good find friday: week 4

articles:

the ugly truth about bravery – i thought this was a really great post on bravery, written by jon acuff.  i’ll say – i agree with all but the very last line…  if you want to take an extra minute, read his short ‘about’ section also.  inspires me to do something meaningful with my own life.

the day i left my marriage – those of you that are married know how challenging sharing your everything with someone else can actually be.  i am no picnic; that’s for sure.  not too long ago, i confess that i googled the words, ‘i don’t like my husband.’  what?!  i know…terrible.  we were going through a rough patch, and frankly, he was just on my nerves.  all.of.the.time.  he’d just look at me, and i would get annoyed.  hormones, right?  so anyway, i typed this phrase into the search bar and then looked for a ‘christian’ domain name.  b/c seriously, a christian wife should NOT feel those things, right?!  yeah.  i found this article, and i am so happy that i did, b/c it really helped to shift my perspective.  i have an awesome husband.  he loves Jesus 110%.  he is an amazing father.  he is thoughtful and takes care of others’ needs before his own.  he prays with passion.  he believes with passion.  he hasn’t left me, even during our darkest days.  he’s a gift that i have taken for granted.  i  hope this article helps you out, if you ever find yourself feeling frustrated with your spouse.  changing perspective often changes everything.  and actually, i like him a whole lot!

for the home:

dear lillie – i love this little blog and shop! i love it soooo much, that i hope to offer some of their items in the klover house shop in the near future! i love finding fellow artisans with common interests and passions. amazing hearts and talents over at dear lillie. check them out, and let them know that klover house sent you!

miscellaneous:

‘skinny double chocolate chip muffins’ by sallysbakingaddiction.com made these little guys (little b/c i baked them in my itty bitty tart pans – so cute…) and they were a hit. we drove to dance class with over two dozen. we returned home from dance class with zero! i didn’t have the exact ingredients – for example, i used strawberry kefir in place of the greek yogurt, but they turned out great! i also skipped the chocolate chips throughout. i simply drizzled 5 to 6 on each little muffin. it ended up being the perfect amount for our taste. you’d never guess these chocolately breakfast treats were made with honey, applesauce, kefir, and egg whites!  these will definitely be made frequently in our house!

america’s mood map – just a fun little time-waster.  apparently, i belong in tennessee…or oregon.  how about you?

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mercy in the morning

{image credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc}

do you ever feel like a complete failure by the end of the day? i’m having one of those nights tonight.

the day started out so well. even on four hours and 15 minutes of sleep (truly), i woke up in a good mood. i set it in my head and heart that i was going to implement women living well’s making your home a haven challenge a little early and i lit the candles. the house was clean. the kids were extremely pleasant. i made us homemade banana and oatmeal pancakes… things were going so smoothly.

every time i caught a glimpse of our candles (i kept one on the stove and one atop my dining room hutch – far away from the little ones), i remembered to once again pray for peace over our home. and peaceful it was. the atmosphere really shifted in a big way. things have been so tense lately. our days seem so packed, yet nothing really seems to be getting accomplished most of the time. i spend all day attending to the needs of everyone, yet i feel like i miss out on enjoying my time with any of them. today was the total, blissful opposite. hallelujah.

my husband treated us to an impromptu pizza dinner, and then we ran to the store to surprise the girls with their very own dvd player on which to watch their veggie tales and princess movies in the play room (if the big people are using the main tv)…

the night out ended with an unexpected God-encounter at a craft store, a peaceful execution of the littles’ bedtime routine, a relaxing hot shower for mama, and plans to sit down and tell you about some really great things that are stirring in my heart while the mister and i caught up on some shows we watch weekly.

but that part didn’t transpire like i had hoped. not even close. i had spent an entire day calm, cool, and collected, constructing a better day…a better me…a better home, and just like that, the floor beneath me fell out, and i ended the night so deflated.

