Kristy Byers

Kristy Byers

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


January 6, 2014

 

In 2012 I didn’t get my New Year’s goal put up until March 29th and in 2013 they didn’t go up until July 24th.  At least in 2014, I’m doing them in January.  It was one of two blog post in 2012 and one of three blog post in 2013, my last one being “Confessions of a Bad Blogger”, which I am.  2013 was an interesting year.  I had three surgical procedures in 2012 but none in 2013. PTL! However, my life seems to always be changing and I don’t mean wall color or carpet cleaning, I mean changing.  And it’s usually something I don’t want to happen.  This past year has had some unbelievable changes, heart breaking and yet needed.  With these came a freedom and a peace like never before. 

  
As I thought of my blog and writing goals for 2014, I have to look at how this year began.  In the first 6 days of 2014 I have spent time with wonderful, single friends from church; spent time with friends (married and single) just because we wanted to; shared some fun moments and encouraging moments with friends at work (can someone say “giant candy bar”); spent the night and caught up with an old friend from NarroWay Productions; saw my best friend's daughter (my Emma) get married; saw friends from college (from 30 years ago); saw almost everyone I knew from when I was a resort missionary in Florida (Driggers and Wagler families included); talked to my supervisor from Florida (from over 20 years ago) and talked to one of my dear friend’s daughters who called to tell me that she had unexpectedly passed away today.  It is like my life has passed before my eyes in the first week of 2014.  It has been wonderful and painful all at the same time.  I feel like George Bailey.  I got my own look at my life.  People telling me they love me and how much the missed me and let’s not let 20 years go before we see each other again and some told me what a difference I made in their life.  The truth is; they have made much MORE difference in mine.  Even though I am a teary basket case, 2014 has already made a huge difference in my life. 

 

The last six days have so changed what my “goals” for 2014 where going to be.  I have used the same list and updated it for a few years.  Mainly because I can’t seem to complete (and sometimes) start any of my goals. 

 

So like many people, I am choosing a ONE WORD this year.  (http://www.portcitychurch.org/article/my-one-word-by-mike-ashcraft/).  It has become a “movement”, for lack of a better word.  The word that keeps coming up in my mind and in my devotions and in my devotional emails and on-line communities has been MORE.  I know that is usually not a “Christian” friendly word.  Don’t misunderstand me, I do not believe in the “name it and claim it” theology, but I do believe that God can direct us in the way we need to go. 

 

So my word for this year is MORE.  My goals for 2014 are…

  • MORE of Christ
  • MORE love
  • MORE blessing
  • MORE ministry
  • MORE serving
  • MORE joy
  • MORE praise
  • MORE of trusting God
  • MORE giving
  • MORE receiving
  • MORE laughter
  • MORE of God

 

Mathew 6:25-26-“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; for about your body, what you will wear. Is not life MORE than food, and the body MORE than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much MORE valuable than they?” 

 

I have lived so much of the last seven years in LESS.  Less of life, I have worried over food and housing and income and clothes and ministry and so many things.  Some of the less, I had no control of; some of it was all me.  So I step out on faith for MORE, mainly more of Christ and getting closer to God.  And, as the first six days of 2014, has already shown me my life has been MORE than I had realized. 

Having said that, I am still trying to finish one or MORE of those Beth Moore Bible Studies that I have started over the last 20 years, after all my word for the year is MORE.  (See what I did there MORE/ MOORE.  I know puns are a no-no in stand-up comedy but I just saw that.)  Two years ago, I had 15 to finish; now it’s just 14.  Shocked! Remember I told you I’m bad at goals.  Maybe I can handle ONE WORD. 

 

Whatever your goals or your “word” may be for 2014, remember this, you are MORE valuable to God than that anything that makes you feel “less” in your life.  Praying that 2014 will be MORE than you, or I, can even imagine.  Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Confessions of a Bad Blogger


I am a bad blogger.  I have been to blogging seminars and they have taught me the importance of blogging on a regular basis.  Twice a year on random dates is not what they have in mind.  So I have decided to be more faithful to this, if nothing else but for my own creative purposes.  I have one person subscribed to this blog and no comments.  It’s okay! 

