Friday, September 16, 2016

Sometimes, maybe it does matter

"It doesn't matter what people think of you!"

"Who cares if they think that about you! You just need to be comfortable with who you are in Christ."

These are thing I regularly say now that I have a tweenage daughter. She has fully entered the phase of life where her peers' opinions of her matter to her, where she feels the need to impress her peers. Curtis and I are seeking to parent Elizabeth in such a way that reminders her to WHOM she belongs, and that HIS opinion of her is the one that matters the most.

A few months ago I was talking with a friend. In our conversation, it came up that someone had mentioned the kind of wife I was and how he "couldn't handle a wife like that" and was "glad my wife isn't like that."

Confession: I'm a TOTAL Pharisee. I am quite good at making sure the outside of my "cup" is clean while often neglecting what's on the inside of my "cup". (see Matt. 23:25-26) I am full of pride. So when I heard that my cup wasn't thought well of, it bugged me. A lot. Probably more than it should have.

As Curtis and I talked about it, he reminded me that ultimately, it didn't matter what people thought of me. He loves me and thinks I'm a great wife. I'm not sinning or even being accused of sin. He spoke all these words of truth to me, even using the words that I use to Elizabeth!

But I couldn't shake the feelings of failure. Was it just my pride being hurt? Was it the Holy Spirit convicting me of some hidden sin in my life?  While I think each of those things is partially true, I was finally able to pinpoint where my hurt feelings were coming from.

Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 
She brings him good, not harm,

    all the days of her life.

Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.


Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”

(Proverbs 31:11, 12, 23, 28 and 29)


My concern in the matter of what a couple people thought about the kind of wife I am is that I was reflecting poorly on Curtis.


So maybe it really does matter.

Before going into a store, doctor's office, Curtis's office, or out to eat during the middle of the school day, I give my kids the same lecture. I reminder them that they are representing themselves, our family, homeschooler, Christians and ultimately Christ. Are we shining the light of Jesus when we are unkind to one another?! Elizabeth, who is often too smart for her own good, will occasionally remind me of my own words, that it doesn't matter what other people think.

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." 2 Cor 5:20

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Eph 4:1-3

I could go on and on listing bible verses about living a godly life and walking in a manner worthy of the calling upon us as we represent Christ to a fallen world.

So where does that leave me? 

All this reminded me that I do represent Christ in my daily life. And part of that is being the kind of wife who brings her husband good all his days.  And though I don't like it, when it comes to some people not liking my personality, it really doesn't matter what they think of me. My calling is not to have everyone like me, be impressed by me or even think highly of me. My calling is to represent Christ in the way I live, to shine His light in a dark world. My calling is to be the kind of wife who brings her husband good and who encourages him in the leadership roles God has put him in.

That's when it matters.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

No thank you

When I was younger, my mom would pass me a plate or bowl of something I had no interest in eating. Thinking I was oh so clever, I would hand the plate or bowl to the person next to me, smile and sweetly say, "No thank you." My mom would smile sweetly back at me and give me a serving of whatever had been contained on the plate or in the bowl.

We called it the no thank you helping.

And recently in life, I've had to start saying it again.

I'm not the kind of person who likes to say no. I love being needed! I want to feel helpful and encouraging to the people around me. But in the past year, I've found myself saying yes to everything when in actuality, I needed to be saying no a bit more.

When I was asked to be on the board of our homeschool co-op, I was convinced that my husband would gently encourage me to pass on the opportunity. After all, we were up to our eyeballs in life. And frankly, I was half assing a lot of things. I was shocked when he gave me a resounding, "GO FOR IT!" He reminded me of how my passion is education, how I'm a natural teacher, how I love helping a child (especially my children!) learn. He reminded me of my vision for the co-op, which I had been sharing with the board for a couple years.

I thought he's gone nuts. Finally, I though, I had pushed him off the deep end. How on earth was I going to take on such a big task and responsibility when I was barley finishing so many things in front of me?! Then it dawned on me. I needed to say no thank you to other opportunities.

The first thing I said no to was being the kids' choir director at church for a 2nd year.

