Sunrise

Someone asked of me
my definition of love
and I thought about the little things
the random “thinking of you” text
in the middle of the day
the way a stranger throws a lost ball
back to a child
the young woman who buys a coffee
for the veteran sitting alone.

I simply said, “Love is…
putting another’s needs ahead of your own.”

But here, in this cold cut-throat morning
first day of December,
I remember asking him
“What do you consider the five most beautiful things on earth?”
At the top of his list were sunrises.
Every time I witness one
I think of him.
A hundred sunrises came before his answer
and I never gave him a thought
and now he’s so much a part of me
I’ll think of him
see him
feel him
in every sunrise
in every lifetime.
I can think of no better answer
to the age old
ever-awaited
question:
“What is love?”

Posted in Love, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Photography Wednesday

**A note for my new followers. If you haven’t noticed already, most of my photographs are sunsets. I am obsessed with sunsets. I also love taking photos of nature in general, obscure things, children, and food. However, you’ll see random things, as I take photographs of whatever strikes my eye, and sometimes, challenges.

Birthday Celebration

I very rarely buy anything for myself, so when my birthday rolls around, certain family members send me money or gift cards and demand I use them for myself. This year, I treated myself to a book of poetry, an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, and cute shoes!

I love wood-fired pizza. I treated myself to my favorite, pesto and prosciutto!

This is 38!

Thanksgiving Traditions

I forgot to take a picture this year, so this one is recycled. The morning starts with coffee out of my favorite Christmas mug!

Wassail goes in the crockpot early in the morning! It makes the house smell so good!

My cousins and I send silly Snapchats to one another during the parade’s commercial breaks. I don’t know why. It just became a tradition.

The traditional cranberry sauce platter!

Pumpkin pie!

Cause for Celebration!

Today, my tassel arrived.

There was a time when I wasn’t sure I’d make it this far. Not for lack of belief in myself, but because life has always had a way of interfering with my plans.

Today, my tassel arrived.

In a month, I will graduate with honors. And I will be a degree-holding college graduate. I feel a sense of empowerment. Like I am an unstoppable force who looked the storms of life right in the eye as I built my shelter. I have no intention of stopping! I am going to keep building my shelter and achieving my dreams.

Today, my tassel arrived.

And Finally, Sunsets/Nature

I hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday and have a fabulous Friday Eve!

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Posted in Personal, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

That Really Burns My Biscuits #10b

Ya know what really burns my biscuits?

Double Standards – Part 2.

I have a very dear friend who never hesitates to point out something contradictory, when he has a different perspective, or when he thinks I might be overthinking things.

So, to show that I can see both sides of an issue. I will talk about the stigma men face that women do not.

Recently, I have seen a lot of posts encouraging men to talk about their emotions and mental health. Here are some of the posts I have seen floating around:

Please do not get me wrong. I agree with all of the above, and I oft share these types of messages too. However, it makes me sad that we have to.

Why would we expect men to shove their feelings down and not talk about them? Why do we expect men not to cry? They are human. Those emotions and reactions are normal. It is not healthy to suppress them. We don’t expect women to suppress their feelings (I use “we,” meaning society). Why would we expect different from men?

Personally, I find it attractive when men are not afraid to show emotion. I think it shows courage to show some sensitivity. By the way, men can absolutely be masculine and sensitive at the same time. I have always wondered why so many people believe we have to pick one side or the other. I am living proof that people can be many things. There are many layers to me, and I know men who are just the same.

I have also seen a lot of messages explaining that it’s okay for women to be a shoulder for their men to cry on.

Why is this a thing? Not that I would ever seek the advice of random internet strangers when it comes to loving my man. The best way to know what my man needs is to listen to him, but I digress. I would never allow anyone to make me feel bad about treating my guy like a King. If he’s good to me and shows me the love I deserve, of course, I will make him feel loved and appreciated. Why do we have to make women feel that it’s okay to love our guys? More importantly, why do some feel the need to put them down for it? I enjoy baking. If I bake for my man, it’s not because he’s expecting an apple pie on the table when he gets home. It’s because I want to. For the record, the minute he starts expecting apple pies on the table is the minute I’ll stop baking them.

This goes back to my rant about “Live and let live.” Why are we so concerned with the lives of others? How did we get this far by teaching men to be some kind of “macho” robot?

It starts with us. Let’s teach our boys to respect women and not objectify them, let’s teach them that it is not weak to cry or show emotion, and let’s teach girls that it is okay to be the strong one sometimes, but it is also okay to cry on a man (or anyone’s) shoulder. We are all humans just trying to get by.

