My secret desire to be a superhero....but only kinda'

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

I've been working on a post about the power of words.  The power to build or tear down, to encourage or hurt, to bring fear or comfort.  And before I could write with any confidence about such things, I had to take a good look at my own words.  Admittedly direct, to the point, and far too often spoken without a lot of thought.  And I had to deal with some issues of my heart and speak words of honesty to some who were long overdue hearing from me.   

And the funny thing is that words have always been huge to me.  I listen, I take it all in, and I put value on each one.  And to be the one that splinters a relationship because of words is not something I ever want to do.  But I probably have.  

To me words are like little pieces of myself that I leave all around.  Around my house, my family, work, my friends - my calling cards, really.  The building blocks of me - maybe the first to make an impression for good or bad, and a lasting reminder for the world to see who I really am.  As my 12 year old is so terrified of in the public school system.... my permanent record.  He's convinced that we all have one in a big ol' permanent record database that can be accessed by teachers everywhere.  They have put the proverbial fear of god in that child. 

This week I had a talk with a friend.  And she is that.  But even in close friendships and family relationships, words can slowly tear apart all the time that has been invested.  So we discussed and laid out a new plan and a new beginning of what is acceptable communication between the two of us.   And it'll be nice to see how all that works out. 

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

And small world, or maybe God's big eyes on me in his giant world - but I ran across this scripture this week.  Just by chance.  And I like it because it's one of empowerment.  One of courage.  And I wish I had taken this to heart long ago.  Because I grew up in an environment way too full of hurt and anger and careless words being thrown around.  And instead of just saying stop, instead of just saying no, I listened and took it all to heart.  And my heart has hurt for years because of it. 

And I don't want that anymore.  I want my words to be kind and true, honest and uplifting.  But I also want my words to have the power to protect my heart  - not with walls of hurt, fear or anger - but with knowledge that I deserve better.  Because God made us all to deserve his best.

And this verse tells us to be of courage.  I think it actually tells us that we already have built in courage.  And that courage can build a wall around our hearts so we can face with confidence anyone trying to break us or make us think we deserve less than the best for ourselves.  We can set limits on what is and what is not good for us.  We can speak out on our own behalf to stand up to the wrongs that are just floating freely all around us.

And gosh, I want my kids to see a brave mom.  Maybe even a superhero mom who defends against evil by day and still makes it home to get a home cooked meal on the table by 5.  I want them to know me as a mom that will defend what is right and fight against what is wrong.  I want them to see me with courage and confidence to not shy away from things that need to be said, and to argue against those that need to be kept quiet.

For your days ahead.... may they be filled with the courage of the lord.  With the love that has been poured into you to build you up. And may your days be overflowing with words of kindness, love and encouragement.  Spoken and heard. 

What can I pray for you today?

I've struggled a bit lately with where I belong in this big blogging world.  Compared to some of the blogging giants - the ones that seem to be filled with endless organization and inspiration, words that bless and comfort, and houses that make my 1956 ranch feel embarrassed.  And I find myself back in high school all over again - monitoring my popularity by how many readers I get for each post.  And y'all that's not why I started this.  I'm not in the business of blogging.  I'm just in the business of being me. 

But I think we crave to be recognized.   I do, anyway.  My heart secretly yelling, LOOK AT ME,   LISTEN TO ME,   NOTICE ME.   I think we naturally have a deep desire to be known and understood.  And wanted.  And appreciated  and encouraged.  And I admit that I have a deep heart's desire to be seen for who I am and what I have to offer.  After I question a million times what exactly it is that I have to offer....  And I feel like sometimes I try and try to catch up, but don't.  And I try to compare, but don't.  And I do more and more with very little in return.  Just out there waving my big Kristi flag all around trying to be seen.  Hoping to be noticed.  For anything, really.  For my good or bad, my weakness and strength, and for my days -  that maybe I'm contributing to more than  just what I see with my own eyes.  Ever feel that way?

