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Archive for March, 2011

more than words

I love words.

I love the way they bring images to life.

I love the way they appeal to the senses.

And if I’m being completely honest, I think sometimes I just like hearing my own voice wrap itself around them.

 

Garrett and I have a routine we faithfully enact every day when I drop him off for school.

I’ll tell him to have a good day and say I love you.

He’ll tell me he loves me too and wish me a good day as well.

 

But, my favorite part is what happens next:

He’ll kiss my cheek and turn to exit our minivan.

Then he will quickly turn back and kiss my cheek again, wrapping his arms tightly around my neck.

Jumping out of the vehicle onto the curb, he’ll pretend like he’s walking toward his classmates.

But, before he gets more than two feet away, Garrett will pop up by the passenger-side window and give me a thumbs-up.

I give him one back before pulling away.

And that’s all either of us need.

No words.

Just a few simple gestures conveying a powerful message just the same.

Thanks for making me smile every afternoon buddy!

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The week between Christmas and New Years is often a challenge. A chorus of “Mom, what can we do?” is frequently ringing throughout our home. With the kids still on Christmas break and the novelty of their new toys worn off, I am often left scrambling for ways to entertain them.

 

Christmas 2009

That year, I had a new idea. While perusing the grocery store, I came across a Gingerbread House Kit. “Perfect,” I thought. This little kit contained everything I needed: busyness, fun and snack.

Perfect.

I bought the kit, tucked it away and secretly looked forward to surprising them with it. So, one morning when I found myself sitting across the kitchen table from three sets of bored eyes, I was ready.

I pulled out the gingerbread house and instantly the kids’ attitude changed. It was perfect! They couldn’t wait to tear that box open and unveil all the goodies inside. We opened and sorted all the pieces. I then, set the box before them as a mecca we were journeying toward. If we made our house look like this house, it would be perfect.

Ava wanted to put the house together. “No,” I told her, “I’ll do that. You want to make sure the edges line up just right or it will fall apart.” Garrett asked to put the icing on the roof. “No buddy.” I further explained, “See how pretty it looks on the box? Look at the way the icing resembles snow drifts. We want our frosting to look just like that, so I’ll be in charge of the icing. But don’t worry, you guys can put the candy on.”

Candy time quickly approached. Much of my attention was focused on Grady, who was three-years-old at the time. It was all I could do to keep his sticky fingers out of the candy bowl! In the meantime, Ava and Garrett started placing the various pieces on the house.

“Hold on a sec – wait for me!” I exclaimed. “Don’t put the candy there. It’ll look much better if we put it here.” I heard them sigh, but didn’t register it’s meaning.  Eventually I told them I’d finish putting the candy on, but they could decorate the gingerbread man and snow man.

You know where I’m going with this…

At some point, they left to go play with their toys. I was too immersed in what I was doing to notice. I continued working on the house, making sure I had an interesting color composition and balanced symmetry. I didn’t stop until it was perfect. Once satisfied, I called up the kids, so they could see the finished product. I positioned them in front of the house I… oops, I mean, we built and told them to smile. I snapped a photo and called their daddy up from the basement, so he could behold our masterpiece.

“Isn’t it perfect?” I asked.

“You put the roof shingles on upside down,” he replied.

***

My perfectionist streak is something I continually battle. On one hand, it’s a blessing because it helps me maintain a high standard when it comes to things I do. However, when it gets out of balance, it is more than a curse. And suddenly, good intentions become missed opportunities. When I purchased the gingerbread house, I brought home what could have been a fun, memorable afternoon for the kids and me. However, because their design didn’t gel with my vision, I pushed them aside, letting a projected image on a box cover overshadow their creativity. I became so focused on that final, perfect gingerbread house that I completely blew it that afternoon.  I’m embarrassed when I think what I taught my kids that day.

 

Christmas 2010

Same set up as the year before…

This time though after we sorted our pieces, I removed the box completely. I still put the house together, but then handed the icing bag to Ava.

“Here you go,” I said. “Why don’t you decorate the roof this time.” She looked at me dumbfounded. “Can I do whatever I want?” she asked. “Yep,” I replied.

“Anything?”

“Yes, Ava. You can make it look however you want to.”

Still thinking I was bluffing, she pressed on, “So, if I just squeeze all the icing out on top of the house, you won’t get mad?”

At that, I smiled, got up from the table and told them to have fun.

