Monday, August 14, 2017

Embrace These Days

I'm sitting in my family room, enjoying the quietness that surrounds me.  Craig has a late night at work and the kids are already in bed, anticipating an early alarm for tomorrow's big day.  It gives me time to reflect on all that has happened in recent months.

This summer has flown by, yet, it was one of the best summers we've had.  For the first time in years, I did not have to work or worry about school and was able to just enjoy my time with some of my favorite people. 

We had a steadily busy, but relaxing summer.  We had lots of games and sports camps to attend.  We participated in an exciting week of Vacation Bible School.  We celebrated holidays, birthdays, weddings, Father's Day, and the impending arrival of a new addition to the family.  We eagerly marked things off our Summer Fun List, enjoyed a few playdates, and went on an incredible vacation to parts of the country we have never seen.  We created many, many memories and enjoyed our time spent together.

However, don't be fooled.  It wasn't always rainbows and roses at our house (although we did see a few).  There was some sibling pestering and consequences handed out.  There were days of boredom and complaints of chores or household tasks that needed to be done. 

But those tough days came and went.  Much like the summer days filled with fun activities.  Much like the days when your children are learning to walk and now they are on the brink of learning to drive. 

Those days came and went.

These days will continue to come and go.

I embraced every day of this summer, even the tough ones.  I embraced the time spent with my kids, even when they didn't want to listen to me.  I embraced the days Craig did not have to work and I did not have to rush off anywhere either.  I embraced these summer days.

First day of school clothes are laid out, ready for pictures by the front door tomorrow morning.  Backpacks are packed and ready to be loaded with books and assignments.  I also start my classes in just two short weeks.  Our calendar will start filling up and the busyness and chaos of life will return once again. 

But I will continue to embrace these days, even the tough ones.  For these days will continue to come and go and I will enjoy every fleeting moment of it.



Friday, July 28, 2017

Spikes and Strikes


It has been a very busy sports season for us.  We just ended baseball two weeks ago and had tryouts the following week.  This time we had volleyball to add to our schedule and it was so fun to see Kaitlyn try something new.

Kaitlyn joined a local rec team.  There were some things we did not like about the organization and some things that were good.  Overall, it was a nice experience for her.


Blurry action pic



Her team made it to the semi-finals, which was pretty cool.  I must say, I know nothing about sports (except baseball, duh), so I was having to learn a bunch of new rules.

Kaitlyn recently went to volleyball camp at the local high school and practiced lots of drills.  Hopefully, it will help prepare her for volleyball tryouts in a few weeks. 


 
Preston's baseball season was a little different this year.  First, he joined a new team.  The coaches, parents, and kids are fabulous.  They are such great people and welcomed us with open arms.  The coaches were incredibly encouraging and believed in developing the player and not just going after the wins.  Preston had a lot of fun on this team and quickly made new friends.
 

 
Those faces!!!
 
Preston also went to baseball camp at the high school and had a great time.
 

 
At the end of the season with his regular team, Preston was asked to fill in for another team during the AAYBA World Series!!!!  He was so excited to be given this chance.  It was a week long event that started with a full day of exhibitions, pin trading, and tailgating.  This team was just as fabulous and we knew many of the families.  Preston played in every game (6 games in 5 days) and even got to pitch during the championship game (I was pacing the entire time!).  It was an amazing week and ended with an amazing 1st place finish in our bracket. 
 






Not only did Preston start the season with a new team and end the season with another team, he did a great job at tryouts and will be joining another Select team next season.  We know we will be with them for a whole year so no more transitioning for awhile.

It's been a great season of sports and we are so proud of our kids for wanting to be involved in a team activity, build new friendships, and better themselves as a person.  We can't wait for the fall!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Year of Growth: We Have Bloomed and Now Rest In the Son

It has been full speed ahead since the beginning of the year.  So much has been going on at all times and I just tried my best to put a leash on the hurricane that became our lives.

Finally, things are slowing down for a little bit.  School's out for the summer (que music). The bulk of baseball season is over.  Volleyball season is over.  My big volunteer commitments have ended.  The excitement surrounding Craig's store has died down and it's business as usual. 

We have been pruned.  We have been planted.  We have bloomed.

Now it is time to rest.  It's time to enjoy continued growth and warmth from the sun.

We still need the Son.

We, as a family, are going to take some much needed time away from the hustle and bustle of activities that kept us busy throughout most of the year.  We have some fun activities planned and we also are looking forward to some time to get away. 

My Facebook presence may decrease some, but you can certainly find me on Instagram (@desireelkelley).  I'll be capturing photos of our day to day, our home life, and the ability to just stop and enjoy the little things.

We are also taking this time to really pray about direction in our lives.  We want to go where God leads us.  The path may not be easy, but we are willing to take the journey.

We still need the Son.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Preston's Birthday Letter

Dear Preston,

Another year has passed that was full of growth and maturity.  You have had to deal with some new challenges, but handled it all so gracefully.

Your likes and dislikes have not wavered, but you seem even more passionate about the game of baseball.  Your talk of playing professionally has increased and it's a goal that you desperately want to achieve.  We believe in you!

