Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011

At the beginning of 2011, I made a lengthy list of goals for myself.  Now that 2011 is coming to an end, let's see how I did on these goals...

Career Goals:1. Find a job that is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally fulfilling.
I love my job so much!  I can't even begin to express how much I love my job.  It has turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  I get to talk to the kids about God, Jesus and the Bible, which is spiritually fulfilling.  I get think of fun and creative ways to teach the children new concepts, which is intellectually fulfulling.  I don't leave work and emotional wreck, running to my car in tears, which is emotionally fulfilling.  So, I would say that in 2011, I found a job that is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally fulfilling.!

Educational Goals:
1. Make all A's and B's in my last two semesters at CPCC
I made A's and B's for the last semester that I attended CPCC this year.  Sadly, I did not attend my last two semesters at CPCC this year. 
2. Graduate from CPCC in December 2011
I did not graduate from CPCC this year.  Although, the only reason that I didn't is because God wrecked those plans. 
3. Make a plan for furthering my education
I am making plans to further my education.  I know what I want to get my Masters in.  I am just searching schools and programs for a Bachelors degree that I feel God is calling to me.

Financial Goals:
1. Build my savings account
I am building a savings account.  This year has had a lot of unexpected expenses, and I have been able to pay for all of them because I had money in savings.  I put 20% of my paycheck in savings each week!
2. Start paying the bills my parents are paying for me

Personal Goals:
1. Lose 30 pounds and keep it off!
eek!  I was well on trach for this goal at the beginnning of the year.  Life happened...
2. Run my first 5k
I was ready to check this one off.  I trained for a 5k, registered to run a 5k, and bought new shoes for the 5k...  The week of the 5k, I fell down my stairs and nearly fractured my ankle.  I am still not running.
3. Stop eating fast food on a regular basis
Yes!  Having a job where I do not get a lunch hour to go meander around town aimlessly and eat terrible food has forced me to stop my fast food habit. 
4. Work out at least three times a week
I was doing this as well, before my beautiful fall.  I am going to cross it off, because the only reason I did not work out in December was because of my foot.

Relational Goals:
1. Get to know my brothers better
Fail.  My middle brother went to live with my grandma after Philip passed away.  My youngest brother is having an identity crisis.  This year has been a hectic year, and I didn't make time to get to know them better.
2. Gain an understanding on my parents resistance to church
Negative.  I do not know how to go about this goal...
3. Visit my grandparents at least four timesI made it!  I went to se them four times before Philip passed away.  If I only remember one thing from this year, I want to remember the time I spent with my grandparents before Philip passed away.
4. Visit Victoria at least four times
Thrilled to report that I did this, as well.  Victoria will be leaving the country to study abroad in January.  I am grateful to have been able to spend more time with her this year than I normally do, being that she will be gone until summer!

Spiritual Goals:
1. Gain a better understanding of the Old Testament
This is a work in progress.  I have recently began listening to some of Pastor's old sermons and am learning from each of those. 
2. Learn from my New Testament class
I sure did!  I am glad that I did as well.  I would ahve hated walking away from that class without having gained anything.
3. Finish the 8 month Bible Reading Plan
4. Finish Sun Stand Still
So thankful that I read this book in 2011.  It is a book that is worth reading over and over again!  Grateful that Pastor Steven is my pastor!
5. Have a more personal relationship with God
God rocks my world daily.  We talk on a regular basis.  Yes, we talk.  I don't just talk to Him.  He talks to me, too... and I am not crazy!
6. Learn to follow God's direction without hesitation
Sometimes this has landed me in a position where I walked away looking like a fool to everyone around me, but I did what He told me to do no matter what!
7. Serve on at least three Outreach projects
Love Week 2011 was a success.  I served on three Outreach projects.  It was an amazing experience.
8. Become a better eTeam leader for Host Services
I would not be crossing this off if I did not have other people giving me promotions in my volunteer role.  I don't think that I am all that and a bag of chips.  I more than that I am merely nobody.  But, some people at Elevation seem to think there is something inside of me.  And, because of them I continue doing what I do and strive to be better at it daily.
9. Join an eGroup for the first semester of 2011
Nicki Koziarz was an amazing eGroup leader.  It was an honor to be in her eGroup and listen to her speak every week.  I learned so much about what it meant to be an eGroup leader from her. 
10. Lead an eGroup for the second semester of 2011
You got it!  This girl is leading the Rock Hill Middle School Girls eGroup!  I love it more than I would have ever imagined.

