May 4, 2016 - Running    1 Comment

Running Season

Hundreds of miles. Dozens of loads of laundry. Hours of stretching and recovery. For me, running season ended two weeks ago. Hurrah!

I finished this year in a galaxy far, far away with the Star Wars Half Marathon. After running the Light Side half marathon in Disneyland, I could not consider my season  complete without running with the partner Dark Side run! I was running solo (Han Solo, that is) and I decided to go all out and make a ridiculous costume. I was a running Spoiler Alert complete with pool noodle light saber piercing my body. (yes, I ran 13.1 miles with a flopping light saber!)

spoiler alert, han solo star wars

I was not prepared for the outpouring of emotion this would cause! I would say that 70% of my fellow participants thought it was an amazing, hilarious, and clever costume. But 30% of my fellow runners were still in mourning over the loss of their beloved character and I received some wrath along the course. It proved to remind me how powerful other’s comments and opinions could be. When I was at low points in the race (miles 8-11) and people yelled, “Too soon! How could you?” at me it made me drag my feet and slow down. Alternatively, when I was nearing the end of my energy and met a kind man gave me a high five and said, “This costume is amazing! A pool noodle, duct tape, electrical tape and a chopstick…You are the champion of the human species!” It added some pep to my step and got me through the last two miles.

Words matter. Kindness matters. I believe that there are no neutral interactions. In every conversation with a human being, I have the opportunity to encourage them and be a positive interaction. I can add pep to the bag boy’s step when I interact with gratefulness in the check out line. Or I can knock the cashier down a joy level through my curtness or snarkiness. The choice is up to me. Words are not neutral. Be kinder than necessary!
star wars medals

I am thankful for those who encouraged me and brought me through 13.1 miles. You share in my victory!medals running

Running Season stats:

Race Miles completed: 72.2!

Running shoes: 4.

Toenails lost: zero!!!

In the words of Bridget Jones, “An excellent year’s progress!”

Apr 2, 2016 - Devotional    No Comments

Sinful Food

I went to the grocery store this morning and was confronted with sin in an unexpected way.

No, I didn’t covet someone else’s cart full of goodness.

No, I didn’t get irritated with the bag boy.

No, I didn’t pocket something extra without paying for it.

I bought sinful produce. At least that is how it was advertised.

sinfully sweet tomatoes

What? How are these tomatoes sinfully sweet? When did decadence and sweetness become synonymous with sin? It concerns me that we use powerful, meaningful words to describe flippant things.

Sin exists and includes all thoughts and actions that sadden the heart of God. Sin is not the enjoyment of pleasurable things. God gives good gifts and wants us to enjoy them in the best possible context (James 1:17). Sin is not the enjoyment of life, food, togetherness, or intimacy. Sin is the ugliness that separates me from God. I sin when I stubbornly think I can live without God. I sin when I try to enjoy God’s good gifts in ways He doesn’t allow. I sin when I do not love others or live sacrificially. I sin when I live out of unbelief and doubt God’s goodness, sovereignty, and holiness.

I sin, yes, but I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the ripeness of my tomatoes.

Tomatoes are not sinful. Chocolate is not sinful. People are sinful. My heart is sinful and daily in need of a Savior. I am thankful that there is a cure for my state. A sacrifice that has cleansed my heart. Jesus’ work is more powerful than any sinful thought or deed I could ever commit.

And that work is far more satisfying than the most “sinfully sweet” produce in the world!

Mar 26, 2016 - Devotional    No Comments

Easter Saturday

[I’m reposting this. It is one of my favorites!]

I love books.

Just one visit to my house will confirm that fact. I love re-reading and re-living a beloved novel. I love the pages which have become wrinkled with interest and vigorous page-turning. I love the crease in the spine which allows the book to lay flat, opened to my favorite scene. I love knowing how the story will end.

I’ve found that as much as I enjoy experiencing books for the second or third or fourth times – there is something special about a new novel. I read it differently because I cannot anticipate the ending. When I don’t know the ending, I live the highs and lows of the characters a little bit deeper. When I can see the finish line so clearly, I read a little bit faster to get to the “happily ever after.”

I do the same thing with the Bible.

