A Story the Vacant Buildings Could Tell~

A Story the Vacant Buildings Could Tell~

19 February 2019

Hello everyone,

 

When I was growing up, life seemed so much simpler. For everyone, I believe, it does feel that way. When you’re in junior high, for example, the only things you’d hafta worry about are: cleanliness, making sure your school homework is due on time, and staying out of the way of school bullies. Right now, I’d gladly go back in time and live at least one day during my junior high years, but not to do it again – rather, to remember who I was back then and how I’ve changed from then until now. Also, I wish I could have at least one more conversation with my grandmother again. I miss her every day, and unfortunately, it wasn’t until she passed away that I came full force with the abrupt realization of how fast time really does go. I remember visiting her house when I was a child where she served me tea and cookies, only to grow up and walk through the now- empty house as an adult.

 

I’ll give you an example of how fast life goes: in the above picture is the welcome sign to Leith, ND, where my mother and her five siblings grew up out in the country. This tiny, sleepy town only has one working business: the bar, and the remainder of the buildings sit still, silent, and closed down, boards up with stories left to tell.

imagesThe above picture’s building used to be the post office. I’ve looked through the windows before, and there are still fliers left hanging up inside it. One year, the town was having an anniversary celebration, and it was fun to see most of the buildings open, walk around inside them, and inspect how life once used to be. In the early 1900s, my late great-grandpa Julius ran the town creamery with his father and then with his brothers. His wife, Gram Margie, used to tell us stories when she was alive, stories of harsh winters spent where my late grandma Rita and her brother sometimes walked to the creamery to stay warm instead of walking all the way home. One afternoon when I was a teenager, I sat with Gram Margie in her assisted living family room, flipping through old, black and white photos  and asking questions; the stories she told me really struck.

 

Country music legend Alan Jackson (who happens to be my all-time favorite country music artist by the way) even touches on such details within his song, “Little Man.” I grew up listening to old country music legends whenever we traveled to town or even thirty miles away where the best and most affordable grocery store was for us. My mom even had it running on the house stereo as we helped her clean house on Saturdays. It gradually became a comfort to me, and to this day, I refuse to listen to “modern” country music. You can’t beat the classics like Clint Black, Alan Jackson, George Strait, etc., and I find it sad that a lot of school kids nowadays don’t even know who those people are. I consider them part of my childhood, as well as part of who I am as a person. Why? Because it was those songs that we listened to as we traveled to places with my parents. And it was those car rides that made me think and ponder my life and who I was – not in a negative or depressing way, but just pondering how far God had taken me thus far. Whenever we went to Leith, ND, which was at least once a year, it was like coming home. Not only did we get to see my maternal grandparents, but we got to appreciate even more country side living and how it’d shaped us as human beings. I feel the same way with my parents’ home, especially now that my maternal grandparents have now passed on and we don’t visit Leith anymore. I’ll always be a country girl in my heart, because that’s how I was raised.

 

We each have our story to tell, and one day, we’ll tell those stories to our grandchildren and, God willing, great-grandchildren. I hope and pray that I get to do that one day, to tell them about my life and the blessings God has granted me. Nowadays, as my husband and I work every day, as well as work to get a bigger place to live with a baby on the way, I realize we are starting our own legacy. At one time in their lives, our grandparents were doing the same things. Then, suddenly, one day they wake up in their old age and realize their spouse is gone and they can barely walk. I wish I could’ve asked my grandparents more questions, such as how they’d handled life challenges when they were building houses and creating their families. What were their thoughts, feelings, and ideas? How did God so creatively chart their life courses?

 

You’ll get busy with taking care of the house, raising kids, and working – and then bam, before you know it, you’re sitting in the nursing home pondering your life. It’s rather sad, really, but it’s also needful, because it makes you want to cherish those good memories and good times more and more every day. I know I’ve written a blog post similar to this one before, but I cannot stress even more of how important it is to cling to life and cherish every moment. What kind of legacy do you plan to leave behind? And how do you want to live your life? Hopefully not with regret.

 

As I live my own life, in the here and now, I plan to enjoy the good moments, wonderful times, and pleasant memories as often as I possibly can. Because before you know it, in a blink of an eye, life ends and all that remains are the stories that your children and grandchildren continue without you.

