Archives for posts with tag: #thinkkit
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

When I read the Think Kit prompt to write about an experience with a stranger, one particular story popped into my head, and it still scares me to think of it.  Everything about this story is strange, but hang in there with me.

I’ve always set an alarm to be the first one awake, so I can have that quiet time alone in the morning.  It was often my habit to sit in our window seat, covered in a blanket and sipping my coffee, just thinking and daydreaming.  One morning, in the glare of the streetlight, I could see a coyote trotting down the middle of the street.  Yep, a coyote in the pre-dawn dark, running towards College Avenue in Broad Ripple as if he did it every day.

Naturally, the next morning I was in my spot, watching for him, and sure enough – at the same time, he came running down the street again.  Now my mornings had intrigue and mystery!

On the third morning, I was determined to see if he actually crossed College or if he had a hiding place near my house.  As I’m gazing towards the streetlight, waiting for my coyote, I spot something in my peripheral vision, closer to my house.  I turned to look, and there was a stranger standing in the street.  He wasn’t walking a dog, and he wasn’t dressed for running.  He was dressed in a newsboy-type cap, a windbreaker, and khakis.  His hands were in his pockets, he was facing me, and he was LOOKING AT ME.  You know that fear that instantly coils in the pit of your stomach? Yet the sensible part of my brain reasoned that he can’t possibly see me, sitting in the dark – he’s probably just looking at the house.  I moved my face to the next window, and his head turned to keep eye contact.  Like something right out of a Steven King novel, it was weird and creepy at the same time. I bolted upstairs.

Of course the man had disappeared by the time I awakened my husband to look out the window.  That always happens in the scary stories, right?

Us in the dance tent.  Brian just moves his shoulders a little.

Us in the dance tent. Brian just moves his shoulders a little.

“What event stood out for you this year?” asks Think Kit.

The first WARMfest in Broad Ripple park over Labor Day weekend was an outstanding event for me.  Although I’ve lived in Broad Ripple for 20 years, I’ve never really explored the park like I did that weekend.  Brian and I rode our bikes there, and had a great time listening to bands that were new to us, trying out delicacies from the various food trucks, and enjoying Sun King beer.  There were DJs in the dance tent all day too (including my fav, Rusty Redenbacher), where hula-hooping girls, families, and hipsters danced.  Music, food and beer, all in one place – ! – but it got even better. There was a vintage/handicraft festival within the music festival, too. I loved carefully stepping my way through the exposed roots of maple trees to see what was in each booth, discovering antiques, jewelry, and several quirky goods. I bought a silver ring with my birthstone in it to commemorate the day.

I can’t finish without mentioning Yoga in the Park that Saturday morning, also part of WARMfest.  There were a lot of yogis getting their “om” on in the park, and there was something mesmerizing  about moving through asanas in tandem with so many others on the grass and in the shade of the trees.  Singer/songwriter Michael Franti rolled out a mat with us, too.  He may be famous, but yoga reminds me that we’re all One in this big, beautiful world.

I hope for another WARMfest next summer, when I can soak up more of that glorious adventure.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.

Think Kit prompt #24:  What are you grateful for this year?

Wow.  This prompt gave me pause.  I wondered if I could find something to be grateful for that went beyond the “usuals” – family, friends, and shelter.  Then I realized how grateful I am to be able to tick those off on my fingers, because so many can’t.

Most of my family live right here in town, and I’m able to see them when I like.  I have so many friends with whom I can truly be myself, and they still like me despite that.  My husband is kind and really fun.  I have three teenage kiddos that are so much nicer and more respectful than I was at that age.  I love my furry pets, I love my garden, I love my front porch when its warm and my fireplace when it’s not.

I’m grateful that I live in a neighborhood where we look out for each other, have block parties, and watch each other’s pets.  I’m grateful that my kids – one in IPS, one in Washington Township, and one at a charter school – are able to attend the schools that best fit their individual needs, both academically and socially.

I’m grateful for my church, where I am challenged to become a better person and have a community there to support those efforts.

