Thursday, September 26, 2013

Casting Your Shadow: The Good Samaritan Story

Since we moved to our new neighborhood, we are now taking a new route to get to all of our activities, daycare, school, work, etc…  While traveling this route, our family has noticed an elderly gentleman probably in his late 70’s-80’s walking to and from the local shopping area.  He is tall and very thin, almost frail looking.   He walks regardless of the weather and on the way back he is carrying shopping bags.  Every time I see him I would think, “I really need to give him a ride”, especially in 40 degrees below or  90 degrees with a humidity level over 75% weather, when it was raining, snowing, or whatever. However, I always came up with some excuse as to why I shouldn’t stop:
  1. My car is too dirty. Believe it or not this was the #1 reason that I would come up with as I use the passenger side of my car as a trash can.
  2. It will scare my children.  I teach my kids not to talk to strangers, so why should I?  What if they get upset or scared?  I did not want to traumatize them.
  3. I do not have enough time. I’m always in a rush, speeding to somewhere, I possibly can’t take time out of my day to help this man.
  4. What if he attacks me? Time and time again, you hear hitchhiking stories about people getting attacked when picking up strangers.  I did not want to end up in a 5x5 room with his love child.
  5. What if he has a weapon (knife, gun, knumchucks, etc..)?  I pictured every type of weapon imaginable, like this gentleman was a martial art expert or a Unabomber.
  6. I’m scared.  Basically, all of the above boiled down to #6.

All of these bothered me as basically they were the easy way out not to be a neighbor to this man.  Every time I saw him my heart would sink and I would question myself why I couldn’t gather the courage to just pull over and ask him.  I even saw him one time in a store, right next to me in the pharmacy section.  Why couldn’t I reach out to him then while I had witnesses?  Was I a coward? Have I been brainwashed by our society that is so quick to report every little thing that occurs?  Have I become a scared incompetent person that did not care about a person in need?
Now, I’m not a very religious person but I do consider myself spiritual.  I grew up in a very religious family and the story of the “Good Samaritan” kept popping into my head.  What if this man is Jesus in disguise and he is waiting for someone, anyone to reach out and help him? (ok, I know that was extreme, but I thought it.) What if I am being tested on some spiritual level to make me more aware and to not be afraid to help someone else in need regardless of how I feel about it?  The “what if’s” were endless I tell you.  At this point I would fantasize about pulling over and helping him. It was very detailed, down to what I would say and how I would offer him to call me anytime he needed a ride yet I couldn’t bring myself to stop for him.

Is this the person I want to be?  Is this the person I want my kids to be?  I recently took a corporate culture class that discussed “casting your shadow”, which essentially means how you act, react, speak, etc… is seen by everyone that you come in contact with and they are affected by it.  Relating this back to the home front, if I yell at my children and then I hear them yell at each other or their friends, isn’t that the shadow I’m casting, telling them that it is ok to act this way?  I do not want to cast that type of shadow (and I’m still working on it), and I do not want to cast the shadow to them that we should ignore others that are in need because we are scared or whatever the reason is.  I want them to be brave loving people that wouldn’t think twice about reaching out to help someone.  I want my children to be compassionate and caring as well.  If I continue to ignore this man, aren’t I teaching them the opposite of all of this?  I have many faults, fears, and limitations, but that does not mean I have to pass these on to my children.  What would I do?  Could I muster the balls to do this?

Finally after 10 months of seeing this man walking rain or shine and all of this contemplation, I saw him once again. Guess what?  My car was clean!  I had only one child with me and he is definitely the more resilient one of the two.  I had nowhere to go or be, we were just tootling along. I had my cell phone set to 911 if any funny business happened so I turned around and pulled over.  I waved to him through the windshield and as he approached I rolled down the passenger window.  I said, “Hello, can we offer you a ride?”.  He thanked me and said that he walked to get exercise and if he didn’t keep walking he was afraid he’d stop all together.  He told me he appreciated us pulling over and thanked us again.  With this, he started along his route home. 

