Tag Archives: lessons

Rewind

29 Mar

Image Raising our children can always involve a little bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I can’t tell you how many times in a day I wish there was a rewind button that I could push.  Not only for myself as a parent but for my son as well. Remember the good old days when playing a game with friends we would say, “Do over!”

Then again, what those moments teach us is how to have compassion to those around us when they suffer from the same fate.  How many times do we hear a child or even an adult for that matter say, “Well, they did it to me first.” That is when I hear my mom’s words echo in my ears. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

One of the joys of being an adult that still struggles with ADD tendencies is that I am still inclined to open my mouth before realizing what just came out of my mouth. The icing on the cake comes when I witness my son doing the exact same thing!  Ugh! So where is that rewind button!!! Thank goodness that is when “God’s mercies are new every morning!”

A few days ago the tables where actually turned and I came face-to-face with someone that desperately wanted a rewind button in front of them.  A child at my son’s school said something to me that he shouldn’t have said.  When I confronted him with it, I knew he knew it too. It involved something slightly unkind that he had done to my son. What it was is really not the important issue. What transpired afterwards is.

This boy and my son have had a difficult time getting along.  Now to be fair, my son has had his moments of contribution in the matter as well. None the less, after this issue was addressed with his parents a chain of events occurred that is quite precious.

The following day both my son and I received notes of apology and my son was given a gift card to McDonald’s which was paid for by the boy from money he had earned.  Step number one is complete. I was wrong, will you forgive me?

Step two is just around the bend in my son’s response. “Mom, wasn’t that really nice? Can I use this gift card to take him to McDonald’s?” Do you see it? Yep! That is what mercy looks like.  I was so proud of my son at that moment. Every one of us wants a rewind moment in our lives. If you are like me, I want it about once a day!!  Mercy is such a powerful tool.  This morning before school my son presented him with a handmade thank you card, and an invitation to lunch to McDonald’s (today is a half-day for them).  Suddenly the relationship between them made a 180 degree turn and off they went to play.

This concept is one of the main ideas addressed in my new book Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish. The main character Pearl shows compassion to the shark that bullies her every day; because of this something amazing happens to their relationship.

If we can teach our children to show forgiveness and mercy even when it might not be fully deserved, the possibilities are endless. Will it always have a happy ending? No, but will it be more happy then sad?  I would be so bold as to say, “Yes!” This does not mean that consequences should not be given when they are required, but that open arms are always waiting at the other side. We have allowed the “do over” play to come into the game of life. So maybe not a rewind button, but maybe even better.

 

 

 

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Growing-Up

9 Sep
Time with Grandpa

Time with Grandpa

Well, my son just started 5th grade! “Where did the time go? Before you know it he’s going to be all grown-up!”  What parent hasn’t said this once or twice?

I even remember my Grandma referring to my dad and his sisters as “You kids.” My brother and I always found this very funny.  We would respond, “Does that make us babies then?” My grandma would just smile and say, “You’re the little kids, and they are the big kids.”

Now that I am a parent and a little older I totally get this.  I guess I have also come to realize that in some ways we are always kids.  What makes a kid a kid?  The dictionary defines kid: a child or young person.  I may not be a child anymore, but the likelihood that I am always going to be younger than someone else, until God takes me home, is pretty high.

I remember when my son was very little he asked when he was going to be older than his big brothers.  Needless to say, he was not happy when he found out that they were always going to be older than him even when he became a grown-up.

As children we look to the older people around us to guide and direct us to adulthood.  Why then do we suddenly stop this once we arrive? People haven’t stopped being older than us have they?

I am not saying that wisdom always comes with age, but the chances certainly go up.  There will always be a percentage of the population that refuses to gain wisdom from any situation.  Then again, I am still saddened when I see seniors being neglected or mistreated when they have so much to still teach and contribute to our lives.  I am equally saddened when I see a senior believing that they have nothing to offer the world any longer.

They have something that cannot be purchased for any amount of money, learned at any school, or inherited through any blood line. Good or bad, successful or unsuccessful they will always have something that you don’t. They have experience!  Don’t let that experience go to waste.  Let’s make sure we pass it along because some day our children will be all grown-up and they will need to do the same.

