Monday, July 2, 2018

y'all know me

It's July and it's not hot. I just wanted to say that. I am thankful that it isn't crazy hot and humid. I may miss some things about GA but summer ain't one of them.

I thought I'd give a little Lesley update. Let's start with G since he is every one's favorite.

That kid.

He is so flippin' cute. Nothing about that kid gets old.

He loves this NM life. He loves skiing. He told me this morning that he wishes he could do it everyday. He has a love/hate relationship with golf. Mostly love.

He is enjoying horseback riding. Although the time before last he let go of the reigns and that sweet little guy was flopping all around on the horse and eventually fell off. I stayed calm. But my friend and I couldn't figure out how to get the gate open so I gave up and limbo-ed (made up that verb) through the gate to get to him. He was completely freaking out. But Marvin made him buck up and get right back on. He did. I was so proud.

I probably wouldn't have gotten back on that fast. One time when I was like 15 my horse jumped on another horse and I FREAKED. I had to ride back the rest of the way with our guide. I was 15. Homeboy is 6 and got back on. Bless it.

G is loving summer break and isn't pumped about school starting next month. So we don't bring that up.

He still says things that Most of them I share on FB so I won't list them now. But this morning he took off running to the bathroom and came back in saying, "I showed that diarrhea who's boss."  so there's that.

Church is going really well. Gosh, we have the best core group of folks involved. I wish you could meet each one of them. They all bring so many gifts to the Village Church. Every one of them make me laugh and make doing life together super easy. I am so so so thankful.

We are moving church to the park once a month this summer to join in our Cool Summer Night concert series. That has been a lot of fun. I love the concert series so (of course) I love getting to setup a VC booth and let people learn more about who we are. Last month we gave away a ton of Frisbees, water bottles with our logo on it, crosses one of our guys made and homemade goodies from one of our ladies. So much fun.

Jay is doing an amazing job of leading VC. He does double duty with worship and teaching but does both really well. I won't lie. I was a tad nervous when I found out he'd be preaching because I'd only experienced him teaching youth (for the most part) and I thought...Lawd this is going to be interesting. But y'all he is bringing it every week. I am so proud.

He is also playing at one of our restaurants here in town twice a week and at our RV resort once a week. Everyone is loving him. I am thankful people enjoy him like I do.

And me....

I sure do wish I could update everyone and let y'all know I'm doing "better than ever" but the truth is I am struggling again...

I am doing a better job of fighting off the negative thoughts (most of the time) but I am struggling with self-image again.

I promise it's not nearly as bad as when I lived in Columbus. It doesn't completely control my thoughts and attitude towards life. But those negative thoughts and self-talk have come creepin' back in.

I truly despise it. I hate that I let something as stupid as my pants size upset me. I hate that I care what I look like.

I hate that I am embarrassed of my body. Poor thing - it works so hard. I still do workout really hard and love it. I just don't see the changes I wish I would.

I haven't gotten to the point that I won't go places and do things. UGH. I remember that crappy life. And in the name of Jesus I am NOT going back there.

So sadly I'm not completely living in the freedom that I once was. I do believe I will get back there though.

I try to remind myself that I eat healthy and exercise so I can't get down on myself. It's not like I just lay around eating donuts all day. So I shouldn't beat myself up so much.

I also try to remind myself that nobody else flippin' cares what I look like and nobody is judging me. But I have a hard time letting that sink in.

Ugh, I'm so embarrassed to be confessing this old struggle again. But y'all know me. I tell all.

In happier news - I LOVE my job. I absolutely love being "benefits and HR coordinator." I LOVE getting to plan the resort employee parties, I LOVE getting to spend time loving on our employees who work so dang hard 7 days a week. I LOVE getting to help people figure out their employee benefits both insurance (ok I don't LOVE it but I like it) and fun benefits.

In other happier news -

I am diggin' the new Ben Rector album. Listen to it.

I have started working out with one of our golf pros several days a week. He's kicking my tail and I love it. It's the closest thing to Uncommon Athlete around here so y'all know I love it.