 

If the empty, closed down, and boarded up buildings could talk, they’d tell stories on who had lived or worked in that building. In fact, they’d probably never stop talking. Story after story they’d tell of the human beings who stepped foot between those walls, busy with life, going about their business with no thought at all how maybe, just maybe, that very business might be closed down one day. Old ones die, and houses that were built with two hands by an in-love couple who raised a houseful of children are now left behind to rot.

antler1downloadleith

Look at the house in the second picture above – it’s dark, empty, and lonely, left behind by a happy family that grew up laughing, playing games, and learning about life. Look at the buildings in the other pictures. They’re all empty, abandoned, and alone, no longer wanted and no longer needed. Gives you something to think about it, doesn’t it? There were once memories in all of these similar type places throughout the country. The buildings could tell us story after story.

 

Back in the 1900s, I can just imagine the hustling of an old shop’s door jingling open and closed as the workers carried out their business. Young women in their thirties, with long dresses and thick coats, stringing along several small children, to make a deposit at an old bank that no longer exists, or to mail a letter in a post office that is now closed down. Their husbands are at home, farming the land. The children they carry along were our grandparents. If you think about it, it steals your breath away to ponder how life begins and changes in an instant. When an old one passes, new life begins, and so forth will life continue until Judgment Day. We’re only here for a short time, after all – only 80-100 years, if we’re lucky. Let’s make the best of every moment and every day that we have left. One day, after we pass, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be following in our footsteps: growing up, graduating from school(s), getting married, having children, buying a house, raising the children, and then, growing old. Before long, our memories become farther and farther away from our future generation’s minds, and one day, a child picks up a picture of you eighty years later and asks her grandparent who that is. Then, after an explanation, that picture will be placed back in a drawer to rest.

And in the mean time, our grandchildren and great-children will one day whisper,  “I hope I make her proud by carrying on her legacy.”

 

JMK~

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Christmas Memories~

Christmas Memories~

23 December 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

What are your favorite Christmas memories spent with your grandparents? Did you used to bake cookies / other desserts with Grandma or Grandpa? Or do you simply remember being surrounded by them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, relinquishing the cherished memories of simply being together.

 

This holiday season will be the first Christmas without my grandmother, a wonderful lady who taught me so many things in my thirty years of life. She taught me how to work hard for what you’re most passionate about, never give up, and never stop trying. She taught me that one doesn’t have to have good looks to be successful in life; among other things. Ever since I was a little girl, I enjoyed baking with her. Saturday afternoons growing up, I’d go next door to my grandmother’s house where she had fresh baked cookies cooling on the counter, and always offered to make me some tea. She had a ton of different kinds of tea, so she always gave me my list of options of teas I could choose from. She’d always recommend one, too, and together we’d sit together at the kitchen table, and she’d look over the day’s newspaper or magazine and ask me what I was up to these days, even if she’d only seen me a few days before. My grandma always had her dark hair, no matter how old she was, short and permed perfectly. Her bifocal glasses sat at the edge of her long nose. Her hands were spotted with age, but ones that reminded me of comfort, love, and patience as she taught me how to sew images on dish towels and kneel at the foot of the bed at night before saying my prayers.

 

I’m thinking about my grandma a lot this holiday season, such as how, every year, she created little drops of fudge and divinity for her grandchildren to enjoy. My sisters and I, my parents, and as many cousins as could come, celebrated Christmas Day afternoon opening gifts that my grandmother had given to all of her grandchildren. You could tell, simply by the joy on her face, that she adored seeing the looks on her grandchildren’s faces as they opened their gifts, while being quite humble about her own gifts. My grandma put her whole heart into the spirit of Christmas, and aside from God, family meant the most to her. I so wish I could hear her laugh again, her pleasant voice, and the comfort one can have simply by being in their grandmother’s presence. I plan to one day tell my future children about her and the woman who meant so much to me. I loved her very much.

 

This holiday season, make sure you’re humble within the spirit of Christmas, that you’re more excited to give rather than receive gifts. Cherish the sweet home holiday traditions you share with your families, and study them fondly so that one day, they’ll be rigidly clear in your mind as you think upon what once was. Bake lots of Christmas cookies and candies, even if you end up having to throw some. Buy different kinds of wrapping paper. Find lots of cute little knicknacks and streams to hang around your house, aside from a simple Christmas tree. If, in your head, you’re finding excuses to not go to a certain relative’s house or to visit this person or that person – don’t think on the negative. Because Christmas is about the positive, and sharing the season of giving and sharing with those we love most.

