Friday, March 21, 2014

That one time I said NEVER but God wanted more

Part of this Restless Project is going back through your life and plucking moments out. Plucking out the moments you felt the most proud and satisfied and plucking out the moments you suffered. To take it a step further, you have to describe how you felt at each of those moments.

The proud and satisfying moments were fun and brought back good and warm feelings. The moments you remember suffering were not so fun. Taking pause to reflect on why you felt the way you did and describing those moments (that forever shape you) is painful. It's not fun and it's hard and I'd rather just forget.

It's important though, to do this because it really is evident how those moments and those feelings play into your passions and gifting later on.

One of the most painful parts of my life, was during my younger years in church- specifically youth group (Junior High on up) I'm not going to dive into all of it, but suffice it to say I was hurt by people in the church (side note...people can really suck and that includes God's people. It sucks and it shouldn't be this way but we are all human and sometimes humans suck) I could have very easily written the church off at that point but I am grateful that God (and my parents) walked me through that and that I didn't turn bitter.

Something I did while in my youth group days was go to Mexico on a mission trip. I sort of signed up because everyone did, but I really struggled with it. God answered specific concerns I had with different verses right before I left and I will always remember that. But I did not come home feeling "totally awesome" nor did I ever feel like "Yes, I was totally supposed to go and now I can see that". I just never have. Some things you just don't get the kind of answers you expect.


I swore I would never, ever go back to Mexico on any kind of a mission trip
 (you know where this is going don't you?)


As I've shared before, God is rattling my soul and asking me to live brave, to trust in Him in new ways and to let go of fear. Going to Haiti with Trades of Hope was a huge step in that direction for me. Letting (seriously) Trev go to Israel for over 10 days was a big deal (it's all about fear people)

Then my friend (our Youth Pastor now) asked me to go to Mexico with the Youth as photographer for their trip over Spring Break. He must have sensed I was in a "heck yes whatever" mood when he asked because I said sure.

His wife is one of my dearest friends, and at that point I thought there was a good chance she was going. Well, she's not. And I started to back peddle a few months later.
I tossed up a lot of excuses

"I'm not invested in it"
"I only said yes because he's my friend and I don't want to let him down"

"I am not a youth worker right now, I have no connection"
"Wait, it's like hardcore camping!?!?"


"I will miss my boys"
"I am afraid something will happen to them while I'm gone, only I can really watch them the way I want them to be watched"




We leave tomorrow, and to be honest I'm still fearful. I'm just sort of putting those things in the back of my mind and focusing on using all this cool camera gear and apps to edit movies that I get to upload while we are in Mexico.

But here is the thing-

I think God wants to redeem some things in me. I think God wants to take something that makes me remember hurt and loneliness and rejection and turn it into something good. I think He wants me to trust Him with the parts of my past that still hurt. I think God wants to work on me. I know that unless every.single.part of my life is His I cannot be used the way I have asked Him to use me.

Am I hesitant and a little afraid? You bet I am. But I'm going. I will leave before my kids get up in the morning and hit the road with vans full of teenagers that may be feeling exactly what I felt so long ago but hid it really well.

And my boys will ask Trevor where I am and he will tell them that I'm heading to Mexico to build houses, and that Mommy is learning to trust God in a whole new way.




You can follow along at www.mednazyouth.blogspot.com or @mednazstudents on IG




Live Life Palms Down


Live life palms down.



Sounds weird right? By living palms down, I'm relinquishing my rights to everything. Nothing I am or have is mine. It is all for Him. 
I force myself to not hold tight to things I want or need. I simply trust in a God who has told me He alone supplies my every thought, need or desire. 
By living palms down- I become a funnel of His grace. His blessings flow down and off my hands into the lives of others and I don't attempt to grab them and never let go. 

Palms down.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Restless Project: My review and why you need to grab this book

Do You Feel Like You're Missing Something? What if this feeling wasn't a bad thing? It could be a longing for more of God and a catalyst to living the life that was designed before the foundations of the earth were laid.