As we had important family discussions, your faith has grown even more.  You look forward to our nightly prayers and you love leading our family devotions.  We are so thankful you put your faith in something bigger than yourself. 

You are not afraid to stand up for what is right, even if it's at a personal cost.  You have become a great encourager to those around you and you are proving yourself as a leader.  Keep leading, never following. 

Your personality is completely unique and often times we are laughing at your antics.  You are emotional and not afraid to show it.  You have a big heart and we pray that it just gets bigger.

We love your constant hugs, your kisses, and your I love you's.  Please never stop.

Happy birthday, #12, and we love you! 
Dad, Mom, and Kaitlyn

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Project New Kroger

It's been just over a month since Craig opened his own Kroger.  I had this long blog all typed out, detailing the moments of Craig's recent promotion to the store opening.  But I deleted it.  I'm sure not everyone wants to know that much detail about our lives.  So, I'll just touch on a few important moments.

I remember very well standing in line at Target during the day and getting a phone call from him.  He doesn't call very often when he is at work because he is always super busy.  He asked me if I was sitting down. Haha!!!  When he told me he was receiving another promotion and opening a new store, I was in shock and I was so excited for him.  Then he told me he was receiving another raise and I actually got weak in the knees at that point and was very near tears.  We had recently been in prayer about some things and was stepping out in faith and obedience.  God does indeed reward his servants.
Thus began an amazing 6 weeks of watching a store go from nothing into a highly profitable business.






 
 


The first big event was the Open House for associates and their families.  Craig has over 300 people working for him and he's still learning names.  :)  He planned a great night for everyone that included so many samples, scavenger hunts, and raffles.  I just remember walking in that night, seeing everything in place and my eyes filling up with tears.  It had come a long ways in a short amount of time and it looked so good.  I met several of his associates that were so excited to be working for him and getting the opportunity to be at that store. 




The kids and I stopped by the evening before the store opened.  It was really cool to be in the store before any customers and just enjoy the newness of everything.








Grand Opening!!!  The kids got to miss school that day since it was a pretty big deal for our family.  You could feel the excitement in the air, there were corporate bosses EVERYWHERE, and Craig was filled with emotion. 

The doors opened promptly at 8 am and I have never seen so many people excited to do their grocery shopping!  The first customer was even filming as he walked through the doors. LOL  The people just kept coming and coming and coming.  So many people wanted to meet Craig as their new neighborhood grocery manager.  And he actually loves connecting with the people.  He likes to be on a first name basis with frequent customers.





The high school across the street sent over their cheerleaders, choir, and marching band.  The band played through the store which was really cool.



The Opening Ceremony was at 9 am and Craig was nervous because he absolutely hates having to talk in front of people.  He did such a beautiful job and brought a lot of people to tears. 





 

It was such an amazing day.  He is very thankful his parents and my parents were able to make this special occasion.  All of his bosses showered him with praise and told him it was his turn to shine.  I just remember looking around the store at one point and seeing God's blessings being poured out on Craig. He has worked so hard to get to this place in his career. 

Congratulations Craig!  You are our MVP!!!

Friday, May 19, 2017

My College Life: What I've Learned This Year

Another semester done!!! 

This was my second full-time semester as a music major.  And boy, was it super hard!  I took 12 hours, but for a music degree, that is equivalent to about 20 classes.  Okay, not really, but it was a lot.  Plus, there are lots of requirements outside of classes. 

I learned so many instruments and techniques and was constantly practicing.  I'm a guitarist now, y'all!!!  However, I do not feel like I excel at any one instrument.  I definitely feel like I'm just an average musician.

I learned a lot about music, but what I learned even more was how to be more giving and more compassionate.  In a world full of hate and hurt, I wanted to show the opposite.  I wanted to show love and caring.  I encouraged my friends, I gave when the need arose, and I listened anytime someone needed to talk.  Hence, I earned the nickname "Mom".

I absolutely love my college friends.  I have met some insanely talented and unique individuals and am so glad they have become part of my life. Our music theory class was incredibly hard and, at times, frustrating, and we all suffered together, but that class dynamic was fun and made it bearable. 

I learned how to juggle an insanely busy schedule.  Not just mine, but my husband's schedule and my kids busy schedules.  I was the keeper of the calendar.  Craig dubbed me as his "personal secretary".  We had no idea what was in store for us these past few months.  It has been nothing but excitement and chaos all at once. 

But, I made it.  I supported my husband through his biggest career moments.  I supported my daughter through her new journey as a volleyball player.  I supported my son through his baseball journey on a new team with new coaches and new friends.  And I maintained my 4.0 GPA.   I tell you this, not to gloat, but to simply encourage.  There were many moments of tears and second guessing my decisions.  There were struggles and feelings of not having enough time in each day.  There were the thoughts of wondering if I was doing enough as a wife and mother.  I know I'm not alone in these feelings. 

So, I just fervently prayed. 

Every. Single. Day.

God guided me through these months.  He brought me peace in the midst of chaos.  He lifted me up in my moments of feeling down. 

Don't give up on your dream.  Try not to feel overwhelmed.  Keep fighting through those struggles and remember it will all be worth it someday. 

I know if I can do it, anyone can do it. 

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.