The first one wasn't too hard. My co-director was moving, no one else was interested in helping, the leadership at church encouraged me to not take one too much and even put my mind at ease when the choir dissolved.

But when I had to say no thank you this week, it made me sad. I had to remind myself that I was saying no so that I could say yes to doing other things with excellence.

I thought by 36 I would be through my growing pains.

Think again, Kierstyn.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What I learned being a sports mom for 18 months straight

 It all started like a normal spring. But what started as a normal quickly grew into a whirlwind of sports craziness.

In March of 2015, all three boys played baseball. Timothy played tee ball and the big boys played kid pitch. Curtis was the assistant coach for both teams. Overall, it was a great season! But with three players on two different teams, it was for sure crazy!

During baseball season, in mid April, all four kids started summer league swimming. We were blessed in that there was a homeschool practice, allowing us to have less conflicts with our busy baseball schedule.

In June, during the height of busyness with swimming, Elizabeth started playing volleyball for a homeschool team.

The three big kids had an amazing swim season and went on to swim in the State Games of Texas, which was held in early August.

By the time swim season wrapped up, volleyball season was full steam ahead. Through the organization that did volleyball, we found out about basketball. Micah and Benjamin started going to skills clinics, decided to join the team, and began twice a week practices in October.

In September, Timothy began playing flag football.

Volleyball season came to an end and Elizabeth decided to also play basketball. Two weeks after her last volleyball game, she played in her first basketball game.

Never before had we played a winter sport like basketball. But we were loving the organization, the teams, the families and the coaches. The homeschool state tournament was at the end of February, and baseball started again the next week.

Then, we basically had a repeat, where swimming started during baseball season, and swimming went so well that we swim even after the regular season.

By July I was in full on meltdown mode. While the three big kids were at camp, I cancelled a trip to see my family in Oklahoma and took a much needed mental break.

Since mid July, we haven't done any sports, aside from the occasional basketball skills clinic. As I'm gearing up for Micah and Benjamin starting basketball and Elizabeth joining a club swim team, here's what I've learned.

  • Just because there are 24 hours in a day doesn't mean I need to fill every waking hour.
  • Saying no to something good is hard.
  • Sometimes when you say no to a good thing it opens up the opportunity for a GREAT thing.
  • Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.
  • It's okay if Timothy doesn't play a sport this fall. He's okay with it, why am I struggling?!
  • When you are doing sports non stop, something else in life suffers. It might be homeschooling. It might be the house. It might be your marriage. All the above were effected by the amount of sports we participated in.
  • I need to take time for me. Time to exercise, to eat well, to rest. 
  • It's easy to gain weight when your main focus is getting the kids from one event to another, homeschooling and church.
  • Kids will watch and see where your priorities are. Make sure your priorities are the good things.
  • I do my best when I'm busy. But I also need an occasional recharge. 
  • Homeschooling CAN be done in the car! But it does take a lot of planning.
  • Audibles, through Amazon, is a life saver, as are books on CD from the library.
I'm very, very thankful for the opportunities that my kids have had over the past 18 months. They have learned more than just sports. I am thankful for the coaches that poured into their lives, motivating and encouraging them. I truly believe my kids have stronger character because of sports. Our family will continue to participate in various sporting activities. I'm very excited to see them continue to grow as athletes and individuals. And I'm hopeful that I can take the lessons the I've learned and become an better sports mom.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A new year

 At the beginning of each school year, I chose a verse to encourage us as we prepare for a new year.


The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, 

but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
Prov. 1:1-7
May the Lord bless our efforts as we seek understanding, insight and knowledge. For we know that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord, and only a fool despises instruction and wisdom.

A new year

 At the beginning of each school year, I chose a verse to encourage us as we prepare for a new year.


The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, 

but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
Prov. 1:1-7
May the Lord bless our efforts as we seek understanding, insight and knowledge. For we know that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord, and only a fool despises instruction and wisdom.

