Archive for May, 2011

in progress…Great Room

This isn’t an official before/after since I’m not finished with the room yet. But, I’m so excited for the way our construction is going that I couldn’t wait to show you!

Here is a pic of the main room before we moved in. This is the view walking in through the front door:

In progress:

Here is what I’ve done so far! I had new hardwood floors installed and the white marble removed from around the fireplace, replacing it with slate. I also had the wall color updated and added our furniture. I plan on having the half wall on the left replaced with a stair rail (hopefully in time for Christmas – I think it will look wonderful with lighted garland). I just started playing with a few of my decorative pieces in the space and I still have to decide on window treatments and wall decorations (especially above the fireplace).

I can’t wait until the room is complete and I’m having a lot of fun updating. I’ll keep posting pics as projects progress!


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In the summer of 2009, I was part of a small group which studied the book “Leadership Gold” by John Maxwell. There are many things I remember about the study, but I recall being particularly struck by Maxwell’s claim:

“You have to let go of one thing in order to grasp a new one.”

This is a concept I have struggled with as our move to Tennessee approaches tomorrow.

Yesterday was my last service in our sanctuary. I was mentally prepared for the services, in hopes of maintaining some sort of grip on my emotions. I actually did pretty well until we finished singing our final song in the worship set. After stepping back from the mic, I was flooded with emotions ranging from sorrow to joy. The past five years I’ve spent serving with our worship team have been such a blessing and I am going to miss it greatly.

I did my best to keep back the tears, but to no avail (nothing like falling apart while standing on the platform during announcements…aargh). There were probably only a handful of people in the room who understood my public display of emotion. Thankfully, I had a best friend standing next to me. All I had to do was look in her direction and I knew she understood without me having to say a word (not that I would have been able to anyway for fear I’d start audibly sobbing…).

After the service, I exited the sanctuary and entered the hallway. It was such a strange moment: I felt like I was moving in slow motion while everyone around me was moving at their regular pace. I wish I could have stopped time so I could soak in all the faces and interactions. My time here is almost complete and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for it to end. Yet, the journey in this chapter of my life is concluding soon as my final service with the SouthField team is the June 5th outdoor celebration.

I’ve spent my downtime this past week either reading or catching up on some DVR recordings. I am a huge CSI fan and I wanted to watch a few episodes before moving. Three nights ago, I watched the season finale of CSI:NY. At the end of the episode came a song that not only got stuck in my head the rest of the night, but resonated with my spirit.

The chorus of the song captured much of what I’ve been feeling:

“It’s everything you wanted, it’s everything you don’t
It’s one door swinging open and one door swinging closed
Some prayers find an answer some prayers never know
We’re holding on and letting go”

Lately, I think it would be fair to compare my heart to a piece of taffy. Just when I think it can’t be stretched any more, along comes another tug on my heartstrings. I’ve struggled balancing holding on with letting go. I’m excited for the new horizon with it’s waiting opportunities and relationships and new memories ready for the making. Yet, there are so many pieces of my life here that I want to pack up in my suitcase and take with me. I know it would be easy to just say, “Take the memories you’ve stored in your heart and bring that with you.” But, at the moment, memories aren’t enough…I want to bring the living experiences with me and the thought of parting with them hurts.

I can say this though: when it comes to the act of juggling holding on with letting go, I feel God pressing upon me to WAIT. Waiting is a common theme that’s been popping up in a few of my posts this year.

Here’s the deal with me…give me a hole and I’ll fill it.

The question that begs to be asked though is, “What will I fill it with?” Things to numb the emptiness? Or, blossoms that will fill the space with good fruit? So, when the time comes to let go, I must first wait before attempting to hold on to anything else. For I want to make sure I’m reaching out for the right things to hold on to.

I am thankful for the way God has used me throughout my time at SouthField. I have striven to honor Him first and treat His platform with respect. I do not take the trust He has placed in me lightly or for granted and I hope my worship comes through not only in song, but in the way I live my life, the choices I make and the way I love others. I believe as long as I practice daily living worship, He will steer me toward the right things to hold on to. I do not know what the Lord has in store for me next, but I trust in His plan. My prayer and intention is to wrap my arms around and fully embrace whatever mission field He lays before me…whether it’s another public platform or the privacy of my own home.

