Sunday, May 14, 2017

To our moms (plural)



To my Mom…
You might not always feel needed but you are.
You raised two strong women. Who work hard, and try to play harder (at least one of us, I will let the readers decide who I am referring to).


You provided us with a childhood I dream to provide my kids with.  








You showed us through experiences a taste of what this life has to offer.


You are an amazing mom. AND an exceptional Nana.




 
To my Step-Mom…
I don’t know this to be factual but I imagine that being a Step – Mom is somewhat harder…
At least maybe to the two young girls below….




Joyce, you showed us a different side to unconditional love. You choose to stay and stand your ground. Even when you didn’t have to. Even when we fought back.
The two women you helped raised are thankful for that!





To my Mother in Law.

You raised a man who is the best person I know. 
 (Side note. Mason just asked "who is that little guy" when I told him we laughed for about 5 minutes)

I do not just say that because he is my husband. I say that because it is the truth. I am in awe of this and will forever be grateful. 

He stands up for what is right, always. He is kind, smart, loyal, fun and the best father and husband. PERIOD.
He is everything I want Mason to be as a man and everything I want Kendall to find in a future spouse. 


Legacy and my kids. 
I know Mothers day is a day about well… Mothers. 
But these are always TWO things that weigh on my heart each Mothers Day.



Our time here is not guaranteed and the older I get the more acutely I realize just how fast a life can go by.


The legacy we leave might not be so special that the universe is unalterably changed. 
HOWEVER, you can leave a legacy that leaves lasting footprints on those whose lives you touched.
Those who are gone, live on through stories and love passed down to the next generation.



To my kids…

As your mom, there are a few things I would like you to know and well today seems like a pretty good day to share them with you.
 Your Dad and I are working tirelessly to try and teach you things that will help you grow and fingers crossed make you tolerable teenagers and HOPEFULLY well rounded adults.
So knowing that you should understand a few things.


I am NOT perfect. Never will be.
This also means I do not expect perfection from you.
As difficult as it may be, I want to show you by example that it is OK to mess up. It is OK to flat out fail. Mistakes happen. Guess what. We get up. Dust ourselves off and start over or try again. And again. And again.
As you get older I will try to remember that it is not my place to manage every aspect of your life. I will trust more and more in your own abilities to manage good decision and direct your own path….
BUT LETS NOT PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE. You are after all only 5 and 8.11!

I cant and wont fix every problem you have.
I can never protect you from all of the frustrations, hurts and harm you will face.
BUT I promise to try to balance protecting you and allowing you to experience life.
While I won’t fix your problems, I will try to help you figure out how to handle them.

Your BODY is a BIG DEAL.
Just look at how fast you are growing.









This in itself is miraculous to me. 

Every day you get taller, stronger, more handsome, more beautiful, smarter….
These bodies. THEY ARE YOURS.
They can do AMAZING THINGS.
Be kind to them. You have only one body. Take care of it. Treasure it. Make the most of what it can do for you.



I have to set boundaries.
First. There is nothing I want more than to give you everything your heart desires. BUT THAT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE.
This means there will be times when you don’t get to do something you really want to do. That doesn’t mean I don’t trust you. It means that I LOVE YOU and I don’t always trust other people.
This also means that I will not buy you every toy you ask for. Why? Because I don’t want to raise and entitled brat. Which means you will have to work, earn and save for certain things.
Then it will not only mean more to you when you get said thing but it will also provide you a sense of accomplishment. This is something that can not be given it must be earned.

Love is the most important thing.
There is just A LOT of ugliness in the world.
I so wish I could protect each of you from it. But I can not.
Bad things happen. People say and do mean things. You will see hateful actions.
BUT you should always know that you are LOVED. NO MATTER WHAT.
It does not matter what you do or say, your Dad and I will always LOVE YOU. This does not mean we will always lie you or approve of your actions but you will always be loved.
Lastly. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.
I try to say it as often as I can. I don’t even want you to question how loved or proud I am.
You are hands down the JOY of my life. Our family is the best part of my world. PERIOD. END OF STORY.


I am beyond proud to be your mom. 





Thursday, January 12, 2017

Do not be afraid - SHINE BRIGHT!

