Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

I have been told a lot lately that Hope looks a lot like I did as a baby and while I don't have much from my childhood, I did have a couple of Cabbage Patch dolls and one of them was wearing this dress that was mine as a baby. My heart leaps for joy.

Can you believe she is NINETEEN months old? I can't. She is so amazing. She is still just over 18 pounds but is a feisty one! She is smart as a whip and is already speaking sentences and I can already tell you we are gonna have our hands full with her!

I praise God daily for her and the miracle He has done in her...AND she is finally OFF Prevacid! She has been on it since she was 6 weeks old and we have taken her off a few times to no avail...she typically quits eating and sleeping both of which are a struggle anyway and she cannot afford to lose weight. Her prescription (that is ridiculously expensive) was getting ready to need a refill and we thought hey, let's try once more and see if she still needs it...well that was two weeks ago and she has been mostly sleeping through the night since (which she was NOT doing before) and is eating like a champ!

Praising Him for the little things as well as the big!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Are You a Sheep, or Are You a Goat?

I will be honest. I have had it on my heart to write this post for weeks, and yet I have been dragging my feet because it is hard. I have committed to reading through the entire Bible this year and the plan I am on has me reading from the New and Old Testament daily as well as Proverbs and Psalms. I have never been really good at making myself sit down and read the Bible each day but I have to say somehow this plan has me motivated. Anyway, in my daily reading, I am finding myself challenged each day often by things I know I have read before, but it is hitting me differently now.

My heart has been so broken lately. After reading Matthew, there were several verses that hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart is so stirred and my hunger to devour His word has been reignited. That said, my heart is also broken. Broken because many of us live with a false sense of security. We think that if we say the "Sinner's Prayer", and are basically a good person, our ticket to Heaven is guaranteed. This could not be further from the truth. God is very specific in warning us that this is not the case.

It is a hard message to deliver, but I feel this intense sense of urgency to get this message out. Too many of us are living under a false sense of security. We are talking the talk but not walking the walk. God is really pressing these things on my heart, both for MYSELF and for you.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14

He is telling us here that there are two gates. A narrow gate, and a wide gate. The narrow gate leads to Heaven, to eternal life and the wide gate leads to destruction. He also tells us that MANY find the wide gate and yet few find the narrow. Kind of unsettling isn't it? I mean, I think that today in Christianity we have created this "Middle Road" because we are "basically" good people, you know, we aren't going around stealing and killing people, BUT we also don't want to submit ourselves to radical obedience like the Lord calls us to, so we kind of take this middle road. We go to church, we tithe what we can, we serve on committees and pray before meals. Surely God will look upon us with favor right? Not so much. There is NO middle road. It is either RADICAL obedience or destruction. He doesn't care if we are "basically good people who go to church". He calls us to obey his command.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-20).

Here we are being warned again. It does not matter how our lives LOOK on the outside. God has no use for Pharisees. We are called to be righteous, to choose the commandments of God over the Commandments of men. We are called to surrender ALL, not part, but ALL of our lives to Him. ALL of our day. As I sit and reflect on my days, I can say with great certainty that most days I do not live out radical obedience to the Lord. I think mostly about MY comforts and MY wants and My needs and let's be honest, TRUE Biblical Christianity is not about self. In fact it is about the opposite, it is about denying self. It is about giving beyond what makes you comfortable, it is about taking risks. It is about TRULY loving others MORE than you love yourself. I can also tell you that through my time with the Lord and my reading of His Word, I yearn to live my life the way HE wants. I want to wake up daily and die to myself. I want to pick up my cross and follow wherever He leads. I can tell you there are going to be some BIG changes in the Bolte Household in the coming year as we take the focus OFF of ourselves and aim it directly at the ONLY ONE who matters.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” Matthew 7: 21-23

What this verse is telling us folks is the cold hard truth. One day, we will all sit before Him and he will separate the sheep (righteous) from the goats (wicked), and the scary thing is that the Bible tells us that many who think they were sheep, will in fact be called out as goats. Choosing Christ is not about a man made "sinner's prayer" it isn't about going to church or tithing your leftovers.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

If we have TRULY given our hearts over and allowed the Holy Spirit FREE REIGN, we can't help but be different people. We live differently and we act differently. We should WANT to obey his EVERY command and not find excuses for not obeying them. IF in fact our hearts are changed, our own sin should cause us to mourn. It should cause us to repent and make the changes needed to live a righteous life. I am not saying anyone is perfect here and I will be the first to admit that it is easier to type these words about what you should do than to live it out myself. But the day is coming. The Bible warns us that many of us are living with a false sense of security in our salvation, we think we are basically good people who are living a good life. We think the Kingdom of Heaven is ours, and yet He tells us we have to give it all. We have to TURN FROM SIN. We have to CHOOSE to follow Him and not man. It is a narrow road. There is NO middle road, it is RADICAL obedience or disobedience. PERIOD. No in between, and when the day comes, will you be a sheep, or will you be a goat?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I first want to start this post, as a former teacher, with a husband who IS a public school teacher by saying that I LOVE the little community school that my kids are able to attend. It is the same little school that Howard and I both went to and I love it there. I volunteer on Wednesdays and am always blessed by being in the building. The teachers are TOP notch and their love for the children is so evident. The worries of political correctness seem not to apply to our little school and my heart leaps as I walk down the hall and hear "God Bless America" sung by little voices either along with a record player (I am tellin' ya...old school) or the teacher's piano accompaniment. Luke has the SAME teacher Howard and I both had and we LOVE LOVE LOVE her.

