Kris Mares

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

Marriage Monday: 36 Questions May 2, 2016

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 8:56 am
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I have a confession. I listen to Ted Talk podcasts. There are fascinating stories, interesting tidbits of information and for a preacher, interesting thoughts about public speaking. A couple of months ago, I listed to a Tedx Talk by Mandy Len Catron. She explained how she used 36 questions to fall in love. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Well, I’m already “in love” but I thought it would be fun to go through the questions with Racer one day.

thumbnailSo we did. It actually took, 2 dates. Problem with talking through the 36 questions with someone you’re already married to is that we talked a LOT. We didn’t really reveal any “secrets,” but we did learn a few new things. Some questions we knew the answers about the other already and some were a little surprising.

The best part though? Just being together, not on our phones (well, except to read the list of questions) and having conversation about something other than work and kids. As an old married couple and not new people trying to fall in love, the questions helped us dream again, helped us to remember what attracted us to each other in the first place.

Even though it took us two dates (a brazilian food lunch and a late night dessert date), and even though people looked at us strange as we stared at each other for 4 minutes over dirty dessert plates, going through the 36 Questions was totally worth it for me. Perhaps we didn’t fall in love for the first time, but perhaps we fell in love again.

As old married people we need to do that don’t we? No matter how long a couple has been married, we shouldn’t stop learning how to better love our spouse. We need to keep remembering why we fell in love. Our bodies change, our mental ability changes, our life circumstances change. Love changes. Marriage is about continually learning to love  the person you are with. Loving them in the changes, through the changes, because of the changes and despite the changes. Marriage is hard work and perhaps, 36 questions might just help a long-term couple refocus and remember and relove.

So, your #MarriageMonday Challenge: Go on a date and go through the 36 Questions to fall in Love!

Then come back and post what you thought about your time together. I think you’ll be glad you did.

P.S. I’m on Day 2 of my Make Over Your Mornings journey! You can download the study and join me today! (The link is an affiliate link.)


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. 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…


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


It’s been 6 years… May 16, 2011

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 1:06 pm
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Just a few days ago, Racer and celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Not long in the grande scheme of life, love and marriage, but each year is a bigger deal for me. Why? Well, because in my first marriage, I didn’t even make it to five. So each year Racer and I celebrate, I reflect on how much I’ve learned and what I’ve done differently and what we are doing right together.

I know that we don’t have the answer to a perfect marriage. We do a lot of things wrong. Here are a few things I’ve learned – about myself and marriage – along the way.

1. Having a shared faith is first. While Racer and I may disagree on certain aspects and fine details of christianity, what has been so important for us is a common reliance on God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our foundation is the same. Having the same foundation makes it a lot easier to move forward in building our marriage and our family.

2. I really don’t need, nor do I want, to be right all of the time. It’s too much pressure to feel like I have to always have the answers.

3. If I am missing my spouse and feeling lonely, I need to work harder at connecting with him. In my first marriage, there were times that I felt lonely, bored and disconnected. Instead of reaching out to my spouse, I filled that void with activities – more work, dance class, Limp Bizkut fan sites… silly stuff really. These days, I’ve learned enough to talk to Racer about feeling disconnected and lonely. While we may not agree on how to go about fixing that, at least we are communicating and that is an improvement.

4. Spouses need to talk about money. Even though it’s really hard and can lead to a lot of disagreements, money talks have to happen. Spouses need to be working toward the same financial goals.

5. I need a level, even-keel partner who can balance my emotions. I tend to get hot-headed, overly emotional and on my soap box. Racer is able to listen, breath, take the hit and then move on. Most of the time, he can recognize that it has nothing to do with him and that I need a venting place and a strong place to let it all out.

6. Marriage is hard work. It’s not easy. It isn’t the rainbows, roses and happy endings you get in books, tv and the movies. Marriage is full of compromises and hurdles and stumbles and screw up and failures. What really matters, however, is how you deal with all of that. I’ve learned that my greatest ally in making it through is the man who I have beside me. (And sometimes I actually follow him!)

Racer and I aren’t perfect. Our marriage is a work in progress. We’re learning and loving and growing together. To me, that is the most beautiful thing of all.


Budding March 14, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 12:17 pm
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Last June as I left a job I loved, I was given a hydrangea bush as a gift. I cried and cried when I got it. I love hydrangeas. Because I knew our family would be moving, I did not plant the hydrangea. Instead, I left it in the pot, waiting in transition between when it was given (in full bloom) and when it could finally be planted firmly in the ground. During that wait (a LONG 6 weeks), I thought the hydrangea was going to die before it was planted. On really hot days, that plant withered badly and needed constant watering. It’s pot was too small, the roots already growing out of the bottom. The beautiful blooms began to drop off.

When we finally moved, I planted that hydrangea right next to my deck. It was early August – not a great time for transplanting – and I wasn’t sure if the hydrangea would make it. I made sure it had lots of water. The rest of the blooms and the leaves dropped off much earlier than any other plant around us. It’s odds weren’t looking good at survival into the next year. I felt sad because I know that the hydrangea was given with much love and prayer and reminded me of so many people I loved (and still do). It reminded me of “my old Kentucky home.” All winter, I kept wondering what that plant would do come spring.

