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Monday, November 30, 2015

Mrs. Geise, I Finally Get You

When I was growing up, our pastor's name was Pastor Geise. This pastor stuck around our little church long enough for the pastor and his wife to become actual friends with my parents.  They were good enough friends that they let us use their lake cabin once a year for family vacations.  It was a cute little cabin on a hill, next to a lake.  We swam.  We fished.  We played card games.  We read old ladies magazines (not "old lady" magazines...but old, lady magazines - punctuation matters kids!)

Pastor Geise had once shot and killed a bear and it was made into a rug that was hung on the wall right as you came into the cabin.  There is no scarier site when you are little, I promise you, than walking in and staring into those glassy eyes with those razor sharp teeth in your face.  Trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night after you have imagined that bear coming to life..and just laying in wait for picnic either.

This cabin was just a 2 bedroom cabin, so my sister, Karen and I usually ended up sharing the 2nd bedroom, big deal really, since we shared a bedroom at home.  But, at home, we had twin beds (although once upon a time we shared a double bed at home but, sadly, that was during my bed wetting years....and neither of us like to speak of that time in our shared history.)

Oh, another helpful tidbit to this story is that Karen and I didn't get along.....really, until I turned almost 18. She didn't like me.  I adored her.  I wanted to be her.  I would snoop through her things with the silent hope that somehow I would pick up that little intangible "thing" that made Karen so spectacular.  She hated it.  She hated me touching her stuff.   She hated that I always copied her...tried to dress like her...tried to wear my hair like hers.  She wanted nothing to do with me.  Really.  She even created an actual line (I think it might have been yarn) down the center of our room for me not to cross under any circumstances.  Of course I did.

Of course, I let mom and dad use me to do the occasional clandestine spy job on Karen and whomever she happened to be talking to at the time.  Usually someone of the boy persuasion.

I think you get the general idea.  She was not a big fan of me.  In general, we were not big buddies.

Fast forward to one of our stays at the Geise's cabin.  I do not remember a lot of details from this particular vacation...other than the fact that the Geise's were actually there too.  I cannot remember if they were just there for the day.  If they slept in the master bedroom and my parents slept on the hide-a-bed.  I don't know.

I just remember Karen and I were in our usual bedroom one night and...wait for it....we were getting along.  We were laughing.  We were giggling.  We were talking.  At bedtime.  Got that picture in your head?

Mom asked us to quiet that polite voice she used in front of other people.  (You know that voice.  You probably use it yourself now...right?)

We did.

For a little bit. Then something was really funny again.  So, we started up laughing and giggling all over again.

Then, Mrs. Geise's stern voice rung out over the whole cabin.  "Girls (dramatic pause here)....your mother has asked you to be quiet."

Uggg....who did she think she was!?!?  I mean....geeez.....we were getting along and everything.  It wasn't like we were fighting and being mean.  We were laughing.

Get the picture?!?

I can still totally remember this to this day.  How about you, Karen?

Anyway.....the memory really came crashing in last night at bedtime.

I had gone to bed sort of early, because I had a headache...and I was just tired.  (Not sure my new thyroid medicine is keeping up)  Anyway, I am laying in bed, lights off and I hear shenanigans in L-girls room right next door.  She was playing a card game with a few of the littles.

S-girl had gotten tired of the game and  was coming in to snuggle in bed with me.  As she lay down, I asked her to go tell the other kids that enough was enough.  Mom was in bed....with the lights off.  Mom was tired.  Be quiet.

She did.  She climbed into bed and the ruckus next door kept going....there was even a few bangs into the wall.  (Which happens quite a bit since L-girl has her bed against the wall).

S-girl realized she had forgotten to go to the bathroom - just one more time - (just like her mommy) as she was leaving, I asked her again to be my messenger.  Tell them I mean it.  Tell them mom is getting mad.  I heard her sweetly telling them them needed to be quiet.  Mom was trying to sleep.

The fun in the next room continued.

S-girl slipped back in and as she was climbing into bed started relaying what they had said.  "The bump was an accident...V-girl just....(blah, blah, blah).  They won't do it again....(blah, blah, blah)."

At this time, a great roar or laughter erupted from next door.  At which time, I shouted at the top of my lungs, "It wasn't the banging that was bothering me.  It was the laughing and giggling!  Stop it!"


Oh.  Mrs. Geise....I owe you and my mom and apology.  All these years, I had just decided you were a cranky old lady that didn't want anyone to have fun.

Now, I know.

You were just a tired mom....looking out for another tired mom.

I get it.

I am sorry.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Not Just a Sunday Thing - Week 7

We are reading a great book in my Sunday School class.  For the Love, by Jen Hatmaker.

Moment of full disclosure here....I haven't bought the book.  I was going has been sitting in my Amazon cart for over a month now.  But, it is hard for me to spend money sometimes.  So, I let it sit there, thinking I would order it later.  Then, I got busy and forgot......then, I didn't get it because I was going to be in Minnesota.....then I decided that we were already half way through the book, so what was the point..... you know?  Even though the book is completely  awesome, and Jen and I should become best buddies and hang out all the time....I decided I would
just see if I could borrow it from someone else once we finish the study.

It is so good.  A mix of deep and funny/light stuff.

Today, we talked mostly about chapter 7 which is entitled Tell The Truth.

In it, Jen (yes, I called her Jen, like I actually know her or something....) talked about living your authentic life and not caring what people think or say about you.  I  liked her caution that didn't mean you blurt out all your "stuff" to the lady you pass in the parking lot of Kroger, but surround yourself with your "people" that make it okay to be your true/authentic self. I am totally paraphrasing here, but it was a good chapter.

Our pastor made a point about honesty and being truthful in his sermon today too.  But...... here is another moment of full disclosure here.....where I will tell the truth.....I don't remember what his point even was.  He used the phrase that went something like, "Can you imagine if you told the truth...". and my brain was off and running...I let my mind get distracted by what had happened  before church today.

