Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Yahtzee...the new Ashley Madison?

My husband and I haven't left the bedroom since Christmas night.  Before you go down the wrong road completely, he and I are enjoying a bout of pneumonia and bronchitis simultaneously and this bedroom looks and sounds like a hospital quarantine zone.  Nothing to see here, folks.

International "player:
Mr. Originality
What does that have to do with Yahtzee?  Or dating sites for that matter?  I AM BORED!  My head hurts so I can't concentrate on my normal vices (reading and knitting).  Terry and I have watched entire seasons of Law and Order and Quantico.  Between drug induced sleep (albeit complete with coughing fits that keep the neighbors awake...sorry mom), I am trying to pass the time with my mini entertainment center - remember the Kphone!

I love a good Yahtzee game and have become more involved than I care to admit with the tournaments and opportunities to win "custom" dice, etc.  Sister Nori and I have confessed to spending real money for pretend prizes....seriously, sometimes you need those extra rolls to make it to a whole new level.  But I digress.

Apparently, unbeknownst to me, Yahtzee with Friends is just a clever guise for people, single and married, to try and chat a person up while the game is going on.  It all goes back to real life for me.  I may smile at a stranger, make solid eye contact, even exchange pleasantries, but if I am invited to play a game of Yahtzee, truly that is all I am looking for.

It all starts innocently enough (sometimes!).  My Yahtzee partner might say "good game".  Okay.  I don't want to be rude.  I try to acknowledge that.  Generally not in words because I don't like to encourage anyone, but everyone knows my love of emoticons.  That might elicit a "smiley face" or a "thumbs up".  And sometimes it ends right there.  We continue playing with no more "chat" between us.

But how about the ones I get that start out admiring my photo?  Believe me, it's nothing to win any awards.  And then the hard hitting questions.  You married?  Where u at?  (real life quote).  Thinking I was nipping one particularly aggressive player in the bud (so to speak) I answered yes to the married question.  He doesn't stop there.

Hence the comparison to the Ashley Madison website.  I learned of it when it recently went public with much bad press.  My question to you is  - could the Yahtzee with Friends be a clever guise to allow the continued activities of the cheaters...all while they may enjoy a game of dice?

Doesn't give up easy!
Now, I have felt compelled to share some of the rather blatant messages with my sister (proof that I don't make these things up).  My niece shared a photo of one Yahtzee player who invited her to a game.  Unfortunately, he had failed to get dressed before posing for the camera.  Another sister tells me she creates different persona's when asked intimate questions.  I just can't do that without fear of blowing my cover.  When I was in sixth grade, my dream job was to be in the FBI and while I have a great poker face, my deceitful face leaves much to be desired,

One could argue it is easier to lie when hiding behind a computer screen.  I get that.  But I JUST WANT TO WIN THE HIGHEST REWARDS AT YAHTZEE.  To do that, you have to expand your games beyond your family.  Hence the name, Yahtzee with Friends,

I even have one Yahtzee stalker.  He keeps changing his name but then tells me, Hey- it's me again. DEAR LORD.  For the record, I have NEVER responded to him,

I don't know everything but this much I know for sure - I love a quick game of Yahtzee.  That is a game with six dice which allows three rolls per turn.  There are 13 turns per game.  If "Yahtzee" is code for anything else, COUNT ME OUT.

Until next time,
#takingmychance

your pal,

Kari



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas time is here!!

Today all Madi and I did (besides a hair cut and laundry) was lay around and recoup from the hours of sleep we missed over the past four days.  We just got back from a whirlwind trip to Kansas City where we enjoyed an early Christmas with our family in Kansas and Missouri.  The time always goes by so quickly but we while we are there, we fill our waking hours with memories that will last us until the next time we are all together!

After arriving WAY LATE on Friday night (let's call it early Saturday morning) we spent our first day with the French side of the family (not nationality - just name).  This was a fun day of playing with the grandsons (Dawson-3 and Colten-5). Actually, at their ages (and energy levels) it is more of a spectator sport.  But I did score freewill hugs and (albeit reluctant) kisses.  My DIL (daughter-in-law) always hosts an amazing day and this year was no different.  We reconnected with son Mike, daughters Marissa, Julie and Megan and of course, little Averie and the older grandsons, Ethan and Nathan.  Madi's best friend and my daughter by another mother (and father) Kenadee, always joins us and spends the night.  By days end, I was running on fumes!

Day Two had us travelling to Topeka for our annual Bunco Party at Grandma Sheila's,  So happy to see my sisters Nori and Lori along with niece Rachael.  Marissa's beau, Noah joined us and then the same partners in crime from Day One (Marissa, Megan, Ethan, Nathan, Madi ...and did I mention her boyfriend, Robert traveled with us to KC for this trip)....and ME.  Mom was also there as she joined us for our trip and had been staying with Lori.  We had three Bunco tables going, the noise level was VERY high and the food level was weight inducing.  I won a prize (most losses)!   We spent the night in Topeka and had a great time visiting with Sheila and Jr.  Finished off the visit with breakfast at Cracker Barrel Monday morning (thanks Grandpa)!

Monday and Tuesday were repeat visits with all those mentioned above.  No snow this time in the Midwest which was okay by me.  Since I am coming up on my fifth anniversary in Texas, I tend to prefer a warmer holiday season.  

Once we boarded the plane for Austin (via Dallas) I fell asleep almost immediately. Granddaughter Averie likes to start her mornings early, and I was not going to miss one minute  (I can sleep later...and I did).

Back in Texas as we enjoy this holy week, we will look back and give thanks for the opportunity to see all of our kids and grand kids during this Christmas season.  

And we will remember, the reason for the season!

Blessings to all this Christmas time,

Until next time,
#jesusisthereason

your pal,
Kari



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Text support

Please be responsible.
On every website I visit, there is some type of "tech support" hoping to help me complete my order, answer my questions or take my money.  I can do a "live chat" for instant gratification and any mysteries will be solved at that time.  We also have "tech support" for work related issues with our computers.  If a problem crops up, they are only an email (and priority ranking) away from coming to my rescue.

But today I want to talk about "text support".  This is a little known service that I enjoy on a daily basis.  Generally, the service is supplied by a daughter, sister or "know your audience" friend, who is only a text away when the moment of support occurs.

I have several examples of "text support".  Let's say I am in a meeting that appears as if it will last forever, or at least until my next birthday.  What better time then the present to text whoever is available (sometimes you have to send out several texts to different people before you reach support) to make random remarks about how your life force is beating out of you because of said meeting. Text support quickly will send funny emoticons, irreverent remarks and possible solutions that will now distract you from the pain of boredom.

Hard truths come out..
Next situation.  You are at a family gathering that is A) going south quickly or B) unbelievably ridiculous.  You quickly reach out to "text support" to A) report on said happenings and garner support or validation - whichever is needed or B) subtly snap photos of action shots to attach with random captions for your "text support" viewing pleasure.  Again, while you were once alone, you now have a silent partner in your inappropriate behavior during all stages.

Another great opportunity for "text support" always happens at the airport.  Where else can you play fashion police, stylist commentator or parent of the year judge then with your trusty photography abilities and the "text support" partnership.  Hours of waiting for your flight can be wiled away making entertaining observations of your surroundings.   Keep your ears open for classic quotes.

When you need advice
Of course, I must mention that appropriate equipment is needed to be a text buddy.  Because, if you expect to receive "text support" you also must be ready, willing and able to return the favor.  My go to companion is my IPhone 6s which must be fully charged at all times.  I recommend (and confess to owning) a portable charger so you are always prepared to respond.  My little KPhone (as I call it) has texting capabilities along with a great camera that will not let you down.