Mason and Kendall,
This country is going through a transition. Some people will say that the world is a scary place and that there is NO HOPE for the future. They believe it is dark and bleak.
I want to encourage you to not pay attention. There are things that are awful and terrible. SAD and true. But as life has shown our family there is always HOPE.
There is always good.
You have LOVE, MERCY, COMPASSION, GENEROSITY, AMBITION AND KINDNESS printed on your heart.
These are the tools that are needed.
You have been fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13).
You are well equipped.
The bible teaches us that there is power in the tongue to speak life… These words are affirmed over each of you daily.
FEAR will tell you that it is not enough and that there is nothing that can be done.
It might say to you that you are helpless and a victim to fate.
Don’t believe these lies. IT IS NOT TRUE.
The world is simply your canvas and it is waiting for the both of you to make your mark on it with your compassion and purpose.
Once you do. This world will never be the same.
This world. This Country. It is still a very beautiful because it is full of people with greatness inside.
ALWAYS BELIEVE IN PEOPLE. Always believe that your actions big or small matter.

There is NO act of kindness too small. When you decide to give. IT MATTERS. When you share. IT MATTERS. When you smile at another person. IT MATTERS.
When you make a decision to love instead of hate it matters.
DO NOT LET ANYONE EVER TELL YOU DIFFERENTLY.
Love is more powerful than evil. PERIOD.


There are a lot of things happening right now that are violent and hateful. Somethings are not fixable and sometimes there is not much that can be said. 
During these times we grieve. 

These are also the times that we could be convinced that there is more evil than good in the world right now.
This is when I look to both of you.

YOU remind me of the good. 
YOU inspire both your Dad and I to be a better people. 
When I look into both of your eyes I see all that is good.
I see light and innocence. 
I see passion and fire.
 I see two kids who will not be easily pushed down or quieted. 
DON’T LET THIS WORLD TAKE THAT FROM YOU.
I am beyond proud of the 4 year old and 8 year old people you are.
You are both world changers.
I LOVE YOU ALWAYS,
Mama
P.S. Can you call me this forever?


Sunday, November 20, 2016

DOUGHNUTS

Alright y'all...

These. 

Make them and THANK me later!!!



Doughnut Ingredients: 

  • 4 eggs (preferably room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (I suppose you could use coconut milk, but I did not)
  • 1/3 cup grade A maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (if using an actual pumpkin puree, non-canned, make sure it you take out the excess liquid)
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup almond flour 
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used a slight more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the cinnamon "sugar" coating
  • Melted coconut oil (I used about 2 large tablespoons)
  • A handful of fine coconut sugar (about 1/4 cup). You do not need to do this but I blended the coconut sugar in a food processor to make it a finer crystal than how you purchase it
  • Cinnamon to "taste" (about 1 Tablespoon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat eggs, Almond milk, maple syrup, pumpkin, coconut oil, almond butter and vanilla... Mix well. I used my kitchen aid, you could also use a hand mixer. Blend until smooth...
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a spatula until combine
  4. Spoon batter into well greased doughnut pan 
  5. Bake about 20 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean)
  6. Let cool for 10ish minutes
  7. While you are waiting for it to cool... Combine the coconut sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish
  8. Brush melted coconut oil all over the doughnut and then coat with with cinnamon and sugar mixture
  9. SERVE

Enjoy!
Kelsey 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A valentine for my husband


First… We might be the only couple in the USA who could care less about Valentines day…
But this year. I thought I would wish you a HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! (more properly)

To my husband. 
The man who lives in my house and sleeps in my bed… 
The man I don’t often get to connect with.
I love you.

I like you most days. 

The rest of the time you drive me crazy. The good news. I am in it for both types of days.

Believe it or not I do pay attention… Like when you take out the trash, I notice. Yes. I also notice when you do not. I notice when you fill up my gas tank. 
I notice. The little stuff matters. 


I notice you too.


I know you probably feel like most days I look right past you. I can easily be distracted by managing my career, businesses, kids - our ½ hearted son and our strong willed daughter, home chores, our home re-model…. I feel like the list could go on.

So this is me pausing. 
Saying a few things I should probably make the time to say more often.
LIKE….

