Kris Mares

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

Christmas Reflection January 6, 2011

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 7:36 am
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Christmas is officially over.  The daily grind has begun.  Our vacation – 2 weeks of living a relaxed, fantasy life – is over.  In a way, it feels like it was so long ago…

For Christmas, the kids and I spent 2+ weeks away from home with friends and family.  Racer stayed home longer for work and to take care of pets.  He joined us about 5 days into our trip.  While the driving was long (7-9 hours, 2 days in a row, 5 kids, 1 adult, lots of snacks) it was totally worth it.  We got to see some great friends in our “old town” and both my family and Racer’s family.

During out trip, we were totally spoiled.  Good food, generous gifts, great conversation.  We got the chance to hear the Christmas Cantata that our “old church” choir sang.  That was a hard morning.  We were all so happy to see our friends, and they were happy to see us.  Tears flowed from many, especially me and Blue.  Neither one of us are huge criers, but that day, the emotion of it all was overwhelming.  At one point, I had just about dried up all my tears, and then the choir sang a song titled “Sometimes Christmas Makes me Cry.”  You guessed it – I started crying again!  Right after chuckling at the irony of the song.  Leaving that morning was hard, but we knew we were going on to my parents house, so it was okay.

As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate time with my parents more and more.  They are at the point in their life when they are enjoying their kid free time together, the fruit of their hard work and the good choices they made as younger adults.  I watch them and hope that someday, Racer and I will be able to enjoy similar things.  I know that it’s not about things – and I don’t really mean objects.  What I mean is that I would like to be able to enjoy giving in a more generous way to others.  I would like to be able to enjoy “self pampering” on occasion.  I would like for Racer and I to be able to have time together, just the two of us, in a relaxed, new way.  But then I think about how quiet the house will be…  Maybe having 5 kids means we’ll have lots of grandchildren!

Spending time with Racer’s family always helps me understand him better.  While we had some cramped living for a few days, it gave me the opportunity to observe and get to know his mother better.  By understanding her better, I better understand why Racer is the way he is.  I did get the chance to cook for them one day – beef stew and braided cheese bread.  It was all yummy.  I also found this really fun little book that I’ll be blogging about several times in this year.  It has history, romance, food and a little silliness too – I’m looking forward to this adventure!

During our “Christmas holidays” we also celebrated a marriage.  My brother finally got hitched!  The ceremony was small and beautiful.  The church was still decorated for Christmas and light just radiated.  Girlie was the flower girl and loved every minute of the attention.  Some of my aunts came for the wedding – I haven’t seen them in over a year and a half – and it was nice to visit with them.  We got an extended family photo of everyone all dressed up.  Our “little” family of 7 got a photo of just us too!  I’ve realized that for the next, oh, 10 years or so, we will NOT have a family picture that doesn’t have someone doing something weird.  Oh well, that just makes the memories even fonder right?

Then it was time to come home.  We made another overnight stop in our “old town” and I had a lovely, but late, evening with some girlfriends.  Racer and Blue went straight home to join life a day earlier than the rest of us.  I got to be a fresh perspective to some life challenges (I enjoy doing that).  I cried when it was time to leave.  Thank you friends for your prayers.

So what did I learn?  I learned that good friends are so, so precious.  I learned that prayers for travelling mercies are soooo important.  I learned that there are people in my family that I need to pray for (why I haven’t been, I’m not really sure).  I’ve learned that I enjoy being around people who just pitch in and help as needed, without really being asked.  I’ve learned that Chex cereal SHOULD NOT be taken in the car as a snack!  I’ve learned that I am on the road to contentment.

So now that “real life” has started back up again, I’ll post more regularly.  I’ll do something next about goals/plans/hopes for this year.  I have some cooking things I’d like to be more regular about.  Of course, there will always be random stuff thrown in – glimpses into our life at the moment and how God is writing our story.  But can I just bask in the quiet of Christmas just a little bit longer…


Hope November 29, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 7:13 am
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Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent.  It was the Sunday focusing on Hope – hope that came in the prophecy of a coming Messiah.  Hope that comes through belief in a God greater than ourselves.  Hope that took its form in a crying baby and an empty tomb.  Hope that is still available today because of a risen Savior.

Each year, our family lights an Advent Wreath during Sunday evening’s meal.  We read scripture, light the appropriate candles and place some of the figures in a Nativity scene.  During dinner, the goal is to have a discussion about the particular scripture or “theme” for that week.  Yesterday, it was nice to have three grandmas with us to join in our Advent tradition. 

As we were eating, I asked everyone what their hope was for this Christmas season and the new year.  The little kids’ “hope” was mostly about gifts they hoped to receive.  Great grandma – in her years of life lessons – simply hoped for family with good health, safety, wise choices.  The other two grandmas hoped for more time with kids/grandkids, stability and good health. 

Blue hoped for days with less teasing from Racer and I.  That was eye-opening as I didn’t realize that Blue was bothered by our ribbing as much as maybe she is.  We rib her about little stuff as just a way that we interact in our family.  We don’t mean harm by it – it’s just silly fun.  I guess that’s not how it’s being received.  Her hope is one that Racer and I just might be able to help realize.

