childhood

The Rule of 4.0

“Moooommmm… I… didn’t…do…good…on… (sob)…my (gasp)… Chemistry… (sniff)…tessssttttttt. I…won’t…get…an.. A!” 

That is a real (ok, paraphrased) excerpt from a conversation that I frequently had with my Mom on the phone my freshmen year of college at K-State.

Chemistry was a nightmare. And when I bombed that first test, I was convinced my life was over. Seriously. Up until that point, I had only gotten a “B” on a report card ONCE in my life, and that was my freshmen year of high school in Algebra. (What IS it with freshmen year? And boo on math.)

I despised chemistry. (And still do, just for the record.) I didn’t understand it. I didn’t get it. And I didn’t get an A that semester. What a way to start out my college career, huh?

My friends and I had a theory in college. We called it the “Rule of 4.0.” The idea was that there were many things in life that once you fell short, it was hard to care about trying to work hard at it again.

Chemistry class was my example. After I got that first “B” in college, I knew there was no hope of pulling a 4.0. My record was marred. So I had a choice to make… would I keep trying to do well in college? Or since I had fallen short of my dreams of “perfect” grades, should I just sorta half-way try and count it all as lost?

Fortunately, my motivation kicked in and I kept trying. No, I didn’t get my 4.0 due to falling short early on (Thanks, Chem I and II…) But I did manage to graduate with honors five years later. (I took a victory lap for my undergrad, just because I could.)

Now you might be wondering: “Uh, Sharita, I am kind of done with school. What in the name of sodium chloride does this have to do with me?”

Great question. I’m glad you asked. The “Rule of 4.0” doesn’t just apply to literal grade point averages. It also applies to different areas of our lives. For example…

The Rule of 4.0 kicks in during a long-distance run after you made the mental decision to walk for a few steps… You failed right? Whats the point of trying to redeem your run? Might as well walk the rest of the way, yes?

The Rule of 4.0 applies when it comes to purity… maybe a girl (or guy) decided to engage in pre-marital sex with a significant other, but then they broke up. She/he isn’t “pure” anymore. So what’s the point of abstaining from that point forward until marriage?

The Rule of 4.0 shows up when we get reprimanded at work– we weren’t the perfect employee, so why strive to regain a solid work ethic, right?

The Rule of 4.0 comes to life in our everyday lives when we sin. We messed up… so why try to make it right and live a Christ-like life? We failed.

Obviously, this way of thinking can be a dangerous and little off the mark. The Rule of 4.0 is meant to be an encouragement to think twice about making a decision that might damage your heart, your GPA, relationships or work life. HOWEVER… like it or not, we are ALL going to fall short.

None of us are going to graduate from this life to the next with a 4.0 without the help of Christ.

Will you allow Christ to help you “graduate” from this life to the next with a 4.0?

We might get a B or C in life… or we might even flunk on occasion. God grades on a curve. And that curve is in form of The Cross.

We have the beautiful and blessed opportunity to start fresh every single day, reaching out to Christ for that 4.0 perfect score. Each time we give an incorrect answer or fall short, we can take it to The Cross and learn from the ultimate teacher.

Christ is our Valedictorian. He is the one who will help us graduate summa cum laude. He is the one to restore us to our 4.0.

Here’s to “graduating” with Honors,
SGK

“If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.”
–2 Thessalonians 1:12 (MSG) 

PS: Where have you needed Christ to grade on a curve in your life? Have you struggled with the “Rule of 4.0?” I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.

Categories: blessing, challenge, childhood, Christ, fulfillment, God, grace, perspective, promises | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

25 Reasons Why Moms Rock

“But Moooooooommmmmmmmmm…”

“Mom, you just don’t understand.” 

“Whatever, Mom.” 

