Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

Do Family like the Geese May 17, 2016

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 10:31 am
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The last few months, I’ve been really trying to “get my steps in” by walking in a local park several mornings a week. Climber and I drop the older kids off at school and then take a lap at the park. The last two mornings, we’ve seen something really fun!

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Yesterday, we saw just one momma and daddy geese with their 3 babies. Today, we saw three geese families! Momma goose, daddy goose and 1-3 babies in each group. The goslings were various ages; you could tell by their size. Climber even called one a “teenager goose.”

We stood this morning and watched these geese families. As they saw danger approaching (we humans), the mommas and daddies used their necks to urge their kids closer together and away from us. It looked exactly like what I do in crowds with my kids.

And as we stood there and watched these geese families, I learned a great lesson. You see, these geese families were not alone. They were doing the work of raising their goslings together. These 3 geese families were around the same pond, taking the goselings out for a walk and breakfast together, sharing information, helping usher all the goslings together. Sure they were all at different ages, but they were still there together, doing life.

What if we humans did more of that? Too often these days, we keep our families in silos, each doing our own thing, only converging for team events and birthday parties. We struggle with feeling alone in a world full of noise and activity.

It’s not supposed to be that way.

We are designed for community. For relationship. For togetherness.

We need other families to do life with us.

Like the geese, the families don’t all have to be the same. We might have kids of different ages, parents of different ages, different number of kids. Each family would be unique.

That’s the point.

What if we really did life with a few other families, going out and about together, sharing meals together, protecting our kids together, teaching our kids together?

What if we took a risk and shared our real lives with a few other trusted families? What if we truly lived out a community of faith as shown in the early Christianity in the book of Acts. What if older mothers mentored younger mothers? What if older fathers mentored younger fathers? What if teenage kids watched out for younger kids and taught them well?

What if we lived into our baptismal covenant to really love and nurture and pray for those persons in our faith community?

Yep, watching those geese families today convicted me.

I need to do better at doing life with other families. I don’t have to simply feel the loneliness. I can invite people to come along side of us. Instead of expecting people to invite us, I need to do the inviting.

“Hey, we’ve got sporting events this weekend. Wanna come?”

“We’re going for a walk today. Wanna join us?”

“We’re just hanging out at home tonight with pizza and a movie. Wanna come over?”

Who cares if my home is spotless. The kids won’t remember.

Who cares if I’m wearing sweats and a ball cap. It’s not a fashion show.

Who cares if we win or lose. There will be another game.

What they will remember is the community we built around us. The relationships we shared. The laughter and the love.


So today… Today I will invite others into our lives. Will you join me? Take a risk. Step outside the loneliness and bring someone in.

Do family like the geese.

P.S. I’ve delayed starting Make Over Your Evenings and will begin this coming Sunday the 21st. Will you join me? (The link is an affiliate link.)


How I Messed Up Mother’s Day May 10, 2016

FullSizeRender (8)I got breakfast in bed (and it was good). My coffee was made for me. The church pews were full (my heart feels really happy about that). Lunch was prepared. They gave me space for a nap. I was given a gift certificate for time at a local spa.

So why in the world was I such a crab about it all?

Seriously, I messed up Mother’s Day. I ranted. I railed. I cried. I was sad. I was mad.

And I didn’t want it to be like that.

Saturday night, I had even prayed about Mother’s Day. I had asked God to help me be grateful. To help me be kind. To help me not mess it up.

And then I went and did the thing I did not want to do.

As Paul puts it in his letter to the Romans (and maybe also to me?):

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. (Romans 7:19-21, NASB)

Or as Eugene Peterson translates it:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’treally do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. (Romans 7:17-23, The Message)

I wanted to be a grateful mother. I wanted to be an appreciative wife. I wanted to be good and do good. I even asked God for help. And then, I went and screwed it all up.

Or did I?

Perhaps it was the sin that is within me that screwed it up. Perhaps the force of evil at work in the world tried to win.

