2007 UTKG Newsletters

New Year, New Aspirations

Last December, I created my 2006 goals as part of a small business group. Our leaders told us to create a picture of where we wanted to be at the beginning of 2007. As I began to think about my personal and professional aspirations, I realized my biggest desire was to start a family. Feeling as though I was laying my heart on the table, I read my goals to my colleagues at the January meeting. Thankfully, they responded with love and kindness. Even more, they celebrated with me when I announced my pregnancy the next summer. more Jan 01, 2007

Over a year ago I began telling people about Up To Know Good. I then had the task of actually sitting down to write it into reality. One day I was at Starbucks, and I read my coffee cup. It simply said, “A writer writes everyday.” That phrase summed up a missing ingredient in my plan – a clear, short-term goal. With new resolve and the help of an accountability partner, I committed to writing each weekday morning. Within a month, I had gone from talking about writing, to becoming a writer. more Jan 02, 2007

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Ivy Lee – an efficiency expert, met with all of the top executives at Charles Schwab’s company, Bethlehem Steel. He told each of them to make a list at the end of the day of the top six things they needed to accomplish tomorrow. more Jan 03, 2007

I picked the book off the shelf and started thumbing through it. I remembered when I bought it and wondered why I had never bothered to read even the first chapter. I was in the midst of packing, and I quickly closed the book. It was time to fill boxes, not read. I put it in the special box of books that would go to our apartment and made a promise to read it once we got there. more Jan 04, 2007

It was 9:00 on a Tuesday night. I was traveling and visiting friends, but several minutes earlier, I had excused myself and returned to my own hotel room to make a call. Just like every other Tuesday night, my coach promptly answered. For about five years, Elizabeth and I met for weekly phone coaching sessions. At the end of each call she gave me homework, and at the beginning of each conversation, I reported on my assignment. more Jan 05, 2007

God Said Hurry

My mom, sister and I arrived early for the rally. One of the presidential candidates was making a campaign stop only fifty miles from our home, and at my insistent request, they agreed to join me. The stage and sound system were set up in the middle of the street, but few people had arrived. We took seats on the curb near the stage and waited. A few hours later large busses arrived and the candidates took the stage. Suddenly we were pushed back into the crowd and supporters and protesters with large signs obstructed our once clear view of the people we had waited hours to see. more Jan 08, 2007

Christmas of 2005 we were sitting with my family at my parents’ dining room table. We had just finished our traditional Christmas Day brunch after a relaxing morning of opening gifts in our pajamas. We were now pushed back from the table, sipping on the last of our tea or coffee and talking when my sister made a huge announcement. Almost as though she asked one of us to pass the salt, she said, “We’re expecting.” more Jan 09, 2007

I let out a large sigh when I saw the red brake lights go on again. The car in front of me was slowing down at every curve in the road, and I was anxious to get home. I had been away for days and couldn’t wait to see my husband. Though we had stayed in touch each night on the phone, I longed to see him at the door with a welcoming hug and kiss. The car in front of me apparently had no such urgent and important agenda. more Jan 10, 2007

Thousands of years ago, God told the king of Egypt, Neco, to hurry into battle. When King Josiah, the leader of Judah, heard Neco was on the warpath, he went out to fight him. Neco bluntly told Josiah, “God told me to hurry. My fight is not with you, so get out of my way. If you don’t, I cannot guarantee your safety.” Foolishly, King Josiah did not listen to the words of God from the Egyptian king and stayed in the fight. more Jan 11, 2007

A little boy was playing with some Lego’s as his mom talked with a car salesman. I was sitting in the waiting room of the dealership while some work was being done on my car. I watched the boy as he created a towering stack of small blocks. When he picked it up, it loomed above his head. Smiling at his accomplishment, he called for his mom. She didn’t reply, so he set down the tower and went over by the desk where she was talking with the salesman. “Mom, you’ve got to see this!” he now said with more urgency. more Jan 12, 2007

Laughter

The phone rang, and Myron and I decided to let the machine get it. It was a hang up. A few minutes later, the phone rang again, and this time we decided to answer. “Hello?” a familiar voice said on the other end. “Sara? This is Grandma.” Myron grabbed another phone receiver, and the three of us talked for about twenty minutes. My eighty-one year old grandma told us how busy she was with household chores, card games, and meetings at church. She had more on her schedule than I did for the week! more Jan 15, 2007

