All posts by kroeller

About kroeller

I have the privilege of working for Metro State in the Communication, Writing and the Arts Department.

Childhood Dreams

I was sitting in church this morning and this question was raised, “What was the dream you had for yourself when you were a child?” Then the follow-up question, “Did you attain that dream, or do you still have that dream?” This really weighed on my heart because my answer to the follow-up question is, “No.”
graduation crop
At the time I graduated from High School in 1993, I set out to conquer the world as a singer. I knew my talent wasn’t at the level of those on the radio, but I knew music was one of the only things I had been consistently passionate about since I could talk. My first vocal solo was at the age of 2 singing Jesus Loves Me in front of the congregation. My parents could barely keep the microphone from me from that point on. Choirs, musicals, church solos and music competitions became the norm for me. I loved stretching my vocal range, vocal styles and tested my stage fright in various sizes of audiences.

One of my favorite places to sing was any sporting event. The roar of the crowd would come to a hush when the announcer would say, “Now please rise as Keri Deike leads us in the singing of our National Anthem.” With the crowd quiet, the air crisp and the teams focused on the flag, with no band or recording to back me up, I focused on the pitch of the first note. The chills rushed down my spine as I started the beginning of the song, “Oh say, can you see…” and they would continue all the way to the climax of the song, “For the land of the freeeeeeee, and the home of the brave.” The crowd goes wild! (Well, not for me, but for the team they were about to cheer on to victory. However, I secretly stole a little of that applause for myself.) The RUSH of approval and appreciation for my talent throughout my young life propelled me to major in music in college.

Why am I not pursuing my dream?

After 2 plus years of singing in college, then in various bands in the Twin Cities, for numerous weddings and many church events, I began to slow down my pursuit of a life as a vocalist. Partially because I got married, singing didn’t pay well, then needed to work full-time, then later I became a mom. My focus and my passion shifted from being a singer to being a wife and then a mom. Priorities of how I spent my free-time went from “gigging” to “gigglin'” with my family. We spent money on a house and not on travel, then evenings out became evenings in as a family. Responsibility and duty overshadowed bookings and shows. The dream became something on the shelves of my mind and currently, only surfaces when I allow myself time to reminisce of days gone by.
Keri in band
I read a post recently on a fitness site that is making me reconsider keeping my dream on the shelf. In the quest of obtaining overall fitness, Robin Gregory shares the importance of finding joy again in the dreams we once pushed aside. This can lead to an overall feeling of well-being. There can be many set-backs in various attempts for success in our lives, but having a goal that we are passionate about can keep us moving forward. If we could open our minds the way we did when we were younger, with no limits to our imagination, we could maybe capture excitement, momentum and perhaps, a piece of the dream that was pushed aside by adult-sized obstacles.

I am going to purpose in my heart to find the passions I once lost. My dream may look different at this stage in my life, but it is still my dream to continue to use my gifts for people’s special days, for church and yes, even the occasional sporting event to honor my country with the singing of the National Anthem.

What dreams have you let go that you would like to pick back up again?

 

 

 

So much unwanted advice

In the day and age of social media, things like blogs, web pages, Pinterest and Facebook are all peppered with things you should or should not do to raise a child. To spank or not to spank, homeschool, public or private school, are you a creative lunch maker or just a boring sandwich pusher, do you teach them things or let them figure things out on their own, and I could go on and on!

I admit, when I have an issue with my child, I first go to family and friends for advice. But, if I don’t find an answer that seems to fit my situation, I know I can turn to the world wide web. There are many professional child psychologists, pediatricians, nannies, childcare workers and moms that provide sound and calming solutions. It amazes me the wisdom you can glean from these sites. However, when articles pop-up on Pinterest urging you to read it or someone rants on a Facebook post about how they saw a mom doing or not doing something, this barges in on me like a neon sign and tends to irk me more than entice me. Why? Because advice for children is not one-size-fits-all. What my child needs to curb a certain behavior may not work for your child and vice-versa. The fact that a lot of these posts insinuate you are a bad parent if you AREN’T practicing their latest finding is downright maddening.