I don't know everything but this is what I do know.  I NEVER want to be without the ability to reach out and "text" someone again.   Phone calls are nice, but not always an option.  An expert text buddy can subtly send messages ALL DAY LONG.  And one more thing, they can be used to convey actual information, too.....I mean, if you want to.


Until next time,
#textmeifyouwantin

your pal,
Kari


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blinded by equal blind to

Just like a horse with blinders
As I was driving to work one morning, later than usual, I crested a hill that I take every day.  At that moment, I was suddenly blinded by the sunlight.  It was so overwhelming, for several minutes I could not see to safely get my bearings.  Even though I travel this route daily, I momentarily lost my way. This had not happened before, either because I traveled earlier or later.  It just happened to be this moment in time. Now, I am prepared.  I can leave early and avoid the light; or, I know the spot when to quickly avert my eyes, should I choose to face the light.  This will allow me to safely make my way down a few streets before I turn.

This is not the first time I have been blinded by something.  When I was young (VERY YOUNG), I was blinded by love.  Once that happened, I became blind to the consequences and as a result, I made careless decisions.  There is not a person alive that could have told me any different because once I was blinded by love, my way of looking at life changed.  My primary example of this is when I walked away from the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student.  I had already been chosen. There were things I needed to do to get ready and I was on my way. AND THEN I WAS BLINDED BY LOVE.  (Or what I thought was love at the time.)  So I walked away from that once in a life time opportunity because I didn't understand that real love would wait.  I know (and have) that now.

So much more than sight involved
More than once I have been blinded by grief.  It is difficult to continue being "yourself" when you have lost a piece of who you are.  For a time, I became blind to other blessings.  I am sure it will happen again.

Everyone has been blinded by something.  Right now I believe our world is blinded.  .  And we are all blinded by different things at different times.  Once we have been blinded, it changes how we look at everything, once we can see again.

In our world today, we have some who are blinded by anger and hate.  A day doesn't go by without some report of violence displayed against others.  Whether it is a personal vendetta or a cause supported by many, the outcome is still the same.  These individuals are blind to the pain they cause others.

This causes a reaction by others to be blinded by fear and defensiveness.  Our reactions aren't what they would have been prior to all this violence because now we are afraid.  We may become blind to the reality of those groups who reign terror and try to "profile" our concern.  We are looking at things differently.

When people become blinded, not only do they lose sight of what's important, they lose the ability to make sound judgments.  Reason flies out the window.  Everything takes on the bias of anger, fear, love, grief, political views....whatever it is.

This is what I know.  I have been blinded before.  And I will be blinded again.  When it happens, I need a plan to find my way safely out of the temporary deprivation of judgement I will find myself in that could render me blind to the big picture.

Until next time,
#taketheplankoutofyoureyefirst
#ioncewasblindbutnowisee

your pal,
Kari

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Virtual strangers aka rock throwers

I was first introduced to Facebook about seven years ago.  Oh, I knew about it before then, but believed (and was encouraged to believe) it was just for teenagers.  Eventually, my daughter Marissa created a page for me.  She said it would be a great way to share pictures with everyone (and I really think she might have been tired of emailing them separate to me).  Okay, fair enough.

I started with just a handful of "friends", family really...and before I knew it, I had people sending requests that I had not heard from since high school!  Soon, there were little "groups" I could belong to and I now had suggestions popping up of who I should be friends with.  Wow!

Chatting was available if I wanted to reach out to someone immediately or I could message them for later.  I quickly became aware of my privacy settings so I could "direct traffic" if you will.  It truly was (and is) fun to see all the pictures, be tagged for something special, etc.  It's a virtual world out there.

Soon enough I became familiar with the seedier side of Facebook.  You all know what I am talking about.  This is the streams where news stories are shared from around the world.  Some are funny, some are happy, some ask for prayers, some are tragic.  They are generally "shared",  meaning they originate from someone I might not necessarily know.  And truth be told, it is not the stories that are seedy.  It's the comments generated that make me question whether there is any empathy left in this world.

I read a lot of stories on Facebook.  I rarely feel the need to make a comment.  If a prayer is being requested and I am going to pray, I will respond.  I try to gauge my response by what I would do in real life.  Mainly because this is what we did before Facebook and the same social graces and standards should still apply.

Tongue in cheek....and this is mild compared to some!
Now, I know there are some ignorant people who post atrocities that they themselves commit.  I still wouldn't waste my time commenting on it if I wasn't going to report it.  Others forward stories -specifically the kind of story where someone (a child even) is hurt or killed.  Arm chair quarterbacks sit back and reply with comments that range from "what type of parent would allow this" to surely the husband must have done this" with no knowledge whatsoever of truth....other than what is printed. And we all know what we see is GOSPEL (heavy sarcasm intended).  And even if every word is just fact, who are we to think that our opinion (aka judgement) is ever called for - or even warranted? (he/she who is without sin, cast the first stone and all that).

Seriously, I cannot fathom ever posting anything I would not say to a person's face and please Lord - may those involved never actually hear what is "said" in print.

I remember one time when my grandson Nathan was around 4 or 5.  He was supposed to be playing in the front yard with his brother and when my daughter looked out, he was gone.  She was frantic.  She immediately began going from house to house, checking to see if he was there.  At one particular house, a woman looked at her and said words to this effect..."if he is lost, you deserve it.  You should have watched him better."  CAN YOU IMAGINE?  Thankfully, he had gone inside a friend's house without asking, and was found moments later.  But in that moment, the condemnation and hate from one mother to another...WHY?  Don't we all beat ourselves up enough when something like this happens without help from "virtual strangers"?

This is what I know. Life is hard. Mistakes are made.  Some can never be corrected or even apologized for...there aren't enough words.  No one needs to hear anything additional from me. Except, maybe...I'm so sorry.

Until next time,
#theyknownotwhattheydo

your pal,
Kari







Monday, November 23, 2015

What are you afraid of?

Is it fear itself?  Fear is a funny thing (and not the kind of thing we laugh about).  Webster says fear is "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause us pain, or is a threat".  What Webster fails to tell us is that fear is different for all of us.

I am a relatively successful, extremely educated woman.  I have enjoyed a full life combined with a variety of opportunities and experiences, all which add up to who I am.  Yet, I have fears.  Many are unfounded, some are very dated and I even have one or two I have overcome.

The fear of mice is not one I have overcome.  Plural or singular, this is a fear of mine.  I can become completely undone by the very presence of a small, furry rodent in my midst.  Houses lose appeal (to me) should a mouse be spotted (or maybe even a sighting reported). Now, is everyone afraid of mice?  No...of course not.  Is that a rational fear?  Well, again, Webster does not define fear as something that is rational.  I wholeheartedly agree that it is very unpleasant. 

The fear of mice was not something I was raised with.  I had an unfortunate experience with a mouse when I was around eight years old that has "scarred me for life".   Earlier in that fated day, my mom had "us five kids" bring in the cat because she heard a mouse in the cupboard.  She opened the door, the cat retrieved the mouse and outside they went.  Mission accomplished.  All was well.  Moments later, while my mom was on the phone with my grandma, I thought I heard another mouse.  I opened the door and the mouse leaped out on my leg, ran down to the floor and took off.  (Yes, I realized later I forgot the cat).  I SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER!!!!  Apparently, this was a source of humor to my mother as she could hardly contain herself to assure my grandma that I was NOT BEING MURDERED.  

