Showing posts with label nostalgic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nostalgic. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Road Undiscovered-a micro blog

The morning sun is bright, reflecting off the road in front of me.  I squint my eyes against the glare and peer at the endless black ribbon that stretches before me.  It is a beautiful Texas fall day and I find it enervating.  I just want to drive.  I don't want to go any place in particular; I long to go, explore, expand my horizons.  East or west? North or South?  It doesn't really matter.  I want to spread a giant road map before me, close my eyes and randomly put my finger on a spot and just go.
I'm not restless by nature, quite the opposite in fact.  But today is just so beautiful, open and unspoken for.  It begs to be more than just another in a long line of errand filled, task consumed days, seemingly checked off the calendar before they begin.  In this moment, I remember that my childhood was filled with days like this, days of promise and possibility. When did the magic of each dawning day get lost in the minutia of daily life?  I don't know. Somewhere between my teen years and college would be my guess.  We exchange dreams and adventure for routine and stability when we cross the threshold of adulthood.  This is a necessary and expected exchange but for today I glimpse what morning was oh so long ago.
I pull into my driveway, the adult in me has commitments to attend to today but I am grateful for my glimpse of the endless, undiscovered road this morning.  Every day I want to awake with that same feeling of expectation and promise.  One day soon I will make the time to take the road not yet traveled, with all it's undiscovered treasures.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Glimpse of Crabbing for Patience

I spent a large part of my childhood living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.   The Eastern Shore is a beautiful peninsula covered in marshland, on the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  Watermen fish the abundant waterways and farmers farm the fertile land.  Summer was a time to enjoy the sweet abundance of land and sea on the shore.  We enjoyed feasts of the sweetest sweet corn, the juiciest watermelons and the freshest blue crabs you can imagine.  In fact, some of my favorite memories are crabbing with my family off the bridge in a little town called French Towne.  My dad would check the tide schedule and the night before we would load up the old Town and Country station wagon with nets and long strings that my Dad had wrapped around X shaped lumber.  We would pack a picnic lunch and head out at dawn to catch the tide . There we would spend the day out in the sun, enjoying the salt water breeze and crabbing our hearts out.  I don't know if you have ever crabbed but it takes patience.  You tie bait (usually chicken necks ) to strings and then you tie the free end of the string to the bridge rails. You lower the bait into the water and then you wait and wait until you feel the slightest tug on the string.  Once you feel that tug, you slowly, smoothly pull the string up a mere fraction of an inch at time.  When you finally can see the crab just under the surface of the water you quickly swoop the net down and bring the crab up.  If you have a good day you come home with a bushel basket full of sweet crabs and have a crab feast that night.
Baby me with my mom enjoying the Chesapeake Bay
Today I brought the my boys to the park for a picnic and then swimming at our neighborhood pool.  As I watched them splashing about, playing their childhood water games, I was  reminded of the summers of my youth,  splashing in the ocean, picking strawberries in the field, and crabbing with my family.  Suddenly, I was thinking about the patience that was developed in me on those lazy summer days crabbing .  There were many times, in my impatience, that I would just jerk the string as soon as I felt a tug.  Invariably, the crab would be startled and let go of the bait.  I would then have to start the whole process all over again.  I learned the hard way that patience has its rewards.  Other times, I would be distracted and miss the tug.  I would rush over with the net but the moment had passed and the crab had moved on.
Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed by the number of things that my boys just don't seem to "get" no matter how many times we remind them.  I am impatient for them to mature in some basic areas.  It occurs to me that raising my boys is somewhat like those crabbing trips of my youth.  It takes great patience, attentiveness and  sometimes the lessons are lost all together and we have to start all over.  However if I'm patient and persistent, I will reap the sweet rewards of the work.  My best bet is to sit back, enjoy the breezes life sends my way and wait for those sweet tugs, those flighty teachable moments, that are so easily lost if I am inattentive or impatient.  
Friends, I hope you are enjoying the beginning blushes of summer as I am.  I pray that you are capturing your teachable moments and enjoying the refreshing breezes life is sending your way.  I know these are where I am going to focus myself this summer.  Thank you for taking time to read.  As always lots of love-Kristine

