Kohl Hard Facts

This adventure we call life in the Kohl Family

A Moment Between November 8, 2012

Filed under: Encouragement,Uncategorized — kohlhardfacts @ 1:49 pm

The house is quiet….

Everyone is sleeping [except me.]

And I’m sitting here reveling in the knowledge that those I love most in this world are safe and loved and warm in their beds, peacefully dreaming.

There are boxes and tubs and baskets scattered around the living room.  And the dining room.  And the kitchen too.  They remind me of the chaos of our lives in this season.

The chaos of moving.  The chaos of the unknown.  The chaos of transition.

But even in the midst of the chaos, God has been faithful to give good gifts.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve felt like writing.  Since I’ve felt like I even had something to write.

But today, right now, in this peaceful quiet moment amidst the chaos, God has spoken peace and life and words into my soul.

I glory in the blessing of it.  In the strange tension between chaos and peace in this tenuous moment.

Soon they will all wake.  Soon life’s pace will quicken and projects will need doing and children will need tending and the chaos will over take the peacefulness of this moment.  This moment, though, the peace, the quiet, the love, the blessing….it will remain in my heart throughout the day.

That’s where I’m living right now.  Between the peace and the chaos.  And I know I’m blessed.

The chaos.                                                                                                           And the peace.


Update: Diaper Adventure Day 4 September 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kohlhardfacts @ 2:26 pm

So far I am quite a fan of the cloth diapers [CDs….apparently there is a whole new lingo to learn when using cloth].  I have found them to be very absorbent.  We haven’t had any leakage or blowouts at this point [though admittedly I have to be more diligent about checking the diapers to see if they are full or poopy.]  They also seem to keep the stink contained very well [hence the need to check more often.]  I love that I just toss the soiled insert into a bag and replace it with a clean one.  It does take slightly more time to change a diaper, but I think that as I get more comfortable/accustomed to the snaps and such it will go faster.  Somehow I feel a sense of accomplishment while using them….like I’m doing something good for my family and for the environment.  I like that feeling.  Plus they are super cute!!!

Since we don’t have enough inserts to last more than about a day and a half [and I’m not a do-a-load-of-laundry-every-day kind of girl], we have been switching between the cloth and the disposables [or sposies as they are apparently called in the Cloth Diapering {CDing} world.  I find this website to be very helpful in learning the CD lingo.]  But I just ordered four more inserts [and I’m getting a free diaper too! bonus!] from Kelly’s Closet.  I really like this site so far because their prices are fair, they have a lot of coupons and giveaways and such, and it’s a very user friendly site.  So I’m hoping that between my AIO [All In One…got this one for free through Kelly’s Closet] and my two Flip covers with 10 inserts [and whatever free diaper I am getting with that order!], I’m hoping we can move to exclusively cloth when I get my shipment.

On a side note, Daddy is home all weekend with the Little Miss and no Mama [I am going on a Women’s Retreat], so we will see how he feels about Cloth Diapers by the end of the weekend!


Searching for Normal September 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kohlhardfacts @ 6:18 pm

We’ve been living in our new home for a little over 3 weeks now, and I am loving it!

I love having our stuff…our pictures, our decorations, our kitchen ware, our DVDs.

I love all of the space we have.  God blessed us beyond what we could have imagined with this home.

I’ve even loved the unpacking/hanging/organizing/sorting process.  But now I’m ready to find a sense of normal.  I’m hoping the next couple of weeks will bring this as Caleb gets into his new job [yay!!], and Viola and I settle into a routine here at home.  By this I don’t mean “Every Monday we do this at this time, Every Tuesday we do that for this amount of time.”  That’s just not me.  For me a routine is more like…naps usually happen around this time, out of the list of things to get done this week what do I want to do today, what days do I have available to schedule fun outings, what other activities and such are we going to get involved in.  I want to get involved in some mom/baby classes and such, I’m just having a hard time finding them.

Of course, I imagine that just as we start to settle into this routine, it will be right about time for Little Sister to make her appearance.  And then we’ll have to start all over again.  🙂

Ah, the adventure of life!

Hopefully soon I will have all of my pictures moved from my old computer to my new computer so that I can share some pictures of the new house.  Also, I plan to do a video walk through….so stay tuned.


MIA September 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kohlhardfacts @ 5:36 pm

So as you may have noticed, I’ve been MIA for….oh three or four weeks now.  This is partly due to the fact that we have been insanely busy; closing on our house, traveling to Minnesota, and moving.  It is also partly due to the fact that we have not had Internet since we moved in [which is two and a half weeks now…yes, I was going crazy!]  Now I am working on getting all caught up on my Interneting, so expect more posts in the near future.  For now, I will leave you with a taste of our trip to Minnesota.




Kohl Hard Update June 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kohlhardfacts @ 6:38 pm

My blog posting has been far too sporadic.  Partly because life has been intensely crazy for us over the last several months, and partly because I struggle with wondering if my thoughts are worth hearing.  I’ll start with an update on the craziness that is the Kohl Family’s life, going back to May….

The beginning of May found our family in the throws of final paper writing, including Caleb’s 30 page thesis on the Lord’s Supper.  It was an intense time and we both felt like we were living to make it through, sitting at our computers typing and eating, sleeping on occasion.  But God was faithful through it all, and we made it through that phase…and on May 7th Caleb officially graduated with his Master’s degree.

Over the following week we spent time packing and saying goodbye to dear friends and preparing for a wedding.

May 14th was Renee and Leo’s wedding!

And May 15th, we headed back home to Indiana.

Since then, we have been trying to settle into a new (though temporary) routine.  Caleb is working with my cousin doing home remodeling type stuff (which he is absolutely loving!), and I have the immense privilege of staying home with Viola.  I absolutely adore the time I get to spend with her, loving on her, playing with her, watching her grow, and just enjoying her toddlerness.  (yes, I just created that word.)

In addition to all of that, we have been working on planning for the future.  Last week we had our second interview with churches in Ft. Wayne.  We are very excited for the possibilities in this position and hope to hear in the next week or so if we are approved. (Prayers welcome on this!  Specifically that it would be approved by National Headquarters.)  Speaking of the future, we have also been preparing and getting VERY excited for baby number 2!!  More to come on that in a couple of weeks when we have our big Ultrasound and have the big reveal!

On the subject of not knowing what to write/wondering if my thoughts are worth reading, I have decided to give a purpose to my blog.  One thing I love is taking pictures and as I was wondering around the Internet, I found this website that inspired me.  So now I have a new project…30 days of Gratitude.  Each day I will blog about something I am grateful for and take a picture of it.  I’m very excited about this project, so remember to follow along right here on my blog.  (I will start this project tomorrow as I have already produced quite a lengthy blog for today.)

So there’s the update on the Kohl’s in a nutshell.  More to come soon as these things in our life are progressing quite quickly (and excitingly!)


April 26, 2006 April 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kohlhardfacts @ 5:54 pm

5 years….

Has it really been 5 years?

I still remember those events as if it were yesterday.

A friend came into Gerig lounge saying that he had just seen an accident on 69 and a Taylor van was involved.  We were all in shock, not really sure whether to believe him.  Maybe he had seen it wrong.  Maybe he misunderstood.  Maybe everyone was ok.  And then our hall director came through putting up signs for a prayer service at the chapel.  She said she didn’t know much, but that they were going to make some announcements at the service.

As we trekked across campus to the chapel, students poured out of the dorms; silent questions written all over our faces.  “Who was it?  How could this have happened?  Do I know who it was?  What’s going on?”

The chapel was filled with people praying, crying, waiting.  Finally someone stepped up and gave us as much detail as was possible, which wasn’t much.  “Please,” he implored us, “Please, call your families, especially if they live close.  This is all over the news, and we are being flooded with phone calls and e-mails from nervous parents.”  At that point I realized it was almost 11 p.m.  Almost time for the news, which I was certain both my mom and grandma would be watching.

I called my mom.  I told her that I loved her, and that I was ok.  I told her that my dear friend Sarah who I’d grown up with was ok and that I’d make her call her mom too.  I told her of some of my other close friends that I had seen and knew were ok.  There were others I hadn’t seen yet.  I told her to call Grandma who was sure to watch the news and flip out if she hadn’t heard from any of us.  I told her I loved her again, and passed my phone to others to call their parents and relate similar messages.  As I wandered around outside of the chapel still in shock, I met up with some other friends.  One of them told me that she knew some of who had been in the accident.  She named a couple of names that I didn’t know, and then one that I absolutely knew.  “Laura VanRyn was in the accident too.  She’s alive, but in critical condition in a hospital in Ft. Wayne.”  I couldn’t believe it.  Laura and I played lacrosse together.  In fact, she was an incredible lacrosse player, always full of energy.  “Squirrely” we called her because she had the energy and agility of a squirrel running around on the field.  I went in search of some of the other girls on the team; they needed to know too.

Many other scenes from that long, excruciating night flash through my mind as I think back.  But one that really stands, a moment I will remember forever, was the moment someone started singing.  “When peace like a river attendeth my way” the voice began and others joined in “When sorrows like sea billows roll.”  The whole crowd was singing now “Whatever my lot, though hast taught me to say: It is well, it is well with my soul.”  As we lifted our voices in a beautiful, heartbroken unison, I felt the Lord’s presence surround and comfort us.  There were still so many questions, so much pain and grief with more yet to come.  But in that moment, something happened.  It was as if in that one a cappella song, the Taylor family was saying, “God, we don’t understand, but we trust you.  We know you love us.  We know you’re here with us.  Be our strength and our sustenance in this, our most painful hour of need.”  And He was.

