Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm Getting Married in 9 Days!!

So, I haven't blogged in awhile. What have I been doing? Running around finishing all the wedding details. Now we are 9 days away and I cannot wait! I'm so ready to be married and living in the same apartment with Taylor! The wedding details are pretty much done besides a few last minute things that will be done next week. At the moment I'm working on packing so that when we get back from the honeymoon there won't be that much to do to get me out of my apartment by December 31st. So, I wanted to say that I've had plenty to blog about but no time to blog. I am hoping that after the wedding I will have more time to share all kinds of things with you, my readers! Thank you to everyone for your love and support!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I am Thankful on 11/7/2008 and 11/8/2008

1) Relaxing Friday nights
2) A clean apartment
3) Training days that give me more tools for my job
4) College friends coming into town
5) Flowers
6) Rainbows
7) Seeing the power of God in a thunder storm
8) The comfort of my fiance's arms around me
9) Laughter
10) Romance
11) Intimate conversations
12) The way God using people to touch me with His love
13) Saturdays
14) Restful sleep

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am Thankful on 11/6/2008

1) Wednesday nights with Rhesa, Marla, and all the munchkins!
2) The opportunity to observe other therapists in order to strengthen my skills
3) My mom's nuturing and friendship
4) My dad's providence and guidance
5) My sister's sillyness and music
6) Our wedding music!
7) Being loved by a man who is more than I could have ever dreamed!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am Thankful on 11/5/2008

1) Health and energy after a 2 1/2 year long battle with mono followed by chronic fatigue
2) Cold fronts that bring hot chocolate and cozy clothes weather
3) The wedding is 45 days away!
4) A fiance who loves to help with the wedding plans
5) The showering of love through gifts as Taylor and I plan our life together
6) Having a best friend and sweetheart in my fiance
7) Books and a love of reading

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am Thankful on 11/4/2008

1) Butterflies
2) Colorful leaves in the fall
3) That we are nearing the end of the wedding planning
4) Taylor's job-he is thriving in his position
5) Dear, sweet girlfriends and a girly weekend coming up this weekend
6) Accountability for my 2008 Resolutions (Thank you Rhesa and Marla!)
7) The joy that babies bring into a room

Monday, November 3, 2008

I am Thankful on 11/3/08

1) Cool breezes on an unseasonably warm fall day
2) Blue skies
3) Restful Sundays that leave me rejuvenated for Monday
4) Undivided time with my fiance
5) God's grace
6) The little victories I see in my dyslexic students
7) A cuddly, lovable puppy

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Project Thanksgiving

It is November. The month of Thanksgiving. Our church has decided to issue a weekly Thanksgiving activity throughout the month of November. This week our goal is to come up with 7 new things a day that we are thankful for, leaving us with a list of 49 by the end of the week. I am so excited about this project, because I'm going to have to delve deeper inside me to list 7 new things every day. I know I am grateful for many, many things; and I am glad to be challenged to make those known to God on a daily basis. He deserves my praise and thanks, and I do not want to find myself at next November realizing I haven't spent enough time thanking Him. So, because blogging is therapeutic for me and also a way for me to be accountable, I will be posting my 7 daily things beginning today. I thank God for this opportunity, and pray that my eyes are opened to His teaching throughout this "project."

1) An extra hour of sleep during a weekend when it was much needed
2) The daily Bible verses sent to my school email from my loving fiance
3) Watching a precious 6 year old mimic the deaf interpreter at church not realizing that the angels were singing over her sincere praise
4) The gift of singing on our church praise team
5) An incredibly fulfilling, purpose-filled job
6) The joy of planning a wedding
7) The unconditional love of my Heavenly Father

Praise you Lord for You are good!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

51 Days!

There are 51 days left until the wedding. How are we doing?

-We are exhausted from the crazy, crazy marching season schedule we've been keeping-2 more days of that, and then we'll hopefully get to see each other earlier than between the hours of 8 and 10:30!

-We are excited to finalize such things as: writing vows, buying our rings, gathering all the decorations for the church, organizing more gifts from showers, finish painting the apartment that Taylor is already in, etc.

-We are very tired of all the driving we're doing around the metroplex just to try to see each other and spend quality time together on a regular basis-we are very much looking forward to living in the same place in just 51 days!

So, yes, these things above sound like we're busy and exhausted--and we are...but in the midst of all of that we are excited. We are thrilled to be finishing up our premarital sessions-they have been incredible! We are thrilled to be getting our apartment slowly ready for us as a married couple. We are having so much fun dreaming about our future together as man and wife. We are very much in love and very sappy all day every day.

Busy-yes. Tired-yes. In love-yes. Excited-yes. Ready for December 20th--OH YEAH!!!!

Can anyone relate to these pre-wedding emotions?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hurting Teachers

Yesterday hundreds of teachers were asked to leave their students and their schools because a certain school district could no longer afford to pay them. Those with daily direct access to kids are being turned away from their jobs because of poor financial decisions made by administrators who do not have daily direct access to kids. I’m sure I sound cynical today, but let me be clear: I am hurting for these teachers and their students. The principals were given the pink slips yesterday informing them of which teachers would be asked to leave. They had the ability to choose when to best inform teachers of this decision, but were given the suggestion to wait until the end of the day. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, a few principals decided to go ahead and inform teachers in the morning forcing them to pack up their belongings and leave while a classroom full of stunned children watched in silence.

What is happening in our society that these types of decisions are being made at the expense of children? When did administrators in some school districts forget that their most important job is to take care of children? Why do teachers and students have to pay the cost of poor financial decisions made at upper levels?

I know I don’t know all the reasons behind why it seemed best to let teachers go in order to save this school district’s budget. I don’t know if it is agonizing for the administrators to even have to follow through on this decision. I wonder if they are asking the same questions I am asking. I pray that they are. I pray that the pain and confusion of the last few weeks will guide some to be more responsible in the future. I pray that from now on decisions that are best for kids can be made.

As a teacher, I find myself thankful that this is not the school district I work for. Do I always agree with the decisions that my administrators make? No. Am I supported and are my kids taken into consideration when decisions are made? For the most part, yes. Am I working in a place that leaves me feeling fulfilled and purposeful at the end of the day? Yes! I am thankful that I don’t have to come to work everyday wondering if my job is at risk because poor financial decisions were made elsewhere.

As a future parent, I find myself praying now that Taylor and I will be able to make wise education decisions for our children. As we are both teachers, we see the positives and the negatives in the public school system. I pray that we will have faith that the Lord will put us where our children need to be. I pray we will take confidence in knowing the Lord is in control of our children’s future not the schools. Dealing with our children’s education is still years down the road, but the current situation had me thinking and praying about the future.