i keep asking myself…what was God’s plan for how the night was supposed to end? i know it didn’t go according to plan. one negative sentence from the mister, and this woman cracked. and an hour-long disagreement led to me sorrowfully stroking the head of an innocent who ‘heard mommy yell’, and as i asked for her to forgive me for waking her up with my loud voice, this weary woman cracked even further inside. i remember being young and aware of tension between parents. i hate that i saw such concern in her eyes tonight, and that i disrupted her sleep.

and on top of it all, my hands have hit a rough patch. i’m fighting some seriously scary thoughts about sjogren’s…arthritis…feeling like my hands could just curl up into useless fists at any moment and being so frustrated that i am so young and need these hands and fingers to work for me for still a very long time. i know stress and sleepless nights are my worst enemies, yet here i sit, nursing eden, listening to worship music and joseph prince sermons on grace and love, typing this ‘lament’ and praying that saturday will bring me a chance to start over. a chance to make my daughter laugh and not cry. a chance to share good things with you (like what happened at the craft store), not stories of epic failure.

so, here’s to new mercies. and if your weekend took a nosedive, like our’s, then i pray that His mercy and love will envelop us all by sunrise. xoxo

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who am i called to be? the study of a proverbs 31 woman

i will be studying the p-31 woman and applying her virtues to my own life the best that i can. i’d love for you to join me on this journey and offer insight as we figure out who we are in Christ as p-31 women together. simply check this post from time to time. as i delve into verses individually, this original post will start to transform into a hub of links to other posts and resources. i’m looking forward to this. hope you are too.

Proverbs 31:10-31 The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.

16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

klover house

our new name, folks.

‘klover house’

after tossing a few options around, getting feedback from family, friends and fellow bloggers, i’ve decided this is it. ‘klover’ like clover.

this name isn’t new to me at all, though. let me give you the backstory.
it’s made up of three components:

the clover, my marriage, and a dream


{image source}

for as long as i can remember, i have had a knack for finding four-leaf clovers. it comes pretty easily to me (my mom is like this too). i don’t know what it is, b/c it’s certainly not “lucky.” right, mom? haha i’d like to think our perfectionist/ocd-ish ways are drawn to the clover that stands out. who knows, but we find them all of the time. it was a good thing i played infield positions back in my glory days on the softball field, b/c, on the rare occasion that i found myself playing left field, i would battle the constant temptation to stare at the grass!

so, i’ve always been drawn to the clover.

then came my relationship with my hubby…

those of you that know us personally, know him and his name. i don’t use his name on here in order to better respect our privacy as a family, and his privacy as a professional.
this blog is from my mouth alone (for the most part), so i know he appreciates that i don’t exploit him or his voice in any way.

that said…the name (and its *misspelling*) comes from our names and their initials. i am “kl” and he is “er”. as i was playing around one day when we were dating, doodling our names in a notebook, like young sweethearts are known to do…(being “twitter-pated”, as thumper would put it, is no respecter of age or person, apparently :)), i realized that when i wrote my initials followed by his, that the word “love” fit between them. i had an “ah-ha!” moment. love. it was everything between us. love holds us together. God is love. God holds us together. He is the glue that binds us and keeps that love genuine, unforced, and renewed daily. it’s everything. all we are. all we have. our marriage and our home are built upon it. our children, born of it. it’s everything, and the older i get, the more that becomes evident to me.

now, the dream.

back before the “klover” revelation, but post deciding to go to school to become a teacher, i had a dream heavily placed on my heart. a business-related dream. an ambition far bigger than me or my abilities. i have no means of attaining my dream. i have no formal training, but the passion is so strong, and the dream never fades away, so i believe that it is a God-thing. if it’s bigger than me, and i have no way of grabbing ahold of it, then it must be the Lord’s, and only He will be able to set a path out for me to get there. with Him, anything is possible. even the impossible. (matthew 19:26 & philippians 4:13) so, i am believing Him for this dream. someday. someway. and the name of the place will be “klover house”.

so that’s it, friends.

this blog has always been centered around my faith and my family.

