Dec 21, 2014 - My Story    6 Comments

Bon Appetit?

Goulash

Here is my CrockPot full of steaming hot, perfectly seasoned Hungarian Goulash! I chopped and diced and measured in anticipation of a great meal. But there’s something ugly lurking in the midst of this meal. Apparently, when I added the meat and removed one of those silicon meat sleeves, I did not notice a second sleeve lurking. And so I cooked the meal with said sleeve infiltrating the ranks for half a dozen hours.

meat sleeve

Here it is, burst open and leaking on a decorative Christmas envelope. When I discovered the stowaway (which truly I don’t know how I didn’t see it because I stirred the goulash multiple times!) I had a decision to make. Was it worth risking getting sick to throw out a $20 meal and have to scramble for something to eat that night? I weighed this decision heavily. I hate throwing out food. I hate wasting money. I hate feeling foolish! But I also hate being sick. And in this instance, that hatred won out among the bunch.

It was amazing to me how small a piece of plastic could derail my entire night. I mourned the lost food, money, and time as I threw out my contaminated meal. I grieved my expectation of a delightful meal. I bemoaned my own ineptitude and oversight!

And then I realized that I had to share this. I’m determined not to allow my “public persona” –be in on my blog, Facebook, Twitter or any other social site– be a collection of only my good moments. That would be a record of a relatively small portion of my life. I am determined to share a more balanced view. I make mistakes. I cry. I need people. I add meat sleeves to my food and cook and stir for six hours without noticing their presence! That’s real life. It’s messy and hidden and it takes bravery to let people see the less than glowing moments.

I want to share real life moments. But I promise if I ever invite you over to dinner that meat sleeve won’t be on the menu!

Anyway, I blame cheeky for this whole debacle!

cheeky goulash

Dec 18, 2014 - Running    2 Comments

Running into Lessons

In my previous post, I described my heart imploding in loneliness like a dying star after my last race. I was spent physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I felt like I had nothing left to give. I had to be brought low in order to be open to what I was supposed to learn.

Here’s what I’m thinking thus far. I am not sure if this is all God has in store for me on this front, but perhaps you can relate.

Lesson #1: It’s okay to need help.

I much prefer being the helper instead of the helped. I revel in this role. It’s my role at work at least 40 hours a week and I’m pretty good at it there. This dynamic of Kelly being (ore pretending to be) the strong one oozes out into other parts of my life. After my race, I was weak. I was weak physically and needed to eat and I was fragile emotionally. I needed help. And help was provided in likely and unlikely places. When I shared my struggles openly and without pretense, friends rallied to help me celebrate and encourage me. I am thankful that these relationships directly countered the lies I’d believed. People do care. They care about me and about what I’m doing. My needs were met even in the most basic of ways. After the race ran out of food, there were two kids in their front lawn watching the runners and passing out Tootsie Rolls. I grasped one, told them they were my new best friends and ate the calories hungrily. You don’t always have to be strong. It’s okay to need help. And sometimes help comes from unlikely sources.

 

Lesson #2: Expectations are Tricky.

I didn’t think I’d gone into this race with any expectations. I thought it was a freebie. A pre-race. A warm up. But the difficulty of it proved that I had expectations which were unmet. Expectations that I didn’t even know I had! Expectations that there would be food for me! Expectations that everyone knew what I was doing. Expectations that others were aware of my plans and how hard the race had been. I signed up for this race last minute and didn’t share the details widely. I didn’t even realize, until confronted with their lack of fulfillment that I  had expectations. A wise teacher told me long ago, “Unvoiced expectations are preconceived resentments.” Even as I say this, I want to say it apologetically for any resentment others experienced. The resentments are my issues because I didn’t voice my expectations not others’ faults for not living up to my subconscious expectations.  Perhaps you’ve dealt with this. Have you ever had times when you’re upset and not quite sure why. Perhaps your resentments are due to unvoiced expectations.