So...to this day, I am afraid of mice.  I know they aren't necessarily dangerous, that I am much bigger. blah, blah, blah.  Again...no one said fear is rational.  Megan (oldest daughter) has grown up unscathed by my experience and keeps rodents in her house...she calls them gerbils.  Yet, when she was nine and I tried to pay her good money to remove a dead mouse from the stairway, would she help me?  Hell. No.  Marissa and Madison have a little more common sense.  They recognize that mice are nothing more than vermin that can ruin your life.  We have all spent quality time on chairs, tables, and any other available furniture during an alleged invasion.  If you spot one, there are at least three.  THEY NEVER TRAVEL ALONE.

So what are you afraid of?  Certainly today in this world we have our choice of things we might be fearful of.   On any given day on Facebook, Twitter, the news, etc. you can read differing opinions on how we should handle refugees, terrorists, politicians, I think you get the drift.  We all have as many differing opinions as we do fears and while we may not always understand or even agree with each other, I believe we all know what it feels like to be afraid (or have an opinion) of... something. Fears (and opinions) aren't always rational.  If based on faulty "knowledge" these fears and opinions can be unfounded.  And sometimes fear drives opinions.  We all know of people who didn't make the right decisions when they were afraid. (thinking right now of a story I saw on the news of a mother who jumped out of a moving car while her child was still in it, because of a bee.....she was afraid).

Where does that leave us?  I am just wondering if maybe, we all took the time that we spent espousing our opinions (and fears) and actually put our intent into action, what the end result might be in our own little world?  I might not be talking about mice anymore.  For example, if I am afraid of being hit by a car, I don't demand that all cars be taken off the roadway, or that there be no more imported vehicles brought in the country.  What I will do is learn safe behavior so that when I am around cars, accidents are less likely to happen.  Obviously, I don't want to live my life in fear, so I need to be as proactive as possible and still be the person that I believe God intended me to be.  I might not be talking about cars anymore.

We can all afford this!
There is only so much we can do, but there is SOMETHING WE CAN DO.  In my world, if I see someone hungry, I can offer food.  If I know of someone who is lonely, I can visit.  I can take a name off an angel tree and buy a gift for a child less fortunate.  I can drop canned goods off at the food bank.  I can smile at all I pass by, without judging or profiling.  And in return, maybe they will afford me the same opportunity. When someone asks me to pray for them, I will.  I can ask others to pray for me.

This is what I know.  Everyone is afraid of something.  Education, understanding (and tolerance) of others who fear can be beneficial to all.  Actions speak louder than words.   Let's work together.  If you take care of any mouse situations for me....I will kill your spiders.

Until next time,
#helovedusfirst

your pal,
Kari




Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ask my mother!

When I was young, (let's start with the teenage years first) I believed there were appropriate time lines associated with just about everything we experience in life.  When I would see young married couples in their twenties, just starting a family, I thought they were very mature and grown-up. Worldly, even.  I would imagine my life in just a few short years and how much more "together" I would be.

My original three
When my grandmother died when I was 15, I truly believed for awhile that I would never smile again.  I was appalled at those laughing and visiting at the church luncheon put on immediately following the funeral.  Was there no decency or respect left in the world??  Surely, this wasn't appropriate behavior given the circumstances.  I also believed that if I only could have been older (grown-up) when this happened, I would have handled this loss so much easier.

Oh, the fallacies of youth.  Obviously, I have learned since that time that there is NEVER an appropriate age to say good-bye to anyone. It will always be too soon.  And I have been through loss that is prolonged and expected along with sudden without warning.  For those who say "it must be easier if you are prepared", I beg to differ at this time.  I am still wondering what "prepared" looks like.

Little Megan 
Which brings me to my mother.  I recall when my oldest daughter (Megan) was in her twenties.  I don't remember what was going on with her at the time, but I was talking to my mom and I very seriously asked (Keeping with my theory on time lines)..."how old will my kids be when I don't worry about them anymore?"  She said, "I'll let you know."  Wow!

Riss and Madi
Considering that I was my mother's firstborn, this was not comforting news.  It was like a full realization that the baby I was so excited to welcome into my world (times four) would be an active part of my thought (er worry) process EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!  Now, don't get me wrong, I love my kids (and a few others I didn't even birth), but WOW!!  I guess I always knew I would be worried when they were little, probably concerned and even annoyed when they were teenagers, but as adults - come on.  But wait, there's more!  Then they have children for you to add to the list.

Obviously, I wouldn't trade the joys and experience of being a mother (or Mimi) for anything in this world.  It's just that I wonder how many women (and men) really understand the emotional commitment they are making when they believe they are ready to have a child.  Surely, this should be a relationship of a lifetime, for a lifetime....without the vows of "for better or worse". Surely....it should be!

I know this, when you think about something that involves EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, it could sound like a sentence.  And to me it is....the best sentence I have ever read!!!

HA- Play on word intended!!

Until next time,
#blessbethetiesth


atbind

your pal,

Kari

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My dad - The Veteran of Blue Light Specials!!

Serving proudly
It's true.  Today is Veteran's Day and my Dad was a Veteran.  He proudly served in both the Norwegian Underground and the U.S, Army during World War II.  And I thought it appropriate to mention that today, as we honor all our Vets who have given so much so that we might have so much more.

But then I saw the commercial and we all know that if it is on TV - it is gospel. The Blue Light Special is back.  For those of you  who DON'T know what a Blue Light Special is (and I can't image who that might be)....let me tell you.

Not that I care to date myself, but I recall the Blue Light Special from my days of youth.  Back when K-Mart was the premier variety store of choice and you could get just about anything you needed at your local store.

Growing up, we frequented the one on 29th street (between Adams and Topeka Boulevard).  This was a nice sized store and a quick 15 minute drive from our house.  When the holidays were "just around the corner" you could load up on all your Christmas presents and put them on layaway; making regular payments right up until Christmas.  You never had to worry about the store running out of the particular item you needed before you had the cash.  But wait....I digress.

At any given time, while you were shopping, the store might feature a BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL. When this was announced, you usually had ten minutes to get to the flashing blue light and purchase whatever the featured item was for the day!

So, not only was my Dad a Veteran of World War II, I think it is safe to say that we are all veterans of other things.  And one of the things my dad was a veteran of was the infamous K-Mart Blue Light Special.  Now, some of us were more selective than others when it came to shopping.  Every time I think of K-Mart, and specifically - a Blue Light Special, I will always think of my dad.  HE COULD NOT PASS UP A BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL!  If the item was camping equipment - he bought it.  Did we go camping?  Absolutely NOT.  But, this was a BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL.  Pet food???  In the cart!  Did he have pets?  Of course not.  I never could quite get him to see the irony of purchasing things on sale that we had no use for.

My dad struggled with shopping in general.  He loved to buy "us five kids" clothes for the holidays. The trouble was, he thought our size was the same as our age.  So, by the time we reached our teenage years. he had us unwrapping gifts in sizes ranging from 14-18.  For us girls, none of us weighed more than 100 pounds and once we topped 5'2 - that was the milestone.  I recall one Christmas when cowl necks were very popular.  My sisters and I laughed so hard as we got lost in those size 14-18 cowl neck sweaters that he insisted we try on for him.  Good times....

Another blue light special item was boxed bubble bath.  He thought it was bubble gum so he picked up several.  This was a Happy Birthday surprise for my sister Katy.  Not sure but she still might have some left.

Dad and Ann-life of the party!
My dad has been gone for just over thirty years now.  It seems like yesterday.  For those of you who have experienced my irreverent sense of humor, in large part that comes from him (although my mom can be pretty funny, too).

I don't know everything but this much I know for sure.  My dad was never one to pass up a blue light special.  I know the next time I am in K-Mart and I see that light go flashing, I won't be going alone to see what's up for grab.





