Feb 28, 2017 - Doctorate    1 Comment

The Quit-o-Meter

I work full-time and am in school full-time. There is little time for fun or play. And because of this my Quit-o-Meter is high!

I need people I can call and ask them to remind me why I’ve done this to myself! Why did I seek to get a doctorate? Why did I sign up for that committee at work? Why did I agree to that service opportunity?

I like to think that I can balance my life by subtracting things I don’t want to do, but in this season of my life that’s not possible. I cannot say, “I think it would be better for my health not to write that term paper, Professor.” Likewise, I cannot say to my boss, “I just don’t feel like working today. Can I just sit here instead?” I cannot subtract tasks from my life easily right now.

So my option is to add.

Add goodness. Add people. Add fun and well-mannered frivolity!

My Quit-o-Meter is sometimes high and my schedule is tighter than it has ever been. But somehow adding more is the right answer because it changes the relative enjoyment of life. So I’m adding massage appointments, and dinner dates with friends, and reading a book for fun. Sometimes these are done in fifteen minute increments because I still do have twenty page papers to write, but these additions are helping to lower my Quit-o-Meter and make me feel more balanced.

How do you achieve a feeling of life/work/school/family balance in life?

Feb 22, 2017 - Devotional    2 Comments

Pile of Beans

Life is tough.

Grief is real.

Blocked goals abound in life.

Though it comes in many forms– broken relationships, missed opportunities, or dashed expectations — we are confronted with a life that is not the way we thought it would be.

So what do I do when I am confronted with this feeling? Do I bottle up my emotions and avoid sharing my needs for fear of sounding needy? Do I spill all my feels on anyone who will listen?

I don’t believe either of those two options are the wisest choice, but a balance of sharing with safe people is essential. I am currently in the midst of a season of blocked goals. Sometimes tears escape my eyes. Sometimes my mind wanders, full of “what ifs.” I was recently sharing these feelings with a coworker who is walking through her own valley of the shadow. We commiserated on the need to share our emotions without feeling overwhelming. She shared this analogy with me.

It’s like I have a giant pile of beans representing my lament. This pile is so large it could crush me. I cannot keep it to myself or bear underneath the weight of it, but I also can’t back up a dump truck and dump my beans all on someone else or it could crush them. So I’m trying to pass out my beans one at a time to loving friends who care about my heart. Slowly my pile will disperse and I can breathe again.

I responded, “Yes, friend. I’ll would love to take a hand full of your beans. And thank you for helping me carry mine as well.”

I imagine we are all familiar with the crushing weight of a pile of beans. The situations look different, but the feelings are recognizable. Hoarding my beans crushes me. People want to help me carry my pile of beans. Disappointments in life are so much easier in community where many hands help carry the weight.

If you are in a season of disappointment or blocked goals. If you have a proverbial pile of beans threatening to crush you, don’t hide; ask for help.  Look to your community and share your beans.

 

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!

Jan 18, 2017 - Health, My Story, Running    No Comments

My Marathon

Now that I can walk again, I am ready to talk about my marathon experience.

I did it!

I ran (and walked) 26.2 miles.

A year ago I made a “Bucket List” of things I wanted to do in life. Running a marathon was one of them! Running has been a very powerful spiritual analogy to me during my four years as a runner. Life is a marathon. It is not a sprint. And in this marathon of life, some miles are joyful and easy and your training comes in handy. But many many miles are hard or lonely and you fear you cannot keep going. I wanted to prove to myself that I can keep going in running and in life. I am not running either race alone. I have cheerleaders and spectators who care about me and will help me finish my race well in all ways. This matters. Even when you are experiencing your toughest miles and you feel like you are emotionally hitting a wall, someone cares, someone sees, someone is cheering you on. Look for your spectators and cheerleaders — and keep running.

At the Expo getting my bib!

I ran as “Taco Belle” because I have to be silly.

Lisa and I shivering in the cold at the starting line.

And nearly seven hours later… The finish line!

Iced up and dressed to the nines. 

My finest cheerleaders!

My team!

And as if that wasn’t enough, my sweet friend Jake brought his allowance money to the finish line and bought me a rose to celebrate my race. Not wanting to be outdone, my boyfriend followed up with this bouquet as well! 🙂

Thank you for cheering me on, friends. You make my miles of running, and of life, so much more enjoyable. Here’s to future miles!

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

Dec 24, 2016 - Humor    1 Comment

Cheeky Returns!

I have my own elf on the shelf tradition. Set up the most ridiculous scenarios ever to entertain your roommates. I got to introduce my new roomies to this small joy of Christmas… and they totally took to it!

Cheeky, the apt name of my elf on a shelf, continues his yearly antics this year, succeeded in making us laugh, and in retaining a bit of the childhood playfulness that I hope I never lose. I enjoy the balance of playfulness, seriousness, studiousness, and laughter that permeates my life and I am thankful that other people in my world can help me with this balance.