 

Lesson #3: We need community.

I need people. I need people to celebrate with me. I need people to listen to me when I cry. I need people to give me food when I’m completely spent. And I need to be such a person to others. We need community, honesty, and sharing in the good times and in the trying. We are created to need each other. I was forced in new ways to depend on others during and after my run into loneliness. And for that I am thankful.

I know there are other purposes and lessons hiding in my experience. It was far too powerful to leave me unchanged. But this is where I’m living now. Wanting to share the good and the bad, determined not to paint my life as rosier than it really is. How about you? What are you learning?

Dec 15, 2014 - Running    10 Comments

Running into Loneliness

I ran into loneliness. Literally.

Last weekend I participated in a Half Marathon. I signed up last minute to psychologically boost myself in preparation for my races in January and February. Those are the ones that are important to me. In my head this one was a freebie. I had no time goals. It was just for fun and to prove to myself that I could do it. I thought it was unimportant, but it turned out to be life changing.

I showed up at the start line just as the gun fired to release the pack. I was ready. Neoprene donned, water belt filled, bladder evacuated, breakfast eaten! I was ready to go. And for the first 8.5 miles, I did great. I was pacing myself to a 12 minute mile and pleased with how things were going physically. Mentally was another matter though.

Most people deal with thoughts like, “I can’t do this. I have to stop.” when they hit their mental wall. I didn’t. The lies that filled my head were, “You will finish, but no one cares. You are alone. No one is with you. No one cares about this race and no one cares about you.” It was perhaps the loneliest I’ve ever felt. The feelings were real, but the source was false. People do care about me and about my accomplishments. They want to celebrate with me. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t get those lies out of my head. They swam in my brain and took up residence for hours.

I was pacing well and was mentally focused on getting to mile 8.5 where they’d give out Gu packets (an energy gel). I just knew that when I got that, life would be better and I’d be able to finish the race well. Except they ran out of Gu packets just before I got there. Picture Kelly imploding like a dying star. The second half of the race was rough. I was spent physically, emotionally, spiritually, and had nothing to replenish myself in any arena. I walked and ran whenever possible. I was surrounded by people and was at the same time totally alone.

I rounded the very last corner and saw the finish line and started crying. Not out of a sense of accomplishment or joy, but because I knew no one was waiting for me. I cross the finish line crushing my previous recored by 11 minutes, got my medal, realized they also ran out of food at the finish line, hobbled to my car, and drove home. Still believing the lies and unable to celebrate my accomplishments.

half marathon OUC

Why do I share this tear-filled day of terribleness? Because I learned from it. Every experience matters. God does not waste pain. But He also doesn’t necessary share the purpose or the lesson right away. I had to sit in the mess for a while before gaining some understanding. So I will make you, dear reader, do the same. Life is messy, we must live in the midst of it.

What is your mess right now? What makes you cry? What lies are swimming around in your head and taking up permanent residence? Think about those things and know that God does not waste pain.

Dec 13, 2014 - Humor    2 Comments

Oh Holy Night

I cannot go through the joy of this season without giggling uncontrollably at this video. May it give you a brief pause in the midst of the hurry. Watch this and realize that no matter how far behind you feel or what you have on your to do list, you’re having a better day than this guy!

Happy Christmas!

Dec 2, 2014 - Devotional    1 Comment

Life Margins

Leviticus changed my life.

No really, I learned a valuable agriculturally-based life lesson from Leviticus last week. Lev. 23:22 reads, “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.” Life changing, right? Okay, maybe it needs some explanation. Leviticus is a book of rules and guidelines for life which God is giving to His people, the Israelites. He is showing them how to care for themselves and how to care for others. Since most of the Israelites were farmers at this time, agricultural laws were widespread. This one in Leviticus 23 encourages generosity by having the owners of the fields not reap every square inch of their fields, but instead to leave a margin for the poor. And what was the reason given? Becuase “I am the LORD your God.” This was a way to show that your loyalties lay with the Lord instead of on your own productivity. This thinking was training them to leave margins in other areas of life: in their finances, time, and energy.