Ever just need someone to say that they're proud of you for what you're doing?  Mothering, teaching, cleaning, organizing,?   .... Because we're always doing something.  And we're ALL doing something.  And I like to think that all my somethings add up to SOMETHING BIG in the eyes of the one who made me to do exactly this.  Whatever and wherever it may be today. 

So today as we visit via blog... I am praying for you and for me.  For us to hear the words that someone sees us right where we are.  Sees our tired.  Sees the demands that are ever present in our days.  Sees the joy and fear that walk side by side in our families and relationships.  And recognizes how hard we  work to move forward, as well as the steps that take us back.  I am praying for you to see yourself as beautiful and smart and loving and funny and helpful and all around wonderful.  I'm praying that for myself, too.  

I see you where you are today.  And I've been in some similar places. 

I see my middle schoolers tired from all the demands of growing and changing.  I see my youngest one's hopes and dreams to be great at something.  And I see him try again and again to find out what that may be.  I see brothers who love, and sometimes who don't.  I see family that has been separated because of hurt.  I see some creative meals in our near future till payday.  But I also see in each new day, a chance to choose.  To choose how I will deal with the daily drama that this world can dish out like a bad reality show. 

And as much as I want to be seen for my outward accomplishments - so I can be affirmed and reminded of my worth -  I am praying hard for myself right now to feel a greater desire to be known for things unseen.  For the lives that I touch at home and work, for jobs well done, for a faith that wavers as much as the next guy's - but still keeps hanging with me through it all.

I am praying to be seen for who I am today.   And for all that I do  - on and off the blog - to be done to the glory of the one who made me.  Key words - He Made MeAnd you.  

And another super big one.... praying for the ability to wait.  To wait for what God has in store for me as a mom, wife, writer, friend......

My little email button is right over there on the side of the page. What can I pray for you today?   

I'll probably be the mom that's still kissing them in front of their friends even into adulthood.

I was cleaning the shower this morning and thought, first... I hate to clean the shower... and second, I really need a housekeeper.  And it made me think of all the things I do that I don't really want to... and why.

Because 13 years ago I became a mom for the first time.

So I started a brain list of my last few days... the chores and tasks, not including the 15 hours a week I work to actually get paid $$$$.  And I came up with this... not all inclusive.... because I would still be typing....

Bought groceries, cleaned bathrooms, did exactly 1 ton of laundry, hosted a teacher luncheon for 60, attended parent conferences and PTA meetings, took care of a sick kid, made beds, chased down a school bus to retrieve a lost french horn, changed sheets, ran out of hot water when last in the shower, bought new pansies, vacuumed at least twice, picked up 900 stray socks off the floor, delivered a missing school ID badge, cooked some, cleaned some more, fit in a little hug time, and sat outside and watched the boys wrestle in the front yard.  Okay, fight... call it whatever. But we call it together time.

So I had to ask myself why I thrive in the busyness of the to do lists.  Of the lists of buying more notebook paper and replacing lost lunch boxes, and volunteering, and decorating the house... Because I'm trying to create a home. 

Sam.  I love the sound of his little voice.  Because it's still little.  Not in between.  Not the voice of almost adulthood.  Just the sweet I love you mama that melts me every time.  And how quickly it can all change.  All of a sudden when you're not looking.  I know all about it.... because my oldest tries to mumble his love most of the time.  Or leave it unspoken too much of the time - which is bad for all the ones all caught up in love. 

So I don't let it leave. I keep saying it.  And doing it.  IT.  Hugging, kissing, saying lots and lots of embarrassing things to them that moms like to do.  And yes, I probably will be the mom that's still kissing them in front of their friends even into adulthood. 

And as I've had a sick teenager at home the last couple of days, I've watched and listened and taken note of some things that I just adore about these boys.

 I love that they can have a backpack full of treasures and take on the world.  

  I love that a bike is an open door of opportunity.


