What Legacy Will You Leave Behind?

It was a calm and sunny, spring day. A family drove their silver Jeep Cherokee down the interstate. The husband and driver, Bob, reached over and tenderly placed a hand over his wife’s slightly swollen belly as she smiled lovingly over at him. As he concentrated back on the road, the wife glanced backward at their two-year old daughter in the back seat, babbling away as she played with the stuffed animal she held between her delicate chubby fingers.

Bob turned a corner, prepared to bring his family to their destination for the weekend. But suddenly, out of nowhere, a drunk pickup truck driver lost control of his F-150, instantly killing all four passengers of the silver Jeep…

A half hour later, as the ambulance, firefighters, and policeman gather around the broken vehicle, they discover the dead members of the delicate family, so once full of life and happiness and love.

2 February 2018

Hello everyone,

Over New Year’s weekend, I attended a relative’s funeral, someone I had known and cared about. Doing so, I witnessed a part of the funeral preparations, and the one aspect of it that really stuck with me the most was the obituary part of it. The funeral home had sent a single sheet of paper for the family to fill out – which included the basic information of the now deceased relative such as birth date, birth place, children, grandchildren, etc. And then, at the very bottom, it had given 2-3 blank lines to fill out for the person’s hobbies, interests, and a bit of info on their life. 2-3 lines.

2-3 LINES????!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Sometimes, when my husband and I are sitting in church together, or even when we’re in the living room sitting together with the cats where I’m catching up on writing and he’s playing video games – I look over and really look at him. I mean, really look at him. I’m planning on spending on the rest of my life with him, grow old with him, one day raise kids with him – all that. But what if God has other plans? What if my life, or, I should say our life, is as fleeting and short as the children and couple of the true life story above? When my uncle Jerome was 23, he must have assumed that he was going to live a long life – but no, he was lost in the waters of Costa Rica. When my sister Kayla was two, my amazing parents probably thought that she was going to one day to grow up to be a beautiful young woman who would one day get married and have children. But no, instead she didn’t even reach age three before our good Lord took her to be with Him.

When you see an obituary, you don’t see a long life. You see a brief bio about that person’s life – anywhere from three to five paragraphs long. Life is but a fleeting shadow, and it must be cherished. You might know somebody and think, Oh, she was such a sweet person. But what kind of unique sweetness did that person have? What was it about them that made them sweet? He had the craziest sense of humor. Well, everybody does, really. What was it about this person’s sense of humor that made it special? Are you seeing what I mean? A family sees the meaning and the wonderful relative’s life within an obituary, but a stranger only sees a life. I like the kind of obituaries that are a newspaper’s page long that really depict at least a bigger taste of that person’s life. But still, it’s just a taste. Therefore, what kind of legacy are we trying to leave behind in the now?

Doesn’t it scare you that your life could end out of the blue and we won’t be ready? And it scares me also that, even though I know where I’m gonna go in my eternity, the legacy I leave behind to strangers is unknown. Why should we care, you ask? Because we are loving and living our life right now, the only one God has given us, and people deserve to know how we lived our lives and what made it more unique and special than anyone else’s life.

That’s when it’s important to do two things to make yourself ready just in case it happens tomorrow: plan your funeral; and make yourself right with God.

Planning your funeral may sound morbid, but if you really think about how short life can be, especially since tomorrow is never guaranteed, then doing so is a good plan. What if your family planned something you wouldn’t have wanted? Granted, you’re not around by then, but wouldn’t you want it planned your way instead of a way they think you would’ve wanted? Perhaps you may even be disappointed if you knew what they were planning. In fact, my late uncle Jerome planned his funeral before he went on his mission trip, and his family actually used it for his actual funeral.

Secondly, making your life right with God is most important. Read Acts 2:38. Baptism is essential for salvation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Confess your sins in true repentance toward God. Confess to the ones surrounding you prior to being baptized that Jesus is the Lord of your life. Immerse yourself in the water, and be cleansed into a new creature, buried into Christ and wash your sins away. This simple rule from the Bible brings you into eternal life. Then, attend church regularly and try your hardest to live a life pleasing to God. Trusting in God after that will bring such peace and joy to your life, in a way the world will never provide.