THANK YOU… For loving me through these MESSY, CHAOTIC, and yet somehow rewarding years. I am glad we are in “this” ----looking around pointing at our currently messy house, sink full of dishes (waiting for you), huge pile of laundry, dirty smiling kids, and dog (that needs to pee).
I couldn’t imagine running this show without you!


I AM SORRY… (since I use those three words so often. You might want to print and frame this).
I am sorry for not always giving you as much grace as I should. YOU FRUSTRATE ME or maybe I should re-word that… I get frustrated with you. Mostly because I am exhausted, and then I don’t have the energy to correct my own feelings. EVEN when I know I am wrong.
Yes. This is me admitting that I am not always right.
I will work on being more intentional.


I LOVE YOU…. But not like when we were dating. 
Not like the girl who used to leave you hundreds of jelly belly’s in your car just to say “ hey. Thinking about you. Cant stand to be away from you during your 4 hour grocery shift”… NONE of that business.

This is me saying I honesty LOVE you…


My… Thank you for our two kids – love.

My…. You have the best way of caring for our family and being gentle with our children’s hearts – love.

My… Sorry I yelled at you last week when it wasn’t your fault – love.

My… Thanks for making my dreams come true – love.


My… You make me more courageous. Without you I could not have faced some of the challenges we have – love.

My… I realize love is a choice. Even after marriage. We pick the person we are going to love. I still pick you – love.

None of this is perfect. Not us. Not life. Not any of it. But if I still choose you and you still choose me then together we can face everything this life has to offer (including some crazy curve balls).

So I will say it again and hope by now you understand what I really mean when I say…

To my husband. The man who lives in my house and sleeps in my bed… The man I don’t often get to connect with.
I love you

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

365 days....

I couldn’t sleep this morning.

We are currently in Hawaii vacationing and this morning I was up at 5am… With zero chance of falling back asleep.

Today is important day.

This morning a lot was on my mind.
Have you ever thought back on your opinions of being a parent before you were ever actually a parent?
I do this at times when I need to have a good laugh – or remind myself that I have evolved. That people evolve.

One thing (pre-kids) I was passionate about was naming my children after loved ones. I would say I had a fixed mindset with this. I didn’t think anything would change my mind. I would have kids and then they would be named after someone. End of story.

Mason came along and naturally we named him after someone – His father. Mason Gregory. Strong name for a strong boy.

There is a four year gap in between our children. Those four years changed and challenged everything.

When it was time to name our beautiful little girl we struggled.

It came so easy when we named Mason. Kendall took hours of discussion. In fact she wasn’t named until we met her. We went into the hospital with a list and came out with a perfectly named and beautiful child.

Kendall Grace. Not named after anyone.

GRACE. The only middle name that fit.
Believer or not you may think this is cliché.
Maybe I sort of get it but I honestly don’t care.

Kendall Grace is MY GRACE. She reminds me to have more Grace. Be GRACE. Show Grace.

MORE GRACE.
This might just heal the world, mend relationships and sooth the inter turmoil that lives in a lot of us. It might just be able to grease the machine of humanity vs grinding it to a halt.
GRACE. It reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters.  No one higher than the other. We are people who need to love each other.
I am no bible scholar but isn’t that the way Jesus came, and isn’t this what saved our souls….

Kendall is THREE (where does the time go).

Jesus has and continues to show me GRACE.
I believe forgiveness and having GRACE for others is the most powerful thing you can do to heal hurt. Heal yourself. Heal one and other. 
(Even though I try, I still fail miserably. But that does not and will not keep me from trying to live a life full of GRACE)

We serve an AMAZING GOD and it we let him he will radically change our life. He will show you, me – US GRACE like we have never witnessed.

Today marks 365 days since Rowyn Leea gained her angel wings.


When I think of Rowyn’s legacy. I think of GRACE.
This is shown in the strength, bond and friendship between two women – Brynn and Cassie. These women render me speechless and show each of US a living breathing example of true human GRACE.(If you have not yet done so read the story of Rowyn Leea and learn how these women have shown GRACE in the past 365 days  www.raiseforrowyn.org)

Today is the one year anniversary. I ask you to pray for these families. I ask you to support the work they are doing to heal themselves and others who face similar tragedies.  I ask you to think about how you show, receive and give GRACE in your life. With your people.


