Sunday, September 2, 2012


Rain is falling. I can hardly believe my own words.

Hurricane Isaac, or what's left of him, visited us today. It's hard to rejoice after seeing devastation and loss come from the same clouds overhead, but we are in such need of rain. Here in the mid-west we are in extreme drought. Farmers are striving to reap a tiny harvest, if any, this Fall. And today - rain has arrived.

It has been falling for more than 12 hours now, as I sit writing and glancing out the window at the water we so desperately need finally reaching our dry and thristy ground. I don't remember any growing season so dry in my lifetime. Just yesterday cracks in our dusty yard were large enough for me to slide my hand into. And now they are overflowing as the Lord has opened the floodgates of heaven. We thank the Lord for His provision, but this is not what we planned.

Throughout this dry season, Matthew has been hard at work managing a busy restaurant, putting in over 55 hours every week there. In addition, he has taken on the HUGE task of re-painting our 90 year old home. Because of the condition of the exterior, the process involves shaving off all the layers of paint that have been applied over the years, then sanding the bare wood siding which he has exposed, and finally beginning to apply primer and paint. He has tediously and excellently been working on the house since Spring.

Today was a carefully planned painting day.

And the storm clouds were moving in as Matthew was beginning. After months of immeasureable precipitation and extreme heatwaves, rain would began to fall. Yes, we did know it was in the forcast, but one never knows for sure what the Creator's forecast is, right?

We actually found ourselves wanting the rain to go away, or at least hold-off until we were ready for it. How ridiculous does that sound? What we desperately need and have even been praying for is here, above our heads. The clouds are about to break open with blessing and we want what we want, not what we need.

How often do you find yourself in that place? Failing to be thankful for God's good gifts supplying your needs, your heart falls to the ground saying, "No, I don't want this. I want something else."

My falling heart was reminded that, "In his heart a man plans his course, but it is the Lord who directs his steps." And blessed be the name of our Lord.

Our boys knew what to do. Our hearts can learn a great deal from them too. As our steps were directed to gather our supplies and make sure everthing was out of the rain . . . Micah and Tucker were making their own plans. Their steps led them to play in the rain. Finnley was alseep at the time or would have been right by their sides, jumping in puddles.

The boys were outside with thankful hearts dancing and twirling, eyes smiling to the heavens as big, wet drops rolled down their faces. It was beautiful and my heart was falling watching it all - falling more in love with them and the God who gives and takes away.

I did managed to capture a couple photos before Micah and Tucker came in because they were "freezing." Their clothes were drenched, but right after they came inside they enjoyed a warm bath and hot cocoa, upon requested.

Lord willing, in just a few days we will finish this phase of painting the house. I [Kyla] am so proud of how Matthew works hard for us. The boys and I are truly blessed by his hands everyday. Praise the Lord for giving Matthew strength and passion to provide for his family. Through the seasons of drought and plenty, I am falling more in love with my man. It is how the Lord designed marriage to work; the groom lovingly and sacrificially providing for the bride. It is a vague shadow of how perfectly Christ provided for us on the cross. The Lord has and will always faithfully love His Bride [those who believe and trust Him].

Here on August 31, 2012 our boys helped us to see how to rejoice over what the Lord does provide. May we all see Him more clearly and fall more in love with Him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homemade Summer

Are you enjoying the city life or quiet country living?

Most of our days feel like a mingling of the two. We enjoy living close to friends and family in the metro area, monthly trips to the Kansas City Zoo, and the grocery store being just around the corner. Likewise, we have taken pleasure in expanding our gardening and canning endeavors, deer hunting during bow season, and catching rabbits and garter snakes [little boys only] around the 1/3 acre we own, in town. Here is a photo of the recent visitor we had who decided to hang out on the back porch storage room shelf until we coaxed him/her down.

FYI - Raccoons will decend a 2x4 plank, with marshmellows placed at 2' intervals, as the board leans from their shelf to the ground.

Just this month the boys have attended Peter Pan at Starlight Theatre and have experienced their dog being "skunked." I believe that is the correct usage of the term, indicating that our beloved Fallon was sprayed by a little black and white, nocturnal mammal.

We are living a beautiful mingling of city and country life.