The next few days all blur together.  I remember more about the events than the actual days.  I remember the entire dorm gathering together to pray and just be together.  I remember getting together with the lacrosse team on multiple occasions.  The DC was a somber, quiet place.  People ate in quiet reflections, still in shock.  I remember going up to visit Laura with some of my lacrosse friends.  We met her parents, some of her siblings, and her boyfriend (who most of us knew because he’d been at some of the lacrosse games.)  We went in and saw Laura, told her we were praying for her, we loved her, and that she needed to get better soon.  As we sat with her family in the waiting room of the ICU, it felt nice to just be around people who loved her, just be together.  When we left, I remember one of us saying, “Gosh, she looks so different.”  “Yea,” we all agreed, “not like the lively Laura we know.”  “But what do you expect after going through a horrific car accident??”  And we prayed.  Driving home, we passed the site of the accident.  It was almost surreal.  You could still see the tracks left by the semi as it crossed the grass median.  People had already left flowers and crosses on the side of the road.

It was a beautiful, sunny April.  And slowly but surely, campus began returning back to life.  Classes resumed, papers were turned in, exams were looming.  It wasn’t that we were forgetting, it was that we were coming to a new reality, a new normal.  The memories of our dear friends now celebrating with the Lord remained with us.  We missed them.  As a community, as a family, we still mourned our loss.  I say our loss because in it all we always knew that truly the loss was ours, not theirs.  We grieved, we missed them, we questioned.  They celebrated, rejoiced in being in the presence of the Savior.  And in that we were thankful and comforted.

Life kept going.  Graduation happened, everyone dispersed for the summer.  Fast forward a few weeks.

It was a few days before my friend Jenny’s wedding and my friend Katy was on her way to stay with me before we headed to the wedding.  I had just finished mowing the lawn and went in to check my e-mails before showering.  There was an e-mail from a lacrosse friend….

The e-mail said that there had been a mistake.  A mix-up of identities.  The person we thought was Laura, recovering in the hospital and doing quite well, was actually in fact Whitney.  Laura had died in the accident 5 weeks earlier, Whitney had survived.  I was shocked, confused, and saddened.  Though those words may be putting it a bit lightly.  I went to the blog that Laura’s family had been updating and I had been following.  It confirmed the news.  It felt like I was reliving the nightmare of the accident all over again.  I thought about calling Katy to tell her, but she was driving and she would be at my house soon enough to learn the news.  I sat in the office chair and sobbed for I don’t even know how long.

Eventually I heard the doorbell ring and went to open it.  Katy stood on the front porch jumping in excitement to see me and ready to give me a welcoming hug….until she saw my face, saw that I was crying.  Immediately her mood changed, and as the words came tumbling out of my mouth I saw all of my emotions reflected on her face.  Shock. Disbelief. Anger. Pain. Confusion. Hurt. Loss.  We wept and hugged and prayed.

The weekend came and with it an emotional roller coaster.  Saturday was the wedding in Ohio.  A beautiful, joyful occasion filled with laughter, fun, friends, and a whole lot of love.  Sunday brought the funeral in Michigan.  It too was a beautiful occasion, but in a very different way.  It was a wonderful celebration of a life, though short, lived well.  A life that reflected God’s love and direction.  A life that encouraged the rest of us to love God and people as much as Laura had.

5 years have passed now.  And while I don’t think about those events every day, I still think of them often.  It is something that has changed and shaped who I am today.  I learned a lot about the importance of Christian community through the accident.  Things about how the body of Christ can and should function through times of great need.  Things about how God uses circumstances like those to show His glory, to draw people to Himself.  I learned a lot about His goodness and grace and faithfulness in the midst of pain.  I also learned a lot about compassion and loving others when they are grieving.  This is honestly a short overview of the things I learned from those days, but it would take several more hours to truly dig into all that I learned, all the ways that it changed me.

This is  just my story.  One out of thousands.  But I felt that it was time to share it, to honor it.

Laura at a lacrosse game with my friend Tina and her sister Katie.

Taylor Women’s Lacrosse ’06-’07


Busy, busy, shockingly busy March 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kohlhardfacts @ 11:11 pm

I really enjoy blogging.  But I haven’t had any time for it.  There have been plenty of things I’ve wanted to blog about, and I’ve even started three other drafts.  I just never seem to have the time to finish them.

My question, then, is: Does life ever get less busy?

I certainly hope so!  But what if it doesn’t?  How can I start balancing my time so that I can do the things I love?  Some of the things I wish I had more time for are blogging, scrapbooking, and taking pictures.  Things I haven’t really had time for since starting Grad School.  I also wish I could do something to help Caleb have time for the things he loves, like woodworking and hiking.

As of now I have no answers to these questions.  Just some things I’m pondering.

That’s all the time I have for today.  Time to get back to the work.