I declared this Christmas the Guilt-Free Christmas! Between work projects and school and other duties in life, I didn’t have time to bake or shop or craft or do many of the things I typically enjoy. Yes, all my presents were purchased online. No, I did not contribute to the cookie exchange. Yes, I ate Christmas cookies without tracking them. No, I didn’t feel guilty! I enjoyed it all. Christmas is busy and stressful and I will continue to use Cheeky as a small stress relief to my household to bring merriment and joy! May he make you smile today.

cheeky elf

cheeky elf

cheeky elf

Semester One Recap

I have one semester of my doctorate under my belt.

Holy frijoles. What a semester!

doctorate, school, day one

I now know anything anyone could care to know about Florida House Bill 943 and can articulate a growth theory which likens our lives to a river blocked with rocks and aided by driftwood. I am a more knowledgable clinician now.

But what do I give up to do this?

I give up home cooking and instead I throw together meals and wraps last minute. I give up watching shows or keeping up with current events. I give up flexibility and spontaneity.

And what do I gain? Knowledge. Goals. Excitement about future possibilities.

I made a pact with myself to keep school in its corner and not let it expand and take over my world. I made a decision to be the World’s Okayest Student. I wanted to do mediocre work! And if you know me, you know that I am a perfectionist especially when it comes to school!

okayest student cup doctorate

 

I believe school is important and hard work will help my patients and possible students in the future, but I’m not willing to give up relationships and ministry to do it. I want to strive for more and be content with where I am. In the wise words of Cool Runnings, “If you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” That includes doctorates, and relationships, and houses, and children, and jobs, and bank accounts, and awards. If you are in need of this reminder, as I am: You are enough. Just as you are.

Balance and adventure. Determination and relaxation. Mediocrity and ambition. These pairs of juxtaposing ideas have circled in my head throughout the entire year. But in the midst of all of it, I am enough.

I can work out of my worth instead of working for it.

In this knowledge, bring on next semester!

 

Nov 9, 2016 - Running    1 Comment

Finish Lines

This past weekend I ran 19.3 miles. No, I was not chased. Yes, I paid for this endeavor. Yes, my legs are angry with my life choices.

I “competed” in the Wine and Dine Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge (say that three times fast!)

medals wine and dine

The two course challenge included a 10K (6.2 miles) on Saturday and a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday. It also involved waking up at 2:30 am two days in a row to make it, along with 25,000 of my closest friends, to the starting line on time.

wine and dine lumiere candle

I dressed as Lumiere for one race, complete with flameless candles hot glued to my shoulders. I always have fun with the costuming portion of my races! The running… I get irritated with at some point! It was challenging. Parts of the runs were ugly. I was slower than I anticipated, but I was running toward a goal. And I wasn’t alone.

Not only was I surrounded by 25,000 fellow runners, but my dear friends were at the finish line. These sweet ladies, Laura and Betsy, woke up with me at 2:30, drove to Disney, slept in the car, met up with Nathan, and were ready to cheer as I crossed the finish line hours later.

This mattered.

No matter how ugly my race was, I wasn’t alone. I was running toward someone who loved me.

These are the object lessons that make me love running. I don’t always love putting one foot in front of the other for three hours, but I love how God uses this activity to remind me of truth. We are all running the race of life. Some parts will be easy. Some segments will be crowded. Others will be ugly, slow, and lonely. But it matters who is at your finish line. Who am I running towards? Because the answer to that question makes the entire race worth it.

Thanks, friends. You are delightful.

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Doctoral Woes, Week One

I’m one week into my doctoral career. Whew. What a week. It seems like at least a month has passed since I started classes. One week down. One hundred fifty to go. I’ve read chapters of books. Learned more about public policy than I ever thought I’d know. I’ve already been through all the emotions.

Syllabus shock? Check.

Countdown to graduation? Check.

Tuition payment? Double check.

 

I’ve said the following sentences multiple times each:

“This is so interesting!”

“What have I gotten myself into?”
One week in, what have I learned?

doctorate, school, day one

Life is an adventure. I cannot see past the next wave. I know there will be times that I question why I’m doing this to myself. But, as I’ve often reminded myself, this is not a whim decision. I have been thinking about more school for years. As my friend Abby reminded me, “Kelly, you know those things we’ve been praying about for years… they’re here!” I’m trying to be ready. I’m trying to appreciate the answers to myriads of prayers. I’m trying to see the fun in not knowing what the future holds.

Among the many decorative items I have in my room, a particularly special one is a watercolor which reads, “But what if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” I want to risk, to try new things, to be willing to risk falling if it means that I won’t miss the joy of flying. Maybe you can relate to that. Every new phase requires risk and brings along it’s companion fear with it. But sometimes the fear of taking my feet off the ground pales in comparison to the joy of flight. Do the thing you think you cannot do. Risk. Take the adventure. Your prayers are being heard. My darling, what if you fly?

 

What life adventure both scares and thrills you at the moment?

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.

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