Tuesday, April 15, 2014

and now i'm 28!

 Friday, April 11, 2014 was my 28th birthday and I'm pretty positive it was my favorite birthday so far.

I took a hot yoga class.
(still not sure how I feel about yoga. I have LOTS of thoughts. I'm certainly not 100% sold, I'll say that)
But I had seriously hurt myself in a really tough run and it felt really good and necessary to stretch in a hot room that warmed your muscles up for deeper stretches.


Kevin is smart and gave me shopping money and just told me to go.
I love alone time. I'm always always always with a human, be it my family, clients, or church friends, so alone time is FABULOUS to me. The shoe salesman commented how "sad" that I didn't have a friend to be out birthday shopping with me and I just smiled. No lady, I want to be alone if I shop!

He and the girls got me other PRECIOUS gifts, like my favorite coffee shop's gift card for when the girls and I are on walks around town and we stop in for iced coffees! And a hat for summer that I LOVED but would never buy myself but Kev did for me AND Quest Bars...my favorite protein bars ever:) Isn't it SO sweet to get gifts that your husband and children collaborate on to give you? It's just so sweet!

yes, I bought these shoes. i love them. 
 My fabulous in-laws gave me shopping money and in years past I've gone around and bought a bunch of cheap stuff to satisfy my I-never-get-to-shop-so-soak-it-up feelings but this year I was smarter and bought one awesome thing - Ray Ban Aviators. It was a total TOTAL splurge for me and I'm stoked. I want to have less stuff, and really value and take care of the smaller amount of high quality things that I do have.

thank you Papala, Gramala, and PJ!!!
Every year the actual age I am is pretty anti-climactic because Kevin is always one year and a couple weeks ahead of me. So I'm forever RIGHT behind him and by the time I turn the next age, that number's already been thrown around a lot because it's what Kevin's already been for a year. BORING. Oh well!
I'm looking to the year of 28. Excited to see how I will get to see Yahweh in new ways.
Excited to love more and control less.
Excited to see big picture more and more.

beautiful birthday flowers from my momma. I love fresh flowers!!


Was 28 a special year for you? What was your "big year" that you remember being monumental in your life?

Monday, April 14, 2014

what kevin and i have learned about marriage

Marriage is such a vast subject that it's impossible to really narrow too many specifics down.
I can, however, speak for myself and my marriage (only 7 years. We still have MUCH to learn!) and share what has worked for us.

1. Choose wisely.
This is probably the most important part of it all. If you're not crazy in love (not in lust) about the person to begin with, it's gonna be a lot more work to muster up that love for them later on. But it's not impossible so don't give up.
You cannot just get married because you feel pressure like it's time, you cannot marry someone that you don't have a peace about or hope that _____ will change about them after you get married. Nobody's forcing you (at least I hope not) to marry anybody. You get to choose who you marry, so choose wisely. Judge a potential spouse on their character, their heart.

2. Lay your life down for one another.
I could end it all there, but I'll explain.
In any argument, in daily situations, etc. when Kevin and I choose to lay our life down for each other - awesomeness happens. I know he loves me and he knows I love him by our actions and our attitudes.
We have to ask ourselves - What is the point of having to be right?
Good for you, you're right. Ok. You won that arguement. Feeling happy? No? Why? Because now, even though you're standing on your "right" victory podium...you're all alone. There's no unity between you and your spouse. Step down and humble yourself and go to your spouse and say "I'm sorry" or "I think I understand what you're trying to say" or "I'm on your side. I really want to see what you're talking about. Will you explain it to me again?" When this is the LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO...is when you need to do it the very most.

Nothing is worth letting walls be built up and lies be painted as truths.
And when you tear down your wall, it opens things up for your spouse to stop building theirs as well.
Always be the first to let go - don't have the "THEY should apologize to ME" attitude.
Humility and forgiveness is a beautiful thing, and an integral part of marriage.

3. Fight for unity.
Marriage is two separate people coming together and becoming One. That's huge. Yahweh designed marriage and sex so specifically, it's really amazing. He calls the body of Christ His bride and says He is our groom. Hello. That's a huge sign for how our marriages need to work and look.

