A-B-C Affirmations

April 24, 2017

Last Father’s Day, my family and I were riding in our vehicle. We stumbled upon something we now call A-B-C Affirmations.

It started because the kid’s dad is great at sharing words of affirmation. These are words that talk about a person’s character traits or ways of being in a positive light. So we decided to give him some affirmations to celebrate his special day.

Someone said, “Hey let’s give one for each letter of the alphabet. We can go around the truck.” I’m not sure who started, but it was really meaningful to him and fun for us. It was so meaningful, that he took out his smart phone and started recording the moment.

For the rest of that calendar year and going forward, we do A-B-C Affirmations for birthdays, Father’s Day, Siblings Day and now coming up Mother’s Day. We even did them for Jesus, at the CHRISTmas party for our Bible study group.

I share this idea in hopes you will take a few minutes to affirmations for your Mom and anyone else you want to show love to. The following will help you see how it works, it’s the list we created in March, for our son KJ’s 22nd birthday:

A – Abiding in the Lord (Said Dad)

B – Believer (Said Mom)

C – Chicken finger lover (Said Koah, his 11-year-old sister)

D – Determined (Said Kyler, his 20-year-old brother)

E – Earth shaking laugh when coaching volleyball and playing 2K

F – Fashion sense – KJ loves the two jacket look

G – Gangster (little OG) Koah says because KJ’s co-workers call his dad the OG

H – Humble

I – Identical to Kenny (Said by his Dad)

J – Jumper – Says mom, per the photo that KJ took touching the ceiling to show his hops.

KJ Ceiling

K- Knowledgeable of history

L – Lively, Lit (hyped) Likeable

M – Me (said again by the name sharing Kenneth Vance Wilson, Sr.) millennial, marvelous

N – Not worried

0 – Opinionated and original

P – Peanut Butter Eater (The whole fam says this because KJ is largely a non-meat eater.) He is also precious, valuable and needed.

Q – Quite the gentleman, quick silver the super hero

R – Road observant (Says mom, to whom he is always giving driving advice)

S – Shopper at H&M

T – Thinker (Says Kyler, a student at OSU)

U – Unafraid

V – Vance-tastic, KJ’s middle name is Vance

W – Westbrook (For similarities to Russell Westbrook)

X – Xanadocious (The quality of xanady) X is a tough letter and we often make up words for this one. I believe Kyler made up this word.

Y – Young

Z – Zealot for Christ

We don’t always write these down, but KJ said I could share them for this post. Thanks son!

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Please let me know how your A-B-C Affirmations go. This can give us all some new ideas!

Continued Blessings – Home-ista Kelly

 

 

Lately when I sweep my kitchen floor I want to cry. It’s not because I hate cleaning my kitchen. I actually like having a clean kitchen. I want to cry because my floor had a hidden kitchen sweeper that I am reminded of when I sweep. It was my nearly 13-year-old dog, Kondi Wilson.

Kondi on the way home from the groomer, 2016

Kondi on the way home from the groomer 2016

Kondi was a Wheaten Terrier. She was loving, kind, funny, loyal and protective. Whenever the doorbell would ring, she was over the top crazy, making sure we knew a possible intruder could be at hand. But if we allowed the person to enter, she was a friend.

We got Kondi in May of 2004 and she was named after Condoleezza Rice. My husband bought her for me as a surprise, a few months after our oldest daughter, Kennedy died. He thought Kondi would be a good distraction for me over that first mother’s day weekend without our infant. She was.

Of her many talents, Kondi was a great vacuum sweeper.

I candidly didn’t realize how much she did to help me keep the floor clean. She must’ve licked up millions of crumbs over her 12 years of being our pet. I never noticed until now, how fraught with crumbs the kitchen floor is and has been. It makes me miss her even more.

Kondi was a really good friend. She was always optimistic, believing the best of me. She was always available to play or just sit next to me while I worked on my laptop or read my Bible in the early morning. She was quirky, loving to lie on stinky clothes that she dragged from the laundry room. The worst the smell, the better it was to her.

I suspect that my human friends and loved ones have value that is hidden too. I am afraid that I overlook or take for granted so many of the wonderful things that they do – and I don’t fully savor the quirky and unique ways that they are. Or worst, I get impatient and annoyed.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, this will be a great time to acknowledge many of the wonderful people in my life. Maybe I will make them a treat. I trust Kondi would approve.

 

My command is this: Love each other as I [Jesus] have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15 NIV

 

Encouragement

June 7, 2016

I stopped my SUV in the parking lot of the church behind my daughter’s school like I do most mornings. I flipped the visor and mirror door to apply my blush and lipstick.

