Saturday, July 23, 2016

To My Single Friends

I want to thank all of you for sharing our newlywed happiness, even if it highlights something left wanting in your own life. I want to thank you for allowing me to indulge in joyful outbursts of newlyweddedness, for restraining the eye rolling over my uber-sappiness, and for having patience with our friendship, as Bernát has become a bigger and bigger part of my life.

It's funny, sort of, how before I was married it seemed like everyone else already was. I mean I had other single friends, but we felt so much in the minority in our circles. Now, every once in a while I pause my jubilant exultations of newlyweddness and look around me. And there you are. And you. And you. And you. None of you have even once said anything to make me pity you or which made me feel somehow guilty for my own happiness. But somehow, I do feel sorry. And sad I can't literally share this happiness with you. I don't actually pity you. Who needs pity? But I burn a flame of hope for you in my heart, for your desires to be seen, met, or taken away according to God's plan. Though when I'm completely honest, I truly hope you can experience this same joy one day and I can't help hoping that is God's plan.

I want you to know that I don't take my husband for granted. Ah ha now you are rolling your eyes, because nobody for a moment of listening to my rejoicing newlywedded self ever thought that I was taking him for granted. But I mean it. I mean that I realize he is a gift I've done nothing to deserve. There was no one thing I did right to deserve this kind of happiness. There was no spiritual breakthrough of learning once and for all to be content and then Voila! a husband for me. There was no particular prayer I prayed except the ones you are also praying right now.

I want you to know I'll be honest with you. Some people can make their marriages out to be perfect and issue-less, which makes it seem ever more of an end-all, an all inclusive satisfying package for completing you as a person and giving your life meaning. It isn't. And I truly believe Christ completes me and brings my life true happiness. But on the other hand, who are we kidding? From our perspective life is better with someone than without anyone, no matter how we slice it. No matter how many people who seem to have the opposite problem of the aformentioned couples, tell you that you're better off. You know the ones whose marriages are just one big issue and they can't stop repeating, "Ok, but marriage is really hard work," even after you've told them you believe it and are actually becoming terrified at the thought of it. I'm pretty sure my marriage will go through seasons just like everyone else's does, but I'm praying even now for the grace just to let it be what it is in other people's eyes, and I hope I can both find and offer empathy to others who've gone through similar seasons. 

I love seeing you living your life to the fullest. There is probably nothing I enjoy more than watching people be called out by God, to a higher purpose than their parents could have ever dreamed for them, for greater things than they themselves ever thought possible. As I myself serve the Lord in the way He has called me to, I love to see people living out God's calling and I love to encourage them as they many times have encouraged me. Some of you don't struggle with your singleness as much as others, but I hope in some way I can be there for you in that fleeting moment of loneliness.  I'm so very glad you are able to see the purpose God has for you far above and beyond the purpose in marriage. It's strange really, that technically, in one day I went from the unmarried category to the married category. I really don't feel so very far from you. I love you all and my heart dreams with yours. As I close, I'm praying for you, and purposing to pray for you just a little bit more every day.

Love Always,

Ps...There's so much more I feel I want to say, but words are starting to feel like "just words". There are some of you who have experienced the happiness of love and lost it. I've been through hard break ups, but I can't understand fully what you've been through. I want you to know I'm attempting to hear you. Such an intense joy snatched away can only be intense loss. I'm thinking of you and praying for you too.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Wedding Evening - Celebrating Love- Part Two

No one really knew what to expect from our blended-culture wedding, and even we were in for a few surprises ourselves during the evening celebration.

So if you want to see my husband carrying my father piggy back style, click the link below

If you want to see us having the time of our lives, click the link below

If you want to see a LOT of photos, click the link below

If you... oh what the heck, no more spoilers, just click the link...

all wedding photos by Ádám Biri

Friday, July 8, 2016

For the Love of Family and Travel

This is a window into expat life.

Let me just starting by saying, I would encourage anyone to take that step of faith to begin whatever adventure God is calling them on.

I would encourage anyone to get out and see more of the world and experience more cultures. There are so many beyond excellent reasons to do this and I can't emphasize enough the advantages.

And if you're American, you'll find that at least your family, or friends, or maybe both would encourage you to do the same, hoping you'll see the world and come back to tell them about it. Adventuring is widely promoted by American culture I feel like, compared to some other parts of the world where people have strong clan mentalities and often don't ever move further than two hours from where they were raised. Although obviously there are the people telling you to stay home, finish college, "get your life together and then...", I would say generally speaking, even if it's not something they themselves would do, most are curious too and supportive of your explorations.

Go ahead and take advantage of the times we are living in! We are actually living in a special time when hopping on a plane, or up and deciding to transplant yourself to a new culture is more or less "easy" in terms of transportation and communication. "Easy" doesn't mean you won't have to sell your guitar or your car or both to finance the plane tickets over the ocean (yes, I'm speaking from experience), but ticket bargains are out there, and if money is no object, the world is literally at your fingertips in just a "few" hours. "Easy" also may not mean that time differences aren't still problematic. But seriously, Skype and Facebook have made it possible for people to travel and/or live abroad, who totally wouldn't otherwise. This connection with family and friends is HUGE even for those of us who say leaving home was no big deal. 

And at first, if you're of the same personality and adventurous spirit as I, then traveling and living abroad is an absolute blast. I promise.


Because there's almost always a but. 

As with anything in life, it's always better to go with your eyes wide open. Now some may say that travel and experiencing other cultures, is what opens your eyes. And that's true to a point. There are some things only the experience itself will really settle as fact in your mind and heart. But it is possible to at least be somewhat aware of what you're heading into.

Leaving your family, friends, and culture ain't no joy ride y'all. I'm speaking more of the longterm stuff, but it could already apply for some who leave even just for a couple of months.

