Friday, August 29, 2008

Chicken Nuggets, Bridges, Train Tracks and Gabriel

Tonight, for awhile, it is just Gabriel and I alone. The other boys are still in Sioux Falls and will be home later tonight. I really wasn't in the mood for cooking - we are leaving for the weekend early tomorrow morning so I don't want a lot of leftovers (at least that is how I justify it!!) So when I picked him up from daycare tonight and he hid behind a door to "scare" me as he jumped out - I told him that I thought we should go and get chicken nuggets at BK.

Gabriel LOVES chicken nuggets. He won't eat the fries - I know bonus for me!! And he likes the little toys that come with the kids meal. So we headed over to BK. Our conversation went something like this....

"Mom, are we going to go and get chicken nuggets mom?"

You see he has been doing this - mostly when he talks to me, putting my name at the beginning and the end of EVERY sentence he says!! It is cute at first...but after about the 30th one...well lets just say it drives me a little nutso. But he is adorable and I love we continue.

"Yes we are going to get you some chicken nuggets, how many do you want?"

"Mom, I think I want seven mom, that's not a lot mom"

"It's not? It seems like a lot to me!"

"Mom, no mom, 30 is a lot!"

OK now I know what a lot is!! I have always wondered! :)

"Mom, I want a toy and some green pop (Sprite) too mom"

"Gabriel, I don't think they make kids meals with 8 piece chicken nuggets, I don't think we can get a toy."

"Mom YES THEY DO Mom"....

He was right...the lady in the drive through asked if I wanted a 4 piece or an 8 piece with my kids meal...schooled! 8 piece of course! He asked if he could eat one in the car - promising that he would not spill. He counted his 8 nuggets, making sure they were all there and was very happy when he discovered that his toy was something Spongebob. He is easy to please!

There was LOTS more conversation just like this as we waited for what seemed like an hour in is much too lengthy to add here, but I am sure you get the picture! :)

Besides his love for the nuggets, he also has a fascination for bridges. All bridges we see he has to point out. Usually he wants to know why we aren't going over them as we drive under them. So tonight I decided to turn right instead of left to head home and take him across the 1-29 Interstate bridge.

This is less than 1 block from the BK and basically I drove over it, found a turn around spot and drove over it again. That was it - to most people that would be very weird, boring, but to Gabriel he was gleaming with joy.

Next he asked if we could drive past the golf course in our town. It is called Bridges at Beresford. and yes - you guessed it - it has several old bridges placed throughout. There is a road that you can drive on near the course and see several of them. So we did that too.

Finally, a few nights ago Dominic took us on a little drive out in the country and by accident we crossed some train tracks. Gabriel loves trains and train tracks. He saw where I was driving and asked if we could go see the tracks again. How can I say no?!

So we headed out of town a short ways, drove over the tracks, turned around, drove over them again and came home so that he could finish his nuggets.

A pretty successful evening for a boy who takes pleasure in the simple things around him. Sometimes I have to stop and try to see things from his point of view. Recognize the beauty in the simplistic and be grateful for it. Tonight I am grateful that I had the opportunity to make Gabriel smile, to see him excited over chicken nuggets, bridges and train tracks. God is good!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A week from today...

I found out yesterday that I will be having a minor surgery a week from today. It is funny even as I write that I am not worried about it at all, I feel totally at peace with this decision. I saw my doctor for an annual visit and I expressed some concerns about some pain I had been having for awhile.

Based on my descriptions and her exam she feels pretty confident that I have endometriosis again. I say that because apparently there is no way for her to "officially" diagnose it without going in with a laparoscope and checking it out. And so, a week from today, that is exactly what she is going to do.

About 6 years ago I had an emergency surgery, a very critical surgery, in which this very same doctor came in and saved my life. I remember that night going into the operating room and they were prepping me and she came in because they had called her and I remember saying "Please don't take everything out - I want to be able to have more babies". She promised me that she would do everything that she could, but that if it was between saving my life and saving my reproductive organs - she would choose me.

She was able to save both, and by a miracle we got pregnant with Gabriel the following year. I have complete faith in my doctor and her ability to take care of me. I am very lucky. During that surgery they found endometriosis that I didn't know I had and removed it. Apparently it can come back. And so we will try again to take care of this pesky problem!

I have told people that I am excited in a way for this surgery. I know - crazy lady talking! But I know that after the healing time is over, there is a very good chance that I will feel much better than I do today. And who knows, maybe this is just the thing I need to be able to successfully carry a pregnancy.

I/we both struggle with what is God's plan for our lives - and more specifically does that plan include more children? I would love to believe that it does, but I don't know for sure.

Remember that old movie with Steve Martin in it where a electronic highway billboard sends him messages, and I think he somehow meets his true love and falls in love. But he is driving on this highway, talking out loud, basically asking for answers and this sign answers him. Clear as day.

Sometimes that is what I wish for. Wouldn't it be easier if I could just have this conversation with God, driving home from work, and instead of an Amber Alert message I could see a message that said "Kristin...this is God - you will/will not have any more kids. Stop worrying about it already".