welcome to our “house” born from “klover”. i hope you enjoy your visit.

xo,
kristi

**thanks in advance for patience while i transition all-things-technical to our new name.**

5 years in…

five years ago today, i married my true love. sounds silly, but it is actually true.

he holds my affections 24/7.
(even though he’d tell you that’s unlikely, b/c of how often i roll my eyes at him.)

his is the one face that i will never grow tired of looking at each night before i close my eyes and each morning as he’s kissing me good-bye for the day.

some good tid bits about him that i’m sure he’ll shake his head at me for sharing…

he’s in the process of growing a man beard (play off beard), and i actually love it.
it’s surprisingly soft too, so i welcome his smooches! haha

he never has bad breath – not even morning breath!
seriously, he’s like an anomaly that needs to be studied or something.
i’m so proud that i snagged the one man on earth that never smells badly.
(and i feel for him, b/c unfortunately he can’t say the same about me! haha)

he loves his daughters so much. he really embraces being a father to little girls. i treasure that. also, i never feel more loved than when i’ve had our girls, and he tells me afterwards how proud he is of me, how much he loves me, and how happy he is to have these little girls to call his own. that’s the highlight of being a wife in my eyes. i’ll never be able to give him anything more valuable than these three angels.

he loves Jesus. that right there keeps the blood pumping in this marriage. forgiveness is key in marriage. love is key in marriage. Jesus is all love and forgiveness. without Him, we’d be in trouble some days. God has given my husband a soft and patient heart towards me. i’m grateful for that everyday.

he is a “phenomenal dancer.” yep. gonna get it for sharing that one, but it’s true! me? i have two left feet on the dance floor…or the kitchen floor, rather. we don’t get out much, but our girls love to dance with their daddy on the slick, hardwood, kitchen floor. i sit and video tape it. the girls don’t seem to mind. they’ve figured out early that mama can’t dance.

he is so intelligent. honestly, i knew he was smart before i married him (i’ve known him since i was about eleven or twelve years old – hilarious pics below), but as we age and he’s coming further away from that college boy i fell head-over-heels for, his wisdom just amazes me! it’s almost like a shell has cracked and all of this light is finally pouring out of him. i love it.

he devours books. i used to think i was the reader in this household. nope. he reads me under the table. i have finished two books in three years. yes, i’m busy, but so is he, and he has probably finished three books since i started typing this. ha! really though, the man loves to read. i admire that about him.

i look at the five years we’ve been married and the ten that we’ve been a couple, and i look forward to everyday of the rest of our life together. we certainly don’t have it all together. we bicker more than i’d ever admit, but everyday, we find that our love for one another grows deeper and stronger. i’m so proud of my husband. i treasure him.

{pic from today to be posted later, b/c i forgot the camera in the car, and it’s cold outside!}

happy anniversary, babe!

xoxo

marriage

you know, i don’t write too often about the ins & outs of my marriage.
if we’re in a rut, i usually don’t feel like airing our dirty laundry to the world or complaining publicly. if we’re doing awesome & on top of the world, well, i don’t want to come across as boasting either. so, i usually just keep the marriage stuff locked up for the most part.
it’s also my way of respecting what he & i share together.
he trusts me; i trust him. the last thing i’d ever want to do is damage that.

that said…

we recently had a tiff that started like a trickle and ended in a torrent. i confess, i was the one harboring the offenses and when offenses build up, they ultimately get out of hand, and you find yourself thinking, “how on earth did i get here?!” “how can this ever be fixed?”

well, i can testify that when you think there’s no fix, no hope, no end to the firestorm that started with just a few ill-spoken words…

God can fix it. God can heal it. God can turn it around.
thank God for my husband’s maleable heart that truly seeks Him.
if it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

if you struggle with words, like i do, and you say things that only seem to make matters worse when upset with your spouse, i strongly suggest you read james chapter 3…”taming the tongue.” it will hit you hard, but it is worth it. like a rudder changes the course of a mighty ship, so a tongue can change the course of a life. a bitter tongue can set a relationship ablaze, but a humbled tongue, can steer the ship back to peaceful waters.

i read a post today written by one of my favorite christian women/authors, Lysa TerKeurst, and it really gave words to our recent situation. i thought i’d share it with you. it’s a good one. like Lysa, we talked out the kinks and things turned around. take care of your relationships, and be sure not to let them unravel in your emotional haste.

