Kris Mares

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

God is Good October 26, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 5:52 am
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I am not usually at a loss for words.  If you know me in person, you know that.  I have a thought/comment/idea/opinion about EVERYTHING!!  In social situations, this skill comes in handy; I can have a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere.  I fully recognize that it can also be an annoying trait of mine.  I’m learning when to just close my mouth and listen too.  Anyway, twice yesterday, I found myself at a loss for words.

Twice in one day. 

And really, when I think about it, in the last 10 months, I have been at a loss for words several times.  At a loss because I don’t know how to accurately describe God’s goodness.  I could search scripture and find plenty of verses of praise, but sometimes, we just have to stand in awe.

That’s been my life lately.  Standing in awe. 

You see, last week, I posted about fear I was having and the lesson I had to teach about that.  This week, the pastor’s message was about… you got it – fear.  That fear is a natural human emotion.  We shouldn’t be ruled by our fear, or make decisions out of it.  Instead, we should totally trust God through our fear.  When we do – when we trust through and in spite of our fears – we are showing faith and honoring God.

I continue to have great hope in that.  My spirit is filled with hope of what is to come.  Then yesterday, twice in one day, I learned that people who are total strangers to me, want to do something that is an incredible blessing for my family – my children.  I’m in awe.  I don’t deserve it.  I didn’t ask for it.  I don’t know how to respond to it except to say Thank You God! 

If I told you all the ways that I’d be speechless in the last 10 months, it would take up a whole book.  Someday, maybe I’ll just write that book.  There is an incredible God Story being written through my family.  I can’t wait to get on the other side and see how all these “random” pieces fit together.

Until then, I want to hear your stories.  Tell me what God has done to make you simply stand in awe.

ETA:  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the church my family has recently started to attend wants to throw us a baby shower!  Again, unexpected “God winks” (as a friend says) that just make me stand in awe…

 

Storytime September 2, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 5:28 pm
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I love storytime.  I’m a reader – always have been – and I especially love to hear a story told or read out loud.  That’s one of the reasons that I love storytime at libraries.  The children’s librarians are usually sooo good at reading the stories in an engaging way – capturing your attention with different voices, practiced rhythm and engaging questions.  I think kids gain so much from storytime at the library.  I’m glad that our new library has a story time that will work for both Girlie and Gorilla.  Mr. Robert, the librarian, is a great story reader and is not afraid to get silly with the kids.  When the kids are shy (Girlie was – can you believe it?), he knew just what to do to get them engaged.

I get just as engaged in the story as the kids do too.  Remember the Big Night with History?  I know I enjoyed the storyteller just as much, if not more, than the kids.  Trick is, it has to be a GOOD storyteller.  Someone who just reads, or weaves the story, with no changes in voice for characters, dramatic emphasis/pauses, or change in volume is just a reader.  You gotta have the rhythm of the story right too.  (The english major in me could start talking about iambic pentameter, or any of the other meters, but I won’t).  Telling stories – whether reading from a book, or just telling them – is an important part of passing knowledge, wisdom, values, morals, traditions and history down to other generations.

I sometimes wonder if we Christians tell our stories enough and in an engaging way.  Imagine if every sermon, Sunday school lesson, mid-week Bible study, kids club and children’s time was as engaging as a good storyteller is?  We’d have kids and adults wanting to come back every week!  We’d remember so much more of what we learned.  We’d be excited to invite people to come hear with us.

Imagine if we told our God stories like a good storyteller.  Our stories would dance with the rhythm of God’s grace and mercy.  There’d be morals and Truth passed on so that the hearer doesn’t even realize they’re being “preached at.”  People would want to come back and hear us “tell another story.”  I know we all have one too.  Several if we think about it.  We just need to tell them more often.

God’s writing a great chapter in the story of my life right now.  It’s one that I can’t wait to see finished.  I don’t know how this chapter will end, but I know that it will ultimately be just one part of an entire novel.  A novel that points to the TRUTH of a Sovereign God full of love, grace and mercy.  I can’t wait to share this chapter, but I’m waiting until God finishes it.

Until then, visit a children’s storytime and recapture the beauty of hearing stories told aloud.  Then, go tell yours.

 

Big Night with History February 9, 2010

Filed under: Schooling — Kris @ 12:31 am
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February is Black History Month.  I think every school around the US does something special to honor, commemorate and celebrate the rich history and contributions of Black Americans in our society.  Most schools have special speakers, put on an assembly – something where family, friends and the community can come and see that their children are being taught diversity, history and a culture (at least in my community) that is not readily available.  Our school is no different.

So tonight, I took Blue, Girlie and Gorilla to Professor’s Big Night with History (Racer is STILL gone).  Professor’s class was performing a traditional African song and dance.  Before I start talking about how we “americanize” so many traditional aspects of other culture and nations, let me say how proud I am of my Professor.  He told me beforehand that he didn’t know the song/dance very well, but he was excited and would do his best.  I felt such joy to see my oldest son trying to move in the way he was taught, entertaining and educating the families in attendance.  The song and dance represented the African tradition of getting strength from God, Ancestors and Togetherness.  As his teacher was explaining the movements and symbolism (the God aspect in particular), Professor looked over at me, smiled and gave a big thumbs up!  He was so proud that he could sing and dance something from another culture and still represent the God that he knows and loves.  That is a major thing for a young boy to grasp.  A young boy that lives a fairly sheltered and protected life.  A young boy that hasn’t met that many people who are truly different from him.

The program continued with an amazing artist named Kwabena Dinizulu.  He is a poet and griot (pronouned gree-oh) raised on 143rd in Harlem and now living in Florida.  He played a djembe (a type of drum) and told stories under the old tree.  We laughed.  We listened.  I hope we walked away as better people.  Then, in the tradition of so many cultures, we ate together.  The school provided a simple menu for those families that wanted to stay and share more time together.

As Baba Kwabena ended his time with us, he reminded us all – particularly the parents and elders in the audience – to tell stories.  To pass the stories on to our children and the other children in our villages.  Stories pass along information.  Stories relay life experience and wisdom.  Stories shape who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re headed.  Stories are in every culture and every tradition of the world.  Today, we are forgetting to tell our stories, thus we are forgetting our history. 

So today, I issue you the same challenge that I was issued.  Tell a story.  Tell just one story of something you did that taught you a lesson.  As I put Girlie to bed tonight, I did just that.  I told her the story of a time I climbed a walnut tree…

Let me leave you with this video of a wonderful storyteller.  Enjoy!

 

 
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