The Alford Crew

January 18, 2010

~a lesson learned “once” about 12 years ago~

Filed under: Family, General, Random reminders, Understanding — Kristina @ 5:43 pm

The Alford Crew is learning day by day the importance of unity, of being one. A goal Chris and I hold is to stay in community with our boys and one another other all fueled by communion in God…this is something that is a constant goal in our lives, not something we achieve and then pat ourselves on the back, and say, “good job” then go about doing something else. No, it is key to have those expected family times-safe havens of conversation either around the dinner table or on a walk in the park-sometimes a ride in the car offers the opportunity to share where each of us are in life. We have worked a lot through the years to keep open to each other no matter how rough our situations… to include one another in the cool stuff happening in our lives in addition to what would otherwise be hidden emotions and concerns if we didn’t share.

I remember when Connor, our oldest was just two years old-we observed as parents of a preschooler the importance of getting down on his level physically and looking him in the eye, holding his gaze as long as he would allow it, sharing with him we love him and we wanted to know how he was feeling. We even teamed up with his preschool and Sunday School teachers and asked them to go over general faces we all have which reflect certain emotions until Connor understood how to communicate his feelings For example, if we’re happy-we smile or sad or feeling tired we may frown-etc. (please note-this didn’t happen in a more preferred time of over night-no it took weeks of time together) What joy when it became fairly constant for him to share what he needed or wanted w/out whining, crying or reservation. It was nice to know what he was feeling so we were not in a guessing game! If you have or have had small children i know you are smiling right now! 😉  Before, when an emotion of frustration or anger would sweep over Connor as a little guy-he handled it by whining, fussing or fighting. He would act out frustrations and either hit or swing is arms around in despair or he would run over in a corner and sulk and dare anyone to come near-he may just grump and groan…”why?” may be your thought…he didn’t have a vocabulary to describe his feelings, he was immature, he hadn’t been taught how to confront life situations in a positive way yet. All he had was instinct…

Why did i just share that family truth with you? Maybe to shed light on a larger Family issue we have been reminded of.

As God’s family or Kingdom, we are called to a life of communion with God and community with one another…when that is lacking either individually, in our personal family unit or within the part of the church family we are placed in, there is often a developmental arrest in our spiritual growth-often accompanied with physical and emotional side effects. It is then inevitable that someone is gonna get hurt from the adult child , whining, fussing, flailing their arms or their tongue in anger and confusion.

Confrontation of self is a nasty and “un-fun” act of discipline…after all, who wants to be accountable and responsible like that? Sometimes it is as simple as a lack of knowledge/education and one just hasn’t been taught how to share their feelings in a productive way.  A healthy confrontation with others is a good thing when handled appropriately and in love.

We are so thankful to be part of a family bigger than ours, the church in general is our extended family. We have not only given a lot to the Church through the years, but have gained much—unable to measure it all. God consistently reveals His love and heart to us by getting eye to eye with us through the letters and truths He left us in His word or through close friends/ mentors.  Do you have that person in your church who loves to hug?  Several people share that you can’t physically feel, see or hear God.  from experience, i beg to differ.  God is very tangible, just look around. That hug, a prayer, a smile, and encouraging word from a friend, rain, sunshine, peace-all are reflections of God and His character.  Allow your heart to be open to take He and His family in with all of our quirks and beauty we are each a masterpiece — a brush stroke reflecting community and communion with God (when we allow Him in).

Do we have it all figured out? No, but we are loving the fact that we have a community of faith who love God and love us, who stick it out with us, walk with us, hold us accountable and not bail out when we or they mess up…Cayden inspired the mommy memory in this story of Connor our oldest, as we are going through similar emotions and recognizing the signs of how he feels and why as a little guy with limited vocabulary-it just got me to thinking about how even as adults we can learn how to project our feelings and emotions in a way that is revealing but without hurt being intended.  So thankful we lived through this with Connor so we weren’t so clueless, but we are learning so much new in going through this with Cayden! Goodness! Having to stay on my toes these days!

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June 23, 2009

~so glad~

Filed under: General, quotes, Understanding — Kristina @ 8:09 pm

So glad that God is persistent and perfect!

“God looks for persistence rather than perfection.”

Don’t really know if i could ever be either of these before Heaven, but would like to be more persistent in general.

I used to think of myself as a “perfectionist”, but one here on earth could never be perfect other than The One-Jesus.

Just thought i would share this interesting quote that a friend of mine mentioned today!

