Category Archives: Moms

Two Little Girls and their Mothers

Within 10 minutes one Saturday, I encountered two very different little girls. One little girl was with her mother in the middle of a parking lot. Their old car was stuffed full. They were not moving somewhere or going on vacation. Their car was clearly their home. They had no gasoline and were stuck. This little girl had short messy blonde hair and was wearing a dingy cotton dress. Her dirty feet donned flip flops. She was playing some kind of pretend with a laundry basket turned upside down with a towel over it like a table cloth.

I noticed the car and the woman when I pulled into the shopping center but didn’t go to see if they needed help until I was leaving. It was a bright sunny morning. They were parked out in the open so I felt it was safe to see about them. I pulled my car around and got out.

The scrappy little girl was playing, but when she saw me, she stopped and drew closer to her mother. Her mother wore shorts and a t-shirt that hung loosely to her extremely thin frame. The little girl relaxed a little when she saw I was friendly. Upon my inquiry, the mother didn’t over explain, she simply said they had run out of gas. She explained that it was hot and she felt dehydrated and just couldn’t walk the two blocks to get gas. I’m guessing money had a little something to do with it as well. She had a one gallon gas can sitting outside the driver’s door.

The longer she and I spoke, the more comfortable the little girl became and went about playing her pretend game with the basket. Noticing the dance studio logo on my t-shirt, the mother told me about how she was looking into dance classes for her daughter for the fall. Oh, the dreams we have for our children, even when starving and homeless.twirling-girl-mary-ward

I offered to go fill their can. She was very appreciative. Assuring her that I would be right back, I put the can in my car. The little girl didn’t like me taking their gas can. She started to reach for it. I guess when you ride around with all of your worldly possessions in a car, every item is important. Her mother assured her that I was going to help them.

Driving to the gas/food mart, I thought about and prayed for the mother and little girl. Was mom on drugs? Was the little girl safe? Writing this a few weeks later, I still don’t know.

Enter the second little girl. At the gas/food mart, I went in to buy them some water and snack items. I picked up another gas can that was two gallons. Three gallons of gas could get them to a shelter. Standing in line to pay, there was a little girl about the same age. She had long black hair in pretty ringlets and a cute shorts outfit on. She read the dance studio name on my shirt and proceeded to tell her mom, “That’s where I dance.” I smiled at her and we talked about the upcoming recital.

I took the water and fuel back to the mother and her daughter in the parking lot. Handing it to them, I also offered the phone number to a women’s shelter. The mother was very appreciative, calling the daughter over to take the bag for water and food items while she tended to the fuel.

These two mothers and daughters have been in my thoughts and prayers since. One little girl played pretend with odd household items. Living out of a car, for all I know, she and her mother just move from parking lot to parking lot. No roots, nothing stable, but the mother had dreams for her little girl. She probably worried about day to day food and location. But in her heart, she had dreams of her little girl dancing.

The second little girl was already dancing. It wasn’t a “someday” that would never happen. She too had a mother who provided for her, but her mother’s concerns probably weren’t their next meal or where they would lay their head. No doubt her mother had dreams for her as well.

Encounters like these remind me that everything happens for a reason. Why did I encounter two little girls that were both very much the same and so very different ten minutes apart? Is there a lesson to be learned?

Some things I’ve thought about:

  1. Dreams don’t cost anything. They are free and available to everyone. When they invade our minds, they provide a wonderful escape from reality – no matter what that reality is.
  2. There will always be those in need around us. What did that few minutes and money for the fuel cost me? Absolutely not. It blessed me. Weeks later I’m not worried about who got voted off the island, I’m still thinking about the encounter. That little girl and all the potential children represent. It changed me a little.
  3. God has a plan and purpose in everything. We aren’t puppets, but he uses every situation to glorify Him. I said nothing about Jesus to these people. Hopefully I showed them a little bit about Him though.
  4. Yes, the mother in the car could have been on drugs. But the little girl didn’t need to suffer because of it. My prayer is she used the phone number to get help and shelter.
  5. I learned more from my encounter with the homeless mother and daughter than I did the mother and daughter at the food mart. But seeing both in a short period of time gave impact to the whole situation.
  6. If I had to guess, living out of a car with her little girl was not the mother’s original plan; or dream for that matter. How did she get to this point? How many bad decisions followed by bad situations happened to bring her to this moment?
  7. Be in the moment. Stopping to help the lady and her daughter was not in my plan, but it’s what needed to happen in that moment. I didn’t spend those few minutes helping them but thinking about the rest of my list. Slow down. Look people in the eye when they talk to you and listen.