A lot of us, if we're honest, are afraid. We hold our dreams close to our chest. But our passions have a purpose--they were engineered for God's greater plan and he intends for us to use them for his glory and purposes.

In "Restless," Bible teacher and fellow struggler Jennie Allen explores practical ways to identify the threads of your life and how to intentionally weave them together. She explains how your gifts, passions, places, and relationships aren't random; they're deliberate and meaningful. And your suffering--it's possible it has produced the very thing you want to give back to the world.

Using the story of Joseph, the dreamer, Jennie explains how his suffering, gifts, relationships--all of the threads of his life--fit into the greater story of God and how our stories can do the same. What would happen if God got bigger than your fear and insecurity, and you spent the rest of your life running without reservation after his purposes for you? You were created for more. (From Restless by Jennie Allen)







I first heard about Jennie's new book Restless on Twitter. I read a quick synopsis and then entered to win an advanced readers copy. I won! And then I set it aside and didn't pick it up in time to review it before it launched. It's not really a read quick and then write a review about type book.
You have to be ready to dig in, create the time and space to process and follow through on the project and I wanted to give it my full attention.

My friend and I started reading it together and then meeting together to go over the different "assignments". It has been so so good.

Restless is all about finding out what has made you who you are, what your strengths and natural gifts are, what you are passionate about and how the suffering you have endured shape your life and your calling. It's not a "here is what you should do with your life book". It's a book that walks you through your big stuff, helps you see the threads and connections and helps you figure out really what your "sweet spot" is.

It's been amazing to see why I felt the way I did in the greatest memories of my life. It's also been more painful than I expected to walk through the moments of suffering in my life. It's been good to lay it out before trusted friends and my husband and ask "What do you see? What patterns or connections do you notice? Am I serving best where I should be given my gift set?"

I met with one friend last night, super late at a lounge. Yep, a lounge. It has this great funky ambiance and it was quiet. We had a couch to ourselves and I laid out my whole life on butcher paper before her. She saw some things I hadn't seen before. Some connections and tendencies and frankly gave meaning to some stuff that I hadn't been able to put words to. It was so so good.


I am 30 years old, but I haven't arrived. I am still learning about God. I'm still learning what audacious grace and extravagant mercy look like. I'm still learning what makes me tick, what makes me excited, where I am made to serve. I don't ever want to feel comfortable and settle in someplace because it's easy or safe. I want to be in the will of God, doing exactly what He has created me to do even if it makes me uncomfortable.

This isn't about "well, I'm a Mom and that's my focus and calling". Absolutely, but you aren't just a Mom. There is far more there than that, and you don't have to choose one over the other.


I so encourage you (my lady friends) to grab Jennie's book. Read it. Walk through the process and meet with a trusted friend who knows you well, who can call out the stuff you maybe don't see and find out what makes you the way you are, and where you are called to plug in. It may be what you are doing now, or it may completely surprise you. Either way, don't wait.

If you are local and want to walk through this book with me...shoot me an email
www.krystle.bowen@gmail(dot)com


Great people do not do great things; God does great things through surrendered people.” 




* I received an AR copy to read and review from a giveaway- all opinions are my own and completely honest*

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beautiful Things: A tangible way to make a difference

I am gearing up to start training for my next Half-Marathon. I knew as soon as I finished the last one, I would go again. This time I will be running the Eugene Half! I was born in Eugene and spent the first almost 9 years of my life there, and I love the thought of doing this there!

Today I was running the Shamrock 5 mile race with my Dad and had this idea to make my Half-Marathon a fundraiser. That I would pick something to run for, and raise money for it and then donate that money to whatever I had picked.

All day I had thoughts running through my head but nothing felt right.


Last night one of my dear friend's son was in a horrible car accident.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Going to a Park: A Defining Moment

There are a few things that are just flat out harder with twins. Okay, well most things are. It's just different. I don't expect everyone to understand, you really can't. Just know that "close in age" and "irish twins" and all that just doesn't even come close to actual twins. It just doesn't. Come spend a week with me and you will see.


