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Dec 31, 2017 - My Story, Quotes    3 Comments

Grit with Grace

Rhythms in life feel familiar and welcomed. Newness awaits. 2017 was the year of Wonder(Full). It was intended to be full of wonder, full of busyness, and wonderful. And it lived up to its name.


In 2017, I ran a marathon, got published, taught a course, completed a year of doctoral work, survived a hurricane, made new friends, saw many theater productions, laughed a lot, and served faithfully at work. It was a year of Wonder. I could share only my best moments, the highlights of 2017, and while they are wonderful, they wouldn’t be the whole story.

In 2017 I also had my heart broken, felt lonely, dealt with disappointments, and injustices. I cried a lot and worked through more than one midlife crisis.  I frequently wished for more wonder and less busyness in my life. I believe that all stages of life always contain both emotions: joy and sorrow. Triumph and disappointment. Progress and stagnancy.

As I choose sat down this weekend to look back on the year, timeline my life, and think of options for 2018, I wanted to capture that balance. I made a huge list of words — deep powerful, beautiful words. Some connoted fierceness and determination, others rest and peace and rest. I’ve decided on a phrase that attempts to capture both:

2018 – The Year of Grit with Grace

Grit means perseverance for long-term goals. Connotations include: endurance, fierceness, defiant optimism, courage, and strength of character. Grit captures all the hustle that this year will no doubt hold. I will be experiencing schedule changes at work, choosing and attacking doctoral projects, and balancing these and other obligations in all of life. It will take grit.

But it will also take grace. Grace with myself and grace with others. In the Christian tradition, grace means unmerited favor. It connotes elegance, attractiveness, favor, forgiveness, belonging, prayer, and blessing. I long for 2018 to contain grace as well as grit. To know that the tasks will be rapid and steep, but that there is purpose in the sanctification and refinement. I believe 2018 will be a year of refinement, defiant joy, and purpose. I have chosen I Peter 2:6-9 as the verse to support the Year of Grit with Grace. It reads:

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Running with endurance is grit. Walking when you need a respite is grace. Hustle, yes, but also be kind to yourself. Expect to succeed, and deal redemptively with failures when they inevitably come.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a balance of stick-to-it-iveness and self-care. That’s Grit with Grace.

Jan 21, 2017 - My Story, Quotes    1 Comment

My Year of Wonder(Full)

Every year I choose a word which I hope will describe my year. I’ve had the year of adulthood, the year of Kelly 2.0, and the year of Adventure.

2017 has been termed the Year of Wonder(Full).

I write that specifically because I believe it has three parts which will be described in turn:

  1. Wonder: Time to stop and reflect, a sense of awe, child-like appreciation, curiosity. I wonder what God will do in 2017
  2. Full: busy and bursting! Competing opportunities, getting tasks done, and choosing the best yes
  3. Wonderful: Not perfection, but gratitude for where I am and what life provides. Happiness and awe at the journey, not just the destination. Wonderful is a state of mind. My choice, not my circumstances makes me happy!

I want to experience a year of Wonder(Full). God has been at work in my life between work, school, teaching opportunities, and relationships pushing me toward more, toward risk, and toward adventure. I wonder, and wonder at, what He is doing. Sometimes I get scared of the changes, but as I’m honest about those fears, my sense of wonder can return. God is God. God is good. He knows and does what is best for His Beloved. In that truth, bring on my year of Wonder(Full!)

Do you choose a word, phrase, or thought for the year? If so, I’d love for you to share!


I feel like an iceberg.

Not because I’m cold, remote, or danger-prone, but because people only see about 10% of me. Icebergs barely pop their tops above the water-line. They look small, cute, and manageable. But people miss the 90% lying just below the waterline.alaska glacier ice

For me, this is especially true at work. I am an occupational therapist in pediatrics. I work with babies to help them grow, strengthen, and develop. To the untrained eye, it looks like I have a pretty cushy job: I cuddle babies, change diapers, attend meetings, and do a lot of typing. But this is only the above-the-water-line-ten-percent! But I work hard! Beneath the surface I research and think about joint stability, muscle tone, bone mineralization, neuronal connections, calorie conservation, and neuroprotection. I know that each child’s brain is literally maturing in my hands and that brain wiring is for a lifetime and I take that job very seriously. Yes, I snuggle babies, but with so much purpose! Some days are difficult. I feel undervalued or overlooked because 90% of my skills, mass, interests, and work is unseen.

