Tag: there’s a lesson here somewhere

Five Years Later

A friend of mine always gets a kick about how I keep track of time…

That was 5 years ago this spring.

That was before I started getting pregnant again.

That’s when we were at the theater.

That’s when I was Tweeting.

That’s back from our road days.

 

…and on, and on.

Last week, I started Tweeting again. I need to for my job, but in order to relearn the language, I started using my personal account again. Like all things social media, it’s a giant rabbit hole, not just of information, but of emotions.

I soon “saw” people I hadn’t seen in awhile and got caught up on one of their stories. Perhaps the most emotional one for me is the story of Sara Frankl, known on Twitter as “@gitzengirl.”

I read Sara’s blog for years. And in the middle of a crazy, turmoil-filled season in my life, she passed away after an agonizing battle with a rare disease.

I am delighted to see her legacy is moving forward, captured in a book and a foundation and the constant reminder to CHOOSE JOY.

Rod and Kel's Beach House

In five years, literally everything about my own life has changed. We moved two more times, and as of this July, we now live in our “BEACH HOUSE.” Through connections very divinely-ordered, we “have our own house” again, one mile from the ocean, with palm trees and golf carts and a salty breeze. It’s unbelievable…

kids Aug2016

We had three more children… two of them born to heaven, and one of them growing like a tall Carolina pine tree. I will never understand the baby that came to us (one year post-tubal-ligation) this January, and I may never quite get over saying goodbye to our Jesse at the end of February (2 years from the day of our first miscarriage), after seeing his perfect beating heart. But I am grateful for the new filter through which I view life… it’s always surprising, it’s always abundant, and we are never alone.

This year of 2016 has been full of the unexpected. We lost friends to moves, and gained friends who moved closer. We lost friends to disagreements, but gained others through grace. We lost a few dear friends to death, far too young in our eyes, but welcomed a few special little ones earthside. And I learned that redemption of sadness and loss maybe doesn’t look how we always thought it would.

our beach at full moon

And I am reminded that every story ends with an ellipses. There is always more to be told…

As I write this today my heart is full on many levels. I have missed coming to this place and sharing, but I know my life is so “abundant” right now that this is a privilege rather than an appointment. It’s one I will take. We never know what is coming tomorrow, so the life in our hearts should be expressed RIGHT NOW.

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We were made for this

kaitlyn_dec2013 She runs outside with the other girls, excitedly whooping and ready for adventure. They’re all cute as buttons, pictures of what little girls look like in their homemade t-shirts and bare feet, or dress up clothes and funny socks.

I look at the window just minutes later (so grateful for the view to the outside, and so grateful for the sprawling, shared yards we have with friendly neighbors). She is there, alone, playing on the climbing wall, having an adventure with herself.

It’s taken awhile, but I’ve learned that these are not sad adventures, and this is not a lonely child. Sometimes, most times, she does not fit in. She is the one with the “thing” that I can’t quite put my finger on, the thing that isn’t a diagnosis or a label. She is going to dress her way, imagine her way, and demand her way. She is going to challenge me and she is going to be challenged.

She is mighty. She is a leader. And she is a child. And that last one sometimes trumps the first two, and the brave warrior comes crashing down, with angry accusations and heart-wrenching tears that break her mama’s heart, because I never wanted my five-year-old to feel that level of fear, of uncertainty, of rejection, of humiliation, or frankly, of intensity.

~

On church day, a friend comes to me. She knows me pretty well by now, and she embraces me as she tells me what she feels God has shown her. It’s confirmation, so I know it’s true. One daughter, she says, is just like her daddy. And this one, she is like you. God is showing you what you were like, so you can see… so you can see…

Like me? This five year old with bravery that I envy? With confidence that I long for? With coolness that I strive for? She is me? Did I leave others in awe? Did I leave my parents in manic states of amusement and frustration and utter bewilderment at my brilliance? Surely not.

