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It's amazing when my 5-year-old comes home talking about the history behind MLK day. When I was in Kindergarten, we learned our color...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thank You and Happy New Year

Every year seems to fly by at an alarmingly increasing rate. I know they say time flies but seriously wasn't it just December 2013?  There have been a lot of ups and downs in this last year, as I'm sure was the same with most of us, but overall I consider myself truly blessed.

As this year passes in just a few hours, I want to express my thanks to those of you, who supported me with such sweet words and acts of support, with your emails and purchases of all three of my books.  As I look back to count my blessings from this year, I include my family and my friends, whom I include my readers.

In the coming year, I wish you nothing but peace as you forge forward into a new year.  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes

At bedtime, on Christmas Eve, I was getting my son settled, which means bedtime prayers and end of the day revelations.  I usually ask things like, 'what are you thankful for today?' or 'What happened in your world that was good?'.  Sometimes I'll ask - 'If you could change something from today, what would it be?'.  That last question allows me insight to any stresses he might be dealing with that wouldn't normally unfold on their own.

As we were chatting on Christmas Eve, I was internally reflecting on my life and how blessed I was to have such an amazing kid, who is tender hearted while also being stubborn and strong.  He's a pistol when he wants to be but always sweet and kind to the core.  That night, I told him that I must have done something wonderful in my life to deserve a kid, like him.

He smiled sweetly, grabbed my face with his hands, and said, "Oh mom.  You could have done nothing to deserve it.  That's how God's grace works.  He blessed you because He wanted to."

I smiled in return, and teared up at his spirit.  Then he laughed, seeing my reaction, and said, "I know.  I'm full of wisdom lately, huh?"

After he fell asleep, which was way late ... because Christmas morning was luring him in, I crashed.  It had been a long week at that point, and I've had a lot of stresses in my life that are not only threatening to unfold but overflow.  I slept like a rock, knowing I'd be up early due to an anxious child by the tree.

That morning, he waited for us to wake up ... and I mean waited for an hour and a half.  He didn't play on his computer, nor did he grab his hand held electronics to pass time.  He turned on the Christmas tree lights, and patiently waited - occasionally checking our room to see if we'd woken up yet.  At 9:45, I sensed movement in my room and sat up to see a big kid with a smile, excited to start Christmas.  I asked him why he didn't wake us up earlier, to which he said,  "Because I wanted you to sleep in."

My kid not only watches out for me, but he's growing into a wise counselor.  I'm truly blessed.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Good Lie - Nothing to Overlook

Search for 'The Good Lie' online and you will find a ton of images of Reese Witherspoon. Although she is vital to the storyline, as she is the life line and the first introduction to America to three Sudanese refugees, the real story lies behind the journey of Theo, Mamere, Paul, and Jeremiah as they search for their sister and their way.

IMDB's synopsis for this movies will reveal a simple statement, saying 'Sudanese refugees given the chance to resettle in America arrive in Kansas City, Missouri. where their encounter with an employment agency counselor forever changes all of their lives'. However it is so much more, so please don't sell this movie short and don't enter empty handed ... meaning have a tissue box in hand.

As I've lived overseas, I feel like every American should experience another culture abroad, as it will teach you how blessed we are in the United States.  Seeing yourself from an outside cultural perspective, does everyone good.  Coming from Japan and stepping back onto American soil, I truly understood why the term 'ugly American' was used.  The loud dialects and harsher aspects to life were glaringly obvious to me, as I'd been looking at life through another cultures's spectacles.

In putting myself in these character's shoes, I could not fathom living in a world where life had gone on the same for thousands of years, without modern conveniences ... only to be disrupted by a war, in which children were left to fend for themselves by using only the knowledge left to them by their elders.  Talk about growing up fast.  As these Sudanese childrens' survival instincts kicked in, they fought for each other to live and move forward ... on not just a daily basis but in some instances minute by minute was the difference in life or death.

Fast forward thirteen years, and these children are now essentially adults, who've survived in a refugee camp, waiting for their chance to come to America for a better life.  Enter Reese Witherspoon's character, which doesn't really appear until half way in to the story.  As rough around the edges as she is - her intuition and spirit allow her to see that there is more to the story with these 'so called' refugees that she's been assigned to help find employment. She's portrayed as a burdened, tough young woman, who lives life looking out for herself, until these three young men enter her life.  Reese, who plays Carrie Davis, against her better judgement takes it upon herself to oversee Mamere, Paul, and Jeremiah, making sure they not only adjust to life in America but she also takes steps to bring their family together in ways that are unexpected and heartwarming.

The Good Lie's message intertwines through Mamere's story (he is seen in the forefront of the photo above) from his childhood through his adulthood, with the premise that if a lie is told, which is meant to better the lives or save the lives around him, then it is a 'good lie'.  Even though lying is against every fiber in his being, he takes this premise to heart as a good lie has been told for him at one point in his life which was meant for his preservation - which he in turn does years later for someone close to him.

This movie is definitely one to watch, and I would recommend it to anyone.  There are two bad words in it ... one of them being GD ... so I'll leave that up to your own parental discretion.  I am waiting until my child is older because of that one word, but again ... it's up to each person to ascertain what is appropriate for their own family.

AND ... drum roll ... I have a copy to give away at the end of the month.  I'll be posting this link on twitter and on my Facebook page, so that all my readers have a chance to win the copy.  If you're interested in winning your copy - either leave me a message here or email me at: kimberlymckayauthor@gmail.com.  I'll be drawing a name at the end of the month.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Lil Guy's Growin Up

Sixth grade has been such a big year.  Middle school started out rough with deadlines for papers, more responsibilities, and no room for excuses for teachers.  My kid struggled for a while as he'd always had grace periods when things were late ... until this year.  This year his teachers show tough love, while pushing them to be better and expect better of themselves.

Now mid year, he gets all his homework done at school, and remembers most of his projects.  Hey - he's not perfect.  He's still my silly forgetful kid, but he's grown leaps and bounds with his responsibilities as school.

At home, I've also been trying to cut the chord so to speak.  It's been a big transition and my kid is such a softie.  He still wants me to walk him in to school.  He still lovingly reaches to hold my hand.  And - he still will hug me in front of his friends without a care who sees.  And although I don't discourage his affection, as I never want him to feel ashamed of showing love for others - I've been getting tougher with him with little things like forcing him to make his own decisions, or not walking him (all the way) in to school.   :)

As I push him to go and do things on his own - to be his own person - I see how much he's growing up into an amazing kid, who is not afraid to show compassion and love for others (including his mom) while still being one of the guys.  He's joined some clubs at school and is developing is own sense of self - without me being a part of it.  However the base of what we (his parents) have given him, is what he's using to grow into these new roles in life.

I smile as I hear his voice getting a bit deeper - and see how much he's growing.  My heart warms as I see him hanging with his friends, who laugh at his jokes. (My son's role model is Tom Bergeron)

My lil' guy is growing up into a fine young man, who still has a big heart and loves to make others smile.  He is my treasure.