The “Art” of the Matter

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Once again March is here, and I am in the middle of Tech Week for a show. Like usual during this week, I either find myself thinking about a better way I could have made a costume work or why I believe all children should have access to the Arts at early age. Just this morning I found myself thinking, “Why do so many people push their kids into athletics but not something related to the arts?” I am not a researcher, but as a life long fan of the arts (seriously, I played a sheep at age 5), I feel like the “art” of the matter is that people don’t see the benefits of involvement with the arts.

So what are the benefits? This can vary depending on the type of art form being utilized. To start, let’s talk about the theatre. First and foremost, being in the theatre teaches team work. Unless you’re starring in a one person show in which you also do all of the tech work, you have to work cooperatively with others to stage a successful production. A big component of this is strengthening communication and self advocacy skills. For example, if you’re in the cast, and you lose something, then you have to be able to ask the appropriate person for help. I can’t tell you how often I get asked “Where’s my x?” I’m always glad they ask so that they have something to wear on stage! Additionally, theatre promotes learning empathy (something that I believe is strongly missing in today’s society). Whenever you are playing a character, you have to find ways to understand their emotions and portray them in such a way that you can relate to the emotion. Empathy can also be developed just from watching a theatrical production as well. Obviously, given my 35 years of being in theatre, I feel very strongly about this one!

However, my strong feelings about everyone trying the arts doesn’t stop with theatre. I believe that learning to paint, creating collages, and using clay are essential to developing fine motor skills. Another way to work on fine motor skills? Playing a musical instrument! Learning a musical instrument and how to read music can also help with math skills. In elementary school, I always believed that fractions made sense because of knowing how to read music and understanding the number of beats associated with a given note. Along with teaching math, music can help with writing skills, emotional management, recalling memories, and much more. Seriously, look up all the ways music can be beneficial. One other thing worth looking is the health benefits associated with music and art therapy. If I can’t convince you to get the “art” of the matter, the research might be able to do so. Are you feeling ready to try being artsy yet?

Understand that I’m not trying to say sports don’t have a place. I played several of those while also being active in the arts. Likewise, I’m not trying to convince you to only pick the arts. However, if getting to the “art” of the matter could have a positive impact on life, why not at least give them – or encourage your kids to give them – a try?

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

An Open Letter to Kate Winslet

This is outside my normal blog writing realm; however, I thoroughly enjoy writing fan mail. Along the same lines, I’m also too lazy to go buy an International stamp. Thus, I’m sharing this here even though I know that Ms Winslet will probably never in a million years see it.

Dear Kate Winslet,

A few nights ago, I went on a date with my husband to see the 25th Anniversary run of Titanic at the movie theater. When the movie was released 25 years ago, I saw it at the cinema five times. A part of that was because I had a huge crush on Leo DiCaprio. Fourteen year old me thought it was amazing that he was a hottie who also gave a damn about the environment even before it was trendy to do so. Just as big of a part of my going to see the movie so much was because before you brought Rose to life, I had never been able to see part of myself in an actress.

Growing up, I always saw myself as out of place physically. I had auburn hair that was far from a popular shade in the 90s, and I was heavy set compared to most of my peers (today, I realize that 155 at 5’7 truly wasn’t that heavy). To go with this, I’d always had a more round face and slightly chubby cheeks than most classmates. Prior to Titanic, I never could relate to anyone I saw in magazines, film, etc. However, from the time I saw your natural beauty and grace onscreen with similar features to mine, my outlook changed. Through seeing you, I discovered that I was also beautiful in my own way. Seeing you in the film also helped me realize that unique can be a lot more beautiful than the cookie cutter Barbie-like pretty that was so popular when I was growing up. Thanks for making a red head feel like part of the cool kids club!

In recent years, I’ve read that you feel like your performance in Titanic was embarrassing. Though it may not be your favorite, I am forever grateful that you chose to be in the film. Your choice began the journey for making me realize how powerful and beautiful a red head can be!

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

Baby Gifts of the Magi

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I am a champion at starting things and forgetting to make time to finish them. One of these projects has been completing LilKsby’s baby book. Lately, I’ve been putting a renewed effort into completing it, and tonight I was working on the page where the prompt was listing gifts that people gave me and Mr Kisby for LilKsby. Even though he’s almost four, I was able to recall enough of the gifts to fill the page. We were VERY blessed by the AMAZING people in our lives! The page was filled with items such as picture frames, clothes, toys, bouncers, nursery furniture, and feeding sets. We were also very thankful to be brought meals by our closest family and friends. These were essential during the first few sleepless weeks!