I LOVE this school. That said, I have a stirring in my heart that I just can't ignore any longer. Each year since we started sending Luke to school (two years) we have prayed on whether to send him to school or school him at home. Last year we even attended a Cyber School open house just to explore our options. We have always held the view that Luke should go to school because he could be a light and maybe be a positive influence on others there. God does in fact call us to be a light to a dark world. I have to say though, that I am feeling convicted that I need to equip him to be a light. He is not ready to be held to that kind of accountability yet. I will go so far as to say that in college I wrote a VERY convincing paper likening homeschooling to child abuse. I is funny how the Lord works on your heart.

Anyway, I am struggling with the decision of sending Luke to school next year. I have been feeling torn. Luke is in first grade and is reading above a third grade level. The teachers are doing all they can to accommodate him but let's be honest they have two dozen other kids some of whom cannot read at all to worry about. Luke is losing his zest for learning and is getting lazy.

Luke gets off the bus at 4:30 which gives me approximately 3 and a half hours with him in the evening. This year his only REAL homework is typically to read for fifteen minutes which we are cool with because we read to the kids every night before bed anyway so signing his agenda is just a formality. I do know that there is homework to come in the next grade. I spoke with some folks at the school today who confirmed my fear for next year. I am not okay with my child spending 8 hours in school and coming home to another hour of work. He is seven. He needs to play. He needs to run and jump and be with his family. We need family time.

Research shows that homework does not necessarily help a student gain academic success. The teachers I have spoken to have said that a huge reason for their assigning homework is to encourage parents to take an active role in their child's education. I get that. I do that. My issue is that Luke spends eight hours in school with 25ish minutes of gym class per week and 20ish minutes of recess which is held indoors largely through the months of December through March. So they aren't REALLY active. We wonder why students are obese. I digress. I want Luke to have time for play and imagination and family fun. Honestly by the time he gets off the bus at 4:30, we have dinner clean up, have baths and do the bedtime routine, there is really only about an hour of time left over. This year his homework consists of reading aloud for at least fifteen minutes which I am totally on board with and the occasional project that I also enjoy. Next year we are slated for a different course.

I have no intention of shielding Luke from this world which is the reason I assumed all people home schooled (which is why we shouldn't assume). I just really want to make the most of the time I do have with him. We all know that we are not promised tomorrow. I want to squeeze every ounce out of today. I LOVE being with my kids and watching them learn and creating new avenues for them to learn from. I believe that kids learn more from play and experience than anything else.

As a product of public school myself I have to say I think I am pretty well educated. I think the school system was good to me and school was my constant safe place to be. I loved school. Still do. One thing I DO wish is that someone would have said to me, "Kristy, it is okay to do whatever your heart tells you. It is okay to go to college, or not. It is okay to simply desire to raise a family one day" I struggle because I feel called to be home with my kids but am paying on student loans. The closer I have grown to the Lord, the farther I have gone from my desire to have a career and build a life for MYSELF. Life now is not about my own happiness or fulfillment. It is about my family and in turn I am happy and fulfilled. I LOVE being home with my kids and there is NOTHING better than being exactly where you feel God has called you. :)

I know that Howard struggles immensely with being a teacher in a public school. He feels his hands are tied in so many ways. He sees kids who need to know Jesus. Who need to know it doesn't matter how smart they are, how cool they are or how good looking they are. He loves them all. They need to know that it is not important to succeed and make lots of money. It is important to give it all to Him and be His hands and Feet. Howard struggles with feeling that he is doing his students a disservice by not telling them the Truth.

All this to say, I feel that God MIGHT be calling me to step outside my box and let go of my previously very judgemental views of homeschooling and follow Him as I teach and raise my own children. I am scared. This is just ONE facet of my life He is working on and I just want to be obedient. SO, I would GREATLY appreciate prayer on this. I want to do what He would have me do. I want to do what is best for Luke and for our family. If I can school him in a fraction of the time needed in school and spend the rest of the time instilling values, play and learning experiences, what am I so afraid of?

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Isaiah 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Most of my reasons for dragging my feet on this seem silly. Have any of you struggled with this decision?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas 2010 Fun!

Christmas Eve PJs were a HIT!

Woody and Buzz

Woody ROCKED it out on his guitar on Christmas morning.

Daddy and Hope feeding the reindeer on Christmas Eve

My favorite four year old feeding the reindeer

Hope (on no pants Friday) watching Nemo

In front of the tree at Church



My two kings ;)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Motherless Mother

This week marks 23 years since my mother took her own life. I have spent MORE than twice as long on this earth without her as I did with her. This morning I woke with a heavy heart. It is strange. I was nine years old when she died. I really don't have a lot of memories of her. You know how people say, "Your kids won't remember how clean the house was, but they WILL remember that you played with them?" Yeah, not so true. I remember a clean house. My mom struggled with mental illness for a long time I think. She was a perfectionist. Everyone knew that, they knew she drove herself nuts keeping a clean house, clean/well groomed girls, and did all of the mom and wife things to the extreme. Little did everyone know she REALLY was being driven nuts.

