About K H Richardson

I am a long-time creative sort who by day is a communications strategist and in every free moment writes fiction or blogs!

Fire hose or Water hose

Recently, I was hosing the leaves and dead blooms from the back porch hanging baskets. It was the end of the day, and I was hustling to get it done. I set the hose nozzle to “jet” to get the hardest, fastest blast of water to move the debris. The powerful gush of water scattered the debris around but it didn’t move it quickly in the direction I needed it to go.

So I tried a different setting. Instead of “jet” the dial was turned to “shower.” The strong but gentle stream of water pooled around the debris to move it off the porch in a more efficient manner.

Sometimes we go in with a fire hose, when a water hose is all we really need to accomplish our goal. Both are great tools that use the same fuel.

Think about it. Has there been a time when you went marching in on your high horse, blasting the jet of orders and demands? While you may get what you want, you did so at the expense of everyone around you, leaving a trail of people scratching their heads. It’s not pretty, and usually anything gained is short lived. There is a time for taking out the #firehose, to turn on the “jet” setting, but it should be rare.

Consider this. Click the #waterhose setting from “jet” to “shower,” allowing your message; your goal to wash over those in your way or on your team. Lifting them and carrying them along with you across the goal line. You’ve accomplished what you set out to do, and you’ve brought your team along. Together, you cross the goal line with a sense of impact and accomplishment. The shower of success, will leave your team feeling appreciated, satisfied, and ready to move forward with you again.

Think about it, and let me know your thoughts.

All the best,

KK


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Change — be ready

When God created the world, He created change. Most notably of which, and one we all experience is the seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter. We know about when they will begin and about when they will end, but we have no control over them. They #change every few months, and all we can do is adapt.

Any lack of adaptability on our part really only makes us miserable. Complaining about the weather or the seasons does nothing to change it. It is what it is. The same goes for weather in general. Someone very dear to me (my big brother) recently said, “You are never closer to God than when you are experiencing weather.” We were standing in a gentle rain at that moment. It was true, we couldn’t turn off the rain, we could choose to enjoy it, or we could grumble at the fact we were getting wet. We just experienced it.

Changing and adapting to our environment promotes learning and growth as an individual. While I do believe some things in this world are black and white; some things are right and some things are wrong. Adaptability is necessary to navigate our journey and find peace — to grow — to survive.

Consider the era my grandparents lived in. My grandmother(mamaw) was born in 1896 – in-door plumbing and cars were how fancy people lived. My grandfather was a foreman on the railroad, THE way to transport goods. Mamaw passed away in 1980 when cable tv was a big deal. What would she think today with wifi in our homes, cell phones, Google Home turning on and off lights, and a doorbell that had a video camera?

These advances can be considered tools of change. Ways to grow in commerce, as a society and as individuals. We saw that during the pandemic when families did work and school from home. For this we had about a week to pivot from decades of doing work and school completely differently.

My encouragement for you, is to consider what #change is coming your way. What will it’s impact be if you deny, resist, or embrace it? If you embrace it, will you compromise what you believe in, or will you #grow as an individual?

All the best,

KK

It’s Groundhog Day again, Phil

Phil’s alarm went off before dawn. He distinctly remembers not setting it. Momma groundhog strikes again. He buries his head under his pillow. The alarm shouts again as his little brother, Joe, comes bursting around the corner into Phil’s nook of their hollowed underground home.

“Today’s your day!” The smaller rodent pounces on his brother.

“Go away!”

“Come on Phil, isn’t it a blast to have the whole country waiting to see what you’re going to do?” Crawling closer to Phil’s ear he whispered, “What are you going to do? Will you see your shadow, or not?”

Phil moans and pushes his little brother away. Just as he’s about to dose back to sleep, instead of the alarm the shrill song of his mother jolted him awake. “Philly! It’s Groundhog Day.” His mother showed up with his bow tie.

“Seriously mom? A tie?”