I probably would crash my car off the road or totally miss the sign because I was zoned out after a long day - but the theory is good. It would just make things easier for me.

Of course that is the isn't all about me is it? Bummer, I never liked that realization. Although throughout my teenage years I said otherwise - my parents could attest to that...the truth is the world doesn't revolve around me.

And I find that the more I obsess about "me" the less I am focused on the One who is really important and what His will is for my life. So today I am trying to really relinquish my control over my life and seek to follow His will in all things. It really is the only way. Why do I fight it so hard? Why do I think I know what is best for my life? I want to be free of the need to control my destiny and allow God to do it for me.

It is something I have to battle with daily, and I am sure will continue...but I press on because I know there is peace in following a gentle Savior. A peace that only He can offer. I am grateful that I know where to turn when I am ready and willing to give up the reins and following the pathway to peace.

Monday, August 25, 2008


We had the opportunity last week to go on an amazing vacation with my entire family to California. My brother Mark was graduating from the San Diego Golf Academy – with lots of honors I might add, way to go Mark!! So my parents generously decided to take our family and my sister and her husband out to CA with them to spend the week as a family again and to celebrate Mark’s accomplishments!

From a young age I remember my parents taking us on different vacations. We went all over, camping, hiking and fishing. We always had fun and I have lots of memories from those various trips. It was important to them that we spend time as a family, as much as that irritated me as a teenager – I see the value in that now!

We had such a wonderful week in CA. They rented a house in a town called Cardiff by the Sea. It was just blocks from the ocean and we just had to walk through a city park to get to the beach. We each had our own bedroom/bathroom but then we had a wonderful open common area for cooking, eating and relaxing as a group. We had an ocean view from the rooftop and were surrounded by beautiful plants and palm trees everywhere we looked! During the week we went to Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Gabriel got to see some of his favorite Disney characters in a Pixar parade and ride the Monsters Inc ride 2 times in a row and Isaac got to spend some time with the “big kids” riding all the scary rides. Gabriel rode on Space Mountain - our very first ride – got a little scared about rides after that, but when we were done with the ride exclaimed with joy “We made it Daddy!!” We went to Sea World and got lots of cool pictures of Shamu and the dolphin show, got very sunburned at the beach, used bottles of aloe lotion soothing the burn and trying to prevent the peeling (which didn’t work by the way), tried surfing with little success – this is why we HAVE to go back again, were attacked by monstrous aloe plants in the neighbors yard – this seriously happened…a guy driving by even stopped to say he thought it looked like it hurt, the girls did some shopping together and the boys saw the USS Midway, we made dinners together, had lots of egg bake and lots of fruit, got to meet new friends and see old friends again, we watched the Olympics together and we did lots of laughing.

It was such a good 9 days together. After we got back Dominic and I were talking and we commented how we couldn’t believe that it had gone by so fast and we were already home. It really was a great time together. It was the first time in a very long time that my brother and sister and I and our families had the opportunity to spend some real time together. I am so grateful for the opportunity. I hope that we have the chance to do this again, and sooner rather later! My perspective on our time together is different than it was when I was younger. I definitely see the value in it, and I am not annoyed by my siblings like I once was! :) Thanks everyone for an amazing week! I love you all!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Heal the Wound

I sang a Point of Grace song in church this past winter called “Heal the Wound”. From the first moment that I heard it, the song resonated with me and it still does today. I love the way that Christian music can do that for me. Sometimes it seems the writers of these beautiful pieces have a way of explaining exactly how I feel in a much better way than I ever could….

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
That I could just pretend
I never knew the me back then

How many times have I wished that I could change something in my past? Begged God to take it away, usually so that I didn’t have to deal with the way I felt about myself because of it….

I used to pray that you would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I’ve been
But it’s the memory of, the place you’ve brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I’m free

Shame….I could easily admit if I was ashamed of someone else’s behavior – but it has been much harder for me to deal with my own shame of myself. Realizing that I do have a part to play in every argument/problem I am involved in. Knowing that I have refused to take responsibility for so long for my actions….Oh hide that evidence Lord…but if you did would I have a reason to run to You? To beg for Your mercy and to seek reprieve in You?

Heal the wound but leave the scars
A reminder of how merciful you are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
Heal the would but leave the scars

That chorus part is my favorite…heal the wound but leave the scars, a reminder of how merciful You are. If I didn’t have the reminders of my past – would I learn from them, would I see the One who has rescued me? Would I be grateful for where I am now because of where I have come from?

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
And I don’t take pride in what I bring
But I’ll build an alter with
The rubble that you found me in
And every stone will sing
Of what you can redeem

When we are finally ready to let God do for us what we have tried to do for ourselves for so long our lives are often already a pile of rubble. But He redeems us, picks us up and helps us to rebuild our lives so that we can be a living reminder of what He can do. My heart sings with praises for the gifts You have given me!

Don’t let me forget
Everything you’ve done for me
Don’t let me forget
There’s beauty in the suffering

I would not have believed that beauty could come out of suffering, that I would be grateful for the journey because I could see everything that God has done throughout it to create beauty in my life. My eyes have been opened to the truth and I am grateful.

The Smith Family Journey

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