Archive from August, 2013
Aug 30, 2013 - Health, Humor    1 Comment

A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

I met R2D2 at work today.

No joke. See?

r2d2 Florida Hospital for Children

He came delivering an important message to some kids I was working with. He brought a storm trooper and Darth Vader with him (who incidentally had foreign accents… which made me giggle!)

It was a delightful pause in a hectic day. I loved seeing the looks on children’s faces who were stuck in a hospital room. Many sat up, smiled, and summoned all the energy they had to take a picture with these famous heroes and villains. I was also surprised to see how excited I got! I wanted my picture taken with them just as much as my kiddos did. It was a sweet moment of laughter and reprieve in the midst of hard situations. I work with sick kids. They are fighting for oxygen, strength, and endurance much of the time. But, even for just a moment, they got to be kids, forget they were ill, and shake hands with Darth Vader … without getting their arm cut off! It just might be that laughter and joy are our portals to a galaxy far, far away.

Aug 28, 2013 - Health, Humor    6 Comments

Adult Cereal?

Until this week I had no idea there were different classes of cereals. I knew some were healthier, some more vibrantly colored, but I found an inarguable distinction in the store.

adult cereal

 

The adultness is present in the very names of these cereals. What kid would whine for Fiber Flakes or Colon Blow Clusters given the choice? What age is it when we transition from sugary rainbow cereal to good-for-you-fiber-filled cereals? Is it a physiologic need for increased fiber intake? Is it a social construct? A rite of passage? In my quest into adulthood I wasn’t aware that my cereal choices would be forced to change as well. But in adulthood, so much is different. I have to delay gratification and value my “future self”, in many ways, more than I value my “present self.” This is true in financial decisions, health choices, and apparently even breakfast intake! I’m still learning about this adulthood thing and I’m not sure why I fought so hard for it as a kid. It seems like I have an earlier bedtime now than ever! This trip to Target just provided me with one more reminder that I’m not a kid anymore. But as an act of rebellion, I bought Frosted Cheerios. Keeping the kid in me alive one bowl at a time!

How do you balance the “kid” and “adult” in your life?

Aug 26, 2013 - Humor, My Story    No Comments

Carpet Angels

So I’ve talked a lot about carpet this week. But just so everyone knows — it is great! I had a long, rough day at work the day it was installed and didn’t get home until about 8 pm. I traipsed in the door, doffed my shoes and gleefully did a few carpet angels! Taking in the softness, cleanness, and hard work on the part of so many people that went into this moment.

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Worth it!

Aug 23, 2013 - Devotional    3 Comments

Living in the Mess

Life is messy.

I learned that in new ways as my house was re-carpeted last week.

I didn’t like it. I didn’t like being unable to get to my dresser or shoes or underwear drawer because they were in my shower, behind seven layers of other stuff.

I didn’t like how much time it took to pack and unpack.

I didn’t like not feeling settled or home because things were so disheveled.

I didn’t like living in the mess.

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I felt very much like this:

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But I realized that life IS messy. There is no way around it. Life is painful and full of blocked goals. Relationships, spaces, and plans are messy at times and we have to learn to live in the midst of the mess. I wish I could say that now that I’ve unpacked and have my oodles of books back in their homes that I feel all better. That one battle has been fought and won — due to my organizational ninja skills! — but life continues to be messy. Sometimes my soul feels restless in the waiting and the frustration. A frustration that carpet, or organizing, or moving, or marriage, or children could not appease. My heart longs to experience a peace that this world cannot provide. St. Augustine famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” My heart is restless, but for now I am called to live and forge steadily onward in the messiness of life. Taking time to celebrate small victories (like unpacking), and taking time to commiserate with others over the frustration of blocked goals whenever they occur.

Take heart, Beloved. Life is messy now, but in Christ, it won’t always be.

Aug 21, 2013 - Humor, My Story    3 Comments

Carpet Preparedness

It’s hurricane season and everyone is talking about preparedness. But I’ve been preparing for my own life-altering situation.

Last week my house got new carpet… nice, right? Yes and no. It is beautiful, and currently stain-free, but it was back breaking work for weeks before and after. Our installers were particular about what furniture they would move and what they wouldn’t, which meant I basically moved out of and then back into my own house over the past two weeks.

