The Trait Project : #4 {Casey Rachelle}

The great Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”

When I think of Casey Rachelle Slagle (Now Casey Sheffield), I think of the one person I know who is remotely even close to the perfect virtue that Confucius speaks of.

Casey Sheffield{Isn’t she gorgeous?? :)}

I could tell you how much she would dislike me saying this about her, but this is my blog and I get to write the story so she can’t dictate how I brag on her. Ha!

I met Casey when we were working for a summer youth camp that we both had attended as students previously. She was shy and quiet and I was, well…. let’s just say I am not really shy and quiet. However, when I met Casey, I saw in flesh form some qualities I did not know a person could possess on such an incredible level.

Casey & Krystal @ Camp{Back in Our “camp” days. Holy short hair Krystal. Ha!}

Up until this point in my life, I had not really had a bunch of good girlfriends that I could count on to be in my life forever. Remember Magan? Yeah that was kind of the last strong friendship I had and then when I moved, nothing every gelled quite as strongly; until I met Casey. 

The very first word I think of when I think of Casey is kind. She possesses kindness on a level of dynamic proportions. I have always been convinced she did not have an unkind bone in her body. She is sweet and loving and sincere. She is so perfumed in kindness that if I ever had a bad day, all I had to do was look at her or call her and the tilt of my world’s axis was corrected again. It’s that powerful. 

She has the ability to show you with her personality, the kind eyes that you imagine Jesus looks at you with. I have always been convinced that when I look at her, I am seeing a trait of Jesus in human form. 

When I came across the quote above from Confucius, I was astounded at the points he made because I feel they fit Casey so well :  “gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” 

Gravity : experiencing a person of gravity is experiencing someone with the ability to be very serious when needed. I always imagine these people as knowing the proper weight of a circumstance and acting accordingly.
Among Casey’s traits, she has the ability to see situations for their breadth and respond appropriately. Its something most people really want to possess when a close friend experiences a death or a loss of some kind; you always want to say the right things, to comfort the right way. Casey does this impeccably. 

Generosity of Soul : My favorite definition of generosity is “plentiful.” This is usually used in describing food portions, however, in my friend Casey, her kindness is plentiful. In all the years I have known her, she has been a constant in multiple areas and one of those has been her generosity. I have always been able to count on her giving spirit if I ever needed it, and most of the time, she was giving when I never knew I needed it or never even asked. 

Sincerity : I have never questioned her motives or actions. They have always been above par and exceeded an expectation I could have imagined. When she does something for you or says something to you, it is coming from the depth of who she is and is the most truth you will ever see exhibited in a person. 

Earnestness : Being earnest means being seriously zealous. I have seen Casey pursue her friendships, her family, and her Lord with a serious zealous intention that is so honorable and inspiring.

Kindness : I mentioned this before. Her kindness is astounding. Thus, every one of these qualities is magnified because of her kindness.

Krystal Wedding Day{One of my favorite pics from Casey helping me get dressed for my wedding.}

Not only do I long to possess even just an ounce of these qualities, I want my son to be like his Aunt Casey. I want him to know how to speak life into hard situations appropriately. I want him to be sincere in his intentions and zealous in his pursuits. At the core of his being, I want him to be a kind man.

Casey's Wedding{I had the extreme honor of standing next to Casey on her wedding day this past May.}

I am so thankful every single day for you Case. God gave me the ultimate gift when He gave me you. I love you.

-KR

 

The Trait Project : #3 {Magan Elizabeth}

I have moved 17 times in my short 31 year life and I have loved every second of the new places and adventures. However, growing up, moving was not always easy.

One particularly difficult move for me was the very end of 5th  grade. We had to move before my 5th  grade year was over. In the town we lived in the middle school was 5th  through 8th  grade. When we moved, I had to go back to elementary school since the new town had elementary school up until 6th  grade. To a 5th  grader who had just started middle school, this was horrific. I felt like I was reverting back to being treated like a baby.

The town we were moving to was Kannapolis, North Carolina. Most people know Kannapolis because of the late Dale Earnhardt. His mom lived one block from us and in the years following our move there, they have renamed the road we lived off of Intimidator Lane, after his NASCAR nickname.

I walked into that 5th  grade classroom, of children who already knew each other very well, and was the least thrilled I had ever been to move somewhere. The teacher introduced me and asked if there was anyone who would like to show me around the school since it was my first day. A hand raised in the air that was attached to a little girl with short brown hair and glasses. Her name was Magan.

Magan Elizabeth Seagroves (Now Magan Keith) was the one reason I would make it through this move and attach myself to this new city.

Magan and I navigated the end of 5th  grade all the way through the end of 9th  grade together with better success than most preteen girls; mostly because of our protection of one another. In a world where preteen girls are really scary, you need one good one to have your back. We were that for each other. She shared my love for Freddie Prinze Jr. and The Dixie Chicks thus it was a match made in friendship heaven.

Magan & Krystal Middle School{Holy eyebrows Batman. Middle School was not good to my forehead.}

Magan & Krystal Bday Party{My sweet sixteen birthday party that I asked my mom not to throw me. Oh well.}

I learned early on that Magan valued truth above all else. As long as she felt your were honest, sincere, and loyal, you were gold to her. She is all of these things and it is only fair to expect them in return. For preteen girls, these traits are hard to come by.