After I filled out that page in the baby book, I was flipping through notes on my phone. One of them was titled Gifts of the Magi. In the note I had written the following:

  • Gold – most valuable metal, symbol of divinity
  • Frankincense – medicine for many ailments
    • Myrrh – Used as medicine and embalming royalty, a gift reserved for kings

I’m guessing that I looked them up one year after hearing or reading the story of the Three Wise Men coming to visit Baby Jesus. I’m sure I made the note so that I wouldn’t ask myself again in the future what frankincense and myrrh were. I’ve always thought that they were strange gifts to give to a baby, but when looking at what they symbolize/were used as, it makes sense that they would be appropriate gifts for a baby king. So I get it, but I do wonder if Mary would have appreciated a warm baby blanket or the back in the day equivalent of Pampers. I’m sure I’m not the only mother who has every thought, “Man! Those Magi gifts were not practical!”

That’s enough of my curious thoughts for the night. Time to go back to comparing toilets on Home Depot’s website, registering for an event, and considering starting another Coursera course while listening to The Big Bang Theory all while the toddler snoozes next to me.

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

The Broken Road

Photo Credit: The Great Kaysby

There’s a song by Rascal Flatts with the lyrics “This much I know is true/That God blessed the broken road/That led me to straight to you.” The song is aptly titled “Bless the Broken Road,” and though it came out a number of years ago, it has been in my head today. I saw a post from a Facebook connection (sometimes it seems weird to me to say Facebook friend when it is someone you knew years ago that you’re not really sure if you were friends or acquaintances with then much less now) reflecting on the journey of their life and how some of the must unexpected parts yield the biggest blessings. That post moved me because I felt like it was talking to me in that most of what I thought would be my future 22 years ago hasn’t been my path at all; however, I could not be more blessed and happy than I am today on this road.

When I look back on those days, I think of a person who just really wanted people to like her. At times I felt like I would do anything just to try and get/retain friends. As a smaller kid, I was always heavy set and far from the “pretty, popular type” which meant not always having a lot of people want to be around me. Looking back, I realize that this need for people to like me could occasionally come at the cost of hurting others. It was never intentional, and since I haven’t seen a lot of those people in a long number of years, I hope they have either forgotten or forgiven the wrongs I did to them. If they haven’t done either, then I get it. Sometimes I wasn’t the nicest way back in the day.

Thankfully, a long my journey through various roads, I have learned to like me for me. I’ve met a wonderful tribe of friends along the way thanks mostly to theatre, LARPing, teaching, and Mary Kay, and a long the journey I met an even more wonderful husband! I know that Mr Kisby is the absolute best husband in the world because he’s my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and so much more. I could keep going, but the lovey dovey overload might make you sick at your stomach. The best way to put it is we love each other and like each other. Mr Kisby is also the one who gave me the biggest blessings in the world: the baby in Heaven that taught me just how much I wanted to be a mom and the sweet little boy here on earth that calls me Mama. ❤️ As the boy and the husband lay asleep next to me, my heart could not be more filled with love and joy! Thank you God for leading me to them!

Personal growth aside, there are a lot of other parts of life that I never would have imagined 22+ years ago. You may not believe it, but at one point I wanted to be a lawyer. What can I say besides Clueless and Legally Blonde made it look glamorous? I would have been a terrible lawyer because I absolutely do not like conflict. In fact, having conflict with people has been know to make me so upset I get physically sick. Then, I started college with the intent of getting a double major in theatre and journalism with a minor in sociology. I ended up changing schools because I didn’t like the college and I missed home with all of my friends. That change led to a couple of business degrees and eventually a teaching degree. All of these led to job changes which saw me through various relationships and a lot of time LARPing (these I’m confident enough with who I am to admit publicly how nerdy I am). Each of those choices were little roads that also brought me to where I am today.

Today, I am on the best road I ever could have imagined! I absolutely love being wife and mama, and I am so thankful to be in a position where I am able to be home caring for them full time. Each day with them is an adventure, and as I am watching LilKsby grow and change, I feel like I’m also watching myself grow and change for the better each day! I love the person I am becoming, and I believe that allows me to love all of the important people in my life that much more!

I realize this is pretty deep for a Friday night, but I feel like turning 40 this year is going to be filled with a lot of similar reflective retrospection. I’m not one of those dreading 40. It’s actually quite the opposite. I feel like 40 is going to be fabulous! Since the broken road has led me to where I need to be, some of the greatest chapters are still to be written!

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

39 Things Update

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If you have been following me for a while, then you know that back in May I published a blog about 39 things I want do while 39. Well, it is now January and the big birthday is getting closer every day. A lot of times right now I look at my list and start to panic because I am behind on my goals. However, this year I am very pleased with how my goals are going. So far I have…

