Low Carb=Mean Mama

Y’all doing ok out there? The world is upside down crazy. I won’t even begin to type the list of things going on in the U.S.A.  Suffice it to say—it’s chaotic and can be stressful if you ingest too much of the media.

It’s kind of stressful in the Dorminy house these days, too. And before you get concerned, you should know it’s nothing major. I have, however, started eating low carb. I am on day 7 and everyone is still living and breathing in this house, so I can count that as a success. BUT it was touch and go for a while there. 

I am just mean. Mean, mean, mean. Annoyed by everything, patient with no one. 

I forewarned Josh and the kids. Plainly, I stated, “I’m about to start eating low carb for a couple of months so be patient with me. I’ll be mean. Just ignore me. It will probably get better in a couple of weeks.”

Well, it’s hard to ignore a nagging, impatient, cranky middle-aged woman who threatens to take away all technology privileges if you don’t obey her every word and even read her mind. They tried. I overheard one of them say to the other two, “You know, she did tell us to just ignore her. It’s gonna be fine…”

Then today I got a call from God. 

Not actually God, but definitely a divinely appointed conversation. A relative whom I adore and who is a few steps farther down the road than me called to thank me for a book I sent her, and as we talked about life she spoke right to my heart. She was talking about her life when her kids were younger and how life goes by so fast and how many of the times she thinks she was often self-centered and wishes she hadn’t been. She said she thinks she would have enjoyed her kids more if so much of her decisions didn’t put her at the center. 

Oof. 

That was convicting. I stopped wiping down the counters as she talked and knew these were words for me. 

No doubt there was pushback that bubbled up as I continued my conversation with the Lord about this later that day. Just like a teenager, I had some words I felt the need to say: 

“But, Lord, I have given so much time to my kids over the years. Done so much for them. Been pretty patient with them. Don’t forget those ten home school years!! That has to count as something. And they are super close in age—remember Ruby was only 2 when Mack came home!! A two and one year old and a newborn! I mean, that was hard. And this covid business is nothing any of knew was coming so the stress just makes things worse and I’m trying. I am trying!!” (I didn’t add, but could have, and He knows already: “and I’m hungry and tired and they’re home doing school here and driving me bonkers!!!”

And He lets me vent and try to defend my indefensible self. And He loves me still, but doesn’t let up with the pressure on my heart. The truth is: The world doesn’t revolve around you, Kristy. Your family doesn’t revolve around you, Kristy. Your emotions aren’t given a pass because you want a biscuit or even because life as you have known it is changing rapidly and there seems to be no reprieve. 

Strangely ironic that the message seems more suitable for a gaggle of toddlers or for my three teenagers and yet, here I am as a 43 year old woman with my patient, long-suffering and loving God having this same conversation.

Big sigh. Sometimes in life you think you’ve gotten farther down the road and then this same, elementary, basic lesson lands in your lap and it’s tempting to be discouraged and throw your hands up at your lack. And actually, throwing your hands up is a good place to start. Just don’t let them drop. Keep them raised in praise to the Good Father who sees you and is so patient with you and wants to help you keep moving down the road of looking more and more like Jesus. 

It’s going to be so worth it one day. 

Names

Josh and I have known people who gave amazing thought and prayer into what to name their children. The origin, the meaning, the family history. I have genuine admiration for all of their effort and creativity; truly, I do.  

However, our ways are not their ways. Conversations around naming our kids went something like this.

Me: Hey, Josh, I have a few options for names for our baby.

Josh: Oh, good. Lemme hear them.

Me: Scout.

Josh: No way.

Me: Gladys.

Josh: Ain’t happenin’

Me: Ruby?

Josh: Maybe. You can leave that one for now.