These are all small, simple things, but I’m realizing today just how grateful I am to have them play such a big part in my life.

Think Kit asks:  what is your mantra for 2014?


Live this year as if it is my last!

I don’t mean blowing money as if the future doesn’t matter or making irresponsible decisions.  I mean living in a way that if I WERE to kick the bucket on December 31, 2014, I could go happily, knowing I really lived intentionally, celebrating each day I was alive, using my gifts for my own enjoyment and in the service of others.  Starting each day with the thought, “God, thanks for this day, let’s DO THIS!”


Think Kit Prompt:  If money and time and other commitments were no obstacle in 2014, what would you do?

Traveling for education or service would be at the top of my list.  I’m very intrigued by the types of trips that GlobeAware manages, which gives the traveler a chance to work for a cause (saving elephants, digging wells for clean water) and also spend time as tourists. Imagine if each of the five members of my family picked a cause to travel for, and as a family we made five trips!  Making the world a better place, even if just a little bit at a time, and learning about different cultures, connecting on a deeper level with those we work with.

Yoga retreats to lovely, faraway places would need to fit in the calendar as well.  There is a also a conference called Storyline Conference next March that features some of my favorite authors – Anne Lamott, Bob Goff and Donald Miller – that I would love to attend, too.  This one is in San Diego no less, so arriving early and leaving late would be on the agenda.

All this traveling I want to do, yet I really, really love my home, my garden, and my pets. When not traveling, I’d putter around the house, improving/renovating some things (house built in 1908); making my flower garden even larger; and hanging out on my front porch.  I’d write, I’d paint, and I’d buy a piano so I could play again.

As I write this, I think that even with the commitments I do have, it must be possible to fit at least one of these into my life in 2014. OH, Think Kit, I’ll bet that is the conclusion you hoped we participants would arrive at, si?  Well done.

Think Kit Prompt:  What made you laugh out loud?  Share something that was humorous or funny.

I don’t think I can narrow it down – I love to laugh and find so many things amusing!  First of all, I am lucky to have spent 19 years married to a jokester.  I don’t mean pranks or jokes at the expense of others; he sends me into fits of giggling and tears with his one-liners and exaggerations some days.  He’s also a master of retelling stories from our everyday lives in such a funny way that it causes me to appreciate and remember those “everyday” bits of my life even better.  Do I find him hilarious because I love him so much, or is it the other way around?  Hard to know!

And then there are cat videos.  I could watch for hours.  I watch my OWN cats and laugh, and my puppy makes me laugh with his bouncing around and fierce shaking of a stuffed animal. We even had a small lizard once, and his skittering around was a hoot. I laughed today watching a porcupine “talk” (Thanks to Sarah Murrel’s Punchlist post in Punchnel’s). Animals are generally hilarious, unless they are eating each other, so I avoid watching that circle of life business.  

Really, there is even humor in brain surgery.  When we first saw dad after surgery (with 30 staples in his head) we said, “Dad, it went great! How are you doing?” And he answered. “I’ve got a headache.”  We HOWLED.  He’s said some pretty hilarious things since then, in his less lucid moments.  Is it wrong to laugh at someone who is not in their right mind?  I think not.  He would do the same if the situation were reversed.

I wish everyone a good belly laugh today!



Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul. –Dorothy Day

“How do  you want to be involved in your community this year?”*

This is a topic I’ve been musing for the past couple weeks.  I tend to enjoy the doing, rather than sitting on a board or being on the fundraising committee.  After  reading “Toxic Charity” by Robert D. Lupton, I’m much more interested in educating than in mere giving.  I can narrow it down even further in that my heart leans towards helping families, even more specifically towards children.  I have tutored homeless schoolkids through School on Wheels before, and this is tugging at me again. I wonder where else I can serve?