You see, I had logged onto Facebook while I drank my coffee this morning and perused what my friends had been up to.  One of my old friends from high school had posted a Buzz Feed video entitled "If Sex Was Honest!".  Apparently, she thought it was really funny, and even used capital letters in her description.... so....... I clicked play.  About 30 seconds in, I had to didn't seem like it was something that I should be watching as I got ready to lead worship, you know?   (You will be happy to know I was able to wrangle my mind back to for the rest of the sermon) Who knew that God was going to be able to use that piece of a video and tie it into both the sermon and my Sunday School class today?

God really is funny in the most awesome way.

Anyway, back to telling the truth.  Even without knowing all the details from the video, my brain went to the point of...what would things be like if you actually told the truth?   One of the ladies in my Sunday School class said it makes her think of that Jack Nicholson know...this one...

I didn't quite go that far in my mind....I went more towards this....

Cracked myself up with that one.  But, it is true.  That is more my truth.  I don't have any big skeletons in my closet.  I don't have a secret second family.  I am not having an affair....nor does the idea interest me in the least!   I don't have any secret obsessions or addictions.

I am just me. Trying to live my truth.  I want to sit home, bra-less and do something relaxing that isn't educational.  You know?  I really do try to present myself pretty much as I really am....but, I am hoping for the cutest picture of myself to post alongside it.  LOL  Emoji

In class, we talked about the fact that the older we get, we realize that everybody has a story...everyone has a even if they are only showing you the happy smiling pictures of their "perfect" life....or "perfect" marriage  or "perfect" children..... we know....we know it isn't really all that perfect.

One of my friends said that every "perfect" marriage she has seen has ended up in divorce.

I don't want to be perfect.  I don't want a perfect marriage or perfect children.   I just want Rainman and my 6 little people (who aren't quite so little anymore).   I want to be the best me I can be.  But, to do be that....I need to be real.  I need to be authentic.  Sometimes that is scary.  In a way, it feels like giving some of your power away to let people see all the real, truthful stuff about you....but in a way, it is freeing too.  So, I am trying.  I am trying to be real.  I am trying to Tell The Truth.

How about you?  Is it hard for you to be authentic?  Is it hard for you to trust people with your real and true self?  Any words of wisdom or advice on how to be courageous enough to let people see and know the real you?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Favorite Things from My Girl's Weekend

I always want to sing like Julie Andrews when I hear the words "favorite things", but, since this seems to be the time of year for "favorite things" posts.  Here goes!

My sister started me off in thinking about favorite things because she suggested that when we had our girls weekend, that we do a favorite things Christmas - only with our kind of budget - not Oprah's.

She is the Idea Girl, so she had given us all quick little homework assignments too...where we all wrote down our favorite t.v. show, favorite musician, favorite holiday.  All that stuff.  It was interesting.  My mom kept blurting out her answers and not letting us guess, like we were doing for everyone else.

When it came to gift giving time, we also learned that we all love lemon scented things.  I wonder if there is a DNA code for that built into us? are a few of our favorite things.

Adult coloring books

,Adult coloring books...and even our own set of colored pencils!

Old Fashioned stick candy.....

I always feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder when I suck on these.  (They would make great stocking stuffers.)

We also got this completely yummy lemon scented hand soap from J.R. Watkins - which I just realized started in Minnesota.  So, do people around here even know what I am talking about?!?

My mom gave us sugar free candies (still cares about our dental health in our old age!)

We also got yummy lemon scented hand cream for our purses. (Notice the lemon theme we had going?)

I gave them some soap from Koru Naturals.  I just love the scent and the feel of their stuff.

Manuka Honey, Fig and White Ginger Soap

The only thing that would have made our favorite things exchange any better is if I would have gotten some of my all time favorite candies while I was there (for some crazy reason these aren't sold in Georgia)

Nut Goodies are the best thing  ever!  Trust me...I can't really describe them, but if you get a chance to try it!

Any of these things would make a great gifts for friends or family.  My kids favorite gift ideas are coming soon.

Full disclosure time:  This post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you click over and actually decide to get any of the stuff I showed you, I may get a commission.  Your purchase price won't change though, so, don't worry.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful for Unique Weirdness

We are getting ready for a "real" Thanksgiving at our house this year.  Rainman, who really almost ALWAYS works on off this year!


So, we are staying home.  I am cooking.  Rainman is even going to get to watch the Bears play football too.  Dream holiday for him.

I am so thankful for him, the kids, that we have a nice big, comfy house to live in.  But, mostly, I am thankful for these people I call mine.

I always tell the kids that we are a weird family.  But, that I like our kind of weird and am sort of proud of us for being weird..  One of the last times I said that, D-man said something like....well....we aren't all that special....all families are weird in their own way.


He went on to try to explain it to me using the visual effect of  a bicycle wheel where normal is the center of the wheel and everyone's unique brand of weirdness are the spokes that extended outward on the wheel.  As long as you are more towards the center of the wheel with your personal brand of weirdness, you should be okay.  Or something like that.  He decided that we were definitely towards the center of the weird spectrum.  Not normal.....but definitely not psycho either.  Ha!

I thought of that conversation again this morning when I was flipping through the pictures on our camera.

Doesn't every teenage girl eat pickles with a fork while watching beauty videos on YouTube?  Oh...they don't?

How about this then?

Don't all moms say their little "girl dinosaurs" can wear the face paint to church the day after the birthday party?  Then, when they sleep like statues and the face paint actually stays on with nary a smudge....actually let them attend worship service with the masks on?   Oh... just me?  Well...never mind.

Does it help that I didn't let A-man wears his to church the next day? (He has a camo wearing dino hunter)

No?  How about this one then?

Isn't this how all 15 year old girls hang out in the living room with the family?  Nailed it.

How about this one?  Don't all moms take their sons out to a southern place for a celebratory breakfast when they get into their dream southern college? (By the way, Minnesota peeps, this is a southern version of The People's Cafe....they just have grits and something called Streak O Lean on the menu)

Yay!  D-man got early acceptance into the University of Georgia!  We are now past the initial excitement of it all, since is a hard school to get into, especially for early enrollment...and now are into the are we going to pay for this phase of the thought process!  The scholarship search has begun!

I have so much to be thankful for this year...but, I am especially thankful for Rainman all my little weirdos.

Hope they feel the same about me.

While D-man and I were at breakfast, he ordered from 3 separate areas of the menu...he got french toast and bacon, biscuits and gravy, and....honestly, I can't even remember what else he ordered, but he got a whole other entree in addition to hot chocolate with whipped cream.  It was a lot.  When my eyes started bugging out (and yes, adding up the cost in my head), he told me to relax....that he didn't get to eat "real" breakfasts very often, since I never cooked for him in the mornings.

I responded by agreeing and stating that I was, in fact, a crappy mom.  We both had a good laugh.  I corrected myself to say that I was a crappy mom in some ways, but in other ways, I was a really good mom.

Then, he said something really sweet.  He said that I was a good mom in all the ways that mattered. Getting up and cooking him breakfast or even having a family dinner every single night, didn't count as much as the other stuff that I was good at.

Aww....why do they move out when they start getting nicer, hmmm?

Have an awesome Thanksgiving with your family this week!

I am putting together some posts to help with Christmas gift ideas for your kids.....based on my experience with my 6 kids over the years.  Just in case your brand of weirdness is close to our spoke on the wheel of weirdness...I may just be able to help you find that perfect gift!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Completely Shallow Post Ahead

I had a fantastic girls weekend with my mom and sisters last weekend.  It had just the right amount of doing actual "stuff" and just sitting around and talking.

One day, we went to a local t.v. talk show - that is sort of the Twin Cities version of Kelly and Michael.  If you live up there, I highly recommend it.  Super fun.  The hosts were really nice.  It was fun and interesting to see how t.v. shows work behind the scenes.  It was fun and sort of nerve wracking to keep one eye on the producer as he cued the audience to clap...wrap up your clapping....woo hoo, etc.  Seriously....I was actually nervous and sort of kept my hands in the ready to clap position the whole time! (My sisters made fun of me, like any good sister would)

The hosts stuck around at the end and answered questions from the audience.  I actually raised my hand and asked a question. (sort of proud of myself)  Then they posed for pictures with us and also let us just take random pictures on the set.

This is where my sisters and I made a discovery....good lighting makes a huge difference.  We can all look really good....when there is good lighting!  (I also just realized that I am the only person in my family not wearing black!)

(Lydia...this is the talk show host that I think you look like!  She actually sort of talks like you too...but with a Minnesota accent!) in this....look how good my mom and sister look!  Then, there is me...behind the not quite so great.  See the difference?

(Doesn't my sister look like she should BE a talk show host?!?!?)

The next day, we went to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater and saw Sister Act.  (It was a good show.  Not my favorite one I have seen there, but it was good.)  The food was fantastic.  The company was spectacular.  We met 3 of my cousins and their husbands there.  We didn't have too long to chat, but it was nice getting caught up with them and frankly, just seeing their smiling faces.  You know?

Anyway, my sister had gotten a necklace from my mom, for her birthday, and we were all eyeing it.  My other sister had me try it on because, as she said.....I should be wearing more statement jewelry.  (I think it is supposed to help distract from my size and bring eyes up to my face - not my other body parts....or something like that.  We had a laugh about my really big boobs in the t.v. people shot above ....because they were right there...practically shouting look at me.....front and center, you know?!?)

Anyway, she took my picture...the lighting was funny....I she told me to just take my glasses off and try it again.

Now, let me tell you I have had glasses since the 5th grade.  I switched to contacts in the summer between 8th and 9th grade.  Then, with the addition of numerous babies and life, I transitioned back to wearing just glasses about 6 years ago....when we moved to Georgia.

I have let myself get bolder and bolder in picking out my frames.  It has been fun.  I feel like my glasses show off a piece of my personality before I even open my mouth.

As I have struggled with my self esteem/image, I have toyed around with getting (or trying to get) contacts again.  But, whenever I mention it to my friends, they all say, no.   I can't.  That my glasses are part of what makes and I should keep them.   I wouldn't be Kayla without them.

But, then I saw this picture and for the first time in a very long time....I didn't hate what I saw.  I sort of recognized this girl.  Sort of.

I felt sort of....pretty.

So, what do you think?

Should I try contacts again?  (Honestly, I have astigmatism, so I am not even sure I can "do" contacts again)  Should I stick with my glasses?

Every picture after this one, my sister had me take off my glasses as an experiment.

(Hmmm...maybe it was the statement necklace that made me look good.....)

We even started making my mom take off her glasses for pictures!  How cute is my mom doing the hand on the hip thingie that all the kids are doing in their pictures.  We made her do it, FYI.  Oh, and how adorable is her scarf?

So, what do you think?  Glasses? glasses?

Told you this was a totally shallow post today!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Not Just a Sunday Thing - Week 6

I have a friend, from Minnesota, named Edith.  I am going to use her real name, instead of calling her E-woman or something.....since, you don't hear that name very often these days.  Although I could just call her E, because she signs her letters and messages like this:


Edith and I met years ago....I am going to say it was something like 18 or 19 years ago at a women's retreat in Northern Minnesota.  She was an attendee and I was a worker bee.  I used to work this women's retreat every year as a Massage Therapist.  I would give anywhere between 12 to 15 massages in a weekend (plus, I usually had a baby at home, so I had to schedule in time to pump breast milk - I know TMI, right!).  It was exhausting.  I could barely walk by the end of the weekend....but it was REALLY good I didn't slow down.