Your thoughts…

KK

Advertisements

So, how did you do?

easter eggsMy post Snow Day Project challenged us to have some items marked off our snow day project list by Easter. So, how did you do? Admittedly, we hosted 20 of our family members on Easter. Hosting any gathering is a huge motivator to me to get some serious cleaning done.

I marked a few things off my list in addition to the standard dusting (including corners and ceiling fans), vacuuming and mopping to get ready for the family.

1. Downstairs closet cleaned out and the seven phone books recycled (have no idea why I had seven phone books collected over the last five years).

2. Christmas china stored in new storage containers.

3. Woodwork downstairs and in upstairs hall washed.

4. General organizing of shelves and stuff that has been homeless for several months.

So, what’s next? I’m thinking my garden needs a visit from me. The spring flowers are looking great, but it’s time to do some mulching and weeding. And I may make a stop in my garage. Getting ready for a yard sale in June. My target deadline is Memorial day.

How about you?

KK

Snow Day Projects

Four days ago our community had a foot of snow fall. Some areas south of us got upwards of two feet of snow. Yes, I know it’s checklistthe beginning of March. Winter was a little late in blooming this year. It tried to show up in November with our first five inches, but it shied away and tried to make a final stand a couple of weeks ago but decided a few days ago to go for broke before the first day of spring gets here.

The snow came and fell for hours. We woke to a foot of snow and the city practically shut down. For those who couldn’t go to work or school it was a prime opportunity to hit the list. We all have them. The list of projects or chores we save for “when we are snowed in”. These projects could range from sorting old photos into albums, cleaning out a closet or sitting in the big chair and reading all day long.

Unfortunately, we are so connected from inside our own homes to the outside world and have so many entertainment distractions at our finger tips, the snow really doesn’t keep us from doing much we would be ordinarily do. Short of a power outage, I could work and still do conference calls. My son could still watch a variety of cable or NetFlix shows. Our snow days didn’t look much different than a normal day off for the kids or a normal work day for me; ok, other than the initial excitement of a day of sledding and take-out pizza.

What will it take for me to hit the list and get it done? Sitting here thinking of two or three of my projects, I find one thing leading to another. Cleaning out a closet is going to mean sorting, organizing and more than likely a trip to Goodwill. But all of the closets need this, so do I sort and organize all of them and make a huge trip to Goodwill? How do I prioritize my list? Can I ever catch up with all of my projects? Or is this like eating the big salad? Since waiting for snow won’t get it done, guess I’m going to have to just dig in.

Here’s my challenge to you – yes, you can hold me accountable – today is March 8, 2015, Easter is April 5th, four weeks. How many of your snow day list items can we complete?

Are you game?

KK

On December 24th

candleOn December 24, 1999, I sat in a candle-lit church sanctuary. My stomach was rounded by the second trimester of pregnancy with my first child, a son. The vocalist came out and began to sing, “Mary did you know?” The song goes through all of the wonderfully miraculous things Jesus, the child she would carry and deliver, would do. The song crescendos with how her son would deliver her and the world from their sins.

Believe me, I have no delusions about my own son. He is a normal boy who has been loved and disciplined along the way. Nowhere close to the perfection of Christ. But years ago, sitting there listening to all of the things the Christ-child would do only reminded me of all the things my child might do for Christ. How would my baby’s life play into the kingdom?

If you are pregnant at Christmas this year, or have young children, look at them just as Mary looked at her son who had a divine appointment from inception. Our children have a purpose for the glory of God. Pour into them the scriptures. Pray for God to reveal to them their role in His plan.

