I’ve Moved/New Blog Address!

NewblogAs you may have guessed from the title, I’m moving my whole blogging operation to a new address: http://www.khariscourtneyblog.wordpress.com.

I wanted to keep this site and all its content up because I still get visitors and comments, etc, but I’ll be going in a different direction and would like a somewhat fresh start. My blogging focus will now primarily be on writing, though of course I’ll still be blogging about “life” as well. I’d appreciate it if y’all would head over to my new site and follow me or subscribe via email. Thanks so much and I hope to see you all there. 🙂

–KC

Exciting News: Journey to Homeownership

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA from the blogging scene lately. It’s not that I don’t love you all or that I haven’t had things to say (new subjects have been popping up in my head every day), it’s just that I have been terribly, TERRIBLY busy. Part of the blame goes to the endless parties and inevitable busyness of the Christmas season, certainly, but the biggest reason for my absence is our very exciting news:

Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 9.28.35 AMWE BOUGHT A HOUSE (forgive the junky google maps image)! That’s right, we’re homeowners and couldn’t be happier about it. The process was long, but relatively smooth. Once again I found myself so grateful to be a stay at home mom. I don’t know how we could have done it so easily if we were both working. There were scares here and there (like at the last minute when it didn’t seem like we would close on time), but everything came together at the end.

homeownersHow we settled on this particular house is yet another testament to God’s faithfulness. …keep reading

10 Things You Can Give up Instead of Your Kids

One benefit of being a full time mom: midday picnics in the park!

“You are so lucky that you’re able to stay at home.”

People say this to me all the time, whether they know that Jordan works (until recently) a $10-an-hour job or not. They say it even if their household income is three times more than ours. Interestingly enough, there’s usually a certain underlying implication that goes along with that statement: You are lucky that Jordan makes enough money for you to be able to stay at home.

I know I’m blessed–but not in that way. I’m blessed to have a husband who agrees that my staying home is important; that he is willing to support us so that I can stay with our daughter. I’m not “lucky.” He doesn’t make “enough money.” I’m not any more “able” to stay at home than most other people. We have made this a priority: one that will be met no matter our income. It’s not luck. It takes hard work and discipline.

…keep reading

Gator in a Tree Book Release!

Gator in a Tree has arrived! Click here to get your copy! coverlores

A few years ago, as Jordan Courtney sat waiting in the DMV, he had an idea. So he put pen to paper, sketched out a rough drawing of a cover and said to himself, “Hmm. This would make a great kids’ book.”

Having worked in the children’s room at the public library for 7 years and having majored in creative writing at Louisiana State University, he was more than qualified to make that conjecture. But to turn an already special idea into something even more special, he decided to make Gator in a Tree a collective project, enlisting seven local artists to create the illustrations. Each created pictures to accompany four pages and Baton Rouge artist Logan Knight, who recently began study in one of the most prestigious animation programs in the country, illustrated the cover. …keep reading

NaNoThon! (Excerpt Included)

SomethingWithaKcoverToday I resolve to plant myself in front of the computer for no less than six hours. I went to the park yesterday, so I’m betting on the fact that I osmosed enough vitamin D and fresh air to last me through this grueling challenge. I have enough determination. I certainly have enough coffee… But do I have enough endurance?

Yes, today is the NaNoWriMo Writing Marathon– a day in which writers from all over the world unite in being focused and getting stuff done (in their books, that is). Together, we are going to kick writer’s block to the curb and dismantle the kingdom of procrastination with our bare hands–or fingertips. …keep reading

Savory Pumpkin Cream Cheese Soup

‘Tis the season for pumpkin! Right around this time we start seeing pumpkin everything–mostly in sweets. Pumpkin cake, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake bars, pumpkin marshmallows, etc. Pumpkin has essentially taken over the dessert menu.

While I love a good pumpkin sweet, I’m baffled by how many people neglect this delectable squash in their savory dishes. I mean, it’s delicious! It can give a rich, velvety quality to many foods and it’s really not that hard to use (especially if you go the simple route and get the pure pumpkin puree out of the can). In fact, I just used it last night in one of my favorite pumpkin recipes:

Pumpkin SoupPumpkin Cream Cheese Soup. …keep reading

Dear Edward–Guest Post from my Husband

Today I received a comment on a post I wrote a few days ago, A Culture of Purity and Permanent Stains. It was from a young man who has grown up in the faith and has (very admirably and as he should have) stayed pure and is waiting until marriage. He expressed some struggles he was having over whether staying pure was worth it and the idea of remaining pure and the possibility of one day marrying someone who had not stayed pure until marriage. Also, he discussed friends who were actively involved in sex and seemed to go on to have happy marriages, as well as some other issues (to read his full comment please see the comments section in the post linked above).

I did not grow up with faith in Christ. I went to church for a chunk of my life, but I was not truly a believer until I was twenty tears old. My husband, on the other hand, did grow up with faith in Christ and remained a virgin. He and I are in agreement about all the things Edward spoke of, but I thought that it would be helpful for him (and others) to hear an answer from one who has had similar experiences.

Edward, I admire and respect you for your faith and your desire to please God. Stay strong in the Lord.

Here’s what Jordan has to say.

Dear Edward,

Hi, this is Jordan, Kharis’ husband. She and I both have the same mind regarding these matters, but to hopefully relate and express these sentiments to you, I’ll be responding.

Firstly, man, I feel your pain and I’ve been there and know where you’re coming from. I don’t think it’s any small matter to stay chaste in such a sexualized world. I can tell you that it is worth it though. I’ve been in the church most of my life and have struggled to stay pure. Sadly though I have gotten in some unhealthy relationships in the past and they have caused me much heartache. Though I never had sex with anyone other than my wife, I still struggle with issues from those experiences. If you’re saving yourself for your wife, it is a noble and wise thing to do, so stay the course my friend, don’t give up hope in your commitments. I pray God would encourage you in your struggle. It appears this is something very important to you and something you’ve given much thought to and are somewhat frustrated with.

One thing I would say to you though is that you must remember what you are doing this for, or ask yourself your motives. Stay pure and committed not because of the reward of a pure wife. If that is your ultimate hope and goal, you will be disappointed (and seem to be already) at the thought of her turning up with a past or some issues. If you’re doing it just for that reward, there will be obvious pride and entitlement when it comes to what you “get”. I’ve been there, thinking in multiple scenarios, due to my religious pride: “God I did this for you. Now, what are you going to do for me?” And the same towards your future wife: “I stayed pure for you, you should have stayed pure for me.” Ultimately these motives are selfish mixed in with the religious obligations of staying chaste.

I find the best answer to these things is to keep your eyes on the One who has called you to this struggle. You’re doing it for Him, because you love Him, because He’s called you to walk in a manner worthy of your calling. It’s not about the outcome, it’s not about the girl. The chaste life is about your commitment to Him. So no matter what everyone else is doing around you or how they’re seemingly enjoying their sin, no matter how hopeless you might feel about finding a pure bride, stay the course because you love your Lord. Ask yourself, why am I really doing this? And if it’s not because you love Him, because you want to be faithful to Him and His word, then repent and ask Him to give you the grace to do it for Him, not for Her.

I can say that, even though Kharis was the first person I had sex with, and though she had stumbled before when she wasn’t walking with Jesus, I’ve had more issues from my past than her. God has completely redeemed her past and experiences and I find no issue with it now in our marriage. On the other hand, I’ve had more issues from my past relationships and from opening my heart to girls I didn’t even date. I once made a vow to God not to date for a whole year, and during that year I got my heart set on a particular girl, so that the whole time I was thinking about her and saving myself that year until I got off my vow so I could date her (and ultimately marry her). Now, I never physically broke my vow, but my heart was far from having the right motive in “staying pure” that year. It was all focused on the girl and not God. So when I got off of the vow and was ready to date, God had already taken the girl out of my life and put up walls so that I still couldn’t get the relationship I wanted. So I was bitter at God, because I had been “faithful”, so now why wasn’t I getting the thing I held out for? It would have been better if during that year I just focused on God and enriched my relationship with Him, instead of fantasizing about a relationship with this girl. And that is what our singleness is for. A time with little restraint and commitment, where we can completely focus on God and give Him our all, where He can prepare our hearts for one day being the shepherd of our family.

So it is wise to guard your heart and stay the course, but know that there is strength when you are weak, and that God can heal those who stumble.

I don’t think it is a wrong thing to hope for and pray for a pure wife. That is obviously a desire of your heart and there are still women out there holding out strong like you are. It is a noble thing and a great thing of value to stay pure.

Read Psalm 37 – In part it says:

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.[b]
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

As the Psalm says, “he will give you the desires of your heart,” but what does it says beforehand? “Delight in the Lord.” Our joy in Him comes first. I also read this as Him giving us the right desires, the longing for truth and living according to His ways, once we submit ourselves to Him, because He is delightful.

We must also remember that our righteousness is from the Lord. We are made right by our faith in Christ. Still, he has given us a will and an ability to choose and make decisions. There are consequences to those decisions and there are rewards for steadfastness. Our motives though are the key, are we being good to serve ourselves or the Lord?

Ultimately Kharis’ post is meant to shine some hope for those who are Christians but who have stumbled and sinned, past or present, and in the heart of the gospel, to say: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Cor. 5:17

Christ comes to make us new, to take our death and give us life. All of us have fallen short of His glory, but great is His grace. Now, because of His goodness and grace we are encouraged and desire to stay the course! If you mess up, repent, and ask for the grace to carry on. Push delete and forget about your past and your pride. Because that’s what He does. He redeems.

In Love and Christ,
Jordan