Most of all, let’s teach all people just to be kind. Really, that’s where it begins. Don’t bully others simply because they are different. End of story. End of rant.

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

The Rogue Goose

Of all the traits that make up the woman behind Life Lessons From Around the Dinner Table, I think my favorite is that I don’t take myself too seriously.
I learned long ago that my ability to laugh at myself made it harder for people to laugh at me.

I remember Justin Long posting a story on Instagram (I love his stories) where he talked about learning the same thing. He said if you want to be funny, you can’t be afraid to embarrass yourself.

I responded by explaining that I was clumsy, and I learned to embrace it and let it roll off my shoulders.

He responded, “Kind and wise. You are going to go far in life.”
(He has responded to me a few times, gave me a shoutout when he went live on Instagram, and even blew me a kiss once! I’ll stop fangirling now).


I digress. We never know what traits others will find endearing. Of course, I wish I was more graceful. I don’t have much of it, but I’m a bit of an anomaly (I’m blessed that my friends say I’m a unicorn). I can trip barefoot, but I can walk, run, jump, and dance in 4″ stilettos with no problem.

I wrote a Facebook post explaining that I don’t understand how people can become so narcissistic. I don’t say this to put anyone down or make myself sound better than anyone. It’s just my brain won’t let me enjoy my success for too long.

Sometimes I’ll read through my old poetry and think, “Wow! That’s really good.”

My next thought comes immediately, “Hey, remember that time in seventh grade when our crush yelled at us across the school parking lot, and we failed to see a knee-high bush and tripped over it?”

Way to keep humble, brain!

A friend of mine responded, “I don’t know, I would have found that endearing.”

I informed him that I just stood up very quickly and shouted, “I’m okay!” Hahaha!

Twelve-year-old Kristian was terribly embarrassed, but thirty-eight-year-old Kristian would probably lie on the ground laughing so hard at herself she couldn’t stand up.

Fortunately, I have a great relationship with my neighbors across the street. We look out for one another, I bake for them, and they share their market produce with us. They are good people.

Their first impression of me was, well, humorous is the only word that comes to mind. I’m not sure what they would tell you if you were to ask them what they thought of me that day. Perhaps, “a few fries short of a happy meal” might come to mind. It was not my finest moment.

Just look at how it mocks me!

I hadn’t lived in my house very long. I was a newlywed, and my husband had left for work.

I was taking a shower when I heard a strange noise. I’m always on edge when I shower with no one in the house. I’ve never really gotten over my childhood trauma from watching Psycho.

I only stayed briefly in the shower. I wrapped a towel around me and snuck out of the bathroom, peeking around the corner to ensure no one was there. It was all clear, but I heard the noise again. I grabbed my closest weapon, the almighty broom, and went investigating. I located the source as coming from the front porch.

I looked out on the porch and saw nothing. I stepped out on the porch, closed the door behind me, and looked around to see what was making this awful noise. I peeked around a corner and saw a goose. I shrugged and walked back onto my porch, and went to open the door only to find that it was locked.

Why did I shut the door behind me anyway?

So, there I stood, wearing a towel while holding a broom, and locked out of my house.

While I already had the broom, I figured I might as well sweep the porch. I had a big cooler sitting on the front porch at the time, and I moved it near where I had seen the goose, forgetting that it was there.

I must have scared it because it jumped up on the porch and honked at me. I put my broom in front of me like it would protect me from the wild animal, and the goose pecked at it. That was enough to freak me out, so I made a mad leap off the front porch and ran into the yard. The stupid thing chased me! I had one hand holding a broom and the other holding up my towel as I ran in figure eights like I could outsmart a flying animal. Oh, what a sight it must have been!

The goose finally got bored with me, and I made it back to the porch. I thought about crawling in the window but realized there was no way to do that without flashing my goodies to the neighborhood. I had no choice. I had to sit on my porch and wait for my husband to come home, while keeping an eye out for rogue geese.

My neighbors waved to me from across the way, but they never came over. I can’t say I blame them.

What a great first impression!

At least I can laugh about it. My best advice to anyone is not to take yourself too seriously.

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Posted in Laugh Out Loud | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Holiday Kisses

I have been wanting to write more fiction because I think it’s the area where I could use the most improvement. I have decided to start a series of short stories about a couple and their adventures. I’ll see if anything comes of these stories, but I’m content writing them with no intention of turning them into a novel, but I’ll see what kind of feedback I receive and go from there!

