Thursday, December 27, 2007

Home for Christmas

We had such a wonderful Christmas! It was the first one spent in our own home, with no traveling. It was very simple and enjoyable. We did some fun things that may turn into traditions - making cookies for santa, eating lots of appetizer type foods (i love rotel, giant pretzels, spinach dip, you get the idea!) reading the story of the birth of Jesus, watching Christmas movies together, and a pancake breakfast. The only thing we did that I hope is NOT a tradition is Christmas dinner at, get this, SHONEY'S!!! Bryan threatened that he could see us there for the next 40 years.... I sure hope not. The only other options were Waffle House (a Catching family favorite i must admit!) or a Korean resturant with Broiled Eel on the menu. SO we did have fun and I am so glad that we had celebrated Christmas with my parents when my sister, Claire, was visiting earlier in the month. I was able to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas since the stress level was WAY down compared to other years. The Christmas Store the week before was a good way to take the focus off of "what I want for Christmas" to making sure kids in our neighborhood actually had few gifts under their tree. I am so thankful for the Lord's hand on our lives and in this neighborhood.

Christmas morning JOY!
Merry Chrismas, Levi!

And to all, a good night!

The Christmas store was PACKED with donated, brand-new toys!
Sorry, guys, I had to post this pic!

Claire's visit was so much fun~ we visited a house with Crazy christmas decor!
Bryce's kindergarden class sang at church one sunday - they were adorable! This pic is missing 2 of the girls.
Christmas cookies! Bryce said "I better not catch either of you (mom and dad) taking a bite out of the ones for Santa"
The Christmas loot - thanks grandparents!
A definate favorite - Power Ranger masks and watches - Ethan has literally worn this costume EVERYDAY for a week.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Levi is 5 months old!

I really can't believe how fast time flies. here are some pics from today just to show how much he is growing.
CGM did a Christmas Store this past week that really blessed many people in the neighborhood. As soon as I get the camera back from Kevin, I will write a blog about it and post pictures.
We are not traveling for the holidays, so maybe i'll actually have time to blog!

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Monday, December 17, 2007


Two of my favorite things....
an old favorite: my sister, Claire
a new favorite: Photo Booth!!!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sweet Grandmommy

Please pray for my sweet, godly grandmother as she recovers from a broken shoulder. I love you, Gmommy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Common Ground Ministry Update

This is a copy of the email update my husband sent out this week. The stories of the past week are amazing! I hope you take time to read the whole thing - especially the quotes at the end.

Greetings from Common Ground Montgomery !

This is email is longer than the others, but I promise you it will bless you to read what God has been doing in our midst!!!!!

We are in our house!!! (The Kelly’s)
We have been in our new house for just over a week now. We love our new neighborhood, though it doesn’t feel new at all since we have spent the last year getting to know many people here. What is new is having as many as 15-20 kids from our street over at the house any chance we will allow it! It is wonderful. We love our house (it has been completely renovated and added on to)… and we love our neighborhood.

New followers of Jesus!!!
We now have two new brothers in Christ from our street. We have been getting to know two teenagers over the last 8 or 9 months. Both of these guys helped us do the demolition on my home while we were remodeling it. Both have grown up on our street. Kevin and I began sharing our faith with them months ago, and they also began to attend Church with us. Curiously, they both had no question about where they stood in relationship to God. They both freely admitted they didn’t know the Lord and weren’t ‘saved’. But, they said they like us, and all the people we kept bringing around. We tried to provide a non-threatening environment for them to learn about and ‘see’ Jesus through our lives. We have included them in on many aspects of our lives. They eat with us, play with and hold our children, go the Church with us, have spent the night in our home, help us in some of our work, etc. They have become part of our lives. God has blessed it! Three nights ago, one of them came over and we sat on the porch.

He said he had been thinking more and more about being ‘saved’. Kevin had spent an hour on the phone with him the night before talking about Jesus. He told me that he was so glad that he wasn’t running the streets any more, and that he wasn’t doing many of the things he had been doing just months earlier. I told him that reminded me of something so I grabbed my bible and we began to look at verses together. We saw in the bible where it said of Christians… “therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come”. I went on to explain that there is a major difference between just changing our behavior for a little while and actually surrendering our lives to follow Jesus. He was very curious, and wanted to know what that meant. We read where Paul tells us that we all had sinned and fallen short of God’s glory… and that the wages of our sin is death, but that the gift of God is eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. We talked about what it meant to submit to Christ as Lord, and trust Him only as a Savior, and the true freedom that is available to us. Long story short (though trust me, you really wan to hear the long version!) He prayed to receive Christ right there on the porch with me. During all this, we heard a gun shot off in the distance, we had three heavily intoxicated/high people walk by mumbling at us, and we witnessed a slight altercation in the street about 5 houses down. God was so good to us in the middle of all that to change his heart. After he prayed, he kept saying things like “I feel so good… has he really forgiven me for all things!... man, I have to tell ___ about this!.... He needs to know the Lord too!” It was a wonderful, holy night!