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Mischievious

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There is pressure for our kids to be the best soccer player, the smartest student in school, the highest jumper, the most advanced in technology and the healthiest of eaters. I miss the days when it was okay for kids to try out a sport and see if they liked it before signing their summer away to be on the team. There is pressure from every angle, even from ourselves, to raise a kid that will overachieve as opposed to just succeed in this world.

Just don’t read the articles!

If only it were easy NOT to notice the articles.  However, because these articles pop up on Facebook, Pinterest, or as a header on a website you are shopping on, it is difficult to ignore the taunts. “What IF I’m doing something wrong?” If you suffer from anxiety or depression these articles can deepen your feelings of inadequacy and make you question everything you are doing or not doing for your child. The internet can be a great tool, a way to connect people with the latest information, but it can also be a dangerous web luring you in to “keep up with the Jones’s.” I think it is okay if you want to post what has worked for your child, but it would be great if you didn’t claim this to be the fix of all fixes and look down your nose to people who don’t share your ideals. I’m grateful that you had the luck to find that magic ticket in your family’s life, I might just try it on my child as well. But if it doesn’t work, or if I find that it isn’t in his best interest, then I will file your idea in my “things that didn’t work” file and move on. Don’t judge, don’t talk behind my back, don’t push your convictions on my family and give people a break for choosing their own path.

toddler

I do my best each day to try to be secure in who I am, what I’m doing and embracing the love and comfort of my family. If the internet is going to keep throwing out pop-up shaming and unsolicited advice, what I may have to re-think is the amount of time I spend on social media.

The Gorilla and the Boy

You can’t go too many places right now without hearing people talk about the little boy who “slipped” into a Gorilla cage at the Cincinnati Zoo recently. Depending on where you read your news, you could be hearing many accounts on this event. The accounts that really have my blood boil revolve around statements stating this is all the mom’s fault. The article on CNN included in their headline, ‘critics blame mother’. Really? Whether reports are true that this woman had 4 or 5 kids at the zoo with her that day, when a 4 year-old child gets something on his mind it is difficult to stop him from doing that so-called thing. If you turn your back for a second to, I don’t know, sneeze or attend to another child that may need a moment of your time, a 4 year-old on a mission can be yards away before you turn back around. In this case, this boy jumped himself right into the Gorilla habitat.

gorilla

As I read some of the comments on Facebook or other sites covering this story, I can’t help but think, I wonder if the people making comments against this mother ever had any children themselves. I know, before I had a child, I was one to say, “When I have kids, my child will never…” or “When I have kids, I will be the most attentive mom and my kids will NEVER…” Well, I had a kid. All the mistakes that I said I would never make or things I said MY kid would never do…they happened. So, I reference the verse in the Bible, John 8:7, “Let he without sin cast the first stone.” Therefore, I will NOT be quick to judge this poor woman, who is already beating herself up about this, and I will remember until I walk a mile in this woman’s shoes, I will not assume her parenting, or lack of parenting, is at fault in this situation.

Media’s Spin on Things

One other thing that bothered me about this particular coverage is the quote: “It is unfortunate that to save the life of a child, an animal had to be sacrificed.” I understand that there are animal activists that may just turn against me here, but when did animal rights become more important than the rights of humans? I understand this species of gorilla is an endangered species, but the zoo officials did what they deemed necessary. In a post by Amanda O’Donoughue,  an expert in zoology, she gives a good account of why the zoo had to make the decision they made. Wild animals are unpredictable and don’t rely on logic when spooked. I am sad that we lost another silverback gorilla and that the gorilla was only doing what he knew to do to protect himself, but if it were my kid that jumped overboard, I know what I would encourage the zoo officials to do.

Amanda O'Donoghue
Amanda O’Donoghue  feeding silverback gorilla (Facebook page photo)

As humans, we are pulled in by sensationalism. Stories like Cecil the Lion, Pit bulls that attack kids, and now “Gorilla-gate” are reported in a way where we don’t get all the facts at the beginning. People with cellphones are capturing video and posting them before police investigations are completed. Accusations are thrown out at the people in these stories before they have any time to share their side. I would love to see a day when the news is covered as just that, news, without the dramatic music, the sensationalism and the replay upon replay of devastating images that make my stomach turn.