I sat there a minute to collect myself.  Ten months of contemplation, worry, and strife washed over me.  He didn’t want our help and that is ok.  This was a journey about me and about the person that I want to be and how I can show that person to my kids so that they too can learn.  I can now add brave and compassionate to my human resume.  This makes me proud and I know when one of my children tells me a similar story in the future, I will not be able to contain my pride and jubilation.

Until next time,
J.K. Sasse

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Schedule

So here I am only a few blog posts in and I'm already super random lady and not the sassy lady that you're going to love! So here it goes.....

Right now I'm thinking that I can post on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week. This way, I'm not frantically running around like a crazy lady (aiming for sassy, remember?) trying to get posts written and posted every fringle day.  I like a little bit of predictability in my life with just a smidge of the wild side.  Thew will attest this, just ask him. So, from now on (or until I get a real live website, with an RSS feed or email notification), you'll know when to visit my little spot on the interweb.

Oh and the other great part is that I can use the tablet that Thew got me for my birthday!  I'm sitting here watching Thomas the tank engine with #2 (his favy-fav-fav) and typing up this post. Love it! This is the life I tell you.  Yea buddy!

I'm looking forward to our visits and I hope to hear from you.  Just leave a comment or send me a note.  I will answer everything after I make sure everyone in my home has had a balanced meal, a bath or shower, and possibly a college degree.

Until then,
J.K. Sasse

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Plan

So, I've taken a couple of days to organize myself and figure out what I really want to do with this blog.  As I've noted in my profile, I am a "jack of all trades, master of none"!  I say this, mostly because focusing on one thing day in and day out, would drive me batty.  I'm definitely an expert in many areas and due to this, I don't think I could ever pinpoint just one area in which I would want to solely work on and write about, all. the. time.  That is not my personality type and it would result in very bad things.  It is a gift and a curse both at the same time.   I know there are others out there just like this. You know who you are!

I have thought about the categories in which I will be focusing on and of course these are broad topic areas.  I may add to this list as I get humming along but for now, I'm pretty happy with these categories so far and believe me the posts I'll put under these will cover large scoping areas.  At times you'll think I've gone too far and that's ok.  I want us to be using our noggin' here.

Below are my current blog categories:
  • Kids & Family
  • Career & Business
  • Reviews
  • Recipes & Cooking/Baking
  • DIY & Crafts
  • Spirituality & Health
I also promise to you that I will get the hang of adding photos and links.  Even though I'm new to this rodeo, I plan on coming up to speed quickly.

Next I plan on working on a blog schedule.  Once I figure out what I can swing, you'll be the first to know.  It kind of burns my hide when bloggers are randomly posting with no rhyme or reason.  No offense, but I just don't have time to be checking tons of blogs each day in hope of seeing a new posting.  So I'm going to get a schedule going and stick to it.  Then you'll never be disappointed in me. Which is really super funny, because this is bound to happen and again, that's ok.  You feel your feelings, you hear me!

Until next time,
J.K. Sasse

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The BIG One!

Today is the big day. 

I'm forty!

Honestly, I cannot believe that I have lived four decades already.  It really has NOT gone by very fast at all. Well, I take that back.  I feel like my childhood and most of my 20's went by really fast.  I had a decent childhood growing up on a farm in rural Minnesota.  The most memorable event that shaped my life was when my mother passed away from cancer in the late 80's.  I was eleven years old.  Nothing was the same after that.  It did however contribute to who I am today.  I am strong and independent.  I have a great personal drive to be the best that I can be.  Though it was tragic, it shaped me into the person I am today and I like her! 

I spent my early twenties in college.  I got a degree and it has served me well though I do not particularly use much of the particulars of it.  However, the rigor of an engineering degree helped shape my work ethic. I learned how to buckle down and study.  That it's better to do things in little chunks leading up to an event rather than cram for it the night before.  I also paid for my undergraduate degree with cash (with a little bit of help from my Dad).  I worked 2-3 jobs during the summer and saved almost every single penny of it.  It wasn't fun but it taught me the value of the dollar. I was not going to flunk out or drop a class because that would mean more hours slinging chicken (at KFC) or working the factory line (at Hoffman Manufacturing) to retake it.  All of this taught me that hard work can pay off.  It doesn't matter what score you get on standardized tests or assessments as long as you are willing to put in the time and have persistence.  You will always come out on top.