These are the songs I listened to that helped inspire this story. Feel free to listen as you read along, or if you dare, use them as inspiration for your own story!

I hope you enjoy it!

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Holiday Kisses

Kent Williams had reserved himself a seat at the singles table for the rest of his life. It wasn’t that he wanted to be single, but after having his heart broken far too many times, he stayed guarded in romantic relationships. Often, women grew bored early in the relationship from his inability to bear his soul, or the few who did stick around long enough to find out the details of his sordid past judged him for it. So, Kent decided to stop pursuing and enjoyed random nights with random pretty women who would always leave the next day.

That was until he met the woman who had been living rent-free in his mind for the past two years.

Brooklyn Owens was a well-known Food Blogger who focused on the history of recipes and food in general. Her intelligence, wit, talent, and passion drew him, and the air was knocked from his lungs the first time he saw her picture.

**********************************************

It had been a particularly rough week for Kent. His boss dropped a complex project in his lap that demanded his immediate attention and caused him to submit his other project too close to the deadline for his liking. He was a bit of a perfectionist and adhered to an always stay at least three steps ahead philosophy. The week had just been full of disappointments. He had wanted to go for a ride that evening after work, but it was pouring down the rain. He decided to stop at the new café that had opened a few months ago in the next town over and treat himself to a cappuccino, and that’s when he saw her.

The line was terribly long, and he was about seven patrons back from her, but he immediately recognized her long hair, glasses, and full lips. He could not tear his eyes away. Somehow, she was even more radiant in person.

She could sense his eyes on her, and when she turned and caught his gaze, they were each caught off guard by the other’s smile.

“If you grab that table nestled in the corner over there,” she pointed with her head to a small table for two next to the big picture window, “I’ll buy your coffee and join you if you’d like.”

“I would like that very much,” he responded, already smitten with her bold demeanor. “I’ll have a cappuccino.”

She sat the coffee before him and slid into the chair across from him.


“We’ve always talked about this. I can’t believe it’s finally happening.”


Kent took a sip of his beverage before smiling at her. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Brooklyn.”

**********************************************

Brooklyn gave him a side glare, but she couldn’t wipe the smile from her face.

“I’ve gotten pretty used to you randomly staring at me, but you could offer to help, ya know?” She teased as she applied the pine garland to the top of the hutch.

It was the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Kent had just come home from work. As per tradition, Brooklyn had spent the entire day cleaning and decorating for Christmas.

“You have such a flair for decorating, my dear. I don’t want to get in your way.”

“Mmmhmm. Nice save.”

He chuckled before he walked up behind her and playfully smacked her butt as she stood on her tiptoes, trying her best to get the garland to stay in place. “Would it help if I started heating up leftovers?”

Brooklyn released a frustrated sigh as the end of the garland kept slipping off the edge of the hutch despite the hook placed to keep it there. “Why won’t you stay where I put you?”

She dropped her arms in defeat and turned to look at her boyfriend. “That would be very helpful. As soon as I figure out how to keep this end intact, all I have left is to decorate the table, and I’m finished.”

He simply nodded, not wanting to provoke the irritated beast, and started heating up the leftovers his girlfriend had so graciously prepared the day before.

While Brooklyn cleaned up from dinner, Kent ignited a fire in the fireplace, lit the candles Brooklyn had placed on the mantel and turned out the lights. He smiled at the lit Christmas tree. It looked so beautiful, with colored lights woven expertly between each branch, the garland perfectly spaced apart, and ornaments thoughtfully placed according to size and color. Not only was his girlfriend beautiful, but she was talented in so many ways.

Brooklyn poured herself a glass of the spiced wine Kent picked up for her on his way home from work. He was constantly bringing home her favorite things for her to enjoy. He turned on the Christmas playlist they made together, and a blues guitar filled the room.

Brooklyn sat her wine down on the coffee table and smiled at the man who had completely stolen her heart. “Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Williams?”

“Is it working?”

She played shy by grinding the ball of her foot into the floor while swaying her hip. The look in her eye, however, gave her away.

“Perhaps.”

Kent smiled and in one swift movement, grabbed her hand and pulled her close to him, and started swaying her around the room.

“I have wanted this for so long,” he whispered as he gently cupped her jaw and gave her that look that needed no words. That look told her exactly how he felt about her.

“You said that to me the first night we spent together.”

“I still can’t believe you’re mine.” He brought her even closer as they swayed around the room.

“We just spent our first Thanksgiving together, and here I am, dancing in the living room of the home we share, and you’ve decorated the house so beautifully, and we’re about to spend our first Christmas together.”

