly excited!!!)

the crunch

Can I just acknowledge that this is hard?  We moved earlier this year and this is nothing compared to that.  And it's cake compared to leaving for 5-6 months.  But packing up our family and leaving our home decently contained for nearly three months, and saying good byes here (and good grief!  We'll be back in less than three months!) and preparing for at least a dozen wonderful stops across the states, and flights (who doesn't loathe buying flight tickets?  ) and all the details.... cars to borrow, homes to stay in, gatherings to arrange, and all the supplies we'll need to gather to come back here, and it's not like we live in the desert of Sudan, but we'll be hauling a hefty load back here, I know.

And none of this counts as big stuff, I know that too.  It's just that these little things have added up to enough to pretty much undo me.

Yesterday was an ugly crunch.  Just Too Much To Do.  Kids loved by dear sweet friends..... but oh, maybe one of their kids might have a hand foot and mouth disease, so yea, we'll pick our kids up early.  Sorry about that.  And then when I got to deliver the kids to their house...  I discovered that Matt was across town in the car.   And the crunch continued and it wasn't pretty and I was panicky. Just so much weighing down.

And there is grace.
Grace for this.
Grace for me.

Just the day before we listened to Matt Chandler exhort us about Woman's Hurdles.  (See a few posts down for the amazing sermon series we're listening to).  And he offered that women fight hard against perfectionism- trying to be the perfect mom, wife, pintrest star.  He said something like "You will never be the perfect mom.  Your kids don't need a perfect mom.  They need a mom who shows them grace.  They need a great mom and that's a mom who clings to Jesus and boasts in grace so that every time she falls, she gets right back up again and carries on."

That's me.  Today.  A few hours before we jump on a plane in predawn darkness tomorrow proclaiming to myself with this web pen, and brokenly sharing with you dear crazy ones who'd dare to read this far....  Yesterday I was down, miserably panicking and racing around like that poor proverbial chicken...  but by grace, by Jesus, I'm back in it again.  I'm crying as I write this, but it does help my heart to spell it all out.... (even while my piles loom.)  I feel weak and unable to finish all this but I'll keep clinging and we will make it and I think there will even be joy in this journey.  I'm grateful that I have reason to trust and know confidently, yes, there will be.

And it will be good to arrive on the other end....  Vacation Time. at Christmas. with Family.  Man....I am hungrily grateful for it already.    (Ok, I'm also pretty excited about a bathtub, carpet, parking lots, chocolate mint ice cream and a good burger... but that's probably more than really does need to be shared here.  Too bad though.... 'tis a post for honesty!)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Aiming for Authentic Joy

Inspired by the masterful post “Harvesting Hope.” Here’s my parallel plea, my own prayer and desire for our family, and for my photo recording of our lives together, especially this Christmas.

I want time with you.  
I want to be with you
and to know you.
I want to hear you,
hear you share your heart,
your dreams, your fears,
that never-ending dream from last night,
or maybe it was a year ago?
Tell me all the never-ending details, please.
I'm here for you.

I want to hear you breath, 
chew (well, a little less would be fine)
and swing your pillow through the air to start battle.  
I want to hear you sing.
and sing with you.
I want to pray with you.
I want to receive with you
the grace that makes us all even, equal,
sinners, saved, for glory, by lavish, unfathomable grace.

I’ve said that I accept you- 
warts and weaknesses and all-
but I’d like to do that better, truer, deeper.
Please forgive me for when I’ve not
born with your weakness
but tried to insist that you come in line right.now.
You have born with my weaknesses too.
Please forgive me.
I’ve been shown so much grace.  
Oh to be an open vessel for His grace
to flow into, onto you through me.  
That’s what I want.  

And as for the laundry on the couch, 
it’s on our bed.
And the scribbles on the wall,
they’re on several.
And the crying, there will be much of it.
And hopefully much, much more laughter
(Daddy can make you laugh 
almost anywhere, anytime, can’t he?)

I want to pass you the camera, 
my budding photographers,
and thank you for the gift 
of your angle
and perspective.
I can’t capture for myself,
Daddy’s arms around me,
his kiss nuzzling into my neck
his words and hands that stroke away my anxiety
as he helps me to lift my eyes
and remember what’s true.  
I want to be gracious in giving to you
the chance to capture these treasured moments.  
Thank you for your skill that captures these 
glimers of this fast fading time 
that itself is a record of your growth and heart.
Thank you.
I can’t capture this all on my own.
I need you.
Oh I need you, and I love you dearly.

And I want to jump in with you on photo fun.
I’m sad that I don’t have hundreds more photos
of me with you.
Oh my babies!
I’ve blamed a dozen things but
I’m the primary changer needed.    
Thank you for wanting me with you
even wanting me to be recorded forever 
in digital family stone 
looking like…
the mom that I am.  
Thank you for loving me.
Oh I love you so.

And you know what?  
We still might resort to bribery.
Just take the chocolate promise and 
smile big please,
OK loves?
Do it for me, 
and for your auntie,
and for your grandma.
We’ll be so happy to have a few pics 
of hopefully our whole large 
and larger crowd
all smiling at once.
And if that takes a bit of extra encouragement
lets count it as a gift.
Just this once, 
we’ll won’t call it fake.
But the rest of the time your smiles 
aren’t going to be paid for 
with skittles or chocolate.
If you don’t smile,
{here kids: see me raise my eyebrows and sneaky smile at you}
you’ll be the ones to go down in family stone
and we will show the pictures in your wedding
of your grumpy face 
and it won’t be my fault.
And I’ll love you still.
We all will.

But I do most earnestly, deeply hope
that joy is the real story of our family.
I want to make joy with you, for you.
Hold my plans loosely and
believe the truth about 
our imperfect family life
being the stuff of real purpose, 
the place where forgiveness grows into life,
bears strength
and joy that’s just a taste of life beyond
these dark confines. 

I am the gladdest any mama could ever be
that I get to look for wonder,
sing into your sadness,
pray for peace and patching up, and
take Jesus as the Savior we 
everyday need, 
get up again when we fall down,
and aim for joy 
and live it
with you.

Monday, December 8, 2014


we've known that John likes the cold and is very brave for it... but I was impressed by Vivi's winter adventure-loving this morning too.  Man, we love these treasure kids!
These two are seeming so bigggg to me lately....  I am so grateful to the Lord that I get to know and love them!