So, today I am sad for these teachers. I hurt for the students that had to literally watch their teachers walk out of their lives. I pray that the Lord will quickly guide the teachers to new positions with new students to touch. I pray the Lord will redeem the situation in this school district so that the needs of students can be put first.

Thank you, Lord, for being in control. Thank you for your provision. Provide protection and comfort for those hurting right now. Give wisdom and clarity to all those making decisions that will impact students-present and future. Thank you, Lord, for putting me in a place where I can thrive and touch students’ lives without the fear of losing my job. Thank you, Father, for children! May teachers everywhere boldly make a daily difference in the lives of each of their students!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Balance

One of the things I seem to be in a constant search of in life is balance. How do I balance personal time with God, work, time with friends, time spent at church, time with my fiance? How do I give quality energy and focus to each area of life so that I can better maintain a healthy, energized lifestyle? And, for those of you who understand that struggle, isn't it funny how right when you think you might be getting there something changes that throws a wrench in your whole search for balance?

Well, I was reflecting on this yesterday, and realizing that one area of my life has finally come down to being much more manageable. That area? Work! As most of you know, I have set out on an adventure this year as a dyslexia therapist, and I am LOVING it! Since the end of July when my training began there have been moments of absolute craziness, but now that the routine of school is in full swing I cannot tell you how deep I can breathe now. I feel fulfilled at work these days instead of drained. I feel purposeful instead of like I'm grasping at straws. I can leave work at a very reasonable hour, and have plenty of energy to spend time doing other things such as working out, running errands, Bible study, and spending time with Taylor. I can cook for Taylor and I without feeling like I will fall over from the exertion of standing in the kitchen. All of this to say-work does not have control over the way I feel for the rest of the areas of my life anymore! It is the most refreshing feeling. It's amazing how when one overwhelming area of life becomes less overwhelming, you start realizing that maybe you can achieve balance after all. Now, in no way, am I the know-it-all of balancing life...I am simply reflecting on a little more balance my life has been feeling in the past few weeks.

God is so good, and I am so grateful that I have this job. I look forward to a long future of working with dyslexic children even now while in the district and in the future with private therapy.

God bless you as you journey towards balancing all areas of your life. The key: Keep God at the center, and He will guide all else!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Lord's Provision

I posted a while back that Taylor and I were patiently waiting for God to provide him with a job. I realized this past weekend that I never came back and updated the final outcome of that situation. So, let me go back and tell you a little story.

The last week of July found Taylor, yet again, as the #2 guy for an incredible assistant band director position. We were hurt and scared about the possibility of him not getting a job. Taylor began exploring his options of putting himself out there as a private lessons teacher for the school year. We were not sure how we would make ends meet once we got married, but we were praying fervently that God would provide the students.

On Friday, July 31st Taylor came over to pick me up for a date. He walked in the door excited because he had been called (at 6:00 on a Friday night!) to interview for a position as a percussion director. There was a "bad news" side to this exciting announcement. The position was not with the school district. It would be hired by the band at a much lower salary than a district employee. However, it was a guaranteed pay check for 12 months unlike searching for private lessons students. In addition, he would corner the market on private lessons for the high school and its two feeder middle schools and be able to charge for those as well. We were very excited at this unusual, unexpected, but hugely welcome surprise. The next morning (a Saturday) Taylor drove to North Richland Hills to interview at Birdville HS. The interview went extremely well, and we were back to praying that this would work out. Sunday afternoon at 12:15, the director called to offer him the job! He was to begin work at 7:00am the next morning. We went from scared and frustrated to overjoyed and in awe of God's work in a matter of 4 days!

We were ecstatic!!!! We had prayed and prayed for the best fit for him. The way that it came was not at all how we pictured it, but it was a huge blessing! Taylor is doing very well. He loves it, and the kids have really taken to him. We do not know what next year holds...it is really not ideal for Taylor to stay in a position that is not with a district. But, for now, we are thanking the Lord for His provision and praying about what He might have in store for us next year.

Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us! The Lord is good and faithful! We will continue to trust Him with our future!

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Matthew 6:34 The Message

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Love You, Taylor!

My fiance is amazing! There are so many things I love and appreciate about him. Because of this, I wanted to share some of these things with you, my readers.

-I love the way that Taylor talks to me. He is so respectful and so sweet. Even during frustrating or tense conversations, he speaks to me in a loving manner.
-He is incredibly sensitive to how I am feeling in any given situation-emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. He knows when my introverted side kicks in and I need a "people-break." He knows when I just want to be quiet and not talk. He knows that sometimes when I get quiet I am either tired or upset, and he always checks to see what he can do, if anything, to help.
-He knows when to listen and not "fix-it"
-I love the way Taylor will reach over to touch me or squeeze my hand to reiterate to me that he is still right there next to me-not going anywhere, ever!
-Taylor spends a lot of time thinking and praying about ways he can better lead our relationship spiritually. We continually have conversations about ways to keep areas of our relationship strong, and he will go away from our conversations contemplative. He will bring it up in a day or two telling me what revelations he has had.
-I love that Taylor is so involved in making our wedding day special. We are striving to make it more than just a pretty day, but to design it to represent the life commitment we are making to each other. It is going to be a wonderful day!
-We laugh all the time. I am so blessed to be marrying a man I can play with. We can be silly. We find things we enjoy doing together, and we can laugh until both of us are crying. Life will hold ups and downs for us along the way, but laughing together will be one of the most healing things we can do. I love laughing with Taylor!
-I love watching Taylor become my husband. As we progress closer to the wedding date, we find ourselves making more and more decisions as a couple. Taylor takes to his role as the man of the "house" so well! He spends time thinking about things, putting pencil to paper, looking at issues involved, and coming up with plans. We talk through all of it, and in every conversation his tone of voice just drips with the enthusiasm of providing for and protecting us.
-Taylor is wonderful with kids. We have done a little babysitting together and had an absolute blast! I am so excited that one day I will get to watch him be a daddy to our babies! I cannot wait to be parents together!
-I love Taylor's heart! It is so genuine, caring, and authentic. He wants what is best for people. He strives to be a better man of God every day-longing just to touch people's lives with Christ through him.
-When Taylor sings, I melt! God has blessed this man with a voice that glorifies Him each time his mouth.
-Taylor spoils me. I would love him even if he didn't, but I appreciate the way he showers me in all kinds of displays of love and affection from quick jotted love notes on a scrap of paper to flowers to tickets to a musical I am dying to see and everything in between. He is SO thoughtful!

