Kris Mares

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

Bookends of Life April 13, 2016

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 1:05 pm
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In the era of e-books and e-readers, I wonder how many of us remember bookends. You know, they are the items used at either side of a row of books to hold the books up and keep them from falling/sliding down. You can have really fancy ones that are sculptural or plain-Jane ones that are nothing more that a piece of plastic in a L-shape. Whichever the case – fancy, plain or somewhere in between – they serve the same purpose. Bookends tell us where the start and the stop of the row of books are, defining that section and keeping what’s in the middle from falling down.

13015462_468607336661551_1518488740345887161_nYesterday, I got to see the bookends of life. I snuggled an infant and hugged an elderly woman. Each person, fully formed and unique and valuable and worthy of love and needing grace. Each person, in very different seasons of life, to be celebrated and loved.

You see, babies remind us of life that is still yet to be lived. Of hope that goodness and love and redemption is still out there. Babies remind us that even though we will one day die, we can leave a legacy behind in the ones that we love.

But the elderly, they remind us that life on earth is not the end. That there is something more to what we are doing here on earth than simply accumulating stuff and punching the clock and going through the motions. The elderly remind us that even though we will one day die, we still have the chance to leave a legacy behind in the ones that we love.

Babies. Elderly. The bookends of life, holding us up to a greater standard. Holding together the chapters of our lives, reminding us that there is more to life than the beginning and the end. There is purpose beyond flesh and earth. There is something eternal, that lives before us, through us and beyond us.

And that Eternal calls us into life together, with others and with our Creator.  That Eternal gives us purpose beyond doing good unto others. The bookends of life remind us that the chapters in between birth and death tell a story that is greater than any one of us alone and we get to be a part of that story, living it and preserving it and telling it to future generations.

Today, I invite you to live into that eternal story.

I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and was and is coming, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8

 

I Have a Friend Who… May 20, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 5:44 pm
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How many times have you heard someone start a story and you think “yeah, right.” Well in this case it’s true.

This is not my story.

The story you are about to read is from a dear friend of mine. She tells it (and has given me permission to share it) so that God’s love and His plans for her life can be glorified. She tells it to encourage life.

It was 1967 and two people who had been in love since childhood made a decision to have unprotected sex. Why? They were 17 and 18 and put themselves in a compromising situation where they were…alone. Their parents trusted them but they did not give them the boundaries they desperately needed!

Some say, the girl was being rebellious toward her father because he had made it clear that her boyfriend was not accepted.

It was the 60’s and free sex was “in.” However, these two people were charismatic christians! The girl played the piano in her church youth group, was a straight A student, and had scores of friends and a very bright future ahead of her. The boy was athletic, strong, very intelligent and loved the Lord! He had big goals for his future. In fact he had already made money at a number of childhood “jobs.”

Everything was about to change at a rapid pace. You know that feeling you have when something is about to happen? Well, this couple’s world came to a crashing halt with the discovery that she was pregnant!

At the time, this thing called abortion was explained as simply another form of birth control. No.big.deal. The procedure could be done in one day and you could go back to the life you once knew. So, naturally, several people encouraged this girl to choose abortion. NO WAY! Because in this girl’s heart was the absolute truth. That a loving Father God in heaven chooses to give life and only HE can take it away. She knew in her gut that this was a life that needed to be nurtured and loved and she knew who she would parent this child with. Her sweet-loving boyfriend.

Due to extreme morning sickness, she had to finish school at an alternative place and graduate with a G.E.D. instead.

And, at about 6-7 wks. pregnant, she got married with just a few people as witnesses.

I KNOW BECAUSE I WAS AT THE WEDDING!  The little baby growing inside this girl, was me! I was a little person with a heart and soul developing into what I would become today, praise God…

SHE CHOSE LIFE!

By, a Wife of 25 yrs. and homeschooling mom, blessed friend, sister, daughter and child of God.

 

A Baby Story November 27, 2010

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 7:59 am
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On Tuesday, my last baby was delivered.  I say last, because, unless God does a miracle, this will be the last baby I grow inside of me.  Baby boy (still working on a nickname) was welcomed into the world by me, Racer, Blue, Professor, Girlie, Gorilla, my parents, Racer’s mother and grandmother.  He is already well-loved and Girlie and Gorilla are totally smitten with him!