Make spending time with the seniors in your life a priority for you and your children today. Before you know it they will be all grown-up and you don’t want to find yourself asking “Where did the time go?”

Kristi’s Story

17 Apr

After many of you read my blog about the miracle of my son’s birth, I am sure that some of you were wondering why I’m a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. I think that is a pretty reasonable question to ask. So it just seemed like the right time to share with you my story.

There is a lot of suffering that has happened in the US, and all over the world for that matter, this week and the last several months. Sometimes we forget that there is a lot of suffering that happens every day.  I am by far not the only person with a difficult story to share.  But just maybe by reading my story you will be able to face the world and all its obstacles with a little more determination, strength and hope.  I proofed this myself so please be gracious if you see a silly typo. 🙂

It is my prayer that by learning a little bit more about me, you will gain a better understanding into why I write about the topics that I do in my children’s stories.  I want to help our precious little ones to be prepared to face all the adversities that life can throw at them with the power to overcome, not succumb.

June 9th 1986.  I don’t know if you can recall what you were doing, but I do.  I had
flown to CA to see my brother’s girl friend (soon to be fiancée).  It was my birthday, and we had decided to start the day off horseback riding.  I was not an expert rider but was competent. We had ridden around the property for over an hour and had decided to
head back to the barn.  I only remember glimpses of what was soon to follow.  I distinctly remember coming a good five feet away from the large barn door opening into the horses feeding area.  I remember him walking towards it and me pulling on the reigns to try and stop him. Then I recall ducking my head to go through the doorway.

The next moment I found myself completely flat on my back in a pile of hay in a massive amount of pain, unable to feel my legs.  The most likely conclusion was that my back must have hit the door beam and dislocated my vertebra causing instant paralysis.  I must have then lost my balance and fallen from the horse to the floor…pretty reasonable conjecture.  None the less, I was now finding myself waiting for an ambulance to arrive and from here on things progressed rather quickly.

The paramedics arrived only to see a young woman with not a scratch or bruise on her body, just lying in the hay relatively calm.  I distinctly remember telling the paramedic, when asked what was wrong with me, “I am paralyzed.”  I know that I totally
shocked him because he gave me the funniest look.  I was soon put on a board and sent to the nearest hospital.  I was in a pretty rural area so I had to travel on a dirt road.
I remember not liking that part too much on a board.  But by this time all the meds were kicking-in to help with the pain I was in, and things started to get a little more blurry.

I recall telling one nurse that was trying to get the hospital gown on me that she needed to make sure nothing happened to my “guess” jeans because they were my only pair. I laugh now when I think about saying this. Only a teenager would be more worried about their jeans than being in the hospital paralyzed.  I remember telling everyone I saw that it was my birthday today, and I was turning 15.  I was also getting very annoyed that they kept asking for my address.  I know why now, but at the time I thought all these nurses really must be stupid if they had to keep asking me the same questions over and over again.

I learned at a later date that the hospital I was sent to first was too small to accommodate my injury so I was then ambulanced to another hospital.  This hospital had a doctor that could do the surgery but not the facilities to house me afterwards.  It was then decided to air-vac me to another hospital so I could be at the right facility
after surgery.

The bad news, to add to the obvious bad news, is that all this hospital hopping was eating away at my 24 hour window.  This is the amount of time that you have to fix a spinal cord injury before scar tissue forms around the area permanently blocking any nerve signals from the brain to the lower half.  By the time they got me to my final destination the surgery could not get scheduled in time, and my 24 hours was up.  Now the hurry was over and things went into slow motion.  So my accident happened on a Monday, but I didn’t have surgery until Friday.

Things continued to get worse.  I was too small for the bed.  I was too big for a child bed, but too small for an adult bed.  The bed was slated to try and immobilize the body. My head was bolted straight with large padded ovals on either side.  The idea is to keep you totally still so the bed moves for you.  It rotates your body completely sideways and then it moves back to the other side so you won’t get bed sores.  They had tried to stuff
pillows around me to keep me from moving when I went vertical.  But pillows have a bad tendency to squish.  This meant that my whole body moved several inches once gravity took hold. Then the screaming would begin.

