Fear & Faith, Orders and Kindness Advent

Can you tell I have all kinds of randomness on the brain today?  It’s true.  This is my brain, all the time.  A slew of a million different thoughts all fighting for my attention and then I bounce between them all.

God has really been pinning me down on my fear and lack of faith.  Why do I doubt His plans…He’s the creator of the universe…THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE…He went to the cross for me…He gives me breath and can take it away in an instant…He owes me no explanations and I am here for His glory…why do I doubt His ways?  And I’m beginning to think when we fear something in life, that’s a sure sign we need to run head on into it with Jesus…trusting His faithfulness…giving Him all we’ve got.  Yes, every day He’s meeting me and sticking this idea of being fearless and brimming with faith in Him…believing He will do what He says He will do and acting on His promises.  It’s consuming my heart and mind.

**My Bible is the ESV journaling Bible…bought it on Amazon…several different options**

  I’m still working on orders and I’m moving as quickly as I can.  I’m shooting for fast turnarounds.  I also bought a bunch of new fabric the other day and am working on several key fob sets.  I’ll let you know when they are ready for purchase.  If you’d like to place an order for Christmas or want to pre-order a set of key fobs shoot me a message HERE.

And Christmas is so upon on us.  Josh Kelley mentions every day putting up all our Christmas stuff.  And it isn’t officially Christmas until Amon breaks an ornament and yesterday in Target…well, that poor deer ornament didn’t have a chance.  Bring on Christmas.  Thanksgiving is around the corner which means the end of November is closing in, so last night we got to thinking and brainstorming about our Kindness Advent for this year.  We even threw in some new things…my favorite being Josh Kelley’s recommendation to surprise someone with one of those large Christmas inflatables in their yard or on their door step…just think this over…can you imagine how fun that will be?!?!?!?  I’ve already been in hot pursuit of the apparently oh so coveted 5 foot inflatable Olaf that every store in the surrounding area is sold out of.  No luck yet.  Anyways, he will be mine and then we shall gift him on someone’s front lawn all in the name of spreading kindness and Jesus 🙂  For real, it just doesn’t get much more fun than that.

And I’ll leave you with this…Amon looking all emo and hip to the jive enjoying his lunch in our kitchen floor.  Those eyes and hair…killing it.

Happy Wednesday!


Lately my mind has been overwhelmed with wrestling different thoughts and ideas.  Don’t you wish God wrote out His desires clean and clear in the sky…that there was no questioning or trying to figure out…that you just knew exactly what He wanted.  My heart is stewing big time and I’m having a hard time putting it to sleep at night.  Sometimes I feel like you can look at a subject from a million different directions and still not know what to do…or the right or the wrong…or maybe there is some gray areas every now and then.

We want our kids to know about injustice and I want them to be world changers and not entitled and I want them to care for others and love God passionately.  How do we go about teaching them and training them in this way?  What are God’s deep desires in this area for His children?  I want to enable them when ideas pour into their little minds.  Harper recently decided she wanted to help with a project we’re going to start soon to help raise money to purchase tables and chairs for Ngungwane…our care point in Swaziland.  I laid in bed and listened as she emptied her thoughts out onto my listening ears.  I really liked what I heard and I encouraged her to think about her talents and how God could use her.  She decided she would make art 🙂 Of course she did.  So we’re working on that.  We want our kids to know without any doubt that God can use them…at any age…in any place…however He wants.

I’m wrestling hard with Proverbs 30:7-9.  So many big swirling thoughts.

“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Desires are growing deeper and deeper that we must “go”.  I am hopeful I will make it back to Africa this year and maybe even a few other places.  How put out would you be if I called you up and asked you to watch 4 small children for an entire week?  What if I brought snacks?  And maybe a Kroger gift card?  Would you prefer cash instead?  What about cookies?  And maybe an entire gated area to put Amon in?  Would that make it easier for you to even consider our request 🙂

I have craft classes Friday and Saturday this week and as I prepare I find my heart stirring about what could come of these.  What could God do with a small group of random women crafting for a few hours each week?  What could He do with me…if I were completely willing and ready to give on so many different levels?  What could He do?  And the anticipation rises fast and hard and my heart swells just a little bit more.

And I’m reading this book and and holy crap.  Talk about wrestling thoughts…this book in insanely good and I just started it.  It has one of the best descriptions of grief I’ve ever heard…that when you lose someone who so deeply impacted your every single day life, it’s like you’ve been crippled.  You will learn to walk again, but you will always have a limp.  It also talks about so many other challenging things…things that make you want to change and move and act and that simply make you think…and hard.  So far…I highly recommend it.  I may have just purchased more copies to give away.