Tuesday morning, Racer and I got to the hospital at 6am.  I was taken back for some pre-op paperwork and prep.  I was asked and signed multiple times that a tubal is “permanent and  irreversible.”  I had to state my medicine allergies and the type of surgery I was having I think with each paper I signed and person I spoke to.  I was gowned, given and iv and had to drink some awful, salty, nasty cup of something.  Pretty sure it was an antacid of some sort, but it was GROSS!

Racer then came in and soon the anesthesiologist and OB came in to speak with us.  I learned I’d be getting a spinal instead of an epidural.  Not sure what the exact difference is, but the process for me is the same.  I wasn’t that impressed with the bedside manner of the doctor, but I just figured that’s his personality.  It happens.  My OB came in then.  And, for someone I chose over the internet, mid-pregnancy, I’m impressed.  I really like her and connect with her style of medicine.

Then, it was time to head up to the delivery/operating room.  My first delivery ended in an emergency c-section and because of the facilities available for my second pregnancy, I have opted for repeat c-sections.  This would be my 4th.  Because it was my 4th and was being done at 38 weeks and 6 days (one day before AMA recommends), my OB had another doctor from her practice assist.  Before all that, though, had to come the spinal.

Let me explain this part by saying that I dread the epidural/spinal part more than any other aspect of the c-section.  Even with my first, I dreaded the epidural.  So going in, I have some anxiety about this procedure.  Then I was asked to lay on my side instead of sit up like I was used to.  Y’all know me and change…  Then, the doctor couldn’t get the spinal.  He tried.  And tried again.  I curved as much as I could.  Then I sat up and he tried that way.  I was getting more and more anxious and scared and nervous.  I took a minute between tries to calm down.  My blood pressure was going up and up and up…  He tried again.  The nurses were great.  I was curling into one as much as I could.  I think I left marks on her arm from gripping it so tight.  Then, the doctor stepped away.  He called in his partner to do it.  The second anesthesiologist came in.  They had to re-sterilize the field.  He got it on the first try.  Got some meds and my blood pressure went back to normal.  I had some nauseous feelings, but they went away.  Soon I was lying down, Racer was with me and we would soon meet our baby!

Once they got started, things moved quickly.  I could hear the OB’s talking and then heard that we had a baby.  Racer looked over the curtain and it was a boy!  Soon he began to cry and they got him wrapped up and brought around so I could see him.  I gave him a kiss, snuggled for a minute and then baby and Racer went off to get tested, washed and ready for the world.

My doctors quickly finished with me and got me into recovery.  At some point, they transferred me to another bed, but I don’t remember that.  All I remember is asking when I could see, hold and nurse my baby.  Soon is what they kept saying.  I guess I kept bugging, but “soon” they brought baby boy back and we snuggled and tried nursing.  He latched on right away!  Racer came back and joined us.  It was time to go to our room and meet the rest of the family.

On the way to my room, I was my typical self trying to help.  The nurse had to tell me twice to keep my hands in the bed; I was only trying to move the curtain out-of-the-way and hold the door open!  When we got into the room, our family was all there.  I got to announce the name to everyone.  Until then, they only knew we had a boy.  The younger kids couldn’t wait to hold him.  Blue was upset seeing me all connected and in bed and hurt.  Baby boy was held by all and then everyone went home and left me, baby and Racer alone for some quiet, a nap and some bonding time.

Later in the afternoon we got another family visit.  I was tired, but I already missed my other kids.  Although I appreciated the time of rest in the hospital, I missed my other kids.  I missed being at home.  I was glad for the visits, but I am also glad that we had plenty of help in the form of loving grandparents who could take care of them at home.  Racer stayed with baby and I in the hospital most of the time.  We had great nursing care.  The food was pretty good too.  The kids found it funny that I could only have liquids until I “passed gas.”  It’s funny to hear kids pray that their mommy would fart!  They really wanted me to have “real food.”

