Enjoying your Friday? Let me introduce you to my dear friend, Mimi. I first met her when we started going to Jacob's Well Church like six years ago. Michael and I helped with the grade school kids program, which Mimi led. She is a genuine spirit, and I've always looked to her for wisdom. Since back home from New Zealand she and I have had fun design meetings, collaborating on revamping kid spaces at church. I just love hanging out with Mimi. Her friendship is such a blessing. Here are her answers to some of my questions.
1. First off, will you introduce yourself and your family to us?
Hi. I am Mimi Keel. Tim is my partner in life. We met in Journalism class at Shawnee Mission East High School a few years ago. Mabry (19), Annie (16), and Blaise (11) are our three great kids. They continually teach us and enrich our lives. We connect around the dinner table, playing Settlers of Catan, and watching Lord of The Rings & Jayhawk basketball.
2. Mimi, you've spent the past several years in New Zealand with your family. Will you tell us why that was so great for your family? Any special memories you'd like to share about your time there?
Moving to New Zealand was a great adventure that knit our family together in special ways! Everything was new- location, house, school, people, friends, food, ocean :), accents, driving, cars, church….Being away from all things familiar caused us to rely more on each other and on God.
I found the people of NZ to be refreshingly happy and humble. Kiwis are very hospitable, enjoying tea time 3-4 times a day. They don't ever seem to be in a hurry, always having time to chat over a cup of tea. I learned a lot from their positive and unhurried posture in life. It always brought a smile to my face when the grocery clerk would end our interaction at the check out with "Thanks, Love."
3. What did you notice that was different about parenting in New Zealand versus parenting in the U.S.?
Whenever I went grocery shopping, I was struck by the way parents spoke to their children. I don't think I ever heard a parent speak in a cross tone. I sensed a deep respect and joy for children. It was always, "Good onya' Imogene" or "That was gorgeous, Love." And even when a child was a bit unruly, I'd hear, "Oh, Love, let's settle a wee bit."
3. You have much wisdom when it comes to spiritual formation in children. Is there a practical idea or two you could share with us that we can do with our children at home?
Practice and pursue our own personal lives in God first. Know that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in the life(lives) of our children. Let the Holy Spirit lead us as we live out our faith with our children. Ask a lot of questions. Learn together.
Read, act out, and play in the stories of God as told in the scriptures. Share conversation, ask questions, and share reflections as you play. Two primary questions- 1)What is God like? How does He show Himself in this story? Or in your day? (Is He strong? Patient? Loving?)
2) What about the other people in the story? Have you felt that way before?
God Sightings- God is at work all around us. At the beginning of the day, invite everyone in your family to God-Sighting, where everyone looks for God's creativity or love in their day. Come back at dinner and share one place where you saw or felt God's work or presence.
4. What else are you passionate about?
I love to exercise. It's great for my emotional health. I like classes at the YMCA- kick boxing, yoga, spin, boot camp.
I like to bike and enjoyed jogs along the coast by our house in Auckland.
5. Where do you go to have some r & r?
Each season, I enjoy joining the sisters in Clyde, Missouri at their monastery for retreat. I am renewed by praying and singing the psalms with them during their prayer times. And it's a beautiful place out in the country...
6. Any books or movies you'd like to recommend?
Book - The Gift of An Ordinary Day, by Katrina Kenison
Movie - Chasing Mavericks Movie- We saw it as a family and everyone loved it. Probably for 7 year old and up….
Thanks for sharing with us, Mimi!
Enjoy your pre-Christmas weekend everyone! May God's peace be with us as we anticipate Jesus!