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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Back to School...

Here in Mississippi the calendar has turned to a new school year. The kids started back on Monday of this week and as usual, we have started full force!



Koby and Kamdyn were all smiles on their first morning. He is starting his senior year and she is starting her sophomore year.




For the first time in a very long time I only packed two lunches!! In my new motivation to be on time and organized, I made lunches the night before (minus the sandwiches). This lasted exactly one night! But it was a good idea...

Kamdyn has already had her first soccer game and plays again tomorrow. Koby plays in his first scrimmage this Friday! Clearly, we are back to normal and to be honest I find some comfort in that.

This new school year is bringing with it many changes and if you know me, you know change is not my favorite thing! However, one thing I a am very excited about is this...






... I am teaching 7th grade Bible this year. I have 21 students and we will spend the first semester learning about the book of Judges. So, I have brushed up on my biblical history, which means that Old Testament class I have taken has paid off!! I am really looking forward to it and so far, so good.

Last night the school celebrated Ram Pride Night, having games and food then introducing all of the fall sports teams. I didn't get to take that many pictures, which I am extremely upset about. However, I did get this one and couldn't resist sharing it here...





...Koby and Anna in the photo booth last night! I hate his jersey is covered up because he is proudly wearing #2 this year! (Gig'em)

So, off we go to a new year with an opportunity to make more memories!! We drop Brendan off at Alabama Friday and I will be posting all about it once I recover. Also, Brian retired Aug. 1 and I will be including pictures from it in an upcoming post.

Tonight, I am enjoying everyone under one roof for just two more nights, before things really change. Hope things are well where you are....


Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Time.....

It is so hard to believe that summer is almost over. I know for some of you, there are still a few more weeks to go but here in Mississippi we will be starting school two weeks from today. When I was a child, summer seemed to last forever.

There were unending days of Barbies, followed by more Barbies and then we played Barbies.

If I was honest I would tell you I was doing that at 12 and 13!!

The weeks were hot and unending as we waited for Labor Day to come bring us our signal to start back back to school. Clearly that is not the case now as an adult.

So, I was thinking I would share a glimpse into our summer as we get ready to set out for school supplies soon. And of course I will do it through pictures because that is the best way to talk about things!

One of the things that happened early in the summer was Freshman Orientation with Brendan...


...and I snapped this picture, which has certainly raised eyebrows back home in Texas! I mentioned in my previous post how relieved and grateful I was when we met Brendan's roommate. At Orientation I also became grateful for whoever invented Clorox wipes because after I saw that dorm room I wanted to run to Sams and buy a case of wipes!! That might be best discussed in another post. He and Ellie had an awesome time seeing the campus and I know they are excited about starting their college years. (They move in Aug. 15 so prayers are once again appreciated!)

Kamdyn went home to Texas in mid-June and I snapped this picture when we met Kelly to pick her up...


...because you can tell these girls love their Kamdyn! She had a great visit with Gran and all the cousins and enjoyed her time in College Station before we made her come back home.

Then some of the cousins got together for a swim...


...and I had a flashback to the days my boys argued over who could swim the link of the pool the fastest or who had the best dive - or maybe it really happened all over again and I saw them as 7 and 8 instead of 17 and 18!

Before getting to Texas Koby went on a mission trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with our youth group. Koby loves mission trips and this year he was especially excited about going because he wanted this picture...





...standing proud in front of Rocky! Koby has loved the Rocky movies since he was a little boy and I really believe standing in front of that statue will forever be a life highlight for him. I was ready to see him after spending 10 days away from us, and I think Brendan was too. He is not used to being the only child after all!

Also while we were in Texas we ate at Stanley's, a BBQ place that is so good it can go by just one name! This was my sandwich and one rib.


What you can't see is a picture of Brian's sandwich named the Mother Clucker! It was amazing as was everything else we ate. So, if you are ever in Tyler stop at Stanley's. You won't be disappointed!

After we got back home, Kamdyn and I did something really wild and crazy...




...a 5K Color Run!! I had to convince her this would be great fun and I let her bring a friend to increase the fun! By the start of the second mile I was trying to convince myself running a 5K in July was truly fun!! We didn't run the whole thing, but we did finish the race and we weren't in last place so in my book I count that a positive experience. And all the color does make it a little more fun! I think we will do it again - in the fall!

Speaking of running, I use an App on my phone when I walk and/or run. I took a break from this while we were in Texas and this is what the handy App had to say about that...

Basically, I did do a few things in the middle of this but I didn't log onto my App. Clearly I was missed and it is good to know I have accountability!

Brian and I celebrated July 4th with Kamdyn and a friend of hers!