I love that they never get too big to play.  

And I love that an adventure can begin in their hearts, and might take them far from home - maybe on a 2 night backpacking camping trip - but they always want to come home.  Good things happen at home, too. 

And I love that they still need to be cared for and appreciated.  Don't we all?  That even when the teenage shyness strikes, sometimes all it takes is a little bit of fever to remind him that family is a good thing.  And that there's quite a bit around to be thankful for.  

And these couple of days at home with a feverish kid just may have been what I needed to remind me of those same things.


and there were technical difficulties

 Technical difficulties abound. 

So if you got the notice of my blog post from yesterday... then couldn't find it.... (really I accidentally deleted it.)  And it was all about pie.  So yum.  

The morning brought us sick kid #1, kid 2 missed his bus, and kid 3 coughed and snorted and made completely unappealing sounds to try to convince us he's sick.  Kid 2 wished he was sick and discussed the unfairness of it all.  Then missed the second bus.  So daddy drove him across town to school, and listened to him fuss about the indignities of his life the whole way.  Daddy also took my car and my keys and I thought I was gonna have to walk to work.  Which is healthy, really.  We should all walk more.  

We gave kid 3 an allergy pill and sent him on his way.  Hoping not to get a call from the school nurse voting us bad parents of the year. So far so good.

That's about it.  You can read all about the pie here.  Just for fun because it's a super rare event that I post a recipe.  

And here were the critics reviews of said pie....

I didn't love it.  Love other things more.  

Husband stopped me from throwing it away as not to waste a perfectly good pie.  And I told him I don't want him to die an unhealthy sugar high death over a pie that is simply good, not great.  But he stuck it in the fridge anyway. 

Christopher poured melted chocolate frosting all over it and voted it a yes.
Sam voted it a no.  And begged for a donut instead.  

Ethan ate it.  But he's 13 and eats pie just for the sake of eating pie. 

So.... that being said.  Cook away and let me know the interesting things your family says.   

Once in a blue moon I post a recipe.....

Y'all already know this isn't a decorating blog... because all my stories would end up looking like this.  

And it's a rare occasion for me to post a recipe... but what the heck.  Gotta branch out sometime.  

The big pie baking plans started yesterday when a man at work told me I look like I lost a few pounds.  And that could've been taken two ways.  Just like when little Sam likes to respond to his brothers for just about any occasion.... are you saying I'm fat?  So anyway I thanked him a million thanks as any lighter looking woman would, told him it's really my new wildly printed tights I'm wearing... creating an optical illusion.. 

But that I may just wear these pants every day for the rest of my life.  

And since I apparently look all thin... I figured I may as well eat pie.  Simple as that.  And I had cream cheese in the fridge with no particular plan.  

So here's an old recipe from Southern Living magazine.  Black Bottom Pecan Cheesecake Pie.  To which my husband started singing some sort of song called Fat Bottomed Girls.  Whatever.  

The recipe calls for pecans but I left them out.  Because my kids are weird.  They'll eat pecans they smash with their feet in the backyard but won't touch them in a pie.  So stomp away boys.... and bring some of em in here for the rest of us while you're at it. 

Let the baking begin.... 

 Melt 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips and 3TBS heavy cream (I used half and half) in the microwave.  Whisk till smooth.  And pour into unbaked 9 inch deep dish crust.  

 Using your vintage 1950's hand mixer you got at an estate sale, mix together on medium speed 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Pour into crust over the chocolate layer.  

Stop and love on your son who is bummed about having homework over the long weekend.  Listening to a very sad Kenny Chesney song as he works makes him hate it even more and maybe want to cry.  

Mix 1 cup light corn syrup, remaining 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla and pecans.  (mine are invisible pecans).  Pour over cream cheese layer.  

Use every dish in the kitchen and make a big mess.  

Ask husband to wash the dishes claiming the pie has drained you of all energy.  

