• A Bowlful of Memories

    A chair pushed over, close to the counter. I climbed up so I could help. Bigger hands than mine searched the cupboards and refrigerator for all the ingredients, a wooden spoon, and a white mixing bowl with red chickens printed on it.

    First, we put in all the wet stuff – eggs, vanilla, shortening. Next came the sugar and brown sugar. My hands did their best to hold the bowl and move the spoon around and around, but again bigger hands came to the rescue – one holding the bowl steady, one closing around my hand to help stir.

    Flour is messy, but we needed two and a quarter cups. We filled up the measuring cup, heaping with flour. The big hands showed me how to use the straight edge of a butter knife to tap and scrape, so that we ended up with one even cup to add to the bowl. Then one more cup, followed by a quarter cup measured in the same fashion. A teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda.

    Stir s-l-o-w-l-y. Or be covered in flour. The choice was mine.

    Last but definitely not least, chocolate chips. (And don’t forget to snitch a few off the top before dumping in the cupful.) Stir and fold those in and then?

    A spoonful of cookie dough for me, and one for the owner of the big hands, smiles all around.

    That same bowl was passed down to me many years later. I used it to make cookies most often, and sometimes mix up other yummy things. One summer I was moving out of a house I had been renting a room in, and the bottom of a box came undone as I was carrying it. The bowl fell to the floor and shattered, a little piece of my heart with it.

    That bowl was more than a bowl. It served as a reminder of good memories and of those who took (and continue to take) the time to teach me so many things. It was something that never failed to bring a smile to my face when I used it.

    It was like a piece of home.

    Last Saturday, my husband and I walked into a store in South Minneapolis and almost immediately, he says to me, “Sooooonja, look!” pointing at a rather full cabinet of Pyrex. Pyrex that had “chickens” printed on them.

    Mind you, they weren’t actually chickens – my child brain didn’t know what else to call them, so I had just been calling it “the chicken bowl” for literally my entire life. I learned later that this print in the Pyrex world was called “Friendship” and it came out in 1971.

    Anyway, my husband was not wrong. There were multiple sets of Pyrex with this print on it. But there was only one bowl, one with red “chickens” on it (the orange in the pattern had come off, probably in the dishwasher just like my mom’s) and it was just the right size.

    That night I mixed up cookie dough, wet stuff first, then sugar. Tapping and scraping the flour, carefully stirring in the baking soda and salt with it. Snitching a few chocolate chips and stirring in the rest.

    Those cookies were delicious. They tasted like home.

    I’m so thankful for a husband who loves me so much he wants to see me happy in the smallest things. I looked for that bowl here and there for over 7 years, every time I went into an antique store. I don’t know if he knew it had been that long (since the bowl broke before I met him) but it didn’t matter – he just knew it was something that for some reason would bring me joy, and he was on board with that. What a man.

    I’m also so thankful to my mom, for continuing to offer her “bigger hands” when I need help with something. My hands are probably physically bigger than hers since I passed her up in height quite a while ago, but hers hold so much wisdom and love. She’s a pretty great lady.

    I remember making batches of cookies with my brothers and sisters too, and I know my dad ate a lot of them.

    I’ll just sign off today by saying this: I am so grateful for family – my family of origin and the people we’ve added along the way, and the one I have now with Steve and Lizzy pup. I hope you all know how special you are to me.

    Mixin’ with the chickens,
    Sonja K.

    And so begins our obsession with Pyrex 🤣😍 Good thing we like to go antiquing 🩵
  • When the Dust Settles

    A thought crept into my mind this morning while I sat drinking coffee and reading a book out on our new back porch. The thought was this…

    When changes happen and the dust settles, what really matters is the people who are still standing with you.

    Wishing the best for you even as they navigate their own ups and downs. Offering a hug or making you laugh when you need it. Sitting down to a meal together and being present. Helping you do the heavy lifting of life when you simply cannot do it all by yourself.

    These people are true gems.

    My husband comes to mind. Our families. Friends that have been around since I was 6 years old (you know who you are, G.) Friends from college who have stuck around since graduation (shout out to the Daum!) Friends that I’ve had at different stages of my life. So many memories of laughter and love. (I know… Sounds cheesy as heck, but it’s true.)

