What Were You Doing?

My hubby was starting a new job, 10 years ago today, training in a new city,

Two days earlier, he was on an airplane.

He ended up stranded in a strange city. Thousands of miles from our small family.

The day before Sept. 11, 2001, I found out I was pregnant with my son.

My hubby didn’t even know he was going to be a father again when the tragedy occurred. The news was delivered among fear and sadness.

Fast forward to this weekend, I was out of town.  When I called home to talk to my family, my 4 year old greeted me with “Mommy, did you know a plane crashed into a building in New York? Daddy is going to pray with me tonight about it.”

I was getting on an airplane home the next day. We both deal with this in our own ways.

I hate explaining terror to my kids. I pray through stumbling words about Jesus keeping us safe. Because He does, here on earth and eventually, all in Heaven.

I pray we never know such a day again.

What were you doing ten years ago today?

We will never forget.

September, 11, 2001.

When First World Meets Third {Giveaway}

Update on CD Winners! Congrats to: (everyone else, you know what to do, BUY a CD!) Watch for an email:

comment #29 Melani
comment #89 Rebecca S
comment #90 Erin
comment #11 Aimee
comment #1 Carrie

My life radically changed 19 months ago.

God used two people who played a significant role in turning my world upside down. And today, I’m talking to both of them together (for the first time) since we all stood in an African slum.

Shaun Groves, the man who prayerfully invited me to Africa, my first experience in the third world. (By the way, he is so good at his job).

photo by Ryan Detzel

And Maureen Owino, the girl I met there who has become my “daughter” and co-founder of Mercy House.

I talk to Maureen at least 5 days a week via Skype. It’s a regular part of my day. It’s one of the highlights of my day.

Shaun and I talked to Maureen on Skype. But the connection in Kenya can be challenging and unfortunately, the video only captured Shaun and I talking with Maureen’s words too faint to hear…but she is there in spirit

Kristen Welch & Shaun Groves Interview from Shaun Groves on Vimeo.

I count Shaun as a dear friend, a brother, who has personally helped my family in this process and I’m honored to be a part of his blog tour.  I’m thrilled to share his music. I love the honest lyrics that give us a glimpse into the beauty of a heart that has counted the cost of following Jesus and not the world.

I feel like his new CD, Third World Symphony is the music to my life. The melody of my loss and gain, the chorus to my feet, standing in both the third world and the first.

Purchase the CD on iTunes and it will brighten your day!

Shaun Groves is a singer/songwriter, an artist, father, husband. He is also a friend. He advocates for children living in poverty around the world by traveling with Compassion International. His is a voice reminding all believers to remember that we weren’t just saved from something, but saved for something. His newest album, Third World Symphony, officially released last week.

I’d love for you to purchase Shaun’s beautiful music. And I’m giving some away today. Leave a comment below and five winners will be announced soon.

Where in the World is Kristen?

This exact time last year, our family was all wrapped up in launching Mercy House and so I missed the first (in)Courage writer’s retreat.

photo by Dawn Camp

I’m not missing it this year.

Oh relaxation, how I’ve missed you.

DaySpring and Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce hosted the (in)courage bloggers for a long weekend of dreaming, praying, and planning for the (in)courage community, along with relaxation and fun. Resort Rentals of Hilton Head Island generously provided beautiful beach front accommodations. DaySpring took care of all the incidentals and meals for each of the bloggers. If ever you’re looking for a family vacation destination, this is it! Special thanks to Jessica Gardo from the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce for helping coordinate our trip and being simply fabulous the entire weekend.


P.S. Don’t forget to vote (if you haven’t) for the finalists in the Tempur-Pedic contest. It ends soon!!

WFMW: Burlap Wreath

I haven’t had time for many DIY projects lately. But during our leisurely Labor Day weekend, I found this cute burlap wreath idea. (Great tutorial using a coat hanger!)

My hubby just brought home a couple of burlap feed sacks he found for a $1 and I had wire in the garage. I grabbed an old wreath and took off the greenery.

Within 20 minutes, this cute burlap wreath was hanging on my door!