I was up and walking (minimally) on Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning brought a shower and more walking around.  It felt so good to get out of bed!  Slowly I was up and around.  I got to wear my regular clothes and more and more tubes were being disconnected.  I did spend Thanksgiving in the hospital, but I also got to watch the Macy’s Day parade uninterrupted!  Racer and Blue brought be a plate of yummy food and also brought some yummy Thanksgiving fare for the nursing staff that was working.  They were so appreciative!  Baby boy was doing well, even though he lost some weight.  We continued to learn how to breastfeed, which is always fun at first.  Sometimes it went without a hitch and sometimes, we tried and tried again.

Friday morning brought time to come home.  Paper signed, staples removed, instructions given.  Being a “seasoned” mom, the nurses were more relaxed in our discharge instructions.  And, we were the last of a slew of discharges.  When we arrived, baby boy made #13 in the nursery.  When we left, there were no more.  Thirteen has always been a lucky number for me.

So now we are home.  We just spent our first night together as a big family in our own home.  Baby’s cries carry further at night that I thought they would and we woke a few people up.  Plus, we are at the breastfeeding stage where baby is having trouble latching at first.  That’ll go away, but it does make for a little impatient crying in the middle of the night.  But, it is now morning of a new day and I’m looking forward to what our new routines will be.

I am still pretty sore, but glad to have grandma’s around to help for another week.  Racer is really great in the middle of the night so that I don’t have to get in and out of bed a bunch of times.  And even this morning, I had coffee and toast brought to me!  I could get used to this, but I don’t really want to.  I kind of like being the caretaker.  I don’t mind the “vacation” though.

So, for now, that is our baby story.  Soon, I’ll have a cute nickname and you’ll be inundated with lovely baby boy stories!  But until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed all the lovely and not so lovely details of his birth.  Thanks for “listening!”

 

Prayer for my Baby November 23, 2010

Heavenly Father-

Today is the day, you have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!!  Today is the day, you have chosen for my baby to join the world!  And even though we will meet this baby for the first time, you already know the number of hairs on his head today and 57 years from now.  You know if this baby is a girl or boy.  You know how well she will sleep at night.  You know the grade he’ll get in middle school science.  You know what her first job will be.  You know who he will marry.  You know the number of days she will have.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this child’s journey.

So today, father, as I become a mother again, guide all that is done to bring this baby safely into this world.  Keep the doctors and staff alert, guide their hands as they cut, deliver and repair.  Give them a supernatural energy, wisdom and kindness.  Calm any nerves or concerns they may have – about this delivery or about things in their own lives.  While they are with me and baby, help them focus solely on the task at hand.

Protect my baby and I from any complications that may be possible.  Keep away any sense of infection or sickness that could come.  Keep us safe and comfortable.

And father, prepare my other children for the changes that this baby will bring to our family.  Give grandparents words of comfort, excitement and wisdom to help ease this transition.  Help them find joy, peace and love for this new sibling.

Thank you for all you have done for the family you have created for me.  Thank you for what you will do today.  Thank you for all you continue to do.  I don’t always understand it, but I know that you have personally knit together a beautiful, mixed up, perfect family for me to care for.  In all that I do for them, guide me to be the wife and mother You need me to be.  And in the end, remind me that YOU did it – not me.  YOU are the I AM.  I am the I am not. 

I love you Jesus.  Amen.

 

Lovely Baby Shower November 15, 2010

A couple of days ago, I was the recipient of a lovely baby shower.  The church my family attends was the host.  When I was asked if they could throw a shower for us, I was really surprised!  It’s our 5th child, we have sooooo much we’ve saved and we have only been attending for about 2 1/2 months!  Such unusual circumstances for a shower; at least that’s my thoughts on it.  Surprised as I was, I said yes, because the church is so excited to have a new baby in their midst!  At the shower, I found out they haven’t hosted a baby shower in about 6 or 7 years – so they are REALLY excited.  Far be it from me to deny them that joy…