 

Happy Holidays, everyone 🙂

 

JMK~

 

 

Let’s Just Stop Debating, Shall We?

6 April 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

I’ve never been good at debates. I’ve never really seen the point of them. I try not to watch / read the news a lot, because there’s just way too much negativity – like I mentioned in last month’s post. I would much prefer focusing on things that really grab my attention – as they should grab everyone else’s attention in the world – serving the Lord, enjoying married life with my husband, and cherishing the life moments I get to spend with him, my cats, family, and close true friends, as well as enjoying working in my secular job.

 

When I’m going about my life, I’m not thinking about what the governmental law says about guns, violence, how to lead a just government. Blah. Blah. Blah. I’m not thinking about stuff like that on a daily basis. Sure, I care about such things, but that doesn’t mean I go about my life ratting on people social media pages complaining about how wrong they are, and all the reasons why they’re wrong. If we are to debate, we must do it in a way that is in pleasing to God – NOT what is pleasing to our own selves alone. In all generality, our forefathers began this country with only One Person in mind – God. And that is exactly who our thoughts should be focused on.

 

When you see a news article on TV or in the newspaper that is about violence, laws, etc., we must think in our minds – what would God think about this? And is there anything I can do that would please God? I don’t like to get into debates, because there are too many people out in the world whose focus is clearly not on what God thinks and commands but on their own selves. Such people are close-minded and far too stubborn to even try to persuade things otherwise, if you really wanted to. They don’t mind making threats on the Internet, telling how others are stupid or that something is wrong with them if they believe a certain way that is probably much more pleasing to God than the evil they may fixing up in their minds. Such dirty minds are not pleasing to God, because it clearly says so in His Word. And if we are to go by anything that is pleasing to God, we must first read the Bible – His Word – to understand His exact commands about certain subjects. For example, we should never wish that someone was dead – that is not nice nor would it ever be pleasing to God. Or, we shouldn’t backlash people behind their backs or on social media. For one thing, God sees all and knows all, no matter how you may try to hide something from Him. And if you believe He doesn’t exist – well, I double dog dare you to say that to His face when you will meet Him on Judgment Day.

 

I’m not trying to be blunt here or to even create a debate. I’m simply giving out a bit of a lecture here. Because I am sick and tired of hearing stories of people acting out in evil against God, treating others with evil intentions, others wishing evil upon another, and so forth. The Bible commands such things as leave peaceably with all men and turn the other cheek. Such statements are not mere suggestions – but stark commands, from God Himself given to men inspired by God to write about. Whenever we see someone doing that against another person, we need to rebuke them. And we need to make sure that we don’t follow in their footsteps.

 

So when you’re out there in social media, at work, at home, at church – wherever you are – and you disagree with a subject that someone has – no matter what it is – make sure that what you believe with all your heart, mind, and soul is 100% in tune with God and His Word. If we don’t, we are just asking for trouble one day in Judgment Day. Read the Bible yourself. Study it, and really ponder the words that are written there. They are not just written there for people of the past, but people of the present as well as the future. It doesn’t matter what century it is, the Bible will forever remain the same. It is a cherished, treasured Book that should make you really think about how you’re living your life and if everything that you believe and how you act and think is in tune with God’s Word. Because God knows every heart, and He is God, your Creator, everyone’s Creator. He created you the way you are – an artist, writer, doctor, musician, etc.. And He loves you the way you are – but He so badly needs & wants you to believe every word that is written in His Word. His commands are what He’s going to judge you against one day, when the world will end – and it WILL end.

 

Yikes, that’s a lot of harsh news, right? Well, guess what, bad and ugly news that we hear and see every day is not as harsh as that. It’s just not. Folks, we need to start living for God, not just sometimes or whenever we feel like it, but every time. Every day. Every moment of every day. And we need to keep working our hardest to do so on a constant basis, because if we do exactly what His Word says and if we try our hardest with all our heart, mind, and soul to make sure that our lives are completely in tune with His Word – it is only then that we will have success – true success – in our lives.

 

So let’s stop the debating, shall we? If we all believed God’s commands and trusted in His Will and Word, there would be a lot less debates. There would be a lot less violence, hurt, anger, and misery. But then, God never destined for us to live in a perfect world – but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t still want one. So try to live in a way that is pleasing to God, trusting in Him, reading the Bible, and obeying every one of His stark commands written there. Everything that’s written in there IS a command, and if we only take it lightly, then may God help us on Judgment Day.