It was so easy and cheap, too.

I cut the burlap sack into 4-5 inch strips, nearly the entire sack–probably 10 strips.

I twisted a loop at the end of the wire and weaved the wire (about 24″ or so) in and out, and gathered the strips, one after another:

Once the wire is covered in burlap, I twisted a loop to hold the burlap. Then I just used several pieces of small wire to attach it to the wire wreath frame:

And, that’s it!

Cute, huh?

Why We Should All Be A Good Samaritan

It was hot. Texas hot. We had 30 minutes left on an 8 hour drive home. I was fidgety and cranky.

And that’s about the time my hubby spotted a young woman on the side of the road, trying to change a tire.

He slowed.

“I think we should turn around.”

I whined, “But we’re almost home. And it’s so hot. Someone else will help her.”

He ignored me.

From the backseat my kids asked: Who is that? Why are we stopping? Why us?

With every answer…. [A stranger. She needs help. Because it’s the right thing to do.]

Coals heaped on my  head.

Ten minutes later, hubby back in the car, hot and sweaty, “that poor girl! She’s on her way to college. She had no idea how to fix that blow out. I’m glad she had a spare.”

More coals. On my selfish head.

It was a beautiful lesson for my kids that day to see their Dad help a stranger in need.

It was a tough lesson for me — a reminder that I often put myself in front of others.

Fast forward two weeks. I was pulling out of a parking lot and my car suddenly sputtered and died. It was 103 degrees and I was stuck in the middle of the road, with all 3 kids panicked in the backseat.

I tried to start the car–over and over.

I got out and tried to push my heavy van to the curb, while cars behind me honked.

Guess how many got out to help? None.

Guess who I couldn’t stop thinking about? That young college student…

Finally, a kind soul stopped. I called my hubby and we waited in the nearby air-conditioned grocery store.

Nothing will teach you to be a good samaritan, like needing a good samaritan!

When my man rescued me I told him how many had passed me by.

He smiled. He knew I’d learned my lesson, the hard way.

There are two powerful effects of the Gospel that my Pastor pointed out recently:

  • a heart of love
  • spontaneous generosity

I want both.

We don’t give because we have a lot. We give because we’ve been given a lot to give away.

A good samaritan is always ready to spontaneously give to those in need. It’s usually inconvenient and unplanned. It will probably cost us comfort, even pride. It won’t be easy or bring us fame.

But this is Christianity.

In Honor of Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, I’m sharing the hardest work I’ve ever done!

How long were your labors?

Kid #1, 12 hours

Kid #2, 10 hours

Kid #3, 8 hours

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1, 2 weeks late, induced due to begging.

Kid #2, 1 week early, induced due to threatening

Kid #3, 7 weeks early, emergency c-section, because I like to mix it up a little.

Where did you deliver?

In the safety and security of the hospital, where most patients with OCD deliver.


Yes, many and all kinds.


On my last one, after 7-8 hours of laboring without dilation, I was rushed down the hall because the baby and I weren’t doing well. I’ve never been more afraid of a nurse with a razor!

Who delivered?

Kid #1- A nice midwife who sat on the end of my bed to ‘take a looksey’ broke the end of my bed– completely off—she went on to do a great job!

Kid #2- We moved when I was 8.5 months pregnant and a very reluctant doctor I only met once, delivered my son.  When she told me I was too far along to accept as a new patient, I burst into tears and said my hubby would have to do it.  She quickly changed her policy.

Kid #3- The best OB in Texas!  I love this woman.  I’m pretty sure she saved my daughter’s life!

How about you? What are your numbers?

[Did you adopt? (how long did you wait?) Not a mom yet (how long were your mom’s numbers)?]

originally posted, Sept. 1, 2008

Just Another Reason I’m Not In Politics (Update on Tempur-Pedic Voting Rules)

All my chads are hanging…and for those with voting questions, the Inlinkz Voting People answer them. (I explained how it works wrong in the contest post. I’m not surprised either):
Just to clear things up: The total you give them is to vote once. So all the IPs get to cast 10 votes on 6 entries. This means that once they vote all the contestants they still have 4 votes they will not be able to cast. Voting is not on a per day basis but it is like an election. Every IP gets to vote but not re-vote.
Some people may see the “already voted” thingie if one member of their family (or whoever may share their router/IP address) has already voted for something. People behind the same IP get only one set of votes.
If you feel that something is going wrong, you can always check in the moderate links page. There you can see a button with a number of votes. If you click that button, you will be able to see which IPs have voted. you will sort them based on their IP and actually see if anyone from a specific IP range is voting too many times.
Once a vote has been cast, even if the browser has cached the collection and still display the stars, the vote will not be re-cast so if someone thinks he is voting multiple times, he isn’t as the server silently rejects multiple votes from the same IP over the total number of votes.
Anyway, you should probably lower the number of available votes as the vote number is for each IP and it is more than the contestants.<———— which I did to 6 instead of 10
Clear as mud, right? You may not love these rules, but they make this contest fair. I’m a lover, not a fighter.
Now, if you have voted, click here or scroll to the post below to do so! Good luck!

VOTE! {Tempur-Pedic Finalists}

*Update on the Voting System* I set the perimeters where each IP address can vote multiple times. It may allow you to vote on more than one photo a day or the same one over and over….it is sensitive, so if you click in the area of a picture accidentally, it will record it as a vote. Please understand-all the votes are being recorded fairly and each one is being counted if it fits in the perimeters. It may look wonky on your end, but it’s the system trying to keep up with multiple votes coming in at the same time. On my end, the voting looks very accurate and this is a reliable system.”

Warning:  This is going to be fun!

How about I share some random mattress facts from my memory bank before I announce our finalists?  Because I’ve got them.

  • Growing up, my sister had a cat. It hated me. We would have staring contests and the cat would win. On one particular hateful day, in the middle of the night, the cat crawled up into my twin bed (I shared a room with my sister and she slept in her own twin bed, next to me) and peed on my legs and mattress. I woke the whole house up with my, um, behavior. [Moral: Cats always win and cat pee means a new mattress]
  • In college, I lived in an ancient dorm and we would start on the third floor and have mattress rides down to the basement (four flights of stairs!) It was a blast. We’d then drag those flimsy, dirty things back into our rooms and sleep on them. Back then, my back never hurt! [Moral: I am old. But not too old to try that again someday]
  • At one of my first jobs, my boss constantly talked about flipping her mattress while nude. It scarred me. She also reminded me to “wear lipstick” every day while I worked in the back room, shipping dept. [Moral: You don’t have to flip a good mattress: i.e. Tempur-Pedic Contour Signature, lipstick is optional]

Alrighty, then. I think I’ve scared y’all enough.

Now for the fun part: A team of objective people from the PR firm who are working with Tempur-Pedic on this giveaway narrowed down the fabulous entries to what you see below. [Please note: I did not have any say in the finalists and didn’t even know who they were until a couple of hours ago. And just so you know the choices aren’t biased, most of the finalists are anonymous since their pictures don’t link anywhere. There were several entries over 75 characters, but since there was a glitch in the Linky program and it didn’t notify entrants, those entries were not disqualified.]

Please cast your vote and if you see your own entry, you are free to use the power of social media (twitter, facebook, blog, the telephone, etc) to gather some support!

One vote per ip address. person per day (with a total of 10 votes per IP Address). Voting ends Sunday, Sept. 11. Please read an explanation of how voting works here.

Ready, Set, GO!

I give you the finalists–ONE lucky person will win TEMPUR®-Contour Signature and  the TEMPUR Advanced Ergo System®

Listed in random order:


Disclaimer: I’m beyond excited and thrilled to be a part of this Tempur-Pedic campaign and giveaway! Although I’m being compensated for this program, the opinions are mine. I’m also happy to say that Tempur-Pedic chose my blog for this campaign because of  my involvement with Mercy House. The monetary compensation from this program will be given to Mercy House. But I’m gonna keep the bed. And it just doesn’t get better than that!