Blogging, Teens and Church: An Update

I have been thinking about this blog lately.

It comes to mind because I still have a lot to say.

Friends ask about it.

Family who live a distance from us say that they miss seeing pictures.

I get emails from blog readers saying that you’re praying for our family (thank you!!!) or asking how we’re doing.

Mark and I have talked (and talked and talked) about what the future of this blog should be. We do want it to continue, but what that looks like? We still aren’t sure.

It is all a balancing act. But I’m pretty certain that all of life is a balancing act.

At any rate, for right now I’m sitting down writing a blog post with the goal of sharing some pictures and giving an  update on our life since last May.

The year has been delightfully wonderful and full for our family.

In case you haven’t noticed, our kids are growing up.

Nicholas was 10 months old when I started blogging.

Nicholas, 10 months, when the blog started

 

He’s now 7.

colby and nick chickfila

Colby (8) and Nicholas (7)

 

Our oldest, Amber, is 18 and we now have five teenagers and two children with a semester of college under their belts!

Back row: Amber (18), Kaitlin (17), Matthew (15), Carter (13), Alyssa (14) Middle row: Savannah (10), Nick (6), Colby (8), Sadie (11) Front row: Bella (4), Valor (2)

Back row: Amber (18), Kaitlin (17), Matthew (15), Carter (13), Alyssa (14)
Middle row: Savannah (10), Nick (6), Colby (8), Sadie (11)
Front row: Bella (4), Valor (2)

You may remember that we got chickens a year ago in February. The boys made two chicken tractors for them and we’ve been enjoying the experience of owning chickens and having fresh eggs.

From designing and building the tractors to learning how to butcher and prepare chickens for the freezer, it’s been a great experience and now they’re talking about a milk goat. (Um, no thanks!)

Butchering chickens

Butchering chickens

Throughout the spring and summer of 2014 we made a concerted effort to spend time outdoors, at local parks, enjoying ballgames, hiking and swimming.

Valor at Cove Lake Park

Valor at Cove Lake Park

 

josiah caleb amber kaitlin matthew alyssa carter sadie savannah colby nicholas bella valor baseball game

Ballgame with friends

Of course we had our annual family campout in September. This was our largest group yet with upwards of  120 people coming up for at least part of the weekend.

bella nick valor hammock camp

Nick (6), Bella (4), Valor (2)

 

Elementary and middle school girls sack race

Sack race for the girls age 12 and under

 

camp out volleyball

Playing games and prepping food

Cross Country

In August, cross country season started for our kids.

The high school cross country team at their first meet.

The high school cross country team [FRONT ROW 4th and 5th from L: Alyssa (14) and Kaitlin (16) right between them in the BACK ROW: Matthew (15)

The cross country program in Knoxville is wonderful….and the races are BIG. Each elementary race has 800-900 kids and the middle school races are about the same size.

middle school boy cross country race

Race start – middle school boy’s race

Because of the crowds our team makes a habit of taking a picnic and we let the kids play frisbee or tag or just hang out after the race while we all eat and the crowds thin out.

Savannah (9) and Sadie (11)

Savannah (9) and Sadie (11)

Some of our kid’s best friends are part of the cross country team and we appreciate this time to spend together.

Katherine and Kaitlin (16)

Katherine and Kaitlin (16)

Carter (12) and Elijah

Carter (12) and Elijah

Each level (elementary, middle and high school) has a weekly race, so cross country season is busy, but fun spending several nights a week outdoors picnicking with friends.

The little kids get lots of sunshine, time romping in the grass and they love teasing the teenagers and playing with other younger siblings.

Valor (2) and Bella (4)

Valor (2) and Bella (4)

Safe Families

This year during cross country season we hosted this precious girl.

Baby G.

Gracie

In God’s good kindness, Gracie was born just days after our first miscarried baby was due so there was sorrow and healing in getting to hold this baby while remembering ours. Gracie stayed with us for about three months.

We were blessed with a good relationship with Gracie’s mom which has continued even until now.

Alyssa (14) and Nick (6) with the twins

Alyssa (14) and Nick (6) with the twins

Since August we’ve hosted 4 infants and 5 preschoolers with Safe Families. We especially enjoyed having twin girls who arrived at our home on their 5th day of life.

Teenagers

We are loving having teenagers in the house and something that has snuck up on me is that when you have teenagers, your house is also full of other people’s teenagers, not just yours. We absolutely love it!!

We love watching our kids make grown-up decisions, manage their time and choose friends by evaluating which boys and girls encourage them to be more like Christ and then make an effort to cultivate those relationships.

The younger kids are enjoying having lots of big kids around. Their life is quite different than what our big kids experienced when they were all little and we’re seeing God shape them into the unique people that He has ordained them to be. It’s lovely to see the teens take time out to include the younger ones.

The kids find a jellyfish

The kids find a jellyfish

Church Plant

In God’s good providence we are working together with about 8 other families to plant a Presbyterian church here in Knoxville. Many of us have been at an amazing reformed Baptist church for the past 3 years. We have loved and been loved in that church. It was a place of healing, love and acceptance for the several families who were in need of exactly that.

When the time came for us to say good-bye in order to start this baby church we went out from that lovely, amazing and Christ-like congregation with their public blessing and pronouncement of love and care for us. It has been a beautiful picture of what the family of Christ should look like, even when there is a necessity to part ways.

The church plant has been a special blessing to our family. We were particularly concerned about our teenagers because they are the only teens in the church plant, but just this morning Amber (18) and I were talking and she mentioned, “Mom, I just love our church!” I agree. God is good.

Visiting the creek in our backyard

Visiting the creek in our backyard

There is so much more to tell; kids going on mission trips and cruises, getting drivers licenses, homeschooling, college classes, etc, etc. BUT I will stop right here because if I don’t I will never get this post up.

God has given us a beautiful, full life here in Tennessee.

snow snowmen

Our days are packed with things that life in a vibrant, Christian community bring. It’s a beautiful, full, often messy, but always lovely life and we are trying to soak up every moment of it.

 

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24 Responses to Blogging, Teens and Church: An Update
  1. Ashley T
    May 11, 2015 | 12:55 pm

    How wonderful to see an email in my inbox from you! Loved the update on your family. Thank you for sharing how much your kids have grown. I look forward to more posts.

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  2. Lois J.
    May 11, 2015 | 2:43 pm

    Hi! I’m so enthused about this post! I’ve missed your family updates and have often thought about you all, wondering how life is and you all are faring. Thank you so much for taking the time, and I look forward to any more you send! 🙂 p.s. May God bless your family in the work you are doing with Safe Families. That is a wonderful thing!

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  3. Priscilla F.
    May 11, 2015 | 6:14 pm

    So lovely to read your update. I’m a reader who found you after reading the “4 moms, umpteen kids” book, and have so appreciated your writings, specifically in regards to children as the Bible sees them, child rearing helps, and (every Saturday morning for our breakfast!) the Dutch Puff recipe. Even checked about a month ago to make sure I hadn’t missed a posting, saw that I hadn’t, and figured you were busy busy busy. Blessings to you and yours!

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  4. Kirsten
    May 11, 2015 | 8:53 pm

    So wonderful to hear from you and see your lovely, busy family! You have encouraged me so much in my desire to raise a Godly family. I look forward to more posts as time allows. Blessings to your family 🙂

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  5. Becky B
    May 11, 2015 | 10:25 pm

    It was fun to see your update! Thanks for writing it.
    Becky

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  6. Bambi
    May 11, 2015 | 10:25 pm

    Loved the update. And always thankful for any posts you find the time for. You’re a big encouragement to me ❤️ (((Hugs)))

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  7. katena dyser
    May 11, 2015 | 10:40 pm

    Sometimes we just need to step back and look at the big picture!! Love hearing from you and the pictures are great!!!

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  8. Sue
    May 11, 2015 | 10:45 pm

    It’s so good to read your update. I’ve checked back periodically to see if you have posted and received a pleasant surprise today! Thankful to see that your family continues to do well.

    [Reply]

  9. Annie
    May 12, 2015 | 7:45 am

    I, also, want to say thank you for updating us! I think of, and pray for, your family often.

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  10. Diana
    May 12, 2015 | 7:18 pm

    Your family is amazing! Thank you for the update! I love reading when you have time to write.

    Diana

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  11. Noelle
    May 18, 2015 | 10:52 am

    Over the past year, I had frequently and desperately come back to this blog hoping t hear your (virtual) voice. Those check-ups had become less and less hopeful in recent months. But God told me to check once more today and I am SO GLAD I did! It is so good to see how God has blessed your beautiful family over the past year, and what an encouragement it is to let your testimony shine a light on the blessings He has provided in my own life. I know you and your husband have to decide what is best for your family in terms of continuing with the blog, but if the words of a long-time reader mean anything at all…your blog has been such an encouraging and God glorifying read over the years. From homeschooling to home organization, parenting to ministry work, you have been like a warm, humorous, insightful and Godly distant friend. Please, please….don’t let it end here!

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  12. Cynthia
    May 19, 2015 | 1:11 am

    Oh, thank you for the wonderful family update!! I’ve checked in here many times, and though I completely understand the busyness of life, I missed your “voice” of wisdom and encouragement.
    Your family is beautiful! You are truly blessed!

    [Reply]

  13. Sue
    May 20, 2015 | 11:24 am

    So excited to see your post. I have checked dozens of times since last summer to see if there is anything new. Can’t believe how grown up everyone is — until I look at my own grandchildren:) Thanks for catching us up. Hugs to your mom and dad, and a belated “Happy Birthday.”

    [Reply]

  14. Momstarr
    May 20, 2015 | 12:10 pm

    For those of us NOT on Facebook it is nice to see you thinking of us and posting on the blog!!! :>)

    [Reply]

  15. Philippa
    May 22, 2015 | 4:01 pm

    So happy to get a window back on your world! You have been missed – lovely to catch up with how your children have grown and what you’ve been up to. Thanks for taking the time to blog, you are always an inspiration 🙂

    [Reply]

  16. Annie
    June 9, 2015 | 3:00 pm

    I am so pleased and over joyed to see that you and your family has been blessed by the Lord this past year! I have thought of you and your family often since you decided to place this blog in God’s hands and on the back burner. I understand!
    I pray that, as the Lord allows, you will continue to post here and there about life, motherhood, family, etc… through the lens of Scrripture because I miss having a “blog friend” and Titus 2 woman to read from. I have found only one other blog that has messured up and has given me something fresh, encouraging, wise, and insightful posts. I sure do miss yours though!
    Blessings Kimberly and I pray the Lord will continue to use you all:o)

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  17. Michelle
    June 10, 2015 | 7:34 pm

    So glad you posted an update!

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  18. MotherOwl
    June 14, 2015 | 12:42 pm

    I’m so pleased with your update. I too have been praying for your family and I’m pleased to learn that “only” life happened.
    A blogger suddenly stopping is like a half finished letter from a distant, but dear relative. You wonder, pray, but dare not to inquire. Please keep on.

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  19. Sue
    June 16, 2015 | 4:43 pm

    Have missed your updates, but kept checking back periodically. So nice to read your update today. Your kids have grown so much and they all look so happy. Thanks for the update!

    [Reply]

  20. Liz
    July 6, 2015 | 5:17 pm

    wonderful to hear what you have been up to. The church plant sounds very exciting. I would definitely like to hear more about that at some point in the future. When real life gives you the time!

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  21. Amy @ Raising Arrows
    July 15, 2015 | 1:41 pm

    I just happened to randomly check your blog today. I think about you often, so it was neat to see an update! Beautiful babies you have there! Much love, Amy & family

    [Reply]

  22. Jenny
    December 21, 2015 | 6:40 am

    So happy to read your update, Kimberly. It thrills my heart to hear of the delight you are finding in Jesus and in loving your sweet family.

    [Reply]

  23. Momstarr
    January 7, 2016 | 10:58 pm

    Just visiting the attic here. Cob webs and old memories! Have I mentioned I am not on Facebook and would love to visit this att…blog again and see life at the Rivera’s? ;>)
    Miss you dear friend!!

    Snarky….i know

    [Reply]

  24. Hope Thatcher
    July 25, 2016 | 1:23 am

    I was so happy to see your family growing, growing, and growing! I also needed to thank you for the Ambleside posts. We took 2 years and have fully transitioned to CM Ambleside. Your posts helped me to believe I could do it with my 8 kiddos. Please post more on how it’s looking for your family now if you ever have time!

    Much Love,

    Hope

    [Reply]

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