I get to see my FAMILY next week. We all meet Sunday and I.can't.wait. Get those sweet girls and Vasa in my face NOW. I can't wait to hug my parents and laugh with Josh & Claire.

Gosh, that will be good for my (weary) heart.

53 days until college football. 51 until Thursday night games. BRING.IT.

I have some fabulous friends in this town. I could not be more thankful. We laugh a lot. We are honest about parts of life that are hard. We play golf together (that's an experience.) We have fun parties and simply do life together. I am thankful.

Don't hate me for struggling again. I'll "pull it together" as G put it when I asked him to pray about my self-image struggles.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

everyone needs a Paul in their life

I remember hearing about this new guy in town that was helping Jay with the youth group. All I knew was that he was in the army and his name was Paul.

I asked Jay about him one day. He said "oh he's something else. Maybe a little to PTL for you but he's energetic for sure." PTL being Praise the Lord.

That description was pretty spot on.

Paul is loud. HILARIOUS. Full of joy. Full of life. Loves Jesus wholeheartedly. And is faithful.

Faithful is for sure the word I would use to describe him.

Here are some things I will always love and remember about Paul:

He will always ask for extra ribs at country's bbq. And most times get it. Free.

He has the best and funniest stories about time in Iraq. Only Paul could make you laugh about a war. And I mean laugh until you cry.

He and I went to Carabba's often on Sunday afternoons and would sing LOUDLY along with Shane & Shane on the way. I still think of Paul every time I hear "Yearn."

He would often be in Jay's apartment playing xbox when Jay would get home from work.

He and I would make fun of Jay (often) when he would go for a run and arrive back in 10-15 mins.

He was the most fun chaperone on youth's a few stories for you:

One time at Souled Out Jay asked him to pray for him while he met/prayed with a student. So sweet Paul did just that. He sat outside on a bench and prayed hard. He kept praying and wondering why jay wasn't coming back. Finally about 3 am he went inside the cabin to see if Jay had come back. Yep, he'd been in bed since like 11pm. hahahahah poor Paul.

It was almost always Pauls idea to order pizza or go out to eat somewhere nice while the kids were stuck eating nasty camp food.

On a ski trip one time he stayed behind to help get the keys out of a church van Jay had locked the keys in while everyone else went skiing. If you've ever read my blog on skiing, you'll know I wish I'd stayed back with Paul. Bless it.

We would go spelunking with the youth group and I remember being MISERABLE because it was cold in that stupid cave and Jay was snoring like a pissed off bear. I opened my eyes in misery and Paul was across from me miserable in his sleeping bag. We laughed... "nothing but a hoody and smile!" Right Paul??

Side note - Jays head was too big to go through one of the things we were crawling through. HAHAHA he had to back out. Paul and I laughed so hard.

I remember when Paul met his (now wife) Stefanie. I loved her from the start! She was perfect for Paul and perfect for our friendship.

Not everyone was a big fan of Jay and I dating but Paul was! He almost made a bumper sticker that said "I'm with Jay and Kaci." HILARIOUS.

The day Jay proposed to me Paul was standing in the street yelling "roll tide roll!" He also yelled that at our wedding reception several times.

He's the reason we have the memory of a neighbor saying "soooorrrryyyy Pauuuul." Love it.

Not all my memories of Paul are funny.... some are simply PRECIOUS.

He and Stefanie drove a LONG WAY to come meet Gabe the day we picked him up. I'll never forget that night. Laughing, sharing stories and seeing our sweet friends hold our son. Love that memory.

He also showed up the day before we left Columbus for Angel Fire. I could NOT believe it when he walked in my brothers house. We were all there to have lunch together and in walks Paul. Alllllll the way from Texas. What a precious gift.

He was there (as he should be) with just our family as we ate, cried and prayed together. I remember sitting by Ava, Allie, Addison, Vasa WEEPING because I didn't want to leave them. I still weep at the thought of being away from them. Julianna too but she was across the table from me that day. I remember where EVERYONE was.