Workplace Complainers

Do you have that one person in your office that constantly complains about the job, the people, the process, the day, the weather, or the fact that someone just complained to THEM? Is this striking a nerve? In my 25 years of employment in the “real world” I have often encountered people that rarely have a positive word to share in conversation. Unfortunately, I am the person who thinks I can have a positive affect on these personality types and, at times, wear myself out trying to change them.

I recently read a blog titled: How to Handle Chronic Complainers that listed all the efforts I ever attempted in making a difference in a chronic complainer’s life. When reading the article, I almost lost all hope! The list goes on about all the things that DON’T work!  Cheering them up, suggesting solutions, ignoring the or complaining right along with them. These are things I’ve tried and tried only to fail and wonder if I am the problem! Why are these people drawn to ME!?

But, there is a glimmer of hope offered by the blogger. A trick that DOES work. When a person complains to you or sheds a negative light on something, you can respond with something like, “You know, that sounds terrible. I don’t know how you deal with all of these problems.” This wording, in a sincere fashion, is what I have been searching for in my 25 years of work. Sincerely let the person know you are sorry things are so bad, that you understand the trials and acknowledging that you hear them. This statement doesn’t mean you agree with their point, or are siding with them on their negative approach.

Words of Wisdom from Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa once said,“Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” If we could implement this into our daily lives, how would that affect those that we interact with on a daily basis? If only we could embrace joy and contentment over anger and jealousy. I know, it is easier said than done, especially for the chronic complainer. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to be fake at work. But, there is a difference between venting to a co-worker, seeking advice and living out life with those you spend a great deal of time with and bringing people down, asking for advice that you really aren’t going to follow anyway and trying to make a contest out of who has it worse.

This makes me think of Kristen Wiig as Penelope trying to “one up” everyone on everything.  Kristen Wiig/Group Therapy   AAAHHHH!  Maybe if the people in these sketches were to use the tip suggested by Alexander Kjerulf in his Chronic Complainer blog, Penelope wouldn’t be able to come back with her famous “one-upping” comments.

work complaints

What am I asking for?

My hope is that when we come to work we would try to focus on the good things about our job, co-workers, boss and company. Maybe just enough to not drag others down with you. If you want to tell me about an occasional incident or share something about your day, I’m all in. But, if you’re going to take my precious work time, in which I have a LOT to do, to complain for the sake of complaining, then I would rather you blog about it. I’ll read it when I get to it.

 

 

 

 

Fashion Staples

On a lazy day (if I ever have the gift of having one of these so-called-days) I love to browse magazines and the worldwide web for the latest fashion trends. When I was younger, I took pride in owning pieces in my wardrobe that rivaled the trends in Hollywood and NY. I always found a deal and certainly didn’t shop in high-end stores, but on my budget, I could find items that spruced up my attire. In the 80’s, it was the pop of neon or oddly-patterned bulky sweaters with patent penny loafers, tightly cuffed stone-washed jeans and a coordinating scrunchi in the hair. The 90’s led to plaid Vans, combat boots, bib overalls, over-sized plaid button down flannels and maybe the “Rachel” as a haircut. The new century brought a mix of the 70’s and 90’s with boot-cut jeans, the cami under a cardigan or shrug, the comeback of the capri, from chunky shoes to flip-flops and hair with chunky low-lights and the occasional “crimped”strand for a surprise. 

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80's

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90's

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Staying up with these trends can really be exhausting!

Lately, I have found respite in the so-called “Staple” wardrobe. This wardrobe contains pieces that experts build on as a foundation to anybody’s style. These are your go-to pieces when you just don’t know what to wear for an occasion, or when you just don’t feel like putting together a trendy ensemble but still look and feel put-together.

