Life Stories and Beyond

Our Bodies. Our Families. Our Lives. We all have stories we should share. We're more alike than we know.

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August 2, 2019
lisakunk

18 comments

Birthing a Book: Whew! It Takes Patience and Persistence

Surprise! Here’s a peek at my soon to be born baby. I mean book. You may notice the cover is brighter now than the natural color plan I posted a good while back. I decided to brighten the book shelves of the world a little bit.

Some people say, there’s a book inside everybody. Maybe that’s true. I don’t pretend to know. I do know that getting a book written, proofed a zillion times, published, and out into the world is a huge undertaking. I had no idea how huge. I thought this book launch would have been by my birthday, September 24, 2018. I am a year wiser and am pretty sure that it will be out by September 24 this year, 2019. Every time I think it looks ready to go, I glean some wisdom from somebody who has been there, done that. Even though my finger is ready to push that ever present Publish button I find that there are a few more steps to follow to make the book worthy of using the phrase book launch.

To all who have put their books out into Readerland, I commend you. You are full of patience and persistence. I hope to join you soon. Just Because I Used To Could is on the way. Watch out for preorder opportunities.

July 18, 2019
lisakunk

11 comments

What’s in Your Fridge?

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

I wonder if the contents of a fridge tell what a person really treasures, or how he lives his life. Lord have mercy? I hope not. If a researcher looked into our fridge about an hour ago, they would think we valued out-of-date milk, slimy veggies, and a ton of cheese and condiments. And he’d think we didn’t value food. There was no room for real food. IMG_3323

Even I was shocked at the refrigerator’s contents. We’ve been gone an awful lot lately so we haven’t kept the fridge stocked with fresh food. After spotting and removing the Romaine lettuce and the cucumber that had converted to brown water, I pulled out the crisper drawer for a full-blown soapy baptism in the sink. One thing led to another. Pulling the trash and recycling containers beside me to start purging, I dove in with fierce energy. Immediate gratification and feeling of accomplishment, here I come.IMG_3322

That’s when Mr. Environmental Conscience dropped in for a chat. “You need to rinse out that Fairlife Milk bottle and those jelly jars. Oh, and you should compost those old veggies. The worms would appreciate them. Worms gotta eat too, ya know?”

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Shrugging Mr. Conscience off my shoulder, I took all thirteen of the most ancient condiment containers to the sink for later processing. It reminds me of another event I wrote about several years ago.  Empty Nest Flutterings: The Multiplying Condiment Miracle   Sorry. I digressed. Back to work. I didn’t want to slow my momentum, not to mention that the refrigerator door and drawers were standing wide open letting the cold air out.

Immersing myself in sanitizing, I realized we have some kind of problem. Who needs sixteen packs of cheese, especially in a lactose intolerant household? Who needs more than three dozen containers of salsa, jams, and mayonnaise? Olives? We don’t even eat olives yet we have two slightly used jars of the green ovals. Wonder how long a jar of baby beets can survive? There’s no date on the nearly full jar. And what about that unopened key lime juice? That stuff’s not cheap. Man I hate to pour that out.IMG_3330

Wow, so much expired vegan food that our daughter left here months ago. Shoot, I should take pictures of it so I know what brand of tempeh to buy since she’s coming home in a few days and needs something besides avocados and chickpeas. After all, she can’t help eat the cheese.

Ahhh. Done at last. The proud feeling of achievement may carry me for a few days. At least until I make a big grocery run to replace all that stuff I just tossed. I’m gonna try to avoid cheese and condiments. We’ve got plenty of them. I probably won’t even know they are there until the next time I purge the fridge and toss them in the out-of-date bin.IMG_3326 But more likely, I probably won’t pitch them until they are furry and making their own penicillin.IMG_3328

 

June 3, 2019
lisakunk

12 comments

Pet Hair Piling up? Your Feet May Hold the Solution (This is not an ad. I’m just smart.)

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

Pet hair got you down? Tired of spending money on sticky rollers and gadgets to remove that hair? I’ve found the solution for your furniture, rugs, even your fabrics. Take off your sneakers and put them to work. Check the bottoms for gross stuff. Then use your cleanest pair to rub the rubber soles of your shoes all over that fluffy pet hair squishing it up into a ball and “Voila!” Hair-free surfaces and a cleaning process that doesn’t cost a dime (except for whatever you paid for those sneakers of course). Seriously. It works. Check out the before picture of my nasty cat tower.

Now take a look at my quick fur gathering system, courtesy of my walking shoes. Then scroll on down to see pictures of the final results.

 

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Cleaning rugs is especially fun. Just scrub your sneakered feet around and the hair comes up in bunches. I found this out by accident rubbing my feet over a clump I saw on a carpet. I was amazed. I’d discovered a miracle method. Now y’all have fun. It’s almost as exciting as using a power washer to write on your pavement. Try it on your own fur covered house and let me know how it works. Enjoy.

May 20, 2019
lisakunk

9 comments

Empty Nest: Obstacle or Opportunity?

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

 

“For every stage your baby passes through, for every sweet phase you think you’ll miss, you’ll get new stages, new phases. It’ll keep on getting more and more interesting all the time. Just wait until you can have a conversation with your nine-year-old. It’s wonderful. Change doesn’t have to be bad. It’s different of course, or it wouldn’t be called change.”