Perhaps you’ve been there. Maybe it wasn’t Mother’s Day you messed up. Maybe it was Christmas or your birthday or a kid’s birthday or just a special family day. You wanted to make it special. You wanted to feel loved. You wanted to receive the gestures of love and appreciation those around you shared.

But somehow, even though your desire was there, sin crept in. Sin took over. Sin seemed to win.

But shhh… I want to let you in on a little something.

Sin doesn’t win.

Jesus already did.

Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross and Jesus still reigns on the throne, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, redeeming those moments, those days, those times when you know what you ought to do. Redeeming those moments, those days, those times when you want to do good. Redeeming those moments, those days those times when sin seems to win.

Jesus wins.

So as I curled under the covers in my bed, crying and pleading and confessing to God (and let’s be real, texting my best friend about it all), I knew what I had to do. I had to apologize.

I hate it when that happens.

So just before Racer put the younger boys to bed, I called them all in and I apologized. I said I was sorry for being unappreciative, for being grouchy and for not being loving.

You know what happened.

Jesus’ victory came.

I got hugs and kisses. One child said “You know, we should have a Mother’s Day do over.”

Yes, baby, we should.

Today, one child said it was his Mother’s Day do over and he was going to be nice to me.

Yes, baby, I’ll be nice too.


Jesus wins.

Love wins.


You are invited… May 3, 2016

Filed under: Girlie,Motherhood — Kris @ 9:08 am
Tags: ,

It was another piece of paper. Another thing to put on the calendar. Something else to schedule. But Girlie was so excited to hand me that paper with those words at the top.

You are invited…

Granted. She didn’t think she would be. We thought this time she wouldn’t have gotten the invitation. So when she got one, Girlie was SO excited – “Mommy can you come?” “Sure baby, let me put it on my calendar.”

The invitation sat on the counter for a couple of days. “Mommy, did you get this in your planner yet?” “Not yet, let me put it in there right now.” I slipped it into the front pouch to add it to the calendar page later.

Fast forward to this morning. I was all ready to drop the kids off and then go walking. I have this goal to move more remember? Today was a good morning to do that. I hadn’t showered and had grub clothes on. “Mommy, this morning is the Honor Roll Breakfast remember?” “Uhhhh… You’re right, I think it is.” “Check your calendar.”

I had forgotten. We were invited and I had forgotten. Forgotten the importance of this invitation for my Girlie. Forgotten that I had said I would go. Forgotten all about the invitation.

So a quick shower and new outfit later and I was presentable and ready. Off to school drop off and the Honor Roll Breakfast.

When the students walked in, she looked for me. She wanted to make sure I was there. I took the picture, hugged her when it was all over and went off to the rest of my morning.

A moment of grace.

Although I had forgotten, the invitation was still there. Although I had forgotten, Girlie was still living with my promise. Although I had forgotten, space was made for me to remember and be present and live into my promise.

Parenting is distracting work. We juggle a variety of needs and questions and assumptions and chores and invitations. As I’m learning to give a best yes, I am continually balancing self, husband, children, friends, ministry. Today, I almost blew it. I almost missed a best yes.

But grace entered in.

My heavenly Father used a gentle nudge to remind me that I am invited…

And you are invited too. Each of us are invited to live into the promises made by God, the good father. And when we forget about that standing invitation, we get reminders that the invitation still stands. Even after we have forgotten. Even after we have left our Bible sit, tucked away and unread for however long. Even after we ignore the small reminders.

But grace enters in and space is made for us to remember and be present in a life of love and to live into the promises of God.

Will you accept the invitation today?


Loneliness, Sadness and Joy April 26, 2016

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 12:06 pm
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It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I was weepy. Have you ever felt that way? Some days, my mood matches the weather, but not that day. That day, my emotions seemed to betray the beauty that was outside of me. That day, I felt sad and alone and wondered if we’d made wrong decisions in our life.