4. Be respectful.
Wives, we have no idea the power our words have over our families, and especially our husbands. If we tear down and mock, thinking guys are tough and they can take it because they just aren't as sensitive as us - then we are dead wrong. In my experience, men are more sensitive than women, they are just less emotional. Our words must be ones of edification, respect, honor, love, humility, encouragement. For our spouses, for ourselves, and for our little ones watching the husband-wife dynamic in the home.

5. Selfishness must die.
This one is on the forefront of my mind and heart right now. I realize how very selfish I am, how very self-centered our culture makes us. It's all about yourself. Look better, feel better, you need YOU time, etc and those things are fine to a degree, but it's all so very repulsive and makes me a person that I don't want to be. I want to be a serving person with a happy heart and attitude. I don't want to be disappointed at Kevin because he didn't read my mind and pet me and console me because I had to be a mother today. In that instance, I'm thinking only of myself and how hard my day was and miffed at him for not just sensing that.
What if, instead, I asked him how his day was and encouraged him? Guess what - 99.9999999% of the time he then turns to me and gives me the validation I need as his wife and mother of our children.

The real issue here is that we must go deeper in knowing Christ, and gaining such sure, deep identity in Him that nothing can shake us and we aren't looking to people (even our spouses) to fill voids that only the Holy Spirit can fill. When we know and serve Christ and love and serve others....our own desires and petty needs grow dimmer and dimmer. And life gets sweeter.

6. Pray together.
Out loud, every day. It's so amazing to get to be on the same page spiritually. Praying together opens up so many avenues to breakthrough together and individually. Pray for each other, speak over one another out loud, lay hands on your spouse's head when you see they are worried and just pray peace and rest in Christ. It builds trust and creates the most amazing spiritual and natural bond. There is nothing I find more attractive in Kevin than the fact that He leads this family by dwelling in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The more you feed that - the more it will grow and become stronger.



Now go kiss your husband or send him and mid-day text with love:)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

zzzzzzz


This photo is a few months old but I just re-found it and wanted it to be here for memories' sake.
Open-mouthed tired is a whole level of exhaustion in and of itself:)

Nora has always been our snuggly bear. She'll lay on your back like this, or tuck right into your neck, she loves to rest her head on your chest or shoulder. To me, when my children do things like that, it's like getting my motherly paycheck. Lots of hard work, but worth it on pay day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

the one where i talk about every picture



If you lay a blanket down in front of my girls (particularly Nora) an uproar of cheering will happen and they will immediately stomp and then sit on it. It's magical to them. We have living room picnics quite a bit.


I'm a firm believer in "start 'em while they're young". YES it takes so much more time. NO they can't do it as well as you can. But if we don't train them now to put take their dishes to the sink, and empty the clean silverware from the dishwasher into their spots in the drawer, etc. we're in for it. They certainly aren't going to just pick it up on their own be hard workers naturally.


It's also our experience that children LOVE being a part of something bigger than themselves (don't we all?) and they feel like a million bucks to do a "big kid" job.
Sometimes the excitement of helping dies out, let's be honest, and it's like pulling teeth to pick up one sock. But keeping it different, entertaining, different systems (award system, praise, threats, whatever :)) always helps.
Kevin just invented this and Ruby loved it:
While we're all cleaning the house, let's say her job is to clean her bedroom. That usually leads to not cleaning her bedroom, but finding an obscure toy she hasn't played with in months and, well, playing with it.
To keep her on task, we set a timer. She has to clean (without stopping) for, say, 10 mins. Then at the beeper, she gets to rest and read a book/play a Leap Pad game/color whatever for 5 mins. When the timer beeps again, back to cleaning for 10 mins.

That way she knew there was an end in sight and she worked hard for those short little cleaning spurts.
p.s. Nora loves to clean! She wipes up her own messes, etc. 


Nora got her first black eye (fell into the corner of a wooden box) last month and it only deeper solidified our calling her a puppy. That little ring around her eye just sealed the deal. She believes she's a puppy and at any moment will drop into character, stick her tongue out, and pant for you.
She's been known to be crying, and we say "oh, puppy! you're a puppy?! hi puppy!" to distract her and BAM. You can tell she's thinking tears must stop - get it together Nora - beeee the puppy.


Speaking of puppies...whenever the weather is nice, our front door is open. One morning we were playing and all of the sudden, in comes a visitor.
The basset hound snooped around, ate any and all food it found on the floor, let our girls squeal and pet, and then it was off. No idea who's it was, but it was hilarious.


