Category Archives: Who Knew? Did you?

A Reflection in my Rearview Mirror of Blogging

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You and I are Boldly Blessed!

 

 

Eighteen months ago it all started with the following 171-word blog post.

Why boldlyblessed? (My First boldyblessed Blog Post August 10, 2011)

I have spent the last few days taking time to pray on what this verse means to me.

2 Timothy 1:7 God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.

This is the 2011 MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) theme verse. It is the first one in 7 years to shake me by the shoulders and demand my attention. Sound violent? Well, just think how I am feeling.

It is violent in a good way! It is one of those perfect storm kind of moments where life experience, leadership possibilities and personality meet. I feel like this one is just me. Hopefully it strikes the same chord with the entire MOPS population.

For me it is giving me permission to be ME. To use my gifts of leadership, experience and ease with others. For years I have unconsciously thought, “oh now Kristin don’t do this or that”. Well that voice needs to be stopped. I am ready to live boldly and help other women to do the same.

 

I had just returned exhausted and exhilarated from the 2011 MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Convention.  It always is a great weekend break from my mothering reality.  In 2011, I left my three kids for not just a break.  I was in search of a holy time for restoration, retooling and affirmation.

A MOPS Convention is packed with nationally known speakers and authors at general sessions, popular music acts that inspire the crowd with their passion, and small workshops so I can tailor my experience to my needs as a leader, mother and woman.  I have only missed one year.  I still regret not making the choice to invest in myself.  I had thought I was selfish if I went, but it has been years since I missed.  Now I encourage others to not limit themselves.

During this particular convention, I felt an overwhelming desire to be more bold and stop the negative self-talk.  I had mindless conversations playing in my head of why I could or couldn’t do something. The idea of being bold to me made me feel free and empowered.  Each year MOPS has a theme verse and I couldn’t have missed it if I had tried.  The verse for the was shared in many different ways from posters, powerpoint and speakers from the general session stage.  God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (2 Timothy 1:7)  It was a turning point for me.  I deeply felt I had a mission statement for my life.  It still speaks clearly for me to boldly love others with my God-given gifts.

When I got home, my normal life rocked me back into reality.  August is time for back-to-school, MOPS kicking into high gear, and all the routines crashing back into our family calendar.  At that time, I was focused on everyone else.  I still burned with the need to share and encourage others to be bold with me.  I decided to blog, because it is a platform that I could share myself and inspire others.

My first post was 171 words of vulnerability and exhilaration.  My thoughts started living outside my journals and I prayed they would help someone else.  It has been wonderful to have  developed some supporters and I have posted 75 times since I started.  I feel like I have stayed true to my mission statement.  I want to am no longer focused on who reads the posts or how many readers I reach.  I want to continue living in my awareness of being boldly blessed by God and I will blog to reach others who search insight, humor and a woman who is the real deal.

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Word Clouds Are COOL Gifts! Let me tell you how!

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Word Clouds Are COOL Gifts!  Let me tell you how!

Recently I wanted to give a thoughtful gift to 22 members of my Mothers of Preschoolers Steering Team but that can add up quick.  Even if I kept it to $3-5 per member!  I was looking all over the place for a personalized way to give them a gift that would meaningful to each of them and possibly their families.  I tried the internet, Pinterest, strolling through ornament aisles of stores.  I just couldn’t find the right thing that didn’t feel like I just bought 22 of something for them.  They each mean so much to our group, the ministry as a whole and to me personally.  Twenty mini bottles of lotion or $5 gift cards didn’t cut it for me as I wanted to honor them.

The answer came from the school hallway bulletin board outside my 7 year old daughter’s classroom.  There were over 22 shapes that caught my attention and they listed so many sweet qualities of each child.  It prompted me to email the teacher and ask how she taught them that.  She replied it was a website and it was easy.  Well, I wouldn’t say it was so easy to just go to the site and try to figure it out, but once I did I knew that it was the perfect gift with heart!  One of the leaders from my team posted the gift that she had framed and it gained some attention on how others could make one.  So here goes I am going to break it down, so you can create word clouds with meaning as gifts.