 

My dear wonderful readers, know very much that everything I’m saying is not to hurt you, offend you, or anger you. It is simply to help you realize how important it is to act in a way that is pleasing to God. If you wish to debate about a subject, make sure it’s in a way that’s pleasing to God – and you do that by praying hard and reading the Bible heartily first before even beginning a debate. Postpone the debate if possible. All of these subjects that our government brings up IS important – but whether you are to agree or disagree with the changes that are made or not made is up to you. But just remember, if we are unkind to others, evil in any way, or start debating a subject that God may disapprove of, then how are we really living for God? How are we really living lives pleasing to God? How are we really going to make a difference in the world? When it’s all said and done, how much damage will be done? In the end, are we going to choose evil? Or are going to choose good? Choose wisely, according to God’s Word. That’s all I ask. Amen and amen.

 

JMK~

Words from a Wise Family Man~

Words from a Wise Family Man~

Hello everyone,

 

Sacrifice, hard work, and living life to the fullest has never come easily for me. As a teenager, I struggled with these things especially, mainly about who I am. I have always been a quiet person, but it wasn’t until I learned more about a late uncle of mine that I really began to understand the meaning of life and God’s purpose for us living in all of it.

 

He was 23 years old when he died, under the deep waters of Costa Rica. His name was Jerome, my mother’s younger brother and a great influence in my life. Everybody in my life, of course, has been a great influence, but the words he spoke to me in a speech of his that I found was what made me really admire who he was. To this day, I wish I would’ve met him, but he died several years before I was born.

 

One of his greatest passions in life was agriculture. He grew up on a farm, raised in the beauty of hard work, caring for animals, and learning the good and bad elements of every part of crop and farm life. He adored 4-H and FFA, so much so that he made it a career. While on a mission trip in Costa Rica with his 4-H mates, he’d had so many plans for how to influence as many countries as he could through agriculture and how to be better farmers. His next goal had been to explore Panama. But God had other plans.

 

While out swimming with one of his friends, his friend lost control of his swimming and drifted afar off into sea. Jerome leaped into the water to save him, and his friend safely made it to shore. However, Jerome did not, but instead drifted farther and farther away; ultimately, to his death.

 

I share this story not out of confusion or for you to feel sorry for me for an uncle I never knew that died. But by reading his final given 4-H speech, I discovered that I was more like him than I thought, and furthermore, I discovered the art of really knowing him through such a profound speech. Below are the main points given in his speech. They’re brief, but they signify not only how we should love each other, but how God loves us. This speech persuades us to be positive for our futures, but to also not expect a future, for God has an ultimate and beautiful plan far beyond all of our imaginings. I hope you enjoy this speech as a testament to him, and I hope you learn something wonderful and beautiful because of it.

 

**The most enjoyable journey is to meet someone halfway.
**You’ve got to love life, love things and love those around enough to show them. It’s a risk, but if you aren’t afraid of yourself, your life can really get better each day.
**If you start saying love and thinking about the things you love, your whole day will become a positive experience.
**Replace something negative with the positive like: “I may not hit the baseball, but I love the way you pitch” or “I hate getting up this early–but I love the sunrise and the singing birds.”
**Find something new each day to live. Don’t miss all those things that make life lovable and livable. Don’t miss life. Grab for it. Live each day and each moment. Some people live like there will always be a tomorrow, like they will never die. “Oh I can enjoy life tomorrow, right now I’ll just survive.” Love it now. There may never be a tomorrow. The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. Leo Buscaylia says, “I don’t see death as a villain. I have happily accepted death as a challenge.” I agree. It lets me know that I have to live.
**I see death as a positive force. It tells me I have a limited time. It plays no tricks. Death has been a possibility since the time I was born. It has never hidden itself…unless I hid it. Choose the present. That’s what really matters. Rid yourself of no and can’t and impossible. The world is full of negative. We are full of it. Say yes to life. Try yes and possible and hopeful. Embrace life.
**Are you foolish enough to imagine that you automatically deserve success in an field or activity? Then why do you believe you automatically deserve success in marriage and family relations unless you work at it? Look at the way you treat each other in your family. With silence. With screaming. You ignore their feelings. You hide your feelings. Or you try to. The boss yells at you. You go home and yell at your spouse. Your spouse yells at the kids. The kid kicks the dog that bites the cat that urinates on the rug. Where does it all start? Why is it that the people we love the most we support and reinforce the least?
**We too often criticize. We don’t give our family the benefit of the doubt. We expect the worse. Grandma used to say that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So why concentrate on the vinegar?
**”My parents did this and that to me.” You know what your parents do for you. The best thing they know how to. Maybe the only thing they know how to. They give you what they know. God bless them. They may not be perfect. But then, no one teaches a person how to be a parent. You suddenly have a baby and there you are. The sad part and maybe the reason you are so disappointed is that you believed your parents were perfect. And they let you believe it!
**It’s your responsibility to become the most loving, wonderful person because that is what you will be giving to your children–to all you meet.
**Sidney J. Harris says on rearing children: Parents who expect or want their children to ‘appreciate’ what they have done for them usually find that the children feel resentful when they grow older.
**Telling people you love them means you have to get out of your way. You’ve got to take a risk and expose your feelings. “I’m too cool. I don’t need to tell you what I feel.” We need love, we tell people we love them, and we need to do it now. We can’t put it off. We don’t know how much time we have.
**Love life–reach for life and stretch your mind. Love yourself–don’t be afraid. Don’t stand in your way. Love those around you. Give them the best you there is, and then they can become the best.
**No earthly happiness would be possible without our gracious God. The thought of eternal happiness with Him makes our joy here almost meaningless in comparison–to make our earthly life meaningful he has some suggestions like this: Be an instrument of peace: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love…where there is injury, pardon..where there is doubt, faith…where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console…to be understood as to understand…to be loved as to love…for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
**Carry those thoughts–console, understand, love and give–have a wonderful life!!****

 

Have a good week, everyone! 🙂

 

JMK~

When Life is Unfair

When Life is Unfair

2 June 2017

Hello everyone,

The Bible gives us all sorts of good life lessons from real-life stories of people who have fought through the worst, and survived. My favorite apostle of all time is Peter, because in the beginning of his relationship with Jesus, he was very charismatic and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. He loved Jesus, don’t get me wrong, but he was always questioning Jesus’ motives and reasons for doing things. I think he did so, not because he didn’t trust Jesus, but because he wanted to understand the right thing to do in these situations. He was a man who fought his faith, and who saw Jesus’ miracles hands on. He was also kind of a troublemaker, such as denying Jesus 3 times and cutting off a soldier’s ear to defend Jesus. I could almost picture Jesus looking at Peter when he did that, pretty much saying, “Peter, come on.” The story that really sticks with me, though, is the story of, when Jesus walked on water, Peter didn’t have enough faith to trust in Jesus to walk on water, too. As charismatic, courageous, and adventurous as Peter was, in that tiny moment, fear and distrust of faith got the best of him.

Such a story tells us that even when the apostles saw Jesus in actual physical form in front of them, they still had a lack of faith, such as not trusting when they were in a boat with a sleeping Jesus in a middle of a terrible storm. Nowadays, we trust Jesus completely. But the instant a trial hits us – a loved one dies; a dream disappears; we don’t get an expected answered prayer – we instantly turn into the “why God? Why me?” person. We are all human, but God expects us to trust Him. That is who He is. He is amazing.

A couple months ago, I saw the movie, “Is Genesis History?” It was really a tell-all story of God’s creation and how amazingly He created this earth, more than we can possibly imagine. We know that God created everything and made every human uniquely different, but did you know he made every single living thing unique too? From the biggest animal like the elephant to the tiniest ant – God knows every single one of them and made them all differently. And He cares for every single one of them, too! Isn’t that amazing? Then why is it that when a trial hits us, we forget about that and focus on the trial, as if we are all that matters, as if God doesn’t care about us, as if what we want matters more than what He wants for us.

Faith is a troublesome thing. When life is great, you may have a strong faith in God. But when life is sour, you forget about God and lose complete faith in Him. But we need to be faithful, because of the storm. We need to praise Him in that storm (yes, you read that correctly) and we need to trust that for whatever reason He’s letting the trial happen, no matter what, He has a unique plan for every one of us. He doesn’t have the same plan for somebody else. Just like there’s nobody else in the world with the same personality as you and I, there’s nobody who will ever have that same God-designed plan. Because we all handle life differently, act different, and are different! We are unique as God has blessed us to be, and to dive toward that beautiful plan instead of running from it will give us blessings instead of sorrows.

