Hold Them Tight

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In the quiet of the morning, I sit.
Dawn is coming.
The oldest, brings me a hug, sleepy and snuggly, this morning, like every morning.
I stroke her messy hair, hold her tight.
Maybe a little tighter than normal.
I fight back tears for those who woke this morning to devastation and heartbreak.

For the momma’s who won’t hold their babes again,
won’t give morning kisses,
won’t pack the lunch.

The daddy’s who lost the sunshine’s in their life,
won’t coach the soccer team this fall,
won’t walk her down the aisle someday.

For those grieving,
waiting…

Incomprehensible.
Devastation.

At the end of yesterday’s post, I mentioned a sweet story I would share today about Deo Pneuma. But as I was writing yesterday’s post, I was unaware of the tornados in Oklahoma. It wasn’t until after posting, I came out of my office and saw the news.

So instead of the story today, let’s stop for a moment instead and listen for some clarity.
In this life wrought with human frailty, uncertainty…
Might we ask…
Where are the unforgiven places in our life?
With whom do we need to reconcile hurts?
Are there people in our life that need more attention, intentional direction?

Better put…
Who are you mad at?
Who hurt you?
Are you paying attention to the ones in your life that matter the most?

My mom text me last night to tell me she loved me, and to give the kids a hug.
I cried.
Momma/daughter stuff can be hard, friends.
My mom and I are no exception.
We’ve been through the ringer, just to be honest. (It’s nothing she wouldn’t tell you either.) But the other thing we would testify to is that the Lord has allowed healing where we never would have thought possible. By the grace of God, what was once pain, hurt, and division, is slowing blooming into a healthy friendship.

Real life beauty from ashes.
And I give thanks.

Life is fragile.
Hold the ones tight you love.
Tell them. Don’t assume they know.
Forgive.
Apologize.
Love like there’s no tomorrow.

love,
kris

Day 9: rest.

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Deo Pneuma

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It’s Monday, friend.
And I think we all need a breath of fresh air this afternoon.

Stop and take a breath.
A really good, deep one.

I have a word I wanna share real quick before I pick the kidlets up from school.

Slow down.
Take another deep breath.

The world screams loudly, I know.
And it seems the world screams loudest on Monday.
Especially on a Monday, Manic and Panic raging.
Or just weary and teary.

But if you step away for a moment, that’s where you find the quiet whisper.

That one thing you know you need to do.
The person you need to call.
The change you need to make.

Those moments, when you know that you know that you KNOW you are being prompted to do something….that, sweet friend, is Deo Pneuma.
…It’s the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Like my friend who went back to the restaurant because she felt called share Jesus’ name with the waitress.
Or the one who showed up to sit with the family as they waited for the surgeon.
Or the one who mows the elderly neighbor’s yard every week.

John tells the kids each morning on the way to school, “Be a blessing to someone today!”
I love that their daddy says things like that.
I love when they do it.

Deo Pneuma.
The moments when you feel prompted by the spirit to do something.
Slow down.
Listen for those moments.

Here’s the thing, a very real Monday word.
We can (and do!) get so wrapped up in our own little lives that we do nothing except that which benefits us.
We can move so quickly we miss what the Lord is asking.
The days fly by and we miss it, because we don’t slow down long enough to listen.

Friend, God’s whisper isn’t inaudible.
It just isn’t going to compete with the screaming demands of the world.
We have to be intentional in our time with Him.
We must be willing to sit, to learn to hear.
It is in slowing down, and learning to hear that we experience the Deo Pneuma.

May you slow down today.
Listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

Tomorrow, I share a moment of Deo Pneuma that touched my heart deeply.
See you then,
kris

The road to Awesome didn’t stop this weekend:
Day 6: Worked in the back yard for 2 hours.
Day 7: Could barely walk because of Day 6. But worked another 2 hours.
Day 8: Felt like an 80 yr-old woman because of Days 6&7. Walked Lucy 2 miles. Did 30 pushups, 30 situps.

Masterpiece

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Our beloved Downton Abbey is back January 5th, 2014.
Just thought you’d want to know.
(It may or may not have been put in my calendar already)
Love me some Downton.
(I also love Michelle Dockery’s eyebrows. Dang.)

