Wednesday, December 28, 2016


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.


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. 



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

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving Goals

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We had a full house and now it is quiet.  Our annual Kelley Family ThanksChristmasGiving was held at our house again. We look forward to seeing each other every year and it's always time full of cherished moments.  We had lots of food, presents, laughter, and more food. 

Missing a few family members, but this is most of them!

Desserts were on another counter.  So. Much. Food!

Everyone gives extremely thoughtful gifts.

But the best moments are those candid shots of the family just sitting around and enjoying each other's company.  This is a family that truly loves each other.

Elliot and Kris

Rice Krispy Turkey Legs

Best bros for life!

Seems like an interesting conversation. :)

Cindy and her not-so-baby boy

Sleeping baby (our great nephew Murdock!)

Awake baby!

Elliot is helping Uncle David

They worked together to take down Craig

They clearly loved this gift from Kelsey and were fighting back tears.
Not going to lie, it was tough to pull everything together with our hectic schedules.  However, we did it and loved all these moments.  As I reflect on all I am thankful for, the list is extremely long.  But most of all, I am thankful for family. 
The Suburban Kelley's 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

End of Season Goals

Sadly, our baseball season has come to an end.  It's always a bittersweet time as we wait for the start of the new season.  We are the type of family that loves our time on the field.  So, as we reflect on this fall season, we certainly realized some important things.

As the mom of a seasoned player that is always in the stands watching the game, I want to make sure the only things that come out of my mouth are words of encouragement.  I want to see my son lifted up and know that I am proud of him no matter what happens, good or bad.  I am happy just seeing him try and doing what he loves.  The same goes for his dad, who has a different view being one of the assistant coaches.  Encouraging words nourishes the soul.

We want to make sure our son is constantly growing and learning from this game.  We want him to learn values that can be applied on and off the field.  After every game, we ask him what he did right and what he can do better.  Every player will make mistakes, even the pros.  All you can do is brush it off, know what to do for next time, and move on.

We also want to make sure our son remembers he is part of a team.  They win together, they lose together.  There is never one player that is at fault for losing a game or even winning a game.  And when a teammate is feeling down or frustrated, we want our son to give them a positive word or high five. 

Being part of baseball for a very long time has allowed us to witness many things on the fields and in the stands.  Unfortunately, it is not always good things that we see and we can see the demeanor of a player change by just one word of discouragement.  We simply choose to not participate in the negativity.  Honestly, it is hard at times, especially when it comes to bad calls.  But how is that being a good witness to others?  How is that setting an example that we can rise up above the adversity?

As we go forward into many more baseball seasons, we will remember all that we have learned.  We will embrace the memories, encourage the passion, and build up the player.  But most of all, we will remember to simply have fun!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Combining Goals

I'm finally in school full-time, on campus, and working my way towards that degree. 





These weeks have flown by, but it's been spent trying to find a balance between everything.  Music is a skill you have to acquire.  Then, you just keep building on it.  There's never any down time.  You are constantly practicing or memorizing.  When the next semester begins, it's going to pick up right where you left off this semester.  The first couple weeks were really tough and I was on the verge of tears all the time.  I'm actually surprised I didn't have a meltdown at one point. 

However, I kept praying and praying and praying for God to help me on this journey.  I needed to feel some peace and calm.  I needed to feel like I can move forward in this journey and know deep within my heart I was headed in the right direction.

Then, God showed me everything He has already done to pave the way for me. 

Only a few months after, by faith, I made the decision to leave my job and attend school, Craig received a promotion.  Along with his promotion came a raise in pay.  And that raise covered everything I would no longer be earning at my job.

Just over a month before school was to start, Craig's car died.  It was old and lived many years, but it meant we had to have another car payment again with a car purchase.  A couple weeks after Craig bought his car, he received another raise, covering the amount of the car payment.

When God reminded me of what He had already done, it eased my spirit.  God was not going to bring me this far and then leave me.  I am continuously on a spiritual journey and this would simply be a new part of it.  I pray every morning, dedicating each day to God.  I pray for peace in all of my classes and for my anxiety to disappear (anxiety comes upon me very easily).  If I think about any part of school in the future and everything that needs to be accomplished, my heart immediately starts racing.  I have to take it one day at a time.

Just recently, God showed me something else.  He showed me that I can be a light in my school.  I can still be a positive influence on my classmates and I can still show God's love through my actions and words.  This journey is not just about me.