People are going to tell you, "I could never leave my family and friends, but I think it's cool what you're doing" and you're going to think "Ok man, but you're realizing missing out" and be on your way.

And then you're going to get over there and your sister is going to have her first baby, your first niece or nephew, and I mean it, your adventurous, independent spirit is going to start its loud painful death right then. Your other sister is going to become engaged and ask you to be her bridesmaid, and your going to miss her showers, loungerie party and have more or less zero involvement in planning. Your uncle might have a wreck, and you might have to watch from an extremely long distance as your family is tortured by hope and the questions pertaining to his future demanding an answer. You'll cry and ache alone when you hear he's passed on.

To make matters worse, the devil sees maybe before you do, how much you actually do care about the distance between you and your family, and fear is his foothold. All of a sudden you realize so clearly and with a fear that just grips your heart, "Anything could happen to anyone, and I wouldn't be there".

So why go and furthermore, why stay?

The most obvious reason for me, as a follower of Jesus, is that I go where He leads me and stay where He tells me to. But I won't lie and say I've always been comfortable with that "simple" of an answer. God leads, and I choose to follow based on what I believe to be His leading. It's still my choice, and I believe God gave it to me. But I really try not to go running to Him throwing a fit when it's not working out the way I envisioned it. I chose this path, and He's gracious to walk it along with me.

Secondly, it does get better. And then it gets hard again, but then it gets better.

Looking back, I just can't think of anything I would trade for the life I now have. This life I have has taught me to appreciate family, and made the time I do have with them very precious and intensely appreciated. This life I have has taught/is teaching me to appreciate people, all people. They way they think, the way they live, the way they love and recieve love. These things should help me serve God's kingdom in a useful way I think, and therefore, are extremely valuable to me.

Your family will be ok with out you. God's taking care of them like He's taking care of you, and in reality, I think I experienced feelings of helplessness which my family members who were there also experienced in the situation with my uncle. My prayers at times like those, should not be underestimated. I am far, but God is near. Note: there are times I believe God would say, "your family needs you" and I'd be there in a heart beat. But it's more important to listen for that voice and drown out the one that is placing blame and shame on you for ever leaving.

It has to do with contentment too
The grass is always greener or some other interesting color which seems prettier than what you have. (Because seriously, the grass can't get much greener than here in Germany and Switzerland....) I've seen the trend in my journals as well as other expats' blogs. When you're home you suffer from wanderlust, when you're abroad you get homesick sometimes. That's...well, life.

Life and Love go on
When I go home to Texas, every.single.time. I'm strangely taken aback, "weirded out" by how much has changed since I was there, and yet how much hasn't. Life goes on while you're away, and people enter different seasons of life, and you may have totally missed their previous one. They've changed and you better believe it, you've changed. Those times at home with family are precious as I said, but it also never fails to "highlight" all the areas of my life where I personally have changed almost beyond recognition. And though it's hard when you feel your family and friends only remember and know the old Kaylene--and you're also sometimes bewildered by these people you thought you knew so well-- you realize there is something deeper than those changing elements, which connect you to them. And if not, then its also ok to embrace that these different seasons of life sometimes take us different directions which may require letting go. That's probably not expat life. That's just adult life. (I'm referring to seasons of friendship as thankfully I still feel very connected to my family and think that should be a priority to work on those relationships even long distance. Still, those relationships morph sometimes too).

So when your 2 year old nephew climbs on a plane with his mommy and daddy to fly for his very first time, and flies over the ocean to see you and to be in your wedding, you realize really no distance can kill a love that was meant to be. When he sees you for the first time in person in 4 months (other than skype), and wraps you in a huge bear hug and holds you tighter than you even knew a little 2 year old baby bear could, you know that God's grace and love to you knows no distance, no borders, no boundaries. And yes, I'm crying after writing that out and re-reading it. I experienced a couple more moments like that courtesy of that sweet little guy in those few days, and one of them was when he lept into my arms just minutes after I had become Mrs. K. Which was captured by our photographer thankfully, because words.I can't even. They are just not enough.

So in conclusion
Ask me again in twenty years, but I would say now, if you have the chance, do it. See the world. Even stay for awhile. If you have the guts, do it. Expect to see God do big things. Worry about your heart later, but go ahead and take care to prepare it as best you can. Tell it not to break, just tell it to expand-- to make room for the love for your family which will intensify and for the people all over the world you will meet whom you wish you could just stick in your pocket and take with you every where you go. 

And while you're at it come see us in Switzerland--just bring a sleeping bag!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wedding Day - Vowing Forever - Part One

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 125:1-2

{ click here for pictures }

all wedding photos taken by Ádám Biri !

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July Bible Writing Plan

July has snuck right up on me and I'd like to continue sharing the monthly writing plans from

I must admit, I am not quite finished with June however I will go ahead and start July. I find it to actually be a lot like exercising-- although an infinitely more valuable discipline-- If I push myself to be a perfectionist about it, I give up a little too easy. On the other hand, I have realized that excuses like not having enough time in the day, are really just that--excuses. I have had actually quite a bit of time this month and still didn't manage to do it every day. But I'm definitely in the Word much more than I was, and am thirsty for more so it's definitely serving its purpose

However this tool best helps you, I hope it brings us all closer in our walks with Jesus. Let me know if you're doing it along with me! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Journal Excerpt - June 24, 2016

"Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbors." Exodus 20:12-17

God cares about the details of our relationships with others. He knew how difficult and messy they can become and also knew that without good ones, the whole world would go to pot. Sometimes I think it already has, but it shouldn't stop me from trying to bring a little bit of heaven to earth by not just reading over these verses -applying them to my life and by being generous with grace in my relationships. 

Don't give up on others until God gives up on you.

pc: Ádám Biri -ourweddingbands


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