I know God is always working and moving.  I know He’s always leading us and stirring our hearts to love Him and others.  I know sometimes He just wants us to make a choice and act…to take a chance on Him and faith.

Happy Wednesday.

A New Anthem

I do this all the time.  I love music and then I will hear something new and it seems to speak and relate and match up to my life currently so much so I declare it my anthem.  My anthem’s change.  They do because life changes.

In church Sunday I was sitting by myself…Josh was home with Amon and I was just so overwhelmed by this song.  Good golly.  It went on for forever and I loved that it did.  I panicked near the end of the song…what if I forget these crazy dead on words, so I tore through my bag and found a pen and my notebook and jotted as quickly as I could.  Turns out, it’s a pretty popular song by Hillsong United.  Lucky for me.


Chalkboard words without a doubt.  These might be up for a while.

I want that…I want to be lead where my trust is without borders…where my faith will be made stronger.

I feel like our family is being tried in so many ways right now.  Don’t you ever just feel like, “Hey, enough is enough.”  I feel like our hands are full beyond full and our faith and trust is at its max.  I let myself worry.  I let Satan creep in.  Then I am reminded so quickly, with words like these, I want to come out of this better…refined by Christ.  I want our family’s faith and trust to be increased and I want to see Jesus.  I want to do what Jesus has called us to do.  I want to be sent into those parts of life that He knows we can’t handle on our own, but with Him…we’ve got this.  He calls us to those places…what an honor.

I’m a timid, scared, faithless, trustless sinner, but Jesus makes me…makes our family…this bold, anticipating, faithful, trust filled, forgiven family that’s ready.  We’re ready for what’s ahead and we’re ready to fight the good fight.  Because more than anything, we know we’re not ready on our own, but we’re His…We are His…and He’s declared that He is ours.  What an amazing covenant and comfort.

   Isaiah 43:1-3 “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:  “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”


Mom’s preacher recently got diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive type of cancer.  For as long as I can remember, one of the things my Mom always told me was to pray for our preacher.  Mom believed in prayer greatly.  She was the most praying woman I have ever known…besides my MawMaw.  One of the things I still remind the wee Kelleys of is just how much Grammy prayed for them and over them.  Even Amon.  There is no telling how many prayers she prayed for that child.  Countless.  She could not wait to see his face and she covered him in prayers all the way from Tennessee.

She believed in smothering her preacher with prayers and encouragement.  In fact, I think it was one of her gifts.  She had me make him art and she sent him cards and baked him bread and prayed like mad for him as the leader of their church and for his family.  I know with the recent news of his cancer, that Mom’s prayers would only have multiplied.  Right after Mom’s funeral, Brother David came up to me…we don’t know each other…but he said to me, “I can’t tell you what an encouragement your mother was to me.”  I know she truly was.

Yesterday I watched the sermon he preached last Sunday and it was the best thing I did all day.  We don’t attend Long Hollow, but I know it is an amazing body of believers and I may have boohooed while watching, but what a testament to God’s goodness and mercy.  A message everyone needs to hear and take deep into their hearts.  Please check it out and pray for this sweet man of God and his family.

CLICK HERE to view Brother David’s sermon.

Krazy Kelleys

Life with kids is seriously so crazy and so hard and so fun.  Being a parent is not only amazing, but extremely hard.  I mean I love them like crazy…I only love Jesus and Josh more…so they’re pretty high up on my list.  Life with the wee Kelleys is never dull…never, ever, ever dull.

I struggle just like most parents out there to find balance and to be fun, but firm and to not lose my ever loven’ mind every day and to be patient and to love hard and to care and instill and invest and apologize when I yell and make mistakes.  That’s a lot to try and do on my own.

One of my goals for this year is to let God have His children back because I’ve been holding them a bit too tightly and acting as if they really are mine, when they are really God’s and He’s just entrusted Josh and I with them for a bit.  So I’m trying to get back to letting God teach me how to parent His wee Kelleys.

That’s kind of hard for me to do because I have these little pictures and all these dreams for what I imagine Harper, Hudson, Solomon and Amon will be.  And then God reminds me, “Maybe that’s not what I have planned for them Laura.”  This past year, more than ever, I have been learning to embrace and love and cherish the fact that God has walked our days out ahead of us and to plan in pencil because God has His plans and they far exceed anything I could ever imagine.

So I’m learning to let Him guide me in this crazy thing called “parenting.”  It’s terribly hard for me, but goodness knows this is a lesson I have needed to learn…I’m pretty good at botching things up and there are 4 wee Kelleys who I certainly don’t want to botch.