Well folks.  There ya go!  That is how I did in 2011.  I think I did alright.  No one ever accomplishes all of their goals, right?  And, it is okay to not accomplish a goal if God derails your plan!!

What are your goals for 2012?  Mine will be up tomorrow!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

.Redeemed. in 2012

Pinned ImageI can imagine that my last post got you at least a bit excited for .Redemed. in 2012. I want to give you a sneak peak of what is in store for .Redeemed. in 2012...

Sermon Sunday- I will post a few paragraphs about how Sundays sermon impacted me. I will be sharing some of my favorite lines and where we went in the Bible. I think that this will be a great way for me to keep track of the great things happening at Elevation Church and maybe get you a little excited about church.

Thankful Thursday Tuesday - Say it is January 3rd, I will blog about three things I am thankful for. As the month goes on, it will force me to remember the little things I have to be thankful for - being that at the end of January, I will have to blog 31 things I am thankful for! Doesn't this sound exciting??

Reflection Friday - (Better name involving alliteration in the works.. ideas?) The eGroup that I co-lead with Sarah meets Thursday evenings. It is a small group for middle school girls in the Rock Hill area. A typical eGroup involves laughter, someone crawling around on the floor, studying when God writes your love story, and diving into any tough questions the girls may have on their hearts. Reflection Fridays will be a post about what we talked about, random questions that came up, a great part of the discussion, just anything exciting that happens when the Followers of God eGroup gathers.

Q & A Saturday - I really loved the Q&A's that I did this year, so I will be bringing that back. But, I can only keep it going with questions from my amazing readers... THAT'S YOU! :-) Start thinking of questions that you may have for me. They can be questions about leadership, my walk with God, or something completely random like what kind of cheese I like. (Ha!)

That is what .Redeemed. will look like in 2012 as of right now. I am pretty excited to put myself on a blogging schedule. I can't wait to attract more readers.

Are you excited? What would you like to see on .Redeemed. in 2012?

Monday, December 26, 2011


I have had few happy posts over the last few weeks.  I apologize for that.  I want you to know that there are big things in store for .Redeemed. in 2012.  I can't wait for 2012 to get her, so I can revamp this blog and draw you in! 

For now,  I am off on a cruise.  My family and I are going on a three day cruise for our Christmas present.  What a Christmas present, right?  I am a lucky gal.  I can't wait.  Because you have to pay to use the interent and phone on the cruise, I will not be blogging.  You can't get rid of me that easily though!  I have a few scheduled posts in store for you.  Please stay tuned to the blog over the next few days. 

I'll see you in 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Closing Out 12.25.2011

Well, there is less than an hour left of Christmas 2011.  I must say that I am happy that this day is coming to a close.  It was one of the hardest days of the year.

All of the death that has surrounded this year has been difficult to do deal with.  All of the disappointments of 2011 has been difficult to deal with.  But, waking up Christmas morning without Philip was the hardest moment of the year. 

This slightly spoiled girl is used to waking up around 6:00 but not allowed downstairs until 8:00am to presents under an eighteen foot tall Christmas tree, presents in the dining room, presents staked two feet tall across the living room...

Philip made Christmas for my family what it was.  He spoiled us beyond measure.  This was his favorite time of year.  He would shop until all of the stores were closed.  He would buy presents from every thinkable and unthinkable place.  In December, his studio would turn into Santa's workshop.  There was a secret knocking code into the studio and entering Santa's workshop's bathroom was never an option.  Philip would procrastinate until Christmas Eve when it came to wrapping presents.  He was typically done wrapping around 2:00 and 3:00am on Christmas day.  Philip loved Christmas.

Christmas this year looked immeasurably different.  I woke up at noon to an empty house and a four foot tall Christmas tree.  I spent the day in my pajamas, watching movies and crying by the Christmas tree.  I miss Philip more than ever today. 

Christmas will never be the same...
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But, as I write this with tears streaming down my face, I think about Philip.  He wouldn't want me crying in bed missing him.  He would want me to be happy today.  He would want me to be thankful for every moment that I had with him.  It was such a blessing to have as long as I did.  He would want me to make new Christmas traditions and move forward.  I can't continue to look back on the path. 
So, this year my family took a break from Christmas.  We each did our own thing.  We will forever remember Philip, but we will begin making new Christmas traditions next year.  Our step forward this year will be going on a cruise for Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Code Orange Christmas Pt. 2

I hope that you got your tickets for Code Orange Christmas!  Elevation Church is seriously the most amazing church to be at.  Because Pastor Steven only preaches what the Lord tells him to preach, each message is uniquely individualized to your situation.  Every week I walk out of there with at least one take away, one little nugget that was perfect for where I was that day. 