Recently, and still, I’m going through a personal trial. It is a trial of my faith, of trusting the Lord. My endless fear had been that God will not provide me with specific blessings in my life, or else He would make them different than how I’d like them to be. For months, I struggled with this, in denial that I had no faith problem. I read countless Bible reading plans and devotionals that gave me comfort. But finally, I realized that I needed to trust and accept that God would provide. I had to be courageous to accept that, and I needed to be wise to know how to accept it, and I’m still praying for these things. But because of this trial, I’ve actually drawn much closer to the Lord than I ever thought I could be, and not only that, but I’ve trusted the Lord much better, harder, and stronger than I ever have before, and I’ve been happier and more accepting of life because of it. God may not provide exactly what you want, but He will provide something that’s beautiful, wonderful, and much better than you could ever imagine. Even much better than what you wanted! You may have wanted something wonderful, but God provided something even better than that! All because you didn’t give up hope and kept your focus on the Lord. For example, when my late sister died, my parents blessed me with three more sisters. When a sheep epidemic hit our family’s farm one year, God not only healed the epidemic but blessed us with far more sheep than we ever thought of. God always comes through for us even when all seems hopeless.

You may think that your life is stuck in a rut and not going anywhere. But right now, God is using this time where time in general seems to be running agonizingly slow as you wait for His answers to your prayers. He’s using this time to train you in patience, gratitude, and overwhelming trust and love for Him. He’s using this time to help you grow in trust and love for Him and with your loved ones. He’s not just sitting there waiting. He’s growing the seed in your heart that relentlessly wants to stay put! He’s watering and watering and watering. And soon, you’ll be ready to receive these blessings. Will they be what you really wanted before? Probably not. Will it be exactly as you imagined it would be? No. But will it be worth the wait? Ohhhhhhhhh yes!!!!!!!!!!!

You may be stuck in a rut of growth, just like me. But hold your horses, partner. God has something beautiful planned for your life, something that will make the long wait worth waiting for, and something where you’ll be incredibly glad you trusted in Him all along. So trust in Him, friend, and trust as hard as you can. It will be a stunning sight of heaven when it is all over.

Oh, and don’t forget these three very important verses along the way, something to keep with you at all times, particularly every time a sliver of doubt assails your mind:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not onto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

So is life really unfair? No, because God’s got it covered. All you need to is sit and wait and trust.God will provide, in accordance with His will, in His good time. And it will be beautiful.

JMK~ 🙂

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

30 June 2016

 

Hello, everyone,

 

“Life happens in the oddest of moments.” Currently, I am working on a book where, in one scene, a mother recalls the mistakes she’s made and how, as an adult, she wished she hadn’t thought them as mistakes back then. God gives us blessings in life when we least expect it. I strongly believe that. Now, it’s still a daily struggle to count my blessings and truly be thankful for them. It’s hard for me to be thankful when I recognize how much I struggle in my own faults and flaws, and most of all, I worry what other people think about them as much as I do.

 

I grew up in the country in eastern Minnesota, the oldest of five girls. I was blessed in growing up with parents who raised us to love God first and foremost, who took us to church every Sunday, and who taught us right from wrong. My mother always said to find a career that makes you happy, and I have. But in life I learned something that I heard once on “Little House on the Prairie” (love that TV series) – that is, to count every moment and also, you can have many careers in your life. Which is true. In my life, I am an author and also a wife. I am a daughter, granddaughter, and one day, I will be a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

 

Not only that, but living in the country really made me appreciate life as it came. We were snowbound in winter a lot of times, not being in school with everyone else, simply because the school bus couldn’t make it down the not-yet-plowed gravel roads. In the summer, if you wanted real work, you helped in the barn by shoveling sheep manure out of the pens, and may I add that the barn was NOT air-conditioned and had very little air circulation? Most barns are anyway. We were faithfully involved in 4-H. We took livestock to the county fair every summer in mid-July. We daily practiced with our sheep, including with walking our lambs down to the end of the long driveway and back, or even down the road farther, halter-breaking them and then walking them to make sure they got enough exercise. Sheep were judged according to how meaty their thighs, back ends, and sides looked. It was a serious deal getting money from the 4-H auction, getting blue ribbons, and have the warm feeling in the center of your chest that your hard work truly had paid off. We weren’t afraid to get sweaty, down and dirty, and although we complained at times, I regret all of those regrets now, and would gladly do it all again.

