Author Archives: K H Richardson

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!

Today is Punxsutawney Phil’s Day

Welcome to #GroundhogDay, or should I say woodchuck day. I won’t get into that debate, call your favorite zoologist. Today, I thought I’d share the scene from below ground.

It’s a cold February morning in Pennsylvania. The air is cool and dank, and really all anyone wants to do is stay in bed; including Punxsutawney Phil Jr. His alarm goes off just before dawn and he hits snooze and rolls over. Before the nine minutes are up he hears a shrill call from the other part of the tunneled home.

“Junior, get up! They’ll be calling for you soon. Today is your day, you need to get up and shower.”

Phil rolls over and covers his furry head. “Why was I born into this family?” Phil Jr. had been pressed into action after his father met an untimely passing with a Mack truck.

Every February 2nd since 1887, the Punxsutawny Groundhog Club has shown up outside their family hole to nudge the eldest male out for a reading on the seasons. “Mom, it’s the 21st century, can’t these guys look at a RADAR or weather app!” Phil yelled back to his mother.

Before he could cover his head again his mother was at the foot of his cubby. “Phillip Henry Junior, you get out of that hole right now. We are not going to be the branch of the family tree to fail our legacy. Now get up!”

“I know, but seriously, they haven’t even changed their outfits in over 100 years. It’s the same top-hatted freaks every time! Maybe if I bit one of them, they’d quit this madness. We’re only right like 40% of the time.”

His mother sighs and sits on the edge of his straw and grass bed as Phil Jr. sits up and rubs his eyes. “Phil, please embrace these few minutes for our legacy and for the community we live under.” She pulls a tissue from her apron pocket to dab her misting eyes, “and for your father, grandfather all the Phils before.” Groundhogs can’t count very well, so once they got to Phil X, they started over with Phil junior’s father.

Phil Jr. swings is feet over the straw bed, “I know mom. I’ll do it for you.” His mother reaches over and places a gentle kiss on his head between his ears. “Thank you son.”

And so the legacy and lore of Groundhog Day continues.


Click to tweet: It’s a cold February morning in Pennsylvania. The air has a dank feel, and really all anyone wants to do is stay in bed; including Punxsutawney Phil Jr. His alarm goes off just before dawn and he hits snooze and rolls over. Before the nine minutes are up he hears a shrill call from the other part of the tunneled home.

No bad seeds

No child is a bad seed. Like the Biblical parable of the sower and the seeds, the seeds fell on different kinds of ground. Depending on the ground, their challenges for flourishing could be big or small. The sower himself (a farmer) had only so much time and resources for growing a crop that would feed his family. He wouldn’t waste his time sowing bad seeds. And so it is with the children in our lives. They come into this world as a bundle of potential. They have an innate desire to be accepted and approved of by others. It’s up to the adults in their lives to bring that potential to reality and build the appropriate confidence that they are accepted.

A small acorn becomes a giant oak tree, but only if it lands or is moved to the right environment. An acorn could fall on a rock, but perhaps someone picks it up, sees the potential and plants it. There the acorn has what it needs to grow and reach it’s potential.

Today, babies are born into a world that is pretty messed up. They are born into rocky soil. Even those who are born into the nurturing soil of solid parents and families have roots that hit hard places and struggle.

While the sowers of these seeds (parents) are the first line of nurture, there are and will be (there must be) other adults that come along who can feed and water these seedlings – guardians, foster parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even older siblings. We are those other adults.

We are the grown-ups in this world. We have the power to water and nurture the seedlings that we encounter, or we can selfishly go about our lives not considering our power to make a difference.

Like a peace Lilly plant that wilts and then perks up with watering, there is an opportunity to revive those around us who may be on the verge of withering. Keep an eye out for them this week. Kent Pekel takes this message to a deeper relational level talking about the benefits of developmental relationships.

All the best,

KK


Click to tweet: Once the seed has been planted, it takes nourishing in the form of meaningful and honest relationships between adults and youth.