He brushed the hair off her shoulders and rested his hands on her hips as their movements halted as the song changed to something more fast-paced.

“And for the first time in a very long time, I’m looking forward to Christmas.”

Brooklyn melted at his words. Kent had always had a way of turning her to putty. She could not escape his irresistible grasp. She stood on her tiptoes, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pulled him into a passionate kiss.

“Thank God you decided to research the Pennsylvania Dutch traditions.” Kent rested his forehead against hers as they finally came up for air.

“Thank God you stopped into the café for a cappuccino,” she retorted.

“The last thing I thought when I stepped into that café was that a beautiful woman would offer to buy me coffee.”

“And the rest, as they say, is history.”

Posted in Ficton, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday #10

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

I like to imagine prayer as a flower

For when we pray we open our whole selves–

to the sun or the moon

to the universe

we know there’s something more–

we can’t see

or touch

or hear

or taste

Something we can’t know

except in the moments we’re in them

steadily growing

and flowing

and moving

circles of motion

like geese on Sunday mornings

flying above pine-covered mountains

and circling blue skies

We look up

arms stretched wide

cleansing our minds from the cobwebs

and cleaning our hearts from the filth

we see them, see ourselves, and know–

we must take the highest care

and compassion in all things

Inhale, knowing we are made from all of this

And exhale, knowing we are truly blessed

because we are here, witnessing the miracle

that is life

A circle of motion

Like geese circling the morning

we give thanks

for all we have

all we are

and all we cannot see

or know

And like the flower

whose petals drop one by one

so do our days

and weeks

and months

and years

and we pray

that it is all done

in beauty


I forgot about this poem. It’s rejoined my favorites list. I hope you enjoyed it!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

That Really Burns my Biscuits #10

Ya know what really burns my biscuits?

Double standards!

My best friend posted the following clip on Facebook:

She messaged me immediately after posting it, demanding I have a watch. Who am I to deny my best friend anything her heart desires? As soon as I watched it, we delved into a deep conversation about what it’s like to be a woman and how many double standards there are when it comes to men and women.
Sasheer is right. I have never heard anyone say, “Oh, look, there’s Bill with his resting dick face.”

I never really thought much of it, but Sasheer also points out that women are always expected to smile, but men aren’t. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been told I’m too pretty to be sad.

Has anyone ever told a man he’s too handsome to be sad? I think not. It’s infuriating!


Sasheer’s mention of how women have been conditioned to apologize for things we are not sorry for really opened my eyes. I apologize all the time, even to inanimate objects.

I believe those that know me best would agree that “Odd but harmless” sums me up pretty well. Haha!

But seriously, I have apologized for so many things so long that it is a hard habit to break.

Amanda and I have repeatedly told each other, “I don’t need to apologize for x, but I’m sorry for x.”

I now have a deeper understanding of the phrase, “This is a man’s world.” Women don’t feel the need to apologize for being a woman in a man’s world, but we apologize and fake smiles anyway.

Another phrase I have heard one too many times, from both men and women, is:

“You’re too pretty to be so intelligent.”

What does that statement even mean? I do not understand the correlation between one’s physical appearance and IQ. And again, I have never heard anyone tell a man he’s too handsome to be so intelligent.

Lastly, if a woman complains and demands to see the manager, they call her a Karen. This makes me feel sad for women actually named Karen. Also, there’s no male equivalent for that statement. If a man complains and demands to speak to a manager, nobody says, “He’s a Kevin.”
And while we’re nearing the topic, ya know what else burns my biscuits?
Why is it that when a man is seen as weak or cowardly, he is called a p*ssy, but if he is bold and fearless, he has balls?

I mean, vaginas can take a pounding and push tiny humans out of them, but if you barely strike a scrotum, it will bring even Superman to his knees.

Yeah, double standards…

What burns your biscuits?

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Posted in Personal, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Adventures in Cranberry Sauce

If I took the time to figure out the statistics, I would guarantee most of my time has been spent in a kitchen.


I grew up in a family of comedic cooks, one of the best being my Grandma Bateman. I have heard from many people who knew my grandmother that I am, without a shadow of a doubt, “Dot’s granddaughter.” My grandmother was a wiz in the kitchen. She could cook and bake and made most dishes from scratch. She was independent, stubborn, charmingly witty, and not afraid to speak her mind. I’m not sure what they mean by “Dot’s granddaughter.” Oh, did I mention she was also sarcastic? *Winks* She even had silver streaks in her hair and oddly placed dimples in her cheeks, and after realizing she is where I got mine from, I no longer dislike my dimples.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of cooks meant that Thanksgiving was a big deal! I remember spending many Wednesdays before Thanksgiving in the kitchen. Usually with my mom. We would take the homemade bread she made earlier in the week and tear it up to leave it to grow stale overnight for stuffing, and we baked multiple pies and homemade biscuits.


