Browsing "My Story"

Feeling Seen at Christmas

I got my holiday schedule and noticed the plethora of days on which I had been scheduled to work. Including the entire week of Christmas. Sigh. I was initially grumpy and worried that it would be a hard week. I’d be alone in my house. Alone on Christmas. (Play violin music here).

But several factors made me feel very seen this Christmas. Seen and loved.

  1. Visitors! I had some surprise visitors including my parents, brother, and friend Tracy who adjusted their schedules to spend some time with me this Christmas. Their presence and willingness to adjust their schedules to accommodate mine changed my attitude immensely. Here are Tracy and I in our all our natural beauty.kelly tracy funny face
  2. Food! My sweet friends, Wendy and Mandi, made lunch for my team and delivered it Christmas Eve. It changed my entire day. I was able to notify my fellow therapists that an elf came to deliver treats! We were giddy. Truly. It had been a hard morning, and this magic salad turned our days around. These women were able to provide in practical ways to care for those who care for others. We all felt noticed and loved.IMG_2915 food delivery
  3. 3. Perspective! Many of my friends who heard about my schedule texted, called or messaged me to tell me how important my work was and how special this week could be if I went in with the right perspective. I was able to provide love, cheer, and tiny snuggles to my patients who were stuck in the hospital too. One of my friends, whose son has spent more than his fair share of time in hospitals, thanked me personally for working. It struck me how powerful that moment was because she knows what it is like to parent in the hospital. She understands what it is like to try to sleep next to her little one with monitor alarms and hourly rounding interrupting her. She has experienced staff with bad attitudes which can ruin an interaction and with good attitudes who can be a breath of fresh air. I’m determined to have a good attitude for her, her son, and everyone else in a similar situation.

    Thank you to everyone who cared for me while I cared for others. Thanks for making my Christmas memorable, merry, and purposeful.

What made YOUR Christmas merry this year?

Hospitals Don’t Get Holidays

To celebrate Christmas this year, I am wearing scrubs with a festive vest overtop and snowflake hair flair. This year I’m celebrating a working Christmas. I will be at the hospital performing evals, doing therapy, facilitating discharge processes and providing tiny snuggles. (And helping to make this little rehab patient!)

gingerbread candy cane walker

I must admit, I was pretty grumpy when I got the holiday schedule this year. It took some time for me to realize that this was not a curse, but an opportunity. I could bless my co-workers and allow them to celebrate with their families and I could provide love to my patients and their families in a very tender place as they celebrated Christmas morning in decorated hospital rooms instead of at home.

Truly, it was delightful. I dressed up ridiculously (as mentioned above) in order to provide a little holiday merriment to everyone I encountered. And I had purpose. I determined to provide a little love to those kids and babies whose families could not be with them this morning. I was going to hold, rock, play with, and pray for my patients. And it would be a beautiful day.

I provided hugs to a few family members who were grieving the fact that their little one was hospitalized instead of home for the typical Christmas morning experience. I adjusted bedding and positioning for babies to they could be comfortable, save calories, grow, and go home sooner. I helped another get out of bed after surgery so he could play with his new toys. It was a good day. Hospitals don’t get holidays because illness doesn’t take a holiday. So compassion and care shouldn’t either.

Dec 21, 2014 - My Story    6 Comments

Bon Appetit?

Goulash

Here is my CrockPot full of steaming hot, perfectly seasoned Hungarian Goulash! I chopped and diced and measured in anticipation of a great meal. But there’s something ugly lurking in the midst of this meal. Apparently, when I added the meat and removed one of those silicon meat sleeves, I did not notice a second sleeve lurking. And so I cooked the meal with said sleeve infiltrating the ranks for half a dozen hours.

meat sleeve

Here it is, burst open and leaking on a decorative Christmas envelope. When I discovered the stowaway (which truly I don’t know how I didn’t see it because I stirred the goulash multiple times!) I had a decision to make. Was it worth risking getting sick to throw out a $20 meal and have to scramble for something to eat that night? I weighed this decision heavily. I hate throwing out food. I hate wasting money. I hate feeling foolish! But I also hate being sick. And in this instance, that hatred won out among the bunch.

It was amazing to me how small a piece of plastic could derail my entire night. I mourned the lost food, money, and time as I threw out my contaminated meal. I grieved my expectation of a delightful meal. I bemoaned my own ineptitude and oversight!