Sadly this post is about my 2013 goals.  Well, at least 2013 is not over yet.  I actually, I thought that last year was a pretty good year until I went to my eye doctor last December.  She asked me about my year and I told her about surgery, being sick ½ of last year, a few family things and she said to me “my goodness, you have had a rough year.”  I thought “compared to the previous five, this year was a walk in the park”.  Her comment took me by surprise.

I guess everything in life is a matter of perspective…where you’re coming from, where you’ve been and where you’re going.  2013 didn’t start to well either; I had EVERY bug and was basically sick for the first two and a half months, but thankful that wasn’t as serious as last year. 

My goals for this year haven’t changed much. #3 is new and #2 is updated.  (Sometimes a good list is a just a good list.) So here they are:

10.          Walk four times a week-(Apparently I forgot about this one so far.)

9.            Prayer Art- (basically a creative prayer party with friends.)

8.            A.R.K.-Acts of Random Kindness (anyone know what movie this is from?)

7.            Laugh More- (Duh?)

6.            No clothes on floor (I am so good at this now.  I hate to bend over and pick stuff up.)

5.            Spend time with friends. (Have done more of this.)

4.            Spend time with God in creative ways. (Been doing more of this as well. But that is                   a different blog post.)

3.            JOY- (It’s my word this year.)

2.            Finish 1 of the 14 Beth Moore Bible Studies I started.  (Last year it was one of 15.                (I  am only 2 days away from finishing one of the original 15 so I am counting it.)

1.              Praise Him Anyway

To be honest, this blog is for me, as a reminder.  A confession of a bad blogger.
See---I am laughing more!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Earning Our Wings

Do you have a favorite 4th of July memory?  I have several.  In 1999 I spent a summer running a children’s camp in intercity Philadelphia.  There is nothing like a 4th of July Celebration in the city where our nations forefathers debated, toiled and set up the documents that established our country as a place of freedom.    There was lots of fanfare.  Things like a retelling of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, actors dressed in the time period costumes and patriotic music played next to the Liberty Bell.  Not to mention fireworks.  It was an exciting and memorable place to be on the 4th of July.

However, this is not my most memorable 4th of July.  Mine was in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986. I was a summer missionary for the Kansas/Nebraska Baptist Convention.  My partner, Zoe Stroman Trip and I, spent the summer moving around a lot.  But during the week of July 4th we were at a church in Omaha.  We arrived on Saturday to be told that VBS was on Monday.  NOTHING had been done.  No teachers, no crafts, nothing.  To be honest I was a little concerned, so much so I forgot that the next day was July 4th

So on the 4th of July, our host family took us to church.  We were, well I was, completely absorb with getting VBS together.   As we walked into the service, I was wishing I could have skipped it and work on VBS.  We had about 50 kids coming the next day and so much to do. 

As the service began, I was drawn into it.  I don’t remember every detail, I just remember the choir.  There were more men than women, which is so unusual.  They began to sing patriotic songs.  I was mesmerized.   Not so much by the music as by the emotion. 

You see, this town was a military town.  Most of the people in this area worked or were in the service at Offutt Air Force Base.  Most of the men in the choir were in the Air Force.  As this choir began to sing, I watched grown men cry.  They sang “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner”.  I really don’t remember if the signing was good.  But I do remember it was wonderful.

The church had decided to let service men give a word of “testimony” for the service.  Men and women, one after the other, talked about what it meant to them to serve our country.  It’s been almost 30 years and I don’t remember one single word.  I just remember the commitment.  The love for our country.  The clear calling on their life to protect freedom, to protect  America, to protect me. 

I think of that day, at least for a fleeting second, every Independence Day.  One of the reasons I remember this is a gift the friends we made there gave us.  We had to be very flexible that summer.  So many of the churches that were supposed to “host” us failed to plan accordingly and Zoe and I would end up in that same town outside of Omaha for most of the summer.  Each time we would arrive back our friends would say we were “winging” it.  Going with the flow.  Taking a change of orders and plans in stride.  The called it “earning our wings.”  So as the summer came to a close, we were awarded our “wings”.  (Pictured below.) And may I say “undeservedly so”.  These are Air Force wings.  I cherish them, but I know that those men and women, who wear them daily, deserve them way more than me.