Sometimes it pains me to think that she was so tormented for so long and no one noticed. She was obviously hurting, trying to compensate and in turn losing herself. I really don't remember my mom as a joyful person, rather a stressed person. Sometimes I worry about being JUST like her. I try so hard to make the most of every moment and I want every moment to be picture perfect.

Growing up without her was tough. Every milestone seemed to sting with her absence. High School, College, dating, marriage, kids, loss...all of those stages in my life were laced with sadness that I did NOT have my mother to share any of those things with. I really thought things would improve over time.

Wrong again. Since becoming a mother myself, the loss of my own mom is so tough. As I sit up in the middle of the night rocking a crying baby, I often find myself crying, wishing I had my own mom to call for reinforcement. With every lost tooth, achievement and milestone her absence is felt. On the days when I feel like a complete failure and I am surely messing my kids up for good, and I just need to get out of the house to breathe, she isn't there.

Being a motherless mother has shaped my parenting it has made me realize that no matter how short I fall, my presence matters. I also have to admit though that with that comes a whole different fear. As I approach the age my mom was when she died I find myself fearing dying and leaving my kids is honestly a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone.

That said, it is a fear I have been working hard to lay down before the Lord. I have to know that while I want my kids to have my love and support as they grow and experience life, I also have to know that in the grand scheme of things, His presence is what really matters. So while I grieve the loss of my own mom and pray to be a loving presence in the lives of my own kids, I pray even harder that my kids grow up to know HIM as their Heavenly Father. The parent who will never let them down, never leave them and never forsake them. He is the constant. All else is fleeting. I wish I had known Him as a child, but am eternally grateful that I do now. As I sit in the rocking chair crying and rocking my baby in the middle of the night, missing my mom, I am reminded that He is there. He is right there with us, He has blessed us and brought us to where we are. He is ALL we need.

The Bible tells us to love God above all else. Above our children, our mothers, fathers, wives and husbands. The Bible even goes so far as to tell us to hate our mothers, fathers, children etc. And while I don't think this is to be taken literally, since God commands us to LOVE one another, I think what Jesus is saying here is that in comparison to our love for Him, the love we have for our loved ones should look like hate. Our love for God should be SOOOOOOO far above all others that even our love for the ones we love most in this world should look like hate in comparison. That is a strong statement He is making.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

As I think about what Jesus is telling us here and I examine my life, I cannot say that I have been living this way. I do miss my mother and my boys and it is excruciating. But losing Him would wreck me. It is BECAUSE of Him that I am able to keep on keepin' on. It is because of HIS love for me that I desire to share that love with others for as long as He would have me walk this earth.

So while I grieve the immense losses in my life, I am also reminded that I have much. I have much to be thankful for and much to PRAISE Him for. It is sad and heart breaking to lose the ones we love, but it is nothing short of TRAGIC that there are people out there that do not know the UNCONDITIONAL, unending love of their Savior. That breaks my heart. To know that there are people enduring hardship without hope, people who are suffering and struggling and trying to go at it alone. A love that is so freely given to EVERYONE no matter what they look like, what they have done or what they will do is found in Him and yet so many out there are lost. Today I will praise Him for who HE is and for his unending love and I will pray for those who have not yet found Him, and pray for him to use ME to be His hands and feet. To take the Gospel and share His GOOD news!

Being a motherless mother is is hard. Loss is painful, and He is holding us through it all. We have one parent who will NEVER leave us or let us down. For that my heart leaps for joy.

Monday, January 3, 2011


As a part of our reflection of 2010 and quest for growth in Him in 2011, Howard and I have committed to joining the "Radical Experiment". Radical is a book written by David Platt. I bought it for Howard for his birthday and he plowed right through it and I am working on it now. We have really been becoming more and more convicted of the idea that so many of us are caught up in achieving the "American Dream" that we are losing sight of why we are really here. We aren't here to store up treasures for ourselves here on earth. We aren't here to live a comfortable life full of material things and sunshine and bubbles. We are here to make a difference. Jesus came to earth and lived the example of how we are to live and yet most of us aren't doing it.

It is hard. We struggle with it daily. We desperately want to be more like Jesus, but shiny objects draw us in. As part of our effort to change the way we think and go all out for Him we will be joining this "Movement".

"The price is certainly high for people who don’t know Christ and who live in a world where Christians shrink back from self-denying faith and settle into self-indulging faith. While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the Gospel remain in the dark"
— David Platt

We are committed to five things for this year. Here is what they are:

1. To pray for the entire world.
2. To read through the entire Word.
3. To sacrifice your money for a specific purpose.
4. To give your time in another context.
5. To commit your life to a multiplying community.

I am going to try to blog as we do these things, about our struggles, victories and thoughts. I am so excited to see how God uses our family this year. We feel big things on the horizon. BIG things.