Highlights o’ my Break

Today is my first official day back to work at the studio after a much-needed three week break.  It’s been an amazing break that I am deeply thankful for.  Many people don’t know that, for the first five years of me opening and running Reverence, I worked an additional full-time job.  That job was a huge blessing to me as a single person who owned a business and then Seth and I as we navigated the roller coaster ride of owning a business as a married couple, and I am really grateful for the Lord’s provision of it.  Because I had responsibilities at my other job, I was not always able to take off many days during the times that the studio was closed on a break, so I have really enjoyed being able to take off an entire three weeks last year and this year.

What did I do over my break?  I’ll sum it up in one delicious word: unhurried.

I spent lots of unhurried time with the Lord…
I spent lots of unhurried time with Seth…
I spent lots of unhurried time with my family and friends…
I spent lots of unhurried time outside…
I spent lots of unhurried time playing with Prince Caspian…
I spent lots of unhurried time reading, journaling, and watching movies (the kids at the studio were peer-pressuring me–haha–to watch all the Tinkerbelle movies, so I unashamedly did.  they were adorable)…
I spent lots of unhurried time sleeping (those who know me well know that I wake up between 5:30-6AM each day, and my “sleeping in” is considered to be 7:30 or 8AM.  You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that there were several days where I slept in until 10AM!)

This is one of Seth's favorite pictures that he took of me, determining which way I would get to the gold in Skagway, Alaska.  It's hard to wrap my mind around, but gold fever is very much alive and active in Alaska today!

This is one of Seth’s favorite pictures that he took of me, pretending to determine which way I would get to the rumors of gold in the Yukon. It’s hard to wrap my mind around, but gold fever is very much alive and active in Alaska today!

You might also know that Seth and I went on a little adventure to Washington, Alaska, and Canada during this time as well.  These past few years have been pretty crazy-full, so we decided to take some time off during the studio’s off season this year and do some exploring of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  We’ve been wanting to go for quite some time, so we decided to save our pennies and just do it.  It was BEAUTIFUL.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Seth.  Ever.  We took it at the EMP Museum of Seattle in the sci-fi section.  Hilarious!

This is one of my favorite pictures of Seth. Ever. We took it at the EMP Museum of Seattle in the sci-fi section. Hilarious!

It was an amazing trip for many reasons, but it was really GREAT to be with Seth for 12 uninterrupted days.  It was really GREAT to be outside in nature and put all those things that have been clouding the periphery of my vision for the past few months behind me.  I had some GREAT times with the Lord–just praising and worshipping Him.  Seth and I sought the Lord together for our future, Reverence Studios, and more.  I came back with clarity on some changes that I need to make in my life and some boundaries that I need to put in place again.

Great trip.  Deeply blessed.  Great break.  Deeply blessed.  Ready to be back to work, but I said goodbye to the old workaholic, people-pleasing Kirsten who felt like she had to work 120 hours a week and justify every decision to every single person.  And you know what?  It feels good.  I’m still going to be the hard-working, determined, and compassionate person who God created me to be, but I’m turning 30 next week and it’s time to make some changes and leave the bad stuff behind.

Also.  I saw a humpback whale’s tongue up close.

At Mount Rainier National Park.

At Mount Rainier National Park.

We fell in love with Alaska.  I've never really said that the "air has agreed with me" in all the wonderful, amazing places I've been privileged to visit.  But it did here.  Alaska, we have a feeling we haven't seen the last of you.  :)

We fell in love with Alaska. I’ve never really said that the “air has agreed with me” in all the wonderful, amazing places I’ve been privileged to visit. But it did here. Alaska, we have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of you. :)

 

Act Like Royalty (Tuesday Devotional)

I turn 30 in just a few months, and lately I have been reflecting on the awesome adventure that has been my 20’s.  One of the highlights of my 20’s was when my dear friend April and I took a trip to England…

 

Look kids, me on the Thames in front of Big Ben!

Look kids, me on the Thames in front of Big Ben!

We really wanted to see a castle while we were there and, due to a change in plans, we ended up going to Windsor Castle just outside of London and having a blast!

The used-to-be-moat is now a garden surrounding the castle...

The used-to-be-moat is now a garden surrounding the castle…

The Queen herself was actually in residence at Windsor while we were there, and because Windsor is still a home for the royalty, we were not able to see some parts.  There was still plenty to see–we were at Windsor for an entire day!

But, in spite of the chilly March day, we had a blast taking the tour and then exploring the grounds on our own for a while….

April and I have been friends for almost 19 years now, and she is a treasured part of my life!

April and I have been friends for almost 19 years now, and she is a treasured part of my life!

 

Whenever the Queen is in residence at Windsor Castle, a specific flag is raised (I have a picture in my scrapbook of this, but not online).  It shows  that specific protocol should be followed and, most importantly, that royalty is in the house.  <raise the roof>  In other words, when the flag is raised, people act differently at Windsor.

As Christians we are called to live like royalty, to act in such a way that people know that we are children of the King.  That means…

…we live with contagious joy
…we treat one another with love, kindness, and respect
…we work to redeem that which the enemy has tried to steal, kill, and destroy

In other words, people should know that we are different…in a good way!

