Happy Mothering Day…


…is fundamental to all beings.

…involves nurturing and raising children.

…extends far beyond biology and bodies.

…is the act and practice of love and the passing on of knowledge.

…occurs across multiple times and spaces

…is political.

…is life.

“Mothering is not limited to relationships between a female parent and her biological offspring. Mothering, as a relationship and practice, is a social and cultural act that occurs between multiple configurations of people of many generations – individually and communally. This is something Indigenous peoples have always known, celebrating extended families and lauding the wisdom of matriarchs as it applied and was transmitted to all the younger generations of a community. Mothering, understood in this way as a complex web of relational practices, was and is fundamental to life. This is perhaps also why mothering has often been so threatened while simultaneously holding the potential for (re)building the inherent strengths in our communities.

Aboriginal mothering is recognized as extending beyond the biological act of giving birth and involving a multitude of roles and relationships across times, spaces and generations. Strength to move forward as healthy individuals, families and communities is inextricably linked to Aboriginal women, mothers, grandmothers and aunties….”

The Sacred Space of Womanhood- A National Showcase on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Women and Mothering

©2012 National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved




My Scrappin’ Bees…..

May 7 is National Scrapbooking Day. I spent the day at an all day “crop”, with a long time cropping friend and several new friends. I have been cropping at Archiver’s with my daughter and several of her friends for about six years now. Scrapbooking my wedding album and Christmas albums for my nieces and nephews was my previous venture into this very creative world. The handmade cards, invitations and scrapbooking pictures craze has created an industry and market all of its own.

In March I attended my first weekend crop. The experience reminded me of my grandmother and her sewing circle’s quilting bees. The women I meet have been friendly, generous and fun loving. I am looking forward to a future filled with scrapping and cropping and new friends.

Pick up a 12” cutter, some paper, a few stickers and photos and join us. Might be the best several hours you ever spent………

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Wedding Fever….

So 33.3% of the world is slated to watch the “wedding of the century” tomorrow morning.  Thirty years ago, Sam’s mom and Keri set their alarm and were up in the dark to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana marry.* They remember the procession in the horse drawn carriage, the ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral and the recessional back to Buckingham Castle. Sam’s mom told me it was a”‘fairy tale comes true; every little girl wants to grow up and be a princess.” She went on to say if mothers do not believe in the princess dream, why do we read our little girls princess stories. Ouch. My oldest daughter generally drills down to the main issue pretty ruthlessly.

Weddings are family, friends, fun, music, food, lots of pictures and memories. My very favorite part of our weddings is what I call ‘wedding prep.’ We book the hairdressers and manicurists and literally take over the establishment. Everyone dresses together in a special room at the church. Aunts, moms, grandmas, female in-laws, bride’s attendants, flower girls, candle lighters,friends are all coming and going. The photographer is taking candid shots. The whole pre-wedding scene is the ultimate dress-up party.

For the record, I am not setting my alarm and getting up to watch  Prince William and his fairy tale come true “commoner” bride, Kate Middleton, tie the knot.  I wish them well in their marriage.

I hope Kate has as much fun with her wedding prep as we do with ours…….

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved

*   http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/29/newsid_2494000/2494949.stm


Farmville Update…….

Last week Mike found a horse drawn sleigh on Craig’s List. He talked me into going three towns over to check it out. The owner told us the sleigh came from Wisconsin sixteen years ago. She had it on the front lawn surrounded by rocks and flowers. While appreciating the appeal and charm of this piece of Americana, I was not convinced we needed to find a way to bring the rather dilapidated weathered sled home.  My spirit could see the potential; my flesh was weak. Mike did not have my qualms. He struck a bargain and paid his “mad” money.

During the rest of the week there were hints regarding the pick-up and delivery of the purchase to our home. I did not pay much attention because we had discussed part of the cost would include the hiring of  ‘two men and a truck’ for this task. Saturday rolled around and it became clear we were the pick-up and delivery service.  We would be borrowing our Farmville connection trailer and attaching it to a borrowed Tahoe.  My protest regarding the cost of gas and our time equalling the cost of other options went unheeded.

Three hours and $25 worth of gas later we had a dismantled weathered horse drawn Wisconsin early 1900’s sleigh in our driveway. The final after restoration resting place of said sled is still to be determined. We will keep you informed.

The best part of this suburban and rural trek was the chance to check out the Farmville animals. The baby rabbits still look and feel liked baby bunnies to me. The kittens and ducklings are adorable. The chicks have not hatched yet. They have another couple of weeks. The calves stared at us with interest, ambling over for a little pet and pat. The house remodel is coming along. Trees and bushes are planted and the garden plot will be plowed and tilled this weekend. Farmville is shaping up.