There are so many other things. I could go on and on for the rest of the night! I am so in love with this man! God has so richly blessed me, and I am thrilled to be spending the rest of my life with him. He is my best friend and sweetheart, and I love him with all my heart!

Thank you for loving me Taylor!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Catching Up

Man, it's been a long time since I've posted. Life has changed so much for me in the last few months I guess I've just been to focused on other things to keep this up and going. Here's an update on the exciting things going on in my life:

-Taylor and I went on our first vacation together!!! We spent a day in Amarillo, TX visiting some friends, then 9 days with my parents in Abq, NM, and 1 more day in Deming, NM with one of Taylor's old roommate's and his family. We loved NM!!! Albuquerque was beautiful, and we could have stayed another week! We are going to love vacationing together in years to come!

-We bought a washer and dryer together a couple weeks ago. It was delivered today, and laundry is running as I type! It's really exciting to me to own a washer and drying. Not sure why, but I'm feeling very domestic!

-We are having our first official date night tonight!!!! Batman at a drive-in theatre! I cannot wait!!!!!!

-The wedding is 4 months and 19 days away! Sometimes that amount of time seems just perfect to get everything done. Other times it can't get here fast enough. The planning is going extremely well. All the big stuff (besides recording music and sending out invites) is done, and now we are just handling little things as they come along. Planning a wedding is super fun, and I am so thankful that I have a fiance who is excited about the wedding and is very involved in making our day just perfect! Taylor and I are having a blast being engaged. This summer has been a dream of being able to have limitless amounts of time together after spending 10 weeks apart. Of course, as school gets closer, that time is drawing to a close; but we are thrilled to be living in the same town just the same. We have grown closer together as a couple during the summer spending the majority of our time laughing, talking, and just being together. Yes, we have officially had our first little differences of opinion, but we came out of it better appreciating the love that we've been given! :) We are very ready to be living in the same house and starting our lives together as the Belts!

-I have officially started my training to become a dyslexia therapist. This week was my first week of class. I have two more weeks of training before school starts. We'll meet regularly during the school year for training seminars, and then I'll have more next summer and school year. In the summer of 2010, I will be able to take my ALTA exam which we certify me as an Academic Language Therapist. I am so excited about this new journey in my life. I am exhausted and on brain overload at the moment. The learning curve is huge, but I've been told by October all the craziness of getting started will start settling down. Despite the current overwhelming task, I am loving it. I can't wait to get in there and start meeting with my students!!! I am thrilled that after I complete the exam in '10 I will be able to do private therapy. What a blessing for the future I have been given. I will be able to stay home with my family and do therapy on the side so that I can continue to make a difference in the lives of struggling readers. Once again, I am so blessed to have Taylor as my fiance. He is just as excited as me about this opportunity. He's even told me he'd build a room onto our house if that's what it took for me to be able to do therapy from home!! I love the fact that he dreams right along with me!!!

-Along with the learning curve for becoming a dyslexia therapist, I am learning how to become the best future wife for Taylor that God can create me to be. We have had some difficult times this summer as Taylor has searched and searched for a job, but so far it has evaded him. We are both wondering why he keeps being told, "You've blown us away, your resume is fantastic, but we gave the job to someone else." He's in the process of pursuing plan B as a private lessons teacher, and we are praying so fervently for a good number of students to make themselves available to him. We have prayed and prayed since March (actually, Taylor's been praying since before that) that God would bless him with a position at a school that would be the best fit for him. Obviously, God's plan has not involved any of the dozens of school's he's applied to. But, what is the plan? And, what does being a supportive future wife for Taylor look like for me right now as he strives to be the provider for us? Needless to say, it's been a little bit of a roller coaster this summer. But, we are holding on to God so tightly knowing that despite all of our confusion and questions He will not let us down. He knows the plan, and He will take care of us.

So, that is my catch up in a nutshell. There is much going on. I will try to making blogging a more regular thing, but we'll see where life takes me in the next few weeks!! I pray blessings on all of my readers! My God bless your life journeys with new and exciting (even if difficult) chapters!

"You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you."
Isaiah 26:3

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Engagement Pictures Part 2

On Monday night my dad took pictures of Taylor and I at the golf course. We were going to do a third session in different outfits, but we loved these so much and have so many to choose from we decided we have plenty! He took about 250 shots...the following are some of my favorites! Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Engagement Pictures Part 1

Taylor and I have asked my dad to do our engagement pictures. Part of the advantage of using him is that we get to take them several different times! Today we took pictures in Albuquerque on the golf course, and we plan to do another round at sunset before our trip is over. Parts 2 and 3 will be in future posts. The bottom two pictures in this post are from the day he proposed. All the rest were round 1 of engagement pictures taken the day after Taylor proposed while we were still at Harding. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vacation with my Fiance!

Taylor and I are in Albuquerque, New Mexico visiting my parents.  We've been gone since Wednesday the 2nd, and are not returning to Dallas until the 13th!  So far our vacation has comprised of:

-Taylor playing golf with my dad
-Me reading my novel, taking naps, and sleeping late
-A trip to Santa Fe where we saw some sights and went to eat at a really cool restaurant where the wait staff sang Broadway show tunes.
-A minor league baseball game where we could see the mountains from our seats!

Our plans for the next few days include:
-Mom and I driving the carts while the boys play golf tomorrow, then we're off to get massages.
-Laying by the pool
-More reading and napping
-Card games and movies
AND
-Engagement pictures!!!!

This has been a wonderful vacation and we're really excited about the next few days.  It has been so relaxing and tons of fun!  We've talked multiple times on this trip about how excited we are that we get to do vacation together for the rest of our lives.  I promise to work on downloading some engagement pictures sometime soon after we get back home!  Happy July to everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Knot Wedding Web Page

Taylor and I made a wedding web page on theknot.com. I wanted to share it with you!

http://www.theknot.com/ourwedding/KristiLowery&TaylorBelt

Friday, June 13, 2008

Three Swings and a Ring

I'M ENGAGED!!! I feel like shouting from every mountaintop and dancing in the streets like King David (although I'd opt to wear clothes!)