Light and trees

This is where the message really hit home. I’ve gone to financial classes before and I’ve been trained on how to provide financial margins. I support my church, missionaries, and non-profits. I’ve worked to create margins in my giving. But I have no margins in my time. I try to squeeze as many hours out of the day as possible, (and then have two alternatives for when an appointment falls through.) I joke that my life is one large Tetris game. I am a strategist and a maximizer at heart and I want to wring every last moment of productivity from my allotted 24 hours. But this thinking has me exhausted, constantly wanting to wring out just a little bit more, and trusting in myself to provide instead of God. I’ve realized that my life is inhospitable to spontaneity and I have no margins in my time.

To put it another way, “I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want.” I can write, work, speak, craft, cook, clean, run, and go to Disney. But not concurrently. I keep re-realizing that I have a finite amount of time and that I have to create boundaries which are narrower that the very edges of my life. I need margins in my life. Perhaps you can relate. I am determined not to glean to the very edges of my time, but to leave some for those who need it, and in doing so to trust in the Lord.

See, I told you Leviticus could be life changing!

Nov 28, 2014 - Running    No Comments

Thinking Like an Athlete

I am an athlete.

I am in training.

 

I am taking care of my vessel.

Image source: http://meggorun.blogspot.com/2014/01/8-things-im-loving-right-now.html

Image source: http://meggorun.blogspot.com/2014/01/8-things-im-loving-right-now.html

I am an athlete, but not Olympic. Not record setting. Not famous or with sponsors. But I am competing. I’m competing against myself. It is Kelly’s feet vs. Kelly’s brain almost every time I run. But I’m leaning to think like an athlete. To know that short term goals turn into long term progress. To realize that every step I take forward is one more that I don’t have to take again. To think of food as fuel to go further instead of pounds to hold me back. To know the magic that happens when I cross the finish line.

I’ve said it before, I run to prove to myself that I can do things I once thought were impossible.

My training extends beyond my weekly runs. It happens everyday when I encounter a problem I thought was unsolvable or a blocked goal which I considered insurmountable, or a task which seemed incompleteable. Because I run, I keep going. Taking one step at a time, sometimes sprinting, sometimes walking toward a solution, a conclusion. Toward the finish line.

Nov 25, 2014 - Devotional    1 Comment

A Spasmodic Hercules

I read a quote this week that was amazing. It taught me a lesson I learned many moons ago with new language. It was affirming and encouraging and provided some much needed perspective.

Are you ready for it?

“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” Anthony Trollope

I love it. I want to read it again. When else in your life have you been able to work in the phrase “spasmodic Hercules” into a conversation. This one I’m sticking in the memory banks.

Mr. Trollope has found a more fanciful way to say, “Slow and steady wins the race.” and “Pace yourself to reach the finish line.” He’s succinctly summarizing the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I love it.

Sometimes I get bogged down in the everyday. I think of the repetition of tasks: laundry, cleaning, evaluations, treatments, or explaining what occupational therapy is for the umpteenth time. I sometimes long for something exciting, for a surge of energy or attention. There is a part of my heart that wants to be Hercules — to save the day, to rescue the damsel, to be the hero, to get the applause. But all too often in life, those who patiently and faithfully labor at important tasks aren’t the attention-getters. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t a hero. Heroic efforts can occur every day. Every time you wake up early to make your kid’s lunch, every time I lovingly care for a patient, every day that you go to work to provide for your family, every time you lovingly and patiently repeat what you said to an elderly family member, you are a hero. And daily heroes, though often unsung, are worth much more than a spasmodic Hercules.

Be faithful. Show perseverance. Be Hercules.