2016-2017 school year

Name: Elizabeth Krajca
Age: 12
Favorite Color: pink 
Favorite thing to eat for breakfast: oatmeal
Favorite thing to eat for lunch: snacky food (like crackers and cheese)
Favorite thing to eat for dinner: pizza, chicken
Favorite thing to eat for dessert: Bluebell icecream
Favorite movie: Harry Potter
Favorite TV show: Liv and Maddie
Favorite place to go: Six Flags
Favorite book: 7 Tales of Trinket, Beware Princess Elizabeth, Crispin, Mysterious Benedict Society, Emily Windsnap
Favorite thing to wear: cute clothes
Favorite sport: swimming
Favorite shoes: purple running shoes

Things that make me.....
happy: my family and friends
sad: when people die
laugh: being tickled
cry: when I get hurt, when I'm scared
excited: Christmas

2016-2017 school year

Name: Benjamin
Age: 9
Favorite Color: black
Favorite thing to eat for breakfast: french toast casserole
Favorite thing to eat for lunch: pizza
Favorite thing to eat for dinner: chili
Favorite thing to eat for dessert: cake (because there are lots of different kinds)
Favorite movie: Batman vs Superman, Independence Day, Angry Birds, Harry Potter
Favorite TV show: Tom and Jerry Show and Team Titans Go
Favorite place to go: Six Flags
Favorite book: Hank
Favorite thing to wear: sleeveless shirts with shorts and underpants 
Favorite sport: swimming
Favorite shoes: my sneakers

Things that make me.....
happy: Six Flags, my family, my dog, friends
sad: cuts, bruises, my family and friends dying
laugh: jokes
cry: big cuts, sprained foot
excited: Six Flags, car trips to my family's 

2016-2017 school year




Name: Micah
Age: 10
Favorite Color: black
Favorite thing to eat for breakfast: french toast casserole
Favorite thing to eat for lunch: Atomi
Favorite thing to eat for dinner: Chick Fil A
Favorite thing to eat for dessert: cotton candy
Favorite movie: Captain America Civil War
Favorite TV show: DanTDM
Favorite place to go: Six Flags
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Favorite thing to wear: sleeveless shirts
Favorite sport: basketball
Favorite shoes: tennis shoes

Things that make me.....
happy: sports
sad: getting hurt
laugh: jokes
cry: wasps
excited: rollercoasters

2016-2017 school year




Name: Timothy
Age: 6
Favorite Color: red
Favorite thing to eat for breakfast: ice cream
Favorite thing to eat for lunch: ice cream
Favorite thing to eat for dinner: ice cream
Favorite thing to eat for dessert: ice cream
Favorite movie: Batman vs Superman
Favorite TV show: DanTDM
Favorite place to go: Six Flags
Favorite book: The Big Hungry Bear
Favorite thing to wear: my robe
Favorite sport: swimming and basketball
Favorite shoes: my new tennis shoes

Things that make me.....
happy: roller coasters and having a house
sad: when people hurt me
laugh: some jokes
cry: getting hurt by someone
excited: Shock Wave (a roller coaster)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Here's a thought....

One of the main points of this sugar fast has been to run to Jesus when the sugar cravings hit. Or when I'm feeling stressed and want to eat, I go to the Word rather than the fridge. Rather than building up the idol of busy and distraction when I feel the desire for food, I should spend some time in prayer. Running to Jesus and his Word rather than running to the Idols in my life.

This morning, I woke up early. I've been able to spend some time thinking about some of the things I've been reading. And I was struck by a rather simple idea. Why don't I deliberately start my day by running to Jesus rather than waiting till I'm tired, overwhelmed, stressed, upset, struggling.... to turn to him. Of course I know that turning to Him in those moments is good! And I'm confident that there will still be many of those moments when I have to remind myself and make myself turn to him, rather than one of my Idols.

Recently, I've been having a hard time sleeping. Sometimes, I'm wise enough to spend that time in the Word and in prayer. Yesterday, I started my day being encouraged and filled with reminders of why I'm doing this, what the big picture is. And yesterday was a good day. I still struggled, I still had to repent and turn away from my sin. But I just felt more,,,, confident.... content.... encouraged.... filled with His love....

I have two more weeks left in this fast. And while I would say that in general, I'm fairly good about having time in the Word and in prayer, I'm going to focus more on making those things the first things I do in the morning. Before I run. Before I get the day going. Before I snuggle with the kids. Maybe even before coffee (!!!!). I'm going to work on making sure that I am turning and running to him every morning.

