Monday, March 27, 2017

The Year of Growth: We Have Been Pruned and We Have Been Planted

When God first told us this would be a year of growth, we never expected so much growing to happen in such a short amount of time.  We have felt pruned, we have felt the seasons changing, and we have felt planted.  Now, we are ready to bloom.

Preston has had to overcome the obstacle of starting on a new baseball team.  When you have been part of the same one for so long, you become comfortable.  New things can be uncomfortable.  Isn't being uncomfortable also part of growth?  Preston has had to adjust to a new team with new coaching styles.  He's had to make new friends and find his place in a team.  Fortunately, he has always been very adaptable to his surroundings.  He fits right in with this team and his teammates voted him as co-captain.  Now, he needs to learn to grow as a leader.  He needs to always be setting an example to follow.  He has been pruned, he has been planted, now he is ready to bloom.

Kaitlyn is starting her new season of growth by being part of a sports team for the first time ever.  She has made an easy adjustment to this new venture.  She has overcome her time of being a loner and staying to herself.  Now, she can grow as a volleyball player, a team player, and learn to enjoy a new hobby.  She has been pruned, she has been planted, now she is ready to bloom.

I started a new semester of college and felt God was telling me not to be overwhelmed.  I tried so hard to make it through with ease.  However, within a few weeks, I did feel overwhelmed, and broke down and had to give it all to God.  It's a lot of pressure to excel in your studies, excel as a mom, excel as a wife, and not forget who you truly are.  But that moment of breaking down, of being pruned, is what I needed to ensure everything would be okay.  It's still a lot of pressure, but I am taking one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time.  I have been pruned, I have been planted, and now I am ready to bloom.

Craig has experienced amazing growth professionally, receiving not just one, but two promotions since January (3 promotions altogether within the past year).  He has had to overcome a lot of mismanagement and negativity to get to where he is today.  Now, he has been given an amazing opportunity of opening a brand new store, which he didn't think was possible so soon.  He has stepped up in his leadership and proven time and time again that he is capable of the duties he has been given.  He has been pruned, he has been planted, and now he is ready to bloom.

As a family, we have faced other areas of growth.  We are extremely loyal people, but when loyalty is taken away from us, it's like a branch breaking off a tree.  It hurts.  Pruning hurts.  But, there are always growing pains.  Sometimes the past hurts come back to haunt you.  How are we going to handle those pesky weeds that are not wanted in our garden?  We pray for God to continue to bring us through the growth that is needed to overpower and kill off that negativity. 

As I sit here and write about what's on my heart in between practicing my instruments, I'm watching my kids play outside with a street full of neighborhood kids and I hear the dull roar of the lawnmower as Craig does some real pruning, I cannot help but be thankful for all that we are going through.  God never said it would be easy, but He did say to trust Him. 

Life is good.

And we are ready to bloom.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Break 2017

Ahhh, vacation!  We were so ready to getaway.  As we continued to check off our list of states, Colorado was next.  We packed our jackets and headed off to Durango! 

We stayed at the fabulous Hilton with a room facing the Animas River.  We were greeted with warm chocolate chip cookies and a fabulous view.  We were pleased to find out downtown Durango was within walking distance, so we didn't have to drive around town.


Our first day was spent driving through snow covered mountains to Mesa Verde National Park to explore the cliff dwellings.  The climb down to the dwellings was steep and narrow.  However, once we got up close to the dwellings, we were just in awe.  It was amazing to see the homes built into the side of a mountain hundreds of years ago and imagine how the people navigated their way around the rocks.  We had another narrow climb up some ladders and we were safely on level ground again.  It is a nice national park with beautiful scenery. 









The next day was spent on a coal train going from Durango to Cascade Canyon.  The views on the ride were just stunning!  It takes about 2 hours to go up the mountain, almost an hour for lunch, and then 2 hours back down the mountain.  The time went by quickly and it was a great experience!











Durango is a small touristy town not far from the ski resorts in Purgatory.  There are plenty of outdoor activities nearby and lots of unique restaurants.  We tried Fired Up Pizzeria, Steamworks Brewing, and Grassburger

So, off to Arizona we went!  Talk about a change in weather.  We had winter clothes packed for Colorado and summer clothes packed for Arizona.  The first evening in the Phoenix area was spent with Craig's grandparents.  We don't get to see them often, but we correspond a lot.  It was so nice to hear some of their stories and we were able to share our latest news.  Times like that are very special and meaningful.




Surprise is a suburb of Phoenix and it is also where the Texas Rangers (among other teams) have their Spring Training.  We had been before and we were eager to go again.  This time, we found out guests can attend open practice in the morning before the game.  It was amazing!!!  Rangers were practicing on several different fields, working on drills, walking around, signing autographs...Craig and Preston couldn't get enough.  We watched the game where the Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians 12-11 and had such a great time.  We stayed at the fields for 7 1/2 hours, got 9 autographs, talked to a few players, and Preston even got a game ball.  I'm sure it won't be long until we plan another visit again.  It's definitely an experience I highly recommend to any baseball fan.