One year, I was also asked to teach a breakout session on massage.  That is where I met Edith.  She signed up for my class and even raised her hand and asked questions.  I don't remember much about the class, but I remember I was teaching how to give a good foot massage and had them partner up with each other.  Edith raised her hand and asked what you do if you don't have a partner at home. (basically saying, what was the point in learning partner massage if, in real life, you didn't have a "partner"?)  So, I shifted the class tone to being able to work some of your own kinks and aches and pains out....if you were limber enough.  I got the first glimpse of the no nonsense, common sense kind of gal that Edith is.

After the class, Edith took my card and that was that.  I am pretty sure that she didn't book a massage with me that weekend.  I can't quite remember.  But, she did call me and schedule one when she got home.  The rest is history.  She was one of my regular clients up until we moved to  Georgia.

I have almost always ended up as actual, real life, friends with my massage clients.  Edith was no exception.  She and I ended up as true friends.  Edith is a spectacular person.  I used to joke around and tell people that I wanted to be Edith when I grew up.  (Although it wasn't really a joke)  She is a woman of faith.  She raised 8 kids.  She is well read.  She is smart.  She is funny and clever.  She has a zip in her step and a ready smile for anyone who will give her a chance.  She is kind.  She has a real zest for life and is always looking for her new adventure.  Always.  Like, she really doesn't seem to be afraid of much of anything.

Edith is also one of my most faithful blog readers. Even though her kids are all grown (and even most of her grandchildren too).  She reads every post....even my homeschool review posts.  She will send me a quick e-mail or even an old fashioned letter if she enjoyed something particular or had something to share with me after reading my blog.  Most of the time though, she just sends me words of encouragement or shares a funny story.

I love Edith.

She sent me a letter last week that included this completely awesome prayer.  She said she had come across it right around the time I shared about trying to start everyday with the quiet Jesus time.  It gave the instruction to try sitting in a quiet and peaceful area, then read the following prayer and imagine the Jesus is speaking just to you.

You do not have to be clever to please Me; all you have to do is want to love Me.
Just speak to Me as you would to anyone to whom you are very fond.

Are there any people you want to pray for?  Say their names to Me, and ask of Me as much as you like.  I know all their needs, but I want you to show your love for them and Me by trusting Me to do what I know is best.

Tell me about the poor, the sick, and the sinners, and if you have lost the friendship or affection of anyone tell Me about that too.

Is there anything you want for your soul?  If you like, you can write out a long list of all your needs and come and read it to Me.  Tell Me of the things you feel guilty about.  I will forgive you, if you will accept my forgiveness.

Just tell Me about your pride, your touchiness, your self-centeredness.  I still love you in spite of these.  Do not be ashamed.  There are many saints in heaven who had the same faults as you.  They prayed to Me and little by little, their faults were corrected.

Do not hesitate to ask Me for blessings for the body and mind; for health, memory, success.  I can give everything needed to make souls holier for those who truly want it.

What is it you want today?  Tell Me, for I long to do you good.  

What are your plans?  Tell Me about them.

Is there anyone you want to please?  What do you want to do for them?

Are you afraid of anything?  Have you any tormenting, unreasonable fears?  Trust yourself to Me.  I am here.  I see everything.  I will not leave you.

Have you no joys to tell Me about?  Why don't you share your happiness with Me?  Tell Me what has happened since yesterday to cheer and comfort you.  Whatever it was, however big or small, I prepared it.  Show Me your gratitude and thank Me.

Are temptations bearing heavily on you?  Yielding to temptations always disturbs the peace of your soul.  Ask Me and I will help you overcome them.

Well, go along now.  Get on with your work or play or other interests.

Try to be quieter, humbler, kinder. Come back soon and bring me a more loving heart.  Tomorrow I shall have more blessings for you.

I hope you were able to read that whole prayer.  I loved the simplicity of it and the simple, yet profound idea behind really and truly chatting with Jesus....about the good and the bad stuff.

I LOVED the part about Jesus loving me despite my pride, touchiness and self centeredness. Oh, and that there were saints in heaven who had those same faults!  Ha!

There is hope for me yet!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Be Still My Soul

This is sort of a Not Just a Sunday thing...on a Friday.  The other day, I was just scrolling along in Facebook, minding my own business (well, I guess when you are on Facebook the point is really sort of minding everyone else's business - but you know what I mean). I came upon a post by a fellow homeschool mom that made me start thinking and remembering. ( She is actually one of my friends that I have never actually met in real life.  She has also written reviews for the TOS Crew.)

Anyway, she had this sweet post about her daughter's bedtime prayer one night.  It was about fear and abortion.  Her daughter had just calmly stated that God was a big God and would take care of everything.  My friend talked about what a wake up call it was for her.  The faith of children can sometimes stop you in your tracks.  My friend went on to talk about the old hymn Be Still Be Soul.  I know that hymn, but, whenever I hear the words Be Still My Soul...

I think of the Imperials.

Do you remember them?

They were around....hmmm....I guess in the late 70's early 80's.  They were my first experience with contemporary Christian music.  I loved them.  My youth group went to a concert of theirs and it was just magical.  It was then that I realized that Jesus music didn't always have to have a pipe organ associated with it.  Ha!

I honestly haven't heard a song of theirs in years, but my friends post about her daughter, just brought it back, so I went to You Tube and lo and behold...there it was.

It actually is an awesome song.....still.

