Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Because of Her and Her and Her {and Him}

Whenever I get the privilege to tell my story, I can’t get very far without talking about a few special women.  Even though my Mom and I had our ugly moments, I have a deep appreciation for her that continues to grow as we live through different seasons together.  She was and still is selfless in the way she serves our family.  Her reliability throughout my growing up years provided a security all children need and never once did I wonder if I was loved.  I won’t try to encapsulate her in a few sentences here, but her influence in my life is invaluable in so many ways.  Mom and Dad made church a priority each Sunday which placed me in an environment that I could explore spiritual things as my heart began to search.  What a gift.

I remember almost all of my Sunday School teachers-- and the ones I remember best are the ones I felt loved by and who spoke with joy and excitement about the things of God.  In early high school, John and Denise began pouring spiritual truths into my spirit by opening their home to me and a few friends on the weekends.  When Jill graduated from college and came back to Soperton to teach, she began challenging me with almost every eye catching time in the halls at school.  “So what did you learn in your quiet time this morning?”  she’d yell as I passed.  She didn’t ask if I HAD one, but wanted to know what I had LEARNED.  Those three together plus my crazy youth minister at the time entertained us {spontaneously} long into the night on the weekends with silliness, yummy desserts, cokes over crushed ice in styrofoam cups {Denise's ice machine-- NO Sonic within miles}, and truths from His Word that changed a few of us forever.  {Remember the song 1974 by Amy Grant?  It’s a favorite of mine and I call it “1984” because of those years in my own life.}

And then I had to leave them when I went off to college.

They were convinced I was ready for UGA.  I wasn’t.  Phone lines were hot those first few months as I made my way in Athens, Georgia.  John challenged me to find a local church quickly and I did and that’s where I met Mrs. Summey.  The only thing she had in common with my “team” from Soperton was the she loved Jesus as much as they did.  I stubbornly stayed in her Sunday School class all four years.  I never promoted.

It was never “official” but these people, in their own special way, discipled me.  We never went through a book, but I considered myself discipled by each one of them.  If their investment in me was worth money, no one could calculate their profits- not my fruit, but THEIR investment.   I’ve lived through the last 25 years of my life benefiting from them at every stage.  I have wanted to bless others with the same sort of relationship I experienced with them but it never has looked quite like a Friday night on the Pournelle’s den floor or a random Tuesday afternoon in Denise’s kitchen watching her cook catching her love for Jesus or a spring break trip to Texas {from Georgia} with Jill or a 911 call to John from the library at UGA.  I am learning that was unique for me.  It was what I needed at the time.

The Bible is clear on MANY things-- many things I seem to be really good at ignoring but discipleship is where I am focusing today.  Like many things in His Word, it’s a no brainer.  No need to pray about it-- if given the opportunity, take it or if it doesn’t come to you, pursue it.  And since the opportunity didn’t just arise out of existing relationships, I decided to pursue it.  If you’ve been in a church very long at all that emphasizes discipleship, you know the goal is to be discipled and then disciple someone else -- and as each pair does this, the multiplication factor is mind boggling.  I knew it would take a commitment/agreement like that for me to find someone to disciple. I needed to find someone to disciple me so I would, in turn, be bold enough to disciple someone else.

I made a phone call to Kathy Horton.  I knew she and her husband, along with his brother and wife, were discipling full time in their “retirement” from pastoring a large church for many years here in Fort Worth.  {By the way-- is that awesome or what?}  She didn’t agree to it on the phone but met with me and let me know the seriousness of  “the deal”-- the time commitment and the agreement to find someone else to disciple.  I just never could imagine approaching someone and saying, “How would you like ME to disciple YOU?”  Entering this type of agreement, I would have to trust the Lord to bring about this person.  Thankfully, she said yes and has been such a blessing to me in the short time we have been together.

