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Showing posts from August, 2017

What happens to any of us...

Let's go to Sunday School. Or actually, not, because I am not sure I ever learned this part of the story in Sunday School, and I was a star student in Sunday School.  I learned the story of Moses as a baby, his basket, and the princess who adopted him, but never learned the short story preceding it.  Found in Exodus 1:13-20, allow me to paraphrase.
Remember when Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous he was their dad's favorite, and really Joseph was pretty smug and annoying about it?  Then he ended up in Egypt, and in jail, but God gave him the gift of interpreting dreams and he ended up doing that for the Pharaoh.  Joseph became his right hand man, of sorts, because he helped Egypt by predicting a famine and oversaw preparations for that famine.  And while he was a big boss guy in Egypt, his family was struggling and came to him, without knowing his true identity, for help, and after some weird fancy cup planting on his baby brother, he reveal…

Breathe

I am learning to love stillness.  
I have been previously hopeless at this skill.  My mom tells me that when I had mono when I was in Kindergarten, the only difference was that I acted like a "normal" child.  Ha!  I sound like a dream.  I was a squirmy kid, who grew into a squirmy adult.  
I was a child dancer who couldn't even in ballet.  It was too slow, too still.  Instead, I tap danced down the grocery aisles.  I didn't even succumb to stillness in sleep, waking up twisted in the blankets or upside down in my bed.  I filled silence with songs, even commercial jingles, and overpowered my thoughts by escaping into the magnificent and magical world of books.  
My squirmy tendencies continued into adulthood, always crossing, recrossing, or folding my legs; pulling my split ends; and doodling in the margins in lecture halls in college.....and Bible studies as an adult.  
I started practicing yoga through our local YMCA in my twenties, and loved it.  I could focus on …

You Do You

I am so over our competition culture. Can we all agree to be confident enough in our own life choices that we can stop overselling them to our friends and family?  And stop arguing or at least implying that our choices are superior to theirs? You do you. Click here to download You Do You doodle. And I'll do me.  We can all be happy doing what is best for us.  
Home school or public school or private school.  Daisies or succulents.  Cable or Netflix/Hulu or no TVs.   Disposable diapers or cloth.  Mini-van or SUV or truck.  Color your hair or go gray.  Heels or flats.  Vegan or vegetarian or flexitarian or carnivore.  Read the book or watch the movie or both.  Coke or Pepsi or "I don't drink pop."  Pop or soda or soda pop.  Run or lift weights or dance or don't.  From scratch everything or go out to eat.  Chocolate lover or someone who obviously doesn't have tastebuds.
Of course, of course, I have an opinion on all of those things (and more!).  I researched the…

Raise Your Words

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.  -Robert Frost
With so much going on right now, both big and small, macro and micro, my mind has been on a spin cycle.  Big, cultural, societal problems take up mental real estate and battle with my smaller, everyday thoughts and frustrations about parenting, in particular.  
How do I show support?
How brave will I be?
How many times do I have to tell them?
Just stop bickering!
What happened in the news today?
What happened at school today?
We have to do better.
How can I be a better mom?
I just want to cry.
I just want to scream.
Poetry that stuck. On the screen in worship on Sunday was a poem by Rumi, a famous 13th century poet and scholar.  It really spoke to my heart and my mind, addressing my big and small worries and thoughts.  Raising my words in my parenting, in my relationships, in political discourse, in advocacy, in support, will cause so much more growth, so much more blooming, than simply ra…

Coziness cure Woes-iness

I love being cozy. Give me sweatpants and a blankie any day.  Amiright?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which is all kinds of rad, defines cozy like this:
Definition of cozy
cozier; coziest
1a:  enjoying or affording warmth and ease :snugcozy lakeside cabinb:  marked by or providing contentment or comfort won by a cozy margin 2a:  marked by the intimacy of the family or a close group We had a cozy dinner with the whole family.b:  marked by or suggesting close association or connivance a cozy agreementHis political opponents accused him of getting too cozy with powerful companies. 3:  marked by a discreet and cautious attitude or procedure a cozy waiting game

