Broken Mondays (1-30-17)


Hello my friends.

How are you today?

Have you ever heard of “kintsukuroi”? I hadn’t either but I am now fascinated with it. Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. The pottery becomes more beautiful because it is broken. The breakage and repair becomes apart of its history rather than something to hide. It is a Japanese philosophy of embracing the flawed and imperfect. It’s also called the Japanese art of recognizing beauty in broken things.

Aren’t we all broken? Aren’t we all, like the porcelain pottery, fragile and susceptible to breakage? We all have our breaks and dings and chips. But how do we treat them? Do we hide our breaks? Do we take the time to mend our breaks? Do we search for the damage in others? Are we gentle to those who are breaking?

At times I am ignorant of my own broken pottery yet very critical of others. I can also be forgiving and tolerant to others’ broken pieces but often repulsed and unforgiving of my own.

I love this quote by Jeffrey R. Holland, especially the last sentence.

“Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.”

Can we begin to look at the broken, including ourselves, as more beautiful and of more worth? Like the Kintsukuroi pottery can we embrace the flawed and imperfect? Can we be merciful, nonjudgemental and kind?

Can I be merciful, nonjudgemental and kind to myself?

I so much want to be the potter that adds gold to beautify and strengthen all the broken pottery. I think we all can be. A little bit of kindness gold here and a little bit of nonjudgemental gold there. I think we can do it! I think we can all be beautiful pieces of Kintsukuroi pottery!

Have a great week. You are important, you are special, you are so very very loved.

Love,

Kendra

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/like-a-broken-vessel?lang=eng

Moments on a Monday (1-23-17)

Have you ever wanted to stay in a single moment? Just settle in and live there permanently. Or, at least, never forget that instant and be able to replay it exactly as it happened over and over again. 

I had one of those moments. My big kids were playing at the park and I had a minute to just sit on the floor with my 5 month old. He was doing his brand new yell/growl thing and blowing raspberries. I was tickling him. We were laughing together. Then I leaned over and gave him big fat kisses on his soft, smooth, chubby chubby cheeks and my heart missed a beat. I was happy and sad at the very same moment. I was so very happy to be in that moment with my sweet, perfect baby. But I was sad because I knew it wouldn’t last. And worse, I knew  I would lose the feeling of his little hands touching my face and I would forget the cute noises he makes. 

Having this new baby, seven years after my youngest, has been such an incredible joy. But I sometimes have moments of sadness because I can’t remember my other babies as much as I want to. I remember general stuff but not the specifics, not those sweet little moments that you promise yourself you will never forget.  (I should seriously look up Lucy’s birth weight. Pretty soon she’s going to realize that 6 something isn’t an actual weight…)

I was talking with some friends about how our minds are like a file folder. We can easily recall the files in front but it takes longer to access the files in the back. I hope one day I can find all those good forgotten files. I’m perfectly ok if the bad ones are unsalvageabley moth eaten. (I think I made up that word). But just to find those good ones again, that would be grand. 

On the other hand, there is plenty I hope to permanently forget. You know what I mean, the times I forgot to feed them dinner or the many times I’ve totally lost my cool or the times I’ve been so utterly frustrated I wanted to just walk out the door. I’m sure you have some of those, right? 

So, I snuggled my baby and recommitted to slow down and be more present, more aware and less frenzied. I committed to look for the next sweet moment I want to never forget and the next and the next and the next. 

What are some of your “please don’t ever let me forget” moments? How do you help yourself remember them? What do you do to try and be present? 

After my little recommitment experience I was in the parking lot walking to my car and I had a flash back that made me laught out loud. It was when my boys were little little, like 2 and 3ish. We were leaving Target and walking to our car. I was trying to keep the boys walking close to me. “Come on , keep up, stay close to mom!” Jackson kept lagging behind. I turned to tell him again to stay close and saw that his pants had fallen down and he was waddling as fast as he could with his pants around his ankles! Oh my sweet, butt less Jackson!

Please, please, please have a wonderful week and try to remember all those grand moments. You are so very loved. 

Love,

Kendra

Hello on Thursday (4-27-17)

Hello!

I’m sending a not so typical email because today I am celebrating (as I often do) some silly holidays.

National tell a story day, Pay it forward day and Thank you Thursday

I want to thank you for your support and kind words and pay my appreciation forward by telling a story.