    What I am really saying is I wouldn’t want to do life without these people. It’s so much more interesting and joyful and meaningful walking through this life with people that are willing to pull me into their lives in the best way, trying to love me in all my weirdness and letting me love them in theirs.

    Newsflash: we’re all weird, and that’s great.

    Anyway, I don’t much know where I am going with this post… but I’ll just end by saying this: appreciate your people (and I’m saying that as much to myself as I am to you.)

    They know there is nobody like you, and they’re trying to help you see that too.

    All my weirdness and love,
    Sonja K.

  • In Honor of Poetry Month

    Hi friends! I heard on the radio today that April is Poetry Month! Had life been a bit slower for me personally this month, I may have realized this sooner… but that’s okay because exciting things are happening!

    Anyway, in honor of poetry month, I sat down tonight and wrote a little something. I hope it brings a bit of light to your soul.

    Have a good evening! ~ Sonja K.

    A welcome mat
    A front door 
    A thing I have been longing for

    A quiet porch 
    A hot mug 
    The silence gives me a sweet hug 

    Green grass
    A firepit 
    Warm feet when the fire is lit 

    A warm bed 
    A snuggly pup 
    More than enough love for all of us

    A bay window
    The rays of sun 
    Bringing warmth as they relentlessly come 

    A place of joy 
    A place to rest 
    A place we’re loved to our very depths 

    It welcomes us
    Draws us in 
    And lets us breathe life again

    Welcome home.

    Untitled poem (4-24-23) – Sonja K.
  • In Our Smallness

    Hello, folks! Thanks for being here. I woke up and realized I wasn’t likely to go back to sleep, so what better way to start my Saturday than with a cup of coffee. a snuggly puppy on the couch next to me, and a little writing? It’s been a busy week at work and in my personal life, so a little bit of quiet and calm is most welcome.

    A couple weeks ago, I finished reading the book Bring It Home: The Adventure of Finding Yourself After Being Lost in Religion by Matt Kendziera. The title sounded a bit heavy to me at first, but I quickly realized that this author shares out of his own experience of religion and faith in a funny way, which is not always easy to do. His journey is relatable, especially if you’re someone who grew up in the evangelical church. He also has a podcast called Chasing Goodness, which is actually how I found this book in the first place – it’s on Spotify, if you’re interested.

    Anyway, as I said, I finished reading this book a couple weeks ago… but I keep coming back to different quotes from it that I find irresistible. The one I want to share today has given me some legs to stand on this past week and I am grateful. It was a reminder to act with intentionality and love, and to recognize that my smallness has effects on the world and humanity in a unique way, as does all the intricacies of yours. So, I hope you are encouraged by his words below and we all keep heading towards true life together. With hope until next time ~ Sonja K.

    In our quest to be the best, the most successful, the richest, or the most liked, we end up lifeless. True life and true happiness are not found in our greatness but in our smallness. They are found in conversations with friends, in the eyes of our children, in the causes of the oppressed, and in the hearts of the humble.

    Matt Kendziera – Bring It Home, pg. 61
  • The Present Moment

    Well… happy 2023, folks! I am so sorry I have not written in awhile… though I’m not sorry for the reason. I’ve just been embracing life… time with family, time with friends, and reflecting on personal growth in this new year. That’s actually what is prompting me to share a quote of the week post tonight; it’s good to share what we learn and how it’s shaping us. I hope to be more consistent in my posts again moving forward, as I really do view this space as somewhere to process what I’m learning and thinking about, as well as having the chance to interact with others. Thanks for your grace, and I hope you enjoy this week’s post!

    Among the books that are currently taking up real estate on my nightstand, is one called Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, by Richard Rohr. I know some of you may be thinking “that sounds like a real snooze fest…” but I’m here to say that this book has been widening my perspective immensely. Learning that I can come to see everything and everyone differently, in the light of love and grace, has been beautiful. It’s not easy to do especially in our busy culture, but if we take the time, if we slow down enough to hear ourselves, to connect with God in whatever way we best do that, we can see with so much more clarity. And I truly believe that will help me keep becoming the most loving, hopeful version of myself.

    With that in mind, the quote I want to share is tremendously heavy but will hopefully make you feel light. It seems like real truth has a way of being like that. I hope Rohr’s words point you to the beauty of your present moment.