To my surprise was a “Post-It” note was taped on the mirror with blue painters tape. It was from my 10-year-old daughter and said “you are beautiful”

I laughed and wondered when she had time to execute this precious show of love and encouragement. Not only was I touched by her affection I was impressed by her thinking ahead.

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Aside from making me feel like a queen, her words of affirmation and encouragement reminded me of the power of a kind word to build a person up.

I’m asking each person who reads this post to place a post-it-note with a word of affirmation or encouragement on a desk, night stand, lunchbox, lamp, mirror, underwear drawer, cabinet door, etc., and really make someone’s day. You might be changing a life in the process.

“So encourage each other and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

After your “encouragement target” sees the post-it – please post it – to this blog!

Father’s Day Punch

June 18, 2012

It has been a long good day. I am grateful to God, for gracing me to marry a great dad for my children. Kenneth Vance Wilson, Sr., is doing big things with the arrows in his quiver.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

Psalm 127:3-5

Today, we tried to show him how much he means to us, in a meaningful way. But I also believe in showing love in the little every day things. Like making my husband’s favorite punch recipe to enjoy with a bowl of popcorn during the basketball game or watching the next episode of America’s Got Talent.

Ingredients:

One 6oz can of Dole Pineapple Juice

1 and 2/3 Cups of Cranberry Juice*

1/4 Cup Sugar

Two 12oz cans of Sprite

(I usually keep can of frozen cranberry juice on hand. So I thaw the can in the microwave and use 1/3 of the concentrate plus 1 and 1/2 cups of cold water.)

Mix the first three ingredients together in a pitcher then add the soda slowly. The punch will have a cool purple fizz. It keeps overnight in the refrigerator just fine, but I suspect you won’t have any left.

Enjoy a glass with your family soon.

Home-ista Kelly

P.S. I am want to acknowledge my husband’s dad, and to honor the memories of my dad, Allen Tyrone Smith, Sr., my mom’s second husband Tommie Boyd, and our grandfathers who have all gone on to be with the Lord.

Like many of you, I am often pressed for time. So I multitask. One Saturday morning, around 11am, I was cooking dinner for guests who would be coming for Bible study that evening. I was also doing miscellaneous household chores. Koah, our then five-year-old comes into the room and says, “I’m bored.”

Okay, let’s give you a quick bath and then you’ll be ready to go out and run errands later. In typical doing too-many-things fashion, while browning ground beef for chili I run upstairs and fill the tub about one-third full of warm water. I reach into the cabinet beneath the sink grab the Mr. Bubble Sensitive Skin and pour in a couple of squirts. “Koah! Come and get into the tub please.” Miss Independent says, “I can do it by myself mom.” So I say “good” to myself and go back downstairs to the sautéing meat.

I’m listening from the kitchen and I had asked our teenage son to listen out for her from the room next to the bathroom. It’s all good. Ten minutes later I think, let me grab Koah’s clothes and get her out and dressed. I knock on the door, open it and see suds everywhere. They’re on the floor. The shower curtain. The walls. The kid. Yikes!

I immediately look behind me. I messed up. I forgot to re-latch the child safety lock on the cabinet doors. Ai-yi-yi… This has happened before, but not to this degree. The last time, Koah was chided for adding soap to the bath water she said “I was so tempted. The Mr. Bubble is so good, so much fun. You better remember to lock those doors, mom.” I vowed to lock them from then on.

This time I am not happy. “Ko-wah. You know that you are not supposed to add more bubble bath to the bath water. I already told you this.” Torn between the glee of 3 feet of bubbles and the guilt of disobedience she says, “I’m sorry.” Then starts to tear up. My guilty parent conscience speaks up, “It’s your own fault. You should have reset the lock.” The regular me thinks, “Thank God there are no heavy-duty cleaning products under the sink, only bath bubbles and bath time crayons, baby wipes, and a few magazines.”

Koah - After the fact...

I catch myself and try to keep this negative parenting moment from becoming worse than it already is. “Did you have fun?” I ask. Koah cracks a smile and says “Yes!” It was obvious she was a having a blast because she was swirling the water around like a washing machine when I opened the door. “It’s okay, I’m not mad. It did look like fun. But what are you going to do when the temptation of something else is that strong? Are you going to do the wrong thing?”

Before she can answer, Mrs. Guilty-Parent-Conscience resurfaces and says “like the temptation of multi-tasking more than you should.” Hmmm. She has a point.