The x-rays seemed to show a clean break, which should not have been that painful after medication.  But as anyone knows who has experienced a dislocate themselves, the pain does not let up until the pressure is gone.  Once under the knife (eight hrs total) they soon realized the problem.  My spinal cord was described to me as the consistency of a smashed banana.

Needless to say I felt a whole lot better on Friday when I awoke nine hours later.  I felt so great the next morning that I was actually able to sit up (in my stylish new back brace of course) but ha! I was sitting up.  After the sheer elation of being out of that bed and sitting up wore off, the reality of my new permanent situation started to kick in.  I was informed that the chances of me walking again were almost zero.

Before we go much further into that, I must add that my prayer support was off the scale.  In one day alone I received more mail than the entire wing of the ICU.  My final
count was over 200 letters and cards.  My father was a computer programmer for Doubletree Hotels at the time.  Ten Doubletree Hotels sent me flowers.  There were 31 flower arrangements total.  My mother had to take pictures of them all so I could remember them later.  You can’t bring flowers into the ICU.  It was actually rather comical. She would bring in a flower arrangement and say, “Look what you just got, isn’t it beautiful?” and then leave the room.  My Uncle worked for a Christian radio station
in Tucson and he had told my story on the radio as well.  I had people praying for me and sending me letters that I didn’t even know.  Rather overwhelming for a quiet teenager.

Amongst the fan fair and flowers I was starting to wilt inside.  Three days had passed since my release from bed bondage and things started getting hard.  This is when God choose to make a big move in my life, in the form of my mother.  My mother is far from perfect.  She struggled most of my childhood with depression and suicidal tendencies.  But she does love me and loves God, and God was going to use her in a mighty way. That morning she sat by my bed and said to me, “Kristi, you can feel sorry for yourself.  You have a good reason too.  No one will hold it against you.  This is a tough thing.  Then again, people that feel sorry for themselves are not very happy.  They don’t have many friends because no one likes to be around people that feel sorry for themselves all the time.  So I guess you can be that way, or you can take what you got, and let God make something beautiful out of it.  You will have a lot more fun, you will be happier, and everyone around you will enjoy being with you.”

Yes, I know that some of your jaws have hit the floor.  This seems rather harsh.  But then again when God is talking to you, you really should lesson.  From that moment on things changed.  I knew she was right.  My own mother had been a perfect example of how depression can consume the joy out of you.

When you let God do miracles He just starts performing one right after another.  God laid on me peace the size of a football field.  My attitude was so noticeably different than everyone in the ICU that they felt it necessary to send a physiatrist to examine me.  I mean everyone else on the spinal cord injury floor was on meds for depression.  They were concerned I was in denial.  After talking to me for over a half hour I am quite sure that they didn’t know what to think of me.  I should not have been that happy.  I cannot describe the peace and joy that I felt, or still feel today, because our human finite minds really can’t comprehend it.

I could go into gory detail,after gory detail of all the events that followed this, but everything comes down to this.  God is God and I am not.  He was not asleep while all this took place.  He was not unable to take proper bed measurements. God saw fit to allow an incredibly shy insecure teenager to show just how loving, powerful and big He is.

Is it a bigger miracle to heal the body or a broken soul, emotionally and spiritually?  Jesus brought up this point once before with another paraplegic much like myself, in Luke 5:23.  Jesus says, “Which is easier, to say, ’Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ’Rise up and walk’?” The real miracle was the transformation of a soul for eternity.
God heals people from the inside out, not the other way around.

The people of the day needed to see a physical miracle to give proper claim to His deity.  I think that people today need to see more than that.  We need to see miracles that defy reason and understanding.  We live in a world so preoccupied with physical comfort and appearance.  If all our bodies looked and worked perfectly, would we be happy then?  We all know the answer.  God longs to give us His joy, but how often do we choose not to take it.  We thrash out—“Why me?  Why can’t I be like her/him?  She/he has it so easy.”  That of course is always a lie from the father of lies himself.  We all have wheelchairs.  Some are seen and others are not.  What is yours?

My accident and your issues are no different.  I cannot claim the corner of the market on suffering. I don’t want you to look at me as disabled, but enabled through Christ to do all things, and go through all things. God longs to bless your socks off!  Please don’t stand in His way by looking at your wheelchair and seeing only giant mountains to push up.  Let Him lift you up on wings like eagles so you can soar over the tops of them.

My life is not ever going to be easy.  My body will never function right on many levels, not just my legs.  Will I, and do I cry sometimes?  Absolutely!  But then God fills me up again with His joy, and I can be reminded again of all His promises.  I don’t have to keep this body because it is only a temporary shell.  Someday I’ll get to turn it in for a new one, and then I’ll fly.

New Book Coming Summer 2013

17 Feb

I mentioned in my last blog that our new book is coming out this summer.  I am so excited because my husband just finished the cover, and as usual it is amazing!  I wasn’t going to show you, but I can’t help it.  I want everyone to get as excited about it as we are.

I have all boys so I don’t usually get to do anything in pink!  Well this new book has a lot of pink!  The main character is a sweet little girl fish named Pearl.  Not to worry, there is a shark involved as well to make the little boys happy.

Now that Dave has gotten the designs for the characters set for the art work, if all  goes according to plan, they will be done and the book will be ready for publication about the first of June.

As he gets more pictures finished I will try and highlight a few.  I don’t want to give too much away.  That will take away all the fun of the surprise!

Because I live my life in a wheelchair I am quiet use to being the different one in a group.  That slight deviation from, “the normal,” can unfortunately lead to bullying for
children or even adults, at times.  We all can relate to the humiliation of being laughed at.   When we experience this once in awhile it is one thing, this is normal, but all the time is another. How do young developing minds deal with being uniquely designed and the difficulties that this can cause?  That is what this book touches upon.

Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish is about a little pink fish named Pearl that has to learn why her curly fins make her special, but you also get to meet a shark named Clark that learns that she was special all along.  We can’t wait to share it with your littles ones this summer.

What is different about our books?

5 Feb

Mommy Tell Me a Story... book coversYou can visit any library and go to the Children’s Section and find thousands of books on the shelves for your children to read.  With this in mind, when a new book series like ours comes along, we really should address why they are different from many of the books out on the market right now.

Any parent, or adult for that matter, can relate to how quickly children can get bored.  Equally true, most children will look to someone or something else to help in this department. When my brother was bored, his first target was usually me, the younger sister, and visa-versa for that matter.  Making up stories was always one of the many pastimes that would help us whittle away hours in the car or standing in long lines somewhere.  This tradition has continued through my son.  After being asked countless times to tell my son a story it seemed only fitting to stick with the theme, “Mommy, tell me a story.”  The beauty of a story is that it can be about anyone or anything.  It can be silly or serious, or true or made-up.  There is no limit to where you can go or what can happen in a story. It’s only limit is your imagination.  The other great thing about a story is that all children love stories.  This truth spans culture, race, social class or gender.  All children love stories.  I love this about children!

My books are designed to help children tap into their own abilities to make their own stories.  Because of this, all my books share some common threads.  Every book begins with a little boy that’s bored… children can relate to that. Depending on what the boy is looking at will determine what the story is about.  In the first book Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Car the little boy is riding in a car and looking out the window looking at the other cars.  This inspires him to ask his mommy to tell him a story about a car.  The second book Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Plane, the little boy is in an
airport waiting for his plane to arrive and looking at the other planes.  The third book Mommy, Tell Me a Story about What Daddy Does, the little boy is looking out the window waiting for daddy to come home from work. I want to encourage young minds to understand that they too can come up with their own stories by just observing the world around them.  The fourth book that will be out this year:  Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish.  The little boy is sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office and looking at
their fish tank.  I have made each story very different because I want to reinforce to children that your imagination isn’t limited to one topic, idea, or character.

All of my books also have a lesson to learn.  Not that pure entertainment doesn’t have its place, but as a mother and teacher, I never want to waste a teachable moment.  Children are much quicker to remember something when it is in story form.  I also added the element of rhyme to make the stories easier to read and remember.  I purposely use inanimate objects or animals in my stories because I don’t want the focus to be on the gender or nationality of the character but on the attributes of the character
and what lesson it is they need to learn.  In the first book Rusty the car has to learn some lessons about competition and what it means to win.  In the second book Hugh the plane finds a new purpose in life when he stops feeling sorry for himself and helps others instead.  The third book delves into the world of recycling and helps children see why it is important, and what they can do to help keep our world beautiful.  The fourth book, coming soon, is about a fish named Pearl that learns to see her value despite being different and turns the tables on a bullying problem.  It is so important for children to see that a lesson can be found in any situation in our lives.  You just have to look for it.

We also have worked very hard to bring characters to life that will inspire children’s own artistic creations.  My husband works countless hours to create colorful and loveable characters and scenery free-hand in colored pencil.  We are always amazed at how many children recognize that it is colored pencil. Many of their first comments are, “I have colored pencils!”  This immediately makes the idea of drawing attainable.  They
have colored pencils so they can learn to draw pictures just like Mr. Dave did.   We even plan on making coloring books to go with the series in the future so they can practice their own art skills anytime, with their pencils.

Stories through books should be about helping children see their own potential and realizing that it isn’t out of their reach.  They can think of stories too, they can learn lessons in any situation, and they can be creative in artistic expression.  Yes, I wrote these stories and my husband drew the pictures, but we designed the series for little ones all over the world to help them express their own imagination and talents and see where they can take them.  Our desire is that Mommy, Tell Me a Story book series will
just be a vessel to inspire little ones through imagination, lessons, and beautiful artistic expression.

Mommy, Tell Me a Story book series… imagination inspired through color and rhyme.

The Book that Started it All

9 Jan

January 16,2012 my husband and my first book Mommy,Tell Me a Story about a Car was officially published.  What a day that was.  It was a mixture of excitement and total fear at the same time.  They say that to learn to swim sometimes you just have to jump in and start swimming.  Well, we jumped alright and I am frantically trying to learn to swim amongst the flood of other swimmers.

Little did we know that publishing a book isn’t just about writing, editing and illustrating, but it is so much more. There are the marketing parts, book reviews, contacts, book signings and computer skills.  Books have been around for hundreds of years before any technology, but now an author has to know how to tweeter, blog, link things and make web pages.  Yikes!  I still have a flip phone!  Every time I post a new blog I get a little nervous that I’m not going to do something right and I won’t know how to fix it.  It seems to be mostly about who you know, who has the best marketing plan, who has the best webpage/blog or who has the best publisher.  It can make you lose sight of why you decided to write a book in the first place.

I love to tell stories!  My husband is a wonderful artist!  We love kids!  That pretty much covers most of it.  We get such joy seeing the looks on children’s faces after we have shared our books with them.  To watch a little girl or boy walk away from your table at a book signing hugging their book because you put their name in it…just for them.  What could be better than that?  Going to a school to read that doesn’t have the “budget” for a big name author to come, and reading to 60 eager little faces that have never met an author before in their entire life is priceless!  This is why my husband and I published our first book and continued with two more.

Yes, this “Old Dog” is going to have to learn some new tricks to keep up in the book
business, but as I look back at the journey we have made this past year, I pray that my husband and I never forget this first book, and the reasons we wrote it and who we wrote our books for.  I pray that the people that buy our books and the children that hear or read them will see this in every word on the page and every picture illustrated.  When we stop caring about what we are writing and who we are writing to, this will be the time that we should stop publishing books.

Inspiration for “Mommy, Tell Me a Story”

2 Aug

Kristi and Dave GrimmIn 2011, my husband and I started our new journey toward publishing our first children’s book. Now a year and a half later we are so amazed at how far we have come. We have now published two books and our third is completed and will soon be ready to print. To think that this all started from a simple idea from my son.

It was clear after some testing at age six that my son had ADHD. We soon decided that homeschooling was the best option for us. He has enough energy for about five kids so I like to start the day with exercise to help him focus. Because of this, several times a week my son and I go running (he runs-I roll). Whenever we would start, the first thing to come out of his mouth was, “Mommy, can you tell me a story?” This simple statement is not common to just my son.  I am sure every child in the world at one time or another has asked this simple question to someone important to them. I love that you can teach a lesson, change a tear to a smile, inspire a dream, or just help a child pass the time through a simple story. After several years of telling one story after another it seemed only logical to start writing some of them down. Now at the age of nine, my son sometimes listens to his iPod while running, but I have to say that at least once a week I still hear him say, “Mommy, tell me a story.”