Bake at 350 for 55 minutes, or until set,  covering it at about 45 minutes to keep it from over browning.  

Now imagine my pie turned out beautiful.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup before serving.  

Happy eating.  

Now let's go take a walk.  

Black-Bottom Pecan Cheesecake Pie
0.5 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
chocolate syrup (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  Unroll pie crust; fit into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under and crimp.

Microwave chocolate chip and whipping cream in a small glass bowl at Medium power 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until chips begin to melt. Whisk until smooth; set aside.

Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into pie crust, spreading evenly. Pour cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer.

  Whisk together corn syrup, melted butter, remaining 3 eggs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir in pecans and pour over cream cheese layer.
 Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until set, shielding pie after about 45 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle each slice with chocolate syrup if desired.

Be still and know that I am God..... and I'm trying to do just that right now.

This week I learned that both young and old eyes can be opened all over again, that decisions made in a moment can affect so many lives, that I should double check my grocery cart before I accidentally steal a gallon of milk, that I can't jump over parked trains to get to my waiting kid on the other side, and that sometimes it's just better to be still and wait rather than say things that I may regret. 

And I'm kinda bad about that.  Fiery tongue and all.  And a fast moving mind to fuel the fire.  A gal at work told me not long ago that she doesn't think I know how to do NOTHING.  As in, .... be still.  And she's right. 

Over Thanksgiving we took a trip to Arkansas and unplugged from the day to day of fall semester and work and scouts and sports.....  Just a cabin, some bikes and a kayak on the river.  And at one special point I stepped into the 2 person kayak captained by my 12 year old son who took me down the Ouachita River and stopped.  And asked me to listen to the quiet and look at the reflection in the water.  Encouragement from a very wise young man.  So we rested there.  And floated.  In the greatness of the still and quiet, that if I take the chance to notice, can drown out the sounds of everything else in the way.  

Be still and know that I am God.....   and I'm trying to do just that right now. 

For your week... may you be encouraged in the quiet moments of your days.  May you be someone's needed smile at just the right time.  May you be the kind words that need to be heard.  And may you be the stillness and reflection of God's amazing love to those you meet.    

Would I rather poke myself in the eye with a stick or get these boys ready for church this morning?

This morning Fireman Dave cut his finger on a potato peeler.  Twice.  And he was upsetting me with all the blood so I dropped and shattered a glass all over the kitchen floor.

And Kid 1 desperately needed boot cut pants - pronto.  And Kid 2's pants were suddenly too small.  And in the background a door slammed and one brother threatened to beat another to a pulp.  Exact words, by the way. 

Let the rumble begin.    All on the way to meet God on this beautiful Sunday morning. 

Ever hear of that game kids like to play..... Would you rather?  Would you rather eat a bug or dive off a cliff? I was going thru my list of would I rathers this morning as I sat here typing and trying to drown out the screams of who's stupid and why other brother never gets in trouble for this or that.... and what's in that muffin that looks like something healthy?   Kid 3 called it disgusting.  But I bit my tongue and didn't give the old starving children in Africa speech because it never works.  

Would I rather poke myself in the eye with a stick or get these boys ready for church this morning?  Would I rather be dragged behind a moving car or get these boys ready for church this morning?  And you can see how it was all playing out around here.  
But even when I feel like I'm out of patience and time, and I'm hungry and have to get somewhere on a schedule - I'm the first face these boys see each day. I get to set the tone for the day.  I have that opportunity.  And I have a help and strength in a god that cares about the details of my day.  

And I can't stop the fast moving train of stupids and disgustings and lost shoes once it's rolling.... but I can try to start each day with what this mom wishes filled the days of every child each morning.  Love.  Listening.  Time.  And the comfort of home.  The comfort of now.  The comfort of being present in this moment with a family that cares for their needs despite their sleepy headed bad attitudes. 

