Category: a day in the crazy life

my most recent failures

It’s funny how trained I’ve become as a woman to think that the “I’m failing” stories make me more likeable. – Kelle Hampton

So one month ago, I stopped eating gluten. And for the most part, I have really stopped eating gluten. I also began working my nutrition system again (breakfast drink/tea at night).

And last week, I started tracking my calories again.

On Thursday, I weighed myself and had lost 2 pounds form the beginning of the week.

And this morning, I weighed myself and there they were, again.

Also this morning, I called the pre-school down the street from my church/job and enrolled KK. Just like that. I had already toured it in the fall, when I was weighing options, had met the director, knew the price was right. When I discovered today that they also have an attractive “drop-in” program for the summer, I was hooked. I printed out the forms, filled them out, broke the news to KK (who, though inseparable from me since December 20, basically shrugged), and rode on over to introduce her to the teacher.

Amazingly, I do not feel guilty.


my cool girlsI was just encouraging a friend last week by reminding her: most decisions we make are not forever. We are usually not in circumstances that last forever. I go back and forth and back and forth again with schooling decisions, for example. Our seasons seem to change constantly. I know there was a deep desire in my heart to homeschool, but I also know that was borne when we were traveling constantly and I was surrounded by close friends homeschooling with me. Life has changed. Randa is flourishing in school, and after this 3.5 month experiment, it seems KK needs it to a degree. So for this season, here we go.

For this season, when my ‘spare time’ is a battle of chores vs. errands vs. time with husband vs. time with friends vs. writing vs. reading vs. doing nothing for 20 minutes, it’s hard to find time to work out. And without that, I am not going to significantly lose weight.

…but maybe when I drop KK off at pre-school a few days a week, I can walk/run on the beach for 30 minutes before work. I will be in better shape, and so will my time with KK.


There are some things I am really good at. Keeping in shape? Not one. Teaching my kids to read while updating websites and having work conversations? Not that one either. But that doesn’t make me a failure, nor will I feel guilty about it. But I can bake bread, make event flyers, give awesome hugs, find great restaurants, write glowing somethings-or-other, and love my family quite awesomely. Let’s celebrate our gifts and quit musing on our failures!


the village it takes

In this past week, I have come to newly appreciate some of the existing friendships in my life. First of all, there are a handful of special people with whom I have somehow grown closer since we moved away. How is that possible? I give some credit to the constant touchstone of technology, for allowing us to share instantaneous photos & videos, random texted moments, and any-time-of-day deep thoughts. Hallelujah for these people.

And then, just when I give up on making new friends or deepening friendships (I know it’s stupid, but we all have our stupid places where we go), God surprises me with crazy-enlightening conversations, surprising encounters, and total familiarity with brand new people.

I love it all. I love you, ‘my people.’

And I guess there is no better time than an anniversary weekend to count some blessings…

It took a team of 4 sets of babysitters to allow us to get away for 2 nights, not counting the 2 sets who would have if Randa had not been diagnosed with the flu the day before I left (to meet Rod, who was already in Columbia waiting for me, as we’d planned back in December. Ah…plans…).

I often miss and lament the presence of my parents in our geographical lives. This weekend, I was blessed with the older siblings, the surrogate grandma, the surrogate auntie…we are so blessed.

usSo shout-out to Paige, Josh, Kirsten, Sue, Rebekah, Tanja, and Katnetra for loving our littles enough to babysit them (or volunteer to until Randa got the Bug)…so I could be with my favorite person in the world. Thanks for not only administering medicine and cheese and sugar, but sending us pictures of the smiles you put on Randa & KK’s faces!

During our weekend away, we enjoyed seeing Les Mis for the 6th time together (and my 8th overall) at Columbia’s Koger Center For the Performing Arts. Please do not get me started on the scrawny (but well-voiced) Valjean, or the obstructed view (a letter is being written). Anyway, it was fun watching Paige see it on stage for the first time, and hearing one of the best written lines ever never gets old (wait until the end).

On Saturday, we did a glorious bunch of nothing most of the day. I will only disclose that both Superman and Superman II were on the hotel’s HBO, and Christopher Reeve’s earnest but pretty terrible acting and sweet, little curl do stand the test of time.

Oh, and Ruth’s Chris still has the best steaks anywhere!

I will wax sentimental and sappy all week long about our “first” 10th anniversary (Annual disclaimer for new friends and readers: we were married in March 2003 and had our big wedding in August 2003, and we celebrate both because we love celebrating!) I often joke that no one makes me laugh like *I* do, but no one gives me joy like he does! He, as well as this family he gave me, gives life to my favorite line penned by Victor Hugo, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Amen.