I think we all do. When we’re familiar with the stories, we can skim past the painful times of waiting to get to the good parts, the periods of resolution, celebration, and praise. The intention is good, but I think we miss out of the fullness of the story and all the emotions when we skip to the end.

As I thought about this tendency, I remembered a book that I read a few years ago which discussed the crucifixion and resurrection and how we celebrate them today. We have Maundy Thursday or Good Friday services to focus our hearts and soak in the mourning and darkness of the death of Christ. But then, reading the Scriptures like a well-loved and well-known novel, we jump straight to Sunday and celebrating the resurrection.

orlando grace church easter2007 Good Friday. Resurrection Sunday. But What About Saturday?

But what about Saturday?

We have to stop and think about the familiar story, not just skip to “He is Risen!” (As amazing as that knowledge is!) What did the disciples feel on Saturday? Sorrow? Numbness? Disbelief? Hope? Did they intuitively know of the grandeur coming on Sunday? Did they think the past three years of their lives were a loss? Did they yearn for a miracle? I think there is something healthy to think of Saturday- to know of the sorrow and the disappointment and, above all, the waiting.

For in a larger way, we live in Saturday.

We have experienced the mourning and the grief of the brokenness of the world in many ways and we know that God wins in the end! We have an amazing hope beyond all that we can think or imagine (Eph 3:20). But today, in many ways, we are waiting for the miracle, waiting for the resolution, waiting to see and understand the larger story. In this life we get glimpses of heaven and glimpses of life without God as well. This is our Saturday as we live in constant sadness for the state of the world and hope that it is not going to remain this way!  We are challenged and refined on Saturday in the midst of the waiting. It contains truth and encourages me in the midst of my Saturdays to continue to wait on the Lord who is constantly at work!  May you too experience an ever-present hope of the coming Sunday, the eternal Sabbath, as you wait in the Saturday circumstances of you life today.

“Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!”
Psalm 27:14

Wishing everyone a very happy, and hopeful, Resurrection Sunday.

Iceberg

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.

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

 

Mar 1, 2016 - Running    No Comments

My Princess Three-Peat

I became a princess for the third time last weekend by running the Disney Princess Half Marathon! But I don’t run because I love running. I run because I learn life lessons.

 

During my months of training, whenever I got overwhelmed with the miles I had to run, I thought about my costume. This year’s choice was a sister suffragette from Mary Poppins. I lined up at the starting corral and the lyric came to mind, “Shoulder to shoulder into the fray.”

How true.

That is something I love about running. We are not competing (at least not at my pace!). We’re in this together. We cheer each other on in the race. I feed off the crowd and my fellow runners. I want more of this experience in other areas of life too. Community is important. Togetherness is powerful. Life is a “fray”. It is difficult, challenging, grief-filled. There is a reason life is described as a battle in scripture. We can fight well, arm ourselves wisely, and run with endurance. Marching through life with a sister suffragette by your side makes a difference.

sister suffragette run half marathon

 

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Shoulder to shoulder into the fray. So the question is: Who stands shoulder to shoulder with you in the frays of life? 

Feb 5, 2016 - Devotional, Running    1 Comment

Magic Shoes

I own magic shoes.

They can’t take me home if I click them three times like Dorothy’s.

They don’t have braces to straighten out my back, like Forrest’s.

They don’t bring Princes searching for me, like Cinderella’s.

My shoes are magic because they remind me of the power of small steps all added together. For the past three years, since I started running long distances, I’ve purchased a reward in the form of special shoes. (RunDisney had a big part in this when they started designing Disney running shoes!) Every time I wear them, I am reminded that I ran a really long way… and survived! They are little markers of my own bravery. They are mobile altars of remembrance which prompt me with each step, “Run with endurance the race set our before you.”

Before every race I silently recite Hebrews 12:1-3 to myself.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

My shoes talk to me. “Run well, Kelly. Run, not just this race, but life fixing your eyes on Jesus.”

Yes, like I said, magic shoes!

I like having things which have greater meaning that they first appear. I like sentimentality and purpose. I love wearing these shoes. These are my magic shoes. They are powerful because they remind me of the power of Jesus.

ariel new balance running run shoes

PS – they are extra magic as I wore my Ariel shoes exactly once, got sick, and lost my voice for three days. Coincidence? I think not!

What, in your life, helps you recall where you’ve come from and refocuses you to move forward?

 

Jan 31, 2016 - Health, Running    2 Comments

Rebel Challenge

Flying across the country.

Waking up at 3 am (many times…)

Running 19.3 miles.

Worth it!

I participated in the Star Wars Half Marathon Rebel Challenge two weeks ago and scored some major victory points and bling by doing two races in back to back days. I got to spend some time with delightful people, visit the happiest place on earth, and prove to myself, yet again, that I am capable of things I never thought possible.

Running has taught me a lot about life. Growing up, I was the asthmatic kid who was picked last for kickball. I could never run. In fact, I completed my first ever mile without stopping when I was thirty years old. Even now, I am not fast, I do not complete with my corral-mates. I just plod along… for hours. For nineteen miles!

My running is far from flashy. Far from perfect. Far from fast. But I go. I move forward. I’ve been learning that life is a series of small steps, which when taken faithfully, can add up to something great!

I keep telling myself not to worry so much about the Finish line. But to focus on having the courage to start! Do something you don’t think is possible. Then hustle, train, and prepare! And you just might shock yourself.

Small steps can move you.

Where are you running?

 

IMG_4226 IMG_20160116_074100757 IMG_4238Boba Fettfinish line star wars half marathonIMG_4252

Jan 27, 2016 - Health    1 Comment

72 Hours

72 Hours.

Depending on what you’re measuring it could be an incredibly long or an incredibly short time. Consider building a cathedral in 72 hours versus holding your breath for 72 hours.

For me, 72 hours is the length of time that my patience lasts before giving out entirely.

I took ill last week. Typical symptoms: sniffles, scratchy throat, fatigue. Never fear! I will fight these germs head on! I stayed home from work, cancelled all plans for three days, hydrated, rested, and barely left my bed for 72 hours.

sick, ill, snot, kleenex

And after waking myself up in a colossal coughing fit on the morning of the fourth day, I became enraged. I did everything right! I laid low, took care of myself, used a dozen boxes of Kleenex. And everything north of my diaphragm was revolting against me. My patience was gone; I felt I deserved health at this point.

I ripped the covers off in a huff to begin the de-snotting process, “God help me if I’m ever really, really sick.”

Whoa.

I am literally surrounded by people fighting off illness, injury, infection, and infirmity at work. Children and families who are stuck in bed (and sitting bedside) for far longer than 72 hours. So instead of being angry, I’d like to say:

To the high risk mama with the aching back after weeks (months!) of bedrest, your work is worth it. I see you.

To the little kid who had brain surgery and has been stuck in bed with tubes and drains ever since just longing to get up and play. I see you.

To the mom and dad of all my little patients wondering about the future and sitting crib-side holding little hands. Your care is powerful. I see you.

To everyone who has ever been sick, bedridden, silenced, downcast, or sidelined. My 72 hours has given me just a taste of your story. I see you. I want this experience of lost patience and waning health to help me see you even more.

To feel seen is a powerful thing.

Jan 6, 2016 - Devotional    No Comments

Faster or Further

I am an efficient person. I pride myself on getting things done, checking off tasks and celebrating accomplishments. I like to go fast. I will always volunteer for the projects that can be done solo because then I know my work ethic and speed and am confident that I can complete them by the deadline. It’s those other pesky committee members who slow me down. I like fast. I want to be done. I want to sprint!

But further is also attractive. It indicates sustainability and lasting change. Further means going at a sustainable pace and being involved for the long haul. And it implies community. Further means being pensive, considering all angles, and making decisions together.

I heard a quote which blew my mind recently:

You go faster alone, but further together.

(insert mind-blowing sound effect here)

Efficiency doesn’t achieve what I really want. I want to push forward in many areas of life. Whether it be a new ministry opportunity, or method for intervention at work, or health goal. I want to sprint, reach the goal, finish line, or answer first. But it’s lonely there. I can go faster alone, but what I really long for is culture change, and working alongside others to go further.

I can go fast alone. I desire to go further together.

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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!

 

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