Finally, make sure that you leave behind a life that your relatives will be talking about for years. Where it won’t be a simple burial of your body and moving on. Leave behind a life that brings happiness and love to others. At my funeral, I want people to come up to the front and talk about good times that were spent with me, and funny things that I’ve done or said. Best of all, it’ll be a celebration of life, because I’m finally with the Lord and my sister Kayla, and that makes the whole life journey all the more worthwhile.

Take care, everyone and I hope you all will at least think of my advice 🙂 You never know, it could change your life for the better. Comment if you have questions 🙂 have a good February!

JMK~

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4-H – An Experience to Cherish Forever

4-H – An Experience to Cherish Forever

3 November  2017

 

Hello everyone,

 

I was eleven years old when my mom thought it would be a neat idea if my younger sisters and I joined 4-H. So we joined the Silver Lake 4-H Club in our hometown, named after a lake in the area. I wasn’t too crazy about it at first, being shy and all, and I wasn’t up for joining “clubs.” But once we started, I learned to like it, love it, and then, years after graduating from high school, missing it.

 

When I was fourteen, my family and I attended an event that gave honors and awards to those at the Fargo, ND college, NDSU, for those who had made lives and careers that all began with 4-H, and who also had been greatly involved at NDSU. My late uncle, Jerome (remember him? Click here if you don’t), had been greatly involved in NDSU, which began from his deep love of 4-H. He’d loved it so much he’d made a career out of it, and that night, Jerome had received an award of his dedication. We all looked on, proud smiles and matching pink flowers pinned to our chests. My family and I took the award in his place and in his honor. The gentleman presenting the award had many great things to say about Jerome. I had proud tears in my eyes when the man mentioned that Jerome’s family was there, and everybody looked over at our table where we sat, applauded, and even gave us a standing ovation. Because Jerome had been that brilliant of a person.

 

Ever since that day, I worked even harder to present myself as a worthy participant in the nearby 4-H county fair. My sisters and I presented sheep, chickens, and rabbits as animals nearly all the years that we performed. It was a TON of work every year from 2001-2008. I cannot even fully express in depth how much work it truly was, particularly with the sheep. It was even extra work when you chose to take non-livestock items to the fair, which included food, sewing and construction projects, painting projects, and the like. In the  year 2003, I got a Reserve Champion award for my writing project novel that I put into the fair, which brought me to the state fair in the Twin Cities, MN. It was very much an exciting experience, although unfortunately, I received a red ribbon (compared to the best blue ribbon award) for my participation. My book deserved FAR better. But in 2004, I received a Grand Champion ribbon for the best wether lamb (which is a young ram) in the open class showing. Along the way, I became disappointed, unhappy to happy, excited, and proud. Along the way, I had a deep adoration for the animals I presented every year. It was especially the hardest and saddest when we had to sell our young rams every year. Working our hardest from when they were newborns to after the fair; it was a yearly struggle that was difficult for all of us.

 

The following are ten things that I learned about 4-H throughout the years:

  1. Remember that it’s not the awards that you receive, but what you learned from the experience and how it has affected you as a person.
  2. Animals are God’s creatures, and they have individual,  unique personalities all their own.
  3. Don’t let anybody just go around and tell you that your animal or your work of art that you placed into the fair is meaningless compared to theirs. Make sure to defend yourself, but do it in a way God will be proud of.
  4. Trust that God has a beautiful plan for your life, which far exceeds any awards you might receive.
  5. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, for everyone’s story is different and everyone’s way of learning is different.
  6. The amount of money the state takes away from 4-H’s funds that they receive in 4-H animal auctions is highly unfair. The 4-Her worked HARD for that animal. They deserve every penny of it.
  7. As my mom used to say, “there’s always next year.” Don’t give up. Keep trying to work hard and keep learning everything you can about 4-H and the 4-H projects you work on. You never know, it might turn into a career one day.
  8. Don’t get mad if someone got a higher award than you, for it will not get you anywhere in life, and such attitudes are filled with nothing but selfish desires.
  9. Don’t forget to smile as much as possible. If you’re all hot and sweaty from bathing that sheep lamb and you don’t want the judge to think that you hate 4-H, because you don’t, it’s really just the hot weather – just keep smiling!
  10. Keep going back to county fairs every year, no matter how old you are, and keep telling stories about the 4-Her you truly were.

 

Recently, I attended a county fair, and as I walked through the corridors of the non-livestock 4-H projects such as gardening, sewing, and painting, I kept smiling to myself. That had been me at one point in my life. A person who may have never been involved with 4-H can walk through such projects in the fair and think, “oh, that’s nice. That must have been a lot of hard work,” and will never TRULY realize the depth of that hard work like us 4-H admin do. I saw every stroke of the paintbrush, every piece of tightening thread, and watering of the flowers that day. I KNEW what it was like to work hard like that, because I lived it. And you know what? I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about putting their kid through a club or special activity. It’s free, and the amount of work that it amounts to will be SO worth it in the end. Trust me, it WILL be worth it.

 

 

Have a great week! 🙂

 

 

JMK~

An Extra Piece of My Heart

1 September 2017

Hello everyone,

 

I pulled up into my parents’ countryside driveway. I parked on the grass next to my sister’s Jeep. My heart was in my throat. My stomach was weak. I gazed over, through the driver’s window, and gulped at the sight of the family dog standing by my car, panting, happily waiting for me. I smiled, and as I got out of my car, I tried to ignore the fact that Sailor was only walking on three legs. I forced the excitement into my voice as I pet him like crazy, buttering him up with sweet words of encouragement and love: “How’s my little Sailor boy? How are you doing? Are you happy to see me? Huh?” His long tail wagged, tongue lolling, chocolate brown eyes lit up with joy despite the pain he probably felt in his leg. That day would be his final day on this Earth, and he didn’t even know it…

 

Several days before, my mom had called my cell phone to give me unfortunate news. Sailor didn’t have a broken leg, but rather, he had bone cancer, and it had already spread throughout his body. There was nothing the vet could do. Two days before that, my mom had called me to tell me our family’s old Shih Tzu poodle dog, Holly, had died in her sleep. Two dogs in one week. I was crushed. Even more of a crush was wholeheartedly deciding that I was going to be there with Sailor, alongside my sister, as they put him down. It was THE hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Watching the light fade from his eyes gave me have an even more profound sense of devotion, love, and adoration to animals. The excitement and joy and love that he showed before that first shot made me feel guilty later for having to put him down. I do not regret being there, though, no matter how hard it was. He needed to see us and be comforted by our presence. He was only six years old.

 

Those deaths, ontop of other things, has made it an interesting summer. It has really made me appreciate God, though, and the time I got to share with my loved ones. Life is short, and we are never guaranteed tomorrow. Every moment is precious, and every person in your life is designed by God to be a special presence in your life. Be grateful for the small things, don’t get angry about things that won’t matter on your death bed, and always pray your very hardest. Live for God the way the Bible requires, not any way that people tell you to, and always work your hardest with those loved ones and those careers and hobbies that matter the most to you. Don’t take anything for granted, because tomorrow, it may not be there.

 

Tragedy can make the sanest person go mad, but only if we let it. If we have God on our side, draw comfort and strength from Him and never give up, only then will we succeed. Too often in this world we see suicide rates continuing to go up. Whenever I hear about that, I always think about how tragic that is, because life is precious, and nothing, no matter how bad it is, should ever lead you to that level. Those of you who are hurting today, rely on Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He will lead you through, but only if you believe in him and trust Him. Have faith that He will pull you through and will lead you through better tomorrows. He has a unique and wonderful plan for each and every one of our lives, and if we daily read & study His Word and learn from it, we will be comforted, we will succeed in our endeavors, and we will receive God’s wisdom & guidance to do and say the right things at all times. This is my daily prayer. My dogs’ deaths will always stay with me, but I look forward to the future, of loving others, especially our cats and future dogs and cats just as much or even more so as Holly & Sailor. I still miss them terribly. But I will never forget the memories we have. Most of all, I will never forget the comfort God gave me when the going was tough, all because I relied on Him.

