Kirsten's Page

I know a little bit about a lot. I'm here to help others live a happier life utilizing some common sense and handy tips.

I Am Going to Sit in the Grass Today June 25, 2012


I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I  weren’t there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”
There would have been more “I love you’s”.. more “I’m sorry’s”….
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it .. live it…and never give it back.
Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.
Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who Do love us.
Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with.
And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.
Life is too short to let it pass you by.
We only have one shot at this and then it’s gone. I hope you all have a blessed day.


Finding Your Spiritual Gifts

How do we know what our Spiritual Gifts are? I believe we need only look as far as what our natural talents and skills are.  But there is more to a Spiritual Gift. Spiritual Gifts are interesting, because they are layered. Our gifts are also the things about us that we were told are our weak links. Often they are the things we sometimes were punished for as kids. The things we have learned to hide because perhaps we were told we weren’t supposed to be that way. We were told to quiet it down. Control ourselves.

I was told at a young age that I talked a lot. Well, yeah, I knew that. I liked people. I liked to visit. I liked to tell them about my day and ask about theirs. At age 5 I single-handedly coined the phrase “I never met a stranger.” Not even kidding.

When I was little growing up in the beautiful picturesque Pacific Northwest my family and I would often go visit the majestic Mount Rainier National Park. If you have never been to the greater Seattle/Tacoma area (on a clear day) then this might be hard to picture. Mount Rainier is light blue. It’s the prettiest mountain I have ever seen. Mount Rainier boasts world-renowned wildflower meadows. It is worthy of a slow clap for God, as it is one of His greatest works.

This picture doesn’t even look real. I grew up looking at the Cascade Mountain range every day of my childhood . They were indeed quite real. I grew up in the 70’s. We didn’t have Photoshop. We looked at real mountains.  We didn’t tweet about them. We admired them. We took pictures of them. We sometimes hiked them.

I loved going to explore Mount Rainier, but I didn’t like hiking it, per se. Back in the 1970s it wasn’t illegal to leave your child at the base of a mountain while you went hiking. My parents and siblings would leave me somewhere between the base of the mountain and about 47 steps up the trail. Then I was done. I wanted to explore and not hike. I would then be left to hang out, to wait, until my family hiked, enjoying their day and the views from higher up, and Kirsten the 7-year old was left behind. They knew I wouldn’t wander off.  They told me to stay put and I always did. My mom has pictures to prove it. She took photos of me sitting down at the bottom, from up THERE where they were at. I need to ask her to scan them and email them to me. This way I will have proof that I was the child they “left in the dust”. Maybe I can use it against them if anything ever comes up later in life. If I happen upon any abandonment issues.

I didn’t mind; in fact I insisted upon it. I would sit there and wait for them. I would busy myself and pick wildflowers, catch fuzzy bumble bees, and talk to the people walking by. No one ever questioned that someone left their child at the base of a mountain in the 70s, to pick flowers and catch the bumbles. No one ever called CPS. I was clean, quite obviously articulate and friendly, and surely who ever left me there would come back to collect me. And indeed they always did.

I would talk to anyone. “Hello there,” I would say. “How are you guys doing today? It sure is pretty, isn’t it?” I would ask, looking out over the meadows, likely with one hand on my hip, the other above my brow protecting my eyes from the bright sky. They would agree. We would stand there and admire the beautiful meadows together, me and my new friends. Sometimes they would ask me about my schooling, and I would comment on their nice shirt, or fancy sunhat. I was always one to appreciate a fancy sunhat. The irony of having one in Seattle was not lost on me as a child.

Sometimes dogs would come by. Dogs are good people. Dogs Know Things. They could tell I was a nice kid, who was there communing with nature, and sometimes the dogs and I would sit and visit while we waited for our people to come back. I made a lot of friends on Mount Rainier. I made friends wherever I went. I was just that kind of kid. Back in the 70s in Seattle dogs didn’t bite children. They knew better. They were friends of children. It was the best place in the world to grow up.

So this was my gift. Talking to people. Meeting people. Sharing stories and making new dog friends.

Teachers didn’t always appreciate this gift. They would often tell me to talk less. Share less. Work more. That is, at least, until a new kid showed up. Then I was their little helper. Then they realized they could utilize my gifts to their advantage. They knew I would welcome the new student and be their friend. I would introduce them to other kids. I would mentor them in the ways of the lunch line. I would show them around the playground. I would let them meet my dog friends who wandered onto the playground at recess time. In the 70s in Seattle we didn’t have fences to keep kids in and weirdos out. We didn’t need them. Seattle in the 70s was the best place to be a kid and grow up. No fences. Friendly dogs. Win-win.

So back to the Spiritual Gifts. I know that my gifts are what my inner voice is nudging me to do. My gifts are what I am naturally skilled at. My gifts are what is my work to do. It is why I am here.

I knew as a kid that I liked people. I currently work in a service industry.

I always liked kids, and I knew I would one day be a mother. I have four beautiful daughters.