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Need for Release

When I was 17 years old, I had my first taste of living on my own.  I lived in Ocean City, at a mission, where I was doing missions work for the summer.  My roommate, Amy, and I did everything you can imagine.  We  scrubbed, we cooked, we sang until we had no voice, we were clowns, puppeteers and even counselors.  It was a fabulous summer, one of those sweet moments in life that you capture in the amber of your memory.  You take it out occasionally, hold it up to the light, and really look at it. Then you get a quiet pang around your heart because those sweet moments can't ever be relived.
Because the majority of our ministry happened into the late hours of the night, Amy and I had a tradition of hitting the boardwalk rides right before close.  We would scream away the frustrations of our day on the roller coaster.  Even if we only had a croak of a voice left, it was so therapeutic to just let everything from the day go, in the wildness of the night.  There have been many times over the years, that I have longed for a roller coaster on which to scream away the pain and frustrations of life.
Honestly, this past month I could have used a roller coaster right in my back yard.  So many things have happened, so many daily frustrations are building up, some very deep pains  needing a release.  I want to scream and yell and have no one look at me like I'm crazy......yes I have bedazzled my very own straight jacket, just in case that day should come but I really would prefer a roller coaster ride instead of Bedlam.  
For the sanity of my family, I have spent years learning to hold back my emotions.  I honestly, am not even sure how to let it all out anymore.  My guys on the spectrum need my help to deal with their emotions, they certainly can't handle my feelings and frustrations.  They honestly just can't  process them.  I have friends who love me but I have become so accustomed to being closed off I really have no idea how to just let go in front of them.
So you my readers get to ride the roller coaster of my writing.  It is the best bypass of my brain to my heart. 
So here are the things in my heart.  If they make little sense, please bear with me.

My mind is a jumble of thoughts, that I cannot make sense of
My emotions are a raging sea below mere inches of smooth glass
I chain my heart to my head, I will it to be calm

My life is black and white, my heart longs for color
I want to scream and kick and throw myself down
Instead I sit; tearless, unmoving, untouchable

I strengthen the chains that bind me, I reinforce the glass
I am my own jailer, from me there is no escape
I am slowly willing my heart away.

I'm sorry this isn't my normal, light at the end of the tunnel post but it is what I am feeling tonight.  Tomorrow is another day, hopefully a better one. Lots of love-Kristine

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Glimpse of Suzanne

Happy Mother's Day to all you, my precious friends.  Today is a heavy Mother's Day for me.  Yesterday my good friend, neighbor and fellow spectrum momma shuffled off this mortal coil and left a hole in so many of our hearts.  She leaves behind a devoted husband and two beautiful children.  On this day where we all honor the mothers in our lives, I wanted to pay a special tribute to a mother who loved her children passionately, who fought desperately for them and whose absence today is felt so very much.
I remember very clearly the day Susie and I first met.  My phone was ringing and I did not recognize the number.  Normally, I just let those calls go straight to voice mail but something told me to answer this all.  I answered and a woman, whom I had never met, told me she had been given my number because her son had recently been diagnosed with gifted Aspergers.  She called a complete stranger and an hour and a half later when we hung up we were good friends. We had so many things in common, so many of the same life challenges.  We had laughed and cried and shared more of our lives in an hour and a half than many people share after years.  My son Paul and her son became fast friends at school and it turned out we were neighbors, living only a block or so from each other.  I will miss her phone calls and unexpected visits.  I will miss seeing her walk around the neighborhood, lost in thought and yet still on a mission.  I will miss her in my life.
Last night I told Paul about Susie's passing.  He and I stayed up late talking about her and the way she affected his life.  We grieved together for our loss and for the much greater loss to her family.  Paul asked me quite sincerely "Mom, when can I go to my friend and be a good friend to him?  When can I tell him I feel sympathy for him?  I can't stop crying, so I know my friend is crying a lot more than me because this is his mom."  At that moment, I saw a glimpse of the man growing inside of my boy. I'm  really proud of him.  
We talked about the unanswerable questions of life:  Why? How can this happen?   We took comfort in the things we do know.  Paul's literal, Aspie mind was very comforted by Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;s3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;s6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;s7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

He said to me "Mom, I don't understand why now was the time.  I don't think it is fair and I am feeling angry but I know that God said it was time.  Maybe he just really wanted her with him."  I think my 11 year old child said it better than I ever could so I will close with that.  All my love Susie, you are so missed.  All my love Jeff and kids, our hearts break with you and for you.  We are here.  All my love friends, may we never take each other for granted.- Kristine

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

A year, such a benign thing
12 long months
52 busy weeks
365 flashing by yesterdays

When I was young girl, today I would turn a year older and tomorrow I was reaching for the next year to be over. I had plans to accomplish.  I had dreams to achieve.  I had a life awaiting me, ready to start.  C'mon lets go!! 
When I was a new mom, today I would turn a year older and I would barely notice.  My busy weeks ran into each other.  Each week indistinguishable from the next, an endless parade of laundry,diapers, bottles, Orajel and infants Tylenol.  Will this ever end?
Now in the prime of life, today I turn a year older and fondly miss yesterday.  My days fly by, a flurry of activities and commitments.  Each day marked off the calendar faster than the last.   Can I slow it down for just a little while? 