Aaahhh, the sweet, sweet sounds of my childhood. (My teenage years were kind of brutal. Just ask my parents. Apparently, I had something called an “attitude.” Pshaw. Whatever 😉 )

Fortunately, I am well on the other side of my teen years and my beloved Mama and I no longer butt heads. (At least not like we used to.) In fact, she is my best friend. It’s amazing what a little personal maturity can do for a gal. (Talking about you, Mama. Just kidding…)

Love my Mamas. ❤

Just in case you didn’t get the memo, yesterday was Mother’s Day. (If you didn’t call, text, or acknowledge your Mom, I will allow a brief blog intermission for you to panic and subsequently rectify the situation.)

Are we good? Ok, great. So yeah, yesterday was Mother’s Day. And for the first time in my adult history (at least I think?), I actually had a chance to celebrate Mother’s Day WITH my Mama. Yes, folks, she is spending a few days in Georgia with me. This is a big deal… because I haven’t seen her since Christmas, and this is her first time in Georgia since we moved here over a year ago.

We’ve had a great time. Scratch that. It’s been incredible. I love that woman.  In the days I have spent with her (and the days leading up to her arrival) I couldn’t help but think about why my mom (and moms in general) simply rock. They are just so awesome.

Thus, in honor of Mother’s Day, I have compiled 25 Reasons Why Moms Rock. (Feel free to forward this to your Mom in case you forgot to acknowledge her awesomeness yesterday.) Let’s praise Jesus for the gift of our Mamas! Drumroll please…

25 Reasons Why Moms Rock

  1. They love you unconditionally.
  2. Moms always know what to say.
  3. They know what NOT to say.
  4. Their hugs are unbeatable.
  5. They ALWAYS have that one recipe that you need… memorized.
  6. Moms laugh at your jokes… whether you are funny or not.
  7. They give great advice.
  8. When angry, their voice can be projected and heard up to 3.64 miles away.
  9. They are great nurses when you are sick.
  10. They are so good at drying tears.
  11. Moms always have the cool band-aids on hand.
  12. There is always something good to eat in their fridge.
  13. You can sit together in silence with your Mom and it’s not awkward.
  14. Their eyes have the sweetest little laugh-induced wrinkles.
  15. Moms are the ultimate cheerleaders.
  16. They are supreme holiday tradition-setters.
  17. The things they taught you in your youth stick with you… forever.
  18. They don’t get stuck on “biological requirements” to be a Mom.
  19. They are Moms to every child under 17 in the neighborhood. (See #18.)
  20. They are resourceful.
  21. Their remedy of “eat some chocolate and get a hot bath” will fix almost anything.
  22. The Mother of the Bride/Grooms are ALWAYS the prettiest people at weddings. (Bride excluded)
  23. They pray for you. A LOT.
  24. You can always call them. Anytime.
  25. They were HAND HEART-PICKED by God.

Why does YOUR Mom rock? Please feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment HERE. 

To all the Mama’s out there (My Mama CJ and Mother-in-Love Lex specifically) THANK YOU for being such great role models and influences on our lives. You are truly a gift from God, and I pray that your legacy lives on for generations.

Thanking The Father for our Mamas,
SGK

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” –Proverbs 31:28-29 

Categories: adoption, baby, blessing, cheerleader, childhood, chocolates, Christ, Love, parents, patience | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

In Ready Position

I never really liked gym class. No offense to any gym teachers out there, but I rarely looked forward to gym, especially during that middle school phase…

Each day when I was down in the musty locker room changing my clothes, my heart would start to pound as I thought about what activity awaited me at the top of the stairs. One of the most dreaded gym sessions of the year? Basketball.

To this day, I still can’t do a lay-up with good form or dribble down the court without “traveling.” It’s not that I didn’t try– I just was never very good. I was THAT kid– you know the one– the kid that always got hit in the face with the ball. (Don’t believe me? I once got my lip split open by a ping pong ball. My face naturally attracted flying objects. It’s science.)