And you know what still, after decades of being a Christian, still amazes me? He's there. Waiting to meet with me. Waiting to fill me. Waiting to commune with me. Because he's good. And faithful. And loving. He's my Father.

 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:133


Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:10-12

Sunday, April 24, 2016

More thoughts from the 40 day fast

I am now over half way done!

The 3rd full week brought unexpected challenges. Turns out I didn't quite finish dealing with all the idols that I thought I had dealt with. Also, turns out sugar isn't so much of an idol in my life as food is.

Bummer.

This past week felt very similar to week 1, where I just really MISSED eating sugar. I've been having the most vivid dreams about sugar, dreams in which I devour donuts, cake and icecream. Sometimes I wake up unsure if I really "cheated" or if it was just a dream.

This past week has been full of reasons why it's okay for me to eat tacos and queso. I've slipped back into the habit of justifying what I'm eating. And even though I'm still following the guidelines that I set for myself, I'm not in the Word as much, praying as much and justifying unwise food choices.

This past week has also been a rainy week where baseball was cancelled, swim team practice was limited due to newly enforced rules and we played GUBs. I found myself spending less time with people (excluding the little people, of course. I spent LOADS of time with them!) and being highly irritable and edgy. I'm afraid that this edgy, grumpy mom came from a lack of busyness, which is a clear sign that the Idol of Busy is still going strong in my life.

This coming week, I have two goals. #1 Face the Idol of Food and Busyness head on. No more justifying, no more giving in, no more substituting. #2 BE IN THE WORD!!!! Isn't that the point of all this?! Yet here I am, taking another lap around the desert like the Israelites, needing another reminder of God's mighty hand, mercy, commandments and provision.

Here's what I've been reading and how the Lord has encouraged me.

From "Crazy Busy" by DeYoung

"The first danger is the busyness can ruin our joy... When our lives are frantic and frenzied, we are more prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability. "

"The third danger is that busyness can cover up the rot in our souls... The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems - a pervasive people-pleasing, a restless ambition, a malaise of meaninglessness."

"Jesus understood his mission. He was not driver by the needs of other, though he often stopped to help hurting people. He was not driven by the approval of others, though he cared deeply for the lost and the broken. Ultimately, Jesus was driven by the Spirit. He was driven by his God-given mission. He knew his priorities and did not let the many temptations of a busy life deter him from his task."

As a family, we're working through a read through the Bible in a year program. Though we're behind, I'm thankful for where we are right now., in Deuteronomy. God is preparing the people...the stubborn, idol building, blind to God's goodness people... to go into the Promise Land.

"And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today." Deut. 8:11-12

We're also in Luke, during the time of Jesus's ministry. And what did Jesus do?

"In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night be continued in prayer to God." Luke 6:12

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thoughts from the 40 Day Sugar Fast

Today is Day 10 of my Fast. I am a quarter of the way done!

Physically, I'm in a really good place. I'm thinking about sugar a lot less, I'm not craving it as much and I'm not nearly as sad about the whole situation as I was just a few days ago. I do feel better, and I'm pretty sure I've lost a little weight, though I'm not weighing myself because I don't want this to be about the physical. This is not a diet. I'm not doing this to lose weight. I'm doing this to grow spiritually.

The beginning of this week was tough. We were challenged to go deeper into our fast to push ourselves and spend more time in prayer and in the Word. I fasted till lunch on Monday, and was really able to spend a lot of time in prayer and in the Word, as I had hoped. But by the end of the day, I was a wreck. I spoke with one of my sisters, who is also doing a version of the Sugar Fast, and she said that it really sounded like sin was being revealed, that spiritual growth was happening, which would explain a lot of the feelings I was having. Monday evening I was able to talk and cry with Curtis, who graciously encouraged me where I was at while pushing me to see the big picture of what was happening in my life and in our marriage.

I imagine there will be times when I want to reread and think over some of the scripture and other things that have ministered to me.

"And as He stands in victory
Sins curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ"

"For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in thrust shall be your strength.' Yet you were unwilling..." Is. 30:15