Until next time,

Your pal,
#whoareyouthe#$@*scorekeeper?
(for you, Dad)

Kari



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Will it go round in circles??

My world view
So this past week I have walked 76,292 steps.  That equals 31.35 miles.  Why, you ask?  Because I can.  Most of the 30 miles have been spent downtown, walking my life away over the lunch hour.  I am amazed at the accumulation of miles in basically a one mile radius.

From my office I am about four minutes away from the State Capital grounds. which is approximately 2.25 acres.  It is a people watching mecca at all times and often there are protests, rally's or some other event for me to skirt around as I walk.

The complex is criss-crossed with sidewalks which I go up and down in a very obsessive compulsive manner.  As I face the north entrance of the capital, it is imperative that I "go west" as I begin my relentless pursuit of steps in time, always then varying my route by slight degrees.  I like to keep things interesting.

All the time I am walking, I am so busy...inside my head.  Often times I wear earphones,  as I like a musical background while I process.  Some days I solve world affairs in short order.  Other times, I stick to solving my own affairs,  On those days, I win resounding arguments in my head.  I AM BRILLIANT!!!  I am gentle but firm in all rebukes that I must deliver during my 30 minute exercise in solving work conundrums.  When I fall off my "always half full" wagon, those are the days spent walking in silent despondency.  Thankfully, they don't come often.  They are usually followed by prayer walk days.

I know my face must attest to my thoughts at times.  And I know I am not alone.  As I traverse the maze of opportunities each day (and with this beautiful weather, most of my travels have been outdoors), I often see people like me.  The solitary walkers.  And I watch their faces.  Sometimes their lips move wordlessly, or the eyebrows will raise slightly....but they are working things out in their head too. We are an army, all marching to our own beat.

Sometimes I try to divert from the Capital grounds but I am always drawn back before the walk is over.  It's not a mystery, really.  When "us five kids" were growing up, we could not wait for the first real snowfall.  We had a nice sized backyard, and once the snow had stopped, we would run around in a circle, until it was well defined.  We would then create connecting paths within the circle so that soon it was one, big maze.  Now, we were ready to play snow tag.  And the rule was, you had to stay within the lines of the maze.   (and so also began my odyssey with obsessive compulsive disorder).

I don't know everything, but this much I know for sure.  I love to walk, and I don't mind walking in circles.  In fact, as evidenced, I can walk for miles this way....and go absolutely nowhere.  But in my head, I have seen it all!

Until next time,
#keeponmoving

your pal,
Kari

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What we have here....

All we have left are words...
Well, it's finally happened.  I really thought I would get by without going through an awkward phase with this particular daughter.  You mothers who have daughters know what I am talking about..when you just can't seem to communicate on the same level that you used to.  Something has changed, although both of you will swear that "it's not me".

Even more shocking is the fact that it's not my 18 year old I am having this failure to communicate with.  It's one of my daughter's who left home YEARS AGO.  The one that claimed to be my "mini me" and that (until now) I have always been "on the same page with".  Even today she said to me, "I just don't understand what you are trying to say to me..." or maybe words to that affect.

WHY did she have to get a SAMSUNG when she knows I have an IPHONE??????  She is the one who introduced me to emoji's
and now almost everything I say (in pictures)  is lost in translation.  It's like we aren't even the same people anymore!!!  With this newest upgrade, I have the coolest new faces (and gestures) I want to share with her, but it's all for naught.

SHE DOESN'T GET ME ANYMORE!!!!
Alcohol-the great translator!

I just sent her my newest fave - the upside down smiley face.  Who doesn't love that?  Well, Marissa doesn't, because SHE CAN'T SEE IT!  And she blamed it on ME.  The mother who remained true to the IPhone that Marissa (yes Marissa) encouraged me to get.  And now, we have a year to go on this ill-fated contract that she signed, that will further drive a wedge in our relationship.

I thought about sending her that new hand gesture that came out on our latest update, but that wouldn't be setting a good example.  I think you Apple users know which one I am talking about.  I guess I will just stick with the praying hands.  Apparently, even Samsung carries that one. (YAWN)

Luckily, I am typing this week's blog on my computer rather than my phone.  Because I would be emoticoning all OVER THE PLACE!

Don't get me wrong.  While our relationship is being tested, we are coping as best we can...with whatever words we can come up with to use in replacement of appropriate emoji's.  It's just so hard.

During this trying time, while I don't know everything, this is what I do know.  I HEART all things SMILEY FACE (of any type) and many other emoticons too numerous to mention at this time.  And just to be clear, we can communicate quite well on one thing - GO ROYALS!!!

Until next time,
#useyourbiggirlwords,

Your pal,

Kari


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Play it again....

I have become increasingly aware of a problem that exists in many areas of our life.  And it begins when we do something wrong.  Believe it or not, this will happen to all of us at some point in our years on this earth.  And the problem isn't that we have done something wrong.  THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  I believe the problem is the rarity in which problems are dealt with correctly.

We live in a community that hashes over how we do everything wrong.  Turn on the evening news on any given day and you can hear about mistakes made,dating back several years.  Especially during these political times!  I will use a more recent example.
Not "those" officials- But real none the less

I am still hearing on the news, radio, etc. about a San Antonio football game that happened weeks ago, where players attacked an official - perhaps at the instigation of their coach.  Okay.  How many times do I need to hear that?  They have replayed the story over and over -  talking about different angles -how it might have happened, what could have lead to it happening, etc.....BUT NEVER once have I heard them talk about this negative event in the context of what should have happened.

What do I mean?  I mean just once, break down the situation and talk about an outcome with a different ending, once the alleged negative behavior has occurred.

The reason I point this out is - I believe this type of attitude plays forward in all types of scenarios in our lives.  We have the communicators who speak aggressively rather than assertively.  We have the managers/supervisors who may honestly believe they are addressing a problem by going over our mistake 50 different ways but never once stating how they would like to see it resolved.  Or we have the parent personalizing behaviors instead of addressing problems.  Just like we see on TV.

I don't know everything, and I am far from perfect, but when I error, I hope I error in kindness.  My goal is, both to myself and others, visualize and then express what the expectation looks like. Anyone who knows me will tell you, some of my best explanations are given with an analogy.

Until next time,
#whatcanidodifferently
#whatcanyou?

your pal,
Kari






Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The first thing you read...is the room

There is so much written about just "being yourself" but we all know that isn't really true.  Don't we?  And if you haven't learned that lesson already, you will soon enough.  I would dare to say you are close to 30 (or under) and may still think that everyone wants to know who YOU really are.  And that we all have the RIGHT to be who we REALLY are....at all times and in all places.

Au contraire, mon ami.  For those of you who are not bi-lingual, that means, On the contrary, my friend.

Or "read the house"
I was sitting on an airplane the other day (minding my own business) but came close to stepping into someone else's,  I chose not to for a couple of reasons.  I was tired, I had heard the words before...and primarily, I didn't have small children with me.  There were two guys sitting directly behind me. They were speaking clearly and quite loudly so I could not help but overhear.  And what I overheard was the f-bomb every other word.  Now, like I said, I have heard the word before, may have even said it myself a time or two, HOWEVER, as I have told my kids more than once - "know your audience" or "be aware of your surroundings" or how about "time and place"?

My mouth may not have said anything but my face told a different story.  And when I looked around, I noticed other people were "expressing" the same disdain.  Now, before we all start spouting off about how we don't care about what other people think about us...we all know that isn't really true. Don't we?  If that was that case, we wouldn't take such care in our appearance, the clothes we wear, etc.  I think sometimes we just forget.  A momentary lapse of how we come across to others.