Nov 22, 2014 - Devotional    3 Comments

Delaying Christmas

I try to delay Christmas as long as possible. Or at least until December.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the decorations and gift giving. In fact, I joke that in Florida we have two seasons: Summer and Christmas. Because our weather is often unhelpful, I need these external markers to show me that the year is indeed moving forward! But, it irks me every year that it seems our retail world has no room for Thanksgiving. October 31st leaves with it’s pumpkin and face painted fanfare and Christmas sneaks in overnight to stock all the shelves for November first.

Am I alone in this?

What happened to Thanksgiving?

Why do we skip it?

Except for your local supermarket, stores don’t seem to cash in on Thanksgiving. And that’s one of the things I love most about it. Thanksgiving to me is Christmas without all the pressure. It’s all the goodness of travel, family time, togetherness and, of course, food without the pressure to mail letters, attend a dozen of parties, go to the post office, buy and wrap gifts, and have the perfect holiday outfit.

Plus it focuses my heart on what I already have, before the frenzy of Christmas urges me to long for more. I’m committed to delaying Christmas, to leave room for the giving of thanks.

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!

photo

 

Nov 17, 2014 - Health, Occupational Therapy    2 Comments

World Prematurity Day

I did not write this. But oh how I wish I had! As I celebrate World Prematurity Day today, I see not only my patients but their families struggling so much to deal with an ICU stay for the tiniest member of their family. I too see you.

free-baby-wallpaper-1440x900-1005041

I SEE YOU by Jodi Dolezel:

I have read your blog posts and your Facebook statuses, I have had the honor of getting to know a lot of you through social media, and I have watched and cheered your children on from the NICU days through early childhood. I have had the privilege of meeting some of you in person, and I must say you are an amazing group of people. You have candidly shared your thoughts, your lives, your children, and your heart with me, and I am truly grateful to have this bird’s-eye view of your world.

Being a NICU parent is hard. I know this, not because I am one, but because you have allowed me into your world and have given me a perspective that I would never have been able to have without this gift you have given me. To see through your eyes, to understand what it is like to walk in your shoes, and to really grasp the other end of the spectrum from your point of view. It is a gift, and I am, and will be forever be, grateful for it.

I know I don’t understand, and I will never understand completely what it is like to be you. Nor do I pretend to understand what you are going through. But I do want you to know that I get it. I get that having a child prematurely or spending time in the NICU is not what you had planned, and it is extremely hard watching your child suffer, feeling so helpless and full of fear. Having a medically fragile child is difficult, and you may feel alone, isolated, or invisible. But today, I want you to know that you are not alone, you are not invisible, and that I see you.

I see you rushing into the NICU with your hair pulled back and your sweatpants on. Bending over at the sink scrubbing your hands with intent, hoping and praying that you made it in time for the 8 a.m. feeding. You are beautiful.

I see you sitting at your child’s bedside, journal in hand, writing down your baby’s latest statistics: weight, isolette temperature, amount of oxygen, and ventilator settings. Things that no parent should ever have to think or worry about, but you do it. You are brave.

I see you walking the halls to the maternity ward to get a drink from the vending machine. You pass by a couple taking a stroll with their newborn baby in tow in a bassinet. They look so happy, you smile as they pass. The look on your face is one of admiration, but you march on. You are resilient.

I see you unpacking your never-ending pumping supplies, lining up your bottles, and preparing for your next power session, even though you did this routine just two hours ago. You are dedicated.

I see you standing over your baby’s isolette, counting down the hours until the next “hands on care,” longing to touch and hold your child, and praying you will get to have kangaroo care time today. You are loving.

I see you as other new parents enter the NICU for the first time. They are scared, nervous, and afraid of what the future holds. You too are worried about the future, but I see you approach them and offer a shoulder to lean or cry on. I see you explain to them the ropes, telling them that it won’t be easy, but assuring them that you are there if they need your help. You are compassionate.