The other day at the park I looked over at Nora and saw this and just grinned because even at a young age, she can tell that boys are cooler to have as friends. So much less drama and so much funnier than a group of ol' girls. Smart thinking, Nora.


This dress sucks on to me and even with a slip will not stop being clingy/staticy. It's also pretty short in the front. Basically, it's un-wearable and still has the tag on because I know it. I try it on about once a week to see if maybe it's magically changed and works now, but every time...nope.
Any ideas how to get it not-so-clingy? It's a cheapy, flowy material, I'm sure that's the problem. But I love it! I don't want to part!


She was eating raisins, looked in the mirror and said "mom! look! my teeth look like yours!"
Awesome. #ihaveathousandsilverfillings


Movie theatre bathroom selfie? I'm seventeen. Kevin and I went out for his 29th birthday at the end of March. CAN YOU BELIEVE we're almost 30? That is like, straight up adult. So crazy.
Still so young! I tell myself.
We saw Noah, which has several parts that are soooo not Biblically correct, but is great nonetheless. It had me thinking about it for days afterward. It's so humbling to be chosen by such an enormous God.


The weather is starting to warm up which means I keep getting happier and happier. Before I know it, we'll be splashing around at the splash pad, swimming in friend's pools, making homemade ice cream, and eating dinner outside often. For now, we are thoroughly enjoying watching every tree in our little town bud and flowers bloom. The earth declares His majesty with every season!
HAPPY SPRING!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Focus

Remember how I mentioned last post that the past year and a half (yep, since Nora was born) has been a series of lessons from the Holy Spirit showing me that I still have SO MUCH TO LEARN.
And SO MANY WALLS TO COME DOWN.
And SO MANY WEAKNESSES TO BE STRENGTHENED. 

It's all so very, very humbling.
But I guess you could say I'm a weirdo and kind of embrace pain and fire and pressure because I know that awesomeness is always, always, always on the other side. As long as you embrace it. And I so appreciate the Teacher teaching me.

So - that being said, the most recent revelation He has shown us looks like this:

One day 2 weeks ago, I lost it. Long story short, I had committed to too many things, tried to be all things for all people, wanted to do something fun/for myself to feel like a real person, etc. Ok - I'll just tell you. My husband's boss (the Apostle/main minister at our church) asked if Kevin and I could meet he and his wife to go golfing the next day.
I'd never been golfing, I've heard it was the cats meow, I'd get to see my husband, and any opportunity I get to be around older, wiser, and spiritual people and get to TALK without being interrupted, I get excited! It felt like a really rare, really exciting opportunity that I would be crazy to pass up.

I had used Kevin's mom for babysitting WAY too many times that week, it just happened that way, but here I was...calling and asking her again. I was behind on lots of housework. The night before was a late night so the girls and I were pretty tired. The girls were lolly-gagging around all morning, making messes and taking their sweet time to obey. I'd get one thing done, and I'd get interrupted by them. The dishes were piling up, they were needing me, I was watching the clock because I had to have them over on the other side of the next town over by a certain time and had to make it all away across Northwest Arkansas to make it for precious tee time. Oh yeah, and at some point I should probably make myself half-way presentable.
And then I lost it. I snapped at the girls, I was mean and short and impatient. I'm sure I yelled, I'm sure I used some nasty, mean tone-of-voice and I just...I lost it. 
I buckled them in their car seats and slammed the car door.
I got in the car and my blood was boiling. BOILING. 
Guilt and sadness and anger rushed over me all at the same time. 

I went and golfed.
It's really not that cool at all.
The boys are pretty serious about golf so there was like...no talking. 
It was perfect that it worked out like that, too. I needed to be miserable enough to learn something.

In the parking lot after golf Kevin and I sat in the car
"are you okay?" he said. He's smart and can tell when his other half is losing her mind.
I unleashed a circle of strong emotions that was going nowhere and making no sense at all. I finally said "I just need 15 mins to myself so I can pray and hear Yahweh give me some direction!"

So he took my car and picked up the girls. I took his car and I prayed. 
and
oh
my
gosh

Immediately, Yahweh said "Jessica, you are focused on all the wrong things" and He gave me a vision of Ruby and Nora looking up at me, and they were in focus, and everything around them was blurry.
A vision of what my focus should be on.