 







We finished the trip at Hard Rock Café, a restaurant we like to visit in different cities.


 
We woke up early the next morning and starting the long journey back home.  We were so glad to be in our own comfy beds again.  However, we are always so thankful to be able to explore different parts of America.  Until next time...
 
 
Follow our pics on Instagram @desireelkelley #KelleysExploreAmerica
 


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sometimes...

In this season of growth, God has stretched, tested, and increased our faith.  We have learned, experienced, and prayed through countless situations.  Yet, we thank God for so much that has already happened just this year.

Sometimes you have to revisit the past and truly try to understand what God was teaching you in those moments.  Those visits can hurt, but they can also bring closure and healing.  By looking back, you know exactly how to move forward.

Sometimes you have to trust that everything you've told your kids, all the lessons you've tried to teach them, are embedded in their hearts and mind.  You have to let them spread their wings, slowly, no matter how hard  it is to watch.  Just be there to catch them when they fall.

Sometimes people are simply not nice.  Their words hurt you or hurt your loved ones.  Instinctively, you want to hurt them back, but it is in those times that you must simply love them.  You must show them the kindness they did not give to you.

Sometimes you have to put down the instruments, stop the music, and just walk away.  You need to have time to refocus, remember your purpose, and then start again with a renewed mind.

Sometimes life is hard.  Life is busy and chaotic.  Life can get in the way of what you really want to be doing.  You've got to remember to be in continual prayer for guidance and wisdom.  There is a purpose for all of it.

And sometimes it's okay to put everything on pause, take a breather, and remember who and what are important to you.  Things happen for a reason, not just sometimes, but all of the time.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Year of Growth

2017 is the Year of Growth for this family.  And when God first revealed this to me, I didn't want to accept it.  But then, I kept hearing Him speaking it during my prayers.  He also revealed to me all the ways He wants this family to experience growth.  There was no more denying it.

 
When a rose bush is planted, the soil around it provides nourishment.  It needs the seasons of rain to allow it to continue to grow.  On occasion, pruning takes place to rid the rose bush of anything that is not beneficial to its growth.  And most importantly, it needs the sun for all the warmth, energy, and extra nutrients to become its fullest beauty.  Without the sun, it will wither and die.

It needs the sun.

We need the Son.

Our year of growth has already started.  Let me just say, growing pains can hurt!  But to experience all that God has to offer us, we must be willing to experience those pains.  It causes us to fully rely on Him and increase our faith.

We know we must be pruned also.  We want relationships and people around us that will help us along the way.  They will pour into us and we can pour into them.  When we take off those "rose colored glasses" and see people for who they truly are, it can be so heartbreaking.  In the long run, it will save us from even more heartbreak.  God knows what He's doing when He "prunes" people from our lives. 


We have been preparing our hearts for this upcoming year.  We know it will be a time of real intimacy with God as our trust deepens and our faith is stretched.  It's scary to step out of our comfort zone that has been our retreat.  By our willingness to step outside of it, we are allowing God to lead us anywhere and provide all we need to grow.

 

We need the Son.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reflection

2016 was the Year of Goals for us.  We wrote down a goal list at the beginning of the year.  Then, one by one we were able to check off those goals.  We give thanks to God for allowing each goal to be met and guiding us along the way. 


In January, we became members of a church that we were hesitant to join.  Not because we didn't like the church or the people.  Simply because we weren't 100% sure that is where God wanted us.  However, the day we were to attend Membership Class, God spoke to us in a BIG way!!!  It was immediately obvious to Craig and I what we should do and we joined without anymore hesitation.

In March, Craig received a promotion that he had been praying about for 2 years!!!  It was a joyful day when he heard that news.  His store is about 30 minutes away and is also where he worked years ago as a co-manager.  He's come full circle!

In July, I was able to quit my job as a preschool music teacher.  I dearly loved being around those kiddos and hearing their wonderful stories.  But, God was calling me to do something else. 

At the beginning of August, we enjoyed an amazing family vacation to Disneyworld!!!  Everyone should experience it at least once.  We ended the vacation at my favorite place, Gulf Shores, Alabama.  It was so incredibly peaceful and relaxing. 

At the end of August, we all started back to school.  Kaitlyn started middle school.  Preston started intermediate school.  I am now a full-time music major at my university.  It took a little bit of an adjustment for all of us and our crazy schedules, but we got it under control.  We are very much enjoying our winter break!