 

Holly & Sailor, you will always & forever hold a special place in my heart.

 

Have a great week!! 🙂

 

JMK~

Words from a Wise Family Man~

Words from a Wise Family Man~

Hello everyone,

 

Sacrifice, hard work, and living life to the fullest has never come easily for me. As a teenager, I struggled with these things especially, mainly about who I am. I have always been a quiet person, but it wasn’t until I learned more about a late uncle of mine that I really began to understand the meaning of life and God’s purpose for us living in all of it.

 

He was 23 years old when he died, under the deep waters of Costa Rica. His name was Jerome, my mother’s younger brother and a great influence in my life. Everybody in my life, of course, has been a great influence, but the words he spoke to me in a speech of his that I found was what made me really admire who he was. To this day, I wish I would’ve met him, but he died several years before I was born.

 

One of his greatest passions in life was agriculture. He grew up on a farm, raised in the beauty of hard work, caring for animals, and learning the good and bad elements of every part of crop and farm life. He adored 4-H and FFA, so much so that he made it a career. While on a mission trip in Costa Rica with his 4-H mates, he’d had so many plans for how to influence as many countries as he could through agriculture and how to be better farmers. His next goal had been to explore Panama. But God had other plans.

 

While out swimming with one of his friends, his friend lost control of his swimming and drifted afar off into sea. Jerome leaped into the water to save him, and his friend safely made it to shore. However, Jerome did not, but instead drifted farther and farther away; ultimately, to his death.

 

I share this story not out of confusion or for you to feel sorry for me for an uncle I never knew that died. But by reading his final given 4-H speech, I discovered that I was more like him than I thought, and furthermore, I discovered the art of really knowing him through such a profound speech. Below are the main points given in his speech. They’re brief, but they signify not only how we should love each other, but how God loves us. This speech persuades us to be positive for our futures, but to also not expect a future, for God has an ultimate and beautiful plan far beyond all of our imaginings. I hope you enjoy this speech as a testament to him, and I hope you learn something wonderful and beautiful because of it.

 

**The most enjoyable journey is to meet someone halfway.
**You’ve got to love life, love things and love those around enough to show them. It’s a risk, but if you aren’t afraid of yourself, your life can really get better each day.
**If you start saying love and thinking about the things you love, your whole day will become a positive experience.
**Replace something negative with the positive like: “I may not hit the baseball, but I love the way you pitch” or “I hate getting up this early–but I love the sunrise and the singing birds.”
**Find something new each day to live. Don’t miss all those things that make life lovable and livable. Don’t miss life. Grab for it. Live each day and each moment. Some people live like there will always be a tomorrow, like they will never die. “Oh I can enjoy life tomorrow, right now I’ll just survive.” Love it now. There may never be a tomorrow. The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. Leo Buscaylia says, “I don’t see death as a villain. I have happily accepted death as a challenge.” I agree. It lets me know that I have to live.
**I see death as a positive force. It tells me I have a limited time. It plays no tricks. Death has been a possibility since the time I was born. It has never hidden itself…unless I hid it. Choose the present. That’s what really matters. Rid yourself of no and can’t and impossible. The world is full of negative. We are full of it. Say yes to life. Try yes and possible and hopeful. Embrace life.
**Are you foolish enough to imagine that you automatically deserve success in an field or activity? Then why do you believe you automatically deserve success in marriage and family relations unless you work at it? Look at the way you treat each other in your family. With silence. With screaming. You ignore their feelings. You hide your feelings. Or you try to. The boss yells at you. You go home and yell at your spouse. Your spouse yells at the kids. The kid kicks the dog that bites the cat that urinates on the rug. Where does it all start? Why is it that the people we love the most we support and reinforce the least?
**We too often criticize. We don’t give our family the benefit of the doubt. We expect the worse. Grandma used to say that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So why concentrate on the vinegar?
**”My parents did this and that to me.” You know what your parents do for you. The best thing they know how to. Maybe the only thing they know how to. They give you what they know. God bless them. They may not be perfect. But then, no one teaches a person how to be a parent. You suddenly have a baby and there you are. The sad part and maybe the reason you are so disappointed is that you believed your parents were perfect. And they let you believe it!
**It’s your responsibility to become the most loving, wonderful person because that is what you will be giving to your children–to all you meet.
**Sidney J. Harris says on rearing children: Parents who expect or want their children to ‘appreciate’ what they have done for them usually find that the children feel resentful when they grow older.
**Telling people you love them means you have to get out of your way. You’ve got to take a risk and expose your feelings. “I’m too cool. I don’t need to tell you what I feel.” We need love, we tell people we love them, and we need to do it now. We can’t put it off. We don’t know how much time we have.
**Love life–reach for life and stretch your mind. Love yourself–don’t be afraid. Don’t stand in your way. Love those around you. Give them the best you there is, and then they can become the best.
**No earthly happiness would be possible without our gracious God. The thought of eternal happiness with Him makes our joy here almost meaningless in comparison–to make our earthly life meaningful he has some suggestions like this: Be an instrument of peace: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love…where there is injury, pardon..where there is doubt, faith…where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console…to be understood as to understand…to be loved as to love…for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
**Carry those thoughts–console, understand, love and give–have a wonderful life!!****

 

Have a good week, everyone! 🙂

 

JMK~

2017 Goals

January 3, 2017

 

Hello everyone,

 

I deeply apologize for not being able to post fresh stuff in here lately. For one, I have been super busy. For two, I had no idea what to write!

 

But here are some goals I’m looking forward to for 2017 that I thought I’d share with all of you:

 

  • Buy a house

 

  • Finish the 2nd and 3rd edits of my book, “Hush, Don’t Tell”

 

  • Solidify my query letter for “Hush, Don’t Tell”

 

  • Send out 50 query letters (minimum) to literary agents to get published!

 

  • Complete all edits for my second and final novel of my debut series: “The Magic Suitcase: Marilyn”!

 

  • Publish “The Magic Suitcase: Marilyn”

 

  • Get settled in our new house and have a blast decorating it and making it homey

 

  • (Hopefully) Get started in painting again by buying a set of canvases, and a year’s supply of paint and paintbrushes

 

So yeah, lots to do! I’m so excited for what the good Lord has planned for our brand new year! 🙂

 

What are your long-term and short-term goals? How do they affect you as you go throughout life? How do you think they make you a happier and better and more organized person?

 

Enjoy your New Year, everyone 🙂

 

 

JMK~

 

 

 

The Perfect Christmas Story~

Happy Holidays, everyone!🙂

In lieu of Christmas this week, I’ve decided to share my favorite Christmas story of all time.

Hope you all have a fun and blessed holiday season spending time with family and friends!🙂 I’m excited to spend time with family and my husband and cats🙂

By this story I hope you all remember that not everyone is able to have a happy Christmas, that we must remember those. It’s much better to give rather than receive. Here’s the story:

A small girl tightly holds 6 matches on a 1700s city street. She’s freezing and her dress and shoes and coat barely are keeping her warm. She lights one match and smiles at the warmth. But as she walks out of the alleyway the cold winter wind blows it out.

She lights two more matches, but she trips on a street corner, losing her shoes, and in the process burns out these matches.

She lights the rest of the matches. She looks through a window of a home where a happy family is serving Christmas dinner. They’re warm and snug inside and have everything they could ever ask for while she does not. She turns away sadly, and the winter wind blows out the rest of the matches.

She curls up on the icy cold sidewalks. She’s shaking and she closes her eyes.

Then, warmth comes over her. She awakens and sees an angel taking her up and up, away from the cold and bitter life to a home where she would forever be happy.

And that’s where she remains forever.

JMK🙂

Reprise: Too Much Technology?

November 28, 2016

 

 

Hello everyone,

 

Is there such a thing as too much technology? I enjoy technology as much as the next person. I have an iPhone 6 Plus, a Samsung tablet, two laptops, and a desktop computer. So I guess you can say that technology is the thing of the present and of the future. Everybody wants the latest and greatest thing. But for me, there’s such a thing as going too far with technology and being just right with technology. Let me give you an example:

 

Sunday night, I was sitting on our apartment couch watching “WALL-E” (love that movie), when I noticed a weird toothbrush commercial. It was essentially a Colgate advertisement that was advertising not only a fancy electric toothbrush–but one that a teeth whitener inside the toothbrush. So then, all you have to do when you’re done brushing is whiten your teeth!

 

Ahem. What? I don’t even whiten my teeth. They’re white enough. I remember thinking, what’s going to be next, toothpaste built into the toothbrush so that we don’t have put it on the toothbrush ourselves? Have we really gotten that  lazy where we depend on technology to do our work for us? Using technology for work and writing, I understand that. Do we need a Bluetooth? Sure, for work. But could we live without it? Yes.

 

I’m the type of person who would never buy a Kindle or a Nook. When my book comes out in e-Format, of course I’ll have to get the app where I can locate it. But that’s necessity. I don’t need to buy an electronic version of a book, because I’m perfectly happy holding an actual book in my hands. I like the smell of the book, the feeling of the crisp, soft pages within my hand, like you’re holding the whole world within your fingertips. Having technology as a necessity is much, much different than needing to buy the latest and greatest thing. I’m fine with holding off from getting technology that I really don’t need. Sure, I may like it and think it’s cool, but whenever I see advertisements on TV doting the thought that one day, we’re going to rely upon technology for pretty much everything, I always have one single thought. And that thought is, will buying all these new technological stuff enhance my eternity one day? I won’t be able to bring any technology with me. In the Bible, you don’t hear about angels flipping through their iPads.

 

Think it over: when technology becomes less of a necessity and more of a want, such as absurd things like a teeth whitener in a toothbrush, are we really thinking it through? Don’t get me wrong: I love technology. Technology has gotten us so far, and I love that it has. I would love to get the newest iPhone, newest Apple Watch, and so forth. But when technology has gotten so far that it does work for us or work where settlers in pioneer times did fine without, that’s a completely different story. If you’ve ever seen the Robin Williams movie, “Bicentennial Man,” you realize he’s a robot who becomes the family servant and does everything for them. They have flying cars that drive for them, and so forth. That’s technology, just that toothbrush, that has gotten way out of hand.

 

It’s fine to get things for necessity, or even to buy the latest and greatest technological gadget. But when you buy something that does something that you yourself are perfectly capable of doing, that’s going too far. And remember, folks, when you are buying this new technology, that one day when you die, you won’t be able to take any of that with you. Oh, you may have your loved ones bury these things in the casket with you, but they’re not really going with you. Not at all. Buying  new technology stuff is fun. But don’t let technology run your life. For example, as a parent, I would never allow my child to use a tablet. I grew up just fine without one. I would never buy a tootbrush that does more than brushes your teeth. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll floss for you too. I would never buy a Kindle or Nook, because you can buy and check out actual books the same way.

 

I saw this “Born Loser” comic one time where the main guy, the born loser guy, ran into his neighbor’s little girl. He said he was off to the library and asked the girl if she wanted to come with. The girl then went on about how cool the library is, that you can use the computer and check out movies. The born loser guy said, “You know, when I was your age, we didn’t have such things in the library.” Then, the little girl replied, “Then what was the library even used for?”

 

How sad is that. The Spanish word for books is libros. The word LIBRARY is testament of that. I even am still surprised to see computer laps in libraries, unless it’s a college or high school ibrary, because libraries went on just fine without technology when I was a little girl. My mom would bring my sisters and I to the library to READ BOOKS. There were no computers, etc there. It was all books. Books, books, books. And you know what? We were perfectly happy because books was all we wanted.

 

If you’re confused by now on whether or not you think I enjoy technology, don’t be. I do enjoy technology. But the bottom line is that we don’t need technology for everything. We shouldn’t let technology run our lives. Focus on God, family, and friends first, and then use technology as a necessity first. That’s how you became a happier person, not by technology.

 

By the way, my book, “The Magic Suitcase: Martha” is now on Netgalley to be reviewed. You may review it HERE before you buy it.

 

Have a good week, everyone.🙂