    Let us all do things that enliven our souls, so that we see the beauty present in each moment.

    Much love ~ Sonja K.

  • What We’re All Asking For

    Imagine you are sitting in a meeting, trying to pay attention but your mind keeps wandering back to all the work waiting for you. You nod and smile and provide an occasional “mhmm.” In reality, you are angling to get out of there as soon as you can and get back to work. Then, just when you think you’re free, on your way out the door, the big boss asks you to “hang around for a moment” while everyone else is leaving the conference room.

    Does your pulse quicken? Are you wondering what you may have done wrong, despite the fact you are working as hard as you can? Is there something obvious you’ve dropped the ball on?

    You sit down and wait for the room to clear. You have no idea what’s coming. You’re already starting to build your defense for whatever is going to be thrown at you…

    Let me throw another scenario at you…

    Imagine you’re sitting in your car leaving the Target parking lot. You’ve just picked up groceries for your family, maybe a coffee while you were there. You get in the line of cars heading slowly toward the exit and notice a man and his loyal pup, sitting on the sidewalk.

    The sign reads “A smile, a dollar, anything helps.”

    How do you respond? What is he really asking for?

    At first glance, you may not think the conference room scenario has anything at all in common with the parking lot scenario. They are completely different, right?

    And yet, it’s really just your role and your feelings that are different. There’s a shift there.

    In the conference room, you’re the one hoping to be recognized by the boss for showing up every day and working hard and putting your heart and soul into it.

    In the parking lot, you have the power to give recognition to someone else, to offer a smile, at the very least, because they are worthy of acknowledgment just like everybody else.

    That’s really what it boils down to.

    As humans, we want to be seen.

    We want our presence in this world to be acknowledged.

    We want to know the work we’re doing isn’t going unnoticed.

    We want to know that just because we may be down on our luck, it doesn’t mean we are invisible.

    We want to be seen, and truly appreciated for who we are.

    I know I am speaking from my own experience, but I challenge you to think about this: am I seen? Do I have people around me who truly see me and appreciate me for me?

    And another thought… do I try to see others? Or do I turn away or inward?

    I am in the process of answering these questions myself. I don’t see myself or others perfectly, but I do keep trying. That’s all we can really do.

    As the holiday season wraps around us, I hope that you can truly see yourself and those around you. That’s what we’re all asking for anyway.

    Happy Holidays ~ Sonja K.

  • Love Surrounds

    Hey all! Happy Thanksgiving!

    I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of you who keep stopping by my blog every so often. It has been so great to have a space to share my thoughts about life this year. I really feel that it’s become a place to embrace growth and also to interact with others about their life journeys. I am thankful for you.

    Even in the midst of the unpredictability of life, writing is something that brings me peace. And on the flipside (at least for me), reading is sometimes an escape into someone else’s story, and a pathway to learning about myself and the world.

    The power of language and the written word is so uncontested. Words hold such magic.

    Before I head out shortly to go share a meal with people I love, I just wanted to share a poem with you. As Thanksgiving is happening today and Christmas will come quicker than we think, I was thinking about all the loved ones each of us wishes could be with us on special days like this.

    Most importantly I just want to say, if you’re grieving this holiday season, may peace find you. May love catch you in unexpected ways.

    Much love ~ Sonja K.

    Seeing you
    That dimple on your cheek
    Proof of your smile
    You nod and laugh
    In a room with family who are friends and friends who are family Completely surrounded by love
    Just as I knew you would be
    This is my favorite way to see you
    Pressing on, enjoying life, embracing love
    I am gone
    but not gone
    You may not see me
    But your life reflects love
    And that’s how you know I am still with you

    Written by: Sonja K. For all those I love whose journeys on earth didn’t seem long enough – thanks for keeping an eye on me.

  • Sipping a Latte

    Hello, sweet friends. I feel so glad to be sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops, sipping a latte, and writing something.

    It’s been a minute.

    Since my recent job change, it has been harder for me to make myself sit down and write. To put it plainly, the last thing I want to do after a long day or week of work, is look at another screen and use my brain.

    Today though… today I got to sleep in, have some puppy snuggles after my husband went to work, and just let my mind rest. There is nothing I have to do today. THAT is a wonderful feeling.