We also spent time together doing one of our favorite summer activities ....


.... canning pickles! I also shelled some peas which is something I enjoy. I feel like we could grow our own garden one day, but maybe we will just stick to the Farmers Market and Produce Stands because they don't require me to pick weeds!

Last week Kamdyn and I went to Cheer Camp...


...and this is my group of girls for the upcoming school year!They did a great job at camp and won first place in their division!! Cheer camp is always long days and little sleep at night, but I enjoy spending time with the girls and this group certainly kept me entertained!

SOOOO, that's our summer time in pictures with just a few weeks left to go. I love the slow pace of summer and I can already tell we are slowly shifting into the next gear. Kamdyn has her first soccer game next Friday and Koby started football practice this evening. Brendan is checking off his list for college and Brian is getting ready to start his new job. So time marches on and I hold on to these last few weeks of sweet summer time.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Praise the Lord....

Clearly I was in fact not back to blogging!

Sadly, it has taken almost two months for me to log back and on and write. The pace of summer has been friendly to our family and we have been able to enjoy slowing down a bit. There has been somewhat of a revolving door at our house over the last six weeks as the kids have been to camps and mission trips and visited family and friends and there are still more camps and trips to squeeze in before school starts. I feel like I could write 5 or 6 posts all in this one blog post but today I mostly wanted to write to offer praise to the Lord.

I have decided that when God answers your prayers it is the most humbling experience. As a child I might have confused prayer requests with a list for Santa, praying I needed my parents to give me that new pair of Guess jeans or I needed that 100 on the Chemistry test that I studied 5 minutes for. I think as I grew older I confused prayer requests with gossip, like most good Baptist tend to do. I'll pray for her because look at how her children behave or I'll pray for those people because what a mess of a marriage. However, in the last few years I have found a renewed sense of understanding when it comes to prayer.

It is no secret on the blog that I wore God's ear out on praying for Brendan a roommate! And Ellie, too for that matter. I just could imagine all sorts of strange and weird children that could possibly be paired up with either one of them and then how would college go? I mean, in my mind, I had thought of all kinds of scenarios!

So, God convicted me of worry and I began to lay that burden down and just pray, pray and pray. In June, we had dinner with Brendan's roommate and I can't even begin to tell you the sigh of relief I felt when I saw this very normal family waiting on us in the restaurant. As we talked with them I began to feel more comfortable and at peace with the whole college dorm experience. I remember driving home that night and literally feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. And then it hit me....God answered my prayers.

I kind of wander if He thought "enough of Kristy Bailey! Take this roommate and move on sister!"

Kind of like what we do as parents when our kids just finally wear us down and we give in to that kitten because after ten thousand requests you just give out. And give in.

So, that was one prayer answered. But honestly, it didn't end there for me. For the last year and especially the last six months, Brian and I have been in limbo with his retirement from the military and what that would look like and how it would work. I began to pray God would just open doors for us and show us where He wanted us to be. We didn't know if we would stay here in Columbus, if a job would open up, if we would be able to afford to give the kids iPhones and cars and the things they have been accustomed to. Again I was convicted of worry, and I would daily and sometimes hourly lay down my worry and burden for our future at the foot of the cross. I prayed God would lead us, strengthen us and place us where He wanted us.

It was not easy!

Nobody works to keep people guessing like the military. Every week was a new turn and at times I wondered at the way the path was leading. Over and over again I would say to myself, "Trust in the Lord, Trust in the Lord."

Brian interviewed for a job in early June and by shortly after that they extended him an offer! But, the timing had to be just to right to take it. Paperwork on his behalf was scattered all over the country, literally, and people we will never meet were making decisions on his future in the military and in the civilian world. We began to ask people to pray for us and with us, that the timing would work out for him to retire and accept this new job. It would be something only God could do because the odds were not in our favor.

We finally got an answer on June 27, and slowly our future began to have clarity. At least for this upcoming school year, which seems to be how I measure everything.

And again, I stand amazed and humbled at the way God answers my prayers. Brian and I sat in a meeting just last week where the lady told us, "nobody thought this would happen" and "we don't know how this came through". I thought to myself, "lady I know because I am a child of the One True King" and great is His faithfulness to me.

So today, in the words of the Psalmist I say, "let everything that has breath praise the Lord." I have learned to praise Him in times of worry and in times where I doubted if He was really listening. I have learned to trust in a way that has grown my faith to a deeper level, and I am confident that "He who has began a good work will be faithful to complete it", even as that completion takes a long time or has the face of normal people.

I have much more to write about and I really hope to be more faithful to the blog. But for now, I wanted to take the opportunity to Praise the Lord for all He has done for us and to encourage you to cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.