The song from the CSI:NY season finale is called “Holding On and Letting Go” by Ross Copperman. I don’t typically post videos, but this one is definitely worth the listen and the watch.

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the door

Ah, the infamous door.

This is the door to my daughter Ava’s room.

Looks like a regular door, right?

I mean, it’s nothing special…just your typical, everyday, cheap door.

This is what it looked like a few months ago…


Yeah, that’s what I said when I saw it. I don’t know if I should be embarrassed I never noticed the gazillion stickers my daughter was plastering all of over it. But, honestly, I didn’t know they were there.

Isn’t it funny how we can be blind to something right in front of us?

Ha – don’t worry, I’m not getting philosophical today.

I only noticed the stickered door when I began preparing each room for showings. I wasn’t really mad when I first saw it. I actually thought it was kinda cool and a fun canvas. At the time, I figured I’d just peel the stickers off, have few words with Ava and that would be it.


These stickers were a pain in the rear to get off. What, do they put super glue on the back of these things now? After spending 2-3 hours peeling one afternoon, I barely had an eighth of them off. I know, I know, some of you are thinking, “Why didn’t you just buy a new door?”

Well, two things:

1. This is one of four doors clustered together at the end of a hallway. I checked our local home improvement stores and none of them had the same color as this door. The color was in the ballpark, but not close enough where it didn’t stick out.

2. I figured since I already invested 2-3 hours, I’d see this baby through.

So, I won’t tell you the amount of time not only I, but Ava and my mom spent de-stickering this door. But, I will say that I began removing stickers in early February and the photo of the clean door was taken yesterday.

And we’ll leave it right there.

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rain and rainbows

“But Kelly, if we didn’t first have the rain, we’d never have rainbows.”

~Jaidyn Larae, 7 years old

The sky was quickly darkening and the weather was just beginning to spit. I held tightly to my niece’s hand as we maneuvered through the Target parking lot. Earlier that day, I told her we would go to the park later that afternoon. That was no longer an option though and I had just finished telling her how sad I was the rain had spoiled our plans.

“Don’t you like rainbows?” she continued.

“Why yes, Jaidyn,” I answered her. “They’re actually one of my favorites things.”

“Well then, first it has to rain.”

She said it so matter-of-factly I actually laughed.

Isn’t it funny how the innocent remarks by children can be the most striking?

Jaidyn’s question was so simple, it’s answer so obvious, yet her words slowly and gently seeped deeply within me.

So much so, that I find myself here, this Tuesday morning, still thinking about it…


Rain can be gentle, at times almost healing, with it’s presence like a caress. And in my opinion, there are few things that smell as wonderful as freshly mowed grass right after it rains.

Then there are the storms, the deluges and the floods that devastate, causing destruction and wreaking havoc.

Our reaction to rain varies too:

Sometimes we hide and run for cover, seeking anything which offers us protection from the storm.

Other times, we simply toss the umbrella and dance.

But, what has me still thinking about Jaidyn’s words is the rainbow.

What is it about rainbows that make the storms worth it? Their beauty? Well yes, rainbows can be quite captivating. At times even breathtaking when you have an arc that stretches across the entire sky. Is it their brevity? There have been times when I’ve pulled off the road just so I can watch a rainbow before it fades…for I never know when I’ll get to see another one.

Or perhaps it’s their promise? Long ago, God made a promise and gave the rainbow as a covenant to never destroy the world by storm.

I think that promise is true for us too when we encounter the storms life brings our way.

We all go through circumstances varying in degrees of severity. The rains may physically beat us down, leaving us mentally debilitated or emotionally drained and exhausted.

But, they don’t have to destroy us.

For our Hope is greater than our circumstances.

The Bible teaches us to “be thankful in all circumstances.” Notice, Paul isn’t saying to be thankful for all circumstances, but in them. Truthfully, there are many storms I am not thankful for and I think it would be absurd if I was. However, during these times, I am thankful for a sovereign God in whom I have placed my trust. My praise is not based on the conditions of the storm, but for who He is:

The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

~ Psalm 9:9-10

I once heard it said that “God cares more about your character than your comfort.”