That said, parks have been the opposite of fun for us. I have not been able to take them all to the park alone because

1) All three would go in different directions
2) They had no sense of danger, as in they would walk off the top of a high ledge without batting an eye
3) All three would go in different directions
4) Leaving the park was a nightmare because physically gathering up the screaming because they don't want to leave little people was near impossible
5) One would want to swing while the other wanted to climb and slide and the other would want to run the other way

It was just not fun. It was exhausting and insane and all my twin mama's say amen.


This week the weather has been gorgeous in Southern Oregon and we live around the corner from a park. We decided to head out after naps. We walked. All three boys held hands and didn't run into the street. They headed for all of the play things and I sat down in the grass and watched.

I sat down and watched.

They slid and climbed and ran and jumped and Jack swung without needing to be pushed and I sat and watched. I didn't have to hover for fear of death, I didn't have to chase down runaway boys and I didn't have to monitor the playing together.

It was a defining moment for me. I remember thinking, this is never going to get easy, and in many ways it hasn't nor will it look like a "normal easy" ever, because hello I have twins and a singleton. But this, this was a huge moment for me to say, we have reached a place in their ages and understanding where these kinds of things will start to happen more regularly and it is so great. Especially for Jack who has kinda gotten the brunt of life with twins, and not doing all the normal type things because it's either way to hard or impossible.

I am so looking forward to this summer and to this next chapter in life.



PS: While I was writing this, Christian escaped into the garage, climbed into the van and opened the garage door. If my keys had been in the car, you can bet he would have started it and figured out how to get it moving. Keepin it real.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Let's Talk About Dating Your Spouse

I saw something on Facebook the other day that made my heart sad. PopSugar had asked on Facebook "When was the last time you had a date night".

What followed was a majority of Moms saying things like 

"What is 'date night'?" and 
"Six years ago, before my oldest was born" 
and "I can't remember".

Hundreds of comments. It made me so sad.


You need to date your spouse. Now, this might not look like a weekly trip to the movies with dinner, but you need to date no matter how unconventional it looks.

I understand that some people have no extra money, and some people don't have anyone who can watch their kids for free. I still believe there is a way to date your spouse even without those luxuries. Often it's just adjusting priorities to make the room.

We are busy people. Our kids (if we let them) take over things and at the end of the day we are tired. You must connect with your spouse, you must take time to look at them in the eyes and have an uninterrupted conversation. No kids begging for your attention or electronic devices including the TV to distract.

I believe this is so vital to a healthy marriage, and for us we have made the allowance in our budget to date often at the sacrifice of other things that some may not. We have done this because we believe strongly that if you are not connecting this way with your spouse you are slowly losing track of one another. Life happens and it's auto-pilot until kids are in bed and then you crash (after laundry and kitchen cleaning of course)

Save all your change for a $2.00 date once a month. Head to Sonic at happy hour for a drink, stick it in the freezer. That night as you head out, grab it and a spoon and head out to sit in the car, eat your drink and talk. Grab a taco each and do the same thing.
You can do a lot with $2.00 if you are creative. Give up coffee for a week, put that in the date night fund. Turn in cans and bottles, sell some stuff on Craigslist and make that money date money only. It can be done. It doesn't have to be fancy or long, just do it.

As far as childcare goes, and I know this is a biggie. Do the research with friends and people you trust to find someone and save up just the same with your change, your adjusted funds and even if it's just an hour out of the house, do it. Check with friends that have kiddos and do a swap! Watch their kids for free while they go out, and then when it's your turn they can watch your kids! This is one of the best ways to do this and I think sometimes people forget! Others are in your same situation, so ask!