  1. Rode a roller coaster – rode a super fun adult one at Dollywood and the kids one! I love wooden roller coasters!
  2. Rode a train – did this at Dollywood too! Really cool train ride up the mountain!
  3. Taken a vacation – I’ve been able to go on a few of them! Highly recommend making the trip to the America’s Historic Triangle!
  4. Hosted Sushimas – We hadn’t had this event with friends since 2019, and it was wonderful to get back together!
  5. Gone Kayaking – Nothing like the open water for relaxing, planning, and thinking!
  6. Played Pool – one of the best perks of our cabin in the Gatlinburg area! I hadn’t played pool with my parents in years.
  7. Gone to a Cave – Took our nephew to Mammoth Cave for the lantern tour. Highly recommend! Other recommendation? Don’t give the lantern to a teenager who will walk fast and leave you behind!
  8. Entered a Creative Competition – Entered the city Christmas tree competition! 12th place of 31 is not to shabby in my book!
  9. Made a Scrapbook of LilKsby’s 2021 and 2022 Calendars – put this in the category of things I previously never made time to complete!
  10. Completed LilKsby’s First Year Frame – Same as above!
  11. Saw Dr Strange 2 – Loved this movie! Then again, I was a HUGE fan of Wandavision!
  12. Saw Thor Love & Thunder – I laughed so much that I wanted to cry!
  13. Watched Young Sheldon Seasons 3 and 4 – Not as good as TBBT, but the supporting characters are a lot of fun!
  14. Watched Step By Step – I love seeing all the old TGIF shows again! Fun fact, Staci Keanan who played Dana is now a hot shot lawyer!
  15. Attended GenCon Online – Love gaming! Miss going in person!
  16. Gone to Gatlinburg – We made it to that area twice! The time we drove through Gatlinburg, we totally saw a bear crossing the street.
  17. Completed 5 Paintings – I’m so happy to have gotten back to the canvas!
  18. Saw the BSB DNA Tour (again LOL) – Almost 30 years and they are still amazing!
  19. Completed NANOWRIMO – I love writing, so this is always a fun challenge!
  20. Gone to a Winery – Shoutout to Forest Edge Winery for being fantastic!
  21. Gone to a Pumpkin Activity – We went to the Pumpkin Wagon, painted pumpkins, and carved pumpkins!
  22. Wrote 10 Fan Letters – As a kid, I loved writing fan mail! So I thought why not try it again? I wrote 10 letters and sent them. We will see if I get any responses!
  23. Gone to the State Fair – Worked it and went as a visitor!
  24. Got a Casey’s Taco Pizza – I’ve had two, and they are still the most tasty pizza on the planet!

Something you will notice from my list is that some of the goals were not on the initial list as some of the initial goals have been removed and replaced. I account this to changing circumstances in life and my priorities shifting. Once I switched over to Work from Home Mom life and homeschooling, I started realizing just how much I enjoy goals that can be completed at home. Along the same line, I also realized that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to be able to complete goals. Plus, as we grow as people, the things we want to do change. So even though I haven’t met all of my goals yet, I think I’ve already learned the most important lessons from 39 Things While 39: Your goals in life will change as you change, and this is an acceptable part of personal growth!

Stay tuned to see what all gets completed by my birthday!

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

What You Say and What You Hear

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In all of the years that I have been in my business and attending conferences to motivate and inspire, I have frequently heard a lot of words of motivation. One that I’ve heard a lot is “It’s not what is taught; it’s what is caught.” Another saying that I’ve heard a lot is “What you think about you bring about.” When hearing these at conferences, I knew that they were accurate. However, it wasn’t until I started paying attention to what my own child was saying that I realized just how much what you say will become what you hear.

If you have a child of your own, are close with a friend’s child, or have relatives that you’ve witnessed grow through the toddler years, then you know that children pick up on the things you say. Usually you learn this the first time your kid drops something and says, “Shit.” Maybe it was the first time you called someone a “Dumbass” when they cut you off in traffic, and from the backseat you heard, “Dumbass.” While these things make you giggle (because you know we’re all secretly 7 some days), you know that you have to make a change so that your child will not think that it is acceptable to be three and cuss like a sailor. Even though this change can be hard to make, most of us are willing to do it or start using alternative codes for the betterment of our children.

But what about those words and phrases that we don’t think about that are causing our children to have negative thoughts? I started thinking about this one a lot lately with how much LilKsby has been saying “I’m scared” or “I’m afraid” when starting a sentence. He will apply it to things he’s completely not afraid of like “I’m scared of the garage.” He’s not the least bit scared of the garage, but I’ve realized how often he hears those phrases. Because of how much he hears them, he seems to just think that is how you start a sentence even though the emotion doesn’t apply. I caught myself today saying, “I’m afraid it’s going to be moldy” while washing dishes with LilKsby. I immediately corrected myself and told him that “I’m afraid” was the wrong phrase to use and that I should have said “I think.” Really, I could have cared less if the peanut butter jar full of water had become moldy. If it was moldy, I already knew that I would just throw it in the trash and recycle next time. Also, I’m not afraid of a moldy jar. Yet there I was making a hypothesis yet making it sound like I was scared of a jar. Instances like this make me realize just how much I need to be careful with my speech around a toddler in formative years.

With LilKsby being in his formative years, I am always fascinated by how much I am learning from him. I’m starting to think one of the greatest things about having a toddler is the life lessons that I am learning to make myself a better person. Am I perfect? Far from it! Are my words always the ones I want to hear repeated back to me? That is a HUGE work in progress! But I know that I’m doing something right when he tells people, “Thank you, have a blessed day!”