I currently live in a military community.  Fort Jackson, an Army base, is just on the other side of town.  To see men and women in uniform, and since Fort Jackson does a lot of basic training, to see such young men and women is not uncommon.  So much so, that it is just the norm for us.  How I take them for granted.  If only I could remember to say thank you or to say a prayer for them as they pass by.  


So this Independence Day, as you eat your hamburgers and hot dogs and go to incredible fireworks display, remember those who have “earned their wings”.  Remember those who have given and are currently giving their lives in service so that we might be free.  And when you hear the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” may is sound wonderful to you.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Top 10 Goals for 2012

Okay I was two months late on my Christmas Blog and I am now doing my New Year’s Blog.  (I have taken “do not procrastinate” off of my goals list for 2012.)  
This is my Top 10 Goals for 2012.  Resolution just seemed like a harsh word to me.  So here they are (in David Letterman fashion):
        10.          Walk at least 4 times a week.  It beats running. 
          9.           Prayer Art-Sounds like fun. I read about it in an article from MissionsMosaic, WMU.
          8.           A.R.C.-Acts of Random Kindness.  (Don’t ask me to explain…they're random).
          7.           LAUGH MORE-Not critique the comedy, actually laugh.
          6.           Don’t throw clothes in on the floor.  I’m getting too old to pick them up.
          5.           Purposefully spend time with friends, even if the get on my nerves.
          4.           Spend time with God, in creative ways.  (Actually writing a Bible study on this one.)
          3.           Celebrate Christmas All Year Long. (See my blog below)
          2.           Finish at least ONE OF THE 15 Beth Moore Bible Studies that I have started.
      And my #1 goal for 2012
          1.              PRIASE HIM ANYWAY!

Now let me get working on that Valentine's Day blog.  Don't want to be too late! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

All Year Long

ALL YEAR LONG
By Kristy Byers

I had a hard time taking down my Christmas tree and decorations this year.  Mainly because I hadn’t seen them in over four years, and if you know me, you know I am a “holiday” woman.  So much so that I actually wrote a parody called “Holiday Woman.”

I love the lights, trees, mugs, tacky sweaters (within reason of course), caroling, Christmas plays,  cantatas, Sunday School parties, business dinners, baking cookies, drinking cider, peppermint coffee, buying and wrapping presents.  You name it, if it’s “Christmassy”, I love it.

I also love Christmas songs!  I would play it year round and I love that fact that our Christian radio station, WMHK 89.7, plays all kinds of Christmas songs starting Thanksgiving Day.  (They even play the Chipmunks!) And I love Christmas movies.  On Christmas Eve, I watch all three “Santa Clause” movies with Tim Allen.  On Christmas Day I catch bits and pieces of the “Christmas Story” while we come and go to visit family and friends.  Then the evening of Christmas Day I watch “The Nativity” which is the REAL Christmas story. 

This year a friend told me about a sermon she had heard preached during the Christmas season.  It was called “What will you put in Jesus’s stocking?” The message was about keeping Jesus our focus all year long and about the quality of what we put in our stocking. 

Immediately I thought of a song Larnelle Harris used to sing called “All Year Long”.  It was on his recording (mine is a cassetteJ) called “Larnelle Christmas” that came out in 1988.  This song may be 24 years old but it’s a great song.  Here are the words:

He braced the old ladder with all of His might
And shouted, dad have no fear
As I stretched high to store the stockings and trim
In the attic for another year
We were busily packing our Christmas away
While singing a carol we knew
When I heard my son in innocence inquire
Do we store away Jesus too

Chorus
All year long

We must worship day by day
All year long
Tis the season to obey
May the Christmas tree lights
And the sleigh rides at night
Remind us all to stay in God's presence
All year long

I smiled at my boy as again I explain
God's longing to reconcile
How He gave to the world the gift of new life
When His yearning became Mary's child
Though surrounded by all of man's goods we embrace
The hope of that Bethlehem night
We will never store this blessed gift away
With the tinsel and colored lights

