Saturday, January 3, 2015

You are so beautiful!

Hello again!
It is a new year with all its fresh hopes.  I love it!  How about you?

I went to the gym yesterday.  I have been fairly consistent with my visits, except for the weeks I was recovering from abdominal hernia surgery.  I was expecting a crowd, as it was JANUARY 2nd, and the start of the month with the most gym enrollments.  I was not disappointed.

Admittedly, I wanted to stay in bed, feeling sluggish, but, as always happens, once I got a few minutes into my routine, the "happy juice" started flowing, the endorphins, and I was feeling good, smiling at all the recipients of my improved mood.  I wasn't being stalkerish in my looking, although people watching anywhere is good fun, only keeping an eye out for my day's workout buddy, my daughter.

I'm going to be honest here, as usual, and say, I would wager most all of us check out the people around us working out.  You don't judge?  Good for you.  The rest of us notice who's super fit, who is overfit, who is somewhat, um, cuddly, who is just looking for a date, who is a regular, who is a Christmas and Easter attender, who is working hard, who is not there to sweat, etcetera...And we instinctively decide who we find appealing to our eyes.  I find fitness and people who care about their health attractive.  I like my husband's muscular arms, a LOT.  But, I saw many fit, unattractive people around me.  Not 'unattractive' because of any facial or physical anatomy, but because they had NO SMILE.

You may be rolling your eyes at me now.  You think, maybe, I am silly or cliché.  The lack of a pleasant expression really defined the appeal of the crowd around me.  No one wants to spend time with people who look miserable.  We often do, out of obligation or commitment.  However, we don't want to.  We want to interact with people who are uplifting, positive, people who are making the most of whatever their physique, or situation.  We all want to be encouraged.

There is a guy at my gym.  He may have multiple sclerosis like me.  I haven't asked him.  He walks with a cane sometimes, he staggers a bit, and slurs his words.  This guy is there 90% of the time I am, working hard, talking to everyone, smiling EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Before his illness hobbled him, most wouldn't have judged him attractive.  But, he has joy, and that is his undeniable appeal.

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Monday, March 3, 2014

Giving up social media for Lent?

It's that time of year again.  Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday and the next day, Ash Wednesday.  So begins another season of Lent.  Many years, I "gave up" cream (my mom's usual😉), wine, gossip, exercise, and other bad things.  If you are unfamiliar with the terminology, Lent is the span of 40 days leading to Easter when many Christians sacrifice something that needs to go in their life, in order for Christ to occupy that space.  This is my lay woman's usual understanding.

I began questioning this practice, as I became more Baptist, and less Lutheran, years ago.  In my faith journey, I wanted to understand why we do many of the things I grew up believing were part of church.  I began defining my Jesus faith.  "Jesus faith" means, He made the ultimate sacrifice for me, and if He did it, I want to do it.  If He didn't do it, I don't want to do it.  I question why we give up something for 40 days that we feel is a detriment to us, to only pick it back up on Easter...the greatest holiday ever.  (What??  You haven't considered Easter the greatest?!  Jesus died and rose again, all the candy you can eat, and Spring.  I rest my case.). If the bad thing, the sin, needs to be "given up", I suggest we don't need to resume the activity.

Did you know "Lent" is not a scriptural term?  It is a churchy term.  Go ahead, check your Bible's index.  I will wait right here.  I won't bore you and myself with the details of word origins, but you will not find it in your Bible.  Ash Wednesday, not there either.  Does that mean we shouldn't recognize these days?  No, that's not what I'm implying.  I believe this time of year is a great time to be intentional in our faith.  I will attempt to de-distractionify myself.  To intentionally quiet the noise in my life to grow in communion with Him.

I believe the enemy's handiest tool is distraction.  We begin to pray, we become distracted by our to-do-list.  We stop to speak to a hurting friend, and get distracted when another walks up, forget how crucial the hurt being shared.  Our loved ones request our time, our attention, we get distracted, lose focus, forget their desire for more of us.  We are working productively and "notifications" pop up on our smart devices, demanding our attention to tweets, emails, posts.  We can be in Siberia, saving the world, and still receive texts from Redbox.  We crowd our lives, our children's lives, with so many activities, we rarely have our families together in one place.  Distractions have taken over much of our day.  I have heard of more people diagnosed as adults with ADD in the past couple of years than I think is probable.  I believe a more likely diagnosis for many of us is LIDD... Life-Induced Distraction Disease.  I'm not pointing a finger at you, I'm guilty as well.