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

2023 – Happy New Year to You & Me!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2023! We’re two days into this new year, and if you’re like me you’ve spent some time reflecting. As the minutes ticked down to midnight, I found myself writing down my highlights of 2022. There were quite a few (more than the previous two years), and to list them all here would take a while. However, some of the biggest were all of the family travels, holidays because LilKsby finally understood them, and our household career switch. When the clock struck midnight and 2023 began, I kissed Mr Kisby, and we both started thinking about what we want to 2023 to look like. One of my goals? Blogging more! I’m shooting for once per week, and to help I’m not going to limit my topic choice. I’m going to write whatever is on my mind which is also therapeutic. Today’s topic? New Year’s Superstitions!

I’ve never been someone to believe in superstitions. I’ve never been afraid of Friday the 13th; I’ve always loved having black cats and think they are adorable; I walked under a ladder when I was like 7 in a Waldenbooks store, and I don’t think I had bad luck until I was 14. However, I’ve always found New Year’s superstitions intriguing because my grandma always insisted on having black eye peas and cabbage for lunch on New Year’s Day. She said it brought luck in the new year, and I thought it smelled funny. This year I wanted to honor my grandma (she’s been gone 12 years this month) and have the “luck” foods. So I started looking up New Year’s superstitions out of curiosity. You can see the full article that I read here, but if you want the funny version of them, continue reading!

The Midnight Kiss – This is one that I had heard of for a long time. The idea is whoever you kiss at midnight will love you for the rest of the year. This one is nice in thought, but if you’re like me, then you kissed your spouse which means (hopefully) that you want them to love you for a lot more than a year! I plan to kiss my husband at midnight for at least the next 50 years!

Eat 12 Grapes At Midnight – The thought is that you eat one grape for each month, then you will get luck for all 12 months of the year. If you eat 11, I guess you get good luck for 11 months. If you eat 13, then I guess you need to work on counting or maybe you should’ve had a snack before midnight so that you didn’t feel the need to eat that extra grape! Also, when is it safe to eat the rest of the bag of grapes???

Those New Year’s Day Foods – This is the one I knew about, but I didn’t know until this year how much the “lucky” foods vary depending on where you look. So we covered as many bases as possible by having broccoli slaw (it had the cabbage), black eyed peas, pork, and spinach (it is green, therefore, to me it counts as having greens). I forgot about the corn bread, but we had some dinner rolls that were best by 1/1/23 and didn’t get sick, so I call that lucky! I also believe that you can count egg rolls for the cabbage and bacon or sausage for the pork. That’s my philosophy!

Don’t Leave the House Until Someone Visits You First – We did this one, but we also didn’t leave the house today either. This one struck me as the funniest because I’m pretty sure it was just a way to get people to stay home on January 1. If you think about it, if ever single person waited for someone to visit them first, then no one would be able to leave the house. We’d all be waiting! Then I thought if you live in a neighborhood, maybe you draw names to find out who has to be the unlucky one for the year. Then you send that person to everyone’s homes in the morning so that they can leave and still have luck. Still thinking this one was just meant to keep people at home. Also, what if you were out celebrating New Year’s Eve and weren’t even home? Does the stay at home take effect once you are inside your own house, or do you count as your own first visitor?

Full Cupboards – We also achieved this one, but only by accident. We went to the grocery on New Year’s Eve because I needed the New Year’s “lucky” food, and I picked up some other things while in the store. Allegedly, having a full cabinet on New Year’s Eve/Day ensures you will have full cabinets all year. I just call it smart because it’s winter and you never know when the weather is going to bad, or you never know when you are going to end up stuck at home because of illness, a broken vehicle, etc. Along the same note, you’re also supposed to start the year with a wallet full of cash to ensure wealth during the year. If I start the year with a wallet full of lottery tickets, does that mean I’m going to win the jackpot? I think that’s a great question!

For more of the superstitions and the reasoning behind them (beyond my semi-sarcastic reasoning) checkout the article I linked. Bonus, if you check it out now, then you have 364 days to get ready ready for next year! Happy 2023!

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

Change for Christmas

Winter Storm Elliott has brought many of us an unexpected gift for Christmas: change. When the forecast was made, many of us never dreamed that it would impact our Christmas plans. Even yesterday after the 53 degree temperature drop, the icy snow mix covering the ground, and spending the majority of the day at a wind chill of -17, I kept thinking there would be some Christmas magic that allowed our planned Christmas events to occur. Alas, I was wrong. The roads are still a mess, the temperature is 15 degrees with a wind chill of 0, and I don’t even know if salt works in this extreme. The result? Change for Christmas.

Let me preface this by saying that six out of ten times change is hard for me. That said, even though I know it is better to be safe at home, I got a little in my feels cooking breakfast this morning. Had things gone to plan, we would have already been having family gift time and been eating Chinese for lunch. Instead, I had already cleaned vomit (cats will eat anything even if it won’t stay down), started a crockpot of soup, and began a load of laundry. However, along the same line, if things had gone to plan, then I wouldn’t have been able to let LilKsby spend an hour laying in bed and “reading” his Christmas books to me. This was absolutely precious and priceless! Other things have also occurred this morning that made me glad to be home instead of out and about. So even though it wasn’t what we had planned, change for Christmas hasn’t necessarily been a bad gift for 2022.

As I was writing the previous paragraph, I started having memories of other times we’ve had change for Christmas. There have been a couple of times that my mom has missed out on Christmas festivities due to illness; there were Christmases (yes, plural) spent in the hospital with my grandparents. There was even one Christmas where my dad had to work because his job was essential. Thinking back on these changes, I realize that my real problem with change for Christmas is that I don’t like things that are out of my control or that I cant help fix. When my mom was sick, I could take care of her. When my grandparents were in the hospital, I could visit them. When my dad had to work, I knew that we could have things ready for him when he got home. However, in this case I can’t control the weather or how fast things are cleared. As much as it can be hard for me, I just have to wait.

So while we wait for improvements, I feel like this is a great time to slow down (the holidays can be a lot of rushing) and be thankful. Even with change for Christmas, I have A LOT to be thankful for this holiday. The first one of those is a loving like minded family also wanting to put safety first! It’s also a great time to just enjoy the moments now instead of pondering on what was supposed to happen. If you’re struggling with this gift of change for Christmas, then I invite you to also reflect on what’s going right today and for the things you have to be thankful about.

Merry Christmas Eve!

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

Kindness Starts at Home

Another night, another Coursera discussion question that got me thinking. This time the prompt was to describe how you’ve witnessed love and kindness this week. The following was my response:

Since becoming a mother, I’ve had one goal for my child: to be kind. As as strong proponent of living by the philosophies of “love they neighbor” and “do unto others as you would have done to do you,” this has been extremely important to me. At the most basic level, I’ve taught my now toddler these philosophies by teaching him and modeling to him conversational kindness by saying “Please” and “Thank you” along with other common courtesies. Additionally, we have worked on doing things like sharing with others and how to help someone when they are sad. This holiday season we’ve taken our teaching him about kindness one step further and taught him about the importance of giving to others via The Angel Tree.

The Angel Tree has been an important holiday tradition for my husband and I for as long as I can remember. We always loved blessing children in need during the holiday season, and when our own child came along, we knew we wanted to teach him to do the same. Because of Covid, we hadn’t had an Angel Tree child since 2019, but we knew immediately that we wanted to help a child this year. As we started talking about it, I started thinking that I wanted our toddler to be involved in the entire process. I thought that this would be a great way to start showing him that Christmas isn’t just about getting presents from Santa. So when the time came to choose a child, we had our toddler pick who we were going to bless this Christmas. We asked him what angel he wanted to pick, and he told us a baby boy.

Once the child was chose, we had discussions with our toddler about what things the baby from the Angel Tree wanted. We talked about how the things on the baby’s list would be for him and not our toddler. I was amazed at how understanding our toddler seemed to be of this concept. Today, we finally did the shopping for our Angel Tree child. We took our toddler with us, and we made a big deal about how we were going to be getting things to give to the baby he picked. Together as a family, we spent a few hours picking out items for the baby from the Angel Tree. I was so proud of how my toddler picked out toys and clothes for this little baby that we don’t even know. By the end of the trip, he was saying “Baby’s Name needs this!”

Tomorrow, we will be dropping off all of the items that we bought today. I always get sentimental when we drop them off because I always feel blessed to be able to help others. This year I feel even more blessed because I believe that my toddler is learning the importance of kindness and love from things like this. Why is that so important? Because learning kindness starts at home.

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

What Is Love?

I’ve often heard that school is never out for the teacher. Even though I am no longer teaching in the traditional sense, I still find myself wanting to learn about a variety of topics. That said, I recently signed up for a few courses via Coursera (they did not pay me to post that). So far I’ve been working on Love As a Force for Social Justice, and our first assignment was to define what love means to us and what we believe the opposite of love is. The following was my answer:

From my experience of love and what I have read in this course so far, there isn’t just one definition of what love is as it tends to vary by person. For me love can be defined in three ways. First of all, love is a feeling. It is a feeling comprised of trust, understanding, caring, commitment, kindness, and patience. Secondly, love is an experience of joy and being one’s best self. This is the type of love embodied by things such as loving nature and feeling most alive when outside or loving to serve others and finding joy in volunteering. Finally, love is a living and exemplifying The Golden Rule. There is no greater way for me to define love than by demonstrating the ability to love others as I love myself. Thus far, this is how I would define love.

The opposite of love is hate which can be embodied in a variety of ways. One way that hate is the opposite of love is that hate involves mistreating others. When people are mistreated for any reason this shows hate. Additionally, hate is the opposite of love in that hate involves violence. Violence can be verbal, physical, or in writing. Lastly, hate is the opposite of love as it involves characteristics not associated with love such as injustice, discrimination, and deception. When these characteristics are present, love cannot be shown. These are some of the reasons that I feel hate is the opposite of love.

How do you define love?

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

Thanksgiving – Open for Business

A couple of days ago, I saw a sponsored ad on Facebook for Big Lots Thanksgiving sales. I don’t have feelings one way or the other about a sale at Big Lots, but I was curious to see the comments. They seemed to be equally balanced between “How dare you be open on a holiday?” and “Great! I might come shopping!” I can be understanding of both perspectives. On one hand, it is wonderful when families get together for the holidays on the holiday. On the other hand, some workers rely on the extra holiday pay, some people don’t celebrate holidays, and some people spend time with family while shopping. Aside from both sides of the Big Lots argument, I started thinking about if people were just applying these arguments to retail stores, or does it bother them that other establishments are open on holidays?

My first thought to this question was that I am glad essential care places are open on holidays. Twice in my life, we have been thankful for emergency health services being open on the holidays. The first was when I was ten. We had family visiting from Kansas for Christmas, and my cousin got really sick. Luckily, the hospital emergency room and a pharmacy were both open for the holiday. The second instance didn’t impact me directly, but the memory is crazy vivid. We were in Oklahoma having Thanksgiving with family, and my uncle’s neighbor accidentally got run over by the car he was repairing. Literally ran over! Guess how glad we all were that medical professionals were working that holiday? Seriously, the neighbor may not have lived otherwise. We were thankful for all of those working that played a part in those instances!!!

I understand that medical facilities are a far stretch from Big Lots, but gas stations aren’t that far of a stretch from Big Lots. I’ve been very thankful that gas stations are open for holidays. We’ve almost always traveled for holidays be it for 20 minutes or 12 hours. Guess what is necessary for travel? Gas! I can also say that never were we the only customers at gas stations on holidays. There were always other people getting gas, using restrooms, and getting travel snacks.

Speaking of travel, on holidays we have also been very appreciative of hotels and restaurants being open for breakfast. Yes, a big part of Thanksgiving is eating, but those meals are usually later in the day. I still remember a delicious diner on Thanksgiving morning in Oklahoma. It was close to the hotel where we were staying, and they had the best waffles with strawberries and whipped cream on top! Seriously, I remember them almost 30 years later! Likewise, we’ve also been appreciative of restaurants open on holidays when we’ve had relatives in the hospital. When a close relative’s life is in the balance, the last thing you want to do on a holiday is cook a big meal at home. Also, and I say this from experience, there are only so many hospital cafeteria meals you can eat. Even if the food is decent, it is unsettling hearing “code blues” announced on speakers when your relative is in ICU/CCU. Sometimes to keep your sanity, you need a non-hospital cafeteria meal on a holiday!

Another essential to keeping sanity is having entertainment. How many people watch football on Thanksgiving and Christmas? I’d almost wager that some of the people acting like Big Lots is the evil incarnate for being open on Thanksgiving are watching the NFL today. In my head, I hear them arguing “Those players get paid millions! They know what they signed up for! Their families can have Thanksgiving another day!” What about the officials, the parking attendants, the concession stand employees, and the stadium maintenance staff? When you’re watching at home, there still has to be people working on site that make the game experience possible. Likewise, how many people have been to the movies on Thanksgiving or Christmas? I have! Growing up, we would go as a family. It was always fun after a meal early in the day. Also fun on a holiday? Watching parades! I’ve never seen a single person complain about all the people who have to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas to make parades happen. I’m sure thousands of people have to work to make these parades happen!

So if we are thankful for medical services, travel services, and entertainment being open on holidays, why do people get so bent out of shape about stores being open? Is it because people like saying “greedy retail establishments”? That doesn’t make complete sense given travel services and entertainment also generate income on holidays. Is the root of it because people like to complain about things they don’t understand? Whatever the argument is, I hope that everyone who reads this has a blessed holiday season!

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

And Now For a Very Sensitive Subject…

Warning – this post is going to contain some very poignant questions. Writing this comes at a time when controversial elections are coming and more people who indirectly impacted my life are dying from their demons. If you’re open to reflection based on that, then please continue to read.

Currently where we reside, there are signs everywhere that say “Vote Yes for Life.” Every time I see one, I feel compelled to write. Until now, I’ve been afraid to write because I’ve been afraid of the backlash that could come with it. However, I keep thinking that not writing about it is worse than what people will think about what I write. I concluded that not writing is kind of like the concept that there are no innocent bystanders. So here goes!

