While at Target today I randomly left cash laying around. I pinned together a few bucks with a note that said “treat yourself today”. Hopefully this act of kindness outweighs the other acts of not so kindness that I performed today. 😬 #kindnessmattersmonday 

Last night I was not being kind to myself. I woke up feeling tired and in a slump. So today I’m trying to remember that kindness begins with being kind to me. #kindnessmattersmonday 

Kindness Matters Monday (5-7-17)


Hi friends,
Last night I made a passing comment to my children but today I decided to act on it. 
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Kid one says something. Kid two makes a sassy comment. Kid one rebuttals. Kid two repeats sassy comment. Kid one says stop it. Kid two repeats sassy comment. Kid one yells stop it. Kid two repeats sassy comment. Parent asks kid two to please stop. Kid two quietly repeats sassy comment. Kid one and Parent yell, just stop it. 

Know what I’m talking about? After an episode or two just like this last night I said in exasperation, “Why can’t you just be kind to each other?!” That’s when I made my comment/threat. “I’m going to make this week Kindness Week. Every day you have to do something kind.” I said something but I didn’t do anything. 

While doing the school drop off thing I noticed myself speaking in a “firm and frustrated” voice to the other parents doing their school drop off thing. “You’re suppose to pull all the way forward so the cars behind you can pull up to the curb too. Idiot!”  

And then I realized how much not only my children need to show more kindness but I need to also. 

So I am doing something. I am starting Kindness Week. My challenge for you and me and my stinker face children is to purposefully do something kind each day. From today until next Monday I challenge each one of us to make a conscious effort to go out of our way to do something kind to somebody in our path each day. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be grand. It can be subtle. It can be small. Just one thing that shows kindness.

A few years ago I had a sign made to hang in my home that says “Kindness Matters”. It’s time for me and each of us to act on that. I know my children can be more kind. I know I can definitely be more kind. The world could use some more kindness. Why not start with us?

“Spread love wherever you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your warm greetings.” -Mother Teresa

Last Wednesday Holly Heap would have turned four but Holly has passed away. Her father, former NFL player Todd Heap, accidentally hit her while moving his truck. To remember Holly on her birthday the family asked everyone to spread love and joy through random acts of kindness. They said Holly gave the best hugs so they asked everyone to post their act of kindness using the hashtag #hugsforholly 

“As we rise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.” -Thomas S. Monson

Let’s keep the kindness going. I commit to doing something kind everyday this week. I will post reminders and great quotes and messages on Facebook and Instagram. And I ask that you please, please, please share your acts of kindness. Shoot me an email or post it on social media use hashtag #kindnessmattersmonday

Here are some ideas of ways to show kindness: give a hug, chat with someone in the grocery line, leave a bigger tip than normal, call a friend, call your mom, call your dad, bring in your neighbor’s trash can, share your cookies, compliment someone, leave a note, smile. 

This email is a little late but it’s never to late to show love. I hope and pray that I show you love through these emails and in other ways. Let’s all show love this week by spreading kindness like confetti. 

You are amazing and have something amazing to give. The world needs someone like you. 

I love you,
Kendra

Lifting Monday (5-1-17)


Hello and Happy May!

 I read a quote that put into words something that I have always wondered. 

Pope Francis spoke at a recent TED talk and said, “As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: ‘Why them and not me?'”

Pope Francis said it so succinctly, “Why them and not me?”

Years ago my sister and I were rollerblading around a park. At the far side of this very large park, the opposite end from where our family was, we came to a hill that led into a parking lot of sorts. I remember at the bottom of this slope there was a fence with brick or cement on the bottom and a type of railing on the upper half. Going down the hill on our rollerblades my sister tried to use this fence as a way to stop herself. If I recall it was my suggestion to do so. The wall definitely stopped her. She plowed into the fence scraping her knees on the brick bottom half and crashing into the railing with her face. It was quite the fumble. I remember the long, slow, limping walk around the park back to our family. We carried our rollerblades walking barefoot so my sister could use our socks to stop her bloody nose. She was hurt bad and I felt terrible. Why hadn’t I gone first? Why hadn’t I suggested another way? Why was I able to make a turn that kept me from crashing? Why her and not me?

For the past twelve years I have had the great opportunity to be a stay at home mom. When I got pregnant with our first baby I was working full time and I had been the primary bread winner. At the same time as my pregnancy my husband’s business took off, it just started booming. I was able to cut back to part time because I was so miserably sick.  When our baby was born I used up my maternity leave and never went back. I had been given my greatest wish in life, to be a mother. And I have been able to do so without having to divide my time. Out of the seven girls in my family I am the only one who has consistently been able to stay at home with my kids. Why do my sisters have to leave their kids to go to work when I get to stay with mine. Why them and not me?

Pope Francis went on to say, “I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s ‘discarded’ people. And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: ‘Why them and not me?'”

I often wonder why my life is so good. Why I have so much. Why? 

With so much chaos and sadness and misplacement around the world I cannot help but wonder “Why them and not me?” 

In my searching and with my limited knowledge the only answer I can come up with is because “We are placed where we are so we can love and lift others.” (Carol F. McConki)

My brother’s favorite hymn was Because I Have Been Given Much. It says:

Because I have been given much     I too must give                         Because of thy great bounty Lord. Each day I live.                                        I shall divide (my) gifts from thee With every brother that see      Who has the need of help from me

Because I have been sheltered, fed By thy good care                                    I cannot see another’s lack and I not share.                                           My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,  my roof’s safe shelter overhead That he too may be comforted

Because I have been blessed by  thy great love dear Lord                 I’ll share thy love again.   According to thy word.                       I shall give love to those in need I’ll show that love by word and deed.                                                  Thus shall my thanks be thanks in deed

Maybe it’s not me because I have a different challenge to face. Maybe my challenge is to lift up the hands that hang down. Maybe, just maybe I can be the hope of those who are sick, misplaced or in pain. Maybe I can be a friend to the lonely. Maybe I have been given so that I can give. 

My hope and desire is to be kind, to lift, to love. I hate to see people hurting. I cry when others are sad. I have many many many faults. But I think I have one thing going for me. My desire to lift. That desire is just an itty bitty seed that definitely needs help growing but it’s there and I’ll start with what I have. 

So, my friends, how can I help you? What can I do for you? How can I help lift? I am sincere in offering , please don’t hold back from asking. 

I love you,

Kendra

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