Thanksgiving morning, quiet

This morning came early for me. I awoke to the buzz of a text message. Nothing important. It was dark and quiet. Peaceful. It felt good to not have to jump out of bed and into the day, so I snuggled a little closer to my husband in hopes that sleep would find me again. I dozed in and out, but as the sun came up (I use that term loosely because it got lighter, but no sun), the black of our room became gray and our dog, Eli, decided he wanted in on the cuddle time. Needless to say, our bed got cozier and I remembered that Eli and I hadn’t been for a w-a-l-k. You have to be careful with that word, if you say it, you’ve committed to it, and I’m not convinced he can’t spell. About 30 minutes into our very cozy time together, I decided to say the word, and Eli was off of the bed ready to go.

Stepping out the front door the cool, but not tool cold, air was refreshing. With a yank of his leash, Eli reminded me that it had been too many days since our last adventure. The morning was still. Little traffic and while some squirrels seem to be busily foraging for food, others danced and chased each other up and down the trees. After the first few showed themselves Eli was over the non-successful attempt to pull me into the chase.

This #Thanksgiving is going to be quite different. Many in our country are just being still, cutting back and doing things a lot simpler. I love that we aren’t rushing about. About halfway through our walk some distant church bells sang a hymn. I love church bells, but this morning I wanted to say “sssshhh, please give me a few more minutes of stillness. Don’t wake everyone else just yet.”

We are 35 days from 2020 ending. Whether in our hearts, minds or lives, it has been chaotic to say the least. As much as folks want to hurry to the end, more than likely some of this experience will leak into 2021. That’s ok, we’re learning and adapting to things we have little or no control over. We are settling down.

Our family has seen some challenges this year, but we have so much more to be thankful for. We have each other and all of our needs met. And while today we won’t be all together, around my sisters beautifully laid out table, and there will be no turkey competition between my younger sister and our brother-in-law, oh and no orange dip (secret family recipe, you have those), we are all on this side of heaven, and a phone call away. For that I am grateful.

It’s about time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (#macysthanksgivingdayparade) – 2020 style. It may not be the parade we are used to, but it is the parade we need. So, I’ll grasp at the morsel of normal for my Thanksgiving morning and embrace the quiet difference this year is bringing.

God bless you and your family. For those who have too many empty seats, may you feel the peace, love, and hope of God, knowing that while this world will bring challenges, we have an Eternal Hope that takes all of them away.

Karen

Tasty Truth

It’s all perspective. She loved her chicken nuggets! How many times as a parent have you been in a spot like this?

Storyshucker

My daughter is an intelligent, funny, beautiful young lady. Only in her twenties, she already has a husband and a two year old son. On a recent phone call, as we discussed her fast-paced sales job, I was reminded that I wasn’t talking to my little girl anymore. Where did the tiny kid go I used to carry in my arms? I stopped mid-sentence and made a wistful comment about her being so grown up.

“Will you always think of me as a five year old?” she sighed. I could almost hear her rolling her eyes.

“Yes Baby Doll.” I answered, calling her the name I’ve called her since the days I carried her in my arms.

Even as a five year old, she was outgoing and curious. She sometimes asked questions that forced me, I felt, to come up with the tiniest of white lies. I wanted to shield…

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Empty your mailbox

Make your bed. Empty the dishwasher. Put away your clean laundry. Clean out your inbox. These tasks each take about five minutes. The completed tasks provide a sense of accomplishment while creating an order to life. These tasks are not unlike when a child is told to pick up their toys when playtime is over. It creates order and demonstrates completion.

Of these examples, the email inbox is probably the most difficult to keep clean. Unlike having dishes stack in the sink, your inbox doesn’t stink. It gets cluttered and hard to find emails, but it doesn’t stink. So it’s easy to ignore. My biggest inbox challenge is that I’m afraid of losing a key email I’ll need later. Discovering the email folder system and the ability to search gave me the tools I needed to sort, organize, and file emails in such a manner to keep the inbox clear.

Admittedly the first time I approached this plan my #mailbox had hundreds of emails. So I began with the oldest emails. Created a folder nomenclature that matched my needs and within an hour there were less than 25 emails in the inbox. Now as I finish my workday or week, I take a few minutes to plan the next day, and I tidy up my inbox.

Making your bed creates a calm environment. Empty the dishwasher ensures you have what is needed for eating. Putting your laundry away allows you to dress for success. And cleaning out your inbox makes your #workday go more smoothly.

Give it a try and let me know.

KK


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#Workingfromhome t-shirt fashion statement

We’ve talked about the financial advantage of #workingfromhome. Saving on gas, parking, and meals out. The other buzz I’m hearing is about not having to dress for work. Many folks proudly admit they are living in their pajamas. I get that. True confession, I’ve done video meetings fully outfitted from the waist up including hair and make-up.

We do save time and clothing not having to dress and leave our homes. While I haven’t been living in my pajamas, I recently noticed that I wasn’t wearing anything from a hanger. In other words, my daily attire comprised of a pair of shorts (btw I currently only own 3 pairs of shorts) and a graphic t-shirt. It was a healthy rotation of my college, a cute writer quote, Phantom Regiment, and a 502 shirt (our area code). Since I don’t go anywhere, it’s not uncommon for me to wear the same one more than once in a week before it goes into the laundry.

My life really isn’t as pathetic as this is sounding. Yes, I only have three pairs of shorts right now. By the time the weather was warm enough to wear shorts, we were all staying #healthyathome, no need to buy new ones (Sorry Macy’s, I miss you too). I have others (my non-zipper shorts) but they are primarily for workouts or working in the yard. It’s just with #COVID, and working from home, I’m not out and about very much. My dog and husband don’t seem to care, they love me no matter what I wear. And I bathe every day so there’s not a stink-factor.

Anyway, all of this occurred to me a couple of weeks ago when I opened my lonely closet to see about something to wear to church (our church recently regathered in person). So last week I decided to challenge myself to not wear t-shirts with logos, quotes, or mascots. Each day I thought a little more carefully about what to wear and I pressed into action shirts I hadn’t worn in months. One day, I even added a little mascara to my look.

Admittedly, refreshing my look gave me a little lift. I felt a sense of normalcy. By Sunday it didn’t feel completely odd to wear a skirt and dress shoes to church. Now if I can get rid of my #COVID pounds from the work-break strolls to the kitchen, I might be a new woman when all of this is over.

Take care,

KK


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I will wear a mask, but I don’t like it

Face masks have become our spring and summer fashion accessories. From the clinical N-95 look to superheroes to just plain colors we don them to enter stores and restaurants. Clothing manufacturers have started including them as part of a match set in clothing items. Etsy CEO, John Silverman, reported they have over 100,000 sellers on the site selling masks. Etsy buyers are supporting small businesses.

Masks are not all that comfortable. For those who wear glasses, there are fogging issues. At first, scientists waffled on how effective they were but have now landed on masks being a solid preventive measure. One more barrier between the #COVID19 germ and our bodies.

The media rhetoric and reporting of percentages and numbers have our heads spinning over what is really going on. I have no idea how these microscopic particles jump around. But they are. The medical researchers are learning about this virus with each case. We probably will not know for a while the full story of #COVID19 and the true impact of wearing the mask.

With all the unknowns of the #virus, we must make our own decisions about how to navigate social distancing, mask-wearing, and staying #healthyathome. We need to respect how each of us chooses to handle all of this. Let’s not judge those who choose not to wear a mask, attend large functions, and don’t social distance. Just as in any other situation we don’t know the whole story. I would however ask that you also think just outside yourself. While you are caring for yourself, think about others. Think in terms of living as a member of the community. Think about the most fragile person you know. If wearing a mask protects them more than yourself, wear it.

This too will pass. And when it does, we will be a changed people. Those who lost loved ones will heal. And perhaps we can continue to think of others above our own comfort. And I will host a mask-burning party.

All the best,

KK


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Working from home is saving me a fortune

Working from home saves a ton of money! Below are just some of the ways I’ve saved over the last four months. Although I was unemployed part of the time after the March shutdown, I spent my workdays job hunting. Whether I was making money or job hunting, I was working from home in my home office. Check out these four money-saving items:

  1. More meals at home. Outside of the #COVID19 restaurant closedown where we haven’t eaten out for fun, I saved the money I would normally spend on breakfast and lunch.CocaCola Working downtown, I would drive through just about every morning for a #CocaCola and sometimes breakfast sandwich, so $3.00 at least three times a week. (x20 weeks=$180 for breakfast). Lunch downtown at the very cheapest, $10/day. While most days I took my lunch, on average I ate out twice a week. So multiply $20/week x 20 weeks, $400 savings! In total $580 saved, and I’m eating better by not eating out. After a couple of initial larger grocery runs, I’ve got my kitchen stocked and our grocery bill has evened out to about $80/week for our family.
  2. Less driving/lower fuel cost. Typically, I spent about $20 a week on fuel going to and from work. Staying #healthyathome, working from home that same $20 can last at least a couple of weeks. So, let’s say that’s about a $40 a month (x4= $160) saved.
  3. After having not worn make-up in four months, I’m not sure I will ever wear it like I did before. I’m a Clinique girl, so while I still have my skin-care regiment and have had to purchase moisturizer and cleanser, but make-up, I still have a bottle of foundation and eyeliner I purchased before Christmas. Savings, $45.
  4. Working from home has saved me in clothing and laundry. Let’s face it, wearing sweats/shorts, t-shirts, and socks while sitting in front of a computer doesn’t lend itself to creating a lot of laundry, or needing much of a Spring wardrobe.