Last February, news reporters happily told us about the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. Though there remained a great deal of devastation from Hurricane Katrina, the nation was glad to see people happy and celebrating. It was one of the first times we saw hope and joy in the faces of those who had lost so much. more Jan 16, 2007

Years ago on a beautiful, sunny spring day, I decided to go for a run. This was an unusual decision as I hadn’t done any kind of workout for several months. I also had not gone running for years. As I rounded the first corner past my apartment complex, I found myself across the street from the local high school. I was slowly making my way down the sidewalk when a car full of students came by. They laughed and shouted several insults at me before turning into the school parking lot. I “ignored” them and kept running, but my eyes started to burn with tears and my chest was heavy with embarrassment. more Jan 17, 2007

I was sitting in a restaurant at Disneyworld with a couple of friends. We were enjoying a terrific meal when they said, “Why don’t you come to Italy with us in a couple of months?” I looked at them incredulously, sort of chuckled to myself, and smiled. “Thanks, but you already have your trip planned,” I answered politely. “But there’s room for you, too,” they insisted. “You should come with us!” A few months later, I was enjoying many terrific meals with my friends in Italy. more Jan 18, 2007

Several years ago, I was teaching one of my piano students about the note and key of G. About half way through the lesson, we began to alliterate our sentences. “Gosh, that’s great!” I said after he finished a song. “Golly,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “Give it a go one more time,” I suggested. He played the song again. “Good going!” I replied. He rolled his eyes and said, “Good grief!” I looked at him, and we started laughing out loud at ourselves. more Jan 19, 2007

Divine Interruptions

We have recently had a number of snow storms in the Denver, Colorado. While I don’t mind the snow or cold too much, I was frustrated when one of the latest blizzards kept me homebound. That day, I was planning to spend time with a friend looking at baby items, and instead my plans were interrupted. more Jan 22, 2007

I was in the midst of doing errands when my phone rang. I picked it up and checked out the number. It was Monica, a friend I wanted to connect with, but I had planned to call her later when I got home. I let the phone ring one more time as I decided what to do. As I pulled into a parking space, I decided to answer the phone. more Jan 23, 2007

Myron and I were back in North Dakota visiting family last winter. With only a few days in town to see everyone, we were on a tight schedule. After spending one morning with my parents, we were making the short drive across town to see Grandma. We only drove three blocks when we were stopped. A young couple’s car was stuck in a snow bank and partially blocking traffic. more Jan 24, 2007

It was only 5:00 am, and I got up unusually early. I was scheduled to sing on the worship team at church. My husband was out of town on a ski trip with our only car, so I had arranged for friends to pick me up. Shortly after 6:00, I put on a jacket and headed out the door to wait for my ride. As I opened the door, I saw a note on the welcome mat. It was from the local police asking me to call them ASAP. more Jan 25, 2007

Continued from Thursday.

As I saw my ride drive away, I walked through my apartment agitated. Previously, I had been stopped by police asking about Saturday night parties at our apartment complex. I assumed this was something similar as it had been noisy around my place the night before, and I was annoyed. True to the words of the woman at the station, the police officer arrived quickly. He came into the apartment, and we stood in the living room. “Sara,” he said soberly, “I have bad news.” Suddenly my irritation turned to fear. more Jan 26, 2007

The Beauty of Being

Last week I shared how I heard the news of my first husband’s sudden death. For months afterwards, I worked through my grief. With great determination, I sought to know what I needed to do to get over the intense emotional pain I felt. I thought, if I just know what steps to take, I can be fine and feel okay again. The truth was, however, that my heart was completely shattered, and I was unable to do anything to repair it. more Jan 29, 2007

It was early enough that the sun had not fully risen over the mountains. Still, the ambient morning light was enough to illuminate our campsite, and we started a breakfast of pancakes and sausage. As the delicious smell of our food rose up from the fire pit, the bright round sun began to fill the sky above us. I took in the beauty of the gradually brightening mountain scenery around me and let the pancakes melt in my mouth. more Jan 30, 2007

I walked through the gallery at a steady, calculated pace. I was at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and my goal was to see as much as possible. With only one afternoon to enjoy this stop on my trip, I felt a little hurried. However, as soon as I arrived at the impressionists and saw a room full of glorious Monet paintings, I stopped – paralyzed by the beauty around me. Something inside of me began to soften as I drank in the muted colors and melting landscapes. more Jan 31, 2007

We sprayed on the bug repellant and spread the old blanket out on the ground. It was the Fourth of July, and like every summer growing up, we were enjoying the family tradition of watching the local fireworks. As we waited for the sun to go down and the show to begin, we passed around sodas and snacks. We told stories and teased each other – happy to celebrate the holiday once again. more Feb 01, 2007

I am starting to understand more profoundly what they mean by “expecting.” My husband and I are within almost a week of our baby’s due date. As we await her arrival, emotions of anxiety, excitement, certainty, uncertainty, patience and fear seem to course through me several times a day. With each involuntary kick and stretch in my belly, I wonder what she will look like and when I will get to meet her. I am certainly expecting! more Feb 02, 2007

Up To Know Good Once Again!

Hello, my friend! It has been a long time since I have been in touch, and many people have been asking, “When are you going to start writing again?” Others have down-right ordered me to “Write!” Okay, okay – here I am, and I have SO MUCH to tell you! more Aug 27, 2007

Daddy’s Voice

At 5:45 on Saturday, February 17th, Myron and I welcomed our daughter, Kira Ann, into the world. Almost immediately after she was born, the nurses brought her over to the warming table to be measured and cleaned up. Like a strong, healthy baby, Kira began to scream as they worked on her. more Aug 29, 2007

Expect Delays

Myron and I had navigated through heavy traffic, detours due to construction, and torrential rains. We were nearly out of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, and I finally let my hands unclench the steering wheel. Just as I thought we were free of the city traffic, I saw another orange sign telling me to, “Expect Delays.” more Sep 01, 2007

Parable of the Rubber Duck

Kira has the cutest rubber duck bathtub. It’s adorable when it’s inflated, but between bath times, Ducky tends to lose a bit of its air. more Sep 04, 2007

Life Is Messy

I had an epiphany during a diaper change when Kira was about two months old. As cleaned her up, I paused for a moment to look in her eyes. Innocent and content, I noticed that she wasn’t sorry for the large, smelly mess she’d made. It struck me that she didn’t have anything to regret – she was simply being human. more Sep 07, 2007

Grieving

In all the excitement of our move, I forgot that I would need to grieve. If one could get an emotional advanced degree, I would have a Ph.D. in Grief, so I should have seen this coming. I may have seen it, but who knew it would feel like this? more Sep 12, 2007

Glimpses of God

About a month after my first huband, Josh, passed away, I opened the cabinet where he hid my cards and gifts. I was curious to see what, if anything, was in there. more Sep 14, 2007

On The Road

I’m ready to leave soon on another trip. While I love to travel, I’m always amazed at the effort it takes to pack! It’s stressful and requires a lot of talking to myself with repetitive phrases like, “Oh, I need to remember such-and-such.” more Sep 18, 2007

Free Fall

I acquired my first teaching job a week before my college graduation. Proudly I told my professors and parents of my achievement. Less than a year later, however, my employer requested my resignation. more Sep 26, 2007

Adrift

There are many reasons it took me over six months to start writing Up To Know Good again after Kira’s birth. Obviously, we had the adjustment of a new baby, Myron accepted a new job, we moved a thousand miles to a new home, and I took three other airline trips with my newborn before her four month birthday. more Oct 12, 2007

Humility 101

Standing in front of the room, I looked out over the group of sales professionals. They were a warm and very receptive audience, and I was glad to see many of them making eye contact with me and smiling as I finished up the training session. It had been a successful hour. more Oct 17, 2007

First Bites

Kira looked tiny in her new highchair. She leaned to one side, small and uncomfortable, and completely unsure of why I kept pushing a spoon of mush into her mouth. Reflexively, she pushed out each little helping with her tongue onto her face. more Oct 24, 2007

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