And then I realized that I had to share this. I’m determined not to allow my “public persona” –be in on my blog, Facebook, Twitter or any other social site– be a collection of only my good moments. That would be a record of a relatively small portion of my life. I am determined to share a more balanced view. I make mistakes. I cry. I need people. I add meat sleeves to my food and cook and stir for six hours without noticing their presence! That’s real life. It’s messy and hidden and it takes bravery to let people see the less than glowing moments.

I want to share real life moments. But I promise if I ever invite you over to dinner that meat sleeve won’t be on the menu!

Anyway, I blame cheeky for this whole debacle!

cheeky goulash

Nov 8, 2014 - My Story    1 Comment

Creativity Having Fun

My yearly inner debate happened again this year. I don’t want a prepackaged costume for Halloween. And I don’t want to spend much money. I want to make it myself for cheap AND be something awesome and unique. I want it to be just me, my imagination, and whatever Goodwill has to offer.

Costuming, to me, is creativity having fun.

I had so much fun this year, I couldn’t restrain myself to just one costume. So I chose three.

minnie mouse costumeCostume One! Minnie Mouse

Cost – Seventy-five cents. Three pieces of felt and some creative repurposing of an old skirt!

mrs doubtfire costume

mrs doubtfire costume

Costume Two! Mrs. Doubtfire

Cost – $1.84 shirt purchased from Goodwill to burn for good measure. (Pot lids available without purchase!)

carmen sandiego costume

Costume Three! Carmen Sandiego

Cost- $3.99 (big spender here!) for inflatable globe as prop to make sure everyone knew who I was.

I borrowed all other pieces of clothing and make a few accessories from my jewelry stash. What a fun day to be celebrate creativity having fun!

What is your favorite costume ever?

 

 

Oct 29, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    4 Comments

Hi, How Are You?

image credit: jhocy.com

image credit: jhocy.com

Don’t ask me how I’m doing.

Really. Don’t.

On my best days it will make me roll my eyes and on my worst it could make me angry. I am tired of people asking me how I am in the hallway and walking past me before I have a chance to answer. I’m tired of “Hi, How are you?” being the standard greeting with an expected response of “fine” or “good” and nothing more. I’ve started giving odd answers as a social experiment akin to Robin Williams in Patch Adams to see if I could elicit a different response. Here’s some examples:

“Good morning, Kelly. How are you?”

“I miss my pet tyrannosaurus.”

or

“How did I get here? I must have been sleep walking.”

or the ever popular

“Meh.”

But don’t confuse my frustration over this ubiquitous question with me wanting to keep people at a distance. If anything, I want to invite them in more. I want to be able to answer honestly when life is good and I feel blessed beyond words and when I’m struggling and in need of hope to light my way. I want to be able to share when I feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and when I’ve had a huge personal victory and want to invite someone to share in my celebration. And none of that can be encompassed in one word while we pass in the hallway. I care about real speech, not scripted speech. I promise I won’t ask you how you are doing unless I have time to listen to the answer.

And I suppose I should amend my initial statement to read, “Don’t ask me how I’m doing… unless you really mean it.

So, how are you? Really. I’m all ears.

Sep 9, 2014 - My Story, travel    2 Comments

Canoes and Kayaks

During one particularly lonely and tear-filled night, my comfort came from an unexpected phrase which kept popping up in my mind.

“Everybody suffers.”

You might be wondering how that is at all comforting. But, to me, it means that life is full of suffering and struggle this side of Heaven. Everyone suffers. Single or married. Parent of ten or childless. Employed or homemaker. Slender or hefty. Beautiful or plain. Rich or poor. That is, there is no marital or parental status, job, beauty, monetary value, or external factor that can make someone happy. We do ourselves a gross injustice when we elevate any of the above categories to instant happiness level. Yes, everyone suffers, but as my dad has always said, every stage of life has drawbacks as well as benefits. So the comforting side of that statement for me became, “Yes, I’m single. I’m a woman. I’ve at times felt overlooked and under appreciated, but not marriage, nor children, nor a job can make me ultimately happy. My job is to accentuate the greenness of my own pasture instead of pining after the unattainable greenness in another’s field.”

Or to put it another way…

orlando grace church IMG 0432 Thoughts on Canoes and Kayaks

Most people live in canoes. They have a co-rower, a committed fellow boater, a spouse. They can rely on each other to steer and power the canoe. Both need to row to keep the boat straight, but they have double the manpower to direct their vessel. Canoes falter when only one person paddles. The boat begins to go in circles, never arriving where it’s headed.

But I don’t live in a canoe.
I am a kayak.

I hold a double-sided oar; I direct the vessel of my life. I am swift, sleek, mobile, and able to maneuver in tight spots that a canoe just can’t. I can change direction quickly without consulting with another person. But I always have to row. No one else is in the kayak with me – it is a one-seater – so if I stop rowing the current soon has it’s way with my vessel.

