Sunday, November 1, 2015

#GratitudeAdventure Day 1

I am joining some friends that are taking the month of November to focus on the blessings we have and everything there is to be thankful for.  Some days are definitely more difficult than others to focus on the positive but life is so much more enjoyable when I live that way. 

Today I am incredibly thankful for relationships --- especially my relationship with the Lord.  It is a gift to be able to pray anytime....anywhere.  My prayers aren't anything fancy.  There isn't anything special you "need" to say.  It's simply talking to the Lord.  He desires to hear from me.  How amazing is that?!  My faith has gotten me through many many dark days and difficult situations.  I would be nothing without Jesus.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The body image struggle

Anyone who knows me knows that I have struggled (and still struggle with) eating disorders and negative body image since I was 12 years old.  I've gone from starving myself to taking laxatives when I did eat something to (now) overeating.  I had a breakthrough moment last night which is what I wanted to share. 

As I was getting ready for bed late last night, I had a breakdown.  I caught a glimpse of myself with no clothes on in the bathroom mirror and was horrified.  I broke down crying, thinking "how could you have let yourself get to this point?"  But instead of swallowing my tears and bottling up my feelings, I stood there and felt every emotion.  I looked at myself in the mirror, naked and vulnerable, and thought every negative thought I could have:  "you are disgusting" "no wonder you're alone" "no one will ever want to be with you looking like that" "what a terrible role-model to your kids" "you're lucky you have as many clients for massage as you do -- who wants to see a fat massage therapist"...and on and on.  Within a few minutes the negative thoughts stopped, the tears slowed down, and my breathing got back to normal.  Here is where the breakthrough happened.......

I dried my tears, washed my face and looked back in the mirror at myself.  I thought "what if I heard my daughter -- or my boys -- saying this stuff to themselves? What would I say to them?"  And I proceeded to tell myself those things.

"Karlynn, there is something positive about every part of your body....even the parts you hate:"
  • yes, your stomach is flabby but you grew 4 babies in there and brought them into this world.  What a miracle!
  • yes, your hips are wider than they were but giving birth is a unique miracle that you were blessed to experience
  • yes, your chest (you know....boobs) points toward the floor but you fed 4 babies for the first bit of their lives
  • your arms may not be toned but they comfort, shelter and reassure children that are scared or sad or hurt or angry at any time during the day and night
  • yes, you work in an industry where what you look like is important but why, in your eyes, do you need to be a size 2 to be beautiful?  Let your fun personality shine through instead of self-doubt.  That is so much more beautiful.
  • your eyes may have a few lines and wrinkles around them but it's from LAUGHING and SMILING so much!  Embrace it!
  • And you've got awesome hair!  hahaha 
 By the time I got to that last one, I was smiling and giggling -- trying not to laugh out loud because my kids were all sleeping.  I went to bed last night feeling content with who I am.  I don't remember the last time I felt that way.  Does that mean I'm not going to try to better myself?  No way!!!!  It just means that I'm not going to say those terrible things to myself anymore -- no more beating myself up mentally.  I'm actually more determined now to carve out the time to work-out and find healthy meals to cook with my children because I want the outside to reflect what's inside.  The future looks bright.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Yes, I do realize Easter was a couple weeks ago but I finally have had the time today to sit down, load my pictures onto my computer, and really contemplate why we celebrate Easter. 

For our family, Easter isn't about candy or chocolate or ham or bunnies or brightly colored eggs....although we are finally coming to the end of the sugary treats that accompanied our celebration.  For us it's all about Jesus.  It's about His ultimate His life willingly for every human being to have a relationship with Him and gain access to heaven.  We took time on Friday, Good Friday, to get uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable thinking about the pain and suffering that a perfect Jesus willing endured, about the gruesome cross, about the finality of the grave.....and then celebrating the miraculous resurrection.  It was a beautiful hour that I set aside with my children and led to some great discussions over lunch.

We also add in a lot of fun coloring eggs, putting together Easter baskets at midnight because I may or may not have forgotten to do it earlier, then hiding said Easter baskets in places I wasn't sure I'd remember the next day because I was so tired, enjoying yummy food and time with family.