Repeat Chorus

And then I got to thinking about stockings.  In my lifetime, my family has used stockings four different ways. 
·         First, we when I was little, we used them for “junk” or “less valuable” things, if we used them at all.  Things like candy, bubble gum, cracker jacks, play jewelry, pencils, crayons, notebooks, stickers, fruit, nuts or playing cards.
·         Secondly, and as I got older, we used them for “needed” items such as toothpaste, toothbrush, hairspray, hairbrush, deodorant, chap stick, small change or dollars, baby powder, soap, and shampoo.
·         Thirdly, we used them for our “nice” gift.  Things like my favorite, and a little more expensive perfume.  Or other things like necklaces, earrings, rings, or a Walkman (I may be a bit stuck in the 80’s here).  Our “real” present.
·         Fourthly, they stockings became “all or nothing.”  As my parents aged and my mother’s health declined, putting up the Christmas tree every year became more and more difficult and led to lots of family arguments. So about 9 years ago I told my parents, “I will not go through the nightmare of putting up a tree with you again, and I won’t come home for Christmas if there is not a tree.  Since you don’t use the room we put the tree in, it’s staying up.”  And it did.  It actually has become a blessing.  Each year at Christmas we have a tree lighting ceremony.  Daddy finds and sets the timer, I plug it in.  Done!!!!  Talk about Peace on Earth!  But we didn’t have anywhere to put presents because we don’t use that room as a place to congregate, so we just hung a stocking on a nail at the end of the counter kitchen and that’s where my gifts went. 

As I thought of the sermon that my friend shared with me, I got to thinking, “How can I keep Christmas, Jesus as my focus, all year long.  Will I put “junk” in the stocking?  Will I put just what is “needed”?  Will I put the “nice” stuff in the stocking? Or will it be “all or nothing”?

As I took my tree down this year, I listened to the song “All Year Long”.  And yes, my cassette still works.  These words struck me:
All year long
Tis the season to obey
May the Christmas tree lights
And the sleigh rides at night
Remind us all to stay in God's presence
All year long


The last thing I went to put up was a stocking that Susan Russell Hollister gave me for Christmas at least 25 years ago.  And it was so me.  Its beige trimmed in gold and red and has music notes on it with my name at the top.  As I held that stocking in my hand, I realized that I had a choice, more than a New Year’s Resolution, but a choice. 

So I’ve decided to celebrate Christmas “All Year Long”.  I left up my 18 inch tree that I have used for the last four years, and hung the stocking Susan gave me above it.  And on or near the 25th of each month this year I will celebrate Christmas.  And in the stocking I will decide what I will “give” to Jesus that month.  It may be a commitment to study a particular part of scripture, it may be a commitment to spend more time with someone who may need company, it may be a commitment to a certain ministry or missions work, and it may be something I haven’t even thought of.  Some of it may even seem like “junk” to you, but it may not be between me and Jesus.  But regardless, I want it to be “all or nothing.” 

So if you pass me in my 95 Taurus just a singing away, it may be Mandisa’s Christmas album that I’m listening too.  (I have than one on CD.) I may watch a Christmas movie, or even send you a Christmas Card.  I may even give someone a present; after all, I am celebrating Christmas.  And I may even wear a red shirt to be a bit more festive.  (I will refrain from wearing tacky sweaters.)

May this Remind us all to stay in God's presence All year long!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrzTSd7x7zU

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I know Mother's Day was a few months ago and my mother recently passed away, but here are some of my thoughts on Mother's Day. I hope it touches your heart at it has touched mine.


Mother’s Day

I hate to admit this, but I have always hated Mother’s Day. For two reasons, first I’ve always wanted to be a mother and second, my mother, well, I don’t think she enjoyed being a mother of young children. Don’t misunderstand me, she loved me and would do anything for me, but she didn’t seem to like “kid” things. So finding the right card or gift for her is always a struggle. Especially the card, they are all very sentimental. That is not the relationship I had or ever had with my mother. That was not my mother’s way.

Don’t get me wrong, I know my mother loves me and me her, but she’s just not the lovey dovey type. Never has been. My father and I are amazed that as Parkinson’s has taken over her mind and her sensibility, that the only thing she seems to want to do in her “hallucinations” is to get in the floor and play with me. She either wants to have a tea party with me or play dolls or “make something” with me. All things she never did or would ever consider doing when I was a child.

As an adult child, I can say that she became my friend. I told her everything, well almostJ, and I called and chatted with her often. When I accepting the call to the ministry, she was certain I would end up giving birth in a hut in Africa. I don’t think she ever imagined me performing, doing Christian theater, teaching drama and evangelism at a Bible College, or being a stand-up comedian. (To be honest, neither did I.) All things she had no interest in, actually as adult women, we couldn’t have been more different.

I am 46 years old this year, another reason I hate mother’s day. I never had kids, never had the choice, and my cut off age was 45. I never married. (Didn’t say I was never in love.) I always wanted a baby; actually I wanted 5 to 7. I even have some little pink and blue outfits in a “hope” chest. So each year, Mother’s Day is very hard.

Isaiah 54:1-2 says: “Sing, O barren women, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate women than of her who has a husband says the Lord. Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back: lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” I believe there is such a thing as being a spiritual mother to someone. I have had many children in my life. Close to a thousand, through missions, church, teaching GA’s, Acteens, Sunday School, being a youth minister, working at a day care, even teaching in the public school system or children of my close friends. And after being at the day care, I have even had the chance to watch them grow from 6 weeks old to 3 or 4 years old. Children I have prayed over, and loved until it hurt. I have had friends who have shared their children with me and that has truly been a gift. I enjoy taking Hannah and Caroline Johnson to the library and shopping and to CiCi’s pizza. Before I moved to Columbia, I loved spending time with CJ, Ryan and Ethan Maltba. Last December, I had hooked back up with the Maltba boys and their mother through Facebook, and was invited to Ryan’s graduation party from USC. When I walked in the boy’s faces lit up. They hugged me and we “remembered” when. Ethan, who I used to watch kick the giant Oxford Bible that laid on his mother’s belly, before he was born, and make us both laugh and giggle during church, said to me “Miss Kristy, I don’t remember much, I was very young, but I do remember that I love you.” At that moment, I don’t think I ever loved him more. And before the night was over, he took me on the dance floor and dance with me. I hadn’t dance with anyone is over 20 years. Needless to say I cried all the way home. And as Facebook has made it possible to reconnect with so many kids that I have taught, or were their youth minister, or I have helped raise in one capacity or another, I am blessed to see them love the Lord. Even though we have all made mistakes and been through some stuff. It is a blessing to keep up with them and to still feel loved by them.

The Wagler children, Emma and Nathan, who call me “Aunt Kristy” have been important to me. Emma is the only newborn (as in 15 mins old, not yet bathed) baby I have every held. She will always hold a special place in my heart. Emma and her brother Nathan spent most of the childhood as missionary kids in England. But her mother, and my life long friend, made sure I was part of their lives.

The other night, I was watching Maddie McMillion at church for a few minutes while her father and mother took care of some business. I have known Maddie since she was about 4 or 5 months old. I moved into a new class at the day care every time she moved. She is precious to me. I was playing with her on the playground and she kept saying “remember when we___________” and “remember the time we ______________”. We didn’t play long and her mother called for her to go home. I was holding Maddie’s hand as we walked across the parking lot and she looked at me and said, “We didn’t get to play very long Miss Kristy. When am I going to get to play with you again?”

As she said that, my mother popped into my head. The thought of her, not in her right mind, trying to play with me, an imaginary child to her now, and I was grateful and sad. Sad that I don’t have memories of playing with my mother, that my mother seems to trying to relive something she never had, and I was grateful. Grateful for the memories I do have with my mother. We baked cookies together every year at Christmas, she taught me to sew, and every Saturday she would take her apron and tie it around my neck like a bib so I could eat my Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs for lunch, and not mess up my clothes before we went somewhere. (Usually shopping.)

I was also grateful for all the kids in my life, who I have colored with, taught their ABC’s to, sang songs with, and most importantly played with. My tent has been extended and I’m glad that the tent came with swings, and crayons and playdough. Shopping trips, pool times, helping with school projects, or service events. Children who have accidently called me Momma, but who always call me Miss Kristy. I don’t know about you, but I feel a play date coming on.

My tent is wide indeed.

With Love and Laughter,

Kristy


Saturday, April 16, 2011

He this is my new blogspot. I didn't change the old one which was www.kristybyers.blogspot.com to a gmail account soon enough. So I created this new one. Here we go!