I knew this was coming soon. Taylor and I have had a wedding date set for a couple months now. We've already started planning the wedding, it was just a waiting game until he proposed. I had decided I was pretty sure he was going to do it next Monday the 16th which would be 3 months from the day we met. We came to Searcy, AR on Wednesday to see my grandparents, visit with friends, and so I could introduce Taylor to Harding since it has been such a special place in my heart. Yesterday morning we had a plan to meet one of his friends in front of one of the women's dorms to say hi and set up a time to get together later in the weekend. We got to Patti Cobb Hall, and there was no sign of Brandon. Taylor spotted a Harding swing that was vacant. Now for those of you that don't know the significance of the Harding swing-let me fill you in. There are beautiful white swings all over campus that are very much a trademark of the university. During the fall and spring semesters, it is very difficult to find an open swing. Students sit and visit or study on them all the time. But...they are most known for their romantic attraction. A common saying at Harding is "Three swings and a ring" meaning that if you are caught swinging with the same guy three times, then you must be bound for marriage. So, back to my story--we head over to the swing and sit down. I am very excited to be sitting in a swing with Taylor, but anxious to meet his friend and head to the education building to see some friends and professors. Taylor leaned over to put down the bag he is carrying, and then looked up and tells me that he loves me. He had a very intense look in his eyes, so I asked him if he was okay. Next thing I knew he was down on one knee in front of the swing. Unfortunately for Taylor, the words that came out of my mouth at that exact moment were, "No way!" I was shocked that he was about to propose to me considering I was fully expecting it next week! I put down my drink, took off my sunglasses, and tried very hard to pay attention. I was already giggling at this point and so excited to be experiencing this moment at long last! Taylor said some sweet things to me, most of which I cannot remember due to the giggling and excitement. However, I do remember him talking about how God brought us together 3 months ago, and how he had planned for this moment to happen right here in this place because Harding had meant so much to me and been such a huge player in my growth as a woman, Christian, and student. He picked up a ring box, popped the top open and said, "Kristi, will you marry me?" I barely got the word "yes" out before I had given him a hug and a kiss. He told me to turn around and wave. The friend we were supposed to be meeting was standing there with a video camera capturing the entire thing. We stood up and hugged, then he told me to turn around the other way. I did, and I saw my parents walking towards us. Taylor had invited them to come along and take pictures of the moment and share in the celebration with us afterwards. We spent the next 30+ minutes calling everyone we could think of, before we started running around campus so that I could introduce my fiance to everyone I could find to talk to. The moment was so special to me. I'm not even sure if I would have realized how special it would be to me if someone had asked me about it beforehand. It was perfect. It was simple, it was sweet and romantic, and it was us! The weekend has been incredible and I've loved every minute of it. We are both exhausted from all the excitement and emotions surrounding this event, but we are floating on Cloud 9!

This man the Lord has given me is amazing. He is all I could have dreamed about and more! In 6 months and 7 days I will be pledging my life to him. We are soul mates, best friends, confidants, and help mates. Life with him is going to be an adventure, and I am so excited to take the ride. I am so blessed, and I pray every day that I never take for granted the gift that he is in my life!

So, for the questions that might be out there: Yes, there are pictures of the ring forthcoming. It's a round 1 carat solitaire on a white gold band! It's absolutely gorgeous! And...the wedding is December 20th in Dallas. YEA!!! This is so much fun! Keep checking the blog for all of our engagement/wedding adventures that will be happening in the next several months!

"Many waters cannot quench love."
Song of Solomon 8:7

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Made It!

Last Thursday, I wished my first graders farewell and hurried them out to their parents for the last time. On Friday, Taylor and I spent the day packing up and moving me out of my classroom. There was a small element of sadness that went with ending my time at Anderson after 3 years of working there. But, I am so thrilled and excited about my new teaching opportunity with the district that the sadness was short-lived. It was time for a change. My summer will be very busy studying and training for my new position as a dyslexia therapist, but I am looking forward to the challenge. For now I'm taking a short break...relaxing and thoroughly enjoying the fact that Taylor has moved back to the area. Next week I'll slowly start working on some of my assignments for training in July. So, take a deep breath with me, and if you are a teacher, enjoy the fact that we finished another year. We survived it despite the days when we thought we wouldn't. Now we get to rest and recuperate and prepare for the new challenges that are in our future. Happy Summer!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Selfless Witness

Webster defines "selfless" as "having no regard to self; unselfish." "Witness" is defined as "one who gives evidence regarding matters of fact under inquiry." Therefore, could it be said that A Selfless Witness is "one who gives evidence regarding matters of fact while having no regard to self"? And, if that is the case, what does it mean to be a selfless witness for Christ?

A friend and fellow sister-in-Christ confronted me today concerning some ways that my attitude in recent months had hurt her feelings. Throughout the course of our conversation I found myself realizing that no matter what my "excuses" were or how big or small I might perceive the offending issues two things remained true:
1) Her feelings were real and they were hurt. For that I was sorry.
2) The Lord was using her to show to me the extent to which my attitude in the last several months has become increasingly selfish therefore leading me to become less of a witness to Christ in my workplace. For that I was hurt because I should have known better.

Even as I process and pray through the things I have realized about myself today, my selfish nature wants to argue with me. The selfish part of me is giving me all of the reasons why I was justified in my bad attitude and actions. The selfish part of me is reminding me that I didn't realize I was being selfish at the time, so how could I be held accountable to it? The selfish part of me wants to make sure that I feel okay at the end of the day.

But, I know better. I know that Christ disciplines those He loves so that He can make us more like himself. I know that even "small" things in our book are important things to him. He tells us to "Love our neighbor as ourselves" and that does not mean only when we're not tired or overwhelmed or frustrated. It means always! See, Christ was hurt and mocked and treated badly, and he did not lash out. He didn't lash out at those who hurt him, and he didn't lash out at those that did not hurt him just because they were close by. He loved them. Fully and perfectly. No, I'm not perfect, but I am being transformed daily into the image of Christ. I pray my experience today will serve as a reminder that I still have things to work on. I need to open my eyes a little wider, and turn my ears up a little higher...and pay attention. There are those that Christ is trying to love on through me, and I don't want to miss it! Maybe then I'll be a little closer to being A Selfless Witness!

"When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. INSTEAD, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and LIVE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."
1 Peter 2:23-25

"Love your neighbor as yourself."
Leviticus 19:18

Monday, May 26, 2008

Long Weekend Activities

I have had a 4 day weekend this weekend. Of course, today (Memorial Day) is a holiday for obvious reasons; but we also had Friday off as a "bad weather" day which we never needed. I packed this weekend full of fun. On Friday, Taylor and I headed off to Nacogdoches for a wedding. We spent Friday afternoon around the campus of SFA while Taylor showed off all his favorite spots and took a stroll down memory lane with me by his side. It was so much fun! We both felt like young college kids again as we walked hand in hand around the campus. I'd never been to SFA, and I loved it! It's a beautiful campus, and it was so much fun to see where Taylor spent his collegiate years growing as a musician and a man! I cannot wait to take him to Harding next month and do the same thing on my end!

