Browsing "My Story"
Mar 1, 2014 - Devotional, My Story    No Comments

An Authentic Imitation

This is genius.

A talented singer performs songs in the style of other singers. She’s good. Spot on. And it’s a joy to watch and listen to.

I’m totally impressed how she can change pitch, stance, gestures, facial expressions and trills to mimic famous people.

But my favorite is when she sings as herself. She’s freer, crisper, fluid. That’s when she really shows her talent.

We mimic and impersonate other people  often wanting the world to think of us as more put together, perfect, talented, or accomplished than we feel we are. Technology and social media have heightened the strain to “brand” ourselves and manage our “images.” How much more powerful is it when we use our own voices even if they are frail, cracked, pitchy, and authentic.

Have fun imitating famous people, playing with tone and making others laugh– but when you truly have something to say, use your own voice.

Feb 14, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    2 Comments

Valentine’s Day

It comes every year. But I’m never quite prepared.

Valentine’s Day is rough for me and I’m not sure why. It’s just one day. I know I’m surrounded by love. But  it is not in the way I most want. I have family and friends who send me cards and gifts and think of me on this day, knowing it is a tough one for me. But I want a husband, a boy to find me delightful and think I’m rad. And I don’t have that.

So I get mopey.

My prescription for myself is to get out of my head, stay busy, have plans, and be thankful for all the love expressed on Valentine’s Day — and so many other days. I have a rad family and amazing friends who send me messages like this:

single ladies, carissa


My other prescription is to determine to make someone else’s day. In the past I’ve offered to babysit so that a couple can go out together. I’ve sent oodles of cards to people who likely are in the same boat as me, single, mopey and disgruntled. I even buy the old school Valentine’s that I passed out in Kindergarten and give them to all my coworkers. Nothing helps me get out of my own head better than focusing on another person.

If Valentine’s Day is a tough one for you, know that you’re not alone. Make some plans for yourself,  look for the love that is given, even if from an unlikely source, and determine to make someone else’s day. You’ll have a better day. I promise.

Feb 11, 2014 - Humor, My Story    No Comments

Elephantine Ineptitude

I consider myself a crafty person — in all senses of the word.

But recently I was upstaged. Bamboozled. Perplexed.

By an iron on elephant.

A friend of mine, Sierra, commended offhandedly that she would love to have an elephant. (I believe this was after taking her nephews to the circus as she does not normally state wildlife related desires flippantly.)

I was at Hobby Lobby, where I spotted a cute iron on elephant. I bought it, hoping to make Sierra’s day. I came home and heated up the iron, read the directions and set up the items. I was going to iron the elephant, whom I had lovingly named Ellie, onto a tote bag. Stylish and functional — the best combination!

I ironed for the recommended amount of time. Slowly removed the iron and cloth and found the elephant mobile without any adhesion to the bag. I replaced items and started again, leaving the iron on for double the amount of time.

No stick.

Repeat with five times the recommended ironing time and increased iron temperature.


Re-read directions while iron sitting for 15 minutes on bag. Noting the “Skill level one: Beginner” branding in the corner.

iron on elephant

Partial stick.

At least we’re getting somewhere!

I repeated the process for almost an hour until I finally coaxed Ellie from her comfortable place on the plastic sheet to her new home on the canvas bag.


elephant, iron on, bag


It took an hour (sixty times the time recommended on the packaging mind you!) But I finished it. During that hour I had a lot of time to think about what I was doing. I was spending an excessive amount of time trying to surprise a friend and make her smile. I was doing something unexpected and special that required forethought. I was giving more than a fun little bag, I was showing a friend that she was in my thoughts and that I listened to her random wildlife longings. Although Ellie the Elephant almost defeated me with her non-adhering ways, all was being done in love for a friend.

And that is always time well spent.

Feb 4, 2014 - Humor, My Story    2 Comments

Tears of Overconfidence

My lunch made me cry.

We’re talking, all out –tears streaming down my face, snot escaping from my nose, unable to see through the haze — cry.

I saw the sign. It had “HOT” stamped across the box, but my eyes were drawn more to the “Clearance” sticker and thought I’d take a stab at it.

indian food, curry, vindaloo

Only my food repaid me by stabbing my insides… repeatedly. It was as if the first few bites were the scouts, sent in to check out the surroundings. Everything seemed fine, so I kept eating. Then the battle started. The spice level reached maximal scorchiness in the furnace of my stomach and began escaping through the chimney of my esophagus, causing me to reach max sweat-pacity at an ever alarming pace!

It was an ugly sight. See?

cryiing, food, tears, spicy

I should have known my limits. But I was foolhardy, ignoring the signs and the ever increasing heat in my gut and, in the end, I paid for my decision with tears of overconfidence. This was an avoidable fate! Never should my food make me cry anything other than tears of joy due to utter deliciousness!

But how often do I do this in other areas of life? How often do I ignore the initial signs of danger, the lure of temptations, the call of sin? How often to I overestimate my ability to handle it or resist it? How often do I cry tears of overconfidence because of my sins or failures?

More often than I’d like to admit. 

But there is good news. I am not alone in my struggles.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are,yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Mercy and Grace. Someone who understands. Draw near with confidence in Him.

And avoid spicy foods.

Jan 31, 2014 - My Story, Writing    2 Comments


I’ve chosen a word. One word to define 2014. Abby’s explosive prayer greatly influenced my thoughts. The phrase holy imbalance has consumed my thought life.

Abundant will direct my holy imbalance in 2014. Here is my journal entry:

Abundant. There are an abundant of choices for me every day. Choices that are good and choices that are better. I feel pulled in an abundant different directions and I am only one person. Sometimes I stand in the midst of choices and feel overwhelmed. Sometimes paralyzed. Sometimes excited.

Abundant involves saying “no”.

Saying “no” to less than the best use of my time, talents, and energy is the gateway to the abundant life.

And abundant involves wanting more. Believing that God has “abundantly more than all I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20-21). I want adventure and more in all the right areas. I want to push and strive and yearn for God’s best for me.

Abundant involves saying, “yes!” Unabashedly walking in the works God has prepared before hand for me.

Abundant involves saying “no” to the good in order to say “yes” to the best. 

Praying that my 2014 may be abundant in all the right ways.

Have you chosen a word?

Jan 28, 2014 - My Story    2 Comments

Holy Imbalance

I’m still thinking about my one word.

Rest. Balance. Sabbath. Change. New. Achievement. Learning.

Those are potential options.

I shared my one word challenge with my friend and editor, Abby, during our weekly Skype date last week. I told her some of my options with balance leading the top of the list. She shocked me with how she responded.

kelly Abby Gjertsen

“No, Kelly, you don’t need balance because the way you’re defining balance means that you are in control and aligning your time to minimize surprises. I don’t want you to be balanced. I want you to have more, to live on the edge for God. To have more of the good things He has planned for you. And in order to do that you must have less of the other things. The lesser things. The things that steal your attention from the important things. I pray against balance. I pray for holy imbalance for you.”

Part of me wanted to reach through the screen and smack her! “I pray against imbalance!?!” Bite your tongue! I work so hard to foster balance in my life and feel imbalanced constantly. I do want to be in control. I want to organize and run things how I think they should be. I am afraid of imbalance.

Maybe I’m fighting the wrong battle.

What does holy imbalance look like? To make room for and experience more of the good things that God has prepared for me?

Abby’s prayer still scares me.

Jan 24, 2014 - My Story, Writing    No Comments

One Word

Last week my boss gave me a challenge.

More than productivity, or professional development or adjusting to a changing health care scene — she challenged me to have focus, goals, direction, determination — and one word to sum it all up.

She had seen a special on a national news channel about a man who was fed up repeatedly making New Year’s Resolutions and  inevitably failing at them a few weeks into the year. He said we tried too much at once, split our attention, lost focus, and failed to reach our goals.

He had a new solution: pick one word. 

Choose one word that you want to represent your year. Select a word that has deep meaning, either of things expected or hoped for during the year. Use this word to guide your decisions, focus your thoughts and let it steer your year.

I often choose a word in retrospect to define a year, but I have never chosen one in anticipation of what is to come.

What word will define 2014? What do I hope for twelve months from now? How can one word sum up so much time?

I’ve been challenged and I’m still thinking of my word.

I give you the same challenge: What is your word?

one word

Jan 20, 2014 - My Story, Running    No Comments

When you need a reminder…

… Just look at your toes!

Awesome socks


I’ve been having a hard time keeping up the motivation for running lately dealing with a quasi-injury and nearing the big day without enough miles behind me. So these arrived just in the nick of time. I’ve been wearing them every night — because that’s when I actually see my toes the most — and being thankful for friendship, encouragement, and hard work.

Thanks for thinking I’m awesome, CariAnn!

I’m ready to keep running now.

Jan 16, 2014 - My Story    2 Comments

Half a Celebration

Today is my half birthday.

The halfway point between two orbital cycles. The marker of six months of growth. The peak before the roller coaster into another year begins.

That deserves some celebration. Or at least recognition!

Today, I took at least a moment to think of how different my life was six months ago. I was new at my job, adjusting to different hours, training in the NICU, and daily squealing over this new fangled thing called PDO!

Today, I still have oodles to learn, but I’m in a rhythm, a flow, I can train others, and I have some stockpiled vaca time!

Halves get ignored in favor of wholes. Integers rule in our minds, but sometimes a year is a long time and it is helpful to break down time into smaller segments to see growth and to set goals.

Today is my half birthday. What a difference six months can make.


I leave you with a toast from Bilbo Baggins, spoken on his eleventy-first birthday:

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

Here’s to halves!

Jan 11, 2014 - Humor, My Story    2 Comments

Giggling with Gaston

I was awkwardly hit on last week.

By a guy who was tall, dark and handsome, with bulging biceps, and long flowing locks.

Oh yeah, and he was fictional. Did I fail to mention that?

Gaston muscles

I met Gaston at the Magic Kingdom last week with my friend Nathan. Gaston was fully in character — strutting with oodles of swagger, winking, flirting and generally macking on the ladies. He thought highly of himself and made sure everyone agreed with him. He was a fantastic cast member and made me giggle and enjoy my meet and greet immensely — as you can see by my reaction to his “biceps to spare!”

Gaston biceps

Then I started thinking. If this guy hadn’t been wearing a Gaston costume, he would have been a total creep! I would have avoided him and his narcissism completely relying on Nathan for flanking and protection. I certainly wouldn’t have waited in line to get my picture taken with him! In life, costumes and context make a huge difference. I would have focused on his faults and pride. Without his costume to affect the way I viewed him, he would have seemed unattractive and off putting.

It got me thinking about my own costumes. How do I present myself? What do I put on to affect how others view me? Do I want to be seen as the therapist with all the answers? Or seen as the humble Christian who never struggles? Or the lady who has her life together and offers constant help, but never needs help herself? What would it take for me to take off my costumes and let others see the real me? The one who has victories, but also defeats. The one who struggles, doesn’t always know the answer, and needs help and encouragement. How attached to my costume am I?

What costumes are you wearing? How would you like others to see you?

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