Hello on Thursday 


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)

Expectations Monday (4-24-17)


Happy Monday. How are you today? How are you really doing? Don’t forget that it’s ok to admit when you aren’t doing that great. It gives you the opportunity to acknowledge those buried feelings that are bogging you down.

Something that has been bogging me down lately is all the many expectations that I have. I expect my kids to cheerfully get ready for school in a timely manner without getting sidetracked. I expect my house to clean itself, one can dream right. I expect my dog to not rush the door when people come over. I expect my family to joyfully eat every meal I prepare then jump up enthusiastically and without being reminded help with dishes. I expect my hair to stay perfectly in place the way I imagine it. I expect to consistently reach all the goals I’ve set for myself. And the list goes on and on. Quite frankly it’s gotten out of control. 

I heard a quote “Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” This was a major epiphany to me. With all the expectations I’ve set for myself and others and life no wonder I so easily get frustrated. I’m just so tired of it. I hate feeling annoyed with my family. I’m sick of being frustrated with myself all the time. And I am so very sad that it weakens relationships.

 A few weeks back I talked about how I’m trying to change and become a more pleasant person. “You become if you do.” I’m getting a little impatient that I’m not becoming as quickly as I want to become. Expectations. Stupid stinkin expectations and that nagging inner dialogue. 

So here’s the million dollar question… How do I lesson these many expectations? What do I do to stop the constant demands? How do I lesson the frustrations and annoyances I feel?

These aren’t rhetoric questions. I’m really searching for some solutions. Other than acknowledging what I’m doing and constantly telling myself it’s ok I really can’t think of anything else. So what do you do? Do you have any ideas or things that help you?

I could blame this all on the lack of sleep I’ve experienced lately. (Expecting my baby to sleep peacefully through the night even though he is teething like mad.) But that’s not owning my choices. Because it is a choice. Sometimes a hard one and definitely harder for some people then others. I’d say this is definitely a hard one for me. Maybe a good nap will help me have a different perspective that will give me the answers I’m looking for. Here’s to hoping. 

Have a wonderful day and a wonderful week dear friends. I think of you daily and hope you know I care. 

Love, 

Kendra

Good Monday (4-17-17)

Good morning!
I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. Mine was filled with lots of family, candy and a little bit of bunny shaped chocolate cake. 

On Friday I had the amazing opportunity of visiting the homeless. A friend of mine goes about twice a month to downtown Phoenix. She not only hands out water, food and supplies but meets and visits with some of the homeless. She was so kind in letting me tag along. I want to share her Instagram post from Friday.  


“It’s a very Good Friday for some human kindness. Today’s theme was SOCKS and SODA!!! We also handed out Easter cookies. This is Jerry. He just moved to a halfway house yesterday and showed me 60 pictures of it. He also liked my shoes a lot and then asked if I was married. Haha! I said, “Jerry, are you hitting on me?” He said, “Can’t hurt to try” !! 😂😂😂 Also, we met a lady named Cathy who was having a really rough day. She and her boyfriend had a fight and now she can’t find him and she has to go into the hospital for the next several days for her epilepsy. They will be forcing seizures to try and help her. She is very scared Soooo, if anyone has room in their prayers for her, that would be great. I can’t imagine having to go through something like that on my own. She will be losing her spot at the shelter as well. Tough stuff. I love meeting these people And hearing about their lives and stories. We all have a story and purpose. Mine is to take notice of the people around me and let them know I see them. Cause how lonely it is to feel invisible.”

I love my friend’s words. “We all have a story and purpose.”

Lately I have only been interested in my own story. I have been walking around trying to be invisible for my own selfish reasons. I have missed out on opportunities to let others know I see them (especially my own family. I’m sorry family.) The intent of my Monday emails is to let others know I see them. But it does little good if I “see them” in an email and then ignore them in real life. 

I know my story and am learning my purpose. What is your story? What is your purpose? If you are still learning your purpose maybe we can learn together. Until we discover our own we can steal my friend’s. Together we can start to take notice of the people around us. Wouldn’t that truly make a good Monday? 

“We all have a story and purpose. Mine is to take notice of the people around me and let them know I see them. Cause how lonely it is to feel invisible.”

My dear friends. I love you. I notice you. You are strong and amazing. You have good to do. Let’s go out and do it!

Love,

Kendra

Not ok Monday (4-10-17)

Hello!
How are you today? How are you really? If you’re like me you probably answer most of the time by saying, “I’m good” or “fine” or “hanging in there.” I think most of the time I really am doing better than just “good” or “fine”. But sometimes, well, sometimes I’m not fine and I am anything but good. Sometimes I’m not hanging in there. And sometimes I need to step back and say to myself, “you know, I keep going, I keep pushing, I keep doing all these things I’m supposed to be doing. But the truth of it is I’m not ok. I’m not good. I’m not hanging in there, I have fallen off the edge and I can’t find a place to hang on to.” 

