Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: http://chraxie.com

Welcome To The Chraxie Story!

Our Future Date (Project 365, Day 217).

Aperture: f/5     Focal Length: 40 mm     ISO: 1600     Shutter Speed: 1/20

(Note: Maxie Kamalski edited this image, which was shot the night we spoke about marriage for the first time. It ended up becoming central to our wedding save the date!)

 

Wife As Beauty (Project 365, Day 185).

Aperture: f/4.5     Focal Length: 34 mm     ISO: 400     Shutter Speed: 1/50 second

 

#Chraxie Celebration Presents ‘The 25’

An epic photo from an unforgettable celebration. #Chraxie forever! (copyright we love pictures)

Download #Chraxie Celebration Presents ‘The 25’ here. (May take awhile to load as images are hi-res).

Download #Chraxie Celebration Presents ‘The 25’ (Small) here. (Faster, smaller version).

We can’t wait to show you a little piece of creative beauty that we put together entitled ‘The 25’ to celebrate the most amazing #Chraxie Celebration that went down this past month. We hope that whether you participated in our special wedding day, or are simply clicking through via Facebook, you know that we consider you a valuable member of our community. We can’t wait to continue the party this coming November in California!

We love you, Chraxie 

A little sneak peak of our wedding courtesy of we love picturesSneak Peak!

That Moment (Project 365, Day 172).

Aperture: f/4.5     Focal Length: 35 mm     ISO: 1600     Shutter Speed: 1/15 second

 

welovepictures Sneak Peak: Chraxie Celebration!

Our good friends Travis and Maike from welovepictures recently posted two sneak peaks from the Chraxie Celebration on their website, that I am reposting here…enjoy! Their posts are here and here:

Just Married!

Origami Explosion.

Pinky Love.

Californian Stud.

South African Hottie!

Here for You.

Chraxie Tree!

Chraxie!!!

Epic iPhone shot of the Chraxie vows! Tears flowing heartily by now...

Sharp Eye (Project 365, Day 153).

Aperture: f/2.8     Focal Length: 5 mm     ISO: 80     Shutter Speed: 1/499 second

Sunday/Monday: Our Marriage Counselor Made Us Rest.

A powerful maxim of Jesus, interpreted in a modern way via the East London street art graffiti scene.

I’ll keep this short, as of this writing Maxie and I are getting married in just over a week, hosting family and friends from around the world in a few days! Essentially, the amazing marriage counselor we have been meeting with weekly the past few months, who has prayed over us, taught us, and encouraged us to engage our fears and move forward in trust and faith as we join together, took charge in our last session and forced us to rest.

Yes, she forced us to rest.

So, on Sunday, which was the Sabbath after all, we did just that. Maxie and I slept in, spent the morning together watching movies and generally laying comatose on the couch, and generally unplugging from a busy, stressful season of marriage preparation. I can’t even remember what we did that day, it was so wonderful. Suffice to say, sometimes you need a wise voice in your life that simply gives you permission to love yourself enough to stop. To rest, to ponder, to daydream, to let your mind become blank. Rita Malan was that voice in our lives at the end of a busy week, nearing the end of an intensely strenuous season of life.

Maxie and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I was privileged to carry that rest into Monday of the next week, as my monthly afternoon of solitude and silence came due. I headed over to Mohale Rest + Retreat and promptly took a nap yet again! That afternoon, I sat next to a koi pond, trying to open my heart and mind to the reality that I was going to be united in marriage to a deeply amazing South African woman I love more than anything prior in my life. I shook my head at how deeply we have walked through past fear and shame, and still how far we have to go in our respective brokenness. I haven’t always made loving myself easy on Maxie, but she has been faithful, steadfast, and consistent in sacrificially loving me each moment of our relationship. I am so grateful for her.

I read a section of Donald Miller’s newest work called “The Thing About A Crossing,” and was struck by these passages as deeply relevant to the massive event about to unfold in my life’s journey:

“The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle…you become the character in the story you are living…It’s like this with every crossing, and with nearly every story too. You paddle until you no longer believe you can go any farther. And then suddenly, well after you thought it would happen, the other shore starts to grow, and it grows fast. The trees get taller and you can make out the crags in the cliffs, and then the shore reaches out to you, to welcome you home, almost pulling your boat onto the sand” [Donald Miller, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years].

Maxie has been this for me in our story…pulling me forward to the best reality I can ever imagine. Our shore is reaching out to us, welcoming us to make a home in each other, pulling us forward from paralyzation to new, unified life as one couple. I for one cannot wait for June 4!