In all of my basketball gym class days, I will say I learned one thing that sticks with me to this day: How to be in “ready position.” Feet a little wider than shoulder distance apart, knees bent, hands up… As the girl who always got hit in the face, I was more than willing to perfect any technique that might help me 1) Move quickly out of the way of a flying object or 2) Deflect said flying object from my middle school mug.

This concept of being in “ready position” extends beyond the sports world. The military is a prime example. They are trained to move into action within a moment’s notice. My beloved husband has not taken this lightly and insist on carrying into all aspects of his life. He always tries to engage in combat parking (backing into a parking spot to be ready to move quickly) at all restaurants or shopping areas, even though I convince him the likelihood of needing to evacuate quickly is minimal. My beloved even takes this “ready position” so far to include his ice cream eating habits.

Ready for anything-- even for ice cream eating, spoon in the freezer and all.

Yep, that is an actual picture of his favorite ice cream in the freezer… In “ready position” waiting to be consumed… spoon poised and all.

I love the man. I really do.

While my husband’s “ready position” habits might seem a bit extreme, I can’t help but wonder if he doesn’t kind of have the right idea, especially when it comes to our walk with Christ.  Are we in ready position to give and receive Jesus?

Are we poised, eyes peeled, heart up, looking for  ways to share Jesus around every corner? Would we be ready if He showed up tomorrow or would He hit us in the face because we are unaware of His presence?

How do you stay in touch with Christ? What does your ready position look like? Feel free to leave a comment here.

I *try* to be constantly aware of Christ. Sure, I get distracted when I see something shiny, but I am always attempting to get better at sharing Jesus and receiving what He has to offer. From blogging daily to working on my 1000 gift list to praying for those around me, I feel more ready for Jesus than I ever did while playing midde school basketball. (Or ping pong.)

So today, I challenge you to be light on your feet, bend your knees, get your hands up, eyes open and heart prepared– let’s stay in ready position for Jesus.

Ready and waiting,
SGK

“You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End.” –John 6:44 (MSG)

Categories: childhood, Christ, God, husband, Jesus, lessons, life, patience | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Dive In & Just Keep Swimming

My heart was pounding. The sun was beating down on the back of my neck. My little feet left wet footprints on the warm concrete. I shivered… from the gentle Kansas breeze or nerves, I couldn’t tell. I approached my target. Breath. Step. Breath. Step. Breath. Step.

The higher I climbed, the harder my heart pounded. I reached the top and peered down to the deep blue water. My Mama was looking up at me, her hands shielding her eyes from the sun, watching my every move. I inched slowly to the end of the board. Then I turned around, heading back towards the ladder.

Suddenly, I spun on my heels, got running start and jumped. It felt like I was flying, suspended in air for a few brief seconds… That is, until I hit the water.

Yes, my first ever trip off the high dive at the swimming pool ended in a belly flop. Uh, ouch? While the landing took my breath away, my third grade limbs managed to function well enough to get me back to safety to the side of the pool. I DID IT.

Not quite the high dive described above... but it captures my expression both then AND now when it comes to taking risks.

Many years later, I discovered that my Mom was prepared for me to chicken out. When I turned back around heading towards the ladder, she thought I had changed my mind. But in all actuality, I had a surge of courage. Get a running start, plug my nose and dive in.

Nearly two decades later, I am still not much of a thrill seeker, especially when it comes to heights. But one thing has changed. When it comes to Jesus activities on the ground, I now have the courage to risk boldly and jump (with or without the running start and/or plugged nose.)

While I would love to say that the risks I take were the same caliber as jumping off the high dive, now they seem to be much more intense. Instead of risks of the physical type, God has called me to risk boldly when it comes to issues of the heart. Personally, my heart seems more fragile than my body sometimes.

And yes… even “heart risks” can end in a belly flop.

I risked boldly when… I answered the call to be an army wife. It’s thrilling, rewarding, and occasionally terrifying. Yeah, sometimes I feel like we are just treading water, waiting for a direction. But I don’t regret diving into marriage with my beloved.