And this went on for months. Quietly one day he affirmed Ruby and that was that. The same type of conversations occured while naming Molly and Mack. I did all the work, and he approved or disapproved. I wanted simple names that were easy to spell. Kristy, as I have learned over the years, can be spelled many different ways. Mispellings of my name don’t bother me, but still. Why not choose a simple name that is obvious how to spell, if you can, right? Our only hiccup comes when people think Mack says his name is Matt. We try to coach him to say, “Mack—M-A-C-K—like the big truck,” but he thinks that is goofy. I say not any goofier than answering to Matt instead of your real name. But what do I know?

This morning I read in Mark the list of the twelve disciples. Mark 3:16-17 reads, “And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);”

G. Campbell Morgan focused on this part of chapter—-And I loved reading what he said:

“This Simon was impulsive, restless, inconsistent, lacking cohesion. Yet He nicknamed him Rock. The name was an indication of his unrealized natural capacities; and of the Lord’s ability to realize them. The sons of Zebedee, James and John, He nicknamed Sons of Thunder. They were men of gentle, filial nature, quiet men, content to abide at home in the service of their father. Yet Jesus renamed them Sons of Thunder; men of authority and power. The principle was the same. In James was the capacity to be so loyal to a Master and a cause as to die for them. In John was the mystic power which would make him a seer, and an interpreter of the great things of life. The Lord was able to bring these things to realization and to employ them for His own glory in cooperation with His service.”

I wonder what God sees in my kids—what might be their “unrealized natural capacities”? What name is he calling me? Josh? How does God want to “bring these things to realization and to employ them for His own glory”? I can’t wait to see it unfold.

Just last night Molly said, “If you had to pick a job for each of us based on what you know about us right now, what would you say we should do?”

Now, I have ideas and wanted to share them, but Josh spoke up and said he didn’t want to say anything because God is so much bigger than any of our thoughts about and dreams for each of the kids. He shared how God overruled and led him right where He needed to be, despite listening to what others thought he should or should not do. And I can’t tell you how many people have told Josh he missed his calling and should have been a preacher. Yet, I think God would have let Josh know if that was what He wanted Josh to do. As for me, I chose the easiest, simplest route to getting through with college—for me, it was teaching. I taught one year and did not like it much. I sometimes think it was such a waste or wish I had someone see something in me and call it out and help me find my way. And yet, I can also say that God overruled in my life, too. Being a wife and mom is a sanctifying, hidden work. And God knew I needed this path to become all He wants for me. And He isn’t done with me yet. 

We shared with the kids the strengths and qualities we see in each of them, but stopped short from telling them what career we see them best suited for. Only the Lord knows! Only the Lord can call out in each of them all He has for them….which makes spending time with the One who knows us best so important. I am amazed at how He has walked us through life and to purposes He had planned for us. What a personal God we have the privilege to know. 

Happy New Year! 2021, we welcome you.

Wrapping up the year with fun

After Christmas we spent a few days at home. Taking down Christmas decorations topped our list of to do’s. I do not subscribe to the leaving it up til January 6th idea. My neighbor saw us taking down the manger and star and said, “Dang! Y’all must be over it and ready to get that s@!% down.” Welllll, not exactly. Over the Christmas decorations, yes. Not over Jesus…..but anyway, we also rented a theatre and watched The Croods 2 with about 15 other friends. It was fun!

A few days later we headed to Augusta for one night.

Next stop—Alabama.

The skies were beautiful! I sat in a swing for a couple of hours and enjoyed the quiet.
Mack shot a boar. Josh shot a couple the night before. Lots of doe sightings but they were holding out for a buck that never showed up.

Lots of time in the woods and no tv. Good food. Good rest. Plenty of family time! Thankful for time away and just as thankful to be back home. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Welcome, 2021😊

Christmas 2020

This Christmas Molly decided that we should not wake up Christmas morning and do our usual opening of stockings, breakfast and then gifts from under the tree. She thought that Christmas afternoon can be depressing once everything is over. She thought we should sleep as late as we wanted, wake up slowly, have breakfast, open stockings, play a game, work on the puzzle, take a nap, prepare for dinner, and then after dinner she thought it would be a good time to open presents.