Right now, I am good. I really am doing good. But I know someone who’s not. I know someone who is putting a smile on their face and walking around feeling numb inside. I know someone who’s hurting. I know someone who is overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to begin. To you, my friend, I say “I love you”.

There is so much more I want to say but I think this song says it all…

“Sometimes you can’t make it on your own 

 Sometimes you can’t make it 

 Best you can do is to fake it 

Sometimes you can’t make it on your own 

 Tough, you think you’ve got the stuff 

 You’re telling me and anyone 

You’re hard enough 

 You don’t have to put up a fight 

You don’t have to always be right 

Let me take some of the punches For you tonight 

 Listen to me now 

 I need to let you know 

 You don’t have to go it alone”

Let me take some of your punches my friend. You don’t have to go it alone. 

Love,

Kendra

(Lyrics by U2, of course) 

Reading Monday (4-3-17)

Good morning friends!

The past three weekends I have had the opportunity in different situations to learn more about something I’m passionate about. Reading.

It started in Rocky Point, Mexico. I don’t speak Spanish, two years of high school Espanol did very little for me. If I work very hard I can kind of sound out the words but have no idea what they mean. My husband, on the other hand, is fluent. I depended on him to read, speak and translate for me. It got annoying not being able to understand and I’m sure my hubby also got annoyed with the constant “what did they say?”, “what does that mean?”, “what’s on the menu?”. But for the first time I realized what it might feel like to be illiterate. Seeing words but not being able to understand them or maybe knowing a few but not getting the context. It was frustrating to say the least and quite honestly made me feel a little stupid.

The very next weekend I attended a reading conference at an amazing elementary school that focuses on literacy. Along with attending different workshops presented by the teachers at the school and in their classrooms three authors came and spoke. It was amazing and inspiring and motivating. I came home and pulled books from our bookshelf and placed them around the house to promote a love of reading in my children and to help make reading a bigger part of our daily lives. I learned how reading sets kids up for success. For those children who don’t fully grasp reading or who don’t have access to a variety of reading level appropriate books the chances of truly succeeding in life drastically decreases.

Just this Saturday I attended a training/simulation put on by the Arizona chapter of the International Dyslexia Association. This training not only taught parents and educators how to better teach those with dyslexia it also provided three simulations to more fully understand how dyslexia works and discover what our sweet, struggling children go through every single day.

Why am I passionate about reading? Because I love it. I have always loved books. Looking through them, touching them, holding them. Before I could read I would look through books and dream about the day I could discover what wonderful things might be hiding in them. It took me just a little bit longer to fully grasp reading than it does some kids. Once I did get it it took a lot of practice to make sense of the context of what I was reading. But books I do love.

My passion for reading has increased significantly ever since I realized my own son wasn’t grasping it. He had a horribly awful terrible third grade year when reading changed from learning to read to reading to learn. He is so incredibly smart that his frustration became uncontrollable and affected his behavior and how he felt about himself. After lots of research, asking questions and reaching out to friends and reading specialists I became convinced he had dyslexia. So we had him tested. He was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia and executive function disorder. No wonder this kid was frustrated!   My heart hurt for him and at times still does. I didn’t and don’t want my son to go through life not being able to uncover the wonders of a good book. And I hurt thinking of the struggles he will continue to have his entire life. I recently read about an intelligent, successful grown man with dyslexia who after seven years of living in his house made the comment that the only thing he didn’t like about living there was how far away the grocery store was. He then learned that there was a grocery store down the street from his house. For seven years he had been driving a significant distance to go grocery shopping because he misread the sign of his local grocery store!

I have been doing everything I can to help my sweet guy succeed. And, thankfully, his school and teachers have been also. He has an amazing team at school helping him and cheering him on. And he’s getting it! Hallelujah! He’s getting it! Last week he read Dogman by Dav Pilkey, the same author as Captain Underpants. He not only finished the book in record time but was so excited to tell me it was the first book he ever read that he didn’t have to skip a word because he couldn’t read it. As excited as I am for my own boy my heart aches for the many children who aren’t receiving the help they need, who don’t have access to the tools that will help them read. I am determined to be their advocate to those kiddos and the 20% of American adults who are illiterate.

I am trying to learn how to help. I want to find the way I can reach the most and do the most good. It’s overwhelming. But I can’t quit. Right now I’m helping my family. I hope to one day be able to help my community.

Those days I feel frustrated and angry with life and those days I feel like what’s the point I try to think of the bigger cause. If I give up, if I quit working, if I stop caring then that’s one less person who might be able to do some good.

What are you passionate about? What is something good you want to do or are working on? What do you tell yourself when you get overwhelmed?  or be more healthy? Maybe it’s your goal to just get through the day. Honestly, that’s the majority of my days. But it’s so good to have something bigger to think about. 

So, my friends, please know that I love you. You have somethings rest to do and I’m cheering you on!

Love, 

Kendra