A week or so ago, I decided to get the rest of the fall leaves out of the yard. I raked around the hydrangea, a little sad thinking about it. But then I looked closer. Wouldn’t you know it – I saw buds! The smallest green knobs growing. I used my hand to get the leaves out of the base of the bush and there were actual leaves coming up! My hydrangea made it!! After all that it has been through, the hydrangea survived and I just know it will have beautiful blooms this year. Can you tell how happy I am about it?

Then I really got to thinking… I think I was a little like that hydrangea. Leaving a community of faith, friends that were like family, a community that I loved was totally stressful for me. I wilted some, but it always seemed like I got that refreshing Living Water just as I needed it. Even after the move, it still looked like things were not good. On the outside, the withering was still happening.

Like the hydrangea, though, the real work couldn’t be seen from the outside. The real work was happening underground and within. After that hydrangea was transplanted, all the energy went into growing deep roots and getting solidly established. After moving, God worked hard on me – growing a deep faith and trust that will keep me from withering in the future. On the outside, things looked grim, but on the inside, God was doing some amazing things.

And just like the hydrangea, I too feel like I’m finally beginning to have outward signs of the inner work that’s been going on over the last 8 months. I’m budding. I’m excited to begin serving my Jesus again through our “new church.” God knew I needed rest. He knew that I needed time to grow deep roots. Now, with a foundation more firmly established, it is time to let God’s love in me bloom so that other’s can also enjoy its beauty.

I can’t wait until this amazing God story is fully bloomed for all to see and marvel at the wonder that is His Plan!


The Old Married Couple February 28, 2011

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 10:22 pm
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Over the seasons, I’ve watched The Bachelor and The Bachelorette on and off. It’s fun to dream about going on the fantasy dates, try to guess which person will get chosen and my favorite, go to the gossip sites to get the scoop and hear the “behind the scenes” stories. I have no illusions that the show is “reality.” In fact, it’s pretty far from it. Sure, the emotions are real in the moment, but the situations are pretty manipulated to create emotion. Late nights, alcohol, crazy schedules and being away from friends/family will make anyone more emotional.

I do enjoy seeing the fantasy dates though. I crack up a little because I think “who really goes on dates like that?” Really, can’t they just do a regular Olive Garden and Tinseltown date? What about a race and bowling with other people – no special treatment or shutting down so you have the whole place to yourself? I think the people who need the fantasy dates are old married couples.

And I don’t really mean old. I just mean couples that have been married for a few years, have kids, life has happened and turned out differently. They haven’t had “fantasy dates.” Shoot, they may not have even had a regular “date night” in a while. That’s what happens when you’re in the trenches of living life and raising kids. Taking care of necessities takes priority and sometimes the opportunity for romance gets replaced by “Can we run to Walmart while we’re out and pick up toilet paper?”

So ABC, I’m officially proposing a new show – “The Old Married Couple.” The concept is that there is a couple that’s been married awhile. They’re raising a family and the flame that once burned bright has dwindled because the couple spend their energy on taking care of necessities instead of taking care of each other. Sure, the love is still there, but it’s buried under diapers, homework, sports practice, bills, and college savings accounts. This couple needs time to reignite the fire that was once all-consuming. They need a chance to be together – uninterrupted by daily chores – and dream again. They need a chance to remember why they fell in love.

So ABC, instead of putting people together that almost always break-up anyway, why not help married people stay married? Why not help strengthen families by strengthening married couples? Why not show love stories that are real? I’d watch that every week, every season (instead of just sometimes).

P.S. If you run with this concept ABC, Racer and I better be on the show! I would love to have fantasy dates with my hubby!

P.P.S. Yes, I’m guilty of going to Walmart on date night. And the grocery store.


How does your Valentine “hear” love? February 14, 2011

Filed under: Marriage,Motherhood — Kris @ 2:22 pm
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It’s Valentine’s Day and everyone (well, most everyone) is celebrating love. For those of us with spouses, significant others or children, learning how to love the “right” way can be hard. Racer and I love very differently. We “speak” and “hear” love in very different ways. The idea of Love Languages by Gary Chapman helped me understand how to better love the people in my family – and how to better articulate how I need to be loved.

So, to better understand me, I took a Love Language test. You can go HERE to take a Love Language assessment. You answer some questions about what you prefer – A or B. Then at the end the test taker receives their scores in each of the five areas: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. The area with the highest score (or two) is the love “language” you hear best. Knowing the “language” of your spouse and children can help you better speak love in a way it will be heard.

Take me for example. I’m not a gift receiver. I often think that going out and buying a gift for someone is just an easy way out – buying their love. Not that I don’t appreciate people thinking of me, but most of the time, the gifts are off the mark and not something that is “me.” At Christmas time, our family makes a “wish list” so that people can know what to get that would be appreciated and useful. For me, it’s mostly useful stuff. I appreciate that someone gives me something off my list, but I get disappointed if it’s not what I specified (for example they got me pink and I specifically said green). I know it sounds awful. I really am appreciative and I know they didn’t have to get me anything. I know. But at the same time I think “What would’ve been so hard about getting a green one?”