Molly and Ruby and Josh were immediately on board with the idea. Mack and I, however, were unsure. Him, because he loves gifts. Me, because we’d have to endure Mack’s complaining if we put off opening gifts.

In the end, he agreed—after getting to open a very small gift in exchange for no complaining. He definitely didn’t NOT complain, but it was much less than I thought. And we actually all enjoyed the day together and really liked opening the gifts Christmas night.

Now, I’m not saying this is what we will do every Christmas, but this year it worked for us.

Ruby got her new phone she asked for. Mack got new airpods and her old phone with access to music and texting—not a number or internet. Molly’s main gift was a violin. A couple of weeks ago a neighbor mentioned she was giving away a cello she had in her attic, so I went to her house and got that also for Molly! She was thrilled and has already begun screeching around on the new instruments.

Josh got an air rifle for pesky varmints in the backyard. And some new shoes. I got new sunglasses and coffee bean grinder and some workout clothes (of which I really need to use after this crazy year and food-filled holiday)!

There were other fun gifts exchanged, and I’m so glad we had this day together. The food was amazing. Smoked prime rib, twice baked potatoes and salad. Delicious!

And yet, by now the leftovers are in the fridge. The gifts are all in their places, empty boxes and balled up wrapping paper fill the trash cans, bellies will be hungry again tomorrow and gifts soon lose their luster—no matter how badly they were desired just days ago. And visiting family members may be beginning to wear out their welcome. It is critical that none of these parts of Christmas take center stage.

I am grateful beyond words for the truth of Immanuel, God with us. I wouldn’t want to know what would have come of me by now if not for Him being with me. He makes Christmas. He is the greatest gift ever given. Let Him be to you all that He promises He will be. He won’t lose His luster. He satisfies like nothing and no one else. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. His goodness and faithfulness and kindness and mercy and grace never run out. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father…today and every day! Merry Christmas!

Normal, it’s overrated. :)

It’s safe to say that, besides January and February of 2020 (of which I can’t really recollect), not much this year has been normal. And now things that are normal would have been considered quite strange at the beginning of the year.  Disappointments abound when we hold too tightly to expectations…to what we perceive as normal.

I woke up in the night and had a thought, like I was in a conversation with the Lord immediately upon opening my eyes, and as clear as day I thought these words: I need to give Jesus any and all expectations for normal as a gift this Christmas. 

Strange to have those thoughts in the middle of the night and maybe I should have gotten up and finished the conversation, but I slept some more and woke up with those thoughts fresh on my mind. With coffee in hand and Bible on my lap, I sat with the Lord and with those thoughts. I recalled many times in my life where I had given God my expectations, my disappointments, my empty hands, and acknowledged that I don’t have the best plans. I don’t know what is best for me.  And yet, here I was this morning with this same “gift” to give God: the surrender of my wishes and hopes. The reality is that I don’t think the way He thinks, so I need to surrender anew all of my wishes and hopes, especially this one to  “just get back to normal.” And honestly, I have had that thought many, many times this year!!! 

We did school at home for ten years, which is not necessarily normal, but became our normal. Then, we started “normal” school in 2019—just in time for the wheels of that “normal” school experience to become not normal. And this fall has proven to be not normal, though the school, the teachers, and the students have tried. It’s just not normal—not what we had gotten used to at the beginning of the 2019 school year. 

This Christmas season has not been normal. Our home is usually open multiple times for lots of people and food is cooked and served and crafts and cookies are made and shared. And we tried some of those things on a smaller scale and even those best laid plans resulted in not normal. It’s annoying, if I’m being honest. I’m so tired of the masks and not talking to people as I go about my day out and about. I’m annoyed by social distancing pressures and how we don’t even make eye contact much anymore. I’m irritated that it is now rude to hug or handshake. I’m overwhelmed at the many times of having to explain to my kids why we can’t just invite a group of friends over to hang out. It’s not normal.

