Paging Dan Hollister

kynn x speech

Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left Walmart or a restaurant in tears.  So frustrated that I cannot get “control” of this four-year-old melting down because she’s tired, she wants to run free, she wants candy…  Or the ten-year-old because his head is as hard as rock.  “How many times do I have to tell you…”    Blank stare in response.

Like today after being in the waiting area with Xavier while Kynnadi did speech therapy… Actually, no. He was pretty good. There was a hyperactive kid running around, jumping, talking three hundred miles an hour, but, this time, it wasn’t X.   Ok…so after therapy, Kynn comes out coughing, nose running, still smiling because kids are always good for everyone but the BOSS of them. It was cool till we got to the car, then she unleashed a fury unseen by us mere mortals until today.   For two blocks she chanted, “I want candy, I want candy, I want candy…”  I threatened, I bribed, I tried to change the subject, I made promises, I yelled at God, I pleaded with God, I felt my ulcer flaring up…   “I want candy, I want candy…”

We got home.  She yelled at Xavier. She told him to shut up! I said, “Kynnadi, you’re not being very nice today.”

At which point she shuddered, sobbed, and fell completely apart. Dabbing her red nose with a tissue, she said,  “I not feel well!”   Oh…yeah. I get it.  As a person who is chronically ill, I should know better. I see how grumpy, grouchy, and mean I can get when the pain wears me down.

So I offered her a place on the sofa, gave her a cool drink, covered her with her blankie, and kissed her on the forehead.   She’s so worth all the stress and tears and sideways glances from passersby.

And, there’s always the fact that, most of the time, these little ones keep me laughing.  They keep me young.

Here, let me give you one example from each child so you can get a little chuckle, too. Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

I saw a jet streaking across the sky. “There goes Ironman!” I said.
Xavier said, “Remember when I used to think that? ”
“Yeah.” (giggle giggle)
“Now I know it’s a spaceship!”
Glad we cleared that up.

At the pool, we heard an announcement over the speakers. “Dan Hollister to the front desk, please.”
Kynnadi wrinkled her nose and said, “That me. It the name I use when I a monkey.” giggle

But this morning when I said, “Paging Dan Hollister!”  She glared and snapped at me, “No! I not a monkey today! I not happy!”  Mama said there’d be days like this.


The Language of a Princess

kynn cute faceKynnadi, now four, is trying so hard to pronounce words correctly. One of the most difficult sounds for her to get is the letter F. So when she came to tell me that Obbie (the name she’s given my grandson, Xavier), burped in her “tace,” I corrected her. I exaggerated my top teeth going out to my bottom lip and said emphatically, “Face.”
So, she got her teeth to meet her lip and said, so proudly, “Fobbie furp fin fy face!”


We weren’t on the waiting list for speech therapy long, just enough to make me sweat about enrolling her in preschool for fall. Kids can be cruel.  Even if they aren’t, and just keep responding with, “Huh?!” when Kynnadi speaks, it embarrasses and frustrates her something awful.  She finally just shrugs, face fallen, and looks to me to interpret.

With one session under our belts, I feel confident that we’re heading in the right direction.  She strutted out afterward teeling tine. I mean, Fhe frutted fout fafterward feeling fine.

Don’t Grow Up Too Fast

kynn carousel

     She’s getting too big for her blankies. Her ankles and sweet chubby feet hang out the bottom and she keeps struggling to cover her whole self for a nap. ugh. She’s teaching herself to swim. Preschool is upon us come fall.
Every day she insists, “I a big gull.” Is she?! She looks so little to me. Why don’t these kids listen when you tell them, “Don’t grow up too fast.” sigh

The Lighter Side of Aging

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I love being old. No, really.

I’ve never been more comfortable in my skin or less afraid to do things! Well, except eating things that are weird to me. (bugs, slugs, squid. You can have that stuff!)

I’m experienced in so many ways. Less judgemental. more compassionate, determined to live my dreams and help others to achieve theirs. (my dreams have changed many times over the years. Now they’re way more simple and doable).

I’m able to use my sense of humor without fear of embarrassment. My embarrassment, anyhow. My kids are horrified. But, hey, that’s just part of the fun.

By now, I know who my friends are, and I make news ones more easily.

I get the meaning of life. I’m not trying to figure out who I am; I’m trying to give who I am over to whomever God wants me to be, and all he has planned.

I am not afraid to go to a movie or eat at a restaurant alone. I know how to entertain myself. I can be really good company.
I have always had my own sense of style, but now if I want to just be comfortable, I will. I do NOT worry about how others see me. Not much, anyway. Not enough to stop me from wearing baggy sweat pants to the store. Can I tell you??? The sky has never fallen because of it. Or due to my lack of makeup.

I go to the pool with my big belly and cellulite and don’t think a thing of it. I jump in and splash around and just have FUN. I missed so many years of that due to self-consciousness. Bummer. What a waste of time.

There are moments when old-age brain startles me, but, for the most part, it has been the source of high hilarity. Somehow I’ve joined this club with my peers that younger folks can’t get into till they start finding their keys in the freezer, misplace the potatoes they just chopped for soup, or drive around the block a couple times, trying to remember where they were going and why. Or walk up the steps to get the dirty laundry, but, instead, make the bed, wash the windows, empty the trash cans…and leave the laundry alone, only to have to make another trip (or two, or three…) to gather it later.

Drawing this close to the end of Earthly life certainly holds moments of sadness and fear of leaving loved ones behind for a bit. But it always spurs you on to a much deeper, more satisfying life. You cherish all the small moments and huge affairs just that much more.


I found a thick, blank journal in a box of stuff I had packed, hoping to get my house ready for sale. Hoping to move again. I swore after the ordeal I went through only three years ago that I would “never move again!”   But things have changed so dramatically since then.

So I found this journal. I haven’t written anything for such a long time because part of the drama I mentioned includes health issues  and depression that makes me weak and tired. I just survive; I don’t do extra things often. I do the mom stuff, (grandma, raising kids. I call this Mom, part 2), and I sit in front of the TV. And that’s usually about it.

Recently I had such a close-to-dying asthma scare that I have pressed through the pain and climbed above the blues and just gone for it. Life.  I always have tried to create happy memories for the kids, but my ability, both physically and financially, has been limited.

Somehow, though, I have taken them to the zoo and will take them soon to an amusement park.  Bowling, (, swimming, Chuck E. Cheese, miniature golf, vacation bible school…

While I sat in the parking lot at VBS waiting for the kids to be dismissed, I opened that journal to write.  It was a lot like coming home after many years absent and wondering if I would be welcomed back.  I decided, weighed down as I was with troubles, to steer clear from mentioning those troubles on the pages of the orange and yellow flowered book.  I kept it light. Funny, even. I talked about whatever came to mind. It was freeing. Why was I surprised?

It occurred to me then that writing isn’t an “extra” thing at all. Not for me. It’s cleansing and uplifting. It’s edifying and calming. It’s good medicine.

I guess I thought, before, that if I didn’t write something profound, it didn’t count. I was SO wrong. Those blank pages had felt like a chore to tackle. Now it was what it had been in the beginning when I was barely old enough to pick up a pencil. It was joy.

What more does it need to be?

Cool Side of the Pillow

Just because.

Cindy the Dreamer


What time is it? Three a.m. Figures. The baby didn’t even wake me up and here I am with my eyes wide open and my heart racing. Did I have a bad dream again? I don’t remember.

Toss. Turn. Flip the pillow to the cool side.

Ah! Gotta get some sleep! The alarm is going to go off at seven and I’m going to be exhausted again today! How will I get all my work done?

Ouch! There’s that stupid pain in my neck.

Toss. Turn. Flip the pillow to the cool side.

Hug my body pillow up close to me.

Hmmm, I wonder what I should make the kids for breakfast. Not that the baby will eat anyhow. All she wants are sweets. Xavier will eat anything. Unless he wakes up grumpy again today.  Grrrr. Why am I still awake? I guess when I take the boys to school today…

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I’ll be There Cheering for You Louder Than Anyone Who Might Be Booing


What?! A profound quote from a silly Disney kids’ show? And from one of the more obnoxious characters as well. My kids watch the same episodes over and over and it took me about the fourth time before this quote grabbed a hold of me. “I’ll be there cheering for you louder than anyone who might be booing.”

Sure, our real-life circumstances might be a tad more serious than the one presented in the show, and ours won’t be resolved in 23 minutes before the credits roll.

I’ll be cheering loudly when the bullies at school tell you that you’re stupid or fat or ugly. I’ll be urging you to take the shot instead of passing the ball when you’re just too scared to try. I will be there to tell you it’s OK that you failed your math test and help you get prepared to do better on the next one.

I’ll help you keep your sense of humor when you lose your swimming trunks as you’re climbing out of the pool. I’ll tell those pointing, giggly little girls to hush and leave you be. And when you don’t get asked to prom, you’d better believe I’m going to tell you the truth: that they must be blind and, hey, it’s their loss. You go in there. You hold your head up high.

You keep in mind that the most beautiful, perfect, wise person there is created you, and HE doesn’t make mistakes.

And while we’re on the subject, HE really is perfect and he was rejected, too. No, He is rejected, too. Every single day.

Think about that!

I want you to know that people behave the way they do because of what’s inside them, not because of who YOU are. I know I say that all the time, but it bears repeating. They decide to look for and criticize your flaws (or they invent them) or they DECIDE to see what’s so amazing about you, and how they decide is based on what’s going on with THEM. If you want to survive intact, you have to respond with everything you’ve learned about you.

You’re respectfully and wonderfully made. You are the only you there has ever been or ever will be. You were made on purpose and placed into this particular time and space for a reason. God thought about you before he ever made the Earth and WANTED you to be. He made you to be loved and to spread love around.

Yeah, I’m here to cheer you on. But you know what’s going to happen if you don’t be careful? My voice is going to get drowned out by attacks on your character, your looks, your personality… How do I know that? Because even what God himself has to say is quickly supplanted by negative thoughts if I don’t fight it.

Why is that, I wonder? Why do the mean things have such a loud voice and all the true, lovely, kind things get pushed out? It happens to many of us.

Someone says you look nice today. Someone else makes fun of your clothes. You spend the whole rest of the day feeling bad. WHY!?!

Maybe, just maybe, you need to learn to cheer yourself on, too. Tell yourself what you’d tell a friend. ‘Cause, as much as I want to be there applauding, encouraging, soothing, helping you get back up when you fall, I can’t always be there.

Don’t waste time allowing miserable, lost, hateful people keep you down. Forgive. God will deal with them.  You pick yourself up, fix your eyes on your goal, ask God for help and healing, and GO.