Monday, April 22, 2013



…well…the Kieslings have an announcement.

We’re buying a house!

We’ve slowly been working our way toward purchasing a house. In January, we got the ball rolling. By February, we started looking at a few houses. One promising house had a trampoline in the backyard. We gave the ol’ trampoline a test run; my first time jumping on a giant trampoline. It was awesome. The trampoline kinda got us enamored…but, (eventually) we decided to pass.

On March 16, we spent the afternoon looking at houses. We toured one house that just really caught our eye. It just felt…like home…and a bit like a dream house…but without a dream house price tag. The house next door is also on sale. We toured it, too. By the end, Dan said, “Let’s put an offer in.” I agreed.

It was at this point that Dan started to get nervous. I am supposed to be the restraint. The one who says not yet; who is cautious. I am not the one who is supposed to say, “Ok. Sure. Let’s put in an offer.” As we went through all the documents to place the offer, I was fine. (Well, I actually was battling the start of some type of wicked sinus infection, so I wasn’t entirely coherent.)

It was that night that I started to get nervous. Woke up in the middle of the night wondering, “What. have. we. done??” And I started to worry about all of the details and if we could really make this work and if we have just done the craziest thing and well, in general wonder if I am ready for a commitment this big.

Over that week, (let’s mention again that I was sick and on cold meds, so sleeping through the night was made difficult) I woke up in the middle of the night twice. Part of those fears plaguing my mind was this idea that I am officially an adult. One reason we are buying a house is to get ready for a family (no, that announcement is not part of this blog. Mom.). One thing that freaked me out was this vision of the future that is just saving for repair, making repair, saving for repair, making repair…and doing the same thing over. and over. and over.

We ran the numbers for our monthly bills. …we could afford it. I was shocked; I wanted an excuse to not like it; to say no – to turn away from the risk. We talked with our realtor and lender, again and expressed our concerns. They provided us with more information. Our fears (my fears, really) were eased. I finally felt like I could like it.

Through this process, I realized some things about myself: I am really cautious. I will keep myself from liking something until it’s been approved and okay. I did that with Dan; I did that with the house. I’m pretty happy with Dan, so I think the house will end up being a keeper.

Today, the loan was approved. Tomorrow, we are setting the date for the signing. In a week, we’ll be painting, prepping, and moving…



Friday, April 19, 2013

The G is silent


To sin by silence when they should speak makes cowards of great men.    ~Abraham Lincoln

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.                                        ~Elie Wiesel


You may or may not have heard for the Kermit Gosnell case. The media has had little to say about one of the more gruesome cases in history. He and his staff performed late term abortions, which in certain cases resulted in live births. These babies were then viciously murdered by severing their spinal cord. For more information, look here: (Links from this piece to articles from many other sources)

If I were to be completely honest, I’d prefer the ease of ignoring this exists, that there would be such horrors happening today. Yet, one look at this past week’s events tells us that we cannot ignore that evil exists. And, though we may prefer to avoid conflict and remain ‘neutral', it is impossible. Where and when we can, we must defend the voiceless, the hapless. There are times when we must speak.


The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty of the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.                                                                             ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the End, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.       ~Martin Luther king, Jr.

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.                                                                    ~Harvey Fierstein

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

F is for Father


Again today, I need to shout-out to The Practicing Catholic (my friend/former colleague’s blog) for inspiration. Lisa wrote about Pat Gohn’s newest book, “Blessed, Beautiful, Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood.” Pat discussed what it means to be a daughter, the gift of fathers, and the gift of being a daughter of The Father. It’s a great 10 minute listen.

Have you listened? Great. Here are the items that stood out to me:

A beloved daughter knows she has been chosen, is highly regarded, and much loved. It is a deep blessing to trust a parents’ love. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, parental love has a deep impact on how someone will respond to the love of God the Father. Parents are the first representative of God for man. Though human parents are fallible, God is the origin of human mothers and fathers, yet transcends them.

