Call Me “K”

I’m Kristi. Most of you know that. 

What you probably aren’t aware of is a few of the other names I’m known by. My uncle has always called me Krissy Brown. My dad called me “Pill”. I was “Fowler” in high school and then, years later, “Hayden’s Mom” (as well as Hallie/Rylie’s Mom). I’ve been “Teacher” and “Mrs. Burden”. My personal favorite would be “Ms. Jason”, a name I was called for six years by a dear man who knew how to make the best pies but never knew my name.  

None of these names outshine the name “Mom” though, who I’m (most of the time) fondly referred to by the “Burden four”, the kids and Jason. I got that name shortly after Hayden’s birth nearly twenty years ago. There’s no sweeter name for me

Except for “K”

Jason used to call me “K”, way back before I wore mama pants, at a time when I could talk on dates about something other than what was going on with the kids and the current state of the nation. He called me “K” while I could still buy cute sundresses from the clearance rack at “Gap” and then wear them without evidence of my “mom-ness” peeking out, especially around my waist. Back then we knew how to play an uninterrupted game of Forty-Two with friends and how to go the movies without worrying about what was going on at home or what the kids were doing (because we didn’t have kids yet). 

Then we became Mom and Dad. Not only to the kids, but to each other. 

“When are you getting home, Dad? We need to talk about somebody’s Math grade.”

“Mama, Can she spend the night with so-and-so?”

“Hey Dad…How about we stop wrestling ?”

I do love it, us being mom and dad.
 It’s just that it wasn’t my intention to be “Mom” to my husband. I’m the mother of his children, but I’m not his mom (although I did appoint myself his holy spirit for a few years). I’m his wife; that woman who sat out twenty-something years ago to “love and to cherish (him) until death do us part”;  not with leftover love after having expended most of my affection, energy and concern on the kids. It was never a part of the original plan to cherish him only on the rare occasion that we go on a date, or when we’re able to get away for a few days. My cherishing him was never meant to be put on hold until the kids are grown and out of the house. 

I adore that man.

 There’s not a day that I don’t look forward to him coming through the front door. But these days too often it’s to catch him up on “Kid News” or other news, rather than just taking in the sight of him. 

Our time is spent putting our heads together to come up with rules that improve grades and ways to entice the siblings to live more harmoniously. We take turns being the bad guy. We double-team too. We have a system that both works and malfunctions. It’s a system that both takes and DESERVES much work and attention; sometimes so much so that it’s easy to neglect the relationship outside that system, the one we have as man and wife. 

There’s room under one roof for the mom, dad and kids AND at the same time husband and wife. Not only is there room, the health of families depend on both of these relationships being nurtured. As crazy as I am about my kids, I want them to know they’re not the “end all be all”. We’ll never stop being their parents, but it’s in the plan for them to leave some day. I hope that Jason and I help them to fully look forward to the cleaving relationship intended in marriage if God blesses them with a mate. 

We haven’t done so bad. We have Friday lunch dates when we can and we send new age love letters in the form of texts. And he still holds my hand. 

This summer we had time for just the two of us. He started calling me “K” again. Then we came home and got back to “kid business” as usual. 

Yesterday I folded a pair of my most comfortable mom shorts and put them in the drawer. I’ll probably wear them tomorrow. But he’s still calling me “K”. The world is right. 

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We’re Back

This is my first post since the “Burden Sabbatical”.  We’ve abandoned our pumpkin coach/RV  in a pasture in Bosque County. My magic slipper is somewhere in a dirty old milk crate along with a dozen other pairs of our shoes dusted with Colorado dirt. It looks ordinary now; like it lacks the potential to climb mountains (or run down stairs at the stroke of midnight). It’s yet to be unpacked like the overstuffed bags on my bedroom floor. 

We returned to Texas welcomed by friends and family, sweltering heat, a couple of roach carcasses by the front door, a ridiculous pile of mail and a toilet that hadn’t been flushed since June the 7th.  My hair returned to its poofy, swollen evangelist-type state when we crossed the Texas line. Life has regained its familiarity. 