One of my favorite Scriptures that I’ve blogged about here and put on Facebook many times over the past years is The Message version of Colossians 3:12-14:

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

 

I Heart Ornaments

I had my student leaders over for their annual Christmas party two Fridays ago.  As they arrived and I hugged them and took their coats, I directed them to our downstairs family room where the party was going to be.  As I was uncovering the last of the food goodies, I overheard the following sentence from the group downstairs:

“I love how Miss Kirsten’s house is decorated so pretty and then she has a Big Mac ornament on her tree.”

And then I giggled.  I LOVE Seth’s and my ornament collection.  I love Christmas ornaments in general (a trait that I inherited from my Mom).  We have ornaments that Seth had when he was growing up that his mom sent over when we first got married.  We have ornaments that I had when I was growing up that my mom sent over when we first got married.  I love my dance ornaments that my students have given me over the years.

But, my most favorite ornaments are the ones that Seth and I have gotten together on our travels throughout the years.  Enter the Big Mac.

There it is.  Hanging from our tree in all its glory.

There it is. Hanging from our tree in all its glory.

Seth and I took a long weekend out to Pittsburgh several years ago, and heard about the famed Big Mac Museum in Uniontown, PA.  We like to do things that are off the beaten path together and even though I have never eaten a Big Mac in my life, we had a need to visit this place.  It was hysterical.  When we arrived we found that it was actually in a McDonalds (which makes sense in hindsight), but it was a hilarious and major letdown for my husband.  We got this ornament to commemorate the fun of that little pit stop on our travels.  It is definitely a conversation piece when friends come over!  Grin.

I like to get unique ornaments that represent places that we visit, and then when we hang them on our trees we reminisce about our trips!  It’s a fun tradition that we are building together.

How do you do ornaments on your tree?  Do you the elegant glass ball ornaments, a specific theme each year, or a hodge-podge of creative chaos like us?

Avoiding Sickness on a Vacation [Guest Post by Kendra Thornton]

Kendra ThorntonToday’s guest post is by Kendra Thornton.  Kendra is 37 years old and a mother of 3 beautiful children.  Before being promoted to the full-time position of mommy, she was the director of communications for Orbitz.  She has been to 28 countries on 6 different continents, and has been a guest on shows such as Fox & Friends, The Nate Berkus Show, The Tyra Banks Show, and more about seasonal travel trends and destinations all over the United States.

There are few things that moms hate more than sick kids; one of these would be sick kids on a vacation! Keeping a family healthy while traveling can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help lessen the likelihood of having a sick child on a trip.

1. Pay for a Better Hotel

There is usually a reason why some hotels are cheaper than others. Some budget hotels will not be as clean as better resort hotels near theme parks. Additionally, they will not always have comfortable beds. It is usually better to pay the higher price for some piece of mind and comfort. I like using Gogobot to scan through budget savvy and family friendly hotels. I came across a great list of Orlando hotels that helped me find great tips about free continental breakfasts along with some hotels that had quiet hours policies!

Orlando

 2. Pack Snacks

To keep a routine close to that enjoyed at home, some mothers will want to pack snacks for their kids. These treats can keep little tummies feeling great, and they can keep mom and dad from listening to the “I’m hungry” speech for hours. They will make everyone happy. It’s great to keep kids refreshed and energize but offering their bodies the right type of nourishment! I love packing healthy snacks with me on hand for wherever I may be like almonds, fruits, veggies, energy bars and cheesesticks!

3. Keep Kids on a Schedule

It is best to keep kids near their normal schedule when traveling. If they usually take naps, it is a good idea to let them go to sleep if they need to. Also, going to sleep near the normal time will help keep them on schedule for the entirety of the trip.

4. Make Several Stops

Even those who bring food along for meals should still stop to eat them in a park or rest area. When getting kids ready to eat, using hand sanitizer is a great idea for killing germs that can lead to sickness. Additionally, stops should be used to allow kids to burn some of the energy they have built up over the long drive. All family members should at least try to use the bathroom facilities at every stop. This can help avoid needing to make emergency stops.

 5. Watch the Sun

Sunburns in childhood are a leading cause of skin cancer. Many vacations that include activities such as camping or trips to theme parks lead to quite a bit of sun exposure. The hours of 10 to 4 can be especially problematic for sunburn. Lathering up the kids at least every two hours with a powerful sunscreen can help keep them  from getting a nasty burn that can leave them feeling drained.

Traveling with kids can be great fun. It can also be a trying experience. Keeping kids healthy and well-rested can be the difference in making a trip a very enjoyable experience.

Tea Time with the Girls

My tea cup...isn't it divine?

My tea cup…isn’t it divine?

During our recent family vacation, I came up with the idea for all girls to all go for tea one afternoon as a fun, girly, bonding experience.  We went to a little tea room called The English Rose and had a really fun time!  Look how cute it is inside!IMG_2102IMG_2101IMG_2104

They had a wonderful selection of teas, and we could each pick our own served in individual teapots.  Some of us got hot tea, others got cold tea (the cold tea of the day when we were there was a watermelon tea).  They even had a special children’s tea and teapot for my niece!  They had a wonderful menu selection as well as gluten free and children’s options (which was perfect)!

IMG_2108

We had a wonderful late morning/early afternoon of sipping our tea, eating yummy food, and sharing good conversation.  It was a highlight of the trip for all of us and a very special time!IMG_2111

Do the women in your family have a special tradition or fun thing that they like to do when they get together?  If so, I’d love for you to share in the comments!