Happy 30E to me (for new readers, I no longer have number birthdays.  I am now on the letter system;)!!
What a year this has been!!  Thank you so much for tagging along for the ride.  I am so grateful to each of you for being here, supporting me and holding me accountable.   
This past year has been a year of unbelievable growth in so many areas of my life.  Growth has such sweet connotations, spring, new budding leaves, flowers just starting to bloom, the fresh clean smell after a spring rain.....sweet, beautiful growth. However, growth is also painful at times.  It means stretching beyond what is comfortable into the unknown.  It means that something old has to die so that something new has fertile soil in which to grow.  This year has been full of letting go of the old to make room for the new and of the growing pains of life.   Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying the pleasantness of the new growth in my life.  I love it actually but I must acknowledge the path that has led here was at times difficult.  However difficult, I pray that I continue to grow this coming year.  I never want a year to go by where I become complacent and  cease to be willing to change and grow.   I have many mountains left to climb, many dreams I have yet to accomplish.  
This year I will be facing down my oldest turning 12 (the precipice of the dreaded teen years).  I have always said that once my boys became teenagers I would stick them in a barrel and feed them through a hole.  Obviously this is in jest, but the truth remains that I am not naturally gifted with teenagers.  Heck, I didn't even like teenagers when I was a teenager;) All those raging hormones getting in the way of common sense or even common courtesy tends to set my teeth on edge.  I skipped most of the teenage shenanigans back in the day.  So I don't even have those years as a point of reference for me to have some empathy or even sympathy.  This year I think may be my most stretching yet when it comes to parenting.  Please pray that I survive it along with my boys;)
Another challenge in this next year is my health.  I am making it a priority to get myself back into a healthy life style.  My whole body is our of sync right now, sleep cycle, weight, and just over-all health.  I say this as I'm eating a chocolate chip cookie.......yeah I still have lots of work;)
My last area of intentional growth for this coming year is my writing.  With the boys going back to school next fall, I am looking forward to really stretching myself to finish that novel I've started and restarted too many times to count.  
To sum things up I offer this toast (imagine me lifting a glass of something sparkly) "To the year that has passed, I am grateful for all the sweet times, the hard times, the laughter and the tears.  30D was very good to me.  To this coming year, I look forward to the challenges you will throw my way, to the sweet success of accomplishment and even to the bitter tears of failure because it all means that I am continuing to learn and grow.  Here's to 30E!!" Lots of love-Kristine

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just for Laughs

It is no secret that Skiffland runs low in the estrogen department. In a kingdom of 7 people and 2 cats, I am the sole female....yes that's right, even the cats are male!! To say that I am outnumbered would be a bit of an understatement.
A family of mostly males has its own unique issues. For example, I prepare to clean bathrooms as if I'm engaging in chemical warfare. This is a dangerous mission that is not for the faint of heart. I know the odds are that I will go in and never come out or more terrifyingly likely, I will be transformed by the toxic fumes into a deformed super villain. If you ever notice that my eyes are glowing orange or my hair has a green tint, just have me admitted. Please grab the straight jacket I bedazzled just for this scenario. It's hanging next to my wedding gown in my closet. ;)
Another thing that is different in our house is that my boys are pretty much oblivious to the differences between girls and boys (for now at least;) Asperger's and Autism only magnify this oblivion. Once when asked how to tell a boy cat from a girl cat my oldest replied "That's easy! A boy cat will always have a scar next to its right eye." Like I said, oblivious (and don't ask me where he came up with that answer because I have no idea).
Thursday I was sitting down doing school with some of the boys when my youngest, Benny (7), tapped me on the shoulder. He was standing next to me, shirtless. This is the conversation that ensued. Warning: Uncontrollable laughter is likely to occur. Please do not read while at work, in a library or most importantly, during your child's nap time.

Benny: Mom what are these things on my chest? (he was pointing at his nipples)
Me: Those are nipples.
Benny: What do they do?
Me: On Boys they don't do much but on girls they feed babies.
Benny (looks down at my shirt): On girls they are HUGE! I'm glad I'm a boy!! Hey guys, (and he runs off to share his new found knowledge with his brothers)

I love my guys. They make me laugh all the time. I hope you enjoyed this laugh as much as I did. I pray a great week for each of you. Lots of love-Kristine

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Beauty of Loneliness

The world around me is noisy and full, nearly bursting at the seams with its commotion
Yet I am alone
My kids chatter away, my husband tells of his day, my cats' meow their discontent
Yet I am alone
My social calendar is scheduled, my days packed with essentials
Yet I am alone
I have learned there is a beauty in loneliness.  It is in the quiet stillness of loneliness that I have time to sift through my thoughts and ever changing emotions.  In the midst of loneliness I am grounded, I am anchored.  Sometimes it takes the quiet ache of loneliness for me to discover the hidden truths, those pearls hidden for the earnest seekers of truth.  Lonely seasons, seasons of reflection, seasons of growth.  It is in these times that serious heart work is done.  It is so easy to distract myself with everything and everyone else around me.  Loneliness is the mirror in which only I am reflected back at myself.  It shows the imperfections of my nature that I mask so often in front of others; pride or envy, anger or apathy, love or hate are all inescapably reflected. 
It is in loneliness that I come to understand the truth that I am NEVER alone.  The One who placed the stars in the sky, the One who knows the beginning from the end, the One who sacrificed Himself to bring salvation to the world, yes He who knows the number of hairs upon my head, He awaits me in the place of loneliness.  How often I have missed Him by refusing the beauty of loneliness?

Dear friends I have been reflective this past week.  It has been in my reflections that this piece was born.  I am blessed to have so many beautiful friends who are there for me in any circumstance.  I know you are there:)  I firmly believe in the importance of having a good, trust-worthy support system.  I do not for a minute want anyone to think that I am now going to become a recluse.....I enjoy people way too much for that.  This is just the other-side of the coin of loneliness.  A perspective that I hope will encourage any one of you my firends who may be walking down the path of loneliness right now.  If you are in that place please know that I love you and am here.  Lots of love-Kristine

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A glimpse back

This past weekend I was cuddled up on the couch with my littlest guy Benny.  I gave him a big hug and said “Boy do I miss my Benny hugs.  What are you getting too big to hug your momma now that you’re in first grade?”  He looked at me quite seriously and said “Yes.  We have to separate.”  “What do you mean we have to separate?” I ask a little confused.  “We have to be separate.  Big people move away, get jobs and drive cars.  They separate.”  I said “You don’t have to leave yet.  You’re only 6 years old.” “Yeah, I think I’ll wait until I’m 10 to get a job.”  I hugged him tight, laughed out loud and felt a little pang in the general area of my heart.

Big people separate…..a very big truth coming from a very little guy.

My husband and I were watching a TV show together.  The main character had lived through 3 seasons of huge, life changing events.  His goal throughout the whole show was just to make it back home to the people he loved.  Finally, he made it back!!  Yet he no longer fit.  Everyone else was the same but he wasn’t.  Fundamentally he had changed.   In the end he left again for the great unknown, fighting bad guys and keeping the people he loved, but could no longer relate to, safe from horrors they could not imagine.

Sometimes you can’t go home….a harsh truth born by an imaginary hero but truth just the same. 

I have been feeling homesick for my family and friends back east these last few weeks.  The past few years there has been a big family event for me to go home for in the early fall.  This year there is not.  I keep track of the big family news through phone calls with my mom and watch my nephews and nieces grow through the limited, blurry window of Facebook and yearly Christmas cards.    

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE TX and I would not trade our lives here for anything.  We have fabulous friends that have become like family to us.  I love the small town life, the fact I know someone on almost every corner of several neighborhoods. I love the open hearted culture that my boys are being raised in, the strong faith we have encountered in so many.

Oh but I do miss walking into my Grandma’s house and seeing the same candy jar sitting on her end table that was there when I was a kid.  I miss girl’s nights with my sisters, watching movies and eating dinner.  I miss the smell of my momma’s house, the sound of my brothers fighting and laughing (they were always doing one or the other), “men’s meetings” at our house that had nothing to do with Bible study and everything to do with Texas Hold’em (and were quite boisterous at times ;), the smell of my Dad’s aftershave.  I miss laughing with my aunties and Momma until tears streamed down our faces.   

But what I miss most of all is that even when I go back, I can never go back.  We are all grown up and the winds of life have changed the landscape of who we are dramatically.  I am proud of what my individual family members have become and accomplished.  I am proud of their families, choices and characters.  Still these truths remain:  Big people separate and sometimes you just can’t go home, bittersweet truths that cannot be escaped.  So tonight I pay homage to the years past, the laughter and tears, the pain and the pleasure.  I pay tribute to those who have departed this life to soon, I still look for you in the crowd when I hear a certain laughs or smell a certain scents.  Your places in my heart still remain.   Sometimes you can’t go home but another truth remains: you can carry home forever in your heart. Lots of love-Kristine

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Glimpse of Easter

I love big holidays.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or 4th of July it doesn’t matter.  I love to open up our home and have as many of our friends and loved ones over as we can possibly fit.  I love to make a big feast.  I love decorating the house.  But what I love best is standing back and watching those I care about talking, eating, laughing…  It is moments like these that I treasure.  
My parents began the tradition of opening their home to anyone on the holidays when I was a young child.  We lived away from all of our extended family.  So my parents created a family for us through our church friends and anyone else in the community who wanted or needed a place to go on the holidays.    They even started to announce it on our local Christian radio station.  It was amazing.  Some of our most treasured family friends were met through this.   We didn’t have the fanciest house or nicest things but our house was overflowing with love and people were drawn to that….my father’s amazing cooking was a big draw too ;-)  There are many great things I learned from my parents but one of the things I most important things that I want to emulate in my own home is their amazing ability to open their hearts and home to any and all people.   This is especially true at Easter time.
As I said previously, I love all the holidays but Easter holds a special place in my heart.  Easter is the celebration of Jesus amazing love for us.  A love that is so boundless, so amazing that he made the ultimate sacrifice.  God humbled himself and became man.  He lived out every bit of the human experience in his 33 short years on earth and remained blameless and without sin.  Then he took our sins upon himself and received our punishment.  He was tortured mercilessly, killed in the cruelest fashion available (death on the cross was the most painful death, reserved for the worst criminals) and was buried in the tomb of someone else.  Three days later he arose from the grave victorious, having defeated death!!  It is this that we celebrate on Easter.  We celebrate Jesus.  We celebrate his life.  We celebrate his amazing love for us.  What better way to celebrate God’s love for us then to love those around us?  What more fitting way to embrace what Christ has done for us than by willingly, joyfully serving those God places in our path?
I have been very blessed to have learned this by the example of my parents.   It is my desire that my children will look back years down the road and understand the importance of truly loving people, loving people not just in word but in action.  Our world today speeds by us, our crazy schedules dictating our lives instead of us dictating our schedules.  So often in the midst of all the madness we lose sight of what is truly important, what is truly eternal.  So many people are alone or hurting.  So many individuals have need of just a glimpse of kindness, a glimpse of love.  Happy Easter to you my friends.  I pray that God will bless you with the opportunity to love on someone this week, this special Holy week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Glimpse of Time

I was a very young girl, big eyes and big bows.  Giddy and free I rode my horse for hours on end.  There was no place we did not explore, no fence we did not jump.  Then his springs slowly lost their bounce, his batteries were replaced no more and I grew up a just a little bit.
I was a school aged girl, loose toothed and untied shoes.  I rode my bike for miles on end.   The wind whipped through my hair as I explored the twist and turns of our mountain roads.  Slowly my bike lost its shine, its tires lost their air and I grew up just a little bit more.
I was a teenaged girl, all pouty lips and heartfelt sighs.  I could drive my shiny car anywhere I chose.  I drove to work so I could pay for the car, and the insurance and the gas.  Slowly I learned that true freedom always has a cost and I grew up quite a bit more.
I was a young married woman, rounded belly and glowing eyes.   I traded in my shiny car for a practical minivan.  I learned that parking close to the cart return is more important that parking close to the door, that infant baby carriers get really heavy after about three months and that someone else’s safety was way more important than my freedom and I finally grew up all the way.

The past week I have been thinking quite a bit about the passing of time.  There is something about the way my oldest is beginning to look more like a young teenager than a child that made me sentimental. Time marches quickly on and I am mostly oblivious to it.  I am so wrapped up in my daily life, the important things that I must accomplish that somehow I miss the moments they change from baby to toddler, toddler to child, and now child to adolescent.    I just look up one minute and they have changed.  I want to put this time in a bottle and put it on a high shelf so that years from now I can look at it and smile.  I love where we are in life right now.  I love watching the boys learn and explore life around them.  I love having friends that can share the smiles and tears of the everyday, normal things.    I want to hold tight to all these moments because time is still marching forward.    Pretty soon all my boys are going to be men.  I know that time will be precious also as I watch them venture out into the world and have careers and families of their own.  But for today I want to slow it all down just a bit and draw everything I can out of the little, every day moments.   So I am signing off today with a challenge to live life fully in the moment.-Kristine

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