To be ugly honest, I wasn’t sure what being discipled at 42 would be like.  I mean, I’ve done my share of Bible studies.  I worked through most everything that came from Billy Beacham's office down in Burleson, Texas from 1983 to 1992.  I’ve been in some sort of Sunday School since I was in the nursery.  I have had regular doses of God’s teaching from the likes of Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Nancy Lee DeMoss, Tony Evans, Cynthia Heald, Bill Hybels, Kay Arthur, David Wilkerson, Priscilla Shirer, Warren Wiersbe, Rick Warren through the years and heard sermon after sermon after sermon from every kind of preacher you can imagine.  What could I read/hear that I haven't read/heard before?  Ugly honest, remember?  {Give me a break. I know.}

I wish I had done this material years ago.  And maybe I have in some way or another and maybe, now that I am so familiar with my sinful nature, it seems so necessary and applicable to my life.  I have been challenged from day one and session after session stretches me to ponder these Scriptures I have known-- and even memorized-- for years.  I am about to make a bold statement-- and I am pretty nervous about it because then I am accountable--  but I know I will be different for having gone through this study.  Even if it doesn’t seem an outward change at first, I HAVE to think differently because of the way it has provoked me.  Then I have a decision to make.  Will I change my responses?  Will I change my actions?  Will my life look different?  Will I experience victory in the areas that keep tripping me up?  God, I hope so.  May it be so.

And as I am blessed to do it with someone else, I can’t forget how I was provoked.  I can’t put it on the shelf and think, “I will look at that again next week.”  I won’t be able to look in the mirror and walk away and forget what I look like. {James 1:23-24}  So, if you know me well, and months from now think, "She the same ol' Krista," don't give up on me, because I am going to keep it fresh in my mind and spirit.  I am counting on change as I keep looking in the mirror of His Word.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Around my Mom’s dining room table last weekend, long after desserts had been consumed, my brother spoke what I already knew to be true.  Like only he can say, “The blog’s been boring lately.”  Now, if I wasn’t so crazy about him and hadn’t  known for most of my life that he just speaks his mind when he feels like it {and most of the time with no filter---- endearing.... most of the time} and if I hadn’t had the same thought a thousand times over the last year before he spoke it, I might have been offended.

Writing has been more of a struggle lately and it didn’t take me long to figure out why-- Julia and Brighton are older.......and they know how to check my blog.  I have to be more careful about what I share.  Maybe I have crossed the line before, and maybe I’ll cross it again but respecting the privacy of their experiences as they get older is on the forefront every time I sit down to write and there are many things that just can’t be shared.  I know there will be times I will write and feel freedom to post because just maybe my experience, my mistakes might help someone else and there will be other times I write to process thoughts and no one will ever see it but me.

So don’t feel bad if you’ve had the same thoughts as my brother.  It’s okay. I will continue to write because it keeps me thinking and I know as the months go by, the Lord will teach me as I think through the things and put words to what He is teaching me as I parent Julia and Brighton and as I am wife to Jeff and as I am daughter to Him.

Home to Home {Soperton to Fort Worth}

I like personal.  I am not sappy, but I am sentimental.  I like “things” as much as the next person, but I like “things” to mean something.  With new construction, personal can be tricky.  And personal can require a lot of time and effort.  Twenty years ago, my parents had our lake shack on Lake Sinclair torn down and built a lovely modest lake house.  My favorite thing they did was use old wood from Soperton for their kitchen floors.  My Daddy and a couple of his friends took the wood from the ceiling of a tenant house in our county.  It is beautiful and I loved the idea.  I couldn’t get it together for when we built seven years ago but when I was home from Christmas, Hunter, Julia and I went exploring out in the county to see what we could find.  Hunter knew more of the “country” than I ever did!  I saw parts of Treutlen County I didn't remember and a couple of spots that took me back to memories before Kindergarten.  I kept asking her, “Now, you know how to get back, right?”  Every time, she’d answer patiently, “Yes, ma’am,” probably rolling her eyes on the inside.  This was Soperton, right?  Why was I worried?

So we found this interesting place first.

No one knew the story behind this one, but just one look around and you knew it was full of stories.

I would have left too, if my laundry was this backed up.  Can you say “run for your life”?!

