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Dec 25, 2016 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

My Florida Christmas

Playfulness. 

Life is hard. Tough things happen. Adulting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I always want playfulness to be a part of my world. No matter how old I get, I want to have a sense of silliness and awe. I long to laugh at myself for many ridiculous things that I do everyday. Here’s my latest stunt…

My friend let me borrow her Christmas Tree outfit because I was running a holiday themed 5K. However, life happened and I wasn’t able to participate in the 5K after all. But I certainly didn’t want my costume to go to waste, so I set up this photo shoot on the beach which I entitled, My Florida Christmas. Since we Floridians don’t have ice and snow we have to create a little whimsy for the season!

May it make you smile. Happy Christmas!

 

 

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img_5599Sand angels:img_5612

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And my absolute favorite, most ridiculous photo ever!img_5587

Never stop being playful,

Kelly

Aug 21, 2016 - Devotional, Uncategorized    3 Comments

Ocean Object Lessons

Life.

It is a crazy, wild ride at times. I feel as though I am just starting adventures on multiple fronts and have had moments of panic lately feeling unready for the road ahead.

But I’m sure I’m alone in this feeling.

No one else feels unready, unsure, unorganized, or undone by life’s little adventures.

Oh, you do? Man, am I glad to hear that.

I took some time for self care today and went to the ocean. There are precious few places in this world where I can sit, be, rest, and not feel the need to do anything productive. Luckily the beach is one of those places. I fully expected to arrive at the ocean, sit, think, and cry. But as I drove toward the shore and tears were already fighting their way forward, unwilling to wait until arrival. I cried and prayed and thought and talked to the Lord in my anxiety and fear. I floated in waves, laid on the beach, watched fellow beach-goers. I was still — for the first time in weeks, truly still and able to listen to my Lord.

kelly beach feet

The ocean is magic in my life. I burn easily, don’t love the sand, and hate swimming in water that I can’t see the bottom of, but somehow none of that matters when I’m at the ocean. I always come away with a memory, a story, or a song that is important to my soul. Here was today’s object lesson from the ocean:

Life is like an ocean. It is never stable or still. Large and small waves hound me at every moment just like adventures, problems, and changes in life. Sometimes a wave is larger than anticipated and I get a mouthful of unexpected seawater. I have to decide whether this unexpected sodium intake will ruin my experience or if, instead, I’ll laugh it off. Sometimes the waves roll right over me, dragging me under, surrounding me with their weight. What will I do when life is overwhelming and I feel as though I’m drowning? Where will I turn? I could never see what was behind the especially large waves. I could only see the immediate ridge. Sometimes I tried to turn around and look toward the shore of safety, and unseen waves beat me up, smacking me in the back. I learned that life is never steady or stable, it is always a moving target… but it is also an adventure. I can try to run away from the waves and retreat back to the relative safety of the shore. Or I can face the great, wide unknown, place my trust in a known God, raise my hands and dive in.

I’m choosing to live life as an adventure.

I’m shore glad too.

Dec 12, 2015 - My Story, Uncategorized    No Comments

Florida Snow

It has snowed in Florida… once in my lifetime.

I remember the wide-eyed glee looking out our window and seeing this strange precipitation that I’d only heard about before. It was 1989 and I had an ice fight with my dad in the front yard since none of the snow stuck. I’m pretty sure we thew more dirt than snow at each other that day, but I don’t remember that mess we made. Instead, I remember the magic of that day. Seeing the Florida Flurry. Making memories and wondering if it would ever happen again!

I didn’t know at the time that such a day would stand out in my mind so much decades later, but it does. I think life is like that — it sneaks up on you when you’re not paying full attention. I often say that I wish my life had a sound track so that I could be clued in when something big or memorable was coming up so I could tune in a little bit more. But we don’t have soundtracks. We don’t have writers and musicians and cinematographers clue-ing us into the rising action, conflict, and resolution. But we do have great stories. The stories of our lives. So, I want to pay attention to every day, so I don’t miss something important or life changing. I want to love my story, anticipate the future, and look back with fondness on memories which float like snowflakes in the recesses of my memory.

May you enjoy your story as well as this electronic Florida Flurry on the website until the new year!