While I've been making sure we stay fit, we eat flawlessly healthy, we arrive to church early and stay late, I make all my clients happy and keep my in-home business a professional environment, making sure we keep the house tidy and neat, I get the girls outside enough, I make sure I get my "me" time, etc. I've lost sight of what REALLY matters - them!

I only have a few short years of them being so small and needing me so much. And HOW SAD that I've seen them as a needy little burden that's kinda in the way of me doing my "thang". 
The sadness and guilt and filth that I felt when I acted like a monster to the girls was my heart's way of setting off an alarm *something's not right! this is not really how you feel. something's out of order. all you've ever wanted to do is be a mother and you actually adore these girls. don't treat them like this!*

If my kids are "getting on my nerves" I now realize that is ENTIRELY MY FAULT.
That morning I was so mean to them was not their fault! They didn't know I put pressure on myself to show up for some golf thing with the boss! All they saw was Mommy...being so mean. But why?
Am I distracted and trying to do my own thing - and how dare they interrupt me?
They want 5 minutes of my time while I clean out my closet? Great! How fun! Mommy loves you, I'd love to spend 5 minutes with you! (and really, that's usually about how long our kiddos want our undivided attention, then they're off playing by themselves or siblings and we can scoot back to work)
Instead of "I've GOT to get this closet cleaned. It will make me a more peaceful mom to have this done and checked off, and then I can play with them."

So it all led to this revelation that Kevin and I are BOTH dealing with in our own respective areas, and that's perfectionism, control, false-identity. Trying to be too many things that we aren't graced for.
Yahweh telling me "your focus is completely off" is another way of saying "I haven't graced you for everything you're trying to do. You're trying to do too much, and without my grace. How's that goin' for ya?"

I have, however, been abundantly graced for motherhood.

When Kevin and the girls pulled into the driveway, with a soft heart I ran to the car to love on my awesome family. So thankful that the blinders had been removed and I can see them for what they really are.
That night, instead of cooking ANOTHER perfectly Paleo meal at home and making a mess with dishes and everything like we do every single day so that we can live this perfect standard of health, we decided to let our hair down and we went to the square as a family and ate burgers and fries. Bun-free, of course:)


Life is too short to stress about the small stuff.
What is life really about? Are we really living?

I encourage you today to step back and evaluate what your focus is on.
Are you living in what you've been graced for, or are you killing yourself to be something you're not?
You must only evaluate with humility and in the presence of the Almighty.

If you don't have Christ living and dwelling in you, then it's simple - you can!
All you have to do is believe in your heart that He is who He says He is. He IS Yahweh God Almighty. Then confess with your mouth. That means say out loud "God, I need you. I want you in my life. I understand that you sent Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice so that I can be forgiven of everything and so that I can know you. I want answers to life's questions. I want to serve and worship something bigger than myself. I want you in my heart. I welcome you to come in and do your work. I am yours now, and You are mine."

You are now a son of Christ! If you believe it by faith! 
The next step is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which is what changed mine and Kevin's life forever. We pray in tongues EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every time I say "I prayed" I'm talking about tongues. Me just saying in English all my problems to Yahweh very rarely gets me anywhere. But tongues is a gift He gave those who believe in Him so that they can communicate with Him through your spirit not your mind. It's amazing.
So all you have to do if you want the gift of tongues (which He made available to EVERYONE!) is start worshiping Him. In English, just tell Him how much you love Him and thank Him for setting you free and welcome in His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Power To Change Things. And as you continue to worship, you will get so filled up with His presence, it will flood out of you, roll across your vocal chords, and you'll just starting speaking in a different language. A language you've never heard or said before and you'll experience God like you've never experienced Him before.
It takes humility, it takes persistence, it takes doing it everyday, all the time. 
But I'm telling you, it will change your life.
Suddenly, you have a direct line to the voice of the Holy Spirit. 
You have the Helper going with you and helping you everyday, all day. Teaching you, speaking to you, whispering things you've never heard until now. Because now you've awakened your spirit.
You won't have to read about Him in other people's lives only - He'll be doing amazing things in YOUR life.


I had no intention of writing any of that, but it just flooded out!
I want everyone to get to live this life.
If you did this today, or if you have any questions, please contact me

jessicaikiehn (at) gmail (dot) com

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

and now i'm 28!

