Helpful and encouraging thoughts, stories, and home tips from seasoned Mom, Kim Skinner.

Bathroom | Blog | Kim Skinner | Jacksonville Author

Funny Things You Learn In a Public Bathroom

This morning I was dressing in the gym bathroom as a cute mother and her four-year-old daughter walked in. Upon seeing me she hid shyly, but soon pranced into the stall with her Mommy. I then overheard, “Oh Mommy, I love your pretty panties. Do you want to see mine?”

So many memories flashed through my mind. I remember the time my daughter Ashley noticed, “Mommy, that woman next to us forgot to put on her socks this morning!”

One of my children, probably a son, was indignant about bodily noises. “Somebody forgot to say excuse me!” he would protest.

I still remember the time I was sitting on the potty attempting to nurse my infant while corralling my preschooler in the stall with me. The little rascal escaped by climbing under the door into the next stall. I threatened and begged to no avail. Finally, I jumped up with the infant still attached and confronted amazed onlookers as the door swung open. “Don’t you ever escape like that again!” Embarrassed women snuck out as I composed myself and finally discovered my hiding son.

I’m sure that my husband David has never suffered such indignities. In fact, the only time I can remember was when I asked him to take our firstborn 3-year-old son into the restroom with him at church. During their time together Davis was heard to say, “Daddy you have a really big peepee,” to which David replied, “Well thank you, son.” Evidently, one of the college students was in there with them and I observed him high-fiving David on the way out.

Children have a knack for embarrassing you in even the most vulnerable and delicate of situations. I encourage you to laugh at those moments, even when you feel like crawling into a hole. Keep your sense of humor and you never know what you might learn from the mouths of precious babes in the privy.

Kim Skinner, motivational speaker, Jacksonville, dental implants

Getting Long In the Tooth: It Beats the Alternative

I’ve been spending some quality time with my maxillofacial surgeon lately. As a neighbor and personal friend, I have been happy to cheer him on as he removed my older children’s wisdom teeth. I applauded his skill and then left him to shower my swollen 18-year-olds with smoothies and ice cream.

How surprised was I to later find myself in the patient’s chair! Three cracked teeth have totally changed my outlook.

How clueless was I to take for granted a full set of teeth? I now know what a “flipper” is and how uncomfortable it is to wear. CAT scans and X-rays allow my toothless skeletal smiles to glow across the big screen as I recline in the dental chair. The furrowed brow of my doctor causes me to gulp as I wait for his verdict.

“Another delay,” he says. “You need to develop more bone growth.”

In case you have the pleasure of being personally unfamiliar with implants, let me pause to explain a little about how they work. The surgeon basically jabs metal rods into your jawbone and you simply wait for the bone to grow around it. The teeth are then attached to the implanted parts, once they are solidly in place.   Apparently mine are not.

How is it that I, who have the constitution of a draft horse, find myself so weakened? Did I not womp up the energy and determination to push out five huge babies? Was I not a calcium-producing machine as I breast-fed those babies for countless years?

My doctor, who is a few years older than me, pats my hand and says, “You know, at our age, we need to be patient. These things take time.”

I want to grind my teeth with frustration, but then remember that clenching is what got me into this mess in the first place. I’m envisioning a future of reluctant patience and tapioca.

Children | Mistakes | Kim Skinner | Motivational Speaker

Letting Our Children Flub Up

Are you okay about not being okay? Most of us would agree that we can learn from our mistakes. But when it comes to our children….

I’ll never forget one of the earliest teacher conferences I had concerning my firstborn child. The seemingly negative assessment and numerated critiques of my precious one cut to my heart and made my blood boil. No way! This is someone else’s fault!

It’s only natural for us to become roaring lionesses when our cubs are attacked. But at some point this behavior becomes destructive.

In a wonderful parenting bestseller, “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Techniques to Raise Self-Reliant Children” by Dr. Wendy Mogel, overprotective mommies are called out.

Why do I refuse to hear criticism about my child?

How are my dreams and expectations coloring the way my child sees himself?

When is it okay to let a child fall down and suffer the consequences?

Mogel stresses the importance of faith in the household. Why? Because faith determines what is ultimately most important. If godly character, respect and kindness are most important, then discipline and hard lessons are not only acceptable, but essential.

On reflection, no matter what our professed faith may be, our actions truly reveal where our functional priorities reside.

  • If reputation and appearance are everything, then our children are encouraged to look and act perfectly.
  • If we stress over financial security, then educational success, admission to top universities, and well-paying careers become our children’s priority.
  • If we live for our children’s love, then we sacrifice everything to make them happy. (Trust me, this is a lose-lose.)

Honestly, my faith journey has been one of many skinned knees. Personal pain and flub-ups are essential to get my attention. I truly remind myself of a mule I once knew.

Bottom line: “Skinned knees” are great teaching moments. Let’s embrace them and learn. Let us, with humility, celebrate such moments with our children and point them to the wisdom of our faith!

