Thursday, January 25, 2018

Taking a leap of faith

2017 was all about personal growth for me in all areas - emotionally, spiritually, personally, in my relationships, friendships, really just in all senses of what it meant to grow Jeri Kaye... with that said, I look back and do see where I grew some and I'm proud. And I don't write this with a sense of cockiness, but with sincerity. It took a lot for me to even get to where I could say I was proud of myself, and after doing some digging, I now know why it was so hard for me to take pride in the personal victories but now I'm at a point in my life where I can celebrate them and that feels good. Growing feels good, I don't know why I didn't think to do this a long time ago... haha. No but really, I can only account to God and his timing. Some people see a therapist, work things out through exercise, fill a void through a substance, whatever it may be, this past year I just chose to lean in to what God was trying to do in my personal life and asked him to grow me. Did I still make mistakes last year? You betcha. Did I still sin? Obviously. I'm not perfect, I will never be perfect. But what he did made me want to keep leaning in so that brings me to 2018...

Here we are 2018, I thought about what I'd make this year about. And that was to be more involved and serve in ways I felt lead to do so. Let me explain... I had told my husband that once our church was built in Norman that I wanted to be more involved. My sister and I did our very first bible study series over the summer over an amazing book that I'd highly recommend to anyone looking to start a bible study or small group, it truly opened up my eyes to so many things about myself and God's love for me. After that bible study, God urged me to continue that fellowship with other women. Fast forward to a couple of months later, I attended a women's night at our church with a friend called Sisters, luckily while there, the opportunity came up to sign up for a women's life group so I did. I was all in. Now I look forward to this night every week, because I know that this community of women is where God has placed me on this designated night of each week for a reason. Viv has been a wonderful group leader for our group of women, she is such a vibrant soul. She brings so much joy to our group. She has brought us together each week and we have grown together over the past few months and we have loved her during this season and series of the sisters bible study. Without her, we wouldn't be where we are as a group. Viv is originally from Florida and she recently got a job opportunity back home at the life church in her home town so she is now leaving us. We are sad to see her go but will love watching her grow from afar because we know she is capable of amazing things.

When Viv announced her big news, she asked our group to pray about not only her new adventure but also for our group. She had given us a two week heads up on her move and said that if anyone felt like God was calling them to lead the group to pray about it and let her know so that we could continue the life group. If I told you how the holy spirit talks to me than sometimes I feel like you might not believe me, but I felt God almost telling me to say it then and there but I didn't do it. I hesitated because, well, you know? Aren't we all our own worst critics? Am I qualified to lead anything? Lead other women, God, you know my story, it is all jacked up, I'm pretty much a mess. But God, God calmed me down and said "these women, they will be ok with your story, it's yours, they have their own story, your story makes you YOU,  their story makes them THEM, that's why I brought you all together and I have called YOU to do this, go and DO THIS". So I finally stopped trying to win the battle because honestly, who battles God? right? no thanks. I texted up Viv, and get this, she's all "oh, great! I've been praying for YOU specifically. I knew God was nudging you!" ... and so now, I'm taking a little leap of faith and by little I mean HUGE because I've never lead anything by myself. I'm more of a co-leader kind of gal... I'm ready to dive in and see what's in store for me spiritually but also connect with the women in this group on a deeper level too. So if you are reading this and you are the praying type, pray for me. I'm bound to make mistakes along the way, I'm only human, but pray that I continue to hold myself accountable, work at this and that I don't hold back when it comes to leading because I'm concerned of what others in the group may think or feel about me, pray that I will share my story as God wants me to because that is what his intention is, pray that I am relatable to these women, pray that I am available and show them love and comfort and continue to grow with them more and more as we learn together. So 2018 for me, I told myself I wanted to serve more, and here I am getting the opportunity to do just that and I'd be lying if I said I didn't hesitate when the opportunity presented itself, but I know that I am where God has placed me for a specific reason so even though I'm nervous in all meanings of that word, I guess I'll just remember the words of our campus pastor who always reminds us to "buckle your spiritual seatbelt" and see what happens :) 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thanksgiving like no other

Well, it's been quite some time (sadly, I feel like a vast majority of my posts start out this way) since I last took the time to sit down and just write. But stuff has happened. Life changing things. It's just I haven't exactly stopped to focus on how I feel about all of these things. I mean I have but I've been busy. Isn't that what happens to everyone? We get too busy, living. Sometimes so busy living that we began to stop focusing on our feelings about certain things? That's really another post altogether. So I'll move forward in talking about what has been going on since I'm finally getting a chance to stop the wheels of life and sit down and write.