Be Still My Soul (Lyrics - I am not sure who actually wrote this song)

Surrounded by the cares of Life
Situations rise, they press against my soul
Desperate thoughts have blocked me in
Feels like I may lose control
A voice from somewhere inside of me
Brings comfort and fills my heart with courage
And lets me know that everything will be alright
Be still, my soul, and know that He is God
(He is God)
Stand quietly - He is the Lord
If God is for me who can be against me?
(He is God)
Be still, my soul, He is the Lord

Teach me, Lord, to stay with You
When my emotions try to rule me
Remind me, Lord, of who I am
Show me what You want me to be
In His great strength and confidence
Knowing that You are with me
I'm not afraid of tomorrow
What waits ahead

Be still, my soul, and know that He is God
(He is God)
Stand quietly - He is the Lord
If God is for me who can be against me?
(He is God)
Be still, my soul, He is the Lord
Be still, my soul, He is the Lord
He is the Lord

Seriously?  Isn't that just the reminder that we need with everything going on in the world?

I am surrounded by the cares of life...pressing against my soul.

I really need to stand on the chorus:

Be still, my soul, and know that He is God
Stand quietly.  He is the Lord.
If God is for me, who can be against me?
Be still, my soul.  He is the Lord.  He is the Lord.

If you want a perky, happy Imperials is Trumpet of Jesus.

In case you want the words for this one too...

Trumpet of Jesus

I listen to the Trumpet of Jesus
While the world hears a different sound
I march to the drumbeat of God Almighty
While the others just wander around
I'm a member of the Holy Ghost traveling band
We're moving on up to a better land
I hear the voice of the Supernatural singing
Like only those who know Him can
One sweet sound makes
A whole world of difference
When the world seems indifferent to you
His Melody of love calls you to be great
When marking time was all you thought you could do
So if you've been playing all your days by ear
Never knowing what your song was to be
Then pull up a chair, let down your hair
And take a few lessons from me
A spiritual fanfare has a sound all it's own
At the birth of a lasting song
It's been two thousand years since Jesus was born
And still the celebration goes on
If you feel the need to get your life in tune
'Cause you're tired of the derdge every day
Then turn yourself around,
Put your feet on the ground
And just hear what I have to say
A spiritual fanfare has a sound all it's own
At the birth of a lasting song
It's been two thousand years since Jesus was born
And still the celebration goes on
If you feel the need to get your life in tune
'Cause you're tired of the derdge every day
Then turn yourself around,
Put your feet on the ground
And just hear what I have to say

Have an awesome Friday.  What was your favorite Christian music back in the day? 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How Do You Read Me?

I am trying to figure out some of the behind the scenes...stuff....for my blog.  One of the things that has come up in my research is how outdated my side bar pictures are.  I mean....scroll down and look at V-girl in my side here is what she actually looks like:

I know.  I won't even get into how different I look.   Just know that I am aware of the problem and am planning to address it.  Ha!Emoji

One of the other things that has come up in my research is how my readers are actually reading my posts.  So, can you take a second or two to answer this question about how you read the Shut The Fridge content....pretty please?

Create your own user feedback survey

My other question is whether or not you have subscribed to my blog or if you just wait for me to post the link on Facebook. Survey Monkey doesn't want me to post another survey question here.  So, I will try doing that one on Facebook later and see what you guys have to say. Survey Monkey is sort of fun!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Shoulders Hurt

I don't really think of myself as old.  I really don't.

But, then, things happen....and I have to say to myself...."Hmmmm...I guess maybe I am getting old." (Notice I used the word "getting"....)

I got to fly up to Minnesota last Thursday for a girls weekend with my mom and sisters.  I didn't say anything in case everything fell apart.  I didn't tell my friends I was coming to town.  I didn't let my old church family know I would be there Sunday.  I didn't even let my brother and his family know I was coming to town.

Anyway, as the date I was supposed to fly up got closer and closer and flights still looked good and nothing had fallen apart on the home front,  I started to let myself get excited.  Then, I started to panic. I had the age old problem....."I didn't have anything to wear!"

As my size has......shall we wardrobe options have gotten more and more limited.  I have less and less items that fit me hanging in my closet.  I had one good pair of pants that fit and were comfortable....they were my go to pants....for most any occasion.  I could dress them up or down, as needed.   Then....I split the crotch on them.  Sigh.....darn lack of a thigh gap!

So, then, my long denim skirt became my go to item to wear on the bottom  My sisters...and my mom....are all pretty stylish.  They have nice clothes.  They have nice accessories.  Their hair is always fixed.  They wear jewelry.  (Hey, I have nice Jamberry nails though!)

So, anyway, I started to really get worried.  My denim skirt just wasn't going to cut it.  As you know, I am already having a bit of a hard time with my self esteem in relation to my current body size.  I didn't want to add being inappropriately dressed to my things to worry about.

So, I took my babysitting money (just like a teenager) and went shopping.  I took my actual teenage girls with me.  Because, if left alone, I can spiral down into a dark place whilst trying things on. They had good ideas, encouraged me to try stuff I would have walked by and kept me good and distracted, so I couldn't get too sad about my appearance.

We took a cart full of stuff back to Walmart's fitting rooms.  (Yes, I went on a shopping spree at Walmart.  Emoji)  You can only take 6 items in at a time, so the girls stayed out with the remnants and we just passed the new stuff in as I rejected other things.

I ended up getting  5 or 6 cute things.  Sweater-y things.  I was going to Minnesota, you know. (Of course, Minnesota decided to be beautiful and balmy while I was there - so, hello, hot, sweaty Kayla!)

Anyway, the day after my shopping spree, I noticed something really odd.  My shoulders were killing me.  As a massage therapist, I am pretty aware of my body and what is going on with it.  I notice if my purse it too heavy or if my posture is bad.  I almost always notice when I am doing something that will end up hurting me.

I started running through my previous 24 hours trying to figure out what I had done.....

Had I painted the living room?  No.

Had I gone rock climbing?  No.

Had I had to lift a car off of my trapped child?  Nope.