 Friday, April 11, 2014 was my 28th birthday and I'm pretty positive it was my favorite birthday so far.

I took a hot yoga class.
(still not sure how I feel about yoga. I have LOTS of thoughts. I'm certainly not 100% sold, I'll say that)
But I had seriously hurt myself in a really tough run and it felt really good and necessary to stretch in a hot room that warmed your muscles up for deeper stretches.


Kevin is smart and gave me shopping money and just told me to go.
I love alone time. I'm always always always with a human, be it my family, clients, or church friends, so alone time is FABULOUS to me. The shoe salesman commented how "sad" that I didn't have a friend to be out birthday shopping with me and I just smiled. No lady, I want to be alone if I shop!

He and the girls got me other PRECIOUS gifts, like my favorite coffee shop's gift card for when the girls and I are on walks around town and we stop in for iced coffees! And a hat for summer that I LOVED but would never buy myself but Kev did for me AND Quest Bars...my favorite protein bars ever:) Isn't it SO sweet to get gifts that your husband and children collaborate on to give you? It's just so sweet!

yes, I bought these shoes. i love them. 
 My fabulous in-laws gave me shopping money and in years past I've gone around and bought a bunch of cheap stuff to satisfy my I-never-get-to-shop-so-soak-it-up feelings but this year I was smarter and bought one awesome thing - Ray Ban Aviators. It was a total TOTAL splurge for me and I'm stoked. I want to have less stuff, and really value and take care of the smaller amount of high quality things that I do have.

thank you Papala, Gramala, and PJ!!!
Every year the actual age I am is pretty anti-climactic because Kevin is always one year and a couple weeks ahead of me. So I'm forever RIGHT behind him and by the time I turn the next age, that number's already been thrown around a lot because it's what Kevin's already been for a year. BORING. Oh well!
I'm looking to the year of 28. Excited to see how I will get to see Yahweh in new ways.
Excited to love more and control less.
Excited to see big picture more and more.

beautiful birthday flowers from my momma. I love fresh flowers!!


Was 28 a special year for you? What was your "big year" that you remember being monumental in your life?

Monday, April 14, 2014

what kevin and i have learned about marriage

Marriage is such a vast subject that it's impossible to really narrow too many specifics down.
I can, however, speak for myself and my marriage (only 7 years. We still have MUCH to learn!) and share what has worked for us.

1. Choose wisely.
This is probably the most important part of it all. If you're not crazy in love (not in lust) about the person to begin with, it's gonna be a lot more work to muster up that love for them later on. But it's not impossible so don't give up.
You cannot just get married because you feel pressure like it's time, you cannot marry someone that you don't have a peace about or hope that _____ will change about them after you get married. Nobody's forcing you (at least I hope not) to marry anybody. You get to choose who you marry, so choose wisely. Judge a potential spouse on their character, their heart.

2. Lay your life down for one another.
I could end it all there, but I'll explain.
In any argument, in daily situations, etc. when Kevin and I choose to lay our life down for each other - awesomeness happens. I know he loves me and he knows I love him by our actions and our attitudes.
We have to ask ourselves - What is the point of having to be right?
Good for you, you're right. Ok. You won that arguement. Feeling happy? No? Why? Because now, even though you're standing on your "right" victory podium...you're all alone. There's no unity between you and your spouse. Step down and humble yourself and go to your spouse and say "I'm sorry" or "I think I understand what you're trying to say" or "I'm on your side. I really want to see what you're talking about. Will you explain it to me again?" When this is the LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO...is when you need to do it the very most.

Nothing is worth letting walls be built up and lies be painted as truths.
And when you tear down your wall, it opens things up for your spouse to stop building theirs as well.
Always be the first to let go - don't have the "THEY should apologize to ME" attitude.
Humility and forgiveness is a beautiful thing, and an integral part of marriage.

3. Fight for unity.
Marriage is two separate people coming together and becoming One. That's huge. Yahweh designed marriage and sex so specifically, it's really amazing. He calls the body of Christ His bride and says He is our groom. Hello. That's a huge sign for how our marriages need to work and look.