Recently, while Matthew was labor-intensively working on our 1920s home, he rallied the boys to enjoy the 100+ degree day on our lawn. Literally.

Here's how you can make this simple, family slip 'n slide all on your own . . .

Gather the necessary supplies; a large tarp, a couple hammers and tent stakes, your hose with spray nozzle attached, and some dish soap. With the kids already suited up, begin by staking down your tarp to ensure it's secure on your hillside.

Next, with your water accessed and turned on, set the hose to spray. Aim and position hose for optimal spray coverage, then hold the hose in place with the hammers you and your oldest used to stake the tarp. We prefer to finish the set-up by adding a little extra slip, achieved by a generous drizzling of dish soap [and then kindly return bottle to it's home in the kitchen].

Let the slipping and slidding begin!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Party Time

As many of you know we've let Tuckers hair grow out over the past year. Well, the time has finally arrived to cut his golden locks. The question though was what could possibly be a suitable replacement for his much adorned hair? After much deliberation we landed on one...

That's right. A mullet. Who doesn't love the business up front, party in back look??? Especially on a three year old. Here's a few additional pics of the new summer style.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blowing off the dust

I suppose four months is long enough to warrant a new post on the ole blog. Here's some of what we've been up to.

We moved to Table Rock Lake in early November after leaving Arkansas. Matthew worked on his own buying and selling avionics. We spent a good amount of time traveling during Nov and Dec, combining business with family/friends. In mid-December Matthew picked up a part-time job working as a handyman around the lake area.

In early January we made the decision to move back to Kansas City. We also decided to purchase a home in Independence and made an offer on a property while visiting early in the month. Nearly a month later, the bank (it was a foreclosure) had not even responded to our initial offer. Feeling discouraged and tired of spinning our wheels, we decided to go ahead and make the move. We would figure things out along the way.

At the start of February we moved into a hotel in Independence. Matthew quickly picked up a job serving at a new Cheddar's restaurant that was opening close by. At the same time, we found another home in Independence that we decided to make an offer on. This home was a short-sale, meaning we had to deal with both sellers and a bank.

After a few weeks in the hotel we decided to move in with Kyla's parents in Liberty. The home purchase had progressed, but was moving slowly and it was apparent it was going to take a while. A month later, we're still living in Liberty hoping the home will close in the next few weeks. (Not a guarantee)

In a nutshell, our lives seem to be in a semi-permanent state of flux. To be sure, we are tired of the flux and are more than ready to have our own home. Life has been difficult the past few months. Arkansas seems like a distant past and, unfortunately, has been somewhat lost in the fray of the past 3 months.

We aren't 100% sure why the home buying process has taken so long. It's been 3 months and we still aren't done. There are reasons in all of it, some of which we understand, others we don't.

The boys are healthy and growing. We are all excited about the warmer weather, Micah and Tucker have especially enjoyed getting out of the house.

More to come soon.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stress Validation

This is a post I put together a couple months back, but never posted online. Felt like the time was right to to dust it off and share... = )
As I meander through life I've noticed a tendency in some people to display what I'll call stress validation. Basically, the idea being that certain people have some sort of conscious and/or unconscious need to continually make known the 'high level' of activities in their life and how stressed it has made them. A great place to see this in action is good ole' Facebook. (I'll save the validation-craving world of Twitter for another day. Wait...did someone just scoff at me???) The next time you're on Facebook take a look at some of your friends walls/comments/status updates. I'm sure you can find distinct stress validation trends among certain friends, perhaps even yourself.

Apart from Facebook, I think we can readily identify these people in our lives. A great way to do so is by considering the unexpected, but burdensome stress transfers we find ourselves carrying around. See, the odd thing about stress is that it contagiously transfers from one person to another. When someone is stressed out it makes everyone around them stressed. In the same way, when you're regularly hanging around someone who is consistently stressing it does one of two things. You either unhealthily start carrying their stress as a 'friend' or you begin to loath being around them. In which case you spend your time stressing about how stressed they make you feel and how you can avoid them.

I'm not promoting a stress-free ideology in which we judge all stressed people wrong. The reality is we all handle varying levels of 'junk' being thrown at us. At times, we get stressed out. There's no way around it. What I AM saying is that it's not healthy to find validation in stress and busyness. Nor is it helpful to continually carry your friend's stress without earnestly helping them address the root issue of where they're finding validation.

