Color Coded Calenders

I came from a family with four siblings. I never knew how incredibly hectic and chaotic our lives were. My parents never made mention to the craziness. I do remember weekends when they would say we were staying in for the evening, but what kid hasn't heard this statement? We all rolled with the punches and I am sure all four of us thought nothing of it.

The last 10 months have been interesting. There has been an addition of three children in my daily life. Josh has one son and two daughters who live with him. In a few short weeks we will have a total of four children. One of the interesting parallels between our children and my siblings is the age difference. The age difference with our kids is the same as me and my siblings.

So here I am parenting a six year old--still working on developmental language and reading skills, dinosaur shaped PB&J sandwiches, Saturday mornings of Phineas and Ferb, feeding the ducks at the duck pond, Toys R Us, Chuck E Cheese, etc...and then three more children bless my life: a 12 year old boy, an 11 year old girl and a 9 year old girl...all are now a year older. My time and conversations went from Bible storybook moments, one-on-one dates with Brayden and what shape do you want your sandwich TO phone rules, being a Godly example within your circle of friends, giving advice on how to protect yourself when girls are being mean and just drama, drama, drama, group dating boundaries, achieving our best in academics--not just what gets us by, and here is the BIG one...demonstrating and talking to each child about what it means to be spiritually minded.

I am having to learn to take things in stride. One of my strengths is organization. My daily calender of activities and reminders quadrupled over night. I had reminder tones on my phone, but I shut those off! My monthly calenders are color coded. Each child is represented by a color on the calender. At night I get lost in my conversations with the Father. I often think...Lord, don't let me get to the point of being overwhelmed of raising Your children. The color on the calender is for me, the organization within each calender box is for me...not for the kids. Our four kids want the reassurance that we care about what is taking place in their life. Each of them are watching us and making sure we are engaged in their life.

I keep a calender on the refrigerator. I have watched each child run their finger along the calender to see if I have missed putting anything on the calender that pertains to him/her. I have been handed the calender to have "things"
 added as "things" come up during the month. It is our way of saying to the kids "We have not forgotten." In the very  beginning I would hear them say, "Karri, don't forget." I figured out early on that my actions with Colt, Kara and Kass would have to speak louder than my words. Time tells all.

The summer months are here...YAY!! The calendar for June got posted to the refrigerator and each of the four kids are thrilled with the activities planned just for them.


New Beginnings...

An unforgettable weekend in Abilene. Josh took me back to this spot at Abilene Christian University and proposed. He said he knew this was the place to propose when he got out of the truck and spent the morning taking these pictures. He drove me back up to ACU that evening after a good steak dinner at Perini's:-) June 23rd is our day to start our new life with our kids:-) It is the BEST knowing Josh is in my life. I am beyond blessed and ecstatic knowing God has given us four kids to raise. In all of the craziness and wild rides we have been on...I have been constantly reminded God is the one who is in control regardless of the outcome...God has the final say and is in control of our family.

One of my favorite songs is The Wondrous Cross..."love so amazing, so divine
demands my soul, my life, my all." Thank you to my Father for grace, because I am nothing without You.



I may be one brave decision away from the most important turn in my entire path.
--Beth Moore, Esther


House Rules

Spring Break has arrived!! Brayden and I were cuddled up in bed watching the Hannah Montana movie and I took a few moments to ask Brayden a few questions...

House Rules


Love Is Our Heart

I have been a little transparent in past posts regarding my personal effects of going through a divorce. The last couple of months have been interesting. This is not just me reflecting on myself and Brayden, but watching, listening, reading journals and notes and talking to the three most precious blessings God has given me.

There are many levels of transitions that are taking place as we walk through the natural steps of the ups and downs of blending our two families into one. Many transitions have taken place. I cannot write about or discuss about most of our daily life because the effect would be great. Josh and I choose to keep quiet, excluding family, because our children are so precious. There will be a point in time when I will be able to express a few things more freely about this time period. I truly feel in my heart that everything Josh and I have gone through and continue to go through concerning our divorces, our kids and just daily living, is God's way of allowing me to see His faithfulness even when I lose sight and think a situation has NO spiritual significance.

One of my daily routines is picking up the kids from school and taking them home. Usually, the oldest girl gets changed and will then fill the afternoon air with last seasons cheer songs and she cheers/dances in the front yard. The youngest girl and Brayden (I tend to say a prayer as they walk out the door) explore, become inventors with found objects during the afternoon adventures and are highly imaginative. They play hard. I tend to watch out the window and go through Brayden's daily folder. In the very back of his daily folder his winter journal was placed there by his teacher. I began to read...

I came across a journal entry that made me sit back and cry...and cry hard. Brayden was three when Russ and I divorced. As a parent I have been wondering what Brayden has been internalizing...what are his thoughts that are easier to say on paper than the thoughts that are harder to express verbally.

He can verbally tell me that he loves and misses his dad and Kristy.

As a sidenote: Thank you God that Brayden has a (step)mom that loves him and cares for him. I never worry or fret when I hand Brayden over to his parents. He is able to freely talk about anything that takes place at either home. Brayden tends to talk about his dad at the dinnertable. So far, his dad has done everything, met everybody and has been all over the world. LOL!!!

I found his 1st written journal on love. When I read the journal it made me realize he is expressing some of what he has been internalizing...

Love is...
1. Mom and Dad
2.  I won't be bad.
3. Love is our heart.
4. Love never lets you part.

I pray that Brayden accepts Christ. Brayden is right, love needs to be our heart. The last year and a half I have been making a push with him in regard to his heart: compassion, seeing others with a soul--an eternal value placed on everyone's life, choosing to serve and not be served. Do I use these exact words? No. I use appropriate wording and situations he is facing to help him get to the point of realizing that life is not about him and him only.

I pray as his heart is healing with the wounds from Russ and I getting a divorce that his heart is love. It would sadden me to the core of who I am if I allowed him to walk around in the arrogance of the wound.


A Heart Like That Of Simeon

My dad led a family devotional the night we did Christmas. Instead of dad reading just the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20, he read out of Luke 2:21-40. This passage gave me incredible insight into the heart of Simeon. This passage is about Jesus being taken to and presented in the temple. Honestly, I have given very little thought to Simeon. Luke wrote and said he was, "righteous and devout." The Holy Spirit covered Simeon. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Could you imagine this being revealed to you? If I was Simeon and this was revealed to me, I would wake up everyday with anticipation that THIS could be the DAY! It does say in Luke, Simeon was moved by the Spirit to the temple courts. I have been wondering what was Simeon thinking as he was walking into the temple courts. Did it ever cross Simeon's mind that this was THE DAY...AND that the Messiah was there waiting for him to do what was custom of the Law? It must have been a rush of emotions for Simeon the moment he not only saw the Messiah, but held the Messiah. The Messiah came as a baby!

Christ is never surprised by anything that takes place. I don't picture Him shaking his head and saying, "Gosh Karri, I didn't see that coming." He is in control of our lives. He allows it ALL to happen. I wonder if Simeon was just a little bit surprised seeing the Messiah as a baby. The one thing that I love about this passage is Simeon's heart was so in tuned to the Holy Spirit that he recognized the Messiah immediately (and did not question) and praised God.

Oh, how I have been waiting for 2012 to come around! I can't say the entire year of 2011 was awful, because it would be a lie. I definitely had some personal defining moments of growth that came from being completely broken. I like knowing I was brought to a place where the only place I could look to was Christ. God has held me all these years, but truly this last year I can say with conviction He has never left my side. Our family went through major changes this year. My family is no different than most because many families went through changes...and not all these changes are heartbreaking, but changes that required adjustments.

I am my father's daughter...it is true;-) I say this because some of my best attributes (at least I think--lol!!) is a direct correlation of how my dad...and mom raised me. One of the very first things that will come out of my dad's mouth is "what are your next steps"..."what is your goal"..."what do you want to accomplish by doing this?" It can be annoying at times, but I have been taught to think with such a forwardness. I can typically respond immediately with steps and goals. It is safe to say millions of people have made resolutions for this new year. I definitely have a couple of areas that I am turning my attention to, but my main focus for 2012 is that through my daily journey I am able to recognize Christ immediately...and give Him praise immediately.


Christmas 2011

Brayden meets Mr. & Mrs. Clause

Our Elf is holding a new book and movies

My 1st White Christmas

From Josh


"Behold, I Make All Things New..."

The year is just a week and a half away from ending, and even though there are just a few days remaining I want to savor each day. I am looking forward to 2012 and what it has to offer. It has been a long year. This year has put not only me on an emotional ride, but also Brayden. I have been soaring in bliss to one of my lowest points that I have ever experienced. Through all of the joy and sadness God has held me close to Him. I truly am nothing without Him.

Last Friday Josh took Brayden and me through the neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. I sat real quiet taking it all in. I listened to Brayden making a comment about each home. He was also our singing bird in the backseat. Josh and I would laugh or smile at all of the commotion. When Colt, Kara and Kass are gone, Brayden can fill their shoes in regard to the amount of noise.  

This Christmas season will be my second season without Brayden. Brayden is excited about going to his dad & Kristy’s home and anticipating Santa’s arrival. Santa called him a few nights ago and they talked about what was on his wish list. Our Christmas took place this morning. A surprise visit from Santa took place last night and he left Brayden gifts that only a six year old would find thrilling.

I grew up in a family of six. Christmas mornings were loud with lots of paper flying around. The entire living room would be covered in boxes, wrapping paper and gifts. One thing I noticed for the first time today is how quiet it is when there is just one child…it is different. Brayden sits in the floor to open his gifts and all eyes are on him. He bounces from each Santa gift and all eyes are on him. Every expression can be captured on a video camera and/or camera…because he is the only child to be capturing.

The last three weeks have been incredibly busy at the shop. I have forgotten to eat a few days. One afternoon my mom announced it was 5:35pm and it dawned on me that Brayden was still at school. I had no clue that the afternoon had gotten away from me. Thank God his school knows what I do and they just moved him into the afterschool class. It’s still upsetting for me. BUT, with all of the bustling around the shop my mom and I have done, my mind has been consumed at moments with where I was last year at this time. 

