Kristen is a work-in-progress daughter, Air Force wife, enthusiastic mama and freelance writer. She is a joy hunter-downer who writes of looking upward for fresh-air encouragement at Chasing Blue Skies (http://chasingblueskies.net) and at DaySpring's (in)courage (http://incourage.me). She and her husband David have 3 precious young'uns, twin sons (age 12) and a daughter (age 8). Kristen and her family enjoy their home under the wide-blue-skies of glorious Colorado.
Posts by Kristen Strong
The air moved thick with anticipation of summer?and?our family’s Disney vacation. Before the big departure day arrived, I asked one of my favorite Orlando girls,?Stacey, what non-obvious essentials we should pack. She replied with many helpful ideas but told me no matter what I brought, definitely?leave expectations of a perfectly magical vacation at home.
I took her words to heart. And lo and behold, once I left the pie-in-the-sky-expectations outside my heart’s luggage, there was so much more room to relax and enjoy.?Because?real?magic happens when you forget grand ideals and embrace reality.?And the reality is family vacations?will?include cranky moods, tired behavior More >
My husband hauls down the red and green Rubbermaids of Christmas happy, and the kids and I busy ourselves decorating. I love pulling out the decorations from their 11 month home almost as much as placing them around the house. Those 4 tidy little containers nestle an accurate sampling of our family’s history in memories.
When I pick out Christmas gifts for others, I like to get something that represents a bit of their own history or who they are now. Thinking ?how best to do this, I discover 6 things we can give?for nothing that mean everything. And the best part? No More >
The Strong family did something I thought we’d never do, and it wasn’t even prompted by eating our weight in Thanksgiving deliciousness: We joined a gym. Or rather, we joined a super fancy fitness center and spa, which is really just a gym with every bell and whistle known to man. We’ve been members of nuts-and-bolts gyms before, but we joined this fitness center because our girl’s swim team practices there, and it is significantly cheaper to be on swim team if we are “club members.”
When I people watch at this fitness center, I see brawny dudes who swagger like they own More >
This original Oklahoma girl received oceans of cultural lessons during the Hawaii years. One of those centered around birthday parties.?Unlike here on the mainland, kids in Hawaii don’t open birthday gifts in front of their friends. Gifts are opened privately out of respect for different financial situations and giving abilities and to avoid the comparison trap. So you leave birthday parties full of Kalua pork, cabbage, poi, birthday cake, and a generous helping of the ohana spirit. But you won’t get to take the reaction the child had to the gifts with you.
For me, this tells the story of true More >
When her eyes land on the flowery ocean blue swim cap, she lights up.?A friend has offered to buy her first swim cap as a gift, and she emailed two options for Faith to peruse. The first one is solid teal, and she liked it, too. But this colorful, bright-as-a-peacock second choice wins my feisty daughter over.
“How much does each cost?”?Faith asks me before taking a bite of breakfast eggs.
I point to the price on the screen.
When she sees her favorite costs more, her lit-up face dims. She sighs and says,?“Oh well then, I probably should pick the other one More >
?”The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” ?~Corrie ten Boom
A couple months ago, my husband and I watched the Navy Seals movie, Act of Valor. Or rather, my husband watched while I squirmed and covered my eyes and left the room more than once because holy harshness, it is?intense. Not in a sensational, violence-for-the-sake-of-violence way, but in a real, this-is-what-their-job-looks-like way. Because there is no sidestepping the plain ugly truth: Lots of folks?don’t like Americans and the freedom we stand for. They are willing to give their lives to end both.
But our military veterans? More >