As we drove back and forth to hitch and unhitch I understood the appeal to my friend. As municipal buildings and subdivisions turned into fields and farms I could feel myself de-stressing. Peacefulness flooded through my body.

A little tiny voice whispered some reality into my ear… I am not sure about the seven mile drive for a gallon of milk…. The pizza guy would probably think this was outside his delivery zone….. Then there is the similarity to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Oklahoma movie theme song, because “the wind comes sweeping down the plains” of Illinois, as well as, Oklahoma and Kansas. Oh, well.

I wonder if Farmville needs a horse-drawn sleigh for their horse..…………..

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Tea Party…….

My daughters planned a tea party for me last Sunday.  There were several generations there, my Aunt Marge and my Uncle Bob’s widow, Aunt Mary. There were cousins, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandchildren and friends, cousin Cheryl and friend Cheryl, Girl Scout friends, childhood friends, adulthood friends.

There was cake, hot tea, finger food, conversation, sharing stories, laughter, funny cards. We had such a good time. During sharing birthday girl stories time one of my cousins told about my helping her and her mother out on a Girl Scout camp out for one of the younger cousins. The girls hiked through muddy water and I guess when Aunt Mary asked how we could let them do that I replied “they were having so much fun. “

My daughter Keri said the phrase “they were only having fun” is a Mom story in itself… children are out on the roof, up in the attic, playing in the water, crafting with scissors and glue, pounding on musical instruments, out in the snow, raking up leaves and jumping in the piles, snacking between meals, staying up late… because Mom is all about having fun. I have to agree with her. Life is way too short to not have fun. I like to plan fun, have fun and share fun.

Thanks for the party girls. The afternoon was wonderful, we had fun……

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Sunday Lunch……

Last weekend was filled with one experience after another. My friends Cheryl and Vicki picked me up after church. We went to Jason’s Deli, Wanamaker Road on the west side of Topeka. Cheryl came up from Wichita after working a Saturday event. She stayed at Vicki’s and rested up for the next day’s festivities. When the three of us are together our conversations follow all kinds of rabbit trails with twisty turns and lurking obstacles. We laugh and cry and support each other by being totally emotionally present.

Vicki was on her third career and working as a nail technician when I met her. We connected instantly and skipped all kinds of new friendship rituals, jumping right to regular lunch dates. We have not really analyzed this instantaneous bond, which is surprising since we analyze virtually every other aspect of our lives. She has moved on to another career and I miss her manicures.  So far, she is the best manicurist I have had.

Cheryl and I came together through our husbands. We met over one of the best filet mignon I have ever eaten at Hays House* in Council Grove, Kansas. We liked each other immediately and let the husbands think they were in charge of our couple get-togethers for several years. Our friendship transcended both marriages and has become a longlasting, enduring connection.

Cheryl and Vicki met at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when another friend and I picked them up for my 50th birthday house party weekend. They hit it off immediately. We had such a wonderful time. Our lunch last Sunday was really good and they had me back just in time for my Tea Party.

Good friends really do improve with age………


©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Busy Days……….

Hayley and her parents stopped by so Hayley could stay with Grandma and Sam for awhile. Sam and Hayley played side by side with Sam’s toys. Aunt Leslie had to go pick up milk at the dairy store. Hayley went along to see the cows and Sam took a nap.

Alice, Hayley and their mom came over to Aunt Leslie’s house after school. We talked and played and spent time together. They went home for dinner.

Sam and his mom went to dinner at the home of one of her close friends.

I dressed and went out with my friends of almost 55 years. Dinner was wonderful. The conversation was great. We sat and talked for several hours and then we went back to my sister’s home and talked until about 11:30 PM. We reminisced about school, friends, families, first puffs of cigarettes. Sam and his mom came home. He slept through the admiration party by all of the grandmas in the room.

Saturday morning found me with my three daughters and three of my granddaughters in a Kansas City suburb at a baby shower for one of the nieces from my first marriage. Their mother and I continue to be sisters-in-law in both deed and action. My niece was so cute with her baby bump and my other niece is obviously delighted with becoming an aunt. The other niece is engaged and her wedding will be in August. The save the date magnet is on my refrigerator. Hmmmm…..might be a really interesting story day.

Saturday afternoon we were at grandson Jacob and White Storm’s District Pinewood Derby contest. I am happy to report, White Storm came in 7th out of 105 contestants. Sam, his mother and I gave Alice and Kahlan a ride back to Topeka for a child care gig, while Peter, Jacob, Hayley and their mothers slumber partied in Olathe. After the derby, my son-in-law was somewhere, hiding out, I am sure.