Josh and I were having dinner with my parents last Friday and I had mentioned to my parents what was going on personally inside of me. The week prior, my dad received a phone call from Patrick’s mom. Why? I am still clueless of the reason why she called, because so much time has passed. I never returned her call and there is no need. Truly, there is nothing more to say. This simple phone call caused my mind to be consumed at times with the events of the prior year through May of this year. My dad said, “There’s a lot of water that has flown under that bridge.”

A year has gone by...and I am joyful with my life.

This Christmas season I am beyond thankful for the gift of GRACE. I find myself to be more relaxed and at peace with myself than ever before. I have caught myself pondering on a simple but profound thought…that while Christ was dying for me, He thought of me. He made me to have purpose. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5


Our Four Blessings

Our four sweet blessings standing in front of the Christmas tree. This Christmas, Josh and I will be having Christmas without our children. We will be so ready to see them when they each get back. Merry Christmas!!


Thanksgiving Thanks

Brayden and I have much to be thankful for this year, but last night I wanted to see what EXACTLY he was most thankful for this year. My sister and I did a small video last night...it is the most serious I have seen him.

Jump Rope


Victoria Secret Angels

Last night I was lounging on the couch, thinking about all of the going ons and staring at the television. My thought process was broken when the Victoria Secret Angels commercial came on. I glanced around the room looking for the remote since Brayden's eyes were fixated at the flirtatious angels prancing around in the commercial. All I kept thinking was "good grief...it's not even 9 o'clock." Brayden kept looking over there at Josh and I. Then Brayden announced, "those are some BIG wings! Have you ever seen wings that BIG before, Josh?" We just chuckled. Wings...wings is what Brayden's eyes were fixated on.

"Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see,
For the Father up above,
is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes
What you see..."


But I'd Love To Be Your Last...

I’ve been asked lately, “How are things going?” My response has been, “Just peachy!” YES, I am aware that I have a “glow.” God has richly blessed my life with Josh and his three children. The last months have consisted of Josh and I being active and supportive in each others lives and in the lives of our FOUR children. We have been in the thick of blending our families. This has been filled with joy, struggles, bliss, laughter and new memories. The work will never cease blending our two families.

One evening Josh and I both collapsed on the couch in complete exhaustion. I was taking in deep breaths and realizing with each exhale my body was tired and aching. It was quiet in the house for a brief moment. I looked up at the ceiling and began watching the ceiling fan blades circulate in the living room. I started to giggle when the silence was broken by his girls singing karaoke in one of their bedrooms. Then it dawned on me that Brayden was sitting on the bed or floor watching and listening to two girls singing their hearts out to Carrie Underwood, “Jesus Take The Wheel.” Brayden was playing the role of “#1 fan and audience member.” After I stopped giggling I thought, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Monday nights were set aside for 7th grade Bowie football. Watching Josh’s son play football is Oh.My.Goodness thrilling. I was an instant fan! I was so excited about his son playing that I had a shirt made. I mean, when a 7th grader is playing almost EVERY play a shirt needs to be made! On the front it said, “Bowie Football.” On the back it said, “Beard #20.” I didn’t know that his number would change each week. Oh well, I’m a newbie to it all, but I wore that shirt each week. I brought my camera (which I know this surprises no one!!) and sometimes the camcorder just to capture a good hit and touchdown. After each Monday night game I would think, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Dinner around the table. I know nothing else, because this was instilled in me from my parents. Josh and I come from very striking similar homes. It is important for a family to sit around the dinner table and eat together, but not only to eat and talk…to pray. Friends of my blog…it doesn’t get any better than to hear a child pray. There are four kids eating and trying not to talk over each other. I have had moments at the dinner table where I have busted a gut from laughing at what our kids say…”American German Shepherd”…this was just a funny moment when you would have had to have been there. There are times when I have had to remind myself don’t look shocked, just smile and nod. Then there have been a few times when it has been quiet and I look around the table and his youngest daughter just shoots me a big smile, or watching Brayden not able to sit still in his chair because he is so happy to be amongst Josh and his children.

I can write a hundred more stories on our kids…and I will soon.

November has arrived and I have been writing a daily thankful status update on Facebook. My day #7 is to Josh. God placed you on my heart by name over a year and a few months ago...I never knew why until now. All those Sunday’s sitting in front or behind you at church…never spoken to you…and now I sit next to you in church…it truly doesn’t get any better than this. I love you. You sent me one and ONLY one song the week after we went on our first date…and you are my last. My heart is overjoyed for His unconditional love for me. I truly am thankful that God has placed you in my life. Thank you for understanding the meaning of God’s grace. We are nothing without Him.


Wilbur and Charlotte

This was Brayden's entry into the Compass Academey Pumpkin Contest. Wilbur and Charlotte from Charlotte's Web. Even though he did not place, I was proud of us: Brayden, me, and my mom. My mom came up with the entire idea for his entry.

A picture of the entries that won.

Brayden and I at the Compass Fall Festival