    I do want to share with you that my making a career change, from early childhood education to the world of nonprofits, is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am enjoying the work itself and my team is just phenomenal. I like knowing that the organization I work for is doing so much good in our communities. I still get to help kids, but it just looks a lot different these days. While I continue to learn the ins and outs of database and fundraising work, I am helping families in a different way. It’s truly been a joy.

    That being said, my mind and body still need rest. I still need to take a moment, an hour, a day to reset. I am learning to be kinder to myself in this way, and it’s so good to work for an organization that embraces the importance of the mental health of its employees. It’s also a big bonus to be married to a guy who worked in mental health for several years (and who knows my quirks and loves me in spite? because? of them 🙂 )

    So, friends, all I want you to glean from my words today is this one word: rest. It’s good, it’s important, it’s necessary. Just rest.

    I do hope to start posting regularly again, so look for new posts likely on the weekends. More poetry, favorite quotes, and thoughts on life coming your way. Thanks so much for continuing to read and share this blog. It really breathes life into me when I embrace the gift of writing, and it’s incredible to me that words can bring about such community and healing.

    Author Stephen King once said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” With that in mind, I think I’ll go back to reading my book now.

    Remember to rest. ~ Sonja K.

  • What We Can Do

    I’ve heard it said that the only predictable thing in life is change, and I really don’t think I can argue with that.

    Some changes we see coming because we make them on purpose: starting a new job, moving to a new city, or deciding to start a family. Sometimes the change chooses us: a coworker you depend on leaving your workplace unannounced, or the sudden sickness of a loved one. Whether that initial change is chosen or thrust upon us, the sure thing is, these changes have a ripple effect. The change doesn’t stop after that one thing happens.

    So, my question is, what can I do about it? I know I can’t stop the change, but what can I do?

    This week I’ve been reading Shauna Niequist’s book I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet. She talks in relatable ways about hard things in her life, though she keeps a boundary around sharing the sticky details and I deeply appreciate that. It’s nice that she can give me some helpful thoughts based out of her own experiences without making herself painfully trudge through the details of those experiences. I find her witty, relatable and charming in this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants some love and light dropped into their lives.

    So back to my question about how to deal with change… I think Shauna hit the nail on the head with this one. She writes:

    No one gets through alone.

    So what can I do? I can keep showing up.

    I can show up for my loved ones who are going through their changes, and I can rally them around me when it’s my turn to wade through the swirling waters.

    I can show up by offering a granola bar and bottled water to the guy standing on the sidewalk holding up a sign, offering a smile to help him through whatever change he’s going through.

    I can offer to show up and listen when a friend is going through a hard time.

    I can let others help me (which if I’m honest, is not always easy for me to do.)

    Showing up, guys. That’s what we can do.

    Thanks for being here today. Keep showing up as you – the world is better for it. ~ Sonja K.

  • Light

    Hello friends! I am excited to share with you a few quotes tonight around the theme of light. The first comes from a book I’m currently reading by Richard Rohr. This is the second of his books on my list and I find myself taking my time reading it so as to let the words settle in… sometimes after a chapter, sometimes a page, sometimes a sentence. There is just so much I am gleaning from his unique perspective. Here is the quote that has been rolling around my head this week:

    Mind BLOWN. Have you ever heard light described in that way? I sure haven’t, and especially not in a spiritual context. Light is the way we can see the world in the first place, and then see how to love within it.

    These words of Rohr reminded me of one of my favorite quotes of Albus Dumbledore (who I tend to think has oh so many good things to say). It reads:

    “Turning on the light” can take many forms. Sickness can be a dark time, but recognizing those caring for you is a way of turning on the light. I think people would agree that sometimes divorce or a bad breakup can be a lonely road; turning on the light could be choosing time with good friends. Loss and grief can seem unending when you’re in it, but a shoulder to cry on or just someone sitting with you can be a source of light. Starting a new job can be challenging, but light could come through the presence and encouragement of a good manager. There are just so many ways light can break through in our lives, and make us notice the good things right in front of us.

    I am going to share one last quote with you, and I hope it sparks wonder about your very self. Let it remind you that you are radiant in a way only you can be. These words come from one of Oprah’s podcast episodes (though I neglected to write down the title of the episode when I jotted this down… but I feel like she’d forgive me). It reads as follows:

    Until next time, shine bright. – Sonja K.