This saddle was in the horse stalls next to the house.  Houses with horse stalls barely 10 feet away must have GREAT stories.

You can see, life was just left here.  Plans were made and plans were forgotten.  I didn’t get a picture but the side porch off the kitchen had jars and jars of things someone had canned-- tomatoes, okra, green beans etc.  The jar lids were rusted, but someone was planning for a few more years there.

Next area to look was on a road that led toward "the river".  {The Oconee to be exact-- I almost {or did I?} lost my "Dennard Card" when I texted Daddy for the name of it.  I couldn't remember for anything.}  We had been so distracted by all the bee houses on the way that we didn't see this house that we spotted on our way back.

I learned this house had been moved and it was actually two houses put together.

 The whole house looked like this.  Some planks were wider but this was typical for every room.

Then my brother called to say a friend had said we could look on the property behind his house to see if there was anything we wanted, so off we went.  We found this.

Yes. Creepy.  

Mind you, this wood was only going to rot right here.  No one had plans to restore these homes.  The homes were long gone but the wood still had many years of life.

So permission was given, plans were made and over Spring Break, Jeff worked really hard.  A friend of mine who teaches at the high school, lined up two young guys to help and my Daddy wanted a handyman on site, so with four of them, they began pulling out the wood.

One ceiling pulled.

CJ and Nathan pulling nails out

 Nathan's family was new in town.  He was the Methodist's preacher's son.  CJ?  Well, I knew his daddy and his grandaddy, but he didn't know me.  I was gone long before he was born.  These boys worked hard and the next few pictures prove that CJ is the poster perfect country boy I thought him to be.  Look closely at what he's after.

Apple in the other hand...... 

 You can imagine Jeff's questions-- CJ assured him 3 times it was NOT poisonous.  You see how confident CJ was in his answer.  Yes, and he owns that shirt.  Love it.  I should get one.

 So my job was to keep them fed so I made lunch and Gatorade runs both days.  I thought you might like to see how hard my city boy worked.  I think he actually had fun.

Hunter, Julia and I risked our lives through a non-existent hallway to make our way back to the kitchen.  We wanted to see it all.

Notice the planks on the walls.

Jeff said there is NEW meaning to the expression "rat's nest".  That is between the walls.  Squirrels do something similar.  Jeff said they pulled out one board and thousands of nuts fell out.  His family was set till the rapture.

Dirty Jeff again

Julia noticed the little bird's nest on the kitchen counter.  Then I noticed the "tastee freez" syrup can.  This was our "Dairy Queen" when I was little.

Here is some of what they pulled out.  There isn't enough for wood floors-- too much continuous square footage on the blueprint-  but we are planning on using it on walls, ceilings and maybe a couple of projects.

Any old wood just wouldn't do.  Wood from "home"-- yes, yes, yes.

Thank you, thank you to everyone who is making this possible!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pericope: No.7

{pericope [puh-rik-uh-pee]- noun.  something taken from a whole, or as I like to say, bits of our life}

Experiential Birthday

With our rental past capacity and still being a bit shell shocked from the loot scored at Christmas, thinking about buying Julia presents {stuff to store and maintain somewhere!} just short circuited my brain.  So I marketed the “experiential birthday” and she succumbed.  LOVED IT!

We put them in a little lesson so they would enjoy their time on the ice more.  They both did great.

This just flat out made me laugh.  Nik called it a "photo bomb".  He did NOT ride over to Dallas with us but I am sure he is a very nice man.

I love these girls.
The Learning Curves of School

School looks a little different, but not much.  We are in a small space just like the last house but papers and things are everywhere.  There’s no good place to put everything but we are making it fine--it’s just not a tight operation!  Looking at this picture, I am very grateful for all the windows in this house and I am THRILLED there was this little spot I could dedicate to school-- and laundry and my little desk.  {It’s a hard-working space.}

And you see Gabe there and every time I spot him in an odd space, my future compassion goes out to him because when we move again, he will wake up from this amazing doggie dream of freely roaming about the house relaxing wherever he chooses and drinking water from the strangest places.