PS: If you care about bloggy sorts of things, I have finally updated my “about me” page. A good time was had by all.


it doesn’t take much

I had a good conversation with a friend today… one of those friends with whom I don’t really get to talk much, but when I do, in a For Real Conversation, there are always profound take-aways. Sometimes it takes us a while to get there (sometimes, it is literally months before the things this friend says to me make sense), but inevitably, the arrival comes.

Today, he referenced a conversation we had last summer. At the time, I accepted it, I mulled it over, and I thought, somewhat begrudgingly, that he was about 65% accurate in his assessment of some things in my life.

Today, I would say he was about 95% right.

What changed? Me. Not what I am made of, but my perspective. Because honestly? When someone you love and respect tells you something not-so-attractive about yourself, it needs to be swallowed in segments. Otherwise, you might just vomit.

So the thing was (ouch. Ouch) that I ‘live in Fantasyland.’ O U C H. And having pondered this on and off for about 8 months, I’m going to say: I don’t always see it. I don’t try to be that way. But, all in all, I get it.

Here is a perfect example. Kaity had a playdate today, one of her first since we moved here. Y’all, we were High Royalty of Playdates back in “The Day” (also known as: When We Lived in Illinois). We had them for hours. We made messes, 3-course meals, long drives, whatever. We loved them.

And then we moved and I started working and blah, blah, blah. We had a few bona fide playdates, but none on a recurring basis. Now that KK is home with me for at least a season, there has been a lack of playtime or any time with other kids. So yesterday, when another mommy at the bus stop  asked us to go to the park today, I was all, “YES!”

(And honestly, KK was all, “I don’t waaaaaaaant to go.” And my whole morning was crazy, and I was thinking, “If I had their phone number, I’d so be cancelling.” And when it was time to leave, I facetiously called, “C’mon Kaity, we need to go get you socialized,” (the S-word of all homeschoolers). But I digress…)


Our meeting at the park, first quiet, quickly morphed into an elaborate play-pretend-on-the-jungle-gym game. And then turned into the 2 girls coming back to our house, running outside, then settling in with Cheetohs and The Muppets Movie. And my immediate, immediate mental picture turned into one of summertime, a summer filled with bikes piled in our driveway, Popsicles dripping everywhere, kids being called in for dinner and let back out afterwards, the smell of mosquito spray, the sound of swings and squeals and the sight of hop-scotch and jump ropes.

Gee Kelly, your daughter’s 90 minute playdate turned into a highlight reel from the summer of 1983?

Why, yes. Yes it did. It doesn’t take much to get my mind going and going. And while I do believe there will be a version of That Summer for my kids in 2013, I accept that part of that… is a fantasy. I accept that my mind, because I love reading and writing and watching stories so much, and because sometimes my imagination is just a little more fun and exciting than reality, and just because it is the way God made me, does exist, in part, in fantasyland.

But… I don’t think that is all bad, (or, offensive!) as long as I remember to strike a balance between the things I can make closer to ideal and the things I cannot change… (I hear there is serenity in that…) and listen to/learn from what God is saying to me in all of those.

Thanks for the reminder, friend…

Whoa, 2012.

We met my parents in Disney World. I got a cool hat and spent my 35th birthday at Cinderella’s castle and the day after at Harry Potter-world. My children have no idea who Duffy the Bear is, but loved every second we were there.
The day after we got back, I dropped the girls off at school, went home and returned to be. Thus began a period of depression, uncertainty, and fear that I haven’t written about much. Now that it’s over, I will….            



Rod’s work as a telecom consultant saved our financial booties.
Josh, Kirsten, & Paige (& the Carters, & Mamaw & Grandpa) all visited for KK’s 4th birthday.
We got a dog named Max.
And with saved airline miles, Rod sent me for a secret trip to stay with Jen for a weekend. It helped.



The future started to look brighter.
I made 6000 recipes from Pinterest, thus ending the weight loss of January & February.
Rod and I took a marriage class and bought a 2005 minivan, with a cassette player. The girls started swim lessons at the Y.
My friend Becky visited me for a lovely weekend, and Rick visited for a lovely week during which I fell in love with Charleston and Pawley’s Island.



We went back to Disney, because we have a time share that we use well! We met the Paris family there. The day we got back, Wayne and Wanda came to visit. During a trip to the beach with them and the Carters, Rod got hired by Time Warner Cable!

