Friday, January 9, 2015

A New Blog Home

We'll now be blogging at a new address: North of the Border.  TexasSkies will still be up and you can scroll through all our archives, but we decided it was time for a new blog.

Check us out at our new address ( and we'll try to blog more often!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to our family and friends! 

May the Joy of Christ dwell in your hearts this season, and throughout the New Year.  

The Kautt family 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gollum and Forgiveness

In our marriage, David and I must forgive each other daily, sometimes multiple times a day. A few weeks back, I was not doing that, and found myself hardening my heart toward David. Consequently, this put a wall between Jehovah God and me. I was lying to myself about my bitterness toward David, so I was puzzled that things between God and me seemed cold and distant. When I truly asked God why the wall, He showed me my bitterness. 

Now it's weird how we humans like to hold on to things that separate us from God and others... How we keep being tempted toward pleasing self above honoring our Creator, toward self-destruction...when what God wants for us is unbroken fellowship and peace and wholeness. 

I wrote this in my journal recently about someone I was bitter against. It took me several minutes to struggle through this, a lot longer than the log entry:

"We watched the first Hobbit movie on our wedding anniversary getaway. What a colossal waste of time! I so regret that. Three hours we could have spent talking. It was my idea. Sigh.

"Anyway, one good thing came of it. I had read THE HOBBIT years ago, and was familiar with some of the characters. But I got to see Sméagol (aka Gollum) in living color. A strikingly similar rendition of what I had imagined. [I made a sketch from one of the movies.]

"His image comes to mind just now as I struggle to forgive. Deep, long term wounds. But I must forgive. Perversely, I stubbornly resist, want to hold on to my bitterness. (To what benefit?!?!)

"Then I see Gollum, his bulging eyes; his naked, twisted, emaciated body; his stained,  broken teeth; his demented mind . . . FIXATED on his "Precious" - the ring, his one love defining, driving him. And that is what I am becoming as I tightly clasp the "ring" of bitterness and growing hatred. 

"Yes. There. I said it. Hatred. It's the inevitable product of harbored, cultivated bitterness.

"Mentally, I acknowledge the repulsion of what I am becoming. Mentally, I agree that I should not do this thing, should not let the roots go any deeper, but instead tear them all out. Now.

"Sin in me strongly counters, Why give it up? You deserve to be angry. Look what that person did to you. Why give up the anger? It's there. It's easy. It's comfortable . . . sort of. Except that it's devastating my relationship with my Abba. But isn't He part of the problem, allowing me to be hurt? (Oh, the wily lies of my Enemy.) A half-hearted scuffle ensues. Thankfully, there is a part of me that loves truth and life. It wins out over the dark side. I listen to the other Voice. The voice of the Holy Spirit. The voice of One who loves me so vastly and deeply that I can't even begin to fathom it.

"I know (from Scripture, and from experience) that nothing good will come from resisting the Spirit's promptings, from exerting my will over that of the Lord God Almighty. That will only lead ultimately to death, hell and destruction. And on this earth, to a Gollum-existence. Dark. Subterranean. Isolated. Deranged. 


"Thank You, Father God, for that picture. It actually helps me, grotesque though it may be.

"I reluctantly admit that watching the movie was not a -total- waste.

"I certainly do not want to become Gollum!

"So I, with the help of the Holy Spirit, wrestle down my perverted will. I fling the ring into the abyss, from whence it came. May I never find that ring again. 

"Thank You, Lord, for empowering me to forgive. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for the breath of freedom I just now am breathing in. And . . .

"Please don't let me manufacture any more rings. Amen."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Julia here.

This post serves two purposes.

First, I must apologize to a friend about some things I said on Facebook, and there's not enough room there. I posted a comment on the original wall post directing my friend here, and sent him a personal message doing the same.

Secondly, the topic is a hot one at our house right now, and I thought maybe others would like to see our discussion.

(NOTE: Names have been changed to protect the commenters' identities.)

This is what I sent to my friend, Bob, whom I feel I wronged because my thinking was skewed.

"Bob, I owe you an apology. The day after I wrote the comment about the way girls think, the Lord rebuked me for being a hypocrite. I have really messed up as a mom.

"Would you please go to our family blog to read a fairly long apology to you? Thanks, brother!"

-  - - - -  ------
Before I explain why I was wrong, I need to post the original FB status and comments.

I shared this meme on my timeline.


Bob commented:
"Not true. I have gone out on dates with girls that I didn't want to marry because they didn't have the quality of life that I had, but they were a lot of fun and I didn't get anything that wasn't mine and didn't want it anyway.

Bob, again:
"Enough said."

Julia responded:
"Bob, you are one of the exceptions to the rule. One reason we are teaching our offspring to avoid casual dating is because the continual emotional bonding and breaking of that bond is practice, not for the longevity and lifelong commitment God designed for marriage. But instead, it conditions one for divorce."

Julia, again:
"Bob, my friend, you are looking at this from the male perspective."

Let's stop right here for a minute to observe how very arrogant I sounded! Bob and Lord, please forgive me for that!

"I've talked with several women, so I know I wasn't the only girl who would give her heart away in a second if a guy I liked paid any attention to me. Sadly, and also humorously, most girls go from "He looked at me; he must like me" to imagining the two of them married, even naming their kids in a matter of MINUTES!! Guys see things differently."

My brother:
"Julia, I have to agree. What you have said I have found to be true. Although, I like to think I was one to date without taking something that didn't belong to me. I have to admit a woman's perspective is certainly not a mans. With that being said I have to ask the question to Bob. Is it possible to take something without knowing it? I know we may "feel" innocent. Yet, when we go in front of a jury we may find that a different perspective could deem us guilty. I know this to be a fact: because I too thought it was all in innocent "FUN". Until the other party took it in all seriousness and shamed my selfishness. So you see, when I stopped thinking about just me and asked them... WOW, what an eye opener! The book by John Holzmann "Dating With INTEGRITY Honoring Christ in Your Relationships With The Opposite Sex" Addresses such issues."

 .Some of the most heart breaking experiences I've ever had came as the result of dating. Was glad when I gave it up. Strange thing happened, not long after I gave it up, I got married!"

 I think your point is right on. I would take it even a step further and do away with the concept of "dating" altogether. It is usually superficial and aims at impressing. Group activities where boys and girls can form friendships are excellent for getting to know each other and seek out qualities that are complementary. Perhaps in a perfect world..."

End of FB status and comments. Beginning of Julia's explanation:

When the kids were younger, I protected them from bad things. I tried to shield the boys from sexual temptation. I insisted the girls dressed modestly, so they would not be a temptation to men. Not saying I shouldn't have done that. But I was mistaken to think I could shelter them forever from harmful influences. And I failed to help them in a crucial way.

I should have taught my boys how to face temptations when they come. For certainly, they will come. The older two have had to figure this out on their own, and it's been a rough go. We've been given a second chance with our third and youngest son. We learned from that mistake and we are now trying to teach him how to meet temptation victoriously.

Then there is the matter of girls giving away their hearts so quickly, and indiscriminately. The two are related.

The day after I wrote the above comment, it hit me like a new discovery. Just as a young man should be trained to control his eyes and thoughts regarding women, so should young ladies be trained to control their thoughts regarding men. The temptations for guys are in the physical realm. For the gals, it's more of an emotional fantasy problem. Both start in the mind, but seem to end different places. This is because of the way God wired the two genders, and can become a bent version of God's design.

Where many men are tempted to see women as sex objects, many single women, even young girls, are tempted to view every unmarried guy as a potential husband. I now see that I should not defend my daughters and "make allowances" for that tendency. Just like I shouldn't do that for my sons tendency to objectify women. Caleb, our second son, on his own at about age 17, determined to treat every unmarried female as respectfully as if she was someone's wife, for someday she might be. Even if she was potentially his future wife, he would treat her with purity and respect.

I adopted that for our younger son. But failed to transfer the concept for our daughters!

Here's the way I think it goes for a lot of young women and girls: As children, we see the fairy tales where the Prince arrives to carry off Snow White or Cindrella or Bella or Rapunzel. We see marriages where the husband and wife love each other and treat each other well. And we want that for ourselves. I'm probably not the only little girl who, at age nine, planned my wedding. By the time I was in high school, I had it all mapped out, with a blank-faced groom, "to be filled in" at the appropriate time.