 Our Pinterest cupcake WIN
 Egg coloring

 Our finished product

 I love the vibrant colors of the egg coloring liquid
 From left to right: Joey (11), Abby (13), Grandpa Fred, me, Noah (14), Eli (8)
 Kids with Grandpa Fred and Grandma Theda
 Family Easter picture - how did these kids get so tall?!?!?!
 Crazy picture
 Abby could not stop laughing after the previous picture
 YES!  A sweet picture.  

I hope that however you celebrate Easter, you had a blessed weekend.  Happy (belated) Easter!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Eli's 8th birthday

How in the world are you already 8 years old?????  You are my baby!!!  I know it sounds so cliche and OLD to say "time has just flown by" but it's so very true.  Looking back, these past 8 years have gone so quickly.  Many times I wish to have those moments back but I don't want to lose out on our current/future moments by wishing I could change the past.

We had a fun little birthday party with my mom and dad today at the care center where my dad is until Wednesday.  He won't really remember the party but we'll have the pictures to show him so he can re-live it.

My precious Elijah Paul.....there are so many things I love about you:

  • your sensitive, caring spirit
  • the way you love Jesus and aren't afraid to tell people 
  • how you start counting down the time we can go back to Family Camp as we're pulling away from the camp!  
  • your sweet singing voice
  • your laugh....oh, how I love your laugh
  • the way you look up to your older brothers and sister
  • how you still love to cuddle with me
  • the way you take pride in your homework and learning
  • the way you love other people
I truly do thank God everyday for trusting me with you as my son.  I will enjoy watching you grow into a man who loves Jesus and other people.  I love you, buddy!

Enjoy some pictures from our day.....

Lunch after church at Green Mill

Sweet picture with Grandpa Fred

Now it's Grandma Theda's turn

It was a fun day celebrating Eli. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I have started and deleted this blog post so many times over the past 2 weeks.  It's been such a long time since I've blogged at all but when I started this blog I promised to be honest and real.  So, here it goes....again.  

It's no secret that Jeff and I have had our marriage issues over the past several years.  I have blogged about the ups and downs and have admitted my failures.  Jeff told me the 2nd week of April that he needed time on his own to think and process the direction his life is going and he would be looking for an apartment.  Things had not been good between us for awhile so it came as no shock to me.  The kids took the news as well as could be expected.  Noah and Abby cried.  Joey and Eli were very matter-of-fact about it all.

He moved out 2 weeks ago today.  It has been an incredibly difficult 2 weeks.  The kids have had their emotional breakdowns at different times.  Being there to hold them while they cry, pray with them, attempt to give some type of advice to help them process this when it's tearing my heart apart as well.

I have no idea if he'll be back or not.  I don't feel it's a decision that needs to be made at this moment.  There's a lot of hurt and pain and much prayer going on.  I would appreciate any prayers for us....prayers that the kids, especially Noah who seems to be having the most difficult time, would feel Jesus' love and peace; that I would have clear direction for the future and the wisdom to know the right words to say to comfort my children.

We claim Jeremiah 29:11 -- "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future."

Friday, September 13, 2013

A letter to my birth mom

As I get older and have my own children I think about you more and more.  Today is one of those days I think about you a lot.  I'm sure it seems quite random to you but today is a very significant day -- it's the day you made a childless couple, parents.  It's the day I joined my forever family.  I have had an incredible life.  God certainly knew what He was doing when He chose my parents.  My dad was one of my best friends growing up.  He was a teacher so we had our summers together.  My mom was a teacher until I came into their lives.  Then she stayed home with me, did daycare in our home so I could be around other children (I am an only child), and went back to work when I was in elementary school.  I grew up in a family who loves the Lord and desires to make a difference in people's lives.

But you will always be my first mother.  You gave me life and chose to give me the best life possible by trusting someone else to fill those shoes.  I can't imagine how difficult that decision was --- but you made it as a mother by putting your baby's lifelong needs (my needs) ahead of your own.  I can't help but love you for that.  I hope that you were able to go on, get married, and have more children.  I know my children bring me such joy everyday and I pray you experience that same joy.

I have no idea if you will ever get this letter -- if I will ever pursue finding you -- but I hope that on this day you experience an unexpected, unexplainable joy and love that's coming from me.

Your daughter

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Challenge: days 12-14

Days 12 - 14:  I am thankful for hot coffee with peppermint mocha creamer, warm coats and mittens on cold mornings.  I am thankful my kids still want me to walk out to the bus stop with them.  I am thankful for dear friends who listen to me, pray with me, and love me for me.