Racer’s hope was for God to help us realize our heart’s desire for our family home.  We have dreams like most young couples.  We have dreams for a house that is “just right” for our family.  We have hope that God will provide us with a family home that is “just right” for us.

My hope – for a plentiful harvest from the seeds and labor of the past year.  This last year has been a tough one for our family.  There have been many unexpected hurdles, challenges and struggles.  There have also been many unforseen blessings and joys.  As Professor asked me to explain what I meant this is what I said…

When you plant a garden, there is a lot of hard work in the beginning.  You have to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, weed, weed, weed.  You sweat a lot.  Sometimes your muscles hurt from all the hard work.  It’s not always that fun.  But then, after all the hard work, a time comes when you get to see and enjoy the flowers and then the fruit from the labor.

Professor understood that.  We’ve had a year of work, labor, sweat and tears.  My hope is for a year when we get to rest and begin to see more of the beauty arising from the work of preparing and planting.  I have seen many ways already that God has changed our family for the better.  I see many areas that we still need refining.  But my hope is that God isn’t done with us yet!

I just feel it deep inside that God has amazing things He’s going to do with our family.  This season is simply one of preparation and seed planting.  This season is one of hard work so that the beauty of God’s mercy, grace and love can grow more beautifully and plentiful in our family’s garden.  What that beauty looks like, I don’t know.  What I do know is that I have confidence in what I hope for.  I rest in the promises of scripture.

So this week, as we move forward in the Advent Season – a season of preparation, spend some time thinking about what it is that you truly hope for and where your confidence in that hope comes from.  Now share!  Tell me, tell someone, what is your hope?


New Goals for Fall September 20, 2010

A lot is changing in my life right now.  We’ve moved to a whole new place, we have a new baby coming, I’m currently a stay-at-home mom again, and God is knitting our family together in ways  that I’m watching in awe and disbelief and wonder.  And, it’s beginning to look a lot like Fall out!  I LOVE fall – it’s probably my most favorite of all the seasons.  The temperatures are PERFECT, it brings back great memories of marching band, the windows in the house can be open, the leaves turn beautiful colors, bonfires are perfect… and it means that winter is coming (that means Christmas and snow!).  Fall always seems so crisp and fresh to me.

So, in honor of Fall and all the changes happening around me, I decided to make some new goals for myself.  Some goals are longer term, some shorter, but none the less, they are still goals that I have right now in my life.  And, I thought I’d share them with you.

#1 – Get the baby room set up and determine what, if anything, I will need.  We have most everything saved from Girlie and Gorilla.  This baby will be a “surprise,” and thankfully we have neutral, pink and blue waiting in the wings.  Because of the move, all the baby equipment is taken apart.  So, it needs to be put together, placed in its place and I get to start washing and organizing (one of my favorite things to do)!  I can’t wait to see all the little clothes hanging out on the line.  And I think, most of what we’ll need for the baby is consumables – diapers, wipes, washes, lotions, etc.  I am toying with the idea of cloth diapering some though…

#2 – Get into a better household management schedule so that I’m using what we have – money, time, other resources – the best I can.  I’ve tried FlyLady before and dabble on and off with her “system.  I just don’t stick with it well.  I grocery/meal plan fairly well, but I can always do better.  I just need a better routine of keeping up with household maintenance, cleaning and organizing so I don’t go on “binges” and drive everyone CRAZY!

#3 – Start thinking about Christmas, how we can better budget for it and what we can do for others (creative crafty things that are low-cost) to help share the reason that our family celebrates.  Work with Racer to plan ways for our family to keep Jesus Christ at the forefront of Christmas.

#4 – Bake from scratch more. It’s healthier and cheaper.  Frugal Girl has inspired me in this endeavor.  I just need to incorporate baking into the family routine more.

#5 – Keep a daily date with God.  This one should actually be first.  I REALLY want to figure out how to read the Bible/do a Bible study/spend time in Prayer daily.  And I don’t mean doing it in a dash.  I mean time that I can actually spend LISTENING to God.  Racer’s mom is really great at doing this.  The woman gets up at an hour of the morning that I don’t even recognize and spends time with God.  She’s done it forever.  She does it on vacation.  She does it when she’s visiting our crazy family and helping unpack/watch little kids/cook/etc.  So I can’t use my busy family as an excuse.  This dedication is one thing that I admire about her.  I have plenty of books, studies, devotions to use.  I have many that are half done.  I do great for a week or two and then…  I lose focus, interest, “time.”  Somethings gotta give.

#6 – Be more encouraging and less critical.  I tend to “encourage” by pointing out what people are doing or did wrong and then tell them that they can do better.  Not really encouraging.  I want to be the biggest cheerleader there is for my husband and children.  I want/need to be a better positive encourager.

So those are my goals for right now.  Some are big, some are not.  Some I’ll reach and complete.  Some will take a lifetime to reach.  Help me with them will you?  Pray that God gives me what I need to accomplish them.  Ask me how I’m doing with them.  Hold me accountable – as Christians, we’re supposed to do that for each other.

And tell me, what goals have you set for yourself?  I’d like to help you along in your journey too.


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