But I am not alone in this! I believe the iceberg-phenomenon is true of so many people and professions! Doctors don’t just give prescriptions, accountants don’t just balance ledgers, teachers don’t just give grades, moms don’t just feed their kids and attack the ever-growing pile of laundry. You are more than the 10% that people can readily see. You cannot be reduced to a productivity percentage, or sales quota, or salary, or GPA. Those numbers are just the 10%. Take pride in the knowledge, passion, skills, and purpose you have. That is the weighty and important 90%.

If you can relate to this, then you are an iceberg.

Be an iceberg with purpose! Work hard. Be aware of the 90% that people often miss, but don’t rely on their approval or understanding of all your work. Work for a higher purpose. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor 10:31). Work for the Lord, the only One who can truly know and appreciate both the 10% that everyone sees and the 90% that is hidden.

Or as Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”

Be an iceberg. Work with purpose. Do your job, whatever it may be, well. That’s the best way to show the importance of the 90% that drives you daily.


How do you feel like an iceberg either professionally or personally? Do people see or understand your 90%?


Sep 22, 2013 - Quotes    3 Comments

Our Crazy English Language

Yes, I’m nerdy.

I freely, and of my own accord read a book about the English language, linguistics, history, and the evolution of language. Here’s a small tidbit that made me smile.

“Language, never forget, is more fashion than science, and matters of usage, spelling and pronunciation tend to wanter around like hemlines.”

The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way by Bill Bryson

English and How it got that Way

Sep 9, 2013 - Quotes    6 Comments

The Breakfast Club

I’m a movie geek.

I love movies. Watching them. Analyzing them. Listening to commentaries. And above all, quoting them. There are few situations in life that don’t remind me of some show or movie scene. I quote movies obsessively. So much so that after I speak a particularly well-crafted sentence, more than one person has asked me, “What’s that from?” And I have to say, “From real life, right now. It’s an original thought.” I must have a bit of a reputation for movie quotage.

But as a self-proclaimed movie geek, there are some glaring holes in my movie history. I’ve started keeping a list of movies that need to be seen. These are not necessarily the best movies of all time, but ones that have been adopted for one reason or another into American culture. They’re highly seen and highly quotable. They need to be a part of my movie quote arsenal.

Last weekend some friends and I got together, had Brinner (breakfast for dinner) and watched The Breakfast Club.

Breakfast Club


(Complete with my non-adult Fruity Cheerios cereal!)

As I viewed this flick, giant light bulb turned on as I understood references in everything from movies like Pitch Perfect to shows like Community. I felt invited into a secret club of new quotes, references, and allusions. Plus I got to share the night with delightful friends. We succeeded both in finally understanding old references and in making new memories. It was a splendid time.

I am on the hunt for other quotable movies which have escaped my viewing over the years. Would you like to add to my list of must see movies?

I think Sarah has an idea of a movie to watch next time…



… and she seems pretty excited about it, eh?

Jul 30, 2013 - Book Review, Quotes    1 Comment

The Poisonwood Bible

I have a 45 minute commute to work. So I enjoy my car time by listening to stories, by getting lost in another world to and from work.

I just finished The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It tells the story of one family’s journey in, with, and through their crucible in Africa in the 1960’s in their own words. Each chapter is written in the first person and has the voice of the wife or one of the four daughters of the infamous Nathan Price. Nathan takes his family to the Congo for what he believes to be his calling from the Lord. The family goes through cultural faux pas, miscommunication, famine, political revolution, disease, hunger, and death over the next several years. They are scattered, literally, to the ends of the earth.

The Poisonwood Bible

It is not a happy bedtime story.

One character, Adah, was born with hemiplegia and, because of difficulty and because she is not readily listened to, she keeps her verbal words to a minimum. Instead, she writes. She is constantly writing poetry, tales, and her own story throughout the decades that this book spans. At one point she writes the following quote, which if I were reading this novel I would have read over and over again. Instead, I missed half of her next paragraph repeating it in my head to ensure retention.

Adah writes, “I take the noise in my head and clamp it to the page to keep it still.” 

I loved that. I understand that.