Paul (and Stefanie) are the first people, along with family, that we text or call when we need prayer. I've never known a more faithful friend.

He also watches Village Church every Friday night. What a sweet, sweet friend.

I love Paul. I'm thankful God allowed ME to know this fun, loud, PTL guy.

I wish everyone could know him. Or at least have someone like him in their lives.

I love you sweet friend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


I got a text from a friend on Sunday reminding me that this time last year we were both packing up our houses for a cross country move.

Oh all the emotions came flooding back! I texted my mom and told her I could still feel every emotion from that time.

I remember feeling afraid. Certain, but afraid. I knew we were doing what God called us to. But that didn’t take away fear of the unknown.

New Mexico? What in the world?

EVERYTHING in my life was upside down.

I like everything in its place. My purse goes in the same place every day when I get home, my boots are lined up in a specific order in my closet. Only certain things are allowed on the kitchen counter, etc. Yes, I am that girl.  (I do have some grace for Jay and G J some.)

But for over a month my house was a mess. Boxes, a million to do lists, empty places where sold furniture used to sit. It was too much.

My heart was excited, afraid and sad.

I was sad to leave my family. I’d never lived in a different town than my immediate family. We are a super close family. I loved seeing my mom almost daily and the rest of my family at least once a week. I loved writing the girls & Vasa notes every week and dropping them off with Josh at work.

My heart was sad for Gabe. Sad for him not to live in the same town as his cousins. Sad that he had to leave all he’d ever known.

The emotions were so real. Sometimes I felt as empty as the rooms with sold furniture.

How would I make friends? How would Gabe make friends? What would I do without my running buddies? What would Jay do without Luke? What would he do without his Tuesday lunch group??

Too often I let those fears creep in instead of resting in the promise that God would be with us. That He called us to this.

It wasn’t alllllllll sadness and fear…

I was excited for a new adventure! Excited for new (beautiful) scenery. I was excited to start this church with the precious people we’d met in Angel Fire.

I remember looking at the weather in Angel Fire often and being so excited that I wouldn’t have a HOT, HUMID summer. I remember looking at the house we were about to move into and being so ready to make it our own. I remember emailing Gabe’s kindergarten teacher (still have those emails!) and asking a million questions about what school would be like. I remember talking to Gabe about skiing and all the new adventures we’d get to have! (all the while having a little sadness in my heart.)

Gosh, the last couple days in Columbus were so hard.

I remember WEEPING after leaving Uncommon Athlete for the last time. Oh how I love that gym, the coaches and working out with Rich.

I remember WEEPING after saying bye to Luke, Hannah, Moses and Elle as we sat in lawn chairs (HA!) in our living room the night before we left.

I remember WEEPING saying bye to my running friends especially Madison, Kami and Theresa. What would I do without our daily conversations in the dark running around lakebottom!?

I remember getting ready for church the morning that we would leave for NM. Oh I was a mess. I don’t even know why I attempted to put on mascara.

I WEPT through worship. Especially when the band left the stage and Jay sang his last song by himself. I remember making eye contact with Tasha and falling apart.

I remember playing with Ava and Allie’s hair in church because I knew I’d miss being able to reach out and touch them.

I remember sitting by my mom yet seeing an entire row of my family, including Uncle Teddy and Aunt Verlene (which meant the world to us.)

I remember my dad baptizing a friend that morning and G weeping to his Uncle Josh that HE wanted to be baptized. Which did happen…after making sure he knew what he was doing my dad and Jay baptized him. What a moment.

I remember Jonathan Payne and Chris Lockhart hanging around until the VERY LAST MINUTE to say goodbye to Jay after church.

I remember the Creswell’s staying with us until the last minute. My heart.

I remember the travel backpack the Creswell’s made for Gabe. Something fun to open in every state we drove through. And a camera to document it! Amazing friends.