But feeling low on fuel and ability and wise words to impart, and just trying to get everyone to brush their teeth seems like such a battle at times.  And that's when I have to remember to say the words.  So simple.  God, please let me be the mom you need me to be today.  And with that trust, he can multiply my small efforts into something that will not only get these kids finally out the door, but that will get these kids out into this big world with faith that there is more to this day than the morning rush.  

For your week, may you see opportunity in the chaos, time in the rush, and God's blessings upon the details of your days.  

Is everyone wearing a teeny sports bra and tiny pants?

People who start with big hopes and dreams and vim and vigor for their exercise goals seem to always head out to the local gym for guidance.  So here are a few tips from a gal who has seen the insides of more gyms than I can count.  From the days of leg warmers to my awesome running tights of today... been there and done that.  (Questions that I didn't touch on here?  Ask away.  I'm always good for an experienced opinion anyway. I want to see you succeed in your daily steps toward a fit and balanced life.)  

The big named gyms can be good.  Or not. It all depends on your particular facility, staff, management, and trainers. And even in the simplest of facilities, where you might not think of going... like your local YMCA that hasn't seen a remodel in a while.... you can find the most awesome, most well trained and experienced staff available. So #1, visit.  Get the 2 week guest pass.  Visit the classes, check out the facility.  Is it clean?  Do they provide a towel service for your sweat?  (Because trust me, you WILL sweat and you will never remember to bring a towel from home.)  Are people nice and friendly?  Do they look like you?  Because if you don't feel at home, you wont go.  
Look at the people in the classes.  Are they younger than you?  Is everyone wearing a teeny sports bra and tiny pants?  Or are they moms that just dropped off their kids at school and headed for the morning class?  Once again, do they look like you?  In style and spirit, not in body or fitness level. 
And that awesome elliptical trainer you're thinking of buying for your home?  If you won't actually drag your butt out of the bed each morning and get on it for 30 minutes, don't buy it.  No matter how great a price it is at SAMS club.

I cut my fitness teeth working as one of the only females in a Golds Gym in a college town.  A gym full of gigantically pumped college guys and 2 bosses that were competitors in their own right.  And I loved it.  And I learned tons.  And it prepared me to work with many different groups.  But here's a good rule.... if you want to be a body builder, train with body builders.  If you want a general fitness plan that encourages health and wellness and long and strong lives - no matter the size of your biceps, don't join a lifting focused gym.  You won't go.  Look for like minded people to workout with and to lead you. 

And the business of gym contracts.  Yuck.  You'll definitely deal with that with some places.  And not at all with others.  I prefer to work for gyms with no contracts.  No sales.  We just offer good stuff.  And with that and that alone, people come.  And they keep coming.  So watch out.  You've been warned. 

And finally, do you need a gym at all?  Nope.  But I do better that way.  And I think most people do.  We like to be accepted.  We like to be expected.  We like to be in groups of similar people who encourage us on our walk in life.  And I find that if you can get up and walk your miles in your neighborhood each day and improve your personal fitness on your own, you are an amazing person.  Because there are very few out there like you.  Most of us need to know someone is waiting for us in spin class. Or yoga.  Or on that elliptical thing watching the Today show at the same time.  Accountability is huge in fitness.  Accountability to yourself and to your goals. 

So however that works out for you, let me know.  Start any day.  Start today.  Start tomorrow.  Just start.  And pick the time of day that you will actually go.  And whatever you do... don't go home between school drop off and the gym or work and your walk.  That darn computer is calling your name.  So are the chores and your to do list.  And the bag of chocolate chips in the fridge.  So just make it - something - or some place - a part of your day.  Several days a week.  Schedule it.  Make it important.  Make it a priority.  And let me know how it's going as you progress.  I crazy love those stories.  

Awesomeness topped with a headband

Oh my gosh did she just say that?  