The day came, like it always did, that I would have to move again. I remember the dreaded drive to Magan’s house to tell her I was leaving. We both cried incessantly. It was terrible. We were losing the ability to finish navigating high school together and that thought was just too much to handle.

Not long after I moved, Magan called me one night in sheer panic. She had stumbled upon some information that was about to literally crack her family’s foundation at the core. It would never be the same. Her world was crashing in and God gave me the distinct privilege that night of being her long distance shoulder to cry on.

The one thing she valued above all else, truth, was ripped in two in a matter of minutes.

Her life would piece itself back together in time, however I was deeply afraid her compass for trust had been marred beyond repair.

Enter a certain lad named Matthew Keith and my worries disappeared. He has been so true and steady as her husband that her values of honesty, sincerity, and loyalty have not only multiplied, but been returned to her in excess.

Magan Keith Family {Magan’s sweet family}

I have never had to guess who I am getting when Magan shows up. She is true to herself and shares sincerity with every single person who encounters her.

magan's wedding {Magan’s wedding day. I was so blessed to be a part of this day in 2008.}

I want this for my own life. I want this for my son’s life. I want to be loyal, trustworthy, truthful, sincere. I want to be a Magan to everyone who meets me.

I know people say things like, “loyal to a fault.” How can loyalty ever be a bad thing? Too much loyalty is a way to compliment your worth to someone. Personally, I like that. 

Mags, I love you. I love Matt, and Laney, and Ben. I wish we could see each other more, however, know that I will forever have a space in my heart reserved specifically for you.

XOXO-Krystal

Blog Collaboration with Noonday Collection

I have the extreme pleasure of being a freelance writer for many different publications and sites. I will do my best to post links here to those articles.

Noonday Collection is one company that I do some work with not only as an Ambassador for their brand, but as a blogger for their site.

Today I published a story with them about Adoption, Connection, and Sisterhood.
Its a great reminder to love on the sweet gals God has given us as friends and to find people to share life with who move you towards being a better person seeking bigger causes.

I took this opportunity to brag on my sweet friend Melaney.

Go read my blog HERE. Add some sweet jewelry to your wishlist. Then call your gal pals and tell them how much you love them.

You can thank me later. 🙂

-KR

The Trait Project : # 2 Part B {Haley Marie}

Yesterday, I introduced you to my friend Haley. I told you about her impeccable gift of affirmation.

Haley 1{my beautiful friend Haley}

I wanted to expound upon this notion of affirming people. Affirmation can be a million different things. It is not just words. Sometimes it is touch.

When Haley and I were working together, I was in an interesting time of my young adult life.
I worked a job from 12 pm to 9 pm where I worked in a room full of people, but I had my own little cubicle.
After work I would go home, eat dinner, and then work on my online graduate classes from about 10 pm to 3 am.
I would sleep from 4 am to 9 am or 10 am. Then I would repeat my day all over again.

This would be the schedule I kept most days until I finished my Masters degree.

At one point I had been really digging in to my schedule and school work for about a month straight. I had little human contact for a while other than seeing people at work and saying hello, because I lived alone.

One day, as I walked towards my cubicle, Haley approached me. She had just grabbed a cup of coffee to begin her day and she swung by to say hello. She reached out and touched my arm.

A literal surge of energy ran through my body. I had never in my life felt what I felt at that moment. When she touched me just to say hello, I realized not one single human being had touched me or hugged me in over one month.

Until this moment in my life, I never understood the importance of actual human contact.

Haley gave me a gift that day. The gift of human connection.

As I mentioned yesterday, Haley has the gift of seeing people where they are and meeting them there. She has the incredible ability to reach out and let you know you are not alone in this world. I am sure if you were to ask her about this, she wouldn’t see it as something she does consciously. She simply has the tremendous gift of noticing people.

The English novelist Martin Amis said in his book Money, “My theory is-we don’t really go that far into other people, even when we think we do. We hardly ever go in and bring them out. We just stand at the jaws of the cave, and strike a match, and quickly as if nobody’s there.”

I feel that what Amis mentions is what we all do in human connection. We get close, we see if someone happens to be alive in that cave of life, and then we move on. If the life in the cave is moving, they must be ok. But as we all know, that is not the truth.

What I love about Haley is that she is the kind of person who strikes a match to light the cave, but then she wanders in to help bring us out.

That day so long ago, when my skin had not been touched by anyone, Haley brought me out of a cave I wasn’t sure I was in. I had no idea I would be a healthier person if I had human contact.

As much as I am an extrovert, if left to my own devices, I forget to be around people. It’s not a way to live. In fact, you can’t live that way. Physically, you can’t.

God designed us FOR each other.

We were not meant to walk this earth alone or independent of one another. We survive best when we are connected.

I want my son to see people’s needs and not have to be asked to meet them.
I want him to instinctively know when someone needs a touch of humanity.
I want my son to be a Haley to everyone he meets.
Wanting my son to be a Haley, starts with me.

I love you Hales. I love that you are my friend.
The proof of how many people have read this blog, and commented on your Facebook because of it, is a testament to your innate goodness.

Thank you Jesus for Haley.