When I was asked for what we might need, I was kind of stumped.  I just answered “consumable kinds of things” but was asked for a list of stuff.  As I created my list, I thought of all the stuff we had and what new babies really need.  I’ve learned to be pretty frugal over the last couple of years – especially over this last year.  I’m still learning and have a lot of things to still learn.  New moms sooooo over guess what they need for the first baby and end up with a lot of stuff that isn’t really necessary or that they hardly ever use.  Since we had the major stuff (crib, sheets, blankets, car seat, stroller, toys, gender neutral clothes, gender specific clothes) this was the list I gave:

  • Diapers up to size 2
  • Wipes
  • 4 and 8 oz drop-in bottle liners
  • Baby wash, lotion, powder
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Bibs
  • Socks
  • White plastic child size hangers, with and without pant clips
  • Diaper Genie refills
  • Flat changing pads
  • Advent bottle nipples, larger size, stage 1/slow
  • Baby bathtub

We had bottles, but the nipples were well used after 2 babies and thus some new were needed.  I’m fond of bottles w/drop in liners because you need far less bottles, the collapsible liner minimizes the air baby takes in and they are far easier to clean up.  I do plan to breastfeed, but I’m not sure how long, so we do have bottles on hand.  As for the Diaper Genie, I have found that using a plastic grocery bag works just fine to wrap a dirty diaper in and toss in the regular garbage, but Racer likes to use the Diaper Genie, so we have one.  Since I’m the one home most often, one DG refill lasts us a pretty long time.  With the changing pads, we have a washable one that I usually have on the changing table, but having a package of the disposable kind is handy for when the other is in the wash.  We do use the disposable ones until they are dirty.  We did get one package of socks; add that to the few we have still and that’s plenty for a newborn.  I prefer pants/rompers with feet in them anyway because baby ALWAYS kicks off socks and they get lost anyway.  But we do have some outfits that don’t have feet in them, thus socks are necessary.  I just don’t like matching socks…  We did get a few bibs and that will be plenty.  I did have to toss after Gorilla was done with them – 2 babies w/milk stains was just too much for them.  Some stayed good and with the new ones, we’re set.  We did get diapers, wipes and a few items not on the list too.  A beautiful baby photo frame was a great gift that we “needed” for the precious first picture.

I say all this for those new mom’s that might be out there looking to register or for those of you that will buy baby gifts in the future.  Please be practical.  I once asked a friend and seasoned mom to list her “must haves” for a new baby.  Her response?  “Boobs, blankets and diapers.”  Minimal is best at first until you know baby’s size, how you’ll really function day-to-day and what you actually might use.  Too many new mom’s get newborn and 0-3 month clothes.  I will never again buy those sizes for a baby gift.  If I do, it will be something like a sleep sack that is 0-6 months.  But really, there isn’t much need to register for small sizes for outfits and such.  And, if there is a plan to have more than one child, I highly recommend registering for gender neutral stuff.  Then you have it ready for the next baby.  No real need for baby towels or wash cloths – regular ones work just fine.  New babies don’t take that many baths anyway.  Diapers and wipes?  Go for the big refill wipes box over the individual boxes.  And don’t be afraid to buy the store brand.  Often store brand diapers are 1/2 the cost of name brand diapers.  I find that they generally work the same and at the cost and amount gone through right at first, quantity is important. 

The shower had for me on Saturday was small and simple.  Minimal decorations, no games (yeah!  I think most are silly), a simple cake and snacks and punch.  What was a blessing to me was that in our new home – away from all our family and close friends – we had people who wanted to celebrate with us!  God used our new church family to provide for the basic needs of the baby, but he also provided people to help us celebrate.  I missed having family and good friends there, but I know that this baby will be loved by a new church family just as out other children were loved by our “old” church family. 

I’ve seen feelings get hurt over baby showers, people get bent out of shape by “having” to host one, and moms-to-be get stressed out over guest lists.  Really, in the end, it is about celebrating a new life – a gift from God – and helping a family provide for the initial needs of a newborn (a sometimes overwhelming prospect).

So, for those of you planning a baby shower, registering for a baby shower, trying to be frugal while having a baby or just helping celebrate a new life, think minimal, practical and CELEBRATE!

P.S.  Don’t overlook “non baby” things like gift cards to local take-out restaraunts for the first few weeks mom and baby are home or gas cards for dad’s trips to/from the hospital.

 

 
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