Connect with me on other sites:

Listen to your child’s heart

My child has grown. He’s in college and now talking more specifically about what he wants in life — his plans for after college. Let me encourage other guardians/parents that when your young adult child brings up their thoughts, dreams and ideas about launching into adulthood, just listen. We were all young once with the same ideas. In my opinion, the worst thing we can do is squelch their dreams.

By listening and not suggesting anything, we keep the conversation open. When we start interjecting stories of our early adult lives-the mistakes we made, or how some of our dreams got squelched-we take something away from their fresh excitement. Let them dream, keep the conversation open so that when they’re navigating the reality of making their dreams come true, and they hit bumps in the road, they will feel comfortable coming to you for advice or to bounce other ideas around. That’s your opportunity to step in and guide or make suggestions. Easy though, we want to guide them to their own conclusion, not solve the problem for them.

Asking guiding questions can help the thought process of the young adult. Ask open ended questions like, what do you think about blah, blah (fill in with suggested direction). Or have you hear of blah, blah (fill in this place, organization, person who could help). An even deeper conversation could include asking what they’ve learned from the let-down/failure.

As parents there is no way for us to know which of their dreams will come to fruition. So as long as what our young adults are planning is legal, moral, ethical, and leading them toward a productive adulthood, why not let them dream and work toward it. We will celebrate their successes and be ready to encourage when things don’t go their way.

I’d rather have the optimistic young person with goals and dreams who can be guided by some well spoken words of wisdom, than a young person just floating around letting life happen him/her. Seasons of wondering can be very productive as long as they are seasons and not lifestyles.

What are your thoughts?

KK


Click to tweet: As parents there is no way for us to know which of their dreams will come to fruition. So as long as what our young adults are planning is legal, moral, ethical, and leading them toward a productive adulthood, why not let them dream and work toward it.


Connect with me on other sites:

Christmas is over

And with that, Christmas is over. It’s back in the box (or boxes) and stored. For some, their semi-annual church-going box has been checked. For others who find Christmas a profound holiday that recognizes an event that changed the course of human history (for the believer and for the non-believer), packing the storage boxes leaves a feeling of conviction to keep the spirit alive. To now think in terms of how not just at his birth did Jesus’ life change the world, but every day he walked this earth. Every encounter he had (with those seeking and those who felt threatened by him) made an impact.

Moving forward in 2020, how can we do the same? How can we give a little of ourselves to those we come in contact with? I have some ideas, but really it’s a question for you to ponder and answer in your own heart.

All the best,

KK


Connect with KK:

This is 2020

You’ve been waiting for it, I know. My annual post about goal setting. I’ve been thinking about goals and the things I’d like to accomplish this year. As I’ve shared previously, my goals usually fall into several categories: health, financial, spiritual, and professional. And of course, there are two to three action items under each. Another thought on goals, if you have the same goal for multiple years and haven’t moved toward achieving it, then you may want to rethink the goal. Either it’s not that important to you, or you’ve set a goal that is unattainable, and you may want to set smaller ones leading to the original goal.

I had another 300 words written on goals and things I’d like to change for 2020, but I scrapped them. The message got too bogged down. So, I’ll leave you with this question to ponder-what can you do in 2020 to change something about yourself to improve your life, as such making an impact on the world around you?

Let me know what you decide.

KK


Connect with KK:


Click to tweet: If you have the same goal for multiple years and haven’t moved toward achieving it, then you may want to rethink the goal. Either it’s not that important to you, or you’ve set a goal that is unattainable, and you may want to set smaller ones leading to the original goal.

Leaping into a new decade

Between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2029 there are three years with extra days-2020, 2024, and 2028-Leap days. Today we turn our calendar over to face 366 days. What will you do with your Leap day this year? February 29 falls on a Saturday, giving you the opportunity to plan whatever you like. How could we make the most of your extra 24 hours? Start now and plan.

What I’d really like you to consider is the 3,653 day we begin today. That is the number of days (including leap days) in the next decade. What’s fun about decades is that there is even greater potential than just considering one year. Think of 10 years! What goal could you set that is too big for one year, and so great, it could take 10? It is almost too much to take in. Let’s take a look at how much we can do in a decade in terms of age.

Between 10 – 20 years old we “survive” middle school, graduate high school, and start college, trade school, or our first adult job. Big changes in these 10 years.

In our 20’s, some complete their higher education, begin careers, some get married and even start a family. Think about it, from college freshman (18 years old) to parent in 12 years. What a huge swing in life path, maturity, and responsibility. Or perhaps marriage and family are delayed, and this is the decade you spent exploring the world, going on adventures or serving others.

In our 30’s, we have children or raise children, continue to build a career, enjoy family time and what is sometimes considered a chaotic decade. Sometimes at this point there are not so great adult things like early death of a loved one or divorce happen. It’s life’s experiences that grow our faith, shape our character, and give us wisdom. We settle into adulthood and begin to learn what is most important to us.

In our 40’s, our children are grown and begin to venture out into life as adults, this tends to grow a parent’s prayer life (funny but true). We understand and are more confident in who we are as adults and in our careers. If we’ve paid attention and learned anything from our 20’s and 30’s, we begin to grow deeper in our thinking and priorities.

I won’t venture into the 50’s, because then you might think I’m older than I am at heart. You get the idea. A decade, 3653 days, can be very important to how we are shaped as individuals and the roles we carry in this world. Each day, the way we think, the things we do (and how we do them), what we put into our minds, and what comes out of our mouths can bless others, change the world around us, continue to teach us something, move us forward in our own goals and accomplishments, or mold our fundamental beliefs.

What will the 20’s bring to your life? What is something you want to accomplish that could take 10 years to do it? How will the events of the coming decade change or grow you? What will you do each day of the over 3,000 ahead of you? What did you learn from the past 10 years that will adjust your thinking for the next? Just as the 2010’s brought many joys, and some sadness, opportunities and disappointments, we will see much of the same in the coming decade, but how we approach each will be different.

Happy new year, and new decade!!

KK


Click to tweet: But what I’d really have you consider is the 3,653 day we begin today. That is the number of days (including leap days) in the next decade. What’s fun about decades is that there is even greater potential than just considering one year. Think of 10 years! What goal could you set that is too big for one year, and so great, it could take 10? It is almost too much to take in. 

Connect with KK:

Post-Christmas put-away

The gifts have been unwrapped, looked through, played with, and tried on. Within in the next few weeks (if not days if this unseasonably warm weather stays around), the decorations will come down, and we will put all our gifts away in their new home. This is a great time to go ahead and clean out a closet or two.

I’m amazed at the amount of stuff we as a society store. There are self-storage units being built like hives at every turn. What are we storing? I get the need for short-term storage, but we would not have what is now a multi-million-dollar industry if it were all short-term. I respect the family who keeps clothing for hand-me-downs. True confessions, I currently have three coffee tables in my basement that I’ve offered some of the young people in our lives who are planning their first apartment. But we have accepted living in abundance, to become living in gluttony.

Allow me to challenge you to clean out at least one closet (or one part of your storage area) a weekend in the month of January. It’s a month of post-holiday quiet and all the newness of a new year. You’re going to be making resolutions anyway in the next few days, here’s one that is easily attainable. A quick win in the first month.

Just my thoughts,
KK


Click to tweet: True confessions, I currently have three coffee tables in my basement that I’ve offered some of the young people in our lives who are planning their first apartment. But we have accepted living in abundance, to become living in gluttony.

31 Days left

Welcome to December. This is what I believe to be the fastest month. It’s the hardest month to manage your schedule because there are so many great options for how to spend your time while you still maintain 40 hours of work a week. It’s also the last month of the calendar year, so all those wonderfully optimistic goals set 11 months ago, and forgotten 10 months ago, more than likely won’t be achieved. Here’s to those of you who did stick with your goals and you are about to celebrate that victory. But for many of us, too many other things, important and not important, got in the way of goals.