Yes, have a date night at home after the kiddos are in bed with movie and popcorn, but also get out of the house. I think your brain and body relax in a way it can't at home, especially if you are a stay at home mom. Yes, there are seasons that it doesn't work out like this, especially with a newborn. Or if you've just moved...I get that. But I also think there are too many reasons NOT to date your spouse, so it's easy to just pick one and settle at that. Fight for it.

Do a double date sometimes too! Have all the kids and babysitter at one house, and go out or go to the other house and rent a movie and do homemade pizza! My parents did this when I was young and they have the best memories!

Date your spouse. It's good for your kids to see that the world doesn't revolve around them, that you care for and love one another so much you take time for just yourselves. I think that is so important for our kids to see.


If you haven't been good about dating your spouse, put on your creative thinking caps, plan some cheap dates and get out the door. If money isn't an issue, than you really need to line up that date :)

Ask your spouse (in a moment of quiet) if he wants to date you more, if he wants to make it a priority, if he wishes you went out on dates more. Maybe you've gone so long without this at the forefront, neither of you have realized how much you need it.

We try to go out twice a month, we are blessed to have many people watch our kids for free, but when that isn't an option, we set aside babysitting money. On the in between weeks, when we aren't out, we have a date at home. Sometimes we only get out once a month. The point is....don't not go out on a date.

It's a priority for us, and if it's not a priority you won't make it happen.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Cleaning My Carpets Taught Me About Grace

I borrowed my sister's carpet cleaner a few weeks back. We have lighter colored carpet (not our choice obviously) and after a winter of boys and a puppy I could tell it was getting bad.

We vacuum a lot, and spot clean. In fact, we have subsisted on this method for awhile and it had been fine, until it was obvious it wasn't. So I deep cleaned them.

This is the nasty that I got. This came up after one use in our living room. This is just so disgusting, it's embarrassing. It didn't look that gross at first glace, it was hidden down deep and it took more than a vacuum and spot clean to get it up.




I learned my lesson, don't wait so long before you clean the carpets again!

As I looked at this bowl of nasty water, I realized how similar I can be.

I am really good at getting by, and doing what I need to do to function. I feel I do pretty good with some praying, some scripture and some time in worship. I don't feel I have any deep seeded dirt. I mean, I'm saved...I love Jesus and I want to live for Him.

I realized I had been doing this rather well. I spot cleaned and vacuumed
and moved furniture around in my heart. I maintained a facade of clean, tidy and only minor blemishes.

Some issues came up involving people in my life and my first instinct was that of anger and bitterness. My first reaction was not the grace and love I speak of and it shocked me. Sure, I justified it. It really isn't fair, it really is something that I can't control and it really is hurtful.

I could make a list of justifications for why it's okay for me to not give grace, or to show love.

But in doing that, I am being a hypocrite. I'm saying God's grace is good enough, except when...
His love covers all, except this.

I am made in His image. His Holy Spirit equips me with the same grace and love that HE offers, if I allow Him to.

And who am I? Who am I to pick and choose when I give grace. That is the exact opposite of what grace is.

This will forever be a learning process, until I meet my Savior face to face I will never do this thing right all the time.

I need Him to clean out the roots of my carnal self and I need to be honest with myself that they exist.

I can't do this one life well if I refuse to see myself for who I really am. A broken person who needs Jesus and His grace. Only then can I give grace out like there is no tomorrow....even when it hurts.


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

End of a Blogging Era

So ends the 3 Little Men and a Mommy era. Not in reality, but in blog world. My domain was set to renew and I had the hardest time getting it paid up for another year...no thanks to you Google.
And just like that it was gone. I decided to just start fresh with a new domain and new blog. All the stuff is still here, nothing else has changed.

You'll want to re-follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via email over there on the sidebar.

It's just bare bones here. Nothing fancy. Just my words, my pictures, my story.


I came up with the blog title when I was thinking about what I wanted this spot to represent. We have three boys...wild. We are in full time ministry...a different kind of wild...and taking a line from Sir Francis Drake's poem....

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future in strength, courage, hope and love.

And so, All the Wild Things began.