That being the case, I believe we should not only be thankful in all circumstances, but also for what God does through them. So while I may not be thankful for the storms, I am grateful for the opportunity to grow, to refine and to one day give a testimony crediting and glorifying Him for my endurance.

Finally, I am thankful for the way God provides through all circumstances. The time spent in the storm can be difficult: I am grateful for the people who stand with me in the rain.

Hmmm….and all this comes from a simple question about rainbows.

Rainbows are promises.

Promises from a God who loves us, who is greater than our understanding, and whose ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.

I think I’ll be seeing rain in a different light now.

Thanks Jaidyn.


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Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Kevin!

I love our old pictures because they bring back such sweet and happy memories.

Without sounding too sappy, I just want you to know how much I treasure our childhood…the part you played in the early years had a direct impact on who I am today. You have always been there and still are. Even projects like putting up a kitchen backsplash are all the more meaningful because I got to do it with you. I am grateful for such a wonderful brother and I love you very much!

You are going to be a wonderful daddy and I can’t wait to meet my new niece or nephew in a few months!

Enjoy your day!!!

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a little project…

Ava’s class was given the challenge of taking a piece of waste and recycling it into a new item. For example, turning a plastic milk jug into a birdfeeder or a can of soup into a pencil holder.

I asked Ava what she wanted to do and she said:

“Mom, let’s make a pillow!”

Okay, let’s back up just for a moment…

Ava told me about this assignment Monday morning. Somehow, she forgot to mention it over the course of the entire weekend.

Oh yeah, and it was due the next day.


I told Ava I liked the pillow idea and before she left for school, we found a plastic cereal bag that would work perfectly. I picked up a few supplies and had everything ready for when she came home later that afternoon.

Ava with the empty plastic cereal bag (btw…have you all tried these “Frosted Mini Spooners”? We love them better than “Frosted Mini-Wheats” and they’re cheaper too – YAY!)

Ava stuffed the bag with batting until she reached her desired level of “fluffiness.” 🙂

Ready for Mommy to work her magic…

Now, I need to confess at the outset that I am not a seamstress nor do I claim to be one. I can thread a needle and I can sew on a button. However, somewhere between “I am not a seamstress” and “let’s make a pillow,” I must have:

a) gotten confused

b) become delusional

c) gone completely out of my mind

d) all of the above

…because I don’t know the first thing about making a pillow.

Thankfully, the lovely people at Hobby Lobby do!

After picking out the material for the pillow, the woman in the sewing department gave me a crash-course in pillow making. I bet the other people waiting for assistance must have been thinking some choice words whenever I asked, “Can you say that one more time?” or “Can you show me how to tuck the trim edges again?” But, I applaud their patience and ability to resist the urge of releasing any exasperated sighs.

Overall, the sewing went well. I have a sewing machine, but I don’t know how to use it yet. So, I figured I’d be able to hand stitch quicker than take the time to figure out the machine. That was yet another tick on my growing list of poor judgments for the day because it took me over three hours to hand-sew it! The material was thicker than I realized, so it was tougher to push the needle through. And of course, I didn’t have a thimble…

Ava was really sweet and even though she was supposed to be in bed, she insisted I not be alone. So, she got out a blanket and cuddled up next to me while I stitched.

I think the final result turned out pretty good! Ava loves it and is using it as a decorative pillow on her bed (sorry Monksters, but Mamma’s pillow gets the coveted center position! 😉 )

My Aunt Leslie doesn’t know it yet, but she is going to teach me to properly sew once we move to Tennessee. She is an amazing seamstress!

Besides, my kids are already asking me to make their Halloween costumes…

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Mother’s Day Legacy

Today is Mother’s Day.

I am grateful for the wonderful gift I have in my Mother. She inspires me and I know I am a better mother because of her influence.

Mom, today I heard a wonderful quote in church that made me think directly of you…

“May the Godly legacy you started be carried on for generations to come.”

Many years ago you made a choice:

A choice to change the course of your family’s legacy.

And though this choice was difficult and caused you sorrow, I hope you know that with it came the chance to build a family who prioritizes each other over circumstances, who values forgiveness over resentment,  and above all else…loves unconditionally.

Thank you Mom.

I love you!

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