The Alford Crew

February 8, 2011

~it’s winter time~

Filed under: Favorite Things, General — Kristina @ 11:10 pm

It is that time of year again, Winter! I’m a beach bum so much that if i could ask the Lord to place our home in Heaven on the beach there i just might, however since i was a little girl something about a good snow fall speaks to me! It is said no snowflake is identical to another…wow! I love how right after a snow storm that occurs in the middle of the night or early morning hours there is a silence, not an animal seems to be stirring. A soothing peace is the only whisper as imperfect landscape is hidden in snow if even for a few hours until the sun kisses the air with its warmth. Something about this calms my own soul, it gives me hope about my imperfections being covered by Jesus’ love and obedience on the cross.

We have had more snow here this year than what we have had recent years, i must say it has been beautiful though a bit crazy seeing how the children have been out of school so much! 2010 is gone and we are well into 2011 now! But here are a few pics from our winter!

Alford Family December 2010

in front of “Maggie” our Magnolia tree

 

Snowbuddies!

 

and of course…snow angels!

 

As God allows us each new day, we are growing closer to him as individuals and closer to each other as a family.  I pray we will be given many years as a family to grow and be challenged, to share fun times amidst the everyday struggles that some families go through…maybe just maybe we will learn how to seize the day, the moments in time when our souls are open to God’s beauty and His friendship. Whether we dance with Him in the garden while full of roses in bloom with birds perched viewing our meeting on a tree’s branch, or walk on a path covered in soft blanket of white silent snowflakes-He is 100% present and longing for us to want to be with Him. I’m so thankful for his blessings that are many and unique like the snow flakes in our 1.6 acre winter wonderland…I am in wonder and awe of Him!

It’s winter time and cold, but my soul is warm and cozy in His presence.

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September 27, 2010

~Family Update~

Filed under: Family, Favorite Things, General, News, Travel — Kristina @ 4:08 pm

What is that Alford crew up to these days?

Chris is Senior Pastor at Litz Manor Baptist Church here in Tennessee, assisting as Pastor of Iglesia Bautista Agua de Vida, a Latino congregation in addition to coaching young church planters in various areas of the country & world! I get the privilege of cheering him on, sometimes assisting with these coaching adventures, I love wearing the “Stay at home Mom” hat…although we technically just sleep at home some weeks!

We actually took a family vacation for the first time in years! We went to Destin, Fla.-got to see our cousins, take in the beach-the Chris had business in Orlando with the SBC, so we got to tag along and sight see and play at the resort like pool the whole week-very relaxing for sure!

The boys are busy with school, sports, youth group and children’s group activities in the community. Connor is 15 aspiring musician and yes folks watch out, he is driving! Cayden is 3/will be 4 December 10, he has an official back seat driver permit (ask Connor)!  🙂

We recently made a trip to Mexico to scout out future mission trip projects for our missions team to be a part of. We were so blessed to get to take this trip. Our friend and Director of Missions for our local association, Dr. Dallas Bivins along with his awesome wife Becca arranged the trip and off we were!

My first ever trip “abroad”!Our hosts Bill and Renee Johnson

Bill and Renee’s hospitality was amazing! The ministry God is doing through them is so evident in their community!

Chris brain-stormed with the missions team in Tulum, he also spoke the sermon in Spanish at a local church plant in Playa del Carmen! The worship there was so sweet! The people in Mexico are so hospitable, we had an extraordinary week mixing work with pleasure! A few highlights are below:

Chris speaking in Playa del Carmen

a tiny little creature in a volcanic rock tidal pool on the shores of Cozumel

On mission with the Hills, the Johnsons and the Bivins!

Lighthouse Church worship time, Pastor Terry Hill moved with his dear wife Debbie  from Alaska to be missionaries here in Tulum!

What to do from here?

Work diligently where we are planted here in Tennessee, enjoy teaching the boys how to be on mission here in the USA, and point their boats toward the Lord and His direction for their life! In everything we do, we hope to honor Him, we are so grateful for these life burdens, what a privilege!

What is the burden of your life? Please share so we can partner with you and journey in expanding His Kingdom!

~Jesus and Children~

Filed under: Devotional, Family, Favorite Things, General — Kristina @ 2:16 am

“Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid then; for of such is the Kingdom of God.  Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Our little guy, Cayden was getting ready for story time-this is a favorite moment in our household.  A book is read or story is told right before eyelids can’t hold open any longer, then the house is relatively quite! oh, except for the five “i gotta go potty…” breaks and “i would like some water…please”.  AND my favorite—“i need love”…this is code for i need another kiss, hug or i love you.  🙂

How can one resist going in the bedroom and giving more kisses and hugs?

I guess this enhances my inquisition as to why the disciples were so put off by these little ones.  Why the need to rebuke? Were the children swinging off the chandeliers at the mountainside meeting? Were they talking while the adults were talking? Maybe it rained right before this particular gathering and puddles were left in the path way up to where Jesus was sitting…Were they stomping in those puddles and splashing everyone in sight? Were they crying because they didn’t feel well? Maybe they were just being persistent and constantly begging “take me to see this Jesus!”, “take me to see Him, pleeeaaaseeee Mommy!” Maybe they were full of hope and trust because they saw light and love in Jesus and were just drawn to Him!  Do you think maybe because children learn behavior from adults and so many adults were intoxicated with getting to this Jesus guy that it got the children all excited as well?

What can we take from my ramblings? I don’t really know, but children are on my heart today, in particular my children. As a mom, i want to lead my kiddos to Jesus on a constant basis until they realize how easy it is for them to just call on Him anytime and participate in loving Him and His Kingdom.

Do children annoy you? If so, may i ask if you have ever tried to remember what it is like being a child? In many ways children are often expected to grow up and have knowledge that most folks have not and don’t acquire until they are 18 or older. This has been brought to my attention a lot in recent years. Children don’t just know to sit still in big meetings…they have to gradually be taught by the grown-ups (parents leading), the have to learn how to behave at home and in public. Adults need to remember how to be like children from time to time as well…

I’m reminded of a song…”Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…red brown yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

You see, we are all children of various ages, Jesus loves you and longs for you to come to Him. Will you enter His kingdom?

If you are part of His Kingdom already, would you please continue to encourage children all around you? Bless them with positive words, with love and acceptance, introduce them to Jesus! What a privilege we have! Participate in your community as a mentor at the local boys and girls clubs, be an awana leader at a local church, volunteer to hold babies addicted to drugs and alcohol in the hospital pediatrics unit, take a turn as a chaperone on a school field trip or help coach a soccer, football, maybe a basketball team. Children need us to be adults, but they need to see our zest for life, our ability to be silly and goofy, to believe in a dream or vision bigger than us…

Please pray for our crew as we live this out day to day in our community, part of our dream and vision is to see children come to Jesus and know His love is greater than anything! We participate in missions, church planting, pastoring etc., all to see this happen. Thanks ahead of time for partnering with us in this!

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!

December 16, 2009

~Oh the places you’ll go…~

Filed under: Family, Favorite Things, General — Kristina @ 7:25 pm

Some dear friends of ours own Anglen Photography all pictures in this post are their awesome gift and talent reflected.

As you know our family is not and has never been perfect although we are all meant for and perfect for each other! So if a person or photographer can catch us looking decent or make us look like a piece of art then they are gifted! Thanks Ross and Rachel! http://www.anglenphotography.com (check them out) The premier place in Tennessee to go for any life event you need captured and made timeless!

I would like to think everyone knows of Dr, Seuss and his awesome books of rhyme…one of our favorites is Oh the Places You’ll Go”

When i look at our boys/young men, i get so excited for them! In the same moment i usually cry as Chris and i have experienced so many places together that have brought much joy along with some sad times that often hurt and left scars.  All of these times good and difficult have revealed a way to have a deeper friendship with God, others, one another-including a joy like no other.

So here are the boys, i pray they will go further than we ever have and pray even more that we will have equipped them for their journey.

Connor-age 14…can you believe it?

Cayden-age 2…love him, adore his smile too. He and his big brother with their smiles, make us smile!

Please remember our family in thought and prayer. We are praising God for so many things He has brought us through this past year…It is awesome to have a picture with all four of us present! Chris is doing great. He took some time off of all his adventures, has realized he is mortal, but serves a God that all things are possible with. We have seen marriages healed, people come to know the Lord, folks back in fellowship with local churches and physical and spiritual healing for several in various countries over the past two years of ministry here in TN. and abroad, BUT we definitely know that Jesus gets ALL credit for anything good that has happened here! We were just privileged to observe it happen and journey alongside of the folks involved.

“Call to me and i will answer you and tell you great and unreachable things you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3 NIV)

God was talking to Jeremiah while he was confined in a courtyard…just like we are on this earth…confined…but only briefly. We need to continue to call on Him and allow Him to rule in us, allow Him to define us…allow Him to do the impossible and unreachable things through us, not in our own strength.

If we do this…oh the places we’ll go!

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