I can still remember when the light bulb came on in my head.  I was 25 years old (yes, I caught on rather quickly if I do say so myself).  I had said something quite rude out loud while I was at the bowling alley with our work bowling league.  I instantly knew that I had offended an older woman on the team.  My first reaction was to puff up and get all defensive (after all, this was after hours - I can say and do what I want - BLAH BLAH BLAH).  I quickly realized I was reacting that way because I was embarrassed.  Perhaps in another venue, with other people, I would have been fine.  At times I say rude things because I think they are funny.  Not everyone appreciates my sense of humor.  I was being schooled in "how to read a room - time and place and knowing your audience" and it was a bitter pill to swallow.

BUT I DID.  I went up to the woman and apologized.  Because in reality, I meant no harm and I did not want her to think less of me for something so small.  That type of impression can travel fast.  Not necessarily the faux pas but the inability to rebound gracefully.

So, while I may still be far from perfect (this is a chronic condition that I am learning to live with), what I have learned is to be gracious and recognize the opportunity for a "do over" when it presents itself.  And maybe even more importantly, the ability to allow others to do the same.

Until next time,
#bethebestthatyoucanbe

your pal,
Kari

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Lost Years

We've got "Class"
That is what I call all those years between high school graduation and now.  Because while I can account for them for myself (for the most part) how do you begin to catch up with people you haven't seen since all the tassels were flipped from one side to the other and caps were flying?

Yes, I attended a high school reunion this past weekend and it really is more painful for me to think about how long ago that was than the passing of several "milestone" birthdays.  As I sat there, looking around the room at faces (which for the most part I could still recognize) I pondered at how the only thing that separated us from the friendships we once shared is "time".

Obviously (painfully obviously) this isn't my first rodeo when it comes to attending high school reunions.  We had the obligatory ten year reunion which was fun because we all still were young, many just starting promising marriages, careers and families.  Fast forward to the twenty year reunion and while we were still young(ish), the gleam on the fresh outlook was starting to fade for some and many first marriages had been traded in for second (or third) by this point.

Before we knew it, fifteen more years had slipped by.  Time to gather for the 35 year reunion. (somehow no one managed to get us all together before then).  By now, most of us had grown kids and all baby pictures were of grand kids.  Thankfully, our picture name tags from days gone by made it easier to recognize who we once were.

Which brings us to this past weekend.  Notice now we are getting together every five years.  The list of classmates lost to tragic accidents, foul play, cancer, etc. gets longer as the years go by.  There isn't much time to waste.  And I noticed a different mix of people attending this year.  I saw girls (women) that I have known since I was eleven years old.  We went to grade school, jr. high and high school together.  I have crystal clear memories of playing barbies at Kim's house, admiring her new baby brother and being quite jealous.  I saw Kurt and can still see his house on the corner in our neighborhood.   And that is just to name a couple.  But collectively, I have no idea at all of what kind of people they have become, or what kind of life they have lived for the past 40 years.  Nor they of me.

After the 35 year reunion, a Class of 75 page was started and many people post pictures, etc. on that website.  Those of us on Facebook have all "connected" so we felt much more "familiar" when we saw each other this time - five years later.  But truly, the one person I can pick up where I left off with had saved me a place at her table.  I haven't seen her for five years but we text randomly and call each other sporadically.  She knows I will make my entrance once I am sure she is there, stay for dinner, the group photos, and like Cinderella (except there is no prince involved and I would never make it to midnight) I will slip out -telling just her goodbye (truthfully, I act like I am just going to the restroom).

I don't know a lot about reunions but this is what I do know, I know a lot of people put forth extreme effort to make it possible (of which I am appreciative).  I enjoy seeing everyone (even if I don't speak to everyone).  It's good to see those who used to be ....now.

Until next time,
#youcan'tgobacktowhatoncewas
#Cindyismybff

your pal,
Kari

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Watch your language!

It's all in how you say it!
I love the English language.  All the nuances and different ways to say and spell all the words we have been given command over,  A word "spoken" can have so many different meanings, depending not only on how it is spelled, but the context in how it is used.  Even our "sayings" can be confusing to those who don't speak English as the first language.  Heck, forget about English being the first language, depending on where you live in the country can "say" a lot about the way (not weigh) you speak.

I remember growing up, when us five kids (and that is how we said it) heard someone reference the Perry Dam, we would begin making nervous eye contact before we began elbowing each other and fighting the inappropriate laughter, surely believing that this person was swearing in mixed company.  And that is how we always referred to ourselves, "us five kids", unless it was Mom or Dad, and then it was "you five kids".  We were our own little posse just wanting to be heard (not herd - or herded).

People also tend to emulate language they particularly like.  Case in point.  Mr. French (until recently) owned a trucking business.  In his shop, they could often be heard saying 10-4 instead of "okay" or any other word that indicated agreement.  Now, the tone could be varied.  It could be in total agreement, a question,  or could have a resigned sound to it.  I personally like to say 10-4, so I have incorporated it into my own vocabulary and am pleased to report that as I have entered government service, it has become a new word on the 9th floor.  Oh sure, it was met with some surprise (dare I even suggest amusement?) at first, but now, it;s just....a big 10-4.

The most recent literal interpretation of the English language happened to me at a meeting I attended in San Antonio.  There was a group of us gathered and while I knew (not new) everyone, this was not true for all in attendance.  Acting as facilitator, I made the following statement.  "Since everyone here may not have met, and it's always good to put a face with a name, let's introduce ourselves.  We will go around the room and start with you, Buster.  (The name has been changed to protect the innocent.).

Buster stood up, stepped behind his chair and ...proceeded to begin going AROUND THE ROOM!!!!  I KID YOU NOT.  I wish this was a recorded meeting.  Thank goodness I am an adult now and know (not no) how to handle such things.  When I was done laughing (not so quietly) and had managed to catch my breath, I stopped Buster by saying graciously, WHAT ARE YOU DOING??  Buster replied sheepishly with a shrug of his shoulders, "you said to go around the room...."  I could not make eye contact with him for the rest of the meeting.  And it was a long meeting.

You have to understand, Buster is from Louisiana.  Apparently, I have more power than previously recognized.

I don't know so much but this is what I know for sure.  I will certainly WATCH MY LANGUAGE going forward.  I have a responsibility.

Until next time, (not thyme)
Your pal,
#clownstotheleftofme
#jokerstotheright

Kari









Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The culmination of a journey

2009-2015
This morning Madi and I hopped (not literally) on a plane to Dallas for what seems like a very short journey, but in reality, we began this trip ten years ago.

When Madi was eight, I took her to her first concert..,Hannah Montana. Oh yes, we all remember that beautiful, talented girl before she became who she is today. Unrecognizable. But interestingly enough, even though Hannah was the main event, Madi left that night with a heartfelt (literal) interest in the front band...The Jonas Brothers-specifically Nick. That was the tee-shirt she wanted and as she got older, she never lost her interest.

We attended several Jonas Brothers concerts.  We had the obligatory Jonas Brothers themed birthday party. She had more tee shirts with Nick specifically, than Carter's had pills (as the saying goes).  She signed her letters Mrs. Nick Jonas. We are talking. All. In. 

When she was eleven, she broke her leg.  While recovering, she wrote a letter to Nick, telling him about her injuries but finishing with "when I am 18, I am going to meet you."

This letter was all but forgotten until this summer when we were going through some old boxes. When we came across it, Madi pinned it on her bulletin board, and I pinned it in my memory. 

Her dad and I didn't have anything special planned for her 18th birthday until we heard that Nick Jonas was going on tour.  Should we purchase that VIP much coveted package which included photograph, autograph, dressing room visit and being serenaded?  Did I forget the guitar picks?  And after show party?

Right now, I am sitting in the balcony watching Madi and Kenadee jockey for position in the front row, waiting for him to come on stage. 

After the photo session, Madi came over to me, put her head on my shoulder and wept. 

I don't know everything but this is what I do know. The culmination of a journey carries a lot of baggage. Even happy  journies. And this was a particularly sweet ride.

Until next time,
#notthepope
#sogladthejourneywasshared

Your pal,
Kari

PS. EARPLUGS ANYONE???

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Careful what you wish for!

September 12th was an exciting day for me.  My phone has been ready for an upgrade since May and I have not been in a rush this time.  Around July, when I started thinking I might go ahead and order a new phone, I heard two things that prompted me to wait.  First - after August 13th, Verizon was doing away with contracts.  Well, since I wasn't considering "doing away" with Verizon - all the better to get a new phone without the commitment.  Secondly - being an avid iPhone fan -and only having a 5s - I heard the announcement that a new upgrade to the 6 would be available on September 9th. That was all I needed to know.  And the wait began.

Madi and I made the switch from "flip phones" to "smart phones' as soon as the option became available.  And we never looked back.  In fact, it has been so long ago, I can't even tell you when we last held what we thought at the time was "modern technology".  Not so quickly for Mr. French.

What college is this?
He held on to that flip phone long after it lost its luster.  People would text him and he would complain (first about the added cost  $0.50 a message - since he was not a subscriber) and finally about his inability AND UNWILLINGNESS to text back on a phone that you had to go through all kinds of gyrations to create a message.

He also spent countless hours upstairs - tied to his desktop computer, because of his unwillingness to recognize the benefits of a smart phone.  Rather than miss out on Prime time, he did have a TV mounted in the corner of his office, but what about family time?  If we wanted to spend time with Mr. French, we had to crowd into his office and directly compete with his computer, TV and flip phone (business calls were never exempt from our evenings).

HE is in there somewhere-with his phone!
What to do, what to do????  Madi and I finally thought we had it all figured out.  March came along with a special someone's birthday and SURPRISE - it was time for an upgrade.  We introduced Mr. French to a smart phone of his very own.  In fact, due to the timing - his smart phone was SMARTER than ours.

No more slinking away of an evening to check emails.  He could do this from anywhere.  At first, he limited himself to just emails and texts (welcome to the 21st century).  But soon enough, he had a presence on Facebook and an app for every sporting team and affiliation he was interested in, downloaded on his Very. Smart. Phone.  These things all take time to follow.

And like I said - he could do this from ANYWHERE!!!  For example, remember last week when we were on our college visit?  Yep.  Did I mention dinner time?  Watching TV?  In the middle of a conversation?    WE HAVE CREATED A MONSTER!!

Since his first introduction to an iPhone, he has "on his own" made sure he stayed ahead of Madi and myself on upgrades.....until now,

I don't know what the future holds but I do know this,  Madi and I will be in the next class of iPhone users by the first part of October.  I guess we will wait and see what the "monster user" will be texting us with next....

Until next time,
#upgradingjustmyphone

your pal,
Kari

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

First time college visit - facing Reality with Dad!

So, today we took Madison on her first college visit.  Over the next month we have a couple more scheduled and this particular university, Texas Lutheran, is located about 70 miles away.  Madi is interested in going to a small campus.  Keep in mind her graduating class has 50 students.

First, we went on a campus tour with a student ambassador.  Her name was Jacqui and she is a junior. It was a PARTICULARLY warm day, close to 100 (who's counting humidity) and because my lower back has been acting up, I was wearing one of those nifty heating wraps that direct heat right into the sore area (for 8 hours).   I was in Hour 5!   It probably looked liked I was going through hot flashes...because I WAS.  On a positive note, this walking tour racked up about 5,000 steps towards my goal today.  I didn't leave before I hit 15k.
This makes it REAL!

Next we met with the admissions counselor.  Madi talked with her first.  Then Terry and I were invited in.  Apparently Madi was all talked out because once we got in there, you might have thought I was the potential student.  I asked about the different majors, types of classes, how the school applied scholarships to test scores; all the normal things a student would (should) be interested in.  For the most part, Terry was busy on his phone (spoiler alert - subject of an upcoming blog) so I thought we were winding down.

Not so fast there, Missy.

When the counselor asked if we had any last questions, Terry put down his phone like an interrogator puts down his weapon (think Law and Order).  The next series of questions came out like the staccato of a rapid fire machine gun.....barely giving the poor counselor time to think, let alone compose an answer.

"Can you tell me the crime statistics on campus?  Violent crimes?  Are the dorms segregated - male from female?  NO???  Are the floors secured?  What about the bathrooms then?  Is there adequate lighting outside?  Where are the security cameras?  YOU DO HAVE SECURITY CAMERAS??"

By this point, Madi and I have picked up OUR PHONES, and are "making busy" when we aren't giving the admissions counselor encouraging (albeit empathic) looks and making sounds in the back of our throats that sound somewhere between trapped, embarrassed, and/or pained.

The counselor assured us, with a shaky smile, that her dad was the same way.  SURE HE WAS.....

The rest of the visit was somewhat of a blur.  There was a meeting with the softball coach and a trip to the bookstore but I was too busy looking for security patrols, cameras and any other type of assistance that I should have been looking for all along.  Where were the police dogs????

I don't know a lot but this much I know for sure.  Daddy is going to have a hard time relinquishing responsibility of his baby girl come next year.

Until next time,
#livingindenial
#70milesistoofar

Your pal,
Kari


 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Scars are souvenirs you never lose....

One of my favorite lines from the Goo Goo Dolls song, "Name" goes like this...Scars are souvenirs you never lose, the past is never far".  Scars are interesting.  Everyone has them and most of us can tell a story about how we got our scars.
Identifying mark if needed

I have a scar on my left pointer finger that goes across the width of the finger.  It's faint now (over 50 years old) but
I still remember cutting that ham with a very sharp knife while I held it with my left hand.  I was about 5 or 6 years old and probably wasn't supposed to be doing what I was doing.  From that point forward, I have always cut my meat (and everything else) putting the knife in my left hand.  Isn't that odd?  As if it were my right hand's fault?

The scar above my left eyebrow is all that remains of a cyst that I was born with.  It disappeared for a few years and then came back and stayed,  And stayed.  It was about the size of an egg yolk and at times would have the consistency of same and at other times would be as hard as a rock.  After the cyst was removed, for many years when I touched my forehead in that area, I would feel it on the top of my scalp (towards the back),  Now I just don't feel anything.

Then there are the multiple scars I have across my abdomen.  It looks like I have been butchered. The worst occurred when emergency surgery was necessary and left me with 25 staples going straight up from my pelvic bone to past my belly button.  Not very attractive but I certainly wasn't in any position to argue, Although it's been eight years, to this day I don't like to have anything touch or rub on this scar. It's very uncomfortable and I imagine it will always be this way.

These are the scars that you or I can see.  And there are feelings and stories associated with each example.  Let's think about the scars we have all endured at some point in our life that no one can see.  And even now, there are feelings associated with them, or not.  Maybe, like my forehead, we are just numb.  But there are stories that go with each and every one.  And some days those scars are rubbed the wrong way.  We still bleed inside.

There is a new TV show on called "Save a Life".  I am a sucker for all things medical, even if I have to turn away half the time.  This show takes place in an emergency room and is quite graphic at times.  There have been a few instances where the people brought in have been stabbed.  It is always a bloody mess, but I am always shocked by how small the stab wound may actually be.  It's a critical situation because all the damage is done on the inside.

That's how I think about our scars on the inside.  It may have seemed incredibly minor at the time, but inside it caused all kinds of damage.  Or, although it was so long ago, and it was a terrible experience, loss, heartache, this scar never healed properly.  And how about the scars we bear that are ours to bear alone? I imagine for every scar we carry, we are responsible for inflicting one on someone else.  It's a lonely, cruel world out there.  Sharp objects are not always necessary to leave a mark.

So this is what I know for sure.  For me, with a little bit of make-up, and proper attire, most of my scars can be concealed.  Not everyone is as lucky.  And all of us have those days when the scars we hide on the inside threaten to overflow into our behavior on the outside. Then we are at risk of wounding others or being wounded again.  My goal is to be aware.  And focus on being the salve for healing rather than the cause of more pain.

Finishing strong with the rest of the refrain...."Did you lose yourself out there, did you get to be a star?  Don't it make you sad to know that life, is more than who we are"

Until next time,
#Iwonttellnooneyourname

your pal,
Kari (my name)


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Do we recognize privilege when we have it?

Me and a couple friends
I had the "privilege" to attend a luncheon today where the featured speaker, Dr. Jeremy Suri, talked at length about successful leadership.  In the context of his speech, he talked about opportunity, which got me to thinking......

This is always a dangerous thing because at one point in the presentation he even talked about the importance of words and how they told a story.  The story had to be engaging enough to keep the audience (in this case, specifically me) focused and involved so they would not be thinking about other things.  So, with that being said, I really was paying attention.  I took a few notes to remind myself of what I wanted to ponder later, and then... I did!

First of all, I believe opportunity and privilege could be used interchangeably.  And I think many of us focus on these two words often in the context of what we DON'T have.  Perhaps will never have.  And therefore, we may end of feeling "less than", or as if we are missing something.  But I started thinking about it from a different angle.  Even different time frames, and I came up with a different viewpoint.

Where I am at in life right now, is very comfortable.  I am "privileged" in a number of ways.  I enjoy the full benefits of being employed (monthly paycheck, health insurance, holidays, etc).  I am privileged to have a husband who loves and respects me; I am privileged to be a parent to six children - all of whom enjoy good health and of whom I get to see fairly regularly.  I am privileged to be a "Mimi" to five grandkids I would not trade for all the gold in China (bad example based on recent stock market activity but you get my drift).  I have a beautiful home, a bad-ass car, the benefits of a post-graduate education, good friends, etc. etc. etc.  I really could go on and on.
The younger years!

So let's dial it back a few years.  When I was growing up my mother worked two jobs to ensure we had food on the table and a roof over our head.  My siblings and I all enjoyed good health and grew up "fighting" close.  We saw our grandma every week for as long as she was living and we all had bicycles, radios, Monopoly games and whatever other "age appropriate" toys were around at that point in time.

I will tell you that my life then and my life now look very different.  Some folks would say I was "under-privileged" growing up.  Our house was small, our clothes were few and we all got jobs by the time we were 15 to offset some of the expenses of growing up.  I am certain at the time I wanted more than I had.  But even then, I had so much more than a very large population. When I read about kids going hungry, homeless, suffering from terminal illness, I am reminded that I am and have been "privileged" my entire life.   I guess my point is sometimes we are so busy wishing we had more, we forget to be thankful for what we have.

Certainly not a life without loss (never promised), or challenges (have had my share of hard times)  but upon reflection, a life rich with privilege, and opportunity.

I don't know a lot but this much I know for sure.  Given the amount of blessings I have enjoyed over the years, it would certainly be my privilege to recognize opportunities where I can give back.

Please join me.

Until next time,
#justonemoreopportunitytocount

your pal,
Kari

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Does it have to be such a struggle?

Apparently the answer is yes.  I have been following a daily devotional lately by Pastor Phil Ressler and we are studying the Book of James.  On one of the days, Pastor Phil was discussing life's purpose and a particular line resonated with me.  "No matter what, life will be a struggle.  Will you choose the right struggle?"

There is so much truth in those two small sentences.  At what age did life become such hard work?  I would not say that this "work" cannot be rewarding, but it certainly presents a diverse basket of challenges on any given day.  Long before adulthood arrives (and I mean REAL ADULTHOOD - not to be confused with the legal age to vote), the days become littered with decisions to make, different paths to go down, choices that seem small at the time; all of which can impact outcomes. Not only at the end of that given day, but the domino effect of day over day.  And that's if we make the RIGHT choice.

How many times have you heard "I am really struggling with this" or "I am really struggling today" over the course of your life?  And truly, the meaning could be as fleeting in meaning as "I didn't get enough sleep last night" to "I miss my (son, husband, brother) so much.  Struggles are as physically limiting as they can be emotionally crippling.  I have seen people struggle with their spending habits, their eating habits, their smoking habits and their life choices.  Each one can have a strangle hold on desired outcomes.

And for every struggle I have witnessed, at one point in my life, surely I have experienced a struggle somewhat similar or identical.  Because like Pastor Ressler reminded me today, "No matter what, life will be a struggle."  I wonder why we thought it would be anything but?

Anything worth having is worth working (struggling) for.  None of us are any better than anyone else so we certainly are not immune to the challenges life has to offer.  And yes, some struggles seem easier to get through (though not always at that moment in time).  Many struggles are life lessons and we only need to go through them once (if we learn anything at all!!).  And then there are those struggles that we simply never get over, we simply just "get on with".

So how do we choose the right struggle?  It sounds relatively simple but that in itself is deceiving.  Should we think "big picture" before we decide what we want to resist each day?  Is it as easy as "not sweating the small stuff"?

For all those days I struggled with not being able to wake up; to not being able to fall asleep, for not being able to start something; to not being able to finish something, for desperately trying to understand and then not wanting to understand at all, I shake my head in wonder.  Is life really a game of tug of war of which we play both ends of the rope?

I believe we all "struggle" with something daily.  Sometimes serious, many times not, but this much I know for sure and am eternally thankful for.  At the end of the day, I never struggle with my salvation.  This has been bought and paid for.  And for that I give thanks.

Until next time,
#nostruggleinHisGrace

your pal,
Kari




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How Am I Doing? So Glad You Asked!

Go ahead, ask me how I am doing?  I am not the type who wears my "heart on my sleeve", or carries a "chip on my shoulder" but I will take a quick look at my wrist and give you the 411 on what's going on with me!

Let me digress a little.  Although it seems like yesterday, apparently it was on May 17, 2012 when I could first access my information on the IPhone (although I believe I had my first Fitbit for about a year by then).  As you are aware (because of my OCD nature), I am a counter my nature and was counting steps long before it became popular or there were even gadgets available for such frivolity.  I did go from "counting in my head" to the little pedometers we would get every year at the health fair.  I like to have proof of my accomplishments.

Talk to me!!!
So here we are 4+ years later, and I am now the proud owner of a Charge HR!  Believe me, the Fitbit (or Karibit as I call mine) has come a long way since the beginning of its inception.  There have been times when I could have been their best sales person (it would be appropriate at this time to comment if you bought - or received as a gift - your first Fitbit because of my finesse in this skill set).  DON'T WAIT FOR ME TO CALL YOU OUT.  It would take an entire paragraph (but could show up next week, if I don't see your names)

What CAN'T this little gem tell you?  First, we start with the time of day (say goodbye - Mr. Watch). Following a quick time check - and this is necessary because you can't expect to get 10,000 steps in a day by getting a late start,  the Karibit reveals just how many steps I am at- REAL TIME.  So, for example, at 4:46 pm on Tuesday, I was at 7,240 steps.  Not too shabby.....  Since I was sitting down when I did this check, my heart rate was at 64 beats per minute.  THAT'S RIGHT (hence the name CHARGE HR).  Next up was how many miles I had walked that day.  I came in just under 3 miles at 2.92 but let's face it, the day was young.  I had successfully burned off 1,221 calories from this frenzy of activity called my life (again, wasn't even bedtime yet) AND I had climbed 9 sets of stairs.

Now what is important to note here is this.  I have a dream!  My dream is that one day, I will walk 10,000 PLUS steps EVERY DAY.  I will climb no less than 12 flights of stairs on a daily basis and that I will be able to do this without my heart rate escalating to triple digits out of control.  I will walk 5 miles every day and my waist line will boast of this accomplishment.  And I won't wake up from this dream until it happens.  (Speaking of sleep...)

But wait, there's more.  This little beauty syncs with my IPhone and tells me SO MUCH MORE!!! Go ahead, ask me how I slept last night?  Why, very well, thanks for asking.  While I woke up one time and was restless 10 times, it appears I met my goal (8 hours) by getting a total of 8 hours and 28 minutes of sleep.  I LOVE THIS THING!!!!

I don't know a lot of things but this much I know for sure.   I know when I ask my sister Katy, how she is doing, and she looks at her wrist and tells me - it's time for me to upgrade my Fitbit.  At this time, I would like to thank Katy, Amazon Prime, and my husband who supports my addition to counting.

And I do know one more thing, if you call me, my little Karibit will be buzzing my arm and when I look, it will tell me YOU are on the PHONE.  I KID YOU NOT!!

Until next time,
#sogladheisnotcounting
#callme
your pal,
Karibit
ummm, Kari


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My cake is on fire!

Tear it up?  Really?
My little grand girl, Averie, had her first birthday on Sunday.  A year has gone by already and as we all know, that first year is filled with...well, many firsts.  And once a "first" happens, it can never be repeated as a first, but can only be refined.

As the only grand girl, Averie has had her fair share of attention.  She has two older adoring (and adorable) brothers, many aunts ready to buy dresses after a season of boys that started 14 years ago (not that there is anything wrong with that), not to mention Mimi and Grandma's.

I started thinking about Averie's big day from her perspective and wondered what her impression must be.  Imagine for a minute, you are again, a small child.  Much beloved and taken care of and you wake up, just like any other day......

For me?
It's a regular day except today when my mom picked me up, she said, "It's the Birthday Girl".  Is she talking to me?  Hmmph.  Every time someone sees me, they say "here comes the "Birthday Girl".  I was just getting used to being called Honey Pie or Averie.  Now I am quite certain I am the Birthday girl.  This makes everyone else smile when they say it.  I am smiling now, too.

It seems we are having a lot of extra people in our house today.  I know many of them but some of them I have only seen in pictures.  And quite frankly, some of them I don't know at all.  But all of them are bringing in bags and boxes that look like they might be fun to play with.  And everyone is friendly so it's all good.  When I start to scoot over to see the boxes, they quickly are moved out of my way.

Yay, kids that I have seen before are here that are almost the same size as me.  Well, when they sit down, we are all the same size.  I am going over to sit with them.  Mom is bringing over those colorful boxes now and letting me tear the paper.  THIS NEVER HAPPENS.   Fun toys are in the boxes but  apparently I can only look at them, because once the box is open, it's time to move them out of my reach and start on another box for me to tear.  This happens many times.  Every time I tear the paper, people clap and smile.  WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?  This is not the reception I usually get when I am tearing things up.  I like being the Birthday Girl.

Looks like fun...
Soon we have tore up all the packages and there are new things to look at all over the floor.  All the paper has been picked up and the fun boxes are gone.  Some of the big people are playing with my new toys.  Are they for everyone?  As I start to reach for one....

I am scooped up and taken to my high chair.  Wait, what's happening?  Who turned out the lights?  Who picked me up?  I already had lunch but someone has now buckled me into my high chair.  In the dark.  Wait, I smell something.  Is that smoke?  I see lights...oh my gosh. What is going on?  My mom has just taken a perfectly good cake and lit it on FIRE!  FIRE!!!  Why is everyone surrounding me?  All these people in the dark, chanting something about a Happy Birthday.  HELP.  Is  that my MOM coming at me with that cake on FIRE?  What kind of sick, twisted ritual is going on around here?  Oh no, I'M THE BIRTHDAY GIRL!!!

None for me, thanks.
Then we wonder why she knocked that serving of cake across the room when it was served to her. Seriously, the "party" was over for her.  My daughter told me she was fussy and ready for nap but I knew the real reason.  She wanted out of that room because, knowing she was the BIRTHDAY GIRL, she wasn't confident that she wasn't next.

And now after all these years, I understand why, whenever someone sings Happy Birthday to me, I find myself fighting back tears.  I always thought I was just being silly.

Until next time,
#repressedmemoriessurface,

Your pal, Kari


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What do YOU do when you have a lost tooth?

It seems to be a reoccurring theme at my house.  I don't know if my daughter plans it this way, but one or the other of my grandsons always seems to arrive with at least one loose tooth when they come to visit.  And I don't just mean for extended stays.  This could even be for an overnight.  Who do I look like?  The Tooth Fairy (don't answer that).

Early on, I acquired the reputation for the official tooth puller (when one needed a little coaxing in coming out.  I just seem to have the gift to get kids to open their mouth so I can just "wiggle" it ...just a little and SNAP - it is out of their mouth before they realize what has happened.  No strings or slamming doors needed.  I magically open my palm and there it lays, in all its bloody glory.  Every once in a while I will hear, "You said you weren't going to pull it", to which I will answer, "It was so loose, it just fell into my hand".  Case closed.
Partner in crime

So, it was no surprise to me when Nathan (11) told me as he was visiting this summer, he had not one but TWO loose teeth.  I asked him if he needed me to look at either of them to which he assured me that no, he was good.  (He is wise to my ways).  It was the last night he and Ethan were staying when he came down triumphantly to my room, tooth in hand.  I think the tooth fairy must pay more at my house because this always seems to happen.

Naturally, I did what any normal, grandma (or in my case, Mimi) would do.  I said, "Nathan, quick, give me that tooth".  He was not so quick to hand over the prize.  I assured him I needed it for just a short while and that it would be "funny".  The look he gave me as he handed it over did not spell confidence but nevertheless, I had what I wanted.  Madi quickly went and made popcorn and we set the stage.

Soon Terry came in the room and I began eating popcorn, gave a loud cry of dismay, followed by a cough into my hand.  Terry came over and now I opened my palm, and there was the "tooth".  If academy awards were being handed out that night for impromptu performances, I assure you, I was a shoo-in.  As I bitterly "wept" and Terry tried to comfort me, Madi started laughing.  He was appalled.  He had his hands full -comforting me and then shockingly, he had to deal with an unsympathetic teen.  He said,  "Madi, this is not funny".  Which caused Nathan to start laughing.  So now, with my head buried in his side, shoulders shaking in what he thought were waves of agony (in fact, laughing so hard I almost was crying) he was mouthing all kinds of messages to both of them, which will not be repeated here (family audience and all).  Finally, I pulled away and handed Nathan back his tooth.

Terry was so confused.  It was the best joke ever.  Of course, then Mr. French didn't think it was as funny as we did.

I know not everyone appreciates my sense of humor, but this much I know for sure, I kept myself awake longer than usual that night because I couldn't stop laughing.

And I slept better than I had in a long time.

Until next time,
#laughteristhebestmedicine

your pal,
Kari


Sticks and Stones

Who remembers chanting these words (or a variation thereof) when called a name?   "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can ...