Browsing "My Story"

Action and Non-Action

Because time is a finite resource, every action involves an infinite amount of non-actions.

Every choice I make. What book to read, what movie to watch, what food to eat, what topic to write about, necessarily involves not reading other books, watching other movies, eating other foods or writing about other topics concurrently. I can only perform one at a time.

As discussed in my last post, I learned this from an unlikely source, A book titled How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard.

how to talk about books you haven't read

I’ve been thinking about this some more, wanting my choices to be the best possible. I am sometimes swamped with possibilities, invites, offers, requests, and commitments. Everything I say “yes” to involves saying “no” to numerous other possibilities. I say this not to heighten the stakes, leaving me indecisive and ineffective, but to remind myself that time is valuable. It should be used well, thought-through, and intentional. I should be living each day on purpose not thrown into it be default. Am I saying “yes” intentionally to the things that are most important in life? Within reason, am I looking at the options I’m saying “no” to and weighing my options before deciding? Does this thought process excite or terrify me?

As I said a few days ago in reference to books and reading, I now exclaim for the rest of life: Every action involves an infinite amount of non-actions.

Therefore, choose wisely!

Does this help you in decision making or make you nervous?

Jul 30, 2014 - My Story    2 Comments

Feeling Celebrated

Nearly the only negative part of my cruise experience was the 30 hour trek back home.

5 cities, 4 states, three layovers, 2 minute naps and a partridge in a pear tree. That’s what it took me to get home.

But, bleary-eyed and not sure what time zone I lived in, I walked into this:

IMG_1944 Birthday Birthday

The cruise theme (and the endless food!) continued! I have made it a point to celebrate this year. I even wrote a series of celebratory posts over the course of the spring. I’ve come to realize that we don’t celebrate enough. For me, this is a symptom of a deeper problem. I am driven; I love achievements and after accomplishing one goal, instead of stopping to reflect with gratitude, I immediately push forward to the next bigger, harder task. I need to celebrate. I need help to celebrate! I am thankful for roommates who celebrate well in thoughtful and simple ways. Decorations, cakes, and driving me to pick up my free birthday food. We took a moment together to reflect on my year and look forward to the one ahead.

IMG_1952 IMG_1950 Bazinga cake

Even though my mind was not in the correct time zone, and can’t tell you everything that happened that day, I do remember feeling celebrated! That alone made it a wonderful birthday!

What do you need to take time to reflect upon? What makes you feel celebrated?

Jul 8, 2014 - My Story    No Comments

House Warming

What makes a house warm?

What makes a house feel like a home?

I thought about this a good amount after being invited to my friend’s Housewarming party and I answered my own question in her gift. These are things I value in my own home and provided to my friend in her gift:

1. Clean

Life is messy. Most of that I cannot clean up, but I try to clean what I do have power over. You can tell when life is a bit overwhelming for me because I will start cleaning out closets, mopping floors, and doing laundry. There’s enough messiness out in the world, I want my home to feel warm, welcoming and put together.

2. Hospitable

Following from #1, when my house is clean I am less distracted and able to engage in relationship and conversation. Few things have the power to derail my attention like a pile of junk which cries out, “Kelly! Stop listening to your roommate tell you about her day and come clean me up!” I want my home and my life to be hospitable. I want to invite others into my home and my heart. I want to do things in service for others. I do not want my home to be a fortress where I block out everyone else, I want to do life together.

3. Happy!

Somethings in your home should be just for fun! No I don’t need a giant carved key in my bedroom, but it makes me smile. It reminds me of a memory and the friend who was with me when I bought it. It makes my house and my heart warm. Have a silly pillow or a funny picture on the wall, or crazy patterned towels. Do something that is totally you, even if it’s not the most functional thing ever!

That’s what I put together for my friend: things to clean, things to serve and welcome others into her house, and things to make her smile as she feathers her new nest.

house warming gift

What about you? What would you add to make your house warm or for a housewarming gift?

Jul 4, 2014 - Health, Humor, My Story    1 Comment

National Cartwheel Day

Today is National Cartwheel Day.

Because I declared it so.

Here’s the story:

When I was a young tyke, I took gymnastics. That was until I was so tall that I could hang from the upper uneven parallel bars and my toes touched the ground. I was 10.

It was a sad day when I had to change my athletic aspirations because no nearly six feet tall woman can contort herself enough to be an Olympic gymnast. Sorry Bela Karolyi, I won’t be joining you this summer.

Fast forward fifteen years, to envision me sitting with some friends celebrating July the 4th. For some reason our conservation made me think, “I wonder if I could still do a cartwheel.” So I tried. And it felt good. Like holding onto just a smidgen of my gymnastic Olympic hopefulness. I decided that day that I would attempt a cartwheel every year to prove to myself that I could still do it. Hence, July 4th is National Cartwheel Day.