4. Be respectful.
Wives, we have no idea the power our words have over our families, and especially our husbands. If we tear down and mock, thinking guys are tough and they can take it because they just aren't as sensitive as us - then we are dead wrong. In my experience, men are more sensitive than women, they are just less emotional. Our words must be ones of edification, respect, honor, love, humility, encouragement. For our spouses, for ourselves, and for our little ones watching the husband-wife dynamic in the home.

5. Selfishness must die.
This one is on the forefront of my mind and heart right now. I realize how very selfish I am, how very self-centered our culture makes us. It's all about yourself. Look better, feel better, you need YOU time, etc and those things are fine to a degree, but it's all so very repulsive and makes me a person that I don't want to be. I want to be a serving person with a happy heart and attitude. I don't want to be disappointed at Kevin because he didn't read my mind and pet me and console me because I had to be a mother today. In that instance, I'm thinking only of myself and how hard my day was and miffed at him for not just sensing that.
What if, instead, I asked him how his day was and encouraged him? Guess what - 99.9999999% of the time he then turns to me and gives me the validation I need as his wife and mother of our children.

The real issue here is that we must go deeper in knowing Christ, and gaining such sure, deep identity in Him that nothing can shake us and we aren't looking to people (even our spouses) to fill voids that only the Holy Spirit can fill. When we know and serve Christ and love and serve others....our own desires and petty needs grow dimmer and dimmer. And life gets sweeter.

6. Pray together.
Out loud, every day. It's so amazing to get to be on the same page spiritually. Praying together opens up so many avenues to breakthrough together and individually. Pray for each other, speak over one another out loud, lay hands on your spouse's head when you see they are worried and just pray peace and rest in Christ. It builds trust and creates the most amazing spiritual and natural bond. There is nothing I find more attractive in Kevin than the fact that He leads this family by dwelling in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The more you feed that - the more it will grow and become stronger.



Now go kiss your husband or send him and mid-day text with love:)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

zzzzzzz


This photo is a few months old but I just re-found it and wanted it to be here for memories' sake.
Open-mouthed tired is a whole level of exhaustion in and of itself:)

Nora has always been our snuggly bear. She'll lay on your back like this, or tuck right into your neck, she loves to rest her head on your chest or shoulder. To me, when my children do things like that, it's like getting my motherly paycheck. Lots of hard work, but worth it on pay day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

the one where i talk about every picture



If you lay a blanket down in front of my girls (particularly Nora) an uproar of cheering will happen and they will immediately stomp and then sit on it. It's magical to them. We have living room picnics quite a bit.


I'm a firm believer in "start 'em while they're young". YES it takes so much more time. NO they can't do it as well as you can. But if we don't train them now to put take their dishes to the sink, and empty the clean silverware from the dishwasher into their spots in the drawer, etc. we're in for it. They certainly aren't going to just pick it up on their own be hard workers naturally.


It's also our experience that children LOVE being a part of something bigger than themselves (don't we all?) and they feel like a million bucks to do a "big kid" job.
Sometimes the excitement of helping dies out, let's be honest, and it's like pulling teeth to pick up one sock. But keeping it different, entertaining, different systems (award system, praise, threats, whatever :)) always helps.
Kevin just invented this and Ruby loved it:
While we're all cleaning the house, let's say her job is to clean her bedroom. That usually leads to not cleaning her bedroom, but finding an obscure toy she hasn't played with in months and, well, playing with it.
To keep her on task, we set a timer. She has to clean (without stopping) for, say, 10 mins. Then at the beeper, she gets to rest and read a book/play a Leap Pad game/color whatever for 5 mins. When the timer beeps again, back to cleaning for 10 mins.

That way she knew there was an end in sight and she worked hard for those short little cleaning spurts.
p.s. Nora loves to clean! She wipes up her own messes, etc. 


Nora got her first black eye (fell into the corner of a wooden box) last month and it only deeper solidified our calling her a puppy. That little ring around her eye just sealed the deal. She believes she's a puppy and at any moment will drop into character, stick her tongue out, and pant for you.
She's been known to be crying, and we say "oh, puppy! you're a puppy?! hi puppy!" to distract her and BAM. You can tell she's thinking tears must stop - get it together Nora - beeee the puppy.


Speaking of puppies...whenever the weather is nice, our front door is open. One morning we were playing and all of the sudden, in comes a visitor.
The basset hound snooped around, ate any and all food it found on the floor, let our girls squeal and pet, and then it was off. No idea who's it was, but it was hilarious.


