Thursday, May 26, 2011

All I Really Need to Know in Life, I Learned From My Kindergartener

(Inspired by “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulghum)

As my daughter nears her kindergarten graduation, I cannot believe the way these few years have swiftly passed us by. When I close my eyes, I still can feel her snuggled up against my chest, wrapped in a cozy onesie and a cloth blankie, smooth cheek resting on my shoulder. Now, I watch her zip by me at any given moment, eyes laughing and voice bubbling, going a million miles a minute. Watching her easily transition into school, friendships, and the second half of her first decade on this planet, I pause to capture the simple yet profound lessons we can learn from a kindergartener.

• If you’re going to be sloppy with the toothpaste, you might want to put your nice shirt on after you brush.

• Work first, then play. But make sure you do plenty of both. Too much of either leads to less than desirable results.

• Read. Read during the day. Remember that the ability to read is an amazing skill. Later in life, you will probably forget what an intricate process learning to read was, but try not to take the gift of literacy for granted. Above all else, read a bedtime story every night. And if you’re able to, give someone a kiss and a hug before you shut your eyes.

• You can have a Reese cup. Or even two. But make sure you’re eating the healthy stuff, too, and don’t overdo it with the sweets.

• Be nice to everyone, even those who aren’t nice to you. Sometimes people will hurt you, or your feelings. Don’t make it a secret that you’ve been hurt. But if you get no apology, forgive them anyway and move on.

• Laugh every day. As many times as possible.

• Everybody mispronounces a word, gets a problem wrong, or screws up an assignment every once in a while. Accept corrections and criticisms with dignity, and don’t allow yourself to be embarrassed.

• Always tell your mommy and daddy that you love them.

• We all have meltdowns occasionally. If you’re having one, the best thing to do, usually, is take a nap.

• If you don’t understand something, ask. If that question leads to another question, ask that one too. If the person you are questioning doesn’t know the answers, don’t be discouraged, ask someone else. Never lose your sense of curiosity.

• Sing loudly, even if you sing off-key. If you’re trying your hardest and having a good time, no matter what the task, who cares what anybody else thinks?

• Follow the rules. Follow the directions. If you break a rule or skip a direction, be prepared to live with the consequences. When you’ve done something wrong, say that you’re sorry. And mean it.

• When you come home, tell somebody about your day. The more details the better. Then, listen while they tell you about yours.

• The show must go on! I was particularly proud of my little girl for getting up on stage by herself for the first time ever during a talent show. She had a nasty cold, and her partner didn’t show, but Kaliah dancing ballet to “Jesus Loves Me,” the first solo act of the evening, her tiny little figure moving gracefully, cautiously, and a little unsteadily across the stage all by her lonesome self, showed me that bravery comes in all shapes and sizes.

• Enjoy the little things in life. Sunshine. A rainbow. An encounter with a butterfly. Be amazed by the small stuff.

• Love someone all the way to infinity and back. If we all possessed the trusting, innocent love of a kindergartener, we could take our relationships to places we never imagined.

• Go to bed at a decent hour, or you’ll be seriously cranky-pants in the morning.

• Every once in a while, go ahead and be a show-off. Shake it like there’s no tomorrow to “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Be proud of your accomplishments, and share them with your loved ones. Don’t get carried away though—everything you do is a gift from God.

• Be honest. Kindergartners are particularly good at this, as they’ve yet to learn the art of “tact.”

• Have faith the size of a mountain. Be unashamed of it, and willing to share with those who need it. Pray for everyone you love, and even those you don’t. Pray for yourself, too. Always remember that God is with you. Allow your heart to be touched by the bigness of our world and the people in it who need our love.

Thank you, Kaliah Rose, for being the best thing that has ever happened to me.



Monday, April 11, 2011

LOVE it.

This weather. It is AWESOME.

I am sitting in bed in a tank top and pajama pants with the ceiling fan whirling, and it is the ABSOLUTE perfect temperature right now. I love finding happiness in life's smallest pleasures.

Plus I just had a fantastic hot shower after a three mile run and a good forty minutes of raking leaves. There are exactly two trees in the backyard, but, somehow, there are about five hundred and fifty million leaves. Darn Maple. The leaves are pretty when they are brilliant green and on the branches. They're beautiful when they are glowing yellow, red, and orange, and still on the branches.

