6 Things I’m grateful for – One at a Time – Number 2

Today I am thankful to be both a mother and a wife.  I have a teenage son who is becoming an outstanding young man.  Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments where I have to stop, take a deep breath and realize he will grow out of some of the typical teenage attitudes.  But for the most part it brings me great joy and great challenge to raise him.

There hasn’t been a stage of raising Cole that I have liked better than the other.  I loved cuddling and caring for him as an infant.  As a toddler and small child he was all smiles.  The worst part of my day was leaving him at daycare every morning, but the best part of my day was picking him up in the evening.  He was into super heroes for many years, so I never had to fear danger because Spiderman or Buzz Lightyear was never far away.  Elementary years were when things got a little challenging because his questions got bigger.  I realized I needed some wisdom to help him begin to enter the bigger boy world of friends, sports, and building character.   Every stage has been enlightening and has driven me to my knees more than once.  Next year we head into high school; I’ll keep you posted.

Believe it or not, I sometimes feel less equipped to be a good and Godly wife than I do a mother.  Five years ago I married a wonderfully Godly man who loves me and Cole with all of his heart.  There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for either of us.  Getting remarried in my forties, I found myself older and smarter about how to do marriage right.  First of all, I know Jay needs to know I respect him.  I appreciate all of his hard work to provide for us.  I love his personal convictions and character.  Secondly, we work together equally.  If I need Jay’s help, he is available and willing.  Just about every morning I ask him if there is something I can do for him.  He is a very independent sort and he may not ask me if there is something I can help with.  The other reason I am mindful to ask him is that I know it’s easy for me to get lost in my own to-do list and not consider others.  Cole teases us because he’s never heard us fight.  We don’t.  We love each other and work very hard to think of the other person first.  With both of us doing this, it really makes being a wife a joy.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when one of us has hurt the other’s feelings.  In those times a little communication goes a long way.  The hurt doesn’t stew, we talk about it and each of us is quick to apologize.

These two men make it very easy to serve them as mother and wife.  I am very thankful for the opportunity to do so every day of my life.

All the best,

KK

6 Things I’m grateful for – One at a Time – Number 5

Today I am grateful for those long hot days at the ball field watching my favorite 13 year old player.   Some think our summer ball schedule is insane, two or three nights a week on the field and tournaments on the weekend.  The sunshine, fresh air would only be replaced with chores, errands and house work if he didn’t play.  By the time we get home our skin is laced with sweat and remnants of dirt that blows off the field from sitting behind home plate.  We get cleaned up and my son comes proudly into the living room boasting about the ring he left on the tub.  The evening is filled with talking about game highlights.  Even when it rains and we get soaking wet, it’s a good day.

All the best,

KK

A Child Being Mistreated

sad childOk, what would you do? I was sitting in a fast food drive-thru, had paid for my food and was waiting. Just as they passed in front of me the “mother” grabbed the little girl by the back of her head and yanked her hair clearly mad at her for something. The little girl screamed and began to cry. I almost came out of my car to grab the mother’s hair to see how she liked it. The scene hurt me to the core. The mother let go and went into the restaurant with the “grandmother” and the son. I still wanted to go after the mother, but decided all that would do would cause a fight with the woman not resolving her heart issue.

I said a prayer of protection over the children and for God to deal with the mother. I watched as the father comforted the child and she settled down. As they walked in I noticed on the girl’s t-shirt the saying, “God is on our side.” May she always know that saying as true.

What would you have done?

KK

Let’s Talk About Pet Peeves

After I outlined this post I put it aside, you know to let it ruminate.  When I came back to the subject I noticed that half of the pet peeves listed were character traits in other people.  One definition of “pet peeve” is a complaining, teasing, or annoying behavior; which begs the question as to whether it’s worth carrying these things as pet peeves if I can’t change these behaviors in other people.checklist

That’s right, there comes a point in our lives when we are old enough and wise enough to realize, we can’t change other people only they can make a personal decision to change.  And what bugs us about other people may not bother them at all.  So really these pet peeves may or may not be seen as right in the eyes of another individual and in such a case, I look judgmental and not like a person who just wants to make a difference in this world.

