Parenthetically Speaking

Parenthetically Speaking

The Standards Queen…

August 22, 2014

emily post cropped




That’s right I was nominated, voted and crowned the Standards Queen of my sorority.   The Gamma Phi Betas at Kansas State University had a tradition of recognizing the member who upheld the standards of the house, the rules & expected manners.

Although it was done with jocularity, (I was sashed, crowned and made to walk, and wave through the tables at Wednesday night formal dinner), down deep it meant something to me.  Standards, manners, etiquette were and are important to me.

Now for those of you who know me, and for those of you who don’t, I am silly, sometimes a bit off color & laugh a bit too loud.  But manners, proper etiquette and standards do not equal boring, boorish, and stuffy.

Continue Reading…

Parenthetically Speaking

There’s this guy…

July 22, 2014



john and kim

So there’s this guy and he’s kinda cute.  Silvery grey hair, big strong arms to wrap me up in.  A cute little nose, glasses that he peers over when I’m ornery.  A heart as big as…something big, the moon!  Yes a heart as big as the moon.  He claims that I am the 64 pack Crayola crayons to his black and white world, which I know translates ‘maybe a bit too colorful sometimes.’

But he loves me, ME.  Just the way I am.

Well I am sure he would change a few things if he could ,wink!   But he loves me just the same.  And it didn’t happen overnight.  And it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.

Marriage, oh my! Marriage is…

Hard work & easy

Fulfilling & disappointing

Painful & healing

Exciting & boring

Fun & miserable

Serendipitous & mundane

Marriage, it runs the gamut of emotions.  Marriage has moments of logic and irrational thinking and sometimes these are only seconds apart. Marriage is not for the faint at heart.

Marriage is a covenant that carries no guarantee of happiness or ease.  It is more than a fabulous wedding and yummy white cake.  Long after that wedding comes a marriage.

And that is where the real work begins.  But oh so worth the battles, the wounds the victories and defeats!

So if you find yourself in the middle of the muck and mire of marriage, battle through it. Do not give up.  Be strong and courageous.  The victory is yours!

As I type, I think back over our 28 years of marriage and am so glad we toughed it out!  That we endured even the ugliest of moments.

Now, the kids are grown and nearly all gone (although we see them (read feed them) a lot).

Today is back to just us!  US!!!

Morning conversations over Good Morning America and a cup of coffee, evenings of Netflix and good books.  Weekends hosting many in our home, around the table.  I find myself right smack dab in the middle of a relationship that has shared much and there’s more to come.

And while it is not yet perfect and will never be perfect, we are us and that is perfect to me!




HodgePodge, Parenthetically Speaking

Enough is enough…

February 9, 2014

enough (1)

Or is it?

You just sneak up on me. Your messages, the whisper of Enough.

You are not…

Cool enough

Smart enough

Thin enough

Pretty enough

Young enough

Eloquent enough

And anything else anyone else is…enough.

I never hear these words alone.

You are not…Cool, Smart, Thin, Pretty, Young, nor Eloquent

They always partner with Enough.

That dreaded Enough.   Enough sends me sailing, flailing into discouragement.

I could handle that voice if it just said, hey you are not cool.  Then I would just resign myself and move forward.  But Enough, gives me a glimmer of hope that if I just work a little harder, diet a little more, work on my vocabulary a little more, then yes, then maybe I could be Enough.

It’s Enough that draws me in to introspection.  Enough pulls me to focus on me. Focus to a point that I lose focus.  I can see nothing else, but the goal of enough.

I begin to strive, position, manipulate, and do whatever it takes to reach the elusive goal of being and doing enough.

Oh you with your silent letters, you haunt me. But I am not alone in my torment.  Oh no, Enough you have many followers.

When asked once, “How much money is enough money?” John D Rockerfeller replied, “Just a little bit more.”

I have company, lots of company.  Enough already enough.  Enough of you Enough!


Enough, you are so subjective, hard to describe, fleeting, elusive.  You are supposed to indicate the amount necessary.  But who decides the amount necessary? Oh I know your tricks; you just keep moving the finish line.  Nothing and no one will ever be enough for you, Enough.  You will just keep whispering your name and I will keep racing to hit the enough button, to cross the enough line, to reach the enough nirvana.

But Enough does not exist.  Enough you are impossible.

Many days I can resist your temptation, Enough, but some days I cannot.  My only line of defense, the only weapon I have, the only victory possible is surrender.  And then I will realize that I am not Enough and I will never be Enough.  Complete surrender, reckless abandon to the only one who is enough, who holds all the victory, all the judgment, all that is needed to make not enough, enough.