Oh my word, you should have seen them go at it! There was icing and candy everywhere. Thankfully, most of it did end up on the gingerbread. My kids laughed as they teased one one another with icing covered fingers. The only time I heard a protest was when they caught Grady still putting more candy into his mouth instead of onto the house. As I watched them, I marveled at the way God can use something as simple as gingerbread to speak truth.  That day, He reminded me that perfect isn’t always perfect. And when we let go of our perceived notion of perfection, He can reveal a deeper beauty even amidst chaos. For what my kids created that day was more beautiful than any manufacturer’s box because it was theirs.

 

Our finished creation…

 

 

Perfect.

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for my dad…

Ever wonder what people will say at your funeral?

My dad did.

I had a conversation with my mom recently.  She shared an exchange that took place between her & Dad.  He asked her, “What would you say for my eulogy?”  Now, if you know my mom, you know she doesn’t speak in public.  So, she told him his children would be doing the speaking.  He pressed on, “What do you think the kids would say?”  She paused & told him, “I’m sure they’d say you were a great father.”

Today is my dad’s birthday and I have to say, that little exchange between my parents had a big impact on me.  What would I say about my dad?  What stories would I share; illustrating the impact he had and continues to have on my life?  I only gave a eulogy once…it was during my great-grandmother’s funeral.  However, I’ve been to many funerals where people say some of the most beautiful things about each other.  And then it hit me:  eulogies are an outlet for honoring the memory of someone who is no longer with us and an opportunity to share the way another person influenced us.  But, are we always intentional in making sure the actual person knows what they mean to us while we’re still together on this earth?

Hmmm…

Now, I love my dad, but criminy, he is one of the hardest people to shop for!  Yeah, I can always get him a shirt (only black, grey or navy), but he already has a closet full.

So, this year, I’ve giving my dad a “living eulogy.”

 

Dad, if you should die, before I wake, I’d want you to know…

 

March 21, 2011

 

Dear Dad,

Growing up in the Klintworth household was a gift.  My brothers, sister and I were blessed with two parents who loved God, loved each other and loved us.  And they made sure we knew it.  My parents provided for our needs and were involved in our lives.  I’m not saying everything was roses and sunshine.  We are a family who isn’t afraid to communicate.  And sure enough, there were times when we didn’t always get along or days when tension filled the home because one of us was in trouble.  But, our foundation was Love.

Many of you know I’m a good mix of my mom and dad.  My mom is wired to respond emotionally; my dad, rationally.  I get my kind spirit from my Mom.  But, when it comes to reacting, I’m my dad all the way.  I naturally default to a logical or rational mode of thinking with emotional responses coming later.  But, this isn’t the only fingerprint my dad has left on my life.

If it wasn’t for my dad, I don’t think I’d ever truly appreciate the power of the hot dog.  When dinnertime came, it didn’t matter what Mom served us; what it smelled like, looked like or even if it was still mooing.  If any of us, particularly my brother Brandon, hesitated before trying a dish, my dad always said the same thing:  “Just try it.  It’s like a hot dog.”  And then, like the flipping of an imaginary switch, any hesitation instantly dissipated and we’d have no problem inserting our forks into our mouths.

Without my dad, I would have never discovered my love for science fiction. At night, Dad would sit on the couch, with a bag of pretzels and papers sprawled all over the coffee table.  I’d be finishing my homework.  At the same time, as if on cue, we would take a breath and say aloud:

“Space…the final frontier.  These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise…”.

Yep, I loved watching “Star Trek Next Generation” with my dad!  To this day, I’m still a science fiction fan.  In fact, I prefer a good sci-fi to a chick flick any day.  I love that the “V” miniseries has reared its lizard head again.  My dad and I watched the original series back when it first aired, and I have to say…I wish we were able to watch it together today.

My dad worked his rear off all through life and he’s been extremely generous with what he has gained.  We looked forward to many dates growing up in our household:  birthdays, anniversaries, holidays….and April 15th, the end of tax season.  As a CPA, he worked crazy hours, particularly during tax season.  Some may wonder why he worked so late or so hard.  The answer is simple:  My dad worked hard for his family.  Through sacrifices both he and my mother made, they were able to send us to private schools.  I am so thankful I got to grow up in a classroom where talking about God wasn’t taboo and the Bible was required reading.  He knows the hard work he endured years ago has blossomed into fruits, which enable his family to continually walk through doors that would have otherwise remained closed.