I risked boldly when… God told my husband and I to start a family. Right now, we still feel the sting of that landing as we recover from our miscarriage. However, we are slowly but surely paddling to the ladder of safety and recovery on the side… And we await the call when God tells us to dive in again.

I risked boldly when… I answered the call to ministry. Launching my own personal ministry has literally made me lose sleep on occasion, due to excitement, uncertainty and confusion. Yes, I have swallowed a little water along the way and felt like I was temporarily sinking, wondering WHY I jumped in… But God is right there beside me, His words similar to Dori from Finding Nemo: “Just Keep Swimming.”

Is God calling you to dive into something? Or are you already in the pool, trying to keep your head above water? I would love for you to share your experiences by leaving a comment here.

Regardless of where you are on that risk taking dive, whether you are still on the ground looking up, in the middle of the climb, flying through the air, recovering from a bellyflop landing or paddling towards the side… Know that God is your lifeguard, cheering you on. Don’t be afraid to dive in and just keep swimming.

Doggie Paddling my way to Jesus,
SGK

“Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.” –Luke 19:26

Categories: call, challenge, childhood, Courage, excited, God, perseverance | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Playground Guardian

We waited for this precious experience every single day.

Small children snarfing down their lunch, tater tots flying, ketchup splattering, milk dribbling. We were racing against the clock.  We had to get to recess.

Sure, recess came three times a day throughout my years of very early youth. But the length after-lunch recess was solely dependent on our ability to inhale our food and power walk from the cafeteria to the outside door. (Note: Sometimes a second grader’s definition of “not running” is different than the principal’s definition. And you had to walk that line carefully, or the five minutes you spent in the office during recess for “running” would nearly break your heart. Not that I would know.)

Most parents (and teachers for that matter) frowned at our strategy to scarf and run. But the moment that we heard the click of that recess door opening made it the fact that we barely tasted our pig-in-the-blanket so worth it.

I loved my elementary playground. I actually got a little bit nostalgic thinking about it this week. It was huge– or at least seemed huge to an 8-year-old. (I’m sure now the vastness of the play area seems rather proportionate to the size of us kids.)

We were a tiny school, but man-oh-man, that playground changed our life. We had the huge slide and monkey bars, and concrete basketball court that doubled as a 4-square area. Down the hill was an open area to run and “play pretend” which overlooked a wheat field. On the edge of that hill (just beyond our boundaries) a hearty crop of wild gourds grew, which was super fun to explore… until you got busted.

The playground had a fenced in tennis court where we could bring roller skates. It had a huge red swing where we did “Underdogs.” (Again, as long as you didn’t get caught.) Then in the far corner of the grounds was a low-lying around that could be used for “playing house” or kickball or more frolicking.

I loved that playground. There was such FREEDOM, openness, joy, imagination there. And while we might have complained back then, I am now thankful that we had a “Playground guardian” watching our every (other) move.

You know the person I am talking about– that one teacher who is assigned for the week to be on duty, with that trusty whistle around her neck, ready to break up any mischievous ideas that sprouted out of our young minds. She was like a lifeguard on dry land.

That weekly “Playground Guardian” would pick me up when I fell and skinned my knee. She would comfort me if someone hurt my feelings. She kept me within the boundaries of the playground when I got a little too involved in gourd hunting. She even taught me that the 4th graders are often incorrect in their teachings. (Specifically when they tell you that a purple flower blossom is called honeysuckle, and if you suck on the flower, honey will come out… turns out honey comes only from a beehive, not a bitter tasting flower.)

As I fondly reflected on my playground experiences, my mind was drawn to God. Isn’t our Lord and Savior very similar to that “Playground Guardian” in our everyday walk in life? He gives us freedom to roam around, but always calls us back to Him when we get too far away. He picks us up when we are hurting. And He to clarifies the lessons of life, whether they come from a 4th grader, a neighbor, friend or spouse.

I am so thankful that I get to “play” daily in this vast and beautiful world… but I am even more thankful that no matter what hair-brained honeysuckle ideas I come up with, God is always there to gently guide me back to Him. He is my Playground Guardian.