I have been blessed to have great parents. I have been really blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my dad. Since college, people have commented on the relationship my dad and I have. I trust him. I look to him for wise counsel, for a good laugh, for encouragement – to protect, to provide. I know that when I call him and ask for his take on a situation, he will be honest and fair, judicious and discerning of the situation. I love my dad. I love making him laugh when I say witty things. I love the way he says “Hey there, kiddo!” when I call on the phone.

I love making him proud. The other day on Facebook, he shared my “day C” post, stating “From my daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” Even two-thousand miles away, that man knows how to make me feel loved.

Is my dad perfect? Of course not; he isn’t God. But the way that my dad built a relationship with me definitely has influenced, and led me into a relationship with God, my Father. I have always felt that when my heart is troubled and I am in need of answers that I could turn to my dad. In middle school, I was troubled by a lot of “what if” questions. By nature, I’m an anxious soul. My dad is, by nature, a night owl. His office was in the basement; so was my bedroom. I’d lie awake unable to sleep and would walk into the office and pose my questions. He would consider; he would answer. I don’t recall that he ever said, “That’s stupid, Jessica. Go to bed.” He was patient. He took time. …and I learned that I mattered; that my concerns were his; that I could trust him with my heart, my soul, my deep anxieties. This made it much easier to transition into a relationship that trusted God the Father.

One of the most profound ways that my dad spoke truth to my heart was my freshmen year of college. You know that moment in college where you are trying to find your place? You are ‘trying on’ different ways of living…and I was flailing. I bought into the deception that partying every weekend was the epitome of college of life, and chasing after boys would eventually lead to love. My dad sent me a letter one weekend in February, thanking me for coming home that weekend to stay with my brother. Then, he expressed some concerns that he had for me, as a father, knowing that most college guys have anything but honorable intentions. The line I remember distinctly is that he treasures that light that I bring to life – and “that light is catching, so don’t put it out.”

A well timed letter that reminded me who I am, the worth I possess, and to the purpose I am called. I have often wondered how I could be such a strong-willed woman, able to know unwaveringly who I am, whose I am, and what that means to my daily life. I realize now that so much of that is due to the influence of my dad.

How did he do it? I’m not even sure if he knows. By the grace of God may be the only answer that comes close.  We know that the will of the Father is to draw all to Himself, that all may know Him and relate to Him.  How generous of Him to use fathers to accomplish this.

Thanks, Dad. All my love, always.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Well, today's post is dedicated to the letter D, and the best D I know, is my D: Daniel Dean.

In 13 days, it will have been FIVE. YEARS. since Dan and I first met. FIVE. YEARS. It's so strange that it feels impossible that it has been that long - and, yet, like we have known each other for always.

You know?

When I first met Dan, I was interested. I loved talking to him; it was such a great conversation. I loved that he was ambitious; he had an actual vision and desire of what he wanted his life to look like. When we met, he asked me out right away. I loved his decisiveness. He was the antithesis of many of the guys I knew/had been interested in.

It wasn’t love at first sight. I mean, come on, it is me. No one has cautious and conscientious as me can be in love right away and be okay with it. …and Dan, well, he’s sorta similar to me. He wasn’t ready to cash it all in right away either.  God needed to work on things within each of us. For me, I needed to love God more than any other – and be willing to be honest and real – loving what God thought/desired more than I wanted the other person to love and desire me.

…and now, 5 years later, I can unabashedly say I love him whenever I want. He completes me. I know; Jerry Maguire made that line cliché, but it's true. He and I are good complements to each other, and were exactly what the other needed. In many ways, Dan and I are very similar. We have similar priorities, values, and interests.

Our senses of humor are spot on. That man makes me laugh and smile when I desparately need to laugh. Let me give you an example: on Sunday, we were watching the news. There is a man in Tucson running for 48 hours straight (a running marathon – but not “running a marathon”) to raise some money for a charity. Dan started thinking of alternatives way to make this work. His solution: “I would run 30 minutes a day for 96 days.”

He said this and several things ran through my head at once: 1) WOW! He’s fast with the math skills. 2) “You know, regular people would just call that a ‘work-out routine.’” A marathon to Dan is a normal running schedule to the rest of the world.