You know what it was?

The new clothes.


I am that lady now.  The lady that gets sore from taking too many shirts/sweaters on and off over her head.

Yup.  Proud moment.

At least I haven't done this one.....yet.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Not Just a Sunday Thing - Week 5

In today's post, I am going to go a slightly different direction with my thoughts.

This weekend, I have had a mixture of joy and fun.....and sadness and feeling sick to my stomach when I found out about the attacks in Paris.  I am just  sick to my stomach because the people that are doing these horrible things are doing it for their "god" or because of their religious beliefs.

The joy/fun part is that I am having a girls weekend with my mom and my sisters.  (Oh, I love them.)

We laugh and laugh.  We share some of those deep, secret feelings that we don't have anyone else to really talk with about some of these things.  It has been a great weekend.  We went to the taping of this local daytime talk show on Friday afternoon.  One of my sisters taped the show so we could see if we made it on t.v. afterwards and saw that the show was interrupted with the news of the Paris attacks.  They didn't tell us anything in the studio.  We were clueless.  Mom and I found out when we got home that night and opened up Facebook and saw all the Pray for Paris things floating around.


Why do people do these things in the name of their god or religion.  I really and truly don't understand how they can value life so little.   How they can think it is perfectly okay....and kill random people out doing fun things?  How can they think they will be rewarded when they get to heaven?

I don't get it.

If I let myself, I can just think all Muslims are horrible people, but I know that isn't true.  Just like I know all Christians aren't judgmental jerks.  Just like I know all homeschoolers aren't anti-social weirdos.

But, what do we do now?

This can't keep happening.  How can the people responsible be punished?  How can this kind of thing be stopped?

And most of all, how can we go on living our lives....with this kind of crap popping up all over?

My answer is....I don't know.

Here is what I will try:

I will try to pray for the people that are doing these kinds of things.  I will try to remember that they are someone's little boy or little girl.  They have loved their grandparents.  They have gotten excited when their mom brought home a new baby.  They were excited when they learned how to tie their shoes or ride a bike.  You know?  They can't have always been this way and had this crazy hatred for people, can they?

I will try not to live my life in constant fear.  I don't want to put a stop to the joy and fun...just in case.  That one is hard, especially when you are a parent.  But, I will try.

I will try not to bad mouth the people/religion that is behind these attacks.  This will be hard too, because I am angry.  I am disgusted.

But, I am determined not to let evil win.  Not to let these sneaky, underhanded things of the devil gain ground in my world.  I will keep my faith.  I will keep God close.  I will try to have compassion for people.  I will love.

I am trying really hard to remind myself of Luke 6:27,28: "But, I tell you who hear me:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

That is what I am trying to do.  Not sure if I will be successful or not.  I am human.  I am flawed.  I am swayed by anger and a sense of.... don't mess with me or my family.  But, I am trying.  And, now, more than faith needs to be Not Just A Sunday Thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Letter to Young Me

The bulk of this post is from an article I wrote back in April for the Home and School Mosaics site, but, in looking for something else, I stumbled on it again......and....

I needed this little reminder for myself...personally....even though I am not so young now.....and I originally wrote this with my kids in mind.  But, I am the one that needs it today.  Right now, I am in the midst of feelings of shame and almost hatred towards how my body looks.  It still does amazing things, but clothing it and going out in public in it....that is a whole other thing.  Bleck.  So, I needed this reminder....and though you might too!

Uniqueness. Why, oh why does that seem like a dirty word to teenagers? My own, included.
I have strived to raise and help create unique little people to send out into the world. Little people that I want to embrace the fact that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image. Uniquely made.
But, I am having a problem. My kids don’t want to be unique. They want to fit in. They want to be like everybody else.
I get it.
I do.
Because, I remember, I didn’t want to be unique and stand out either. (Well, okay, I sort of did. I wanted to be so fabulous that everyone loved me/that boy wanted to date me…… but, NOT unique in a……..she is really different (weird), let’s pick on her, kind of way. LOL)
So, I thought I would write a letter to “Young Me” explaining the virtues of uniqueness.
Dear Young Kayla,
I am writing to you today to tell you why I want you to stop trying to fit in and be like the rest of the crowd and be unique. Parachute pants and R.D. Simpson jeans really don’t look all the good on you. And, listen to me closely….that hair….don’t do it……you went from this…..
To this…..
To this…..
In 2 short years….because “everybody” was doing it. Everybody was getting bangs and layers….then everyone was getting perms. Yes, the glasses were unfortunate too, but notice the smoky pink and the little monogram “K” that you were styling in the Great Perm Incident of 7thgrade. (Honestly, your youngest daughter will cry every time she sees this picture when she is about 1 year old. Every time.  Your other kids will think it is funny and sneak up behind her and flash this picture at her and  then laugh and laugh when she cries. True story.)
You didn’t realize that you were following the crowd and trying not to be unique when you got your hair cut this way and styled it like that…but you were. You thought you were just being you.  Scary, isn’t it? Just remember these pictures when you feel yourself weakening your resolve to go ahead and not follow the crowd.