There are times when I suffer so much from the desire to get more and more done, that I end up enjoying life less and less. Rather than cooking on a different floor than Koah, maybe I could have sat on the floor outside of the bathroom with the laptop and worked on my next blog or planned the menu for the upcoming week. I could have folded laundry in her room, which is right down the hall.

Being close by might not have prevented the suds situation, but if I weren’t in such a harried state of mind, I might have remembered to re-lock that child safety device. (Parenthetically I must say, as long as the parent remembers to engage it, the Cabinet Slide Lock by Safety 1st, works really well.)

Safety 1st Cabinet Slide Lock

So, fellow home-istas, we probably have to multi-task sometimes, but we definitely plan our multiple activities carefully and wisely. That way the dual tasking helps us be a few steps ahead, rather than several steps behind.

Hugs-

Home-ista, Kelly

P.S. I never left my kiddos in the bathtub alone when they were young, not even for a minute. That is an absolute no-no, but you already know this, and will behave accordingly.

P.S. P.S. The ground beef came out fine, it was simmering on a very low cooking temperature, throughout the whole bathroom adventure.

For the love of pancakes

February 11, 2012

Valentine’s Day ‘86 was a special one for me. It opened the door for the first meaningful conversation I had with the young man who would become my husband. I was a junior at the University of Cincinnati and had pledged Delta Sigma Theta, a Black Greek Letter Organization, my sophomore year. On a whim, I politely asked, okay – big-sister demanded, the young women who were pledging that year, to get me a Valentine’s card from three different guys. I gave them the names of three eligible young men and several days after the 14th they came back with one… super… ridicules… card.

The cover had a cartoon drawing of a laboratory beaker and read “Lick This.” On the inside were the words “Love Potion.” Hmmm. On top of that interesting message, the card was signed “Ken E. Luv.” Of course, he had gotten my attention.

Kenny Wilson – and I – have a lack of agreement as to what happened next. He says he came to my job one evening at the UC main campus library bearing a box of chocolates. I agree that he did visit my desk at the Periodicals Department. He was charming, full of one-liners, dapperly dressed and bought me a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine. Either way, we had a great conversation that led to a first date at the local Red Lobster. I was impressed by his financial sacrifice, two dinners at RL was a lot of money for a college student. He was pleased that I was a light eater, which is a topic for future blog. God-willing we will celebrate 22 years of marriage on 2/24/12. (We chose the 24th because it was the Saturday nearest to the day of that first date.)

Kelly & Kenny circa 1986

Now that we have a quiver of children, Valentine’s Day might be commemorated with chocolates and a card or we might have a romantic lunch while the kids are at school. One way to include them in the festivities is to share the story of the person called Saint Valentine. History.com tells it this way. “One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.”

In addition to a discussion on the merits of marriage, you can also make a kid-pleasing meal of pancakes from scratch. Prepare them for dinner or breakfast if you have time. They can be healthier if you include whole wheat or oat flour. Make them heart-shaped or use blueberries to make a heart on top of a round pancake. Don’t forget the maple syrup and ice-cold milk. Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup of Flour

(Use all-purpose flour or ¾ all-purpose and ¼ cup whole wheat or oat flour.)

1 Tablespoon Sugar

2 teaspoons Baking Power

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 cup Sour Milk

(I don’t usually have sour milk on hand. So make it by putting a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Fill the cup with regular milk to the one-cup line. Let it sit for five minutes or until the milk looks curdled.)

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon melted butter (or use vegetable oil if you prefer.)

Oil for cooking

This recipe is very easy, but the taste is exceptional. Mix the dry ingredients together. Then add the milk and egg and stir until the mixture is just combined. As you mix in the butter, stir the big lumps out, but small lumps are okay. Over mixing the batter creates tougher cakes.

I typically place a large pan on the stove top to get it nice and hot after I stir the dry ingredients together. By the time I get the batter completed, the pan is ready for the oil. I pour in enough to cover the bottom of the pan. A tablespoon is a good starting point. Pancakes will stick when the pan is not hot enough. (If the oil starts to smoke, the pan is too hot, remove it from the heat and let it cool down a bit.) Of course, if you have a griddle, use that.

