StoryWorth | Kimberly Kalil Designs

Have you heard of StoryWorth? I hadn’t until my sister suggested we gift subscriptions to our Mom and Dad.

Basically, StoryWorth makes it easy for people to share their stories with loved ones. Each week (for a year) they email your storyteller (in this case, my Mom and Dad) a story prompt and they just hit reply and start writing their story. The questions are ones you might not have thought to ask your loved ones or stories they’ve never shared.  At the end of the year, you get a hardcover book of all these stories. How cool is that? It’s magic, that’s what it is.

I was with my Dad on Christmas when he opened his StoryWorth email. I explained to him what the whole thing was and he seemed a little underwhelmed by it. He said something like, “Okay. I guess I’ll try it. But there are going to be times I just can’t do it.” He seemed super reticent (to say the least).

But … then he got his first email and his response blew me away. Then he got his second one question and that response blew me away too. It’s 12 weeks into the year and he hasn’t missed a week and I look forward to the weekly email that shares his story with me. I have learned things about my Dad and glimpsed a side of him I’ve never seen in my 42 years of life. His words about his mom were so precious, especially since my Grandma passed away not that long ago and I know how much he misses her. This is magic.

At the same time, my mom has been responding to her questions. Her words are beautiful and the tenderness in which she recalls her memories cracks my heart wide open. This week’s story, all about what her more treasured simple pleasures are, brought me to tears. When she wrote about her mother, she painted a picture of my Grandma I’d never seen. This is magic.

At the end of the year, we’ll have a book of stories. We’ll have a peek into my parents’ lives recorded and shared in a way that they’ll always live on. This is probably the most precious gift ever … for him and for us. This is magic.

With each question, my sister and I are asking our Mom and Dad to tell their story. It’s incredibly powerful. In the simple asking, I’m learning so much. People want to be heard. People want to share their story. People want to be remembered.

Ask. Ask someone to tell their story. All their stories. Just ask … I promise it will be magical.

1 Comment + Posted in: Memory Keeping

Interlude | Kimberly Kalil Designs

All work represented by the gallery is juried for appropriateness based upon: quality, subject matter, critical relevance, marketability, professionalism and an artist’s career development with relation to the particular needs of the gallery at any given time. There are very limited numbers of new artists we can accommodate each season out of a large body of submissions we receive. Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

I did a big, brave thing last month, but didn’t get what I wanted from it.

Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

I applied to my very first art show. I spent most of my free time finish up paintings, photographing my work, editing photos, creating a portfolio and writing an artist statement. It was my personal focus for January.

Guess what? They said no. Yep. They didn’t like my art. Or it wasn’t good enough. Or it didn’t work for that show. Whatever it was, they said no. And I was sad. Really, really sad.

Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

It sucks. Like seriously sucks. But, it’s not the end of the world, right? For a little bit, it felt like the end of the world. For a little bit, I didn’t want to ever submit my art to shows again. For a moment, I felt like a total failure. For a moment, I felt like everything I create is terrible and ugly. Thankfully, that moment passed. 

Setting certain expectations inevitably means there is a chance you’ll be disappointed. I definitely had some very specific expectations and they weren’t totally realistic. I’m a new artist (though not young) and there are going to be many shows I apply to that tell me no. 

Even as disappointing as this was, this whole process did teach me a lot. I learned just how much work is involved with submitting to a show: creating the art, photographing the art, creating a portfolio, and writing an artist statement. There was a lot of shit to do and I got it done. The sense of accomplishment alone was worth the process. 

This experience reminded me how important planning is. I had to figure out everything I needed to do before the submission date and then break it down into small, manageable pieces. 

This experience also reminded me brave and bold I can be. Submitting to a major art show for the first time at 42 is kind of big deal, espeally since I’ve only dabbled in art as an “amateur” up until now.  

Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

I’ll try again.

1 Comment + Posted in: Art

We — me and the kids — struggle to get to school on time. We are the family of late slips. Well, we were … but not anymore. 

A few weeks ago we stated a new system and we aren’t chronically late anymore 

So what are we doing? I started charging a late tax. I have an alarm set on my phone for 7:35 a.m. Whoever isn’t in the car when the alarm goes off owes a dollar.  My kids are totally motivated by money and at $1 a pop, being late each day can seriously cut into their weekly allowance. But guess what? Since we’ve started neither one of them has been late! How’s that for awesome and easy? There´s also only way that I thought of, it is a bit costly but it´s a really fast transportation method. It´s called an unu and it´s an electric scooter that´s actually very helpful.

The tax isn’t just for the kids. I get charged too if I’m running late. And I did make make them late one day, so I had to pay them a $1. That’s only happened once and I got my act together. 

I wish I would have thought of this sooner. 

1 Comment + Posted in: Parenting

Last night Mike and I were talking about the news. This isn’t something new for us. We’re news people. WE talk about the news all the time. But last night our discussion was prompted by the Trump administration rolling back federal protections for transgender students.

My first thought was: why? Why would anyone want to do this? Who are they serving by making a choice like this? Who are they helping by withdrawing these protections? Certainly, they aren’t helping these kids. Certainly, they aren’t protecting these children who already have a tough road to walk. This is petty, mean and totally despicable.

This morning when I woke, word from the movie “A Few Good Men” kept running through my head. It’s at the end of the movie when the Marines were given dishonorable discharges for their role in Santiago’s death.

Downey: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong!

Dawson: Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willy.

We’re supposed to fight for those who can’t fight. We’re supposed to protect those who need protecting. As a mother, a Christian and an American I feel a responsibility to serve and protect everyone, especially those who have been marginalized or can’t fight for themselves. Don’t think you can stand behind the banner of religion or God and say you’re doing the right thing. You’re not. The God I know and love taught me that I have no right to judge, but rather have been commanded to love.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)

I call bullshit on your policies being driven by your Christian beliefs. You don’t get to pick and choose which commandments you follow. And in the end, if someone else isn’t adhering to what you think are proper Christian values, it’s none of your business … that’s between them and the Lord.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3)

Your job is to love them without judgment. That’s it. You don’t get to say what is right for me or anyone else. You don’t get to tell us we’re living a wicked life. Judging us is as much a sin as whatever it is you think we’re doing “wrong.” Mind your own business. Mind your own home. And live with love and compassion for others.

Twenty years from now I do not want to look back at these times and know I didn’t do anything. I will speak out even if it’s in discord with my family and friends. I will march. I will strike. I will write letters to my representatives. I will vote. I will volunteer. I will support and advocate for those who need our help. I will donate to causes. And I will boycott establishments that think it’s okay to treat others without respect or kindness.

Most of all, I’ll live my life with love. I hope you can do the same.

Add a Comment + Posted in: Rise Up

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