But I did sense God asking me this morning to again surrender. Surrender my desire for my normal. Surrender my expectations. Surrender my annoyances. Surrender my sadness over what I feel was lost this year. Surrender, open-handed, and trust Him to be the only sure thing, the only unchangeable One, the only consistent One. I sensed a nudge to Hope in Him alone. He has, after all, never failed me.

God doesn’t commit Himself to work in normal or expected ways. And I am reminded this Christmas as we focus on Jesus’ birth that this idea was not normal! The manger that sits in my front yard with a light shining on it and the John 3:16 sign tells of the “not normal” way God showed His love for all people. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

My hope for today, for tomorrow, for 2021 and beyond is not that things would get back to normal, but that I would hope in God more with each passing day. I pray that it would be normal for me to look to Him for all I need, that it would be normal for me to respond to disappointments with trust, even normal to respond to broken people with love, that it would be normal for me to hold my plans loosely as I entrust myself to my faithful, good God. 

Psalm 33:18-22

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.

2020

The Lord is Near

As I look back on 2020, I would say that through every new situation I was faced with, every disappointment I experienced or had to help my kids walk through, and every use of the word “unprecedented,” the number one comfort has been that GOD IS WITH ME. He is unchanging, caught off guard by nothing, sustaining, faithful, kind, and always good. 

This Advent season I have been reading a lot about peace and joy—these are huge themes as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus and look forward to Jesus’ return. But in the midst of the day to day that we have all experienced, peace and joy can seem out of place. As a Believer in Jesus, I can have peace in disruptive circumstances. I can experience joy in hard times. 

Soooo, Am I? In these days, in these past months, have peace and joy marked my life? 

My kids are watching Josh and me. Every night at the dinner table we discuss, in some way, shape or form, current events. We hear them vent their frustrations. We hear and encourage their critical thinking. 

Experiencing peace and joy doesn’t mean living oblivious to reality. It’s a wide awake grasp of reality firmly planted up against the facts about Who God is. 

We won’t live in fear of a virus or of cancer or of a car accident because we can trust our lives to a Sovereign God.

We won’t fight tooth and nail to protect our health by isolating and being afraid of germs because this is not our home and we aren’t committed to only here and only now. We know there is life after death, and we know where we are going. We can trust God with all that life brings our way. 

We will pray for God’s protection. We will ask Him to hold back the virus’ spread. We will pray for those who are sick to be healed. We will pray to be shaken awake to the reality that many people who have died this past year have died without Jesus. I pray this breaks our heart more than our own disappointments or our own inconveniences over all that Covid has created. 

So I end with how I started. Our only comfort is GOD IS WITH US. Do you know Him?

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord aways, again I will say, Rejoice!

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The LORD IS NEAR.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

The things you have learned and received heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Mom Guilt

Maybe I’m the only one (but I doubt it) that feels bad for your kids and the onslaught of disappointments that have come their way over the past 10 month, but I really do feel bad for them.

Not bad for them like they’re just pitiful children that won’t ever get over these difficult days. I totally get that there are unthinkable situations kids are in around the world that actually are horrible and that they may actually never get over while they walk this earth.

However, I’m just talking about in our world, in our little city, at our kids’ school and in our church and home—-some things just absolutely stink. I won’t make a list of the disappointments, but there have been plenty. And all this cooped up togetherness can be a bit much. Soooo, I’m working hard to create other fun stuff to do that would be considered safer than gathering in a large group somewhere. For instance, we rented a movie theatre after Christmas. It cost about the same as what it would cost for our whole family to go out to a theatre under normal circumstances, so why not?!? And we get fun take out food pretty regularly. They’ve gone out on week nights with friends or spent long hours at their house when, otherwise, I would want them home. But considering that they haven’t been able to go to school since before Thanksgiving, they are dying to be with people.

