Sunday, August 30, 2015


Oh my word.  I have the BEST friends on EARTH.  Sorry.  But really I do.  One of my all time favorites just celebrated her birthday and so we decided to have a 2-hour delay at The Home Builders Academy and go to the farm to celebrate!

It was last minute and it was totally casual and it was exactly the best thing to do.  We ALL loved it!


My other bestie Kellie came too and she got MUCH better camera (is my phone) drives me CrAZy!  One day....I'm gonna get a real camera!  Until then I will try my best to stop complaining!  Anyhoo---

We ate and we sang and we talked.  The kids played.

It was lovely.  We went out to dinner later that week to have a more proper celebration that included husbands and babysitters.  So that was fun!

Julia would not hear of us leaving without tomatoes.  So we both left with bags full!  Julia keeps my family well fed.  Honey, Eggs, Jams, Pies, Berries, Muscadines.....she truly spoils us!  This time was tomatoes and jalapenos, and basil.  All fresh from the farm.

Let me just say we will be singing her praises for some time. 

Breakfast has been scrambled eggs with fresh tomatoes and basil and a sprinkle of feta cheese.

Lunch has been BLT with her delicious tomatoes and a few leaves of basil for added flavor.

My freezer is stocked with Homemade Parmesan and Tomato Soup.
I Just have to warm it up and add the cream and the Parmesan.  Hello Fall!

My fridge is stocked with homemade salsa.  We had the salsa on our chicken tacos last night, its my friend Anna's recipe, and oh. my. goodness.  I could eat it by the spoonful.  It did have some kick with those jalapenos.


And guess what....I still have more today I'm going to can some tomato sauce!

What a blessing Julia is to my kitchen, my family, and my heart.

Love her.

However, I'm also just really thankful for friendship.  The living of life together.  The walking through the good and the bad.  Friendship is such a sweet gift from God.  We share recipes, time, tears, and truth.  Love that I have been so richly blessed with good friends!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Oh NO!

My sweet friend Kellie told a new friend Sara over a hot bowl of oatmeal early one morning as we were grasping to hold on to summer which was quickly waning, "Kim requires a certain level of authenticity in her relationships."

For some reason I keep thinking about her statement. 

People often say I'm sweet....nope. 

People say I'm patient.......not even a little. 

Yet Kellie's statement...Why was it haunting me?.....I think because it is TRUE.

I have 0. None. Nada. Zilch. tolerance for fakeness.  I cannot stand it.

What I did not realize is that this has been a bit of an area of pride.  Being real is a good thing right?  Requiring authenticity is a good standard. 

I love real.  I love messy.  I love authentic.  I love imperfection.  LOVE IT.  It is comfortable.  It is like coming home.  So if you are one of my people....and you know who you are....please know I see a genuineness in you that endures you to me.

Yet something else bothers me.....

Why do I get to decide who is fake and who is real?
For some reason I think I can know.  I hold the realness meter!

Yet now I'm beginning to wonder....Who set me up as judge?

What if these people aren't fake? 
What if they are wounded?  What if they are afraid?  What if they are more then meets the eye?

I think the Lord has allowed this very true statement about me reveal something deeper about me!

I am so quick to judge.  So quick!

My Kellie, meant nothing like that by her statement.  She was speaking truth.  She was stating a fact.  One I liked in fact.  Yet God used her statement to reveal more about my messed up self!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Goodbye Summer....Hello School

Today is the last day of summer break.  Tomorrow starts a new school year. 

Summer started with a day trip to the beach with a bunch of friends.

What a fun day!

June was filled with pool days and parties and movie nights.

Lots of Swim team.

July was spent at the beach.  Enjoying friends and family.


August has been restful.  Lots of sleeping in and preparing for a new year.  Meeting with our new co-op group and trying to figure out this new curriculum!  We've also had a lot of dancing.



Tomorrow our new fall routine starts.

School with a new co-op and a new curriculum.  I'm anxious to see how that goes!
There will be piano lessons resuming.  Clogging continuing.  Lydia has added dance.  Audrey has added gymnastics. 

Andrew will continue swimming and Sophia and Jackson will be joining in with him.

 Lydia has joined a Girl Talk group.  Sophia will continue hers. 

I'll be hosting a Bible Study on Tuesdays.  We are hoping to be involved in Home Fellowships on Sunday evenings.  Our time is filling up, but I'm excited at how it is filled.  I have a feeling this year is going to be a fast one!  Ready.....Set....Go!