First let me show you a couple of examples…

This is from putting in my blog web address. (I love it!!!)

boogie oogie oogie  rectangle

Lovely Christmas Season words…

Christmas tree Longleaf pine 3

Jumbled up heart with  my family’s names…

My Friend’s family names in horizontal layout…

Enough of the show and tell!  Let’s get to it and see if I can brush off my internet click through how to directions!  (It has been 11 years… I bet we can do this together!)

There is a FREE website called Tagxedo.com. (www.tagxedo.com) It is a great word cloud creator.

creator 2

You can do like I have done and load a blog website or any website for that matter.  It will automatically fill your word cloud with whatever words are on the site.  And the more a word is repeated the bigger that word will be in the cloud.  Cool, huh?  No thinking!

But chances are you are reading this because a personalized word cloud suits your needs.  So here goes!

1 – Open up www.tagxedo.com in a browser

2 – Click the CREATE button in the top right corner and it will open the Tagxedo Creator page.

3 – To load your words – click on LOAD in the left side bar.

> In the LOAD menu, you can upload a file from your computer, a webpage or your own text.

> To make a family name word cloud here is the “formula” I used for the clouds I gave as gifts

– Mom’s name 10 times

– Dad’s name 10 times if you want it the same frequency as the mom (I did 7)

– Each child’d name 5 times

4 – Once  you have typed the names in without commas in a run-on sentence or in a list – hit SUMBIT.  Your words will be put

into a cloud! WOW!

5 – Now the FUN BEGINS! Color/Theme/Font/Orientation/Layout and an ALL button!

Let’s look at the buttons by these prompts:

Rotating Arrow – this is like a free spin and it changes the cloud for you

Right facing arrow (like a play button on your DVD player) – this opens up a menu for you to make a choice

Lock – When you get one of the formating items how you would like it you can lock it in as you work on the other

components.  You can unlock at anytime to adjust.

COLOR – changes the color scheme you have already chosen by a shade or two each time you click it.

THEME – choose a new color scheme

FONT – gives you a listing of all the fonts available.  You can remove fonts that might not fit your theme or may be

too big.  I usually click off Boston Traffic and Headline One because they are just too big.

I use the rotating arrow a lot on font to see different combinations.

ORIENTATION – gives you a menu for any, horizontal, vertial or both horizontal and vertical.

LAYOUT – mixes your words around

ALL – is the master spinner of all these prompts.  It changes everything for you.

OPTIONS:

SHAPE Menu

> There are 114 shapes

> You can even add your own image – which I haven’t figure out yet)

> So pick a shape — love it — keep it — hate it — change it!!

HISTORY keeps a copy of each change you made as you play with the cloud.  It doesn’t save it longer than your session

WORD/LAYOUT OPTIONS

> If you want to do more specialized words, skips, layout changes, you can play with these options.

> I didn’t tweak any of these.

> Theme preference for color family options is helpful.

> Font preference for the number of fonts you would like is helpful too.

Then once you are happy with your word cloud, go back up to Save/Share.  You will be given many different options for saving.  I save an image at 500KP (JPG).  Here is how I format it when I save one: Name of the piece shape of the piece font color family.  For example for the family heart above it is Wooldridge_heart_colorname.

I hope this walk through has been helpful.  When I started last week, I felt like I needed someone to help me.  Since I can’t loan out my 7 year old daughter, you all are stuck with me!

Please enjoy www.tagxedo.com and make gifts for those you love.  Get your kids into it too!  I could see this being a great way to make a yearly ornament for kiddos with what they are involved in and of course involve the year many, many, many times!

SHARE, PIN and LIKE this post.  I would love the help in sharing this great site.

Happy Creating!!!!

Top 10 Truths of Potty Training (READ if you need a good laugh & SHARE if you can relate)

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Disclaimer:

This list doesn’t include the negotiating, stomping, whining, crying, cussing, crazed thoughts, questioning God and all of this in the first 15 minutes of a mom attempting potty training.

10.  Previous experience is null and void.  Little Billy won’t be like his siblings Suzy and Bobby.

9. “You know he/she will be potty-trained someday.  You know of any college students in diapers?” = not helpful

8.  “Preschool is in ___ number of months.  Have you thought about trying?”  Really????

7.  How is potty training a child like taking a dog on a walk?  As many times as a dog stops to smell or pee on fire hydrants, your  child will want to visit that many public restrooms.  (and you will be grossed out)

6.  Pull Ups are a joke.  They hold very little and some have “cool alert” feature that is traumatizing for boys.

5.  Rewarding potty training is really children training parents to jump through hoops, clap and act like fools for a little potty.

4.   Some day it will save you time and money.  Not until after it costs you double the time and money.

3.   I would like a treat for every time I ask, “Are you dry?” or “Do you need to go?”

2.   Shopping lists start including pound size M&M’s bags, juice boxes and stickers for tedious charts.

1.   That once you start you will be under house arrest for 5 days shadowing a child that you are deluging with drinks and setting timers to “just try”.

Deep truth: The realization that in the middle of a crowded room, all those people were once potty trained and their parents survived… and I will too.

My Potty Training Resume Experience

Ian, now 9:  was potty trained at 22 months at his demanding.  I spent the whole week crying in the bathroom while reading hundreds of books and making deals with the devil to stop potty training.

Kaylee, almost 7:  was potty trained at 22 months to be like her big brother and she was highly verbal and extremely competitive. It worked but it was exhausting and I would have been happy to keep giving Pampers my money.

Rhett, almost 3:  he could care less and he screams when he is ever near a potty chair or toilet.  He hates all things about diapers and being dirty, but isn’t convinced that he should be out of them.  He will probably be trained when it is his idea or by August 15th, so he can go to preschool!!!  Pretty sure that forcing him to train will provide enough material for his first two years of therapy as an adult.

The saga continues…

Next step is propaganda…  potty training DVDs and books have been put on hold at the library.

Yes this too shall pass… but not without a fight.

Shameless Leap of Faith —  please LIKE, Comment or Share… or all three!!! 🙂  Everyone should have a good laugh at my attempt at potty training.  I would love the support.  I am going to need it during this process.

Someone’s chasing me…

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Well, not really.  But that is what I think now as I near the end of my 1st week of the Couch 2 5K program.  (3 times a week on the program and I am walking for 15 minutes on the off days to be habitual)

I have teased for years (really decades) that I only run if I am chased.  I have never been a natural athlete or someone who just can’t wait to get exercising.  No matter my attempts in junior and senior high school I still hated it.  I only had rock hard abs at that time and was a size 4 because of how horrible I was at getting serves over the net during drills or running laps for all the baskets I missed.  Poor performance was consistent for me and in my young mind I felt “punished”.  So I started to look at exercising in a warped way.

Now embarking on my 36th year, I can’t deny the importance of exercising any longer.  Especially with the three little mirrors reflecting back to me that I am a hypocrite about exercising to be healthy and be here for as long as God plans.  (which I hope will be my 100th year – – I have a lot left to do and lots of love to share)

So what made this happen… my two oldest love running.  They got this sickness from their cross-country running daddy.  So they wanted to learn how to run on the treadmill on Sunday and at 9 and almost 7 I let them.  I was there to monitor the time and pace.  I let them both run for 10 minutes each.  THEY RAN THE ENTIRE TIME!  Now Kaylee wants to run 2 times a day … sick I tell you.  I am supporting this lifestyle choice.

Wait… I got ahead of myself in my story.  So they got done on Sunday and I was helping them stretch.  They had 220 questions (because no child has only 20) about running including, “Mom, when were you last on the treadmill?”  I replied once in September.  Then they pounced on me and said I need to run as much as them.  YIKES.  So I actually started that next day.  So, I am on day 4 of being chased by someone as I run on that treadmill in my basement.