…and I love that I can say that, and he will laugh. Every time. He lets me be funny and come up with quips. I love that. And then, I immediately think as I laugh, how much I love him.

I am too serious. I need someone to lighten me up. He does that.

Case in point, tonight, he surprised me with a 6-pack of Blue Moon and some pretzel M&Ms. Two splurges that help me relax – but I would never buy for myself.

Thanks, Babe, for knowing me and loving me better than I love myself.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Except for the Lord


I know, right? I skipped D. I am contemplating whether to dedicate the post to Dan or to a recent experience we had. I’ll come back to it. I promise.

There is a song that we sing at church with the line, “Except for the Lord” [Come to the Water, by Matt Maher]. Until today, I have quite grasped the meaning. Today, I pondered, “God, make this clear to me.” So, He did.

Oh let all who thirst, let them come to the water.

And let all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord.

Without money, without price

Why should you pay the price, except for the Lord.


And let all who seek, let them come to the water.

And let all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord.

Without money, without strife

Why should you spend your life, except for the Lord.


And let all who toil, let them come to the water.

And let all who are weary, let them come to the Lord. 

All who labor, without rest 

How can your soul find rest, except for the Lord.


And let all the poor, let them come to the water.

Bring the ones who are laden, bring them all to the Lord.

Bring the children, without might

Easy the load and light, come to the Lord.


Except for the Lord, how can our souls find rest?

How can we come to the water; to the Father; except that the Father draws us?

Why would we give our lives to follow, to trust, to obey the Lord except that the Truth of the Lord has been imprinted upon our very hearts? 

Why would we choose to suffer so that we could bring others to the water, to the Lord? Except that the Lord has transformed us, it makes no sense.

Except; apart; because of; due to. Apart from the Lord, we cannot find rest; relief; freedom; purpose. Because of the Lord, we have rest; relief, freedom, purpose. Due to the Lord, our purpose is to live not for ourselves.


C is for Confession


I have a friend who is needs to know she is forgiven. She can only know this forgiveness by confessing her sin. Her sin is blinding her from Truth; deceiving her; convincing her she is separated from the Love, the Mercy, the Goodness of God.

My heart breaks for her.  I, too, have been in her position. I, too, have wondered if I could really be forgiven for so willfully choosing to not believe, to disobey, to deny God. I have wondered if I could ever be brought back from such a place of darkness. The darkness I refer to is that deep darkness in our soul when we believe that we have severed ourselves from Christ because of what we have done.

This is deception. We, though sinners; we, though sinners in the midst of our sin; we, though sinners in the present mire, in the depth of even loving our sin; THIS state of choosing sin over God – THIS was when Christ died for us. At the height of our disobedience, this was when Jesus Christ chose to love us – and demonstrate this love by giving His life for us.

Who could love us when we couldn’t even begin to think about loving? Who could love us while we scream, “We hate you! We want nothing to do with you! Get out of my life! DIE – for all I care!”

Who could do that while enduring the most painful, humiliating, public death – while being mocked? We utterly rejected him and esteemed him not; yet, he LOVED. He gave for us in that very moment. In that very moment, He gave his life for us. In that very moment, He forgave us.

Who could do that but God Himself?

Only Jesus. Only Jesus, the only begotten son; God from God; Light from Light; True God from True God; consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made; for us men, and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven; by the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake and our salvation, He suffered under Pontius Pilate; he was crucified; died; and was buried. On the third day, He rose again. He ascended into Heaven and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and his kingdom will have no end.

Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, sin needs no longer separate us from the love of God in Christ our Lord. When I felt separated from Jesus because of my sin, the only thing that set me free was this word of God. I had so deceived myself that I was “unforgiveable”; my sin too great; because I should have known better, I was a believer for goodness’ sake – my sin too late.