Monday, August 10, 2015

19 Years

I don't remember meeting Randy.  I just remember knowing him.  My earliest memories of Randy are at Faith Alliance Church back in the early 80's.  I remember my Dad being his Sunday School teacher.  I remember doing cartwheels by the window waiting for my Dad to finish teaching.  I remember my Dad telling Randy that my light bulb clip would light up whenever I got a good idea.  I don't know how Randy ended up with that clip, but he still has it!

I remember having running races with him all the time, and winning.  He doesn't remember that!  I remember thinking he was the funniest boy I had ever met.  Crazy, but funny!  Then I remember how he would sit across the room in Children's Church and pull out his hair and show me the roots.  Attractive.

His family left the church several years before mine did and I didn't see him too much.  However, he rode the same bus as my best friend, Lora, in middle school.  I remember he and his friends would throw spitballs at us on the bus.

About the time I was 15 and he was 16 both our families were at the same church again, Ridgecrest.  We became friends and started dating when I was 17.  We only dated a few months and he broke up with me and went off to college in Florida.  I was still in high school.  I was really sad.  I remember telling my mom, I thought I was going to marry him.

A few months later he was back in Durham.  Florida did not work out, long....and somewhat funny (now) story. He was working at an Exxon while he was trying to figure what to do next and I wandered in late one night after cheering for a basketball game.  I was shocked to see him and he was shocked to see me and we became fast friends.  After being friends for most of that year we began to date just about the time we both started college.

A couple year later while we were still both in college we got married.  We were BABIES.  I was just 1 month shy of turning 21 and he had just turned 21.  It's hard to believe it has been 19 years.  Most have been good.  Year 1 was ROUGH, I really wondered what I had gotten myself into.  Year 4 was really sad, I wondered if I would ever be happy again.  Year 12 was hard, the building market crashed and we are still recovering! Year 17 wasn't the best.  But we've had a good run.  I'm glad we keep working at it.  I'm sure the next 19 years will have some rough, hard, sad, difficult times too.  It's good to know they pass.  Things do get better.  The bad doesn't last forever.  We've had 6 babies and buried 1. 

We've lived in  9 houses.  Randy has had 4 jobs.  We've buried 5 grandparents. We've changed churches.  We've had 2 cats, 3 dogs, countless fish, and a gerbil.   I've learned the proper way to cut an orange, and believe me that was not an easy lesson! He's learned who has the best crunchy ice and the correct ratio of ice to diet coke. 

The landscape of our lives has changed a lot in 19 years.  It has been busy and wonderful and heartbreaking and hard.  We've driven each other crazy.  We have made each other laugh and we have fussed and we have begun to learn about really loving one another. We have gotten some stuff right and a lot of stuff wrong. 

Most of our wedding gifts have now been replaced; Crockpots, toasters and blenders, pots, and pans.......I really do think couples should wait 20 years and THEN have a wedding shower!  Now I would make much better selections!

So to celebrate this year we aren't doing anything super fancy.  I think we will go out to dinner.  Andrew has an open house at school and Lydia has clogging.

I do know this.  I'm glad I married him.  He's gotten better with age.  I sure do love him.  Happy Anniversary Randy!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Weekly Update

It's been a lazy week at the Stewart house.  School is getting ready to start back.  We are about pooled out.  A lot of the kids friends are out of town.  So we have mostly just been home.  I've loved it.  The kids not as much!

Audrey and Andrew did get to go to Carowinds with Aunt Stacy.  They both had a great time.  Audrey won a turtle and named him squirrel.  Stacy takes all her nieces and nephews when they turn 8 as their gift.  I think it is such a nice gift.  She needed an extra set of hands because she had Audrey and Gray to take this year.  Andrew got the invite so he was more than happy to chaperon!

While they were off riding roller coasters I stayed home and did a lot of co-op work and we had piano lessons and clogging in the afternoon.

Tuesday was the day of checkups.  Both Audrey and Sophia had theirs.  Poor Sophia had to get 2 shots.  That was the worst of the appointment.  The best; she is officially taller then Mama.  She measured in at 5'6 1/2".  I'm 5'6......

Lydia started dance this week; hip hop, jazz, and lyrical. 

I let Sophia have a sleepover with her friend Joanna.  They had a lot of fun.  Lots of giggles!  I think they stayed up until about 4:00 am.  They were trying to follow in big brothers foot steps and stay up the entire night.  We are still recovering! 