Grateful to be Guarded by the Great One,

SGK

“He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.” –Psalm 121:3-4 MSG

Categories: childhood, God, guidance, memory, parents, security | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Treasure Hunting

We were on a mission.

We had changed into our “play clothes.” We had our plastic shovel and bucket in hand. Time to get down to serious business.

We were going treasure hunting.

“Treasure hunting” was one of my sister and I’s favorite activities when we were younger. In fact, it ranks right up there with tormenting each other. Specifically: me convincing her that the flower blooms on our bushes where actually “wild broccoli,” thus she should consume them for nutritional reasons, as well as daring her lick the frozen iron handrail on the front porch as the school bus came down the driveway. (Both instances resulted in the first two times I got grounded. Ah, memories.)

But seriously. Treasure hunting was one of our most beloved shared experiences. I was secretly convinced that at any given moment of walking, digging and exploring, we would have a “Huck Finn” moment and discover a chest filled with coins and riches beyond our wildest imagination.

Most of the time, however, our treasures would come in a different form. And we always had to share them with Mama.

After our journey, my sister and I would trudge home with our loot… and dump it on the back porch for Mama’s amazement annoyance. Or better yet, we might just dump it in the front yard so the lawn mower could rediscover it in a few days when Daddy mowed the grass… (Which in turn lead to me rediscovering the fun of being grounded. Notice a pattern here? I was such a sweet child.)

Our treasures typically included rusted, ancient farm equipment, nails, cool looking rocks, fossils, weird looking bugs and the occasional orphaned animal (Primarily: baby rabbits and baby birds. Although I once got bitten by a chipmunk. But in my defense, I didn’t expect to actually catch it.)

Over the last couple of decades, our idea of treasure has changed quite a bit. The first (and only) time I got a real diamond was my engagement ring. I treasure the security of that constant military paycheck. I treasure my warm house, decent clothes, and ever plenty food supply.

But in the grand scheme of things, those “treasures” are equivalent to the rusted farm equipment and random rocks. Because we can find our true treasure in relationship. Relationship with our spouse. Relationship with one another. Relationship with our family. And most of all, relationship with our God.

I have been treasure hunting with and for Jesus for nearly three decades. Every day, I discover something new and exciting in my relationship with Him. We are on a treasure hunt, one that gives us more riches and rewards than our 7-year-old hearts would have ever dreamt possible when hauling that plastic shovel and bucket.

Where does your treasure lie? Is your heart set on things of this world, or are you on a constant treasure hunt to deepen your relationship with Christ?

What do you treasure most about Jesus? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment here… and share your Jesus treasure hunting discoveries.

Hitting the Jackpot with Jesus,

SGK

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Categories: childhood, Christ, fulfillment, treasure | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Be Original: Don’t forget the Squirrel

I  can’t help but remember the first time someone copied me in school. It wasn’t on a test or assignment, but rather it was a nature shadow box for science class in the third grade. I have always been the one to think outside the box (get it? shadow box?) and this third grade project was no exception.

Instead of using just paper, glitter and a few real twigs and leaves, I went a little crazy with this assignment. I remember making a “real fake tree” and even putting a pretend squirrel in it. After I shared my shadow box with the class, I noticed when a classmate presented his the next day, there was a “real fake tree…” and a squirrel.

I cried.

I was so upset that my genius, creative idea had been jacked by some booger-laden third grader. (I know, I know… I was a booger-laden third grader too. But you get my point.) I went home upset and cried to my mom. She tried to explain to me that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Yeah, whatever. I would have said “That’s crap, Mom” but I know that would have found me hanging over the bathroom sink trying to get the taste of dial soap out of my mouth.

We live in a society where fads and trends can dictate our lives if we allow it. With the new year here, everybody and their brother has set resolutions. Probably the most popular one? Lose weight. Other areas find us following the crowd, buying the expensive name-brand jeans or teasing the kid with glasses at school because that’s what the cool kids do.