Writing helps me know what I think about something. When trying to explain myself or make a decision or prepare for a talk, I must write down the noise in my head, clamp it to the page, in order to keep it still and look at it logically and know what I think. The quote was beautiful and it makes me want to clamp down my words even more!

Jul 8, 2013 - Exegesis, Quotes    No Comments

Music in the Key of Life

I’m no musician.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love music! But somehow my musical training and prowess stalled when I was first chair in the recorder in fourth grade. I can carry a tune okay, but I don’t enjoy singing in front of others – at least not on my own. But if you put me in a group, surrounded by the voices of the congregation, I sing loudly and I sound phenomenal! Something beautiful happens when I match the pitch of the person next to me. I hear and feel the power of the masses. I am encouraged to breathe deeply and give the tune everything I’ve got.

The power of singing in unison drowns out my vocal imperfections and highlights the notes I get right.

This is the power of community.

And that’s a beautiful thing. And the good news is that the power of community doesn’t stop with just singing ability – it extends to all areas of life. I am more compassionate at my job, a fiercer friend, and more motivated in ministry when encouraged by my community than I ever could be on my own. Others understand where you are and how hard it is to sing at times. They can give you strength to sing even when it’s hard.

Each person’s life has a song. If you think of your life as an opus, full of different movements at different times in life, our songs won’t always sound the same, but they can all be beautiful. It doesn’t matter if your current tune sounds like a playful ditty or a mournful dirge – both can be sung worshipfully. And both are more powerful with others singing alongside you. Each life is an opus which must be crafted in community and fellowship.

orlando grace church 51P2FYRR7XL 211x300 Music in the Key of Life

The movie Mr. Holland’s Opus gives a helpful picture to think about life as a grand piece of music. Mr. Holland, a high school music teacher, who dreamed of fame and fortune, is given a gift upon his retirement. Many of his students over the previous four decades return to play a composition for their beloved teacher and mentor. One of his students, Gertrude Lang, whom Mr. Holland helped decades previously to “play the sunset” honors her mentor with the following speech:

“Mr. Holland had a profound influence on my life and on a lot of lives I know. But I have a feeling that he considers a great part of his own life misspent. Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his. And this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr. Holland isn’t rich and he isn’t famous, at least not outside of our little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. But he would be wrong, because I think that he’s achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life. “

We match each others’ tunes. We sing together. We live in community.

Jesus, help us to sing, no matter the tune, with all our might creating an opus of worship fit for the King!

Jun 27, 2013 - Health, My Story, Quotes    1 Comment

Beauty and Frenzy

Sometimes I feel so ugly.

My feelings of ugliness have nothing to do with my wardrobe they have everything to do with my spirit. I did not have the best week last week. I worked some extra hours and had lots of evening commitments. I was tired. I was spent. I was grouchy.

I was ugly.

I felt like I had no room in my life for anyone else. I came home from another meeting and went straight to bed, fuming that something had stolen my precious free time. And I couldn’t concentrate in my evening meetings because my mind was busy thinking of all the things that were not getting done while I sat here. The chores spanned from the mundane to the compassionate: Laundry, cooking, bills, reading, writing that thank you card, calling that friend who was hurting. I complained about these feelings to a friend of mine who simply replied, “Beauty is not frenzy.”

It was then that I snatched out my Moleskine and wrote that truth down.

That’s what was making me ugly. I was frenzied, rushed, harried, unable to sit, to be present in any situation or talk to the person in front of me because I was always focused on what needed to be done next. My life was inhospitable. My spirit knew it. I need to listen to myself better. I need to prevent, as much as possible, this feeling of frenzy because it wrings out all the things I like about myself leaving me a limp rag without direction. I’ve had enough of that feeling, thank you very much.

I’m done with overcommitting myself. I’m done with feeling frenzied. I’m done with feeling ugly.

Beauty and peacefulness… here I come!

happiness card

What makes you feel ugly or frenzied? Do you think they’re linked?

May 28, 2013 - Quotes    1 Comment

Valor’s Quote of the Day


Picture this: Mom and Kelly in the front seat and Valor and Percy safely strapped in the back; we stop quickly at a yellow light. Valor removes his thumb from his mouth to exclaim, “Mom! I just felt inertia in my body because the car stopped, but my body kept going.” He then replaces his thumb and continues as if nothing unusual just happened. He’s three! I was so impressed!

I consider myself a pretty intelligent individual, but this kid might pass me… next year at that!

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