Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sharing Time

Okay, so I was tagged like 10 times this week on Facebook to write 25 Random Things About Me. I thought I'd share...

1. I'm one of "those" those woman who can't get enough of Hollywood
2. I choose Entertainment Tonight over the news 99% of the time
3. I watch The Bachelor
4. I think he's just lookn' for some action personally
5. Watching so much of The Bachelor has me watching to take up a collection of pretty scarves and run on the treadmill until I look that good
6. I watch too much TV
7. It's typical of me to be reading 3-4 books at any given time
8. I'm longing to decorate
9. I heart HGTV
10. I'm getting ready to repair some hems on a few polish dance costumes
11. I'm getting ready to make a whole jacket for Tyler for his polish dance recital
12. Last year I hand beaded Hailey's whole vest with millions of sequins
13. My children are all hard core entertainers, I wish I had a video camera!
14. I'm sick of the cold
15. My Web site is almost finished
16. I'm enjoying this more than I thought I would
17. I can honestly say I used to be shy, that took years!
18. I can also honestly say I used to be a follower! That one feels super good!
19. I'm one of those who also thinks that those who gossip with you will gossip about you
20. I used to be a gossiper
21. I'm really not happy about the broken windshield wiper that has left me stranded and having to cancel my appointment
22. I'm happy to have a good neighbor who is going to replace it for me so I can pick up my kids from school
23. I'm not always as confident as I look or say I am
24. I do believe in myself
25. And I'm glad to be surrounded by friends and family who also believe in me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

No shrinking dreams

So the hubs and I were watching some TV last night and something along the lines of "quit feeling sorry for yourself" was said. I said "sounds like someone I know." You see, Mr. Hubs likes to say that to me! The nerve, I know. So anyway, I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning and she says two things I found pertinent enough to write down: "for some people, they are their own worst enemies." She says this after praying aloud for the perfectionists in the room. What is this, pick on Kari day? So then she says, "quit feeling sorry for yourself." Really! I spend too much time focusing on me, and focusing on my circumstances. It affects my attitude and my outlook on life and even my goals.

Todd and I have an idea for the kind of home we'd like to live in when our future gets here. We've got a vision board with pictures on it of what the home will look like on the outside, photos of different rooms we both like for ideas of how to paint and decorate when we get there. We even found a floor plan, pulled it out of a magazine, and hung that on the vision board. We have an idea of what area of town we'd like to live and I had all but given up on that vision, that dream. I was holding onto the last thread before church yesterday. I started to get stirred up about this town yesterday morning. Then Pastor gets up and spends a minute talking about how the devil wants to shrink our dreams. He can't keep us out of heaven, it's too late for that. So, he wants to try to get us to accept less that what we had dreamed of. Shoot, he was almost done with me. I had moved my vision out of that town and into a decent imaginary home in another, more affordable city. That lasted for a while until I all but convinced myself that not only could I live with buying a home in this other city but I could even live with the smallest home in it! That future I didn't even have yet was in the process of being ripped out from under me.

Now I'm not suggesting that we be materialistic and place all our bets on God and stretch out faith for the biggest home in the best part of town. For me, I feel called to this particular area. it's a small town, our church home is located there, and it's just a quaint small community. With it, comes a Main Street. When my photography business is ready for a storefront, it WILL be located on Main Street! To wrap up the service we were shown a slide show of images from this particular city. Images of the towns churches that are uniting in prayer and service to this community. Images of the empty storefronts on Main Street with For Lease signs in the window because local businesses have not been able to stay afloat. One of those, probably with a red awning, will have Kari Dawson Photography above the door one of these days! Images of all the local schools and prophetic words that have been spoken over the city and the churches within it. This is the city I feel led to raise my family. My vision has been restored and a fire has been lit under my booty so to speak.

I am still reminded however that sometimes I need to check my attitude and check my heart. Todd and I are still in the midst of a journey as we are between houses. We see our future ahead of us but we are in a time of sowing right now. We are cleaning up old mistakes, rotten floor boards, and building a new foundation; an unshakable one. Though the transition to this place was a challenging one, we have found peace and comfort here. We have been accepted with open arms and patience as we rebuild and don't feel pressured to hurry along. We are blessed! In the end, when we get to the next level, to what our future has for us, we'll have a testimony of all that God did to restore us to that place. What he brought us from and where he is taking us. I am mindful that I have no testimony without a test. I am ready for the next level. Ready to go deeper. Ready to be held more accountable. Ready to make more progress and take more action.