Had to go to the dentist yesterday.  Thought it was for a simple cleaning but the dentist said I had a filling that was old and needed replacing.  Old.  Apparently like me.  And with my mouth all numbed and propped open wide and defenseless, the dentist and hygienist talked about their favorite TV shows... and she would look down occasionally to check on me - and gave me a sweet, .... Your teeth look great for your age.  And that, my friends,  is exactly why the young lady dentist put a mouth guard in there so I couldn't bite her hand. 

And chatting with a few coworkers the other day... we all decided there's something fishy going on in the world these days.... because gyms are hiring  these zero experienced, young gals all around.  Or maybe it just looks that way to my old eyes.  Which really need a check up from the eye doctor very soon.  My coworker's husband told her maybe she's losing out on some work because she's getting on up there - and her ????? aren't big enough.  Marry 'em and they think they can say anything.   

And speaking of husbands ..... mine told me the other day..... wait for it......  as we discussed my worries of not being well provided for in my old age if anything were to happen to him in the dangerous business of firefighting. I opened the depths of my fears, poured out my heart and confessed that I'm afraid of becoming a bag lady.  So in discussion of pensions and the like, he tells me I shouldn't worry - some older man will snatch you right up if I'm gone.  How much older?...I was thinking... looking at each other lovingly over our creamed corn kind of old?  So I told him, #1 - please don't die.  And #2, just in case -  help me start searching out assisted living homes now so I can catch me a man. 

And today.... lady in class  - kinda new to me and to fitness in general, I believe,  says to me after class.... You should be skinny as rails the way you move... But it's probably all muscle. 

Very nice.  

And after these last few days of too small bosoms and old teeth and looking for love in the home for the aged, .... my confidence is feeling a little bruised.  And I think this whole idea of fitness and wellness and youth all get mixed up and confused into a big ol' soup of false truths, false expectations and false hopes.  

So here's a little tutorial...... from what I know.  And it comes from experience.  Mucho experience.  Take it for what it's worth.  And at this new year time of resolutions.... keep it close to your mind and heart as you decide the appropriate steps for you to begin living healthier days.  

#1 - the fit Facebook mom who posed with her kids with the caption of "What's your excuse?"  Tacky in so many ways.   Maybe my excuse is hormonal imbalance, illness, injury or permanent restriction of range and scope of activity.  Maybe medications that affect metabolism and body mass along with strength and energy.  Maybe age, hereditary factors, pre or post joint replacement, and the list goes on.  One body does not equate with others.  And y'all, skinny does not even begin to equal fit.  

Fitness is a combination of strength, flexibility, and endurance.  Fitness is not a number on a scale or the size of your pants.  Fitness is maintaining and/or increasing your ability to move freely and live a health filled, strong, productive life for all the years you are given.  

And yes, body fat and so much else goes into the mix.  But hear my words - they go into the mix.  The mix.  The mix of so much more. 

So in the coming days I'd like to occasionally talk about some fitness things....

And seriously.... love to the young people entering this profession because it's a long road.  Hard on the body, trying of our patience and energy, but worth every minute of it.  I, in fact, was hired for my very first job EVER at the age of 16 going on 17 in a local women's fitness studio.  Way back when.  Back when we wore tiny leotards that could be considered an exotic dancer's on stage outfit.  And we sported leg warmers and high top shoes with absolutely no foot support.  And suntan color tights to finish it all out.  Awesomeness topped with a headband.  

(And one night on the way home from work,  my car broke down.  In the dark, in the lonely, and in my tiny clothes.  And I ran across a busy street to a closed Kmart store where the store manager and his sweet wife took me in and stayed with me till I could get help. And I, and my suntan tights will never forget their kindness that night.) 

And I knew absolutely nothing about aerobics or really anything for that matter...but I fit the outfit.  And I so thankful that I did.  Because it was a God thing that made all of it work out the way it has.  And the years have brought me numerous certifications and specialties and experiences.  And a million years later I'm still at it.  

In health and fitness.....  


