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Kim Skinner | Community Connections | Friends

Friends In Strange Places

A year ago, I volunteered to help homeless women at Community Connections. I host the monthly event “Women’s Empowerment Night” and have had high hopes of really helping these women. Month after month, I have prepared their meals, slowly discovering how much they appreciate food. Others have joined me to bake terrific desserts and they are served with smiles and laughter. I have designed motivating talks in hopes of making recovery better for these fifty women who are so deserving of support.

Community Connections provides a residency-training program that rehabilitates, trains, and counsels women on the road to a productive life. Some are college educated. Some are grandmothers. Others have been abused and are fearful of the world they live in. Many of them have their children in-residence as well. I have truly enjoyed getting to know all of them.

Repeated contact and the passing of time together have helped us to become friends. Laughter and shared experiences have been, I believe, stripping cultural and racial barriers.

It feels good – helping in some small way. But I was so surprised this month to experience their help and encouragement for ME!

They may not think white girls are very sexy. Who knew? Yet, I have discovered that many of them truly care about THIS white girl.

As they were leaving, I received many hugs and kind words about our family’s upcoming wedding and the nearing birth of three granddaughters.

I felt surprised. They care?

I felt exhilarated. They care!

I feel humbled.

I’ve always taught that letting people into your life and steadfastly “being there” is the best way to befriend someone. I guess I never really expected for these women to befriend ME!

Sometimes life surprises us! How sweet it is!

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.

Kim took time to chat at the "Speaking of Women's Health" event in August 2014.

Kim Skinner – “Which Dog Are You?” (Montage)


In this montage video, Kim’s entire day at the “Speaking of Women’s Health” event in downtown Jacksonville is documented as she delivers her message and interacts with the attendees.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

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

The Goat Lady - Fainting Goats

“Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths” – The Goat Lady, Pt. 5

In this segment, Kim encourages her audience to look at the bright side (even with “fainting goats”) and celebrate our quirks and differences!