In 2008, I began to keep a list of scriptures up on the vision board. Once that are relevant to what we are praying for. Some have served their purposes and will removed and new ones have taken their place.

Malachi 3:10 NLT
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

Romans 15:13 NLT
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Year in Review {Nov. & Dec.} Wrap-up

In November, I'd love to skip past the events that occupied that month but it's there, it happened, and I am most proud of the Bring the Rain series. Although it's a situation that is still unresolved I'm okay with it and better for it.

I love the High School Writer's Workshop which proved to be a great way to sum up our memories together. It was fun while it lasted. I truly hope that each of you find what you are searching for, that life treats you well, and your dreams come true.

You are not in control, get used to it is also a favorite it mine. It is when I finally began to understand that if I fall short sometimes then others will too. Everything happens for a reason. God is in control. We might as well give up the fight and follow the lead of the one who truly does want the best for us. And when the belief of just who I truly am in Christ became a reality again.

I came across something this morning that sums up the my reflection of November and December and puts to rest the year of 2008 for me. Although the first month of this year was spent sorting through a few things, second guessing my character, and second guessing how I feel about myself, I am reminded of just how valuable I am to those who find value in me. After all the second guessing I count myself as mature and responsible, dependable, a woman of my word, trustworthy, and level headed, or at least more than I used to be. I've also had the chance in January to reflect on the relationships that are still intact. The hubs is the first one that comes to mind. He is my rock. I am so grateful for his tolerance, patience, and support as I sorted through this all. He is FED UP with it and I'm certain he's relieved to know that this is the final page and it's being put to rest. Although we took the long road in our conversations at times as he helped me see my true value, in the end he was right all along. I know how much he'll appreciate that! Yes Todd, you are right, you were right all along. My hubby is so smart and I should just take his advice! Keep in mind though people, he is the KING of doing things the hard way first.

For the girls in blog land and my day to day life who lent a listening ear and uplifted me, thank you!

From Charles Stanley’s “Seeking His Face”: “True friendship includes many things: love, a sense of closeness, forgiveness, openness and availability. A true friend knows how to listen and, if necessary, be silent about his own needs at times. Only God can use a friend to help heal a hurting heart. Friendship also includes acceptance, flexibility, commitment and a sense of unselfishness. Loving someone can be difficult. We are not easy to love at times. We have flaws that need God’s attention, forgiveness and care. But we also contain something worth sharing with another.
Because of the love of Christ that has been given to us, we are worthy to be loved and to love. It is God’s love that motivates us to care for someone else. It is God’s example of pure love that prompts us to forgive when we have been unjustly hurt or accused. God loves us even when we act unlovely.
God wants us to have this type of love for others. Next time you might be tempted to stay angry at a friend, ask the Lord to help you understand the way He loves you. God sent His Son so that we may be forgiven."

I find it perfectly fitting that I'm Rockn' My Box was the final post in 2008. It was that day that all the pieces had finally come together. What I did wrong in 2008 and what I did right in 2008. I'm taking the good and building on it and throwing out the rest. I'm sure 2009 will come with a new set of mistakes or things I wish I'd done differently and the Lord will shape me along the way. I gained a lot of perspective the final weeks of 2008 and learned many life lessons. My life is void of nothing. God has already restored the relationships I've lost. He has replaced relationships with actual friendships. Even more than that my husband and I saw each other through a small tough season and ultimately it's the little things in life that make me the most grateful. My twins each had a turn being quite ill the last couple of weeks and not having to leave the house for work or other commitments so I could hold them while they sleep, bath them to get their temps. down, and be here to wipe the tears and rub their backs is an amazing gift. I took too much for granted in 2008. Yeah, I changed in 2008 but now, I'm now longer apologizing for who I am or trying to explain it or defend it. I am who I am and my life is rich with people who love me the way I am.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Year in Review {Aug.-Oct.}

Okay, I'm getting bored with this so perhaps you are as well. Time to wrap it up!

I did enjoy my trip down memory lane along the month of August. There is a small series called Defining Moment. I'm happy to say the couple featured in the posts is still together and still working it out. Thank you Jesus for answered prayers! My favorite was probably Surrender. Recalling to mind that the Lord is in control. He knows the greater plan. He knows what needs to be pruned and what lessons need to be learned. I'm grateful to have been filled with peace and patience as my family is waiting on the Lord and preparing for our next chapter.