Also in August (it was a busy month!), Preston's team became a Select baseball team.  Preston had dreamed about being on a Select team for years!  He is the King of Perseverance.  However, it was short-lived and Preston is no longer part of that team.  I know if he really wants to play on a Select team again, it will happen.  He doesn't give up.  We will just pray that the right people come into his life to coach him, encourage him, and help him reach his baseball goals.  We are fully trusting God on this.

I will admit the last couple months seems like 2016 was smacking us in the face with different issues that would arise.  But we believe God is preparing us for next year and all that He has been telling us already.  Overall, this year has been good for us.  We were amazed at all God has done as all of these goals came to fruition.  We remained faithful and persistent in our prayers and obedience to God. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Musings of a College Student

This semester was hard.

REALLY, REALLY HARD!!!

It wasn't hard because I was finally a full-time student, taking 13 hours, while still trying to be Superwife and Supermom (an impossible task!).  It was hard because I was studying music. 

MUSIC!!!

AAARRGGHH!!!

Ok, I think enough caps for now.  But perhaps you get the gist of it. 

So often it is assumed that music majors just play their instruments, learn some songs, and graduate.  It is so much harder than that!!!

First of all, you have to audition to be accepted to the music program at TWU.  I did that two years ago and they held a spot for me as I worked on my core classes.

You study and analyze music by breaking it down measure by measure, chord by chord.  Why is this note allowed and why is this one not?  You hear the music and must be able to exactly identify each note, each chord, each quality, each rhythm.  You learn secondary instruments and must be very proficient in them.  Then, you take the instrument you auditioned with and you practice.  You practice until you have learned ways to use your instrument you never thought possible.  You practice knowing that you must constantly be striving for perfection, even though it seems so far out of reach.  You practice and practice some more.  You make sounds that turn into beautiful music and share it before your peers and your professors.  You eat, sleep, and breathe music.  Most often, dreams are filled with music. 

And you repeat this routine. 

Every. Single. Day.

I wish I could say I'm exaggerating, but I assure you I am not.  Craig can also assure you, I am not.  He was the one to always hear my complaints, my "I can't do this", my "Why am I doing this?", and knew my grumpiness would somewhat dissipate when a week of testing was completed.  Often times, I was ready to have meltdowns and just cry it out.  I got frustrated and so often wondered what had I gotten myself into?! 

Honestly, I love my university.  The professors are wonderful and they truly want every student to succeed.  I've emailed each of my music professors at least once when I wasn't quite understanding the assignment.  I don't ever hesitate to ask questions.  I've made some really great friends that I hope are in it for the long haul with me.  Sadly, some of my friends found music to be just too hard and are switching their majors.  I also usually forget how much older I am until one of them mentions their age or I mention when I first went to college over 16 years ago, the internet barely existed.  However, there are other non-traditional students that I have become close to and we lean on each other.  Everyone is really supportive because we know we are all in this together.

My family has been such an amazing support system.  Craig juggled his schedule to work with mine each week so someone would always be available for the kids and their activities.  My poor kids would ask when I would be done with my homework and my reply was always "when I graduate."  As much as I was focused on school, I tried my hardest to be at every school function, every baseball game (often with homework in hand), and spent time with each of them.  I especially made sure Craig and I had our monthly dates, our deep discussions, and supported him with his professional and personal goals.

It was a tough semester, but I made it.  I worked really hard in every single class and made a 4.0!!  I have a long road of school still ahead of me, but I will do it.  One semester at a time.  Music is beautiful and studying it only enhances my appreciation for it.


This school journey has included lots of prayer and increased my faith.  I certainly could not do this on my own strength.  It has always been about God's timing.  I have put my full trust in Him and obeyed when he told me to "Go!"  Everyone tells me when this is over, it will all be worth it.  I am fully believing in that and feel that I'm truly doing what God has called me to do. 



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Kaitlyn's Birthday Letter

Dear Kaitlyn,

Wow!  You are officially a teenager now!!!  It is so hard to believe how quickly these 13 years have flown by.  It has been an amazing journey to watch.

You are so incredibly creative.  You don't need a pattern or specific instructions.  You see something you like and can make it on your own.  Your attention to detail is phenomenal.

You want the world to be kind and loving.  When you see something that is not, it truly bothers you.  However, you are sure to share your good heart with everyone you know.

You are always wanting to help others.  You don't like to see someone go without.  Your compassion is a great example for others.

You give such godly wisdom and you truly understand the Word.  You know why it is important to understand the Ten Commandments and the Fruits of the Spirit.  You tell us such meaningful things when we most need to hear it.  You are mature beyond your years.

We are so extremely proud of you and the young lady you have become.  We are excited for all that God has in store for you.  We will continue to pray for guidance and protection while giving thanks for such an incredible daughter.

We love you,
Mom and Dad