Wives in the Locker Room

Wives In the Locker Room: Sneak Peek!

My first marriage book is finally launching and a book-signing party is coming up!  I just couldn’t wait to share the first chapter here.

Why all the excitement?

  • I believe every woman, regardless of marital status or sports affiliation/aversion, struggles with relationships and “difficult” people.  (Just because it’s not your husband doesn’t mean that the principles don’t apply.)
  • I put a lot of ME into this book. I truly think you can relate and will be amused. And of course, new perspectives are always helpful.
  • This book is meant to be shared. How many young women do you know that could benefit from a fun and potentially life-changing read?

Please join me at the party!

The book signing will be at The BookMark in Neptune Beach (22o First Street) on February 9 at 7 p.m.  So enjoy this snippet and then pick up your copy in person on February 9 just in time for Valentine’s Day with your man!  Can’t make it out to The BookMark?  You can get a copy right here.

develop greater intimacy | kim skinner | words for women blog

5 Ways To Develop Intimacy In Marriage

Don’t you want to be truly known and understood? Not just pitied or tolerated, but affirmed, encouraged and adored? That’s intimacy. But it’s difficult to reach – and costly to maintain. Be proactive in developing such a relationship by taking the following steps.

1. Reestablish your commitment.

This is primarily a unilateral decision. If an intimate relationship is your goal, remember that intimacy thrives when planted in the rich soil of unconditional love.

2. Think like a man.

Understand that, for him, sex is primary! It cannot be separated from his understanding of intimacy. Verbal intimacy may be your goal but jump in with both feet and be intimate with him in the language he speaks.

3. Brainstorm romantic strategies to arouse him.

Being available, cheerful, and awake for regular sexual encounters actually promotes emotional intimacy. Additionally, you may find your satiated man more communicative and self-aware.

 4.  Risk vulnerability.

Making demands, refusing to take the first step, or half-hearted attempts all spring from self-protection. Be ALL IN and make it safe for him to open up.

5.  Spend time together.

Seek to share in his dreams as you affirm him and ask gentle questions. Listen well. Affirm his attributes and appreciate the uniqueness in him.

These general guidelines have been proven powerful, but must be repeated often – and with enthusiasm. Don’t grow weary in loving deliberately. It’s worth it.

Asking Our Husbands For Help

Asking Our Husbands For Help

I recently read this humorous definition of outdoor barbecuing:

When a man volunteers to do such cooking, the following chain of events is put into motion:

One. The woman goes to the store to buy all the ingredients for the meal.

Two. The woman fixes the salad, vegetables and dessert.

Three. The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils, and takes it to the man, who is lounging beside the grill, drinking a cola.

Four. The man places the meat on the grill.

Five. The woman goes inside to set the table, put out the condiments, and check the vegetables.

Six. The woman comes out to tell the man the meat is burning.

Seven. The man gets off his lounge chair, puts his cola down, takes the meat off the grill, and hands it to the woman.

Eight. The woman prepares the plates and brings them to the table.

Nine. After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

Ten. The man asks the woman how she enjoyed “her night off.” And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there’s just no pleasing some women.

Funny, but true I think. Nevertheless, we women have the potential to help our husbands to help us or to further develop helplessness in these poor men.

Last week my husband and I spent a week alone with the purpose of resting and re-committing ourselves to a vibrant healthy marriage relationship. Here are some of the neglected principles I, again, recognized.

When we need help from our husbands, we should kindly and specifically request such help. Example: “Honey it would mean so much to me and make my day less stressful if you would please ______.” Remember to follow this with affection and positive encouragement.

Wait patiently, refusing to do the task yourself, and praise his efforts upon completion. Don’t correct or criticize.  Help him to understand why you appreciate what he has accomplished.

 Ask him for affirmation and encouragement.  When it comes to caring for the home and children, I am generally more comfortable and efficient. I have found that possibly the most helpful way my husband contributes to the family is with a supportive attitude and repeated words of affirmation and appreciation. Don’t hesitate to say, “Honey, today I really need for you to brag on me.”

Refuse to poke fun at your husband’s attempts at domestic helping. My patient husband helped me to understand that my humorous comments about his peculiarities or ineptness around the house hurt him deeply. I needed to be called out. Instead, I have committed to expressing gratitude for the many things he does for me and our family.

In conclusion, I have discovered that left unchecked I am naturally prone to be selfish and demanding. “I need” is the voice of my heart. When I am reminded to be considerate of the needs of my husband, I discover that he responds with a cheerful willingness to help. Amazing but true. The more we demand the less we receive. The more we give the better. Give it a try.

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Fish Out of Water – “I Need to be Free!”

Are you in a rut? Do you wish that you could find freedom by breaking out? Is your job a drag? Are social norms and rigid “truth claims” making you feel suffocated? Perhaps you are like the goldfish who wants to get out of her fishbowl.