“Philly, this is our family’s legacy. We come from a long line of #Punxsutawney groundhogs. Your cousins over in Harrisburg think they’re big stuff because they were around for the big war. Ha! It’s our line that has always held the honor of predicting spring’s arrival. People like that and get so excited. Every year. Your father, grandfather, great grand…”

“I get it, the men in our family had nothing to do on February 2nd but humor the humans up top. So, they joined the winter festival and became the star of the show.” Phil rolled out of bed, scratching behind his ear. “How did I get so lucky?”

“If Phil doesn’t want to do it, I’ll go, I can look for my shadow.” Phil’s brother bounced around with the bow tie.”

“No, no, it’s always the eldest son.” Mama said. “Come with me Joe to finish Phil’s breakfast, we want him to be bright and sunny today!”

His brother and mom scurried away. Phil sat on the side of his bed and scratched again. He stood and strapped the tie around his neck. What will I do this morning? It’s been a pretty long winter, maybe it is time for a little hope that spring is coming.

Phil finished his breakfast and licked his snout. “Oh Philly, you look so handsome. Every year you do our family proud.” She sniffed back a mother groundhog tear, “your father would be so proud to see you carrying on the family tradition.”

Phil’s shoulders softened as he leaned into his mother’s warm coat. He did miss his father. And it really didn’t take long to go out, hear the cheers and the declaration read from the man in the tall hat.

“Thanks for reminding me mom. I’ll do the family proud.” His mother opened the thatch door and scooted Phil out. Drawing back inside, she heard the muffled cheer of the #Punxsutawney people.

In a week

This time next week #Christmas will be done. The historical day that changed the lives of generations. For my larger family, the celebration together is being deferred to this summer, when hopefully we can all get together for some fun without masks and the worry of disease. For my husband, son, and I, it will be a quiet holiday together. In the little house we’ve been renting since July that has no room for a big tree. That’s ok our little #tree will shine brightly. We’ll be together, have our favorite snacks, a few of our traditional cookies, and presents, all the while anticipating our own big event. One we’ve been #praying about and working towards all year. The move to our new home.

Amid masked meetings with our builder, a house blessing event that had us socially distancing, God has guided conversations and frustrations. Around us, the world has been stifled by a #pandemic. We’ve had our share of pandemic stress but have carefully navigated through it always remembering that God is in charge and it’s our role to lean into Him and show His grace to others who have had a much rougher time this year.

All this anticipation makes me wonder about Mary’s anticipation, curiosity, and maybe a little fear, of what life will be like raising the Son of God. A young girl herself, did she feel inadequate? The Bible doesn’t tell of any additional visits from reassuring angels, but I wonder if the Holy Spirit didn’t guide a few conversations with Mary and her mother or other older women in the community. No doubt, Mary would have helped with younger#considerthis siblings. But it’s not the same when it’s your child; your responsibility.

I’m rambling a bit, but in that stable with stinky animals, on a quiet night, after a long journey (emotional and physical) and the crowded little town of Bethlehem, when a young girl gave birth with only her husband and the grace of God to guide, did she anticipate all the things that come with normal parenting? And then did she worry about how she would ensure God’s plan would go the way He wanted it to?

Be encouraged to take some time over the next week to be still. To put aside the crazy, unanticipated year we’ve had and consider the first Christmas. The fear and anticipation of Mary and Joseph. The impact this event has had on you, on the world. Was it worth the stress and fear that Mary and Joseph went through? Mary watched as this same child grew to heal, love, and show grace to those the world cast out. While watching Him die on the cross, did she fear that it had all been for nothing? Or did she remember that her Son was not made for this world, but to save it? And God is faithful to use every tear for a greater purpose.

And as we finish out this 2020 year of fear and anticipation, remember the hope that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection brings. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,” 2 Corinthians 4:17.

This week anticipate the coming celebration of the birth of a child, who changed both the course of history and the journey into our future.

All the best,
KK


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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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