June 20, 2009

~ I’ve been told…~

Filed under: Devotional, General, Understanding — Kristina @ 3:36 am

I’ve been told i’m a good and faithful follower of Christ, wife, mom, encourager, a good listener, pastoral, a good friend, confidant, mentor…(you may or may not see these in me-i don’t get where some of these come from, but, none the less these have been brought to my attention when i have asked people what they see in me that is good)

What are you good at naturally?

Lately i have been searching through the book of II Timothy

Think it all over God will make it all plain” is in chapter 2.

Another favorite through the years has been that which follows,

If we die with Him, we’ll live with Him,

If we stick it out with Him, will rule with Him

If we turn our back on Him, He’ll turn His back on us,

If we give up on Him, He does not give up—

for there’s no way He can be false to Himself.  Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk.

As i have read this over for the… i don’t know how many times…God has reminded me of who i am in Him again…and that i need to continue on.  When i was younger it didn’t matter who was with me or who wasn’t– ask any of my family or close friends. If i knew i was supposed do something or be about something for God, i just did it. YES, it is usually always nice to have others along for the ride and to journey through stuff with, but really it seems i am responsible for just being with God and taking care of whatever business that fits what i am good at. The wonderful family and true friends that God has blessed me/our family with through the years will know when to be on board and work towards a similar goal and at other times they will need to work separately (kind of divide and conquer mentality). At times we will get to enjoy serving one another in the same venture and at other seasons–some of our dearest friends will be in various states and countries all working on the Kingdom, but still yet many miles will separate us and that is okay…difficult at times BUT-more than okay as long as we are all working at being our best for God.

Much work to be done for the One True God we serve! I’m excited to experience what is next!

So what is next? I guess this is one thing we will see unfold together as i have no clue! Just working away here in the Tri-Cities as God opens doors and says walk in, we are. A small group of folks we have been meeting with desire to start another church here, we are in the planning stages and growth process to see what comes of this, please pray with us!  All will be as it should be…We appreciate all of your notes and calls of recent to encourage us, we need it always. ~Kristina for the Alford Crew

I wanna be…

Filed under: General, Understanding, wandering/questions of the heart... — Kristina @ 3:33 am

I wanna be a child when i grow up…

It brings pure joy to Chris and I to hear our children dream and plan for the day at hand as well as the  future…to hear our 14 year old talk about college and what he thinks he might want to be is so cool! (Not so sure i am totally enjoying the talk of learner permits/driver license and cars just yet, but…)

It seems only yesterday i was doing the same thing. Several of the things i had hoped to do have already came into my life, a few were sweet thoughts but haven’t happened and who knows if they ever will, but still sweet thoughts and now memories that have built character. Cayden is still so young, but he lives to go to his day school and play with Mrs. April’s race cars and the other children, he already prepares for it mentally, especially when he knows it is Tuesday or Wednesday! If he hears of us planning a family pic nic, he knows of a close by play ground with the Chronicles of Narnia theme fully equipped with slides and swings a huge dirt pile with kid size construction equipment, such fun to hear him talking about going to play-even more fun to go play with him there!

Think of it…in most circumstances children are full of faith, generally fun to be around until corrupted by adults and our lack of faith and fun factor…most have a certain “innocence” that pulls on your heart strings. Most children believe they can be or do anything, most have no fear, most laugh without knowing they are supposed to laugh, cry, run, dance and even play without having to be told to do it. We learn a lot as we grow, behaviors are picked up from our surrounding models…this could be good and this could be bad depending.

To think of today and trust…to forget the past and forgive or think fondly… to look forward to the future with faith— but happy if there is only today -is this the meaning of being an “adult sized-child”?

I wonder…

James shares:

“Now listen, you who say today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.  Why, you do not even   know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

“Instead, you ought to say, if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I wanna be an adult child with faith saying His will be done and living that out.

Today, i hope to get news of the okay to work in this city, carry on business here, make money and invest in lives of those around me, if it is God’s will.

Tomorrow, i hope to witness a beautiful bride and her groom remind us of Christ and his bride the church…, if it is God’s will.

Tomorrow evening, i hope to lay my head and say thank you to the one and only God of truth for the privilege of dreaming and being a child of His-if it is His will.

I wanna believe much if not all of this is His will.

I am reminded of a verse that speaks of God doing exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask, dream or imagine.  So i guess i don’t wish to be a child in the normal definition, i just desire to have that faith and wonder of a child before the fear knocks, before confinement and unnecessary man made rules were made.

What are your dreams?

