Kohl Hard Facts

This adventure we call life in the Kohl Family

Giving up on Good: Hair May 31, 2012

Filed under: Encouragement,Giving Up On Good — kohlhardfacts @ 6:31 pm

The Tiny Twig and Naptime Diaries [two very awesome blogs that I highly recommend!] are pairing up for an awesome series called “Giving Up On Good.”  And today I’m linking up with them for my own Giving Up On Good post.

The idea is to be honest about the things we do – and the things we choose not to do.  So these wonderful women are inspiring other women [including me] to encourage one another in openness, honesty, and grace.  Because, let’s be honest, no one really does it all.

1 Thessalonians 4:18  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 3:13  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Allright, I’m in!

So here’s the good I’ve given up on:  perfect hair.

V is almost 2 and a half and still hasn’t had a hair cut.  Mostly because I just don’t care that much about how her hair looks.  I’m thankful that it’s long enough to put in pig tails or a ponytail, but that’s really all I ever do with it.  [Poor thing inherited my thin, fine hair, so it’s really hard to do much with it.]

I cut C’s hair myself.  We bought a $20 hair cutting kit at Walmart when we first got married.  I use the 2 setting for the sides and the 4 or 5 setting for the top. [The only tricky thing with his hair is that he has two very pronounced cowlicks.  If I’m in a hurry and don’t do those parts carefully, he ends up with a one-sided mullet looking thing on the back right side of his head – not attractive.] A few snips around the ears, and he’s good to go for at least 3 weeks.

And then there’s me.  My dear friend Renee is pretty good at encouraging forcing encouraging me to get my hair cut at least once a year [yea…I know, you’re supposed to do it like every 3 months.]  The last time I got it cut, I went to Great Clips because they were having a $4.99 grand opening sale.  I don’t get it colored.  I wash it with baking soda and vinegar [it’s called No ‘Poo]  More often than not I throw it up into a messy bun.

I know lots of people put time, effort, and money into how their hair looks – much grace to you!  If hair is your thing, I hope you feel the freedom to embrace that [and I hope you don’t judge me for my lack of hair care! 😉 ]  For me and my family, giving up on perfect hair means more time and money for other things and less stress in my life.

What “good” things do you and your family let go of?


Love the static hair!


Our Epic Adventure [Why I Haven’t Blogged in Almost 2 Weeks] May 30, 2012

Filed under: Encouragement,On Learning Life Lessons — kohlhardfacts @ 8:44 pm

You know how often as believers we talk about how God’s answers to our prayers are always better than what we expect?  And you know how sometimes it feels like that’s not true – the answers we get don’t feel good.  Even though we know in our heads and in our hearts that the answers that feel hard are still good answers because they are from a Father who knows and loves us intimately and beyond measure, who knows what we need and when we need it.

I thought I was having one of those kind of answers last week…

It had been a rough few days.  First [Thursday morning] the fridge broke. So that was a several day adventure in transferring food to coolers and researching fridges, trying [and failing] to keep the floor from getting ruined, trying to find a truck to borrow [so that we didn’t have to pay the $79 delivery fee], and replacing all of the food that was ruined.  We looked at used and new fridges – we ended up going with a new one for a few reasons.  1. I was beyond frustrated with this used fridge because we had already had a few issues with it and 2. God came through in a HUGE way! We found out that we had been given some money by an awesome company called Ambassador Solutions – enough to cover the cost of the fridge!  So Saturday we went out and bought the new fridge and Sunday our dear friend Leo went with C to borrow a truck from some awesome friends from our church.

Meanwhile [Thursday afternoon]…

V broke out in some sort of a rash-looking thing — you know, the kind that could be million different things, and your mommy brain always jumps to the worst case scenario.  Well, by the end of the day I had calmed down and was fairly convinced that it was Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease [turns out we were right].  Just to be sure, though, I got an appointment at the doctor’s office [the one I had been avoiding because of my terrible experience with a doctor there — turns out that doctor “is no longer practicing with our establishment” — another HUGE praise since I’m no longer afraid to take the girls to the doctor!]  The appointment [Friday] went fairly smoothly and the doctor confirmed the Hand, Foot, and Mouth diagnosis.  She said that L would probably get it too, but not to worry too much about her.  And she said that I almost certainly wouldn’t get it because adults rarely do [clearly this woman is not familiar with my immune system — or lack thereof.]