I love my classmates and new friends.  We speak a language that is foreign to others.  Since I literally spend all day in the same building, I see the same people over and over.  We all have the same struggles with the same end goal.  I make it a point to say hi to them or smile each time I see them.  I hope they don't see me as just an "older" student, but rather as a peer that they can count on.  I will say I've already had a few come to me and just spill their guts.  All I can do is listen and give them an encouraging word.

So, as my spiritual and school goals are combined, all I can do is trust God, give each day to God, and let Him continue to guide me through this new stage of life.

Friday, September 2, 2016

School Goals

The new school year is in full swing for the 3 of us.  We are already super busy and tired!!!!  In fact, I have to write out our daily schedules and keep it where everyone can see to help keep track of our comings and goings.  Oh, how we are missing those lazy summer days already.  But, we are ready to take on this school year and the new changes it will bring.

This is currently written on the chalkboard
in our kitchen-it's a great daily reminder!

Preston started 5th grade at a new school this year.  Intermediate schools house 5th and 6th grades in our school district.  He transfers to three different teachers which gives him a taste of what's to come in middle school.  He officially has his own locker and hopefully will never come home and say he had to get his lock cut off because he forgot the combination!  I think the new responsibilities of this year will be good for him.  Preston is actually enjoying school so far.

First Day of 5th Grade

We have a middle schooler!!!  Kaitlyn is also at a new school and is busy, busy.  She has 8 classes, including 2 pre-AP classes.  She is in Athletics and comes home all the time complaining of sore muscles.  Hehe!  She was also accepted into the AVID program which helps prepare for college, even at this age.  She's quickly learning homework will take a little bit more time than before, but she still loves it.

First Day of 7th Grade

I left these notes in the kids' lunchboxes on the first day of school. 

Then, they came home to special gifts and some pumpkin pie (per request) for their special after school treat.

I started a week later and am officially a full-time college student carrying a full load (13 credit hours).  I am taking 9 classes and they're strictly all music classes of some sort.  Studying music is a whole different type of studying.  You can't just read something in a book, memorize it, test on it, and then forget about it.  You have to learn it, let it be engrained in you, constantly practice, and keep it in your brain forever.  Then, keep adding to it.  It is HARD!!!  

My new home away from home

Let me just say my first day was awful.  AWFUL!!!!  Between course changes, classroom changes, textbook issues, etc., it just left me so frustrated and ready to cry.  It gradually got better as the week went on, but I am so, so thankful for the weekend.  And I am beyond exhausted.  Only 15 more weeks to go of the semester!  I cannot say how much it means to have the support of my husband.  He was very encouraging when it came time to quit working and he wants me to solely concentrate on school and just do what I need to do to graduate (however long that takes).

First day of full-time college (again!)

We will take this school year a week at a time, sometimes a day at a time, and just let God continue to guide us through this new journey.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vacation Goals

We usually go on vacation twice a year.  However, due to scheduling conflicts, we were not able to go on vacation until now.  To say we were ready is a huge understatement.

We are on a mission to visit all 50 states and this time it was Florida!  Disney World to be exact.

Our good friend is a Disney travel agent for Vacations Gone Goofy (in fact, we have several friends that work for this great company).  She has been helping us plan for months.  We told her exactly what we wanted to do, how long we wanted to stay, etc., and she made it all happen.

We stayed at the All Star Sports Resort in the baseball section (of course!) and spent 2 days in Magic Kingdom and 2 days in Epcot.

To be honest, it was probably 2 days too long for our family.  We are not die hard Disney fans (sorry, friends), but we wanted to experience these 2 parks.  We could've spent just one day in each park and been good. Plus, after walking about 500 miles each day (cue the song by The Proclaimers), our feet were so tired and sore.

We saw a lot of characters, but we didn't want to wait in line to meet them.

We went on all of our favorite rides: Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain, and more!

We saw some fantastic architecture.

We also saw some magical fireworks every night.

We did have fun, ate lots of food, went on lots of rides (and even felt motion sickness from one of them), but it was time to really relax.  So, off to the beach we went.

We've been to Gulf Shores before and we were so excited to go back.  The only downfall was that we were not there long enough.  We always stay at a condo on the beach and it's the most relaxing place, we were never in a rush to do anything, and we could listen to those waves crash all day long.  

There was a hurricane in the Caribbean and it affected all of the gulf.  The water came in closer than usual in the morning, brought some light afternoon showers, and the waves were a little more unruly.

Gulf Shores always has spectacular sunrises and sunsets and we got to see dolphins every single morning.

All too soon, it was time to head home.  Back to reality and all the responsibilities that await us.  But we're already looking forward to our next vacation!