But we were born original. So let’s not die a copy.

There is nothing wrong with following trends or learning new things to better yourself. It is when those fads start to take priority or blur your vision and we cease to think with our own, unique and wonderfully  made-by-God brain when things start to go south.

So how can we love God more deeply in 2012 even if it isn’t the most popular choice? Let’s be like Jesus. He didn’t follow the crowd. The crowd followed Him. He was an original and certainly didn’t die a copy anyone.

We can share his message and provide an avenue for others to follow us in His steps. If we share His message, then others will “copy” us– which, unlike my third-grade mind decided, CAN BE a very good thing.

Think outside the box (literally and figuratively) on ways that you can share the love of God with others. Open a door, bake cookies for a neighbor, pay for a stranger’s lunch, pray…  If you are original by being bold in your faith, others will surely follow. That isn’t the highest form of flattery for us, but rather one of the highest forms of loving and glorifying God.

Build your “real-fake” tree OUT of your box. Be original. Let others follow YOU.

Oh. And don’t forget to add the squirrel.

Embracing bold faith,

SGK

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

Categories: childhood, evangelism, faith, unique | Leave a comment

A Spirit of Discovery

I’m not gonna lie… Sometimes I miss being a little kid.

Ok, I will admit—I am still clinging to some of my childish ways, like getting really excited to go out for ice cream (although now I prefer frozen yogurt) or enjoying a good Disney movie (most recent favorite: Tangled.) But as I returned home to Kansas for a visit, my little dog Justus reminded me of childhood aspect that we should all hold onto.

This was Justus’ first road trip out of state… we covered six states during our 15 hour drive. After conquering about 12 hours of our journey the first day, we stopped in Springfield, Missouri. I had planned ahead a booked a pet-friendly hotel so I didn’t have to deal with the stresses of smuggling a tiny dog into my room and keeping him quiet. When we arrived to our room, I turned Justus loose… and watched.

He went bonkers. Not “destroy-everything-in-sight” bonkers, but more like “oh-my-goodness-I’m-out-of-the-car-and-experiencing-something-new!” bonkers. He was leaping and rolling and running and sniff, sniff, sniffing, leaving no corner of the room untouched. Justus was so overwhelmed and excited for all of the new discoveries!

The same thing happened when we arrived at my parent’s house the following day (and the pattern continues as I write.) He has sniffed out (and rolled in) a variety of new things, which included meeting 14 chickens, looking at roosters through a crack in the trailer door, trying to be a tough dog by intimidating our small herd of cattle, and running like a wild farm dog with our three cattle dogs and the red-bone coon dog puppy Cletus. (Note: I did NOT pick that dog’s name. Ha.)

Justus has a spirit of discovery. Children have a similar spirit of discovery, which starts the moment they are born. Little by little, babies discover new things: How their hands work, that mommy makes funny faces, how to walk, what the word NO means, the list goes on and on… This whole reflection made me think: Do I still have a spirit of discovery?

Even as we grow up and mature, physically and spiritually, we can hold onto our precious spirit of discovery. God desires us to seek Him out—the more we do, the more we can discover about Him. My master’s degree studies have aided me in discovering new little tidbits about God and Christianity. Almost every time I open the Bible, I discover something new, primarily because God reveals it to me.  Little discoveries are lurking around every corner!

Holding onto the spirit of discovery doesn’t automatically happen. We have to intentionally seek out new experiences, whether it is meeting someone new, doing a new Bible study or traveling to a new location. Do you still have a spirit of discovery? What makes your heart excited? Go after it! Discover!

I personally look forward to the new discovery opportunities that God allows me to experience every day. With prayer and a willing heart, we can all hold onto that child-like faith and spirit of discovery!

Loving life’s surprises,

SGK

“Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health.” –Proverbs 4:22 (MSG) 

 

Categories: childhood, Home, puppy | Leave a comment

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