He Didn’t Have to Be

I like to tease my husband that he is, “The Favorite.” You know, the parent who walks through the door and the kids climb on his lap and can’t get enough of him. And I’m okay with that—because as “mom” I have some qualities that dad can’t match—like the habitual giver of back rubs. I’m the parent who is the “feeler,” the one who cheers when they cheer and cries when they cry; dad is the “protector,” challenging them to go for things in life, take risks, but fiercely protective of their safety and well-being. It’s why the two of us make a great team—we both have parenting strengths and weaknesses, but together our qualities make for a dynamic duo, and one that together loves like no other.

As Father’s Day draws closer though, I am grateful for the man that my husband didn’t have to be. You see, when Dan married me I’m not sure he fully knew how much I love young people. If you asked him, “What is your wife passionate about?” he would respond without hesitation, “Kids.” I love that he recognizes, sometimes better than I do, that working with and alongside young people is what brings me joy; what energizes me.

So when we had three small kids and I was stressed about housing my summer interns, he didn’t blink and opened our home to several college students. Not for just one summer—for many summers. He stepped in when I was too pregnant as a youth director to chaperone ski trips and summer events. When I had a special needs child who no one would mentor during our Saturday evening services, Dan sat on the floor with the little boy and blew bubbles with him for an hour every week. He doesn’t hesitate when I announce that we’re going to have a house full of kids over at the last minute for a meeting, or to go boating, or that he needs to help feed a small army. He is “my kids” protector on student council trips and navigates us through new cities and experiences. Oh, and he gives the biggest hugs!

But what I admire most is my husband’s quiet example of love. He loves my “kids” in a fatherly way—he helps them, cheers for them, protects them, and welcomes them with open and loving arms. And he doesn’t have to, but he genuinely wants to. Because he knows that each young person that has walked, and will walk, through our doors is important to me; and they’ve become important to him as well.

On Sunday our family will celebrate the Dad in this house. And I will also graciously give thanks for the man he didn’t have to be, but that he chose to be; the man who shows how much he loves me by lovingly caring about the people that are dear to my heart. Thanks, husband of mine, for being “The Favorite,” “Dan the Man,”—and to all of the men out there who pour into the lives of our kids—kick back and relax—this Sunday we honor and celebrate you.—CK



The Memory of a Day

Sweet Megan, it seems like just yesterday….

There you were, all dressed up in princess costumes and high-heeled plastic shoes; licking the hottest salsa off of tortilla chips and singing, “So Long, Farewell,” from The Sound of Music every night with your sister before bedtime.

Who knew that your dad and I would blink and there we were, watching you get all dressed up again—this time in the most beautiful white dress with bedazzled Nike tennis shoes on your feet and salsa on the menu for all to enjoy later, as we got ready for our own version of, “So Long, Farewell.”

As kids grow up, there are all sorts of milestones that are reached and celebrated. From sleeping through the night for the first time, to starting school, to getting braces and a driver’s license, and then those big accomplishments such as graduations and first jobs—each milestone is both a first…and a last. And when your baby girl walks down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams, you can’t help but think about all of her firsts, her lasts, and every little moment in between.

This day—your wedding day—is something that we have been praying for since your very first day of life. Every day we prayed for your future, which included a young man we did not know yet, who would someday ask you to be his forever. And as you walked down that aisle, arm-in-arm with your dad, I watched the eyes of the man we had been praying for the last 23 years—and I thanked God for his faithfulness and goodness.

I believe God gives us little winks to remind us that in the midst of our big moments, he is ever present and ever good. While dad waited in the winery to see you for the first time in your wedding dress, he looked out the window and was filled with emotion. In the distant sky, circling the treetops just above the cross where you would commit to begin a life together with Lynx, an eagle soared. Your ancestors would tell you that an eagle is a symbol of blessing—for it’s the bird that flies the closest to heaven.

What a privilege it was for us to gather in that same spot and pray a blessing over you and Lynx and launch you into your greatest adventure yet. It was a moment of firsts, of lasts, and a little bit of, “So Long, Farewell.” But more than anything, it was a demonstration of joy and love; a testament to God’s faithfulness, and one heck of a celebration!

It’s been just over a week, and dad and I daily reflect on the awesome memories of your special day. So here’s to Lynx and Megan Hawthorne—may your love grow bigger and better with each new day and may you be ever mindful of the winks God gives you along the way. Love you both so much! ❤


The 100th Day

February has a plethora of special days that kids celebrate in school. But there’s one day in particular that falls on different days depending on the school–it’s the 100th Day Celebration. For most, this day falls somewhere in mid-February and is a day that is anticipated from the very start of the school year. A countdown begins and students prepare for a day that applauds 100 days of learning. On the 100th Day, students take time away from the regular routine to engage in activities centered around the number 100; from math to reading, science to PE, kids focus on celebrating The 100th Day.

So it’s appropriate that this year, mid-February offers for our family, a 100 Day Celebration for two incredible people. Today marks the 100 Day Countdown for our youngest daughter, Megan, and her fiance, Lynx. In 100 days, they will wake up to a day filled with anticipation and promise. And by the end of that day, they will celebrate the beginning of a lifetime of love and adventure as husband and wife.