I'm struggling lately with forgiveness. Receiving forgiveness. I said in a recent post that it takes a faithful person to repent just once and receive forgiveness immediately. A faithful person indeed. Sometimes it's easy, apologizing for sinning in anger, saying something that offended another, etc. But, there are some things that the devil likes to use to nag us with shame. Shame keeps us from being forgiven. So Septembers favorite is Without fault in His eyes. In particular, this passage here:
"Ephesians 2:4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
That is a powerful verse. If Jesus sees no fault in us after we have repented then why do we carry our heads low and relive our mistakes over and over and over again. So if you are feeling condemned today. Simply ask for forgiveness, repent, just say, "I made a mistake." That's all you have to do. Then Jesus will wash his hands of it and it's gone. You are forgiven, now forgive yourself, and let go of the shame."

Followed by a great little mini series here. My character is still in progress too by the way. In October, I love I remember because I love the hubs. Oh, and this one about my first best friend ever. And, so looking forward to an upcoming lunch date with her and another old but super dear friend. I loved going back over the simple family memories from This is a great, great, great family.

Mallory was pretty ill last week and has since recovered and returned to school. It appears as though it's Hailey's turn now though. So I'm off to nurse an uncomfortable toddler. She isn't five yet, I can still call her that. Prayers for a speedy recovery and restful nights are being requested please. Why do they have such lousy timing? Always choosing 3:30 a.m. to start vomiting! Oy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Year in Review {July}

Moving on in my year in review that has taken almost a month now and we're still on July! Oh boy! My favorite post from July is the where I had to find a purpose and focus for my blog and define it with a Blog Mission.

Although, I did truly enjoy my tribute posts for Faith and Karli's birthdays. And, you can read all about my first blog award here if you'd like. wink wink!

I was particularly touched by the Legacy post because it contains touches of things that I'm grateful for in my life now. I grasped a portion of it at the time of it's writing but now I'm really looking to enhance the relationships I have in my life and go deeper with those who are valuable to me. I am blessed to have friends in my life that share the same morals and values and we are available to each other for support, prayer, and celebrations. There are a few gals who I've known for what seems like forever. We've always been in touch but didn't really communicate on a personal level. I'm grateful to have connected with these girls and so glad that the Lord's hand is at work there. I'm glad they each have been patient with me and allowed the walls of my heart to come down slowly to let them in. You know who you are! Thanks so much for your unwavering love and support! Thanks for being part of my life while we figure out how to "do life together."

I realize after reading that post that the falling out I've had with a friend of mine began way back in July. I wish things weren't the way they are today but the ball is no longer in my court. All I can do is be loving and forgiving and available if ever she calls my name. That doesn't mean I'm desperate to rekindle an unhealthy friendship. It means I love and accept her for who she is. I've come to realize that we are two different people living two different lives. I've come to terms with that. I used to be quite the follower and this past year I began to make my own decisions about where I would go, who I'd go with, how I'd get there, and when I'd leave. I became an individual capable of making my own decisions. Saying yes to the things my conscience was clear to do and no to the things that didn't fit into my life. I wasn't saying no to her or anyone else around me. I was simply trying to be the best possible person, the best possible wife, mother, and friend. My life sets and example for my children and if I expect them to avoid certain things and behave a certain way then I had better being doing it right to start with. That is where the disconnect comes in. Although, I became an independent thinker and began to do what was best for me and my family it was not perceived that way. It has been perceived as judgement. All I can say is I'm a sinner. I'm no better than anyone else. If I tried to be judgemental of another human, I'm sure they'd first get beaten to death with the log in my own eye. I truly wish I could be seen for what I'm trying to be for my husband and family but it is what it is and I'm really okay with that.

I've been wracking my brain with this for too long. I said in a recent post that I no longer had room in my life for those whose opinions of me used to rule and I'm finally there. So while things with this friend may not be the same I'm blessed to have rekindled an old friendship, strengthened one with a lovely lady whose been there since Tyler was born, and discovered that one friend who I thought was merely an acquaintance means the world to me and has surprised me with her commitment to "having my back." That leaves me with two more. Both have been excellent listeners and helped me sort things out without betraying the trust of anyone else. I so admire them both for this. I had some things to work through with one of them and I'm grateful to have as much as I can in right standing.

The awkwardness that existed in July, August, September, and October now makes perfect sense. It seems like a big inside joke that everyone was in on except for me actually. So as much as a lot of it now makes sense for me. There is still a portion of it that doesn't. There were some pretty important events in the months of July-October, why was I there? What was it all for? If it was just going to end like this, what was it all for? I'm afraid, I may never know.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Writer's Workshop: 1. Describe your significant other's most attractive quality (on the inside).