That day, Gorilla and Climber started their sports seasons. As I figured out the logistics of being one person who had two kids playing at two fields far apart, I felt sad. Sad because around me at the fields I saw grandparents and aunts and dads joining in with the soccer moms as cheerleaders for their kids. For us, it’s just us. Racer is off working hard. Blue is now working full-time in the real world. That left me, Professor and Girlie to cheer on the younger boys. And in a need to divide and conquer, I stayed with Climber (the youngest). So Professor was left as the sole cheerleader for his little brother.

And in a sea of people, in a crowd of noise, I felt very alone. As a mom, I wonder if our choices as parents have been what is really best for our children. I wonder if we heard God right in calling us what seems a million miles away from family (really, it’s just a full day of riding in the car). I wonder if we’ve put our own needs and desires above what is right for our children. I wonder if we got it all wrong.

Maybe it’s not a sporting event that makes you wonder. Maybe it’s not a crowd of cheerleaders that makes you feel alone. There are things in life every day that lead people to question their choices, doubt their decisions, feel alone in a word full of 7.125 billion people. If it’s not you, it’s probably the person next to you. If it’s not your family, it’s probably the family sitting next to you on the sidelines. If it’s not your story, it may just be the story of another family in church.

People feel alone in so many ways. And what I feel really sad about is that we don’t have to be. We don’t have to feel like we’re in this journey of life by ourselves. Neighbors, friends, churches… We need to be looking around us for those people who need fellowship, who need cheerleaders, who need relationships with other people.

Later in the day, as I pondered these things, God broke in. I heard the sound of my younger boys laughing and playing together. I thought about Girlie getting to hang out for the day with her friend. I remembered that yes, there are people who love our family, who cheer us on, even if from afar. So although I still felt thesadness, it was mingled with the joy in knowing that our (big) little family has each other and that my kids will know a relationship with each other that other siblings don’t have. Joy breaks in with a reminder that even though our decisions didn’t make sense to others, our obedience made sense to God.

In our obedience to go where God was calling our family, lives the truth of a promise that Christ is with us always. I don’t have to feel alone.

And neither do you. You are not alone. God desires a deep fellowship with you through Jesus Christ and in that relationship, you will not be left alone. You are not abandoned. You are loved.

And if you aren’t the one feeling alone today, look for those who are strangers in your foreign land (meaning, they moved here from somewhere else and don’t have kin around). Do you know how we as the Church, the Body of Christ, are supposed to treat them? Church, we are supposed to welcome them in, celebrate our festivals with them, feed them and treat them like family. So look for the lonely, look for those without cheerleaders, look for those who need a friend and love them. Be in relationship with them. Cheer them on.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we’ll end up experiencing a little bit of the “on earth as it is in heaven” we often pray for.


Not the Pinterest Mom April 20, 2016

Filed under: Adoption Story,Motherhood — Kris @ 6:30 am
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I always thought I knew what kind of mom I’d be. I was wrong. As usual, I had this image in my head of what motherhood would be like, but it just hasn’t panned out that way. It’s been like a Pinterest fail – a wonderful image and something to strive for, but my execution has been off the mark. I’ve messed up more times than I care to count or remember. I’ve missed out on opportunities to show love and grace. I’ve not been consistent and I’ve lost my way. My motherhood journey has not turned out like the image I had in my head so many years ago.

And that’s ok.

I’m not the perfect Pinterest mom and that’s ok. And you’re ok too. Our fails shape us into who we are. The disappointments in life lead us to a better understanding of grace. Our shared parenting, co-parenting, step-parenting, adoption parenting, attachment parenting, free-range parenting, helicopter parenting selves have somehow grown as mothers, as wives, as friends and as leaders in our community.

Motherhood – no matter what style you practice – changes us. Our children change us. And somehow, our Pinterest fail turns out to be the best memory.