In the midst of getting home and immediately packing the youngest for camp, I’m trying to unpack a month’s worth of stuff. More importantly, I’m trying to unpack those big ideas we had up there in paradise; the ones we determined to live out as much as we could while we somewhat get back in the rat race. 

I’m wondering how these things will fit in a house that already has too much stuff. 


Speaking of fitting, I have no idea how I’m going to squeeze in all the appointments and summer cleaning I’m faced with that’s usually spread out over a whole summer…things that will now be jammed into a couple of weeks. 

How will I make time?

Cram in the return of tragic news of police shootings, more ISIS attacks and then the personal hardships of close loved ones, that we were somehow shielded from while we were away? 

How will my heart contend? 

Lame pun comes next. 

The Burdens are back and the BURDENS are back.

But this is what matters: We were given the opportunity to escape the noise and the crazy for much of June and July. It was a dream glittered with grace. I can’t imagine that we deserved such a gift or that such kindness could ever be repaid. It won’t be forgotten. Shampoo, unopened boxes of taco shells and pretty souvenir rocks gathered from the Rio Grande riverbed are still tucked in luggage, but I’m bringing out what I learned and was reminded of on our trip. I’m making garnered knowledge the centerpiece of this here house. 

  • Pursue peace and stillness and rest. Grab on to it every chance you get. Treasure it. And then tuck it deep inside. God, in His grace, will keep it there in deep parts when the world returns to its faster wilder spin. 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. 

2 Peter 1:2

  • In all our days, before we do anything, packing or unpacking, may we fold our hands and take out our concerns, looking for guidance on what to grip and what to let go. May the things we get rid of afford us the time and gratitude to worship greater and to love and serve better . 


And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed… 2 Corinthians 9:8

  • May we learn patience and trust. 
  • May we remember that pumpkin carriages and houses “stuffed with stuff” are built on and run on grace. 

 

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America-What to Do About Brokenness

Yesterday afternoon Jason and I sat in the lobby of the front office trying to get cell reception, being that the lobby is one of the only places in our campground to get it. We sat in two funky old red chairs facing the restaurant, about ten feet from the front door. There were a few others in the lobby trying, I assume, to get cell reception like we were. 

A large ceramic pot that had been sitting on a bookshelf by the front door (probably for thirty years) crashed without warning on the tile floor.  Upon hearing the crash and bouncing shards of ceramic I looked around to see what happened. 

No one had come in the front door causing a wind gust. There were no small children, or clumsy adults who had bumped into the shelf. I clearly couldn’t reason why the pot had fallen and broken.  

As quickly as I scanned the room trying to internally cast blame for the broken pot, I considered saying something aloud that made it clear that I hadn’t done anything that would have caused this mess of broken pieces. 

Not understanding what had happened, several of us got up out of our chairs and surrounded the brokenness . It didn’t matter whether or not we did anything to cause the mess. We just came together and started picking up the pieces. 

That’s how messes are dealt with. Even the most tragic kind. 

With limited cell reception I haven’t been able to read the dozens of articles regarding the recent shooting death of two men by police nor do I have all the details on the fatalities of several of our “men in blue” yesterday. 

I’ve heard enough to be brokenhearted. But I’ve also heard enough to have hope in such a dark time. Facebook is flooded with people who are surrounding the broken pieces. And instead of wasting precious moments sizing up blame, I’m witnessing those who are rallying together in prayer for people, all people. 

I’m the world’s worst at rolling my eyes lately when I hear a statement from the White House when tragedy strikes. I lament at how people in power have done little to help our current state of brokenness and division. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten where true power and healing lies. 

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicle 7:14

America wont be fixed by proper gun legislation, electing the right candidate or by finding and punishing law breakers (not that those things aren’t important). The condition of our nation lies on our shoulders. We’re not innocent in these dark times.  
God says healing comes through the humility, repentance and the prayer OF BELIEVERS. He’s not as interested in political speeches, media coverage or popular opinion as He is our turning to seek him as the pieces fall. 

I accept blame for standing by for too long pointing fingers rather than closing my hands in prayer. We spend too much time asking questions instead of looking to the Answer.
Change is in the air today. My hope is that it lasts through tomorrow and the next tragedy. May we never hesitate to get on our knees to pick up broken pieces. 

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Safety first. And then some kindness?

