Reflections

Once June hits around here, we have a birthday/anniversary/special occasion at least monthly for several months, which is pretty cool. 🙂 My birthday is coming up next month, and I have been thinking about the emotional growth spurt that I experienced recently. One morning this week, before I got out of bed, I had a phrase from one of the birthday songs the children of our church sing to one another by Barbara McConochie: “one year older and wiser, too.”

Though wisdom might have evaded me as a child, I have considered moments from this summer which have brought me insight and strength. I have been taught in ways that I would not have imagined possible on subjects as diverse as faith or screenwriting, as connected as family is to friends. I have experienced moments of ease as well as moments of pain, moments of heartache and moments of triumph. Each day, I have been sustained by those around me and a power beyond my own.

What have I learned?

  • I am stronger, more capable, more powerful than I knew before this moment.
  • My family has the capacity to strengthen, bless, and uplift.
  • I have a voice to sing.
  • Life is filled with blessings, even as we struggle.
  • Struggling helps us (if we let it).
  • Life is good.
  • Gratitude each day is crucial.
  • I can be happy, no matter what goes on around me.
  • Prayer changes situations, hearts, minds.
  • As we work together to support each other, we’ve got this.

Till next time. xoxo

Ode to the Washing Machine

I’m sad to let you go…

We’ve seen hours of work together, you and I
I count you among my closest friends

You came into my life when I was expecting my first child
Since then, we’ve worked together, preparing and cleaning clothing for
Many who followed.

You’ve seen me through infant twins
(and all their laundry).

You’ve been strong through it all
Stalwart, faithful

(Except for the time you broke, and then broke again)
YouTube was our lifesaver, yours and
Mine

I couldn’t count the loads we’ve carried
Together.

Now, as we part ways, I feel sadness
Mixing with gratitude

Your replacement is new and shiny, with fancy
Lights and buttons, innovative settings and a computer chip

But I will miss you.

Thank you.

Beyond Blessed

Today I am feeling overwhelmed with joy…and I wanted to pass some along in your direction.

I have a place to sleep, and it’s filled with people I love.


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My kiddos don’t notice if I cut my hair, much less if I “do” it or put on any make-up. They don’t want me airbrushed in photos. They love me for who I am.


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My husband is one of the most patient men on the planet. I’m convinced. Don’t try to dissuade me. We’ve stood together, ready to tackle the ups and downs of life for many years–and I’m looking forward to an eternity of more.

Us

I have a cupboard full of food, cabinets overflowing with pans, and a recipe box stuffed with the roadmaps to create our favorite foods. Plus, if I don’t feel like cooking, I have frozen pizza in my freezer or a car with gas to grab take-out.


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I have amazing friends. Need I say more?

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I can listen to favorite songs on demand. Wow. That is so cool.

(See the Spotify Playlist in the sidebar.)

Clean running water, warm showers, and painting my toe nails rock my day. 🙂

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I can smile…anytime. Anywhere.

Karin

What are your favorite blessings right now? How do you celebrate gratitude in your everyday living?

Invisible Battles

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Jesse Owens’ words strike a chord of truth. What battles are you fighting within yourself? Maybe you struggle with making ends meet, as Jesse Owens did later in life. (For a brief biography on Jesse Owens, watch here.) Maybe you find you are not living up to your potential. Maybe you feel threatened by someone. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. Maybe you are dealing with loss that others have forgotten.

As you consider the invisible battles you fight, please be aware that others around you are fighting their own invisible battles.

Everyone struggles. Struggling is part of life, and–as we work through our struggles, we become stronger.

Still, the struggles are hard. They can seem never-ending.

I heard recently of a middle school student who chose to take his own life due to the weight of his invisible battles. I was saddened by his decision to take his precious, young life from this world.

This morning, I heard of a dear friend’s passing following a three-year battle with cancer. She was an angel to many–always concerned with strengthening and uplifting others. Personally, she supported me with a listening ear and a loving heart through my busy and exhaustive years of child-bearing. I mourn for the loss of the beauty she brought into the world and am grateful for the joy that I feel because she was part of my life. She seemed to be sensitive to those who were fighting invisible battles themselves, lending a helping hand even when she wasn’t well herself.

Working through our own invisible battles–whatever they may be–allows us to grow from our struggles. Let us remember to have hope, to carry on, and to count our blessings. Though we may struggle, we can find the supporting hand of others to help us. We can reach out to help, which lightens our own loads that we carry. We can be honest with ourselves and others regarding the way we feel.

As we face and work to win our invisible battles, we will be strengthened with a victory more precious than gold medals, more powerful than fame, more valuable than anything monetary.

We will feel whole.

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Final Results

Well, I know I posted my “I did it!” post at the end of last month…but for my records (& frankly so I can throw away the little Post-it note that kept my running total word count that bothers my husband since it’s still by the computer), I’m posting my NaNoWriMo 2013 progress here:

Fri, 11/1 – 3,443
Mon, 11/4 – 7,359 (+3,916)
Tues, 11/5 – 10,228 (+2,929)
Wed, 11/6 – 14,006 (+3,718)
Thurs, 11/7 – 17,779 (+3,773)
Fri, 11/8 – 18,873 (+1,094)
Sat, 11/9 – 20,572 (+1,699)
Mon, 11/11 – 25,038 (+4,466)
Tues, 11/12 – 26,814 (+1,776)
Wed, 11/13 – 30,506 (+3,692)
Fri, 11/15 – 34,091 (+3,585)
Sat, 11/16 – 35,562 (+1,471)
Mon, 11/18 – 40,105 (+4,543)
Tues, 11/19 – 42,529 (+2,424)
Wed, 11/20 – 43,672 (+1,143)
Mon, 11/25 – 46,838 (+3,166)
Tues, 11/26 – 50,497 (+3,659)

I have a difficult time taking credit for what I can do. Frankly, I was supremely happy and generally amazed that I could write so many words each day. I felt blessed by progress on days I applied myself to writing, and I had more than enough “days off” to balance kiddos and homework and appointments and date night and church (& all the other stuff I do in my non-spare time…)! I feel blessed to have been able to accomplish this goal, and I am eternally grateful for each of you for supporting me! I couldn’t have done this without you!!!

2013-Winner-Square-Button NaNoWriMo

Sending you all the best!!!!

Thankful for Marriage

I am thankful–with a week left until THANKSGIVING–for my dear husband. He’s still gorgeous, strong, thoughtful, tender, and loving after putting up with me for over a decade and a half…and that’s no small feat. HE IS AMAZING!!!!

Here are today’s songs:

Meiko – Stuck On You

One Direction – Kiss You

Gratitude for Nature

I had to restrain myself from posting this right away last night after I watched it. I was quite moved.


As we continue to think about giving thanks this month, I hope this short TED talk from Louie Schwartzberg will give you a few moments to reflect and ponder.

I recall an amazing experience this summer when my husband and I were in St. Lucia as part of a family trip. While there, we went snorkeling at two different reefs, and I felt amazed by the beauty and majesty of creation. I continue to be grateful for those moments while, surrounded by myriad creatures such as brilliantly colored fish and squid, I felt the blessing of being a part of God’s creation. I knew that He created this amazing earth for us–His children–and I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

When have you been captivated by nature or overwhelmed by the blessings of creation?

You Are Thankful for WHOM Today?

Today, I am thankful for my mother.

She wasn’t the mother I thought I wanted, but she was definitely the mother that I needed.

I thought I wanted the mother who had warm cookies cooling on a cooling rack as I walked in the door from school each afternoon. I thought I wanted the mother who sewed matching dresses (think The Sound of Music minus the drapes). I thought I wanted the mother who took me shopping at the most stylish stores.

Instead, I got a mother who taught me that all people have reasons for being the way they are, and that I could be understanding and accepting, no matter what. I got the mother who, when she was too ill to leave her bed, spent hours on the phone speaking messages of hope and faith to others in similar situations. I got the mother who showed me that faith and family came first, above worldly accolades or any external successes. I got the mother who sang, beautifully and magically. I got the mother who taught me my way around the kitchen, how to load a dishwasher, and how to piece a quilt–skills I am now passing on to another generation.

And I am grateful. I am grateful not only for what she did–but for who she was (and is), and most importantly for the person she has allowed me to be.


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***Remember that you can still join in with 50 Days of Thanks! Check the Facebook event to RSVP!***

Catching up…

So, I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately in the blogosphere. Sorry! I have been working to edit my novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2012…it’s the deal I made with myself that I couldn’t do NaNoWriMo 2013 if I didn’t have my 2012 project in the next phase of pre-publishing–at least somewhat. I’m happy to say that it is getting close, and I am trying to figure out what friends love me enough to tell me the truth about if what I wrote last year is worth anything–yes, I want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about it–honestly–so I can re-work what is necessary to get it into a publishable state. 🙂

I’m grateful for the time of reflection during the editing process…and I’m grateful for the patience of the manuscript. It quietly waits for me through screaming children, dinner prep, and even my own thoughts wandering, pondering, and praying through some recent sad experiences of loved ones.

I have cried with my character’s losses again, as I did while writing it (which has been healing to my soul as I’ve allowed myself to shed tears for what is going on in my present life as well). And, I wonder if the power of the story will speak to others as it does to me. I am hopeful.

So, please pardon my absence. I am juggling life right now, continuing to celebrate gratitude, eating lots and lots of Skittles, and editing…so I can do it all over again!

And, mostly, I am happy! 🙂

Prayers that you are, too…and sending love and light your way…!

Writing a Scholarship Essay
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