The other day at the park I looked over at Nora and saw this and just grinned because even at a young age, she can tell that boys are cooler to have as friends. So much less drama and so much funnier than a group of ol' girls. Smart thinking, Nora.


This dress sucks on to me and even with a slip will not stop being clingy/staticy. It's also pretty short in the front. Basically, it's un-wearable and still has the tag on because I know it. I try it on about once a week to see if maybe it's magically changed and works now, but every time...nope.
Any ideas how to get it not-so-clingy? It's a cheapy, flowy material, I'm sure that's the problem. But I love it! I don't want to part!


She was eating raisins, looked in the mirror and said "mom! look! my teeth look like yours!"
Awesome. #ihaveathousandsilverfillings


Movie theatre bathroom selfie? I'm seventeen. Kevin and I went out for his 29th birthday at the end of March. CAN YOU BELIEVE we're almost 30? That is like, straight up adult. So crazy.
Still so young! I tell myself.
We saw Noah, which has several parts that are soooo not Biblically correct, but is great nonetheless. It had me thinking about it for days afterward. It's so humbling to be chosen by such an enormous God.


The weather is starting to warm up which means I keep getting happier and happier. Before I know it, we'll be splashing around at the splash pad, swimming in friend's pools, making homemade ice cream, and eating dinner outside often. For now, we are thoroughly enjoying watching every tree in our little town bud and flowers bloom. The earth declares His majesty with every season!
HAPPY SPRING!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Focus

Remember how I mentioned last post that the past year and a half (yep, since Nora was born) has been a series of lessons from the Holy Spirit showing me that I still have SO MUCH TO LEARN.
And SO MANY WALLS TO COME DOWN.
And SO MANY WEAKNESSES TO BE STRENGTHENED. 

It's all so very, very humbling.
But I guess you could say I'm a weirdo and kind of embrace pain and fire and pressure because I know that awesomeness is always, always, always on the other side. As long as you embrace it. And I so appreciate the Teacher teaching me.

So - that being said, the most recent revelation He has shown us looks like this:

One day 2 weeks ago, I lost it. Long story short, I had committed to too many things, tried to be all things for all people, wanted to do something fun/for myself to feel like a real person, etc. Ok - I'll just tell you. My husband's boss (the Apostle/main minister at our church) asked if Kevin and I could meet he and his wife to go golfing the next day.
I'd never been golfing, I've heard it was the cats meow, I'd get to see my husband, and any opportunity I get to be around older, wiser, and spiritual people and get to TALK without being interrupted, I get excited! It felt like a really rare, really exciting opportunity that I would be crazy to pass up.

I had used Kevin's mom for babysitting WAY too many times that week, it just happened that way, but here I was...calling and asking her again. I was behind on lots of housework. The night before was a late night so the girls and I were pretty tired. The girls were lolly-gagging around all morning, making messes and taking their sweet time to obey. I'd get one thing done, and I'd get interrupted by them. The dishes were piling up, they were needing me, I was watching the clock because I had to have them over on the other side of the next town over by a certain time and had to make it all away across Northwest Arkansas to make it for precious tee time. Oh yeah, and at some point I should probably make myself half-way presentable.
And then I lost it. I snapped at the girls, I was mean and short and impatient. I'm sure I yelled, I'm sure I used some nasty, mean tone-of-voice and I just...I lost it. 
I buckled them in their car seats and slammed the car door.
I got in the car and my blood was boiling. BOILING. 
Guilt and sadness and anger rushed over me all at the same time. 

I went and golfed.
It's really not that cool at all.
The boys are pretty serious about golf so there was like...no talking. 
It was perfect that it worked out like that, too. I needed to be miserable enough to learn something.

In the parking lot after golf Kevin and I sat in the car
"are you okay?" he said. He's smart and can tell when his other half is losing her mind.
I unleashed a circle of strong emotions that was going nowhere and making no sense at all. I finally said "I just need 15 mins to myself so I can pray and hear Yahweh give me some direction!"

So he took my car and picked up the girls. I took his car and I prayed. 
and
oh
my
gosh

Immediately, Yahweh said "Jessica, you are focused on all the wrong things" and He gave me a vision of Ruby and Nora looking up at me, and they were in focus, and everything around them was blurry.
A vision of what my focus should be on.