And then, God brought this to my attention:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life; nor angels; nor principalities; nor present things; nor future things; nor powers; nor height; nor depth; nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”        –Romans 8:38-39

And I was struck dumb. Right there it was! NO CREATURE (the version read that day actually read ‘no created thing’). NOT. EVEN. ME. could separate myself from the Love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. NOT EVEN ME. NOT EVEN my present sin or future sin; that separation has been dissolved through the cross of Christ. Sure, I could choose to deny it; I could choose to reject it – but that would not erase the Truth that the LOVE existed. That love is there for me to embrace. It exists whether or not I assent to it.

So, why – WHY – would I reject the [only] One who could love me so completely and thoroughly…and knowingly aware of all that I am, good and bad, and all that I am not, good and bad?

I could not. I fell on my knees that day enamored and in awe of my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ understand for the first time the depth of His love that has existed – and will exist – from everlasting to everlasting.

B is for Blessing


I had a discussion this week with a friend who was discussing how she felt being showered by gifts with the upcoming birth of her daughter. “I feel bad,” she said. “Some of these people don’t even know me, and they are giving me really expensive gifts. Some are willing to let my baby stay in their offices while I work. I feel BAD. She is my responsibility; not theirs.”

My friend is a college student; about 2 years from receiving her degree. Upon discovering she was pregnant chose to keep her baby, and made the choice to raise her – in spite of future hardships. She works in our school. Many of us were inspired by her strength and this desire to be faithful.

As I watched people rise up to meet her needs, I was reminded of how/why God designed the Church. For us. Of Us. To be the very literal hands and feet of Christ to each other; for each other; meeting each other in our deep needs; in areas that we cannot meet on our own. He sees. He knows. He instills desires in the hearts of others. He provides. He blesses.

I reminded my friend of this truth. To feel bad, rather than blessed, is to diminish the gift and the giver. God has just extended a hand to you – and you say, “I can’t. I feel bad. You shouldn’t be this nice.” Well, perhaps He shouldn’t – but He DOES because that is EXACTLY WHO HE IS. The Lord is GRACIOUS; slow to anger and ABOUNDING IN LOVE. We can’t even wrap our minds around what it means to ABOUND in LOVE…

Grace is unmerited, undeserved favor. We don’t “deserve” reconciliation, forgiveness, restoration, good gifts. Our works, however many or few, don’t determine that grace that naturally flows from God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. His grace spills out of Him, into us.

To feel bad for a gift intended to be a blessing is like slapping God in the face. I asked her if she knew that it was God offering this gift, would she feel bad and reject it? She said, “No.” I exhorted her to ask God to give her the ability to view these acts of kindness as blessings, and to help her let go of the need to feel “deserving” or “worthy” – but to feel blessed; showered by grace.

May you be blessed today, my friends.

Blogging Challenge: A to Z


I tend not to take on blogging challenges that require me to stick to a certain format within a time limit. C’mon, my 3rd highest strength is “adaptability” for goodness’ sake, which means that I am very flexible and great at short projects (but not [necessarily] good with long term commitments).

However, my friend Lisa has taken on this challenge at A to Z and is currently ready for letter “M.” She began the challenge on Easter Monday and will end on April 30. I have been very blessed reading her thoughts every day and how God has been teaching and leading her through this challenge.

As I have reflected on what may very well be the strangest weeks of my life, a theme for several letters has come to mind. So, I’m going to jump right in – and in true, non-conformity, I will give you several letters/lessons all at once.

A is for Anonymous

On Friday morning, I read an anonymous comment on my last post (to say “recent” would be remiss since I think it has been 3 weeks since I wrote it). Here it is:

Anonymous said...

You are a heavenly presence. Bet your advisees sort of regard you a god - which I mean in all due respect to God. You are His likeness for sure, sweetie.

April 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

I have no idea who wrote this. I am touched – honored – even that they could garner who I am in just a few posts. Or perhaps Anonymous has known me for quite a while, and is simply reiterating what they have seen in action and in words. I do not know – and I am content knowing. As this person “saw my good works and glorified my Father in Heaven,” (Matthew 5:17) so I will do; as I thank God for seeing, for noticing, and for leading His child to speak words of encouragement to me.