Part of that is that I can be hard to please – I’m working on that. Part of it is also that I don’t speak “gifts.” Not my Love Language. I’d much rather have you give me 10 hours of free babysitting so I can grocery shop without kids. I’d much rather have you come and scrub all my windows for me. I’d rather be given a foot massage. I’d rather have you take the time to go out and pick up the think that I want instead of me doing it. I’d know I was important if you took time to come and have a cup of coffee and a conversation with me. I’d rather have you DO something than buy something. Can you guess what my Love Language is? Acts of Service comes first and Quality Time comes second. To me, gifts often feel like I’m being bought off. And I try to show my family how much I love them by making sure they have healthy, good food to eat, clean clothes to wear, a relatively picked up house, etc. I love by serving.

Racer, on the other hand, speaks and hears love exactly the opposite of me. He is a gifter. Today is an example of that. I got flowers and a card. I’m giving a yummy meal and dessert – all from scratch. Having an opposite as my spouse is difficult at times. It’s hard to understand how to speak a language that I don’t hear. Imagine if your loved one only spoke Korean and you only spoke Finnish! Frustration would ensue. I have to be intentional about speaking my love for Racer in a way that he will actually hear it. He doesn’t see my cooking, laundry and cleaning as love – only as duty. What he hears as love is snuggling on the couch, holding hands in public, surprise gifts and thoughtful gifts on holidays.

I had my 3 oldest kids take the Love Language Assessment too. Speaking love to teens and children is hard, but knowing how they hear love has made it easier. Blue sees my service as duty and prefers Quality Time (difficult in a big family). Professor hears what I speak and also enjoys Words of Affirmation (he’s good at speaking that one too). Girlie was a little young to accurately gauge, but it looks like she’ll appreciate Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation. Knowing this about my children only helps me to be a better parent with them – encouraging and loving in the right way and correcting in a way that doesn’t cut deep.

So on this Valentine’s Day, instead of showing love in typical ways, I challenge you to show love in ways that your Valentine will “hear.” See if you can figure out his/her Love Language and then speak it!


50 Things I Love About Racer February 4, 2011

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 10:55 am
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Back in college, I was a part of a sorority. If you actually know me, I don’t seem the sorority type. I’m not really connected to it now at all. I don’t even know if I’m officially an alumna because I don’t think I’ve fulfilled the requirements to become one. But, I digress…

The reason I brought the sorority up at all is because we had this tradition when people got pinned, engaged or pregnant. In honor of that tradition, and since I never got to participate in it with Racer, I am naming 50 things that I love about him. I won’t explain them or why they are important to me, I’m just listing them. So here it goes…

  1. He loves Jesus.
  2. He loves Professor.
  3. He loves Blue.
  4. He’s passionate about his work.
  5. He’s a better teen parent than I am.
  6. He has as type B personality.
  7. One of his spiritual gifts is faith.
  8. He cleans my car inside and out for me.
  9. He fold and puts away his own clothes.
  10. He understand divorce.
  11. He watches CSI and Law and Order: SVU with me.
  12. When he’s on the road, he calls me even when he’s dog tired.
  13. He always answers my calls (except when he doesn’t hear the phone ring.)
  14. He recognizes that he has hearing damage.
  15. Even though I really don’t like our mattress, he reminds me that a sag in the middle is better than a hump in the middle.
  16. He keeps encouraging me to breastfeed even when it’s hard, it hurts and just don’t want to anymore.
  17. He changes poopy diapers.
  18. He tolerates my recycling.
  19. He calls me on his lunch break.
  20. Blue jeans.
  21. He looks really great in a hooded sweatshirt.
  22. He stays clean-shaven.
  23. He reads my blog.
  24. He warns me when I’m taking on too much.
  25. He has two college degrees and doesn’t use either one.
  26. He told me that I actually walk the talk of the political party I tend to lean toward.
  27. He listens to me when I get on a soapbox.
  28. He thinks I’m beautiful even when by worldly standards I look a mess.
  29. He is wrapped around Girlie’s finger.
  30. He is wrapped around my finger.
  31. He gets rid of the mouse traps.
  32. He tries to limit himself to two cans of Coke a day.
  33. He takes his lunch to work when all the other guys go out to eat.
  34. He cleans the toilets.
  35. He tries to remember to make the bed.
  36. He balances me.
  37. He rides through my emotional waves.
  38. Three times he thought/knew I was pregnant before I did.
  39. He dotes on his Gramma.
  40. He adores my niece.
  41. He shows trust through ALWAYS tithing.
  42. When it comes to sharing with those in need, I know he will always say yes.
  43. He listens to my crazy ideas.
  44. When I was in the hospital with babies, he couldn’t stand to be away from me and wanted to spend every night with me and our newborn.
  45. He tried to teach me to water ski.
  46. Rockingham.
  47. He sticks up for women when guys are making rude comments.
  48. I’m not sure how, but he’s never had a speeding ticket.
  49. He thinks that “ladies first” is still important to teach our girls and our boys.
  50. He will never give up on us.

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