Tag Archives: family

Why do we keep watching?

When I want to veg-out on a Sunday afternoon, I can be found binge-watching the Hallmark Channel. The two-hour chick-flicks have pretty much the same format; pretty predictable. So why do we keep watching?

The stories are clean, warm and romantic. The families portrayed aren’t perfect. empty nestThe couples aren’t bed-hoping. They are following their heart. They are stories of the human condition of wanting to be connected. They demonstrate both old and new love. And the sweetness both can bring. We the viewers are swept into these perfect worlds of falling in love. We get lost in the story hoping she chooses the right guy (there are always two).

Why do we keep watching? My guess is that most of us get caught up the freshness of new romance – the first phone call, the first date, the first kiss. The butterflies when caller id flashes Mr. Wonderful’s name. The courtship of the new romance. Every date you learn something new about him. Every date is a new experience. We like new beginnings.

In our own lives, there is something wonderfully comfortable about a long-term relationship. He knows me and loves me even after the bumps in the road and seeing me at my very worst. But if we are intentional, we can still find those extraordinary moments of connection. Those times when we look at our sweetheart and feel that thrill of what made us fall in love the first time. It takes effort sometimes to keep things fresh; to breakout from the routine and try something new. In doing so we create our own Hallmark moments.

KK

 

 

Never Enough

praying for our childrenWe can never pray for our children enough. Next time you are sending your child off to school or some other activity and feel the need to cover them in prayer, perhaps this will help.

I like that this gives specific parts of their body. Is your teen beginning a new job and need to focus on instruction? Pray for their mind. Is your child starting a new school? Pray for their journey and where their feet will go. Are they going to meet new friends? May their words be encouraging.

The world is different than when we were young. It’s harder and there is more information and attitudes for our children to navigate. We need to be available for them to ask questions. Be there to guide them through as they mature.

When we can’t be with them, we can pray for them. God is always available and watching over.

Keep calm and pray on,

KK

 

Is everything important on the list?

Fair_volleyball_wingsSunday evening it occurred to me that we would be going straight from Thanksgiving into Christmas. Like within a week. The first weekend in December my father and his wife are coming for their Christmas visit. Given that they will be staying with us and we will be hosting the entire family for a Christmas celebration I needed to make a list.

Actually, there are three lists. Groceries for Thanksgiving week, groceries for the week of their visit and the other “to dos” I want to make happen for it to be a wonderful time. By December 3rd my house will be completely decorated for the holiday and there will be cookies baked. That’s the goal that getting all the things on my list marked off will accomplish. Reviewing my plan and lists something was missing. Something was nagging at me that I needed to do. What was it?

The AHA moment hit when I laid my notebook and pencil down. As I let go of my plan, I realized I needed to be sure I took time to be grateful and enjoy the planning AND the doing. No matter how many things get marked off the list, my dad won’t care and my family won’t notice. It will be preparing my heart for the holiday and the time together that will be the most important thing to do.

Blessings,

KK

 

Easter Week – Holy Week

spring imageEaster much like Christmas is a wonderfully holy time for believers. And like Christmas, I struggle to find the reverent feeling that aligns my heart and soul with the massive significance of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Like Christmas, there are many preparations to be made for family and friends to come over. It’s too easy to be distracted.

Tomorrow is Thursday – the day of the last supper – can I merge my thoughts for our own family supper with that of the message of Christ on that last eve?

Friday is when he was crucified and died – Matthew 27. This lends itself to me having a quiet, reflective day. Or perhaps, I will fast something on Friday in order to remember the day’s events.

Saturday is tucked in the middle. Jesus was buried before the sun set on Friday and Saturday was the Sabbath by the Jewish people. There were guards posted at the tomb.

Sunday started early with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to the tomb to do the final burial preparations. From there the events began to unfold. There was the angel who told the women to not be afraid (we’ve heard that before), and the guards report to the chief priests (and they still didn’t recognized prophecy fulfilled).

Just as his birth marked a new time beginning, his resurrection marked another significant moment in time. We have one more moment we continue to wait for. It’s not a moment we will plan a holiday or family meal around. His return will be in power and glory and will stop time and complete His purpose.

So this is Holy week, how will you recognize and remember the profound change in human history Christ’s death and resurrection gave us?