We had a beginning of the school year co-op picnic at the park on Thursday.  It was hot!  I can't believe it's almost time to start back.  I need to get busy!  I am excited to work with these ladies and get to know these sweet families better!

Of course Andrew and Randy left on their big trip to DC to check out American.  They left late on Thursday and will get back tonight!  I'm ready to see them both.  They spent all day Friday on campus.  Andrew LOVES it and Randy says he thinks it may be the perfect fit.  Oh my!  It is a very hard school to get into so I am praying the Lord will either open or close doors.  His will is all I want. 

Saturday they toured the city, they are both such history buffs and Saturday night they went to a Nationals baseball game. 

Today they are going to worship at Capital Hill Baptist Church, have lunch on the mall, and head home!

Jackson has been surrounded by girls all week.  He is so over us.  He wants his Daddy home....NOW!

Audrey's big news: She FINALLY started gymnastics yesterday!  She smiled every. single. minute. of her class.  Adorable!
We have been doing some baking this week too.  Trying to stock up the freezer with goodies for all the days I won't have time to bake once school starts!

Andrew starts back to school on Wednesday.  We start the following Monday.  Can't believe summer is almost over!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Every mother of more than one child wonders how it can be possible for children born of the same parents, in the same home, in the same decade can be sooooo different.

I had to chuckle as I noticed my girls desks.  They each give a little glimpse at my very different girls.

Sophia's desk.....

Has not been touched.  Much better things to do.....

Lydia's desk.....

Setup and ready to go.  Everything just right.  Rules posted and believe me....they will be enforced.

Audrey's desk......

Professor Puppy (see name plate)!  My crazy, funny girl.  A bit of a mess.....but oh so fun!

Love all three!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

180 Days.......

So.....tomorrow Randy and Andrew pack up and head to the capital, not Raleigh....but THE in Washington, DC.

They are going on a college visit.

They are spending the whole weekend.  They are even visiting a church on Sunday that Andrew said he is going to if he goes to American.  Its called Capital Hill Baptist Church.  I don't want Andrew to move to DC.  Yet I've heard this church is phenomenal.  He wants to go.  How can I not want that.  I've had friends tell me their discipleship program amazing.  His life will be changed......I guess the truth is I want him right in the center of Gods will.  Wherever that is.  My boy loves history, law, the city.  I want him to follow God's plan.  Really I do.  Sigh.  I'm just going to miss him!

Then a week from Wednesday is his last first day of school (while he still lives at home). 

Then GO.....180 days.....DONE.

So what are we gonna do for those 180 days that are bound to FLY.....?

I am going to take LOTS of pictures.....we had our family pictures done at the beach this summer.  They are the last, professional, while all my babies are under my roof pictures.  I'm so glad we had them done.

I'm going to celebrate everything and go to all his swim meets and cheer loud. 

I'm going to talk to him.  I'm going to tell him everything I can think to tell him; the kind of man I hope he will be, the importance of good friendships, why I love him, why I love his Daddy, how proud I am of him. 

I'm gonna let him go. I'm gonna let him practice being grown while he is still home. 

I'm going to buy him stuff; stuff for his dorm room, a bike, luggage, a sweatshirt for whatever college he decides to go to, gift cards to restaurants, a cozy blanket, a frame for a picture of his Mama....I mean family....

I'm also going to save quarters.  I'm sending him off with lots of quarters.

I'm going to plan a big party to celebrate.  A party with food and friends and family.

I'm going to cook for him a lot.  Steaks and potatoes and cookies.

I know this.  I tried from the beginning to parent with the end in mind.  The end is coming quick!  I did my best, and it was not good enough.  I messed up so much.  However, that boy KNOWS he is loved.  He KNOWS our love for him is not dependent on his behavior or performance.  He KNOWS his Mama is a sinner.  He KNOWS Christ is our only salvation.   So.......

I'm going to kiss him goodbye each morning, listen to his day each evening, and I may start tucking him in again.....I only have 180 more days.....or so.....

Deep breath.......

Sunday, August 2, 2015

One of my favorites....

So I don't often want stuff.  I have plenty.  However, once in a while....I really fall in love with something....

A year and half ago or so I went to my friend Linda's house to pick up Sophia.  She had slept over with Linda's daughter JoJo.  It was my first time in her home.  I immediately noticed several pieces of art. 