It’s hard work being a mom. It’s never what you expect it to be. Some days, filled with nothing – no plans, no activities, no crafts, no perfectly balanced meals – end up being the best days of just being in a relationship of love. And other days, the days that are perfectly planned for fun, education and optimal memory making – sometimes those days are the ones you want to forget. And in between is a lot of mundane, mess cleaning, chaffering, food procuring, boo boo kissing, book reading, homework wrangling, tv watching, “Lord help me” praying, life giving, loving work. Yes, motherhood is work and anyone that tries to tell you otherwise lies. It’s a calling for sure, but it is work. And it’s work that seems to constantly change as our children get older and as our families change.

For me, motherhood is getting ready to change again. You see, each time our family grows by one, my image of motherhood changes. My execution of motherhood changes. My understanding of what motherhood is changes. I change. And sometime soon, we hope to add another child into our family. It is part of who Racer and I are called to be as parents. We know that this journey will be different from our last Adoption Story. And in some ways, it will turn out to be a Pinterest fail too. The image in our heads of what the journey will be like this time will not be right, yet we’ll know that this journey is unique and has grown us in new ways.

So, I’m not the Pinterest Mom. And you know what? I don’t really want to be either. That image of perfection leaves little room for grace. And I’d rather have grace.


5 things I love about being a Mom & a Giveaway! April 12, 2016

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 7:40 am
Tags: ,

Some days, being a mom is really hard. Some days, it feels like motherhood is just not the right gig for me. Some days, my best laid mom plans go awry. Maybe you’ve had days like that. So today, I’m thinking about the things I love most about being a mom.

  1. I love being a mom because I love to see my children be just who they are and realize that I had everything and nothing to do with it all at the same time.
  2. I love being a mom because it gives me meaning that goes beyond myself.
  3. I love being a mom because my kids make me laugh even when I don’t want to.
  4. I love being a mom because my kids push me outside my comfort zone and make me rethink what is important in life.
  5. I love being a mom because I get a front row seat to the lives of 5 pretty awesome people.

Those are just some of the things I love about being a mom.

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What do you love about being a mom? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Everyone who comments and shares one thing you love about being a mom will be entered into a drawing to win a book and journal!


Snuggles April 5, 2016

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 12:53 pm
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No, it’s not the name of a new pet or an indy rock band. It’s what my kids ask for. After a hard morning, a long day, a moment of uncertainty or anxiety or in a sudden urge to share love. I have one in particular who will just randomly come up to me and say “I need snuggles.”

Now, before you say “Oh… how sweet! Treasure those moments.” you must know that of the 5 Love Languages, physical touch is at the bottom for me. I am a hugger, but not a snuggler. So in the midst of a hard morning, after a long day, in a moment of uncertainty or anxiety, I do NOT get the sudden urge to snuggle. Snuggling would be the absolute last thing I would want – do want – to do.

But it’s the right thing for the other person to feel loved and I want to love my children well.

So what’s a girl to do?

Maybe it’s not snuggles that cause you this struggle. Maybe it’s a kind word after a spill. Maybe it’s a deep breath after your kid breaks something. Maybe it’s 30 minutes of undivided attention when you have many deadlines looming. Maybe it’s the gift of a home-cooked meal when all you want to do is sit on the couch and eat cereal.

What it is, is grace.

What we are faced with is providing an act of grace when we don’t want to. That’s the real question isn’t it? In that moment, when we want to just veg on our phone, yell out our frustration, finish the task at hand, pee in solitude (ok, maybe that’s not quite the same…), drink our coffee first before having to talk to anyone else but the kid just wet the bed…

In those moments, we are faced with a space for grace.

So what’s a girl to do?

On a good day (or when I realize I need to turn things around for a good moment in a bad day), I take a breath, open my arms and give the snuggles.

And often, it is just a moment of grace that is needed to assure my kid that mom is love.

Perhaps the same is true for us. Perhaps, after a hard morning, a long day, a moment of uncertainty or anxiety or in a sudden urge to share love, all we need is just a moment of grace. An encouraging word, a hug, a good conversation, an unexpected gift, a chore done for us – just a small act of grace that tells us that we are loved.

If that is you today, hear this:

You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah. -Romans 1:7, The Message

Generous grace is yours today. Take a moment, breath deep, and open your arms to Jesus.


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