Here is one more example of you being "unique", just in case you don’t believe me yet. Here you are with a few of the other Madonna WannaBe’s back in the late 80’s. Yeah, we stood out (she said sarcastically) and none of us were crowned the winner of this particular pageant.
Be brave…be bold….be you. Uniquely and wonderfully made. You.
You are different. You really are. Not a lot of people will ever really understand you. But, that is okay. That is a good thing. You just need a select few in your inner circle that “get” you. It doesn’t need to be an army….just a special forces unit. I know, it may not seem like it now, but it is a very good thing.
You are curvy and womanly when everyone else is lean and straight. You will not be able to change your DNA. You are going to have boobs and cleavage and a curvy backside. Don’t hide. Don’t feel fat (like you actually did in the picture of the many Madonnas in the picture above). Just figure out what kinds of clothes look good on an hour glass figure and embrace it. Don’t wait until you are older to figure that out and wear low cut/skin tight stuff to “flaunt” those curves because you are looking for acceptance….and being sexy seems like a good idea. It will just get you the wrong kind of attention and acceptance. I promise. Neither scenario will turn out well. Hiding it is bad. Flaunting it is bad. Embrace it and be in charge of how you view your body. Be in charge of not being tied into what the world thinks of your body. Don’t allow yourself to be judged based on your body…for good…..or for bad. Your body is just your body. Your body is……a work of art, no matter its size, no matter how much of it you share with the world. It just….is. (This is the part I needed to hear today)
Your body will actually prove to be strong and powerful and will do miraculous things. Not to scare you or anything, but your body will carry 10 babies. Your body will give birth to 7 of those babies. Six of them will live. I share this to show you that your body will take a beating and keep on going. It will survive 5 C-sections. Sadly, it will gain too much weight, and you will, once again, learn to “hide” it, but, it will still work for you. Be kind to it. Take care of it.  Appreciate it for the spectacularly unique thing that it is…stretch marks, scars, and all. Don’t allow yourself to judge your worth based on your body size either. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, whether you are big or small. (Again....needed this reminder in November of 2015)
Your brain and the way you think and look at the world and the people in it are unique. You are not the smartest girl in school. It is okay for people to know that. You do not have to pretend to be smarter than you are because somewhere along the line you got the reputation as a “brain”. It is totally okay to admit to your fellow students AND your teachers that you don’t get how to do something. You don’t have to cover your grade when the test is given back to you and pretend that it was higher than it actually was. You aren’t dumb either, so when you get that C in college chemistry in nursing school,not, I repeat, do not, drop out of school because you are convinced you are too dumb to be an R.N. Again, it is okay to admit to yourself and your professors that you are falling behind and don’t understand something. Remember that you are there to actually “learn” not to show that you already know stuff.
Not everyone will see things the way you do. Not everyone will understand that no matter how honest and kind you try to be, or think you are, some people just won’t like you.  You cannot change that. They just won’t… you…..get you….want to be around you. That is okay. You don’t need to be around people that don’t see the beauty in you….even if it is different than theirs. You will end up with friends that have made different lifestyle choices than yours. That is a good too. You don’t all need to be alike. Just treat every conversation or discussion with love and respect, and your friendships, will not only last, they will thrive – even though in the eyes of the world, you are supposed to despise people that don’t think like you. Be unique in your thoughts and your acceptance and love for others.
Remember this:  Everyone is just trying to figure their own lives out. Everyone else is trying to become okay with their own personal brand of uniqueness. Remember that. Everyone. Everyone is trying to figure themselves out and ultimately be okay with who they are. Even the bullies and mean girls. Even the quiet nerd in the corner. Even the popular kids. None of them really know and accept their own uniqueness…..yet.
Remember, Young Kayla, being unique and different is good. Sometimes it will even be fun. When you move to the south after 40 plus years in the north, you will be considered unique by your new friends and neighbors. To most of them that will be a good thing, but to some, it will be considered a bad thing. (some will think of you as a crazy, outspoken Yankee)  For you, consider it an awesome thing. It will end up being a chance for you to come into your own and not “just” be one of the Atkins girls. You will be on your own. Nobody will know anything about you, your family, your school, your church, your pageants, your jobs, your bad choices. They will just get to know… The unique, and yes, sort of quirky, lady that is truly happy to have 6 kids….and would have been happy with 10 kids. The unique, quirky lady that has fun glasses and wears sandals 364 days a year. The unique lady who still….occasionally….has to remind herself that it is okay to be unique.
Be Unique. Be You. It will be so worth it.
Love, The Middle Aged Unique, Quirky You

I wish I could really send that letter to the younger me (although I would be totally freaked out by how many children I had and how much weight I would gain, so maybe it is best to keep that a secret from myself! Because I am still sort of shocked when I look in the mirror and can’t quite believe that is really me.) I really am at peace being unique now, finally, in my mid-40s. I take a little pride in it too (that is an article for another day). I am glad that I don’t blend in. I am glad that I am not just one of the herd. I am glad that my style, my feelings, my way of talking, my opinions, my way of raising my children, my choices, are my own.
Nobody else is like me (said with a secret smile rather than a bone crushing sense of dread and shame).
That my dear, unique, little people, is a good thing. A very good thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Reality vs. Expectation

I was thinking about something my friend, Carol, said last week.  She was talking about people on the internet that present themselves as perfect, happy smiling families all the time.  Their kids always get along.  Their house is always clean.  They always put a cute and clever snack in front of their kids when they get home from school.  They always pack a sweet, loving note with their lunches.

I realized that I might appear to be one of those people that look like they have their lives all together. I have been posting our happy smiling Disney pictures.  Our happy, smiling homecoming pictures.

Now, if you actually know me in real life, you know that my kids do, for the most part, get along really well with each other.  But, they do sometimes fight.  There are a few instigators in the bunch though that like to get people riled up just to see what they will do.   Grrrrr.....

If you know me in real life, or have every stopped by my house unannounced, you know that my house can be a mess.  A real mess.

Now that I am babysitting 3 days a week, my common areas are much better, because I have to keep the floor picked up and vacuumed for my little people I am in charge of.   The problem is since I am devoting my time to keeping other people's children safe, and keeping the rooms that they are in clean and free of choking hazards, the rest of the house has suffered.  Big time.

It is like my Not Just A Sunday Thing post this week....I cannot possibly do it all....keep it all beautiful and pristine.....and be a nice, loving mom and babysitter.

My sister, Kandi, sent me this, after reading my post on Sunday.

Are you laughing as hard as I did when I read it.  That, my friends, is real life stuff!