"I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever." Psalm 145:1

Monday, May 19, 2014

The start of something new....

You know when time just totally gets away from you? Well, the last two months have done exactly that for me. I can't believe it has been over two months since I sat down to blog and some of you may have appreciated the break from the Bailey's. It hasn't been that I haven't thought about blogging because I totally love to go on and on about what we are up to.

Basically, I can compare the last two months to swimming in the ocean {not that I swim in the ocean because that would really mess up my hair but just pretend with me!}. You know how the waves just keep coming, just keep knocking you off your feet and you think the next one won't be that bad but then it comes and it knocks you over again? I don't have firsthand experience in this but I have seen it happen when I people watch from my tanning spot!

Well the last two months have brought many waves to our household and there have been a few times I have been knocked off my feet. In late February Brian and I began discussing the fact that I felt God really calling me to seminary. We had talked about this a few times over the last two years and I had done everything to escape the call except just saying one simple word: YES. So, in all of my excitement to finally walk in obedience I signed up to start classes at the end of March thinking the spring is usually my calmest time of the year and knowing I would be done with my first session before facing graduation. This is what I started with....



...and why I was even shocked that the devil would arrive shortly after this box of books is beyond me! My spring exploded into committee meetings, track meets, prom, changes at our beloved school and ultimately walking through graduation with our oldest child. I am the first to admit I could possibly have been overly ambitious with these first classes but I loved every bit of it, even the research papers and projects. However, I also learned too much is just too much and so I am going to slow down for the summer and take less classes.

Typically our kids participate in track as their spring sport and I love to go to the track meets mostly because they do bring back some old memories, like the fake knee injury I usually pulled around lap 6 of the 2 mile run. Kamdyn did really well this year in the shot put...


.... she placed first in the district and barely missed placing high enough at North State to qualify for State. Not bad for a freshman! Brendan also had a good final track season advancing all the way to the State track meet with his 4x800 relay team. They ended up 4th in the state, which was a great accomplishment!

Oh and then we had Prom, which deserves its very own post I am sure. I can't go without sharing at least one picture of the boys with their girls...






....which both looked absolutely gorgeous!

And somewhere in the middle of all of this I prepared for graduation and all that would come with it. We planned a senior picnic for the last day the class would be at school together, a senior dinner with seniors and their families, Sports Banquet, Senior Chapel, graduation parties and then the fun of invitations and going through pictures for slide shows.


 Sports Banquet





Senior Chapel - He was named Outstanding Student of his class

And it all happened faster than I could blink my eyes and here we were this past weekend watching our son graduate...




Giving the introduction for the guest speaker

It was such a special weekend with all of our family here in town to celebrate with us! Certainly this day deserves its own blog post in order to convey all the emotion that goes along with graduation but I wanted squeeze in how truly special this weekend was for our family! To have all of our family in town to celebrate with Brendan was such a blessing and it reminds me of how thankful I am for the family God placed me in. After all, not many grandmothers would take the time to make this kind of cake...

Pops, Brendan and Gran with money cake

....and even BUY an Alabama handkerchief to put it on! Brian and I have just been beyond blessed and certainly there will be more posts to follow of graduation pictures and party pictures and discussion of the emotion of your son leaving childhood behind right in front of your very eyes. 

So, just know I am back to the world of blogging Kasey! I have missed you all and can't wait to tell you more about the Bailey Bunch....









Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Break Favorites...

We are in the final hours of our Spring Break and I will be sad to see it go! Not because we took a fabulous vacation {or any vacation for that matter} but because life was a slower pace for one week. And now I am officially declaring myself as getting old! While Koby complained about being bored and actually counted down the days until going back to school {or AKA Social Hour in Koby's world} I enjoyed a less structured week. If that makes me old then so be it!

Please don't be mistaken though. While there were all of 14 things I wanted to accomplish over a 10 day period I will openly confess to marking off only 2 things from my list. One of those was cleaning our bedroom which I accomplished Monday. It was desperately needed, complete with dusting and moving things around and it is good to know I can accomplish something. However, those other 12 things - not so much! Good thing I have never been too much of a high achiever, or an OCD person.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite things with y'all, which I discovered mostly over Spring Break.




These two snack items are now at the top of my list!!! I have enjoyed both of them over the last week and so has our family.

My sister got me a new book for Christmas from one of my favorite bloggers and I have finished the book over Spring Break!! If you have not read this please pick it up because it will truly make you laugh out loud.


I enjoy reading Melanie's blog and this book just had so many funny but true things for marriage. I also have been reading this book, which talks about evangelism.


It has really impacted me in looking at the way I see people around me and how I view the Great Commission. This book is straight forward in challenging you to share your faith through building relationships. I got it from our church library but I will be buying my own copy soon!

Speaking of the Great Commission, Koby's girlfriend spent Spring Break in Haiti...


....and can I just say how sweet this picture is?! It is definitely one of my favorites! Anna's family went with their church to work at a newly built compound in Haiti. She went knowing she would have no wifi and no hot water which are both huge sacrifices for a 16 year old {or me!}. Koby and I prayed for her trip the whole time she was gone and she came home telling us all kinds of stories and how the Lord worked. She was responsible to go with her translator each day and teach about 50 kids Bible stories and make crafts with them. She also brought something back for us, which is sure to be one of my new favorites...


...COFFEE from the Dominican Republic, which is where they flew in and out of. I can't wait to try it!

I also wanted to share my new favorite version of Jesus Loves Me, which we shared in our local mission project last Saturday. It's very catchy and the kids love keeping the beat!

video

For the record I am the one recording not the one singing!!

I came across this blog post by a new blogger and had to share it here because it was one of my favorites I read this week:

http://motherhoodandmuffintops.blogspot.com/2014/03/weve-been-so-busy-around-here-with-all.html

If you have two minutes click on it and read it! If you are a mother you will understand my deep appreciation for her post.

Here is what is NOT my favorite:


This is the parking ticket we got when we took Brendan to visit the Alabama campus Thursday. While we were most impressed with the campus and dorms and College of Engineering, I was not happy about getting this ticket. However, I think the fact that our van is covered with Texas ATM decals could possibly cause our van to stand out in a crowd of vehicles. Oh, and we also parked in the faculty parking lot!!

I also don't know about the time I spent with Kamdyn at the mall looking for a swimsuit. Shopping is fun! Shopping with your 15 year old daughter for a swim suit and new shorts is not so fun but that's for another blog post.

I do hope you enjoyed your Spring Break if you had one. God provided us with great weather for the most part and I was so thankful to spend some time outside! I hope you are finding some favorites in this new season...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

That time I was wrong....

In my last post I eluded to more stability in my future posts because basketball season was over. I may have mentioned I would have more time on my hands and how I couldn't wait to do some things around the house - like cooking for starters. In full disclosure, I did have the greatest of intentions! I also intended to be ready to run my first 5K this month but sadly that didn't work out either.

I could never have anticipated the flurry of activities that would soon surround us. While in my mind I pictured quiet, sunny afternoons with our family all together eating a supper that consisted of something other than nachos or chicken fingers I have decided the Lord had other plans. I have been involved with some committee meetings at church and some difficult days at school. We were a host home for our DNOW weekend, housing 8 girls and a college student. Koby had surgery, Brendan played his final game {for real this time} and Kamdyn started softball practice!

So here are a few snapshots of what we have been up to {which clearly will not include blogging!}...


We were a host home for DNOW at our church last weekend. Brian and I have opened our home for the past few years and we have had all ages. The last two years I have gotten wise and hosted the oldest group of girls. It has worked wonderfully because they don't want to stay up all night and they are passed the age of girl drama. I have decided they can be a bit messier than boys but tend to take home everything they bring unlike boys! I was thrilled to host this particular group of girls this year because I knew it would be their final DNOW and also because I knew I was going to have the BEST college leader, who was a former student of mine. It has been amazing to see how God has worked in her life and I was so glad to hear her be able to relate some of that to the girls we hosted.

Koby had surgery this past Wednesday to repair some torn cartilage in his shoulder. He actually hurt it last summer but toughed it out through football and basketball. We knew if he could survive both sport seasons he would have to have the surgery done as soon as possible.


So, we took this "selfie" before they wheeled him back Wednesday morning! The procedure itself took less than an hour and it was an outpatient surgery so we were home before noon. I think the first 24 hours were pretty rough but by Friday morning his humor was returning. He has stayed in the recliner since coming home and he has watched more movies than I care to admit. Finally, we got him up and outside for some fresh air...


It's not exactly spring break at the beach but close! I can't thank you enough for your prayers because I believe the Lord has answered them. Brian and I actually anticipated much worse and have been thankful that Koby has done so well. We will be going to the doctor Tuesday to have his stitches out and he can't wait! The other side of that will be starting therapy and I'm not so sure it will be that fun for any of us.

Brendan was selected as an All Star for the north half of the state in 1A schools. He was one of 12 on the north team and left for Jackson Wednesday to get checked in. He participated in the three point contest Thursday and came in 7th out of all 40 contestants for 1A-3A schools. I picked Ellie up in Birmingham Thursday night and she and Kamdyn and I drove down to Jackson Friday for the game. It was a little bittersweet watching him play because I knew this was in fact it. Everything he had worked on all those years in the drive way was rewarded in this All Star experience and we are all thankful he had the opportunity to compete.