And I suspect a lot of gals were / are like me. I had crushes on several guys. And if any one of them would pay the slightest attention to me, I immediately began fantasizing. My thoughts raced at lightning speed. Next he would be asking me out, we would date, become engaged, have my dream wedding, produce a host of lovely children and live happily ever after. That thought process spanned less time than it took for me to type it out. How many times did I repeatedly doodle my first name with the crush's last name attached? Sigh. So ridiculously junior-high. Bob, you may snicker at that, but I warrant that most of the grown women reading this will identify! Like I said, so many of us could go from "he looked at me" to "married-with-children" in 10 seconds flat.

Back to my hypocrisy.

I was unaware that I was coddling my daughters, and making excuses for a girl's tendency toward fantasizing these things. Only recently (the last 4-5 years) have I come to understand the necessity of helping my sons walk victoriously through sexual temptation. And I've been even farther behind the learning curve about helping my daughters kill the lightning-speed husband fantasy. Only became aware recently. Like, last month.

So here David and I are, as with so many other things, re-thinking our modus operandi. The new line of thinking goes something like this.

Just like the men, my daughters need to master their thought lives. They should learn
to view all men as brothers, and treat them as such. It's healthy and right for them to be "just friends" with guys. They should be able to stop the fantasy train of thought before it starts. Nip it in the bud. In fact, it shouldn't even START! I'm pondering exactly how to help them with that.

So, David and I have got some praying and thinking to do. But, Bob, I didn't want to wait until we had it figured out before I asked your forgiveness for my hypocrisy. I trust you will grant it! (You can private message me on Facebook with your response, if you like.) ...and I'm sorry it took so long to get this apology to you.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Our Summer So Far ~

Our summer has been cram-packed with all sorts of things, some of which we've already blogged about (see here and here).  But, I was just recently looking at our photos, and noticed that there were several photos that I hadn't blogged about, so here we go.  :)

Okay, technically this wasn't quite the summer (June 16th), but close enough.  We went to watch one of our close family friends, Isaac, play some softball. 

Mr. Isaac up to bat.

Got his first hit of the season: a single.

Who's on first? ;)

Waiting for his second at-bat.

Our "kitty" had kittens.  She had four, but sadly two of them have died.  The two that survived we named Dusk and Dumpling.  :)

Now, this was officially in the summer. ;)  July 4th I decided we needed to have some kabobs.  So, I grilled them up! 

Abby made a coleslaw (and other things) to go with the kabobs.

Deviled eggs go great with a lot of things!

Playin' the mandolin for a while, waiting for the grill to do it's job.

Looks like the grill did good!  Nom, nom!

Now THAT'S one good looking plate of food.

On the 12th of July we went down to Dallas, to Caleb and Claudia's home, and surprised Caleb for his 22nd birthday.  Ate pizza, visited, watched him open a few presents, watched part of a baseball game, and just had fun.  :)

The boot star!

Six of us were wearing boots, so we decided to snap a picture.

We have several tomato plants (roma and beef steak), and boy have they produced a bunch of tomatoes!

We also got some onions from our garden.

Fresh tomato slice, onion slice, with some homemade cheese, on a piece of homemade oat bread - sooo good! 

This is Dumpling, the older of the two kitties.  He's a ginger-tabby like his mom.  :)

And this is Dusk - she's basically all grey, except for a few streaks of yellow, and white 'socks'.

Joel came up for the weekend a couple weekends ago, and brought part of his drum set.  So we rocked out a bit.

Our cantaloupe (and watermelon) vines have gone crazy, and we've gone 6 or 7 large ones already. 

There's nothing better than a cold slice (or 2 or 3 or 4...) of cantaloupe on a hot summer day. 

The creator's art

This past Saturday evening we had a close friend of ours, Jared, up to have dinner with him.  He is moving far, far away (okay, only like 6 hours), because he has a job with a fire department, where he'll be in training for the next several weeks to be a fireman. 

We'll miss you, Jared!

And we had to do one crazy picture - although I don't think Dad got the memo...