So, this is my Lenten plan.  Will you join me?  I will turn off the tv more.  I will take more quiet walks into my yard and just listen to the birds.  I will open my Bible, in the middle of the day, not just in the morning.  I will try to be satisfied when I don't catch every meal you ate in my Facebook feed.  I will interrupt my family and friends less, but practice listening.  I will not rush my son's long stories.  I will remember to pray through my showers again, instead of worrying while under the stream.  I will put down my iPad and give my husband my full attention when he speaks.  I will turn my thoughts during our church message from others, to myself, and what I need to work on.  I will be more patient with negative people, and I will not hum in my head while they are talking, but try to understand where their bitterness comes from, and I will pray for them.  I will do all these things to my best human ability, acknowledging that I will sometimes fail, and I will attain my Lenten goal ultimately.  Commune more intimately with my Creator.  Then, after we celebrate Easter, and I eat lots of candy, I will attempt to keep it up through the rest of the days.  What about you?

Whatever you decide, be assured of this...
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen."  Luke 24

Be blessed!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Guide to understanding the North Carolina woman

Beautiful day here in NC, and I've been noticing a few things while cruising social media that have urged me to note what makes us unique in the TARHEEL state. If you are fairly new to the state, you might feel a little confused, or even wonder if we speak another language. I aim to help!
  • "Bless her heart!"  You cannot count on inflection to guide you on this one.  Is she in the hospital?  Then, we are expressing sympathy and concern.  If not, this means she is acting foolish and we are trying to be polite.
  • "GO CAROLINA!"  Under no circumstance do you ask which Carolina...unless you are in the more southern Carolina.
  • Sleet expected?  Your kids will be let out of school as soon as they eat lunch.  Don't make big plans for your day.
  • Do not post pictures of yourself with the description, "Yay! I'm a size 2!"  No one wants to hear that except your accountability partner.  Gained 15 pounds over Christmas?  This is what your friend wants to hear.  We southern women are comfortable with one another's round parts. BTW, if you happen to be the partner of a female, the answer to the question "does this ______ make me look fat?", is ALWAYS NO!
  • If you are in a restaurant and order tea, it will be sweet. FYI.
  • "Where do you go to church?"  We are not trying to be rude, or too personal.  It is kind of the southern "How you doing?"  This is our way of asking, well, so many things. We might find out, ie. assume, from your chosen congregation, if you drink, if you are gasp! liberal, if we know people that know you, if we should send you a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Eid card.  If you are not spiritual, just have an answer ready that will satisfy.  Otherwise, we will be inviting you to our house of worship until you move far away.
  • Our shorts tend to be short.  Don't judge.  Blame Daisy Duke.
  • Don't miss our parades...Macy's can't hold a candle to our brand of fun.
  • Some old-timers will pointedly announce, "aren't from round here are ya?" Don't be offended.  Smile real sweetly and tell them how you love our town.  After all, you catch more bees with honey!
  • We will speak and wave to you even though we don't know you.  Don't worry, this one is'll catch on!
  • Many of us are quite intelligent, even if we talk "down home" speak.  Just like we know you from the north aren't all rude and obnoxious.  See how that works?
  • NASCAR is a sport.  Try driving a car at 230 mph around a CIRCLE while wearing a jumpsuit inside a car that reaches 120 degrees...for 3 hours!  Much training is involved.  It'll grow on you.  Just read some driver rosters in the Observer, in the Sports section, so you can converse.
  • We are not all Republican.  Not that there is a thing wrong with being Republican.  I like to call myself a liberal who believes in open-mindedness with caution.  I respect the President, even though I don't agree with all he says or does.  In fact, I've given every President, excepting Clinton, respect.  Come on, in the Oval Office?
Well, that's all I've got for now.  I hope that helps my transplant friends.  Feel free to add to my list!  

Until next time...

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Remember Good Friday. GOOD? An innocent man hung by his hands and feet, pierced in his side, beaten, tortutured. A mother left sobbing, broken. Sky goes dark. How is this good??