And while we are on school, fall semester was a learning curve for all of us and just when I thought I had the systems down, we moved. {Are you sick of hearing that yet?}  Yes, the systems I had in place didn’t move as easily as, say, my couch.

The kids left all their hard work on the school table in their homework folder more than once when the winter semester started.  Then I had to make that most dreaded decision, do I go get it and then take it to school or do I let them take the “turn it in late” grades?  Well?!?  What did I do?  Those are among the secrets of motherhood.

The best thing about this school year is getting to do schoolwork together.  We regularly do math at one of the libraries in town.  

Great kids.  And no, Julia cannot do math with her eyes closed.  

One new thing with someone else sending home the assignments is that there have been projects this year.  The biggest one of the year culminates this Thursday night- the International World’s Fair.  Each kid researches a country and turns in small assignments all year in order to be ready for this one night.  I will have more pictures later but one thing they make is a board to represent their country.  They are SO proud of them.  {Excuse the quality of many of these pictures- having trouble with my real camera!}

Over the weekend, we had an adventure visiting the Hong Kong Market in Grand Prairie to purchase artifacts from Vietnam for Brighton.  While B looked for tasty treats to serve his friends, Julia spent birthday money on this.

And she’s worn it-- a few times already with jeans --minus the coolie.  And she looks darling in it.  Makes me wonder what kind of outfits she’ll be wearing when she’s 17.

Pictures Just for Me

So there are times when there just isn’t a camera around and there is no time to get one because the moment is over so quickly.  Saturday, Julia wanted to ride her bike to a sleepover with good friends who live two streets over.  I said yes and here is what I saw as I watched her leave from the porch.

Julia in her screaming pink Vietnamese tunic and jeans, hair slicked back in a ponytail, bike helmet and Emily’s NorthFace backpack strapped on- navigating the broken sidewalks of our old neighborhood.   She turned the corner and I could still see pink.

My Part Time Job

I see this kind of picture on my phone a lot-- not all are this nice looking as some are Lowe’s or Home Depot, keeping track of items and prices as we build.  Lots of time is spent comparing, deciding and typing into the “master” list.  Have I mentioned Craig's List yet?  That might be for a story all its own.  (And no, I am not buying the china cabinet.)


And just to break it up a bit....

Pharmacy and the GP

That’s what the inside of our drive-thru window looks like at Walgreens but usually WITHOUT the smoking cigarette butt, burned spot and ashes.  Oh, yes.  The joys of working with the general public (GP)..... the GP that was mad with me for not letting them have their Lortab seven days early.  It took us 5 minutes of spraying air freshener to figure out why the odor just wouldn’t go away.  If I had bodyguards at night to escort me to my car, I would have called him and told him that was just NOT appropriate and I knew his momma taught him better than that.

He Knows

Okay-- ready for real time?  So after I typed those last words, I got up to go to the rest room at Panera.  While I was in there, I looked down at my hand, for whatever reason, and saw what no married woman EVER wants to see.

Nausea. Panic.  And from my mouth, the words, "OH MY GOSH!" and "OH NO!" too loudly and too intensely to go unnoticed by the other lady in the bathroom.  I can only imagine what she might have thought coming from inside my stall. After awkward silence, she said, "Are you okay?"  I was stunned.  We just had it reset at Christmas!  I have no idea what I said but I heard her say she would tell the manager and I got out as fast as I could.  It could have been anywhere from home to Panera but I felt I needed to go home.  Embarrassing tears flowed as I called Jeff and people were trying to help look for this small, beautiful, sentimental piece.  I solicited prayers from a friend who cried as well..... {I want to be able to do that with people!! Cry with them.}  And when I got off the phone, I remembered as I got dressed this morning I thought I heard a bobby pin fall-- a normal occurrence as I don't always get them out of my hair.  I spent 5 seconds looking for the bobby pin and that was that.  When I ran into the house just a few minutes ago, I got down on my knees and began rubbing the carpet, nose to the ground and saw this under the bed.

Amazing.  God knew where it was.