I teach my kids about stranger danger. In fact, when Hallie was in kindergarten, I had to attend a parent-teacher meeting because Hallie tried out a self-defense move on a boy in her class; one that her brother had learned to use against strangers (or anyone) who would bother him. 

 My mom scared the living daylights out of me by letting me watch Adam:Missing (the story about Adam Walsh, a boy who was abducted and then brutally murdered while his mom shopped for a lamp at Sears (I believe). I was close to his age and can remember my mom allowing me, on occasion, to sit up front in a little booth (much like it sounds where he was) where you could pay a quarter to watch a little cartoon. 

I’ve read Jaycee Dugard’s book about her life with a monster. I watched Elizabeth Smart’s story slowly unfold on television. I know children who have been molested by people the family trusted.  Sex trafficking stories are too close to home. 
I know the dangers. And probably more than most I know fear. My mom taught me to walk to my car  with my keys between my knuckles so that I have something somewhat sharp in the event that a predator approaches me in a parking lot. I own mace. I don’t park beside vans without windows etc. etc….

I’ve explained everyone of these safety tactics to my kids and I watch them like a hawk. 

They know the dangers of walking alone. They know to be aware of their surroundings and not to trust people’s they don’t know, both on social media and in public.  They know to practice caution even with people they do know. 

We’ve been given reason upon reason to fear for our children’s safety and to teach them to be extra cautious. 

I get it. I’m a walking poster child of caution. I hope my kids are too. 

I’m currently waiting for an oil change at an Express Lube so I’m pondering the question. Is it possible that we go too far in our fear? 

A month or so ago a woman wrote about an elderly woman who patted her toddler’s hand; her child who was securely buckled in the shopping basket while she grabbed something off a nearby shelf. The mother was disturbed that a woman would touch her child when “no one has the right to “touch her child”. I’ve read startled Facebook statuses that are similar. 

I’ve been thinking. These days I meet the qualifications for  “Child Creeper” status. I smile at children I don’t know. I wave at them and say crazy things like “That ice cream looks good.”. 

Yesterday while Jason and I were walking we happened upon a little girl who couldn’t have been more than five or six. It appeared she was out riding her bike with her brothers when she had trouble making a corner. In her bathing suit, she skidded across a patch of gravel skinning up her left thigh. 

Instinct kicked in and I raced forward to help her up. The sight of me had her jumping to her feet, injured,  walking her bicycle away from me as quickly as her bare, dirty feet would let her. I’d be ok if my girls did the same.  

It just got me to thinking of times when I’ve made small talk with kids who are with their parents in the check-out line at Target or Walmart. Sometimes the kids look down, terrified. Other times they just ignore me as if bored by the mere sound of my voice (My kids have responded to adults this way before, but should I let them?)

I recently read an article tip written by a professional counselor instructing parents to NEVER ask their child to hug anyone, even a family member. Is it possible we can go too far in our fear?

Better safe than sorry, I know. I resemble that statement. Is there a chance we can be cautious AND remember the art of courtesy, the value of a returned smile or some other simple response? Can we trade some of our widespread fear for practical teaching and plenty of parental supervision? 

  • I’m all for instructing (even threatening) kids not to have a conversation with someone they don’t know. 
  • I’m for the safety password that ensures a kid won’t EVER go somewhere with someone they don’t know…for taking self-defense classes 
  • I’m all for being choosy when it comes to who we entrust our kids to spend time with. Don’t believe in sleepovers? Fine. 

But could we teach our kids to make eye contact with people who address them when we’re with our kids? Could we teach them to say thank you when a lonely old woman (or creepy middle-aged woman like myself) in line pays them a compliment at the store? Can we spend more time in prayer asking  God to help us set up appropriate boundaries when it comes to keeping our kids and ourselves safe? 

These are tough matters. I come with more questions than answers. I come with some things to think about. 

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The Race

Yesterday was a hoot. The campground where we’re staying hosted a yacht race on the Rio Grande.

 “It’s dollar to enter. Meet between cabin 25 and 26 at 1:30”, the flyer advertised. 

I considered throwing together some little boat using our empty water bottles and then scrawling a cute name on it with the Sharpie I purchased last week at the local grocery, but then decided against it.  