 

As an adult, you really appreciate the home where you’ve grown up, and the people you grew up with. I remember the afternoons and evenings I spent at home in my bedroom writing stories in my notebooks, and I wish I’d been spending them in the living room with my family instead. I remember listening to the trains’ horns as I drifted off to sleep most nights, the crickets chirping, and the fresh smell of nature on your nose through an open bedroom window. I remember practicing my piano pieces while my mother made supper and my dad watched the evening news. It’s the simple things you never forget.

 

Most of you out there are young like me, around the age of 28, younger or older. Here’s a piece of advice: appreciate every day you have. Some days, I am just content on sitting in the quiet solitude of our living room with my husband, watching our cats play together or snooze. Sometimes I look at him and have a sentimental feeling – that one day, seventy years from now, I may very well be looking at him for the very last time. I’m not trying to be morbid or anything, but my point is this – you only have one life. If you read the Bible and obey what it says in there, you will find true peace in your life that doesn’t come anywhere except through God above. The stresses we deal with now in life is nothing compared to the glory that we will one day see. There is always victory in the Lord. Nobody is perfect, and I certainly don’t claim to be. But how much sweeter our life will be if we appreciate our loved ones, constantly show them, and love them even more than the day before that. May all of you be always blessed in your lives. Be faithful to God, choose the right mate, and enjoy the rest of your life as much as you possibly kind. As in Tim McGraw’s song, “Humble and Kind,” (a song I love), follow suit. Live a wonderful life.

 

Don’t forget to look for Jenna’s new book, “The Magic Suitcase: Martha” in online stores through Amazon and Smashwords! Buy it today and then buy it again when it arrives in paperback – which is coming soon!  Focus your reading energy on a book that will remind you about the wonderful blessings of life, and the surprises that come upon life’s way!

 

Have a wonderful week!

 

JMK~ 🙂

 

 

What Being a Custodian Has Taught Me

Hello everyone, 

I apologize for not writing in here for a few weeks. It’s been crazy busy for me. But yesterday was my official last day at doing custodial work, because I’ve moved onto better horizons. I spent 8 months working at a private school, and now I’ve come to tell you what I’ve learned from it. I was in charge of cleaning and organizing the entire middle school. It’s hard but good work. In fact, I enjoyed it. You may hear a lot of criticism about custodians / janitors. But you need them more than you think. 

What I’ve learned:

1. It’s job security. 

This job provided me with work for a short period of time, and although I hadn’t done it before or had experience, I became quite good at it. I’m a fast learner, so I learned the ups and downs, where everything was located, became acquainted with my very own custodial closet, and got a nice ring of keys.

2. Teenage kids can be little demons.

Kids will show no mercy. They’ll middy up the floors on purpose, barf in places like in a bathroom where a toilet or garbage can is five feet away, abandon school books in random places, spit gum on the floor, miss on the toilet and urinel, never flush, drop juice on the floor, leave leftover milk and juice in the trash, throw food on cafeteria floors, etc. 

3. You’ll lose weight.

I didn’t even need to lose weight when I started, but I ended up losing 30 pounds.

4. You’ll be appreciated.

I always received compliments while working there. 

5. You’ll be so paranoid about how your work looks that you’ll master it to perfection. 

6. You’ll look at the students’ artwork on the walls while you clean.

7. Cleaning bathrooms isn’t so bad.

For me, I always listened to music, which helped immensely in the process. But once you clean a bathroom a thousand times, you’ll know more about it than your bathrooms at home.

8. You’ll have more free time. 

Since I worked the evening shifts, my mornings were free, which caused me to easily write a whole novel, edit it, and submit it to be published.

9. The little things matter.

Such as the teachers putting the chairs onto the desks, taking out trashes for you, etc, it means a lot. Especially when you’ve got enough on your plate. 

10. You’ll miss it when you leave for good.

I got choked up yesterday when I left. In the end, it’s not about the bad, disgusting  stuff I saw in a day. It was much more than that. It was cleaning your place to perfection for 8 months. I got to know every nook and cranny of the place. I could stroll through the place blindfolded. It was a job that I enjoyed, and in the end, one I’ll always say I’m proud I had it. 

Have a good week 🙂

JK 🙂