But now, colored with perspective, I watch her today. I remember the stories I began to write at age 6, excited ramblings and detailed imaginings. I remember how my heart reached out for others, wanted to be like them, but could never quite change enough to fit. I know that looking back at the girl I was…age 6, age 9, age 12, age 18… age 35, that I was beautiful, but I didn’t see it, so I tried to be something else, anything else.

icor12-4I look in the mirror and see the same blue eyes and pale skin as our youngest child, the one who does not look at all like her three older siblings, (who’ve captured their daddy’s little bit of Cherokee blood, deep brown eyes, and great ability to tan), the one whose flowing blond mane calls to mind “Irish Lass” or “Tinkerbell” until people realize it’s more like “Buzz Lightyear” or “Thor.” Can I have the same care, the same grace, for my own reflection as I have for my baby girl? Can I accept, even celebrate, that those uncategorizable differences my Father gave to me make me special and fun and even great? Can I accept the beauty that others insist is there, in spite of the wiry grays and the extra pounds and general feelings of awkwardness? Can I apply the lesson that adventures of my own making, taken alone, are acceptable and even enough, if they are what I am meant to have?

~
I look outside again, just after writing those words, and see the girls have regrouped, then run off again, except now one has stayed behind with my warrior, swinging on a tire just feet away, companionable but separate. Companionable but separate: kind of like my husband, reading across the room but smiling knowingly at me on the occasions I look up… or my Dad, who sometimes smirks and shakes his head at my “Kelly-ness”… or those friends, some 1000 miles away and some at the next desk, who know my fake smile from my real one (even on Facebook) and when to call me on it.

We were not made to be just like everyone else. We were not made always to fit in the crowd, but sometimes to get lost in it, and sometimes run circles around it. She will be ok, and so will I. And if this resounds in your spirit, so will you.

~ November 2013

invite / accept

invitedThere is no greater gift to me than an invitation.

I love being invited to come, to share, to participate, to dine, to join, to stay.

I love it when my children are extended any of the same.

I love to open up and invite others in… sit, take off your shoes, open my refrigerator, pet my dog, hug my girls.

Be in my life. Save me a seat for yours…

~

The past weeks have involved some serious inner growth. I have been looking at relationships in a new way. It is all due to some disciplined study of how God loves {without expectation}, how leaders approach people {with something to give rather than something to gain}, and understanding compassion {others’ needs over my wants}. Something in all of this mix has blended together and filled my cup. Along with this is a realization: nothing will ever be like it was. Nothing will ever be like it is in my best-case scenario. People can never fill the gaps we have in our own hearts. But God… He can. And then ~

– it becomes rewarding to hug someone because she needs it, and let it go, and be ok.

– it becomes just fine to hang out at home all day on a Saturday, with my family, doing chores and doing nothing, because they’re my people first.

– it becomes acceptable that some people are only in our lives for a season, because we learned, we loved, we grew, and maybe we do the same for others in our seasons, too.

– it becomes a step of maturity to let intensity and need fade into peace and security, knowing that people who love us are “here” for us even when they aren’t always active spectators in our everyday.

– it becomes more important to be available and open for others than it is to worry about dry spells and empty spots on our agendas. In fact, it becomes freeing not to have an agenda at all!

I think I have spent a good portion of life waiting on an invitation to the in crowd, the cool lunch table, the front row, the VIP room… and now as I find myself in a new phase of life (we will call it settled in), the most important – most invitinginvitation in my eyes is the one to someone’s home, someone’s heart, someone’s life. Let me in, even though you have some piles of paper in the counter. Let me in, even though we’re both disheveled and gun-shy. Let me in, even though it’s risky to trust someone, even though friendship is hard, even though….

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations I’ve sent, even the ones rejected. They mean my heart is open.

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations offered, especially those I thought would never come. They are always worth the wait.

 

what box?

In May, we attended Kindergarten Open House with Kaity. It involved some things my baby – the youngest of 4 children with ages that span from 5 to 22 – does not appreciate: convention, expectations, being involved in something that her 6 year old sister knows more about, the perception that she has to dress a) fancy or b) like a princess. (And if you are wondering, she did wear her “fancy” shorts…)

This is how it started:

kinderkk1

No surprises: she does not always do things like we want her to do or think she should.kinderkk3

kinderkk2

However, I gave her space. I stopped trying to take posed pictures. I stopped trying to create a moment and instead, stepped inside her moment. She needed several of them, and then… she was ready to explore her surroundings:

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And after a bit, she was ready to embrace them, in her way...IMG_1745 Sometimes I think KK is so very different from me that I don’t know how I will possibly deal with her, much less raise her, to be a productive member of society. And then I pause, and often find that she has taught me all over again. She is actually just like me, in that she has a specific, sometimes “unconventional” way of doing things. The difference is that while I obsess about making that part of me fit into a box, she couldn’t care less about the box.

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I want to be more like that when I (finish) grow(ing) up.

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!