They were all done by an artist named Nikki McClure.  The pictures are all some snippets of everyday life.  Each piece of art has a verb on it. 

So I FINALLY ordered some.  Mine came in the mail yesterday.  Now they are hanging throughout my house.

In the School Room







In the Kitchen

This one reminds me of the day my friend Julia came over and taught me how to make pie crust.  Now its my children sneaking in to pinch a bit. LOVE.

Over my Bathtub


By the Front Door

Congregate.  I adore this print.  It is my life.

Stuff doesn't usually matter too much to me.....However I do like these pictures!  They make me happy!

Saturday, August 1, 2015


So I've been working a lot on the issue of fear.  I never thought of myself as a fearful person.  I would kill spiders and I would run out and get things out of the car after dark.  I even jumped off the high dive at the pool.  Despite these heroic feats of bravery I've discovered, much to my chagrin, that I am indeed fearful.  1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

God's word is so true....

"Fear has to do with punishment".  My mind works a bit like this:

If I let my kids swim in the ocean (fear) then they will be eaten by sharks (my punishment).

If I don't check all my kids electronic correspondences (fear) then they will become addicted to online gambling/video games/porn/or fill in the blank (my punishment)

If I let Andrew drive the kids to the bowling ally (fear) then they will get in a wreak and die (my punishment)

If I send my kids to school (fear) then they will not walk with the Lord (my punishment).

And on and on and on the list goes......

A side note of great that I am REALLY bad at predicting the future.  For example, my kids did swim in the ocean and they did not get eaten by sharks!  In the Bible if a prophet made one wrong prediction they became known as a false prophet......I've made a lot of wrong predictions.....


Why am I so afraid?  Lots of reasons.  I had a couple big, scary, and disappointing surprises in my childhood and adolescence.  I don't want to tell other peoples stories so I'll just leave it at that, but it was the perfect breeding ground for a life lived in fear.  I decided early I would be prepared.  I was not going to be surprised.  So I read crime stories.  I watched crime TV.  I gathered information.  Come hell or high water I would be ready.  I also decided I was going to be a great parent.  I would know what was going on with my kids.  Not only was I prepared but I ran a tight and well surveyed ship. 

Except.....guess what?  My kids are growing up.  One is leaving home next year.  He won't be by my bedroom to plug in his phone each night.  He won't be available for a daily debrief.  I'm going to have to trust him, which means I'm going to have to trust God.  I'm going to have to give my kids room to mess up. So these are the questions I'm asking:

What if I trust God to reveal what I need to know and I rest in that?

What if they mess up big?  Will it ruin their lives?

What if I miss something?  Does that mean I'm a bad parent?

What if I stop watching and reading and researching crime and I'm not ready when tragedy happens?  Can God handle it or does he need me on my game?

So I have given up my reading and TV habit.  It is not easy!  Old habits die hard.  Baby. Steps.

A wise woman told me that I will have to grow in my love and view of Christ for my trust of him to grow.  I know in my head that God is good and does what is good. I've even experienced it. Now I need to trust that in my heart and not fear the punishment of not being a perfect parent.  As my trust in Christ grows my fear will weaken.  So I'm spending more and more time in the word and it is helping.

In addition to scripture I'm reading a great book called, Running Scared, Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward Welch

Here are a few quotes,

"When our feelings conflict with God's communication we must side with Gods interpretation.  Any other decision puts us above God."

So my prayer is for humility.  To see myself rightly and to see God rightly. 

Is rightly a word?

"Fears and worries live in the future, trying to assure a good outcome in a potentially hard situation.  The last thing they want to do is trust anyone.  God included.  To thwart this tendency towards independence, God gives us what we need when we need it."

This is the rub.  God does not promise my fears won't come true.  He does not promise I will die before my loved ones.  He does not promise a comfy life.  He does ALWAYS provide manna.  New every morning.

"Most fear links to our doubts about God's generosity and attention to detail."

How can I doubt?  He has been so good and I know he is a God of the details.  Hello February 10.  Still.....I doubt.

Here is my favorite....It's the kicker. It's long...but it's good.

"Left to yourself, you would bubble-wrap everything valuable to you and invest in armed security.  There is nothing inherently wrong in wanting to protect your assets, but we already know that anything that smacks of being tightfisted or self-protective is at odds with the freedom and generosity of the kingdom of God.  A withholding lifestyle means that we don't believe that there will be manna tomorrow.  We don't believe we will be given enough grace."