On Saturday afternoon we sang in his friends' wedding. It was our first time to sing together publicly, and it was a BLAST! We had several kinks to work out the night before (including completely transposing the part of the song I sang up 2 1/2 steps just so I could sing it without sounding like a man!). But...for the wedding day everything went off without a hitch. It was such an honor to sing for them and such a blessing to sing together. I look forward to singing many more songs by Taylor's side. We headed out of town as soon as the wedding was over to head to Royse City outside of Dallas for Taylor's family reunion. I'd met a few family members, but there was a big ole crew I hadn't met yet. Everyone had heard about me, so it was funny to see the looks on everyone's faces when we walked in and hear all the "Oh, so you're Kristi!" On Saturday night at their family reunion they have a concert where different groups of people and different portions of the family get up and share songs with the rest of the group. Taylor and I sang "The Love of God" with his brother Jordan. All of the cousins in Taylor's generation got up to sing a song and they let me join them. The Belt portion of the family got up to sing a song as well ("Gentle Shepherd"), and they asked me to jump up there with them! It was so much fun!! The whole evening was a blessing.

Taylor and I drove back into town late Saturday night in order to go Highland Oaks on Sunday morning. This was the difficult part of the weekend. After a long, emotional week for the staff and elders at HOCC our senior minister has decided to resign. It was a very emotional morning. I have been blessed to have a friendship with our minister and his wife outside of the minister/church member relationship that always exists. I've had long "figuring out life" conversations with them. I've babysat their kids. I've had game nights with a whole group of people that they were apart of. It is going to be very hard to see them go. It's is going to be a time of healing and transition for HOCC. Please pray that the pain will reside, and that the Lord will guide and lead the elders and ministry staff at HOCC. Pray for the transition time and the eventual hiring process that will take place to bring a new senior minister on board.

Today is Monday. It's the last day of this 4 day weekend. Aside from the emotional exhaustion of yesterday morning, the weekend was such fun! Taylor left last night again to go back to Midland. We have only 6 days left in this long-distance portion of our relationship. It was much easier to say goodbye last night knowing that very soon he will be coming home for good! I am SO excited for him to get here and for us to start our summer! We have a TON of fun things planned, and I'm looking forward to each one of them!!

I hope your long weekend was fun and exciting as well! May God bless you and your family and friends. May God guide you and shower you with grace through whatever type of transition you may be experiencing in your life. God bless!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Field Day 2008

Do you remember Field Day as a kid? Wasn't it just so much fun? Well, today was Field Day at Anderson Elementary. It was hot and the kids were exhausted, but they had a blast!!! Here's a few pictures I snapped during the day, and yes, the first couple are of us teachers making fools of ourselves. Enjoy!







Monday, May 12, 2008

Soaring Like an Eagle

In the portion of a Beth Moore Bible study I was working through tonight, she made a comparison between physical sickness and spiritual sickness. It really struck a cord with me, so in order to process a little more I decided to make my own comparison.

Two years ago I was at the end of my first year of teaching. It had been a long, hard year; but I was confident that I was finishing strong and heading into a wonderful summer of rest. For 6 weeks of the summer I rested and rested. I felt great and had some fun times, but I was resting a lot! After that 6 weeks I hit a wall and started coming down with some type of strange virus. After 2 weeks of being in and out of the doctor, they finally diagnosed me with mono. I spent 3 to 4 months taking very good care of myself trying to recover. This past winter (a year and a half after first having mono) I came to the realization that I have just never been the same. I get sick all the time. I've always required a lot of sleep, but since having mono the amount of sleep I've needed has been unreal. I started seeing a nutritionist and am currently in the process of finally really healing. What I learned is that I had not been eating the way I should to allow my body to fully heal. I'd been letting my stress level increase without realizing what that was doing to my physical body. After the initial healing, I had not allowed myself to let the healing process work to its full scale.

There are a few things from this story that to me make really good parallels to spiritual sickness:
1) Spiritual sickness can seem to come out of nowhere when in actuality it's been strengthening for a long time. I did not suddenly come down with mono in July of 2006. I had been working at getting it for months due to the stress and exhaustion and running down of my immune system that happened during my first year of teaching. In my spiritual life I have noticed before that I will "suddenly" feel extremely empty and lonely and wonder where that came from. The truth will be that I have neglected my alone time with God which at first doesn't affect me drastically, but overtime causes major damage to my spiritual health! Unfortunately, it is all too easy for me say, "Hey-I had a really good quiet time yesterday and I'm feeling good today. I'm just going to read my novel instead." The next thing I know, I will be stressed out to the max and realize it's been a week since I've blocked out time for God-and therefore, I cannot cope with life! The thing about taking care of ourselves physically is that we don't realize how good it is for our bodies to eat right and get good rest and exercise until we don't do it for a while and get sick. The same is true for time with God. We take for granted that every time we spend time with God, our spiritual health gets a little stronger. We may not feel the effects immediately, but we may soon realize we haven't been sick in a long time!

2) Sometimes due to this busy life we don't let ourselves completely heal from an illness before we jump right back into the real world. The same can be true for spiritual illness. Sometimes it can take years to heal from spiritual wounds. Unfortunately many times spiritual wounds are the easiest to hide, therefore delaying the ability to heal. Just like a doctor encourages us to give ourselves plenty of time to be well before returning to normal activities, so does our Great Physician encourage us to spend the time needed in His care to allow our spiritual wounds to be healed with His love.

I am on the road to a much healthier me than I have been since falling prey to mono 2 years ago. Already I feel tons better and it's been only 2 months since starting to work with the nutritionist. I pray that as my body gets back into shape I can remember to keep my spiritual health just as well tended and cared for as I am my physical being. I pray the same for you as well.

"Even youths grow tired and weary
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:30-31

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekend in Albuquerque!

Taylor and I came to Albuquerque, NM this weekend. My parents just moved here about a month ago, so I was anxious to see this new place they are living. In addition, Taylor had yet to meet my parents. We have had a fabulous time! It's been the icing on the cake to this relationship. All things are in place now, and it is so exciting!!! We were in Old Town Abq. yesterday and Dad took several pictures of us so that we could add to our collection. The following pictures are just a taste of what he got. It was so much fun, and we love how they turned out! We're going to be uploading them onto an album online. When that's done I'll post the link so that you can check out all of our cute photos! Blessings!





















Thursday, April 24, 2008

So Blessed!

I am loved by three men.