Yesterday, I bought some gingerbread houses and candy for them to invite three friends over and have a little friendly gingerbread decorating competition. It was a fun, light hearted night that they needed.

Suffice it to say, parenting teenagers during a global pandemic has been challenging. Helping them stay connected to people and being creative and keeping them away from the screen is challenging but so needed. Hip hip hooray for gingerbread houses!

Here and Now///There and Then

I like peace. I like calm. I have been in very stressful situations and managed to keep my head because I am very good at figuring out how to keep the peace, even if only in my own head. It’s more of a coping mechanism than anything else. 

Sharing the planet with people who think very differently than me is wearing on me. Trying to wrap my mind around how in the world so many people can’t see some of the dangers of what our culture is agreeing with and the path that these decision inevitably lead to is extremely challenging, and I end up shaking my head and muttering, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”  It is not peaceful here.

I was in a cycle of reading news article after news article and checking this and that person’s twitter account throughout the painfully long election season. I went on a walk and told the Lord that I was a bit confused about how in the world I am supposed to live here and care about the future of my kids here if He wasn’t going to come back anytime soon AND AT THE SAME TIME not be consumed with what the Senate is doing or not doing, who is in the House and when would we actually know, with confidence,  who our next President would be. I felt in my spirit the reminder that this is not my home and God’s government is the one I need to be most consumed with. I took a deep breath, kept walking and kept rolling around in my mind the truth that God’s Kingdom is what I yearn for and that one day I will be in that perfect place where Jesus is the center and there is no confusion on Who is in charge, Who is the leader,……. There was peace in that truth.

But I still live here, day in and day out. I still live in this city, in this state. I live on my particular street in my specific neighborhood with neighbors I know by name. And whom I have very different worldviews than. There has to be interaction, conversations, laws to keep, and just working with people in numerous ways, some pleasant and some not so pleasant.

I am reading a book, Keys to Bonhoeffer’s House , about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, and I am being challenged that, indeed, there are rights that need to be stood up for. We aren’t here just to wait out our time to be in Heaven. Our main goal is not keeping peace at all costs. He surely has things for us to DO here that are important and maybe even controversial. People to stand against. People to speak up for. How can I, as the author, Laura M. Fabrycky, puts it “live faithfully in turbulent times”? She speaks of Bonhoeffer’s ache as “the agony of responsibility.” He prayed the Psalms and “prayer offered him solace and simultaneously plunged him more deeply into the needs of the world.” As much as I want to bury my head in the sand during these dark days, that is simply not an option.

I was reminded about an illustration from Bible Study that spoke of living as a Believer in this world and making sure you and yours are safe and saved and then stepping aside and watching the building burn, full of people—some who know they are in a burning building and are asking for help and some that have no idea that they are relaxing in a burning building. I could sooo see myself standing outside and just being glad I wasn’t in that building. Just being glad that my husband and kids and other family members were not in that building. And I wondered where my compassion was for those people? I scanned the windows and spotted the DMV employee and thought that maybe she was deserving of what was coming to her. (Forgive me if you are a nice DMV worker. This obviously doesn’t apply to you. I have never actually met a DMV worker that I would have assumed was a Christian. I have never even met a person who has met a DMV employee that was sort of nice. But now I am a little off track…)  My point is that we are in the “middle times” of life, of living. People need Christ. There was a “before Christ”  for me, and then I came to Christ and was saved and one day in the future I will be with Christ forever and ever and ever and ever in Heaven. But now. Now is hard. Now is broken. Now is sometimes crushing. Now brings spurts of happiness and laughter and enjoyment, no doubt about that. But we are living in some weary days. So what does God want for me to do now in this season of life? How do offer help and hope to those burning in the building?