I always liked English class and playing with words. I am now a Professional Sign Language Interpreter.

I was voted Most Inspirational every year I played on a sports team as a teenager. I create and present workshops for interpreters all over the state of Arizona. I teach them and inspire them to also find and use their gifts.

I always had a deep compassion and urge to care for others. I am a volunteer for hospice.

I knew innately what was mine to do. I learned as the years passed that the things I was told to quiet down just needed to be honed. They needed to be cultivated. They are my natural gifts and it is a disservice to my Creator to not use them.

As the great writer Erma Bombeck has been quoted as saying: When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used up everything you gave me.” I have always loved Erma. I read her books as a teen. She spoke to me.

So what is nudging you? What is calling you? What is that small voice inside that speaks to you that you have been ignoring or pushing away? When we aren’t living on point, our life doesn’t have purpose. We are fretting away our days. We only get to be here for so many sunrises and sunsets. It is our duty to give to the world what is our gift. Gifts are meant to be shared. We bless the world by sharing what we are naturally good at. That is how a community works. Everyone has a duty. Everyone gives back something, without only taking. All healthy relationships are this way. Give and Take. Share and share.

Right this moment, write down on a piece of paper the first three things that come to mind that you really enjoy doing, or are naturally good at. These are your Spiritual Gifts. Start using them. Start figuring out what they mean to you.

Now think of something you may have been told was something you should stop doing. Something maybe a teacher or parent told you to simmer down. Look closely at it. It could just be the nugget of carbon that will be turned into the diamond when polished.

When I was in junior high I was diagnosed as ADD before it was en vogue. I now understand and can appreciate how being ADD is a gift.

It helped me not be overwhelmed by four kids, especially when they were younger. I thrived on their energy and exuberance.

It helps me to be an amazing interpreter, because my brain is able to process two languages simultaneously. I am able to hear spoken English, and interpret it into American Sign Language with my hands doing a variety of things, all at the same time. I am able to process roughly 6,300 words in a 45 minute lecture. This isn’t taking into consideration some people speak faster than others, and I have to be knowledgable about the lecture’s material and vocabulary. I am also able to take in my surrounding environment, and in my periphery see what may be shown on an overhead projector, all the time with people talking in the background; someone inevitably tapping their pencil; people entering and exiting the room; having the noise of an overhead AC unit rattling and blowing down on top of my head making my hair move and tickle my face; while listening to a teacher who has a thick accent and mumbles and doesn’t ever make an actual point because he doesn’t support the system of punctuation and commas or periods, all the while dissecting the lecture and extrapolating meaning to be able to interpret it into a language whose structure is completely different from that of English. Yeah. ADD is a gift, to say the least.

To say the very least.

So back to you. What are your gifts? What are you holding onto that needs to be shared? Imagine a world where there was no Babe Ruth. No John Lennon. No Maya Angelou. No Claude Monet.

I can only guess their teachers or parents told them at one time to:

“Stop playing with that silly ball; do something worthwhile.”

“Enough with that silly hippie hair and guitar nonsense. Do work.”

“Poetry isn’t a career, it is a time-waster.”

“Painting cannot change the world, now go herd the sheep.”

They listened to something that was deep inside of them and used what was a natural talent and blessed the world with it. It doesn’t mean they didn’t work. Everything worth having takes hard work. You will just have more fun doing it than if you’re going against the grain, if you are forcing it. That will just give you splinters and slivers. No one likes slivers.

You possess a gift that, when shared, can change people’s lives. Changes the world. It can make it better. For all of us.

The world is waiting for you. Now, get going.


Professionals Don’t Wear Flip Flops June 24, 2012

Professionals don’t wear flip-flops because they aren’t real shoes. Real shoes possess a top, a bottom, and have sides. People cannot see your entire foot if you’re wearing a Real Shoe.

Real Shoes are professional. Wear them when you go to work. Unless your real job is working as a life guard. Then you should be bare footed. Because if you wear flip-flops while on the pool deck or beachfront, you might trip and fall and won’t be able to save someone’s life in a timely manner. When you’re a life guard time is of the essence, and you need to be able to move with swiftness. Flip-flops disallow this. They interfere. People can drown.

If you are a nurse: don’t wear flip-flops. If you’re a firefighter: no flip-flops. If you’re a banker: don’t.

If you’re a teacher, a salesperson, an accountant, a politician, a baker… it. does. not. matter.

Flip flops are made of cheap rubber or foam: this equates to Not Professional, no matter how you describe it, explain it, tweak it, interpret it or try to convince yourself or those around you. “Those” who are likely wearing Real Shoes, and you know that they are wondering why you are not doing the same. The won’t say it, maybe. But they are thinking it. You know it, and I know it. And they know it. We all know it.