The first to love me cannot be seen.
He calls me His child, and He saved me from a life of sin and death.
I call the second one Daddy.
He provided for me as he taught me about the providence of the One who first loved me.
The third man that loves me is a gift from the first and a blessing to the second.
He will soon get to be the earthly provider and the son the second one never had.
My First Love has so graciously given me these two men on earth who have and will provide for and protect me.
My First Love has richly shown me His unfailing love through the love of these two here on earth.
I could not be more blessed to have been shown the love of my Heavenly Father through the love of my earthly father and my earthly prince.
I am loved by three men.
The First gave me the second and the third.
Oh, what rich love!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Daily-ness of God

While working on Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study tonight, I came across the following story that she penned as a reflection. It really struck a chord with me, so I thought that I would share it with you. (Side note: it starts off sounding very much like the Footprints in the Sand poem, but it's different, so stick with it!)

"Imagine going to heaven and standing by God as He lovingly shows you the calendar of His plan for your earthly life. It begins with the day you are born. Once you received Christ as Savior, every day that follows is outlined in red. You see footprints walking through each day of each week of your life. On many of the days, two sets of footprints appear. You inquire: 'Father, are those my footprints on the calendar every day and is the second set of prints when you joined me?'
He answers, 'No, My precious Child. The consistent footprints on your calendar are Mine. The second set of footprints are when you joined Me.'
'Where are You going, Father?'
'To the destiny I planned for you, hoping you'd follow.'
'But, Father, where are my footprints all those times?'
He answers, 'Sometimes you went back to look at old resentments and habits while I was still going forward, hoping you'd join Me. Sometimes, you departed from My path and chose your own calendar instead. Other times, your footprints can even be seen on another person's calendar because you thought you liked their plan better. At other times, you simply stopped because you would not let go of something you could not take to the next day.'
'But, Father, we ended up OK even if I didn't walk with You every day, didn't we?'
He holds you close and smiles, 'Yes, Child, we ended up OK. But, you see, OK was never what I had in mind for you.'
'Father, what are those golden treasure boxes on certain days?'
'Blessings, My child, I had for you along the way. Those that are open are those you received. Those still closed were days you did not walk with Me.'"

As I get older, I long for more daily-ness in my walk with God-especially in the mundane. This story was so sweet to me and reinforced to me how much I really do long to walk each minute of each day along the calendar that God has in place for me. Just being with Him in His daily presence is enough blessing for me!

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him."
2 Corinthians 2:14

Monday, April 14, 2008

His Rule is Right

"God knows our struggles. He knows every authority problem we have. He knows the times our trust has been betrayed. Like a father cupping his rebellious child's face in his strong hands, He says, 'Listen to me...Hear me...I, even I, am he who comforts you...I am the Lord your God!' (Isaiah 51:1, 7, 12, 15)" quoted from Beth Moore

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you. Thank you for your Son through whom I am able to come directly into your presence. Thank you for your continued patience with me as you stretch me and push me to grow even more like your Son. As I spent time today studying your Word, I found myself in awe of your sovereignty. Throughout my life you have been in control, and not only that but your way has been right and best. Father, I can often fight against your way feeling the discomfort of your timing versus mine. But, in the end, your way is still right; and I am infinitely more blessed than imagineable. Lord, I trust you with my whole heart. I lay my future into your hands, and trust you to take care of me. I thank you so much for my relationship with Taylor and for the new job-both rich opportunities and blessings in my life. I lay both of these new and wonderful things before you asking simply that because of them I will bring you glory. I am finding more and more that inexpressible joy is found once pain has been experienced. You have given me a time of inexpressible joy. I pray that when the next trials and hardships come along I continue to find joy in you and worship your name even more whole-heartedly. I love you, dear Lord. In Jesus' name-Amen

"Forget the former things:
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19

Saturday, April 12, 2008

All Grown Up

About a month ago, my sweet little girl turned 1. Because of all the exciting things happening with Taylor, I have completely forgotten to post pics of her all grown up. So, I was taking pictures of her today after her grooming and realized that I should post a few. The first picture of her was one of the ones the breeder sent to me that convinced me to get her. The second is not long after I brought her home, and the last three are from today. Such a cutie!!





Thursday, April 10, 2008

There is No Other

Wow! It's so amazing and awesome what God can do in a period of three weeks. These last three and a half weeks have been transforming in my life. God has just continued to show me over and over that His way and His timing are best and that all things work together for good. Obviously, as I have blogged about recently, Taylor is a HUGE blessing in my life. Our relationship is incredible, and what we see God doing in us as individuals and as a couple continues to blow us away on a daily basis. In addition to this change in my life, I have been praying about taking my career in a different direction. I have been burned out this year, and I have always known I wanted to someday find myself working in a more specialized area. I found out on Tuesday that I have been accepted through my district to be a dyslexia therapist next year! I am so incredibly excited! Like I said, it's amazing and awesome what God can do in a period of three weeks! I was reading tonight about God's right to rule and I came across this verse: "I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God." He has been in control the entire time, and He's always known that these last three weeks would come to be. He simply asked me to be patient, walk by His side, and learn about Him a little more so that I could be ready for this time of my life.

On a different note, I really wanted to share a school story from today. We had major, major storms in the area last night that caused a lot of damage in the neighborhoods around my school. The kids came in today fired up and ready to share their stories of missing trampolines and toppled trees. But, my favorite story of all was from a little boy in another 1st grade classroom. Here's how it went:

Boy: "Miss Roof, a subtraction problem happened in my backyard this morning."
Roof: "Oh no, what happened?"
Boy: "I have 4 chairs. 1 blew into the alley. 1 blew into the pool. And 1 blew into the spa. How many chairs are left?"

I guess we're teaching them something, huh? He came to my class today and shared that with my kids, so that we could use his real-life problem as our problem solving for today. It was fantastic! Happy subtracting!

"I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me."
Isaiah 46:9

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Taylor and Kristi pictures

Taylor came into town this weekend so we could see each other and celebrate his birthday! I met a bunch of his family members. We had a wonderful time! His family welcomed me in like they had known me forever. We laughed until I thought I'd be sick. It was great! Taylor and I enjoyed spending a real life weekend together even though it was so tough to send him back to Midland. We've got another 9 days before I go to Midland to see him again. Such will be our life for the next 2 months, but despite how tough it is, each of us can see how God is blessing us and our relationship even across the distance. Here are some pictures we took over the weekend! The bottom picture is us with some very close friends of mine-the Higgins family! Enjoy!



Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Becoming like my Savior

I am realizing that my relationship with Taylor pushes me to spend more time with Christ. This is happening for a myriad of reasons, but the one that strikes closest at the moment is as follows: I am becoming more aware that the consequences of not seeking maturity impact not only myself. Now, that has always been the case, but it suddenly seems more tangible. It's like I've tried to convince myself that I can hide a lack of growth from others-which was a lie in itself. But now, the Lord has placed someone in my life that I am allowing myself to become completely transparent before and accountable to, and therefore I have no desire to ever sit before him and say, "I am not taking the time to grow and mature." I'm sure at some point in our life together this kind of conversation will take place, but I'm discovering how freeing it is to be so genuinely and unconditionally loved by a Godly man. Having such a man of God in my life is serving to draw me closer to Christ which in turn is causing me to long to be even more like my Savior.

Dear Father, please do not let this change. Continue to use this relationship to draw me closer to Your side. Continue to create and mold in me the gentle and sweet spirit of a Godly woman.

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mixture of Emotions

Sitting in my dining room this evening I found myself reflecting on the myriad of emotions that an individual can be experiencing all at one time. Currently this is where I am:

-exhausted and worn out and tired of waiting for my supplements and diet change to fix my current state of health
-frustrated with issues at school
-lacking a positive attitude towards things in life that just must be done
-hurting deeply over the home life of one of my students
-completely in love with Taylor
-in awe and excited at the way the Lord is weaving our love story
-anxious and longing for Taylor to come home this weekend
-ready to shout from the nearest mountaintop that God has blessed me with an amazing man that wants nothing more than to become more Christ-like every day of his life.
-so incredibly thankful and gracious at the grace and love of my Lord

Wow! Thank goodness I have a Father that can handle me pouring out all of this to Him at one time. Cause at the moment, I'm about to fall apart just due to the overwhelming nature of all of this together. Thank you, Father. Hold my heart and emotions in Your hand and keep each of them centered on you.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pictures!!

Taylor and I took a few pictures on Easter Sunday before he went back to Midland. Wanted to share them with you. The first one is of us with an older couple from my church that loves us both dearly. They can't stop saying how glad they are that we found each other, so we just had to get a picture with them. And, yes, we are beaming!



Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Love Story

When God wrote my love story, He was patient. He gave me time. Time to find myself. Time to discover what my passions are outside of being a wife and mother. Time to realize and embrace that He is my Ultimate Prince Charming. Time to find contentment in being by myself. But, then one day not so long ago, God said, "Okay, it's time. Time to reveal to you what I have been dreaming for you. Time to give to you an earthly Prince Charming to love."

Throughout the course of this week I have been confessing to my Father my sin of unbelief. I didn't believe it could happen like this. When God promises the desires of your heart, I lacked the faith to believe He would even far surpass these desires. Shame on me. Oh Lord, thank You for blessing me despite my unbelief!

My love story is in progress. It is so special and so amazing that God is the only One deserving any credit. I pray that my earthly love story written by my Savior simply causes me to love Him more purely and deeply.

"Delight yourself in the Lord
And He will give you the desires of your heart."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bucket of Blessings

This week God is standing over me and laughing while He holds an empty bucket with the word "BLESSINGS" written on it. It is empty because He just dumped it all over me!

His name is Taylor Belt. We met on Sunday afternoon, and of the last 72 hours we have talked for 22. It's looking like one of those, "Sometimes it just clicks" situations. It's amazing! He's amazing! Whatever this fun adventure holds, I'm along for the ride!

Thank you, O Gracious God!

"No eye has seen,
No ear has heard,
No mind has conceived
What God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How Can I Keep From Singing?

At praise team practice tonight, we learned a new song called "How Can I Keep From Singing?" After the drama of last night's post, this song was a breath of fresh air to my soul. I wish you could hear the melody, but for now you will have to settle for the words.

"There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul,
I hear the music ring.
And though the storms may come,
I am holding on,
And to the Rock I cling.

How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is Your love!
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
And it makes my heart want to sing.

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night,
For I know my Savior lives.
And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through,
And sing the songs you give.

How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is Your love!
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
And it makes my heart want to sing.

I know I am loved by the King,
And it makes my heart want to sing."

Words and Music by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Ed Cash

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Seventy-Seven Times

"I don't believe God allows surrendered hearts to continue to long for things He will not ultimately grant in one way or another."
Quote from Beth Moore

Does your heart ever feel like it's bleeding? I mean, of course it does at the moment of heartbreak, sad news, or difficult times. But, I mean, when you think you are well on your way to healing...do you ever feel like your heart is bleeding again? That's how I feel tonight...and I don't know why. Nothing happened to cause me to feel this way. I just do. I left Bible study tonight, turned the radio off in my car, and just started asking God all kinds of questions out loud. Then, I spent the rest of the journey home in silence just hoping that tonight would be one of those times when the answer comes quickly. It wasn't. So, I just sat (or drove) in God's presence asking, "Father, my heart is bleeding...can you make it stop?"

I did find myself thinking about what a funny thing forgiveness is. How God can say, "I forgive you," and it's done. No questions asked; no trying again. Then there's me. I forgive someone and a month later find myself wrestling again with all the hurt feelings just to realize I need to let my heart forgive again. And, I always seem to realize I need to forgive some more just at the point when I think I'm done with it. If you've never experienced this, just trust me-it's annoying.

I'm not sure if all my thoughts really fit together tonight in any semblance of a complete thought. All I know is that typing this up is going to help me lay down and sleep tonight. Maybe tomorrow my heart won't feel like it's bleeding. Maybe this week I will realize what it means to completely surrender my heart to God so that His desires fully and consistently become mine. Maybe. But, for tonight, God is in control. May He bless both of us with peaceful, grace-filled rest.

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'"
Matthew 18:21-22

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Physical Education...or not?

In an effort to remain positive on the down hill slope towards Spring Break, I thought I'd share a funny from school today.

Girl: Hey, I figured out what PE means.
Boy: What?
Girl: Practice Exercising

And, there you have it!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Contemplating Patience

A few nights ago I found myself contemplating different levels of patience. I find that my patience varies throughout the day depending on the situation and the individual requiring the gift of patience. You know what I've realized? I get less annoyed with people I expect don't know any better. For example, I am usually (not always, but usually) much more patient with my students with special needs, then with my students I expect to know better. Whether or not this is fair or warranted is not the point of this post. My point is this:

What if God handled patience the same way I do? Losing patience because I should know better? Where would I be then?

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
He is PATIENT with you, not wanting anyone to parish,
but everyone to come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Generational Crises

For some strange reason last night I found myself contemplating mid-life crises. Weird, I know...considering I am just 26. But, I think I have a theory. Now, keep in mind, I have absolutely nothing to back this up; but that is why it's called a theory.

I think my generation is going through the "quarter-life" crisis, if you will, instead of the mid-life crisis. Here's my reasoning: The stereotypical mid-life crisis comes to an individual who married young and quickly had a family. When that individual reaches mid-life, they suddenly find themselves in a crisis of, "Who am I outside of my family? What are my individual gifts/talents?" However, my generation is experiencing more time between the educational years and the family years. I believe we find ourselves in our mid-late 20s realizing that so far life is not how we pictured it; and, although life is good, is life what we really want it to be? Taking that into consideration, I find myself wondering if this means the mid-life crisis will pass us by because we did it in our 20s. Who knows? Like I said, it's only a theory.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reflective

I am in a little bit of a funk this weekend. Mostly I'm fighting off a cold, but the down time has led to a little bit of emotional blah. So, I decided to reflect upon things I love because I hate funks.

I love my puppy. She is almost 11 months old; fun to play with; and very cuddly these days. She also very in tune to my mood and gets cuddlier when I'm sick or in a funk. :)

I love playing games. Friday night I went to a friend's 30th birthday party. It was an absolute blast! We laughed until I knew my abs had gotten a workout! Then we played Texas Hold 'Em and laughed some more. I love conversation and games with good friends. It was a wonderful Friday night.

I love to sing. I've been asked before about what makes me feel the most fulfilled. Aside from rocking a baby, I honestly believe it is when I am singing. Singing brings out the most honest part deep inside of me. It is how I can really express my inner self. I pray I always have opportunities to sing with others, and that I never stop singing when I am alone!

I love volunteering at Children's Hospital. I just started spending every other Saturday morning at the hospital spending time with kids one on one in their rooms. So far it has been play time with toddlers and rocking time with sweet infants. Oh, what a blessing! It has been wonderful and sad and fulfilling and heart-breaking all at the same time. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.

I love a good book. When I'm in a funk, books help me take charge of my thoughts and move them to other things when I just can't seem to stop my "stinkin' thinkin'" (as my dad would say).

I love the women's Bible study I have just started attending. Recently I got plugged in with a single women's Bible study through Prestonwood Baptist. What a blessing! It is so uplifting and so real! I've been longing for something like this, and the Lord opened the doors and led me through.

I love my Lord. These last two and a half years have brought me more ups and downs than I realized would be possible in my mid-20s. But, through it all only One has remained constantly Faithful. Without Him, I would be completely lost right now. With Him, I find the strength to continue down the path He is leading me, even though I see only Him and not the path in front of Him. He is blessing me every day, and unfortunately I all too often focus on the yucky way it can sometimes feel instead of the blessing of Him.

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."
Philippians 4:8-9
The Message

Saturday, January 12, 2008

To Listen Like One Being Taught

In my blog entitled, "2008-A Fresh Start," I confessed my need to learn to let go of my dreams and just let the Lord lead me. With all of that in mind, I started Beth Moore's Bible study Breaking Free. I am two weeks into the study and feel that my heart and mind are being opened to what I am missing. I am realizing how little I have let myself find satisfaction and fulfillment simply in my relationship with Christ. I can tell 2008 is going to be quite a journey. The following verses really struck deep into my soul today as I was spending some time in study. I wanted to share them with you and ask that you join me in praying for an open heart and mind towards all the lessons the Lord has for me to learn!

"Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not ALL his benefits-
who forgives all your sin and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who SATISFIES YOUR DESIRES WITH GOOD THINGS
so that your youth is renewed like the eagles."
Psalm 103:1-5

"The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the Word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
WAKENS MY EAR TO LISTEN LIKE ONE BEING TAUGHT."
Isaiah 50:4

"This is what the LORD says-your Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
'I am the LORD your God,
who TEACHES YOU WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU,
who directs you in the way you should go.'"
Isaiah 48:17

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rori's First Christmas

I realized when I sat down to make this post that I am going out of order. I blogged a few days ago about a fresh start to 2008. Today I downloaded some pictures on my computer and wanted to share them with you. These are pictures of my sweet Rori from Christmas at my grandmother's house in Corpus Christi. She's getting so big. Rori is almost 10 months old, and is really becoming a wonderful dog. She plays so well by herself, and she is learning to be quite the cuddle bug. I love being a dog owner!!! So, here's some pics of my mischievous little girl on her first Christmas.



Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008-A Fresh Start

Saturday evening I returned home after a wonderful Christmas week in Corpus Christi with my family. The drive had been long but uneventful. I went about the task of unpacking, putting away Christmas gifts from my family and my students (which I had not done before leaving on vacation), and just overall tidying up my disheveled apartment. I fell into bed exhausted but unable to sleep. Without really forming conscious thoughts I began to let my heart pray. In that time, the Lord revealed something to me as this thought crossed my mind, "You are too focused on the waiting; you are forgetting to live."

So, now here I sit several days later just now getting around to blogging about this epiphany because I've been dreading putting it into writing. In 2007, I was blessed to fall more deeply in love with my Savior than I realized was possible. I also learned to make peace with "waiting" at this time in my life without feeling the need to rush my dreams into existence. What I didn't realize is that I took that peace too far and just let myself "be" in waiting.

Some of my readers may be thinking, "Kristi, you've said things similar to this along the way; why is it just now sinking in?" I don't know, but praise the Lord He is patient with me! He's probably going to have to continue to remind me all throughout 2008 to just keep living and stop being concerned about waiting.

And, like I said, I've dreaded writing this down. Because, honestly, I'm scared. I'm scared and lonely and a little disillusioned about the church being my family. A few things have happened in the last several weeks that have made reality out of the idea that our culture and the church are designed around couples and families. Having said that, I know that God's grace covers all of this and He will provide healing from the disillusionment.

It's also scary to finally admit I just need to let go of my dreams and see what God is dreaming up for me right now. Yes, maybe I should say that one more time. In 2008, I am going to let go of my dreams and see what dreams God has for me.

Last night I was at some friends' house for a New Year's Eve dinner. Because of the number of young children among us we toasted in the New Year early and went our separate ways. At 8:30, we joined in a circle and each mentioned blessings, dreams, or wishes for the New Year. With all of the previously discussed thoughts in mind, I lifted my glass and said, "To all things unimaginable." The verse at the end of this blog is going to be my "theme" for 2008. I am going to meditate on and pray through this verse throughout the year knowing that God's plans for me are unimaginable. Because if I am just waiting instead of living, then the unimaginable may pass me by.

May 2008 be full of all things unimaginable for you and your loved ones! I pray God's richest blessings in your lives.

"No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him!"
1 Cor 2:9