It’s a question I want to know the answer to. Some people have more “front and center” jobs to do here and are heard and seen by many. Some people offer hope in ways no social media platform may ever see. For us, it meant opening our home on Thanksgiving (yes, even during Covid) to two families that didn’t have anywhere to be on Thanksgiving. For us, it means making a Christmas box of store bought treats, peppermint tea, Coca colas, and a deck of cards to just show my neighbor love this Christmas. For us, it means displaying in our front yard our DIY manger and star with a sign that reads, “JOHN 3:16.” If there’s ever a sign I can get behind or don’t mind offending people with, it’s that one. He is the hope of the world. He is the only one who brings perfect peace. For us, it means continuing to train our kids in ways that honor God and point to Him as Lord of our lives. It could be a text to a friend. A thoughtful gift to a neighbor this Christmas. An invitation to your church. Money to a needy family. The list is endless of ways we, as Believers, can offer the hope of Jesus to those around us. 

So maybe, like me, you find yourself living in this tension of “This is not my home” AND “This is where I live right now.” As much as I wish I could ignore all news and all political conversations and cut off people who don’t agree with me, I actually have a responsibility for how I live here, how I interact with people, and how I represent Jesus here on earth. 

I highly recommend this book. It challenged me and encouraged me in how to embrace the tension of Here and Now as we wait for There and Then. 

I will end with her final words from the book:

“Our civic house begs for attention, and those of us who belong to the small centers of a house can make a difference. The small efforts and the weak centers still matter, and those who will live in them depend upon us to care.”

Thanksgiving 2020

Just as most of this year, Thanksgiving was not typical for us. Ruby got her wisdom teeth removed Wednesday, so we stayed home. We invited a couple of people who didn’t have family to go to, so that was a blessing.

After Thanksgiving lunch was over, we pretty quickly shifted into Christmas gear.

Thankful to God for this family of mine. Thankful God keeps His promise to be with us through all that life brings to and takes from us. He is good. I am grateful.

Christ The Lord is with us

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of Christmas decorations. I definitely don’t decorate before Thanksgiving. And when I do decorate, I like it for a few weeks, but it has to get taken down and put away immediately after Christmas Day, usually. And not to be confused with a Scrooge, I do love Christmas and all that it represents and the extra family time; I just don’t get carried away with the decorating part or transforming my home into a Winter Wonderland. And I don’t have a problem with people who do. I am just not one of those people.

{Maybe this stems from me being the middle child. Thanksgiving can get overlooked, and we middle children have a special place in our hearts for anyone and anything that gets overlooked. }

However, this year my heart is longing for the reminder, the focus, the truth of IMMANUEL. God is with us. As this absolutely unexpected year comes to a close, I need to be reminded that God has not left us to our own. (Who would blame Him?) I need to dwell on the truth that Jesus left heaven to come and rescue us! I need to be reminded that Jesus “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Christmas shouts to all of us IMMANUEL, GOD IS WITH US!!!! We always need this truth, but I am just saying that this year it feels like I need to sit with this truth a little longer to fully prepare my heart to celebrate Christmas. I need some extra time to turn away from distractions and worries of this world and focus on Jesus. He loved us so much that He came to this broken earth to save us from our sins and from the wrath of a holy God. There is no political candidate this year or in any previous year in all of history that can “heal our land” or “restore the soul of America.” Healing and restoration come from God. 

I find such peace in Christ The Lord being with me. I hope you do, too. I read in Luke 1:28 that the angel of the Lord greeted Mary, the mother of Jesus, and included these words: “The Lord is with you.”  And as I kept reading, I read these words referring to John the Baptist, “For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.”

Isaiah 7:14, many years before Jesus actually was born, prophesied, “Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name, Immanuel, God with us.”

Let’s all spend time turning away from the world and sitting with Jesus. Thank God for sending Him to earth to be with us. Thank God that He continues to be with us through the Holy Spirit. He has not left us. God is with us and that is always enough, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in. 

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I AM WITH YOU; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

*******sneak peek at a new Christmas decoration for our yard that Josh and I worked on last week that we hope will remind our neighbors and ourselves of the truth that Christmas is for celebrating JESUS, God with us: