Admiration Mondays: Chris and Karissa Strovas
I love writing admiration posts and bragging on my friends. It’s been a while since I’ve shared an Admiration Monday post and I'm super excited to share this one with you today and tell you about this beautiful family.
Technically, Bryan and I have known the Strovas' since before we were married. Chris Strovas led the collage group at our church when we were dating and he did our marriage counseling. He also signed our marriage license and officially married us in his office - since we got married in Italy and the laws with the marriage license were a bit complicated we had Chris do our marriage license before we left. But, I feel like even though we knew them then it wasn't until recently that we really grew to be friends.
I can't tell you how grateful I am that our paths crossed again and that we have started to get to know them better. In the more than eight years since we first met them they have walked through the birth of four more children (putting them at a total of six kids - yes, you read that right!), new jobs, and lots of other live changes - heart aches and triumphs.
There's something about families that have a lot of kids. There's a sort of relaxed chaos around them that I've really grown to love. The Stovas' family has that sort of indescribable atmosphere around them and their parenting that I think only a large family can have.
We reconnecting with Chris and Karissa Strovas about a year and a half ago. We stumbled into a church plant in the area on the recommendation of a family friend and the Strovas’s happened to be very involved there. One of the first Sunday’s we were at this church Chris came up to us as we were getting the kids in the car and invited us over for some chili. It was last minute and unplanned, but we had nothing else set for that day and I'm a big fan of spontaneous hang outs, so we said yes.
They had recently moved into a beautiful house in Monroe - their dream house as Karissa called it on her blog. And I could see why, it’s a lovely house at the end of a quiet street with plenty of land for animals and a garden and with wild woods in the background.
That day hanging out at their house I knew I wanted to spend more time with them. I loved that there were toys on the floor and boxes that still needed unpacking, but that didn't keep them from inviting us over. I loved that the kids ran in and out of our conversations, playing and laughing, and no one seemed bothered by the interruption or inability to finish a complete thought. I loved that Thad ran through the yard chasing the chickens. I loved that the older boys interrupted to invite Chris and Bryan to race to the other end of the backyard with them. I loved that we talked openly about life and where it's taken all of us in the past few years. We talked about home births and urban foraging, herbs and cranial sacral therapy, and even touched on a few heart aches. They prayed with us for Bryan and his melanoma, for Sage and her diagnose, for our hearts amidst it all. And we left feeling refreshed, enlivened, and hopeful.
The truth is that's how all of our times with the Strovas family have been. They have graciously opened their home and bits of their live to us in numerous ways over the past year. For most of the winter and spring we attended a small community group at their house and got to walk through a little bit of life with them during that time.
The Strovas' are one of those rare families that put you at ease the moment you meet them. The love of Christ is not an abstract theory for them it is a practical reality that they act out every day with their children and within their community. I think what I love most about them is how genuine and authentic they are. They don’t care to put up facades or make things look better than they are. They cry when things are hard, and ask for help when they need it. They walk with God in a way that is open and honest and deeply from the heart.
Over the past few months that we have been in Arizona I have really missed this family and their influence on my life. I feel very honored to know them and very grateful for how God has weaved them back into our lives.
I really encourage you all to check out Karissa’s blog. As a mommy to six now her writing may not be as consistent as other blogs, but it is heartfelt, thoughtful, and an encouragement to read.
Rejoicing in the journey,