My son is 14 now and we are going through some of the stuff teen-agers experience. When he hits a bump in the road I don’t pretend to have all the wisdom and answers. Sometimes I sleep on a big question or difficult request. He knows it too. He knows that if I don’t have the answer, I’m going to pray about it and get back to him. I hope this is a lesson that is more caught than taught. May he continue to grow-up knowing that while we don’t have all the answers, God does.

The seeds are planted and each day I cling to Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

I wonder, how did Mary pray for her child? God incarnate. She was young and innocent. So much of what Christ experienced had never been seen before. She had no earthly reference point. But she had the scriptures and the prophecies. God gives what we need.

Unlike the Christ-child, our children will make mistakes and make bad choices. Haven’t we all. May they all land in the loving arms of Christ who was once a baby and then a man who grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Mother did you know?

Merry Christmas,

KK

P.S. — Enjoy this video while you pray for your child or children, Mary Did You Know? (Pentatonix free download)

 

 

 

The Thrill of Delivery

Today is October 30, 2014.

My first email this morning was amazing. It was from the Franklin Covey Company informing me that my 2015 planner had been shipped!! [Please note, I will not be running down the street in Steve Martin new-telephone-book-style when it arrives, but I might just do the Snoopy dance in my foyer.] This along with the fact that I have to go to Staples today for some paper clips, ink and envelopes makes me smile. It’s like back to school day for a forty-something year old!! Of course, knowing my new planner is on its way and that it’s the end of the month moved me to examine the current state of the 2014 planner.

snoopy dance

The fourth quarter pages were inserted with the previous months being removed. Then I ventured to review my 2014 goals pages. Not too shabby. Several items checked off while others will move forward into 2015.

This all may sound juvenile to some, but come on, we are all grown up and completely responsible for our commitments to raising a family and bringing home the funds to care for them. We must have those moments in day, week or month that just let us experience child-like excitement.

What stirs your child-like thrill? Don’t have one? Go find one, they can be located on the playgrounds or neighborhoods when the ice cream truck music wafts through the air. Or when the first snowflakes fall and the snow day announcement comes. This high level thrill can also be found when that ONE gift is opened at Christmas or birthday; the thing they never thought would arrive. Or find yourself outside a school on the last day at the last bell. You’ll see the excitement that drifts from our scheduled behavior somewhere in our mid-twenties.

Give it a listen and let me know if you don’t find yourself a little happier in your heart.

 Linus and Lucy piano Peanuts theme song Vince Guaraldi

All the best,

KK

1461 days

There are approximately 1461 days from the time our students walk in to high school at age 14 or 15 and when they graduate at age 18 or 19. Over teen 2half of those days are spent in school being educated academically and socially. Being able to navigate academics and the social setting are critical to their success in college and beyond. The teachers and educators need to do their job in the classroom, but we need to do ours in the home.

As I see it (note that I’ve only raised a child to age 14 so far), over the next four years parenting is a process of letting go; giving our children rules or guard rails and then letting them navigate. We need to lifeguard them through these waters. There will be times when it feels like a tug-of-war – they want more freedom than you are willing to give and you don’t know how much to give. If we do this correctly, our kids will have just enough freedom so that when they mess up we can help make the correction. And when they do well, we can recognize their good judgment.

Academics

teen 3There are over 700 days of high school learning. This level of academics should not only teach facts and figures, but also how to think critically. The classes our students take should help them as they begin to figure out are they more science and math oriented or arts and literature minded. These small decisions will begin to lead them toward their next level of education – college or trade school. Guiding a student toward their natural aptitude isn’t just the teacher’s task; this is part of parenting. A young person can change a lot in four years. Parents need to allow them to grow up and grow out of childish things. Parents need to allow them to change. Take time and an interest in guiding your child to learn more about what they like to do. Volunteering is a great way to give a young person experience in an area they may love. Volunteering is also a great precursor to a first job.

Social

A young person’s social life and experiences become very important during high school. It is important that they find friends who are encouraging and fun. This is a great time for parents to help foster good friend choices. Help the high school student understand that who they hang out with archiesays something about themselves. Being affiliated with the wrong people can lead to trouble. This can include who they choose to date. Boyfriends and girlfriends can have too much power over the thoughts and actions of the other. This is an area that parents need to stay engaged. Know who your child’s friends are. Do you call to confirm parties will be chaperoned? Do you read your student’s texts?