I remember every detail about my family’s last lunch at Country’s on Mercury before leaving. We sat at a long table along the far left side of the restaurant. We shared some of the snacks Claire had bought for our trip. I remember thinking “I can’t do this.” (ok now I’m crying….) 

I remember thinking I can’t leave these people. I can’t NOT (yep double negative) live in the same town as my PRECIOUS PRECIOUS family.  I remember asking the Lord if we were REALLLLLLY doing the right thing.

That lunch was bittersweet.

I remember our family coming over to give last hugs and help us load into our cars. Those hugs were so hard and not nearly long enough. The sadness was written on every face. (in case you’re wondering I am a HOT MESS typing this.)

BUT in all of this…I also remember…

The faithfulness of Him.

The sweet promises He reminded us of as we drove further and further away from all that we knew and loved.

I remember weeping and feeling Him hold me as I wiped tears.

I remember the joy of watching Gabe open all his gifts from friends and family. Mom and Aunt Verlene both sent one for him to open ONLY when we arrived in Angel Fire.

I remember the peace He continued to give as we plowed through state after state on our 21 hour drive.

I remember PRECIOUS friends standing in front of our house in Angel Fire cheering as we drove up. Oh what a gift. What a sweet reminder that we weren’t alone in this.

I won’t go into every detail of our first few days and months in Angel Fire. (it’s on an old blog if anyone cares J)

But I will say I hope I never forget every memory, every emotion, every thought, every fear, every precious detail of this journey.

I LOVE this place. I LOVE these people. I LOVE it.

I HAVE made friends. AMAZING, fun, faithful friends. Gabe has made lifelong friends that we cherish. The weather IS fabulous and the scenery is like no other. Gabe does love skiing and is super excited to take up golf.

I’m not saying this life is perfect. I’m not saying I don’t struggle. I’m far from perfect. But I am saying I’m no longer afraid. I’m no longer sad.  

Our church is FABULOUS. The people are unbelievable. The pastor & worship leader is pretty darn fabulous himself. We are 100% in the right place. On good days and bad. And I couldn’t be more thankful.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

this NM life

I really do love living in the mountains. I LOVE the beauty. I appreciate the peacefulness. I appreciate nature (i've never been much of a nature girl!) I like the quiet. Living in a place like this really does calm my heart and mind.

I've learned how to be still living here. I've learned how to be ok with quiet.

In Georgia there was always somewhere to go and something to do. Or at least the option. Here we only have one grocery store, a family dollar, some locals shops and restaurants. That's it. Sure, we stay busy with normal life and spending time with friends but we don't create busyness by running to this place and that store just for the heck of it.

I like the relaxed feel of Angel Fire. It probably helps that it's a place people come to retire or vacation, ha.

I love Gabe's school. It is truly a family atmosphere. I think the teachers are outstanding. The students seem to know it's a safe place and seem to know they are loved (not just taught.)

The classes are relatively small which is cool. The rooms are nicely decorated creating a peaceful place to learn.

They have encore on Thursday afternoons. G LOVES encore. Two weeks ago I wanted to leave early because I had a headache but it would mean G would have to miss encore...that kid said NO to leaving early. I'm sorry, what?! What kid doesn't want to leave school??

Encore is when students mix up by age and go to a class for something different. They rotate teachers every week.  I am not explaining this well.  Bottom line, they get to hang out with a different group of students and do something fun with a different teacher.  I know one teacher focuses on science stuff for her encore, one does music/drama type things, and the others vary theirs. But the kids LOVE it.

I can't lie. I do too. I try to go to a different encore every week. Mainly so I can see what the teacher is doing and so I can be with a different group of students.

This last week I went to Mr Peppers encore. They are working on a play that the K-2 students are writing so he began with helping the students learn about being an actor/actress. I can't remember the whole "chant" they did but it was cool.  Let me see what I can remember... voice, listen, concentration, cooperation and self control. I probably left something out. They have motions for each so that if someone is getting out of hand during their play practice all he has to do is motion to them instead of calling them out or interrupting practice. Brilliant!