When they are a putrid, wet, disgusting brown mess to be cleaned up? Not so much.

I suppose it's my fault for procrastinating. I wouldn't have had so many to rake, but, um, I didn't own a rake. Nor did I bother to buy one last fall. Or winter. So I bought one last week, and began raking today, and will finish probably around the time Jesus shows back up.

But for now, it doesn't matter. Spring, I've decided, is a more comfortable season for raking leaves than fall or winter, anyway. Plus, my muscles are pulsing in a delightful way--how amazing is it to lay down in clean sheets, in the quiet, and still feel the adrenaline pumping through your legs? What an awesome feeling.

(I feel like Alec Baldwin's guest star character on this episode of Friends--die hard fans probably know what I'm talking about. He played Phoebe's ridiculously optimistic boyfriend, who kept finding happiness in all of the most insanely ordinary surroundings.)

Hopefully I'm not that annoying. But I am feeling quite blessed today. Life is so short--why not cling to the goodness in your everydays?

And seriously, if you've never run three miles, taken a hot shower, and then thrown yourself into bed during a perfect 79 degree evening...

You are missing OUT.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


The HTML has been screwed up in my last two posts. For the record, I do know how to compose multiple paragraphs. But I am neither computer savvy enough (nor, I suppose, do I care enough) to go back and play with blog settings I don't understand, lest I end up throwing my laptop out the window. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Celebrating the Sweet Life!

So one of my amazing friends had a lovely idea... she's hosting "Celebrate the Sweet Life!" at her house today. A girls only event ("Because chocolate can't get you pregnant!"), we plan on indulging with delicious desserts, delightful beverages, and, of course, incomparable company. I am especially excited because this is a childhood friend that I had all but lost touch with until she so generously reached out to me to contribute to my Peru missions trip. I can't wait to reconnect. First, though, the less lovely parts of my day. Packing. I am officially moving at the end of the month, (into my father's house... next door to where my Sweet Life host, Sarah, grew up... yes, we've literally been friends since diapers!) and have thus far packed (and transferred and unpacked) one box. Dad's house is about a forty minute drive from where I currently live, but luckily, I am in the area about once a week to wait tables at The Cottage Cafe. So, before I go into work, I'll be taking a few boxes each time, and hopefully between now and spring break, a majority of the move will already be completed. Today, I have about five boxes in my car I hope to fill and unload before showering and heading to the Sweet Life. I've also decided I have way too much stuff, and, therefore, will be holding a yardsale next Saturday, weather permitting. My preparations for this have included labeling a large box "Yard Sale" and throwing most of my DVD and VHS (yes, I still have tapes) collection into it. Probably no one will want this stuff, but EVERYTHING MUST GO. I am tired of lugging all this stuff around everytime I move! And since this will probably be the last move for a few years, it's time to clean up. So anything I can't sell, I'll probably just give away. Kaliah, funnily enough, has readily agreed to go through her toys, too-- Dad's house is way smaller than the four bedroom we currently rent, and besides, she has toys from before she could walk that simply sit in boxes in her playroom. I told her she could keep the money from the sale of her things, and she quite excitedly got to sorting. In fact, she has been asking me every morning before school if she can do "more sorting and organizing" when she comes home. I feel like we won the genetic lottery. How blessed I am to have my own flesh and blood actually ENJOY sorting and organizing! So I'll be doing some sorting and organizing, some packing and unpacking, before I am free to enjoy The Sweet Life. Maybe even some yardwork, too. I'll be forced to rake up last fall's leaves before I move--yes, you read that right. Last Fall. (In my defense, that maple tree in the backyard loses approximately one million leaves per season). And my grass is in dire need of cutting, which will be tricky, being as I don't own a lawnmower (the neighbor kid was doing it for me, but they moved a few months ago). My, landscaping my father's house is going to be a challenge! I'm certainly not someone with an aptitude for fixing things... I'm normally on the creation end of disasters. But I think a little at a time, with love, and excitement about restoring the home I grew up in, Kaliah and I will be able to make Dad's house into our home... But first, something I'm already good at: I will close by giving you all a taste of The Sweet Life: My World Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies! Making these bad boys is also on my "To Do" list for today: Awesome Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies From Ms. Jenny Meister (My daughter and I love making these together!) Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 egg 1 egg yolk 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. 2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. 3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets for gigantic cookies, or 1/8 cup at a time for slightly less gigantic cookies. J Cookies should be about 3 inches apart. 4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I've Been a Bad, Bad Blogger...

Truly, I've been terrible at updating this thing. I think I need to figure out a way to get more traffic. Don't get me wrong, the followers that I have--all of four of you? LOL--are awesome, but I feel like if I knew I had an anxious audience awaiting my words of wisdom--or words of nonsense--I'd be inspired to write more often. Or maybe I just need for this dreaded school year to end. Perhaps "dreaded" is too strong of an adjective. But man, I love summer. Sunny beach days, laying on a towel smelling of citrusy sun tan lotion. A bedroom that doesn't look like it exploded because I had an hour to clean it. Open windows, summer evening breeze. And no. More. School. Plus, this summer, I am headed to Peru. That's right! Me, who never goes anywhere. Who, until last year, had only ventured into a state not bordering the Atlantic one time ever (and that for a flight change on the way home from college). I am going to Peru to show and tell of the love of Christ. I am so very excited. Now, I just need to get my camera fixed or buy a new one before I go. So that I may take pictures of all the awesome things God is going to use us to do down there. Also, I should probably brush up on (by which, in essence, I mean, learn) some Spanish. Hasta la vista! (Is it bad that the only Spanish I know is from Arnold Schwarzenagger movies, the kitchen of the Cottage Cafe Restaurant, and perhaps a maximum of three or four phrases from Spanish One back in high school?) Hasta Luego!

Monday, March 14, 2011

As Previously Promised...

...Here is the link to Nutshells, the website I was blogging about in my last post. Definitely worth checking out, should you have a moment! Awesomely enough, you really only need a minute or two, since the premise of the site is to collect memoirs of 100 words or less. So check it out, and if you're interested in entering your own, or voting on those currently entered (I'm in 4th place as of now!), or both writing and voting, contact me and I'll get you the code you need to participate. Also, for those of you who are teachers, the site's creator, my lovely and talented friend Rachel, has accompanying lesson plans.

Also, in my attempt to describe Nutshells in my last post, I labeled the post Flash Fiction, which is just plain idiotic, since anyone who knows anything remotely literary understands that memoirs are, in fact, non-fiction.

But, I digress.

At any rate, should you head over to the site, I think you will be impressed by the diversity of topics and the amazing feats writers are doing in capturing their lives in 100 words or less.

That's all for now, folks!

Oh, snap, I forgot to brag.

I finished my first 10 Mile Race (Time Kennard 10 Mile River Run) a little over a week ago, crossing the finish line in one hour, thirty-six minutes, and twenty-five seconds.

I'd write more about that, but my legs are still sore.

(Just kidding).

I'd write more about it, but I'm tired, and that's not a very fast time anyway, but for a first race, it's decent enough that I thought it was worth mentioning.

Maybe a year from now I can detail my attempts at a marathon over on Nutshells?

Or maybe a marathon is a BIT too ambitious for the time being...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Flash Fiction (A Drabble?)

So an awesome friend of mine set up a great website in which she challenges members to write memoir style story in 100 words or less. This site isn't completely live yet, but when (if?) it opens to the public, I'll post the link. In the meantime, I thought I'd share the piece I wrote. I'm not sure what the technical term for this kind of writing is. "Flash fiction" is a term used in creative writing to describe extremely brief fiction, but definitions vary as to just what the specifications are. A "Drabble" seems to be a work of exactly 100 words, which my piece is... but drabbles, according to the googling I just ever so studiously conducted, tend to deal primarily with the science fiction genre.

So, I don't know what this is. I'm also still contemplating a title.

But it's 100 words. Unless "finger tips" should really be one word. Then I've got room to squeeze in one more adjective somewhere.

Here it is, my memoirish/flash fiction/drabble (dunno if I like the word drabble):

I look down at her, this precious bundle nestled against me, soft pink velvet of her blanket comforting my finger tips.

I look up, blinking away the hot tears that flow down. Smiling at, because, and in spite of this moment.

The beginning and the end. These priceless few minutes. The time that I hold her.

The first time I hold her is also the last time I hold her.

When they take her away, my heart will break.

Hello is also goodbye.

But goodbye is not forever. I hand you to the nurse.

I miss you already, my daughter.