According to New York Magazine’s The CUT You can put 50 “simple” items in your closet and you will own a solid wardrobe foundation. If 50 items are too much to manage, Elle Magazine narrows the foundation to 30 Essential Wardrobe Pieces that if you mix and match on any given day, will provide you with a “pulled together” look. Each of these expert lists contain items we would expect: the Little Black Dress, fitted blazer, the Pump, perfectly fitting jeans and a handbag, along with items that are not quite as obvious:  Matching Pajamas, wrap coat and a Bateau shirt.

There's a certain level of luxury that comes with wearing posh pajamas. This silk set by Journelle is the kind you can lounge in all day and still not feel like a slob.  Journelle Garbo PJ Set, $225; journelle.com There's something mature and luxurious about this wrap coat, like you'd rather be swathed in cashmere and tied at the waist than buttoned up in a peacoat. It's low-key glam–a daily aspiration for us all. 	Toteme Chelsea Coat, $760; toteme-nyc.com There's a reason why this classic striped shirt has been worn by every intellectual, actor, and artist of the 20th century. This nautical-inspired top will become a mainstay in your closet. Seriously, you'll have to control yourself from wearing it every day. Saint James Naval II, $139; saintjamesboutique.com  Images from elle.com

And don’t think I forgot about the men that are looking for ways to step up their game! You also can build your wardrobe around staple pieces to ensure you have something for every occasion. Forbes narrows your staples to 10 must have items.Khaki pants, the perfect fitting solid-colored pair of jeans, watch and blue blazer are just a handful of items you may want to have on hand.

Khaki PantsSolid Color JeansBlue Blazer Images from forbes.com

If you are on a budget, try shopping at Nordstrom Rack, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. You can find name brand named or not-so-known brand name items that will help you build your wardrobe foundation that won’t break your bank.

Now that you have the tools to pick staple pieces for your wardrobe, grab a friend and go shopping!

Essential Oils

I have heard about essential oils for the past 8 years from various friends and family members but didn’t really put much thought into them myself. That is, until recently. I have battled a 6 week illness that continues to plague me. This effects my sleep, my energy level, my work, my school work and my interaction with people. Round 2 of steroids and round 3 of allergy medications along with 2 doses of anti-biotics had no effect on my illness but really wreaked havoc on my body. It was time to do something different. When I got to week 3 of my illness, conversations began to echo in my head about the natural healing effects of essential oils.

I started with the company Melaleuca as I am already familiar with their products. This is a wellness company that surrounds their whole business around health, preserving nature and overall wellness. We currently only use Melaleuca products to clean our house due to their commitment of using natural ingredients, most notably Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil). I their descriptions of the oils and learning what each can do for the body. I ordered some oils to try these for myself. For more information on Melaleuca products you can go to their site at https://www.melaleuca.com/

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My three essential oils I have at work this month!

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I next went to an essential oils “class” at a friend’s house to hear about the importance of the purity and potency of the oils we use. The most important tid-bit of information is that the oils should be 100% PURE Therapeutic grade. I also learned some oils are okay to ingest in small amounts, some oils need a “carrier oil” to ensure the oils will not be uncomfortable on the skin, some oils are better when diffused, and so on. With so much information to digest, Melaleuca recommended a reference book called The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness Paperback – by Nerys Purchon (Author), Lora Cantele (Author). This book is loaded with what each oil can do and provides information on how to blend oils to assist with increasing energy, enhancing sleep, calming an upset tummy, soothing a headache and so much more. Quick tip: Five oils I think everyone should start with and always have on hand are Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil and Bergamot.

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Diffusing my oils

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So far, I found I sleep better with oils diffusing in my room at night and I breathe easier. (For my night blend I use Lavender, Frankincense, Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil.)  I also found it helpful to diffuse oils in my office during the day for energy and clarity. (For this I use Lemon, Bergamot, Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint.) There are many websites and Pins on Pinterest to help guide your way into the use of essential oils. One site I find helpful in knowing how to use oils for specific needs is http://www.edensgarden.com/pages/health  You can also ask your massage therapist, chiropractor or a local health enthusiast for recommendations on how oils can add to your health and every day life. (We are lucky to have Elise Pederson as a resident expert in all things natural health and wellness.) I hope you are intrigued and inspired to venture into the world of essential oils and benefit from what they can do for you.