 

This is a paraphrase of what I told my oldest daughter as we discussed her dreading to see her nearly four-month-old baby boy change so fast. I remember having this same conversation with our very wise veterinarian when he asked me how I liked being a new parent. Yes, veterinarian, not pediatrician. I had taken my dog in for a checkup, not my child. You never know where your pearls of wisdom will come from so keep your ears open.

 

Yesterday, while sitting in church experiencing what we call “Youth Sunday” I was struck with how much I missed the years my husband and I were youth leaders; having an intimate knowledge, a friendship with so many young people like those leading this service. As a trio of young ladies sang their solo parts and then harmonized, I was taken back to a time when that would have been my oldest daughter and her singing partners. I recalled how our triplets, now twenty-two used to sing, play their instruments, speak, and participate in mission trips like these kids were doing. I thought back to days when we’d have anywhere from forty to eighty young people and their families at our house for what we called, “Fun on the Farm” or a “lock in” or just to hang out. Those were busy, exhilarating times.

 

For a few moments, I allowed melancholy to set in. I even told our minister and a few friends how looking back had hit me. They all get it. They’re in similar stages of life where their kids are off doing their own things, forging paths, as we all did a few decades ago. I marvel at how little time I spent back home once I left my parental nest. I was off to whatever life held, hardly giving a thought to how my absence affected my parents. It’s hard to know what an empty nest feels like until you’ve tried it for yourself. Now, I can’t get enough treasured time in my mom’s nest, heading there every chance I get.

 

Life is one change after another. One more readjustment to a new normal. Unless we live in a household where nobody leaves, and the whole extended family stays on the block or the farm, there’s bound to be change. An alteration of sounds, smells, and activity. Perhaps an empty feeling or possibly, a feeling of completion. A million unexpected feelings may swirl around in all that newfound space.

 

Like it or not, babies grow, turning into people with their own paths to explore, mountains to climb, and passions to pursue. Hopefully, we grownup people keep exploring, climbing, and pursuing. There are opportunities enough to go around for each age—each stage. It’s all in how we look at them. Are they obstacles or opportunities? A change might squeeze our hearts or a change could allow more time to work on a long-ignored bucket list or at least time to tackle a to-do list.

 

While trying to keep up with our household of six and their busy schedules, I remember saying on a regular basis, “I’ll do that once the kids are grown.” Well, they’re grown and gone. Actually, they’re more like in and out, here and there which is fabulous.

 

After four years of this big-old-empty house business, I’m actually enjoying this new stage of life. The one where my calendar is less filled with my kid’s schedules and more filled with my own. That’s a pretty sweet place to be. I must admit, with a new grandbaby, I’m happy to fill a few of those calendar blocks with his schedule needs. Keep Baby Wesley. I’m moving into a new stage, yet again, and it keeps life interesting. Whatever we give up in one stage, we get back in multiples in the next ones. That’s what my wise veterinarian told me about parenting, and it’s still true.

 

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2019
lisakunk

12 comments

Our Dogs, The Garden Protectors

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

Does your dog take time to smell the roses? Ours do. And the new hydrangea. Like typical work foremen, they watch our every move making sure we spread grass seed just so. They crouch among the budding flowers, guarding them from all the scavenging deer that even eat thorny rose bushes. Neither one of our colorful dogs is designed for camouflage, at least in our yard. Maybe being seen (and heard) is their greatest skill as  garden protectors. I don’t see any deer in these pictures.

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April 28, 2019
lisakunk

6 comments

How to Eliminate Weeds Without Poison

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

Once again my husband is working smarter not harder. We have an invasion of burweed that is hazardous to pet and human feet. I was talking about covering it with plastic to kill it. I went into the house and came back to find my husband taking care of the problem. We needed to order some topsoil anyway for some low areas of the yard. We shall just get a bigger load to go with the grass seed. Or maybe we should just plant clover.

April 12, 2019
lisakunk

7 comments

Think of Chores as a Workout

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

Who needs a gym when you have farm and yard work to do? Pull some weeds, pick up sticks, rake some straw. Or, do a full day’s work before “work”.

Here’s one example of my husband’s morning workout before he leaves for his real job.

 

April 7, 2019
lisakunk

13 comments

Jellyfish Have it Rough to Be So Smooth

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

When I walk on the beach, I look for oddities. I think jellyfish fall into that odd category so I always take a moment to honor the life of the poor washed up jellyfish. Actually, I measure them with my big old feet and admire how each blob is different. Nature sure is creative. I take a picture to remember them by. Ha Really I do it because I’m a little odd myself and take pictures just because they are unusual critters. And “they’re” using them in medicine to help increase memory so I heard. If that’s so, I should say, “Thank you.”

Rest In Peace guys.

March 2, 2019
lisakunk

10 comments

Finish the Book Already: Ignore Distractions

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

Have mercy! Between my husband chopping wood outside my office window, my cat lounging all over my messy desk, my dogs underneath my feet begging to go in and out, this book is on the slow track to completion.

 

My thought is, those who can’t do, watch. And be distracted. That’s me. Distracted. Enough already. He’s done with the wood so I’ll get back to editing.

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Even the cat watches

 

At least I have a potential book cover now. Thanks so much to everyone for the feedback. Opinions Needed: (You Don’t Hear That Very Often) Finalizing Book Cover and Title Selection

The middle example was the winner by a slim margin. See what I did there? Margin?  IMG_BC985C481567-1

Trying out the clever writer talk. Thanks again. This is a combination result of the proposed middle picture, brightened up like the others with a different font. This publishing thing is a whole new learning experience. When people say, “Write a book,” little did I know that would be the easy part.

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