I see you as the neonatologist leaves your baby’s bedside after giving you an update and the plan for the day. You look puzzled and somewhat afraid. Confused by the medical terminology, you ask questions, and you begin to research and learn all that you can about your child’s diagnosis and possible future. You are an advocate.

I see you as your family and friends visit your child, who has now been in the NICU for weeks on end. They ask questions, the wonder, and they sometimes make uninformed or even hurtful comments. They may fail to recognize that this journey is long and hard, not just for your baby, but for you, too. You don’t get upset. You answer their questions politely, and educate them as best you can, and then you thank them for their concerns. You are amazing.

I see you as you perform diaper changes through all the wires, tubes, and machines. You look beyond all this medical machinery and smile in admiration of your little fighter. You have been through so much, you have seen so much, and you have loved so deeply and abundantly through it all. You are courageous.

You spend countless hours worrying about, defending, and advocating for your baby. You spend days, weeks, months, and often years beyond the NICU experience learning best therapies and best medical devices, finding the best doctors and the best schools for your child. You may be burdened with huge medical bills. You may feel isolated and alone in this new NICU world and beyond these doors in the years to come. But today, I want you to know that you are not alone and you are not invisible. I can never truly say that I understand everything that you have been through, because I haven’t walked in your shoes. But I hope you can hear my heart when I say I get it. I see you.

I see you when you’re tired and at the end of your rope, but you truck on. I see you when your patience is wearing thin but you continue on with determination. I see the amazing strength you possess for your little one. I see you when you are astonished by the wonder of your tiny brave hero as you celebrate another amazing milestone. I see you when you are left standing between your baby and this sometimes cruel and critical world we live in. I see it all, and I see you.

I acknowledge you.

I admire you.

And

I applaud you.

___________

Jodi Dolezel is a Registered Nurse and currently works in a single room family centered care level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care in the Charlotte, NC area. Jodi is also the founder and facilitator of Peekaboo ICU, where this post first appeared.

Reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jodi-dolezel/i-see-you_b_6071208.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000037

Nov 12, 2014 - Crafting    No Comments

Crafting for a Cause!

Would you like to get delightful, handmade gifts AND help free modern day slaves? Sounds too good to be true, right? Read on. It is very true!

*****
Forget Black Friday. Waking up at three in the morning just to wait in line and fight over the last widget in the store. Doesn’t sound like a deal to me!

Besides, it’s not even where to find the best stuff this year. I’ll let you in on a little secret – the best stuff for all the loved ones on your Christmas list can be found at the ICS Bizarre Bazaar this Saturday from 10-4! Over 70 vendors will be displaying their wares and you might just complete all your holiday shopping in one trip! Visit www.icsbazaar.com for more details!

ICS Bazaar craft fair

 

 

There will be a wonderful selection, with trinkets and goodies for all ages – Children are welcome. Shop handmade this holiday season. Feel free to bring friends – the more the merrier!

We know with the hustle and bustle of the holidays that each day is packed full of fun things to do. That’s why we’ve taken the initiative and combined two of our favorite things: crafting and worship. The biggest difference between this bazaar and every other sale you’ll attend this year is that we’re crafting for a cause.

crafting jewelry

A portion of the proceeds from Kelly’s table will be donated to help end human trafficking. Human trafficking is modern day slavery – it is an epidemic. I was made aware of the severity and prevalence of human trafficking today at the Passion Conference two years ago. In fact, there are 27 million slaves in the world today. More than at any time in history. I already love crafting and decided to offer it up as an act of worship. I figured – whatever your thing is – do it for the Glory of God. If you babysit or cook or build chairs or clean teeth or balance ledgers or write insurance policies – do it for the Lord. We hope that this not only provides an opportunity to check off many gifts from your list, but that it also encourages others to think creatively in fund raising, and to worship in all of life.

jewelry

Now doesn’t that sound way better than fighting over Black Friday deals? :)

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23

Visit www.icsbazaar.com for more details!

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