It’s a way to be nostalgic and also prove to myself what I’m capable of. If you flip quickly you’ll get an idea of how it looks in person.

IMG_1825 IMG_1824 IMG_1823 IMG_1822

I realize that one day my celebration of National Cartwheel Day may go horribly wrong. But until then I participate in my topsy turvy tumbling tradition with glee celebrating the joys and challenges of childhood.

Happy National Cartwheel Day!

Jun 25, 2014 - Humor, My Story    3 Comments

New Fluffy Town

“I’ve decided that adulthood is overrated. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my blanket fort eating Bugles from my fingertips and watching a movie.”

This was a meme that was passed around through cyberspace not so long ago. But we made it come true!

Last weekend, one of my roommates felt the need to be swaddled. She’d had an overwhelming day and needing to block out some sensory input.  I walked out into the living room to this sight.

blanket fort childhood small

I immediately “knocked” and asked to join her!

I then went to grab another roommate, who has having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I knew just the prescription: BLANKET FORT!

In order to accommodate the growing population of New Fluffy Town (as I dubbed our fort) we architected a larger scale rendition.

IMG_1848 blanket fort

We then completed the childhood recapitulation by eating cookies, drinking Capri Sun and eating Bugles from our fingertips… and watching Peter Pan — on VHS. For a few hours on Sunday night, we were in a time warp. We forgot about work and school the next day, piled into our makeshift shelter, and enjoyed the moment.

IMG_1850 IMG_1849 blanket fort

blanket fort

New Fluffy Town was magic. Not because we didn’t return to adulthood later, but because it gave us something different. Something to be excited about: we created a memory. We did something that won’t soon be forgotten. It was fun and silly and perfect. It was our celebration of childhood and togetherness.

Sometimes I forget how blessed my life is. I can easily focus on what I don’t have and want rather than celebrate what I do have in droves! I have community, friends, time, and friendship. New Fluffy Town reminded me how awesome life is.

house friends, blanket fortWhat could you do to create a memory and celebrate what blessings you have in life?

 

Jun 20, 2014 - My Story    No Comments

Vehicular Profanity

Few things have the power to derail my day like vehicular profanity.

vehicular profanity

Picture me sitting at the off ramp from the highway where we are supposed to merge within 50 feet with the oncoming traffic. I come to a stop and the truck behind me engages in a litany of horn sounds which communicate displeasure at my driving decisions. This is the essence of vehicular profanity.

It could be the off ramp or the stop light or even on the road itself. But whenever vehicular profanity is exhibited to me it only communicates anger and impatience. I find myself responding in kind, yelling to the car behind me saying, “What do you want me to do? Pull into oncoming traffic?!”

I think what I hate the most is that I am unable to respond like I want to. It is a one sided conversation where the angry party will never understand why I made the decisions I did. Perhaps they couldn’t adequately see around the corner to see oncoming traffic. Maybe they didn’t realize I was swerving to miss an animal in the road. It angers me because I can’t explain myself. Vehicular profanity derails my day because it is not a conversation, there is no understanding. It is only anger.

The same thing can happen in verbal conversations as well. Whenever I feel unheard or the conversation is one-sided, it has the same effect in my heart as vehicular profanity. As humans, one of our deepest longings is to be heard and known. One-sided conversations don’t allow that. That’s why they have such power; they are negating a desire in our hearts. As my friend Laura always reminds me, “Friendship is a two-way street.”

So the next time the driver behind me decides to share his noisy opinion about my driving, I will use that moment to remind myself that I do long to be heard and known, and to be thankful that there are other people in my life who can fill that need.

Jun 15, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    1 Comment

One of a Kind

My dad is one of a kind.

He doesn’t fit the mold.

I can’t ever look at an ad flyer for gift ideas for him. He doesn’t want ties, tools, or trinkets for Father’s Day. He wants time. I asked him via text if he had any specific Father’s Day requests. He responded immediately (which is saying something for my dad’s texting abilities) “I want time with you on Father’s Day.”

I love that.

I love that my dad truly enjoys his family. That he isn’t the archetypical distant father figure, but that he is playful and hasn’t lost the kid side. I think my dad is great and I’m happy to celebrate him today.

Like I said, he truly does stand out, see?

golf cart

golf cart

Jun 14, 2014 - Humor, My Story    4 Comments

Incompetence– This Too Shall Post

I fought with my curtains last week.

I lost.