 

Nov 25, 2015 - My Story, Uncategorized    No Comments

Calculus

Asymptote. Logarithm. Derivative.

I have not seriously interacted with such words in over a decade.

And yet here I sit, in my brother’s undergraduate Calculus class, listening to a lecture filled with mathematical jargon. I watch as the professor — displaying an infinity necklace and a love of numbers — goes over the quiz, engages with questions, and teaches fundamental theorems of calculus. I sit alongside students fifteen years my junior and struggle to keep up.

And my heart is full. Full of integers, areas under the curve, eager minds, thorough teachers, chalk dust and learning. I am surrounded by scratching pencils, raised hands, and insight.

I love it.

I love the cautiously offered questions. I love simplifying the expression. I love complicated equations and the need for four full-sized white boards to answer one problem. I love hearing my kid brother problem solve and demonstrate his understanding. It was a joy to be invited into his world today. To sit in one of his classes, read a paper he wrote, and hear some of what consumes his brain power nowadays.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and many of us will have students coming home, who will likely be excited to eat a real meal, anxious about their upcoming finals, and eager to share. Enter into their world; you’ll be glad you did — even when it includes strange words like asymptote.

calculus

Indiana Jones and the Mamertine Prison

No, this is not an anticipated fifth Indiana Jones movie. It’s just what I thought about when I was in Rome.

(I promise the analogy will make sense in the end!)

I traveled to Salerno on a mission trip and we worked hard for a week helping a church plant get set up in their new worship center.

And then we celebrated! Celebrated our work and what God had done over the week. We walked fifteen miles in Rome and saw so many notable sites: St. Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi fountain, the Roman aqueducts, the Spanish Steps, the Forum, Senate and Colosseum. These were lavish, sites bursting with historic significance, glamour, and intrigue.

But the plainest, most understated sight was my favorite.

The Mamertine Prison, a single, drafty, underground room near the forum, was the site that most changed my life. The room was small, dim, and understated, but it is the room where Paul dictated (likely through a grating in the ceiling) many epistles which have altered the course of history. This could have been the room where Paul wrote Philippians, four small chapters that changed my life. But whether in this room or under house arrest, the language of guarding jumped off the page in new ways to me. I was near tears as I thought about Paul talked about the joy he had in Christ while imprisoned.

Salerno 2015 - Mike-424 mamertine prison

And then I thought about Indiana Jones.

Specifically, I thought about the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he is forced to choose the holy grail. Initially his nemesis chooses the golden, bejeweled chalice as the cup of the King of Kings. Afterwards, Indy chooses the understated, scratched, clay pot saying, “This is the cup of a carpenter.” This is a powerful scene that in a way highlights both the transcendence and imminence of Christ. Yes, He could have chosen to drink from the golden cup, to exert authority and power, and would have been within His rights to do that. What is amazing is that he condescended himself, took on flesh, experienced temptation and pain, and drank from the plain clay pot. I had seen extraordinary and beautiful things in Rome that day and the unexpected “clay pot” was my favorite.

God has a way of making ordinary things extraordinary. A stable. Bread and wine. Even a prison cell in Rome. I was struck as I thought about the beauty of this often overlooked, understated, holy room.

Salerno 2015 - Mike-423

What ordinary thing has God made extraordinary in your experience?

Apr 18, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Efficiency is my Love Language

Manna. Bread from Heaven. A gift… and an assignment? I spoke at a women’s retreat in February and we focused in large part on Exodus 16, the passage about manna. Here’s one of the lessons I learned.

Exodus 16:16-21 

16This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’” 17 And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. 18 But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. 19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.”20 But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. 21 Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

So what is the deal with the short shelf life? I mean, this seems so inefficient to my practical nature! Why can’t manna be saved for the next day? I sometimes joke that my language of love is efficiency! Why couldn’t they save time by gathering a week’s worth of manna at a time? Maybe freeze some casseroles, get a rainy day stash going?

Commentator Peter Enns reminds my heart that, “This gracious provision of food is not to be hoarded, but God is to be trusted anew every day, a lesson they will have to learn for their long trek in the desert and their life as a nation thereafter. Israel is to be kept in a perpetual state of dependence.” (Enns, p. 326) The same is true for us.