Sure enough [Saturday], L broke out with the same rashy sores starting around her mouth and then on to her hands and feet.  As for me?  I got it in my throat.  Um, ouch!!

That night [Saturday] L was up late with a fever and throwing up.  At the time I assumed it was side effects of HFM….

So it’s Sunday evening and I’m exhausted!  And looking at the prospect of C heading to work in the morning, leaving the girls and I all feeling puny.

I decided to call in reinforcements.

My Mom.

The only problem was, she had a bunch of stuff to get done on Monday.  Then on Tuesday she had to take Grandad to a doc’s appointment [just routine stuff].  Then Wednesday they were leaving for the lake.  So basically she didn’t think she’d be able to come up and help.

I was disappointed.  And maybe definitely a little mad.

I don’t often ask people for help, and I felt like God was letting me down – leaving me out to dry.

Mom called back to say she could come Tuesday – Dad could take Grandad to the doctor.

I wasn’t sure I’d still need the help on Tuesday – surely by then we would all be feeling more energetic – but I appreciated that she was willing to come.

C decided to take a half day off on Monday to help me out in the morning.  I was able to get a little more rest, and we were able to make it work.  I could feel God’s peace and strength through it all, and I really felt like all in all we were doing pretty well [with a whole lot of His help.]


Monday night rolled around.  In the evening, C started feeling crummy, but we thought it was just something he ate [read, chicken that had been in the fridge that broke and was maybe slightly questionable, but he ate it anyway.]  Then he started throwing up.  You may be thinking “No big deal, people throw up all the time.”  This is the first time he has thrown up since I’ve known him!  That’s 5 years!  So this was a pretty big deal.  Then he got a fever.  Then around 1 a.m. I started in with the throwing up.  Have you ever tried feeding a hungry baby in between vomit sessions?  UGH!

So we were pretty darn miserable.  And then at 5 a.m. L decided she wanted to go ahead and be awake.  C and I barely had the strength to stand, let alone rock a fussy baby to sleep.

All night long all I could do was pray.  Pray for strength to deal with L.  Pray for just enough time to get through feeding her.  Pray that I wouldn’t throw up on the floor and then have to clean it up [seriously, being sick when you’re a mom is awful!]

At 5 a.m. [when L was refusing to sleep], I finally broke down and called my mom.  Now this is where God’s better answer to my prayers comes in.  Because if I’d had my way, Mom would have come up on Monday to help out.  And she would have been gone by Tuesday.  And I’m not exaggerating when I say we would NOT have made it through Tuesday without her!

Sometime Tuesday morning, I finally stopped throwing up [C stopped sometime in the middle of the night.  It gave me hope that this thing would end.]

When V got up around 8, though, she started in with the throwing up.  So while C and I were passed out in bed, Nana was diligently taking care of sicky V and needy L.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were recovery days.  Nana left Wednesday around noon.  C worked part or most of each of those days [his boss actually sent him home one day because he looked so bad..]  We were both just exhausted and weak. Another huge answer to prayer was that C’s boss worked it so that he “borrowed” sick time so that he’s still getting paid for a full week’s work.

Finally by Saturday we all felt back to normal.  Just in time for the long weekend, which we were very thankful we got to enjoy together as a family.  We went to the zoo on Saturday, then on Sunday we drove to my parents’ house [who were in Tennessee, by the way!] and swam in their pool.  On Monday we went to Conner Prairie and swam in the pool some more.  It was exactly what we needed after the miserable week we had.

God was so good to us throughout this whole process.  I felt His peaceful presence despite the craziness going on around me.  I am so thankful for all of the many ways that he provided for us in this time.

Riding the train at the zoo:


5 Minute Friday – Perspective May 18, 2012

Filed under: 5 Minute Friday — kohlhardfacts @ 8:21 pm

I’m back for another round of 5 Minute Friday – check out The Gypsy Mama to find out what it’s all about.

So here’s my 5 minutes on…



I’m bitter.  I’m bitter about something, and I’m holding on tight to it.

My knuckles are white with the fierceness, the hardness with which I’m holding onto this.

Do you ever know that you need a perspective change, but you really just don’t want one?

Oh how stubborn my flesh is.

But the Lord – oh He is so sweet.  And patient.  Patient beyond what I can even begin to comprehend.  Ever so gently and tenderly, He takes my hands in His.  Softly strokes them.  Whispers with love, “Let go, child.  I have something so much better to give you.”

And me?  I shake my head.  Clench harder. Grasp bitterness with all my might.  [As if my might could ever stand up to the mighty love of the Lord!]

He speaks again, through His written word, “For [Erin] trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Lord, she will not be shaken.”

He whispers, Do you trust me?”

My hands shake with the effort to hold on.

I read another woman’s words, “And in that place of humble thanks, God exalts and gives more gifts, more of Himself, which humbles and lays the soul down lower.  And good God responds with greater gifts and even more of Himself.”

He whispers, “Do you trust me?”

Slowly, joint-by-joint, finger-by-finger, the hands loosen; let go; empty.

And I wait for the new perspective, His perspective.  I wait with anticipation because I know – because He has shown me that it will be good.  It will be sweet. It will be His.


And because I just can’t resist a picture of these two adorable faces….


GCF May 17, 2012

Filed under: Ministry Stuff — kohlhardfacts @ 9:12 pm

I haven’t talked a whole lot in here about what we’re doing here in the Fort.  The basic overview is this:

We’re doing an internship for a couple of years as part of the journey we are on to getting overseas.  The three main pieces are cognitive [learning about Biblical principles of leadership, the Church, etc.], spiritual [having a healthy spiritual walk with the Lord, getting healing from spiritual strongholds, and living in accountability with others], and practicum [helping plant an international church plant].  The goal is to better prepare us for the stuff we’ll be facing overseas.

That’s it in a nutshell.

Ok, so, why am I telling you all of this now?  Because I want you to have a basic idea of what we’re doing now so that I can tell you about what we will be doing someday in the future [I say we will with the understanding that we believe God has called us to this, and we leave room for Him to change that calling at any point…though, admittedly, I don’t foresee that happening.]

C and I both grew up going to Christian and Missionary Alliance churches.  Both of us felt called to cross cultural ministry when we were kids [thanks in large part to growing up in a denomination whose main focus is advancing the kingdom of light and pushing back the kingdom of darkness here in the States and overseas.]

One of the coolest things about the C&MA [in my opinion] is how they support their international workers.  It’s called the “Great Commission Fund” and it supports international workers all over the world.  This fund makes it possible for workers to focus on advancing the Kingdom rather than focus on raising funds to do the work.  Seriously, how awesome is that?!

This Sunday is what we call Great Commission Sunday.  It’s one Sunday a year dedicated to spreading the word – to let people know about this awesome opportunity to support the work of the CMA.  Someday, this fund will also help our family do the things God has called us to do.  For now, though, it helps many wonderful people that we know and love [and plenty that we don’t know] to do the work of the Kingdom.  I’m helping spread the word because I believe in the Great Commission Fund and the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the great work God is doing!

So check it out!  And maybe consider helping out.  🙂


Fighting the Moments May 8, 2012

Filed under: On Learning Life Lessons — kohlhardfacts @ 8:31 pm

My morning started out with a blown out diaper at 7 a.m. [I don’t do 7 a.m.] and a baby girl who didn’t want to go back to sleep [I don’t do 7 a.m.].

Next came a two year old sitting on my lap with a diaper so full that it leaked out all over my pants and shirt.

A dog with extremely muddy paws all over my just-washed kitchen floor.  And she won’t stop barking outside, but I can’t let her in because of the muddy paws that I can’t wipe off because of the sleeping little one in my arms [you know, the one who refused to sleep earlier this morning and now will only sleep in my arms.]

The two year old keeps seeing a fly…a fly… and flips out – I’m talking all out melt down complete with tears and screams and running for Momma.

And I’m fighting hard to see God in these moments.  To cling to His patience and love because I don’t have those things in me.

I’m fighting to see past these frustrating, draining moments.  To see past the present that drags me down.  To see into the bigger picture.  To see that how I respond in these moments affects me, affects my attitude, affects who I am becoming.  And more than that, it affects my girls, affects their attitudes, affects who they are becoming.  The way I respond to these menial moments will teach them so much more than the words I say to them when things are easy.

I want to be the kind of woman who responds to frustrating days with prayer and thanksgiving.  I want my daughters to be the kind of women who respond to frustrating days with prayers and thanksgiving.  It’s a lesson I’m learning with the help of Ann Voskamp and her book 1,000 Gifts.

And on the days I don’t, on the days I forget and let the frustration get the better of me, I want to remember that God’s mercies are new every morning.  Tomorrow is a brand new day with new challenges and frustrations and opportunities for prayers and thanksgiving.  And in that, all three of us learn the perfect, unending grace of our God.


Wonderful May 7, 2012

Filed under: Encouragement — kohlhardfacts @ 4:13 am

V has a new catchphrase.  I honestly have no idea where it came from [or maybe who it came from], but I absolutely love it!

For the past four or five days she can be heard saying this over and over.  She says it to everyone:  the little sister, the Momma and the Daddy, the dog, various friends, whoever happens to be around.  It goes like this…

“Mommy, you’re wonderful!”

Melt. My. Heart!

Why don’t I do that?  Why don’t I walk around telling people how wonderful they are?

So here it is…

You, dear friend, you the one who is reading this right now – yes you!  You are WONDERFUL!

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 139.  [Seriously, check out that whole chapter.  Good stuff.]  Verse 14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful I know that full well.” [emphasis mine]

You are wonderful.  But don’t take my word for it.  Take the word of your Heavenly Father.  The One who knit you together.  The One who knows you better than you know yourself.  [Even those things you wish no one knew.]  The One who created you.  And He says that the things He creates are wonderful.  [See also Genesis 1]

So whatever you face today, whatever you’re going through, remember the words of a beautiful 2 year old, “You’re wonderful!”

And maybe pass the message along to someone else who needs to hear it.


5 Minute Friday – Real May 4, 2012

Filed under: 5 Minute Friday — kohlhardfacts @ 6:43 pm

I’m linking up with The Gypsy Mama again today for another round of 5 Minute Friday.

I’m writing today because I need to write.  Because I haven’t been able to write all week.  And because today’s theme spoke to me.

Today’s theme is



I haven’t had much to say this week.

A family at one of our churches here was in a car accident on Sunday.  A drunk driver rear ended them.

Their sweet baby boy, only three years old, was killed in the accident.

What do you say in the face of that?  What words are there to express sympathy?  To express that kind of pain?  To express the comfort and love we can only find from the Lord?

Words seem inadequate.

Because they are.

Because looking through these eyes, it doesn’t make sense – can’t make sense.

Three years just doesn’t seem like enough.  Not enough time.  Not enough smiles and giggles.  Not enough hugs and snuggles.  Not enough lessons learned and stories read.  Not enough birthdays celebrated.

And we ask God “Why?!”

And we cry out “It’s not fair!”

And He takes it because as one of my professors at ATS was fond of saying, “He’s got big shoulders.  He can handle it.  He wants to handle it.”

And we recognize that this real – this hear and now that we see – this is not the only Real.  Someday we will have eyes that see Real for all that it is.  Eyes like the precious baby boy has now.

May we have eyes that seek the Real in the here and now.  To look beyond what we see and find the face of the Lord.


Remembering to be thankful for every day I get to spend with my kiddos – even when they’re driving me nuts!