My “app” calls the voice Allison, but I have renamed her Helga.  She is a former old school Soviet Union trainer with a thick accent and mustache.  Makes me laugh just thinking about all the crazy stuff that goes on between my ears.

Praying I can keep up running and getting to a place where I like it.  I have a plan and I just need to keep prioritizing my to do’s to stick with it.  I do like the alone time it creates.  That might keep me going.

I can do this!!!!!!!  Ian, Kaylee, Rhett and Helga won’t let me stop!!!

Hope you keep moving or get moving soon too!

Might as well be November 1985…

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For the past week I have been with my sweet family enjoying the sun of Florida. It was a perfect time to get out of our routines and just play. But now that we have been home a couple of days, I can’t stop thinking about last Sunday’s news.
Whitney Houston passed away. Gone too soon. It had happened and I could barely catch the news with 3 kids and a hectic theme park schedule. She would cross my mind and I would look at my husband and he just knew I was heartbroken. I even walked through the airport and got teary eyed at just a glimpse of her service on the tv.

In my heart when I heard the news, it was November 1985. I was 9.5 years old and knew every word of Whitney Houston’s songs. I was thrown back in time. My family lived in the country, so alas no MTV. But I would spend hours listening to her tapes and waiting for her songs on the radio.

I was only 9 and starting to blush when I got teased about boys. I felt that Whitney understood love and life. And especially boys. I would belt so loudly into my hair brush for hours knowing I was her only back-up singer. The entire decade of the 80’s was by her tutelage. Even one of my first real movie dates was The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner.

No matter what the cause of death may be, I know that it will never taint my view of her and her beautiful gift from God. I will choose to remember her with one of my favorite songs from November 1985… (just watched the real video tonight since I missed it years ago). Enjoy!

How will I know if he really loves me??

This post is dedicated to my sweet friends who are also so heartbroken for the loss of this great voice from our childhood.

Dear Local Coca-Cola Distributor,

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Dear Local Coca-Cola Distributor,

I feel should explain your recent drop in sales in the KC Metro area.

It all started innocently enough after college when I started working in the real world for the “man”. I had an early East coast territory and each morning it was a struggle to be chipper, attentive, productive and resilient against the no’s. They started everyday around 7am and that was hard for me. So I medicated. I mean drank the magically caffeinated beverage of Diet Coke. One was never enough, so every few hours I would wander across to the break room with my jingling change. I would feed the magical machine my 50 cents. Ah…I can hear the can dropping down to me still. Then my drawer was soon emptied of coins and then I would scavenge through my car and ask friends if I could borrow from them. Not pretty. I knew I had to do something.

So logically, I started packing in my own 12 pack for the office fridge and I would have extra ones under my cubicle desk. This went on for years. I was kind enough to share from time to time with co-workers and friends. And when we would go out for lunch, I would drain two to three refills of the delicious caramel colored liquid without even thinking about it. Ah… The fizzy bubbles.

Then my life changed almost 10 years ago and the office stash wasn’t needed anymore. I could just load my fridge at home of all the Diet Coke I could afford. I became a stay at home mom. I started operating on sleepless nights and wet kisses. And for the past nine years it would have been scandalous to find no Diet Coke cans in my house. (of course, cans were my delivery mode. The snap and crack of the tab opening and listening for the sound of the fizzy, bubbly goodness… DELISH)

But just recently I have decided I am worth more than what I have been consuming. It just can’t be good to be pouring artificial, yet delicious gunk in me each day. Surely I can kick this habit. I feel like I am over the hardest part and now I have the confidence to walk away. My Dad has a saying that I hear often. It is, “better living through chemistry.” He says in tongue in cheek, because he is sure that we all have gotten into such a made for us kind of world that we are missing the good stuff. I am going to start getting away from this type of living. It can’t be what fuels me anymore.

So dear Local Coca-Cola Distributor please take note. After years of only choosing restaurants if they carried your brand of soft drinks, I am parting ways. There I admit it. Whew.

I am done. I want to stop the damage that I am sure aspartame is wreaking on my joints. I want to be a better role model of health for my 3 sweet children. (if they aren’t allowed sodas…why am I?)

Of course, water will be the best choice for me. And switching hasn’t been too bad. And this change will be a help to our bottom line in two ways.
bottom line #1: financial responsibility
9 years of staying home
x  12 months per year
——
108 months
x  30 days per month
——
3,240 days of staying home
x      2 average Diet Coke consumption per day
——-
6,480 Diet Cokes consumed in 9 years
x. .30 average price per can of a 12 pack at $3.50 at a retailer
——-
$1,944.00 spent on Diet Coke !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bottom line # 2: my rear
I’m pretty sure that Diet Coke has zero calories, BUT it tastes best with things that are  salty, sugary and juicy, which   have a gazillion calories!!!!!!! Hoping that this helps my overall health and helps me focus on the temple God gave me.

So thank you for your faithful service and stocking of Diet Coke to help fuel my days and wake me up. I no longer will be needing your services.

Looking forward to a soda free me from now on. I am joining my sweet husband in his refusal of sodas in his diet. He gave them up 7 years ago for Lent. Guess it is true that no one can make you change until you are ready. But I am ready now!!!!

Good bye for good.
Kristin Wooldridge
aka Water Woman

Whitney Houston was RIGHT

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Ok not about every choice in her journey. But in 1986 she was right. I was 10 and I still know every bit of a song that she belted out.

She belted out quite a few so I will give you the answer. The song is The Greatest Love of All. It is about finding strength from within to take on your own life and not to give up. The line of it that she was right about was that I believe the children are our FUTURE, teach them well and let them lead the way.

I am here to say that I agree whole-heartedly with Whitney. Recently an important vote was counted in my town on education. It failed by 280 votes and only 9,288 voted. And that is really sad. Really a concentrated effort to vote by all the parents in our 11,000 student school district population could have turned the vote. It would have been amazing. 280 votes short makes me sick. Sure not all have to agree, but those who could have voted yes we need you to be ready next time.

I am a daughter who is proud of her mother and her teaching career. Her time shaped lives, dreams and hopes and that was not lost on me. She then helped, supported and taught families for 25 years with Parents As Teachers. I have a deep belief that every child deserves the best education that we can provide for them. That can’t happen if we don’t vote. When they say, every vote matters it really does. (don’t even get me started on why women should honor their right to vote… that is a different soapbox!) I know life can be crazy and forgetting can be easy. But sign up for absentee voting like my friend, who’s work hours don’t work with poll hours. Find a way to cast your vote.

We need to be active, not numb. I was just made less numb by spending an hour in my daughter’s class. I helped, listened and tried to do whatever was needed with a happy heart. What was needed was some one-one-on time with a little guy. I went out with him to work for 20 minutes on cutting, glueing and sounding out syllables. But I went out with the intent to be his very own cheerleader and build him up. Smiling big, clapping out syllables and cheering him on was my focus. I could physically see him filling with confidence and pride as we worked together. And I know that touched his heart and excited his mind when he started naming extra things we could clap together. We did about 30 more words and he got creative. He was impressed that he figured out cafeteria had so many syllables. Now I can’t wait to go again. I even asked him if I could come back and spend time with him. He replied, “how about tomorrow?”

I don’t know what your involvement is in your school district, but if you can volunteer. Please carve out the time and find the child who needs a cheerleader. It was only an hour and it added to my life so much that I had to share with you.

Don’t be shy with your gifts no matter your age… VOLUNTEER, GIVE, VOTE and PRAY!

Whatever you do, remember… Whitney Houston reminding us all that… I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.

PS if you have a teacher in your life, send them a note of thanks! (and a gift card to an office supply store or super store like Wal-mart and Target) They are the cornerstone in the development of our society! 🙂