Growing Up: An International Move


Apparently I’m living in a new country.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t abducted by anyone. I’ve had the plan in the works for some time.
It’s only my first move as an adult.
Approximately 3,825 miles.

I’m back in London.
My “other home.”
Adjustment is still required.

After arriving Tuesday afternoon, I’ve lounged around, visited my uncle’s and aunt’s house for dinner, and visited a cafe in the park.

Considering the past two months (or more) of craziness, I’m relishing the relaxation. Next week, I’ll kick back into gear.

Until then, this evening shall consist of: tea, Skype, and ice cream.

Mhmm. Sounds perfect, right?

Grass Never Looked So Good


Photo By K.L.R.

One day!

One day until my favorite grand slam of the year appears on the television.

One day until Andy Murray walks onto the grass courts at the All England Lawn Tennis Club to defend his title.

If you want to know the fastest way to make me cry–show me last year’s Men’s Final.
I’ll lose it every time.
Andy Murray won on 7/7 (incidentally, my birthday) after 77 years without a British man winning Wimbledon.
(Did I mention I was there, in Centre Court?  Oh, I was.)

It was, in a word, magnificent.
In another word, beautiful.

Here’s to another two weeks of tennis; the best two weeks of tennis!

Paper Towels: How to Deal

Occasionally in life coincidences–synchronicities–run rampant.
This is the case of my past eight days.

Eight days ago, as I walked to my car with my cousin, I noticed a dead bird sticking out, head first, of the grill of my car.
Confused, amused, and disgusted, I recalled the bird in the road the day before who I didn’t see fly away, nor did I see feathers fly.
Apparently it’s because he decided to lodge himself in my car.
It required removal via shovel (and let me tell you, it was very stuck).

Two mornings after the bird removal, I awaken at the home where I am house sitting.
I walk into the bathroom and notice something on the floor.
Ah, um, what?
Yes, that is a mouse head with one beady eye looking up at me.
And next to it?  Another body part.
I traipse off to get something to clean with–preparing myself for the awful task ahead–when my foot steps on something wet.
I scream and jump away…those are the mouse’s organs.
I’ll cut to the chase and say I cleaned up mouse parts from four parts of the house and cat vomit.

That night, while feeding the dog, I peer at something that looks like an animal had an accident in the basement.
Startled with a minor heart attack, it was only a toad.

With a day break in between, Thursday night I look out the back door to find the cat…and something behind him.
A rabbit.  The bunny moved, the cat jumped on it.  I banged on the door, opened the door, yelled at the cat, tried to chase the cat off (you know, in hopes the poor bunny would have a chance to get away)…to no avail.
Long story short–I found a rabbit foot, head, body, and innards on the back porch in the morning.
And no hawk or snake was considerate enough to remove it for me during the day.
Therefore, last night, after a very long day, I sling-shot the bunny from the snow shovel into the woods–only to see the cat coming towards me immediately after.

The current moral to the story: Kirsten is practicing for a world where there aren’t people to help clean up the gross stuff.  And screaming is okay when there is no one to hear you.

And, we won’t tell the environmentalists how many paper towels I used in the mouse clean-up…

Why We Should Take More “Selfies”

Claire: “Why can’t you just take it without me?”
Thom: “Because, without you in the picture, it’s a flat shot.  It’s like a postcard… Alright.  Alright, go on and take a look. “
Thom: “Alright, put me on, like, the side of the frame.  You see how it’s a little easier to take in all of it with something in the foreground?”
Claire: “Yeah, it’s just not the same.”
Thom: “Yeah, exactly.”

-Take Me Home (2011)

Over the past few weeks and months I’ve grown increasingly annoyed with the overuse and negative connotation of the term “selfie.”  I agree, there is an over abundance of bathroom mirror pictures and “What a beautiful day” captioned photos of people’s faces–ultimately furthering a self-centered society (which is not the point of this post).  However, any photo of people that isn’t taken by someone not pictured is termed a “selfie” and treated as though it is a lesser form of photography.  Truly, the “selfie” is evidence of technological advances.  With the extension of an arm and the push of a button, we can document our own lives.

I looked through my “mobile uploads” on Facebook and recalled events I’d not thought about in ages, laughed at a few moments, and reminisced of a time in my life that has passed.  Some were selfies.  But, as the quote at the beginning says, it makes the scenery less flat.

If you know me or follow my blog, you’ve probably figured out I travel relatively frequently, whether across the ocean or a few states away.  More often than not, I’m traveling alone.  There is no one to take my picture in front of something I want to document.  Thus, I choose.  Do I take a selfie or keep going and fail to document this trip, experience, event, etc.  A lot of times, I take the selfie.  Why?  BECAUSE IT’S A MEMORY!  I want to share it.  I want to remember it.  And, I don’t have a camera crew following me around.

Photography has boomed in recent years.  No longer must we sit perfectly still in hopes of one good picture.  Cameras are not only for those who can shell out vasts amount of money.  Almost everyone with a cell phone has a camera.  Digital cameras come in all sizes.  Future generations will not have to scrounge, hunting for pictures of their grandparents and great-grandparents.  We are leaving thousands of photographs (albeit, mostly digital–which could disintegrate…so print a few of them, just in case).

My brother’s graduation was last week.  One of his classmates was speaking from the podium and ended by saying, “But first, let’s take a selfie.”  She did, and it went on Twitter.  She documented herself, her classmates, and the memory of that day–and it was great.