The Unraveling of a Marriage ~ Lysa TerKeurst
{source: incourage.me}

I had a favorite sweater I loved wearing. It wasn’t too bulky but was still warm and cozy. The only problem was the threads were loosely woven together. It would snag on things, so I had to be ever so careful when I wore it.

I was always mindful of the delicate nature of this sweater so I could protect it, make it last, and enjoy wearing it time and again.

Until one day I was in a hurry. I grabbed some things I needed for a meeting and rushed to my car. I tossed all my stuff over to the passenger seat, including a spiral notebook. A spiral notebook whose metal binding wire had gotten caught on my sleeve. As I pulled my arm toward the steering wheel, the notebook came with it and pulled a huge snag in my sweater.

I unhooked myself and assessed the damage. Based on what I saw, I should have taken the sweater off, put something else on, and later taken the time to repair the snag the correct way.

But in the rush of all I had going on, I made the tragic decision to do what seemed easiest in the moment. I snipped the lose threads and hoped for the best. That tragic decision started an unraveling process that ended the life of that beautiful sweater.

Recently, my husband and I got into an argument. In front of the kids. Over something so stupid. Right before we were about to head out the door to go on a date.

In the heat of the argument he announced the date was off. He no longer wanted to go. And honestly, I no longer wanted to go either.

I wanted to go sit in a coffee shop by myself and make a mental list of all the reasons I was right. All the reasons he was wrong. And justify my perspective. But it’s at this exact moment of resistance that an unraveling can begin.

Doing what seems easy in the moment often isn’t what’s best for the long term.

I pushed for us to still go on our date. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. There were tears. There were awkward stretches of silence. But we pushed through the resistance we both felt, and eventually talked.

Talking through the snags. The pulls. The things that threaten to unravel us.

There is a delicate nature to marriage. It’s so easy to forget that. It’s so easy to take it all for granted and stop being careful. Stop being mindful. Stop being protective.

The unraveling can happen so quickly.

What’s something you can do today to invest wisely in your marriage? To be mindful of your mate? To protect your relationship?

For me? I had to apologize. The right way. By admitting I was wrong and asking for forgiveness. Repairing the snags the right way… tying a knot and tucking it back into the weave of our relationship fabric.

Isn’t it funny that when we get married it’s called “tying the knot”? For us, this wasn’t just an act at the altar. It’s something we have to do over and over again.

By Lysa TerKeurst

looking forward to a lifetime with him.

give yourself a break

i’m sure every blogging mama writes about what’s relevant in her life. how else would we be able to write? you go through an experience, you take that experience, good, bad, whatever it is, & you give God a chance to do a work in you through it. i believe that’s probably the main reason we even go through half of what we do – God has a plan for refinement & He knows what we have to offer is needed by someone else out there.

this morning, i literally forced all four little ones to nap at the same time. ava has gotten up the last two mornings in a row at 6:45am. she skipped her nap yesterday, b/c i just didn’t have the patience to do the forcing, but it was clear by 4pm that a nap was sorely missed by not just me. the usually happy girl was an emotional wreck. meltdown city. the babies never need the forcing – they’re all on their schedule & like it for now. so, the push comes when dealing with my almost three-year-old.

anyway, that said, the last few weeks have been especially rough around here. the hubby’s been traveling for work, so the days were extra exhausting & the schedules were extra flexed, which all added to just an overwhelming frantic feeling in my mind. i couldn’t get anything done around the house; i couldn’t get anything done well; i just felt all tattered inside. you ever have days like that? e-mails were out-of-the-question. phone calls were even more of a joke, & it was all i could do just to find a few minutes to read my bible.