The analogy breaks down of course, as all do, because I do not live life completely alone. I have loads of fellow kayakers and canoers who are traveling at different speeds down the river of life watching out for me, helping me make decisions, gently directing my kayak away from rocks, waterfalls, and sandbars and pushing me in the right direction.

Not to mention Jesus! I don’t know if He would be the current, or the goal, or the whole river in this analogy, but safe to say He’s there and He’s instrumental in the direction of my kayak, other kayaks, and canoes too!

Kayaks are not better than canoes, they are just different. They’re built for different purposes. Canoes promote cooperation, commitment, stability, and a joint plan. Kayaks are built for independence, quickness, and spontaneity. I’ve decided to embrace my kayak life for now. I will not mope that I have not been given a canoe. I will take advantage of my kayak – it is the only seaworthy vessel I have. I will enjoy the freedom of my kayak and take advantage of it. I will face the rapids with an adventurous spirit. I will show others the beauty of my kayak.  I will cheer my fellow kayakers to do the same. For someday I may very much miss my kayak when I’m in a canoe and the pace alters or when I am rowing in circles because my canoe partner needed a break. I will not pine for a canoe, but I will enjoy the beauty of my canoe with it’s camaraderie and companionship when and if it does arrive.

I will not let others’ opinions affect how I view my kayak. God gave me this kayak and I am meant to care for it, enjoy it, and row with all my might. I will love my kayak.

I am kayak. Hear me roar!

Sep 6, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    No Comments

The Benefits of Marriage

I’ve determined that my grass is thoroughly green. Others help remind me of the joys in my life and some things I take for granted. Sometimes we get so focused on what we don’t have we miss what we do. We need reminders. My friends take the opportunity to remind me of the benefits of singleness and the greenness of my grass.

green grass plant

Might I have the chance to do the same for my married friends. The benefits of marriage include:

1. “Someone saves you a seat.”

There is nary a lonelier moment for a single person than entering an auditorium for lecture, or concert, or sermon without a place to sit. You are left scanning the backs of people’s heads looking for a homey spot. Whereas, the first-seated half of a couple knows to save a seat for the other. There will be a jacket draped over the seat next to your loved one indicating it’s reserved status. Be thankful for this jacket, this seat, and this person.

2. “You get daily hugs!”

It is important to have human contact. We are made for this. I have great friends in my life, but, we don’t often hug in departure. I never feel like my touch quotient is full until I go home and am nearly tackled at the front door by my exuberant, younger-but-bigger-than-me brother! Great hugs are an oft overlooked benefit of family. So when your youngster is annoyingly stuck on your hip like Velcro, squeeze her back and fill your love tank until it overflows.

3. “You have a default #1.”

You have an emergency contact. A “plus one” for every invitation. A built-in roommate. Someone is traveling through this glorious and treacherous journey called life with you. Someone watches out for you, encourages you, picks you up when your down — and needs these same graces and skills from you. You are a team. I am a free agent. Enjoy your team, fight for your team, cheer for your team! And joyfully return your RSVP plus one!

4. “Someone chose you.”

Of all the billions of people on earth, someone looked at you and said, “Yes, this girl, with all her delights and all her quirks, this is the girl I choose — forever!” You are chosen. Please, remind yourself of that at times when your beloved is less lovely acting! You are lovingly chosen, daily and continually. Recall this fact and choose to love in return even on difficult days!

My grass is green! And dear friends, your grass is green! Green grass comes in my shapes, shades, and sizes, all designed by God to be just the lawn we need. Yes, your lawn needs daily tending, and you might never quite feel like it is properly weeded or watered, especially when you glance across the street. But, beloved, know that there is a beauty in your own green grass. Take another look. And be thankful.

What makes your grass the greenest?

Sep 3, 2014 - My Story    1 Comment

The Benefits of Singleness

At times, I am lonely. I see sweet, everyday interactions between spouses and I long to experience such tenderness myself. Sometimes, my longing feels overwhelming.

But most of the time I think my life is pretty awesome.

I have a few dear friends who help remind me of the benefits of singleness and childlessness during those moments that I pine for a different life. They invite me to peer over the fence into their yard to witness for myself the color of their grass and assess its green-ness for myself. And they remind me of the true color of my own grass.

green grass plantHere are a few of the common reminders I’m given.

1. “Kelly, you sleep though the night.”