Jason and I decided to be mere observers. 

Ten minutes before the event we walked to the bridge where Fourth of July merrymakers crammed together forming a wave of red, white and blue while they excitedly held their homemade yachts. 

There wasn’t room for us, neither on the bridge nor on the river sides nearby. So we walked about a hundred yards down the river and seated ourselves on the damp bank, ready to spectate from a short distance away. 

The boss of the thing held up his bullhorn and boomed the rules followed by a joke that brought about holiday laughter. And then it happened. More than a hundred tiny yachts, made of styrofoam take-out boxes, swim noodles and soccer balls, hit the water below with a splash too fun for words. 

Each boat took its own course; some finding the fastest current, sailing with ease while others were immediately stalled by  a large rock that stuck up out of the water or tall grass on the water’s sides.  

Several boats unintentionally found themselves sailing to the exact spot where Jason and I had purposelessly perched. Brush with arms reached out and entangled the boats. 

That’s when I found a stick on the bank. I grabbed it and began to gently poke each boat, pushing it back on its course. 

After rescuing the perishing, Jason and I walked to the sandbar where the race ended. There the organizers and excited boat makers stood, waiting for their boat to reach the finish line. We weaved between the small crowd that had formed to find a spot to see the boats come in.  

I saw the organizers formed in a line in the water while they watched the boats closely, ready to snatch up first, second and third place. Cheers escaped the winners while some proud and some disappointed hands picked up the boats. The race was done. 

Jason and I had done nothing to organize or lead this race. We weren’t exactly participants either. Just observers; a position we rarely find ourselves in, busy with family and ministry. 

Observing. It seems like it would be the bottom rung of the ladder of importance. Yet I was reminded yesterday of the greatness of being an observer. I thoroughly enjoyed myself being that I wasn’t worried about properly forming or explaining the rules, or making sure I caught boat number four that crossed the finished line. 

I wasn’t overly concerned with whether or not “The Love Boat” , a raft constructed with plastic bottles and tape,  would hold together.

  Had I been an organizer or participant I would have been too busy, too detail oriented or maybe even too self-absorbed to notice much less give those boats encouragement. 

Nope. As a mere observer, an outsider, I was able to take joy in watching while ministry sailed nearly right in my lap. 

May we remember to show gratitude for those encouragers on our sidelines. May we sometimes slow down enough to do some cheering and guiding too, keeping other’s boat afloat in the good race.

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America and the Great One

There’s a picture in my memory of a Fourth of July some seventeen years ago. My mom snapped it. I suspect it’s somewhere in a box of treasured photos that I’ve yet to place in an album. 

Our Hayden was around eighteen months old. In the picture he’s barefoot in the bed of my dad’s truck with some cousins eating watermelon. He has on a striped red and white t-shirt with s blue logo. His wavy hair still damp, he’s sporting a swim diaper because we’d waded in the creek behind my parent’s house.  

The picture encompasses so much of what I think about when I consider things I love about the Fourth of July. It’s a day that’s set apart to spend time with family; a day that usually involves a barbecue, and when the stars come out, fireworks. 

That’s a pretty myopic view in light of the sacrifice generations of men have made in order for us to enjoy the freedoms and comforts we have in the country we live in today. 

We remember the men who have fought that we might prosper and be free. Not only have women and men put their lives on the line for the people who live in this great country, but our military (including hundreds of thousands whose address is now a graveside) selflessly served that those in foreign places might also gain.

We salute those men as we sing in chorus God Bless America and gratitude bubbles up within us. 

Our Stars and Stripes waves on highway sides and in yards on our streets and we feel pride. Sometimes too much…As if our ingenuity, goodness and sacrifice were all that made this country great. 

America goes much deeper than wars we have waged or the presidents we elect. It runs deeper than red, white and blue. And thank goodness. 

Our ideals aren’t what they were when this nation was formed. Though formed as a nation “under God”, we’ve, as a country, “forsaken the love we had at first”. Some call that progress. Others of us are complacent in America’s Godless trajectory and our lampstand is losing its glow. 

Pride, ill-conceived progress and division have become our trademark

Neither at our nation’s beginning nor in its current condition should our celebration be about how great America is. 