ALL of my furniture went into my bathroom. It was the most amazing game of packing Tetris I’ve ever played.

Here’s some photo evidence:

my room

Notice the lack of stuff in my room?

Here it is!

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I hope I don’t have to take a shower…

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Or use the toilet!

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Here’s a few snippets of the rest of the house:

 

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Packing Tetris WIN! It just had to be off the floor, it didn’t have to be packed away properly!

So, that’s the evidence of what we’ve gone through. Read later this week to see if it was all worth it!

 

 

Aug 19, 2013 - Devotional, Exegesis, Health    No Comments

Running and Asceticism

I’ve never experience the runner’s high, endorphine-flooded, goofy-this-feels-like-walking-only-faster-I-could-run-forever state of being. I feel every foot-pouding step, every muscle contraction, every oxygen-drenched breath when I run.

I run for two reasons:

1. The sense of accomplishment is addicting.

2. To tell myself, “no.”

When I completed my first 5K, I was totally pumped. Not by runner’s high endorphines, but by the sense of immense accomplishment. I started off running thirty seconds at a time and sucking air after each interval. I had just run 35 minutes without stopping. I crossed the finish line, fists in the air, thrilled at what I had just accomplished. It felt like I was walking on a cloud for weeks. Any tough problem that I encountered  seemed to soften in comparison to finishing that race. I’m addicted to accomplishment. That’s why I run.

Jingle Jungle 5K

Secondly, I run for self-discipline. It is good for me to endure through trials. It is good for me to push a little bit harder when my legs want to quit. My body wants certain things: sleep, rest, comfort, ease. Although there’s nothing wrong with those desires inherently, there are times the body and the flesh must be told, “No.”

Self-discipline is a constant training process.

There is a reason I understand much more than I did two years ago why Paul consistently talks about running and spirituality in the Bible. He entreats his readers to train, run, not run in vain, to finish the race. One of my favorite passages: Hebrews 12:1-2 reads: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Life is a marathon; we must train to run well. Even Jesus denied his bodily desires and ran the race set before Him until he crossed the finish line. He is still celebrating the completion of His race. And so am I.

Aug 18, 2013 - Devotional    1 Comment

Loving My Limits

 Loving my limits 

By Leigh McLeroy

(c) 2013

 
I don’t want a super-sized Diet Dr. Pepper. A medium, heavy on the ice, is fine–thank you. And I don’t covet more space than the 1,400 square feet I happily came to call my own last April. (Actually, there are still days when I think it might be too big.) I don’t need a newer car, more clothes, or music, or books, or pretty things to fill up my closets or shelves or rooms. I have enough stuff. I’m blessed.

I’m not unambitious. My head is still turned by beauty of all sorts.I hope to keep being asked to do meaningful work that matters to me. I hope to write more books, teach more lessons, craft more poems. I hope to grow (by breadth and depth) my circle of friends. I have plenty of longings that continue to tug at my heart. But they don’t break it. Not anymore.
I’ve dreamed of traveling to Africa, but it’s not likely that I ever will. I’m not able to take the vaccines currently required to do so. And I’d love to spend a few days at a place closer to home, too, but for now, that kind of trip is solidly out of my reach. Every once in a while I imagine what it might be like to have a tiny place in the country to get away to, although it’s just as nice to be loaned the keys to someone else’s now and then. Maybe nicer. And when people ask about the children they assume I have, although I feel compelled to deflect attention from my childlessness, I am grateful for the chances that are mine to demonstrate what I imagine mother-love to be..

Finally, after years of wanting, and seeking, and striving (and more than a little envy), I’m learning to love not just my gifts–but my limits. There are things I can’t do…may never do. Things I don’t currently have…and may never have. I could focus on them and become unhappy or resentful, or I could consider how those limits redirect me, refocus my desire, and refine my heart for the better. I could choose to glorify God by loving my limits, and living to the hilt here, now, with what I have, and nothing more.

There’s no shame in admitting I lack some things. In all things I have more than enough: I have Him.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O God, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Psalm 62:1-2, 11-12)

© Leigh McLeroy, 2013
If you would like more of Leigh’s brilliant and beautiful observations of life, sign up for her weekly email at http://www.leighmcleroy.com/wednesday-words.html
Aug 16, 2013 - My Story    4 Comments

Kelly Kamp

Recently I hosted the most amazing summer camp ever.