So, today is Friday.
(And everyone said, “Amen!”)
And yesterday’s post about by-products got me thinking.
The by-product of being organized is you don’t run around like a lunatic looking for your keys.
(Not saying I do that, but I’ve heard it’s a struggle for people. Ahem.)
The by-product of watering your yard is that it doesn’t look like a crispy chicken in July.
(Again, not saying I struggle with that…)
(Can you tell I’m feeling a bit sassy today with all my (parenthesis) comments? I think it’s my inner child needing a Downton Abbey fix. Yep. That’s it.)

But yesterday, I proposed that the by-product of awesome is I don’t let something external determine who I think I am.
And by the way…I want to make one thing clear: there is a HUGE, ginormous difference between self-confidence and conceit.
Self-confidence (deciding you are awesome) has a healthy view of one’s self.
Conceit distorts the truth.

The first empowers, the latter destroys.
I hope you know I would never, ever advocate conceit.

Yesterday’s post was about turning our mind toward the positive, instead of letting our insecurities throw temper-tantrums. It was about setting our minds right. Some of us (this girl included) has a long history of an undisciplined mind. Do you know how many dumb, D-U-M-B, arguments John Lowe and I have had because I was feeling insecure about something? (A lot.)

I love, love, love this quote from Craig Groeschel’s book, Altar Ego:

“Anytime you should start feeling down or finding your insecurities starting to take root in your life, remember that you are God’s masterpiece. As God’s masterpiece you were created for His purpose. God created you and gave you specific gifts with His purpose in mind. God chose you, created you, and put you in this specific moment in history. It is at this moment in history that you can best glorify God.”

You are his masterpiece.
I am his masterpiece.
We were created for this place, His purpose.

May your weekend be blessed, sweet friend.
You are loved.

kris

The By-Product of Awesome

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My friend said yesterday, “It’s like everyone’s thinking about it, but no one wants to be the first to say it.”

I think she’s right.

Since my post on Monday, I’ve had more text messages, emails and phone calls than I can count. About the 8th time someone told me how much they weigh and how much they want to lose, I realized how alone people feel in this area.

So I’m here to tell ya, you aren’t alone.

I don’t know the exact statistic, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look around and see that a good chunk of America is overweight or obese.

Most of us are overweight (statistically speaking). And many of us have tried to lose weight. We’ve tried a bazillion different ways (I’m working on my list of past attempts. I’ll share soon. Sadly, its ridiculous.)

I don’t believe we lack the resources.
I don’t believe we lack the ability.

I just think some of us are fighting this battle physically, with little consideration of how/why we got here.

The more I consider this, the more I’m convinced this mess we’re in is as much a battle of the mind as it is a lack of Zumba classes. (No offense to the Zumba instructors out there…I just feel like I need a margarita before I come to your dance party.)

If you haven’t stopped to listen, there is quite possibly, a raging battle going on inside our heads. We are letting the voices in heads defeat us before we ever begin.

And I just wanna scream, “Enough already!”

So where does that leave us?

Well, Jon Acuff has a new book out. It’s called Start. If you haven’t ordered it yet, really, you must. And give him a 5-star rating while you’re there, ‘cuz apparently, it’s his love language. (Jon, you can thank me later.) Two words: LIFE CHANGING.

Ok, so here’s the 5 second schpeel: Punch fear in the face. Quit being average. Start being awesome. Just start.

That’s it. (Ok that’s not really it, but I really want you to buy his book. It’s that amazing.)

We have to start.

As I was reading his book, I was actually considering other areas of my life that are average…work things, relational stuff, household things…but it wasn’t until this week that I realized THIS was the area in which I needed to begin.

You see, there are several areas of my life where I eek by (laundry, for one). But when I started asking the Lord to reveal areas of my life that needed to be dealt with, the craziest thing happened…instead of all the external things I wanted to be awesome at (read: Ann Curry, Giada DeLaurentis, and Jillian Michaels all rolled up in one), He revealed that I needed to pursue awesomeness inside my head first.

So here I am. I’ve laid the groundwork for some healthy changes.
And I’ll lose weight because of those things.
But the weightloss is the by-product.

You heard me right.
The by-product.

Because I’ve decided to be awesome inside this head of mine, no matter what the scale says.
The scale matters, but it doesn’t determine the victory.

Victory over what we weigh, the size of our jeans, and how much our arms jiggle when we wave at each other is pointless if we don’t shut up the voice of comparison and negativity in our minds. Girlfriend, it will eat. you. alive. I dare say this is why so many of us lose weight, only to gain it back (plus some).

So today, I have an assignment for us.
1. Buy Jon’s book. (Dude, seriously, click the link. You won’t regret it.)
2. Ask the Lord to help you identify the negative stuff you are battling in your mind. Slow your mind down, listen for the times you compare, belittle or judge yourself unfairly. Consider writing these thoughts down in a journal…and then give consideration to whether or not they’re legitimate.
3. Forgive yourself. We serve a gracious God, one who loves us right where we are, even when He’s gently calling us to move into a better place.
4. Finally, I just want you to do one more thing: Start.

See you tomorrow,
kristi

Day 4: Walked Lucy 2 miles. Did 20 push ups and 20 situps.

Buff, Beautiful…Bwahaha!

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I wasn’t going to tell you, but…I’ve hired a personal trainer. Her name is Vera DeMillo. She’s incredible, and I hope to be as buff as her someday. Maybe she will inspire you like she’s inspired me.

{Hope you enjoy the laugh…Have an AWESOME day!}

Day 3: Walking Wednesday with my kids during their PE classes. (1 hour total)

Now What?

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Now What?

I woke up in a bit of a panic this morning.

I can’t believe I really published that blog post last night.

Do you know how long I sat there, debating whether or not to put it out there?

{A long time, I’m not gonna lie.}

Then this morning, as I was getting ready for the day, the Lord stirred a word within me.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (HCSB)
This is a place of struggle for me. I am weak. But I know the One who isn’t. And as I have been praying about this today, I am gently reminded that there may be others who read this, others who need hope. If that’s you, I am glad you are here. You aren’t alone. Your weakness can be made into something beautiful if you put it at his feet.

So, practically speaking, what do we do now?
Well, a couple of things. I’ve decided to focus on a few small changes. If these bless you, feel free to use them too. It’s what I feel like I can do, but you do what you need, based on your level of comfort. Trust me, there are lots of options out there.

Here’s my plan:

My Fitness Pal – its a free app on my iPhone (not sure about Androids. Be sure to let me know in the comment section if Android has this one). It has helped me set up my goals, parameters, etc., and I can use it to track my daily food/exercise. My user name is KristiGLowe for those of you who use it and want to see if I really do this keep me honest. 🙂

Moving – If I may go ahead and just be blunt….I’m really not a huge fan of working out in a gym. Partly because they’re intimidating, and partly because my attention span on a treadmill is about 10 minutes. So….I’m committing to moving 4-5 times a week. By “moving” I mean, I’ll devote 30-60 minutes to cardiovascular/strengthening exercise. I make no promises about what it will be. Walking, jogging, swimming, tennis, trampoline jumping, jump roping, mowing the lawn…you get the gist. I’m trying not to get hung up on the details.
Water – well, duh. Every fitness expert in America will tell you that drinking water is vital to weight loss. So, I’m going to be better at drinking water. Simple.

Well, that’s it. That’s the plan.

Let’s get started.

Day 2: Walked Lucy 2 miles (30 minutes). Did 20 pushups and 20 situps.

If your dog is fat….

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The saying goes, “If your dog is fat, neither of you are getting enough exercise.”

Deep breath.

Here goes…

My dog has gotten chunky lately…

And neither of us have been getting enough exercise.

In fact, I am 36 years old, 5’8” tall, and I currently weigh 200 pounds.

Ouch.

{Oh my gosh. I’ve gotta be honest…writing that was more painful than I anticipated. Quite frankly, it’s taking all the self-control I have not to delete it.}

But I can’t avoid the facts. And I don’t want to remain like this any longer.

I want the words “healthy” “balanced” and “joyful” to describe me again. I want the inner raging battle settled. I need peace with this skin I’m in. So, what if I put this out there, what if I commit to finding a healthy balance again?

Truthfully, it scares me to death.

What if I fail? What if I quit?

Heaven knows I’ve failed and quit a hundred times before now.

So why is this time different?

I’ll tell you why.

I was created for more than this, by a Creator who has given me all the means necessary to stand firm against the temptations of this world.

And if you wanna get really personal…here are a few things that swirl around in this mind of mine……I want to look at a picture of myself and not wonder if my cheeks look that fat in real life. I want to go shopping and not hope the XL fits. And finally, when that darling man of mine wraps his arm around my waist, I don’t want to cringe because of the muffin top exploding over the sides of my pants.

So here goes.

This is my journey.

You’re more than welcome to tag along.

Who knows what we’ll discover along the way.

{Maybe your dog needs more exercise too.}

Day 1: Walked Lucy 1.8 miles in 30 minutes.

 

Twelve Years

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“The best love is a lifelong love that sweetens the joys, softens the hurts,and strengthens two hearts as it grows.” -J. Hund

I snagged one heckuva man this day, 12 years ago. It behooves me the Lord allowed such blessing. Upends me. Happy Anniversary, John Lowe!

All my love,

kris

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Cauliflower Ear

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If I had to pick a professional wrestling name, it would have to be Killer Miller. One of my favorite friends in the whole world, Lara (Lanier) Pitt called me “Killer Miller” when we were in grade school. (Miller was my maiden name. Killer Miller was an affectionate term because I was such a beast of a basketball player. I’m laughing. I was horrible at basketball. I’m not really sure why she started calling me that, but it makes me laugh nonetheless:)

So, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Killer Miller, and I’m a wrestler.

And I may have Cauliflower Ear before this wrestling match is settled. For those not attuned to the wrestling world, Cauliflower Ear is when a wrestler’s ear gets swollen from blows to the ear during a fight.

And I’m ok with that.

Because I’ve decided to be a wrestler.

Wrestler – a noun, meaning one who wrestles.

You know, Jacob wrestled. (Genesis 32)

I’m no Jacob, but I’m definitely a wrestler. And the past few days have felt like a non-stop wrestling match as I keep falling face first before the One who knew, saw, & allowed putrid acts of evil to be carried out….and wrestle with the words, “WHY?”

More tears have fallen on my children’s heads this week than ever…because every time I hug them, tears sting my eyes. I am yet to shake the gut wrenching images and heartbreaking stories. The continuous stream of reporting is suffocating. And as I sit here, trying to process the unthinkable, I am feeling more and more like a wrestler than ever before.

It’s not anger, bitterness or contempt shouting, “WHERE WERE YOU?!”, because I know where He was. I know the Lord and a host of angels fought against darkness that day. I know He spared hundreds. I believe He wept as those babies were taken by a force of evil. I know too, He welcomed them in His arms, and healed them completely in His presence. Furthermore, I believe they are preparing for the best Christmas their sweet eyes have ever seen, a display of Holy Splendor as the Christ child’s birth is celebrated in the heavenlies.

I don’t dare ask Him where he was that day.

I know where He was.

He was there.

And so was Evil.

Do not be deceived – the very real Evil that darkened the doors of that school last week wants nothing – NOTHING – more than to destroy the Light within you.

Because you, crippled, angry, bitter, cannot have an impact on the Kingdom of God.

“Don’t become a cripple by wrestling with the ways of God, but be someone who wrestles before God with the things of this world. Wrestling before God makes an impact in His kingdom. Beware of lazily giving up. Instead, put up a glorious fight and you will find yourself empowered with His strength.” -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Oh friend, I beg you, do not “lazily give up”. Conversation after conversation during the past few days has had me thinking about what we do next. Where do we go from here? And I think some of us may need a swift kick back into the wrestling ring. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to wash my hands of Hope, or walk away from the ones who haven’t heard about Jesus yet. And frankly, after the events of the past week, my heart yearns for more and more of us to share the life of Jesus to others – because this world is dark. And we have got to come together in this.

If we want to see evil defeated, it won’t be because the House and Senate passed legislature. It won’t be because we install better security in schools or make more rules. (Although, in all fairness, I feel sure there will be valid conversations about those very things in the near future).

No, the only way the darkness will be pushed back is if we wrestle. We must flat-out beg the Lord to invade the deepest places of our lives. More than ever, pray. Ask for the audacious things, like restoration of relationships, healing of hearts, wisdom for our nation’s leaders, and for hundreds and hundreds of lost souls to be told of Jesus Christ’s redeeming, transforming power. And frankly, we need God-given strength to bear up under the days ahead.

The only way to push back the Darkness is to the let the Light shine brighter.

He has called us to take up the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13), and fight for the Hope that was placed in you. And if we are to push back against that which has come so viciously against us, we need to have time before the Lord to sort things out. Things of this nature need counseling. Thankfully, we don’t have to wrestle the Lord about His ways, but I think it is necessary to take the blows this world is dealing us and put them at His feet.

Wrestle before Him against the root of bitterness, against the urge to be cynical, or the inner rage against each other over differing opinions. Wrestle before Him for holiness in your home and your life, for the hearts of your children, for their innocence, their purity. Fight for the marriage you are in and the spouse you are joined to. Wrestle against the urge to retreat, to hide, to cower in the face of difficult times.

If we give up, Darkness wins. If we give up, the innocent eyes looking at us will have no Light to show them the way.

Wrestle before the Lord.

I just beg of you, do not give up.

;

;

Aside

Hi guys!

I’m hopping on here for just a minute today. It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted, and I do hope your Thanksgiving was blessed. Ours was one I won’t forget for a long time.  It was different from our usual gathering, and has been something I’ve had to chew on. I love those we broke bread with. But this year, for a number of reasons, our table was smaller than usual. And, to just be blunt, I missed those who were not at the table. Family is something not to be taken lightly, y’all. Even though they drive us crazy sometimes. Grin.

So, with the absence of several faces from the table, I’ve been thinking about the dynamics of my family of origin. I’m not sure if anyone can relate, but our family is what one might call a bag of mixed nuts. Key word, nuts. Ha. We are so different, yet so similar…and frankly, there are times when we all want to simultaneously wring each other’s necks. Not mine of course…they all love me….ha! (Heaven don’t strike me now, I’m only kidding!) But in all seriousness, we come from some messed up lineage. And some really burdensome baggage. In an effort to be respectful, I won’t go into detail – but let’s just say, we’ve been putting the FUN in dyFUNction for years.

Then it all came together for me this morning. That darling, yellow-haired, 4-legged child of mine woke me up early. Dang I love that dog. Anyway, when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I turned on the coffee pot, and opened up the Word. Sometimes, it’s just good to sit a spell before the world starts spinning too fast.

I read the book of Jude this morning, and it really grabbed me. And not necessarily for the words. Jude tells us he is James’ brother….James….as in Jesus’ brother, James. Which would mean…he was Jesus’ brother also.

Huh.

We know James was Jesus’ bro. He was, by far, one of the greatest Jewish leaders after the Resurrection. But it is generally believed (by scholars much smarter than myself) that James didn’t accept Jesus as Messiah until after the Cross. And now here we have Jude.

Jude?

Nevermind that Mary must have had a mouthful trying to call those three in for dinner….”Jesus! James! Jude! Jenny! Jeremy! Jesse!” (Ok, I may have exaggerated a few extra names. You get my point.:) Don’t you know Mary had already been through enough? Angel visitations, virgin birth, running from a crazy king, hiding out in Egypt, and finally settling in at Nazareth to quietly (hopefully) raise a family and a few chickens. Then, 30 years later, after the dust has finally settled a little, and the ladies had quit talking about her (as much) at the local watering hole, Jesus’ ministry begins.

And here’s what got me thinking – I love that the Lord would allow a slice of Jesus’ earthly family to be included in the Holy Writ. And then I tried to imagine their family before the Cross.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it may have been strained.