This day we’re celebrating is about the greatness of the Father of our nation. It’s our gratitude for how he guides us.  It’s about the opportunity we’ve been afforded, through America’s birth and growing pains, to freely share the eternal wealth and good news we have in Christ. 
It shouldn’t be as much about what we love ABOUT our country as it is how much love we have FOR our country, both those in it and those who live outside its bounds.  
Those of us whose God is the Lord have the privilege and responsibility to freely live, but more importantly to freely love.   

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
Matthew 22:38-39

We’ve the legacy of a sea of good fighting men and the single greatest man. Following after such a love is the way to make America great again. 

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America-The Great One

There’s a picture in my memory of a Fourth of July some seventeen years ago. My mom snapped it. I suspect it’s somewhere in a box of treasured photos that I’ve yet to place in an album. 

Our Hayden was around eighteen months old. In the picture he’s in the bed of my dad’s truck with some cousins eating watermelon. He has on his striped red and white (with blue) tshirt. His wavy hair still damp, he’s sporting a swim diaper because we’d waded in the creek behind my parent’s house.  

The picture encompasses so much of what I think about when I consider things I love about the Fourth of July. It’s a day that’s set apart to spend time with family; a day that usually involves a barbecue, and when the stars come out, fireworks. 

That’s a pretty myopic view in light of the sacrifice generations of men have made in order for us to enjoy the freedoms and comforts we have in the country we live in today. 

We remember the men who have fought that we might prosper and be free. Not only have men put their lives on the line for the people who live in this great country, but our military (including hundreds of thousands whose address is now a graveside) selflessly lived that those in foreign places might gain.

We salute those men as we sing in chorus God Bless America and gratitude bubbles up within us. Our Stars and Stripes waves on highway sides and in yards on our streets and we feel pride. Sometimes too much. 

America runs much deeper than red, white and blue. 

Our ideals aren’t what they were one hundred years ago.  They aren’t the same as when I was a kid. No matter your political affiliation I’m sure you agree with that. 

Though formed as a nation “under God”, we’ve, as a country, “forsaken the love we had at first”. Some have called it progress. Others of us realize the futility , but have become complacent even as our lampstand is losing its glow. 

Pride, ill-conceived progress and division have become our trademark. 

Neither at our nation’s beginning nor in its current condition should our celebration be about how great America is. This day we’re about to celebrate is about the greatness of the Father of our nation. It’s about the opportunity we’ve been afforded, through its birth and growing pains, to freely share the eternal wealth and good news we have in Christ. 

We’d do well to remember that our pride and gratitude shouldn’t be rooted in what we love about our country but about how much love we have for our country, both those in it and those who live outside its bounds.  

Those of us whose God is the Lord have the privilege and responsibility to freely live, but more importantly to freely love. 

We’ve the stories of many good men and the greatest man to follow after. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

Matthew 22

We’ve a world of neighbors. 

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Three Bags

Sabbatical Day 25


I placed in a pile:

  • The top of a cardboard box
  • Two feathers
  • A Polaroid film wrapper
  • One small rock

Our ten-year-old is a hoarder
The above-mentioned are just a few of the things in her backpack that didn’t make the cut this morning. After two great weeks in Colorado spending time with both sides of the family, I packed Rylie back up. She and Hallie are going to spend a week with my in-laws while Jason and I finish up our time of study and rest here in Colorado. 

It was important that I get rid of unnecessary junk from her bags so that the needful stuff would fit, you know, like her toothbrush and clothes. I had to divide her things in three categories. 

  1. Stuff she needs daily (That went into a backpack and duffel bag that she carried with her)
  2. Stuff to put back that she’ll be able to use or enjoy later (I took her winter clothes out of her duffel. She used them for the cool evenings here but won’t need them again for months. I kept her muffin tin and decorating tips too. All of her baking items are in a Walmart bag kept safe for when we get back home.)
  3. Junk I can’t deal with (Along with the up-top mentioned items, I disposed of a “WalMart bag-full” of things like an IOU notecard that Hallie wrote saying she owes Rylie Babybel cheese for taking Rylie’s last cupcake a few weeks ago. Hallie must have paid the cheese because a small red sculpture made out of Babybel wax was in Rylie’s bag too  I chunked /with a small measure of guilt/ a VBS craft Rylie made at my mom’s church. Then there’s the one rock that escaped her small black velvet rock bag. I returned it to nature. Colorado is going to run out of rocks before the the girls outgrow their hobby for rock collecting. Truth be known I still collect rocks too.)

