Archive from December, 2013
Dec 29, 2013 - My Story    3 Comments

In a Word…

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Mark Twain

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” Albus Dumbledore

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” William Shakespeare

With these quotes in mind, I performed my annual year-in-review journal entry. I typically list the months out and write anything notable that I remember. I then synthesize these lists into prose describing my year — this is basically my Christmas update. But then I went a step further. If I had to summarize my year in a sentence or even in a single word, how would I do it? I do this to make things memorable. I cannot for any length of time recall the lists of things that happened each month, but I can remember a phrase or a word linked to a year for much longer. I can identify periods of time in my life: forge steadily onward, movement and planting, healing and hope, uncertainty, longing for home, or new beginnings. Each word or phrase conjures a specific time and brings with it floods of memories. Each helps me organize my own life’s timeline.

Image: thewallpaperz.com

Image: thewallpaperz.com

If I could edit Shakespeare, (what gall!) I could revise the first quote to read, “Brevity is the soul of memory.” and that would be true as well.

So, drumroll please, If I had to summarize 2013 in a single word, it would be: Adulthood.

How about you? What would your summarizing word or phrase be for this year?

Dec 25, 2013 - Humor    No Comments

Cheeky, Cheeky

Cheeky, Cheeky

Lives up to his name.

Cheeky, Cheeky

Enjoys Christmas games.

Cheeky, Cheeky

Hides in tight spaces.

Cheeky, Cheeky

Moves without traces!

 

Here’s a loving look at Cheeky’s shenanigans this Christmas.

 

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Cheeky hangs around, lolligagging.

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Watching us from up above ( and getting dusty!)

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He learned about Physics…

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And then practiced feats of bodily physics (gymnastics!)

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Exhausted from his energy expenditure, he lounged and watched a little Netflix.

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He subtly reminded us to hang our Advent ornament each day.

Elf on the Shelf, Cheeky

And somehow found time to start dating, Mollie, the Elfette on the Shelf(ette)!

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And in the midst of all his shenanigans, Cheeky found time to kneel with the wise men and worship the new born King.

Merry Christmas full of joy, laughter, hope (and shenanigans) from Cheeky and Kelly

Dec 21, 2013 - Humor, My Story    3 Comments

My ACTUAL Christmas Update :)

Last year I bemoaned the fact that my life is in many ways unchanging. I worked at the same job, lived in the same house, and had my well-worn routines in life. No longer.

I have coined 2013 as “the year of adulthood” for me. I find myself repeatedly asking, “What would an adult do?” when making decisions. A giant portion of my year was spent praying about my job situation. I enjoyed my job as an occupational therapist helping stroke patients, but it did not provide benefits and the hours were becoming less guaranteed, so I began the job hunt. I searched far and near and ended up scoring a fantastic full time job working in NICU and pediatrics of all kinds. I love that this job relies on my strong sensory processing knowledge base and keeps me on my toes. Kids come to the hospital for everything from prematurity to cancer to heart surgery to epilepsy to falling off the monkey bars and breaking their arms. It’s a challenge to make therapy into play, but if I’m doing my job well, the kids just think they’re playing, they don’t realize they are getting stronger or practicing difficult skills! The patient population, coworkers, and benefits (hello, adulthood!) have all been a blessing.

Also, although I technically live in the same house, we got new carpet this summer so I moved out of and into my own house. I’m counting that as a major change since I had to play a game of “packing Tetris” and fit my entire bedroom into my bathroom. As a child of the 80’s, I had no trouble with this having logged dozens of Tetris hours in my youth!

Other adult-ish decisions:

  • I go to bed on time knowing that I’ll be a cranky mess if I don’t!
  • I attended a financial planning class where I had to budget, calculate necessary numbers for retirement, and let my teacher peer into my check book.
  • I paid off all debts! The primary focus of the financial course was debt reduction. So I got an A!
  • I’ve made healthy decisions. A few years ago I went on a hike with some friends and didn’t enjoy it at all. I felt tired and out of breath right at the start. Since then I’ve been on a lengthy path toward health. Trying new recipes, watching what I eat, and exercising have become routines.
  • I eat fiber. I’ll leave it at that…
  • My friend, Tracy, can make me do crazy things. I felt like I had plateaued in exercise and health last summer and she suggested I should take up running. She even offered to fly down and run my first 5K race with me last November. Race day arrived and I ran the entire 3.1 miles and, at that point, it was the longest I’d ever run! I got hooked on the feeling of accomplishment and the joy of crossing the finish line and I am now in training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) which takes place in February 2014! Planning ahead and avoiding injury are both very adult-ish undertakings!
  • I continue to blog and process life at www.IThinkonPaper.com. I think that writing is how I view life the best and I feel healthiest when I am regularly able to write. I post every few days and appreciate comments and feedback! I also have a few other writing projects in the works and meet with my editor, Abby, most Wednesdays to keep hammering away at them!
  • I seek balance in life. I have long shifts at the hospital and not much time after I get home before I need to be an adult and go to bed to do it again the next day. I don’t want to be so task-oriented that my relationships suffer. I want my life to be hospitable, to have room for the unplanned, and to be inviting to others.
  • I get my Christmas Letters out early! Thanks for reading, friends! I wish you the merriest of Christmases and that this would be a time to renew the excited little kid in each of you!

Love, Kelly

Elf on the shelf, pointsettia

Dec 17, 2013 - Running    1 Comment

My Marathon Progress

I ran a third of a marathon. Just over eight miles!

running, marathon

 

And it felt good. Even in those pants!