Well, the next day, he took the piece of paper that I had written down the verses on that we looked at and that I had drawn a ‘bridge’ illustration on to help him understand what Jesus had done for him. He came over my house with four other teenagers. The house was full of kids from the neighbor playing in the front area. My new brother, took the teenagers to the back of the house and proceeded to explain what had happened to him the night before! He did an amazing job. I walked into the room while he was saying all this! “You can’t jump over it (the separation between us and God), you can’t fly over it, you can’t get to God. It don’t matter how good you think you are. A wage is something you earn… and our sin led us to death as our wage. That what we earned. But God gave us a gift! Real life, eternal life.”

They asked him some questions, which he answered very well, and then they all went home. That night his best friend came back over (the other teenager I spoke of before). He told us he was ready to ‘give his life to the Lord and get saved’. We sat down together and talked about what it meant to be ‘saved’, Who we needed to be saved from, and what we were being saved into. He prayed to receive Christ right there in our living room! Both of the young men were grinning from ear to ear (and one of them NEVER smiles!) God had forgiven them and set them free from their sins! That’s all they kept talking about.

They both spent the night last night, and one of them came to me and said some pretty interesting things. Here are some of his quotes (he gave me permission to share them with you!):

On drugs in the neighborhood: “If crack would never have been invented, we could have had so many lawyers and doctors and teachers coming from this neighborhood. Right now you just have so many lives so messed up. All this wasted life….”

On all the other younger kids running the streets in our neighborhood:
“The person I used to be… I was making them do so many bad things. They look up to us, and I was trying to teach them how to be a thug or hard, or something like that. We used to make them fight and stuff… now I want to see them find the Lord the way I find the Lord. If I can find Him, they can too. I am trying to get them while they are young. I didn’t have nobody to show me this when I was their age. I want to see them find the Lord.”

On us coming into their lives over the last year: “If y all wouldn’t have come around we would have been on the street… doing nothing good. If ya’ll would have never come around, I believe life would have been all about getting money, selling drugs… life in the streets would have led us to nowhere… the grave or prison… and setting bad examples for these younger kids.”

On all the drug addicts and prostitutes in our neighborhood: There are some junkies out there, but I am realizing that that is somebody’s people… someone’s uncle, daddy, cousin, son. They are somebody’s people. Somebody out there still loves them somewhere. I know God loves them too. I wasn’t thinking about nothing I used to do. When I used to run the streets, the Lord Jesus Christ used to be the last thing on my mind. We used to treat them any old way.

May God bless the lives of these new brothers… May he raise them up as leaders in our neighborhood… May he do immeasurable more than we can ever ask or imagine!

Monday, November 12, 2007

We have Survived!

One of my friends e-mailed me and rebuked me for not letting all my "readers" know that we are alive and well! (thanks, toni!) Well, not only are we alive and well - we LOVE our new neighborhood! It has literally been non-stop for the past week and I have been amazingly calm thru it all. I know that the peace that passes all understanding has truly gaurded my heart and mind because of so many prayers for me. I can't go any further without saying that 2 of the teenagers we have spent so much time with over the last few months just prayed to receive Christ this past weekend!!! The stories are amazing and I will have to ask BK if I can share them on this blog. Please pray for these guys - we all know how hard it is to walk with Jesus and they are just beginning!
My house is amazing - I am still waiting on curtains, and some paint and a few odds and ends, but it is mostly all done. I am waiting to put a picture until the grass is in the yard (right now there is just 2 truck loads of dirt spread evenly across the whole thing!) Also, things are STILL not all put away.
This past weekend there were at least 7 kids in my home at any given time (many times exceeding that number) and they were all so precious. I seriously could tell story after story and we have only been here one week. One thing I thought was intresting happened yesterday while I was visiting with a neighbor from across the street. She said that it is very uncommon for these kids to be asked inside a neighbors home - they mostly just stick to the streets. I know we will have to set up boundaries so we don't burn out, but having these kids in our home provides SO much opportunity to show them the love of Jesus. I must say that when I prayed for Boys 7 years ago, I never thought I would have 3 of my own and then at least 10 from my neighborhood. May the Lord establish these men in righteousness and give them many years to transform this neighborhood! I could write all night, but I am exhausted.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Please Pray...IT"S TIME!

I wanted to ask that all of you who read this blog lift our family up in prayer over the weekend. The time has come for us to MOVE into the neighborhood and into our beautifully renovated home. We will be cleaning today and actually moving things on Saturday. There is still some work to be done - mainly just painting in some of the rooms. So we are moving into some of the rooms and will complete the move when the painting is finished.

As some of you know, I have dealt with anxiety symptoms (namely arm pains) over the past year. I have come to view them as a warning signal that there are unresolved anxious thoughts lurking in the back of my mind. Well, the pains have appeared again this morning. I know that the answer is to spend some time really praying and in the Word, but those moments are hard to come by with a 3 month old and a sick 5 yr old, and SO MUCH TO DO!!! So, please pray also that I would be able to deal with these things in my heart and that the Lord would give me His peace. Guess I should get off this computer and get into the Word! HA!

They Grow So Fast

Levi is changing so much! He is 3 months old already. He is finally sleeping about 8 hours at night and laughs out loud. Bryce and Ethan love him so much - I am so thankful for my 3 boys.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Almost done

I can hardly believe it, but our home is almost finished. I stood inside for a long time this morning, and I absolutley love it. Maybe it was the smell of fresh paint, or maybe it was the cool fall breeze coming thru the open windows (finally!) or maybe it is because the Lord is preparing my heart to set up camp there for a long time. I want to post pictures, but I think I will wait until it is all done - for the most dramatic effect of course.
There is a diner at the end of my street, within walking distance, and Bryan and I ate lunch there today - the chicken fingers were great and (heaven help me) they have doughnuts in the mornings along with coffee with french vanilla creamer. I told BK that I would have to be careful or I might just put on a few pounds, and his response was, "Now you know what's happened to me!"
While we were eating, a lady from our neighborhood held Levi the entire time we ate and he just smiled and giggled and cooed. I am still convinced that the best thing you can do to break the ice in a new community of people is to have a baby... He is definately the most popular person in our family these days!
Please pray for us as move in day draws near and I promise to post pictures again soon.

Monday, October 8, 2007

We knew it would happen...

We just didn't know when!

"Do not lie in wait like an outlaw at the home of the godly. And don't raid the house where the godly live. They may trip seven times, but each time they will rise again." Proverbs 24:15-16.

Last night when we went to check on the progress of the renovation of our home, we realized that the master bedroom window was completely busted out, and many things were stolen. Among the things taken were power tools and ALL of the paint for the inside of the house. This was NOT fun for Bryan to come home to after being out of town!

Here are the things I am thankful for:
1. They did not bust any more windows
2. They did not spray paint graffiti on my walls
3. That we have granted by the Lord to "suffer" for His name

My prayer thru this first harsh experience is that each time it happens we will rise again, praise His name, and NOT GIVE UP! I heard a quote on the radio this morning that said that part of being great for the Lord is to endure persecution without resentment - what a timely word for me to hear!

Also, Ethan fell on the front porch as we were leaving and ended up with 3 stitches in the back of his head. I guess it had been too long since we had been to PriMed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Family Photo

We very rarely have a picture of ALL of us, so I thought I'd post this one from last night. Even Levi is looking...kind of!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Levi is 6 Weeks Old...already!

I laugh all the time because he just looks like an old man! I think some people call babies who look like this "old souls", and now I know why!~ I still think he is a good mixture of my other two...

Mommy loves me SO much, even though I am fussy and have reflux! She keeps calling me "the last Kelly"... I wonder what that means?!

First Day of School

Bryce had his FIRST DAY of Kindergarden today! Ethan returned to preschool, as well.

It was Very important to Bryce to push Levi down the hall as we went to his class. He gets so much joy out of taking care of his baby! I am so thankful to the Lord for that. If you look closely, you can see Ethan up ahead, carefree, as usual (see last picture).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Claire and Jason's Visit

I just wanted to post a few fun pics from when Claire and Jason came to visit and took care of the boys while I was in the hospital and for the whole week afterward. They are amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pig Pen

Well, I thought I'd show off Ethan's new nickname with a few pictures... It seems like he was a lot cleaner before Levi came along. Now, it seems like every time I see him he has a smuge on his face, crazy hair, or something even worse... this is dirt from the backyard, by the way!

Favorite Pics of First Week with Levi

My sweet friends, Natalie and Laura were with me the whole time!! They helped distract me from the contractions and were the first to know he was a BOY! (thanks to Laura for leaving the door cracked!!!)
Claire took this shot of Bryce peeking in the nursery window - I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Introducing...Levi Cole Kelly

Levi joined our family on July 26th - thus sharing his birthday with his father! BK is convinced he will never have a birthday again! his stats: 7 lbs 11 oz, 21 1/2 in.