For Pete's sake people.... STOP saying LIKE!!!!

My kids want to move to China ... or Africa ... or anywhere but here.  Because their mom is mean.  In so many different ways.

Tonight I cooked macaroni and cheese.  Which every other kid in America loves.  And the kids who don't live in America would love to move here so they could eat some.  But my kids are weird. 

And the meatballs that I cooked weren't, according to the 13 year old meatball expert in the house, REAL meatballs.  They were turkey.  Which, indeed, IS meat - I told him.  The kind of meat that, if you insist on eating a lot of meat, may add years to your life.  And will hopefully prevent heart attack and artery plaque in his mid 40's.  He didn't like my answers... but he ate the fake meatballs anyway.  It was that or a salad. 

And I insist that my kids speak to me and others with proper grammar.  Because I happen to be on a mission to save the world from the young and the not so young who begin and inject every sentence and thought with the word LIKE.  Example.... People who like speak that way like drive me crazy.  I tell my kids to replace the word like with the word banana.  And if at the end of the sentence you end up with a bunch of bananas - you said it all wrong.  Sam was talking basketball and he told me that someone "LIKE ran" up behind him and stole the ball.  I asked him if they "LIKE ran" or if they just ran.  He decided it was easier not to talk to me.

And be warned, if your kid spends any time in my house or car or for that matter, anywhere near me - a former school teacher - I will correct his speech as well.  Consider me a missionary of proper grammar. 

AND...... the money talk we had over the yucky macaroni and cheese and fake meatballs I force fed them for dinner......  talk of money that they don't have.  And they think I do.  They also think Santa brought them all those presents for Christmas at the deep deep Santa discount.  And that boy scout winter camp was free.  And they want to go skating tonight and I said no if they don't have the money to pay for it.  Because I'm mean that way.  

And poor little Sam had to brush his teeth twice.  Because after round one he failed inspection, and had to do it again.  And once more he decided it's just easier not to talk to me. 

So it's a new year and we're right back to business as usual.  But I've spent the last days reading lots of posts of people's resolutions for the new and memories of the past.  And I know from being in the fitness business for a lifetime that most people will come see me with those healthy hopes resolutions in the next few weeks, and many will leave me again by spring break.  And I also know that sometimes when I  concentrate on a time frame of memories, it can be a painfully mixed blessing.  Though most of us don't like to share those memories.  We like to share the good ones - and post pretty pictures that go along with them.  

Last year I watched my son being cyber bullied, I hurt my back like nobody's business, and I had the great stomach virus of 2013.   But I also enjoyed two of my boys making public their decision to follow Christ as savior, and one make tremendous strides of growth and change as a new middle schooler.  I've traveled and rested, worked and written and prayed and thought and planned.  Mostly in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep.  

So how do I measure a year?  A year as Kristi?  A year as a mom?  

Should I count laundry loads?  Trips to the store?  Meals eaten or wasted?  Words spoken and heard - or maybe not?  Sam actually told me the other day after I had said something atleast 200 times.... I didn't actually hear anything you said, Mama.  Nice that he's honest, anyway.  I like that a lot.

I can measure time passed in time well spent with friends and family and time at work helping people to lead strong healthy lives.  I can look back on the hours at home - making a home. I can see the growth of my kids physically and in leaps and bounds of preparation for independence and adulthood.  I can take measures of lessons learned and obstacles jumped and crises averted.  

I can take a measure of a life filled with smiles and hugs and mumbled I love you's  - even from the kid who thinks he's too big to actually speak the words clearly.    And I can measure my days as those filled with God's amazing grace that allows me each new day to be a friend, wife, and mom. 

And as I review past days I have to ask myself if I lived with integrity and purpose. 

Did I influence anyone for the better?  And what can I do to make sure that I do in this new year?

Happiest of new years to you.  May the gift of God's amazing grace be seen in your every day in 2014. 

And wishing you and your kids proper grammar along the way. 

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