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.

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?

 

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