Thursday morning rolled around, and I could be found in front of the television, awaiting my favorite parade! I still love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!! It’s one of my all-time favorite things! I look forward to it all year long, ensuring I am up and coffee is ready to go, so I don’t miss a second of my beloved parade. I become a little girl all over again every Thanksgiving morning! My all-time favorite Christmas commercial always premiers during the parade, too!

My grandmother always had a decorative tablescape. It didn’t matter if it was a big Thanksgiving dinner with a table surrounded by family or just her and another person sharing sandwiches on paper plates; she still decorated the table, and I always aspired to be that kind of woman. The type of woman who takes the time to decorate the table. A way of saying, “Regardless of who is around my dinner table or what we eat, I appreciate you enough to decorate the table for you.” It’s one of those rare thoughtful things most people don’t stop to think about, but my sleuth eyes always paid close attention.


The one Thanksgiving staple I always found both humorous and so much like my grandmother was her “fancy” cranberry sauce. Earlier, I mentioned how my grandmother was a kitchen wiz, and Dot’s granddaughter is no different. If I ever want to impress you with my cooking skills, I will make you spaghetti and meatballs, and everything on your plate will be made entirely from scratch, including the pasta. Understandably, when I say “fancy,” you think I mean homemade, but that, my friend, is where you are mistaken.


My grandma had this white serving platter with pink and yellow tea roses (I LOVE tea roses) and gold trim. She would decorate the platter with lettuce, rosemary sprigs, or fruit. On the center of this beautifully decorated platter sat a blob of jellied cranberry sauce, still in the shape of the can. It always made me laugh that my grandmother put forth all this effort to decorate a platter that just holds a mold in the form of a can. I made such a fuss over this that it no longer felt like Thanksgiving without the decorated platter. My mom continued the tradition after my grandmother died, and now that my mom is no longer living, I continue the tradition, and I always will.


It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for many people without the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and it definitely wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for me without it, or the decorated platter of jellied cranberry sauce.


Do you have any Thanksgiving Traditions? Are you a homemade or jellied cranberry sauce person?

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Resilient

If there is any one thing you should know about me

it is that I am resilient.

I am the fairytale they won’t recite.

Little Red Riding Hood that could not be duped

by the Big Bad Wolf.

For they do not want to tell you the fairytales

of the dangerous women who won.

Instead, they’ll tell you the stories of the good girls…

heads bowed, eyes wide, and mouths shut.

You see, I am a descendant of all the wild women and their stories

that came before me. The ones the men thought they had burned.

They should have checked the ashes…

for it only takes one wild ember to start a wildfire.

And I guess they have always been afraid of the wild ones.

Little Red Riding Hood who knew precisely what she was doing

when she looked a not-so-gifted bad wolf in the mouth

and invited the wild in.

For when a wild ember masters the skill

of burning down entire forests without harming a single soul,

the Big Bad Wolf is revealed for who he genuinely is…

a coward of a man who killed the wild women he could not tame.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And if there is only one thing you should know about me

it is that I am resilient.

I have never been one to back down from a challenge.

And I refuse to teach my nieces to wear shame like a second skin

or apologize for taking up space. for having both brains and beauty.

for being a woman.

So I will recite my fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood

who never backed down from the Big Bad Wolf.

And every antagonist who made the mistake

of throwing me in the wolves den will tell you the tales

of the scars that line my fair-skinned complexion,

proof that I did not win every fight.

But the story they won’t want to tell you

is how I walked out of the den. leading the pack. every time.

So, if you think you can stop me from reciting fairytales

of the dangerous women who won,

you can certainly try. In fact, I hope you do…

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

But if there’s any one thing you should know about me

it is that I am resilient.

Posted in Personal, Poetry, This Is Me | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Throwback Thursday #9

I wish I could write

the way I think –

Obsessively

Incandescently

With maddening desire

and the same intense passion

that flows through these veins

I would make love

to these pages

with such intensity, the moon

would tear open the roof

just to watch


It’s challenging to show passion through words, but I will always try. I wrote this one two years ago.

Love & life lessons,

Kristian

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments