Ode to 8912

“That house was… ‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.’ Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.” -JRR Tolkein

You were the dream of a boy refugee and a girl on lunch assistance.

We built you.

You held all of our people. All the ages. All the cultures.

You breathed with the love. All the laughter. All the trips and falls.

We started your plans when Mama was still here.

We adjusted your plans to fit the wheelchair we might need, and readjusted when the wheelchair-bound was freed to a holy and perfect home.

We moved into your walls and dedicated all of your spaces to the One who creates everything.

Your walls saw my tears and grief.

The dining room hosted the hearts of women.

Your ceiling saw the child that hid under my table in screams and fear.

Your bathroom witnessed my shocked face at the very beginning of Snickle.

You saw us rock and feed babies.

You watched toddlers grow into middle-schoolers, and infants take their first steps.

We used you up with all of the footsteps, all of the messes, and all of the undesired wall art.

I wrote most of a book in between your four walls.

Countless musical arrangements made their melodies known on computer and instruments in your spaces.

All of my littles made their imagination come alive and their siblings become friends in your nooks and crannies.

The feasts we have had in your kitchen and tables are countless.

You are not a living thing.

BUT YOU ARE A GIFT!

I cannot believe that God may have something better for us, but we will walk from your bricked walls with full hearts.

With Psalm 126:3 spilling from our lips, about you we will say, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

Thank God for 8912 and every other good and perfect gift, Lord Jesus!

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Letter to 2017 Christina

Dear beginning of 2017 Christina,

Here are some things that will help this year…

You will write over 50,000 words, because you aimed for 100,000.

Friends who see, listen, and pray will be what carries you through this year.

Being volun-told to lead a women’s Bible study with your friend will be amazing.

Farmer Brothers brand will still make you think of anything other than tea.

Gold lettering coffee cups will be a trend you can only admire since you don’t want to blow up microwaves. One year the tea will stay hot again…

Sassafras will go on her first mission trip and youth summer camp.

You will be gifted a cup a marshmallows and it will be a balm to your soul.

You will fold your principles and buy Birkenstocks because of your old lady feet, however, you will try Stranger Things and it will be ALL THE NOPES for you.

Friends will designate an emoji for your age and get you both a pillow and a shirt to help celebrate that in you.

11:11 will still remind you to pray for your family and be thankful for your heritage. Like a little row of fence posts…

Severe storm baking will still be a thing.

#Stupidstaging will be a part of your life for eleven months of this year.

You will complete 100 blogs and do a giveaway.

SO MANY houses will sell as you pray for your friends and family.

You will say goodbye to another mother figure and pray your guts out for her girl (and other family members). You will miss MissGlenda all of your days.

Working out will cause your glasses to fog up and you will feel like Lou Ferrigno (Google it, young’uns.)

You will drive all the way to Enid and Ninnekah to lay on people’s couches because they love you.

Teaching English at co-op will be one of the best decisions ever. My students are the best! (Don’t tell anyone.)

Waffle fairy could become your nickname.

FaceTime and selfies will still puzzle you.

Your house will turn into “wedding central” as you prepare for B’s wedding. You will single-handedly save the reception from a fire. (You’re welcome!)

Daddy will get pneumonia and you will stare losing a parent in the face again. Ironically his “get well” balloon will deflate and he will lose all filters on drugs. You will get to keep him this time.

The phrase “It does matter if you are being a dumb donkey or smart donkey. The point is DON’T BE A DONKEY,” will become a phrase with your children.

You will rival multi-level marketers on FB with your requests for prayer about house showings.

Llamas will laugh until they cry. (You had to be there. #llamadown)

Obeying God as you go back to women’s Bible study will be the best thing EVER (and the studying at home will be awesome, too).

Falls Creek will turn 100 and you will go celebrate all God has done.

Face filters will still creep you out although the Cliff-tina pic will be pretty awesome.

During an unbelievable inauguration, your toddler will be sing, “Your praise will ever be on my lips,” and it will be a perfectly appropriate song.

You will paint your nails just for you.

Sassafras will go with you to see Lion King at the Civic Center.

The iron of my friendships will surface and be indispensable.

You will ROCK 40 just like you have your whole life. You will be celebrated at the Boxcar and then go to Bobo’s for the first time in your life.

When your pastor says, “We cannot denounce white supremacy often enough or loud enough,” it will resonate in every part of your soul.

Friends will step into bigger roles in women’s ministry and you will pray like crazy and bust with pride in them. #GoAmyandRachel

A forty year Christmas tradition will come to an end and it will be a fun and emotional transition.

You will finally get a new picture with your BFF after about 13 years. #wegottadobetterthanthat

Sonic will go to several Thunder games and have fun in lederhosen (just not at the same time).

You will ask yourself if you love Jesus more than selling your house and you will find that you are loved in both the waiting and the answer.

Book launches will still be fun for you. Lisa-Jo Baker’s Unfriended and the She Reads Truth Bible reviews will be one of your favorite things to do.

You will force feed a toddler cheerios for breakfast, but fight her over your cabbage and onions for lunch. Quoting Han Solo, “This is not my fault. This is not my fault,” will become a regular dinnertime thing. #WKwasthepickyeater #mynicknamewasmoochie

One year you will look at a water bottle and not want to commit homicide, but it is no this year.

This year’s girl’s retreat will be a work of the Spirit. The unity of believers and cohesiveness of the speakers can only be credited to him.

The Bible you got to review you will give away, and then you will get it back.

Life will be crazy enough for you to eat Lunchables again. Although you will treat yourself by buying a more expensive adult version after a few of them.

You will celebrate the 60th birthday of your La-Mama. You will never get over God’s blessing you with her.

Nespresso home coffee machine and milk frother will be the best present you ever got your husband.

The Lyons side will have the first ever family reunion in which Snickle will call your oldest cousin “my favorite” all weekend and hearts will melt.

You will entertain second generations with your bubble gum blowing skills (Yeah, I still got it!).

You will be able to mall walk your house like a grandma on speed.

Going out the “in” door will be something you do for your daughter to show her you love her.

Sick kids will remind me that stewarding children will result in blessings because of the burdens.

You will master a 20-word adjective on FaceBook and your Aunt will love you all the more for it.

The trip you take for your 15th wedding anniversary will be the one trip to rule them all. Best donut ever… spa… club level… convertible… history… quiet… mountains… hiking… I WILL NEVER GET OVER IT.

You will love noise-canceling headphones as much as you thought you would.

AND you will finally… Finally… FINALLY… get a contract on your house. Thank you, Lord Jesus!

With grace and faith,

Christina K

 

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It might be impossible to enjoy every moment

She just peed in her clothes again. We waited too long. We didn’t stop in our running around.

I am already tired of potty training. I don’t want to go back, but diapers are so much easier.

I crave ease right now.

As much as everyone sees me as a woman of faith, I am also a woman of doubt. As much as people see me as a woman of discipline, I am also a woman of ease. As much as people see me as a woman of compassion and service, I am also a woman of selfishness.

I know that the only reason anyone sees me as anything other than a hopeless sinner is Jesus’ work in me. But the truth is I don’t like this part. I don’t like wiping up pee, doing extra laundry, and cleaning out car seats. I don’t like the hard parts.

But who do I tell that to? Who can I say that to without getting the glib advice of “enjoy every moment.” (There is no way to convey to you my wrinkled brow and curled lip when I even think about that.)

The honest truth is that I will not enjoy every moment. The truth is that I am only a human. I will fail. I will fail to do the right thing. I will selfishly not want to do another ounce of work for another human. I will want to knock a child into next week, and not feel any type of motherly feeling toward anyone.

Our culture, who have idolized children, will suck in their breath and look down their noses. Our friends ahead of us will say from their emptiness “You will miss this when they are gone.”

And then another truth rises to the surface.

“NO.”

I will NOT miss this.

I will miss them.

I will miss the person, but I will not miss the progression.

Give me five minutes with Grandma in line at the Target and I can guarantee you they would be just as embarrassed and just as flustered with 35-year-old Jimmy if he was unloading shelves and licking conveyor belts. She too would be trying to wipe the memory away from THAT moment.

Let me talk long enough with Grandma in the grocery store aisle and I can almost promise you that there was at least one season that Janie had in high school or college that no one EVER wants to live through again.

Why then is she asking me to enjoy every moment?

Because she loves the person.

Because in our humanity, we are incapable of loving the process. We struggle with the days that help our children become more fully submitted to God because we struggle with the days that help US become fully submitted to God.

So most of us are in a day we don’t like, but we tuck our tinies in at night and kiss their cheeks because we press into loving the season. And we surrender to loving the person while becoming okay with not loving the process.

I love her. She is a gift. But sometimes the gift pees on things or screams.

One day I will be the grandma and I will miss the person, but if Snickle grows up and pees in my car.

NOPE!

I ain’t gonna love that!

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Your something is not everything, but it’s not nothing either

Ok.

You need to say it.

SOMETHING happened.

It’s that. That right there. The thing that came to your mind when you read the word “something.”

Maybe it happened this week or this month or this year. Maybe it happened last week or last month or last year. Maybe it was longer ago than that. But SOMETHING happened.

It’s a thing you wish hadn’t happened or a promise unfulfilled or an unrecoverable loss.

And now you are fighting to keep it from being everything.

That hat on the shelf. The overheard conversation in the crowd. The baby crying, “Mama.” The sunrise or the sunset. Now that SOMETHING seems like EVERYTHING.

So we suck it up.

We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and try to ignore it.

We try to pretend the conversation about her Mama doesn’t bother us at all. We act like the baby in her arms is not that big of a deal. We try to deceive ourselves into thinking her relationship with her husband or kids isn’t one we would die to have. We play like the position or platform she has doesn’t mean a thing to us.

The problem is while trying to keep our SOMETHING from becoming EVERYTHING, we attempt to make it NOTHING.

We tell ourselves, “It doesn’t matter. I should live as if it wasn’t something. I should go on like the something wasn’t something. I should keep trying to make my something, nothing.”

But the truth is SOMETHING has happened. Something left a hole.

Now making the SOMETHING, EVERYTHING allows the hole to consume us. It turns our life into the something and makes the something our Lord.

The opposite is true. SOMETHING is not NOTHING. Something changed you. Making the something, nothing can keep the something from being redeemed. It makes us believe that it is not something that can be surrendered to the foot of the cross and used for the glory of God.

This is the perspective Paul is giving when he says, “Do not grieve as those who have no hope.” (1 Thes. 4:13)

Paul is telling us not to make grief EVERYTHING because that’s not what it is. There is only One who is our EVERYTHING, and he is not a thing.

Paul is also not telling us NOT to grieve. He wants us to understand that grief is not NOTHING.

In this verse, Paul gives us the proper perspective. The thing, person, relationship, health, or position we lost is not EVERYTHING or NOTHING, and Paul helps us see that we can allow our something to be used for God’s great purpose.

It is when we place our SOMETHING in the hands of our holy God that our something can become a valuable piece work of God.

Take time my friend. Your something IS something.

Cry your tears and shake your fists and lay your something at the feet of Jesus.

One day in we will rise to see that THE Everything is using our something to accomplish so much more than nothing.

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A review and a giveaway

It has begun. The season of Christmas is upon us. The great reminder is that the joy of Christmas is the gospel.

The season of Christmas is upon us. The great reminder is that the joy of Christmas is the gospel.

The great reminder is that the joy of Christmas is the gospel.

As a family we have been reading portions of The Jesus Storybook Bible for our family advent. It is a stunning reminder of how the gospel is woven from “In the beginning” to “Amen.”

That is why I feel it is a perfect time to tell you all about my new Bible and how you could get one, too.

Before I get to all the details I am also praying that you might find a renewed passion for the gospel in the coming days no matter which Bible you choose as your own.

So here goes. A month or so ago I got the opportunity to review the She Reads Truth CSB Bible. I was given the Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media. While they gave me the Bible all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

What I know

The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.

What I think

Prior to receiving this Bible, I was very curious about it. Throughout the past few weeks, I have tried to answer the questions I had asked myself.

I knew it was very pretty, but how would I categorize it? Is it a journal Bible to study and use the extra wide margins to express creative worship? Is it a study Bible to deepen my understanding of the time, space, and culture surrounding the events of the Bible? Is it a devotional Bible that has unique story perspectives to teach certain truths?

As I unwrapped its packaging, I started to discover that this was all three.

As I did a more thorough search I found that it was not trying to be all things to all people at the expense of excellence. While I am usually for keeping things simple I found that the diversity was very balanced.

I also found myself questioning the new version of the Bible. I think that we always need to be careful when handling the word of God especially when it is being translated or transliterated.

Over the past several weeks I have used this new version in church and in Bible study. I have compared it very closely with the ESV, NASB, and LEB versions of the Bible. I even did a comparative study of 1 John.

I found the translation very close in meaning to all three versions I use on a regular basis. This may not become your favorite version because it is better than the version you use, but it will not make you shudder when contrasting other versions.

I have seen versions of the Bible that almost change the meaning when translated differently. I am no scholar, but I find the new CSB version easy to read without losing the agreed-upon meaning of most theologians.

I found both the diversity of the style and the choice of the text to be refreshingly challenging.

What I get to share

The exciting part of this review is that I get to share a chance for you to win one of seven copies that B&H Publishing and FrontGate Media is giving away. Merry Christmas, right?

Go HERE for your chance to win. Seven winners will be selected on December 10th.

Or don’t risk the chance and get one for yourself HERE.

I was so excited to be able to say that I can recommend this as a great version for new and seasoned believers alike.

I pray you receive a renewed passion for the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ this season. This new Bible might be one of the sparks for you or someone you love (it would be an amazing addition under the tree).

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