Category Archives: 2017

Bees & Buttons (1.5-min read)

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I’ve always been industrious, busy as a bee. As a kid, I could keep myself occupied for hours by creating art using typing paper, tape and crayons. As a teen, I stayed busy with homework, school clubs, music, and church. And none of that changed as a young adult.

Yet, I’m not a high-energy person. Type B through and through, I require quiet time to recharge and recenter. Otherwise, I’m a walking billboard for “Exhausted: Proceed with Caution.”

My natural way of operating in the world is caring for others by giving them a lot of my time and attention. When I became a mom , that modus operandi only intensified. Sleep deprivation? Whatever. In my overachieving-first-time-mom mind, I HAD to be sure our little one ate, slept and had clean diapers or the world would end. Literally.

So, I just kept going and going and going. Kinda like the Energizer Bunny, but without the benefit of batteries. My ever-so-thoughtful hubby, worrying more than a bit, would look at me and almost plead, “Karin, grab a nap. You. Are. TIRED.”

But, you’re a new parent like me, tooooo, I’d think to myself. You know as little about this parenting stuff as I do!  I trusted our newbie parenting skills as far as I could throw an elephant. So, I couldn’t truly rest.  Instead, I’d look at my loving hubby through bloodshot eyes weighed down with bags and reply, “Nuh uh.”

Time kept moving along, and so did I – usually in a fog of fatigue. When our daughter was 9 months old, we visited family at my parents’ home. My big sis, with kids of her own, fell instantly in love with our daughter – and saw the fatigue all over me.

“Give her to me,” she insisted, as soon as we walked in the door. “And just go rest. I got her.”

I knew my sis would know what to do if the baby cried, pooped, even managed a whimper. She was a safe and trusted harbor, a Jedi-level mom raising 3 older kids.

I almost ran to the bedroom, confident our little one was in the hands of a pro.

I’d discovered my Off Button.

I won’t even say how long I slept or how much drool I left on my parents’ pillows. But, to this day, it was one of the best naps I’ve ever had. I woke up smiling with renewed energy, able to be fully present with my hubby, our little one and extended family.

My life is still blessed with family, work and more. So, yeah, each day is super-full. I’m planning and executing and scheduling and transporting and cooking and cleaning and writing and editing. And thinking of it all when I’m not doing any of it.

I’m still pretty good at wearing myself out.

But, the good news? I’m better at pressing my Off Button when needed. I’ve come to trust that the world will not, in fact, fall apart if I stop being a busy bee and just rest. No alarm clocks. No itineraries. And no cell phone or computer use. I simply lie down, close my eyes, and instantly go into a deep slumber.

And, when I do so, I’m all the better for it. So are those I love, care for, and work with. Why? Because I return reenergized and ready to engage. My best self shows up. Not the snippy, too-tired-to-talk-laugh-or-smile Karin.

We all have moments when we need to push our Off Button. Being “On” most of the time– the pull of cell phones and social media, full work days, demands of others, you name it – can wear us out and down. Our brains, hearts, and spirits can only manage so much. We’re mere mortals, after all.

We all need an Off Button. Do whatever it takes to figure out yours – and then, when it’s needed most, press it.

 Your Turn: What’s your Off Button?

Hurry Up and Wait (2-min. read)

You Can't Rush the Ideal Time

You’re driving long distance to an event—perhaps a business conference or a friend’s graduation—and time is of the essence. You prepared well. You packed up needed items, placed the mail on hold, and hit the road on time. “I’ve got snacks and a full tank of gas. No need to even stop,” you brag to yourself, smiling. You just know you’ll arrive with time to spare.

About 2 hours into the ride, you’re in an unexpected roadwork zone, and traffic slows juuuust a bit. No worries, you think. I’ve still got plenty of time to get there.

Then, you see it. Red brake lights in front of you. Not just on one car. On ALL the cars in front of you.

And no one’s moving. Continue reading

A Matter of Trust (2-min. read)

For May 2017 Self Confidence and Trust Yourself Pic

Photo Credit: Alexas Fotos

“Mom, my throat hurts.”

Recent words from our son. While it’s not earth shattering by a long shot, a sore throat is out of the ordinary for him. He has never, ever complained of having one. I thought, a brand new symptom? Stop the presses. Something’s off. Continue reading

All Shook Up (3-min. read)

 

march 2017 pic bird singing
Do you ever wish life only offered lovely sunshine and little birds singing – you know, skipping the blizzards and buzzards of life?

I do.

But Life chuckles and says, “Blizzards and buzzards show up because easy moments alone won’t help you grow.” And I gotta agree. We can be oh-so stubborn, especially when it comes to enduring the hard stuff that stretches us from the inside, out. It’s like eating only candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tastes yummy going down, but all that sugar will ultimately cause cavities and a really bad tummy ache.

We often fight the hard moments, don’t we? And when something feels wrong, ill-timed, catastrophic or painful, we can find ourselves all shook up. Continue reading

True Love (3-min. read)

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My hubby gets me.

On Valentine’s Day, he surprised me with a funny greeting card and a heart-shaped box of miniature Kit Kats.

No jewelry. No shopping spree. No flowers.

And I loved him for it.

Why? Because it was the icing on the cake after countless moments he’s helped my dad up and down stairs. Covered kiddie activities all day on a Saturday so I could meet work deadlines. Washed a lot of laundry. And so much more.

He knows my primary Love Language, and he loves me by honoring it as much as he can. And I love him all the more for that. Continue reading

Got Your Lesson? (4-min. read)

homework

Each day after school I’d go home, grab a small snack and hop on my homework. I wanted to get my work done to maximize TV time after dinner. And later at the dinner table, Granny Sykes would ask, “Did you get your lesson?”

She was referring to my homework, of course. Granny wanted to be sure I was focused, learning what I was supposed to learn thoroughly – not just rushing through it to enjoy the perk of TV time.

Granny Sykes was both tough and loving. Quick to fuss at me and correct me, Granny also was one of my biggest cheerleaders. She believed in me and told me I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up. She’d worked incredibly hard cleaning homes of white families for many years, long before she came to live with us. She wanted the generations after her to have more options in life, and education was key.

So, she asked. And my homework got done, with neat handwriting and all.

Thirty years later, Granny’s question still lingers in my mind. A lot. But, it’s not about kiddie homework anymore. Continue reading