Karen's Blog

Let's take a walk through a brand new day.

Flo

I’ve laughed a lot today and laughing is good for the soul.

This year, I decided to have a little fun when choosing a gift for my husband. He enjoys a clean house and has always done more than his fair share in keeping it that way. In honor of his devotion to cleanliness, (more…)

Meowzerz, Sly Fox, Sanic, Wolfy, Anima, Speedy and MORE!

Anyone who knows me will tell you that children have my heart.  They are the soul, future, fire, and heart of a nation.  Conversations with children are the best!  Children tend to be sincere with their questions, staunch in their beliefs, and eager wide-eyed learners. Today, I had a great conversation with about fifteen 5th graders at Arthur Edwards Elementary in Havelock, NC. (more…)

Lollygagging, Dilly Dallying and other Muses

I’m ready for spring! This winter took its toll on my family and friends. Influenza, pneumonia, cancer treatments, transplants, and even deaths encompassed the past few months. There were some really sad days for people who I love. But, as I heard about each of these unfortunate life events, I found that out of every sadness came joy and happiness. Funerals brought families together, cancer treatments reunited old friends, and severe cases of the flu had communities banding together in support of neighbors. Life is like that, isn’t it? Just as you think you can’t take one more dreary winter day, out pops a daffodil. What joy that simple little eruption from the earth can bring. A single yellow flower with green leaves can bring smiles, hope, and belief in happy days ahead.

This week, I attended a memorial service of a beloved football coach and teacher. Fittingly, the celebration of life was held in the high school gym of the school where he had spent 27 years of his career. The service was well attended by former players, coaches, teachers, friends, and family. He was such a positive person who never wavered from his beliefs and his love of young people. As friends and former players and coaches spoke in celebration of his life, I found myself jotting down some of the quotes and quips he used throughout his career and life.

Here’s one: “Excuses are the nails that built the house of failure” (more…)

Family, cow patties, silver spoons, and misplaced memories

The holidays are behind us and the memories of family and friends in our homes are slowly beginning to fade.  Hopefully, the stressful memories are gone and the good ones are lingering.  For me, family memories are many and almost always happy.  We have a HUGE extended family and are blessed to have remained close. My dad was one of 17 brothers and sisters. My mom was one of nine.  When all of these relatives began having children and their children had children and their children’s children had children, the family logistics became very confusing.  I’m still confused about what to call my relatives.  I can’t remember whether they are my second cousins, or third cousins, or first cousin once removed, or twice removed!  One of my relatives just calls everybody “cousin”.  I’m cousin Karen and then there’s cousin Gail and cousin Chris, and cousin Cody, and cousin Gary and cousin Linda and so on. We know we’re related and we can even tell you how. “That’s Ray’s daughter’s son’s cousin’ on her mama’s side.”  Let’s just say it gets complicated.  There are hundreds and hundreds in the Lord family!  My dad told me that if I ever ran into someone who had the last name Lord, I should assume that I was kin to them. So, I do. (more…)

Raising a Joyful Reader: Top Ten Tips

Consider giving books for gifts this holiday season. A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.

As a child in rural Georgia, I knew the exact day and time when the mobile library or Bookmobile was scheduled to arrive in my hometown.  New books, just waiting to be read, lined the shelves on the walls of that vehicle. There was a limit to the number of books available for checkout and I maxed out the limit every time.  Now, it’s hard to imagine that two-week wait. With electronic devices, a new book is just a click away.

Not everyone shares my love of reading. One of my friends is quick to remind me of that fact.  I’ll start a sentence with, “Have you read… and she quickly gives me the evil eye.  I never even get to finish my sentence.  Her response on many occasions has made me wonder and ponder why some people love reading and others hate it.  It’s an age-old question and I don’t have the answer. But, I do have some thoughts on how to help children enjoy reading from a young age.

Here are my top ten tips for engaging children in reading.

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Ready or Not, Here They Come! 20 Tips for Helping Holiday Guests Feel at Home.

Perry Como first sang the tune, Home for the Holidays, back in 1954. Since that time, recording artists including The Carpenters, Garth Brooks, Barry Manilow, Cyndi Lauper and Norah Jones have serenaded us as we await loved ones returning home for the holidays.  Television celebrates reunions by showing wreath decorated doors opening to loved ones in snow-covered scenes with guests bearing gifts for all. Friends gather around the holiday table for a feast befitting a king. A beautifully decorated Christmas tree completes the scene of the most magical holiday season.

What television doesn’t show us is all the preparation, stress, and worry involved in creating those perfect holiday scenes. Yes, its a labor of love…but it’s still labor. Making those guests feel comfortable and at home can be challenging. Here are 20 tips to ensure that overnight guests feel comfortable and welcome in your home. (more…)

And then it happened…Nanowrimo

In March of 2013, my son hiked the Appalachian Trail. He took our 10-year-old dog, Copper, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Many of my readers know the story and followed his journey.

He blogged while he was hiking and when he returned home, I encouraged him to take his blog and create a book for future generations to enjoy. He balked at first but knew that memories fade and that having the blog and pictures in printed form would be a treasure. He edited and rewrote sections of the blog with the result being a 700+ page hard bound book with memories and pictures documented forever. The creation of the book happened during Nanowrimo. For those who are unfamiliar with “Nano”, I will explain.

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Bumps in the Road

Early in November, the traveling bug hit. Each year I receive a free companion ticket from Delta that lets me take a friend or family member and fly anywhere in the 48 contiguous states. I love the opportunity to share travel with someone. This year, I let the expiration date of the certificate slip up on me and I almost lost the opportunity. I needed to make a plan and fast.

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The Perfect Mug

I spent 8 years looking for the perfect mug. There. I said it. And, I’m not ashamed.

Have you ever thought about the mugs you hold in your hand and how they feel? I could never find one that felt just right and made me happy to hold it.
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Everesting

Remember that fall getaway to the mountains with friends that I shared with you in an earlier blog post? Remember the two-hour story telling around the campfire? One of those friends, Renea, had quite the story to tell and she got me thinking about goals, objectives, success and failure.  We all know what success and failure look like but what about goals and objectives?  A definition helps:  a goal is a destination and an objective is a measure of the progress  needed to get to the destination.  Success is a matter of establishing both.

Renea is an adrenaline junkie in the most positive way. She loves adventures and challenges. Her latest adventure was to go “Everesting”. This is not to be confused with “Ever Resting” which is what most of us would enjoy on any given busy day!  Her goal was to climb the equivalent of Mt. Everest in a 24 hour period: 1 mountain. 17 times. 29,029 feet…the height of Mount Everest. The event was held on Stratton Mountain in Vermont where there were 150 participants.

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Everesting