I'll be honest, the stress validation type of person annoys me and wears me out. I fall into the category of just pushing them away and finding ways not to be around them. In the case of Facebook, I'd prefer to de-friend you or block your updates rather than sit down and talk to you about the issue. This obviously doesn't help them deal with what's going on inside. Just as importantly, it shows how little I truly value those around me when I flippantly give in to my introverted personality. Seriously, can we really ask others to fight their battles if we aren't willing to fight our own?

One final note: Validation isn't limited to stress. We all deal with tendencies towards finding unhealthy levels of validation in a myriad of things. I'm not meaning to elevate stress validation beyond all else with this post, it's just what has been on my mind. We could slide any number of validation issues in it's place: financial, physical, intellectual, etc. They all have sneaky and seemingly harmless ways of fleshing themselves out in our lives. Ways that seem fine on the surface but are often rooted in our validation hungry hearts. To be sure, our constant-feed culture isn't making things easier.

And then a slightly preachy note: For those who are followers of Jesus, our validation should be found in Him and what He's done for us. Without question, this is easier said than done. It's hard to healthily appreciate the kind words someone gives us and not start seeking them from others. It's hard to remember that His grace has done immeasurably more than whatever works we've done. It's hard. And if you're not a follower of Jesus, then I'm sure we can at least agree everyone struggles with finding validation in unhealthy ways.

I know I do.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


Modern day nomads. That's us in a nutshell. You might question our direction, or you might secretly admire the freedom. Maybe both. All I can say is that it feels good to have broken free from the norm. Not that there's anything wrong with working your way up the ladder in a typical American company. I've just seen enough of myself to know it's not where I need to be long-term.

Letting go of a reasonably good job, saying goodbye to a wonderful home, and leaving friends wasn't necessarily easy, but it was right. I'd spent long enough trying to force myself to remain in an occupational mold that I'm not cut out for and, frankly, isn't needed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to just sit back and live off government handouts. I'll do whatever is needed to put bread on my family's table. However, when options exist, I feel confident that I'm skilled, smart enough, and wired to set sail on my own course and not be limited to working within someone else's. This summer was a wonderful start to that new course.

With that being said, here's what we are up to. We left Arkansas on Oct 31st. Thankfully, we had pre-sold the Airstream and were able to deliver it on our way back to Missouri. We are currently living at a family cabin on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. Matthew is working on his own in the avionics business. Kyla is working at home full-time and enjoying the additional time and energy she has with our boys. As mentioned in another post, we will be traveling often (likely one or two weeks a month). We have been in KC the past week and will be in St. Louis later in the month.

The future is completely and totally wide open. The freedom I feel is both exciting and comforting. At this point, we do not have plans past the spring. We will base at the lake for the winter and see where we feel led to go in the spring. And for those who may be curious, the possibility of purchasing some sort of campground/resort property is certainly not out of the question. It's something that could be done in 6 months, 6 years, or 60 years. We'll just have to wait and see where our nomadic clan ends up!


(No, that's not us in the picture)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's going on?

Well, it's been a while since our last update. Things are rapidly coming to a close in Buffalo City Arkansas. We have just a couple of weeks left in our Airstream. Speaking of which, we're happy to say that the Airstream has already been sold. We'll deliver it to the new owners at the end of the month. Kyla will be crying as we say goodbye to our 63' dream.

Last week we enjoyed a visit from our Mulanax grandparents. They made a special trip to WBR to meet little Finnley, who is now two months old. I'm not sure which I enjoy more, watching our boys play with their great-grandparents or watching my grandparents play with our children. Many kids never get to know their great-grandparents, even fewer get to play on a playground with them. Here's a great photo of Tucker Jack and Grandpa Jack.

We hope our boys are blessed with many years of getting to know all of their great-grandparents.

Micah has been busy collecting black walnuts for the past week. He's planning to gather as many as he can over the next couple of weeks and sell them in town for some extra money. Thanks to the walnuts, his hands are now stained even dirtier than before! = )

Here are some more recent pics from life:

A bird feeder Micah thought up, designed, and handcrafted out of wild Mushrooms.