So, when your cousin just graduated from nursing school and the wine is handy, take a quick selfie before she has to run off to the rest of her guests!

We have the technology–let’s use it!

P.S. It’s really only a selfie when you’re the only person in the picture.



Why I Hate the Word Ministry

P1030557Photo by K.L.R.

*Written approximately four months ago*

It’s ok, breathe, I didn’t just speak heresy.

“Ministry” is a word thrown around to describe something a person or group does to help other people…typically in the name of God.

For some reason people feel it is necessary to label that part of life, rather than considering it simply “working with high school students” or “helping single moms” or “meeting with a group of friends…who may or may not be Christians” or some other activity you do throughout your day, week, month, year in order to have a life that is not centered strictly around you.

We all live life.
But, life is not divided into a lot of squares.
Life is a mish-mash of running errands, going to work, spending time with friends and family, cleaning the house, helping your neighbor, running food to someone who needs it, going to church (or another religious gathering place, if you are religious), involving yourself in that place…ultimately, life is functioning as a part of a community and doing what is necessary in your particular place.

Back to why I hate the “M” word.
It evokes images of people giving of themselves, holding themselves above others, and making people(s) into a project that they can help/fix/change/whatever.

In college, we were required for three semesters to have some “ministry.”  Then, for the following three semesters, it was a degree specific “ministry” (or internship…a little more open to interpretation).  I fell under the false idea that if I was enjoying myself I couldn’t count the hours…because, God forbid I enjoy what I was doing…after all, it was “ministry.”

Now, one year, eight months, and seventeen days after graduating, I find myself hating the word even more.
Why do I need to label something I do?

Am I supposed to call it ministry every time I hang out with my high school students (who, by the way, I adore)?
Am I supposed to call it ministry when I take food to a family who is low?
What about those kids who come from a not so great home, should I make it my life goal to fix them and make up for the deficit left by their parents?

No.  I love to hang out with my kids.  We have a good time together…we laugh, joke, and sometimes share deeper conversations.
That family?  It’s called being a human and caring for someone’s well being.
And the kid who doesn’t have a great home?  Please, let me provide an escape for them!  Need a getaway?  I can be that.

But what is my motivation?  I love people.  I care about their well being.  I want to be friends with a variety of people.

I do not want to invite people into my life for the purpose of giving me a “project.”
They know.

Instead of ministry, I live life.

I’m supposed to love God and love others.

Reality Wins

20140430-212334.jpgWhen you shop a J.Crew sale and there are no dressing rooms…
…you have your cousin take a picture

Here’s the funny thing about life–it gets away from us all.
Actually, it’s not getting away, it’s just happening so quickly and densely that there’s no time to record it–except for the glaring proof to the right of this post that I Instagram rather frequently.  And Tweet.  (If you’re dying to follow along–which I know you are– both are @klrichardson_ ).

And that’s ok.

But, it means my blog gets overlooked because I’m busy helping direct pageants, taking roadtrips, working multiple jobs, coaching tennis (when it doesn’t rain and I’m not working), and the occasional time with friends (Oh yeah, and shopping J. Crew sales!).

I have a sort-of-goal to revamp my blog once school finishes.  A month and a half (a little less) and I’ll be able to take some time to make it more regular (because I love to write, share, and process…and I really want it to be productive and generate feedback).

In preparation for this, I would love to hear from all you people that read my blog (because I know you do).  So, if there’s anything you’d love for me to write about, shoot me an email at: or leave a comment below!

To summarize this very-much-rambling blog post:

1. I know I don’t blog a lot.
2. Revamping should be coming soon.
3. FEEDBACK!  I want to hear ideas from you all!

(That just made me think of the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe saying, “So, next time remember, lamp post, hills, my house.”)

Teachers, Do You Know The Weapon You Wield?


Dear Teachers,

I know you look at your students with disbelief at some of the things you overhear them saying seven feet away from you…because when you’re gone, I hear it, too.  It’s as though they think you can’t hear them, don’t understand English, or were never a teenager.  Ah, but that is where they are mistaken.  You, your colleagues, and I chuckle about it after they leave and sometimes catch them at something later because of a slip-of-the-tongue.

Yet, there is a contradictory factor at play in this scenario.  When you are seven feet away from your students, you talk to your colleagues about school being better without the students, you complain about a particular grade, and loudly (and laughingly) state other such negative comments.  Do you think they don’t hear you?

I am an observer, I see both sides, I’ve participated in both sides.  I remember sitting in that desk hearing teachers (who I liked) speak negatively about students (sometimes jokingly).  I now sit on the side of the teacher and hear the negative chatter–sadly, I cannot claim innocence from participating.

I beg of you, each and every person who claims the title of teacher, educator, aide, substitute, guidance counselor, and administrator, please speak words of kindness that uplift, challenge, and encourage our students to do their best and be the best “them” that they can be.  I don’t have to tell you that many of them only hear negative comments out of school, so let’s be a place of safety where they can learn and grow.  How many struggle with their self-image, confidence, eating disorders, abuse, drugs, alcohol, and so much more?  What if they want help?  Are you approachable?  Do they look at you and know you’ll listen without flying off the handle, love them, and offer them assistance with grace and compassion?

Our children are not problems.  They are precious lives that need guidance, discipline, and the space to grow with help nearby.  From preschool to the seniors about to walk across the stage, they all need to know they are loved, cared for, and approved of.  Those are all things that we can give.  Can you step up to that challenge?


An imperfect substitute who has a deep love for her students