TBH, that third option threw me.  If your vocabulary has allowed you to use the word cozy in this context, just know that I am applauding you.  
Lots of things make me feel cozy.  Love notes.Hot drinks, like coffee.  Sometimes I am excited to go to bed at night because when I wake up I can have a cozy cup of coffee.  Yum!My husband…

I Was a Coward

I knew I needed to do it. I was too afraid to start.  I rehearsed the conversation in my head over and over, but still didn't know where to begin.  I had excuses:  They are too young.  They won't understand.  It doesn't directly affect them.  They don't have the historical perspective yet.
But the truth is, I was afraid to tell my children about Charlottesville, because I was afraid to reveal to them the ugliness of humanity, the failure of my generation and their grandparents' generation to address social ills and instead to sweep them under the rug.  I was afraid to see my pain, confusion, sadness, guilt, and fear reflected in their innocent faces.  It was hard enough to address the inadvertent mispronunciation of the African country, Niger, by a classmate, and the loving, necessary correction of that mispronunciation by another of their friends, last year,  and the conversation about words the people use to steal the humanity away from other humans.  But now, I…

Solar Eclipse

The total solar eclipse has been getting a lot of press lately. Rightfully so, of course.  I am not completely geeked out over it, but am excited and looking forward to it.  I mean, the sun is totally getting mooned.  That's awesome.
Technically our suburb of Kansas City is getting a partial eclipse, approximately 99.5%, which is good enough for me.  I have prepared, somewhat, and even practiced viewing the eclipse.  
But I don't think I was doing it right.
Our school district got a grant and provided all the students with glasses to view, so that was covered.  Then they decided not to have to younger students go outside to view, which means I am picking up Baby Girl 2 to view with me, and the school sent her glasses home.  I got glasses for me, hubby, my sister, my bro-in-law, and have plans with my parents to go to our town's solar eclipse shindig in our downtown.  
I made the girlies eclipse shirts using a paper plate and a bleach pen.  They turned out pretty rad, I thi…

To Do, Or Not To Do?

I am a list maker.   My mind is so scattered, it is the only way I can get things done.  I mean, I start one task, like cleaning the kitchen and while doing that, I
What was I saying?  Oh, yeah.  My friend says it is a common problem with women especially, because we carry a burdensome mental load.  Apparently I have a very small load capacity.  
My neighbor friend and I chatted after putting our kids on the bus this morning about how we needed to go in and get started on our lists, so I know I am not alone.
Here is a list I started for you.  You can fit two on a page in Word, in landscape, with minimal margins.  I hope you get lots done!
Click here to download To Do List doodle.
XOXO Kristen

Tribe Vibe

I am so extremely grateful. I have an incredible support system (AKA tribe) that I rely on, that builds me up, that makes me giggle and belly-laugh, that prays for me and asks for my prayers in return, that talks with me about trivial fluff and challenges me to think and discuss weighty topics, that loves on and takes care of my children, that loves on and takes care of me.  I am convinced that what makes this beautiful, tough, precious life so beautiful are the colorful strands of relationship that knit it together.  

My tribe has sub-tribes. I suspect yours does too.  I have my gym friends, my mom friends, my church friends, my PTA friends, my old friends, etc.  And, of course they overlap.  
I have neighbor friends who dote on my children and celebrate them with me, watching our kids play together while we chat over a glass of wine, or helping each other out with child care duties.  I have gym friends who sweat with me and sweat the small stuff (and the big stuff) with me, fitting…

A Prayer for our Schools

O Holy God, Our Creator and Sustainer,
I ask you today to draw near to our community and hold us in your hand, tuck us under your wing, as our children go back to school. I pray that our children are encouraged, brave, bold, and compassionate. I pray that their school communities lift them up so high that can easily rise above the culture of bullying that has invaded our world. And, God, I pray for their safety, I pray that the violence that has permeated even our most innocent institutions will stop, not just here, but everywhere. I ask that you grant them a peaceful place of learning, where they are able to free their young minds from worry and fill those minds with learning. I ask for flexibility and understanding in their spaces of learning, and I pray that our children and their teachers know, truly know, that their worth is indeed not measured by any test score, and are heartened to strive for their best, without fear of comparison. God, especially hold new students and …

I Love My Body

I Love My Body But I haven't always.  Beginning in 4th or 5th grade I remember being conscious of the size and shape of my body and convinced of its "unrightness."  Not a word; it is now; change approved.  
Looking back of course, I can appreciate its beauty, my beauty, but back then, I just knew it didn't measure up (or down, as the case may be) to what I saw in magazines, on TV, or in movies.  I knew I wasn't pretty like my sister.  I knew, I knew, it wouldn't matter how smart or funny or all around rad I was, because I wasn't pretty enough, skinny enough, curvy enough, flawless enough.  Thanks, society, for that.  
Coupled with a struggle with depression, my insecurities turned really quickly into body image issues, and when I was in high school, I became bulimic.  I learned all the tricks of the trade, I kid you not, from teen magazine articles that were supposed to be cautionary tales about eating disorders.  Instead, they became a tutorial of how a…

First Day of School

Anybody else been scrolling social media and admiring other parents' first day of school picks, with their smiling children holding a sign announcing it is their first day of whatever grades, and then think, oh crap, I usually do that too?  Anybody?  Anybody?
So I made some.   My kiddos are starting first and third, but I went ahead and made all the grades.  You can download the zipped files and print what you need.  Enjoy!
Click here to download signs for pre-k through 5th grade.




Click here to download signs for 6th through 12th grades.

While your here, why not grab some lunch box notes too? What about lunch? Lunch box notes.

The Secret to a Perfect Marriage

I have been married for almost 11 years, therefore I am a marriage expert. I totally looked that up in the Official Official Marriage Expert Certification Bureau Handbook.  (Believe everything you read on the Internet.)  My husband and I were together for six and half years before we were married, so we have logged several years together relationship-wise.  Therefore, I do feel like I can impart a little bit of knowledge in this department.
There are many components to a great marriage, here are some:Agree on a division of labor.  I personally believe this needs to be explicitly defined, because you both come from different households and have witnessed different divisions of household chores and responsibilities.  It can be natural to assume that some of those are universal, but THEY AREN'T.  Assuming your spouse will naturally take care of something (let's say vacuuming) because in your house one parent always did it (let's say your dad, for example, completely random e…

What about lunch?

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words, like 'What about lunch?' 
A. A. Milne
Let's Talk LunchI might've mentioned my daughters go to public school, where they have about 30 minutes to eat lunch during the day.  They usually buy lunch and milk, but occasionally they prefer me to pack a lunch. 
BTW: It. Is. Not. Okay. If. There. Is. No. Note.
It's my fault.  I started it.  I grew up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, in which we practice an open table, and coming to table (sharing in communion) is a central part of worship.  The radical welcome of that tradition and the coziness/holiness of breaking bread with one another spills over to all mealtime experiences.  So when my babies starting having a meal per day away from me on the regular, I wanted them to have a little of my presence with them.  
My older daughter keeps all her lunch notes in a pouch in her backpack.  My younger…

Celebrate Everything We Can

Party On, Wayne Remember that time I told you that I struggle with depression?  Well, that is only part of my story.  The other part of my story is that I am a shameless goofball.  Because I am intimately acquainted with the darkness, I know how how important it is for me to celebrate the light.  I am looking for joy constantly, laughing readily, singing enthusiastically (perhaps poorly, but who cares), and celebrating life eagerly.  
I believe life is a gift, and certainly it has its seasons and moment to take seriously, I also believe that perhaps we are overestimating those moments.  If you are my friend, you can always count on me for moments of levity, bouts of spontaneous dancing, incredibly expressive facial expressions that hide zero of my feelings, inappropriate and/or cheesy jokes, and, I mean, I'm not going to lie, a potty mouth.  I smile with my whole face and I love with my whole heart.
I recently had a dear friend tell me that something she admires about me is that …