This Christmas worship experience was no different.  Pastor Steven titled this Christmas Code Orange Christmas to signify the urgency of having Christ in your life.  Living with Christ in your life is not a decision you should wait to have. 

Pastor Steven's father, L-Train has been very sick.  Several weeks ago, he was diagnosed with ALS (more popularly known as Lou Gehrig's disease).  He will be given one to three years to live.  Pastor Steven shared this and the story of his father in detail this Christmas.  Pastor Steven had the privilege of praying with his father when he accepted Christ over 5 years ago.  Pastor Steven talks about how his father would be hopeless if he hadn't brought Christ into his life.  But, he knows now that he is part of an everlasting Kingdom and is not going to be brought down by the diagnoses of ALS.

Once again, I was balling by the end of the worship experience.  Not because I know someone dying of ALS, or because I need to bring Christ into my life.  I had tears rolling down my face because Pastor talks about death on a personal level.  This Christmas, a holiday that is spent with family, my family will not be coming together for one meal. 

I am terrified to think that Christmas' will be forever spent separately because Philip isn't here.  I always knew that he brought us together for Christmas, and made Christmas what it was, but I never would have thought that without him, my family would not spend Christmas together.

Christmas is my second favorite holiday.  This year I am surrounded by the thought that I could possibly be spending Christmas day by myself.  My mom, dad and youngest brother will be spending Christmas dinner with my moms friend.  My grandma and middle brother will be enjoying Ruby Tuesdays as a Christmas dinner today and attending church in Aiken tomorrow.  Where does that leave Keirstin? 

By the end of today I will have spent over 14 hours at Elevation Church volunteering over three days.  The thought of driving to Aiken to spend Christmas with my grandma, who needs family most right now, doesn't not thrill me.  But, it is what is right.  But, if I drive to Aiken, that means I do not get to see my mom, dad and youngest brother on Christmas. 

Either way, I will not be spending Christmas with my entire family and the thought of that is foreign. 

Sadly, this year I am ready for December 26th and the mystery of how to do Christmas with Philip will be over.  We will have survived our first of many Christmas without Philip.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Code Orange Christmas

The Elevation Rock Hill Middle School Girls eGroup would like to invite you to Elevation Church this Christmas.

As always this is a ticketed event... Best part about this ticketed event?  The tickets are free!  You don't have to pay anything for the tickets.

Elevation does events like Christmas ticketed so that we can make sure everyone has a seat.  When the auditorium is full at a location, there will no longer be a ticket available.  Isn't that great?  With your ticket you are guaranteed a seat at the Code Orange Christmas worship experience.

So, where can you find a ticket?  Take a look at the picture.

Getting a ticket is easy.  Follow the following steps.
1. Click here.
2. Where would you like to attend the worship experience?  Select that campus.
3. Select a worship experience time and the quantity of tickets you will need.  No tickets are needed for children from 6 weeks to 5th grade.  They should attend eKidz.
4. Print your tickets and take them to Elevation with you when you attend next week.

I am so thankful to attend a church that has six locations and thirty worship experience's over Christmas.  Think of how many  more people Elevation can reach with six locations and thirty worship experiences.

Leading up to the worship experience, take some time to pray for Pastor Steven.  The devil will do all that he can to get into Pastor Steven's head before the worship experiences.  Pray that Pastor Steven has audacity to preach a message that will change hundreds of lives.  Pray that Pastor Steven and the Furtick family will be well.  Pray that nothing stop Pastor Steven from preaching the message that the Lord has given him.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A new kinda Christmas

Well, I told you earlier this week that I would show you my Christmas tree.  To the left you will see a beautiful before picture taken Sunday night.  This is my very first Christmas tree that I ever got myself.  I got the tree from one of those places at a corner... sure wasn't the experience this girl is used to.  Next, I got the tree into the house by myself... a lot easier than taking an eighteen foot tree inside.  Then, I put the tree in the stand... that was harder than I would have imagined.  This afternoon, I finally got around to decorating the tree.