 
 
 

Yesterday we served in our monthly mission project with the church. This is something that sometimes sneaks up quickly and this month was one of those times. However, I always leave our time spent there thankful, grateful and with a full heart. I think Kamdyn does too because I saw that she posted this picture on her Instagram...


She has the biggest heart to pick up any child and share love with them. The kids climb on her, fix her hair, chase her around and she still keeps smiling. To see her in action never fails to make me stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving for how the Lord will use her for the Kingdom!

So, that is about it from here. We did remember to spring forward and I realize at some point I will be grateful for the extra sun in the evening. However, it was not today because I really am trying to recover from lost sleep over the last week. We are officially on Spring Break and I am not sure what that means for us other than no school, which at this point is good enough for me! I hope to be checking in with you sooner rather than later but no promises this time...I've been known to be wrong before!

HAPPY SPRING BREAK!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The End of a Chapter....

As you all know we have been playing basketball since late October. Not we to include me in the physical part of the game but we that includes time and money spent on the road, in the bleachers and washing uniforms! It is my favorite of all the sport seasons, and we have certainly been on both ends of the win-loss column with our kids this year.

The boys have had a great season and I believe they have been part of a rare team experience. There is no selfishness, no fighting, no playing for the number on the jersey. They made a decision from game one to play with one theme - "one body, many parts" - and they have had a season where we have seen teenage boys live that out better than many churches!

I grew up going to the State Tournament, both as a spectator and as a part of a team. God did not see fit to bless me with a talent for the game, but a love for it was put deep into my heart because I had parents who have gave me great exposure. I knew I would want my kids to have similar experiences and all three of them have been dribbling a ball as long as I can remember. So, this year our boys reached one of their goals which was going to the State Tournament. While I understand our small, private 1A school version is a far cry from the Texas State Tournament I grew up with I also know for our boys this was as big of an accomplishment as any I had seen or been a part of. And last night we played in the second round of the tournament as one of the top 8 teams in the state!



The boys had every opportunity to be intimidated, scared or uncertain as they took the court. To be honest I was all of that and more in the stands!! The team we played included a 6'7" post in addition to some quick guards. However, true to their team motto the boys came out as one body using their many talents to play a tough game. A win seemed well within reach until the final 3 minutes of the game and in the end we came up short.

There are things I want to protect our kids from, when I would choose to be the one to feel the hurt feelings or face the disappointment or rejection. I know this is part of life but it doesn't make it any easier for me as their mother. When Kamdyn experienced loss after loss this season, when other girls called her names, when her boyfriend broke up with her because another girl in her class was "prettier" I wanted to take it all away. When the clock hit 0:00 last night, I wanted to be the one to feel that pain and disappointment instead of our boys. I wanted the them to win, to continue on their journey making school history, to make memories that would last forever but it wasn't going to happen.

My job as their mom has been to pick up the pieces but what do you say to your son who has played his final game after playing for the school since 7th grade? When you see him pull the jersey over his face to hide his tears, you want to run to the court and pick him up like you could when he was 2 years old and he lost his pacifier. {Do not judge my mothering by the fact that I did in fact let Brendan have a pacifier until he was 2!} There is nothing you can say, no words that bring comfort because loosing a game in the state tournament is nothing you can fix! I wanted to stop time, to reverse time, to run out and tip the ball in as it spun around the rim and out but you know, LACK OF TALENT. A mother doesn't do well with the feeling of helplessness because it is her job to take care of things, to fix things, to protect and last night I could do none of those.

And so the Bailey's are ending a chapter. It's time for me to unpack the candy/first aid bag that I have been carrying all over this state since August. I'll get back to running and cooking and being home at night to see TV live instead of on the DVR. But then there is also the end of another chapter, the one where Brian and I have seen our boys on the court together...


...the one where they hold up trophies together and win together and even loose together and in the end that is what this has all been about. I am truly thankful God wove a love of basketball into our family story and every mile we have driven, dollar we have spent and minute in the stands has been worth every bit of it.

I should also say a HUGE thank you to Gran and Aunt Glenda for coming to see the boys play in the State Tournament!! They got to see a great game and the kids, or maybe just Koby, provided them enough comic relief to last until next time. We were so glad y'all could make the trip over!!

So maybe now I will be a more faithful blogger and to be honest I do have lots to share but first I'll adjust to being home and maybe college basketball! Talk to you soon...