To make pancakes that are the same size, I use a metal ¼ cup dry measure. They often have a little spout to make the pouring easier. I can typically put three cakes in a large pan at one time. Ideally the edges shouldn’t be touching one another. Let each pancake cook until little bubbles form all over the top surface. When you see this, they are ready to flip. Use a thin spatula and get it all the way under the cake. This technique will help keep the pancake from folding back on itself. Cook the second side until it is brown on the bottom and serve warm with your favorite syrup or enjoy the way my mom likes her pancakes with jelly.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours,

Home-ista Kelly

“Are you really going to make mommy bake cookies with you tonight?” I said. “You promised,” said Koah, my persistent five-year old with a memory of steel. “It’s almost 7 o’clock, which is way too late to start making cookies. We’ve got to get ready for school tomorrow.” She looked at me with hope mixed with resolve. “You promised.”

It was Monday January 16, 2012 the day we celebrate the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. I had taken vacation time to be at home with our kids. When the day was young, I did promise to make celebration cookies. But, that was before I was before I knew that my husband would need to have me follow him to take his vehicle for a repair and that kiddo #2 would need to have his glasses replaced after losing them at a wrestling meet and that kiddo #1 would need some “supervision” to complete a writing assignment that I thought was already done. At this point in the evening, I really didn’t feel like making cookies.

But Psalm 15:4 was in my head from the daily Bible passage and it including this phrase in the New Living Translation, (the godly) keep their promises even when it hurts.

I took a deep breath, then got the ingredients out and told Koah to wash her hands. She was thrilled. She began to select several small shakers of colored sprinkles from the cookie decorating stash. We made the dough, using two-thirds all-purpose and one-third oat flour. (It makes me feel better about eating sugar cookies if whole grain is included.) We rolled and cut out the cookies. They are baked, cooled and decorated. Working side-by-side, smiling, laughing, enjoying each other and even the process we are finished after an hour. Koah chose two of the cookies she decorated and drank a small cup of milk. I decided to leave the kitchen in the state of cookie production mess, and got her cleaned up and into bed. While the teenager finished his assignment at the desk nearby, I worked on the kitchen. It was late – but I still ate a couple of cookies with milk myself. They are probably the best tasting cookies we have ever made.

Several days later, the true lesson begins to emerge, as I see a message on my computer about deleting computer cookies. According to wisegeek.com, “a computer cookie is a small text file which contains a unique ID tag, that placed on your computer by a website.” As I understand it, cookie technology allows users to keep track of information entered at a site for future reference. For example, if you submit a registration form, the site associates the information you filled in, with you, as you travel through the site’s pages. If there were no cookie file, every time you clicked on a different page in the site, the site would lose the information that is attached to you, forcing you to re-enter it.

Interesting. Maybe… the making of “sugar cookies” gave me a vehicle to leave some “positive memory cookies” on the hard drive of my daughter’s heart. Hmmm. How amazing that God can use something so simple as an evening spent, baking, laughing, talking, and sharing to potentially reinforce important things that I want her to know.

Like: 1. Mom loves Koah. I like to spend time with her, even though the many demands on my time sometimes keep me from doing what I set out to do.

And 2. To the best of my ability, mom wants to be a “promise-keeper.” If I say it, for the most part, you can trust it.

So… from today on I will try to remember that small things can really be big things in disguise. And now that I have this new analogy, I want to intentionally deposit positive relationship cookies into my friends and loved ones… along with the sugar variety.

Koah & Kyler Making Cookies at CHRISTmas

Our Cookie Recipe (It is based upon Sugar Cookie Cutouts, from Better Homes and Gardens, New Cook Book, 1989.)

Ingredients

1/3 cup Butter

1/3 cup Crisco shortening

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Oat Flour (We typically use Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour)

1 Egg

¾ cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Milk

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon Vanilla

Cream the butter and shortening with an electric mixer for one minute. To this add the sugar, half of the flour, baking powder, the egg, salt and the milk. Mix again until the ingredients are combined, and you have a loose batter. Add the vanilla and then mix in the balance of the flour. Shape the dough into a flat disk. Chill in the refrigerator wrapped in waxed paper for at least 15 minutes. If you have time, chill for a few hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out half of the dough to a depth of 1/8 or ¼ inch. Use floured cutters or a knife to make cookies that are about the same size, so they will cook evenly. Bake cookies on an ungreased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, or till the edges are lightly browned and the centers are firm. Cool on a clean brown paper bags, or a baking rack if you have one.

Decorate with icing made from powdered sugar mixed with milk until it is the consistency that you want for spreading or piping. We add a bit of fresh lemon juice for great flavor and use plastic condiment bottles (from Walmart) to make designs. And we usually sprinkle with nonpareils for added bling.

Kyler making swirls with a condiment bottle

We hope you will enjoy, Home-ista Kelly