For one camper… my brother, Kyle.

He came for the weekend as I jammed as much funness into two days as I could possibly think of.

We played games, went to nerdy stores, played miniature golf, ate special foods, had a silly string fight, went to the movies, and, en route to all of these events, listened to his favorite music on full volume in my car.

mini golf

Apparently, this guy couldn’t handle all that awesomeness packed into one weekend.

Kyle sleeping

 

I love being a big sister. I love seeing my brother grow up. We are nearly fifteen years apart, but are much closer than our ages would typically allow. I get to play the roles of mom, cool eccentric aunt, big sister, counselor, and playmate.

Although it was initially a paradigm shift when I was in high school and had a baby brother at home, I love our age gap now. I am relatively old enough to give advice and share some lessons I’ve learned, but relatively young enough to still be relatable and cool enough to ask for advice. What a beautiful thing!

When I imagined my thirties years ago, I thought I’d be planning events for my own children. Some days those thoughts make me melancholy, but today I’m glad that I get to spend my time blessing others. I have free weekends and can use them wisely. I didn’t anticipate it, but weekends like Kelly Kamp make me thankful that I’m single and have time to plan stellar weekends for my kid brother.

So, when is the next installment of Kelly Kamp?

Aug 14, 2013 - Devotional, My Story    2 Comments

Money, Money, Money

Money. Dollars. Savings. Retirement. Spending. Investments.

They’ve been on my mind a lot lately.

Tonight is the last session of my financial class. Over the past several months, I’ve been challenged about my views on money and have learned how to be a better steward through this class. I’ve had budgeting homework every week. I’ve watched the stock market. I’ve figured out ways to cut down on my spending and not purchase frivolously.

But I’m tired of thinking about money! I don’t want to be so focused on saving that I’m not generous. I do not want to be miserly. I want to spend smartly, save wisely, and bless others. I want to invest well.

I’m determined to make good habits and not turn into Scrooge McDuck diving through his money vault joyfully hoarding for himself.

scrooge mcduck

Money really does reveal what you love. I’ve spent more time looking through my past spending records and am continually amazed how much life costs and how much I spend to make myself feel better. After a hard day, I may treat myself to a trip by the craft store. And it even though the dollar amount might be small in comparison, the link between spending and happiness is strong in my life. I tell myself, “I am not Scrooge McDuck. Hoarding does not equal happiness.” I read a financial book last week and the biggest take home message for me was this. Money: When you die, you can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. Investing my resources in something much larger and longer lasting than my own life, that is a wise investment.

What are you investing in?

Aug 11, 2013 - My Story    3 Comments

Carpet and Clutter

We’re scheduled to get new carpet this week.

It’s overdue. Years of lovely roommates tromping in and out of our humble abode has left the carpet worn, stained and puny. Part of me is so excited. I remember when my parents got new carpet. It was so plush I felt like I was walking on the moon! It was a party for my feet everyday! Part of me is thrilled to get new carpet and eagerly anticipates my daily “feet parties.”

Carpet-Installation

But the other part of me is having a panic attack.

I have entirely too much stuff. The thought of moving all of my books, furniture, books, bin, boxes, books, and treasures is nearly overwhelming. Where will they fit? They can’t all go in the kitchen or bathroom — the only non-carpeted areas of the house. Ever since I heard the impending carpet installation day, I’ve been on a mission to get rid of stuff. I’ve sold back some books. Taken a few loads of stuff to Goodwill. And not bought anything new. I keep asking myself, “Is this worth it? Do I want to move this multiple times?” More often than not the answer is “No.”

Although I dread the day when everything has to actually come off of the shelves and be reassembled on top of plush, luxuriant, new carpeting, it is a good exercise for me.

I want to own my stuff not have it own me.

Right now my stuff is owning me. It’s owning my thoughts, energy, and time to pack, move, and relocate my clutter. I long for a simpler, less cluttered life and this purge is getting me one step closer.

What about you? Do you own your stuff or do you feel it owning you?

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