(Back to business) I down-sized my daughter’s load making life for the next week better. She’ll have easier access to the things she needs without the excess. The weight she carries will be less.

What would she do without me? 

I wonder what God wants to remove from my “carry space”. 

…No, really I don’t. For the most part I know the things that belong in my twenty-four hours and I’m quite familiar with the extra things I stuff in. I have a pretty good idea of what I waste my time and space on; those things that make my life heavier, more complicated and too swift to fully appreciate. 

Still, I stuff in rocks and other pretty things that temporarily suit my fancy but leave me both heavy and empty. 

I’d like to think God categorizes stuff for me too, if only I’d pay closer attention and then devote some trust toward his thoughts. 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

He knows what I need daily. He knows I need peace, patience and unconditional, always available love. He’s the source for those things. He my guide. He saves me.  My tote overflows. 

He has a “for later” space. In it, I believe are the answers for the tough life questions I have. It holds the cure for disease, all ailments including my sometimes broken heart. There’s room enough in it for an eternity of “good things for those who have waited”. 

…lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:20-21

He knows my junk; the hours I spend trying, in vain, to figure things out. He knows my worldly weaknesses; my lust for creature comforts, the stuff I accumulate that crowds out the time He purposes for bigger and holier things. He allows me the opportunity to “clean out” my “bag”. Some of the stuff he removes for me, but unlike the decluttering assistance I provide my children that’s highly based on getting rid of things which annoy me and are too much to organize, God gets rid of stuff based on his fantastic plan which only includes the best things. 

Sabbath. It’s a time where “cleaning out” and resting are mutually accomplished…Where “you get rid of” and end up with more.  

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    To My Weepy Friend Lynn…

    Sabbatical Day 19 

    I remember how you used to pray in Sunday school. You were always so eloquent and genuine. You were the same those times you prayed with me (and Julie) in my living room floor. Those were special times. You and the deGraffenrieds and the Littles (and of course Jason) were the foundation of my experience in “where two or three are gathered” (between our weekly morning “mom prayer” and our Wednesday nights). 

    We’d pray for our children. We’d pray for your children and your grandchildren too. We didn’t need coffee, or even chairs. Sometimes we’d just sit in my living room floor. But there’s one part of our prayer time that sticks out in my memory. 

    You almost ALWAYS cried. 

    It didn’t seem to matter how heavy the prayer request was. Sometimes we’d be praying about something happy and it would be your turn to chime in.  I’d feel that pause…like you were trying to gain your composure (you weren’t very good at that). You’d pray in that shaky voice.  

    I remember wondering if you were over emotional or if I was under emotional (Was it hormones?).  I was sure I cared about the prayer matter with an equal measure, but I prayed dry-eyed and without my voice breaking from sobbing. 

    I’m pretty sure there were other times I caught you misty-eyed when we weren’t even praying!

    The point is, I just wanted to let you know that I now have the “leaky eye/lose my composure over nothing” problem. 
    I can’t exactly remember when it started, though it’s definitely become exaggerated since Jason and I have had teenagers. Of course I cried almost the entire year, two years ago during Hayden’s senior year. 

    I cry when my kids go through tough times. I cry at every milestone.  I guess everybody does that. I did that back when we were praying together.  

    It’s the seemingly mundane things that oddly choke me up these days. I think maybe you understand. 

    You’ve probably heard me mention that Jason (and the kids and I) are on sabbatical in Colorado. I don’t know if it’s the cottonwood seeds getting in my eyes or what, but I’ve been downright weepy. 

    Take this morning for instance. Jason and the girls and I were walking to a little country church for Sunday morning service. I saw an older gentleman holding his bible walking ahead of us. Mist gathered in the outside corners of both of my eyes. 

    My left eye leaked during How Great Thou Art AND during In The Sweet By and By. And that was just today. 