Blessings,

KK

 

The Tuesday Before

I went to the grocery Tuesday (yes, two days before Thanksgiving). My primary purpose was to pick up the fresh turkey gobblewe had ordered. Admittedly, there were a few other items, but nothing major. As I walked in there were people exiting with heaping cart loads of groceries. The store was abuzz with shoppers. There was a hustling energy much like gift shopping on Christmas Eve. It made me wonder if Thanksgiving was a surprise to these shoppers much like Christmas is to those who shop the day before. Or instead of shopping early, they chose to just wait and risk the possibility that the cranberry sauce in a can might be sold out or the pumpkin spice might be gone. Just wondering.

Truly friends we have much to be thankful for in this life. We are rich in friends, family and opportunity. There probably will not be any shortage in the grocery you find yourself in tonight at 10 p.m. (there is always that one key ingredient that was forgotten).

God bless,

KK

 

 

 

 

Five years and counting

khr 0614 BOk friends, I’ve been posting and you’ve been kind enough to read my writings for five years. As I read back through all the different posts some are more my favorites than others. Below is a list of some that stand out to me (in no particular order). Let me know what you think. Or go through the archives and pick your own favorite. I’d love to hear which one you liked.

And if you haven’t clicked on the follow button yet, please do. You won’t want to miss what’s coming. Besides, in this vast world of the internet, it’s encouraging to know my words aren’t just flying around aimlessly. They have friends to visit. Thanks.

5/31/2009 Things not to miss — be in the moment

11/30/2009 Black Friday Gateway to the Dark Side

3/6/2012 ‘Tis the Season

4/18/2014 It’ Friday, Sunday’s Coming

4/8/2013 Say Please and Thank You

KK

It’s a holiday thing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year [the song is in your head now, isn’t it]. The mindset most people have around Thanksgiving and Christmas is something we should embrace all year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see people focused on being thankful, giving to those in need and spending time with family. These are activities that we need to put in play throughout the year.

How much different would your day be if you started, perhaps on your way to work, thinking about all the good in your life? You may come up with one thing or 20. Either way, thinking on such positive meaningful aspects of our life can only do one thing, warm our hearts and lift our spirits. I’m not suggesting the Pollyannagobble approach, you may have a delightful ride into work and get there only to find the same personnel issues, budgetary problems, or deadlines not being met. This state of mind isn’t meant to have us living in la-la land. It’s merely a manner by which we will approach our day and all that it holds both positive and negative.

What if those who post daily thankful messages in November do it in May (half way between)?

What if we worried as much about the homeless and hungry when they can’t escape the heat as when they can’t escape the cold?

How would this new mindset change ourselves? Our world?

Think about it.

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

Going on Vacation? Don’t forget to call the bank…

mickey on vacaLike many others, we planned a summer vacation. Being a list maker, I started the pre-trip to-do list based on our plans and how long we were going to be gone. The kennel was called, the days-off were requested, hotel rooms reserved, triple A was called for tour books and a budget established; all the things necessary for a fun few days away.

All of the items on the listed were checked off and in order to be fiscally responsible we decided to put our vacation cash in the checking account and use our debit card. About two days into our trip, my husband tried to use my debit card to purchase our tickets for a boat tour in Chicago. The charge was denied.  We called the bank.

We have to give kudos to our bank, Republic Bank & Trust, for putting us through to a service representative (live and English speaking) who was kind and understanding.  I went through and answered a half dozen security questions and took what felt like a quiz about my work history. After passing with flying colors, she informed me that by using our card to make out of town purchases, it raised security flags and since they didn’t know we were out of town, the charges were denied.

That’s what I forgot to put on my pre-trip list, call the bank!  The bank representative asked where I was and when I would return home. She then informed me that we have a $500 a day spending limit on our debit card. That wasn’t a big deal to us and our budget, but good to know. She then informed us that we can request the limit increase if necessary. We were fine with it. The bank lady kindly released our card so we could finish our vacation.

The whole ordeal cost a little time, but with the excellent customer service at the bank, and a lesson learned about banking security, we were back to having fun and had the funds to do it!

Next year’s vacation list will have “call the bank” as number one.

All the best,

KK