So is this...

Seriously.....this was clean.....completely clean.....Monday.  For real.  I took these pictures Tuesday night.  (As my friend, Kristy likes to say...."Le-Sigh".)

Honestly, the school mess on the dining table doesn't really bother me.  That means we are learning and doing the stuff we are supposed to.

The kitchen.  Ugg....I don't know.  It is just the domino effect in action.  One person cooks and leaves the the next person does the same.  Somebody decides to bake (yay!)...but then leaves everything to soak.  One person puts their cup/dishes on the counter, so the next 5 or 6  people do the same, and voila!  This.

I love, love, love the island that my friend, Mark, helped me create.  I have had plans to paint it since he finished....and have just never gotten around to it.  It is a thing of beauty when it is cleaned off and usable.  Not so much in its current state though.

We ran the dishwasher overnight.  I got up this morning, unloaded it....loaded it and started it 5 minutes later.  Seriously.  The island is almost cleared off progress is being made....for now.  Then, there is this...... bedroom.  The catch all place for everyone's stuff that they don't know what to do with!   the pile under the windows just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  I haven't touched this room since we moved in.  I haven't liked the curtain toppers or the wall color for 2 years, but I just never seem to have any oomph left when it comes to tackling my room.

Anyway, that was my good deed for the day.....making you all feel better about yourselves.   Ha!  You're welcome.  Of course, I will keep you posted if I make any real progress....and I will keep posting pictures of my smiling kids....especially if I look good in a picture!  Fair warning.  If I look good, I am posting the picture...I don't care what anybody else looks like.  Emoji

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Critical Thinking Company - Review

We got another fun little book to review from The Critical Thinking Company.

We got to try The Basics of Critical Thinking, recommended for grades 4 through 9.

I asked for this book with A-man in mind.  I think he is super smart, super creative and a super hard worker.  However, sometimes he is not the most logical person on the earth.  He doesn't always look at a situation or a problem and use common sense.  But, how do you teach that to somebody?

Well, you can start with The Basics of Critical Thinking.

Off the top of your head, can you describe what critical thinking even is?  Honestly, it was one of those things that I understood inside my head, but explaining to anyone who doesn't actually reside in my head was the difficult part.

Critical thinking is a way to use what you know and what you can learn to help you decide what to believe and what to do.

There first example, in the book, of why being a critical thinker...and of having a lot of knowledge at your fingertips..... is important, was the statement:  The best critical thinker in the world would be a terrible medical doctor if they didn't know a lot about the human body.

Ohhhhh.....I get it, now.

The book uses a series of pictures, stories and life scenarios and asks you to work your way through the critical thinking to make your best informed decision about what is going on, who the bad guy is, etc.

Honesty time, when I originally told A-man that I had asked for this book for him, it was a total eye roll fest.  The whole throwing his head back and moaning...."Why?  Why me?"  Hahahahahaha!  But, I actually got him hooked with the Critical Thinking Pretest that has you try to determine which one of these guys stole a woman's dog.  (A-man really liked the ones where he had to figure out who the bad guy was!)

The book walked him through the process of decisions and conclusions.

Then, it walked him through beliefs (things you think are true) and claims (things you say are true).

As a parent, I really, really liked the page towards the beginning of the book where they talked about the importance of understanding claims.  It talked about the fact that people will try to convince you that their claim is true.  That if you don't understand their claim, you can look for evidence to decide if it is true or not.  So, don't accept it as true until you really understand it.  We used real life examples of things his buddies had told him to discuss this one.

Then, the book moves you through finding evidence....and used a fun story about which kid ate the jam and peanut butter.....Eddie or  Sarah.  You have to use the evidence to determine who you think did it.

After the finding evidence section, it moves onto evaluating evidence.  I had to laugh at the book's example in this one.  Based on evidence, you are asked to decide which person is Bob Baker.

Not sure if you can read the evidence from the acquaintances underneath the pictures, but the last sentence talks about the fact that he got a crazy tattoo in the middle of his forehead.  The activity walks you through statements on each of the 4 guys possibly being Bob.  The person that has the most evidence to be Bob is Mr. B, however....based on the best evidence....Mr. A, is actually Bob because there is only one person who has a tattoo in the middle of their forehead.

The book then moves through inferring and inference ("After answering the first six questions correctly, S-girl inferred she would do well on the test."  The evidence was that she answered the first six the inference is that she will do well on the test.)  I appreciated that this section had a little vocabulary work so he would learn to use the words, infer, inferred, and inference correctly.

From there the book moved on to facts and opinions.  A-man and I had some good discussions on this subject.  Because so many times, children take opinions as truth.  You know, the said it, so it must be true...mentality.  (Honestly, I still have that mentality a bit, when it comes to my parents.)

They started this section out with this picture of dogs.  Then listed a few facts:  There are two dogs.  The gray and white dog is bigger than the other dog.  Then it moved onto opinions:  The small dog is the best dog in the world.  Someday these dogs will be friends.

See?  Just a subtle way of looking and evaluating a situation makes a difference.

I am just really loving the way this book walks A-man through some of these scenarios in an effort to get him to be a critical thinker.  The last half of the book talks about things like advertising, errors in reasons, arguments, and fallacies. (And, honestly, the few that I worked through with him, were fun for me too!)

This is just giving A-man a good place to start in becoming a critical thinker as he heads into middle school.   I like to see him thinking and figuring out these things out for himself.

Have I seen a night and day difference in A-man and his use of logical common sense to solve life situations?  Well, no.  But, I have seen him getting faster and faster at figuring out how to solve the problems in the, his head is definitely moving into the right place.  Don't you think?

You can get a copy of The Basics of Critical Thinking for $22.99.

Go take a look and see what the TOS Reviewers thought of the books they tried from The Critical Thinking Company.