These curtains have been hanging in my bathroom for years. I’m not even sure how long because they were there when I moved in and haven’t done anything to them. But they were looking a little dirty, dusty, and in need of a thorough once-a-decade-washing.

So I wrestled with the curtain rod, which had begun to grow permanently into the drywall and finally exonerated the curtains before tossing them into the washing machine, dousing them with bleach, closing the lid and feeling accomplished.

At the end of the cycle, I went to check their progress and good news! The curtains were thoroughly de-dingy-fied! They were white and pretty again. They were also shredded.

curtains washing machine

At first I thought of hiding the evidence and saying, “This too shall pass.” Throwing out the shredded fabric and pretending I just wanted to buy new curtains, but then I thought, “No, this too shall post.” I refuse to present a picture of myself (in person or in social media) that communicates that I have it all together, that I never struggle, that my life is grand all the time.

I am also incompetent. This too shall post. 

Upon investigation the curtains said, in large bold letters, “Hand wash only, DO NOT BLEACH.” Apparently those are more rules than suggestions.

This too shall post.

I don’t have it all together. I am not always happy. I do not read labels. I can be humbled by a little beach and decade old curtains.

And that’s okay. Today I choose to share my incompetence rather than hide it.

How about you? Whats your humbling story? This too shall post! 

Jun 10, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    2 Comments

Lonely Lunching

I got lonely lunched.

Stood up.

Ditched.

Pranked.

With our schedules at the hospital, it is rare that my coworkers and I can eat together, but once in a blue moon, it can happen. We headed to the cafeteria. I brought my lunch and others needed to buy, so I headed in to get a table. I snagged a large table, capable of holding the 6 people who were planning to join me. I situated myself near a two tables of other friends who both graciously waved me over to join their table, but I politely deferred stating that others were coming to join me. So I sat guarding my find. Multiple people came attempting to snag chairs or tables from me and I had to shoo them away like pigeons. Repeatedly.

Our cafeteria is not always the most efficient and it seemed to be taking a while for my coworkers to get their food.

tick tock

tick tock

I was nearly done with my lunch. Checking my watch. Smiling weakly at the pigeon-people I’d shooed away, apologizing with my eyes and pleading, “Please don’t hate me. There really are people coming.”

Twenty-five minutes later, I felt pathetic. Like the middle schooler who wasn’t invited to join the cool table (even though I had been invited to eat with others!). I felt defensive. I felt conspicuous. I felt lonely.

Lonely lunch

Even though I love my coworkers and have good relationships with them and I trusted that they truly had been delayed in the food line, the loneliness crept up on me unexpectedly. I find that it is never the situations that I expect that stir my loneliness. I am always blindsided by those emotions. I was thankful that this “attack of loneliness” was short-lived, but it served to remind me that we were created to be in community. Our hearts desire to be accepted, to be known, to be loved, and to eat with others! Next time you are lonely lunched (or lonely anything!) look around and know someone else understands that feeling. Lonely lunching serves to drive me into relationships and community — and that is a good thing.

May 25, 2014 - Devotional, My Story    2 Comments

My Mother’s Day Hangover

The Monday after Mother’s Day, I was emotionally hung over.

I love my mom and have a great relationship with her. I was happy to see her, give presents, and celebrate. But at the same time I ached. 

 

I want a husband and children. I want to participate in Mother’s Day as a mother, not just as a daughter. I ached for women who wanted children, for those who struggle with infertility, for those who have a strained relationship with their children or with their own mothers. I wept for those who had lost children, or lost mothers, or who grieved at anything that was not as they wished it to be.

I wept. Not daintily-dab-at-the-corners-of-my-eyes crying. I cried gasping for breath, smeary, messy, ugly tears. I was blindsided by my emotions. I had not anticipated the ache being so strong that morning. I had to apologize to my mom later that in my case, my tears were not mourning our relationship in any way, they were tears of blocked goals and longing for my own family.

I posted this as my Facebook status that morning, “Praying today for those not celebrated specifically today: the wishing-to-be-mothers. Thankful for you, your perseverance in hope and the many ways you spiritually parent so many in your lives. Happy wishing-to-be-Mother’s Day!”

I had people contacting me throughout the day saying thank you and even asking to repost my words. I was grateful to know that other people lived with this ache. I even had a friend thank me for my words the next day and even as she was expressing her thanks she spontaneously broke into the same smeary, messy, ugly tears that I’d experienced the day before. And I loved it. Not because she ached as well, but because I was not alone in this struggle. Her overpowering “ugly crying” was beautiful to me. Someone understands. Someone sees my tears. Someone cares.

If Mother’s Day was hard for you, for any reason, share your tears with Someone.

 

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.”

David Crowder

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