That leaves me with two pet peeves I will share with you and then open the floor for you to share.  First of all, receipts.  I can go in a store and purchase a pack of gum with cash and end up with a receipt the length of my arm.  Wasn’t all of this electronic scanning and debit cards created to reduce the amount of paper it takes to make a transaction?  Do retailers really care about my opinions on the survey that the bottom of the mile-long receipt invites me to participate?  Because I am one of those who balance my checkbook, I do keep receipts for a period of time, but the bulging envelop turns out to be half the transactions and half a bunch of information I never read, or coupons I never use.  And as long as we are talking about making retail transactions, is it necessary (Sears) to have my phone number to make a purchase?  Would they know if I gave them a fake or old disconnected number?  I may try that next time.

The other peeve I will share is wasting time.  In the course of my day, I’m pretty much in perpetual motion or work type activity from the time I get up until late evening when my son is in bed and I feel like I can take a little time for me.  So, to have some non-important something slow me down or stop me is annoying.  Do I ever stop to watch television or check out Facebook?  Yes, but I don’t spend hours doing either one and most of the time if I’m watching television it is part of my personal downtime or time with my family.  As a parent of a middle school student, there is a lot of time spent taking him to practices or having him at school activities.  This is not a waste of time, but I find myself with odd periods of time waiting for him that I try to make productive by taking work along or a book to read.  Rarely do I ever “kill” time.  What I do watch out for is that I’m teaching my son the balance between living a productive non-wasteful life and living in such a manner so as to not rush or over-plan every moment of the day.  There are extraordinary things that happen to us and around us in the spontaneity of life that need to be experienced; slowing down to listen to a spouse share their day or a child ask a question or tell of an adventure, watch the sunset or notice a child playing; taking a call from a friend in need or who has good news to share.   You know the important things in life that will outlast any daily schedule, remind us of our priorities and are like pushing the reset button on our patterns of thinking.

“People over progress” is a mantra that I took on several years ago when I did find myself so over planned and dedicated to my daily lists to be available for those who mean the most to me.  Most of the time, people are not a waste of time.

Well this post didn’t go exactly the way I expected, but that’s ok, it accomplished the goal.  Are you re-thinking your pet peeves?  What are they?

All the best,

KK

What I did on my summer “vacation”

Before the nice people in the unemployment offices read this and think I wasn’t looking for a job as part of the last four months, let me assure that it was at the top of the list every day.  Our summer days started with my rising to find on average four to six emails had been delivered to the email box dedicated only to the job hunt.  While the puppy ate breakfast and Cole slept in, I read and responded to the most appropriate opportunities.  After all efforts of application and follow-up were exhausted, there were various household chores that needed attention.  Stay with me, this “vacation” gets better.  I bore you with the standard schedule to present the over-arching theme of the summer (or so I thought) was to find a job.  There was something far greater to seek and embrace.

Time; a season with Cole that I would have never had; morsels of priceless moments that included impromptu water gun fights, silly singing in the car, afternoons spent at the swimming pool, and conversations that I will cherish for the rest of my days.

We worked together on household chores and I taught him to mow the lawn.  We took a few minutes to one night to look outat the full moon.  Another night we sat on the deck and looked at the stars.  He showed me the big dipper and the little dipper. We baked our favorite Christmas cookies and pressed them into non-Christmas shapes.  We volunteered at Lifebridge, sorting clothing and school supplies for those in need.  How wonderful to see Cole’s enthusiasm for helping others.  I had time to not worry about bed times and chores I only had evenings to complete.  With a slower pace, it seemed our time was less hectic and more meaningful.

This was the summer before Cole started middle school.  Yes, middle school, these are said to be three clumsy awkward and wonderful years a parent never considers when they first hold that sweet smelling infant.  From those who have gone before me on this parenting journey, I have been warned; but I choose to not fret.  Over the last four months, we have had these golden moments of connection that further solidified a relationship that began long before his birth.

We are over a week into the school year and have had few bumps.  The bumps will come, but when they do, I will be ready to listen first and then respond.  What I learned this summer is that the response Cole needs may be with words of wisdom, or just asking gentle questions to help him further figure out his own solution. Either way, I get to be there for Cole.

It has always been my goal as a parent to raise Cole to be a man of faith, who at the age of 18 will go off to college and his adult life.  At that point my relationship with him will change but will be soundly rooted in many hours of prayer and time well spent with him.

I wondered why God allowed this season of my life, if only for the memories the past few months gave Cole and me, I am grateful.  A job will come and I will work full time again, but I will do it with a new perspective on balancing family and work.  I will remember this pace and practice gearing down to take in moments that last a short time, but are treasured
for a lifetime.

How was your summer vacation?

All the best,

KK