Now, I am not saying God wants us to give away our refrigerators or only get food for one day. This is a spiritual analogy. Has your relationship with God gone stale? Are we gathering fresh manna daily, or trying to live off old moldy manna because we don’t want to admit that we need to depend on God every day?

manna jar

It started with trust. Trust that God is God, that He is good. And that He knows and does what is best for His Beloved people. Sometimes that is hard to believe. Why wouldn’t God want His people to stockpile food and divide it up themselves? Why would He expect them to wake up each morning for forty years and gather food, only to have any leftovers spoil overnight? Isn’t that inefficient? Streamlining this process could have freed the Israelites to do so much good.

Maybe God isn’t concerned about efficiency.

Maybe He is concerned about our souls. Maybe He provides this strange new food not only to feed bodies, but to feed souls. Manna reveals the glory of the Lord (Ex.16: 7). Maybe He wants to prove to us that His word and His character are trustworthy, steadfast, and sure. Maybe that is our first hurdle on the road to Sabbath rest. We need to trust in and depend on the Lord’s provision.

come to me and i will give you rest

Jan 18, 2015 - Uncategorized    6 Comments

Race Day!

I’m trying for a personal goal at my half marathon this morning. As this posts, I’m in the starting chute, stretched and ready to go. Often along the course, there will be little motivational posters set up to give the runners a boost. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Blisters are just Braille for awesome.

2. I like to run in the morning, before my brain is fully awake to stop me!

3. Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.

4. You’re running better than the government.

5. Life is short. Running makes it seem longer.

May this be true today! 13.1 miles…Here I go!running morgan freeman narration

Nov 10, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

My Running Anniversary

I glanced left at my wall of accomplishment and noticed something. It has been exactly two years since my first race ever.

wall of accomplishment, medals, run, running, finish line

Two years.

760 days since that first magical finish line.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m hooked. I enjoy training, I look forward to purchasing new gear, and I revel in the finish line. It is a magical place where fears and self doubts are crushed.

I’ll be crossing a few more in the near future.

I’m hooked on running not just because of the physical benefits, but even more because of the mental and emotional benefits. Running has changed my life. I now view it as an analogy for so many things. I don’t want to sprint at the start and exhaust myself. Instead, I want to go at a sustainable pace in life. Running taught me that. I learned about injuries — when to push through and when to listen to my body. Running taught me that. I want to know my goal and keep focused for a sustained period of time. Running taught me that. I want to run alongside others and encourage them to meet their goals. Running taught me that too.

I thought running would be a short-term pasttime. I thought I was taking up running just to drop a few pounds, but instead running changed my perspective on life and two years ago, I didn’t see it coming.

Jingle Jungle 5K

Where have you learned a lesson from an unexpected source?

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.

Oct 10, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Practice vs. Inspiration

I’m a writer.

It’s on my business card and everything.

So I read books written by famous authors talking about writing. (Yes, nerd alert!) I recently read, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” by Anne Pachett

story of a happy marriage anne pachett

Pachett describes one book signing where she was approached by an overzealous woman insisting someone write her story for her. It doesn’t matter if it is fiction or memoirs; people think that writers write. That the idea is the hard part, but the mechanics are minimal. That it’s easy. That words just flow out of our fingers as we sit in some sort of trance allowing the magic to happen. (Note sarcasm!) Pachett tried kindly, but repeatedly to dismiss the woman before resorting to  an underhanded technique– telling her the writer at the next table might be interested in her story!

This notion of inspiration is not true in any profession, even ones traditionally thought of as inspiration-based. Composers may have times of inspiration, but only after years of learning to play an instrument and performing repeated scales, learning to read music (a new language!), and training their ears to justify the note, and harmonize well. There are times of inspiration, but they are only useful after proper preparation.

I’m a writer. I do have epiphanies and moments where the ideas come to me. But I have far more times that I sit and work and rework a sentence, use my thesaurus, and ask for editing assistance until it’s just right. I practice writing. I craft sentences in my head while stuck in traffic. I write down quotes in books I’m reading that are beautiful. I’m a writer. I regularly practice writing.

Practice is the prerequisite for inspiration.

What is your craft? How are you practicing to be ready for when inspiration strikes?

 

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