High school brought new opportunities to hang with my dad: most memorably Father/Daughter dances.  My dad and I entered every single dance contest.  We had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but we were fast learners (Dad will tell you it’s because we’re part German).  So, we watched other couples to see the basic steps, and then dived right on in.  We even won the twist contest one year!  Our favorite style though, was swing dancing.  What began in high school continued to my wedding day.   I loved my husband and couldn’t wait to dance in his arms that night.  But, I knew my first dance belonged to my dad.  We took dance lessons in preparation for what would become my most memorable Father/Daughter dance.  We started out with a basic waltz, leading our guests to believe we were doing a traditional dance.  But then, true to form, we changed music mid-dance and tore up the dance floor with a fun rendition to “Rock Around the Clock.”

My dad is so supportive!  I was very nervous the day I planned telling my parents I wanted to study acting in college.  At the time, all I could think was, “How do I explain to my CPA father that what I really want to do is act?”  Their reaction surprised me and my dad didn’t push back at all.  Not many people continually work professionally as actors, so both he and Mom encouraged me to pick a good minor.  I worked professionally as an actress for a short time before being cast in the role that brought me my greatest fulfillment:  Mommy.

Dad has always encouraged me to follow dreams.  His stance is, you only get one time around before your life is done.  He really instilled in me a determination to fight for what is important and go after what you want.  If it doesn’t work out, then at least you tried, which is more than what many people do.

There is a playful side of my dad that surprises many and much of my playfulness as a parent comes directly from him.  He always had a trick up his sleeve.  Sometimes he would have us pretend to be asleep when Mom came home after work, or hide in a closet so she had to find us.   But our giggles eventually gave us away.  He is an awesome grandpa!  I asked the kids what they love about him and instantly they said the fun they have with him.  They love visiting his office when no one else is there.  He lets them roam the various corridors while pretending to be the monster chasing them.  They love when he tickles them and when he, as Grady puts it, “drives them to Cancun.”  He is already having a wonderful influence on them and I’m grateful for the time they get to spend together.

I get my love for public speaking from my dad.  While some classmates dreaded having to stand in front of others, I thrived.  I’ve never been afraid to speak in public.  I’m more intimidated by geometric theorems than a crowd.  My dad helped cultivate my love for communication, expression and connection with other people.  He also greatly influenced my writing ability and continually flamed this passion.  He is a fantastic editor and if not for him, I’d be a prepositional phrase nut with a tendency to overuse “that.”  One of the best things he did was write me questions in the margins.  I started approaching writing with a more conversational tone and think about not just what I said, but how to include the reader in the process.

My dad was all about the tools.  I still have the marionette we made together from a craft book template.  Dad also helped us design wooden cars for Awana derbies.  We never won, but I loved watching him work with the wood, talk aerodynamics and help him paint our little creations.  If we didn’t know how to do something, we figured it out.  And I’m wired that way to this day.

I am one determined woman and my dad taught me about perseverance.  Many years ago, our van broke down in a blizzard a couple blocks from our home.  I still remember trucking through the biting weather carrying my brother, while Dad carried my sister.  My other brother?  Well, he was in charge of carrying the Hardees bags.  My siblings were crying and I had my teeth gritted together.  Dad kept his voice up and encouraging as we cut through yards until we made it home.  He taught me a valuable lesson that night and I take the same approach to life:  there are times when circumstances whip you in the face, leaving you wondering which end is up.  But you still push through, one step at a time, until you make it Home.

Dad, there is so much I admire about you:  the way you balanced work with family, the time you took coaching our soccer teams, your musical influence, “Griswold” family vacations, I could go on and on.

The legacy you are leaving us is one of love.  I know I am a creation designed for a purpose.  Many people spend their whole life trying to figure out what that purpose is.  The colors you’ve painted on the canvas of my life helped me uncover my purpose.  They direct the choices I make in daily living and how I hope to impact those around me.

You’ve taught me so much, but none of it would matter if you didn’t first teach me to love.  Thank you for loving my mother.  Thank you for loving my siblings.  Thank you for loving my husband and my children.

Thank you for loving me.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

 

Love,

Kelly Christine

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“Mom we gotta make a trap because then we can catch a leprechaun but don’t worry Mom because if you catch a leprechaun he turns to stone and he only comes alive at night oh yeah and he can do crazy things to your house so we need to make a really great trap because if you catch a leprechaun then he has to give you his pot of gold did you hear me Mom…his POT OF GOLD!!!”