In actuality, many imposed or self-imposed constraints are not healthy. Too much can produce irritability, defensiveness, or even a sense of superiority.

As long as we are in the “fishbowl” we can blame the glass surrounding for our negative experiences. But when we leap from the water, rejecting all confinement, we find ourselves gasping on the dry grass. Ugh! But take heart! The pressure and suffocation of this experience CAN be a positive thing. But how?

If you are flattened right now, gasping for life, it’s a great time to admit “I can’t survive here.”

A fish grounded cannot get herself back into the water. She must ask one higher to pick her up and put her back. Faith is required for such a declaration.

As a wife and mother of five, I feel confined quite often. The pressures seem unending and I want to bolt. Loving family relationships require personal sacrifice and that is restrictive. Nevertheless,  rejecting those relationships produce isolation.

We cannot survive in such a place.

Think for a minute with me. What are we made for? A fish is made to enjoy the freedom of being who he is, swimming in the water, eating fish food, and playing fish games.

We humans are made to give and receive love. We are to create and make the world a better place. When selfishness, resentment and defensiveness prevent us from giving, we are losing the freedom to be who we are!

We will thrive in “living water” spiritually charged with encouraging words:

“You are loved and eternally important to the one who made you.”

“You have gifts that are to be used to help heal the broken world in which you live.”

“Selflessness, forgiveness, and hope are the attributes of your flourishing.”

Just being religious is not freeing. The fear of failure is always lurking. It can become dehumanizing to continually give up our freedom to a god that seems to only demand obedience.

Only one system of belief offers a love relationship with God in which he restricts his freedom for our sake.

The son of God jumped out of his glorious fishbowl and entered the dry deteriorating environment of our world for one purpose: to give us freedom. On the cross he gasped and gave his life away… So that we could have a loving relationship with him.

When anxiety, fear, and resentment build up we need to get back in the water. Restrictions always exist, but the proper restrictions produce amazing freedom and joy.

humor-in-aging

Sex and the Surgery – Humor in Aging

My husband had knee replacement surgery five days ago. My double hernia repairs are five weeks post op. Still wearing a support girdle with doctors orders to refrain from the activity that made those big babies that caused those big hernias in the first place.

But I’ve been detecting those “come hither” vibes from the patient I’m nursing in the bedroom with me. Those men and their libidos!

So at 6:00 am I change out of my granny gown,brush my teeth and, with towel and massage oil in hand, tiptoe into our dark chamber. Tripping over the walker, I manage to catch myself and feebly light a candle….so far so good.

With illumination I discover that there is no space on the bedside table because it is littered with a breathing exerciser, gauze pads and a urinal… I will not be daunted.

Hiding the oil under the pillow, I peel out of my girdle and slip into ( ok, lumber into) our bed. As I reach tenderly for my beloved he rips off his breathing machine and envelops me in his embrace…. It ain’t pretty but I’ll take it!

May we all keep a sense of humor as our bodies fall apart! May we not become daunted in reaching out to love those other pitiful people who need it as much as we do!

sand-heart-at-the-beach

Do You Love Me? The Importance of Friendship and Marriage

When was the last time you said that? How recently have such thoughts immerged?

It is not surprising that that everyone needs love. It is one of the most basic ingredients for human survival– essential and life-giving. How sad it is when a husband or wife feels compelled to ask this question of a spouse.

What kind of love do we need? The Greek language has four different words for love.

  • Agape, love on a spiritual level
  • Eros, emotional, chemical, physical attraction
  • Storge, love a parent has for a child
  • Philia, friendship

We might argue that all are important to marriage. Nevertheless spiritual stoicism or animal magnetism does not a good marriage make.

Deep abiding friendship in marriage is invaluable yet often neglected, C.S. Lewis says.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

The actions of true friends communicate concern and admiration. Honesty and self-disclosure in a friendship provide safety and boundaries for nurture. A true friend always lets you in and never lets you down.

Every married couple needs the vital healing power of committed friendship. So how do we get it?

Be a friend to your husband.

* Respect and encourage him.

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.     –George MacDonald

“Cast a loving thought into his heart,” by showing him that you care about him. Small but repeated acts of consideration go a long way.

* Share your inner self with him. Let him in on your dreams for him and the attributes you most admire. Help him to become better!

Don’t expect your friend to be a perfect person. But, help your friend to become a perfect person. That’s true friendship.–Mother Theresa

* Don’t let him down.

Help him to know you’ve got his back. Don’t allow the needs of your children or home to make him feel marginalized. Perhaps, as a result of neglect, your relationship is more a marriage of enemies than lovers.

I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends. –Abraham Lincoln

Have the courage to risk extravagant giving of yourself for him. Be a friend to him and refuse to expect payback. Keep at it and you may be surprised to discover a mutual friendship developing in your marriage.

The only way to have a friend is to be one. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kim-ComftableinMySkin

Being Comfortable in My Skin

“I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon today.” There…. I’ve said it. Read more