Decorating the Christmas tree has been a family event for as long as I can remember.  It is something that we all do together.  It takes the whole family to decorate the trees that I am used to.  I decorate this tree alone.  How weird...

Drum roll please...
I now present to you the finished product...

This tree is a symbol of a new beginning for me.  As much as I  miss Philip daily, I can do life without him.  It will all be okay! Christmas this year will be different, but change is good.  I am using this as an opportunity to grow.

How about you.... Will this Christmas look different for you for any reason?  How are you using the new experience as an opportunity to grow.  Are you all ready for Christmas?  Is your tree decorated?  Are you done shopping?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What does a normal Christmas look like?

Growing up, my Christmas looked a lot different than the typical family Christmas.  I wouldn't even know how to begin describing a normal Christmas.  But, I can describe to you what Christmas has looked like in my life for the past 21 years...

Christmas for my family began in the beginning of December.  Philip would hook up the trailer and strap on the 16 foot bamboo stick.  I wish I had a picture of that bamboo stick...

The bamboo stick came along as our reference.  The tree always had to be taller than bamboo stick. 

When I was younger, Philip, Grandma, my brothers and I (occasionally, my parents would join us, too!) would load up in the Bronco.  We would visit three different tree farms.  We always ended up getting a tree at the third.  I never understood why we had to visit three, to always get a tree at the last.  I'll never know.  The picture above is from two years ago.  We were wandering around trying to find the perfect Christmas tree. 

When I was younger,  Philip would cut down the Christmas tree himself.  As Philip got older, the men who worked at the tree farm would cut down the Christmas tree.  We would load up the tree on the trailer.  The trailer was small.  Several feet of tree would always hang off! 

We would spend the rest of the day pulling the tree onto the porch, getting the tree in the stand and into the house.  It would take all evening to get the tree standing straight.  There are hooks all over the living room to use pulleys to make sure it is perfectly straight.  The picture on the left is a lovely indication of all the work that went into putting a 17 foot tree up.

Day two was the day we decorated the tree. The day began with everyone unraveling and testing the lights.  Each strand had to be tested, each bulb had to work!  Once the bulbs were tested, the lights went on.  Then, the garland and balls.  While the lights, garland and balls were going up, everyone would be untangling and sorting the ornaments.  Finally, the ornaments would go up.

Below is a picture of the finished product two years ago.  Isn't she beautiful?

This year, Christmas looks a little different.  Philip isn't here... Philip isn't here to get us excited about Christmas.  Philip isn't here to take us to the Christmas Tree Farm.  Philip isn't here to make sure the tree is perfectly straight.  Philip isn't here to put the lights up.  He loved Christmas so much.

I didn't want to decorate for Christmas this year.  I want to avoid the day.  I didn't want it to happen.  What is Christmas without Philip?  I went to get a Christmas tree three times this week.  I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I am having my eGroup girls over for a Christmas sleepover this Friday, so I knew I had to decorate.  I bought a white tree from Michael's.  The lights didn't work. 

I took it back and decided to be a big girl.  I bought my own Christmas tree.  I bought a Christmas stand.  I got it in the house by myself.  I got it straight in the stand by myself.  That was difficult!!  Now, I am waiting for the branches to fall so I can decorate it. 

There will be pictures up of my first Christmas tree later this week.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011


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Have you ever been having a bad day and felt like you were doing everything wrong?  Have you ever felt like you were at the very bottom and nothing could pull you out of where you were?  How did you get out of that place...

It was probably someone giving you a pat on the back, or someone telling you that you were doing a good job.  It may have been someone calling you to tell you about their terrible day and you remembered that it wasn't that bad.  Or, maybe you read something that was encouraging. 

We all need people to encourage us sometimes.  We all need a little push in a positive direction sometimes.  It is a wonderful feeling to have people in your life that always move you out of a bad mood into a wonderful mood.  Those people are wonderful for a bad day.

I have been in great spirits about life lately.  I love my family, I love my friends and I love my job.  I am truly blessed.  How many people have the whole package?  I can't think of many.  I have the whole package.  I love my life!  I couldn't ask for anything more than what I have.

But, there is one area of my life that has been lagging behind the others.  There is one area that isn't meeting status quo.  There is one area that is trying to pull me into a dark pit of misery.  That one area is the situation with my lack of serving at Rock Hill.

I keep trying to blame myself for everything that happened.  I keep replaying each moment of my time there.  I keep thinking of how I could have handled things differently and how I could have acted differently.  I just can't figure out what I did wrong.

Even though I couldn't figure out how I messed up so bad for it to warrant the decision that was made, I am constantly beating myself up for it.  I am blaming myself.  I was beginning to think that no campus would want me.  I couldn't imagine the things that were being said, and how anyone would want to serve with me.

Then, that all turned around yesterday.  I got a call from someone who I look up to, someone who I thought I hurt in this whole situation, someone who I never thought I would hear from again.  She lifted me right up.  She said some of the sweetest things to me.  I almost cried.  She reminded me that I didn't do anything wrong.  In fact, I did exactly the right thing. 
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I am so thankful for people in my life who can pull me out of misery.  I am so thankful for kind words.  We all need someone to speak life into us, and remind us that we are worth something!  We all need people that will tell us how important we are to a team. 

Do you have someone like that in your life?  Find time to thank that person in your life.  Remind them how much they are worth to you!  Can you be that person to someone?  Work on improving your ability to speak life into your friends if you aren't the friend that gets called when someone is down. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Good Bye 21!

Well, today I turn 22.  Twenty-one has come to a close.  Here are my top ten moments of 21.

10. Emily and I went to the Memorial Day Knights game to watch the fireworks. I had never been to a Knights game. It was a lot of fun. The fireworks were great. I just love fireworks!! :-D

9.  I may not still be a part of this eGroup, but I met some amazing people in Nicki Koziarz's eGroup and will cherish the friendships that I gained from that eGroup forever.  We came together as a group of about 25, but each person had a unique personality.  It was amazing to gather with them, learn from them, and just have fun with these people.

8.  Camp Horizon 2011 was incredible. It brought new challenges that I did not think I was prepared for. But, it was perfect! I had my favorite camper yet, and loved ever adventure that Scotty brought.

7.  I had an amazing year at Elevation Church. We had a fabulous Christmas series, an amazing Easter sermon and each sermon in between was top notch, as well! I was given the opportunity to step up in leadership twice. I had the opportunity to help launch Elevation: Rock Hill. Elevation Church is a huge part of my life, and I wouldn't have that any other way. I love my church!!

6.  For the second year in a row, Elevation Church asked me to go to the NewSpring Leadership Conference.  I loved listening to seven of the most incredible pastors in our nation today!  They each brought a word that applied to me today or that I can't wait until I can apply. 

5.  This year I was blessed with the opportunity to begin leading a middle school eGroup.  These are some world changing middle school girls.  For example, last night we had an terribly off topic, incredibly deep conversation about Heaven.  They asked some deep questions that I did not know the answer to!  I will be researching the answers to their questions this week.  I knew I would learn as much from them as they learn from me.  It is showing itself already!  They have made the last few months of 21 amazing!!

4.  Emily moved to Charleston and I had the chance to go see her twice over the summer.  It was great to lay on the beach with my best friend in the summer, completely care free.  Emily is the best!!

3.  So, my two amazing bosses took me to a Panthers game this year!  I have never been to a Panthers game.  We had a blast.  It was a wonderful day, and I am so blessed to have a job where I get to do things like that! I  am so thankful for them. 

2.  I got a new job this year!  Woooooo!!  I hated my other job, and it was such a blessing to get a new job.  I get to spend my day with those two amazing kiddos.  Abby is the most compassionate three year old that I know,  When I hurt me ankle this week, she was the best nurse I could ask for.  She made sure that I was taken care of. Parker is the most caring five year old I have ever met.  He takes wonderful care of me, and keeps me laughing.  This week he was talking about mathmachipins (mathematicians).  There brother-sister bond is the best I have ever seen.  I love getting to teach them on a daily basis.  They are amazing!!

1.  Turning 21!  This was an amazing day!  My mom and grandma surprised me at work.  They came to bring lunch to my class!  They had princess hats for the girls and Elmo hats for the boys.  Then, on my lunch break my mom, grandma and I went to grab dessert.  Finally, we went to Macaroni Grill for my birthday dinner.  The one and only Victoria Lockridge surprised me there!  For the first time in our entire 15 year friendship, we spent my birthday together.  She spent the night with me and it was the best birthday ever!!  (Sadly, I can't find any pictures of the day on facebook or my new computer!)

21 was an amazing year.  I can't wait to see what 22 holds.  Thank you for being a part of my life!