Kristin Lekens was born and raised in the small town of Mishawaka, Ind. She lived with her parents, her twin sister, Anne, and older sister, Amy. In their neighborhood, Lekens said the kids would stay out way after dark playing Ghost in the Graveyard with friends, in a time when it was still safe to do so.
“I wasted my parents’ money for a couple years at Ball State University,” Lekens said, “before I was hired by United Airlines as a flight attendant. I traveled the world for a few years before I married and settled here in Apple Valley in 1992.”
She spent 18 years as a stay-at-home mom to four beautiful sons. By her own choice, she found herself a single mom in need of a job, and was lucky enough to be hired two years ago at The Wine Seller.
Q: What’s on your “bucket list?”
A: This is a funny question for me since I don’t have a bucket list. I have done so much in my life, met so many interesting people and traveled to so many places, that at this point in my life my bucket list is blank. Ask me again in 10 years, eh?
Q: If you could ask God any question, what would you ask?
A: I have asked God many questions in my life that He has directly answered, and some he has answered with silence. I trust He is in control, so who am I to question Him? When I eventually do see Him, I will simply say, “Thank you.”
Q: Who are three people you admire and why?
A: I admire any woman who can go balls to the wall after years of emotional, mental and even physical abuse, by saying enough is enough by standing up for herself and her children. I admire the woman who would rather be in a battered women’s shelter for an extended period of time, just to make sure there won’t be one more day of abuse of any kind for herself or her kids. Finally, I admire the woman who was beaten down for years, who found that last bit of courage and strength to leave. These women won’t have an easy go of it, but I admire their courage to try. They are worth so much more than what they’ve been led to believe.
Q: Tell us about your sense of humor. Who makes you laugh?
A: Who makes me laugh? I do! If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’ve got a fairly poor sense of humor in my book. But, other people who make me laugh out loud? My sisters, my sons, my family — we really are the “funniest people I’ve ever met” — and those close to me who share my random, dry and off-the-wall take on life. If you found the movie “Fargo” hysterical, you are my kind of humor.
Q: What are the key ideas that form your values and outlook?
A: This one is so simple, yet in two parts that make a whole. I’ve tried very hard to teach my sons this, and I try very hard to live it every day: It doesn’t cost you a penny, or more than a few seconds of your time, but saying a kind, encouraging word to someone, or lending a quick hand can make all the difference in someone’s day. They could be having the worst day ever, but by your kind words (“Wow! That’s a beautiful color on you”) or simple gesture (handing over your cart at the store when it only carries your purse to someone about to lose their eggs because their arms are so full) can be the one bright spot in a world that has become so about itself. Secondly, do not judge. You may think you know all about someone by their appearance, rumors you’ve heard or simply pulling from your own past experience, but you don’t know. So treat everyone as if they are just like you, because more than likely you aren’t too different. Let’s face it, would you want to be judged? Today’s society has taken judging others to the Olympic level.
Q: Have you ever had a close brush with death?
A: That’s a negative.
Q: What could the America of yesterday teach the America of tomorrow?
A: I feel like I need to start this answer with, “Back in my day ...” I would hope the America of yesterday would smack the America of today and tell them to stop being so self-centered, selfish and lazy. That it’s not all about you personally, and maybe if today’s America thought about putting others first, we wouldn’t be so much in the crapper right now. America of yesterday should shake a stern finger at America of today and say, “Look around, lend a hand and be nice, you Chowderheads.” (Climbing off my soapbox now.)
Q: What brings you joy?
A: Freshly ground, good coffee with half and half, together time with my family that is spread out so far around the US, chicken paprikash at Christmas, and seeing my four sons thrive happily as they speed through life.
Q: When you contemplate the meaning of your life, what do you conclude?
A: The meaning of my life? That’s an interesting one. I was given one chance at this life, and I have screwed up repeatedly, but I try very hard to make a positive difference every single day, especially for my boys. When I die, I hope that people will say, “She smiled all the time, she always made me laugh, and she made me feel like I mattered.” Hopefully my sons will think I did the very best I could, and gave everything I had to make sure they were happy, warm, fed; and that they felt safe and loved.
Q: Aside from the obvious, when you count your blessings, what are you grateful for?
A: Believe it or not, I am thankful for the most difficult last two years of my life: An extremely long, cantankerous divorce, desertion by many I considered close friends, complete poverty and the loss of nearly every thing material in my life has been beyond difficult, but I have survived. This journey has completely reset who I was, forcing me into being stronger than I ever thought possible, far less naïve and making me realize that real and true friends were here and weren’t going anywhere. It’s helped me how to learn to trust just a chosen few again, and has brought my sons and I closer than ever before since we were forced to pull together to make life work. Apparently I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but the lessons I’ve learned have sharpened my resolve, and as incredibly difficult as it was, I’m blessed by its result. This girl is thankful to finally be nobody’s fool.
Q: What would you want your great-great grandchildren to know about you?
A: That I was a good person: smart, funny, strong, caring, generous and happy, and that when I love, I love with everything that I am. I want them to know I never gave up, and I always found a way, and that it may have taken me way too long to figure out that it’s OK to ask for help, but I was finally able to humble myself and did.
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