March 11, 2009

~freedom from fear…~

Filed under: General, Understanding — Kristina @ 12:21 pm

Just been pondering on some stuff from the past and utilizing it to fan the flame within me to press forward in this awesome journey.  Sometimes i have so alone and without one to hear my thoughts and words( a certain evil being would like for me to believe the lie that i am alone and unworthy)…but i have been reminded in the past and in recent days/weeks that i will always have One to listen…my Lord.

If you feel discouraged about your value to others or God, say this truth out loud, i seriously feel this is what Jesus feels about us!

“I am valuable to God…so much so, i am worth Jesus to God! Totally accepting and believing this value releases me from hypocrisy, need for monetary gain or lust for things of this world, unnecessary fear or oppression of worry/doubt. I can shamelessly proclaim He is mine and i am His!” ~Kristina Alford

redwoodcalifornia08

When i am blessed in any particular way whether in times of much or little…i think of a chunky little sparrow that tends to hang out on a huge tree i can see from my front window!!! This bird is WELL taken care of for sure…the first time i gazed out the window and saw the sweet thing was right after my husband had been in the hospital unexpectedly…he had been laid off due to downsizing in November…it was now January.  A lot of stress and a cold w/nagging cough of all things initiated the visit to the Doc. in the first five minutes of the visit we learned that 286/190 blood pressure was not a good thing at all! Though it was freezing cold work between Nov. and Jan. he had been blessed with temporary/part time construction to have a little something coming in. Almost all of our missions support had either been stopped or cut back due to ministry partners families/individuals either losing jobs as well or the economy in general— minimal income to say the least. We thankfully had brains and courage to have a cushion saved up (not much, but enough to pay rent and basic utilites for a couple of months–what a blessing!)Of course that ran out fast in the grand picture of things, but we were so thankful for that provision!

Anyway, this little bird was so in my face-just perched there kind of staring down into our living room-almost smiling it seemed with sheer content, a definite reminder that we, God’s children are so much more valuable to Him than the birds! (Luke 12)

Friends have recently asked about our struggles and if we need anything. I sometimes don’t know how to respond, because to survive and give Him my total TRUST, i have had to learn to only deal with today, the here and now as far as our needs go, and usually when someone asks, our needs for that day aren’t needs anymore.  One day recently, rent was due, utilities along with some personal needs coming up. It was at a point when Chris had interviewed–he had been told he had a job, but wouldn’t be starting for a couple of days and furthermore wouldn’t receive a full pay check for three/four weeks!

“Aggh!” I thought at first.  I quickly remembered, “take hold of that crazy doubtful thought, especially after all God had just promised us this week.”  So, took a deep breath or two…maybe three deep breaths and a few tears and shared it w/God—then Chris received a phone call with someone who said something along the lines that he and his family felt led to swing by and drop off something for us and wanted to let us know to be looking for it…Sure enough, a check for a couple of hundred dollars awaited us!  The humbling part is we know this particular family acted upon a prompting from Jesus, probably taking away from their own family budget to give to ours, more than likely, making things pretty tight for them I’m almost for sure.

We knew that this family and God loved us before the gift was given, so by all means i pray folks don’t think that we know our value by the $ friends give us.  It was the act of obedience and the determination of that family to love and go beyond themselves, beyond maybe a few wants that they had to bless someone else. This was the blessing.

I have said, “thank you”-and wish i could give something in return, but i know in Heaven they will surely be able to feel our gratitude in whole, complete.  I don’t grasp how nor do i understand why God does it this way, He just does.  This is what reminds me of our value to God! All i know is almost my whole life journey with Him has been this way.

Why do we keep serving even when it isn’t easy?

There is freedom…this friend who serves us with His complete love- this friend, God and God through His Son, Jesus is who keeps us going.  He is the reason Chris, Connor, Cayden and I keep pressing forward. He is why we not only serve friends/family, but why we love serving our community as a whole.

He says “Be ready for service, keep your lamps burning…” (Luke 12:35)

We are imperfect servants for sure, but we love and serve the One who is perfect…please keep lifting one another up as you are led to. A smile, a hug, an umbrella for a stranger caught in a rain storm needing to put groceries in their car, a neighbor needing their lawn cared for, help someone move or organize their stuff, be a listening ear when someone needs a tangible person to sit on the phone or in person for hours, make a meal for a family with a new baby, visit a nursing home, babysit for a friend who needs a date night…remember freedom given in Him and then serve in some way-not to repay Him (we could never fully repay Him anyway), but to show others He is capable and desires to do the same for them as He has done for you.

So for those who are asking, Yes, things are rough, but there is joy, there is freedom.

We need to be watching and waiting for Jesus, I am reminded to fan the flame within me.  This is work, but it is good.

Enjoy His freedom!

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