This may frustrate your high schooler, but who cares? Oh, you do and that is why you read their texts and call to make sure all is right with the party or event they have been invited to. Reading text messages provides parents with the opportunity to not only learn about their own children, but also about the friend group. The key to this is for the parent to not over-react. I speak from experience on this one. Remember no matter what you read, that the only person in the text conversation you are responsible for is your own child. My rule is that I won’t say anything about what the friends’ text unless it’s something dangerous or illegal. This opens the door to talk about social media and remembering that anything texted, emailed or posted can come back to haunt.

On the party front, one way to not sound like all you are doing is checking up is to call the parent of the student having the party and confirm the time and location and then ask if you can send something – cookies, soda etc. This will open a conversation about the evening and makes it easier to ask about chaperones.

Spiritual

When a young person graduates from high school and goes off to college, work, military or trade school, it is absolutely critical they have a firm spiritual foundation. It’s in those first few years out of high school that if a young person doesn’t stand for something, they will fall for anything. The world can be a scary place for a young person who isn’t grounded in their faith. The mistakes they make at this level can have consequences that are steeper and harder to correct. Academics and social are important, but the choices that will make can be made with much more maturity and wisdom if they have a confidence in their faith.

 

While high school is a time to begin cutting the apron strings, the strings should still be attached. Parents need to remember that a high school teenstudent should be given the freedom to make some of their own decisions; knowing as parents, we are their safety net. We are available to lovingly guide the teenager through the successes and consequences of their choices. Parents, we are still in charge of these young people. Don’t let go too early. What appears to be a mature young man or lady, is really a child who just taller than we are. Inside they are screaming for us to be in charge and help them.

Let me challenge you to do 3 things each day for 1461 days: pray for your children, hug them and tell them they are loved. If you are reading this and have no children of your own, go ahead and do this for a niece or nephew or some other close young person in your life. Pray for their parents as well.-

A teenager who knows they are loved and has someone in their corner will make better choices in friends and activities.

Just a thought,

KK

Pretend, Imagination and Other Lies

praying santaAmong young parents there is a growing number who have adopted the “we aren’t going to lie to our children” approach to parenting. This feeling is hovering around the issue of Santa Claus and his friends, the Easter bunny and Tooth Fairy. This mantra makes me wonder about how far this “honesty” goes. There are times when it is not appropriate to tell children the FULL truth. Many times we skirt the question, knowing they are too young for the answer. Where do babies come from?

What made me really think about lying to our kids was that there is no Santa Claus at Christmas and Easter bunny at Easter. Let me say here that I believe that Christmas and Easter were the most important events in human history. Both turned the hope of the world to the Eternal.

Ok, so the Easter bunny is a little odd, but Santa Claus comes from a real story of a priest who made sure that the hungry were fed. He did so out of selflessness and in anonymity; modeling our Savior’s example. I don’t understand why letting a child believe in this saint visit them for a few years is so wrong. And why not mix a little wonder in a time of miracles? Why not let a child know the fun of Christmas while learning the reverence?

If we aren’t going to lie about Santa, Easter bunnies and tooth fairies, then do we take away playing pretend and imaginary friends? There is no tea in that pot, you know. And the cookies taste like nothing because they aren’t really there. Really, you didn’t steal my nose… no imaginary friends; and oh, and Elf on the shelf isn’t really running around the house wreaking havoc. Where do we draw the line between truth and imagination with our children? Where is the light-heartedness and dreaminess of childhood?

Maybe Santa and the Bunny do add something else to Christmas and Easter that needs to be managed with children. Making sure they don’t outshine the birth of Jesus; and certainly being naughty or nice shouldn’t be the threat of the month. But if handled in the proper perspective, they add a little something to the holidays and a child’s innocent heart.

Reality and truth will come along soon enough and shove playing pretend, imagination and fantasy to the background.

Think about it…

KK