Meet Me and My Family

My name is Kimberly. I am the author of this blog (obviously). You can call me Kim or Kimmama. The nickname "Kimmama" was given to me by my best friend, whom I refer to as "Chrystalicious." The nickname became more sentimental when I became a mother, and when I decided to move my blog to Blogger, it was the only name that would do.

I was born in California to two amazing, loving parents while my dad served in the Air Force. When my dad got out we moved back to the cheese state where my mom was raised. That's essentially where I stayed until I got married shortly after college. Now I live in the flat lands.

This is my husband, Eric. He's a software engineer, aka computer programmer. We met in college, and though we did not attend the same schools, we were both involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We both went to Chapter Focus Week, a week long retreat up at Cedar Campus in Michigan, near Mackinaw Island. There were hundreds and hundreds of college students up there that week, and apparently he saw me across the room in the mess hall. (I was wearing bright yellow pants.) It also helped that my best friend was in small group with him that week. Over the course of a series of entertaining and sometimes awkward events, she decided I should date him. I believe the conversation went something like this:

Me: Eric is really cool. You should date him!
Chrystal: Why don't you date him?!

A few months later I took her suggestion. Turns out he had liked me since we met (albeit briefly) at Cedar Campus. A little over a year later, we got married. That was in August of 2006. We've been disgustingly happy ever since!

This is my son, Micah. He has only been alive for a short time (almost six months), so there is not much history there. But I can tell you that he came out like a lightening bolt and he's kept me on my toes ever since. His birth went something like this:

Nurse: The Pitocin may take quite a while to work.
Me: (Five minutes later*) I think I need to push.
Eric: What's that?
Nurse: That's not poop, that's his head! Don't push!
Me: *freaks out*
Doctor: (rushing in) Do I have time to change?
Nurse: 2 minutes!
Doctor: (2 minutes later, just sat down) Do you want to touch his head?
Me: Oh my baby!! Oh my baby!! Ouch! Ow! Ow! Aaaaahhh!!! (Veins pop out of my neck like the Hulk)
Micah: Waaaaaaa!!!!!!

(*I may have exaggerated a tiny bit.)

My family means the world to me, and that is the understatement of the century. They come second only to my relationship with God. He should really be the first mentioned in this little introduction, because He is not only a part of my family as my Heavenly Father, he created my family.

I always knew about Him since I grew up in a Christian home. But, I didn't meet Him until I was 18 years old. We met at a conference. I've been to a lot of Christian conferences: this one was the Evangelical Free National Youth Conference in Atlanta, GA, in July of 2002. We had these huge rallies in the Georgia Tech dome each night. Chris Tomlin was the worship leader that week. I don't remember the name of the speaker the second night we were there, but it was during his sermon on Isaiah 6 that the Lord rocked the earth under my feet. It was a breathtaking, bone-crushing, heart-piercing experience that left me speechless for hours afterward. That's material for a whole other post, but suffice it to say that I was a changed person from that day forward. I don't want to run on about the changes the Lord made in my heart and in my life, because I hope those are evident in my blog already. If not, I hope they will be. We are saved once, but we are sanctified every day thereafter. I hope you find yourself reading this blog in a few years and noticing a clear progression: a maturity that speaks for what the Lord is doing in my life each and every day. I should be a better woman today that I was yesterday. And I pray I'll be a better woman tomorrow.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is my family. You'll be hearing a lot about them in the future. Hopefully. there will be more and more of them over the next few years!


Hamburger Helpless: The Shortcut That Did Not Work

"It's the soup kind!" My husband is jokingly referring to his younger sister's expression for overcooked pasta. Any foodie would cringe at the way she likes her mac 'n cheese. My husband likes it that way, too. You know it's ready when the noodles have lost their shape and texture. It's no longer macaroni and cheese, it's yellow slop. In order to make it this way, you must do the following:

1. Read the directions on the back of the box.
2. Disregard
3. Nevermind, just skip step number 1.

Earlier today I had been looking for a way to make Hamburger Helper even easier. I thought to myself, "let's just throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and see what happens."

As I spoon through the gray mush in my bowl, I ponder the cause of such a mental relapse. It's Hamburger Helper. It doesn't need any more help. Too much Purel? My son's screams have finally got to me? The ever-popular excuse known as "baby brain?"

My husband points out the river of grease floating in the middle of his slop.

"I used the regular hamburger," I say, "obviously I didn't drain it because I used the slow cooker, and it's like 30% fat."

Note to self: Hamburger Helper and my Crockpot do not get along. Unless you like "the soup kind," of course.

Daily Vacation: The Importance of QT's in My Life

Why is it so easy to drop everything and hop in the car to go meet a friend for an hour, and yet finding the time (or making the time) to spend some uninterrupted time with God seems to constantly slip off the schedule?