    (Hallie sat beside me. I think she’s probably worried.)

    Three days ago I had to gather my composure on the streets of Creede because I just so happened to stumble across a picture on Facebook that my niece had put up of the joined hands of most of the important women in my life. In my defense, she’d written something sappy underneath. 


    Two days before that, I managed to dam up tears as I watched my mom and dad dance. It was my mom’s first time to dance, EVER. To make it even sweeter, practically every family member took a shot on the dance floor (half having no idea what they were doing).  The sight of that?…Again, my eyelids hosted tears of joy. 

    That’s it! Tears of joy. Those are some of the tears I think you cried those many years ago when we prayed. 

    They were tears and emotion that came from a deep well; one that can only be drawn from when a person has been in deep places. 

     They’re tears from the heart of one who, in her history, has been pulled up from the pit and placed on a rock. They’re grateful tears. 

    They’re tears of joy at the opportunity to collect a new memory for the box of treasured remembrances. 


    Strange tears appear out of the blue as God grows my heart, making room to take in the simple, to better see it how He sees it, as beautiful and miraculous. 

    Thank you for all those tears that  were shed because of a steadfast love for our children. I’m confident those tears were rooted in a gratitude for what you’d already seen God do and in trust for what you knew He’d do. 

    Your Cry Pal, 

    Kristi 

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    Keep Out

    Sabbatical Day 18


    I just stepped in our camper. I’m a little soggy from today’s shower. I can hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof. But if you could see what I see outside my window, you’d be certain it’s been snowing. 

    White fuzzies have overtaken, floating overhead and swirling beneath my bike tires. They flit about the camper and have made the wooden bridge their pathway. It’s not snow though. We’re surrounded by sailing cottonwood tree seeds. 

    It feels and looks as if we’ve taken up residence in a snow globe; nestled safely between mountains.  I’m quite certain if a giant took us in its hand and shook us, we’d stay  firmly in place just like the small fir tree fixtures and plastic snowmen in snow globes. 

    It’s seldom that I feel so secure. 

    I didn’t yesterday nor did I earlier this morning. 

    Yesterday was “clothes washing” day. With the offer of a chili cheese dog, I got Hallie (our fifteen year old) to help with laundry. (The snack shack is a hop, skip and a jump away). 

    Laundromats can make for deep conversation. Somehow our talk turned to the issue of sexual assault. It’s no wonder with the Stanford and Baylor cases in the news that there’s a heightened sense of danger. 

    I switched from being light-hearted to serious in tone. I instructed Hallie (for the one-hundredth time) on how to keep herself from a situation where she might be taken advantage of.  

     It’s not just Hallie I talk to concerning this matter. Hayden is near nineteen and still finds himself the victim of my lengthy speeches concerning the avoidance of pitfalls. 

     Hayden’s headed back to Texas with my sister today. Monday he’ll travel to my moms and then back to Nederland. I get anxious when he’s traveling. Really, I get anxious anytime I’m separated from any of my chickadees …or Jason. 

    Geography and changing circumstances have a way of removing the cozy feel of snow globe life. 

    Rylie just finished reading A Smart Girl’s Guide to Middle School last night. I found it at a thrift store here. My pristine summer lifestyle is being interrupted by thoughts of challenges that lie around the corner…

    Scary things, foreign things, lurk outside my delicate glass dome

    Bad drivers Hayden may share the road with  

    Upcoming situations that will distract my kids from their integrity

    Unavoidable Heartache

    Possible middle school bullies

    Invitations to leave the snow globe

    …these are things I’d like to keep out


    This sabbath snow globe won’t last forever, but it’s provided a break, making the distressing and pressing more “light and momentary”. Possible future troubles are in proper perspective. 

    Like the winged invader that made its way in my sweatshirt this afternoon on my bike ride, we’re not able to “keep out” all that’s undesirable and frightening. We can just learn to put on our breaks and remove the unwelcomed the best we can. 

    We can carry on, then, mindful that the big hand that holds this snow globe is the same that carried us through trouble before. The same strong hands hold our future days. 

    1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

    2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

    3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snareand from the deadly pestilence.

    4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge… Psalm 91

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