Why does a sign get me all in my feels (like just typing this makes me shaky with emotion)? Because on paper I’ve had an abortion. At the time, I didn’t know that is what it was. I had suffered a miscarriage, and I was told that the best option would be a procedure called a dilation and curettage commonly referred to as a D&C. Without that procedure, waiting to fully miscarry naturally could have come with a lot of health risks including severe hemorrhage. Given that I wanted a healthy outcome in a horrific situation, we scheduled the procedure. Grief aside, everything went well. When the medical report came to my online chart, I read it the same as I would have any other medical results. Guess what the medical report called a D&C? It called the procedure a “medical abortion.” My grief over the loss of my child was quickly matched with feeling confusion given how often the uninformed masses assume any woman who has had an abortion is a horrible person. In my heart, I knew that I was (and am) a good person. From my own experience I got to thinking about if strong “Yes For Life” people know that abortion isn’t a black and white topic. I also wondered if they revere all life as much as that of unborn babies. As my mind kept going I kept thinking of all of the following questions for adamant “Yes For Life” people.

1. Do you believe the life of the baby is more important than the life of the mother if she is gravely at risk? Personally, I cannot imagine keeping a woman from her own life saving medical care! Side note, some doctors have been afraid of performing life saving procedures for those miscarrying or having ectopic pregnancies with all of the trigger laws. Is that being “yes for life”?

2. Do you believe the life of a baby is more important than the life of children with bodies physically not developed enough to safely deliver the baby that they conceived from rape, incest, or both? Because I cannot imagine risking the life of a ten year old who is practically still a baby herself.

3. Do you believe the life of a baby is more important than the mental and physical anguish of forcing a woman who was raped to give birth? I can’t even fathom the damage done just by rape much less the added anguish of an unplanned pregnancy.

4. Are you for the death penalty? Because last I checked, the death penalty takes lives too. If you’re truly pro life, shouldn’t you strive to save their soul instead of judge and execute them for their sins?

5. Do you believe that you should be able to kill someone who is an intruder in your home? Because that would effectively end their life.

6. Does it bother you that in 2021 over 21,000 people died from opiate overdoses in the US? That’s around 57 people per day. Are their lives not valued? What if you could have saved them with Narcon? Addiction is a disease, and shouldn’t they be afforded opportunities to live and find treatment? Isn’t that part of being “yes for life”?

7. Does it bother you how many people die because of mental health issues? Don’t those people deserve to have access to help so that they may say yes to a good life?

8. Do you believe in assisting those who need help with housing, basic necessities, and income benefits in order to survive? Because I’m pretty sure that surviving is a key part to staying alive.

9. This one I’ve asked before, but hypocrisy drives me batty. Were you yelling “My body, my choice” when it came to vaccine mandates for your own body, yet when it comes to someone else making a personal decision for their body that does not impact you whatsoever, you yelled “Vote yes to life! Outlaw abortion!” Does that make you pro saving lives or pro birth?

I know these are a lot of questions, but I for one am tired of feeling judged by a sign by the road because I’ve on paper had an abortion, and because I don’t believe it is a black and white issue. At the end of the day, here is what I know. The two biggest things that I have learned from my own walk with Jesus is that (1) his ultimate request of me was love thy neighbor be they a sinner or saint and (2) leave judging someone for their actions to God. Additionally, I know that the last time this country was a theocracy, which seems to be what some people want, men and women were hung as witches because people didn’t like their actions. By the way that wasn’t very “Yes For Life” either. At the end of the day, I know my thoughts won’t change people’s opinions on abortion laws. However, it makes me feel better to get my thoughts out of my head and into words.

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

Three Is a Magic Age

There is a song from School House rock called “Three Is a Magic Number,” and one of the main lyrics is this: “A man and a woman had a little baby, yes, they did. They had three in the family, and that’s a magic number.” This lyric has stuck with me since I first heard the song last spring. At the time it stuck in my head because of our little family of three: me, Mr Kisby, and LilKsby. Now the song keeps popping in my head because three has been such a magic age so far for LilKsby!

The first reason it has been magic is the increase in communication. LilKsby wasn’t much of a talker before turning three. However, he must have been quietly listening and observing because he went from just a few words to using complete sentences with A LOT of words and singing seemingly over night! Now he can repeat anything – and I mean anything – after hearing it once! For a while I was concerned, but it turned out that three was his magic number for speech!

Another reason three has a been a magic age? The amount that LilKsby loves learning! We have opted for home school for preschool, and since starting two months ago, he has learned so much! He’s working on obvious things like numbers and letters, and he enjoys them. He also loves math, science, music, yoga, shape art, painting, learning the states, and working with the calendar. His thirst for knowledge is absolutely magical!

Something else that is absolutely magical is how much LilKsby understands holidays now that he is three. Since around August, he’s been working on his list for Santa! (In case you wondered, he wants noodles, an orange pencil, and a blue notebook.) He’s super excited for Christmas for the first time ever. Mr Kisby and I love this given it is our favorite holiday! LilKsby has also been super psyched for Halloween. For the first time he picked his own costumes, and he has been elated to wear them trick or treating. So far we’ve attended five different ones, and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down! Bonus, he’s loving trying new to him candy! It’s been so magical to watch him understand holidays for the first time!

He’s not even three and a half yet, but so far three has been magic! I can’t wait to see what the rest of this age brings! What’s been your favorite age?

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

Five Thoughts

Today is one of those days where I know I want to write, but I’m struggling to come up with one topic on which to focus. So, I’m just going to share a few thoughts with you.

1. Three-nagers! Anyone else currently have a three-nager? It is a very interesting phase! On one hand there is still the adorable toddler-ness where they want to help and spend all day with you. They don’t want to miss out on anything. However, they also frequently yell “I do it! I do it myself!” I’m pretty sure negotiation situations would be over a lot quicker if three-nagers were sent in for talks!

2. Fire! Fire is a fascinating element. Lots of good times happen around campfires. Songs are sang; stories are told; drinks are had. On the other hand, the mass amount of destruction that can happen from fire in a very short time is horrific. Thinking about Gatlinburg today! https://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/gatlinburg-fire-department-responds-to-fire-at-shopping-center-on-the-parkway/51-c173e086-afa7-44aa-967e-8dd953ece898

3. Headlines are intriguing! Today, I saw this headline in my newsfeed: “Increased risk for all-cause dementia in people who abstain from alcohol”. I didn’t read the article, but my first thought was “Whew! I’m safe!” Thank you to my 20s and the current occasional glass of wine! Article can be read here: https://www.news-medical.net/amp/news/20220930/Increased-risk-for-all-cause-dementia-in-people-who-abstain-from-alcohol.aspx

4. Never go in a grocery store hungry! We went to the grocery today for one thing, and we came out $114 and a bunch of things later. At least we did get the one thing, and I now have breakfast and toilet paper for the next two weeks.

5. Fall is beautiful! Leaves are changing, sweatshirts are out, and there is a chill in the air. It doesn’t get much better than this weather wise. Unless there is snow up to my knees. I do like massive amounts of snow!

What are you thinking about today?

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby

100,000 Miles

You know those moments where you can always remember where you were and how you felt? Last week, we experienced one of those moments! I would tell you where I was, but some info has to stay classified; however, I will tell you that I was so excited, I couldn’t stop laughing and shrieking with glee! What was so exciting? Princess Zippy crossed 100,000 miles! Princess Zippy is the third car I’ve ever owned, and she’s the second one that I remember excitedly waiting for 100,000 miles! I’m not sure why I feel like this is such a major event. Perhaps because of all of the joy that she’s brought into our lives!

Princess Zippy came into our lives at a time when we were desperate for a new (to us) car. Old Blue had become to expensive to repair, and we needed a car that could take us on a business trip in five days. Luckily, I had started looking and test driving the last time Old Blue gave us fits. Plus, I had a dream of owning a Kia since they first became popular (you know, back when if you looked at them wrong they would dent). We were very lucky to find a Kia with extremely low mileage (she’d been a dealer car) under our budget! So the memories began quickly!

Since we got Princess Zippy, she’s traveled the country! She’s taken us to Dallas, Myrtle Beach, the Poconos, St Louis, Nashville, Gatlinburg, and more! During these road-trips, some of the best conversations have been had! For as long as I can remember, one of mine and Mr Kisby’s favorite things has been the philosophical and passionate discussions on car trips! These trips have also involved more laughter than the law should allow! Some of the best laughs have been had during those slap happy late night hours! These conversations have also seen goals set, affirmations made, and business tips exchanged! Oh, and the music! The music of road-trips has been so much fun! There’s nothing like flying down the interstate jamming out at the top of your lungs! Bonus, Princess Zippy even survived two break in attempts while in overnight parking (in a place not mentioned above). The score? Princess Zippy not getting opened up two and potential robbers zero! I cannot wait to see where else she travels!

Beyond trips, Princess Zippy is part of the greatest event of our lives: she brought LilKsby home from the hospital! Boy, talk about a terrifying drive! Never ever has 35 MPH felt so fast and dangerous. Princess Zippy has safely gotten us from the infant seat stage to the rear facing convertible seat phase to the current forward facing convertible seat saga, or as unlike to call it, “The now I can throw things at you while you drive” saga. Side note: never let anyone tell you a car seat can’t be put in the middle of the backseat of a Kia. It can too! Princess Zippy’s been a school on the road, helped LilKsby learn locations (by the way it would be GREAT if every McDonalds couldn’t be seen from like two miles away), and been a major part of his ever developing since of direction. He’s only three, but he can tell you if you’re taking the wrong (not normal) way somewhere, and he’s also mastered traffic lights, stop signs, and which roads we use the most! I love our family time in Princess Zippy!

In addition to family fun, Princess Zippy has been my main business transportation. She taught us the value of hatchbacks when I was at an outdoor vendor event, and it started raining. We literally threw everything in the hatchback and sat watching the street turn into a creek! She’s my advertisement on wheels, and she’s become a conversation piece when I meet mom’s at toddler/preschool events. How cool is that?

I realize it may be weird to be so excited about a car, but Princess Zippy has been with us through a lot. I can’t wait to see where the next 100,000 miles takes us!

XOXO,

The Great Kaysby