This question is being asked down the well of my soul, and there seems only to be echoes, no answers.  I often feel that I am doing so little to make the world a better place.  I have friends who are social workers, nurses, teachers of all stripes, or they actively work for nonprofit agencies doing great work for those in need. It concerns me that I spend my 40+ hours a week in marketing, and it has always been in the technology field of some sort.  My current employer counts many not-for profits as customers, and we often discount our services in exchange for acknowledgement from the podium, being part of the corporate logo loop, or being listed in the event program, but that’s just business – more marketing.  My day-to-day seems so far removed from meaningful work.  *Sigh.*  We all want to feel worthy, si?

I’d love to hear suggestions.

*This blog post is part of the SmallBox Thinkkit blog prompts – one per day in the month of December. Want to join us?

Love_heartToday’s Think Kit prompt: Talk To Someone!  

Interview at least one other person about their favorite moments of the year. Share what you heard.

I was fairly sure that if I interviewed anyone at work, they’d wonder why I was bothering them with such “nonsense” at the busiest time of the year – so I interviewed my kids.  “What was your favorite thing about 2013?” The 13-year-old didn’t hesitate at all about the highlight of her year:  conquering her fear of roller coasters.  Now she’s a fiend and can’t get enough of them.  The 17-year-old said, “Well, you know, my mission trip to Honduras.”  I pressed, “But what was the most special part of that trip?”  “Oh, Mom…you know.”  This was over text, by the way, so hardly fodder for a blog post.  It was my 15-year-old son, a kid of few words, whose answer made really made me smile.  He said simply, “Hannah.”  Because the boy is in the throes of First Love and he’s not afraid to tell anyone.  Did I say it made me smile?  It does. It also breaks my heart.

This is no reverse Oedipal complex.  The object of his love is a darling girl, from a wonderful family, and I adore her.  No, the mixed emotions come from seeing my little boy, the one who got in trouble in preschool for peeing on the playground, the one who used to run around in batman pajamas and a cape for days at a time, the one I used to have lightsaber fights with…he’s growing up.  He is in Love with a capital L.  He wants to protect this lovely girl from everyone and everything.  When she is feeling sad and talking it out on the phone, he actually listens, and then can have her laughing by the end of the conversation.  Get this: he will actually go shopping with her and her whole family just to be near her.

I can see into the future, though, and know that there will be a breakup, and that he will experience the opposite of heady infatuation.  He will, in fact, be so heartbroken that he will think his life is over, that he will never love anyone else to that depth again.   I don’t know if I’ll be able to comfort him in any way.  It will be the first time that neither food nor a new Xbox game will cheer him up.

For now, I will just look on while he loves, grows, and learns.  Any mothers have sage advice for me?

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox, wherein participants receive a writing prompt each day of December.  I’m behind, but catching up RIGHT NOW!

The first prompt was to sum up my year in photos, and I found myself flummoxed by this. I waded through all the photos of fun family vacations with my husband and three teens, and though I can see we’ve had a great time this year, those weren’t the photos that spoke to me.  I have photos of our new kitten (adopted May 1) and our new puppy (adopted November 13), which could relate to readers some new beginnings in our home, but those weren’t the ones I wanted, either.

It was the photos I took on my “noticing” walks that called out to me.  For this blog, I took a series of photos around my neighborhood of the details that most people wouldn’t notice: interesting shadows, tiny objects, plants growing in the cracks of concrete.  This is where my mind likes to live – in the noticing and noting.

In this same frame of mind, I offer this one photo as a reflection of my year:

On my right wrist.

On my right wrist.

It represents my “noticing” this year that I am not fully living the life I was meant to.

I work in a very conservative environment (politically and sartorially) and had to think very hard before getting this tattoo, despite its deep meaning to me and the fact that it speaks volumes about my moral and religious beliefs.  I felt strongly enough about expressing myself that I forged ahead.  A small victory to most, but a big one for my soul.

It also reminds me that though I take peace & justice very seriously, someone looking at my day-to-day life would not know that about me.  I intend to change that, whether it be working on behalf of the marginalized through more volunteer work or through a new job. I’m excited about this prospect.

Thanks, #thinkkit, for making me think deeply.

Jackie Lutzke

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