This is true. I like to jest that I have dozens of babies, but they all sleep at the hospital where I work, so I sleep through the night! I rarely wake up in the middle of the night due to bad dream, bladder urgency, or a crying child. Although I don’t often feel truly rested, I do not know what extreme sleep deprivation really is!

2. “You have freedom and spontaneity that I dream of!”

I can take off a day and got to Legoland or drive to Tampa to see my favorite band in concert or decide last-minute to go out for dinner instead of heading home after work. I am a small boat, sleek and nimble. Others live in ocean liners which small rudders, making turning an arduous process.

3. “You can focus and finish tasks without being interrupted.”

I can have intense concentration for many tasks: blog writing, Bible study, crafting unique jewelry, or training runs. I have time to spend in large chunks with minimal or avoidable interruptions.

4. “You spend your own money!”

Though I am frugal at heart and often spend time strategizing for the best deal, I only have to answer to myself (and my budget) for a splurge. I choose where to spend a little more this month and where to cut back so the numbers even out. I work hard; I earn money. I choose what groceries to buy, what indulgences to spend a little extra on, and what causes and missionaries to support. There is great joy in spending and giving money!

It is helpful for me to have others remind me of the small joys of these things which might not always be present in my life. Perhaps some day I will have an infant obliterating my well-honed sleep-wake cycle and as much as I will love that little person, I will bemoan my eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I am thankful for reminders of the true color of my grass, which is thoroughly green!

 

 

Aug 30, 2014 - My Story, travel    2 Comments

You Go

I debated for a while after I heard. The time. The gas money. The weeknight commitment. I vacillated.

My favorite band of all time, Cool Hand Luke, was playing a small show in Tampa last week. I’ve talked about the importance of this band before. I was sharing my internal debate with a friend when she interrupted me and said, “When your favorite band of all time, whom you’ve never seen live, is playing a few hours from here, you go.”

You go.

I went.

driving Kelly

 

milkshake, writing, bible

I drove to Tampa, hung out at a restaurant, read, wrote, drank and milkshake and waited for the show. I got to see Mark Nicks of Cool Hand Luke play some of my favorite songs, sing lyrics that remind me of truth, and croon melodies that stir my soul. I learned that there are things more important than gas money and a few missed hours of sleep. I sat on the front row, toes tapping in joy, soaking in the goodness that is beautiful music and powerful lyrics.

IMG_2084

mark cool hand luke

I am thankful for people who can encourage me to be adventurous. Those who tell me, “You go!” and remind me of the importance of making memories. Even in the midst of adulthood, when I feel pressure to make the right decision, be responsible, save money, and get to sleep on time, it was nice to be reminded that there is still room for the spontaneous kid to play! I drove home, hit traffic, got to sleep late, but had a smile on my face knowing it was worth it. When something you care deeply about is nearby, you go! Life is an adventure.

What adventure have you embarked on lately?

 

Aug 23, 2014 - My Story    8 Comments

Do You Dread Weddings?

It’s a Saturday. People everywhere are being joined in holy matrimony. Pinterest boards aside, do you dread weddings? Do they tend to remind you more of what you lack than you are able to celebrate with the new couple?

I fall into this category.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s wedding. We were tight in high school, but college and grad school took us to different states so I haven’t seen her in years. It was a joy to witness a beautiful wedding, have a mini-high school reunion, and celebrate with my dear friends.

seema cake cutting

seema wedding

 

But inevitably, the bouquet toss approached. I’ve experienced years of awkwardly tromping out into the middle of the dance floor, standing conspicuously, and vying for a cluster of flowers. It’s not my favorite part of weddings. It is the time I am most reminded that I am single, that I don’t have that special someone by my side. I was also asked by a dear, and well-meaning mom, “Kelly, you are the last one! When will you have good news for us?!” Further reminders of my singleness. I know that whenever such questions are asked, that the asker is really saying, “Kelly, you are rad! I can’t wait for the day that a man recognizes your radness!” It is always asked in love, but sometimes it is still a painful reminder. I leave conversations thinking, “Maybe I’ll just adopt several cats on my way home and be the crazy cat lady.”

But just twelve hours later, my singleness was redeemed. I went to church Sunday morning and the mother of a young lady I disciple found me, hugged me and thanked me for using my singleness well. This mother of four knows the importance of motherhood, and the time constraints that accompany such a crucial role. She reminded me that I might not always have such flexibility in my schedule and thanked me, with tears in her eyes, for being intentional during this season of my life.  This short conversation negated all the angst left over from the night before and was a huge boost for my heart.

Each season has constraints and each season has rewards. It matters how I use my singleness. I am determined not to waste it.

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