Then they played a fun game where they learned to do improv. So cute to watch! He'd say "take a picture of me" and the kids would find him somewhere in the room and pretend to take his picture. That would get them quiet and looking at him. Then he'd give them something to act out. Y'all. They were adorable. He went in every direction from being a snake, to driving a race car, to being an HR person firing an employee...ha. It was so fun to watch.

I just loved it. I am so excited to see the play the students are writing. I got to hear a little about the story from Gabe. I think it is going to be adorable.  Jay may help put the music part together. That'll be fun.

I don't know why I just wrote about all that except to say I think this school is different and special.  The atmosphere is structured yet relaxed. I appreciate that.

Gabe has loved being on the ski team. He skis every Monday from 9-3.  (school is Tuesday - Friday.) He has enjoyed learning a lot about skiing and making new friends. He would ski every day if we let him. He is ADORABLE coming down that big ol mountain with his tiny self. I wish everyone could see it. I think he'll continue to do ski team and undoubtedly get involved in competitions in the future.

He'll start golf team/lessons in May. That will be adorable as well.

He has made some really special friends here and we are so so so thankful. Leaving family was hard on all of us but of course we worried most about G. But God has been so very faithful to fill his life with precious, life-long friends. He asks me often if we're going to move again and quickly follows it up with "I hope not!" Me too buddy. I do love this life.

Jay stays busy with Village Church. He has done a fabulous job of planting this church. He hasn't rushing into anything. I'm probably not as much help as I should be because of work but I try!

We've grown from 8 people in our living room to anywhere from 30-50ish on a Friday night. I know for most of you that sounds pitiful but in Angel Fire that's legit!

God has shown up in every detail of this church plant. He has given us a core group of people that are starting this church out on a strong foundation. I am amazed. I wish you could meet each of them. They are unbelievable.

God has done some super cool stuff for Village Church. From a random, nice leather couch just showing up (nobody knows from where) to people donating chairs for us to sit in, to Jays friend from college making our offering/communication boxes out of reclaimed wood, to people donating time and energy to clean/renovate, to precious visions that God has given people for our church (that are truly encouraging!), to angels joining us in worship. Legit.

We have already seen God answer promises that He gave us before we moved. Here's one of my favorites...

When we visited last winter, Jay forgot his prescription meds. So we had them called in to the local pharmacy. We went in to pick it up and I KNEW God was telling me the pharmacist was going to be part of our church. I had no clue if he loved clue if he would even consider going to church but I knew he would be one of the reasons we moved to AF.

I didn't move here and bust into the pharmacy on day one and invite the pharmacist to church. Not at all. I didn't feel like it was anything I had to do...God would.

(I was excited to see his son was in Gabe's class! That made me smile.)

I met his girlfriend soon after arriving and absolutely adored her! I mean, y'all, this girl is hilarious and so much fun. She makes my heart happy.

We had them over to our house for a party or two and again just fell in love with them. Such gentle, fun, loving and engaging friends.

But I never pushed our church.

Then several weeks ago they came on a Friday night. I was so nervous that they would hate it. ha! Lots of faith I had in that moment, huh?!

LONG story short, last week we had a time of sharing at the end of the service and they announced that they had found their church home!!!!!!!! y'all!!! that precious vision that God gave me on a random trip the pharmacy had come to fruition. My heart just leaped!

I could share so many stories like this but I'll stop for now. Mainly because I don't think this blog makes much sense.

Did I mention I'm highly drugged because of a sinus infection? I am.

I'll write down the stories of God's faithfulness and do an entire blog on it. Next time!

I love being a NEW new Mexican. I can't believe we've already been here 9 months. What a wild, fun ride it has been!!!!!!

God is good y'all. If He is calling you to do something out of the it! He is too much fun.

Monday, February 5, 2018

a few G quotes for entertainment

G quotes for your enjoyment

Age 4:
“mom, your hair looks great but mine looks better.”

“do king snakes only bite kings?”

he walked into the playroom at chick-fil-a and said “what’s up ladies?” (I may have prompted that.)