You can tell yourself “But I am good at what I do. Who cares what shoes I have on?” If this were true to you, I mean, in your heart-of-hearts you believed this with every cell in your being …. then you would justify wearing clear 6-inch-heel stripper shoes to work. Or cupcake slippers. Or ballet toe shoes. Or cleats. Heck, why not wear Sabatons? (Don’t know what that means? A Sabaton is part of the knight’s suit of armor. They consist of riveted iron plates on the boots.)

Professionals dress a certain way to display that they are at work. Work denotes You Are Not On Your Own Time. If you are being paid to be there, dress like it. Act like it. Don’t dress like you were out running errands at the local ‘Mart and decided “You know, I think I will just stop by this classroom and work for eight hours inspiring and molding the minds of our future, and then continue where I left off in the toothbrush aisle.” It doesn’t work that way. You may be in the toothbrush aisle in flip-flops, but you should never be at work dressed as if you were toothbrush shopping.

I always say “If you wouldn’t wear it to an interview don’t wear it if you want to keep your job.” And then … recently someone came into an interview I was co-facilitating, and as I stood up and reached out my hand to shake hers my eyes caught by periphery vision that she indeed was wearing them. Toothbrush Shopping Shoes.  I froze. I smiled and said “How … nice to meet you.” I sat down and fought the urge to look at her feet. I could still see them. In my periphery. I cursed my eyes for having the vision of the Reticulated Giraffe. While looking straight at her face, I was focussed on the bookcase to my left, and counted all 128 books on the 7 shelves, each title and author on their spines. I read the calendar over the back of her head and read the in font of 6 that on Thursday there would be a full moon, all with my periphery vision. Why would she wear these pieces of foam today? She wanted this job, right?

She was not hired.

I didn’t have the final word for that particular candidate, but my co-facilitator saw my face and knows my strong opinion of the Flop.  I am pretty sure had she suggested we hire the young lass who was shoe challenged, well, I might have flipped a table or something. In fact, when the offender of shoe protocol left the room and the door was quietly closed behind her, I only had to look in the direction of my co-interviewer to see her smile. She wasn’t looking at me. She was shuffling some papers on her desk. She knew. I knew. Flops are unacceptable footwear for an interview. The name says it all: “Flip. Flop.”

I think I would rather see someone walk in with Kleenex boxes on their feet. Kleenex boxes cover the foot. And they come in such pretty designs nowadays. I am fond of the soft floral prints. Its ‘Shabby Chic’.  That would be a real conversation starter.  It says “This person is innovative and fun”, instead of “This person was looking for a new toothbrush and stopped by for a minute.”


There is Still Time to do Good Things June 23, 2012

Filed under: Good Life,Using Our Gifts — kirstenhashandytips @ 11:59 pm


I Am a Writer. I’ve Known Since 4th Grade.

Filed under: Parenting,Using Our Gifts,Writing — kirstenhashandytips @ 10:16 pm

I have been told again and again I am to be a writer. The first time was in fourth grade. Mr Green told me I had great skills as a creative writer, and well, after my Magic Pencil paper, I believed him. It was an amazing story. No, really. It was about a pencil that wrote. The writer who held the pencil would simply think something, and the pencil knew what to write. It was Magical. The paper and the pencil worked in harmony, and the child (the writer, aka: little Kirsten) only had to use her imagination and it came through the pencil onto the paper…..the words just flowed. Now I know I was only 9, but that is pretty profound. That is exactly what good writing is. It just writes itself. The creator only has to allow the words to flow through them onto the paper….and a masterpiece is born. It is that way with art. (Hello, David? Michelangelo said of the statue David: “David was always in the marble. I just had to take away the parts that were not David.”)

It is that way with architecture, and culinary arts, and well, parenting. You’re given a “thing” (paper and pencil; groceries; a child) and you have to allow your gifts to release it, to mold it into what it is supposed to become. You don’t control it and contort it…. you breathe life into it. Such it is with writing. I knew that when I was 9. How? Because inside of me has always been a writer. I just need to allow the words to flow out of me and become what they are to become.

My best friend in high school gave me a card one time, and on the front was a poem. I still have it framed, somewhere in a box in my closet. The words that struck me were “You are a lover of words. One day you will write a book.” 

You are a lover of words… One day, you will write a book.

People turn to you because you give voice to dreams, notice little things, and make otherwise impossible imaginings  appear real. You are a rare bird who thinks the world is beautiful enough to try  to figure it out, who has the courage to dive into your wild mind and go swimming there… You are someone who still believes in cloud watching, people watching, daydreaming, tomorrow, favorite colors, silver clouds, dandelions, and sorrow. Be sacred. Be cool. Be wild. Go far. Words do more than plant miracle seeds . With you writing them, they can change the world.

I read this for the first time when I was 15 and I knew it to be true for me. As teenagers do, I really felt the words were written just for me…. and yet, here I am 29 years later and I still am so moved by it. So I shall start here. In a blog. Maybe later I will write that book. Right now I just need to begin my writing. Who knows where it will lead me. I just know that until I start, I won’t know where I am supposed to go. So, let the path open before me. I am ready.


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