Thanksgiving was different this year. Will and I traveled to Boulder City, Nevada where we planned to spend the holiday with Bill, Will's dad. Bill and I have developed a relationship over the past few months and it had been really nice getting to know my father in law. I was excited to know that I was going to see him and I could feel comfortable in knowing there wouldn't be any uncomfortable conversations because he and I had been in communication and getting to know each other on great levels leading up to our visit.

We flew out from Dallas and got to Nevada Thanksgiving morning. I say Nevada, because after my visit I realized very quickly that my husband didn't grow up in "Vegas" like I had always imagined in my mind. Yes, he was born there but it's not what I thought or maybe what you are thinking when you think Las Vegas. Not the big city of sin lights with the gambling and shows that my imagination had always wondered towards. That's not where my husband grew up until he moved to Oklahoma in the 5th grade. No, he was raised in beautiful mountains, surrounded by tall trees. It's hard to imagine until you see it in person, because I think even when I was told about it, I didn't get it until I got there and then I got it.

Once we arrived, we drove our rental to Boulder City, where we would be spending our time. The scenery is full of the tallest cacti, more pretty mountains and then we arrived to the beautiful quaint little area. Once we made it to BC, we made our way downtown, we visited the local watering holes and just played ketchup. If you are reading this and wondering what ketchup is, it's just my version of saying catch up. You're welcome.

Our time in Boulder City was spent antique shopping, frequenting the World Famous Coffee Cup and spending time with Bill at his local favorite spots. One of his favorite places is called Jack's, it's just like Louie's, Will and I thought this was really funny because Will and I love Louie's and this place felt just like it. I always say Louie's is our Cheers bar & grill, and that everyone should have a Cheers. If you don't know what I'm referencing, then do yourself a favor and look it up on Netflix or your fancy fire stick and get to watching a show called Cheers. Anyway, I think if you are person who likes to partake in drinking a cocktail every now and then, I think you should find your cheers. Somewhere everyone knows your name. Jack's is Bill's place.

One day we went to the Hemenway Park, this place it truly a must see if you are ever in the area. This is a park like none of the ones you went to as a child, unless of course you grew up in this area. Yes, it had all the slides, the swings, etc. But it also had a horseshoe pit set up and then the best part, Rams from the mountains come down to this park and just hang out. They just chill while you chill. It was so interesting and really cool.

Speaking of horseshoes, we spent thanksgiving at Russ's house - this is one of Bill's closest friends. His family was so sweet, they can COOK. The food and conversation was great. The guys played a few games of horseshoes, while the women talked about all kinds of things, from family to spiritual beliefs. It was nice to feel surrounded by family and friends, to see and meet who Bill surrounds himself with. All of friends are funny just like him, and kind, very kind.

I would say my favorite time there was the day we spent in Mt. Charleston. It's hard to imagine such a beautiful place like this in the midst of where your mind goes when you think Las Vegas, but if you ever get the chance to go here, GO. I urge you take that day trip. Bill & Will and took the time to stop and show me different landmarks that brought back memories. We drove by the fire station his dad worked at for years, even the plot of land where their old house once stood. Will & I took a hike through the mountains to the lodge, funny, once dusk was upon us and we had been heading back, Will's dad was beginning to get worried so he just yelled loudly, his voice echoed through the mountains. Will said he used to do this when he was younger too. I would love to grow up in a place filled with so much nature and beauty, and the way to be called home was just yelling across the mountains.

The last night we were in town, we decided to get a room on the strip, we thought we were going to go all out. Will would have steak & lobster, I would find some delicious pasta and red wine. This is not how it really went haha. We actually got to our hotel, found the closest CVS, got some mucinex and got in bed. We did get up the next day to do a little Black Friday shopping and we had a delicious burger at Wahlburgers, not gonna lie, I was hoping to see Donny, big blue bloods fans over here - no luck, maybe next time.

As we flew home, I realized I have so much to be thankful for, of course my husband, but also my budding relationship with my father in law and Will's continuing relationship with his dad. Will & I both hope to go back soon to visit him and I think we will. I sure hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Here are some photos of our trip, we had a great time, thanks Bill for being the host with the most :)