And a high-5 or fist bump to all you parents out there today because certainly you could use a bit of encouragement…this is not an easy task, that’s for sure.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Happy Wednesday.

PS:  Giveaway ends tonight at midnight.  So excited to see who the three winners will be.  CLICK HERE to enter.  Hooray.

Happy 2013!

It’s here and it’s full of possibility.  I’m anxious and hopeful for what this new year will hold.

Let the hope and comfort and joy and healing come.  God is making things new.

So happy 2013…from our crazy Kelley crew to yours.

PS:  I did in fact decide to dress up to bring in the new year.  Getting fancy.

Christmas Ramblings

Christmas is in full swing at the Kelley house.  Our tree is up.  Our stockings are hung.  Our Christmas books are out.  Advent envelopes are ready.  And I am a mad present buying fool.  Packages have started arriving…I heart the FedEx and UPS dudes. I’m checking things off my list left and right.  It’s good times I tell you…good times.

Harper had ornament day yesterday at school and it was too fun.  They made all sorts of ornaments and started decorating their classroom tree with them.  I love Harper’s teacher.  I could easily bring her home with us and keep her for forever.  Not stalkerish sounding at all.  Harper would like that.  God bless good teachers.

Our tree goes up seriously the day after Thanksgiving.  Josh Kelley is a Christmas tree lover and he is usually itching around Halloween to put it up.  I do my best to keep him at bay until after Thanksgiving.  This year it went up a week before Thanksgiving.

I need another stocking hanger.  I bought ours over several years from Hobby Lobby and now I need just one more, but Hobby Lobby doesn’t have them anymore.  Can anyone help a sister out?  Josh’s poor stocking is just hanging out on our stool below all of our nicely hung stockings.

We do believe in Santa.  We don’t do the “he sees you when you’re sleeping” Santa, but only because I find it a bit creepers.  We leave cookies and milk out and also do the reindeer food in the yard.  The wee Kelleys know that Christmas is about Jesus, not all about Santa.  But I like the wonder and imagination in it…just like their wonder and imagination with Princesses and Star Wars and Superheros.  Why has this become a matter of the heart and up for serious spiritual debate over the years?  Can’t we all just be cool with whatever works for your family…different strokes, for different folks.  One of my nieces told Harper Santa wasn’t real and I just told her the truth, “Well then Santa isn’t real to her.”  When she asks if Santa is real, I simply ask back, “What do you think?”  I want her to be true to herself and not to worry about what other kiddos say and do and think.  So yep, we dig Santa, but we dig the Savior of the world more.

We do three presents per kiddo and then some small treats in their stockings.  This is just our choice because Jesus received three gifts and it works best for our budget with 4 wee Kelleys.  I’ve seen on Pinterest the 4 gifts…1 want, 1 need, 1 wear and 1 read.  I thought that was pretty neat, but I just like giving the fun wants.  Ha.  And some parents go all out with presents and some do none…kudos to you too.  Virtual high 5s all around.

We like our Kindness Advent to further help us keep the main focus on what Christmas is all about.  I also saw this pin on Pinterest about doing Advent with The Jesus Storybook Bible.  It is hands down my most favorite little kid Bible.  I tear up sometimes reading it to them.  You must check it out.  I’m going to do this with the kids this year too.

I’ve always wanted a tree skirt, but those things are pretty darn expensive.  This year Land of Nod has a super cute one that I loved, but again, way too pricey.  What’s a crafty girl to do…make my own.  So 2 yards of natural burlap, some felt snowflakes and fabric pens later and voila…my own tree skirt that cost me just a few bucks.

I love all the Elf On The Shelf ideas I am seeing all over Pinterest.  We don’t have an elf, but I think all the ideas are way funny and cute and I bet my kids would love it.  I’m thinking I may just buy a cheap little creeper elf from Etsy and let him serve as our Elf On The Shelf.  My niece Campbell loves the whole elf thing too.  I have consistently bought her additional old creepy elves to add to her magical collection.  #auntoftheyearaward

And lastly what are your favorite Christmas movies?  Right now our favorites are Elf and Arthur Christmas.  My Uncle Tom got Arthur on Netflix for the kids while we were in Florida.  My Aunt Linda and I cried like babies.  It is such a funny and sweet movie.  I’m going to get it for the kids eventually.  Uncle Tom sent us home with a copy of Elf.  The wee Kelleys belly laugh at several parts.  Mainly the burping part and when he asks the rabid raccoon if he needs a hug….the boys enjoy acting that one out.  It’s quite hilariously funny.

So what are your Christmas traditions?  Any favorites?  I like that Christmas can look so different depending on the family.  Different is good…if we were all the same, the world would be quite boring.

Happy Friday!

Oh and I almost forgot.  Tomorrow is the first day of our Kindness Advent.  I changed things around with our deeds this year a bit, but decided to keep our first kind deed the same as last year…a little tradition within a tradition, if you will.  Have a great weekend.

Kindness Advent

I’ve always had the best of intentions to do advent and until last year it never happened…at all.  But last year was different.  And it was good.  After seeing this pin on Pinterest about Random Acts of Kindness, I knew this would be a new Kelley tradition and we would do it fully and we would do it well.  It made my heart happy and I felt like it set the focus for our family in a season that is full to the brim of hustle and bustle.  So began our kindness advent.  We made a list and set out to do one act of kindness everyday in December leading up to Christmas.

Here’s how we did ours from last year…pulled from THIS POST)…ignore the not-so-great-pictures, I was working with a broken camera:)

**I don’t have a lot of room in our house, so I needed an advent that would not take up much space.  I decided on envelopes and today Harper and I made our official advent envelopes.  Here were our supplies:

Glue sticks, small clips, small paper bags (Hobby Lobby), number stickers, plain paper and patterned paper.

First we covered the front of bags with some patterned paper.

Then we cut out some small circles and added number stickers and then glued the circles to the front of the bags.  Josh and I had brainstormed earlier this week, so I re-wrote our ideas on individual pieces of paper.  I had to modify the original ideas because of the 3 small Kelleys.  Let’s face it…we would be a disaster trying to load someones groceries into their car…they may even pay us to leave them alone 🙂

Harper stuffed the envelopes.

Then I hung up our ribbon and attached the envelopes with the small clips.  Easy cheesy.

So that was last year.  This year I wanted to do a little something different because I want to leave up our thankful leaves until Christmas cards start rolling in.

So I bought these cheap little wire hanger things on Pick Your Plum and just clipped all my envelopes to them instead.  Super easy.

Sidenote:  If you do Pick Your Plum deals, go in with a friend and save on shipping.  Courtney and I are notorious Pick Your Plum groupies and it saves us money.  Insert fist bump here.

Here’s a list of lots of different options for your own Kindness Advent.

*Cupcakes to bank  *Leave encouraging notes or gift cards on cars  *Volunteer your time

*Buy someone’s breakfast/lunch/dinner  *Send flowers or giveaway flowers

*Doughnuts to school  *Take balloons and/or treats to hospital

*Pump someone’s gas  *Go caroling  *Carepacks for homeless  *Feed parking meters

*Leave a big tip  *Anonymous chalk art or door hangers  *Food gift cards for homeless

*Give gift card to shopper or leave in shopping carts  *Gift cards for single parent

*Birthday/Christmas bag drop *Make & leave bookmarks at library or bookstore

*Hide $1 bills at Dollar Tree  *Over pay for Contributor newspaper

*Sticky notes on public bathroom mirror  *Treat for Salvation Army bell ringer

*Donations to Crisis Pregnancy Center  *Tip drive-thru worker

*Muffins to pediatricians office  *Hold the door for shoppers  *Decorate someone’s porch or mailbox

*Leave change at laundromat  *Return shopping carts from parking lot

*Tape change to vending machine or bubble gum machines

*Pay strangers over due fees at library  *Gift wrap presents for free

*Treats for library workers  *Help a family for Christmas  *Do free yard work for someone

*Bag of groceries with recipes to a family  *Pass out candy canes  *Paint rocks and leave for others to find

*Popcorn, candy & movie rental bucket to a family *Babysit for couple/single parent

*Handmade cards to nursing home  *Pay for someone’s Santa picture

*Giveaway balloons/stickers/books to kids shopping w/parents

*Treat for mailman, post office workers, trash collector and/or police & fire station

*School supply donations to a classroom  *Bring up neighbors trash can

*Gift or flowers for custodian at school  *Give genuine compliments

*Card for loved one  *Pay for car behind you in drive thru line

*Mail handwritten letters of encouragement  *Pick up trash

*Coffee for people waiting for bus or outdoor workers  *Donate blood

*Treat for bus driver  *Donate non perishables to food pantry

*Gift card for all night gas station/store worker  *Share Sonic happy hour

*Leave surprises at playground (Coins, small toys, filled Easter eggs)  *Read to a classroom

Like last year, I will be documenting each day of our acts of kindness.  I cannot wait.  The kids are getting excited.  This year took a little more planning since Harper is in school and I wanted her to still be able to participate, but I think we took care of everything and planned well.  I hope you will join us.  It’s going to be fun.  Tis’ the season for kindness…you know you want to do it too.

Happy Wednesday.