SHOP. I ask you to shop.
A portion of the proceeds form this months sales goes to support this very worthy cause. 


Since I could not sleep this morning. 
I used that time to sit alone. Watch the sunrise (It was GLORIOUS) 

I also felt that it was fair that I spent sometime to reflect and think about GRACE in my life. I wasn’t too happy with what I found…
I struggle with an impulse to critique, to deconstruct, to dismantle.
I too easily write people off and assume the worst.
I am UNDOUBTEDLY my own worst enemy.
I see SHARP edges that need to be softened and each problem I face has the same answer. MORE GRACE.


MORE GRACE FOR MY HUSBAND.
I don’t think I can think of one horrible fight disagreement that Greg and I have had that GRACE couldn’t have unscrambled in a hot minute.
Every bit of tension, lessened.
Every misunderstanding, truncated.
GRACE.
I will stop expecting him to read my mind. 
I will use my words (my goodness I sound like I am parenting myself). 
I will stop expecting that he meets all of my needs.  
I will stop expecting that he decodes my body language (even though I must add… I am pretty animated).


We were kids with NO idea what the future had in-store with us.



We have logged 11 years of marriage and 18 years as BEST friends. These years together deserve more mercy, apologies, and celebrating.

We wont ever be the lovely dovey couple that writes mushy things on facebook. That is not really our style. Will we ever re-new our vows? Doubtful.

These things are ok. 
Because we are us.

One thing I think stands for certain in our marriage and yours (just might look differently) all of our JUNK can be soothed if not sorted out by the simple addition of more GRACE.
(What I hear you say is my unwillingness to add things into not only my work calendar but our shared icalendar makes you want to throw my phone in the ocean) 
MORE GRACE.

MORE GRACE FOR MY KIDS:
If there is one title I LOVE in my life it is the one of MOM.
That said. I am going to try to lead with GRACE for my kids.





I hope to laugh first, listen longer, forgive quicker and surprise them with Mercy.
I will attempt to find the gracious response. Even in discipline. Even in exhaustion. Even in PULL YOUR HAIR OUT MOMENTS. For instance. If a daughter – hypothetically speaking,  Doesn’t want to poo on the toilet. I imagine that GRACE could be found somewhere in here… I have struggled to find patience and grace in situations similar. Hypothetically of course.


MORE GRACE FOR MYSELF.
I think we all sort of have it on some level. That inner voice.
Mine battles with me day and night. I am done listening to her. 
She is the one who whispers to me – All hope is lost, you can do more, you are not good enough… 
Well isn’t that disabling?!?!?!

The bose commercial with Russell Wilson even addresses this “The only voice that matters is the one in your head”. Well it is time to adjust her commentary.

I will start by naming all the lovely things, the beautiful moments, and the GOOD parts.
My SMALL victories deserve to be noticed.

FOR THE LOVE…. (read the book).

None of us are good at EVERYTHING but we are all good at something. Lets honor and celebrate our own gifts and others gifts. Let’s quit trying to keep up with the “Jones” through talents and recognize what we can and can not do- Lets be ok with things we cant do and celebrate others when they can – GO THEM!!!

I have looked. THERE is no rule that requires us to focus on what we get wrong or cant do…. 

There is ALWAYS something worthy to honor if we are brave enough to live like that.

Jen Hatmaker sums it up with ONE paragraph “Show GRACE to ourselves, because how dare we rob our transformed hearts of the mercy Jesus won for us already. Living in guilt and despair is such a drag. There is too much goodness, too much love, too much prosperity to go on like that. ENOUGH of it. Let us LIVE in the wide open spaces we have been granted and laugh and dance and celebrate and notice the ordinary little wonders we are conditioned to minimize”.


If doing it for myself is not a good enough reason then I will do it for a beautiful little girl who was loved so much.
For when I think of her I think of GRACE.





As life carries on, I hope my edges soften and my defense weakens.
I don’t want to be the arm chair quarterback that suffocates people with critiques. That is exhausting and numbing. So many of us are trying. That deserves GRACE.


GRACE is the beginning of freedom, and there isn’t a corner of earth that doesn’t need more of it.


Let’s help GIVE IT!
 
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