One of the best privileges of having a personal relationship with God is just that, making it personal! When I can regularly dig into scripture and make time for prayer, I notice a drastic change in my daily life. My attitude improves, I'm less irritable, I feel more productive and I'm less prone to feel lethargic and lazy about my to-do list, I'm nicer to Eric, I feel happier, I'm more optimistic about life situations and stress, I gain a clear understanding of the big picture and I roll with the punches. I would go so far as to say it affects my entire life.

Much like skipping a meal makes your blood sugar drop, skipping out on fellowship with God, which we were created for, slowly strips away your spiritual vitality. I know this and I have experienced it so many times, and yet I am still struggling from time to time to make this a priority. It's something that is important to me but remains difficult to prioritize. I need my daily vacation from life! Without it, I turn into someone I don't like, and over time it feels like my heart grows cold. When I do meet consistently with Him, I am renewed. The difference is as tangible as applying or removing a flame from a pot of water - either the water boils or it doesn't. The heat may not be visible, but the proof is in the bubbles.

Have you ever seen the commercials for Quaker Oats where people talk about their sinking cholesterol levels? They say "I'm living proof." Ladies and gentleman who question that 1) God is real or 2) God is active.... "I'm living proof." No other person, thing, or practice has such power to change my whole being in such a dramatic fashion. To deny God would be to deny this visible phenomenon.

Today I read an article to remind myself of these things.... it helps to hear it from someone else, especially someone who really knows what they are talking about. Married couples sometimes need to sit back and think about the reasons they fell in love. I also wanted to reminisce about my reasons for wanting to make this commitment in the first place - that is - my commitment to spend time daily with God. After a little "googling" I found a very good article (albeit long) on Bible.org. You can read it here: The Quiet Time: What, Why and How, by Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D.

[As a side note: If you are unfamiliar with the term "quiet time" it simply means time set aside to read and meditate on scripture (the bible), pray, journal; basically whatever medium you use to focus on building a stronger relationship with Jesus. ]

God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8


Creativity Pays

Before I had my son, I planned on returning to work. Two weeks into motherhood, with my baby in my arms and tears in my eyes, I resolved to stay home despite the fact it didn't make much sense, financially speaking. Even though so many able women manage to work outside the home and still care for their children, I could not ignore the desires that the Lord had planted in my heart at nineteen. God's plans are not subject to our present circumstances, I've learned, and somehow I'm still at home six weeks later. I'm still in my home six weeks later. We're still eating six weeks later. Praise the Lord, we still have gas in the car six weeks later.

I'm confident the Lord will provide for our needs, but I do not think that entails sitting on my couch and waiting for cash to float out of the sky. God has given me certain skills and abilities for a reason, just as he has given all of us different talents and strengths. God blessed the Proverbs 31 woman for her hard work and dedication to caring for her family. I look to her example while staying at home with my son.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

One of my projects is making afghans and other items to sell in my store on http://www.etsy.com/. I use many different mediums, but crochet is my niche. I love the way I feel after I finish an afghan or bag -it breaks up my routine and I feel productive. When you have a newborn, life is a 3-hour track on repeat and it seems like nothing gets done!

Etsy is a marketplace for all things handmade: the conglomeration of items available on Etsy is mesmerizing. If I wasn't trying to make money, I'd be shopping!

How can you take your skills to the marketplace?


Mattress Rejuvenation

Eric and I sleep on a very old bed. It was my bed before we got married, and it was my parents' bed before that. In its heyday, it was a pretty luxurious mattress, but 15+ years of sweet dreams have taken their toll. The bed sags in the middle like a hammock, leaving my husband very sore in the morning. Towards the end of my pregnancy, he took to sleeping on the floor on a piece of memory foam. He didn't fit in our queen size bed very well anyway, considering I was taking up so much space with my large pregnant belly and 52 pillows. Then he got accustomed to the floor in the other room during the first few weeks after Micah was born. I started to miss him a lot. We really wanted a new mattress, but they are much too expensive for us right now.
Last night my dad and Eric went to Menards and picked up a 3/4" 4x8' piece of particle board for $10 and brought it back home. They trimmed it and stuck it in between the mattress and box spring. It's like a brand new bed! Last night I got my hubby back! I sleep so much better when he's there next to me - he keeps the bed warm and I like the sound of him breathing. As I was falling asleep, I thanked God for my two men: my big man on my left and my little man on my right. I am so blessed. This morning I felt great, too. The bed was much more supportive. I can't believe what a difference that board made.