(Each day this week I will post a story or reflection about some aspect of my work and life that our missional community, NieuCommunities South Africa, is currently engaged in here in Pretoria. I’ll simply attempt to answer the questions, ‘What does a week in my life look like? while framing that within the larger question of ‘What stories are you co-writing with God in South Africa, and how does this story fulfill your unique mandate to apprentice South African leaders in the way of Jesus into sustainable mission around the globe?’)

Thursday: The Art Of Conversation.

My mom won't like that I'm reposting this photo of our Skype moments after Maxie and I got engaged, but it explains so much about the realities of life and mission half way around the world from your folks. Making memories via Macbook Pros!

Cracking my eyes open, I headed over to Joe and Natalie Reed’s house early Thursday morning for breakfast with our NieuCommunities Staff team, which is always a fun time around the table as the Reed’s have 3 children under 5! Malachi, their youngest, is in the early walking/touching everything/exploring stage, which means that he experiments with things like how to tear his bacon, egg + cheese biscuit all apart in every which way, dropping pieces of cheese all over the floor in an effort to follow his big sister Keziah around the table. Usually, I lose my shoes at least once every Thursday morning, this week being no exception, as Keziah loves playing under the table being silly (This week’s episode: Keziah as a horse, Malachi riding her by sitting on her head!).

We lingered over the breakfast table with the crisp autumn air bringing a chill into the dining room surrounding us, creating a sluggish, yet homey feel to the morning. It has been a long series of weeks for our team, from moving forward in new ministry initiatives to saying goodbye (for now) to Jody and his Rwandan fiance, Francine, to someone preparing for marriage in our team’s midst (Woo-hoo!). It seemed like no one really wanted to move forward into the morning’s activities, in which I was going to introduce some meditative reflection around the concept of God desiring connection with us, and then facilitating group spiritual direction for our team.

So we made the call: Let’s just scrap morning plans, keep chatting, and leave early! We did just that, and I must tell you, I think everyone sighed a bit, refreshed with the freedom to choose what we needed most as a team in that moment, as opposed to forcing ourselves forward. Sometimes giving yourself permission to choose what you truly need is the hardest thing, is it not?

The afternoon was spent in a flurry of wedding/my life is changing and I am becoming ‘two’ not one activities, which seem a part of each day in this season, and which I actually kind of enjoy most of the time. It truly is a revolutionary thing in our society for two people to make a willful choice to commit to each other, and then join separate lives together in a merged and growing union. I find it surreal that this is happening between Maxie and I, and yet am growing both in excitement and a settled sense of peace that this is what I want more than anything else.

Hence, a 2-hour Skype with Johnny Wilson filled most of our afternoon. Johnny is a part of the Church Resource Ministries family with me, and has served as a part of the Staff Care and Development team for several years now. Johnny has loosely coached me via Skype for this past year, and mentioned to me once Maxie and I were engaged that he had facilitated hundreds of couples in working through a marriage enrichment curriculum entitled “Prepare and Enrich.” It’s essentially an assessment that both individuals take that is scored and then expanded upon for Johnny’s eyes only, consisting of 7 or 8 topics central to most struggles within marriage (The classics: Sex, Family, Conflict, Communication Styles, Finances, Expectations, Spiritual Beliefs, etc). This was our 3rd session with him with another coming prior to our wedding and likely some followup afterwards.

It really takes some effort to get used to counseling/sharing via Skype, particularly when bandwidth limitations prevent the usage of video most of the time (Bandwidth remains expensive and not unlimited for most in South Africa). Presence with another involves focus and largely looking at someone, and when this is not present, concentration is super hard! Nonetheless, Johnny shared some valuable insights with us and continues to cheer us on as we head towards marriage from his home in North Carolina. The big insight from yesterday: Continued understanding just how much marriage is a choice of commitment and love that is something to be built into, and grown throughout the years. I was blown away when he mentioned that he has been married to Sue now for 40 years!

All in all, a tiring, but great afternoon!

(Each day this week I will post a story or reflection about some aspect of my work and life that our missional community, NieuCommunities South Africa, is currently engaged in here in Pretoria. I’ll simply attempt to answer the questions, ‘What does a week in my life look like? while framing that within the larger question of ‘What stories are you co-writing with God in South Africa, and how does this story fulfill your unique mandate to apprentice South African leaders in the way of Jesus into sustainable mission around the globe?’)