Just from these four ideas, I’ve saved more than $1,000 if the clothes I didn’t buy are included. But the biggest savings (and most valuable) has been saving time. There is no getting up, struggling to put the perfect outfit together, make-up and hair, sitting in traffic, finding a parking space (in a garage I pay to have a space in). At the end of the day, I don’t lose 45 minutes getting home.

Officing at home, I get up about 30 minutes before work, check for immediate overnight emails from my supervisor that may change the priority of my day (this isn’t normal, but it helps to start getting my head into work), feed and let the dog out, brush my hair and teeth, shorts and a t-shirt, grab a coffee (or my Coke that’s only $.33/day), and turn on my laptop. The cadence into the day is smooth and quiet. At the end of the day, just like at the office, I shut down my machine, straighten my desk, and within minutes (that doesn’t include traffic) I’m in my kitchen thinking about my family and our evening.

What would you do with an extra $1,000? Look around, how are you saving money while staying home? Or have you found other ways to spend?

All the best,

KK

P.S. – Given my track record with making bold statements, upon the publishing of this piece I’ll probably get word that we are going back to the office. Just ask my sister, Gail. Being thankful for my job, and the fodder for writing that working downtown provides, I’m outta here.


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Modern-day homesteading

Staying #healthy at home – working from home, educating from home, and coming together around the dinner table more often. If you take away the electronics, the picture is similar to a couple of generations ago when families either farmed and everyone had a role, or during the depression when families had city gardens, dads worked where they could find it, and mothers kept house and raised the kids.

Since March, we’ve taken a step back in time to find the home and the family the center of ourhttps://www.mattel.com/en-us existence. Malls, entertainment centers, and sports were shut down. Restaurants were closed or had limited capacity. No place to go, we’ve settled into our homes and gotten creative with how we entertain ourselves. At first, we #binge-watched our favorite series. After our periodic parade through the kitchen for snacks, and when the meal rotation went stale, we dug out our cookbooks and tried new recipes-some worked, others didn’t. Games played and created. Our kids have dug out their bikes, skates, and skateboards and gone outside to play. The after-dinner walk has made a comeback.

We’ve found ourselves around the table more often than usual. The conversations have changed from who needs to go where, to the adventures in the yard, neighborhood, or park. Instead of running all the time, we’ve slowed down to enjoy our family, our people.
Our homes have been elevated in importance. We’ve taken advantage of not going anywhere to sort, organize, give-away, or sell our abundance of stuff. Closets, drawers, basements, and garages are organized. That ugly pink paint in the extra bedroom has been neutralized to a “pearl white.” Our yards have been mowed every week, and some planted a vegetable garden. About now they are starting to reap the harvest and feeling the satisfaction that comes from planting, watering, and shooing the squirrels away from their Heirloom tomatoes.

Homesteading, no matter when or why is all about creating a space called home and discovering the joys and challenges of family.

Tell me your #healthyathome story.
KK


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5 Small things

Today it can feel trite to suggest that we count our blessings. We live in a hard world. So, I will not lead you through a song and dance, or even the science of happiness. This morning I heard a short message from Kyle Idleman from Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, KY). His message began with life’s disappointments and ended with supplication and #thankfulness. How can we be thankful amid disappointments?

I once heard that if you wake up every morning breathing than God has a plan for you that day. Makes sense, as long as we are alive, we have the opportunity to work, play, love and encourage; to make a difference.

What does thankfulness and making an impact have in common? Both are intentional decisions we make daily. We must look beyond the fog of hardships to the good even if it’s something small. Maybe in your current state of mind, you can’t see the big good. That’s fine, look around, what is one of those small things in life that you are thankful for. In fact, don’t think big right now, think small. Maybe it’s something like when you open the ice cream container to find there is just enough left for your midnight snack. For me, it’s the bubbles in my #Coke and the first sweet draw through the straw. Are you a dog person? What about when your dog brings his ball over and drops in your lap so as to say, “it’s time to play.”

Notice that my examples are the sappy romantic things (that my husband is wonderful about). They aren’t the Hallmark Channel ideal setting; they are ordinary things that can make for an extraordinary moment.

After listening to Kyle’s message, I read through Philippians 4:6 with a different heart. I invited the God of the universe to please intervene in my current challenges. Challenges that I already have that odd peace that doesn’t make sense by worldly standards. But while my prayers have been honest, made requests, and even questioned, I hadn’t just asked the Creator of the universe to simply intervene. And while He’s working out the details, I just need to be thankful. I wrote myself a note and posted it where I would see it multiple times throughout the day to notice 5 things that I’m thankful for every day.

Today you have a purpose and opportunity. What will you do with them?

All the best,

KK


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Post #COVID-19 normal

What are you doing now that is different than before our #stayhealthyathome that you will keep doing post #COVID-19? We are in a new rhythm of life. It’s slower and less distracted by managing the schedules of work, school, and family activities. I personally like that I’m not spending so much time in traffic. Meetings? Get up, brush hair and teeth, put on presentable top and click into the meeting portal.

There’s really nothing other than home supplies to shop for. I guess there is on-line shopping (if that’s your thing), I recently saw a shopping network modeling face masks; is this the new spring fashion?

I’d like to think that we will embrace the rhythm that we feel right now. The ease of schedules, meals around the dinner table with family, sidewalk chalk artwork, game nights, playing along with JEOPARDY, and just taking each day as it comes.

Taking each day as it comes, there’s a thought. The reality is that our calendars will refill quickly. Why not commit now to be intentional to leave a few holes to just let something wonderfully unexpected happen? Before all this happened, I was almost to that point. I had quit my second job and was studying for the CAPM exam, knowing that as soon as that was successfully passed, I would have my evenings back. Now I have evenings, but I’m not sure what day it is. They all feel about the same. Yep, true confession, I’m one of those who lost their job because of COVID-19. Myself and eight of my co-workers who all served the organization well received a call earlier this month. That’s about all I’ll say about that. The real point is that beyond the five or six hours a day I spend applying and networking, I could be doing anything.

My priority is to find a job sooner rather than later. Since my husband is working and my son is doing college from home, I keep the schedule of working during the day (my job is to find a job). Take a minute now, close your eyes and picture the world opened up again. Our evenings are dinner and then [you fill in the blank]. You leave the office and go [you fill in the blank]. And what about all this talk of self-care? Will you keep self-care as a priority?

How will you intentionally leave holes for something wonderful in your schedule, post #COVID19?

All the best,

KK


Click to tweet: What are you doing now that is different than before our #stayhealthyathome that you will keep doing post #COVID-19? 


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Happy #Earthday

In the first verses of Genesis, we read that the heavens and the earth were created. That which makes us think of eternity (heavens) and that which reminds us of the here and now(earth). The earth is the foundation upon which we build our lives and homes. Today we celebrate the earth.

#kitchentableIt’s April and in Kentucky, it’s a little bit early for planting flowers, but planting or rooting starts to plants seems to be on the list of things do during our #healthyathome time; and planting focuses our thoughts on what’s to come. This is a photo of my kitchen table. If we must #stayhome much longer, I may need another table.

The potential that lives inside a seed is worth considering in our recognition of Earth Day 2020. While it’s early, I did go ahead and buy some marigolds. They are a hardy annual that is bright, and some say keep the mosquitoes away. When I purchase flowers for container gardening, I don’t choose the plants that are in full bloom. I leave those for people who need instant gratification. I choose the plants with a few blooms, but more buds than flowers. Those buds remind me that there is a beautiful flower yet to come. What better way to participate with nature then to watch it in action? To participate in the process by planting, watering, and weeding.

#lilacbushI’m also working on rooting a lilac bush from our front garden because my dad bought and planted it for me. It’s finally matured to bloom and be fragrant. I’d like to add to the lilac garden so instead of#growlilac buying more bushes, I want to propagate this one.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. Climate change poses challenges for people and animals around the world. That’s about all I know about climate change. But what I do know about the climate and the earth is that we are accountable for being good stewards of the resources that result from each. While I’m not great at recycling, I do feel like every plant I put in the ground offers something back to the climate and those of us who live around that plant. That is my contribution.

What can you do to contribute to be a good steward of the ground we walk and build on? The earth that farmers plant in and provide our food. The world our Creator made for us to inhabit. How will you show your gratefulness for what our climate provides – air, water, sun, fertile soil?

All the best,

KK


#annualsorperennials

 

 

 

 


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