Words he used in sentence at age 4: similar, hollow, exoskeleton, intelligent, replicate and extraordinary.

At age 4 he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. That sweet heart.

“son of a nutcracker!”

age 2 & 3:
 Jay and I were talking to him about his obedience and he said “all of this talking makes me boring.”

he asked jay "whatcha doin' brotha?"

because our neighbors called jay "mr. jay" when they all played in our backyard.  G would refer to any man as "mr. jay" in our backyard.

he called pancakes “tantakes.”

guitar = "tar"

when retelling David & Goliath he would call it a "wing shot" and end it with "the giant berry, berry died."

"i love you infinity square, square." followed by "i love you more, i win!"

when asking for grilled chicken he would say "i only like chicken without crumbs."

names for family "umple josh, aunt pwaire (claire), big dd (allie), little dd, and juwanna."

G asked for something in the car and i said "can you say please?" His response..."can you say waffle house because I love it, love it, love it." 

“when dad gets home I’m going to rough him up and make him cry like a girl.”

“watch your words, watch your words.”

He called chick-fil-a “chick-a-play” for years

“mom just watching you workout makes me tired.”

He saw the pope on tv and said “I want to drive God’s truck.”

“I get madder than the hulk when another kids scores in soccer.”

I lit a candle and he said “mom I like your jar of fire.”

At age 2 he and his friend didn’t say good morning at school…they lifted up their shirts and did a chest bump.

“tiss” – kiss

he would come in our room at age 2 and say “hey mom, it’s me gabe.”

He asked jay if his legs had a beard.

He saw a picture of the Titanic and said “the boat is doing a wheelie!”

He called dunkin donuts “dumsy donuts.”

He was riding his balance bike saying “that’s how I roll up in here!”

He woke up and said “I had a rough night.”

I didn’t get to his crib fast enough and he yelled “I’m trying to wake up Taci!”  (kaci.)

Playing with an ipad he said “I’m frustrated with my email.”

I asked G for a hug and he said “sure, want to talk about it?”

He called the smoke detector a “smoke etecor.”

White butter = butter, black butter = syrup

Saw something on tv and said “this is ridiculous.”

“sometimes me do, sometimes me don't”

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lil update on us, Village Church and more

I just told Jay how much I love it here. I recently posted a blog about what the Lord has done in my heart here. I'm still not over it. My heart & mind feel as fresh as the mountain air. CHEESY but so very true and my heart is full.

God has blown us away with His faithfulness. He is everywhere. He amazes me daily, hourly.

He has helped Gabe's heart go from "I'm never leaving Columbus." back in May to "I hope we never leave Angel Fire, ever." I feel ya kid. I feel ya.

Here's a few stories I wish I could tell each of you over coffee...

One Friday night, a month ago or so, we made coffee and put out some snacks in preparation for our weekly service. (Still being held at our house for three more weeks!) We had a rather small group that night I think there may have been 10 of us. We began like any other night - in worship.

We began singing our last song and I kid you not it sounded like there were 200+ people singing with us. At first I thought it might be something playing on the computer I was holding. (I'm the tech girl. That should make EVERYONE laugh and fear for our church.)

Then I noticed Jay was weeping. Y'all know me. I'm the simplest Christian you will ever meet but...without a doubt I knew what was happening..... ANGELS.

We continued singing with what sounded like Christ Community on a Sunday morning instead of our living room with 10 people.

ANGELS y'all. I'll never forget it.

After we finished we just all just sat in awe. Then Jay said "do you realize we just sang with the Angels? That could mean one of two things, or both. Either they were coming to protect us from something the enemy was planning against us OR they wanted to join in with what we are doing tonight and in this village." I think BOTH! Come on Jesus.

It was truly an amazing moment that I hope everyone can experience this side of Heaven.

Another way He has been faithful is with opening up doors for us to reach out and love on people. We saw a waitress crying one day. She never came towards our table for us to pray over her but we prayed for her without her knowing. When we went back a week or so later she came over to speak and we told her we'd been praying for her. She wrote us a long note telling us what was going on in her life so now we get to pray for that specific need. (I did write her back too)

We've also been renovating the church building. Eww. One night in the POURING RAIN we all scrubbed bathrooms, pulled up carpet and did other cleaning jobs. The folks that came worked HARD. In the dark (we had very little light) doing grunt work. One friend who came is a leader in another church in town. He'd been up since 3:30am and he had to be up at 3:30am the next morning. He still came. What a guy.

We didn't finish all of the work that night because it was a lot. (sweet jay thought we would...) So Jay called the boys home in Eagle Nest to hire some guys to help.  These guys have all had hard lives. They've been in jail/prison and this is their half-way house (more or less) before rejoining the real world.

The first day these two guys showed up. Jay befriended them fairly quickly and towards the end of the day got them talking/sharing about their lives. Neither had grown up in a healthy environment. Jay asked them at one point if they knew the last time they'd sat down and had dinner with a family, any family, not just their own. They both responded at least 5 years ago.

Jay said something in him broke hearing that. So he said "well, we'll have to have you guys over for dinner with our family some time."

We've since had 4 or more other guys come work with Jay. All sharing the same life story.

I went by one afternoon last week to pay the two guys that were finishing their work day. I talked to one for a while about skiing, how beautiful Angel Fire is and what the building was they were working on, etc. They weren't scary guys but you could tell they'd had a hard life and had done some "not so christian" things...

As I was getting in my car one of the guys yelled "hey, are you that wife that wants to have us over for dinner?"  Y'all, he went from looking like a punk we might hide our purse from to a 5 year old little boy in that moment. He looked like a precious child asking to have a family, even for a night.

I smiled a BIG OLE smile and said, "Yes! Absolutely I want to and look forward to it."

Only God.

He has put some amazing friends in our lives who know and love the Lord. We are so thankful. My friend Kelly told me when we moved here that "to make it in a small town you have to throw yourself out there and get involved." So I have! I've hosted parties at my house and am in the middle of planning a Friendsgiving. I've joined PTA and started volunteering at G's school. I have met precious people at church and at work.

It's been so sweet.

One last story about God's fun ideas. When we were still praying/considering this move last fall Jay called a NM pastor in a nearby town Red River. Jay told him what we were thinking and asked about the culture here, etc. The pastor, Ed, explained all that and they probably talked 30-45 mins. Then Ed said, "I don't know how you'd feel about this but God works in mysterious ways...We'll be looking for a worship pastor next Fall. Maybe you can fill that role." (i'm paraphrasing b/c it's been a year.)

Well, in July Jay started helping with worship at Faith Mountain in Red River on Sundays and yesterday took the worship pastor role (at least for a year.)   It is the sweetest, friendliest church! We love being involved over there and love how God has used that job to provide for our family.

He just thinks of everything.

He has given us friends who don't know him that we can pray for and hopefully show them Christ.

I could go on and on about how wonderful God has been to us. But you are probably tired of reading.

I shared this song on FB a while back (i'm not much for sharing songs) but this one has carried me through packing up my house in Georgia to putting myself out there in a tiny town in NM.

He is so good. And "not for a moment will He forsake me." Or you.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Realizing more & more about this move...

It's been just over 4 months since we left GA. I can't even begin to tell you all that these 4 months have brought. But I'm going to try...

Leaving Columbus was hard. Leaving family was the worst. I'll never forget that last Sunday with my family. I'll never forget weeping through church sitting next to my family thinking "I can't leave them." I'll never forget crying...let's be honest...weeping the entire time I drove that Sunday afternoon. I cried most of Monday as well. (I'm crying now just typing about it.)  I knew I loved my family but the thought of not seeing them at least once a week broke me hard. 

The first several weeks I cried every Saturday evening. I don't know what it was about Saturdays but I fell apart. I missed my family. I wanted to be able to see them at church the next morning. I missed my church family, my running buddies, my neighbors...I missed "normal" life. 

But as the weeks went on the Lord began to calm my heart. He kept reminding me that this is where He had called us to. He literally reminded me every day I walked in our house and saw the painting from my friend Ashley that says "Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith." - Elisabeth Elliot

He reminded me over & over in the faces of the people here.  

Lately, I've started to notice something else He's done in this move. At first I thought it was just a by-product but I'm sensing it was part of His plan all along...

(Disclaimer: All that I am about to explain was a KACI problem not a Columbus problem.)

I'm FREE here. It's a beautiful freedom that I've longed for. 

This may sound silly to some but this move has helped me be myself again

In Columbus I'd gotten way too focused on myself.  We all know I was too focused on my weight/appearance. I'd let the devil tell me I wasn't enough: pretty enough, popular enough, rich enough, thin enough, etc. I'd listened and believed those lies. 

Moving here has given me freedom from all of those things for lots of reasons. Some make me laugh. 

First of all, nobody here knows that I used to weigh 30 lbs less than I do now so to them I'm "just Kaci." Now, I'm sure to people in Columbus I was "just Kaci" too but I was so ashamed of myself and so self-centered I couldn't see the truth. The devil had me convinced my worth was wrapped up in how skinny I could be when in reality that didn't matter and certainly had NOTHING to do with the Kingdom of God. 

(also I was gross skinny and looked like a drug addict so even though 30lbs may have been a TAD much it's still better than looking and being hungry.) 

Secondly, I had convinced myself that I wasn't "cool" enough or beautiful/perfect enough, wealthy enough or  junior league (nothing wrong with it!) enough so I should just hunker down in my own little world and never branch out. So stupid.

I was stuck in a RUT in so many ways. I thought I HAD to run at least 4 miles every morning and do Uncommon Athlete at least 5 days. I had the same daily routine. I had the same fears, anxieties, and unworthy feelings yuck.

Here I have taken my eyes off of myself. I've quit caring who seems to "have it all together" or has status (probably helps that I simply don't know) and I've just been myself. I've reached out. I've started conversations with people that I don't know and felt free to do it.

Taking my eyes off of myself has allowed me to LOVE other people well. I did that some in Columbus but often found myself too intimidated to reach out to people that I felt a nudge to.

I'm determined (with the help of Jesus) to love, encourage and reach out to whoever He tells me to in Angel Fire. Trust me...He's already called me out of my comfort zone but I'm going for it.

Last night I had a house full of friends and kids. And I LOVED every minute. I wasn't thinking about how chunky I felt, how much more beautiful the other girls were than me (and they are!), or how much smarter or successful the others were. I just laughed. I just talked, listened and had fun.

That is such freedom for me.

I did almost announce around at one point that "they didn't have to leave but I was about to take my pants off!" That's how I always got our community group to end on time.

I love this place. I love this life. I love the sweet friends that God has put in our lives. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love our church. I love the school that Gabe attends and the staff that works there. I love that God has called me out of my comfort zone in every way.

PS - I do miss my family. I still cry bc I miss them. And I won't see them again until MARCH...y'all. I can't.

But He is so faithful.

I was miserable and stuck the last couple years in Columbus. Of course I had joy because of Him but I felt stuck in my self-centered world and I hated it.

Who knew a cross country move would FREE me? Who would've thought it would free my heart to be and do what He has called me to do? He is so creative. He is so exciting and full of surprises.

Lord help me to stay in this sweet place of freedom so that I can keep my eyes on You and the people that You love and have called me to love in this beautiful place.

A sweet friend sent me this a couple weeks ago and it couldn't be more true...

So now I will pack up my life and trade all this beautiful certainty for beautiful uncertainty. And I know God will meet me there in the middle of the questions with answers in His perfect timing, in His perfect way. Because that's what He does. That's what it's all about...this simple thing. This surrendering thing. This walking with Him thing.

The End Beginning.

Mandy Hale, #BeautifulUncertainty