While I've been making sure we stay fit, we eat flawlessly healthy, we arrive to church early and stay late, I make all my clients happy and keep my in-home business a professional environment, making sure we keep the house tidy and neat, I get the girls outside enough, I make sure I get my "me" time, etc. I've lost sight of what REALLY matters - them!

I only have a few short years of them being so small and needing me so much. And HOW SAD that I've seen them as a needy little burden that's kinda in the way of me doing my "thang". 
The sadness and guilt and filth that I felt when I acted like a monster to the girls was my heart's way of setting off an alarm *something's not right! this is not really how you feel. something's out of order. all you've ever wanted to do is be a mother and you actually adore these girls. don't treat them like this!*

If my kids are "getting on my nerves" I now realize that is ENTIRELY MY FAULT.
That morning I was so mean to them was not their fault! They didn't know I put pressure on myself to show up for some golf thing with the boss! All they saw was Mommy...being so mean. But why?
Am I distracted and trying to do my own thing - and how dare they interrupt me?
They want 5 minutes of my time while I clean out my closet? Great! How fun! Mommy loves you, I'd love to spend 5 minutes with you! (and really, that's usually about how long our kiddos want our undivided attention, then they're off playing by themselves or siblings and we can scoot back to work)
Instead of "I've GOT to get this closet cleaned. It will make me a more peaceful mom to have this done and checked off, and then I can play with them."

So it all led to this revelation that Kevin and I are BOTH dealing with in our own respective areas, and that's perfectionism, control, false-identity. Trying to be too many things that we aren't graced for.
Yahweh telling me "your focus is completely off" is another way of saying "I haven't graced you for everything you're trying to do. You're trying to do too much, and without my grace. How's that goin' for ya?"

I have, however, been abundantly graced for motherhood.

When Kevin and the girls pulled into the driveway, with a soft heart I ran to the car to love on my awesome family. So thankful that the blinders had been removed and I can see them for what they really are.
That night, instead of cooking ANOTHER perfectly Paleo meal at home and making a mess with dishes and everything like we do every single day so that we can live this perfect standard of health, we decided to let our hair down and we went to the square as a family and ate burgers and fries. Bun-free, of course:)


Life is too short to stress about the small stuff.
What is life really about? Are we really living?

I encourage you today to step back and evaluate what your focus is on.
Are you living in what you've been graced for, or are you killing yourself to be something you're not?
You must only evaluate with humility and in the presence of the Almighty.

If you don't have Christ living and dwelling in you, then it's simple - you can!
All you have to do is believe in your heart that He is who He says He is. He IS Yahweh God Almighty. Then confess with your mouth. That means say out loud "God, I need you. I want you in my life. I understand that you sent Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice so that I can be forgiven of everything and so that I can know you. I want answers to life's questions. I want to serve and worship something bigger than myself. I want you in my heart. I welcome you to come in and do your work. I am yours now, and You are mine."

You are now a son of Christ! If you believe it by faith! 
The next step is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which is what changed mine and Kevin's life forever. We pray in tongues EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every time I say "I prayed" I'm talking about tongues. Me just saying in English all my problems to Yahweh very rarely gets me anywhere. But tongues is a gift He gave those who believe in Him so that they can communicate with Him through your spirit not your mind. It's amazing.
So all you have to do if you want the gift of tongues (which He made available to EVERYONE!) is start worshiping Him. In English, just tell Him how much you love Him and thank Him for setting you free and welcome in His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Power To Change Things. And as you continue to worship, you will get so filled up with His presence, it will flood out of you, roll across your vocal chords, and you'll just starting speaking in a different language. A language you've never heard or said before and you'll experience God like you've never experienced Him before.
It takes humility, it takes persistence, it takes doing it everyday, all the time. 
But I'm telling you, it will change your life.
Suddenly, you have a direct line to the voice of the Holy Spirit. 
You have the Helper going with you and helping you everyday, all day. Teaching you, speaking to you, whispering things you've never heard until now. Because now you've awakened your spirit.
You won't have to read about Him in other people's lives only - He'll be doing amazing things in YOUR life.


I had no intention of writing any of that, but it just flooded out!
I want everyone to get to live this life.
If you did this today, or if you have any questions, please contact me

jessicaikiehn (at) gmail (dot) com