~Ava Grace

 

That was the whirlwind I encountered last year around St. Patrick’s Day.

Leprechauns?

Traps?

As a kid, I thought the coolest thing about St. Patrick’s Day was you got to wear green and eat boiled potatoes.

But, somewhere between my childhood & now, St. Patrick’s Day had a makeover!

And thus began a new tradition in our home.

“Lucky” came into our lives only a year ago, but the kids talk about him like he’s a cousin (we know his name because last year he left us a signed note decked out in rainbow glitter).

We used a shoebox for our first trap.  The concept was simple: we’d lure Lucky into the box with a strategically placed gold coin.  When he reached for the coin, he’d trigger the thread tied to a small wooden stick supporting the box’s lid to fall down, thus trapping him.  However, when we examined our trap the next morning, we realized our trap, though awesome, was flawed.  We didn’t realize Lucky was strong enough to push the lid back up and crawl out of the box to escape.

This year, the kids spent nearly two weeks designing a trap to catch Lucky.  Ava only gave me bits of information here & there, until her design revelation.  I have to admit, I was expecting something quite elaborate.  What she presented was…

a tissue box.

“A tissue box?” I asked her.  “Yep,” she replied.  But I knew there had to be more to it by the way her clever eyes held mine.

“But, the key Mom, is syrup.”

Ahhhh, my cunning girl.  The trap was designed to be deceptively simple.  We placed a regular tissue box on the counter & covered the hole on top with a piece of tissue.  The kids used two lures this year.  First, a handful a Lucky Charms was placed at the base of the trap.  They constructed a Lego staircase he could climb toward the second lure.  We ended up using a gold coin to entice him (yea, we kept that part of last year’s model).  However, this time when Lucky reached for the gold, he’d fall in the box and into a pit of syrup, so he couldn’t climb out.

Brilliant.

 

 

The kids headed off to bed, confident they’d have a leprechaun in the morning.

 

Now, for the fun!

After finding out the key to the plan was syrup, I thought it’d be great if Lucky ended up escaping, but still leave behind a shoe.  I found a pair of Ken shoes on clearance at Target.  I made little gold buckles, which I glued to the shoes along with a glitter shamrock.  I knew Ava’s best friend, Anicka, was making a similar trap.  So I called her mom & gave her the other shoe.  That way, when the girls got together the next morning, they’d see the complete pair.  Gotta love Cinderella inspiration!

 

I made the girls each a gold locket as a sentimental token from Lucky, since our move to Tennessee will be here before we know it.  According to Lucky’s note, he said he was able to escape because he still had the locket in his hand when he fell through.  So, he was able to use it as a rope to escape.

(you can see the gold locket best in this pic…)

 

Since we’re in the process of moving, I left Lucky a note, asking him to take it easy on the house.  But, he couldn’t resist a few impish surprises:

 

He left bits of magic around their rooms…

 

He turned our milk green…

 

He even tied shiny shamrock garland around Ted’s collar, complete with a green glo-stick…

 

Oh, and he left us a little leprechaun poo (green tic tacs) where the Lucky Charms were.  I guess he really enjoyed them 😉 …

 

The kids were disappointed not to find a leprechaun, but they were excited to find they each received a little pot full of chocolate gold coins (and of course, Ava loved her necklace).

 

So, this year’s round goes to Lucky aka Mom.

 

I can’t wait for next year’s mischief!!

 

 

 

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amazing update

I’m sorry!

I have a tendency to announce updates on Facebook & I forget about my blog readers!

Awesome news:

We got an offer for our ASKING PRICE for our home!  Our house was on the market for one week.

To say God’s hand is all over this is an understatement.  In this housing market, I think it is nothing short of a miracle & a blessing that everything has gone as smoothly as it has.  It is further affirmation that we are following His path for us!

We accepted the offer (obviously 🙂 ) and signed a contract.  We’ll close on our home at the end of May.  Our next step is to head down to Nashville at the end of this month to pick out our new home.  We are very excited!

Thank you so much for your kind words, emails & faithful prayers.  We still have a way to go & I’m relying on Him every step of the way!

My kids brought home this Bible verse from church on Sunday.  The next day we received our offer.

“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

I said this on my Facebook status update & I’ll say it again here:

I am speechless.  I am humbled.  I am in awe of my God.

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