Great Friday! It is darkest before the dawn. No more guilt, shame, hopelessness! The lamb that was slain has taken away our sin. Remember, we are resurrection people! Live in that light!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I am honored, humbled?, that you have checked in here over the last year and a half when I have been dormant.  I felt I didn't have stories, but how ridiculous!  There are always stories...some times I just don't want to write them down.  For those with little or no filter, ie. me, it can make you feel naked to see some thoughts on 'paper'.  Do you know what I mean?  Or, have you worked on your filter?  Let me know your thoughts down here \/

If you are on Facebook, you can't help but notice it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I am, by nature, sarcastic, so forgive me for saying, but I am fully aware already.  If it weren't enough watching two dear friends receive treatment for breast cancer in the same year, and another losing her mom to the killer, I lost a lifelong best friend to Triple Negative Breast Cancer in December.  According to, this type of breast cancer "tends to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer" and "women with triple-negative breast cancer had a higher risk of death within 5 years of diagnosis".  We lost my dear friend, my mother-in-law, within a year of her diagnosis.  As I sit typing at my desk, I am staring into her eyes in my favorite photo that sits there.  I ponder, like I do almost daily, what would she have me say about this horrible time in my life?

Faye, our Meme, always had wise words.  She knew the power of the tongue to encourage, or slay, and didn't mince words.  She cared about EVERYone's feelings and welfare.  She didn't care if you were the trash collector, or the President, you would receive her opinion, and her love.  I will try to share what I learned from her...though it would take volumes, I will attempt to do her justice.

  • Show up.  Meme never missed an occasion important to me, my husband, or my kids.  She was there for the birth of each of my children, their birthdays, surgeries.  Whenever I called, she dropped what she was doing, and SHOWED UP.  She never failed to be there when I needed her...until now...
  • Appearance matters, when it is your's, BUT, not when its someone else's.  To meet Meme, you could not miss her hair and makeup being "done" and her clothes being accessorized.  She bought all of us beaucoup clothes and at bargain prices.  Shockingly, she would find a designer item for a dime, with the wrong size number inside, and it would be a perfect fit.  She had an eye for fashion, and all things pretty.  She wanted everyone to feel pretty.
    Meme didn't judge your appearance, if she didn't know you.  She assumed you were good and true, and could be her next friend.  She didn't see color or status.  Now, if she knew you, she might ask if you just got out of bed!  A lady should be put together;)
  • Money is not king.  Money is temporary, and is meant to be spent on the people you love.
  • Take time to sit and talk with those you love.  She and I had a routine when she came to visit.  Our Meme lived about 4 and a half hours away from us, so we only had weekend visits.  When the kids were smaller, they argued over who got to have Meme sleep in their bed.  As they got older, they slowly realized she snored louder than thought humanly possible, and fought over sharing a bed with her much less.  But, the mornings were MINE.  Meme and I would grab our first cup of coffee and sit down at the kitchen table in our pjs and talk about the kids.  And Brian.  And religion.  Philosophy. Travel.  Politics.  Nail polish.  She taught me about scripture with a passion.  When the birthday party, or trip to the zoo, was over, we agreed it was 5 o'clock somewhere and sat down with a glass of wine together.  We had the BEST talks.  I miss them so much.
  • Time will run out.  Life is so much briefer than I knew a year ago.  Meme and I planned to go to the Holy Land together...when the kids were older.  Just her and I, walking where Jesus walked, and discussing theology, and giggling while praying, like schoolgirls.  We talked about traveling to Africa together, and ministering to orphaned children and scared, widowed moms.  See, there would be time one day for these dreams God had placed in our hearts, I thought.  I was wrong.  I have a strong feeling, if I had called her, and said pack a bag, she would have gone with me.  Why didn't I?
  • Laugh.  There will always be time to cry later.
  • Be an eternal optimist.  What have you got to lose?
  • God is so good.  In your darkest day, He will hold you in His hand, and soothe your brow, and whisper in your ear that you are loved by the Creator. 

Psalm 39:4-7

New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude
6 We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.