Sam and his mom were off to another friend’s home while grandma was doing the town with her sisters.

Stay tuned for more adventures on the road with Lilypad and Co……….

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Lilypad on the road……….

We drove to Kansas several days later than expected.  Sam’s mom had a cold and Sam’s ear infection was back so we skipped the first two days of the trip which had included a visit to Allen Field house on the University of Kansas campus to watch the KU Men’s basketball team beat Texas A&M. Every year I think I will get to be Aunt Margie’s escort to at least one game. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Sister Leslie had broccoli and chicken or pork rice casseroles ready for us when we arrived. I had the chicken with mushrooms option. YUM! Sam played hard to get with his great-aunt and great-uncle. His latest trick is winking his eyes closed like he is hiding himself. Kind of like my little woodchuck. It took at least 10 minutes of sidling around and clutching his mom or my legs before he warmed up and made himself at home.  The lord of this manor is Mr. Knightley, the cat. Sam was on the floor with Mr. K and his toys almost immediately.

Sister Penny is very busy at her work these days. She was busy Thursday rearranging her schedule for the weekend festivities because she thought we were not coming for another month or so. I guess she thought there were two March’s this year.  She wanted to meet us for breakfast this morning, early she said, 8 – 8:30. She called later on and said maybe 7:30 would be better. Okay, we were game. She called again around 7 this morning and said to slow down our departure because she was just up. I love Penny!  Sam, his mother and I squeezed into Leslie’s 2011 Jeep, a REALLY nice ride, and stopped by for Jami.  A really good breakfast was had by all at IHOP on Wanamaker Road in Topeka.

Tonight is dinner with two really dear friends. We first met 55 years ago this upcoming September in the afternoon kindergarten class at Oakland Grade School. We share March birthdays and celebrate together as often as we can. We have been through marriages, divorces, miscarriages, children, grandchildren, parent deaths …………

Come with me the next few days as we follow the proverbial Kansas yellow brick road………

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Network Central….

Networking is as natural to me as breathing. I am curious about people and like connecting them with other people or organizations for both personal and professional reasons. A friend once told me I was a bridge to other people and places for her.  And she appreciated it.

Translating this gift into a more material resource lucrative proposition is a challenge. A woman I met at a workshop suggested I ought to become a recruiter. She meant a professional headhunter type recruiter. They work under a lot of pressure. These days I am interested in a little lower key lifestyle, thank you very much.

My professional career was about recruiting the right people for both volunteer positions and paid employment to accomplish the organization mission. I enjoyed the work and believe wholeheartedly in the objective to provide leadership opportunities for girls. Now I am transitioning my own leadership skills, experiences and education to the next best place for me to be.

Two days ago I updated my Linked In connections by requesting connections to just about everyone on my email lists and searching through the Linked In subscribers. The response has been great.

On Monday I connected someone with a need for a website content writer to a copywriter I met through crossover circles. They are meeting today to see if they can meet each other’s needs. Last night I had a conversation with a friend from New York I had not spoken to for over six months. We made arrangements to get together when she is in Chicago in March. On Wednesday I am having lunch with a classmate from my graduate school days to see if we can work together.

A lesson learned in my 53 years as a girl, volunteer and professional Girl Scout is to look wide for connections, friends, experiences, life lessons. The friendships, understandings and personal growth are the reward. Any resources manifested from them are a bonus.

Taking a deep breath, leaping and looking wider still…….

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved



A friend and I had breakfast last week. She and her partner have been remodeling an old farmhouse. They bought the property for the land, location and the outbuildings and decided to take the house down to the frame and make it over.  They plan to move in sometime this spring.

When we visited them in October we had a tour of the house project, met the new cats, petted the dog and stroked the horses. They have recently acquired rabbits and chickens.  Several yearling calves were to arrive at 3 this afternoon.  

Let me be clear, this is not a petting zoo, although she invited us to bring our grandson out after the new rabbits (NOT to be called baby bunnies!) are born in February. The calves will grow into beef for the freezer. The rabbits will be raised for meat. She would like to have geese because they help keep the insect population down. She did not mention eating them, although I am pretty sure the goose could be cooked.

A variety of garden seeds have already been ordered.  She offered to start tomato plants for me. We discussed growing and preserving eggplant, squash, parched corn, onion, herbs, beans and other vegetables.

This woman is in a really good place in her life. She has a successful insurance business, sells her beautiful handmade jewelry and is building a large craft room in her Morton building so friends can socialize and work together. She has raised three sons, been married and divorced, surprised to find herself a grandmother last year and is forging a new partnership.

Creating the life we want, working hard, having fun and enjoying friends and family……. life does not get much better……….and she is living her authentic life…..

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved