"How Much of Me Does God own?" Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Challenged by how much more I could do as a Christian to make myself stand out from the world. Not as a boastful or showy demonstration, but as a life changed so thoroughly from within, that everyone whom God allows me to come into contact with has no doubt that it is Christ's power within my weakness that makes me strong! Nothing more. Absolutely in Christ Alone!











Monday, February 8, 2016

Soul Hug




That is a little bit how I feel today. (Except it's a lot cuter).
And this morning at 4:45. And whenever I think I've found my niche or the solution to "that" problem only to have it backfire on me, or just the daily that can be hard. Sometimes, SO hard. Today is a day I could just drink all the coffee and all the tea, and all the Coke, eat all the chocolate (Oh, I'm having a little), but I'm also trying to remember that falling on my face before the Lord and crying, "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know," is acceptable to Him and He meets me there. Here.

He does know. He does understand. And part of the hard is not just for the littles that I'm training (also, my personal word for the year ... ), but also for me. To need to KNOW Him. To understand that the strong will inside of me NEEDS Him. Yes, I'm saved. Yes, I know He loves me. Yes, I know He wants whats best for me, in His own definitions. But at 4:45am, I need Him. At my whits end in an angry, disappointed and sad tearful embrace, I need Him. And He wants me to know Him. More.

God's word says, "Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me (wisdom), watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injurses himself . . ." (Proverbs 8:33-36 emphasis added).

And what about Psalm 46. All of it is great, of course, but highlighting parts of 8, 10, 11, "Come, behold the works of the Lord . . . Be still, and know that I am God. . . The Lord of hosts is with us . . ."

He wants us to know Him, and He's given us His Word (amazing!), His creation, and His Holy Spirit to help. How much more do we (I) need?!

Do you KNOW Him? Is He comforting to you when the sun is shining AND when you feel lost in the fog? He is real. Knowing Him is real. And when the realities of life are in your face, ask Him to help you remember what you know, and to know Him more. It's kind of like a soul hug. And if you need another one in five minutes, do it again. I'm pretty sure there is no end to an Almighty's ability to show Himself worthy, loving, and personal.

From one real life mama, wife, sister, friend, daughter to you: blessings, hugs and coffee.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jorryn = The one God loves

Just less than 3 months ago, we lost our own little baby in miscarriage. It was one of the most unexpected, at times-a little frightening-, yet grace-filled circumstances we have yet encountered. My heart is sorrowful when I think of our baby Jorryn (the one God loves), and the thought of who our child would have been or how God would have used that precious life. Yet I praise Him for the short 12 weeks we had to celebrate a life and soul that we now look forward to meeting in heaven. On this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, my heart is singing the words of Psalm 139:15-18:

"My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,  O God! 
    How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand. 
    I awake, and I am still with you."

​How great is our God?! How mighty is He?! 

Big enough to create life. 
Wise enough to count the life days just right. 
Gentle enough to comfort our hearts and graciously uphold us with peace. 
Loving enough to embrace our baby for us.  
Kind enough to hold onto us through it. 
Near enough to hear our prayers. 
Patient enough to see us through when even we may give up. 
Strong enough to handle our questions. 
Holy enough to use it for His glory. 
Worthy enough to accept our worship.

To everyone struggling with loss and heartache tonight, my prayer is that you can find a way to hold on to this magnificent Father one more minute. One more day. One more week. Until what He says about Himself is true. Not just words in a book or someone else's testimony, but in your heart and soul as well. You are loved. You are not alone.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Date Night

Date Nights with my son are one of my favorite things. Of course they differ from date nights with my Bays in lots of ways. One of the biggest differences is that they aren't actually at night. And instead of him driving me, I drive him. But they are the same in that we talk, take photos, get to know each other better, and I get to love on him without any other distractions.

Today was a day for a date. When I told him what we were up to, he said, "There be juice there. And Snacks!" Which is what we had done last time. So I took him back to the Target Starbucks, ordered his apple juice in a coffee cup, and let him pick out a cake pop. He said his coffee was "very hot," and proceeded to blow on it before taking a drink. He even agreed to take a photo with me and our coffee.

Mommy and Me
Pink Cake Pop


Juice Coffee

I forgot to mention also that he invited Junior Asparagus along on our date. 

After we finished, we buzzed over to the pet store. "There be kitties there!"

He was eager to see the guinea pigs, and ferrets, birds and mice (one of his favorites...Yuck), as well as the fish. His favorite fish last visit was the actually the blue lobster. I saw him perusing the various tanks and he said he was looking for the blue lobster. Thankfully, we found him and he had grown! And this time there were also white lobsters...his new favorite.
Rat
Blue Lobster

Thirsty Hamster


As we headed toward the door, we walked past an aisle of discounted, plush dog toys. Elliot immediately snuggled two of them into his neck. I had no choice but to get one...or three!


But Elliot plans to share :)

Such precious time with my little man. I treasure every second. And I know one day, he may be drinking real coffee and driving me to our date. But I don't have to dwell on that today...
...today, he's my two year old Babyson, and a blessing. Joy. Gift.

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Potatos Are Sprouting

Both kids are sleeping and I have about an hour to do WHATEVER I want. This is pretty much what goes through my head:

"I think I'll shower.

Nah, maybe I should sweep the kitchen and clean the bathroom.

Well, maybe I could read a book, make a craft, catch up with someone I haven't in a while.

Take a nap?

(Pause to check Facebook for a minute. Be inspired by all the amazing accomplishments my friends are posting about).

Maybe I should write a book.

RIGHT.

(Inspirational song plays in the background).

My heart is overflowing and my mind can't keep up. Maybe I should blog about that."

Nevermind that it's been since 2012.

That's right. Over a year and a half since my last post. Part of me assumes no one will remember I ever did blog, and that's ok. It's therapeutic and helps me capture important things when I have time to type them up. The other part of me hopes someone reads it and something resonates. Today is a special day.

My heart is quite happy today, so the dew that threaten the back of my lids and forms a lump at the back of my throat stems from immense gratitude and humility for the gift God has given me. Make that plural. GiftS.

I often refer to them as E and M. Babyson and Babysis. Sweetness and Princess. You may know them as Elliot and Myla. Maybe you haven't seen a recent picture (I only post hundreds more than anyone other than Grandparents wish to see)?

Just in case.

Mr. "Ee Ee" (as He refers to himself)
 

Miss Myla
 
 

 
 
These two overwhelm me. Daily.
 
Such amazing gifts. I have never been as at peace in my life as I am now. Here in this trench of daily teaching, training, loving, feeding, guiding, watching, learning, struggling, praying. I will attempt to explain in brief below as I race against the ticking clock.
 
It's a whirlwind from the moment I get up. Babyson's voice floats over the monitor, tickling my ears and waking me out of a comfortable rest. "How much can I get done before he actually needs out?"
 
Dress. Brush teeth. Make bed. Open windows. Let's get him.
 
From there, more moments than I can share, up to this very one. Moments stacked until my eyes can't hold the grati-tears back.
 
+Watching Elliot feel so proud that he could help by rinsing sisters feet during her bath, and putting her paci back in her mouth when she cried
 
+Encouraging toddler conversations with him by acknowledging that I understand his version of English
 
+Soaking up the coos and gurgles Myla lets out as she joins the conversation
 
+Affirming E's love for his storybook bible and practicing his memory verse
 
+ Melting in my soul as Myla's smile stretches wide enough she has to close her eyes
 
Just watching Elliot pick up on things we've been teaching, reading, and saying is enough to put me under. He is a sponge and the responsibility that goes along with that is overwhelming. Amazing. And a joyful struggle. And we have plenty of hard moments too. With illness, disobedience, lack of sleep, loss of focus, attitudes and disappointments. But even those things lend themselves to the greater purpose of glorifying God in all things.
 
The emotion of all this surged upon my heart at once today, and that's why it overwhelms. Full glimpses of what God is doing in my home and with my kids, and that I get to be used in that...awesome. So this morning when I caught a glimpse of the basket of sprouting potatos atop my refrigerator, I almost laughed. They represent to me the many things I think are important (house, laundry, to do lists) -and they certainly have a place- but are humorous in comparison to the eternal investments being made closer to the tile under the refrigerator. Snacks, new words, bible verses, love, memories, and relationships.
 
That's all. Just praising God for His greatness and gifts. And being humbled by it all.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





Friday, December 7, 2012

While Pictures are Loading...

...I should be taking a nap, but it's hard to sleep when you have things you need to do and baby is sleeping. Especially if they are fun things. Fun things like uploading photos to create a photo card and and updating the blogging world for the first time since said baby was born. Hard to believe.

Baby boy made it into this world with good health, his mom's lips, and his dads gift of sleep - for that we praise the Lord! He is the new joy of our lives, user of our energy, spender of our money, entertainer of our family, teacher of our reality, and blessing of each of our moments. Absolutely. Love. Him.

With that, I get up every morning with a plan and a purpose...one which is so different from before but that feels very important and meaningful. Baby boy can't even speak words yet and I've learned tons about myself and feel as though he has brought Justin and I even closer together. It's fun to work on a project together (parenting), learning new skills as a team. Justin is amazing. I am blessed. God is SO gracious.

So, from this happy, content, humbled, tired, preoccupied, thankful, MOM to you - have a joyous weekend preparing and celebrating this Christmas season, and may you find a small gift in every day for which to be grateful!

-Kjo



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July to Malachi

It's been a while since my last post (Sadly, not because I haven't drafted anything. Only because nothing I drafted made the cut from 'good idea' to 'good enough to make public'). July has been quite a month. Here are the highlights so far...

*Husband turned 30 on July 1st
30th Birthday


*Sister had a birthday, also on July 1st, but she is still much younger and sprier
*Celebrated the 4th with friends, fireworks and some good "Fair" food (Roasted corn on the cob...should have taken a picture). Also, made mini dessert :)
Mini Dessert
*Grandpa had his birthday on July 15th
*Mourned the loss of an uncle (on Hubby's side), and rejoiced with so many family members that he is in heaven now.
*Took a last minute road trip to St. Louis, MO (ok, not quite there, but maybe 50 miles south) in our car, there and back again in three days.
*Ate Indian food twice in exactly a week (This is a big highlight. LOVE Indian food. For those of you in the area, you should try the Saffron House. I'll even go with you!) The Saffron House
*Helped paint the nursery wall accents (All the wall painting is done now - woohoo! Ordered the curtains, bought the fabric for the bedding, got screws and instructions to set up the crib - this is progress people!)
*Got mostly registered for the baby
*Had our 30 week appointment today! Everything looks good and I CANNOT BELIEVE we are 10 weeks from D-Day! Baby at 30 Weeks 
*Finished our payments at my OB's office. (Now, we focus on what the hospital will require from our bank account).
*Found myself a little jealous of a couple of friends traveling and doing mission work in Africa. But it's okay now. I'm not going to stay jealous..."It, comes and goes." (That is a movie quote...a good movie too).
*Landed in the book of Malachi for my personal study time, and am just falling in love with it. The love God has for His people just permeates the pages even as He is scolding them and reminding them how they have left their first love. And so many good reminders and convictions that as believers, and Priests of Christ, we should be keeping our sacrifices pure and un-defiled. Our sin is serious, and we can't ignore it. Confess, repent, forgive others, seek humility, and do things the way the Lord leads us. Not half hearted. Not comfortably and out of convenience, but sacrificially and intentionally giving the best we have of EVERYTHING to Him in obedience and out of love and thanksgiving for all He's done for us. I'm just half way through and I am already sad about being done with this little book! What are you reading/learning in your quiet time?
(liberty.edu's photo)


That's kind of it. It's only July 18th, so I'm guessing there is much more to come, but that's how I am doing. How are you?

- Kjo

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Somewhere Else While I'm Still Here

Whew, let me just say that tonight I am thankful to be out of the fog. Yes, it's supposed to get foggy here in my city overnight, but I'm talking about a mental fog. It seems to have been coming and going more frequently of late (I attribute that to the pregnancy). WHAT!? That is right - I am expecting a baby in September! My husband and I are so excited :) Finally able to share it with "the world" this week, and I have only now felt like I could get a blog together that wouldn't bore ME before I finished writing it. I've been that out of it, and I try to grab onto the spurts of energy and mental power as I get them. I'm having one right now.

The reason I decided to get with it on the blog tonight is because of an odd thing that happens every now and again. It's the sensation that although I'm here, I'm just as much somewhere else. Typically this phenomenon is brought about by a smell or person, object or picture that immediately takes me "back." Back, to some other place or time that I have been. Likely you can relate. For me, those experiences are typically pleasant, although bitter-sweet. And this one definitely was.

It started I suppose when reality began to sink in that this precious bundle of joy (now the size of a plum I might add) will, and to some extant already has, change my life dramatically. For example, I haven't been drinking coffee much and I've been avoiding certain foods and activities. Things I normally don't think twice about. But over the last couple of weeks I really began to think about how I will not be going back to Sudan this year. That's a big change. So much of my heart resides in a corner I call "Africa" and it grows and blooms every year with the thought of returning, seeing those friends and family across the ocean, and serving God alongside them. But this year will be different. VERY different. I can't even imagine all of it, which I suppose is good. None of us might have kids if we really understood the sacrifice and exhaustion that accompanies said joyful bundle ahead of time!

So I've been processing the fact that we will have a new assignment come September: parenthood. Might not have to fly across the sea to fulfill it, but I think it will more challenging, and hopefully even more rewarding, this next phase of calling the Lord has on our lives.

All that being said, there is still a part of me missing Africa. (I suppose the fact that I haven't felt well and don't yet look pregnant aid this wistful feeling). I'm still learning how to put that in its place.

Yesterday, I was browsing Pinterest and randomly come across a photo that is displayed over and over and over on the holding video on the KLM flights from here to Amsterdam / Amsterdam to Africa.


The video plays music as a video rolls of different scenes and poses around this fixture. Gets pretty annoying after about 15 minutes of sitting in your seat, waiting for take off, but always "takes me back" when I see/hear it. It is visually and emotionally tied to our Africa trips. 

Later, as I was working on my Bible Study, I realized I was a using  KLM pen (Not sure how I got it. Hope I didn't steal it). Didn't even realize we had one, but there it was in my hand. Back again.



I'm afraid to even get out the photos from when we were actually IN AFRICA:. Could be sentimental overload.

The icing on the cake came on my walk today. Someone was cooking with the windows open and it smelled almost exactly the way our food smelled while in Sudan. Rice and Beans, maybe some chips. Oi. I can picture myself smelling that smell in Sudan...does that make any sense?

All this to say, I've been in Sudan or on my way there a lot this week. Thankful for the time and lessons learned there, friendships made and ministry done. And thankful at the same time that our new assignment will hold its own blessings and lessons, and hoping that one day, I will get to return to Sudan, and maybe take our Plum Joy with us. In the meantime, I've got photos and memories to "Take me Back" as often as I'd like.

KJo