Mama Kat's at it again with another workshop.
The Prompts:
1.) Describe your significant other's most attractive quality (on the inside).
2.) Tell about a time you stole something.
3.) Choose a poem you like. Take the last line and use it as the first line of your own poem.
4.) Write about a scary encounter with one of your old professors.

This is interesting timing for this particular prompt because I have spent a lot of time lately reflecting on the kind of person my husband is and the example he sets before us. Todd's most attractive quality can be summed up in Love. Loving is the best possible way to describe how and why he is who is to everyone who meets him. Love embodies so much, patience, kindness, forgiveness, the ability to give hope, and the most important aspect of Todd is his selflessness.

Todd puts the needs and even the wants of his family above his own. In an argument he is the first to apologize, although 99% of the time, he is not the one at fault. He is not jealous or envious of those around us and has no desire to collect the things of the world to satisfy our needs. He is a man of God and the spiritual leader of our home. He is very giving of his time and energy and rarely says no to a request for ice cream, a foot rub, or to spend our entire evening together running his fingers through my hair. He always knows just what to say. The delivery may come off a bit harsh sometimes but in the end you can count on him to give you good, solid, biblical advice in a no nonsense fashion. Not that he tries to offend anyone in the process, he just happens to be a straight-to-the-point kinda guy.

Todd is an amazing father and adores each of his daughters fully. He is patient with our only son and spends the essential time with him to connect with Tyler and direct him. We sometimes disagree with finding just the right way to approach Tyler and handle criticism and punishment but I know that it is only because Todd doesn't want Tyler to experience the same troubles he did when he was young. What I love most about the kind of father Todd is, is that he is so fun-loving. He has always been so easy going with each of them. He's the one always willing to race Tyler down the street, jump in the pool with them, and he's always good for a wrestling match.

Todd is a man that is true to his word. He is trustworthy. He is ambitious. What I want most for my Todd is for his dreams to become a reality. I am who I am today because of his unconditional love and support. I fall short of that often times but I look forward to our future and all that God has in store for us. Todd carries a very heavy burden of being the sole provider for a wife and five children. He is not in a situation where he takes the idea of risk lightly. I appreciate that about him so much but Todd hasn't always been that way. God's grace has always been upon him. Each time he found himself in a bind God would pull him through. My dad likes to say Todd is the only person he knows who can fall in a pile of poop and come out smelling like a rose. It's just that way for Todd.

So what I want my husband to know is I trust you. I trust the Lord to direct you. I will follow. You have dreams and ambitions stewing and building inside you. Don't be afraid to take a risk. Each challenge in our lives has brought us closer together and strengthened our bond. And, most importantly, God has always had your back! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Trust him, take a leap! We're right behind you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Year in Review {June}

Ouch! This was painful to read but still, my favorite from June. Our family is still intact, our love for each other and the bond we have is still my greatest possession. We have come to make a new place "home." Although it is a temporary place it is still none the less, home. The kids are already anxious for what is ahead. A new city, a new school, etc. But, the truth is, we haven't been released yet so we don't yet know what the Lord has in store for us or where. We continue to plug away at the financial issues that come with us and rebuild a new financial future for our family.

In the here and now, I've enjoyed my reading in Matthew so far. In chapters 5 & 6 Jesus speaks a lot about just how much he loves us. I wanted to share a few verses that spoke to me for one reason or another.

Well if you been tuned in for a while you know that I've recently been estranged from what used to be my closest friend. With that came distance with some other friends as well. The uncovering of this ordeal taught me a lot of life lessons and a lot about the people I called my friends. So this verse helped me relax a bit because I was not put here to be a people pleaser but to be a God please and a helper and servant to people. I am to be kind and loving and make myself available and do everything in my power to serve people, to love them, and be an example of God's love. If they don't want it, if they don't accept me for me, then it's still all good. Matthew 5: 11 NLT God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.

No, it isn't easy being rejected by those you held close. Stings more at the idea that they have convinced themselves that it is because of one thing or another that you have done when in reality it is because of how I choose to live my life. When I was a free-spirited sinner there was all kinds of love, now, not so much.

Matthew 6:14 NLT If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your father will not forgive your sins. My two cents, forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves, not the one being forgiven. Why spend your days quarrelling and worrying and carrying anger and resentment around for a person(s) who doesn't care.

Matthew 6:31-33 NLT talks about how we can often fret about our needs, finances, what we'll eat, clothing, shelter, etc. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly father already knows your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously and he will give you everything you need. God provides for those who put him first.

Matthew 7:9-11 talks about how a parent bestows upon their children their wants and needs. If we as earthly parents are able and willing to provide in such a way for our children then surely our heavenly father who IS love and loves us all beyond our comprehension surely wants to bless us immensely more than we are able to do for our own children.

It is my prayer that I continue to be aware of God's promises for us. That I learn to stop resisting his blessing and learn to just receive. Receive blessings, forgiveness, and a full revelation of his love.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Year in Review {May}

What a perfect time for a recap! As much as I think I've learned and accomplished this year, I am suddenly reminded of how far I have yet to go. The first post in May was an apology to the hubs titled For My Patient Husband. I am disappointed with how much I can still resonate with where I was that morning. Where I still am today. The very good news is the hubs is the same, ever patient, ever loving, did I say patient? Yeah, he's got patience covered!

We are continuing with The Love Dare. The first challenge exercised our patience. I was thinking how silly this was going to be to have a challenge each day then move onto the next. You need to repeat an act for 30-40 days before it becomes habit so how is this going to work. Well, as we progress we have learned that the dares carry over from day to day. Each dare isn't simply for one day but for the following days we continue to progress through the book. So now I'm going to have to create a list of dares to help keep myself in check. Todd will easily breeze through this devotional if the end is anything like the beginning. He is a good person, a good husband, and a good father. I'm the battered and bruised one that needs all the work! Oh how change is so not fun!

Moving on, this one was ooooh sooo goood! If I don't say so myself! But, I don't take credit. Often times when I go back and read the words I've written, it's new to me. I'm so wrapped up in the spirit and moving from thought to thought so quickly that my posts don't always stick with me. A good reminder of how to get what we seek for our lives.

To quote this post: "You know you're surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. You let go and let God work. You also know you're surrendered when you don't react to criticism and rush to defend yourself. Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships. You don't edge others out, you don't demand your rights, and you aren't self-serving when you're surrendered." Taken from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Okay, I found something I can cross off the prayer list!

This post I think is my favorite from May. It was a sweet reminder of the things I love about myself, during a season where self-love has eluded me. And, a fresh reminder that I am a creation of the Lord. He didn't make any mistakes here and though there are improvements to be made, he loves me already.

I am His princess and my hubbies too! Oh and the kids seem to think I hung the moon too. So what's my problem with me then? Urgh!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Year in Review {April}

I am thoroughly enjoying my walk through the posts of last year. April so far has been inspiring and refreshing. Like this one that reminded me again of just how far the Lord has brought me. And, this one that reminds me of how some things just never change, for instance, Mallory and Hailey still have an aversion to clothing and shoes, the conversations between the hubs and our son Tyler are still precious comedy hours, and Tyler still loves to provide his mini science lessons, only now, he's 13 and right about everything! This one where I provided the images from the first wedding I shot. And without reading the rest, I know this one titled Passion is my favorite from the month of April. The Holy Ghost had a hold of me that morning! I bookmarked it so I can go back and review it from time to time. Lots of good nuggets in there.

The Year in Review series and the fresh start of a new year has me zoning in on what I want to accomplish this year. To start, the hubs and I are working through The Love Dare a 40-day couples devotional and I decided to have a second go at The Purpose Driven Life as well, another 40-day devotional. A lot of my goals haven't changed much, go deeper in Christ, grow up spiritually, love my husband, minister to and teach my children, set a good example, and be a the kind of person who spreads Gods love.

I highlighted a few passages from our first day of Love Dare that stuck with me or hit home. It says God uses marriage to help us eliminate loneliness, multiply our effectiveness, establish families, raise children, enjoy life, and bless us with relational intimacy. But beyond this, marriage also shows us our need to grow and deal with our own issues and self-centeredness through the help of a lifelong partner. I noticed more in 2008 than ever before my need to grow and deal with my own issues of self-centeredness. I just didn't know that was supposed to happen! I've talked a lot lately about behavior and walking in love and this line summarizes it perfectly, anger almost never makes things better. And one more thing from today's lesson, Patience helps you give your spouse permission to be human. It understands that everyone fails. When a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time than they deserve to correct it. Wow!

And finally, a poem...

You are who you are for a reason.
You're part of an intricate plan.
You're a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You're just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom designed with God's plan in mind,
And they bear the Master's seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You've been formed by the Master's rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!

Russell Kelfer