Oh, and our church decided to lease a theatre, and named me General Manager.



I took the girls to Chicago for a week while I was also beginning my new job. It was stressful and crazy and great. I vowed never to do it again, but am making plans for this coming July!
Also, Miranda got her ears pierced, we went to our first Pelicans baseball game, and found a new house to live in, about 45 minutes southeast of our old house.


We started saying Aloha, a lot.
Josh & Kirsten moved in with us, then two weeks later moved into an apartment, then one week later helped us move to our new house. In the mean time, Annie and Laura came to visit and didn’t mind our boxes and brought us cookies!


In between Aloha-ing and Illusions (2 house shows at The Grand Theatre), we hosted Jeff & Sue Duffield, some of the most real and fun people in the world, and we went to the beach a few times.
Also…our nephew was born!


Journeychurch held its grand opening.
We welcome the Wonderettes to The Grand and said Aloha to Aloha.
Miranda started kindergarten, and sleep was a thing of the past.
Mom & Dad came to visit on the busiest Labor Day weekend ever, but one that included an unforgettable concert and Labor Day lunch with Russ Taff.


We had visits from Wayne and Wanda and Mamaw and Grandpa and the Carters. We finally made it to “What Do Pirates Do?” (aka Pirates Voyage). We found a dance class and a dentist and a little time to be together.

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With 2 house shows running at full steam and Daddy traveling lots, we turned to the mall food court for helpful nights on the town. Rod made his debut as a Willie Nelson tribute artist and I perfected my 1950s look (teehee). We went on a hayride past the ocean. And we finally met neighbors while trick-or-treating.

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My friend Deanna came to visit…she helped me lay groundwork for a moms’ group and we ‘rocked the block’ at journey together. The Groves family joined our wonderful Thanksgiving festivities, and we returned to Disney again. I would so live there.


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I vowed to have a quiet advent. I failed. We finished an amazing season at The Grand. Randa danced in The Nutcracker. KK finished pre-school. I made a trifle. We traveled to Ohio and Illinois and have annoyed everyone with our complaints about the cold. We met our baby nephew. We will end and begin the year in Chicagoland, eating Italian food with people we love.

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2013, for me, will be a little bit about things I don’t want to happen (depression, financial woes, etc). I am considering carefully what I do want to happen. Whatever it is, I hope it includes good health and shared happiness. Happy New Year, one and all!

what leaders do

written Monday, December 3, 2012

So, my baby girl is in “The Nutcracker” with her ballet studio this weekend. She truly loves to dance and truly shines when she is dancing. The fact that her studio rented “our” theatre, The Grand Theatre, for this perfornance is the icing on our Christmas cake. We are all very excited!

Miranda was picked as a leader of her age group, who play the Baby Angels. Basically, this means she leads them off the stage when it is time. But tonight as we prepared for dress rehearsal, she was flitting about her little friends chanting, “I’m a leader, I’m a leader.” So, we had to have a chat…

fittingly, I had just sent a message to a few of my circle, lamenting that most of the moms from the studio won’t really talk with or look at me. I *might* have made a snarky comment about them being on my turf tonight or something life that and wouldn’t it be funny if my husband/the light guy accidentally cut the lights when their respective children were on stage. Or something like that.

ANYWAY, it was in this, ahem, Teachable Moment, that I told Miranda what God was simultaneously whispering in my ear:

A leader doesn’t have to say she is a leader. People will know she is a leader when they need help and she can give it. Don’t tell people you’re a leader. Be a leader.

I know sometimes I assert my role because I feel I have to prove something. But most of the time, I don’t introduce myself as a title (unless it is “wife” or “mama,” because I love those roles the most and never feel weird about them!) My role titles change all the time – my job title is changing yet again right now – so describing myself as “Marketing Director” or “GM” or as of now, “Media Minister” seems a bit odd. I am Kelly. I do what you ask me to do, probably in a way that won’t immediately make sense. I usually work behind the scenes to make someone or something look shiny and together. Once in awhile God places me in the spotlight, and I admit… I am growing for comfortable there. But at the same time, he continues to humble me, humble me, humble me. Whatever task I am given to do – and this week day it has ranged from making meatballs to counting dollars to plunging the toilet to tying some tutus to reassuring a groom to sending an e-newsletter to… writing this blog… I am being constantly reminded that “whatever [I} did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, [I] did for the King.” (He said it in Matthew 25:40).