Just as students in school, these 100 days will be filled with anticipation and learning for Megan and Lynx. There may be days when details feel overwhelming or too many people try to steer the ship to the final destination. Other days will be filled with overflowing excitement and the feeling that the celebrated day can’t get here soon enough. In those 100 days, they’ll be tested–there will be feelings of great accomplishment as well as failure. But in each of those 100 days, the anticipation grows, the celebration builds, and lessons are collected to help build a foundation for a lifetime together. And I know for each of them, those 100 days can’t go by fast enough!

As a mom, I pray that these precious days of planning, anticipating, and celebrating strengthen their relationship. I pray that whatever the world tries to throw their way they will tackle together–because together they are better. And I pray that they will always know that the One who created them, the One who loves them relentlessly, will also be the One who will help them build a foundation of faith, love, and adventure as husband and wife.

So in step with the “100 Day” theme, Psalm 100 is divinely appropriate to mark this once-in-a-lifetime day for Megan and Lynx–it is because of Him that we can graciously praise the love He give us so we can love in return:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to his name and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.“–Psalm 100:1-5

Here’s to 100 Days–let the countdown begin!!! –CK



After six years of steady persuasion, my husband finally agreed to begin the process of finishing our basement. The exposed wood frame and orange insulation now has possibilities to become a finished living space for us to enjoy. We recently had a contractor come to our home so he could give us an estimate on the project. As we engaged in small talk about our families, he shared that he had three young children, and then looked and my husband and I with envy and said, “It must be awesome to have kids who are all grown up and on their own–you don’t have to worry about them anymore.”

My husband and I immediately looked at each other with the same look in our eyes–the one that silently said, “This guy has no clue.”

I’m sure when we were younger, we also lived in that delusional state that one day we would experience parental freedom. But we now know all too well that worrying about your kids doesn’t terminate when they turn 18. In fact, I would argue that it is quite the opposite. When they’re five, a kiss and a Batman Band-Aid can stop the tears. A 12-year-old heartbreak could be quickly mended with a trip to the pet store to cuddle with cute puppies. But as adults, our children’s hurts and disappointments aren’t as easily repaired. Some leave a scar on their heart rather than on their knee. Others bear consequences that are lasting. Parental worry and concern never ends–it merely goes through renovation–just like our basement.

As parents of young adults, we can no longer step in to fix what breaks or send them to their room when they don’t listen. Instead, we need to be there for them–no matter what. They need to know that we believe in them, even when they might not believe in themselves. We need to remember that they, like us, are going through renovations of their own; they’re learning how to navigate life with their own rudder and not their parents’.

Being the parent of adult children has given me a better perspective of the love God has for us; how he wants so desperately to fix it for us, to tell us exactly what we need to do to make things right, to steer us in the right direction. But then it wouldn’t be our choice–it would be one made for us. We all need to make those discoveries on our own–then we can look back and see that God was right there with us through it all–cheering for us, crying with us, and loving us like crazy.

So as we get ready to renovate our basement, we are also in the thick of renovating our life as parents. It’ll take time, it will surely be messy at times, but the end result will undoubtedly be beautiful and worth it.–CKbuilding_wallpaper1924

A New Kind of Mother’s Day

It seems fitting to write my first post on Mother’s Day–because so much of what I want to express through this blog is about family and yes, motherhood.

Today, Mother’s Day is a bit different for me. First of all, it hasn’t been about enjoying a beautiful spring day planting new flowers to brighten up the yard. It’s Mother’s Day in Colorado, which means “blink” and it will snow–literally. Everything that bloomed last week is now covered in a glistening blanket of white. And it may be a bit dreary today, but the sun will be out tomorrow and all of this wet, wet snow will hopefully turn our surroundings into a deep shade of bright green. To everything there is a season….

And this is a new season for me. For the first time since becoming a mom, I didn’t have any of my kids close by. Instead, I enjoyed the day getting phone calls from each of them, sweet Instagram and Facebook posts, and even a pretty humorous Snapchat. Even though my kids are spread out in different parts of the country, the wonderful world of technology keeps us connected. But today still seemed a bit different; like the weather. It’s a new season in life. I don’t feel any less like a “mom,” but gone are the days of crayon covered cards and paper plate hats to proudly wear to church because it was made especially for me. Yes, it’s a new season, but one that I love just as much as any other season of motherhood.

Because for me, Mother’s Day isn’t about getting doted on or getting flowers and gifts. I’ve already received the greatest gifts I could ever receive in a lifetime–the ones who call me “mom.”

I posted a photo of my kids today with this caption, “You are my best adventure, my most rewarding investment, and the greatest love I’ve ever known. I’m so grateful to be your mom.” They are the true reason that Mother’s Day is awesome–they are the reason I can celebrate. They are my greatest gift.

Today might be a different kind of Mother’s Day, but I cherish it just the same. My kids have been and will continue to be my best adventure–and no matter what the season, I intend to enjoy the ride.