That's all I've got for now.  Thanks for stopping by, and letting me share.
And please, please, don't forget to check your Ta-Tas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Africa and other dreams

I am part of one of the coolest groups of ladies around. We call ourselves a book club. We happen to know that what we are is so much more than that, but willing to accept such a simple, trendy label. I have been blessed to be accepted into this circle for about five years now (you know, time runs together as we age...just ask Dr. Oz...but I digress...), and they are a highly unique set, intelligent, caring, strong, opinionated, generous, nonjudgemental. We some times hurt each others' feelings a bit, but, after a wee bit of time, the issue is resolved, forgotten, or put to bed, and we all remember why we love one another. We have witnessed each others' ups and downs, career changes, divorces, health crises, financial woes, and have each others' backs. I wouldn't allow any one to diss my book club sister, and I am certain we stand together on that issue. We know each others' hearts through the many stories we have read and discussed of lives unlike ours, and lives like ours too. We share large doses of tolerance with our sisters, as we all come from different faiths, different walks.

I give you the background, to say we have started a new tradition at our holiday party. The holiday party is not a time we discuss a specific book, but a gathering with food and drink where we just enjoy the fellowship. This past December, we gathered and answered non-bookish questions about ourselves and then the questions and their answers were presented to the group and everyone else guessed Who Said It? The answers were very revealing, as they showed the group a little about our dreams, and what we think about ourselves. I highly recommend you do this with the people you care about!

We learned what some of us wish we could be named...which drew enough laughter to send some of us running for the loo. We learned some of us have a thing for bald comment. I love hearing the answers to where people have always wanted to travel. It's very revealing to hear someone's unrealized I like to say, their Bucket List. My spot is southern Africa. I am sure I will travel there at some point in my life...I pray it will be on this side of eternity and I can help and love on little ones hurting there in some way. Where's your bucket spot? I'm sure it speaks volumes about your hopes too.

We should never forget what we dreamed when we were younger and not embittered by life and hardship. There is always time to achieve the impossible as long as you still have breath. Thank you my book club sisters for reminding me always of this, and lifting me up so I can reach the stars!

Friday, December 31, 2010

It is New Year's Eve, so I am looking back like most of us do. I thought I'd share some thoughts with you (mostly because my neighbor asked me when I was going to write again, and I felt guilty, like only a Southern girl can). I don't make resolutions, since goals tend to make me feel anxious. Instead, I make plans "to improve me". (You can use that one if you like.)

I PLAN to keep on reducing the junk in my life. Roughly translated, reducing time spent with people who are negative ALL the time or simply takers. Some times, I take, and some times, I am negative, but if this is your constant modus will suck energy I don't have. I will pray for you, and hope for you, but we all need to be encouragement to one another. That goes for you too.

Along the same lines, I PLAN to reduce the junk coming into my house. Less is more. The local mission has been blessed with my knicks knacks as I reduce the clutter at casa Kelly. If it doesn't have a purpose or sentiment attached, I don't want it. I started today with the Clean Sweep 2011 of my house. I am getting more organized, more streamlined. This will be good when we move.

I PLAN to reduce the junk my family is eating. I started this when I read a great cook book "Clean Food", which I highly recommend. I don't actually cook from it;) many of you know, I don't like to cook, but I have learned a lot about our food sources and trying to feed my family purer foods. When we are trying to strictly budget it is even tougher to eat healthier, but this is my PLAN. I have fallen anew in love with my husband as he decided to punish me by doing our grocery shopping. In his frustration with so much money going to groceries, he decided he would do the grocery shopping. I think he thought this would upset me. I don't think anyone knew how much I loathe Walmart and grocery shopping. I PLAN in 2011 to keep this a secret.

I also PLAN to exercise more. But, all of us do, right? I PLAN not to be disappointed when I eat the ice cream sitting on the couch instead of going to the Y.

I PLAN to continue to walk the 50 miles in the Challenge Walk each year until we have a cure. I had a moment, or two, when I thought this could be a waste of my time and resources. I said to myself, there won't be a cure for ms in my lifetime, maybe I should focus on hands-on community service, like person to person, feeding the hungry. Then, it occurred to me that I considered "skipping a year", not because the economy is bad, but because I was not hoping any more. We have to hope in a cure, because if we don't, who will? And this year alone, my friend received financial support that was much needed from the NMSS, and we now have an oral medication available to patients. The people I have gotten to know through the three years I have walked alongside them, have changed my life.

I PLAN to continue to meet challenges head on...with little fear of the outcome. Most of us fear the unknown and unfamiliar. The challenges will come. But, growth takes place when we're stretched and thrust off the cliff, flailing, flapping our arms. That's when we realize we could fly all along.

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:1-5

I wish you a wondrous 2011 full of challenges that only you are designed to meet, and that through them, you become the best YOU possible. Rock on!