I like to write stories. I write them for my kids. Recently I challenged my kids to write a story. They chose the topic of super heroes then asked if I was writing one also. I agreed and chose to write about Jackson’s hamster that he worked very hard in school to earn as a class pet that we take care of on the weekends and over summer break. I am, even though it makes me so very uncomfortable, going to share that story with you.

“Dreams do not work unless you do” and my dream is to send you my love and to share my writing. So, here it goes. Happy National tell a story day, Pay it forward day and Thank you Thursday.

Super Gidget

Gidget is a small hamster. She looks like a little ball of gray fluff. Her eyes are big and she has a curious nose. Her whiskers twitch as her nose sniffs and pokes and explores. Gidget has four children. Harrison is the oldest. He has lots of thick dark hair and wears glasses to help him see all the books that he loves to read. Jackson, the one who teases and makes jokes, comes next. His sandy blond hair would have wavy curls if his parents didn’t make him cut it all the time. Jackson hates haircuts. Blond hair, blue eyed Lucy is the only girl in the family. She can create and build anything she imagines. Calvin is the baby. With light hair and dark blue eyes this chubby baby is always happy. 

Gidget is happy too. She loves her little home with its igloo shaped house that is just the right size for napping or eating the treats she keeps hidden in her cheeks. She loves running on her wheel. And she loves her children. They have gotten quite good at taking care of her. Giving her fresh water, cleaning her cage and stroking her silky fur. Her children might be human and Gidget is definitely a hamster but she loves them anyway. And she will do anything to protect them.

Gidget is serious about safety. She means business when it comes to taking care of her kids and the world. It is her business. Gidget is a full time, first rate and highly accomplished superhero. Don’t let her size fool you. She’s the real deal. She has a cape, a mask and even a sidekick, Barkley. Barkley has black curly hair that he wears in a mohawk. He is the family’s pet standard poodle and Gidget’s right hand man, errr dog. 

Gidget didn’t always know she was a super hero. It all started one standard Saturday afternoon.

“Come on kids! Calvin’s in his car seat. Dad has his keys. It’s time to go to Grandma’s”. Lucy, Harrison and Jackson had been enjoying some time off school and chores and were playing on their iPads. As soon as they heard “Grandma’s” they jumped up and raced to the car. 

“Bye Gidget,” Jackson called before the door closed behind him. Gidget peeked out of her little igloo house to wiggle her nose goodbye. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Lucy’s iPad, perched precariously on the edge of the couch, start to fall. As fast as lightning during an Arizona storm Gidget did something unexpected. She squeezed through her cage, raced for the falling iPad and caught it just before crashing to the ground. 

When Gidget realized she was standing on the family room floor holding Lucy’s iPad above her head she immediately felt concerned about being out of her safe, comfortable cage. Before she could blink she was back where she started, in her little igloo house. She looked around and saw the iPad in the pink case lying safely on the couch. 

“What just happened?” Gidget said out loud. Barkley, who had wanted to eat Gidget when she first came to live with the family but soon decided she would be a better friend than a snack, looked at her in astonishment. 

“Gidget, how did you do that?”

“I’m don’t exactly know. Actually, I’m not really sure what happened.”

Playful Barkley acted out the exciting scene of Gidget squeezing through the bars of her cage and suddenly appearing under the falling iPad, stopping it from crashing on the ground, placing it carefully on the couch and retracing her steps back to her cage. Gidget watched in wonderment.  

“How can that be?” Gidget questioned. “Why was I able to do such a daring thing?”

The two friends talked and shared ideas about Gidget’s unbelievable feat and how it had happened until their family came home later that evening. As soon as the family walked through the door Barkley ran to jump on everyone in greeting and Gidget went to run on her wheel. 

Her wheel always made her feel better. It was the perfect place to think and Gidget had a lot of thinking to do. As she turned the wheel round and round she replayed in her mind the scene of how she had magically saved Lucy’s iPad from inevitably breaking. She thought of the long conversation she and Barkley had shared. It felt like a dream but her loyal friend reassured her it was definitely not. 

“It’s like you were some kind of super hamster, appearing out of nowhere to save the day,” observed Barkley. 

“Oh, I’m not a super hamster, I’m not a super anything. I’m just a little gray ball of fluff who loves her kids more than anything.”

“Don’t say that Gidget. You most certainly are super! You have a super love for your family. You’re super patient with all the silly things I do. And you’re the best friend I ever had, well, next to the kids. This just proves it to the world.”

“To the world?” Gidget exclaimed in shock. “No one saw it but you and me and it was hardly noteworthy.”

“I disagree,” said Barkley. “What you did was amazing, incredible, definitely super. You have a gift, a talent that needs to be shared.”

Gidget didn’t feel so sure about that. She didn’t feel so sure about herself anymore. Gidget ran and ran on her wheel. The faster she ran the faster the thoughts came tumbling out until she finally collapsed, falling asleep right there on her still spinning wheel.

While Gidget slept she saw herself dressed in a bright red cape with a large golden “G” shining in the center. She felt herself flying through the sky, the wind in her fur, searching for catastrophes about to happen. She listened for cries of help. She sniffed out trouble.

The next morning Gidget woke to the soft sounds of Jackson asking how she slept while he gave her her breakfast. 

“You silly Gidget. When I went to bed last night you were sleeping in your wheel and this morning you are still there. That’s what I love about you Gidget, you always make me smile.” And he reached in to stroke her silky fur.

Although Gidget slept in an uncomfortable position that night she woke feeling surprisingly rested. Her mind was calm and she was no longer troubled by the events of the previous day. She wasn’t quite sure why. Maybe what had happened had just happened and there was no explaining. Or maybe her dream was a premonition of things to come. Whatever it was Gidget felt good about herself. Although she still had one question, if she had acted lightning fast, in the blink of an eye, how had Barkley been able to see it all and in such detail?

Over the next few days Gidget and Barkley had little time to discuss the events of that not so standard Saturday. Life had gotten busy for their little family. Between Lucy’s first ever cheer competition, Jackson’s pinewood derby for Scouts, and the boy’s upcoming Fathers and sons campout everyone seemed to be full of excitement and rushed here and there. The two furry friends couldn’t help but participate in the excitement leaving them no time to talk. Pretty soon Gidget’s act of wonder became a distant memory. Until the day Mom became so busy with rushing here and there, doing this and that, trying to plan, organize and execute everything she had to do. Mom almost stepped on baby Calvin’s tiny hand as he crawled determinedly toward the pile of laundry she was trying to fold. Without realizing it Calvin had moved only inches away from being, literally, under foot. Super Gidget struck again.This time neither Gidget nor Barkley could deny what happened. 

Gidget had been lounging in the corner of her cage curled up comfortably in a pile of bedding when she sensed something was wrong. Without thinking or even knowing what she was doing, Gidget acted. Through her cage, over to save baby Calvin and back in the blink of an eye. She effortlessly moved her sweet baby from having his fingers crushed. Not one person noticed but Barkley had seen every detail.

With one look Super Gidget and her trusty sidekick, Barkley, became a team.

Barkley and Gidget realized they could sense what the other was thinking. No wonder they were such good friends. Gidget had cat like reflexes. She could sense danger before it happened. And she could appear where she needed to be without being noticed by the human eye, or any eye, other than Barkley’s. Not to mention her incredible strength. And Barkley. Barkley could anticipate Gidget’s moves, seeing her in action when no one else could.

And so it began. A team, a super team. Hamster and dog. Dog and hamster.  Working together to save their kids… and the world.

(Sign and photo by Jaxnblvd)

Don’t know about you Monday (1-16-2017)

Don’t you just hate it when your well thought out plans fall through? When you make a decision and work towards that goal and then things change and you’re left wondering, “now what?” You can keep doing what you’ve been doing for a little while but sooner than later you have to make a choice and change directions. I find it even more challenging when you feel so strongly that the direction you were heading was exactly where you were supposed to be then all of a sudden your not so sure anymore. My husband likes to say, “there’s nothing like no choice to help you make a decision.” Those are the decisions I like, the ones with very few options. It’s easy to choose what to eat when I’m at In n Out because they have three options. Cheese, no cheese or double double. Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. But when I go out to eat and there’s a five page menu, forget about it. Making a decision with all those options is a killer.

So we had a plan. A good, solid plan. But all of a sudden I’m not so sure about it. Now what? I really dislike not having a plan. I don’t like not being sure of where I am going when there are so many changes around me. I feel unsettled, ungrounded. I can deal with changes much easier when I have a goal.

What do you do when you feel turned around? Do you like to have plans or do you prefer to make life up as it goes?

I do know that things have a way of working out. So, on that note, have a great week! Do something that makes you happy then go and do something that makes someone else happy.

Love,

Kendra

How are you Monday?


Years ago I read a book where the daughter described how she received a phone call every Sunday from her parents. She looked forward to these phone calls because it gave her parents the opportunity of catching up with the entire family. But what she loved and looked forward to even more than her Sunday phone calls was her Monday phone calls. Dad and Mom called on Sunday but Mom called on Monday. “How are you really doing?” was the question her mother always asked. 

About six weeks ago my niece reached out to me. At the end of our conversation I asked what I could do for her. “Just check up on me every once in awhile.”

As I was reflecting on our conversation I started making a mental list of other people I wanted to check up on. My list grew and grew. I kept thinking of all my family and friends. Thinking of their struggles and daily challenges. Thinking of my challenges and how they have been lightened from the simplest act of a friend acknowledging me. I so wanted to find a way to reach out. 

That’s when I remembered the Monday morning “how are you really doing” phone calls. I suddenly knew a way to let all the people I love know that I love them and to tell those who are feeling alone that they are not. That next Monday I began. I sent an email to every single person I could think of who might want/need/appreciate someone asking “how are you really doing”. 

And so it began. Monday emails.  Encouraging emails. Thoughtful emails. How are you emails. And now, how are you blogs. 

This is me checking in. This is me asking “how are you really doing?”                            This is “How Are You Monday”. 

Happy Monday to U2 (1-9-17)


Hello!
How was your week? What do you have planned for this week? How is the new year treating you so far?

I’m doing well. We had a few struggles with school last week but it ended on a positive note so that’s good. I got a haircut and had a cavity filled, one was more enjoyable than the other. And today brought exciting news. This year is the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, the amazing album of my absolute favorite band, U2. (If you don’t know this album I highly recommend it. It will change your life.) To celebrate, U2 will be going on tour performing the entire album in full! If this isn’t exciting news I don’t know what is!!!                           

I was 5 when this album came out. My brother bought it and I grew up listening to it. My style of music was highly influenced by my brother. Which brings me to my main point. Today is a day of remembrance for me and my family. On this day 9 years ago we received our very own personal angel. Our angel has been watching over me ever since. There have been many times when I have felt his love, support and watchful care. Although this is a sad day it has also become a day of gratitude. Gratitude for my angel brother and all the other angels in my life. I have been blessed with so many. Good friends, family who loves me, teachers who go above and beyond for my children, doctors, even strangers who have shown me kindness or have offered words of encouragement. 

Who are the angels in your life? How have you been blessed by the action of others? 

I found this quote that I love and would like to share. 
“You have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike… you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection.” -Jeffrey R. Holland
Please remember that you are not alone and you are so very very loved. You have amazing things that only you can do. Look for the Angels in your life, they are there and there are many. 

Love,

Kendra

Happy new Monday (1-2-17)

Happy New Year!
How was your 2016? What are your big plans for 2017? Did you have a good Christmas and New Years? Are you ready to get back to real life? 

We had a great holiday break. My kids loved being with our family and cousins so much that going back to school today was quite the ordeal. (I don’t blame them. It was miserable enough being the one getting them out the door.) 

But really, I worry. If it was that rough at home what is the rest of their day going to look like? As soon as they hopped on their bikes and pedaled off I said a prayer. I prayed that they would have a good day. It’s been a few hours and I’m still worried and still praying that they will have a good day and I’m bracing myself for when they come home and dump all their frustrations on me. 

So, what if it’s a bad day? Does that mean my prayer wasn’t answered? And is it really possible for every single day to be a good day? Chances are it will be a rough week. And life is crazy. Most days are just days with a little bit of good sprinkled here and there mixed in with large doses of bad. Do I really want my kids to have a good day every single day? No. What I really want is for my kids to learn something about themselves. To grow. To be stretched. To become better. Although it would be so nice to hear them say, “I had a good day”, everyday, the fact is they are growing and changing and I want to see them become the best little versions of themselves possible. To do that they have to overcome those bad days. So maybe, instead of praying that they will have a good day I should pray for them to learn how to get through their day. And I definitely need to pray that I will learn and grow with them. 

So, I pray that you will learn something today and everyday that will help you battle your way through this life. You are strong, you are important, you are so very loved, you have something special to do that only you can do. 

I love you,

Kendra