Ya know, their oldest brother, the one who had been soooo perfect all his life, was suddenly garnering the attention of thousands. And performing miracles! What?! Put yourself in those younger kid’s sandals. They probably knew all about mom and dad’s strange beginning, but I just sense they didn’t have a grasp of what had reallllllly happened (I mean, would you?!). They weren’t there. And by the time they got to be adults, they just might have been tired of all the hoop-lah about JESUS. So it doesn’t surprise me that they couldn’t accept him during his time on Earth. They were fleshly, they were human. And they KNEW him. They knew his breath stunk when they woke up next to him on their mats. They saw him grow up. They knew he liked broccoli better than carrots. They. Knew. Him. Or they thought they did. And in their finite minds, there was no way that their stinky big brother was the Messiah.

Blessedly, Jude and James come around. They recognize, they bow. And to me, that’s one of the greatest proof’s of Christ’s deity. For the ones who knew him best, his family, to recognize him as Messiah. To come full circle to the Lord’s work here on earth.

Full circle.

Oh how I have prayed for that exact thing. To see a full circle come about in our family, that only Jesus could orchestrate.

I sat for a few minutes and wrapped all of this around this wee brain of mine. Our family has been through a difficult time lately. Not nearly as difficult as seeing my eldest brother being beaten and hung on a cross – but still, it’s been terribly strained.

I think the Lord allowed a glimpse of his family life to give us a little encouragement. Family can be hard, y’all. Some of you will not understand – you’ve got a tight knit, emotionally healthy, spiritually strong family. And for you, I implore you, fall face first before the Lord in thanksgiving. THAT, my dears, is a blessing from the throne.

And for those of you, like me, who have some baggage, some trials, some wounds, in the arena we call “family”, I give you this. I don’t know your story, I don’t know your exact hurt, but I am so sorry. There are wounds within my own life too profound, too intimate, to share in a public forum. Maybe yours are too. You too know the feeling of having the wind knocked out of your sails. And family hurts sting a little deeper than others, I think, because they are the ones who should love you the most.

I sat across the table from a family member for 2 1/2 hours this week, after a long period of separation. In His tender mercy, the Lord sat at the table with us. I believe it was because we both begged him to show up beforehand. And truthfully, it was hard to own up to my part of the problem. I am certain it was for her also. The flesh is a mean beast, for sure. But as the Lord would have it, we were able to talk. Honestly, and yet, fruitfully. We both admitted later, we wanted to puke on the way to meet each other. Grin. It was a time of reconciliation and forgiveness that has been needed for longer than I can remember. I’m still in awe of what the Lord did there. Forgiving those who have hurt you is not easy. In fact, wallowing in the bitterness can be easier at the time. And trust me (or just ask that darling husband of mine), I’ve wallowed. I’ve sulked, pouted, cried. But mark my words, choosing not to forgive someone will ultimately destroy you from the inside out.

Bitterness and joy can’t exist in the same place.

Wounds take time to heal properly. But the words, “I’m sorry” do more for the hurt than anything. If you owe someone those words, give them. They’re life-giving. If someone owes you those words, for lack of a better way to say it – be forgivable. In other words, don’t make it harder on them than it already is. Give them the grace they need to be able to put themselves out there. No one wants to apologize to the guy who will cram an “I told ya so” down their throats.

I took the liberty of imagining what the conversation with Jesus and his family looked like after the Resurrection. When the full circle moment came. The tenderness of what my mind’s eye holds is spectacular. I can almost feel the emotion James and Jude must have felt when their eyes were opened. There had to be hugs. Full frontal hugs,  (not those pseudo-manly bro slap/hugs) and whole-hearted, genuine slaps on the back. I just bet there were tears of joy, possibly mixed with a little regret of time lost. And I bet Jesus didn’t utter one sarcastic “I told ya so”.

Well, as it turns out, I’m just not short-winded. I don’t mean to be so chatty…it just happens. I must close. Lucy the Wonderdog has been giving me pleading looks of “TAKE ME FOR A WALK!” for 30 minutes now. So, you, get out there today. Ask the Lord for courage, extend a little more grace and mercy today. Especially to your family. Press in to the Lord, boldly ask for the full circle. Even if you can’t imagine it yet. It’s gonna be worth it.

Blessings,

kristi

Because we all need that full circle moment