It was the first time I felt like I was in a rhythm, a groove. I plodded along, forging steadily onward for EIGHT MILES! I ran with a friend and the peer pressure kept me going well beyond what I could have done alone. And that got me thinking about my favorite Bible verses, Hebrews 12:1-2 which read,

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.

I understand those verses in way I never did before I started my running adventure. I know what running with endurance looks like. I know how important it is to lay aside weights and things which drag me down. I understand both the joys of aerodynamics and the irritation of chafing!

And I know how important it is to have someone with me, going at the same pace, encouraging my progress. This is true in running and in life. I would have quit well before I hit seven miles if CariAnn hadn’t been there. I would have given up in so many other areas of life without friends and family members pacing me– helping me conserve energy when I needed to and pushing me to sprint to the finish at other times. My quarter marathon run and those verses reminded me of the importance of choosing a good running mate because he or she can have an incredible influence on your race.

Who are you running with?

 

Dec 14, 2013 - My Story    2 Comments

Scroogery

I am a Scrooge. A Grinch. A Holiday Humbug.

scrooge

I never understood when people would talk about the stress of Christmas as a youngster. To me, Christmas was a magical time of joy and excitement and sleepless anticipation. Of course, as a kid all I had to do was sign my name to the family present and bring home my clothespin reindeer ornament to glorious, parental acclaim.

No longer.

Now I understand, firsthand, the stress of Christmas. The drive to do more. To be more. I feel driven to attend every event, set tables, be hospitable, make homemade cookies for friends and neighbors, write Christmas letters, take pictures, make handmade presents,wrap said presents with precision and care... and to be excited about it all. 

But this year, I’m just not in the spirit.

I feel pulled in many different directions in life in general, only to have it escalate exponentially one month out of the year. I cannot agree to every invitation that comes my way. It would not be healthy. I cannot pig out at every party, buffet, gathering or cookie exchange that occurs. It would not be healthy. I cannot stay up late hand making gifts for every friend, roommate, family member, and acquaintance. It would not be healthy.

So why do I expect myself to be able to do these things?

Why do I expect myself to be all things to all people any time of the year?

That is the source of the Scroogery. My unhealthy expectations of myself. I have decided to cure my scroogery. To repeat to myself, “Kelly, you are just one person. You have only so much time. Agreeing to everything will make you miserable. Say no frequently so you can say yes freely.”

I sit here humming contentedly, “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.”

It’s working.

 

Dec 12, 2013 - Humor, My Story    1 Comment

Santa!

That was the text I just sent.

To my 34 year old roommate. 

Every year in my town, Santa cruises through neighborhoods mounted atop a bedazzled firetruck. He waves at children who stream out of their houses, shouts “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and throws candy.

It’s quite the scene.

Here was my experience. I texted my roommate, “Santa!” as I heard the sirens. I then ran to notify my other roommate (also 34 years old!) to don her shoes and be ready to do some big guy chasing.

She was game. Snagged her shoes and cell phone and literally ran out the door. Now you must picture this. My roommate, Betsy,  is snagged out of bed where she has been non-stop for five days– due partially to marathon studying for finals and partially to a particularly pneumonia-like chest cold.

And she ran to see Santa.

We ran up the main street of our neighborhood and stopped at cross streets to listen cat-like for sirens before choosing our next path.

We found him.

Santa

(Looks kinda like Bigfoot, eh?)

Betsy did a dance, spun around, leapt into the air and basically jammed more movement into five seconds than she’d done in five days. It was a beautiful moment of placing adulthood aside for a moment, ignoring the finals, Greek paradigms and mucous lined lungs, to be a kid again and enjoy something freely.

Peppermint, Christmas

Santa then hurried past, pelting us with peppermints, which we dutifully picked up, crawling on the ground like peasants.

He was quite generous.

Santa peppermintsWe may have been more excited than the children.

Well done, local government, well done. You’d make even Leslie Knope proud with this spectacle!

How can you find small moments of childhood glee in the midst of this busy season?

 

Dec 9, 2013 - Humor    3 Comments

One Cheeky Elf

This is my Elf on the Shelf, Cheeky.

cheeky tree

He’s come out of his eleven month hibernation to play again.

So far he’s been pretty tame. Spending time with my roommates and of course, Will Ferrell.

Cheeky and Will Elf

Welcome to the Christmas season, Cheeky. Thank you for being yourself and bringing a little glee to a time that can feel stressful and overwhelming. Here’s to playfulness!

 

Dec 5, 2013 - Devotional    1 Comment

My Words are Like Pickles

I love Chick fil A.

In fact, I’m fairly certain that it will be on the menu in Heaven. It is certainly a treat for me to stop and pick up a juicy, perfectly breaded, chicken sandwich with polynesian sauce. (Who else is drooling now?)

But there’s one thing I don’t like about Chick fil A’s sandwich: pickles

Chicken-Sandwich

There they are, pompously peeking out from the bun!

I always forget to say no pickles! I don’t like them because I can never really rid the sandwich of their presence. Once they’ve touched the bun, even if I pick them off, the vinegary pickle juice– and accompanying flavor– remains.

This got me thinking, my words are like pickles. Hang with me here and the metaphor will make sense! If I say something caustic or cutting or unkind I can apologize, but the pickle of my word has already touched the bun of the relationship. Even if I apologize and try take my words back, removing the pickles from the bun, the flavor of my unkind words remains. Even more than I need to remember to order my delectable Chick fil A sandwich without pickles, I need to remember to think about my words before I speak them because words are potent and powerful, just like pickle juice!

 

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