Heritage from the Lord

I have been a mother for six weeks today. My son has stolen my heart with his tiny sneezes, gigantic farts, little coos, big smiles, wiggles, cries and squeaks. It is amazing to watch your child change, learn and develop every day. You take so many skills for granted until you watch this little person slowly work through learning something as simple as a smile. Babies remind you of the simple beauty of humanity and the complexity of creation.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
-Psalm 127:3


Music & Memories

I have pulled up Jennifer Knapp's album, Lay it Down in iTunes. This has always been one of my favorite CDs, but this afternoon I realize it has an even greater place in my heart now. It's the CD I played during the difficult hours of my labor with Micah, and listening to the songs I realize I will never hear these the same way again. Instantly I am taken back into that delivery room, swaying through the pain with my arms wrapped around my husband's neck. He is whispering in my ear. "You're doing such a good job, honey." I hear the monitors beeping quietly in the background. I take a deep breath before the next contraction, and sink farther into my husband's chest while he squeezes my shoulder at my request. The harder he squeezes, the less I notice the intense pressure of the contraction and the calmer I feel. At the peak of the contraction, I'm singing...

Seeing as I found a rock in my pocket
Seeing as I found a glitch in my soul
Make believe won't hide the truth
When judgment falls and it falls on you
Bend a knee my friend, bend a knee
Lay It Down say it's all my fault, all my fault
Say I believe, I believe Lay it down
This the hour of my healing, of my healing, yeah
Pride can break a man right down from iron
Twist him 'round 'round and tatter up a soul
Handprint of God on the small of my back
My second chance, my second chance
I'll bend a knee my friend, I'll bend a knee
Lay It Down say it's all my fault, all my fault
Say I believe, I believe
Lay it down
This the hour of my healing, of my healing, yeah
My heart, my heart redeemed
If it pleases You Love
If it pleases You Love
If it pleases You Love
Lay It Down say it's all my fault, all my fault
Say I believe, I believe Lay it down
This the hour of my healing, of my healing, yeah

Singing a song about humility and salvation in a moment of such instensity.... the lyrics become real. And aside from that, every time I hear Jennifer Knapp now, my heart swells at the thought of the day I met my son for the first time.

Are there any songs that bring back such strong memories for you?


The Marriage Spoiler: The Problem with Complaining

Steve Pavlina is a personal development blogger. He wrote "Personal Development for Smart People." He says,

"Complaining, like all thought patterns, is not mere observation. Complaining is a creative act. The more you complain, the more you summon your creative energies to attract something to complain about. Your complaints may seem fully justified, but realize that whenever you complain, you are placing your order for more of the same. Complaining is not merely about the past. Whenever you make a complaint, realize you are setting an intention — a goal — for the future."

Steve is onto something. Basically what he is saying is if you spend the mental energy on pinpointing the negative in one circumstance, you'll form a habit of detecting the negative in every circumstance. It becomes addictive. Complaining goes beyond an inital negative reaction to an unfortunate event - it ruminates over and over about that event and moves on to surrounding circumstances, until everything looks bleak. It clouds your focus and dampens your mood. Pretty soon it seems like everything is going wrong and you're caught in a vicious cycle.

Complainers are never happy people.

Complaining doesn't just hurt the person complaining, however. Complaining destroys relationships and marriages, too. Lets say your spouse accidentally threw his red shirt in with the whites this morning, leaving all your clean white socks and undies an unsightly shade of pink. Nobody is going to convict you for getting upset. However, if you think about it all the way to work, then tell every coworker what he did, twitter about it, write about the event on your blog, and then whine to your mother-in-law; you are planting a seed of discontent and resentment in your own heart. When you get home from work, not only will you still be upset about that pink load of laundry, but you will discover that throughout the day, you added to your list of complaints about your spouse. You told your coworkers how he said it was not a big deal, you twittered about how "dumb" he is, you blogged about the last time he ruined your clothes in the laundry (that shrunken sweater?), and you told his mom how mean he is when you don't cook the chicken just right. Last night you were married to a wonderful man, but tonight you're married to a jerk. Only he didn't change -- your attitude towards him did. Why? You complained about him all day. Now, not only is your relationship suffering, but you've given your friends and family a negative view of your spouse, which may affect his relationship with them as well.

You may be thinking - how else would I react?

The answer to this problem is to forgive, forget and flatter. Go ahead and express your frustration to your spouse or to whatever problem you are facing. Take steps to fix it if necessary, but after all is said and done, if there is nothing you can do to further improve the situation, put it to rest. If you find yourself in a crummy mood because your socks are pink, for example, make a point to tell your coworkers about something nice your husband did for you in the past week. Then twitter about how sexy he is. Blog about his big promotion. Tell his mom what a nice cook he is. Then come home and realize that your marriage is just too good to take for granted, especially over a load of pink socks and undies. It goes against every impulse, but it works. Focus on the positive, brag about it, blog about it, make a movie about it if you want --- and the negative will melt away (or just won't matter as much.) Your husband will smile and probably breathe a sigh of relief, and so will you.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
--Ephesians 4:29