well, the Lord has been laying a little message on my heart it seems over the last few days. when i’ve been thinking so incessantly about time & all i can’t seem to manage well or accomplish, & i’m giving myself a hard time about motherhood, marriage, & friendship…i feel him saying “give yourself a break.”

give yourself a break, kristi.

you are not a bad mother. you adore & dote on your children. if you snapped at them for getting on that last, dangling nerve, ask them in their little eyes to forgive mommy for being angry, & forgive yourself. give big hugs. tell them you need Jesus to give you patience & a happy heart. be an example of humility & a person who is confident in God’s ability to help us in our time of need. give yourself a break.

you are not a bad wife. you love your husband. you admire your husband. you respect your husband. as your strong partner, provider, & protector, it’s only natural to want him to come home & “rescue” you. don’t be disappointed, though, when he can’t. that’s not his job. he can’t supernaturally give you grace & revive your spirit & soul. that’s the Lord’s work. instead, expect a big hug & ask the Lord for the rest to help you continue your night’s tasks. God supplies your second-wind, & your hubby supplies the hugs. give yourself a break.

you are not a bad friend. you love your friends. they love you. your relationships are not contingent upon whether or not you were able to call them today. so often you beat yourself up over the “neglecting” of your most treasured relationships, but realize, your phone isn’t ringing off-the-hook either. when was the last time you got a random “hello!” or “thinking about you” e-mail, visit, text, etc. from a friend? we’re all in the same boat. we’re all busy, trying to get our kids to take a nap, preparing meals, trying to have devotional time, get in a chapter of that book we desperately want to finish. we are all there. you give your friends & family members grace & aren’t quick to think they don’t love you anymore if you haven’t heard from them in awhile, so why are you so quick to beat yourself up for having the same challenge? give yourself a break.

bottom line…keep your priorities in order – God, family, others. if i’m surrendering myself to the Lord first, i can trust Him to guide my day, my thoughts, my actions & my words. that alone helps clear out that frantic “i just can’t keep up” mindset, which directly affects my interactions with my spouse, children, family members & friends. my greatest tool for loving them & myself is prayer. God said through Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

doing anything without ceasing should be exhausting, right? not the case with prayer. it is the exact opposite. that whole chapter is a gem. i recommend you check it out. put on your breastplate of faith & love…help those in need…live in peace with one another…be patient with everyone…seek after what is good…rejoice always…encourage one another…pray without ceasing.

don’t make it more complicated than it is. act in love. put God first, & give yourself a break. allow grace to move in your life. the kids may actually not fray your nerves; your husband’s hug may actually just be enough, & your day may not really feel that frantic after all…

mister, i love you.

hello, again.

it’s been awhile, i know. for good reasons i won’t bog you down with today, but i feel the need to pass a great little post along that holds a very BIG message.

it’s all about our husbands.

i can’t even go into how much i love my husband, or tell you about what an amazing man he is without bragging or embarrassing him, so i’ll just leave it at that, & tell you that just thinking about him today brings joyful tears to my eyes. (yes, mister, i seriously welled up just thinking of you!)

we have been on a long, hard journey together thus far, & as we approach our 4th wedding anniversary on thursday, i couldn’t be more excited about our future together. not the giddy kind of excited – the expectant, big things are in store, anticipation kind of excitement – like that quiet moment of calm before a firework explodes.

we have been taking a class together on monday nights through our church, called “walking in freedom,” & it has stretched me, stretched me, stretched me. my husband, however, it has grown him, grown him, GROWN him TREMENDOUSLY in the Lord. after talking with him last night, it is abundantly clear that God is doing great things in his heart. i am so blessed that i get to be a part of it.

you’ll still have your days…your moments, but that’s all they are – moments – in an eternity. obstacles, not dead-ends. see it all for what it is. see your husband for who he is, as God sees him. believe me, it’ll make you beam, when you realize the potential your marriage has when your hearts & minds are focused on living out the plan God created solely for you & the two of you together.

be encouraged. pray for each other. LOVE each other – even on the ugly days. get involved in God things together. watch as your hearts change & you are shaped into better people through Jesus. pray that God will continue to grow one another in Him & cultivate the desire to be better spouses to each other, better parents to your children & stronger in your faith as you walk through this life together.

if you’re single & reading this, can i challenge you to believe there’s something in this post for you? if you desire to be married, are dating or engaged…pray for your future spouse.

there’s a fire burning in my husband’s heart that i know has been freshly set ablaze & it is AWESOME. not only has it made our home happier, but you can actually feel the passion to pursue God & His will for our family emanating from him. it’s contagious. it’s refreshing. it’s wonderful.

check out this short, little post, “how to keep your husband your first priority,” from courtney of womenlivingwell.org (women living well ministries)featured on roomag.com (roo mag by candace cameron bure).

honor your husband today.

xo,

kristi

mister, i love you.

making our home our sanctuary

Protect Your Children in the Storms

Reverence for God gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security. -Proverbs 14:26

Life is full of storms that batter us, bruise us, and beat us up. Life is very tough, and we all need a place of safety, security, peace, and protection. God has planned that our homes be that place.

There are all kinds of storms that come into our lives, but here are three every one of us will experience:

Change. From day to day, relationships change, jobs change, our health changes, where we live changes. Studies tell us that too much of any change — positive or negative — is stressful. So we need a place of security and support, where we know everything is going to be the same.

Failure. Nobody wins all the time. Sometimes you get passed by for the promotion, you don’t make the team, or you fail the test. And it hurts. But failure is more bearable if you’re coming home to hugs, if you know that when you get home, you’re going to be encouraged.

Rejection. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel criticized, pushed away, or not allowed to be part of the “in” crowd. A lot of that starts on the playground, where kids can be mean, laughing at the flaws of others and making fun of those who seem different. Coming home to acceptance and love helps children through the storms.

How do you build a home that can be a shelter in a storm?

Hear. Listen to the people in your family. Don’t be too quick to come up with a solution before they even get the words out of their mouths. Sometimes they just need to vent or tell you how they feel.

Hug. Express affection. Do the things that say “I love you.”

Hope. Build up the people in your family with affirmation. Make sure you’re giving good input to balance all the negative they hear outside your home.

Help. Make sure that you do whatever it takes to get help when your family is going through a tough time. Unhealthy families ignore their problems or they say, “We can make it without help. We don’t need anyone else’s input. We’re not talking to anybody about this. We can handle it” — or worse, they say, “What problem?” Healthy families are willing to look at themselves realistically and say, “We’re having a tough time right now, and we need some help.”

You may not be able to protect your children from the storms of life, but you can help protect them in the storms of life by making your home a place of security and support.

~Paul Phillips’ “Daily Blessing” for today, May 3rd

super bowl lineup

hello friends!

so it’s my husband’s second favorite day tomorrow…our anniversary being his most favorite… 😉

oh, and his birthday…and new year’s day thanks to non-stop college ball (he just corrected me)…

ok, so like his fourth favorite day or tenth – i don’t know.

point is – his favorite days usually consist of us gorging ourselves with really bad-for-you-food or sauerkraut, which also makes the house stink, but this year, this favorite day, we are committed & excited to satisfy some of our most beloved cravings with some fabulous-looking, healthier options.

hopefully, they will be as delicious as they look!

in lieu of the usual friend at our football feast – buffalo chicken dip…buffalo chicken rolls

and to stand in for the zillion-layer taco dip that mama loves…zucchini quesadillas (which will actually include broccoli slaw & seasoned shredded chicken, b/c i failed to purchase a zucchini)

welp, that’s it!

enjoy the game!

who do you want to win?

me, i’m rooting for the steelers…jk 😉

seriously though…i don’t particularly care – i’m just interested in the commercials.

oh, and the food!

happy game day, everyone!