When I hear the whispers of Enough, I must move my eyes from self to Saviour.  This is my only hope of becoming who He desires me to be, nothing more and nothing less, but just enough!


Parenthetically Speaking

Catch a Wave…

February 7, 2014




Parenting, it’s not always a mouth full of sand.

Destin, Florida, our spot, our getaway…skin was browned, shells were collected, games were played, memories were made and boogie boarding was mastered, (well by the children at least).

Upon arriving in Destin we would unpack the minivan, and then all 6 of us would head to Walmart.  Food for the week was purchased along with four boogie boards.

Boogie boarding!   Quite sure I never  really figured it out, but once in a while, ever so often, I would hit it just right and have the ride of a lifetime (well at least it was pure excitement to me).

What an adventure, the smell of ocean air, the feel of the cool water splashing on my legs as I wade out to the deeper waters.  With a boogie board strapped to my wrist, I would position myself to literally, ‘catch a wave’.  I needed just the right angle, (did I even know what the right angle was?) and then at just the right time (did I ever truly figure out the timing?), I would throw myself face forward onto the board and hope that the wave was in the right place to push me toward the shore.

And if all aligned (sheer happenstance of this I am sure) then the wave would swell below my board and send me flying across the top of the water.  I caught the wave (well the wave caught me) and I was thrilled with the fun and ease of the ride.  Victory!

Of course it always ended the same way…

The force of the water would land me face down at the water’s edge with a mouth full of sand.  Next step, simply spit out the sand, grab the board and wade back out for the next wave.

The moment of defeat, mouth full of sand, was not a place I intended to stay. I wanted back out there for a chance of victory once again.

Boogie boarding philosophy, spit out the sand quickly and head back out for the next great wave!

The rhythm of boogie boarding soon began to shed light on my parenting, the moments of defeat and victory alike.

Four children (arriving in a 5 ½ year time frame) ushered in many moments of victory and defeats, over these past 26+ years.

Wading into the adventure of potty training, the moment she finally got it, Victory!  Next moment, a note sent home from mom’s day out, biting!

A mouth full of sand.

Wading into the adventure of elementary school, an advanced reader Victory! Next moment, suspended for bullying.

A mouth full of sand.

Wading into the adventure of teen years, an employed teen, with a bank account, and a debit card, Victory! Next moment, overdraft notices start pouring in.

A mouth full of sand.

Parenting, it is just like boogie boarding.  After 26 years of being a mom, I am still unsure of the angle, the timing and I certainly have not perfected the navigation.

But I did figure one thing out.   The mouth full of sand moments would not be where we lived.  Instead we would address the failure (spit out the sand) and then move on, (wade back out to catch the next wave of victory). We would live in the Victory!

So parents, if today is a mouth full of sand day, take heart there is always another great wave to be had.  Wade back out!

Parenthetically Speaking

Just a Pollyanna…

February 5, 2014


I’m just a Pollyanna.

What’s a Pollyanna?

What has now become a somewhat negative term to describe one who always sees the bright side of any situation, had its beginnings in a book, entitle Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter in 1913.  Pollyanna, the main character became immortalized by Hayley Mills in the 1960 Walt Disney production entitled Pollyanna.  The message is simple; a girl with radical optimism changes the hearts of many.

A girl with RADICAL OPTIMISM, changes the hearts of many.

I am a Pollyanna.  And sometimes that makes me feel stupid.  I hear comments like, don’t be naïve, I don’t think you should trust ______, be careful or you will be hoodwinked, don’t get manipulated…

In a world bent on self-proclamation and self-preservation, we Pollyanna’s are viewed with a bit of disdain.  Oh sure people will say, I wish I could be more positive like you, but deep down, they just think I’m stupid.

Oh I know they want to protect me, but protect me from what?  From whom?  I don’t care about what others do to me; I only care what I do to others.  I have been called to invest, pour out my life like a drink offering, and give away what has been given to me.

And I know through experience, that you cannot out give God, and pessimism never wins a battle.

Oh I know you level headed thinkers are tied up in knots right now, but fear not.

I balance my check book

I lock my house

I listen carefully to what people say and do not say

I have goals, disciplines, and measures

I am not just bumbling around like a long lost hippie of the 60’s.

I just chose hope, no matter what.


So if you are a Pollyanna, (one who is radically optimistic with a desire to change the hearts of many) wear it proudly!  No apologies, no excuses, no reassuring the pessimist (they call themselves realist).

And if you are not a Pollyanna, I am not asking you to change.  Just latch onto a Pollyanna, because everyone needs encouragement.

Proverbs 31:25

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come