My mid-twenties I found myself navigating the professional arena. I got my first job, survived the dot com fiasco, and found out what I was meant to do.  I pretty much boss people around for a living, which for those who know me, would find this very fitting!  I spent a lot of time doing crafts, working out, and pretty much doing what I wanted to do all of the time.  I also started exploring my spirituality and began to wonder if there was more out there than what I was taught growing up. In my late twenties, I thought it might be cool to get married, so the hunt was on.  Finally, I met my fabulous husband that I fondly call Thew (or Thewber or Thewbie Du).  Before him I was a serial dater.  Online dating was just starting out - heck the internet was just starting out - and I went on a lot of dates with random people I met online.  None of it was good and the majority of them resulted in one measly date.  When I finally met Thew, he came to my door and the heavens opened shining down on him rays of enlightenment.  I knew right away that he was special.  In less than a year we were engaged (on "the" September 11th no less) and seven months later we were officially hitched.  It's been marital bliss from there.

My 30's on the other hand probably was like an equivalent of two decades to me.  So much happened during my 30's like growing and having two children, whom I'll fondly call #1 and #2.  They came with all sorts of fun and challenges that I'm sure will find their way to the pages of this blog including premature birth, acid reflux, infertility, food allergies, failure to thrive, hearing loss, ear tubes, tonsil/adenoid removal, feeding therapy, and developmental delays (just to name a few). We sold our home that we had lived in for nine long years (accumulating crap) and built a new home. Our oldest started grade school which brought along all the challenges of learning how to navigate the public school system and balancing homework with activities.  We went gluten free 100% at home for everyone because #2 and I needed to for our health.  I became a girl scout leader of ten lively girls, took up some new crafts and hobbies until I realized that my free time was not really my own anymore.  This is completely ok.  I love our family and wouldn't trade a thing so far. 

Now that I've reached another pivotal decade, I hope time starts to slow down even more.  I want to spend as much time as I can with my kids before they grow up and decide to move away.  I want to become a published author, a blogger (check!), an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and so much more.  I want to travel the world and finish visiting the 50 beautiful states of the U.S.A.  I want to reach my goal weight, love to work out, and eat healthy meals all of the time! I want to grow deeper in my faith and grow more as a person so I can help others in need or those who just need an ear.  I want to fall in love with my husband, my partner in life over and over again.  I want to meet new people, learn new things, and teach those things that I know to others willing to listen.  Finally, I want this to be the best decade yet to come.

The time is now or it will be never.

Until next time,
J.K. Sasse
The "Sasse" Lady

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Forty Eve

Today is the eve before my 40th birthday. 

I've always wanted to write a blog.  I've thought incessantly about writing a blog. I follow tons of blogs and thought, "Hey, I can totally do this.  I have things to share with the world." But I never did it with conviction.  I tried once.  It was kind of an epic fail because it was about me and our white cat, Pert.  He started biting me once #2 game along which resulted in a permanent trip to G-ma & G-pa's.  So much for that blog - it lasted a good two minutes or so.

So here I am, the eve before I start a new decade and I thought, what the hey?  Get out there and start a blog - ANY BLOG.  It doesn't matter that I do not specialize in anything exactly but am more of a jack of all trades.  I am not a doctor, a pastor, or any other profession that necessarily has a bunch of thought provoking and deep things to bestow on the world.  I'm just me.  I'm a wife and a mother first and foremost but I also work full time at a job that I can say, I'm pretty good at.  I also dabble in a lots of things from crafty crafts to eating healthy to writing young adult novels.  I'm really just an every day person doing the best she can with what she has.  That can be interesting.  I promise.

So here it is, my first official blog post.

The time is now or it will be never. 

Until next time,
J.K. Sasse
The "Sasse" Lady