Okay, so there is a lot to do in addition to our obligations this month. This is the time of year for holiday parties and shopping-which leads to eating out a little more. It’s also a time when we are feeling festive and want to get together with others. So we plan a few more evenings out. All of it fun. But is it meaningful? When you think about your “holiday season” are you intentionally doing things to make this season meaningful to you and your family. Or do you just say “yes” to everything and race to January 1st. Let me suggest two things:

Pace yourself. Take a deep breath and embrace the remaining days of the year that lead to one of the most significant holiday and the close of calendar year 2019.

Before today is over decide on the one, two, or three things or activities that will truly make your holidays and wrapping up another year meaningful. Maybe review those goals, you may be closer than you think (I’m not, unless there’s a literary agent reading this, wink, wink, still waiting for your response).

For example, you’ll hear people say, “I’d love to go see The Nutcracker Ballet, but there isn’t time. We’ll do it next year.” Next year could be this year, are you doing it? Maybe for you it’s finding a holiday concert or candlelight service on Christmas Eve to attend. Don’t wait, find one and make it a priority to attend.

I’ve began this mindset with our Thanksgiving plans. Instead of cramming two full-blown family Thanksgivings during the four-day weekend, we did one the weekend before. This, allowed us to relax at each gathering and enjoy the time with family-the laughter, children’s squeals, and a little family drama. And I could sleep in a little and not feel like I was living in hyper-speed.

What can you do, plan, or decide today that will make the next 31 days the most meaningful to you?

Let me know.

KK


Click to tweet: Welcome to December. This is what I believe to be the fastest month. It’s the hardest month to manage your schedule because there are so many great options for how to spend your time while you still maintain 40 hours of work a week. Pace yourself. Take a deep breath and embrace the remaining days of the year that lead to one of the most significant holiday and the close of calendar year 2019.

Dip or Condiment?

Recently a co-worker and I had a conversation over watermelon salsa about what constitutes a condiment versus a dip. Both require something else to assist consumption. Yet, we give them different food values. I wonder why? Who determined that ketchup would be tasty spread on a hot dog, but cocktail (primary ingredient is ketchup) sauce is for dipping shrimp? Salsa is for dipping, but mayonnaise is for spreading. Who makes these decisions? What if everyone decided to dip chips in spicy mustard, would that change it’s aisle at the grocery?

If we downshift here to look up the definition of condiment, it’s “something used to enhance the flavor of food.” So what does dip do? According to our friends at Merriam-Webster, there are five definitions of the word, none of which have to do with food-to immerse; thrust; lower in and out- and a few definitions around chewing tobacco. YUCK. All the definitions have to do with actions.

According to the Foodimentary blog, dips didn’t show up on the entertainment scene until the 1950’s. However, there is evidence that President Wilson’s wife made dip for him. It was one of his favorites. And according to the Food Timeline History notes site, it was James Beard. In his very first cookbook (Hors d’Oeuvre and Canapes, 1940), Beard wrote: I think it delightful to have large bowls of cheese mixtures which are of a consistency that permits “dunking.” There are also tales of dip being served during the depression years when entertaining changed dramatically.

According to a Huffington post, the history of condiments is considered unique and perhaps bizarre. Because I mentioned ketchup above, it’s history is reported as being traced to a seventeenth-century Chinese sauce made of pickled fish and spices called kê-chiap. It was discovered by English explorers, who brought it back to England, where they made it less fishy and added more mushrooms and shallots. Tomatoes didn’t make their first appearance in ketchup until the early 1800’s.

Not sure we’ve completely answered the question other than the two yummy treats took parallel journeys to our grocery shelves and party tables. Imagine Superbowl Sunday, or a Summer cookout without either one. It’s not an appetizing thought. So go ahead and scoop, dip and squeeze your way to food happiness. Oh, and don’t forget to mark your calendars for March 23rd- National Chip and Dip Day!

KK


Click-it to tweet-it: Recently a co-worker and I had a conversation over watermelon salsa about what constitutes a condiment versus a dip. Both require something else to assist consumption. Yet, we give them different food values. I wonder why?

In Honor of Those Who Serve

There is #grace for all, and #forgiveness is always extended, but the hurt is real for too many still today. Thank you to those who went running in when others were running out.

Inspired Prompt

Fireman

View original post